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Interview With Former Representative And Wilson Center President Emirate Jane Harman (D-CA); Interview With Senator Patty Murray (D-WA); Interview With Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State For Europe And Eurasia, Former U.S. Ambassador To Azerbaijan And Former U.S. Mediator In The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Matthew Bryza; Interview With The Wall Street Journal World Coverage Chief Gordon Fairclough; Interview With White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 29, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): To me, the fact that I'm a woman is there, but it's incidental. I believe people believe I can be an effective United
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Senator Dianne Feinstein dead at 90 years old. We look at the life and legacy of the longest-serving female in the U.S. Senate.
Then a mass exodus and an unfolding humanitarian crisis. We get the latest on the Nagorno-Karabakh, the separatist enclave that will soon cease to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLA MILMAN, MOTHER OF EVAN GERSHKOVICH: We're holding on for our souls in forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: -- a parent's heartbreak for their son six months detain. What will it take to free American journalist Evan Gershkovich from a Russian
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI ZAIDI, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISER: I think folks are looking for us to go faster and faster collectively as a country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: -- White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi tells Michel Martin how to turn the climate crisis into opportunity.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it well and faithful discharge the duties of the office on what you're about to enter so help you God.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): I will. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And so, began the Senate career of Dianne Feinstein, the longest-serving female ever to serve there. The 30-year tenure has now come
to an end. Senator Dianne Feinstein has died at the age of 90.
Feinstein came to national prominence before taking her Senate seat, becoming the first female mayor of San Francisco in 1978 following the
traffic shooting assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk.
Well, over a decade later, she then won a special Senate election that's centered to Washington where she worked tirelessly for gun laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEINSTEIN: Everybody says I don't know, Pat. Let me tell you, I've seen assassination. I've seen killing. I've been a mayor. I know what these guns
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I'm telling you --
FEINSTEIN: Why is it every man comes before me and says, nice lady, you really don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: By the time Feinstein was elected to a fifth full-term in 2018, she was the oldest sitting U.S. senator. Her deteriorating health a subject
of controversy lately with even some fellow Democrats calling on her to resign, but she kept going.
Well, now, we turn to two women who knew Senator Feinstein well. Washington Senator Patty Murray and Former California Congresswoman Jane Harman.
Welcome both of you.
I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend and colleague. She was a mentor for so many there in Washington. Congresswoman, I know you were just with
her yesterday, in fact, she submitted her last vote. How are you feeling today?
FMR. REP. JANE HARMAN (D-CA), AND PRESIDENT EMIRATE, WILSON CENTER: I'm so sad. By the way, Patty, I saw your farewell on the Senate floor, it was
magnificent, as were the farewells by others on a bipartisan basis. What a relief to see a little bipartisanship.
But yesterday, I went by to see her. I happened to want to see her yesterday. And at 5:00, I was in her study with her, nobody else, talking
about the future. Let's understand. I mean, she has been portrayed as someone frail and not with it.
Look at this picture. That was less than 24 hours ago.
HARMAN: And my friend, Dianne Feinstein, first of all, tried to get me to run for Congress again. Nope. But also said, what are we going to do to
pull the country together? That's what she was saying yesterday. And that's what she was thinking yesterday. And that's what she always thought when
she was a United States senator and a mayor of San Francisco, which is when I met her.
By the way, one more comment. We were elected in the same year. It was called the year of the woman. I came to the House. She came to the Senate.
We were both in very fragile seats, politically, but I was so proud to vote for the assault weapons ban, a career risking vote for me in 1994 and I
barely won reelection. But wow, what leader she was and what an icon she is.
GOLODRYGA: Indeed. And, Senator, you both came, I believe, to the Senate together as well. Talk about who she was and what she meant for you as a
colleague and somebody who I would imagine you admired quite a lot.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): Well, I did and I feel very heavy heart today too. As Jane just described, she was a woman of force and she brought
people with her, and we listened to her. She did her homework. She knew what she was talking about and she didn't flail. She didn't ever act out of
fear. She worked out of love of her country.
And, Jane, thank you for sharing that you were just with her. She just voted on the floor yesterday. And as I said on the floor today, my one
regret is I didn't give her a hug as she walked out the door.
We all know that Dianne spent every day making sure that she was taking care of the people who elected her, in her state. She cared about them
deeply. She cared about the little issues. She cared about the big issues. And she cared about every single person she met. She was so generous with
her time, with herself. And she will be missed.
She is who every senator should emulate in how they act with respect and dignity of those that they work with and those that they are around.
GOLODRYGA: A true centrist. And I will say we use the term trailblazer quite a lot, but she literally was the trailblazer, the first of many. The
first female mayor of San Francisco. The first woman to represent California in the Senate. The first woman to serve on the Judiciary
Committee. She would end up leading the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
Congresswoman, talk about -- her influence was vast. But specifically, spearheading a ban on assault weapons, this was something personal for her.
It actually, ironically enough, launched her career into politics, into the Senate, by witnessing an assassination. We played a clip of that earlier
where she talked about the impact this had on her for years. Can you speak to that a bit for us?
HARMAN: Yes, I can. I was not there, of course, during the assassinations in San Francisco. But I think she told me that she put her finger in the
bullet hole in Moscone's neck to try to staunch the bleeding. She was that close to it. And those awful things propelled her to become mayor, and she
was an extraordinary mayor. As I mentioned, that's when I met her.
Her chief of staff, Hadley Roff, had been chief of staff to Senator John Thune of California, whom I first worked for. And Hadley introduced me. And
there she was with her silk scarf and little bow. That was her trademark back in the day. And she was a force then.
Patty is exactly right. She knew how to get people to follow her. And what she did in these political offices she held was not just try to find the
center, try to find a way forward to serve, first, her city and then her state and then her country.
And yesterday, in this meeting, that's what we were talking about, is what is the way forward? And, Patty, you'd love this, she said, you and I need
to pull together some dinners for women in Washington because women can figure this out more easily. We know this.
MURRAY: So --
HARMAN: But at any rate, I want to do this. I want to have (INAUDIBLE) dinners going forward and remember her and have them be bipartisan and have
the people who come to them, people who put the country first.
And there are lots of us, by the way. And it's too bad these two days are not showcasing the best of Congress. But maybe her death will prompt that.
There's still, I think, 48 hours to go and the Senate is way ahead of my former employer, the House.
MURRAY: That was -- yes. That would be the best tribute that she would love. And I would characterize her -- I know centrist is sort of the word.
I would characterize her as a problem solver. What do you need? What do we need? How do we get to the best solution possible?
MURRAY: And that's always her goal, with her own values in mind every step of the way.
GOLODRYGA: I wish there was a picture I could have put up just talking about problem solving, working with women, women across the aisle. There's
a picture I have in my head right now of her standing with Lisa Murkowski, and her hand is against the wall. I don't know if you know the photo I'm
talking about. But you can only imagine what they were discussing and solving problems, which is what their constituents sent them into
Washington to do.
And what she was really noted for was not only towing the party line when it served her purpose and her constituent's interest, but also pushing back
against it. And I'm specifically talking about what she did on the Senate Intelligence Committee following that six-year investigation. The CIA's
Interrogation and Detention Program, which she ultimately took a lot of heat from, not only obviously from the CIA and Republicans but from
Democrats in the Obama administration too.
MURRAY: That's correct.
HARMAN: Well, if I might comment on that. I joined the House Intelligence Committee in 1997. And then, I had an interruption in my service for two
years because I ran for governor when she dropped out of the race and I lost. And then, I came back to the House in 2000 and I became ranking
member of House intel.
Before she joined Senate Intel, we had a long conversation then, at her request, about what should she think about, what should she look for. And
she became the rockstar of this. And fearless, just as Patty says. This is the report, the galley of the report that was issued by Democrats only,
sadly, of the investigation on intention -- detention and interrogation by the House Democrats Intel Committee.
And the inscription to me, which I'm so proud of, is to Jane, with love and thanks for having my back. Never again.
HARMAN: And that's why she released the report because it showed that, sadly, shortly after 9/11, the Bush administration went rogue and picked --
did a bunch of things outside the contours of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, outside the contours of the Geneva conventions. And when
this was discovered, she made this huge investigation to show what went wrong.
And it was criticized on partisan basis, I think, but it is now widely admired. And her fearlessness for guns and for -- against guns and for
doing the right thing as a committee chair just has to be part of this extraordinary legacy.
I mean, she was and is an icon. And I was so privileged, Patty, to hug and kiss her last night and tell her I loved her.
MURRAY: Absolutely. And we should also just say that she was a champion of women's rights. When we came here together in 1992, women didn't talk about
those rights like they do today. It was more of the hidden behind the scenes topic and it was kind of, do we talk about this? Dianne had no
qualms. She stood up for women and women's rights long before these conversations we had today. We would not be here without her.
GOLODRYGA: Senator, if I could tie things to present day and just that image of her voting, her final vote yesterday, doing what she could to keep
the government open and from shutting down. Compromise is something you don't hear mentioned much at all or as a positive word in Washington. And
sometimes, it's a bitter pill to swallow. It's something she had to swallow when she saw the assault weapons ban ultimately sunset 10 years later, but
that was something she compromised to, to get those 10 years for it to pass initially.
Senator, where do things look now in terms of what we could possibly see and avoiding a government shutdown? Is it all but inventible at this point?
MURRAY: Well, I will tell you that my colleague, Senator Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, and I have worked very hard together to have on the
floor now a continuing resolution that is bipartisan strongly supported in the Senate to keep government open and extend those programs that are
vital, like FAA and health programs, to make sure that we keep our government running. And we have done that in a bipartisan way. There are
the votes in the Senate and the House, if we can bring these bills up, if these bills are allowed to be brought up, it will be in the Senate.
Why is that important today? Because we are showing Americans, just as Dianne did yesterday coming to vote, that of this country can work and we
as leaders must work together to make sure it continues to function a basic thing in today's democracy. That's what we are fighting for. It's what
Dianne's final vote was for. And we are going to get it done.
We have to wait and see what the House will do. They're not run by women. But I will say that I hope they follow our example today. I hope they give
that legacy to not just Dianne but to our entire country that this democracy can work but you got to work together to get it done and we need
to make sure it continues on. I know that's what Dianne fought for her entire career.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And it was a storied career at that. And, Congresswoman, we know the last few years have been mired in a bit of controversy,
specifically with regard to her own health and her role on the Judiciary Committee. Now is not the time, I believe, to be discussing that because
she has achieved so much in her storied career. I want to end on that.
And also, I do want you to show our viewers once again, because I'm still just stunned by that photo that you took with her yesterday, standing up,
looking beautiful. Her last of photo with you and the last day of her life. If we can pull that back up for our viewers. I just want to take one more
look at that before we say goodbye.
Jane Harmon, Patty Murray, I'm not sure if we'll get that up, but I'm so sorry for your loss. There's the photo.
HARMAN: It's our country's loss.
GOLODRYGA: Thank you so much both for joining us.
MURRAY: Thank you.
HARMAN: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: We appreciate it. Well, we're going to turn now to a stunning mass exodus, where Asia meets Europe. Imagine 80 percent of a population
just up and gone. Well, that is what is happening now in Nagorno-Karabakh, the separatist enclave of the ethnic Armenians inside Azerbaijan.
But Azerbaijan decided to forcibly rest back control, the breakaway region quickly fell and will soon cease to exist. A tidal wave of people are now
headed to Armenia. Listen to what one woman's harrowing account was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALDA HURUTYUNYAN, FLED NAGORNO-KARABAKH (through translator): When they started shooting at us, my grandchild ran to our neighbor's basement in
shock. He is just 12 years old. He was screaming, asking if our relatives and friends are OK. We were scared to even go out to bring water. They were
heavily shooting at us.
All the debris of the bomb fell in our yard. We weren't able to go out or to make something to eat. We were staying in the basements. How can I live
with them? My sister's child was killed. Many of my relatives were killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Just horrifying. Matthew Bryza knows the intricacies of this story well. He was the ambassador to Azerbaijan and the former deputy
assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. Matthew, thank you so much for joining us.
MATTHEW BRYZA, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EUROPE AND EURASIA, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AZERBAIJAN AND FORMER U.S. MEDIATOR
IN THE NAGORNO-KARABAKH CONFLICT: Yes. Thanks, Bianna. I was also the U.S. mediator of this conflict for a while too. So, I think there is just
tremendous fear on the part of the Armenian community that was resident in this part of Azerbaijan in Karabakh, because of the horribly blood history
of that whole region and specifically, between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.
I mean, you go back to 1988, this region of then-Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence from what was then the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist
Republic. Something you're familiar with as a native of Moldova, of course. And that led to high tensions, clashes that eventually became a war once
the Soviet Union, then no longer existed.
During that period, there were 800,000 Azerbaijanis who had to flee. And some of them were killed in a massacre and they were massacres on the other
side, and revenge is such a powerful motivator. So, it's terrifying to the Armenians that maybe the Azerbaijanis are going to strike back now.
But there's a good news part of this, which is consistently, since I began working on this conflict in the U.S. government in 2001, so, you know, 22
years ago, the Azerbaijani government's position has always been that the goal is to have the Azerbaijanis return to their homes and the Armenians
stay in their homes also in this region of Azerbaijan. But it's understandable that the population is terrified. Hopefully, a lot of them
will come back after fleeing if Azerbaijan lives up to the pledges.
GOLODRYGA: Well, as you noted, there's no real reason for either side to trust each other at this point given its bloody and brutal history. You
hear the term ethnic cleansing thrown out quite a bit. I've read that as well. Is that an appropriate description of what perhaps is to come and why
we are seeing so many thousands of people flee the area now?
BRYZA: It's certainly a line of argumentation that the leadership of Armenia and then Karabakh Armenian community, the former leadership, have
been warning about. But I am not worried that that's going to happen. Because back in 2020, November of 2020, when the second Nagorno-Karabakh
war happened, Azerbaijan had routed Armenian forces, it had captured a very important city called Shusha or Shushi for Armenians, that commands the
heights over the capitol of Nagorno -- of Karabakh. But it's also really important culturally to both Armenians and Azerbaijans.
And at that point, there were thousands of people in Azerbaijan, in the capitol, who were urging the president to keep pressing the offensive and
go all the way through Karabakh and then do what you're saying, force the Armenian community to leave. But Azerbaijan didn't do it. They stopped and
then have been negotiating these last three years.
So, now, you know, it's -- is it ethnic cleansing if people are voluntarily leaving? I mean, that's -- but are they leaving because they have a fear of
being persecuted? I think the definition is difficult to apply here because the whole definition of the phrase ethnic cleansing is not precise, it's
not a legal term.
BRYZA: It's very subjective.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. But it comes after a nine-month blockade on everything, from food, fuel, medicine. That was just lifted last week. And so, in terms
of the influx of these refugees now, going back into Armenia, top concern is their well-being? And USAID Chief Samantha Power, she was on the ground
and talked about the urgency to address this situation with an independent monitor. And the fact that severe malnutrition is a big concern as well.
Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: It is absolutely critical that independent monitors as well as humanitarian organizations get access to
the people in Nagorno-Karabakh who still have dire needs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, you see an American official on the group there, which begs the question a lot of Armenians were also very frustrated with the fact
that some other peace keepers or mediators, notably the Russians, were not stepping up as much as Armenia had hoped they would be. I'll get into the
other factors that may have been driving that, namely the war, in a minute, in Ukraine.
But what role, if any, can the United States play to address the concern of this influx of tens of thousands of people back into Armenia?
BRYZA: Well, first of all, what Samantha Power says is exactly what needs to happen, not only to the needs, humanitarian needs need to be met
immediately, and the U.S. can help on that a lot. We're great at that, at delivering through USAID humanitarian assistance. And I think the United
Nations has a role to play as well. So, that's one thing the United States can do.
The United States can also continue what Secretary of State Blinken has been doing, with great effect, kind of in an uncoordinated tandem with the
president of the European Council, Charles Michel, which is actually conducting negotiations between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia on a
It's important to keep in mind, the prime minister of Armenia clearly wants a peace treaty and the president of Azerbaijan clearly wants a peace treaty
as well, because Azerbaijan won the last war. So, it's in -- you know, it's status quo power now.
But the prime minister of Armenia has been obstructed by extreme nationalists in Armenia's political simply. Among those, the leaders -- the
former leader of the Karabakh Armenian community who actually were not ready for peace. They want to have -- keep the conflict going because they
think eventually, eventually Armenia will win back that territory and more.
So, the prime minister of Armenia was actually being obstructed by these other Armenian political leaders, that, I think, is finished now. And I
think we will see the U.S. working with the European Union to push forward now toward a peace treaty that realistically could be reached within
months. But the question is then, will the Armenian body politic accept it?
GOLODRYGA: Not to play down any of the suffering and loss of life over the past months and years, of course, but are you surprised that it's come to
this point without more bloodshed?
BRYZA: I'm -- let me put it this way, I'm relieved that it has. If you follow closely what's been happening since the end of the Karabakh war in
November of 2020, there have been negotiations that have been making progress. But as the parties get closer, the extremity forces try to derail
I think it's important to note that the Azerbaijani government said when it was launching this operation, it was going to do everything it could to
minimize so-called -- I hate the term -- collateral damage but, you know, injuries and deaths to civilians and focus on military targets.
Now, in the package, we heard one Armenian woman saying her son was terrified that they're shooting at them. Yes, that may be. But as you said,
Bianna, the casualties have been limited. And I think when I -- we go back to what I was talking about before, about revenge, I think it's really
positive and hopeful and something that should be reenforced that the leadership of Azerbaijan is saying, we want the Armenian community to stay.
We want to give them full rights. We want to -- including security and including their economic and cultural rights.
So, as saying before, the Azerbaijani government has to live up to that. And that's why, I think, it's important what -- also, what Samantha Powers
said, that there needs to be some sort of credible international observation force on the ground to make sure Azerbaijan is living up to
those promises and to provide some sort of moral surety and comfort to the ethnic Armenian community.
So, hopefully, hopefully, some will stay and even more will come back.
GOLODRYGA: Finally, Matthew, Russia has historically been an ally of Armenia and why -- while the prime minister of Armenia says he does not
blame Russia for the situation they are now in. Russia is rejecting any blame to begin with.
There does seem to be this question about whether this is just not a priority or if it's something Russia is not capable of focusing on, perhaps
losing its influence in the region, given all of its attention and resources that have been redirected to Ukraine. I mean, what do you make of
the timing of this? Is this just coincidental that it's happening a year and a half into war that hasn't gone Russia's way?
BRYZA: No, it's not coincidental. And, of course, the geopolitical heft of Russia and of Vladimir Putin himself is nothing like it used to be. And my
days as the mediator of the U.S., you know, with had three-country team, Russia, France and the United States. And of course, the Russian role was
really quite significant, maybe most significant. That's no longer the case for Russia.
However, President Putin has been consistent as has Foreign Minister Lavrov. It's hard for me to say this, as much as we are at odds in Georgia,
which Russia also invaded and occupies much of, that three-country team was coordinated on Karabakh about basic some concepts, basic ways to resolve
the conflict. And one of them was to recognize that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, which Armenia always recognized as well, even to this
BRYZA: So -- and I think that Moscow was upset that the ethnic Armenian community in Karabakh had weapons, had Armenian troops and were threatening
the cease fire of November 2020 and was not supportive in principle of what was happening and was not going to use peace keepers to stop it.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we'll continue to follow this and follow your optimism, hopefully, that perhaps this can result in an ultimate peace treaty as
well. Matthew Bryza, thank you for your time. We appreciate it.
BRYZA: My honor. Thank you, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we turn now moving north, to Russia. Six months, locked up with no end in sight. This is the reality for American "Wall Street
Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was picked up on spying charges, which he and his newspaper strongly denies as well as the U.S. State
His who left the Soviet Union for the U.S. decades ago were able to see their son in June, but through a glass box. Here's Evan's mother, Ella
Milman, on how she is getting through these days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLA MILMAN, MOTHER OF EVAN GERSHKOVICH: We came together and we're holding up for ourselves and forever with the help of our friends, his
friends and the "Wall Street Journal" and support from the journalists around the world. We are holding up and doing very well to show Evan that
we are strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, with me now is Gordon Fairclough. He is the world coverage chief for Gershkovich's paper, of course, that is the "Wall Street
Journal." Gordon, thank you for joining us. This is a bitter sweet anniversary, I don't even want to say that, marking six months --
GORDON FAIRCLOUGH, WORLD COVERAGE CHIEF, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Difficult day.
GOLODRYGA: -- since Evan's wrongful detainment. You heard and were with his parents and his family yesterday, they have been so strong and
resilient. How is Evan himself doing?
FAIRCLOUGH: Evan like -- takes after his parents in that regard, I'd have to say, you know, incredibly strong and resilient. I think holding up a lot
better than I expect I would do in similar circumstances. You know, he gets a lot of letters and he spends a lot of time writing letters back to his
friends. You know, he's clearly retaining his sense of humor. He's staying strong. It's always hard when we see him in the dock like that.
It's -- you know, it's good to see him and see that he's well and see him smiling. But honestly, it's rather anger provoking and outrageous to see
him held such a long time for a crime he did not commit.
GOLODRYGA: And held so inhumanly as well. Gordon, you know, this is a personal story for me, not only as a journalist, as American, but as
somebody who had similar experience to Evan's parents. I came here as a political refugee from the former Soviet Union as well and I've gotten to
know Evan's friends closely and we've had him on the program several times.
I, in fact, sent him a letter in Russian myself. And I was so surprised to get an upbeat response from him. And so, we encourage everyone to send him
letters as well. From everything I'm hearing, he really enjoys receiving them. When he --
FAIRCLOUGH: He does. He spends a lot of time in his letters trying to bowie our spirits, I think, honestly.
GOLODRYGA: Well, you know, I'm just wondering, what is it about his character? I mean, he is still rather young to just be able to remain so
strong, so buoyant, so, you know, optimistic and even maintain his humor. His friends tell me he continues to learn and read more books while he's in
GOLODRYGA: He was just honored by his alma mater.
FAIRCLOUGH: Yes. He's been digging in and reading a lot of Russian literature. Yes, I don't know his parents well, but he seems to have gotten
a good bit of a sense of humor from his dad. But he, you know, was always the wise cracker in the newsroom.
You know, and I always feel like on these anniversaries and when we're talking about his case, we tend to talk about Evan in the abstract instead
of Evan the person, you know, who is a 31-year-old, soon to be 32-year-old guy. A brilliant soccer player. Rabid fan of Arsenal and just an amazing
and generous colleague to us. And, you know, son and brother. And boy, we miss him a lot.
GOLODRYGA: We saw him in another court appearance this past week, where, no surprise, prosecutors there rejected an appeal to his pretrial
detention. You know, he is now going to be held until at least November 30th. I don't believe that a trial date itself has been set. I don't
believe any so-called Russian evidence has been presented either.
From what you're hearing about backchannel negotiations, conversations being had between the State Department and the Kremlin, is there any hope
that perhaps something, some sort of plan is in the works for a prisoner exchange?
FAIRCLOUGH: Yes. You know, we don't -- obviously, we don't have a great deal of transparency on what's going on between the U.S. government and the
Russian government. Also, this is -- this clearly is -- you know, Evan is very much hostage to geopolitics. It's not that the Kremlin wants something
from the Wall Street Journal, it wants something from Washington and its allies.
You know, the two sides talk frequently on prisoner exchanges. You know, this mechanism, I think, has -- I mean, talks have gone on around Brittney
Griner, around Paul Whelan. So, the two sides are in touch. It's not clear to us how quickly such a thing could move. There's certainly been
indications from Russian officials that they're open to a swap and President Biden has said that getting Evan back is a very high priority for
him. So, we're hopeful.
GOLODRYGA: You at the Journal have been doing an extraordinary job at making sure that he is top of mind, that he is not forgotten, that his
stories, I believe, are free to read for any viewer. I'm just wondering -- this is a bit of a difficult situation and question to ask, but what is
your take on the safety and the rational now for American or western journalists to be traveling to Russia at this point, given that anyone can
arbitrarily just be snatched up, arrested and accused of spying?
FAIRCLOUGH: You know, I think it's a tough choice to make. We have withdrawn our staff from Russia and closed our bureau there because we
don't think it's safe to operate. By the same token, you know, Evan joined the Journal shortly before the start of the war in Ukraine and was working
initial in London until he received his accreditation to go back to Russia.
And you know, he was incredibly eager and wanted to get back on the ground in Russia and telling the story about what is happening inside Russia at
this very, you know, fraught moment for that country and its people is, of course, a very important journalistic duty as well. It's one that we feel
we need to try do from outside the country now. But -- and that, you know, requires extra resources, but we've very committed to continuing to try to
tell the story of Russia and Russians and particularly to get the voices of ordinary Russians heard outside of Russia.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And that's becoming more and more difficult. But you know what, it's very difficult to do that on the ground there, given how Russia
has imposed much stricter rules about free speech and speaking out against the war in general since their invasion.
I know we played sound earlier of Evan's mom with Anderson last night. I want to play more sound from his family, from his sister namely, and how
they are coping and what they are doing to continue to fight for his release.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELLE GERSHKOVICH, SISTER OF EVAN GERSHKOVICH: We need to keep the focus on Evan. So, we really appreciate everyone who's been taking to
social media and reading his reporting, which is available to read. And we just want to keep the focus on him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: You know, for those of us, this has just touched so many Americans. And again, sadly, this isn't a new story, an American held
hostage, a political hostage there between these two rival nations at this point.
What can Americans do? What can people do when they feel that there's nothing as far as their power and seeing Evan come home? What do you
encourage readers? What do you encourage viewers to do?
FAIRCLOUGH: I think we all do have power. I think we have power to keep talking about this, to keep talking about Evan's case, to remind Moscow
that, you know, Evan is not being forgotten. The treatment of journalists in Russia is not being forgotten. And to remind the U.S. government and the
White House how urgently we feel the need is to get Evan home.
I think also, you know, it keeps Evan's spirits up to know that we are out here working on his behalf. We have -- it's been credibly heartwarming
really, for me, the amount of support that the Journal has gotten, that Evan's family has gotten from the journalistic community around the world.
And, you know, a number of people like Jason Rezaian and David Rohde who have been held captive before have, you know, shared a lot of advice and
their experiences with us.
And, you know, almost universally, the thing that really matters when you are behind bars is knowing that people have not forgotten about you, that
they care about you and that they want you back.
GOLODRYGA: Do you feel the Biden administration has done enough, not only to shine is a light and speak on this publicly, but behind closed doors
from the limited information that you have gathered?
FAIRCLOUGH: You know, they certainly seemed to be incredibly active on this and a lot of outreach. President Biden has reached out and spoken to
Evan's family himself. Made these comments. The U.S. Senate, just last night, passed another resolution around Evan. You know, he's been front and
center at the U.N. General Assembly meetings last week.
So, you know, I certainly wouldn't fault anyone for the amount of attention that's being paid here.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. There's only one country at fault and we know who that is, it's Russia for detaining him wrongfully. Gordon Fairclough, thank you for
your time and everything you're doing to continue to fight for his release. We appreciate it.
FAIRCLOUGH: Thanks for having me.
GOLODRYGA: Well, returning now to the climate crisis. Our next guest tonight is the national climate advisor for the White House. And his job
couldn't be more important right now. With $23 separate billion weather and climate disasters already this year, that is according to the U.S.
government. So, what is the White House doing about it? Ali Zaidi joins Michel Martin to discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Ali Zaidi, thank you so much for speaking with us.
ALI ZAIDI, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISER: It's good to be here.
MARTIN: So, I wanted to start with a big announcement by the Biden administration. The administration launched the American climate core. It
says that the Climate Corps. It says, the Climate Corps is going to put some 20,000 young people on career pathways in growing fields of -- the
growing fields of clean energy, conservation and climate resiliency. How exactly does this work?
ZAIDI: Yes. We face a massive challenge in the form of the climate crisis. But we also have a massive opportunity. And so, the president has looked at
the playbook from the new deal era and is leveraging that playbook here to bring more people into the task of building a cleaner, fairer, more
And really, how it's going to work practically is we will have created a pathway that has a lower barrier to entry. 20,000 folks just in the first
recruitment class, that's our goal for next year. And with no experience necessary. So, this will be the way folks from a variety of backgrounds get
suited up into careers into clean energy at a time when we desperately need them.
MARTIN: Well, give me a sense of like how it works. Is it like the Peace Corps where you -- you know, you sign up, you get -- you may have some
skills, you may not, but you kind of get the training that you need and then you are kind of deployed in certain places? Is that the idea here?
ZAIDI: Yes. No experience needed. No background necessary. Everybody welcome. And in fact, we're work doubly hard to make sure this team looks
like America. They'll jump into a training program over the course of a year that pays them as they learn some of the basic skills of being part of
the clean energy or conservation or resilience economy.
That means, for example, if they're doing solo, they're getting comfortable being on a roof, understanding what the equipment is and so on. And of
course, after this, they're going to join, hopefully, an apprenticeship program and continue to deepen their skills. But this is their entry point.
MARTIN: How do you know -- can I just stop you there? How do you know there are actually sufficient private sector jobs to employ these people?
Are you convinced that once these people are trained, will they have some place to go to use their skills?
ZAIDI: Yes. This is a red-hot job market. We talk to the private sector all the time about the challenges that they face. And the number one topic
that comes up when they look out a few years into the horizon is are they going to have the workers needed to do this work?
You know, we have hundreds of winds and solar farms being built across the country. Just one of them, which is getting connected to a power line in
New Mexico alone is going to provide as much power as the Hoover Dam.
So, on a regular basis, now, the United States is in the game of building massive million homes worth of solar and wind farms. We've got over 100
clean energy factories announced since the president signed the Inflation Reduction Act and counting. So, the demand is massively expanding.
And on the public sector side, we have that demand as well. The Forest Service has an aging and retiring workforce. We need to fill folks into
those jobs as well. So, whether it's nature-based solutions or building these clean energy products, we know there's a massive, massive demand.
We're hearing it directly from the private sector. This is us responding by building an American Climate Corps that can help us meet the demand.
MARTIN: The original proposal called for some $30 billion to hire -- or to put 300,000 people through the program. Is the initial commitment -- like
20,000 people sounds like a big number, but is that really enough to make a dent? Is that really enough to make a difference in this market?
ZAIDI: Well, look, the investment that was proposed by Joe Biden was a good idea then, it's a good idea now. And what the president is committed
to doing is taking all the steps that he can through executive authority, not waiting on Congress to act, not allowing us to be stalled out in this
decisive decade for climate action.
So, should we be scaling it? Should we be growing it? Absolutely. And I think the best way for us to do that is to start getting moving right now.
And that first recruitment class is going to help put points on the board, show people how good of a value proposition this is. And we're going to
continue to work with states philanthropy, the private sector and hopefully, with the Congress as well to scale this up over the coming
MARTIN: So, let's look at another administration initiative from a different direction. The Department of Justice is currently involved in a
legal battle with a group of young Americans who are actually suing the federal government over its continued use of fossil fuel.
And now, the case is Juliana v. the United States. The Department is fighting to keep the case from going to trial. Do you know why the
administration is so committed to fighting this case or keeping it from going to trial?
ZAIDI: So, Michel, I can't comment on litigation. The Department of Justice independently develops its litigation strategy and advances it. I
will say is that this administration has not been shy about calling for mobilization, for organizing and for greater political support behind bold
and expansive climate action. That's why the president was able to pass the largest climate bill, not just in American history but anywhere in the
whole world. That's why he continues to use his executive authority to accelerate additional climate action.
And he's been doing it in a way that's working with and through a broad coalition, urban and rural, young and old organizers of every stripe. So,
we're going to continue to work to build that political case to go faster and faster. We're implementing the largest climate bill already. And, you
know, there's going to be a lot of roles for a lot of different stake holders to play through various institutions and various Fora to make the
case for how we go faster.
MARTIN: OK. So, sort of, again, going at it from a different direction, the administration also announced last week a directive to federal agencies
to consider the cost of climate change in their budgets. It's a policy known as the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases.
MARTIN: I mean, this is something that a lot of people have sort of pushed for for years because it's considered kind of a part of all of government
approach. I mean, the argument is that if this is important, that everybody needs to kind of figure out and sort of calculate what the effects of
anything they do is to climate change. If this is kind of an existential threat, then everybody needs to sort of take it accordingly.
So, yes. on the one hand, there are a lot of people in the field have called for something like this for a long time. On the other hand, there is
still tremendous political opposition to this. I mean, the Shelley Moore Capito, a senator from West Virginia. She's the top Republican on the
Senate Environment and Public Works Community, says that these carbon metrics are unproven figures, that the administration is going to use to
justify environmental policies that drive up costs for families, that hamstring employers and delay job-creating infrastructure projects from
ever moving forward.
You know, what about that? I mean, a lot of families are really under stress right now. That's not a secret. It's not necessarily, you know,
anybody's fault or even somebody's fault, but you could argue that the priority now, when people are dealing with like terrible inflation,
people's budget, I mean, even food prices and so forth, you know, all down the line, that that really should be the priority. How would you respond to
ZAIDI: Yes. Let's talk about priorities. We're an administration that is hosting at the White House a summit with state and local governments about
how to boost resilience and respond to these crisis as they're showing up in communities all across the country.
On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, they're messing around, trying to shut down the government and will hamstring our emergency management
agency, FEMA, from helping with recovery at 2,000 projects all across the country to help rebuild after disasters. So, this is an issue that showed
up in our communities we're try to be for the solutions and we've got House Republicans, in particular, who are trying to prevent FEMA from being able
to do its job.
Let's talk about consumer costs. The president has been for an aggressive approach to get dollars into the hands of families to help them reduce
their home energy costs, but we've got some Republican governors who are denying rebate dollars that would help folks like fixed income seniors
retrofit their homes and reduce their energy costs.
We've seen an unprecedented expansion in American energy here in the United States under the president's leadership but we've got folks who are in the
House of Representatives who are calling for repeals of tax credits that are literally creating manufacturing jobs in their backyard.
So, I think this administration's priorities are pretty clear and they're lined up with the American people who have front of mind anxiety about
climate, anxiety about whether the United States are going to compete in the global clean energy race. And the president is very focused on
delivering results for them.
MARTIN: Well, speaking of -- you know, it may be top of mind, but the administration's initiatives don't seem to be, I don't know, understood to
be top of mind or they don't -- it doesn't seem to be that their top of mind with voters.
I mean, you know, the president, as you just mentioned, signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law just over a year ago. As you've discussed,
it has been widely described as the largest investment in clean energy and climate action ever. But according to a "Washington Post" released last
month, like 71 percent of Americans have heard little or nothing at all about the package. They say 57 percent of Americans disapprove of President
Biden's handling of climate change. How do you understand that?
ZAIDI: I think folks are looking for us to go faster and faster collectively as a country. I think, you know, polls are an imperfect
instrument measuring a point in time where sentiment is. The reality, as I see it, is places like West Virginia where there was a steel plant
shuttered, now, it's turned back on making batteries. There was a sofa capitol of the world manufacturing in Dalton, Georgia, those jobs went
away. Now, they're manufacturing solar. There are countless power plants that went away over the last several decades now being repowered with clean
energy. We're vitalizing communities all across the country.
And for the people who are showing up to work at those facilities today, we've made a difference. And that impact, that positive impact is rippling
through the economy. I think more and more Americans are being able to tap into clean energy solutions and how massively they're making a difference
in their lives.
And if you look -- if you actually go through the substance of the Inflation Reduction Act, every single line item is off the charts popular
with the American people. Dollars to help retrofit. Biden tax credits to make clean-up appliances cheaper. So, these are incredibly popular
I understand in Washington people like to fling, mud around and try to, you know, make one piece of legislation look funnier than the other, but the
reality is they're massively popular provisions, they're making a massive difference in the lives of American people. And we're going to keep at the
work of delivering results on this work.
MARTIN: It seems as though the International Community on the whole is failing to meet its Paris climate goals by 2030. And in fact, we even see,
say, for example, in the U.K., the current prime minister has actually, you know, publicly stated as a matter of policy that he wants to slow down the
-- his government's commitment to some of the commitments that had previously been made. Is it still possible that we could prevent 1.5
degrees of warming to blunt the worst effects of climate change?
ZAIDI: Look, anyone who tells you that hitting 1.5 degrees is going to be a lay-up or some sort of an easy exercise is blowing smoke. This is going
to be an incredibly challenging and unprecedented thing that we are all going to have to work on together.
And by the way, in this decisive decade for climate action, that's how the IPCC views this time period between now and 2030, we cannot be slowing
down. As a country, as the United States, the best thing that we can do is to have an aggressive diplomatic approach that is paired with strong
leadership here at home.
When the United States shows up to the global stage today, we haven't just signed ourselves back into the Paris Agreement, we have come back to the
table as a leader that is helping not only drive down the cost of clean energy here at home, but the cost of clean energy all around the world.
That gives us a great deal of leverage to push for greater action.
Take methane, for example. It's a super polluting greenhouse gas, 80 times worse than CO2, the U.S. set very, very aggressive standards for itself on
methane, and that's why, I think, the president was able to get over 100 countries to join his global methane pledge so that the world can move
So, I'm a perpetual and congenital optimist. That's how I'm able to work on climate change. And I believe very firmly that this chapter of our history
will not be told as a chapter -- as a story of gloom and doom, it will be a chapter that's written as a story of hope and possibilities when we seize
this moment, when we came together, when we drove the solutions forward. I think that's very possible. That is within our reach.
The International Energy Agency just yesterday said, it's possible. We have the technology. We have the pathways. We have the tools. We just need to do
MARTIN: Well, the survey shows that a lot of young people feel a lot of despair about climate. You actually hearing young people say in some
surveys, you know, if you them, what do you want to do when you become an adult or do you want to have a family? And young -- some young people will
actually say, sure, if the world isn't under water by the time I get to that point, or, sure, if we aren't, you know, out of water? You know what I
I mean, I'm guessing you've heard this. So, I'm just -- I'm curious, if there are young people who feel that way listening to our conversation,
what would you say to them?
ZAIDI: You know, it's so easy now whether you sign online or you tune in to the television to feel that sense of despair and doom. You see the sky
turn orange, you breathe in the smoke from wildfires hundreds of miles away, you see floods wash away lives and memories and livelihoods. It's
really easy to get resigned to a reality that necessarily will keep getting worse.
Young people though, I think, have shown us a different path. Just a couple years ago, a number of young people decided to organize, to march, to
strike on Fridays and other days. They came out in record numbers and they handed this president not only a shot at trying to do the right thing but a
mandate to deliver, and he has. Thanks to their voice, the United States of America went from being on a trajectory to be on the sidelines of climate
to have exited the Paris Agreement, to be in the game of denial and skepticism, to have passed the largest climate bill in the history of any
country anywhere in the world. That's because of young people.
So, my message everywhere I go is you are powerful beyond how much you realize. You've already moved the needle. You've helped us unleash
incredible economic prosperity. Helped us deliver environmental justice to places that felt it would never come. The work is not done. But, boy, this
is not going to be a story that's told in doom and despair.
This is going to be a story that's told in hope and possibilities because of what young people have already done. We will need the moment.
MARTIN: Ali Zaidi, thank you so much for speaking with us.
ZAIDI: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: It's a really powerful conversation.
And finally, today. A grand redemption for a notorious piece of art history. It all began in 20122 when the well-meaning Cecilia Jimenez tried
to save his fresco in her local church. Painting over the fading master piece and turning it into this. A piece infamously known over the world as
She became a bit of a punch line. But now, a new opera is changing her legacies -- changing her legacy, called "Behold the Man." It will focus on
how her restoration revived the struggling tourism industry in her town in Northeastern Spain.
The opera makes its world premiere this weekend in Las Vegas. See, literally turning lemons in lemonade or an opera in this case.
Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.