Amanpour interviews Mubarak

February 3, 2011 1:58:11 PM PST
So who keeps going into a public square where people have been shot at, firebombed, beaten and killed?

People who believe they have no other choice but to fight for radical change. People who believe that to continue their lives the way they have been is unacceptable, even if it means death.

It's the kind of commitment that leads to revolution. And that's why what's happening in Egypt right now is so important, and why there's no turning back for the people who have thrown caution to the wind, and thrown away their lives as they once knew them.

Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled like a dictator for nearly 30 years, is acting the part these days. His henchmen are attacking, and his troops aren't stopping them. After Mubarak shutdown the Internet last week, he's now going after journalists who have descended on Egypt to report. An all-out witch hunt that's how Reporters Without Borders today described what's happening. Reporters have been rounded up, harassed, attacked.

Meanwhile, ABC News' Christiane Amanpour snagged the first interview with Mubarak this afternoon. The beleaguered president says he's "troubled" by the violence, but that his regime is not responsible for it.

Asked about his decision not to seek reelection, and if he would step down before next September's election, Mubarak said that after 60 years he's "fed up with being president" and would like to leave office now. But he says if he did step down, he worries the country would sink into chaos and the "Muslim Brotherhood would take over."

Also in the interview, Mubarak said that President Obama did not ask for him to leave office immediately. He says he told the President that he, Mr. Obama, did not understand the Egyptian people.

Mubarak also told Amanpour that he would "never run away" and would "die on this soil."

And Hillary Clinton weighing in on the violence today.

"We condemn, in the strongest terms, attacks on reporters covering the ongoing situation in Egypt. This is a violation of international norms that guarantee freedom of the press and is unacceptable under any circumstances. We also condemn in the strongest terms attacks on peaceful demonstrators, human rights activists, foreigners, and diplomats."

And State Dept. officials also claiming that the violence is indeed tied to Mubarak's government.

We'll have the latest from Egypt, and Amanpour's interview with Mubarak, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, it figures to be a wild night for New York City schools. Parents and teachers and students, gathering tonight at the vote to close 13 more poorly performing schools. The undercurrent of possible teacher layoffs ? thousands of them ? is also at play here. Our education reporter Art McFarland is at the meeting for us tonight.

We're also following the latest Bernie Madoff developments. And here you thought that his 150-year prison sentence for running his Ponzi scheme would mean the end of his financial evil-doing. First the New York Mets owners find themselves hip-deep in Madoff shish, now JP Morgan Chase's involvement is questioned after the unsealing today of a $6.4 billion lawsuit filed by the Madoff trustee. The suit alleges that the company was aware for years of concerns over Madoff's activities, but didn't report it to any government officials.

And our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer tonight with an undercover report into a taxpayer-funded work program that's supposed to help people get off welfare. But some of those in the program claim that instead of getting off welfare, they feel trapped in a black hole of bureaucracy.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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