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tv   Amanpour Company  PBS  November 20, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PST

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hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & co." here's what's coming up. pressure mounts on the saudi crown prince as president trump gives a tomorrow deadline for a very full report on the khashoggi murder. but could that backlash help end the saudi-led war in yemen? former south carolina governor and head of the u.n. world food program has just returned with a devastating assessment. plus, the scandal that up-ended american politics and nearly took down a president. what the clinton affair can teach us about our political presence. and with hate crimes once again on the rise, a deep dive into the groups that fuel them.
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welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in london. president trump is once again navigating a sensitive line between his own intelligence agencies and his main middle east ally, saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman over the murder of the journalist jamal khashoggi. he was killed in the kingdom's istanbul consulate more than a month ago. this is what the president said about all of this over the weekend. >> did mbs lie to you, sir? >> i don't know. who can really know? but i can say this. he's got many people now that say he had no knowledge. he told me he had nothing to do with it. he told me that i would say maybe five times at different points as recently as a few days ago. >> do you just live with it because you need him? >> well, will anybody really know? all right? will anybody really know? >> but the central intelligence agency says it knows, despite not having a smoking gun, the cia now believes that based on turkish and its own evidence, the saudi crown prince
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personally ordered the murder of khashoggi. his gruesome death and disposal have given an opening to many in the west who now want to pressure saudi arabia into ending its devastating war in yemen. a saudi-led coalition intervened there three years ago to put down iran-backed houthi militants, at least 10,000 people have been killed and millions more, half the population, face imminent famine. >> people coming from areas so poor, and they're lacking food. we saw mothers that cannot afford milk for their kids, so they bring the rice and boil it and take the water and rice and feed their kids as if it is a milk. >> footage of that pediatric hospital comes to us from the u.n. world food program
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whose director david beasley has just returned from yemen. i caught up with him in brussels where he's lobbying european leaders to help stem the suffering. >> david beasley, welcome to the program. >> it's good to be here but not under these circumstances. >> i wonder whether you might actually be getting a little bit more positive when you think of what's happening and how the spotlight has focused the world through the khashoggi murder onto the possibility of resolving the yemen crisis. >> i would like to think there's light at the end of the tunnel, i'm start to hear, and it's more from exhaustion kprffrom those engaged in the conflict. the people of yemen are suffering immeasurably. we've been supporting about 8 million yemenis but what we're seeing now is a striking increase in the number of severely hungry people, not just hungry people, people marching toward the brink of starvation
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has now risen from 8 to almost 12 million people. >> that is really, really dramatic. i wonder what you can tell me. the king of saudi arabia who, as you know, lead the big, the anti-houthi coalition. the united states is supporting. the king has just said saudi arabia remains open and supports the possibility of a political solution. what have each side done in regard to this war and to the possibility of resolving it off the battlefield? because you've had to deal with both sides. >> we're having to deal with all sides. you're exactly right. if you recall a year ago i was pretty hard on the saudis for the blockade and the lack of financial support for the humanitarian disaster that resulted from the war. and so the houthis were like so appreciative of the fact that i was being hard on the saudis. and i looked at them and said let me tell you something very clearly. i'm not taking sides, but if you cross the line with us on humanitarian support, i will be on your back, too.
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and so now today i'm being hard on the houthis because they don't provide the access we need. they deny us the visas and the equipment we need for the personnel to deliver the food assistance and the different regions throughout yemen. the saudis have been more cooperative. the uae has been remarkably cooperative in terms of working with us and the financial support and access, the u.s., the uk, but the pressure is building on all sides now. the difficulty with the houthis is this. there's not one simple faction. in fact, some of the huestis we deal with, we can deal with reasonably effective. there are other elements we can't deal with, and it seems like they just don't care. we had positive meetings last week. i've been meeting inside yemen for three days last week at the port itself meeting with the different leaders of the different factions and they're telling me what i want to hear. we'll see what type of fruit
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take place in terms of progress on the ground. >> paint picture, if you like. you just talked to the millions and millions who could be up for a famine if this doesn't get resolved soon. but just describe -- i think you called the children, it's like touching ghost children. >> it's heartbreaking. to talk about numbers is one thing. but to talk about little children with names, and i can tell you a little story that is not an isolated incident. i went from room to room in the hospital, and there were children dying before my very own eyes and like this little boy mohammed who was 8 months old and, christiane, he weighed 3.3 kilograms, an 8-month-old, who should weigh 9 to 10 kilograms. as he was laying there and i tickled his little feet thinking i would get a smile, there's no smile. it's like tickling a ghost. it was like that from room to room, and the mothers were begging for peace.
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when i was in hodeidah, it's a war zone. the streets were like a ghost town in some old western movie. and we're doing everything we can. and here is what's deplorable. when i left, literally two days after i left, we found inside our red sea mill grain silo what are the type of land mines houthis have been using and this is in a houthi-controlled area, we had seven land mines inside our facility inside the grain bins that were placed there just in the past few days. they had been entering into our facilities, violating every humanitarian principle, putting our people that are working there lives on the line. it's got to stop. the war needs to end. let me say this. this is critical because we can't solve this problem now just with humanitarian assistance. the economy is collapsing dramatically as we speak. >> i want to quote a little bit about what one of your u.n.
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colleagues says, the humanitarian chief. he has said the economy is a major crisis pushing yemen closer to the brink than ever before and various u.n. officials, the british ambassador to the u.n. and others, are circulating resolutions. the british foreign secretary has talked to the saudi crown prince. as i mentioned to begin with, the saudis have agreed to let up on certain bombardments. the houthis now say they will let up on bombarding saudi and the rest. do you feel, because as apparently planned peace talks in sweden for later on, do you feel this is a moment -- when you walked away from there, do you feel this moment of maximum, let's say, spotlight in the wake of the khashoggi murder is potentially opening up some avenue towards a political settlement? >> and that's why i went to yemen to bring international exposure to the atrocities of war, to bring exposure to the port of hodeidah that cannot be
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closed, it cannot be bombed or impaired in any way, shape, fashion or form. and so, in fact, i had many people saying i can't believe you're going to hodeidah. it's essential the world sees what's going on because of the distractions in the world whether it's trump, trump, trump or brexit, brexit, brexit. we have people dying inside yemen and i believe the people of yemen clearly want this to end, and it can come to an end but it requires all parties doing something. and let me add this because before the war started there was already economic deterioration in that country. there was already great poverty, there was maximized stunting among children. this was a country struggling before the war and now it's only exacerbated to a point where, as i hear people say, it's on the brink of catastrophe. i say it's not on the brink, it is a catastrophe. >> certainly looks absolutely horrific. and we've seen just these awful pictures from your visit and from previous reporting there
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which is very, very limited, the coalition and the others make it very hard for independent journalists to get in. look, you are a u.n. official of a major agency, but you used to be a u.s. governor. you know the situation in the united states very well, the political situation. and i wonder if you would just react to what the houthi leader wrote in "the wall street journal" a little while ago now, november 9th. it was a couple weeks ago before the current political movement. he wrote, saudi leaders are reckless and have no interest in diplomacy. the united states has the clout to bring an end to the conflict but has decided to protect a corrupt ally. the united states wants to be viewed as an honest mediator, but it is, in fact, participating and sometimes leading the aggression on yemen. he's obviously referring to the u.s. backing the saudi-led coalition there. what can you say to that political accusation towards the united states? >> well, as i've been speaking not just on the war in yemen but
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wars all over the world that we need to bring all of these crises to an end and yemen is no exception to the rule. i've been speaking clear to leaders not just in the united states, but other countries as well. this issue needs to be resolved. pressure needs to be brought to bear on all sides of the conflict so it can end because this is a humanitarian disaster. couple that with the economic collapse. we have, i think, what should be the greatest catastrophe i know in my lifetime. it's definitely the worst catastrophe, the worst humanitarian disaster on the face of the planet today. and if we don't do something quickly, and let me just say not just on the humanitarian side, yemen needs liquidity in the economic marketplace. if there's not injected $200 million or more per month into the economy, there's not enough humanitarian assistance in the world. in fact, what the war has not done in 3 1/2 years, i think the collapse of the economy will do in the next few months. we have to address it from a humanitarian perspective and
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address it from a liquidity perspective into the economy and i have been speaking to the leaders particularly in the u.s. that we need financial support. they have been stepping up but also to the uae and honestly in the last year, the uae has been a remarkable change in how they've cooperated, listened to what they can do. but more pressure needs to be brought to bear on all sides, so the people of yemen, so the children can have hope again. >> david beasley, executive director of the u.n.'s world food program, thank you for joining us from brussels. >> thank you. and now we're going to turn to washington where an ngo and a humanitarian activist is going to be joining us to talk about her work and her husband's work in trying to bring the world's attention to the humanitarian crisis. radhya almutawakel is joining us from washington right now. you just heard david beasley, a major official with the united nations. you heard what he said.
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what is your reaction to his description of the problem and the solutions? >> first, i want to thank mr. david and all the humanitarian ngos. if they didn't work since the beginning of the war to bring some attention to the yemen, even the khashoggi case would not bring this attention. yes, now 22 million yemenis are in need of material assistance or protection, and this is almost all of us, three-quarters of us. and the yemenis, we hear about starvation but that they are being starved, they are being starved. they are using starvation as a tool of war, and it is a very preventible war, very preventible violations. the absence of accountability and this green light for immunity just made all parties to the conflict to do these violations very clearly.
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>> radhya, your organization is called mwatana organisation for human rights. you were deigned in yemen try to document violations of human rights and the deprave situation that you described even before the khashoggi murder. and you were detained on orders from the saudi-led coalition. describe that for me. why is it so difficult apart from the terrible danger to do the kind of work you're trying to do to hold all parties accountable? >> you can imagine to be an independent human rights organization in the middle of your neighbor saudi arabia and all of them don't want the truth to be told. because all of them are kmiegt committing horrible violations against people on the ground. as our work documents, we have researchers all over yemen and document the violations and issue statements and reports and documentary films. more than one of our predecessors have been detained by houthis and other groups.
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in our way, we were deigned, me and my colleague and husband, we were detained by the coalition. they detained us for about 12 hours. we have been released because of very high pressure. after i heard about the khashoggi case, i just felt like a survivor because anything could happen to us in that moment of detention. >> do you believe that today, after the saudi king has now said he supports a political solution to yemen, the houthi rebels have said that they will stop their drone and other missile attacks. the saudis have said they will stop attacking around the hodeidah port. do you believe there is a political moment right now that can be grabbed, and what are you saying during your visits with political leaders in the united states? >> it is the moment now. peace in yemen since the beginning is always possible. it never happened because there
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is no political well, but now it is very different especially after the khashoggi murder. so it's special, unique. we take it or lose it until we never know when. we are pushing for peace and accountability because, as they say, it's a very preventible violations by all parties of the conflict. they do a lot of relations -- violations because there's no accountability. ceasefire is a one first step but it is not all. there should be a full political agreement that helps yemenis to restart their state again to restart their lives again. u.s., uk, and france they decided since the beginning of the war in yemen to fuel the war by sending weapons and also by political support to the saudi coalition. now is the time to stop this and go to positive steps towards peace in yemen. it is very possible and all parties of the conflict in yemen are weak.
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it is weakness between all of them and they are all losers. they need only to be pushed to go to the table. and most of the yemennies are civilians, so the chance is very big. if we lose it, it's going to be a very big lose and we never know when the chance will come again to yemen. >> this is a major point, you say, a major turning point that has to be grabbed right now. and it really does seem the khashoggi murder in its awfulness has really mobilized great britain, the united states, others to really see if they can get a ceasefire there right now. i want to play you this by president trump who said over the weekend that, you know, it's also all about iran and he really came down hard on the iran-aligned houthi rebels. just listen to what he says. >> it takes two to tango. iran has to end it, also. iran is a different country than it was when i took over. it's far weakened because of what i did with the iran -- so-called iran deal, iran nuclear deal.
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which was one of the great ripoffs of all time. i want iran to stop, also. >> the president, radhya, claims iran is much, much weakened. not many people agree with that and they believe iran is still pursuing its own interests in the area. what do you make of the president of the united states' position vis-a-vis saudi arabia and iran on this issue of yemen? >> yeah, i just want to tell him directly that there are two groups who get benefits from the war in yemen, iran and al qaeda. this environment is very perfect for any militia to play a very big role. so iran -- i mean, houthis might be cheap allies for iran, so vaughn losing nothing in as the united emirates are losing in yemen. the only way to defeat houthis and to defeat iran is to go to the peace and to rebuild the states in yemen. the militia, the armed groups on
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the ground is a perfect environment for them. huestis at the beginning couldn't even do the missiles. but now they are able to just do this. so they are getting even stronger, not weaker, because of this war. >> and just to finish off, you wrote in foreign policy magazine about the u.s. behavior in this war over the last several years and you wrote, if u.s. lawmakers had spoken up and taken action on yemen years ago when saudi arabia's rampant violations were already well known, thousands of yemeni civilians who have since been killed by air strikes or starvation, would still be alive today and perhaps jamal khashoggi would be, too. >> this is right. the saudi-led coalition, if they didn't get this green light to do this horrible violations in yemen with immunity, without any kind of accountability, they
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felt that they can do anything. if they didn't -- if they weren't given the green light in yemen, maybe khashoggi would be alive until now. >> well, you know, as awful as it seems, let's see whether this awful murder of our colleague actually plays a part in getting people's heads together to end this terrible war where hundreds of thousands are being killed in the last three years. radhya almutawakel, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> in the meantime, we continue to ask for saudi officials to discuss this and the murder of jamal khashoggi right here on our program. we will continue to keep asking. but we turn now to american politics, and a sorry affair that just might help us understand the bitterly divisive era we now live in. december marks 20 years since the house of representatives impeached president bill clinton. it was only the second time in u.s. history that had happened. what began as an investigation
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into a clinton real estate deal, known as whitewater, snowballed into a a trawl of the president's personal life. the saga is now the subject of a new documentary series called "the clinton affair," and it features the most extensive conversation to date with the most famous former white house intern in the world, monica lewinsky. >> i didn't get it until the first time i was really in his presence. i was struck in a way that he had this ability to hold everybody who was there, not just young women, not just older women, but young men, older men, gay, straight, everybody is starry-eyed in his presence. i kind of have to laugh at my younger self, but that was when my crush started. >> blair foster is director of the six-part "the clinton affair" airing on a&e and she
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is joining me now from new york. blair foster, welcome to the program. >> thank you for having me. >> so when you hear monica talking about a crush, even all these years later, what went through your mind as you listened? i think you conducted some 20 hours of interviews with her. >> we did. we interviewed her over the course of three separate interviews. you know, i was struck at how young she was at the time. she was 22. and i don't think i had really truly registered how young she was until i dove back into this. here she is 20 years later reflecting on it in a way i think a lot of people do when they reach their middle age and she's very honest about her feelings. >> look, there has been quite a lot of focus on this affair, certainly with the 20-year anniversary, there's been a big podcast series, now you have your a &e series. you have monica. the others don't. what do you think convinced here
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to speak to you at this time? >> well, she knew it was the 20th anniversary, and i think she knew it was going to get a lot of attention. we were fortunate we had our executive producer had a mutual friend of monica's who is another executive producer of ours, and she put the two of them together because she thought it would be a good fit. and i think monica very much wanted this to not be about her. this is about all of the events leading up to the impeachment. obviously her story, she plays a pivotal role, but i think she wanted to be involved with something that was going to seriously examine all of the events leading up to the impeachment not just her involvement. >> so that brings you into the picture. you said, and you've said that you thought you knew a lot about this story, a lot about all of the events leading up to this impeachment, but doing this film -- i don't know whether it changed what you knew but it certainly amplified and maybe changed a little bit. how so?
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>> i lived through this era, and i'm embarrassed to say how -- when i realized how little i did know. i think there are about six hours worth of material that i didn't know in this series. for example, i didn't realize there had been an independent counsel before ken starr and there were two after ken starr. we were very fortunate to get an interview with judge starr, and not only judge starr but i think we all think about this as ken starr, it's referred to as the starr report, but the independent counsel was made up of a team of prosecutors and we were fortunate to get interviews with a number of them as well, and it was a kind of eerie parallel to what's going on right now and i felt fortunate to get some insight into how this type of investigation works. >> i'm going to sort of get you to talk about that insight and the parallels perhaps today. let me walk you through some of what monica said and what she said in this documentary.
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she's written about the experience of doing it before it started to air, and she said the process of this docu-series delivered me to grief's doorstep, grief for the pain i caused others, grief for the broken young woman i had been before and during my time in d.c., and the shame i still felt around that. grief for having been betrayed first by someone i thought was my friend and then by the man i thought had cared for me. the friend was linda tripp who famously betrayed her, wire tapped her, and started this whole fbi process. and the man, of course, was president clinton. what do you feel about having her relive all of that grief? to you, what was the value added to having monica do that and also is it a problem not having linda tripp, because she is one of the villains in this. >> i would say my deepest disappointment is that linda tripp didn't agree to do an interview or tried several times
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and we -- i had an extensive discussion with her. my goal for this series was to kind of take away the political lens and see this through the eyes of just here are these humans, and i wanted everyone to have the opportunity to tell their story, and i really would have liked for linda tripp to have that as well, because you can see with monica, monica goes into great detail and it is very emotional about what she went through and i think it gives you a whole new insight. for example, i didn't realize that when this all began, she was unable to speak for herself publicly. she was in legal jeopardy by the independent counsel. and so for months and months, i think almost a year she wasn't able to publicly speak. the media is able to establish a narrative around her and she had no control over that. >> since we're talking about linda tripp, let me play what monica told you about how linda tripp got involved in this and eventually betrayed her.
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>> for the last two weeks leading up to the election, i didn't hear from him at all. i had naively invested in his promise and expected he would have won the election and within the next few days he would have called. okay, great, where do you want to work. that didn't happen. >> i have this nagging insecurity maybe he just did all of these things his last six months because he was trying to keep me quiet during the election. how stupid am i that i believed this, that i bought this? i felt so deflated and so desperate, and those were the conditions along with other things that led me to confiding in linda tripp. >> blair, first explain what she means by i thought he did all these things in the last six months?
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i think the president kept monica at a distance and re-assigned her to the pentagon, or she was re-assigned there. explain how this came about. >> exactly. monica was working in the white house and a couple people started to feel like she was a little uncomfortably close to the president. i don't think they knew exactly what was going on. but it was an election year, so she was transferred to the pentagon where she met linda tripp. linda tripp also worked in the white house. i think they bonded over that. linda's about 20 years older, i think, than monica. they form a friendship, and they were friends for several months before monica even told her about the relationship. the president promised monica when the election was over that he would bring her back to the white house. that did not happen. it was monica being upset about that that was the catalyst for her telling linda tripp about the relationship.
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>> look, let's go through some of the other people you interview. you interview some of the other women, well, the women who accuse president clinton of improper sexual advances. he denies all of those. the question, of course, is does it bother you almost all of them, if not all of them, have aligned themselves with right-wing groups, with people who have an agenda against the clintons and very publicly so? >> i think it's only recently, and referring to the 2016 election, where paula jones, kathleen willie, juanita broderick came out in a press conference. i think juanita and kathleen were pretty quiet for many, many years since 1998. at the time paula jones, her cause was certainly taken up by conservatives and championed by conservatives. what was important to me and we're seeing this now with the me too movement, what happens
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when we strip away the politics of what happened to them, and take a look at what happened to them, let them have an opportunity to tell their story. we can claim assault or harassment and have the kind of politics that some people disagree with and also to have your cause taken up by political forces perhaps even beyond your control. >> again, to go into the opposition, remember, this was at a time when newt gingrich was speaker of the house and he was leading the impeachment proceedings and it was kind of apparently, i didn't cover washington, but an open secret that he was carrying on an extramarital affair with a staffer. then the person who was meant to replace him, he also had to get booted out because of his affair. then there was another one, another speaker who had an even more serious allegation of sexual harassment and abuse against him, and he was, you
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know, thrown out in the dust bin of history as well. do you think that would have been also important to cover? that the very people who were accusing the president were also involved in very similar behavior? >> well, i wanted to take a step back and look at the larger forces that got us to 1998. i think, one, there's a very important event in the 1994 midterms where you see a shift on the right and a number of these people are elected to office or gain positions of power in the first place. newt gingrich being first and foremost. he leads the so-called republican revolution in '94. and makes it clear they're going to use tactics that haven't been used before. i think you also see an enormous shift in the media. there's a tectonic shift that happens and these two forces kind of collide. and so i was more interested in the larger picture leading up to '98. i did interview bob livingston, and we do discuss what was
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referred to at the time as sexual mccarthyism and the fact larry flynt, the publisher of a pornographic magazines offers a million dollar reward for anyone who will give him information on republicans who have had an affair. and larry flynn gets a lot of information and bob livingston refers to himself as being flynted and is forced to resign. >> let's get back to monica lewinsky because she is the main scoop that you have in this story. let's get back to some of what might resonate today with the fbi. this is what she says when she was finally entrapped by linda tripp and it led to her being imprisoned in a hotel room practically and all of the wiretapping. let's have a listen. >> i kept asking, could i call my mom? they kept saying, no. he said, you're 24. you don't need to call your mommy. you need to make a decision about what to do. and so i said, well then, you
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should know i'm leaning towards not cooperating. and he said, well, you should know that we're also planning on prosecuting your mom for the things you said she did on the tape. >> basically told her, listen, you don't need to call your mommy. you're a big girl. you have to make some decisions on your own while you still can. >> and i basically stood my ground and said if they would not let me call someone, call my mom, i couldn't make this decision without talking to her. so eventually they said, okay. >> it really is shocking when you hear this all these years later, what they did to a 22-year-old girl was beyond the beyond. you have notably called this the clinton affair as opposed to the monica lewinsky scandal.
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tell me the cultural or gender politics around this, particularly in the me too era. >> one of the most notable, we we went back a little and deep dive into all the archival material, all of the footage, the coverage of this, and when you look at how when the scandal first broke, how it was covered, it was automatically assumed that the president was frksz -- if not innocent, even if you believed he had this affair, no one had a problem with it. monica had the burden of it. she was referred to as a fantasist, she was a stocker. she was making this up u. one nightly news show showed a clip from "fatal attraction" and compared her to glenn close. then she was the victim and the seductress and she's mocked on late night talk shows. but she's not taken seriously by anyone. no one comes to her defense. with the me too movement, we're in a moment now we're starting
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to rethink how we respond to these allegations that women have much more credibility when they come forward and make these kinds of claims. i think that's a very important shift that's happening. >> you did point out how some of this resonates with what's happening right now in washington. for instance go all the way back to then and that's when the evangelicals made this whole issue and the christian right and the political right made this a major and central issue and said, you know, a public official, an elected official's moral comportment is as important as their professional abilities, and they stuck to that. now it's all flipped. now they say exactly the reverse about president trump because they like the politics of this current president and it serves their agenda. how do you address that, how do you think about that?
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>> to me what was fascinating is right off the start i realized this is a series that is about a president under investigation by a special counsel in an era of deeply divided partisan politics where there's a national conversation about sexual harassment. except what happened is the roles have kind of flipped. so you had people like in this period, lindsey graham who are championing the causes of some of these women who obviously in recent months turn around and flip things on the other side. i think what we were trying to do with the series is to borrow a phrase, hold up a distant mirror to the past to reflect what's going on right now. >> what do you think will happen? monica always said that it would be good to get an apology, a personal apology. that hasn't happened. and she also wrote, again, before the series came out, she wrote, if you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly do
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interviews for decades without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions that he doesn't want to answer. clearly that's shifting because people are going ask president clinton directly about this and they still ask hillary clinton about it. of course they didn't cooperate with your film. what do you think might be the result of your series? >> one i'm hoping we might learn from it and put some of these things past us. there's a great line from one of the journalists in the series who talks about president clinton being immoral in his personal life but moral in his public life. it would be nice for us to like politicians who were moral in both their personal and public life. i don't know if that's too much to ask for these days. i'm hoping it will maybe reignite some conversations or fuel some current conversations and allow us to move past some of this. >> blair foster, we have to
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leave it there. thank you so much for joining us tonight. highlighting the political tribalism affecting the united states from charlottesville to charleston to pittsburgh. the fbi confirms that racism and anti-semitism are on the rise. the latest numbers show hate crimes were up 17% in 2017 from the previous year. the investigative site propublica and frontline have just released a new investigation into white supremacist groups in the united states, in particular a neo-nazi group that has actively recruited inside the u.s. military. a.c. thompson reports and contributes to frontline. he spoke to our hari sreenivasan about this. >> a.c., this is the second in a series of films that frontline is publishing about this.
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>> basically back at the end of 2016 we started building a coalition of news rooms that were going to report on hate crimes, acts of bias and bigotry, and track the resurgent white power movement. that's what we've been doing with news rooms across the country, about 160 different organizations. the documentaries are sort of one of the most high-profile products we put out. in that series, but they're part of a broader series. >> last year you took a look at charlottesville and what happened there. let's take a listen and a clip from that documentary. >> jews will not replace us! >> charlottesville, virginia, august 12, 2017. i've been tracking hate crimes since the 2016 presidential election. and i can see that something was happening in this country. the charlottesville rally was supposed to be about a confederate monument. but anyone paying attention could see it was about more than
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a single statue. it felt like a national reckoning around race was coming. and being here would help me understand it. i came here to ask questions, and as the day unraveled and the chaos around me, one thing became clear. this was not a place to listen or understand. charlottesville was a crime scene. >> one of the questions that comes up watching that documentary is how was this not something that law enforcement
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saw and was prepared for and had policy surrounding? >> you know, that's a great question. honestly, it's one in our reporting we still haven't answered. what we know going into charlottesville is that the local police and the virginia state police there had warnings that there could be violence and that people would be bringing implements of violence, clubs, knifes, pepper spray, helmets, shields. i think the central failing there is they prevented people -- they didn't prevent people -- they allowed people to bring those weapons and they didn't stop them from bringing them. i think that was really the key thing, and that was a pattern we saw all that year throughout 2017 that different police forces were sort of failing to do that, they were failing to intervene in a smart way. when he had these obvious conflicts were going to happen. >> since then, as you mentioned the document is just one of the high profiles that you have been
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continuing to report on this. you've been publishing about this. we're going to take a listen to a clip from this year's documentary about the consequences since then. take a look. >> after charlottesville, i identified some of the groups behind the violence. with a team of reporters i exposed a neo-nazi fight club called the rise above movement or r.a.m. they were involved in melees in four different cities. following our investigation, eight members or associates of r.a.m. are now facing federal charges. but the most extreme organization is called the adam lofton division. it means atomic weapons in german. the group embraces nazi ideology and preaches minorities, gays and jews. it calls for lone wolf acts of violence, much like the massacre in pittsburgh.
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>> you mentioned there's not that many to start with, perhaps they're growing in numbers. how big are they? give us a sense. >> what we know is after charlottesville the group recruited a lot of new members. people were saying, hey, we wanted to have a public white power rally. it didn't go over. all this chaos ensued. so the way to move forward is to go underground, is to become a guerrilla violent organization. a lot of people signed up and went in that direction. we know after charlottesville the group had between 60 and 80 members. but the thing about them that's important is that they're an extreme group, an incredibly violent group. their entire ideology is based on lone-wolf terrorism, political assassination, random acts of violence. so when you have a group like that, it doesn't matter if they have six members or 60, they have the capacity to do serious harm.
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>> and you get all this from interviews with people who are in the organization, you're looking at chat logs of what they're talking about and when. you point out they're recruiting inactive duty military and veterans. why? >> this is a strategy the white power movement has been using for decades. after the vietnam war the white power movement refashioned itself as a paramilitary movement. it took former soldiers and emulated the tactics of the u.s. military and said, look, we're not just going to prop up white supremacy. we're going to overthrow the government and usher in a new white government a new fascist government. and so what you see now with the current iteration of the white supremacist movement, they're taking those tactics, they're recruiting former soldiers, former marines, former airmen, and they say we want your skills, your knowledge of weapons, your combat training,
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and your ability to blend in to society. and our aim is to engage in acts of violence, terrorism and eventually guerrilla war. >> you even found active duty military members who were part of it. what's the military doing about this? >> that's a big question we've been trying to answer. basically there is not in the military justice code, there's no actual specific code that deals with being a member of an extremist group. so it's hard to track. it's like there's nothing in the military penal code basically on this. we know that members are barred from joining these groups. so what we've learned is in the last five years the pentagon is saying there have been 27 reports of extremist activities in the ranks across all branches. >> in five years, that's it? >> in five years. experts we're speaking to say that is a very, very low number
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and they're not sure that is an accurate number. >> so when you talk about this, the way that you mentioned basically lone-wolf terrorism, the organization of it and these little cells, there are parallels here to any kind of terrorism we're familiar with since 9/11. it's just a different group of exactly. and that's an important, important thing to know. this is a movement that long ago said, hey, we're not going to form massive top-down terrorist organizations. we're going to operate in ones and twos and threes with people who know each other, and that way we won't be infiltrated by the feds and we won't be taken down. so when you see an act like what happened at the tree of life synagogue, robert bower, the alleged shooter, he's coming out of a white power movement that encourages people to engage in those types of attacks, to advance its agenda and that is a thing that i think people are
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missing. >> what's our government response been to this? are we devoting enough resources, have we diverted resources from these types of extremist groups? >> all of our reporting suggests that basically two things happened around 2009. the threat started ticking up at a lot of people in the movement were angry that we had our first african-american president and at the same time the obama administration deemphasized white supremacist groups and domestic terror, anti-government groups at that time, and really funneled resources towards other types of terrorism. so i think what we've seen over the last ten years is a gradual and increasing turning away from these kind of threats, and i think at this point we're not particularly well-prepared to deal with them. >> here we are a year after charlottesville, a police officer in gainesville, florida,
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trying to prepare and he was saying i don't have a dossier from the department of homeland security, the federal and the state and local agencies don't have enough information on what's in my own backyard. >> yeah. i definitely have seen some federal intelligence reports that make me think there are some analysts and some agents that have a handle on what's going on, but i also think the broader picture is worrisome, and i think when we look at particularly what's going on with the military, which is a thing that we need to focus on with these groups, i don't think there has been a strong response. for example, the military to my knowledge, does not have a tattoo database to see whether people have white supremacist or gang tattoos and that is the problem, that people mark themselves, and one way you can track them. another problem that you see they don't monitor people's social media when they're being recruited. we've encountered white
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supremacists who are open about their nazi views and then joined the military. they're posting this on facebook, instagram, twitter. if you just did a cursory search, you could keep the people out of the service. >> you are focusing on a specific group and a specific movement. put this in the context of the times. just recently we had new hate crimes reporting data released and it's up. >> right. so the first thing to understand is that we are still down from historic highs that happened after 9/11, so that is a good thing and we should feel good about that. however, we should be very concerned because we have several years of increasing hate crimes numbers. i think going back to about 2014 i think they've gone up since then every year up to 2017 which is the most current data. so that should be a concern for us. that should be something we should be worrying about and tracking. and that, i think, is the broader context that we see these organized groups acting in.
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>> you spoke to james mason who is a spiritual leader for the folks that are part of the group and considers timothy mcveigh a hero. what was interesting in the conversation you had, he sees sort of upside potential in the trump administration and this presidency. why? >> that shocked us. james mason has always ban guy who said we have to tear down the u.s. government and impose our white fascist regime. he was about destroying the government. and we thought that was what he would say to us. instead what he said was i support guys like tim mcveigh or james fields who allegedly drove the car into the crowd in charlottesville, but i also love trump. there's no telling what i might do. i have hope some of my fascist goals will finally be realized. so that was pretty shocking to me.
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>> tell me the reporting process. there's a scene where you go to a death metal concert in dallas and as a reporter i'm sitting there going, well, better him than me. but here you are. you have no hair on your head. you have huge tats on your arm and you walk in and blend in. do you think in some ways that helped you at least approach the people? >> yeah, you know, in that case we wanted to get inside the scene and we had a tip that members of the group would be at this underground metal show, and since i was coming in with a camera crew i figured, hey, i might as well try to not be totally extra obvious, so i get a chance to talk to them. the thing that can be useful at times, i followed the skinhead movements and the neo-nazi movements in the '80s and '90s. there's definitely a connection from those movements and also the way they connect to subcultures like the
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punk subculture, the metal subculture. i sort of know that stuff and i think it's useful for me in my reporting now. >> is there a difference considering you have been covering this beat for so long, is there something differently different you're noticing in these groups today that perhaps you didn't see in the '80s and '90s? >> the first thing is that a lot of these people are much more connected to the mainstream of society. if you look at the earlier groups, they were much more outside the center of society. they were disconnected from the main cultural current. they couldn't watch hollywood movies because they were controlled by degenerate jews, they couldn't watch sports because there were too many people of color playing sports. they could not relate to average people. with the current movement, it's very young, a lot of people are very smart, i think incredibly
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adept at moving their way through internet and social media. now these organizations are taking advantage of the biggest social media platforms out there. they're able to build an audience and connect with potential followers using those platforms. it's a remarkable change and that's allowed them to proselytize and spread their message in a way that was never possible before. >> what's been the personal consequence of this reporting? >> here is the thing. anybody doing this work in this space has to worry about repercussions whether they're online or in the real world. i'm not immune to that. i think all of my colleagues that are doing this of any kind reporting have had bad incidents and sometimes really scary incidents. i also think that's part of a broader pattern we're seeing where when people are expressing themselves in public forums
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whether it's on twitter, facebook, or youtube, they're encountering a wave of harassment particularly if they're people of color, religious minorities, or so forth. and i think what we're experiencing as reporters is the broader sort of situation. >> all right, ac thompson of propublica and "frontline." thank you so much. >> thank you. such important reporting work there, and the second part of the documenting hate series airs on a pbs tomorrow. that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour & co." and join us again tomorrow night. uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bea tollman founded a collection of boutique hotels, she had bigger dreams, and those
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