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Kamila Valieva Falls Short At Olympics; Trump Under Fire Over Mishandling Of White House Records; Interview With Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney; Interview With Duke University Law School Professor Doriane Coleman; Interview With "Insurgency" Author Jeremy Peters. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 17, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET




Here's what's coming up.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): The United States and NATO on high alert, fearing Russia could launch a pretext for war. I speak to the Irish foreign

minister, Simon Coveney about that and another pressing global crisis, the Iran nuclear deal.

Then: Trump under fire for mishandling White House records. We break down the legal ramifications with Jack Goldsmith, legal counsel to the Bush


And the tragedy of a minor who fails a drugs test and then watches her dream of Olympic gold vanish. We discuss 15-year-old Russian sensation

Kamila Valieva with top anti-doping lawyer Doriane Coleman.


JEREMY PETERS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think that the likelihood of an incredibly nasty 2024 presidential campaign that could make 2020 look like

a dress rehearsal is very real.

AMANPOUR: Reporter Jeremy Peters talks to Michel Martin about his new book, "Insurgency: How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They

Ever Wanted."


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

The White House accuses Russia of conducting Potemkin diplomacy, i.e., faking it, while in fact building up forces on the Ukrainian border. As the

secretary of state flew to New York to tell the United Nations, the U.S. believes Russia is preparing to launch an attack in the coming days.

Antony Blinken gave details on how it could all unfold.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Russian missiles and bombs will drop across Ukraine. Communications will be jammed. Cyberattacks will shut

down key Ukrainian institutions. After that, Russian tanks and soldiers will advance on key targets that have already been identified and mapped

out in detailed plans.

We believe these targets include Russia's capital -- Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people.


AMANPOUR: The United States and NATO are also stepping up their warnings that Russia is ramping up plans for false flag operations as a pretext for

war. The U.S. defense secretary is at NATO headquarters. And he gave his take on what the alliance says is intelligence showing Russian troop

movements, even stockpiling blood supplies.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I was a soldier myself not that long ago. And I know firsthand that you don't do these sorts of things for

no reason. And you certainly don't do them if you're getting ready to pack up and go home.

So we and our allies will stay vigilant.


AMANPOUR: The fear of a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains high at the same time another global crisis is unfolding. That is, the French foreign

minister says only a few days remain to revive the Iran nuclear deal, and that the whole world faces a moment of truth now.

The Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, is well poised to talk about all of this. He's just back from Tehran. And he's joining me now from Armagh in

Northern Ireland.

Foreign Minister, welcome back to our program. And you're also defense minister for your country, Ireland. So you're very well-poised to talk

about this.

Let's take first Russia, Ukraine. You heard the secretary of state outline a very grim series of plans that they say Russia has to attack Ukraine. Do

you share that bleak assessment right now?

SIMON COVENEY, IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, certainly, we take very seriously an assessment by the U.S. and by Secretary Blinken.

I mean, clearly, he has available to him a level of intelligence that certainly my government doesn't have. And so we speak to the U.S. all the

time. We speak to the U.K. And, of course, we work with our E.U. partners. And, certainly, everybody is very concerned right now, because the reports

the last few days, which I think some got encouragement from, that, actually, it looked as if some troops were being withdrawn, seems to be

contradicted now by the intelligence that are -- that is being outlined today.


So, what's needed is intensive diplomacy, is a very strong commitment to a deterrent coming from Europe and the U.S. to ensure that Russia clearly

understands the consequences of an invasion of Ukraine in terms of how the West, if you want to call it that, would respond.

But, really, I think this has got to be -- got to be about intensive diplomacy. And what you didn't play today actually was the offer from

Antony Blinken to talks with Sergey Lavrov in Europe in the next few days.


COVENEY: And I think that is what's needed now, a discussion at a very senior level between the U.S. and Russia, so that we can try to find a way

of defusing tension.

War is madness, in the context of the consequences, the human consequences for Ukraine, and, of course, the consequences in terms of a rapid

deterioration in the relationships between Russia, Europe and the U.S., which is in nobody's interests.

And that's why...


AMANPOUR: Sorry to interrupt you.


AMANPOUR: Let me break down a couple of the things you have said, that diplomacy is of the essence.

And, yes, Secretary Blinken did call on Foreign Minister Lavrov to meet in Europe this coming week. But, on the other hand, I don't know how you read

this, but Secretary -- rather, Foreign Minister Lavrov said that diplomacy doesn't seem to be going anywhere anymore.

Having had that choreographed moment, again, with that long table, saying that there was time for diplomacy, he's now saying that the U.S. has not

responded favorably to Russia's letter demanding all sorts of treaty changes that they have drafted. And he says that "Russia will be forced to

respond, including through the implementation of military-technical measures."

That seems to me to be an escalation from their side, even on the diplomatic front. Like, what do you -- how do you read that?

COVENEY: Yes, I don't disagree with that, but I think what we have got in recent days is mixed messages.

So the messages to the French president, to the German chancellor were pretty clear, that Russia wanted to leave the door open for further

discussions and diplomacy to try to defuse tension, to insist on a recognition that Russia has security concerns here that they want heard in

the context of those discussions.

And then we're hearing the evidence that's been outlined today from Secretary Blinken. So we are getting mixed messages. And that is a concern,

given what's at stake. But I think it's all the more reason why the offer to meet from Secretary Blinken to Minister Lavrov is so important.

And I think how Russia responds to that invitation will tell us a lot of what's likely to happen over the next week or so.

AMANPOUR: That's very true.

But in a sort of fulfilling the prophecy of the so-called false flag thing that the U.S. and NATO have warned that Russia might do a, Russia has -- or

at least us administration says it has circulated a document to the United Nations in which, according to the U.S., the documents says that the

Ukrainians have committed war crimes against the Russian-backed separatists in that Eastern Ukrainian area.

And, as we know, it is claimed from that region that Russian separate -- or there has been shelling into that area from Russia, and a kindergarten has

been affected in that area.

How do you read that? I mean, that also seems to be -- that also...

COVENEY: Yes, I mean...

AMANPOUR: ... seems to be an upscale in actual hard power there.

COVENEY: Well, I mean, I think there's a number of points to be made on that.

I mean, first of all, in Eastern Ukraine, there has been an ongoing war for quite some time. Up to 13,000 people have been killed. So this is not new.

And I think the Ukrainian president has outlined that very clearly.

So, we need to be careful here that we don't talk ourselves into a self- fulfilling prophecy either in terms of building tension, raising tension, talking war, as opposed to diplomacy, and how we would respond to that, so

that it essentially becomes almost inevitable.

I think that would be a real mistake. And that is why the language of diplomacy needs to be strong now, in terms of invitations to talks, in

terms of new thinking and new initiatives, so that actually we can get momentum, political momentum, behind the need for diplomacy, as opposed to

what some would regard as the inevitability of an invasion and the consequences that flow from that, which are not good for anybody, in

particular, the people of Ukraine.


Because, effectively, what we're talking about here, should an invasion take place, is the largest land war in Europe since World War II. And that

for many people up until a few weeks ago was simply unthinkable.

And that is why I think both the approach of diplomacy and a strong deterrent needs to be a louder voice than talks of the inevitability of

invasion and conflict.

AMANPOUR: So can I just ask you, then, are you saying that -- the Russians accuse the West and particularly the U.S. of hysteria, of fanning these

very flames of war that you're talking about?

The U.S. has employed a very unusual and aggressive strategy of telegraphing its intelligence as a way to try to stop Russia from doing

anything, saying, we are watching you, we see you.

Do you think the end of the road for that kind of aggressive telegraphing has come now? Is that what you're saying?

COVENEY: No, well, I mean, to be fair, I think the U.S. have been very open and very transparent about their concerns.

And they have shared a lot of their concerns in a very direct way with governments right across Europe, including my own. And we have had detailed

briefings from the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, for example, in terms of their concerns and the basis for those concerns. So it is very real.

But, having said that, we have also got to ensure that the language of diplomacy is heard in Russia, so that it becomes very difficult for Russia

to make the case for war.


COVENEY: I mean, that case is indefensible, as far as I'm concerned.

But, undoubtedly, that case can be made to the Russian population by a Russian government. And we need to make sure that doesn't happen and that

diplomacy continues to be the focus. That's not...


AMANPOUR: We're told by -- that they haven't made that case to their own people at all yet, and that, we're told, should be some kind of a signal as

to their intent.

But can I move on to the Iran nuclear deal? Because you have just come back from Iran, and that is another potential flash point for world politics.

COVENEY: Certainly.

AMANPOUR: The French foreign minister, as I said, said there's only a few days. I mean, literally, he said, time is running out, there's only a few

days to actually get a deal agreed.

What did you find from meeting with the Iranian president and the foreign minister?

COVENEY: Well, I mean, the reason why I have been to Tehran twice in the last 10 months is because Ireland is currently on the U.N. Security

Council. And we have a formal facilitator role on that Security Council, as a neutral facilitator, to try to generate momentum to protect the Iranian

nuclear deal, which, as you remember, was effectively trashed by former President Trump back in 2018 and replaced by a maximum pressure strategy to

increase, significantly, sanctions on Iran.

The European Union and, of course, the Biden administration and the other permanent members of the Security Council believe strongly that that

nuclear deal is worth protecting and defending and rebuilding.

And there has been negotiation now for the last nine months or so in Vienna to try to do that. Those negotiations have been very difficult. They were

stalled for a period of time while there were Iranian elections .And Iran now has a more hard-line regime in many ways than the previous one.

Having said that, we are, in my view, very close to agreement. The Iranian foreign minister and the Iranian president made it very clear to me that

they want a deal, but, of course, they're driving a very hard bargain for that deal.

AMANPOUR: What is their main bargaining point that they're driving?

From your view, what is the obstacle from their end?

COVENEY: I mean, the main issue is trust. But, I mean, there's a lack of trust on both sides.

But what Iran is looking for is guarantees that, if they sign up to this deal again, that it won't collapse like it did the last time. And so, if

they are to sell to their own people and their own Parliament that, actually, they should be signing up to international inspection to

guarantee to the world that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, and that that is fully verifiable and transparent, then they need to know that the

removal of sanctions that come with that is a permanent arrangement that they can rely on.


And because of what happened in 2018 and because of the relationship generally between Iran and the West, there is a significant lack of trust.

And, therefore, they are looking for guarantees beyond almost what's reasonable, which is making these negotiations very difficult.

But we are at the end point of these negotiations, because, if we can't find a way to get an agreement in Vienna in the coming days or weeks, well,

then I think many countries may judge that a deal may no longer be worth it, because Iran's nuclear program will have got to such a point where the

nuclear deal will no longer be relevant.

And what I mean by that is the extent of uranium enrichment in Iran now is past 60 percent. Within the -- that nuclear deal, it wasn't supposed to go

beyond 3.6 percent. And so the capacity of Iran in terms of what's been developed in recent years in their nuclear program is reaching a point of

no return.


COVENEY: And so that is why Minister Le Drian, the French minister, is now saying that a deal must be done within days in order for this deal to

really stick.


Well, we really...

COVENEY: And we are doing everything we can (AUDIO GAP) facilitator to help that process get over the line.

AMANPOUR: We really appreciate hearing the very latest from you.

And, obviously, we have to say that the supreme leader has also tweeted around your visit today. He said: "They know that Iran's nuclear program is

peaceful, but they make absurd, senseless claims."

So their view is that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. But the world is very, very concerned about this deal.

And as the foreign minister of Ireland, Simon Coveney, just said, the former President Trump, you will recall, participated and precipitated this

crisis by pulling the U.S. out of the arms control deal with Iran.

And instead of trying to nudge Ukraine and Russia towards a peace agreement, he was more interested in getting Ukraine to dig up dirt on his

domestic political opponents. Now Trump is in some serious legal and financial hot water at home. This week, his longtime accountants

essentially washed their hands of him, this amid ongoing questions about 15 boxes of White House materials that Trump simply took to his Florida estate

at Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House.

The National Archives had to take them back because federal law requires the preservation of presidential records.

Jack Goldsmith is a legal scholar at Harvard now. He did once serve as head of the Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush.

Welcome to the program, Jack Goldsmith. You are perfectly situated to talk to us about this.

Just tell us what it is about the law that forbids anybody, a president, from taking documents away from the White House? How expansive is that?

JACK GOLDSMITH, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: So, there are several laws that are relevant here.

The primary law is something called the Presidential Records Act. And this is a post-Watergate law that's designed to ensure that all public documents

of the presidency related to public functions become the property of the United States, and that they're transferred to the National Archives.

And they basically prohibit Trump from doing what he did in sending these documents to -- the 15 -- the boxes, 15 boxes, to Mar-a-Lago. So that's one

law that's relevant here.

There's another law that's relevant, potentially, because some of these documents in Mar-a-Lago contained classified information. So there's a

question -- and these are all difficult questions, I want to emphasize. There's a question whether he violated the law about removing classified

information from where it should be.

Those are two of the two of the main -- and the Presidential Records Act is also relevant to the reports that Trump was ripping up documents, ripping

up official documents. That's prohibited by the Presidential Records Act.

If I can just say one more thing to show how complicated these laws are, the Presidential Records Act imposes these duties to preserve these

records, but it doesn't have a direct enforcement mechanism. So if Trump's going to get in legal trouble over these, they're going to have to rely on

some collateral laws, which are actually somewhat difficult to apply to him.

But he clearly broke the Presidential Records Act in many respects.

AMANPOUR: OK, so let's just break that down a little bit.

First and foremost, we said the National Archives have tried to get them back. Have they got all these 15 boxes back yet?

GOLDSMITH: I believe that they now have secured the 15 boxes, after months of back-and-forth with Trump, yes.


So, on some of the issues that you just mentioned and why it might be difficult, not just to -- well, anyway, to prosecute or to enforce this

thing, why?

GOLDSMITH: A couple of reasons.

One, when Congress enacted the Presidential Records Act and imposed these duties to preserve these documents, it didn't actually provide an

enforcement scheme.


Many of the 1970s reforms of the presidency laid down these important laws and norms and didn't provide a scheme for enforcement, on the assumption

that presidents would comply. And presidents, for the most part, until Trump, did comply.

But it actually does not have its own enforcement scheme. So there's no way of penalizing Trump under that law for the violations of the law, as

strange as that may sound.

Now, as I said, there are other laws outside of the Presidential Records Act that may come to bear here, but they have their own problems. For

example, there's a law against mutilating records with the aim of obstructing justice. But it's not clear that Trump, who had a regular

practice of carrying out documents, was doing so to obstruct justice.

There's another law that says you can't remove classified documents, which he did when he took these documents to Mar-a-Lago. But that's a tricky one

to apply to the president, because the president controls classification. He might have declassified them.

I just want to emphasize that he clearly violated the law. I'm not saying that there are no legal remedies, but they're tough legal remedies to bring

against him. And we don't have enough facts yet to know.

AMANPOUR: I mean, some of the -- some of the documents have been -- we have been told that one of the documents was even the traditional passing

the baton letter that a former president leaves an incoming president, in this case, the letter from President Obama.

And two Obama officials have said: "If the DOJ does not hold a president accountable for misconduct, it will weaken a standard, perhaps irrevocably,

that has prevailed for nearly 50 years."

How damaging will it be, on top of all the other damage that is assigned to President Trump, to American democracy and rule of law, will this

particular piece be?

GOLDSMITH: Well, I would put it this way.

This piece -- his refusal to comply with the Presidential Records Act, on top of all of the other laws that he exploited, and he found loopholes for

and exploited those loopholes, going back to a whole set of issues we have been talking about for years now, about conflict of interest, tax

disclosure, abuse of the pardon power -- there are a whole slew of laws that Trump had a genius for exploiting loopholes in.

And you say that it's going to be terrible if the Justice Department doesn't enforce this against him. They actually have a hard time enforcing

it against him because the laws are not well-developed for enforcement. And the lesson here is that there was once a lot of talk about reforming these

laws once Trump left office to tighten up these loopholes.

We have learned a lot. There was a lot of things that we learned about before the election. And, since then, he's abused a bunch of laws. And we

need to take action now to fix these laws and to close these loopholes and to give them enforcement mechanisms and to not rely on just on norms.

But there's been very, very little action Capitol Hill or in the Justice Department to do that in the first year of the Biden presidency.

AMANPOUR: You have obviously seen the same reports we have.

Correspondent Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times" talked about how he even flushed them -- we have sort of mentioned it -- flushed some of these

papers down the loo, down the toilet, in the past. And we also understand that President Trump had been warned previously about the law after

reportedly tearing up documents.

Again, do you think that the attorney general should launch some investigation, should prosecute? I know he's reluctant to do so in the case

of a president.

GOLDSMITH: Well, again, there are a lot of things on the attorney general's plate that he might be considering that concern criminal

investigations and prosecuting Trump.

And I don't think we should take Attorney General Garland's silence to this point as evidence that he's not pursuing them. I mean, he's actually

following the Justice Department norm about not commenting on ongoing investigations.

But of all the things that are going to be -- and, yes, he probably should investigate what happened here. But, as I say -- there's a natural

assumption that, for every law that has prohibitions, there's some kind of criminal or civil penalty that the Justice Department can bring. And this

particular law, the Presidential Records Act, is -- actually does not have an enforcement mechanism tied to it.

It's just another one of those loopholes that Trump exploited. So the Justice Department would have to use these other collateral statutes that

are designed for other purposes that don't -- aren't perfect fits, and see if they can bring some kind of criminal action against Trump.

I expect that they're going to be looking into that. But I don't think Merrick Garland is going to bring one of these prosecutions unless the

evidence is pretty clear that Trump intended to violate these laws. And that might be a high bar to reach.

Again, I really do think we're at the beginning of learning what happened. There's a lot more to learn before we know whether there's really been

criminal violations.


And, of course, it does occupy a lot of people's imagination and thought, because there are all these situations whereby he may be a candidate in

2024, although he hasn't talked about that yet.


AMANPOUR: But I just want to ask quickly, before we go, you...




AMANPOUR: Well, just you can answer in a second.

But I want to know what you -- had you seen any other such evidence and activity by any other president since Watergate to shred documents and take

them away and hide them, et cetera.


No, my -- nothing like this. The Clintons had to return some gifts that they took. There's been no stories that I know of systematic shredding of

documents, of taking clear presidential records, in violation of the Presidential Records Act, out of the White House and taking them to Mar-a-

Lago and then, for a while, resisting the National Archives trying to get them back.

But the point you made about Trump is perhaps coming up and going to be running for election again just really highlights the point I'm trying to

make, which is, we're becoming -- we're becoming aware of yet more laws that don't do the job in holding presidents accountable.

Trump has been a genius by, on purpose or accident, of exploiting these. And we have a long catalogue of things that need to be fixed. And the

urgency for doing this seems to have dissipated once the Biden administration came into power.

But, as you said, Trump is on the horizon again. So now is really the time to fix these problems. And that's one purpose of the House -- of the

congressional investigation. I mean, they're there to gather evidence, to see perhaps if there's criminal wrongdoing, to find out what happened.

But they're also there to gather their evidence so that they can reform laws that clearly have loopholes and have been exploited by President


AMANPOUR: Really interesting. As you say, this may be a learning experience on a big scale for the United States regarding these

presidential laws.

Jack Goldsmith, thank you so much, indeed.

And, next, we return to Russia, this time about doping and a 15-year-old figure skating sensation. Kamila Valieva was expected to win her Olympic

competition today. Instead, she fell on the ice over and again, and she placed fourth. The pressure of the past weeks clearly got to her after she

was first accused of failing a drugs test and then cleared by a top sports court to actually continue competing.

With the eyes of the world upon her and sobs racking her body, the Valieva affair raises serious questions about the ongoing scandal around Russian

doping and the terrible burden placed on every athlete, especially young girls.

Now, Doriane Coleman is a former champion athlete and expert on the doping wars and a law professor at Duke University.

And she's joining me now from Durham, North Carolina.

Welcome to the program.

And I know you have been following this because you have been writing about it and you're an expert on this situation.

What went through your mind and your heart when you saw Valieva crumble today on the ice?

DORIANE COLEMAN, DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: I think it was hard. It was hard for everyone.

For me, because I have been following the story as closely as I have, it wasn't -- it wasn't unexpected, in the sense that she's been -- as you just

said, been through so much this week, the notification of the positive right after the team skate gold, the sort of quick turnaround of the

procedure, the eight-hour-long hearing, right in the midst her focus -- time that an athlete, an elite athlete especially, would be only focusing,

and then the pressure from her team, from the country that she represents.

It's just -- it was just overwhelming. And so, although one might have wanted to have had the opportunity to see her perform her beautiful program

as she usually does, it was very sad, but also not unexpected.

AMANPOUR: So, what does this mean, Professor Coleman? What does this actually mean in terms of the big picture?

Because Russia did place first and second. They got the gold and silver medal, and Japan got the bronze. And it's been said that all of these

Russian skaters were trained by the same -- by the same group, by the same coaches, by the same entourage.

And you have said that nobody believes a 15-year-old ends up with a cocktail of heart drugs on her own.

COLEMAN: Right. Right.

So the girls who won the gold and bronze -- bronze -- I'm sorry -- the gold and silver and her place for the Russian Olympic Committee are her

teammates. They are -- they were widely expected to follow her in -- on the podium originally and for Russia -- the Russian Olympic Committee to have a

podium sweep of the event

And she is part of the same -- the same training group, the same training team. And they are also children, right? They're young adolescents. And so

it's hard to celebrate their accomplishment any more -- it's hard to accomplish it and -- celebrate their accomplishment any more than we would

have celebrated Valieva's in the circumstances.


It's likely not determined, of course, but it's likely that whatever it is that Valieva is using is also being used by other athletes if she, in fact,

was using a doping -- prohibited substance.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you just to go back to your own personal experience? I said that, you know, you're a former champion athlete yourself, describe to

us, for our viewers, what sports you took part in, and then, what led you to, you know, acquaint yourself so expertly with the doping problem and,

how through your legal practice, you have been able to affect it in some regard. Tell us a little bit about that.

COLEMAN: So, I was an 800-meter runner, middle distance runner in the late '70s and early '80s in the -- you know, part of the -- at the height of the

serious doping problem in international elite sport. It was before there was any out of competition drug testing. It was before there was any

systematic in competition drug testing that had any integrity.

And so, athletes from all around the world, but including especially from the Eastern bloc courtesy of their state sponsored programs were using

androgens, stimulants, all kinds of drug cocktails, in order to enhance their performance. And so, being a clean athlete in that period was, of

course, very difficult. You had to adjust your expectations for what you could accomplish in terms of elite athlete -- elite international

competition and medals in that arena.

I was in the world record race when Jarmila Kratochvilova of then Czechoslovakia broke the still standing world record in the 800 meters.

It's a record widely attributed to doping, including possibly to state sponsored doping, although the evidence is not as clear of that in

Czechoslovakia as it was, for example, in East Germany.

And that was sort of the culmination for me of the sense that, you know, even as a young athlete who didn't really understand geopolitics,

understand that the game was rigged and that in order to aspire for any young athlete, essentially -- especially in the female competitions because

the drugs have much more of an effect on females than they do on males in terms of performance enhancement. It was clear to me that we needed to

develop really strong anti-doping programs, and that would include serious out of competition drug testing and as well as in-competition drug testing.

And so, along with many other people working at the time on the problem, I helped to develop one of the world's first random out of competition drug

testing programs, and then, was -- spent some time prosecuting cases under that program, and then, also was involved with the sort of political side

in the United States with the development of -- and negotiations around the development of the World Anti-Doping Agency. So, a long history --

AMANPOUR: Yes. A long history, but steps that went forward. I want to pick up on what you just said about girls. You said it affects girls much more

than boys. But particularly, we've watched and we read and you see these practically pre-pubescent girls who are -- you know, kept at that stage in

order that they can perform the physical, you know, tricks that they can't do perhaps when they get older or more developed physically. It's a lot of

pressure on young girls, a lot of pressure, not just in Russia.

COLEMAN: So, I agree with that, although I'm not -- you know, we don't know. Lots of speculation about whether they're kept at that -- you know,

at that pre-pubescent stage. We know that there are teams, maybe Valieva's team is one of them, that like the gymnasts from time to time are looking

for that sweet spot, that period in a girl's development when she is at her strongest with -- but right before she undergoes the changes associated

with female puberty, the breast development, the hip development, the fat increases that would change their physical capacities for certain sports

and events, right?

And so, we know that people are looking for that sweet spot. And so, there is a lot of pressure on girls in those sports, in those programs especially

when the programs are geared toward the quadrennial, right, toward, performance at the Olympic Games because what it means is that you've got

essentially regulate your body clock so that it aligns with the Olympic clock, and that's really hard.

We don't know that athletes are being kept at pre-pubescent levels in Valieva's group, we don't have the evidence yet of that. It may be that the

goal is to align the body clock with the Olympic clock. But if it doesn't work, if that magic moment isn't hit, then the athlete's time just passes,

right, without us noticing it.


AMANPOUR: Do you think hers will pass? You know, she's 15 and she'll be 19 in four years. Do you think they are time will pass under these


COLEMAN: What passes is the ability to do the tricks, you know, to do -- I'm probably using the wrong word, I'm not a skating expert, but to perform

the spins, the jumps, that one would -- that rack up the high points, right? Those physically, in terms of the physics of those jumps, for

example, they're really, really difficult to perform when you are later in your stages of female puberty.

And so, what will pass, by definition, right is the ability to do those at quite the level that the 13, 14, 15-year-olds can do them. Whether she is

able to continue to skate and to perform at a high level in between and maybe even change her routine so that she's still scoring, you know, lots

and lots and lots of points but maybe without the same kinds of jumps, we just have -- we have yet to see the impact of this emotionally. It's going

to be devastating for her.

AMANPOUR: Yes. Well, we saw how devastating today. And so, many questions remain. Professor Doriane Coleman, thank you very much indeed for joining


Now, earlier we heard about how Former President Donald Trump is in legal woes and if he tries to mount a comeback in 2024, the divided state of the

GOP will loom large. Our next guest, "New York Times" correspondent Jeremy Peters explores this in his new book, "Insurgency: How Republicans Lost

Their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted." And he joins Michel Martin to explain more.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Jeremy Peters, thanks so much for talking with us.

JEREMY PETERS, AUTHOR, "INSURGENCY": Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: You start your book, "Insurgency," with the mob attack on the capitol on January 6th. Why did you decide to start there?

PETERS: Because I think the title, "Insurgency," as it implies, really gets at the galvanizing sentiments and emotions that have been driving the

development of the modern Republican Party. It has always been a party defined by insurgency from Pat Buchanan to Sarah Palin, to the Tea Party,

and then, finally, to Donald Trump.

What I don't think I foresaw was that the insurgency would turn as violent as it did that day, but it seemed to me that the events of January 6th were

an unfortunate but very revealing manifestation of what Donald Trump had done by emboldening these insurgent elements that have always destabilized

Republican politics.

MARTIN: Even now, as people are still being charged and prosecuted for what they did that day, even as so many of the officers who were hurt and

nearly killed that day are still recovering from their injuries, there are people minimizing it.

So, I'm going to ask you now, what is the problem? What is the phenomenon that you are describing here? Because you trace the origins of this. You

chase it kind of repeat episodes in what resulted in that in your analysis, but what is the problem that you are describing here? How would you

describe it?

PETERS: So, I think a lot of it starts with the misinformation and disinformation that we've seen just become a common and accepted form of

the political discourse on the right. And, you know, this has always been there, and I start telling that story with the Obama birther conspiracy

theories, and how that traveled from the fringes of the blogosphere through people like Jerome Corsi who has -- who wrote several books about this and

managed to get this absurd notion that somehow Obama wasn't born in the United States and that his birth certificate was a fake injected into the

mainstream conversation on the right.

When Fox News picks it up, then it's not just some fringy idea, it has legs. And that's exactly what the conspiracy theorist pushing this wanted.

They wanted mainstream credibility. So, I don't think it's far out of the realm of their reality to then start putting out untruths about every day

facts, right?


I mean, the whitewashing of the history of what happened on January 6th is entirely consistent with what the dialogue on the right has been about

voter fraud, about this idea that the country is slipping away from conservatives, from white Christian Americans because it's no longer the

country that they grew up in, right? This notion of take our country back stems from the Coldwater days, really. I mean, and this was a sentiment

that you heard and you saw printed on banners during the Tea Party, and it's something that Donald Trump said in his campaign speeches and

continues to say.

So, I think it's the denial of reality, the misinformation and coupled with this sense that their country isn't theirs anymore and they have to fight

to hold on to it. And this is -- the people I describe in the book are very much folks we have seen consistently throughout the second half of the 20th

century and now, the 21st century who always felt like they were one presidential election away from losing their purchase on social, political,

and cultural power in this country.

MARTIN: What I hear you saying is the real issue is that you've got a group of people who believe things that aren't true and don't like the

things that are true. So, it really has to do with what, ideas, with identity, with what? What's the -- I guess what's your theory of everything


PETERS: It's that sentiment that you just described has never really had as prominent a voice as it has now in Donald Trump. When I interviewed

Trump for this book, one of the things that he said to me that I thought was fascinating in terms of his world view and how he sees media was he

said -- I brought up Fox News and their calling on election night of Arizona, which basically meant that the election was over for Donald Trump,

and he said, well, it turns out a lot of people don't like to hear negativity toward me.

And then, he kind of delighted in the fact that Fox News had taken a real hit in its ratings after the election because what did it do, it told its

viewers the truth. Well, its viewers didn't want to hear that truth. And Trump understands that he -- his political brand, his political survival,

his strength as a leader depends on not just people believing things that aren't true but also on his ability to completely block out any bad

information about him. And he does this.

He, like Rush Limbaugh before him, really is an enforcer of his own messaging, and the people around him from Sean Hannity on down really

attack anybody who goes against that narrative. And you saw kind of the civil war happening within Fox News that I think was really emblematic of

the struggle that a lot of conservatives had, maybe who thought to themselves, well, he did lose, we should move on, but we're unable to

because the political cost of that was so steep because of Trump's insistence that they accept his lies.

MARTIN: So, in your telling of this kind of modern insurgency, when did it start?

PETERS: I think an interesting way to answer that question is to look at kind of the psyche of the modern Republican voter, and going back to Barry

Goldwater in 1964, there was always a sense that when they lost elections, something was off. It wasn't because voters had rejected their ideas or

their leaders, it was because the other side had done something that was often nefarious to win. Back in '64, when Goldwater lost and American --

conservative society printed up bumper stickers that said, well, 24 million Americans can't be wrong.

So, it was kind of like soothing themselves with this notion that they had a lot of company. And that sentiment carries through to Richard Nixon's

silent majority, Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell's, you know, moral majority. This idea that they represented the beliefs of the majority of

the people is always central to the identity of the American conservative. And that's why I think it's been so hard for them to accept loss and defeat

and why they rewrite that history and consistently have done so.


MARTIN: I have to say that one of the most fascinating people that you report on in the book is Sarah Palin, somebody who I -- from reading your

book, has not gotten nearly the attention she deserves, both as a kind of an object of this insurgency and as a player in this insurgency. And

obviously, you know, the former vice-presidential nominee is in the news at the moment as we are speaking now because she recently lost a libel suit

against "The New York Times."

So, tell me a little bit about Sarah Palin and why she's such a pivotal figure in this for people who don't remember her, who think of her as maybe

a sort a momentary character on the scene.

PETERS: Yes, we remember Sarah Palin for some of the more provocative and nasty things that she said about Obama, and some of the -- you know, the

false information she put out there, remember, the death panels which claimed were going to, you know, ration care through these boards of

government bureaucrats, which was false.

But she was also -- and this is what makes her kind of a proto-Trump figure, somebody who felt disrespected by the leadership of the Republican

Party and by cultural political elites in general. She wore that disdain from above on her sleeve, like a badge of honor. It goes back to, as I

report in the book, an incident in Alaska when a prominent Republican referred to the people in her area near Wasilla as valley trash. This was a

nickname given to people who lived where she did in this place called the Mat-Su Valley that wasn't as prosperous as other -- as parts near

Anchorage. And they really resented it.

But they also turned it around on the people who were condescending toward them, and that became a huge part of her political brand and that was also

a huge part of Donald Trump's political brand. This idea that the same people who hated him, whether it was the leaders of the Republican Party

or, you know, cultural elites also hated his followers. And his followers really identified with that, thinking like, look, if Donald Trump, this

powerful, rich, developer and television star can be attacked and subject to, you know, these same forces of disdain, what's going to happen to us?

And so, it was just as important for Trump and Sarah Palin to be hated by certain people as it was to be liked by their own people. And so, what you

end up with is these outsider figures eventually taking power in the Republican Party.

MARTIN: One of the fascinating details in your book is that a lot of the lies in the campaign, in the 2008 campaign for which Sarah Palin is most

famous, she didn't write.

PETERS: Right.

MARTIN: That the McCain campaign actually came up with these attack lines, which is fascinating because then the nominee, John McCain, you know, the

late Arizona senator, just seemed so uncomfortable with it. How did you understand that?

PETERS: Right. It's definitely a complicating aspect to McCain's legacy. Ultimately, as people who worked for him, whom I interviewed for this book

said, he bears responsibility. He's the one who chose her in a rather cavalier fashion, as I describe in the book, with language I won't use on

this program. But basically, he said, you know, screw it, let's go for it. I like to roll the dice. I'm a gambler. She's a gamble, let's do it.

From there, though, you know, you begin to see, as the title of the book implies, the insurgency really starting to bubble up and eventually boil

over. And this is the story of the Republican Party, of establishment Republican leaders taking those insurgent elements, giving them a seat at

the table, bringing them inside the tent, if you will, inside the big Republican tent, but then, ultimately, not wanting to share power with them

and make them partners.

But it's also true that the insurgent elements from Pat Buchanan to Sarah Palin, it didn't really have any interest in being faithful partners

themselves, they thought rightfully, we bring the votes, we're getting you folks elected, why aren't we given a bigger role. And that was really Sarah

Palin, that the misunderstanding by John McCain's advisers of the power she had, of the appeal that she had with his voters, the people who would

become his voters, and they hey weaponized it in a way that they thought they could control by writing her these speeches where she said, you know,

Obama is paling around with terrorists, that we don't like leaders who talk differently about folks in San Francisco as they do in Scranton.


And that -- those were not her words. They were words written by very clever strategists who knew how to activate those emotions of resentment in

the kinds of voters they knew they needed to win.

MARTIN: Why do you think that so many people who see themselves as kind of Christian conservatives were willing to tolerate the former president's

behavior? Let's say this was transactional, let's say that the conservative, the white conservatives got their supreme court justices and

they got their tax cuts, what more do they need? Why continue to support him or do they?

PETERS: Because their voters and their donors do, right? I think there's an element here that needs to be dealt with up front, and this is something

that I've actually heard from evangelical Republicans who are very disillusioned with Trump. They began to like him. They began to like the

meanness and the incivility because as one person I interviewed, the leader of an evangelical women's group, she told me, you know what, he's a bully.

We know that, but he is our bully.

And I think that a lot of them liked the mean spiritedness of it. I don't think all of them did. And I think it made a lot of them cringe, but they

were willing to look the other way because of the policies and the judges they were getting. But a lot of them didn't mind looking the other way or

rather didn't need to, they loved it. And the people forget, as I describe in the book that, you know, the moment, at first, when everybody declared

Trump's campaign dead as a doornail in 2015 when he attacked John McCain as a failed war hero, a phony war hero, Donald Trump did that at an

evangelical conference and many in the audience laughed.

So, there's always been an element that wanted -- an element of the religious right that really wanted their own, you know, mean spirited

culture warrior as a leader.

MARTIN: Where does the country go from here? You know, there's a popular sign that progressives sometimes put on their lawns, you know, it says

there's no Planet B, right? You know, it's a reference to climate change, saying, look, you can trash the environment, you can befoul the water and

the air, where are you going to go?

Where's the Planet B when it comes to a political system that doesn't work, won't accept the same facts, won't agree on a certain set of rules, won't

really embrace representative democracy, believes that unless your side wins then everything's a rug, where does this go?

PETERS: Well, as long as Donald Trump is the leader of the party shouting, no, don't believe the results of the last election, we're going to take

this country back, I don't see a peaceful resolution to any of this. I think that the likelihood of an incredibly nasty 2024 presidential campaign

that could make 2020, you know, look like a dress rehearsal is very real because Trump is so far down the rabbit hole with his denial of reality of

what really has happened politically to him.

Because, remember, he sees this about him, and he's managed to transfer some of that over to his voters who then see him as fighting for them

because he's going to help them "take their country back." But, ultimately, because Donald Trump is -- sees himself as a victim of circumstances that

he didn't create, I don't see how he approaches this with any sense of rational thinking or reason. I think it's all going to be about his own

personal delusions and grievances.

MARTIN: Jeremy Peters, thank you so much for talking with us.

PETERS: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And now, while the drum beat of war rolls on in Europe, sport often transcends geopolitics. A Russian and a Ukrainian athlete have

embraced after winning Olympic medals in men's aerial skiing, the Russian, Ilya Burof, on the left, won bronze, while Oleksandr Abramenko of Ukraine

took silver.


And finally, tonight, a sloth savior. This sloth found itself in danger after climbing into some electric cables in Colombia. But public service

employee Victor Hugo Lopez came to the rescue. He scaled the electric post and he reached out to the animal, which took a bit of convincing. But 20

tense minutes later, the stranded sloth gripped the broom which was extended by Lopez. The lucky animal escaped an electric shock and has now

been released back into the wild. Good news.

That's it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. You can find that at and on all major platforms. Just search for Amanpour, or scan the QR code on your screen now.

Remember, you can catch online. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.