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Interview with U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT); Interview with Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Holly Dagres; Interview with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva; Interview with "The Divide" Co-Author Susan Glasser; Interview with "The Divide" Co-Author Peter Baker. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired September 22, 2022 - 13:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone and welcome to "Amanpour". Here's what's coming up.



AMANPOUR: Iranian women take to the streets, burning their hijabs in extraordinary protests across the country. We get the Iranian view, and

perspective from the United States on this and Putin's escalation in Ukraine from Senator Chris Murphy. Then.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: If you don't take action to support the most vulnerable, there would be

consequences. People on the street.


AMANPOUR: Global instability, a dire warning from the IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva, as the world battles inflation. Also, ahead.


SUSAN GLASSER, CO-AUTHOR, "THE DIVIDE": As one of the officials in Trump's own White House pointed to us, there are no heroes here.


AMANPOUR: Journalists Peter Baker and Susan Glasser talk to Walter Isaacson about their new book, and even more revelations on the Trump White House.

Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.

Woman in Iran are ripping off their hijabs or their head scarves and cutting their hair in the streets as an outpouring of anger takes place

across the country. These incredible images come as demonstrators mourn and protest of the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old woman who died after

being arrested by Iran's morality police who enforced the country's strict dress codes for women, including the head scarf.

The authorities say, Mahsa Amini had a heart attack. Her family says the authorities are lying. This story has gone beyond Iran's borders. And

today, the United States slapped sanctions on the morality police. While the Swedish foreign minister is demanding that Iranian authorities respect

women's right to peaceful protest.

Now, I was hoping to put all of this to the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in an interview on Wednesday night. Where we would also discuss the

prospects for a nuclear deal and Iran's relationship with Russia. Unfortunately, though, at the last minute he refused to sit for an

interview with me unless I was wearing a hijab. It's an unprecedented request. I've interviewed every Iranian president since 1995, including on

the sidelines of the UN General Assembly here in New York and this has never been an issue before.

So tonight, I'll be getting a reaction on what's happening inside Iraq from an expert. And first, I'll discuss this as well as the anti-war protests

across Russia with democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who's also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator, welcome back to our program. You're in Washington. You're seeing now what's going on on the streets of Iran. Your President Biden, said,

"Yesterday at the United Nations, that we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who, right now, are demonstrating to secure their

basic rights." Where do you think this is headed?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT), MEMBER, U.S. SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, this protest does feel different than the protests during the Green

Revolution times. Other moments where you see them unrest on the streets. This is a very broad attack on the elites. On the regime. You are hearing

overcalls for a new form of governance. Obviously, underlying this is the treatment of women. But the demands are simply extraordinary. And the scope

of these protests, from what we can tell, really are without precedent.

So, I'm glad that President Biden did more than just offer his rhetorical support. Today, he levied sanctions on the very entities that took this

young woman off the streets and reportedly killed her because of her political beliefs. And I hope to see more like that from the administration

in the coming days. It's really critical for us with both words and deeds to put ourselves on the side of democracy and human rights inside of Iran.

AMANPOUR: I just want you -- maybe to put on your -- you know, your -- sort of, analytical hat and tell me what you make of the fact that we've heard

in the past weeks, since the death of Ms. Amini, that the supreme leader had sent a representative to pay condolences to her family up in the

Kurdish region. We've heard the government say they will look into it. We've heard the U.N. and other call for an independent investigation. And

we've also heard today from the Revolutionary Guard inside Iran warning about for their protests.


And I guess, with that comes an implicit threat like we've seen before for a violent crackdown. Are you able to discern any of that that's going on

inside Iran? Do you have any intel or inside information that you can share on what might be bubbling?

MURPHY: Well, I just met this morning with a pretty prominent Iranian- American who has been in communication with protesters inside Iran. And her belief is that this is a more direct threat to the regime than any previous

protests. And thus, you are, you know, seeing a little bit of both hot and cold from the regime.

They are making these threats about an of an even broader crackdown than they've already engaged in. That's worked in the past but then you're also

seeing this outreach statements from the authorities that they're going to get to the bottom of what happened in this particular case.

So, you can, I think, watch the Iranian regime grasping, not sure exactly which strategies do employ. And I think that speaks to the fact that this

protest movement probably is a bigger threat than anything that they have witnessed before.

AMANPOUR: And of course, they are very keen not to have a repeat of what happened in 2019 when they were protests against all sorts of, you know,

social inequities, prices, and the like. But can I ask you, does this, in any way, affect the U.S. negotiations, or rather, you know, through a third

party, the E.U., with Iran for another nuclear deal? You know, is that still on the table?

MURPHY: Well, it should still be on the table. As you know, those negotiations hit another dead end about a week ago and so it doesn't appear

that there's going to be any major progress made right now during the time in which we're watching these protests play out. But, you know, for me,

I've known for a long time that the Iranian regime, their actions are malevolent, both inside of Iran and outside of Iran.

And to me that's not a reason for the United States to disengage diplomatically. That's actually a reason why we should be more interested

rather than less interested in making sure that Iran never has a nuclear weapon. Because as bad as Iran behaves domestically, as much support as

they give for terrorist proxies around the region, their provocations would be even more dangerous. Existential, in fact, to our allies in the region

if they had a nuclear weapon.

So, I've always believed that as Iran behavior gets worse, that actually is a reason for us to more deeply engaged on the simple question of making

sure that they never ever have a nuclear weapon.

AMANPOUR: And you have -- and we just talked about it, new sanctions on the morality police. They basically want sanctions lifted, but they also want

to guarantee from the U.S. that they won't pull again. You won't pull out again. That seems, to me, a reasonable request from a country that's going

to enter into some kind of deal. But you cannot give that. So, where do you see even -- let's say after the midterm, if now installed particularly

around these protests, any kind of rapprochement towards the same kind of deal as you had before?

MURPHY: Well, President Trump's entire foreign policy was a -- it was a nightmare. But arguably the worst mistake he made was pulling out of the

Iran deal against the wishes of all of his advisers at the time. The secretary of state, the secretary of defense, were all telling them to stay

in the Iran deal. Not because they supported it at its inception, but they thought it would be really bad American foreign policy if we were to so

quickly pull out of a deal that a prior administration had just negotiated. And it speaks to this lack of consistency that exists today in American

foreign policy.

You are right. There is no guarantee that we can give the Iranians that a future president will stay in this deal. Even if it was a treaty. Right

now, the law suggests that a president can leave a treaty without congressional consent.

So, I think the benefits in the short run will still be significant enough to Iran. That they will come to the table. And my hope is that the next

president, whoever it is, will listen to their advisors and stay in the deal if it's working as it was when Donald Trump took office in 2017.

AMANPOUR: You talked about Iran basically grasping for some kind of way to deal with the current protest. We've also seen some grasping going on in

Russia. Vladimir Putin has made this extraordinary announcement. I want to know how you interpret this announcement of mobilization, 300,000. You

know, how effective can that be in the short term? And also, do you think he's making more nuclear threats?

MURPHY: He is very clearly, you know, keeping the question of a tactical nuclear weapons use on the table. He doesn't say it explicitly, but I think

he knows exactly how people are reading these comments. And I'm glad that President Biden, you know, drew the line yesterday when it comes to the use

of a nuclear weapon.


But, you know, I see these as maybe not desperate moves, but it is certainly a Russian regime that is backed into a corner. Remember, these

troops that he is calling up are not going to be ready for the battlefield for a very long time.

Russia doesn't have a similar system as the United States where they sent troops off to do basic training for a handful of weeks or months. They

train their troops in the fields embedded with units. Well, right now, the Russia has all of its units for deployed. None of them have the bandwidth

to both fight Ukraine and do training.

And so, it is not likely that these new conserves, these new call-ups are going to be useful on the battlefield anytime, you know, perhaps in the

next year which speaks to the opportunity that Ukraine has to continue these gains and to win back even more territory in the short term. Putin's

call-up really doesn't have short-term benefits, only long-term.

AMANPOUR: And very quickly, on China. Today, at the U.N., Secretary of State Blinken met with his Chinese counterpart. And, you know, we have now

almost lost count of how many times President Biden says that we will come to the defense of Taiwan only to have it walk back by his administration.

Can you give us -- can you just clarify what you think the president is saying? Will American forces intervene if China tries to invade or

militarily or threaten Taiwan?

MURPHY: Well, the president has a view, of course. And he's articulated it. But no American military forces can be deployed to protect Taiwan without

the blessing of the United States Congress. And so, I think it's really important for everyone to understand that the American people would

ultimately weigh in on this question of whether the United States military should rush to defend Taiwan.

I, for one, thinks -- think that a policy of strategic ambiguity, leaving open the possibility of the U.S. defense of Taiwan, but not assuring it,

has worked for decades. And I worry that if we continue along this march to what we might be called strategic clarity, a security guarantee for Taiwan,

it actually expedites an invasion before Taiwan or frankly the United States is ready.

So, I think the president has made his view on this clear. But nothing can happen with respect to the deployment of American forces anywhere in the

world without the United States Congress weighing in.

AMANPOUR: Well, thank you for that clarity. Senator Chris Murphy, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

MURPHY: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And now, for more on the protest which Iraq and Iran and women saying no to oppression. Holly Dagres is with the "Atlantic Council". And

she's editor of their Iran source blog. She's been closely following these demonstrations on social media.

Welcome to the program, Holly. So, you just heard the conversation I had with the senator. You heard the fact that the U.S. is now, you know,

sanctioning the morality of police. What do you think is going to be the outcome of this? Where do you think the government and the president,

Raisi, is here right now in New York is going to have to come out?

HOLLY DAGRES, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Well, the truth is it was a very significant when President Joe Biden Mahsa Amini's death (INAUDIBLE).

But at the end of the day, we've had four decades of the Islamic republic. This has been four decades of red lines being crossed and nothing changing

for the realities of the Iranian people.

And the Iranian people are fed up. We're hearing it, not just from their chants where they're saying death to the dictator or death to Khamenei. But

we're actually seeing Iranian women take off their head scarves and stand on the top of police cars and yell from the top of their lungs that they no

longer want an Islamic republic.

So, what is it going to take for the international community to actually push Iran harder on these issues to help the Iranian people? Because right

now, we're just seeing -- we're hearing words, but no action.

AMANPOUR: And, Holly, what are you seeing because you closely monitored these events inside Iran on social media and by other means. Can you tell

us what you know to be going on? We hear about a crackdown on the internet, on social media platforms. We're hearing, you know, all sorts of things

and, you know, violent protest. We're hearing that the Revolutionary Guards are beginning to say, you know, an issue, sort of, ominous warnings. What

is front and center of what you are picking up?

DAGRES: Well, Christiane, what we are seeing is that this is definitely the most significant protests since the November 2019 protest in which security

forces arrested and killed thousands. And so that should give you an understanding of how serious the situation is on the ground.

When the internet shut down then, it gave the IRGC and its security arm the ability to crack down further and the cover to do so. And right now, we're

getting to that point. They have shut down the internet in many areas. Mobile internet is fully gone. WhatsApp is blocked, banned. Instagram is



And so, what we're getting right now from Iran is on throttled in home internet. Whatever they can share to -- for the International Community to

see and document, that's what they're trying to do right now. Social media is the only way that they're able to get their voices out there. And the

moment that get shut off, then we're not able to see what's happening. And it's only when it comes back on do we really see the atrocities that are

being committed on the ground.

AMANPOUR: And what do you think the reaction of the government will be once the president goes back to Iran? Obviously, while he's been here, he's seen

this incredible focus, the president of the United States has spoken about it. You know, we've had this unfortunate incident with him refusing, you

know, in the end to sit down for an interview with me. And he has a very hardline past. It's viewed -- you tell me, I understood that he was partly

responsible for the hardening of society and rules against women under his presidency.

DAGRES: Well, first, I have to say as someone of Iranian heritage that has spent their formative years in Iran, I really appreciate your principled

stance by not wearing the hijab during the interview. Going back to Raisi himself, I think it's very important for viewers to know that this is a man

that has a history of blood on his hands.

He was involved in the 1988 massacre which was the massacre of political prisoners. And over 4,000 to 5000 political prisoners over the summer of

July 1988 through September 1988. Amnesty International sees this as something that is on the level with crimes against humanity. And he should

be investigated for this.

That should give you a little bit about his background. Now, what he will do back in Iran, this is a man that issued a decree just weeks prior that

signed Mahsa Amini's death warrant, essentially. He actually gave this blessing for this crackdown. And so, for him to sit there and say, we will

investigate this, is so hypocritical and distant genuine. And the Iranian people see right through this.

AMANPOUR: Do you think that there may be some differing opinions within -- do you think that this demonstration and protests, her death, and

apparently deaths among protesters, and even attacks against the security services by some of the protesters. Do you see that maybe the supreme

leader or others might have a different way of wanting to approach it? I mean, even though we didn't have our interview, I did get on background

from one of the president's political advisers that possibly the morality police would have to be made, you know, less visible and active.

DAGRES: Well, the irony in all this, again, this -- there's actually a rise in repression in Iran in recent months. The supreme leader also gave his

blessing in May of this year. He gave a speech in which he said that Iran needs to tighten things on the level of 1981, which was a year when there

were mass executions and arrest in the country.

And he also said that an internet protection bill should be implemented in the country. Now, this internet protection bill would actually make it

almost impossible for Iranians to use VPNs because it would be illegal. And Iranians use VPNs in order to access the internet. So, when they're posting

things online, on YouTube, on Facebook, on Twitter, they're using VPNs. And by implementing this law, they would be criminalizing it. But the irony of

it is that this law has already been implemented without even being passed.

And so, what we're seeing right now is that the supreme leader is giving his blessing on all fronts. And, yes, there may be a possibility to calm

things down by temporarily easing the morality polices presence in the streets of the country, which is something that happens every so often to

calm tensions.

But will it change the realities on the ground in Iran? No, it will not. Iranians are fed up with the Islamic republic. And as long as things stay

as they are, there's these protests are going to be continuing for years to come. In fact, if they are normalized.

AMANPOUR: Well, it's interesting you should say that because from the outside, you know, the first thing people often ask is, oh, is this it? Is

this what's going to change, you know, the type of government? The type of regime in Iran? But up until now, nothing has. So, you say -- I mean, it's

normalized now, these kinds of sporadic protests and it's liable to continue this way without necessarily threatening the regime.

DAGRES: I'm not saying it's not threatening the regime. The fact that the hijab or the head scarf is a symbol of repression under the Islamic

republic, and a symbol of control, and the fact that women are taking to the streets and taking these head scarves off and burning them, and cutting

their hair, is telling me that they're done. They're done with the status quo and they want change in their country.


And I think, one thing we need to consider is that this is a new generation of Iranians. A lot of Iranians that taking part in these protests are

Iranian Gen Z. And they have contact with the outside world through information and communications technology. They're able to see how their

neighbors, people in the west, live. And they want that. They want to have normal lives. They want to be able to wear what they want and express

themselves freely.

And so, when they're out in the streets chanting angrily, they want change. Whether that's going to happen, I can't really say. But this is not going

to sustain itself is all I could say. I don't know when that will be, but Iran is not the Iran it was before.

AMANPOUR: Holly Dagres, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

DAGRES: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Now global instability is fueling a perfect storm of energy and food shortages. People are seeing and feeling it in their wallets as banks

struggle to rein in soaring prices. Here in the United States, the federal reserve has pushed interest rates to the highest level in more than a

decade. The European Central Bank made a record hike earlier this month. And today, the Bank of England has boosted rates to a 14-year high.

I sat down with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, at the U.N. yesterday to talk about how to mitigate

all of this pain. Her response was a stark warning.


AMANPOUR: Kristalina Georgieva, welcome back to our program.


AMANPOUR: The first time, really anger with so people in person because of COVID, also a huge cascade of crises. You put out a report that it's going

to be very bad and, you know, even worse than we expected. What's in store?

GEORGIEVA: Well, this year, tough. Next year, tougher. Why? Because of a shock upon shock upon shock in just saw three years. The pandemic, not yet

over. The war, Russia's invasion pushing energy and food prices up. And then the result a cost-of-living crisis.

Last year, if you remember, we were talking about it and we were somewhat not optimistic because it looked like shot in the arm would push the

pandemic away. And then we were proven wrong by Omicron, on the 24th of February, by the invasion of Ukraine, and the accumulation of drivers of

price increases that have made inflation today our biggest enemy.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you, because for you it's personal as well. First of all, you come from that part of the world. Secondly, you have a brother,

I believe, who's been in Kharkiv, he and may still be in Kharkiv. What is the situation, personally, for you? The stakes in this war in Ukraine?

GEORGIEVA: It is so devastating to see a return of what was a cold war for 38 years of my life. I lived in it. My brother and his wife are back in

Bulgaria. His mother-in-law is in Kharkiv. She is celebrating the fact that the Ukrainian army has managed to liberate most of this area. But she tells

me that every morning she wakes up worried about the day in front of her.

What I am also devastated to see is the steel over of this war to the rest of the world. We now have a massive increase of people in desperate

situations. No food, cannot afford energy even if it is there, and this is because a decision to invade a sovereign country was made. This madness has

to stop. It has to end.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's just take that one for a start. How does the madness that affects energy prices, for instance, or food insecurity, how

does that stop? We know, for instance, that there's a new British Prime Minister. She's here talking about growth, growth, growth. She says she

wants to cut taxes.

Biden, the President of the United States, has responded in a tweet, I'm sick to death of this idea of trickle-down economics. Cutting taxes for the

wealthy does not promote growth. We've seen it. What do you, as the IMF, say? Is that the way to spur necessary growth now?


GEORGIEVA: We need to recognize that the world has changed. It is much more shock prone than it used to be. And we have to think how we build

resilience to these shocks. From the IMF standpoint, we see two most important factors.

One, a stubborn inflation has to be fought with stubborn actions of central banks because price stability is critical for investors to invest, and for

consumers to consume. And let's remember, inflation is attacks on the poor.

Two, make sure that support that is provided doesn't go to everybody. That it goes to the people in highest need.

AMANPOUR: OK. But that's not happening in the U.K., for instance.

GEORGIEVA: It's important to think that this compounded impact of multiple crises is already testing the patients and resilience of people. And if we

don't take action to support the most vulnerable, there would be consequences. People on the street.

AMANPOUR: So, then you are talking about central banks. I think you've agreed with the necessity to increase interest rates. But many say that

could plunge a country into a recession. Who would that hurt? The most vulnerable.

GEORGIEVA: Well, if we don't bring inflation down, this will hurt the most vulnerable. Because an explosion of food and energy prices for those that

are better off is inconvenience. For the poor people, tragedy.

So, we think of poor people first when we advocate for attacking inflation forcefully. But then it doesn't mean we do nothing on the physical side. We

need to remember that space to help shrank. We used all of it during COVID. So, the remaining, as much as there is, it has to be very, very well


And I have a very simple message to people who watch. Monetary policy, not choice but to increase interest rates to tame inflation. Physical policy,

if it goes generously to help everybody will be actually on the way of monetary policy actually. It would be the enemy of monetary policy because

you increased demand --

AMANPOUR: Right, right.

GEORGIEVA: -- and that pushes prices again up. And then there has to be more tightening. So, Christiane, the critical question in front of us is to

restore conditions for growth. And price stability is a critical condition. You already see that investors are saying, I'm going to wait. I don't know

what is going to happen. Consumers are delaying purchases.

AMANPOUR: Yes, yes.

GEORGIEVA: And that we need to stop.

AMANPOUR: You also hit on the issue of instability. And whatever you might call it, certain social -- you know, earthquakes. Italy may see its first

hard right prime minister, you know, since the war. The hard right candidate in Italy has roots in post fascism. She once called Mussolini a

good politician in her youth. In Sweden, you've seen how the far-right with roots in neo-Nazism have also really done well in the election. Does that

worry you? What does that mean? Is it this economic crisis that's causing that?

GEORGIEVA: I'm not surprised to see people getting angry. They have been locked in their houses for months and months and months. They see prices

jumping up dramatically. And this is why my appeal to policy makers is be considerate. Be considerate about those that are most severely hit in your

country and also around the world. If we are not table to protect the sense of survival and the sense of solidarity, this is what's going to happen.

AMANPOUR: You know, this United Nations conference was meant to, you know, deal with -- among other things, obviously the war in Ukraine, which is

exacerbating everything that we're talking about. But also, climate.

[13:30:00] The secretary general has said, this is the issue without which everything else can just -- we can forget about it --


AMANPOUR: -- if we don't fix this one. And yet, this week, there was meant to be a heads of state climate conference. Biden isn't going. Macron isn't

going. They've all got other things to do. At what point do we make this central and serious? Because, frankly, do you not agree that our energy

crisis now is because we didn't take sustainability and green and alternative energy seriously?

GEORGIEVA: So, look, we can survive inflation. We even can survive recession because it happened in the past. What we can't survive,

literally, is unmitigated climate crisis. We are talking about an existential threat to humanity.

I am very keen to see that we absorbed the science and translate it in our actions. This is what we do at the front. I can tell you proudly, the IMF

today is systemically significant institution in the fight against climate change. We bring it in everything to do, in our policies, in our financing.

And that is how the world has to absorb it.

What is my role? What is, I can do to ensure that my daughter, my grandchildren have a future? And this is what my message is to everybody.

We can do it. We have the technologies to do it. And we have the money to do it. But we are not moving them fast enough.

Christiane, we need between $3 trillion and $6 trillion a year to turn the track. We're at $650 billion. So, we are five to 10 times below. And yet,

we have hundreds of trillions that are looking around for good investment. So, my institution, this is what we concentrate, move the money to emerging

markets to make a difference.

And by the way, if you look today what is happening, we are taking a step back. Why? Because, as you said, we haven't moved fast enough. But I'm

confident that with the right decisions over this next year, we actually will accelerate the transition to low carbon economy. In other words, it is

a tango in which we are now taking a step back. But then we have to step -- take two steps forward and tango all the way to reach the objectives we


AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about, you said investments. You have trillions that you could invest. Investments and the kind of things that would help

mitigate this. How concerned are you by the fact, and I'm going to quote you now from the University of Education, "Today, 70 percent of 10-year-

olds in low and middle-income countries cannot read." And it's been accelerated because of COVID, obviously. And obviously, one of the major

barriers is the debt.

They can't invest in educating their children. So, you, yourself, were invited in the IMF in what was the meant to be a summit --


AMANPOUR: -- right now --


AMANPOUR: -- focusing on this education. But you didn't attend. And I wonder why or would you announce debt relief for these countries that

invest in education? How serious do you feel as -- at the IMF a problem that it is?

GEORGIEVA: Well, thank you for giving me a chance to say that I may not have been on the panel, but I'm on the job. At the IMF, we have taken steps

to put a floor on the social spending. And we are particularly focused on education, health, social protection.

So, when we work with countries, this is not your grandmother's IMF. We actually want to see them building a resilient future for themselves. What

is resilience, Christiane? Resilient people, educated, healthy with a floor they can step on, not fall over a cliff. And this social protection system

is what the fund is now mustering to support.

A resilient economy that is fair where people find the jobs that they can feed their families. They can prosper in a resilient planet.


Unless we integrate this triage of resilience, and we at the fund, we embrace it and we bring it to our members. We cannot succeed. No more. The

fund is about a narrow path of banking sector resilience. The fund is about resilience for the future.

We marshalled the debt service special initiative. And I believe that it is time to think about extending this debt service suspension. Why? It was

done when COVID hit and now countries are hit even harder and their response capacity shrank. So, it is fair to say, poor countries should be

given space to first spent for their people, including for education of children before they service their debt.

AMANPOUR: Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, thank you very much for being with us.

GEORGIEVA: Thank you for having me.


AMANPOUR: Now, the latest in a string of legal challenges facing former President Donald Trump. He is being sued by New York's attorney general on

expansive fraud lasting over a decade. And the turbulent years of his presidency are the subject of a new book, "The Divider." Journalists Susan

Glasser and Peter Baker go behind the scenes of Trump's White House. Speaking to many of the key players, including to Trump himself. They tell

Walter Isaacson what they found and what it says about American democracy.


WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And Peter Baker, Susan Glasser, welcome back to the show.

PETER BAKER, CO-AUTHOR, "THE DIVIDE": Thanks for having us.


ISAACSON: So, Susan, this book is magisterial. Filled with all sorts of nugget. But it also has a grand theme to it that's almost Shakespearean.

It's like out of Richard III. It's about enablers and dukes who want to enable the tyrant and lose, sort of, their moral compass. Why are there so

many people in Trump's orbit who tell you that they disagree but they were horrified by some of these things but decided to enable him?

GLASSER: And that is the enduring mystery, isn't it, of the last four years that we went through with Trump in the White House. And I think you are

right that it is a major theme of "The Divider". You know, Donald Trump without these people, he just would have been and angry old man shouting at

the television, right, in between golf games. And instead, we have these cycles and cycles of drama.

And what was striking to me was that over time, Trump is purging himself and purging himself not just in the interest of permanent chaos. And he

certainly, as Jeb Bush called him was a chaos presidency. But he also -- he's looking for these qualities of loyalty and blind obedience. He doesn't

find them. He rages against a new group. And of course, no one will ever be loyal enough.

There is this incredible quote, Walter, that I think you will appreciate as a student of Washington, where one of his most senior advisers tells us,

Donald Trump likes to kinds of people who work for him. Those who will work for him, and those who used to work for him.

ISAACSON: So, Peter, the enabling is partly justified by some of the characters in "The Divider" by keeping them from doing even worse things.

Let's start with General Kelly who, in some ways, that does apply to him, am I right?

BAKER: You know, I think that's -- you put your finger on a really important theme we saw in almost every interview we did. There was this

enduring moral struggle, at least among people didn't, you know, fully subscribe to Trumpian beliefs and ideology.

To believe that they were trying to do good, they justify their presence in an administration they otherwise wouldn't support because they said, if I

let them, the guy that who comes after me -- the person who comes after me will be worse. And I, you know, I'm here to protect the country or


There's something to that, you know. There's something to that. In some cases, you can see where they obviously did make a difference or did stop

some things from happening. General Kelly is a great example. If he had been chief of staff at the end instead of the middle with January 6th that

happened earlier, it would've happened quite that same way. I got to think that he's the kind of guy who would've thrown himself in the door of the

oval office just to keep guys arguing from (INAUDIBLE) out of there.

But in the end, of course, it's also self-justifying. It's a way of rationalizing a decision that they also feel uncomfortable with. And so,

they're finally thrown to the side by the mercurial king who's decided they're no longer useful to him. So, I think that's one of the really

Shakespearean aspects, to use your phrase, of this book and of this story.

ISAACSON: Give me some examples, if you would, of somebody acting as an enabler but really doing some good, as you say, that in some cases there

was the odious smell of truth of what they were talking about.


GLASSER: Well, that's right. As one of the officials in Trump's on White House put it to us, there are no heroes here. And I do think that's an

important stipulation. But you look no farther then Bill Barr, is probably one of the clearest examples of that. Because by any stretch he wasn't just

serving in the administration like some of the retired military officials, like John Kelly or Jim Mattis, who probably were determined to constrain

Trump from the beginning in certain ways.

Bill Barr was not just an enabler but a facilitator. And of course, his intervention and shaping of the "Mueller Report" was very significant. He

went along with many things that critics would say were the outright politicization of the justice process and doing things that other attorney

generals would not do because they were seen as politicizing the Justice Department after Donald Trump's first impeachment. Bill Barr went along

with purges and things like that that really pushed the boundaries.

And yet, even Bill Barr got off the train when it came to the election denialism. You know, he outright confronted Trump. He publicly gave an

interview and said there is no evidence of widespread fraud that would justify overturning the election or even the Justice Department looking

into it. He's written a critical memoir of him.

Does that make Bill Barr a resistant hero? Absolutely not. But I think it's a classic example of what you're talking about. You know, that you can also

do the right thing in some circumstances even while enabling this. But I will say this, I will say this because it's important, Donald Trump

learned, even those who resisted him, like John Kelly or Jim Mattis, he learned from that behavior. And arguably it just made him more effective

and it empowered him in the end.

ISAACSON: Tell me about the secretary of Homeland Security because she's the one of the people in the book who's a very complex character, as to

whether or not she understands she's an enabler and when she decided to get off the train.

BAKER: Yes, I know. She's a fascinating character. Kirstjen Nielsen, of course, she is the target of enormous pressure by President Trump to take

this action or that action on immigration that she tells him again and again, you can't do it. We don't have the authority it. It's not legal.

It's not constitutional. And he just completely bullies her and pressures her. Calls her up first thing in the morning, how come you haven't done

this? How come you have done that?

She told colleagues that if she ever wrote a memoir she would call it, "Honey, Just Do It". And again and again, she was put in a position of

telling him what he couldn't do. And he wasn't one of those who was able to finagle him or manage him in the way some others did when she was telling

him no.

You know, Jared Kushner often told the president no on some things. But he always managed to find a way to do it. That, you know, flattered his

father-in-law. He said I always -- he always gave twice as much good news as bad news in order to soften that up.

That was never Kirstjen Nielsen's ability. She ended up becoming the face of family separation because she did get bullied into signing a piece of

paper that she had resisted for months. And she ended up being the public defender of it even though she, herself, harbor great reservations about

it. It got to the point where they finally did reverse it. And she made a suicide pact with Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services. To

say, if he ever tried to resume that, which he was trying to do, that they would join -- jointly resign in protest. But she didn't end up resigning in

protest. Ultimately, she was fired because she wasn't enabling Trump enough as far as he was concerned.

ISAACSON: I was really, sort of, struck by Trump's ability to know what buttons to push on people. More so than a lot of other politicians. You

know, he could understand how the tell snap somebody and get them into lying. Lindsey Graham is a good example. So, what was that -- call it a

talent, almost, that he had?

GLASSER: Well, you know, when you talk about Lindsey Graham and some of the others who went from, you know, harsh critics of Donald Trump to shameless

sycophants, Walter, I have to say, you know, I'm not enough of an expert on the male psyche to understand what on Earth some of these folks were

thinking. Especially because the abjectness of their, you know, devotion to this fickle master who, you know, is pretty clear at this point, right?

Donald Trump will abandon anyone and anything if it suits him and if it's necessary to him. He's a very transactional creature. And the love that

Lindsey Graham professes is pretty one-sided. Peter and I, would count this moment that we happen to run into Lindsey Graham on the street in

Washington right at the very beginning of the mass that became the first impeachment on Ukraine.

And, you know, Lindsey Graham was just bragging to us. And he was saying that he was a, you know, lying mother bleep, you know, on the street. And

yet also, he's so much fun to hang out with. And he seemed dazzled as if he was, you know, a kid in the cafeteria and the big football player, you

know, decided to have lunch with him, or something.


ISAACSON: Donald Trump gave you two interviews. He gives interviews to people doing his books, even though he knows that these books are not going

to be particularly favorable. Why does he do that? And he'd seem to contradict himself between different interviews. I mean, what's it like

being down there in Mar-a-Lago when he's being interviewed?

GLASSER: You know, Walter, that is the question. I have to say, when Peter said, well, we're going to have an interview with Trump, I said, really?

Really? Are you sure? Is that going to happen? He wanted to do this. And so, we did it. Donald Trump, of course, is a believer in the old New York

tabloid school of publicity, which is to say, no publicity is bad publicity as long as they spell your name right. He also --

BAKER: He was, in fact, told somebody in the presence of his aides that as long as they don't call you a pedophile, it's good publicity.

GLASSER: Yes, not the normal definition of good publicity. He's obviously supremely cocky and self-confident when it comes to his own abilities to

talk and to convince. And you know, mostly, an interview with Donald Trump is a misnomer. It's not an interview like this. It's not a conversation.

It's Donald Trump rambling on. There is, in fact, you know, in person, what's striking is how much it's almost like he's at one of his rallies.

There's never a noun, a verb, and a period, right? There's no clear-cut sentence. No matter what you want to talk about, he must have brought the

conversation every single time back to the "rigged election".

You know, we were in for the second interview, his now famous private office in Mar-a-Lago where the FBI search took place and they uncovered the

classified documents he had brought with him from the White House. Well, when we were in there, you know, the amazing thing is as soon as we sat

down, the very first thing he told us was a lie about something he told us in the first interview.

Now, that goes to the question of Donald Trump like, was the first story untrue? Was the second one untrue? Who knows, right? And that's sort of the

point. He has no shame. No constraints. In some ways, that brazenness remains his superpower because he's often not called to account for.

ISAACSON: You know, you talked about how you got all this reporting after he left the White House. And that raises sort of a journalistic issue, you

know. Is there a problem with journalists, sort of, waiting until the events are over and then telling us what we needed to know?

BAKER: Well, I think -- you know, Walter, you know as well as anybody, I think, how hard it is to do reporting in real time. And we did -- I would

say, Susan and I incurred all four years of his presidency did everything we could, as did our colleagues at the "New Yorker" and "The New York

Times" to uncover and dig up as many stories about what was going on in real time as we could. And I think we put out an awful lot of things in

public during those four years for the public to understand and know.

And then, of course, what discovered is, and we've always learned in every presidency is there's more to be learned. And there always is and always

will be, by the way. And some things are hard to get in real time that people begin to talk about after a president leaves office. That's true of

ordinary presidents like Obama or Bush or Reagan or Clinton. But it's especially true of this particular president.

And so, I think it was important for us to go back and try to learn what we tried to learn at the time but couldn't after he left office because it's

too important to leave it there undiscovered.

GLASSER: Yes. I have to say, I'm kind of mystified by this. It's a canard, really, that you see on the left, Walter, among critics of Donald Trump.

You know, are they -- do they want history to have stopped? You know, the day that Donald Trump left office, not only is it -- it's just -- it's a

weird critique in the sense that, first of all, you would hope the idea that journalist withheld stuff before the 2020 election.

Well, Donald Trump lost the 2020 election by millions of votes after, you know, enormous amount of important critical real time reporting. In many

ways, actually, because the Trump White House was so riven by infighting and suspicion and backstabbing, you had a lot of real time reporting that

came out of that White House that we don't get.

For example, out of the Biden White House or the Obama White House before that. And it often takes longer in many more conventional or normal

presidencies. But more importantly, that's actually the reason Peter and I wanted to do this book. Because we understood that we're going to want to

understand from historical record as much as possible.

This is a crisis for American democracy and for the institution of the presidency. It is a, you know, a five-alarm fire. And you want to

understand a lot. And frankly, just the 300 original interviews that we did along with other things convinced us there was a lot more still to learn.

We were surprised by many of the things we learned. People are still writing books about the Nixon presidency today and turning up stuff. I

imagine that they'll be still turning up stuff about the Donald Trump presidency for decades to come.

ISAACSON: You called this a five-alarm fire for American democracy.


Why is it that his supporters stay so loyal to him when so much has come out?

BAKER: Yes, that's the enduring question, right? And I think it's one that's really essential to our democracy. Essential to understanding our

society at this particular moment in this history because it is -- it's a very curious thing. All the facts, of course, are on one side. And yet

some, you know, 70 percent of Republicans will agree with him that the election was somehow stolen.

And, you know, it goes beyond facts at this point. I guess this goes to sort of gut belief. If the other side says it's true, it must not be true.

And it's sort of a mirror of our society right now that so many people are willing to go along with this guy who's telling them things they ought to

know any way is not true. They're certainly told is not true, but are not willing to accept it.

They don't trust institutions. They don't trust the media. They don't trust even their own Republican Party. Wishing -- you know, all -- you know, the

vast majority of which knows that Donald Trump lost that election. But in some cases, they obviously are not willing to say it or willing to even

pretend that he -- they didn't.

You know, he's managed successfully to reshape even the ballad this year so that multiple states have people running for statewide office who are

subscribing this notion the election was stolen, even though of course, it wasn't. And I think that that's a real mark of peril in a society where

truth actually matter and it should matter.

ISAACSON: This gets into the larger question of enabling which is, it was not just a few wanna-be dukes and the Richard III court that are enabling

him. It's now an entire segment of the population. You know, we've met the enemy and it's us. There are so many people willing to enable him now, as

you said, 70 percent of the Republican Party, people all over. What is this instinct that causes us to want to enable a strongman?

GLASSER: Well, I think you're right to put it in that big framing, Walter. Because it seems to me that what Trump did and in some ways our book is a

study of a leader walking down a checklist of the texts for democracy. What would a would be, a wanna-be strongman and authoritarian leader do?

He -- you know, Peter and I lived in Russia during the first four years of Vladimir Putin's tenure in office. You know, what did he do? He went after

NTV, the first and only ever independent national television network, first thing. Challenged what, you know, Donald Trump and the United States refers

to as the enemies of the people. Why do you do that? So, that there's no independent power center. No independent voice.

Putin, of course, had a different history, a different country, different tools at his disposal. But the checklist is the same in so many countries.

In Turkey, under Erdogan. In Hungary, today, under Viktor Orban. You know, and Donald Trump has the classic instincts of a would-be authoritarian. And

he's been empowered and enabled by, I should say, a minority of our country, but a large and significant enough minority.

We're talking, perhaps, about a little bit more than a third of the country that has gone along with the full Trump. Not just the, you know, partial

Trump, but the full Trump. And that's a lot. That's millions and millions of people.

ISAACSON: Susan Glasser, Peter Baker, thank you so much for joining us.

BAKER: Thank you.

GLASSER: Thank you, Walter. It's really an honor. Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And finally then, with all that division and dysfunctional display all over the world, it's easy to forget just what humans can

achieve when we do come together as one. For instance, these incredible new images of Neptune. The clearest view of its rings in decades. Look at that.

It's thanks to the Webb Telescope. A joint venture by the American, European, and Canadian space agencies.

Even more poignant, perhaps, an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts sitting side by side, off to the international space station. A

rare display of Russian and American partnership these days. Happy to report that the Soyuz capsule docked safely with the station a few hours

later. That was yesterday. Human ingenuity and collaboration at their finest. Anything to pull us together.

That is it for now. And if you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. On your screen now is a QR

code. All you need to do is pick up your phone and scan it with your camera. You can also find it at and on all major

platforms, just search "Amanpour". Remember, you can always catch us online. Facebook, Twitter, and Intergram -- Instagram. Thank you for

watching and goodbye from New York.