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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Arguments on Trump's Travel Ban; Trump Unsure How Much Moscow Controls Ukrainian Rebels; U.s.-Iran's Escalating Rehtoric; U.S. Firefighters Saving Lives in Mediterranean. 10- 11a ET

Aired February 8, 2017 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:17] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight, they spoke for nearly an hour, but what did

Donald Trump say when he called Turkey's president and how does his latest catchup call inform

Washington's view of the world and Washington's view on the world?

Analysis just ahead for you.



SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: They can shut me out, but they can't change the truth.


ANDERSON: Silenced. Why one of Mr. Trump's harshest critics has been muzzled.

And was this the American president's first major mistake abroad? As Yemen asks his troops to stay out. We'll take you to the Pentagon for reaction.

Right, 7:00 here in the UAE. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. First up, before we get to the body of the show, a new

defense from Donald Trump of his highly controversial travel ban. We've just heard the U.S. president talking to police chiefs and sheriffs in

Washington. He says an appeals court now deliberating the legality of that ban should come through with a clear-cut decision if politics, he says,

doesn't get in the way. Have a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't ever want to call a court biased, so I won't call it biased, and we haven't had a decision yet.

But courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read the statement and do what's right, and

that has to do with the security of our country, which is so important.


ANDERSON: That was President Trump speaking just a short time ago.

Now when it comes to his foreign policy, a lot is on the line for countries around the globe. And the American president has been reaching out to

world leaders on the line, the telephone line, that is.

Since taking the oath of office, the United States's new commander in chief has placed calls to over a dozen world leaders. But how all this talking

will turn into action remains to be seen. In his latest round of telephone diplomacy, the president rang the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

For the details of that conversation, I'm joined now by CNN's senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon in Istanbul, and CNN's

international diplomatic editor for you tonight out of London Nic Robertson with global reaction to Mr. Trump's foray into the international stage.

Stand by, Nic.

Let's start with you, Arwa. What do we know about what the two leaders talked about?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIOAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Trump White House put out a very brief statement saying that they addressed the war on terror

and of course the strategic importance of an alliance between the U.S. and Turkey.

On the Turkish side, we're hearing from presidential sources as well as from Turkey's state-run news agency, that they spoke about the refugee

crisis, the war in Syria, the need for safe zones in Syria, but also two points that are very important to the Turkish government.

Bearing in mind that Turkey had a very tenuous relationship with the Obama administration, especially over two issues. One was America's support for

the YPG, that Kurdish fighting force inside Syria that Turkey views as basically being an extension of the PKK that Turkey has been at war at for

decades. And also over the issue of the extradition of the Cleric Fetullah Gulen who Turkey accuses him and his movement of being behind that failed

coup attempt that took place over the summer.

So, according to state-run news agency, these two key issues were brought up with Turkey's president urging the U.S. To cut its support for the YPG

and also to take very seriously Turkey's request that Gulen be extradited.

Now, what we have also additionally heard from a spokesperson, the spokesperson for the Turkish government is that according to him at least

the president of the United States, President Trump, did in fact say that they would be taking the extradition of Gulen very seriously.

So, these are two key points that Turkey wants to see immediately addressed by the trump administration, Becky.

[10:05:09] ANDERSON: We weren't there, so we have no idea what the atmosphere of that conversation was. But just the very substance that we

understand to have been discussed would be convenient for the Turks, it would work for Turkey, correct?

DAMON: It would, assuming that these two main key requests, what Turkey actually wants to see action taken on - that support for the Kurds in Syria

and the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, is something that the Trump administration is actually willing to undertake.

Yes, it would go a long way towards repairing Turkey and America's relationship. And because of how the relationship was with the Obama

administration over these two issues, there is a certain level of cautious optimism because President Trump is so different to President Obama, the

hope, at least amongst the Turkish government authorities, is that President Trump will take these certain issues that Turkey views as being

key to its own national security as seriously as the Turkish government wants them to.

ANDERSON: Nic, so that call, one of over a dozen in the past two weeks since inauguration that Mr. Trump has had with world leaders, including

those with Australia and with Russia, and with Saudi Arabia, what if anything are these calls revealing about foreign policy under this new U.S.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We can throw into that list as well, France and Germany, just to give it a sort of European


You know, I think at the moment, and certainly if you listen to what we heard coming from the foreign ministry in Moscow today from a source there

is they're rather judging President Trump on his actions and they're a little concerned at the moment. They don't feel they've got the right

interlocutor at the U.S. State Department. The foreign ministry, the State Department, normal line of communication.

They're worried because things are happening, the United States taking positions on Iran, taking position on the Middle East that has talked a lot

about the importance of tackling, you know, the war on terror, ISIS threat and clearly the foreign ministry in Moscow is feeling a

little out of sorts, at least that's what they're saying.

So, judging on going beyond the phone call and what's happening, there's a frustration there, obviously the Australian phone call didn't end as

planned. And if you look at the outcome of the phone calls with the Europeans, the Germans and the French, let's say, just look at this past

weekend in Malta where the European Union met. And the fundamental decision they have realized is that President Trump is retreating from the

world stage, that the European Union needs to stand up for liberal global values for free trade and that the European Union needs to unite, they say

they are uniting.

So, you know, it's what he's doing more than what's actually said on those calls, I think, that's coming to the front now.

ANDERSON: Retreating from the world stage to those that he doesn't seem to want to do business with. But, for example, when the Jordanians were in

Washington, they seemed to have had a very business like and positive meeting with the administration as did Theresa May, the British prime

minister. Let us not be naive about this, it seems that those who need the States and the States going

forward seem to be doing all right out of this first couple of weeks.

ROBERTSON: Shinzo Abe will be the next one in there, the Japanese prime minister in a couple of days go into the White House. Benjamin Netanyahu,

the Israeli prime minister a couple of days after that.

And certainly from a Japanese perspective when you see China just in the past couple of days putting three coast guard vessels into disputed waters

in the East China Seas, certainly Japan looks to the United States on that issue. And that very morning, we had the Japanese foreign minister talking

to Rex Tillerson the secretary of state in the United States. We don't know what the conversation was about, but clearly the lines of

communication with a new administration are beginning to add up to something.

So, yes, for some it's deliver something, though in Theresa May's case, obviously she came

back home to the UK and found because of what Donald Trump had done subsequently kind of some of that good, if you will, blew up in her face.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in London, Arwa, in Turkey or you. Thank you both.

Well, the fate of one of President Trump's signature policies still in limbo this hour. We could learn as early as today with her U.S. Appeals

court will reinstate what was this controversial travel ban.

Mr. Trump is continuing to argue his case in the court of public opinion. Just minutes ago, he said the ban is vital for national security and said

his case is so strong that even a, quote, bad high school student would rule in his favor.

Well, the judges are still deliberating after hearing arguments by phone Tuesday night.

Senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns has more for you.


[10:10:08] JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Three federal judges of the ninth circuit court of appeals grilling lawyers from the Justice Department and

Washington state in a hearing by phone Tuesday night. Both sides fighting back skepticism from the court.

JUDGE RICHARD CLIFTON, NINTH CIRCUIT COURT: Either you have the evidence presented in the record or you don't.

JOHNS: The Justice Department attorney August Flentje arguing Donald Trump has the legal authority to impose the travel ban without review citing

national security.

JUDGE MICHELLE FRIEDLAND, NINTH CIRCUIT COURT: Are you arguing then that the president's decision in that regard is unreviewable?


JOHNS: Judge William Canby pushing back on Flentje's logic.

JUDGE WILLIAM CANBY, NINTH CIRCUIT COURT: Could the president simply say in the order we're not going to let any Muslims in?

FLENTJE: That's not what the order does here.

CANBY: Could he do that? Could he do that? Would anybody be able to challenge that?

FLENTJE: That's not what the order does here.

JOHNS: Flentje acknowledging his argument might not be working.

FLENTJE: I'm not sure I'm convincing the court.

JOHNS: Judge Richard Clifton questioning Washington state's claim shows a direct intent to discriminate against Muslims.

CLIFTON: I have a hard time understanding why we're supposed to infer religious animus when in fact the vast majority of Muslims would not be

affected as residents of those nations.

NOAH PURCELL, ATTORNEY: Your honor, the case law from this court and the Supreme Court is very clear that to prove religious discrimination, we do

not need to prove it harms only Muslims or that it harms every Muslim. We just need to prove it was motivated in part by a desire to harm Muslims.

CLIFTON: Do I have to believe everything you allege and say, well, that must be right? That's not the standard.

JOHNS: President Trump continues defending his hastily implemented ban.

TRUMP: Some things are law and I'm all in favor of that. And some things are common sense. This is common sense.

JOHNS: While the president's new homeland security secretary told a House committee he regrets how the presidential order was rolled out.

GEN. JOHN KELLY, DHS SECRETARY: I should have delayed it just a bit so that I could talk to members of Congress, particularly the leadership of

committees like this to prepare them for what was coming.


ANDERSON: The opinion of John Kelly there. Joe Johns, joining us now from Washington, with more. Joe, bad high school students would concede he was

right, the president says, but it's not kids deciding on this controversial travel ban. This could go all the way

to the highest court in the land, correct?

JOHNS: That's absolutely right, all the way to the United States Supreme Court, Becky. But the thing that's very interesting this morning, is this

is yet another break by this new president and his new administration from some of the past precedents and traditions of White Houses in previous


In previous years, presidents have been loathe to weigh in, if you will, to comment on issues that are under active litigation, especially

controversial issues out of fear of being seen as attempting to influence and using public opinion, the reasoning of a court. In this case, Donald

Trump this morning just weighed all in, first started out on Twitter, suggesting some unspecific political motivation, and then in a speech,

before the National Sheriff's Association, at a hotel right down the street, once again, weighing in on the issue calling it a sad day,

suggesting that if it didn't go his way, then the judges didn't reason properly,

So very unique, very unusual for an administration because in past years, many other administrations have tried to steer clear of using public

opinion to pressure a legal decision.

ANDERSON: Joe, just because he breaks with tradition, doesn't mean, of course, that it's wrong. But this does support these questions being

asked, doesn't it, about whether this new administration is qualified for the job?

JOHNS: Well, and that's what some people will say, others will say Donald Trump was brought here by the voters to shake up Washington, and to change

some of the traditions that haven't worked so well.

So this is a back and forth that kind of plays into this legal case, the legal drama that's going on in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as they

try to unravel, among other things Donald Trump's public statements about wanting to ban Muslims during the election with the pronouncement now,

that it isn't about Muslims, it's about protecting U.S. Security. So it's a difficult situation for this court to figure out as well.

[10:15:12] ANDERSON: Appreciate it. Joe, thank you.

Well, Democrats in the U.S. congress aren't making the confirmation process easy for the

president's cabinet picks. One of the president's loudest critics was silenced during a Senate debate on the nomination of Jeff Sessions, who

you will be well aware is for attorney general. But Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren didn't stay quiet for very long.

Sunlen Serfaty explains.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: The Senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A stunning moment on the Senate floor.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate.

SERFATY: Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren formally silenced by her Republican colleagues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator will take her seat.

SERFATY: The incredibly rather dressing down stemming from this statement.

WARREN: Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.

SERFATY: Warren quoting a scathing 1986 letter from Martin Luther King Junior's widow opposing Senator Jeff Sessions's failed nomination to a

federal judgment to explain why she is against Sessions current bid to be attorney general.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator is reminded it is a violation of rule 19 of the standing rules of the Senate to impute to another senator or senators

any conduct unworthy or motive of becoming a senator.

SERFATY: Republicans arguing Warren violated Senate rules by demeaning a sitting senator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stated that a sitting senator is a disgrace to the Department of Justice.

MCCONNELL: She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

SERFATY: At issue, whether quoting Coretta Scott King should be exempted from the rules.

WARREN: I appeal the ruling of the chair.

SERFATY: But the Senate voted strictly down party lines to reprimand Warren, prohibiting her from speaking on the floor for the remainder of the

Sessions debate.

WARREN: The truth hurts, and that's all the more reason to hear it.

SERFATY: Refusing to be silenced, Warren taking to social media, continuing to read Scott King's letter on Facebook live and calling into CNN.

WARREN: They can shut me up, but they can't change the truth.


ANDERSON: Well, Sunlen reporting for you there. Supporters of Senator Elizabeth Warren now rallying behind her on Twitter using the #letlizspeak.

Jill Valasco (ph) tweets, quote, "she was warned. She was given an explanation, still she persisted, every women's epitaph. Let Liz Speak,

#thereisstance." Elizabeth former (ph).

And Bernice King, daughter of the late Coretta Scott and Dr. Martin Luther King had this to say, "thank you @senwarren, for being the soul of the

senate during the #sessionshearing #letlizspeak."

And that trending all over the world.

You're watching Connect the World. And that's exactly what we are doing for you, joining up

all the dots on everything that is happening. It's a fast changing place under Donald Trump. I want to break it all down for you, or at least try

to, with my next guest. Do stay right here.

You're watching CNN.



[10:20:53] TRUMP: We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We have to be unpredictable.

And we have to be unpredictable starting now.


ANDERSON: These were all of America's 44 presidents, up until about three weeks ago, none quite like the latest, number 45: Donald John Trump.

He's been taking America's rulebook as we know it, and tossing it up in the air, just as we

heard him promise he would do.

Well, still Mr. Trump remains incredibly puzzling to many, but Ian Bremmer thinks it's even

more serious than that, and that the new man in the White House is leading a, quote, geopolitical recession.

What does he mean by that? Well, Ian, president of the political risk firm Eurasia Group joining us now from New York.

Ian, what do you mean by geopolitical recession, if you will?

IAN BREMMER, EURASIA GROUP: Well, I mean, that there's basically a bust cycle that we had - we see that in economics all the time. Every six or

seven years you have an economic recession. Some are deep, some are shallow. The last time we had a bust session in the geopolitical order was

World War II. It's a much longer cycle. But since then, we've had Pax Americana.

Now, to be honest, a geopolitical recession was coming, whether or not the U.S. elected Trump.

The rise of China, the weakness of the Transatlantic relationship and the fragmentation of Europe, the rise of populism, the post-Arab Spring Middle

East and the explosions there, and the willingness of the Russians all sort of subvert the order.

All of that was coming. But with Trump, it is much more immediate and other countries are reacting much more sharply, because Trump himself

really does reject the idea of being the U.S. Being the leader of a multilateral group of allies, rejects the idea of an exceptionalist or

indispensable America that promotes its values around the world, rejects the idea of the U.S. being the architect of global trade.

So America first as a strategy, as a doctrine even, is sort of the straw that broke the camel's back to create immediately this geopolitical

recession that the world is now in.

ANDERSON: Ian, we started this show by talking about who Mr. Trump has been talking to. You note noticeably absent from the list is China.

During the election, Candidate Trump spent ago of time bashing China, perhaps why the two leaders haven't chatted.

How important is that relationship for the U.S. going forward?

BREMMER: It's by far the most important bilateral relationship in the world. And I think it speaks volumes that Trump and Xi Jinping, with all

of the back and forth with international leaders around the world that that conversation has not occurred and when Trump and his advisers have spoken

about China, it's always in terms of criticism, it's about trade, it's about currency, it's about cyber attacks, much bigger, much more

problematic than what the Russians have done against the U.S., it's about the South China Sea, it's about North Korea, it's about Taiwan and the One

China policy. And let's keep in mind that steve Bannon, who is the chief strategist, and really the architect of America first, at least so far

believes that the United States and China are inevitably headed for direct confrontation.

There's a lot of theory around this when you have one rising power that wants to run the world its way and the United States going to be smaller as

a consequence, certainly economically in near term, the perspective would be look, if we're going to fight the Chinese no

matter what, then it's much better to fight them early, when the U.S. Is vastly more powerful militarily, still has a much bigger economy, still has

the diplomatic strength, than to wait for 10 years when China is going to have much more ability to get the outcomes that it would want.

[10:25:07] ANDERSON: I'm wondering how U.S. foreign policy, how Washington's chosen friends will help inform this sort of new world order

that perhaps you're providing a scope on here.

So, let's just go through what we do know to date, certainly what we feel that we are hearing is a reach out from this new administration to Russia.

The Russia seem equally as confused as to anybody else as to how this relationship is going to play out.

But say you took Russia, say you took the allies in the Gulf region, where there appears to be a positive relationship building, some allies across

the Arab world - Jordan and Egypt, for example, as opposed to the attitude that we are seeing emerging from this American administration towards the

likes of Iran, for example.

If you take China out of the equation for just one moment, which is clearly ridiculous if we're talking about a new world order, but how is what we are

seeing helping to shape what might be this new era going forward?

BREMMER: Well, let's keep in mind that Trump, as someone who really interested in the values of individuals countries, as he said notably when

asked about Putin. Look, there are a lot of killers out there. He's a killer, we're killers, what not. That means the relations will be much

more transactional.

And, you know, you mentioned some countries that wouldn't necessarily be at the top of the U.S. Agenda over the Obama administration - Russia and the

Gulf allies. But you could also mention Japan, where Abe was the first to come and meet with Trump after his election. And they're going to be

meeting very shortly as well. And they're even going to play a round of golf, it looks like, at Mar-a-Lago. That's an important U.S. Ally.

The point is not so much that the alliances are all going to change, I think it has a lot more to do

with there going to be very much based on individual relationships and they're going to be transactional.

So, Merkel is going to be a much bigger problem for Trump, because she wants a strong Europe. The United States, under Trump, does not. They

will be fine with Frexit, even under Marine Le Pen, who has a lot in common ideologically with Trump. And they're very happy with Theresa May, because

Brexit means Brexit and Trump likes that, right.

So, it's a very - the world order that you're going to see emerge is one where the United States and it's foreign policy looks quite a bit like

China's foreign policy has. It's not about values, it's economic, it's transactional, and it's about let's see if we can get a win-win can be with

an individual strongman or it can be with a consolidated democracy, really depends on what you're bringing me to the table.

It's so interesting that Mexico is such a tough relationship, but ultimately the Trump administration believes that they have so much

leverage over a country like Mexico, they can get them to do what they want anyway.

ANDERSON: We are going to continue this conversation, because we are two weeks in to what is this new administration. And we know, very little. It

will reveal itself, and you and I will discuss it, as the months go on.

Ian, always a pleasure. Thanks for coming on.

Alternative facts, those words came from one of Donald Trump's closest lieutenants, Kellyanne Conway. And only added to some of the confusion in


Well, my colleague Jake Tapper spoke to Conway and they started by talking about the American president's claim that major news networks have ignored

dozens of terror attacks. Have a listen to the exchange.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Kellyanne, CNN and other media organizations cover terrorism around the world all the time saying that we don't cover

terrorism. That's just false.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: What the president is saying there, Jake, is that there are attacks that don't get as much as coverage.

Obviously, the very sad incidents that you related were frankly, CNN did amazing coverage for weeks at a time. I saw you all there on the ground

doing that and telling the human interest stories and the tragic stories, and frankly, the involvement of the terrorists in those brutal attacks.

Those get coverage. The other ones in the list not so much...

TAPPER: What we're talking about is the fact that the White House is waging war on people who are providing information sometimes risking their

lives to do so. Saying that nothing we say is true. All of it is fake.

I would much rather be talking to you about veterans issues. In fact, I would -- when it comes to the Trump administration I would be much rather

be covering immigration, I would much rather be covering trade and I would much rather be covering draining the swamp and counterterrorism.

But instead, every day, there are these sprains of attacks and sprains of falsehoods coming from the White House. It would be better if they were not

covering from the White House for me and for you.

[10:30:03] CONWAY: Agreed. And let me just say it has to go both ways. I mean, I do, Jake. I sincerely don't see a lot of difference in coverage

from when he was a candidate. And when he became the Republican nominee, the president-elect, and then indeed the president.

Some outlets, some people cover him the same way and it doesn't have great deal of respect I think for the office of the president, its current


TAPPER: But, Kellyanne, I guess the problem is it is very difficult to hear criticisms of the media for getting -- for making mistakes. And certainly

the media makes mistakes. But it's very difficult to hear those criticisms from the White House that is such little regard, day in and day out for

facts, for truth, and who calls us...


CONWAY: That's not completely fair.

TAPPER: ... and who calls us fake news for stories that they don't like.

CONWAY: And so, look, I hear you completely. And Sean Spicer is out there every day doing his press briefing. I'm happy to have the platform in CNN

and other places to explain and to talk about what we're trying to do inside the White House.


TAPPER: Are we fake news, Kellyanne? Is CNN fake news?

CONWAY: No. I don't think CNN is fake news. I think there are some reports everywhere in print, on TV, in conversation, that are not well researched

and are -- and are sometimes based on falsehoods.


ANDERSON: You heard it here first. We'll be right back. Taking a very short break.



[10:35:02] ANDERSON: The Yemeni government is requesting that the U.S. not carry out any more ground missions without its permission. It comes after

a raid targeting a top al Qaeda leader in the deaths of several civilians and a U.S. Navy SEAL. Officials said women and children were among the


Well, let's go to CNN's Ryan BROWNE at the Pentagon. What is Washington's reaction to

the Yemeni line: we're not interested in you being here if you don't ask permission?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Becky. You know, obviously Yemeni officials have been pretty vocal in their concerns about

how the raid went down, the civilian casualties and the like. Now, you have to understand that Yemen is beset

by a very intense civil war.

You know, the government is actually not in the capital, the government of President Hadi

is kind of exile, controlling only parts of the country, other parts of the country controlled by Houthi rebels. And al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

has used that chaos to kind of carve out a little headquarters, a little operational area there.

So, that's kind of part of the problem here is that there are so many players on the ground, in addition propping up the Yemeni government is the

U.S. backed military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Now the U.S. cooperated with UAE special forces in this raid, so there was some coordination with this key backer of the Yemeni government.

So one of the reasons the Yemesni government might not necessarily be informed in the future is the need for operational security. So, U.S.

Special force raids, you know, won't necessarily inform the host country. Of course, we remember the Osama bin Laden raid in Pakistan where the

Pakistanis were not told. So, it may not have a direct operational impact, but clearly the Yemenis are unhappy with how the raid was conducted.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Ryan.

Well, another global hotspot, the U.S. watching closely is Ukraine. Ukraine's military is battling pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of

the country. Donald Trump's own defense department says the escalating violence has Russia's fingerprint all over it. However, the commander-in-

chief tells Fox News, let's not jump to conclusions about Russia.


TRUMP: We don't really know exactly what that is, their pro forces, we don't know, are they uncontrollable? Are they uncontrolled? That happens

also. We're going to find out. I would be surprised, but we'll see.


ADNERSON: Well, fighting began in Ukraine back in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine. Nearly a year later, there was a cease fire,

but violations have continued including the latest flare up just days after Mr. Trump took office.

We're going to cover this story from both Ukraine and Russia as you would expect from this

global network. Clare Sebastian is in Moscow for you, viewers. And Phil Black has just returned from the front lines in eastern Ukraine.

And Phil, let's start with you, what did you witness and hear there?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we spent a few days now around the front line, Ukrainian controlled town of Avdievka (ph). It

has been the focus of the recent escalation in this region.

And what we have seen, even though the fighting has subsided relatively significantly, is still a very constant artillery bombardment with shelling

flying in both directions. But the key change is that those big games are are no longer firing on residential areas as they were through several days

over the course of last week.

It's why there were so many civilian casualties among the dozens of people killed in that escalation, shells were falling in and among people's homes.

What we see there now is simply an ongoing, intense war, as it has been going on for really

some two years or so now. What we have to understand about that conflict, and this particular zone in that conflict, is that the so-called cease fire

under the Minsk agreement, doesn't really mean anything. The fighting is daily. The casualties are frequent - Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Phil.

Let's not jump to conclusions, says the U.S. Commander-in-Chief, Clare, about the Russians in Ukraine seemingly conflicting with what his own

defense department has to say about the conflict and who is to blame.

What is the perspective there in Moscow?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Becky, we put that statement by the Pentagon today to the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov,

and he basically said, look, our position on this is very well known, there's really no point repeating it.

And actually, you know, Russia has stuck to the same line all along, that it is not party to this conflict in eastern Ukraine. Dmitry Peskov

actually said on Monday this week, reiterating again that this, he said, is a domestic conflict within Ukraine, it's not a conflict between Russia and


But as for those comments by President Trump saying that he doesn't know who, if anyone, is controlling the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine,

well that was very much welcomed here. The foreign minister Sergey Lavrov saying in comments to the TASS news agency this week that that represents a

qualitative shift in the relationship with the U.S. Compared to what they saw with President Obama.

As to whether we will see a qualitative shift, well that still remains an open question with the mixed messages that we see coming out of Washington.

But as for the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Becky, Russia very much sticking to the line it's had all along.

ANDERSON: On a more domestic front, although Ukraine clearly informing domestic politics in Russia, but some controversial legislation on the

books, new legislation. Clare, what do we know?

ANDERSON: Yeah, Becky, this is a very controversial law, While this global politics is going on, plenty happening at home here in Russia, it

basically removes a first offense of domestic violence from the criminal code in Russia. There are still punishments that go with it, but it's no

longer considered a criminal offense, unless it causes medical harm.

Now, this is being slammed by human rights groups. Amnesty International saying today that it was a sickening attempt to further trivialize domestic

violence by Russia, but the lawmakers here in Russia that backed the law, which was signed overnight by President Putin say that this is about

protecting the institution of the famil. It's something that's dividing society here in Russia.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For 22-year-old Masha, the abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-father is still fresh in her mind.

MASHA, ABUSE VICTIM (through translator): My brother and I were playing in our room and he accidentally fell over. My step-father thought for some

reason it was me who pushed him and he beat me so badly that the next day I had black bruises all over my body.

SEBASTIAN: Masha is now happily married with a 2-year-old son. For legal reasons, we are concealing her face and real name because her step-father

was never charged with any crime.

MASHA (through translator): The police dismissed it. They said it happens. The child was punished. It was just a family row.

YULIA GORBUNOVA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The message basically is that, you know, bruises are okay and it sort of echos a response that police usually

gives to victims of domestic violence which is, unfortunately, you know, contact us when you're in the hospital.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's because domestic violence victims in

Russia already feel they are often ignored or dismissed that there's so much concern about a new law that softens punishment for domestic violence.

If it's a first offense and doesn't cause serious medical harm it's no longer considered a criminal offense.

The legislation which focuses on forms of battery comes just six months after Russia decriminalized minor assault, but made an exception for

domestic violence, angering conservative politicians.

VITALY MILNOV, RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: this attacks the traditional family, because government shouldn't put its red face into a small

conflicts between man and women, between husband and wife.

SEBASTIAN: So you're not worried that this law will make domestic violence victims, who are already frightened to speak up, even more frightened to do


MILNOV: This law frightens only human rights organizations and international observers and also feminist groups and lesbian groups.

SEBASTIAN: The increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church is also in favor. It is said that criminalizing domestic violence contradicts moral

and family values in Russian culture. And those opposed to the law have struggled to be heard.

These activists wanted to hold an organized rally. Their applications were repeatedly denied.

Even these individual protests, the regulation 50 meters apart met with some opposition.

"We think it will make the problem worse," one of the organizers tells me. "At least when it was a criminal offense people were afraid."

In a country divided by family values, Masha says she now lives by just one rule: never to lay a hand on her child.


SEBASTIAN: And Becky, it's interesting, this is part of a wave we see in Russian domestic politics towards more traditional values, as you see it.

As for President Psutin, well, he has said in the past, that while he doesn't think children should be, quote, slapped,

he is not in favor of the unceremonious interference in family life by government, Becky.

ANDERSON: Clare Sebastian is in Moscow for you. Clare, thank you.

Ahead this hour, Tehran, Trump and tension - continuing the theme of the show. What's Washington's new view of the world?

How the U.S. and Iran have taken such a dramatic turn in just days.



AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, SUPREME LEADER OF IRAN (through translator): He made it easier for us to reveal the real face of the United States, things

that we have been saying for over 30 years, about political, economic, moral and social corruption within the U.S. Government. He came out and

exposed it during the election campaign and after the elections.


[10:47:26] ANDERSON: While it is said that trust takes years to build, but just seconds to break. And hearing words like those from Iran's supreme

leader, the adage seems to apply to diplomacy too, doesn't it?

Perhaps Iran was always going to test the new U.S. president, but few could have imagined that

Barack Obama's audacity of hope would so swiftly hit a wall. Donald Trump's travel ban and sanctions on Iran after a recent missile test,

Tehran's new message is vivid and livid.

Shireen Hunter is a research professor at Georgetown University and joining us now from Washington.

Look, let's be frank. It would be naive to suggest a significant thawing of relations despite that nuclear deal having been carved out as a legacy

project between Tehran and the former administration of Barack Obama.

Be that as it may, how would you describe what we have seen over the past couple of weeks, between Tehran and this new administration?

SHIREEN HUNTER, RESEARCH PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I think it is very discouraging. I mean, I never have high hopes that the nuclear

deal is going to actually lead to an improvement in the U.S.-Iran relations. There are a lot of people, influential people, within the

Iranian leadership that are opposed to that.

However, I also did not expect the sort of worsening of relations that we have seen happening. It seems to me that President Trump is really keeping

to his campaign promises, and obviously one of those was as he said that if you're not going to let Iran get away with whatever it is that he thinks

Iran has been getting away with.

ANDERSON: Well, he's also what Trump tweeted in the past week or so, that he's putting Iran on notice.

Look, over the past few hours, even, we have learned that the White House is considering a

move that would likely inflame even more the tensions with Iran. It's weighing up designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Muslim

Brotherhood as foreign terrorist organizations.

CNN, though, understands that executive orders on the matter have been put on hold over

concerns about the consequences, this according to administration officials. Shireen, how much damage is at risk if tensions are further


HUNTER: Well, I think that particularly given the absolutely crucial role that the Revolutionary Guard plays within the Iranian leadership, this

actually is a challenge to the entire system. I think that what I am concerned about is that this rhetorical sort of volleys that has been going

on between Washington and Tehran, it might escalate, because at some point the president will have to put some muscle behind his words and whether by

design or by accident, we might actually see some kind of military confrontation.

And I might also add that some of Iran's neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, but some others,

would like that. I think that they think that, you know, that is necessary to discourage Iran from supporting groups that they consider contrary to

their own interests.

[10:51:09] ANDERSON: Shireen, you are genuinely concerned about that, the stepping up of this, the ratcheting up of this that, which could

conceivably end in a military confrontation? Sorry, go on.

HUNTER: Oh, I am genuinely concerned. I'm genuinely concerned. To begin with, you know, we have to realize from 2003 - 2003, there was always a

kind of a debate whether Iran should be the primary target or Iraq. And for, you know, a variety of reasons, Iran so

far has escaped the, you know, military confrontation.

But it seems to me that President Trump really is thinking along those lines. And so this puts Iran in a very difficult position, because the

political culture of Iran, of this administration, has been that we are not going to knuckle, sort of, under American pressure. And if that is the

case, then at some point, again, I'm not saying always by design, but definitely by accident, this escalating verbal tension while lead to

actually physical contact of the worst kind.

ANDERSON: All right, Shireen, with that we're going to leave it there. And just sort of wind up what we have been discussing, the White House has

been quick to respond to Iran's diplomatic swipes. And in a briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer made it clear to Iran the Obama era is over.


SPICER: The president has also made clear time and time again that he's not going to project what those actions will be and he will not take

anything off the table. But think Iran is kidding itself if they don't realize that there is a new president in town.


ANDERSON: There is a new president, or sheriff, in town. Shireen, thank you for your analysis tonight. We'll talk again. This story is not going


Up next, for years the world has watched refugees risking their lives in the Mediterranean Sea,

now two American firefighters have decided enough is enough.


ANDERSON: Right. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are hoping for a warm welcome from Europe. Today, we are looking at two men on the other side of

the equation. And those tonight will be your Parting Shots. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get this guy right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grab on. Grab on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never know what you're going to get. We know where the search area is, and you just prepare for the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, there's somebody over here.

[10:55:17] TOM PICKLES, FIREFIGHTER: I have a certain skillset, as most people on this department do, and I -- I feel like I would be wasting it if

I didn't use it for a greater cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look for people without jackets.

JIM HOUCK, FIREFIGHTER: We pulled up on scene and there was life jackets in the water and people in the water and -- and we -- we went right to



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me know if you see life anyone without life jackets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to grab this guy here. He's...



UNIDENITIFIED MALE: My friend, come here. Come here, my friend.

Relax, buddy, I got you.


JASON POHL, JOURNALIST: It's intense. It's amazing how quickly things can change and it's amazing how dire the circumstances can be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come and rescue me. Come and rescue me.


POHL: There's a lot of shouting, a lot of crying, and a lot of people, you know, who are just standing there and floating there and just look


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are hypothermic. They were exhausted. Who knows the last time they had eaten, probably days ago.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: did you learn where these people were from?

POHL: They are launching off the Libyan coast. And so they are coming from places like Senegal, Libya, Sierra Leone, Iraq.

And a boat full of Syrians, too, which if you look at a map that had to be quite a journey

for them.

They are trying to get somewhere where they might actually be able to make something for themselves. There are people who are fleeing oppressive

governments, people who are fleeing war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three. Excuse me, there's down below?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's one gentleman - we had a small fiberglass vessel that - there was about 25 on board and half of them were children

under the age of 10. A lot of kids.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old is Yousef?


HOUK: He just wants to find a place to live and a place that he can raise his family.

CABRERA: What do you of the president's travel ban that affects some of the citizens of countries inwhich you are encountering refugees?

PICKLES: First and foremost, when we are there, we are apolitical. We are just preventing people from dying.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Grab the rope right there. Grabe the rope. Grab that rope.

All the way in, my friend.

HOUK: From my experiences with these people, they are no different than anyone else you run into in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Climb, climb, my friend.

HOUK: You know, if I was absolutely dirt poor living in central Africa or the Middle East and I was trying to get my family away from violence, I

would probably be doing the exact same thing they are doing. They are just a product of pure random chance which country they were born in.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World. CNN continues after this.