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U.S. Military Believes Syrian Base Used By Russia Attacked; Twin Offensives Underway Against ISIS In Iraq, Syria; Official: U.S. Special Forces With SDF Near Raqqa; The Fight Against ISIS In Iraq; Bill Cosby To Stand Trial In Sexual Assault Case; Greece Begins Clearing Migrant Border Camp; Economic Crisis Affecting Sugar Supply In Venezuela; Coalition Forces Helping Fallujah Fight; Bill Cosby Faces Indictment; Trump and Clinton Battling. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 24, 2016 - 15:00:00   ET




[15:00:32] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at CNN London. Thanks for being with us this

hour. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

We begin this evening with what appears to be a pretty significant attack on an airbase inside Syria used by Russian forces. Take a look at these

satellite images just in to CNN from an intelligence company, Stratfor (ph).

They show the before and after of destruction at a strategic key airbase between Homs and Palmyra called T-4. Stratfor says this is the aftermath

of an attack by ISIS that destroyed Russian military hardware. Russia denies this saying these images are old.

But moments ago, the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition spokesperson confirmed to me that the base was indeed recently hit. Here's my exchange with Colonel

Steve Warren.


COLONEL STEVE WARREN, SPOKESMAN, ANTI-ISIS COALITION: We've known for a long time that ISIS has several capabilities that are something to be

concerned about. Number one, they've captured many sophisticated weapons from the Syrian regime, from the Iraqi military during the early days.

Number two, they do have their own weapons development program, if you will. They make improvised weapons of all shapes and sizes. Everything

from what we're all familiar with, which is these truck bombs that are much more sophisticated than ever before, to their own rockets.

They will make homemade rockets and fire them. So we're not sure exactly what type of rockets they used in this case. It is something that we're

trying to get to the bottom of.

But you know, these tell us that we're still fighting an enemy that has some capability. We're going to keep fighting them, but they do have


GORANI: OK, the Russians have denied that any of their vehicles were damaged in the last three days, even though these two satellite images

according to Stratfor were taken three days apart. The U.S. believes they're genuine, right?

WARREN: Yes, we believe that there was a strike on this base. Now whether or not those were Russian vehicles or Syrian vehicles or something else,

we're not completely certain on, but certainly there was a strike on that base.


GORANI: Now Colonel Steve Warren there speaking to me earlier. You'll hear more of my interview with him later this hour.

Now at the same time that all of this is going on, there are twin offensives being planned. ISIS is having to defend itself in two declared

caliphate capitals on two fronts.

Our Nick Paton Walsh has been following all this closely. He joins us now from Beirut. We'll get to that in a moment. First of all, this base

attack in Central Syria, is it significant if indeed ISIS was able to destroy helicopters and trucks inside of an airbase?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If that were the case, yes, I think it would show that they knew what to hit and they knew

how to get inside that defensive perimeter of that T-4 base to the east of Homs.

But actually at this stage, I think even Steve Warren accepts that it is not completely clear what they hit. It is probably ISIS, I think it is

fair to say and Stratfor are very convinced that the kind of damage you see in those satellite pictures could not have been caused by some accidental


If it look at it too, I think it's pretty clear to see someone was aiming at particular vehicles there. We don't know if they're Syrian or Russian.

We are not completely clear when it occurred.

But still certainly definitely a PR loss for there for the Russian military and now having to suggest that, no, it wasn't actually their vehicles that

were hit there -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, let's talk about these twin offensives that are planned and as we were saying, ISIS, if indeed they go ahead and when they do go

ahead, will have to be defending two separate fronts.

Meanwhile, anti-ISIS campaigns, as I mentioned, bearing down on opposite ends of territory. U.S.-backed Kurds, Nick, say they are launching a

campaign to liberate the area north of the de facto ISIS capital of Syria, Raqqa in neighboring Iraq, as you can see on the map.

Government troops and local militia are fighting for Fallujah where the United Nations is warning thousands of families are trapped.

[15:05:02]So let's talk, Nick, a little bit about this two-pronged offensive that is being planned. What are the chances that they will


WALSH: I think it is going to be whatever happens, a months' long issue here. Let's start with Raqqa. I don't think anybody's suggesting that

they are going for this city center proper itself.

This is the SDF, the Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the United States in their training, frankly many say on their bran branding in the sky and

on the ground by the coalition. They are announcing today that they are moving into the countryside to the north of Raqqa.

That's a lot of often unpopulated areas, but it is key in isolating the city center proper itself. They may see some success. There are

apparently clashes already under way.

They do have, we understand, U.S. advisors in their midst, but they aren't staying anywhere near the front lines themselves or the fighting. That's

one thing.

But the key point is this messaging is occurring simultaneously the day after we heard of the start of the Iraqi military offensive against


Now that Fallujah operation, frankly, very messy indeed on many different levels. The U.N. saying, yes, we have 10,000 families trapped inside.

Eighty got out in the last four days.

But when that happened three people died in their passage out including women and children, and those who got out are now being screened in an

Iraqi military base.

The problem really is that around Fallujah there are a lot of Shia militia alongside the Iraqi Army now bearing down on a predominantly Sunni city

where ISIS have laid a lot of mines to slow down any military advance.

That is going to, frankly, I think take months. I don't think anyone expects it to be a swift victory or an easy victory. But the mere fact we

can see right now, a message in Syria against Raqqa and a simultaneous operation in Fallujah.

While that shows some coordination and potentially some moves ahead in the months to come in summer, which may see ISIS even further on the back foot

-- Hala.

GORANI: Right. Certainly not something that's going to be quick and easy. Nick Paton Walsh in Beirut, as always, thank you very much.

Now in an exclusive report, CNN introduced you to U.S. Special Forces training the Syrian Democratic Forces. These fighters in that part of

Syria that we were mentioning might be preparing right now to try to take over Raqqa.

Those American troops are actually with the SDF in the Raqqa offensive. An American official says they are far back from the fighting.

Our own Barbara Starr brought us that report from Syria on this program last night and Barbara joins me now from Jordan's capital.

So I know you also have some reporting on what's happening in Baghdad, specifically the green zone. But these advisors as they are called in

Syria, you were able to report on some of them during your trip inside Syria with top military officials. Tell us about that.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hala. Indeed we were. We met some of these advisors. We were not allowed to show their faces. We

weren't allowed to identify them in any way. These young U.S. military troops generally are part of Special Forces units and they do not want to

be identified.

But they're happy to talk about what they're doing and what training really means. We saw some of the basic weapons training, and they told us that,

yes, some of them do go out in the field, they meet with the SDF in this area north of Raqqa and they help them plan missions.

They don't call in air strikes. They don't go into combat, but they do advise and assist them. In this part of Northern Syria, a major goal is to

push that front line towards Raqqa.

But, I'm with Nick, going all the way to Raqqa, that, by all accounts, is going to be some months off. On our trip, we were traveling with General

Joseph Votel, the new U.S. head of Central Command, who oversees the wars in both Syria and Iraq. And we got a chance to catch up with Votel also to

talk about the Iraq side of the war.


STARR (voice-over): Protesters invade Baghdad's green zone for the second time. Violence rising as opposition to the Iraqi government grows. The

top U.S. commander running the war against ISIS is watching carefully for the stress mounting on the Iraqi military even now as it tries to recapture

the key city of Fallujah.

GENERAL JOSEPH VOTEL, U.S. COMMANDER: They're having to make decisions in terms of where their force is going, where their priorities are.

STARR: But in Baghdad with the U.S. embassy and military headquarters inside the heavily fortified green zone, does the U.S. have enough security

on hand?

VOTEL: Yes, I do think we have the right security forces on ground -- on the ground from a U.S. perspective to take care of ourselves there.

STARR: CNN was the only network with General Joseph Votel, the U.S. commander in charge of the war against ISIS, as he traveled in Iraq getting

the latest assessments on security and the readiness of Iraqi forces.

[15:10:00](on camera): This base about one hour north of Baghdad is one of the front lines in the efforts to train, advise and assist Iraqi forces.

But they have at least temporarily seen some Iraqi forces being called back to Baghdad for a few weeks to deal with the security situation there in the

wake of the rising attacks by ISIS.

(voice-over): Votel is trying to convince Iraq's military to make certain to station enough troops around the country and not to flood Baghdad with

security forces as the government tries to confront the latest violence in the capital.

VOTEL: They are attempting to create chaos in the capital. They're attempting to divert attention away from other areas where they are --

where the coalition forces and the Iraqis are having success.

STARR: This military warehouse just to the south in Kuwait, brimming with more than 25,000 weapons for those Iraqi forces. All are being shipped out

as more Iraqis show up for U.S.-led training.


STARR: You look at both sides of the map there, Hala, Syria and Iraq. You see fighting on multiple fronts and you see the U.S. anxious to see these

local forces make progress just about everywhere -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, so many challenges ahead. Thanks very much, Barbara Starr is live in Amman.

Let's turn now to something completely different. A story that broke just a short time ago in the United States. Comedian Bill Cosby will stand

trial -- a criminal trial on sexual assault charges more than a decade after he was first accused.

Earlier, a Pennsylvania judge found enough evidence to proceed with a trial. Dozens of women have accused the once-beloved star of sexual

misconduct, but the trial is connected to a 2004 case involving a woman named Andrea Constand.

And apparently there were some fireworks from the Cosby camp during the hearing today. CNN's Jean Casarez joins me now from outside the courthouse

in Norristown, Pennsylvania. So what happens next in this case, Jean?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this case -- and that's why this is such an important hearing today with an important decision. This case now

proceeds to trial. So it will go to the higher court.

Both sides will start exchanging discovery which are motions going back and forth of what should come in, what should not come in to the trial.

And the judge had the option of dismissing all the charges today and the defense fought hard for that, saying this was consensual behavior, but the

judge said, no, there is enough evidence of a prima facie case, probable cause, that he committed a crime against Andrea Constand so this case

proceeds to trial.

The prosecution really had their evidence solely on one day in question between January and February of 2004. They read Andrea Constand's

statement that she had given in 2005 to this judge.

And it was that -- Bill Cosby who was her mentor. She was a basketball coach here at Temple University in the Philadelphia area. He invited her

to his home. She came to talk about a career change she was about to do.

She told him when she got there that she was so upset by this and she wouldn't sleep at night. So he said, according to Andrea Constand, let me

go upstairs, I can get you something to help you relax.

He came back down with three blue pills, she said. She asked him what are any? He said, oh, it's herbal. It will help you relax and take the edge

off. He gave them to her, she took them. He pushed her to have some wine. She took some wine.

She said in her statement that for about 20 minutes she was able to talk, but then all of a sudden everything changed, her legs became like rubber,

her vision became blurry. She couldn't really talk. Everything was whirling.

She said she felt very scared, even that maybe somebody needs to call 911. She told Bill Cosby I need to lay down on the sofa. She laid on her left

side. Then she says that she remembers Bill Cosby coming up behind her and starting to undress her and touching her.

She remembers Bill Cosby taking her hand to touch him. She wasn't able to say no, she said, because she was so unconscious and unable to speak and

form the words.

Well, the defense fired back on this statement saying that she had gotten together with Bill Cosby before this incident at his home. She had gone to

his home, that she had meet him at Foxwood's Casino, which is a casino in the state of Connecticut when he was performing there, that she had gone

out to dinner with him.

They really tried to show this was consensual and probably the strongest thing they had in their camp was that Bill Cosby in his sworn statement

back in 2005 admitted all the contact, but said there was no alcohol.

I did give her some pills. It was Benadryl. And she was able to talk after that. She could have said no and she didn't. And she didn't

complain that she was dizzy or wobbly or anything.

GORANI: I wanted to ask you what happened inside the courtroom. There were some outbursts. You were inside the courtroom. What was that about?

[15:15:06]CASAREZ: The defense was so aggressive from the very beginning. I mean, they were just focused in -- the defense attorney -- lasered on the

magistrate judge, which is a lower court judge.

They actually don't even have to be an attorney for this stage of the process but she is and the defense just fired that they shouldn't even be

in this courtroom. This is a travesty of justice.

The due process rights are being violated and no American should have to go through this. He just started screaming, I mean, especially in his closing


And the courtroom just sort of stood still, the judge may have been a little intimidated, but then the judge ruled that the prosecution had met

its burden and this case would proceed to trial.

GORANI: All right, Jean Casarez in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Thanks very much for are that update. We'll analyze the legal implications of this

case a little bit later.

A lot more ahead here on the program. Greece is moving thousands of migrants and refugees out of a squalid border camp. Many of them -- you

see these little faces? Many of them children. We'll show you where they are headed next.

And, the lines are getting longer, the situation in Venezuela is getting worse. Now even the supply of sugar is affected and it is making one

popular soda beverage stop production. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Well, it's been the focus of a lot of criticism because of how difficult the living conditions are there, but now officials in Greece are

moving more than 8,000 migrants from an overwhelmed transit camp on the border with Macedonia.

Conditions there, as I mentioned, absolutely horrendous. They were becoming more and more dire by the day. These images though from this

morning show a stark contrast from the way migrants were managed earlier this year.

These are clowns and jugglers from a solidarity group offering really a very brief respite for the families. The United Nations estimates about 40

percent of all of the migrants there are children. Phil Black has our story.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The people stranded in the (inaudible) migrant camp, the long, uncomfortable days can

blend together with little to separate them. This one would be different.

The day many here would have to accept they will never pass beyond the metal fence marking the Macedonian border and never travel north to start a

new life in a country of their choice.

In the early morning, a long line of white buses drove through the rows of tents. The operation to move the migrants was only visible at a distance

through fences and razor wire.

Police and security forces established road blocks around the site. Helicopters flew overhead. Journalists and aid workers were ordered to

leave and stay out. There would be no witnesses but the migrants themselves.

MUSTAFA ALHAMOUD, MIGRANT: We are in this area every morning. We saw a lot of armies, they are around the camps. A lot of polices.

[15:20:05]BLACK: Mustafa Alhamoud from Aleppo in Syria sent us this video not long after the operation began.

ALHAMOUD: They said to everybody to go to other camp. They said go to the buses.

BLACK: The people packing and loading their few belongings are among the final 8,000. Once around double that number sheltered here in the cold and

mud. These were the people who after crossing the Aegean and traveling through Greece suddenly found themselves without options.

The Macedonian government sealed the border and enforced its decision with teargas. As winter months passed, many of the people moved on to other

parts of Greece. Most of those who stayed enduring the grim conditions with families.

The U.N. estimated 40 percent of the recent population were children. Greek authorities say they hope to find organized safe accommodation for

everyone here. But not everyone is ready to give up on the European dream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm staying here. No need to go back home. Police in Greece opened the train. No problem. I'm staying.

BLACK: This muddy patch of ground in Northern Greece became a bottleneck for some of the world's most desperate people, many of them Syrian. Their

homeland devastated by war. The path ahead blocked by fences and teargas.

They have little choice now but to board the Greek government's buses and somehow continue their search for a reason to feel hope. Phil Black, CNN,



GORANI: So just what happened to EgyptAir Flight 804? So many questions, so few answers. Was it an attack? Was it an accident? Was it a

mechanical issue? Well, an official at a Cairo morgue is saying that it is still too soon to determine if there was an explosion on board EgyptAir 804

and they are continuing to examine human remains.

The plane went down in the Mediterranean last week with 66 people on board. Forensic officials are now trying to match the remains with the victims,

really a grim task. EgyptAir's vice chairman is rejecting speculation that the condition of the remains provides evidence of an explosion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In any high-velocity impact it leads to defragmentations and this is not indicative to what caused the accident.

So as of now this is all speculation.


GORANI: Right, it is speculation. We heard from some sources earlier today that perhaps there was evidence of an explosion. But again, just a

few hours later, high-level officials, including the vice chairman of EgyptAir saying this doesn't tell us anything. All this while the search

is continuing for the plane's fuselage and those critical black boxes.

Now to Vietnam where something nearly unprecedented took place during a speech by the American president, Barack Obama. His criticism of the

country's human rights record aired on state-run television there.

During his address, Mr. Obama also embraced freedom of expression explaining how it fuels the economy. CNN's Saima Mohsin was in Hanoi.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Around 2,000 people are packed in to the national convention center to hear President Obama speak.

Most of them are from colleges and universities, and that's because the president really wants to connect with the next generation here in Vietnam.

He wants to talk to regular citizens, not just government officials.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Now we can say something that was once unimaginable. Today Vietnam and the United States

are partners.

MOHSIN (voice-over): And he tackled some thorny issues head-on.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Addressing areas where our governments disagree including on human rights. They're written into the Vietnamese constitution which

states that citizens have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press and have the right to access to information -- the right to assembly,

the right to association and the right to demonstrate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He especially tackled tougher issues in our country right now and the issues that our youngsters, people care about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For thousand years we've been under the influence of China. So we may as well meet some western influence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are a bit restricted or not -- a bit reluctant to raise our voice, but thanks to the Obama speech and big support and we feel

really motivated to later express ourselves freely.

MOHSIN (on camera): For now, we learn from each other. President Obama really connected with people here today. He made jokes about eating

Vietnamese food and drinking Hanoi beer.

[15:25:05]But he also had some important messages about the two countries and how they will connect in the future. He said how while a generation

once came here to fight, a new generation will now come here to work together, set up businesses, trade, teach English and forge new

friendships. Saima Mohsin, CNN, Hanoi, Vietnam.


GORANI: Well, when U.S. President Obama sampled some of those traditional Vietnamese dishes and beer, he wasn't alone. Celebrity chef, Anthony

Bourdain, was his special guest.

The moment was captured in this photo posted to Bourdain's Instagram page with the caption, "The president's chopstick skills are on point."

Bourdain who has eaten in some of the best and most expensive restaurants in the world, he's the one who picked up the tab for the meal and he spared

no expense.

Lucky Anthony Bourdain there, pretty cool assignment. American president sitting on plastic chairs in an eatery in Vietnam. Unbelievable. But,

here's the thing, the entire meal cost $6.

To Venezuela now. A country in a dire situation because inflation is skyrocketing, basic goods like food and medicine are in short supply and

now the latest casualty is sugar. Producers of the crop, and even Coca- Cola, are temporarily halting production.

Let's go to CNN's Center and speak to our senior Latin American affairs editor, Rafael Romo. First, Rafael, talk about basic everyday items and

how difficult life has become for ordinary Venezuelans.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, Hala, I just want to give you a very small sample of some of the items, the very basic

items that are scarce in Venezuela that are almost impossible to buy.

For example, we have a roll of toilet paper. It is 80 cents of a dollar, but the reality it is not the price. It is the fact that you can't find it

anywhere. That's the reason why you see people standing in line everywhere.

Toothpaste, for example. It would be 20 cents of a U.S. dollar, but again, nowhere to be found. The same goes for a bar of soap. That is only 13


These are the products that people in Venezuela are desperately trying to find. They cannot find them anywhere so they have created this system

where people who have one item try to get in touch with people who have the items they need and they trade and exchange and more or less they are able

to survive that way -- Hala.

GORANI: Unbelievable. It's just become a barter economy again. I guess that's how desperate people have become. What about sugar prices? I know

that's impacted Coca-Cola. Sugar producers have basically stopped producing sugar. Tell us how that's impacting the country.

ROMO: Yes. I have right here a kilo of sugar. It is supposed to cost only 25 cents of a U.S. dollar. But there's again nowhere to be found.

That's impacting Coca-Cola. As a matter of fact, the beverage company today confirmed that they have stopped production. Let's take a look.


ROMO (voice-over): Coca-Cola delivery trucks in Venezuela sit empty. The beverage company has stopped production of sugar-based beverages because

sugar producers have run out of raw materials.

In a statement, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman said, "Local sugar suppliers have informed us that they expect to restore their inventories in the near term

to resume normal distribution. Our local offices and distribution centers remain open and operational."

Sugar cane production in Venezuela has been falling due to price controls and rising production costs, as well as problems in obtaining fertilizer.

Pepsi reported in October a $1.4 billion charge for its business in Venezuela citing the country's currency woes.

Polar (ph) Enterprises suspended beer production in April and laid off 10,000 workers due to lack of barley. Workers protested saying the

government's socialist policies have disrupted supply and demand.

This is very stressful, this worker says. As time goes on, we're losing more and more resources and that makes us very worried.

The average Venezuelan faces problems that go well beyond being unable to enjoy a drink, soft or otherwise. For the last several weeks the country

has been facing blackouts up to four hours long.

Government employees are working only two days a week, and President Maduro shifted the country's time zone by 30 minutes because Venezuela is also

facing an energy crisis.

Shortages of basic food products and personal hygiene items like soap are affecting many people as well.

(on camera): The problem is that even if you have the money, it's so scarce that people have to go to supermarkets, stand in line for hours and

hours, and maybe if they're lucky after four, five hours they can get maybe one, maybe two, but not much more than that.

[15:30:00] (voice-over): President Maduro who's facing a real-call referendum says this is all part of what calls an economic war against his

government and has threatened companies that suspend operations.


NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (by translator): Every plant that has halted operations will be given to the people, the President said.

But brings his comment with an obscenity. It's not an empty threat starting with his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, the Socialist government

has nationalized several industries replacing executives with loyalists which has driven many businesses to the ground.


ROMO: And the international monetary fund says that inflation in Venezuela this year will reach 500 percent and how it's economy, last year, shrank by

5.7 percent. Back to you.

GORANI: What an unbelievably difficult situation there. Thanks very much, Rafael Romo, and thanks for visually illustrating that. It really brings

the story home.

Still to come, a strategic Syrian base was struck recently. That's what the spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition told me. My full discussion with

Colonel Steve Warren of the United States, about what this could mean about terrorists' capabilities in that part of Syria. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Welcome back. Satellite images just into CNN show destruction at a strategic Syrian air base. An American military official tells me that

the base was, indeed, struck recently. The intelligence company Strafor says this is the aftermath of an ISIS attack that destroyed Russian

military hardware. Russia denies it saying the images are old.


GORANI: Meanwhile, a U.S. backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters launching an offensive to gain territory in Syria. North of ISIS' de facto

capital Raqqa. Russia says it is willing to cooperate with the alliance in the operation.

American comedian Bill Cosby will stand trial on sexual assault charges more than a decade after he was first accused. The trial is connected to a

2004 case involving a woman named Andrea Constand. Cosby's lawyer said there's no evidence that a crime ever took place.

Let's return now to our top story, that two-pronged defensive against ISIS. Now, the group is under attack on both ends of its so-called, self-declared

caliphate. Raqqa, Syria, and, also, inside Iraq and Fallujah, not far from Bagdad.

But we've also discussed the terrorist group's apparent show of force against the strategic base in Syria, used by Russian forces, reported by

the intelligence firm Strafor. I spoke to the American-led anti-ISIS coalition's spokesperson, Colonel Steve Warren. I began by asking him what

the U.S. knows about this attack on the air base in central Syria.

COLONEL STEVE WARREN: Well, we've known for a long time that ISIS has several capabilities that are something to be concerned about.

Number one, they captured many sophisticated weapons from the Syrian regime, from the Iraqi military during their early days.

Number two, they do have their own weapons development program, if you will, they make improvised weapons of all shapes and sizes. Everything

from what we're all familiar with, which is these truck bombs that are much more sophisticated than ever before. Two, their own rockets. They will

make homemade rockets and fire them.

So we're not sure exactly what type of rockets they used in this case. It's something that we're trying to get to the bottom of, but you know,

these tell us that we are still fighting an enemy that has some capability. We're going to keep fighting them, but they do have capability.


GORANI: OK. The Russians have denied that any of their vehicl3es were damaged in the last three days even though these two satellite images,

according to Strafor, were taken three days apart. The U.S. believes they're genuine, right?

WARREN: Yes, we believe that there was a strike on this base. Now, whether or not those are Russian vehicles or Syrian regime vehicles or

something else, we're not completely sure now, but certainly there was a strike on that base.


[15:35:23] GORANI: All right. Let me ask you about Raqqa and a U.S.- backed coalition of the Syrian defense forces preparing some sort of offensive. It appears as though there's movement.

First of all, I need to ask you. How is the U.S. helping these fighters try to take on Raqqa which is, essentially, the de facto capital of ISIS

inside Syria?

WARREN: We're helping in several ways. Number one, of course, with air power, right. This is something that we've been providing the Syrian

Democratic Forces for some time. When they took Tishrin Dam, we provided air power and support. When they seized Shadadi, we provided air power and


Additionally, we do have some personnel in northern Syria who are providing advice and assistance to the Syrian Democratic Forces. That is happening

to the rear, it's important to know we don't have forces up front in the lines there, but we are in their op centers and their headquarters

providing them some advice.

And then finally, we are providing some equipment, particularly to the Syrian Arabs that are part of the Syrian Democratic Force.

GORANI: . In addition to the Kurds. But when you say they're in the rear, I understand according to some reports, that some of these

"advisors," are actually accompanying the troops into their offensive. Is that correct?

WARREN: That's not correct. Our advisors are staying in the rear. Now, they'll move a little bit forward, out of the headquarters, but our guys

aren't on the front lines, they're not exchanging fire, you know, they'll move with the platoon company, battalion division, wherever's appropriate,

but they do the appropriate analysis. And they ensure, when they do everything they can, to position themselves where they won't be in any

engagement with the enemy. That's their guidance.

GORANI: What was interesting was Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov as saying that Russia, Moscow, is willing to coordinate with the United States and

its coalition inside Syria. How would that work, it seems as though those two fighting forces are very much on opposite sides of the war, one

supporting the regime, the other absolutely positioned against the regime.

WARREN: Well, Hala, from here on the ground I certainly cannot see how that would work, but that's not something that we soldier decide. That's

really a decision that has to be made in the nation's capitals.

GORANI: But you say strategically from a military perspective, it could be very tricky, right?

WARREN: It would be very tricky. It's not something that we've done. I'm not sure how our goals would align properly other than the one small goal

which is to defeat ISIL, but again, you know, we've said from the very beginning that, you know, the only way we can get peace here in Syria is to

end this civil war, and that's where we're kind of on different sides.

GORANI: All right, certainly on opposing sides even. Let's talk about Fallujah. Now again, this is going to be a very tough battle, led, we

understand, by Iraqi security forces with U.S. help. In this particular case, it seems as though there have been many promises and a lot of waiting

really for anything tangible to happen.

Should we believe, this time, that the battle for Fallujah is imminent and will be effective?

WARREN: The battle for Fallujah has begun. You know, we've seen two different ISIS enemies here in the last several months, right. You know,

we saw Iraqi security forces rapidly liberate Hit. We saw them rapidly liberate (INAUDIBLE), and this is in a matter of days that they got these

two fairly important cities.

On the other hand, we saw the Iraqi Security Forces spend many weeks, months, frankly, trying to liberate Ramadi. So there are two different

flavors of ISIS out there. We're not sure yet which ISIS is in Fallujah. This only began - the separation only began, you know, recently, within the

last day, day and a half.

It's only been light to moderate resistance so far, of course, lots of IEDs and stuff, so it remains to be seen, but they are committed this time to

getting the job done.

GORANI: All right and, as we were mentioning there with (INAUDIBLE) at the beginning of the hour, the UN says that there are many people trapped

inside of Fallujah, that 10,000 families according to some estimates, are there, possibly up to 50,000 people, and that when some people tried to

flee, there were a few deaths, as well, among those civilians who were trying to run away from the violence.

As this assault, Colonel Steve Warren has begun, but it's going to be long and it's going to be difficult.


Let's return now to the sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby. His lawyer is blasting the results of today's hearing in Pennsylvania. He

said, there's simply no evidence of a crime, but clearly the judge determined otherwise. CNN Legal Analyst and Defense Attorney, Joey

Jackson, joins me now live from New York with more.

So Joey, let's talk about what happens next here. There was this pretrial hearing. The judge determined that there is enough here to justify a

criminal case. Now what?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND DEFENSE ATTORNY: So what happens and just understand, Hala, I'm moving back just momentarily is that, this is no

surprise. The whole purpose of this is just to determine is there just enough evidence to establish reasonable cause to believe that a crime was

committed, and he did it.

[15:40:23] It's not like a trial where there's proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, there's a jury there. It's merely a judge assessing the

case and making a decision that, yes, there's enough, we can go on. Now, in terms of going on, what does that mean?

Well, we know now, of course, that in moving forward there are still these three charges, and they're separate charges, separate counts criminally

that he's facing, but they deal with the same woman on the same night, in the same circumstance. One theory that the prosecution is proceeding is

that she did not give her consent.

Now the second count relates to the fact that she was unconscious and, therefore, could not give her consent.

And then the third counts relate to him supplying her with some type of drug, thereby debilitating her, and making her unable to give consent. And

so I think what will happen is, at a trial, those are the three issues that the prosecution is going to seek to establish, but there will be an

extensive motion practice made now with regard to whether other women, who allegedly Mr. Cosby did this to, can come forward and testify.

In the event that the prosecution is allowed to introduce their testimony, that is of the other women, it could be very problematic for the defense.

GORANI: But the bar of admissibility, I mean, here you have, it's much stronger during a trial, right? I mean, you might have hearsay, for

instance, testimony not admitted. It's going to be much more difficult to prove a case here, isn't it?

JACKSON: Oh, absolutely. Now just again to be clear, this is just to establish today's proceeding, whether there should be a trial and, of

course, at today's proceeding, there was hearsay. What's hearsay? It's an out of court statement that's made by someone else who's not in court.

And so today you heard officers testifying as to what the victim - alleged victim - the accuser said happened in the case, and the officers were

allowed to do that, reading from her statements. At a trial, as you mentioned, that's not the case at all.

At a trial, the person, the accused, has to come into the court and has to give testimony in terms of what she says happened on that evening. At that

time, the defense, unlike today, will be allowed to cross examine the actual accuser. So you said, and we heard today really the defense laying

out what their defense would be, and I should say, Hala, make no mistake about it, the defense today was laying the groundwork to let a jury pool

know that my guy, Bill Cosby, is innocent.

And although there was no jury in that courtroom today, they were speaking l loudly and clearly to any jury saying, "You know what, this was

consensual. You did come to his home before. You did interact with him in a way that was, you know, not sexual in terms of complete intercourse or

anything like that, but there was some type of relationship you two had. You continued to come back. You continued to give him gifts. You

continued, you know, accept his advances."

And so a jury, ultimately, will have to conclude that he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a high standard, before there could be any conviction in

this case.

GORANI: Right. We're getting a bit a preview of their strategy and, briefly, what's the timeline here. I mean, Bill Cosby's an older man, what

are we looking at in terms of when a trial might start here?

JACKSON: Well, you know, it raises a couple points, Hala, and that's this. In terms of him being an older man, he's 78, and on the issue of what he

could face because it's important to his age, he faces 10 years if convicted, and now there are three separate counts.

And I don't think the judge would stack them, meaning do 10 on this if convicted, 10 on that if convicted, 10 on the last count. I think a judge,

again, if convicted, would give him one sentence to meet all three. And so, at 78, if you're looking at 10 years, that's a death sentence.

Now in terms of when the trial could actually begin, I think, again, there will be a lot of preliminary things and very important, very briefly, for

the viewers, a lot of that preliminary hearing stuff will deal with whether other accusers can come testify.

Because, just think about this, Hala, you're a juror, and you're listening to what happened in that case from the accuser's perspective. If you see a

parade of other women coming to that courtroom saying, "He did the same thing to me."

Another one comes in. "He did the same thing to me." Another, "He did the same." It starts to look like, well, wait, if he did this last week, the

week before, the month before, he probably did it now. And so a judge is going to have to be very careful in terms of limiting who comes in that

courtroom, if anybody, to say he did something similar to them.

GORANI: All right, Joey Jackson, thanks very much, I appreciate there for a look at what to expect next there in Bill Cosby's legal troubles.

We'll be right back on CNN. Don't go anywhere.



GORANI: To the U.S. elections now where it's becoming clearer that the race for the White House will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,

and the gloves are well and truly coming off. A series of new attack ads are getting ugly and personal. The Democratic frontrunner, Clinton, is

targeting Trump as a "Greedy developer," while Trump has posted a video to social media spotlighting the infidelities of her husband, former American

President, Bill Clinton.

Let's go live to Washington for more. CNN Political Director, David Chalian, is there. Talk to us about this really increasingly bitter battle

between Trump and Clinton.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, that's right, Hala, I think what you're seeing now are two candidates sort of shadow boxing a bit and

trying to see if the punches they start throwing will land or not. So I think you're seeing an experimentation phase of what are the arguments that

are going to stick.

And I don't mean arguments in a positive, uplifting way that they're going to try to rally the American voters behind them. These are the negative

arguments. These are the arguments that they're trying out to frame their opponent in a negative light and see if there's a narrative that can stick.

Now Hillary Clinton, as you mentioned, is trying to do that based on Donald Trump's record in business, his own words that he could benefit from a

housing crash, in his own words, that they believe will not resonate well with middle-class voters with middle-class concerns.

They're going to try to paint him much like Barack Obama did with Mitt Romney as sort of a callous billionaire business man, who doesn't

understand and doesn't to seem to care about the needs of the middle-class. They're using his own words.

What Donald Trump is doing is entirely different. He is taking completely unsubstantiated claims, accusations that have never been proven against

Bill Clinton and his past with women, who have come out to accuse him of things, as well as, even bizarre conspiracy theories from the days of the

Clinton administration in the 90's.

And he's trying to hurl them towards Bill and Hillary Clinton. I think, A, to rally the Republican forces around him because that's red meat for them.

But, B, to see if he can rattle the Clintons and get under their skin.

GORANI: Right, but I mean, is this going to work as a strategy, and, by the way, before you answer that question, our viewers should know that one

of the latest polls conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News had released on Sunday, puts Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump neck and neck.

In fact, Donald Trump leading in a nationwide poll, at least according to these figures, 46 percent to Clinton's 44 percent.

So the question is, are these attacks working against Hillary Clinton by the Trump camp?

CHALIAN: Well, we don't know just yet. I think a large part of why we're seeing the polls so close right now is because Donald Trump has emerged

with his party's nomination, has been able to start consolidating the Republican base around him, while Hillary Clinton has an ongoing Democratic

nomination against Bernie Sanders that's not resolved yet.


But, that being said, we also know we're a divided nation here, and we would expect this to be a closer

election than not. That's sort of how U.S. presidential elections are. To your point about whether the attacks work, I mean, the real answer is, we

don't know yet.

But here's what we do know. We know that when Republicans tried this line of attack against Bill Clinton in the 90's, it didn't work. Impeachment

failed. It sent Bill Clinton's approval ratings up and, by the way, it created Hillary Clinton as a very sympathetic figure and launched her

political career which brings us to this moment in time.

Now, Donald Trump is an entirely different figure than Newt Gingrich or those figures from the 90's against the Clinton administration, and he

launches attacks much more aggressively. We'll see if they work, but here's what the Trump campaign has told us.

They're not going to back down from these attacks. They believe, this gets them a character attack that can both rattle the Clintons, as well as,

embolden the Republican base across the nation.

GORANI: All right, David Chalian, our political director, thanks very much. We'll see if it works in general election mode. And we'll see what

strategy each of the candidates choose. Thanks very much for that and, by the way, you can get a look at this remarkable race for the White House.

We have a new program, State of the Race, with Kate Baldwin. It's right before our program, here on CNN at 7:30, London time.

Coming up, she is not chasing (INAUDIBLE) anymore, whatever that means. Adele has reportedly signed a new contract with a major record label. The

details up next.



GORANI: So, several British newspapers are reporting that Adele has switched labels in what could be one of the biggest record deals in

history. Reports say the singer said good-bye to the independent label XL and hello to Sony, for a cool, listen to this number, $130 million. Kellie

Morgan has our story.



ADELE, MULTINATIONAL BRITISH SINGER: (Singing) Hello, how are you.

KELLIE MORGAN, CNN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just one of two bars is all it takes to recognize what is unmistakably the voice of Adele.

"Hello," helped the British artist smash music industry records last year with her third and long-awaited album 25. It was the highest selling album

of the year with more than 17 million sales, dwarfing that of her nearest rivals, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

The video clip was also the fastest ever to reach one billion YouTube views, surpassing this.

PSY: "Gangnam style,"

MORGAN: Psy's Gangnam style was arguably a one-hit wonder. The vast majority of fans only really wanting to stream or download the single.

Adele, however, has used her powerful voice to rebel against streaming and resurrect album sales.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are in a position where you are successful enough to sell enough records, the old fashioned way, to reject streaming,

you are in a position of kind of unmanageable privilege in the music industry.

MORGAN: For a record company, Adele is as close as it gets to a sure bet. She's won dozens of awards, Grammy's, Brit, even an Oscar. The top number

one single has a legion of followers, more than 26 million on Twitter, almost 12 million on Instagram.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adele's appeal is kind of two-fold. There's obviously, the (INAUDIBLE) fantastic songwriting, but really what I think sells her on

another level is the fact that she comes across, at least, as being this fairly normal North London girl, being just like your mate.

MORGAN: Illustrated by this recent cameo on the late, late show with James Corden (ph) where the singer explains how she gave away concert tickets a

little worse for wear.


MORGAN: But, it's a rare public appearance, Adel's success has come from just three albums. She hardly tours and doesn't do lucrative endorsements,

all of which are normally part and parcel of being signed by a big record label.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adele likes to have time off. She does these big tours, big albums and will then disappear and do her own thing. And it

will be interesting to see whether that becomes problematic .

MORGAN: When and if that widely reported record deal with Sony is made official. Kellie Morgan, CNN London.


GORANI: All right, David Cameron is usually driven around in an armored Jaguar, but this weekend he added a new car to his fleet. He purchased a

used Nissan Micra for his wife as a run around. The total cost, $2,200. For Cameron was around 1,500 pounds; although, security did call ahead of

time, Cameron showed up himself to inspect the car. He returned the next morning to complete the purchase. There you go.

This has been the WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is next.