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Interview With Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili; Interview With Jose Andres; Interview With Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired March 31, 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 live from Kyiv.
Here's what's coming up.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): As Russia regroups in the face of stiff resistance, my report on the Ukrainian soldiers who thwarted their initial advance on
this capital and now wait in the trenches for another possible assault.
Plus, I'm joined by two leaders in the region, the prime minister of Poland, where more than two million refugees have fled, and the president
of Georgia, which Putin invaded in 2008. What has she learned about dealing with Moscow's aggression?
Then, the famed chef Jose Andres tells me how he's serving more than 100,000 meals a day to devastated Ukrainian cities.
And, later, Michel Martin tolls to journalist Mike Giglio about the Yale Law graduate turned militia founder who's been charged with seditious
conspiracy over the Capitol insurrection.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Kyiv.
Russia has repeatedly lied about its intentions, those clear words today from the NATO secretary-general about Moscow's claims of de-escalation.
Indeed, Russian forces are still pounding this city and others.
So what is Putin up to?
Here's more from NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: According to our intelligence, Russian units are not withdrawing, but repositioning. Russia is trying to
regroup, resupply and reinforce its offensive in the Donbass region.
At the same time, Russia maintains pressure on Kyiv and other cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Indeed, we just heard pounding of this city in the last several minutes. Ukrainian officials say Russian forces may be doing its regroup
and resupply in Belarus. Does that mean the Kremlin is in this for the long haul?
Well, President Putin today called for 140,000 more Russians to be drafted, perhaps to fill in for what British intelligence says are some troops who
are refusing orders. And the Americans add that Putin is being misled by his own advisers about how badly his war is going.
That is a reality I saw for myself today when I traveled to the outskirts of this capital and met with some of the soldiers who halted Russia's
momentum in the very early days of the war. I also got a sense of the humanitarian crisis plaguing this country.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The first thing you notice approaching the front northeast of Kyiv are the lines of villagers waiting for humanitarian
handouts. They receive a bag of bread and basics to get them through these difficult days.
"The first week of the war," a shell hit us near the greenhouse. "We barely survived," says this woman. "We had help from strangers around us. They
gave us bread and canned food. We wouldn't have managed otherwise."
No one here knows when this war will end or whether Russia still has designs on Kyiv. The front line is about a mile away. For now, an uneasy
calm prevails, ever since the Ukrainian defenders stopped the Russian advance here. It was February 28, they say day, four of the war.
They want to show us how they did it. But, first, we have to clamber over the bridge they downed to see the armored column they managed to take out.
The riverbank is littered with their skeletons. And this was a turkey shoot. Russian armored vehicles and tanks had come off the road to avoid
the anti-tank mines, only to find themselves unable to cross the bridge and are unable to reverse in time.
Ukrainian forces tell us none of the soldiers inside survived. A little further up the road, two tanks have been virtually smelted, blasted almost
to Smithereens; 40-year-old Yevgeni, a veteran fighter, proudly tells us this was his handiwork.
"We all here have one role, to keep the enemy off our land," he says. "First thing they did after seeing the village, they started to shell
houses just like that. They didn't see us. They didn't know we were here. So they just started to work on houses. And so I took the tank in my sights
and I fired a rocket, and goodbye to him."
The destroyed vehicles are stamped with an O. The Ukrainian officers here tell us this identifies them as Russian units that entered from Belarus to
Oleg is the officer who commanded this operation.
"As for now, looking at previous fighting we have had, I can tell you that we are trained better," he tells me. "We have stronger morale and spirit
because we are at home. They are afraid, but they go because they're made to."
He's been battle-hardened ever since the first Russian invasion in 2014. He says his side has enough weapons, ammunition and determination to win.
"I can tell you I'm almost sure the Russians are regrouping and not retreating," he says. "Besides, we are preparing ourselves to go forward.
We're not preparing just to defend here."
U.S. and British intelligence say Putin seems to have -- quote -- "massively misjudged" this situation and clearly overestimated the
abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory.
And this old lady tells us: "I have seen one war, and here we go again. I wish Putin would go away."
The people of this land remain stalwart and the soldiers remain dug in, hoping they can continue to withstand whatever Putin has in store for them
AMANPOUR: And, today, President Zelenskyy of Ukraine addressed three more international parliaments. His speeches to the Netherlands, Australia and
Belgium make a total of 17 foreign governments now.
And among the nations that he's confident has his back is Poland. The country that not too long ago found itself at odds with the European Union
has become central to this unified struggle.
Mateusz Morawiecki is Poland's prime minister. Earlier today, he joined me for an exclusive interview with a warning for Putin and a message for
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Morawiecki, welcome to the program.
MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, POLISH PRIME MINISTER: Hi there. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, we are 35, 36 days into this war. You are a front-line state in every form of that word, NATO, plus a huge border with Ukraine.
How do you assess the state of the war right now?
MORAWIECKI: I see the Russian troops regrouping, reorganizing.
I think that they will try to surround the Ukrainian forces quite soon in the Donbass region in particular. And then, having captured one-third of
the land of Ukraine, they will want to probably negotiate from this very, very strong position.
The Ukrainians are fighting with lion hearts. They are very brave people. They want to defend universal values. They want to defend freedom and
democracy. This is why we are helping them. Poland is really -- as you said, indeed, on the very first line, helping Ukraine in terms of
humanitarian crisis, but also in terms of delivering defensive weapons.
AMANPOUR: I just want to pin you down first on your analysis on the battleground and then we will go into the other points you very, very
You think that's what the Russians want to do? President Putin has announced today that he wants 134,000 to be drafted into his army. It's not
doing well on the battlefield yet. Do you think -- or how long do you think it would take him to do what you said, take a third of the country,
essentially, and negotiate it from a strong hand, which most analysts don't believe he has right now, that strong hand?
MORAWIECKI: Well, I wish that Ukraine defends its border and that there is no one Russian soldier on the Ukrainian soil.
Having said that, we have to be in a hurry. We have to help Ukrainians to defend their country as quickly as possible, because our days is their
hours. Our weeks is their days. They need weapon here and now.
Why is that? Russia is a very big country, very big in terms of lots of commodities, raw materials, resources, three times bigger, three-and-a-half
times bigger in terms of population than Ukraine. They have really very big army.
And this is why they can again and again regroup, reorganize and supplement army with the new troops. And even with the very brave and courageous fight
of the Ukrainian people, they are more and more exhausted with every day.
So I'm going to make an appeal to the -- all the Americans who helped Ukraine to defend their freedom so fantastically. Act quickly. Please act
quickly, because they are fighting for our values, for universal values. And it's so wrong, so bad that the big country in the third decade of the
21st century can swallow a smaller country only because the bigger country wants to take all the resources from the smaller country?
That's -- this is terrible. And this is happening before our very eyes.
AMANPOUR: So, as we have established, Poland is a very important conduit for the kind of help that the Ukrainians need.
And you just recently, I think it was at the NATO summit or the E.U. summit, you accused Russia, Putin of wanting to reestablish what you called
an evil empire. I want to read you what the Russians have been saying about you and, in fact, about your country.
Let me just quote you this from "The New York Times."
"The Kremlin has left rip with a belligerent tirade. Polish leaders," they say, "were a vassal of the United States, gripped by pathological
Russophobia, and their country a community of political imbeciles."
Does that kind of rhetoric scare you, or as I have heard, it actually makes your country folk feel quite proud to be on that end of the Russian fury?
MORAWIECKI: It doesn't scare me at all. It doesn't scare us.
We are doing our job. We are helping Ukraine to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity. And this is a very, very important job at this
juncture, because we now have had to wake up suddenly from the geopolitical slumber.
And, all of a sudden, we are experiencing conventional war just behind the border of NATO and behind -- just behind the eastern flank of the European
Union. And this horrible war with war atrocities, with cruel murdering of women and children, it has to stop.
How we can do this, certainly not listening to all what the Kremlin is saying, we can do this through imposing a real, crushing set of sanctions,
overwhelming sanctions, because this is the only thing with which Russia counts. It counts with power. It is fearful of long-term sanctions. And
this is why the sanctions have to really bite.
So far, we have imposed quite a significant set of sanctions. But look, madam, at the exchange rate of ruble. Exchange rate of ruble, $2, is
approximately on the same level as it used to be just before the war started. So, this acid test, this membrane, this very, very sensitive acid
test, is telling us that, for the time being, Putin and his people, they were able to change the fiscal policy, monetary policy, financial policy in
such a way that they are immune to the sanctions, to some extent, at least for the foreseeable future, for the next several months.
This is why we are advocating for confiscating their assets, for big -- for harsher assumptions, confiscating their assets, and doing everything
possible to stop buying Russian oil and gas.
AMANPOUR: You say your country will end its dependence or its need for that by the end of this year.
But I need to pick up on what you said. There are some people who say that Putin in his world could ride this out, could even win. You have just
talked about the ruble. You have just talked about how, frankly, sanctions have not deterred him from doing what he's doing. You have just posited
that this might go on for a long, long time, until he receives and achieves his military aims.
So, what more -- you have just laid out what more you want to see done. But do you have -- I mean, could you -- can you imagine that he might actually
come out with everything he wants from this, no matter the pain?
MORAWIECKI: Unfortunately, yes.
Well, like, the difference between a democracy like in the United States or in Poland is that we have to account with the public opinion. And Russia is
moving from the autocratic regime to a totalitarian system. I lived through the '70s and '80s in the Soviet Union empire, in the Warsaw Pact in Poland.
And I know what is -- what the Soviet-like propaganda means, what spreading fake news means. And this is exactly what Putin is doing. He has actually
imposed such an overwhelming propaganda on his own society that his own society is fully supporting him. Like, huge majorities is supporting him,
not because they are bad people as such, but because they are -- they were overwhelmed with this propaganda.
And this is why for the next weeks and next couple of months, Russia is prepared for this war. I'm not so sure if the West, if the United States,
the European Union, NATO is as well-prepared, not in terms of our economy. Our economy will survive it much, much more easily than Putin's economy.
But our public opinion will get tired with this war, as we already observe. This is why I'm making this appeal to all the good people in the United
States not get -- do not get tired with this, because it is the focal point in our -- this is a turning point in our history. And we cannot allow Putin
to conquer another country.
We cannot allow Russia to commit all those war crimes in Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, and, finally, you talk about a turning point.
I do have to ask you, because Poland has had its own issues with the E.U., even with the United States. They accuse sometimes you guys of being
somewhat illiberal Democrats, with all sorts of issues, rule of law, freedom of speech, LGBTQ, and all of that. And you know that. And you have
had your issues with the E.U.
Do you think this is a reset for Poland as well, or, after all this, or alongside all this, are those domestic policies going ahead in Poland?
MORAWIECKI: We were also accused of xenophobia.
And here you have a Polish nation which opened its hearts and doors to 2.5 million Ukrainians within a period of four weeks. So, the previous crisis
in Europe, it was 2.5 million people from Northern Africa, Middle East within a period of one year in 2015.
Poles have opened everything, our NGOs, parishes all over the place. And we didn't have to establish huge refugee camps. So all of what you're saying
is -- it is a marginal and not important and a kind of misunderstanding.
And, right now, people see how much of all this was based on inappropriate assessment of the situation in Poland. Of course, we are a liberal
AMANPOUR: OK. Prime Minister...
MORAWIECKI: Of course, we love freedom. Of course, we help our neighbors now to defend their freedom.
But, also, we defend universal values of the whole of the European Union at this juncture.
And you will continue to do that then? It's a bit of a reset?
MORAWIECKI: Of course. Well, like, we will continue doing this.
But I would say we even account with a bigger refugee -- war refugee wave. Another one or two million people can come to Poland. We are doing
everything to help them here in Poland, to -- not only to find the appropriate way for living, but also to learn, to go to our health care
system, to go on the labor market.
And, by and large, the vast majority of people from Ukraine are pretty much grateful and happy with what they have seen here in Poland.
So, we are a very open society.
AMANPOUR: Well, there's no doubt about that. There's no doubt about that.
MORAWIECKI: And I'm sure...
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Morawiecki, thank you so much for joining us.
MORAWIECKI: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, as we have been discussing, the need for humanitarian aid here in Ukraine is great.
Well, my next guest is working tirelessly to try and fill some of that void. The chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen organization are
providing hundreds of thousands of free hot meals every day in Ukraine and in bordering countries. So far, they have served more than five million
And the U.S. president, Joe Biden, who met with Andres and his team in Poland has signaled that they are, as he said, the best of humanity.
And Jose Andres is joining me now here in Kyiv.
Welcome to the program.
We have talked in many of your humanitarian interventions, which obviously started in Puerto Rico in a big way with Hurricane Maria. We have just been
talking to the Polish prime minister. You started there, right, on -- in this crisis? You started at the border?
JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Within 12 hours, we were in Medyka.
We began feeding the women, the children, hot soups, in nights that were super cold in a moment that nobody know what was happening. And from there,
we went almost in every single border inside Poland. Within three days, we were in every other country welcoming Ukrainian refugee.
Since then, we have been 24/7 feeding in every single border point, not only in the welcoming countries, but also inside in the Ukrainian side,
because we had four and five days that people were waiting to try to cross. Before that, we were inside Ukraine. Six days, we're in Lviv.
Since then, we're in 21 series inside Ukraine doing 300,000 meals a day. We are almost over six million meals so far.
AMANPOUR: Here in Ukraine, in between all this?
ANDRES: Between all the operations even. The meals in Ukraine is the biggest one.
AMANPOUR: That is huge. OK, that's huge.
And we may talk about it, and you're known for it, and you tweet about it. And it's great. But how do you achieve these logistics in a war zone? How
do you do it?
ANDRES: It's not so complicated.
ANDRES: I'm a cook. I have restaurants. I say that World Central Kitchen is the biggest organization in the history of mankind.
And I may sound a little bit nutty about it, but think about it. Every single restaurant, the millions of restaurants in the world, the millions
of people that work in the food business, the warehouses that have chicken and vegetables, in my mind, they are all part of World Central Kitchen.
What do you see what's going on in Ukraine? That we have now hundreds of restaurants, thousands of food people joining forces. We are the food
fighters all with World Central Kitchen. We're here to support them. That's why we are able to scale so fast and so quickly.
AMANPOUR: And where do you get the money? How do you get funded for this? Because it's not -- I mean, it's not free. You're not -- you're doling it
out for free, but you have to somehow manage to acquire it.
ANDRES: Our organization is not very big. It's like -- it's run by a great friend of mine, Nate Mook, who he is an amazing organizer.
But then how we do with any people to do something so quickly? Because we are able to get volunteers fast and quick. How we pay for it? The American
people have empathy beyond imagination. Mainly, we are funded $1 at a time, $5 at a time. Why? Because they see what we do.
AMANPOUR: So it's micro? It's grassroots-level people.
ANDRES: Super grassroots.
AMANPOUR: That's incredible. And what has been the response to this crisis here, this war?
ANDRES: Well, in America itself, it's hundreds, if not thousands of restaurants doing dinners, selling cupcakes, doing tapas. In Spain, I have
all my friends that they are doing tapas for Ukraine.
Every tapa that they sell under the tapas for Ukraine comes to the efforts to World Central Kitchen. We're spending, obviously, a lot of money because
what we do is this. We make sure that the money is left in the places we help.
Imagine that, at the same time, we're feeding people in need in the bunkers, in the shelters, in the train stations, in the bus stations. That
money goes to buy local food from local farmers, goes to help those restaurants that nobody's getting rich, nobody's making money.
But those men and women that they're doing it, we're able to tell them, you're doing 100 meals. What if we tell you that we support to do 1,000?
Imagine we do the same with every restaurant. We can feed anybody, because, when everybody wants to do it with heart, the only thing we need to put is
the resources and everything will happen.
AMANPOUR: OK, so, here, there are places which you can't get to. I mean, sadly, Mariupol pretty much is the one that's mostly besieged and nobody
can get in there. I know you're going to try.
But you are sending on trains and on wagons, you're sending stuff all over. You mentioned Nate Mook. He is in Kharkiv, which is not exactly peaceful
right now. It's been bombarded. We're going to play a little sound bite from him and what he says about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATE MOOK, CEO, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: World Central Kitchen, working with our amazing local partners here in Kharkiv, have been delivering prepared
meals and also we deliver ingredients here. They make soups, they make some borscht upstairs as well.
And this is pretty much the situation for a lot of families right now in Kharkiv and this area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And, Jose, he's in a danger zone right now. And we have seen how the other side has actually bombarded food warehouses -- I was at one just
yesterday -- and humanitarian attempts. They have not allowed a humanitarian corridor or convoys to go into places.
How dangerous do you guys feel this is for you?
ANDRES: Well, obviously, technically, this has been our first mission in a war zone.
I always say that we are a young organization, barely 12 years. We keep learning in every moment, but we felt we had to be here next to the people
of Ukraine. We cannot leave them alone. It's the people fighting for liberty, for democracy. They are fighting the war on behalf of all of us
around the world.
We have to be here. How? I say we are -- there's many ways to fight a war. We are fighting the world the only way cooks know, through food. We are
Late went there. I decided to -- we decided I will stay here and move myself south. We are using smart routes. We are using the railroad. We are
working very closely with members of the Ukrainian government that know the ways. And we're trying to do it in the smart possible way.
AMANPOUR: You know, I was really quite touched by something the president here said. He said, in the end, it's not really just about territory or
ideology or NATO or whatever. It's about human life. Our people are being hammered. They're being killed. For what?
And you, I heard say something. Wouldn't it be great if the world could concentrate on building long tables?
What do you mean?
ANDRES: Well, I mean, longer tables are simple to understand, longer tables where everybody is welcome.
You may think different than me. I may think different than you. But why we don't respect each other. Why we don't have the leaders of the world
showing respect to each other? It's OK to think different. But most important is to respect each other. Longer tables, sharing a plate of food
may seem a little bit naive at times, but I do believe is the way forward.
In this war, in this conflict, we are seeing how actually food is bringing hope to millions, is bringing an opportunity to many that cannot be in the
front lines to say, I'm going to fight for my country with goodness. Longer tables, making sure that nobody goes hungry in a conflict that shouldn't be
And we need to make sure that the few don't create mayhem for the many that want only peace and prosperity. Food is a way to express empathy and
express love. That's what we're trying to do.
AMANPOUR: One of the aspects that we have actually reported on this week is the International Space Station.
First of all, it's been flying around. The cosmonauts and the American astronauts have come down. There were Americans and Russians up in space
while this was all going on, and they professed unity and solidarity up in space.
You are going to be sending some of your special food to the International Space Station.
ANDRES: Well, I have been trying to work with NASA now for many years.
I have been working with Axiom for the last two years-and-a-half. We have been able to create a few dishes. And we are going to be sending paella
valenciana, which is a universal dish, a traditional dish. And it's going to be next to some vegetables and some Spanish jamon and even some Iberico
I'm so happy that we have been able to put technology to send food to the space. I hope nobody in Ukraine is going to get upset with me, because I
know we're going to be feeding Russians. You mentioned longer tables. Let's hope that by astronauts out there from different nationalities, including
Russians and others, can share this longer table and maybe show that, through food, maybe there can be peace.
AMANPOUR: Jose Andres, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
ANDRES: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Great pleasure.
So, if there is anyone who knows what it's like to have Vladimir Putin invade their country, it is my next guest.
Salome Zourabichvili is the president of Georgia. It declared independence when the Soviet Union fell 30 years ago, but Putin invaded in 2008 after
years of rising tensions and a similar playbook as here, recognizing breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent.
Zourabichvili has pledged her steadfast support for Ukraine, and that has landed her in some hot water with the government's ruling party.
She's joining me now from Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, to explain why.
Madam PRESIDENT, welcome to the program.
Let me just start asking you about what you think -- I guess what you thought, given the fact that your country had been through something very
similar more than a month ago, when the tanks and the soldiers invaded this country for a second time?
SALOME ZOURABICHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: Well, what I thought at that time is that Russia doesn't seem to be changing.
We are now in the 21st century. Things should be different. We have global challenges that we should be looking at all together to overcome. And, at
that time, the old Russian imperialist aims and objectives are still there, which we and the Ukrainians know all the same, because we have been going
through that for the last two centuries.
And, unfortunately, it's repeating itself. But I think, this time, things are a bit different, because Russian objectives have not been met. Russian
aims have not been fulfilled. And the play is a bit different.
AMANPOUR: Madam President, can I ask you about the state in your country right now?
I remember, when the Russians came in, there were a lot of promises that they were going to enhance the livelihood, the standard of life of the
places that they occupied. Did that actually happen? Did the people end up better off under Russian occupation?
ZOURABICHVILI: Well, those two occupied territories, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, both are basically used by Russia as military bases.
They have not delivered on any of the promises, including, for instance, the cultural independence. I am today, I must say, the only one defender of
By constitution I'm supposed to defend because it's one of the languages, and the state language for this Abkhazian region. And not only -- not
cultural independence has been defended and protected, but there has not been any economic independence and any development of those regions. And
their only perspective, I'm sure, is the same as our perspective. It's Europe.
AMANPOUR: So, you are not in NATO nor are you in the E.U., just like Ukraine. And --
ZOURABICHVILI: Not yet.
AMANPOUR: And you know, you have decided to -- I know, not yet. You hope. Tell me, do you not fear if you actually start, you know, seriously
applying for that, which you are, that you're going to get another visit from Putin?
ZOURABICHVILI: No, that's the thing that we have already not only applied, we have this aim in our constitution. And the interesting fact is that
after 2008 war, the Russian/Georgian War, which probably was aimed at discouraging us from going towards Europe and towards the Euro-Atlantic
integration, this course has been even accelerated in the way that we have received (INAUDIBLE), free trade agreement and the association agreement.
And that is what is going to continue because the more we feel the pressure from Russia, the more the European perspective is the only one perspective
for this country, for Ukraine, and for all the neighbors of Russia, and that's something that Russia doesn't understand very well. That the more
aggressive it gets, the more we turn to what we feel is a civilized world, the one where we share our values, and that's our only perspective.
AMANPOUR: You know, you have been very full throated in your support, and you're declaring it now, and you have from the beginning for the people of
Ukraine. The ruling party in your country, the government, is not. It has failed to, you know, support sanctions. It's not, you know, sending any
material help to the Ukrainians for their defense here. That pits you against the government. Why do you think the government is holding out?
ZOURABICHVILI: Well, I'm not sure that that's the exact description. That might be the one that is portrayed somewhere. But first of all, we are
(INAUDIBLE) to all the international financial sanctions, and that's quite something for the Georgian financial sector. And we are, at the same time,
participating into the -- all the resolutions that have been taken to support Ukraine.
So, I think that is a bit exaggerated to say that there's a big difference between -- maybe the wording that the government has been using and the
sense that it is in the population that is overwhelming. I mean, if you come to (INAUDIBLE), and I hope you will come, and you will see that there
are Ukrainian flags everywhere, and there have been a lot of initiatives from the Georgian population to show and demonstrate their support.
Because, as I said earlier, we share two centuries of common history of Russian aggressions and we know what that mean. And so, I think that we are
really in solidarity with Ukraine.
And if the question comes to sending armaments to Ukraine, I think it's something that I would smile about because it's not Georgia that can really
make a difference and send armaments to Ukraine. There are many other countries that are protected by Article 5 that can do that, and that do
that. And that's very important. Those countries that are protected, that have their security guaranteed, that do everything that they can to support
Ukraine. And in that sense, I would completely side with the Ukrainian president to say that whoever can do more should be doing more.
AMANPOUR: So, I sort of started by asking you, you know, your experience in Georgia with Russian invasions. But what about what you've learned that
might be useful for Ukraine? I mean, do you -- what do you think of Putin's actual end goal, his end game in this country?
ZOURABICHVILI: I think that probably, right now, he doesn't know what his end game is. I think that whatever the end game or the objective was at the
beginning of the aggression, Russia has not succeeded in fulfilling these objectives, and that's very important.
At this stage in time, Russia has not won, but that's an extreme success for Ukraine, for the Ukrainian unity, for the Ukrainian resistance. I think
that nobody had expected that, and certainly not the President Putin. And I don't know whether his objective now have changed. What is important is
that what he has not the war, not be allowed to win (INAUDIBLE).
AMANPOUR: We are just hearing an air raid siren going off, you know, they say they're regrouping or deescalating around here. But we haven't seen a
huge amount of evidence around that. In fact, quite the contrary.
But finally, you know, let me ask you, do you think Putin has bigger aims because the president -- prime minister of Poland has said that he thinks
Putin is in this for the long haul, and you know, his popularity went up at home, and he may just sit and wait and but this time until he gets what he
thinks he wants?
ZOURABICHVILI: I don't think his popularity went up. I think that when he's not successful -- and I wish you to be safe there where you are, and
everybody around you, because I'm hearing the sirens, I think that nobody should trust the words of President Putin when he says that he's going to
limit the tax on Kyiv because of the negotiations. But I don't think that his popularity is up.
Nothing -- we haven't received -- we have been receiving here, not only Ukrainian refugees but also Russians that are leaving Russia and are coming
to one of the neighboring countries. So, it's not a very big success in terms of popularity in Russia. And I don't think that time is running for -
AMANPOUR: All right. President Zourabichvili, I'm sorry, I have to say thank you, and turn away, because I can't actually hear very well. Thank
you so much indeed for joining us tonight.
And now, we turn to Washington as the investigation into the January 6th insurrection continues. Details continue to emerge about efforts made by
Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election. Donald Trump who used to support Vladimir Putin throughout his own presidency.
Now, Mark Giglio is a journalist who's focusing on war, terrorism, and national security. In his latest piece for the "Intercept," he profiled
Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers a U.S. military group that took part in the attack. Giglio joins Michel Martin now to discuss who he is and
what drives him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christian. Mike Giglio, thanks so much for talking with us.
MIKE GIGLIO, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST AND THE INTERCEPT'S "THE LONELY REVOLUTIONARY": Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: Let's go back to January 6th, I think many people who saw what was unfolding will remember this kind of column of men, many of them seemingly
dressed in what looked like tactical gear, heading up the steps of the capitol, they clearly seemed to be in some sort of order. And it emerges
that a lot of these folks were part of a group called the Oath Keepers.
Now, this is a group that you have been following for years. How would you define this group, and how did it start?
GIGLIO: So, the Oath Keepers started in 2009 right after Barack Obama's election when you saw a big rise in right-wing militant groups in America,
and they are one of the largest, if not the largest such groups in the country. And I think the number one thing that defines them is their focus
on recruiting members of police and military who are either still serving or retired.
MARTIN: And what's their purpose? What's the goal?
GIGLIO: They say that they're there to defend against tyranny and to protect the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. What
that has meant in practice, especially since Donald Trump became president, is participating as a force supporting Trump and the Republican Party, and
that's what you saw on January 6th.
MARTIN: You've interviewed the founder of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, more than a dozen times in the past couple of years. And, again I
venture to say, until January 6th, and maybe even now, most people will have never heard that time. So, tell me about him. What's his story?
GIGLIO: So, he was raised by his mother namely. She comes from a family of Mexican migrant laborers. He joined the military right out of high school
hoping to join the Green Beret Special Forces. Instead, he never deployed. He was injured during a training jump when you train to be a paratrooper.
He was a really hardline libertarian, big Ron Paul supporter. And after he was injured in the military, when he was in his like mid-to late 20s, he
went back to school and started community college, went to UNLV, and graduated with honors there, and then, ultimately, graduated from Yale Law
School. And so, this guy could have had a career as a, you know, lawyer or, you know, successful in politics, something like that with his educational
background but instead, he went down a much darker path, obviously.
And after Obama's election, he found the Oath Keepers. And his career has been as the leader and figure head of the Oath Keepers ever since.
MARTIN: You say they want to defend the constitution. You know, I'm sorry, I can't help but notice that this deep concern about the constitution seems
to have coincided with the election of the first black president of the United States. So, you can't help but think that there's a deep strain of
white supremacy involved here. What is the world that they see, that they feel they are defending, agitating for or defending against?
GIGLIO: So, with Rhodes particularly, especially because of his libertarian background, he was a guy that in very obscure blogs and places
where he was writing, you know, in the 2000s is someone that was writing about the constitution. He was very alarmed by the war on terror. He
criticized the Bush administration for the constitutional overreach.
You know, that being said, there is no way the Oath Keepers or any of these militant groups, they're not the only group that serves after Obama's
election, there is no way that they would have existed in the numbers they did if it weren't for Obama's election. And I think the best way to
understand the group is through the Tea Party. They were embedded in the Tea Party wave.
And so, that was an entire reactionary wave to Obama's presidency. I think it's undeniable that race fueled a lot of that, but not all of it. And so,
they exist in that space, you know, where the Tea Party as -- and was sort of welcoming or bringing what we would normally consider the far-right into
the mainstream Republican politics, and I think that's really the trend that you need to track if you want to understand the Oath Keepers.
And just, you know, you're raising a really important question, just in general, when they talk about the constitution, and they want to defend it
against all enemies, foreign and domestic, but I think it raises the question always of, well, who is defining the enemies? If you're doing this
outside the structure of the police and military, who is defining who the enemy is?
And obviously, we saw like during the presidency of Donald Trump, they defined the enemy as Black Lives Matter protesters, Antifa, they called
them insurgents, they said that Trump should deploy troops to stop them. And so, they were very much part of this culture war that I think has
engulfed, you know, a much larger segment of the right.
MARTIN: But it doesn't seem as though they have any kind of coherent agenda, a coherent specific desire for how American society should be
different other than that they're mad.
GIGLIO: I think it's a drive for power at this point. And I think an overarching fear that their way of life, which they would not in
conversation with me or anyone else define on race. And, you know, obviously when they're speaking, like they try to move away from that. But
it's more their -- the conservative values, as they define them.
You know, and I really think like that is something that Trump fed, consciously. Like telling -- you know, if you look at the speech with which
Trump launched his reelection campaign, it is100 percent geared toward this viewpoint, you are under threat. Your way of life, however you define it,
is going to be taken away from you. Liberals are going to change every facet of the America you know and make it something different.
I think the echoes of race in that are obvious, and I think so do you, but they're not -- that's not what they're talking about when they talk about
this stuff. It's painted as a much larger societal threat. And that's why, I think, the lie about the election is so dangerous because the way that
this is -- these are people that have believed, again, for years that there's a threat of tyranny and that the country is on the cusp of going
past this point of no return. Now, they have been told that the election has been stolen. Now, they have been told it has perhaps has reached the
point of no return.
What is the recourse available to you if there's not elections? And these are groups that have defined themselves on the potential for political
violence, you know, with being armed being so adamant about the second amendment, and saying that, if necessary, if it comes to it, you know,
that's how they'll couch it, we will fight. And now, you're in the moment - - now, you have Trump and the entire apparatus of the Republican Party, in one way or another, telling people that, maybe this moment is here.
MARTIN: So, tell me about January 6th, what was their role on January 6th?
GIGLIO: So, according to prosecutors, the Oath Keepers had two columns of members, as you've transcribed, break into the capitol with the other
rioters. So, I think that they were -- they're being portrayed, at least, by prosecutors as a major part of the breach of the capitol, not the ring
leaders of it, as far as prosecutors said so far, but just a part of it, and an organized part of it.
I think it's important, and I spent a lot of time in this in my recent article, to understand that they were seeing themselves as potentially
having a much bigger role than that, and that they were -- Stewart Rhodes, in particular, a (INAUDIBLE) the Oath Keepers as waiting to respond to
Trump's call to potentially take up arms. You know, they had stashed weapons in Virginia, and they were -- you know, he had written these open
letters saying, we ready if called upon to act as an armed enforcer, you know, for the president.
And, you know, it seems like they thought that was a real possibility. I haven't found anything to say why they thought that would be a possibility,
but I think it's really telling that they thought this could really happen and that they were ready to do that as they portrayed themselves. And
that's, again, as being an armed wing of a party, you know, one part of the spectrum and really one person if that had actually come true.
MARTIN: So, what happened afterwards? I mean, first of all, the former president had many days in which he, you know, pardoned his -- some, you
know, former associates of his, he chose not to pardon any of them, he could have, but he didn't. What -- you know, what now? How many of them are
in custody? In fact, Stewart Rhodes is in custody now, isn't he?
GIGLIO: Yes. So, he was arrested in January, and denied bail, and he's supposed to go on trial, I think, in July or it could get pushed to this
fall. And he's facing charges of seditious conspiracy, and that could be at least two decades in prison.
I spoke to him after January 6th a few times and I noted, you know, a sense of betrayal on his part, you know, feeling like Trump had left him out to
dry. He mentioned the pardons issue saying, you know, he didn't even pardon us on his way out of office. He could have, you know. And I find it telling
that Trump recently has been saying, if he gets reelected, he'll consider pardons for January 6th people. You know, he's -- I think he's hearing the
critiques from this segment of the right, and he's trying to respond to it.
You know, the last time I spoke to Rhodes -- the last time I met with Rhodes was in early January, like right on the eve of January 6th, I wanted
to speak to him about anniversary and his expectations, and he was really adamant in complaining about not receiving support from Trump or from any
big players in the Stop the Steal movement.
It came out in a report in Buzz Feed recently that after Rhodes was arrested, Sidney Powell stepped in with the money that she had raised and
began funding his legal defense. And I think that's a major, you know, development, you know, as far as him actually now seeming to receive at
least some support from the Stop the Steal players.
MARTIN: So, just for the record, I need to note that Rhodes has pleaded not guilty to the charges of seditious conspiracy. His lawyers describe his
actions on January 6th as not criminal, not extreme, and not serious, and they insisted there's no compelling or legal reason to continue to detain
him. The fact that all of the other levers (ph) of government have -- do not adhere to the point of view that the election was stolen, has any of
that penetrated his consciousness?
GIGLIO: I was really struck by the fact that he could feel so betrayed by Trump, which he did, at least, in my interviews with him, yet still so
convinced that the election was stolen. That that idea, like this sort of movement of January 6th can even be independent of Trump, that, you know,
they could just take on a life of its own.
And you know, I say in the piece, like, something like this, like whether you're Rhodes or whether -- even whether you're Trump, but to think that
you can know where it's going or that you can control and influence it, I think is really probably foolish.
MARTIN: Well, to your point about how these sympathies are sort of so deeply felt at the highest levels of our government, in fact, society,
there's been news this week about the extensive conversations that the wife of one of the Supreme Court justices, Supreme Court Justice Clarence
Thomas's wife, Virginia or Ginni Thomas, the constant communication she was in with the chief of staff, Former Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows, she made
the point earlier that what is worrisome is that this is no longer a fringe, but there are sympathies of these groups at the highest levels of
Republican Party and indeed, because of that, in the government. So, what do you make of that?
GIGLIO: Yes. It's -- you know, I try to, like, use the case of like someone like Stewart Rhodes to tell this story of what has happened to the
conservative movement writ large. So, you take a guy like him, before Obama's election, would have been considered fringe, far right, you know,
libertarian, you know, Ron Paul movement, which never has any chance of power, right?
He has watched his world view and his mindset, which is, you know, conspiratorial word view, the idea of that -- of that, you know, fight
against tyranny, being reinforced to him and to anyone who thinks this way by the power centers in the Republican Party, by senators, by the
president, the wife of the Supreme Court justice. You know, what would that tell rank and file conservatives, you know, if this is what's being
presented to them from the top down? These views that have always been there, but are becoming much more widespread, and it's, at this point,
being fueled from the top down.
What Sidney Powell -- if you look at Sidney Powell's press conference where she announced her master theory of election fraud, it echoes so clearly
with the theory of a new world order that militant type groups have always believed. She's 100 percent hitting all the notes of deep state
conspiracies, foreign Marxists, collaborating with traitors in the United States, domestic enemies, to take over America.
MARTIN: You've reported extensively around the world. I mean, you've reported on -- you prefer the term militant groups, others would call them
extremist groups. I'm not -- maybe you want to tell me what you think the difference is. But you've covered ISIS overseas, you've covered, you know,
militant movements all over the world. Do you see a relationship between -- or do you see similarities between the kinds of movements that you have
reported on overseas and this group, and others like it that you've reported on in the United States?
GIGLIO: Yes. So, I have lived overseas as a war correspondent for six or seven years, and then was getting ready to move back to the United States
in 2017, you know, around the last election. And I noticed people were threatening civil war and all this really militant talk that did remind me
of places that I had covered where the social fabric has just completely decayed and people are threatening violence and all the rest that is now
kind of common place.
But when I decided to, you know, at least, consider covering these groups, I did sort of a thought experiment which was, what in my experience
covering civil wars overseas could tell me whether to take these groups seriously or not? Because I don't want to just give them oxygen if they're
ultimately just -- don't matter and they are just kind of like a media show. And for me, you know, the number one thing that would make a militant
group successful overseas is if they have sympathy in the military and law enforcement, in active members and also in veterans, because that gives you
a know-how and also gives you kind of a foothold in the people who know how to fight, and any kind of really kind of calm (ph) situation who would be
countering your group.
And, you know, that was what put me onto the Oath Keepers. And, you know, I do think it's really important to understand just the extent to which these
groups or do have sympathy among law enforcement and military. You know, it's not as widespread as they would like me to portray to say that there
has been, you know, 10-headed monster, and we should all be cowering fear over them. But I do think it points to a much larger problem in American
society, where you have a not insignificant portion of people with real military and law enforcement experience who are taking these groups
seriously, who see them ideologically as on the same wave length, and also, you know, they have sympathy among a broader population.
And those -- I don't -- you know, I don't think that we're going to have necessarily some sort of civil war situation in the United States, but I
just think we are way too close to that, you know, we have way too many echoes of those situations, and I think we should be comfortable with, and
I think we should raise an alarm over any step in that direction. And that's what I'm trying to spotlight in my coverage of militant groups in
the United States.
MARTIN: Mike Giglio, thank you so much for talking with us today
GIGLIO: Thank you very having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And join me tomorrow night when I speak to Germany's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, about how this crisis has brought about some
remarkable policy shifts in Germany.
That's it for tonight though. Thanks for watching and good-bye from Kyiv.