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Interview With Scowcroft Middle East Security Institute Non-Resident Senior Fellow And Former DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary For Counterterrorism Policy Tom Warrick; Interview With Fatah Central Committee Official Sabri Saidam; Interview With Moderna Co-Founder And Chairman And Flagship Pioneering Founder And CEO Noubar Afeyan; Interview With Former Representative And "Renegade" Author Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 01, 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.
Hundreds of Palestinians and dual nationals leave Gaza as the Rafah Crossing opens slightly. And more dead and wounded after the Jabalia
refugee camp is rocked by a second blast. I speak to former State Department official Tom Warrick about the lessons of post-war Iraq.
Plus, Azerbaijan took over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh last month. Why the chairman of the drug company, Moderna, is sounding the alarm.
Also, ahead, democracy will be on the ballot in 2024, says Former Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who tells Michel Martin about being one of only
two Republicans on the January 6th Committee.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
And we begin in Rafah, Egypt, where a trickle of civilians is being allowed to leave Gaza for the first time since the war began. At least 110 foreign
passport holders have left so far, according to Palestinian officials. 81 seriously injured Palestinians are also being ferried across by ambulance
for treatment in Egypt.
This crucial step comes as the result of a deal mediated by Qatar, involving Israel, Hamas, the U.S., and Egypt. But inside Gaza, for the
second day in a row, a massive blast has hit the Jabalia refugee camp, causing catastrophic damage. Which raises the question of just how much
care is being taken to avoid civilian deaths.
The IDF has not yet commented on today's blast, but after yesterday's mass casualty airstrikes caused global outrage, Israel is defending the attack,
saying that it killed a major Hamas commander, who was responsible 7th attack on Israel which left 1,400 people dead and hundreds who were taken
Correspondent Salma Abdelaziz has this report. And a warning, some of the images, of course, are very disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Dust and debris fill the air after an Israeli airstrike. Ambulance, ambulance, calls the man
carrying the child. These are the moments after the Israeli military's attack on the Jabalia camp in Gaza.
Everyone is disoriented and terrified. And this is the result. Several city blocks leveled in an instant. The scene is apocalyptic. Survivors
desperately dig for their loved ones with bare hands. Israel says it was targeting a Hamas commander hiding in this densely populated residential
area. An IDF spokesperson called the death of innocent civilians a tragedy of war.
That tragedy tearing apart this community. No one yet knows how many still lie under the ruins. Shortly after the bombs fell, comms in the enclave
were mostly severed. But one Palestinian cameraman was among those able to post on social media. The anguish is heart wrenching. The victims small and
afraid. Moms and dads will bury their children.
All three of my children are dead, this father screams, all three.
Entire families are wiped out. This man holds up the name of 15 relatives killed in the airstrike. My whole family, innocent people are dead, he
says. Total destruction. Our whole building is gone. 20 stories. This is a massacre.
At a nearby hospital, the carnage is on display. The bodies keep piling up.
With her dead children at her feet, this mother prays for strength. Many in this forsaken enclave feel they have no one but God left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was correspondent Salma Abdelaziz reporting there. And the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah says 8,700 Palestinians have been killed
since October 7th.
An IDF commander says the Israeli military is at the gates of Gaza City. American officials are publicly warning Israel to learn from the U.S.
experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and even Libya. Bottom line, you need a plan for war and for the post-war.
In 2002, Thomas Warrick headed up post-war Iraq planning for the U.S. State Department. Only those plans were shelved with disastrous results. And he's
joining me now from Washington, D.C. Thomas Warrick, welcome to the program.
So, you have said that you absolutely need to have a post-war plan and it needs to be actually discussed right now. Do you think that -- well let me
tell you, tell me from what perspective you speak?
THOMAS WARRICK, NON-RESIDENT SENIOR FELLOW, SCOWCROFT MIDDLE EAST SECURITY INSTITUTE: So, in the post-war plans for Iraq that we put together at the
State Department, a lot of work went into a period of more than a year to try to figure out what problems we would have and how we would overcome
those. Unfortunately, when U.S. troops went in, they went in with a different plan and one that was nowhere near adequate for what was
The challenge now is that Israel, the United States, western allies like the United Kingdom, Germany. Middle East, countries like the United Arab
Emirates, Saudi Arabia and others all need to be thinking about exactly who will do what. And I can almost assure you that the planning is way behind
where it needs to be. It's going to take an enormous effort to put together what's required to help try to build towards a better future for Israelis,
for Palestinians and for the entire Middle East.
AMANPOUR: I just want to read something from Nahum Barnea of "Leading Daily" there. He said today in his paper, the first phase of the war
required getting over the shock from the catastrophe and firing on Gaza from the air, sea and land. The ground action was the second phase,
arranging for who will control Gaza is supposed to be the third stage. As far as I know, he says, the government does not have a coherent plan on
this issue, and it's no way to explain how the second phase leads to the third.
So, what's your response to that? And what are the dangers from your own personal experience?
WARRICK: Well, so it sounds like the Israelis are going through exactly the same process that the United States did in 2002, 2003. There are military
plans. Those have been developed by military planners, whose careers are devoted to this kind of thing. But prior to the terrorist attack on October
7, no one thought somebody else was going to have to plan for the future of Gaza.
What we're seeing now is this is now extremely urgent. And if the sacrifices and the destruction are to have anything good come out of them,
it's enormously important that governments devote the resources and plan for the time it's going to take to build something better.
This was a challenge the United States did not do well in Iraq or Afghanistan. The International Community didn't do well in Bosnia or
Kosovo. And so, every lesson we've learned tells us that the planning for post-war Gaza needs to be accelerated, moved into high gear. And there
really need to be very close detailed discussions among all of the governments in question.
AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to get to some of these details specifically for Gaza and, you know, to try to have some kind of peace and livable situation
after this. But I do want to press you on your experience, because I remember covering not just the Iraq War of 2003 but the post-war. The war
was pretty simple in military terms and didn't cause a huge amount of casualties on any side.
The post-war was shambolic. And we were there and we witnessed the rise of the insurgency, which led to ISIS. It was denied by, you know, the U.S.
administration, Donald Rumsfeld. We witnessed the looting, which was the first, you know, show of the collapse of civil order. Well, what was your
plan? You had been hatching it and writing it into the Pentagon. Why was that not used?
WARRICK: Well, there was an interagency dispute over who was going to run Iraq after the war. And this came to dominate discussions so that all of
the practical steps got put off until later. Again, something that we're seeing happening today has its parallels to what happened in 2002, 2003.
There's a lot of discussion going on about the military campaign. There are discussions about the diplomatic efforts, efforts to free the hostages.
There are discussions about humanitarian assistance. And then, as we saw back in 2002, the issue of post-war planning gets three minutes at the end
of an hour and a half meeting. That simply is not what is going to work and these efforts need to be amplified. You actually need to have detailed
The United States government, for example, should commit to trying to work closely, not just with Israelis, but obviously with Israelis. As well,
where have to be detailed discussions. Some force is going to have to replace the Israeli Defense Forces to prevent strategic looting in Gaza
after the shooting stops. This is what happened in Sarajevo, as you reported at the time. And it happened in Baghdad, as you also reported at
So, everyone knows this is a real risk. Somebody has to figure out who will be responsible for providing that kind of security. The list goes on. There
are literally dozens of issues that need to be the subject of detailed plans where everyone says, we all agree that your country will be in
charge. Your authority will be set up. We will provide resources. We will provide highly trained personnel. All of this needs to be put in place now
because when the shooting stops, it's too late to try to put something like that together and have it work.
AMANPOUR: So, we've heard more and more coming out from the U.S. Secretary of state is quoted as saying, you know, a revitalized Palestinian
Authority. In other words, Mahmoud Abbas' organization, which is based in the West Bank, the occupied West Bank should, you know, be able to be the
authority as it was before, before Hamas in Gaza.
Do you think that's credible at the moment given how unpopular he is, how elderly he is, how much corruption there is, how he's not even allowed, you
know, an election for the last, who knows how many years? And is it even possible to revitalize the current P.A.?
WARRICK: Well, certainly not by wishing it to be so. There would need to be some very practical plans put together for how to, in effect, fix the
problems of the current Palestinian Authority, how to address its corruption challenges and how to address a Gazan population, many of whom
rejected the Palestinian Authority years ago in the one and only time Gaza has held elections.
So, what we're seeing, I think, is people are at the stage right now that they are hoping for solutions and that needs to be followed up by very
substantive, very detailed planning, down to who will precisely take over, for instance, making the water and electricity turned back on. Israeli
officials know you can't simply flip a switch in Gaza. It doesn't work that way.
But all of these things that the United States was challenged by in Iraq are all going to come back in Gaza in some slightly different way. And it's
absolutely vital that the detailed planning of how to address these challenges needs to be accelerated. It has just started. And the kinds of
discussions we've seen from the secretary are good for the initial round. It's the hard work that needs to come very quickly, that is the real
AMANPOUR: What do you think would be the effect of essentially the International Community and sort of even, you know, with Israeli facilities
of the P.A. going to Gaza? Would that -- would it be acceptable, do you think?
WARRICK: Well, OK, let's talk about that. The practical challenge of putting together an international authority, you have to find somebody to
lead it. You have to find budget officers who are going to figure out where the offices are going to be. How many vehicles do you need? How do you
handle communications when the infrastructure in Gaza has been, in many ways, disrupted or destroyed? All of these practical considerations
actually take time to put into place. I'm sure that no government in the world budgeted for such an authority, and yet it will clearly cost millions
and millions of dollars. And the time to put this together is extremely brief.
Undoubtedly, there will be fighting going on in some parts of Gaza when other parts of Gaza need a civilian authority. And even if the military
campaign takes months, having these civilian governance and security issues worked out really does need to happen within a very short number of weeks.
So, this is difficult, but it is not impossible. And it really will take, though, some extraordinary efforts in order to be able to put this together
in time for it to be there when it's needed.
AMANPOUR: So, we all know from our history books that there was a Marshall Plan. You know, the of Europe and Japan, the people who defied the Nazis
and the Japanese axis rebuilt those societies in order to make them strong and prosperous and democratic and safe and secure. I give this whole lead
up because the current prime minister and his government is portraying this battle in World War II terms. You know, a lot of lot of rhetoric about
World War II.
But certain officials -- there are reports of a former head of the Department of Palestinian Affairs in Israel's military intelligence says,
it's not like Berlin '45 when you stuck a flag over the Reichstag and that was that. You know, so all of this rhetoric for the war, but it doesn't
really compute, does it, with what's necessary?
WARRICK: So, the United States started planning for post-war Germany in early 1943 and for Japan, a little bit later that year. That took two
years. We don't have two years. But I do have to say that the success of Germany and Japan today, which as you say, are democratic, prosperous, at
peace, are secure, and are integrated into their respective regional democratic alliances really is an example of what could come out of this.
But I don't want to underestimate how hard this is going to be. I certainly think that it will be important that the United States and other countries
commit the resources, the people, and the attention. The thing we learned from Iraq is that if you try to do post-war reconstruction fast and on the
cheap, that's how you get stuck in forever wars. That's how you end up never having a secure peace.
And the sacrifices of Israelis in the terrorist attacks on October 7th and the suffering that we saw in your video that introduced this segment really
ought to motivate us to commit the resources, the time, the people, to make this come out better for Israelis, Palestinians, and the entire Middle
AMANPOUR: You know, this begs the question, doesn't it, does the actual current Israeli government, which is essentially -- I mean, let's face it,
it's a government in which settlers and settler leaders are essentially -- I mean, they control the government. They keep the prime minister in power.
So, it begs the question of whether there actually is any will to have what you're talking about, a free Palestinian State that lives securely and
rebuild and properly with its dignity and its rights alongside Israel.
WARRICK: Certainly, all the Israelis that I've spoken to have all indicated there will be a political reckoning. And while people say in the past
Israel has moved to the right after terrorist attacks, this is clearly something of an entirely different magnitude.
I think what we're likely to see is a number of efforts to try to rethink this. But right now, in the heat of the moment, Israelis are not prepared
to even think of the possibility of a Marshall Plan. But frankly, if you had asked Britons and Americans in 1942, would you think that it would be
in your national interest to commit the kinds of resources that you ended up spending to make Germany into a democratic and peaceful country? Most
people would have thought that to be completely impossible. And yet, that's what everyone decided we should do.
I won't predict the path that Israelis will choose to take, but I do have confidence that with help from the United States, Britain, European and
Middle Eastern countries, this is a historic opportunity to recognize that a reset is in order. I just won't predict when and how that will actually
AMANPOUR: OK. Thomas Warrick, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us. Really interesting and important perspective.
Violence, as we've said, is spilling out onto the occupied West Bank with more than a hundred Palestinians killed since October 7th there. ?U.S.
officials have described growing settler violence as totally unacceptable and are calling for accountability.
The Palestinian Authority runs the West Bank, as we said, but gets weaker by the day. The main Fatah Party famously lost the last elections that
brought Hamas to power in Gaza. Now, Sabri Saidam is a senior official in that party, and he's joining me now from Ramallah.
Mr. Saidam, welcome to the program. Can I just ask you to start by telling me the state of security or insecurity and whether your authority has the
ability to tamp down the violence that you're experiencing?
SABRI SAIDAM, OFFICIAL, FATAH CENTRAL COMMITTEE: Well, Christiane, good to be with you. Surely the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people at
large don't feel secure in any way. The continuation of hostilities in Gaza and the suppression that the Palestinian people are feeling now is
extremely immense and the priority should be with the International Community that this madness is stopped and that a new reality is brought
Without the interference of the International Community without some pressure being exerted on Israel to stop hostilities, this madness will
continue to be. I can't believe that humanity can go this low by witnessing such atrocities in the Gaza Strip being committed without any commitment
towards the revitalizing steps that can yield positive results and can end this madness and bring about a different reality.
As you know, scores and scores of Palestinians are being killed. Cutting electricity, water and basic supplies, bombing schools and universities and
hospitals. I don't know as to how this will ever bring peace to the region or to Israel. What needs to be done is a concerted effort to see a
different reality on the ground.
AMANPOUR: You yourself have said that you have lost significant members of your own, I mean, I think it's something like 44 members of your own
family, you've said. I mean, cousins, distant relatives, who are they?
SAIDAM: Yes. These are relatives of mine. The 44 members of family include one, who's the highest scorer in the National High School, second of whom
is a very fine doctor who is working at the Shifa Hospital. Both are highly qualified individuals that deserve to live and deserve to build a state
that's coming into being. Instead, you know, they were targeted and there's scores and scores of Palestinians. So, I feel not only my immediate family,
it is the extended family of Palestine that's being targeted.
And if anything, every Palestinian feels that this is nothing but ethnic cleansing that's going to bring about a different reality on the ground.
Instead of resolving the conflict, it's just entrenching more and more hatred. And this is something that humanity should not ever entertain. What
needs to be entertained is a different future for all Palestinians. And to stop the madness whereby, you know, homes are being bombed on the heads and
limbs of children and women and the elderly.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Saidam, you know, you are a Fatah member. I wonder whether you acknowledge, you know, basically the failures, not just losing the
election, which was catastrophic in 2006 and has brought everybody to where we are right now, with Hamas in power, but your own authority has not
called for elections since then. And there just seems to be a general sense of inability to cope.
I wonder whether you take any -- whether you look introspectively, especially for the future, and wonder, oh, my gosh, if we're going to have
to take over Gaza, we're going to have to up our game.
SAIDAM: Let's refresh your mind, if you don't mind. Humanity considers that the 1948 where -- which we call a Nakba, was the earthquake. What we saw
later is the ripple effect. We saw the six-day war, we saw the Lebanon War. Before that, we saw the six -- the 1973 war. And then, we saw a successive
number of wars starting 2008.
To be totally honest and tell you that had humanity resolved the issue of the conflict decades ago, things would have been much better. We wouldn't
have been here. But the failure of the International Community to recognize U.N. resolutions, vis a vis, the Arab Israeli conflict, resolve them, has
taken us places. And one of the places is today where we stand.
May I also refresh your memory that 2021 is when the Palestinian Authority decided to hold general elections and the International Community,
inclusive of America, promised to pressure the Israeli authorities so that elections are held in the occupied East Jerusalem, but Israel wouldn't give
SAIDAM: Israel was adamant not to allow elections to take place. And the failure of the process has yielded a very negative result and negative
implications by which, you know, Palestinian elections were not held.
And now, people come back and question legitimacy. Well, the legitimacy of Palestine was dependent on a number of factors. One was the success of the
peace process that was started in 1993, that was supposed to be guaranteed by America, but instead, the guarantor just decided to turn his back away,
allowing Israel to do what's --
AMANPOUR: Yes. But, Mr. Saidam --
SAIDAM: Israel wanted out of the peace process a process whereby it delivers --
AMANPOUR: Yes, yes. I'm sorry to interrupt you. Obviously, this current government has not wanted, you know, the two-state solution, we know that.
But, but your previous chairman, Yasser Arafat, also rejected the best peace process and peace deals that were ever put on the table. And
unfortunately, you know, that's a fact. And I wonder whether -- where you think this could go now, without revisiting history.
You just heard from our previous guest, that there has to be some entity that's legitimate, Palestinian entity, that can do step into the breach
when this war is over, if you still believe in the possibility of peace in a two-state solution.
SAIDAM: Well, as you know, in answer to your question, things are very complicated now. The world community is now pressing for a different
reality. And I certainly hope that this time the world community is serious about forging a new relationship and breaking new grounds with a durable, a
reliable, a sustainable peace effort that lead towards the establishment of a Palestinian State.
Just to clarify one thing, yes, there's been some, peace steps, I should say, towards, you know, creating a different reality. But Israel was never
serious. Any map that was presented to Chairman Arafat or later to President Abu Mazen were pieces that are --
SAIDAM: -- you know, not at all credible. We have seen, you know, Palestinian territory being etched away, which creates really difficult
momentum for the Palestinians and also a lack of credibility on the part of the world that it is serious. There's been 1,000 U.N. resolutions that have
not been implemented by Israel, which actually sheds a lot of doubt about the options of the world now wanting to be serious about peace process.
If you're serious, do it. Ceasefire is important. It's number one priority. Humanitarian aid, the reconstruction of Gaza, the stopping the displacement
of Palestinians to create a different reality on the ground and engage in a very serious peace process this time adamant not to see another war and
further killing and bloodshed.
AMANPOUR: Sabri Saidam, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
Now, for three decades, the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh battled for autonomy, traumatized by genocide a century ago. But in September, the
world focused on the war in Ukraine, barely noticed as Azerbaijan took over in just 24 hours. Virtually the entire Armenian population has fled,
fearing for their lives, leaving everything behind.
In January, the separatist state will simply cease to exist. Now, it appears Armenia is on the verge of a peace deal with Azerbaijan, which
could bring an end to these years of hostilities.
The Moderna co-founder, Noubar Afeyan's, grandparents survived the genocide, and he's working to make sure something like that never happens
again. And he's joining me now from Boston. Mr. Afeyan, welcome to the program.
I wonder if we could just start by talking about the fact that, you know, under the -- nobody was looking and this happened in Nagorno-Karabakh in 24
hours. Do you have any explanation about how, you know, the takeover and now the extinction of Nagorno-Karabakh is on the cards?
NOUBAR AFEYAN, CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, MODERNA: Christiane, thanks for having me. In fact, the beginnings of this process really go back to 2020.
So, after something like 26 years of essentially a relative peace, with negotiations not succeeding to achieve a lasting peace.
In 2020, fall of 2020, Azerbaijan attacked, with the help of Turkey, that same region and reclaimed five portions of the territory that had been
previously under the control of the indigenous Armenians. And at that time, through brokering by Russia, on November 9th, a peace agreement was agreed
to, which then provided for so-called peacekeepers to be on the ground.
Two years later, we saw an effort by the Azeri forces to now impose a blockade. And about nine months ago a blockade was imposed on that region,
on the remaining region, which essentially prevented food or medicines or fuel to enter that region with very frequent cuts in electricity and gas
supplies. That after nine months led to people being in a very, very, panicked situation.
And at the end of that, in September of this year, they attacked militarily. Killed about 500 people on the ground. And that then led to
complete capitulation by the local population. And all but three or four of them, I believe, fled within a three-day period.
AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you whether there was anybody left. And I wonder if you would just tell us, because you're obviously a massively
successful American entrepreneur, CEO, businessman, and have done so much, you know, certainly, as we all know, in the COVID environment. What is your
connection and your personal reasons for, you know, trying to sound the alarm, and as we said, to make sure this never happens again?
AFEYAN: Christiane, indeed, I just listened to two past segments and I'm an Armenian who was displaced generationally. First to Bulgaria after World
War I. Then my (INAUDIBLE), my father. Then in Lebanon where I was born. And we fled a civil war. The -- some of the region is now in flames as it
was when I was a teenager when we escaped. And I came to North America to be able to contribute to the world, but never really forgetting what took
Over the last 25 years, together with partners, I've been deeply involved in economic and social development projects in Armenia, trying to help it
recover from 70 years under Soviet rule. And part of that has also taken me down the path of doing humanitarian projects. Not in Armenia only, but all
over the world, by starting a humanitarian initiative and prize called the Aurora Prize.
That exposed me, over the last decade almost, to these types of issues. And frankly, I was quite pleased that a century after my grandfather and his
family were persecuted by Ottoman Turks, I was in a position not only to help other people fleeing oppression and genocide around the world through
our projects but also to feel comfortable that this would never happen to Armenians again.
And in fact, when it began to happen three years ago, under the cover of the pandemic, which was the last time this began. So, once the pandemic and
now the Ukraine Russia war have been the cover over which this type of crimes have been committed it is really shocking because, ultimately, we're
all trying to seek lasting peace. But what you observe, what I observe, is that when the world stands by and observes injustice and doesn't do
anything, then it's not only difficult to achieve justice, but it's also difficult to achieve peace
AMANPOUR: Indeed. Now, look, I want to focus on one person who you are also involved with, as you mentioned in your, philanthropy. Ruben Vardanyan was
arrested. He was a very prominent businessman. He's previously held Russian citizenship, and he did actually make his fortune during Putin's rise.
Now, you worked with him along with celebrities like George Clooney and the Leymah Gbowee, on your Aurora Initiative. He's been indicted by Azerbaijan
on multiple charges, financing terrorism, they say, legal arm groups, et cetera. What is your reaction to the arrest and the charges? Have you any
contact with Ruben? Do you think you'll be freed? What is his situation?
AFEYAN: Christiane, thanks for the question. It is indeed an extremely personal and painful situation. I have worked with Ruben Vardanyan for 23
years across dozens of humanitarian and philanthropic projects in Armenia, which we've done together very closely. And I've observed his character,
his contributions, not only in Armenia, but throughout the world.
Ruben, out of utter desperation for the fate of his people, moved to Qarabag, what we call Artsakh, last fall to help the people who are
remaining there regain their dignity and try to offer some resistance to the pressure they were under. And for doing that over a three-month period
as the state minister, which he was between November and February of 2023, he essentially stayed there after he ceased being state minister and was
doing humanitarian projects on the ground, helping people cope with the circumstances.
When this war happened, this sudden war happened over a day and people escaped, Ruben in turn, as had been publicly stated by the Azeri
government, that people would essentially be free to go, Ruben, like others, sought to leave to go back to Armenia. And in fact, he was arrested
and charged with all sorts of things that have no factual basis, nor has any evidence been proposed or offered.
And in fact, Christiane, I think that Ruben represents, in fact, a symbol of all Armenians all around the world. Ruben is based on his both business
success and giving back. I would reckon the most renowned Armenian citizen on the planet. And for them to be able to arrest him make a show of that
activity, and then charge him, is something that is meant to create psychological torture to really 10 million Armenians around the world who
have already gone through this once.
This is the second time. When we talk about 120,000 leaving their indigenous lands, that is ethnic cleansing by classical definition. And
it's not my definition, it's the definition of most international experts who have spoken up in the last month saying what's happening first with the
blockade, and now, the resulting endgame is ethnic cleansing.
So, the notion that at the end of that we would be subjected to Ruben together with seven other former administrators of that region, that
autonomous region, being arrested and threatened by shock (ph) court trials, et cetera, I really hope that international powers do not stand by.
Because all these types of things do is encourage more and more and more of these types of injustice with impunity. And I think we really have to speak
up against that.
AMANPOUR: Well, you are certainly speaking up. And as, you know, founder of Moderna, you've also got a lot of exciting new vaccines and therapies on
the books. And I'm afraid we're out of time, but that's for another discussion. Thank you so much indeed.
Next to the U.S., where division continues to plague the Republican Party. The Senate GOP is still split over tying aid for Ukraine with Israel
funding. Former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger knows that dysfunction all too well. His new memoir, "Renegade," explored how he
served on the January 6th House Select Committee as an outcast in his own party, and he joins Michel Martin now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, JOURNALIST: Thanks, Christiane. Adam Kinzinger, thank you so much for joining us.
FMR. REP. ADAM KINZINGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Great to be here. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: As we are speaking now, it's just been a couple of days since Representative Mike Johnson, a former colleague of yours, was elected
speaker of the house. He was one of the 147 House and Senate Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election.
A "New York Times" report said that he was the most important architect of the Electoral College objections, and he won the speakership unanimously.
And of course, that came after a lot of sort of Sturm and Drang in the caucus. But I just wondered, what was your reaction to that? What do you
think it means?
KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, it's a frightening moment, especially if you take the split screen of, I think basically that same day, Jenna Ellis is on
television reading out a confession in Georgia, you know, that came on the heels of two or three other people that have cut plea deals. And so, you
look at that going on, which is this kind of like revelation of truth compared to the barrier for entry to even be considered as a speaker
candidate for the GOP is you have to have objected, at least, to the election certification. And Mike Johnson goes a step further.
So, Jim Jordan, I would say, is kind of the quarterback of all the stuff that happened between the White House and Congress. But within Congress,
one of the very first to move to actually put Congress on the record was Mike Johnson. He even came up to me particularly at one time and said, will
you sign on to this Texas lawsuit? And I'm like, Mike, you must not know me very well. Of course, I'm not going to sign on to it.
And, so, you know, he dresses well, speaks well, but he's the same insurrectionist you would have seen in somebody like a Jim Jordan.
MARTIN: Do you know him at all?
KINZINGER: I don't know him well. I knew Jim Jordan fairly well. Mike, you know, he kind of ran in different social circles. We weren't great buddies,
but, you know, I definitely did interact with him. And like I said, he can put up a good kind of professional front, but behind that, particularly
behind the spiritual side of what he says he is, there's these lies of a stolen election, and I think he's smart enough to know it wasn't stolen,
and I think that's what confuses me even more than anything.
MARTIN: Well, you know, honestly, I think that's what confuses a lot of people in the public. I mean, we're constantly hearing the people who cover
the Congress, for example, say things like -- reporters who cover Congress saying they don't really believe that, but this is what they have to do to
survive politically. But then other people say that that's patronizing and wrong, that they absolutely believe it and that they're acting in good
faith. And it's just hard to kind of put all those thoughts together, which is true.
KINZINGER: I mean, look, I think if you would go back before the last election, the vast majority, I could probably count on one hand, the number
of congressmen and women in the GOP that probably thought the election was stolen. The rest would -- I would call them the 80 percenters, the ones who
just want to keep their head down and survive. Oh, this isn't my fight. I'll say what I need to say.\
Now, you have a lot more in this last election cycle because who went up to run? The people that actually believe the election was stolen. So, you have
more in Congress now. But I think if you put the vast majority of the Republican caucus on CIA truth serum and you ask them, you know, was the
election stolen? They'll tell you it wasn't. They know it. It's just, there's this mentality now of -- from their perspective, we have to fight
the Democrats and win at all costs. And that includes the defense of a frankly attempted coup. And I just think it's wrong.
MARTIN: So, let's talk about the book because your book, "Renegade," describes that, all sort of the lead up to that and how you saw it unfold.
You served on the January 6th Committee. You were one of only two Republicans who agreed to serve. You were heavily ostracized as a
consequence of that decision to serve. Not only that, you were the subject of threats. What is this book for? I mean, is it you really -- do you feel
you can persuade people at this point or is it you just want to set the record straight, or what's it for at this point?
KINZINGER: You know, and it was a good question because when the idea of writing a book was brought up to me and it -- you know, it's kind of like I
somebody had once told me they're like writing a book about yourself is an inherently arrogant feeling experience, because it's like, well, why would
anybody be interested in my story? But then I realized that my story tells this broader picture.
So, it -- you know, I can talk about the things I did wrong. I can talk about where I've seen the party go and how -- you know, yes, you could see
these indications of what it was sliding to, but they got bigger and bigger, and Donald Trump accelerated that. And I think that's important for
a couple reasons.
Number one, I think everybody needs to understand, particularly in a democracy where you only have two parties for the most part, that one is
very sick. And how did it become sick? Because it's an understanding the virus and the disease that you can come with the solution. The other thing
is, it's not really written as this, but it's something important to say, is a warning to my friends in the Democratic Party, which is, look for
these kinds of signs. Because I never thought anything like this could happen to the Republican Party. And most Democrats don't think it could
happen to the Democratic Party, but it can.
And so, watch for these signs and know when you're starting to compromise what are -- I mean, you have to compromise in politics, that's the essence
of it. But when are you compromising those core values that that commitment to the oath and when does it get too far? Because I can tell you -- and all
of these moments, particularly since 2016, there are so many defining times where the party itself could have stood up and said, no more. And I think
Donald Trump would have been defeated and we'd be in a much different place, but cowardice ruled the day. And I think it's important to recognize
that virus to fix it.
MARTIN: Yes. You know, you -- you're pretty hard on yourself in this book, I have to say. You say -- you know, you were first elected to Congress in
2010, the 2010 midterm elections. People -- I think a lot of people will remember that was the so-called sort of Tea Party wave. And this is what
you say. You say, I feel some responsibility for January 6th, if only because I was a participant in and witness to the GOP's gradual descent
into a dysfunctional and destructive force in our politics. Intoxicated by my status and addicted to the level of attention, I made compromises to
feed my ego and sense of importance.
When did you -- when did that start?
KINZINGER: I mean, it kind of starts all at the beginning. I mean, I think if you run for office, you have to have a healthy ego. And any politician,
let's just take Congress, congressman or woman that tells you they don't have a sense of ego and it is either lying to you or probably will never
win because you have to think, I'm going to represent 700,000 people. I'm the best person to do it. That takes pretty healthy dose of that.
But what I started to recognize is, you know, I went in, I was one of the youngest members of Congress, one of the first post 9/11 combat veterans.
So, I would be asked on TV all the time and, you know, the second you get done, your phone buzzes and everybody tells you like how great it was to
see you on TV. And that's reaffirming. And then, you all of a sudden have to do it again. You feel like you're going to be forgotten if you don't.
And I think it's important for me in telling this story to recognize that and let people know that what a significant driving force is, because when
we look at the autopsy of the GOP and you look at somebody like an Elise Stefanik from New York, you know, how is it that somebody that basically
made their name on being this incredible moderate in the ilk of somebody like Paul Ryan has become such a fierce Donald Trump supporter like and
point to the exact moment when she defended Donald Trump in the first impeachment and got an incredible amount of accolades on Twitter and from
Donald Trump himself. She pivoted on a dime. I think it's important to understand that.
MARTIN: Let's go back to January 6th. OK. You write about watching the events of that day unfold. You said, I felt my faith in humanity draining
from me. Civilians playing soldier in tactical gear, helmets, bulletproof vests, and other body armor, wielding bats, toxic sprays, tasers, and
battering rams made from two-by-fours were waging a medieval battle against the police, threatening the lives of the people inside, and showing no sign
that they felt there was a limit to their actions. In short, in that moment, I no longer felt that people were basically good.
You know, that just brings up so much because, you know, you are a person who actually experienced combat. I mean, you were actually in a war, right?
And so, you've seen that. You know what that is. But could you just -- could you say more about like all the things that you experienced that day?
KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, imagine going -- being a member of a party that, you know, you fell in love with because of its commitment to these
democratic ideals, because of its commitment to order, law and order, and then seeing that actually that party is the thing that's created this
explosion that we're at.
And, you know, for me watching, it was interesting. So, I'm a guardsman. And, you know, when I saw my first National Guard troops, I was very proud
and also very sad at the same time. I was proud of them. I was sad that they were there. But I remember for about a week or two seeing anybody in
any military gear kind of -- I don't want to use the word triggered me because that's too much of a word, but it kind of like took me back to
thinking about these people climbing the stairs with -- stairs with military gear on attacking the Capitol. Most of them had never served a day
in their life.
And what you get is this moment where there's a certain sector, particularly of men right now that feel like they need to fight for
something bigger, but they're unwilling to do things like join the military or actually go help people. And so, somebody has come along and convince
them that fighting on behalf of a certain political thing or fighting against the injustice of a stolen election is where they can find their
And what you saw on that day was a lot of people on those stairs with that tactical gear pretending to be in a war because it made them, it scratched
some itch that they couldn't scratch any other way they needed to. And that was frightening to me. And it also made me come to realize the importance
of giving people a purpose to live for besides just fighting your fellow man.
MARTIN: What about your fellow lawmakers at that time? I mean, you know, a number of you had served -- both Democrats and Republicans had served, and
one of the things, you know, we found out later is how many people kind of who use their military service to protect their fellow members, but I had
to make you feel some kind of way to know that you had actually put on the uniform, been in combat, you know, and yet, you've got people who are
egging them on who never had.
KINZINGER: Yes. It made me furious. And again, it made me furious because it's somebody pretending to be some kind of a patriot. And it still bothers
me that they've tried to take that word and make it something that's not. You know, you can be on the left and right and be a patriot.
And so, it made me angry. It made me angry to know what I had fought for. That this was being really thrown away so quickly because somebody had been
lied to because their patriotism, frankly, had been abused by the man at the top who told them that this election was stolen. And I mean, at one
point I'm at my desk in my office and I never carried my gun to work except on January 6th. And I'm sitting there in my office with my gun out,
entertaining the fact that I may actually have to fight and shoot my fellow Americans. And that's something where I just -- I still look back on, like,
I can't believe we got to that point.
And, you know, look, it's -- the amazing thing, as you said, you know, how did your other lawmakers feel? What's amazing to me is that every other
Republican at that moment, maybe with the exception of one or two, was feeling exactly how I was, but how quickly they were able to compromise
that because it would have cost them their job had they spoken out.
MARTIN: You -- in fact, you write about this. I mean, in fact, the record is clear here that you immediately supported Donald Trump's impeachment in
the aftermath of January 6th. You were the first member of Congress to call for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him because you believed he
wasn't -- he was no longer fit to be president. Did any of your colleagues agree with you at that point?
KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, it's like, look, the ones that ultimately wouldn't agree with me were quiet when I called for that, because everybody -- the
amazing thing is we would meet as what's called a conference where all the Republican members get together. And it was almost silence in that room
because nobody knew what to do. They didn't know where this was going to go. You know, what's next here. We were waiting for leadership to show.
So, when I put out the video saying it's time for the 25th Amendment, get rid of them. I mean, you got some -- you know, some of the crazies that
kept going on Twitter that would speak out, but for the most part, people just didn't say anything. And it was like that for a couple of weeks where
people were trying to figure out what's next, where do we go?
The thing that changed that -- and by the way, I can get to impeachment when I thought there were going to be 25 to vote for it. There ended up
being 10. But the thing that really changed, the known trajectory of where the party was going to go was the second that Kevin McCarthy went to Mar-a-
Lago and he took that picture. To that point, there was still a lot of like, I don't know where we're going to go on this. The second that picture
came out, you saw people kind of -- literally in some cases, kind of put their heads down and then go out and defend Donald Trump because they knew
that's what they had to do to survive.
That, to me, was the first moment at which I realized this may be a bit of a much -- of a harder fight than I thought it was going to be after January
MARTIN: So, you said earlier and you said in the book that you still -- you think there is a way through this. What is it?
KINZINGER: Well, look, I look at 2028 and I say, there's going to be fully new candidates on both sides. There's going to be a chance for new idea,
new blood and new energy. I think that when Donald Trump came along, the Republican base wanted to break the system. He didn't necessarily know
that, but he was a break the system guy.
I think there's a significant amount of America now that maybe doesn't even realize it that wants to fix the system, that wants to heal, that wants to
bring the temperature down. And if you have a Barack Obama for the Democrats or a Ronald Reagan for the Republicans that comes along with an
optimistic message, I think that can revolutionize everything.
I do think, though, that the Republican Party has to lose more elections and frankly, has to burn down to save it. I voted Democratic last election.
I'll vote Democratic this coming election because in my mind, there's only one issue on the ballot, that issue is, do you believe in democracy or do
you not believe in democracy? If you don't, I got a party for you. If you do, right now, there's only one party that shows a real commitment to
MARTIN: You also talk about though, that there are just systems that have been sort of created in order to keep the Republican Party in a permanent
state of advantage. You do wonder why it is that Republicans don't, at some point, think that these same mechanisms could be turned against them.
KINZINGER: Well, it's exactly right. And ultimately, it comes down to how do you win elections? Well, you can either try to win it through
manipulating the system, or you can try to win it through convincing people of your side.
The problem with the Republicans right now is nobody knows what they actually stand for. I can't list a series of policies that the Republican
Party believes in because their commitment is simply to whatever the latest thing Donald Trump says. And so, you have to use these systems like
gerrymandering. And so -- look, but even with all that going on, the Republican lead is very thin right now. And I think they have -- they're
going to have a hard time holding on to the house next year.
But I would say to my Democratic friends, don't take that for granted. There is a good chance Donald Trump can win the next election. So, work as
if you're five points down every day.
MARTIN: As we are speaking now, you know, the former president faces legal challenges in a number of jurisdictions. I mean, you know, serious, you
know, criminal charges and serious civil charges. A number of people in his inner circle -- I mean, these are not like outside antagonists, people who
were closest to him have already pleaded guilty, but it doesn't seem to make any difference in how he's viewed by his core supporters, as it were.
And I -- you know, how do you understand that?
KINZINGER: Well, I -- and I think you're right. I think, you know, it's -- here's a couple of reasons for that. Number one, Donald Trump is the tier
one influencer, but there are tier two influencers in the party. And that's everybody that's on that stage running for president that's not Donald
Now, does any of them have the same influence as Donald Trump? No. But collectively, the Republicans are still watching what these folks are
saying. And when Donald Trump gets indicted, and the response of all these tier two influencers is to say -- with the exception of Chris Christie, is
to say, there is a two-tiered system of justice, Donald Trump is innocent, this is a witch hunt. Even Mike Pence said that, for goodness sakes.
Then it's no doubt that the Republican Party is still going to rally behind Donald Trump because the other people they trust are reaffirming what
Donald Trump is saying, which is, he's just a victim. And by the way, everybody loves to support a victim. Everybody loves to support an
underdog. But the optimism to come out of this is this, we're still a country that even if one party has gone nuts, still takes the majority
votes and creates a winner. And this is the opportunity where I don't think 51 plus percent of the American public is OK with a president who is facing
felonies. We just need to make sure those people turn out to vote.
MARTIN: So, what's your job right now? What do you see as your task?
KINZINGER: Well, my task right now is to take care of my family, which is amazing to be able to do, and it's to be able to keep as much influence to
the extent of not within the GOP, but to try to bring these warnings forward to the American people so the Democratic Party can protect itself
from the warnings that I saw so we can help to heal the Republican Party and grow the middle, grow the independent movement.
So, I have an organization, Country First, it's country1st.com, and it is nonpartisan, and we're just focused on recruiting and promoting people that
Republican or Democrat that put country over party. That's democracy building here at home. We actually do really good at helping to build
institutions through NGOs overseas. We don't have any of that at home because we didn't think we needed it. We do need it. And so, that's what
I'm being -- I'm focusing on right now.
MARTIN: Adam Kinzinger, thank you so much for talking with us.
KINZINGER: You bet. Anytime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And as Kinzinger said, there's only one thing on the ballot for 2024, are you for democracy or against it?
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