tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN December 14, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
any kind of president he wants. i think he could be the greatest president in history if he wanted to. >> thank you, robert kennedy. and give my best to your wife. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. it's the top of the hour, thank you for joining us. donald trump is filling his cabinet, but will the most powerful people in the white house be his children? this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon, donald, jr., ivanka and eric trump all at today's meeting with tech titans at trump tour. donald, jr., helped interview candidates for interior secretary. eric trump was present for at least one miting between his father and mitt romney and ivanka trump will reportedly take on some of the duties normally assigned to the first lady. her husband jared kushner expected to have his own role in the white house. is there a line between the trump family and business and the oval office? i want to begin with cnn's phil mattingly live at trump tower. phil, what can you tell us about this tech summit at trump tower today? who was there and who wasn't?
>> well, it was the titans of silicon valley representing apple, facebook google, you name it they were there and the most interesting element of it, don, is almost all of these individuals were deeply opposed to donald trump during the election most supported and some fund raised and gave money to hillary clinton. but there is a recognition despite their differences on a number of different issues, most notably significant policy issues. those issues are largely controlled by president-elect trump. that'sbly they met today, there was not a huge amount of substances covered and burying of grievances but there is an understanding this is a relationship that has to work going forward and this is the first of what will be quarterly meetings going forward and understanding that whether or not the two sides like one another on some level they have to work together over the next four years. >> what are you learning about the role jared kushner will play in a trump white house? >> it's important to know that jared kushner has been one of the closest, one of the most
valued advisers to the president-elect throughout the campaign process his son-in-law, the husband of ivanka trump. what has been happening over the course of the last couple weeks is lawyers and his legal team have been trying to figure out how to get jared kushner into the white house. now, there's a lot of legal issues, there's anti-nepotism laws that could create problems, according to sources, they are getting closer to finding the pathway. they know jared kushner will have an explicit role in the white house. he will likely have a desk in the west wing as well. the title hasn't been figured out but one thing to understand, he will continue to be one of the closest advisers to the collect, somebody by his side at all times. his portfolio still being worked out but he will be next to donald trump when he goes into office on january 20. >> phil, another thing, there's news tonight trump will be in court before the inauguration. >> yeah, that's exactly right. and with a seven-hour deposition and this actually all stems from
a lawsuit that the president-elect brought himself. this goes back to his d.c. hotel. jose andres, the celebrity, the well known chef, was supposed to have a restaurant in donald trump's hotel. he decided to pull out of that contract because of donald trump's remarks when he launched his campaign 16, 17 months ago. there has been a back and forth. donald trump sued because of breach of contract. because of that lawsuit donald trump will have to sit a couple weeks before his inauguration in front of jose andres' lawyers under oath, deposed, taking questions for seven hours. this issing this trump's lawyers agreed to before he have elected. ar war afterwards a judge rejected the request so the president-elect will be fair game for lawyers for seven hours. >> phil mattingly, thank you very much. i want to bring in "vanity fair's" emily jane fox and
politics executive editor mark preston, i should know that by heart since you're on all the time, you're like my co-anchor. how are you doing? >> good evening. >> all three children were al at the tech summit. donald, jr., helped interview the interior secretary position candidate. eric trump was present for at least one of the meetings with mitt romney. is this too close for comfort? >> i don't have an issue with the family being involved in giving him counsel my issue is that the family is involved in giving him counsel at the same time they're running their businesses. and "cnn money" did a breakdown and that i believe donald trump has business or ties with 500 different companies and of those 150 have done business in 25 foreign countries. that's the issue, jared kushner providing help to his father-in-law is not the issue. jared kushner running his company having a desk in the west wing, that's an issue.
>> and there is precedent for criticizing a president for having a family member in charge of important policy. remind us of bill and hillary clinton? >> hillary clinton did health care back in 1993. she was -- in '93 into '94 and was killed for it and quite frankly she had to carry that albatross up through her senate campaign so there is precedent. go back to lbj for gosh sakes where we've always had family members involved. >> we learned today, emily, that from the transition team that ivanka trump they're planning to have an office to work with the incoming president. her role will be, at least, one would assume sort of the role as first lady as melania stays in new york. correct? >> i don't know that i would necessarily call it the role of the first lady. i think this is going to be an unprecedented role for a first daughter she's interested in
climate change, women's issues, i don't know that it's necessarily the traditional first lady role i don't think that role will be filled because i don't think we will have the traditional president as well so i think her role is being figured out. from my sources she's figuring out how to unwind from her own business, how to unwind from the trump organization and she has no idea what she'll play -- >> but traditionally we would be talking what about the first lady's role will be, how they'll impact the upcoming administration and we're talking about the daughter this time. >> i think we need to figure out what melania's role. sure she's going to city through june but she's still the first lady, she's not abdicating that role by staying in new york. >> how does ivanka -- what about her own businesses? how did she avoid conflict of interests. she's working, she has her own business, how does she avoid
conflicts of interest if she's working for the administration? >> i think it's the same way all of the trumps have avoided conflict of interest and that's to divest from the businesses. anything else is mental gymnastic. figuring out how can i skirt this criticism, that criticism. but unless you sell off your assets you'll have conflicting interests. >> do you think a republican-led congress is going -- because the american people will be the watchdog it's a republican-led congress, do you think they'll do that between the trump administration and the children? >> i think there's amount of pressure on the republican-led congress to keep a close eye on donald trump, decisions he makes as president, rule he is may repeal in how they may affect his businesses. meetings his children may have and what their involvement is with their father in the west wing and meetings they're having
as well. the problem is democrats don't have any power at all in washington. zero power. subpoena power is in the hands of the republican-led senate and republican led house of representatives. it remains to be seen how they'll use that. in russia, republicans have decided to go forward and said they'll look into the election hacking and much to the chagrin of donald trump and his advisers but there will be pressure for them to stay on donald trump. >> emily, when ivanka sat in the meeting with her dad and shinzo abe which is the prime minister of japan after the election, i think some people said give him the benefit of the doubt, they're trying to figure this out. but sitting in on today's meeting one would wonder how long does that benefit of the doubt last? >> well, donald trump always gets the benefit of the doubt longer than anyone else would normally get the benefit of the doubt but the trump kids have
always sat in on meets with their father. since they were children they've been vfollowing him around to construction sites. >> not the president-elect. >> i'm not saying it's right but sources said to me look, they're transitioning out of this, this is what they've done, give them time to figure out the role. you pretty much have it figured out by now. i don't see a reason for them to change. >> do you think they're pushing the envelope to see how much congress and the american people will accept. >> >> i don't think they care. >> i think they think they won and the keys to the white house. >> if they're doing in the the way -- >> they are. >> i'm not saying they're doing it like that.
>> if they cared they would answer to it, he would hold a press conference, if they actually cared they would -- i always tell people when they say i'm sorry i didn't mean to hurt you, the way to do it is not to do it. if you actually cared about what the american people thought, you cared about precedent, you wouldn't do it. >> i think also a lot of americans don't care about this they have more pressing things to worry about than when the trump children are in meetings. >> they don't care about it now. but let's say there is some foreign territory donald trump is building a golf course. donald trump is building a hotel. his corporation or his company while he is president of the united states. someone picks up the phone, hey, you remember that guy we met, the chinese guy how do i get in touch with him? that can happen easily when you have these business interests around the world. >> let me make it simpler to the point of the kids being in the
meeting today. they grew up with their father at his office when he was building projects. you have to assume when they sit down at the dinner table they're talking business so no matter what the mental gymnastics that was brought up earlier and i agree that's all it is because they'll sit around the table and still talk about business, that's what they know. >> i think that until the american people en masse speak up and say this is crossing the line, they'll keep doing it. why should they change? >> but to your point, the american people, they have better things to deal with. bigger things to deal with, putting food on the table, getting kids to school and taking care of their job but fast forward down the road, they'll -- they may say why didn't we know about this? what happened? how -- what happened to that conflict of interest? they may not be paying attention now which is our role to make them pay attention but -- i mean, our role to get it but not our role to make them pay attention, so then what? then what? >> well, i think you cross that
bridge when you get to it. >> this could be easily avoided. >> but it's our role to raise concerns and i think we have to give them the benefit of the doubt they won't do it. i don't think the trump folks are evil but the whole idea is trust but verify. the whole idea is that you keep an eagle eye on it and make sure they don't do anything that's wrong. >> yes, of course, but if it was the clintons, if it was the sanders, if it was the romneys, if it was -- no matter who's in the white house -- >> right, we would do the same thing. >> the conflicts of interest would be -- we should be looking at conflicts of interest. >> absolutely. the trumps just get a longer leash and they always do. >> thank you, appreciate it. when we come back, blurred lines, will donald trump draw a line between his business and the white house? more on that. about. but then i realized there was. so, i finally broke the silence with my doctor about what i was experiencing. he said humira is for people like me
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president-elect donald trump insisting that he'll leave his businesses before inauguration day and that his sons, don and eric, will take over but does that answer questions about potential conflicts of interest or raise even more? here to discuss, sally kohn, peter beinart, paris dennard and john phillips. john, i'll start with you, donald trump's sons, donald, jr., and eric, appear to be
actively involved in the transition efforts. they have sat in on candidate meetings, vetting a candidate pick. trump has said he will have his sons manage his company. how are the boys still working on transition efforts, then? >> well, it's two separate entities, that i'll be running the company and i don't know why you're so convinced that donald is going to listen to his kids. i bark orders at my parents all the time, we still haven't built that guitar-shaped swimming pool i've been looking for. but every time you open up the newspaper it's someone else that's controlling donald trump. today in the "washington post" they said joe scarborough and mika brzezinski were controlling him. you read that he's a puppet of vladimir putin, you read that condoleezza rice is picking his foreign policy team. now it's the kids. donald trump seems to be a guy that takes a lot of counsel, a lot of advice from a lot of people and he does what he's going to do. >> i would say that it would make -- listen, if my dad was president-elect i might think differently about asking them for a guitar-shaped swimming
pool so -- >> well now i want one. >> i don't see the parity there but it was an interesting comparison. >> it sure worked to trivialize the entire conversation. good job. >> but it's very serious, sally. >> yes, that's the whole point. we're not talking about swimming pools. we're not talking about he gets to sort of sit there and talk about what he wants for christmas. this is very simple, you're right. they are two separate entities in theory. trump's businesses and trump's role as president of the united states and leader of the free world now if he said he's going to separate these things and his sons are going to run the business then it would suggest his sons should not be involved in setting up and deciding how he's going to run his presidency. if you're going to have a firewall you have to make a firewall and it's -- i think it's clear why he delayed the press conference he was supposed to have this week to announce his sons would be taking over his business bought he was going to suggest there's a firewall that obviously doesn't exist.
>> i want to -- i just want to do something here, just a little experiment. i'm going to read my first question again. roll that back in the prompter and i'm going to change the names here. so i will say to john phillips, "so, john." >> yes. >> "hillary clinton's daughter chelsea clinton appeared to be affectively involved in the transition efforts, she has sat in on candidate meetings and vetted candidate picks. clinton has said she will have her daughter manage her company, manage the clinton foundation and still working on the transition efforts. how is that going to play out?" >> chelsea was deeply involve in the clintons' operations the whole way through. she was involved in the clinton foundation, she was involved in their various campaigns. >> her parents weren't president at the time. >> well, she was a u.s. senator at one point and she was the secretary of state at one point. >> you're not answering my questions. you're not answering many i
question. it was just an experiment, i wanted to put that out there but go on. >> the republican party would be talking about impeachment right now. let's be honest about this. if the clintons were doing this, the republican party would be talking about impeachment. our system of government is based on the idea that people in power are not angels and that power corrupts. that's why our founders were so concerned about corruption. many of the articles in the constitution are designed to prevent -- it's why we have this precedent for decades and decades that you have to put your money in a blind trust because we know that power corrupts and we are supposed to believe that of all people the trumps are immune from the very corruption that our entire system assumes people will fall prey to? >> paris, you were saying that's not true, you don't believe it's true, that things would be different if it's the clintons? >> no, i think everyone needs to
take a breath, talk down, it will be okay. look at the end of the day -- >> i don't see anyone as upset here, we're just discussing -- >> i'm upset. >> she's upset. listen, he's the president-elect. he has not put his hand on the bible and been sworn in as the president so until then mike huckabee -- look, his pick for secretary of state is still the ceo of exxon. and so is that a conflict of interest? >> yes, actually. yes, actually. >> people would say it is, paris. >> he said he will step down at the end of the year after he is -- before he is sworn in. >> and keep his stock interest in russian oil contracts? >> you know you can still be a trump supporter and disagree with some of his policies and some of the things he's doing, right? you understand that? >> thank you for that enlightening fact, don, i do know that. but to your point about secretary clinton and chelsea clinton, i didn't have a problem with that. if she had won the election and chelsea was still there advising her just like huma has been advising her who is as close to her as a daughter i would not have a problem with it because
you should surround yourself with people that you know and trust. now here's the point you're going to like, don. if in fact the president-elect puts his hand on the bible and becomes the president, when that happens and his children are still actively involved in their companies and have not divested and separated themselves and are still in the west wing doing things of that nature, that would be a problem but i have every bit of confidence to believe that they are going to -- if they're going to serve in the white house as employees separate themselves like anybody else would have to do. >> can we get a round of applause for paris, please? thank you very much. >> they don't need to be employees of the government for this to be a problem. you cannot be -- if you're sitting in as we know donald trump jr. was on the choices for interior secretary even if you're not an employee, you are very intimately involved in important ways with the managing and decision making of government and you have every incentive therefore to think, huh, how could my business benefit from certain things the
government would do? >> and we've already seen evidence of donald trump bringing up some of his business, co-mingling his business interests with his newfound role in government. we've already seen it. and now we're seeing him appointing. it's not just him -- >> but paris, quite honestly, it's more serious. i heard paris say -- it's more serious than that, especially when you know the secrets of the world. it's a lot more serious than just hotels. >> i promise you eric trump doesn't know the secrets of the world. i promise you his daughter ivanka trump -- >> how do you know? are you in on those meetings? >> no, i'm not in on those meetings but i'll tell you they don't know the secrets of the world because they don't have the appropriate clearances to know that. >> does anyone not think donald trump is not going to try to just make money off the presidency? just straightforward. maybe he has the best interest of the american people at heart but he has shown number one he has his own interests at heart and he is a business -- >> when you're worth $10 billion
you're not trying to make money off the presidency. >> but we're not sure how much he's worth. >> okay, that's fine, don. when you're worth a billion dollars, let's give him that. you're not trying to make money off the presidency. when you gave $66 million of your own money to run this campaign, you're not trying to make money off the government. when you already said i'm not going to take a salary, that shows you he won't try to make money off being the president. what we do know is that president obama and other presidents do make money after they -- they become millionaires. >> but that's not the person purpose of this conversation. yes, presidents make money off books and other things and we have said on this show i don't think anyone had a problem for him getting credit for a show he produced or helped create. that's fine, i don't understand the comparison. >> people who do these ethics jobs for a job like richard
painter who was the ethics czar for the bush administration say this is an extremely big problem, potentially a violation of the constitution because you're not allowed to take foreign gifts from another country without the consent of congress and when people are staying in your hotel in order to curry favor with the government because they want something from the government, that's a foreign gift so you may sigh there's no problem here but the people who do this for a living in your own party think it's a problem. >> i promise you john phillips will weigh in after this break. that makes you more powerful than your gene pool. i'll trade you the candy cane for the eggnog. deal. or aunt jaxie's lack of boundaries. or uncle terry's over-commitment to holiday cheer. pretty good hiding place, gotta say. say that to the nanny cam. it's your tv, take it with you. now you can watch your dvr anywhere, at no extra cost, with directv from at&t.
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back with sally kohn, peter beinart and john phillips, john, i promised you could weigh in on the whole conflict of interest thing. >> i want to piggyback on the point paris made. we're talking about the hotel industry. he's not working in a clandestine industry, he's putting up big gaudy hotels with his name written in gold. it will be obvious for the world to see if people stay there. >> that's what he's doing now, what about the future? maybe they're setting themselves up for something? the future which is what this whole thing is about avoiding. >> if he does something shady they would be killed by the papers. >> except you'll come on and defend him!
>> i like, this we should just trust in trump. that's great, just trust our dear leader. >> oh, the media won't give him a pass. >> your people aren't going to listen to the media. he spent a year getting people to not listen to the media so you're right, it won't matter. >> the american people trusted him. >> you know you can disagree with donald trump and still be a supporter, right? >> the american people trusted him and voted for him, that's why he's the president-elect. >> we're not denying that but it's obvious to point out there should be concerns about his businesses and government and where does one draw the line. that's all this is. as an mesh citizen, democrat or republican, donald trump supporter or not you should have the same concerns. no, paris? >> i don't have the same concerns because i think you're making a big deal out of nothing. >> oh, many i gosh. >> there's no evidence that he's going to do this when that he's going to do this. >> and there's no evidence he's not. >> so let's have a little faith to believe that this man is
going to do the right thing. >> our political system is not based on faith in the goodness of our leaders. >> then let's base it on fact. let's face it on fact. you have none of them. >> there are facts that he met with indian business executives. there are facts he has been having business meetings since becoming president-elect, there is evidence that he was using some of his foreign calls with world leaders to talk about some of his business interests, that has been reported. so there is in fact facts that you're choosing to ignore because you want us to just assume that donald trump, who has always looked out for donald trump and his bottom line for his entire career is now suddenly not going to do that at all. again, we don't owe him the benefit of the doubt, he has to earn it and he hasn't done a single thing to suggest he's worried about the optics or the reality of entangling his business interests with his job as president. he hasn't done a thing. >> this is why there's a
separation of powers and this is why if he does something bad, something illegal, congress has the power to investigate him and they will. >> that's the whole crux of this conversation. that's what we've been talking about. >> he's not even president yet. >> you know -- >> president-elect. >> sally just said i don't want to rush things. he's president. he's not the sitting president but he was elected president of the united states, he will be so let's get over the semantics thing and it's not what he's going to do once he's president, all the indications that what he's doing now is an indication of what he'll do in the future. >> no, that's not. >> it's not? so we shouldn't believe what he's doing now. >> if he does something illegal congress will do what congress does. >> there's a reason why there's a grace period, if you will, before our president becomes president of the united states so they can get their finances in order. >> i'm just curious. if he put his sons in charge of his businesses which he has said he is going to do and after he's inaugurated he had a meeting, say, with the tech industry and
his sons in that meeting as they were today, they're supposed to be on the business side not the governing side but if on january 22 president trump has that meeting and his two sons are at the meeting who are supposed to be on the business side, are you going to have a problem with that? >> no, because mr. trump is not benefitting from the fact that he's divested. >> okay. there you go. >> he's no longer involved in it. >> sally, sally -- >> you don't understand how the white house works. >> it's a brick wall. >> people come here who have their own personal interests. >> even dick cheney kept it quiet. he at least kept it secret. >> this is supposed to be different, remember? draining the swamp. >> we're guilding the swamp. we are guilding the swamp. and paris i'll start with you on this one. >> sure. >> we watched, all of us, with fascination the dinner new york city right close to where we are now between the president-elect trump and mitt romney and reince priebus, however cnn learn trump wanted romney to say publicly he was wrong about trump but romney declined and the secretary of state nomination of course went to rex tillerson.
what do you think? >> listen, i was live on television when that going on on this network and i said it then and i believe it now that governor romney needed to apologize for what he did and said because i think it was not passing the loyalty test. it wasn't -- it sort of seems like he was just being a political opportunist if you really want my opinion and wasn't being true to himself. >> and do you remember, paris, i asked you, i said if other people didn't have to apologize because there were other people who hit him really hard as well, including chris christie who was up on the stage, marco rubio and a number of supporters, marco rubio isn't a big supporter now, but a number of people who support him now hit him really hard during the primary. why would mitt romney -- you remember i asked you that question? why would he have to apologize and not others? >> because the difference between a governor perry and governor christie is they came out to support him and went on the campaign trail in support of
his candidacy. governor romney never did that. he criticized him. held multiple press conferences talking bad about him on national television before the national audience and then wanted to become secretary of state. >> his campaign manager did the same thing, criticized him before being his campaign manager. >> but the point is after that she became his campaign manager and supported him publicly. governor romney never had a time frame where he came out and said i support him, he should be the president, he is qualified. he never did that. he criticized him and then said i want to be secretary of state or was considered for secretary of state and i think he needed to apologize and set the record straight because he never came out and supported him and said this man is someone i believe in. >> i'm sorry. i thought we were supposed to choose secretaries of state based on who would do the best job as secretary of state not whether someone is willing to publicly humiliate themselves for the cardinal sin of having criticized donald trump. mitt romney didn't criticize donald trump because it was going to help him politically.
it caused him a lot of problems. >> and hillary clinton never criticized barack obama and she became his secretary of state. >> so to me -- >> but she came out in support of him. >> to me what we learn about this is that it makes it more likely this was simply an exercise by donald trump in trying to humiliate someone who'd been a political opponent rather than a serious am examination of whether romney would have been the best secretary of state. >> that's not true. >> literally the picture shows donald trump with this big drim mass on his face as romney looks like he has to kiss the ring. there were two points, let's be honest, one was to humiliate romney, period. i've heard this, by the way, from credible sources inside trump tower as well and the second, however, was also to sort of do this optical appearance of we're going to look like we're doing moderate sorts of things. we have al gore come in, we meet with romney so we maintain -- people have cited this, trump people have cited this to say, look, he won't be so bad on the
environment, he met with gore, he's considered romney for secretary of state but what matters with trump is not what he says, not who he meets with, it's what he does so then he puts in someone who doesn't believe in the epa to run the epa, he puts in an oil executive to run our diplomacy worldwide but he tries to make it look not so bad by parading romney around. >> i'm going to like trademark paris's large i can. i love it. paris, i love having you on the show, love the conversation, thank you. >> any time, my friend. >> thank you, paris, thank you, john, thank you, peter, thank you, sally. when we come back, how will donald trump change our policy in syria and will it do anything to stop the carnage? >> urs with philips sonicare, the no.1 choice of dentists. compared to oral-b 7000, philips sonicare flexcare platinum removes significantly more plaque. this is the sound of sonic technology cleaning deep between teeth. hear the difference? get healthier gums in just 2 weeks vs a manual toothbrush
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one of the biggest challenges president donald trump will face is syria. the syrian regime forces have been making a brutal push to reclaim aleppo from rebel forces who have held the city for the last four years but as the fighting rages, multiple reports accuse pro-government forces of carrying out mass executions. cnn hasn't been able to verify reports of executions. let's dis cuss with the professor of international relations in rome and michael weiss, author of enemy of terror." rula, you are just back from the
syria/lebanon border. what did you see there? >> well, every refugee i interviewed -- and i was there on behalf of american university of rome trying to recruit students, actually syrian refugees to give scholarships here, every man, woman and child who ever managed to be in touch with somebody from aleppo the stories they told us were horrifying stories of mass murder, mass rape, rape campaigns, women committing suicide to -- they choose suicide over rape, they don't want to be rape sod they kill themselves. the regime has already won the war yet they want total destruction of aleppo, what we are seeing under our eyes, what's taking place is a modern
genoci genocide. it's another bosnia, another rwanda where the world promised never again and yet here we are. they are emboldened, the russians and syrians togethering with the help of the iranian militia because they feel the world doesn't care, basically, they feel the president of the united states doesn't have this as a priority, the president-elect, i'm talking about donald trump something happened since his election. these forces have been emboldened. they feel they have free reign whatever they want and there will not be any accountability. >> what was the sigh for, michael? >> say again, donald? >> what was the sigh when she said the president-elect, this is not a priority. >> i don't know i did sigh about that. i'm saying in general because everything rula says i have been reporting for five years and then some. i've described syria as a modern day holocaust. i was on the show last night describing what eyewitnesses on the ground have been saying and what the u.n. has confirmed, the
murder of 58 civilians at the hands -- and this is the important distinction. we talk about the assad regime or the syrian arab army. in truth there is very little left of the assad regime. this is a proxy war being fought chief baby iran and iranian built militias on the ground including imported afghan and pakistani shi'a death squads, including iraqi shi'a militias that are technically now part of the iraqi state security establishment that is said to be an ally and treated as an ally buy the united states. these are the guys shooting women and children dead in the streets under the cover of russian air power. now, we can have a conversation about what donald trump purports to do about this. there has been one consistent thread that has gone throughout his candidacy for president and throughout this transitional period and that is everybody seems to be talk pointing to top national security posts are hawk issish when it comes to iran. mike flynn has called for regime change for all islamic republics, first among equals in
his latest book, jim mattis has said? april he considers the islamic republic of iran to be a more direct and long-term threat to the united states than he does isis or al qaeda. here's the contradiction or the paradox, trump's avowed tropism toward moscow, his pro-putin leaning, his appointment of a secretary of state who's the recipient of an order of friendship award handed to him directly by vladimir putin, you cannot be both pro-putin and anti-iran, at least of all in syria because the mullahs and the czechists of russia and the party of god are united and aligned when it comes to propping up assad, not just propping up assad but doing so at the expense of u.s. interests and doing so to the ie niannihin of what remains of the free syrian army. this is not a campaign waged in syria against the islamic state. assad came out two days ago and said "i don't care about isis in raqqah, let the americans deal with that."
he's forfeited or ceded one-third of his country away. he doesn't care about it anymore. this is only about the heartland of syria, aleppo is or was until this campaign of extermination got under way, syria's most populist city. there's another cease-fire being put into effect that -- >> i want to talk about that cease-fire because rula, again, you just got back. i wonder if you can answer this question. michael reported what you were saying about the rapes and the suicides but also that a cease-fire could collapse and it collapsed less than a day into the cease-fire. what is responsible for this collapse? >> absolutely the syrian forces. i actually believe that what the refugees have been telling us, ith the shabiha that assad assembled, anybody that would carry weapons they allow them to
carry weapons and basically carry mass execution and exterminate whoever is not al white, whoever is not pro regime. what we are seeing, don, and i hope the world is aware. there's nowhere to be safe for any syrian civilian. if you're in aleppo according to the regime you are pro-terrorist. isis and al qaeda in syria has been members of isis al qaeda in 2011 when i went there for the first tame and covered the war, it was a protest that started where people demanded democracy, dignity, bread, social justice, political reform and then he crushed them from day one. while he was crushing the pro-activists, the people demanding reforms, he was releasing from the jail actually
real jihadists, he was already accused by united states intelligence of releasing these kind of jihadists already in 2003 and sending them to iraq to fight against the americans at the highest of the war. he started we leasing them again in 2011, he released the people that founded al nusra front, the sister of al qaeda, some people became isis commanders because for him he wanted to equate everybody fighting in syria, who's protesting in syria as a terrorist. the first victim of this regime was a boy, his name was hassan, he was 13 years old, he was arrested in dara, in a city and then tortured basically shot with three bullets and sent back to his home. his father was arrested and was forced to sign an agreement that actually jihadists were the people who killed him. jihadists in syria -- >> rula i have to get to the break. can you hold your thought?
obama's rwanda? >> absolutely, it is his rwanda. i saw him quoted today as saying, well, my syria policy has not been flawless, definition of the word euphemism. this is a guy for all of his intelligence and moral wisdom when it comes to many other aspects of domestic policy and social policy, really did drop the ball on syria. and he did it because, well, for a variety of reasons. number one, i think he rightly so was wary of getting the united states bogged down in another iraq-style occupation or intervention, but i and others have argued that, look, syria was not revolution at the end of the bayonet. it was a peaceful protest movement suppressed by a regime backed by other fascistic regimes and assad is the only dictator, not even saddam hussein used chemical --
violating obama's own imposed red line which other than enforcing he then went and cut a deal with putin, thus giving new legitimacy to assad. this is his rwanda, sarajevo. there's another component to this as well, have to take to account the geopolitics. term two for the administration was about one thing, syrian foreign policy. getting a deal with iran over its nuclear program. one could argue, a rider to the deal, bring the mullahs from the cold and create equilibrium in the region. the iranian equities in syria are now killing women and children on the streets of aleppo. so it's very hard for me to exonerate this president and say, well, there was nothing that could have been done. there was actually plenty he could have done. >> i have to ask you the same question, is this president obama's rwanda? >> this is the -- i think this is a scar on president obama's legacy, but this is about all of
us, i mean, there is a responsibility of the international community to protect civilians. there's actually a united nations resolution. this is about all of us who must demand that this carnage must end. this must stop. and the regime has already won and the fact that they are already escalating even more after basically they won everything and they want to crush aleppo, because basically they want to send a message, never question the regime, never challenge the regime, never ask reform. but who's the winners here? i mean, if we look at the winners, this is a failure not only of the international community, of all of us because al qaeda and every jihadist group will use syria as an example to tell young, desperate muslims around the world, you see, democracy doesn't work. peaceful protest doesn't work. only violence work. and, you know what, i thought assad would go down in history as the monster of the century, actually as worse than any other
tyrant. >> that's it. >> he will go down in history as the butcher of the century. >> yeah,vy to go. it's unbelievable to see, especially if you look at the pictures of aleppo, as you said a scar on the obama presidency. we'll continue to discuss more of that. thank you. i appreciate it. that's it for us tonight. thanks for watching. i'll see you right back here tomorrow. [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette and her new mobile wedding business. at first, getting paid was tough... until she got quickbooks. now she sends invoices, sees when they've been viewed and ta-da, paid twice as fast!
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joining us. we begin tonight with the cries from a city once as large as houston, texas, old as human civilization, familiar with civilization's capacity for inhumanity as any place on earth. they're the sounds of aleppo, syria, dying cries and pleas for help. the cease-fire that was supposed to give the civilians a safe way out has collapsed. the new one is set to take hold. past experience does not offer much hope it will last and the carnage directed at civilians, that goes on. in the face of it all, america's u.n. ambassador is speaking out against syria, against russia and their allies, iran. >> when one day there is a full accounting of the horrors committed in this the horror aleppo. that day will come sooner or later. you will not be able to say you did not know what was happening, you won't be able to say you did not know what was involved. we know what's happening and we all know you're involved. aleppo will join the ranks of