Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Mitt Romney To Speak Out Against Donald Trump; Plane Debris Found in Mozambique Heads to Australia; Interview with Frm. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired March 3, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:34] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A party divided. The man who led U.S. Republicans in the last presidential election comes out swinging at the
party front runner this time around. Tonight, Donald Trump versus the Republican establishment embodied by none other than former presidential
candidate Mitt Romney. He is expected to deliver a scathing speech from Salt Lake City this hour. I'm going to get you to that live along with
analysis from our political team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of Saudi Arabia has been playing it positive whereas and has never built a militia. And Iran has built a militia for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON; Courts in between? Well, I sit down with Lebanon's former prime minister about the proxy battles between Saudi Arabia and Iran that are
threatening his fragile country.
And is this the plane part from the missing MH370? Renewed hope in solving the mystery of the plane that disappeared almost two years ago.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON; Well, a good evening. At just after 8:00 in the evening here.
You just don't see this in American politics. A former presidential nominee
came out attacking the current front runner in his own party. But we are about to witness an extraordinary attempt by a prominent Republican to take
down Donald Trump.
Well the Republican accomplishment is in full blown panic mode over the prospect of a President Trump. And as time is running out to stop him,
Mitt Romney considered an elder statesmen at the party is directly taking on the billionaire.
Romney, you will recall, won the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. And he will not mince his words when he delivers a major address in a half
hour from now.
He is expected to slam Trump as a phony, a fraud, and a man who plays the American public for quote suckers.
The tricky part is in casting Trump as bad for America, Romney will have to be careful not to alienate his supporters. After all, behind Trump's surge
are millions of voters who are disenchanted with the traditional Republican
More now from Sunlen Serfaty.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The 2012 Republican nominee speaking out today against the 2016 frontrunner Donald Trump. Romney releasing part
of his prepared remarks this morning, planning to slam Trump calling him a phony and fraud and putting his support squarely behind Ted Cruz, Marco
Rubio and John Kasich.
DONALD TRUMP, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; Go out and get him. You can do it.
SERFATY: Trump, who once endorsed Mitt Romney, anticipating the attacks tweeting last night, quote, looks like two-time failed candidate Mitt
Romney is going to be telling Republicans how to get elected, not a good messenger. And his campaign releasing this paid ad questioning Romney's
TRUMP: We have expanded the Republican Party.
SERFATY: The feud coming as the front runner gets the cold shoulder from GOP leaders after his sweeping seven-state victory on Super Tuesday.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: What people are saying I was pleased everyone get together so we can keep this front runner from winning.
SERFATY: Former candidate Lindsey Graham suggesting he's so against Trump he would now even support Ted Cruz.
SERFATY: Ted and I are in the same party, Donald Trump is an interloper. I don't trust him.
SERFATY: But Trump continues to argue that he's the one to unify the party.
TRUMP: When you're dealing in congress, we have to get them all into a room and we have to say, fellas, let's go, it's for the good of the people.
SERFATY: And tonight, now only four candidates will face-off in the debate, Dr. Ben Carson pulling out after Tuesday's results as Texas Senator
Ted Cruz admits his campaign could have met the same fate.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: If we had lost Texas, that would have been the end of the road. I don't think a candidate has a viable path forward if
you can't win your home state.
SERFATY: Cruz trying to make Carson's loss his gain extending an invitation to supporters of other GOP hopefuls.
CRUZ: If you have been supporting another candidate, we welcome you on our team. If you have been supporting Donald Trump, we really welcome you on
[11:00:00]ANDERSON: Sunlen Serfaty reporting there.
What happens in these U.S. elections is important for all of us wherever we are living and watching what is going on.
Other Republican contenders clearly ready to capitalize on the effort to derail Donald Trump.
And let's get more on the smackdown we're expecting from mitt romney.
mark preston is executive editor of CNN Politics joining us tonight.
What's the strategy here? What sort of support base does Romney have? And what impact are his words likely to have?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS: Well, Becky, what he's trying to do is become the unifying voice of this anti-Trump effort that is very disparate and
very disorganized and quite frankly might be too late to the game to try to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee.
Donald Trump has already won many, many states. He has the wind at his back. As you have noted earlier, he seems to be driving out the vote.
Now his critics will say that his feeling right now is about 35 percent support while 65 percent of the Republican Party is supporting others.
What those people are not telling you, though, is once candidates start dropping out, some of that 65 percent is going to go to Donald Trump. It
will not stay together as an anti-Trump coalition.
So Mitt Tomney today will try to not only say that it is bad for the Republican Party, but it is bad for the country. And when we talk about
this on a global level right now, that Mitt Romney would be a disaster when it comes to -- or rather Donald Trump would be a disaster when it comes to
ANDERSON: I wonder how good a Romney candidate might be. Is this the beginning of a campaign by Romney himself to be the Republican Party
candidate for president, do we think?
PRESTON: So, I've been told by folks that are close to Governor Romney that that is not the case and that he has no intention of getting in, even
though people have been trying to draft him to get into the race. But again, it is so late in the game right now, Becky, for Mitt Romney to get
in unless he were to come in as a third party candidate.
So if you are somebody who is following the American elections right now, we basically know what Mitt Romney is going to say within the next half
hour to 45 minutes.
If you really want to be an astute observer of what's going to happen over the next six months, you should watch to see what the reaction is to Mitt
Romney's speech not only from the media here in the United States, but also from fellow Republicans.
And I think that could be a telling sign about what role, if any, Mitt Romney will continue to play as we head into the November general election.
ANDERSON: Appreciate it, Mark, thank you.
Just a reminder, viewers, Mitt Romney is supposed to speak in less than half hour from now. You can watch his entire speech live right here on
CNN. No holds barred it seems, we should expect.
Well, the UN envoy for Syria says a nearly week-old cease-fire is showing clear signs of progress. But he says there is no guarantee it will
Well, a main opposition group, though, has a much more pessimistic take. IT warns a truce is close to collapse, because of repeated attacks by
government forces and their allies.
The Syrian regime blames rebel groups for the sporadic violence as it describes it.
We're covering all angles of this story for you. Before we take a look at the wider impact that the Syria crisis is having further afield in Europe,
let's take you to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Nic Robertson standing by for us for you this evening. This ceasefire, Nic, largely holding despite complaints from the Saudi-backed high
negotiations committee, or HNC. They say that Russia and the Syrian regime have continued their attacks.
Now, you are in constant touch with the HNC in Riyadh. What is the latest from their perspective?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are saying that, look, we have got this peace talks coming up in Geneva next week. They are
supposed to begin on the 9th of March, but they're saying under the current conditions it doesn't seem feasible to get into those talks. They are
really amping up what they have been saying all along, but they are sort of giving it a new, if you
will, vigor and meaning because now there's this deadline to get into the peace talks. They are saying that the UN and the United States must
enforce this cessation of hostility.
They're saying the violations have continued. By their count, they say, over 100 violations in the last four days, which they say has resulted in
40 people being killed, 92 wounded, among them women and children.
Now, we have to say that Akra Sham (ph), one of the 97 groups that are signed up to the opposition cease-fire posted online -- we can't verify the
authenticity of it, but they posted online how they had fired back and rebuffed an
attack by President Bashar al Assad's forces inside Syria. The HNC says that they are, and all those 97 groups, including Akra Sham (ph) are
maintaining their hold of fire at the moment.
Some of this is slightly contradictory, but the bottom line is the HNC says Russia, the government in Syria and Iran are preparing for another ground
offensive. They don't trust the situation and need their international allies to come in on their side and make the cease-fire really work.
[11:10:24] ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Riyadh with the latest perspective from the Syrian opposition base there.
The fallout -- thank you Nic -- of Syria war continues to be felt far and wide, doesn't it?. European leaders are getting ready to meet in Ankara to
try to stop the flow of migrants and refugees getting to Europe.
The majority of those coming out from Syria. Most of those are passing through Turkey.
CNN's Erin McLaughlin looks at Europe's response to what is a deepening crisis.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On the Greece-Macedonia border, an act of desperation. Migrants, men, women and children, block a rail line out
of Greece to protest border restrictions. In recent days, the flow of migrants into Macedonia has slowed to a trickle, only a limited number of
Iraqis and Syrians have been allowed to cross, but now everyone else is stranded.
On Thursday, the European council president visited Greece, he came with a stark warning.
DONALD TUSK, EUROEPAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants wherever you are from, do not come to Europe. Do
not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your life and your money. It is all for nothing. Greece or another other European country will no longer
be a transit country.
MCLAUGHLIN: For Greece, the fact that migrants aren't able to freely transit into Macedonia is a big part of the problem. Austria and other
countries impose strict caps on the number of migrants allowed in and ten of thousands are stuck in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We run from this to find another kind of this.
MCLAUGHLIN: They are camping out in Athen's main port. The city's public squares are overrun and over 10,000 wait at the northern border. They say
they have no other choice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know it's closed, but what will happen? They is another way.
MCLAUGHLIN: The UN warns Greece is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster. On Thursday the European commission pledged over $700 million in
relief to be spread over three years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are calling European governments to find a solution
MCLAUGHLIN: But a political solution continues to evade European leaders. They are expected to address the crisis at a summit on March 7th.
CHRISTOPHER PISSARIDES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: The way that European nations have been moving in the last few months in their policy statements,
you know, it makes me very pessimistic but we will get to a common European policy.
MCLAUGHLIN: Absent a political solution, NGOs estimate that within the next two weeks, there could be 70,000 migrants trapped in Greece. Every
day, more arrive on its shores, a tidal wave fueled by hope soon met with disappointment.
Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Still to come this evening, focus, Lebanon, a country that is dragged deeper into the regional row between Iran and Saudi Arabia. I sit
down with the former prime Saad Hariri next on his concerns for what is this fragile state.
A new piece of debris has been discovered in Mozambique. Could it provide new clues in the disappearance of flight MH370? We're going to get the
latest on the investigation. That is coming up. We are taking a short break at 13 minutes past 8:00 in the UAE. Back after this.
[11:16:05] ANDERSON: This is CNN and Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
We're going to turn our focus back here to the Middle East and the latest development in the ongoing proxy battles for power across this region. For
the 36th time, Lebanon's parliament has failed to elect a president. That was Wednesday, just the latest sign of the country's crippling political
Now, the shear political group Hezbollah is a major player in Lebanese politics as we have been reporting. Recently, the Gulf Cooperation
Council, the GCC, has labeled it a terrorist group, a move that many consider a wider blow to
its main supporter Iran.
Well, Riyadh has also pulled billions of dollars of funding to the Lebanese army recently over Beirut's failure to condemn this attack on the Saudi
embassy in Tehran earlier this year.
All this matters because Lebanon is a small country with a history of proxy battles born out in the nation in recent decades. It's a fragile state
which may not be able to cope under the latest tensions.
Well, I sat down with the former Prime Minister Saad Hariri for an exclusive
interview. He is still a major player in Lebanese politics. I began by asking him his take on the Tehran embassy attack. Have a listen to what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAAD HARIRI, FRM. LEBANESE PRIME MINISSTER: I think the foreign minister of Lebanon who was close to Hezbollah took a decision that this is not
supposed to be taken. I think Lebanon should have stood by Saudi Arabia because this is something that is not acceptable by all means.
Even Iraq who is very close to Iran has taken that position approved the decision in the Arab League. We unfortunately didn't take the right
ANDERSON: What is it you believe?
HARIRI: I believe when it comes to Arab unity, we should have a clear decision in the government about that. I mean, Khamanei himself came out
and condemned these actions. I don't see why Hezbollah and Lebanon or the foreign minister here took such a position.
ANDERSON: What do you you think it reveals?
HARIRI: It reveals that Hezbollah is being played as a proxy of Iran. This is unfortunate because Lebanon cannot sustain a policy against any
Arab nation let alone Saudi Arabia. I believe, you know, Saudi Arabia has done so much for
Lebanon and throughout the history of the relationship between the two countries if you think how many billions of dollars Saudi Arabia threw in
Lebanon, especially after the war in 2006, all of Saudi Arabia has been playing a positive whereas and has never built a militia. And Iran has
built a militia for Hezbollah.
ANDERSON: This puts you in a particularly difficult situation, doesn't it? Because you have lobbied incredibly hard with Riyadh for a number of years
in order to raise the billions in military aid for the Lebanese army. Do you concede that the criticism from Saudi that this money effectively,
whether it directly or indirectly ended up funding Hezbollah is...
HARIRI: No, I don't think -- you know, I think the Lebanese army has shown throughout the history even in the civil war that every single weapon that
it owned, it never was -- it never went outside the army.
I think it's the political decision where Lebanon is being taken by Hezbollah and on the region side and I think this is the main problem that
ANDERSON: Saad, quite frankly, the politicians in Lebanon are failing the people, whoever the people support. And you agree with me on that. Why
did you some month ago agree to support a pro-Hezbollah president?
HARIRI: Because I thought, you know, let's go and mix the cards on the table. Let's turn the table around. Let's say to the people who are
opposed to a member of 14th of March to be president that you want a president -- they don't want a president from M14. We said, OK, fine.
We'll go to 8th of March. We'll choose a president close to that political agenda. And we will go to parliament and we will elect a president. All I
wanted to do is to fill a void.
For me, better to have a president that I can maybe have some problems with, better than a total void in the presidency.
ANDERSON: Is it iran that holds the keys at present?
HARIRI: I think today we don't have a president because part of the parliament, which is Hezbollah, is not going down to the parliament. We
have a problem with a quorum and Iran can tell Hezbollah play -- I mean, they had elections yesterday right, they had a few days ago they had
elections. Why can't we have elections like normal people? Why can't we go to the parliament? Why are they stopping Hezbollah from letting members of
parliament elect a president.
ANDERSON: What happens next if this political vacuum continues?
HARIRI: You know, we're trying to keep Lebanon safe among all the problems that are happening in the region. You see what's -- I don't want to -- we
don't want to turn lebanon into Syria. We want to save Lebanon.
ANDERSON: Do you see that as a potential?
HARIRI: I'm afraid, you know, it could happen. And there are some people. I mean, ISIS would love to come into Lebanon. We're fighting -- and we'll
keep on fighting ISIS. We'll keep on fighting Nusra. But, you know, in the end, if you do not have the president, a new government, and all that,
it will not -- Lebanon cannot function as it is to face all these challenges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Saad Hariri talking to me a day or so ago.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, a piece of newly
discovered debris. Could it be from flight MH370? Well, we will hear from the American tourists who found it. That's next.
And The Donald versus Mitt, the war of words between the two Republicans is getting nastier. And we are waiting for a speech from Mitt Romney. He is
expected to warn Americans about the threat that Donald Trump poses to the Republican Party
and the nation.
ANDERSON: You're with Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. To a new piece of debris found of the coast of
Mozambique that could, just could help shed light on the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The U.S. official says the metal fragment is part of a plane's tail and appears to be from MH370.
Well, that discovery comes just days before the two year anniversary of the plane's disappearance.
CNN's David McKenzie is following the story for you. He joins us live from Maputo in Mozambique -- David.
DAIVD MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Becky. We spoke to Blaine Gibson, the American, who found this piece of
debris who says perhaps it might be a clue into the disappearance of flight MH370.
[11:25:07] BLAINE GIBSON, TOURIST WHO FOUND DEBRIS: What went through my mind when i found it is that this is something that could be part of an
airplane and part of that airplane. And you say, well, how could it possibly have wound up here? That's like asking how could anyone possibly
win the lottery? Someone is going to win it.
MCKENZIE: Just a few days before the second anniversary an enthusiast of this plane happens to come across a piece of this object in the sea. Sort
of the mind boggles that this might be this plane. It just sort of seems so unlikely.
GIBSON: It seems so unlikely too. But the thing is nature works in mysterious ways. Why does the ocean do what it does? I don't know.
Maybe this is part of that plane, maybe this is part of another. It's small and it's very light, so maybe it's just from some light aircraft. It
would just be so unbelievable if it actually is from 370. That's exactly what went through my mind.
MCKENZIE: But now that you have had a few days to process it, what are you thinking now?
GIBSON: I am thinking now that it is part of a large jet aircraft, but I don't know which jet aircraft it is.
MCKENZIE: What would it mean to somehow contribute at least to if not solving it, moving the search forward somehow?
GIBSON: Anything that can help lead to the truth of what happened and give the families the answers that they long for and deserve, no matter what
they are, whatever the truth is, anything that leads to that is very good and needs to be done.
MCKENZIE: For the sake of the family.
GIBSON: For the sake of the families, for the sake of the flying public, for the sake of anyone who cares about people.
MCKENZIE: Well, Becky, we went and saw that piece of debris with the head of the civil aviation authority here in Maputo. And he was skeptical.
Frankly, he said that the writing on it seemed too small. That there was no marine life embedded on that object. He said he believed that possibly
it's from a smaller aircraft or a flight device of some kind, but he said you can't know definitively until it's been checked by Australian
But he says skepticism is certainly important in this particular case -- Becky.
ANDERSON: David Mckenzie is in Mozambique for you this evening. Thank you, David.
Well, a former Republican presidential candidate comes out swinging against Donald Trump. We are waiting for a speech from Mitt Romney to be delivered
from this stage. We will bring that to you live as soon as it begins. Expect a serious sideswipe from the former Republican presidential candidate.
We're going to take a very short break. Back after this.
[11:30:30] ANDERSON: Right. Welcome back. It's half past the hour here, half past 8:00 in the UAE. Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt
Romney is expected to speak any moment now in Salt Lake City in Utah. He is likely to escalate what are his attacks on the Republican front runner
Trump swept seven states on Super Tuesday, but the Republican establishment isn't lining up behind him. And Romney is expected to tell the American
people that the time is now to stop a candidate he sees as a phony and a fraud.
Well, ahead of that, let's bring in Political Mann host John Mann, senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, and CNN political commentator Ryan
Lizza now to talk about what we can expect from this speech.
Jim, let's start with you. For an international audience, explain the importance of this speech and its possible consequences for the U.S.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Becky. I think we're living sort of in an unprecedented time from a political standpoint to have the last
Republican presidential nominee really going after in no uncertain terms the man who may become the next Republican presidential nominee and that is
Mitt Romney is going to be out here in just a few moments here at the university of Utah in Salt Lake City. He has in the last couple weeks been
calling on Donald Trump to release his tax returns. He has also been criticizing Trump
University, which is this business school that Donald Trump started back in the United States. It has been highly controversial, accused of ripping
off its students of thousands of dollars.
So Donald Trump is going to come out here -- excuse me, Mitt Romney is going to come out here and really go after Donald Trump. I told to a
source close to the former Massachusetts governor who says that he's doing this for his grandchildren, that he says, according to this source, that he
would not be able to look at his grandchildren in the face had he not tried his best to stop Donald Trump.
And Mitt Romney is getting ready walk out -- he is walking out here right now.
ANDERSON: Let's close it out and have a listen to Mitt Romney out of Salt Lake City.
(MITT ROMNEY SPEECH)