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CONNECT THE WORLD

James Comey Set to Testify for Congress Tomorrow; Japanese School Children Drill for Worst-Case Scenario; Remembering Chuck Berry; Israeli Prime Minister Threatens to Dissolve Parliament; Remembering a Grim Anniversary in Syria. 11:00a-12:00P ET

Aired March 19, 2017 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:13] LYNDA KINKADE, HOST: Did Moscow meddle in America's election? We're getting hat could finally be some big answers from the FBI to the

accusation that's been haunting Donald Trump.

All the latest on that story just ahead.

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the sound of a siren, children hit the deck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KINKADE: And this is why as North Korea gets aggressive, Japan teaches its children how to survive an attack.

Also, capturing life in a city of ruins. We'll speak to the photographer finding very powerful images from Aleppo.

Hello and welcome to Connect the World live from the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Lynda Kinkade sitting in for Becky Anderson this hour.

We begin with the Korean peninsula adding to high tensions. North Korea says it has successfully test-fired a powerful new rocket engine. State

media called the test, which was overseen by Kim Jong-un himself a great leap forward for rocket development. Earlier CNN asked our military

analyst Mark Hertling about the magnitude of the test.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Some of these technologies which North Koreans are including in their rocket expansion

program actually have to do with a covert method of firing missiles without being detected in advance of exploding the devices. So that's part of the

issue.

The other piece is when you're talking about an intercontinental ballistic missile, the types of warheads and the amount of weight that are in the

missile itself have to be launched off a pad and the better they can improve their technology to do that, the more accurate these systems are

going to be not only from leaving the pad, but going into the atmosphere and then had hitting the target on the other side.

So, all of these things are steps in a program that continue to advance their technology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KINKADE: Mark Hertling there.

Well, North Korea's test came as the U.S. and China were holding diplomatic talks. The nuclear threat from North Korea was at the top of the agenda.

CNN's Will Ripley has been following the developments from Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ending his first official trip to Asia with a friendly meeting on

Sunday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, that comes after meetings on Saturday with China's two top diplomats, very cordial, friendly, public

statements, but behind closed doors we have been told that the conversations were very frank and very candid as the U.S. and China try to

feel each other out, especially with the new Trump administration and Beijing's uncertainty about just how far President Trump

is willing to go when it comes to the North Korean nuclear threat.

Secretary Tillerson said several times over his trip to China, South Korea and Japan, that all options are now on the table. The days of strategic

patience are over and even a military response is possible if the United States is provoked. That makes Beijing nervous, because they prize more

than anything stability on the Korean peninsula. They do not want to see a

military conflict. And so they are urging for all sides to have cooler heads.

But North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is making that difficult. On Sunday, state media in Pyongyang announced a new test of a new kind of a new kind

of rocket engine that takes the North Korean government one step closer to their ultimate goal of developing an ICBM with a nuclear-tipped warhead

capable of reaching the mainland United States. Its right now the danger from North Korea is more urgent than ever.

The U.S. thinks that China needs to do to reign in North Korea. They feel that Beijing has a lot of leverage, because it's North Korea's only

meaningful trading partner Beijing thinks that the United States is responsible to diffuse tensions. They want the U.S. to stop ongoing

military exercises with South Korea.

So, you can see both sides pretty far apart. Details still being finalized for what we expect will be a meeting between President Trump and Presidnet

Xi the United States. They have a lot to talk about.

Will Ripley, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, North Korea's military actions are alarming its neighbors. Japan is now preparing its people the possibility of a missile attack. You

can see here, have a look at this, just how close those countries are. CNN's Ivan Watson went to one Japanese school where even the youngest

students are learning how to respond.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[10:05:04] WATSON: Japanese school children at play, overseen by teachers who sometimes join in the fun until they're suddenly interrupted.

At the sound of the siren, children hit the deck and wait for further instructions.

This is a drill, a loudspeaker announces, a missile has been launched.

This is Japan's first missile evacuation exercise, a simulation preparing people for the threat of a possible North Korean missile strike against

this country.

The Japanese government is trying to demonstrate that as North Korea's missile program grows more sophisticated, communities like this could

become a target.

When it's all over, a government official thanks the volunteers and promises the Japanese armed forces will do all they can to shoot down North

Korean missiles.

But earlier this month, neither Japan nor its U.S. and South Korean allies could stop North Korea from successfuld firing at least four missiles in a

single day, three of them landed in the sea less than 200 nautical miles from this small coastal town.

In this sleepy fishing port, locals are waking up to a growing threat.

"It's scary," says this fisherman who has just hauled in freshly caught octopus. "You never know what the North Koreans might do next."

For some here, the missile exercise brings back painful memories.

"During World War II, we performed evacuation drills," 89-year-old (inaudible) Ishigaki (ph) tells me. "We put on gas masks and dug tunnels

to hide in and in the future we might have to do that again."

The principal of the main elementary school here says his students need to be prepared for a man-made disaster.

"Usually, we perform drills for natural disasters," he says.

But the potential threat from a missile is beyond imagination.

In addition to its fresh air and seafood, this remote corner of Japan is famous for Namahage (ph), a fairy tale monster that kept kids awake at

night.

But now there's a very real threat that may leave everyone here losing sleep.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Oga, Japan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, in less than 24 hours, we could get some answers to tough questions looming over the Trump White House. FBI director James Comey is

testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. This will be the first public hearing on Russia's alleged meddling in last year's presidential

election.

Comey is set to face questions on the FBI probe that's digging into those allegations.

And lawmakers on the committee are eager to learn whether the FBI has uncovered any links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Well, the outcome of that hearing could have a major impact on U.S.-Russian relations. Our Clare Sebastian is tracking the reaction from Moscow and

joins us now live.

Clare, Russia says they won't be watching the public hearing into whether they meddled in the election. Somehow I find that hard to believe.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, Lynda, I think it's fair to say that when you have the FBI director under oath on

Capitol Hill talking about an investigation that they've been conducting potentially into links between the Trump campaign, or Trump administration

and Russia that someone in the Kremlin is going to be watching.

But, yes, publicly they've been saying that they have their own work to do. They're busy with their own issues and that they're not following these

hearings. It was a rather colorful phrase from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov that this is a broken record with futuristic songs, a broken record

presumably because Russia has consistently denied that it has anything to do with meddling in the U.S. election, that any contacts that happened

between the Trump campaign or Trump administration and Russia are nothing more than the normal course of diplomacy.

You know, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov actually spoke recently to CNN's Fareed Zakaria and outlined their position very clearly. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: The whoel situation takes us from - takes us away from the perspective of getting our relationship to a better

condition. We quite unexpectedly we were face that situation when Russia all of a sudden became, let's say, a nightmare for the United States. And

we sincerely cannot understand why American people and American politicians started the process of self-humiliation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:10:17] SEBASTIAN: Self-humiliation is particuarly interesting, because one the hand it is politically expedient for the Kremlin to paint this as a

sign of weakness, a sign of chaos in Washington so they appear as stable by comparison. But this is also a moment where Russia realizes as you see

that it has become a key Achilles Heel for the Trump administration and for Trump himself, and that it may, in fact, become politically impossible for

Trump to follow through on his campaign promises of creating a closer relationship with Russia.

So, this is not only a crucial moment for the Trump administration, but for Russia too. And I think as you said despite their claims that they are too

busy to be watching this, this will certainly be something that matters very much here in Russia, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yeah, no doubt. Clare Sebastian for us live in Moscow. Thank you.

Well, no one is covering a story like CNN, so make sure you are with us tomorrow when we'll have analysis and reporting from every side of what's

going on right as that hearing gets underway.

Our coverage starts ahead of that at 1:00 in the afternoon in London, 5:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi. That's right here on CNN.

KINKADE: Now, we want to get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar. Somalia is calling for an investigation into Friday's

attack on a migrant vessel off of Yemen. The UN says at least 42 people were killed. It's not yet clear who is responsible. Yemen, of course, is

torn by civil war and a Saudi-led coalition is fighting the rebel forces.

Indian prime minister has tapped a firebrand Hindu priest to lead India's most populous state. Narendra Modi's party won control of Uttar Pradesh in

a landslide this week. Modi's pick for chief minister has been accused of inciting violence against Muslims.

Pope Francis is set to go to Egypt next month. The Vatican says he was invite d by the Egyptian

president, church leaders as well as the highest Islamic authority in the country. Much of his visit will be focused on improving relations between

Christians and Muslims.

Well, still to come, France is on edge yet again after Saturday's shooting at Orly Airport. Police are treating it as terrorism and it comes just

weeks before French citizens go to the polling station for the new president. I'll have a live report from Paris.

Plus, life amid the ruins. I'll speak to the photographer who captured this moment of tranquility amid Syria's chaos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:15:15] KINKADE: Hello, You're watching CNN and this is Connect the World with me Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.

Well, there's a lot going on today in France with just five weeks to go until the country votes

for a new president. There is, of course, a new focus on security following Saturday's attack at Orly Airport in Paris.

Authorities say a man grabbed a soldier's rifle and yelled that he wanted to die in the name of Allah. He was shot and killed by French troops. The

incident is being investigated by anti-terror units.

Well, we are hearing from the man's father. CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris. And Melissa, the attacker's father was taken into

custody. What are you learning?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He was one of three people taken into custody, three people close to Ziyad Ben Belgacem, the man who

tried to wrestle that weapon from a female soldier at Orly Airport before being shot down.

And this, of course, after having shot at police who tried to stop him earlier in the morning on the outskirts of Paris in his car, Lynda. Those

three people included Ziyad Ben Belgacem's father, cousin and brother.

Now, the father was released before the other two and has since been speaking to French media.

Now, as you just mentioned, Ziyad Ben Belgacem, and we learned this from - we had this confirmed by Paris's prosecutor last night, we spoke at length

about the details of what we knew. Ziyad Ben Belgacem before being killed said that he was wanting to die in the name of Allah and that others would

be killed, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that his intention had been, first of all, to cause as much harm as he possibly could, but also that he

was acting out of a sort of religious fanaticism, a form of extra - Islamist extremism.

Not at all, says his father, who has been speaking on French media. In fact, Ziyad Ben Belgacem never prayed, said his father, and his actions

yesterday were the result, he believes, of a mixture of drugs and alcohol.

KINKADE: Right. And, Melissa, of course, this is all coming at a time when people are preparing to go to polling booths to elect a new president.

Candidates are trying woo voters with tough talk on crime, particularly via a far right candidate Marine Le Pen.

BELL: That's right, Lynda. This really plays into Marine Le Pen's narrative. In fact, she was very quick to jump on it last night. She held

a meeting in Mets (ph) in the east of France and said that this was another example of the government's failure to deal with terrorism. She described

the French government as being rather like a rabbit caught in the headlines when it

came to dealing with a terror threat, and she was of course criticized immediately by the French prime minister who said, look, rather than than

use these sorts of sad events to try and boost your cause, why not encourage your Mps to vote in favor of the anti-terror legislation that

regularly comes before parliament.

Now, Marine Le Pen, of course, has also been speaking on French television today. And since she does present herself, Lynda, as the law and order

candidate, this is something that she's very much likely to continue using over the course of the next few days.

KINKADE: No doubt.

And Melissa, given the results we saw in The Netherlands, how is Le Pen and her supporters feeling?

BELL: Well, she believes that what's interesting about what happened to Geert Wilders is not so much that he lost, but to use the words of the

National Front, that his party - that he progressed. So that he did better than he had done in previous elections.

The other thing to bear in mind is that there are important differences between a Geert Wilders who sort of presented himself as the defender of

the west against Islam and whose anti-Islamic rhetoric was extremely virulent, extremely strong. Marine Le Pen has adopted since she took over

the party from her father in 2011 a much more nuanced rhetoric, really placing the emphasis much more on the idea of French nationalism, making

the country great again and trying to exclude all the kind of racist and anti-Semitic undertones that were associated with the party when it was

still run by her father.

We have been speaking to some of her supporters, some of those who are planning to vote National Front to try and understand why this populist

wave appears to be doing so well in France. I'll remind you that Marine Le Pen is currently top of the polls going into the first round.

I began by asking them whether the believe that after Brexit and Trump's victory in the United States, a Marine Le Pen presidency was likely to be

the next domino to fall. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: I do think there is a a new thing that is renewed patriotism, you know. In the U.S., you have America first. In the UK has

the Brexit which basically means UK first. And what we are trying to achieve here is really France first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It would show that all the polls are once again wrong, like they were with Brexit and Donald Trump. The

impossible is now possible.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: This election it means people want to be free. It's - I have in America, as in England, people want to get free. And that's why

Marine Le Pen will win because people doesn't want again this system.

BELL: Of course, the French president has a lot of power, much more than an American president. There are fewer checks and balances. It's a lot

of power in the hands of one person. Many people are looking at France from the outside and saying given how radical she is on so many questions,

this will represent a sort of revolution for France. Do you agree with that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): All this power, which is great, that Marine Le Pen will have in her hands, well she's going to give it back

to the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes (inaudible) yeah, she's against democracy. She wants (inaudible) democracy, but on the contrary, we want more

democracy. We want a proportional vote. We want referendums. We want the people to be more involved in the electoral process and in the democratic

process.

BELL: None of you have mentioned immigration so far which was of course traditionally central, at least in the National Front under Jean-Marie Le

Pen until just a few years ago. (inaudible) is that still a consideration for you in your National Front vote?

UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The immigration question is, of course, very important. It's a question like any other, but it can't be

overlooked because we know immigration lowers salaries. However, we also believe that cultural assimilation is possible.

BELL: Is it easier to say I vote National Front. I support the National Front than it was just a few years ago?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, more and more, especially among young people. Even the young people who don't agree with us are more

and more respectful with regards to our political opinions.

BELL: Would Marine Le Pen arriving in power not be a bad message to send to France's ethnic minorities, its Jewish population as a result of the

history of the party?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The only way to fight racism is to be proud, to be patriotic, belonging to the national community, be French

above everything else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it worth any chance that the Front National was racist, anti-Semitic or anything else I wouldn't be able to campaign for

Marine Le Pen, you know. I do have Jewish origins partially. Some people in my family were deported during the World War II. So I'm very sensitive

about this issue.

I think that it's really the symbolism that Front National has really changed, you know - she - Marine Le Pen doesn't accept at all those kind of

declarations of racism or anti-semitism.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BELL: The question is really Lynda, whether Marine Le Pen will have convinced a sufficiently large part of the French electorate of what you

just heard there, the idea that the current modern National Front is very different to the old. Many of her critics say that it is precisely that

much more nuanced position that she has compared to her father that makes her so terribly dangerous - Lynda.

KINKADE: It was interesting to hear their perspective. Melissa Bell, great to have you with us. Thank you.

Well, from the election drama in France to a threat of early elections in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to dissolve the

government in a dispute with his finance minister. The two men disagree over whether to establish a new Public Broadcasting Corporation and there's

a lot of murky politics bubbling below the surface. Some Israeli commentators accuse Mr. Netanyahu of trying to divert attention away from

corruption allegations.

Well, let's go straight to CNN's Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. Oren, good to have you with us. Before we get to all of that, I just wanted to ask

you about something, making a pretty direct threat to the Syrian government.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This the Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman. And he's certainly known as a hawkish minister

here, especially since he took over the defense ministry last year. and he threatened that if Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israel again,

Israel would destroy Syria's air defense. And this all goes back to overnight Thursday to Friday when Israeli jets struck a site.

According to the Syrian military near Palmyra, Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at those Israeli jets. Syria claims downed an Israeli jet and

struck another one of hose jets. Israel says that's, quoe, absolutely untrue.

But one of those anti-aircraft missiles was hit by Israel's arrow ballistic missile defense system, the first time that was ever used operationally.

The question of Lieberman's words about taking out Sryia's air defense, whether that's a threat or something he intends to do, Lieberman is

certainly no stranger to strong rhetoric, but to determine whether it's a threat or something he intends to do, that will take the next strike, a

reported Israeli strike in Syria.

So, we'll see where this leads over the last few months. And we have seen increased rhetoric between Syria and Israel as we've seen a few more

reported Israeli strikes on Syria as Israel tries to strike weapons convoys headed to Hezbollah in Lebanon - Lynda.

[11:25:05] KINKADE: All right. A lot to take in there, but let's just focus on the calls to dissolve parliament now. This, of course, is the

most right wing government in the country's history. They seem to be politically aligned. Why would Benjamin Netanyahu want to do this?

LIEBERMANN: Well, one Israeli columnist here said if you want to understand Israeli politics today, you don't need an analyst, you need a

psychologist, because that's how crazy it's been here, especially over the last week as we've seen a tremendous amount of in-fighting in the

coalition. To give you a sense of that, this is the Friday Jerusalem Post. It says coalition crisis averted over new public broadcaster. 48 hours

later, this is today's Jerusalem Post - prime minister threatens to dissolve government is Israeli broadcast corporation not stopped. That's

how quick the transition has been here.

So, why would Netanyahu do this? You're absolutely right, he has a right- wing government, but he's not the most right-wing politician or party in his government, which means he needs to keep his government from moving

further to the right than he's comfortable with.

This may be Netanyahu's way of trying to institute or trying to implement coalition discipline as a threat against some of the smaller parties.

Now, he certainly has advantages if he were to dissolve the government. First, as you pointed out, he's facing a graft investigation. If he

dissolves the government, it's about 99 days until the next elections. The investigation, the criminal investigation in

Netanyahu's affairs is immediately stopped. It is also a possible way of stopping an annexation bill that would annex part of the West Bank, the

city of (inaudible), a settlement just outside of Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has said in the past he doesn't want to move toward annexation. But if he comes out against that bill, he will be seen as not being as

right wing as some of the other parties. To dissolve the government is to stop that bill without coming out against it.

All of that speculation here has been about his comments of calling for early elections. At the moment it's seen as a threat that he doesn't want

to carry out. He's in a comfortable position with a comfortable government, this could be a way of just trying to keep his government in

line.

We'll see where it goes. The dispute now is not - is between Netanyahu's Likud Party and the party of the finance minister Moshe Kahlon. The

problem here is Kahlon's party is the least right wing, most centrist party in this own government that may stand to benefit politically if there are

elections. We'll see how Netanyahu plays this over the next few days.

At the moment, he's in China for the next few days. So, he's away from the continued squabbling in this his own coalition.

KINKADE: Certainly, a lot to keep you busy there. Oren Liebermann, great to have you with us. Thank you.

Well, the latest world headlines are coming up.

Plus, it's a busy week ahead for U.S. President Trump. What is on the agenda. We'll find out next when we go to Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[11:31:35] KINKADE: Well, it has been 59 days since Donald Trump took the oath of office. And these next few days could be pivotal to the

president's success in office.

On Monday, FBI director James Comey is set to testify publicly before the House intelligence committee on potential Russian meddling in last year's

election.

Later in the week, health care will be in the spotlight. Repeal and replace, that was the campaign slogan, but the road to changing Obamacare

is proving difficult.

The GOP overhaul of the health care system will come up for a vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Well, for more on the busy week ahead, I'm joined by Ryan Lizza. He is a CNN political commentator and Washington correspondent for The New Yorker

Magazine. Always good to have you with us, Ryan.

President Trump said that the bill, the health care bill, would provide insurance, universal health care for everyone. He said, I'm not going to

take care -- I'm going to take re of everyone even if it costs me votes. That was his promise during the campaign. This bill doesn't seem to come

close to doing that.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. And as recently as January he told The Washington Post that his bill would include, quote, insurance for

everybody, end quote.

So, you know, either he has some ideological instincts on this issue that are very, very different that his conservatives colleagues, but they won

the day here with this bill or he never really thought deeply about this, and was making promises without really thinking what they meant.

But this bill - you know, the easiest part of this bill should be the vote in the House of Representatives, you know, that's the most legislation

getting it through the house is usually the easy part. So, the fact that they're having so much trouble getting it through the House is very ominous

for them.

KINKADE: Well, that's right. And it's not just upsetting voters, we saw all those angry voters in the town hall meetings. Democrats angry about

it, but even his own Republicans against it.

LIZZA: And for different reasons, too. The Republicans are really divided on this. There's a group of, you know, the best description is moderates

who believe that this bill is not generous enough when it comes to Medicaid. Medicaid is the program in the United States for the poor and

disabled. Obama took that program and expanded it it to people just over the poverty line so that they could have access to the Medicaid program.

So, millions of people joined Medicaid since the Obama health care bill passed and there are a lot of Republican governors who like that Medicaid

expansion have used it to provide health care in their states, and lots of members of congress who also want to preserve some elements of it. Those

are the moderates. They want that Medicaid expansion.

On the right, you have a lot of very conservative Republicans who say, no, we want to roll back

that entire Medicaid expansion to the pre-Obama era. And that is the - the fundamental problem, the simplest way to look the at the problem he's

having. The more generous Trump and this legislation makes the Medicaid expansion the more conservatives he loses, the more he cuts that Medicaid

expansion, the moderate he loses. That's the tight rope he's walking and that's the thing to watch

between now and Thursday when we have a vote on this in the House of Representatives is how do

Republicans manage those two parts of their coalition.

[11:35:01] KINKADE: Right, so the Republicans voting on it this Thursday. If it doesn't pass, what happens?

LIZZA: You know, if it doesn't pass - I mean, theoretically they could go back to the drawing board and try and come up with a piece of legislation

that gets 216 votes, which is what they need right now in the House of Representatives. But, boy, if it doesn't pass I think it shows that there

simply is no piece of legislation that could win that coalition over.

Now, in the House of Representatives, when you are the Speaker of the House, you don't put legislation on the floor unless you are very confident

of it passing. So, the fact that they have scheduled a vote and are going to have it Thursday means that they believe that pieces are falling into

place to get to 216.

However, we know publicly that there are at least some 25 Republicans who have said theywill vote against the plan as currently written. So, there

seems like there's some behind the scenes negotiations that may be revealed in the coming days, there might be some amendments that win over some of

those people.

But, boy, if it doesn't pass, it's devastating for the president and the rest of his agenda.

KINKADE: He also has another - a few things on his agenda this week. Donald Trump, of course, continues to insist that he was wiretapped at

Trump Tower. And that the former president Barack Obama was behind it.

We are espected to hear from the Justice Department tomorrow. They are expected to say that is wrong, that claim is false. Where does the

president go from here?

LIZZA: Look, tomorrow is going to be a big, dramatic showdown between the FBI Director James Comey, who was not appointed by Trump, but is a holdover

from the Obama era and has a staggered 10 year term, so they're tried - which is the reason behind that is to make them apolitical. And he's

coming before a very important committee tomorrow, the House Intelligence Committee. And he's going to be asked directly is what the president said

true or not. And it's the first time where he will have a chance to publicly address this issue. And all indications are that this - what the

president said is not true and that Comey will point that out.

That's going to be an earthquake because this will be yet another senior American official saying there's just no evidence for this reckless claim

that the president made.

So - and if you know anything about Comey, he is very independent. He - when he testified about Hillary Clinton and the email investigation against

her, it was very important testimony that sort of cleared her of wrongdoing.

And the president at some point is going to have to face the fact that what he said is simply not true or provide some evidence, because every senior

American intelligence official that has addressed this issue, and now UK officials, has said what he said is just completely wrong.

KINKADE: All right. Ryan Lizza, we will be watching it all as it happens this week. A lot to follow. Ryan Lizza, great to have you with us.

LIZZA: My pleasure. Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, you are watching Connect the World. Still to come, a tale we rarely hear from Syria. We will speak to a photographer who went back

to east Aleppo to see what happened next after taking some captivating images.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:40:46] KINKADE: Well, leaving the last pocket of resistance in a city once known

as the cradle of the Syrian revolution. Activists say 2,000 people, including 400 rebel fighters, left Homs this weekend. Under evacuation

deals, opposition enclaves are handed over to the government in exchange for safe passage for rebels and residents.

Well, the city of Aleppo also saw such a deal. In December, thousands of fighters and

their families left eastern Aleppo before government force recaptured it. Many others who fled earlier have now returned to their bombed out homes.

Three months on, this image I'm about to show, this image of an elderly man called Mohammed Ennis (ph) listening to music on his old gramophone

captured hearts worldwide.

Well, the photographer who took that image joins me now from Beirut. Joseph Eid works for the French news agency AFP. Great to have you with

us.

Joseph, just looking at that image, it's pretty captivating that old man sitting amongst the rubble in his slippers with his pipe seemingly having

just a moment of reflection while the world around him has fallen apart.

Talk to us about the moment you took that image.

JOSEPH EID, AFP: Well, absolutely. Mr. Ennis (ph) was a wealthy man from Aleppo. He lost everything and like is many of his countrymen also. And

he just came back to his house to try to rebuild it and to stay there. Now, he didn't want to leave it.

And while he was taking us around the house, he showed us what happened to what he always

cherished in his life. And by accident, we asked him about if all his phonograph is still working. He said, of course, I always hear my favorite

music in it. And thank god it's not broken because I don't have electricity here, and I use it because it's mechanical. And I hear the

music that I love through it.

And he had just proposed to us, to show us and to make us listen some of his favorite music.

And he always - he went - he reached to his pipe, because he said he cannot listen to his favorite music without smoking his pipe. So he sat on the

bed and between the rubble of his bedroom and he was like transported from this moment that he was listening to the music and smoking his pipe. he was

like in meditating. I felt that he he was transported to the old good times of his past decades that when he was living peacefully and happily in

his hometown Aleppo.

That's when I had the feeling. I was like electroshock, and I felt that I have to take this image. I asked all my colleagues in the AFP team, the

reporter and the videographer also, I asked them please it we can leave for a moment and I have to take the image how he was meditating, looking around

and looking like dreamingly out of hi wsindow and just smoking his pipe and

listening to the music.

KINKADE: Yeah, you can tell he probably just really wants to go back to the life he once had and the music he once enjoyed.

Just talk to us about the importance of sharing these sort of images.

EID: Well, actually I have done a lot of images. I have been covering the conflict in Syria for six years now. And I have seen a lot of atrocities,

and a lot of bad things. I always when I go there I try to take some pictures let's show life that people want to live again and to rise out

from the ashes like an herb that wants to grow back from the rock, from something that

doesn't want to exist anymore for - to be - to can live - to have the essentials to live again.

So that's the Syria people. I tried to show it every time I'm there. I just do my job. There's a lot of violence, a lot of killings, a lot of

gruesome scenes there. But what is important to show the human being in Syria, how he became after six years from the war. And how he tries to

cope with his life to fight again, to live and to stay in this country.

That is the important of the images that show life, yes.

[10:45:46] KINKADE: It is quite a juxtaposition when you see life and sometimes joy amongst all that rubble there. This one particular image of

the old man in his apartment, were you surprised by how much that resonated with people?

EID: Well, yes, actually when we arrived to his house, we didn't believe that he's still there. You know, we arrive there because one of our

colleagues from a year ago did a story on him and we went back on the sixth anniversary of the war to do stories on Syria. And we thought of doing a

parallel story on Mr. Ennis (ph) one.

So when we arrived there, we didn't imagine when we saw all this destruction in the neighborhood, and so he opened for us and we went

inside. And I thought immediately it's impossible for an old guy like this one to live again here and to stay, but

he always - he just - when he saw us like surprised, he said no one can break my will, no one can drive me back. I'm here. I'm staying here. I'm

not leaving my house. This is the the place of my ancestors, of my grandfather and

grandmother, of my parents. I was born here and I want to die here also.

So he's determined to fix his house, to fix his collection, car collection that he has, given he used to have a firm, a cosmetics firm. And he's

willing -- also he just already, when we went there, he was beginning to start again his firm at his house. We can smell on the ground floor there

the smell of cosmetic lipsticks, lipstick mixtures, chemical mixtures inside his house.

KINKADE: Yeah, absolutely incredible work by you. Joseph Eid, we'll have to leave there it for now. But some incredible images that you captured.

Thank you very much.

EID: Thank you.

Well, Syrians mark a grim milestone this week as the civil war there entered its seventh year. A new HBO documentary gives voice to those who

has the government and paid a heavy price.

Filmmaker Evgeny Ahneevsky tells us the story through their eyes of those who lived to tell the tale.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOY: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

EVGENY AHNEEVSKY, FILMMAKER: I'm a film maker. I wanted to take my audience on

a a journey backwards to Syria, so allow them step by step with my characters, with the people

who lived tough this events what they went through and all what brought us to today's crisis.

It's a journey into the darkest side of humanity. It turned into something violent, it turned into something bloody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been living a dictatorship for 40 years. But we were so

optimistic that the revolution would sooner or later start in Syria.

AHNEEVSKY: They wanted to have freedom of expression. They wanted to have freedom of

speech. They wanted to be able to have basic human rights. And they wanted democracy. And this is what brought them to the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; This regime, they are supposed to protect us, but they are not protecting us. They are shooting us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): War was never our choice. We were forced into war.

AHNEEVSKY: It is technically six years of the anniversary of the beginning of the revolution. And you know what they all still fighting, they're all

still trying to achieve their goal.

I'm trying to put together some comprehensive story to that can educate people and call for action.

[11:50:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not terrorists, we are people like everyone in this room. And we still have dreams.

GIRL: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE; Well, Cries from Syria was shown for the first time on March 13th on HBO. But if you'd like to see more, it is available to stream online.

Well, live from CNN's worldwide headquarters in Atlanta, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the Jerusalem running club where peace is the prize.

Plus, the man known as the father of rock and roll has passed away. We'll look back at Chuck Berry's life. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KINKADE: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back. Well, we often hear of nothing but a marathon of

conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. So, we want to bring you another side of this story that story. A club in Jerusalem that unites

runners from both sides of the divide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is equal on the track. And that's what unites us, that's what gives running the power to, you know, to unify between

people, to connect between people much easier.

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): We can run together, we can be friends, we can be brothers, and instead of having war, we can look for other

solutions.

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): Running is a simple action. Rich or poor, man or woman, Arab or Jew. When you run, it's only your feet pressing

against the asphalt.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, the world of music is mourning the loss of one of its great legends. Chuck Berry, the father of rock and roll, has passed away at the

age of 90.

Well, after a career spanning some six decades.

Now for your Parting Shots, Nischelle Turner has more on Berry's incredible life and legacy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of rock 'n' roll. His powerful guitar licks fueled hit songs

such as "Johnny B. Goode" "Maybellene" and "Roll Over Beethoven."

During the '50s and '60s, Berry's music signaled a new era in rock 'n' roll. The singer's owes ability to seamlessly blend R&B and rock music made

a strong impact on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, to name a few.

[11:55:13] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I lifted every lick he ever played.

TURNER: Berry experienced a career resurgence in the mid-'80s and '90s. His music re-entered pop culture in films such as "Back to the Future" and

"Pulp Fiction." In 1984, Berry received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a year later, he became the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's first

inductee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Berry.

CHUCK BERRY, ROCK LEGEND: God Almighty. God Almighty, thank you.

TURNER: On the heels of his induction, the Stones' Keith Richards invited a roster of great musicians to celebrate the rock icon's 60th birthday, and

then in 1987, Berry was humbled to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

BERRY: I cannot describe, I don't have the voice, I don't have the wind, I don't have the spirit, but believe me, I'll remember it the rest of my

life.

TURNER: The married father of four repeatedly had trouble with the law. He was behind bars three times for charges ranging from attempted robbery to

tax evasion and convicted of transporting an underage girl across state lines. However, Berry's career was not derailed.

BERRY: That margin of glory is not too high. That margin of defeat then is also not too low. So I lived right through it without any pain.

TURNER: Berry received the Kennedy Center Honor Award in 2000 and continued to perform well into his 80s. His remarkable contributions to music will

forever remain a part of rock 'n' roll history.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, if you're thinking that the Berry's music is out of this world, you're not wrong. Decades ago, when NASA launched the Voyager space

probes, they included a sort of time capsule meant for whoever or whatever might find them. Along for the ride, some of planet Earth's most well

known songs, including Chuck Berry's Johnny Be Good.

Some 40 years later, the Voyager probes are still hurtling through space with Chuck Berry's

music waiting to be discovered by someone.

Well, thanks so much for joining us for this edition of Connect the World. I'm Lynda Kinkade. I'll see you again soon.

END