It’s strange to watch a leader of a country answer questions for an American audience, knowing that the United States is mulling over a decision to send rockets his way. What did Syrian President Bashar al-Assad think he could get out of Monday night’s interview with Charlie Rose — a chance to warm Americans to his perspective, a chance to scare them away from conflict in the country with talk of retribution?
During the interview, Rose, stoned-faced as ever, asked a person whom many consider to be a ruthless dictator with the blood of a hundred thousand citizens on his hands, point blank: “Why do you have such a stockpile of chemical weapons?”
For the record, Assad denied responsibility for the Aug. 21 chemical strike that reportedly killed some 1,400 people. He wouldn’t comment on whether Syria had a stockpile of chemical weapons. He said he “didn’t know” if chemical warfare is comparable to a nuclear attack because “we haven’t tried either (laugh).” He thinks those U.S. intelligence reports that say he did, indeed, try chemical weapons are “nonsense.” Of the Aug. 21 attack, here’s his exchange with Rose:
BASHAR al-ASSAD: We — we’re not in the area where the al — where the — where the alleged chemical attack was happened, as it alleged. We’re not sure that anything happened because —
CHARLIE ROSE: Even at this date, you are not sure that chemical weapons, even though you have seen the videotape, even though you’ve seen the bodies, even though —
ASSAD: No, I have —
ROSE: — your own officials have been there.
ASSAD: I haven’t finished. Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers. They went to the hospital — as casualties because of chemical weapons. But in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations. We’re not there. Our forces — our police, our institutions don’t exist. How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evidences?
But perhaps the scene-stopper of the interview came when Rose asked Assad what he thought about Obama’s red line, or the world’s red line, on chemical weapons. Without pause or affect, Assad replied, “What red line?”
What We're Following See More »
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.