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Are Schools Safe For Kids and Teachers?; Interview With Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); Interview with "ParentData" Newsletter Author Emily Oster; Interview with Former Emergency Physician Dr. Leana Wen; Interview with Journalist Bill Moyers; Interview with University of Chicago Assistant Professor of History Kathleen Belew. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 05, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): If you're under an attack to disenfranchise people and take away folks' rights to have their votes counted, then the right
response is to protect that now and forever.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Democratic Senator Tim Kaine talks to Christiane about his nation's moment of reckoning, voting rights and his 27-hour drive
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just really scary. So I just hoped that he's able to get better and go home.
GOLODRYGA: Record amounts of children are being hospitalized with coronavirus. Why this new wave is hitting them so hard and the emotional
toll it is taking.
Also ahead: Kazakstan's government resigns, as the nation erupts and violent protests. What's going on in the Central Asian country and why it
BILL MOYERS, JOURNALIST: Democracy in America is a series of narrow escapes, and we may be running out of luck.
GOLODRYGA: Professor Katherine (sic) Belew and former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers discuss how the U.S. can preserve its democracy.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York City, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Washington is preparing for a slate of solemn events tomorrow to pause and reflect on the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 last year. But
there's no slowing down for the committee investigating what happened that day.
This week, it called on former Vice President Mike Pence and FOX News personality Sean Hannity to speak to the panel, this after it's already
interviewed nearly 300 people and issued dozens of subpoenas to try and get to the heart of the violence.
Of course, America's democracy crisis didn't end on January 6. Voting rights are under siege in 19 states, as restrictive laws come in, and
Democrats struggle to pass meaningful reform.
Voting reform is an issue Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is putting at the top of his agenda. Here he is speaking to Christiane about what he hopes to
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Thank you, Bianna.
And I'm isolating at home, because, today, I tested positive for COVID.
But thanks to being fully vaccinated, the symptoms are mild.
So let's now bring in Senate Kaine, who's had his own brush with the elements in the last 24 hours or so.
Senator McCain, you were stuck on that I-95 highway for all that time. Was there any silver lining in that dark moment?
KAINE: Well, Christiane, it was a two-hour drive that became a 27-hour drive in this ice and snowstorm.
But there were bright moments. There was a camaraderie among all of us who were stuck. We were stuck for about six hours, not moving in the middle of
the night Monday to Tuesday. The temperatures were in the low teens, 11 or 12 degrees here. It was bitterly cold.
But we were getting out of our cars and visiting with each other. It was a clear night, pointing out constellations. And my favorite was a Connecticut
family who was returning from a Florida vacation were parked right in front of me. The car was packed with kids.
At one point, the family got out and took the souvenir bag of oranges they were bringing back with them and started to hand them out to people who
didn't have anything to eat. And, to me, it just seemed like that's what we do at our best. When the chips are down, we often help each other out.
And I saw ample evidence of that even in a pretty miserable experience.
AMANPOUR: I just want to know, how did you manage to keep warm? I mean, that's not amusing.
AMANPOUR: That is serious potential hypothermia out there for you and all the others, especially the kids.
KAINE: Yes, it is. And there were out cars with elderly folks. People had their pets in cars.
Yes, at some point, my mind kind of shifted from, this is a super annoying travel day to, wait a minute, this is a survival experience. So then I
started to think about it very differently. And the worst thing that can happen is, you're running out of gas.
So we were we were five miles in either direction from a highway interchange where there would be gas. And if you're running your heater at
night in a car because it's 11 degrees, and you have got kids there, you can run out of gas. And then, suddenly, you don't have an engine that
works, you don't have a heater you're far away from heat. You're far away from gas. Your car is blocking everybody else.
So what I did is, I put on my coat, put on a stocking cap and gloves, and I would run my engine for about 10 minutes to heat up the car. Then I would
turn it off for about an hour. I could usually last for about an hour before it got so cold, I had to turn it back on again.
But all night long, I was just doing 10 minutes at a time, and then shutting the engine off, so that I could make sure that I didn't run out of
gas. When the traffic started to move the next morning, I was able to get to a gas station in about 25 miles. But had I not been doing that little
10-minute thing all night long, I would have run out of gas.
And it would have been bad for me and bad for everybody who was trying to get around my car.
And I'm struck, Senator, by the metaphor, seriously, because you said it shows how in the worst of situations, in the darkest of circumstances, we
can be together, we can get together, we can help each other survive. And not to push it too far, this metaphor, but there you are standing in the
Senate in the Rotunda to that.
And you have a very difficult job to get your colleagues together to try to work out the most fundamental aspect of American democracy. And that is
I just wonder if the story you might tell them might -- I don't know, might mean something on policy, unlocking policy as well.
KAINE: Well, Christiane, I hadn't thought of it that way. I'm glad you connected those two, because I am thinking, as I think about voting rights
-- and I am kind of one of the many key negotiators right now -- I'm thinking pretty heavily about another horrible day, not outside, but
inside, inside this Capitol on January 6, this attack on our democracy, which fundamentally was an attack on voting.
It was an effort to disrupt the certification of the vote of the 80 million people who had voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and to disenfranchise
the 80 million for a minority of voters that picked the other ticket. President Trump couldn't accept that he had lost, so he demeaned the
integrity of the election, and inspired followers to try to disrupt our democracy.
So you're right. I was in a dark night on January 3. I was in a dark day here January 6 a year ago. How do you respond to those moments of darkness?
Well, I saw the way my fellow travelers on the frozen 95 were responding, even when it was cold and tough. And they were responding with charity and
connecting with one another.
And I was trying to do the same. I hope we can do that on voting rights. But it's challenging, Christiane, because we have two very strong bills to
protect our democracy and protect people's rights to vote. But we have put them up repeatedly in recent months. And save for one Republican senator,
Lisa Murkowski, we have not been able to convince a single Republican even to debate a voting rights bill, much less pass one.
And so I think we have to be realistic. I don't think we're going to get Republican support for a voting rights effort That is essentially the right
response to the January 6 attack. If you're under an attack to disenfranchise people and take away folks rights to have their votes
counted, then the right response is to protect that now and forever.
I don't think we're going to get Republican support. My hope is that we can try. But even if we can't, the burden is on the shoulder then of the
Democratic majority to make this happen.
AMANPOUR: And that's another issue that you have, because you have this thing called the filibuster. For those people around the world, it
essentially means that you need a so-called supermajority to pass this kind of important bill.
Do you believe that you have the support of one of the standout senators, Joe Manchin, and potentially even Senator Sinema from Arizona? Do you think
they will come on board with you for a special carve-out or some procedural change to allow voting rights, to allow the Democratic majority to pass
KAINE: So, Christiane, here's what we're trying to do right now.
The good news is Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are both strong supporters of the John Lewis bill and the Freedom to Vote Act. So their commitment to
voting rights is not in question. They also have both said that they would not abolish the filibuster.
We're looking at a range of options. One would be not to abolish the filibuster, but restore it to the talking filibuster that it was during
most of the history of the Senate. And during the -- most of the history of the Senate, if you wanted to filibuster, you had to talk. And as soon as
somebody sat down and there was nobody left to speak, you didn't -- it didn't take 60 votes.
You would go to simple majority. You would have debate until debate was over, and then the vote would be by simple majority. So, one option is to
explore a return to the traditions of the Senate, where passage is by simple majority, not by supermajority, when the debate is over.
Allow robust debate, but then have passage by simple majority. We're also looking at other strategies that could accomplish the goals of those two
senators, but others too who are strong voting rights champions, but they don't want to abolish the filibuster. Are their rule reforms short of that
could accomplish the goal of protecting our democracy?
AMANPOUR: So, even that day, this week, when you were stuck on the I-95, you were dealing with this particular precise issue.
You report that you had some 10 calls with senators and colleagues on this. And, again, I just want to know, because Senator Manchin has said: "I have
been talking to everybody. We have been having good conversations."
He obviously also says that it's a heavy lift, and he puts all his objections out.
I guess where is your gut right now? Do you think you can get those two senators, or can you meet them where they are?
KAINE: And, again, I don't want to just shine the spotlight on those two. Others have concerns as well. They may not have made them so out front and
public, but they are expressing them to us.
So we're trying to deal with 50 people and reach an accord. And it was the case, Christiane. Thank goodness for Bluetooth in a car. The reason I drove
up to D.C. in a snowstorm was because we were supposed to have votes Monday night that got scrapped.
But, also, I was supposed to be in a voting rights meeting at 8:00 p.m. Monday night. We turned it into a conference call. And as I was sitting
there in freezing temperatures blocked on an icy road, we were doing voting rights work. And then we did it Tuesday as I was trying to get here too.
Both Senators Manchin and Sinema have been very willing to engage in dialogue and share not only their position, but sort of why they have the
position they do. And, as you know, sometimes, if I have something I want to do, and you have something you want to do, and they're different, the
most important question to ask is, why do you feel that way? Why do I feel that way?
Because we might be able to find a path that meets both of the whys that's different than either of the whats. You find that, if you listen to the
whys, you can find often a compromise or just a new idea or a different idea that meets people's fundamental priorities, but maybe meets them in a
different way than they originally thought.
And that's what we're working on right now. And my gut tells me that we will get there. And, again, particularly as we grapple with the reality of
this January 6 attack on our democracy, and watching it play out and in state legislatures all over the country, the best response to it is protect
people's rights to vote and protect the integrity of the electoral system itself.
And we have been speaking to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who said to us that voting rights and protecting them is the most important fight of our
lifetimes. And she described hers as a very long lifetime.
It is fundamental. And, as we speak, even in the last year, since January 6, there have been attempts or laws passed in some 19 states to completely
change things around and suppress the vote.
I guess January 6 happened a year ago, and yet it appears American democracy is not out of the woods, that, as some say, it might have been a
dress rehearsal. And if you can't protect the vote, you pretty much can't protect your democracy.
KAINE: On January 6 -- and it wasn't just January 6. It was time before, including now. Our democracy has been undergoing, I think, the most serious
stress test possibly since the Civil War.
I can tell you that we have survived the test. I cannot tell you that we passed the test. I want to be able to say we have survived it, and we
passed it. I can't yet say that we passed it. We have survived it thus far.
I think this voting rights bill could give us the ability to say with confidence that we have survived it, and because we took a dark day, and
there will always be dark days, but we took a dark day and turned it into something positive, like the family that was handing out oranges.
AMANPOUR: Again, it's a great metaphor.
KAINE: They took a dark day and they turned it into something positive.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And...
KAINE: Let's take a dark day and turn it into something positive.
So let's take this massive threat to your democracy and, frankly, global democracy, if America stands as the example to the rest of the world.
AMANPOUR: You know your own attorney general, or the attorney general right now, Merrick Garland, is under some criticism for not demonstrating a
-- the investigation of the ringleaders.
Yes, we have had 700-plus charges on the so-called foot soldiers.
AMANPOUR: Yes, people have gone to jail. Yes, there will be trials, but none of President Trump's top lieutenants.
We see now that even people like Sean Hannity and Steve Bannon and others, their podcasts are being looked for potentially stirring up lies and other
such things that could have led to that insurrection, but nothing yet -- we have seen no evidence that the attorney general is looking into President
Trump and his allies.
Is that dangerous?
KAINE: Well, Christiane, what I would say about that is, my old friend John McCain used to always say, I think there's more shoes about to drop
off of the centipede.
You're right. There have been indictments and charges against many of those involved in the January 6 attack. But there's efforts here in Congress with
the House committee. There's efforts by state attorneys general, and there are -- there is work under way in the Department of Justice as well to get
to the bottom of January 6, and make sure that those responsible are held accountable.
I practiced law for a long time before I came into office. I have a respect for letting prosecutors do their work without status reports along the way.
When they're ready to issue a charge or an indictment, they do. And I don't think they necessarily need to be held to a politician's timetable.
So I'm not frustrated with the DOJ on this one. I think there have been a number of charges and indictments. And I expect more to come. But you don't
do something as serious as this prematurely.
You wait until you really are rock-solid before you move ahead. And that's my, my intuition about what's going on over DOJ.
And, finally, then, as a politician, a lot of this has, I guess, added to what I think Americans feel a little dark. Your economy is great. Look at
the numbers that came out right now today about employment.
AMANPOUR: I mean, double what you expected. It's good news.
And yet, and yet it doesn't seem to be translating to the people. And you have this voting rights issue. And you have all of these threats to your
What will that mean for President Biden and his party coming up on the midterm elections?
KAINE: Christiane, let me give you a reasonably optimistic scenario. And this is the one that I happen to believe. Now, all of my colleagues say I'm
too optimistic about everything, so I will just state that.
To begin with, my mother taught me, if you want to be right, be a pessimist. If you want to do right, be an optimist. So I'm an optimist. I
think a lot of the anger and angst, even despite some good, really good economic news, and despite some other positive things, a great
infrastructure bill -- and lord knows we need it -- a really transformative American Rescue Plan, there's still a lot of angst and anxiety.
And I view it as heavily connected to the continuing reality of this pandemic that has put so much pressure on people's lives. I mean, we're now
two years into this. It's hard to believe, two years into the health challenge. You have tested positive for COVID. I had COVID in March of
2020. My sympathies are to you, but I'm so glad you're vaccinated and light symptoms.
KAINE: And please get vaccinated, so it'll keep your symptoms light, if you haven't.
I have a feeling that we will get into the spring -- and spring is beautiful in Virginia and beautiful in this country, as magnolias and
dogwoods are coming out and people are excited to be outdoors and the weather is better. I think the economy will not only be strong, but I think
we will have turned a corner in COVID, not that there won't be COVID.
But as the vaccination levels increase, as a number of people have been infected and now have stronger natural immunities, I think we will be
living with and managing COVID in a way that will be a much lighter impact on our daily lives.
And when that happens, I can see a President Biden saying, folks, this has been just about the worst two years in modern American history. Let's be
honest, it's been brutal. But I feel a sense of uplift right now. I feel an American comeback coming on.
And nobody can talk about comebacks better than Joe Biden. And I have a feeling he's going to be able to give a talk like that in the spring. And
the angst and division and challenge that we're still laboring under, it won't go away, but it will be a minor note in the chord, not the major note
in the chord.
That's -- I can see this coming. I hope I'm right.
AMANPOUR: Fascinating analysis. Great to talk to you, Senator Kaine. Thank you so much. I'm glad you got through your ordeal and saw such silver
lining. It's really, really instructive.
Thank you so much for joining us.
KAINE: Thanks so much, Christiane. Be well.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
Grateful for my vaccines, let me tell you -- and, Bianna, back to you in the studio now.
GOLODRYGA: And, Christiane, we are grateful for your vaccine as well. Glad to hear that you are feeling OK enough to conduct interviews.
Well, we turn now to another urgent issue challenging the U.S. next, where a record amount of children are being hospitalized with COVID, the majority
of which are unvaccinated, we should note.
As this surge of infections once again impacts our lives, many are worried about the damage being done to the development of children, kids who have
been in and out of school over the past few years thanks to the pandemic.
And Chicago, the country's third largest district, is fully online as of today, after the teachers union there voted to postpone in person learning.
Joining me now with how this is impacting children is economist and author of "The Family Firm," Emily Oster. Also with us is Dr. Leana Wen, a
professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University.
Ladies, welcome, both of you, to the program.
Dr. Wen, let me begin with you because we heard from the White House Coronavirus Task Force earlier today, where they doubled down on the need
to keep schools open, reiterating that the country now has the tools that it takes to keep schools open, investing $130 billion in federal funding to
help provide some of the tools, the mitigation factors and all of that.
I'm curious. Given that 96 percent of all schools remain open, your reaction to the decision by the Chicago Teachers Union today?
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I wish that they did not vote to have remote instruction. This is not 2020 or 2021. We are in a very, very
different place in the pandemic.
And we're also dealing with a variant that's milder than previous variants. And then we have the fact that, if you are vaccinated and boosted, as
teachers can be if they so wish, the chance of them having severe illness is extremely low.
And then, if they were a mask on top of that, a high-quality mask, they also substantially reduce their risk of contracting COVID and passing it on
to others. There is no reason why teachers should not be in school teaching at this point. We have already caused lasting damage to a whole generation
of young people.
And it's really time for us to stand up in public health and saying, we have the tools to keep schools open. We cannot cause more damage to our
GOLODRYGA: And, Emily, this is something that you have been focused on throughout this pandemic, focusing as an economist, obviously, not only on
the physical health of students, but mentally and psychologically as well, what this has done to not be in a classroom.
And given the data that you have put together over the past two years, where do you stand right now, given just how transmissible Omicron is?
EMILY OSTER, "PARENTDATA": Yes, so I think I will echo precisely what Leana has said on this, which is that we now understand, on the one hand,
the risks that are inherent in school in terms of COVID.
We -- if anything, they are -- everything we have learned has suggested that they are smaller than we might have expected. We aren't -- we have not
seen a lot of transmission in schools. People say -- and I think it's right -- that school buildings are typically the safest place for kids to be from
a COVID standpoint.
And on the flip side, I think so much of what we have learned over the last few years is just how valuable in person schooling is for kids. And that's
true because of learning, because we know kids learn more from in person school. But it's also true because of their socioemotional development,
because of their mental health.
We are seeing a lot of those costs in kids already. We're only going to see more. Moving to remote learning at this point, it's not responsible. It is
not the way that we should be serving the next generation. It's, again, just putting kids last in a way that we keep doing. And I think it is just
very frustrating, and, frankly, quite sad.
GOLODRYGA: And it does seem to be sort of an outlier from what, Dr. Wen, we're seeing in other countries that, quite frankly, are a few weeks ahead
of us, in Europe, for example, in terms of their Omicron and spikes of cases there.
Schools have remained open in the United Kingdom. We heard from the prime minister, Boris Johnson, there reiterate that they can keep schools open
with mitigation factors in place. I think some of the concern among parents here in the U.S. is this trauma that they have experienced over the past
two weeks, when they have school districts say, we're just going to be closed for another week, or we're going to put a pause on it for a few
They're concerned that that's going to translate into, you know what, another few weeks, another few months, and then you're going to be mid-
spring with schools still closed. What are your thoughts on that?
WEN: Yes, I really understand this as a parent of two young kids. Thankfully, my older child is back in school. And I'm very glad for that.
The uncertainty that families are feeling right now -- I mean, this is about children. It's also about parents and their ability to work and to
plan their lives as well. But I just want to say, for those parents who are concerned about their kids going back to school, we have a lot of data now
that as Professor Oster was saying, that schools are some of the safest places for children when it comes to COVID-19.
It's not as if, if kids are not in school, they're just going to be at home isolating. They will probably be with baby-sitters. They might be with
other children. Maybe they will be on the streets and have other types of exposures.
Also, parents in community settings and teachers in community settings, they're going to be gathering with friends. They might be going to indoor
restaurants that have a lot more risk than wearing a mask in schools.
And so I think we need to focus on what is the most essential at this point? And I hope that, as a society, we can all say that keeping our
students for in person instruction, just as so many other countries have done, that that is the priority. Maybe we didn't have all the tools at the
beginning of the pandemic to do this. We now have such excellent tools.
And saying that teachers aren't protected and that's why unions are preventing teachers from going back, that's just nonsense, because if
you're vaccinated and boosted, your chances of contracting COVID is low and then of getting severely ill is extremely low.
GOLODRYGA: And, Emily, something that you have been following, and I appreciate it -- I'm also married to an economist. And as you both ladies
follow the numbers and data, and your opinions go with that in that direction.
And, so Emily, you have been following from early on just the positivity rate that you had seen in schools once they'd started reopening in the
early days of COVID, in the fall of 2020.
And they remained pretty low. I mean, if we look at the positivity rate, like, let's say, in New York City, we're at 22 percent of the city. and
these are really high numbers. I'm just curious, from your perspective, as the mayor says, the schools are still the safest place for students, is
what you're going to be looking at going to be different now going into an Omicron environment?
OSTER: I think, in general, in the current environment, particularly over the next couple of weeks, I think we are going to start moving away from
analyzing cases and moving more towards trying to think about hospitalizations and the stresses that are put on hospitals.
We can look at positivity rates in schools. We have consistently seen those be lower than the positivity rates in the community. I suspect that will
still be true. But, at this point, in terms of how much we're testing, what kinds of tests we're using, there are a lot of things that are very
different from the way that we kind of managed testing early in the pandemic.
So I think we will see this shift both in schools and in general away from kind of monitoring case rates in this way and into preventing spread in
schools. And that's where we use antigen test or some kind of test-to-stay approach for exposures, and then move into really focusing on, how can we
staff hospitals? How can we make sure that hospitals are not being overwhelmed?
And that's a problem that's sort of outside of school. I think it's also worth saying a lot of schools are struggling right now simply with
staffing. And I think one of the things that Mayor Adams has done recently is try to think about, OK, how can I get around some of these staffing
And that's something that many school districts are struggling with. One can be more or less creative about how to address those problems.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, I had a conversation over the holidays, anecdotally, just with one of my seventh grade science teachers who just called me out of the
blue. And we were talking.
And she said that she's been retired, but she's been called to see if she would come back. I mean, this is sort of where we are societally wise as --
with a lot of the school districts are just struggling to get teachers on board right now.
Dr. Wen, one thing that obviously I'm very sympathetic with -- I know we all are -- is that teachers in many classrooms are still facing some
students that may or may not be vaccinated. And that is a big factor here. Where do you stand on vaccine mandates for schools?
WEN: Well, it certainly would help if the vast majority of students are vaccinated. We know that there is herd immunity, that when people are
vaccinated, it reduces their individual risk of contracting COVID.
And, therefore, if all you're surrounded with are vaccinated people, then the chance of COVID propagating in that setting also decreases too. But you
don't need vaccine mandates in order for schools to be low risk. If you yourself are vaccinated, and you're also wearing a mask, that's a lot of
layers of protection.
Would it be nice if everybody were vaccinated? Sure. Would it be nice if there were great ventilation and rapid testing that's available every day?
Of course. I would love to be in an environment like that as well. I'm sure everybody would for the purposes of their own work or their kids' schools.
The thing is, though, we cannot keep on waiting for perfect. That's the sense that I think is getting so many parents frustrated is, the goalpost
keeps on moving. Look, Omicron is almost certainly not the last variant we're going to see. We could have surges of COVID every few months for the
foreseeable future for years to come.
Are we going to close down schools every single few months just because we don't have every single tool at our disposal? We can't do that. We as a
society have to decide what are the functions that are the most essential, recognize that there's no such thing as zero risk for COVID at this point,
and also that, as Professor Oster has said, there is such great risk for keeping children out of school.
And that's ultimately we have to focus on, how to get our kids in school as the number one priority.
GOLODRYGA: And you're also not as just professionals here on this show, but we're all moms here.
So, Emily, let me just end with you by asking how you're approaching this with your kids now. We focus a lot on the fact that a lot of these students
are behind in reading, in math skills, especially students from lower- income communities, right, black and brown students. I mean, this is having a big toll on them.
GOLODRYGA: -- in reading, in math skills, especially students from lower income communities, right, black and brown students. I mean, this is having
a big toll on them.
But mentally and emotionally, what are you telling your kids about how they should be approaching now year three, right, that we're going into COVID?
OSTER: Yes. So, I mean, I think with my kids at this point, they are back in school. And I've tried to be both realistic and reassuring and not scare
them. I've told them, you know, if there's some chance that you will have COVID over the next few weeks and we're all fully vaccinated and we're
trying not to have that, but, you know, Omicron is very contagious and there is a chance we'll get mild illness and we're going to pass to make
sure we try not to expose others, but we're also going to go to school and we're going to try to move forward with doing the things that we would
normally do, which is, I think, necessary for kind of all of us to do and that balance of, you know, let's be cautious, let's be appropriately
cautious, but also, let's protect the other aspects of our mental and physical health, that is the steps that we are going to all need to take,
and it's going to be a hard one. It's going to be a hard one.
GOLODRYGA: Listen, if anything we've learned that the kids have been pretty resilient throughout all of this, especially if we just are upfront
with them and talk to them about this and then we'll get through it together. And, as you say, they can be in school right now, it's not 2020,
you just have to have all the mitigation factors in place.
I'm so grateful to have this conversation with you. Emily Oster and Dr. Wen, thank you, we appreciate it.
OSTER: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we turn now to stunning images of unrest in a tightly run country that has for decades promoted an image of stability, and that is
Kazakhstan. Protesters in the former Soviet Republic seize the country's biggest airport after a day of massive protests triggered, at first, by a
fuel price hike.
Demonstrators stormed and lit fire to public buildings prompting the government to resign and a state of emergency to be declared. Kazakhstan's
president has now pledged to respond with "maximum toughness." Here now from Moscow is Correspondent Nic Robertson.
And Nic, we've watched these protests grow over the course of the past three days, as mentioned, really triggered by the spike in fuel costs but
clearly, there's a lot more angst and anger behind that. Quickly, what got us here and what are the latest developments?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The government was trying to allow the price of liquid petroleum gas that a lot of cars in
Kazakhstan use to sort of float up to a more realistic level. It's been subsidized. That came into effect at the beginning of the year. And
immediately, the price has spiked.
What the government has now decided to do is to rescind the decision, so the prices brought back down to their previous levels. They have also said
that they should bring down the price of fuel for diesel vehicles as well and try to find a way to help the poorer people in society. And I think
that gets to the point that this goes beyond the LPG price hike. This goes to a section of the population in Kazakhstan that feel that they're not
getting, you know, enough money to live on.
And this anger that's come out on the streets, the president who still is clinging onto his job in the capitol, says that he thinks that there's been
a level of preorganization here. If there has, and we have no way of proving that, that would, again, speak to this issue that it is more than
just the fuel price hikes that have triggered this unrest.
Hard to get a clear picture at this very moment because the internet is cut or it has been cut from much of the day. The power is off is some of the
country's largest city, Almaty. And it seems that the telephone service has also been cut or at least being seriously interrupted.
GOLODRYGA: And obviously, this is happening in Putin's backyard and he had a pretty close relationship with the previous leader of the country who had
ruled with an iron fist for decades there until 2019. He still maintains a significant role in the country until perhaps today.
What is the take from Russia and the Kremlin ahead of the important meetings next week in Europe about the crisis in Ukraine?
ROBERTSON: Yes. Look, it's undoubtedly causing a concern within the Kremlin. There would be, you know, a concern about what happens next.
Obviously, I mean, the new president as well, just a couple of days ago was at a summit with President Putin sitting there around the table talking
So, the new president is somebody he knows well, Nazarbayev, the former president, one of his statues, we have video now of that that's been pulled
down. We can't independently confirm that nature of this video. But this also, again, speaks to that wider perception that Nazarbayev still, in his
80s now, holds onto the reins of power. Perhaps that has shifted today.
The National Security Council responsibilities have now fallen under the new president, which perhaps takes some of that control away from
Nazarbayev. But in Moscow, the Kremlin is saying that they think that this is something that can be resolved by Kazakhstan alone. But they're also
warning against outside interference. The outside interference that they think was responsible for turning, they would see it, Ukraine against
Russia, the sort of thing that they call a color revolution. The Ministry of Foreign here are saying that they hope that this can be quickly resolve,
get back to normal and that it can be done peacefully. But I think when we look at what's happening in some of the cities Kazakhstan tonight, the
hopes here in Moscow for a quick resolution, it's not clear those hopes are going to be realized.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. As you mentioned, the internet had been in and out there and the reports, many of which are not confirmed, report of injuries there,
possible deaths as well. I know you will continue to be following this story for us closely. We appreciate you joining us.
Thank you, Nic.
Well, returning now to tomorrow's January 6th anniversary. It's not just what happened that day that's harrowing, it's also the conflicting ideas of
what democracy is in America. 30-time Emmy award-winning journalist Bill Moyer shares his views and concerns in the new PBS documentary "Preserving
Democracy," which airs tomorrow.
He spoke with Hari Sreenivasan, alongside Historian Kathleen Belew, who also features in the film about the day and the danger of another
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Professor Belew, Bill Moyers, thank you both for joining us.
First, I want to start off, here we are, about a year ago, and given the information that we have now on what happened on January 6th, who took
part, how close we came to the insurrection succeeding. I just want kind of your overall thoughts on maybe where we're at, what you see.
Professor Belew, let me start with you.
KATHLEEN BELEW, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: I think what has become very clear is that the challenge of January 6th is
complex because we have to confront two very distinct but equally dangerous threats to our democracy and to people who live in the United States.
One of these is the threat of extremist violence coming from the white power and militant right groups that comprise a small percentage of people
who attended the rally and broke into the capitol on January 6th. Things like mass casualty events, infrastructure attacks and assassinations. The
other issue is a thread that is, I think, quite new, which is these groups are making entry into our mainstream media. The ideologies are coming into
our media, into our politics and even into our elected office holders. That means that we also have to confront the threat of authoritarian
SREENIVASAN: I want to get a reaction from both of you to a clip that I'll play here with Adam Kinzinger at office.
You see all the rioters come in and really are kind of standing outside of the House floor at that point, and that's when I realized this whole place
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I had been targeted on Twitter. People say, we're going to get you. We're going to find out where you are. And so, the
only thing that can go through your head is, they're going to know where my office is and I may have to defend myself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From your office here, this window looks out on part of the mall. What could you see?
KINZINGER: I could see people all through there. I open this window. And when you open it, you can hear nothing but screams, shouts. And the thing
that stood out the most is like explosions, and it was the non-lethal ammunition that was being used.
This has only happened to me probably twice in my whole life, but I had a real sense, like there's just a sense of darkness over the place, like a
sense of evil that descended over the place. And I just remembered looking out the window and like, this is one of the worst things I've ever been
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: The scenes that we saw there with Adam Kinzinger, Congressman Kinzinger, was describing is what a lot of us are remembering from January
6th. What sticks in your mind from the events of that day?
BILL MOYERS; JOURNALIST: I watched that. I've watched (INAUDIBLE). I watched all of the events on January 6th and I kept shuttering, frankly,
shivering when I saw the confederate flag in the state -- in the U.S. Capitol. It had never been there before. They got very close, the rebels,
the descenders, the secessionist, got very close when they were pushing against the Union troops in Virginia and Maryland, but they were never able
to put that flag on the capitol of the United States of America.
And I kept -- you know, I closed my eyes that night and thought, I come from a part of the south that drove the truth about slavery from the
newsroom. They drove the truth about slavery from the classroom. They drove the truth about slavery from the newsroom pulpit. They drove the truth
about slavery from the classroom. They drove the truth about slavery from the pulpit. And the next thing we know is that that confederate flag
through over 13 states of the United -- once United America. We can't let that happen again.
We have to fight honorably. We have to fight fairly. But we have to fiercely to make sure that flag and all its symbol, all its symbolism,
white supremacy, slavery, inequality do not take root, because I believe that insurrection on January 6th was the first flawed effort of what can
happen again, even next year in state capitols around the country.
Imagine that scene in the Michigan State Capitol, the Georgia State Capitol, the Texas State Capitol, the Arizona State Capitol, the
Pennsylvania State Capitol. It's too late then to do anything but call on armed forces to try to save us. We don't want to get there. We can save
ourselves if we create that sense of belonging to the most important but precarious experience in human history, which is the effort of people to
SREENIVASAN: Bill, you know, some of the polling that have happened with Republicans post-January 6th and then, later on paint a very interesting
trend. 56 percent of Republicans characterized what happened as "defending freedom." And 47 percent characterized it as patriotism. I mean, the ideas
of what democracy is in America seem to be in question well beyond the specific events of January 6th, and by a huge proportion of the people who
are one of the two largest parts of America right now.
MOYERS: Exactly. I've long said that democracy in America is a series of narrow escapes, and we may be running out of luck. Because it is possible,
we have seen in the past for a minority of an electorate to determine the outcome even if it doesn't match what the majority would have approved of.
You take over a party by starting, as we learn from people who have done it before, with seizing control of the press.
Now, the right-wing in this country has created its own media as equal in force as any other we have in the country. They're writing election laws
that favor them. They've got a grip on 20 to 25 state legislators and governors around the country. Irrespective of what the majority say in
onetime poll taken at a particular moment, they have what it takes to mount a larger insurrection, a larger sabotage, a larger claim to controlling the
instruments of the party, and therefore, being the opponent of whomever the Democrats put up in 2024.
SREENIVASAN: Professor Belew, you have researched extensively how white power movements in the United States, how they basically intersected with
politics, how powerful they've been at times and how seemingly weak at other times. What is the reason why there seems to be a resurgence now?
BELEW: So, in addition to many contextual factors that we face today, ranging from COVID to economic crisis to Black Lives Matter protests, to
all of these things that act as push factors for activists to enter these groups, we're also living through a sort of cyclical of relationship with
vigilante and white power activity.
If you look back through the long run of American history, the peaks in clan and other groups, similar groups, in peaks in memberships align more
consistently with the aftermath of warfare than they do with any other factor more consistently than they aligned with poverty, immigration, civil
rights gains, economic distress, populism, any other number of explanations that we might test out don't hold up as well as the aftermath of war.
Now, it turns out that that phenomenon cuts across simply people who have served. It's not just about returning veterans. Although returning veterans
and active-duty troops have played an outsize role in escalating the violent capacity of white power groups over time. But what we find is that
all of us are more violent in the aftermath of warfare. That measure goes across men and women, across age, across who did and did not serve in war.
So, there is this moment of opportunity after warfare these groups capitalize on in order to recruit and radicalize.
Now, we are now in the aftermath of the longest war, our latest longest war, as one historian called it, the war in Afghanistan. And what we have
seen is a very prolonged sort of combat where the people fighting this war have come home and been largely not acknowledged within our culture. We
have not watched coffins draped in American flags coming home. We have not followed the war on television the way we did in prior combat.
So, what does that mean? Are we going to see a sort of delayed surge that then peaks all at once? Are we going to see all of these people come
together in peak? We don't know. But certainly, we are in the middle of a rising ground swell. And certainly, we are experiencing one of these
SREENIVASAN: But, Bill, do you think that there is any scenario where the forces from within the United States seem to be more powerful in destroying
the Union than forces from outside? By that, I mean, not just questioning the voracity of our elections, suppressing the rights of people to vote. I
mean, these are not things that an external is foisting upon us, these are things that we are choosing now to change the nature of what we consider
MOYERS: Yes. One of the presidents who experienced backlash, Grover Cleveland, wrote a letter to a friend of his and said, the great ship of
democracy, like other vessels, may be sunk by the mutiny of those on board. And that's where the danger has always been. The shades rebellion, the
secession of the south, didn't come abroad, it came from people who wanted to keep slavery and keep -- and wanted to destroy the Union.
And we still have -- these are secessionists by other means, and they really don't really like the Union. I don't cover my wall in nice wallpaper
of paintings, I cover it in clippings. I keep the clippings taped to the wall and the clippings are astonishing. Our constitutional crossing is
already here. The shining city on a hill is ready to ignite. America is closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe, CIA advisor says.
Democracy on the edge. On and on. It's frightening.
Trump is systemically laying the groundwork to steal the 2024 election. Trump's next coup has already begun. Republicans are erasing decades of
voting rights gains before our eyes. And assaults on democracy state lawmakers target the courts. Georgia Republicans purge Democrats from
county election boards. We received these in the media in bits and pieces. We see them in segments, but they constitute a critical mass of change
determined by people who want to take this country back as they say, take it back with people of color, take it back from progressives, take it back
from advocates of civil rights, equal rights. And it's very, very dangerous.
BELEW: I think that's absolutely right. And I wish that there was a feature on Twitter or TikTok or somewhere where people get their news
that's just you reading these headlines because it's the aggregation of all of these stories that really sound the alarm.
And, you know, one question I get asked a lot, because I'm a specialist in the violent extremist part of what we saw on January 6th, is about, you
know, relative amounts of danger. But you could subscribe to every story about, say, the Proud Boys and only be reading a tiny fraction of the
problem. Because it's not just that, it's the entire ground swell of white power and militant right activity. Plus, the attack on voting rights. Plus,
the chain of command issues in the National Guard units, which we've also seen in the South Dakota governor sending the National Guard under the
funding of a private donor to do border enforcement. And in Ron DeSanctis's call for a "non-National Guard state militia" for Florida.
And we see those sovereignty struggles mirrored in groups on the extreme right that don't recognize the federal government or any authority higher
than the local sheriff. We're at a crisis point that just boggles understanding.
SREENIVASAN: I want to play a clip from a film that talks about how a coup is still possible. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: January 6th is now a fact of our history. If it was possible to have a failed coup on January 6th, it's possible to have a
successful coup. It sounds very simple but it's a huge change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democracy, if it's anything at all, it is losers' consent. People who lose leave and they try again next time. Trump still
hasn't really conceded the 2020 election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the 2020 election revealed was that the rules that govern this are very loose and rely on norms of self-restraint and
forbearance. Once you discover how to steal an election, it's hard to unlearn the lesson. And so, that's why I think looking forward, this is one
of the greatest risks facing our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: We have had hearings. We've had investigations. We've had a number, dozens of arrests of people who were involved. Yet, absent from
that, are any of the elected officials who gave support to this, helped plan it, what do you think that says if there is such a carveout, so to
speak? Professor Belew, I'll start with you.
BELEW: I think this is where we see the sort of two goals of the process of accountability really articulated, because we have to pay attention both
to the individuals who committed violence on January 6th and to the sort of planning mechanisms, accountability questions, especially among our elected
officials. My hope is that that is what the January 6th Commission will be able to begin to deliver, perhaps a lawsuit by the attorney general can
begin to deliver some of that information.
But what we have to ask is when we have that information, what kind of dent can we make in the false narrative that has now been so thoroughly
circulated in the bodied politic? And I think this goes back to a bigger question about the long history of white supremacy in the United States. We
are by far not the only nation that struggles with white supremacy, racial violence, racial injustice and incomplete articulations of democracy. There
are many other countries who have faced these issues.
But we are very unusual in how little we have done to have a real national conversation about that shared history. And you can see this appearing
across the political spectrum. I mean, I think even the slogan, make America great again, is at its bottom, an argument about history. Who
America is, what America is, when we were great, can greatness be achieved again, these are historical arguments that require us to have an idea of
the shared legacies that we bring into the present moment and these deep histories of anti-democracy, illiberalism, conflicts about sovereignty and
power, all of those conversations have to happen for all of this to get resolved, because the public opinion needle can't move until we confront
some of these problems. This is what I think fuels the division and polarization that is the real issue here.
MOYERS: I'm not a pessimist. I'm not giving up on democracy. I deal, we all deal with bad news. The anecdote, I don't know if it's true or not, but
the story is told that in the middle of the Waterloo Campaign, Napoleon said to his valet, if the news from the front is good, do not wake me. If
the news from the front is not good, wake me immediately. He wanted to hear the bad news. I want to hear the bad news. That's why I do the journalism.
I do not because I love dwelling in the bad news, but I believe an informed people who know the difference between a lie and the truth are the people
who are going to save us, and that includes Republicans and that includes Democrats. This includes independents.
We need a mass mobilization to save the constitution. If I can put it that way. That's why this fight, that Professor Belew has so eloquently written
and talked about is important to recapture the discussion and debate of history so that we look and see ourselves for what we've done wrong. At the
same time, we look and see the brave men and women who fought to change it and we can imitate them in many, many ways.
That goes for lawyers, it goes journalists, it goes for everyday people down where what their main contribution and to stand or rely (INAUDIBLE)
and vote. That's what we need in this country. It's to instill, to invigorate, to challenge, with the whole idea of what the democracy is,
it's about us. It's about you and me. If we can do that and save the elements that are threatening in it, we're going to be OK.
SREENIVASAN: The film, "Preserving Democracy," airs on PBS stations on January 6th. Professor Kathleen Belew and Bill Moyers, thank you both.
BELEW: Thank you.
MOYERS: Glad to be here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: A really inspiring call to consider how we can all make a different there.
And finally, tonight, taking attendance at the zoo. Keepers at London Zoo have begun their annual animal count, checking numbers of 400 different
species from penguins to lions. It will take almost a week to complete.
And from the zoo to an animal you may used to be counting, sheep. In Germany, a flock of sheep are being used to encourage people to take a
COVID-19 vaccine. That's a bit original there. They've been herded into the shape of a giant syringe as part of a campaign which hopes to reach some
animal lovers out there. Whatever it takes, right?
Well, before we go, we want to once again wish Christiane a speedy recovery. And remember, you can always catch us online. And if you ever
miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. You can find it at cnn.com/podcast and all major podcast
platforms. Just search for Amanpour.
Thank you so much for watching and good-bye from New York.