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Radical Preacher Guilty Of Supporting ISIS; Russian Jets Launch Syria Strikes From Iran; U.S. Gymnast Simone Biles Wins Floor Exercise Gold; At Least Eight Killed In Louisiana Flooding

Aired August 16, 2016 - 15:00:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We're live from CNN London. Thanks for being with us this hour. This is


For nearly two decades he has said some very hateful things, according to controversy all along the way, backing extremism without authorities ever

being able to improve that he was inciting violence.

Now things have changed for Anjem Choudary, self-described as Britain's most hated man. He has been convicted of inviting support for ISIS.

Police say the radical cleric is a key figure for recruiting for the terrorist group. Nima Elbagir has the story.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, Anjem Choudary appeared to revel in his tabloid designation as

Britain's most hated man. In his 20 years of public appearances and private preaching, Choudary always appeared to skirt just the right side of

the law, backing extremism but no proof of actually inciting violence.

It was the 49-year-old's pledge of allegiance in 2014 to Abu Baker Al Baghdadi and ISIS that brought him to increased scrutiny and led to his

arrest. British authorities were able to lead him to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.

Police say they don't know exactly how many of the 850 Brits who traveled to Syria were directly influenced by Choudary, but called him a key figure

in the radicalization and recruitment drive.

When last out on bail, Choudary conducted this interview with us, admitting his support for ISIS, a terror group that proudly promotes rape, slavery,

and mass killings, claiming religious obligation.

ANJEM CHOUDARY, RADICAL PREACHER: I believe that Abu Baker Al Baghdadi has brought in the dawn of a new era.

ELBAGIR (on camera): You do have an impact.

CHOUDARY: Priests should have everywhere in the world.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Authorities say Choudary has been linked to the radicalization of a string of terrorists who have stood trial in the U.K.

over the past 15 years. He can be seen here in BBC footage with a man later convicted of the violent murder of a soldier, and was among those

close to Hamed, later banned from Britain over links to al Qaeda.

(Inaudible), he was suspected by authorities of replacing Jihadi John as ISIS executioner, another Choudary associated. The two are seen together

here after the 2011 killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Choudary is consistently in the circumference of those who would go on to commit acts of violence. The court has now found Choudary and his

associate (inaudible) guilty of inviting support for a terrorist organization, a charge he denied, but now it could see him jailed for up to

ten years.


GORANI: Well, Nima Elbagir joins me now in the studio. Is this precedent setting? I mean, this is not providing material support to a terrorist

group, but in essence it's providing ideological support.

ELBAGIR: It's definitely a message that's being sent very loud and clear. This is someone who the popular press in this country absolutely came

after, that for years was an embarrassment for the British authorities to not be able to pin him down.

Even the evidence, whether it was a prosecutor or the central intelligence agency, none of them could actually tangibly say. What they could say was,

we believe he has radicalized. We believe he is key to radicalization.

But the kind of -- the actual kind of charges, the substantial ones that we're used to seeing people being sent to prison for really are present.

What this is saying is, if you are inspire people to these hateful acts, then you have to take responsibility for your words.

GORANI: All right, certainly they are sending a message, and the sentencing is --

ELBAGIR: September 6th.

[15:05:04]GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Nima Elbagir. We'll catch up with Nima as the story develops.

Now there is a new front in the war in Syria, Iran, for the first time ever, Russian bombers took off from an Iranian base to carryout airstrikes

inside Syria flying over Iraq.

They began their missions at a base in Hamadan. The four hitting targets in three Syrian provinces. Russia's Defense Ministry says the strikes

targeted extremist groups including ISIS.

Moscow though has come under fire in the past for hitting rebel positions as well and while doing that also creating many civilian casualties.

Of course, Iranian influence in Syria is nothing new. Tehran is Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's main regional ally after all and a key backer

of regime forces in the civil war.

Let's get more from my guest, Vali Nasr, the dean of the School of Advance International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Thanks, for joining us.

First of all, what's in it for Iran here? This since the 1979 revolution would really be the first time officially and publicly Iran allows a

foreign power to use its territory as a base to conduct airstrikes from.

VALI NASR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, I think there are two things in this for Iran. One is that Iran, like Russia, cannot afford to lose in

Syria. The fact that the siege of Aleppo did not go as THEY predicted, and that Turkish and Arab support for the freedom fighters put the government

siege on the back heel, has encouraged them to up the ante in Syria.

Russia and Iran are both committed not to lose in Syria, if not they're not going to win. It's a powerful signal that Iran and Russia are working

together, that they do have strategic support of one another in the region.

That Iran is not isolated as many of its rivals in the region would like to portray it, and also for the Russians, it shows that they do have a very

strong regional ally in pursuing their Syria policy. It gives their Syria policy a lot more meat and depth at a time when their plans for Aleppo

don't seem to be going as planned.

GORANI: But it looks strategically speaking as though for Iran, it's extended its sphere of influence. Assad is in a more solid position. It's

very close to the Iraqi government. Strategically speaking, now with its alliance with Russia, where does that leave Iran regionally in the proxy

war against states like Turkey and Saudi?

NASR: Well, I don't think Iran is doing as well in Syria as people like to say. If you go back to 2010, Iran had a strong position and its allies

controlled all of Syria. Since then Iran is basically fighting tooth and nail to keep Assad in power.

It has lost control of vast areas of Syria and there were times when Assad looks like he was about to fall. Iran's prestige in the region is on the

line. Its main allies in the region have portrayed the Syrian war as a way in which to break the Iranian hold on the region.

That means that Iranians really are willing to fight to the knife not to lose the region. Therefore, they use Russia, and the Russian motivations

in Syria, as a way of keeping themselves in the game.

Syria has not gone so far Iran's way. The fact that Assad is in power is by no means an indication of Iranian success. It just basically means that

they are holding to what they had in Syria with everything they can.

GORANI: All right. Now, Donald Trump, I'm sure you listened to his foreign policy speech and his proposals on combatting Islamic extremism.

One of the things he said that raised some eyebrows is essentially any country, any nation willing to fight alongside the United States against

ISIS should and could be considered an ally. Technically speaking, that would include countries like Russia and Iran.

Let's first listen to what Donald Trump said yesterday.


TRUMP: We will work side by side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of

Jordan and the president of Egypt, President Sisi (ph), and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.


GORANI: I mean, if Trump becomes president, does that mean, do you think, is it being read in the region as meaning that Russia and Iran would become

U.S. allies in the Middle East?

NASR: I think that's the problem with simplistic foreign policy statements that are not based on knowledge of facts on the ground. First of all,

Trump is trying to play nice with Russia.

I think one of the prices of playing nice with Russia, that Russia would want the U.S. to change its position on Syria. The Russians are not

willing to lose in Syria.

And Trump cannot basically square the circle of being nice with Putin, at the same time holding to the current Syria position.

[15:10:11]Secondly, if the measure of alliance is who is fighting ISIS, then Iran and Hezbollah would be in the front line of being American allies

because they're doing most of the fighting against ISIS.

I think what Trump does not appreciate is that the Middle East is a very, very complicated place where the lines of alliance and adversity are not

that clearly drawn.

That's exactly why the United States has had such a difficult time managing the Syria and Iraq wars, because it's fighting ISIS on one level but some

of the allies and Turkey are not on the same page with us on ISIS.

At the same time, we have very fraught relations with both Iran over Syria and other issues and with Russia over Ukraine. People will read his

simplistic statements basically coming to the conclusion that, A, he really doesn't know much about this region, and secondly, his prescriptions are

going to put the United States in a very difficult position.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Vali Nasr, joining us from Washington. With more on the news that Russia is using Iranian air basis

to conduct strikes in Syria flying over Iraq, a significant development there. Thanks for being with us.

It is no secret that Donald Trump's friendship with ousted Fox News chief, Roger Ailes, runs deep. Sources say Ailes is now assisting Trump's

presidential campaign behind the scenes. They say Ailes is helping Trump prepare for the upcoming debates with Hillary Clinton.

Trump's campaign denies the report. Ailes, you might remember, resigned from Fox last month amid numerous accusations of sexual harassment. Trump

is expected to speak in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city that has seen violent protests after an armed black man was shot by a black police officer.

Trump's Democratic rival meantime is wasting no time, exchange today in Philadelphia, in a very important state in the presidential race in

America. Hillary Clinton attended a voter registration drive a short time ago.

We have two guests joining us now. Barry Bennett is a Trump supporter and a Republican consultant. Nayyera Haq is a former White House senior

director under President Barack Obama. She is also a former State Department spokeswoman. Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Barry Bennett first, I want to ask you about some of these polls coming out, not good for the candidate you support, among all swing states, one of

the most important ones, Virginia. A "Washington Post" poll, 52 percent for Hillary Clinton, 38 percent for Donald Trump. It really looks as

though this campaign is suffering in important states here. What's happening?

BARRY BENNETT, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: We've certainly had a bad couple of weeks. There's no doubt about that. I don't think the polling is quite as

bad as some of these polls are measuring. Still, the candidate has to get better, the campaign has got to get better. Luckily there's plenty of


GORANI: All right, there's plenty of time, but we know a few weeks are an eternity of politics, but you still want to reverse the trend if you

support Donald Trump.

Nayyera Haq, let me ask you. You have extensive experience in Washington, at the White House, and the State Department. When you heard the foreign

policy proposals of Donald Trump yesterday especially when it comes to combating ISIS, what did you make of some of them? Continuing drone

strikes, viciously taking down terror networks inside the United States. What stood out to you?

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: What stood out was actually the lack of detail because what we heard once again were

platitudes and relatively simple statements about how Trump believes and what he thinks he should or could do.

Now, the reality is, he didn't propose anything that the Bush administration or Obama administration aren't already doing. The new thing

he did was try to I guess clarify his comments about the Muslim ban or immigration bans.

But once again, this extreme vetting that he proposes is quite in line with what the State Department, our embassies, custom and border patrol, already

have in place, minus this religious litmus test, which I don't see how that plays to really any swing vote audience in the United States.

It may play to some folks in his base who are already activated against Muslims, against immigrants, but for the larger American public that still

remains undecided, Donald Trump has given them anything to convince them that he can be commander-in-chief.

GORANI: Barry, how do you respond to that? That essentially he keeps playing to people who already support him. He's preaching to the choir.

He's not reaching out to the center.

BENNETT: Well, you know, this myth of these undecided votes in the middle, these polls show that it doesn't really exist, right?

[15:15:04]I mean, it's about consolidating your base, energizing your base. This is a turnout election. This is getting the votes out on Election Day.

So that's what this is about and you know, I wish that the Obama administration was doing these things. But the FBI director testified on

the Hill several weeks ago that they couldn't vet these Syrian refugees that came into the country. So this is the problem. Americans are very --

GORANI: The Syrian refugee vetting process is two years. I don't know how much more in depth you could get, Barry, there.

BENNETT: The problem is there's no data attached to these people, right. I mean, that's the problem. There's no database in Syria that we can dial

in, this person is good, no parking tickets. That's absurd, right?

HAQ: Right. That's exactly what makes it very challenging to implement this kind of policy that Trump is proposing.

BENNETT: We can start looking at social media post and all these kind of things that we are not just doing now and the American people are angry

that we're not doing enough.

GORANI: Nayyera, how do you respond to that?

HAQ: Well, that's exactly the idea that a potential terrorist is going to answer questions honestly and accidentally mess up on a litmus test and not

be allowed in the country is frankly absurd.

BENNETT: So what's your answer?

HAQ: The data collection allows people to feel a little more comfortable but ultimately there is a much broader strategy that is necessary to get to

the root of radical Islamic terrorism.

And that's not, frankly, just in the Middle East, which is the other interesting thing that Donald Trump tried to do yesterday, is talk about

regions versus country relationships, and really hinted heavily at this Muslim Middle Eastern concept, when you're looking at home-grown terrorism

in the United States and in countries in Europe.

So how are we going to be dealing with the visa relationships that come from citizens of those countries?

GORANI: So Barry, I think the idea here being from Nayyera that it's a lot more complicated and not as black and white as Donald Trump is making it

out to be.

BENNETT: No, I totally agree, this is not an easy -- there's no easy answer to this problem. One thing we can't do is continue doing the same

and let's all salute to the flag of political correctness because goodness gracious, we can't be impolite to our guests. That's crazy. We have to

stop this attitude.

HAQ: I don't think anyone is suggesting that we need to continue --

BENNETT: Perhaps you shouldn't be here.

GORANI: One quick word, Nayyera on that.

HAQ: Yes, that's interesting is that the litmus test that Donald Trump is suggesting, most of his base, and there are several American citizens who

are not of immigrant stock, wouldn't pass that ideology test either.

So you had Mr. Khan of the gold star family today challenging Mr. Trump to actually take the citizenship test himself to see if he could pass. We

need to be careful about the road we're going down in America about expecting people to hold -- immigrants to hold higher standards than we do

natural born citizens.

GORANI: Let's move away from this topic. I want to ask you, Barry, about this report that Roger Ailes will be helping Donald Trump prepare for

debates against Hillary Clinton. The campaign is denying it. Is there any truth that at least they're considering it? Because this has been a pretty

consistent rumor that Roger Ailes, after his disgraced exit from Fox, would be helping Donald Trump.

BENNETT: I've read all the major media reports about it. I hope that it's true, right? Because he's an expert. He's been doing this for a long,

long time. I think he's adult voice that Mr. Trump could listen to and could change the dynamics of the debates. His past at Fox, that's

regrettable. But, you know, he's not under any criminal indictment or anything, it's a civil matter. I hope that he is doing it.

GORANI: All right, last word to you, Nayyera. When you look at the proposals between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, what is your -- and

obviously you support Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump. What is your biggest concern going into November? What could still derail it for

Hillary Clinton?

HAQ: I would say Hillary -- actually both candidates have high dislikes and unlikability. So they are both going to be trying to keep the

attention on their opponent rather than on some of the challenges they face themselves.

We've seen the last few weeks that any time something bubbles up about Hillary, whether it's an e-mails or Clinton Foundation, Trump comes in and

says something really off-the-cuff that takes over the news cycle. So that's been the pattern so far, which has worked to Hillary Clinton's


GORANI: All right. Nayyera Haq, Barry Bennett, thanks to both of you for joining us. We really appreciate it and hope to have you on again very


A lot more to come this evening. A dive for gold creates quite a bit of controversy in Rio particularly because it wasn't a diving event. That and

the very latest on the Olympic competition, next.



GORANI: The American gymnast, Simone Biles has done it again. A short time ago she won her fourth gold medal in the floor exercise in the Olympic

games, Biles clearly making up for a disappointing turn on the balance beam on Monday.

You will remember that she stumbled on the beam and so she did not get the gold, only came away with the bronze. Don Riddell joins me now from Rio

with more on gymnastics star Biles' big win in the floor exercise. It went well for her today?

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Oh, it was almost perfect. Her score was an almost perfect, Hala, 15.966 on the floor exercise. She is absolutely

remarkable, isn't she? She came into these Olympics with very high expectations. She had been the world champion for three consecutive years.

Everybody was expecting so much for her. She was trying to go for an unprecedented five gold medals so I guess it's a slight disappointment that

she only has four gold and one bronze.

But I mean, this has just been a remarkable Olympics for 19-year-old Simone Biles. She's one of only a handful of female gymnasts to win four golds in

one game. Actually nobody has done for 32 years and the great Nadia Cominchi (ph) only managed to take three titles in 1976.

So a phenomenal performance from Simone Biles and yes, women's gymnastics is all about her right now.

GORANI: Right, absolutely. Well done. The 400-meter women's race, final, yesterday so I could not sleep. I spent pretty much half the night

watching track and field, and there I saw the 400-meter women's final and thought, wow, that looks like one major dive at the end. I thought this

must be a disqualifying move, but it wasn't. Tell us more.

RIDDELL: No, it wasn't nor should it be, frankly. I mean, I used to run 400 meters, not to this kind of standard, but I've fallen over the line

before, sometimes after sprinting around the track your legs give way the last moment and I think that's exactly what happened to Shaunae Miller


An awful lot of excitement on social media with people saying diving should be reserved for the pool, she should be disqualified. Absolutely not. I

mean, she was just doing what she could to stay in the race and get over the line.

GORANI: Maybe I don't get the rules. I mean, at what point -- can you just hurl yourself across the line at any point as long as your chest makes

it across the finish line first, are those the rules? Maybe I'm not getting the rules.

RIDDELL: Well, when you say at any point, obviously you've got to be close enough to the line to be able to do that.

GORANI: Well, yes. You can't be 15 meters away, but you know what I mean. You could be a meter and a half way and just launch across the finish line.

[15:25:02]RIDDELL: Yes, if you thought it would be effective, you could go around on your back side the whole way, but you wouldn't win the race. So

what happened I think is that her legs literally gave out and she was just doing her best to get over the line.

Maybe this is controversial because it was an American, Allyson Felix, who was put into second place by the move. But look, they measure your torso.

It's not what part of your body that crosses the line first, it's not your hand or foot or head or nose, it's your torso, which is why athletes dip to

get to the line.

Michael Johnson, one of the most famous 400-meter runners of all time. In fact, he won the Atlantic games 20 years ago, his world record stood for 17

years and was only beaten the other day. He spent all night on social media debating this.

He said my final comment on this, diving across the line gets you there slower than running across. Shaunae gained no advantage. That's his final

word on it. I have to say I agree with him.

This was her way of staying in the race, I don't think this was her plan. It looked spectacular and ended up being a fantastic gold medal for her.

GORANI: All right. That's what I do every night after the show is over. Thanks very much, Don Riddell in Rio.

To the United States now in a serious story, and some of these images are just tragic. We're talking about catastrophic floods in the southern state

of Louisiana. It's being called a truly historic event.

Eight people have lost their lives. More than 20,000 rescued, trillions of gallons of water submerging the state. Parts of Baton Rouge had twice as

much rain in 24 hours than it usually receives in an entire month in August. Jennifer Gray has our report from Baton Rouge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming, we're coming. We're going to break this window.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): More than 20,000 people have been rescued since last week as deadly floodwaters prompted a state of

emergency across South Louisiana.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got your dog.

GRAY: Tens of thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes and chilling images like this Coast Guard rescue of a child remind

many in the region of Hurricane Katrina's horrific aftermath a decade ago.

REGGIE WADE, BATON ROUGE RESIDENT: These are all my neighbors that ended up getting a nice dose of no, this can't happen reality. It can.

GRAY: Reggie Wade has lived in the southeast Baton Rouge neighborhood for 24 years.

WADE: I've never seen it get up on this yard above the carport and the carports are all under water along with the entire house.

GRAY: The Louisiana National Guard has deployed almost 2,000 soldiers to assist local first responders with search and rescue efforts. And with

more than 24 inches of rain falling in the area since last week, they know they are up again the clock.

MELVIN "KIP" HOLDEN, BATON ROUGE MAYOR (via telephone): It is still very, very dangerous. We still have waters rising and a number of areas all of

our people are still on high alert.

GRAY: Jennifer Gray, CNN, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


GORANI: Still to come, why they support Donald Trump in their own words. We'll hear from some of Trump's biggest fans who came out for his major

speech on fighting terrorism.

Also ahead, as more civilian deaths are reported in Aleppo, we speak with a doctor with a very personal connection to Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.

His powerful message is ahead.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Here are your top stories, extremist British cleric, Anjem Choudary, will face sentencing next month.

He has been found guilty of inviting support for ISIS. Authorities say that his fiery jihadist rhetoric inspired Britons to fight on behalf of the

terrorist group.

A major development in the Syrian conflict this day, for what appears to be the first time, Russian bombers have taken off from a base inside Iran to

carry out airstrikes in Syria, flying over Iraq. The Russians hit targets they say in three Syrian provinces. Russia's Defense Ministry says the

strikes targeted extremist groups including ISIS.

Also among our top stories, some gunmen have kidnapped 16 people in a Mexican resort including possibly the son of a notorious drug lord. It

happened at a restaurant in Puerto Valiarta (ph). A lawyer for the family of "El Chapo" Guzman says that it is highly likely that one of those

hostages is "El Chapo's" oldest son.

Let's get more from Rafael Romo. He joins us from Dallas, Texas. What more do we know? This is the oldest son, we understand, of "El Chapo,"

that it could be a rival drug gang that committed this kidnapping?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, it's definitely a possibility, Hala. About an hour ago I had a phone conversation with an

attorney for the Guzman family, and he told me that he has been in conversation with the family, and they say that there is a very high

possibility that one of those people abducted may indeed be Evan Archivaldo Guzman (ph).

Most people are not familiar with that name until we mentioned who his father is Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who at one point was the most wanted

man in Mexico and the United States, and is now in prison.

It all happened Sunday morning at about 1:00 when the people were dining at a trendy restaurant in Puerto Valiarta. Our international viewers will

probably be familiar with this name because it is a very popular destination for international travelers.

It's a Mexican beach resort on the Pacific, and so at one point, at about 1:00 a.m., a group of armed men storm the restaurant and take those people

away. There has been reports that say that there were as many as 16 people that were abducted.

Officially the state's attorney's office says it was six people abducted by seven men. And again, the main part of the investigation is focusing on

whether one of those six was indeed the son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Hala, authorities are looking at several lines of investigation. They're taking fingerprints at the location. They're also checking security

cameras, video from security cameras at the restaurant.

And finally they're checking the registrations of the cars to see who they belong with. But what the attorney general has said is that the identities

might have been faked, so it's difficult to confirm whether it was "El Chapo's" son or not -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, Rafael Romo, it all sounds like a TV show to me, just unbelievable developments. Thanks very much.

Donald Trump laid out a sweeping vision for combating ISIS and keeping America safe, he says, from Islamic terrorism. Critics accuse him of

distorting facts with revisionist history and say his plans lack critical details.

Trump supporters see it very differently. Gary Tuchman got their take after the Republican candidate unveiled his plan yesterday in Ohio.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An invitation only crowd of Donald Trump supporters. Waiting out in the Ohio rain. Waiting to find

out how he plans to keep them safe.

ROBIN MCCORMICK, TRUMP SUPPORTER: This has got to stop. We've got to stop being victims. We've got to stop being gentle.

TUCHMAN: This woman says America has to do what it has to do.

(on camera): So does that include waterboarding in your estimation and enhanced interrogation techniques?

MCCORMICK: I'm not opposed to it.

[15:35:04]TUCHMAN (voice-over): And then there was this quote from this past December.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States

until our country's representatives can figure what the hell is going on.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So tell me specifically what you want to see.

RON CAPITONA, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Just the Muslims. It has to stop. Just until we get it ironed out.

TUCHMAN: You're saying you want to hear Donald Trump say that Muslims should be banned for the time being?

CAPITONA: For the time being, yes. Just for the time being.

TRUMP: Only in this way will we make America great again and safe again for everyone. Thank you very much. God bless you. Thank you.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Once the speech was over, the reviews from this crowd were kind. Trump did not specifically mention banning Muslims. But

about his newly-announced plan of so-called extreme vetting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was very inspiring. I think it's what the country needs.

TUCHMAN: What about his declaration that any country which shares the goal of halting in his words the spread of radical Islam will be an ally of the


(on camera): Would it trouble you though is Russia was aligned with the United States in fighting terrorism but then invaded Lithonia or Estonia?

How could Russia still be a U.S. ally?

MARK WEBB, TRUMP SUPPORTER: It's a good point, but at least we have room for negotiation and I think at least we have somebody that's willing to

talk to all parties to actually get something done that's positive that's in our interests.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And on his criticism of President Obama and Hillary Clinton?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's forceful on what he has to say to America because we're in terrible shape. Our president is a Muslim who

hates America.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just said our president is a Muslim who hates America.

TUCHMAN: So you think Barack Obama is a Muslim?


TUCHMAN: He's a Christian.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): That wasn't a typical response to the speech. This was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was awesome. I loved his speech entirely.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Youngstown, Ohio.


GORANI: Let's talk more about Trump's anti-terror strategy with CNN senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward.

Clarissa, we were talking about what Donald Trump said during his anti- terror speech yesterday that essentially any country that decides to ally itself with the United States and its fight against ISIS could be

considered a partner.

But that technically would include Iran, groups like Hezbollah, right? At the same time, he calls Iran the biggest sponsor of terrorism. There are a

lot of contradictions.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There were a lot of contradictions and it was a little bit confusing because on the one hand he

said exactly that, anybody who is willing to join the fight against ISIS is a friend of ours.

He also talked extensively about this need for a pivot towards Russia, Russia is a good ally in fighting against ISIS so why don't we increase and

enhance that cooperation?

At the same time he was very, very clear in his denunciation of Iran who as you said, he called the number one -- the world's number one exporter of

radicalize Islamist terror.

Today, we have seen Russia now announcing that it is flying bombing routes out of Iran, that it has jets in Iran. The military and political

cooperation between Russia and Iran is not new, but it apparently appears to be deeper and more substantive than ever before.

So what I struggle a little bit to understand is when Donald Trump is looking at this larger picture and talking about this pivot towards Russia,

and talking about embracing any allies who fight against ISIS, does that include the Assad regime? Does that include Iran who he himself has called


GORANI: Right. And Russia has been on the news a lot in relation to the Trump campaign because the campaign manager of Donald Trump, Paul Manafort,

has ties to Yanukovych, the former kremlin -- close to the kremlin president of Ukraine who was ousted and who is now in Russia. So you have

many facets here. This is a very complicated story that has many tentacles including that one.

WARD: It does. I think what it also shows -- you know, the "New York Times" obviously sort of started a bit of a brouhaha when this story came

out, the idea that potentially Manafort was paid $12.7 million in cash. That hasn't been proven yet.

GORANI: He himself says the suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical.

WARD: Exactly. But to be frank, it almost doesn't really matter whether he was paid cash or not. I think the very question or the issue of him

working so closely with a man like Victor Yanukovych, who was incredibly corrupt, who is a known Putin stooge essentially, who ordered his own

police to fire upon protesters who are protesting against his corruption in Kiev, and whose home, his palace, which has now been opened up as a kind of


GORANI: An amusement park sort of like --

WARD: It's a mini Versailles, and actually, Hala, it's interesting when you look around, parts of it looks like Trump's properties, with gold

chandeliers and lavish Swarovski crystals inlaid, private elevators, private zoos, the list goes on.

[15:45:13]So I think the very close association between Manafort and the kremlin and kremlin stooges and oligarchs, that whole seedy underworld,

raises questions in and of itself.

GORANI: Right. So Paul Manafort, and by the way, tomorrow Donald Trump will receive his first classified intelligence briefing, we don't know if a

campaign manager like Paul Manafort would be present. But it's going to be interesting to see because Donald Trump shoots from the hip and he's not

very filtered, whether or not some of the elements from that will slip out.

WARD: Absolutely. I think -- and what's really interesting is when you talk foreign policy advisers, Republicans, I just talk to a Republican who

worked with George W. Bush, who worked with President Ronald Reagan, all of them say the same thing. They don't think Donald Trump is ready to be

president of the United States when it comes to that level of security and the level of intelligence that he would be dealing with, not to mention of

course, as Vice President Joe Biden, was talking about, the nuclear codes.

GORANI: Right. When he pointed right at the man in the audience that was carrying the nuclear codes. Thanks very much, Clarissa Ward, for joining

us with more on this speech.

Don't forget you can get all the latest interviews and analysis on our Facebook page,

A quick break. When we come back, a Syrian doctor who has been inside Aleppo makes an appeal to his former medical school colleague who happens

to be President Bashar Al Assad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're talking about civilians here. We're talking about schoolchildren. We're talking about hospitals. Doctors feel that

they are targeted and President Assad has a chance to stop all of that.


GORANI: We'll be right back. Stay with us.


GORANI: In Aleppo, Syria, the airstrikes keep coming and civilians keep dying. Take a look at this video from Tuesday. This area, believe it or

not, was once a market. At least 19 civilians died in these strikes.

Today alone they hit rebel-held neighborhoods, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Aleppo has been a flash point of fighting in

recent weeks as rebel groups struggle to keep supply lines open against government forces and Russian airstrikes.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul knows the horrors inside Aleppo better than most. He has visited the city five times to provide aid to desperate civilians. But

years ago, he actually attended medical school alongside a very well-known classmate, the future Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.

I spoke a bit earlier with him and began by asking him, what Mr. Assad was like all those years ago.


DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL, STUDIED MEDICINE WITH SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD: My perception of him when he was in medical school that he was a humble

person. He did not have issues. He was not perceived as brutal or ruthless or arrogant.

But most of us did not expect to -- for him to be the way that he is right now. He's perceived as overseeing the destruction of half of his country,

the killing of half a million people, displacement of 12 million people in Syria, destruction of many cities and historic landmarks in Syria. No one

expected him to be that brutal.

GORANI: You went to Aleppo a few weeks ago. As dangerous as the place is, you snuck in and you helped treat some of the patients. What did you see

when you were there?

SAHLOUL: This was my fifth mission in Aleppo. It's worse than any previous mission. We barely made it unharmed because I was on the road

coming from Turkey to Aleppo, which was bombed every day, and we had injuries.

I've seen victims of barrel bombing. I stayed in a hospital that is underground because it was bombed 17 times in the last four years. I

visited four hospitals that all of them were bombed several times.

GORANI: Do you think that the regime of Bashar Al Assad is intentionally targeting hospitals?

SAHLOUL: To me it looks like it. I saw seven hospitals, each one of them were bombed several times. People in Aleppo believed that they are

systematically targeted, the schools, the fruit markets, the hospitals.

I visited an orphanage that is underground. I spoke with the children there. There were 40 children. They were scared they will have to eat

grass and tree leaves and cat meat the same way the children of Madaya had to suffer through.

Unfortunately, their fear became a reality. I visited an eye center that is underground because there are many children and civilians who lost their

eyes. President Assad is an eye doctor, and they lost their eyes because of shrapnel from barrel bombing.

So definitely people feel that they are targeted, we're talking about civilians, schoolchildren, hospitals. Doctors feel that they are targeted.

President Assad has a chance to stop all of that.

I mean, I appeal to the doctor inside him, to the medical student that I knew, you know, when I was in medical school. He can stop all of that by a

phone call, with a strike of a pen he can stop the barrel bombing.

GORANI: A group of Syrian physicians wrote a letter to Barack Obama, the American president. Do you feel that the United States and the

international community as a whole, do you feel abandoned?

SAHLOUL: Oh, definitely, definitely. Every person in Syria, I met every doctor, every nurse, feel that they were abandoned by the international

community. We're talking about a people with 1.5 million people in Western Aleppo, 300,000 in Eastern Aleppo, all of them under siege and they are

exposed to bombing.

Yes, President Obama has a responsibility to stop what's happening. President Clinton at one time stopped what was happening in Bosnia.

President Obama can do the same. He has few more months in the office. His legacy will be tainted by what he did not do in Syria.


GORANI: That was Dr. Zaher Sahloul. He is with the Syrian American Medical Society speaking to me from Chicago. We'll be right back. >



GORANI: Well, doping allegations have haunted Russia in Rio. The swimmer, Yulia Efimova, was cleared to compete, but it only happened at the very

last moment. Her previous doping suspension sparked outrage among her American competitors. She was booed before competing, in fact.

Our Nick Paton Walsh sat down with her for an exclusive chat and joins me now from Rio. Hi there.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, she doesn't really fit the profile many people got used to do after the

extensive allegations against the Russian team.

This is a woman who has lived much of the last four years in Los Angeles and says that the doping reprimand she had because of mistakes, a food

supplement she took from an American store that contained a steroid she wasn't aware of, and meldonium, controversial and only just recently

banned. But this for her has been an extraordinarily traumatic few weeks.


WALSH (voice-over): Yulia Efimova, for some the unwilling face of Russian doping at these Olympics, is exhausted.

YULIA EFIMOVA, RUSSIAN SWIMMER: Sometimes I just want to stop it and just give up and everything. It's crazy. My friends, my parents, always try to

help me as always, you can't stop. It's your dream. I say, I'm pretty sure I'm not sitting here.

WALSH: Two doping reprimands in three years. The first for a steroid, DHEA, she says was in a supplement she unknowingly bought in an American

health food store, the second for the drug meldonium, only recently banned. She was only at the last minute allowed to compete on appeal then this


WALSH (on camera): So when you were in the pool and you did that, what did you mean by that?

EFIMOVA: You know, like if you win a race, you act like, you're first.

WALSH: Did you think that would cause Lilly King to do this or no?

EFIMOVA: That's why I don't understand. Maybe it's because the media and everything, like I'm so bad. Media always try to do some like war or

something between athletes. I think it's more like interesting to watch, but it's hard for athletes.

WALSH: When you hear what the Americans have been saying about you --

EFIMOVA: Yes, this upset me so much, especially from Michael Phelps, they're like, Lilly King -- just too young. She doesn't know how life goes


WALSH: She struggles to believe the depth of state sponsored doping allegations against her Russian team. It's hard for you to believe as a

patriot or you don't believe the allegations themselves?

EFIMOVA: I don't believe this because -- I mean, I know like Russian athletes, it's like more stupid, just Russian use doping? But every other

country is fine.

WALSH: It's political, right?

EFIMOVA: Yes, it's political. It's only like Russia, Russia, Russia, all Russia. Have beer, drink, doping.

WALSH (voice-over): Yet she loves her life at home in Los Angeles, which she says has changed her.

EFIMOVA: Life is so much easier than Russia. Everybody is smiling. Very always super friendly, Team USA is always screaming. Russian people are

more like -- they have like really hard life, like from young, like every day, so aggressive. America is -- won't change me.


WALSH: There is understandably a very unforgiving attitude towards people conceived to be doping cheats. I've spoken to a number of athletes who

said, look, I've never made, two, quote, "mistakes," and I've still compete in these games and have had friends excluded from the medals who have been

caught out by drug cheats. So a lot of emotion there. She was in tears after that interview, but still a lot of controversy hanging over that

young lady -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, Nick Paton Walsh, thanks very much. Doping, as we've been discussing with Nick, is clearly the dark side of the game. But many

athletes have given very inspiring performances.

Ibtihaj Muhammad was the first American athlete to compete in the Olympics wearing a head scarf. She spoke to CNN after winning the bronze.


[15:55:00]IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD, OLYMPIC FENCER: I want people to know that Muslims come in all shapes and sizes, you know, and we do various things,

that we're productive members of society. We're even present here on the United States Olympic team.

This dream of mine wouldn't have been able to come to fruition were it not for the support system that I have, not just in my town, but also from my

friends and family. This has been a beautiful experience.

This is the America that I know and love, the America that is inclusive, that is accepting, and that encompasses people from all walks of life.


GORANI: And there she was, speaking to CNN a little bit earlier.

Speaking of champions, Usain Bolt is on the track again. He won his 200- meter people are talking about, I should say it is another finish that people are talking about. Jeanne Moos has that.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you're running 100 meters in under 10 seconds, who has time to smile? Cheese! Usain

Bolt, that's who. His smiling photo had tweets flying. Bolt stops, takes a selfie, then continues to win the race.

As for his rivals, Homi is fighting for his life and Bolt is posing for photos mid-race, smiling like the Road Runner, beep, beep. At least Bolt

didn't stick out his tongue like the Road Runner. It is taking me longer to type this tweet than it took Bolt to run and win his event.

Soon the Olympic semifinal race was transformed into the presidential race.

(on camera): The Bolt smile may be an internet meme but it's not yet a tattoo, as far as we know.

(voice-over): Michael Phelps' steely stare was the first big meme to come out of the Olympics. Now it's been tattooed by the owner of a Toronto

tattoo shop called Chronic Ink.

(Inaudible) tattooed it on her boss's right calf working from a photo taped to his leg.

(on camera): Did you have to shave his leg?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I cut him a little bit by accident.

MOOS: Somewhere in that tattoo we'll see a little cut if we look hard enough?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's right by his chin.

MOOS (voice-over): The tattoo got the blessing of Michael Phelps.

MICHAEL PHELPS, U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMER: That is awesome, that is so cool.

MOOS: From the glare to the smile. Two Olympic memes couldn't be more opposite. Opposites attract eyeballs on the internet. Take it away,

Frank. Jeanne Moos, CNN.


GORANI: Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The Dow Jones is up 85 points. The gavel is about to be hit to bring trading to a close and you call that

a true firm --