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Interview With Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General And Georgetown University Law Professor Neal Katyal; Interview With Former Atlanta Mayor And Biden Campaign Senior Adviser Keisha Lance Bottoms; Interview With National Rally MP And Spokesperson Philippe Ballard; Interview With U.S. Ambassador To NATO Julianne Smith. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up. The Supreme Court finally delivers

its verdict on Trump's immunity. We get analysis from America's former acting Solicitor General, Neil Katyal.

Then --


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I know right from wrong. I know how to tell the truth.


AMANPOUR: Biden hunkers down, but can he weather the debate storm? I ask campaign senior adviser, Atlanta's former mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms.

And France's far-right earthquake. After its first ever win, Philippe Ballard, spokesman for Le Pen's party, joins me.

Plus --


JULIANNE SMITH, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: We have worked tirelessly to make this alliance stronger and bigger and more united than ever before.


AMANPOUR: What the American election means for Ukraine. Insight from the U.S. ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Donald Trump is entitled to some presidential immunity. In the last opinion, on

the last day of the term, the Supreme Court finally released its ruling in the hugely anticipated January 6th case against Trump.

The six to three decision says the president has absolute immunity for official acts, but not unofficial ones. The question of what constitutes an

official act or an unofficial one will be kicked down to the lower court again. In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor wrote, orders the Navy SEAL Team

Six to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold on to power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune.

Immune, immune, immune. With fear for our democracy, I dissent. Pretty strong.

While Trump called the decision a big win for our constitution, the January 6th trial now almost certainly won't be heard before November, and if Trump

wins re-election, he could make the case disappear altogether.

Neal Katyal argued many cases before the Supreme Court, including as the U.S. acting solicitor general, and he's joining me now. Welcome back to our



AMANPOUR: So, was this the verdict, the ruling, that you expected?

KATYAL: It was not. It was a big win for Trump and a big loss for the American constitution and our democracy, as Justice Sotomayor said.

I mean, Christiane, even before the decision was rendered today, the whole thing was a big win for Donald Trump because the Supreme Court took many

months to decide this case, when normally, they would have acted much more quickly. And what that did is effectively make it impossible for Donald

Trump to be tried for his alleged crimes on January 6th before our presidential election in November.

But what the decision today did, which I think was pretty unexpected, was to make his prosecution even harder should he lose the election, because

it's going to change the rules. In America, we've generally had a tradition that no person is above the law. That's why we fought our revolution. And

as Justice Sotomayor says in dissent, that's not true anymore. Now, the president -- a former president, is going to have a massive amount of

immunity for actions he undertook while as president.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's just break this down. Again, Justice Sotomayor, as you say, I'll give you the actual quote, gives -- she says, gives former

President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more. Adding that it makes a mockery of the principle that no man is above the law.

But, the chief justice for the majority writes, the president enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the president does is

official. The president is not above the law.

So, where are we? I mean, what does that actually mean? What does the majority actually mean?

KATYAL: Yes. So, the majority draws a distinction, as you said at the outset of the program, between official acts of the president, to which

there is immunity, and unofficial acts, as to which there's not. And so, the chief justice is technically correct in saying, if it's an unofficial

act, no person is above the law.


The problem is that that same opinion says, everything a president does is presumed to be an official act. And as they apply the official, unofficial

act distinction to the allegations against Donald Trump in the criminal indictment, it's really scary, because the first set -- the first bucket of

challenge -- of accusations against Donald Trump is that he pressured the Justice Department to throw out the election results and to impugn their

integrity. And the Supreme Court says that is clearly an official act. That is not something that the lower court can examine anything about.

And then, they go on to say, with respect to pressuring Vice President Pence to throw out and de certify the election results on January 6th or

pressuring other people or the 180 minutes in which Trump did nothing on January 6th, they say, well, maybe, maybe those are unofficial acts. Maybe

they're official. That's something for the trial court to determine, but, asterisk, they say the trial court can't examine any evidence about Donald

Trump's motives for taking the actions he undertook at the time and deciding whether something is an official or unofficial act.

Bottom line is, Donald Trump or any future president can do all sorts of nefarious stuff, including the example you gave before about maybe SEAL

Team 6 assassinating political rival, and he can just proceed it with, this is my official act as president. I'm doing this to protect our democracy or

whatever he says will be very hard for a court to look under that, you know, statement by a president.

AMANPOUR: So, help me understand then, because Chief Justice Roberts, as I read out what he said, he -- in that sentence is, and not everything the

president does is official. The president is not above the law.

KATYAL: Yes. So, the question is -- I mean, certainly the court is saying, if there is an unofficial act, you're not immune. The question is, what is

a practical matter will an unofficial act be? Even if, for example, the trial court concludes that pressuring Vice President Pence to throw out the

vote on January 6th was an unofficial act, which they'd have to do against the presumption that everything's official and you couldn't introduce

evidence of a president's motive and so on, let's say the trial court concluded that. That's then going to go up to the court of appeals on an

appeal, and then possibly the United States Supreme Court delaying things for another year or two.

The general way our constitutional system has worked is, you got to obey the law, you don't get to say something is an official act when it is, you

know, like, undoubtedly, you know, has unofficial personal consequences, you got to face the music.

But Trump has managed to both delay his criminal trial now for months and months and months and to adopt -- to force the Supreme Court to adopt a

standard that makes it hard for him to be tried or any president to be tried because they'll claim everything, Christiane, to be an official act.

AMANPOUR: So, let's just take a few recent rulings. There's a so-called Chevron doctrine. I mean, it's kind of complicated and technical. But it

basically says, you know, basically the whole -- it puts into question the regulatory system of an administration.

Justice Elena Kagan delivered an angry dissent. She said -- accusing the majority of judicial hubris and saying the majority disdains restraint and

grasp for power. So, again, that is -- like Sotomayor, these are very -- you know, very sharp dissents for these two rulings. What do you think the

motive of the majority is to keep pushing back against the guardrails and far from anybody not being above the law, actually practically

institutionalizing the fact that they might be above the law?

KATYAL: Yes, I don't want -- I don't do motives, but I do want to say that I think it's very important to look at today's decision in light of the

other decision from Friday that you mentioned about the Chevron rule -- deference ruling. And here's what that's basically about.

In America, most of our law is actually written, not by the Congress, which is frankly incapable of even agreeing if the sky is blue, but it's written

by administrative agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Federal Communications Commission, or the Environmental Protection

Agency. They set the rules for greenhouse gas regulation, for food and drug regulation, for how much you pay on your telephone bill, all sorts of



And what the Supreme Court on Friday did is say agencies lack a lot of the power and deference they've been given since 1984, when the Supreme Court,

in a case called Chevron, gave them that power. This is one of the most important cited cases in of the Supreme Court ever. The U.S. Supreme Court

has cited Chevron 70 times, lower courts 18,000 times. And yet, the court on Friday just blew past it all and overruled it. And today, they did

something similar when it comes to presidential immunity.

And the effect of this is that we have a Supreme Court in this country that is now out of step with the American mainstream and one that has -- which

looks to Americans, whether rightly or wrongly, looks very partisan. That decision was a six to three decision on Friday about Chevron. Today's

decision about presidential immunity, a six to three decision with all the Republican appointed justices on one side and all the Democratic appointed

justices on the other side.

That is not the way our United States Supreme Court ordinarily works. If we look back to, for example, Nixon versus United States, the case in 1974,

when President Nixon was discovered to have tapes that showed criminal wrongdoing by him in the Oval Office, that went to the United States

Supreme Court. Almost every justice ruled against Nixon, including the justices that Nixon put on the Supreme Court. That's the way the Supreme

Court has traditionally operated. We are now in gravely dangerous and different territory.

AMANPOUR: So, then, as we look and try to assess the future of democracy, all of that was on display during the debate -- the CNN Debate on Thursday.

The future of the institutions and the guardrails. Would you say, then, something as important as an independent system of justice like the Supreme

Court of the United States, are some of these institutions weakening themselves?

KATYAL: Yes. I'm very worried about it. I was just in Japan last week meeting with members of the -- their parliament who are -- were gravely

worried even before this whole spate of decisions about what's going to happen in November and America's commitment to the rule of law. And I think

when you have a Supreme Court decision, like today, what it says to the American people, indeed to the world, is that the law is not going to

protect us against a nefarious president. A -- the Constitution's not going to protect us, the courts aren't going to protect us.

We have to exercise our judgment to put a responsible person in that office, someone who takes the American tradition of adherence to the rule

of law, respect for our constitution, as his or her most sacred duty. And, you know, that's what today's decision underscores. The courts aren't

protecting us. It's got to be up to the American people.

AMANPOUR: Neal Katyal, thank you so much indeed for joining us. And coming up after the break, as some Americans call for Biden to leave the race, my

next guest says the focus is on the wrong person. The president's campaign senior adviser, Keisha Lance Bottoms, joins me. And that's just ahead.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back. Now, from the far-right stunning election win in France this weekend to the Democrats worry that Biden's debate performance

gives Trump the upper hand, fears are growing that democracy and the rules- based order, as we know, it will be severely weakened and undermined.

Biden spent the weekend at Camp David, according to reports, his family is urging him to stay in the race, even as commentators and former officials

are called for him to bow out. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the hometown paper where the CNN Debate happened, has called on Biden to pass

the torch. In response, Atlanta's former mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, said, better reasons for a candidate to drop out would include violently trying

to overthrow an election, demanding 11,000 more votes from the secretary of state, felony convictions, sexual assault, and indictments in Fulton


And Keisha Lance Bottoms is now a senior adviser to President Biden's campaign. She's joining us live. Welcome to the program. As you reminded

me, the first and -- well, the last time we spoke was actually on January 6th and it was actually about the democratic process before we knew that

there was this insurrection.

So, I want to know what your immediate reaction is to what the Supreme Court has handed down in relation to Trump being prosecuted for events up

until and including the January 6th insurrection.

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, FORMER ATLANTA MAYOR: You know, this is a Supreme Court that I don't recognize. I have a law degree. So, I spent three years

discussing Supreme Court rulings and learning how to interpret rulings, et cetera. And this is a Supreme Court that I have not seen in my lifetime

from the overturning of Roe to what we saw today, and I immediately thought of Donald Trump's statement a few years ago that he could shoot someone in

the middle of 5th Avenue and get away with it. And unfortunately, this is a candidate and a former president that we just don't know how far he will


So, it's going to be very interesting to see what Judge Chutkan determines to be official acts, but I don't believe that our founding fathers

contemplated that there would be a president who would go to the extreme of talking about dismantling the constitution who would try and overthrow a

government, as you mentioned, January 6th. We saw that happen in real-time. And Donald Trump is very proud of this Supreme Court. And this should be a

reminder to everyone that elections do have consequences.

In this case, the consequences are that Donald Trump had an opportunity to appoint three justices, and it's changing the course of our nation's


AMANPOUR: And Mayor Lance Bottoms, you referred to a judge because the Supreme Court has just thrown it back down to the lower court in question.

So, if the decision now and the choice for the American people is to choose the right person for the future, over 51 million American people watched it

in your home state, the debate on CNN between Trump and Biden on Thursday.

Now, he made more than 30 false claims and refused to answer questions about whether he would respect even the vote of another election, et

cetera, et cetera. And yet, Biden is still the one being pummeled and still seen as a loser. It's a televisual world. How does one advise -- because I

think you think Biden should stay in. How does he recoup from this? How -- where's the redo?

BOTTOMS: Well, we saw President Biden out on Friday. We heard him saw him a very strong reminding people what he has delivered to the American people.

And I will put Joe Biden up on his worst day against Donald Trump on his best day any day of the week.

President Biden has a record to stand on where he has delivered for the American people. He has respect for the American people. We don't see that

with Donald Trump. He stood at that debate. He lied to our faces. Imagine what he does behind closed doors.


And I think it's going to be important for President Biden to continue to take it directly to the American people, reminding people of how their

lives had been made better under this administration from the $35 cap on insulin for our seniors, to wiping out student debt for millions of

Americans, to the infrastructure money that's gone directly into our cities to common decency and respect for the constitution and American people,

that still matters in this country. A candidate who respects all of us, who we are as a people. And I think as long as President Biden continues to

take that case directly to the American people, I think we will be just fine.

AMANPOUR: Well, you're obviously being a good soldier. You are on his team. But what do you say, because there are very many people who disagree with

what you're saying, and they say that for the sake of a win in November, they have to change the candidate?

I'm going to play a new Biden team ad. And then we'll talk about it.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Did you see Trump last night? And I mean it sincerely, the most lies told in a single debate. He lied about the great

economy he created. He lied about the pandemic he botched. And then, his biggest lie, he lied about how he had nothing to do with the insurrection

of January 6th.


AMANPOUR: So, of course, that was the day after in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was a different person. Is that enough to make people forget the


BOTTOMS: I don't think that people will forget the debate, and I don't think we should ask people to forget the debate, but I do think we should

ask people to remember what President Biden has done, what he said during that debate. We should remember how Trump lied repeatedly during that


It's understandable that people have some concerns, but at the end of the day, this president has delivered for the American people. He is our

nominee. And he went through the primary season, voters cast their ballots for him. He is the leader of our party, and he is the one who will defeat

Donald Trump.

So, it's understandable that people had -- that people coming out of the debate, but I would remind people that we don't judge a presidency based on

90 minutes. Let's look at the totality of what this administration has delivered for the American people, and hands down, there's no comparison.

I was mayor of Atlanta while Donald Trump was president. It was chaos. It was uncertainty. You never knew from one day to the next what to expect,

going back to our last interview together, where we were in the middle of an interview, we wrapped that interview only for me to turn on the

television and see that people were scaling the walls of the Capitol. That's what Donald Trump brought to our cities and our communities across

America, and that's what people should focus on, not 90 minutes.

As an elected official, I can tell you I've had very bad days. I've had a bad debate before, but we should look at the totality of leadership. And

when we look at the totality of what Biden has brought, there's no comparison.

AMANPOUR: Even the people calling for him to step down say that. They say that he has been an uncommonly successful president on many, many issues,

including the economy, including rebuilding alliances overseas, supporting the democratic aspirations of a country that's been invaded by Ukraine and

all of that.

And yet, the -- you know, the GOP, the Trump campaign, they're now targeting Democrats who stood up for Biden. They're saying, hey, everybody

knew that he couldn't deliver like this in a debate. And yet, you know, you all covered up essentially. That's what they're saying. And now, 72 percent

-- I don't know how you take this poll, but the latest poll from CBS 72 percent of registered voters don't think Biden has the mental and cognitive

health to serve as president.

So, I mean, again, how do you change the narrative, especially since that's the only narrative, because as you've pointed out, nobody really is giving

as much say and as much prominence to all the lies and all the incoherence that Trump himself demonstrated on that stage.

BOTTOMS: You know what's unfortunate is that there's been this spin for quite some time. And so, this didn't begin on the night of the debate. I've

worked inside the White House. I've watched President Biden in action. I've watched how strong he is. I've watched the clarity of thought that he has.

And again, we can't sugar coat it and say that the debate night was a great night for the president. It was not. But we all have bad days.


And I think as long as we continue to remind people of what has been delivered and remind, especially Democrats that we have done a phenomenal

job the last several years where there's been chaos all around us, holding it together. The last thing that we want to do --

AMANPOUR: Let me just interrupt for one sec.

BOTTOMS: -- is --

AMANPOUR: I got one minute. I get what you're saying. Why does he appear to be losing black voters? And I ask you because, you know, you have -- you

know, you were able to turn Georgia for the Democrats this time, but there seems to be a softening of black support.

BOTTOMS: You know what I would say is that I have four -- three teenagers and a 20 something in my household. There's been a social media slow drip

with disinformation and misinformation happening from January of 2020. So, I think that there -- there's been a targeted effort to target especially

young African-Americans. But I can also say that in 2020, people didn't believe that Georgia would turn blue.

I believe that when people begin to pay close attention, when they begin to make the comparison, when they are reminded of the disruption and chaos

that we experience under Donald Trump, that the decision will be clear.

And I will also say this. This is -- we -- we're talking about things he did in the first term. He's now telling us he wants to dismantle the

constitution. He's going to go after his political enemies. And now, the Supreme Court has said, and by the way, you've got immunity to cover you.

This is something we should all be concerned about. And I think that when people begin to make this comparison, I think that voters are solid base of

voters, especially will break for Joe Biden.

AMANPOUR: Former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, senior adviser to the Biden campaign, thank you so much for being with us.

And Georgia obviously such an important state. And we'll be right back after a break.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back. A political earthquake is happening in France. The far-right National Rally, formerly the National Front, is closer to power

than ever before. After it won 33 percent of the vote in the first round of snap parliamentary elections. The left-wing New Popular Front is in second

place with 28 percent, whilst President Macron's centrist alliance has fallen to third place with 21 percent.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets against the far-right in Paris and Lyon last night. But the National Rally's Marine Le Pen hailed her

party's success, cautioning that Sunday's second round will be decisive.


Philippe Ballard is a lawmaker and spokesperson for the far-right National Rally, and he joined me today from Paris. Philippe Ballard, welcome to the



AMANPOUR: A lot of commentators and people on all sides have called your win over the weekend an earthquake for France and maybe even an earthquake

for Europe. Do you recognize that description and what would an earthquake mean?

BALLARD (through translator): Well, it means that for the first time, a sovereign and patriotic party will govern France and will really represent

France and would do something about the cost of living, security, immigration, the national debt. You know, that we have an exploded national

deficit. And, you know, this is going to have a big influence on the purchasing power of the French. So, we're going to do something about that.

AMANPOUR: In order for that to happen, Jordan Bardella needs to be prime minister. He has said, and let me quote, "I will be neither powerless nor

an aid to the president of the Republic. To govern, I need an absolute majority."

So, can you confirm for me, if you do not get an absolute majority next week, what will happen? Bardella will not become prime minister, you know,

RN candidate will not become prime minister, is that correct?

BALLARD (through translator): Absolutely. If we don't get an absolute majority, Jordan Bardella will not be the prime minister because we've been

living for the last two years with a relative majority in France, and we realize that the country simply can't be governed properly without that.

And then, we're going to implement all the measures which Bardella has talked about. And if we want to do that, we really do need an absolute

majority. And the government will be easily overthrown if we don't have it.

But in the second round, we are going to try our absolute hardest to make sure that we do have an absolute majority. And we are going to urge all our

-- all the patriots of France, all our followers, everybody to make sure that we do get it.

AMANPOUR: As you know, a third voted for you and two-thirds of voters did not vote for the RN over the weekend. There was the leftist coalition and

the Macronist center. And they are trying to build an alliance to stop the RN from winning. How does it feel to get to this point for the first time

ever and then, again see the country try to bound together to stop you from taking power? How does it feel to be considered that dangerous?

BALLARD (through translator): Well, it just means that things aren't properly running, functioning. We've seen that for years now. So, to --

they've been trying to block her -- the National Rally, but it doesn't work anymore.

You talk about two-thirds, but you have to remember that in the left -- the left-wing, there are -- there's the far-left. The far-left is not in line

with French institutions and does not condemn Hamas, for example. And the French, I think, realized that this is an alliance on the left, which

simply doesn't work. And there is real, no -- no real alternative to France getting back on its feet.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you also about this idea of national preference, whether it's in jobs, in housing, in certain instances, in social

assistance? You know, analysts say that Bardella and Madame Marine Le Pen have a radical agenda, which would divide French society even more,

including policies, as you said, to slash immigration, ending birthright citizenship and also creating a national preference.

Can you explain to me what that means, a national preference? Who would be excluded in that preference?


BALLARD (through translator): Well, let's look at this in order. Birthright citizenship. This has actually been the case in a number of overseas

territories. In Mayotte, for example. In Mayotte, a small department where Comoros (ph), for example, comment obtained French birthright, the parents

as it were by it, and they don't have birthright citizenship anymore. We can't continue to welcome all these people into France. We will be

completely submerged to -- by them if we do.

So, we've got something like 500,000 people in this category, like a town the size of Toulouse. And then, we have all the illegal immigrants.

Difficult to actually calculate how many. And two-thirds of all the immigrants are trying to get birthright citizenship. And this creates a

great burden for housing, social welfare, and so on and so forth.

AMANPOUR: So, what happens to those 500,000 and the illegals? What happens to them under a RN government?

BALLARD (through translator): Well, they will be deported. When I said 500,000, there are people who have -- who -- they're legal. They have a

visa. But they have it too easy. And this happens in many countries, by the way. It's not just France. It's the United States, for example. So, it'll

be very much more difficult for them to bring over their families.

We will always, of course, welcome foreign students. That's a real resource for our nation. So, we're never going to do that in universities, for

example. But we will be more vigilant against this wave of illegal immigration into the country.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about some other domestic issues? As you know, President Macron earlier this year institutionalized the right to a woman's

right to choose in the constitution. Now, half the RN people agreed with it and supported it, and half didn't. What would an RN government do? Would

you keep that constitutional right to an abortion for women as it is right now?

BALLARD (through translator): Well, if you compare what's happening in France with the debate in the U.S., the U.S. has clearly realized what's at

stake. France has not brought in any kind of modification of this, and it's a kind of non-subject, it's not part of the political debate in a way.

AMANPOUR: Yes, but my question was would it remain constitutionally acceptable and, you know available to women?

BALLARD (through translator): Yes. That will never be put into question by an RN government.

AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned security. Historically, the foreign affairs, military affairs, is the province of the president. But Marine Le Pen, the

head of your party, has questioned that. And she is already starting to lay down a challenge, along with Bardella. They want to choose France's E.U.

commissioner. This is historically the province of the President. It is not clear how much support that Marine Le Pen and the RN would give to Ukraine.

So, can you clear that up please?

BALLARD (through translator): Well, there are a number of questions within that question of yours. There's been a debate -- there is no debate about

who is head of the armed forces. It is the president. But of course, Jordan Bardella, if he were to become a prime minister, would have the Perth



But in the case of Ukraine, it is quite clear that Russia is the aggressor and Ukraine is the aggressed. So, we are for the delivery of arms, the

supply of arms to Ukraine, so as to allow him to protect himself against a Russian aggression. And we believe that that should be put in place as soon

as possible.

But the last point, your point about the European Commission, Mr. Jerry Bouton (ph), for example. We shall be looking at that closely.

AMANPOUR: So, that indicates that you might decide to do something else there. And finally, I need to ask you because your party historically has

been unelectable because of antisemitism, racism, and clearly Marine Le Pen has worked very hard to redo the image of the party. But there are still

people who have very, very bad views.

One candidate suggested a rival party was financed by Jews. One of your candidates claimed that some civilizations remain "below bestiality in the

chain of evolution." One previous candidate spoke on Twitter of a coming ethnic war in France.

OK. So, why does this keep happening to a party that says has changed its face and its tone and its policies?

BALLARD (through translator): Those particular individuals have been removed. For the last 10 years, Marine Le Pen has made a wonderful job to

change the party. We used to have only 80 deputies, but now, we are faced with the prospect of having more than 200.

And as we say, enlighten (INAUDIBLE). So, if people vote for us, then, you know, that proves that we are popular.

AMANPOUR: Philippe Ballard, thank you very much indeed for joining us

BALLARD: Merci Beaucoup.

AMANPOUR: Second round next week. And we'll be back after a break.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back. Moscow has stepped up its war against Ukraine with dozens killed in fierce assaults across the east and south this weekend.

Meantime, the continued bombardment of the power grid in Ukraine is forcing millions to endure hours of blackouts every day. And as fighting

intensifies, President Zelenskyy has renewed his plea for weapons and air defenses, reminding allies that more delays will cost more lives.


Keeping the military pipeline flowing to Kyiv will be at the heart of the agenda at next week's NATO Summit in Washington, as the alliance faces some

of the biggest challenges in its 75-year history. With the prospect of a second Trump term looming over the bloc and its allies.

Julianne Smith is America's ambassador to NATO, and I spoke to her after the CNN Presidential Debate sent shudders through that alliance.


AMANPOUR: Ambassador Julianne Smith, welcome to the program.

SMITH: Thank you. So, I want to ask you your reaction to what was said in the presidential debate about the war in Ukraine. Basically, Trump said

that Ukraine is not winning this war. Although, he also said Putin's conditions, i.e., a capitulation are not acceptable.

What do you take away from what the person who might be the next president said about this vital war for Europe and for America?

SMITH: Well, there are a couple things to unpack here, and I'll say a word about Ukraine in just a second, but I do have to say on the NATO front, it

seems that sometimes there's confusion about spending here as it relates to the NATO alliance. Sometimes folks have the impression that maybe this is a

country club and people haven't paid their dues or countries are delinquent.

But the reality is that for 10 long years and actually before even 10 years ago, American presidents of all political stripes have been asking European

nations to spend more on their own defense. And the good news is, as of this year, in July of 2024, we now have 23 members of the alliance spending

2 percent of GDP on their own defense. So, let me start with that good news.

On Ukraine, in terms of who's winning and losing. In recent months, we've seen small advances by both sides. We're talking about kilometers or miles

really in single digits. But what we do see is that a continued determination on the part of the Ukrainians is having a real impact. These

are forces that still have high morale. They're well trained, and now they're well equipped. More assistance is flowing into Ukraine, and they

continue to do everything they can to not only hold the line, but to push Russians out of their territory.

On the Russian side, they have forces to throw at this war, but these are not the troops that are well equipped or well trained, and that is why

Russia, tragically, has lost hundreds of thousands of troops in this senseless war.

AMANPOUR: On the NATO spending, Donald Trump claims that it was him who basically forced NATO countries in Europe to up their spending.

SMITH: So, let's review the facts. Ten years ago, the allies came together, that's when President Obama was in office in 2014. That's when the pledge,

it's called the Wales Pledge, came into effect, where everybody committed to spend 2 percent. And since that year, since 2014, we've seen consistent

increases on the part of the Europeans to spend more.

So, it's really through three U.S. presidents, through President Obama, President Trump, and now President Biden, that we've been able to get

Europeans to the point where now two-thirds of them meet the mark. Of course, we need all allies to hit the target, without question, but the

fact that in 10 years we've seen consecutive growth and now have 23 allies meeting the target is just a remarkable achievement.

AMANPOUR: And just on the issue of money and aid to Ukraine, Trump also, in the debate, suggested that Europe was not paying its fair share of aid to

Ukraine. But from what I gather is that Europe has put up most of the money while the United States has put up most of the weapons.

SMITH: Well, it's a little bit more complicated in that -- that Europeans themselves have actually collectively done more than the United States. The

total assistance on the part of the United States hovers around, well, just over $70 billion. Europeans come in at about $120 billion. So, whether

you're talking about economic assistance, humanitarian assistance, or other actual weapons, we have a situation where Europeans are doing more than

their fair share.

It frustrates me when I hear folks sometimes argue that this is somehow a U.S. effort or a unilateral initiative on the part of the United States

that we are the only ones helping Ukraine. In fact, over 50 countries around the world are providing weapons to Ukraine. And that effort has been

the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin.


AMANPOUR: Let me ask how NATO or individual countries are "putting in place" further aid and systems for Ukraine that could not be changed, even

if there is a change in presidency.

SMITH: Absolutely. So, at the NATO Summit, which is right around the corner, we will have a situation where all of the NATO allies will be

announcing this new initiative for Ukraine. What will this new initiative do? It will take all of the assistance that is flowing into Ukraine and

provide greater coordination and greater coherence of those efforts. But also, so many countries are now training Ukrainian forces that NATO wants

to provide some coordination of those efforts.

NATO has a lot of experience. NATO, of course, as you'll remember, helped transition the former Warsaw pact countries in Eastern Europe to NATO

membership. It has a lot of experience helping countries with modernization, interoperability, standardization and that's what's NATO is

here to do, and that's what NATO will be announcing in the next day or two.

What we will be doing, I can say, is that countries will be coming forward with additional offers of air defense. This is an acute need on the part of

the Ukrainians, thanks to what the Russians have been doing in recent months with these endless indiscriminate tragic attacks on civilians and

military infrastructure. And so, allies have come together to look for ways to flow additional air defense into Ukraine urgently and to do it now.

AMANPOUR: And President Trump likes to say that if he was in office, none of these wars would be going on and that Biden is weak and that nobody

respects the U.S. because of that. Here's a quote from the debate.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we had a real president, the president that knew -- that was respected

by Putin, he would have never invaded Ukraine. He did nothing to stop it. In fact, I think he encouraged Russia from going in.


AMANPOUR: Ambassador, what do you say to that and what do you think, you know, your American allies would say to that?

SMITH: Well, when Joe Biden was running for president, before he became president, he made a commitment to the American people to revitalize

America's vast network of alliances and partnerships. And that's exactly what we've done here at NATO headquarters. We have worked tirelessly to

make this alliance stronger and bigger and more united than ever before. So, I see nothing but good news radiating out of the NATO alliance.

And in terms of who started this war, let's be sure that we get the facts straight here. Russia started this unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine.

No one else is responsible for that. Russia likes to often say either Ukraine or the NATO alliance is responsible or someone else, but the

reality is that President Putin started this war two years ago, and he could end it at any time.

AMANPOUR: So, Putin went to North Korea, met with the leader there, Kim Jong Un, and they signed some kind of defense cooperation agreement. And

that has caused some concerns. Putin has a way of being able to constantly keep the world on edge. What do you think could be the outcome of a closer

military alliance?

SMITH: Well, we're seeing the outcome of that relationship in real-time. And let me assure you that allies are very focused on this deepening and

evolving relationship, both between Russia and North Korea, but I would note also between Russia and China. Why? Because both of those countries

are actually providing things that are helping Russia pursue this war inside Ukraine.

In the case of North Korea, they have sent thousands of containers of munitions that are being used in the war. They've sent dozens of ballistic

missiles that have been used in the war. And in China's case, we see instances where they are not necessarily providing weapons, but they are

providing these dual use components, things like machine tools and microelectronics that are critical for Russia executing this war in



So, NATO allies are very acutely aware of this changing dynamic. So, we will continue to look at this situation closely, particularly that

relationship between China and Russia and do what we can to expose what the Chinese are doing to support Russia's war in Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: Ambassador Julianne Smith, thank you so much for joining us.

SMITH: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, it was a stage full of stars at Glastonbury Festival this weekend, and among them, one big surprise. "Back to the

Future" actor, Michael J. Fox. He has Parkinson's disease, and he joined the band Coldplay in a wheelchair for the song "Humankind." And this

rendition of the hit, "Fix You."




AMANPOUR: Front man Chris Martin explained that watching the famous science fiction film is one of the main reasons Coldplay are even together. He says

the scene where Michael J. Fox performs inspired him to be in a band. For his part, Fox called the Coldplay show at Glastonbury mind-blowing. And the

fireworks display with thousands of fans illuminated in multi colors was certainly spectacular.

That is it for now. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.