tv Amanpour Company PBS December 6, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PST
hello, everyone and welcome to "amanpour and company." here's what's coming up. [ bell tolling ] a national day of mourning. president george bush i is laid to rest and we examine his sometimes complicated legacy and we compare and contrast with today's republican leadership, with "new yorker" editor david remnick and what will the special help to robert mueller mean for the president and his family? also, the plot to destroy democracy. "new york times" best selling author and counterterrorism
expert malcolm nance explains just how russia attacked the 2016 election. >> uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour and company." when bea tollman founded a collection of hotels, those bigger dreams were on the water, a river specifically, multiple rivers that would one day be home to riverworld cruises and their floating boutique hotels. today that dream sets sail in europe, asia, india, egypt and more. for more information, visit uniworld.com. >> additional support has been provided by bernard and irene schwartz, sue and edgar walkenheim iii, the sheryl and philip millstein family, judy and josh weston and by
contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. withal come to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in london. president george herbert walker bush at his final resting place will lay beside his wife, ba are bra, and his daughter, robin, who died of leukemia at 3 years old. the president, who aspired to a kinder, gentler america will be buried in college station, texas. the funeral service brought washington to a standstill as friends and colleagues and american and foreign dignitaries came to pay their respects including ger nan chancellor angela merkel, who praises bush for his role in unifying the two germanys, all five current and former presidents attended, jimmy carter, bill clinton, barack obama, and donald trump, together with america's 43rd president, and president bush's son, george w. bush.
here's how the younger president bush remembered his father. >> dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary, that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values like faith and family. he strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and country in which one lived. he recognized that serving others enriched the giver's soul. to us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light. >> with six decades in public service, george bush leads a complicated legacy, making history as the president at the helm through the fall of the soviet union, in office during the tiananmen square massacre in china, and amassing the xwrandest coalition evxwrand e shall -- grandest coalition to
push saddam hussein out of iraq. one of the ugliest episodes the divisive and racist willie horton presidential campaign ad. "new yorker" editor david remnick worked as a russian correspondent for "the washington post" during the bush presidency. he joins me for a look at george bush's life and many contrast with the current president, donald trump. david remnick, welcome to the program. >> great to be here. >> david, you must have seen a lot of these but washington loves a good state funeral and today's was a good state funeral with the pomp and pageantry and all the living presidents, all the amazing heads of state, and people who dealt with george h.w. bush. what do you think this moment means, reflect a little bit on h.w.'s legacy. >> i think this is text and this is subtext in many ways, depending on who is looking at it. the text, the obvious thing is
that a president has died, a major figure in recent american history has died, and the first wave of obituaries were, in my few, pageographic, they talked about, and legitimately in many cases about a sense of decency, a certain kind of character, a way of dealing with people, foreign policy successes, but the first wave really overlooked what, in even the best political life, is a mixed record, a mixed record, and we can get into the specifics of that in a second. that's the text. and the pomp and circumstance that goes with it. the second thing is, there's a subtext. the subtext begins with a capital "t" trump. that's what this is about, in many ways, that a lot of the descriptions of george h.w. bush and maybe some of the pageographic aspects of those descriptions, the all too simple and one-sided is, without a
doubt, in my mind, directed at our present politics, the lying, the indecency, the lack of character, all the things, and the moment of investigations, the dishonesty in business and in politics, all of it, the description of george h.w. bush, however, you know, somewhat overglorified in many ways, is in stark contrast, stark contrast to donald trump, and that's a big part of what we're experiencing. >> okay, so we're going to drill down on that in a little bit. let us talk about the foreign policy achievements of george bush versus 41. let's talk about how there he was, as the berlin wall came down, communism collapsed, and then there was the soviet union, which collapsed. i mean, it just wasn't there anymore. suddenly the cold war is gone, and you were watching this from an amazingly privileged vantage point in terms of journalistically in moscow.
how much credit does 41 deserve for the orderly management of soviet/u.s. relations and the change in that situation? >> well, let's be clear, in the beginning, that if you're going to look at this in terms of individuals, rather than in social forces and political forces and the long history of the cold war and soviet history and american history and all the rest, if you look through the lens of individuals in the late a single character, it's mikhail gorbachev. he made the extraordinary break with soviet politics and russian and soviet history to begin reforming this country to reach out to the reagan administration and to begin to end this multigenerational confrontation between the sovieten yoo a unioe united states. mikhail gorbachev is the single
figure there. ran old reagan, i'm no reagan fan in many ways but ronald reagan, surprising to me, even now, but in courageous ways, and in ways that broke with traditional conservatism in the republican party, and with many democrats as well, reached out to mikhail gorbachev. that's where the initial break takes place, 1987, 1988, '89. along comes george bush. what george bush's great achievement was, from an american point of view, was the management of collapse so things did not go hay wire in so many ways they could have, whether predictable or unprediblctunpre. his management, at a moment when try uhm antalism was remarkable and i think history will treat him kindly as the american manager of those years when he was in office and the collapse of soviet communism and the
freeing of eastern and central europe. >> actually, that paid off during the first gulf war when mikhail gorbachev did not oppose the united states massing the huge military coalition to throw back saddam hussein. can i just go back a little bit to germany -- >> yes and no, christiane. it is worth remembering that the soviet union was in no way in favor -- >> no, they weren't in favor. >> -- of american-led, and in fact they sent emissaries to negotiate with, unsuccessfully, you remember evgeny primakov trying very hard, the most arabist of the soviet officials to push back. they didn't have the strength and the will. they were otherwise occupied. >> i remember james baker, the constant negotiations he was having with the russians. but it is remarkable they didn't actively try to stop it, and
you're right, they didn't have the strength or the wherewithal at that time. let's also talk about germany, because angela merkel, the chancellor, is at the funeral, has been at the funeral, and she praised george bush for his also management and belief in the reunification of germany when neither france nor great britain wanted that to happen, but george bush did, and this is what she said about it. >> i was in white house visiting george bush and he was the father or one of the fathers of the germany reunification and we'll never forget that. >> it is extraordinary, she managed to speak in english which she rarely does and did create a new world order. put that in per spec i have of what we're living through now as well. >> it's interesting, we now live a generation later, we go to germany and west and east berlin
seem almost indistinct, when two generations ago this was the front line of the confrontation in many ways, and france and britain were anxious about a reunified germany, for good reason. remember, geography is everything. the legacy of the world wars of the 20th centuries still lingered very hard. there was a great deal of lingering anxiety about german political and military ambition in the history of the 20th century. george bush got the reassurances that he into edd e-- needed fro our own intelligence agencies and helmet cole and other officials and allowed this to happen. it would not have happened, it would not have happened without american leadership, but again, this was something that caused enormous anxiety in moscow, too, and to this day, it's seen as a betrayal. this is a very controversial
piece of business in russian politics right now. did america promise, make promises having to do with nato enlargement, that they would prevent it. germany reunification was something that mikhail gorbachev was extremely nervous about, and bush gave sufficient reassurances as did helmet cole, and that issue began to recede, but to this day, i should say that one of the things that vladimir putin resents most is he feels betrayed by the west. that the west was allowed to become much too powerful, that nato expanded under the west watch and subsequent administrations, so there is resentment about that, but bush's management of gosh chef and the soviet leadership at that time, which itself was crumbling was really rather remarkable, and when -- you
have -- there's another amazing episode we should recall that people inside moscow in the spring, coming into the summer of 1991, were starting to tell the bush administration that there was going to be an attempt to overthrow gorbachev. gorbachev discounted these rumors directly to bush, but as we now know, in august of 1991, that coup happened. bush was much more comfortable with gorbachev than boris yel yeltsin. it was stabilized, but never perfect. but again, bush's sense of calm, sense of propriety, his sense of reasonableness and lack of triumph
triumphalism, something you saw constantly at republican conventio conventions, bush stood outside that and i think it will be a point in his favor in terms of the history of geopolitics at this extremely volatile time. >>et wi elet's talk about his dc u.s. politics. hisis career is littered with kind of the wrong direction, whether it was not fighting for civil rights in the '60s, whether it was ignoring the aids crisis, because of how it disproportionately or entirely affected gay people, and also, you know, did he, was he a bastian of moderate republicanism or was he also sort of overseeing the gradual rightward turn to the more extreme wing of the republican party as we see today? >> your question is right on the money, and i remember very, very well doing a long profile of a guy named lee atwater who other
people will remember and the rest will not. lee atwater was the main political operative or one of them behind george bush, and lee atwater was schooled in race-baiting. he was schooled in how to screw the other guy. he was a killer, a kind of killer we've become all too used to in american politics and his instrument more often than not was race, and he used the willie horton ad, if anybody remembers that, willie horton was somebody let out of jail and committed another violent crime, and george h.w. bush at lee atwater's urging pinned this on his opponent in the presidential race, the somewhat forgotten michael dukakis, and it was incredibly unfair. it was not racially charged. it was racist, and george bush, quite frankly, didn't seem to
feel any compuction about it. he wanted to inwith an election. -- to win an election. in some of the obituaries that we've seen in the last few days, this is kind of guided by, but it's part of the record, too, you know, it's one thing to go to a relative's funeral and speak beautifully and only beautifully of the dead, but when we're talking about a historical figure, we should speak in, you know, in rounded ways, in realistic ways about what this legacy is, because it means something to the president, and how we move on, and a use of race-baiting is part of the record, i'm afraid, and so was a refusal to look the aids crisis square in the face, and many other things. this was a complicated political legacy that is now being, in some ways, i don't want to be unfair to him, because god knows he was a lot better than some other things, like the present tense, but white-washing the reputation doesn't do anybody any good.
>> and every historian and journalist would agree with you or should agree with you, because our job is to be truthful and to be objective and find the strength in that, rather than a hateography or a white wash. but having said that -- >> i do want to say, in terms of the people who are going in the other direction, i read a piece in "the guardian" that was extremely strong and negative, at least in the first part of the piece. character also matters, and there were things about george bush's character and his treatment of other human beings and his rhetoric that mattered. they actually matter. and when people discount character as immaterial to a president, i have to point to the present office holder, and the way the present president talks about people, friends and enemies, allies abroad, the way he talks about international institutions is, has an enormous
effect, that kind of rough hewn, cynical, undermining, self-interested, egotisical rhetoric has implications on the world stage that matter. george bush was something else, so that counts in his favor. >> you're absolutely right. as people point out, he was the last of the sort of "soldier statesmen." he was the last to have seen active service in the war, of course, in world war ii. let me just move on to president trump, because as you say, a lot of this is in the context of the present day, but i want to -- >> i think so. >> -- specifically ask you about the ongoing khashoggi affair. saudi arabia has been a strong ally. it was george bush who defended and saved the saudi's bacon in the threat of saddam hussein in 1990. fast forward to the new crowned prince, and the allegations and the strong belief by the u.s. intelligence committee that he did order the murder and dismemberment of jamal khashoggi
and it looks like president trump is end coup of losing some support on this, particularly from some of his cheerleaders like lindsey graham. look at what he said about the cha showingie murder. >> there is not a smoking gun. there is a smoking saw. you have to be woefully blind not to come to the conclusion this was oh strapted and organized by people under the command of mbs, and that he was intricately involved in the demise of mr. ckhashoggi. open source reports show he had been focusing on mr. khashoggi for a very long time. it is zero chance, zero that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crowned prince. >> senator bob corker said the same, the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. >> i have to agree with senator graham there, and i don't often agree with senator graham. look, let's not be naive. there are few nations under the sun, icluding our own, the united states, that are free
from a record of all kinds of abups abus abuses, all kinds of abuses that do not do well to the united states or those countries in the historical record, violent episodes of abuse, abu ghraib, whatever it may be, but the idea that the president of the united states would either explicitly or implicitly countenance the execution of the american-based journalist in a place like the turkish consulate is appalling, appalling. now, the united states has always had a relationship with the saudis that is worth criticizing. during the gulf war, both gulf wars as well. but this, i think, for a lot of people, a bridge too far, and i think it's going to have -- it's already having an effect. i think there's no one more delighted by this than iran. you know, iran is certainly not
a regime that is littered with innocence, but this is a disaster, and it's a moral disaster. >> david remnick, thank you so much for joining us. >> always a pleasure. so reports that robert mueller's investigation of russian interference into the 2016 election may be coming to an end seem to be exaggerated. in yesterday's sentencing memo for former national security adviser michael flynn, mueller praised flynn for his substantial assistance, and mueller watcher say the heavy redactions in the document indicate a lot more investigative activity that the special prosecutor hasn't yet disclosed. former fbi supervisory special agent josh campbell worked with robert mueller and with james comey in his time at the bureau and he's joining us now. josh campbell, welcome to the program. >> thanks, christiane. great to be with you.
>> listen, let us try to sit back and figure out what's going on. first and foremost, reports of robert mueller's conclusion are vastly nlg xa rate lly exaggera. do you agree with that? >> what we saw is this word substantial, which is doing a lot of work in this document, and what that tells us when it comes to michael flynn is, he has been cooperating with investigators not only to save himself, but to the extent that they are actually satisfied with not recommending that he actually go to jail, and that's something that was outlined in this document. you have mueller's team telling the court, this person is helping us. we're not recommending that he serve time, which is a very big deal, because if you look at the charges thattic moole flynn faces, he lied to the fbi. he sat in front of fbi agents and told them a material lie about a counter intelligence investigation, and this was the person who was the president's national security adviser, very serious crimes, and i think one important aspect that we have to look at is, you showed earlier
the document with all of these redactions. there ais still a lot of work t be done. people hoping this will be wrapped up soon will have to wait a little bit longer. you look at what is detailed there and what is not laid out, it shows there's still things to be done, still pieces that haven't been put together and dots that haven't been -- we don't see the lines being drawn yet. lot of work to be done by prosecutors. >> so it's apparently being counted 22 lines of redactions right after that assertion of substantial help and cooperation with the investigation, and kind of implying, as you point out, there may be multiple investigations that we don't even know about, not just the obvious, the obvious one that is the tip of the iceberg. you were there. you worked for mueller. you worked for comey. give us a sense of, i guess how extraordinary it is that he's recommended no jail time, and that potentially flynn sort of
was the biggest cooperator, corraling maybe all the other cooperators. >> exactly, and that is the key point. as i read through the document, again, there's a lot we don't know. we're trying to read the tea leaves and parse the unredacted version. one thing mueller clearly laid out, flynn's utility largely stemmed from his role in trump orbit. he was a high-level person during the transition team, and it's not only that, that's important, but it's important that he was one of the few people, in kt ffact, i think th only person of high stature in that orbit cooperating with investigators. mueller says that in his report. that signals if you're inside the white house right now, if you're in president trump's orbit, if you're in his family, you should be worried because i no he this as being a former fbi agent, you look at people that are involved in a case and constantly run the calculus. is this person a witness? is this person a subject? is this person going to help me? is this someone who i'm going to have to send to jail? and the fact they listed michael flynn as the only one in that
circle, in that world that is cooperating, tells us that potentially they'ring le lookin other people possibly xlcomplic in what mueller was investigating. it was a bad day for the president yesterday and the longer we see the redactions i'm sure the anxiety level is off the charts there. >> you're talking an fbi investigation. michael flynn has spent much of his career in military intelligence. he knows intel veligence very, y well. and robert fuel mueller notes and pays tribute to his military career and his discipline as a uniformed officer, and his experience. what do you think that's all about? why is he putting that out as well? >> yes, it was so fascinating, because that's long been a defense that trump allies and allies of michael fkchael flynn been saying. he served the united states in uniform in a number of different positions.
he's being targeted by a process crime, as they call it. what bob mueller actually does, and rob mueller also served in uniform. bob mueller also bled for this country in the united states military, what he points out in this document, first he praises flynn's service and says this is someone who is the most distinguished witness we've talked to in our investigation, of all the witnesses, this person has served his country well, but then he notes, and that means he should have known better, someone who was in that high-profile position, someone who served and led others in the united states military, who swore an oath to protect this nation, defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic and uphold the investigation, should have known that lying is wrong. it's something he no doubt commanded of his people that were under him, his troops and he sat before fbi agents and lied to them. it's not a one-time slip-up. being in the fbi, when this was going down, there was largely a question, we've seen the reports that flynn was talking with the russian ambassador, and in the
united states, it is obscure law called the logan act, and it says if you're a private citizen, you can't be conducting foreign policy that's counter to the u.s. with a foreign government. it's against the law. but it's very obscure. it's only been prosecuted twice in the history of the country, and the last instance, it was in 1852. no one thought that michael flynn was going to be prosecuted under this obscure law, but the question was, why did he sit in front of fbi agents and lie about talking with the russian ambassador, and why did he do so, knowing that they would have had intercept calls between anyone who was in contact with the russian ambassador? this was the former chief of the defense intelligence agency, michael flynn. he would have known the capabilities of the united states government. there is a reason why he sat there and lied to the fbi and that is what bob mueller is trying to get to. there is the issue of collusion, there is an issue of coordination. why would you lie about something you thought you were innocent of? >> can you hazard a guess?
>> so i would suggest, based on what we've seen now, and again, there have been these suspicious ties between flynn and, you know, going to russia, going to this team meeting, being close to the kremlin before hahand bu the trump campaign, the ties to moscow through the russian dealings we've seen with court filings pertaining to the president's lawyer, i mean all roads seem to be leading in that direction, that there was some kind of contact, some kind of coordination between the trump family, between the trump n't know if that was illegal f in and of itself, but we see the pattern of lies, because as mueller continues to do his work, whether it's george papadopoulos, the young campaign aide caught lying to the fbi about communications involving the russians, now you have michael flynn and obviously cohen is talking about the trump tower dealings, there's something sinister going on with russia. if you're an investigator, journalist or private citizen wondering, it doesn't take a
rocket scientist to see there is a reason people are not being truthful with us and i think that's what we're trying get to, what was there. there's long this question and we've seen it surface lately inment so in some of our reporting perhaps he didn't think the president was going to win, a long shot running for the presidency. was president trump running for office to bolster the trump brand, in order to help get business dealings and ties around the world? he said it himself on the lawn of the white house that look, i wasn't going to give up all the business dealings because i was running for office. we heard that from his mouth. i think people thought here he was trying to use the platform in order to enrich himself potentially around the world, and when he won, people are looking back thinking well, that was wrong. it may not have been illegal, but that is unethical for someone sitting here talking about foreign policy and dealing with foreign governments and all the things that you're going to do, at the same time you're trying to enrich yourself and set the stage for business
dealings. so i think that's what it gets to and i think that's what mueller is looking to. i don't know if we're going to see collusion in the sense that trump was talking to putin, and saying i'm going to help your campaign, here's what we're going to do. i don't think it's any of that. i think it's going to come down to the business ties and the business dealings, but again, when you're the president of the united states, the highest office in the land, you are held to a higher standard, and if you are using your office for private gain and seeking that office thinking you're going to enrich yourself, at some point you'll run afoul of the law. >> interestingly, robert mueller's 13-page advice to the sentencing group also did say that public officials and senior, you know, public servants needed to be held accountable, so i wonder whether that sends some shivers down trump and his family, but what are we going to see, do you think, from the next mueller advice that's going to be made public, and that is regarding manafort's sentencing, and michael cohen's sentencing?
that's due this week, at the end of this week. >> it is, and if you think about all of these people that are involved in this case, i mean, there have been a pattern of lies, and it gets to what you just mentioned there in the document, where mueller lays out that people in high office are held to a higher standard, and the reason why i want to foot stomp that is because having worked for bob mueller, i could tell you, we've long heard of him described as this public servant, this patriot, this person who served in the military, and he's all those things, but one thing that we leave out is there's one quality about bob mueller that perhaps people don't know, i think they're starting to understand through his court filings, he hates lying. he hates liars, people who think that they're going to, you know, enrich themselves or help themselves at the expense of someone else, and as a career prosecutor, someone who has spent a career sending people to jail who thought they could gain the system and game prosecutors, to his core, he hates liars. he sees this cacophony of
desipgs, people trying to deceive the united states government, that has to grate on him. that's down to friday, an important day where we'll see additional documents for robert mueller laid out, there's a sentencing memo for paul man aare the to, the former trump campaign manager who was prosecuted in the united states on allegations of corruption and now a convicted felon. he, continuing this pattern of deception, he signed up to cooperate after his conviction with robert mueller but you recall he actually was double dealing and lying to mueller and so mueller ended the plea agreement, i'm washing moo i hands of this guy. he's a liar, we no longer have use for him. on friday we'll get a sense of what those lies entailed, what paul manafort was trying to do, to deceive the united states government and the prosecution, and the last one, the barn burner will be the president's former personal lawyer and fixer, michael cohen. we'll see a sentencing memo on him as well. this is someone who actually enflamed the president to a
great degree, we've seen him on twitter, seen him lashing out, someone who was in the trump orbit and close, insider who is now, as the president says, flipping and going to cooperate with the government. we've already heard some very troubling aspects of what he is possibly telling prosecutors about trump's business ties. you recall the payment to a porn star that may have run afoul of campaign finance violations. on friday we'll get another filing on michael flynn and get additional details. the million-dollar question we have, will the documents include the substantial redactions we saw in the flynn case or is mueller just going to lay it out? the reason that's important is because that will be a signal to all of us watching whether mueller is close to wrapping up or whether there's more work to do. >> very interesting. to the point about michael cohen being close to president trump, president trump has been saying a lot of things about cohen's motives, cooperating with mueller. here is the latest, who at he sd about him. >> he's got himself a big prison
sentence, and he's trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story. now, here's the thing -- even if he was right, it doesn't matter, because i was allowed to do whatever i wanted during the campaign. i was running my business, a lot of different things during the campaign, so very simply, michael cohen is lying. >> so there's a little bit of a tortological problem, if i've got the terminology right, even if he's right, and michael cohen is lying. my ears pricked when i heard the president of the united states suggest, even if he is right. what did you think, when you heard the president even raise that possibility about michael cohen? >> so the president of the united states is very good at flooding the zone, and just throwing things out there and hoping something will stick to the wall. you know, it's like a verbal suppression fire sometimes, when he has the questions coming at him. as we saw right there, you
mentioned, as we unpack it, he's saying my former attorney, someone who i hired who is close to me and my business, he's a liar, he's a scum bag. even if he's lying, what he's lying about isn't illegal, and so that's a fact pattern that really gets you twisted up, but i think that's the purpose, just to flood the zone, and again at the end of the day, what he's trying to say, the president, is that this person is not credible, and he's actually lying to investigators and the president, this is the major issue, he's been taking it and done this since day one a step farther, attacking the government, attacking the institutions of justice that are charged with upholding the rule of law in the united states. whenever we hear this term witch ates government, and not to ng get too philosophical, these institutions exist in order to ensure that we have a system of rule of law in this country. what the president has done, made a calculation that he, in my judgment, is afraid of where mueller is headed. he's afraid of what he's going
to uncover so what he's determined is if i attack them now and try to discredit them and undermine them and some small segment of my base get them to believe i am the victim of a deep state government, that will discredit whatever mueller comes up with at the end of the day and that's a political campaign. mueller is letting his work speak for itself in his court filings. the question, is this corrosive narrative the president is trying to set forward taking hold? i think it is in some segments of society which makes it so troubling but the thing we have to watch is the evidence that robert mueller puts forward. is it so overwhelming, is it so convincing that it's going to be able to counter this pattern, this campaign of undermining the institution of justice for pure partisan gain. >> everybody's wondering whether paul manafort is sort of turning a million which ways in this process and being dumped by the special counsel, whether he thinks and banking on getting a
pardon from president trump, but we'll wait to see all of that. let me finish by asking, you work for mueller, you work for comey. why did you resign in the end? what was the issue that tipped you over the edge? >> so, it has a large degree to what i was just talking about just now, the attack on our institutions of justice. so when i was in the fbi, i spent over 12 years as an fbi agent. i did a lot of work overseas working with our foreign partners and many parts of the world, it was a job that i loved, but at the time, this is late 2017, when president trump was really in this all-out campaign to undermine the fbi, people on the inside were very angry and wondering who is going to speak up, who is going to speak out, and not just defend us, you know, without any type of criticism, but at least to say look, these attacks on our institutions will have damage, and i just made that realization myself. i didn't want to look back 15 years from now upon retirement and say i kept my head down, all is well. what i saw going on right now and continue to see is this pattern that will have serious
consequences on public safety if people like president trump are successful in convincing the american people, and indeed the world, that the fbi or institutions of justice are corrupt. >> it is an incredible drama. josh campbell, formerly of the fbi, thanks for joining us tonight. now, one of robert mueller's main areas of his investigation is the 2016 russian hacking of the democratic national committee. malcolm nance is a respected counterterrorism analyst, and he's an author who was at the forefront of reporting the dnc cyber attack. his latest book "the plot to destroy democracy" examines how he believes president putin is undermining president politics and he joined alicia menendez in new york to talk about it. >> malcolm, thanks for joining us. >> it's my pleasure to be here. >> my first question is an important one. >> sure. >> how does one become a spy? >> well, first off, i'm not a
spy. >> um-hum. according to whom? >> according to the definition of what a spy really is, and that's terrible, because i am on the board of the international spy museum in washington, but there are two types of actors in the intelligence community -- we, who are actually running intelligence operations, collecting intelligence, we tend to refer to ourselves as intelligence collectors. the actual people like at the cia who do it are cia officers, not agents, but the people that we get to betray their nation, let's say in a human intelligence operation, or to bring in a wire tap, a bug or something like that, plant it for you, they are the spies. >> and what drew you to this work? >> well, you know, i grew up in philadelphia, and i come from a military family, a very old, military family. there's been a nance father, son and now my niece, who is in the navy, was in combat in yemen, off yemen last year, we've been in the armed forces since the
civil war, in every war, and you know, my father was a master chief petty officer. i'm one of five sons who were in the navy, and i grew up in philadelphia, and i had a pretty good catholic upbringing, but while i was there, i think i was influenced subliminally. there's a statue down in washington square, which is the first actual tomb of the unknown soldier, and above the enscription of a statue of george washington is the saying that freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness, and now that i'm grown up, and i see that statue, and i constantly quote that, when i talk about intelligence activity, i think i was just subliminally influenced to want to go into that darkness, and to see, you know, be the person who could get information that really meant something, and you know, it's not like the movies. all of this is not a jason bourne world. >> what is it instead? >> what is it instead?
it's dedicated people who really don't ask for any thanks, who come in, and go to work day in and day out, and do the hard work of collecting information that's secret, that we generally -- it's stolen, because we take it from other countries without their knowing it, and processing that information, and getting it to consumers like the president, and the national security counsel staff or battle force commanders in a timely manner so americans and american interests are not hurt. i've been in situations where i've had to make the recommendation that people, facilities and structures needed to be destroyed right away, or americans would be killed or injured. >> draw a line for me from this skill set that you possess to the analysis that you do in this new book. >> i started out in the cryptologic world, which is a highly specialized, very small fraction of the u.s. intelligence community, but in
fact, because of the nature of the way we collect, the sensitivity of the material we collect, it's sort of the best analogy i can give you that, without saying anything that's classified is, the way we broke the enigma codes in world war ii, and one thing that a lot of people don't understand, because i'm a cryptologic linguist, i'm an arabic interpreter, so that means that when information is broken or decrypted, or it's collected in whatever capacity that it comes in, you know, when i started out in philadelphia as a young catholic school kid, i grew up in an orthodox jewish neighborhood, and the first foreign language i ever learned was yiddish, and i would find scraps of yiddish newspapers on the ground and one day i got curious, i was about 10 years old, and i went to the philadelphia free library and i said, i want a dictionary, i want an alphabet book so i can break out this yiddish, and so my first decrypts were me trying to break out, you know, these
hebrew letters, and i learned a valuable lesson. all decrypts come out in a foreign language. so from there, you have to have people, like i said, with the enigma codes in recalledwar ii, everybody who worked on the mission was a german linguist and you translate it, take that information, analyze it, determine where it's best viability is, and then send it out to a reporter or work within the unit that you're in, in order to use that information to the best effect, and many times, that effect was the destruction of enemy forces. so how does that level of analysis, which is really street level field analysis, translate up into the geopolitical world? because we collect from the raw source, and the raw source is the mouth of your enemy. you're not going to get anything better than that, especially when they don't know that you're the third party on their phone call or they're the third party in their communication. >> how much of what we're
reading in the book is based on that type of sourcing? >> none of it. because you know, i'm not a journalist. so journalists have a very different way of looking at information, and they have to have their sources and they go out and they validate them. >> what is your way? >> as an intelligence collector, i have to look at it from the depth of all of my experience, on the basis of military intelligence operations, and see whether i can see patterns of foreign intelligence activities that would affect, you know, that would affect essentially the results that i'm seeing play on television, and in the electorate, and that's exactly what i saw. i saw a foreign intelligence operation that was very familiar to me. i grew up in the cold war, even though i was a middle east specialist. the kgb was everywhere, especially in my world, we were hunted by the kgb, and their goal was to find you, make
contact, and flip you, turn you into an asset and have you become a spy to betray your country. so you were always wary of that, and so when i saw the hacking of the dnc, well, that was in fact carried out in operation. someone stole that information. that information had to come and surface itself in the media for a reason, and that reason could only be watergate, right, the exact same activity that was carried out in 1973, only there were no burglars, and you actually could just walk in electronically, steal the information, and then release it to the public, and it could only have one effect, and that was to damage and split the democratic party in two. >> you were at the forefront of ringing the alarm on this. why were we hearing about this from you and not from the intelligence community establishment? >> well, i was in media at that time. so you know, and in fact, i think i was the first person in u.s. media to actually -- went
on air at msnbc and surprised everyone on the production line. the first day of the democratic national committee and all this information was released through wikileaks and it created a split, a rift between the bernie side and the mainstream side of the democratic party, and i went on air and i said, the united states has been attacked in a wide-ranging cyber warfare operation, designed to split the democratic party in half and to elect donald trump as president. >> did anyone say to you that's dangerous and conjecture? >> no, because coming from my world, what we didn't know at the time was that, those same dates, john brennan, the director of the cia and jim clapper, director of national intelligence, were in a furious hunt to find american citizens who were known directing continuous contact with russian intelligence, and to find the sources of the leaks that were coming from wikileaks, that were
coming through wikileaks, and within a week, john brennan would be tasked by the president to call the director of russian intelligence and tell him, we know this is an intelligence operation. >> in this book, so often when we talk about russia in the u.s. media, we focus on the united states for obvious reasons but putin is making a global play here. >> yes. what we see here, we are i think the fault in a lot of the news media analysis, and this is why people tend to pay more attention to intelligence officers and intelligence collectors, because we see this from a much broader geopolitical interspective. when i see that effect of the stolen email, split the democratic party in half, i worked this backwards, and i go, okay, that information came from here, went through this conduit, that conduit came from russian military intelligence. russian military intelligence stole that information, in their servers for a year, that had to be ordered from the kremlin.
it had to have an informational warfare management cell, which is a term i made up, which later we would find is the internet research agency, to steal that fgs information, watch u.s. news media disseminate that information and reach a strategic goal for the russia. that had to happen, had to exist. while the u.s. intelligence was doing that job to find that information, for me, it was easier to come into media and sound the alarm bell and say hey, you're getting played on a very broad geopolitical scale, but it's larger than breaking the democratic party. if you're going to put donald trump in as president of the united states, that means you have massaged him in some way, and to know that, you would also have to know the president of russia was a former kgb officer, and his job was human intelligence, which is to make people betray their own nation by thinking it is for their own
good, to their own benefit, and without thinking that they're actually betraying their own country, and john brennan actually said that, in testimony before the senate intelligence committee. he said in his long experience, people who were betraying the country had no clue that they were actually being traitors, and not that, you know, we're using the technical term treason rhetorically here, but for someone who is going to be handled, as we say in the intelligence community, and to be worked by a foreign power to do their bidding, then there has to be a broader play for that nation. >> what is putin's vision? >> putin's vision is simple. he's making russia great again. russia is essentially a trailer park with atomic bombs. it is a poor nation. the people there are poor. >> so wealth is the goal? >> wealth is not the goal for the average person in russia. it's about bringing russia back onto the stage as a global player, the way that putin, former communist, right, former soviet union aclite of the
intelligence world remembers russia being an equal geopolitical partner to the united states, but doing it in such a way they don't have to sell themselves the way china has and making themselves equal partners with the united states and to do that, they have to bring the united states down, and they've done a very good job of that. >> reading your book, the question i kept coming back to over and over again is, can the damage that has been done be undone? >> yes. absolutely. i mean, when we talk about damage here, and let's be honest, we're talking about the damage that the current administration and president donald trump have impacted the united states with, and to be quite honest, i make it very clear in the book, he was co-opted quite early by the russians. i use that phrase, i don't mean it in the sense he was offered money and become an agent. there's steps to where you work yourself into a position where you don't know that you are being handled, or maybe you do.
i mean, donald trump very early on as early as the 1980s was trying to get a trump tower in moscow. four times he went to russia to try to get a multibillion-dollar real estate deal done there, to the point where i think that he's willing to do anything to get that. >> the president and his supporters would disagree with your assessment and maintain that he's done nothing wrong. >> well, they would, because they're invested in the narrative now, but let me give you a description from an intelligence community perspective. anyone who is in a position of trust within the united states government, whenever we are suspected or even in the remotest is yremote est suspicion there may be something wrong with someone who holds top secret clearance, the first thing they do is tear our financial lives apart. they want to see if there's any ill-gotten unin, unexplained affluence to see whether you've been influenced or impacted by a
foreign intelligence agency. now, i want you to take that thought i've given to you and put that at the top of the political spectrum of the presidency of the united states. with the accusation on the table, is that the president of the united states may be a witting or unwitting asset to a foreign power that is led by a former russian intelligence officer who may have given this foreign power consideration in the u.s. election in terms of changing a platform, or may actually be impacting u.s. foreign policy right now. >> coming back to my question, how is this undone? >> how do you undo is t? democracy is its biggest defense but own vulnerability. the guardian rails put in place by the founders of american democracy, our constitutional republicanism, what we see people really wanting in this level of where they -- where
money supersedes nationality is autocracy, and that's why you have leaders like vladimir putin pushing donald trump, pushing ultra nationalism in germany, with the afd, pushing al sisi in egypt, erdogan in turkey, balsanaro in brazil, and now you could argue that we have the first autocrat president, the first, you know, the tyrant that john adams warned would eventually come as president of the united states, that alexander hamilton said would charm the masses, and would use demagoguery to reach the highest platform. >> how does democracy come back? >> what we never thought was that they would have a congress that would surrender itself. the guardrails of democracy are the other branches of government and the voice of the people. >> you say that, as a lifelong republican? >> i was a republican until, you know, you're in the military, i was a national security republican, and socially liberal. now, because of the current
republican party, i'm far to the left. i mean, national security, you know, republicans are no longer even considered part of the republican party. we hate the soviet union and hate communists and we know a kgb officer when we see one. i've been in dangerous placings, been shot at and my wife and kids have been threatened this last year, due to my differing political opinion, but if you really are a patriot and you really love america, the fight to maintain the norms that we've had up to this point are worth any sacrifice. i'd do it again. >> malcolm, thank you so much. >> it's my pleasure. before we leave tonight, we loved to his family.bush so y of imagine an 85-year-old sky diving over his home in kennebunkport, maine. that is what he did to celebrate that birthday. perhaps it was that part of being a parent that brought so much emotion from his son, the
president, george w. bush, when he said his final good-bye. >> so through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have. and in our grief, with a smile knowing that dad is hugging robin and holding mom's hand again. >> and remember, the bushes were the second family in american history to have a father/son president. and that is it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour and company" on pbs, and join us again tomorrow night. >> uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour and company."
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steves: salzburg's cathedral, constructed in the early 1600s, was one of the first grand baroque buildings north of the alps. it's sunday morning. the 10:00 mass is famous for its music, and today it's mozart. enter the cathedral, and you're immersed in pure baroque grandeur. ♪ dona nobis ♪ ♪ nobis pacem ♪ since it was built in only about 15 years, the church boasts particularly harmonious art and architecture. in good baroque style, the art is symbolic, cohesive, and theatrical, creating a kind of festival procession that leads to the resurrected christ triumphing high above the altar. ♪ nobis ♪ ♪ dona nobis ♪ ♪ nobis pacem ♪ ♪ pacem ♪ music and the visual art complement each other.
>> pati narrates: new york, new york. one of the best food cities in the world. the best chefs, the best restaurants. if you can make it here in the culinary industry, you've made it. one of the most unique, prestigious experiences in the city is a dinner at the james beard house. the former home of legendary chef and television personality james beard. i've been asked to cook for a very special event, the cinco de mayo dinner. oh my gosh, i love this color! did you see? it's such an honor that i wanted to share the event, and a few recipes with you. a light, creamy dulce de leche caramel mousse that melts in your mouth. because one dessert is never enough, i'm making two!