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Interview with Haaretz Columnist and "Bibi" Author Anshel Pfeffer; Interview with Washington Post Columnist and Mojo Story Editor Barkha Dutt; Biden to Announce Executive Action on Immigration; Interview with "The Klansman's Son" Author R. Derek Black. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 04, 2024 - 13:00   ET




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


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We are working in countless ways to return our hostages. I think about them all

the time.


GOLODRYGA: Political pressure on Netanyahu ramps up as four hostage families find out their loved ones are dead. So, what's holding up the

long-awaited deal between Israel and Hamas? I speak to Haaretz columnist Anshel Pfeffer.

Then, the world's largest exercise in democracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks set to win a rare third term in India's election. But it's

closer than expected. Indian journalist Barkha Dutt joins me to discuss.

Also, ahead --


R. DEREK BLACK, AUTHOR, "THE KLANSMAN'S SON": My family believes something that they believe is true and moral and the rest of the world just despises

them for it.


GOLODRYGA: -- from white nationalism to anti-racism. Michel Martin's conversation with R. Derek Black about their new book, "The Klansman's


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

In Israel, any hopes for a ceasefire deal appear to be dwindling, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walking a political tightrope. On one

hand, hostage families, opposition leaders, and U.S. President Biden all pressuring the Israeli leader not to back away from a deal. While, on the

other hardline cabinet ministers are threatening to resign should he accept a diplomatic resolution.

President Biden announced Friday that the plan had come from Israel and yet, at the same time, Netanyahu is vowing to continue the war until Hamas

is destroyed. All of this creating an understandable air of confusion.

Meantime, on the ground in Gaza, the death toll has surpassed 36,400 and the situation for those held captive worsens. On Monday, the families of

four hostages were informed that their loved ones were dead. Chaim Pero, Yoram Metzger, Amiram Cooper, and Nadav Popplewell, the IDF, says they were

killed while together in Khan Younis during "an operation there against Hamas."

To unpack all of this, I'm joined now by Haaretz columnist and Netanyahu biographer, Anshel Pfeffer. Welcome back to the program, Anshel. It's good

to see you again. Let's begin with this deal that President Biden announced, presented, saying that this was an Israeli proposal. Now,

there's been confusion going back and forth as to how much of that proposal was initiated by Israel, as opposed to the United States.

Netanyahu then shortly reiterating that he will not stop this war and insisted on total victory. Your colleague at Haaretz, Amos Harel, said that

Biden's speech, "Has shown the world how big the gap is between the Netanyahu of the war cabinet and the Netanyahu of the security cabinet."

Was what we saw from President Biden a successful way to finally put Bibi in a corner?

ANSHEL PFEFFER, COLUMNIST, HAARETZ AND AUTHOR, "BIBI": I think it was. I think that the way that Biden presented it, the timing of it, the way that

he basically didn't allow Netanyahu to escape, acknowledging the fact that this was indeed a proposal that came from Netanyahu's war cabinet.

And let's be clear, this not a deal. This not an agreement. This just a proposal, a negotiation. It's something that has to be still -- the details

that it has to have to be hashed out with the Hamas. And Hamas so far not responded officially. We're hearing contradicting responses from the

various Hamas.


So, what we're seeing here is basically Biden outing Netanyahu. Netanyahu did present a -- himself with the Israeli war cabinet chaired by Netanyahu,

presented a proposal which also contemplates a ceasefire, a permanent ceasefire. But the problem is that the details of this are very hazy. And

this something coming from the war cabinet, it's not coming from the entire government.

In the wider cabinet of Netanyahu, there are far-right politicians who hold Netanyahu's fate, and they certainly are not signed on to this proposal.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and you're talking about Ben-Gvir and Smotrich in particular, who threatened to leave this government. But you have heard

from other opposition leaders like Yair Lapid who have proposed replacing them and supporting keeping this government alive, at least for the time


Do you think that that is a proposal that Yair Lapid is serious about offering and one that perhaps Bibi would have to contemplate accepting?

PFEFFER: I think Yair Lapid is certainly serious about that. He and like many other Israeli figures realizes that the only way to save at least some

of the hostages, and as we know, then the number of hostages alive are Gaza dwindling, the only way to save them is some kind of agreement with Hamas.

It may not be a permanent ceasefire, but probably -- it will probably be something less permanent, some kind of a truce. But that is probably the

only way of getting some of the hostages out alive.

And Lapid, I think, is very serious when he says Netanyahu, we'll give you political cover if you need it for the duration of the truce. And Netanyahu

has to make his choice. Netanyahu can pass this through the Knesset, through the government. He can -- he has the majority to do so, but at the

same time, he will lose his own personal majority, the majority he won back in November '22, in the last election.

And for Netanyahu, the prospect of losing that majority is something that he doesn't want to face. He fought so hard to get a majority. He fought

five election campaigns and spent 18 months in opposition until that moment arrived. And now, to give up on that for the hostage's sake is something

which is very difficult for him.

GOLODRYGA: Another opposition leader, an opponent of Netanyahu's, emergency war cabinet member Benny Gantz has given the ultimatum that by

June 8th, if Prime Minister Netanyahu hasn't put forward a day after plan that he would leave government. Now, there are many theories as to why he

felt pressure to do so at the time. Obviously, he has set firm all along that the priority should be the hostages. The priority should be for a day

after plan, but he's also saying his poll numbers internally start to decline as well.

Do you think that we will in fact see him leave if there is not a concrete proposal as of next week?

PFEFFER: I think that if Gantz feels that Netanyahu -- that there is a chance that Netanyahu, take it, go and get ahead with this proposal, and

there's a chance that it materializes an international agreement, I think Gantz will postpone his deadline.

But we have four or five more days in which we can sit and we test Netanyahu's intentions. And as you said at the beginning, we're hearing

this back and forth between Washington and Jerusalem in where Netanyahu is sort of saying, yes, this our proposal, but the way that Biden presented it

was incomplete or inaccurate. And there are all kinds of details in it which are not exactly as Biden has said.

And this where we're beginning to see Netanyahu starting to backtrack, to keep his options open, trying to save his majority. I think if Gantz feels

that Netanyahu is not serious, then he will resign within a few days, if he thinks there is a chance. And once again, this all about saving the

hostages who are still alive in Gaza. If Gantz feels that there is a prospect of that, I think he will stay, he will give Netanyahu a bit more

time to try and make that happen.

GOLODRYGA: And, as you noted, this could all be for naught. I mean, obviously, you have to hear from Hamas agreeing to this proposal at the end

of the day. Mixed messages coming from their leadership and who knows what Yahya Sinwar ultimately will say about this.

There are a couple of prominent figures who say that this not even worth debating at this point. For example, Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

was on U.S. television here in New York earlier today saying that there's no incentive right now for Sinwar to give in and that the IDF, in his view,

should go full throttle into Rafah, to really put more pressure on Sinwar to release all of the hostages.

Then you have the editor in chief of the "Times" of Israel, David Horovitz, pointing out the one of the main obstacles for the deal to go through,

which is obviously Hamas to agree to this deal. He's saying that Israel's proposal as specified by Netanyahu and partly unveiled by Biden on Friday

night requires Hamas to consent to its own effective demise and why one must ask, would it agree to do that?


Do you agree? With both of those takes? Not -- maybe not necessarily what Naftali Bennett is saying Israel should be doing, but the fact that, at

least at this point, Hamas and Sinwar specifically don't feel enough pressure to agree to a deal to release all the hostages.

PFEFFER: Well, it's certainly true that Sinwar currently doesn't have that much of an incentive. He's managed to survive for the past eight months

since he launched the October 7 massacre. He's somewhere on the ground, probably surrounded by Israeli hostages as a shield.

And as far as -- he can stay there. He's seeing the way that Israel's being pummeled on the national state, the way Israel's international credibility

and legitimacy have been eroded, how the Netanyahu government is making all the mistakes. So, why should he move?

But Hamas has also other members, other leaders, they have a lot to lose by losing their shelter in Doha and Qatar that may happen in incurring the

wrath of the Egyptians. There was also the question of the Rafah Crossing going into Egypt -- going from Egypt into Gaza, which is a crucial life and

also for Hamas. So, there are ways in which Hamas can be pressured, even Sinwar can be pressured.

But it's true that currently he has every reason to toughen it out and to try and get even be better conditions from his perspective. But at some

point, he does need to use this bargaining chip that he has. I mean, he kidnapped those hostages so he could barter them for a deal. He is going to

have to make a deal at some point. Certainly, as we know that hostages are dying and he won't have that many hostages to bargain with. And it sounds

terribly cynical, but this the way that Sinwar is operating.

So, I agree that while Sinwar will probably play tough, it doesn't mean that there is no deal to be had.

GOLODRYGA: You know, I keep hearing, especially from -- and we should note, the importance of always highlighting these hostage families and

really elevating their position, the plight for their family members, that should be top priority.

President Biden has spent a lot of time speaking with many of these family members, especially those that have dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship. And I

keep hearing from many Israeli families of hostages that they're not seeing the same emotives coming from their government, from Prime Minister


And I couldn't help but note that the opening clip that we played from the prime minister saying that he thinks about these families, these hostages,

every single day, I can't get into his head, even someone who's covered him as closely and for as long as you have, can get into his head. But is that

the sense that many Israelis feel, that he thinks about these families every single day?

PFEFFER: Well, I think that if that was the case, then we would see a much closer level of engagement between Netanyahu and the hostages' families. I

mean, you mentioned President Biden, President Biden has spoken with some of the families before Netanyahu has, and much more frequently than he has,

and he's given you the number that they can call him. And we know that he speaks to them on a regular basis.

Whereas, according to the families, Netanyahu has barely had time in the last eight months to talk to them. We see his media proxies attack the

families in the -- on social media for putting pressure on the government for helping Hamas in that way. So, no, I'm not convinced that Netanyahu

constantly thinks about the families, about the hostages. Though, like you say, I can't get into his head.

GOLODRYGA: How are Israelis reacting at the time now where it appeared until last minute that there was a specific date as early as next week for

Netanyahu to come to Washington to address a joint session of Congress after being -- receiving an invitation from both Democratic and Republican

leaders? It looks like that's now being pushed back to perhaps July.

But I'm just wondering the perception within Israel of what that optic will look like given that I know there's a lot of tension between prime minister

and local journalists there on the ground. He doesn't spend much time one on one with them as he does with western journalists. And now, we have him

coming to address a joint session of Congress here given all of the tension boiling over there at home.

PFEFFER: Well, Netanyahu, as we're seeing now in the polls, has lost the trust of around 70 percent of Israelis who want him to resign and want a

new election, either immediately or as soon as the war ends. They don't want to see him as their leader anymore.


But Netanyahu, at the same time, has this incredible self-belief and confidence in his own powers of rhetoric, and that if he shows Israelis how

he goes to Washington and stands up for Israel in a way that no one else can, and talks to the Congress and tells them all the wonderful -- you

know, uses the biblical quotes that he uses and the baseball jokes and all this, you know, all this shtick, that Bibi has been doing for so many

years, that will somehow rebuild the Israeli confidence in him, I'm skeptical.

But, you know, Netanyahu is -- has been doing this for so many years. He doesn't learn new tricks. He just carry -- just repeats the same ones he's

done before. And, you know, maybe a speech to Congress will change things, but I'm -- I don't think so. I think that this will only convince the

small, but still loyal group of supporters Netanyahu had.

GOLODRYGA: Let me ask you about the concerns that we're seeing there in the north of the country, specifically these huge fires that have been

sparked by Hezbollah shelling. This as, I would say, and argue that there has been an under reporting and focus on just the growing tensions there

with Hezbollah, the fact that you've got 60,000 people there that have had to leave their homes effectively.

Where are things with regards to Hezbollah and concerns about another front opening there? Ben-Gvir, for example, said in response to this, and these

images are terrible, it's time for all of Lebanon to burn. Is the ground operation -- is a ground operation in Lebanon growing closer in your view?

PFEFFER: Well, there is a second front. There has been a second front from the day after October 7th when Hezbollah started firing rockets and

missiles at Israeli communities forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate, and that's been the situation ever since. It's a second front.

There is a war there, but it's a low intensity war. It's a war which doesn't reach more than a few kilometers beyond the border on either side.

And now it -- now it's being brought home by the site -- you know, by these scenes of the terrible forest fires because of the weather now being caused

by the rockets. But we're still -- I still don't detect on the Israeli side, and I think neither on the side of Hezbollah a real desire to go for

an all-out war, because, first of all, Israel's war weary, Israel's still fighting in Gaza. And everybody knows that the war -- that an all-out war

between Israel and Hezbollah will mean terrible destruction on both sides, in Israel and in Lebanon. I don't think -- I think Israel doesn't want


Ben-Gvir obviously talks because, you know, he's a fascist who -- and a populist who likes to talk about burning other countries and flattening

other nations. And so that -- you know, we don't take that seriously. But, yes, there is a serious threat of this escalating into an all-out war, and

it's very much connected to what's happening in Gaza, because if there is a ceasefire in Gaza, then Hezbollah will probably stop harassing Israel with

these rockets, and there may be an opening for some kind of diplomatic arrangement in Lebanon.

But since that is all currently linked to what's happening in Gaza, it means that we're constantly looking backward and saying, oh, can this still

be -- can there be some kind of deal with Hamas? And this gives Hamas even more power bargaining because they know how much -- you know how much

pressure this causing is on right now on the Lebanese border.

GOLODRYGA: I don't want to end things by putting you in a tough spot with another one of your colleagues, Aluf Benn. But I just wanted to see if you

agree with his latest assessment predicting that Netanyahu is on the cusp of dissolving parliament. Would you agree with that?

PFEFFER: I certainly think that's an alternative Netanyahu may use. He has in the past. This would be -- I mean, it would be a gamble and it would

mean that he obviously would be risking two more years in office that he would have without having an early election, but it would solve basically

many problems for Netanyahu. Netanyahu could do stuff after dissolving the Knesset for the space.

It will take about three months of an election campaign, which he's currently reluctant to do, mainly because of the far-right pressure. It's

certainly an alternative for Bibi. But at the same time, he doesn't -- he may not rush to risk two more years in office in the knowledge that he may

not win this election.

So, I half agree with Aluf, but it's certainly something that Bibi could do. I'm not sure yet if he -- if he's quite ready for it.

GOLODRYGA: Very diplomatic response to the question there. Anshel Pfeffer, always great to see you, thanks so much for joining the program.

Well, we turn now to India and the world's biggest election. After six weeks and 642 million votes cast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP

party look on course for a third consecutive term in office.


But early results show that it was a tighter race than expected, with the opposition party making a competitive showing, headed up by the former

grandson -- the grandson of Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

So, will they deny Modi the supermajority that he was seeking? And what might the next five years look like? While the Hindu nationalist leader

retains massive popularity across the country, pointing to advancements in infrastructure and technology, critics fear his continued crackdown on

freedom of expression.

Indian journalist Barkha Dutt has been following the results closely and joins a program from New Delhi. Barkha, welcome to the show. Not the

turnout, not the final results that Modi had expected, but obviously, he came out fully embracing this win, a historic consecutive third term win.

The first time we've seen that since the independence leader of Nehru. So, he has much to applaud and celebrate.

But also, now, going back to sort of go over how things went wrong for his ultimate goal of a supermajority.

BARKHA DUTT, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST AND EDITOR, MOJO STORY: Well, absolutely. This seems like such a paradoxical moment because although Modi

has made history with that third term, and he's poised to be sworn in as the next prime minister, the fact is that it's a victory with shades of


And let me explain. The prime minister had given a call, Modi had given a call for a 400-seat goal in India's parliament, for him and his allies. But

instead, we've seen a kind of slip, a fall down, a stumble, call it what you will, that has taken Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party,

the BJP, below the majority mark.

What this means is that a politician who has never, never, since he was a state politician in Gujarat, and since he's been prime minister, ever been

part of a coalition government where he's had to depend on other parties, he will now have to depend on regional allies, state leaders, to basically

form the government.

So, automatically, that sort of invincibility, that aura around Modi that he's unbeatable has gone. And secondly, it will raise questions,

potentially, about whether the government will be stable in the way that Modi would like, because he's dependent on other parties for political


GOLODRYGA: It's something he's not used to, obviously, and clearly wouldn't -- was not anticipating. Walk us through what that might look

like, what this new coalition with smaller parties will look like for the government.

DUTT: Well, to start with while, you know, I'm not diminishing or I'm not taking away from the fact that Modi is still a very strong political brand

nationally. How laws are made in India, how laws are passed in India will dramatically change.

In the past, we have seen the Modi government pushing through legislations on contentious issues that they believe in. For example, a new citizenship

act is a decision that has been taken by the government that not all of its allies were comfortable with. But earlier, the brute numbers of the BJP in

the last two terms of Modi government were so large that they were able to take some of these decisions.

Now, for example, the Modi government has long wanted a uniform civil court, one law, one sort of family law that would disallow different

communities to have their own laws. To push this through, he needs -- it'll be much tougher for him. He needs the consent, not just of his own

partners, but the opposition numbers have swelled in parliament. So, that's the first change we're going to see. How India's parliament works and what

kind of laws that can be pushed through.

Secondly, there's an anticipation. I think somebody described it well. It's a return to normal politics. You see, today, Modi is powerful, but he feels

like another politician. And therefore, there's a kind of normalization instead of the kind of cult of personality, the unbridled power in some

ways that Modi had wielded in the last two terms.

GOLODRYGA: So, do you anticipate a humbling or a more humbled Modi for a third term?

DUTT: You know, in his victory speech, he did not make any acknowledgement of disappointment. He did not refer to the fact that they had fallen short

of the goal that they had set for themselves. They've fallen short of the majority. But whether or not he acknowledges it as such, it has been

humbling. It has been a containment of Modi.

And I'll tell you something very interesting. I've been traveling across India to report these elections. And his own voters, I asked them a

question. I said, what are -- you know, what do you like about Modi? And they would name India's place in the world, security, infrastructure. And

then I'd say, what do you want him to do differently? And every voter I met gave me two answers. One, a greater focus on jobs, a greater focus on

livelihood issues. And two, dial down the Hindu-Muslim rhetoric, dial down the religious rhetoric.


Mr. Modi was extremely strident in many of his campaign speeches this time, and that focus on sort of religious issues, polarizing issues, and the gun

(ph) to make his own waters and comfortable. And the way I see this verdict is it's a restoration of the checks and balances that every democracy

needs. You don't want anybody to be too powerful, not the government, not the opposition. And somewhere there's been a healthy rebalancing, a

reordering of Indian democracy with this verdict.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, he really ran on a Hindu nationalist agenda and going through some of your really important and fascinating reporting, it was

interesting that even when he saw an initial dip in voter turnout, the first phase of this election, he really doubled down in that nationalism,

he used words such as infiltrators, those who have more children.

And then, a few weeks later, he sort of distanced himself from those remarks and denied that he was referring to Muslims. But when you spoke to

people on the ground, I was really struck by what one farmer told you. He said, politics based on religion is worthless. What we want is 24/7

electricity, enough water for irrigation, and opportunities for our children. Don't talk to us about Hindus and Muslims. They are both good

people. Talk to us about how our lives can be better.

DUTT: Absolutely. And -- you know, and this was a farmer I met in a remote interior village of North India. And as I sat talking to him, there were

little children playing all around us. Most children had big dreams of being a doctor, of joining the Indian military. But the fact is that their

immediate environment doesn't have those enabling mechanisms that will allow them that kind of education to pursue their dreams.

And people on the ground said to me, we don't want to hear about, you know, these issues. These are not the issues that matter to us. And I am still

mystified as to why the prime minister doubled down on those speeches. It didn't do anything for his image internationally or domestically, and it

didn't yield any extra votes either.

And I'll tell you something very interesting. Right before the campaign, Mr. Narendra Modi presided over the grand opening of a temple. A temple

that was built where a disputed mosque once stood, the Ram Mandir. And of course, Lord Ram is worshipped by millions of Indians. But the BJP thought

that this temple moment was going to be its defining moment in this campaign.

One of the seats that the BJP has lost today is the town where this temple actually came up. And I found that really very instructive message. The BJP

has overused, overplayed the religious card -- the religion card rather. And they're having to pay for that in their own bastions, states where they

used to dominate, where this kind of politics used to work. It's obviously peaked saturated, run its course.

GOLODRYGA: Right. Because they looked to be on course to taking 240 seats, the BJP in 2019. The last election, they won 303 seats. This clearly is a

referendum on Modi and Modi-ism more so than it is an endorsement of the oppositions, specifically the dominant opposition, that being Rahul Gandhi,

who was not seen as a very strong candidate.

DUTT: Well, the -- you know, Rahul Gandhu, I would say is back in play. We'll have to see how he conducts himself and how the opposition conducts

itself over the next few years while the Modi government heads for a third term. But what I will say is that you are right to the extent that I see

this verdict more as a needs to de-accelerate the Modi juggernaut, to contain it within a framework where it is more accountable to the people of

India than a positive vote for another individual on the other side of the trenches.

In any case, the opposition did not declare a prime ministerial candidate. And Modi -- we have -- we're a parliamentary democracy, but Modi made it

almost presidential. He made it all about himself. And that comes with benefits and risks. When you win, you get all the credit. But when you drop

63 seats, as the BJP has in this verdict, well, then you made it about yourself. So, people are going to say that this -- you know, this a

weakening, a diminishing of brand Modi.

And that's how I would really describe what's happened today. Modi heads into a historic third term with his wings clipped with his brand or his

authority somewhat diminished.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And he set ambitious goals for himself, for the country, under his leadership and party leadership for BJP. I mean, this already one

of the fastest growing economies in the world. He had hoped in this term that it would move from fast to fifth largest economy to third largest

economy. He set a specific target date of 2047 to where this developing country would indeed turn into a developed country.


Does any of this stifle those ambitions? And I'm asking, and again, the stock market is not indicative of where we're going to see the economy by

any stretch of the imagination, but we saw a pretty sharp sell off today following this news.

DUTT: Well, I think the stock market doesn't indoors or gets nervous with coalition governments, governments where parties don't have, you know, a

one-party majority because they see them as potentially unstable, because if your allies, your partners were to leave you, the government would fall.

So, markets prefer a more predictable politics.

But in terms of the economy, I do actually believe that the message that Mr. Modi will take and I think we'll have to take from this verdict is to

focus on the economy and prioritize it in his third term. I should say -- I don't think it's likely, but I should say that there are certain opposition

leaders who are saying, don't take the third term for granted. There are whispers about the opposition trying to break away the two or three

regional partners that are with Mr. Modi right now. I don't believe that that will fructify immediately, but there's also a that up in the air.

But let's assume for a moment that Modi -- the Modi government does go into its third term. I do think that Mr. Modi will try and repair or salvage the

legacy that's got that that's got bruised in this verdict by actually focusing on the economy. Because one of the messages from the heartland of

India is underemployed or unemployed young people.

And I'll tell you about another young man I met in one of the states where the BJP has actually faced defeat today, and he said to me, if Mr. Modi can

ask for another opportunity from the country in his mid-70s that in my early 20s, don't I deserve to have a good job?

GOLODRYGA: Yes. I mean, that seems to be the clear message here. As that farmer told you, don't talk to me about religion, that's not going to solve

my children's future, right? We need clean water. That's an issue we didn't even touch on, is the role of climate change here and how that's going to

not only affect the economy, but obviously lives in the country as well.

So many of these poll workers we saw actually died of the heat wave that took over, that we saw throughout this six-week process. Barkha Dutt, thank

you so much for your very sharp analysis.

DUTT: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: We appreciate your time.

DUTT: Thank you for having me.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now to some politics right here in the United States, where President Biden is taking a major step in a crucial election issue,

immigration and America's southern border. The president is announcing an executive action which will dramatically limit migrants' ability to seek

asylum at the Mexican border if they've crossed illegally.

Joining me now on this Correspondent Gustavo Valdes, who is in Mexico City. And, Gustavo, once again, this is signed, it can go into action immediately

because there's a threshold set for those who cross illegally into this country to where this order can go into effect after more than 2,500 asylum

seekers go to the border yesterday. We saw yesterday alone about 3,500 cross the border. So, we could see action, the border effectively shut down

as soon as tonight.

GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's yet to be seen. The Mexican president today, in his morning press conference, addressed this

issue, and he ensured Mexicans that the border will not be shut down. Because it's too important for both nations.

So, the definition of closing the border is going to have to be clearly explained by the Biden administration as to what they mean when they're

talking about closing the border. If it's going to be a strategic closing of certain points, or if it's going to be something they're doing in

between points of entry.

There is chaos in the border. There are people who show up at the crossing points requesting asylums, there are those who get tired of waiting and

cross illegally, sometimes turning themselves over to immigration authorities, and there are those who just want to get in and they don't

want to have anything to do with immigration authorities.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and the timing is interesting because we have seen the numbers of those seeking asylum crossing the border decline since their

peak in December of last year, but we also are hearing reports that the administration, the U.S. administration, had wanted to wait until after the

Mexican elections. The results were in. President-elect Sheinbaum yesterday was given a mandate, an overriding mandate there in the country.

And also, clearly here in the United States, this one of the most pressing and important issues for voters and one that many view as a weakness for

the Democrats and for the administration.

VALDES: That's right. So, now, they know who the next president in Mexico is. So, they know that it's somebody who is like President Lopez Obrador.

So, they can assume or negotiate on the same terms, trying to implement the same policies they have with Lopez Obrador, who leaves office in October.

So, they can continue past October before the November election.


But this something that could backfire to President Biden in his efforts to try to show that he's doing something on immigration. Because what we saw

when, we saw the COVID restrictions on immigration ended, we saw this rush of migrants trying to beat the deadline and get there. So, we could see the

same thing happening now and people waiting to see when this action takes, we might see that rush and turn into a headache for the Mexican -- for the

United States, for the Biden administration.

So, it could be counterproductive, not to mention the lawsuits it's going to be facing, given that groups like the ACLU is already saying they're

going to sue.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and it's exactly what we saw when Former President Trump tried to use this exact mandate while he was in office, as you mentioned.

And the most important thing here, Gustavo, is that it doesn't address the issue at hand. This really just a stopgap, but it doesn't address why we're

seeing this migrant crisis. I'm just wondering from what you're reporting and from what you're hearing there in Mexico, how much frustration is there

on the pressure this now puts on Mexico?

VALDES: Well, like I said, the Mexican president kind of dismissed the whole idea. They said deportations happen all the time. And he tried to

present, at least to the Mexican people, that he's trying to press the American government, not just the presidency, but Congress to do something

on immigration.

He has a 10-point plan that he wants the United States to implement. Among the things he wants is legalization of undocumented, something the

president alone cannot do. But he did say that whoever -- from whichever party does something on immigration will have the gratitude of the American

-- the Mexican people.

But he also established other points, like he wants to re-establish the recognition to his relationship with Venezuela. He wants more money to

South and Central America to prevent people from leaving. And he also wants the United States to stop sending weapons to points of war. So, there are

other issues in place. So, perhaps President Obrador knows that he has the upper hand controlling migration in Mexico and he's trying to use it to

pressure the Biden administration.

GOLODRYGA: Gustavo Valdes, joining us from Mexico City. Thank you.

Well, now, a group particularly in favor of hostility towards immigrants is the far-right white nationalist, which our next guest grew up being a part

of and has since renounced. In a new memoir, "The Klansman's Son," R. Derrick Black writes about their upbringing and personal transformation

from a prominent white supremacist from childhood to an outspoken anti- racist critic.

They join Michel Martin to reflect on their journey and offer insights into the for insights into why people hold on to extremist beliefs.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Derek Black. Thank you so much for talking with us.

R. DEREK BLACK, AUTHOR, "THE KLANSMAN'S SON": Thanks for having me, Michel.

MARTIN: And if people don't know your story completely, they probably have heard about you. You grew up in a white nationalist family. David Duke,

maybe the most famous white nationalist in America was your dad's best friend. You called him uncle. You've been written about quite extensively.

Some very moving and in-depth reporting has been sort of done about your journey, but this book is you writing about your life in your own words.

Why did you think that was important to do?

BLACK: Yes. I was really glad that I eventually got to a place in the last couple of years where I felt like I had enough distance from my upbringing

to even contextualize it after Biden's electoral victory, I was feeling like this moment of focus on the far-right and focus on the power of this

movement was getting a little bit too little attention actually.

And because, historically, in those moments, particularly when there's an administration change, that's when this movement tends to surge. I was very

concerned that people weren't focusing on that, and then January 6th was something that really crystallized that. And it's been since then that I've

been trying to think about the social context, the history that my family came from and really describe where I think this going.

MARTIN: You're a trained historian. So, you have access both to kind of the tools, you know, of the academy, as well as your own personal story.

And one of the things this book does is both. I mean, you talk about kind of the history of the white nationalist movement, you know, in the United

States and you interweave that with your own personal story.

You know, I was trying to think of an analogy to your experience and I couldn't decide, was it that you were like a, a child actor or were you

like a child soldier?


BLACK: I mean, I think I -- it was only really in writing the book that I started thinking about just how -- I don't know what the right word is,

like how claustrophobic being raised the way I was felt. I start the book with the scene when I was 10 and giving my first interview, and I

remembered that, it was part of my story of my life, something that was very visceral.

MARTIN: Well, actually, why don't we start there? Why don't you tell this, sir? Because that is how you start the book. This -- you gave your first

television interview on one of those nationally syndicated talk shows that were super popular at a certain point.

BLACK: I was with my dad and I grew up in Florida and the show flew us to Chicago to be on "The Jenny Jones Show" was sort of like Jerry Springer, it

had a yelling, brawling audience. But he negotiated that I would be able to be off stage and not have to go out in front of these, you know, people who

were yelling at him along with all of these other people who were brought together as hateful websites on the internet.

And so, representatives of the Westboro Baptist Church were there, and Nazi groups were there, and my dad was there, and I was there. And I looked back

on that, and I remembered it as the moment that I sort of began a path where I felt like I'm a spokesman for this cause, and slowly able to

represent myself more, and like take control of that narrative.

My dad asked me over and over again, you know, are you sure you want to do this? You can back out. You can even quit even up until the day of the

show. And that feeling of him trusting me was something that I remember feeling so cared for and really wanting to give back. And it also taught me

all these lessons about just how the world sees us.

You know, I was really surprised at the end of the interview, listening to myself explain to Jenny Jones that the reason all these people were so

angry at us, the reason that they were jeering and sending me hateful e- mails was because they did not understand us.

And I -- just throughout all of my adolescence like that feeling of like my family believes something that they believe is true and moral and the rest

of the world just despises them for it. And so, we all have to have each other's backs like that was age 13, 14, 16, 17, all the way until college.

MARTIN: What would you say sort of defines white nationalism? And why do you think it persists in this country to the degree that it does?

BLACK: Yes. I try in the book to make sure to call it white nationalism or the white power movement, because it's this social movement where the

people know each other, they believe that they're a part of this, it's a big part of their identity, and that's something that's separate from just

like racism, or white supremacy, or being xenophobic, or antisemitic, or any of the specific things they believe because they see themselves as a

part of this movement that has 60 years of history and goals, like political and violent goals.

And then, what they believe is something that they've taken from all these different aspects of white supremacy in our culture and in our history.

They believe that race is biological and it predicts all this stuff about people, which just so thousand times over disproven that it's a social

context. And yet, they can be quite educated and convince themselves of this. And then, they also believe in an antisemitic conspiracy theory that

all anti-racist movements are really being run by Jewish people, and both of those require that you see the world in a quite strange way.

And I think there's also a lesson that I've learned there, which is as long as something is serving your community, people can convince themselves of

just about anything. I think there's sometimes this sense that people have to be ignorant or uneducated or desperate to be racist or, you know,

bigoted in whatever way, and that was never my experience.

People have degrees, they have white collar jobs, and yet, they see the world in a way that explains and justifies their existence. It's not the

case that people just have to be stupid and therefore, we can like argue them out of it. It is about their own sense of themselves and their

commitment to other people that keeps them in something. And I think that is also the way that you change somebody's mind. It's not by -- it's not

just by giving them facts.

So, I think it often sounds like facts, but it's about getting them to be open to people that they've never considered themselves responsible for,

that never considered themselves like as somebody who loves.

MARTIN: You mentioned that one of the reasons for this book is January 6th, right? I think that was one of the surprises for a lot of people when

you realized who were the people who attacked the Capitol. I think a lot of people would like it to believe it was some sort of people living off in a

shack someplace. That's not the case. So, how do you understand that?


BLACK: Right. That -- I mean, we could tell in the days after, and we know much more certainly now that members of this organized movement were really

key on January 6th to sort of driving the crowd, pushing them further. And I think there's a real lesson there in just how a movement like this


It's not that they have millions of members. It's not that they're, you know, malicious or something, it's that they believe things that exist in

our society. They lean into ideas that are not like from another planet and they amplify them. They drive people who show up wanting to feel a little

bit more justified, who want to not be called racist or some name. And they give them a space where they tell them they don't have to change. They

don't have to rethink anything. They don't have to even respond to those words.

And then, that's also a point I was trying to make in the book that some of the worst things that the media has done in covering the far-right movement

is in acting like somebody being a part of this movement who has a bachelor's degree or who seems kind of nice or who watches movies or goes

to chain restaurants like that's strange and notable and like, oh, this person is hateful and also seems kind of normal, that's exactly what this

movement wants, that's exactly how they want to be covered. Because, for the most part, they are normal because racism and antisemitism are normal

in America.

MARTIN: The other thing you write about, I think, very persuasively and also very movingly is the role of relationships in a movement like this, is

that it just becomes hard to leave. You love them and they love you. And you wrote, for example, the white nationalist movement that I grew up in is

constituted by relationships, both between current activists, as well as their equally strong feeling of inheritance and responsibility to those who

came before them. It's impossible for me to truly separate an objective sense of this destructive ideology from the fact that I understand their

self-identity, love so many of them, and can never really separate myself from their story.

I think that's a pretty powerful insight. What was it about the college experience that changed your life?

BLACK: When I condemned white nationalism, I immediately had to look at myself and recognize that I had clearly grown up in a family, in a

movement, that was so committed to each other, that cared about each other so much. And in a family, in particular, that prided themselves on being

the central leadership of this, this movement. And on one level, that just made sense.

Of course, if you grew up in a life like that, then you'll lean into these beliefs and you'll justify them. But I had told myself all along that, if

the world thought we were wrong, I wanted to justify it. I wanted to seek out all the, you know, supposed facts. So, my family had acted the same


But then, when I got to the end of that, people in college had walked me through all the stupid statistics and the ways that white nationalists sort

of abuse science and have all this like stuff that's just not rigorous and doesn't hold up. And so, at the end, I didn't have facts to support this

belief. I didn't have a rational argument for it. And I had to accept that I'd gotten close to a community that made me recognize I didn't want to be

a person who hurt them. And there was no misunderstanding.

As long as I was advocating this ideology, I was hurting them. And to get to that point and still recognize that I did not want to condemn my family

made me face the fact that my beliefs had been so based in identity, in care and love and wanting to be a part of the group of people who had

raised me, like every relationship I had had up until I was 21 years old, and that feeling was just so disconcerting.

MARTIN: You know, one of the weird ironies is, is that you attended New College in Sarasota, Florida. And one of the really interesting things

about the current moment is that the current governor of Florida seems really dedicated to changing the leadership of that school.

I mean, not just that school, but as you will have noticed, the conservative movement, particularly in some parts of the country has been -

- become very aggressive about policing the books that kids read, the way certain issues are taught, particularly race, not only race, changing the

leadership of certain institutions, eliminating diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at state schools, Florida is kind of ground zero for

that. I mean, the current governor says, you know, Florida is the place where woke goes to die.

And I'm particularly wondering why you think New College has become such a focus of his attention, the movement's attention, and his attention in



BLACK: What I've heard is that it was raw convenience that the governor wants to test and wanted to test just how much direct control over the

university system that his administration could wield, and New College being the smallest university in the state, university system, with like

fewer than 800 people was a good test case, that they could just try to see how much using a super majority in the state government and controlling the

board of trustees could overwhelm a university and then practice that in other universities as well.

It's been traumatic, though, the cultural silencing that's happened there. Students -- I know students who are there now and they are -- they feel

policed and intimidated almost all the time just for their identities. The other thing I do want to mention is I think there's an emphasis that I

really learned at New College that is not just about the way that history teaches around racism and antisemitism, but I think also the way that the

administration is focusing on queer students, like particularly trans students, is something that is not the same issue, but it's remarkable the

way that they're demonstrating how connected they feel like those movements are, that at the same time as this administration is banning the teaching

of the history of slavery, the history of racism and white supremacy, teaching people that, you know, you can't say anything that makes you feel

not proud about history.

And at the same time, they're also banning teachers and students from talking about gender, from talking about sexuality. New College was a place

that had a large trans population when I was there and still does. And it was a place that really made an inclusive environment in a society that

just broadly is not. And the DeSantis administration has directly attacked trans students. They have imposed rules, policing, usage of bathrooms,

making student conduct be something that going into the bathroom that does not align with a birth certificate is a criminal offense for some people

and then a student conduct violation where professors are meant to sort of monitor students and their presentations and their lives.

MARTIN: So, if you don't mind, I did notice that your own pronouns have changed. Tell me a little bit more about that.

BLACK: Yes, yes. I do define -- describe myself as trans and it's been something that's been a long journey. I'm really one that I've still

figuring out. It wasn't one that I was really ready to write about extensively in the book, although I described it a little bit.

It's something -- thoughts about gender have been something that I've experienced throughout my life, but it was really at New College that I

found a community of people who even described a way to live authentically. And it wasn't until years after New College that I decided and realized,

like, I really don't want to, you know, keep trying to be something for someone else. I think I eventually realized there's nobody to try to be

something for.

And so, I've been expanding, exploring my gender identity and my views, they and she. And it's been something that I've felt a lot more comfortable

coming out about really as this book was coming out. Last year, I wasn't even sure whether I wanted to do that.

MARTIN: Before we let you go, do you see a way forward for the rest of us who are grappling with these things, the sort of the divisions in our

society, the way that we seem so deeply polarized around things that some people thought were settled issues?

BLACK: I have a lot of faith. It just -- I mean, not even faith, I just know for a fact that people can and do always change, like that is just

inevitable experience of humanity. We are always changing and there is nothing that is too far gone and can never go away or never change, like we

can rethink the most fundamental parts of ourselves, but it requires engagement and community connection. It requires being a part of the world

and being open to other people.

We can't make that happen for anyone. You can't coerce somebody into being open to other people that they don't want to be. That's a choice that they

have to make, and we can make opportunities for that. I think we all sort of have decisions to make about how to exist in the world and how do we

want to speak up.

Something I learned from university experience was that everybody said and did something. Some people invited me to, you know, come to a weekly

Shabbat dinners and really engage with my belief system, but a lot of other people just spoke out and said, this a community where we don't want

students of color and Jewish students to feel afraid, and that was an action that was super important to me. It was something that I felt

ostracized at the moment, but it was something that made me feel like I needed to respond.


Like if I didn't want students to feel unsafe in the community either then I needed to answer for what was I doing to try to make that be true. And

the lesson I take from that is that everybody needs to do something, to speak up for the world that they want to see and that you never quite know

the effect that that's going to have and who it's going to push and who it's going to nudge. It's not always something where you have an action and

you immediately see the results. But still, something that we need to persistently be trying to do.

MARTIN: Derek Black, thank you so much for talking with us once again.

BLACK: Thanks so much, Michel. It's really good to be here.


GOLODRYGA: And finally, to our forever heroes, thank you. Those were the words of French children welcoming some 50 American war veterans back to

Normandy ahead of D-Day commemorations this Thursday. Among the veterans was Jake Larson, a 101-year-old best known for his 800,000 followers on

TikTok as Papa Jake.

He was just 15 when he enlisted, landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, surviving unscathed. We'll be commemorating that historic day Thursday, bringing you

special D-Day coverage live from Normandy. You won't want to miss the show.

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