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Interview With Former U.S. State Department Middle East Negotiator And Carnegie Endowment Senior Fellow Aaron David Miller; Interview With Sun Journal Executive Editor Judy Meyer; Interview With "Romney: A Reckoning" Author McKay Coppins; Interview With Former U.S. Senate Democrat Hillary Clinton. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 26, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
?CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
As the world divides over the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, I speak to Aaron David Miller, the former U.S. Middle East peace negotiator for the
And in the U.S. State of Maine, a manhunt after a mass shooting. We have the latest with Judy Meyer, the executive editor of Maine's "Sun Journal."
Then, "Mitt Romney: A Reckoning." Hari Sreenivasan asked McKay Coppins about his revealing new biography.
Also on the program, more from my conversation with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Teaching Inside the Situation Room at Columbia
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Desperation builds inside Gaza for humanitarian relief, and pressure builds outside for a humanitarian pause in Israeli airstrikes following the Hamas
terror rampage of October 7th. In an emotional address to the United Nations, the Palestinian representative almost broke down as he told the
stories of those inside Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIYAD MANSOUR, PALESTINIAN PERMANENT OBSERVER MISSION TO U.N.: A man embraces his mother and pleads like a child, come back. I beg you. Come
back. And I will take you wherever you want. He hugs her and can let go. But there is no time to mourn. More death is on the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And indeed, in Gaza, the United Nations says it'll have to pull the plug on aid efforts due to a lack of fuel. While Israel insists there
is fuel there, but in the hands of Hamas.
More than 6,800 Palestinians have been killed in the past two weeks. That's according to health officials. Though CNN has no way to verify those
numbers. In addition to 1,400 murdered, Israel says 224 people are still being held hostage. And the IDF carried out what it calls a targeted raid
overnight in Northern Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We are raining down hellfire on Hamas. We have already eliminated thousands of
terrorists. And this is only the beginning. At the same time, we are preparing for a ground incursion. I will not detail when, how, or how many,
or the overall consideration that we are taking into account, most of which are unknown to the public. And this is how it needs to be in order to
safeguard the lives of our soldiers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I've been speaking to Aaron David Miller about the hardening global divides, even some shaping up inside the U.S. government. He served
as Middle East negotiator for several U.S. administrations and is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment.
Aaron David Miller, welcome back to our program.
AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR AND SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: Christiane, it's always a pleasure to
be with you.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to get to the heart of these massive divisions, the wealth of information that we're learning and how the world is hardening
into its positions, unlike we've seen before. You have experience, you've been in this part of the world for many years. The Israelis at first called
it Yom Kippur, 9/11. Take us back to when you were first there, if you like, in one of these crises.
MILLER: I was in Jerusalem on October 6, 1973, actually, coming out of Yom Kippur services, walking back to our apartment, my wife Lindsay and I, when
we heard the sirens. And I had an eerie reminiscence of this crisis, with respect to that one. Then there was a huge intelligence failure, like there
is now. Then the trauma and vulnerability, Israelis was exposed. Then 2,800 Israelis were killed among thousands of Egyptians and Syrian soldiers.
That's, by the way, half the number of Israelis who were killed within a 24-hour period in October 7th.
But the distinguishing characteristics of October '73 was one, there was no CNN, there was no media, there was no internet, and we were in a complete
and utter news blackout, and it persisted for days, if not weeks. We needed to call the United States in order to get information on what was happening
on Israel's borders. That is not the case now. This is the horrors of October 7th and the consequences of Israeli airstrikes and blockade in
Gaza, deaths of Palestinians, the destruction, all of that is amplified and brought home with an immediacy and a terrifying urgency, frankly, that can
only drive people to their respective corners.
And transparency is critically important for the public to know in real- time reporting, nothing substitutes for it. That, in some respects, is the downside.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, you've just said drives people into their corners. We've seen how the world is shaping up, how nations in the world, how
college campuses in the U.S., how streets and demonstrations. are hardening their positions, as you say, you know, everything is being broadcast in
You -- but one thing that really struck us is what you tweeted just this week. You say that in 25 years, you haven't seen this kind of division
inside the U.S. government. You've said, the administration is moderating its own Israeli-Palestinian conflict as staffers share concerns. Outside of
dissent channel, in 25 years at the State Department, I don't recall any foreign policy issue stirring up as much controversy inside the USG as this
Israel-Hamas war. That's quite a startling statement. Tell me what you're hearing.
MILLER: Well, I mean, you -- you've seen the resignations. And again, I don't want to create the sense that these are mass resignations, and you
now have a dysfunctional National Security Council or White House because you've got tremendous volatility, there's tremendous emotional angst on
both sides of the line, and frankly, on every side of the line as a consequence of this.
I'm just reflecting on the fact, Christiane, that I started working in 1977 for the Department of State and I left in 2003. We saw a lot of different
Middle East crises, right? Three Lebanon wars, two intifadas, at least four Israel Hamas engagements, between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. During my time
I left, several months before the United States invaded Iraq, the sense of polarization.
And maybe, Christiane, is like everything else in America, there's very little consensus on so many issues here. And clearly, the Israel issue,
which was once fairly consolidated around a consensus is now breaking apart. The Republican Party has emerged as the Israel right or wrong party.
Democratic Party is more divided. You have increasing numbers of progressives. And even mainstream traditional Democrats who are prepared to
be more critical of Israel.
What prompted the angst and emotional sort of conflict within state and even within the White House staff, I suspect, was October 7th, the
brutality and the slaughter there. But also, the Israeli response. And let's be clear, the United States can be an effective broker when it comes
to negotiating Arab Israeli peacemaking, and we have on occasion, Egypt Israel is an example of that. But in a way, the Biden administration's
policy on Israel in this crisis is more or less set before the crisis began.
You had the president's preternatural and very emotional support for the State of Israel. The presidential model here is not Barack Obama, it's Bill
Clinton, who wrote in his memoirs, he loved Yitzhak Rabin as he loved no man. I saw President Clinton grieve in the wake of Rabin's murder. And
Biden -- President Joe Biden is probably more identified with the Israeli story than any other modern American president going back decades. So, that
was one factor.
Second was what occurred on October 7th. And third, there are politics here, like there are always politics in foreign policy. So, the
administration's position from the beginning was, unmistakably, we're going to give Israel the time, the space, and the support to do what it needs to
do with respect to Hamas and Gaza. Now, that position has clearly evolved in the last two weeks.
There's been a much better sensitivity to, A, the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israeli airstrikes in an effort, again, to strike Hamas's
positions. That's number one. Two, the hostage issue, which is incredibly emotional, both here and in -- and particularly, obviously, in Israel. And
three, an administration growing concern over whether or not the Israelis have a plan. Do they have an end game? How are they going to achieve it?
Will they be able to adhere even haphazardly, let alone consistently to abide by international humanitarian law during war?
So, all of this has combined, I think, to generate a lot of anger, angst, and emotion. There's still a good many people that I know, Christiane, who
still believe that the United States can demonstrate moral clarity when it comes to Israeli casualties, but has a hard time demonstrating, I guess,
what you would call moral consistency.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, this is really interesting.
MILLER: Of (INAUDIBLE).
AMANPOUR: This is interesting because this week I had a very widely watched interview with Queen Rania, who talked a little bit about a double
standard, and it's really gone viral because she appears to be expressing a widely held view, certainly in many parts of the world, that the United
States has not been, you know, the honest broker.
And to be frank, I'm going to bring up something you said in a documentary by Dror Moreh, the famous Israeli filmmaker, when he talked to all of you
who've been the, you know, endless and indefatigable negotiators trying to get a two-state peace solution there in his documentary, "The Human
Factor," a few years ago. Here is a little clip starting with Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, and you are in it as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBASSADOR DANIEL KURTZER, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: In fact, the American's negotiating philosophy has been the United States
coordinates positions with Israel, finds out how far Israel can go, and then tries to market that outcome to the Palestinians.
Now, if you're a Palestinian, you have to ask yourself, well, why do I want the United States in the room? Since all the United States is doing is, in
the words of Aaron Miller, acting as Israel's lawyer.
MILLER: I know a lawyer when I see one. And too many people in the Clinton administration, myself included, function far too frequently as Israel's
lawyer during these negotiations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was many years ago, as we can see. Do you still stand by that?
MILLER: Of course. And by the way, Israel's lawyer was a phrase that I resurrected out of Henry Kissinger's memoirs in which he described the
problem of being Israel's lawyer for James Baker, who loved the idea.
And the reality is, Christiane, it's logical, right? I mean, our client should be neither Israel nor the Arab interlocutor with which Israel is
dealing. Our client should be in agreement. And we should lawyer, figuratively speaking, for both sides.
AMANPOUR: So --
MILLER: I think -- yes. I was just going to say Jimmy Carter, who hosted a successful summit between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, the draft of that
agreement went through 20 plus drafts because the Americans controlled the text. And Camp David, Second Camp David, incredibly well intentioned. I
would never undermine or doubt President Clinton's sincere desire and hope to broker an agreement, but on the fourth day of that summit we had
prepared a paper for the Israelis and Palestinians, sort of a description of the issues.
And I saw the late Saeb Erekat, I miss him by the way, walked in on one of the wooded pads and he said, where, where is the text? Are you -- I thought
you were going to give it to us? And I said to him, well, we're still working on it. And he winked at me and smiled and said, you've given it to
the Israelis first, haven't you? And I smiled and kept on walking.
So, there's no question that we can be an effective broker as Jimmy Carter was in 1978 and 1979 to produce that peace treaty, which met the mutual
requirements and needs of both Israel and Egypt. We were honest there in the sense that we really did try to find that middle balance on Israeli
Palestinian negotiations. For an American president, it has been nearly impossible, given the complexity of the Palestinian issue, the problem of
overlapping space and Jerusalem, one state seeking to challenge -- a non- state actor that's seeking to become a state, and the violence, which continues to be a handmaiden, frankly, on both sides on the Israeli
Palestinian peace process.
So, if you look at the Biden administration's position toward the most right-wing fundamentalist and extreme government in the history of the
State of Israel over the last 10 months, you see an enormous amount of annoyance and frustration with the exception of holding out a White House
meeting, seeing Prime Minister Netanyahu in New York, the administration has been very reluctant to impose any cost or accountability on the
So, President Biden's reaction to this crisis, it seems to me, was set even before it began.
MILLER: This -- I must say, though, the slaughter on October 7th created a new frame and a new reality, I would argue, which no American president, I
don't care what party and how -- whatever his sensitivities and sensibilities were to the Palestinian side could have done anything other
than in the beginning of this crisis, basically go to Israel's corner.
The problem we face now, I think, is that the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, the debate over whether it was an Israeli strike on the Ahli Arab
Hospital in Gaza, turned out to be a Palestine Islamic jihad error missile, that has fundamentally changed the debate. And the -- it is rapidly now
becoming a David versus Goliath sort of narrative. And the Palestinians -- at least the Palestinian civilians in Gaza are not the Goliath.
AMANPOUR: So, let me then interpret what you're saying. Out of the horror of what happened October 7th and the ensuing catastrophe that's enraging
the rest of the Muslim world, the Arab world, and many others around the world, do you think, and we need to be short here, that out of this, we can
even talk about a potential emergence from these ashes into something constructive and peaceful? If Netanyahu destroys Hamas, is there a way
MILLER: Look, you've been -- you know this region as well as -- and has spent as much time there as I have. One, there's one elemental reality.
Every breakthrough in the Arab Israeli conflict zone -- and don't count the Abraham Accords because they weren't in the conflict zone. Every agreement
in the Arab Israeli conflict zone, whether it's '73 and the Egyptian Israeli peace treaty in '79 preceded by the October war, whether it was
Madrid, preceded by Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and the Bush '41 administration's efforts to push him out of Kuwait and then lead a nine-
month effort to create a Madrid peace conference. Oslo Accords, they failed. The Israeli Jordanian peace treaty did not. It all started with the
first intifada and changing calculations on the part of Israelis and Palestinians.
So, is it conceivable that out of this nightmare, this long, dark tunnel we're in, that in the wake of it, whatever is left can be somehow fashioned
into a pathway? It won't be immediate? That would essentially push toward what I still believe, even though most people I know believe it's gone the
way of the dodo, the two-state solution? Yes, Christiane. I continue to believe it is possible. Because frankly, what's the alternative?
Israelis and Palestinians have a proximity problem. They're living on top of one another. Their lives are inextricably linked together. There's no
military solution, even if Hamas is crushed. And if Hamas is crushed, it may well mean that the Palestinian Authority, having observed all this from
the sidelines amidst the wreckage of what's happening in Gaza, may be fundamentally weakened.
Without hope, Elie Wiesel said, there's no life. And yes, I'm persuaded that the arc of history bends in very strange and unpredictable ways.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
MILLER: It's up to us, to humans, to work tirelessly to see we can bend it, Christiane, in the right direction.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And it's important even now, in the wake of this, in the immediate aftermath, to hear those words. Aaron David Miller, thank you
very much indeed.
MILLER: Thank you, Christiane.
Now, in the United States, in Maine, an order to shelter in place remains in effect across multiple cities as police continue their manhunt for the
killer who opened fire, killing at least 18 people and injuring 13. It's the deadliest mass shooting in Maine's history, but there have been more
than 500 around the U.S this year.
The police have released this photo of a 40-year-old male suspected of targeting a restaurant and a bowling alley in the City of Lewiston. The
governor made an emotional plea for people to come together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JANET MILLS (D-MAINE): This is a dark day for Maine. I know it's hard for us to think about healing when our hearts are broken. But I want every
person in Maine to know that we will heal together. We are strong. We are resilient. We are a very caring people. In the days and weeks ahead, we
will need to lean on those qualities more than ever before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Joining me now with the latest is Judy Meyer. She's the executive editor of several weekly newspapers in Western Maine, including
the "Sun Journal." Welcome to our program.
So, let me ask you the journalist's question, what is the latest and how are you doing? How are people in your newsroom and family and people who
you're reporting on? What's happening right now?
JUDY MEYER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, SUN JOURNAL: You know, I wish I could say everybody is fine. Everybody is just, you know, shocked. There was a real
kind of calm shock last night when this was all unfolding. And we have seen people turn more toward frustration and anger today.
I think the fact that this man is still not been located is adding to that fear and the frustration and maybe children will be kept home from school
yet again tomorrow. Parents are in lockdowns. Stores are closed. Restaurants are closed. It is really just an odd world for us right now in
what is usually an incredibly peaceful place.
AMANPOUR: Let me play this little bit of a statement from your health commissioner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE SAUSCHUCK, COMMISSIONER, MAINE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Our reality for today is that this suspect is still that large and we want to
provide community support for the victims, for the families in the communities across the state. But we also have an incredibly strong laser
like focus on bringing this suspect into custody and ultimately to justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Judy, the police have released a mugshot and they're trying to find him. Tell me a little bit about your community and what this kind
of mass casualty and slaughter does. I mean, everybody must know somebody.
MEYER: I think we're finding that out very quickly now as the victims are being identified. Lewiston is a city of about 36,000 people. And while we
have two hospitals here, they're not medical centers. They are, you know, small city hospitals and they were completely and utterly overwhelmed last
night, so much so that many of the patients had to be airlifted to Boston.
And there's just kind of -- I wouldn't even say there was a panic. There was just kind of a blind, we have to address all these things that were
happening last night. And we have seen federal and state police officers coming in -- out from outside of Maine just flooding in. There is no doubt
in anybody's mind that they are doing everything possible to find this guy.
But I think what's making this hit home so hard is that, you know, Schemengees a neighborhood bar. And Joseph Walker was the manager there.
And last night he had organized a corn hole tourney for his buddies and his regular customers. And, you know, it's something that we can all see
ourselves doing and we can relate to that. And now, they're dead, and it just makes it so real on a very human level for people, and people are
struggling. There's going to be a -- the governor said what is true, it's going to be a long healing process here.
AMANPOUR: And you started by, you know, basically talking about this peaceful community. Give us a little bit more description of -- I mean,
have you ever had any kinds of -- that kind of -- I mean, not that kind of crime, but any kind of crime, any kind of, I don't know, fear like this?
MEYER: Well, we do, in the downtown, we have. Maine suffers, I think, disproportionately from the opioid crisis, and we do have some downtown
crime, but it is really targeted to the drug trade. It's not something that affects people who are not in that world.
So, I mean, are there shootings in our downtown? Yes. Yes, there are. But nothing on the level of this and nothing that doesn't seem to have a
reason. Nobody understands what Card's connection was either to the bowling alley or to the bar, and I think right now that's the great mystery is, is
how they became connected and why they were targeted
AMANPOUR: And, you know, sadly around the world and around the United States now, people have sort of factored in mass shootings. I said there's
been 500 at least of various sizes around the United States. And so, I want to ask you about the gun laws, whether it's ever an issue where you are.
I'm just going to read a few things, you know, many people own guns, but you have a relatively very low rate of gun homicides. There's no red flag
law, fairly permissive gun laws. Red flags would allow families and law enforcement to seize weapons when somebody is demonstrably, you know, unfit
to hold one.
What is the relationship of people with guns? Yes, tell me.
MEYER: Yes, that is all true. And there's a high gun ownership rate here in Maine, because it is an outdoors hunting sportsman kind of place. But we
also have what is called constitutional carry laws here, which means that unless you are prohibited by federal state law, because of a mental illness
or prior crimes, unless you're prohibited from owning a weapon, you can carry a weapon. You can conceal carry a weapon. You can carry a weapon down
the main street if you want to, because we do have that constitutional carry law here.
AMANPOUR: Well, we will be following your story. We thank you for giving us the latest reports, Judy Meyer, and the context and we hope you stay
MEYER: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Thank you for being with us tonight. The dysfunction in Washington may have been interrupted by the election at last of a house
speaker, but Republican Mike Johnson is a vocal Trump supporter, an election denier, and key to the attempts to overturn the 2020 vote. Someone
who's always tried to rise above the political chaos in his own party is Senator Mitt Romney. And he's the subject of a revealing biography by
journalist McKay Coppins, who joins Hari Sreenivasan now to discuss Romney's colorful career in politics and his tangles with Trump over the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. McKay Coppins, welcome back. Your book, "Romney: A Reckoning," is out now.
And I guess the first question I think of when you're looking at cataloging the life of this senator, former presidential nominee governor, is where
was or where is the reckoning? Is this a reckoning through his whole life? Is there a specific moment?
MCKAY COPPINS, AUTHOR, "ROMNEY: A RECKONING": You know, I think that he is at a point now where he's looking back on his life and career and also on
the last 30 years of the Republican Party and taking stock of what's changed. There was a moment after January 6th where he watched many of the
leaders of his party instigate you know, what he considered an attempted insurrection. And it shook loose something in him. It made him alarmed
about the fragility of American democracy, alarmed about what he believes is the creeping authoritarianism within the GOP, but also start to ask
difficult questions of himself.
He wanted to really have a conversation about whether the mainstream establishment Republicans, like himself, had any complicity or
responsibility for allowing the extremist forces on the right to basically take over their party. And so, over the course of the two years I was
working on this book, that was the conversation we had. I would go to his house one night every week and we would ask those tough questions and he
would look back on his career and life and tell me all of the stories that he had never told before.
SREENIVASAN: So, he had agreed to sit down and work with you on this. Did he think you were going to do a memoir? I mean, this is something that
people don't do until, really, they're out of office and he had not announced his plans for -- to not seek reelection until recently.
COPPINS: That's right. No. In fact, I was surprised that he accepted my conditions. I approached him and said, I basically want to have all the
access that an authorized biography would have, right? But it won't be authorized in the sense that you won't have any editorial control, right? I
want to all your journals. I want all your e-mail correspondence. I want full access, but I get to decide what goes in the book.
And I have to say, I expected him to bulk, right? I expected him to be like, maybe we revisit this after I retire. Instead, he almost took my
conditions as a dare. He said, OK, let's do it. And he immediately blocked off weekly interviews. And like I said, he gave me journal entries that
were incredibly candid, often damning portraits of members of his own party without even having reread them.
And so, the result is, I think, a pretty unusual product where you have a still sitting senator sort of unburdening himself to a biographer over two
years and the result is, I think, a pretty interesting insight into this moment in American politics.
SREENIVASAN: You document the different times that he, Mitt Romney, had met Trump earlier in his career, even jotted down in his journal his
thoughts about Trump, that Trump was a guy who says 100 percent of what he thinks, and he actually makes him laugh.
COPPINS: Yes, I thought that was fascinating. And in the 2012 election Romney spent a little time with Trump and he wrote down after one of his
phone calls with Trump that, you know, he likes him. He -- to his surprise, he thought Trump was, you know, funny and gossipy and entertaining, that he
would -- that their phone calls were outrageous, but they would lift his spirits.
And, you know, when I found that entry in his journal, I took it back to Romney and said, so, what do you say about this now? And I think he was a
little embarrassed, but you know, he said, there is something seductive about Trump's charisma. And I think it is important to understand how he
has brought so many leaders of the Republican Party into his camp and kind of brought them in line because when you're in the room with him, he can
be, you know, magnetic and you want to be friends with him. And that's part of what makes him so dangerous, frankly.
SREENIVASAN: I think a lot of people will remember what was a humiliating kind of tryout for secretary of state that Donald Trump put Mitt Romney
through. And what does he think about that? Even though he's harboring these feelings of how capable or how competent Donald Trump is, why did he
go through that?
COPPINS: This was one of those moments where he was really introspective with me in an interesting way. He said, you know, when I considered joining
the Trump administration as secretary of state, I was motivated by kind of two dueling impulses. On the one hand, he says that he was motivated by a
desire to help the country. He thought that Trump's election was a crisis. He worried about the caliber of people he would appoint to his
At the time in the immediate wake of the 2016 election, one name that was being floated for secretary of state was Rudy Giuliani and Romney thought
that that would be a disaster. And so, he felt that there needed to be adults in the room. And you know, he wasn't a supporter of Trump, but if he
could get in the room and maybe help steer American foreign policy, that'd be a good thing.
But Romney also told me there was this other motivation and he admitted to it. He said, there was a part of me that just I wanted the job. I wanted
the power. I -- you know, he said, I wanted to be president and I tried twice and I couldn't get it. So, if you can't become president, secretary
of state is a good consolation prize.
And so, he sort of acknowledges that, you know, at various points in his career, that desire for the top job has made him do things he wouldn't
otherwise do. The book contains the behind-the-scenes story of his negotiations with Trump over that job. And I think what's interesting is
that the breaking point and the reason that Romney didn't get it was that ultimately Trump demanded that he retract everything that he had said about
Trump during the 2016 election. And Romney said, you know, I just can't do that. I think I would look ridiculous, and I'm not going to walk back
everything I said, and that was the deal breaker.
SREENIVASAN: You know, there's a section in there that is a quote from Mitch McConnell to Mitt Romney telling him, hey, you can say the things
that we're all thinking that, but we can't, right? That, we agree with you, but we just can't say it. And even now, as we're in the -- we've been
watching a selection for House leadership, we see an enormous amount of control that Former President Trump exerts from the sidelines.
COPPINS: That's right. One of the things that bothered Romney the most about his time in the Senate during the Trump years was he would often have
these Republican colleagues sidle up to him. He actually took account. He said this happened at least 12 times. But Republican colleagues would sidle
up to him and say, hey, I wish I could say the things that you're saying. I wish I had the constituents you did. I wish I was in the same political
position as you, but I just can't.
And Romney became so annoyed with this that he developed a go-to answer where he would say, well, there are worse things than losing an election.
Believe me, take it from me, right?
I think what we're seeing in the house now is an example of that, that even as Donald Trump is out of power, he hasn't been president for years, he
still is the leader of the party. He still commands the loyalty of the base. And because of that so many members of Congress who really know
better, I think, are afraid to cross him and afraid to do anything that would, you know, earn an angry press release from the Trump campaign. And
Trump's continued influence in the party is one of the reasons that Romney just feels that there's no place for people like him anymore.
SREENIVASAN: You know, where do you think he gets that streak from? I mean, you had a chance to talk to members of his family and you tell the
reader a little bit about his dad. I mean, what does it take to stand up and say that, I'm going to be basically the only Republican that will stand
in for impeachment of the existing president, a member of my own party?
COPPINS: I think you can't understand how, you know, Mitt Romney's psychology without understanding his father. His dad was the governor of
Michigan in the 1960s, and was seen as a leading presidential contender for the Republican nomination. And he planted himself firmly in the liberal
wing of the party at a time when Barry Goldwater and the conservatives were sort of taking over the party.
And rather than join the right-wing or, you know, at least indulge some of their, you know, excesses, he pushed back against them. He stood up against
them. He marched with civil rights leaders. He refused to condemn, you know, black protesters amid race riots that were very unpopular with white
In fact, at the Republican Convention in San Francisco in 1964, George Romney refused to endorse Barry Goldwater, the party's nominee, and offered
this sort of thundering indictment of the extremist forces that he believed were then taking over the party. Mitt Romney was at that convention as a
young man, he was a teenager, and he saw the entire convention standing to applaud Barry Goldwater while his dad sat quietly and refused to clap. And
he was moved by that courage.
And, you know, at various points in Mitt Romney's life, he has, I think, been haunted by that moment because he felt like he wasn't following his
dad's example, and it's been in these last few years that I think he's been really trying to live up to his father's legacy, and I think that's a big
part of what's motivated him.
SREENIVASAN: You know, you dive pretty deeply into his earlier life before politics, and you point out how influential kind of, I guess, maybe two
different strands that I see helping motivate a lot of his thinking. One is kind of the problem solver business consultant that he was a bank capital
and he made a ton of money doing that.
And then, also, it seems like the other recurrent theme is his faith and, you know, sort of the guidance that it has. And I wondered, are they kind
of at tension with each other? Are they complimentary to one another?
COPPINS: I think that's one of the central tensions of Mitt Romney's life is that he has this inherent pragmatism. He -- you know, as the management
consultant, he wants to look at the data, crunch the numbers, figure out what the solution is based on that data. And then, there's this other side
of him that the central part of his identity in life is his faith, which is not based on data. It's based on, you know, conviction and belief.
And I think at various points in his life, he has been, you know, leaned more toward the management consultant side of his personality, right? I
think that it's often how he talks himself into taking positions that he doesn't totally agree with, right? It's how he convinces himself to skirt
those ethical lines.
But at the same time, he has this kind of nagging conscience throughout. And this was one of the things that was -- became clarified for me late in
the process of working on this book. I had been trying to square those two sides of him and trying to understand that. And you know, there were some
moments in his campaign -- his presidential campaigns and his career where I would just say, how did you talk yourself into doing this when you knew
it was wrong, right? Or at least you had to have sensed it was wrong? And you know, he said, like, what you have to understand is if you don't have -
- if you don't care about questions of right and wrong, you don't have to rationalize anything, right? Because you just do what is necessary to win.
He said, I was always concerned with these questions of right and wrong. I didn't want to see myself as just sort of sociopathically pursuing power.
And so, he was constantly involved in these, you know, self-justifications and trying to square -- having to do something to win an election with
knowing that it might not be totally right. And his journals are filled with examples of him sort of writing through that tension.
And, you know, I think what makes Romney interesting as a subject is, frankly, that this is true of almost everyone in politics. All -- everyone
is constantly living in that tension between their principles and their ambition. And what makes Romney unique really isn't that he have -- you
know, gave into to the ambition at times because all of them have, is that he now sees that clearly and is willing to reckon with it. And I think that
that's part of what made writing the book so interesting, you know, seeing this sitting elected official in real-time, grappling with, you know, his
conscience. You don't get to see that very often.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I wonder, you open the book with the January 6th insurrection and a call that Mitt Romney gets from Angus King and he is
essentially relaying the warning to Mitch McConnell, saying, hey, there's a lot of crazy Intel chatter. We really need to take this seriously. And I
wonder during that day, or maybe now after, does Mitt Romney feel any sense of his own personal responsibility of how and why the party got to where it
COPPINS: Yes. When he looks back on his two presidential campaigns, what he sees is a story where he thought he could indulge the kind of right-wing
elements of the GOP without succumbing to them, right? And it was this constant tightrope walk where he would, you know, speak at these tea party
rallies and try to talk about deficit reduction, but the crowd didn't want to hear about deficit reduction, they wanted to hear him, you know, throw
red meat at the audience. They wanted to hear him talk about guns and killing terrorists and the evils of abortion. And he often felt that pull
to give them what they wanted. And then he would try to pull back a little bit.
And it was this constant dance that frankly, a lot of mainstream Republican leaders like him were doing over the last 10 years. What he didn't realize,
and I think now realizes, is that that flirtation with the more extreme portion of his party had consequences, the Republicans like Mitt Romney
thought that they could sort of harness the energy of the right-wing without letting them take over the party and it.
And over the last eight years, what has become clear is that that's not really possible, that eventually those forces will complete their conquest
of the party and then, you're sort of left with the choice of either doing what they say or distancing yourself from them and breaking from them. And
Romney has now chosen that latter option. But I think he sees that there clearly were consequences for sort of playing footsie with the extremist
forces in the GOP.
SREENIVASAN: The book is called "Romney: A Reckoning," author McKay Coppins, thanks so much for joining us.
COPPINS: Thanks for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And on the other side of the aisle, Former Senator Hillary Clinton, who was proud of her ability to hold different political views,
but still work with senators of the opposing party to get important legislation passed.
We spoke about today's disruptive politics in part of part one of our conversation. Tonight, we want to bring you up to date with Hillary Rodham
Clinton as she starts teaching the next generation of diplomats about effective leadership and global crises. Very timely indeed. And she
explains why today's epidemic of loneliness can also damage democracy.
And on a note, this conversation took place at Georgetown University in Washington, D C. before October 7th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You're back at university -- Columbia University, teaching in the Situation Room.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: Right.
AMANPOUR: How are you communicating all of this to, let's say, the Gen Z, who are your students?
CLINTON: You know, I'm having an incredible time because the students, it's a very large class. 375 students, about a quarter are undergraduates,
the others are graduate students in the School of International and Public Affairs where I'm teaching, but they're also from the journalism school,
and the law school, and the engineering school. And it's a wonderful multi- international student body.
So, I'm co-teaching with the dean of SIPA, who is a political science of -- scientist of great note who has written about how leaders make decisions,
Keren Yarhi-Milo. And so, her part of the class is talking about the theories, you know, how do we figure out, usually has to be in retrospect,
how somebody makes a decision, what influences them, what are their biases, what are their advisers telling them, you know, how confident or lack of
confidence is affecting them?
And I am, you know, reading the literature and having a great time doing that, since I didn't do it before, but I am finding out, you know, in
retrospect. So, I'm doing that, but I'm also talking about real world examples.
CLINTON: So, you know, when you talk about face-to-face diplomacy, or you talk about intervening militarily or even on a humanitarian basis, what
goes into making those decisions and why are some leaders, you know, more successful in making difficult decisions and others are not? And it's a
really fascinating set of, you know, challenges that we're posing to the students.
And then at the end, we take 20 minutes and answer questions. And the students, because they come from all over the world, ask about the world.
So, it's real-world experience, but trying to take a broad view about how decision making actually works.
AMANPOUR: America, under your stewardship, was notably the first country to appoint ambassador for Global Women's Affairs, Melanne Verveer. A few
years later, the Swedish foreign minister talked about a feminist foreign policy. A decade later, some 16 governments have adopted that. And they
show, whether it's what we're talking about, conflict, peace health, GDP, that there are material improvements in all of those when women are equally
represented. Do you feel that what you've done has been a success, there's also backlash? Iran, Afghanistan, the United States rolling back women's
CLINTON: I feel like we've made progress, but there has been a backlash and much of the progress for women, not just in peace and security, but in
health and education and economic opportunity was set back during COVID. So, we are playing a bit of catch up.
But it is significant that a number of countries have made it clear that women have to be part of any foreign policy calculation and decision. And
why is that important? Well, it's important because we now have a lot of data, and we're here at Georgetown, and the Institute of Women Peace and
Security run by the first ambassador for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, has done an extraordinary job in collecting and collating all of
the data about how women at a peace table leads to a more durable peace. How women's voices in deciding about refugee flows and migration issues and
healthcare challenges is essential if we're going to make sensible policies.
None of this should be new to people, but as we both know, women are still often an afterthought in many settings, not just governmental, not just
with respect to foreign policy or security, but in the private sector and elsewhere.
And so, this backlash is not only very unfortunate and sets women back, but it loses sight of the larger goal. You know, we want to get to a point
where women are just, as a matter of fact, part of decision-making in every aspect of society. We don't have to make a special effort. We don't have to
have a special ambassador. We don't have to have a special foreign policy. It's so commonplace that you wouldn't think about making decisions about
including women's voices, putting women at the table.
You know, there's that great line from Shirley Chisholm, who said, you know, a woman deserves a seat at every table. And if there's not a seat,
bring a folding chair. So, I'm kind of like the -- you know, the advocate for folding chairs, get women at the table because we also know diverse
groups make better decisions.
CLINTON: And does it get some people out of their comfort zone? Yes, it does. But that's because you're hearing things and learning things that may
be new to you. And you've got to be able to take that on board.
AMANPOUR: I interviewed a few weeks ago at the U.N the German foreign minister, a woman, Annalena Baerbock. And she evolved your famous statement
that women's rights are human rights. And she said, women's rights are hard policy. Women's rights are security policy. So, there is an evolution from
the niche that it was.
CLINTON: Yes, there is.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Final question, because it revolves back to democracy and you tackled it in an interesting way writing a piece, an article on
AMANPOUR: And it is a huge problem. I mean, you know, figures suggest that, you know, some 70 percent of people meeting friends and having close
friends is declined by about that much in recent years. But how does it affect democracy?
CLINTON: Oh, it affects democracy absolutely directly. You know, I took a lot of my inspiration from Robert Putnam, the author of "Bowling Alone."
But the thing about Robert Putnam's work, and I happen to have been on a panel with him last week at the Clinton Presidential Center, he found early
on that the real secret ingredient for making democracies and societies work was social capital.
You could have two communities, same level of education, same level of income. One is thriving, the other is not. And it's these networks of
people. It's how people relate to each other. It's whether people trust each other. And democracy absolutely relies on that.
And because I have followed his work for so long, and even before him, Alexis de Tocqueville, who talked about how unique Americans were because
we had what he called habits of the heart. Where, you know, people were in association with each other, they were raising a barn one day, or they were
doing a, you know, pie supper to raise money for somebody's medical care, whatever it might have been.
And so, when you look at what's happening in America today, the decrease in lifespan, which is dramatically dropping, is primarily what some have
called deaths by despair.
CLINTON: People who are lonely, who are disconnected, but they're on their screens, and they're watching their televisions, and too often they're
getting a steady diet of negative information. And we know from looking at the weaponization of loneliness, which was the title of my article, that
some people have played very effectively on that.
Steve Bannon understood early on that young men who were gamers could be weaponized. Donald Trump understood that if you're confused about your
life, you're not sure what direction to go, I'm going to give you people to hate, that'll give you an organizing principle.
Loneliness actually, according to our surgeon general, lowers your lifespan. It makes you sicker. Robert Putnam had this amazing statistic.
Literally, you will live a year longer if you join one club, if you're actually in a setting with other people, and most importantly, not all like
And that goes to our politics. You know, it is hard to talk to people who have such diametrically opposed politics, but one of the things we're doing
at the Institute of Global Politics at Columbia is to model that. We are having across the aisle conversations, bringing Republicans and Democrats.
We're trying to talk about issues that are not comfortable for students. And saying, look, no issue is, you know, off limits. We're going to talk.
Because if we don't break down both the barriers we have constructed internally and those that politicians have kind of created for us, we can't
break through this. So, it's really an insight that I came to with Putnam and our surgeon general and others to say, why is our population so
vulnerable right now? Well, in part, because people are alone. And we know that all that screen time increases anxiety, depression, eating disorders,
particularly among young women. Youth suicide has increased dramatically.
So, we are living at a time when we more than ever need to reach out and -- for people to be part of something bigger than themselves, and our politics
is militantly against that. Stick to your tribe. Don't let people in who don't agree with you. Make it difficult for others rather than, hey, come
on. We're all in this together. Nobody gets out of this life alive. Let's figure out what we can do that'll make it better for you, for me, and for
AMANPOUR: Hillary Clinton, thank you very much.
CLINTON: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And how that resonates today. And finally, tonight, no one is safe in Gaza. This is Al Jazeera's bureau chief there, after learning that
his wife and two children were killed on Wednesday. Al Jazeera says they died as a result of an Israeli airstrike, and Israel says it was targeting
terrorist infrastructure in the area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAEL AL-DAHDOUH, AL JAZEERA GAZA BUREAU CHIEF (through translator): You wanted to be a journalist. They take revenge on us with our children? They
take revenge on us with our children? It's OK. To God we belong and to him we return.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Wael Al-Dahdouh kneeling next to his 15-year-old son. 12 members of his family lost their lives. They were all buried in a mass grave today.
But despite everything he's been through, Wael felt it important to be back on the air today. He says, despite the pain, it's his duty. Advocacy groups
condemn the killings and call for the protection of all members of the press in Gaza. The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 24 of our
colleagues have been killed there since October 7th.
That's it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.