♪ >> Welcome to "Amanpour & Company" Here is what is coming up.
>> as we all know Donald is not a person that likes to accept accountability.
>> Trump indicted, history made.
What happens next in this legal fight and what will it mean for American politics?
With a massive -- of geopolitical issues for the White House, the National Security Council's John Kirby joins me.
>> the charge of espionage is ridiculous.
>> the U.s. strongly condemns Russia's rest of Evan Gershkovich.
The realities of reporting in Putin's Russia.
>> To let young women know that there are different kinds of harassment, different kinds of abuse.
>> I am Deborah Lee, the journey of one of the entertainment industry's most influential and pioneering leaders.
♪ >> "Amanpour & Company" is made possible by the Anderson family Fund.
Sue and Edgar Wachenheim.
Jim Atwood and Leslee Williams.
The family foundation of Strauss.
Mark J. Blechner.
St Bernard entity Schwartz.
Ewen committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities.
Barbara hopes Zuckerberg.
We tried to live in the moment.
To not miss what is right in front of us.
At mutual of America, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today.
Muta Mutual of America retirement group.
Additional support provided by these funders and by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you.
>> Welcome to the program.
In New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Former President Donald Trump has been currently charged by New York grand jury.
Words that will be written into American history books.
This is all new territory for the United States, and for now there are many unanswered questions about how this case will play out.
The indictment was filed under seal and charges are not yet public.
Sources say Trump faces 30 counts related to business fraud.
So, what do we know right now?
The Manhattan district attorney's office has been investigating the former president in connection with his alleged role in a hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump is expected to a.
In court Tuesday for his arraignment as an attorney says - his attorney says he will absolutely voluntarily Surrender.
The eyes of the world will be -- with American democracy under the microscope.
Let's dig deeper and get some important context.
Jessica is a former prosecutor with the Southern District of New York and a professor at the Cardoso Law school.
Welcome to the program.
Talk about the significance of this moment from a legal perspective.
>> This is an extraordinary moment in our nation's history and history of our legal system.
This is the first, Former President has been indicted and charged with a crime.
And the significant also that that indictment was rendered by a grand jury working in a state court system, working with the state district attorney.
So, it just, it's unprecedented.
And in the context of all of the ongoing investigations of the former president, this maybe but the first chapter in what unfolds as a number of criminal prosecutions against him.
>> There are a number of cases currently underway throughout the country.
Here's what we do know because there is a lot we don't know.
The indictment is under seal but sources say there are 30 or more charges related to business fraud.
30 sounds like a lot.
Does that surprise you, and what do you think that could entail?
>> Again, until we see with the charges hard it is hard to evaluate their scope and scale.
The fact that there are 30 charges or more in and of itself does not tell me very much because each of those charges, if in fact, they are for filing false business records, which is what has been reported, could reflect each one of them a single false entry in the records of the Trump organization.
For example, every check that was sent to Michael Cohen reportedly -- purportedly for legal fees that was entered in the records of the Trump organization, each one could in theory be the basis for one of those charges.
Until we see the indictment we do not know the scope of it.
How many years it bands of alleged criminal conduct.
And the scope of what is, what is alleged with respect to what crimes if any the Trump organization and Mr. Trump may have been concealing or furthering through the entry of those false records because, of course, that is how the charge of falsification of business records is elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony, as if the false -- if the false business record is entered with the purpose of defrauding and with the purpose of concealing another or advancing another crime.
>> so, this is about the falsification of business records as you noted.
Labeling them as legal expenses and this is related to the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.
Given what we know now, what law s could he have allegedly broken?
>> Well, if it is charged primarily as a falsification of business records under the New York penal laws, it becomes a felony.
And falsification of business records in the first degree, if it was done to further another crime.
So, the real question that everyone has been wondering about is what is that other crime that the falsification was in furtherance of?
Was it a campaign finance violations such as the campaign-finance violation charge among other charges against Michael Cohen, he pled guilty to in federal court.
And that would involve an allegation that the payments to Stormy Daniels that were made through Michael Cohen were then reimbursed by Mr. Trump were actually campaign contributions that were not disclosed as such when they needed to be, and that exceeded the permissible contributions from an individual.
And so, one of the big legal questions I imagine will be litigated early in the life of this case is whether or not that is a permissible charge under New York law.
To effectively incorporate by reference into a New York statutory allegation, a violation of a federal criminal law where this would have been a violation of the federal campaign contribution laws.
>> Would this be a novel approach as it has been written to this particular case and chart?
and if-- and charge?
I know you are a legal expert and not a political one.
Is this smart legally to be taking this route, given the enormity of the consequences here, and the defendant, the former president of the United States?
>> The district attorney knows the stakes here.
So, I imagine he has done his research with his team extensively to make sure that they are confident of their legal theory and that they have president -- precedent to support each aspect of the questions we have been talking about any evidence to back it up.
Falsification of business records is a crime that is charged a regularly throughout New York State by the stick attorney and by district Attorneys in other parts of the state.
What is novel about it is essentially the incorporation by reference as I said of a federal campaign contribution limit law.
But we don't know yet that that is in fact the basis for the charge.
There may be another theory alleged in the indictment of some other crime that the falsification of business records was in furtherance of, and if that is a state law crime, for simple, state tax statute or state fraud, tax fraud or insurance fraud, bank fraud, all of which are possible depending on the uses to which these business records of the Trump organization were put, then a lot of the concerns that others have articulated really go away.
I think it is premature to evaluate just how novel these charges will be.
And what the legal challenges will be to them and how they will fare in the courts.
>> Trump's attorney in this case said this on the today show, he said these were just filed on the company's own books and there were no other third parties involved, nothing was submitted to the IRS, and that in and of itself, shows that this was not a crime, that this is not related to the FEC, and this is not a tax issue.
With this for decay the former president?
>> Well, if he is correct, that these records generated by the Trump organization that were false in terms of the payments that reflected were never submitted to any other entity or authority, I think that certainly complicates the district attorney's job here.
So I'd like to wait and see what the theory is alleged in the indictment before evaluating its merits.
>> The district attorney and the prosecutor's star witness is as we mentioned the former president's lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
He has a credibility issue.
He has said that he himself has perjured himself.
He has spent time in prison.
I'm just curious to get your analysis as to what exactly he went to prison for, because, when it comes to these specific charges, that is one thing that the president now faces.
But even yesterday on CNN former Vice President Pence when asked why Michael Cohen went to prison and why he does not think Trump should be tried, he said Michael Cohen went to prison for lying to Congress.
Is that it?
>> Michael Cohen pled guilty in two jurisdictions, in the Southern District of New York for different crimes.
Among them were crimes of perjury for lying to Congress.
He also pled guilty in New York to tax fraud, and bank fraud.
As well as the campaign-finance violations we have been talking about related to paying Stormy Daniels and -- in furtherance of President Trump's campaign ambitions.
It is complicated to say what exactly he went to prison for, because it is all of the above.
His sentences were run concurrently on all the Christ to which he pled guilty -- on the crimes to which he has pled guilty.
He is a problematic witness because he has pled guilty to crimes that involve deceit and when you are putting a witness on the stand, the thing that is hardest for a jury to get over is when they have already been convicted of crimes that involve dishonesty and particular those that involve lying under oath in another proceeding like lying to Congress.
So, there is no question he is a problematic witness.
But prosecutors put on problematic witnesses who are flawed regularly, because these are associates with whom criminals engage in their criminal conduct.
It is often people who themselves are very flawed individuals.
The key is going to be cooperation of -- coo rroboration of Michael Cohen.
They have put other witnesses, other people from AMI, the National Enquirer and members of the Trump campaign like Kellyanne Conway to cooperate -- corroborate these payments and how they were entered into the company's books and what the intent, what the intent was in making them.
Apparently as we anticipate will be alleged, to further the Former President's campaign and his election prospects.
>> As you know, the president, the former president and his team have been calling this a political witch hunt, and have called Alvin Bragg a Democrat and somebody who is trying to go after the former president.
They note his predecessor did not take the case up and the DOJ did not take the case up and Alvin Bragg last year not take the case up until now.
What does that tell you, perhaps do you think that new evidence came into his purview?
>> It is certainly possible that new evidence came to light, or that prosecutors came to a new way of thinking about the evidence.
The fact that he took his time actually gives me comfort that he's acting with the kind of deliberation and care that one should with respect to any criminal charges, but here it's particularly warranted that he take his time given that we are talking about a former president of the United States and how unprecedented this will be.
So, he came into office when the investigation under his predecessor was well underway.
But it had not yet been charged, so it clearly was not ready before Cy Vance left office.
Alvin Bragg took a look at the evidence and thought it was not ready.
I think the fact that he took a hard look and paused is something that speaks to the care with which we can safely assume he has undertaken the charges that were just filed.
>> Can you just talk to us about just the unprecedented nature not only of this case but what we can expect on Tuesday, and the security in New York City?
We know it is a huge test for security.
All police officers have been told to show up in uniform from now until then.
There was a dry run expected for this arraignment on Tuesday.
What do you expect, given that he's going to be coming in and finger printed and I imagine a mug shot taken, although the state does not require it to be released.
How will the process unfold?
>> So, I imagine the District attorneys office is going to try to make this unfold as similarly to all other cases that are processed as possible, given the external racer consensus.
-- the extraordinary circumstances.
The Secret Service is there to protect the former president.
Generally you would not have any protective detail accompanying someone charged with a crime as they went through the process of a booking procedure, the Secret Service will be involved.
He will be photograph, he will be finger printed, his biographical information will be taken, and so, then he will go to court.
And he will be advised of the charges against him.
He will have the opportunity to plead not guilty and be released on his recognizance.
Then the judge will set a motion schedule.
We'll know what happens from thereafter.
>> And if there's a trial, even if he is convicted, and my correct in saying that this will not bar him from seeking the presidency again?
>> It is rather extraordinary that you are correct, there is no law that prohibits somebody convicted of a crime even FLE from running for president.
It would be I think more are practical and political one.
>> History lesson here for the books.
Thank you so much.
>> Thank you.
>> With all eyes on Trump domestically the White House has a litany of issues to contend with internationally, not Lisa golf between Russia -- not least the gulf between Russia and Ukraine.
Finland, something that was unimaginable, has cleared the final hurdle for joining NATO> Now Joe Biden is urging Moscow to released Wall Street journal reported Evan Gershkovich detained in Russia on suspicion of espionage.
Let's get into this and some other issues on the president's desk.
Joining me is the National Security Council John Kirby from the White House.
Thank you so much for taking the time.
We will get to all of these international headlines, but I would be remiss not to ask you about this unprecedented news of the former president being indicted, this falling as the United States is holding and the administration is conducting its second diplomacy and summit for democracy.
What message does this send to democracies around the world, our allies, and our foes, the former president of the United States has been indicted?
>> I want to be very careful not to talk about an ongoing criminal investigation.
We just wrapped up a couple of days for the summit of democracy and we had terrific purchase a patient from all around the world.
We talked about all the kinds of things that go into good governance, including free and fair elections and efforts to boost trade and economic flow between democracies as well as the importance of the rule of law.
But I want to be careful that we do not speak to an ongoing criminal investigation.
>> Let me move on to Evan Gershkovich.
The Wall Street Journal reporter who has been arrested and detained in Russia on espionage charges.
The administration has called these claims ridiculous.
It's in the process of trying to get a consul visit with Evan.
Has anything developed on that front yet?
>> Sadly, no.
We have not been able to achieve consular access.
Nobody from our embassy has been able to meet with him.
We are continuing to work on that and will until we can get that consular access to ascertain for ourselves how he's doing.
And make sure that we have that connection.
No, we have not been able to gain access to him at this time.
>> the FSB in their statement said that Evan Gershkovich he's suspected of spying in the interest of the American government and this is what struck me.
A Kremlin spokes person said that he was "caught red-handed."
These are very provocative and deliberate words.
I can't imagine that this would not have happened without the signoff of Vladimir Putin.
Do you agree with that assessment?
>> We can't specifically link Mr. Putin to this arrest.
That said,, he, as you well know, has really, really clamped down on independent media reporting in Russia.
Just shutting down outlets, kicking some out.
I't's a very tough environment for any kind of independent journalism to occur.
He has certainly set the conditions, where it is very difficult for free and independent reporters to actually do their job and just to put a fine point on it, you did not ask, but the claims, espionage claims against Evan Gershkovich are absolutely ludicrous.
He was a working journalist for "the Wall Street Journal."
And we want to see him released.
>> The administration noted, they called the claims ridiculous.
I know the state department is in its process, which is routine when an American is detained, to get to the actual words and being able to label this wrongfully detained.
Where does that process stand?
>> I would have to refer you to the State Department to the do have a process they put in place when we have Americans detained overseas, where they take a look at the circumstances.
And I do not know where they are in the process.
It is very much driven by individual cases.
So, it is not driven by a specific timeline necessarily.
It is really driven by taking a look at each case individually, and they will do that.
And they will do that in the appropriate manner.
We are sure of that.
In the meantime, it is very clear that from everything we have been able to glean, that he was kicked up for being reported.
And again in a country where being a reporter can be a dangerous thing.
And we want to see him released.
We want to see him released immediately.
He does not belong to be detained for doing the job of a reporter in a foreign country.
>> Let me reach you what his employer "the Wall Street Journal" has said and what they believe is a government duty in response.
They call his detainedment another example of Russia taking the journal hostage.
Thuggish leaders -- think they will pay no price.
Expelling Russia's ambassador to the S and all Russian journalists would be the minimum to expect.
The u.s. governments first duty is to protect its students and too many governments believe they can arrest and imprison Americans with impunity.
President Biden was asked just today if he plans to expel Russian journalists or diplomats.
He said there are no plans right now.
>> We are taking a look at this case very closely.
Our focus right now is getting Evan out of there, getting him released and working towards getting him released.
So that is where the focus is right now.
I don't have anything to add to what the president said.
It is important to remember, number one, this is not a new tactic for Mr. Putin.
He has detained American citizens and citizens from other countries in a routine way on many times, sham charges, number one, number two, President Biden never forgets Americans detained overseas.
He has a whole team at the State Department and the National Security Council dedicating to getting those folks home, we are going to do that.
We are going to work just as hard for Evan as we are for everybody else but each case has to be looked at individually.
This is not the time for Americans to be in Russia.
If you are in Russia now, on business or leisure, you need to leave now.
This is not a good place for you to be in Russia, even if you are a working journalist.
Russia is a hostile environment for American citizens right now.
And it is time to go if you are there.
>> There are several international journalists that are currently working inside Russia, including Americans, including we have colleagues who may be not from America but other Western countries reporting from Russia as well.
Is the administration's take now that they should leave?
>> We can't speak for other countries and would not do that.
Those are sovereign nationstates that can speak for their own citizens.
What we are saying is, and the State Department has been extremely clearly -- clear about this, they have a level 4 advisory out, Russia is not a safe country for Americans to be in.
If you are in Russia, we urge you to leave immediately.
>> You said you do not know if this detention was retaliatory or perhaps Vladimir Putin seeking a prisoner swap.
Many experts believe that that is part of his plan.
What is the U.S.'s view on this, is there anybody the U.S. is detaining that would be able to be swapped with Evan?
>> We don't know exactly what other motives, beyond what they have said publicly, for arresting and attaining Evan i-- and detaining Evan is.
We do not have evidence it is a ploy by Mr. Putin to do a prisoner swap.
I won't get ahead of where we are in the process.
We are work to get -- are going to work to get Evan released an Paul Whelan and any other detained Americans released.
Each case is individual and each case is specific.
ISIL he would not talk about what tactics might be -- I certainly will not talk about what options are before us as we work to learn more about Evan's case.
Our main priority, we would like to see them release.
He does not need to be detained but our main priority is getting access to him, consular access, so we can ascertain how his doing and try to address any immediate needs he might have.
>> Do you have any development, please keep us posted.
I want to move on to the war in Ukraine because there is growing concern about what in fact the U.S. policy is, vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine.
The Biden administration has said it is about liberating Ukraine and making sure Russia leaves its boundaries there.
And nothing would be done without Ukraine involved.
That having been said, there is speculation that, going forward, in any sort of assistance and policy really depends a lot on this upcoming offensive that is expected from Ukraine.
Is that in fact the case?
How important and pivotal will this upcoming offensive be in the decision-making process?
>> I do not we just speak for future operations of the Ukraine military.
I would not even do that for American operations.
We do expect the Russians will go on the offense here, try to go on the offense in the weeks and months ahead and is likely the fighting will get more vicious and Bloody.
We want to make sure the Ukrainians are able to defend themselves against what we anticipate will be Russian offensive operations.
And if they choose, to be able to successfully conduct offensive operations of their own.
So that is what has been behind all these recent packages of support we provided.
You have seen a lot of ammunition going in recent weeks and we will continue to see that.
We want to make sure they are ready for those operations if they choose to conduct them.
>> Just to be clear, it is the Ukrainian offensive that I was actually referring to that is expected in the spring in the coming weeks ahead.
How much is riding on its success in terms of what position the Biden administration takes moving forward?
>> No, no, I definitely understood the question.
I do not want to talk about any potential operations conducted by the Ukrainians.
That is for them to speak to.
We want to make sure they are ready to defend themselves.
If they choose to go on the offense, to do it successfully and that is the key point -- we want them to be successful on the battlefield so that if and when President Zelenskyy is ready to sit down at the negotiating table with Mr. Putin, and there is no signs that is in the offing anytime soon, that he can be successful with the negotiating table.
We want him to have as much strength going into those discussions as humanly possible.
That is why we are focused on making sure the Ukrainians continue to be, and they have been extraordinarily successful on the battlefield.
They've clawed back more than 50% of the territory Russia took from them -- that is what we are focused on.
>> Is the administer, final question, factoring in perhaps the possibility that Vladimir Putin never wants to sit down at the negotiating table earnestly at least?
>> He certainly has shown no indication of that.
Everything has been doing, matching his actions instead of his words.
Everything can see, he wants to continue this war, he wants to continue to take away Ukraine's independence, their sovereignty and wants to subsume Ukraine into Russia.
Does not want them to exist anymore and the Ukrainians are fighting literally for their independence.
We've seen no signs that Mr. Putin is willing to slack off back off or sit down and have any discussions.
You know what?
We'd love to see the war end, and if it has to and through negotiated settlement, as you rightly said, nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine, Ukraine has to be at the center.
They have to be consulted, their perspectives have to be viewed and understood,, but Mr. Putin could end this war just by pulling his troops out of Ukraine.
He is showing signs of doing that which is why we have to continue to support Ukraine on the battlefield.
>> John Kirby, thank you so much for your time.
We appreciate it.
Evan Gershkovich is the first U.S. journalist to be detained in Russia on accusations of spying since the Cold War.
Marking a significant escalation of Moscow's campaign against foreign media.
Our next guest is acutely aware that his -- the difficulties of reporting there, having spent 20 years as a journalist in Moscow.
She's a journalist and staff writer for "the New Yorker" who joins me from New York.
Welcome back to the program.
Someone who has spent so much time traveling back and forth between Russia and the United States, what was your reaction when you heard of Evan's detainment?
>> Thank you for having me.
My reaction was, my editor was right when he did not let me go in the Fall.
You know, it seems on the one hand that we've come to expect the worst from Vladimir Putin's government, and on the other hand, this is not just unprecedented since the Cold War , since the last U.S. journalist, or correspondent for the U.S. News & World Report was arrested in 1986.
Even during the Cold War, it was an exceedingly rare occurrence.
American journalists in Russia in general, foreign journalists in Russia, have accreditation from the Minister of foreign affairs and there is a kind of mutual understanding that the Kremlin is interested in some amount of coverage in the West and maintaining some semblance of contact.
So, going after journalists, a journalist in this way, is really not level.
>> I'm glad you brought that up because, the Russian newspaper editor who won the Nobel Prize in 2021, really hearken to the same thought when he said that even Soviet leaders like Brezhnev, they sought to Tampa and down Western condemnation in terms of human rights abuses and views towards journalists and what they are allowed to do inside Russia but what he is saying is that the Kremlin wants this arrest to be out there as a sign of global outcry.
"Good, they will know that we are not kitting.
That is the signal being sent by the Russian government."
The louder the conflict the better.
Do you agree?
>> I do agree.
And I think there is something else that is very important to understand about this.
When we say that instantly that Evan Gershkovich was arrested on trumped up charges, it is not exactly true.
And what I mean by that is that, for a decade, since September 2012, Russia has had espionage laws in place that are as vague and as far reaching as the espionage laws that were in place during Stalin's rain of terror.
They basically allow them to arrest anybody for espionage, on espionage charges for doing anything.
They do not have to be working for a foreign intelligence service.
They do not have to be working with classified information.
So, basically, as long as the Kremlin interprets what somebody is doing as disseminating information, including open-source information, that can benefit a foreign power, then it can accuse that person of espionage.
So it is very important, that kind of law is an instrument of terror.
It's very important for the Kremlin to say, yes, this threat of terror does not exist just on paper.
And does not apply only to Russian citizens.
Some of whom have been arrested on, under similar circumstances for doing their jobs and working with open-source information.
But this applies to foreign citizens as well.
And that is how terror works.
It does not mean that every U.S. journalist is going to be arrested but it means there is a quotable threat of violence and arrest against every foreign journalists working in Russia.
>> You have called this law lessness.
Evan was working and if speak -- a piece that centered on war and on the Wagner Group.
He had just written about the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy.
What message does this send other journalists?
You've heard the interview with John Kirby who advised American citizens, including journalist, that now is not a safe time to be in the country.
>> It absolutely sends a message that is not a safe time to be in the country.
It also sends a message to the American public and the world's public.
You know, it is made me think a lot about my grandmother, who worked as the censor with foreign correspondents in Moscow during Stalin's time.
I -- I inter viewed her, and she said that her job was to make sure that foreign correspondence on back home, only official information that was fed to them by the Kremlin.
Or that they pick up from Soviet newspapers or Soviet news agencies.
And the message that this sends is that every journalist working in Russia now is working in somewhere or another under conditions of extreme intimidation.
NOt yet -- not yet direct censorship it is almost as bad as direct censorship.
So we have to keep in mind just how constrained people who are on the ground are.
In that sense, it may be beneficial with all of the losses involved in not being there to report from outside the country.
>> Which is why in exactly what so many independent Russian journalists did.
You have covered this extensively and I covered it, they have left the country and they are reporting from neighboring countries.
Those that were fortunate enough to leave.
You mentioned your grandmother in Stalin's era.
I had chills reading an FT article and I've heard Robles about this, it was not a surprise but there was and FT piece this week talking about how informing has become more commonplace, it is clearly a Stalinist tactic.
We are seeing more and more fit throughout Russia right now on teachers informing on students who have any sort of pro- Ukrainian sentiment or their parents are posting online.
What do you make of this?
This return back to that brutality of Russian history and it's happened rather quickly.
>> You know, it has not happened as quickly as some might think.
The regime has been putting in place these elements of totalitarianism for quite a long time.
Certainly for more than a decade.
And, you know, your absolute right to focus on this, on the rise of informing because of your territory -- a totalitarian regime exist by making everyone complicit in enforcement, and creating the systems of horizontal enforcement where everybody is watching everyone else and, even more importantly, everyone feels watched.
That is one of the main differences between totalitarianism and tryany.
When we talk about the dictatorship of letter report we focus on the decisions he makes and that is very important but it is no less important to understand that the nature of the regime has really restored in many civic and ways, and all the important ways, the totalitarian structures of the Soviet Union, and the structure of horizontal enforcement of everybody working for the regime in some way.
That has been restored.
>> Vladimir Putin, just two weeks after the start of the invasion, told the Russian people that they will always be able to distinguish true patriots from the traitors and will spit them out onto the pavement.
And, look, those words, they clearly resonated.
His hold on the country and as you mentioned the impact of totalitarianism really just, i t's stunning to see it play out now.
This is a personal story, too, for you, for me, for Evan.
Just as Americans, we want him home.
But we all have a common background.
Evan's parents will born in the Soviet Union and came to United States in the 1970's.
I came as a Jewish refugee in the 1970's and you did with your family as well and yet there was something that brought Russian and Russian culture back for us as a career and why it is so important as Americans for us to still cover this.
I'm uust curious, as you think about what Evan's parents must be going through, having fled a country to see their worst nightmare come true.
What this is like for you and what we can only imagine this is like for his family.
>> I'm sure it is absolutely devastating no matter what their background is.
Even if they were not Soviet emigrees.
But there is something bitter about this.
I want to go back to that quote about Putin about the scoundrels that the Russian public will spit out.
He was referring to people that were leaving the country in the first two weeks of the full scale invasion.
>> the fifth column, he called them.
>> But he was in particular talking about this mass exodus of largely civil society leaders and journalists who were fleeing the country in the first week and 10 days of the full scale invasion.
And I caught myself thinking certainly it is no accident that the American journalists, that Russians decided to arrest is the child of Soviet immigrants, because this sort of timeless quality of Soviet-ness that the Putin regime has created that brands all emigrees as traitors.
I think it has something to do with it.
I think it certainly must be familiar to Evan's parents, who were told, I think there were kids when they left and they were, they knew they could not stay in school that they had to leave because they would have been branded as traitors.
We were stripped of our Soviet citizenship when we left the country.
That kind of stigma and that kind of idea that if you leave the country, you are its enemy, I'm sure that is in play.
>> I was labeled stateless officially coming to this country and we were told our feet would never touch Soviet soil again.
I am so glad we had to on.
Your expertise is so important on this topic and we are thinking of Evan and hope he can come home as soon as possible.
Our next guest is known as the godmother of black entertainment who broke barriers leading black entertainment networks as CEO.
Deb really reflect on her time at CET in -- at BET in her new memoir.
>> Thank you so much for talking with us.
>> Thank you for having me.
It is great to see.
>> You have got this gold plated resume, round undergraduate, Harvard Law school.
You're in Washington DC, I'm thinking State Department, Justice Department.
I'm thinking white shoe law firm.
Not this little cable start of that nobody has heard of.
A pay cut no less.
Why did you go to BET?
What was the appeal?
>> Let me zoom in on what was happening.
I had gone to a white shoe law firm, as you said from a clerkship because the Republicans were in office.
And I had gone to Kennedy school.
I thought government was going to be my career, but when Republicans took office under Ronald Reagan, I decided I did not want to go to a Republican administration, so I did -- I had to make an alternative plan.
And I was having lunch with Bob Johnson from, in the middle of a D.C. cable hearing and he asked me, was I interested in coming to BET to start the legal department?
It just sounded amazing.
One, I would be general counsel it was early in my career for me to be a general counsel.
TWo, I would not have to move to New York and three was a black owned company which meant a lot to me.
I grew up in a segregated South.
Even though I did not know a lot about BRET, it had potential.
>> Can you talk about what the appeal was for you of working at a black media environment.
>> The appeal was that I grew up believing that images are important.
Images in media.
And when I grew up, they were so few.
Can tell used -- I tell a story about watching soul train and hopefully seeing the Supremes on the time -- The temptations on Ed Sullivan or a sitcom or Amos and Andy, which I barely remember because they were taken off the air.
The negative stereotypes they pretrade.
-- they portrayed.
The idea that there was this 24 hour network that would focus only on black images and be -- give our young people something to grow up on in terms of watching all different kinds of people and that there would be opportunities behind the camera.
I mean, that excited me.
>> Your book is so rich in sort of creating a picture, painting a picture for us of what it's like to be a pioneer.
On so many levels.
It is a new-media world you're building as you go.
What was the best thing about it, being part of all that newness?
>> Oh, so many things, being able to hire young black executives and giving them opportunities they would not have other places.
Bob took a chance on me.
I was a five and a half year associate.
Not the typical General Counsel, but he assumed I could make the leap.
I applied that same theory to people I hired.
OK, maybe you want a-- you weren't a CFO, but you were the treasurer so maybe you can make the jump.
We had to do that because there were not that many Black General CounseLS OR CEO's out there.Excitement of the shows on the air when they were, for a long time wet had mostly music videos.
In the early days, it was pretty vanilla.
It was Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Earth wind and fired and then it turned it hip hop.
>> the other thing about the videos, too, remember, people forget this, this was an era in which Black artists had a hard time getting played on MTV.
>> They were not allowed at all until Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson started making million-dollar videos.
So, even before hip hop, you went from kind of low quality videos to videos that were like little movies, you know, that artists were paying a lot for, making their labels pay a lot four of people were dying to see them.
So, people would sit around for two videos to see the top video on video soul or 106 and park.
And then along comes hip hop.
And the images are divisive.
There's gangster rap.
We have to block out the videos.
There's, you know, misogynistic images of women.
We have to negotiate with the record labels about that.
So, there was this whole transition to what videos really represented in our community, and we had to deal with that.
You know, as tough as it was, it was kind of exciting, too, because you feel like, I felt like I had my hand on pop culture.
And original programming brought a whole new texture to the network.
>> It is interesting that the debate, the external debate, over the representation of women in the videos, in a way it was kind of a book end to some of the internal dynamics you were experiencing, particular when you became COO.
You described in the book, people showing up at your meetings wearing sunglasses or reading the newspaper while you are in the middle of a meeting.
At one point, you describe a person who clearly thought he should've had your job, disrupting a presentation of yours.
How do understand that now?
>> The last person you spoke of literally switched up the slides on me.
And I was making a presentation to analysts.
So, nothing I was saying was matching the screen behind me.
When I realize that, I fell apart.
My God, what happened?
It was something I never expected.
I knew there would be some resistance because so many of the men at the company thought, had asked for the job, but the resistance was much more than I expected.
I assumed that people were unhappy and they would leave.
We would work out a nice settlement agreement But I didn't expect people to be so noticeably hostile.
That was hard to deal with.
I hated going to my own senior team meetings.
It was a very unsettling time.
It's hard to deal with, but eventually I think I saying the book it took me six years to get my own team in place.
>> One of the things you talk about is how many people would say, thank you for what you are doing for the culture.
You had to come to grips, you are not just an executive, you were a cultural symbol to a lot of people.
It was not just a job, it is what the job meant.
Can you talk more about that?
>> I had lunch with somebody the other day, friend in the record industry for years, he told me his feeling was anyone who was CEO of BET was the president of black America.
I never thought of it that way.
But there were some of that in that, you are a leader whether you want to be a leader or not.
Not just of your company but because BET was so visible and was one of so few successful Black Companies around, you're forced into a different leadership role.
-- How so?
>> Getting to know the Obamas during the campaign.
We were doing to get out the vote campaign but I never wanted BET to tell people who devote for.
That was not a row.
On the other hand personally I think that -- to get to know the Obamas and support them financially in any other way I could and when they came to the White House I was invited to speak in a room of 12 CEO'Ss to be part of his presidential management board where we looked at the government in general and gave him lessons and things to do.
We over looked the computer system, the personnel system, how you promote people.
Those kind of opportunities only became only came to me because I was CEO of BET.
>> it is also true you talk about not just presidents and other CEO's but waiters at restaurants would whisper in your ear, thank you for what you are doing for the culture, which had to feel great.
On the other hand, flipping over to the pain points, on the other hand, when people became infuriated, some, at the content on BET you heard about it.
>> in front of my house.
>> One of the other pain points is the relationship that developed with the BET founder Bob Johnson after, this started about a decade after you were with the company.
Six months after you were appointed to COO.
I'm pointing out that timeline because obviously the implication is that you got those positions because you were in a relationship.
I just want to point out it was the opposite, that relationship started long after you had been with the company.
You were both married at the time.
The way you described in the book is fairly painful.
You describe it as consensual.
But one is left to wonder whether it really was.
And I, especially when you try to end it, and in your recounting, you describe some very disturbing behavior.
Behavior that I might describe as stalking, behavior that other people might describe as harassment.
And clearly, you described is for lots of reasons as part of what, an object lesson, you want other young women to know, this is something that happened.
What is it that you want us to know?
>> Well, after a lot of thinking and a lot of work with the therapist and times up and #metoo, I realized that it may well not have been consensual.
Mainly because Bob always had power over me as my boss.
And, you know, he did not force himself on me.
It was a period of trying to convince me to have a relationship, but it was not, you know, a forced relationship, but when I think about it, and I think about my decision-making about whether to have the relationship, my job entered into it.
I'm like, OK, if I turn this man down, what's going to happen tomorrow?
Do we just go back to work and he says, no problem.
Or does it mean I have to leave the company?
But anyway, so I did make a decision to have the relationship.
That lasted several years.
At times, it felt like a relationship in that we both got divorced.
You know, we had fun.
It was not always about harassment or being forced to do anything.
But then when I decided that this wasn't a long-term relationship and we didn't have the same values and that is what I remember baking-- basing the decision on, then the comment was made to me, well, if we break up, you have to leave the company.
And so then that turned into, as you said, very hard period.
I didn't feel like I had anyone to talk to.
I started going to a therapist trying to figure out how to get out of this and how I got into it.
Just, you know, what had happened.
And it was painful.
It was painful.
I even said to Bob at certain times, you know, what you're saying to be is sexual harassment.
He said no, that does not apply to us.
I was like, if you work for someone and they say, this relationship is -- your job or your career is premised on this relationship, that's sexual harassment.
And then it went so much further than that, not even just leaving BET, but I had to wonder what my next options were going to be.
When you have tied your career to one person, which I had.
BET was Bob.
So, OK, you leave, and what is the recommendation?
What are people going to think?
What does that do to my livelihood?
So, you know, a lot of considerations.
The reason I wanted to write the book was to let young women know that there are different kinds of harassment, different kinds of abuse.
If you put yourself in the situation, you should be aware of this.
>> How do you feel now that you have shared all this and you put it out there?
>> To be honest, I feel likeer.
I feel like there is a part of my career I could never talk about with anyone, even close friends.
You know, a lot of my friends had a good relationship with Bob.
He is a very charming guy.
People in my family had good relationships with Bob.
It wasn't like I was -- I go around and tell everybody he is not the person you are seeing.
And so, I feel that the, the first day this book came out I felt lighter.
I was glad I had told the story.
I knew what would get some criticism.
And that's fine.
But it is my story.
There have been a lot of supporters him and there will be criticism.
But I really felt like this was something I had to do.
>> What criticism?
What has been the criticism, if any?
>> people say, you had an affair.
Yes, I did.
I am not proud of that.
Or, you were sleeping with a married man.
There has been some of that on twitter.
Your slip you way to the top, which, I assumed some people would say -- you slept your way to the top.
We did tell Viacom, the parent company, they changed my reporting requirement so that Bob could not give me or take away from me anything based on the relationship.
But we still had to coexist.
We still had to travel together and do deals together.
>> Have you heard from the other party since you have published the book?
>> We reached out for Mr. Johnson and he has not commented to us.
Thank you for talking with us about it.
I can tell that it is not easy even now.
>> Deborah Lee, thank you so much for talking with us today.
>> I really enjoyed it.
Thank you so much.
>> And that is it for our program tonight.
If you want to find out what is coming up on the show each night, sign up for our newsletter @PBS.org/ Amanopour.
Thank you so much for watching "Amanpour & Company"