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Donald Trump Fires National Security Adviser John Bolton; U.S. Spy Inside Russian Government; Jim Sciutto, CNN U.S. Security Correspondent, And Steve Hall, Former Head Of CIA Russia Operation, Are Interviewed About John Bolton Being Fired And A Spy Inside Russia; "For Sama," A New Documentary About An Experience Of War In Aleppo, Syria; Co-Directors Waad Al-Kateab And Edward Watts Of "For Sama" Are Interviewed. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 10, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
President Trump fires his National Security Adviser, John Bolton, over foreign policy clashes amid news of a CIA spy extracted from the highest
levels of the Kremlin.
Then, life and death in Aleppo. Award-winning documentary makers, Waad Al- Kateab and Edward Watts, take us inside Syria's lost city and show us hope, joy and deep sadness hidden within the ruins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH BROOM, AUTHOR: If something is there the day before and then suddenly not, the mind has a really hard time trying to process what
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Author, Sarah Broom tells our Walter Isaacson about lots and recovery after Hurricane Katrina.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
John Bolton is out after. After 17 months as national security adviser to President Trump, the president announced on Twitter he asked for Bolton's
resignation saying, "I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions as did others in the administration." And he said he'd announce his
replacement next week.
The major shakeup comes after public disagreements on Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea among other issues, and just after major revelations regarding
U.S. national security and Russia. New reporting by CNN and backed up by "The New York Times" revealing that for decades a spy with extraordinary
access to the Russian government has been providing information to the CIA, a top-level asset that was extracted by the U.S. in 2017.
Well, joining me now is the journalist who broke the incredible story, Jim Sciutto in New York. He is also author of the "Shadow War: Inside Russia's
and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America." And Steve Hall, the former chief of Russia Operations for the CIA.
Gentlemen, welcome to the program.
And let's start with the sort of breaking news of the National Security Adviser, controversial John Bolton, is out.
Jim Sciutto, why do you think this is the case? The president has made his tweet but Bolton has also tweeted and sent a message to his allies at Fox
News that he, in fact, had first offered his resignation.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Yeah. This is what we understand. CNN's reporting is that the approximate cause of
this was a disagreement that developed into a heated argument last night over the issue of the president's invitation of Taliban leaders to Camp
David in advance of the 9/11 anniversary that that was the proximate cause.
But in addition to that, suspicion from the president and the vice president that Bolton was either creating a false narrative or letting get
out that there was disagreement in the White House over that very invitation and that the president and the vice president were uncomfortable
with word of that disagreement getting out.
But bigger picture, just the latest issue disagreement between the president's national security adviser and the president himself on key
national security issues. This one being a possible deal to end the Afghanistan war, deep disagreement there, as you noted, disagreements
between Bolton and Trump on North Korea. Bolton more of a hawk on North Korea, more of a skeptic of President Trump's continuing diplomatic
outreach to North Korea even though North Korea has made no discernible steps toward denuclearization.
Their friendship, if you could call it that, started on the issue of Iran and that the president knew he was hiring in Bolton an Iran hawk, someone
who opposed the Iran nuclear deal, which the president, of course, withdrew from. But even on that issue in recent weeks and months, there had been
And really, there had been something of a death watch in the White House in recent weeks on Bolton, folks inside the administration saying that he
looked like he was not in a good way, that they were having these very public disagreements on these issues. And now, of course, it evolved into
an argument last night and Bolton is out.
AMANPOUR: So, Steve Hall, from your perspective, I know you have mostly concentrated on the Russia Desk and we'll get to that in a second. But
when you view national security, foreign policy for this administration, then you see, as we've been discussing, these difficult issues of what to
do about North Korea, should one try to bring Kim Jong-un in from the cold.
What do you do about Iran? Do you bomb, as potentially Bolton wanted or do you not, as President Trump apparently decided not to do that a few weeks
ago over the Gulf crisis? And, of course, about Afghanistan.
From your perspective, and as a, you know, CIA kind of perspective, what does this say about the current state of national security?
STEVE HALL, FORMER HEAD OF CIA RUSSIA OPERATION: Well, Christiane, you know, from my approach at CIA when I used to work there, we used to watch,
you know, the National Security Council and, of course, you know, the direction that the administration was going in, and your characterization
of John Bolton as a hawk is, of course, accurate, and that is, indeed, I think what President Trump was looking for in Iran.
The (INAUDIBLE) though, when you get somebody like Bolton who is a hawk across the board, you know, somebody who supports strong muscular overseas
activities on the part of the United States using but the hard power of the military, soft power, as well. But when you get somebody like that who
begins to take the same approach on Russia and on North Korea, which is at odds with the president, then you got a problem.
Obviously, in the National Security Council, I think it works best when you have people who are disagreeing with each other. So, in a good, normal,
healthy administration, you come to a conclusion the president makes the final decision. But there's a fine line between that healthy discussion
and chaos. And a guy like Bolton has a sort of a long history of being controversial, being abrasive and being very, very pushy with his own staff
and with others.
So, the question is, if John Bolton is on sort of the outer ring of normalcy in terms of just how you behave as a bureaucrat and how you play
as a team member and he's not acceptable to Trump, who is next? Where do we go from here? Is he going to name somebody like Devin Nunes or somebody
to this national -- to be the national security adviser? I don't know where you go from Bolton. It will be interesting to see what the president
decides on that.
AMANPOUR: You're right. And certainly, everybody overseas is waiting and watching to see what comes next and who they -- who speaks for U.S. foreign
policy. You're absolutely right. It's going to be fascinating to watch who is next named and what this actually means on these key issues.
Jim, let us now talk about this story you wrote, which is the extraction of this asset, for want of an intelligence sort of inside word, who for
decades had been cultivated, apparently, by the CIA, as he, apparently, moved up the ranks of policy inside Russia. What did this person bring to
the U.S. that was so valuable?
SCIUTTO: Enormous insight into the inner workings of the Kremlin but crucially, into the plans and thinking of the Russian president. My
reporting is, as you noted, this is someone who had been providing information to the U.S. for more than a decade. During that time period,
had risen to the top of Russia's national security infrastructure. It has its own sort of National Security Council as well.
And with that position, this person had access directly to the Russian president, including, I'm told, by a former Trump administration official,
the remarkable ability to take photographs of presidential documents. Now, that intelligence bore fruit for the Intelligence Community because it was
partly based on intel from this asset or source or spy that the Intelligence Community assessed it was Putin himself who ordered the
interference by Russia in the 2016 presidential election. And crucially, specifically, in order to advantage Trump over Clinton.
So, the loss of those eyes and ears inside the Kremlin is an enormous one for the U.S. at a time of growing tensions between these two countries. As
you well know, intel agencies consistently place Russia and China together at the top of the prime threats to U.S. national security. And we have now
lost a vision inside one of those threats.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's very interesting when you put it that way, to have lost vision inside. So, let me ask you before the details. Let me ask
Steve Hall who is -- you know, you were in charge of the Russia Desk. I know you can't address this particular issue. But in general, what does
this mean? Elaborate on losing vision inside such a crucial, I mean, it's been described as a hostile power. Russia is a hostile power, according to
America's intelligence operation.
HALL: Sure. There's no doubt that Russia is adversarial, is hostile and Vladimir Putin sees things in a zero-sum game, you know, Russia wins, the
Americans lose. That's the way he sees things.
You know, not to sound like the CIA spokesperson, I can't, of course, confirm or deny anything that Jim has been reporting on. But from broader
perspective, I think it's troubling when you have a president who sees the collection of intelligence, which is done for the entire U.S. government,
by the U.S. government as his own sort of personal bank account of information to use however he wants to.
[13:10:00] It's going to have an impact downstream with entities that want to cooperate and want to pass sensitive information to the CIA, to the U.S.
government in the future. You know, most egregiously, I think, recently when you had the president tweeting out pictures of Iranian launch sites
and the destruction of a launched vehicle there and then, subsequently tweeting very quickly, you know, "Hey, you know, I can release this
information if I want to because legally I can declassify whatever he wants."
To me, if you are either a foreign intelligence service or another entity that wants to pass information to the U.S. government, you're going to look
at that and say, "Well, if I pass really sensitive stuff, can the U.S. government protect itself against its own president to tweet out those
secrets that, you know, I as a service or another entity has chosen to share?" And that's going to be a real downside. But the president
apparently doesn't care very much about that.
CNN, I think, reported earlier about the president's reported disdain for human intelligence and how he doesn't think it's particularly useful to
begin with. So, perhaps he just doesn't care.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, Jim, then because, you know, this is the controversial part of it, not just the safety and the security of this
operative, what it means for extracting and knowing what is going on in the center of the Kremlin but also, what does it say about President Trump.
And the White House has pushed back very firmly against the notion that this extraction happened because U.S. intelligence was worried that perhaps
President Trump might advertently or inadvertently reveal too much about this asset. What evidence is there for that, though?
SCIUTTO: Well, I'll tell you, I spoke to a former Trump administration official who was involved directly in the discussions when the decision was
made to bring out this Russian spy, and this official told me that the president and his administrations repeated mishandling of intelligence
factored into that decision. The timing is indicative as well because I'm told that a phone call took place soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval
Office, in which you'll remember President Trump discussed and shared highly classified intelligence with Russian officials. There's a picture
Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, the former Russian ambassador to the U.S, Sergey Kislyak. And when the president did that, although the
information he shared was not sourced to the Russian spy, it came from Israel, it caused pause within the intelligence agencies about what risk
that might pose in future conversations with the president that had already shown himself undisciplined in the way he handles classified intelligence.
I'll tell you that there was another incident that followed just two months after that, which, again, alarmed the intelligence agencies. You'll
remember this, Christiane, July 2017, the president meets with Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany. It was a private meeting. He took
the unusual step of confiscating his own interpreter's notes afterwards. I'm told by an intelligence source that after this meeting, as well, the
Intelligence Community was concerned that the president, again, improperly discussed classified information.
So, it was a series of events overtime that has worn away the Intelligence Community's confidence in the way the president handles this material. I
should also note, though, that leading up to the decision to extract this source, there were other concerns, the length of service by this Russian
spy and also the fact that intelligence from this Russian spy had been included in the public assessment of Russia's interference in the election
So, at the end of the Obama administration, the Obama administration actually offered this source, the ability to be extracted. At that time,
the source refused. It was only months into Trump administration when the extraction took place.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you both slightly the flip side of this coin that you seem to be describing. You know, you write in your report that in part
they were concerned about the president and his handling of intelligence and classified information. But we've also noted and we've reported and so
has every other news organization that the president seems to have a warm public relationship with President Putin.
So, some could suggest that perhaps, perhaps, he's doing that in public precisely so that he doesn't comprise the fact that they have somebody
right in there who can get to the president's desk and take pictures in the Kremlin, for heaven's sake. Maybe he has to be pleasant to and about Putin
to throw him off the scent. Let me ask Steve that and then you, Jim.
HALL: Well, Christiane, you know, Vladimir Putin is a former intelligence officer himself. So, regardless of whether he has pleasant, nice
conversations with Donald Trump or they're more pointed and more difficult, Putin is going to assume that the United States is attempting to collect,
you know, clandescently information against Russia.
So, I'm not sure I'm buying into that. But I do want to add to Jim's comments earlier about how this president handles information and
intelligence poorly in my assessment. And I can tell you that if I were, you know, a foreign intelligence service, I would be really scared to share
information with the U.S. government [13:15:00] right now.
But that's particularly important as we think back this week on the 9/11 attacks because the bulk of the information that we get from our foreign
partners is counter-terrorism information. In short, this president's handling or mishandling of intelligence is making the country more
vulnerable because it will result in others not wanting to share information with us. It's just the way the game works.
AMANPOUR: Jim. Yes?
SCIUTTO: To your point on that, another story out today and, again, speaking to officials who served this president and were in the room when
he made comments disparaging foreign intelligence sources, including intelligence sources inside countries hostile to the U.S. I spoke to a
former Trump administration official who said that the president "believes we shouldn't be doing that to each other." I spoke to a former senior
intelligence official who told me that Trump believes "there are people who were selling out their country, therefore, he doesn't believe the
But crucially, and this gets to Steve's point earlier, that the president views those sources, though essential to the Intelligence Community's work
as somehow damaging his personal relationships with those leaders. Putin included. But we have a public comment from the president to this effect
in June this year when there was a report out that the CIA had used Kim Jong-un's half-brother as an informant for some time.
The president said publicly that under his leadership, he's communicated to the North Koreans that that would not happen. That hobbles U.S.
intelligence collection for a sitting U.S. president to say he doesn't want that kind of information, even from countries hostile to the U.S. where
such sources are essential to protecting U.S. national security.
AMANPOUR: We have a soundbite to that effect. We're going to play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I saw the information with the CIA with respect to his brother or half-brother, and I would tell him
that would not happen under my offices, that's for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: OK. So, look, you both have weighed in on about that. And Steve Hall, I can see you shaking your head. But the one thing I do
actually want to ask you is this, and that is reporting that this asset in the Kremlin was also compromised by intelligence officials revealing the
severity of Russia's election interference with unusual detail. The news media picking up on all of this.
I mean, doesn't -- there's also a problem there, right? I mean, we had extraordinary information to the extent that the Intelligence believed that
Kremlin -- sorry, Putin himself was responsible for this interference, with trying to swing the election, and all of that. This came from intelligence
HALL: Yes. Again, without commenting directly on this particular case, you know, I can say that, you know, when you have -- especially with this
administration, it's got to be an extremely difficult position to be in if you collect information as part of the intelligence process, whether it's
CIA or NSA or whoever it is collecting sensitive information.
You've got to wonder as an intelligence professional working in this administration, what do you do when you collect that piece of information
that you know the president is going to have issues with? And then you got a president who, as you were just saying, says, you know, "I'm not
interested, really, in --" I guess, naively, at best, saying, "I'm not interested in, you know, gentlemen reading other gentleman's mail," as you
know, an old famous quote about the -- how intelligence works.
But, yes, when you're successful in collecting really good intelligence and then you give it to the administration who might not disagree with it --
who might not agree with it and furthermore, might actually put it out there, then you've got a serious problem with the messages that you're
sending to our former allies and to others that might be willing to cooperate with on intelligence, on China, Russia, Iran, other (INAUDIBLE)
AMANPOUR: And very importantly, I mean, you both know about this, but what is the fate of this asset who has been extracted? Where is he? And can he
ever hide from the long arm of Kremlin revenge. Look at Skripal, you know, the novichok that was used against him, others who have been, you know,
caught and killed in revenge for this. Jim.
SCIUTTO: Well, listen, we have deliberately not delved into any speculation about the name or location of this particular individual. I do
know that in the agency that there is concern with Skripal in mind that already the Kremlin was looking for people like this and to have this
discussed publicly, is embarrassing to them, and they will look even harder.
That the fact is, this was an extraction that took place two years ago. I was told, it's my understanding that soon after this asset disappeared that
the Russian government became wise to why this person had disappeared. So, it really depends on the CIA's ability to protect these people when it
takes them out of the country. It's something it's had to do for a number of years.
[13:20:00] And listen, it's something that we were certainly sympathetic to and it's why, initially, with the story, we withheld a whole host of
details that we knew and we continue to withhold details that we know so as to not to contribute to his or her identification.
AMANPOUR: It's really a tricky one. Jim Sciutto and Steve Hall, thank you so much for joining us.
And of course, all of this in the backdrop with Putin's United Russia Party having lost a huge amount at the elections this weekend for the Russian
Parliament in the City of Moscow. So, that was a big political blow to Putin, as well. But as for reaction to this story, his spokesman calls it
Russia certainly has the upper hand, though, over the United States in Syria, without crucial support from Moscow and Tehran. President Assad
would not have survived, even won the civil war there.
One of the hardest conflicts to cover, the best storytelling and reporting came from Syrian journalist, women like the award-winning filmmaker, Waad
Al-Kateab, who picked up her camera in 2011 at the peaceful start of the Arab Spring when it came to Syria but then turned into a brutal civil war.
For years she provided a window into her war-ravaged City of Aleppo. Now, she's made her first featured documentary with filmmaker, Edward Watts.
It's called, "For Sama," a letter to her infant daughter. And it's already won best documentary prize at Cannes, where Waad, her doctor husband and
Watts made this powerful protest against regime attacks on hospitals.
The film has been praised for showing that amid the horrors of war, there was also humor, love and life. Here is a clip from the trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAAD AL-KATEAB, CO-DIRECTOR, "FOR SAMA": Sama, I've made this film for you. I need you to understand what we were fighting for. I love you so
much, even more than the snow. There's lots of air strikes today, right? Sama, I know you understand what's happening. I can see it in your eyes.
You never cry like a normal baby would. That's what breaks my heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hospital has been bombed.
AL-KATEAB: My daughter's in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts, welcome to the program.
EDWARD WATTS, CO-DIRECTOR, "FOR SAMA": Thank you very much.
AL-KATEAB: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: So, that is a -- just such a strong trailer and it speaks to the real strength of the film. You call this "For Sama." How did that come
about? Why did you decide to take this format for your daughter?
AL-KATEAB: It was something we've -- I knew that from the beginning but we were discovering this through the process that we did like for two years.
We felt that all the conversation through the material was telling everything that this is for Sama. There was like a natural conversation,
as anyone around the world, every one of us like speaks with our child even if we still just pregnant.
And it was just like kind of the conversation, natural one, which it was through the material itself. And toward my daughter and towards something.
You have seen it too. So --
EDWARD WATTS, CO-DIRECTOR, "FOR SAMA": Yes. It was really like breathing through the footage that that was -- yes, that that was what the footage
was about at heart, was the relationship between Waad and Sama.
AMANPOUR: It was. But did you make a decision to make that and to keep going back and forth? Because if you look at the trailer and, obviously,
we've seen your reportage through the war, it is relentlessly really dark, it's a terrible war. The Siege of Aleppo is a terrible, terrible thing.
The bodies piled up. What did you think when you had to take all her footage and make it palatable?
WATTS: Well, you know, the thing that was so incredible about what this woman achieved and what she managed to film was the fact that her footage
throughout this huge archive, when I saw it for the first time, I saw the full spectrum of human life in this kind of conflict situation.
So, the horror was there, the human suffering, as you talked about, but also so much joy, so much about the spirit of people in this kind of
situations. So, it was more just trying to say, like, "It was so much. How can we squeeze all of this life that was in the footage in the archive
and contain it in a manageable form for the cinema?"
AMANPOUR: So, in the opening, sort of narration of [13:25:00] yours, you say, "I made this film for you." You're addressing your daughter. "I need
you to understand why me and your father made the choices that we did. What we were fighting for." What were your fighting for? Why -- I mean,
later on in the film you say, "Will you forgive me? Will you forgive me for staying and, in fact, for leaving?"
AL-KATEAB: Yes. It was -- we have fears as Syrians all the time about our story will not be told in our voices. We were all like against this -- the
propaganda that the Assad regime and the Russians were trying to just destroy the dream that we have of freedom and of dignity.
And like we were -- every parents in Syria and everyone who lived through the first year and two years of the peaceful demonstration, we have that
fear that maybe this will not be really reached through the next generation.
So, in one part of this, I really wanted to tell her about like what we then went through, how we started this revolution and why. And it's not
just for Sama, for all the other children of Syria, for all the world outside really to understand like what we went through as Syrian people
dream of freedom.
AMANPOUR: Let's take a few elements that we just saw in the trailer because, again, I think the world is familiar with the barrel bombs and the
chlorine gas and the chemical weapon and the slaughter in the hospitals but they're not familiar with the individual stories of the family, your
neighbors who you profile, the little boy on the balcony who had his --
AMANPOUR: -- you know, hand -- his head in his hands and he was afraid that he would be taken away from Aleppo, right.
AMANPOUR: This city under siege.
AL-KATEAB: It's really so complicated to understand like how it was outside could react for something. It's more about like, unfortunately,
not just like the bombing was familiar, also like bombing hospitals, getting children, all this started to be as numbers on the news or for
people watching like their news at home after dinner. And all these things were just like coming through the mind of the people and then just like
move on to their normal life.
I felt that maybe this story in the personal way could really affect every parents, every mother, every human being around the world to start think
about one step forward to do something for these people.
AMANPOUR: And, Edward, you know, Waad came out eventually after Aleppo fell and she had -- you managed to bring out hard drives and hours and
AMANPOUR: How many hundreds of hours of footage were you looking through?
WATTS: Over 500 hours. She brought it out.
AMANPOUR: So, it's the whole story of siege?
WATTS: The whole -- yes. And she'd been filming, you know, little bits and bobs every day pretty much through five years. So, it's beyond the
siege. It was right the way back to the very first days of the peaceful protest. An incredible huge expense.
And I mean, we started going through it together. I think we narrowed it down to 300 hours --
WATTS: -- that felt directly relevant. But that was still a huge amount of footage.
AMANPOUR: Because you had to get it down to?
WATTS: To 95 minutes.
WATTS: Which was quite a task.
AMANPOUR: And what did you think, Edward? I mean, you have been a documentary producer, editor for a long, long time.
AMANPOUR: And here you are partnered up with Waad now, who has come out of Syria and has handed you her life's work, up until now, and you've got to
help edit it and make it a story that may not have exactly been what you thought it might be or how it should unfold. Give me the creative process.
WATTS: Well, actually, that opportunity to collaborate in that way was -- it was an honor to begin with. But it was also made to film, I think, as
strong as it is because both of us were coming with our own perspectives. I was trying to think about like what to say your average in London or New
York who is coming off the streets, living a different life and then you're taking them to the heart of Aleppo, into the heart of Waad's life. How can
you bring that person in? How can you keep them with you on this very tough story? And Waad was --
WATTS: -- looking from the Syrian point of view, the insiders point of view. And so, we had a lot of very robust conversations.
AMANPOUR: I bet you did.
WATTS: I would think. Yes.
AMANPOUR: Some creative, you know, context there.
WATTS: Big time, you know.
AL-KATEAB: Yes. But the first really the main thing was how we so were honest to each other and we were like whatever his thoughts or my thoughts,
we were really so honest. And like we trust each other.
AL-KATEAB: We tried to work on this for two years. At the end of the thing was like both of us are so satisfied in the story itself and of --
AL-KATEAB: -- the real things that happened. So, it was also like my honor that we have that.
WATTS: It has received rapturous welcome all over. You won the best documentary in Cannes.
AMANPOUR: And from what I have read, it got a six-minute standing ovation.
AMANPOUR: I mean, did you even expect that?
AL-KATEAB: The first screening, before we got the first public screening out, we were like sitting together thinking about how many people will
leave before the film --
AL-KATEAB: -- will be finished.
AMANPOUR: Because you thought they would get tired of it or it would be too tough to take?
WATTS: Too much to take. Yes. We did a screening for our friends and family earlier. And they were just like overwhelmed with our earlier
version which was tougher even than this one.
AMANPOUR: They couldn't -- they were like hands in front of their face.
AL-KATEAB: Yes. And it's more about like we've been told a lot and we knew this may be that people around the world are so tired from the death,
from the blood, from the refugee stories. They want something else.
People really don't care anymore about like other stories from like so far places. We're just liked shocked how people really care and people really
like. They were amazing reactions.
AMANPOUR: What does that force you to bring out some unusual images and stories from the war because you have this beautiful picture of the kids
playing in a bombed out bus. And, I mean, I guess not everybody can relate to that but you can relate to kids climbing up, you know, a jungle gym, a
climbing frame, pretending to drive the bus, having fun, painting the bus.
And then you have this great story about a persimmon, a fruit.
AMANPOUR: Tell me that one.
AL-KATEAB: This is some of the, like -- not a lot of the moment but a few minutes gives you a lot of like hope and feel that OK, I will stay alive, I
Like (inaudible), it gets many people --
AMANPOUR: These are your friends who you profiled --
AL-KATEAB: Yes. And there's the hospital staff. And any of these moments when you feel that we really together in this whatever happened and all the
horror that we lived through but there's part of the hope and happiness, we still can't feel it whatever the situation or where.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Basically from somewhere her husband discovered a fresh fruit and brought it to her.
WATTS: Yes. And, I mean, it's peaceful moment because she is so delighted with the simple piece -- small piece of fruit. He's like oh my God, it's
like oh, a rose or something, it's like the greatest romantic gesture.
But that is the joy of this film. I think you've covered a lot of conflicts and I think -- and I've been to some as well and what the tree
says is that the fact that people tell jokes and they do these actions to support each other and to sustain each other but we often don't hear about
that. You don't see enough of that.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. So humanity which leads to the resistance of the population.
AMANPOUR: So I want to play a little clip which was really dramatic and it starts very sadly and then we'll see it unfold.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is his heart beating?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Here is is a baby born at the hospital, and, you know, it came out looking like it was dead. And here are the doctors resuscitating and
trying to give this baby CPR and you just don't know. Tell me about -- just tell me about this incident.
AL-KATEAB: It was just like normal day when we heard that there's a sharing around the hospital and injured coming to the hospital. And I take
my camera to get down to see what is going on and we found out that there's a pregnant woman who almost going to give birth and there's like --
AMANPOUR: Here is the moment that all that work is successful and this child is alive.
AL-KATEAB: Yes. And you can feel. I was filming this just because this is my responsibility to film every patient who's coming to the hospital.
And I've never expect that he would be alive.
So it was I just keep filming this because this is important, these people, and this baby, especially is not terrorist as the world outside are like --
AMANPOUR: Yes. You're showing that these are human beings and not terrorists.
AL-KATEAB: And he was killed. And suddenly, you've seen like -- as you've seen, I've seen it in my own eyes that there's just this baby, he's alive
now, and he's breathing, he's crying.
AMANPOUR: And the hospital is also a character in this movie. Not just the City of Aleppo and the siege but the hospital and the City of Aleppo
And your husband plays a huge role in that. Comes up, is the doctor who creates this hospital, brings all these other doctors and provides
thousands and thousands of hours of care and saves patients and saves live. Tell me about how important that hospital was to the story of the war.
The hospital, at the beginning, it was one of nine hospitals who have been giving services for the people inside Aleppo. There was great stuff from
doctors and nurses and they've never been in this situation before but they're just told how to do this.
And at the end of 2016 November, the hospital was the last hospital in the city after the Russian and the Assad regime targeted the other nine
hospitals and they've been all completely out of service.
At that time, some of the other doctors from the other hospitals came to the hospital and they were all doing all this work together and also they
lost hope for people they could have been treatment if anything happened to them. So it was just like a place where you can feel that this is a place
I can survive here. And unfortunately, like, that is all of --
AMANPOUR: And it's either you or your husband, I can't remember, in the narration you say that they target hospitals because that breaks people's
AL-KATEAB: Yes, it happened before in Eastern Gotar. It happened also in all City of Holmes. And this is just like the picnic that the russian and
Assad regime doing from the beginning. From 2012, the first hospital has been like destroyed in Aleppo because they want to be put to fear that
there's no one here for them.
AMANPOUR: So let's go back to the title, "For Sama," it's for your lovely daughter who is now three years old, and, you know, was brought into the
world in that siege and lived most of her life under siege. And you know, this seems there were -- you were trying to find the milk for her.
There's one scene we saw in the trailer where everything goes dark and you're very calmly saying, "Who's got Summer?" You all had to go down to
the basement and every mother's nightmare to lose her child in the middle of this kind of crisis. But, of course, she was fine.
And there's another really amazing scene that we can play. I'm going to play it and then I'm going to have you talk about it, Edward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to die. I do not want to die. I want to live. I want to give birth. I want Hamza to be with me. I want all
those things. I don't want to die. I want to live.
Praise God. Praise God don't let anything happen to my baby or to Hamza. I can handle everything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I wonder when you saw those 500 hours of tape, you were amazed by how much she was also recording her own side thoughts whenever something
like this happened. And this, of course, was when a bomb damaged your home and you were, obviously, really afraid for your lives.
WATTS: Yes. I mean one of the things she said to me was that the camera was kind of her confidant. So luckily for all of us for the film, she
recorded a lot of those personal moments that she didn't even talk to Hamza about I think.
And that was again one of the things that felt extraordinary really to be allowed into someone's personal world in that way. Her best friend was the
camera in some of those circumstances, some of the worst circumstances.
AMANPOUR: And again, we saw those beautiful pictures of you and Hamza getting married, again under siege, small party but absolutely beautiful.
It's a life affirming sync.
AMANPOUR: And you filmed it phenomenally from almost all angles. I don't know how you managed it but it was pretty amazing.
AL-KATEAB: I have great friends.
AMANPOUR: As he said, did Hamza know? When he saw the finished product, did he know all the thing you told your camera, you know, without him being
AL-KATEAB: The text messages I was telling the camera, he wasn't -- knew about it but he knows that I was filming everything. And he was -- at
first, he was so annoyed by having the camera all around all the time.
And he told me this directly many times, "I want to live with you. I don't want to live with you and with a camera."
And the fact that the first time I felt that he really recognized how this is really important was when we lost one of our best friends. He was in
the hospital before. And at that moment, and not just Hamza but everyone around, I felt that they've seen in their own eyes that this is really
important for all of us.
AMANPOUR: So I guess one last question, this is incredible storytelling which has taken everybody who has seen it by storm and will probably go on
to win a huge number of awards and will put Syria in everybody's face again in a very different way.
But Assad has won--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
AMANPOUR: So we are taking you right now to the White House where there's a press conference underway with Secretary Pompeo of State and Mnuchin of
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The last handful of days, we are very focused on this, the success that we had moving down the river valley that
our Department of Defense lead with the SDF Forces was really remarkable. We will not take our eye off the ball ensuring that whether it's ISIS or
other radical Islamic extremist groups continue to be under pressure from the United States of America. And that would -- just to close it out, and
that would include in these camps that you're referring to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House says that Bolton's foreign policy would not align with the president's philosophy. How was it not defined?
POMPEO: I'll leave that to the White House to talk about. Other than to say I think President Trump -- I watched his campaign.
I've now worked with him first as CIA director and now Secretary of State. Someone asked would the policy be different absent any individual being
here? These have been the president's policies.
We give him our best wisdom. We share with him our understanding. When I was intelligence director, we did our best to make sure he had the facts
and data available so he could make good decisions.
But I don't think any leader around the world should make any assumption that because one of us departs that President Trump's foreign policy will
change in a material way.
One thing I would follow up, because the president has been very clear on this. The president's view of the Iraq war and Ambassador Bolton's are
very different. The president has made that clear.
Yes, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) tariffs on Mexico (inaudible) with the immigration plan?
POMPEO: So we're looking forward to our meeting with foreign minister Roger in just a little bit. We're going to talk about the progress that
has been made, which has been substantial and real and material and has made America more secure.
But at the same time, we know there's still work to do. We're going to talk about how best we can jointly deliver that. We're deeply appreciative
of what the president of Mexico and the foreign minister have done to increase the capacity to deter migration into the United States.
And you can see the numbers have improved substantially. But we also know, A, it needs to be sustained. And B, we've still got real work to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: [Inaudible question] we know that Ambassador Bolton was trying to keep up the press (inaudible). We know that (inaudible) on
many things regarding to Venezuela. What can we expect now with the departure of Ambassador Bolton?
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I think you know that the Treasury Department and the State Department have been active on sanctions.
Everything we do is in consultation with the State Department.
Again, we have a massive sanctions program that is working. But I would just add, we're concerned about the people there and what is going on in
the humanitarian crisis. And I know the secretary worked with their neighbors extensively.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [Inaudible question]
MNUCHIN: Absolutely not. That's the most ridiculous question I've ever heard of.
MNUCHIN: Let me just say, the national security team, which is what you asked, consist of the national security advisor, the secretary of defense,
the secretary of state, myself, the chief of staff, and many others.
POMPEO: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. We'll take one more. Yes, ma'am
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, there are reports this week that the CIA had to pull a top Russian asset out because of concerns that his identify could be
exposed. Under which administration was this source burning? Is there currently an investigation into how his identity got leaked to the media?
POMPEO: Yes, I've seen that reporting. The reporting is materially inaccurate.
And you should know, as a former CIA director, I don't talk about things like this very often. It is only in the occasions when there's something
that I think puts people at risk or the reporting is so egregious. That's to create enormous risk in the United States of America that I even comment
in the way I just did.
And I won't say anything more about it. I know the CIA put out a statement suffice to say the reporting this is factually wrong.
Thank you everyone.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right. I want to bring in Kylie Atwood at the State Department to talk about what we just saw.
This was pretty interesting, Kylie. You had Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who, I mean, he was very much at odds with the now former National Security
Advisor, John Bolton, but while he admitted that, he also minimized the impact of that. Though we did standby the president's account of how
Bolton was fired versus Bolton saying he resigned.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes. Mike Pompeo made it very clear that he's on team Trump as he spoke to reporters today. Just
hours after President Trump has tweeted that National Security Adviser John Bolton isn't leaving the administration.
Secretary Pompeo said that President Trump is entitled to the team that he wants, defending his decision to let his National Security Adviser John
Bolton leave via tweet today. He also admitted, as you've said Brianna, that he and Bolton haven't always seen eye to eye and he didn't get into
the specifics there but he was asked about a few foreign policy topics that he and John Bolton saw a little bit differently on.
And that President Trump, one of those, is Iran when asked if now that the biggest Iran hawk in the administration, John Bolton, is leaving, if there
was a greater chance that President Trump could sit down with President Rouhani later this month.
Secretary Pompeo said sure and he said that President Trump has reiterated that there are no strings attached to that. He would sit down and meet
with the Iranians. So there are going to potentially be some changes to foreign policy going forward.
We know, I'm told by sources, at the White House that John Bolton was frustrated, that Trump repeatedly said that he would meet Rouhani. Now we
know this administration has been tough on Iran but President Trump sees himself as a deal maker.
The other thing that they spoke about today was the fact that they're rolling out some tightening, some new updates to counter terrorism
designations. That's what they e were supposed to be talking about today, Brianna, and they were also supposed to be joined by John Bolton.
So when they were asked if they were surprised about the announcement today, Secretary Pompeo just kind of shrugged it off and says he's not
surprised by anything. But making it very clear going up there to the podium that they are with President Trump and John Bolton is leaving the
administration but they are, for now, sticking it out.
KEILAR: All right, Kylie. Thank you so much. I want to bring in Jim Acosta watching all of this for us from the White House briefing room.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. You heard the questions there in the briefing room didn't last very long. It was
only about 12 minutes. But you heard the whole slew of questions. And the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, they
did engage. They took these questions on the ousting of the National Security Advisor John Bolton.
At one point, I asked Secretary Mnuchin whether or not the Trump national security team is a mess and Secretary Mnuchin said that was the most
ridiculous question he ever heard of and then went on to say, "No, it was not."
I did also ask the question and I'm not sure it was automobile because there was so much shouting going on in this room whether or not it's
possible to disagree with this president without being fired and Secretary Mnuchin said of course.
And so there is obviously this perception now that if you push back too hard on this president, you're inside the president's inner circle, that
may be hazardous to your future prospects with this administration but the secretary said that that was not the case. And as you just heard a few
moments ago, there was some other news, I think, at this briefing in that it does sound as though the door is open for some kind of meeting between
President Trump and Rouhani, President Rouhani, at the upcoming United Nations general assembly which is just in a couple of weeks.
That is something that John Bolton, the national security adviser, was said to have been opposed to as well as other issues. Now, I think the other
thing that was interesting that Secretary Pompeo talked about, Brianna, and that was this whole notion of you know what is essentially the thrust of
this national security team for the Trump administration?
And you heard Secretary Pompeo say that essentially the policies and so forth haven't really changed. Even though it has been a bit of a revolving
door over here at the White House, particularly when it comes to the position of national security advisor, Brianna.
KEILAR: We heard the secretary really minimizing this disagreement between a series of disagreements as our reporting shows between himself and the
now departed national security advisor. But he really minimized the effect of that.
We understand from our reporting last week, Jim, that you had a situation with the secretary of state and the national security adviser were not even
on speaking terms. So what does that mean now as the president is looking to find a new national security advisor, his fourth, right?
ACOSTA: That's right. There is an acting national security advisor Charlie Kupperman. He was Bolton's right hand man at the National Security
Council. So you can guess that Charlie Kupperman is not going to be staying in that position for very long.
There are already some names being floated out there but, yes, make no mistake that the position of national security advisor and the team inside
the National Security Council has been in almost a constant state of turmoil since the beginning of this administration.
Remember, it was the former national security advisor, Michael Flynn who was fired shortly after President Trump was sworn into office because he
had misled the vice president and other people inside the administration in terms of his contacts with the Russians and the Russian ambassador at that
Ever since then, the president has been at odds with people in his national security team. Bolton and Pompeo, for sure, have been at odds with one
another. But this was a known quantity, Brianna, before John Bolton came into this administration.
He was very well known for having sharp elbows. He was very well known for being a hawk on Iraq war policy. That put him at odds with President Trump
Remember, during the campaign, the president campaigned heavily on the idea that he was opposed to the Iraq war. And so it was sort of an odd couple
strange bedfellows to begin with.
I don't think this is at all surprising to just about anybody in Washington that John Bolton did not last in his job for very long. Not only because
of his aggressive posture but also because his hawkish views are at odds at times with people inside the Trump administration who are not always
aligned on that issue and I think that was pretty clear at this briefing.
KEILAR: All right. Jon Acosta, thank you so much.
I want to bring in Jim Sciutto. Jim, you broke this story on the U.S. extracting a top spy in Russian 2017 and moments ago, the secretary of
state said -- and he said, normally, he doesn't comment on things like this, especially as the former CIA director but he felt that this was a
report that he certainly took issue with and he dismissed it.
SCIUTTO: Well, we gave the secretary a chance to comment on the story several days before we published. And the secretary of state and his
spokespeople turned down the chance to comment. They did not comment at all. Not clear why he didn't comment then but he's commenting now.
Second of all, we stand by our story. I spoke to a former Trump administration official who is directly involved in the discussions when
this decision happened to extract this source. And that official contradicts that and says the president's repeated mishandling of
classified intelligence, the president and the administration repeated mishandling of classified intelligence factored into this decision.
Now, as you know, Brianna, having read the story that we made very clear in the story, these were concerns that built over months. They dated back to
the Obama administration. The first concerns about the sources safety derive from a combination of factors.
One, the length of service that this source had as a U.S. informant, going back more than a decade. Two, when intelligence from this source was used
in the intelligence community's assessment on Russia's interference of the 2016 presidential election, intelligence specifically noting that it was
President Putin who ordered the interference and did so to advantage Trump over Clinton, that at that time, those concerns about the source's safety
grew. At the time, that source, that asset, that spy was offered extraction by the U.S. and refused.
Months into the Trump administration, following a series of instances, including mishandling of information and intelligence by the Trump
administration, ultimately the call was made to extract the source. And I should note the timing is indicative.
I'm told by a source with direct knowledge that it was soon after a meeting in the Oval Office between President Trump and two senior Russian
officials, then Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak that it was after that meeting
president discussed highly classified intelligence with those Russian officials.
This intelligence source from Israel, it was after that meeting that Secretary Pompeo made a call, spoke to other Trump administrations
officials, said too much information is coming out about the source and it's time to get this source out.
Now, intelligence officials in the CIA and elsewhere have said that it was purely media speculation at the time about a source's existence that led to
this decision. I ran that explanation by five sources, including people who served in the Trump administration, including people who served in
intelligence agencies, and those who served on Capitol Hill handling classified intelligence.
And they said the likelihood that media speculation would lead to one of the most complicated operations and dangerous operations is unlikely that
the explanation was that simple. Regardless, as I said, we offered the secretary a chance to comment before the story was published, he did not
comment. And in that statement just in the White House briefing room, he did not specify as to what he said was materially inaccurate.
KEILAR: What is the interest of the secretary of state and others in the administration to downplay this reporting?
SCIUTTO: Well, --
KEILAR: What do you think the reporting -- what are some of their concerns that come up because of this reporting?
SCIUTTO: Well, multiple outlets now reporting that the extraction happened. And in my reporting, no one ever denied to me that this
extraction took place. In fact, multiple Trump administration officials confirmed the extraction of the source.
So that's an issue. They seem to have -- well, first of all, cannot contest but have not contested. What I they have been focusing on is
whether any of Trump's mishandling of intelligence factored into this decision.
I should note that the concerns about the president's handling of intelligence did not end in May, 2017. In fact, as I reported in the
story, this is also news, that in July 2017, after President Trump met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany,
you remember that was the private meeting he had where the president took the unusual step of confiscating his own interpreter's notes that after
that, the intelligence community again raised alarms, concerns about the possibility that the president improperly discussed classified intelligence
with Russians. I have that from an intelligence source who's aware of it and briefed on the intelligence community's response there.
So the fact is that these concerns within the intel agencies about the president's handling of intelligence have been long running and they've
been based on a number of incidents, not any single isolated incident.
KEILAR: All right. Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.
I want to bring in Gloria Borger. And Gloria, let's go back now to Pompeo's remarks about John Bolton. Pompeo was pretty concise on Bolton.
He admitted they disagreed quite a bit.
GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Yes. And let's not forget who the president likes and respects and that's his secretary of state and
that the president had grown increasingly irked by John Bolton and disagreed with him more and more.
And Pompeo is a very good insider and a good politician and he knew how to handle the president and Bolton did not. And I would have to say, Brianna,
that as the president chooses his next national security advisor, I bet you that the secretary of state is going to have an awful lot of say in what
recommendations are made to the president. It would not surprise me at all.
KEILAR: Yes, indeed. All right. Gloria Borger, thank you so much.
And we'll have more on this breaking news. John Bolton, the president's third national security advisor out at the White House. Next.
ISA SOARES: A very good evening, everyone, live from CNN London. I am Isa Soares, in for Hala Gorani. And tonight, John Bolton is out of the White