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Russian Olympic Skating Star Cleared to Compete; Interview With Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk; Interview With Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 14, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The world should be prepared for Russia staging a pretext and then watching a potential
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Diplomacy and the information wars.
U.S. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on the intel onslaught about Russia's moves over Ukraine, while the Russian foreign minister changes tone a
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): If we're ready to listen to some counterproposals, it seems to me that our
possibilities are far from being exhausted.
AMANPOUR: Then: the German chancellor shuttles between Kyiv and Moscow. I asked Ukraine's ambassador to Germany if Western countries are doing
MATTHIEU REEB, DIRECTOR GENERAL, COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT: the CAS panel in charge of this matter has decided to let Ms. Valieva continue her
participation in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
AMANPOUR: And an Olympic twist. The highest court in sports clears the Russian skater Kamila Valieva to pursue her goal. We talk to expert and
Oscar winning filmmaker Bryan Fogel about Russia's perennial doping problem.
ERIC JOHNSON (D), MAYOR OF DALLAS, TEXAS: Also, we are working very hard at keeping our eye on the goal of being the safest large city in America.
AMANPOUR: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tells Michel Martin how his city is bucking the trend on violent crime.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Tension on the Ukrainian border continues to rise, even as diplomatic efforts to de-escalate are in full swing. In a meeting with the German
chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in Kyiv today, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, laid out the regional risks of a Russian invasion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Ukrainian-Russian border is an unprecedented challenge to Europe and
globally. That's why we aim to strengthen our defense capabilities, which is the guarantee of security in Europe.
I always reiterated that, without Ukraine, it is impossible to shape security in Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Tomorrow, Scholz heads to Moscow to deliver Vladimir Putin a direct message of solidarity amongst Western allies, promising a quick and
devastating response should Russia invade.
And though the White House reports no fundamental change in the security situation after a weekend phone call between Presidents Biden and Putin,
Russia is still keeping the possibility of a diplomatic settlement on the table.
Here is Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov his recommendation to President Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVROV (through translator): If we're ready to listen to some counterproposals, it seems to me that our possibilities are far from being
exhausted. Of course, they should not continue indefinitely. But at this stage, I would suggest that they be continued and increased.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, America's strategy seems to be to stay a step ahead of Russia by aggressively leaking intelligence of each new move.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby joins me now.
John Kirby, welcome back to our program.
Can I start by asking you to evaluate some very interesting developments from Moscow? So, we just mentioned the visuals, the choreography of the
foreign minister, Lavrov, talking at the end of a long table to President Putin and recommending more diplomacy, more talk, saying that that avenue
has not been exhausted.
We also heard from the defense secretary, their defense minister, again telling President Putin that some of our military exercises have been
Can I ask you whether you guys are poring over that and what -- how you evaluate those two statements?
JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We absolutely are watching this very, very closely, Christiane, as you might expect.
And Secretary Austin spoke with Defense Minister Shoygu over the weekend and made it clear our concerns and how closely we're watching this and what
the ramifications could be for Russia's economy, should they proceed with some sort of military action.
I think we view with -- we welcome the views expressed by Minister Lavrov that he believes there's still time and space for diplomacy. We would agree
with that. That's the way we would like to see this proceed. So I think that's welcoming.
On the other hand, though, even as he says there's time and space for diplomacy, the Russian military continued over the course of the weekend to
add significant capability to that border with Ukraine and what we would say combined arms capability, Christiane.
These are not just infantry troops, but he's continuing to add lots of different military capabilities that continue to give him many more options
should he decide to go forward militarily.
So, they may be saying one thing on diplomacy, which we hope they mean, but what they're doing on the ground sort of countermands that.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me just push you a little bit...
AMANPOUR: ... because there is this information war that you're conducting. And, clearly, they are as well.
You have talked about things they have done over the weekend. But, today, I mean, the latest stuff that they're showing the world for the first time,
as far as I can gather, are these clearly deliberately filmed public statements.
AMANPOUR: So, do you see a chink of light there?
KIRBY: I -- look, again, we think there's still time and space for diplomacy. And we'd like to see that be the way we get de-escalation and to
prevent a conflict. We absolutely don't want to see a war. We're trying very hard to prevent a war.
And I would push back just a little bit, Christiane, on the notion that we're conducting some sort of information war. What we're trying to do is
be as transparent as we can about what we're seeing in the information space, because we know what the Russian playbook looks like. They have done
this before, creating some sort of pretext or a false flag operation out there that gives them the excuse they need to go in.
And we know that they're still planning many different options in that regard. We think it's important for the rest of the world to know what we
know in terms of their potential plans here, so that, if they do it, and when they -- if they -- if and when they do it, it's obvious that they have
created this excuse to move in.
Now, again, we don't want to see that happen, which is one of the reasons why we're trying to be more forward-leaning and more transparent about what
AMANPOUR: Yes, I mean, you can dispute language. And that's your prerogative.
But it is an unprecedented intelligence onslaught from the United States, I have never seen it in all the years that I have covered many wars that the
U.S. has been in -- well, the U.S. is not involved in this one, obviously, but has been concerned about, the specific and relentless intelligence
information that we're all getting, whether it's the Brits, who have talked about finding out that perhaps President Putin wanted to do a regime change
in Ukraine, whether it's what you have been talking about in terms of numbers, in terms of what's going to the border, in terms of specifics on
AMANPOUR: Real specifics on false flag potential operations.
Tell me how that fits in to what you have learned about Russia, and how they have often in the past controlled the public information space, as
well as on the ground.
KIRBY: They are very nimble in the information space, Christiane, as you well know, and they played a lot of these tactics out in 2014 and created
excuses to go in, created this sense of victimhood, that all of a sudden their national security interest is at risk from Ukraine, from the West,
And so we just want to make it clear we have seen this before, and we're going to call you on it when we see it now. And, again, the effort is here
not to conduct some sort of information campaign, but to simply be transparent with the rest of the international community about what we're
seeing, so that, if they play this play, if they execute some sort of false flag operation, it'll be obvious to everybody for what it is, which is just
a fig leaf of an excuse to conduct some kind of military action.
Again, we don't want to see that happen. And we do believe -- we would, again, welcome Mr. Lavrov's assertion that there's still time and space for
diplomacy. We think that's the right way.
AMANPOUR: Could I just ask you, because many will be asking?
The U.S. had this, I guess, back in 2000, 2003, this endless so-called information that they put out publicly about the Iraq War and Saddam
Hussein's capabilities. Clearly, you must be concerned that people will say, well, the U.S. did it last time. It wasn't exactly true, was it?
KIRBY: Well, look, there's a big difference between 2002, 2003 and 2022.
Back then, information was put out into the space, into the media space to create the pretext for us to launch an invasion of Iraq. In this case,
Christiane, we're trying to put enough information and context out there to prevent a war, to make it harder for Russia to use an excuse to launch a
military incursion, another one, inside Ukraine, very, very different purposes.
And look, the information space radically different now than it was 20 years ago, much more agile, much more democratic, with a small D, right on
social media. The Russians have a lot more tools that they can use that certainly weren't available to the United States administration back in
2002 to try to shape the information environment and to sow confusion and distrust out there.
And we're on to them. We see what they're doing. And we're not going to be fooled.
AMANPOUR: Well, some wonder whether you're on to them enough and you are putting up enough. And I don't mean just you. I mean, the entire Western
alliance, because it's true, we are seeing a very united front. And it's not what we saw in the past.
And this one seems to be holding and clearly must be sending a message, not just to Moscow, but around the world. But the expert Anne Applebaum, who
knows that region like the back of her hand and has done some incredible work on Russia and the environs...
AMANPOUR: ... her recent article is entitled "Why the West's Diplomacy With Russia Keeps Failing."
And she writes: "Tragically, Western leaders and diplomats who are right now trying to stave off a Russian invasion of Ukraine still think they live
in a world where rules matter, where diplomatic protocol is useful, where polite speech is valued."
So I guess I could ask you, have you decided, you, the United States, that, actually, those rules and polite diplomacy and all the stuff that you used
to do don't matter anymore, and you're trying to get them where they where they try to get you?
KIRBY: We -- so, two thoughts there. One, we still think diplomacy matters and decorum matters and proper protocols matter in the information space,
because we actually believe in a rules based-order, a rules-based order that is under threat right now by Vladimir Putin.
So, yes, we still believe in the core principles of diplomacy and doing the right way. That said, we're also wise to the Russian ways here. We have
seen them run these plays before, and we're going to call it like we see it, because we think that's important.
I can tell you that the conversation that Secretary Austin had with Minister Shoygu over the weekend was very frank. He minced no words. He
made it very clear what we're seeing and what the consequences were going to be for Russia.
So, yes, was he a gentleman? Of course, but he was very, very direct.
AMANPOUR: OK, John Kirby, this, to me, is quite a major development.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has just held a nationwide address. And he has said the following.
"We are told that February 16" -- that is this Wednesday -- "will be the day of the attack. We will make it the day of unity. The relevant decree
has already been signed. On this day, we will hoist national flags, put on blue and yellow ribbons and show the world our unity," that obviously the
color of Ukraine.
Have you told them that Wednesday, February 16, is the day of the attack? Or how do they know? And what is your reaction to this nationwide address
by the president of Ukraine?
KIRBY: I won't get into specific intelligence estimates, Christiane. I think you can understand that
I will say two things, one, we have absolutely shared information, our information, and the intelligence that we have been getting. We have been
sharing that with our Ukrainian partners, as you would expect we would, as we have been talking with our allies and partners over the course of these
And, number two, I think that what Mr. Putin is going to find is not only a more unified Ukraine than what he found in 2014, but he's going to find a
much more unified West, a much more unified NATO. The one thing that he keeps saying he doesn't want to see is a strong NATO on his western flank.
Well, that's about what he's going to get, because he can already see NATO coming together in a very, very solid, unified way here.
So, I -- that is the first I have heard of the comments by President Zelensky. But it doesn't surprise me that the Ukrainians would also be
unified in opposition to any kind of incursion by Russia.
AMANPOUR: Well, it surprises me, Mr. Kirby, because the president has said that the Americans seem to be -- he's been asking for calm and all these
talks of imminent this and imminent that. He's been trying to push back.
So the fact that he's gone on national television, to me, is quite significant.
And so I want to ask you what your intelligence shows, without you telling me who tells you what, obviously...
AMANPOUR: ... that what a -- what an attack would look like.
KIRBY: Sure. Sure.
AMANPOUR: What would it look like in the initial incursion?
KIRBY: Well, so, first of all, Mr. Putin has a lot of options available to him. And it doesn't just have to be some conventional screaming across the
border with tanks, although that is certainly an option available to him.
It could be a mixture of different options that he could pursue, for instance, cyberwar, using cyber operations to take down Ukrainian
communications and infrastructure, transportation, utilities, as well as what we would call hybrid warfare, such as he did in the Donbass in 2014.
And it could certainly be he could add to that or pick from that more traditional conventional capabilities, like missile attacks or sort of
ground movement, or all of the above. Again, it kind of depends on what Mr. Putin wants to do. And we don't know exactly what that is. And we don't
know exactly when that's going to be.
But we think that it could happen any day now. And it could happen with little to no warning, which is why, again, I want to go back to the scope
of the capabilities and options available to him. Some are kinetic, in other words, actual movement of troops and units, and even -- and the use
of munitions, or nonkinetic, such as cyber and information operations.
And it could probably -- I shouldn't say probably -- it could very well likely be a combination of those things.
AMANPOUR: Because it was, again, very worrying when the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, spoke about an aerial bombardment and a move to
basically take down Kyiv. And regime change, is the implication of that.
KIRBY: That is certainly a possibility available to Mr. Putin. There's no question about that.
AMANPOUR: John Kirby, thank you so much indeed, Pentagon spokesman, for talking to us.
And now we're going to speak to a senior Ukrainian official. That is the ambassador to Berlin. He over the last few days has shared his frustration
in a harsh tweet yesterday, accusing Germany of -- quote -- "hypocrisy" of its refusal to provide Ukraine with weapons.
And the ambassador, Andrij Melnyk, is joining me now from Berlin.
Ambassador, before I get to that issue and that side of it, and indeed the German chancellor's visit to Ukraine and next to Moscow, could you tell me
whether you knew that your president was going on state television in the last short period of time, and that he has said out and out to the
Ukrainian people that we're told Wednesday, February 16, will be the day of an attack?
ANDRIJ MELNYK, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY: Well, thank you so much, Ms. Amanpour, for inviting me. And we are grateful that a Ukrainian voice
and can be heard at these dramatic days.
Of course, the president has to take into account what we just heard from Mr. Kirby, from our American and from our NATO allies. And we do take all
those warnings very seriously.
At the same time, our president was willing to send a clear message to the population, to Ukrainians that there should be no panic, because what we
have seen in the last days and weeks, because of all those warnings and -- that we been hearing all the time, our economy is suffering, has been
suffering quite badly.
The currency, our government bonds, but, most importantly, the access to the international capital markets, has become very difficult. So that
that's why our president has seen as his main duty to calm down the native Ukrainians, but, at the same time, our army, our people are ready for a
possible invasion, irrespective of the scenario that have been put on the table in the last years.
But what is the most important is that we still count on the help, on the support of our allies. And we have seen that the United States have been
helping with the weaponry, with defensive weapon system that Ukraine would desperately need at this dramatic moment of our history.
And that's something that we would also like and encourage other partners...
MELNYK: ... German -- Germany to follow that path.
AMANPOUR: So, as we are monitoring this situation minute by minute, really, I want to ask you about some confusion that has been put in the air
from the Ukrainian side.
As you know, your counterpart, the ambassador here in the U.K., first said in an interview yesterday that Ukraine might be willing to consider its
NATO position, if it would push back the idea of war. He talked about a concession.
Then, I guess, under instruction from your government, he walked it back. It was said that it was out of context. And your president today said that
it would be -- it would be something that they would talk about and they still wanted to do in the future.
Obviously, we have heard from the German chancellor, who has said the following about this, OK? We're going to play what the German chancellor
said on the NATO issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): After all, the question of memberships and alliances is practically not on the agenda at
all. And that is why it is somewhat strange to observe that the Russian government is making something that is practically not on the agenda the
subject of major political issues.
That is the challenge that we are actually facing, that something that is not even on the agenda is being made an issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that is the point, really, that he's absolutely correct about that.
NATO has made it very clear that any accession by Ukraine would be a long way in the future, on the other hand, also committed to the fact that no
one has a veto, except for the country itself, on whether or not it wants to join.
Is it the -- your government's position now, given somewhat of the confusion, that you still hold to that? Or is your government willing to
discuss the issue of NATO in a way that might calm tensions with Russia?
MELNYK: I think that you should foremost believe to what my president has publicly said during this conference, press conference with Chancellor
Scholz, that my colleague in London, and he was -- that was not a try to check the mood in the international community.
Ukraine remains committed to its NATO membership, but also to the E.U. membership goals. These two goals are part of our Constitution. So, there
is no way it might be changed by whomever would -- might pushing us. And, therefore, that is quite clear. And there will be no shaky compromises on
the issue of the NATO member membership.
And, therefore, we are thankful to our partners, to the United States, but also to Germany that they are -- that they stand by, that they are not
ready to make any compromise that would endanger and that would be just seen as an impetus for Mr. Putin to go further and to put new demands on
the table with respect to some other issues which we might -- he might like to change.
Therefore, let us be clear, NATO membership remains very high on the agenda. And we hope that our partners will not have any clandestine
gentlemen's agreement behind the scene, because, of course, many Ukrainians have such fears, that publicly no one is able to say something like that,
but, behind the scenes, we might not exclude that, in order to omit and to deter this new big war in the middle of Europe, some kind of ideas could be
put in place.
We hope that our partners would be on our side fully and would not compromise not an inch in that particular issue for Ukrainians.
OK, so let me ask you this. And it is true that the NATO and the Western alliance has shown the kind of unity that we did not see last time around.
And it is quite clear that they speak with one voice at the moment, which is probably sending, I don't know, reverberations or taking -- making
certain people sit up and take notice.
So I want to ask you what I asked John Kirby of the Pentagon. The images that we saw today of the foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, also the defense
minister, Shoygu, speaking to President Putin on these long, long tables, on the one hand, Lavrov suggesting that there is still time for diplomacy,
and, on the other hand, the defense minister, Shoygu, saying that some of our military maneuvers have now ended, can I ask you whether you see a
chink of light or a hope that there's still room to resolve this diplomatically?
MELNYK: Of course.
It is still too early to make any -- it's just too early to think that it might be a first sign of de-escalation, something that we and our partners
have been demanding from Russia in the last weeks and months. So, let's see whether these words could be backed up by the deeds in the next 10 days to
But, as Mr. Kirby just mentioned, I mean, we have not been looking on the ground what is happening. These words are contradicting to what our
partners and also our intelligence has been observing in the last hours and days.
Therefore, of course, diplomacy still has a chance. And the visit of Chancellor Scholz to Moscow tomorrow might be maybe one of the last
possibilities to persuade Mr. Putin to step back from this path of starting a new big war.
But, at the same time, we have to be realistic, and we have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you whether you're satisfied that you are getting the support you need from your NATO allies.
A lot of countries are sending defensive weapons, sending all sorts of hardware and training that you need and, as we know, stationing and
bolstering their own NATO allies in the region.
You were quite harsh on Germany, accusing them of being hypocrites for their reluctance to sell lethal aid to you. But, as you know, Germany's law
says that it won't grant licenses for any export of any lethal equipment in case of a situation of such crisis and tension.
It goes back to, as you know, what happened during World War II. And, specifically, it won't send to any country "involved in armed conflict or
where armed conflict is imminent, in which there is a risk of an outbreak of armed conflict or existing tensions and conflicts would be triggered,
maintained or exacerbated by the export."
Do you accept, that that is German law, and it has a historical precedent, and that Germany is sending a huge amount of money and humanitarian
MELNYK: The Ukrainians cannot accept these argumentations, because this position is, according to our view, morally unjust, and historically
absolutely false, but also legally unfounded, because this blocking policy that you mentioned is just one part of the picture.
But even the current German legal regulations on weapons export control says -- or makes one main exclusion, and in case that a country faces an
armed attack or there is a danger of an armed attack, according to the charter of the United Nations of this country, and this applies absolutely
to Ukraine now.
It has an inherent rights, as it is said in the statute of individual and to collective self-defense. And this is a part of a current legislation in
So, what we see, we see just a lot of a political...
MELNYK: ... a political will and decision in Berlin.
And, therefore, there is no obstacle that can and should hinder this decision to join other allies, like the United States, Great Britain and
other partners, and to help Ukraine in this particular situation with defensive weapons.
All right, Ambassador, I appreciate it, Ambassador Andrij Melnyk, thank you so much indeed for joining us from Berlin, as we continue to monitor this
And next, another glaring example of Russia breaking international rules and norms. Their teenage skating sensation Kamila Valieva can continue to
compete in the Beijing Olympics, despite a positive doping test just ahead of the Games.
But even if she wins on Tuesday, there will be no medal ceremony, as Valieva faces further investigation after the Olympics are over.
So, does allowing her to compete give Russia a pass?
Bryan Fogel won an Oscar in 2018 for "Icarus." That was his documentary that exposed Russia's state-sponsored Olympic doping program. And he's
joining me now to discuss this angle from Los Angeles.
So, Bryan Fogel, welcome back to the program.
How surprised were you when you heard that, several weeks after the fact, that a teenage skater did, in fact, test positive for a substance that is
usually used to treat angina, a heart condition, usually in older people?
BRYAN FOGEL, FILMMAKER: Look, I think, when you look at the history of this, I wasn't really surprised.
Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who brought the evidence forward about the state- sponsored program and manipulation of urine at the Sochi Olympics with a hole in the wall, and for essentially decades before this of a state-
sponsored doping program, has always said and has maintained in protective custody, in hiding, that there has been no deterrence for Russia to not
in 2016, had the ability to effectively ban Russia, which would have been an actual punishment, meaning
The IOC, the Olympic Committee, the Court of Arbitration of Sport, CAS, and WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, have for several years now, since this
story came forward in 2016, had the ability to effectively ban Russia, which would have been an actual punishment, meaning that the entire country
was going to be banned. Instead, what they did is they looked at case-by- case, athlete-by-athlete, instead of punishing the entire system. And what is sad is what's going on right now in the case of Karina is -- I'm sorry,
Kamila, is that she is a part of that system. And that system, I think what we're seeing, despite all the, you know, media and stories surrounding it,
ultimately has not changed.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, the Court of Arbitration of Sports, CAS, as you mentioned, cleared her, but the Olympic Committees are saying there will be
no medal ceremony even if -- whether she's one, two or three, and that they will continue the investigation. They also say, or the others around it
say, that this positive test did not occur while she was in Beijing, while she was, you know, competing there. And they specifically point out the
fact that she's a minor. She's 15 years old, and that's what led them to clear her, for now, pending further investigation.
What is your view and your experience in all of the investigation you have done on this issue of minors?
FOGEL: Look, I don't have experience on the specific issue of minors. But I think it is so sad of what's going on, that Kamila is essentially thrown
into the middle of what is obviously a national state-sponsored system where her coaches gave her substances, obviously, it was before the Olympic
Games, but the fact that this test became positive now, you know, it's clear this was likely in her system.
And. you know, you have to feel terrible. I mean, she's a 15-year-old girl, an extraordinary athlete. Maybe the greatest figure skater potentially of
all time, at least what we're seeing in these first Olympics. And no matter what happens, this is so tarnished. And the idea that the other athletes
are not going to be able to stand for a medal ceremony, that all of the athletes competing in the games are ultimately affected by this. I think is
sad, and I feel bad for Kamila because I don't believe that for a second that this was her choice. This was a choice made by coaches and the
national team, and it's so very, very unfortunate.
And I think it just speaks to the larger issue of why there needed to be a total ban of Russia, because had the IOC and CAS did that and stated that
ban, I think the lesson would have been learned. But essentially, there was really no punishment. So, why was there really a need to change the system?
At least in the way that I'm seeing it, and I believe how the Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov would see it as well.
AMANPOUR: And he, of course, let's remind everybody, I believe, remains in protective custody after all that he diverged -- sorry, divulged to you and
others. You know, they participated as the Russian Olympic Committee, Russian athletes, in Japan. And yet, there was an amazing hashtag that
Russia put out, you know, called we will ROC you, and that went viral, ROC, ROC you, Russian Olympic Committee, and that seemed to go viral.
And even now, Russian officials are obviously standing behind Kamila, and congratulating her. And the U.S. official from the Anti-Doping Agency, the
head, Travis Tygart, said, for the sixth consecutive Olympic Games, Russia has hijacked the competition and stolen the moment from clean athletes and
Is there anything that can be done now? I mean, you have spoken about how the time to really make, you know, and hold accountable was around the time
that you, you know, did your film and all the results after Sochi, et cetera. What -- if you were doing another investigation, where would you
start? What -- who would you talk to? What do you think should happen now?
FOGEL: Well, if you look at the short history of this, right, is 2016 the story comes forward to "The New York Times" about what had happened in
Sochi, right? And Russia was suspended, and they were "banned" for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. But it wasn't a ban. They still allowed, I
think, approximately 170 athletes to compete. And so, there really wasn't a punishment.
And then, RUSADA, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, had to turn over all of this laboratory data to be reinstated. They never did it. They stalled,
they stalled. When they finally turned it over, just a couple years ago, it was found that all of the data had been altered. It had literally been
tampered with to make it look like Rodchenkov was bribing -- taking bribes from athletes, that he wasn't, and they deleted hundreds and hundreds of
So, again, the IOC and WADA reinstates, asks for another four-year ban, but again, it's not a ban. And that gets knocked down to two years. And here we
are still allowing, you know, the country to compete in the games. So, I think unless there's truly a punishment, which is a ban, that I think we're
going to continue to see this. Because what we're seeing is there's never really a punishment.
And this goes, you know, in the face of what happened to Skripa, this happened to Navalny, this happened to Lutanengko (ph), all of these
poisonings is there's slaps on the wrist and the global community says, hey, don't do that. But at the end of the day, there's truly not
punishments, there's truly not sanctions. And I think this is why we're seeing this happen yet again, and it's sad for all of the athletes, and I
think it's very sad for Kamila, you know, this teenager who is now thrown into the middle of a global crisis that shouldn't be happening.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. Just as you said, into the middle of a global crisis wrapped up in another even huger global crisis involving Russia. I mean,
it's an incredible situation here.
Brian Fogle, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
The United States is experiencing a rise in violent crime at home, with 12 major cities breaking annual homicide records last year. Bucking that trend
though is Dallas, Texas, where the murder rate decreased by 13 percent last year. And that makes the Dallas mayor, Eric Johnson, an interesting and
important guest, as Michel Martin discovers now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Mayor Johnson, thank you so much for talking with us.
MAYOR ERIC JOHNSON (D-DALLAS, TX): Absolutely. I'm pleased to be here. Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: Violent incidents in Dallas had gone up almost 22 percent between 2018 and 2020. By the end of 2021, the murder rate had dropped 13 percent
and arrests were down 11 percent. Cities around the country, locales around the country inching up before the pandemic, but really escalating during
the pandemic. So, really, Dallas is an outlier in this. Your results are starting to get attention. So, tell me what some of the things are that you
think have been working.
JOHNSON: I want to be clear about something. We're not taking a victory lap here. Crime is hard to get down sustainably. It's hard to maintain year
over year these types of decreases. So, we are working very hard and keeping on our eye on the goal of being the safest large city in America.
So, this isn't a victory lap. This is a mission accomplished situation.
But we have had good success over the past year, and you can't have great success without having good success first. What we did was this. We said
there are two halves to this problem, and both have to be very aggressively focused on. The first half is your police department. You really do have to
look and see, first and foremost, do you have the right police chief? We hired a new police chief who started on the job in February of 2021, Eddie
Garcia. We hired him from San Jose. Without being asked, he went to criminologists at the University of Texas at San Antonio and said, I need a
plan for reducing violent crime in the city of Dallas that is Dallas- specific and just tell me what I need to do.
So, he is not afraid to look at data and to consult academics. He's not afraid of the science. He's not shooting from the hip and going with his
gut. He's saying, you know, I have been a cop for 25 years, I know how to get crime down. He immediately humbled himself and said, what does the
science say about this? That's a really important trait to have in your police chief.
And we have a crime plan now that's not merely humoring the mayor but is very data centric and is focused on the -- we have broken the city into
over 100,000 microgrids and have pinpointed the grids that are responsible for the bulk of the violent crime in the city. It's astonishing what you
find when you look at our data. What you find is that out of 100,000 grids, 10 percent of the crime in the city is attributable to 50, 5-0, of those
grids. Those 100,000 grids, and 50 of them account for 10 percent of the crime.
So, he said, that's where we're going to target our efforts and that's where we're going to enhance our presence and we're going to start trying
to make sure that we apprehend known criminals and people who are actually, you know, out, you know, evading arrest. And so, this isn't a stop and
frisk type of operation. This is going after known wanted criminals and focusing our deterrence in those areas.
MARTIN: Can I stop you right there, though? When you hear targeting, you can see where some people's hackles will be raised. I mean, you saw that in
New York City, for example, under that stop and frisk policy, more black and brown young men were stopped and frisked than actually live in New York
City. Which means that people were stopped multiple times, right, in this specific demographic, who had nothing to do with the problem at hand.
MARTIN: How do you, you know, engage and sort of focusing on the areas where you see without harassing people who are just trying to go about
JOHNSON: I was very concerned about that, extremely concerned about that. And I talked to the police chief before the plan was implemented and said,
this is not going to be stop and frisk. And he said, oh, absolutely not. And here is what I would point you to, which is, I think, maybe the most
extraordinary fact about this. You know, everyone around the country is focused on the reduction. You know what? In those targeted areas, arrests
went down. They went down.
We have actually arrested -- we have reduced the crime and arrested fewer people. Think about that. There are fewer people who actually got touched
by the police and arrested in those areas than before the plan.
MARTIN: So how did it work? What did they do?
JOHNSON: Again, so, this was about -- was about proactive policing and enhancing the presence to deter crime. This wasn't about arresting your way
out of the problem and this wasn't about stop and frisk, but this was about making sure that we put the police assets, the squad cars, you know,
illuminating areas with that police presence to deter people from engaging in activity in the first place. This was to deter activity and to make sure
we were working to find out, you know, who are the people who are out right now with warrants that are actually wanted known criminals that are repeat
criminals in these areas who are literally, right now, evading the law and bringing them to justice.
So, this wasn't about targeting, you know, innocent folks who fit a profile. This was about going after the known criminals. So, it's --
MARTIN: And why wasn't that happening before?
JOHNSON: Yes. You know, it's amazing what low morale can do to a department. In Dallas, our pay had lagged so far behind our surrounding
communities, our officers were underpaid. Their pension had been a mess for years. We just sort of put a fix to that within the past couple years. But
we saw officers leaving our department in droves.
MARTIN: Around the country, a lot of people are attributing low morale to the Black Lives Matter movement. You know, this is kind of what you're
hearing from a lot of the union reps. They're saying, oh, these demonstrations, people don't have respect for the police. That's why morale
is low and that's why crime is up. What I think I'm hearing you saying is, actually, it's like a little bit more basic because people's pay was lousy
and their working conditions were terrible.
JOHNSON: Yes. Pretty much, yes. And so, no, for us, it predated anything having to do with Black Lives Matter. It doesn't have to do with -- we
didn't take care of our business with our pension. We allowed our salaries to lag the surrounding areas and officers were leaving the department and
the folks who were left, frankly, were not as motivated to go out and do their jobs and to do their jobs with a level of professionalism that you
need in that profession.
It's really -- it's amazing when you start to dig into this stuff. People actually act more professionally and take their job more seriously. I
didn't say they do it more aggressively. That's actually a product of being frustrated and not wanting to do your job to the best of your ability
because you don't have the motivation.
You treat folks professionally, you pay them the way they're supposed to, you show them you value them through their employee benefits, they actually
perform better. This new chief came in and almost immediately the morale turned around. The -- everyone in that department right now seems to be on
the same page in supporting his plan. And so, here's the --
MARTIN: Let me stop you right here, though. You came out very hard against the defund the police movement. OK. Very strongly about, you know, op-eds,
public speeches. Why do you think that matters? Is it in part because -- I mean, just talk to me about why you felt that was important?
JOHNSON: I'm so glad you asked me that because, you know, I did take that stance. I took it when there was still a debate about it. I feel like
almost, at this point, which oddly you'd almost agree that no one wants to defend that position anymore, it seems like. Everyone sort of walked back
or walk away from the defund the police, you know, the language, the policies that went along with it, because there were people in our city,
and I know in others, that were arguing for in Dallas, I think the call was for a 60 percent reduction in the police budget, 40 percent to 60 percent.
I can't remember it. It was something around half at least. You know, so, you're not hearing that as much anymore.
MARTIN: Well, forgive me, you're not hearing that as much among people like yourself who have operational responsibilities. I mean, I think the
rest of us still feel that way.
JOHNSON: Look, I'm sure they feel that way, the activists. But I'm saying, I'm not -- they're not in city hall anymore. I mean, like, we could see
them in front of city hall, we used to see them coming to the meetings to speak on the topic. You don't see them as much anymore. Why? You know, why
did I take that position? Why did I feel so strongly about it? It has to do with how I grew up and what I believe I know about the communities that
directly deal with the violence.
I was never saying that we shouldn't reform police departments, that we shouldn't improve police departments. I have been saying that for a long
time. I have a 10-year record in the legislature that anybody who cared to look could see has been a very reform-minded legislative record when it
comes to the police. But what I knew, the defund the police movement at the time was getting wrong was in the middle of violent crime uptick like we
were having, you didn't need any type of, you know, drastic reduction in police budgets like a 40 percent, 50 percent cut, you needed to continue to
go down the path like we were in Dallas of increased transparency and supporting oversight, community oversight boards and things like that.
I'm saying guys, it's our cousins and our sisters and brothers who live in these communities who are dealing with this violence. Like, this violence
really is disproportionately impacting African-Americans, particularly African-American men, and these communities are tired. And what they are
asking for, and I wasn't guessing, it's because I've actually talked to my constituents, they were saying, we want better policing. And we would like
to see a greater police presence. We just don't want to be jacked up by the police. We don't want to be mistreated by the police.
So, there was never this outcry from within communities of color and lower income communities where the crime was occurring for the police to leave.
MARTIN: It is unfortunately a fact that too many police departments have evidence of people with white supremacist attitudes in them. I mean,
whether these are social media postings, whether it's in sort of groups that they are attracted to, we have talked about whether the police chief
is the right one. Have you asked yourself the question of whether the officers in the cars and on the ground, are they the right ones? Have you
asked yourself that question?
JOHNSON: I have, and that's something that, you know, I'm proud to say that our new police chief has already had to let some folks go. He's shown
a willingness to terminate some people. And that's another trait I think that you need in a police chief. The real-time to address that, and we need
to do better at it in Dallas and every department, is on the front end.
You know, Chris Rock had some pretty funny things to say in a comedy routine once about this, but he was right. Policing is not some profession
that's different like -- than every other in the world where you don't get what you pay for. You get what you pay for, and police are like everything
else in terms of you really need to take seriously who you're hiring and treat this profession seriously.
We do the same -- we make the same mistake in this country with teachers, with police officers. Like, we want people to be miracle workers. We want
someone who has got, you know, the communication skills of Oprah and, you know, the de-escalation skills of, you know, a psychiatrist, and, you know,
also is brave as, you know, as a member of our military, but -- oh, but also, as kind and gentle as a minister. And like, we want them be all these
things, and you think you can get them for $40,000 a year, which is what we were paying our officers. We're paying $45,000 a year. And I mean, it
doesn't work. You're not going to get the quality you need.
So, I'm not saying just give police departments whatever they want. I'm saying you have to pay a decent salary with decent benefits, and you need
to, on the front end, be screening and looking for things like racial bias and things like that. Things we can actually test for and look into. And
then, they need to be trained on an ongoing basis on subconscious bias.
MARTIN: Let's talk about some of the non-policing aspects of your policy initiatives here.
JOHNSON: First of all, I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to speak to this. I do think this is the secret sauce, if there is one. You
know, long before our new chief even arrived, when we were starting to see the uptick in violent crime, when I flipped office, one of the first things
that happened is I ended up going to the funeral of a little girl who got shot in her -- playing in her living room by a stray bullet between some
folks who were having a rap feud or something like that, and I promised her and her family, I said, I'm going to figure out what we, us, here in
church, in this community can do to help improve these situations.
I said, I'm going to put a task force together of people from the community, and I want no law enforcement on it at all. They came back with
four recommendations, and we funded all four.
MARTIN: Which are?
JOHNSON: They said, number one, you need to remediate the blight in these communities. There's -- these communities have abandoned vacant lots that
no one is taking care of, and it's a haven for criminal activity. Clean up the community. Clean up the neighborhood. Do your job, City of Dallas. Help
us clean up these lots. So, a blight remediation was on the list.
Lighting improvements, if you can believe it. Lighting improvements were on the list. They said, you know what, you know where a lot of crimes are
occurring? In places where the city is either doesn't have street lights or the street lights don't work. Light the city up. Light up the darkness.
Like, light the places where the criminality is happening. That's on us, too. So, that was on the list.
The third thing that was on the list, violence interrupter programs. They said, that is working in places where they're implementing that, where
you're finding people who are from the community, in many cases, formerly incarcerated folks, and getting them since they know the folks in the
community and they know the problem before they actually turn into a violent conflict, they know when a beef is turning into something, and let
them defuse the beef before it turns into something where now law enforcement has to get involved.
And the fourth thing was, get your public school system to invest in a social emotional educational curriculum where people learn how to resolve
conflicts from a young age in school without resorting to violence. School district agreed to implement a program, social emotional learning, check.
The other three programs, Dallas (INAUDIBLE) put nearly $5 million in one budget cycle into those. And that all took place in 2021.
MARTIN: What difference do you think your race plays in this? The fact that you are yourself a black man?
JOHNSON: I think it's -- God, that's a good question. I mean, because I do think it plays a role. And it cuts so many different ways. I think on the
one hand, because this isn't a perception, this is a reality thing. Because I am black and I have the lived experience of being a black man in the
United States, I mean, I'm a big dude. I'm African-American. And that makes some people uncomfortable. And that's unfortunate.
And that plays a role in how some people -- because police are human beings, and some of the perceptions they have about who's criminal, who is
more prone to violence. I'm aware of that. And I have been, like I said, as a public servant, trying to do what I can legislatively to address some of
those issues. Not every African-American grew up poor. We need to get past that myth. And not every African-American grew up in a rough neighborhood
where violence is an issue. I happen to be one who did, though.
Like, I grew up in the roughest part of Dallas. People got shot. People got killed. People were in gangs. People died before their 18th birthday. I
literally came of age in the most violent period in American history. It's the years between 1990 and 1994, which correspond exactly with my freshman
year of high school and my senior year of high school, was the most violent four-year period in American history.
People were just getting killed left and right in communities like mine during the height of the drug wars and things like that. It was terrible.
So, I have seen first-hand where we could be. We're not there. We have to get there by gradual escalation, and I'm trying to nip it in the bud, and
trying to nip it in the bud without overly policing, overincarcerating folks, and we're doing that. It's actually working.
MARTIN: Mayor Eric Johnson, thank you so much for talking with us. I do hope we'll talk again.
JOHNSON: I do, too. Great, great talking to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, after crime and punishment, war and peace, let's take a moment to reflect on the life of the man behind so many comedies and
especially this blockbuster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: Sometimes, weird things happen and someone has to deal with it. And who are you going to call?
Let's suck in the guts, guys. We're the ghostbusters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Yes, the "Ghostbusters," Ivan Reitman was the director and he has died, age 75. He made his name with the frat comedy, "National
Lampoon's Animal House," and he went on to produce films such as the sports comedy, "Space Jam" with Michael Jordan. But "Ghostbusters" in 1984 was his
most successful film, inspiring a fan following which continues to this day. A new sequel, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," came out just last year,
directed by Reitman's son, Jason.
And that is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast, and you can find that at
cnn.com/podcast, and on all major platforms, just search for Amanpour or scan the QR code on your screens now.
Remember, you can always catch us online. Thank you for watching and good- bye from London.