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Interview with Council on Foreign Relations President Emeritus and Former U.S. State Department Official Richard Haass; Interview with Former Swedish Prime Minister and European Council on Foreign Relations Co-Chair Carl Bildt; President Biden Speaks on Extreme Weather; Biden Announces New Measures to Counter Extreme Weather; Interview with "Death Without Mercy" Director Waad Al-Kateab. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 02, 2024 - 13:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today's decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what a president can do.


NEWTON: How a shocking Supreme Court ruling and a game changing presidential debate have raised the global stakes of the American election,

I discuss with veteran U.S. diplomat Richard Haass.

Then, making Europe great again? As the continent drifts closer to the hard right, what this means for the world and for Ukraine. I'm joined by former

Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt.

Also, ahead, "Death Without Mercy." Oscar nominated documentary maker Waad Al-Kateab joins me around her new film on the aftermath of the Turkey-Syria


And the record-breaking hurricane charging through the Caribbean. We will have the latest.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Paula Newton in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour. With less than four months until the U.S.

presidential election, two events now have destabilized the race in ways few could have imagined just a week ago. President Joe Biden's unnerving

performance during CNN's Presidential Debate has seen calls grow within the Democratic Party for the replacement of a sitting president on the ticket,

while a ruling from the Supreme Court has strengthened the power of the presidency to the level of a monarch. That's according to one dissenting


This comes as other elections are transforming nations from the far-right, potentially reaching power in France, to the center left, preparing for a

sweep to victory in the U.K. And to Iran, where a hardliner and a reformer will face off in a second round of voting this weekend.

It's a chain of events forcing people to reconsider what really were given about America and the world. So, what happens next? Joining me now on all

of this is veteran U.S. diplomat and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass. Really good for you to be with us as we

continue to try and keep pace with all of these news events.

You know, you've been outspoken and forceful. So, we'll start with this. Make the case for us. Why should Joe Biden step down?


reasons. One is given his performance on Thursday night, I think it's increasingly unlikely he will be able to defeat Donald Trump. And if you

believe that Donald Trump, by basis of temperament and policy, poses a threat, both to American democracy and to the world that the United States

has painstakingly built and maintained for three quarters of a century, then that ought to give you pause.

And then secondly, putting that aside, imagine President Biden were to be re-elected, I think it's a stretch to say that for four and a half years

from now, which is what we're talking about towards the end of what would then be his second term, he would be in a position to really bring to the

job all that a president need.

So, this is not any job. This is the most demanding, important job in the world. It ages everybody that's in it. And again, not simply the other

night, but if one simply looks at film clips of Joe Biden over the years, and I've known him, by the way, for half a century, as someone I consider a

friend, I voted for him, but if you look at what's happened, it's really hard to imagine that in four and a half years, he would be in a position --

he would be capable to perform this job.

NEWTON: Right. So, Richard, who are you hearing from in terms of who is telling him this? Because right now, we are listening to a family that

apparently is steadfast that he should stay in. And, I mean, they pose the question, right, Richard, why would a Democratic candidate sacrifice his

political future when the other side isn't playing by the same rules?

I mean, we just have a new CNN poll out in the last hour that basically shows the race is unchanged among registered voters. Yes, Trump is still

ahead by six points, but that's where we were a few months ago. This poll was taken post-debate.

HAASS: Well, it's true that, you know, I could sit here and make the case that Donald Trump ought not to have a second chance of being president of

the United States based on what he did the first time and what he promises to do a second time. But the Republican Party is hearing none of it.


And after the debate the other night, I think the assumption, maybe flawed, but the assumption is that his odds of winning are better than ever.

They're simply not going to change horses. They're going to put party in person before country.

I think for the Democrats, again, there's the question of whether they're confident their candidate is going to win. And if they're not confident,

given the stakes, then my argument is they ought to think twice and then three times really hard about making a change. It's difficult. It could be

divisive. It could be messy. I get it. I'd basically be launching a startup four months before election day. But all I'm saying is, again, given the

politics and given the nature of the job, I think Democrats owe it not just to themselves, but to this country to have a difficult conversation.

NEWTON: And, you know, just as you're speaking, people have said, look, we have to wait for elected Democrats themselves to weigh in here. CNN does

now have news that Lloyd Doggett, he is now -- becomes the first sitting Democrat to call on Biden to withdraw. Does that make a difference as far

as you're concerned? And I say that you have framed it before as this president putting country before himself.

HAASS: Look, one or two Democrats doesn't matter. Obviously -- I wouldn't say, obviously, reportedly, the family is rallying around Joe Biden, but

what you really want are Democratic elders and Democratic members of Congress. Quite honestly, if Joe Biden runs and loses to Donald Trump,

you're going to have a Republican control of the Senate and the House.

So, the Democrats face a potential fiasco here. So, out of self- preservation, and again, all the policies they believe in, they've got to have an uncomfortable conversation. Again, I'm not saying it's easy, I'm

just saying it's necessary.

NEWTON: Richard, could you game this out for us? Because you have made the point that, look, there's a lot more at risk here than just the presidency.

Donald Trump, if he's re-elected, could have a lock on Congress by taking over the Senate. The Republicans already have the House. And I'm going to

quote you here now. You say, "This would be power consolidated in the hands of a party that is better understood as radical rather than conservative."

And on top of that, we layer the Supreme Court ruling, right, which has to deal now with sweeping immunity for a president.

HAASS: Not just sweeping immunity, but in the Chevron ruling this week about dismantling the regulatory state, the previous rulings about

abortion. This is a radical Supreme Court that is clearly not governed, not bound by precedent. Conservatives are bound by precedent, they're bound by

commitment to institutions, the rule of law, by norms. Unless I'm missing it, I see none of this in this Republican Party.

I was a Republican for four decades. I work for President Reagan and President Bush, the father and President Bush, the son. So, I don't need

lectures, if you will, about the Republican Party. This -- the current Republican Party is not conservative. It's radical. It's populist. It wants

dramatic change. It cares not for precedent. It's kind of now wrapped itself around the person of Donald Trump.

When I worry about a consolidation of power, almost like a parliamentary system, but without checks and balances and without a court that is

prepared to backstop American democracy, and that's a concentration of power that ought to worry Americans.

NEWTON: And what do you say then to allies around the world who are watching all of this as spectators at this point? How are you telling them

to get ready for perhaps the eventuality of another Trump presidency?

HAASS: I don't think they need me to tell them that this debate was, shall we say, a shot heard around the world. They all watched it. They watch

American politics much more closely than we watch theirs. I think the entire spectacle unnerves them. This is not the America they thought they

know. So many leaders went to school here. They are shaking their heads. But what this tells them is they say they simply can't count on us.

The Ukraine aid vote was a signal of that, America walking away from other longstanding policies like commitments to free trade, what we did in

Afghanistan. So, increasingly, they're saying, how do we face threats for it by ourselves? Do we defer to more powerful adversaries, China or Russia?

Do we have to think about maybe getting nuclear weapons ourselves? To stand up to an Iran, to a North Korea, to a China, to a Russia? What other

friends and partners can we find?

What you're seeing is a whole almost first order reconsideration of how they look at after their security going forward because they don't feel

they can count on us as they have.

NEWTON: And you're saying that's the reality of a Trump presidency. As a counterpoint to this, Secretary of State Blinken did find that

counterpoint, and he really wanted to underscore the stability that he says the Biden administration has provided around the world. I want you to

listen to him now.



ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If you look at surveys around the world, for what they're worth, you see again and again and again that

confidence in American leadership has gone up dramatically over the last three and a half years. That doesn't just happen, it's the product of

choices. It's the product of policies that we pursue. It's the product of our engagement. And they see President Biden having led the way in all of

those different areas.


NEWTON: So, Richard, what's the counterpoint to that as far as you're concerned?

HAASS: Well, I think it's important, first, to give the secretary of state his due. The administration has carried out, for the most part, an

effective policy on the greatest threat of the last few years, that of dealing with Russian aggression in Europe. They've pushed back somewhat

harder against China. I think they've been a very uncertain trumpet, though, vis-a-vis Israel and what's going on in Gaza, as our policy

recommendations have been repeatedly rebuffed. What happened in Afghanistan was not reassuring.

Plus, Joe Biden now is not in a position where he can speak for America. He couldn't deliver Congress for some critical months in the Ukraine aid vote,

which also affected Taiwan and Israel, and no one can know -- he's not in a position to speak for America six or seven months from now, and all of that

weakens the influence of the United States. Essentially, what the debate the other night did was turn him into a lame duck. That may not be fair,

that may be premature, but that's reality.

NEWTON: Well, Richard, when listening to you, Democrats would say with friends like this, right, this is incredibly stark, the kind of scenario

you're building up here. So, let's go to that next logical point. If you replace Joe Biden, what does that look like? I'll say our new CNN polling

just out in the last hour says that Kamala Harris fares the best, but it doesn't show a decisive win. And none of the candidates so far show a

decisive win against Trump.

HAASS: I don't think that's really fair. If Joe Biden were to step down, suddenly you'd have a microscope and a spotlight put on Kamala Harris and

any -- half dozen or dozen other Democrats, governors, senators, members of the cabinet. They would all have the -- two advantages, Joe Biden doesn't

have one. They'd be an awful lot younger. And with the limited exception of Kamala Harris, they wouldn't have the burdens of incumbency. This is an

anti-incumbent moment.

You mentioned the French elections. You mentioned the British elections. We saw what happened in India and South Africa. Any of these people would not

have the burdens of incumbency. They'd be a fresh face. So, I think it's way too soon to look at polls and take them seriously. One of them will

emerge, if that were to happen, and then we see how they do.

And indeed, Nikki Haley and other Republicans are saying Republicans and Donald Trump have got to be careful. This could be coming at them and

they're not prepared. They're so geared for running against Joe Biden, they're not necessarily geared for running against someone who's 30 years


NEWTON: Yes. In fact, that warning was quite telling in terms of what the Republicans are thinking this hour. Richard Haass, a very comprehensive

conversation. Really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

HAASS: Thank you, Paula.

NEWTON: All right. Coming up for us after the break, as the far-right surges in Europe, what does this mean for Ukraine? I ask former Swedish

Prime Minister Carl Bildt.



NEWTON: And welcome back. Make Europe great again. That's the new twist on the Trumpian slogan now used by Hungary's authoritarian leader, Viktor

Orban. Now, as his country takes up the rotating presidency of the E.U.'s Council of Ministers, that is what is going on now, as Hungary has often

been a black sheep in the E.U. on issues like Ukraine, where it frequently obstructs, attempts to fund and deliver weaponry.

And today Mr. Orban is actually visiting Kyiv where he is pushing for a ceasefire with Russia. All of this comes as the far-right builds power in

France, the Netherlands, Italy, and beyond. So, with the very real prospect of a second Trump term on the horizon, how can Europe respond to all of

this change? Joining me now is Carl Bildt. He is a former prime minister and foreign minister for Sweden. Thank you so much for joining us.

You know, we have heard from this American president, Mr. Biden, for so long about how he models himself as a defender of democracy, a strong ally

of Europe, he made that clear on his trip to France the other week. But after Biden's debate performance, I'm wondering, what is the state of

anxiety and uncertainty, especially in Europe right now? What are you hearing from leaders there?


I think he expressed more forcefully than I think would be appropriate for me to do.

What is the thinking man to man around the world? I mean, there's no question that the Biden administration has. Secretary Blinken pointed that

out, has a very impressive, incredible record. But the election --

NEWTON: Carl Bildt, we will have to hold it there. We will get back to you. But right now, we want to listen to President Biden speaking.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm trying to say I apologize for my back. Very impolite to talk on my back. Thank you very much. You're doing a hell of a

job, all of you.

Look, Mayor, thanks for that introduction and joining me today at the D.C. Emergency Operations Center. I also want to thank the first responders who

risked their lives every single day running into danger to save others while everyone is running away from danger.

I'm here to talk about how we're preparing and responding to the dangerous impacts of extreme weather and the climate crisis that's affecting people

all around America, all around the country. Matter of fact, beyond around America.

You know, summer has just started already, already tens of millions of Americans are under heat warnings from record shattering temperatures. Last

month here in D.C., temperature is 100 degrees. In Phoenix, Arizona, 112 degrees. In Las Vegas, 111 degrees. Above normal temperatures also expected

for much of the country in July, especially in Central and Eastern United States.

Extreme heat. This is, I think, going to surprise a lot of people, not you all, but extreme heat is the number one weather related killer in the

United States. More people die from extreme heat than floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined. Let me say that again, combined, more people die

from heat than those three other major issues.

And look, right now, we're also tracking Hurricane Beryl, which is passing through the Caribbean. It's the earliest time ever a dangerous Category 5

hurricane has been recorded in American history. People impacted, islands, and communities are in our prayers, and we stand by to provide assistance

to them.

Look, extreme weather events drive home the point that I've been saying for so long. Ignoring climate change is deadly and dangerous and irresponsible.

These climate fuel, extreme weather events don't just affect people's lives, it also cost money, they hurt the economy, and they had a

significant negative psychological effect on people.

Last year, the largest weather-related disasters cost over, get this, $90 billion in damages in America. $90 billion in damages, that's the cost so

far, last year. They drove nearly 2.5 million people out of their homes from Hawaii to Vermont. These events also pose serious threats to our

nation's transportation system, to our power grid, farms, fisheries, and forests. In each case, costing lives and costing money. And the impacts

we're seeing are only going to get worse, get more frequent, more ferocious, hitting our most vulnerable people in the most hardest to sit

communities in the world.

Look, you know, we can change all that. It's within our power. That's why today I'm announcing five new actions. My administration is taking to

address extreme weather, including heat and other hazards. The first, the Department of Labor is proposing a new rule. And when finalized it will

establish the nation's first ever federal safety standard for excessive heat in the workplace.


This includes things like developing response plans to heat illness, training employees and supervisors, implementing rest breaks, access to

shade and water. You'd think we'd have to tell people access to shade and water. I mean, gradually new employees in the heat environments.

Across the country, workers suffer heat stroke or even die just doing their jobs. This new rule will substantially reduce heat injuries, illnesses, and

deaths for over 36 million workers to whom will apply, from farm workers to construction workers, postal workers, manufacturing workers, and so much

more. You know, I want to thank Vice President Harris for the work she has done since she was in the United States Senate that led to this rule.

Second, in the coming days, my federal emergency management will also finalize a rule to improve our nation's resilience against flooding.

Resilience. FEMA will now factor in the effects of future flooding for any federally funded construction project. That is, we're going to look at what

caused the damage, what broke down, and what the best way to repair it is. Not just bring it back to what it was, but prioritize making it better.

Prioritize nature-based solutions to reduce risk of floods.

Look, third, FEMA is announcing, excuse me, nearly $1 billion dollars in grants for over 650 projects across the country that help communities

protect against natural disasters, including extreme heat, storms, and flooding. These grants will also help advance my Justice40 Initiative, to

deliver at least 40 percent of overall benefits of clean transit, clean energy, and climate investment to devastated communities, to the poor

communities who are always left behind.

Fourth, the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a new report showing the continued impacts of climate change and the health of the

American people and on our environment. This report will help us prepare better, respond faster, and save more lives.

And fifth, later this summer, my administration will convene the first ever White House Summer on Extreme Heat, bringing together state, local, tribal,

and territorial leaders and international partners who are protecting communities and workers from extreme weather every single solitary day.

You know, along with these actions, another reason why we're here today is to get the word out so folks know these resources are available to them and

anyone who needs them. You got -- I was telling the group who debriefed me earlier, my brother has an expression, you got to know how to know. We

think everybody understands government. It's complicated.

We want the American people to know help is here. How to get that help. Follow the guidance from local leaders and public safety officials. Stay

indoors, somewhere cool if you're vulnerable. Be careful on hot pavement. Know the signs of heat stroke like headache, nausea, and dizziness. And

always have water with you whenever you're outside this summer.

Today's announcements build on historic action my administration has already taken to address extreme heat events. We launched a new website, Let me say it again,, that shares lifesaving information and links, a new heat risk tool to help communities forecast extreme heat.

Just enter your ZIP code and see the heat forecast, not only generically -- generally, but in your community where you're living. And will get back to

exactly what the heat forecast for your neighborhood is.

My Department of Labor also created the first ever national program to protect workers from heat stress. We've invested billions to enhance our

power grid, expand energy shortages, so that lights, air conditioning, refrigeration, internet, stay on during heat waves, storms, and other

climate changes. It's building back a different way.

All told, we've invested a record more than $50 billion dollars for climate resilience, including against extreme heat and wildfires. But that's not

all, the American -- my American Rescue Plan is helping states and cities promote energy efficiency, reduce the impacts from flooding, and open

cooling centers. People have to know where to go, where they can go, in their neighborhood. They don't -- just not automatic.

Through the bipartisan infrastructure law, we're delivering over $20 billion to lower your energy costs. Upgrading the electric grid to

withstand stronger heat waves and storms. And my Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant climate investment ever in the history of the world,

anywhere in the world, has already created 300,000 new jobs, building clean energy we need to cut our emissions and to lead the world.


Unfortunately, my predecessor and the MAGA Republicans in Congress are trying to undo all this progress. They still deny climate change even

exists. They deny climate change even exists. They must be living in a hole somewhere at the expense of health and safety of their own constituents.

They deny it exists.

Every single congressional Republican voted against the investments which created these jobs to combat climate change. Many of them are trying to

repeal those climate provisions and kill those jobs. I quite frankly think it's not only outrageous, it's really stupid. Everyone who willfully denies

the impacts of climate change is condemning the American people with dangerous future, and neither is really, really dumb or has some other

motive of that. How can you deny there's climate change for God's sake?

Let me close to this, when disaster strikes, there are no red states or blue states. I've demonstrated that. I said no matter whether you vote for

me or not, everyone's going to get treated fairly. They're just communities, not red communities or blue communities, they're just

communities. Families looking for help. And my administration is going to be there for you every step of the way.

We just have to remember who we are, for God's sake. We're the United States of America. The United States of America. There's nothing, nothing,

nothing beyond our capacity if we work together.

So, God bless you all. We're just getting started here, man. I'm confident we're going to get this done. And I want to turn it over to Clint Osborn,

director of the -- acting director of D.C. Homeless Security and Emergency Management Agency to tell you what his team's incredible work is doing on

the front lines for extreme weather events.

Where are you, pal? Right behind me.

NEWTON: And you were listening to President Biden there in Washington announcing he says about $50 billion in climate resiliency, certainly top

of mind for Americans as -- and everyone else around the world as we continue to see extreme heat, Hurricane Beryl now still progressing through

the Caribbean. But what we want to do first is assess the political impact of him being there.

I want to bring back in Richard Haass, who was just speaking to us. He's a veteran U.S. Diplomat and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign

Relations. You know, President Biden did move there to try and certainly make the contrast between him and Donald Trump and Republican

administration as well.

But I got to ask you first, what does a performance like that do? He was clearly reading off prompter, and yet, he did go off prompter once in a

while. You could tell. I mean, me what do you think?

HAASS: Like it was -- had energy to it. I thought it was a pretty effective statement. I might have chosen a few words differently. I'm not

sure I would have described some people as dumb, but I thought connecting the extreme weather to climate was an important issue. Essentially saying

this is the new normal and going after Trump and others for denying climate change. That's one of the defining differences between these two

candidates. He didn't take advantage of the question during the debate Thursday night to do that. So, he did it today. So, all things being equal,

this was, I thought, a pretty good performance by the president.

NEWTON: But how many of those does he need? And again, it could still happen, but he is not taking questions from the press or anyone else. It's

-- what is it going to take given what we just spoke to you about and the fact that we have Democrats, even elected Democrats, very nervous at this


HAASS: Look, it's a fair question. I'm not sure any number of efforts will necessarily erase the doubts. He's not going to get any younger between now

and election day. So, that moves ahead. That said, things where he doesn't use teleprompters would help, long interviews, town halls, essentially

things where the people see the president, is he still sufficiently nimble? Is he able to change gears? Can he sustain energy and strength in a way

that any president has to in terms of rallying the American people?

So, there's not one thing he can do. What he needs is a series of events that will gradually chip away at the terrible impression he left last week.

But he can't eliminate it. But what he can do is try to at least compete with it.

NEWTON: Yes, Richard Haass, you're very kind to come back to us as we assess Joe Biden there, the president, and what he will do in the coming

days just to try and calm the nerves principally of Democrats. Richard Haass for us again. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

HAASS: Thank you.

NEWTON: We now want to bring in CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir. You have been listening in as well. I mean, if we get to the

specifics of this, $50 billion dollars in climate resiliency, obviously, that's over a number of years. I want to get first, though, to this issue

of heat, right? Because I think the fact that this administration and the president himself has said repeatedly, pay attention to the heat because it

is a killer.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It is. It's the dead list of more than all the other weather events combined, as he mentioned there, and

it's a real contrast to what's happened in Republican states like Florida and Texas in recent months where there were efforts to legislate mandatory

heat break, shade breaks, especially for outdoor workers, agricultural construction, but industry pushed back and the Republicans in those states

push back. And so, those were shot down.


This would be the first Department of Labor federal standard for heat, those sorts of breaks for workers out there. There's indoor heat. It is a

problem as well for folks in factories, warehouses that aren't air conditioned. But he's trying to acknowledge a new reality on planet Earth

that his opponent refuses to. And he's betting, I think, that people will feel the proof of his argument, and that might melt away some ideology.

Last year, the hottest in human history since the birth of Christ. This summer, on track to shatter those records. And it has real implications in

emergency rooms, on farms, in fisheries in every aspect of life these days, and there could not be a starker contrast politically in this election


NEWTON: Yes. And again, in terms of speaking to people around the world, and in this case, American voters, they see the effects themselves, but

whether or not a Republican administration would actually match that up with the required legislation, you know, as you've already pointed out,

we've seen them go in the opposite direction.

I do want to get to that extreme heat. It's expected across the United States. This just keeps happening, Bill, more records broken every week,

month, year. I mean, what is the key to combating this? Because clearly, we are already, you know, down this hill. We are down the slope trying to

catch up.

WEIR: Absolutely. At this point, covering climate is -- its physics of what's built in, thermodynamics to an earth out of balance and its

psychology, its human reaction to these events as they unfold and the political realignment that happens around it. But at the end of the day,

even though big oil companies seemed like they wanted to change their business model and go with humanity's sort of march towards an electrified

future that has changed recently. And there's proof that they are going to fight this sort of at every level, at the local, state, federal level as


And we have meteorologists forecasting 130 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley on Monday. That's 54 -- over 54 degrees Celsius. That is the

temperature of a medium rare steak, to put it in, you know, heat meat cooking terms, and that is the hottest place on the earth.

But if that's the canary as to where we're headed, and 2024 is one of the coolest summers of the rest of our lives, it is well past time to adapt to

the pain that has already built in. And he talked about that. It's shade centers, it's cooling centers, it's flood mitigation, it's all the

adjusting planet Earth around these new temperatures that we just didn't do before.

NEWTON: And I do want to get to this Category 5 storm that's heading towards Jamaica at this hour. I mean, look, we're used to hurricanes, but

not this early, right, and not this severe.

WEIR: Right. Yes, because, you know, warm water is hurricane food. It's a fuel, steroids, right? And this one is acting like a hurricane normally

would in September, after a summer of pent-up heat in the Atlantic, in the Caribbean. But Beryl did rapid intensification. Over 50 miles an hour in

less than 24 hours. Earliest point ever.

And if it hits Jamaica on Wednesday, as is somewhat forecast, that would be the first landfall there in over 20 years. And we don't know where it goes

beyond that. But again, this is one of the minions of an overheated planet. Faster, wetter, more intense hurricanes, longer, more intense droughts,

weather, water whiplash not to mention sea level rise as the poles melt. So, a lot going on.

And what's so striking in the United States is one party absolutely acknowledges the science around this and thinks it is addressable, and the

other party even refuses to acknowledge it's happening.

NEWTON: Yes. And what you've always done so well is really try and drill down on the science of this. Climate change, obviously, an issue at least

for most of us. We recognize that. Now, your book. "Life As We Know It (Can Be)." You also have reported on stories of hope and how people are

adapting. Can you give us some examples in the things that you're really excited about going forward?

WEIR: Absolutely, Paula. I mean, there is a sort of a secret, quiet, silent industrial revolution happening that people don't really understand

as billions of dollars pour into mitigating the problem, adapting to the problem.

I was just in Europe last week, interviewing Bill Gates at his Breakthrough Energy Summit, looking at all these startups in Earth repair and new energy

systems that are so exciting. And now, because wind and solar is now the cheapest fuel in human history, Texas leads the United States in clean

energy, despite political and ideological resistance.

It's now, electricity is free or cheaper than free in the middle of the day when the sun is blazing in places like Texas and California. And the

possibilities of what to do with that, you can use that energy to desalinate and create entire rivers to fix droughts. There's so many

possibilities of industry on how to harness all that energy and undo the damage. It's happening. The question is, will it happen fast enough?


And will the fossil fuel interests, you know, fight to the -- to drill the last barrel on Earth to the bitter end, or will they see the economic

signals and see that humanity has all the alternatives they need? It's just a matter of political will and getting there.

And so, the way people, we build our houses, grow our food, there are so many smart folks out there. Mr. Rogers of American children, television

fame taught me that when things get scary on TV, you look for the helpers, and not just the folks rushing into the hurricane zones, down in the

Caribbean now, or wildfire zones, but so many helpers, in laboratories and startups are looking for a better way.

And it's there and we're going to get there. I am convinced, Paula. I haven't covered this beat. It's just a matter of how much we lose in


NEWTON: I am glad though to hear you say that. And especially, as you said, for all the great science being done all over the world on this. Bill

Weir, thanks for jumping on with us after the president's announcement. Really appreciate it.

WEIR: My pleasure.

NEWTON: And now, we return to the issue of France, the Netherlands, Italy, beyond, the far-right on the rise, we were speaking of that earlier, we're

talking about the serious implications for the international order, and that, of course, also includes the war in Ukraine. We're going to continue

our discussion now with Sweden's former prime minister and foreign minister, Carl Bildt.

I apologize. We can blame it on the president, but again, we do want to hear from you, especially given the stark reality confronting Europe and

other allies right now. We were talking about how he looked to the allies, right? I mean, what do you think as people look on, and I should say not

just allies, right, but competitors and enemies of the United States as well?

BILDT: I think it was a good message that we just heard from him on an issue that is obvious of a rising global concern. So, that that was a good

thing. But back to what you discussed with Richard Haass, I think he expressed, as I said, roughly the feeling that is there all around the

world, a lot of concern about what this is going to mean for the next four years.

We have a choice between two candidates. Mr. Trump, has a lot of worries about the unpredictability of his policies and whether Mr. Biden would

really be able to make it four years. And that was clearly substantially reinforced by the not overly impressive performance in the debate, to put

it very mildly.

NEWTON: Yes, kind of an understatement at this point. And again, I can imagine the bewilderment among allies. I have to ask you, you know, Trump

did not deny that if he is elected for a second term, he might actually withdraw the U.S. from NATO. Everybody says that he won't do that, but at

this point in time, I'm sure you would tell us to believe otherwise. What especially would you say about that, especially given the fact that Sweden

has just joined NATO?

BILDT: Well, I mean, we simply don't know. I mean, Mr. Trump is extremely unpredictable. And he said different things on NATO. He might withdraw. If

he doesn't withdraw, there are a lot of people around him that talk about what they call a dormant NATO, let it be there, but don't do anything with

it, then sort of withdraw and not be active and not reactive or anything happening, you know, that is virtually dead or dormant doesn't make much of

a difference.

So, there are a lot of concerns about that. There's a lot of concern about his trade policies, with the tariffs against each and every one going up

and the effect that that's going to happen on the global trading system and the global economy. And then, climate, as we just discussed, which is

another issue, where sort of Trump is distinctly out of sync with what the word is needed.

So, most of the global opinion would be in favor of policies along the lines of what Mr. Biden and his administration has been pursuing,

successfully for the past few years. But whether they will be able to do it, that's the big issue.

NEWTON: You know, I do want to get to the issue of Ukraine, especially given what you've written about it recently. I want to talk first about

Hungary's far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban. He's been an outspoken critic of western aid to Ukraine. We just discussed how he's in the E.U.

rotating presidency. But I want you to listen now to what he's saying about what he wants as a ceasefire in Ukraine. Listen.


VIKTOR ORBAN, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I asked the president to think about whether we could reverse the order and speed up

peace talks with making a ceasefire first. A ceasefire connected to a deadline would give a chance to speed up peace talks.


NEWTON: What do you say to him, especially given he's framing this as a ceasefire, many would see it as surrender?

BILDT: I think it would be, to a certain extent, at least be a surrender because he is effectively agree with what Mr. Putin said the other day,

because Mr. Putin said, I'm prepared to start discussing a ceasefire, provided that Ukraine, prior to that, agrees that I would keep everything

that I've occupied and more than that, more than that, and a couple of other conditions. And Mr. Orban is now playing on that path, so to say. I

think that's a distinct nonstarter for the time being.


NEWTON: You know, Orban has historically, though, been very supportive of President Putin. France's National Party has historically been friendly

towards the Kremlin as well. Poland's prime minister was interesting here, in relation to talking about this far-right advance, especially in France.

I want you to listen to Donald Tusk now, as he warned about politicians who are advocating, he says, as we speak for Vladimir Putin. Listen.


DONALD TUSK, POLISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This is all really starting to smell of great danger. Not only the results of the first

round of the French elections, but also the information about Russian influence and Russian services in many parties of the radical right in



NEWTON: Hyperbole there or do you believe he's really nailed it?

BILDT: Well, he's talking about something that we see happening, not only the political confrontation and the rhetoric and different things being

said, but we do see Russian services of different sorts undertaking different operation across Europe. Poland has had a couple of examples of

that, sabotage and in concert with criminal groups doing nasty stuff of different sorts.

So, this -- the beginning of, let's call it a clandestine war, that Russia is pursuing in the different countries, Poland, Germany, I think we will

see it and have probably seen it in other countries as well. It's a very stark reality that European politicians are aware of.

NEWTON: You know, I want to go back to something that you wrote in recent days, and that's the fact that what's at stake if Ukraine loses, because

you say it has significant implications, not just for Ukraine, but interesting, both for Russia and Europe. I do want to turn to the

implications, though, for Europe. You're saying this would be dire in terms of the amount of refugees Europe would have to take in and it's spending on


BILDT: Oh, absolutely. It would have very bad implication indeed. I mean, where are they to conquer Ukraine in the sense that they still want to do,

we will have a couple of tens of further millions of refugees. We will have a very significant change of the political atmosphere of Europe.

We will be forced to undertake a significant boosting of defense expenditures, a doubling perhaps in relation to what we have today. And

there will be a confrontation that would have a very significant implications for European security. And add to that, the global

ramification, it will be seen as a very clear sign of the decline of American power all over the world.

NEWTON: Yes, a stark assessment there given the changes in politics that we are seeing in Europe and perhaps now also in the United States. Carl

Bildt for us, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

BILDT: Thank you.

NEWTON: And we will be right back with more news after a short break.



And welcome back. We turn now to a devastating collusion of a natural disaster and man-made errors. That's the focus of a new documentary by the

Oscar nominated Syrian filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab called "Death Without Mercy." The film shows how local governments and the International

Community failed so many during the powerful earthquake and aftershock that struck both Turkey and Syria last year, killing some 60,000 men, women, and

children. Here's some of the trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The administration is responsible. No oversight of building materials on construction. It's terrible that they

took no precautions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 50,000 lay dead beneath the debris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A baby. A baby. Quick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Here comes the miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Getting justice will be very hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If they want to give us justice, protect us from the next one.


NEWTON: And Waad Al-Kateab joins us now from London. I want to welcome you to the program. It is very difficult to watch that play out. I cannot

imagine what it is for the people still living through that horror. You know, you heard the news of the earthquakes when you were in London where

you had been living. You escaped Syria. And then, you decided that you were going to get in touch with your friends, Fuad and Fadi.

This is so striking to me in terms of how you decided at that moment that this documentary had to be produced. Why?

WAAD AL-KATEAB, DIRECTOR, "DEATH WITHOUT MERCY": I think it was very like real for us. You know, as Syrians, we've been through a lot. We suffered

like for years. We survived -- the people who survived, you know, we survived shelling, bombing, siege, like beloved ones who are arrested and

so many other like tragedies. And for us, that earthquake was like another big shock where we couldn't really understand that this is real and this is


So, because of all this trauma, I felt, you know, like, I'm today in a safe place. My family, even my mom, dad, sister and brother and my sister had

like -- only like one-month old baby, they were in Gaziantep where the earthquake struck.

And for me, you know, I lived there for one year and a half. I know so many people there, like Fadi and Fuad is two of my friends, but I know much more

people there. And for us, you know, this is another tragedy we're going through. And to be honest, like the world maybe did not even stop at that

second, you know, to know what's going on. It was one highlight on the news and then, everyone moved on while there was people under the ground who is

stuck for days, and there was no aid, there was no help.

Same situation in Turkey and also in Syria, in northwest of Syria. So, it was just like a huge suffering, a huge tragedy, and I really wanted people

to look back and see and look today at what is the impact of this. It is like a natural disaster, but there's so many men, like men who have that

responsibility to make that painless for these people or actually -- literally to make so many people survive.

NEWTON: I think it's important now just to give our viewers a little bit more insight into what happened here. We're going to actually now hear from

your friend as he tries to return to Turkey after hearing the news. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): So, when I found out that the epicenter is in Turkey, in the Marrash area, I thought I should check on my

family. My family is living in Antakya, in Turkey. First, I sent a message to Yaman, but the text didn't reach him. I texted my brother, Yamen, it

didn't reach. I texted my mom, my dad, it didn't each. I texted Yaman's wife, all my relatives. There was bad connection, but finally, my brother-

in-law answered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No one got out from your family's building. The whole of Antakya is on the ground. All you can hear is people

screaming and shouting from under the rubble.


NEWTON: You know, and he realizes there, no one got out, he's told from your family's building. You talk about the fact that people moved on. Is

that what you believe? Because many of us, of course, saw that there were rescue efforts that were mounted.

AL-KATEAB: Yes. I mean, there was no -- you know, there was no efficient, like, aid workers and rescue workers at that time. The fact that, you know,

today we're talking about over 60,000 victims, people who lost their lives. But actually, the number must be much more.


And there's so many people, until today, you know, it's been now one year and a half, more than one year and a half, and there's still people who

have no answer for their beloved ones. If they are alive, if they are in the hospital, if they are like dead.

And just, you know, like living that, the people who lost their houses, their dreams, their life. And you know, like for someone like Fadi, who

you've just seen in this clip, he lost 13 of his family. So, you know, like the life -- his life definitely like flipped upside down.

And again, we are talking about people who have trauma for years, people who survived, like the tragedy of Aleppo, the siege of Aleppo and so many

other situations in Syria. So, like, definitely, you know, like the clock stuck at that time, at 4:18 a.m. In the morning when the earthquake hit.

NEWTON: And for so many, their lives absolutely changed dramatically at that moment. I want you to listen now how Fahad's (ph) wife who she recalls

the earthquake. Let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I looked at my body and saw that I was covered in blood. I looked at Sami, he was still in my arms. He was

covered in blood and dust. Then Sami started crying. I called out to Koutaiba as he had been behind me. He had even been holding onto my

clothes. But it seems that the collapse separated us. I called out to him, but I couldn't hear his voice. I hugged Sami tightly, and then I felt that

my shoulder was not moving.

I noticed that my phone was still with me. I tried to call the emergency number, but it didn't work. I started screaming in Turkish, help me.


NEWTON: You know, nothing seems more evocative to me than a mother just so desperate to hang on to her children there. And yet, I want to ask you

about your method in documenting this in terms of what was your thinking? Because these are painful moments for these people to recall. These are

people that you know and love. How did you persevere? And more importantly, why did you think it was important to really recount so many painful


AL-KATEAB: Yes, I think like this film was very unique and very different from so many other documentaries like I've done myself or even I've seen

around like this couple of years. Like it is important because it's the only way for us to survive. And the pain will never be less, you know, even

when these people recorded this amazing, you know, like -- and difficult and harrowing black memories. And the pain will never be simpler and

easier. They will never be moving on, you know, when they have their kids who they lost or their entire family who they lost.

So, for us, it was a way of like dealing with this and moving forward, finding meaning, finding a message and the reason, you know, why they

survive and they have to be alive. And it is a collective amazing team, you know, who did record from under the rubbles like Safa, which you're going

to see in the film, from Fadi who lived day by day with waiting for his family and then none of them got out. And with that, you know, he had to

pick up the camera and continue with us working on this film.

Fuad and so many other people you -- who you've seen in the film. It's a collective of CCTV, news around the earthquake, survivors who documented

with their own phones. I think what's really like different and special with this is like it is a way to survive, and it's the only -- like it's

made because of this trust, because of this relationship that I have with Fadi, Fuad, and Safa, which we know each other for years, which we trust

each other, which we believe together as Syrians who survived so many things, that the only way for us to deal with this is to fight back and

make a big message out of this unfortunately horrible tragedy.

NEWTON: And I understand the message, it is all too painful. And yet, given the way it is documented here, I mean, do you think those that you

interviewed do have solace in the fact that so much of their pain is laid bare? Because I have to ask, to what end, right? Are you hoping that there

is more justice, more accountability through this now?

AL-KATEAB: Yes, definitely. You know, like I do remember when I called Fadi after -- like, we've been in touch since the earthquake happened, and

I was following him personally, as we're really good friends. And when I -- when this documentary came, I called him, and I was like, look, I know you

might not think of this now, but I have this opportunity, and I really want you to speak out your experience. And he told me, like, I lost everything.

I have nothing else to lose. And this is my only call for justice. Because I don't want my family to be forgotten. I don't want what happened to be

like just another tragedy.


And I think Fadi and Safa share the same thing, and so many other people who survived the earthquake. They were kind of sharing this -- their

feeling after they've seen a little bit of this film.

And it is a natural disaster, but there's a system who failed these people. There's governments who failed these people. There's the U.N. who failed

these people. The only heroes who left alone to survive this is these individuals who were under the rubble trying to get out and these civilians

who are outside trying to dig with their bare hands just to let their beloved ones out.

NEWTON: Honestly, unspeakable what they have gone through. And we hear you that they decided to tell their own story in the hope that they would have

some justice. Waad Al-Kateab, director of "Death Without Mercy," thanks so much.

AL-KATEAB: Thank you so much.

NEWTON: And finally, for us, a brain, a leg, and pure joy. A new study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I am astounded by this, is

giving amputees bionic legs. Yes, they feel like the real thing. That's because this time, they're fully connected to the nervous system, helping

walkers restore their normal gait.

47-year-old Amy Pietrafitta said, It didn't even feel like my leg had been amputated. It was the happiest moment in my life. Can you imagine? Let's go

there. Bionic legs.

That's it for now. I want to thank you for watching. Goodbye from New York.