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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Aleppo Ceasefire Collapses, Thousands Trapped; Ceasefire Was Aimed At Getting Rebels And Civilians Out; ISIS Reportedly Has 12,000 To 15,000 Fighters; Can Anything Be Done To Help Aleppo?; Ashdown: Aleppo Must Not Be Another Srebrenica; Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates; Philippine President Admits Killing Suspects; U.S. Policy on Syria could Change under trump; Prosecution and Defense Rest in Dylann Roof Trial; Private Sector Role in African Energy Development; Disney Bets on "Star Wars" Spin Off. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired December 14, 2016 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at CNN London. A lot going on this hour. We are covered
though for you around the world and this is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Well, it was meant to bring a pause to the horrific flutter. It was meant to give hope to the thousands of civilians trapped inside, but like so many
apparent breakthroughs in Aleppo before, the latest ceasefire disappeared as quickly as it appear.
In its wake, heavy shelling and reported death on both sides. ITN's Dan Rivers is in Aleppo.
DAN RIVERS, ITN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aleppo thought this would be the day peace would finally prevail, but this afternoon, that glimmer of
hope was shattered in the most brutal fashion. President Assad's tanks and artillery once again unleashing everything they had including this bright
burning substance possibly white phosphorus. For those trapped inside, it was terrifying.
MONTHER ETAKY, ALEPPO RESIDENT: We have families here and that will be a danger for them and I have a family. I have a baby boy, five months, and
still here. We want to just evacuate out of the city to safe place.
LINA SHAMY, SYRIAN ACTIVIST: Criminal Assad regime and the Iranians have broke the ceasefire and they were back to attack the civilians and to
continue the genocide. Civilians are stuck again in the city.
RIVERS: It was a tragic end to a day, which had started with such promise. Before dawn, more than 30 buses were waiting to evacuate rebels and
civilians, but the lack of trust between both sides (inaudible) the deal breakdown before a single fighter had boarded.
With the gathering light, it was clear the plan to drive them to rebel territory a few miles to the west of the city was in (inaudible) documents
over new conditions imposed by Iran.
But for ordinary Aleppans made homeless by the fighting, the international wrangling means just one thing, more suffering. The Aleppo's airport, a
warehouse complex, is now home to thousands. Camping out on freezing concrete floors, inevitable result of the war that's been allowed to rage
(on camera): This is what it looks like when a city is emptied by wall. There are thousands of people in this refugee camp and 500 or so arriving
every single day. It is bitterly cold in this warehouse and they are left to huddle around the fire to try and keep warn. You've got to wonder,
where is the international community?
(voice-over): Tonight, the temperature is promising well below zero. Some don't even have shoes. Grown men are shivering. So how is a baby supposed
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My grandson is orphaned. His father and mother were killed. We don't have anything to wear. We left
everything behind to come here.
RIVERS: The most vulnerable have been left with nothing. Aid workers can't understand why.
TARA ABDULRAPA, SYRIAN AID WORKER: (Inaudible) the people here, we have (inaudible) and the weather is so cold. They can't handle it with this
weather. They just need shelters.
RIVERS: Just across this ravaged city, there is desolation that will take decades to rebuild. So many homes emptied of families, some of whom will
GORANI: Dan Rivers reporting from inside Aleppo. Let's go to Eastern Aleppo now and speak to Ismail Alabdullah. He is from the Syrian civil
defense group known as the White Helmets.
First of all, thanks for being with us this evening. Tell us about the situation where you are. We understand the ceasefire has not held and
shelling has resumed. Is that what the case?
[15:05:05]ISMAIL ALABDULLAH, SYRIA CIVIL DEFENSE VOLUNTEER: Yes, that is the case. Actually the bombing started again on the city after the
ceasefire collapsed. The Assad's forces started to shell the city, started to bomb the city with hundreds -- actually we counted as -- more than 100
mortars of shell and this is the area where more than 1,000 -- 100,000 people are trapped.
Then we heard that Assad's forces are trying to make advance on the ground. They were trying to get close to this small area. After all of this that -
- as civilians, we couldn't believe that Assad's forces and Russians will start bombing and they would -- except the operation of evacuation of all
We were waiting for the 5 a.m. where they started to transport the hundred people from the medical facility to the country side (inaudible) when we
heard that the operation has stopped. So everyone in that city are desperate of this miserable situation --
GORANI: So the bombing is going on right now. I mean, can you hear actual shelling and bombing from your position?
ALABDULLAH: Yes, I heard heavy -- actually I have heard heavy bombing and -- from (inaudible) which is close to the (inaudible) neighborhood there
was big (inaudible) mortars, rockets, snipers were shooting and trying to make the fear of the people more on the hearts of civilians to -- actually
all the situation in general in a lot of the city, it's more like hell. Lack of food, lack of medical supplies, lack of everything.
(Inaudible) didn't respond to any call, we left behind many injured people, we couldn't reach them. Dead bodies, we couldn't bury them because of the
-- what -- we have seen this situation. We couldn't deal with this situation. The snipers will shoot us if we get close to that frontline
where the civilians are trapped there. We couldn't save any (inaudible).
GORANI: Ismail Alabdullah, I want to thank you very much. He's joining us from East Aleppo there. Clearly that ceasefire has crumbled. Bombing and
shelling according to Ismail. Thank you for joining us. We really appreciate it.
Very difficult situation there for those trapped. Let's get analysis on these developments. Fred Pleitgen was recently in Aleppo, just days ago.
He joins me now from Beirut. Clarissa Ward joins me here in the studio as well. Thanks to you both.
All right, so let's start, Fred, with the latest. Why did this ceasefire not hold? What happened?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as usual, Hala, in situations like this, when it's both sides blaming each other for
the ceasefire falling apart. The rebels are saying that it was the regime forces who opened fire first. But whereas the Syrian government says that
it believes that the rebels were never really interested in allowing the ceasefire to go forward.
But in general, the larger reason why it crumbled is that on both sides and probably more so on the government side than on the rebel side, there are
just so many different factions with so many different interest on the ground.
You heard that in Dan's report where some are saying that perhaps the Iranians, who, of course, also have a large force on the ground, were not
happy with the terms of that ceasefire. Possibly not happy that they might not have been consulted in trying to hammer that ceasefire out.
Because essentially it seems to have been a negotiation between the Russians and the Turks that brought it about in the first place. But there
are so many other factions fighting on the side of the government including Palestinian-Syrian fighters, a lot of Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan,
and of course, from Lebanon as well.
All of them very difficult to control and bring under one coherent umbrella when it comes to implementing a halt in firing. And then of course, on the
opposition side, you have a similar situation where you have various different groups.
Some of them quite hard line Islamist, others moderate. And it really only takes one group on either side that will not be wanting this ceasefire to
go through for everything to crumble especially in a fragile situation like the one there in Aleppo.
GORANI: Right. And Clarissa, in parallel to all of this, we have, of course, the battle against ISIS and the U.S. has made an announcement
saying 75 percent, a big fat number, of all militants have been killed since 2014.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some really staggering numbers that were seeing from U.S. officials today. They say
now there's only an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 ISIS fighters left on the ground. That nearly 50,000 have been killed by the U.S. and U.S.-backed
coalition in the last two years.
[15:10:08]That means it's at the lowest number of fighters since the real effort to take out ISIS began in 2014. So clearly these are positive
numbers. It's clear that ISIS is on the back boat. We've seen the push on Mosul by Iraqi forces. We're now seeing Kurdish -- U.S.-backed Kurdish
forces who are talking about making a push on Raqqa.
But I think what's interesting and what gets lost among these numbers, Hala, and when you hear what Fred is saying, and you see the situation on
the ground in Aleppo, is this idea that ISIS is really a product of the Syrian civil war.
ISIS is a symptom of a disease rather than the cause of the disease, and as long as you have this terrible violence roiling on inside Syria with no end
in sight, you are going to have this problem with militant groups like ISIS continuing. What's happening now in Aleppo is the biggest rallying cry
there is --
GORANI: Sure. Palmyra has been taken again by ISIS. I mean, you could make the argument that the regime was focusing just a bit more on Aleppo
perhaps for a while. This is a big embarrassment for them. This is also something that the regime is going to have to be looking at, at some point.
I mean, this war cannot be resolved while you -- no matter how you look at while you still have groups like ISIS controlling large portions of Syrian
WARD: No, certainly not. And it's extraordinary how quickly Palmyra was lost. I mean, the Russians were celebrating. This is a huge coup. They
had this elaborate orchestra party with journalists flown in to come and look at their --
GORANI: At the (inaudible) --
WARD: And several months later, here we are, ISIS have walked right back in because the Russians have been focusing their efforts on the city of
Aleppo. ISIS is not going to go away by bombs alone. If you don't deal with the larger problems plaguing Syria and plaguing the region, they will
continue to come back -- Hala.
GORANI: Right. As we continue to cover all the developments in Aleppo, in Palmyra, elsewhere as well, reports of violence across Syria. Thanks very
much to our senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward and our senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen in Beirut. Thanks to
both of you.
As the world watches regime forces takeover Aleppo, the lives of thousands of civilians hang in the balance. My next guest says the time for the west
to act is now to protect those civilians. Lord Paddy Ashdown knows better than most how to forge some kind of peace out of a terrible war.
He was the international high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks for being with us, sir. Let me first ask you. As you see the
disastrous situation unfolding in a ceasefire that doesn't appear to hold, what can be done do you think?
PADDY ASHDOWN, FORMER HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: Hala, look, I'm sorry there are some rather brutal truths that we now need
to address. The fact is that consistently over the last five years, as I and many others have warned, the international community has pretty well
deliberately and determinately maneuvered itself into a position where it now occupies the role of impotent spectator.
It hasn't gotten any leverage to stop the war. There is one thing -- the Russians have done that. By the way, we left the vacuum and they moved
into it and we're being humiliated and a lot of people have died.
So the answer is in terms of stopping the war, not much. There is however one thing that can be done and that is those 50,000 now crammed into a
four-square mile area. That means that with that kind of density, every bomb that drops is probably going to cause a massacre or something quite
close to it.
We should be putting U.N. observers in there. We should be insisting if that happens. I can't imagine the Russians if they are serious about the
ceasefire would find a reason to object to that. And that's not urgent. There is the primary responsibility that now rest on everybody in the
And it may well be in due course that that comes to long term peace, but in the short term, it is (inaudible) --
GORANI: But you're essentially --
ASHDOWN: -- the massacre of the (inaudible) that we saw on Srebrenica.
GORANI: That's one of the things you've said as well. There must not be another Srebrenica, but you're essentially saying there is nothing the west
can do. That it has created a vacuum that Russia now inhabits and it really doesn't have any leverage on the ground. I mean, should then the
world sit back and say, this is it. We're just going to watch this unfold and there is nothing western leaders can and should do --
ASHDOWN: There are consequences of actions and one of the actions, one of them (inaudible) taken the House of Commons when we sent a very clear
message out that we weren't prepared to use force even to make President Assad pay a price for breaching an international law that's been in place
since 1922 about the prohibition of chemical weapons.
One by the way, which restrained both Hitler and Stalin and we weren't prepared to act. That sent a (inaudible) that the will of the west is not
the same as it was. The Russians spotted that and moved in. You have to do -- you have to face reality.
There are things we can do further down the track. I think there is one immediate thing and that is concentrate all resources on making sure there
is not a massacre amongst those 50,000.
[15:15:09]GORANI: All right, you've talked about something that's (inaudible) like in the Middle East, though, the situation is so different.
You have so many proxy battles being fought on Syrian soil. I mean, you have Saudi Arabia and Iran locked in this battle for regional control
playing out --
ASHDOWN: With respect, that is entirely true. I mean, let's remember that the Bosnian war was exactly the same. You had all the neighbors involved.
You have Serbia involved. You had Croatia involved. You had Montenegro involved. You had a religious conflict in there between the Serbs, the
orthodox and the Christians.
I don't think it's more complex. It may be bigger. It may be Bosnia multiplied 20 times over. But just as the United States brokered a
regional agreement, the NATO international agreement, underpinned by the great powers including Russia involving all of those neighbors and that
created some kind of a peace untidy and unpleasant but better than the war. I think that is a parallel.
GORANI: But you speak of the United States, finally, the next president, Donald Trump will be in the White House after January 17th. I mean, the
U.S. under Barack Obama clearly non-interventionist than Syria letting it play out saying over and over again, we only had bad options. Now what
though? Can the U.S. do something?
ASHDOWN: Well, the answer is it could. The U.S. is the only part that can exercise some degree -- but Mr. Trump may decide not to use that power. He
may need to draw from international interventions in which case we'll have a lot more small wars making -- joining together into a lot more large
ones. If you will not act to intervene where you're able to do so.
It doesn't mean everywhere, but where you're able to do so to ensure the wider peace. There is not certain the peace of the region, ultimate peace
of the world, then they'll be surprised if you get yourself into a series of events that (inaudible) like the 1930s or maybe even the 1912, 1914.
It's exactly that that's occurring again, little brush fire wars that can combine into a great confederation. If you choose not to act or did you
act inappropriately, you can bring about something far worse than you currently see.
Mr. Trump may make that choice, but I can't say it would be a wise one for him for the United States or for any of us.
GORANI: Thank you very much, Lord Ashdown. We appreciate your time this evening.
Coming up on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, Duterte's shocking admission, the outrageous president of the Philippines for its controversy again.
But first, the wait is over, the U.S. Federal Reserve has decided to hike interest rates. There is Janet Yellen. She is live explaining why. All
that and more when we come back.
GORANI: Well, it's happened, the U.S. Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the first time this year and only the second time since the 2008
[15:20:06]The Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, decided now was a good time to pull the trigger and brought in a quarter-point hike. That was the
expectation pointing to employment, oil prices, and the overall global outlook. She said any future hike, though, would be gradual.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET YELLEN, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: Over the past year, two and a quarter million net new jobs have been created. Unemployment has fallen
further and inflation have moved closer toward longer run goal of 2 percent. We expect the economy will continue to perform well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Janet Yellen there. Joining me now to discuss this in more detail is CNN Money editor-at-large, Richard Quest. So this was expected. How
are stock markets reacting?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN MONEY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: The market is down and just 120 odd points. It had been down all the session as you can see, a bit of a
blip earlier when the result came out. The selling accelerating so again, we are going to end up at the lows of the day.
But frankly, Hala, compared to how it could have been, this is considerably better. It suggests to me that this is just a bit of indigestion in the
market. There is not any really serious selling that's going on. Maybe a bit of profit taking from the very strong rises that we've seen over the
past four or five weeks.
And I wouldn't say this particular down day is anything to be concerned about and it's probably because if you look at the fed predictions for the
next year or two, they are marginally higher. They believed that rates will go up a smidgen more than they had been projecting just back in
GORANI: What will the overall impact on the economy be? Because, I mean, this makes borrowing more expensive and so buying things on credit will be
QUEST: But let's not over state, Hala, we're at very, very low levels. You do not even a 1 percent yet. You are just sort of nudging at now to a half
to three quarters of a percent and beyond. So we're still a long, long way to go before anything like normality.
The bigger known in all of this and Janet Yellen referred to this two or three times when asked, how is the fed going to respond to Donald Trump's
fiscal expansion policies, lower taxes, (inaudible) personal, deregulation fiscal stimulus and infrastructure spending.
Basically those numbers although uncertain at the moment, they haven't been factored in. You see that in the so-called "dock loft." None of the
projections for economic growth go beyond say 2 percent to 2.5 percent really in the medium term. And that suggest they are not factoring in yet
Donald Trump's faster steroid driven economy.
GORANI: All right, well, certainly, there are many unknowns and I guess, the fed is going to have to give itself sometime to see how things pan out.
By the way, at the top of hour, we'll see you on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" and we will hear more, I am sure about the rate hike.
Who's who of the U.S. tech industry filed into Trump Tower in New York today for a roundtable discussion with the president-elect. Top executives
from Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Alphabet and Apple were all among the participants. You see them there on the table there, the vice president-
elect, Mike Pence and Donald Trump.
One notable omission is the CEO of Twitter. Now the main focus was said to be jobs, but sources say trade, corporate tax reform and immigration were
also under discussion.
It's quite a turnaround after the tensions between Donald Trump and the industry during the campaign and there's Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter
of Donald Trump as well present at that meeting.
Now his popularity rating broke 84 percent earlier this year, any Western leader would be delighted with that number. Also he enjoys widespread
support in his home country and the Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte says he's killed suspected criminals in the past himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT: But in Davao, I used to do it personally just to show to the guys that if I can do it, why can't you?
And I go around Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Basically admitting to shooting people on site he suspected of dealing drives. Matt Rivers is tracking developments in the Philippines
from Beijing. Matt, this was during his time, he says as mayor?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. And you know, we're used to hearing some pretty shocking statements from President Duterte. It
was just last month in October that out of nowhere he said that the Philippines should be separating military and economically from the United
States. That really took us by surprise.
[15:25:03]This statement though safe to say probably one of the more shocking things, if not the most shocking thing that we have heard. What
you heard in that sound bite that you just played was the former mayor and now president of the Philippines talking about going around and saying that
he participated in some of these extrajudicial killings while he was mayor.
Doing so in order to inspire his fellow -- his police officers in that city today to say, if I can do it then you can do it too. He actually -- he
didn't speak about specifics there, but in an interview in 2015, he actually got more specific about some of his alleged killings.
So in a radio interview, he said that he personally killed three people in 1988, who he thought raped and kidnapped woman in the town of Davao City
where he was the mayor.
So this is some pretty unbelievable stuff that we are hearing from the president of the Philippines and that's something to say when we hear him
say lots of interesting things on a regular basis.
GORANI: OK, I know he says outrageous things. He said outrageous things in the past. He's insulted the president of the United States even, but if
you admit to basically murdering people, is that going to get him in any kind of trouble? I mean, what could the fallout be?
RIVERS: Well, just take a look at what happened earlier this year in the Senate in the Philippines. There was an inquiry that was launched to look
into these extrajudicial killings and the cost was put on that by October, it did not go very far.
The senator who was in charge of it was replaced and as you mention right off the top here, Hala, as of now, the people of the Philippines support
what is going on. Now what is going on is this continuing war on drugs where there have been over 5,900 people killed since July 1st of this year.
And that includes not only people suspected of dealing drugs but also drug users and only one third of those killings, according to our reporting,
have been done by law enforcement. Two thirds of those killings have been done by the so-called vigilante groups.
So there is a really incredible situation going on in the Philippines with the president apologizes for none of it, ignores his critics and says what
he is doing is right and justified, and at least the poll numbers so far appeared to say that the people of the Philippines back him up.
GORANI: They certainly do based on those numbers. Matt Rivers, thanks very much live in Beijing.
Still ahead this hour, Trump's pick for secretary of state has a cozy relationship with Russia. How that could impact U.S. policy in Syria and
more coming up next.
[15:30:11] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Fighting has resumed in Aleppo after a brief ceasefire fell apart with both sides of the conflict claiming
casualties. The evacuation of civilians and rebels has been delayed by the fighting. A resident told CNN that a hospital in eastern Aleppo resembled
a slaughter house and that there, quote, dead bodies everywhere.
Also, among our top stories, the Federal Reserve has decided to increase its key interest rate for the first time this year with a quarter point
hike by Janet Yellen, and it signifies the Fed's confidence in the U.S. economy.
The prosecution and defense have just rested their cases in the trial of accused Charleston Church killer Dylann Roof. Prosecutors say he confessed
to opening fire in the church a year and a half ago. He murdered nine African-American worshippers in what they described as a racist rampage.
Russia's alliance with Syria has allowed the regime to lay siege to eastern Aleppo, and Russia has been widely condemned by the western international
community as a result, especially the United States. But the political winds are shifting, especially as we learn more about Rex Tillerson,
Trump's pick for Secretary of State. He is known to have a tight relationship with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. What impact will
that have if he's confirmed?
Matthew Chance is in Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Kremlin never denied having Special Forces in Syria. This is the first time we've seen
the notorious Spetsnaz. Russian state television broadcasted these extraordinary images at the weekend, the shooting of this missile strike to
what they say is a rebel convoy. Russian radios say the targets include Jihadi fighters for former Soviet states, neutralized -- the word used --
to prevent them from returning home, justifying Russia's military role in Syria.
"Such is the secrecy of the operations," says this man described as a Special Forces soldier, "that even our wives don't know where we've been."
"Islamic state pays big money," he tells the Russian state T.V. reporter, "to find out who we are."
Kremlin says this fight against terrorism in Syria should be shared with the United States. No mention of the civilians trapped with no way out to
the humanitarian causes. Up until now, that idea of a shared fight with the Kremlin has been pretty much dismissed.
The humanitarian toll of Russian airstrikes and its strong backing of a despised Syrian President place Moscow and Washington on opposite sides of
the conflict. But that was before the election of Donald Trump and his choice of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. They're both seen as much
more sympathetic to the Russian view. And although the Kremlin tells CNN it's not expecting a sudden change in U.S. policy of Syria, it says it is
hopeful of more dialogue and cooperation.
It's unclear what form that cooperation may take, but as the Kremlin is now actively promotes the work of its Special Forces in Syria, it notes the
killing of Jihadists. It's one area President-elect is keen to support.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
GORANI: Let's dig a little deeper with Ambassador Woolsey in New York. He advises Trump on national security and he's a former director of the CIA.
Thanks for being with us, sir.
R. JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Sure.
GORANI: I want to ask you first about what you think the impact of having Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State will have on relations between the U.S.
and Russia. How will they change?
WOOLSEY: Well, you know, there is this horrible situation in Syria now with the war and the massacres and the rest. The circumstances for that
was not created by Rex Tillerson, and they weren't either by the President- elect. They were created by Obama. When President Obama had an opportunity to draw a line in the sand, as he put it, and told the Syrians
not to use weapons of mass destruction, chemicals in that case, on their own people or they would pay, they used chemical weapons on their own
people and what President Obama did was turn the issue to the Russians. That --
GORANI: I will say a lot of people in the Middle East would agree with you, sir, on that assessment, that they expected perhaps Barack Obama to
intervene in 2013 when the chemical weapons were used. But I guess, the question is, now that the situation is what it is, how would President-
elect Donald Trump, once he's in office, deal with the disaster that is Syria?
[15:35:01] WOOLSEY: Well, I think the first thing is to look and see what President Obama did and then seriously consider, as an option, doing the
opposite because --
WOOLSEY: Well, one doesn't want to put a lot of western boots on the ground, but one doesn't really need to with, I think, the right kind of air
support, the right kind of intelligence collection, the right kind of training. With relatively few western troops, one could have done a much
better job than has been done with those Syrians that we were supporting because they were reformers.
This situation has grown directly out of President Obama's expressed weakness and explicit weakness in turning this problem over to Russia.
That was the big error.
GORANI: But couldn't that lead to a confrontation with Russia? I mean, essentially, Russia is backing the Assad regime with the help of Iran, as
well. There's a clear, there, coalition of forces working to help the Assad regime. Donald Trump has said, time and -- by the way, he hasn't
said a word about Aleppo since everything has unfolded there. What would the aim of more intervention be as far as the U.S. is concerned under a
Donald Trump presidency?
WOOLSEY: Well, President-elect Trump is not in the business, happily, of trying to create news. Sometimes he does when he wants to, sometimes when
he doesn't want to. But I don't think he's saying something or getting on the record is the key thing. Teddy Roosevelt had this right, I think, as
the way to manage American foreign policy years ago when he said speak softly and carry a big stick. President Obama's been doing the opposite.
And I think that the situation in Syria now as a result of the Iranians and the Russians moving the way they have in light of the issues that were set
out the way they were by President Obama does create a difficult situation for President-elect Trump. He's got to think through it, figure out how to
handle it, but he's not the one that got this all out of kilter. And he does need to be careful and cautious in how he gets it over with.
GORANI: One more question on Syria. I mean, he's said before that the big aim, the big goal, of the United States should be combatting ISIS, and that
if the allies that will line up to help the U.S. achieve that are Russia, then so be it. You know, even President Assad, I believe, he had some
words, maybe not a phrase but certainly not a condemnation. But so would that change then? Would that kind of shift once he becomes president?
WOOLSEY: Well, the situation is tangled with people on both sides, and it's a little bit roughly like it was in 1941 in Europe in which we had
several sets of bad guys -- the Nazis, the communists, the fascists -- and we had to figure out what to do. And we allied with the communists, with
Stalin, for four years, defeated the Nazis, and then moved on over a 45- year period finally to effectively defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War. That's tactics.
And you don't always gets to choose your favorite partner when you have to defeat someone like the Nazis or someone like ISIS. And that is hard but
nobody promised us a rose garden.
GORANI: Yes. All right. Well, certainly, it's a complicated situation, and it's going to be very interesting to see how the new president deals
with it starting next January. Thank you, James Woolsey, the former CIA director. Ambassador, thanks for coming on. We appreciate it.
WOOLSEY: Glad to be with you.
GORANI: Well, let's get a different perspective on how Trump's Cabinet is taking shape and the potential battle some of his picks could meet from
Democrats in Congress. I'm joined from Washington by CNN Political Commentator Bill Press. He supported Hillary Clinton and is the host of
"The Bill Press Show" on Talk Radio.
Bill, thanks for being with us.
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hello.
GORANI: I asked James Woolsey about Rex Tillerson there. What is your take on Rex Tillerson? Is this an appointment, perhaps, that the Democrats
would be willing to fight? Because they have to pick their fights, they don't control either House on Capitol Hill and they have to be very careful
who they decide to fight Trump on.
PRESS: Yes. But may I just say a word first about what we just heard from Director Woolsey? I was appalled by what I heard for a couple of reasons.
One, it just seems to me that he confirmed that the Trump team doesn't have a clue about what to do in Syria, and the only thing he could say is
blaming Obama and then suggesting do just the opposite.
Well, just the opposite of what President Obama did in Syria -- and by the way, I don't think President Obama has had huge success in Syria by any
means, but Woolsey seems to be talking about putting boots on the ground. He said that not a lot but putting boots on the ground, about a no-fly
zone, about bombing strikes in Syria, and about arming all the rebels. These are the things that President Obama didn't do. Is that what the
Donald Trump really plans to do?
[15:40:15] I don't think the American people are ready for another war, you know, on the ground in Syria. I think that's so frightening --
GORANI: Although he didn't get --
PRESS: -- what we heard.
GORANI: I was going to say, Bill, he didn't get into that level of detail, but it does seem as though the non-interventionist approach of Barack Obama
GORANI: -- the one he was criticizing --
PRESS: Well, he --
GORANI: -- and that perhaps Donald Trump would do.
GORANI: But that's not what Donald Trump said during the campaign, though. He did not say that he was in favor. He said he's only goal was to go
PRESS: Right. You're absolutely correct. And I think what that means is, that the Donald Trump foreign policy, such as it is, is at best a work in
progress. Getting to your point about Tillerson, we now have a President- elect who has zero experience in foreign policy or in diplomacy. We now have a Secretary of State nominee who has zero experience in diplomacy. He
has made a lot of big business deals around the world, but making business deals for the bottom line of ExxonMobil is not doing what's best
necessarily for the American people or for the planet.
So we don't know a lot about what that foreign policy is going to look like, but the question you have raised in terms of Tillerson's close
relationship with Vladimir Putin is very troubling. What does it mean for the Ukraine? What does it mean for Crimea? What does it mean for the
Baltic States? What does it mean for --
GORANI: But, Bill --
PRESS: -- for Syria? And we really don't know but, certainly, when it comes to sanctions against Russia, Tillerson says he is against them. If
you lift those sanctions, that's a $500 billion-deal for ExxonMobil.
GORANI: But, Bill, you know millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump precisely because they want, you know, non-establishment or not necessarily
career diplomats or politicians taking the reins.
So my question to you is, what is wrong with a very successful businessman, the CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, who knows all this world leaders
personally? He's had meetings with them one on one. What is wrong with giving a man like that a chance to try to solve some of the diplomatic
problems? Some would argue, look, American diplomacy didn't do much to solve the issues host Arabs spring in Syria.
PRESS: Right. I would --
GORANI: Give Rex Tillerson a chance.
PRESS: Well, I would say this -- and these are the questions, by the way, Hala, that you're going to get not just from Democrats, from Republicans
also in Congress who've expressed some concerns about Tillerson -- you know, if my computer breaks down, I don't call a plumber. Right? If you
are talking about diplomacy and statesmanship, you don't necessarily go to the business community. It's a different set of skills. It's a different
set of values.
And Tillerson himself has said, in his past dealings, I don't represent what's good for the United States. I represent the bottom line of
ExxonMobil. Can he make that shift?
GORANI: But that was as CEO of ExxonMobil.
PRESS: That's a big question.
PRESS: That's a big question.
GORANI: Can he make the shift, I guess, is the --
GORANI: Now, last question, I mean, where will the Democrats pick a fight? Where would it make sense for them to pick a fight?
PRESS: Well, first of all, there are many opportunities, as you know.
PRESS: But this is the most important member of any president's Cabinet. I think this is where they will pick a fight, win or lose, and get a couple
of Republicans with them and it's going to be battle royal.
GORANI: All right. Bill Press, always a pleasure. Thanks very much for joining us from Washington.
PRESS: Thank you, Hala. Thank you.
GORANI: All right. Up next, from here in London, the chilling evidence in the trial of accused Charleston church killer Dylann Roof. We'll be right
[15:45:49] GORANI: Well, it was an emotional day in a South Carolina courtroom as the prosecution and the defense both rested their cases in the
trial of a man accused of a massacre inside a church. Prosecutors say Dylann Roof has confessed to opening fire inside the AME Church in
Charleston a year and a half ago in rampage of racism.
These were his victims, nine worshippers shot and killed because, prosecutors say, Roof had a pathological hatred for African-Americans.
Nick Valencia has more on the trial.
DYLANN ROOF, ACCUSED OF SHOOTING IN MOTHER EMANUEL AME CHURCH: Well, I had to do it because somebody had to do something because, you know, Black
people are killing Black people every day.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over a year since his confession, Dylann Roof is standing trial. But if Roof had it his way,
they would be no trial at all. Before the case began, Roof said he was willing to plead guilty to the charges, on the condition that prosecutors
remove the death penalty. They refused.
Over the past week in federal court, prosecutors have punctuated their case by painting Roof as a cold blooded calculated killer, obsessed with White
supremacy and hateful of Blacks. They say Roof hoped to start a race war when he walked into the historically Black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston
on June 17, 2015. He prayed with the Bible study group for nearly an hour before removing a .45 caliber Glock handgun and shooting nine people, some
of them multiple times even after they were already dead.
Evidence presented by prosecutors at the trial include a video showing Roof shooting target practice, parts of a more than 2,000-word manifesto, and
there's also this white sheet found in his room cut into a triangle. Investigators believe it was Roof's attempt to fashion it into a KKK hood.
The last week of the trial has been, no doubt, emotional. The first witness brought to the stand was Felicia Sanders, a shooting survivor,
forced to take a break from recounting her gut-wrenching testimony of what she saw that day in Charleston. On the first day of court, Roof's own
mother suffered a heart attack at the beginning of lunch recess.
There was also drama behind the scenes as well with Roof's defense. Up until two weeks ago, the 22-year-old said he wanted to defend himself.
Now, he's changed his mind but only for the guilt phase of the trial. During the penalty phase, he is expected to his own defense. It's a
surprise considering his current attorney, David Bruck, is an acclaimed death penalty lawyer who may not be able to use his skills, if Roof keeps
his current plans.
For those watching the case, the horrors of what happened last July lay in the facts. Roof has sat and listened, the whole time expressionless,
emotionless, showing no remorse for the massacre he's accused of.
Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.
GORANI: By the way, check out our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn. We'll post some of the shows content online
Now, to Nigeria where only half of the population has access to electricity, but there's a businessman, a billionaire businessman, who
hopes to change all of that through some private investment. Here's Zain Asher.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tony Elumelu is an entrepreneur whose influence is global, extending far beyond his native
Nigeria. I caught up with the billionaire business in Lagos at Heirs Holdings' headquarters, the investment company he founded in 2010. It's
just one of several ventures he leads, which includes United Bank for Africa and his own foundation.
TONY ELUMELU, CHAIRMAN, HEIRS HOLDINGS: I understand that I have the responsibility to give back.
ASHER (voice-over): Elumelu wants to transform the African economy through "Africapitalism," his philosophy that the private sector should be the main
player in Africa's development.
To see his idea in action, Elumelu invites us to join him in the Niger Delta where his group is making huge investments towards something that's
very important to him, power.
[15:50:04] ELUMELU: I see a future where everyone will have improved access to electricity in Africa because improved access to electricity will
help us to develop Africa, help us to transform the continent.
ASHER (voice-over): We're at the Ughelli Power Plant owned by Transcorp, another company in Elumelu's portfolio.
ELUMELU: So this is where we transmit, so everything we generate is transmitted from here.
ASHER (voice-over): As we tour the plant, Elumelu lays out his plans.
ELUMELU: We start on the macro-level and get to the micro-level. When we're to go by the power plant where you're sitting right now, the output
was 150 megawatts. This was actually attained 2013, November 1st. But today, we have capacity to generate about 750 megawatts.
ASHER (voice-over): According to the International Energy Agency, less than half of Nigeria's population had access to electricity in 2014.
ASHER (on camera): Why is that happening with the transmission lines?
ELUMELU: So that you go to private (inaudible).
ASHER (voice-over): Elumelu says his plants will soon produce more than a quarter of Nigeria's power.
ELUMELU: The capacity, the total capacity this plant has, we're talking about 5,000 megawatts. By end of this year, we should be at full capacity
of 1,000. If we do 1,000 of our context, Nigeria is currently less than -- Nigeria's use is 4,000.
ASHER (on camera): Right.
ELUMELU: It's 4,000 and we're doing 1,000. That already is 25 percent.
ASHER (on camera): Right.
ASHER (voice-over): And even though there's a global trend towards green energy, Elumelu believes Africa is not at that stage just yet.
ELUMELU: Renewable energy is very good, but in this part of the world, where we are coming from, we need huge, massive amount of energy.
ASHER (voice-over): He's all for exploring a variety of options to tackle energy issues across Africa, but Elumelu says he's focused on getting it
right at home first.
ELUMELU: For me, the single most critical agenda should be to fix power in Nigeria. Then everything will follow from there.
ASHER (on camera): Will fall into place.
Zain Asher, CNN, the Niger Delta.
GORANI: Next, we head to a galaxy far, far away, the latest "Star Wars" prequel. There's another one and it is hitting movie screens around the
world, but we'll have a preview for you.
GORANI: "Star Wars" fans might be set to kick start the holiday film season a little bit early. The prequel, "Rogue One," is hitting movie
screens around the globe. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The power that we are dealing with here is immeasurable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the empire has this kind of power, what chance do we have?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rebellions are built on hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The film's London premiere was overseen by Storm Troopers. "Rogue One" is set before the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Disney is betting
big, of course, on its success. It's the first spin off since it bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion back in 2012. Frank Pallotta is our media
reporter with CNN Money.
I understand, Frank, you've already seen the movie?
FRANK PALLOTTA, CNNMONEY MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. If you want to know how it ends, I'll tell you right now. I'll tell you exactly how it ends.
GORANI: You know what, I'm going to be honest. I'm not a huge "Star Wars" fan. If you told me, but just whisper it in my ear because I don't want to
ruin it for our viewers. But tell me, this has to be a big financial bet for Disney.
[15:55:12] PALLOTTA: Very much so. When it bought the franchise of Lucasfilm back in 2012, it was hoping that it could go beyond the brand
that we have come to know and love, which is the Skywalker family, Han Solo, Princess Leia. And this is its first attempt to have a spin off that
is both a prequel and a spin off. So it takes place in the "Star Wars Galaxy," it has the branding, but it's very different. And it's supposed
to really show how far out it can go and how much this galaxy can really span beyond the course that we already know.
GORANI: And did they succeed in that endeavor?
PALLOTTA: Yes. It's a very good movie. It has a great ending, a really great third act. If you're a fan of the film, you're going to love it. If
you're not a fan of this series, you're going to go into it and have a really good time. I left very happy. It was very much a fun time, a lot
of hooting and hollering at the New York screening a couple of days ago.
GORANI: So this is kind of how big movie companies and media companies now seem to be operating, you know, just find the one lucrative franchise and
then spin it off in a million different directions, not just prequels and sequels, but spin offs and prequels in the spin off kind of world as well.
So you have so many avenues to explore. But I understand that there have been some very radically different kind of opinions on the movie. Some say
it's amazing; others say absolutely not, you need to shut this particular spin off down.
PALLOTTA: Yes. I mean "The New Yorker" was incredibly hard on it. That was who said that maybe we should put the "Star Wars" franchise to rest,
but others have said that it's been really great. In my opinion, it's hard with "Star Wars." You have to be kind of be a little bit into it to really
PALLOTTA: But this movie does a really good job of bringing in new fans while also making the fans, like me, who have followed it for the last 30
years really have a good time.
GORANI: All right. And also, there are some more prominent female roles as well.
PALLOTTA: Definitely. This is a very multicultural cast and a very kind of big, big different long, long time ago from what we used to have.
GORANI: Frank Pallotta, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
PALLOTTA: Thank you so much.
GORANI: This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next on CNN.