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Interview with MEI Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs Director Khaled Elgindy, Interview with Commonwealth Secretary- General Patricia Scotland; Interview with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser; Interview with The Atlantic Staff Writer Tom Nichols. Aired 1:00-2p ET

Aired November 29, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Six days into the Israel Hamas truce and negotiators are working toward a further extension. More hostages and prisoners set to be released. I asked

Middle East expert Khaled Elgindy what we know about those Palestinian detainees.

Then, no more excuses. I speak with Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland about her calls for faster climate action ahead of the UN Climate

Summit COP28.

Also, ahead for us, is social media safe for kids? The Colorado attorney general tells me why he's leading a lawsuit against Facebook parent Meta.

Plus, "The Atlantic's" Tom Nichols says Trump has crossed a crucial line. He discusses that with Michel Martin.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

A truce between Israel and Hamas is now in its sixth day, with key mediator Qatar hopeful that a further extension will be announced soon, the U.S.

echoes that hope. Here's Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking today at a NATO meeting in Brussels.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We'll be focused on making -- doing what we can to extend the pause so that we continue to get more

hostages out and more humanitarian assistance in. We'll discuss with Israel how it can achieve its objective of ensuring that the terrorist attacks of

October 7th never happen again, while sustaining and increasing humanitarian assistance and minimizing further suffering and casualties

among Palestinian civilians.


GOLODRYGA: Blinken is set to travel to Israel where they wait for the return of more hostages. This comes as the IDF is assessing Hamas claims

that the youngest hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, his brother and mother, are no longer alive.

The U.S. secretary of state will also visit the West Bank, where many Palestinian prisoners are now coming home. And in Jenin, reports of Israeli

military raids and clashes.

Out of the Palestinians freed, almost 80 percent were teenage boys ages 14 to 18, and two-thirds were held under administrative detention, meaning

they were not told the charges against them or given due legal process, that's according to CNN analysis of Israel Prison Service data.

Khaled Elgindy is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and an expert on Israeli Palestinian affairs and he joins me now from Washington.

Khaled, good to have you on the show.

Can you explain to me and to our viewers how Israel uses this administrative detention?

KHALED ELGINDY, DIRECTOR, MEI PROGRAM ON PALESTINE AND PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI AFFAIRS: Well, administrative detention is a holdover actually from the

British -- the rule -- the period of British rule before 1948, and it is -- it's a draconian measure that allows the occupying power, in this case

Israel, to hold detainees indefinitely without charge, and these aren't people who've been charged and then awaiting trial, they're simply held

for, I believe, 90 days without charge. And then that detention can be renewed more or less indefinitely.

GOLODRYGA: We said almost 80 percent of those are teenage boys, age 14 to 18. Why is that number so high?

ELGINDY: Well, the number is high because Israel actually arrests and detains more children than any other country in the world, and almost

exclusively Palestinian children who, like all Palestinians, live under a military occupation, which is essentially martial law. And in order to

maintain that occupation, Israel has to use a certain amount of violence.

And part of that violence is to occasionally do mass arrests, rounding up usually teenage boys or men in their early 20s because they're seen as the

most likely to engage in resistance activities of one sort or another, and that runs the gamut from, you know, throwing stones to organizing protests,

to obviously picking up arms.


And so, that's the target group that Israel sees as the most likely to engage in those kinds of activities. But it's also designed, I think, to

assert the presence of the military and to kind of show the population who's boss.

GOLODRYGA: And how long are some of these teenage boys detained for before their status changes to, let's say, a pretrial condition when they're

charged, if they are charged?

ELGINDY: You're talking about under administrative detention?


ELGINDY: I mean, it could -- can run anywhere from several weeks to years. They can be held indefinitely. That's the problem when you have military

rule, right? And the -- you don't have the traditional guarantees of due process. You have essentially arbitrary rule. The military can impose

whatever measures it likes. Yes.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. I was going to say, Israeli authorities have argued that administrative detention, "Is in line with policies seen in other

democracies." Is that an accurate statement?

ELGINDY: It's not an accurate statement. Holding people without charge or trial is not a standard feature of any democratic society that respects the

rule of law. That's contrary to the most fundamental principles of rule of law and due process.

So, there are about 2,000 of the 7,000 or so Palestinian political prisoners are held in administrative detention with no charge and no trial.

That's not a normal democratic practice. That's not how Israel treats its citizens, certainly, who very often engage in protests, sometimes quite

raucous protests, sometimes even violent protests. And yet, we don't see these measures used against Israeli citizens, but they are being used

against a non-citizen population that lives under a different set of laws than Israeli citizens do.

GOLODRYGA: And for those that are charged, so those that aren't held under administrative detention but are charged and seeking trial, what is the

conviction rate for Palestinian prisoners, typically?

ELGINDY: Well, Palestinians are tried in military courts, unlike Israeli citizens, whether they're settlers or those who live in Israel who are

tried in civilian courts. Military courts are notorious, really, in any society, but certainly under Israeli occupation.

They're known for, you know, almost none of the basic due process guarantees that you would find in a normal civilian court. And so, the

conviction rate is something like 99.8 percent because you don't have those traditional due process guarantees, like being able to confront your

accusers, or in some cases, they're convicted without even knowing what evidence is brought against them. They can use secret evidence and often

convict people on the basis of that.

GOLODRYGA: What do we know about the conditions they face in Israeli prisons?

ELGINDY: Well, the conditions are quite bad and have gotten progressively worse. There is a longstanding complaints by prisoners who often go on

hunger strikes to protest things like, you know, ending their commissary services or limiting family visits, things of those nature. Those have been

standard over the years, kind of ebbing and flowing with the political climate.

In recent years, and particularly since the new government has come in, which I think most people know is the most extreme government in Israel's

history, and now you have the national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is himself belongs to a far-right Jewish supremacist party, has a

responsibility over the prisons and has made the conditions much worse, limiting severely the kinds of meals and quantity of food that they have,

ensuring that prisoners are not comfortable since October 7th, that has gotten even worse, where they don't even have blankets and we're now in the

winter months in Israel and Palestine.

They don't have toilets, in some cases. And beatings are quite frequent for prisoners of all ages.


GOLODRYGA: Khaled, we know that the majority of these detainees and prisoners are returning to their homes in the West Bank or East Jerusalem,

not Gaza. And what we've seen over the past few days are images of jubilation, reuniting with families, and in several interviews, you hear

family members or even those who have just been released praising and thankful to Hamas.

What does that tell you about the psychological impact this is having on residents in the West Bank? Because leading up to October 7th, polling had

suggested that Hamas was not very popular amongst Gazans. How concerning is it that this could perhaps diminish the power and popularity, though it

wasn't very high to begin with, of Fatah in the West Bank?

ELGINDY: Right. It's concerning, but at the same time totally predictable. Hamas has surged in popularity, particularly since October 7th, not because

-- not necessarily because of the attacks themselves, but because they're seen as the only Palestinian actor that is "doing something," that is

inflicting pain on the occupier.

And the fact that, you know, it's not surprising to hear prisoners or their families praising Hamas when Hamas is the one who negotiated their release.

And you know, compared to the Fatah leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, who not only hasn't been able to deliver prisoners, which is an issue that

resonates across the board with the Palestinian population, but is unable to protect Palestinian lives and property from the very regular attacks by

Israeli settlers in the West Bank, you know, much less the soldiers.

You know, we've seen over the past two months a major surge in violent attacks by both the Israeli army and of violent settlers. And meanwhile,

the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah seems completely helpless.

So, by comparison, it's not hard to imagine why. Hamas' popularity would go up and Fatah's popularity would go down.

GOLODRYGA: But it just makes the situation that much more challenging because no one, obviously not Israel, but no western ally, specifically the

United States, would accept Hamas leadership post-war in Gaza or in the West Bank.

Before we end here, I'm just curious to get your thoughts on what you expect to see in the few days ahead. There are reports that Hamas may be

open to extending this truce for a few more days. Israel has its set of conditions if that were to happen, but at the end of the day, Israel says

that it's just a matter of time before they resume their military activity in getting rid of Hamas in Gaza.

ELGINDY: Yes, I think it's quite precarious. You know, I think most people would like to see an extension of the ceasefire, maybe even indefinitely.

Certainly, people in Gaza would welcome that. Most Palestinians would. I think most of the International Community would as well.

This is not a war that Israel is going to win in terms of its stated objectives of destroying Hamas. Hamas will continue to exist in one form or

another, but we don't know. I mean, we don't know what will happen. Even if we get another two-day or more extension, we know that Prime Minister

Benjamin Netanyahu has a personal interest in picking up where they left off a week ago and resuming the bombing of Gaza.

He kind of needs this war politically for his own survival because he knows that there is a reckoning coming and that the Israeli public is angry with

him and his leadership and will hold him accountable for the failures of October 7th. So, that's part of the problem here. This isn't just about --

this is no longer about Israeli self-defense. This is about the survival of Benjamin Netanyahu with a very heavy dose of rage and revenge on the part

of the Israeli public and political leadership.

GOLODRYGA: Which will make the next few days and the visit of Antony Blinken to Israel even that much more interesting and impactful, whatever

discussions are had before the fighting does resume in this truce window. Khaled Elgindy, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

ELGINDY: Thanks for having me.

GOLODRYGA: Well, we turn now to climate change as thousands of people make their way to Dubai for the annual U.N. Climate Summit, COP 28. The world's

largest iceberg is drifting from Antarctica.


?Well, we turn now to climate change as thousands of people make their way to Dubai for the annual U.N. Climate Summit, COP 28. The world's largest

iceberg is drifting from Antarctic waters.

The British Antarctic Survey reports the ice is three times the size of New York City and weighs nearly a trillion metric tons. Let that sink in. Now,

it's displacement poses a threat to surrounding marine life and rising sea levels.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland represents some of those countries most affected by rising sea levels, and she joins me from Dubai

ahead of the summit. Thank you so much for joining us.

So, you are representing 56 member states from five geographical regions. What are some of your top priorities going into this summit?

PATRICIA SCOTLAND, COMMONWEALTH SECRETARY-GENERAL: Well, really, we have to scale up the finance that has -- needs to be made available to combat

this climate crisis. And we really can't afford to have any excuses.

I think if you look at the Commonwealth, we have 56 countries, as you've just said, but 33 of them are small states. 25 of them are small island

developing states who face the existential threat of this climate crisis on a daily basis. In fact, most people say it's no longer a threat. It's a

daily reality.

So, I think we've got to really address the fact that we need climate justice. And part of that climate justice means giving the money to those

who are worse affected so that it can actually take the steps to mitigate and to adapt. But we really have to scale up and we have to be speedy.

So, looking at the loss and damage fund, it has to be made practical, it has to be made accessible, and it has to target, in particular, those most

vulnerable, and that's the small and the developing states, and they have to have the relief they need.

GOLODRYGA: Is there unanimity among the major world leaders to do just that, to help those smaller developing countries going into the summit?

SCOTLAND: Well, the leaders say that is their commitment, but, you know, we've listened for so many years to commitments, but what we need is not

just soft words, we actually need action.

Way back in 2009, there was a commitment made that we would deliver $100 billion for those who were adversely affected, in particular, the small.

That $100 million commitment has still not been committed to an address properly. And we know that we need $4 trillion if we are to deliver on the

Paris agenda by 2030. And that's on a yearly basis. We're nowhere near that.

And if you look at how much money that we have been delivering, it's about $680 billion. But most of that is not going to the Global South, which

needs it, it's really going elsewhere.

Africa, for instance, is only receiving about $30 billion off that money. It's just not good enough.

GOLODRYGA: So where is it going? What is elsewhere? Where else is that money going?

SCOTLAND: Well, it's going to the Global North. It's going to those countries who are possibly more able to respond. And it's not just the

issue of getting finance for climate, it's also the issue of debt. Because most of these countries, small island developing countries, have been

drowning in debt. And a lot of that debt has been occasioned as a result of climate change.

Because if you are hit by a cyclone or as my country of birth, Dominica was, a hurricane, which destroys 226 percent of your GDP, the hurricane

doesn't ask you whether you are a middle-income country, a high-income country, or low-income country. And when that hurricane takes everything

you possess and dumps it into the sea, it doesn't take the debt with it. It leaves the debt behind.

And in so doing --

GOLODRYGA: And if you need to grab your earpiece, go ahead. It's fine. Or if you can hear me.

SCOTLAND: I can still hear you.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. OK, great. You know, I want to put into context some of the examples that you've laid out so eloquently there, the 25 small island

developing states that fall within the Commonwealth.

Last year, one of those, Tuvalu, said that it is so threatened by rising sea levels that it is actually building a digital version of itself for

posterity. Take a listen to what it's foreign minister said when he was addressing the COP last year.


SIMON KOFE, TUVALUAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Islands like this one won't survive rapid temperature increases, rising sea levels and droughts. So, we'll

recreate them virtually. Piece by piece will preserve our country, provide solace to our people and remind our children and our grandchildren what our

home once was.


GOLODRYGA: Is it important? And if so, what role will some of these leaders from these smaller developing states that are most at risk have in

this summit? It's one thing to hear from you, from U.S. representatives, but to hear firsthand who it impacts the most, I would imagine that is

quite more effective.

SCOTLAND: Yes, it is. And it's heartbreaking because you're talking about people saying, I've lived on this island for more than 2,000, 3,000 years.

My grandparents, my great grandparents are buried here. My culture, my songs, my history are all here.

And I am looking at extinction. And no matter how people wish to retain a culture, retain a language, retain a people, if you are a tiny population,

and you are then dispersed between a huge population, hanging on to your culture, your language, is almost heartbreakingly difficult.

And it's not just that, people talk about existential threat, and they don't seem to understand it's real. If you see your home destroyed, your

family killed, and you've got nothing left, that is what we're talking about in terms of existential, and it's happening again and again. We've

got twice as many terrible climate crises today than we had in the end of the 1990s.

And the terrible thing is, it's getting more severe. So, a category 5 hurricane in 1979 caused, what, a tenth of the damage that a category 5

hurricane causes today because it's huge. Because what's happening is before the hurricane would pass over the sea and the sea would act as a

coolant, pull out the heat. Now, the ocean is acting, more often than not, as an accelerant.

So, these hurricanes are getting bigger and bigger and the damage they're causing is so heartbreakingly huge that I think it's very difficult for us

to conceive if we haven't seen it how terrifying these occasions are.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. We've run out of adjectives to describe these natural disasters one after another, whether it's storms, hurricanes, fires,

drought, you name it.

SCOTLAND: Yes, yes.

GOLODRYGA: And we keep hitting, sadly, new milestones, new record heat waves.

SCOTLAND: Absolutely. Yes.

GOLODRYGA: That having been said, you know, because there's not really a. portion of the world that hasn't been touched somehow by climate change. Do

you sense going into these summits now that there is still hope and optimism that more can come out of them? Because it seems we're hearing

more and more how defeated people feel and not meeting the benchmarks that have been set.

SCOTLAND: I think there is more determination. Because people are so fed up with the excuses. We know that it takes political will. Those who are

adversely affected by these climate disasters, certainly in the Global South, have rigid political will for change. But they don't have the

assets. They don't have the money.

And it's only when the whole world realizes that if we don't do something, the world that we love and the people we care for are going to be gone, but

we're really going to make the difference. And as horrible as it is, the fact that the touching of lives is now happening almost equally in the

Global North as the Global South means that people are finally waking up to the fact that this real.

The other thing that's happening is that green energy is getting exponentially cheaper. So, the economics are going in the right direction.

And we're about at tipping point. If you look at the difference in COP this year, compared to COP, say, in 2016, when I became secretary-general, you

didn't have two days allocated to the private sector, where there's now an acceptance that this is not just an issue for countries and local

authorities and the public sector, this is an issue for everyone, including business, including the foundations, and all of us individuals that we all

have to do something if we want to make the difference.


And this is a make-or-break COP. We have to have implementation. We have to have change. And people have to wake up and finally smell the coffee.

GOLODRYGA: Secretary-General Scotland, thank you so much for your time and best of luck. Wishing you a productive summit in the days to come.

SCOTLAND: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: We appreciate it.

SCOTLAND: Thanks very much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, the climate crisis is impacting young people's future, physical future on this planet. We know that. Now, we are turning to a

crisis impacting their mental health. Social media companies are still pushing harmful content to literally millions of children. That is

according to the father of Molly Russell, a British girl who killed herself at the age of 14 after being exposed to a stream of depressive content on

Pinterest and Instagram. Six years later, Ian Russell says little has changed.

Now, this comes as damning details emerge from a U.S. federal lawsuit against Meta, alleging the social media giant, which owns Facebook and

Instagram, knowingly kept features that were damaging children and mined their data.

It is a rare bipartisan issue, with red and blue states joining together to sue the company, and it is being led by Colorado.

The state's attorney general, Phil Weiser, joins me now from Denver. Attorney General, thank you so much for joining us.

So, what ultimately led you to this decision to bring this lawsuit and bring in other states' attorney generals as well against Meta?

PHIL WEISER, COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes. I am a parent of two teenagers. This is a personal issue to me. And when I talk to my A.G.

colleagues, that's something that we all share as parents, in some cases people as grandparents, in other cases constituents, have made clear, our

kids are not OK.

And when we ask why, clear reason comes to the top of anyone's analysis, it's social media. Kids are spending hours and hours, often late into the

night, not sleeping, with constant notifications and with harm to their mental health. And the companies here at Meta knew what they were doing.

They knew what was happening. They kept doing it because it furthered their bottom line, but it harms our kids. That's why we're taking this action.

GOLODRYGA: And I guess one of the hardest things to prove in court is that they knowingly did this. What evidence do you have to back that up?

WEISER: Let's take one of the specific allegations, which is targeting 11- to-13-year-olds in violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act. That's illegal. It's wrong. We have evidence, and it's in the complaint of

over 400,000 complaints that came often from parents, why is my kid on Instagram? Can you disable this account?

Less than half of those accounts that were brought to their attention were disabled. And Meta didn't market to those kids by accident, they

deliberately marketed, seeing them as an untapped and valuable segment that they wanted.

Before December, 2019 Meta wasn't engaging in any age game. They weren't actually following this legal requirement. And even today, they haven't put

in place meaningful safeguards to prevent young people, 11- to 13-year- olds, who can't be marketed to without their parents' consent from having access to their platform. So, that's just one example of the complaint that

we have detailed. It's voluminous. There's a lot of evidence there, but it's not fair for them to say, we had no idea this was happening. There's a

lot of evidence that they did know what was happening and chose to allow it because it's how they made more money.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. This law that you referred to, the 1998 federal law, the Children's Online Protection Act, it requires online services with content

aimed at children to obtain verifiable permission from a parent before collecting personal details.

The complaint also contends that Instagram for years "coveted and pursued underage users" even as the company failed to comply with the Children's

Privacy Law.

Again, how do you prove that they deliberately did that versus negligence? And I'll get to the company's statement in a moment.

WEISER: The question really goes as follows. If your goal is to keep people under 13 off your platform, how would you act? Would you have no age

gating? Would you affirmatively market to people who you knew were lower than 13 years old? And would you fail to disable accounts when parents or

others said, wait a minute, this is someone under 13?

We don't believe it is credible to say that they were following the law and its requirements. We believe the evidence is to the contrary.

I want to make another point to that is also in our complaint, which is about deceptive conduct. Meta spent a lot of time saying to parents and to

kids, there's nothing to be concerned about. There's no harm that you have to worry about by being on the platform. That's what they said publicly.

But privately, they knew differently. They knew, for example, that young kids were engaging in, essentially, watching content about self-harm at

twice the rate that adults do.


In fact, over 8 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds were seeing self-harm content. And as we know, consuming this content is not benign for young

kids, particularly who start out thinking about maybe body image and then get served up self-harm, this content can influence their behavior in

harmful ways. There was really a push towards this content when that was dangerous to public health.

GOLODRYGA: Well, so Meta says that it has made major and continuing to make ongoing investments in protecting young users. Let me read a statement

they gave CNN, "We want teens to have safe age-appropriate experiences online, and we have over 30 tools to support them and their parents. We've

spent a decade working on these issues and hiring people who have dedicated their careers to keeping young people safe and supported online. The

complaint mischaracterizes our work using selective quotes and cherry- picked documents."

Meta also says that verifying people's age is complex. It's a complex challenge for the company because a lot of users don't have their I.D.s or

driver's license and do things behind their parents back. I'm wondering how you plan to go about challenging their argument in court.

WEISER: I want to reiterate a point that I made because it's such a plain and obvious one, where parents complain that under 13-year-olds are on the

platform and those accounts remain, they're not disabled, that's a problem. They can't say they didn't have awareness because the parents or others

were saying these accounts are for under 13-year-olds and the parents don't consent.

As for what meaningful age, getting can look like, that's a conversation we're happy to have with Meta to work out what best practice looks like.

The reality is today with artificial intelligence and a lot of data analysis, Meta has a very good idea as to how old users are. We want them

to use that technology for good, to protect young users, even when it hurts their bottom line.

GOLODRYGA: What role -- I mean, Meta is saying that they remove accounts if they find that users are under 13 years old. And it is worth noting just

the size of the company itself and how many countries. that it's in and the hundreds of millions, if not billions of users around the world. We have

come to know many of their executives through their testimony before Congress over the years on a number of issues, including this one.

What role do you think Congress ultimately needs to play and lawmakers need to play on this issue as well, as opposed to just what you're doing and

taking this to the courts yourself? Is there a role for Congress to regulate these companies? And if so, why have we not seen an effective role

implemented yet?

WEISER: Unfortunately, Congress is not able to pass legislation that is both critically important and has bipartisan support. Let me give you a

quick example. Data privacy is an area that more and more states are passing laws to protect consumer data privacy.

In Colorado, we worked very collaboratively. It passed our State Senate unanimously. We have a data privacy law that our citizens have demanded. We

don't have a federal data privacy law, and the reason is because Congress isn't functioning properly.

If we had a functioning Congress, we would pass a law on data privacy. We would pass a law that protects young people online. The sad reality is

Congress is having trouble even just passing a budget. And as a result, there's a vacuum here. The states are stepping in and state attorneys

general enforcing laws like the Child Online Privacy Protection Law or State Consumer Protection Law. We have a role to play here.

I would welcome Congress following up on this role, developing a regulatory system to protect our young people.

GOLODRYGA: But you would agree that the onus also falls on Congress here?

WEISER: Absolutely. Congress should act. I would welcome the chance to work with Congress, to talk about these issues. The challenge that we're

going to have is we're going to work towards either litigated judgment or a consent decree. And we recognize this is an issue that multiple companies

have to take seriously, that measures have to be implemented systematically. The best of all worlds would be congressional action and


GOLODRYGA: I would imagine that you spend a lot of times with families that have filed complaints with children under the age of 13 on Instagram

and these sites and also, with experts who talk about the consequences of spending too much time on Instagram and these sites, specifically at such a

vulnerable age. Look, we're all guilty of it. I am myself. My kids find me many a night just on Instagram. There is a sense -- a bit of dopamine that

we all get as viewers.

But what are experts telling you about the harm specifically for those under 13, and teens, I would say even older than 13 from spending this

amount of time or too much time on these platforms?


WEISER: Let me start with our surgeon general. What he has articulated is an epidemic of loneliness in a teen mental health crisis where young people

are spending more and more time online because they're lonely and isolated, and it has the result of making them feel worse.

We need more human connection in our lives. And the more time people spend online going down these dark holes on platforms, I mentioned before the

self-harm content that more and more young people are seeing, it worsens their mental health. It increases rates of self-harm itself, even suicide.

We have to find ways to protect young people, to help them get a good night's sleep, to help them have time to connect with one another, and

unregulated access to these platforms with any -- without controls and with notifications all the time and with these dark holes that they can take

people down, it's the opposite of what we need.

GOLODRYGA: What types of steps in terms of resolution would you find acceptable for Meta?

WEISER: We need to either negotiate collaboratively to a consent judgment or litigate to a final judgment measures that address the harms we

identify. That starts with not marketing to people under 13 in violation of the federal law.

It includes being honest with people about the harms that these platforms offer. We need the public to understand, because a lot of parents, they

don't understand what these platforms are. They don't know how much their kids are spending time on them. They don't know the type of dark holes and

the content that kids are being served up, like the self-harm example I mentioned earlier.

We also need to make sure that we are constantly attuned to mental health. And there is obviously a broader societal discussion with more research to

inform it that we need to be having. There's a lot of work here. It starts with reforming how these platforms operate so they're not harming our young

people, but that's not going to be the end all of youth mental health, there's a lot more to do as well.

GOLODRYGA: All right. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, we appreciate your time. Thank you

WEISER: Thank you very much.

GOLODRYGA: Well now, as the U.S. gears up for next year's presidential election, Former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is condemning much of

her party, including the new House Speaker Mike Johnson, for their support for Former President Donald Trump.

In her new memoir, she labels him the most dangerous man ever to inhabit the Oval Office. Echoing these fears is staff writer at "The Atlantic," Tom

Nichols. In his piece, "Trump Crosses a Crucial Line," He argues that the Republican frontrunner's actions are more alarming now than ever. And he

joins Michel Martin this discussion.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Tom Nichols, thanks so much for talking with us.


MARTIN: So, here's what we called you. You have been critical of Former President Trump in the past, but you were adamant that people should stop

talking about him or stop calling him a fascist. You said, look, you know, he was a garden variety autocrat, a wannabe Caldeo (ph). But you said,

look, you know, stop using that term. Why were you so adamant about that?

NICHOLS: Well, one is that before I was a writer, I was a professor of political science, and the word has meaning. It has a historically grounded

meaning. So, as I admitted in the article, I'm a bit of a pedant about words, but I -- but there was a deeper political reason, which is that you

don't want to wear people out with a term that should have really electric force when they hear it.

You want people to hear that word and to react and to say, OK, we're in a different situation. And I think that's true of a lot of words. I mean,

I've also made arguments that we overuse the word terrorism, for example, that we've justified everything as terrorism. And I worry that over -- not

just the past few years, but for decades, people in the United States especially have called all right-wing movements they don't like fascism.

And I think that wears people out because fascism is a unique danger. It's something that people really need to, when they hear that word, think they

kind of need to drop what they're doing and think about what's going on. And I was really concerned that the word was becoming abused and people

were getting numb to it.

MARTIN: As a former political science professor, fascism has a specific kind of historical meaning and history. Could you just remind us briefly of

what that is?

NICHOLS: Well, in the 1930s, you had a movement that went beyond merely authoritarianism and beyond a typical kind of dictator who says, look, if

you just leave me alone, leave me in power, I'll basically leave you alone. Let me get rich. Let me run the country and so on.

What emerges in the 1930s is an ideology that says, the individual is nothing, and the state is everything. And the state represents glory and

nostalgia and an idealized past that's rooted in the glorification of military power, the identification of enemies everywhere, and that is

embodied in a single leader who is the single embodiment of the state and the nation and the people, and that everyone should be directed towards

supporting that rather than, again, just being obedient and being left alone.


MARTIN: It has to be said that there are people calling, you know, the former president a fascist even before he took office. I mean, they said

his language was fascist. They -- you know, and you said all along in your writings and sort of your teaching him to say, look, stop using that term,

but something has changed for you, which is one of the reasons we called you because you wrote a piece about this. What has changed for you?

NICHOLS: Donald Trump crossed the line in the past month or two where he is now identifying his political opponents, not just overseas, he's not

just talking about foreign enemies, you know, immigrants and other nations, he's talking about his fellow citizens as vermin, as subhuman, as people

who will, in his words, be rooted out. And his list is pretty broad. He -- I mean, basically it's everybody who's not supporting Donald Trump.

MARTIN: There was a speech on Veterans Day. OK. He says, we pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical

left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.

And then before that, he had this interview with this national pulse group where he referred to immigrants as poisoning the blood of our country.


MARTIN: Were those the things that caught -- and then explain again why you feel like this really crosses the line.

NICHOLS: Well, poisoning the blood is a direct Hitler lift. Adolf Hitler used this kind of language when talking about German race purity. And none

of this, I think, at this point is accidental.

I mean, first of all, Donald Trump has a very limited vocabulary and a very limited ability to deal with concepts. And so, he wasn't going to cough up

words like vermin or poisoning the blood on his own. And so, now, you have the makings of a core of an inner party around him who are pushing this

Hitler like rhetoric.

And again, I mean, I think it was a tremendous mistake early on, you know, the minute he was elected to say, well, he's a fascist. Again, that's --

you know, I'm in my early 60s. I've heard Nixon was a fascist. Reagan was a fascist. Bush was a fascist. Bush too was a fascist. John McCain was a

fascist. Well, you know, an actual fascist has shown up at this point, and I think, again, we've become inured to it.

And I also think he's gotten us used to it by simply getting us to write it off as, well, that's just how he talks, that's just crazy talk. And that's

why I flagged this moment, I said, this isn't just his normal kind of crazy talk, this is different. He is using specific words that are getting either

fed to him or that he's picking up somewhere that are distinctly related to the experience of fascism in the 1930s.

MARTIN: Well, the other thing that you pointed out in your piece is it's not just that he's using inflammatory language, which is frankly, I mean,

has been his M.O. since he announced his run for the presidency. But you're saying that the specific difference here is also that he has a specific

program that he's talked about in order to fulfill this agenda. What are some of those things that caught your attention?

NICHOLS: Well, remember, Trump doesn't have programs. Trump has kind of half-baked ideas that get turned into programs by people around him. And

some of those are ideas, for example, to use the military. He has very dangerous plans for how to use the United States military against its own


People who support him, people on his team, are drawing up plans, for example, to invoke the Insurrection Act on Inauguration Day, not because

they're worried about civil disorder, but simply to intimidate American citizens and to put down any protests against his inauguration if, God help

us, he is re-elected.

He is talking about camps, large camps for detaining immigrants. And he's talking about using the Justice Department against his enemies. He said,

well, you know, people are challenging me, I'll just indict them.

You know, this is also something that goes back to the experience with fascism, where the early fascists seized -- they found they kind of

burrowed into government structures either through appointment or, you know, kind of fluke election and then seize the machinery of government to

exterminate their opponents, politically and sometimes physically.

And Trump's making no bones about it. He's not even pretending. He's not even trying to cloak his language. I mean, he's being very clear about it.

MARTIN: Do you have a theory about why it is that more people aren't disturbed by this?


NICHOLS: There are three reasons. One is that the media has a normalcy bias, which is that it's just impossible to report on this as if it's not

just another normal horse race because the media -- I think much of the media has internalized the rights criticisms of about bias. And so, they're

terrified of saying this is not a normal candidate. This is not a normal election.

I think the other reason is that, unfortunately, it has to rest with the voters who I think have decided not to take things seriously. If you're a

citizen in a democracy, you should have at least enough bandwidth to know that a major party candidate is talking like a fascist.

You don't have to spend all day watching the news to be an involved enough citizen, but I think people kind of shrug and they say, well, it's fun.

It's reality TV. People who voted for him the first time, many of them said point blank, I just wanted to see what would happen. And I think that first

term, they've said, well, how bad could it be? And they don't realize how close we came.

And I think the third reason is that Trump himself just got us used to it. There's a kind of frog boiling here, you know, where you boil the frog

degree by degree in a hot pan, and Trump just got us used to saying crazy things. And I think a lot of people now they hear him talk about vermin and

extermination and he said -- and they say, well, what are you going to do? That's the way he talks. And that's a dire mistake in my view.

MARTIN: Is it that you feel that the sort of legacy media writ large just can't figure out how to talk about this?

NICHOLS: Yes. I think there's a real problem. And look, this is not as much a criticism of the media as it seems. I mean, I think that there is a

real concern about appearing impartial, unbiased, not taking sides with one group of Americans against another, but that leads, again, to this kind of

sense, this predilection for normalcy, like this couldn't possibly be an election between an unhinged delusional fascist and a kind of ordinary

garden variety Democratic Party nominee.

It has to be, we have a Republican nominee, and we have a Democratic nominee. And this election is a totally normal election, just like 1996 or

1984 or 1972. And I think that there's a problem of not a feeling like they -- that if there's a -- pointing out how -- what Trump is doing, that it

looks like taking sides. And I understand that dilemma, but we are not living in normal times.

MARTIN: I hope you don't mind my pointing out because you've written about this, is that you were Republican until fairly recently. And where you

decided to declare yourself as an independent because you found a number of things no longer tolerable. But why do you think so many of your kind of

former co-partisans, as we could put it, many of whom do have a deep understanding of history, many of whom cite history as the reason for their

belief system don't find this objectionable?

I mean, I know throughout the, you know, my time covering politics, when I ask people what's the -- sort of the origin story of their beliefs, they'll

cite the former Soviet Union, they'll cite the repression of the former Soviet Union, you know, they'll cite the -- you know, the Nazi era as a

reason to sort of stand vigilant when it comes to both individual rights and dignity and not allowing the state to kind of overwhelm, you know, the

imperatives of the individual.

NICHOLS: Well, I think there's -- you have to make distinction here between the Republican base that's enthusiastically voting for Trump and

elected Republicans and a lot of others like me who left, as you know, for many of us, the Cold War was formative and the first group that really rose

in opposition to Trump within the Republican Party were people like me who had worked in national security organizations. I taught for many years at

the Naval War College.

And I think elected Republicans are appalled, but they're afraid, and it's just -- it's a matter of cowardice. They like their jobs. They want to stay

in Washington. They don't want to get death threats from their constituents, which is now something that is just a normal part of the

Republican landscape, and they're into denial. They're hoping to keep their head down and that somehow this storm will pass.

And I think with the base, that's a different matter. Older white, middle class, not -- these are not -- you know, the -- this army of unemployed

factory workers that Trump likes to pretend is out there, but there is a cultural and social resentment. They're getting older. They don't like

change in the country. They don't like that the country is getting younger, browner, less Christian, and it -- and this is their way of striking back.

And they don't really care what Trump says as long as he makes the -- as long as he hates the same people they hate.


And they don't think that when repression finally arrives, they think they're going to get a pass. And they just don't -- because they've never

really lived under a repressive government. They've never seen it. And so, they just don't know what they're in for, unfortunately.

MARTIN: You say in your argument about why people should stop throwing around fascism until the -- until now, you said, "Fascism is not mere

oppression. It's a more holistic ideology that elevates the state over the individual except for a sole leader, around whom there is a cult of

personality, glorifies hyper nationalism and racism, worships military power, hates liberal democracy, and wallows in nostalgia and historical


OK. These were all themes that the former president signaled when he ran for office. So, I guess what I'm asking you, as somebody who is a close

observer of our politics and our history, is why did it take you this long to see that this was dangerous, when there are a lot of people who said at

the very beginning that this is just not -- this is not the leader of a liberal diverse democracy?

NICHOLS: I identified Trump as highly dangerous the minute he appeared on the scene. And I was writing about the importance of voting for Hillary

Clinton to stop him. But I'm still objected to the notion that this was fascist because all politicians run on nostalgia.

What Trump has done in the past year has turned that into a really malevolent and violent movement. And I think particularly after January

6th, if I'm a little late to this usage, maybe January 6th was the time to start talking about it.

But even January 6th was just such a chowder headed rebellion of people that just wanted to trash government offices that it was -- I don't think

there was a coherence to it yet. And I think Trump now -- after finally being turned out office, I think Trump's rage and his narcissistic injury

has finally led him to talk about his fellow citizens, rounding them up as vermin, rooting them out, expelling them.

And that -- you know, there -- he always had a nativist nationalistic kind of approach, but he also -- in 2016, he flipflopped on issues basically

depending on where he felt he needed to be in any given moment.

One thing I would point out in all this discussion about fascism, fascists tend to be pretty consistent, they tend to be workaholics, and they tend to

be, you know, like it or not, pretty brave people when it comes to the streets, and Trump is none of those things. But he's starting to build that

movement around him and use that kind of rhetoric and that's why I think it's time to start really waking up to the impact of that word.

MARTIN: What do you see as your role right now and going forward?

NICHOLS: I sometimes see myself just a, you know, cranky old guy yelling and shaking my fist from the rafters and saying, you know, pay attention.

I think it's important for all of us as citizens for -- here in the United States, it's important for citizens simply not to shrug this off and to go

about their day as if we're living through a normal time. Now, that doesn't mean everybody has to get up every morning with their hair on fire. We have

to take care of our kids. We have to go to work with our jobs, you know, buy groceries. But the notion that this kind of cynical decadence that

says, well, nothing really matters and nothing's really important, I think we have to be through at that and I think we have to hold each other

responsible for not letting ourselves fall into that, because that's a big part of how we got here.

MARTIN: OK. And for what about people who aren't just -- as you sort of put it kind of, you know, dorm room indifference, right? People who just

say, look, you know what, inflation is still too high, the border is a mess, you know, crime in major cities is unacceptable, and I just don't

like what the current guy is doing. And, oh, by the way, he's old. What would you say to them if you had the opportunity to do so?

NICHOLS: I find those narratives frustrating because inflation is, you know, 3 percent. You know, violent crime has been dropping for years. It's

now below the pre-pandemic levels. I mean, in a way, to even have those arguments is to wade into this thicket of hallucinatory stuff where you're

just arguing about things that aren't true.

And so, my response to all of that is say, look, nothing's perfect. Country has problems. We can always do better. Is your solution to vote for a


MARTIN: Tom Nichols, thank you so much for talking with us.

NICHOLS: Thank you.



GOLODRYGA: And finally, some much needed, straight up happy news to bring you. It is a boy, a 55-pound bouncing baby male Sumatran rhino born in

Indonesia Saturday.

The rhino calf, yet to be named, is the first delivery from a seven-year - old female named Delilah. He is a welcome addition to a critically endangered species. Currently, there are fewer than 50 living Sumatran


Encouragingly, he's the second calf born this year. Scientists say Delilah and son are healthy and doing exactly what they need to be doing, eating,

resting, and bonding. And yes, you don't have to be a biblical scholar to suggest the name Samson.

Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.