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Interview With Former U.N. Special Envoy For Yemen And U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths; Interview With Ghost Island Media Producer And Co-Founder Emily Y. Wu; Interview With "Anatomy Of A Fall" And "The Zone Of Interest" Actress Sandra Huller; Interview With The New York Times National Politics Reporter And The New York Times "The Run- Up" Host Astead Herndon. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 15, 2024 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
From Gaza to Ukraine and beyond, we take a hard look at the suffering of civilians trapped in war zones with Martin Griffiths, U.N. humanitarian
Then, Taiwan voters have spoken, but what effect will the result have on China? Journalist Emily Wu joins us from Taipei.
Also, meet Sarah Huller -- Sandra Huller, the actress who stars in two of this awards season's buzziest contenders, "Zone of Interest" and "Anatomy
of a Fall".
Plus, as Iowa caucus goers gather in the January deep freeze, Hari Sreenivasan speaks with New York Times national political reporter, Astead
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Houthis fired a ballistic missile at a U.S. vessel off the coast of Yemen today, showing that they're still fighting even after U.S.-led air strikes,
adding to fears the Israel Hamas war could expand. After 100 days of this war, the toll on civilians keeps getting worse.
The World Health Organization warns Gaza could be on the brink of famine. With the entire population, more than 2 million people suffering from an
acute shortage of food, water and medical assistance. The United Nations is desperately trying to plug the aid gap here and in other war zones. Martin
Griffiths, undersecretary general for Humanitarian Affairs, tweeted about Ukraine today saying, remember Ukraine? We do. People continue to face
death and displacement as homes, hospitals and schools are destroyed.
We spoke about the alarming rise of war around the world amid the failure of diplomacy when he joined me from UNHQ in Geneva.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Martin Griffiths, welcome to the program. Look, we're obviously going to talk about the important matter of Ukraine, but first to the
breaking news. Yet more, you know, military action in the Red Sea and strikes also by the U.S. and the U.K. on the Houthis in Yemen. You used to
be the Special Envoy for Relief there, and you were very instrumental in brokering some kind of cessation of hostilities. What is your biggest
concern about the current state of play?
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, FORMER U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR YEMEN: Well, look, Yemen, Christiane, as you know, because we've talked about this before, was one of
those few, perhaps the only place in the world where we all had some hopes of real peace, after six or seven years of terrible war, and that is being
snatched away from us by these circumstances. And I'm not blaming one side or the other. I can understand why those strikes happened and so forth.
I can understand, although not agree with the Houthis reaction to it. But it's one more terrible consequence, and it is a really serious consequence
of the war in Gaza, isn't it? That we should lose sight of one conflict where people in Yemen had a real chance of changing their lives and being
able to go to work safely every morning. Let's still hope that can be brought back. But that would be my main focus.
AMANPOUR: And just let's not forget that Yemen, before this Gaza situation, was one of the worst, poorest places in the world. And even now the vast
majority, the vast majority, 90 percent of the population of Yemen relies on food aid. that arrives via sea. OK. So, we've stated that.
But what I want to ask you, given, you know, how the Gaza thing is happening, the bombardment of Yemen during the war, the bombardment of the
Houthis by the Saudi coalition aided by the United States, et cetera, was designed to crush an Iran-based proxy. It didn't do that, did it? Are there
cautionary lessons to be told from that six-year war?
GRIFFITHS: Well, you know, I'm not a military man, but I do think, quite strongly, that using sort of high-tech military methods or even the ground
force assault methods we're seeing in Gaza to root out a terrorist group well entrenched, both in Sana'a and Yemen and in Southern Gaza now to
terrorist groups, I don't think the Houthis ever been formally designated to extremist groups, we haven't seen either of those work very easily. And
what we have seen in both cases is, of course, that awful euphemistically called collateral damage.
And it's particularly bad in Gaza because of the high proportion of children, of course, who have suffered as a result of that. So, no. I think
the hope that we had, and that you and I discussed before, that the Israeli IDF approach in Southern Gaza was going to be more surgical, more precise
more targeted on specific targets of Hamas, and who can blame them for that? We haven't seen it. We haven't seen it happen.
AMANPOUR: And in the --
GRIFFITHS: Because I think it's very difficult to make that work.
AMANPOUR: And in the meantime, what we are hearing, so I want you to tell me in your position as the relief chief, there are a number of U.N. aid
agencies, WFP and others, which apparently, you know, some 30 U.N. officials have crunched numbers, have looked at what's going on, and are
basically saying that Gaza exhibits really either famine or immediate pre- famine conditions right now, and that the majority of the population is at risk.
And furthermore, they say they haven't seen anything like this. This is the U.N. in the last 20 years anywhere around the world.
GRIFFITHS: It's been an extraordinary and wholly unwelcome aspect of the Gazan War, Christiane, as you say, that it has brought famine. So, it's
such incredible speed to the front of our -- of the lines.
There are, what is it, just under 400,000 people in that section that is technically characterized as being at risk of famine, the most extreme
category of food insecurity. And as you say, many U.N. agencies now, today and yesterday, are saying of that 400,000, a great majority of them are
actually in famine, not just at risk of famine, but in famine.
Now, I mean, if you take that alongside and put it alongside the difficulties that we're having, getting aid up to the 300,000 people still
living in the north of Gaza who have, of course, not had any humanitarian aid for some time, you really, really worry about the plight of the future
of Gazans and you worry hugely about the generational hatred that is going to be created by these facts. And therefore, we worry for the security of
Israel, as much as the security of Gaza.
AMANPOUR: On the humanitarian issue, Israel says that they have a number of crossings open, whether from Israel itself or from Egypt, and that actually
they put the onus on you and the humanitarian community. They say, if you can't get it there fast enough, that's not on them.
GRIFFITHS: Yes, I've heard this. And I don't find it a fair judgment. It is true. There are two entry points into Gaza. One through the Rafah Crossing,
the other through Kerem Shalom, which the Israeli government has been good enough to open up to traffic. And there are good plans to increase traffic
through Kerem Shalom.
But here's the point. You can maybe get trucks in, but if you cannot rely on deconfliction, of access routes to people in need, if you cannot rely on
hospitals not being attacked, at least nearby, if you cannot rely on people having to move from one place of insecurity to another place of insecurity,
those are the issues that make humanitarian aid delivery.
It's not a matter of the number of trucks that can get in, it's the access inside Gaza that include the elements of constraint. And that's where we
have consistently, and my secretary general has consistently said, it's already -- it's fine and well to count the trucks going in, but the story
only starts with that. It doesn't end there.
AMANPOUR: Well, just to be clear, before October 7th, 500 trucks a day were going in. Now, a maximum of 127. And U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen told me
that he actually puts it on the Israeli authorities to get the flow moving. Because as you talk about deconfliction, he said even the checking
mechanism, checking the trucks is so difficult and, you know, they're constantly having to be sent back.
GRIFFITHS: Well, there is also quite an extensive use of the dual use category by those who are checking the trucks. And we've had quite a lot of
medical and health equipment construed as dual use. And therefore, the truck is sent back and not allowed in. And finally, on this, and referring
to your 500 trucks a day, what we all remember clearly is that 80 percent of Gazan sustenance prior to October 7th was private sector.
And we have argued throughout, please let private sector operate, and they can only operate in safety, of course.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And let's not forget the words of the defense minister, which was to put a complete siege on food, fuel, you know, water and the
rest of it, medicine into Gaza right after October 7th.
But I want to switch now because it's also a fallout to Ukraine. It seems, honestly, that Ukraine has fallen off the map, as I, you know, introduced
you with your tweet saying, has anybody forgotten Ukraine? We haven't.
What are you desperate for now? What are you, you know, tweeting and asking for now for Ukraine?
GRIFFITHS: Well, we're asking for just over $3 billion for a humanitarian aid operation for this year, which is, by the way, about $6 to $7 million
less than for last year. So, we try to push it down to something more affordable. We are very worried as to whether we're going to get it because
the competition funding across the world, of course, because of Gaza and Sudan and elsewhere is very fierce.
The worry I think that we have about Ukraine is that the absence of humanitarian aid funding has become an attack on the fabric of society of
Ukraine itself, because it is humanitarian aid, which is largely keeping communities alive. And not just through food or medicine, but through
places of work, places of community, schools and so forth.
Ukraine's extraordinarily resilient society is under grave threat. And our emphasis today in the launch of this new appeal is, first of all, please,
for God's sake, remember Ukraine. And while we're doing it, remember Sudan as well. Let's come back to that. But remember that in Ukraine, what we
need to do is to maintain communities and their community resilience. That's what's needed.
AMANPOUR: Yes, and just to mention, according to the U.N., 40 percent of Ukrainians today require humanitarian assistance this year. So, you were
talking about communities. I want to read you something, because so many people who have stayed behind, especially near the front lines, are the
elderly. You know, they aren't able and unwilling to move.
In "The New York Times," here's a quote from there. Ukraine's elderly are often the only people who remain along the country's hundreds of miles of
frontline. Some waited their entire lives to enjoy their twilight years, only to have been left in a purgatory of loneliness. I might add an
insecurity and danger.
What are you hearing? And can you reach those communities?
GRIFFITHS: There's, you know, along, along with this awful theme that, again, you and I've discussed, which is that leaders tend to reach for the
gun as the first option to resolve differences between themselves, and we see it in Sudan and Ukraine and elsewhere and Gaza and elsewhere. Along
with that, the viability and the resilience of common humanity is extraordinary.
And the way in which people, you know, clutch onto their homes and their assets and the communities that surround them is a universal truth. Did you
know that last year -- I'm sure you did, of course, Christiane, last year in Britain, the people of that country gave $12.7 billion to charity? Much,
much more than the government aid program.
I mean, humanity has not been lacking heroism is as much a feature of the war in Gaza and Ukraine as is the cruelty that has gone along with those
who've reached for the gun.
AMANPOUR: That's --
GRIFFITHS: And it is that humanity, which defines us and which we must recover.
AMANPOUR: And it's a really good note to end on. Thank you so much, Martin Griffiths.
GRIFFITHS: Thank you, Christiane, again. Thank you so much for inviting me on the program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now in this, the biggest election year in history, the results are in for the first major contest. Taiwan's vice president, Lai Ching-te,
is the new president-elect.
Beijing made clear its opposition to Lai, who emphasizes the island's democratic right to decide its own future. But that didn't stop 40 percent
of voters from choosing Lai and his ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAI CHING-TE, TAIWAN PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): We are telling the International Community that between democracy and authoritarianism, we
will stand on the side of democracy.
The Republic of China, Taiwan, will continue to walk side by side with democracies from around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Beijing responded by asserting, again, that Taiwan remains part of China. Here's Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANG YI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Taiwan has never been a country. Not in the past, and certainly not in the future. Taiwan
independence has never been possible. It has not been possible in the past, and it will never be possible in the future.
Anyone on the island of Taiwan who wants to pursue Taiwan independence, or split China's territory, will be severely punished by history and law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Emily Wu is a journalist and podcast producer and co-founder of Ghost Island Media. She's joining me from Taipei for some analysis. Emily
Wu, welcome to the program.
So, we played, you know, the two soundbites there. I thought Lai was actually quite measured. And the Chinese foreign minister was quite clear.
What do you think? How do you interpret the results that that number of people voted, he won, but they did not, the party did not keep its majority
in the parliament?
EMILY Y. WU, PRODUCER AND CO-FOUNDER, GHOST ISLAND MEDIA: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. Great honor to speak to you here today.
It's been a big, big weekend here in Taipei. There's a lot of nervousness going up to the election, wondering what would happen. Every time we have
an election, of course China speaks out. China will sort of (ph) question again. And if you look at the results, 40 percent. I think what it says
about Taiwan at this moment is that Taiwan has voted for the DPP to be in the presidency for the third time. This is unprecedented.
That people are -- would like to continue the direction of the country as it has been in the past eight years. However, the DPP has come under
criticism for some domestic policies and domestic issues. And people are looking to balance out what happens domestically.
And so, I think the other percentage, it signals that part of the society, they're looking for an alternative. And this time around, what's really
special is that even though there's always been a third force, a third party that's at play in Taiwan, for the very first time a third candidate
who -- that's from a very new party, received 26 percent. And that's going to be very important later on. And so, that's the signal that voters would
like to see more domestically, of course.
AMANPOUR: And in terms of relations with China, you heard how Lai referred to it, Republic of Taiwan, China. Sorry. Yes, Republic of Taiwan, China is
what he said. So, very clear. That he's not, you know, speaking about, at least verbally, any other entity.
So, is he also giving a signal? And do you believe there's a difference between him and his policies, or his tone, or his method, than the person
he's replacing? He -- the former -- you know, the president who -- who's been in power for the last two rounds?
WU: So, Lai has said that he will continue the foreign policy -- or will continue for Taiwan as it has been for the last eight years. He is pro
status quo as most of the population here. So, yes. That's --
AMANPOUR: And what about -- what does Taiwan think about international support? We know that two senior bipartisan, you know, team of American
officials have been dispatched there, as they often are before an election, to meet with the incoming and outgoing presidents.
We also know that the Pacific Island nation of Nauru has said that it is severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan. And now, Taiwan is left with only 12
nations that still hold diplomatic ties. So, what are you feeling from the outside, given the -- you know, the constant reminders by Beijing that
don't mess with us?
WU: It is quite tough to -- honestly, it's quite tough to be a part of a country that you have a giant next door that's constantly using what it
can, international influence, to keep your international -- to keep our international influence limited. It is very, very frustrating.
And I think every time we lose an ally, we're bummed out. Of course, we're bummed out. But I think the people here -- but there -- it's -- there's no
-- I think we've shifted away from finger pointing and to stand for unity and say, this is why we need -- Taiwan needs to have more voices
internationally. And this is where unofficial partnerships come in.
And this is something that from government to private to the civic society level, everybody's working really hard to try to get Taiwan's voice out in
the world because of the other big voice, which is China, which has been very loud about its narrative about what Taiwan is.
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting. Both of us are speaking in a way not to fall afoul of the China national security law, which is incredibly
draconian. And we have to be very careful. You obviously, because you're there and et cetera.
So, following on from what I just said, you heard what Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. If anybody tries to consider Taiwan independent or say it or
work for it, they will be punished, he said, by history and by the law.
How do you all interpret that given exactly what happened, for instance, in Hong Kong, different system, but nonetheless, Hong Kong since 2020 has been
a very different place?
WU: Whenever we hear that from China, again, it is very frustrating. They are writing out our rights to be a country at the moment. Taiwan, as it
exists today, it is an independent nation. And we have our own president. We have our currency military constitution. So, it is very difficult to
hear that over and over again.
But I think over time, over the last 10 years, I think the status of Taiwan, the reality of Taiwan has been more known internationally. I think
there's a lot more empathy and understanding on what is happening here now versus I think the last decade where China was the only story that people
understood. And so, their narrative was the only one that was in -- that was heard.
And -- but the reality always living here has been always really different kind of you're struggling to exist internationally. So, whenever we hear
that we -- and, you know, as Taiwanese, we have to continuously to push back and also let the world know that's that the other reality.
Now, on national security law, really unfortunate what happened in Hong Kong. Over in Taiwan, there is -- there's no censorship. There is complete
freedom of speech, free press. So, national security law match. It comes into play for -- I think for rights workers, for people in government
And so, it's not something that --
AMANPOUR: OK. Final question. Who is Lai? He started off professionally as a doctor. And in the mid-90s, went into politics. In our last, you know, 40
seconds, give us a brief profile.
WU: Yes. He's somebody who -- he grew up in a mining town in Taipei. Lost his father during his childhood. And he grew up to be really a really
hardworking person. Then he became a doctor. And then he entered politics. He was a mayor in Tainan City at some point, which is really important
because that is a major DPP base. And he's been our vice president for the past four years.
Now, he's also match partner up with our vice president-elect, Bi-khim Hsiao. He -- who was most recently our top envoy to the U.S.
AMANPOUR: OK. All right. Thank you so much. Emily Wu, thanks for joining us from Taipei.
Now, in Hollywood, it is, of course, awards season. At last night's Critics Choice Awards, "Oppenheimer" notched up the big win. Though star Cillian
Murphy was snubbed. And the best foreign film award went to the French court from thriller "Anatomy of a Fall." That film is one of two leading
contenders, starring my next guest, Sandra Huller.
The other one, the chilling holocaust drama called "The Zone of Interest," is Britain's entry for best international feature film at this year's
What an extraordinary year it has been for Sandra Huller, who's joining me now from Leipzig in Germany. And welcome to the program, Sandra.
Your roles --
SANDRA HULLER, ACTRESS: Hello.
AMANPOUR: Yes -- have just been standout. And we know that you won the Best Actress at Cannes, and the film won the Best Film, the "Palme d'Or." But
you have said, you're German, that you never wanted to play a fascist or a Nazi as so many Hollywood directors or producers or writers often offer to
Germans. Tell me why not and why you did in this film?
HULLER: I think it had to do -- well, first of all, thank you for having me. It's really an honor.
I think it had to do with -- it is connected to Jonathan Glazer. That's the first thing. And I think his artistic choices that he made in the beginning
that he told us about Christian Friedel and me in the first meeting, the way that he would place the cameras, that he would shoot the film in the
original -- almost the original place, that they would rebuild the house of the Husses (ph). That they would plant the garden. All these things.
So, it seemed more like an -- it didn't seem to be like a, the usual way to film this period of time. And that interested me very much. And also, he
was very clear about that he had the same feelings that I had. So, we kind of -- that kind of matched.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just explain, Jonathan Glazer is the director. He's British. And this film is extraordinary because it's chills you with the
horrors of the Holocaust while never showing inside the camp. And we constantly watch you, Mrs. Hess and your husband, Mr. Rudolf Hess, who is
the camp commandant, living an aspirational middle-class life while the horror was going on across the wall.
So, I tell us a little bit more about -- I mean, I've never seen this horror portrayed in this way.
HULLER: I think what Jonathan wanted to achieve was a sort of -- a certain sort of discomfort in the audience. Because, you know, sometimes when you
see things and you can -- I don't know, there was -- we talked a lot about the exploitation of the topic, if you know what I mean. And the -- what it
would mean to show the suffering of the victims again and again and again, which would mean that other people would have to embody that again and
again and again. And it would retraumatize again and again, you know.
So, it was a constant -- things were reproduced all the time. And he was interested in our connection to the perpetrators. What connects us to them?
What -- is there not so much difference maybe? Because what would we do to have a little comfort in our lives? To have our little garden? And to send
our children to school and not be bothered by anything that goes on behind the wall?
So, he chose this perspective to -- yes, to show that it is -- yes, they are connected to us today.
AMANPOUR: And it is possible to be there and to turn away. And since you mentioned the wall in the garden, which abuts Auschwitz, I want to play a
little clip which is you with your mother in the film talking about essentially what a lovely place you have.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): And that's the camp wall?
HULLER (through translator): Yes, that's the camp wall. We planted more vines at the back to grow and cover it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Maybe Esther Silberman is over there.
HULLER (through translator): Which one is she?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The one I used to clean for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I wonder if you agree that just that scene, and including the fact that, you know, the director used sound, sound of what I think are the
furnaces, sound of people's cries, and not the video as you said, it's even more chilling maybe than actually seeing what we've seen in historical
footage and as you say, other films that may have exploited the Holocaust.
HULLER: I think that the -- I think that a lot of people, not all of them, as we can see today, are familiar with these pictures. So, the noises, I
think, trigger a sort of memory that everybody has. And also, it kind of reaches deep into the subconscious. That's what Johnnie Burn kind of
created with his sound work, which is incredible.
I think the research that he did to find these noises and to recreate them, and the accuracy that is in his work is just astonishing. So, yes. I think
it goes beyond the intellect and anything that we can grab or kept, you know, maybe it isn't enough, but you know.
AMANPOUR: And you said that -- I think maybe the director or you did it, they asked you all as German actors to examine your families, your
connections, to know, you know, more about your own history. Is that correct?
HULLER: No, I think some of us did that. I did that because I realized that I never did it before. That is something that Germans sometimes don't do.
And unfortunately, some of my ancestors don't live anymore and they weren't able -- really not able -- like I felt like physically not able to speak
about what they saw and what they've experienced.
So, there are some gaps. But everybody that I asked gave me their honest opinion and their honest memory.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you -- let's switch, because it is absolutely extraordinary that you are in these two phenomenal films. Because "Anatomy
of a Fall" is the other film you're in that, as I said, won at Cannes. And in fact, "Zone of Interest" came in kind of second at Cannes. So, it's
very, very -- I mean, you're there. You're here, there, and absolutely everywhere.
And the languages, there's so many languages. There's German, there's French, and there's English, and you have to speak them all. I mean, a kind
of a strange question, or I don't know if it's strange, but I don't know whether there's an answer, do you -- was it difficult to play these two
different roles or were there similarities in the characters?
HULLER: You know, in the end, they're all human. So, there must be something that connects them. But I didn't feel that way. And there was a
gap between them, a very long gap where I made another film. So, there were three films in a row that, of course, I had to connect them energetically
somehow to make sense of all the movements, you know, between the characters.
No. But I was -- the question comes up very often because there are two mothers.
HULLER: And if I felt a certain connection through motherhood, and I can clearly say no.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. Now, "Anatomy of a Fall" is described, you know, in the blurb as a French courtroom thriller, which it is, a lot of it. But it is
also the story of a wife and a husband their one child. And you two, as a couple, are writers. You, the wife, who's also called Sandra, like you are,
is a better writer and more rewarded. And clearly that causes some problems with the husband. Here is little clip of you two.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HULLER: I'm not the one who put you where you are. I've nothing to do with it. You're not sacrificing yourself as you say. You choose to sit on the
sidelines because you're afraid. Because your pride makes your head explode before you can even come up with the little gem of an idea. And now, you
wake up and you're 40 and you need someone to blame. And you're the one to blame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's been written a lot about that scene. I wonder how you perceive it because it's quite rare that wives go there, you know, and
actually put the kind of whining husband on the spot.
HULLER: Yes. And I have to tell you that it felt really liberating to do that. I was very happy to do that. And at the same time, of course, very
painful because these two really love each other. I'm sure about that.
And I'm also not sure if she's the better writer. I think maybe she has another form of discipline or another routine or something. But I think he
can write. That's what she says too. It's just that he made a different decision, and now he's suffering from it and is not able to change it back.
AMANPOUR: And then -- I mean, this is the whole story, is that he then -- he falls out a window. And it's seen by the son who is partially sighted,
if I'm not mistaken. And that in itself creates a huge drama. Who did it? Did you do it? You're obviously accused of doing it. You're taken to court.
And the son, which I find so difficult to watch, is implicated. He has to be a witness in court. Talk to me about that.
HULLER: Well, I think I have to correct this a bit. The son doesn't see the father fall out of the window. He finds him in front of the house and he
cannot see very clearly. So, he finds him with the help of the dog. So, nobody really knows what happens.
And in court, we see all sorts of variations of what could have happened, which is very smart, it just seems to me (ph) that she shows all the
versions of the story with the help of paintings or with experiments and with a lot of experts that talk about it. And of course, the son chooses to
be there. He wouldn't need to be there, but he wants to know what was going on because he has the same questions like the audience.
I think Justine wanted to tell the story about the son in the first place and what it would feel like if we would like find out about the story of
our parents too late or not in the moment. Like, you know, what I really enjoyed in the script also is that, you know, normally when a couple is
fighting, you see the child somewhere at the stairs watching them and being afraid. She doesn't do that.
She lets the child learn about his parents in the courtroom, which is somewhat cruel, but at the same time, it tells so much about growing up and
about what responsibility is and the question of truth and how we create it, and especially in a courtroom.
AMANPOUR: Yes, it's so, so dramatic. I was just mesmerized by all of your performances. But him, he was just extraordinary. And Justine is, of
course, the director.
You -- I think you've spent a lot of your time, if not most of your time, in theater. And I just wondered what you make of this enormous amount of
success and attention and awards buzz, not for one, but for two films in one year, of such incredible quality and drama.
HULLER: Oh, you know, there is the inside world, and then there is the outside world. And sometimes they match, and sometimes they get a bit, you
know -- they don't match really. So, I try to enjoy this the best that I can. It is a lot of work. I have to admit. It is great to have such -- I
get a lot of love and respect from people. It is really, really wonderful.
And at the same time, you know, when we are not careful, the outside world becomes a bit more important than the inside world, and this is what we
don't want. So, we -- I just try to be careful with all of this. It is a period of my life and it will probably change again soon. But we don't
AMANPOUR: Will you -- are you going to do more films? Are you going to do more theatre? What's your next project?
HULLER: I really try to keep the balance because I really need theater. I really need it to grow. And sometimes it works to keep the balance and
sometimes it doesn't. But the next thing that I do is two Austrian films this year.
HULLER: I shoot in spring, summer, and autumn. So, basically.
AMANPOUR: Eagerly anticipated. Sandra Huller, thank you so much indeed. Thanks very much for being with us.
HULLER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, an important bellwether for the U.S. presidential election, Martin Luther King Day is also Iowa Caucus Day for GOP presidential
candidates. Despite facing many criminal charges, Former President Donald Trump entered as the frontrunner, with Governor Ron DeSantis and Former
Governor Nikki Haley competing to be a strong alternative.
New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon joins Hari Sreenivasan now to speak about what's at stake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Astead Herndon, host of "The Run-Up" at "The New York Times," thanks so
much for joining us today.
ASTEAD HERNDON, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
SREENIVASAN: Yes. So, tonight, folks in Iowa do something that the rest of the country really doesn't do, that is caucus for our, let's say, overseas
audience or even the audience at home. Explain just a caucus before we have this chat.
HERNDON: Yes. I mean, unlike a kind of normal primary in which polls would open at a typical time and kind of people will vote throughout the day, a
caucus is a kind of community event. Iowa -- Republicans will go to a local gym or post office, something like that. They'll hear kind of pitches from
our candidates broadly and then kind of make a more public decision about who they vote for.
But most importantly, it means that like there won't be a kind of rolling through the day type of votes. All Iowans gather at 7:00 p.m. mostly and
then kind of make a decision in those groups. And then we get results reported back.
And so, it could affect us this evening in terms of timing, when we get results and how much we end up knowing.
SREENIVASAN: Now, I understand, you know, the structural advantage of being first in the nation for the state. But I wonder, is it a good predictor of
what happens in that election? Does the person who wins Iowa become president?
HERNDON: The short answer is no, particularly on the Republican side. In 2016, Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses. In 2012, Rick Santorum won the Iowa
caucuses. In 2008, Mike Huckabee won the two Iowa caucuses. None of those people ended up becoming the Republican nominee.
What Iowa has typically done as the first state is really limit the choices for president and deliver kind of smaller menu of candidates to the rest of
And so, you think back to kind of 2016 as the late recent example, it wasn't predictive in terms of Ted Cruz going on to win the nomination. But
it did kind of show the different lanes that were emerging on the Republican electorate.
So, you know, evangelicals rallying around Cruz, and I think they have been really the predictive group here in Iowa. But you had Donald Trump kind of
originally show that he had more strength than maybe folks expected.
This time is going to be a little different because the field is already down to only two or three serious candidates. I think that that -- the kind
of role of Iowa will be kind of up in question here. But I think it's really about whether Donald Trump's dominance and lead over the other two
candidates feels matched in today's results, as we've seen throughout polling.
And so, in the way that Iowa typically was not predictive, and even more so than that was just about kind of showing where the evangelical slice of the
Republican Party is, there's a chance today that we see that the real grassroots base of Iowa Republicans are with Donald Trump. And if that's
true, that almost certainly makes him even clearly more better position to be the Republican nominee.
So, in some ways, because the field is already strong, because this has been such a weird primary in general, Iowa might end up becoming more
predictive than it's typically been, because this race has become so nationalized.
And so, you know, I think that we could be in a situation where, you know, the DeSantis's, the others have gone all in on the kind of the typical Iowa
campaigning going to all different counties, things like that, but it has become so tied to Donald Trump's identity that if the Republican Party here
backs him in a big way today, I think it's going to feel a lot less like that small menu. They typically do. And the slow -- the start of that
coordination of Trump that I think many expect.
SREENIVASAN: On your podcast, there was an interesting piece of sound, I remember. I want to get this right. This was a voter in Iowa told one of
your colleagues that Governor Ron DeSantis is the cover band trying to replace Trump. You know, we don't need the cover band yet. We still have
What does that illustrate about maybe why DeSantis didn't catch on?
HERNDON: Oh, I thought that was a great quote, a really insightful one. You know, when we were at the Lincoln Dinner, that was this Iowa dinner that
happens last year. That was around -- right around the time that Ron DeSantis was trying his first reset, you know, his first kind of admission
that things were going well and trying to restructure his campaign to kind of boost his numbers in Iowa.
But the problem we were hearing from voters was way more fundamental. It wasn't that -- you know, it wasn't something that could be solved with
maybe strategy or message. It was that they didn't necessarily think this person was the fighter for their values when they had the kind of "real
deal" in Donald Trump.
And so, you know, DeSantis has tried to pitch himself as Trump without the baggage. Trump without the rhetoric. Trump without the kind of gruff parts
that I think sometimes in media, we say, how can these voters like someone like this? When for a lot of Republicans, that's the exact reason they like
They like that he kind of intimidates the system. That he agitates media. That he threatens political opponents. Those are not kind of side dishes to
the Trump appeal, but kind of the main course. And so, as Ron DeSantis was trying to smooth out some of those edges or pitch himself as more
intellectualized version of that, a lot of voters were saying, that's not what we wanted.
And so, when I hear the cover band quote, that's what I think about, is that the assumption that Donald Trump needed to moderate either in tone or
message, and that that's what Ron DeSantis showed, that was a bad one because for a lot of the Republican base, the authentic version of Donald
Trump, no matter how distasteful, no matter how controversial, that's the one they want.
SREENIVASAN: Well, now, let's talk about the other leading candidate here in this, is Nikki Haley. She served as the former U.S. ambassador to the U.
N. under Trump. Governor Haley has been gaining some momentum and traction kind of in the polling that we see out there.
What do you hear from her supporters of why that is?
HERNDON: You know, the why of why it was Nikki Haley has been the other candidates to really move upward in the last six months it really comes
down to her doing the kind of traditional campaigning, frankly, better than Ron DeSantis, kind of out debating, kind of pitches to donors. I think this
is a candidate that has a more kind of clear-eyed message.
You know, she tried -- she makes the argument that you don't need an echo to Donald Trump. You need someone different. I think that actually kind of
resonates for people that Ron DeSantis is kind of lost himself in the shadow of Donald Trump. And she's really emerged as a real alternative kind
The problem, though, is that there's only ye amount of voters who are interested in the more moderate or less conservative version of a
Republican nominee. Haley has tried to pitch herself of someone who has both establishment credentials and has one foot in kind of a grassroots
movement of the Republican Party.
But I remember when I was at CPAC last year. And when Nikki Haley came on the stage, they booed her kind of relentlessly. The MAGA base of the
Republican Party finds her to be a figure that is way cut out, that is way distant from where they want the party to be.
You know, Donald Trump really remade the image of Republicans in 2016 and really pulled them away from that kind of Bush era pro-business rhetoric,
where a lot of MAGA voters would say actually, like, tied to wars and things like that. And they associate Nikki Haley more with that pre-2016
version of the Republican Party rather than the Donald Trump kind of MAGA version.
So, it's going to be hard for her to kind of coalesce enough people to really overtake Donald Trump. But I do think, particularly in states like
New Hampshire, places that have a lot of independence, that have a lot of moderates, have a lot more people who are opposed to Donald Trump, she has
really saw herself emerge as their preferred option.
But remember, South Carolina is coming up, the state where she used to be the governor. And every piece of polling or every piece of anecdotal data
tells us that Donald Trump's lead over her in South Carolina is bigger than Iowa or New Hampshire.
So, she would not only need to do well in New Hampshire, but really make sure she can find a way to gain traction in her home state. Because I think
if Donald Trump were to win there, that would be the clear signal that this race wasn't maybe much of a race at all.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I want to talk a little bit about some of your reporting, both on the podcast as well as in print, about black voters and
the support in the Democratic Party.
And what I found interesting was here is a population, a demographic that's been so democratic in the past. And -- or I should say sometimes maybe
they've been taken for granted. But what is the role of black support in America for President Biden and, how in this last cycle, did that support
HERNDON: Yes. I think this is a structural problem that's been challenging Democrats for a while after the high watermark of 2012, where you really
saw the peak of kind of black voters supporting Democrats. You've seen the kind of trail off. And the question has been whether that's because of
individual candidates, whether that's because of some interest from the Republican Party.
And, you know, our reporting really shows that it's more of a combination of several things. It's a different rising generation of black voters who
feel a different relationship to the party who are further back from that civil rights era, who are more kind of tied to call -- who are more likely
to call the system broken or be disappointed without the Obama era turned out, who 2016 was a more formative experience for them and they don't see
the kind of the system or the parties in the same way as other generations do.
And so, really, when you talk about Biden's black voter problem, you have to do it in multiple ways, because it's also a generational problem. It's
also a problem more among black working-class folks than black college educated people. And so, there is different slices of that electorate that
are maybe splintering off.
But remember, it was always unique that so many black voters back Democrats in those numbers originally. And so, what you're seeing is kind of a
historic, unique kind of backing of the party maybe start to splinter as the electorate kind of changes and diversifies in different ways.
I also think the important distinction here is you're increasingly having black Americans -- black immigrant Americans who are part of that
population, who have different views and maybe are less rooted in a kind of historic relationship between African Americans and the Democratic Party.
And so, that's been what our reporting has shown is that the nuances in black electorates, the fact that it's not monolithic, is the exact reason
why it's challenging Democrats in some ways. Because remember, Biden made explicit promises to black communities. As he was being nominated in 2020,
because older black voters, particularly folks in the south, really made him the nominee.
And he knew that. And he went to them and said consistently that he was going to be a president that followed through on those promises. I just
think that that's a really high bar. And for a lot of people, they're sick of that same cycle. The politicians come into the church before the
election to tell them that this is the most important election and they need black voters to see and support that.
That -- you know, there's a little bit of a teach them a lesson attitude, particularly among younger black voters. And I think that's what our
polling shows us. And that's what our reporting shows us.
SREENIVASAN: You know, you mentioned that Trump's ability to appeal to some black male voters isn't just about Trump, it's also about masculinity
itself and the ways that changing norms around gender and sexuality are reshaping the political landscape. Tell me what that means.
HERNDON: Yes. I mean, I think it's one of those nuances and intersections that you have to pull out if you're going to talk about this issue. You
know, particularly when we talk to -- when we hear the -- you know, particularly as polling shows that black men are showing more interest in
Republicans and specifically Donald Trump.
You know, when we talk to those people we hear about how changing gender roles, how changing language around sexism, changing language around gender
and sexuality that came in the last, like, three to four years post MeToo movement, post Arise, and kind of embrace of LGBTQ communities has, for
some reason, you know, caused a backlash among some pockets of maybe straight black men.
And so, I don't think that's unique to black men. But I do think you increasingly have a population of, I think, more traditionally values and
particularly masculinity playing an interesting role that's causing people to be more interested in other candidates.
Because I think we should remind ourselves that these are just about one identity. Donald Trump is not just making appeals based off race. It's also
appeals that are based in gender. Our identity politics works in a lot of different ways.
And so, that's what I am getting at, is that when you keep -- when we talk about the issue of black men, it should not just come as a surprise just
because this group and this demographic has traditionally backed Democrats, and we should only view it through the lens of race. These are also people
who are seeing the same kind of cultural shifts that happen in our country and are reacting to them in different ways.
SREENIVASAN: You know, before I let you go here, President Biden at least kicked off this year's campaigning with a message that this election comes
down to the future of democracy. And I wonder, as you travel around and you talk to people in these different demographics, what is the kind of issue
that hits home with them? Does something as well, in some ways, abstract as democracy, is that urgency ring through the voters versus, say, the price
of eggs or gasoline or whatever it is that animates them?
HERNDON: I would say it's kind of expressed in different ways when I talk to voters. You don't really hear -- you don't hear too many voters say, oh,
I'm prioritizing protecting the project of American democracy. But you do have people who are worried about Republican extremism. And are
prioritizing trying to stop what they think is a different version of the Republican Party. That language that you hear from President Biden is often
reflecting from voters.
And I do think the midterms give us a good example that you can build a coalition of people who are more independent, maybe have voted for
Republicans in the past, and motivate some Democrats on the idea of stopping Republican extremism. Because I think that includes a democracy
argument. And for a lot of people includes an abortion rights argument, too.
What I think is different in presidential cycles, and particularly in this one, is you have -- I mean, in this one, you may very well have two
incumbent candidates, which makes it more of a choice election than a referendum on any one or the other.
And so, you know, Biden is kind of trying to make this about Republicans and specifically about Trump and saying this is an election to reject them
and the other side, where I think where I hear from a lot of people is they feel the choice about Biden and particularly age and the kind of sense of
disappointment and things like that against that choice of the Republican side.
And so, I don't think the Democrats can just say the other side is bad, particularly after being in office for four years. I think they have to
make a separate type of case about what they are going to do and actually respond to kind of voter concerns on that front. Because when you see why
Biden's poll numbers are so shaky against hypothetical matchup with Trump, it's not because Donald Trump has massively increased his vote share or new
people like him that don't before, it is because of a huge drop off in people who are liking Biden.
Now, that could be good news in terms of people they can -- are most likely to be able to win back between now and November. But it also makes really
clear that there are fundamental problems that a lot of Democrats have with this president as a candidate, even if they're fine with him as a
And so, that is the question I've been trying to put to the Democratic Party over the last year is, you know, what is the argument for the next
four years, not just the last four years were good? Because for a lot of people that age concern is such a deep one that it makes it harder to look
more forward in with this current administration.
And so, I think like that's the real question here is like, what is Biden's relationship with his own base and own party going to look like? Because we
know in presidential years, it's not just enough to persuade people, to persuade independents or swing voters. You need to motivate and persuade at
the same time.
SREENIVASAN: Host of "The Run-Up" at "The New York Times," Astead Herndon, joining us from Iowa tonight. Thanks so much.
HERNDON: Thanks for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And we'll have more on the results on tomorrow's show.
Finally, tonight though, given what's going on in her country, it was an especially sweet victory for the Ukrainian tennis player, Dayana
Yastremska, who beat Wimbledon champion, Marketa Vondrousova, in the first round of the Australian Open.
We heard earlier in the show about Ukraine's elderly who've stayed behind and Dayana says that her own grandmother's house was recently hit by a
rocket during the ongoing Russia war, which made it difficult for her to play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAYANA YASTREMSKA, UKRAINIAN TENNIS PLAYER: We just need to remember about it and give as much support as possible to Ukraine. But I'm proud to be
Ukrainian. And thank you, everybody, for your support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And as we heard from the U.N. humanitarian chief, the world cannot give up, cannot forget Ukraine.
That is it for now. Thanks for watching. Goodbye from London.