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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Such a friendly group. Such a nice group.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: With the first public impeachment testimony soon to get underway, we separate the substance from the noise with the former acting
CIA director, John McLaughlin. And we talk through the political strategy with former Democratic congressman, Joe Crowley.
Then, as Gaza and Israel trade fire again, I speak to a former top commander with Israel’s defense forces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARRY KASPAROV, CHESS GRANDMASTER AND ACTIVIST: There was a conflict between free and unfree law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Checkmate from the legendary Russian chess champ, Garry Kasparov. He analyzes Putin’s global strategy.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christian Amanpour in London.
Very soon, Americans and the world will be able to see, hear and judge for themselves what the president did and why he did it. As the old consuming
political drama of impeachment goes public on Wednesday for the first time on Capitol Hill.
At its heart, the inquiry focuses on allegations that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of his
political rival, Joe Biden, and alleged Ukrainian intervention in the 2016 election. That has been debunked, but President Trump has strongly denied
But a parade of government officials, including his own appointees, have stepped forward to back up the whistleblower who first brought these
allegations to light.
So, joining me now is someone with plenty of experience in intelligence and national security and all that is going around this impeachment inquiry.
He is John McLaughlin and he’s the former CIA deputy director. He also served as acting CIA director under George w. Bush.
Welcome back to our program.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER DEPUTY CIA DIRECTOR: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, we actually spoke to you on the very day the transcript and the complaint became public a couple of months ago. And now, we’ve had all
these testimonies and hearings on Capitol Hill, and transcripts have been available.
What do you make of what has happened since this first became an issue to today? Because the president, obviously, says, oh, you know, the call was
a perfect call. And they all say there’s no quid pro quo and then they say, you know, the whistleblower is, you know, never Trumper. What do you
make of what we actually know so far?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think the first thing that has to be said, Christiane, is that everything the whistleblower alleged in that complaint all those
weeks ago has been confirmed by all of these witnesses. The fact that Mr. Giuliani was running a kind of racket and running a separate foreign policy
that was affirmed by a number of witnesses, beginning with Mr. Taylor, who will testify tomorrow.
The fact that the Ukrainians actually knew there was a price to be paid on their part for this aid and that the price was participation in American
politics to the extent of supporting President Trump’s allegations against his opponent.
We now know that American ambassadors were really ignored and, in some sense, abused here, you recall, I think one of the striking things that
came out in the early testimony was the fact that our ambassador in Ukraine was told by the Ukrainians to watch her back. She was called at 1:00 in
the morning by a State Department official who said get on the next plane. This involves your security.
So, we’ve learned all of that. We’ve learned that the Ukrainians, of course, knew about all of this and understood what was going on. We’ve
learned that many people in the U.S. government, the foreign policy world, complained about it, brought it forward and were generally ignored.
And most important of all, I think, we’ve seen public officials who are in no sense political who’ve serve multiple presidents feel compelled, one has
to assume, by principle to step forward and say what they knew to respond to subpoenas, in many cases, over the objections of either the White House
or the State Department.
So, everything has changed, really. The landscape has changed, and to some degree, this phone call that president keeps talking about has moved
downstream and is close to irrelevant, at this point, other than just as a major footnote in this whole case.
AMANPOUR: So, given you’ve laid this out, and you can see that the polling is still very partisan driven or at least reflects partisan
divide, that many, many, obviously, overwhelming majorities of the president’s allies just don’t believe it. Like him, they believe this is a
hoax. It’s politically motivated.
Where do you think the public testimony will lead the country and this inquiry? How do you think transcript versus actual sound in Congress under
oath might reshape the landscape and play into this legal drama or this political drama?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that’s very hard to say. Thinking back to the Mueller testimony that so many people anticipated as being dramatic and somehow an
inflection point and it didn’t work out that way. So, it’s hard to say because, you know, public testimony is on television.
Television is such an important medium, but one that depends a lot on being able to pack your main points into a short space and it will depend, I
think, a lot on the skill of the questioners, particularly on the Democratic side and their staff to draw out the points they want to make
and whether they’re made sharply and clearly.
But all that said, it’s hard to imagine that public that pays attention will not be oppressed by a parade of people who are clearly nonpolitical
career diplomats who are stepping forward to say something that is potentially, in normal circumstances, a risk to their careers.
So, they’re going to see a lot of courage on display. They’re going to see a lot of candor. I think they’re going to see a lot of alarm on the part
of people who are patriotic Americans. A number of these people who served for over 30 years, who served in the U.S. military. I always think of
senior diplomats like Mr. Taylor and a number of others as the rough equivalent of American generals, in terms of their patriotism and devotion
So, I think that cannot fail to make somewhat of an impression on the American public.
AMANPOUR: So, Mr. Taylor, of course, you’re referring to Bill Taylor who was actually brought out of retirement, he asked by President Trump to be
in Ukraine. And he is currently the senior most U.S. diplomat in Ukraine after Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was fired. And in fact, she’ll be
testifying on Friday. But it’s Bill Taylor’s turn on Wednesday.
So, let me play a little bit of what Joe Biden, who is obviously the focus of the president’s ire and the focus of the allegations against the
president. He held a town hall gathering just last night. And when it comes to the president’s tactics, like, you know, as you pointed out, sort
of not cooperating, trying to get, you know, witnesses not to go before Congress. This is what Joe Biden had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the idea that he gets a lawyer to send to the United States Congress, I will
not cooperate basically with a letter said in any way. No president has done that. As my mother was saying, who died and left him king. This is
not — no, I really mean it. You know, there are three equal branches of government. Equal. Equal. Equal. And he is violating every aspect of
oath of that office in terms of separations of powers, in my opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that is, you know, what he’s saying and actually, what quite a few of the Democrats in Congress have been saying. What do you think is
at the heart of this? When we talked before, you know, you said that you used words like corruption, you used words like cover up. You know, I
posed a question. People will be able to judge for themselves what the president did and why he did it.
From your perspective, as a former top official at the CIA, what is at stake here? What is the heart of the wrongdoing, as far as you’re
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think it’s pretty simple actually, Christiane. This is a case where the president has used congressionally appropriated funds
to essentially put a bribe out to a foreign government to assist in his re- election campaign by finding dirt, if you will, looking for dirt, if you will, on his opponent.
And, you know, people will argue about what is a high crime and misdemeanor, and that’s a fair argument. It’s not something we settle very often. When the founders thought about all of this, they did talk about bribery as one of the things that would qualify.
So, I think that what is at the heart of this, that’s at the heart of it. But there’s more. Also, at the heart of this, to me, is our foreign
policy. What we’re seeing here is a perversion of our foreign policy process in a very important case where you have, in Ukraine, newly elected
president, elected to be opposed to corruption, making progress in his anti-corruption campaign, facing an invasion from a country that means only
ill for the United States, the Russians, an invasion in which 13,000 people have died already, and seeking to combat that.
So, foreign countries looking at this spectacle of an American president treating a partner that way and drawing conclusions cannot fail to draw the
conclusion that our foreign policy is out of control, ill-defined and lacking direction. So, in a way, I think that’s the larger issue. We can
go way down into the weeds on this and look at every line and every piece of testimony. But at the heart of it is we kind of lost our way in our
foreign policy when it comes to Ukraine and Russia.
AMANPOUR: And even as he prepares to go before Congress and testify publicly, Bill Taylor, to your point, Ambassador — or rather (INAUDIBLE)
Taylor, has written an op-ed in a Ukrainian news outlet today saying, “The United States is firmly committed to Ukraine’s success. Your success is
our success. We will not allow Russia to dismantle the international world order.”
Again, Ukraine, up until now, has been seen, maybe still now, but, you know, has been seen as an essential — it needs to be a success story in
order to counter Russian actions and Russian narrative.
MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely. When I was in last in Ukraine, a young member of parliament said to me something that really stuck. She said, you know,
Ukraine is the only country that can change Russia. When I asked what she meant, it was a parent, the Russians have never really regarded Ukraine as
truly independent. They see the Ukrainians as kind of their little cousins, Slavic nation, some would say the origin of the Slavic nation and
Kiev in the 9th century.
So, her point was, if we succeed here, if we become a prosperous pluralistic Democratic society, functioning the way a modern country is
supposed to, the Russians will want that too because it will be incomprehensible to them that we could be doing that while Russia puts up
with a constricted political system, a kind of a perverted social contract that rules out participation in politics.
And, so, in a way, that’s what’s really at stake here to play this game involving our domestic political considerations with something that has the
potential to change history. That is the real error at the heart of all of this.
AMANPOUR: So, I just want to ask you one last and brief question but it’s important, because there’s so much focus on the whistleblower and all
President Trump’s allies sort of, you know, mounting a massive clarion call that we, the media, are not doing our job because we should out the
whistleblower and reveal the whistleblower’s name.
You know, it’s remarkable that there is a federal law that protects whistleblowers, even in the intelligence community, which is not the most
friendly to those who, you know, divulge secrets and the rest. Are you concerned that even if this whistleblower’s name is not made public that it
might have a chilling effect, all this drama around the whistleblower for future situations like this?
MCLAUGHLIN: Of course, it will have a chilling effect. And it just blows my mind, frankly, to hear someone like Lindsey Graham actually call for the
outing of the whistleblower. This is a law. The whistleblower is protected by law. The whistleblower did everything by the book and the
whistleblower’s complaint was judged to be serious by an independently confirmed by the Senate inspector general. Everything by the book here.
And given all of the trouble that this has caused, including, I’m sure, various threats to the whistleblower, people in the future who see
something in the government that they judge to be inappropriate or illegal will have to think twice about whether they want to go down this road. So,
that’s just another side show here that is, in a way, you know, one of many examples, many examples in this case where there’s an
attempt to politicize something that should be very nonpolitical.
AMANPOUR: Well, it —
MCLAUGHLIN: Another like that —
AMANPOUR: Yes. I’m sorry to interrupt. I don’t mean to do that. But I do actually want to turn to the political aspect of this because, as you
say, the substance has almost been perverted by the politics.
John McLaughlin, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us tonight.
So, to shed some light on the political strategies of both Republicans and Democrats in the coming days, I’m joined now by former congressman, Joe
Crowley. He was chair of the House Democratic caucus and now, he’s a senior advisor for the law firm, Squire Patton Boggs, where he focuses on
trade and tariffs.
Welcome to the program.
JOE CROWLEY (D-NY), FORMER U.S. HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE: Thanks, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And, actually, you’re here in London talking about trade and tariffs. And we’ll get to that in a moment. But let me ask you about what
John McLaughlin, for deputy and former acting CIA director, said about the whistleblower situation.
That — and about this whole situation, whether it’s the substance of what is alleged to have happened, whether it’s about national security, foreign
policy or protecting whistleblowers who are protected by law that has been overly politicized. I guess that’s obvious in these days. But do you
think that this process of public testimony now can be anything other than a political show?
CROWLEY: It has no indication but a political show so far for Republicans. They’re trying to divert attention. Anything to divert attention from the
president, whether it’s putting emphasis on Giuliani or putting emphasis on the whistleblower or trying to discredit any of the witnesses or potential
witnesses that will come before the Congress, and more importantly, come before the public now.
These initial hearings were private. Now, we’re getting to the public stage. And that’s why they’re trying even more desperately to really
destroy, in many cases, the character of many of the witnesses who actually have been working for the White House for years.
AMANPOUR: So, how do you expect this to go? How do you expect it to change or not, the current facts but also the perception of this process?
CROWLEY: Well, Speaker Pelosi, throughout my career, always like to use the — you know, quoting Lincoln and saying that really without being able
to persuade the public, you really can’t change their opinion and that public sentiment is everything. With it, you can move mountains. Without
it, you can’t do anything. So, that’s really where we’re heading towards, I think, the public testimony so that we can make — or they can make the
case, I should say, for the American people as to why that person deserves to be impeached.
The Republicans are going to try, in some way, to divert attention and to make this almost meaningless or would say misdemeanor, not even — it
doesn’t rise to an impeachment offense. But I would suggest, if this doesn’t, what does? And it’s really the construct of what the president
tried to do, whether or not they carried it out or not, it was the construct, I think, that has — that, in my defense, is a violation of the
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, you are still in Congress when, you know, a lot of this sort of came up over the — just a lot of the talk around the
president, but whether it was before the Mueller report and all the rest of it. And you know, because you’re very close to Speaker Pelosi, that going
down a formal route of impeachment was not her first choice or her first option or even something she wanted to do. She didn’t want to make some
big political drama. She wanted to focus on the issues that are — that she feels are good for the party —
AMANPOUR: — and good for the country. How difficult was it, do you think, to make the decision to actually get to where we are now? And what
do you think it’ll do for the party?
CROWLEY: I think she had sleepless nights over this, I believe. Back in 2006, when Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, after
the invasion of Iraq, there was a lot of movement from the left, in particular, to bring proceedings against then President Bush. And Nancy
Pelosi said repeatedly, we will not put the American people through that. She respects the electoral process. She thinks that elections have
consequences. And then, ultimately — the ultimate way to rectify this is through that process.
I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was the Ukraine issue. And it wasn’t, again, really the left as much, it was those seven individuals
who are marginal districts who indicated they believe the president had gone too far, that this was something that needed to be addressed by
impeachment through the Congress.
AMANPOUR: So, more moderate Democrats —
AMANPOUR: — in other words. So, once they said this had to happen, it had to happen.
CROWLEY: She knows the road to the majority and the road to keeping the majority through those interface of marginal districts, and that’s why it
moved her so much.
AMANPOUR: So, just in terms of process and I mean, you must have been there when President Clinton underwent the —
CROWLEY: Just after.
AMANPOUR: Just after.
CROWLEY: Just after.
AMANPOUR: So, that was fresh in your mind —
AMANPOUR: — when you joined Congress. So, this is sort of an equal party process. We’ve had two Republicans undergone and one Democrats
undergone this process. It’s very rare, though. So, we’re just showing a map of how things are going to happen. So, this inquiry, just walk us
through the formalities what does the House do and what does the Senate do and how does this resolve itself.
CROWLEY: Well, so far, the impeachment inquiry has been in the Intel Committee.
AMANPOUR: It’s here?
CROWLEY: Yes. With other committees participating as well. They will draw up some recommendations to the Judiciary Committee. They themselves,
I believe, will have hearings, public hearings. But eventually, will also draw up the articles of impeachment, which gets us to (INAUDIBLE) articles,
would then go to the House to vote on the articles. It then moves to that Senate where you’ll have the House managers of impeachment, those who will
basically prosecute the case against the president.
And then the jurors are the Senate members themselves, the 100 members of the Senate. They will then take this up. And Mitch McConnell, the Senate
majority leader, has indicated he needs to negotiate with Senator Schumer as to what the rules of play will be. But that, ultimately, it will move
similar to what happened in the Clinton impeachment. The chief justice of the Supreme Court will sit as arbitrator, so to speak, he will — the
questions will be asked through him. And they will deliberate. And ultimately, they will vote.
Given the make up of the Senate, it’s by the — you’ll need at least 20 members of the Senate Republican Party to join with Democrats in impeaching
the — actually, convicting the president.
AMANPOUR: So, I wonder whether you think that’s even possible. We’ve already played a little bit of what Joe Biden, who is obviously the focus
of a lot of this controversy, said about the president, essentially, thumbing his nose at the process and, you know, sending letters saying they
weren’t going to cooperate, et cetera. But he also said something about the possibility of the Senate doing what nobody thinks the numbers show
now. So, this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Everybody says the House will in fact indict impeach, it means, say, there’s enough reason to go forward to trial and the Senate will never
move. I don’t buy that. I don’t buy the Senate will never move. It will depend on what their constituency says. If you’re a Republican and you
live in a Republican area and you have a Republican representative, and you think the president has clearly violated the law and the Republican senator
does not have the courage to stand up like Howard Baker and Bill Cohen and so many others did with Nixon, you’re going to let them know. You’re going
to let him know. And that’s going to change their view.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Is that wishful thinking?
CROWLEY: I would like to believe that will be the case. I think, for some, it may very well be the case. But I think, Christiane, something to
keep in mind that the proceedings are supposed to happen before the end of the year and maybe go into next year in terms of the trial in the Senate.
I think all of this — all this will take place, in all likelihood, prior to Republican primaries themselves. So, even people like Susan Collins
maybe or Cory Gardner from Colorado and some others who might be inclined to maybe, you know, do this, they have their own primary ahead of them as
But I still think Joe is on — is right about something. This is — the move by Pelosi to bring these proceedings was patriotic. It’s not
political because this is — it doesn’t always play well for the party that brings impeachment but they were compelled to, they had to given the
severity of the actions of the president.
It’s like this, the wolf isn’t at the door in Ukraine, the wolf is in the house. Ukraine calls its best neighbor and says, please come over and help
us and bring that weapon with you. And we’d say — the president says, we’ll be right over. But first, you have to do me a favor. That’s the
easy way to explain. But in essence, he’s extorting from them, and that’s the essence, I think, of what the president did or why the House will move
to impeach him.
AMANPOUR: I just want to break for a bit with the trade and tariffs that you are here to talk about and that you deal with in your new post
congressional incarnation. What are you telling, here, people in Britain what they might get as a trade deal with the U.S. after Brexit or what are
you telling audiences about the current state of trade and the economy given the U.S., China and all headwinds?
CROWLEY: Well, I think the issue of trade itself has become very convoluted in the States. We have the USMCA agreement that was before the
Congress and will be brought before the Congress, I believe, before the end of the year. We have the president working these many deals with India,
certainly with China. We have a bigger trade war going on with China. And we have what is happening here with Europe in terms of the B word, Brexit
and the fallout or what the aftermath — of what that will be.
I think much will be determined as to how that process moves forward. Is it a hard or soft Brexit? And what will happen in Northern Ireland, for
instance, in terms of the border itself? I think that weighs very heavily on the minds of Speaker Pelosi as well as the chair of House
ways and means (ph) committee, which — that’s paramount and tantamount to them.
AMANPOUR: And very quickly before I move on. You’ve famously lost your seat in a primary to AOC.
AMANPOUR: The famous.
CROWLEY: I’m now JFC.
AMANPOUR: Yes, there you go. But what do you make of your party trying to fight this next election, trying to beat President Trump as it moves
further and further left, sort of in AOC’s direction?
CROWLEY: Well, I do think that the hard to maintaining control of the House of Representatives is in these interface districts, in these marginal
districts in Middle America, for the most part. I think Speaker Pelosi is very mindful of that.
And I think in terms of whoever our candidate will be, I believe wholeheartedly that he or she will be elected because we simply can’t have
four more years of President Trump as president of the United States.
AMANPOUR: Really interesting. Thank you for your take.
CROWLEY: My pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Former Congressman Joe Crowley.
CROWLEY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much.
And we are turning now to Israel where several cities, including Tel Aviv, have today closed schools and businesses as Palestinians militants fired
missiles across the border. This violence was triggered by an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza strip which killed a leader of the Palestinian
Islamic Jihad along with his wife.
Israel says, he was planning “imminent terrorist attacks,” a so-called ticking time bomb. All this comes as Israel languishes in a state of
political confusion. After two inconclusive elections, Blue and White party leader, Benny Gantz, is trying now to form a ruling coalition. That
comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in his attempts to do so.
To dig into all of this, I’m joined now by Yair Golan, a member of the Knesset for the left-wing Democratic Union. He is also the former number
two in the Israel defense forces. And he’s joining us from New York where he’s speaking ant event for the Israel Policy Forum.
Yair Golan, welcome to the program.
YAIR GOLAN, ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER: Thank you, Christiane. And here from New York, it’s good noon.
AMANPOUR: It’s good to see you. And I want to talk you. Particularly, we’re fortune to have you today because of what’s just happened in Israel
between, you know, Israel and Gaza. And whenever these exchanges of fire or the killings of either civilians or, indeed, militant leaders, we always
brace for a massive escalation, as we’ve seen before in previous Gaza wars. What is your analysis of what this strike was about and what it might lead
GOLAN: Well, I hope that we are not underway to escalation. We need to remember that this conflict is between the Jihadic Islam, a relatively
small organization in the Gaza Strip. And Israel, I think, that the interest of Hamas is to reconcile the situation right now. The interest of
Israel is, of course, to reconcile the situation. And hopefully, after, you know, a few hours, maybe a few days, we will see some sort of cease-
AMANPOUR: I just want to play what Prime Minister Netanyahu said about this particular incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The idea eliminated Bahaa Abu al-Ata, the senior commander of the Islamic Jihad in
the Gaza Strip. In the past year, this mega terrorist was the main terrorism initiator from the Strip. He initiated, planned and carried out
many attacks. He fired hundreds of rockets toward communities in the Gaza envelope whose suffering is not hidden nor absent from us.
He was in the midst of planning further attacks from these days. He was a ticking time bomb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You know, so as a former commander of IDF forces, how do you assess the decision to take out this al-Ata fellow?
GOLAN: I consider the decision as a professional decision with no, you know, true political influence, although it’s always there. Abu al-Ata was
truly a very dangerous person. He didn’t obey the commands of the Hamas. He was a kind of a very independent figure even in the Jihadic Islam. He
conducted many attacks on us, on Israel, in the last year-and-a-half. And, therefore, I think to describe him as a ticking bomb is very accurate.
AMANPOUR: So, in other words, you agree with this strategy.
So, I also want to ask you because it’s quite controversial your view on what any Israeli government should do with Hamas, who you call a terrorist
organization. You believe, I think, that Israel should, actually, in some way, talk to, negotiate with or whatever you like to call it, in order to
bring down the temperature and try to resolve issues.
Many people think that’s not even possible. Why do you think as a foreign military commander that that would be possible with Hamas?
GOLAN: Well, we need to try and go in a different direction with Hamas. Hamas is a terror organization. No doubt about it.
But right now, Hamas is the one who control and eventually the sovereign entity in the Gaza Strip. And therefore, we need to discuss the future of
the Gaza Strip with Hamas. There’s no other way.
And to do it in the most productive way rather than militarily, we need to create some sort of new equation and the new equation is that Israel gets
more security. Hamas gets better economical situation and with economical development.
And by this equation, we create a more stable situation for behalf of the two people. This is better for them, better for us. And we should try to
enhance such an opinion as much as possible while the military option is always — there is always on the table.
AMANPOUR: So for me, that’s a pretty extraordinary thing to hear a military man say. And I wonder, even, if your actual partners for peace,
the Palestinian Authority, what they would say about that.
But, first, I want to ask you this. You are not just a foreign military commander but you are in Knesset, you are part of the party and you are an
opponent of Prime Minister Netanyahu. That much is clear.
What do you think? How do you think this current political impasse is going to be resolved?
First and foremost, is Benny Gantz, another former colleague of yours going to be able to form a ruling coalition?
GOLAN: Well, I would say that I take this opportunity to call Benny Gantz to create a minority government. I think there’s no other option today.
Honestly, that it is to convince Avigdor Liberman from other party, the right wing party, to support this minority government. And I think that
another election could be disastrous for Israel.
There is no reason for another election. It’s just a waste of money. Money that could serve much better purposes. And therefore, I truly
support any possible attempts to create a reasonable government with a strong central block by blue and white party.
We need some guys from the right and some guys from the left. That’s the best thing for Israel.
AMANPOUR: So you do not think that there should be any kind of unity government?
GOLAN: I just don’t see the likelihood any positive likelihood for such a government. I don’t see the process that could lead for such a government.
Because if it’s possible, it could be done months ago after the election of April 9th.
AMANPOUR: So you also believe — yes.
GOLAN: I think that what we see right now is that the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, because of his judicial problems blocking any
attempt to create a government which are — and basically it could be very simple to create a government just two parties, the blue and white, could
create a very solid and strong government of 65 to 70 members of Knesset. And this vast a majority.
And the fact that Benjamin — because of his personal problems blocked any possibility to create a reasonable government, he should pay for it
AMANPOUR: So you’re in the United States talking at this forum. It’s one in which among other things, you talk about continuing to support the idea
of a two-state solution for your neighborhood.
Do you believe that this is still a possibility and what do you make of the fact that there is this inconclusive political paralysis depending on how
long this goes on for? How does that affect the security of Israel?
GOLAN: Well, I would say the following. The two-state solution is a kind of vision but to implement, to make this vision come true, well, that’s
very very complicated and that depends on us and depend on the Palestinians and that’s quite complicated.
But I know one thing for sure, we should not annex Judea and Samaria with 2.5 million Palestinians or even the Gaza Strip with more million
Palestinians. This is the end of the Jewish State.
And therefore, all I know is first, we should not annex Judea and Samaria. And, secondly, we should separate ourselves from the Palestinians. And if
the political outcome of it is the two-state solution, well, that’s great.
But I think we should look at these two definitions as one. One thing is to separate. The other thing to create more stable political arrangement,
which we call today two-state solution but there are other solutions that could be implemented in the future and. And we should work hard in order
to keep the fundamental principles of Israel valid and alive today. And, therefore, we need strong Jewish majority in Israel.
AMANPOUR: OK, very quickly. First of all, Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the occupied West Bank but I want to ask you that very, very
quickly, what do you make of the United States withdrawing forces and essentially abandoning the Syrian Kurds recently, given that Syria is such
a major security issue for Israel?
GOLAN: Well, I would say two things. The first is that America should copy the policy in Iraq. And I think that in the last few years, the
policy in Iraq is extremely successful for the United States, with very small forces with good cooperation. And with lack of forces, the United
States managed to stabilize Iraq in a very nice way working very closely with the Kurds there.
And unfortunately, it started very successfully in Northern Eastern Syria, this withdrawal of the U.S. troops, well, we see it as a counterproductive
for the stability of the region. I look at the Kurds as a very prominent and promising element in the region. And I would like to see them in a way
to strength them as much as possible.
AMANPOUR: Well, it’s good to get your view on that. Thank you so much, Yair Golan.
And now, we turn to a warning from the Russian hero turned dissident chess champion Garry Kasparov. He is focusing on the quiet war that Russia is
waging against U.S. democracy.
Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion in history at the age of 22. His infamous matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue brought
chess and artificial intelligence into the mainstream.
From pro fans to election interference, he sits down with our Miles O’Brien to explain how Putin has turned the tables with the great technologies of
the free world.
MILES O’BRIEN: Garry Kasparov, thank you very much for joining us. Take us back to 1997, and a match, a quite celebrated match,
between you and a machine. Going into that tournament in 1997, did you think humans still have supremacy?
GARRY KASPAROV, CHESS GRANDMASTER & ACTIVIST: Yes. Most likely. We had matches against other computers early on, so Deep Blue had a prototype
called Deep Thought actually created by the guys. I played it in 1989 so beat it quite handedly.
And then we already experienced troubles against some chess engines like Fritz or Deep Junior. And I think one thing we couldn’t understand at that
point is that machine would always have a steady hand.
So it’s not about solving the game which is mathematically impossible, the number of legal words in the game of chess. According to Claude Shannon,
it’s I think 10 to the 46th power but it’s about making a few mistakes.
So Deep Blue was by today’s standards, today’s chess engine standards, was not sort of a great success. And the free chess app on your mobile is
probably stronger than Deep Blue.
And whether you try chess engines that you can buy online and put on your laptop, I mean they are so much stronger than the current world champion,
Magnus Carlsen. Again, between world champion today and chess engine, just an ordinary one that you can buy online is the same between say
O’BRIEN: People have looked at that moment and seen it as a pivot point. You think that’s overstating it?
KASPAROV: No, it’s a pivot point but it’s about lessons that you can draw out of this pivot point. For me, that was a revelation that started human
We should look for human plus machine cooperation. Anything that can be classified as a core system, machine will do better. If we know how to do
it, machine will do it better.
So whether it’s game of chess, any video game, Texas Hold Em Poker, machines will do it better. For a simple reason, not because they play
perfectly. There’s no perfection to the universe. No machine will ever (inaudible), they will make a few mistakes. It’s about precision. It’s
about the vigilance during the game that no humans could.
O’BRIEN: I think it’s probably accurate to say that you’re the first knowledge worker in the world who had his job replaced by machine.
KASPAROV: Again, replaced is overstatement. Threatened, endangered, challenged. Because the chess hasn’t stopped. People are still playing
Actually, chess is far more popular today than it used to be 25 years ago. One of the reasons, actually, computers. More people can follow chess
games and while understanding what is happening.
So there’s simple to have their computer or elbow. They look at the game played by the top players, the world championship match and they don’t need
even commentaries. They just look at — OK, commentaries always die but they can look at their computer screen and they can know exactly what’s
O’BRIEN: So are you making a larger point about technology here? I mean we always fear that technology is going to displace us in some fashion.
But it doesn’t always turn out that way, does it?
KASPAROV: It never did. I mean the problem is that while those who are spreading this fear, they are ignoring the fact that many times in history,
the humanity faced this kind of challenges.
Many industries have been ruined, jobs lost, people got desperate. But then we move forward.
And I think now it’s we simply ignore the fact that technology is the main reason why so many of us are still alive to complain about technology.
Just look at the average lifespan, thanks to technology.
It’s a human pride. So we always thought that our problems have skills, they will know the challenge. It’s the same story. I think eventually, it
helps us to become more human, to become more creative.
I mean you can see passively and waiting for technology to change your life and it could start reshaping the world around us, but you can be more
proactive and look for the ways to sort of free us, to inspire our creativity and to help us to realize our grandest dreams.
O’BRIEN: So why do you think people are so fearful, in particular, the rise of the robots? There’s a certain risk aversion out there, isn’t
KASPAROV: Look, I think it’s because people today are just afraid about the future. So we’re no longer looking in the future with optimism.
So it’s not like 50 years ago where we’d really get out, space travel about helpful androids. Today, the future is in the shadow. And people are not
sure because we had comfortable lives, we still have comfortable life, and people are afraid to lose what they have today.
So they’re no longer willing to take a risk. So I think it’s more about our attitude towards risk, toward, innovation, towards future that donates
to this (inaudible).
O’BRIEN: How do you get that back though, that confidence of the future, that ability to really think big thoughts and dream big dreams?
KASPAROV: Look, unfortunately, whether you look at the past, all the sort of the most effective way of moving things forward, it’s out of question
now. So that’s why we have to find way — means and ways of training this mentality by, you know, without such radical endeavor.
O’BRIEN: So you can make an argument we’re in a war right now, a cyberwar? Do you go along with that?
KASPAROV: Again, let’s be more specific. Cyberwar against?
O’BRIEN: Well, I think you can make the argument that certainly Russia.
KASPAROV: Yes, agreed. China.
O’BRIEN: As China —
O’BRIEN: — have tried to interfere in U.S. elections and just tried to reap chaos and confusion and —
KASPAROV: That’s more Russia. China is more strategic. So this is —
O’BRIEN: Walk me through. So first, let’s talk about Russian disinformation and how that plays into the chaos we’re living in right now.
KASPAROV: Yes, but we should look at the bigger picture.
KASPAROV: So where was a conflict between free and unfree world. It’s not so obvious as during Cold War because we don’t have brown wall that
physically divides the two walls. But it’s even more challenging.
And it’s quite ironic, it’s an irony that technology that has been conceived and invented in the free world has been effectively used by the
enemies of the free world to undermine the foundation of the free world.
And China and Russia, they both are using this technology but different purposes. So as a chess player, I always say separate tactics and
So China is a long-term strategic threat. China steals information, steals technology but it’s all about long game. So as the Chinese — (inaudible)
Russia. Chinese always thought (inaudible) Russian leadership (inaudible). So that’s the difference.
Putin doesn’t care about long-term future because Russia is a one-man dictatorship and it’s all about political survival of him. So what happens
after him, doesn’t matter.
And it’s all about tactical advantages. So how can we use this event to spread chaos. Chaos is very important for a dictator. Because during
chaos, he can be most effective.
Now, cyberwar, it’s a very smart attempt of KGB to undermine the democracy. It’s a war. It’s not a cyberwar, it’s a new version of the Cold War.
That’s why for those who say we don’t want a new Cold War,it’s not about you to stop it if the war was declared. And the main idea behind the war
is to destroy the fabric of the sort of society.
And Putin actually — it’s Putin’s regime started to build troll factories and fake news industry all way back in 2004, 2005. They made smart
decision not to fight Russian opposition on the Internet so building a wall and the firewall and just forget about it but exactly the opposite.
So they realized that you can cut people from information or you can flood them with information and could even be more effective. Because by doing,
you can exhaust critical thinking. You can alleviate the very concept of truce. Truce is not noble.
So because I lied, th 10 different versions of lie and how can you find one which is true. And it worked in Russia, it worked in neighboring countries
with strong Russian speaking communities.
It then moved to Europe. And in 2015, I predicted that they would do it in America. Actually, I call the Facebook model is like (inaudible) Russian
O’BRIEN: How big a threat is Vladimir Putin to liberal democracy everywhere? And what, in your view, is the way to counter that threat?
KASPAROV: It’s existential. It’s existential and unfortunately, the free world still doesn’t want to recognize it.
Putin succeeded in basically destroying the world order that worked so well after World War II. Annexation of Crimea was just a blatant challenge to
the concept that the borders must be respected and the price he paid, nothing.
And all these sanctions, it’s meager compared to the political benefits that he gave at home and abroad. And while Europeans still in theory or
just on paper, they are supporting sanctions.
And Russia economy, probably suffering but you look at the bigger picture, Germany has doubled the amount of gas it’s buying since 2014 annexation of
Crimea. During last year, the Russian French Trade grew up 11 percent.
Trump is here in America. Europe is in chaos, you have Brexit and basically that’s have Britain from the world politics because they can’t
solve this domestic issues. You have the rise — all the way Europe, you have the rise of the far — alt-right far right parties. All of them are
arguing for lifting sanctions and just embracing Russia.
And, again, he’s not paying prices for what he did and what he’s doing now. And he doesn’t that feel he can be contained.
And that’s a big danger because we know from history, dictator eventually crosses all the red lines. And at one point, he has to be met by the
decisive response. And one thing from his — one rule of history, every delay of responding to this threat of a dictator pushes the price up.
O’BRIEN: You called it an existential threat.
KASPAROV: It is.
O’BRIEN: And yet people are apathetic and tuned out. Why the disconnect?
KASPAROV: Because this threat is very different. Because it’s — if somebody wants to shoot you and you can see the point gun so you understand
the threat. That’s the Cold Ward, Berlin Wall. This separates us from them.
This threat is you don’t feel it. It’s just killing you, just basically poisoning you just day by day so by small, small portions. And it’s —
look, if you compare situation in America with 20 years ago, it’s different. The country is almost in the verge of Cold Civil War.
I mean the latest CNN polls demonstrate that Democrats and Republicans, they don’t talk to each other. And many of them view the opposite side as
enemies. Big successful Donald Trump, big successful Vladimir Putin.
O’BRIEN: You said you believed Trump is a Putin asset.
KASPAROV: Yes, I do.
O’BRIEN: What do you mean by that?
KASPAROV: That’s exactly what I mean.
O’BRIEN: On winning or winning?
KASPAROV: I don’t think it matters. We’ll find it out.
But I don’t know what Trump thinks about it but I met enough KGB in my life and I can tell you the way Putin looks at Trump is very different than the
way Putin looks at other foreign leaders. Typically, he looks at them with contempt because he (inaudible). To Trump, he looks like the KGB
operative, looks at his eyes.
And by the way, if Trump were not a Putin asset, what would he do different? Just look at every decision Trump made related to Russia. And
it’s — if he were not an asset, I don’t know what else. You can imagine that the president could have done to make Putin not just happy but more
powerful than he used to be.
O’BRIEN: In the context of all of this, is it right, is it appropriate, is Congress, the democrats in Congress doing the right thing pursuing
KASPAROV: They are doing absolutely the right thing. And I hope they will narrow it because you cannot have too many articles for impeachment. It
makes easier for defense.
This help Republicans and Trump to Trump’s lawyers to destroy by spreading chaos. Again, it’s Trump’s own way of dealing with all the problems.
I mean, if he’s accused of treason, he can create 10 more treasonous act which is to make people talk about all of them. So that’s why you have to
narrow it down.
So Ukrainian case, I think it’s a perfect sample. It’s like a model case of impeachment as have been thought of founding fathers.
If you go back to the end of the 18th Century and you read about all the debates between Hamilton and Madison and others about presidential powers
and how to curve them, they thought about three key elements that could be the core of an impeachment procedure, the interference of foreign power,
corruption, and abuse of power domestically.
They’re all here. It’s almost perfect. I mean the Nixon crimes they were minor compared to what we are seeing today. And Clinton’s case was just
couldn’t meet the criteria that is set up by the founding fathers.
But the problem with Trump’s impeachment trial would that that it’s a stress test on the system. If it was such a perfect case — and I think
this impeachment for me, it’s a must. If it fails and if Trump was exonerated by the Senate, that means the system is in trouble.
O’BRIEN: Are you recently certain that enemies of this country, Russia in particular, will do its best to upset or put the finger on the scale of
this upcoming election?
KASPAROV: We had such an intelligent conversation so far. So I find this question just — it doesn’t fit the spirit of our discussion.
Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s Putin’s wildest dream because if Trump was re-elected, he will view it as the, not just exoneration by the Senate or
by one party, but that will be viewed as the mandate for American people to do whatever he wants.
And he believes that. His lawyers are saying it openly. He’s implying it that president is above the law which is the end of American republic.
Because that’s what the founding fathers were so scared. That’s why they wanted to build all the checks and balances.
The president is above the law. That’s by the way the core of the defense of Trump’s lawyers now. So they believe the president cannot be convicted
while he’s in the office, which means that’s the all idea of equality of everyone before the law no matter who you are and where you in the society
ladder, it’s over.
O’BRIEN: You, well at least basically, ran against Putin as an opposition opponent. And then ultimately in the midst of protest, I believe it was
that band, the Pussy Riot, I think you got arrested —
KASPAROV: I was detained (inaudible), arrested once, spent few days in jail but those were vegetarian times because people could end up in jail
for 5 or 10 days for peaceful protest. Today, it will be 5 or 10 years.
O’BRIEN: So how concerned are you for your own personal safety as you attack Putin?
KASPAROV: Would help. So when people ask me about my safety, so I have to leave Russia, I live in New York now.
I travel around the world. But there’s a list of countries that I excluded from my travels because I don’t think it would be safe to visit them. But
still there are plenty of opportunities for me to travel and to speak at the conferences in the free world.
But while I understand that all of us are vulnerable and just potential targets for Putin, what can I do? Just again, it’s a very painful issue.
When I was asked this question and my wife was next to me, so I feel very uncomfortable, she feels very uncomfortable. But at the end date of the,
it’s worrying about it, it doesn’t help.
So that’s why just make little precautions. So again, don’t go to the countries where your life could be in danger or KGB is operating at its own
backyard. Don’t drink tea with strangers. Try to be cautious as much as you can.
O’BRIEN: Garry Kasparov, thank you for your time.
KASPAROV: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Don’t drink tea with strangers, the price of speaking out.
And that is it for our program tonight. Find out what’s coming up on the show by signing up for our daily preview. Visit pbs.org/amanpour. Thank you for watching “Amanpour and Company” and join us again tomorrow night.