Dimitri Simes Gives an Exclusive Interview

Dimitri Simes’ interactions with the Trump campaign were of keen interest to the special prosecutor and he was heavily featured in the Mueller report. Simes, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union and is now President and CEO of the Center for the National Interest, gives his exclusive interview to Christiane Amanpour.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: As I’ve said, everybody is still poring over this and we all want to know all the details. So, here we have you. Tell me, from your perspective, just give me an overview, short, of the investigation itself.

DIMITRI SIMES, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR THE NATIONAL INTEREST: Well, this was a very serious investigation, clearly, quite deliberate with a lot of people involved with many questions asked. I think that from what I understand, several hundred people in Washington alone were interviewed. Several dozen were subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury. Neither me nor anyone else from the Center of National Interest was one of them.

As this investigation concluded, I had a conversation with Special Counsel’s people and they were very nice, thanking me and my colleagues for our effort and said that they were sorry that we had to go through this.


SIMES: And that they hoped that if we see each other again, it will be under more pleasant circumstances. And I told them that while it was not my favorite form of entertainment, I understood that they were doing what they were supposed to do and they really thought they were quite professional and responsible.

AMANPOUR: Right. So, Dimitri, you have a great way with words and a great flourish and you’ve given us an interesting perspective. Were you interviewed? You say, “Neither me nor anybody from my think tank was, ‘interviewed or subpoenaed,'” but your conversation, I mean, was that an interview, was the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, there? Did he ask you questions?

SIMES: Let me be very clear. I did not say or at least I did not mean to say that I was not interviewed. I obviously was interviewed. I meant that we were not taken to the grand jury, to the next stage. We were witnesses, we are not the focus of the investigation. No, I did not meet Mr. Mueller personally. I met one of his deputies and several attorneys and FBI agents who were on his team.

AMANPOUR: And how extensive was the interview? How many times did you sit with them or for how long? How much did — well, I mean, we know from the report they asked you loads of questions, but how long did it take?

SIMES: Well, I would rather not discuss specifics because our understanding was that neither side would go into any details and I do understand the investigation is over but I also do understand that there will be other investigations focusing on others. We have absolutely no reason to think that there will be any additional interest in us. But all I can tell you is that I thought that the interviews were extensive, deliberate, conducted in an appropriately tough manner but very professional.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Dimitri Simes in an exclusive interview; and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham about withdrawing all National Guard troops from her state’s border. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Jamie Metzl about genetic engineering.