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Interview with Center for American Progress President and CEO Patrick Gaspard; Interview with "Putin" Author Philip Short; Interview with The New Yorker Chief Washington Correspondent Jane Mayer. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired August 11, 2022 - 13:00   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Hello everyone and welcome to "Amanpour". Here's what's coming up.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're seeing some signs that inflation may be getting to moderate.


GOLODRYGA: Good news on inflation. A legislative streak and the price of gas is down. But will it make any difference for Democrats come the

midterms? I asked Patrick Gaspard, the president of the Center for American Progress.

Then, inside the mind of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Author Philip Short talks about his revelatory new biography.

Also ahead, the latest from Kenya's nail-biting presidential election.

Plus --


JANE MAYER, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: The legislatures in a number of American States no longer reflect the will of

the people.


GOLODRYGA: Are Americas State legislatures torching democracy? "The New Yorkers" Jane Mayer certainly thinks so. Her conversation with Michel


Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

After months of pain, it looks like light could be emerging at the end of the tunnel for American consumers. The price of gas falling beneath $4 a

gallon, for the first time, since March. And there are signs that inflation could be easing with the White House touting zero inflation month on --

month in July. For Democrats, this news caps off a hat trick of legislative achievements.

President Biden signing in the PACT Act to help veterans struggling with exposure to toxic burn pits. And the CHIPS Act, boosting American

manufacturers. All ahead of a long-awaited passage of the Inflation Reduction Act which is expected to make its way through the House on


Now, amid all this, the White House is going on the offensive. Slamming Republicans ahead of the midterms. And saying they're pushing an, "Extreme

MAGA agenda". But how effective will this messaging be? Joining me now is Patrick Gaspard, the president of the Center for American Progress. He

served as the executive director of the Democratic National Committee and was the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.

Patrick, welcome to the program. So, let's start with this new White House offensive this week. Clearly, they've got some tailwind behind them.

Pushing them forward after a few weeks of big legislative winds here in the U.S. And obviously, abroad in terms of counterterrorism in capturing and

killing Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al-Qaeda.

This new memo from the White House says that this is a choice before the American people. President Biden and Congressional Democrats taking on

special interest for you and your family or Congressional Republicans' extreme MAGA agenda that serves the wealthiest corporations and themselves.

So, they're clearly going after the NRA, after Big Pharma, after oil and gas companies. The question is, is this an effective strategy?

PATRICK GASPARD, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Bianna, thank you so much for having me on. I like the way you started the segment.

Not that this was a moment of big win for Democratic party officials, but rather big wins for the American people who are beginning to see some light

and relief from inflation. Even at a moment when we have momentum on legislation.

Your question is the right one because, of course, we understand that historically, midterms have considerable advantages for the party that is

out of power and not in the White House. But we're seeing something extraordinary here, Bianna, that suggests that not only are these

legislative victories accruing to the benefit of Democrats but that Republicans have really foreclosed opportunities for themselves in the

general election as a consequence of not being in the right fight on behalf of the American people.

You just kicked off Big Pharma, the NRA, major corporations that have not been paying their fair share in taxes. These are the entities, the people

that Democrats have been taking on, that Joe Biden's been taking on, and the American people are rallying to that. So, if you ask if it's an

effective strategy, Bianna, you have to look at the polling across the battleground states. In all the spaces where we have Senate and

congressional contests and gubernatorial contests.

And it's clear that Democrats have closed the gap in the generic ballot, and now in many places have a real advantage. And that Republicans have

nominated individuals who are focusing all their energy on banning books and banning abortion. While voters clearly want Medicare prescription drugs

lowered. They want someone to address the climate crisis. And they're excited to support a party that's creating expansion of health care access.

So, I'd say the strategy is definitely working right now.


GOLODRYGA: But it is a delicate balancing act. And this is something that's been a bit of a challenge for the administration because, obviously, we're

now in 50-plus days of oil -- of gas prices continuing to decline for the first time below $4 a gallon. But that is not really something the

administration can control going forward. And who knows what will happen in the next months. Obviously, with the war in Ukraine continuing. If they're

focused on this particular issue which is a front and center issue, as you know for so many Americans, inflation and the price of gas, what happens

then if it does start to go up in the next few months?

GASPARD: You know, you're right, of course, Bianna, that we're still operating in an inflationary environment in this campaign cycle. But let's

be clear that in the month of July, inflation was recorded at 0.0 percent. And we had a 50-year low in unemployment. Astonishing indications that

there is real strength, real resilience in this economy, and that Americans are rebounding at a far faster rate than others in western economies from

the crisis of COVID.

Now, you're right that there are some things that are outside of the president's control out, out of Congresses control. But clearly, this

president has taken steps on trying to push back on the pressure from big oil and gas in using the reserves in order to drive prices down right now.

We have Nobel Prize-winning economists who have said that the Inflation Reduction Act does exactly that in the first instance that it lowers

deficits into the future which, of course, pushes back against inflationary pressure as well.

So, there are some things that are out of, you know, general control of a government. It requires partnership from government and the private sector.

But people are seeing this president take aggressive steps. And they're hearing his acknowledgment that he knows just how difficult things are. And

that he's going to continue to stay the course, put pressure in the right places, and move policies that --


GASPARD: -- are to the benefit of average Americans. And, Bianna, I'll just say it quickly that you're right that there are some things that are out of

their control but people want to see him acting on their behalf. And what they're seeing from MAGA extremist Republicans is exactly the opposite of


This Inflation Reduction Act passed by a single support of a Republican. And we're seeing a transformation in the energy economy throughout the

industrial part of the country, out into the sunbelt that, again, is taking place without Republican support. That I suspect, is going to have

consequences at the ballot box in November.

GOLODRYGA: So, let me push back with some arguments that not only Republicans are making but economists too. Because most would agree that

this would lower inflation but not in the short term. This would be something that would go into effect and have some, you know, effect on

Americans, longer term, definitely not within the next three months.

The San Francisco Fed president said that it's too early now to declare victory on the inflation fight which we will likely continue to see the Fed

continue to raise interest rates in the interim. And Karl Rove wrote an op- ed in "The Wall" -- in the editorial portion of "The Wall Street Journal". Writing that, part of the problem is that some of the bills promised price

cuts don't kick in for years. It's hard to imagine voters will be swayed by these far-off policies as they struggle today. And even in terms of the

environment, right? And what this does to address climate change.


GOLODRYGA: It is going to be difficult. Even with tax incentives for many Americans to afford some of these cars that are eligible for this tax break

right now, these fuel-efficient cars.

GASPARD: Yes. Bianna, I don't take any of that as push back with the exception of you citing Karl Rove. You know, I'll take a professional

opinion of 126 leading economists and seven Nobel laureates over Karl Rove's, you know, hackish op-eds in "The Wall Street Journal" on this bill.

In general, we have to acknowledge that we are coming out of one of the most unprecedented disruptions of the economy, of supply chain, of

unemployment globally. We are merging with some real strength and resilience in our economy. We have a ways to go to create a more broadly

shared prosperity coming out of COVID, and to continue to combat inflation.

You're not going to fix these issues overnight but we are seeing incredible progress when we wake up to July inflation numbers that are at 0.0 percent.

And we've seen a day over day, week over week decline in gas and oil prices irrespective of Putin's war.

So, of course, anyone who says that we should not be saying mission accomplished when there is much more work to do would be in radical

agreement with the president, with Democratic leadership, and Senate. The question is, what is the other side doing on these issues other than

defending big oil and gas, Big Pharma, corporations that aren't --


GOLODRYGA: Well, let me --

GASPARD: -- paying their fair while risking up --

GOLODRYGA: Let me ask you --

GASPARD: -- extreme measures on abortion and other issues.

GOLODRYGA: Let me ask you what your side is doing because it's a bit of a head-scratcher. You look at all of these achievements that we've just

mentioned on the part of President Biden, the largest ever climate bill infrastructure. Every administration for the past I don't know how many

years had been promising to tackle infrastructure. He did that. The CHIPS Act, all of this. And yet he's still polling and this is an increase at

around 40 percent and it's coming at a time where it's difficult for many within your own party to say upfront whether or not A, they think he should

run again and B, whether they would support him. Why is that?

GASPARD: Yes. You know, I'm glad that you brought up the last point. You know, I used to be the executive director of the DNC and worked as White

House political director. I can well recall back in the 90s when, you know, two-thirds of people being pulled who are saying that they want Bill

Clinton to run for reelection. He ran and won handily.

I remember being in the White House where Barack Obama when there were stories in every news outlet that Democrats had to primary him and there

was no way that he could defeat a Republican in 2012. And of course, we ignored all that, he ran, one, and set the course for a prosperous future

for the country.

I think that right now, Democrats need to ignore all of the noise. Focus, not on 2024 but on 2022, not take anything for granted here. Take advantage

of the missteps being made by MAGA extremists. And also, push into the advantages that you just cited with the kinds of bills that have been

passed. And Democrats have to recognize that even though President Biden has some challenges with his approval rating, which is true of anyone who's

ever been in that White House, he still is more popular than the Republican Party. And right now, in every head-to-head matchup, Joe Biden defeats

Donald Trump and other Republicans who are hypothetical matchups.

So, despite those challenges, he's in good standing against the opposition. Joe Biden loves to say during the campaign, don't compare me to the

almighty, compare me to the alternative. When compared to the alternative, American people understand who he's fighting for. What he is fighting

against. And that he is lifting up a frame so that America can win in the future as opposed to being dragged back to a regressive path that was never

equal and fair for all.


GASPARD: So, we're seeing Democrats that lead in State after State and in the general ballot. And I think that there's a real opportunity here to win

in a fashion that maintains the momentum for the kinds of reforms that we need on climate, the economy, and health care.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Patrick, the alternative may very well be Donald Trump again. And we may see these two candidates facing each other again for

2024. I'm just curious how concerned are you, honestly, given the news this week in light of all the positive news that the administration has

achieved, that we now, once again, have an FBI investigating a potential nominee for the president of the United States. And concerned amongst

Democrats, and even some Republicans, who are hoping maybe that he had weekend a bit in terms of hold over the power. That this is reinvigorated.

Not only his pursuit of the oval office, again, but his compassion among his supporters.

GASPARD: Yes. You know, Bianna, you asked me to answer honestly. I would only be honest to you. But I'm going to answer soberly. I am quite

concerned about the moment that we're in for our democracy. It was -- it's been astonishing to see Republican leaders defend the worst offenses for

this person. And some of us are old enough to remember when Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy were denouncing the attacks on January 6th and linking

them directly to the illiberal attitude of this president. The autocratic posture that he took when he refused to acknowledge and concede the results

of the election.

And now, when it is very, very clear that laws have been violated, as evident from everything that we've heard from Republicans themselves who

testified on January 6th. The FBI, independent of President Biden's White House is acting to investigate, to be responsible, and to honor the

Presidential Records Act which we're bound to constitutionally.

And I would think that Republicans who were chanting, lock her up, about Hillary Clinton during the campaign would pause and would do all that they

could to make sure that we were honoring the integrity of law enforcement now. Not creating cynicism and skepticism that can lead to the kinds of

violence and ruptures that we saw -- so, I'm quite concerned about this moment.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and I just think it's concerning when we get headlines of threats against FBI agents. And just today, there had been an attempted

attack at an FBI facility as well in Ohio. Patrick Gaspard, thank you so much for your time.


GASPARD: Bianna, thank you for having me on.

GOLODRYGA: Good to see you.

Well, we turn next to Russia and the war in Ukraine where new satellite photos show that at least seven Russian warplanes were destroyed by

explosions at a Russian airbase in Crimea on Tuesday. A number which could be Moscow's biggest loss in military aircraft in a single day since World

War II.

So far, it remains unclear what caused the blast. Of course, the west would argue that this entire conflict is all one person's fault, President

Vladimir Putin. And now we take a deep dive inside the mind, or we attempt to at least, of Russia's longtime leader with author Philip Short. His new

biography is at once an intimate and comprehensive look at the life that led Putin to this very moment.

Philip Short, welcome to the program. It's good to have you on. I'm about halfway through this book. And it is fascinating. Let's start with the news

of day in what appears to be a significant new front in this war. And that is this attack at the Russian airbase in Crimea. Crimea clearly has a lot

of historic significance, no least there, the 2020 -- 2014 illegal annexation by Vladimir Putin.

Given that, President Zelenskyy said just this week that war can only end with the liberation of Crimea. Given what you've learned about Vladimir

Putin, his views on Ukraine and Crimea in particular. What do you make of President Zelenskyy's ultimatum in terms of when and how this war will end?

PHILIP SHORT, AUTHOR, "PUTIN": I think both sides have to be rather careful about what they're saying, and neither side is. Yes, in an ideal world,

Ukraine would take back Crimea. But I find that very difficult to imagine. Russia would have to be defeated to an extraordinary extent for that to

happen. What Putin normally does when things go badly for him, and they have been going quite badly for him in Ukraine, to the west's great relief,

is he doubles down.

And although, as you say, this could well be the biggest loss of Russian aviation since the Second World War that is not going to put him back. He's

just going to continue and it's going to grind on. Realistically, it's very difficult to see Crimea being returned to Ukraine. It's quite difficult to

see even the parts of the Donbas that Russia held before February the 24th being returned to Ukraine. Much more likely that we're going to have a

grinding war of attrition which will result in an impasse.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and we should know that the 2014 annexation, though illegal, was very popular amongst most Russians at home for Vladimir Putin.

The invasion doesn't take --

SHORT: It was --

GOLODRYGA: Yes. The invasion doesn't take place until near the end of the book. I guess this is a consequence of writing a biography, as somebody who

is still living and president of a country. But there is a lot of foreshadowing in the book as -- to build up to this moment. And given your

insight and research into Putin's views, his longtime views on Ukraine, the disillusion of the Soviet Union. I want to play this clip for our viewers

of what Putin said in a long diatribe of a speech just days before February 24th and the invasion.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I would like to reiterate that Ukraine is just not a neighboring country. It's an integral

part of our own history, culture, and spiritual space. Ukraine, from the beginning, and in its totality has been created by Russia.


GOLODRYGA: Historians, of course, will take issue with that. But that's a belief that Putin has long held, isn't it?

SHORT: It is. Ukraine has been a fixation of his ever since the 1990s, long before he came to power. And you are absolutely right, historians will

dispute that. It's a very particular view of Ukraine. Most Ukrainians would disagree with it very strongly. But Putin, the -- one of the things about

this war is it has many aspects of a civil war. Ukraine, Russia, you know, two neighboring Slav countries who have their own distinctive identities

but -- which are very closely related.

Closely related in every sense. In their history, in the fact that many Ukrainians have Russian relatives, many Russians have intermarried over the

centuries with Ukrainians. They really are very, very close. And that's one of the things that makes this war both so terrible. Civil wars are the

worst kinds of war, as you had one in your country. We've had many in Britain. Europe has been through them. They are appallingly difficult.


And they're also very intense and arouse extremely strong emotions. So, that's one of the things that's going to make it very difficult to resolve.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and now you have many Ukrainians saying that they'll never forgive Russia. I mean, that will be a long road once, and, if peace is

finally reached as to what the aftermath looks like. One thing you do focus on in the book, and captured quite well, is Putin's longtime skepticism of

the west.

Early on, he was an economic liberal, as somewhat describe. And he was open to economic trade and free trade with western partners, for no other reason

than to benefit Russia. But he was always skeptical about western understanding of democracy. And you write, freedom would exist, but only as

much as required.

SHORT: Yes, and who is going to decide how much which is required? It would be Vladimir Putin. He's always been, I mean, Putin is a -- very much an

incarnation of many aspects of Russia. And so, when people say, oh, this is all the doing of one man. It's -- yes. It's a -- but he's a man who

reflects many Russian aspirations.

And one of the things which he does reflect is the way that Russia has always been torn between east and west. You have, throughout Russian

history, had what has been called, you know, the Slavophile movement. The idea that Russia has its own course. That Russia is a special country, an

exceptional country, and it looks down on the individualism of the -- of what he sees as the decadence of the west.

On the other hand, there's been the pro-western movement, and Putin has reflected that as well. In the early years, he got on very well with George

W. Bush. Russia gave a huge amount of help to the United States after 9/11. Allowing overflights. Helping to make bases available in Central Asia for

the war against Afghanistan, and so on. And kind of tragically, in a -- with a sort of tragic inevitability, things turned sour, more and more

sour, the relation became -- the relationship became more and more tense.

And this other side, the Slavophile side that Russia has its own course to follow and we look down on the west, which is just trying to bring us to

our knees, and the west is hostile. That has gradually taken over. It's a little bit of a Shakespearean tragedy.


SHORT: It's finished in a trainwreck and everyone could see this trainwreck was kind of looming on the horizon and no one was able to prevent it.


SHORT: No one was able to stop it happening.

GOLODRYGA: You mentioned his relationship over the years. And now, I mean, it's hard to say -- to even say that he is now at 22 years in power. So,

he's been through quite a number of U.S. presidents. He has long viewed that relationship as the most critical. But he, over the course of the

years, as you say, had distanced himself. And some of the relationships grew more and more icy. Trump notwithstanding, that's its own weird

anomaly. But let's just play a montage to give our viewers a sense of the trajectory of the relationships with U.S. presidents over the years.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I looked the man in the eye, I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. I was able to get a sense

of his soul.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Mr. Putin, in my second term, has had an increasing tendency to view the world through a cold war prism. And to

see Russia's interests as invariably in conflict with the west.

BIDEN: When President Bush had said, I looked at his eyes and saw a soul. I said, I looked in his eyes and I don't think he has a soul.


BIDEN: I do.


GOLODRYGA: Which U.S. president or leader, do you think got to know the real Vladimir Putin? Is he a killer, was he just known for KGB, or is he

someone who actually has a soul who you can see by looking through his eyes?

SHORT: I don't think he has a soul. You can see through looking -- by looking through his eyes. George W. Bush was much derided for that

statement. But it was not stupid. He was referring, kind of, indirectly to the Russian soul and he did get on -- the chemistry between Bush and Putin

was really very good.

All those quotes that you've just given from Obama, from Joe Biden, and from George W. Bush, they all reflect aspects of Putin. Yes, Putin is a

killer, in the sense that he's ordered assassinations. Not every assassination that's take -- that takes place in Russia. Most of them have

been the work of other forces.


But Putin has allowed them to happen. Yes, he's extremely ruthless. Yes, he has becoming more and more dictatorial as the years have passed. You know,

he started off, as you say, an economic liberal. He became more and more autocratic. Now, the slide is very much towards dictatorship.

So, he's a man of many faces. You probably remember there was a book which Masha Gessen did some time back saying, "The Man Without A Face". And I've

always thought, that's not the right title. It's the man with many faces. He's kind of a shapeshifter. He appears -- he tries to appear quite

successfully what his interlocutor wants to see in him. Kind of a chameleon.

GOLODRYGA: His code name in the KGB was the moth. So, that tells you a lot as well. I don't have to tell you, I'm sure you know, you were -- you did

receive some pushback for some who thought that you were a bit overly sympathetic to Vladimir Putin as you just noted, that you do acknowledge

that he is behind assassinations, but not all of them.

But whether it's the apartment bombings in Moscow, which you start a book with. Detailing, saying, that you don't believe that this leads to an order

given directly by Vladimir Putin or something that he was involved with to the murders of Kremlin critics like Anna Politkovskaya or Boris Nemtsov.

You do acknowledge that he was behind the Litvinenko murder. I'm just curious, where did those --

SHORT: I'm going to interrupt you.


SHORT: I'm going to interrupt you because I don't acknowledge -- many people in the States, many experts in the States and in Europe, said for a

long time, oh, Litvinenko. That wasn't Putin. That was the FSB. Putin may have said, oh, do what you want. But he didn't give a direct order. I

actually go to quite some pains in the book to show that Putin directly approved the killing of Litvinenko. That he directly ordered the attempt of

poisoning of Navalny.

These are not kind of, oh, I concede. I set it out and I hoped that I proved to the satisfaction of most readers that he did these things. But to

go from there to say oh, well, you know, Boris Nemtsov, Politkovskaya, and the other -- these other people who died -- deaths, no. That was not Putin.

It was Kadyrov. Putin let it happen.

GOLODRYGA: The head of Chechnya.

SHORT: But he did not order it.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Philip --

SHORT: So, I think we've gotten very clear. You know, one of the things that's important is to establish the fact. What he really did as against

for what people say, oh, he must have done.

GOLODRYGA: Well, you spent --

SHORT: And that's one of the things --

GOLODRYGA: -- you spent --

SHORT: -- I'm trying to do in this book.

GOLODRYGA: You spent eight years writing this book. So, clearly, you've got a lot of research and did a lot of interviews in putting this fascinating

biography together. Philip Short, I wish we had more time. Clearly, I wish there's so much more we could talk about. But thank you.

SHORT: Thank you, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you for joining us.

Well, from the world leaders of today to a president of tomorrow, next. The Kenyan elections are coming down to the wire. The votes are in, but the

count is still dragging on. And it's shaping up to be a photo finish between the two candidates. That's these two men, Deputy President William

Bruno and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Correspondent Larry Madowo, joins us now from the latest from Kisumu, Kenya. So, thank you, Larry, for joining us. Why is this taking so long?

This is a really neck and neck vote.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is neck and neck, Bianna. It's ended up being an even tighter race than any other poll suggested

between former prime minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

But this slow process to the end, to announce the winner of the Kenyan presidential result is a feature, not a bug. It was designed to be this

slow because the constitution of Kenya expects it to be transpirable, to be verifiable, and transparent. But that means that once the results are

announced at every polling station, more than 46,000 of them, they are transmitted electronically to a national tallying center in Nairobi. But

then the actual form from each of these polling stations has to be sent to Nairobi and verified against what was transmitted electronically.

And so, that means it's -- the slow process that even though 99 point something, like, eight percent of these results are already transferred

electronically to the center, they can't be announced until they have been verified. But that means that it allows both the Raila Odinga team and

William Ruto team to claim they have won, and it's led to this amount of anxiety around the nation.

GOLODRYGA: Larry, what were some of the top concerns for voters there? And how were candidates -- these two candidates addressing them with their


MADOWO: They have made a big deal about promising to turn around the economy. The Kenyan economy has been battered by the impact of the

pandemic, by the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


And also in some ways, because of the impact of the drought in parts of the Horn of Africa. But obviously, to some of the people who were waiting for

the results, Bianna, this is what they tell me about slow process.


MADOWO, (voiceover): The Kenyan presidential race is turning out to be a nailbiter. Results could still be days away but the celebration has started

for some. Deputy President William Ruto, has upset the traditional political order and appears to be in track for a strong performance,

delighting his supporters.

MADOWO (on camera): How does it look so far? Do you think Raila or Ruto is winning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Ruto is going to win.

MADOWO, (voiceover): Ruto is Kenya's first coalition has taken it, he believes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language). We are going to win.

MARGARET KAMAU, WILLIAM RUTO SUPPORTER: The last 12 years, I've never voted. But this time around, I went to the vote because I wanted Mr.

President, the free, Ruto.

MADOWO, (voiceover): This painstaking wait for results is familiar to Raila Odinga, who reign for the fifth time. His supporters think this will be his


MADOWO (on camera): Are you afraid that maybe Raila Odinga will lose this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He won't lose. No chances of losing here. We are confident.

MADOWO, (on camera): Every vote cast in Kenya eventually ends up at a place like this. So, there's more than 16,000 of them for every elective seat,

because people don't trust the process. The only way they can believe it is if they can manually count the votes one by one.

MADOWO (voiceover): This happens everywhere in the country, and sometimes takes all night, even though many of the 46,000 plus polling stations

submitted results faster than expected. But the verification before they are officially announced could take days. Everyone is trying to make sense

of the early results.

MADOWO, (on camera): Can you say definitively, at this time, who's going to be the next president of Kenya?

CHARLES NYAMBUGA, LECTURER AND POLITICAL ANALYST, MASENO UNIVERSITY: Actually, it's very hard to tell. The elections have been thrown asunder

once more and any of the two candidates, that is Raila Odinga or William Ruto, can actually have it.

MADOWO, (on camera): The conventional wisdom appears to be that William Ruto did much better than expected in this election.

NYAMBUGA William Ruto started campaigns immediately after the 2017 general elections. And he was able to define the agenda for this particular


MADOWO, (voiceover): Kenya's electoral commission has until Monday to declare the results, but that won't stop the whole nation from speculating.


MADOWO, (on camera): So, two days after the election, after the polls closed, we're not any closer to knowing who would be the next leader of

Kenya. One takeaway from this is that the voter turnout plans nearly 15 percent. 65 percent of the voter turnout for more than 35 percent of the

country just didn't bother to come out and vote among the registered voters.

That's partly because there's some amount of disillusionment to the political order. Both men who are running have been in the political

establishment for a long time. Raila Odinga is running for the fifth time. Ruto for the first time but he's been part of this political establishment

for a long time. And especially younger people didn't turn out to vote in the numbers expected. They didn't come and register to vote in the first

place, and that's because of this disillusionment, this state of flux of the economy. And they just didn't feel like any of the men running

represented what they wanted.

But the big picture here, here Kisumu, which is close to the heartland of Raila Odinga's supporter. A lot of people who have voted for him has been

really peaceful. They're all hoping that their man finally, the fifth time is the charm. But so far, it's been almost considered a boring election

because it didn't have any of the balance that has been characterized by some of the past elections. But until the result is declared, maybe another

24 to 48 hours, we'll see what happens, and who the man will be, who will lead Kenya. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, Monday is the deadline to get that final answer. A lot at stake there. Thank you so much, Larry Madowo. We appreciate it.

Well, with midterms in November fast approaching. Heads have started turning toward swing States across the United States. Best-selling author

and Chief Washington Correspondent at "the new yorker", Jane Mayer, has had an expansive career covering national and international affairs. In her

latest piece, she takes a deep dive into statehouse politics and the fascinating bellwether state of Iowa. She joined Michel Martin to discuss

how, in her words, an extreme minority has upended democracy in the State.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Jane Mayer, thank you so much for joining us once again.


MARTIN: You've written this devastating piece titled, "State Legislatures Are Torching Democracy". You know, very strong words. So, obviously, I'm

going to ask you why you say that. But you focused on Ohio. Why Ohio?

MAYER: Well, Ohio has been known as a bellwether state in American politics. It's a moderate state that can swing both either Republican or

Democratic so that if you look back at recent history, it was a state that elected Barack Obama in 2008 and in 2012 and then Donald Trump in 2016 in



So, it's an interesting kind of weather state.

MARTIN: Did you go there specifically because you wanted to see what would happen in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade? Because as

you point out in the piece, the Supreme Court anticipated when it overturned Roe that the battle of abortion rights would go to the states,

like, that was the whole point. Did you go there specifically because Ohio is just to see what would happen in the wake of the overturning of Roe or

was it on your radar before that?

MAYER: It -- that was part of the reason. I mean -- because you could hear even before the decision came down from the Supreme Court, you could hear

during their arguments that the conservatives Brett Kavanaugh particular made a big point of saying, if we just send these issues, these hard issues

like abortion back to the states, we can just let the people decide.

And what I was hearing -- and the reason I looked at Ohio, in particular, was I was hearing from someone who I'd interviewed named David Pepper,

who's written a book about Ohio, that in fact, it's not really the people deciding when you can give these issues back to a state like Ohio. It's the

legislature that's deciding. And the legislatures in a number of American states no longer reflect the will of the people. That's why we talk about

torching democracy.

The people have one opinion, the general public, if you look at polls, feels one way. But the legislatures are way out of sync with what the

population, in general, believes. And that's true in Ohio and that's what this man, David Pepper, was telling me who's written a book that's called,

"Laboratories for Autocracy". It's a play on a phrase that came from Justice Louis Brandeis who called the state legislatures in America

laboratories for democracy.

And what he is saying is actually, this is where autocracy in America is growing and brewing. And it's an attack on democracy taking place in these

states. And Ohio typifies it. So, that's why I went there.

MARTIN: In the piece, you site a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati. It sited, a 2020 survey indicating that less than

14 percent of Ohioans support banning all abortions without exceptions for rape and incest. But that's not the direction of the Ohio legislature is

heading in.

In fact, I think the story that a lot of people may be familiar with is the story of this 10-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by an adult male,

became pregnant, and then had to go to Indiana to obtain an abortion because it was impossible in her home state of Ohio. So, how did it get to

the point in a place like Ohio where there's such divergence between what people say they want in matters of significant public concern and what the

legislature is actually doing?

MAYER: It was actually a deliberate plan. And there aren't that many things in American politics that really follow anybody's plans because it's a mess

most of the time. But back in 2010, the Republican Party's smartest operatives looked around and they were very distressed.

Barack Obama had been elected in 2008. It was a shock to many white conservatives to have a black American president who was a liberal Democrat

to some extent -- liberal that is to some extent. And they had lost power in both Houses of Congress and the White House. And they were looking

around the country to try to figure out, well, where can we take power? And the places that seemed to be easiest to capture were state legislatures.

And so, there was this very interesting plan that was drawn up called Red Map by the Republican Party operatives. And they set out to very

deliberately flip as many statehouses as they could into Republican control. And there was a year that 2010 was very much on their mind to do

that year. Because that's a census year, every 10 years there's a U.S. census. And every time there's a census, the statehouses get to reapportion

the districts, both for Congress and for the statehouse.

So, it gives the legislature special powers during those years. And they figured, if we can take the statehouses, you could redraw the lines and you

could do it in such a way that you would totally advantage the Republican Party. And that's exactly what they did in a bunch of states. They picked

up an incredible number of statehouses that year. They flipped them to the Republican party, they took control of a number of them, and they set out

to very systematically and scientifically redraw the district so that in many places Republicans -- I mean, they can barely lose no matter what they



And that's what -- that was -- you know, more than 10 years ago, 12 years ago. What we're now seeing, we're seeing the consequences. This is like a

science experiment in democracy. You're saying, well, what happens when you make it so that people can't lose their elections? What kind of behavior do

you get in the statehouses? And what you get is really extremist legislation because the only pressure on these peoples' lives in the

Republican Party is that they might be facing primary challenges from candidates who are even more extreme than they are.

And so, that's those -- who the people who come out to vote in primaries. That's what they're worried about. And they couldn't care less about the

opposing party's point of views. So, they keep moving further and further to the extreme. And that's what's happened in Ohio.

MARTIN: Is there -- are there examples of this in areas of policy other than abortion rights?

MAYER: Yes, so there definitely are. So, they all tend to be these, you know, very inflammatory issues that get the base very fired up. So, you see

gun rights becoming much more extreme in Ohio than the general public's point of view on gun rights. The general public in Ohio overwhelmingly,

sometimes as much as 75 percent favors new restrictions on gun rights to make the use of guns safer.

Exactly the opposite thing is happening in state legislatures. They've now passed a law that allows anybody, I think it's 21 and older, to get -- to

carry a concealed weapon without having to get a background check. And if the cops stopped them somewhere, if someone has -- they don't even have to

say that they're armed.

They've also passed a law that they -- opposed by the teachers and opposed by the police that allows school districts to arm teachers, even an

elementary school. And not just the teachers in the schools but cafeteria workers and bus -- school bus drivers, and janitorial staff with only 24

hours of training in firearms. And then there's some very inflammatory issues about what can be taught in the schools -- in the public school

system. There was a bill that was passed or debated, rather, it didn't quite -- it was on its way to passing but it blew up in a controversy

because it would've required teachers to teach what they call, both sides of divisive issues.

And a reporter in --

MARTIN: Including the holocaust? Slavery?

MAYER: A reporter said give me an example, basically, what are you talking about? And the sponsor of the bill said, well -- in teaching the holocaust.

We should hear what the German soldiers were thinking because we need to understand their point of view too. At which point, there -- just two

members of the statehouses that are Jews. And one of them, Casey Weinstein, just said, I've heard enough. We do not need to hear the Nazi point of view

and have a talk to our children as if it's got some merit in it.

So, that bill just blew up. It was really though, actually, I think originated in order to try to stir up racial hostilities. It's a bill that

was aimed at trying to make sure the teachers don't ever teach the idea that there is systemic racism in America.

MARTIN: So, as you said that this dates back to a strategy that was started being implemented in 2010. What were the Democrats doing during all this

time? I mean, they had 10 years between 2010 and the 2020 census to intervene in this process or whatever. What were they doing all this time?

MAYER: Well, in 2010 itself, I have to say, they were kind of asleep at the switch. They were not paying attention to the statehouses. There was a lot

-- there were a lot of other fires that the Obama White House was trying to put out in 2010. That was the rise of the Tea Party and all of that. And

they really, I think, took their eye off the ball.

The thing is, once these statehouses do flip as they have an Ohio, it's very hard to flip it back. Because the districts are very carefully drawn

with the aid of computers and all kinds of, you know, very detailed numbers. They're drawn in a way that Democrats can't really compete in

them. And so, what's happened in Ohio was it was so out of sync with the state. The state did would you would think would happen in democracy.

They had a referendum that passed. They had two referenda, actually. It was in 2015 and 2018, the voters of Ohio overwhelmingly passed a change to the

constitution in the state that said that the districts have to reflect the overall population's point of view.


So, they were supposed to do this under law and fit -- they were supposed to fix it. And that's what was going to happen this year. But the

Republicans who are in power in the statehouse, and they had a supermajority, kept handing in maps that the courts kept striking down. It

happened five times.

The Supreme Court in the State of Ohio said five times to the Republicans who are drawing the maps, these don't comply with the law. These are

illegal districts. They are two slanted. You've got to have to do it again. And basically, what happened was the Republicans played out the clock. They

hit the election calendar. There was no more time to come up with another map. And the federal courts said, all right, just use the illegal ones. And

so, here we are. Another election with illegal districts.

MARTIN: How is that possible?

MAYER: I mean, it's totally -- it is completely shocking. It violates norms. It violates the rule of law. And this is one of the other reasons I

went to Ohio, because it's an outrageous story. But the truth is, it's not unique. "The New York Times" had a story pointing out there are four states

now where the same thing has been happening. The courts have struck down these districts in these states as illegal districts.

They are too slanted, they don't allow for Democratic elections, and these states are Georgia and Alabama, and Louisiana, and Ohio. So, four states,

in each case, the courts have struck them down. Each case, these states are going with the elections anyway because they ran out the clock.

MARTIN: They just didn't comply. And is there -- there is no mechanism of accountability for this, is, I think, what I hear you saying?

MAYER: No. However, the Supreme Court talked about holding the Republicans in contempt, but the Supreme Court didn't do it. And actually, the Supreme

Court justices are now up for reelection. So, it may be that the Republican majority will get a Republican majority that's in favor of them on the

Supreme Court, in which case, that final check will be out the window.

MARTIN: Why is there not more -- I don't know what's to say -- outrage about this, even among partisans? I mean, it just seems -- it seems like

this would kind of cry out for a response. But why do you think it don't? Is it just too abstract, people just can't wrap their heads around it?

MAYER: People don't pay attention to state legislatures. They -- you know, they don't know who their legislator is and people are busy, and these

state legislators don't get a lot of coverage from the news organizations, especially now that local news is really disappearing in a lot of places.

So, they're kind of getting away with it because no one's -- you know, no one's that -- paying that much attention.

And then, these big, glamorous races are the ones that get the attention and the money. So, you know, there's a very high-profile Senate race in

Ohio that a lot of important party people on both sides are paying a lot of attention to, and a lot -- putting a lot of money into. It's the Senate

race between J.D. Vance and Tim Ryan, and that -- you know, that will get a lot of attention. But the legislature's, they're sort of seeing this second

string, or at least they were, until the Supreme Court in overturning Roe said, we are throwing this back to the states, and they are going to throw

other things back to the states.

The states are getting more power. It's almost a two-step with the conservative Supreme Court. They (INAUDIBLE) sent an issue back to the

states where they know the states are on their side.

MARTIN: This sounds like, what you're saying, is that one party is willing to cheat. Or does that sound right or is that overstating the phrase?

MAYER: Well, it's kind of legal. Well, it's not completely legal because the Supreme Court and the state said it wasn't illegal. But then, the

federal courts said it was. So, it's in a gray zone. But what I am told, from the reporting I did, is that the Republican -- the far-right

Republican base is intimidating two moderates who are afraid they will lose. If they don't go along, they are afraid to lose their seats.

And we've seen this in courts in Congress with the same dynamic taking place, when people have tried to stand up to Trump. And the same thing is

happening in Ohio. This is -- it's empowering extremists, far-right extremists, and the others are afraid of standing in the way because they

will be defeated. And you can see it, in a way, this is a very good example, the governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, was known as a moderate

Republican for many years. And he actually was quite enlightened in the way that he started to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.


But the sort of radical right in the statehouse, which has veto power, because it's got such a super majority, the radical right rose up and

opposed the kind of mask mandates and some of the other measures that Mike DeWine took in the beginning of the pandemic and they -- the legislature

fired the health commissioner for the state, and basically forced DeWine to retreat. And so, it's very empowered. It's a very intimidating group that

has taken over these statehouses, and that's certainly true in Ohio.

MARTIN: If the voters don't agree, at some point, is there not a movement against that? I mean, at some point, if the voters say, this is not what we

want, is -- I guess what I'm saying, there is no mechanism now to resist these initiatives? Is there?

MAYER: Well, it's the same -- I had exactly the same question when I went there, because it seems like inevitably, they will go too far right, they

will do things that are so unpopular that a more rational kind of moderate Republican who is closer to where most people are in the state will win.

That is what you would think.

But it turns out that is not true. And people said to me, you might think that there's the possibility that the extremists will go too far. And I was

told over and over again, that is a false idea. You can't go too far. And that was so fascinating. I mean, and scary because they really have

legislated some incredibly extreme things, and there's no accountability for it because they can't lose. That's the problem.

MARTIN: Jane Mayer, thank you so much for talking with us.

MAYER: Great to be with you, as always.


GOLODRYGA: And finally, the beginning of the end for Serena Williams. Her first match since announcing impending retirement, she played to a capacity

crowd in Toronto. While it wasn't the result she was hoping for, losing in straight sets, her opponent, Belinda Bencic, noted that it wasn't about the

result, but the occasion. The stadium was on its feet after the match when Williams spoke.


SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: It's been a pretty interesting 24 hours. It's just been so memorable, you know? Like I said in

my article, I'm terrible at good-byes, but good-bye, Toronto.


GOLODRYGA: Oh, that was a really endearing moment. And Serena Williams's first professional match was in Canada back in 1995. An incredible career,

spanning decades, which Williams credits all to her parent's support. She explained how it shaped her game, when sitting down with Christiane earlier

this year.


WILLIAMS: You know, in order to be an athlete, especially in a single sport, it takes a lot of work, and it takes a lot of dedication. And I

don't -- like, I look at my daughter and I say, wow, I don't think I could do what my dad did every single day. That's a lot of work. And it takes a

special kind of person on both ends, whether it's the child or the parent, it takes a special person. And I think people could see that the reason we

probably have such a long career, and the reason we do love what we do is because we had so much support.

And so many times, you hear the dad's story about how, you know, you have to have pressure on your kid and then, the parents and the children, they

just go separate ways and they don't speak, and then, the relationship is really torn after that, and that wasn't us at all. We had the exact

opposite, where, if anything, my dad to this day is like, if you're hurt, don't play. Don't do this. And I'm like, dad, I'm OK.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And you said your mother, particularly, was instrumental in launching your career.


AMANPOUR: What do you mean?

WILLIAMS: So, my sister was much better than me. I was not very good growing up. And so, everyone was focused on Venus. When we had an

opportunity to have better coaches, they saw that Venus was the one and just, you know, that maybe I should sit on the sidelines. And so, that was

devastating for me. And actually, devastatingly was helpful, because if that had not happened, I wouldn't have had a career that I had, because I

felt like I just had to prove, and just, I had to win.

And so, being cast aside, you know, I just had to work with my mom. I didn't get to work with the prestigious coaches or anything. And my mom

made me tough mentally, and made me really strong mentally. And I spent countless hours, that I have to admittedly, I hate it, every second of them

because she was so tough. But I now enjoy. I would -- if I could go back, I would do even more hours with her.


GOLODRYGA: Their parents lived for their kids, and they now have a lot to take pride in.

Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.