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Risking Her Life to Document War in Aleppo; Trump Long-time Friend on Wiretap Claim; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30a ET
Aired March 10, 2017 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight: there is death but also life in Aleppo. That message from a citizen journalist, working in secrecy who
risked her own life to document the brutal siege of her home city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAAD AL-KATEAB, PHOTOJOURNALIST: We turned the award what's happening in our country. The regime always tried to kill us and arrest us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That and digesting a new Trump-peddled conspiracy theory, accusing President Obama of wiretapping him. I speak to a long-time friend
about the U.S. president can be thinking.
AMANPOUR: Good evening and welcome to our special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The fall of Aleppo just three months ago was a tragedy that seemed to be unfolding in real time on treatment news. One of the reasons why the world
could bear witness was through the bravery of local photojournalists who risked their lives to get the human stories and the staggering pictures out
of the city while Assad's forces, backed by Russian airstrikes, closed in on that last major opposition holdout.
One of the bravest of all and one of the best of these journalists is Waad al-Kateab, a woman caught up in the war along with her family as her
hometown was bombed into submission. She turned her camera on and made sure the world was watching.
She survived the siege and was my guest on set in London where in order to protect her and her family, we had to conceal her identity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Waad al-Kateab, welcome to the program.
AL-KATEAB: Thank you. Welcome.
AMANPOUR: I want to play some of the work that got so widely recognized out here in the West and particularly I want to start by playing one of the
stories you did about three boys.
It's a clip from a piece you shot for Channel 4 news in June of last year; three brothers, Mohamed (ph), Mahmoud (ph) and Ammar (ph) had been playing
at a friend's house in Aleppo. We're going to take a look at a clip from your piece.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Then the bomb hit, dropped by either Syrian or Russian planes. And all three boys' lives changed forever.
Mahmoud (ph) and Ammar (ph) wait in shock. They hover, desperate, near their brother as doctors do their best to save him. Mohamed (ph) loses his
The doctors try to comfort but the boys are inconsolable.
A last chance for Ammar (ph) and Mahmoud (ph) to see --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): the face of their baby brother.
A heartbroken kiss, how hard it is to say goodbye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It's just so hard to even watch all these months later.
How hard was it for you to shoot that story?
AL-KATEAB: Actually when I was there, I was very strong. I was focusing on -- I had to say or tell the world what's happening in Syria. But now
when I -- so this pieces are all my footage, it's too hard to remember all these things that's happening there, especially I'm not -- I'm not just a
journalist; I was with my family there.
I was a mother and I was with my daughter there in the same day. I want all them to try who's 8 years old is dead and maybe -- I'm just thinking
that maybe my daughter will be instead of him.
AMANPOUR: How did you keep working in that terribly dangerous environment as the mother of the little girl?
And you're pregnant now.
AL-KATEAB: Actually, we have to do that because I can do that because not a lot of people working, they all think for Aleppo or for Syria.
AMANPOUR: I want to also play a piece which is equally important and may one day be used as evidence in trials. This is when you were in the
hospital and there seemed to have been a barrel bomb that disposed chemical weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): They're older than 4 or 5 years old. Her oxygen mask slips off. She tries to fix it herself but her hand is
shaking too much. No one seems to notice in this Aleppo hospital. There are too many other patients needing urgent help.
More are brought in, their clothes stripped off, their bodies hosed down. (INAUDIBLE) doctors here suspect they need to act fast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it is so dramatic to watch that because we've heard for years now about the barrel bombs, about the chlorine gas, the chemical
weapons and this is potentially evidence of that.
Did you recognize what you were shooting, what you were filming at the time?
AL-KATEAB: Of course yes. What we have to do that's everything was happening in Aleppo will be an evidence to what the regime was doing in
Aleppo or in Syria all. You couldn't see blood. You couldn't see interrupted maybe hands or legs (ph).
But you see a lot of people got into breathing (ph) and you also, when you were in the E.R. room, you smelled the smell. And it's very bad things.
And there is many people that's injured by the chemical weapons, especially in the last days of Aleppo. Every day at the evening, there was chloride
gas attack. And that was very difficult.
AMANPOUR: What did you think when still nothing happened, nobody intervened, the war kept going on.
What did you think about the outside world?
AL-KATEAB: Actually maybe I blame myself because I believe that maybe the world can do something for Syria especially in the last days. We lost our
city. We are now all feeling lost.
I don't know. Maybe we will have just to continue and keep trying to tell the world what's happening.
AMANPOUR: So you haven't given up hope?
One of the reports you did from inside the hospital is incredibly powerful, not because it shows death and sadness but because actually -- we'll show
the clip and people will figure out what happened at the end of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She lies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
ELBAGIR (voice-over): One heartbeat sustaining both. Nesa is 9 months pregnant. She was already on her way to the hospital when the airstrike
hit. Nesa's arm and leg are broken. Her belly sprayed with shrapnel.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): But what about her baby?
Nesa's wail pierces the silence. The doctors keep on going. The baby, out into the bright lights, silent and still.
They fight on, the little chest pummeled, up and down, harder and harder.
His airways cleared, anything and everything. Then a flutter. Blood in the umbilical cord. Color floods his little body. Cries of "God is great"
break the tension.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Nobody can see your face but I can see you smiling. I mean, it must have just really, you know, given you some faith in life when you took
that picture, those pictures.
AL-KATEAB: Yes, of course. Actually, when he opened his eyes, after that they worked all -- they worked see that. But in that moment, I didn't
believe that he will be alive -- 12 minutes the nurse tried to make (INAUDIBLE) for him be alive and the he was alive.
It was amazing.
AMANPOUR: Twelve minutes?
Is he OK?
AMANPOUR: And the mom, of course, is alive, although she was very badly wounded, as we saw.
Waad, you're a woman. You're a mother when you shot that piece.
Do you think a man might've done the same story or done it in the same way.
AL-KATEAB: Actually I don't know but as a mother or as a girl today is Woman's International Day so I think we have another or different look for
A lot of journalists, a lot of men do a lot of amazing pieces from Syria and from all the world. But I think it's different because maybe I'm a
AMANPOUR: This story was shown on the big screen, is -- it was called "The Flower Seller of Aleppo," the last flower seller. So this guy and his son,
Ibrahim, were at the garden center, selling flowers, growing flowers, amid this war.
And look here, you've got them sold and grown in the streets of Aleppo to make the city beautiful in this ugliness of war.
Tell me how it struck you when you doing it. That's the message I get.
What were you thinking?
AL-KATEAB: Actually all the world knows that Syria has a war and is six years until now. But a lot of people didn't realize that there is life,
too. Awad (ph) was one of the most amazing men I've seen in Aleppo. He gave us a lot of hope when I leave my house and leave Aleppo, the last
things while I was so seeing that the flowers that Awad planting in my garden. And it was very difficult to leave here to the regime.
AMANPOUR: To leave your garden to the regime.
AMANPOUR: Wow. That's an amazing, amazing thought.
Waad Al-Kateab, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
AMANPOUR: And from that very real crisis to a manufactured one, this week started with the fallout from President Donald Trump's fact-free accusation
flung at his predecessor, Barack Obama, saying that he had wiretapped him. When we come back, what is Donald Trump thinking?
I'll speak to his longtime friend -- next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
An enraged American president set the tone for the week with a barrage of unsubstantiated charges against his predecessor. President Trump's twisted
tirade claiming that Barack Obama hacked Trump during the election dominated U.S. and global headline.
The former president, the former Director of the National Intelligence and the FBI director all categorically deny it. And neither Donald Trump nor
the White House nor Congress have produced a shred of evidence to back it up.
Still the White House is calling for a congressional investigation.
Of what? we ask.
What is on the president's mind?
I spoke to one of his closest confidants, the media mogul, Christopher Ruddy, who was with the president as he raged about those wiretaps.
AMANPOUR: Chris Ruddy, thank you for joining us again.
Look, let's first ask you about your own op-ed that you wrote about this. You said you ran into the president this weekend and that you have never
seen him that peed off in a long time.
And when you mentioned that President Obama had denied the wiretaps, he shot back, "This will be investigated. It will all come out. I'll be
Did he give you any indication of his evidence on this very serious charge, Chris?
CHRIS RUDDY, CEO, NEWSMAX MEDIA: No, he did not. But he did -- we spoke twice during the day on Saturday. He seemed very upset about it, not
happy, I would say. And I've known him for a long time so I can tell when he's not happy.
And he felt that the Obama administration had targeted him. He repeated things that were said in the tweets.
"This was McCarthyism, Watergate level style stuff," and that he knew about the process, he said, and how the court orders had been obtained or
initially failed on the first try.
He seemed very, very confident about it. And later in the evening when I saw him at dinner time, I said, you know, there's been a lot of denials out
And he said, well, this will be investigated. I will be proven correct at the end of the day.
So I, you know, just -- I'm reporting what he says.
RUDDY: I'm not acting here as the White House spokesman or his spokesman. I'm just reporting the facts.
AMANPOUR: But, you know what, I'm really interested because you're the one who has seen him and you can tell us and, you know, testify to his state of
mind, to how he was thinking and behaving at that time.
But here's the thing, Chris Ruddy. It's not the first time the president has made unsubstantiated claims. I mean, whether it's the birther
conspiracy that launched his political career; whether it was about people illegally voting, about murder rates, crowd sizes, et cetera.
Does it -- does it worry you that a lot of this is just now -- you know, it's just a lot of Twitter blabber that is not substantiated?
What do you say to him, I guess, as a friend to the president?
RUDDY: Well, I don't think Twitter is the best way to reveal some of these things, but that's his decision and it works for him and he thinks it's
appropriate. And I guess he and his advisers have to come to some decision on that.
I do think when you say, you know, there's a lot of things here to discuss in perspective. One is this whole circumstance comes out of this claim
that he somehow was meddled -- allowed the Russians to meddle or work with them.
Director of the National Intelligence Clapper said yesterday they did an investigation. They found no evidence of Trump collusion with the Russian.
Meanwhile -- with the Russians. So there's been this long, big drawn-out controversy over something.
Trump says he has evidence that they did the wiretapping of him. You keep saying and CNN and others that it's been flatly denied by the FBI or Obama.
They are actually not denying yet that we know of that there was surveillance to the Trump campaign. They are denying aspects of Trump's
AMANPOUR: Yes, but --
RUDDY: So there's --
AMANPOUR: -- listen, Chris. I mean, you know America better than I do. When the FBI asked the Justice Department to refute President Trump's
assertion that Obama ordered the wiretapping --
AMANPOUR: -- of his phones last night -- or last year, rather -- I mean, that's serious. And then when you dig down and you see that the -- the
information that the president is talking about is based, we think, on a Breitbart article, you know, a shock jock radio guy --
AMANPOUR: So it's not -- it doesn't meddle off of it.
RUDDY: Well, again, that's media spin out of this. Nobody has ever said he got it from a radio host. He's not revealed how he's got the
I can tell you the FBI has made no official statement that I know about. The "New York Times" quoted anonymous sources.
So let's say it's true that Obama himself -- we know that Obama did not order the wiretap per se because he has no legal authority,
constitutionally or legally, to order a wiretap.
The question then is, did he have knowledge of it?
We've both been around the block to know that government do these type of things. This administration has a history. I mean, back in the day, they
went after all the conservative groups in the U.S.
We know that they have leaked -- Obama holdovers leaked secret, super secret conversations that Donald Trump -- President Trump had with other
heads of state, within hours leaked those to the press. I think it was very damaging to the presidency and to the country.
Nobody is talking about investigating that. That's a crime. And nobody is talking about special prosecutor. They should be on something like that.
So when President Trump sees this organized effort constantly to -- I can see why he's in somewhat of a defensive mode here.
AMANPOUR: OK. You know, again, we have no evidence of the things that you've just said, but we will -- obviously, he's the President of the
United States. And we have to keep watching this.
I want to ask you this as we've just heard that Spicer -- that Sean Spicer, the spokesman, is saying that President Trump is asking Congress not just
to investigate that but also to investigate leaks that you're now talking about.
But can I ask you this?
And again, as a friend, as somebody who knows the president. Howard Stern knows the president, the radio deejay shock jock, conversationalist.
He said today -- and they are long-time friends -- that "I personally wish that he had never run. I told him that because I actually think this is
something that's going to be detrimental to his mental health, too, because he wants to be liked. He wants to be loved. He wants people to cheer him
Explain that to us.
RUDDY: Well, the last thing I'm going to do is start explaining Howard Stern to you. As you know, your international audience, he's the shockiest
of shock jocks here in America and he's friends with the president, as the president is friends with many people in the media world.
I just spoke with the president at the Oval Office on Wednesday and we talked about Howard Stern briefly. And funny enough, he said Howard is
telling everyone I shouldn't be in the job, or I don't really like the job or it's not appropriate. He's totally wrong. He said I love this job. I
have no problems with it.
I've seen the president and I've seen him for -- I've seen him for about 20 years in different circumstance. And I think he's very relaxed and there's
no mental health issues that I see.
I think, everybody -- this is a guy that comes out of 14, 15 years of highly rated success in the show business arena with his TV show. He has a
certain way of doing business and communicating with the public.
Maybe it's not fully appropriate and there needs to be some adjustment here as he goes in, but there's a lot of good things that he's done.
And I think even you have to admit internationally the types of people he's picked for key positions --
AMANPOUR: Yes, there's no doubt about that.
RUDDY: -- the types of policies he's --
AMANPOUR: Yes, there's no doubt about that. Just one -- you know, people here, overseas, are very, you know, happy to do business with the Defense
Secretary, the secretary of state and the vice president and all those people who have already been abroad.
But just a quick question because this is another thing that people say about the president, that he does know what he's doing in the media and he
has a way of sort of, you know, trying to not just control, but to distract and put his own message across.
Do you think that this was all to deflect from a real issue, which was that Jeff Sessions, attorney general, has had these conversations with the
Russian ambassador and failed to disclose them at the right time?
Do you think that could have been it?
RUDDY: Well, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, here, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: All right, OK.
RUDDY: I mean, you know, I didn't get the sense that that was what was driving him. I think he really was angry that he had been targeted by the
Obama administration and he says the truth will come out on that.
AMANPOUR: All right. Chris Ruddy, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight.
AMANPOUR: Next up, we imagine a forgotten chorus rising from the dead, listening to Liszt, an opera left behind by one of Hungary's greatest
composers 170 years ago is being heard now for the very first time.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine music hidden in time and shorthand. 19th century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt was known for his
diverse and prolific works, but he had steered clear of opera with only one short composition ever taking the stage while another known as
"Sardanapalus" was lost to the ages.
Now 170 years later, it's being revealed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It was fragmented and written in code in 1849. It was then entombed in a Weimar archive for almost two centuries before it Cambridge
academic David Trippett found it and they spent two years analyzing the music to figure out Liszt's cipher.
Trippett said that he had to put himself inside the mind of the 19th century composer to understand the manuscript. Now the piece will meet his
public for the first time ever. A ten minute scene will be presented at a BBC world singing competition this summer.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online @amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.