Return to Transcripts main page

Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With David Cameron; Ukraine Finds Itself Sucked Into America's Political Drama; ; U.S. And Iran Turn Up The Pressure; Thomas Friedman On Trump's Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 29, 2019 - 10:00   ET



FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

We'll begin today's show where this wild week began, with Britain's Supreme Court finding Boris Johnson's actions unlawful. And with the U.S. House of Representatives launching an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Trump.




ZAKARIA: I'll discuss both in an exclusive interview with Britain's former prime minister, David Cameron.

Then we'll dig deeper into the other nation at the center of the impeachment inquiry, Ukraine. Ann Applebaum, who is just back from Kiev, will explain the connection between Ukraine and America.

Also, Iran. Secretary Pompeo said that this week at the U.N. the U.S. made real progress uniting the world to get tough on the Islamic republic. Will this bring Tehran to the table to negotiate or provoke it even further?

And Israel's inconclusive election results. Will Bibi Netanyahu be able to form another government? I'll talk to the "New York Times'" Tom Friedman.

But first here's my take. Whether you think it rises to the level of an impeachable offense, can we all agreed that what President Trump did was profoundly wrong? He pressured a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political opponent.

This is very different from the Russia investigation, which was at its core about whether as a candidate Trump had colluded with the Kremlin. In the case of Ukraine, the president is accused of using the awesome power of the United States, power that could make a life or death difference for Ukraine, to serve his personal political gain. Sadly, it's part of a pattern of violations of democratic norms and

perhaps laws. The Mueller report reveals that Donald Trump actively sought to curtail or end the special counsel's investigation. Trump has allegedly dangled pardons for officials who might break the law in carrying out his immigration agenda. He has repeatedly lambasted the investigative agencies or government, or even worse, pressured them to investigate his political opponents. He has ignored congressional subpoenas and refused to turn over documents.

Trump is a particularly egregious example, but his misbehavior fits a global trend. After all, Boris Johnson engaged in a political maneuver, suspending Parliament, that Britain's Supreme Court unanimously ruled was unlawful. India's Narendra Modi has spoken and governed in ways that have terrified his country's minorities and eroded its secular culture. Philippines' President Duterte has praised extrajudicial killings. And leaders like Erdogan in Turkey and Orban in Hungary have managed to change constitution to assist in one-party or one-man rule.

Many scholars and writers have chronicled the democratic recession. Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk have compiled data showing that across the globe enthusiasm for autocrats has grown. Between 1995 and 2014 there were large increases in the share of people who would like to see a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament and elections growing by nearly 10 points in the U.S., almost 20 points in Spain and South Korea, and about 25 points in Russia and South Africa.

Why is this? The best I can guess is that we're living in times of great change and in this world people feel insecure and anxious. They don't believe that existing institutions, elites, or established ideologies are serving them well. Of 27 democracies surveyed by Pew, a majority in 21 countries say they see little change regardless of who wins an election. So, people are open to supporting populist leaders who play on their fears, seize on scapegoats and promise to take decisive action on their behalf.


Add to this the rising reality of tribal politics, the sense that each of us is on a team and our team is always in the right. Tribalism is the enemy of institutions, norms and the rule of law. In a recent book Milan Vaishnav shows that politicians who have been charged of a crime are more likely to win elections in India. In tribal politics people actually celebrate leaders who break the law because they are supposedly doing so to help their tribe.

Political parties used to act as gate keepers and norm setters keeping out populists and demagogues and forcing their members to adhere to certain rules and norms. But politicians can now raise money and gain a following outside of the party through direct appeals to the public using social media to exploit the very anger and emotion that parties used to moderate.

In his 1960s study of American politics, Clinton Rossiter declared, "No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no politics without parties, no parties without compromise and moderation."

American democracy today desperately needs the Republican Party to play a role that upholds democracy rather than feasting on its destruction.

For more go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

Anglo American institutions this week pushed back against actions by their nation's populist leaders. First, the British Supreme Court found Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament to have been unlawful. Then the U.S. House of Representatives launched an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

I want to talk about both events with my first guest, David Cameron. This is the first U.S. television interview for the former British prime minister, the man who called the Brexit referendum. His new book is "For the Record."

David, pleasure to have you on.


ZAKARIA: First question which you must always be asked is, do you not regret putting your country through the nightmare of this kind of Brexit drama? Should you not have just never had this referendum in the first place?

CAMERON: Well, I feel huge sadness and regret about the situation we're in now, and the difficulties we face. I mean, they will come to an end. We will solve this. But when I look back, as I do in the book, lots of regrets of things I could have done differently. Perhaps a better negotiation. Perhaps a different timing. But I feel -- I felt then and I still feel now that a referendum was inevitable.

There was not just growing political pressure, because we had treaty after treaty and power after power, power from Westminster to Brussels. But also there was a genuine problem with the development of the euro, the organization we were in was changing in front of our eyes, I felt it was inevitable.

I wanted for us to have a renegotiation and a referendum to try and deal with these issues and keep us in. Clearly I failed in that endeavor. But the attempt was a genuine one.

ZAKARIA: Tony Blair, your predecessor, says the country is clearly, genuinely divided and confused about what exactly it means to do Brexit. Is it hard? Is it soft? And that's why there should be a second referendum. Do you agree?

CAMERON: Well, I think the first thing that ought to happen is for the prime minister to go back to Brussels, to negotiate a deal for us to carry out the outcome of the referendum which is to leave and become, as I put it, friends and neighbors and partners with the European Union but not members. It's not the choice I would make. I fought -- I threw everything into the campaign for us to stay. But the result went another way.

If we can't get that deal, we are then still after three years stuck. And one of the ways of getting unstuck is to have a general election or to have a second referendum. So my view is we shouldn't rule those things out. They may be necessary to get us out of the situation but the first priority for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and he has my support in doing this, is getting a deal in Brussels in order for us to leave as friends, neighbors and partners.

ZAKARIA: But you say in the book that Boris Johnson didn't really believe in Brexit, that he actually adopted this position purely for his political advantage.

CAMERON: All I explain in the book is that when I called the referendum and wanted Boris Johnson on my side, I said to him, you know, you've never previously supported leaving. You've been a euro skeptic. You wanted reform. You think my deal of changes, important though I thought they were, were not enough. But that's not a reason for leaving. He made his choice and I talk about that in the book but now he's prime minister, he has this huge responsibility. I want him to succeed in getting a sensible deal with the European Union and taking that to the House of Commons and passing it.


But I think the one thing we ought to avoid is leaving without a deal. I think that would be bad for our economy, bad for the United Kingdom, bad actually for the European Union, too. And so if we can't get that deal we will have to find another way of getting out of the situation into which we've become stuck.

ZAKARIA: You took the Conservative Party and tried to modernize it. You came out very strongly in favor of more inclusive party, diversity, gay marriage, it reminds me a little bit of George W. Bush who initially tried to create a compassionate conservatism. And both of those parties, the Conservative Party in Britain and the Republican Party in America, have been taken over essentially by populists. Why?

CAMERON: Well, I don't completely accept that comparison. Yes, the Conservative Party has -- is running a government that wants to deliver Brexit, which is not my approach, but actually it is still a Conservative Party that reflects the changes I made over 11 years of leading it. It has got far more women MPs. It's got members of Parliament from every black and minority ethnic group virtually in the United Kingdom. It's far more geographically spread. It continues --

ZAKARIA: But it's animated --


CAMERON: And also, it continues to ban equal marriage.

ZAKARIA: But it's animated by certain suspicion of foreigners, of immigration, in that sense it is more xenophobic.

CAMERON: Well, I don't think it's necessarily true that just if you want to deliver Brexit it means that can't be a compassionate conservative. I mean, I'm a compassionate conservative and I think Brexit is a bad idea, but I don't think those things have to go together. But if you asked me what lies behind what is happening in our politics, I mean, I would go back to 2008 and the financial crash and the deep recessions we suffered and the sense that people have that while globalization has had many successes, we have seen in recent years a sense of economic insecurity.

People at the bottom feeling they're not getting a fair break. That wages have been too stagnant and also a sense of cultural insecurity. That immigration levels have been very high, in my country, all across the European Union and in the United States. And people feel not enough has been done to address these issues. You add into that mix the modern way the media works, where people can create their own television channels, their own facts, their own truths, their own eco- chambers. And I think that mixture of things has made the rise of populism take place.

My view is, as a conservative, is there's no point railing up against this and raging about it. You've got to deal with the causes. Let's have better control of immigration. Let's have higher wages, tax cuts for the lowest paid, and let's make sure that we can have media that's truthful and there's a reasonable umpire for our debates.

ZAKARIA: Stay with us. Next on GPS, Prime Minister Cameron on America's political problems, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: And we are back with David Cameron, the former British prime minister and the author of "For the Record."

David, you've seen a lot of politicians in action. What do you make of Donald Trump?

CAMERON: Well, there are not many areas where we agree on the face of things. I'm a believer in action to tackle climate change, I'm not sure he is. I'm a staunch defender of NATO. And he said in the past it might be obsolete. I'm a believer in free trade and he's taken quite a lot of quite protectionist steps. But I think I believe so much in the special relationship between Britain and the United States that we've got to find ways of working together. So let's start with some areas where we agree, the fight against Islamist extremism and terrorism.

And let's recognize that in office Donald Trump perhaps has not been quite the same as the candidate we heard. He has actually been more positive about NATO. And that is very important. And the economy and tax changes have been positive. So British prime ministers and former British prime ministers, we should try and find things where we can agree and where we can work together rather than emphasizing a lot of the differences we might have.

ZAKARIA: He's done something extraordinary, though, into wading into British politics. When Boris Johnson was not prime minister he openly and loudly supported him, kept talking about how he'd be good. Why do you think he finds that commonality?

CAMERON: Well, I think interestingly both of them are quite establishment figures and yet sort of raging against the establishment. They obviously have some commonality and there are some similarities in what happened with the Brexit vote and what happened with the election of Donald Trump in 2016. But, look, I want the relationship to work whoever is the prime minister, whoever is the president and so I think -- I mean, Donald Trump does go about politics in a totally different way.

People like me who are perhaps a bit more traditional about things you'd say about other people's election campaigns and all the rest of it, we have to recognize maybe some of the rules are changing.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about Ukraine. And I know you're going to be careful, but I want to ask you something that I think you have both knowledge and authority on and can speak about which is the charge that Donald Trump makes about Joe Biden is that Biden was trying to get the Ukrainians to fire the chief prosecutor. A lot of experts and media reports say that was a demand being made by the Europeans, by the United States. It was all part of an effort to rid Ukraine of corruption and the argument was this guy was himself thoroughly corrupt and therefore he had to go.

Do you recall that process? And do you think it's fair to say that what Biden was doing was asking for something that essentially the world was asking in firing this prosecutor?

CAMERON: I don't recall all of the specifics about the specific individuals, but it's certainly true to say that the British view I think in common with the American view was that Ukraine needed to do more to tackle corruption. Ukraine actually is a country with a huge potential in success. It's a big country. Big population. It could be as wealthy and successful as a country like Poland, its neighbor, which is now many times richer than Ukraine.

And our view was, we're helping you in terms of your defense and we're helping in terms of standing up to the Russian aggression but you need to help us by dealing with corruption in your country and that was a common theme with all the interactions that I had particularly with President Poroshenko who was president of Ukraine for most of my time in office.

ZAKARIA: Many people told me at the time that you and Angela Merkel were the two staunchest defenders of the idea that you had to be tough on the Russians for the invasion of Ukraine, for the annexation of Crimea. That you had to keep sanctions in place. That a lot of other European leaders wanting to do business with Russia were more comfortable getting rid of the sanctions.


Do you worry that the European Union and the West will not stay firm, particularly with all this complexity of what's happened in Ukraine, and that the Russians will be able to get away with it?

CAMERON: I do worry about it. I mean, my view was simple that when it came to the Russian incursion into Georgia, which happened some years before Ukraine, the Western response was weak. We made a fuss for a small amount of time but there were no proper sanctions, no proper measures, and Angela Merkel and I and others were determined when Russia took advantage of the situation in Ukraine and basically stole a piece of territory, that there would be permanent consequences.

We knew we couldn't militarily reverse what had happened but we could put in place sanctions and we worked very closely, linking the E.U. with the U.S. and putting in place sanctions at the same time in the same way. And I think it's very important we keep that up. I think it's the only language that Putin understands on this issue of what he considers his near abroad but what I consider to be countries that want a free and democratic and European future.

ZAKARIA: Final thoughts, on Iran. You were there when the Iran deal was negotiated. Do you think that the Americans made a mistake by pulling out of it?

CAMERON: Well, I do, because it's certainly right to say the deal had its imperfections but all deals have their imperfections. But fundamentally, what we managed to negotiate, and I think it was a great credit to President Obama, all the work that he did, what we managed to negotiate was to keep Iran permanently away from having a nuclear weapon with the right to inspect and verify that that was the case. And the trouble with getting out of it is you're replacing something with huge uncertainty.

By all means try and improve on the deal, try and make sure that it runs on for longer but actually walking away from it without a real answer I think actually makes the world less safe rather than more safe.

ZAKARIA: Are you worried that there might be actual conflict in the Middle East?

CAMERON: Well, I worry it's a very dangerous situation and of course I share all the concerns of those in Congress and the president who say that Iran has a terrible record, that it supports terrorist groups, that there's an (INAUDIBLE) instability. I share all of those arguments, but often in politics and international affairs, we're not dealing with perfection and we're not dealing with a choice that is brilliant against a choice that is terrible, we're dealing with a set of, you know, often poor choices but you pick the best one you can and that's what I think our deal did, and getting rid of that deal makes the situation more unsafe.

ZAKARIA: David Cameron, pleasure to have you on.

CAMERON: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the Pulitzer Prize winning Anne Applebaum on why Trump's behavior might have sounded very familiar to the people of Ukraine, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: In a survey conducted five years ago, 84 percent of Americans could not locate Ukraine on a map. Given Russia's invasion of Crimea and this week's whistleblower news, I hope that number has come down significantly. Look at the map. It is here, by the way. Anyway, this nation that is now on our front pages every day is still an enigma to many.

Let me bring in Anne Applebaum. She has just returned from Kiev and wrote a book on the former Soviet republic called "Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine."

Anne, let me ask you, what has the level of backlash been or reaction for Zelensky, the new president of Ukraine, once particularly the transcript or the read-out of this phone call between him and Trump became public?

ANNE APPLEBAUM, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: It's important to take a step back and remember that for the past 30 years, almost 30 years, the United States and Ukraine and then the rest of the post-Soviet space has been advocating the rule of law, judicial independence. We've been arguing over and over again that Ukraine should have independent prosecutors. That the legal system needs to be depoliticized in order to end corruption and this scandal -- this story which by the way of course people in Kiev have known about for the last couple of months.

The scandal, you know, has shown that the United States practices precisely the kinds of distortions of the law, precisely the kinds of politicization of justice and the legal system that Ukrainians have been trying to get out of their own system for -- you know, for the last decade. So first of all, the scandal and the distress is shock at what's happening to the United States. You know, this looks to a lot of Ukrainians like a very familiar activity. President of the country trying to use his -- use the legal system, putting pressure on another country in order to achieve a political goal, in order to get dirt or kompromat as they would call it, or a fake story about one of his opponents. You know, so that's the main reaction.

You know, for Zelensky himself, I think there's a lot of sympathy for him. You know, he was in an impossible position. He was on the one hand being asked to do something that he knew was illegal. He knew that there was no story about Joe Biden. On the other hand, clearly he doesn't want to anger the president of the United States and he's trying to walk a kind of line in between. But as the story develops, I'm sure people will -- you know, their views will begin to change.

ZAKARIA: In the phone call it's clear that Zelensky is walking this fine line as you say. He doesn't ever really agree to the demands that Trump makes. He sort of obfuscates them, but he also praises Trump and tells him he stayed at his hotel and things like that. So -- and then later on denied that he felt pressure. I mean, at some level he's in a no-win situation, right?


APPLEBAUM: Yes, absolutely. It looks to me from look at that transcript, and this is just a guess, that he's been advised to say some of those things. There are other world leaders who had experienced speaking to Trump. And there is certainly the perception that what you need to do when you talk to the American president now is flatter him, talk about his hotels, say that you stayed in one of them.

And it's clearly an attempt to you -- clearly an attempt to try and get in with the United States president even though, as I said, of course he knows, as he repeated in the last couple of day that there is no case to investigate, that the story about Joe Biden is phony and that the additional story, which is this -- Trump on that call also went on about something about a server being in Ukraine and some Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election, all of that. Everybody knows that's not true. It's a kind of conspiracy theory that Trump has picked up, but we're not sure from where.

And, again, Zelensky, of course, knows this but he has to avoid saying that directly to the United States president because he is the United States president. And this is a profoundly corrupt situation that is weirdly familiar to Ukrainians because it's the kind of thing they've been trying to get out of their system. In other words, they've been trying to get -- this use of conspiracy theory in politics, the politicization in the legal system, all of that is something that Ukrainians have been trying to persuade their leaders to change for a decade.

ZAKARIA: What does this all look like from Vladimir Putin's perspective?

APPLEBAUM: So, look, this is exactly the kind of story that is wonderful for Vladimir Putin. Putin's line -- if you watch Russian media, if you've watched Russian media over the last several years, you will see over and over again an implication, a story, okay, Russia might be corrupt. But you know the country that's really corrupt? It's the United States. You might hear lines like, okay, the Americans talk a lot about democracy, they talk a lot about independent judges, all of that, but, really, they're a country just like us.

This scandal, this story fits perfectly into this particular Russia narrative, the story that U.S. is corrupt, Ukraine is corrupt, everybody is corrupt, we're all cynical and so it's okay that the Russian state is profoundly corrupt as well. This is an ideal line.

There are some indications that some of other odder details that you heard on that call, again, the mention of some kind of server in Ukraine, some kind of Ukrainian was responsible for the 2016 election, some of that may, one way or another, have come from Russia. Those are scandals -- sorry, those are conspiracy theories that have appeared in some of the more conspiratorial websites in the United States, and some of it may even come from Russia. ZAKARIA: Anne Applebaum, always a pleasure to talk to you.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the U.S. keeps tightening the screws on Iran. Will it work or will it backfire?




MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We want peace and we want a peaceful resolution with Islamic Republic of Iran --


ZAKARIA: That was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday in New York. He went on to say that this week, the U.S. had made real progress uniting the world on pressuring Iran. Then on Thursday, Iranian President Rouhani confirmed that Iran had started enriching uranium with advanced centrifuges breaking another stipulation of the nuclear deal it signed in 2015.

So is Iran going to be pressured into compliance or will tightening the screws provoke it even further?

Joining me is Dina Esfandiary. She is a fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center and the Century Foundation.

Dina, welcome. The crucial question is, is it possible to pressure the Iranians into either further concessions once they get to the negotiating table or even just to get to the negotiating table, or are they going to stay -- stand firm with their decision, which is until sanctions are lifted, we don't come back to the negotiating table?

DINA ESFANDIARY, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY FELLOW, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well, from Iran's perspective, it's really difficult to give in to the kind of pressure that the U.S. is putting on it right now. Why is that? Well, it's because it sets a precedent for the future. So if Iran folds now and comes to the negotiating table after it's been squeezed, the signal that it sends to the rest of the world is every time you want something from us, squeeze us and then we'll give in. So from their perspective, it's absolutely untenable to do that.

ZAKARIA: One thing I notice is that Saudi Arabia has actually been very quiet even though it was the one attack. It does not -- it seems very wary of a provocation, of a war. It did not call this an act of war. Mike Pompeo did. The Saudis have not called for retaliation and they are themselves not retaliating even though they have a very large, substantial, modern military.

ESFANDIARY: That's right. The Saudis have called for the international community to stand strong in the face of the Iranian threat But they haven't called for any kind of military action. And I think the reason for that is because Saudis, much like the Emiratis and the other Gulf Arabs, know that if war was to break out in the region between the U.S. and Iran that they would be the first ones in the line of fire. They would be the first ones to suffer, which is why they're calling for caution.

ZAKARIA: Could the Iranians lash out? The place that I worry the most about is Iraq, which is actually remarkably stable right now but, of course, Iran has lots of influence there. And it could very easily up end this very delicate balance between the Shia, the Sunnis and the Kurds in Iraq.

ESFANDIARY: Iraq is a potential area where Iran could lash out. The Persian Gulf could continue to be an area where it's very easy for the Iranians to lash out. Iran has threatened the Gulf Arab states, for example. I think it's threatened Dubai directly in case it was attacked first.

So there's a range of areas where Iran can use use the levers at its disposal to lash out and further destabilize the region.

ZAKARIA: Rouhani and Zarif, when they signed the deal, were wildly popular, Rouhani at 60 percent approval rating, Zarif actually at 80 percent. What is going to happen in the next election? Will the next president likely be a hard liner?

ESFANDIARY: It's very difficult to say because Iranian elections are notoriously difficult to predict.


But it's certain that the Rouhani administration placed all their bets in this one basket, the JCPOA basket, which was intended to free the Iranian economy in order for the Iranian people to get the dividends from it. And as a result, they kind of put aside some of the social and political issues they had to deal with domestically.

So, today, now that the JCPOA is failing and the economy isn't doing so well, they're facing a very difficult situation. The hard liners, however, on the other side of the spectrum have been consistently criticizing them for giving in to the Americans and giving in to the Europeans. So it's likely that the battlegrounds for the next election are going to be quite vicious, quite aggressive and the hard liners do have a leg up, because, ultimately, it turns out they were right.

ZAKARIA: Dina, thank you.

ESFANDIARY: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Up next, who will be the next prime minister of Israel? Is it all up in the air? I will ask Thomas Friedman when we come back.


ZAKARIA: On Wednesday, Israel's President, Reuven Rivlin, gave current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the first chance to try to form a government.


Netanyahu's Likud Party finished Israel's mid-September elections essentially in a dead heat with the rival, Blue and White Party. That party is headed by Benny Gantz, former head of the Israeli Military.

Now, it's unclear that either Netanyahu or Gantz can gather enough support from other parties to form a government.

So let's bring in the former The New York Times' former Jerusalem Bureau Chief, now Foreign Affairs Columnist, Tom Friedman.

Tom, everyone was writing political obituaries about Bibi Netanyahu. Is he going to be able to come back again?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Fareed, I would not take the fact that Israel's president gave him the first crack at forming a government because he technically had one more potential seat than his opponent, Benny Gantz, as an indication that he is going to come back.

It's going to be very difficult for Netanyahu to form a majority government because his coalition basically is his Likud Party and then a collection of religious parties, orthodox parties and far right nationalists. And Blue and white is a much more centrist party and is allied with some others to the left.

The key swing vote carrier is Mr. Lieberman and his party. And Lieberman has said, I will never sit in a government with the ultra orthodox and the super nationalists.

So Bibi actually needs to find a break in the Blue and White Party, find a few people to defect. I think it's going to be very hard. And it's likely he'll have to give back that mandate, that chance to form a government to Gantz.

Now, in between when Bibi gives up and Gantz takes over, Bibi faces a day in court. He is possibly and I think almost likely going to be indicted on some counts of corruption and malfeasance in government. And what I think Gantz is hoping for, Fareed, is that once Bibi, if Bibi is indicted, that some members of his party might say, you know what, we've got to move on without him, and because Gantz will not go into a government that BIBI leaves.

So that's where we are right now. I think the likeliest scenario, Netanyahu fails to put a government together, he has his day in court and then Gantz comes along and tries to woo the Likud to join with him without Bibi.

ZAKARIA: Since I have you, Tom, I've got to also ask you about this impeachment inquiry. Do you think that this time it's different, that the Mueller report came out, didn't seem to get as much traction as perhaps some people thought? This one seems to be, you know, certainly the House of Representatives, moderate Democrats seem to have felt that this is different. FRIEDMAND: Fareed, I think it's different from the Mueller report in one key and utterly, overwhelmingly important point. Mueller was a guy who sat behind a screen for two years. Donald Trump could delegitimize him for two years. He had no voice. And all of us didn't really know what was going on there and involved a bunch of Russians in far off places. This is very clear, very easy to understand. It's right before your eyes.

A conscientious objecting a civil servant working in the White House saw and heard reports that the president called a foreign leader, the president of Ukraine, and asked him to take out a political rival of his, Joe Biden, by opening an investigation into him. That's very, very clear and it's very easy to understand.

A second point I would make, you know, a friend of mine has been saying to me for a while, the Democrats are never going to take down Donald Trump. Only Trump can take down Donald Trump. He said, Trump reminds me of the heavyweight boxer, Mike Tyson. No one could beat Mike Tyson. Only Mike Tyson could beat Mike Tyson. And he did it one day when he bit off Evander Holyfield's ear.

And my friend said to me, you know, one day, Donald Trump is going to bite off somebody's ear, and I think he might have done it right here. He's bitten off a lot more than he can chew here.

I'd make a third point though, Fareed. There's a word that I think is going to become very important in this story. It's a word that Democrats should hug and Trump should fear, and that word is independence. For Trump, what is so dangerous about this story is that it involves independent, I would say, heroic U.S. civil servants.

This CIA analyst at the White House, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, all the anonymous people who are feeding this analyst at the White House, who saw what the president did, trying to enlist in a mafia- like style, a foreign leader to help him rub out a political rival. And these people stood up and they're going to have faces and they're going to have voices.

And for the first time Donald Trump is going to be up against an enemy, a challenger that won't be easy to delegitimize, independent, heroic U.S. government civil servant. That's one thing.

But for him, I would say -- for the Democrats, I would say, to make hay on this issue, they need to hold tight to that word independent as well. They need to stop the hearings with 30 different knucklehead congressmen asking their uninformed questions.


They need to hire, as they did in Watergate, a professional prosecutor and they need to make this story, Fareed, the American Constitution and its values against Donald Trump. If they go overboard on this and make it the Democratic Party against Donald Trump, not the independent Constitution represented by professional lawyer, they'll be making a huge mistake. So Democrats need to hug independence and Trump needs to fear it. ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, always a pleasure.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: And we will be back.


ZAKARIA: Our guest on last week's show, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres hosted the climate action summit at the U.N. on Monday, working to bring the world's private sector into the fight against climate change. And it brings me to my question. Which of the following goods or services has the largest carbon footprint, commercial aviation, dairy farming, cement or waste disposal?


Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

My book of the week is Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power. This is the story of an idealist who wrote movingly about America's inaction in the face of genocide, who then joined the Obama administration and grapples with its actions and inactions in the face of humanitarian disasters, like Syria.

Power writes movingly about everything, from her father's alcoholism to the debates in the National Security Council, and she delivers one of the best written political memoirs of recent years.

The answer to my GPS challenge this week is C, the cement industry accounts for 7 percent of the world's man-made carbon dioxide emissions, but that may change. At the U.N. this week, many big banks and asset owners agreed to align their business objectives with the Paris agreement's chief aim, making sure the planet doesn't warm more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit this century.

In fact, big investors have been leveraging their power over oil and gas companies, extracting commitments on climate action from companies like Royal Dutch Shell. Global investors have also focused on major cement-makers, asking for commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Altering the course of the climate crisis presents itself as a greatest for our ingenuity, from the food we eat to the liberal building blocks of modern society. We have to find ways to re- engineer the way we live.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.