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Five Years of War in Syria; Former Trump Executive on His Treatment of Women; Imagine a World. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired March 15, 2016 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, on the fifth anniversary of the Syrian war, Russia starts pulling out troops and the
U.S. says now may be the best chance for peace since the war began. Our exclusive report from the Syria front lines.
Also ahead: Trump claims he'll be, quote, "great for women" as president.
Meet the woman that he cites as evidence. The woman who built Trump Tower, Barbara Res, joins us.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program, I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It all began five years ago today, when protests erupted in Daraa, Syria, after a handful of children were punished for scrawling anti-regime
And today, nearly half a million Syrians are dead, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research. Millions more are refugees and they're on the
run, overwhelming Europe and contributing to the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
There've been chemical weapon attacks, barrel bombs, siege and starvation tactics and, of course, the rise of ISIS.
On this grim anniversary, we take you to Northwestern Syria where Clarissa Ward ventured just before the ceasefire and just before Putin announced
the beginning of the end of his six-month pro-Assad bombing campaign. She reports on what these bombings have done, especially to the civilian
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is an all-too-common sight in rebel-held parts of Syria, the moments after an airstrike. Dazed
survivors stagger from the rubble; those still trapped call out for help.
The target this time: the courthouse in Idlib, City, activists say the bombs were Russian. When rebels took the provincial capital of Idlib, they
saw it as a crucial opportunity to demonstrate that they could built their own state and they believe that's exactly why the Russians bombed this
courthouse, to undermine that effort.
Any civilian infrastructure is a potential target, including hospitals. Last month, four were hit in a single day; one in the city of Marat al-
Numan was supported by Doctors without Borders.
This is what remains of it now. At least 25 people were killed.
Doctor Mazen al-Sued (ph) was the general manager. He told us that Russian and regime forces target hospitals cynically and deliberately.
DR. MAZZEN AL-SUED (PH), FORMER GM (through translator): They want to kill the maximum number of people. Also they want to forbid the area from
having medical service.
If there's no doctor, no nurse, no hospital, then there is no health care for the people and people will flee.
WARD: Is it possible that they did not know that this was a hospital?
AL-SUED (PH) (through translator): Everyone knows this is a hospital. There was even a sign that said this is a hospital. But if they didn't
know, this is an even bigger disaster because if you were bombing a building like this without knowing it's a hospital, it means you are
hitting totally indiscriminately.
WARD (voice-over): Against the backdrop of this vicious war, Islamist factions have gained the upper hand here, among them Al Qaeda affiliate,
Jabhat al-Nusra. The landscape is peppered with signs, shunning Western democracy and urging all men to join the jihad.
One encourages women to cover up completely.
Dr. Faraz al-Jundi (ph) works at the only hospital still standing in Marat al-Numan. He's no militant but sees this conflict in black and white.
DR. FARAZ AL-JUNDI (PH) (through translator): The whole of the Syrian people is against ISIS and against extremism but we see that the Russians
are bombing far from ISIS and they're focused on civilian areas.
WARD (voice-over): I asked him why he doesn't leave Syria.
AL-JUNDI (PH) (through translator): If I did that, I would abandon my conscience.
AL-JUNDI (PH) (through translator): This is our country, we can't desert it.
If we left, then we have sold our morals.
Who would treat the people?
I can very easily leave but we will remain steadfast. I am prepared to die rather than to leave and I will carry on no matter what.
WARD (voice-over): Carry on in the faint hope that, for the next generation of Syrians, it will be better -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, Marat al-
AMANPOUR: Well, a ceasefire has now been in effect for two and a half weeks and new peace talks are now underway in Geneva but Russia has turned
President Assad's fortunes around.
So what does mission accomplished mean, as President Putin declared last night?
As his fighter jets started arriving back in Russia today to a hero's welcome. U.S. assistant secretary of state Admiral John Kirby joined us
AMANPOUR: Admiral Kirby, welcome to the program.
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now secretary of state has said that with this planned Russia withdrawal, with the peace talks happening, that it's possibly the best
chance for peace after five years of this Syria war.
What are you seeing that makes you feel that confident?
KIRBY: Well, first we're seeing, you know, continued progress in Geneva as the opposition and the regime embark on this next round of proximity talks
and they're in a second day now. That's a sign of progress.
And Staffan de Mistura has spoken well of the effort that's being applied by both sides now -- again, there's a long way to go here. We don't want
to oversell it. But also, we're now at the beginning of our third week of a cessation of hostilities in Syria and the violence, as that secretary
noted, has been down significantly for the first time in five years; organized violence is down in Syria.
And people are now engaging in peaceful protests again after so many, so many years. And then, of course, you've got this announcement by President
Putin yesterday that he's going to withdraw some of his forces.
Again, there's a lot we don't know about that announcement right now, there's more that we need to see but it could be a very positive sign in
terms of an increased effort on the political effort by Russia.
AMANPOUR: It could be but isn't that always, you know, the thing with President Putin, you're never quite sure what political gambit is going on
right now. We've seen it happen in Ukraine, this dodge and feint and all the rest of it and the troops are still there and the operations still
But I guess, what are you seeing?
What intelligence do you have?
Do you have any advance warning of this announcement by Putin last night?
KIRBY: There was no advanced warning that I'm aware of inside the U.S. government about President Putin's announcement. And I can just speak to
what my colleagues at the Pentagon have talked to a little bit earlier today, as a matter of fact, that they are starting to see the withdrawal of
Now again, this is only day one after his announcement. So we'll have to see where this goes. Even the opposition has said publicly this morning in
Geneva that they see President Putin's announcement as an encouraging sign.
AMANPOUR: President Putin has delivered Assad significant territory, significant advances on the ground and, therefore, a significant upper hand
at the peace talks.
Do you, can you fathom why they've done this now?
Why have they said that they're going to pull back their major operations, he said?
He said mission accomplished.
What mission is accomplished?
KIRBY: It's difficult to really discern what prompted this decision, what prompted it now and where it's going to go in the future. We think that if
it's fully implemented, if we can ratchet down again, keep ratcheting down the organized violence inside Syria, this could be a helpful thing.
And again, we would note -- and I think it's important to note that heading into three weeks of a cessation of hostilities, the Russians have largely
been meeting their requirements under that cessation of hostilities. We haven't seen them go after targets outside those that are proved by the
cessation of hostilities in terms of Al-Nusra and daish, which they have obviously been continuing to strike.
AMANPOUR: Admiral Kirby, we've just heard the report and seen the report from our correspondent, Clarissa Ward, where she points out the enormous
amount of bombardment by Russian planes on all sorts of civilian structure.
I wanted to get your take on what you think of that and then play you what one of the Russian MPs has said about it.
I mean look, the U.S., the U.N., others have blamed Russia for deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure, for not going after ISIS enough, for
doing actually more damage to the so-called moderate opposition.
KIRBY: Well, listen, I saw -- I saw Clarissa's piece. And it's heartrending to look at some of that footage. There's no question that it
KIRBY: -- in just horrific violence and the death and injury of so many innocent people. There's no way you can't look at a report like that and
not feel it in your gut. And we have been saying for a long time, since Russia started amping up their military activity, that it was absolutely
unacceptable to be hitting civilian infrastructure, to be causing civilian casualties, to be going after groups other than those of daish and Al-Nusra
and the Russians had, there's no question.
AMANPOUR: Let me just play you this, because the Russians are absolutely adamant that they never struck any civilian targets. This is what a former
MP and ally of President Putin told me last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEI MARKOV, FORMER RUSSIAN MP: Of course, it's propaganda that Russia is targeting against Syrian military opposition. Russia main target was
exactly terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What do you say, though, to the Russians who insist that, you know, they're not to blame, that it's all propaganda?
KIRBY: Well, again, previous to the cessation of hostilities, we know for a fact that they were hitting civilian infrastructure, causing civilian
casualties, doing what Secretary Kerry described as sort of double tapping -- you hit a target and then you wait for first responders and then hit it
And we've been very open and honest about what we saw them do previous to the cessation of hostilities. So in our mind, it's not propaganda; it is
in fact a fact.
AMANPOUR: And finally, Secretary of State Kerry is going to Russia next week to meet with President Putin.
What do you hope to achieve there?
KIRBY: Well, as the secretary said himself, he looks forward to this visit; it's a chance for us to sit down with Russian leaders and to
continue to try to make progress on this political solution in Syria.
Again, we think that this withdraw order could be a positive sign for moving the political process forward, even farther than it's gone.
Obviously, Russia and their influence over the Assad regime remains key to that effort. And I think the secretary is looking forward very much to
sitting down with Russian leaders and to seeing what's in the realm of the possible for that going forward here.
AMANPOUR: Assistant secretary of state, John Kirby, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
KIRBY: My pleasure, good to be with you.
AMANPOUR: And coming up, we stay in the United States for Super Tuesday number three. It's the last chance for Republican candidates to try and
slow the Trump machine. Just ahead, meet the female boss of the famous Trump Tower. What she makes of his views on women.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Donald Trump says some pretty awful things about women. Listen to this new ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bimbo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dog.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fat pig.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Real quotes from Donald Trump about women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at that face.
Would anyone vote for that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had the height, she had the beauty. She was crazy.
But these are minor details.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know it really doesn't matter what they write, as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women: you have to have treat them like (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is how Donald Trump talks about our mothers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- our sisters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- our daughters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That is from Our Principles PAC, a political group that has spearheaded the anti-Trump campaign. Today, Americans are voting in the
latest set of primaries, including major ones in --
AMANPOUR: -- Ohio and Florida that could seal the deal for Trump's nomination.
Despite the anti-women insults that he hurls around, he keeps promising that actually he would be, quote, "really good for women."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've always had a great relationship to the women. The relationship has been amazing in terms of
thousands of employees, at top level employees and you know, George, I was one of the first people in the construction industry to put women in charge
of major construction projects. And my relationship has been great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now one of those major women is Barbara Res, the engineer who was construction chief at the landmark Trump Tower on New York's Fifth
Avenue. She's the author of "All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction."
And she joins me now from New York.
AMANPOUR: Barbara Res, welcome to the program.
BARBARA RES, ENGINEER AND AUTHOR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you because I don't know what first of all comes to your mind when you hear all of these horrible things he says about
women. And then repeatedly refers to you as proof that, actually, he's very pro-women.
RES: Well, I think that he used to be pro-women. I think that he's changed a lot over the years.
I mean, even in the time that I worked for him, I saw changes in him. He used to have very strong women who he listened to and gave a lot of
authority to. But I doubt if that's the case now.
And, at the same time, he never used to speak about women like he does now. I think Ivana might have been a stabilizing force to him and myself and
some of the other women that worked for him.
AMANPOUR: So Ivana, of course, you mean his first wife.
You have said --
RES: His first wife.
AMANPOUR: -- -- in your book and elsewhere that he said to you, in around 31, I think, you were 31 when you became the first woman to run a major
construction project in New York.
He said to you, "Men are better than woman but a good woman is better than 10 men."
RES: Yes, 10 good men.
AMANPOUR: Ten good men, I like that.
What sort of a relationship did you have?
You were very young. I mean, you were in charge of this, you know, amazing New York construction in the heart of a, you know, real killer capital of
the world in a business sense.
RES: We had a good relationship. We used to go the distance in fights because we disagreed about things. But he let me tell him what I thought.
And like I said, we used to go 'round and 'round but we had a strong relationship. I mean, ultimately he was the boss and I was (INAUDIBLE) but
he took my advice on a lot of things.
AMANPOUR: What happened then?
Because, well, first let me ask you about some of the things you've said about him, even during that time. You have said he had a real temper. The
anger is real. He wasn't faking it.
Tell me about that temper, when did it show itself and do you see it on the campaign trail now?
RES: Yes, I see it right now on the campaign trail; it brings me back, to be honest with you, and not in a pleasant way. He was always very
difficult and very tough when he was angry.
He got very angry. His face would get red and his lips would get white. And he would yell and scream. And he got quite angry at us. And I was the
recipient of that, not too often but on occasion.
AMANPOUR: But when you were the recipient, did you fight back?
Because you say he got away with it because nobody challenged him.
RES: Well, I would say probably now that might be the case; back then, I did challenge him and others challenged him, too.
And the thing about Donald is that he can sense weakness. And when he senses weakness, he will overcome you. There's no question about it. He
has that sense of smell.
As a matter of fact, when he hired me, he called me a killer and apparently that was what he liked, a killer. And you had to be a killer with him;
otherwise, you would get killed by him. There was no question about it.
AMANPOUR: What on Earth must come into your mind when you've seen, certainly over these last few days, really these increasing scenes of
violence at his rallies, sucker punches that get thrown by various members of his support group against others who are protesting?
The things that he says about the press?
The things that his, his supporters say about those protesters, what goes through your mind there?
RES: Well, I think a lot of his protesters believe in him and believe in what he promises, which I think are unrealistic and a lot of disingenuous
things that he's saying.
But other protesters follow him because of the things he does, specifically his xenophobia and what looks like racism and his dislike for the press and
his overall anger.
Trump is a very angry man, angrier now than I've ever seen him. And that comes across. And his followers are angry --
RES: -- and they are lawless. And they are egged on by him and they do things that they think they can get away with and so far have been getting
AMANPOUR: And I think you said that, you know, his supporters feel that he's giving them kind of permission to, I don't know, espouse some of these
things that really one wouldn't say in polite company.
RES: Yes, absolutely. I think that that's the thing about Trump. He comes out and says things that everybody might have felt in some degree or
another but were ashamed of feeling that way. And he gives them legitimacy.
Oh, it's OK to feel this way. It's OK to think all the Mexicans are taking all our jobs and they're all really rapists and drug dealers because Trump
says it. So it must be right.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about the money because one of the big controversies is this struggle over how much is he really worth.
He says $10 billion; others say half of that. You say you knew him when he wasn't rich, he was nearly broke.
Give me a sense of all of that.
RES: When he was nearly broke, he had been overextended. He bought the Plaza, he bought the Trump shuttle. He had the casinos and he was doing a
couple of buildings and he got -- and he had the West Side Yards, which was heavily, heavily mortgaged and he got ahead of himself. So that in fact,
he was worth significantly less than the amount of money he owed, like somebody underwater in a mortgage.
With you and I, the bank would just take the house. With him, what the banks decided to do was let him keep some of the properties and manage all
of the properties and see if they could become more worthwhile over time, which they did.
AMANPOUR: I want to play you a sound bite, there have been some American late night show hosts and others, who put together a group of sound bites
and appearances of Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka.
And they have suggested -- and it looks pretty odd, some of the things that are said. I'm going to play you what was said during an appearance on "The
View" several years ago in 2006.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She does have a very nice figure. I've said that if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD'S DAUGHTER: Stop it. That's so weird. Stop it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're known for saying outrageous things, Mr. Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you, Woody Allen?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, he said it several times.
Is that a joke?
RES: I think she thinks it's a joke but I think that that's the -- the way his mind works, that you can joke about that.
I remember him talking about somebody that he knew through business who trafficked in very young women and he made a joke about that, like it was
something to joke about.
I was horrified by that comment when he said, if she were my daughter, it's as if -- is he dating -- are you dating your daughter's friends?
Is that the way you look at her friends when they come in the house?
I was horrified by that comment.
AMANPOUR: And who, I mean, clearly, I don't think you're going to be voting for him.
Who are you voting for?
RES: Oh, I'm 100 percent for Hillary Clinton. I think she'll be a fabulous president.
AMANPOUR: Barbara Res, thank you very much indeed, author of "Alone on the 68th Floor," the history of the first woman in the construction business to
the extent that you have been. Thank you very much, Barbara Res.
AMANPOUR: And of course, we asked the Trump campaign to confirm the quotes that Barbara just attributed to their candidate. They did not reply.
Trump is providing a lot of fodder, of course, for cartoonists all over the world, this one from ubertrams (ph), headlined "Uncomfortable." It's
written in Dutch with the image of America falling off the cliff of Trump's hair and staring into the abyss.
Now coming up, imagine a world where the most powerful hacking group declares, quote, "war on Trump." And the President of the United States
issues a red card of his own, saying, "Republican candidates are setting bad examples for our children and tarnishing the U.S. reputation around the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, I know that I'm not the only one in this room who may be more than a little dismayed about what's
happening on the campaign trail lately.
We have heard vulgar and divisive rhetoric aimed at women and minorities and Americans who don't look like us or pray like us or vote like we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world suddenly getting dangerously more divided.
Imagine if even that bastion of stability, strength and, yes, moral leadership, that is Angela Merkel's Germany, can take a body blow from the
Far Right for the first time since Hitler's Germany.
And imagine that march of illiberal, intolerant, inherently racist demagoguery trampling across much of Europe these days.
Now imagine not these fringe protest parties but what's happening to the Grand Old Party in America in the hands of Donald Trump's campaign. The
world watches aghast, the violence at his rallies, attacking protesters, shouting for them to be removed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: Ready?
Are you ready?
Get him out of here.
DONALD TRUMP: Get him out of here. Get the hell out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's for the protesters. There's also his inciting hatred of the media, all making a mockery of the democratic ideal.
Indeed, one mocking tweet today asked, have they blamed protests on foreign meddling yet?
Those who follow Mideast or Russia have seen this script before. Like Erdogan and Putin, Trump is still standing, even after numerous U.S.
allies, including all three living Mexican presidents, likened his tactics to Hitler's and Mussolini's, the worst monsters in modern history. In
another era, those comparisons would surely have been a campaign killer.
This time it seems every red line possible has been breached and, yet, enough voters in the land of the free, the home of the brave, enter the
sanctity of that voting booth and make their choice
So what does that say about us?
Recently, Anonymous, that infamous hacking organization, has issued its call to arms after protest hacking websites from North Korea to Ferguson to
ISIS, it's now taking on The Donald saying that beginning April 1st, yes, April Fool's Day, it's declaring, quote, "total war" on his, quote, "deeply
That's it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.