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Kuala Lumpur Airport Free of VX Nerve Agent; Meet Woman Whose Story Became Oscar-nominated Film; Thousands Flee as Iraqi Forces Push to Retake Western Mosul. 10:00-11:00a ET

Aired February 26, 2017 - 10:00:00   ET


[10:00:13] LYNDA KINKADE, HOST: Breaking with tradition, Donald Trump says he'll skip the White House Correspondents Dinner this year as relations

with many news outlets worsen. We'll get reaction and analysis from our media correspondent in just a moment.

Also ahead, thousands of people are fleeing their homes in Iraq as the push for Mosul intensifies.

Plus, from Syria to the silver screen, we'll meet the woman whose Oscar -- whose story became an Oscar-nominated film.

Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Lynda Kinkade. We begin with an eye on America. In the days ahead, we could get more details on how

President Donald Trump plans to turn his campaign promises into action.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump will lay out his agenda in his first major address to congress.

This week, the administration is also expected to roll out a new version of its immigration order. The original order, which would ban travelers from

seven mostly Muslim countries, has been held up in the courts. Well, there's one place where we will not see Mr. Trump.

On Saturday he tweeted this: "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone else and have a great evening."

Well, that dinner is in April. Mr. Trump's decision may not be surprising. He has had a contentious relationship with the media. For more now I'm

joined by Brian Stelter, our senior media correspondent and host of Reliable Sources. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: Now, it's not surprising really to be honest calling the media the enemy of the

people and the last time he attended this dinner he did receive a roasting from President Obama. Let's just take a listen to that.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All kidding aside, obviously we know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For

example, you know, seriously, just recently in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice at the steakhouse the men's cooking team did not impress the

judges from Omaha Steaks and there was a lot of blame to go around, but you,

Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership and so ultimately you are didn't blame Lil' John or Meatloaf, you fired Gary Busey

and these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.


STELTER: Humiliating.

KINKADE: He didn't look happy, did he?

STELTER: No, that was six years ago. And Trump has not come to this dinner since. He was a guest that year in 2011. Some reporters even

believe that was a contributing factor to the president's decision to run for president. Now, President Trump may have been motivated by that kind

of humiliation, those kinds of insults to want to be respected by Washington types, by the seat of power in Washington, so the New York Times

has advanced the idea that it was that dinner in 2011 that partly motivated Trump to run.

KINKADE: Yeah, there's no doubt he does not want another roasting, but how unusual is it for a president not to attend this dinner?

STELTER: It is definitely breaking the tradition, as you said, but that could be another campaign slogan of President Trump's endless campaign:

breaking with tradition. You know, he skipped another big D.C. social event in January, the of Alfalfa Club dinner. Now he says he is skipping

this White House Correspondents' Dinner. It has been more than 30 years since a president decided to skip this dinner. It was Ronald Reagan in

1981 who was the last not to be able to attend, but that was because of the assassination attempt against him. He actually called in instead because

he still wanted to be there in some way.

But Nixon, Carter, they did skip for various reasons back in the '70s. Ever since Reagan in 1981, the president showed up every single year

because it is a moment to appreciate the begrudging respect that the presidents usually have for the press and vice versa.

It's a night to put down some of the animosity and acknowledge the role of the press.

This, of course, is a very different year, a very different time. As you mentioned, the president

calling the press the enemy of the people, so it's not surprising he's back out, but I think it is surprising that he's announcing it two months ahead

of time.

KINKADE: It is very different times. Now on Friday we had CNN along with the BBC, New York Times and several other media outlets barred from

attending a press conference at the White House. Now the New York Times have come out and put an ad out, it's very unusual, they have never done

this before. Let's just take a quick look at this commercial.


UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: The truth is our nation is more divided than ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The truth is alternative facts are just plain delusional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The media needs to be held accountable.

[10:05:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth is, locker room talk is harmless.


KINKADE: Now this commercial is going to run throughout the Oscars tonight.

STELTER: That's right.

KINKADE: How much an impact do you think this will time?

STELTER: The Times is trying to gain subscribers off of this current controversy, off of the

president's attacks against The Times and CNN and other news outlets. Think about what happened on

Friday, Spicer rejecting certain news outlets, including CNN from an off- camera briefing. You think about Saturday, Trump saying he's not going to the correspondents' dinner. What we are seeing are actions not just words.

Originally it was President Trump using words to bash the press, he and his aides are actually taking actions in order to stamp out news coverage or

try to restrain news coverage that they don't appreciate, that they believe is unfair.

What we know I think from our countries and what our viewers around the world know is that press freedoms are curtailed not feet by feet or mile by

mile but inch by inch, gradually. We've seen that in countries with more authoritarian climates. And the reason press freedom groups are worrying

about that happening now here in the U.S. is because the president's words are so harsh and because we've seen these one-off actions, like, for

example, refusing to let certain news outlets into a briefing.

Now, was that just an isolated incident, was that just a one-time thing, maybe. Time will tell. But certainly it was the kind of thing that was

concerning on Friday and we'll see if there's more incidents like that in the future.

KINKADE: Brian Stelter, as always, great to have you. And good to have you here on set, thank you.

STELTER: Thanks very much.

Host of Reliable Sources there. Brian Stelter.

Well, U.S. Democrats have a new leader in their fight against Donald Trump, but the campaign to pick him shows just how divided their party may be.

Democrats chose Tom Perez as their new chairman on Saturday in a tense vote.

Perez served as Labor Secretary under former President Barack Obama, but some progressives had thrown their weight behind another name, Congressman

Keith Ellison.

Perez was quick to embrace his rival, tapping Ellison to serve of as deputy chair in a speech

Perez called for unity.


TOM PEREZ, DNC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Some day they are going to study this era in American history, and they are going to study it alongside the Know

Nothing Movement and they are going to ask the question of all of us, where were you when 2017 when we had the worst president in the history of the

United States? We will all be able to say the united Democratic Party led the resistance, ensured that this president was a one-term president and

elected Democrats across this country.


KINKADE: Well, U.S. President Donald Trump reacted to the news on Twitter with something of a back-handed compliment. This is what he said.

"Congratulations to Thomas Perez who has just been named chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him or for the Republican Party."

Well, Mr. Perez fired back pledging not to hand Republicans a gift any time soon. Instead, he vowed in a tweet to unite his party. He said, "Call me

Tom. And don't get too happy. Keith Ellison and I and Democrats united across the country will be your worst nightmare."

Well, still it may be a challenge to keep the party united. Let's dive into the divide with Patrick Healy, his AC and political analyst and a

deputy culture editor at The New York Times. He joins us via Skype from New York.

PATRICK HEALY, NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me. s

KINKADE: Patrick, this was a very close vote and very narrow win by Perez. What does that tell you about the division within the party? There's still

many wounds that need healing in the wake of that election loss?

HEALY: There are deep divisions within the party. There are still a view very much on two sides of the party. One is that the Democrats need to

reach out to younger voters, to liberals, progressives, to voters who feel essentially like they are not part of Democracy as usual, not part of the

system, that really sees money in politics as one of the great threats to democracy and then there's new view within the party which is that the

party needs to essential be kind of a big tent, not just for progressives but also for moderates, also for leaders from Wall Street, executives from

the business community who may be people who don't necessarily agree with what let's say the environmental wing of the Democratic Party believes but

there needs to be a space for everyone.

And Tom Perez very much represents sort of that latter view, sort of the larger grouping

and Keith Ellison who is very much like Bernie Sanders was during the presidential race, a real

voice for progressives and for younger voters.

KINKADE: Looking at what they are going to come up against, President Trump's approval rating is now the lowest of any new president in history.

58 percent of people say they are embarrassed by him in the latest poll due to his poor performance in the polls. How could that help the Democrats

make a case against him? How could that unite the Democrats against him?

HEALY: Well, I think it's hard because the Democrats are still trying to figure out really their strategy for stopping policy. President Trump may

be an unpopular figure right now,but that doesn't necessarily translate into more votes for Democrats in congress that's able to stop whatever he

proposes on tax reform, on building a wall with Mexico, on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, or it's called Obamacare, or some of his

appointments like to the Supreme Court.

So while they can -- while the Democrats can sort of leverage president Trump's unpopularity in terms of messaging, in terms of beating the drum

and let's say sending out fund-raising letters to other Democrats to raise money, it doesn't support a strategy in congress to stop

President Trump's agenda. I think one thing that Tom Perez and the DNC very much to want to focus on are recruiting Democrats

to run for the state legislature, the state house, state senate in different states, for governor and sort of start rebuilding the bench of

Democrats that has really kind of eroded during President Obama's eight years.

President Obama didn't really focus on the state level Democratic Party.

KINKADE: Sounds like they have got a big job ahead of them. Patrick Healy, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.

HEALY: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, Democrats, just one thorn in President Trump's side. And now one of his campaign promises is being put to the test, to save jobs in

coal country.

In one town, workers are asking Mr. Trump to do more than just save jobs. Our Martin Savidge has the details.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Ohio, it's hard to find an area more remote or more red than Manchester, where two of every three votes were for

Donald Trump.





SAVIDGE: The tiny town sits along the bucolic banks of the Ohio River.

WILSON: It's something about the water here. You get it in your blood and you don't want to leave.

SAVIDGE: Folks can tell you when the town started -- 1791, and when they believe it will die.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: June of 2018 is the last I'm personally heard.

SAVIDGE: That's when two large coal fired power plants on either side of the town are projected to close. The news broke just after the election.

RICHARDS: It was definitely a shock to myself and my friends and coworkers, family, people in the local community. I think some people are still in


SAVIDGE: As it stands now, the union says about 700 jobs will be lost in a town of just 2,000 people. The coal supplier said it will cut additional

1,500 jobs. Tax revenues and property values will plummet. So what about all of those rallies?

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love Ohio. You know, I worked in Ohio.

SAVIDGE: All those promises of jobs and the reenergizing coal?

TRUMP: Jobs, jobs, jobs.

SAVIDGE: So if he is the energy coal president, why are coal plants still shutting down?

SHELTON: I don't think it's 100 percent up to Trump. I think he's got a lot of say so in it. But to me it's poor business decisions.

SAVIDGE: The mayor agrees. It's not Trump's fault. He blames plant owners and management.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Men in overalls built this country. Men in suits have destroyed it.

SAVIDGE: But he's a man in a suit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he has touched the working people. He stood up for the working people.

SAVIDGE: Did you vote for Trump hoping he would save your job?

RICHARDS: That's not the only reason I voted for him, but I did vote for Trump because I liked the way his views are on stuff, and I like the way he

don't try to be all political correct on everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was positive towards coal where others weren't.

SAVIDGE: You don't feel like despite all this talk of coal, bring jobs back, that somehow your coal related job?

SHELTON: I personally don't feel let down, but I personally hope that he steps in on this part as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put some pressure on. Let's rework this coal industry around.

SAVIDGE: These Trump voters are trying to convince now President Trump to keep his promises about jobs and coals.

If he can't, if he doesn't?

SHELTON: Well, I don't know. I guess I'll see what the future holds. I don't necessarily hold it against him, but I guess it's more of a


SAVIDGE: If they were just empty promises, then in Manchester and other towns with coal fired power plants, futures once so bright will soon face

much darker days.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Manchester, Ohio.


KINKADE: Well, still to come, thousands of civilians are pushing into Western Mosul intensifies. An update on that offensive against ISIS just




MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are thousands of people who have come to this rally in the center of the Russian capital.


KINKADE: Protesters mark the anniversary of the murder of a Kremlin critic. Our report from the red demonstration in Moscow just ahead.


[10:17:14] KINKADE: This is a rare sight, the Saudi and Iraqi foreign ministers standing side by side in Baghdad. It's the first visit by a

Saudi diplomats since the U.S. invasion in 2003. The reason, a show of support for Iraq's ongoing war against the Sunni extremist group ISIS.

And that fight is raging this hour in Mosul. Iraqi forces are reporting fierce resistance one week into their offensive to clear ISIS fighters from

the city's western half. Thousands of civilians are trying to escape the battle as Iraq tries to crush the last ISIS stronghold in the country.

Our Ben Wedeman, senior correspondent, is monitoring the situation from us from Irbil. You have recently been to the front line there. Firstly, Ben,

can you just tell us about these civilians who have escaped or first about the civilians who have escaped or who are trying to escape. Have they made

it out safely?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, many have made it out. What's interesting is really within the last 24 hours, we have seen a surge

of civilians leaving western Mosul.

Now, according to the Iraqi military, since the operation began a week ago around 4,000 civilians have fled Western Mosul, but in the last 24 hours

it's more than 2,300. Now, what we've seen both yesterday and today is that those who are fleeing western Mosul are coming under fire.

Today they were, for instance, one group that was leaving the neighborhood of Mehtmun (ph) in the southwestern part of the city. They came under fire

from small arms fire as well as well as mortars. Six people were killed, more than 40 injured in that instance and, of course, yesterday we were

reporting on a similar incident where people were fleeing Western Mosul and found themselves in a minefield. In that instance, more than 50 people

were wounded and killed.

So many people would like to leave this city, but at this point that is a very dangerous proposition.

KINKADE: And Ben, of course, it took Iraqi forces about 100 days to recapture eastern Mosul. As I mentioned earlier, you've been on the front

line, how do you see this progress playing out one week or so into this operation?

WEDEMAN: What we saw when we were up on the front lines is that the level, the intensity of

bombardment onto Western Mosul is something we didn't see in the east. And in terms of just the pure concentration of forces, just going up, tanks,

armored personnel carriers, hundreds of armed combatants heading towards the front. It does seem that there is a desire on the part of Iraqi

authorities to avoid a long and protracted and grueling battle to retake western Mosul.

The problem is are they going to do this at the cost of increased civilian casualties? And that's a real danger - Lynda.

KINKADE: Yeah, absolutely, a big, big fear there.

Ben Wedeman, great to have you with us. Great reporting. We're going to continue with one of your stories just ahead. Thanks so much.

Well, the United Nations says the damage ISIS has done to Iraq's cultural heritage site is worse than it had feared. Officials are calling on the

world to help restore what ISIS has ruined.

Now, back in 2016, Ben Wedeman took us to one of the most plundered sites.


WEDEMAN: It was an orgy of obliteration wrapped up in the usual slick production. No one boasts barbarity than ISIS.

In the spring of last year, the extremists meticulously documented their destruction of the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, founded in

the 13th century B.C. They took their sledge hammers to the city's famous winged bulls, the lamassu, reducing them to a pile of rubble.

Iraqi forces recently retook Nimrud just south of Mosul. We came to have a look, lone visitors to a lonely hilltop that hasn't seen a tourist in

years. The scale of the vandalism that took place here boggles the mind. Only ISIS could turn ruins into ruins.

By some estimates in northern Iraq, the extremist group destroyed or severely damaged around 80 sites, archeological ones like this one as well

as Muslim and Christian shrines.

Through the warped lens of ISIS' logic all idols must be destroyed -- their every action here nothing less than utter contempt for Iraq's rich multi-

millennial history. And that includes the remains of the vast Assyrian empire that once stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea,

the ruthless superpower of its day.

The statues, the cuneiform inscriptions now lie in piece, exposed to the elements. And ancient Mesopotamia ordinary structures like houses or shops

were made out of mud bricks. With time they simply turned into dust. But for the statues of the gods and the kings, they used stone. The purpose was

that they would last for eternity. That is until ISIS came along.

Archaeologists may someday be able to piece some of this together but that won't happen until the war against ISIS comes to an end.

There is gold in this hill. In 1989, Iraqi archaeologists uncovered what became known as the treasure of Nimrud. More than 600 pieces of gold

jewelry and ornaments considered to be one of the greatest archaeological finds in history.

No doubt ISIS not above the love of money was searching for more treasure when their cameras weren't rolling. But the Assyrians built their tombs

here with a curse, damning the souls of those who violated their sanctity to wander and thirst through the open countryside, restless for eternity --

a curse that may soon come true.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Nimrud, northern Iraq.


KINKADE: Well, now to Moscow and a rare demonstration march by the opposition. Thousands turned out to mark the murder two years ago of Boris

Nemtsov, a local critic of President Vladimir Putin. He was shot dead just outside the Kremlin. Nemtsov was a deputy prime minister

under President Boris Yeltsin who went on to become an opposition leader. Five Chechens were charged in his death.

Our Matthew Chance has more now from the streets of Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There were thousands of people who have come to this rally in the center of the Russian capital,

which is to mark the anniversary, the second anniversary, of the killing of Boris Nemtsov just outside the Kremlin walls. He was one of Russia's most

prominent opposition figures. There are a host of different opposition groups that are marching through this central area of Moscow today all

voicing their support for the causes that Boris Nemtsov supported during his lifetime, freedom of speech, democracy greater freedom in Russia.

And, of course, he was vigorously opposed to corruption in the currently Kremlin and to the administration and Russian government officials and he

was very critical of Russia's involvement, for instance, in the conflicts in Ukraine as well. And so this is another opportunity for the supporters

of the opposition movement in general in Russia to come out onto the streets of the Russian capital and to voice their support for Boris

Nemtsov, but also for freedom of speech and for greater democracy in this country, which they say is sadly lacking.

Many thousands again have come out here and are chanting these pro- democracy and pro-Boris Nemtsov, but also for freedom of speech and for greater of democracy in this country, which they say is, of course, sadly


And so you can see many thousands, again, of people have come out and are chanting these pro-democracy, pro-Boris Nemtsov slogans.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Matthew Chance forthat report.

Well, Kuala Kumpur international airport has now been declared safe. Authorities say no toxic

substances were present in a sweep of the terminal where Kim Jong-nam was killed. Police say the half-brother of North Korea's leader was poisoned

with VX nerve gas - nerve agent, rather. We are learning more about his death. Alexandra Field reports now from Malaysia.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The health minister described it as a painful death saying that Kim Jong nam died about 15 to 20 minutes after he

was attacked inside that airport terminal with VX nerve agent. He died in an ambulance on his way to the hospital.

After police were informed that VX nerve agent was the chemical that was used to kill Kim Jong- nam, they ordered a thorough sweep of that airport

terminal. It comes, however, nearly two weeks after that deadly attack. The nerve agent is highly potent and it

can be lethal and in very small doses, just a few drops or even just a swab of the liquid has the potential to kill, according to experts in

the field. But police went into the airport overnight, in protective suits. A forensic unit went in, a

fire unit went in, and an atomic energy unit went in, all of them scouring that terminal to try and see if there were any chemicals or hazardous

substances that had been left behind. Police now say that the sweep turned up clean. There are no hazards inside the airport.

They say that everyone who came into contact with Kim Jong-nam as far as airport personnel and medical personnel have been checked out and nobody

has reported any signs of illness. They say that the airport, which has been opened since the time of the attack, is a safe place for passengers

and that anyone who could have been exposed to the VX would have begun to suffer symptoms within minutes or even up to 18 hours of that exposure.

At this point they feel, however, that people are safe and that this airport is clear.

Authorities are also learning more about the Vietnamese and Indonesian women who were

arrested in connection with the attack. They are the women who are seen on CCTV video inside the

terminal. They are the ones who investigators say deployed the VX in this deadly attack. Both of them now tell officials from their home countries

that they believed that they were taking part in some kind of prank.

Officials say they were given the chemical by four North Korean men believed to have left the

country immediately following the attack. Those men are now believed to be back in Pyongyang, but police have executed a search of an apartment in

Kuala Lumpur that they say was rented by the four suspects. They have also retrieved samples from that apartment that have

been sent to a lab for further testing.

In Kuala Lumpur, Alexandra Field, CNN.


KINKADE: Well, live from CNN Center this the Connect the World. Coming up, a split within the U.S. Democratic Party, will the new party chairman

be able to unite the party before 2020?

And from Aleppo's front lines to a date with Hollywood's night of nights, we'll tell you about the story of one Syrian refugee and her journey to the




[10:32:20] KINKADE: Well, returning to one of our top stories this hour, the U.D. Democrats

picking a new leader in their fight against Donald Trump. The new chairman, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

On CNN's State of the Union Jake Tapper asked Perez about Donald Trump's tweet that said Trump couldn't be happier for Perez or the Republican

Party. Take a listen.


PEREZ: Congressman Ellison and I got a good kick out of that, Donald Trump up again in the morning tweeting about us.

You know, our unity as a party is our greatest strength. And it's his worst nightmare. And, frankly, what we need to be looking at is whether this

election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin.

And I'll tell you, having Jeff Sessions oversee such an investigation, it's really unfair to any foxes across America to say that would be the fox

guarding the hen house.

We need an independent investigation, because that is a serious, serious issue. And the American people need to understand whether the Russians, in

cahoots with the Trump folks and others, rigged the election.

And when Sessions and Flynn are out there together campaigning, they clearly lack the authority and the objectivity to conduct that

investigation. So, we need an independent investigation.


KINKADE: Well, Perez has vowed to deny President Trump a second term as Democrats look ahead to the 2020 election, but with the party so divided

that may be a tall order to fill. For more now I'm joined by Scott Bolden, former chairman of the Washington Democratic Party. Great to have you with

us, Scott.


KINKADE: Firstly, Tom Perez is the first Latino to chair the Democratic Party. And he certainly sounds like he's ready for the fight against

President Trump.

BOLDEN: Very much so.

You know, it's kind of been lost in the narrative that he is the first Latino party chair, which is historic in major proportions, but also

that's going to help with Hispanic voters who are often split between Democrats and Republicans.

But he's ready for the fight. He's a fiery orator. He's ready to take it to Trump. He'll face him point by point. He's going to be very

aggressive, but he's got bigger issues within his own party that have nothing to do with Russia or Trump or what's going on in this country. He's got to win lower seats. The governorships that are coming up. There

are going to be 14 open seats, but he's got to bring the Sanders Democrats, the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party, to the table. Beyond

the rhetoric, they have got to be able to work together.

KINKADE: And speaking of trying to bring those two sides of the party together, this is a very close vote. And he, of course, had the

supporters of Clinton and Obama. His closest rival, Keith Ellison, had the supporters of Sanders. He's chosen him as his deputy. How strategic was

that move?

[10:35:02] BOLDEN: Well, again, it's very strategic because there were several Ellison supporters in the back that shouted down Donna Brazile with

the passing of the gavel. That's significant because historically Sanders supporters have not played nice in the, quote, sandbox, if you will. One

of the challenges that Hillary Clinton had during the campaign. And so they will have to

send even more messages to the progressive wing to bring them into leadership positions to not just talk the talk, but to walk the walk with

them, because they want power.

They don't want power-sharing. They want leadership. They want change. And they want to be able to control that, and he, Perez, is going to have

to power share with them in order to move the party forward because there are thousands of Republican seats at the state and local level that were

lost under the Obama administration. He's got to get those back and while doing all of this he has got to raise millions and millions of dollars

which he doesn't have a track record doing.

KINKADE: Now, Bernie Sanders was also on State of the Union this morning with Jake Tapper and he said the party needs to go back to its roots, go

back to the working class people. What does it need to focus on when it comes to policies to draw those people back in, to draw that support base


BOLDEN: Jobs, jobs, jobs and the economy.

You know, Donald Trump didn't really bust through the blue wall. He dented it enough in

Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He only won those states by 10,000 or 20,000 votes, but the white working class in America, when they hear

the Democrats talking about progressive economics and an economy that's left them behind, they really don't believe that the Democrats are talking

to them, but rather the Democrats are talking at them. And so the Democrats have to go after those

voters, black, brown and white, who want a progressive economy that doesn't leave them behind.

He has got to go after them. And he's got to tell them in real terms and show them in real terms that they are a big part of this economy because

Donald Trump hasn't really done that, if you will. And given the unrest around the country, even at the town hall meetings with Republican

legislators who are going home to their districts, he hasn't done that.

Look for the same Republicans, those same Republicans at those town hall meetings who

left the Democrats to look for an alternative to come back to the Democratic Party. Tom Perez has to give them a reason, a real reason in

order to do so.

KINKADE: And speaking about bringing them back to the party, your party wants President Trump to be a one-term president.

BOLDEN: Absolutely.

KINKADE: How do you ensure that happens? How do you ensure that you get the Democratic supporters to vote at the mid-terms in the next election?

BOLDEN: Well, you've got to organize, you've got to energize and you've got to be unified. Donald Trump will cause a lot of problems for himself

and that juxtaposed with that organization at the ground-based level with the money to support and send money to down ballot candidates, to

governors, to city councils, to the state legislatures you can win because the Democrats were not that far off with the White House, but they lost

thousands of seats at the state level and local level under Barack Obama. that's got to change.

KINKADE: And so what will his biggest challenges be going forward for Tom Perez?

BOLDEN: Well, I think unifying the party and bringing the Sanders supporters. You can see that in the public statements they are still

pretty angry about Keith Ellison. Keith Ellison will be really important to bringing those progressive under the tent. He was deeply

disappointed. I watched his facial expression. He did a good job on stage, but you could say he was -- he was really, really disappointed.

He's got to turn that disappointment into energy and energize those backers and supporters of his and role his sleeves up, get them to roll their

sleeves up. Tom Perez has to share power within the party, and they have to move forward together against Trump. The only way they are going to do

that is if they walk the walk beyond talking the talk.

KINKADE: Scott Bolden, good to have you with us.

BOLDEN: thank you.

KINKADE: Thanks so much for your time today. Appreciate it.

BOLDEN: Thank you very much.

KINKADE: Well, as Hollywood A-list prepares to walk the red carpet soon, it now looks like they will be joined by a Syrian refugee, her name is Hala

Kamil and her family is the subject of a short documentary which is up for an Oscar. The film tracks how they fled their war-torn country. Hala (ph)

was worried that confusion over Donald Trump's travel ban could force her to watch the

awards ceremony from home.

As of a few hours ago, she's now in Los Angeles.

Atika Shubert has the story.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over: It's not the gun battles or violence that draws you into the film, "Watani: My Homeland." It's the

quiet rhythms of life in the midst of war. Hala Kamil and her family lived on Aleppo's front line. Before them, the relentless snipers of the Syrian

regime -- behind them the death squads of ISIS.

Her journey with four children from Aleppo to Turkey to Germany was captured in the documentary now up for an Oscar. Hala had tickets and a

U.S. visa, but when she heard that Syrians would be banned from entering the U.S., she was worried.

HALA KAMIL, SYRIAN REFUGEE: At first, I was so sad. As when you want to visit somebody and he closed the door in your face. It's really -- it's

really bad and sad for me.

[10:40:06] SHUBERT: President Donald Trump's executive order has left tens of thousands in flux, not sure if the United States will welcome them, even

if only for a short visit like Hala.

KAMIL: And I respect Trump so much because he don't mince his words with us. We haven't any problem with him but we want to speak to the people in

U.S. I want to send message to the world that there's a lot of family, a lot of children in Syria have this dangerous thing. But I want for us to

look for this story as a fact, as the truth, what happened in Syria, what happened to these people, to come here, to Europe.

Despite the daily shelling and gun battles, the family refused to leave for years. Until their father, Abu Ali, a rebel commander with the Free Syrian

Army was captured by ISIS.

KAMIL (translated text): They took him right in front of me promising to slaughter him and I couldn't do anything. That's the last time I saw him.

Goodbye Aleppo. Goodbye to my school, my friends, my cousins, my grandma.

SHUBERT: The film shows the children offering tearful goodbyes as they leave the destroyed streets of Aleppo, and how they keep their resolve in

the tented camps at the Turkish border. Even as they bring their trauma with them, the youngest, Sarah, still running in fear for planes.

The camera follows them to the cobblestone streets of Goslar, Germany where the family lives now. The children have quickly made friends in their new


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tour it was present, a big, big, big world around the court.

SHUBERT: Hala cried when the Oscar nominations were announced. She shows us photos of her celebratory breakfast with the filmmaker Marcel Mettelsiefen.

Hala explains her husband, Abu Ali always stayed up late to watch the Oscars no matter what.

So he loved movies, he loved films.

KAMIL: And he know every prize for everything.

SHUBERT: Hala knows that her husband is probably dead. But she still searches through photos of bodies for proof. The children, especially the

younger girls still believe or hope that one day he may arrive at their door. For now, Hala only hopes that people will see the film to understand

what she and millions of other Syrians have endured.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Goslar, Germany.


KINKADE: Just a reminder, we'll have all the highlights during a special edition of Newsroom

L.A. on the Oscar sunday at 9:00 p.m. in Los Angeles, midnight in New York, and 5:00 a.m. Monday in London.

I'm Lynda Kinkade and that was Connect the World. Thanks for joining us and from me, the team here in Atlanta, London, and Abu Dhabi. Thanks for

watching. See you next time.