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CONNECT THE WORLD
Trump's Russia Problem Won't Go Away; U.S. Senate Begins Hearing into Russian Hackins; Britain Still Split on Brexit Even after Article 50 Invoked; New Gulf-Jazz Fusion; Israel Announces Cuts to UN Contribution; Iraqis Traumatized After Coalition Airstrike on Mosul. 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired March 30, 2017 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:16] JONATHAN MANN, HOST: This hour, allegations of a Kremlin campaign conspiracy to get Donald Trump into the White House won't go away.
For the first time the American senate begins its own hearings for all the world to see. All the latest from Washington next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's probably the start of hopefully a good thing for our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a way British, but now we feel kind of, you know, alienated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Brexit begins. Brexiteers boast, remoaners grown, Britain slits down the middle as its splitting from the EU.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get a different kind of musical offspring.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann at CNN headquarters in Atlanta sitting in for Becky Anderson.
Read my lips, no. Russia's president emphatically rejecting claims that Moscow meddled in the U.S. election . It's Vladimir Putin's strongest
statement yet on the matter, slamming what he called lies and provocations. And it came on the same day a senate intelligence hearing got under way.
We'll have a look at live pictures of that public meeting, which will be closely watched. At least two two key members of Donald Trump's own circle
past and present are those among to testify.
Sara Murray has details.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We together with the members of our committee are going to get to the bottom of this.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Senate intelligence committee holding its first public hearing on Russia today as political infighting
jeopardizes the House probe.
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: This investigation scope will go wherever the intelligence leads it.
MURRAY: The leaders of the Senate panel saying the plan to interview 20 witnesses about Russia's attempts to influence the U.S. election and
potential ties between Moscow and Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Among the possible witnesses, former national security adviser Michael
Flynn and the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner. CNN learning that Kushner is expected to testify that his meetings with a Russian banker and
the Russian ambassador were an effort to engage the Russians and establishment a point person for the administration. Senate intelligence
chairman Richard Burr refusing to rule out the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians.
BURR: We would be crazy to try to draw conclusions from where we are in the investigation.
MURRAY: The bipartisan showed unity in the Senate a stark contrast to the chaos on the other side of the Capitol Hill. House Intel Chair Devin Nunes
continuing to fend off charges of collusion with the White House and refusing to answer questions about the probe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's been the holdup about the specific information that you saw on White House grounds?
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: It's just trying to get the agencies in order for them to get the information to us in a timely manner.
MURRAY: The White House also deflecting.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There seems to be this fascination with the process. It's how did he get here? What door did he
enter? As opposed to what is the substance of what we're finding.
MURRAY: The ranking Democrat on the House committee expected to meet with Nunes today.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I just don't know how to conduct a credible investigation in you have let alone one person but the chairman of
the committee who is saying I've seen evidence but I won't share it with anyone else.
MURRAY: This after Schiff refused to sign on to a closed door hearing with FBI Director James Comey unless Nunes also agrees to reschedule the public
hearing he canceled this week. Comey defending the FBI's impartiality at an event last night.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We're not on anybody's side ever. We're not considering whose ox will be gored by this action or that action, whose
fortunes will be helped by this or that. We just don't care and we can't care.
MURRAY: All this as President Trump's daughter Ivanka officially enters the fray, joining the White House as an unpaid advisor amid public ethics
MANN: Sara Murray reporting.
Suzanne Malveux is standing by in Washington with the latest there. And Paula Newton joins us from the Russian capital.
Suzanne, if we can start with you, the FBI has been investigating, the House of Representatives has been investigating, and now the Senate is
beginning its investigation. Is this just building and building?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly is building, Jonathan. And we are getting more and more details, information and even
evidence, if you will, about Russia's involvement and manipulation of the U.S. election last year. The two co-chairs of this committee making it
extraordinarily clear that this is what happened, that this is real. They testified today in their
opening statements saying first that the one party headquarters was hacked indeed. We know that was the Democratic Party. That also personal emails
were hacked, that of course John Podesta, a close aid to Hillary Clinton, but also former Secretary of State Colin Powell who was personally hacked.
Asnd they went on to talk about this, described it as propaganda on steroids and a warning if you will to Americans that if this is not dealt
with in a serious manner that again it will happen in the mid-term elections in 2018. And the presidential cycle of 2020.
Here's what one of the co-chairs, here's how he described what actually occurred.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER, (R) VIRGINIA: The Russians employed thousands of paid internet
trolls and botinets (ph) to push out disinformation and fake news at a high volume focusing this
material on Twitter and Facebook feeds and flooding our social media with misinformation.
This fake news and disinformation was then hyped by the American media echo chamber and our own Social Media networks to reach and potentially
influence millions of Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And they also talked about what they called these gray web sites that these were
web sites that Russia created and was able to actually use some of the fake news coming out of the American media to manipulate it and to
sensationalize it and then to again put it forward.
They used things like WikiLeaks, D.C. Leaks and Gucifer 2.0 to do the spreading of this misinformation. And they say it was highly effective in
what they were able to do.
Now, Jonathan, today just in these first couple of hours, this is what we are seeing. The case that they're building about the fact that Russia
hacked the system, that the cyber security was weak and vulnerable on the U.S. side and that it was able to manipulate the elections.
They did say, as well, that they are going to be focusing on and investigating whether or not there were any ties between Trump campaign
associates and Russian officials in terms of spreading this misinformation to tilt the election, Jonathan.
MANN: Suzanne Malveaux, I'm going to ask you to stay with us. But Paula Newton has been watching all of this this unfold, but also watching
Russia's president respond as he did a short-term ago in very emphatic terms. Tell us about that, Paula.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, emphatic incredibly forceful saying to what you heard from Suzanne Malveaux there. It's almost as if the
Kremlin has been paying close attention to these hearings and saying, look, everything that you hear are lies. To quote Vladimir Putin he said read my
lips, no. That was his answer to whether or not the Russian government interfered at all with the U.S. election process.
But he went so much further, Jonathan, clearly trying to, in his words, set the record straight on what actually went on, which he says nothing. Take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We have said more than once, and I want to stress, we know that according to opinion polls in
the USA, we have a lot of friends. And I want to address them directly, that we think the USA is a great country with which we want to have a kind
partnership and relationship. Everything else regarding Russia is lies, hoaxes and
provocations. This is all being used for the domestic political agenda in the USA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: That is as categorical and as pointed as he has been on this in terms of denials, but it was so interesting, because he went a bit further
going directly to what Suzanne was just talking about in those hearings. He's saying, look, we went to the Americans. And we said can we have a
cyber security deal? Can we work on that? He said that a few years ago. And he says, look, the Americans said no, really trying to wipe his hands
clean of any of this and saying we don't have anything to hide.
I am curious about what the American president is saying and what others are saying about
these now three investigations, for a time President Trump suggested all of this was partisan, it was an effort to relitigate the last election, which
he won. How much is politics intruding into this? And I ask that question, because as we were hearing from Sara Murray a short time ago, it
seems to have almost derailed the investigation in the House of Representatives.
NEWTON: Well, it's a very good point, Jonathan, because it certainly seems like it is putting the House intelligence committee's ability to
impartially investigation this into question. And that is something that they're actually trying to resolve today. The two co-chairs of that
committee are sitting down behind closed doors to see if they can't actually move forward. Many of the Democrats, I think all the Democrats on
that committee, have asked the chair to recuse himself because they don't believe that he is impartial, but rather he is leaning towards the
president's side because of some information he shared with the president and not the committee itself.
As far as the president is concerned, he has tweeted before certainly about the House intelligence committee and their investigation calling the Russia
story all a big hoax. And he is also urging members of congress to investigate the Clintons and their
relationship and their connection to Russia as opposed to himself.
So, you can see where all of this is going. The White House very much dismissing this saying there is there there. And at the same, members of
congress certainly seem to be taking this very seriously.
[11:10:16] MANN: Suzanne Malveaux and Paula Newton, thank you both for being with us.
They share a determination to defeat ISIS, but still have difficult decisions to make about the about the way forward in Syria. That's the
message from the United States and Turkey today.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meet with President Tayyip Erdogan and other officials in Ankara talking about creating safe zones inside Syria
for civilians forced to flee their homes. And discussing strategy for the upcoming battle to retake Raqqa from ISIS.
About one of the biggest sticking points remains the role of Kurdish fighters.
CNN's global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is traveling with Tillerson and joins us now from Ankara.
And it's no secret, both of these governments really want to defeat ISIS, but they don't agree about how to do it. Tell us a bout these talks.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Secretary Tillerson was here
kind of really trying to strike that delicate balance. He said that the tactics are really what's in question, not the shared goal of defeating
ISIS, which not just the U.S. and Turkey, but all the members of the coalition share.
Take a listen to Secretary Tillerson just a short time ago with the Turkish foreign minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATES: Let there be no mistake just so we can be clear, there is no space between Turkey and the United States in
our commitmentto defeat Daesh, to defeat ISIS, not just in Syria and Iraq, but as members of the greater coalition to defeat Daesh anywhere Daesh
shows its face on planet Earth, they will be confronted by the coalition to defeat them on the battlefield as well as in the cyber space and in the
social media space.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: But on the tactics, this is where, as you say, there really is a disagreement because Tillerson was here to really deliver a tough message
to President Erdogan and the rest of the Turkish leaders here, which is that the U.S. feels that the Kurds, Kurdish fighters, particularly those of
the YPG, are really the best fighters to defeat ISIS as the coalition pushes into Raqq in Syria, the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS, those are
the fighters that they think needs to do the job. Officials tell me it's not a happy message, but the U.S. needs to do what it has to do.
As you know, the Turks consider the Kurds their sworn enemy, a threat to their existence. They consider them terrorists, so this is where the rub
is really between the U.S. and Turkey.
Now, President Erdogan certainly is not going to agree to anything right now. In just a few short weeks he'll be facing a referendum, but a Turkish
people on his rule this could really give him extreme powers that allow him to stay in office for another 12 years or more.
And so right now he needs all the Turkish national support he could get, that's a very anti-Kurdish population. And so this is what the Turks are
And the foreign minister was very blunt in his warning to Secretary Tillerson that the Turks are very saddened by the previous administration's
work with the Kurds, and this going forward could really damage efforts to have a better relationship between President Trump's administration and the
Turkish government, Jon.
MANN: Elise Labott in Ankara, thanks very much.
The letter has been handed over, the Brexit process has begun. Now the real work begins too. And the British government hasn't wasted any time.
In the last few hours, it published a policy document on the great repeal bill, which outlines a way to turn EU laws into British laws before that
final divorce date.
Here's what Brexit secretary David Davis has to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DAVIS, UK BREXIT SECRETARY: It's vital to ensuring a smooth and orderly exit. It will stand us in good stead for the negotiations over the
future relationship with the EU and will deliver greater control over our laws to this parliament and where appropriate the devolved administrations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Sounds simple.
Let's get more from CNN political contributor Robin Oakley joining us now live from London.
Robin, the great repeal, capital G, capital R, underline both words. How big, how complicated is this going to be?
ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's more like the great cut and paste bill, really, Jonathan. But it is massive. There are so
many thousands of EU laws, directives, treaties, things like that which have to be passed into British law in order to give a sort of continuity
and an assurance to businesses and individuals that life goes on as normal on that day in March 2019 when Britain finally comes out of the European
And in order to produce this bill and go through this process, there are worries among British lawmakers that the government is going to arrogate
too much power to itself because there is so much of this stuff and it's going to so dominate the parliamentary scene for two
years that the government is saying they're going to invoke some clauses from the days of the much
divorced monarch Henry VIII back in the 16th Century when he issued a proclamation to say anything he said and commanded had exactly the same
authority and law as any legislation from parliament.
To so-called Henry VIII clauses.
Now, people are saying this is a bit dangerous whereas the government are saying, look, we've got a choice here, either we get through this stuff in
time - you konw, we have to balance that against perhaps having slightly less scrutiny of some of these laws as they go
through. But we're only going to do it on the technical bits.
But that's raised a lot of suspicion among lawmakers, Jonathan.
[11:15:51] MANN: 19,000 pieces of legislation. Lots of technical bits.
There's already a disagreement, not internally, but with the EU. There are many. But one right out of the starting blocks about how the negotiations
are going to proceed.
The government of Britain wants talk about Brexit, how Britain will leave, to begin with other
talks about how Britain will stay engaged, what its economic relationships will be with the EU and for both of those two tracks to happen
The EU is not all that eager. I mean, how is that going to proceed. Those kinds of decisions have to be made quickly.
OAKLEY: Yes. What we're going to get, first of all, is talks about talks. Both sides are doing a bit of standoff, a bit of boxing round before you
actually agree the terms for the fight to start. But what the EU is saying is, yep, you have got to pay your divorce bill before we talk about trade.
You have got to sort out the question of the Irish border, the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic
and you have to settle the future for European Union nationals living in Britain and British nationals leaving in the European Union.
We want all those three settled before we are willing to talk about trade. Theresa May is saying, no, we want the two things going in tandem, as you
say. But Angela Merkel and the other European heavyweights are all backing Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for the EU. It's a bit of a standoff,
but I would think they can quite quickly sort out the question of the EU nationals, because both sides have got goodwill, both sides are saying,
look, these people can't be pawns in a political process here. They have to make decisions about whether they take jobs, whether
they buy houses, it's unfair to them to keep them dangling. Let's get that started out first.
And if they manage to sort that out, that can create some burgeoning goodwill and they move on from there.
But of course the Brits want to have these two things in tandem, because they lose a bit of negotiating power. Once they've agreed to a bill, then
they haven't got quite so much hold in terms of negotiating power with the European Union, Jonathan.
MANN: So much at stake, so much work ahead. Robin Oakley, thanks very much.
Still to come, questions about the U.S. strategy in Iraq.
What the American president is saying and what's happening on the ground next.
And later, the contentious relationship between Israel and the UN. Why Israel is pulling more money from the world body. We're coming back to
Connect the World.
[11:20:35] MANN: A scene of devastation and loss. On Wednesday, a high ranking Iraqi security official visited the site of a blast that claimed
the lives of more than 100 people in western Mosul. It could mark the largest loss of civilian life in a single
incident in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Survivors of that blast are trying to recover from horrifying wounds and they're telling CNN what they endured. Arwa Damon has their stories from a
hospital in Irbil.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The bodies are rolled down the streets passed the rubble of homes where children use to run and
laugh. In a five-daytime frame hundreds of civilians were killed in western Mosul. And we went to a hospital in Irbil to look for some of the
Aliyah (ph) was cradling her granddaughter, Hauras (ph), who was just four- and-a-half years old.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through transtlar): I am thinking it's better to be dead. I am thinking about dying. Better than life like this. She was
like a flower, playing and running. Now, she has no mother. No eyes.
DAMON: It was March 17, which is the main day under investigation by both the U.S. and Iraqi governments. Hauras (ph) father, Ala, drew their streets
for us showing us where the ISIS fighters were on the corner. There were multiple explosions.
Hauras (ph) was in a home down the road with her mother and two relatives. They were breaking bread when the air strike started. Hauras (ph) father
ran towards the house.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE (through translator): All I heard was "Aaaa." I ran. There was a block that had fallen on her. I screamed for her mother, my
aunt and uncle. But no response.
DAMON: His daughters little body was black. It was barely recognizable at all. "After Ala (ph) pulled her out of the rubble, he begged the ISIS
fighters to be allowed to leave just for the sake of saving his little girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I carried her out. The ISIS fighter said, "I can shoot her. Why do you want to save her? She's going
to die anyway."
I saw my wife the next day under the rubble. I saw her leg and intestines so I covered her in a blanket and left.
DAMON: On a different day, Muhammad stuck his head out the front door when an air strike came in to take out a suicide car bomb. Now he has a shrapnel
lodge in his head. He can't talk. He's lost his memory.
Down the hall in another ward, we found a bunch of children. Fatimah (ph), she's just 16. She lived in an apartment block and was on the second floor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): ISIS was on the roof then there was an airstrike. The building fell on us.
DAMON (through translator): What's the last thing you remember?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I just remember being pulled out of the rubble.
DAMON: Her back is broken. She probably won't ever walk again, but no one has the heart to tell her. And she still has dreams of being a doctor.
She's here with her sister whose son was also injured.
Much of western Mosul has been physically destroyed. People are dying every day, coalition air strikes, mortar, sniper shots, ISIS explosions, deaths
that don't make headlines. It's population is emotional shattered and they're haunted by the ghosts of those who are gone.
Hauras (ph) doesn't know her mother is dead.
(through translator): What is she asking?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): She says, "I want my mommy."
DAMON: She still has shrapnel in her eyes. She may never see again. "Don't say you're sorry," her father told us. "Sorrow doesn't help. It's not going
to bring her mother back."
Arwa Damon, CNN, Irbil, Iraq.
MANN: Meanwhile, the campaign to drive ISIS out of its stronghold in Raqqa, Syria is
gaining steam. U.S. backed forces are trying to take back a dam near the Syria city. And as the battle closes in, civilians are running from more
than just the fighting.
CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman reports.
[11:25:14] BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These waters bring life to the dry plains of northern Syria, but should this dam
collapse, they could bring death to thousands living downstream along the Euphrates River. The Tufta (ph) dam
built with the hope of the Soviet Union half a century ago, now the scene of intense fighting
between the U.S. supported Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF, and ISIS.
SDF fighters control the northern half of the dam, ISIS the southern half. Recently ISIS warned residents of Raqqa, just 40 kilometers or 25 miles
downstream, to evacuate their homes because the dam was in danger of breaking.
When the residents of the city panicked, ISIS denied there was danger not wanting to empty their de facto capital.
"Thank god there's nothing to worry about," says this SDF fighter. "Today several engineers visited and checked the dam. They opened channels to
reduce the pressure of the water."
anti-ISIS fighters are closing in on Raqqa, assisted by a growing U.S. troops and special forces.
This video obtained by CNN shows a convoy moving U.S. bulldozers, armored vehicles and other equipment. As the Americans go in, civilians pour out,
once more caught between the danger of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and ISIS who want to use them as human shields.
"The plane," says this man, "are striking ISIS positions which are placed among the civilians,
among us, so we left."
They're coming to territory controlled by the SDF, but hundreds of thousands are still in ISIS territory.
"We've been out in the open for 11 days," says this man. "We're going around like the blind. We don't know where to go."
Escaping the hell of war and the danger of high waters.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Irbil, Northern Iraq.
MANN: Well get you up to speed on all the latest world news headlines just ahead.
Plus, we can't politicize this: the chair of a Senate hearing claims that Russian meddlement in the U.S. election pledges to deliver an impartial
probe. The latest, next.
[11:31:06] MANN: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israel to cut $2 million from its already shrinking contribution to the United
Nations. The move is in protest against what Israel calls hostile resolutions by the body's human rights arm. Mr. Netanyahu says the money
will be redirected to development projects in countries that support Israel.
CNN's Oren Liebermann joins us now live from Jerusalem with the latest on this.
Oren, in fact, two messages to the world from the Netanyahu government today. One, the United Nations contribution is going to be cut some more.
And also an announcement about settlement building. What can you tell us?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, let's take the UN first. It's a $2 million cut as you pointed out, and it's the second cut
in just a few months. In late December right after the UN passed Security Council Resolution 2334, which was critical of Israeli settlements in the
West Bank and in East Jerusalem, Israel cut $6 million of its roughly $12 million in funding, so half of its funding to the UN.
This is a follow up step after two moves at the UN. First, UN Human Rights Council resolutions that are critical of Israel and a report from a UN
agency that called Israel an apartheid state, although that was pulled, that report was pulled by the UN secretary-general.
This is an indication of an emboldened Israel, backed by the U.S. at the United Nations. Israel felt that it could pull this money and redirect it
toward nations that are friendly to Israel and international intuitions.
As for the new settlement, Netanyahu says this is a promise he made to settlers back in December when it was decided that he had to tear down an
illegal outpost in the West Bank. Here is what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I made a promise that we would establish a new settlement. I think I made the
commitment in December and we will keep it today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: The security cabinet will vote on that a little later on tonight. It's expected it will pass because the security cabinet is in
favor of establishing this new settlement. It will be the first new settlement in 20 years and crucially Jonathan, it comes without an
agreement between Netanyahu and President Donald Trump on what is acceptable settlement construction to the White House.
MANN: Well, the president has already said in public that he thinks settlements are unhelpful. It was a point made again in talks between the
two governments just a few days ago. It seems like an open challenge to what was regarded as a new friend in Washington.
LIEBERMANN: It certainly seems like that. There have been marathon meetings between the White House and the Netanyahu administration to try to
reach some sort of agreement on settlement construction, on what is acceptable to Washington. But they're not there yet.
However, Netanyahu has to move forward on this, because of his own political survival. He made a promise to the right-wing, to the settlers,
and that's his constituency. That's his voter base.
He also faces a threat from that voter base that he shouldn't accept any limitation to settlement construction. He knows if he accepts any
limitation he loses to one of the other right-wing lawmakers, one of his biggest challengers on the right, the education minister Naftali Bennett.
So, this new settlement is as much about Netanyahu's own political survival moving forward.
He'd be well aware that it could anger the Trump administration, and certainly goes against an agreement that's not there yet. And yet, it's
something he intends to carry forward here.
MANN: Oren Liebermann live in Jerusalem, thanks very much.
Vladimir Putin has given his firmest denial yet that Russia tried to influence the U.S. presidential vote. Read my lips, he said during an
The Russian presidemtn wrongly attributed that quotation to U.S. president Ronald Reagan. It was, in fact, the first George Bush who was famous for
Mr. Putin's government and intelligence agencies stand accused of much worse than misattribution, though. Misinformation and meddling in the
Democratic processes of the United States, to be precise.
At this very hour the Senate intelligence committee is holding a public hearing into those claims. You're looking at live pictures and we're
monitoring the hearings as they go forward, but for more, CNN political analyst and Daily Beast editor-in-chief, John Avalon joins us now from New
Thanks so much for being with us. We have an FBI investigation. We have the House of Representatives investigation, now the Senate investigation.
Is this just more and more background noise or is it turning into a real problem for this administration?
[08:35:14] JOHN AVALON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DAILY BEAST: Oh, this is well beyond
background noise, it's very unusual to have three simultaneous investigations going on. And what's significant about the Senate focus is
that the two chief Senators are bipartisan and united in their effort to get to truth on this issue. Senator Burr from North Carolina, Senator
Warner from Virginia, Republican and Democrat respectively, have stood side-by-side yesterday and promising that there would be a united front to
find the truth and that's in stark contrast to the chaos we've seen in the Republican controlled House committee.
So, the fact that all these investigations are going on, Vladimir Putin can say read my lips no all he wants, but, a, his track record of truthfulness
isn't the best in the world, and second of all, these hearings are going forward. The fact there's three simultaneously spells trouble for people
who would be trying to hide the truth in this very serious matter.
MANN: Now, President Trump has also said there is nothing to these allegations. But he said there's no link to Russia. He has said that U.S.
forces are fighting like never before in Iraq when U.S. forces in theory are not fighting in Iraq and he also said that health care reform will be
easy. That, of course, is his first and biggest defeat so far of his presidency.
Are his words in this context more broadly when he talks about anything, are they losing any consistent relationship with reality?
AVALON: That is a very colorful pointed question, Jonathan.
Look, I think president's words matter. Words matter, period. And it's unfortunately fairly demonstrable that Donald Trump's words and his tweets
are only distantly acquainted with reality and the truth. And this causes a credibility problem.
He shoots from the lip all the time, often fact free. That's the flip side of being a person who prides himself on intuition over intellect.
Just this morning he fired off a tweet saying that he was going to be going on the offense
against both Republicans on the right and the Democratic Party in the mid- terms. That is unprecedented, but so much of this presidency is unprecedented, including his low approval numbers, which are around 35
percent, according to at least a Gallup poll.
Donald Trump's ship of state is not exactly smooth sailing right now. In fact, the exact opposite. It's taking on water.
MANN: OK. Well, if we want to talk about the unprecedented, there is Ivanka. He's made his daughter an official of the U.S. government, an
official of the White House no less. Should we regard this as a man's charming pride in his offspring or is this serious?
AVALON: No, charming pride and offspring can simply being proud of his children and having them around as much as humanly possible. It doesn't
usually involve giving them jobs in the West Wing. And, indeed, his son- in-law has been given very sensitive diplomatic missions for which he would seem to have no experience or qualifications.
This is troubling, but I think it's probably recognizable to our viewers around the world, because it's the kind of thing he's happened in other
countries far too often, a kind of elevation of family that often it follows with broader plans of personal enrichment at the expense of the
Now, I'm not saying we're at that stage yet at all, but this is very unusual, if not unprecedented in American history, and it comes after
weeks, if not months, of denial that such a thing would ever occur.
This is a departure from our best traditions and that is something to really pay attention to. It is not a distraction. It's core to I think a
troubling pattern we've seen out of this administration.
MANN: John Avalon of The Daily Beast, thanks very much.
Some in Washington see President Putin of Russia as the source of all their woes. He has got his problems at home. Last weekend saw Russia's largest
anti-government protest in years with hundreds of mostly young demonstrators arrested. And the interior ministry says any future
unauthorized rallies will be dealt with as severely.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen has the story from Moscow.
[08:35:15] FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): They were some of the largest demonstrations Russia has seen in years.
PLEITGEN: Thousands coming out across the country, hundreds detained in Moscow alone.
OLGA LOZINA, ARRESTED PROTESTER: I was traumatized mentally.
PLEITGEN: One of them, Olga Lozina. This picture of her arrest going viral on the web.
LOZINA: It was like nightmare. I couldn't believe my eyes. The police officer mentioned me and he grabbed me by the hands. But two men helped me
and pulled me back to the crowd. I wasn't hurt but I was traumatized.
[11:40:10] PLEITGEN: This video on social media shows her arrest, Olga Lozina tells CNN. She was at the scene with her mother and sister, both
taken into custody by Russian police.
Olga says she supported the organizer of the protest who was arrested himself.
LOZINA: I support him and I am totally on his side because corruption, we all know that Russia is corrupted.
PLEITGEN: Russia's government has criticized the anti-corruption demonstrations held this past weekend. Even claiming some of the protesters
were offered money if they got arrested, something the organizers deny.
SERGEY PROVA (ph), PROTESTER: Nothing will change.
PLEITGEN: Sergey Prova (ph) was also detained by authorities, he says, for singing Russia's national anthem at the protest.
PROVA (ph) (through translation): We started singing the national anthem, and sang two verses, and just as we got to the free country part, we were
taken by police and thrown in the bus.
PLEITGEN: Video of his arrest also surfaced on social media. He said he wanted to go to the demonstration to protest widespread corruption and
inequality in Russia.
PROVA (ph): People are tired of having nothing to eat and no place to live. They're tired of living below the poverty line while the people they pay to
rule wisely are swimming in gold.
PLEITGEN: Many others had the same message for Russia's government but it's not clear whether those in power were listening.
PLEITGEN: This week, authorities have warned they would take an even harder line against unauthorized protests in the future.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
MANN: You're watching Connect the World live from Atlanta. Just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a way British, but now we feel kind of alienated.
MANN: Europeans living in the UK fear for their future as the Brexit process gets under way.
MANN: Welcome back. You may be thinking that's not Becky Anderson. Well, you're right. I'm Jonathan Mann. Becky is off today. But we do have a
lot going on this hour.
Back now to our coverage of the UK's divorce from Europe and a tale of two cities. The majority of Londoners wanted to stay with Europe, while
Blackpool in the north wanted to go. Phil Black reports.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How do you feel on this day about the future of the united kingdom and where we go from here?
[11:45:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a good question, really. Everybody's a bit mixed up about it, but being English we will carry on
with it and make the best of it. That's it.
BLACK: You're in favor of this, aren't you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I voted against it, but now we've got it. We've got to put up with it and get on with it.
BLACK: And you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; I voted against it because I have a reasonably satisfying life. I'm happy. But I know many, many people aren't. but
because I feel content in my situation, I expect I was being a little cowardly and probably selfish and thinking I'd rather remain.
BLACK: Tell me about how you hope England or Britain will look and feel once this two-year
process is finished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I just think we'll feel a bit more independent and I think we need to, though, about immigration. One way of stopping
them out. I think Donald Trump's done the right thing.
BLACK: So immigration...
UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: I agree with him, what he's doing. I do agree with him, because this
country wouldn't be in the state it's in the amount people that are coming in all the time.
BLACK: So immigration, a lost greatness you think that you'd like to reclaim?
UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: They're taking everything over. They're taking the shops. They're taking the houses, everything. They're leaving us, the
British people, with nothing.
BLACK: So, on this day, Article 50 day, it now becomes a reality, or starts to. It really - this is it. What are your feelings, what your
emotions from here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, like I say, it's just a lot of things that need sorting out. Time will tell whether it's the right decision or not.
But yeah, it's immigration, it's just a lot of things like that. We have to make the right decisions going forward. And, yeah, that's (inaudible)
their future as well, not just us. So, yeah, it's cautious.
BLACK: So (inaudible) is uncertainty. What are you feeling on this day?
UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE: I'm more optimistic. I think it's probably the start of hopefully a good thing for our country.
MANN: EU citizens with deep roots in the UK aren't feeling as optimistic. Diana Magnay spoke to some Londoners who are apprehensive about what's
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the shadow of St. Paul's as the to and fro with Brussels on Brexit begins in earnest,
European bankers, part of the fabric of Britain's financial services industry, now facing personally the kind of uncertainty they deal with
daily on the markets.
Do you feel that your lives to a certain extent are on hold for the next two years because of Brexit?
CLAUDIO ORIGONI, BANKER: The answer is yes. I was planning to probably think of buying a house, just put on hold. I mean, it's too risky right
now to commit to something so big. And maybe in six months from now we'll have to move or in one year. And again, we work in a bank so
basically our job depends on what's going to happen.
MAGNAY: There are 3 million EU citizens in the UK, many of them drawn to the capital, and 1.2 million Brits in Europe, hard for them not to feel
whatever the politicians say, like they're bargaining chips in what promises to be painful political negotiations.
Away from the square miles, bright lights and big salaries, London's high streets have a
subtle flavor of the communities that live there like here in Stockwell's Little Portugal, a Portugese community with deep roots, unsure what will
It's Acarana's (ph) where you go for a bit of home from home in London, run by Maria Candida and her family.
MARIA CANDIDA, SHOP OWNER: I'm here 23 years, you know. I got my shop and I bought my house, and sometimes I ask myself what happen when the Brexit
is done, when the London (inaudible).
MAGNAY: This Lithuanian couple here for 15 years, Britain as much a part of their identity
now as their country of birth, and with a pretty sober view on how negotiations will go.
DARIUS GATELIS, DECORATOR: 15 years was like we've been working here and building our lives here, so it's formed us as a persons as we are. We kind
of -- we're in a way British, but now we feel kind of, you know, alienated somehow.
I don't think it's possible to make everyone happy in this situation. It will be impossible to achieve that.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We seek to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British
nationals in other member states as early as we can. That is set out very clearly in the letter as an early priority.
[11:50:03] MAGNAY: An early priority in a sea of priorities as the clock ticks down on Brexit.
Diana Magnay, CNN, London.
MANN: Wll, that's the Brexit drumbeat out of the UK.
Up next, we'll meet the Lebanese pianist behind a new genre of fusion music over in the Middle East. Stay with us.
MANN: Well, you're watching CNN, this is Connect the World. And I'm Jonathan Mann. Welcome back.
What do you get when you take traditional Gulf music and blend it with jazz? That's what trailblazing Lebanese musician Tarek Yamani and his band
set to find out.
Listen to the origins of the pianists new concept and his group's performance at this year's Abu Dhabi festival.
TAREK YAMANI, JAZZ PIANIST: My name is Tarek Yamani. I'm a jazz pianist and composure from Beirut, Lebanon.
My family name means from Yemen, so subconsciously somehow I always felt I have ancestors from Yemen.
When I came to the first time to the Gulf, to the desert. I immediately felt something special. And when I hear the music, it touches me in
We as people from the Arab world know about Khaleeji music, it's very superficial in a way because we only get the pop sound. But once you get
deep into the music, you realize that there's thousands of years of history and all this history is somewhere.
So, you have to look for it.
Khaleeji music and African-American music, they're distant cousins. They both travel in opposite ways. The guys that were brought on the
Transatlantic trade created all the South American and jazz and all this kind of music and the guys that were brought on the Trans-Saharan slavery
trade mixed with Bedouin culture.
So for me Khaleeji (ph) music is really the Africanization of Bedouin music.
You have got all these mixtures of millions of genes all together and then you get a new set of
DNA and it's the same with music. So that's why I really like when two different kinds of music so, so different intermarry, you get a really
different kind of musical offspring and that's how the evolution of music happened.
MANN: And finally in our Parting Shots, some things are of such exquisite beauty, Shakespeare mused, that they outwit the painted flourish of praise.
On the other hand, some stuff is just straight up ugly. I mean, you should recognize who this is, but it's hard to tell what soul lies behind the
Well, it's a man so good with his feet he puts the Lord of Dance to shame. We're talking about Portuguese football superstar Christiano Ronaldo. His
bust, in every sense of the word, was revealed to the world on the island of Madeira as it renamed its airport for him on Wednesday.
The reviews have called it a bit of an own goal, to which the sculptor says, and I quote, even Jesus didn't please everyone.
Don't feel compelled to offer Shakespeare's painted flourish of praise.
I'm Jonathan Mann, you've been watching Connect the world. Thanks for being with us. We'll see you soon.