Return to Transcripts main page
Interview with "The Silk Roads: A New History of the World" Author Peter Frankopan; Interview with China Analyst and China Crossroads Founder Frank Tsai; Interview with "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy" Author David Daley. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 09, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to "Amanpour." Here is what's coming up.
Brittney Griner is back in America. We get the latest on the basketball star just released from Russian detention. And big changes in China.
President Xi starts to ease up on his COVID crackdown. We get insight from Oxford historian, Peter Frankopan and China analyst frank Tsai Shanghai.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DALEY, AUTHOR, "UNRIGGED: HOW AMERICANS ARE BATTLING BACK TO SAVE DEMOCRACY": This is a case about raw political power and who is able to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Voting rights expert, David Daley, talks to Hari Sreenivasan about the Supreme Court's case on redistricting and why American democracy is on
the line. And finally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREVOR NOAH, THEN-HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": I'm grateful to every single one of you. This has been an honor. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Trevor Noah signs off. We look back at some of Christiane's best conversations with the celebrated host of "The Daily Show."
Welcome to the program. I'm Sara Sidner in Los Angeles, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Basketball star Brittney Griner is back home in the United States after a prisoner swap with Russia. Her release, after nearly 10 months in
detention, is being celebrated not only by her family, team and supporters, but as a major win for the Biden administration. However, the president is
facing criticism for not securing the freedom of another American locked up and Russia, Paul Whelan. Listen to what the state department spokesperson
said earlier about it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKERSPERSON: The choice we faced, this is what President Biden said yesterday and what Secretary Blinken said
yesterday, it was not which one. It was one American or none. And of course, we took the deal that was on the table that we certainly didn't
want to lose. To have the opportunity to see Brittney Griner reunited with her -- with Cherelle and her family, back here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: The U.S. government is also facing questions about the man who they swapped for Griner. Notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout. The Pentagon says,
there's still some concern that he could return to the illicit international arms trade. Let's go now to U.S. State Department -- to
National Security Correspondent Kylie Atwood.
Kylie, thank you so much for joining us. There are so many things going on right now. Can you talk to me first about what has happened in this
situation? There is a wide disparity of offenses between Brittney Griner being jailed for just having less than a gram of a hashish oil, which were
in some cartridges in her luggage. And Viktor Bout is known as the merchant of death.
And there have been criticisms here. While there is a huge celebration on the part of her, her family, her supporters, there is some criticism that
the Biden administration is facing. Including, you know, the Russians saying that this is a victory for them. They're trying to do their spin on
it. But Republicans have also jumped in, not surprisingly, Kevin McCarthy called it a gift for Putin. Why was it so important for President Biden to
make this deal?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, listen, that criticism is coming, of course, after President Biden traded someone, as
you said, Sara, who was a really high priority to the Kremlin. And when you look at his history, you look at him trafficking weapons around the world,
being charged with conspiring to kill an American. This was, by all accounts, an incredibly bad person committed incredibly serious crimes.
And then you look at what Brittney Griner did. She accidentally was carrying cannabis with her into Russia while she was playing basketball
there. That's what led to her getting detained and then sentenced and sent to a penal colony.
So, those two things just don't add up. And so, that is what folks are pointing to. They're saying this wasn't a great deal for the United States.
Russia got a better end of the deal. We even heard from Paul Whelan who called my colleague from his penal colony and said that Russia got a better
end of the deal.
But you also have to consider the immense pressure that the White House was under to try and secure a deal to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, but
really Brittney Griner out. I mean, there has been a ton of public pressure on them. From the LGBTQ community, from the African American community,
from the sports world.
So, they had -- they were receiving that pressure. And they got to a point where they had always said, they would do whatever it took to get an
And they had an opportunity, and so, they went with that opportunity.
And so, it is, perhaps, predictable that we're seeing some of this criticism, particularly from former U.S. officials who are saying, this
wasn't a great deal. But Biden ministration officials are still doubling down, saying they'll do whatever it takes to get Americans home and they're
saying they'll impose costs on those who detain Americans abroad.
SIDNER: I want to quickly ask you about Paul Whelan. You just talked about how he spoke about this deal. But the Whelan family seems to be very much
in support of getting Americans back, including Brittney Griner. They just want to see Paul Whelan back as well. Can you talk to me about what has to
happen? Do we know what Putin is trying to get out of the United States in order to send Paul Whelan home? And whether the Biden ministration is
willing to do that as well?
ATWOOD: Well, what Putin wants, I think, is the million-dollar question, because we don't know exact names that President Putin is willing to sign
off on for a future prisoner swap that would release Paul Whelan who has wrongfully detained in Russia for almost four years now.
But the question here is, how can the Biden administration figure that out? And I spoke with a senior administration official who said that, even
though they tried their best to get him out at the same time as Brittney Griner, they're essentially going back to the drawing board. They're going
to come up with some new ideas, some innovative things, new offers, bigger offers that they can go to the Russians with to try and keep this momentum
And it is significant to note that for President Putin, who is of course facing some pressure in his own country, domestically because of the war in
Ukraine, this was heralded as a pretty big win for him at home. So, there's reason for him to want to engage into perhaps engage in another prisoner
swap that would be good for him domestically. The question is, how quickly can they get there and how, you know, challenging are the Russians in
getting to that agreement?
SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much Kylie Atwood. We appreciate your insight on this momentous day.
Saudi Arabia is claiming some credit for the swap, saying the crowned prince along with the UAE president took leading roles in mediation
efforts. It's a busy week for Mohammed bin Salman, who is currently hosting China's President, Xi Jinping.
Xi's trip to the Middle East is aimed at kickstarting economic growth and it coincides with Xi making big changes at home. A relaxation of his
controversial zero-COVID policies. You will recall the strict lockdown measures prompted rare protests across the country.
Here to evaluate for us, and the week that was for China, if you will, Author and Oxford history professor Peter Frankopan, and Frank Tsai, CEO of
China Crossroads, Shanghai's largest platform for public lectures. In the United States, the house yesterday passed a bill -- sorry, my bad. I'm
moving on to you two. Thank you so much for joining us in the program. Can you hear me?
PETER FRANKOPAN, AUTHOR, "THE SILK ROADS: A NEW HISTORY OF THE WORLD": I can hear you fine, thank you.
SIDNER: Oh, good. OK. I'm going to start with you, Peter. --
FRANK TSAI, CHINA ANALYST AND CHINA CROSSROADS FOUNDER: I can hear you fine, too.
SIDNER: Wonderful. Thank you both.
I'm going to start with you, Peter. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia this week. It's his first visit since 2016. What was the visit
and why was it so important for China and Xi Jinping, himself, to make the trip -- a three-day trip to Riyadh?
FRANKOPAN: Well, China's -- one of China's major problems is its energy insecurity. And so, making sure that oil pumps, not only through Russian
pipelines that are pumping only towards China, because they're not pumping towards Europe now, thanks to sanctions or in much lower volumes. So, China
has an opportunity to be buying energy from Saudi Arabia. So, that's an important part of the visit.
But since September, Xi, has now met 29 heads of state. And so, he's putting a lot of effort into building China's alliances, friendships in
transactional relationships outside China. Partly because China's keen to project its power. I guess the messaging of this is very important, too,
that he's showing he's very much in control. And that although there were protests, as you mentioned, Sara, a couple of weeks ago, or 10 back --
going back 10 days ago that looked like it was the start of a big wave of trouble, that things looked like business as normal.
So, the visit is being very carefully choreographed. It's been very useful for the Saudis to show that they're not only appealing out to Washington.
That news around brokering hostage releases is obviously a way of showing that the Middle East is an important part of this equation. And Xi, turning
up right now, is really enforcing that.
So, it's a win for China to show that they're trying to make friends and allies in a traditional part of the world where the U.S. has been very
But it's also the messaging in the UAE and Saudi to be showing that they're open to listen to all relationships, including overtures from Moscow.
SIDNER: I want to ask you, Peter, about that because the messaging is very clear here in many respects. Does this talk a little bit to the fact that
the U.S.-Saudi relations are strained? Some of it, of course, over oil prices and the desire for the United States early on to have them lower the
prices and the Arab allies have allied themselves also with Russia. Does this show that China is starting to replace the United States on the world
stage economically and politically with Saudi Arabia?
FRANKOPAN: No, I don't think so. I mean, you know, China becoming more prosperous is on balance, probably very good for the global economy. I
mean, the challenge is at local level, a national level to make sure that inequalities and that businesses innovate and invest. It's, sort of,
problem in itself. But, I think, clearly this is a sign of a sharply changing world.
You know, that relationship that the U.S. has had with Saudi and many states in the Middle East over the last 30, 40 years, you know, the primary
question today, is what does the U.S. get out of that relationship? You know, the U.S. is now energy independent. It produces its own oil. Shell
has been a huge success in the last 20, 30 years. We're all talking about carbon -- freer carbon neutral futures.
So, you know, what is it the U.S. actually gets from Saudi? What does it get from Middle Eastern States like UAE that have very extensive fat (ph)
budget to several wealth funds? And I guess that works in the other direction, too. You know, what is it if you're based out of Riyadh or in
Abu Dhabi right now?
You know, presumably you want to have friends in many different ports as possible. And Washington is the obvious place because of what the U.S.
stands for but there's no harm in having cultivated high relationships with London, with Islamabad, with Delhi, with Beijing. I mean, a lot of actions
that we don't spend a lot of time thinking about. Their relationship with Moscow is a little bit more problematic because that really is taking a
stake of saying, I'm not just here for building my economy. I'm here to make a political statement.
And so, I think, watching the axis of Moscow reaching out into Beijing and into the Middle East, into the Gulf is a really important thing to be
paying attention to.
SIDNER: OK. Let me go to Frank Tsai. I want to talk about, sort of, China and its economic woes, because that is playing into this as well. I'll just
give you a couple of quick numbers here. Last year, bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and China hit $87 billion, which is up about 30 percent. For
scale, the United States and Saudi Arabia were at 24.8. So, like a third, basically, of what China and Saudi Arabia were doing together,
Is this visit a purely economic visit, ensuring that they have a steady supply of oil, or is this being framed differently in China?
TSAI: Well, I think very briefly, what this visit shows is that China is bolstering noncompliance by U.S. allies. So, you know, improves its
position in the global chess game. You know, we're not talking about this much on the ground here in Shanghai because we're so excited about the
COVID loosening that we'll talk about in a little bit.
SIDNER: I do want to ask you about. About those COVID policies. You are there in Shanghai. There were some really heart-wrenching pictures coming
out in the very beginning of people screaming from their apartments. They were scared. They were hungry. They were worried. And now, you've seen a
real response from people when the lockdown started again. They were in the streets and they were saying things they haven't said in a long time. Going
after the government itself.
Can you give me some sense of have these policies really shaken the Xi's regime? And do you think this is finally the end of China's zero-COVID
policy? You are seeing some of those pictures now of people just, you know, just screaming out, like, this can't be this way here in this country.
So, to say that this has shaken his regime maybe a bit of an exaggeration. But certainly, it's the most significant protest we've seen in China's
since 1989 because some of it was actually targeted toward the regime, which doesn't happen in China.
Now, you had mentioned I'm the largest organizers of lecturers -- public lecturers in Shanghai. In civil society, which is shrinking a lot in recent
years, and you know, this loosening here is very much tied with the protests. Civil society is the tightest I've seen it a last 15 years, that
is actual government monitoring and control of what you can do in the public sphere.
And you know, from my pinhole perspective, you know, organizing matters because the Communist Party of China was founded to make sure it
monopolized all organizational capacity in society for good or bad ends.
Now, the question we're all wondering is, is the party compromising with the protesters? Is Xi being rational in the sense that he's cutting his
losses, you know? It could be a bad signal, right, to compromise because that could encourage more protests. But also, he could be, you know, giving
up in a way.
And I think what's interesting is, you know, some of the reporting on China is very interesting because, you know, the party really can't win in many
ways. I mean, I -- we're very happy. You know, I live here and I'm happy not to be testing or I won't be testing in a few days. I run a business and
I'm happy that, you know, we're be on solid footing if this opening really happens.
So, it could be that this party really is doing something quite smart. Taking a signal from the protesters and doing something to show that it has
the benevolence it always says it does. The party has a huge fear of social movements. That was the significance of these protests. You know, Xi
Jinping from the very beginning, has been focused on preventing the color revolutions he's seen around the world. So, that's what, you know,
frightens the regime. And for them to loosen and compromise, if that's the case, is actually, I think, quite brave.
SIDNER: I do want to ask you, Peter, about the same thing. And some of the things that have happened is like allowing home quarantine and scrapping
the QR code that everybody has been using to be able to travel around. It was mandatory for entering most public spaces. Do the protests -- they've
abated, for the most part, will that continue the softening of this policy? Because, if it comes back, what do you see happening?
FRANKOPAN: Well, I think the real story here is around aging politicians. You know, that's not just a problem in China, I mean, it's acute in China,
the politburo, it's male dominated, all men over the age of 60, give or take. You know, that's the same in many countries around the world.
Including, in fact, in the U.S., the age of our senior politicians.
What those protests were really driven by was by young people. And what we learned about COVID, is although immunosuppression can happen at many ages,
it's obviously much rarer with young people. So, this is, I think, a moment where China had its bluff called. The Communist Party, working out, should
it run the risk of more protests with all those young people who have got difficult life prospects? You know, the big booms that we've seen in China
over the last 30 years, economically.
Very acutely aware that that 996, the way of young people working in all hours of the day, pretty much all everyday of week. But that is, at some
point, going to go in the wrong direction. So, the loosening up of these restrictions, I think, what it has done is to say that we're going to
listen to young people. And in fact, the people are going to be more compromised or be the ones who are older. I mean, about 80 million in China
over the age of 80 haven't had a booster shot.
So, the question will be now, what happens to the health system in China? Which is not completely functional. It's very regionally up and down. And
if very large numbers of people get infected and those develop into mortalities, then it's a different kind of problem that the leadership has
to deal with.
But for now, taking a chance on opening things up, getting the economy going is probably what's driving this. To get productivity back, getting
people back into jobs. Because China is facing a whole set of macroeconomic, big economic challenges right now that it has to work at a
deal with. And keeping people locked up indoors is probably not the smartest way to solve that.
SIDNER: Frank, I do want to ask you about what it feels like to be there now, as you hear that this loosening is happening, I mean, what is it like
where you are in Shanghai? In the public civil society at this point?
TSAI: Well, let me get to that. But with all due respect to the other speaker, it's not just generational. It's only generational to the extent
that young people remember or neither know about it. So, the reason why we have protest is because in a one party-led in the state, there are no
feedback mechanisms. None of the things that we take for granted that liberal democracies so that ordinary people can get their feedback back to
You know, we had a lot of protesters here. You know, what takes, maybe, 1,000 people to accomplish change through lobbying, through a protest,
demonstration and liberal democracy will take 100,000 in China because these mechanisms don't exist. So, this very much a bit due to the kind of
system we have here, not generational.
In many ways, I have to say that, you know, this last week and a half has been the most-tense week for me, personally, in my entire 15 years in
China. I think it's a great watershed moment in China. Now, why is that? Because, for the last 10 years, Chinese have had great pride in their
system. It seems to work. It seems to be able to produce the goods. Economic development.
But now, they say, oh, my God. It doesn't have feedback mechanisms. We've been locked down, you know, something over half of Chinese have really
experienced serious lockdown by now, and we can't, you know, express our opinions to the government in formal ways. That's a watershed moment for
China right now. And it shows a weakness that the Chinese people, perhaps, have not proceed before. And also, should give us some heart that we do
have these feedback mechanisms. And whatever weaknesses we have in the board of democracies, we don't have that one.
SIDNER: Frank Tsai and Peter Frankopan, thank you so much. It's interesting to hear you say the word, a watershed moment, that is significant. I
appreciate you coming on the program.
Now, to the United States where the house, yesterday, passed a bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage. It is legislation that gained
momentum after the Supreme Court's landmark overturning of Roe versus Wade back in June.
And now, that court is hearing another potentially transformative case. This time, one that could change the way American elections are held. It
centers on North Carolina's congressional map and the authority of state legislatures to control it. But our next guest says that the case could
have consequences far beyond just one state. David Daley is the author "Unrigged: How Americans are Battling Back to Save Democracy" and an expert
on state election reform. He speaks with our Hari Sreenivasan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Sara. David Daley, thanks for joining us. For people who are watching, especially
overseas, let's get a little bit of background on what happened in front of the Supreme Court. What this case is about before we, kind of, talk about a
little bit of the implications. So, what was it that the Supreme Court heard a couple days ago?
DAVID DALEY, AUTHOR, "UNRIGGED: HOW AMERICANS ARE BATTLING BACK TO SAVE DEMOCRACY": It's really, really interesting case. It is called More V.
Harper. And it arises out of a gerrymandered congressional map that the North Carolina State Supreme Court tossed aside as an unconstitutional
partisan gerrymander because as it was drawn by Republican state legislatures there, it gave the GOP, 10 of 14 seats in what is effectively
a 50/50 purple state.
What Republicans, however, did was they appealed this using a novel legal theory called the Independent State Legislature Theory. They have gotten it
now all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. What they are asserting, in this case, is that under the federal constitution in the elections clause, the
word legislature means legislature and only the legislature. So, that the state Supreme Court in North Carolina and indeed the state constitution
would have no power over the legislature in their ability to make rules that administer the time, place, and manner of federal elections. If this
novel theory is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, it could really dramatically change where power rests over federal elections.
SREENIVASAN: So, the Republicans in this case are arguing in North Carolina that their own state Supreme Court should not have the power to correct
something that the state legislature does, or this isn't a state versus federal, this is the -- kind of, a state legislature versus Supreme Court?
DALEY: In many ways, it is. The state Supreme Court rained in Republicans in the state legislature. They said that using a clause in North Carolina
state constitution that said all elections must be free and fair. They said that those gerrymandered maps were neither free nor fair. That they fell
far short of that constitutional standard.
What Republicans are saying is that the state Supreme Court should have no role in this at all. They are lining up a situation in which absolute
unfettered control over all election issues would lie in state legislatures. State legislatures have been so wildly gerrymandered,
especially, in North Carolina that this would place maps and many other electoral rules beyond any checks and balances and also the ballot box.
SREENIVASAN: If it goes in the way of the Republicans who were asking for this, what is the consequence to every other state?
DALEY: The consequences are huge. And potentially unimaginable for the nature and future of our democracy. If state legislatures are allowed to
set all of these rules without any check or balance on them, not a governor's veto. Not the state constitution. Not a state Supreme Court.
They would be free to change everything on their own from electoral maps, to rules around absentee or mail-in voting. You could potentially see rules
changed governing how electors are sent to the electoral college.
Much of what Donald Trump was arguing on January 6th came down to the Independent State Legislature Theory. And that these state legislatures had
the power to send alternate slates of electors to Washington to vote for him, right?
DALEY: Because they were effectively to insurrections on January 6th. One of them, the MAGA assault on the Capitol. But the other one was this highly
technical, almost bloodless, other legalistic challenge that his counsel John Eastman was making. And it's very much based on the Independent State
Legislature Theory. If this is endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court, those who would look to overturn future elections like what we saw in the weeks
after the 2020 election would be in a stronger and better position to get away with it next time.
SREENIVASAN: If this theory, the Independent State Legislature Theory, had been in effect at the 2020 elections, what would have happened?
DALEY: I think we would have seen pure constitutional chaos. I think you would have seen lawmakers in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, the ones
who we all watched as they behaved recklessly and embraced Donald Trump's big lie, and oftentimes sent envelopes to the national archives with
competing slates of electors. We would have watched all of this play out in federal courts.
And it would have been a brand-new situation in many ways, the guardrails would have been runoff. The rules would have been completely unclear. And
much would have been left to U.S. Supreme Court to decide and interpret. And what we've seen, of course, is that that court has become much more
partisan. There were only about 75,000 votes, effectively, that separated Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Biden wins the popular
vote, yes, by 7 million. But his electoral college victory is super narrow when you look at the margins in Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and a single
congressional district in Nebraska.
If those electors had been challenged by Republican-controlled, oftentimes Republican gerrymandered legislatures in those states, and alternate
electors had been sent to Washington, we saw on the hours after the January 6th insurrection that there was a majority of the U.S. House Republican
caucus that was willing to set aside free and fair election results from states like Pennsylvania and Arizona. This could've been thrown into wild
constitutional chaos. And it really threatens the foundation of one person, one vote, and the will of the people being heard.
SREENIVASAN: So, on the surface, it looks like this is a tension between legislatures and Supreme Courts. But really, what you're saying is that
it's also about the power to draw maps in a way where you can pretty much secure the outcome of any election before it's even held --
DALEY: That's right.
SREENIVASAN: -- or certainly after.
DALEY: That's right. This is a case about raw political power and who is able to execute it. It might be dressed up in constitutional trapping and
originalist theories, but this is really a case about a North Carolina legislature that is very, very angry that the state Supreme Court had the
nerve to overturn maps that they drew to entrench themselves in power.
North Carolina State Supreme Court stood up and said, these maps are neither free nor fair. You must try again. Republicans in North Carolina in
the legislature said, you should not even have the power to tell us what to do. If we want to entrench ourselves in office, we will. And now the
question is whether the U.S. Supreme Court will let them and every other state legislature around the country get away with it and have this kind of
unfettered power in the future that we know that they cannot be trusted with.
SREENIVASAN: So, give me an idea here. If the decision goes one-way versus the other, the impact on the 2024 election.
DALEY: You would see immediate and dramatic consequences. First, I mean, North Carolina is working on a 77 congressional map right now. If the
independent state legislator theory is adopted, you might see many states rush to redraw legislative maps, which could reopen the battle for
Congress. If state legislatures are free to draw maps without any constraints of state Supreme Courts, you could see New York, you could see,
you know, many, many states jump back into this.
If the most maximal endorsement of independent state legislature theory is embraced, it could lead to the unconstitutionality of independent
redistricting commissions around the country. It could dramatically change the way that people vote by mail, whether absentee balloting is allowed.
And I think, just as importantly, it would remove the ability of voters and citizens in these states to challenge some of these really new draconian
bills and state legislatures that make it much harder for people to vote.
So, a package of voter suppression bills, for example, in the State of Georgia that, you know, currently is being litigated, the state Supreme
Court would have no power there to rule on a case like that. And what we have seen from the U.S. Supreme Court on voting rights over the course of
the last decade has been that they are very reluctant to weigh in on the side of voters and against the power of state legislators to do what they
And then, if we get to a case where elections are contested, where estate - - slates of electors are contested in 2024 in some of these most competitive states, places like Arizona and Georgia and Wisconsin and
Pennsylvania, what you could see is pure constitutional chaos. The blast radius from this ruling could be large and consequential and devastating.
SREENIVASAN: What was also interesting was the folks lined up on the other side. And somewhat strange bed fellows in the Supreme Court cases often
find that, but you had the cofounder of the Federalist Society, you know, arch-conservatives from the Reagan administration, from both Bush
administrations. And you also had 50, all 50 state Supreme Courts were also writing on the opposite side of this, along with lawyers who would
otherwise be considered, you know, liberals arguing against this. It was interesting from king of alignment on how many forces say that this case
should go a peculiar way.
DALEY: I think that there is broad recognition by both, as you say, some of the founders of the Federalist Society, Judge Michael Luttig, who was known
as one of the most conservative judges in America, joining common cause and Neal Katyal as a litigator.
In this case, a real understanding that this has deep and dangerous, dramatic consequences for the future of American democracy. There is an
awful lot at stake here. You saw Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, chief justices from all 50 states coming together to say
that there is no basis for this theory that it is not effectively grounded in our constitution, in our law, in our political tradition or indeed,
really even in reality.
SREENIVASAN: You had written in your book "Unrigged" about the efforts that were happening to try to fix the gerrymandering problems. And tell me a
little bit about what's going on right now in Michigan and whether that could be one of the potential solutions to give individual voters a little
bit more say in, well, ironically, how they elect the people that they actually choose.
DALEY: You're absolutely right. In Michigan, in 2018, what you saw was citizens of the state from across the political spectrum came together and
used the constitutional amendment process there, a ballot initiative, to create an independent redistricting commission.
Michigan had been one of the most wildly gerrymandered states in the nation for, you know, many decades. Republicans there were the culprits. And
Democrats were effectively unable to win control of the state legislature or even the congressional delegation there, even in years in which they
would win hundreds of thousands of more votes statewide. And voters got really tired of this, right? When you have gerrymandered legislatures, you
end up with policy that is much further extreme than voters of the state want. But voters find it almost impossible to do anything about it at the
So, the state came together and acted in an independent commission this year. You had a nearly evenly divided Michigan congressional delegation
that really closely reflected the will of the people. And also, Michigan's House and Senate flip to the Democrats for the first time in many decades.
And it's not Democrats ought to have power in the State of Michigan, it's the party that wins the most votes, the will of the people, the ability of
voters to turn out their leaders if they do not want them in office rather than seeing them entrenched by lines that they themselves drew.
So, the process in Michigan was a wild success and it actually gave voters in Michigan back their government. And this is one of the dangers of this
case, because if the independent state legislature theory is embraced, it could call into question the future of independent commissions around the
country. And it could give that power back to lawmakers who have proven that they can't be trusted with it, or that they won't use it irresponsibly
for their own partisan and political nature.
We need state Supreme Courts to have the power to step in and interpret state constitutions and protect voters, and the founders knew this and
intended it. And lawmakers around the country, in the days after the 2020 election, but also those who have drawn these wildly mint gerrymandered
maps on both sides of the political spectrum --
DALEY: -- show us every day why gubernatorial vetoes and the state Supreme Courts have a really important role to play here.
SREENIVASAN: David Daley, thanks so much for joining us.
DALEY: Anytime. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And finally, Trevor Noah has bid farewell to "The Daily Show" after a wildly successful seven-year stint as host. Inheriting the role from John
Stewart in 2015, he's leaving late night to go back to stand up as well as other projects, he says. In an emotional final show on Thursday night, he
paid tribute to the black women who shaped his life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREVOR NOAH, THEN-HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW: I'll tell you now, do yourself a favor, if you truly want to know what to do or how to do it or maybe the
best way or the most equitable way, talk to black women. They are a lot of the reason that I'm here. And so, I'm grateful to them. I'm grateful to
every single one of you. This has been an honor. Thank you. We'll be right back after this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: A strong seven-year run. It's been a long road her for Noah. Born in apartheid South Africa to a black mother and a white father, he was, in
fact, born a crime, which became the title of his bestselling memoir.
Christiane interviewed Noah through the course of his career, talking about his book, his End of Days Tour and his life's extraordinary journey. Their
conversations began during the 2016 GOP convention in Ohio, as the Trump era was about to begin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Trevor Noah, welcome to the program.
TREVOR NOAH, THEN-HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW: Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: Have you seen anything like -- I mean, you come from South Africa, you've been doing this gig, American politics, for the last year
and a half or so. How does this stack up for you?
NOAH: Well, I mean, the convention is not the craziest thing. You know, you see political conventions in different countries. South Africa has
something similar where the party gets together and, you know, people discuss and vote for the leader. But I guess the rhetoric and the emotion
that is around this election, I genuinely have never seen before.
AMANPOUR: What is it particularly that you haven't seen before? I mean, what is the most surprising?
NOAH: I think one of the biggest things is the fact that Donald Trump has hijacked a political party. I have never seen that happen. I have never
seen somebody take a party from other people and then force them to come to their own event and, I guess, ratify that decision. Come out and say, yes,
we're making this official. We choose you. They can't even say it.
AMANPOUR: I mean, look, this one is notable. You're absolutely right. For the number of grandees who are not coming, no former presidents.
AMANPOUR: No former Republican nominees. Very few, if any, of his challengers during the campaign. He did get 13 million votes in the primary
NOAH: He did.
AMANPOUR: Apparently, a record. What shall we take from that?
NOAH: I think the fact that populist politics is really growing in the world. The fact that people are afraid for different reasons and that's the
time when I think demagogues like Donald Trump can take the most advantage. Because what you do is when people are afraid, you jump out. And you go, I
can assuage your fears. I have the solutions. Nobody has a solution to what is happening in the world right now, would it be terrorism, the shrinking
middle class. Nobody has solution on hand.
Refugees as well. Everyone has to think of the variety it affects. Donald Trump says there's one solution and I will give it to you. And that seems
more confident. And there are people out there who are going, you know what, I'm going to vote for that because he seems sure.
AMANPOUR: There's been a lot of controversy about his candidacy. The press is being accused of not holding him to account sufficiently. I mean, the
thing is nothing seems to have dented him.
NOAH: Well, how do you dent something that is in of itself a giant dent? That's the problem. Everyone is trying to shame Donald Trump, and he is
shameless. I realize that one day what Donald Trump does that nobody before him has done is he goes in head first. You say, here is a statement, here
is a controversy and he says I will give you another one, and I will give you another one, and I will give you another one. He gives you so many.
AMANPOUR: He doubles down?
NOAH: Doubling down is an understatement, a gross understatement. He's quadrupled down. He is quintuple down. He is everything down.
AMANPOUR: We are in a very, very divisive period of not just American history, but global history at the moment. I mean, let's just take the
police killings in this country. You have had a huge amount of attention because of the piece you did right after the killings in Louisiana and
Minnesota of the two black guys by white police. Let me just play a little bit.
NOAH: If your pro-"Black Lives Matter," you're assumed to be antipolice, and if you're pro-police, then you surely hate black people. It seems that
it's either pro-cop and anti-black or pro-black and anti-cop when in reality, you can be pro-cop and pro-black, which is what we should all be.
AMANPOUR: How does a satirist, a comedian like yourself, dealing with the most important and heated politics of the moment -- like people say they've
never seen America like this, at least not for decades, right? How do you navigate that in a responsible way while you're still trying to have
NOAH: Well, I think you -- it depends on what you're using the laughs for. I've come to realize more and more that the laughter is not me poking fun
or enjoying the moment, you're using the laughter as catharsis, you're using the laughter as a release valve, because that's what laughter is.
That's what comedy is, you know.
People always ask me, they go like, how can you laugh at a time like this? How -- I go, look, I grew up in a place where Nelson Mandela was in prison
for 27 years, and not only was he telling jokes in prison, he was laughing when he came out of prison. It doesn't mean that 27 years was easy, it
doesn't mean that he wasn't angry and he wasn't trying to effect change. But it also meant that you can't remove that from yourself. You cannot
forget how to laugh. Because once you forget that you only remember how to cry.
And so, that's what you do. In terms of responsibility, it's the honesty of the situation. Sometimes there are situations that are ludicrous.
AMANPOUR: So, you came here not necessarily intending to be just about American politics, but this obviously campaign has captivated everything.
What are you going to do after the election?
NOAH: I think I'm definitely intending to widespread the scope of "The Daily Show." We need to look to the world, because a lot of the time the
world can give you the answers that you need. You know, Brexit is one of those. You know, if people were looking at Brexit, and even now, if you
look at the ramifications of Brexit, it can tell you a lot about what may happen in the U.S.
You have people after Brexit going, oh, I don't know why voted. I thought we are voting for immigrants to leave and we wanted more jobs and the NHS
was going to spend 350 million pounds. And now, it looks like they're not getting that money, and I really regret my decision. And, like, yes. That's
what happens. You were ill-informed, you were misinformed. And now, your decision is going to impact you for the rest of your life. The same thing
could happen in the United States. And so, I feel like by looking at the world, you can actually learn about yourself.
AMANPOUR: So, the last time we talked was during the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Where did you come down? Did you think Donald Trump was
going to win?
NOAH: I didn't think he was going to win. But I always ask the question, I even said to you, I said, I can see him winning. But I said this as a
comedian and as an idiot, and now, I realize, maybe we should have all been more idiotic about it because it seems like, you know, that's what he was
doing. He was in a world that wasn't the real world and he managed to turn that into reality.
AMANPOUR: You have, you know, an amazing life story. Your whole book is called "Born a Crime." It really starts quite shockingly as you reprint the
Immorality Act of 1927 in which you write about the crime it is in South Africa at that time of a white and black getting together, marrying or
having a kid, and that's precisely your story.
NOAH: Yes. That is exactly my story. And I talk about that because that was my life. Apartheid is the setting, but really, it's the story of myself,
learning and growing up with my mom.
AMANPOUR: And your mother, obviously, is the key personality in this book and you dedicate the book to her. And you thank her for making you a man.
The stories of your childhood are at once terrifying and hilarious. I can't get over the way you said, you know, you almost had so little to eat that
you ate dog bones and worms sometimes.
NOAH: Yes. Some people think I mean the bones of dogs, no, I explain it in the book. But we ate in the butcheries where we live. The butchers would
cut off bones and people would normally cook them for their dogs. And we would eat those sometimes. Because even within being poor, there are
levels. I didn't realize that we could get poorer than where we were and we did.
AMANPOUR: What was it like trying to connect with your father in a situation where the two of them should not have been together, a white
father, a black mother?
NOAH: Well, I was in a situation where I couldn't connect with my father. I was in a situation where for a lot of my life growing up, my father and I
were separated. Thanks to the law. What I was blessed with was a mother who didn't make me feel that way.
AMANPOUR: Just describe how they met and what brought these two very different people together.
NOAH: Well, my parents met really in what was considered the underground scene in Johannesburg. You know, there were people who were vehemently
opposed to the apartheid laws. They didn't believe that people should be separated on accounts of their race. And my dad was one of them. My mom was
one of them. And my mom saw my dad and she was like, that's the man I'm going to break the law with.
AMANPOUR: You write very humorously, but of course it's sad, about seeing your dad and running after him, daddy, daddy, and your mother, you know,
freaking out and him freaking out as well. You also had to be kept away from him in public.
NOAH: Every time I hear the story and I tell it, it's not sad to me. My mom tried once to take myself, my father and her out together and she said,
let's try and go out to the park as a family. And, you know, on the way there, we walked very distant from each other. My mom and I together, my
dad walked away from us, so that no one would know we were together. And we got to the park. And, again, we were supposed to maintain a distance, but I
don't know this as a child. So, I started chasing him. I started screaming out, you know, daddy, daddy, and people are looking, going, where is this
daddy, you know.
And there's this white man and he starts running away from me, and I start chasing him, and then, my mom starts chasing me. And I am having the time
of my life because I'm running in the park with my family. My parents are terrified because this kid is going to give the game away.
AMANPOUR: How does she make you a man?
NOAH: I think by -- wow, by sharing all of life's lessons with me. My mom always treated me as the adult she wanted me to become. So, for my mom, she
taught me that being a man was about having an equal in a relationship, seeking out someone who is an equal, seeking out a space where two people
of equal standing can benefit each other using their different skills.
And so, you know, she taught me to be independent. She taught me to be caring. She taught me to be -- to have empathy.
AMANPOUR: You talk like this about your mother and all that she taught you. I have to ask you about some of the stuff you tweeted and some of the stuff
you said about woman in your stand-up earlier when you were much younger. Do you regret that now?
NOAH: I don't regret it, because I feel that you have to make mistakes when you're growing up. So, I think if anything, it's nice to see a benchmark in
yourself. Do I regret being a juvenile idiotic young man? No, because I needed to be that. My mom always used to say --
AMANPOUR: I just thought you were going to say, yes, of course.
NOAH: No. No, but the thing is my mom used to say, be a boy when you're a boy, so that you can be a man when you're a man.
AMANPOUR: Your mother in this book, you recount, said, don't fight against whatever it is, mock it.
NOAH: There are different ways to fight things and mockery is one of the most powerful. Because with mockery comes two things, it removes a certain
level of its prestige and power and sometimes more importantly, it imbues within that subject shame. And that is a very powerful tool. And if you
think about it, that's one of the largest or one of the most effective tools that came to bring down apartheid, shame.
The number one question that was asked was, sir, have you been in contact with Ebola? They'd always ask, sir, have you been in contact with Ebola? I
love the sincerity of the question, like there was a chance my answer could be, yes. And next stop, Disney World.
AMANPOUR: What is this End of Days? Is this like some millenarian, I don't know, disaster story? Why?
NOAH: No, you know what, I call it the End of Days Tour because in many ways, that's what people feel like this is. You know, you feel like it's
the end of days. It feels like there's war starting everywhere. It feels like, you know, governments are switching over. There's populism growing
all around the world and there's a sentiment and a feeling, especially online of people feeling like it is the end of days.
The end of days is upon us. And so, I figured if it's going to be the end of the, you may as well have one more comedy tour. So, that is why I called
at the End of Days Comedy.
AMANPOUR: And how do you think it is going to assuage peoples panic and fear?
NOAH: Oh, I don't think it will at all. I think if anything my show will confirm that the world is ending but people will find much joy in that
definition of what is happening to us. No, you know what, I think the world I live in is one of eternal optimism, you know, which is not devoid of
realism but rather saying, this is the world we live in, but it is going to get better, it can get better, things are continually getting better. And
so, comedy, for me, always reminds me that I can and should feel better about what is happening.
AMANPOUR: So, can you tell us exactly what you feel better about and what is going to get better, like, I don't know, in the United States?
NOAH: I mean, I'll give an example in the United States. The downside, Donald Trump, president. The upside, more women than ever running for
AMANPOUR: That's a good one.
NOAH: So, that is the upside. More women than ever winning local state races. That's an upside that you wouldn't normally see.
AMANPOUR: You're absolutely correct.
NOAH: Downside, Donald Trump president. Upside, more young people engaged in politics than ever before. So, you know --
AMANPOUR: More journalism.
AMANPOUR: More comedy.
NOAH: Exactly. So, there's going to be --
AMANPOUR: More activism.
NOAH: -- an upside with all of it.
AMANPOUR: You have been named one of "Time" magazine's 100 most important people. Lupita Nyong'o who wrote your profile for "Time" magazine wrote
about 'Born a Crime," the title of your book, and about that incredible story when your mom actually throws you out of the car.
AMANPOUR: Tell us. I mean, it is a crazy story. But, in a way, it sort of shaped you.
NOAH: It did in many ways. But what was crazy for me wasn't the fact that my mother threw me out of a moving vehicle or what's crazy was that that
wasn't a story that would've first jumped to my head when telling you any of the stories that came from my life. My mother is an amazing, beautiful,
powerful woman who grew up in a society that, in many ways, tried to oppress everyone that her and that was like her.
And so, for me, that story is just one example of a young boy living in a world where his mother would do anything to protect her child. And the
thing she did on this day was throw me out a moving taxi because the driver of the taxi was threatening to kill her, and I guess by proxy, myself. So,
yes. I love that Lupita wrote about it because that was something she connected with in the story just as a woman, as a woman fighting a world
that was trying to tell her her place. And I guess that was one of the stories that is the reason Lupita Nyong'o signed up to make the movie that
would be of my book, "Born a Crime." So --
AMANPOUR: And she's going to be your mom.
NOAH: That's -- she's going to be playing my mom, which is really exciting.
AMANPOUR: All right. Trevor Noah, thank you so much indeed.
NOAH: Thank you so much. Great to see you again.
AMANPOUR: That was lovely. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: What a wonderful interview. That film adoption of "Born a Crime" is in development. And Trevor Noah's new tour, Off The Record, kicks off in
Atlanta on January 20th.
And, before we go, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you this, about a stunning upset for football fans around the globe. Brazil, the favorite to
win the World Cup, at least one of the favorites, has been kicked out of the tournament by Croatia. Look at that. In a thrilling game, the marathon
match lasted two hours and went to extra time in penalties.
You can see here just how extremely emotional things got, especially for Brazil. Tears there after the shocker. It is just the latest twist in a
World Cup where teams continue to defy expectations. Croatia actually was the runner-up in the last World Cup. And so, they will head to the
semifinals next week for another chance to win at all.
After the match, one Croatian player said, we are a really small country, but today, we show that we are big. Congratulations to Croatia.
And that is it for us 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. You can see it there. All you need to do is pick up your phone and scan it with your camera. You can also find it at cnn.com/podcast
and on all major platforms, just search, "Amanpour."
Remember, you can always catch us online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.