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Interview With U.N. Special Representative For Afghanistan Deborah Lyons; Interview With Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai; Interview with Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison; Interview with Joy Division and New Order Band Member Bernard Summer; Interview with Joy Division and New Order Band Member Stephen Morris. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 20, 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 Kabul. Here's what's coming up.
My conversation with the former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai. He tells me his country is doomed if women are not part of its future.
Then: The U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, has had more meetings with the Taliban than any other Western official, and we discuss
what is to come here.
Also ahead, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Jaime Harrison, tells Michel Martin that today's Republican Party is tougher on
Mickey Mouse than on Putin.
And, finally, New Order's Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner talk about why it's so important for young men to talk about their mental health, and they
reflect on the struggles and death of Joy Division bandmate Ian Curtis.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Kabul.
This week, we have seen that Afghanistan under the Taliban seems to be at a turning point, one which could make or break this country. It is clear to
all the people we have spoken to and to my first guest this evening, the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
When I met him at his Kabul residence, he brought out his daughters and their friends to make the point that Afghanistan will be -- quote -- "a
dead country" if these girls and women are not fully part of its future. He warned that Afghanistan would be a failed state, always needing handouts,
always dependent, if women, half the population, aren't part of the solution.
We also spoke about his meetings with the current Taliban government and the recent U.S. special accountability report for Afghanistan, which has
plenty of blame to spread around for the current state of affairs.
AMANPOUR: President Karzai, welcome back to our program.
HAMID KARZAI, FORMER PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: Happy to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you about the latest news and analysis from the United States.
A special accountability watchdog has said that the decision by the Trump and Biden administrations to completely withdraw from Afghanistan, of
course, pretty much unconditionally, set in motion a cascade of events that led to the rapid collapse of the forces and the nation to the Taliban.
KARZAI: Yes, the decisions, the statements, announcements, some of the actions, and the way the peace process was conducted in Qatar, all that
plus, ahead of the way the U.S. military operated in Afghanistan, the way things were, and the neglect of what was coming from Pakistan, all of that
led to what we have today.
AMANPOUR: Just briefly, when you say the way the U.S. military operated, what do you mean?
KARZAI: Well, heavy heavy-handedness against the Afghan population, bombardments, creating prisons on our soil, much more.
AMANPOUR: And we also heard, actually, that they riled up the country folk, the tribal folk, by often, in terms of counterterrorism, going,
banging down doors, entering homes.
KARZAI: The foundation of my trouble with the United States, the foundation of the Afghan people's trouble with the U.S. presence in
Afghanistan was this.
Go to people's homes, bombarding our villages, and ignoring what was coming to Afghanistan from across the border from Pakistan.
AMANPOUR: They also say that President Ghani, your successor, really did not know much about what was happening with the military. He didn't
understand that they didn't have their own logistics capacity, the Afghan military.
And, in short -- and I have heard this from Taliban leaders as well or experts -- if Ghani had not fled that day, Kabul would not have fallen so
quickly or at all. What is -- how do you analyze that?
KARZAI: I will comment on President Ghani leaving Afghanistan that day.
I wish he had not left that day. I wish he had stayed on in the country. We had planned to send a delegation to Qatar for a good, reasonable, publicly
seen transfer of power or sharing of power that would lead to a settlement that would be seen as legitimate and acceptable, by all means, for the
Afghan people and also get international recognition.
So, yes, this part is true, unfortunately. His leaving did cause that collapse. I wish he had not left.
AMANPOUR: You didn't leave, former president. You might have been in danger. Your former foreign minister, well-known Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, did
not leave. You made a point of staying. And you even interacted with the new Taliban leaders.
What assurances did you get from them on anything, on a new government, on women's rights? What did they tell you at the beginning? How do you feel
they wanted to start their new government?
KARZAI: The day the Taliban arrived in Afghanistan, that evening, I moved -- in Kabul. That evening, I moved into Dr. Abdullah's house and stayed in
his house with him for about 12, 13 days.
And it was during those days that the Taliban leadership began to visit us. From the very beginning, our discussions were exactly of the same viewpoint
that you just expressed, an Afghanistan that is for all Afghans, a government that is acceptable to all Afghans, and people going back to
schools and education and national values. Those are good discussions.
Yes, unfortunately, some of the decisions that were announced later, two months ago on girls not going back to school from sixth to 12th grade,
those were unfortunate decisions. Those decisions that hurt Afghanistan deeply, deeply.
And you saw the reaction to those decisions by the clergy of the country. The religious scholars all over Afghanistan rose up against that decision
and criticized it.
AMANPOUR: Criticized the fact that girls were not be able to go to...
AMANPOUR: ... schools?
KARZAI: Criticized strongly that the girls were not allowed to go to school. They said, this is un-Islamic. This has got nothing to do with
But this -- in Islam, there's clear, clear call for education for both men and women. So, no, those decisions were wrong. They hurt the country. And
we want the Taliban to reverse that decision as soon as possible.
AMANPOUR: So, I have been here for about a week now. I had a very wide- ranging interview with Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is the deputy Taliban leader.
He's probably one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, members of the current government. He said, absolutely, they're going back to
school soon, soon, soon. The problem is, they have been saying that for a while.
What do you believe? And what actually do you think is going to happen?
KARZAI: I saw parts of that interview with you, a good interview, in which Mr. Sirajuddin Haqqani speaks of the Taliban's intention for good relations
with the United States and with the rest of the world. We approve of that. We support that. That's -- it's good for the country.
I also saw his words on the return of girls to school, which will be soon. We hope that happens as soon as possible. And that's something we also
AMANPOUR: Do you think he means it? Does he want it? We're trying to figure out, are they just saying stuff to us because we're foreigners? Or
is there a split in the Taliban?
KARZAI: No. No.
AMANPOUR: Or what? Or are they really against women?
KARZAI: No. No, it isn't -- he's not saying that because he wants the foreigners to hear good things.
But I have heard that he's been saying these same remarks also to Afghans who have met with him, exactly on the same line. So, that's a good sign.
And we hope that these good words will be soon put into action by the by the current government.
AMANPOUR: And yet, in the last few days since his interview with me, it's almost like a whole 'nother tsunami of edicts have come down against women,
and the latest, of course, the brouhaha over having to mask themselves.
I went to TOLOnews. You know them very well.
AMANPOUR: They established themselves during your presidency.
KARZAI: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: They are a really excellent news organization. And they have always had women who have been modestly dressed.
But now they're saying they may have to -- well, the Taliban said they would have to cover their faces, the female presenters.
KARZAI: On the issue of hijab, matters are clear. Afghanistan has been a Muslim country for 1,400 years. And we have been a deeply believing Muslim
country. And the Afghan women have been wearing hijab constantly.
The covering of the face isn't hijab. That's a tradition in some countries, not Afghan tradition. The Afghan tradition is wearing a huge chador, a
huge scarf on the head.
If you go to the countryside, that's what Afghan women wear. If you -- if you see our Kuchi women, for centuries, that's what they have been...
AMANPOUR: The traditional women, yes.
KARZAI: Traditional women, that's what they will wear.
The burqa, and this is not our tradition. Yes, the burqa has come to Afghanistan probably 200 or 300 years ago. But that's not our tradition in
the countryside. Women don't wear that.
Now, on the television, our newscasters or others, women coming to the screen or on the screen wearing covering of the face, that's not hijab.
That's not Afghan culture.
AMANPOUR: Do you think they should obey it? Do you think that TOLOnews...
KARZAI: No, they shouldn't. No, they shouldn't, because that has got nothing to do with hijab. That's got nothing to do with Afghan culture
either. They should not obey this.
And the Taliban leadership must rescind that decision, whoever's made that. It hurts Afghanistan. It hurts Afghanistan's reputation. And it is not
Afghan at all.
AMANPOUR: And do the Afghan people want women to be center of this approval and legitimacy?
KARZAI: Oh, absolutely important, absolutely important.
The issue of girls education is fundamental to the dignity of Afghan life. Therefore, there is no compromise there. Therefore, the call is very clear
on the Taliban government and the current government that the Afghan people will never accept that decision, that the best for them in the country is
to have girls go back to school as soon as possible.
This goes to the essence of our life and existence as a dignified society. So I denounce it in the strongest word and want the Taliban to allow girls
to go back to school as soon as possible.
AMANPOUR: That's very strong.
KARZAI: Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
KARZAI: I can be stronger than that. This is our life. I can be stronger than that.
AMANPOUR: I know you have been asked many times before. I have asked you many times before.
But, again, this latest government accountability report talks about, of course, the previous government's failings, but also mentions previous,
previous governments as well, in terms of corruption.
Let me read you what John Sopko has written.
"Former President Karzai, it's safe to say, was not a willing partner in coalition efforts to combat corruption in Afghanistan."
Why not? Why were you not a willing partner?
KARZAI: I was a partner with them where there were genuinely efforts against corruption.
But midlife of my government, I began to believe that corruption was more foreign-driven than an Afghan thing, that the way the contracts were issued
to Afghans, the way the contracts were then subcontracted by the foreign dollars, especially the U.S. government, was the main source of major
The petty corruption, the bribes and all that, was ours.
AMANPOUR: So you own that?
KARZAI: It was part of our life. We absolutely own that. It was part of our life in the government systems, in the administration. And we own that.
But the huge corruption of millions of dollars, that was entirely out of our power to control. That was entirely led and abetted by the donor
countries, on top of which was the United States and the way they conducted business by offering contracts to individuals, by offering contracts to
government officials, and by creating things like the private security firms that themselves led to more corruption and more insecurity.
On that, not that I was -- I was not only not cooperating with them, but I suspected them of doing it. So, I refused to acknowledge what they were
doing as anti-corruption work. I saw it more as promoting corruption, rather than working against corruption.
In that sense, Mr. Sopko, when he says that I was not a partner, he is right. I was not a partner when I felt that corruption was being promoted,
and especially when I felt that it had become a tool in their hands to weaken my government.
AMANPOUR: Do you take any blame at all for enabling it?
KARZAI: I do take blame for the petty corruption. That was my responsibility to fight it, for bribes.
But I -- but I am one of those people who stood up against the big corruption and kept telling U.S. officials and government people that they
must not to do what they're doing.
AMANPOUR: The U.S., when it decided to pull out of here, assured the United States and the world that the one thing they were clear on that they
had achieved was the decapitation of any terrorist efforts that could threaten the U.S. homeland and their allies.
And yet now we're hearing a new CENTCOM report that that may not be true anymore, that ISIS-K may be able to in the next 12 months to 18 months
mount and may be motivated to do that.
Mr. Haqqani told me that on no account, and he promised the United States, would this country be used as a new terrorist haven.
What's your view on that?
KARZAI: I believe it is the responsibility of the Afghan government, the current government, to do all it can to free the country from extremism and
I mean, that's good for Afghanistan as well. That is the responsibility of us as a nation. That's the responsibility of the current government. And
I'm glad Mr. Haqqani has given you that assurance.
But the United States of America, if their concern is genuine that Afghanistan can become or is in any way a place from where terrorist
organizations can hurt them or the rest of the world, we, the Afghan people, certainly would cooperate and welcome that cooperation, but a
Look, we do have lots of complaints about the way U.S. conducted itself in Afghanistan, especially militarily, but we also recognize that the United
States of America, its people supported Afghanistan with tremendous generosity, the millions of Afghans educated, the millions of our boys and
girls educated, the middle class that was created in Afghanistan, lots of reconstruction, the roads, the highways.
That's because of the United States and other allies who supported us. And we appreciate that, and we welcome it. And we definitely would want to be
in best of relations and partnership with the United States, where both countries benefit.
AMANPOUR: President Karzai, thank you very much indeed.
KARZAI: You're welcome, ma'am. Good talking to you.
AMANPOUR: Joining me now to talk about the Talibanization of Afghanistan is Deborah Lyons. As the U.N. special envoy here, she has had more meetings
with the Taliban leaders than any other Western official since they took over.
So, welcome to the program. You are a rich mine of information for us, because it's a little like reading the tea leaves trying to figure out.
So I guess the first question is, how do you deal with this new government? You have to engage with them. You are not the humanitarian side. You are
the political and organizational, operational side of the U.N. So how do you deal?
DEBORAH LYONS, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR AFGHANISTAN: Christiane, it's extremely important that we understand who they are, that we
understand where they think they're going in governing Afghanistan, or attempting to.
It's very important that we meet with them on a regular basis and engage them in dialogue. I have met with hundreds, probably thousands of Afghans
who want the U.N. to be here, at both the humanitarian development and political level, to engage with the Taliban.
It is a qualified engagement, of course, because of sanctions and nonrecognition, but it is a critical engagement, if we are to restore the
economy, if we are to deal with this incredible humanitarian crisis, if we are to better help the country move forward.
So we deal with them, as you can imagine, on a one-to-one basis in terms of meeting with the various leadership, finding out where they see moving with
the ministries that they're responsible for, but also trying to understand, how do -- what is their view of the country? How do they see taking the
They have not yet defined that. They have not yet truly defined how they plan to move the country forward, how, in fact, they're even making
decisions, what they see as the economic plan for the country.
So, we are still working to try to understand each of the individuals who make up the leadership, and then to understand the leadership as a whole.
It is critical in terms of the relationship as well with the international community. We consider ourselves to be a bridge. And, of course, in that
bridge, human rights is probably one of our biggest pillars.
And, as you can imagine, it makes the engagement very challenging.
AMANPOUR: So, I interviewed the deputy Taliban leader, and I asked him precisely these questions. Do you do realize, do you accept that these
human rights conditions, the conditions of women here are fundamental to the international community's relationship with you?
Are you they say, yes, yes, and the girls have to go back to school. And I have been told that this particular leader genuinely believes it. Do you
believe he believes it? And, if not, if he does believe it, why is it not unlocked?
LYONS: Clearly, some do believe it. Some do. And we have heard this from a large number of Taliban leaders.
But they have not come together as an entity to say that girls can go back to school. So, clearly, as a governing entity, they have not been able to
find both the vision, the justification, and the plan for moving forward.
It's been 10 months almost now. I think next week will be 250 days that girls have been barred from going to secondary school, the only country in
the world. They understand that this is important for the international community.
AMANPOUR: Sorry. You just said the only country in the world?
LYONS: The only country in the world where its girls -- where children, where any child, where girls are barred from going to secondary school, to
go to school at all.
So this is not -- this is not what Afghanistan wants to be. The Afghans in two surveys that were done just even in the last year overwhelmingly want
their children educated. And when you talk about issues like reconciliation and the many Afghans who left, if you want to attract them back, which the
Taliban leadership say they do, if you want reconciliation, then you need to demonstrate, when people return to the country, their children will be
So this is probably one of the most pivotal issues. And when you talk about my engagement with that, every meeting, this comes up. Every meeting, I
AMANPOUR: When we first came here, we had to go to the Foreign Ministry, get our papers. We talked to the Foreign Ministry spokesman, who speaks a
And I asked him, so, how's it going? "Perfect," he said. "This is perfect. The only thing is, is the sanctions, but, otherwise, this is perfect."
And I just wondered whether -- because others have told me that many of the current leadership believe that things are just going great, that they're
here. They do say that they have had -- there's no casualties since they have been here, more or less. People haven't been killed. The war has
stopped, more or less. I know there's been a spate of terrorism over the last several weeks.
They feel -- they say they're not getting credit for that. They say that some of them feel very sort of ideological.
What do you see? Do you see them defensive? Do you see them ideological? Do you see any opening to be able to have some kind of proper bridge-like
talking with that, pragmatic?
LYONS: Well, that is entirely my objective every day, to find the opening, so that we can have the conversations about these issues.
I mean, in terms of everything being fine, the economic is in dire situation. There's no question, the economy, it's an area where we have to
move forward. We have made great progress, of course, with our the work of our humanitarian partners, in terms of dealing with that issue.
But this country doesn't want to be in a continuous vicious cycle of humanitarian crises. So we have got to get the economy moving again. And
the Taliban needs to assess what their economic strategy is going to be, how they're going to work with the private sector.
We need to keep the international community engaged to help in that effort as well, which means that, in turn, the Taliban have got to demonstrate to
the international community that they are going to be engaged in a responsible manner on so many of these issues.
So, when we talk about, yes, that we have seen the fighting, the major war, if you would like, between the republic and the Taliban come to an end, for
now, indeed, we have -- and that has brought a nice calm in the country. But it is still an uneasy calm.
AMANPOUR: Because it's brought economic collapse with it.
LYONS: It brought -- well, it brought economic collapse with it. We see some -- we do see some violence. And, as you said, we have seen some
incidents of terrorism in the last while.
All of this demonstrates that the Taliban have to continue to put out the effort to engage their people in a society that feels that everyone is
included. We still do not have the inclusive governance that we have been asking for, that the international community has been asking for. We still
don't have the reconciliation efforts in place that they have been talking about.
It is true that it has only been eight, nine months. But we do need to see more progress on all those fronts in order to continue to have the
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, because you can see a debate rising in the international community now as to whether you stay with a sort of a hard
line, and there will be no recognition, and there will be no action and no lifting of sanctions as long as they don't do the kinds of things we have
been talking about, vs. you cannot hold an entire country responsible, you cannot impose collective punishment on an entire country for the sins of a
group that you don't particularly like.
Laurel Miller, as you know, former U.S. acting special envoy here, she said Taliban is kind of impervious to outside influence. She said they listen to
their own clerics, base their own decisions on what they feel, and that, furthermore, if this continues this way, it could become a failed state,
which is in nobody's interests, not the U.S., not the international community, not the region.
LYONS: Well, clearly, I think that's, again, part of the reason why we are engaging with them.
And it's part of the reason why we have got to do the economic work, because people are hungry. People don't have jobs. People are dealing with
shelter issues. People are dealing with health issues.
I think the Taliban is learning how these crises are continuing if they don't take action. And taking action means doing that in cooperation with
the international community and, frankly, with the regional countries as well.
So, are they impervious? I think we have seen at times where we have made some inroads, where we have had some impact, but we are in a particularly
difficult period right now, with their decisions of late on girls not going to school and a number of the other decisions that you have covered in this
past week, issues with the media, not bringing more inclusive governance to the fore.
LYONS: This is going to continue to be a problem.
AMANPOUR: Well, a very visible sign of this -- of these edicts is obviously the edict against -- full face covering, full body covering and
Have there been -- as has been reported, have they come, the Ministry of Virtue and Vice, and stuck up posters on your walls? Have they told you --
what have they told you?
LYONS: Not on the walls within our compounds, of course, because that would be unacceptable.
We did get reports that posters were put up near our compound. But I'm hoping that, at this point, the Ministry of Vice and Virtue and the Taliban
leadership will understand that this decree should be seen as nothing more than guidance, and they should trust the women of Afghanistan to be able to
choose how they should dress.
If they want to perhaps express the greatest indicator of respect for the women of Afghanistan, they should give them the right to choose.
AMANPOUR: You might have heard President Karzai's interview, in which he was very vociferous and very forceful about how women should go to school
and these schools should be open not the next day, but tomorrow.
And he was very, very vociferous about that. He said that this country would basically be a dying country and a dead country if half the
population is not able to engage and to be part of the solution.
Well, I mean, I guess you would agree with that, right?
AMANPOUR: And is it a help what he says, by the way, as an ex?
LYONS: Is it helpful that he says this?
LYONS: I think it's helpful for all leaders all over the world to say this, frankly.
LYONS: But I'm sure we have had enough evidence now about women's engagement in society.
If you want to determine the single most important indicator of stability in a country, it is how that country treats women and engages women in its
LYONS: These decisions of late are very concerning. I'm hoping that we're going to see a decision on the girls going back to school soon.
Right after, we also have to see the women being invited back to work in all of the ministries. We will...
AMANPOUR: Is it mostly the ministry? Can you clarify? Are women blanketly refused work? Because, obviously, we have seen them working.
LYONS: They are told to stay home in most of the ministries.
AMANPOUR: The ministries, but not in other private enterprise?
LYONS: In some private enterprises, of course.
I think we have seen them in banks.
LYONS: They are at customs. You will see them at the airports.
AMANPOUR: Yes, immigration.
LYONS: You will see them at -- in passports.
But, overall, throughout the government departments -- I think, in a few ministries (INAUDIBLE) and a few others...
AMANPOUR: Yes, Haqqani, yes.
LYONS: ... they have brought women back.
But, overall, the women civil servants have been told to stay home until arrangements are made. And we keep hearing this, until arrangements are
made. It is time now that arrangements are made.
AMANPOUR: In our last minute, President Karzai and indeed the U.S. special accountability report laid a lot of blame for the collapse, including the
rapid flight of the former President Ashraf Ghani.
And I asked President Karzai. And he agreed. He said, if he hadn't fled that day, maybe the city wouldn't have fallen, maybe there would have been
an orderly transition.
Do you believe that?
LYONS: I think it's impossible. It's impossible to say what might have been.
I think it was a very, very difficult time, with a lot of miscommunication. I think we were working very hard with the peace negotiations to try to
arrive at a political settlement. There was an indication that there was going to be an intensified effort, that the Taliban were engaged in that
And, instead, we ended up with this very immediate collapse, which caused the unfortunate chaos for so long. Now we're picking up the pieces, because
that's what we are here to do for the Afghan people. And the international community, I believe, and the regional countries are trying extremely
AMANPOUR: All right.
LYONS: ... to bring -- to bring support.
But the Taliban need to demonstrate their engagement in that as well.
Deborah Lyons, special representative for the U.N. here in Afghanistan, thank you very much indeed.
LYONS: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much.
Now, this past week, there have been primaries. It's primary season underway in the United States. Pennsylvania's Republican Senate race is
still too close to call. While Democrats strategize to keep their majority in the Senate and the House. The chairman of the Democratic National
Committee, Jaime Harrison joins Michel Martin to discuss the politics of this year's midterm elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Jaime Harrison, Mr. Chairman, thank you so much.
JAIME HARRISON, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thank you so much for having me.
MARTIN: Since you and I are speaking now, primaries were just held in what have been some important states for Democrats and also for Republicans,
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, also, you know, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon. What do you think we've learned from the results that we've seen so far?
HARRISON: Well, one of the things that I was very excited to see, we had strong turnouts from Democrats. And particularly in two of our -- the
targeted battleground States, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In Pennsylvania, we saw 400,000 more voters come out in the Democratic Primary
over what we have seen previously in 2018. And similarly, we had very strong turnout in North Carolina as well.
And so, that polls well for us. We have gotten some really strong candidates who -- Pennsylvania and North Carolina to be our standard-
bearers for the United States Senate. And I think that's a great thing as well. And what I've seen is coming out of the primary that -- the
coalescing that sometimes is very difficult to take place after a primary. It's happening and it's happening very quickly and very strongly.
And so, that's what you want to do. You want to see the party come together to support the nominee so that we are well-positioned to win the race in
MARTIN: And what do you think we've learned about the results on the Republican side?
HARRISON: It's a hot mess. I mean, you've got Donald Trump pulling the Republican Party in one direction. I mean, you take, for instance, in
Pennsylvania. Mastriano, who is now the Republican candidate for governor. This guy is a QAnon believer. He believes in the big lie. He participated
in the January 6th insurrection. And he now is their standard-bearer for the governorship in the Great State of Pennsylvania.
And then you look at the Republican Primary for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania, and it's even a bigger mess. You got one guy who actually
lives in New Jersey and the other guy who actually lived in Connecticut. All vying to be the next senator from the Great State of Pennsylvania. All
trying to be the next Donald Trump and out Donald Trump each other. But that is what we see with these ultra-MAGA Republicans who are running for
office these days. Instead of fighting for the people, instead of trying to do things that improve the lives of people, they're trying to kowtow to
Donald Trump. And that's just sick.
MARTIN: Well, OK. But let's talk about what effect that that may have electorally. I mean, the fact is, you know, analysts going into this year
have basically said that the Democrats are in a world of hurt, in part because it's just structural that midterm elections tend to be tough on the
-- whatever party holds the White House. In addition to that, there are more Democrats who are up for reelection in more vulnerable places or in
places that the -- they're battlegrounds in part because they are in play.
And on top of that, you have people looking at the fact that Republicans, for whatever reason, have been willing to co-allow around a very narrow
basket of issues, right? And what we've seen is that the former president's endorsement alone isn't enough to pull candidates across the finish line,
right? But we also see that this willingness to embrace election denialism has taken hold in the Republican Party. So, people are saying all that
together says that this is going to be a tough year for Democrats. Do you agree?
HARRISON: No, I don't agree. I mean, analysts said that we couldn't win runoff elections in Georgia. Well, hell, we didn't win one, we won two. Hon
Ossoff and Reverend Warnock are actually United States Senators in the State of Georgia. You know, pundits in the past said, you know, it's hard
to beat the incumbent president, well you got an incumbent -- for incumbent president who's now golfing in Mar-a-Lago, watching conspiracy theories at
movie night every Friday at Mar-a-Lago.
So, analysts will say a lot of things. But at the end of the day, if the Democratic Party comes together in terms of being a one page, in terms of
message and mission and purpose, I know that we can make our own history.
The Republican Party right now is a party that is built on fraud, is a party that is built on fear, and is a party that has been touching on
fascism for the past few years now. And it's very, very dangerous. Think about this in this country. You have one party that has a full-frontal
assault on democracy right now. One party that was integral in a coup attempt of the American government, from the legislative branch to the
executive branch, and maybe even the judicial branch given Clarence Thomas and his wife's involvement. They are going after free speech in this
country. They love to go after the second amendment, but they got to understand before the second, was the first, which is freedom of speech in
Right now, you have a party that is banning books. They're trying to go after privacy rights and the rights of women to control their own bodies.
They're going after voting rights in this country. They're attacking the LGBTQ community. They're asking people -- Greg Abbott asking people to
report on families that have trans youth. These are things that don't sound American. They sound like something you'd find in places like Russia. And
that is the standard. That is the core of the Republican Party these days.
MARTIN: So, is that the Democrat's message, that Republicans are dangerous and anti-Democratic? Is that the core of it?
HARRISON: Well, it is. And it's not just a Democratic message, it's the reality of the situation right now in this country. We have never seen
these types of attacks on our fundamental freedoms. And we all should be very, very frightened by it. The attacks on the press. The cost-in text.
This is all in a mainstream of the Republican Party.
Who would have ever thought, Michel, that the Republican Party, a party where Donald -- when Ronald Reagan, who really was the heart of the
Republican Party, as I grew up, as a child who was born in the '70s and really cut my teeth in understanding politics in the '80s. And you see how
revered Ronald Reagan was, he was the man who said, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall, 35 years ago. And now, the -- Republican president is
basically telling the former KGB agent, Mr. Putin, you know, go ahead. Go rebuild the wall. It's fine. We're OK with that.
MARTIN: OK. OK.
HARRISON: They are harder on Mickey Mouse than they are on Vladimir Putin. And that is today's Republican Party.
MARTIN: And do you think that that message is sufficient for people who are struggling with quality-of-life issues? I'm sure you know the
Republican argument, you know, better than anybody, the Republican argument at its core is that this administration, in particular, Democrats in
general aren't addressing quality of life issues like exorbitant gas prices, like the infant formula shortage.
Their argument -- they're really not talking on the campaign trail about these anti-Democratic initiatives that you have enumerated, and that people
like I cover. But that they are talking about is infant formula shortages and gas prices and inflation. So, what's your answer?
HARRISON: Well, my answer is what I mentioned earlier, Michel, it's the Republican hypocrisy. It's not, you know when I was a teacher, I used to
teach my kids, you got to show and not tell. This is talking a lot, but the question is, the bill is on the floor. To address gas prices. To go after
our energy producers who are gouging folks at the pump. How do they vote? They vote, no. When they get an opportunity to put people on the Federal
Reserve to help address the inflation issues, how do they vote? Well, they don't even vote. They don't even show up to the hearing in order to do that
in the United States Senate.
When they get an opportunity to bring down the cost of insulin, which the last time I -- there are diabetic that are Republican, Democratic, and
independent. When they get an opportunity to vote on legislation there, what did they do? They vote, no. Last night, they got the opportunity to
vote to address infant -- the infant formula, for the past week that's all they wanted to talk about. And 192 Republicans voted, no.
On infrastructure, they talk about infrastructure week for four years. And most of the Republicans in the house, many of them in the Senate, voted no.
But now since the money is flowing into the States because Joe Biden's leadership and Democrats are housing the Senate, they want to take credit
That is today's Republican Party. They are built on fraud, fear, fascism, and they are hypocrites. And that is no exaggeration. Just take a look at
what their rhetoric is and how they vote when they get an opportunity to address these issues.
MARTIN: One of the structural advantages that the Republicans have is that they control more State Legislatures --
MARTIN: -- which is that they control voting apparatuses. And they have control of things like the drawing of redistricting maps. Those are
realities on the ground. How are you addressing those structural advantages that the Republicans have been working on and have put in place really over
the last decade leading to this moment? What's your answer to that?
HARRISON: Well, you know, that's been a reality on the ground for the past decade or so, that the Republicans have had more control of statehouses and
governor's mansions. And therefore, even in the last redistricting, it was the same type of process. And so, what we have been doing, and not to so
much be reactive but to be proactive, is that we have built the largest voter protection program in the history of the Democratic Party.
And instead of starting three months before the election and starting to put voter protection teams and lawyers and all on the ground, we started
this well into the beginning of last year. Building out operations in your battleground States to make sure that we have boots on the ground to
educate our voters. To make sure we start the registration process of those voters. To organize those voters. And to -- all set up to protect those
voters once they go to the polls and after they go to the polls to make sure that their votes are counted. And that's really important.
MARTIN: What are some of those efforts look like?
HARRISON: So, for instance -- I'll give you an example. We have poured millions of dollars into new technology at the DNC for voter protection.
So, one of the things that we know that -- in Republican states, they love to do this, purge voters from voter rolls. And it tends to be that those
voters that they purge from voter rolls our folks from black and brown communities or younger voters, right?
So, we decided to invest in some technology so that we are alerted when those purges happen. And that we immediately are able to then link up with
the information for those individuals that are purged. And that we can contact them through social media, contact them through organizing
movements on the ground, and canvassing, phone calls to immediately get them back on the voter rolls. And to make sure that they know that their
names have been taken off by the Republican Party. And that's just one example of how we're trying to be proactive.
MARTIN: Fundraising isn't something is -- it's not always this positive but it's certainly something, right? It seems that right now, in the first
quarter at least, Democrats are doing well. The RNC, the Republican National Community edged out the Democrats in 2021 fundraising slightly.
But in the first quarter, the Democrats seemed to be doing well. Again, why do you think that is?
HARRISON: Because, you know, folks are motivated. And we're doing well on that -- because we're getting a lot of money from big-dollar donors. But a
lot of the fundraising, 90 percent of our donors give below $200 to the DNC. And so, for the first time last year -- excuse me, we had over a
million donors at the DNC and those are small-dollar donors who are very motivated to giving.
And when they see things like the leaked opinion come in from the Supreme Court, they see that our fundamental rights in this country are being
attacked. And in order -- their only -- there's one way to really address that. Is to change the leadership that we've had at local levels, in
statehouses, in governor's mansions. And that means that you have to have a well-funded party apparatus. And so, they're willing to make those
commitments to fund us so that we can build that.
We are working on a 57 State and territory strategy. And that's why I'm going all over the country. I'm even going to the ruby-red South, where
people have given up on this region. But I haven't. I believe, fundamentally, that we can do better. That we can compete in these areas.
But the first step in competing is showing up. Letting people know that you see them, that you hear them, that you value them. And that's what this
party is all about in my leadership. And that's what we are going to be doing from now until election season.
MARTIN: What's the next Georgia? Is it still Georgia? What's the -- what is the race that's kind of emblematic, you think, of the contrast that you
have talked about here?
HARRISON: We're going to see a number of interesting races because we've got some great candidates. A few races that I'm really paying a lot of
attention to, and particularly for the senate because I think this -- the fight to the senate is so important this year. You know, and it may not be
on the radar to some folks, but you know, you got -- you know, right now Cheri Beasley and probably Val Demings who could be elected. Two African-
American women, elected to the United States Senate, one from Florida, the other one from North Carolina.
But I also want folks to understand that in order to keep our majorities in the United States Senate in Georgia, Warnock, in Arizona, Kelly, in Nevada,
Cortez Masto, in New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan. We have to make sure that those four get reelected. And then we got some great opportunities down the
road in some of these other States. So, it's going to be an interesting -- for all of the politicos out there, it's going to be an interesting year.
But we are in this fight.
MARTIN: So, before I let you go. How are you doing? I mean, do you like this job?
HARRISON: Yes. You know what, I love this party. This party has done so much for me. And I have so much respect and love for Joe Biden and Kamala
Harris, two of the most decent people I've ever gotten an opportunity to meet and work with.
You know, I grew up in South Carolina. The son of a teen mom. My first political memory was Jesse Jackson giving a speech at the 1988 convention.
And I saw this black man from South Carolina talking to young people, particularly, and giving them hope. And, you know, that was a little
mustard seed that was planted in me and continued to grow. And it's been this party that has given me so much. You know, when -- programs that were
so necessary for me to thrive. You know, welfare and food stamps and WIC and all of those things, I wouldn't have gotten classes because my family
couldn't afford it had it not been for the Medicaid program.
And so, what I love being chair of this party is that I could get to fight for folks and those issues. I get to support candidates who I know will
protect those types of programs. But first and foremost, is the ability to give people hope that our, again, that our better days are ahead of us. And
to do it with somebody like Joe Biden, who believes in our State Parties, who is a good and decent person.
MARTIN: Is that enough then? I mean, is that enough for the average voter right now who's looking at $5 a gallon gas? And whatever raise they got
last year is quickly being evaporated in that clause of grocery? Is that enough, the fact that he's a decent man with a vision, is not enough?
HARRISON: It was enough to motivate 81 million people, the most that have ever voted for a candidate for United States in 2020. And I believe, that
fundamentally, as Joe Biden goes all around this country to -- and demonstrates to people that he sees them and hears them, he knows the
struggles firsthand. Because he's experienced the pain that many folks are experiencing. I think that will be enough. Because the contrast is a real
one. That you have another party on the other side that don't understand the American people, that aren't fighting for the American people. They're
just fighting for their own power.
I'll tell you every day that Joe Biden wakes up thinking about how to improve the lives of the American people. I can't tell you that Kevin
McCarthy and Mitch McConnell wake up every day thinking about that. They think about how -- what curtains they can put up in their new speaker's
office when the majority leaves office. That is not what you see in the Democratic Party. We're about the people and delivering for them, every
day, in as much as we can.
MARTIN: Mr. Chairman, Jaime Harrison, thank you so much for talking with us. I do hope we'll talk again.
HARRISON: Thank you so much for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And thanks for that conversation to Michel.
And finally, the UK just marked Mental Health Awareness Week. But this is of course a global issue, as we've seen here in Afghanistan in the rise in
mental anguish under the Taliban, especially amongst women and girls. The British rock band, New Order, is trying to raise awareness about the
importance of speaking up. The group is famous for post-punk anthems like "Blue Monday".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEW ORDER, BRITISH ROCK BAND: From the past until completion. They will turn away no more. And I still find it so hard, to say what I need to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The band formed after Joy Division folded following the suicide of its lead singer, Ian Curtis, 42 years ago this week. My colleague,
Michael Holmes, spoke to the bandmates, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris about the loss of their friend and the power of music. Here is their
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, thanks so much for being with us today. Now,
let's start with this. You're both taking part in this suicide prevention panel at Britain's Houses of Parliament. What message would you deliver?
BERNARD SUMNER, BAND MEMBER, "JOY DIVISION" & "NEW ORDER": Just always, there's a better way -- that there's got to be a better way than taking
your own life. And I guess we're there to raise public awareness of it and to try and help to increase funding for mental health. Particularly in
young people, on this occasion, yes.
STEPHEN MORRIS, BAND MEMBER, "JOY DIVISION" & "NEW ORDER": Yes, there is a crisis going on at the moment, particularly, in -- with young people. And
anything that you can do to stop people taking their own life has got to be a good thing, really.
HOLMES: Well, let's talk about Ian and his battles. Ian Curtis' story, it's -- his epilepsy was severe and required strong medication.
I mean, more than once he had seizures on stage during performances. Speak to the effect, the epilepsy had not just on Ian's day-to-day life but his
overall mood when it comes to mental health.
SUMNER: Initially, when the band started, Ian didn't have epilepsy or it wasn't showing. And he didn't have a history of it. And then one day, it
was a gig down here in London actually, at the Hope & Anchor, one day on the way back to Manchester, he had a seizure in the car. And that was the
start of it all. And I think the drugs that they put people on in those days for epilepsy, which were very strong barbiturates were like a
sledgehammer, you know. And it just hammered him down. And I think the drugs gave him depression more than anything else.
HOLMES: Bernard, did Ian's writing reflect his real-life torment?
SUMNER: It was only after Ian died that we really listened to his lyrics. Of course, we did hear his lyrics and thought they were kind of deep in a
strange. But it was after he died that we thought, maybe -- you know, these lyrics were more serious than we thought they were. And you know, delved
MORRIS: I mean, Ian's lyrics were right. We were very lucky to have somebody who wrote such fantastic lyrics. But I thought Ian's really
clever. He's writing about somebody else. It's great how we can get in the mind of another person. And then, after his death, you'd look at it and
think, oh, it was all about him.
SUMNER: The thing was, there were two personas. There was Ian that hung out with us and was a good laugh and have lots and lots of fun with, just
like the rest of us did. And then there was the persona that was expressed through his lyrics. And they were, you know, poles apart, really. The two
didn't add up. And that's what --
HOLMES: It --
SUMNER: -- was confusing.
HOLMES: -- it was interesting too because I know that -- I'm not sure whether it was Bernard or Stephen, one of you said that Ian's major flaw
was that he always wanted to please you. He would say he was alright when he wasn't. And that's a problem with many who have mental health issues,
isn't it? Not speaking up or seeking help, or feeling that they can't or shouldn't.
MORRIS: Yes, in particular in the '70s there was a sort of stigma that you didn't want to admit there was anything wrong with you. You were being
really macho inside. You know, are you alright, you know, because you looked a bit shakier while out there? And you'd say no, I'm fine. I'm fine.
I'm fine. And you wouldn't -- it was like a sign of weakness to say there was something wrong with you. When really, this particularly with young
men, you should be able to talk about issues like that.
SUMNER: I don't think we were as educated about mental health as we are nowadays. You know, and that is part of the reason why we're down here to
help educate, particularly young people, more about various conditions. And it's OK to talk about. It's cool to talk about it amongst your friends.
SUMNER: And it's cool to seek help if you need help, get help. It's no stigma involved.
HOLMES: You know, Ian was remarkable in many ways. What do you see as his legacy, both as a musician, but also in terms of what his struggle and
ultimate death can teach us?
SUMNER: His legacy, what would you say his legacy was, Steve?
MORRIS: I think, his legacy is --
SUMNER: Was. Well --
MORRIS: Was (INAUDIBLE) -- obviously. Is when he get people coming up to him and say, I just want to thank you for -- thank Joy Division for the
music because it's really helped me through some tough times. And it says something that there must've been something in the music and the lyrics
that people could identify with. And I think that's a really good thing.
HOLMES: Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, fantastic to talk to you. As I was saying before the interview, I grew up with your music and a big fan.
An important message at this time on mental health.
HOLMES: So, I appreciate you making the time.
SUMNER: Thanks for having us, yes.
MORRIS: Thank you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And of course, the Taliban has banned music and public entertainment here. Now, if you or anyone you know is suffering and in need
of help, a worldwide directory of resources and international hotlines is provided by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. You can
also turn to Befrienders Worldwide.
And on this last day of our special Afghanistan coverage that started by interviewing the top Taliban government leader, ended with interviewing the
country's first democratically elected leader, and women of all walks of life in between. This could be called a turning point for the people's view
of this government's legitimacy. If girls' high schools are not reopened in a few weeks, they might never be.
If women aren't allowed to work freely, they and this nation we'll be immeasurably impoverished. Many have asked about Taliban 2.0 versus 1.0.
Well, what we can say is that this is Afghanistan 2.0, where women, men, and many religions are prepared to speak out. To amount to backlash and to
refuse to go quietly into that goodnight.
Thank you for watching. And goodbye from Kabul.