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Interview With "Black Wave" Author And The Atlantic Contributing Writer Kim Ghattas; Interview With The Soufan Group Director Of Research And "After The Caliphate" Author Colin Clarke; Interview With The Bulwark, "The Focus Group" And "Defending Democracy Together" Co-Host Host Sarah Longwell; Interview With Chicago Project On Security And Threats Director And University Of Chicago Professor Of Political Science Robert Pape. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 05, 2024 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
Nearly 50 days in Hamas captivity with her children, one mother tells me her story.
Then, fierce mount of a wider war in the Middle East. But what are the risks? Regional and security experts Kim Ghattas and Colin Clarke join me.
Also, ahead, as Republican candidates make their case in Iowa, former GOP strategist Sarah Longwell breaks down the campaign trends so far.
And, almost three years on, from January 6th, how support for political violence has shifted in America. Walter Isaacson speaks to Robert Pape,
director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the program. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
This weekend will mark three months since Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7th. The horrors of that day, when at least 1,200 Israelis were
killed, are still reverberating around the world. And the Israeli military response is intensifying in Central and Southern Gaza, where more than
22,000 people have now been killed, according to the Hamas controlled health ministry there.
Meanwhile, a painful ordeal continues for the families of more than 130 people still thought to be held hostage in Gaza. Prospects of another deal
between Israel and Hamas to pause fighting are uncertain despite a temporary truce in November, which saw the release of 105 hostages. Among
those released was 34-year-old Doron Katz Asher and her young daughters.
Doron says she endured psychological warfare in captivity, as she told me when I sat down with her earlier this week in Tel Aviv.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORON ASHER, RELEASED ISRAELI HOSTAGE: I don't have enough tears.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Nearly six weeks ago, Doron Asher and her two young daughters returned home after spending roughly 50 days held captive
ASHER (through translator): The first thing that they did was to go outside to feel the wind on their skin and how good it feels because we
were never outside. We didn't see daylight that entire time.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Perhaps not yet fully able to process what happened, she exudes remarkable resilience.
ASHER (through translator): While we were hostages, all of my energy was dedicated to the girls because if I were to get lost in grief there would
be no one to take care of them. So, I was acting on autopilot. I was building walls around me and I'm still on autopilot.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): The three were visiting Doron's mother for the weekend at Kibbutz Nir Oz where the girls loved to play. That's five-year-
old Raz in the pink dress on the right, while 3-year-old Aviv holds onto her stuffed animal. This was their last photo taken before Hamas terrorists
rampaged through the Kibbutz killing 48 residents, including their uncle, Ravid.
ASHER (through translator): We woke up to the sound of sirens and were inside the shelter. And then rumors started to come in the terrorists had
invaded the Kibbutz.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): They hid in the safe room along with Doron's mother and her partner, 79-year-old Gadi Moses -- a man the girls called
Saba -- grandfather in Hebrew.
ASHER (through translator): He tries to speak with them in Arabic to give them money to try to save himself. And then after a few minutes there was
silence and we understood that they took him with them.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Eventually, another group of terrorists would arrive -- this time taking all four women with them to Gaza. Only three
ASHER (through translator): They have led us to the fence near the Kibbutz, and then they put us on a tractor with other Israeli hostages. And
on the way there, there was shooting going on. That's how my mother was murdered. I was hurt in the back and Aviv, my youngest, was hurt in the
GOLODRYGA (on camera): Once you got into Gaza, what happened?
ASHER (through translator): We got into our hiding place -- an apartment that belonged to a family. We were inside the room without the ability to
get out -- of course, closed door, closed window. And after 16 days, they relocated us to another place -- a so-called hospital.
GOLODRYGA: Did anyone tell you what was going on? Why you were there? Were they members of Hamas?
ASHER (through translator): They didn't give us a lot of information. They mainly tried to say that Hamas wants to release us but in Israel, no one
cares about us, which wasn't true. We didn't believe most of the stuff that they were saying.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): And of course, it wasn't true. Just over the border in Israeli, Doron's husband, Yoni, never gave up hope.
YONI ASHER, WIFE AND TWO YOUNG DAUGHTERS CAPTURES BY HAMAS: We are begging for your help. My babies, Raz and Aviv, doesn't have. Much time. I got to
see how hell looks like.
ASHER (through translator): The stuff that they've seen on October 7th, I couldn't hide from them. It's like we were in a war movie, but after that
it was very important to me that they wouldn't feel danger. And I told them there are no terrorists anymore and we are with good people who are
guarding us until we can return home.
GOLODRYGA (on camera): Were they good to you? The people?
ASHER (through translator): They didn't physically harm me, but there was a lot of psychological warfare.
GOLODRYGA: Like what?
ASHER (through translator): That we won't return to live in the kibbutz because it's not our house. It's not the place where we belong.
GOLODRYGA: Did you know if they were Hamas or just citizens in Gaza?
ASHER (through translator): They didn't give me a lot of info about them. I don't even know their names. I guess that the father is with Hamas, but
they didn't even give me much info. I just know he worked in Israel in the past, and that's how he knows Hebrew, and that's how we communicated.
GOLODRYGA: Were there other children there?
ASHER (through translator): Yes, he had children and grandchildren. And basically, his children were watching us 24/7.
I asked every day about my family, if they knew anything about Gadi, about my brother, about my brother's baby girl, they didn't give me any answers.
GOLODRYGA: Why do you think they moved you after 16 days?
ASHER (through translator): I think they tried to gather hostages together, because the day that we arrived at the so-called hospital, other
hostages arrived there as well. That was the first time that I met other hostages.
GOLODRYGA: Why do you keep saying so-called hospital?
ASHER (through translator): The hospital needs to treat six people. It doesn't hold hostages. There were a few times when the girls had high fever
and they were sick, and I had to take care of them and I needed to get them medication. So, they brought someone who they said that was a doctor. And
the next day I got medication from him for the girls, but it wasn't enough.
I used to put Aviv in the sink with cold water to bring down her temperature, but she was screaming and they would tell us to keep quiet.
And the girl had a high fever but I had to take care of her somehow.
GOLODRYGA: Could you hear the IDF bombing? Did you know was going on and were you worried that by mistake, that you and your girls would have been
in danger, as Israel was trying to retrieve you?
ASHER (through translator): I heard fighting, and yes, we were scared. The noises were very strong, very loud, but at least that's how we knew that
something was going on, in order to get us back home, to put the pressure on Hamas to release us.
GOLODRYGA: What did you fear the most when you were there?
ASHER (through translator): Surprisingly, it was the day that we were released. They were smuggling us out of the hospital, and they got us on a
Hamas vehicle to get to a meeting point with the Red Cross. We waited a long time for the Red Cross, and we were very scared because we didn't know
what was going on. No one gave us any info.
Once the Red Cross vehicles had arrived, thousands of Gazans, thousands, children, elderly, everyone came in and started to climb up on the cars,
and being on the cars. I was holding my girls, and I was scared of a lynch mob. And this was the first time that Raz said to me after a month and a
half of me protecting her, mommy, I'm scared.
They absolutely put on a show to dress me up in nice clothes and shoes before I was released when my girls and I were barefoot for 50 days and we
were cold because we were wearing short sleeves in November. It's one big show.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Today, the girls are back in kindergarten, and with family therapy for the most part, are readjusting well.
ASHER (through translator): There was one day that they saw a tractor here, and they asked if the evil men are here. And I had to tell them, no,
the tractor doesn't belong to the evil men. The evil men are in jail.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): And while they mourn their grandmother, Doron says the healing cannot really begin until all of the remaining hostages are
released, including Gadi.
ASHER (through translator): Yes, absolutely. The world has to understand the reality that the hostages are in. They're not being treated as human
beings. They don't give them medication. There's barely any food. Taking a shower is not something that's happening. We came back sick because of the
I don't want to think of how they are treating men there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Doron Asher speaking to me there from Tel Aviv. And a note that her younger daughter, Aviv, has just turned three years old today. We wish
them a speedy reunion with their grandfather.
Well, as these stories of personal suffering continue to emerge, fears of a wider war are growing in the Middle East. It's something the Lebanese
Foreign Minister told Christiane he is afraid of. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDALLAH BOU HABIB, LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTER: We don't want any escalation in the war. We don't want what's happening in the south to be
spread over Lebanon. We don't like a regional war because it's dangerous to everybody. Dangerous to Lebanon, dangerous to Israel, and to the countries
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And as tensions escalate, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has outlined plans for post war Gaza, envisioning the enclave no longer
controlled by Hamas and with no Israeli civilian presence. But what would that mean for the region?
Joining me to discuss is Middle East expert and contributing writer for The Atlantic, Kim Ghattas, from Beirut. And from Pittsburgh, director of
research at the Soufan Group, a collection of security experts, Colin Clarke. Welcome both of you.
Kim, let me begin with you because it was notable that for the first time, we heard of at least some plan from the present government in Israel of
what a post-war Gaza would look like, and that is from the defense minister, Yoav Gallant. He said Gaza's post-war governance should include
the involvement of four parties. That is Israel, the Palestinians, Egypt, and a multinational force, but no Israeli civilian presence should be
What do you make of that plan? It is interesting that we haven't heard a similar one or any response yet from the prime minister. But what do you
make of the plan of itself and its feasibility?
KIM GHATTAS, AUTHOR, "BLACK WAVE" AND CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Bianna, thanks for having me. It's good to be on the show.
I think there are lots of different plans being discussed. We've heard from Prime Minister Netanyahu. We've heard now from Yoav Gallant, it is the most
detailed plan so far that does not include Israeli military -- or Israeli civilian control of Gaza.
However, on the point of a multinational force led by the U.S. I think they'd have to check with the Biden administration. I don't think the White
House is interested in having any physical role on the ground in Gaza. And certainly, I think that Arab countries are not interested in participating
in a multinational force or participating and contributing to the reconstruction of Gaza unless it comes with a wider plan for a political
solution and a political horizon, not only for Gaza, but for the Palestinian issue.
And that's where you have the question of a two-state solution come in. And of course, still somewhere in the background simmering the idea of Saudi
Israeli normalization, which cannot go forward, in my view, and the Saudis will have made that clear already, cannot continue, cannot resume unless it
is part of the bigger regional picture.
And of course, in the meantime, Bianna, as I'm speaking to you from Beirut, there is, of course, as you mentioned, the risk of further escalation
before we even get to discuss what might happen in Gaza the day after.
GOLODRYGA: Colin, there are so many things that come to mind about what should come first. I mean, even when you look at Gallant's plan that he
unveiled, that he said that includes among those governing the Palestinians, he didn't say who among the Palestinians because Israel has
not come out and endorsed. the P.A. governing in Gaza, and obviously they would not allow for Hamas to remain in government there.
So, what is the likelihood that some sort of Palestinian government could be formed that could win the approval of the Palestinian people as well as
the Israeli government, not to mention support from regional actors and the U.S.?
COLIN CLARKE, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, THE SOUFAN GROUP AND AUTHOR, "AFTER THE CALIPHATE": I think the odds of that are very small at the moment. And I
think the Israelis in particular are at great risk of what we call mission creep of moving the goalposts continuously back. And that's been, you know,
a problem from day one. It's been an extremely myopic strategy. The military approach has been put way above any kind of idea about a political
or negotiated settlement, those two have been divorced and we're now only seeing bits and pieces.
So, you know, we can go back to the basics of studying warfare and that's, you know, war is politics by other means. So, at the end of the day, unless
there's a political settlement here and that's something that Netanyahu has bragged about denying the Palestinians for a long time, then we're really
just going to end up being back in the same situation six, 12, 18 months from now and we'll be sliding into, you know, a situation that maybe starts
to look a little bit like Israel and South Lebanon in 1982. They were there for 18 years and certainly didn't plan to be.
GOLODRYGA: Kim. There you are in Lebanon. I just returned from Israel and there's no shortage of conversations and disagreements that can be heard
almost in every single establishment about not only the disapproval of Prime Minister Netanyahu in general, but how the war is being conducted and
perhaps even too ambitious of a goal to eliminate fully and dismantle fully Hamas.
But we did see action taken this week. Israel hasn't claimed responsibility, but for all intents and purposes, most do assume that
Israel was behind the strike that took out a Hamas leader in Lebanon, a targeted strike Israel just notably stating that this was a Hamas leader
and not anyone else involved perhaps in Hezbollah leadership, not wanting to expand the -- this war and this issue further.
But is your take, as we've heard from Christiane's interview with the Lebanese foreign minister and as we've heard now twice this week from
Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, that there will be further action taken on the northern front at this point?
GHATTAS: What I found very interesting in the speeches by Hassan Nasrallah, first, the one earlier this week and then the one today, is his
clear signaling that they're open to compromise and indirect negotiations. They will not negotiate directly with the Israelis.
But from the onset, pretty much within a week after the horrendous attack of October the 7th, it was clear that Hezbollah and Iran were not
interested in an escalation, a full-on war that could involve Lebanon or potentially Iran. And so, they've calibrated their response very carefully.
In some ways, Lebanon is already at war. There are daily clashes on the border. There are 60,000 Lebanese civilians who had to leave South Lebanon,
and the clashes are intense, but this is a calibrated response, which allows Hezbollah to say that it is supporting the Palestinians, but not
going all out because they have their own interests.
And what I found interesting in Nasrallah's speech earlier this week is he said, if Israel wages war against Lebanon, our response will be without
limits. In other words, an Israeli strike against a Hamas leader in the middle of Beirut, which is actually an extra judicial killing on an
sovereign -- on another country's sovereign territory, he does not consider that war against Lebanon. So, they're looking every time to move their own
And again, today, signaling very clearly that the points of contention along the border that Lebanon still considers are occupied by Israel can be
negotiated, and those negotiations can only take place after the war in Gaza comes to an end.
So, again, clear signaling that they're not interested in war, but missteps and miscalculations can happen. And so, this country is living with a lot
of tension and fear about the day when something like that might get out of hand.
GOLODRYGA: And a lot of horrific memories dating back to 2006 and that horrific war there. Colin, you have the secretary of state making a fourth
visit to the region, really a whirlwind trip to many countries there in the region, landing in Turkey today with the focus on this war not expanding.
Yet, each and every time we have seen the U.S. make any sort of attempt to keep that from happening, we see further action, whether it be in Iran, in
Iraq, in the Red Sea by the Houthis and now, focusing on Northern Israel and tensions there with the Lebanese border.
What if anything can the U.S. do, in your view, to keep this situation as quiet and not avoiding the inevitable -- and avoiding the inevitable?
CLARKE: Well, I think, you know, the fact that it's the secretary of state's fourth trip now in a very short time frame is really a test and
acknowledgement that we're already in a regional war. It's a low boil war compared to where things could go.
But I thought Kim had a really nice piece in "The Financial Times" a few weeks ago, where she said that the region has settled into the rhythm of
war or something along those lines. And I think that's a really astute observation, because we're now seeing this from Gaza to Lebanon, Syria,
Iraq, Yemen, there's no part of the region that's really unscathed from what's happening.
And this was Qasem Soleimani's dream, right? Creating this, you know, axis of resistance that really didn't acknowledge the borders and the boundaries
in the Middle East. So, I think the U.S. has a major role to play, not only on, you know, standing with the Israelis and advising and providing, you
know, hard advice and sometimes advice that the Israelis don't want to hear and trying to prevent missteps and miscalculations, but also in providing
that deterrent response that we've seen so far really is one of the few countries in the world that is able to marshal strength, the military
hardware to do something about the status as well.
GOLODRYGA: And then, you throw another player into the mix here, Kim, and that is ISIS. Because you hear Colin mentioned Soleimani and we know what
happened in Iran on the fourth anniversary of his assassination where you saw 100 people killed after explosions that ISIS now took credit for.
This coming just a day after everyone assumed that it had been Israel that had taken out one of the Hamas leaders in that targeted killing in Lebanon.
What is ISIS doing here? What message do you think they're sending?
GHATTAS: You know, chaos actors, spoiler actors, groups like ISIS thrive in this kind of atmosphere. And so, they'd be looking to provoke more chaos
in Iran. And I think it's a sad state of affairs where we're almost relieved that the culprit was ISIS and not Israel. It's not the usual MO of
Israel to go after targets like that, civilian targets in Iran. They've been very precise in their targeting before, although, of course, they
don't admit to any of these strikes.
But it's a sad state of affairs when the initial fear was, my goodness, this could be even a wider conflagration now between Israel and Iran. And
then, there's some relief with, of course, a lot of sadness for the civilians in Iran who were killed, that it is only ISIS, if I may put it
But as Colin was pointing out, it's important to see that we are already in a sort of horizontal, low level intensity war across the region. You know,
we should not be waiting for the conflagration. I don't see a conflagration on the border between Israel and Lebanon, not anytime soon. We'll have more
of this, more attacks in the Red Sea, more clashes on the border between Israel and Lebanon, more strikes, Israeli strikes. against Syria,
And I think to answer your question to Colin about what the United States should be doing, what the White House should be doing is push as much as it
can possibly with its allies, with Israel, with the Saudis, with the Egyptians, with the Palestinians to get to the point where we can have a
serious conversation about the day after and a serious conversation about a wider political horizon and solution for the Palestinians, which allows all
of this tension to be diffused to some extent.
GOLODRYGA: Colin, is that where this all ends, the quicker the Gaza war can come to an end, the quicker that a two-state -- a permanent two-state
solution can be agreed to, all of the things that we're seeing now, whether it's from the Houthis, whether it's Northern Israel, even other proxies
that driven by Iran?
CLARKE: Well, if only it were that simple, I think the quicker the war ends, the quicker -- you know, the better it is for the civilians that are
being slaughtered on a regular basis. Let's, you know, look at that as first and foremost through a human aspect.
I think there's a number of things that could go wrong here. We have to consider the second order effects of some of these, if you want to call
them kind of micro battles or individual theaters. And I look at Iraq, most specifically, with the recent U.S. strike in Baghdad against Shia militia
The second order effective that could potentially be pressure on the Iraqi government to expel the United States, and if that does happen, a group
like ISIS is bound to come back in some shape or form. And I think. The recent attack in Iran is indicative of what we might expect should the U.S.
be forced to leave Iraq and to kind of give free reign to an Islamic state that's really hung around and is waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc
in the region.
GOLODRYGA: Kim, I'll give the final word to you. What, if any, role does Egypt and the Saudis, who have notably sat this one out thus far, have in
lowering the temperature here?
GHATTAS: A very important role, but they're also looking to see how the military operations and the war in Gaza proceeds because there is no point
discussing the day after or a two-state solution, and it certainly isn't going to be simple, and it's not going to happen this year. But it has to
be the horizon.
So, the Egyptians have a great role to play, both in their relationship with the Palestinian Authorities. They border Gaza. And for the Saudis, of
course, the big jackpot, if you will, for the region for Israel, even to have normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia and what that could
bring in terms of stability in the region and relations with other Arab countries, you know, that's what the U.S. administration needs to really
push forward to indicate what is possible, what are the positive potentials, knowing very well that it's not easy and that it's been tried
before, but that is certainly a better alternative to what we're seeing unfold right now for everybody in the region. This is not going to get
GOLODRYGA: Sadly, it won't. An expert conversation. Thank you so much. Colin Clarke, Kim Ghattas, always a fan of yours. But the way you've been
able to navigate that pesky fly and continuing talking on point on this very serious matter is something to marvel. Appreciate your time, both of
you. Thank you.
Well, we turn now to the U.S. and Iowa. Republican candidates are in the final stretch of campaigning there. With Trump still the clear front
runner, Nikki Haley made her case against him directly to voters on CNN last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But the reality is, rightly or wrongly, chaos follows him. And we all know that's true. Chaos
follows him. And we can't have a country in disarray, and a world on fire, and go through four more years of chaos. We won't survive it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: But is Trump's win inevitable? And after he was blamed for the party's dire performance in 2022's midterms, what explains his resurgence
and continued hold on the party?
Sarah Longwell is a former GOP strategist who regularly speaks with voters about this and joins the show to discuss.
So, a loaded question there, Sarah, but an important one. Is his nomination all but secured at this point? And if so, given all of the headwinds that
he is facing personally, why has he not lost support from the most of his base?
SARAH LONGWELL, PUBLISHER, THE BULWARK, HOST, "THE FOCUS GROUP" AND HOST, "DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER": Yes. So, I do think his win is inevitable.
He is dominating in every poll, both nationally and in the early states. For people like me who desperately want to see somebody beat Donald Trump
and want to make the optimistic case, you could say, well, the lead is a little bit narrower for Donald Trump in some of these early states, but it
is still 20 points in most cases or at least double digits.
I'm not sure we've ever been in a primary situation where we've had somebody who is so dominant. I talked to voters every week. I just did a
focus group in Iowa with two-time Trump voters, and they weren't even considering anybody else.
There was one woman who was a little Nikki Haley curious, but for most of them, they took it as a fait accompli that Donald Trump was going to be the
nominee. And I think it one of the reasons that he has maintained such a dominant lead is sort of two reasons. One is they like him, OK? They think
he did a good job. They talk about what a good job he did on the economy. They like what he did on immigration. They like his stance on crime and
they feel like he's a known quantity.
The other problem is that, look, when I was doing focus groups a year ago, right after the 2022 midterms, there was an opening for somebody else
besides Trump. There was sort of a decent chunk of the party that was sort of move on from Trump. And those people were very Ron DeSantis curious. But
as they've gotten to know Ron DeSantis, they've decided that they don't like him.
In this Iowa focus group, people talked about DeSantis has seeming like he's given up. That he's depressed. I mean, he's just -- he's a regular
politician. He's wooden. And so, as a result. Basically, you can't beat something with nothing and Trump was something. He has a deep relationship
with these voters. They voted for him multiple times.
And so, these other candidates needed to come in and really give voters something that would make them turn their heads. And basically, they've
looked at the other options and they've said, we'll stick with Trump.
GOLODRYGA: And yet, he was always known as the chaos candidate, the chaos president. But by coming out and telling voters, I'm your retribution they
are coming after me to get to you and I'm in the way. And I'm talking about the 91 indictments now and -- 91 charges, I'm sorry, the four indictments.
And we've got concerns about whether he can even be on the ballot in multiple states, that's going up to the Supreme Court. How is this all
sitting with voters?
LONGWELL: They are fine with it. I just -- and I want to point out when Nikki Haley says, chaos follows him about Trump, she's using the passive
voice. She's not saying Trump causes chaos. She's not saying Trump is a chaos candidate. She's saying the chaos just follows him. And this has been
part of the problem this entire race is that the people who are challenging Trump for the presidency will not talk about the things that he does that
make him a vulnerable general election candidate.
But the fact is for a Republican primary audience, they see the indictments, they see many of the things that she means when she says
chaos. When I talk to voters about, what do you think about the fact that there's 91 indictments? They say things like, yes, that's because the
establishment is scared of him. That's because Democrats are out to get him.
And these voters have -- they've generated a real bond with Trump. When he says, I'm your voice, I'm your retribution, they do see attacks on Trump as
attacks on them. And that's why when he is indicted for things, he gets stronger because they rushed to his defense. It creates this rally round
Trump effect that I have seen now for years, whether it's an impeachment or an indictment or being taken off the ballot in some of these states.
Their relationship with him is one of they feel like he is one of them. He speaks for them. An attack on him is an attack on them. And that's why you
see this weird phenomenon that's different from any other politician where when he's in trouble they move toward him, not away from him.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, they don't see this as an opportunity for them. They sort of use all of these cases and charges against him, they view it almost
sympathetic -- sympathetically to him, as if they're not deserved. But as you said, because there's all this chaos, that in and of itself stands in
the way of his candidacy, and it's clear that his supporters just aren't buying that.
We focus on Iowa, that's just days away, but after Iowa is New Hampshire, and that's clearly where Nikki Haley is putting her focus on right now. I
know you said that in your view, Donald Trump is the inevitable nominee, but is there anything that could happen between now and New Hampshire that
could change that from Nikki Haley's standpoint?
LONGWELL: Yes. So, let me give you the optimistic pitch for Nikki Haley. So, if she comes in second in Iowa and beats Ron DeSantis there, first of
all, that basically ends Ron DeSantis' career, if he comes in third in Iowa, because he is staking everything on coming in second.
But so, if she exceeds expectations and comes in second, and then she goes in New -- to New Hampshire with a lot of wind at her back, and where there
are a lot of independents and undeclared voters who can vote in that primary, then she could possibly either come in a much closer second to
Donald Trump, or in the absolute craziest scenario, she wins New Hampshire.
And the idea would be that that would create the narrative that Donald Trump is not inevitable. And that if you can do that before she goes into
her home state of South Carolina, that you could change the trajectory of this race.
Now, for that to happen, it would have to defy everything I know about Republican voters, which is that they don't want a pre-Trump candidate.
They view Nikki Haley -- see, voters say some -- the way voters talk about Nikki Haley is they say, I don't hate her, I like her OK, but they see her
as establishment, as somebody representative of the old Republican Party, which they believe that they've moved past. And which they say, very
specifically, I don't want to go back there. I want America first policies. I want Trump or candidates like him.
And I think when they talk about somebody being a regular politician or establishment, the way they talk about Nikki Haley, for them, that means
somebody that they can't trust. And so, I just have a hard time seeing a sea change in her favor, but that's the way it would have to happen. She'd
have to really win New Hampshire or come in just right on Trump's heels.
GOLODRYGA: Well, it's clear that Trump sort of shares your view and is more focused on the general election and taking on his former rival, Joe
Biden. Here's what he said about Joe Biden and what he views as his perceived weaknesses recently in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: During this holiday season, families all across America are
struggling under the brutal weight of Crooked Joe's failures, disasters, and heartless betrayals. You know that. While the stock market is making
rich people richer, Biden's inflation catastrophe is demolishing your savings and ravaging your dreams.
His sky-high energy prices, nobody's ever seen anything like it, are brutalizing your wallets. Our border has been erased. We have no border any
longer. Drugs, criminals, gang members, and terrorists are pouring into our country. They're running wild in our Democrat run cities while Christians
and conservatives are Persecuted, and thanks to Crooker Joe's breathtaking weakness, he is bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Is that a winning message? I mean, there was a lot in there, but everything that he said, does that appeal to voters in America, whether
it's Republicans or Democrats who may be a bit neutral at this point about Biden? Because when you look at just the numbers and the statistics in
general, the economy is doing fairly well. We got another better-than- expected jobs report. The country is doing much better than any other western country in terms of the economy and even inflation, which remains a
thorny issue, but has lowered substantially from its highs. That's a positive for Biden. And yet, it's not reflected anywhere in the polls.
LONGWELL: Yes. A lot of that is because voters tend to be a lagging indicator on the economy. And also, you know, when I do the focus groups,
people hear that the macroeconomy is improving. But until they see prices come down, especially for household items that they buy every day, like
eggs or gas, that's where they tend to really feel the pinch.
And I do hear in every focus group, whether it is Democrats, swing voters or Republicans, a lot of concern about the economy. And so, the question
about the message, do I think that's the right message? Yes, I do. I think that immigration and the economy are going to be major issues.
I have a lot of concerns, though -- actually, I don't have concerns. I think the problem is the messenger. And, you know, Donald Trump is still a
huge liability for the Republican Party because swing voters, even if they agree with him, even if they're frustrated with Biden, they find Trump to
be a toxic and pernicious force on the country, even if they're not thinking about democracy per se, they think he's a bad person. They don't
And I think once it becomes a contrast election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, you know, you don't have to build a pro Joe Biden coalition,
you're building an anti-Trump coalition, and that includes a lot of soft GOP voters and right leading independents, college educated, suburban
voters who used to vote Republican, but for whom Trump has become a toxic force.
And so, while I think his message could resonate with a lot of people, I think Trump as a messenger, just like he's a known quantity for his base,
he's a known quantity for swing voters, and they've said no to him before, and I think they'll do it again.
GOLODRYGA: All right. Sarah Longwell, we'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for the time today. We appreciate it.
LONGWELL: Thanks for having me.
GOLODRYGA: Well, tomorrow marks three years since a mob of Americans stormed the Capitol, and yet the dark shadow of January 6th continues to
hang over the fate of the U.S. democracy.
According to a Washington Post University of Maryland poll, Republicans are more sympathetic to the rioters and more loyal to Donald Trump than they
were in 2021. While over a third of all Americans now believe Biden's election win was illegitimate.
Robert Pape is the director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, and he joins Walter Isaacson to discuss why political violence has moved
from the margins to the mainstream.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Thank you, Bianna. And Robert Pape, welcome to the show.
ROBERT PAPE, DIRECTOR, CHICAGO PROJECT ON SECURITY AND THREATS AND PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Thank you for
ISAACSON: It's been three years since the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol and you've been studying people who talk about using violence as a
political weapon. What have you been finding?
PAPE: Well, we've been finding quite a bit through detailed studies of every person that has been arrested for offenses related to January 6th.
And then, also, following up those studies with detailed national surveys. of political violence sentiments in the national population.
And the big finding, Walter, is that this is -- it goes way beyond support for violence, goes way beyond Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. What we are now
seeing are mainstream Americans and even affluent Americans, people with something to lose, willing to support violence for their political goals.
And that is very difficult for our society to come to grips with. It's difficult for our politicians to come to grips with. It's difficult for the
media to come to grips with, but it is the reality that we face and that we faced on January 6th.
ISAACSON: Hey, what's causing this in people?
PAPE: There's a different causes probably on the right and the left. So, our -- we've been studying, not just simply support for Trump, but that's
been our main focus, but also, there's some issues related to the left.
But let me just focus on the main threat we face, which is the main threat we face is really coming from the right. And why is that the case? It's
because in order to get serious political violence, either strings of lone wolf terrorism or mass violent collective instances like we saw in January
6, you need a combination of things, you need not just a large amount of violent sentiments in the mainstream of the public, but you need political
figures willing to activate those sentiments, willing to egg them on.
This is why Donald Trump is a dangerous and uniquely dangerous threat is because what he's demonstrated on January 6th and even after is both the
capacity and willingness to inspire significant numbers of people to use violence for his political objectives. And so, that is really the danger
from the right.
Now, why would they do that? Our studies suggest that there is a serious belief and fear that there is a demographic change happening in the country
that's happening maliciously. It's not just happening because people don't want to have children.
The -- many figures on the right are touting what's called the Great Replacement. This idea that the Democratic Party is deliberately and
maliciously deciding to change the composition of the electorate not over 40 or 50 years, but in the near-term to fundamentally shift the nature of
our political system.
And you see this with Donald Trump's rhetoric, with Tucker Carlson's rhetoric, you see this with Steve Bannon. So, these are just to name a few
of the many, many individuals, both in the media and political figures, who are making this argument and causing people to be very fearful of
immigrants and demographic change in general.
Well, if you combine that fear with the belief that the system is rigged, that you can't solve the problem through normal political constitutional
means, now you have the ingredients for serious violence. And that is what we are experiencing.
ISAACSON: Now, you say it's mainly on the right. And yet, I saw in your surveys that 9 percent, which is a higher number than on the right, 9
percent of the left feels it'd be permissible to use violence to keep Trump from being president.
PAPE: Yes, this is -- yes, that is exactly right, Walter. So, what we've done is not only focused on one side of the political spectrum, we want a
360 view of what's in front of us. And what we see on the left are a significant number of people in the mainstream who are -- would be willing
to support political violence.
And as you quite -- as you say, the numbers are actually slightly higher in terms of raw numbers on the left than on the right. The difference is that
on the left, the main leader of the left, Joe Biden, has been the opposite of Donald Trump. Rather than pour gasoline on a fire with political
rhetoric, trying to stimulate violence or justify political violence, what's happening with President Biden is even for goals that are on the
left, he has been trying to tamp down movement toward political violence and vectored into politics.
ISAACSON: Do you think that means that on the left, you could end up having a populist left-wing leader emerge who taps into that urge for
PAPE: I'm -- yes. I'm sorry to say there is that potential on the left. This populist violence, I call it violent populism, Walter, is a
combination of two ingredients. One is mass sentiments for violence in the mainstream, the body politic. The second is leaders willing to stimulate
and trigger that violence.
On the right, we have both of those ingredients, and that's what's making things so dangerous on the right, and why we see so many instances of
political violence, whether it's -- even against Congress, members of Congress, which are really oriented around their support for Donald Trump.
That is, people on the left are being -- are receiving violence threats if they oppose Donald Trump and also, Republicans who oppose Donald Trump are
being threatened with physical violence in members of Congress.
We're not seeing that to the same degree on the left. And why is that? It's not because there's not violent sentiments, there's actually quite a bit of
violent sentiments on the left, whether it's to oppose Donald Trump or support the restoration of abortion rights. But what we're seeing are --
political figures on the left are making active efforts.
Joe Biden's speeches on Roe v. Wade are a key example of this. On June 22, 2022, that's when the Supreme Court overthrew Roe v. Wade, that Friday. Joe
Biden, early that morning, gave a long speech. He was very opposed to what the Supreme Court did, but he has a big fat paragraph in that speech, not
simply a one liner, that says directly that the left, his constituents should not act out violently. And he says this over and over again about
why this would be wrong in so many ways. And instead, should vector that anger toward the ballot box and energy for voting.
ISAACSON: There have been a whole lot of indictments against Donald Trump. Do those indictments. end up increasing the number of people on the right
who are in favor of violence to keep -- to restore him, or does it tamp down the sentiment?
PAPE: Yes. So, the indictments against Donald Trump are increasing not just vote for Trump, as we now know, but radical, violent support for
And we see this very clearly in our surveys. You see, Walter, our national surveys are -- we do them every quarter. And what you can see is you can
see over time, a clear spike up with the radical violence support for Trump with the federal indictments for Trump, and this is really quite worrisome
because that's the component, that radical support for Trump, which is encouraging the violence, and that's what's underneath those continuing
waves of violent threats, violent threats even against Joe Biden, violent threats against Obama, violent threats against the prosecutors.
Just in the last few days we had a whole string of threats against state houses, that's coming from that violent support for Trump, which is growing
separately from vote for Trump, and that's what's encouraging the violence. And that's what also could go become even more extreme as we go through the
events of 2024.
ISAACSON: Circling back to January 6th and the attack on the capital there, you take some issue about the way people -- the organized groups of
character rise, meaning the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Why is that?
PAPE: Because we've learned a tremendous amount in the last three years about who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.
On January 6th, if you look at the images, we know that there are hundreds, probably thousands storming the Capitol, but the media and many others
tended to focus on a handful of examples. They tended to focus on the image of the QAnon Shaman, for example. That was a very vivid image we will all
They tended to focus on the image of an Oath Keeper, somebody in the military garb, for instance. Well, that's very easy to focus on. But that
very quickly became that this was Trump plus a handful of nuts here. Well, now that we have studied the over 1,000 people who have been charged, what
we see is fully half are doctors, lawyers, architects, they are business owners, they are CEOs. They are executives from Intel.
This is really stunning. These are -- all the years I've been profiling terrorists, politically violent individuals, I've never had to have a
category called business owner. We haven't had -- we -- yes, we have a few odd examples of the white collar, but in this case, it's fully half of the
individuals who stormed the capital. And these are not people that simply walking through this kind of nonviolent trespass, what we have in our
documented studies at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats are image after image after image of the gynecologist doctor, the female doctor from
Boston and a very famous -- works at a very famous Boston hospital during the day. And then what is she doing? She's slugging it out with police in
the rotunda. And we see this in the police body cam film.
We have Intel Corp execs slugging it out with police, taking their batons and bashing them over the head. We have picture after picture after
picture. So, I don't simply mean that these more mainstream and affluent folks were kind of sauntering just kind of through the Capitol or being
escorted by police.
One gentleman, a person, went to the White House Christmas party in December 2018. There's a picture of him with Vice President Pence and Laura
Trump. And then, he is in the rotunda. There takes five cops to hold him down. He's fighting them so hard. And he's saying, shoot me, shoot me. This
is extremely violent behavior from what we consider to be mainstream, even affluent individuals.
And this is the storyline that's been basically missed here. And I think it's because what happened is, quite understandably, the media wanted to
focus on some key examples. They're often looking for the telling example to create the narrative. And the basic narrative for the media has been
Proud Boys, Oath Keepers. And of course, that makes it very easy for the -- the FBI has built for organizations to put down organizations like the
Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. They were built to take down organizations like that. So, that makes it very easy then to focus on these groups.
But if you look at the whole, it's a much more disturbing picture. The 90 percent of who stormed the Capitol that the public really hasn't seen are
more disturbing than the 10 percent we have focused on.
ISAACSON: So, those 90 percent, those business leaders and doctors and whatever, what radicalized them?
PAPE: So, we've been able to pour through all of the court documents from indictment to sentencing for each of those over 1,000 people. In many
cases, there's hundreds of court documents related to each individual. And we can also go through all of the social media posts. We can go through the
other stories and local papers.
And so, what you, what you see is that they're -- and they gave statements, and many of them were proud of what they did, Walter. They weren't hiding.
They were true believers. And what were they believing in? They were believing in Donald Trump's statements that the election was stolen. And
number two, that they're doing this to save democracy.
So, when their view, what was -- and this view is coming, not just from the media in general and Alex Jones, it's coming from statements from Trump. In
fact, many of them are saying, I'm here because Trump called us here. I'm here because Trump told us to stop the steal. They're expressing it
directly in terms of Trump told them to.
Well, he is the sitting president of the United States. So, when he makes these statements, Walter, he's not simply has an audience of millions of
people, he has the authority that comes with that and that mantle. And for many of these people, he is still the president of the United States, you
So, that is why that -- it's not impossible for that to happen again, but it would take more of an orchestrated effort. But that's also why, Walter,
it's important to see, we've learned a lot in the three years since January 6th. And it is -- it changes, I would say, the narrative that we had then
about 90 degrees.
The narrative that we had is not 100 percent wrong, it's just off enough that we're missing the core elements of the real dangers to democracy.
ISAACSON: You've mentioned Trump so many times in this discussion so far. If Trump were not around, would this phenomenon disappear?
PAPE: Well, Trump clearly has been the leader of this insurrectionist movement, and I think it's fair to call it an insurrectionist movement
because this movement is willing, and Trump has said, to depart even from the principles of the constitution to achieve their political goals.
He's clearly been the leader, but there have been a growing number of, you can call them mini-Trumps and so forth, who are coming right out of the
Trump playbook. This has happened in other societies, Walter. This happens in other terrorist groups, by the way. I've been spent -- I spent 30 years
studying terrorist groups around the world and violent societies around the world.
Many people think, oh, if the leader would just go away, then everything would be fine. And the truth of the matter is that almost never happens.
The truth of the matter is when the leader goes away in these violent movements, typically, you get a younger, more aggressive generation who've
got to prove themselves, and they typically are proving themselves through violence.
So, I think that there's a hope, I think, by many people that, oh, we just need to wait out Trump and -- or somehow Trump will just disappear for a
variety of reasons and then everything will be simply fine. That's putting -- I think that's missing the forest through a very big tree of Trump. But
I think it's missing the general landscape that we've now moved into.
ISAACSON: Robert Pape, thank you so much for joining us.
PAPE: Thank you, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And finally, goodbye, Glynis Johns. The British actress died Thursday in California. She was 100 years old.
Johns' signature husky voice earned her a Tony Award for Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music." But for most of us, she will be remembered for the
energetic suffragist Mrs. Banks in "Mary Poppins."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLYNIS JOHNS, ACTRESS, "MARY POPPINS": I always knew you were one of us. We're clearly soldiers in petticoats. Dauntless crusaders for women's
votes. Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mrs. Banks.
JOHNS: Cast off the shackles of yesterday. Shoulder to shoulder into the fray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: I grew up watching her. What a talent. Such a joy to watch even six years later. May her memory be a blessing.
Well, that is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can
always catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.
Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from New York.