Amanpour: Scott Walker, Mark Landler, Susan Glasser, Rich Lowry, Alfre Woodard and Chinonye Chukwu
Don't worry it's not too late to send the perfect holiday gift this year. Omaha steaks right now. podcast listeners can still send delicious impressive. One hundred percent percent guaranteed gifts that everyone will share. Remember and love flavorful tender Omaha steaks. The gift that American families have loved for over one hundred a years. You're happy friends and family will be excited when it arrives and think of you. Every time they prepare and enjoy their amazing meals with this special podcast. He'll act now and they'll get four free Omaha. steaks burgers added to their gift that sixteen main courses plus sides and dessert for just sixty nine ninety nine go go to Omaha steaks DOT COM and type on poor in the search bar today. Hello everyone and welcome to. I'm on for. Here's here's what's coming up a speaker of the House I solemnly and sadly opened the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States breath a job day in Washington. This Congress votes on impeaching an American President analysis with our panel of experts plus Wisconsin's former Republican Republican governor Scott Walker. We talk politics and voter purges. Then I am going to fight for him right up until the very moment you stick that needle in his arm. The story of death row prison warden star Alfre woodard and directed Chino. tchoukou join us to talk about clemency. Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Today is a day that will live on in American history as the house. Votes on the the impeachment of president trump that would make him the third president in the history of the republic to be impeached. And it's a story also reverberating around the world from our perch urge here in London. We Watch as Washington deals with the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. A Senate trial would take place in the New Year in a six page letter to the speaker of the House Nancy. Pelosi president trump accused Democrats of declaring open war on American democracy. Joining me. Now talk about all of this is Scott Walker. Here's the former Republican governor of the key battleground state of Wisconsin. He was also a Republican candidate for the presidency in twenty sixteen. And we welcome the governor from Milwaukee. Welcome to the program. I'm glad to be with you so as this happens. Wins as this unfolds as we go to press it hasn't yet happened. But what do you think. The president is feeling president who likes the rough and tumble of battle with his opponents. And yet possibly this could be a stain on his legacy. Well I I think he feels much as we felt here in Wisconsin years ago at the recall that those on the left have been aiming to do this since the very day he was elected member. Al Green the congressman who infamously mislead earlier. This year said they had to impeach him or you might get reelected. This is his fourth attempt These are people in the house. Democrats who said now now in some cases for years since his election that they needed to take this action you had people elected last fall. We're talking about impeachment. You had a speaker who actually announced impeachment inquiry before she even got the transcript this is a sham. This is something. The American people particularly in battleground states like Wisconsin. We'll see through the dark mark day is not for. The president is for Pelosi another's in the house. Who would take our country through this when they really don't have a case it's all about politics unlimited issue because I'm going to talk about what you you raise which is the recall of two thousand twelve but look some of the president's own appointees people who are career Korea Foreign Service officers have actually made the case in front of the world in front of Congress in their testimony? You've had the president's own lawyer repeatedly say I mean extraordinarily that he had to get. You'll von of it. She was the ambassador out of the way because she was impeding his ability to gather dirt word on the president his client the president's opponents. I'm you've had his own ambassador to the EU talk about how there was a quid pro quo. So I know that you think it's all politics but is there any part of the facts which have actually been presented. The gives you pause. I think the facts are that had been largely ignored here in America and across the globe. Really they're the facts is simply this. If the binds of Joe Biden and his son hundred it did nothing wrong. There's absolutely no political personal financial any other value the President Donald Trump. If they did do something wrong which many of us contend that they did if they did do something wrong. Then I think it's completely legitimate for any president whether Joe Biden is running for president or not for any president this president or any others now and in the future to say we should look into this and we should actually ask for assistance from the leaders like the leader Ukraine. Where the very act was it at odds here? Remember Joe by didn't just say this in some transcript. He actually said it out loud in front of you can youtube it right today and look at it yourself that this guy. I held up a billion dollars while he was the vice president of the United States of America in until that country fired a prosecutor who was looking into the businesses. As part of so. This is a this isn't a problem for the Biden's then there's no political value if it is a problem then it's something the president should indeed big looking into are you concerned turned and as you know and I have to say all the investigations into what the Biden's donal haven't done. Despite what many believe is at least the appearance of a conflict of interest rest but there has been no evidence suggests that they did anything wrong to the contrary the Ukrainian say that the Obama Administration really were the anti-corruption Crusaders Crusaders in Ukraine. But beyond that are you concerned by president trump asking for a favor no matter how you frame it leading to foreign interference yet again in an American election essentially asking for it. Well that's just a false claim completely completely false claim there is no point is not accurate the point was he asked them to look into this issue. That's been raised. You're right as my point is you're saying I I'm not saying he did or he did. I'm saying if the Biden's did nothing wrong then there's no political value there. He didn't ask them to create something he didn't ask them to make something up. He didn't didn't ask to say hey. Can you go pretend that this happened. He said can you look into this if there's nothing wrong there's no political value. There's no personal value. There's no value whatsoever. If on the other hand the Biden's did do something wrong. which many people including myself believe? At least there's the possibility they did something wrong. Then this is something. The president should be looking into both here here and abroad because it involves something overseas involved the prior administration and if they've got nothing to fear then it's not any political value whatsoever against the fact that hasn't been debated in this in this whole discussion with peach. Mint juleps reviews. That's just remind that aid. Congressionally approved was held up for this favors favor for this quid pro quo. It's been admitted by the president's own own ambassador and also White House visit hasn't still happened but let's just move on because I've unclearly you've got your your position. I understand that but I WANNA I WANNA ask you why you think this isn't having a massive effect nationwide in fact that it's in some states such as your own swing states which were important actually seems to be playing to an extent in the president's favor why in many ways the American people just as we just recently saw people in the United Kingdom want people who to actually get things done and this president's been focused on improving the economy we now see the lowest unemployment rates since December nineteen sixty nine almost the lowest in mine tire lifetime. We see the lowest levels ever recorded for African American Hispanic American Asian American people disabilities veterans in each of those categories. We've never had a recorded unemployment rate lower than it is. Today we see household income going up we see wages go up contrast that to nearly two years now of House Democrats obsessing over finding away to impeach president and you find now is this energizing Republicans in battleground states like mine. It's doing exactly but we saw years ago with the recall. And that is independence or saying. This isn't the Loni this is ridiculous. We want people who actually focused on getting things done that matter that improve our lives that improve the lives of our family and our neighbors and our friends and those who live amongst us and they don't see that through the Democrats who seemed to be completely obsessed with impeachment instead. They're seeing it from the president's allies are actually getting things done. Let's just remind everybody. Of course you talk about the recall it was in twenty twelve. There was a huge uproar. When as Governor Avenue ended essentially collective bargaining for public employees for most of them than activists out about a million signatures full to recall vote was very divisive in your state? then. You won that record action so you essentially drawing the parallels right well that's exactly right you had the protests much as you had the protests starting the day after president trump was inaugurated you had protests in Washington and around the country. We've seen the push we've seen the resistance. We've seen that people ask ask where the counter to that one Wisconsin. But we saw the recall was not only. Did we win the recall election. After all those protests the left it energized Republicans and the base there but it also also we overwhelmingly wind the independent vote. Which is why we won? The recall election a year later by a greater percentage a higher actual number of votes than we had one the the original election now. I don't know if the price is going to win with a larger number of. Oh it's but I think you see a very similar circumstances coming out now. Wisconsin but in states like Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania where Republicans in the Republican Base Waking Up. But we're a whole lot of independence much as what happened in the recall. Election here in Wisconsin whole whole lot of independence are saying. This is not. Let let the guy the elections next year. Let's let's compare candidates. Let's figure out whoever the Democrats are GONNA nominate. Compare for him or her. With the President Vice-president United States currently in office and Donald Trump and Mike pence and see which is a better case for the American people for the the next four years in our case it proved to be successful for us as Republicans. We believe. The same thing is going to happen with this president. Okay so let's just go back to twenty sixteen. When president trump or candidate trump beat candidate Clinton by very slim twenty three thousand votes? It was very very slim and it means that voter registration is critical. And this brings us to what's going on in your state with with the voter rolls and things states are required by federal law to update their votes list concerned. Though that it's being used for voter suppression as you know in your state or federal judge. Last week ruled that the state must purge two hundred hundred thousand voter registrations parodies votes photos. Estate believes may have moved homes who basically Democrat leaning or assuming to be Democratic voters and the local newspaper the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that these Democratic stronghold account for fourteen percent of the registered voters received twenty three percent of the the voter registration letters so that huge protests the chairman of the Democratic Party is said that there's a lawsuit he says there's a it's a product of right wing legal and political strategy to prevent edible voters from voting. It should be a concern to anyone who believes in the core of democracy. Is that a problem to you given that it is Democrat leaning individuals who are being targeted essentially. Well they are again. This is a matter of taking the spin from the left. The very people who today are claim claim that no one's above the law are saying they're above the law. The law clearly says you have to follow the process. Judge ordered if people have moved and they don't respond to the card they. Their name is no longer listed in our state. Wisconsin is one of the easiest states in the world to register to vote on. You can do it the the same day you can register to vote and register on site so if someone has moved and didn't register in the new spot they don't need to be on the voting list they can. Actually we do it the very day of the election whether it's next spring or fall in the prime or anywhere along the way and the fact of the matter is this really affects people who have moved. It's not automatic party. It's not a matter of age. There's no other demographics. It's just as simple as it's affecting people the more in communities whereas a lot of people are moving oftentimes around on college campuses where people graduate move on and they forget to make that change. This make sure that they do that. That they're actually living in the place where they're living in. And it's nothing more and nothing less so that as you know it's being challenged by the Democratic Party and it's being challenged also by the director of the election. Commissioner Milwaukee Walk this will lead to people distrusting election administration in Wisconsin. If people feel like a system is rigged it has pretty profound impact on whether or not they feel. It's even worse while to participate this bait election that that's his view so it also happens as this week in Georgia. The Secretary of state remove more than three hundred thousand so-called inactive voters from the rolls that's four percent of all voters in the state. It means that they didn't vote and in last two general elections etc.. But as you know Stacey Abrams who ran for governor there and she has a fair fight action organization to challenge the removal of at least half of those who've been struck off says in our view it is a First Amendment right not to vote and it's unconstitutional to take away a Georgia's right to vote simply because they have not expressed there right in recent elections dish the dish you have what I realized. It's not your state. But they're similar issues again. Those are falling the laws that are in place in this state if they want to challenge that they can challenge all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. The bottom line though is unlike other places around the world. It's incredibly easy to vote here in the United States particularly in states. It's like mine that have same day voter registration out there. What people do have a concern about and historically have a concern about our voting list that remain after people have moved on? Whether it's from college college or somewhere else. They moved to other communities they names remained on the list. And there's a legitimate concern it again. It hasn't been a mass. It's not we're not talking about thousands but there have been instances around the country where people have used names of people who moved on from those locations and to me if you disenfranchise even one voter in that regard That that is a problem by my vote. Your vote anyone else's vote that votes in America shakeout just as much as the other person and this is just making sure that the names on the voting list match people were actually voting and we make it easier to vote and we should make it easy vote. We should be easy to vote but hard. I wonder if you would agree like in Australia. There should be mandatory voting across the United States. It might take away some of these issues but let me ask you this because again it is mostly Democrats complaining. The Republicans a trying to till the field to make unlevel an unlevel playing field and of course Stacey Abrams was running for governor in two thousand eighteen then secretary state Brian Kemp was also running against us. He enforced this policy of exact madge. So it's basically if there's a little irregularity in the registration Asian It was it was canceled. And they were fifty three thousand of voter applications put on hold so Abrahams when she lost to camp who ran against her accused him of using his role to suppress the votes and this is what she said in her concession speech. I acknowledged that former secretary of state. Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor and the twenty eighteen gubernatorial election but to watch an elected official who claims is to represent the people in the state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the People's Democratic. Right to vote has been truly appalling. It's very vehement. And she's very passionate and she has dedicated her professional life to changing this situation and I just wonder data you know. Obviously all states have the right to clean up there the voters lists but it is by-in-large Republicans are the ones really engaging with this and of course on the issue Ah Gerrymandering sometimes Democrats but mostly Republicans. Does it bother you get completely wrong on that part. I mean the worst gerrymandered under congressional district in the country's in Maryland third district. It's only connected by water not by land in most parts of it out there you look in states like Illinois you look in states. It's like New York. You look at states like Massachusetts historically you've seen a gross a gross gerrymandering by those on the left and in fact historically only have Democrats. It's been doing it but but up until the last decade or two most Germanic was done only to favor Democrats but typically White Democrats expensive people of Color who were not ah given districts of which they could they could actually elect people who were African American Latino others out there. Republicans ten twenty years ago and redistricting joined join together here in Wisconsin and many other states across the nation that opened the door for more competitive races and it actually at the same time opened the door for more people of color to be elected alley in the US Congress but in state legislative seats all across America Governor Scott Walker. Thank you very much for joining us. Fifty unread emails stressful commute. Let's face it. We all get overwhelmed. Sometimes do you ever have a great idea or big goal and let it fall by the wayside. You're not alone. Luckily talks based on line. Therapy makes it easy to vent manage stress and work towards goals. You've put off. 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Welcome back to the program Mogg and to you in Washington and New York as well so this is all happening happening as we go to press. It's still happening. Let me just ask you because you're sitting right here with me. How do you feel at this moment as American journalists around here in the world seeing how the world is reacting to what's happening in the United States and seeing this seismic drama come to a sort of a head? Well I mean Christiane I come to it as someone who until the summer was covering this president as a White House correspondent. And so I'm I'm mostly thinking about the experience experience and what it must be like for my colleagues. All of whom have have gone through this Unending roller coaster of drama around the president and yet in these final moments. It all seems almost anti-climactic. There's this sense to Itch for however momentous occasion is an how historic it is events. We're leading almost ineluctably to this conclusion So I'm sort of struck by both. The weight of history street lies over this moment but the sense to which you could have said a year ago that perhaps we would see this outcome and you see in this sort of odd lack lack of drama surrounding surrounding these final debates on both sides. You're hearing arguments that we've now heard so many times that the odds of a surprise or an unexpected development and at this point are are really very low and we're all waiting for the inevitable vote to occur rich. Larry you know you run a conservative newspaper you obviously obviously you know conservative. How does it make you feel to see this conservative? American president being impeached but also react to what mark just said it has a the feel of inevitability which is kind of Scott Walker. The Governor of Wisconsin was saying but in a different way that actually this is being the Democrats aim from the very very beginning and the facts. Be Damned what is your view. Well obviously a historic though in the sense. It's it's this. Be The only the the third time it's happened in American history of the president's been impeached by the house but otherwise there's very little drama to it and the probably be very little consequence to the fact is this is not convulsing the nation part of the reason we're on this timeframe here is. The house is desperate to get off of its plate and get onto something else and even the Democratic presidential candidates who you know it's their business to have their fingers on the pulse of Democratic voters out on the hustings. They're not talking about this very much so this is not a climax. It's not an end is just another skirmish in the long war over trump. And if you look at some of the polls you'll get in some polls that show support for impeaching removing forty eight percent opposition forty six percent which are two numbers to sound very familiar because they are exactly the popular vote margins for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in two thousand sixteen which shows that very few people have moved and I think just in terms of presidential politics as soon as he's acquitted in the Senate which will also be the inevitable. Two weeks later this will feel like something like everything else that happened a decade ago and have very little effect on what happens November twenty twenty and so. Let me ask Askew Susan before we dive down into the polarization of what it might mean for the future. President trump is written that very long letter to the speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi about six page. Schlatter saying that history will judge you. He's as I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record one hundred years from now When people look back at this affair I want them to understand it and learn from it so that it can never happen to another president again? How do you think Susan and you've been watching it very closely? History will judge will judge this. Well you know Christiane. I'm standing here up on Capitol Hill for this debate and Dan. You know the weary cynicism that you're hearing from the other guests out you know we presume to know the inevitable outcome you know history does get the last laugh here even to listen to that. Donald trump quote. I think the problem that we all face as journalists is one individual court taken out of context can make donald trump sound like so much more of a rational actor and you know that he fits somehow within the mainstream of our epic clash between Republicans and Democrats History's going to regard that letter as astonishing sequel to greet presidential works of Oratory and it's is filled with exclamation points with grievance with laments with factual inaccuracies that really are as good of a summing up of the presidency. See so far as as almost anything else am I. I take the point that for a momentous occasion today it it feels a little bit lacking in energy up here in the capital. Although I imagine later today as we get closer to the votes this evening it'll be much more packed with people member sitting on the floor listening to speeches beaches and the like but but again to the point about history. It seems to me that one of the reasons that this just feels like one more chapter as rich put it in the ongoing and trump saga is because trump himself in many ways is is the crisis It's not the Ukraine Affair that we're likely to regard as the most significant thing thing about trump at the nature of his presidency itself. I think can I just I want to get to the facts. Actually because it's so strange. That the facts themselves are completely and utterly debated and and disagreed with along party lines. You just heard Governor Scott Walker. Talk about how there's been no evidence whatsoever to suggest that any of this is justified. But let's just play one of the president's chief chief people his his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Who as we speak has been going back and forth from Ukraine and appeared last night on Fox News to give yet another doubling down of how he forced doubt? I'm Marie Ivanovich in this effect. Let us play the sound bite personal attorney for the president. So why do you need her out of the way. I didn't need Peter out of the way I've I've forced her out because she's corrupt documentary evidence that she committed perjury. I have four witnesses. Who will testify? That she personally early turned down their visas. Because they were gonNA come here and give evidence either against Biden or against the Democratic Party. There's no question that she was acting corruptly in that position and had to be removed. You should have been fired if the State Department Warren part of the deep state I mean just actually incredible to listen to that because it just does go all over the place and it somewhat contradicts what he said to the New Yorker which was that I had had to get her out because she was obstructing me being able to dig up dirt on for my client my client being the president so I guess Mark Outland la when we're trying to tell these stories and report the facts to people about what's going on. It's very difficult. Isn't it when you're dealing with this Well one of the interesting things about the calculation the Democrats made when they started down. This road was that unlike the Miller report was which was extremely complicated. Aided four hundred and forty pages this notion of the president calling the president of Ukraine and asking for a quid pro quo was a relatively easy thing. People bulwer understand that this happened and it was wrong. It was an abuse of his power. That was a couple of months ago. Look where we are now Rudy Giuliani's explanation SPL nation. Now is so tangled. So Serpentine that you can easily lose track of who did what to whom and whether it was right or wrong and I think to the extent that the president it has been successful in in repelling this whole effort he has managed to kick up a great deal of guerrilla dust and that original notion of a phone call made on improper grounds and abuse of authority has sort of been lost in the mist. Even though as you said earlier his own ambassador to the EU basically said it others testified to it. So I think one of the things that is very difficult in this in this time we're living in deep. Polarization is keeping a narrative and keeping a narrative that's based on the facts and not based on counterclaims that in many cases are spurious wildly exaggerated invented out of whole cloth. I think that the Democrats have only been moderately successful in doing that. In the early stages of the testimony it seemed like they did have a sequence of of witnesses that were laying out an evidentiary century trail. But I think in the last few weeks. we sort of lost that a little bit and the debate once again became hopelessly tangled into the extents tangled. It applies to the presence of bandage and rich lowry. I mean the Democrats have beaten unified but as as points out slightly tangled and these endless days days of debate that's televised around the world but also have the Republicans right I mean the Republicans have been very unified. They've absolutely got into lockstep. Behind the President to the point that Mitch McConnell has basically admitted that he's not an impartial jury. Let me just play this and I'm GonNa get your get your reaction to it in a moment moment. I'm not an impartial. Your this is a political process is not anything. Judicial about impeachment is a political decision. Asian House made of partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I'm not impartial about this along. How do you? How do you feel about that Sitting stateside rich lowry. And of course you know the Senate is old have to take an old. Oh saying I solemnly swear I'll do impartial justice according to the constitution and the laws. Yeah I don't think Mitch McConnell thinks he's going to do anything to violate the constitution Russian or the laws. But he's absolutely right. This is a political process with legal. Trappings the founders. Didn't devise a system where you go out and created jury the way usually. Do you find people who know nothing about this. Have no opinion about it and ask them to decide. It's inherently political process you have elected They weren't elected at the time of the founding have elected senators the ultimate arbiters. And I think it's also ridiculous to pretend that partnership goes one way here. It's been impeachment in the House of a partisan acquittal and the Senate and this is not anything new in American history very salt small sample size of prior Senate trials of presidents who were impeached. But never in those pre this two trials didn't any party The the did any member of the same aim party as the impeach president. Vote to convict him and we're probably not going to have that This time either. Zero Republican votes to convict. Oh so that's interesting of course at a good reminder Susan glass up he will be if I mean. He's likely to be the first impeach president by the House to run for reelection election. Let's now get into the whole polarization of the state of politics where you are where we are here in London. Just how does what happens after this as I mean does it. Just both sides digging even further. Is there any way that a country will be healed. Well Christiane Donald. Donald Trump as you know is not. That's not his brandon. Politics is not a here healer. He's not as Bill Clinton went aspire to be a repairer of the breach What's striking in fact to me? I was here twenty one years ago almost to the day when Bill Clinton was impeached by the House and then was sent to the Senate for trial L. and Bill Clinton took a different tack. It was a different time in our politics. He felt that he needed to apologize. He gave quite a contrite speech. He said he did wrong. Democrats like the Senate Minority Leader. Tom Daschle essentially said the president did wrong. We don't believe his crimes. Rose was to level of removing him from office but it was a very different defense of Bill Clinton. They didn't argue essentially over the Fox. Ones Bill Clinton admitted that he he lied under oath. What happened is that they argue? They made a constitutional legal argument about what it is. That Congress should do about that and here we have a situation I should wear. Republicans refused not only to accept basic facts about it but even donald trump talks about his perfect phone call which he released that remains the key bit of evidence and I was just blown away the other day to your point about the two sides not accepting Fox anymore. Christiane there's a congresswoman Debbie lesko from Arizona from the Judiciary Committee after the Judiciary Committee approved the two articles of impeachment against President Trump. She came out to the cameras and a reporter asked her well congresswoman. Do you really think it's appropriate for the president. United States to ask the president of another country to investigate Joe Biden and she said he he didn't say that and that report pointed out it's literally in the transcript of the phone call at the White House itself and she said No. He didn't say that. And so you know what. Are you going to do in a situation like that. You're not going to repair the breach that has opened up to be a chasm in American society. There's an eighty five point gap. According to The Wall Street Journal today between the two parties views of Donald Trump during President Carter's era that was sixteen points so the Chasm is widening and twenty twenty lookout. It's IT'S GONNA get wider still and mark having been a White House correspondent you just heard Susan. Susan referred to Tom Daschle. Who is the Senate Democratic leader at the time of the Clinton impeachment and he said actually as deeply disappointed? Ah I am with the process. It pales in comparison to the disappointment. I feel towards this president so he was a major democratic leader actually slapping the president at least he's somewhat. Can you imagine that happening at all. In this case well there were one or two Republicans who suggested that they were going to be open minded minded about it and some who are quite critical of the president in the early days. When the first disclosures of all this came out Mitt Romney was obvious example? Even Lindsey Graham I am if you recall said he would be troubled. If there was clear evidence of quid pro quo Lo and behold there was clear evidence of quid pro quo and Lindsey. Graham clearly doesn't and feel that way anymore. I mean I'm also struck by speaking of Republican senators. If you go back to the nineteen seventies merely the prospect of impeachment pitchman was enough to send a group of very senior Republican senators to the White House to tell President Richard Nixon that he didn't have their support anymore and precipitated -tated his resignation. So it goes without saying that the world and our politics have changed extraordinarily and I think rich is probably right that not a single Republican publican. Senator will vote to convict the president so rich. Let me ask you because you are editor in chief of the National Review Back in two thousand sixteen there was the quote note trump trump issue. When when he was writing was sorry running as candidate? And you wrote. Trump is a philosophically on more political opportunists. Who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strongman overtones have you views changed changed since? Then yes no. I think we've seen a lot of downsides the way he behaves himself of what he says. The old conservative conservative consensus obviously is under philosophical and ideological stress within the party. But I I've been surprised by two things. One on core more issue's important to the conservative coalition of life issues conscience rights judges trump's been an absolute rock. which is something I never would have expected? And then I'm GONNA wrong on on the other side of the ledger where I thought he would attempt to moderate his behavior somewhat to hide his his grievances not to air them constantly Salihi on twitter and he does and that's just a a major downside and when we ran that issue you know they're sixteen Republicans in a primary right and we thought there. Are you know ten. Twelve better alternatives than Donald Trump. That the fact is now a president United States and there aren't any good alternatives. That I can see I. I just wanted to further Austria comment. I mean almost I sort of Giovanni jovially. I want to ask you to respond to your colleague. John Harris who is the editor At politico and he wrote an article headlined impeachment and the crackup of the conservative mind. And he says he'd like to hear from any supporter order of president trump. Who believe sincerely? That impeachment is illegitimate and who also at the same time convincingly say that they would argue against impeachment impeachment if the facts were exactly the same but it was Hillary Clinton in the White House. Are you that elusive conservative rich. Well old one thing that that I said from the very beginning and I think the publicans will be much stronger ground if they just admitted the call wasn't perfect obviously and he was obviously Lee withholding this money to pressure the Ukrainians to commit to these investigations and that was an improper use of his power. And I I think it'll come back to haunt republicans that they haven't set said these things of forthrightly when they're arguing against abuses by future Democrat craft president. That said I sincerely believe and I think every pretty much every Republican senator sincerely believes that this is just too narrow tenuous grounds rounds to remove a president for the first time in our history. So this'll end up serving the way. The Clinton impeachment did in the nineteen nineties as an act of censure. And perhaps we'll we'll all be better going forward each party each side having done this if in the future we think about censure votes rather than impeachment and his his final word to you Susan we literally only have thirty seconds. Do you think that that would be a way forward well. Christiane censure came up in the Clinton Impeachment Aka. It's already come up here. It's been rejected. I think the two parties are too firmly entrenched for that to happen. But you know look. It's it's a remarkable thing that every single Republican Republican House member and every single Republican senators conscience happens to line up perfectly with the president's interest at this moment in time. That is is Let's just say statistically improbable event you know the bottom line is that These moments are moment of reckoning when we look at just where here our political system is at there's always been hypocrites. There's always been liars in Washington. I've never seen anything like this. I have to tell you it's a tough time for American democracy mcreavy truthfully on that note in this so much more to talk about we will in as we carry on but anyway Susan Glasser Rich Larry also Mark Landlo-. Thank you so much for being with US tonight tonight. Turning now to the issue of criminal justice as the trump administration pushes to resume federal executions. A new film called clemency looks at the moral questions about death-row and the emotional demands on the execution. Let's take a look at it lip. You WanNa play this good guys and bad we are guys back. These men respect and now the film won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. Making King Director Chino Chiku the first African American woman to win in that festivals. Thirty five year history and she's joining on Michelle Martin along with the lead lead actor Alfred wooded to talk about it Chinoy Tchoukou Alfre woodard. Thank you so much for being here today. What is this film about? Clemency is about Bernardine Williams. Who is a prison warden? And she has overseen several several executions and the film really explores her kind of emotional and psychological processing and eventual gradual unraveling leveling as she prepares to execute another man on death row. Why is this story? Why now? Well this really started the the morning after. Troy Davis was executed so Troy Davis is a black man executed on September twenty. First two thousand eleven and leading up to his execution hundreds of thousands thousands of people around the world protested against it including a handful of retired wardens and director of corrections and these wardens band together and wrote a letter to the governor urging clemency NC. Not just on the grounds of choice potential innocence but they spoke to the emotional and psychological consequences. They knew from firsthand experience. Killing Troy would have on the prison prison staff sanction to do so so the morning after he was executed. I like so many other people were navigating our feelings of anger and frustration and sadness and then I thought if we're all feeling this way what must be like for the people whose livelihoods were tied to the taking of human life. What are those emotional and psychological consequences the ward and spoke doc to and and that really was the seed that was planted and so in two thousand thirteen? That's when I really decided that I was going to fully commit my life to researching and writing writing and understanding this world. What about you? What about the subject itself? The subject matter that made you want to tackle this so when I when I may self as an educated woman in a six decade and socially and politically active did not know that these people existed Anu. Something magical happened whenever somebody's put to death and it made me feel sick but I never put a person but by hi it and I assumed they must be the people that like to stomp small creatures or something. I didn't realize it. They could be women they could be sisters. They would come from mental health to the prison system come from social work to the prison system and and it was. It was a real revelation. If I didn't know that I assume the vast vast majority of Americans didn't know it and if we're talking about something something that the effect of it has lives in the balance you can't make that decision in an informed way unless you know all all the aspects seven that was a story to bring to the public and the idea of making the warden a black woman. Where did that come from really just why I mean? I don't have any there. Was I think that a lot of I think a lot of white men right in their likeness without question and I just wrote in my likeness and and I could see myself and Bernardine. I just. There was no question as to whether whether or not this should happen. I just think that's so fascinating because the African Americans depicted in law enforcement generally okay. They're either like Danny Danny Glover lethal weapon. The Guy who's trying to keep things on the up and up not always succeeding or maybe even like John Boyega in Detroit. Who's the essentially a bystander? Or maybe it's Dan Denzel Washington Training Day. Who's like corrupt the but the idea of a person who for whom it's a job and they are trying trying to do this to the best of their ability and struggling with what that looks like no wing how they're going to be viewed as just a very original? I most of the wardens that I I spoke to the warden at the prison where I created a film program anti incarcerated women to make thrown short films their all black women. I mean most of the women most of the warden Jordan's I spoke to most of the word ends. I just observed for years for black women and I just thought that that they were so human to me and so just made all all the sense in the world and I thought it'd be a really great opportunity to make a black woman protagonist human on screen. I'm going to play a clip. The circumstances is that you know braiding In the we're about to show she's meeting with the attorney for a prisoner who is currently on on death row and he's Richard Schiff. Who's playing the attorney defense lawyer Marty Freddie and and? I think we'll just play the clip and we'll talk a bit more about a group of lawyers. How much trouble could they possibly? 'cause I just want to talk to hit that out on his visitation list. And they're not a part of his legal team. They WanNA talk to him. They can write him a letter. Come on the phone. Those are the rules are going to do that. You know that he's now he's cut people out. People have caught him out now now. His mom is dead. I just wanted to know that there are people out there that support him. He didn't get his appeal diddy. It's just a conversation right now. Can't you know for for the past seven years you've blocked every single attempt. I've made to try to get him to be treated like human man. You're going to tell them is not enough. I have treated him like a human when being every step of the way that my job to bypass the rules. Accommodate your special requests special requests. How is it a special request? Opened the gates. Please like to leave now. I had to maintain order and safety in this prison over a thousand bodies that I have to ensure a safe and accounted for. It's hard hard enough without you. Complicating things have to do is protect yourself now that this place is under fire. Since you botched the last execution get Outta my barricades keep keep the outside world out can kill them as under the radar as possible it out and remove any dignity. The man has left to go. Yeah I'm going but I'm not going far just so you know I am going to fight for him right up until the very moment you stick that needle in his arm. How do you understand braiding? Tell us what she did she go about. I mean burning. Reading is one of those people that you want in a time of crises. She is a person that is steady. She's the type of person you'd like for a a an admiral or a general you. Would you'd want her as a commander because her compassion shows in a different different way than my compassion. I am artistic. I am emotional Mike. Compassion is warm. It's malleable her. Compassion is that I'm not GonNa let slip into that. We're GONNA WE'RE GONNA be okay in everybody's going to keep their dignity because we're going to keep the protocol Jimmy Chen who who are. We rooting for here. Who's WHO's the villain here? WHO's the hero intention wasn't to write a story or make a film without now that that would stop binary? I think that this entire story this entire world exists in the gray and many people are their own protagonists and antagonists antagonists at the same time. It's fascinating I'll just disclose here that I have a number of relatives and law enforcement and I think that often African Americans Americans and law enforcement are viewed in a different light right. They're viewed I think a lot of people outside of it as being not fully with the with the community as it were maybe being the enemy and so I'm just curious about maybe for Y'all decision to Kenner. Give her a sense of humanity and a sense of purpose us that she believes in. I mean she thinks she's doing the right thing is I didn't have to give it to her. She has it. I had to not deny neither in my portrayal of her. Because the thing is I would not be doing my job. If I didn't make our human being Belushi is a human being and she. She's even more of a human being than a lot of people that might sit in judgment of her because one of the contracts that the warden's make with and I'm not meaning all wards with the ones that we met they make with those. That condemned men is that I will walk you through this with as much dignity as possible. All the last drug is potassium chloride which will cease heart function at that point medical personnel. How will confirm the execution complete? Now do you WanNa talk to us lameta about this later. He can't but do you have any questions do you have any family would like to claim your body. That's that's their coworker. That's who they've seen for ten fifteen twenty years. They go to work every day and then that group has to put down one of their one of their colleagues Elis film is told through. The eyes of the is not told through the eyes of the the incarcerated person is told through the eyes of the the people who are charged with executing him. And it's just an interesting way to go about that. So why was that your approach. Because I think it's I think it's away from me to widen. The reach of this film is to tell the story from the perspective of a perpetrator of the system. Right away for me to do not just preach to the choir but to really get to really kind of get people who might be for capital punishment or who might might have no regard for people who are incarcerated is for me to tell the story from the perspective of someone who they think might be more aligned with their views and and what about people who who say you know what that's just too bad. So what what do these people in cars they. They did something bad and they have to suffer. So what my intention with making was to really focus on the gray and I didn't want to inundate the narrative with my own personal political position. And I think that the film is a a very kind of unsentimental on sentiments. Oh look at the complexities of people tied to the system from all all different kinds of perspectives. And I think I think a lot of people who've watched the filmer saying that I don't. I'm not telling you what to think. I'm not telling you what to feel but I do. You believe that regardless of what you think you will feel something upon watching this film and I think that that feeling is is the is the potential start art of some change. The really smart things that you did that which drew me to the party is that is that Chinoy concern yourself with or the film with weather. Anthony is innocent or guilty. It's beside the point of what we were. We want to take that conversation. It's great hopefully. You wanted me because they thought I could play that role. Alice is a great actor actor but the fact that we're both African American takes US pass whether we're Americans get stuck on race and never get to anything that's ask actually without giving away in fact most of the relevant characters are African American. Just just say that. Because there's a there's a reveal that I don't WanNa giveaway. If one person was white and one person was black. I think that the racial dynamic will overtake the narrative right and we'll kind of under will kind of undercut. Hi The focus on the humanity that states that I really want people to to pay attention to well. I don't think it's giving too much away to say that opens the film as a botched execution and the reality of it is is. This is rooted in the news. The fact of the matter is there have been botched executions in recent years where people we'll have been forced to suffer beyond what the law envisions and and I was just curious if that is the if the intention of that is it's a crisis for Bernardine. Obviously because she believes that she's doing everything according to what she's been taught is the right the right way to do it but in a way to do you want that to be a crisis for us to say that there is no way to do this. I mean I'm thinking of a quote from Martin Luther King in one thousand nine hundred eighty two where he said that. The price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro is the price of its own destruction and obviously he was talking about not segregation. And that's not where we would use at the moment but isn't it part that what your message is. There really is no way to do this without dehumanizing ourselves offs all of us absolutely absolutely. I mean in order for us to perpetuate the dehumanization of people in cages we in turn become to humanize is is well I mean and burning and the other correction staff the even the families of the victim and Daniel books character character. I'm Anthony Anthony ex ex girlfriend and everybody is affected by this the systematic killings and the systematic dehumanization and a piece of them were pieces of them are incrementally Taken as well. Are you willing to offer an alternative though. I'm saying you as citizen you as human being I mean. I know that this isn't isn't your main expertise. Your expertise is making films but you spend a lot of time thinking about this. Are you willing to offer an alternative because there are some people who would say locking people up for decades. It's for their lives for their natural. Lives is even more cruel I saw. I do not think that state-sanctioned killing justice spray I don't think the FBI statistics that prove that the in the states that do carry out the death. Penalty doesn't deter crime. I think that there are fundamental societal. Title things that we need to do and systemic oppressions that we need to dismantle. We need to not criminalise poverty. And and not criminalize people who who who are just surviving and provide provide provide provide basic necessities for people to be able to survive and that and being being able to survive shouldn't be contingent upon what what how much money you have or don't have and I think that is something. That's foundational can be a deterrent to crime and an alternative to putting incarcerating people for decades and decades and decades and decades because it doesn't solve the foundational issues that are embedded in our our society often. What about you? I mean you have a long background in political activism in addition to your work in an actor you know I looked to those societies that have the don't have the death penalty and heinous things happen. There and people are are imprisoned. It's just that you know it seems to be in the American culture to always go overboard one of these in in That they said at the Marianne Marianne Prison and women's prison in Ohio. There were only a few hundred women in that prison. But during the the you know the last eight years the OPIOID OPIOID crisis. They suddenly have five six thousand women there but the thing that struck me there was a group of women they they did a choral group. They lived all together. They were house together together and they sent these songs out around the world to especially young people that were ill and it gave them so much joy and so much since a purpose and I just thought what if these women when they were in high school had been shown that respect if they had that chorus but that sense of purpose that they did did that they might not have followed whoever they followed into that. BS chinyere. Where are you hoping this film will do? I hope that this film expanded audiences capacity for empathy and compassion particularly for people who are incarcerated. I mean I really developed a passion and for advocating for people who are incarcerated and two. I hope that this will inspire people to not define people by their worst possible axe to not right offer for disregard the millions of people who are in corrective control and to really see themselves in their humanity Chinoy. It's she who afterward thank you so much for talking with us today. Having a pleasure always with you thank you. That's such important insight insight and finally in Iraq anti-government demonstrations have been going on for months causing the prime minister to resign but was different this time. Time is the massive presence of female protesters and painters these murals showing up all over Baghdad to celebrate women and their demands for a say day in the future the images portray that defines but also their acceptance by men in this Patriarchal Society. And that is it for now. Oh you can always catch us online on podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London. Yeah you can still send an amazing gift. This holiday season with Omaha steaks they'll get delicious tender stakes to share remember in love and you'll get the satisfaction of knowing you sent a special holiday gift if you act right now. podcast listeners. 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