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Interview with Israeli Labor Party Leader Merav Michaeli; Interview with Former Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Kidwa; Interview with The Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg; Interview with Composer John Williams; Interview with Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Aired 1:00-2p ET
Aired December 11, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's What's Coming Up.
As Israel tightens its grip on Gaza, the leader of the leftist Labor Party, Merav Michaeli, tells me why she's leaving politics.
Then, who should represent the Palestinians? I ask Nasser Al-Kidwa, a former foreign minister for the Palestinian Authority.
Plus, the United States of Autocracy, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, talks to Walter Isaacson about the dangers of Trump 2.0.
And finally, a collaboration for the ages. Hollywood's most celebrated composer, John Williams, and virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, tell me
why they're joining musical forces.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
There is nowhere to turn in Gaza, Palestinians say, as Israeli's stranglehold on the besieged land gets tighter, and airstrikes continue to
pound the enclave. But despite international pressure, Israel remains intent on eradicating Hamas, whatever it takes.
Israel's national security adviser says that could be measured in weeks, even months. But the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority says it's
not even possible to wipe out the group, calling Hamas, "an integral part of the Palestinian political mosaic."
Tonight, we attempt to look beyond the war from the perspective of future Israeli and Palestinian leadership. For that, let's remember some crucial
prescience from the past. During the Oslo negotiations in the '90s, the chief Palestinian delegate told the chief Israeli delegate the following, I
believe we've arrived at the root of the problem. We have learned that our rejection of you will not bring us freedom. You can see that your control
of us will not bring you security. We must live side by side in peace, equality and co-operation.
So, let's start with Israel's Labor Party, once the dominant political force, all the way back to the founder, David Ben-Gurion. But the peace
camp has lost so much credibility over the years that it's barely clinging on in Parliament. And now, leader Merav Michaeli says that she's stepping
down. She joins me now from Tel Aviv.
Welcome to the program. Can I start by asking you --
MERAV MICHAELI, LEADER, ISRAELI LABOR PARTY: Good evening.
AMANPOUR: Good evening. Good evening. Let me start by asking you, first and foremost, about the war on Gaza. Do you believe that your country is
any closer to actually materially "eradicating, you know disempowering, annihilating" Hamas? None of the major military leaders have been caught
and there are still more than a hundred Israeli hostages, innocent civilians being held. What is your assessment?
MICHAELI: 138 Israelis, some of them very elderly, sick, wounded. Some of them women, whom we already are aware now. Thankfully there is an
acknowledgement of what they're going through there.
And this is so important for me to emphasize, because it is becoming the symbol of what Hamas has been doing -- certainly did on October 7th.
And when people are asking, why do we insist on eliminating the terror base that Hamas built in Gaza? I really don't understand the question. What do
they expect from Israel to do? To just agree to leave side by side with this horrific threat that came to reality, came to be on October 7th, the
ferocious way it did it?
So, to answer your question, Christiane, Israel has to eliminate the terror base that Hamas built in Gaza and to take it off the government of Gaza. We
are not fighting the Palestinians, certainly not from where I stand and what I have been fighting for, and Labor has been fighting for ever since
Yitzhak Rabin, the late prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin.
But we cannot agree, and I'm very sorry to hear the Palestinian Authority insisting on not only not condemning what Hamas has done, but insisting on
including it, not as a political power, but as part of the representation of Palestinians.
AMANPOUR: Just -- I hear what you're just saying, and we will, obviously. We have, you know, a two header tonight. We've got both you and Palestinian
politician Nasser Al-Kidwa. So, first, I'm asking from your perspective. Do you think that the campaign, which is now, you know, nearly two months, has
actually achieved what you say you're trying to achieve?
MICHAELI: It'll take time. It's clear it will take time. It's something that has based in Gaza for a very, very long time. They are seeded within
the civilian population, which I so not dismiss the casualties there, and not in any way, not me, nor many other Israelis. We don't just look away
from the sites in Gaza, but this is Hamas' doing. Instead of taking all the resources that were invested there over the years, it invested it in
What will -- what we will have to recognize after this war is that the only way to live here in security for both peoples is a political solution for
the two-state solution. This is what I've been fighting for, following what Yitzhak Rabin has started in 1993. This is what needs to take place.
But it has to be with mutual recognition. It goes as much as it does for Israel. It goes for the Palestinians.
AMANPOUR: That's what I wanted to ask you about, actually, the future and what happens when the guns fall silent. And as you correctly say, what
happened October 7th was done by Hamas.
But I wonder whether you have any thoughts about the latest investigative report and revelations by "The New York Times," Ronen Bergman, who has dug
deeper into stories that your own press has been talking about, you know, for a long time. He's speaking with Israeli officials on how Netanyahu
"propped up" Hamas with Qatari funds to try to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and essentially to avoid having to discuss or contemplate or
negotiate a Palestinian State. Even apparently, when he found out the money was going to the military wing.
So, a former ally and now a fierce opponent who was a minister, Avigdor Lieberman, member of Knesset, has told Bergman, "For Netanyahu, there is
only one thing that is really important, to be in power at any cost. To stay in power, he preferred to pay for tranquility."
What is your response to this big story in your country now?
MICHAELI: You if you go back, you can see my quotes on record along the years saying exactly that. I am in opposition to Netanyahu forever. I am
the only one from this current opposition who has never agreed to sit with him because of these things exactly.
So, certainly, I think this war goes to show that what Netanyahu has tried to do has failed completely and utterly. And we need to recognize it,
Israelis need to recognize it.
But again, Christiane, you can't let the Palestinians off the hook. The fact that Israel, under Netanyahu, was going the wrong way does not mean
that Palestinians do not have to be accountable to what they're doing and their choices. They too have to demand from their leadership to stop
educating for hate and incitement and to stop robbing them from their rights in order to inflict terror on Israel and the Jews.
AMANPOUR: Why have you left and why are you leaving as head of the party and you said shortly thereafter you will -- you know, after your term, you
will leave politics altogether? Why, if you are so committed to peace and Labor has been, as you rightly said, you know, the -- a huge champion of
peace, why are you leaving?
I know you're not doing well in parliament, but what is it about the peace camp or leftist politics that are creating this political dynamic?
MICHAELI: Well, this will call for a special. But to put it in a nutshell, I will say that I -- as you said, I'm very committed to the things that I
believe in, peace, security, equality, all of those. And right now, I felt that I don't have a leverage to bring the party to do better in the
elections that I believe are coming. I believe they should be coming and I am doing my best to promote elections in Israel.
And so, this is why I pushed forward the primaries. I'm calling on the many new forces that are out there to come into politics and to do it through
Labor, to use this very important infrastructure that I believe Labor to be and to come and leverage it the way that I feel, at the moment, I cannot do
for the sake of the State of Israel.
AMANPOUR: So, you have said, you know, you're partly responsible for the state of -- well, you're responsible, you're the leader for the state of
your party right now. Do you regret, in hindsight, that you did not go into, you know, coalition or partnership in the previous elections with the
left-wing Meretz Party? Could you have had more, you know, political weight had you done that, given that you both believe at least in some kind of
MICHAELI: I do not believe in what ifs. I am always doing what I believe to do the most appropriate, the right thing to do. I'm known for following
my beliefs, my ideology, and my senses as to what is right to do. And this is what I'm doing now.
Certainly, I'm taking responsibility. I have had the privilege of saving the Labor Party with my friends and bringing it to a big success in the
previous elections. It is my responsibility, the situation of the party right now. This is why I'm taking responsibility and calling on all the new
forces out there to come to Labor and rebuild it for the sake of the State of Israel.
AMANPOUR: So, I assume you believe, because I think you've said it, that you -- the State of Israel would be stronger and more secure if there was a
political solution. I think you said that at the beginning. Anyway, most analysts believe that.
But there seems to be no plan, no political plan for after the war. And not just no plan, a plan that seems to be moving towards, at least from
Netanyahu's mouth, you know, who knows how long occupation of Gaza, despite what his American allies and others say.
Is there any political plan that you can discern? Is it time now, even now, amidst the horror, to think about a political plan? And how do you see a
resolution so that this doesn't happen again and again and again?
MICHAELI: My point exactly. In order for this not to happen again, we need to start building a structure of a state that has one weapon. And actually,
the Palestinian State that's always -- that was always known that whatever accord was discussed, it included a demilitarized state, which it should
be. But it should be that way because the thought should be about everyone's security in the region. More weapon never brings more security,
rather the opposite.
So, yes, as difficult as it is in these very, very hard times. And in Israel, the trauma is so, so, so present. It is very hard to explain and to
convey to people from the outside how present the trauma is.
Still, leadership must come up with a plan that sees a horizon and a horizon for coexistence that sees everyone's bigger good, larger good. It
is possible. I know it is possible. I know there are partners. We just need to be determined to get rid of the blame game, that so long ongoing blame
game, and to start thinking of what is the bigger picture that we can really not only thrive to but really get there.
AMANPOUR: Merav Michaeli, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight.
And next, of course, it's critical to remember that Palestinians have not had a chance to actually choose their leaders in well over 15 years,
whether in Gaza or the West Bank. So, who will lead them out of this wilderness and into equality and statehood and security for all?
Joining me on this is Nasser Al-Kidwa, the former minister for the Palestinian Authority. Now, he was last on this program in 2021 when he was
running as an independent in the upcoming Palestinian elections, which of course, never happened.
Welcome back to our program, Nasser Al-Kidwa.
I wonder whether you heard a little bit of what Merav Michaeli was just saying that there needs to be thought right now. The trauma is incredibly
raw inside Israel. But leadership demands, you know, thinking about the future. Where are you now in this thinking? You did try to run once as an
independent. I wonder what you see as a way out of this for Palestinian leadership.
NASSER AL-KIDWA, FORMER PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY FOREIGN MINISTER: Yes. Generally, I think that we have four tasks ahead of us. And when I say we,
I mean Israelis, Palestinians, the region, and the International Community.
The first task is to change, indeed, to change the Palestinian situation and to have new faces, new leadership. The second one is to end the war as
fast as possible, very quickly, to end this barbaric war. And to end it the right way. And the right way means the application of the laws of the U.S.
administration, for instance.
And the third task is to have a new Israeli government, because I think that the days of Mr. Netanyahu had long gone and it's time now to have a
new leadership in Israel as well. But this is for the Israeli side to decide upon. And the fourth task is to indeed agree on a political
framework that defines the end result a priori, which is basically Israel and Palestine live side by side and have mutual recognition between the
AMANPOUR: OK. That sounds all great, but there is the Hamas factor. And clearly, as you heard from Merav Michaeli, who's on the left, and frankly
everybody in Israel, can't even imagine a coexistence of the type you describe with Hamas part of the equation. As you heard, and I quoted Prime
Minister Shtayyeh said over the weekend that Hamas is part of the political mosaic. Do you believe that that's the case?
AL-KIDWA: Well, first of all, I am not representing the official Palestinian position as you referred correctly. Now, with regard to the
situation that I wrote publicly in the early days of the war, that there will be three changes. One, we are going to have a new Israeli government.
Two, we are going to have a new Palestinian leadership. Three, where we are going to have a new Hamas.
This is, I think, the best way to put it. So, in one hand, we are trying to accommodate the fact that there is an ideology, there is an idea, but at
the same time, we know that there is a new situation, a new results of the current war and the positions taken by many important parties, including
the United States and the West in general.
AMANPOUR: So, I just want to read you some polls and things, just to try to understand the Hamas part of this puzzle. So, before October 7th,
support for Hamas was in fact low in Gaza. There was a poll taken, the Arab Barometer Wave, and it said basically that it's -- you know, it's level of
approval was falling.
And indeed, I spoke to chief -- you know, a really serious Middle East expert, Fawaz Gerges, about this, and he agreed. He said, yes, Hamas has
failed in government. It's failed in all sorts of things to reach the needs of the actual people, but that it has gained because of what happened on
October 7th. So, this is a little bit of our exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Has Hamas not put itself out of the calling, out of the bidding?
FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: The Palestinians want dignity. The Palestinians want emancipation. The Palestinians want the end
of Israeli occupation.
If you ask me now, who speaks for the Palestinians? And it's sad to say it, Hamas now speaks for the Palestinians.
GERGES: Hamas now is the -- speaks for Palestinian's aspiration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, do you agree with, that he speaks for the -- that it speaks for the Palestinians? And then he -- you know, he sort of elaborated by
saying, for the aspirations. And I ask you that because the P.A., which you are not part of -- go ahead.
AL-KIDWA: There's a difference between saying Hamas speaks for the Palestinians and Hamas speaks for the Palestinian aspiration.
AMANPOUR: OK. So explain.
AL-KIDWA: I speak for the Palestinian aspiration. Many people speak for the Palestinian aspirations. Anyone who support independence right to self-
determination, live in dignity, speaks for Palestinian aspirations. So, I don't think it's the same thing.
In addition, I don't think that Mr. Gerges is correct when he speaks of the increase in popularity. I don't think this is accurate, at least not in
And anyway, myself and many friends, even before the war, advocated the necessity of changing the situation in Gaza, changing the governance in
Gaza, and we did have some serious discussions with each other and with Palestinian factions, including Hamas, by the way. And it seems to me that
there was some serious progress in that direction. However, of course, the whole thing stopped after the war.
Let me say, in spite of everything, that we are here because of the policies of Mr. Netanyahu. Otherwise, things would have been different a
long time ago.
AMANPOUR: What do you exactly mean from that? I mean, you know, they say it's whatever policies he's had -- he had, Hamas created the slaughter on
October 7th. So, what do you mean exactly?
AL-KIDWA: Fine. But who caused this situation to start with? Who maintained or encouraged the split between Gaza and the West Bank and
encouraged the presence of an authority under the control of Hamas in Gaza and an authority under the control of the Palestinian Authority in the West
Bank as a way to avoid any serious political solutions?
Who kept this situation for that long? Who targeted the Palestinian civilians in previous wars instead of targeting anybody else? That's what -
- by the way, that's what we are seeing now, also in much more larger scale and more atrocious way.
I mean, the amount of the death of Palestinian civilians, the number of the deaths and the amount of destruction is unbelievable. And I don't think
this is the way to deal with Hamas or any other threat to the Israeli security.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, because you have -- I mean, I'm just saying this myself, a sort of Palestinian pedigree. If you go back to the PLO, you were
PLO. You're not only that, you were the nephew of PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, who did actually make peace with the Israelis during -- and did
recognize the State of Israel during the Oslo negotiations.
So, how is it that the PLO/PA has become so discredited and that Hamas has gained so much strength? And tell me what it's like on the West Bank. We
kind of know what happened in Gaza, but what is it like on the occupied West Bank? Is Hamas a big political force there too and a military force?
AL-KIDWA: It is a force in the West Bank, thanks to the ineptness of the group that is governing now, the Palestinian Authority. Thanks again to Mr.
Netanyahu and to probably the support from some -- of some western powers.
There is absolute failure on the part of the group and control of the Palestinian Authority. The last time they went to election was 17, 18 years
ago. They destroyed the institutions completely. They violated the principle of the rule of law. They violated all kinds of basic rights of
the Palestinian people, et cetera, et cetera.
So, this is the situation that has to end. And it has to end because the Palestinian people, the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people
want it to end. Not because Mr. Netanyahu wants that, and not because Mr. Biden wants that, it's because the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian
people want that, and it is going to happen.
We are going to change this situation one way or another, and hopefully, through peaceful and nice way, but if not, there is the harsh way as well.
AMANPOUR: Well, that sounds like a bit of a threat. What do you mean?
AL-KIDWA: Well, I'm not threatening anybody, but again, this situation has to change, hopefully through the peaceful, nice way, but if not, then we
will have to go the harsh way. The harsh way, it doesn't mean military way or it doesn't mean bloodletting. It means the coming together of many
Palestinian factions with a clear political basis for the common work and frankly, getting into a situation that might be ugly, but necessary to
compete with the authority in Ramallah and to compete with the PLO and drive it out once and for all.
But hopefully, again, I am really hopeful that it's going to be the first scenario, the peaceful scenario, the scenario that requires some kind of
cooperation by the current group in Ramallah.
AMANPOUR: So, you are -- you're reserving a lot of your anger and your criticism for the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. But what is the
mechanism? I mean, there's a terrible war going on. Gaza seems to be completely separate from anything else. What is the mechanism, even within
your own -- you know, within the Palestinians to even have an accounting, a political accounting, elections, I mean, something? Is there any mechanism
or does it have to await the end of this war?
AL-KIDWA: Absolutely. You are absolutely right. The final -- the right solution is the general election. There is no doubt about that. But
frankly, you and me know that this is almost impossible now in the circumstances when we have more than a million and a half Palestinian,
displaced Palestinians, we can't ask them to come and vote.
So, we need to create some kind of resemblance of normal life for these people and then go for election. Until then, we need a transition. And the
transition, I think, the peaceful one, might be one that means, a -- the existence of fully mandated Palestinian government with Mr. Abbas and his
group's side stepping aside and not having any impact or any influence over the affairs of this government, whether with regard to the Gaza Strip or
with regard to the West Bank, because it's very important to affirm the unity of the Palestinian land as well as the unity of the Palestinian
people and the Palestinian administration as well.
AMANPOUR: Nasser Al-Kidwa, thank you very much. As we continue these conversations to see what might be possible after this terrible war. Thank
you so much.
Now, talking of democracy, the United States has a hard time being that standard bearer as Donald Trump is doubling down on his vision of being a
dictator. Yes, that is what he told the New York Young Republican Club's annual gala this weekend. I said I want to be a dictator for one day.
Jeffrey Goldberg is editor-in-chief of "The Atlantic." He recently launched a special edition of the magazine warning of the grave and extreme
consequences if Trump were to become president again. And he tells Walter Isaacson now why a second term would be even more dangerous than the first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Thank you, Christiane. And, Jeff Goldberg, welcome back to the show.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE ATLANTIC: Thank you.
ISAACSON: "The Atlantic" keeps setting the agenda. It's the one magazine that can do that. Why did you pick doing a special issue like this on the
dangers of a Trump presidency?
GOLDBERG: Because it's -- well, a number of reasons. One, I think that a second Trump presidency, based off of what we all saw on January 6th, I
think a Trump presidency, another Trump presidency, poses an existential threat to American democracy. I'm not making a partisan point. If Trump
were a registered Democrat and did what he did, we would say the same thing.
I think it's not too late to try to make these sets of arguments. It's -- you know, it's actually more than 20 different writers taking on their
subject area expertise. So, we have pieces on immigration and national security, the staffing of the military, the civil service, Supreme Court
issues. But it's really, ultimately, about a candidate for president -- a former president who is a current candidate for president who does not
respect American democratic ideals and democratic norms. And it's worth calling out, and it's worth calling out in one place and in one package so
that people can see it.
I don't make the assumption that people in media, in politics here in Washington, where I am, you know, we sometimes assume that everybody is
following events the way that we do. And -- but what we know also is that at this stage in a presidential campaign, a presidential cycle, people
aren't paying regular attention.
And so, I thought it would be good to remind people before the primary process begins of what happened the last time around.
ISAACSON: You say, as "The Atlantic" always does, that you're not part of any party or clique. But one of the things you all write is that the
Republican Party now has mortgaged itself to Donald Trump. Explain that.
GOLDBERG: Yes. Well, so my argument -- I think the institutional argument and my individual argument always been that one prerequisite for a healthy
democracy is to have at least a strong, vibrant liberal party and a strong, vibrant conservative party.
You want to have other streams of thought? Great. Other parties? Great. But that's the sort of a minimum. And what we've seen, unfortunately, in the
Republican Party is that it's become less a kind of hotbed of interesting conservative ideas, right, and policy prescriptions that you can take and
then hold up against liberal policy ideas and prescriptions and then argue it out in the marketplace.
It's become a cult of personality and it's subsumed itself to Mar-a-Lago in a very, very unhealthy, and to me, un-American. And so, we're in this shape
we're in not because Donald Trump is the putative Republican nominee, but because too many Republicans who know better are going along with this kind
of cult of personality.
And, you know, you know, this, and I know this. There are a lot of Republicans, not just the Mitt Romneys and Chris Christies and so on who
are actually calling out Donald Trump, a lot of Republicans who aren't calling him out who know what he's about and what happened on January 6th
and what happened before and after January 6th and are upset about it, but they're -- they want to keep their jobs or they're scared of harassment and
retaliation. And so, they don't say anything.
And these are the -- for instance, these are the kind of senators who knew better, you know, the Rob Portman's of the world who didn't vote to convict
in the second impeachment trial, even though they knew that Donald Trump had fomented an anti-constitutional rebellion against the settled election
results of 2020.
ISAACSON: You have about two dozen people writing in it, and one of them is David Frum, who makes that point, that it will be a revenge presidency,
that he'll take the FBI and weaponize it and do things, and I thought that was a little bit overblown, but he just came out in the past few days and
said it outright.
GOLDBERG: I don't think it's overblown. And one of the reasons I don't think it's overblown is I just spent a long period reporting on a large
article that appeared a couple months ago on General Mark Milley, the now former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who became a real thorn in Donald
Trump's side because Milley realized, as he was serving in the Pentagon, in that top job, he realized that Trump's loyalty was not to the constitution,
And after my article came out about Mark Milley and about his relationship with Donald Trump, Trump said that -- he said this plainly on social media,
he said that Mark Milley should be tried for treason for the things that he said and done.
So, like, I believe in taking people at their word. Donald Trump will come into -- if he comes into office, he will authorize his Justice Department
to investigate Mark Milley. Remember, Donald Trump is a person who threatened -- in his first term, he threatened to call back to active-duty
Generals Stanley McChrystal and William McRaven, two retired four-star generals, you know, incredible American patriots and soldiers. He
threatened to call them back to active-duty, which you can do as president in order to court martial them. Why? Because they were critical of his
There's nothing secret here. There's no -- I don't think there's anything overblown. He will blow open the norm that has existed for a very long time
that -- especially since the Watergate era, that the attorney general operates autonomously from the political operation of the White House,
That attorney general always annoyed presidents, right? Because they are in the cabinet, but they're running their own show. And the reason they're
running their own show is because they have to have prosecutorial independence, right? Donald Trump's going to get rid of that. He's promised
to get rid of that.
So, I -- look, I don't -- you know, you don't want to be a chicken little on the one hand, but on the other hand, you don't want to downplay the
threat, especially when he's articulated the threat.
ISAACSON: Your article about General Mark Milley was very revealing, especially since we thought that the adults in the room were going to be
our safety net in the first Trump presidency. Tell me about those adults in the room, what they're saying now, and whether you think there will be
adults in the room if there is a second Trump presidency.
GOLDBERG: The whole point of a second Trump presidency from Trump's perspective is that they're not the adults -- "adults in the room." He does
not want a team of rivals. He does not want serious advisers who say to him, yes, maybe you shouldn't do that. He wants people who will agree with
The adults in the room, the first time around, and those include, you know, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis, the first secretary of defense, and Bill
Barr, the attorney general, John Kelly, his DHS secretary, and then his chief of staff, and so on. They, to a person, believe that a second Trump
presidency would be a threat to the constitution of the United States. They've all said it publicly.
I mean, it's kind of astonishing that they're not heard, because in ordinary play -- if this was -- if ordinary political physics was applying
here, the rules of physics are applying, you know, when all of your cabinet or most of your cabinet from your first term comes out and say that you're
an active danger to the republic, voters would pay attention to that.
And by the way, we're not talking about, you know, rabid left, we're not talking about the faculty of Oberlin, you know, coming out and saying that
Donald Trump is a danger to democracy or like the mayor of, you know, Portland, Oregon, you're talking about retired marine generals, right?
You're talking about pretty tough guys Republicans who are saying that this guy is dangerous.
They did a good job for as long as they lasted in checking some of the worst impulses of Donald Trump. And Donald Trump has tremendous resentment
for them because he realizes that, in many cases, they -- he was outfoxed by that. And that's what he doesn't want to have happen the second term.
It's going to be MAGA from day one.
And what John Kelly did alone, throwing himself, you know, into the gears of the Trump administration to prevent some crazy things from happening,
you know, again, if ordinary rules applied, you know, John Kelly would be getting, you know, awards from Congress for doing what he did.
ISAACSON: So, that raises who might be in a second Trump presidency. McKay Coppins, you know, one of your great staff writers, speculated a bit on it.
I've seen Axios speculating now. It seems a bit like trying to handicap a dog race. But think through who might be in a second Trump presidency.
GOLDBERG: Right. Just to name two names, obviously Stephen Miller. We know Stephen Miller as the immigration czar and a real hardliner on immigration
and other issues from the first Trump White House. There's a very, very good chance that Trump would nominate him to be secretary of Homeland
Security. If the Senate were constructed in a way that wouldn't allow for him to get through, people are speculating that he could be the chief of
staff of the White House. So, you start with a Stephen Miller who's a real true believer, a real hardcore loyalist, and who believes that he's there
to serve Donald Trump, not the American people or the constitution.
Second example would be Rick Grenell, who basically was this Twitter troll who came to prominence in the Trump administration, worked in the
intelligence area, became an ambassador and is, you know, Trumpist all the way down.
And when Trump, the first day in office says, you know what, I think we should pull out of NATO. You're not going to get Rick Grenell in the White
House saying, you know what, maybe we shouldn't pull out of NATO. And here's why. You're going to have a person who says, yes, sir, I'll pull out
of NATO. We'll go do it.
ISAACSON: Anne Applebaum and your special issue addresses that issue of pulling out of NATO. And we know that Donald Trump in the next term, if he
gets one, wouldn't be supporting Ukraine. Tell me what the ramifications of all that would be to America's foreign policy.
GOLDBERG: Well, we would be inviting the dark ages across the planet. Again, not to be overly dramatic about it, but we're already having it.
We're already in a bit of a democratic recession, right? Russia is feeling its oats in Ukraine and, you know, the Ukrainians don't have them on the
ropes the way a lot of people hoped they would. They're in the fight, but it's not going extremely well.
Xi and China, the North Koreans, the Venezuelans, Hamas as another example. There are a lot of powerful organizations and countries right now that are
run in a very anti-democratic way. And, you know, Donald Trump has made it very clear that he admires strongmen. He said it, he loves Orban in
Hungary. He thinks Putin and Xi are great, strong leaders.
So, for those of us in the West who think that democracy is a flawed system, but it's the best one we have you know, it's going to be tough
times in America. You know, and you know this, you know, from 1945 onward, America set the rules of the road that the rules based international order,
post-World War II, was established and maintained by the United States.
Donald Trump is the first figure of his level of importance to fundamentally question whether America has to play that role or America
should play that role or that's a role worth playing. So, we're looking at some pretty serious consequences of a Trump victory.
ISAACSON: George Packer writes in the special issue about the press and says, you know, unlike Putin, he's not going to have to poison members of
the press because he's so undermined a public credibility, the public's belief in the press. Also, though, he would probably use the presidency to
go after some of the media. What do you think about that?
GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, I think, you know, Steve Bannon and Kash Patel, people who are in the loyalist camp, have said just this week that they
want to prosecute journalists for fake news or whatever the make-believe charges. I would fully expect them to try to change the laws or use
existing laws to punish and persecute journalists they don't like.
I mean, we are -- we're heading into something that seems incredibly dangerous. I just -- the -- what I tell people is, by the way, you know,
and I remember the two of us having this conversation about terrorist groups. Yes, when they tell you they're going to do something, believe
them, right? Or when Putin says, you know, Ukraine is part of Russia and doesn't exist as -- you know, a lot of people said, well, he doesn't mean
that. It's a metaphor. He's just saber rattling. Listen to people when they tell you what they're going to do, it's safest to listen to people.
And if people -- if Trump and people around Trump are saying that they're going to try to prosecute journalists for exercising their First Amendment
rights, they're going to prosecute journalists for exercising their First Amendment rights.
ISAACSON: You know, Greg Sargent, writing in "The Washington Post" a few days ago, said something about, enough with this fatalism, we're overdoing
it, and I think he quoted a scholar as saying, creating an aura of destiny around the leader galvanizes his supporters by making the movement seem
stronger than it is. What do you say to that?
GOLDBERG: I admire Greg's Sargent's work. I disagree with him on this. I think it's our job to highlight the threat. I don't think it's inevitable.
I think what's inevitable, or I would almost bet money on is that he's going to get -- Trump is going to get the nomination. I don't see that
going any other way though. Who knows?
I don't see his election as a foregone conclusion. That's why we call the issue -- if Trump wins, not when Trump wins.
ISAACSON: Jeffrey Goldberg, thank you so much for joining us.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
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AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, a treat. He is the acclaimed composer behind some of the most recognizable movie scores of the last 100 years.
From "Indiana Jones" to "Star Wars," "Jaws" to "Jurassic Park," "Saving Private Ryan" to "Schindler's List." John Williams career spans more than
six decades and 53 Oscar nominations. At 91 years old, he is the most nominated person alive at the Academy Awards.
Now, he's teaming up yet again with musical phenomenon Anne-Sophie Mutter, a four-time Grammy Award winning violinist, after they collaborated on two
albums together already.
Mutter is celebrating her 60th year with a performance of some of Williams most iconic pieces. Like this one.
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AMANPOUR: They join me live from the Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh to preview their concert tomorrow night for us. John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter,
welcome to the program.
Let me just state the obvious. Anne-Sophie, you are most well-known for, you know, playing the classics. You know, the Bach, Beethoven, Schubert.
And, John Williams, so much honored and well known as a movie, you know, composer.
Can you tell me first, John, what sparked the collaboration and the connection?
JOHN WILLIAMS, COMPOSER: Well, the connection was a very personal one. Anne-Sophie was married to Andre Previn, who we all remember as a great
composer, pianist, conductor, formerly the conductor of this house, Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, USA.
And I've known Andre -- I knew him for 70 years, he was like a brother to me, way before he was world famous and we were kids playing the piano. He
was always a little better than I was at most of those things, but encouraged me and almost acted as a mentor in a way.
And when he married Anne-Sophie, who I knew from her playing and her recordings, but who I never met, I became very interested in her always and
knew her with Andre in those years also. And so, he is -- Andre is the real connection that brought us together personally and musically.
I can -- I'll let Anne-Sophie talk also maybe a little bit about how we got together musically.
ANNE-SOPHIE MUTTER, VIOLINIST: Yes.
WILLIAMS: It has something to do with Christmas cookies.
MUTTER: Yes, eventually.
MUTTER: And so, I grew up at the foot of the Black Forest. And when the first "Star Wars" came into theaters in 1978, I was totally blown away by
the depth of the music, by its incredible richness of character and the light motifs. And over the years, how well that music developed into even
more because it had such a sophistication in itself and such a personal way to express characters.
And I became a deep John Williams fan, and I was also following his classical scores, of course. But, you know, from the Black Forest to
Hollywood, it's not just around the corner. So, I knew that Andre and John were very good friends. And so, I was the one who always asked Andre,
couldn't you ask John to write something for me?
And then, we met some 11 years ago at Tanglewood, and I asked John. And you were, as usually, very gracious, but pretty much turned the idea down. And
now, the cookie moment is coming into the story. I think you have to tell that, John.
WILLIAMS: Well, the story very quickly is, I actually forgot about her request to write something. And received in the mail a package from Munich.
I knew no one in Munich. And it were Christmas cookies. And they were from Anne-Sophie. This made me very guilty. So, I felt I had to write something
for that woman.
And so, I wrote a little piece called "Markings."
WILLIAMS: Which she enjoyed and performed around the world.
MUTTER: So, that was in 2017. Yes.
WILLIAMS: That flattered me sufficiently, and encouraged me and inspired me to do more.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's really great.
WILLIAMS: That's what --
AMANPOUR: Yes. It's great to see such huge talents, different styles, but huge talents collaborating. And, Anne-Sophie, you said, you know, "Star
Wars" is what sparked your fangirl-ism. And now, you have, John, composed for the two of you. You -- it's called the "Williams Concerto II." You are
playing, Anne-Sophie, and what we're going to do is play a little excerpt right now.
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AMANPOUR: So, you talked about this concerto as being one that you could only think of one person playing, and that was Anne-Sophie. John, what was
so, you know, special about this music for her?
WILLIAMS: Christiane, we mentioned a moment ago, a little short piece, the first thing I wrote for Anne-Sophie. And I listened to her play it, and
there were mannerisms that she displayed in this piece. Rhythmic proclivities, rhythmic -- little impulses to do. And the same thing with
phrasing, a little portamento, a little slide, or a little espressivo, we would say.
And so, when I set the time to write the concerto, I was thinking, the real inspiration was Anna-Sophie, because I remember these mannerisms of her and
then, her playing and her bowing technique and deliberately put some of it into concerto, almost literally, not quite.
But -- so, in a way, I was trying to imitate what I thought her style was in this particular rhythmic context where I was in the writing at that
moment. And so, in a way, Anne-Sophie is a co-authoress of the piece, if you like, in some respects.
MUTTER: Wow. That's a huge honor.
AMANPOUR: And what is it like, Anne-Sophie, to actually play the music of a living composer? I mean, let's face it, all the classics you play, you
know, the composers are no longer with us. What is it like?
MUTTER: Yes. Yes. It's always particularly exciting and very challenging to work with the living composer. In the case of John, it's ever more so
exciting because the diversity of his musical universe is totally unique.
And so, for me, playing Ray's theme, which you have rewritten for violin "Across the Stars," "Hedwig," many others, "Cinderella Liberty," is as
important to me as an artist and finding the right tone, the right personality, the right style as, of course, receiving this fabulous second
violin concerto, which have championed around the world literally in the last two years.
It's a huge honor, but there's always the risk of failure and not satisfying the wishes and dreams of the composer. So, you know, I'm happy
that John still talks to me and that we will have this wonderful occasion here in Pittsburgh and really, it's the greatest gift. Of course, the best
excuse one can have to, you know, ask John to conduct a part of a concerto, just use my 60th birthday as an excuse.
AMANPOUR: Yes, it's a good --
MUTTER: But really, it's the greatest present I could dream of.
AMANPOUR: Let's play an excerpt -- sorry. Go ahead, John.
WILLIAMS: Wonderful. No, well, very quickly that I said to Andre, you think Anna-Sophie, she's from Germany, she's a classical artist, she will
never play "Cinderella Liberty" with the jazz inflection that it needs, and he simply said she can play anything. And I discovered she can.
AMANPOUR: So, let's play her playing this excerpt from "Schindler's List."
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AMANPOUR: John, I almost saw your countenance change. You got really pensive, really, you know, thoughtful listening to this. Obviously, this
film was about, you know, the worst horrors that we can imagine. And it's very different from, you know, playing "Star Wars" or "Harry Potter," you
know, "Jaws," all of that.
AMANPOUR: What were you thinking, John, as you just heard that theme that you composed for Spielberg's film "Schindler's List"?
WILLIAMS: Well, the subject of something is always now going to be with us close in our hearts and in our souls. And I think there's a -- particularly
in that piece, there's a spiritual component of it that is something that we all share and it is a component that is beyond speech or words. It has
more to do with our connection with the cosmos as creatures with a mind, with creatures that have a sense of something more than the corporal life,
and that is our spiritual one.
And I think music takes us to that -- to those places. Subjects like the beautiful film of "Schindler's List" and the wonderful acting and writing
in it all conspire to create something more wonderful and more beautiful than any of us can do as individuals.
It becomes a cosmic spiritual kind of a moment. And this also describes live musical performances like here in Pittsburgh Symphony or Boston
Symphony, wherever we do these things.
So, it's a different part of our lives. It's not a material part, it's a spiritual part. And that was the opportunity that gave me in the film of
"Schindler's List," to write what I did.
AMANPOUR: And because you --
WILLIAMS: It's very simple, it's very direct, it's very --
AMANPOUR: I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I just wanted to say, because you're the elder statesman as we speak to you right now, I wonder, thinking
about all the incredible scores that you have created. Do you have a favorite and what would you like your legacy to be?
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't really have a favorite, Christiane. You know, my personality is such that I think there are some pretty good things in most
or all of the scores, but there are also things that I think to myself, I might have done a little bit better if I'd had another chance to do it.
But without giving an excuse to film writers, it's a little bit like journalism, you have to write the notes you want to write and have them
played right away and they're recorded before even the ink is dry.
So, my legacy, I will join Andre Previn and just saying I'd like to be remembered as a fairly decent working musician who was dedicated to the
nuts and bolts of writing those little notes with a pencil, musicians like Anne-Sophie bring to life.
MUTTER: But what would we be without your genius, John?
AMANPOUR: It's going to be --
MUTTER: We have nothing to express anything.
AMANPOUR: It's going to be a formidable concert tomorrow. The lucky people at Heinz Hall in Pennsylvania.
Look, we thank you very much. We could talk for a lot more time, but unfortunately, we're out of time now. But thanks for being with us.
MUTTER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: It was great.
WILLIAMS: Wonderful. Thank you, Christiane.
MUTTER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: John Williams, Anne-Sophie Mutter, thank you both so much.
And that is it for now. Goodbye from London.