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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Should the president stay out of cases? Yes, absolutely. He should not be commenting on cases in the system, I’ve said
that a bunch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But the president intervenes for his friend, Roger Stone. Did acquittal on impeachment embolden him? Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy
director, joins me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Most of the victims have, at one point or another, broken down into tears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Closing arguments in the Weinstein case, the attorney for one woman testifying against him takes us inside that courtroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IBRAM X. KENDI, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: No one becomes a racist or an anti-racist, it is a reflection of what each person is doing in each
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Author Ibram Kendy on how his battle with cancer shaped his view on racism.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in London.
The U.S. Senate acquitted President Trump in his impeachment trial, yet just one week later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for a full
investigation into the president’s intervention in the sentencing of his friend, Roger Stone. Even Senator Lindsey Graham, a strong supporter of the
president, is somewhat critical.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I don’t think any of us should tweet about an ongoing case. But having said that, I appreciate the Department of Justice
making sure that their recommendations to the court are seek justice consistent with the law as it’s written.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Trump is under fire again because, after a storm of presidential tweets, the Department of Justice has intervened in the Stone
case. It’s recommending a shorter sentence than the seven to nine years prosecutors want. Now, all four prosecutors have quit the case.
Roger stone was found guilty on seven counts of lying to congress, obstruction and witness tampering in connection with the Mueller
investigation. So, is this an abuse of power? That’s a question for my first guest, Andrew McCabe. He is the FBI deputy director fired from his
position in 2018. A move he says is a part of a larger effort to undermine America’s institutions. And he’s joining me live from Washington.
Andrew McCabe, welcome to the program.
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE FBI: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: I mean, the first question. Is this an abuse of power? Is it possible that the president could be investigated again and all this, you
know, drama can start up again on yet another issue? Tell me the big picture here to start with.
MCCABE: I think that’s possible, Christiane. But I think it’s also getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. I think it’s helpful to step back and look
at what we’re seeing right now. Many people who have been concerned about the president’s actions and his behavior for years since he’s taken office
have been saying for a long time that he does things that are a complete departure from all of his — all prior presidents from either party. He
says things and he act in ways that undermined the confidence — the public confidence in the institutions like the Department of Justice that we rely
on every day.
And what will happen if this continues? Well, what we’ve seen this week is exactly what happens when those sorts of inclinations continue. The
president is now weighing in directly on criminal cases and decisions that are before the court. He’s doing it on behalf of his friends to seek
leniency on behalf of his friends. And in the same breath, is calling for the investigation and the imprisonment of perceived political enemies like
myself and James Comey.
So, I think the important thing is we are at that critical moment where the president’s actions are directly undermining the institutions we rely on.
AMANPOUR: The president, as I said, leading into you had, you know, gone on a tweet storm to try to get the sentencing reduced. And now, it appears
that that is what the attorney general has done to influence the judge to do that, or recommend that that happens. And the president himself has
tweeted that he’s just thrilled, he congratulated Attorney General William Barr for “taking control” of this out-of-controlled case, as he explains
How unusual is it, in your experience, for an attorney general to directly intervene on behalf of a president in what looks like at least a personal
matter and at the most, a politically motivated situation here?
MCCABE: It is absolutely unprecedented, in my experience. And that goes back over 20 years in the FBI and obviously working closely with the
It’s not strange for prosecutors to have disagreements over things like sentencing guidelines and how to apply them to a particular case and what a
recommendation on a particular sentence should be, those disagreements happen every day. But they are typically the decision on those
disagreements are left to the people in the field, the prosecutors should build the case and there are director supervisors in the U.S. attorney’s
To see an attorney general to weigh in on a decision like that is strange and unprecedented. For the attorney general to weigh in on a matter that
directly implicates the president and one of his closest advisers in a matter in which the president has demanded a different recommendation than
the one originally given is very, very troubling, and it spells a very dark future for our system of justice — system of criminal justice in this
AMANPOUR: Just a quick question before I get to the historic nature of all of this. I have heard people across the spectrum, legal analysts across the
spectrum, say that perhaps seven to nine years was very long for these crimes that Roger Stone has been convicted of. A, do you think that? Do you
think that it is very long? And, B, do you think the judge in question will be influenced?
MCCABE: Well, to your first question, seven to nine years is a significant — it is a long and hard sentence to be imposed, especially on any
defendant who’s not been involved in some sort of violent crime. However, Mr. Stone was convicted of very serious offenses. As you noted in your
opening, he was convicted on all seven counts that he was charged with, and one of those counts included tampering with a witness. And the — I
understand the way he tampered with that witness was to threaten to kill him. So, that is a very serious charge. And that is something that
prosecutors and judges take very seriously.
However, you could have a reasonable debate over the appropriateness of the length of that sentence and the length of the recommend. But at the end of
the day, it is the judge who decides what sentence is imposed. And I think we’ve seen from her prior decisions and prior sentencings on similar
matters that this judge is absolutely willing to depart from the government’s recommendation and impose the sentence that she thinks is just
and fair, and I’m confident that she’ll do that here.
AMANPOUR: Well, and then her life will probably be made hell. But let me ask you this. It is extraordinary that William Barr is at the forefront. We
know he has written and has a very expansive idea about presidential and executive authority. For him, that comes from the Watergate crisis. And
yet, when he was attorney general for the first President Bush, he also understood the separation of the branches of government because of
And, in fact, he gave an interview in which he said, Watergate made Republican administrations very wary of the Justice Department. And I think
Republican administrations, including the Reagan administration, and certainly the Bush administration, took the view that the attorney general
Justice Department was special and different and you don’t mess around with it. Didn’t intervene. You didn’t interfere.
I mean, to me it seems like he’s completely going against what he said back then in 2001.
MCCABE: Well, he is. You’re right about that. And I would point out that Republican — prior Republican administrations were not unique in that
approach to the Department of Justice. Democratic administrations took that same approach of handling the department, and particularly handling its
function of administering and prosecuting criminal cases with the absolute utmost care.
There are policies in place, referred to as White House contacts policies that restrict people from the FBI or the department talking to folks in the
political side of White House about criminal matters for this exact reason. You don’t ever want to raise the specter of politics playing a role in
This administration has completely abandoned that position. And it’s remarkable to see this attorney general, who previously understood the
sensitivity that he needed to have there with the White House, seems to be acting in complete contradiction to that now.
AMANPOUR: You know, you mentioned that they’ve came after you. I said that you’d been fired. You have said it’s a politically motivated situation. I
think it was in relation to, you know, when you were deputy to James Comey, it’s all about the handling, I think, of the Clinton e-mails. But they did
come after you and we know that they fired you one day before your official retirement time.
We’ve also seen that the president has fired several of the witnesses who didn’t — you know, who were subpoenaed, they were dragged before Congress
to testify about this call to Ukraine. They’ve been fired.
And we’ve also seen, as you say, the jurors in the Stone case, the president has gone after them, claiming that it — you know, the jurors
look to have been bias or at least one of them. And we know that four of the prosecutors in the Stone case have resigned over this, you know,
intervention by the attorney general.
What does it say to you? First and foremost, from your personal situation, what is it like to have the full weight of the state and the republic and
the — you know, the Justice Department, the White House come down on you? Is your case still active? What’s going to happen?
MCCABE: Well, it is — it’s a terrifying prospect to have the full weight of the Justice Department and the White House trained on you and, you know,
seeking your destruction, your firing, your humiliation publicly. It’s a terrible thing.
My own case is still pending before the courts. We’ve filed a suit against the Department of Justice challenging the way in which I was handled. So, I
shouldn’t go into too much detail about that, because it’s an ongoing legal matter. But I will say that I knew, when I was pushed out of my position,
that it was a political act.
One of the ways that I knew that was the president made it perfectly clear on his own Twitter account. He said in December of 2017 that he was,
“racing to my — me to my retirement.” We have seen that same pattern take place in recent developments. So, he uses Twitter to indicate his
displeasure of the recommendation in the Roger Stone sentencing matter and, of course, the Justice Department responded to that pressure as well.
So, this is one of the ways this president excerpts pressure on and bends the institutions of the Department of Justice to his will. He says through
Twitter what he wants to happen and they deliver those results. I think it’s incredibly concerning, I mean, not just for my own personal situation,
but I think that all Americans should be concerned about the transactional way that this president looks at everything.
So, in other words, instead of trying to do what prior administrations have done, respect the rule of law, allow criminal justice matters to chart
their own course in a fair and unbias way, he weighs in to exact revenge on people he thinks have wronged him. And that’s what we have seen
particularly since his acquittal on the impeachment matter last week.
AMANPOUR: So, you brought up the notion of the rule of law. I mean, it’s one of the things that distinguishes America from many, many other parts of
the world. And yet, you know, we’ve seen reports, for instance, in the “New York Times” today, “Prosecutors across the United States who spoke on the
condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals said this week that they had already been wary of working on any case that might catch Mr. Trump’s
attention and that the Stone episode only deepened their concern.” They also said that they were worried Mr. Barr might not support them in
politically charged cases.
So, look, the obvious question is, well, how does this impact politically charged cases? But actually beyond that, how does that impact, you know,
America’s justified reputation for being at the top of the pyramid when it comes to, you know, law and order, well, justice anyway and the rule of
law? Play out what could happen in the weeks and months and years to come.
MCCABE: Christiane, it’s such an important point, right. What you have identified is the absolute core of who we are as a nation and who we are as
a people. We believe our entire country is structured around that concept that the rule of law is supreme. No person is superior to the law. We don’t
have a king or queen here. We don’t have dictators here. We are a democracy in which everyone is treated with the same level of fairness under the law.
And the president of the United States, of all people, the president is responsible and swears an oath to ensure that those laws are faithfully
executed, to maintain that balance and supremacy of the rule of law. This president has done the exact opposite. My fear, and the fears of those
prosecutors you mentioned, is that his actions have actually served to undermine that basic tenant of our society.
It introduces the suspicion and concern that criminal justice issues are being imposed not under the law and out of fairness but rather at the whim
of the president to benefit his friends and punish his rivals. And there is nothing that cuts more to the heart of who we are as a nation.
I think it’s something that should concern all people. And over time, is something that will definitely diminish our role in the world as the nation
most responsible for trying to encourage others to follow in that history of rule of law administration of government.
AMANPOUR: So, you know that, you know, over the last several years in the United States and around the world, particularly in the Democratic West,
there’s been a lot of analysis and sort of gnashing of teeth over the perceived assault on democracy itself. And even today, you’ve got Cornell
University political scientist, a guy called Tom Pompinski (ph), who’s recently wrote, if American democracy were to collapse, you almost
certainly wouldn’t notice it.
You have Lindsey Graham, who we showed a little clip of their strong supporter of the president saying, he wasn’t losing any sleep over the
firing of these prosecutors. Again, you know, this is a senator who swears an oath to defend and uphold the laws of the land. And this is a political
scientist who’s basically saying, we might sleepwalk into the erosion of democracy as we know it in the United States.
MCCABE: It is inexplicable. I can’t —
AMANPOUR: But do you agree? Do you agree that it’s that serious?
MCCABE: I do agree that it’s that serious. You know, I was talking to a colleague of mine who also is a former law enforcement official, and one of
the things that has most affected me since my departure from government service is the fragility of those institutions that we so rely on.
So, when you’re part of the FBI for 20, 21 years, you’re doing that work every day, you come to rely upon and just take for granted the strength and
the endurance of the criminal justicism of Department of Justice, of the FBI. But from the outside, having seen those institutions under constant
attack for the last three years, I have realized for the first time that we are truly only one leader away from undermining those very institutions
that every American depends upon to maintain a free and just society.
It is a fragile system. It is one that’s worth defending and protecting at all costs and it would be much better if the president did that.
AMANPOUR: So, I’m going to play a sound bite from a member of Congress trying to hold the line. This is about calling Attorney General Barr to
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REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Well, Congress has oversight over the Justice Department. We fund ultimately the Justice Department. They need Congress
appropriations. And so, we ought to call William Barr in front of Congress. We ought to call the individuals and get the facts and get the documents to
understand where the interference was.
But the problem is, Christiane, when the Republicans decided not to remove Donald Trump, they sent him a message that he can be as brazen as he wants
and there may not be consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Very quickly. We understand that he has been called to testify at the end of March. Will he show up? And can the tide be turned, so to
MCCABE: Well, you have to believe that the tide can always turn. I think that we have — as a people, we have to remain optimistic about our ability
to kind of put things back on the right track.
Will he show up? That’s a really good question. I guess we’ll see at the end of March. If anything, this administration has shown repeatedly it
doesn’t take congressional oversight seriously. I hope this is not another example of that.
AMANPOUR: Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the FBI, thank you so much for joining us.
And now, we turn to a New York courtroom where closing arguments begin in the rape and sexual assault trial of Harvey Weinstein. More than two years
after accusations against him launched a global #MeToo movement. He denies all the allegations.
Douglas Wigdor is an attorney representing one of the women who is testifying against the former Hollywood producer. And he takes us inside
the courtroom of what he says has been an emotional trial.
Douglas Wigdor, welcome to the program.
DOUGLAS WIGDOOR, ATTORNEY FOR THE TARALE WULFF IN THE WEINSTEIN TRIAL: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, as the defense rests and as the prosecution gets ready to rests their cases, can you explain to viewers how it is that it seemed
there were dozens and dozens of people who made these allegations as the floodgates opened after 2017 and yet, only two women are able to bring
criminal trials. Tell us what’s happened in big — in the big picture.
WIGDOOR: Sure. In the big picture, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is the gatekeeper. They decide which witnesses they want to call.
Which witnesses they want to present to the grand jury, which is ultimately is the body that brings out an indictment for which Harvey Weinstein stands
trial today. And they decided that they thought it was in the best interest of the state, the people of the state of New York, to bring these two
particular cases, that’s Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann.
But in addition to those two women who Harvey Weinstein stands charged for, there are four other women who have also testified in support of their
testimony. And those four women were very important in this criminal trial.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let’s talk about that. And I think also some of the reasons for not bringing rape allegations or others is because the statute
of limitations has expired and some of the dozens who have accused Harvey Weinstein fall into that category as well.
So, let me ask you about your particular client, Tarale Wulf. Now, as you say, she’s come almost a character witness, if I could put it that way.
Explain that. How is that allowed in a case where she’s not actually bringing a criminal case?
WIGDOOR: Right. So, Ms. Wulff and two other women, actually, Lauren Young and Dawn Dunning, were allowed by the court to testify. The prosecution had
actually sought many more women to testify. But they are testifying to show essentially to show Harvey Weinstein’s intent. So, Harvey Weinstein is not
charged with any crimes that he committed against these three women. But these three women can tell the jury what happened to them. And then the
jury can infer from that testimony that Harvey Weinstein intended to rape or sexually assault the two women for which he’s charged.
WIGDOOR: There’s case law that goes way back in New York, it’s Molino, and this is the type of evidence, ultimately, that helped convict Bill Cosby.
You’ll recall that in the first trial in the Bill Cosby case, there was one other woman who testified. That trial ended up in a hung jury. But in a
second trial, there were many other women who testified in support of the main victim and that trial ended up in a conviction. So, this evidence is
very, very important.
AMANPOUR: So, tell us just so that we know what your client alleges about how Harvey Weinstein treated her and why it’s significant as a Molino
WIGDOOR: Well, Tarale Wulff worked at Cipriani, which is a bar/nightclub in downtown New York. And in 2005, she was working there and she met Harvey
Weinstein who grabbed her, took her upstairs and master baited in front of her. She threw a towel at him, walked away. And later on, shortly
thereafter, she received a call from Weinstein’s office, not from him but from somebody in his office, asking her if she could come in and read for a
This is sort of his modus operandi that he had done with other women as well who testified in the criminal case. She thought she was going to meet
and read a script with somebody else. She didn’t even think that Harvey Weinstein would be there. So, she arrived at his place of business. She was
told there was a car waiting outside for her. That Mr. Weinstein wanted to see her.
Not thinking, again, that she was going to his apartment, thinking that she was going to be at another place of business, she got into the car, she got
into the elevator and she walks off the elevator into this apartment where Harvey Weinstein is. She tries to make some small talk. And then, within a
few minutes, he approaches her, pushes her down, and sadly, rapes her.
AMANPOUR: As you know, Harvey Weinstein categorically denies all of these allegations of coercive sex or rape. He says everything that happened was
So, to that end, the two cases that are being tried, you know, there’s a huge amount of, obviously, arguing in court but also a huge amount of press
around, you know, here we go again, the girls, the women, the victims are not being believed because, you know, in some cases they admit to having
had relations with him after the alleged attack, and friendly conversations by text or otherwise.
How difficult is it for a prosecution to get a conviction on the, you know, underlying alleged crime when this is shown to be the case, the aftermath,
so to speak, in court?
WIGDOOR: Well, that’s the real question for this trial. I mean, the burden rests with the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
One of the reasons they have six women testifying is to undermined the defense that all of these women are making something up.
And really, while if there were two women, maybe that defense would work, that a jury might come away with the conclusion that one or two women might
be making this up. But when you have six women all with similar stories, it becomes much more difficult for the defense to make that argument to a
But having said that, they were effective, no doubt, in their cross- examination of many of the witnesses about their relationships with Mr. Weinstein after the incidents in question. And it’s really going to be —
this jury verdict is going to be a real testament to where we are as a society post-#MeToo and whether a jury can understand that really rape
victims often do and sexual assault victims often do keep in touch with the person that sexually assaulted or raped them and that the rape myth of
being raped or sexually assaulted in the dark alley or at gun point is the exception and not the rule. Whereas, these are mor common. And that’s what
the prosecution expert witness testified to in this case.
So, whether the jury buys into that argument and whether the jury accepts that in 2020 is really going to be the question of the day.
AMANPOUR: So, it’s not just the question of the day, it’s the question of the millennium, so to speak. I mean, this #MeToo movement was a huge, huge
game changer and, you know, almost a consensus builder for women and for men around the country and around the world. It’s had a massive impact
beyond the dozens of people who have accused Harvey Weinstein.
I just want to ask you as a person, you were in the court, you’ve watched this trial go on. You have a client testifying. What do you feel as a
lawyer, as a person, which way is it going? What do you think the jury is going to do?
WIGDOOR: Well, I myself am a trial lawyer, and trying to read jurors and their body language is a very difficult task. So, I don’t think there’s
anybody in that courtroom, and I’ve been there many, many days, can predict what this jury would do.
I would say this, though, from the beginning of the case until the end of the case, it’s been an uphill battle. These cases are difficult to prove
under the best of circumstances. Don’t forget, in a criminal case, the burden is beyond a reasonable doubt, and they need to convince all 12
jurors. They need a unanimous jury that Mr. Weinstein is guilty for the crime for which he’s charged. So, it is an uphill battle.
But let me also say this, I represent three other women in civil cases. And we’re waiting for this trial to end so we can continue our journey in the
civil cases where the burden is a preponderance of the evidence, 50 percent or more. And in those cases, Harvey Weinstein cannot invoke the right
against self-incrimination. He will have to testify. I will be able to cross-examine him. So, whatever happens in the criminal trial we look
forward to holding him responsible, at least in the civil arena.
AMANPOUR: So, that’s interesting. Because you did, actually, yesterday write, Weinstein may be able to avoid testifying in the criminal trial but
he will not be afforded that right in his civil trials. I relish the day when I get to cross-examine him and ask him to answer for the wrongs he has
committed against so many women.
Let me play the other side, so to speak, the defense. Because, as you know, his lawyers have said, oh, he wished he could testify but the prosecution
didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt, why should we put him up there, et cetera, et cetera. But his actual lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno has spoken,
you know, to “The Daily, to the “New York Times” journalist, Megan Toohey, who broke this entire story along with Jodi Kantor and also, of course,
Ronan Farrow, for “The New Yorker,” just to put all their names out there.
But she has a different take, particularly on the women’s stories and the women’s experiences. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA ROTUNNO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Women cannot be equal if women don’t start taking on equal risk. Women want men to take on
all the risk. They want to then put themselves in whatever situation they’re in and then walk out and say, oh, my God. I had no idea that was
going to happen to me. You can’t have it both ways.
And when you’re put in circumstances that you think are questionable or negative or you don’t want to be in or you think this is the only way I’m
going to get the job. We know that that’s ridiculous. We know if women stand up and say, I’m not going to take this, I’m not going to do this, you
have other options.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And so, she’s obviously referring to the women who went willing, including your client to a hotel room.
WIGDOOR: Well, my client actually went to Mr. Weinstein’s apartment thinking it was his place of business. But, you know, Ms. Rotunno has done
an effective job at this trial, and so have her colleagues in cross- examining the victims in this case. But I think she’s gotten a little too far in sort of her social, you know, views in terms of where things stand
in our society. Blaming women as a whole for going to someone’s place of business.
I mean, Harvey Weinstein, let us not forget, conducted business routinely from his hotel room and from his apartment. That is a fact. And to suggest
that a woman can’t go to somebody’s hotel room or to their apartment, where men can, puts women at a significant disadvantage if they are not to go.
So by going to one of these places doesn’t mean that you’re now submitting to anything that Mr. Weinstein wants to do of a sexual nature. That just
can’t be the case. And so to blame a woman for going to one of these establishments where he was, and under the ruse and guise of conducting
business or reading a screenplay, was really the power dynamic.
He had the power and the ability to get these women to come to his place and to do that. And to suggest that women are to blame, really, I don’t
think is fair at all.
AMANPOUR: Give me a sense of the atmosphere in the courtroom. I know we hear who are sitting outside, hear there’s been raised voices and a lot of
certain amount of high emotion, even on the stand, I mean, you know, naked pictures of Harvey Weinstein shown to jurors.
Give me a sense of what it’s actually like in the courtroom.
WIGDOR: Well, it’s a rather routine system.
The day begins, typically, the prosecutors are there first almost every day. The defense team walks in. Then, all of a sudden, Harvey Weinstein
walks in if with his walker, shuffles his feet, sits at the table. The judge comes in. They handle some preliminary matters.
And most of the courtroom actually is comprised of journalists, who have their laptops out. And as the testimony is going on, there is a sense and
an overwhelming clicking of the keyboards. Everyone is writing down frantically as much as they can about what the testimony is.
The heat is not regulated well. It’s an old courthouse. The windows are open. There are sirens in the background, firemen, policemen. The acoustics
are very poor, so it’s difficult to hear the witnesses speak, even for people who are in the front or — front rows, or even for the jurors, for
The judge is very matter of fact. He’s running an efficient-type courtroom. And so that’s sort of the picture. The witnesses — most of the victims
have at one point or another broken down into tears, either on direct examination or cross-examination.
So it has been a very emotional trial that’s gone faster than most people had thought because of the judge’s efficiency. And what we’re waiting for
now are the closing arguments and ultimately the deliberations and a jury verdict, which, again, needs to be unanimous. Otherwise, there would be a
hung jury, which would amount to a retrial of this case.
AMANPOUR: You have mentioned the civil suit that you’re planning to bring. And that is because your clients, I believe, have turned down, essentially,
an attempt to buy them off or whatever, a settlement that amounted to some $47 million.
WIGDOR: So this so-called civil settlement, I have been opposed to from day one, because the number that’s been quoted in the media actually is
A lot of that money is going to other creditors. A lot of that money is actually going to the defense teams, believe it or not, is going to pay the
lawyers that defended the directors of the Weinstein Company, who we believe are partially responsible for these actions, because they knew
about Harvey Weinstein’s conduct.
So millions and millions of dollars are going to them. And then, of course, millions and millions of dollars are going to the plaintiffs” lawyers. So,
at the end of the day, there’s very little money that actually are going back to the victims.
And I have opposed this because of those things, but also because they want to, as a part of the settlement, give a release of claims to the insurance
companies and to the directors. And so people who want to opt out would be left with no place to turn, because the insurance companies and the
directors are two of the assets that exist.
And, in addition, I have always been of the view that you can’t settle a civil claim before the criminal trial, because if there’s an acquittal in
the criminal trial and you have settled the civil cases, and Harvey Weinstein has accepted no responsibility and has paid no money, then he
walks away scot-free.
And I’m here to say my clients, my three clients who already have civil claims, have not agreed to any civil settlement because they want to hold
Harvey Weinstein accountable. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the criminal trial, and the civil settlement is completely unfair.
AMANPOUR: And, by the way, we should also say that not just the defense and the prosecution or plaintiff lawyers and all the rest of it, but it’s
divided out between 30 victims. So, you know, it’s — as you say, the numbers start to pale when you see how much are getting a share of that
WIGDOR: Just so I can say, just so we’re clear, the way that settlement is envisioned to work is that that pot of money, there would be an
announcement that there is a civil settlement.
And any woman who claims to have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, no matter when — it could be from the
1990s, the 1980s, it could be more recent — then they can come forward.
So, it could be hundreds of people that would take part in that civil settlement. It could be many hundreds of people. We don’t know how many
people will come forward. And so when you look at the amount of money that’s left over after all of those other people are paid, the lawyers, the
other creditors and the like, it would really mean there would be very little left over for the people that participate in the civil settlement,
if it should go through.
And, amazingly, the New York attorney general, who has the power to and has brought a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, is wanting to settle this
case prior to the criminal trial. And so I hope that this does not happen. I don’t think it’s going to happen in the days before the verdict.
And if there is an acquittal, my hope is that everyone realizes now that we need to, as a group, hold Harvey Weinstein accountable, at least in the
AMANPOUR: Douglas Wigdor, thank you very much, indeed, for joining me.
WIGDOR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, we contacted Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney, Donna Rotunno, who you heard there, for a response to our interview.
And this is part of her statement.
“There is no excuse for bad behavior, and no one ever deserves to be assaulted or abused sexually, physically or emotionally. But we each at
least have control of our own actions. If women want true equality, they need to take real equal risks and share equal responsibility.
“That means being willing to say no collectively, risking the chance of not getting that desired opportunity, hence forcing transformations to occur.
Here, accusers each wanted something from Mr. Weinstein, whether a chance at fame or fortune or simple access to a world in which they were
fascinated. And for that, they became willing, even if melancholic, participants.”
As I said, the defense is resting is its case this week.
Now, our next guest argues that not being racist is not enough; we must actively be anti-racist.
Ibram Kendi has written a book about that. And he is also the founding director of the Antiracism Research & Policy Center.
He joins our Hari Sreenivasan for a candid conversation about how his battle with cancer shaped his views of prejudice. But they started by
talking about the political context.
HARI SREENIVASAN: You have watched Iowa. You have watched New Hampshire. And you recently wrote before these
contests, “Why I fear a moderate Democratic nominee. Some Democrats are afraid of nominating a progressive, but a moderate may be more likely to
ensure Trump’s reelection.”
IBRAM X. KENDI, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, “THE ATLANTIC”: Well, it seems to me there are two major sets of swing voters.
And one of the swing voters, we’re talking about. And those are swing voters who are swinging from Republican to Democrat. And when you actually
look at the data on these specific voters, you actually see, for instance, that Trump won about 20 percent of white — white working-class voters who
are liberal, and he also won about 38 percent of white working-class voters who wanted policies more liberal than Obama.
And so part of his pitch is to the white working class, making this case that not only does he share their cultural and racial ideas, but he’s also,
presumably, compared to a moderate, more progressive.
That’s how he’s pitching himself, particularly as it relates to foreign policy and more domestic policy.
The other side is the what I call the other swing voter. And these are voters who are swinging between voting Democrat and not voting at all. And
when you look at this population — and, again, I’m not speaking about people who never vote. I’m speaking about people who sometimes vote and
SREENIVASAN: So, they came out for Obama.
They came out for Obama, and then they did not come out in 2016 for Hillary Clinton. And then some of them voted in the 2018 election.
When you look at this group, they are predominantly younger, and they’re predominantly people of color, and they’re especially young black voters.
And then when you look at that specific group of voters, they’re more likely to favor progressive policies.
And so then it seems to me that a more progressive candidate will actually be able to win those other swing voters, and then even a portion of white
swing voters as well.
SREENIVASAN: There also seems to be a commonality that you point out between why Trump’s candidacy and Obama’s candidates candidacy succeeded,
in that they were approaching things not necessarily as total outsiders, but change agents.
KENDI: Without question. I mean, that was their pitch. That was their brand.
That was, in a sense, the campaign. Obviously, Trump’s campaign was to make America great again, right? And if we actually think about Obama’s sort of
three-word sort of slogan, yes, we can, one of the things I did in the piece is, I put that together.
Yes, we can make America great again. This is an idea of transformation. And the reason why it was critical is because Obama cast himself as a
change agent, in contrast to obviously a Mitt Romney in 2012, who he argued was more of an establishment sort of figure.
By — in the same comparison, Trump presented himself as a change agent, in contrast to presenting Hillary Clinton as an establishment figure. And so,
in the last really three election cycles for president, it’s been the change agents who’s been calling for massive amounts of change who’ve
actually been more likely to excite voters.
SREENIVASAN: You wrote a book recently, literally a how-to book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” not a non-racist.
I want you to read just this passage here from near the front of the book, what the difference is.
So this is from the introduction.
“What’s the problem with being not racist? It is a claim that signifies neutrality. I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against
racism. But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of racist isn’t not racist. It is anti-racist.
“What is the difference? One either endorses the idea of racial hierarchy, as a racist, or racial equality, as an anti-racist. One either believes
problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist.
“One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between,
safe space of not racist. The claim of not racist neutrality is a mask for racism.”
SREENIVASAN: So there is no middle ground. That’s pretty clear in what you’re talking about.
You’re trying to sort of take away what has now been called the R-word, a pejorative, almost a slur, right, and putting it back into, in linguistic
perspective, the descriptor that it is. And you really want people to start to focus on the ideas and acts, instead of just the people. Right?
I mean, I think many Americans say that they’re not racist, because they believe and have been taught, really, that a racist is essentially a bad
person, that if you admit you’re racist, you will always be a racist. And that’s like tattooing the R-word on your forehead, and that you have — we
apparently have racist bones in our bodies, which allow some presidential candidates, Republicans and Democrats, to say, I don’t have a racist bone
in my body.
What that means is that this is an essential term, you become a racist. And what I argue and show in my work is, no one becomes a racist or even an
anti-racist. It is a reflection of what a person is doing in each moment. And people change.
And so if in one moment a person is saying that a particular racial group is inferior, they’re being racist. If, in the very next moment, they’re
supporting a policy that’s leading to equity and justice, they’re being anti-racist.
And there are so many people with both racist and anti-racist ideas who support racist and anti-racist policies. And, because of that, we can’t
label them one of the other permanently, right? We can always say what they’re being in each moment.
SREENIVASAN: You point out that, in your view, that it doesn’t — racism doesn’t necessarily come from just ignorance, that there are other drivers.
What are other motivations besides ignorance?
KENDI: So, I think we’re living in a perfect example, in which, for instance, the Republican Party, in many cases because they have decided to
not open up their tent to people of color, the demographics of the country are moving away from them.
And so, when you don’t have enough votes to win, there’s only one alternative. You suppress votes. You figure out ways to suppress the votes
of your political opponents.
And so Republicans, in many cases, have supported voter suppression policies, from voter I.D. laws, to the purging of voters from voter rolls.
But then they had to have a justification for those policies that they instituted out of self-interest.
And that sort of — that justification was racist ideas. They had to claim that these voters of color in Philadelphia, in Cleveland, in Phoenix are
actually fraudulent, that they’re essentially corrupting the voting process.
There’s this long history of classifying voters of color as corrupt and white voters as, of course, not corrupt.
And so then they had to create a justification for that. And that justification was racist ideas. So you essentially had the political self-
interest leading to these racist voter suppression policies, and then the policies leading to racist ideas to justify them.
And then you add regular old Americans who consumed those racist ideas, did not know they were being manipulated, and started believing that there was
a mass problem of voter fraud.
SREENIVASAN: There’s also this through line of anti-white racism as a justification. I mean, it’s been around since forever, I’m sure that — the
civil rights era, more recently.
But it’s popular. It’s also something that creates a sort of divisiveness in whites today. How do you become an anti-racist in that context?
KENDI: I think part of the sort of preponderance, especially in recent decades, of this notion of reverse discrimination, as it was called before,
and now more anti-white racism, such that, a few years ago, the majority of white Americans stated that white people were more likely to be
discriminated against than any other group, I think that stems from how people are conceiving of and defining a racist policy.
So, typically, Americans of all races tend to define a policy as racist or even discriminatory based on whether it has racial language in the policy,
or based on the intent of the policy-maker, not the outcome.
And so, if we were to define racist policies as racist by their outcome, what we would then see is, the outcome of all of these policy — of many of
these policies are white people being on the higher end of those outcomes.
But, again, if we are — if we’re determining by the actual policy itself, and that then allows a white American to say, well, isn’t, for instance,
affirmative action anti-white? And then that would cause people like me to say, well, isn’t a standardized test set of policies anti-black, because
the outcome, it’s leading to racial disparities, where white people on the higher end?
And so I think that one of the things that all Americans need to realize is that we should be defining policies as racist based on their outcome. If a
policy is leading to inequity and injustice, then it’s racist.
And I think you have many white Americans who are not actually on the lower end of these policies.
The other side of this that’s very critical is, you actually do have policies that are harming white Americans, that are harming white Americans
disproportionately. And some of those policies, white Americans are actually supporting.
So, to give an example, the rollback gone on gun control policies in several states has actually led to a spike in white male suicides by
SREENIVASAN: So, while you’re writing this book, just before, your wife goes through cancer, your mom has cancer, and while you’re writing this,
you get diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, how does that change the process for you, what you were thinking about, how you’re writing?
KENDI: Well, I think it changes a lot.
I mean, I think it was very difficult for me to write this book. And I think it was difficult because, in many ways, the book is anchored on my
own personal story, my own sort of personal story of, in the ’90s, consuming all this anti-blackness, all these beliefs that I had that there
was something wrong with black people, and then my story of essentially journeying away from those earlier ideas.
And, obviously, as a black person, it was very shameful and painful for me to admit and chronicle those ideas. And so I was, in a way, fighting myself
when I was writing the first five chapters of the book.
But then I was diagnosed with cancer, with stage four colon cancer. And then, at that point, I was like, I just want to finish. I don’t even know
whether I will see it to being published. I just want to finish.
And so then all of that anxiety, all of that fighting with myself, all of that shame went away, and I was focused on writing.
SREENIVASAN: So you write this passage, well, maybe 20 years ago, that you’re giving this speech, at an MLK Day, and now, when you look back at
that speech, what do you see in yourself that was off?
KENDI: So, I think what happened was, I came of age in the 1990s.
And if there was ever a decade in American history when black youth were considered America’s racial problem, it was the 1990s. And so black youth
were constantly sort of degraded and denigrated. And we were told that we were too violent. We were told that we didn’t value education.
we were told we were having too many babies out of wedlock. We were told all different types of things about what was wrong with us as a group. And,
as the decade went on, I consumed many of those ideas, without even realizing it.
And, ultimately, when I gave that speech 20 years ago, I expressed many of those ideas. And the whole speech, for the most part, was about all the
things wrong with black youth, and how Martin Luther King Jr. would be very angry with black youth because of all the things we’re doing wrong, because
we’re not living up to his dream.
SREENIVASAN: You’re in high school at this time.
KENDI: I was a senior in high school.
And, of course, recalling that, I’m filled with shame, because I should have realized or I should have been taught that, no, there actually was not
something wrong as a group with black youth as a group, and there was anything wrong with what black youth were facing. They were facing the
highest rates of unemployment in the ’90s. They were facing the highest rates of incarceration.
They were facing all these structural problems that were harming them. They were being ensnared, as opposed to them ensnaring the country.
SREENIVASAN: In the last chapter of your book, you talk about this intermingling of your understanding of both racism and cancer, and that
there are ways to fight racism, like there are ways to fight cancer.
How did this change your thinking?
KENDI: I think it gave me a tremendous amount of clarity on the relationship between cancer and racism and how we can fight cancer and
racism, and especially metastatic cancer and metastatic racism that’s spread to every part of our body politic.
I think the first step with both is acknowledging the diagnosis. Acknowledging, it’s very, very hard, particularly when you’re someone like
me. I was my mid-30s. I didn’t smoke and drink. I was a vegan. And someone coming and telling me I have stage four colon cancer, that was very, very
hard for me to accept, because I thought I was healthy, just as many Americans who feel that they have been doing right by, let’s say, people of
color, it’s very hard for them to accept the diagnosis that they, too, are being racist.
But that first step of acknowledging the diagnosis is critical, because how can we go about healing, right, if we don’t even admit that there is a
And so I think, after we get past that, then we can actually go after racism how we go after metastatic cancer, which is a local and a systemic
treatment. The local treatment is literally going in and removing, surgically removing the racist policies from our institutions, from our
communities, in the way surgeons remove, surgically, the tumors.
But then they don’t stop there. They then flood the body with systemic treatment, which is chemotherapy and, increasingly, immunotherapy, which is
to reduce the cancer cells they can’t see, which is to protect against a reoccurrence of cancer, in the same way we could flood the body with anti-
racist policies that literally can eliminate the remaining sort of tumor cells of inequity, that can protect against a reoccurrence.
And then doctors don’t stop there. They then make sure they watch and follow the body very closely to ensure that there’s not going to be a
And then, when there is a reoccurrence, what do they do? They aggressively treat, all the while they’re encouraging the cancer survivor to eat well,
right, to exercise, which is equivalent to, essentially, thinking and recognizing the world from an anti-racist standpoint, recognizing that
there should not be any inequities, because the racial groups are equals.
SREENIVASAN: Ibram Kendi, thanks so much.
KENDI: You’re welcome.
AMANPOUR: And what an eye-opening perspective.
And, finally, a word about a woman leading the charge for female empowerment in the sky.
Refilwe Ledwaba made history by becoming the first black female pilot to fly for South Africa’s police force. Now she’s inspiring the next
generation through her nonprofit, the Girls Fly Program in Africa Foundation.
Women make up just 5 percent of pilots globally. And Refilwe wants to change this by encouraging girls to take up the STEM subjects. That’s
science, technology, engineering, and math. Her program has transformed the lives of over 100,000 people across Africa, reminding girls that the sky is
not necessarily the limit.
And that is it for now. You can follow me and the show on Twitter. Thanks for watching “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and join us again tomorrow night.