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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want freedom, take pride in your country. If you want democracy, hold on to your sovereignty.
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AMANPOUR: They may be addressing the world from the United Nations but Donald Trump and Boris Johnson face major headaches at home. Democracy and
the rule of law. We discuss with the experts.
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AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Four years of this assault on the environment and the climate, it is recoverable. Having a longer period,
this would be extremely dangerous for the U.S. and for the world.
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AMANPOUR: Former vice president and climate action pioneer, Al Gore, on what is at stake and why there is also cause for hope.
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KEVIN SNEADER, GLOBAL MANAGING PARTNER, MCKINSEY AND COMPANY: We want to be in the right side where we’re helping solve the crisis, not create the
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AMANPOUR: As the world’s most prestigious consulting firm comes under fire for helping to push opioid sales, McKinsey’s global managing partner tells
us what they’re doing to address this crisis.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in New York where world leaders are speaking agent the United Nations General Assembly.
President Donald Trump’s speech was heavily focused on its domestic re- election agenda, lashing out at what he called a permanent political class. He railed against China and Iran too. And later though, he seemed to relax
at a meeting with his closest European soulmate, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson.
But both face major crisis at home. Controversies that call into question their commitment to the rule of law and democracy itself. Here in the
United States, the latest scandal to engulf the president, his phone call to the Ukrainian leader and request to investigate his political opponent,
the former vice president, Joe Biden, and he is now facing renewed calls for impeachment. Here’s what’s the president had to say as he arrived at
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TRUMP: It’s a witch hunt. I’m leading in the polls. They have no idea how they stopped me, the only way they can try is through impeachment.
This has never happened to a president before. There’s never been a thing like this before. It’s nonsense.
And when you see the call, when you read out of the call, which I would assume you’ll see at some point, you’ll understand. That call was perfect.
It couldn’t have been nicer. And even the Ukrainian government put out a statement that that was a perfect call. There was no pressure put on them
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AMANPOUR: So, of course, we are waiting for a transcript of that call. But as for Boris Johnson, before he took to the U.N. podium, the Supreme
Court at home issued a momentous decision that his controversial five weeks suspension of Parliament was, in fact, unlawful, and it’s another in a
string of severe blows that he suffered since becoming prime minister and vowing to push Brexit through do or die.
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BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes, obviously, this is a verdict that we will and we respect the judicial process. I have to say, I
strongly disagree with what the justices have found. I don’t think that it’s right, but we will go ahead and — of course, Parliament will come
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AMANPOUR: And Parliament is coming back tomorrow. So, democracy and rule of law are in focus on both sides of the pond today.
With me to discuss are, Gerard Araud, he’s the former French ambassador to the United States and also to the United Nations. And Jane Harman, she’s
president and CEO of the Wilson Center and she also served nine terms as a member of Congress.
Well, let us get to the heart of the matter. I started by saying both of these issues that we’ve highlighted do, in fact, speak directly to the
commitment of our leaders to the rule of law and democracy. Let me ask you, first, because the president of the United States is in the cross
hairs right now.
JANE HARMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, WILSON CENTER: Well, they do both fit. It was interesting to hear Boris Johnson just say that he will respect the
decision. I think the alternative is to go to jail.
In Britain, it’s very clear what the rule of that court is. And I think that means that he may lose his majority. Because what will happen, unless
he can pull a no Brexit deal together, which he doesn’t seem to be able to do, he may have to extend the deadline, is that the forage Brexiters will
bail from the Conservative Party and I don’t know where the future leadership of —
AMANPOUR: What about the president of the United States? I mean, he announced —
HARMAN: Well —
AMANPOUR: — there’s increased pressure on Nancy Pelosi who stood back from the idea of getting in meshed in an impeachment but there’s a huge
amount of pressure on her now, right?
HARMAN: There is. But, of course, the rule of law should prevail here. I think it’s important to see what the whistle blower wrote, and I think it
will either leak or be given to Congress soon and then we’ll know more information.
I think a partisan impeachment is a very sad result of this, should it come to that. I saw the movie in 1998 against Bill Clinton. What happens is
the president gets stronger, this will feed his sense of grievance, you just showed a piece where he said that, and it will keep us divided.
Instead, if we wait and get more information and there is a bipartisan way forward, I think that will be much healthier for the country and for the
AMANPOUR: Gerald Araud, I want to ask you also about — well, let me ask you first actually about the U.K. Parliament and the U.K. Supreme Court
that is determined that it was unlawful, unconstitutional what Boris Johnson did. I know you’re looking at it also in a lens of Brexit. What
do you make of the whole rule of law aspect of it?
GERARD ARAUD, FORMER FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. AND U.N.: I think what is embarrassing is that for a lot of cities and, you know, especially, you
know, the people who are close to the populist wave that we’re facing, it could appear as a new attempt by the establishment to block Brexit.
And so, I do think whatever are my personal feeling towards Brexit, of course, I would I prefer the U.K. to remain in the European Union, I think
that the U.K. has to leave the E.U. You know, 52 percent of the British have voted for it.
You know, in France, we had a referendum in 2005 about the E.U. constitution, 55 percent of the French said no. And eventually, it went
through the Parliament. And today, the populists are still saying, you stole the vote of the French.
So, I really — again, we have to respect the rule of law but we have also to understand that there is a sort of attention between what the citizens
want, express their anger and the decision of the judges.
AMANPOUR: You know, I’m really interested to hear you both say, you on the Donald Trump situation that an impeachment might, in fact, strengthen him
and you’re a Democrat. So, I’m saying it in that regard. And, actually, produce a backlash. And you are saying that even the Supreme Court ruling
might produce a backlash. That’s interesting. I mean, what’s the alternative?
HARMAN: Well, I think there is an alternative. I think Nancy Pelosi suggested last week that the procedure of the Office of Legal Counsel at
the Justice Department that prevents a sitting president from being indicted might be overturned by legislation. And if courts could consider,
let’s come back to court, whether Donald Trump has committed crimes, I think that would be better than a partisan impeachment.
What worries me about this is that there will be Democratic support in the Senate. Dick Durbin has come out in favor of impeachment and there is
growing consensus in the Democratic caucus in the House. So, I think she probably has to move. But —
AMANPOUR: Well, I’m just hearing, actually, that CNN sources are confirming that Speaker Pelosi is going to start and announce the process
towards impeachment, a formal process.
HARMAN: Right. The inquiry which everyone knows is basically the beginning of impeachment. But what happened in 1998 was not pretty. The
better movie —
AMANPOUR: This was to the Democratic president, Bill Clinton.
HARMAN: That’s right. And a Republican stampede to impeach him. Several accounts were adopted in the House. But in the Senate, he was not
convicted. And what happened was he got stronger and the driving force got weaker.
The better movie was in the early ’70s when I was a young counsel in the Senate, the Nixon impeachment, which was bipartisan. Bill Cowen, then a
freshman in the House, later a Republican senator and then secretary of defense, had the courage to join the Democrats. And the whole inquiry was
much more low key and serious.
And after that, the Democratic Senate leaders or the Senate leaders, the Republican Senate leaders came to Richard Nixon and said, you will be
convicted, and he resigned. And that was an orderly process based on whatever were the facts at the time.
So, I’m hoping that if it comes to this, an impeachment is a very sad thing to happen, but if it comes to this, and there certainly are a lot of
allegations out there that it will be bipartisan and it will be done in a manner that gets the respect of not just our country but the world.
AMANPOUR: I mean, so far there is no indication at all they’ll be bipartisanship because the Republican party has become the Trump party in
terms of all intents and purposes.
HARMAN: Except for people who are leaving and —
AMANPOUR: Right. Except for those who are leaving.
HARMAN: — running against — trying to run against Trump.
AMANPOUR: Yes. There are three of them.
AMANPOUR: Gerald Araud, I would like to play you couple of soundbites because I want to ask you about the credibility of some of the reasons that
President Trump is giving for having tried to talk to the Ukrainian president. I’m first going to play the one that he said earlier, the —
talking about a congratulatory message to the Ukrainian president. Let’s just play that.
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TRUMP: The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact
that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.
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AMANPOUR: So, I don’t know whether you want to comment on that in terms of domestic American policy, but there’s a whole another one that implicates
the E.U., which I’m going to play in a second. That was the first. You don’t want to talk about that one.
ARAUD: No, I think — of course, yes. As a diplomat, you know, really, I’ve never seen such a president really basically mixing domestic politics
and foreign affairs. You know, there is a sort of a tradition, a convention that you don’t do it, you know, really.
HARMAN: I would —
AMANPOUR: Before I play the next one.
HARMAN: Yes. Just on this one, withholding $250 million aid for Ukraine that was dually appropriated for Congress — by Congress without a national
security argument doesn’t make a lot of sense and he singled out this appropriation. So, we need to learn more about that.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, now, this is what he said today as he came into the United Nations before his speech, another reason for why he withheld it.
He’s admitting it. Go ahead.
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TRUMP: But my complaint has always been and I withhold again and I’ll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute
to Ukraine because they’re not doing it, just the United States. We’re putting up the bulk of the money and I’m asking why is that?
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AMANPOUR: OK. This is something you know a lot about, Ambassador Araud.
AMANPOUR: Is that correct that the E.U. have been delinquent in their payments or their support of —
ARAUD: Actually, I — it’s the first time that I’m hearing the Americans complaining about the E.U. support to Ukraine. A lot of countries are
already providing military support to Ukraine, especially Poland but also the (INAUDIBLE) states, which are very active there.
And in terms of financial support, actually, I think the European Union has provided more than _50 billion to Ukraine. So, again, I don’t see — I see
that as an attempt to find a good reason but it’s not a good reason.
AMANPOUR: And it’s very similar, Ambassador Araud, to what President Trump has said all along about NATO. It’s as if he saw this NATO paradigm and
has put this into those parameters.
ARAUD: But in a sense, NATO has a point. I think, you know, in NATO (INAUDIBLE) some European countries which are not — actually, which don’t
have a military budget, they should have. For instance, Germany or — but also, Italy, Spain. So, he has a point. But on Ukraine, in terms of
military aid but also in terms of financial support, economic support, he doesn’t have a point at all.
AMANPOUR: Right. I would like to switch to the really difficult substantive issue of Iran. It is no secret that the Europeans were
dismayed when President Trump pulled out a year ago from the Iranian nuclear deal. Your president, President Macron, has tried his hardest,
both bilaterally with President Trump, bilaterally with the Iranians, trying to get together with Trump and the Iranians at the G7 in Biarritz,
inviting the foreign minister from Iran to see what could happen.
Now, President Macron, Chancellor Merkel and, indeed, Boris Johnson are saying that they believe the evidence that Iran did this, somehow,
somewhere to attack the facilities in Saudi Arabia. I mean, you know this issue so well. What happens next? Can Macron save the day? Is there a
day to be saved?
ARAUD: You know, first, we are facing what we were expecting, an escalation. You know, the Americans are waging an economic war against
Iran. The sanctions are devastating. Iran is going to lose nine points of GDP in 2018. So, it was expected — 2019.
So, it was expected that there would be some reaction of Iran. Iran can’t hit the Americans. They are too strong. So, they hit the Saudis. So,
it’s a sort of mutual escalation, which means that the situation is very fragile. We could have, at any moment, an incident leading to war. So,
that’s why Macron is trying to save the day.
AMANPOUR: Right. But, I mean, he’s trying to do that but I was speaking both to Javad Zarif and to the American point man, Brian Hook, from the
State Department who is the Special Representative on Iran, and he is saying that it’s time you Europeans woke up and smelled the coffee. That
now you understand what they’re saying about Iran and they want to peel you away and have you all join the maximum pressure and the — what they hope
could be a coordinated general strangulation of Iran. How likely is that?
ARAUD: We won’t.
You know, really, we didn’t need Brian Hook to know that the Iranians are have an aggressive policy in the fields of missile, terrorism and regional
activities. Actually, we were negotiating with Brian Hook, with the U.S. administration to have a common policy between the U.S., the Trump
administration and the Europeans. And at the last moment, actually, Trump swept away this negotiation.
HARMAN: So, the JCPOA, which was a six-party agreement was a strong beginning, not an ending. It was a transactional deal to cap Iran’s
nuclear effort for a period of time. It did not address its missile development or its maligned behavior in the neighborhood. Trump was right
to criticize it for that.
The better path would have been to stay in the deal, work with allies, including France, to make it stronger. And he would, by now, have a strong
foreign policy victory. He doesn’t have it. He has a lot of photo ops but he doesn’t have a strong victory.
Now, he needs to get back with help, one hopes, to where we were and build on that. And I do think this moment has some positive potential. What
Iran did in Saudi Arabia was boneheaded. I mean, a really stupid attack and very bad timing in terms of coming to the U.N.
So, Iran is on its back foot including because of our sanctions. And now, if we have a strategy with allies going forward, we may be able to have
productive talks and get to something stronger than the JCPOA.
AMANPOUR: So, let me play what Boris Johnson said to that because all along, Boris Johnson has — when he was foreign secretary, he said, no, we
shouldn’t pull out of the JCPOA. This was a good deal. Now, he’s saying the reverse as he sits next to Donald Trump. Let’s just play what he said.
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JOHNSON: If it was a bad deal, I’m willing to accept it had many, many defects, then that leads to a better deal. And I think there’s one guy who
can get a better deal. One guy who can understands how to get a difficult partner, like Iran, over the line. That is the president of the United
States. So, I hope that there will be a Trump deal. I would be totally honest with you.
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AMANPOUR: What does a Trump deal look like, Ambassador Araud?
ARAUD: First, one thing about Brexit, I think there is an inner logic in Brexit which is going to lead the United Kingdom, which is leaving Europe,
to get closer to the U.S., whoever is the president and whatever is the policy.
AMANPOUR: And that’s just what we saw?
ARAUD: And we saw that today. Second point, for Macron, you know, basically the idea is that Trump doesn’t want war and Trump is willing to
negotiate with anybody, including the devil. He went and met Kim Jong-un. So, he may also meet Rouhani.
So, the question, you know, basically, Macron was on the phone really between Rouhani and Trump. And Trump didn’t say no. Actually, the problem
is more on the side of Iranians because they consider that Trump isn’t predictable and they don’t want to be trapped, to be humiliated, to be
AMANPOUR: People have complained that President Trump by stepping back from intervention after the time he said he would do it has sort of given
up protecting his allies in the Middle East. Do you think that’s an accurate criticism? And do you think Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the
neighborhood actually want a U.S.-started war in that area?
HARMAN: I think they don’t want a war. I think that if we enable a war in any way, the Saudis are poor fighters. We’re seeing it play out in Yemen.
So, that would be a disaster.
And I think that there should have been some reaction looking back in June to that last event. I’m not sure the shape of it. It could have been an
asymmetric attack, a cyber-attack. I know we worry about what the consequences of that would be. But I think Iran was emboldened by the fact
that we did not react.
AMANPOUR: And I have 30 seconds, I want to ask you this because, as you know, Boris Johnson is always saying and the Brexiteers that Europe is not
Democratic and they are, you know, subverting British sovereignty and democracy.
This is what the E.U. Brexit negotiators said. Parliament — at least one big relief in the Brexit saga, the rule of law in the U.K. is alive and
kicking. Parliament should never be silenced in a real democracy. I never want to hear Boris Johnson or any other Brexiteer say again that the
European Union is undemocratic.
ARAUD: European Union is not undemocratic. We have a Parliament. Our commissioners are appointed by democratic government. I don’t — it’s a
hoax. I don’t know why the Brexiteers are repeating that.
AMANPOUR: It’s an extraordinary situation and so much more to discuss but thank you so much. Gerard Araud and Jane Harman, thanks for being with me
HARMAN: Thank you, Christiane.
ARAUD: Thank you very much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, Boris Johnson and President Trump aren’t the only leaders under intense scrutiny here at the U.N. General Assembly. President
Bolsonaro of Brazil made his first major international appearance since huge global condemnation of his handling of the wild fires that are burning
in the Amazon. And he reiterated his claim that the Amazon is not being devastated by these fires.
Meanwhile, climate activists have condemned and disputed those claims. Where the climate emergency is taking center stage at this year’s U.N.
meeting. The Global Youth propelled all of this action. But before, there was 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, there was Al Gore.
The former vice president started this major public campaign with his film, “An Inconvenient Truth” 13 years ago. And I started our conversation
outside the United Nations by asking him whether change could come if the world’s biggest polluters didn’t even attend the climate summit. China’s
Xi Jinping wasn’t there and President Trump just dropped in for about 15 minutes after initially saying that he wouldn’t show up at all.
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GORE: Well, where President Trump is concerned, in some ways, having him serve as the face of climate denial has had an interesting effect in
stimulating this uprising at the grassroots level. We saw the children marching around the world on Friday. We’ve seen an explosion of activity
in every country and here in the U.S. There’s an old rule in physics, for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.
AMANPOUR: So, you think the current activism we’re seeing on the streets paradoxically is almost like a backlash to the denial that’s going on?
GORE: I think partly that’s true. I remember decades ago when Ronald Reagan, as a candidate, inspired fears of a renewed arms — nuclear arms
race and all of a sudden, a nuclear freeze movement sprang up. And it changed the political tone. I think we’re seeing something like that
again. But it’s going to have to be a set of solutions brought from the people at the grassroots level. And I think we’re beginning to see that.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you then because this is important because it is, obviously, the people who are going to pressure their governments. We’ve
already seen in the midterm elections in the U.S., in the European elections that climate was a top of the agenda.
AMANPOUR: We’re seeing people marching and voting with their feet. But you have also written a, you know, very important op-ed on this and you’ve
talked about the percentages here in the United States, particularly within the Republican Party —
AMANPOUR: — of changing views.
AMANPOUR: Give us a little bit of those statistics.
GORE: 67 percent of millennial registered Republican voters are saying the party has to change on climate. College young Republicans on 56 campuses
and increasing have demanded the party change its position on climate or else forfeit the votes of young people going forward.
AMANPOUR: And millennials are going to be the biggest voting block.
GORE: That’s right. And 60 percent of all Republicans are asking for action on climate. So, I think that this is the way political change
begins in a very large ship. We saw that the — in the Blue Wave last year. We’re seeing it in state governments, in city governments. So, next
year’s elections in the U.S., I hope that voters in both political parties will demand that their candidates take the right aggressive position to
solve this climate crisis.
AMANPOUR: So, let’s talk about the hopeful direction because, you know, you have said before and others have said one could give into despair, one
could become incredibly depressed and therefore immobilized. But on the other hand, there are trends that shouldn’t be ignored and are —
AMANPOUR: — really game changing. What do you identify as the hopeful things out there, beyond what we talked about?
GORE: Well, first of all, it’s true that some people go from denial to despair without pausing on the intermediate step of actually addressing the
GORE: — crisis. That’s right. And despair is just another form of denial. And there are reasons for significant hope. When you look at the
two largest sectors of the economy producing all this global warming pollution, the production of electricity and transportation, cars and
trucks, in both of those sectors, the cost reduction of the new technologies, electric vehicles, solar and wind and battery storage,
they’re coming down in cost so rapidly.
Give you a quick example. Five years ago, on the eve of the Paris summit on climate, solar and wind was cheaper form of electricity than new fossil
in 1 percent of the world. Today, five years later, it’s the cheapest in two-thirds of the world, for new electricity. Five years from now, it’s
going to be cheaper everywhere in the world.
AMANPOUR: And I was stunned by something you also noted, that I think it’s in the United States, maybe it’s globally, but you said the fastest growing
sort of professional sector —
AMANPOUR: — is solar panel installation.
AMANPOUR: And the second is turbine engine fixing.
GORE: Wind turbine technician, yes. Solar jobs for the last five years in the U.S. have grown six times faster than average job growth and the second
fastest growing job is wind turbine technician. We also see the retrofitting of buildings to save money by making them better insulation
and new lights.
And so, that pays for itself and can create millions of jobs.
AMANPOUR: You know, you’ve said states and cities have really taken the lead around the country as the federal government steps back, and not just
steps back but rolls back very significant regulations on methane, on clean air —
AMANPOUR: — water, all the other things. We hear that the Republicans are in the process of denying science.
AMANPOUR: So, at the same time, you’ve got the fossil fuel industry spending hundreds of millions of dollars on their —
AMANPOUR: — PR campaigns for themselves. John Brown, the former CEO of BP says it must be a carbon tax. Is that something that will fly in the
United States of America?
GORE: Well, some jurisdictions already have it. Some states already have it. And I certainly am strongly in favor of it. For those states and
regions and countries where the carbon tax is abridged too far politically, I think they should. But there is an indirect — there’s a way to
indirectly put a price on carbon. China is doing that. The European Union is doing that.
So, whatever works best in each jurisdiction. But it has to be high enough, whether it’s direct or indirect, to really drive the switch to
renewable energy and electric vehicles and sustainable activities in manufacturing, farming and forestry.
AMANPOUR: You’re not just a climate evangelizer but — and let’s not forget it’s 13 years since “Inconvenient Truth,” which was such a game
changer, but you’re also a politician. What do you say to people who are still resisting the idea of changing their way of life, changing the way
they eat, changing the way they farm?
AMANPOUR: You know, who fear that the cure is worse than the disease.
GORE: Well, first, I’m a recovering politician. But to address your question directly, these changes that are now important and necessary for
the survival of humanity are not really burdens. They are opportunities. That’s not just a glib phrase.
We can have cleaner air and cleaner water, more employment, and a better way of life. There’s also resistance to making changes, particularly to
big systems we take for granted, these polluting cars and trucks and coal- burning plants. But once we get over that inertia, then it opens up a brighter future that is better in every way.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to just read a statistic that you put in your op-ed, which is quite frightening. You said every day, still to this day, with
all this new knowledge, with all the wind and the solar and this and that, every day we emit more than 140 million tons of global warming pollution,
that’s according to the IPCC, the equivalent of half a million bombs Hiroshima bombs.
GORE: Every day.
AMANPOUR: Every single day.
GORE: Imagine the energy released by 500,000 Hiroshima class atomic bombs exploding every 24 hours, that’s a lot of energy and it’s radically
reshaping the conditions that gave rise to the flourishing of humanity. And it’s creating these much more frequent category 5 hurricanes, the
draughts, the fires, the biblical deluges that are disrupting food production, tropical diseases moving northward in this hemisphere, the
melting of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica and sea level rising, accelerating. These are horrible events that people see with their own
And since the scientists were right when they predicted these things years ago, we should give them our full attention when they warn us of what is
coming unless we take action.
AMANPOUR: And yet, you have the Trump administration even going so far as to try to reverse through the course —
GORE: Yes, that’s right.
AMANPOUR: — California’s rules and regulations on emissions.
AMANPOUR: I mean, how much emergency goes into not just the denial but the rolling back of already things at states and cities have enacted?
GORE: Well, first of all, it’s not clear he will be able to accomplish all of this. Someone accused him of being a mixture of malevolence and
incompetence. Some of the efforts they have attempted are falling down and being struck down in the courts. And a lot depends on the elections in the
United States next year.
GORE: Four years of this assault on the environment and the climate, it is recoverable. Having a longer period, this would be extremely dangerous for
the U.S. and for the world.
AMANPOUR: So, you talked about the young people and, obviously, the icon is Greta Thunberg. I mean, she has just done something that who knew. I
mean, what a tipping point.
And yet, she’s pilloried by politicians, older men usually who should know better, she’s pilloried on social media, you know, she’s attacked. It is a
terrible thing to witness, actually, what is happening to her in the public sphere in many areas.
GORE: But the good news is she seems to have the character and strength to hold up. I can tell you from personal experience that anyone who speaks
out persistently on climate will be attacked.
The strategy of attacking the messenger in order to try to undermine the message is a very old strategy. But we should take some lessons from
watching these older men attack this 16-year-old girl with a voice as clear as crystal speaking from her heart.
Since I first met her, I’ve admired her strength of character. And she has inspired millions.
AMANPOUR: She has. We were talking about the optimistic message but she says I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic.
AMANPOUR: So she’s like telling people don’t sit around in la la land and just hope. Be really, really acting as if your house is on fire.
GORE: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: What do you make of that message?
GORE: Well, anyone who offers an unrealistic false hope is engaging in yet another variety of denial. We have to see the problem clearly for what it
There is a basis for hope but that hope is predicated on the assumption that meetings like the one here will result in changes in the laws and
policies. It’s important for all of us as individuals to change the lightbulbs but it’s important for nations to change the laws and policies.
And when you get this grassroots uprising of the kind that Greta has inspired and many others have been planting the seeds for, for a long time,
then there is a legitimate basis for hope that we will have policy changes that make full use of these fantastic technological solutions that are now
AMANPOUR: You, obviously, pleased that all the Democrats are taking climate change as a major issue.
GORE: I am. This year in the U.S. presidential elections, every candidate has really made it a top priority and many have offered incredibly
inspiring detailed plans that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
It cannot be just a partisan issue. And this used to be a call supported by Republicans as well as Democrats.
The Republican voters are supporting it now. So the election is a time to send a message to candidates and officials in both parties.
Look, this is beyond politics. This is our survival. This is for our children and grandchildren and all who come after us.
This is the battle of our generation and we have to win it.
AMANPOUR: So you just said you’re recovering politician. So I want to ask you a couple of very pertinent political questions related to your party.
This current controversy over what Trump said to the president of Ukraine about the Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe
Biden. What is your reaction to that?
Firstly, to the fact that Biden seems to be now being attached to the word “Ukraine and corruption.” Much like Hillary was attached to the word e-
GORE: First of all, I don’t know all the facts, but I’ve read into this, as one does, as a layperson, there’s no evidence that Joe Biden, of any
credible accusation against him. The fact beings laid out on President Trump’s conversation with the head of Ukraine must be investigated
And this latest accusation, like some of the others, falls into a rare category. The only remedy is an impeachment investigation —
AMANPOUR: So you think that’s the way — because they’ve been trying —
AMANPOUR: You see Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, now there’s a lot of pressure. You think it should happen?
GORE: Well, it is happening. And there’s a difference between an investigation to see if there should be a formal impeachment and the formal
impeachment itself. They’re in the first stage now.
But this really gives new impetus to that. It all depends on what the truth is but they must find the truth.
Because word to be true and not addressed, it would normalize the most unseen and outrageous behavior threaten the rule of law and the promise of
democracy and self-governance. That much is at stake.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much indeed for joining me. Thank you.
And we have learned that Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, does want to put a resolution on the House floor tomorrow on this matter to potentially
start the impeachment process.
Now, we turn to the people who advise global leaders. McKinsey & Company is the world’s most powerful consulting firm.
But in the past year, it’s come under fire for its involvement with the opioid epidemic and its work with Saudi Arabia, just a couple of topics
that our Walter Isaacson addressed with McKinsey’s Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader.
WALTER ISAACSON: Tell me exactly what a management consultant firm like McKinsey does.
KEVIN SNEADER, GLOBAL MANAGING PARTNER, MCKINSEY & COMPANY: Well, we’ve been around since 1926. And I think over time, it’s changed.
Originally, the insight was we take sides and apply it in the art of business. We help clients solve their toughest problems.
That’s still very true. We still help our clients in tough problems.
But increasingly what we’re focused on is helping not just solve the problem but achieve an improvement in performance. And so we have, over
the years, built up a set of capabilities that allow us to help our clients as they think about the future, how their business needs to change, take on
that change, and overtime transform themselves, and that’s what we do.
ISAACSON: And how in the world did you get into this?
SNEADER: Oh accidentally is the honest answer. I did grow up in Glasgow. I went to Glasgow University, best university in the world I think.
I was president of the student union. And that meant we run the largest bar in Glasgow. And I was clearing out the bar.
And sitting on there was a printing brochure for McKinsey and I thought that’s interesting. So I sent off a letter and I said look, I’m a law
student at Glasgow University, I’m interested in applying to McKinsey.
And I got a very nice note back that essentially said, “We don’t hire from Glasgow University. We hire from Oxford. We hire from Cambridge. But my
father is Scottish and I would be happy to speak with you. Why don’t you come down to London?”
So I got a free trip to London, met with three or four people. I thought it was quite interesting.
And so they sent me the letter with the offer and showed it to my parents. And they looked at the number and they thought, you should take that job.
So I did.
So I’d love to tell you I always wanted to be a management consultant. That would just not be truth.
ISAACSON: One of the things that McKinsey does a lot is try to figure out the future of the workforce. How do you see the workforce evolving over
the next 10 years?
SNEADER: Well, the change that’s happening has got many features to it but the biggest feature is of course technology. Technology is changing the
way work is done.
We have a statistic. Sixty percent of the jobs receive more than 30 percent of the tasks completely changed. And then everyone is going to
face — when I say everyone, not everyone but anyone has got to face real change.
As a result, it means the workforce has to be rescaled or scaled to take technology — most of it. That’s a pretty profound change.
And what is happening, I think, therefore is there’s a good associated with that. It’s a bit of I think it’s an industrial revolution. I think we’re
seeing a real piece of change and scale of change.
And ultimately, more jobs will be created. But the real issue is what happens in this transition.
How do you ensure that people get the skills they need to succeed? So we’re going to see a work force that’s going to put more emphasis on
knowledge, more emphasis in services, more emphasis on really being able to make the most of capabilities that allow you to get the work done in
different ways than today.
That’s a big shift. But I’m an optimist. I think there’s a way through this. I think it requires real investment, jobs, and training, and
But if that is done, again, there will be more work, not less work when this is all finish.
ISAACSON: So what do we about growing inequality that has come with the globalization and technology?
SNEADER: Well, I think we have to remind ourselves that the nature of inequality is not straightforward. Why do I say that? There are 1.2
billion people who have actually been taken out of poverty in recent years.
So the inequality between countries is actually narrowed. The developing world is catching up. However, within countries, inequality is growing.
And to address that, I think there’s a lot of change that is going to have to be embraced. One is a rethinking of education itself to ensure that
it’s actually able to deliver the skills to cope with new technologies. And that’s not happening fast enough.
Secondly, I think there also needs to be a hard look at the way in which health care and the cost of education have risen far faster than any other
cost when it comes to housing and employment. And, of course, that’s a big issue.
So how do you get those cost, look at them, and think about the way in which you can ensure provision of basic health care and education to keep
that inequality gap from getting to really heart?
So there’s a number of places where I think we actually need to look hard at the way in which globalization is working in order to just allow it, to
do what it does do well, which is actually promote and narrow the gap between countries. But between countries, it’s a real issue.
ISAACSON: McKinsey has been lambasted recently in the “Wall Street Journal”, “New York Times”, and particularly in the “New Yorker” for so
many different things. If you don’t mind, let’s go through some of them.
Starting with Purdue Pharma which — the opioids. And you were a consultant there, McKinsey was. And so they gave them advice on how to
turbo charge, and I think that was the word used, the selling of opioids. Was that a mistake?
SNEADER: One of the things we’ve decided is we’re not going to do anymore work on opioids. We knead that decision.
And any work we do with opioids is 100 percent focused now on alleviating the crisis. It’s clearly a crisis. It’s communities across the country
And in that context, of course, we want to be on the right side where we’re helping solve the crisis, not create the crisis. That’s what we’re focused
ISAACSON: So why did you get involved in opioids?
SNEADER: You know, it’s many years ago. And I think at that point in time, the way in which people saw the problem is different than the way in
which we see it now.
And the way we see it now, it’s a crisis. It’s a situation where there’s so many things that need to happen.
The business community needs to be involved, the social care and provision needs to be involved, health care, I want us to be involved in making a
positive contribution to the opioid crisis that’s now existing.
ISAACSON: So how are you going to do that?
SNEADER: Well, one of the things we’ve already been doing is we’ve invested a lot in really having a look at how to bring people together to
address this crisis. And if you look, you’ll see we’ve written quite extensively the way in which different parties are going to have to pull
their resources, their science, their business understanding, their understanding of the different options that are to treat pain, which is one
of the reasons these opioids are originally on the market.
All that has to happen. And the health care system has to work together. So we have a lot to see about how that can be brought to a place in which
the communities work together to solve this terrible crisis.
ISAACSON: Another one is the Saudis and your relationship with the Saudi and especially something that kind of leaked. It was an internal document
but it talked about some of the dissidents on Twitter and they end up getting arrested by the Saudi government. Was there a mistake that was
made in there or what should you have done differently?
SNEADER: I think there are many mistakes in that situation. But let me be crystal clear, trying to draw cause and effect in that I think is very
There was an internal document. It was to demonstrate how to use analytical techniques to assess the impact of different marketing
techniques. And they happened to use response or government policies the way to do just that.
But in doing so, they identified, as you see — they didn’t identify. They actually just looked at three people who were very prominent, 800,000
followers. They weren’t difficult to spot.
So I think it’s very hard to draw cause and effect. That said, of course, I regret that. I said at the time I was horrified. I repeat that.
I am horrified. But I want to just be clear, we do a lot of very important and good work in that country. It’s not in the world’s interest that Saudi
Arabia disabled or unstable.
And one of the things that I’m proud of is we have four or 500 people there that a third of them are female. We’re one of the biggest employer of
women in that country.
Youth unemployment in Saudi Arabia is 25 percent. Again, it’s not good if those people don’t have jobs to go to.
So I’m actually quite proud of the work we do in Saudi Arabia. And we are not engaging in work that really I think touches on some of the issues that
are more problematic about that country.
ISAACSON: Well, you have Mohammad bin Salman implicated in the death of the journalist Khashoggi. Are you having different ways of looking at what
you will do for the Saudis now that it’s become so much more controversial?
SNEADER: I think one of the things we’re doing in Saudi Arabia, we looked very hard at how we think about different countries. And so we have over
actually the last couple of years been looking again at the way in which we think about the activities in countries and really try to draw some lines
about where we will not work in defense, not work in policing, not work in the tier.
It’s not just Saudi Arabia where we made that decision but it is important we understand there are countries in this world that are difficult. But
let me also say this, 61 percent of the world, according to Freedom Host, doesn’t live in democracies.
And so we, I think, have to decide to be engaged with the 61 percent or do we not. I believe we should engage but I also recognize that we should
engage responsibly and we’ve put in place and are working through a series of measures to keep focus on ensuring we are on the right side of those
ISAACSON: One of the things that people have pushed McKinsey on is a little bit more transparency.
ISAACSON: And, you know, hey, I’ve worked in companies where McKinsey was a consultant, we didn’t want them going around —
ISAACSON: — that was a timing, to say we’re a client and yet, you know, this lack of transparency, it seems, has caused some trouble. Are you
going to push a little bit more transparency as part of the values of McKinsey?
SNEADER: Yes. To some extent, that’s why I’m here.
ISAACSON: That’s right.
SNEADER: You know I do think there are many previous global management partners of McKinsey we’ve ever sat down and have this kind of
conversations. So the short answer is yes.
You’ve got to remind yourself, and I think you just touched on it, why we are less than transparent in the sense that this was all grounded in a
strong belief of reverence for client confidentiality. Do whatever it takes to protect the client.
I was so pervasive that when I joined the firm back in 1989, one of the first things I got told was when you take a taxi to the client, make sure
it drops you two blocks away from the client. That was good advice that I grew up in Glasgow. The taxis in London, it just meant I got lost but it
also meant you couldn’t figure out where we were going.
So I think times have changed. People want to know. We will still protect our client confidences.
We still will but we can be more open about ourselves. We can actually meet with folks, let them see who we are because I think a lot of this is
because of mystique.
People don’t really know. Who are this McKinsey consultants? Are they strange sort of people that just have no emotion?
Actually, we have a lot of emotion. And you’ll find it’s full of people who are sons and daughters of educators, as I am. My father is an
academic, my mother is a teacher but loaded with people like that who are actually choosing to do what we do because (inaudible) help people succeed.
And that’s what we do. And we don’t seek the limelight. It’s not the place to be if you want to be in the limelight. If you want to have your
photo up there and be celebrated as a great success, go to Wall Street, don’t come to McKinsey.
And that’s all part of this sort of — we’re a bit introverted. So that has to evolve. I want us to be more open about who we are.
I think we can be more open about the kind of people we have. We can be more open to the kind of work we do. But we’ll stop short as we still want
to present our client’s interest ahead of our own.
ISAACSON: Do you think that when it’s a government, as a client, and as you say, that’s less than 10 percent of your business. I would guess that
in some ways you have to be more transparent and open and say yes, this government or this government entity is a client of ours?
SNEADER: Well, you have to remember that with governments, too, it’s up to them to disclose what they think needs to be disclosed. What we have to
do, of course, is comply with all the requirements associated with serving government.
But it’s for government to decide what they say or not — don’t say about any work they commissioned us to do. It’s not for me to second guess them.
ISAACSON: Yes, but you could say it’s probably a problem, as it turned out tobe in South Africa, you got sort of caught up in that was it our bribery
but the whole bribery scandal that brought down Zuma, that if we’re going to work for governments, it’s part of our internal world that we have to be
upfront about that?
SNEADER: Well, let’s be careful because that was a state owned enterprise which I’d say is quite different from working directly for South African
government, just to be clear. And I think in that case —
ISAACSON: Although the president was somewhat implicated in it?
SNEADER: Well, you know the situation is — I’m not going to defend —
ISAACSON: Yes, OK.
SNEADER: I’m not going to — so I’m going to agree with you and say absolutely he was but it’s a different situation from serving a true
But what it meant was — and one of the things — one of the first things I did is when I came into the show was I flew to South Africa and I got up
there and answered a lot of questions. And I said we got some things badly wrong, badly wrong. We partnered with the wrong people. We actually never
began work with them but we were close to people we shouldn’t have been close to.
Secondly, the way in which we thought about the fees was just wrong. Shouldn’t have been success fees —
ISAACSON: Explain that to me. In other words, you were getting a fee based on — it could have gone up to hundreds of millions.
SNEADER: It could have been much higher.
SNEADER: And I think was the intent is to tie your success to the success of the work, I think in that context, it’s not going to be a success.
ISAACSON: Are you going to change your policies?
SNEADER: We have.
SNEADER: On that — well, when it comes to that kind of government work, and I’ll use your term government, that kind of work, we’re not going to do
that. We’re going to cap any fee upside because we recognize that it’s just not the kind of environment where you want to have those kind of fees
ISAACSON: You’re a Scotsman living in Hong Kong.
SNEADER: Are you going to ask me about Scotland?
ISAACSON: Yes, I’m going to ask about Scotland and Brexit but also Scotland in the context of Europe.
SNEADER: Well, I’m a very proud Scott. And I care deeply about my country. I also happened over the years at a personal level believe that
Scotland is a place in the United Kingdom that’s (inaudible) over many years.
And so if you ask me personally what I think about my own view is that’s where I am. But the complexity of Scotland’s relationship with England,
Wales, and Northern Ireland, and let alone into that European Union where there’s the whole question of can Scotland ever be admitted to the European
Union, that’s a question which people are wrestling with.
It’s one that is firmly in political territory for the politicians to answer because it’s going to require an awful lot of political will and
motivation to sort that through. All I care about is that Scotland does well in the future.
And I do believe that no matter which path we take, the key to Scotland’s future is actually an education system that has been the leader in the U.K.
and that needs to continue, an environment in which entrepreneurship can thrive, that is the home of Adam Smith, and a beautiful country that I hope
more and more people choose to visit. And all of that, I’ll be focused on the politician’s concerto where the border gets (inaudible).
ISAACSON: You mentioned Adam Smith, your fellow countryman. His theory of Moral Sentiments I think is one of your favorite in his book.
SNEADER: It is.
ISAACSON: Explain how that informed your thinking.
SNEADER: Well, one of the things that, of course — I don’t think it’s a tragedy at all that Adam Smith is known for the invisible hand in the 1776,
the wealth of nations. I think some other things happened that year that maybe some parts of the world cared about what was being written at the
But in 1759, he was the professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow University.
ISAACSON: Your university.
SNEADER: My university. And he wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments. And in that book, he set out what I think is actually still highly relevant to
society as a whole.
He wrote about the community interest. He wrote that the business person should not be separate and attached but involved in the community. He
wrote that the business person should be willing to sacrifice their little interest. And he called it their little interest in the interest of the
community as a whole.
And that is sort of Scotland. We are, I think, very much the fabric of the country as people care about community, care about society.
And so when I read things like the business roundtable statement, I have those words in my head because while for some, they’ll think that business
and business is business and I respect that was a view which was very prevalent as I was growing up. I don’t hold that view.
I hold Adam Smith’s view that the interest of the community, don’t be separate and attached. Be involved. Think about the community. Recognize
the common interest. That’s Adam Smith.
ISAACSON: And so McKinsey and the business roundtable are part of this movement to say business is not just about return on shareholder value but
it’s about being a part of the larger community. Do you see that as being the way of the future?
SNEADER: I do because I also think it’s good business. I mean the (inaudible) doing good by doing well is true.
I think if you look at this issue of short-termism, I think there’s no plaintiff evidence that says those who are taking a long-term view
ultimately do better. And I think a long-term view inevitably leads you down a path that says crude metrics that just occur in a few economic
measures aren’t going to tell you whether the health of your business is actually going to endure.
And if the community is not doing well and society is not benefiting, ultimately, you’re you’re not going to benefit either. So that’s why I
believe and I absolutely feel quite strongly and passionately about this notion that business (inaudible) but we should never think we’re
politicians. That’s where you’ve got to understand — well, I don’t answer the question because I say that’s for the politicians because I have a
healthy regard for the reality that my vantage point is ultimately one that starts from the business cycle.
ISAACSON: Now, finally, to get back to Brexit. Suppose McKinsey gets called in by a ramp group of (inaudible) or something, says, you know, this
is a real mess. Show me the way out. What would you do to figure out how the United Kingdom could deal with the Brexit issue?
SNEADER: Well, I’d remind myself and I’d remind the politicians that when you look at the United Kingdom, one of its great challenge is productivity.
It has lagged Europe in terms of productivity for the last decade.
And if you look at the United Kingdom, I’d say let’s remind ourselves what are the fundamental issues, whether you believe in Brexit or you don’t
believe in Brexit, that this country needs to solve? And you start with productivity and you look at the various elements that Britain needs to
Address in order to ensure that it is the successful economy that we all want it to be, whichever side of that to get your own.
ISAACSON: Kevin Sneaders, thank you so much.
SNEADER: Thank you.
ISAACSON: Appreciate it.
SNEADER: Nice to meet you.
AMANPOUR: And Brexit is still such an intractable political challenge. Before we go, tune in tomorrow for my exclusive interview, which is a rare
sit down with Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. It’s a company that’s had its share of trouble. But two years into the job, Khosrowshahi tells me that
he’s facing it head on. Here is a little preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARA KHOSROWSHAHI, CEO, UBER: We have come from a phase in our development where it was all about growth at all costs. And Uber did challenge the
authorities, because it strongly felt at the time that authorities were wrong. They were trying to keep the systems as they were and not allow
innovation to prosper, not allow truly new ideas to grow.
That started, I think, from a good place but I think it went too far. And the kind of challenger became powerful.
And with power came the belief that you’re always right. With power maybe came too much proudness. And we went from, I think, a constructive
challenger to a destructive challenger at times.
And that required a change of lesson, a painful lesson. There’s a change of leadership, a change of leadership of the board. I came on the board
and I’m still in the process.
AMANPOUR: It sounds a little like Mea Culpa. It sounds a little like a – –
KHOSROWSHAHI: I think it should sound a lot like Mea Culpa. I don’t want to beat around the bush. We went too far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The full interview tomorrow. So tune in then.
That’s it for tonight. Remember, you can always follow me, Walter, and the show on Twitter.
Thanks for watching Amanpour and Company on PBS, and join us again tomorrow night.