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Interview with Former U.S. State Department Middle East Negotiator and Carnegie Endowment Senior Fellow Aaron David Miller; Interview with WSJ Chief Foreign-Affairs Correspondent and "Our Enemies Will Vanish" Author Yaroslav Trofimov; Interview with Then-17 Time Grand Slam Winner and Former Professional Tennis Player Roger Federer; Interview with "The MAGA Diaries" Author Tina Nguyen. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 02, 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.
Biden steps up pressure on Netanyahu. This time, sanctioning violent settlers in the West Bank. Former U.S. Middle East negotiator Aaron David
Miller joins me.
And Ukraine says it sunk a Russian ship as its embattled army chief breaks his silence. We bring you the latest on Kyiv's struggle for survival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER FEDERER, THEN-17 TIME GRAND SLAM WINNER AND FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: I don't see it as a job, really. I still see it as the --
my hobby that became this dreamland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: -- one of the best tennis players to ever play the game. A look back at Christiane's conversation with Roger Federer, 20 years since he
first became world number one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TINA NGUYEN: When I tried to be a journalist, they were like, no, you can't do that because we need to attack the Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: -- "The MAGA Diaries." Reporter Tina Nguyen talks to Hari Sreenivasan about her life inside the right-wing and why she walked away.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the program. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Well, after weeks of pressuring Israel to scale back military tactics in Gaza, the United States is now turning its attention to the West Bank. The
Biden administration issued sanctions against four Israeli settlers for acts of violence there. The State Department accuses one of the men of
initiating and leading a riot, which resulted in the death of at least one Palestinian civilian.
The United Nations reported a staggering rise in acts of settler threats and violence against Palestinians after October 7th. The Israeli government
calls the sanctions wholly unnecessary, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the overwhelming majority of residents there are law
Aaron David Miller was a Middle East negotiator for the United States and joins me from Washington for more on this and other subjects in the region.
Aaron, it's good to see you. So, listen, this was a dramatic step from the U.S. government, no doubt about it, unprecedented. The U.S. government
would level sanctions against Israeli individuals. And the timing is interesting and worthy as well, given that it comes just days after men
members of the prime minister's own cabinet attended an event where a conference promoting resettling in Gaza.
So, this clearly is sending a message. But beyond just the symbolism involved in whatever the repercussions would be for these specific
individuals, what else should we make of this?
AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR AND SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: Well, I think -- first of all, thanks
for having me, Bianna. You know, there are a lot of motives here. Number one, the president has demonstrated and we're going about to enter the
fifth month of its war, February 7. An extraordinary, stunning preternatural support for the State of Israel. That's conviction on his
part. It's partly domestic politics, too.
And he's been less ready and willing actually to take the concerns of Palestinians into account. There's no question about that. He demonstrates
tremendous empathy toward the Israelis, toward the terror surge, indiscriminate, willful, statistic killing. Less so with respect to the
I think that this is a part of the ongoing effort on part of the administration to sort of fill in the frame. And I think it's well
intentioned and it's meaningful that, you know, the expanse of this executive order is extraordinary. It essentially would also include
government entities that aid in and abet threats and or actual violence against Palestinians.
And it's interesting because of the four Israelis designated, two of them were also charged, not just with intimidating Palestinians, but with
intimidating, causing harm to Israelis, Israeli activists in the West Bank as well.
So, I think this is part of that sort of frame, what practical application will it have? Will it essentially prevent the policies of an Israeli
government, two ministers in particular, that are pursuing policies that are designed to annex the West Bank in everything but name? I doubt it. But
it's still a very strong signal of administration intent on this issue, particularly now as they move toward trying to integrate an initiative
based, at some point, in the future on two states.
GOLODRYGA: Well, two of those far-right members of the government there that either you mentioned or you didn't mention by name, but I will, and
that's Bezalel Smotrich, who's the finance minister, and Itamar Ben-Gvir, it's security minister in the country.
And Bezalel Smotrich responded to the news yesterday, and I want to read for our viewers what he wrote on X. The settler violence campaign is an
antisemitic lie that enemies of Israel decimate to smear and pioneering settlers and settlement enterprise, and to harm them and thus smear the
entire State of Israel. I will keep, God willing, to work fearlessly to strengthen and develop Jewish settlements. If the price is U.S. sanctions
against me, so be it.
I mean, here he is taking the role of a martyr in a sense. What pressure does this put on Prime Minister Netanyahu and how big of a hindrance is
this really in terms of U.S.-Israeli relations going forward, especially during a war?
MILLER: It's a fascinating question and the right one. You know, for Benjamin Netanyahu on trial for bribery, fraud, breach of trust, now three
years running in the Jerusalem District Court, I think he's due to testify this month, it's critically important that he maintain himself in power.
And critical to that is catering, enabling, acquiescing in the activities of both Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. They will bolt from this
coalition. Ben-Gvir in particular, if you look at the polls, he actually stands to gain in the event that there were elections. Bezalel Smotrich not
so much. But Ben-Gvir, yes. So, there is that threat hanging over Benjamin Netanyahu's head.
I doubt frankly, whether or not this is going to fundamentally alter either Ben-Gvir or Smotrich's objectives, Smotrich's objectives when it comes to
the West Bank, but it could have a chilling impact. I mean, the United Nations is reporting, since October 7th, 500 incidents of settler
intimidation and violence. Eight Palestinians killed, including a child.
So, I think this is a significant and serious problem. It will not stop the settlement enterprise. But it does send a signal that the administration is
prepared, it seems, to impose some measure of cost and accountability, at least on the most extreme manifestations of settler activities in in the
GOLODRYGA: We're also seeing the ripple effects of these sanctions leveled by the United States. Just now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said
that Canada is looking to impose sanctions on extremists and settlers in the West Bank as well.
This comes as there are reports that the State Department is exploring possibly recognizing a Palestinian State following the end of the war in
Gaza. There are those in Israel that are pushing back against this. And we should note that the State Department itself is downplaying the
significance of any of this. I want to quote a statement from Matt Miller, a spokesperson, saying, "There has been no policy shift in the
administration. We have made quite clear publicly that we support the establishment of an independent Palestinian State."
But what do you make of even the timing of these reports coming out? As it is clear, there is a lot of frustration that we do not see any attempt even
by this government of Prime Minister Netanyahu's to put together a day after plan what a two-state solution may look like. Because of course,
that's the only thing that will lead him to get what he is hoping to achieve, and that is normalization with Saudi Arabia.
MILLER: Yes, you know, I just had my 25 years Department of State, mostly working on their Israeli -- Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. I've written
several memos, I'm sure, that explore a variety of options, including U.S. recognition unilaterally with Palestinian State. I don't see that, frankly,
as a realistic or practical option for the United States.
If they recognize a Palestinian State, they'd have to recognize precisely where that state is. I can see, however, the administration, at some point
this spring, laying out what I would describe to use the Biden parameters, which would, in effect, make more specific when the U.S. talks about a
Palestinian State, what are they talking about? Based on June 1967 borders, with mutually agreeable swaps, with East Jerusalem as a capital of a
punitive Palestinian State. I can see that happening.
But as you point out, the key issue here is what is Mr. Netanyahu, who, frankly, ideologically, politically, and practically is opposed to anything
was remotely acceptable to Palestinians, what is he prepared to do? And that remains, I think, an open question.
The administration clearly is preparing an initiative. And you're right, it has a lot to do with trying to use Israeli-Saudi normalization as an
incentive. The question is, how much can Mr. Netanyahu's government handle? And how risk ready is the prime minister prepared to be in endorsing such a
concept? I think we're in for a very uncertain period.
The key to all this, Bianna, though, is the negotiations underway, led by CIA Director Burns and the head of Israel's Mossad, David Barnea, to see
whether or not you can get a hostage for prisoner exchange and a de- escalation in Gaza. Without that, all of this talk is a thought experiment.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, that's such an important point to make. And listen, no doubt Prime Minister Netanyahu is known to be risk averse. And a hindrance
on this issue of what a day after looks like and the road towards a two- state solution at some point.
That having been said, the other hindrance here is Hamas. They are still effectively in power. They effectively -- you know, they have 136 hostages.
And they appear to be calling the shots now in terms of what they will and won't agree to in this deal. Is enough pressure and attention being put on
bringing this organization, this terror organization, as the U.S. deems them, to an end? And this goes beyond, I'm asking, even just releasing
these hostages, which is the most pressing issue right now.
MILLER: I mean, that is really -- you've identified -- you broke the code here. That's a critically important point. The senior leadership of Hamas
continues to be ensconced in tunnels, probably near Rafah or under Khan Younis. The three key architects and implementers of the October 7 terror
surge are alive and presumably well.
Hamas may have 15,000 fighters, perhaps more. And the real key question seems to me is, when all this over, even with a hostage for prisoner
exchange, Hamas may well remain as a sort of rump organization capable of influencing directly the economy and the politics of Gaza. And with almost
no legitimacy, the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, now 88, in the 19th year of four-year term, controls 40 percent of the West Bank,
undermined by his own corruption and autocratic tendencies and by Israeli policies, who exactly is going to be the legitimizing agent to bring
Palestinian governance to Gaza?
And right now, the most credible Palestinian organization, probably in the eyes of Gazans and certainly in the eyes of many West bankers, is Hamas, a
terror organization, the organizational embodiment of an idea, which is the destruction of the State of Israel.
I'm not sure we've factored in to the analysis in the "day after scenario" what role of Hamas is still likely to play, either intimidating
Palestinians or exercising significant influence. So, I think this just one of the many, many uncertainties that the administration is going to be
dealing with in the months ahead.
GOLODRYGA: And final question, and I don't know that it's one that you can answer right now. But in terms of what Hamas wants and what the U.S., what
many Israelis, what many in the region want, and that is a path towards a two-state solution with a Palestinian State and an Israeli State living
safely side by side, that's divergent from what Hamas wants. Hamas does not want a two-state solution.
So, even in the interim, when you have 136 hostages being held, if you have others pressing for a two-state solution right now as a way to end this
war, how does Hamas respond to that?
MILLER: Well, I think Hamas wants a Palestinian State, but they want it to be an Islamic state and they want to replace the State of Israel.
They are not capable of implementing and producing that outcome. But they are in the divided, polarized, dysfunctional world of Palestinian politics
without the kind of leadership capable of making decisions. They are still likely to carry a significant amount of influence.
I don't think, frankly, that anyone has a solution right now, Bianna, to the problematic challenge of Palestinian governance. That's going to be
key. But let me make one final point. You're going to be dealing with two incredibly traumatized communities in the wake of this war led by two
individuals. Benjamin Netanyahu one hand and Mahmoud Abbas on the other, who are much more interested in keeping their seats rather than on taking
historic decisions to create the environment for such a negotiation that might produce two-states.
So, it's going to be a long -- a very long and bumpy road. And I think we need to keep our expectations. Particularly in an election year, one of the
most consequential elections in American history, we need to keep our expectations on this one under control.
GOLODRYGA: And sadly, expectations are already pretty low at this point. I mean, you know, people just begging for these hostages to come home and for
the fighting and the suffering in Gaza to come to an end as well. Aaron David Miller, thank you.
MILLER: Thank you, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Well, at least 17,000 children in Gaza are unaccompanied or separated from their parents. This according to UNICEF. In Central Gaza,
the mother of a six-year-old Palestinian girl is desperate to know what happened to her.
She was trapped in a car on Monday after she and other members of her family came under Israeli fire. This according to the Palestinian Red
Crescent Society. Jomana Karadsheh has the details. And a warning, some viewers may find parts of her report disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Come take me. Will you come and take me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Do you want me to come and take you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm so scared, please come.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A desperate call for help from six-year-old Hind, terrified, trapped in a car. Everyone around
her is dead. Hind was in the car with her uncle, his wife and their four children trying to flee fighting from this part of Northern Gaza. The
horror in that car captured in this call for help from her cousin recorded by the Palestine Red Crescent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They are shooting us. The tank is next to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are you hiding?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, in the car. The tank is next to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are you in the car?
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Relatives on Monday morning received a call from the family saying they'd come under Israeli military fire.
SAMIR HAMADA, HIND'S UNCLE (through translator): Rahad called me. She said, uncle, my dad, my mom, my sister and brother were killed. I am
bleeding. Help me. I am dying. I told her, tie yourself with anything. At 04:00 p.m. she died.
The only one left was the little girl, Hind. She said, please, I'm little, I'm injured. I peed myself.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Hind stayed on the phone with the Red Crescent for hours.
RANA AL-FAQUEH, PRCS RESPONSE COORDINATOR (through translator): What time is it? She said, it's getting dark. I'm afraid of the dark.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The area was too dangerous, hard to reach. They had to keep Hind on the phone as they scrambled to try and get a team to
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Is there gunfire around you?
HIND (through translator): Yes, come and get me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I want to, my dear, but I can't right now.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): As the team was finally dispatched, a psychologist was now on the phone with Hind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are all with you. We will wait on the phone with you.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): But days later, they're still waiting. The Red Crescent lost all contact with Hind and its two volunteers who were
dispatched to find her. CNN gave the Israeli military details about the incident, including coordinates provided by the Palestine Red Crescent. The
IDF says, "We are unfamiliar with the incident described."
NEBAL FARSAKH, PALESTINIAN RED CRESCENT SOCIETY SPOKESPERSON: We are extremely worried. We need to know what happened. Did they manage to save
Hind? Are they arrested? Did they survive? We need answers.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): No one more desperate for answers than Hind's distraught mother.
WISSAM HAMADA, HIND'S MOTHER (through translator): If my daughter didn't die from the bullets, she is going to die from the cold, from the hunger.
My daughter said, mama, I am hungry. She said, mama, I am thirsty, I'm cold.
I call on the whole world to bring me back my daughter. I want anyone to call the army. We want our innocent little girl. Hind is too young to be
going through this. She is too young.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): So many so young gone in this war. But one family holds on to the hope that it's not too late to save their little Hind.
GOLODRYGA: And we all hope that six-year-old Hind can be found safely. I want to thank Jomana Karadsheh for that report.
We want to turn now to Ukraine. In a brand new exclusive, the embattled army chief writing a letter to CNN that Kyiv must adapt to a reduction in
Western military support if it stands any chance of beating Russia.
Valerii Zaluzhnyi is speaking out amidst a swirl of rumors surrounding his future and reports that President Zelenskyy may be poised to dismiss him
after four years on the job. This while Ukraine claims that it sunk a Russian ship off the coast of Crimea.
Here to discuss all of this Yaroslav Trofimov. He is the Wall Street Journal's chief foreign affairs correspondent and author of "Our Enemies
Will Vanish." Welcome back to the program from Brussels.
Yaroslav, this whole week I've been chasing you to have you on because there have been so many developments in this war and you are the perfect
person to talk to you about it all.
First, just get your response to this rather stunning and blunt assessment of the state of the war from its top general, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, before
he's expected -- widely expected, to be replaced.
YAROSLAV TROFIMOV, WSJ CHIEF FOREIGN-AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT AND AUTHOR, "OUR ENEMIES WILL VANISH": Well, indeed, General Zaluzhnyi painted a very
realistic picture of the war. He said that Ukraine needs time to regroup and that Ukraine needs to -- Ukrainians to focus on some of the most
difficult issues, such as replenishing the shortfall of manpower, ammunition, and also on the drone revolution. The use of drones that,
according to him and many other officials in Ukraine, are really a secret sauce for Ukrainian military operations.
And President Zelenskyy, just today, had a meeting of the Ukrainian high command, the so-called Stavka, that reunites top generals and ministers and
other officials, and he himself, with Zaluzhnyi present there, again, reaffirmed these priorities, increasing the ammunition production in
Ukraine as Western aid, especially American aid, shrunk and also focusing on drone and drone production, which really has been a very powerful weapon
for the Ukrainian military.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, he said we must contend with a reduction in military support from key allies grappling with their own political tensions,
obviously a topic we've been spending a lot of time discussing. And he goes on to say, it is well known by now that a central driver of this war is the
development of unmanned weapon systems.
Drones being front and center, obviously much more affordable relative to some of the larger armaments fought in a traditional war and much more
nimble as well. He also focused on technology and he said, "Attack operations can have psychological objectives. And here, technology boasts
an undoubted superiority over tradition. The remote control of these assets means fewer soldiers in harm's way thus reducing the level of human
Is he right to focus on this given the huge toll this war has taken on Ukrainian soldiers? Is there an effective way to shift to technology to
limit the number of losses on the battlefield?
TROFIMOV: I think it's very important. And Ukraine has shown that it can use this technology. And I've spent much of last few years on the
frontlines and I've seen myself going with Ukrainian drone operators, just how much damage it can inflict to the Russians with this sometimes very
cheap drones, many of them made in Ukraine by Ukrainian companies. And doing that from a distance that is safe enough often to preserve their own
And it's not just aerial drones. I mean, the ship that was sunk two days ago, the Russian worship and missile cruiser, was sunk by Ukrainian naval
drones, also un unmanned naval basically ships.
And there is one other crucial point. Western weapons given to Ukraine are not allowed to be used on Russian territory. And so, Ukraine, as it tries
to strike Russian military facilities, logistical facilities inside Russia, very often quite far away, all the way to St. Petersburg, he's using its
own drones to do that. And that's a -- it's a critical way of establishing a deterrence against Russia, which she's been striking all across Ukraine
with its own missiles and drones.
GOLODRYGA: So, that speaks to rumors of this changing of the guard here. On the one hand, it's not completely out of the ordinary to see something
like this, especially when a war has been going on for as long as this war has now approaching two years.
That said, we know that Zaluzhnyi is very popular in Ukraine and there is some tension between President Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi that's been out in
the open now for months.
In terms of who could replace him, two names have surfaced and that is Kyrylo Budanov. He is the defense intelligence directorate. One of the men,
very young, we should note, who has been quite successful in launching some of these operations and really holding Russia on its heels in the Black Sea
and even launching, as you noted, some of these attacks deep inside Russia, which has raised some eyebrows in the United States. The other name, more
traditional, and that would be Oleksandr Syrskyi. And he is the current commander of Ukrainian ground forces.
From your sources and what you're hearing, who do you think is more positioned or more likely to be getting this job?
TROFIMOV: Well, I'll start off by saying that General Zaluzhnyi is very, very popular in the ranks. And whenever I would come to a town or village
that was liberated by Ukrainian forces, the first thing that would happen, the troops would stencil a portrait of Zaluzhnyi on the walls, not the
portrait of President Zelenskyy.
It's not clear when and whether he will be replaced, as Zaluzhnyi took part in today's meeting of the high command and was no reference in President
Zelenskyy's statement to his dismissal.
If you look at these two possible contenders, and by no means the only ones, I think a lot of people inside the military, in the ranks, have
reservations against General Syrskyi, the commander of ground forces. He seemed that many as all too willing to sacrifice lives, and sometimes sort
of very traditionally planned attacks at a time where lives of Ukrainian soldiers are the most precious and an unreplenishable resource.
As for General Budanov, he has certainly carried out very risky operations. Not all of them were successful. You know, there was -- and I describe it
in detail in the book, there was a failed operation to retake Snake Island in the middle of 2022 that led to severe losses among Ukrainian troops, and
that was sort of hushed up at the time.
So, for now, all we know is that Zaluzhnyi remains at the helm of the military, and it's really not clear if and when he will be removed.
GOLODRYGA: Rob Lee, a military analyst who is well regarded, somebody who you know tweeted this today. He said, Ukraine faces two acute issues right
now, lack of ammunition and lack of infantry. The longer these two issues are not properly addressed, the more Ukrainians are disadvantaged and the
more that disadvantage will grow.
And these two seem to go hand in hand, but there are conflicting, I don't know, advocacies for both, especially when it comes to manpower, because it
is General Zaluzhnyi who is calling for more, whereas President Zelenskyy, understandably, as the president of a country, knows how unpopular that may
But you could also make the argument, could you not, that without more ammunition, more artillery ammunition, you're just throwing these men out
to fodder and they could become cannon fodder, just like we've seen in Russia. So, how critical is this 60 billion in aid for more ammunition,
more weaponry from the U.S. that is still stuck in Congress?
TROFIMOV: It's absolutely critical. It's not just the issue of money. The European Union was also providing money. Just yesterday, European Union
approved 50 billion euros. That's almost $60 billion dollars in aid to Ukraine. But the Europeans don't have enough ammunition.
The European rules that allow so far, the E.U. to buy ammunition outside of the E.U. And it's the U.S. that really has those artillery shells and the
stockpiles that could really be of great importance to Ukrainian forces that are right now outgunned because Russia has been procuring about a
million shells from North Korea. Russia's own military industry is working day and night.
And Russia, once again, has this advantage in the battlefield when it comes to artillery, which does result in increased Ukrainian casualties. And
exactly just like you said, you know, taps into this issue of manpower for Ukraine.
GOLODRYGA: You know, it's interesting how we go from saying Russia is defeated to now, all of a sudden, Russia is in the driver's seat at this
point and its economy is expected to grow faster. It's relying more on delivery of ammunition from North Korea, that's coming in quicker than even
some from the West.
But that having been said, it's not all doom and gloom for Ukraine either. I mean, Russia still faces a lot of headwinds going into this year.
TROFIMOV: Oh, let's look at the map. Let's look at the map. Russia has been on the offensive for the last, let's say, three months at least. And
it has had this advantage for the last three months. And yet, it has not been able to gain any significant ground. Not a single town in Ukraine has
fallen so far. And the Ukrainian troops are formidable and the resistance.
So, it's not going to be easy for Russia to advance. But any delay in supply of ammunition, especially is translated directly into higher and
higher Ukrainian casualties. And Russia obviously has a lot more people to begin with, and it's much easier for a regime like Vladimir Putin's to just
keep throwing manpower, essentially cannon fodder, into this meat grinder that the Ukrainian battlefield has become.
GOLODRYGA: Yaroslav Trofimov, thank you so much, as always, for your time and analysis.
TROFIMOV: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, we turn next to the world of sports, which this week crowned a new tennis champion in 22-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, the
Australian Open. Now, it was the first men's Grand Slam final in Melbourne since 2005 not to feature Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, or Roger Federer.
Well, that's almost two decades of domination by those tennis legends.
Indeed, on this day, 20 years ago, Federer became world number one for the very first time. The Swiss superstar began his record-breaking reign
winning 20 Grand Slams and earning a reputation as one of the greatest players of all time before 2022. An emotional farewell for fans and players
alike. Just look at him in this picture with Nadal.
Well, Christiane interviewed Federer during the 2015 Wimbledon tournament and asked him how he managed to stay on top of his game for so long.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Roger Federer, welcome to our program.
ROGER FEDERER, THEN-17 TIME GRAND SLAM WINNER: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Do you have another Grand Slam title in you?
FEDERER: I think so. You know, I really do. I've won four titles this year. I came close last year, five sets here against Novak. Semis at the
U.S. Open. So, I know I can do it. You know, it's just that some guys just are really playing very well in some moments, and that's where I also have
to elevate my game and play my very best, because anything other than not playing your best against the best when they're hot is not going to do it.
AMANPOUR: Who has been your toughest opponent ever?
FEDERER: Probably Nadal, just because of his playing style, that he's a lefty as well has made things more complicated. Plus, we've had a lot of
matches on clay, where he's -- you know, he reigns supreme. He's the best ever on clay, hands down. So, he's been the toughest, but also, probably
the most challenging and most fun to play against just because of his character and he's been unbelievable for the game. So, you know, I've loved
AMANPOUR: New generation and you're still going, as we've discussed. You're 33 years old. They might call you the old man of the tour.
AMANPOUR: But you're still proving that you can do it. How do you still do it? You know, not just your skill but the discipline, the fitness, the fact
that Rafa has been, you know, injured several times and you've managed somehow to play in a way that's allowed you to keep playing this long.
FEDERER: Yes, I mean, that's the thing. I've been somewhat lucky as well to stay injury free, because you can always get unlucky and break
something, tear something. And that just goes with -- you know, it just happens, you know.
So, for me, I've never had to have surgery. I've never had an injection. Having to play with painkillers, fine, I've had to do that. But other than
that, you know, it's been very much focused on, you know, healthy lifestyle, enjoying the traveling, the practice, the matches, having the
right team around yourself. My wife's obviously been the rock, you know, behind it all. She's been with me throughout my first title until today.
So, she's incredibly important.
So, just looking at all these things, I've done probably -- taken a lot of right decisions along the way.
AMANPOUR: Mirka, your wife, you met her at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She was a player herself and had to retire, I suppose, because of injury.
FEDERER: Exactly, yes.
AMANPOUR: You've got her on the team with you and you've got now two sets of twins, basically on your team and traveling with you.
Is it good for the -- for your psyche, does it distract you? Does it sustain you?
FEDERER: I mean, I would be unhappy on the tour without them, you know, and then I would retire. So, for me, it only works this way. And I'm
totally happy also not to play anymore. But I prefer it this way. And as long as my wife, in particular, and also the kids can manage it and
actually enjoy, because at the end of the day, it's supposed to be something we enjoy doing, it allows me to keep playing.
And my wife is so happy and eager for me to be happy and successful still on the tour. And my girls, you know, who understand it all now a little
bit, because they're turning six this year, they love, you know, traveling to all these places now that they've got to know. It's the only life they
know, really, on the tour. And they've gotten to have so many friends now as well everywhere.
So, it's unbelievably exciting. And of course, it's good for my mind, you know, to -- when I come back from a match and I've lost and they're there,
and they don't care if you've won or if you've lost. It's great. But I don't need it as a balance. I'm a very relaxed person on and off the court.
But clearly, it's been a dream come true for me to have four kids with Mirka. It's been wonderful.
AMANPOUR: You seem to have this equanimity about you, losing doesn't put you into some kind of vortex of despair. Andy Murray's mother has been
quoted as saying when he lost to you in 2012 here, he was desperate and sad and weeping for days. It affects some people, but it doesn't seem to affect
FEDERER: Not so much, you know. I agree. I think I used to be so emotional when I was younger that I learned from that. I cried too often when I was
younger, all the way from, I'd say, eight to about 20. I was unbelievably emotional, yes. Every time I lost I would basically cry.
So, even as a pro, sometimes on court, sometimes -- I could manage to get off the court and then break down, which was better. But eventually, you
know, I got my act together. And now, I take it like a man and five minutes later, I'm fine again. Of course, I'm also disappeared that I have to wait
a year until Wimbledon rolls around or until the next Olympics comes around, you know, it takes four years. But it's just -- it goes with the
You can't win the all, but what you can do is give it all you have. And once you have no regrets, I think you can accept losses also a little bit
AMANPOUR: I'm fascinated by what you say because so many children these days seem to be so pressured, weeping on court, having tempers, whatever.
And you say you had a bit of that.
FEDERER: Yes, I did have that.
AMANPOUR: But you had parents who didn't push you to excess.
FEDERER: No. I mean, the thing is, you know, I think we were very realistic about my chances. We didn't believe that I was going to be a
successful professional tennis player, maybe a successful junior on a local or national level, yes, fine, but not internationally, really competing at
Wimbledon to win, you know.
So, for -- my parents were very much just strict in the sense that, you know, it's supposed to be a privilege to go to practice and go to matches
on the weekends, so please put in your best effort, just like for us, you know, because it does cost money and it's our time. Otherwise, we'd rather
spend it with your sister or our friends, you know, and you do the things at home around the house.
So, I got that message eventually and I understand very clearly what she meant, because I have kids of my own now. And of course, when you put in
the effort, you at least would like your kids to give you their best effort as well.
AMANPOUR: Billie Jean King, obviously the greatest champion and a huge Wimbledon, you know, record holder, she has likened you to Baryshnikov or
Nureyev, and that you have this balletic quality about what you do. Obviously, they hung up their ballet shoes.
Do you ever feel that it's time to hang up the tennis shoes or the racquet?
FEDERER: Oh, yes. I think, hopefully never, really, you know. But maybe on a professional level, you have to eventually because the body or the mind
will just say, you know what, it's been great, but let's do other things in life as well because it's only a short span of your life. But let's make
the most of it.
But -- and then I hope I still play for fun, you know, with my friends, with my kids, with my wife in the future. So, I'll never probably really
retire. But the day will come, and I'll be totally happy probably doing that as well.
AMANPOUR: Is it still fun?
FEDERER: Yes. No, I don't see it as a job, really. I still see it as the - - my hobby that became this dreamland I can move about, you know. Like I explained, for me, it was never -- I never dreamed this far in my dreams,
to be this professional tennis player. So, of course, going to the gym and going to work out, yes, I would rather do other things at times. But at the
end of the day, I know why I'm doing it because I love playing on center court, I love traveling the world, and yes, I make a lot of sacrifices to
make it all work. And I love doing what I'm doing. So, I never saw it as a job per se, to be quite honest.
AMANPOUR: Roger Federer, thank you very much indeed.
FEDERER: OK. My pleasure, thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, proof that even the great Roger Federer is mortal. A year after that interview, Federer's injury free streak ended. He suffered knee
damage that led to his retirement ultimately in 2022. But with more than 1,500 matches played in 24 years, Roger Federer's tennis legacy will live
on forever. To think he did it just for fun.
Well, we turn now to American politics, where our next guest was drawn to the conservative movement as a college student, that after internships and
jobs that centered around right-wing talking points, she left that world behind. Tina Nguyen is a journalist at Puck and details her political
journey in her new book, "The MAGA Diaries." She speaks to Hari Sreenivasan about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tina Nguyen, thanks so much for joining us.
Your book is called "The MAGA Diaries: My Surreal Adventures Inside the Right-wing and How I Got Out." First, how do you become a MAGA person?
Because as most of us are prone to stereotypes, they're going to say, this doesn't look like your traditional hardcore Trump conservative.
TINA NGUYEN, AUTHOR, "THE MAGA DIARIES": Oh, absolutely not. Just look at me. I'm a woman of color with refugee parents who grew up in Boston. Like,
it makes -- it should make no sense.
But for me, my journey into conservative world, as it were, came from two factors, which was, one, my parents may have been intelligent. And they may
have somehow got me to a private school and a scholarship, but they did not know how American society works, and they did not know how to get jobs.
They did not know how to build connections. It was just a totally foreign system for them.
And then, the second factor was that I was a big geek about the founding fathers. Like, you grow up in Boston, you're surrounded by the
Revolutionary War at every corner. You're just like imbued with the ideals of the American founding.
And the moment I come across this school that is, one, very career-oriented and two, literally have these research institutions that are studying the
founding fathers and individual freedom and the ideas of liberty, you're just kind of like, oh, OK. Yes, let's do this. And then there is a
community that you go into. And that was my entrance into the broader conservative movement, which is just this vast, I guess, loosely connected
network of interest groups, activist groups, politicians who all are part of this cultural -- not like cultural conservatism, but a culture of being
conservative for a living.
The goal is to get conservatives into all aspects of American civic life. The law, the elected system, activists on the ground, maybe people in the
administration lobbyists, what have you, and see these ideas into legislation, into culture, and then watch them pay off maybe decades down
SREENIVASAN: Now, it does read a bit like a diary. I mean, you really kind of start out about how you, kind of, went to the college that you went to,
sort of, chasing a boy that was a conservative. And how did, kind of, what you experienced in college translate into the first few jobs you got
writing for the publications that you were writing, covering the conservative movement?
NGUYEN: I wanted to be a journalist pretty badly. And I was looking for internships in the summer of 2009 right at the height of the recession, and
this opportunity pops up in our conservative jobs e-mail list called -- at the Institute of Humane Studies where they're looking for students who want
a paid internship in journalism as long as they're liberty minded, which was the exact phrase they used.
And I applied for it. I got it. And they're like, cool. Here's your money. But you also have to come to these seminars where we'll -- you get to hang
out with all of these other students who are interested in the same things that you are. And we're going to talk about, you know, maybe the Affordable
Care Act is like anti-free market. I don't know why the media is not talking about that.
When September rolls around, I get invited to the official mentorship program. The guy who runs that program, says, I am going to be your mentor.
I am going to get you jobs and help you write your resume and connect you with people. And as I left college, though, I started noticing that this
mentor was connecting me with groups that were increasingly less focused on journalism and more focused on putting out news that had a really intense
partisan tilt to the point where they just like decontextualized what it was they wanted me to write for the sake of making a political point.
SREENIVASAN: So, you know, this could have been a book about someone that was young, getting into the Republican Party and finding her conservative
roots. But what is the difference between, I guess, the Republican Party of 25 years ago and some of the people that you talked to and interact with in
the book were from that era, and the MAGA movement specifically?
NGUYEN: The conservative movement did not have an immune system against populism, I think. They had this large infrastructure that had spawned from
the movement, but I -- but they were pretty firmly of the belief that they -- believe that, like, they supported free markets. religious rights, anti-
abortion, but that the Republican voter base wanted the same as well.
And then the moment that Donald Trump comes in and the base is like, actually, we would like populism very much. The movement was like, all
right, do we stick to our guns and try to promote a belief that is increasingly unpopular, or do we pivot to meet these voters where they are?
We pivot Trump to where he -- to Trump where he is because now, he's the leader of our party in the free world, in order to maintain not just our
power or our money cynically, but like the reason that we've done what we've done for 25 to 30 years.
One of the things I keep noticing in the book over and over again was that people who left in response to Trumpism were immediately just out. They --
like, their friends disavowed them. They're calling -- their institutions fired them. They no longer had jobs. And I was looking at the progressive
movement for a while and it's like this doesn't really happen over here. That's so weird.
SREENIVASAN: So, what is it about, sort of, Trump's force, singularly, that was able to galvanize not just disaffected voters in the Rust Belt but
young conservatives as well? I mean, you talk about the places that were looking for a leader like him.
NGUYEN: College conservatism is always predicated on the belief that there is liberal institutions on campus, liberal academia, trying to push a
certain view of the world down your throat, and you need to resist against that indoctrination. And that's only increased in subsequent years,
especially due to the rise in online media, being able to, like, out you if you kind of step outside the line of what is considered acceptable on
And so, even though there are all these loud protests on college campuses about like Israel versus Gaza, the really deep tension that college
students face is if I say something out loud, will I be canceled and ostracized and will people literally throw eggs at my face whenever they
see me? And just because you're not expressing your pro-Trump fuse and wandering around with a MAGA hat, doesn't necessarily mean you're not going
to go inside the voting booth and pull the lever for Trump.
SREENIVASAN: Right now, in almost every kind of political conversation or debate, what -- you noticed very quickly is that the right is much better
than the left when it comes to messaging, marching orders, singing from the same hymnal, call it whatever you like. And I wonder, can you diagram how
NGUYEN: It's purely reactionary. Conservatism as just a general American philosophy and idea. One of the texts that they always draw from is Edmund
Burke, a philosopher from the late 1800s. And his entire -- and most of his writing focused on the concept that society if it moves forward too
quickly, it will lead to ruin.
But fast forward to now, the idea that they have marching orders from one person, I think, is false. I think what it -- what happens is that there's
a deep state of fear of what change looks like, and it's automatically very easy, if not instinctual, to be like, no, we don't like that. No, this bad.
No, we will do whatever it takes to stop that. That's not hard to coordinate. That's incredibly easy to just get on the same page.
SREENIVASAN: How does the conservative movement or the MAGA movement in America find themselves, in any way, victims when you look at the
tremendous amount of power that exists, for example, in the Supreme Court or lots of other avenues of society where it's at best 50-50?
NGUYEN: Look, just because they have formal power doesn't necessarily mean that they have absolute power. The Supreme Court, even though they have
control over the Supreme Court, doesn't necessarily mean they know exactly how these justices are going to be voting. A bunch of the right-wing judges
are not necessarily conservative or MAGA justices. Clarence Thomas, I think, is sort of his own weird little thing. Roberts, is kind of
independent from all of that. The -- and then of course there is the existence of the liberal judges.
So, they have seats. They don't necessarily have control. One of the things I've written about recently at "Puck" is the idea that the Trump
administration is being built and like waiting so they can specifically go in on day one and knock out everyone who had opposed the Trump agenda
during the first administration. Purging, "The deep state that had worked to either stop what they were trying to do or roll it back or whatever
stood in the way."
SREENIVASAN: But when did you feel like you were perhaps out of step with the movement or when did you find your beliefs changing?
NGUYEN: The covenant that they broke with me was that they said I could be a journalist, and then when I tried to be a journalist, they were like, no,
you can't do that because we need to attack the Democrats. And that was just such a violation for me, personally. I still really like the founding
fathers. I still believe in the American ideal. I worry that we'll never be able to achieve it because we're humans. But the idea that this institution
was asking me to deliberately, like, decontextualize the truth or take an angle or, like, in some cases, outright lie under the guise of being a
journalist was just like I can't do this. I just cannot.
There was one point in December 2011, and I write about this, that -- I'm on my second job interview and there's this group called the Franklin
Institute that's looking for a stringer in Madison, Wisconsin. And I'm like, OK, that's cool. I'd love to report out of Wisconsin. And then they
started asking me to specifically muckrake on teachers' unions. And this around the time that Scott Walker and the teachers' unions are having this
massive battle. And I'm like, wait. Wait a second. I -- no. No. This is bad. I can't do this.
SREENIVASAN: You know, the irony is, is that these are some of the very critiques that conservatives hurl against what they perceive as liberal
media bias, that reporters automatically have an ax to grind that they're out to muckrake or the decontextualize the truth.
NGUYEN: I think there's a difference, and this just from my point of view, between like growing up with a specific view of the world, going through
specific journalistic institutions in order to get credentialed and slip through the door and then become a "New York Times" reporter, for instance.
Then there is being part of a formal well-funded movement that is meant to specifically insert conservative ideas into the media.
In this -- in my case, under the guise of being a journalist, like, I think there's a difference between being conservative media reporters, a whole
separate issue in and of itself, but then also being asked to twist the truth while pretending to be a journalist.
SREENIVASAN: You were writing at "Politico", and a few days before January 6th, I want to read the headline for your piece, and it said, MAGA leaders
call for the troops to keep Trump in office. A growing call to invoke the Insurrection Act shows how hard edged MAGA ideology has become in the wake
of Trump's election loss.
What were your editors thinking after January 6th?
NGUYEN: January 6th was just a hard thing for people to wrap their heads around, but I had been pitching so often these stories of like, here are
these MAGA people coming into Washington. They are willing to use violence. They have violent ideology in their back pocket. And they truly believe
that if the government is being taken over, they have the right as sovereign citizens to take up arms.
And I think over time, there's this really weird tension between them being like, OK, you were right, but then also editors having this inability to
recognize, wait. No, what you're reporting on is still true. It's still so far outside of what we believe to be true that we just can't accept it.
That piece I wrote was, sort of, the precursor to the piece I pitched for January 6th, which was I want to report on people who have gone to the
Capitol to try to harass lawmakers as they enter the building. And when I got there, this wasn't so much a crowd that really was, like, whipped up
into a frenzy so much as it was a crowd that did truly believe that the Capitol belongs to them and that they should be let through the barriers in
order to tell the lawmakers to their face what to do.
A little bit nerve wracking, a little bit scary, but I was like, all right, this makes sense. And then I met a Proud Boy for the first time. And he
just kind of started hinting at like, oh, we've got a plan for today. We've got this totally cool plan. We're going to see how the day, like, wraps up.
SREENIVASAN: Do you see any blind spots heading into 2024 similar to those blind spots that you discussed in the book about maybe how the press
didn't understand what was happening with the Trump movement the first time around? Are there things that we're still not getting?
NGUYEN: I think it seems to be hard for people to wrap their heads around the idea that minorities could be pro-Trump. Like, Vietnamese-Americans are
extremely pro-Trump. I think they -- like, a majority of them do vote for Trump. But the growth in Hispanic voters going for Trump, Asian-Americans,
possibly more black voters this time around to a surprising degree. And it does come from a place where they just cannot simply accept that racism
does not necessarily mean, oh, I'm looking at the color of your skin and your background. You don't belong here. Whatever.
It is the idea that someone's putting their scale on the thumb of who gets power, who gets jobs, who gets access, and tilting it towards underserved -
- undeserving minorities. But if you were to go to a working class, like middle class, maybe not -- kind of, maybe, upper middle-class household of
a non-white American, they would be like, socialism really scary.
A lot of us escaped socialist countries and our entire livelihoods and lives were destroyed in the name of socialism. People are coming from
across the border. We went around this the proper way, how dear Biden let them in now and they're bringing in crime and we had to jump through hoops
in order to prove that we were good American citizens and they love being in America. And the idea that like someone could take away that stability
for them is like deeply traumatizing.
SREENIVASAN: The book is called "The MAGA Diaries, My Surreal Adventures Inside the Right-wing and How I Got Out." Author Tina Nguyen, thanks so
much for joining us.
NGUYEN: Thanks for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And finally, a story that's had us all in a flap of sorts. The release of a bird of interest in India after an eight-month detention.
Now, this pigeon, suspected of espionage, yes espionage, was freed this week after rings that appear to have Chinese writing on them were found
tied to its legs in May. Now, it turns out it's just an open water racing bird that had escaped from Taiwan. And now it can happily live out its life
free as a bird.
Glad we figured that caper out. 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, and on our website, and all-over social media. Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from