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Interview With Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic; Interview With "The Sum Of Us" Author Heather McGhee; Interview With The Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander; Interview With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter And "It's Even Worse Than You Think" Author David Cay Johnston. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 02, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Is history repeating itself between Serbia and Kosovo? As the White House calls for immediate de-escalation, the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic,
joins me for an exclusive interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The government will not shut down and needless crisis will have been averted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- a U.S government shutdown avoided for now. But what the cost? Policy expert Heather McGhee jones me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I've had a wonderful life. I've had thousands of friends. And I've had an exciting and adventurous and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- Jimmy Carter turns 99. How this former president keeps defying the odds with Carter Center CEO, Paige Alexander.
Also, ahead, as Donald Trump heads back to court, this time for a civil fraud trial, Hari Sreenivasan speaks to reporter Pulitzer Prize-winning
reporter David Cay Johnston about the future of his business empire.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Peace in Kosovo has long been fragile, and tensions with its neighbor, Serbia, are right now drawing international concern. Washington says it saw
an unprecedented buildup of Serbian troops on the Kosovo border. But Serbia's army chief today says, they have now withdrawn some troops that
was stationed there.
It comes after one of the worst outbreaks of violence in years, when a Kosovo police officer was killed in an ambush last weekend. A stand-off
followed between police and 30 heavily armed Serbs in which police said they killed three of the attackers.
The roots of tensions run deep. In 1999, the United States and allies defended Kosovo Albanians from brutal ethnic cleansing and abuse by Serbia.
Afterwards, Kosovo declared independence in 2008, which Serbia does not recognize. Although the E.U. has been mediating dialogue aimed at
normalizing the relationship.
Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, now joins me from Belgrave for an exclusive interview. Mr. President, welcome to the program.
Let us get a status report right now. As I said, the U.S reports an unprecedented staging of advanced Serbian artillery, tanks and mechanized
infantry units. You've been in dialogue with members of the U.S administration. Have you withdrawn them as your army chief says?
ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, SERBIAN PRESIDENT: First of all, thank you very much for having me. And I wanted to say that we always appreciated all the reports
that were coming from NSC, White House and all the other institutions that are coming from the United States.
But the real issue is that these reports were not fully accurate. Let me say this, we signed in 2001 an arrangement with NATO, which means that
about our access to ground safety zone. And we agreed upon the fact that we can use that freely with no restrictions ground safety zone and, of course,
Serbia's territory itself with no restrictions towards equipment, towards repair.
But you need to know something. A year ago, we used to have 14,000 people at the administrative line with Kosovo. A few days ago, we used to have
less than 8.4 thousand. Today. we have 4.4 thousand, which is a regular number of people. And we always hear and we always listened when our
partners were asking us to did de-escalate a situation and we did it this time. Although, there were no reasons for a big worry because we didn't
need any kind of --
VUCIC: -- wars, any kind of clashes with NATO. To the contrary, we want to see and I'm reiterating this, bigger presence KFOR --
JACKSON (voiceover): -- the entire Kosovo, particularly in the north, that we hope one of the ways to support Serbian people's safety and security and
particularly Northern Kosovo.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, I'm sure people will be very happy to hear you say that. On the other hand, though, on Friday, Milan Radoicic, vice
president of the Serb List Party, admitted to taking part in the September 24th shoot-out, which is what we're talking about and which is what has
brought this crisis.
Now, he, just hours later -- rather just hours after that, you apparently moved thousands of troops to the border with Kosovo. Why did you move
troops to the border? And was it, you know, as some have suggested, to distract from the fact that this Serbian politician had admitted to taking
part in this attack with a huge armed cash?
VUCIC: No, not at all. It was not the case. You know. Our army, people, they do follow the situation in the field and they move our forces in a way
that they believe it can be, I don't know, the most useful and they have their own operations and everything else. But I did not sign even a high
alert for the -- for our army people, and you need to know this. And the number of people was not excessing, not even 60 percent of what we used to
have in the border.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, then, let me ask you this follow-up then.
VUCIC: In the administrative line, the (INAUDIBLE) border.
VUCIC: But I need to say -- let me say this. It was not approved of anything. Because Serbia was the last country, the country entity, whatever
you call it, that needed those incidents in Kosovo --
VUCIC: -- because of the dynamism of an entire negotiating process. Everybody was saying that Serbia was a constructive partner during the
dialogue process, that Serbia was doing a lot of concessions. The other side didn't do anything. The other side was doing this sort of gradual
ethnic cleansing. There are 10 percent less Serbs living in North Kosovo than two years ago. Just after Albin Kurti came to power.
VUCIC: It was 420 attacks against Serbian civilians, against Serbian people in Kosovo.
AMANPOUR: All right. Let's take some of these --
VUCIC: Simply came to power.
AMANPOUR: -- because we can't just go through numbers, sir.
VUCIC: There was (INAUDIBLE) object.
AMANPOUR: Yes. We can't just go through numbers. And the United States and E.U.
VUCIC: I believe that numbers are important.
AMANPOUR: OK. -- does not believe that the Kosovars have conducted ethnic cleansing. But here's what I want to ask you, the E.U. has said, forces,
i.e., your forces need to stand down. We also expect -- and this is important -- no impunity for the perpetrators. They need to face justice.
We need to go back to a situation where the parties are talking and returning to the E.U. facilitated dialogue.
Now, you have -- are saying all the right things right now, that you've pulled back these troops and, you know, that they shouldn't be involved in
this kind of thing. So, will Milan Radoicic, who admitted doing this and taking part in it, will he face accountability? What are going to do with
VUCIC: Thank you once again for giving me an opportunity to explain this but --
AMANPOUR: No, no. It's just a really simple question. Will he be held accountable as the E.U. is demanding?
VUCIC: A very simple response to you. Of course, Serbia will held accountable all the people that commented criminal deeds and that we might
find in our territory. And he's available and he's on our territory and prosecutors will do their job. That is something I believe it's very
But there is something else, I was speaking about the roots of the problems, and you don't want to hear it. And it's OK for me. The problem is
that Serbs wanted to protect themselves. And I'm not going to defend a killing of Albanian police guard, and I didn't do it, I condemned it. But
I'm saying that Serbs were arresting with no charges, home searches, evictions, expropriations, everything that was not in accordance with the
Brussels Agreement, with the international public law, association of Serb municipalities, it was not formed so far since 2013, 10 years ago, we
signed it. And Albanian regimes in Pristina didn't want to provide it into deeds. And people wanted to protect themselves. And you cannot have
different approaches in 1998, 1999 and 2023.
AMANPOUR: Well, you sort of can, sir, because --
VUCIC: And I believe in the peace and the dialogue is the only possible solution.
AMANPOUR: Correct, correct. This wild west, you would probably agree, because you've just said it, which has been existing for many years now to
the detriment of everybody in that region, would probably end if you were back into the dialogue.
So, let me ask you this then. The recent set of conversations between you and your Kosovar counterparts was considered a success by the E.U. because
both of you accepted the agreement that was aimed at normalizing relations. But you left the negotiations without signing the document, Mr. President.
And then when you got back home, on Serbia television, you said that you'd been unable to sign because, "I have excruciating pain in my right hand and
that pain is expected to continue for four years."
So, do you still have pain in your hand and/or do you believe that you will get back to what the E.U. is calling for, which is back to those
VUCIC: Once again, many thanks. I appreciate your objectiveness and not bias approach at all. And wanted to say that perhaps you didn't follow what
E.U. was saying after our last meeting. Serbia was fully constructive. And even Josep Borrell (ph), the minister of (INAUDIBLE), as E.U. envoys were
saying publicly that Serbia was fully constructive, that Serbia accepted everything, that Albanian representative --
AMANPOUR: But, sir, you didn't sign it. You didn't sign it.
VUCIC: -- association of Serb municipalities. No, you're speaking about a previous arrangement. I was doing whatever I have said before that to our
friends from the United States, from the European Union, because I have my constitution, Serbia constitution, which I have to follow, which I have to
And I was not hiding anything in their presence. I was saying everything face-to-face, eye to eye to them, and they believed me. And I was always
saying the truth. And after that, we wanted to implement everything that we agreed upon. But Pristina didn't want to do it. And you had a very clear
signal from European Union, from all of friends, from all the envoys, from all the interlocutors, all the mediators that it was their fault.
And all of a sudden, we have all these incident likes we need to blame Serbia for everything. And then, if you see the result of two years of
Kurti's regime, it's that there are three Serbs, one Albanian killed, 10 Serbs wounded altogether, including a 11 years old killed, which were just
carrying across before the Christmas.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, Mr. President --
VUCIC: More than --
AMANPOUR: You say --
VUCIC: And more than 5,000 people fled Kosovo.
AMANPOUR: We will put the questions that are necessary to the Kosovar leaders who we talk to later this week. But you say, your highest priority
is getting Serbia into the E.U. And you know that the E.U. will not --
AMANPOUR: -- access either of you, neither Kosovo nor Serbia, if you don't go back to normalization. So, my question to you is, it's a question about
actually what the -- you know, what the actual agreement looks like. And I want you to know whether, for you, it's acceptable and if no, why?
So, it seems that if you were to agree to the normalization, you don't actually have to recognize Kosovo's independence but you do have to
recognize official documents, like passports, diplomas, license plates and you do have to not block Kosovo's membership to any international
organization. In return, Kosovo has to agree to, you know, certain Serb alliances up in that area and Serb rights up in that area. Are you prepared
to do this bit that the E.U. says?
VUCIC: Here, we were very ready and we are always very ready to negotiate. And we were very constructive and we will remain so. But you need to
understand, there is something that everybody in European Union already realized, Pristina is not ready to create association of Serb
municipalities, that is the biggest obstacle.
VUCIC: And they want to continue with gradual ethnic cleansing of Serbs, particularly in Northern Kosovo. But anyway, I'm always available, always a
deposal to our interlocutors, to our European friends, American friends, all the others.
AMANPOUR: OK. So --
VUCIC: And we'll be ready to discuss all the issues.
AMANPOUR: OK. So --
VUCIC: And as I said at our last meeting, form the association of Serb municipalities, we'll deliver on everything we have promised. And I believe
that peace is the best interest of Serbia, the best interest of an entire region. Because we can brag ourselves of carrying 63 percent of overall
foreign direct investments from -- that are coming to the western Balkans, speaking about Serbia. That's what we need. We have many things to lose.
Why we would play this kind of game?
AMANPOUR: Well, that's a good question, Mr. President. Nobody understands it. And maybe it's politics.
VUCIC: And that's why we are very much dedicated to carry on negotiating process.
AMANPOUR: It's a good question, but we watched destabilization across the border in Bosnia and we watched, you know, an interesting political game
being played. You say one thing internally and another thing to interlocuters.
So, I want to ask you this, because you also have some very powerful and famous celebrity --
VUCIC: That's not true at all.
VUCIC: What you have just said.
AMANPOUR: OK. Fine. I'll take that on board. (INAUDIBLE) in May --
VUCIC: That's not true at all. I was always very responsible and very serious regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina, always supporting territorial
integrity of Bosnia and Dayton Peace Accord.
AMANPOUR: So, you don't support Milan Radoicic and his destabilization?
VUCIC: People or free nations in Bosnia.
AMANPOUR: OK. Good. Well, then, they will be pleased to hear that now.
VUCIC: I do supported -- don't put your words into my mouth. I'm just saying that I do support Dayton Peace Accord and territorial integrity of
Bosnia and Herzegovina. And I have never ever put that into question.
AMANPOUR: OK. Can I ask you how it helps the situation when a really famous and world-renowned Serb like your athlete, Novak Djokovic, writes on a
camera lens, Kosovo is the heart of Serbia, stop the violence? Do you approve of that? This was in the tennis championship in May in France. Do
you approve of that kind of rhetoric and does it help or hurt the situation?
VUCIC: I believe that Novak Djokovic was saying something from the bottom of his heart. 99 percent of people, Serbian, believe in that. But I can
tell you one thing, that we politicians need to be pragmatic, rational, which means that we need to find solutions through negotiating process,
through constructive approach, that we need to see how we're going to tackle all the problems for the future because we need to see no Albanians
and no Serbs suffering anymore.
And to see how we can overcome these difficulties and how we can create a better future, with open borders, administrative lives, whatever you call
it, just to make it bigger economic cooperation and to get closer our people. That is the real question.
AMANPOUR: President Aleksandar Vucic, thank you very much for joining me from Belgrade tonight.
And I said, we'll be hearing from Kosovo's president on this program tomorrow. Now, European Union foreign ministers are in Kyiv today. It's the
first meeting of all 27 members states to occur outside the E.U. But whilst they pledge their continued support, the question of additional U.S funding
for Kyiv hangs in the balance, that's after the spending bill passed over the weekend did not include new aid for Ukraine. It did, however, avert a
U.S government shutdown at least for another 45 days.
So, what does all of this last-minute maneuvering say about American politics and commitments? Here to discuss is Heather McGhee. Heather
McGhee, welcome back to the program.
HEATHER MCGHEE, AUTHOR, "THE SUM OF US": Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, can I just ask you, it appears that, you know, the government sort of dodged a bullet or the country dodged a bullet by not shutting down
immediately. But it's kicked down the can -- the can is being kicked down the road. What can you say about this and do you think it's a satisfactory
at least interim deal or agreement?
MCGHEE: Well, first of all, we should never have gotten to this place in the first place where the Republican speaker and the president last year --
earlier in the year negotiated a two-year vision for what the spending levels and resources of the public should be. And we walked away from that.
The Republicans walked away from that.
And the kind of concessions that the Republican Party, the far-right of their Republican Party wanted were disastrous, absolutely unacceptable, the
kinds of things no American family wants to see. And 80 percent cut to the federal funds for public education, 80 percent, that's some 200,000
classroom educators losing their jobs, 80,000 preschool slots, right? This is not what the American people want. And so, there was no way that
Democrats were going to give on those far-right extreme anti-government positions.
And so, we were facing a shutdown that seemed to both party and all commentators to be almost inevitable. But then the good things happened,
which is that Speaker McCarthy recognized that he can't keep negotiating with hostage takers and he had to look to the Democratic Party to forge a
compromise. And it is a good compromise. It's one that keeps the government open, keeps people receiving their payments, keeps the planes in the sky,
keeps our full faith in credit strong.
And 45 days is a very short amount of time, as you said, Christiane. At the same time, we can't keep having this kind of brinkmanship by what is a tiny
minority of the House far-right Republican caucus seeking to impose its undemocratic will on the United States Congress.
AMANPOUR: So, at this point, let me just say, somewhat similar to what you've said, what President Biden said about the spending bill. You know,
reminding Americans that it should never have come to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Quite frankly, I'm sick and tired. I'm sick and tired of the brinkmanship. And so are the American people. I've been doing
this -- you all point out to me a lot a long time. I've never quite seen a Republican Congress or any Congress act like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I want you to break down for, you know, certainly our international viewers who watch this, because some of it, as I said,
involves spending on foreign policies goals like aid to Ukraine. But a Pew poll in September shows that public trust in the American government is
near an all-time low, that, you know, we know. But they also they say kind of a pox on both your houses. But is it Republicans against Democrats or is
it more Republicans against Republicans?
MCGHEE: Well, for sure, we have a battle going on for the heart of the Republican Party between traditional Republicans, who are the majority
still to this day of the party, and the far-right conservatives. And the kind of agenda that the far-right Republicans want to see is out of step
with their own constituents, is out of step with the majority of the Republican Party. And then, of course, remember, the majority of Americans
do not belong to the Republican Party.
So, it is an internal feud but it is also a deeper problem because it goes not just to Republican versus -- far-right Republican versus Democrat, but
just democracy versus stalemate and crisis. And that's what we've not just in this brinkmanship over the house speaker, right, he had to take 15 votes
and we've seen as sort of a punishment for the deal averting the shutdown, one of the leaders of the freedom caucus, the far-right caucus, saying that
they want to recall, do a vote of basically of no confidence to Speak McCarthy. So, that's going to put his speakership in danger.
But all across the Congress, the ways in which this new Republican Party has normalized things like the filibuster and secret holds so that we have
effectively a super majority requirement to do the normal business of Congress. And if you think about the long sort of history, why is this
happening, right? This is fundamentally, Christiane, about the things that I write about in my book, "The Sum of Us," which is that we ran a contest
about whether a multiracial democracy can truly thrive in America.
MCGHEE: Because these far-right legislatures represent an older, whiter more conservative minority of the population, and they are seeing an
overwhelming shift in the country to a more multiracial younger electorate that wants basic things out of the government that have not been able to be
achieved, like universal child care, truly guaranteed affordable health care, the kinds of -- student debt cancellation that, you know, was -- you
know, is able to survive a Supreme Court case. These are the kinds of -- this agenda, this sort of agenda to address basic human needs, to address
inequality and climate change has been stalled by a shrinking radical minority. And so, these rules and procedures that make it harder for the
government to function are ultimately about that deeper contest.
AMANPOUR: So, I just want to read some of these very, very important cuts that will affect actual people. You referred to some of what has been
averted. But some of the cuts on the table would reduce federal spending on nutritional assistance for poor mothers with young children, on housing
subsidies, on home heating assistance, on climate programs, and as you mentioned, education and medical research.
So, you also mentioned a multiracial country. And I wonder what you made of the last Republican debate and South Carolina senator, Tim Scott,
essentially taking on, LBJ's civil rights and all the things that came in that -- in those years to try to combat the history of -- you know, of
racism in the U.S. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Black families survived slavery. We survived poll taxes and literacy tests. We
survived discrimination being woven into the laws of our country. What was hard to survive was Johnson's great society where they decided to put
money, where they decided to take the black father out of the household to get a check in the mail and you can now measure that in unemployment, in
crime, in devastation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Heather McGhee, you can imagine members of the LBJ cohort, I mean, really struck back at that and just listed all the things that that
did, including and especially for underprivileged and black families. So, can you break down what Tim Scott was saying? And your response, obviously.
MCGHEE: It's really -- it was an astonishing moment. It was insulting. First of all, so many black families did not survive slavery, right? Did
not survive discrimination and lynching and we did not thrive economically under the racist regime that was the majority of our country's history.
What he's saying though is a very small -- sort of there's a kernel of truth in the idea that the way that the welfare benefits of the war on
poverty were administered, punished families that had a male in the household. And that little piece, he's taken on to mean that government has
no business in trying to help impoverish families, white, black or brown, and he's also doing a very conservative trope, the kind of conservative
trope that gets a black man like him to be supported by Republicans, which is the idea that the kind of poverty that we see across America and also in
black communities is the fault of poor families themselves, is the fault of poor choices instead of the terrible choices that are forced upon families.
MCGHEE: The vast majority of whom have working adults that are paid too little often by very profitable corporations to be able to feed their
families reliably. So, this is an important part of the conservative politics to have somebody from a community of color saying the kind of
ultimately victim blaming and racist things that go -- you know, pass as truth in that party, but it has very little historical evidence and
fundamentally is being used by conservatives to ignore systemic racism.
AMANPOUR: Can I just go back to the idea of, you know, people want their programs. And some programs have been very successful and they don't like
to see government shutdowns. Although, they also don't like the politicians. But let's look at a government program that does seem to be
working. Of course, the Affordable Care Act, Obama Care.
So, in 2010, Democrats said that it would control government Medicare spending, which was, you know, huge and "The New York Times" has recently
run this graph that we're going to put up which shows that Medicare spending has indeed been mostly flat since the health care bill passed.
Almost $4 trillion saved over what was projected.
So, I mean, that's a huge example of what actually is promised and what is delivered and what's good for everybody who signed up to this. And yet, it
just doesn't seem -- you know, these stories, government gets all -- or the politicians aren't able to properly tell these stories.
MCGHEE: I think that's a really good point. To great frustration, right? Whether it is the enormous successes of the Affordable Care Act, which has
kept young adults on their family's health insurance until they are 26, which has brought down costs dramatically. A long-held campaign promise of
Democrats to be able to allow Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma to be able to have reasonable drug prices. We pay more for drugs than anybody
else in the world, right? All of these things are things that Americans in bipartisan majorities really, really want and support.
And yet, there hasn't been enough of a media narrative about the way that government can deliver and the successes. Instead, we have things like, you
know, you saw at the Republican debate stage, where it's blaming government and blaming poor families for any of the ills in society. The child tax
MCGHEE: Cut child poverty in half. And yet, there wasn't enough of a movement to keep it as a permanent thing. And so, we've now seen child
AMANPOUR: Yes. It's really sad that. Heather McGhee, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
And now, to the former president, Jimmy Carter, who turned 99 yesterday. The oldest living former American president. Seven months after he entered
hospice care. More than 14,000 people wrote to him for his birthday, with messages from Ecuador to Australia and all the points in between. This was
the birthday wish from the President Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Mr. President, happy birthday, pal. I've known a lot of presidents as you have, but I admire you because you have such incredible integrity,
character and determination. I consider it a great honor to know you and to have worked with you. And I just hope I can be one-half the president you
have been. God love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, joining me now to discuss his monumental life and how he even appears to be outrunning death is Paige Alexander, CEO of the Carter
Center, joining me from Atlanta. Welcome to the program.
You know, I think most people are just, I mean, astounded that when somebody announces they're going into hospice care it's essentially an end-
of-life signal, and that was seven months ago. How do you account for his robustness still?
PAIGE ALEXANDER, CEO, THE CARTER CENTER: You know, he never ceases to surprise us. And I -- we too thought that it was just a matter of days,
but, you know, he wanted to be home with Rosalynn and I think that gives him energy along with all of the well wishes that people have continued to
express over last seven months. And especially around his birthday, he saw a digital mosaic we put together and we've had only 20,000 people send
pictures and well wishes, and he saw it on his birthday. And his grandson, Jason, told me he teared up.
AMANPOUR: So, can you tell us how he is? When did you last see or speak to him?
ALEXANDER: Yes. So, he -- you know, he is doing as well as can be expected. At 99, he physically is quite limited. But mentally, the last time we
spoke, he just wanted to know what the human cases of guinea worm count were. So, he is still mentally quite interested in his legacy and the work
that he's put into, neglected tropical diseases and conflict resolution. So, that keeps him going as well.
AMANPOUR: That was something he -- you know, Jimmy Carter had a complicated presidency. He was a one-term president, and many believed that he had a
much more successful post presidency, whether it was monitoring elections and maintaining a Democratic progress or, as you say, the guinea worm
campaign. Just for those who don't know, what did he set out to do and what's been achieved?
ALEXANDER: You know, so both his presidency -- I spent almost two decades in government, not under him but appreciating everything he put in place,
from inspector general's office to the Department of Human Rights, labor and democracy, he really put -- Department of Education, Department of
Environment and Energy, he really put all of these into place.
And so, when he was involuntarily retired from the White House, as he and Mrs. Carter like to say, he decided he wanted to continue working on these
important elements of peace and global health. And so, The Carter Center was founded under the premise that this could be done. If you get people
around the table together, they can have these conversations. And he knew as a former president he still wielded a lot of respect in a lot of the
countries. And for 40 years, that's what he has worked on and that's what we have work on for him.
AMANPOUR: And let's not forget, he brought the first ever peace treaty, Camp David Accords, between Israel and an Arab country, that was Egypt, you
know, back in 1979. And that's one of his most successful foreign policy legacies.
Talking about human rights. I just want to play his farewell speech when he was, I guess, involuntarily retired, as they like to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The struggle for human rights overrides all differences of color or nation or language. Those who hunger
for freedom, who thirst for human dignity and who suffer for the sake of justice, they are the patriots of this cause. I believe with all my heart
that America must always stand for these basic human rights at home and abroad. That is both our history and our destiny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And of course, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for, you know, decades of trying to find peaceful solutions in the world. But he said that
and we talked to him a little bit about that. I want to talk more about what you started off by saying, he wants to stay alive for Rosalynn.
She has, I believe, Alzheimer's, dementia, you tell me what it's like. But they've been married for 77 years. And some in his family attribute his
longevity to the fact that he doesn't want to leave her. In 2015, they spoke about how important their relationship has been to their lives. Let's
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSALYNN CARTER, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: I've been married all of my life almost. And I don't know how it could have been enriched more if it had not
been for Jimmy Carter.
J. CARTER: I think if we hadn't a good and vibrant and active marriage, we couldn't have had -- I couldn't have been president and we couldn't have
had The Carter Center.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, you spent a long time around them. Give us just, you know, a feeling of what it's like to be around them.
ALEXANDER: You know, they have been life partners in everything that they have done, whether it was raising four kids, and now, up to about 40
children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, or whether it was in Governor's Mansion here in Georgia or in the White House or for the last 40
years The Carter Center.
As life partners, they really complimented each other so well. She has been concerned about mental health issues for 50 years. And when she took on
that role, he was incredibly supportive. And so, the two of them together formed a post presidency at The Carter Center, which has really carried us
forward in areas that I don't think a lot of couples could work together and I just don't think The Carter Center would have been successful had
they not worked together. So, that is what we are taking away from it.
AMANPOUR: And now, a lot has been written in a lot of these tributes and stories leading up to his 99th about the saving properties of peanut butter
ice cream. And we all remember that his bio would list him as a peanut farmer before he became a politician.
ALEXANDER: Yes. He -- I think he is living proof that if you live life and you exercise and you eat responsibly, and you do everything you're supposed
to do, at this stage in your life, if you decide that peanut butter ice cream is what you want to have all day, it's kind of proof of concept that
you'll live a long time. It must have something healing powers because it is still his go-to favorite food and he doesn't have to just eat it on
special occasions anymore.
AMANPOUR: Paige Alexander, thank you so much, indeed. President Carter, 99 years old.
Donald Trump, a former president, was back in court today. This time the former president is answering for his business dealings in New York and his
empire might be at stake. The self-described property mogul has already been found liable for persistent and repeated fraud in this civil trial,
according to documents. David Cay Johnston is Pulitzer Prize-winning economics reporter and he joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss what this means
for the Trump organization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. David Cay Johnston, thanks so much for joining us.
Last week, a judge found that the president -- the former president of the United States persistently committed fraud as he built up his empire of
businesses in New York. Just kind of, if you could, for people who might not have been paying attention to exactly what happened last week, walk us
through what the judge said is there.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING REPORTER: Well, the issue had to do with the values Trump placed on some of his businesses, principally real
estate. And real estate is a range of value. You don't know what your house will sell for tomorrow, but if you have a house you think is worth a
quarter million dollars, it's not going to sell for $200 million. And Trump valued some of these properties at more than 10 times what an already
generous appraisal had shown they were worth. And he's been doing this for the whole 35 years that I've known him, making claims like this. And
finally, it's become a legal issue.
SREENIVASAN: OK. And for those of us who aren't familiar with how that translates into the rest of the business empire, inflating the value of,
say, your penthouse and how big it is or how much it's worth, what is the advantage you get from that?
JOHNSTON: Well, it allowed Trump to get larger loans on better terms, because it appeared to the banks that their risk level was lower because
the share of the value that was represented by the loan was smaller. And even though the banks all got paid back this time, the fact is it meant
other people didn't get loans that they might have because banks all have a limited lending capacity.
SREENIVASAN: Right. Now, how big of a decision is this?
JOHNSTON: Oh, this is incredibly damaging to Donald Trump. And it goes to the heart of who he is. Donald is his money. And he's always saying he has
more money than he has.
Once he told me he was worth $3 billion. I told him I didn't believe him. And so upset and that later that afternoon he told another journalist he
was wonderful $5 billion. He just makes this stuff up. And this is the first time he's ever been held to account for it.
SREENIVASAN: I mean, in a large way, the case that he made when he was running the first time was that, I'm a successful businessman. I've built
this empire. And I can do the same for the country.
JOHNSTON: That's exactly his case. Here's the problems with it. He's not a successful businessman, as laid out in his book, "The Art of the Deal."
What he does is rip people off and then move on to the next victim. And it's very clear if you read the book that that's what he does.
He has a long history of not paying his workers, not paying vendors, employing illegal aliens and refusing to pay them until they threaten to
kill his supervisor. So, Trump's whole life has been a facade. And I admire his incredible skill at telling people and persuading people he's what he
SREENIVASAN: So, what happens now?
JOHNSTON: Well, this trial is only about the damages due to the State of New York. The judge last week cancelled Donald Trump's business
certificates, business licenses. He cannot do business now in New York. There's a monitor watching the companies. He can't take money out of them
to support himself.
Eventually, when the amount due is set, the businesses will be sold and all of the Trump organization enterprises, so more than 500, have to be
divested because you don't have a business license, you cannot run a business. Unless, like me, as book author, you're a sole proprietor. The
judge in this case will appoint a receiver at some point. There will certainly be appeals and arguments about that.
But because Donald no longer has business licenses in New York, the receiver will accept all of the property, he will put it up for sale. Just
as happens in bankruptcy, though this is state business law, the sale prices are going to be much more fire sale prices than premium prices. The
creditors get paid first, people have mortgages on the building. Second, you know, the government, including the fines, (INAUDIBLE), when the state
is seeking $250 million in penalties. And the person who gets paid last, Donald Trump.
SREENIVASAN: So, could the children still profit from this?
JOHNSTON: No. Now, two of his sons are named in this litigation along with the Trump organization and Donald's eyes wide open blind trust that he
created when he became president. And all of those are covered by this.
Now, Ivanka Trump got herself out of the case, and the two younger children are not involved in it whatsoever. So, Donald is -- he's out of business in
New York and well, we're going to see a lot of litigation, this will be full employment program for lawyers. At the end of the day, Donald Trump
will not have his enterprises and his businesses and he may well lose Mar- a-Lago.
SREENIVASAN: Was that also inflated in value?
JOHNSTON: Oh, yes. In fact, one of Donald's complaints is that it's worth hundreds of millions of dollars. One of his sons was on the internet saying
exactly that. The judge says, it's worth around $18 million. Remember, Mar- a-Lago is a business. It has hotel rooms. They hold weddings and other functions there. It's not a personal home. So, he can't shield it from this
action by government.
But all of his property will have to be liquidated and it will be done by the court appointed receiver. And the person who gets paid last is Donald.
And given the inflated values, he may not end up with much, if anything.
SREENIVASAN: So, couldn't Trump say, look, I am not an accountant. I trusted everybody around me. You should take it up with Mr. Weisselberg,
you should take it up with lots of other things. And frankly, you should call the banks, because they are the ones that approved my inflated
numbers, if that's what you're finding, right? If -- shouldn't the banks have some responsibility here?
JOHNSTON: Well, absolutely. And it's a good example of the very poor job we do of regulating banks in America. I mean, in recent years we found one of
the six too big to fail banks created millions of fraudulent accounts and all they did was pay some fines and go on. We're doing a very, very bad job
of regulating banks, and bank regulation goes all the way back to Hammurabi's code 4,000 years ago.
As for Donald trying to blame other people, he always does that. I mean, Donald was asked in the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump, you're a Christian, when
was the last you asked God for forgiveness? And he said, ask God for forgiveness? Why would I do that? I've never done anything in my life that
requires asking forgiveness. Donald never assumes responsibility. He always blames other people. And there are people who are gullible enough to
But in a court of law, arguments that may win you votes are not what's at to issue. The laws about fraud are very clear, very well-developed and the
evidence against Donald in this case is overwhelming. All you have to do is read the judge's opinion. You don't need to be a lawyer to understand it.
And he lays out very clearly this was calculated intentional fraud.
And as some of his executives used to tell me and as Michael Cohen has said to me and everybody else, nothing happens in the Trump organization without
the direction and approval of Mr. Trump.
SREENIVASAN: His -- Trump's lawyer, here's what he said, he will appeal the decision. He called it "completely disconnected from the facts and
governing law." And Trump said it was a political persecution. Walk us kind of through the potential appeals process for Donald Trump.
JOHNSTON: Well, in this civil case, Donald can only appeal on matters of law. He cannot appeal on the findings of fact by the judge, which are
thoroughly described in the 35-page opinion with specific examples, including Trump's own statements where he, in essence, said about his
financial statements, oh, everybody knows you can't lie on my financial statements. And the judge said, I'm sorry, we're not living in a fantasy
world. He asserted that a rent regulated apartment was worth just as much as a free market apartment, which is absurd. And the judge knocked that
So, they will appeal on anything that isn't the law, they will be ignored. And they may find some technical issue. I haven't been able to find one and
I've interviewed other people who know the civil law in New York well and they don't see anything there either that is appealable as a matter law or
And there is no -- there should be no appeal to the federal court because there is no federal issue here. This is entirely a New York State issue.
States decide who gets to run a business under our system, not the federal government, because the founding fathers never thought about corporations
and regulation when they wrote the constitution.
SREENIVASAN: So, how long are we talking about, timeline wise, for the progression of this?
JOHNSTON: That depends on how successful Donald Trump's lawyers are at delaying and Donald's always been big on delay. But remember, his lawyers
here made-up facts, just like their client does, five of them were each fined $7,500 for frivolous arguments that is repeating arguments the judge
had rejected. But more importantly, they actually limited the quoted language of an important court case in the filings to turn it on its head.
And give their unclean hands, their misconduct here, they're not going to have a sympathetic appeals court and frankly, they may face disbarment or
other disciplinary proceedings by the New York State Bar.
SREENIVASAN: So, if the president loses the appeals, the status of his ability to do business in the future is one thing, but all of these
existing businesses, what happens to them? They have to be liquidated?
JOHNSTON: They will continue to operate under right now the eye of a monitor, a retired judge named Barbara Jones. Donald cannot take any salary
or money from them.
JOHNSTON: And the reason is that these are ill got gains. If you committed fraud and you made a profit because of the fraud, that is an ill got gain.
And here's the way to think about that. You have an employer who you work for who closes Friday night and opens up Monday. You take $100 from the
employer. You go to the casino. You win $1,000. You put the $100 back before the business reopens. You've committed two crimes. One, you're a
thief. But secondly, your casino win is an ill got gain. And if you're caught, you have to give up all back that money. And that's what's happened
to Trump here. His ill got gains have to be turned back. And we don't know how much that's going to be. We only know that the New York State attorney
general has asked for $250 million indicating the scope of this, which is enormous.
SREENIVASAN: So, regardless of how people might feel about the president, there are employees, arguably in many of these dozens of these businesses,
from the groundskeeper at, say, a golf course to a doorman in a building. What happens to them?
JOHNSTON: The employees will continue to get paid and businesses will operate until some new owner comes along. So, the businesses will operate
as they have been but not at the direction of Donald Trump or his sons or the two executives that are named in the lawsuit.
SREENIVASAN: So, when you look at the findings, was there anything surprising to you? I mean, given you're not the average person who's been
following Trump as closely as you have for the last 35 years, but when you saw something, anything jumped out from you -- for you?
JOHNSTON: No. That's a very interesting question. And no, Hari, there wasn't anything that jumped out of me. All of these things were consistent
with Donald's long history of just creating his own reality. He says it in his mind, that makes it so. And the overvaluations, I'd written about a
number of them in the past, you know, he claimed that his -- a state in Westchester County, just north of Manhattan, was worth at one point $291
million. His highest appraisal put it at about $30 million, but that was based on the idea that he could carve it up into a group of other mansions
and yet, local authorities said no, we're not going to let you carve it up, which means it's not even worth what the appraisal says. So, he was valuing
this at about 40 times what it's probably actually worth.
And, you know, a little edge here. If he'd said his 11,000 square foot Trump Tower apartment was 12,000 square feet, but he said it was over
30,000 square feet, that's fraud plain and simple.
SREENIVASAN: You know, this is different than when the Manhattan D.A. was investigating the former president and declined to bring charges. This is a
result of New York Attorney General Letitia James filing this suit. Is there a difference in the scope here?
JOHNSTON: The judge in the current civil case repeatedly cites criminal law. And I and some others have written articles saying there's a very
strong criminal fraud case. But the difference is criminal fraud requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas in a civil case, you only need a
preponderance of the evidence, more than half.
And so, Letitia James took the easier route here. I think it's a very good question. Will the Manhattan district attorney or the Southern District of
New York, the federal prosecutorial agency, go back and look at this as a criminal fraud matter? I don't expect them to. But I think they have plenty
of grounds to if they want to bring a case.
SREENIVASAN: You know, the former president also has a long history of settling out of court. And is this a different era? I mean, are there kind
of different stars aligned here where there is an incentive not to settle on the part of the state?
JOHNSTON: If Donald Trump had not become president, I don't think he would see any of these cases, because he's engaged on outrageous behavior his
whole life. So, he's not alone among business people who are really high- level con artists who get away with stuff because that's not what law enforcement is focused.
And Donald is, in my view, the greatest con artist in the history of the world. I mean, I admire his success as a con artist who conned his way all
the way into the White House.
SREENIVASAN: David Cay Johnston, thanks so much for joining us.
JOHNSTON: Thank you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, we want to remember, five years ago today, our colleague "Washington Post" columnist and Saudi journalist, Jamal
Khashoggi, took his photograph of his suitcases, packed and ready to leave D.C. for a trip to Turkey.
There, he entered the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul and never returned. The world would soon learn that he had been brutally murdered inside. And
according U.S. intelligence, the Saudi crown prince had ordered it.
Today, his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, shared these photos with us, lasting memories of the couple out and about enjoying life, taking selfies, being
ordinary people. Hatice says that Jamal would put up a picture of the two of them on his TV when he was away or missing her. Jamal considered himself
a Saudi patriot, although he had become a Virginia resident and was critical of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman's policies and wanted a better
Saudi Arabia. NBS has always denied having anything to do with grisly murder and dismemberment.
And five years later, even if justice is not served, Jamal is alive more than ever, Hatice tells us. They killed him, but they will never be able to
kill the values that he believed in.
And that's how we want to end our program. That's it for now. If you ever miss the show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our
podcast. And remember, you can always catch us online, on our website and all-over social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.