Return to Transcripts main page


South Korean Spy Agency: Kim Jong-un Ordered Half-Brothers Murder; After Confusion, Moonlight Wins Best Picture; Donald Trump Addresses U.S. Governors. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 27, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:15] WARREN BEATTY, ACTOR: The Academy Award for best picture...


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Confusion, controversy and criticism, Hollywood's biggest night goes off script, from domestic drama to battlefields on the

big screen. We've got all the details for you just ahead.

Also this hour, a bitter fight to recapture western Mosul. First, the UN says three-quarters of

a million people may be living in dire conditions there. We are in Iraq for you this hour.



ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the moment of the attack. Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un dies.


ANDERSON: A stranger of fiction scenario. The very latest details on the killing of the North Korean leader's brother.

A very good afternoon to you. It is 3:00 in the afternoon in London. Hello and welcome to Connect the World.

Well, U.S. President Donald Trump hits the ground running this Monday. This morning, meetings with U.S. governors and executives of health

insurance companies. Later, it's expected we'll see his first budget proposal. The plan said to boost military spending while making cuts to

several federal agencies.

Meanwhile, the U.S. plan to defeat ISIS is due this week. Last month's executive order gave the defense department 30 days to come up with a plan.

CNN's Barbara Starr reports it could include U.S. ground troops and arming Kurdish rebels.

Well, this all leads up to Mr. Trump's address to a joint session of congress on Tuesday.

Well, those budget proposals, at least, are almost guaranteed to anger his political rivals. Let's get you a closer look at the possible fallout with

CNN's Joe Johns.


JOHNS: President Trump expected to call for a substantial increase in military spending and massive cuts to several federal agencies in the first

draft of his administration's budget proposal. The plan targeting agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, while aiming to protect

Social Security and Medicare. Last night ahead of a meeting with the National Governors Association this morning...

TRUMP: I think you're going to see something very, very special.

JOHNS: Trump repeating criticisms and vowing to scrap Obamacare despite a lack of Republican unity around any plan.

TRUMP: It doesn't work. But we're going to have it fixed and we're going to repeal and replace.

JOHNS: Ahead of his first address to a joint session of

Congress Tuesday night, Trump trying to project an image of success.

TRUMP: It's been a lot of fun, but we've accomplished almost everything we've started out to accomplish.

JOHNS: This amid growing calls for an independent investigation into alleged communications between Trump campaign aides and Russians known to

U.S. intelligence. Leaders on both sides of the aisle suggesting a Justice Department led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions can't be impartial.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) CALIFORNIA: You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and who is an appointee.

You're going to need to use the special prosecutor's statute.

NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The attorney general must recuse himself.

TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: The American people need to understand whether the Russians in cahoots with the Trump folks and others rigged the election.

JOHNS: President Trump attempting to quash the headlines, tweeting "Russia talk is fake news put out by the Dems and played up in the media in order

to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks." The White House taking unprecedented measures to clamp down on leaks.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer checking the work and personal phones of aides last week to make sure they weren't using encrypted texting apps or

corresponding privately with reporters, specifically asking his staff not to leak information about the meeting or the crackdown effort.


ANDERSON: Right. And Joe joining us now from Washington.

Joe, immigration and relations with Russia have dominated Trump's first month in office. Is what is likely to be announced this week, including of

course plans to defeat ISIS, likely to divert attention for what have been these most divisive of issues to date, do you think?

[10:05:01] JOHNS: Yeah, there are a lot of distractions swirling around this White House right now. And the guidance we have gotten is that we

should expect sometime this week, perhaps the middle of the week, the president's revised plan for the travel ban.

Of course, that's a big deal because it got tied up in the courts in a variety of different courts around the country, though most people have

focused on ninth circuit out on the west coast. But this week they're going to try to put together something in this is more streamlined, that is

more carefully lawyered in hopes of making sure that it will past the test.

And interestingly, from what we can tell, the plan seems to be to try to roll that out just a bit after the president's big speech on Capitol Hill

so as not to step on the message of the president, as it were, but there are a variety of other things that are certainly not going away and can't

necessarily be massaged very easily among them, this issue with Russia attempting to interfere in the U.S. election. So they've got a lot on

their plate, a lot of sorting out to do and not easy at all, Becky.

ANDERSON: And, Joe, U.S. President Donald Trump beginning his busy week with a meeting of U.S. governors. Most governors serve a four year term,

of course. Typically they have the power to sign or veto state laws and budgets and ratify amendments to the state constitution, as you know. Most

governors can also commute or pardon criminal sentences and can appoint state agency heads and state judges.

Like the president, governors have the power to issue executive orders and they are usually commander-in-chief of their own state's national guard.

How significant to Donald Trump is their support, Joe?

JOHNS: Governors are extraordinarily important to any president, of course. This president views what he's doing as a movement, so not only

does he need help from congress, he also needs help from the governors of the various states. And he'll need them to sort of sign off, especially on

his signature issue by the way of repealing and replacing Obamacare, because

the states are so very much involved in all of that. He's got to get them on board.

And some states, of course, Obamacare is more popular than in other states. And so he's going to definitely need the help of the state's chief

executives to try to get this going in the direction he wants to and make it come out smelling good.

ANDERSON: Busy week for Donald Trump, the U.S. president. Busy week for our staff in

Washington. Joe, thank you.

Well, on Sunday night, history was made at the Oscars, but not for the right reasons. The award for best debacle went to the Academy itself after

the night's biggest prize was handed to the wrong film.

Stephanie Elam has more.



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Academy Awards are billed as Hollywood's biggest night, but this year's ceremony ended with

what could be one of the biggest screw-ups in its history.

HOROWITZ: I'm sorry. No, there's a mistake. "Moonlight," you guys won Best Picture.

This is not a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a joke. I'm afraid they read the wrong thing.

HOROWITZ: This is not a joke. "Moonlight" has won Best Picture. "Moonlight." Best Picture.

ELAM: It was a "La La Land" producer who announced the gaffe.

HOROWITZ: I'm in a little bit in a daze. They just handed us an envelope and the awards, and we just kind of started accepting and everybody came

up. And then there were some people with headsets that started kind of coming out on the stage, and it was suddenly clear that something wasn't


ELAM: The reactions backstage were equally confusing.

EMMA STONE, BEST ACTRESS, "LA LA LAND": Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool. Guys, we made history tonight.

BARRY JENKINS, BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY, "MOONLIGHT": I noticed the commotion that was happening, and I thought something strange had occurred.

And then I'm sure everybody saw my face, but I was speechless.

ELAM: After the mistake, when the biggest prize was corrected, "Moonlight" ended the night with three wins: Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Actor

in a Supporting Role for Mahershala Ali.

MAHERSHALA ALI, BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: It's not about you. It's about these characters. You are serving -- you're in service to these

stories and these characters. And I'm so blessed to have had an opportunity.

ELAM: A new record was set for the most black Oscar winners in a single year, with five taking home awards in four different categories.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, THE ACADEMY AWARDS: It's important that we take a second to appreciate what is happening here. We're at the Oscars, the

Academy Awards. You're nominated. You got to come. Your families are nominated. Some of you will get to come up here on the stage tonight and

give a speech that the president of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5 a.m. bowel movement tomorrow.

[10:10:17] ELAM: While Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel took jabs at President Trump throughout the telecast, it was the Best Foreign Language Film win by

the Iranian director Ashgar Farhadi, where politics took center stage, Farhadi boycotting the awards show in protest of President Trump's travel

ban on seven majority Muslim countries.

Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari accepted on his behalf.

ANOUSHEH ANSARI, ASTRONAUT/IRANIAN-AMERICAN BUSINESSWOMEN: Dividing the world into the "us and our enemies" categories creates fears. A deceitful

justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression.


ANDERSON: Well, here's some breaking news, Donald Trump hasn't tweeted about the Oscars yet. There's still time.

The mix-up totally upstaged what was going to be tonight's biggest talking points: politics. From host Jimmy Kimmel to statements by winners

themselves, you saw that Washington was never far from the minds of those in Hollywood.

Brian Stelter has more from New York.

And even before the speeches, Brian, there were notable moments on the red carpet, such as stars wearing blue ribbons to support the ACLU. Was this

always destined to one of the most political Oscars in years?

STELTER: Yeah, that's in the headline on Variety.

Most political Oscars ever. And some conservatives ahead of time, some Trump supporters ahead of time were saying, we're not going to bother

watching this. We don't want to hear some Hollywood lefties lecture us about the evils of Donald Trump.

As it turned out, I would say that jabs at Trump were pretty subtle but they were plentiful.

some were talking about the importance of immigrants, defending immigrants, criticizing the idea of a wall, or whether it was the speech we were just

hearing delivered on behalf of that Iranian filmmaker who boycotted the Oscars, politics was definitely a theme throughout the evening.

LU STOUT: Brian, even before the stars hit the red carpet as we have said, there were some statements being made. One of America's biggest newspapers

also keen to get people talking politics on Pscars night. The New York Times releasing it's first TV advert in years, it has to be said. And its

target was pretty clear. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED 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 truth the media needs to be held accountable.

UNIDENITIFIEDMALE: The truth is, locker room talk is harmless.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: The truth is, we need to put the saftey of...


ANDERSON: Given what has been going on with the administration and the mainstream media, what impact, if any, is that likely to have had for

viewers, Brian. Do you think?

STELTER: Certainly The Times is trying to gain subscriptions, gain new subscribers with this ad. And it was right in the middle of the Oscars.

It stood out because of how stark and basic the ad is.

You know, these ads sometimes cause up to $2.5 million. The Times needs to gain a lot of new subscribers to pay for it. But the editor, Dean McKay

tells me it's part of a new broader campaign trying to defend and promote the idea of truth. The Times says our mission has never been more clear.

We know what we're doing nowadays, trying to hold this administration and other governments and other politicians accountable. But it is one of many

ads that touched on politics.

You know, Cadillac had a commercial trying to appeal to American values. We saw an ad featuring Zachary Quinto for I believe Pandora - actually, for

Audible, for where he was reading from the book 1984.

So, a number of different ads in different ways all touching on sort of polarization in America.

ANDERSON: Back to the actual event. And we saw the most wins for first black actors even

and the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, a turn around from the recent Oscars so white scandal. Your thoughts on that?

STELTER: Yeah, at this time last year, that #oscarssowhite identified what has been a longstanding problem in Hollywood. And that problem has not

disappeared. It hasn't gone away as a result of Sunday night. But this was significant to see a number of actors in various categories, from

various minority groups. Viola Davis for best supporting actress and then at the end of the night, and now La La Land, Moonlight, of course, an all

black cast, an ensemble cast for Moonlight.

These films, of course, are now available online, people can watch, can rent them, and see for themselves, and Moonlight in particular, really a

heart wrenching and emotional film, no surprise that it ended up winning for best picture.

But it's an example of diversity, at least in different pockets in Hollywood.

But make no mistake, various surveys with regards to gender and class and race show that Hollywood still has a ways to catch up to where both the

American population is and the global population, because increasingly, Hollywood studios are making films for the whole world.

[10:15:08] ANDERSON: Mr. Stelter in the house as ever. Always a pleasure, sir. Thank you.

STELTER: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We'll get a look at the potential winners and losers in the Middle East under President Trump in just a moment with Laleh Khalili and

hear from the cinematographer behind the Oscar-winning film The Helmets. That, coming up right after this. Stay with us.



UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: The latest missile attacks on hospitals and schools in rebel-held areas have left up to 50 civilians dead.


ANDERSON: And those civilians are known as the White Helmets, a Netflix documentary chronicled the life saving efforts of these Syrian rescue


The film named after the group won an Oscar for best short documentary on Sunday.

Well, CNN's Nina Dos Santos joining me now from Istanbul where she's been speaking to the film's cinematographer. Nina, what have you been told?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well these are very harrowing scenes, as you just saw there, Becky. It's a 14-minute long

film, which documents the efforts of the White Helmets which are a group of civilian volunteers. They're operational across all of Syria, but this

particular film focuses in on Aleppo, and obviously that city was home to...

ANDERSON: Nina, I'm going to have to g - stop you for one second, I'm going to come back

to you. I want to just hear from Donald Trump who has just been speaking in Washington. Hold...


[10:39:18] ANDERSON: Right, U.S. President Donald Trump beginning his busy week by meeting U.S. governors, promising a lot more decision making for

that audience. We'll do more with less, he said, but he also said there will be an historic increase in the military budget and Obamacare front and

center it will be repealed, he said.

He'll next meet with health care executives at the White House. It seems to be that Mr. Trump is playing to his strength, meeting with industry

leaders, exchanging ideas and making deals.

We are going to take a very short break. Back after this.


[10:43:04] ANDERSON: Iraqi flags are now flying over more buildings in Mosul after security forces battled their way into a western neighborhood

retaking it.

ISIS fighters setting buildings on fire as they retreat into the center of the city.

Iraqi police say they now control a strategic breach that could open supply lines. They already control eastern Mosul and are now fighting for full


Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman following developments from nearby Irbil - Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, they took control of what's known as the fourth bridge, that's the southern most

bridge in Mosul over the Tigris River. So they do control both sides of that. In other areas, we saw Iraqi forces enter the Tai Aran (ph)

neighborhood which is right next to the now liberated airport.

In that neighborhood, IDID fighters are reportedly burning homes and buildings and taking families as human shields as they're pushed back

further into the city.

Now, on the southwest, they've also - they're pushing into the Shuhadad (ph) neighborhood. So it does appear there's something of a Pincher

movement from the southern end of the city.

We know that ISIS fighters are concentrated in the old city, which is just about a kilometer and a half from those areas that have been liberated.

But as this fighting continues, the situation increasingly difficult for hundreds of thousands of residents. We heard today that some of them have

so little food, that they're eating birdseed - Becky.

ANDERSON: OK, Ben, thank you for that. Awful stuff

Well, from the wars in Iraq and Syria, to criticism that the Trump administration travel ban, the

Middle East will be in focus this week as it was at last night's Oscars ceremony.

For some perspective on all this, I'm joined now by political analysts, Laleh Khalili. She is a professor of Middle East Politics at SOAS, which is

the School of Oriental and African Studies here in London.

And we have just heard from President Trump outlining some of what will be developed so far as policy is concerned this week when we spoke to an

audience of governors. From what you heard, what did you take away?

[10:45:32] LALEH KHALILI, MIDDLE EAST POLITICS PROFESSOR, SOAS: Well, what was really interesting was that some of the things he talked about

connected to two different events at the Oscars last night. The first one was where he is talking about increasing the size of the military. And

this is quite significant, because McMaster, who has recently just last week was chosen as the national security adviser, actually believes in a

much larger U.S. military and he believes in boots on the ground. He, in fact, has been very critical of the idea of U.S. military fetishization of

what he calls exquisite technology at the expense of having soldiers on the ground.

And so one wonders to what extent does this might mean of further U.S. involvement, a deeper U.S. involvement with soldiers actually on the ground

in Syria and further in Iraq where there are already special operators and military advisers there.

So, that was quite interesting, because of course this connects to the White Helmets film winning at the Oscars, because, of course, Syria is

going to be on Trump administration's agenda for the time being. I can't imagine it being resolved any time soon.

The second thing that he mentioned in his press conference in front of the governors, was the question of security, border security, which is of

course ties back to Asghar Farhadi against the Muslim ban, which was read by Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian astronaut, an Iranian-

American astronaut at the Oscars.

And this has also been very interesting, because of course Asghar Farhadi is a director with a quite a bit of cache. He's already won the Oscars

once. He is an extraordinary director, perhaps one of the best Iran has produced among the rank of extraordinary directors. And his statement that

he refuses to go to the U.S. in solidarity with Iranian people, and also the people of the other countries which on whom the ban has been imposed.

It was actually one of the most explicitly political statements at the Oscars last night.

ANDERSON: And I thought it was interesting, because of course he boycotted the event in protest to the executive order banning travel for citizens

from seven countries, mostly Muslim countries. The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeted his support last night saying he

was proud of Farhadi's win and his stance against the U.S. travel ban.

Does it surprise you that the foreign minister might get involved in this narrative?

KHALILI: Javad Zarif has been a very interesting foreign minister. He has, as you know, got his degree in the U.S. He has his finger to some

extent on the pulse of U.S. popular culture. And so a lot of the times, actually, a lot of the statements that he makes, interestingly, have to do

with the ways in which the popular culture in the U.S. and elsewhere read Iran and Iranians.

Lots of Iranians are very excited about Farhadi winning the Oscars for a second time. But I think the fact that he's using this as a platform to

criticize the Trump administration is unsurprising. It's something that Zarif has done on previous occasions as well.

ANDERSON: You alluded to The White Helmets film winning best short at the Oscars last night, which does bring us to the discussion, I think, which is

important, about what Donald Trump's approach might be to Syria. We heard him just in the past few minutes talk about an historic increase in the

military budget. He also said that America will have to do more with less, but he specifically talked about an historic increase in the military

budget. What we are likely to hear this week is his proposal on how to defeat ISIS, which again, of course, speaks to Syria and to Iraq.

Is it any clearer as of yet, do you think, what his counter terrorism policy will be? You alluded to a little bit of this, but...

KHALILI: I mean, a lot of what I will say here will be a bit of Kremlinology. A lot of us are waiting to actually see what concrete

proposals are emerging, and perhaps tomorrow when the budget numbers are out we'll have a better sense of that.

But one of the things that is very, very clear is that they among the number of generals and other

military guys that Trump has put into his national security apparatus. And this is probably the highest number of both active duty and retired

generals in those capacities.

The one thing that they all share, aside from having served in Iraq, the vast majority of

them, is that they all have an unreserved hostility towards Iran. And, of course, as you know, Iran is

one of the great supporters of the Assad regime, with advisers and special operator forces in Syria.

So the question then becomes, is the Trump administration going to counter Iran on the Syrian

battlefield? Is the Trump administration going to get involved in Syria, given that Trump was just

complaining about the $6 trillion in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East over the course of the last few years, it would be interesting to see

whether he is willing to spend a lot of money, because that is what it would entail to go into Syria, counter Iran and stop ISIS, or whatever

other policies they planned.

[10:50:25] ANDERSON: There will be those who said the demise of Flynn as his national security adviser was the demise of probably the strongest hawk

when it came to Iran. But I think what you're suggesting that's by no means the end of the story when it comes to a negative policy towards Iran.

Thank you. It's been a pleasure having you on.

KHALILI: My pleasure. Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: We are learning more about the death of the brother of North Korea's leader. South Korea's spy agency says Kim Jong-un ordered the

killing and it was planned by two North Korean government ministries.

CNN's Alexander Field has the latest for you.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Murder by a weapon of mass destruction carried out in broad daylight in a busy airport terminal, the two women

suspected of the killing in Kuala Lumpur caught on CCTV video.

This is the moment of the attack. Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un, dies 15 or 20 minutes later. Twelve days

after, authorities find traces of the highly lethal nerve agent VX on his face and in his eyes.

The airport terminal that's been operating as normal is finally swept by crews in protective suits. They give it the all-clear. Police defend the

timeline, saying they took protective measures once they fully understood the danger.

CHIEF ABDUL SAMAH MAT, SELANGOR POLICE: It is only on the Friday evening we received the call. We get confirmation. We feel that we have to do this

screening process.

FIELD: Authorities from the suspects' home countries, Vietnam and Indonesia, say both women claimed they thought they were part of a prank.

In Indonesia, the aunt of Siti Aisyah tells CNN weeks earlier her niece told her about a new job on a foreign T.V. show.

DANMI, SUSPECT SITI AISYAH'S AUNT (through translator): At the beginning she was asked to put a hand-body lotion onto hands of strangers in order to

make them angry. And then, at the second occasion, she was asked to put tomato sauce onto other people's body. So just basically doing work like


FIELD: Her niece must have been manipulated, she says. But Malaysian police say the women were trained to kill. Aisyah told Indonesia's deputy

ambassador she was given a liquid similar to baby oil, paid about $90 U.S. dollars, and assigned the job by people she described as Japanese or


Investigators say the women were given that deadly substance by four North Korean men who fled the country immediately after the attack. They had been

renting an apartment here in Kuala Lumpur. Almost two weeks after Kim Jong Nam was killed police raided it, collecting samples that have now been sent

to a lab for testing.

The women arrived in Malaysia less than two weeks before the attack, one of them checking into at least two different hotels in the two days before it.

The staff remembers her as the woman carrying a giant teddy bear.


ANDERSON: You are watching Connect the World today live from London. It is just about 5 to 4:00. Coming up, when the glow of Moonlight outshines

the city of stars. The Oscars mix up that left La La Land out in the cold.


[10:55:39] ANDERSON: Right. Just time for your Parting Shots today. And Hollywood's political message. As you've heard this hour, some performers

took a stand at the Oscars. Here's the view from Los Angeles for you.


ANOUSHEH ANSARI, IRANIAN-AMERICAN ASTRONAUT: I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and

those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to

the U.S.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans and around the world more than to 225 countries that now hate


Of all the great actors here in Hollywood, one in particular has stood the test of time for her many uninspiring and overrated performances.

You know, we're more than two hours into the show and Donald Trump hasn't tweeted at us once. And I'm starting to get worried about him.

GAEL GARCIA BERNAL, ACTOR: As a Mexican, as a Latin-American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I'm against any form of wall that wants to

separate us.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World from London. Thank you for watching. See you tomorrow.