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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Merkel, Trump Appear Awkward In First Meeting; Tillerson: U.S. Patience for North Korea Is Over; Pentagon Denies U.S. Airstrike Hit Mosque In Syria; Trump's Wiretap Chaos Becomes International Incident; Peru Hit By Deadly Mudslides And Flash Flooding; George Osborne To Edit London Evening Standard; U.K. Govt. Suspends Its YouTube Advertising; Human Forms Emotional Connection With Robot; Robyn Curnow On Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Irish Celebrate Around The World; Trump's Wiretap Chaos Becomes International Incident; Trump, Merkel Talk Trade International Relations; Tillerson Warns North Korea Patience Has Run Out; U.S., South Korea Committed To Thad System; Tillerson Travels To Beijing On Saturday. Aired 4:30-5:00 p.m. ET
Aired March 17, 2017 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL GUEST ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Jonathan Mann, sitting in for Hala Gorani live from CNN Center. This is THE WORLD RIGHT
Thanks for joining us. We thought the U.S. president was forging a new relationship with the German chancellor. But the meeting between Donald
Trump and Angela Merkel a short time ago appeared anything but friendly. Just look at what you're seeing. Virtually no interaction, even eye
contact in the oval office.
At the joint news conference, Mr. Trump reiterated his unsubstantiated belief that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him, by joking about
reports that Ms. Merkel was listened in on by the U.S. National Security Agency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As far as wiretapping, I guess, by you know, this past administration, at least we
have something in common perhaps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Awkward to be clear. That was a sensitive issue with the Germans that Mr. Trump joked about in his first public appearance with his German
counterpart. The U.S. president had to address another strained international relationship, as well.
Yesterday, the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, quoted a Fox News legal analyst, who accused British intelligence of colluding with President Obama
to illegally wiretap then Candidate Donald Trump.
Downing Street calls that ridiculous and demanded the White House stop repeating the claim. A White House official told CNN that the U.K.
received what amounted to an apology from the administration, but here's what Mr. Trump said just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We said nothing. All we did was, quote, "A certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on
television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn't be talking to me, you
should be talking to Fox, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: We're covering this from every angle. Chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, is breaking it all down for us from
London. Atika Shubert has the German perspective from Berlin. The editor- in-chief of "Bild Digital," Julian Reichelt is following the chancellor in Washington. And international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, is focused
on the U.K. response.
It's a lot to talk about. Let's start with the big picture. CNN chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, I want to
ask you about this wiretapping accusation because first it was made from the White House press office podium.
Then the president addressed it and said well, he wasn't really going to back away from it. Again, Sean Spicer has apparently told other reporters
he's not backing away from it either. It seems like one random comment by Sean Spicer is turning into an incident between very close allies.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it looks like everybody has their back against the wall, most particularly Sean
Spicer. You'll hear more from Nic on the British angle, but certainly what this all started with was a rant two weeks ago by a contributor on Fox News
who first said that, you know, Donald Trump had been wiretapped by the Obama administration and then again they quote Fox News.
So what you've got is an ideological station with ideologues on it, throwing these random baseless charges out, and then the rest of the world
having to race around trying to correct the record. Obviously, it is incredibly important when the president of the United States, or his
spokesman throws around an allegation against a key ally like that.
That's why this has caused so much, you know, angst here in Britain. I will say the former British defense and foreign secretary has said, you
know, just promising not to repeat this allegation and look at the press conference Donald Trump did not repeat the allegation.
And that was meant to be some assurance that Downing Street had extracted from the White House, but Malcolm Riskin (ph) say that's not enough just
not to repeat. It's not the same as saying it was rubbish in the first place. So that's the context for what is going on here.
[16:05:11]MANN: That was not a story we expected to cover today. We were expecting to cover a story about the German chancellor and the U.S.
president forging a new warmer relationship, what we saw was anything but. And I used that word advisedly what we saw because in the oval office, he
barely looked at her. He barely smiled.
He was dead pen when he wasn't seeming to be outright uncomfortable. At the news conference, the same thing then there was that attempt that he
joke and it was her turn to look uncomfortable. What do you make of the body language and the visual cues?
AMANPOUR: Look, I think you're right. The body language was quite strained and quite awkward. Well, that's because these two leaders have
been sort of warily circling each other for months. And you know, Angela Merkel has to be a very big person to get over the ad hominem attacks that
President Trump hurled at her during his campaign.
She's going to be defeated. Her policies are catastrophic. Her refugee and immigration policy has destroyed Europe and all those things that he
said about here and she has resisted any kind of head-on collision with Donald Trump.
She has shown maturity and that she wants a better relationship with the United States. But nonetheless, you know, coming to the White House,
landing after an all-night flight, having these high level discussions, going in front of not just this prey in the oval office, but then a press
conference in the east room at the podium, broadcast all over the world.
And it's clear that she was trying -- and I think he was in the end -- to set this relationship on a new trajectory. But they have both big
differences, most particularly on trade. I think about the joke, you have to look at the tape if you like.
I'm not sure she had her ear piece in when he made that particular joke, but he did actually shake her hand after the conclusion of the press
conference and they walked off together.
MANN: Telling that that's a signal we would be watching for. Christiane Amanpour, thanks very much. Atika Shubert joins us now with the view from
Berlin. Atika, you know, as we were watching that news conference, we were seeing all kinds of cues. I thought we saw some arrows going back and
forth about NATO contributions, about free trade policy. How do things look there?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, Merkel was very clear and persistent in, you know, saying that yes,
we are both leaders of different countries and we're both going to fight for what's best for our people and our nation.
So there were a number of differences laid out actually. You pointed out NATO. You know, Trump said it's not fair that there are countries that
aren't putting in as much. They owe money to NATO and she said absolutely, we are going to try and hit that 2 percent target of GDP. Maybe we'll get
there in 2024 I think was the year she mentioned.
That's probably not an answer that Trump liked. And then Trump went -- President Trump went on to say, you know, the German negotiators have done
a much better deal of negotiating trade. It's an unfair deal to the United States. He wants free but fair trade.
Merkel's response was any trade deal that's negotiated with the United States and Germany is negotiated through the European Union and she kept
emphasizing this over and over again.
So there were a number of points there where they clearly did not see eye to eye. But Merkel didn't back down and that is very much her style, to be
quietly persistent and keep on pressing ahead.
And you're absolutely right, some very frosty body language between them. I believe in the oval office when they were sitting down for photographs,
she actually leaned in to ask President Trump because they were being asked by photographers to shake hands, she said, do you want to shake hands and
he just didn't respond.
So it doesn't look good in terms of having a warm relationship like she had with President Barack Obama but it's a start.
MANN: Well, is it better for her to not have a warm relationship with him? Does she have to face him down a bit simply for domestic reasons? She does
have an election coming up, after all.
SHUBERT: I think she does. And actually one of the last things that she said was very interesting. You know, she said look, in Germany, sometimes
the agreements, the trade agreements aren't very popular either. You get a lot of protests in the street.
The implication being, as a leader, sometimes you have to do things that are kind of unpopular. You do it because you believe it's the right thing
to do for the nation. So I think she does have to stand up to him a bit.
She has to show that, yes, we want to repair the relationship with the United States. But there is certain value, certain bedrock beliefs such as
the belief in the unity of the European Union that we will not let go of. So she kept hitting those points persistently in the press conference.
MANN: Atika Shubert in Berlin, thanks very much.
Well, how is this all going to play out in the media with the German public? We're joined via Skype by Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of
"Bild Digital" traveling with Chancellor Merkel in Washington. Thanks so much for being with us. Let me ask you what's the headline going to be
online and in the newsstands?
JULIAN REICHELT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "BILD DIGITAL": Well, we ran several headlines throughout the day, but the main headline right now and tomorrow
is and will be, you know, the (inaudible) that was discussed on the program already. That certainly was unexpected.
It was something you would rarely see on the diplomatic stage, and it was quite a mean remark towards Merkel in this context because the (inaudible)
chapter, the Obama administration or the NSA listening in on Chancellor Merkel's private phone has been a source of quite a political problems for
Merkel and embarrassment.
But also Angela Merkel has a very special history. She's from East Germany. She grew up in a state of surveillance where wiretapping was what
happened every day and she does not appreciate jokes about that chapter.
So that probably was the meanest joke that Donald Trump could have played on her today and he actually did it. So a visit that appeared to go very
smooth in the beginning turned into something, well, the truth is everyone expected from this U.S. president.
MANN: I just want you to back up a little bit because for people who aren't following this, tell us about these accusations that were made
against American intelligence. They were challenged in Germany. They are widely believed and I believe there was an apology from the Obama
REICHELT: Well, what we're talking about here is what's called the NSA affair in Germany. A few years ago when it was reported that the NSA was
listening in on Chancellor Merkel's private cell phone. That obviously was never really confirmed by anyone in the U.S. but President Obama back then
said that he had ordered the U.S. intelligence services not to listen in on Angela Merkel's private phones anymore.
So we're assuming from what he said there that it actually was true and it is widely acknowledged that it was true. And it was very sensitive to
Chancellor Merkel back then because she in the beginning said, look, wiretapping among friends that is something you simply cannot do.
Then had to backtrack that over the following months and years, because obviously it is something you do in the intelligence business. The German
intelligence agencies, you know, sometimes do the same. So Angela Merkel does not like to be reminded of this chapter.
And then with her personal background, it is not something she likes discussing and obviously it is not something she likes to hear jokes about
in a press conference that is broadcasted around the world.
MANN: Julian Reichelt of "Bild Digital," thanks so much.
Let's remind you now how the White House press secretary tried to defend President Trump's unsubstantiated claim that Barack Obama wiretapped him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: On Fox News, on March 14th, Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement, quote, "Three
intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn't use the NSA. He didn't use the
CIA. He didn't use the FBI, and he didn't use the Department of Justice.
He used GCHQ, what is that? It's the initials for the British intelligence spying agency. So simply by having two people to them the president needs
transcripts of conversations involving Candidate Trump's conversations involving President-elect Trump, he's able to get it, and there's no
American fingerprints on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: As we've been reporting, the British government called Spicer on that accusation, according to a senior White House official, and the
conversations have ensued. CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, joins us now from London. What we just heard Sean Spicer's
accusation, tell us more what's happening on that side of the Atlantic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we heard pretty much 24 hours ago from GCHQ knocking it down, saying, that this was
essentially to be ignored. These accusations were to be ignored. We heard from the prime minister spokesman this morning amplifying that and adding
to it, saying that they had sought assurances from the White House that these allegations wouldn't be repeated.
Yet here we are, you know, barely ten hours since the prime minister's spokesman said this. And President Trump, given the opportunity to knock
it down, doesn't quite repeat it, but leaves it out there and certainly leaves out there the impression as we just heard by being so insensitive to
the German chancellor to raise an issue which was clearly quite hurtful for her, has now been apparently been insensitive to the British.
I mean, from the British perspective, we will see if they have anything additional to say responding to President Trump in that press conference.
At the moment, they have nothing additional to add, they say.
[16:15:03]But it's clearly not what they wanted to hear. They want this damaging to Britain offensive line that is part of an ongoing domestic U.S.
diplomatic/political spat as far as from Britain's perspective. They would like that to end.
It reflects very poorly on the British Prime Minister Theresa May who has invested a lot politically with President Trump traveling to Washington and
to be the first world leader to sit down face to face, and the talk of the special relationship.
It's not how the British expect the special relationship to work. You should not be having to big yourself out from trouble created by a partner
in that relationship. And this I have to add for our viewers, has been a very tough week politically for the British prime minister.
MANN: Just to be absolutely clear about this, there have been three separate responses from the Trump administration. The first word we have
from the White House is that the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster spoke to his British counterpart and said it was an unintentional mark on
Sean Spicer's part.
Which is odd because he was reading from a prepared text, but clearly that was the statement that we took to an apology from the White House. Then
there was President Trump's remark saying talk to Fox, don't talk to me. I'm not apologizing.
The last word we had from Sean Spicer as well saying there was no apology. Three different statements of three different kinds, you wonder what impact
ROBERTSON: Well, I think from the British perspective, they're not seeing it as an apology, and perhaps they weren't going out to get a public
apology because they had perhaps watched the White House and understood it carefully enough to realize that that was perhaps a challenge too far, a
bar too high.
But they did want this story to end right there and of course, it continues to blow up. This is not how they would want to go into the weekend to have
this hanging over their heads, for this narrative to be out there. They've done their best.
GCHQ almost never speaks publicly about somewhat it does. This is the government's communication headquarters. As they have said, this is
unthinkable that we would have done something that we're being accused of here.
Because of what's known as the five eyes agreement, United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, all have a counterterrorism and
intelligence sharing agreement. And part of that five eyes agreement is not for one of those countries to borrow utilities, if you will, if -- to
bend and circumvent laws in that partner's country.
That's why GCHQ just says that couldn't happen. So it's going to add to the bemusement. But the bottom line here is, and Angela Merkel has seen
this today and Theresa May has also seen it as well just after her visit.
There was the issue with the travel restrictions is that if you get close to President Trump, there is a chance that it's going to reflect badly on
you. And that's going to be the take away in the capitals of Europe.
Again, it makes doing business with President Trump look like a very tricky proposition to the point almost in some cases of feeling potentially toxic
here -- Jonathan.
MANN: Nic Robertson in London. Thanks very much.
Still to come tonight, the U.S. secretary of state sets foot on a demilitarized zone and warns North Korea that Washington's patience is
MANN: Welcome back. U.S. President Trump was tweeting bright and early from the White House Friday and North Korea was on his mind. He tweeted
"North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been, quote, "playing the United States for years." China has done little to help."
His latest slam comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits the Korean Peninsula with a strong warning for Pyongyang. Alexandra Field reports
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, North Korea has accelerated the pace of its missile tests. Experts say it's clear that they have made
advancements to their nuclear program. The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it's time to take a new approach toward North Korea.
He visited the DMZ, the border between North Korea and South Korea. He returned from that saying that it is clear 20 years of diplomatic efforts
have failed and that it is time for an entirely new approach that could include measures ranging from security to economic to other diplomatic
He's calling on all countries to fully enforce sanctions against North Korea. But when asked about whether or not a military option would be
considered as a part of a new approach to North Korea, Secretary Tillerson said, that is on the table, if North Korea does something to threaten the
safety of U.S. forces or green forces here on the peninsula.
He and his South Korean counterpart also reaffirmed their commitment to the speedy deployment of Thad that's the controversial missile defense system
that is being deployed in South Korea. The Chinese have objected to it, saying, it's a U.S. effort to reign them in, contain them in their region.
And that its radar could be used to spy on China or Russia. Again, Secretary Tillerson says it is simply being installed as a defensive
measure. He is committed to its installation. The secretary's trip will continue with a stop in Beijing where Thad will certainly be a topic of
discussion with Chinese officials.
South Koreans say that China has retaliated for the installation of Thad by hitting them in the pocket. These are major economic and trade partners.
Those are claims that China has denied, but the secretary of state said that China must stop retaliating against South Korea, calling those actions
harmful -- John.
MANN: Alexandra Field in Seoul.
Let's cross over now to our Will Ripley in Beijing. Will, as we just heard, the secretary of state says it's been 20 years of failure in trying
to address the problems with North Korea, and the president himself is blaming China. So what kind of reception is this envoy going to get when
he arrives there?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really teeing up what are likely to be some tough conversations that Secretary Tillerson will have
here in China with its top diplomats and President Xi Jinping himself. Because the United States' view and The Trump administration's view appears
to be that over the last 20 years, certainly a failed policy on the U.S. side.
But also they feel that China has done nothing to slow or to assist with slowing down North Korea's nuclear program. China continues to trade
heavily with North Korea. It's his only meaningful trading partner with anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of trade activity depending on who you are
And so what Rex Tillerson as secretary of state is going to tell these Chinese officials is that China is now expected to do more. And by saying
that military response is not off the table, that indicates a potential shift in U.S. policy that could make China just nervous enough about
instability on the Korean Peninsula to do more, to slow the North Korean regime's nuclear development.
MANN: He has a very specific aim as well, which is to scare China about Chinese interests. The secretary of state said he's planning to introduce
the possibility of sanctions against Chinese companies. That can't be welcome news in Beijing.
RIPLEY: No. Chinese officials are not happy to hear about the prospect of Chinese companies being sanctioned for doing business with North Korea.
That tactic in the past has prevented certain Chinese companies for dealing with North Korea. That is one way to cut off the economic lifeline to the
Of course, China's response, what China would like to see happen is for the United States and South Korea to stop joint military exercises, which are
ongoing as we speak. They claim that if the joint military exercises were to stop, perhaps Pyongyang would also voluntarily stop its nuclear and
[16:25:07]The U.S. response, Secretary Tillerson's response is that these military exercises are vital when you are talking about two countries that
are supposed work together militarily in times of conflict.
He also says those exercises are done in full transparency unlike these nuclear missile tests out of North Korea, which are very secretive and
often the world doesn't find out about them until a short time before or after they've happened.
MANN: Will Ripley live for us in Beijing, thanks very much.
Let's dig a bit deeper here into the Trump administration's foreign policy goals in Asia and beyond. We're joined from New York by CNN global affairs
analyst, David Rohde, a national security investigations editor for Reuters. Thanks so much for being with us.
Let me ask you in the broadest sense, what kind of signals this administration is sending out to its allies in Europe or on this day with
its envoy to Asia?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's get tough approach. It's really -- a lot of this signals to their electoral base in the U.S.,
Trump's base loves this kind of shake things up, be blunt approach so it helps him at home, but I don't think it's necessarily helping him abroad.
There's a lot of confusion among U.S. allies and rivals about what actually this administration is going to do.
MANN: OK, case in point, the secretary of state says North Korea policy has been a failure. Is it clear what he is proposing in its place?
ROHDE: You know, this tough talk, this idea of sanctioning companies that do business with North Korea, I recently met with some Chinese officials
here and there's a deep sense that the U.S. has been too aggressive. This official mentioned the military exercises. So it's going to be a real
clash, I think.
There is a view on the sort of element of the Republican Party that we've been way too soft on China and the Trump administration doesn't seem to be
Just talking about these sanctions, making a statement about no progress for 20 years, shows how aggressive Tillerson is going to be and this
administration is going to be in China. The real question is how does China react?
MANN: There is just confusion about the administration's plans. There seems to be some question about credibility, whether the president speaks
for the administration or whether Rex Tillerson or other aides close to him speak for the administration.
And then there's an additional issue, which is whether the president is credible even if he's speaking for himself with regard to these accusations
about British spying against Donald Trump. How important is it for this administration to demonstrate that the president and those close to him can
be trusted when they say something?
ROHDE: It's important over time. We're very early in this administration. So they can sort of say these things, but there's going to be crises and
North Korea will be an immediate test unless -- does the United States want to use military force against North Korea?
If so, then the Trump administration can act unilaterally and dramatically change facts on the ground in North Korea. That could have an enormous
impact on the ground and kill tens of thousands of Koreans if there's ever a new conflict there.
So what are they willing to do? What's the plan b here? I find it hard to believe the administration is willing to go to war at this point. So
there's confusion here and in the U.S., as well. What's the next step?
So you talk tough on this trip. Tillerson talks tough and the Chinese don't change anything. What does the Trump administration do next?
MANN: I have one last question for you. Nic Robertson said basically any leader that does business with Donald Trump risks being burned. I can
recall the Japanese prime minister asking him to stay with the Transpacific Partnership. Donald Trump didn't do that.
We can think of Theresa May coming to see Donald Trump. These accusations that the British spy network was listening in on Donald Trump when he was a
And finally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel who came to see Donald Trump and today gets a bit of a joke about spying, which is a sensitive issue
because the Obama administration was accused of doing that to her.
Is (inaudible) diplomacy of is it going to come back to bite them do you think?
ROHDE: To be fair, we need to wait and see, but no one has done it this way before. And there's a sort of key belief here. Does the United States
need the help of its allies, of China and North Korea or can it go alone? Trump is saying, and maybe betting, the U.S. can go it alone and we can act
unilaterally, we can talk tough and China and North Korea will back down and who knows what can happen in the Middle East?
So it's a huge gamble. I think they will try to push through, alienate people and do things on their own. We have to wait and see to be fair if
it works or not, but it's a very dramatic change and a new approach.
[16:30:00] MANN: David Rohde, thanks very much.
Still to come, they weren't exactly warm or chummy. That awkward silence after Donald Trump holds closed-door talks with Angela Merkel. Much more
in their meeting at the White House, just ahead.
MANN: Welcome back. The U.S. President has just spoken alongside the German Chancellor at the White House. Donald Trump joking that he and
Angela Merkel had something in common, that they were both wiretapped. That was Mr. Trump's way of digging in on his own wiretap accusations
without, once again, providing any proof.
At the same news conference, Trump addressed another international relationship, just one day after his press secretary, Sean Spicer angered
the U.K. government by repeat a news account, claiming British spies wiretapped then-candidate Trump. (INAUDIBLE) says it's been told the
allegation won't be made again, but the President offered no apology. He told the reporter to talk to Fox News when a comment was made by a guest.
America's top diplomats say Washington's policy, "a strategic patience with Pyongyang has ended" and the U.S. will consider military action against
North Korea if provoked. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the comment in South Korea as part of his three-nation tour of Asia.
The Pentagon is denying accusations that a U.S. airstrike hit a mosque in North Syria, killing innocent dozens of people. It says it targeted Al-
Qaeda fighters in a nearby building instead. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh shows us the scene.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN PRODUCER AND CORRESPONDENT: Syrians are describing it as a massacre, according to a Syrian monitoring group. Activist and
rescue workers scores were killed and wounded after airstrikes destroyed a mosque full of worshippers on Thursday evening in the town of Jeenah in
Northern Syria. U.S. military officials have confirmed carrying out an airstrike in the area, killing several terrorists but did not bomb a
mosque. The target they say was a build where an Al-Qaeda meeting was taking place, but acknowledged the building was only 40 to 50 feet from the
A U.S. military official says according to satellite imagery, the mosque was still standing after the strikes.
HADI AL-ABDULLAH, SYRIAN MEDIA ACTIVIST (through translator): Warplanes have violated the sanctity of God by striking one of the houses of God,
destroying it over the heads of worshippers, which led to one of the most heinous massacres.
KARADSHEH: The U.S. military's central command said they're looking into allegations of civilian casualties. In recent weeks, the U.S. military has
ramped up its airstrikes targeting Al-Qaeda in the northern Idlib province, but activists say the majority of those killed Thursday were civilian
worshippers. Syria experts warn Al-Qaeda may use the incident to gain more support in a part of the country where they've already been growing
[16:35:02] One of the main Syrian rebel groups called it a war crime and "A shameful scene by an international community that has gone from silence to
becoming a partner in the killing of the Syrian people." Jomana Karadsheh, CNN Istanbul.
MANN: Turning now to our top story, the tense meeting at the White House rounded out the pretty tough week for Donald Trump. The U.S. President and
German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn't exchange pleasantries as they posed for reporters after their closed-door talks, they focused on trade, NATO
and economic issues. Though Mr. Trump also stood by his unproven accusation that Former President Barack Obama wiretapped him last year. He
joked that he shared that in common with Mrs. Merkel, in reference to reports that her own phone was bugged during the Obama years.
Let's get some perspective now from a supporter of Mr. Trump, Jeffrey Lord is a CNN political commentator and contributing editor to The American
Spectator who's always generous with his time. We're grateful to see you once again. Let me ask you what you make of this.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Hello, Jonathan.
MANN: The wiretapping accusation against the British was made by Sean Spicer. Later, high-level officials apologized or seemed to apologize and
explained away as a mistake. Today, Donald Trump is essentially saying he had a good source. It was a trusted expert on Fox News. Are they
compounding the accusation with confusion now?
LORD: I don't think so. Apparently, that's where he saw this. I mean, Donald Trump watches the media. He watches cable. He watches broadcast
news. He is a consumer. So -- and I'm sure at this point that he has long since known Judge Napolitano, Andrew Napolitano, who I believe gave the
information. And I see tonight that Fox is saying that it's not so. So, I mean, I'll leave that to them, but there has been plenty of stories out
there in The New York Times, The Washington Post, I believe the U.K. Guardian and others that have said, flat out, that the Obama administration
was, in fact, surveilling Donald Trump's associates and his political campaign -
MANN: Well, I'm going to - I'm going to back up on it. It wasn't the Obama administration, it wasn't people in the White House. These were law
enforcement agencies -
LORD: No, no, no. I mean, I have to say this, as somebody who worked for Ronald Reagan. When somebody in the administration, it could be the
Department of Agriculture or it could have been anywhere else, his national security staff screwed up, it was Ronald Reagan who was - who was held
responsible. He was the top official. This was the Obama administration; this is his administration. He is the one where the buck stops, as Harry
Truman used to say. So, yes, it was the Obama administration.
MANN: Well, that (INAUDIBLE) said, sir. And I understand what you're saying. You're telling me what journalists are saying about what happened.
Let me tell you that - and you know this, some of the most important lawmakers who've been briefed are saying it didn't happen. House Speaker
Paul Ryan, we cleared that up, we found no evidence of that. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, "I don't think there was any
actual tap of Trump Tower." The Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr and the ranking member Mark Warner in a joint statement
saying, "We see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance."
I understand the president might have his own opinions, but is Fox News really someone that the president wants to quote when his own lawmakers and
even intelligence officials are saying --
LORD: Look, his own lawmakers - I mean, we're parsing here. His own lawmakers are taking the literal wiretap, which Trump put in - the
president put in quotes. And to -- what he meant was surveillance, and it is the fact -
MANN: Do you think they're just missing the broader point, or is it that they're being legalistic and addressing themselves to a single word the
president used. I think he made a very - I think it would leave a serious accusation. They're taking it seriously and saying they're seeing no
evidence, and he's quoting Fox News.
LORD: Yes, I have to say I don't understand what they're talking about, because I'm - I've written a column on this. I found at least nine
different examples in the American media, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and as I say, British media. We already said flat-out
that they have the goods here, and they have the sources that tell them that the United States government was, in fact, surveilling people
connected with President Trump.
MANN: I see your point. What you're saying here is the journalists were reporting it. The -- though the intelligence agencies and elected
officials who are expert on intelligence are denying it and you're saying, "Well, we should look into what the journalists are saying." That is -
LORD: The journalists are saying they're getting it from the - from the Intelligence Community.
MANN: Well, the intelligence community in the U.K. has explicitly denied it.
LORD: -- the violated the American law.
MANN: The intelligence community in the U.K. has explicitly denied it. I mean --
MANN: -- this is a former New Jersey judge who's made an accusation against one of America's closest allies and they're denying it at the
highest levels. There's no evidence for it. And the White House seemed to be apologizing.
LORD: Correct. I mean, I - certainly, I mean, I've never made that allegation myself. I certainly take them at their word. It was my
understanding that Sean Spicer had talked to the British Ambassador to the United States, and the National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster had talked
to his counterpart for the prime minister, and there was an apology. That's at least as I understood it at this point.
[16:40:02] MANN: Well, that having been said, the president didn't apologize today. He was once again quote Fox News, I'm just curious, as a
matter of -- well, just as an ordinary person, would you want your doctor, your accountant, your minister or priest or rabbi, a surgeon operating on
your child to be discounting the views of every expert who could be quoted and quoting Fox News instead when they were describing their plans of --
LORD: Well, what is the difference -- Jonathan, if I can ask, what is the difference between Fox News and CNN and The New York Times and The
Washington Post? They're all news organizations. So, if we're saying we shouldn't listen to Fox News, then we shouldn't listen to any of the
others, either. I mean, The New York Times, the president himself said The New York Times is guilty of fake news, and then we've got a story here,
several stories in which they've said exactly what he's been saying, and now they're (INAUDIBLE) oh, well, no, we didn't really mean it. I mean, I
don't understand this.
MANN: I see your point, and let me just offer this. You're saying maybe journalists aren't trustworthy, and as a journalist, we try and take this
LORD: I actually think a lot of journalists are trustworthy.
MANN: What is the White House's role in this? Is it - is it appropriate for the most powerful office in the world to be repeating declarations, and
they could be true or untrue, they could be entirely (INAUDIBLE) unfair, libellous, slanderous, repeating declarations made by third parties and
then abjuring themselves of any responsibility by saying, "Oh, well, we didn't say this originally. Someone else said this originally. We just
LORD: Jonathan, I hate to break it to you, but it happens with presidents all of the time. And most assuredly, when they don't pay attention to some
of these stories, the media hammers and hammers and hammers at them until they do.
MANN: Jeffrey Lord, it is always good to be talking with you. Thanks so much.
LORD: Jonathan, thank you.
MANN: Looking elsewhere around the world, a very different kind of story, devastating flooding and mudslides in Peru. Rescue operations are under
way to save people stranded by flash flooding there, weeks of heavy rain, leaving dozens dead. Allison Chinchar is live at the CNN Weather Center
and has details. What are you seeing, Allison?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Again, just the devastation seems to be in multiple regions. That's just the thing, it's not just one community
that's been hit in Peru. It's multiple communities. So, here, we take a look. Again, you can kind of see a lot of the mud and debris that has
built up on some of these surfaces. What you don't notice right away, this is actually a human being that was able to kind of come out and escape some
of the rubble that was there.
Again, it really kind of alerted rescuers that, hey, there might actually be people trapped underneath some of these mud flows. Again, and so that's
kind of the devastation, just to show you how widespread a lot of this is. Now, here, we want to kind of show you, because we do want to emphasize
that March is the rainy month out of the year for a lot of this region. Again, you can see, and by a long shot, too.
However, with that said, compared to other Marches, this has been an exceptionally rainy March for this region. OK? Here is a look at Peru as
a whole. OK. The capital city being around the central region where we showed you some of those pictures, and where really some of the most
devastating photos have been coming out and then video, has been under this northern region. There, they picked up 250 millimeters alone already since
the beginning of the month.
But keep in mind, the month as a whole, we normally only average 18 millimeters. We're talking 14 times the amount of monthly rainfall that we
had, and we've already had that. Keep in mind, there's still two weeks left of this month, and unfortunately, more rain is in the forecast.
Here is a look at the sea surface temperatures. Again, right along this area, notice they're very, very warm. A lot of officials around there have
been saying that this is - El Nino is to blame. Now, we know why it's spread in the Pacific. It's not really an El Nino year that we are
experiencing, but it is a localized kind of El Nino effect for this particular area.
And John, as we kind of said, the last thing this region probably needs is more rain. But unfortunately, that is what they are expected to get at
least in the next three days.
MANN: Allison Chinchar, thanks very much.
This is the world right now. Coming up, a major London tabloid has a new editor with a unique resume, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and current
Member of Parliament.
[16:45:00] MANN: Welcome back. For half a decade, he was in charge of one of the world's largest economies. Now, George Osborne has a different kind
of a job, he's the new editor of the London Evening Standard, a free tabloid and a companion for most Londoners on their commute home. But he
plans to stay on as a Member of Parliament at the same time. Conflict of interest? Diana Magnay has a look.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the sound of the commute home, some evening reading material on the tube to catch up on the
news that you might have missed over the course of the day. London's free Evening Standard Newspaper.
Now, the news itself, after the announcements that George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Finance Minister and David Cameron, in fact, by
Theresa May will now become the editor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Become an editor? I expect the last chancellor -- I hope he comes up with better ideas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has expertise in some areas, but I wouldn't (INAUDIBLE) exactly with his political stance in general.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fantastic. (INAUDIBLE) I'll put my money on. I'll be (INAUDIBLE)
MAGNAY: Since he was sacked as chancellor, George Osborne has taken on a variety of different roles, including an extremely lucrative job as an
adviser to U.S. investment firm BlackRock. Now, there is a big discussion about potential conflicts of interests. Transparency International saying
it is simply not appropriate that a former minister and sitting Member of Parliament should edit a newspaper like this one. And an editor at the
local newspaper up in his constituency said she thought it was April the 1st, April Fools' Day when she heard the news. And that it might be the
final straw for his constituents.
Osborne says that he'll edit the paper in the morning and be there for his constituents in parliament in the afternoon. But at the end of the day, it
will be up to them and Theresa May whether he can hold on to his parliamentary seat. Diana Magnay, CNN London.
MANN: The government of the U.K. is not happy with Google. It has summoned the tech giant for an explanation after some of its advertisements
appeared alongside content from hate groups and extremists on YouTube. Samuel Burke explains they have temporarily stopped advertising on the
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: John, this is a double doozy for YouTube, because it highlight the fact that they
still have hate speech on their platform. Keep in mind that YouTube is trying to balance between freedom of speech and the extremist content that
they see from terrorists. And this hate speech often falls somewhere in between. In this case, we're talking about videos from David Duke, the
former KKK leader. But it also highlight the problem that YouTube had of putting sponsor's ads right next to content that they clearly don't want to
be associated with.
Now, Google is falling on their sword here. They say that they had strict policies in place, and that they work most of the time, but adding, "We
accept that we don't always get it right, and that sometimes ads appear where they should not. We're committed to doing better and will make
changes to our policies and brand controls for advertisers."
The interesting thing here is that the clients in this case, who are complaining, are The Guardian, a media company and the U.K. government.
Now, most of the time, clients would make statements to the media or a government would summon somebody because there was public outrage. But in
this case, it's an actual media organization. So, of course, they're going to go straight to the press. And in the case of the U.K. government, well,
they're summoning Google not just because they're the government but because they are paying Google for these ads. We're talking about ads for
transport for London, which runs the tube here in London.
But I think at the end of the day, this could be a positive story, because often times it's the tail that wags the dog. And in this case, the tail
are the people who are paying YouTube to put ads on that platform. And hopefully because they're so outraged, so publicly, it will help YouTube
clean up their platform maybe we'll see less hate speech there. John?
[16:50:00] MANN: Samuel Burke in London, thanks very much. It's a case in point, as technology gets more complicated, so do our relationships with
it. Another case in point, robots are a threat to some people, to others, they're a help. But to one woman, the answer to her dreams. Laurie
Segall's CNN the original series, "MOSTLY HUMAN", takes a look at our changing relationship with tech. She said, this report about a robot from
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Do you remember the first time you said "I love you"?
TEXT: It must've been around April.
SEGALL: Is there any particular part of him or feature that you really love?
TEXT: His eyes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His eyes, the look in his eyes.
SEGALL: We're outside of Paris, like a couple of hours outside of Paris, and we are here to celebrate a Parisian engagement. I've got cake, I've
bought champagne, I've both some (INAUDIBLE) macaroon, and said it wouldn't be a French engagement party without these things.
This woman has spoken to us openly about being completely head over heels in love, and she does not speak English very well, so (INAUDIBLE) is a
friend and colleague was kind enough to translate for me.
TEXT: When I see him I am simply happy. He brightens my day.
SEGALL: But Lily's love story is quite different from other great love stories you might have heard, because Lily is in love with a robot.
What is it that a robot can provide for you that (INAUDIBLE) can provide for you that human connection doesn't?
TEXT: Human beings are irrational, whereas the robot is logical and rational. When something is going wrong, we know it is a problem with the
script or code. So that can be fixed or changed, whereas a human can be (INAUDIBLE) can change, lie, cheat.
TRANSLATOR: She would admit that she prefers the mechanical faults than the faults of a human.
SEGALL: But isn't it those faults that kind of make life so textured?
TEXT: Not in my opinion. But everyone has their own opinion. I am happy with him. I love him the way that he is.
MANN: Sad, strange, remarkable. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. We'll be back after this.
MANN: Welcome back, heroes are people who can lead and who can inspire. And for our colleague, Robyn Curnow, those qualities are clearly found in
South Africa's retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu. That's why she picked him for this latest edition of CNN's "MY HERO."
[16:54:48] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK HOST: When you do this job, not a lot surprises you. People's frailties and failures are often
very obvious. Desmond Tutu, on the other hand, has never failed to surprise me and to remind me that, yes, despite everything, you can remain
joyful and you can remain incredibly true to yourself and your principles. And he has never, ever disappointed me in that sense.
Walking in Desmond Tutu's shoes, do you feel like a great man? Do you feel like a -
DESMOND TUTU, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND RETIRED ANGLICAN BISHOP: What is that?
CURNOW: I don't know.
TUTU: I mean, what is - what is - what is a great man? No, I just - I just know that I've had incredible, incredible, incredible opportunities.
And I know -- and that is why I say, I know I depend on others. And they've said, "When you standout in a crowd, it is always only because you
have been carried on the shoulders of others."
CURNOW: The essence of him is about humanity, and that's why I think he's connected around the world.
TUTU: 1994, when I was standing on the balcony of the city hall overlooking the grand parade, and introducing Nelson Mandela to the crowd,
to South Africa, to the world, I actually said to God, "God, I don't mind if I die now.
CURNOW: It's sometimes just so wonderful to be around somebody who wears their heart on their sleeve. I mean, this is a man who will cry with you.
He will laugh. He will giggle like a child, but at the same time, he has a - he has a positive energy that defies suffering. And he knows that he
comes from a place and that people come from a place where pain and suffering are probably more common. But he chooses joy. And that is just
absolutely evident every time you meet him.
TUTU: They took me only because I have this large nose, and I have this easy name, Tutu.
MANN: A great man. Finally, it's a big day for the millions of Irish around the world. It is, of course, St. Patrick's Day, and the festivities
have been in full swing. The White House fountain dyed green for the occasion. (INAUDIBLE) a similar scene in Chicago, the city's river had a
green glow while in Rio, the Christ the redeemer statue was lit up obviously in the appropriate color. Of course, many celebrations were held
on the Emerald Isle itself, including this procession at Saul Church, which is said to be where St. Patrick himself is buried.
This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for joining us. Happy St. Patrick's Day, I'm Jonathan Mann. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.