tv Amanpour Company PBS December 17, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
hello, everyone, and welcome to amanpour and company. even the tabloids are flipping now. is the investigation into president trump reaching critical mass. then, thrills and spills were the message. widows director steve mcqueen tells me about his new film and what he thinks about being snubbed by the golden globes. plus, why this conservative publisher and son-in-law of the late senator john mccain abandoned the republican party. >> uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bea tollman found a collection of boutique hotels,
she had bigger dreams, and those dreams were on the water. a river, specifically. multiple rivers that would one day be home to uniworld river cruises and their floating boutique hotels. today that dream sets sail in europe, asia, india, egypt, and more. bookings available through your travel agent. for more information, visit uniworld.com. >> additional support has been provided by rosalind p. walter. bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the cheryl and philip milstein family. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in london. hook, line, and what comes next? this week saw the u.s. president donald trump finding old allies
turning against him one after the other. federal prosecution in new york revealed wednesday that they had struck a deal with nation"natio enquirer" publisher ami. it admitted it paid hush nomone to a "playboy" model to conceal an affair that she said she had with the president. an action ami said they did with the trump campaign. cohen at the same time this week was using his day in court to claim his involvement in illegal payments was to cover up for the president's, quote, dirty deeds. now, it has to be said that the president continues to deny all these allegations, joining me to figure out how these bombshells fit into the massive accusations is author of the threat matrix, the fbi at war, garrett graph in
vermont and former federal and state prosecutor ellie hon anything who joins me from new york. eli hoenig, what significance to you attach to the slipping by the "national enquirer" publisher ami. >> that was a shocker cristian. when you're being investigate bid the southern district of new york, when everyone around you is cooperating or has immunity, you're the one they're coming for and if we look at the landscape, we see michael cohen we know has pled guilty, david pecker has been given immunity. and yesterday's revelation about
ami is one more huge piece of evidence lining up and if you look at who's left in this transaction, the hush money payment, there's only three people that i can identify by looking at the public document, that's executive one and two for the trump organization as they were identified in cohen's documents and there's speculation about who that could be but they're both executives of the trump organization, and then the president himself. >> what does this mean, still with you, elie. how much closer does not just this investigation in new york but the bigger question of mueller and his investigation, how does this all fit together and what should the president be thinking? >> if i teem president i'm looking at sort of three main fronts, one of them is the campaign finance thing which at this moment in time is the most readily provable case. based on what's known is the case that if i was the
prosecutor i could go into a grand jury, give them the evidence and walk out of there with an indictment against the president. let's out if the side whether we can indict the president or not. that's a separate issue, but against the executive force president. the second is the obstruction of justice probe and that goes back to the fouring of james comey, the firing of jeff sessions, we've seen the tweets trying to intimidate or dissuade cooperating witnesses, trying to encourage people to stay silent and we know moourmueller's peop have spoke within michael flynn and don mcgahn who was legal counsel. and then the third front that is out there, and this is probably the highest stakes politically, is what we'll call the coordination with russia, the campaign coordination with russia. we already know some information about the wikileaks hack and the coordination potentially through roger stone and others close to the president and we learned recently that cohen was involved in lying to congress about the trump tower project in moscow
which is a hundreds of millions of dollars worth project. so you can start to see the president's financial and political motivations on collusion coming into focus. >> so let me turn to garrett graff. moving from this investigation in new york to the broader allegations of collusion with russia over the campaign, i want to ask you about what you think it might immediate for that investigation and let us read off a few of cohen's coats as he was speaking in court. the broader case he's talking about. recently he said the president tweeted a statement call megaweak and he was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying. it was because time and time again i felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than listen to my own inner voice and my own moral compass.
he was talking about what he was specifically being sentenced for, but how do you think this plays into the cooperation that mueller says is giving him on the other issue, the russia issue? >> this has been a fascinating story to watch unfold and to see how much more we've learned and how much further this narrative has been advanced. to put it starkly here, prosecutors over the last 18 months have outlined two separate criminal conspiracies that helped donald trump win the presidency in 2016 one was the facebook bots and trolls of the internet research agency aimed to hurt hillary clinton and help donald trump. the other was a criminal conspiracy with michael cohen at the center involving this hush money payments meant to cover up
damaging stories in the final weeks of the election. now what michael cohen has told us in court under oath and presumably prosecutors have documentary corroborating evidence to back up his testimony is is that he as the central figure of one of those criminal conspiracies was in contact with and attempting to gain assistance from the central figure in the other criminal conspiracy, russian president vladimir putin. and that these two different avenues of business collusion and election collusion are beginning to look more and more the same. we just mentioned the fact that this trump tower moscow deal could have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the trump organization. that seems like an incredibly important fact for the american people to know about the context of the comments that the
president was making during the campaign in 2016 as he was trying to lessen pressure on russia and change the u.s. stance and posture towards russia. that the president was set to gain financially personally from helping russia even as russia was helping him win the election. >> okay, let's go back to the latest specifics, and, again, not so much about the russia issue. it is also the filings in new york and what the federal prosecutors there are saying. so here, again, the federal prosecutor about cohen. as cohen himself has now admit with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual 1. individual 1 is the president of the united states. now, president trump on thursday responded. i never directed michael cohen to break the law. he was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. it's called advice of counsel and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made.
that is why they get paid. despite that, many campaign finance lawyers have strongly stated that i did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply because this was not campaign finance. so the essential issue is that, you know, i might have talked to cohen but i never directed him and if i was directing him he should have known better and she should have stopped me. elie honig as a federal prosecutor formerly, how does that sit in the eyes of the law. >> let's break it down into two pieces and neither of them stand up, christiane. the idea that michael cohen, my lawyer, told me it was fine. i'm looking at that from a prosecutor's perspective. completely contradicted by donald trump's own prior statements when he was asked back in april, did you know anything about these payment he is said straight up no. now he's saying michael cohen told me the payments were fine. you cannot remstatents and that something about the validity of
that defense. there is a legal defense called advice of counsel. if your attorney gives you advice that is reasonable and that you believe to be good advice and you followed it, that can be a defense, but, again, it's hard to imagine that happened here. cohen certainly has denied it and will deny it. it's also just hard to believe as a matter of common sense given what we know that the president could have been told we're going to pay off these women you had affairs with a decade ago, we're going to create phony corporate shells to do it, i'm going to give you fake invoices and everyone will lie about it but it's totally legal. i have a problem with that part. part two is this notion that these weren't campaign contributions and it was totally legal to make them. that's an issue of fact. just to be clear on what's illegal about the contributions if they are campaign contributions is they were far in excess of the maximum permitted under law. individuals are only allowed to contribute $2700. these payments were well into the six figures.
so the question is were the purposes of the payments to impact the election or something else. john edwards was tried for this and the jury didn't convict him because they didn't find enough evidence that it was campaign-related as opposed to trying to spare his wife and family humiliation. but here the fact is different. this is timing. these affairs happened ten years before and when do they make the payments? october of 2016 right in the weeks before the election. look at the use of the phony corporate shells to hide it, look at the lies to hide it and i can make a strong argument to a jury that these were, in fact, campaign contributions. >> and senator rand paul has been quoted as saying that rce laws themselves are not a n big deal. do you agree with that? >> no. there are different gradations of campaign finance violations. there are inadvertent violations, paperwork violations that are not crimes but then
there is excessive contributions like this or unreported contribution which is absolutely are crimes. they've been prosecuted by the department of justice and really they're central to the integrity of our electoral system. if you hear a united states senator, a lawmaker saying this criminal law on the books, who's ca -- who cares, that tells you about the strength of that position. >> let me play another and get you to comment on the back of it. senator orrin hatch is a big defender of the president and when he was asked this week by reporters inside congress about these investigations, he was defensive. just listen to this. >> the democrats will do anything to hurt this president, anything. what happened before he was elected president is one thing. but since he's been elected, the economy has done well, our country is moving ahead, we're in better shape than we were before he became president and
we should judge him on that basis. >> reporter: but this is not the democrat. this is the southern district of new york and the u.s. attorney. >> you think he's a republican? >> he's been appointed by the president. >> okay, but -- i don't care. all i can say is he's doing a good job as president. >> okay, this is really, really interesting to break down. let me turn to you, garrett, for a moment on this. a couple of things, i don't care, he's doing a good job as president. that's number one. two, who is this u.s. attorney? is he a republican? and, three he first started saying it was the democrats. just break down just the politics and the personal agenda around that interview. >> and this is, to be fair, relatively common reaction we have seen thus far from republicans on capitol hill. they are very worried about
their own base, their own voters in primary elections where donald trump's popularity remains very, very high and are not yet willing to turn on him and defect. there is this question that is semiopen in u.s. politics about previous crimes before you become president, whether that would rise to an impeach only fence, but these crimes, because they go to sort of cheating to win the election certainly do fall under the impeachable category. if donald trump robbed a bank 20 years ago, that may not necessarily end up being an impeachable case, but certainly cheating to win the presidency falls under that. but i think we're beginning to see robert mueller lay out and
prosecutors lay out a wide-ranging and extensive russian intelligence operation and aggression against the united states that certainly poses a national security threat to the united states and that's something that i think the republicans on capitol hill are going to have a much harder time turning their backs to even if they're willing to overlook the campaign finance violations that the president has efltly been implicated in thus far. >> so therein you talked about, you know various different interpretations of what -- when a crime might have been committed or not relative to the campaign and the presidency. there are also as you know very differing and multiple interpretation who was a sitting president can be indicted. to get the terminology right, it
appears he has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in michael cohen's crime. but they're saying this idea is not a hard rule and the justice department guidance is that currently a sitting president cannot be indicted. let us play what democrat adam schiff said who will come in to be committee chairman in the new year. >> i think the justice department needs to reexamine that office of legal counsel opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president. i don't think the justice department ought to take the position and it's not one that would be required in any way by the constitution that a president merely being by in office can be above the law, escape the enforcement of the law by waiting out the statute of limitations. >> elie honig, is he right? >> for the most part, yes, there is an existing department of justice policy against indicting a sitting president but it's just that, it's a policy. it's not part of our
constitution, it's not a statute embedded in law. it's something the department of justice internally decided we won't do. i worked for the doj for eight years and policies would come and go so does the department of justice have the ability to do that? to change this policy? sure, is that going to happen in this administration with matthew whitaker and william barr as attorney general? seems unlikely to me so people have asked will the southern district defy that policy? the southern district is famously independent and politically to your prior question it is as non-partisan as any entity of government can be. i worked there for eight years, four under president obama, four under president bush and it made zero difference. you won't find a more non-partisan government entity than the southern district of stice and cannot secede or ict
disregard the policy. is that policy something that should be looked at or considered? perhaps, but that's a political calculation for the most part. >> we just heard elie speak about being four years in -- as a federal prosecutor -- eight years, four under a democrat, four under a republican and that it is not a partisan nest, if you like. just answer again people who say oh, the fbi is full of partisans and they're doing the democrats' bidding and they're all against the president. what do you say after having written the book on the whole issue? >> yeah, anyone who has covered or worked with the fbi other the years can't help but laugh at the idea that the fbi is a partisan nest of vipers and particularly a democratic pro-clinton deep state. the fbi is sort of anything but that. it's fiercely apolitical,
fiercely non-partisan and really one of the most conservative institutions in the united stat states. probably in many ways more conservative and traditional than the u.s. military. that said, i think one of the things that is important to look at is how conservative robert mueller's strategy has been as a prosecutor. robert mueller has a famously black-and-white moral compass and he is pursuing a deeply traditional and very conservative strategy as powell is, the charges he has brought, almost every single person has pleaded guilty, showing the overwhelming evidence that he is bringing and he is the that he is not playing a lot in the gray. he is not charging a lot of marginal crimes or debatable crimes. he is only showing up to play at
the times when he knows he can win and that's one of the things that should particularly worry the president going forward is the number of people arrayed on the other side who are providing substantial cooperation to robert mueller and federal prosecutors right now in and around the trump campaign and in and around the trump organization. prosecutors have this saying, you know, if you're not at the table, you're on the table and i think one of the things that we are beginning to see is that almost everyone is at the table right now except for the president and his family and that should be very worrisome for him. >> i mean, it really is a very gripping legal drama. thanks to both of you for bringing us up to date after this week of dramatic turns, garrett graff and elie honig,
thank you so much, indeed within -- we turn to a powerful movie director who turns stereotypes on their head. steve mcqueen, who won an oscar for "12 years a slave" is putting women's power and complexity front and center in his latest work, the acclaimed movie "widows," a slick and blistering thriller and a cohort of women who vow to execute a heist that cost the lives of their husband. mcqueen came into the studios to discuss taking on for what for him is different genre welcome to the program. >> thank you for having me. >> tell me about "widows" it's written by linda laplante and it's an old, ode series. >> i saw it when i was 13 years old, 1983, lying on my mother's carpet hands propping up my head and it came on tv and it just knocked me in between the eyes because it's people who were
being deemed as not being capable, people being judged on their appearance and i saw myself in them. that gaze has been put on me. and these were heroes that i could identify with. >> that is interesting because it's very out of type because it's not "12 years a slave" it's not "shame," it's not "hunger." it's a heist. but the commonality is you saw it as you, people looked at as the other. >> totally. again, yes, i used to project myself like sean connery playing 007 or johnny weissmuller playing tarzan. and it just registered with me how they circumnavigated and transcended and put in these stereotypes in order to get what they wanted. >> let's talk about the heroes. you could call it a very feminist movie.
the widows are the heroes. >> i don't know about feminist movie. again, feminism for me is normal. >> just means equality, let's face. >> it exactly so this whole idea of feminist movie because the majority of people who are heroes are women, it's just entertaining, good movie whose main protagonists are women, end of story. >> but very strong women in a very male world of heist and murder and double crossing and tripping crossing and viola davis, the star of your movie, ronnie, veronica, she has given an amazing speech but she basically said we always feel less than. we feel like -- we feel the boot of male influence of power. that's what me to and times up is about. this movie is about women gaining ownership of their lives. >> >> well, women are strong regardless. there's no strong women. women are always strong.
i'm not even trying to wave a flag here. there's no differentiation for me. what's interesting about for me this movie and the narrative i'm trying to deliver in a way is people's journeys in life. you see these four women and each individual person is a certain part of their life. you see alice who has a long journey in the picture. >> she's amazing, extraordinary. >> and other journeys are shorter ones but at the same time they have to pull themselves up with from this unfortunate environment that she finds herself in. >> so let me ask you. cynthia oribo, she plays the beauty salon who becomes part of this group as the driver and she runs like an athlete. is she an athlete? >> she might as well be.
i think she could have gone on trials in the uk. she's extraordinary. >> and she's going to play harriet tubman, the great civil rights activist. but do you feel that your job or part of what you offer is to also is to promote black actors in an era where they're considered afterthought s? >> my job is to basically put into the fore the best unique talent that i can find and michael fassbender, lupita
nyong'o, cynthia erivo, they're fantastic. i love to work with great actors and great talent. >> i want to play a clip of a speech that viola davis, the star of your movie gave. >> i was tired of seeing the expanse of imagination of writers when they wrote the mess, the joy, the beauty, the femininity of white characters. and maybe an hour into the movie you saw the obligatory black characters just kind of walking into the camera who had a name. they didn't have to have a name because you know nothing about them. >> that's profound. >> well, if you guys who are watching this program haven't
seen this speech, please get it going. that's one of the most extraordinary speeches about black artists in film, in hollywood ever. and how they feel and the whole idea to be recognized, to be visible. to be given a space on screen in a real way and to show full capacity as a human being. go see that speech. >> it's remarkable. she's achieved so much. >> also the fact of the matter, just take gay characters. there are certainly heads of studios, talent agencies, fwhavr hollywood. have you ever seen a gay character just being a gay character just being the detective? just being a person who is in a romantic comedy?
have you ever seen that? yet the powers that be are behind these sort of agencies or studios, whatever, they don't promote who they are as human beings, why? >> tell me why. >> they don't think they'll make money. isn't that strange? isn't it snod. >> it is. i have read you said you wanted to expand your target audience. it was time to do a thriller like this after the very focused historic dramas that you've taken on in the past. >> tell me about that. >> well, i did "hunger" which was about the hunger strike of bobby sands. "shame" which was an original story and then "12 years a slave." but for me. i've tried to push myself.
i want to take on things which are -- things that have been swept debey beneath the carpet and what happened with "widows is i wanted to talk about things i saw everyday but thread it through a heist and that was the idea. to galvanize these things but thread it to as a quest. >> so we have we have a clip and the one we're going to show is where the four women are discussing or training really to be able to bolt with the amazing -- i think it's five million they plan to steal. they are undertaking the theft, the heist that the dead husband was going to do because viola davis has to pay back what her husband stole. this is the clip. >> our goal date is in three days. now all of our work is worth nothing if we don't move the money and fast.
the notebook says $5 million. that's the amount of money mulligan was accused of kickbacks. we have $2 million, 20 ptubber ware boxes. it weighs 44 pounds. over here, we have $2 million. each box has $50. it weighs 88 pounds. >> i feel like i'm in school. >> we have to think like professionals. this won't be a cozy reunion. that have job we're done. we have three days to look and move like a team of men. the best thing we have going for us is being who we are. >> why? >> because no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off. >> it is really fantastic. it's not just through the eyes and prism of race but also the prism of women and me too. we can't help but absorb that message and what it's giving to
us. i want to read something you said. viola is like an iceberg. there's so much depth. watching her eat corn flakes is interesting. >> when you have a great artist it's like those great silent movie stars. a gesture, a look says so much because there is that -- there are certain people who can translate humanity and viola davis is of that. just of that. and there's so much humanity and vulnerability that you're looking at a mirror. you recognize yourself. >> i want to ask you whether you're upset. people were shocked you didn't get nominated for golden globes. you're the first black director to have won an oscar and you were so awarded for "12 years a slave." what does it mean not to get recognized for? >> i don't necessarily think --
it can't be because you're recognized last time you're recognized this time. nevertheless i made up my mind never to be judged by other people, long time ago. that was a situation where i have my own ruler. i have my own sort of device i measure myself on because if i had to do that in the past i don't think i would be speaking to you so i have my own -- how can i say, whatever it is you measure yourself with. >> i was moved by the scene that comes way into the film after you realize she suffered a tragedy it turns out her son marcus was killed we cops who pulled him over in an everyday shooting you see in america all the time. was that part of the original series or did you do that deliberately for our time? >> what i was trying to do was i just was in the nucleus of the
tv series which were these women's husbands died and they had to attempt the last heist so it was up for grab what is the rest of it was. like placing in chicago the environment, the political environment and what not. the whole idea of marcus and the shooting was the center of the film because it's about the environment these women finds themselves in. >> it's a very small scene. >> very small but it tells so much about the hand shakes in the back room, these sort of manipulations of the people, the population of chicago, whatever. the things which are done behind closed door which is make up that environment, which makes something like a marcus or a school shooting happen and it happened again and again and
again and again, the environment. so that's what i want ed ed to down within this drama. also you have a couple which are -- the mother is black, the father is white. did the father have the talk with marcus? did he know about the environment that his son, a black child was putting himself into? he wasn't aware of the social structures around which -- what happened to his son. >> so i want to ask you. you are very critical of the structure as we know it, life as we know it, whether it's racism, sexism, miss obstruction of justiceny -- misogyny and the unconscious bias that exist. so since a dradika took over a n "vanity fair", there's new
sensibility at "gq," i see a lot of black faces on the cover of magazines, diversity, and that's a good thing do you feel the same way? >> it's fantastic. that's the world we live in. if you don't change things, nothing ever changes. it sounds simplistic but that's it. also the fact is that it's about being cool. if it's about fashion and being hip or what not you have to go with it. i've known edward since i was 17 years old and what he's done is magnificent and again it's just this -- it's like anything. if you're a scientist, you don't take one part of the subject. you expand everything to get an idea of what's excellent.
just like any situation. if you're only taking one aspect how can you expand the whole idea of it? the whole idea makes me crazy in a way because i like the idea of leadership. but in order to be a leader you have to have everything to look at, you have to al everything before you come to an idea. the only way to be excellent is to take everything on board and make a judgment, not just a bit of on board. that's dumb, that's not intelligence. it's odd. >> so here's your next project which is about -- it's a photographic essay around schools all over london. >> precisely. >> and it stems from this picture taken of you in year three. there you are with all that youth and childish innocence and promise and you're about to expand that all over london.
what is the project? tell me. >> the idea is to photograph every single year three class in london, regardless of it being state, religious whatever kind of school, school for the blind. hard of hearing, whatever sch l school. it's our future. i was interested in portraying that future of london. to see how london will look like because i think everyone has an idea of what london is, but i don't think everyone knows what london is. there's a difference and i wanted to visualize that. i wanted to see that. i don't think anyone has ever done that in a way of visualizing london and its future. >> and year three again is what age? >> seven years old. look, i love that age. for me that year is a very interesting -- that age is interesting because it's the limo age. you're coming out of being a child into awareness.
you're aware of race, gender, you're aware of class. you're aware of so many things. who has access. you see this happening with children and they're coming out of this utopian idea as a child, as a human into something that is structured and has been put upon us and judgment and value take hold. >> and you won the turner prize, another big uk prize for artists. what is next for steve mcqueen the film director? >> well you know what i would love to do? i want to do a musical. >> fantastic. we'll look out for that. maybe cynthia erivo will be in it. steve mcqueen, thank you.
as mcqueen gets to work on that musical, our show hums to a different view point with our next guest who is the co-founder of the federalist. but he turned his back on it a few years ago and he talks about why. >> thank you so much. >> good to be with you. >> i'm going to start with the big picture. how would you describe conservatism in the united states snowed. >> it's been trying to figure out its way since the old of the cold war where you had a fusionist alliance between fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and anti-communist pro-defense conservatives. that broke apart over the past couple decades and while you had the sort of post-member war on
terror insulation against -- coming to gribs with that fact, i think the past couple of years have laid bare that without those unifying characteristics, conservatism as a coalition doesn't have as much strength within the republican party as you might expect, instead, there are other factors that play into it. what are they? >> a lot of it these do with a culture war mind-set that looks to american tradition as a guiding light for what people want to see and i think this has to do with the level of power that the baby boomer generation has had over american politics over the past couple of decades. it's bizarre that we've had three presidents all born in the same year -- donald trump, bill clinton, and george w. bush all born in the same year and all showing different aspects of, frankly from my perspective, failures of the baby boomer
generation. right now if you're a baby boomer you're someone who looks back at the times that you were a child in the 1950 eyes and 1960s and you worried, your extreme concern that your grandchildren won't have a life that was better than your own. and because of that it has this animating force of nostalgia for a time when jobs were more secure, when you could come out of high school and have a job that would give you everything you wanted in life for several decades and the republican party has embraced, along with the elite of the democratic party, a view of the benefits of globalization that really left out a lot of people who felt sort of the negative effects of it in certain respects. >> and in this landscape of american conservatism, where do you situate yourself? >> i don't situate -- i left the republican party in 2006 over
the iraq war and i haven't voted for a republican since i voted for my late father-in-law mccain for the presidency so i dent consider myself a conservative. it's more that -- i'm observing from the outside. i have more extreme views than that because i'm very libertarian. >> do you believe president trump represents a brand of conservatism? >> i think president trump is a transitional figure. it's a question of whether he's willing to be a transformational figure, in terms of figuring out the post cold war brand of con serve tichl, something that included a lot of suburban moderate republicans, that's something i think trump is testing in a singh kants way, maybe this is not the coalition we want going forward. maybe we want a coalition that can reach into union households
that supported bernie sanders in the prison primary in the midwest. one of the interesting dynamics of this midterm is that trump and his phenomenon has turned ohio, which used to be a swing state, into a red state. now it's also turned a number of other states that republicans have previously won from purpose toll blue. i would argue virginia is a blue state. colorado is at best a purple state, we'll see how corey gardner does in his reelection. he's advocating an approach to politics that tests what conservatives wanted at their coalition and says no, we're going to do it this way instead. >> how do you think democrats as they are positioned to take over the house, how do they govern? >> it will be impossible. the reality is all we'll see is investigations and confirmations. confirmations in the senate, the judicial pool of people that the
president trump and his allies are pushing through. there won't be a lot of governance. the one interesting factor is going to be how president trump approaches divided government. we saw this crazy meeting this week with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer in the white house, this on air debate. it's very much how president trump will approach things. i think he wants to have everything -- >> because reality television is a medium he understands. >> is that good governance? >> i don't think it's good governance but i don't think the back room deals have served people all that well. you have all goodies lorded together and that doesn't serve the american people all that
well so is it different? yes, is it better, we'll see. >> you write about global elites, how do you di fine that? >> people in charge. it's a simplistic way but there's -- unfortunately there's this malleable definition that people have between elites and elitism. i don't object to elitism in all sorts of different respects but when it comes to the leadership class that we have in america and at a global level, i'm concerned along with a lot of other people on the right and the left that we have reach adds point where we're credentialing our elites. they're earning in the the form of proving their ability to lead in different respects. george h.w. bush's passage is a good example of this. this is someone who came to the presidency with one of the best resumes you could have in terms of the level of experience he
had had leading up to that presidency, i worry the class of global elites we have today are people who aren't ready for the job and i would include president obama's foreign policy circle in that number of people who were woefully ill equipped for the situation in front of them. and frankly i have an objection to a lot of people around president trump who i think qualify under the same measure. >> so your argument is bigger than government officials? >> sure. >> i want to read something you wrote. >> the mod ttto of the global elites is no escape valve from a politicized life where the only perspective is their secularized authoritarian friendly no gods but science view. when we do not view each other as legitimate, particularly when decisions are not coming from the people or properly elected officials but other force, it leads to resentment, escalation and something much worse. what is that other force? >> well, i by this this sense
i'm talking about the elites of silicon valley. and in response to what we've seen from -- let me take a step back. the president is fond of using this term "enemy of the people" when it comes to the quote/unquote fake news media. i don't approve of that. i don't think jim adoos is an enemy of the american people. i find him a little ludicrous but the press as an entity is not the enemy of the american people. however the most powerful media entities in the country today are not the newspapers. they're not the tv networks, they're not cnn. they're not the "new york times." they are silicon valley. facebook and google are the most powerful media entities in america today. in which way do you mean that? >> they are the forces that spread news, they spread it more
widely, facebook functions for replacement of the entirety of local media in america and having sat down with these individuals, having talked to them the fact is if they are not the enemy of american people, they are the enemy of free thought. they don't believe in free thought taking precedence over the negative pr they might receive for expanding upon it. google's partnership with china should be one of the biggest concerns that we have as a country today because it shows their willingness to bend the knee to authoritarian regimes that want to stamp out free thought that have just this past week jailed protestant pastors, have reached out in ways that are extremely dangerous and lling to engage in this type e of behavior the assist them in this regime should be of the utmost concern to us. >> do you think regulation is
the answer? >> i don't think regulation is necessarily the answer because i think we'll always be chasing the tail there. i think my big concern about them is that in this current environment they've wanted to have it both ways. they wanted to pretend like they're not members of the media, that they're simply platforms, whatever that means, for all of this different talk and that they don't have to deal with any of the kwons kwenss of it. they don't have to deal with the consequences of death threats that are posted on their platforms, of all the negative effects when it comes to their willingness to look the other way when they're used by foreign entities to mess with our election. this is something that i think should be at the center of the american conversation, the unfortunate situation is that because of the way the 2016 election played out, this can't be something that is as bipartisan as it should be. maybe that's changing.
>> do you think they're responsible for the tribalism we're seeing today? >> unquestionably. look, these are engineers, they're not people who are social scientists. they didn't expect the products they were creating to have this impact on people's lives but they have. they have warp it had whole conversation we're having in america today. they're having measurable negative consequences. >> if it's not regulation, how do you fix it? >> i'm not sure because i think it's profoundly cultural. at the end of the day these are a group of people who didn't realize who they weren't having in the room. i've had conversations with mark zuckerberg about this and i think that the fact is that he really didn't know what was going on in terms of his own -- in terms of his own creation in this last election. in the same way i think he's only right now coming to grips with the effect it's had on the way people live their lives and
that's a hard thing to do. when you create something that is enormously popular that people use as a platform everyday, you don't necessarily want to think about the negative aspects of how it's being used and having an impact on people's lives. >> it strikes me when i ask you about governance and ask you about tech, your answers go back to this fundamental question of culture. what then? >> well, i think all politics is downstream from culture, the culture of a country is -- particularly the culture of representative democracy is more important than any of the different levers that we can pull, knobs that we can turn. getting back to sort of the question you asked before about global elites, to a certain extent the answer is we're always going to have elites, we need to have a better class of
them. i think it's a good thing that within this past midterm election -- let's consider two people as an example. you had the election of alexandria ocasio-cortez in new york who is someone who comes from the bernie sanders school of american democratic socialism who wants to push the envelope in a lot of different respects when it comes to policy. she's a charismatic figure who can use social media. her presence in the u.s. congress is a good thing. it's also a good thing that we have someone like dan crenshaw from texas who became notable because of the fact that "saturday night live" made fun of him but here is someone who is a veteran of the wars we've been fighting for last 17 years coming to the congress with the potential to grow into someone who can change the path of american foreign policy going forward. we need to rid i ourselves of a generation of leadership that
has redistributed to themselves more than any other generation, that has warped our conversation with a form of false nostalgia. that has engaged in a lot of behavior that we can in retrospect deem unwise at best and that's something that needs to happen sooner rather than later. >> when you look at france, the protests, macron's -- some would call it capitulation. you have brexit outright failing. where does that leave the state of european politics? >> the real threat here is that europe's flux, disarray, what have you, is happening at a moment in which there is nothing a clear guiding light of american foreign policy to show what our attitude will be towards this problem. now i understand the appeal of these different populist
nationalist sentiments in these countries, frankly they have more history there than here but i think there's a real lacking of a clear american vision of what we want europe to look like going forward and that's dangero dangerous. the whole point is we as a force for foreign policy engage have had these relationships prevent the need for greater military presence or investment in various parts of the world. the lack of that is concerning. >> thank you so much. >> great to be with you. on that note, that's it for our program. thank you for watching amanpour and company on pbs and join us next time. . >> uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bea tollman found a collection of boutique hotels, she had bigger dreams, and those dreams were on the water.
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