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CONNECT THE WORLD
Report from White House, Trump Upset Over Latest Russia Stories; Trump White House Set to Release Latest Version of Travel Ban; North Korea Test Launch Four Ballistic Missiles; Francois Fillon's Campaign Collapsing. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 6, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:49] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Hello, and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. It's 7:00 p.m. here, 10:00 in the morning
over in Washington where we get straight into the action for you because in the coming hours we could see a new travel ban come down from there.
Now, you'll remember the protests and panic of the last one caused.
Well, we're going to get you everything you need to know on that executive order in just a
Meanwhile, there was fury, chaos and frustration inside the White House. Sources tell CNN, Donald Trump spent this weekend ranting, upset that
stories tying some of his top people to Russia keep popping up.
Well, those Moscow mysteries, part of a Washington seems to increasingly resemble mirrors
blurring into fact. On top of all that, America's new president himself is piling in.
As Joe Johns reports, that may now be getting him into a fight with the FBI.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump's unfounded claim that former President Obama ordered his phones to be wiretapped in
the midst of last year's election coming under fire. Sources say the FBI is now asking the Justice Department to publicly refute the allegations, but
so far, the Justice Department has remained silent.
Such wiretapping of a U.S. citizen's phones would be illegal or require a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Former
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who spearheaded the investigation into Russia's meddling in the election, giving a firm "no" to
any such claim of wiretapping.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such
wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.
JOHNS: Multiple former senior U.S. officials dismissing President Trump's allegation, calling it nonsense. And a spokesman for Mr. Obama says it's
"simply false." But without providing any evidence, the White House is doubling down, calling for a congressional investigation to determine
whether executive branch investigative powers were abused.
SANDERS: I think he's made very clear what he believes.
I think the bigger story isn't who reported it but is it true?
JOHNS: White House officials say the president's sources on the incendiary claim come from conservative media, not from government sources. In fact,
there are zero publicly-known credible reports to back up Mr. Trump's claim.
His allegations coming in a familiar form: a series of furious tweets early Saturday morning from his home in Florida, in which he called former
President Obama a "bad or sick guy." His top advisers far away in Washington.
This is not the president's first time repeating unsubstantiated allegations. Just after his own inauguration, Mr. Trump alleged that
millions of fraudulent votes were cast during the election without proof.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you look at the people that are registered dead, illegal in two states.
JOHNS: The president called for an investigation, but one has yet to be conducted.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I have no -- I'm not sure what it is he is talking about.
JOHNS: This latest allegation of wiretapping leaving some Republicans confused as top Democrats call the Twitter outburst a complete distraction.
PELOSI: The president, you know, is the deflector in chief.
JOHNS: An intentional move to stir focus away from the deepening concerns over connections between a handful of the president's advisers and
FRANKEN: I think this is just a distraction to distract from this very, very serious interference by a foreign power on our democracy. The question
of whether Trump world, his campaign, his business associates, had anything to do with it.
ANDERSON : Well, it's easy to see why Mr. Trump may be looking for a way to distract attention. Let me show you these brand new results from a
CNN/ORC poll showing that more than half of the Americans questioned are concerned about any possible links between the White House
and Moscow. 37 percent of them are very concerned, 18 percent just somewhat concerned.
Joe Johns is in the briefing room for you and joining us now.
This poll conducted, of course, at the back end of last week before over the weekend a further
controversy. Joe, this can't help the president reset the conversation in his favor, can it?
JOHNS: Very unlikely to help, quite frankly, Becky, but it's also important to point out that the polling done by CNN and ORC does suggest that the
country is polarized on the issue of Russia, certainly when that poll was conducted last week. More Democrats saw Russia as a serious problem almost
by half, by twice the number.
So, this appears to be something that the administration understands. Republicans see this whole Russia controversy as less a problem than
That said, the president clearly was very frustrated through our reporting over the weekend about the fact that his speech on Capitol Hill, which was
very well received by Republicans and even some Democrats, at least as to the style and the tone, fell out of the headlines within almost 24 hours as the controversy surrounding his
attorney general started developing.
So a huge frustration for the president, and it's been very difficult for this White House to get back on message, Becky.
ANDERSON: Some might call it a messy weekend.
And now the beginning of what looks like a very busy week. We are expecting a new executive
order on immigration. Joe, what do we know about that at this point?
JOHNS: We know a number of things. I think the thing I did not know before today is that the new travel ban, as it's been called, will include
a phase-in period. It's not expected to start until the middle of March. We also know now officially from the White House that Iraq will be removed
from the list of countries of concern. There were seven. Iraq comes off of the list.
So those, I think, are two of the big headlines. There have also been a number of tweaks to try to improve this in the case that a judge or a court
might have to review it, including some changes to the language regarding religions and a number of other tweaks that they hope will help this stick
in the courts this time - Becky.
ANDERSON: Joe Johns is in Washington for you. Joe, thank you.
There is so much going on there right now and perhaps none of it will matter more to us around
the world than this new travel ban that is expected some time soon.
Let's bring in CNN contributor and political reporter for the Washington Post, then, Wesley Lowry. He's in the U.S. capital for us this hour. And
CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein is in Los Angeles for you.
Let's start with you, Ron. We expect to see this new travel ban coming very soon. It seems like some changes have been made to the previous one.
How do you think this one is going to be received, and will it survive?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it will face opposition from the same forces that opposed the initial ban because I
think they view the entire concept of geography-based limits as inherently flawed. Whether it will do better in the
courts, of course, is what's going to have to be fought out. Because I think we can be pretty certain that there is going to be renewed
One big thing has happened between the first ban and this ban, which is that the career intelligence professionals at the Department of Homeland
Security produced a report, an analytical report, that concludes in essence, there was no basis for a geography-based limit on entry into the
country. That was not kind of the deciding variable or factor in who presents a risk.
Now, the administration rejected that report and analysis, but I think you can be pretty confident that if and when this ban goes back into court that
opponents will be raising those conclusions by career intelligence professionals inside the national security bureaucracy.
ANDERSON: Wesley, what's your sense? Do you think this will be similar enough to the old one to achieve its same goals as far as the
administration is concerned? He does -- and talking about Mr. Trump here, seem to be forced to give some ground on iraq, on green card hoslders for
example. What are your thoughts?
WESLEY LOWRY, WASHINGTON POST: Of course. What I think is going to be very
interesting to see, and obviously we are awaiting, still, perhaps even within the hour, details on what's going to be in the new travel ban and
restrictions. But I think that some of the political stances from the previous ban were just untenable, right.
So, for example, Iraq is an ally of ours, right. So this has created some of the crisis around interpreters who had worked with our troops and were
currently working with our troops who are now unable to come into the country.
So, it will be interesting here will be especially as you look at what Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, the kind of top advisers around President
Trump on these issues, if they're still attempting to achieve their overarching goal here, which is partially to restrict kind of the flow of
immigrants from some of these countries, and certainly they would argue some kind of counterterrrorism means.
There will be a real question of how much is even different in this version of the travelban as opposed to the old version of the ban, and that's
crucial because what we've found in so many of these spaces is that courts essentially arguing that this was either unconstitutional or something that
was open to challenge. The big question here will be will enough be tweaked beyond the political talking points, but will enough of the law be
tweaked to actually make this so that this is something that is palatable and tenable in the courts.
[10:11:08] ANDERSON: All right. Well, we are expecting that executive order any time soon today, so obviously as soon as we get that and it's
news, our viewers will be the first to hear.
Ron, we have been talking about what seems to be this sort of slew or steady stream at least
of difficulties for Donald Trump, of difficult news. Only a week or so ago, or less than he made a speech to congress and hoped he would be able
to sort of move the needle away from the controversy.
We've also, though, been looking at how this recent CNN poll shows that people have got a
real issue with him on Russia and whether they trust him or not as to these allegations. They are, though, not dinging his approval rating. Around 45
of those questioned in that that poll approve of how he is doing, almost the same as when we asked back at the start of
So is all of this a storm in a teacup? Analysts and politicians, people like us, because in the end, his base steadfastly behind him it seems at
ROTHSTEIN: A lot of his base is behind him.
Look, the big picture is Donald Trump won the election with 46 percent of the vote. He entered office as the first president in the history of
Gallup polling going back to 1953 who did not have majority job approval, about 45 percent when he came into office say they approve of the job he's
doing, as you say, essentially identical to his base. That is where roughly he is now, maybe a point or two down in some other polls. That is
much lower than any other president has been this early in his presidency.
He is also facing a much larger disapproval than any president has faced this early in his presidency. His agenda is polarizing. That puts a
limit on his appeal. But I think the biggest single headwind he is facing in public opinion are personal doubts about whether he has the
qualifications, the experience, and the temperament to succeed as president.
Don't forget it's often forgotten that on election day one quarter of people who voted for him said they doubted that he was qualified, they
doubted that he had the temperament. They were willing to take the chance, because they wanted to change, or they liked aspects of his agenda, or they
didn't trust Hillary Clinton. But in office, we saw on Tuesday the best possible presentation of his agenda. That was about as good a case as you
can make for the economic nationalism that Steve Bannon is constructing. And yet here he is after that, still at 45 percent in the polls. I would say that suggests there is a big limit, and it's rooted as
least as much in questions about his personal qualities as it is about his policies.
ANDERSON: Wesley, briefly, do you agree?
LOWRY: Of course. You know, I think that President Trump's temperament creates a ceiling on this support and his approval ratings. The reality is
even as Ron was saying, even if someone listened to the speech last week and felt compelled by it, felt moved by it, just days later, either
through Attorney General Sessions is back and forth, would he recuse himself, would he not, new reports of his involvement with the Russian
ambassador. And then the president himself and this unfounded and relatively baseless allegations of the president, former president
conducting wiretapping of him, only further undermine the argument, I think again, one of the main arguments President Trump has to make if he wants to
expand his support is that he is tempermentally fit for this job.
And even when he does something that seems to make that argument, like the speech last week, he seems incapable of not undermining it immediately.
ANDERSON: Gentlemen, appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.
While the Trump administration then deals with what some might describe as turmoil at home, there is also a new challenge from North Korea. Pyongyang
tested four missiles early on Monday. They traveled almost 1,000 kilometers into the sea.
Now, the U.S. condemns the launch, saying it's prepared to use all its capabilities to protect itself and its allies.
Our Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon for you where they are keeping a close eye on all of this. First, though, let's get you to CNN's Alexandra
Field in Seoul - Alex.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Becky. Yes, you're talking about four intermediate range missiles as they're being described being
fired toward the sea of Japan. Three of them landing in Japan's economic zone. So of course this action from North Korea drawing strong rebuke from
the Japanese, from the South Koreans, from the U.S., even China condemning North Korea for test firing these four missiles.
Look, Becky, this comes on the heels of another missile test just a month ago. That's when North Korea test launched a new kind of intermediate
range missile that can be fueled up more quickly than other missiles. And this also happens about six months after the test
firing of three missiles also aimed toward the Sea of Japan which went into Japan's air defense zone.
So look, when you step back and look at this in total, it is to some extent business as issue from North Korea. They have test-fired some 20 missiles
in about a year's span. The timing of this also does not come as a huge surprise to people here in South Korea. This appears to have been
coordinated for timing that jibes with the start of joint South Korean and U.S. military exercises, these are exercises
that last about two months. They routinely draw the ire of North Korea. Kim Jong-un has spoken out about these exercises again and again. They
have been condemned by North Korean state media and there have been test missile launches in previous years that have also been timed up along with
But what is interesting to analysts about the fact that these four missiles were fired is the fact
that the four missiles were fired together and some North Korea watchers are saying that this isn't so much a test of missiles themselves but
perhaps a test of the units that are used to fire the missiles.
Some people are looking at this and saying that North Korea could be potentially looking at ways to evade the new missile defense system that
the U.S. and South Korea are looking to deploy together by sending up multiple missiles at once.
So it does give some insight perhaps into North Korea's efforts right now as far as their missile program goes, and it's really just another sign of
the really fast and furious development that you're seeing from North Korea in the last year, Becky.
ANDERSON: Barbara, how or what is it that the U.S. believes they should do in response to this? I know that other international partners are also
saying they are looking at how to respond. What's the view from the Pentagon?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there's basically two options always: sanctions, strong language, condemnation,
which we have already seen about this last set of missile launches, or some type of military action. I think that's something that
would cause the world to take a very deep breath. It could be very, very dangerous.
What the U.S. is relying on now is layered missile defense, missile defenses in South Korea,
navy ships at sea that are capable of shooting missiles down, ground-based missiles in Alaska capable of shooting missiles down. They're well aware
of the North Korean technique. It's something that the Iraqis years ago tried, firing a volley of missiles. It's something that U.S. systems can
But whatever the North Koreans are up to, it may be one of the biggest, if not the biggest
national security challenge, for President Trump in the opening months of his administration. There's good deal of concern right now that the North
Koreans could be preparing for another underground nuclear test, that they are indeed preparing for more missile launches, no reason to think they're
not on that score, and this is posing the problem for the Trump White House.
Are there actually any additional realistic options out there beyond what's already been tried and hasn't worked - Becky.
ANDERSON: Reporting from Seoul and from Washington for you this hour, thank you.
Still to come, Germany cancels a Turkish political rally and the Turkish president says that is no different than the Nazi practices of the past. A
heated row between Ankara and Berlin is next.
And standing defiant: a candidate refuses to drop out of the French election battle despite a looming scandal. taking a very short break.
Back after this.
[10:21:57] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. 21 minutes past 7:00 in Abu Dhabi. Welcome back.
To the deteriorating relationship for you now between two NATO allies. The German chancellor reacting just minutes ago to accusations by the Turkish
president that Nazi practices are going on in today's Germany.
Angela Merkel saying that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has belittled the crimes of the Hitler regime. Mr. Erdogan accused Germany of Nazi practices after
rallies by Turkish politicians were canceled. Those rallies were meant to whip up support among Turkish voters in Germany for a referendum on
expanding Mr. Erdogan's power.
Local German officials say they were concerned about security and overcrowding. That was their excuse.
Atika Shubert joining me now live from Berlin. I mean, the Turkish president not mincing his words today, talking about wanting to make the
whole world rise up and humiliating Germany in front of the world at future international events.
What's the official response from the top layer as it were in Germany?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we haven't seen these -- we have seen these kinds of problems before between Turkey
and Germany. And Merkel's spokesperson came out to say everybody needs to keep cool heads about this. But clearly this inflammatory language from
Erdogan did not go down well in Berlin. Take a listen to how Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to Erdogan's comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I tell you quite honestly, such misplaced statements deserve no serious comment. They
cannot be justified, not even with an election campaign with a referendum of the introduction of a presidential system in Turkey.
It is especially serious and personally I feel that it is simply sad that Nazi comparisons always
just lead to one thing, namely, to the fact that the incomprehensible suffering of the crimes of humanity of national socialism is belittled.
And for that reason alone, comments like this disqualify themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: Now, Germany has confronted this kind of issue before. There are 3 million Turkish nationals living in the country. About 1.4 million are
eligible to vote in Turkey's referendum in previous elections. And so they have seen rallies like this in the
past. And it's important to note that Merkel has not banned Turkish rallies in Germany, not at all. In fact, the
rally scheduled for Hamburg is at this point scheduled to go ahead, but with overcrowding concerns or security concerns, then German authorities do
have the right to say, listen, we're going to either cancel this or review it to see if it's a security issue. And that, according to German
authorities, is exactly what happened with these other two rallies.
Now, making matters worse in all this is this increasing problem of harassment of German journalists, in particular, in Turkey. In fact,
there is a German journalist currently in jail at the moment facing charges of terrorism, something that Germany rejects. And Merkel herself has made
a personal appeal to Turkey to respect freedom of the press. All of this is ratcheting up the tensions between the two countries, but foreign
ministers for both countries will be meeting this week to try and dial down some of this rhetoric, Becky.
ANDERSON: Atika Shubert is in Berlin for you today.
The latest World News Headlines are just ahead on this show, plus the U.S. president set to try again with a new travel ban. Why one of the original
seven targeted nations won't be on that new list.
ANDERSON: When U.S. President Trump issues a revised executive order on immigration, travel from six Muslim majority nations expected to be banned.
You'll recall the original order included seven nations.
Well, Iraq is being dropped from the new list. The administration says that's because they have, quote, enhanced screening and reporting measures.
And the Iraqi foreign ministry is expressing deep relief and issued a statement saying this is an important step in the right direction. That
strengthens, and reinforces the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many field, in particular in the fight against terrorism.
Let's get you to senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman who is in Iraq, who is in Irbil for you.
And on this new travel ban, what do we know about Iraq not being included?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to what we are hearing from Washington is that the Iraqis have been more forthcoming
in sharing information that they have about applicants to travel to the United States. That's one of the reasons.
But of course, there is the underlying reason that of course Iraq is an ally of the United States in the fight against ISIS. There are more than
5,000 U.S. military personnel supporting, or basically involved, in trying to defeat ISIS in Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq.
So the Iraqis are happy that they're no longer on this list. Of course, we were here in
January in Iraq when the first executive order came out. At the time the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of a reciprocal ban on Americans. So there
were a lot of hurt feelings when the first executive order came out, and this hopefully from the Iraqi perspective, will bring things back to what
we might be able to call normal, Becky.
[10:31:38] ANDERSON: Ben, you are in Irbil. What can you tell us on the latest on the battle for Mosul?
WEDEMAN: Well, the battle has been quite intense today. What we know is the Iraqis are
trying to take the Horia (ph) bridge, which is the second most southerly bridge over the Tigris River that they are approaching, they're about 500
meters from the old city of Mosul itself where it's believed ISIS has concentrated its forces in recent weeks. And this is, of course, all
coming, all happening against the backdrop of an exodus of civilians from Mosul.
WEDEMAN: With the few possessions they could carry and a white flag they trudged towards safety. Yet another group of west Mosul residents flee the
fighting that engulfed their neighborhood.
"Battles, bombardment, and mortars," says Ahmed, explaining why they left. He said they survived on just bread and water for the last month.
At the first main Iraqi checkpoint they board army trucks. The United Nation expects as many as 250,000 people to flee Mosul as this battle
As they leave they pass the austere symbols and slogans of the so- called Islamic state. Down the road at the main assembly point truck after truck
arrives with the wary and shell shocked. Children scared and disoriented at the confusion. Others need help every step of the way while soldiers search
for the parents of lost children.
"We left at night at 2 o'clock," says Muhammad, adding that ISIS snipers fired at his family as they left. Wary of ISIS infiltrators Iraqi troops
quickly separate the men and boys from the women and girls.
First, frisking them, then checking identity cards against a database and ISIS members and sympathizers.
Brigadier General Salman Hassim (Ph) of the Iraqi counterterrorism service says every day they weed out five or six ISIS suspects. Alfah Sarham (Ph)
says ISIS held her and her family as human shields. She wants revenge.
"Ten, ten of my uncles they killed," she tells me. "If I catch one of those rats I'll kill them with my own hands and drink their blood."
Volunteers from southern Iraq received plates of rice and beans, the first had meal for many in weeks. The U.N. warned this battle could be a
humanitarian disaster. This is it.
WEDEMAN: As this battle goes on, the question is coming up what is the morale of ISIS, ISIS
fighters, as it continues.
Now today we were at a Kurdish prison here in Irbil where we were able to speak to women who were affiliated, had husbands in ISIS and what not. One
of them told us that her husband was so demoralized by the fighting in Mosul that he shot himself intentionally in the foot, sold his weapon, and
they subsequently escaped when ISIS was going to try to punish him for selling his weapon.
So it may be that as the pressure builds, the city surrounded, the supply of food is running out, that ISIS morale could be in the process of
collapsing - Becky.
[10:35:39] ANDERSON: Yeah, clearly, Ben, and that really begs the question, just how long does this battle last at this point.
WEDEMAN: Well, the battle for the eastern part of the city took a good three months. It went on for quite a while and it was very difficult.
What we're seeing with the west is that the Iraqis seem to be taking a much more robust approach when it comes to their use of fire power.
You go out there and you look up, there are American B-52s, F-16s. There are attack helicopters. There's artillery firing rounds over your head.
The amount of artillery, just total firepower going in there, is quite impressive element of artillery, just total fire power going in there, is
So it does appear that the intention is to avoid a prolonged and difficult battle like we saw in the east, but maybe at the price of civilian
casualties - Becky.
ANDERSON: All right, Ben.
Ben Wedeman is in Irbil in Iraq for you. Appreciate that, Ben, thank you.
Well, France votes for a new president next month and the already dramatic race taking another turn, this time within the ranks of the Conservative
Former prime minister Alain Juppe is insisting he won't run and the embattled Francois Fillon is insisting he won't quit.
Let's get more from the French capital. Paris correspondent Melissa Bell joining us.
Allegations of corruption against politicians not new to any of us and messy elections also quite familiar, particularly in what feels like a sort
of slightly odd era at present. But in what many might see as a disturbing period of populism and nationalism just across Europe.
Just explain where we stand in France, if you will.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it is exactly what you've just mentioned, Becky, that wave of populism, the uncertainty it's
creating within the mainstream parties is behind what we're seeing today, which appears to be the collapse of France's mainstream right.
One of the two mainstream parties that has essentially shared power since the start of the Fifth Republican in 1958, them and the Socialists.
And today we're going to find out in the next couple of hours whether the party will back
Francois Fillon, who as you said appears determined to stay on regardless of the hemorrhaging of his support, regardless of the allegations that are
against him, regardless of the deepening and worsening judicial inquiry or whether they're going to convince him that he really has to go.
But extraordinary times as you watch this party very publicly tear itself apart, Becky.
ANDERSON: Until late January, the man we are looking at on our screens, Francois Fillon, was the sort of outright favorite to win, become head of
state in May. So where do things stand now?
BELL: It looks, according to the polls, like he has very little chance of making it through to the second round. As you say, this was his to lose.
Once he won the Republican nomination back in November, he was high in the polls. Everyone believed Francois Fillon would be the next president of
France. And then this inquiry cast a shadow over his campaign. Marine Le Pen, the far right leader, has been racing ahead as a result. She
currently leads the polls. And Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who everyone has sort of written off at the start has a chance who would
never, without an established party behind him, have any chance of coming anywhere near power, looks to come in second, even beating Marine Le Pen in
the second round, if you believe the polls.
So, the Republicans are looking as though they'll be entirely excluded from this second round of the election, which is extraordinary, something
that's very rarely happened over the course of the last few decades, and all because this candidate refuses to go.
We'll be heading down, of course, to the head court to see what comes of that meeting, but huge pressure on Francois Fillon to save his party and
its chances of making it to the Elysees this year, Becky.
ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff. Melissa, thank you.
It's the view out of Paris for you. We are in Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Come on, faster. OK, give her a detention right here. Just because.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Teaching students what it feels like to be a victim of forced labor. That's next on the CNN Freedom Project.
[10:43:23] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back to what is CNN's Freedom Project.
All this week we are showcasing students for freedom. Now, this is a special series featuring young people, kids, involved in the global fight
against slavery. We have hundreds of youngsters involved with us in trying to end modern day slavery, and we start off at a Hong Kong high school
where empathy building includes an hour of forced labor. CNN's Alexandra Field showed us and for you what happened.
MATT FRIEDMAN, THE MEKONG CLUB: I need you to take a bolt, slower.
Another row here, five in a row.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 8:30 in the morning at this Hong Kong high school. But this is not a regular day.
FRIEDMAN: My name is Mr. Friedman. I run a company and our company makes nuts and bolts. And you have one of them in your hands.
FIELD: Classes are cancelled, Mr. Friedman says, their labor is his for the next five hours.
FRIEDMAN: And you're going to take the nut, you're going to put it on the bolt, you're going to take the nut and put it on the bolt continuously. I
do not want you to talk to anyone else. I don't want you to even make eye contact with me.
FIELD: The minutes crawl by. The students look bewildered, confused, even angry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you. Come over here. You're not doing it faster. Stand over here and do it faster.
Time is money. Come on. Faster.
OK, give her a detention right here, just because.
Don't drop the bolt. Give her a detention.
[10:45:06] FIELD: The teenagers struggled the process is painfully slow.
FRIEDMAN: You're done.
FIELD: Then, Mr. Friedman reveals his true intentions.
FRIEDMAN: This was a simulation. It was to give you an opportunity to experience what it's like for a short period of time to lose control of
FIELD: To help them understand what it's like for the millions trapped in forced labor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was doing it, my hands started sweating. I was sweating. So, I can't basically imagine how people would do it for like 14,
15 hours every day.
FRIEDMAN: Do you think it was fair?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
FRIEDMAN: Did you like me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
FRIEDMAN: OK. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was pretty close to walk out of the room, like I felt very disoriented when I thought, you know, punishment.
FIELD: Just an hour from their school day designed to drive home the realities of modern day slavery, an experience intended to motivate young
people to try and make a difference.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would definitely feel more sympathy for those who are like in slavery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like as students, we can actually raise awareness about this issue.
STUDENTS: Join us on March 14 to stand up to slavery.
FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: And we will have a special report from a school right here in Abu Dhabi, that's on Thursday. And on March 14. We are teaming up with
youngsters around the globe for a day of action against slavery. Driving My Freedom Day is a very simple question: what does freedom mean to you?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom means to expand your knowledge to what you're passionate about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me is courage to stand up what I think is right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Freedom means having control of my own body and happiness.
GIRL: Freedom to me means going to school. What about you?
CROWD: Hashtag #myfreedomday!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, if you haven't already joined the conversation, we'd love to hear from you. Send us your answer via text, photo or video across
social media. Simply use the #myfreedomday. That is hashtag #myfreedomday.
Right, live from the United Arab Emirates, you're watching Connect the World. Up next, I will talk to the man who's helping put this country at
the very center of this region's modern art movement.
Sultan al-Hazmi in the house with me this hour. Do not go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:50:27] WISSAM SALSA, MANAGER, THE WALLED OFF HOTEL: it has probably the worst view ever that you can get from like from a hotel.
ANDERSON: Well, that is probably not what you would expect to hear from someone running a brand new hotel, but there's not much about the Walled
Off Hotel that you would expect. If you look out of almost any of its windows in Bethlehem, you'll find yourself staring at this: Israel's
security barrier, a 30-foot graffiti scrolled wall of concrete.
Let me take you inside the place built and paid for by the world famous yet unidentified street
artist Banksy who, as you can see, left his unmistakable mark in almost every room.
Well, from an artist who doesn't like to be seen, a hotel with no view seems to make sense. But there's surely a vision at play here, isn't
there, a deeper message. Well, to talk about that, joining me now, is one of my friends here and a friend of the show, Sultan al-Qassimi, the founder
of the Barjeel Art Foundation.
And that is surely protest art that we've just seen there, the Banksy piece, and a place clearly on topic, or on a topic that Donald Trump has
been very strident on.
What's your take?
SULTAN AL QASSIMI, FOUNDER, BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION: Well, this is not the first place Banksy has done something like this. He's previously painted
the security barrier before. He's - in 2015 he created this new place called Dismal Land that existed for only a month or so
and he invited a lot of protest artists in I think somewhere in England. And it was very, very popular and it looked like it was a nightmare version
And there are other forms of protest art that goes all the way back to Picasso's Guernica that was a form of street art. You had Keith Herring in
New York in the 1980s who was also a protest artist who sort of normalized the discussion about AIDS. AIDS was a taboo topic, but he started
scrolling on the walls, fear equals ignorance equals fear to promote the discussion with people who have this disease.
ANDERSON: People might be surprised in this region to learn that there is actually room for protest in art, others will say who I have spoken to
here, there really isn't. Is there?
QASSIMI: Oh, there's tons of space. All you have to do is look at the years just before the Arab Spring and during the Arab Spring, there was
tons of graffiti art that emerged across the street of Cairo and Beirut, even in Syria in the early days there was a lot of graffiti being painted,
a lot of messaging. These artists now have gallery representations. They sell in
galleries, not all of them, but many of them, you know, they become popular artists.
ANDERSON: Sultan, you were happy - or I was absolutely delighted to have you on my other show, which is Inside the Middle East this week. There,
you told us about the Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi. I just want our viewers to just see a clip of this before we talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QASSIMI: When I look at Dia Azzawi's work, I feel a bit of sorrow. I feel a bit of sadness because I know what he is reflecting in his work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Sorrow and sadness,you say. Do you think that's the burden of the regional artist, always having the political undertone or in his case,
of course, overtone?
QASSIMI: So, Dia Azzawi was an archaeologist who took part in protest art. He depicted a lot of the miseries and misfortune that befell Iraq, but it
is also unfair to say that Middle Eastern artists always have to depict misery and sadness and sorrow, that particular piece we just showed was
called Mission of Destruction. And it was about the 2003 invasion, so that was a particularly sad painting. However, a lot of his work is also happy,
a lot of his work depicts colors. So, it's a mixed bag with artists.
ANDERSON: What makes you so passionate about art about and from this region?
QASSIMI: Well, we need to promote positive messages from the region. We can't keep promoting negative images. I think it's a self-fulfilling
prophecy. It's a vicious circle if you telling people that you are bound to be stuck in this rut, this circle of nastiness and evil and sorrow, then
people - it becomes a reinforced message.
And also keep in mind, Becky, that Europe went through much more than we have gone through. Think of what happened to cities like Dressdan and
Warsaw and Krakow in World War II. They were decimated. And yet these cities reemerged and became cultural capitals.
So I see this happening in the Middle East as well.
[10:55:36] ANDERSON: You probably forgot more about art than I will ever know. So let me ask you this one question, what's hot in and around this
region and what's not?
QASSIMI: Well, what's hot? A lot of young women artists are doing a lot of good things. We have art auctions. We have fairs. We have the
biannual coming up in Sharja (ph). It's a booming scene here in the Middle East. It's doing very, very well.
ANDERSON: Last question to you before we go, because I've got to wrap this up. It's great having you on. This travel ban, we're expected to get
another executive order and out of the Trump administration in the coming hours. I guess one can allude to the fact that there's likely to be six
countries on this ban. I mean, that will affect those artists who are trying to travel around. What's your take? Just step back for a moment
perhaps from the art world, and just from here, what's your sense of all this?
QASSIMI: I mean, for me, it's interesting to see how the U.S. judicial system deals with this executive order. There's a pushback from the
judiciary in the U.S. and this is really part of the American system. I think Trump is challenging it. Will he be able to push his vision of what
he wants America to be, or will there be pushback?
It really is anybody's guess what will happen because presidents have a lot of executive power, but so does the Supreme Court. And I think that this
will end up going to the Supreme Court before it is finally decided. We haven't seen the end of it yet.
ANDERSON; It's a pleasure having you on, sir.
QASSIMI: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Thank you.
We just played you a clip from our up coming episode of Inside the Middle East" here on CNN. You can see that and much more insight from Sultan and
Dia Azzawi right here on CNN, that's Wednesday 2:30 p.m. Abu Dhabi time. That's 10:30 in the morning in London if you can't wait that
long. For more from sultan, there is a lot more from him on Twitter. He's rather prolific, I will have to say.
There is @SultanalQassimi where there's a lot more from me as well, of course, that's @BeckyCNN.
That's your fix for tonight, guys. You've been watching Connect the World. Thank you for watching.