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Flynn Attorney: Pentagon Was Aware Of Moscow Trip; Syrian TV: Israeli Missiles Struck Near Airport; Le Pen And Macron Battle For Votes Before Second Round; United Airlines Passenger Reach Settlement Over Dragging; Trump's Relations with Russia Unexpectedly Rocky; Fourth Inmate to be Executed in Arkansas; Mexican Woman Forced into 30 Years of Slavery; Pope Francis Provides New Service for the Poor. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 27, 2017 - 15:00:00   ET





HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live from CNN London. Thanks for being with us this Thursday. This is THE


We begin with the bombshell announcement on Capitol Hill by House Democrats looking into the Trump's campaign ties to Russia. They say there is a

Pentagon investigation now underway into the former national security adviser, Mike Flynn.

Lawmakers released partially declassified documents today one showing that Flynn was warned by the Pentagon all the way back in 2014 not to accept

foreign money after he retires.

Flynn is accused of receiving payments from Russian state TV broadcaster, RT, without disclosing it. A top Democrat says that the White House is

playing games by withholding more evidence warning that it could soon face subpoenas.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), RANKING MEMBER, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: I honestly do not understand why the White House is covering up for Michael Flynn. I

don't get it after the president fired him for lying. So the president fired him for lying about a communications with the Russian ambassador.

They should be bending over backwards to help us. It does not make any sense, and it is making the American people think that the White House has

something to hide.


GORANI: Elijah Cummings is the Democrat on the Oversight Committee. Now, there is an attorney for Mike Flynn who says that none of this is true.

The Pentagon in fact did know about his speaking event in Moscow sponsored by the Russia's RT Television.

Now you might remember, this is video that we have seen Flynn attending a gala during that trip in 2015 sitting at a table with Vladimir Putin.

White House spokesperson, Sean Spicer is also pushing back against all of these about claims that the White House is not being forthcoming with

crucial evidence. Listen to this exchange a short time ago with our Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Congressman Cummings accuses this White House of a cover-up, you say what?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I was frankly taken aback by his comments today because they are frankly not true. The Department of

Defense was the issuing agency for General Flynn's SF-86. We referred them to Department of Defense, who owns and issued his security clearance and

they got a copy of it. That is how the system works. The documents that he requested, he received.


GORANI: That was Sean Spicer just about an hour-and-a-half ago. Now a lot of competing claims to untangle here. Let's bring in CNN White House

reporter, Stephen Collinson. We are also joined by Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

So Stephen, let's first talk about this investigation. We are now talking about the FBI's investigation into potential communications between Trump

staffers and Russia during the campaign.

This is in 2015 when Mike Flynn gave a speech and made $33,000 for that speech, and this investigation by the Pentagon is about whether or not he

disclosed that sum of money back then, correct?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: That's right. And what is new today is that the documents issued by the Democrats appear to show

that Flynn was told by the Pentagon when he retired from active service that he shouldn't accept money from the foreign powers because of the

various ethical issues that raises and the exposure it would give him as a for former official.

And it was also very interesting today, and believe this whether you will or not, but the White House press spokesman, Sean Spicer, actually blamed

the Obama administration for renewing Mike Flynn's clearance.

[15:05:06]Sometimes former officials get to keep their security clearance to allow them to talk to still serving members of the agencies that they

once headed, and in Mike Flynn's case it is the Defense Intelligence Agency.

And so Sean Spicer is saying, don't look at us, this is all about the Obama administration who did not look into the past questionable claims. And

now, clearly, that is one thing that are where he got the security clearance from.

But incoming administrations have a responsibility to vet the people that they appoint to key positions, politically, and in terms of the background.

So I don't think given how close Flynn was to Donald Trump, it is a sustainable position for the White House.

GORANI: And Larry Sabato in parallel, there is, of course, the FBI probe into whether or not there was improper communication, between Trump

staffers during the campaign, and Russian officials and agents.

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Absolutely. The FBI is conducting an investigation, and of course, their

congressional committees in both houses are very anxious to speak to General Flynn, so anxious that apparently his lawyer has offered him up for

immunity, whatever limited immunity the congressional committee can actually offer him.

There's only one reason, by the way, to offer him immunity and that is if it is very clear that he can bring down a higher official, someone higher

in the White House, not necessarily President Trump, but someone else that works there. So we will have to see how that develops.

GORANI: And Stephen, explain to our viewers, we are talking here about a Pentagon probe conducted by the U.S. inspector general, I mean, what power

does the U.S. inspector general have in a probe like this and what could ultimately be the consequences for Mike Flynn?

COLLINSON: Well, each government department in the U.S. government has an inspector general which is a sort of a watchdog body within the department

that is independent of the leadership of the department that can go and look into allegations of wrongdoing, conflict of interest and that kind of


We saw an inspector general report into the Benghazi affair you remember when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Now the inspector general

does not have the range of powers to levy charges for example that you might have from the FBI and the Justice Department or sanctions that

Congress could impose.

So it is basically an internal probe, but it is just another damaging occurrence for the Trump White House where the 100 day mark of this

administration and every time they try to get a good headline or some progress on one of the key issues, the Russia issue keeps coming back, and

we get more and more smoke and fewer and fewer answers.

The key to this is that Mike Flynn was so close to Donald Trump, who is one of the closest campaign advisers. He was often with him at the convention

for example.

A few moments ago, the president was asked whether he regretted appointing Mike Flynn as national security adviser and he just looked straight back at

the reporter and said thank you. He would not answer those questions because it is such an impossible question for him to answer politically.

GORANI: Right. And politically, speaking of politically, Larry, I mean, we are talking about a lot of smoke here, there is the FBI probe and now

there is this, the U.S. inspector general at the Pentagon launching this investigation, and the Oversight Committee and all sorts of other

committees in Congress, is this hurting the Trump administration politically? Because from what I have seen the approval rating for the

president is low, but has remained consistent over the first 100 days?

SABATO: We pretty much learned that nothing is going to affect the base of Donald Trump, the Trump voters. In fact, my center, Center for Politics at

the University of Virginia just released a big study today of the Trump voters.

And it is obvious that they would vote for Trump again. There is almost nothing that can take them away from Trump, but what this controversy and

others have done is to ensure that the 54 percent, who didn't vote for Donald Trump in November don't support him and probably won't be supporting

him no matter what the White House says or does.

Just to re-emphasize what Stephen suggested, it is incredible cheek of the press secretary, Sean Spicer, to blame this on President Obama. It is just

believable, but I bet you it is being bought by most of the Trump voters.

GORANI: All right, Larry Sabato, as always, from the University of Virginia. We appreciate it. Stephen Collinson in Washington, our White

House reporter there. Thanks to both of you. Speak soon.

To Syria now in a conflict that can be as complicated as it is tragic. The latest incident is no different. A massive explosion rocks an area close

to the international airport on the outskirts of Damascus. There you see it on that Google Earth map. Syrian state television says Israel did it.

[15:10:05]By the way, that is video of the explosion. Israel wouldn't confirm or deny responsibility for it, but a government minister rather

cryptically said the incident, quote, "fit Israel's policy of trying to stop weapons from being shipped from Syria to Hezbollah.

Let's go to Jerusalem. CNN's Ian Lee is there and we know Hezbollah fighters are very deeply involved in this conflict inside Syria and have

weapons there and fighters and militants there.

We are not getting official confirmation that Israel did this, but it would make sense if they in fact targeted a Hezbollah weapons cache or depot.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Hala. When you look at these attacks that happened in Syria from time to time, it always points to

Israel carrying them out and through a process of elimination, you can kind of come to that conclusion, although, that wasn't an unusual statement we

heard from the Minister of Intelligence.

Israel saying that it is something that would fit what Israel would do and they have admitted to airstrikes before or at least on airstrike before

last March, which also targeted Hezbollah.

But when you talk to Israeli officials, their main concern is any sort of weapon going from Iran or anywhere else getting into the hands of Hezbollah

and getting into Lebanon. They fear that the biggest security threat on the border right now.

GORANI: All right. So, no confirmation, however, this has happened in the past. It shows that Israel's military involvement in terms of at least

reacting to perceived threats from Hezbollah are likely to continue.

LEE: That is right. As long as they believe that these weapons as they say are sophisticated weapons are going into the hands of Hezbollah, don't

be surprised if we see more strikes like this to come, and even tonight, there was more tension on the border up there in Golan, an Israeli patriot

missile shutdown a what the Israelis are calling a target.

Israeli state media believes it was a drone, but still very tense on that border. If we just go back to last March again when the Israelis carried

out those air strikes against Hezbollah targets near Palmyra.

When the planes were conducting those air strikes, they were targeted by Syrian surface-to-air missiles and one of those surface-to-air missiles was

targeted also by an Israeli anti-missile system.

So it does show how tense the situation, but also shows the determination by the Israelis. Now there is we are hearing coordination with the

Russians to make sure there is no mishap in the air involving the two countries.

But when it comes to the Syrians, they say if you violate our air space, don't be surprised if we try to shoot you down. Israel responded by

saying, well, if you try that, we will take out your surface-to-air missiles.

GORANI: Right. Many people involved in the Syrian conflict, certainly with Israel, just one of the parties. Let's get more, thanks very much,

Ian Lee. Let's get more on the wider implications of all this, CNN's Fred Pleitgen, who has reported extensively from Damascus, and he joins me here

in the studio. So let's talk a little bit about this airport, where it is, and why it is significant?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is in the south of Damascus and it's significant because it has a civilian part and

military side to it. The military side of the Damascus Airport is an air hub where both the U.S. and apparently Israel as well believed that weapons

and fighters are being ferried in from Iran.

And it is interesting actually if you spend time on open source flights like Flight Radar 24, you can see the aircraft quite frequently do flights

from that Damascus airport to places like (inaudible) and Iran, to places around Tehran as well.

GORANI: And this is, by the way, video you shot in 2014?

PLEITGEN: Yes, we took a flight from that airport, and just now you can see where the Il-76 air craft which is sort of the main cargo aircraft that

the Syrian military and Iranians used where those are parked.

And obviously the Israelis fear that weapons that come in there could be used by Hezbollah to then be transported either into Lebanon or which is

the Israelis are fearing into Golan where they believe that Iran is trying to set up a beachhead where they say.

GORANI: Now we have a video of the moment of the explosion, does it give us any clues about exactly what happened?

PLEITGEN: I mean, it is quite large, and that seems to indicate that they had something explosive was hit by whatever projectile was fired at it. I

was in Damascus in 2013 when the Israelis bombed a massive storage facility, and there was a mountain called (inaudible) north of Damascus

that was just on fire for several hours, and this certainly seems to have been quite a large explosion as well.

And also, that area down there by the airport, it an area that does have a lot of Hezbollah concentration down there. It's actually also the area

where Hezbollah started its engagement in Syria. There is a shrine called (inaudible), which is the first place that Hezbollah fighters started


[15:15:04]GORANI: Protecting that shrine which is very, very important to Shiites, yes. Israel, I mean, its involvement is obvious. They don't want

Hezbollah to acquire weapons. They don't want those weapons anywhere near Southern Lebanon, and it is heating up once again now between Hezbollah and


PLEITGEN: It certainly is and it's not only Southern Lebanon, it's also Golan as well, and that is where Israel has a real dilemma because in the

Syrian part of Golan, you do have a lot of Islamist factions fighting there against the Syrian military, and so for the Israelis, there really aren't

any good options out there.

On the one hand, you have Islamist fighters and on other hand, you have Hezbollah trying to fight them, and certainly, the Israelis seemed to be

believed that it's more dangerous for them to have Hezbollah anywhere near their borders because it is Iran backing them up, and it is very, very

difficult situation.

GORANI: Those Hezbollah fighters that have been fighting for years.

PLEITGEN: Battle hardened, yes, absolutely.

GORANI: We will talk more about it later in the program. Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much.

Well, we have some breaking news. We are just getting word that David Dao, that was the man who was dragged out of that United Airlines plane, we

understand that he has reached a settlement with United.

Dao made headlines after this video emerged when he was dragged off that packed United flight that was overbooked to make room for some United crew


Dao's attorney released the news of the settlement. The amount however, and I know you are curious about it, and frankly, so am I, the amount of

the settlement in confidential, but he has reached a deal with United. We will bring you more details on this as they become available.

Of course, that is the video that really for several days if not weeks, I think that it was online and shared millions and millions of times, and

sparked so many conversations about United Airlines' behavior and the fact that they call the law enforcement to drag Dr. Dao off the plane.

But now as I just mentioned, the breaking news, United Airlines and that passenger have reached a settlement over the dragging incident.

Now to a security incident just yards from the Houses of Parliament here in London, everybody is still very tense after that Westminster attack, police

say a man has been arrested on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack.

Nobody was hurt, but knives were recovered from the scene. It happened at White Hall, the street that leads from parliament to Downing Street where

Prime Minister Theresa May stays.

And it happened near the scene of that terror attack last month. Now we understand that the suspect had the knives in a rucksack. He was arrested

and then led away, and we will see whether or not it leads to official charges, but he is arrested on the suspicion right now of planning a

terrorist act.

Still to come tonight, students clash with police during a demonstration against both presidential candidates in Paris. We will check in on the

campaign next which is days away.

And another man is scheduled to die in Arkansas in just an hour as the state moves forward with its plans to execute its fourth prisoner in a

week. This many prisoners haven't been executed in Arkansas since 1913. We will have a live report. Stay with us.



GORANI: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has dipped his toe into the campaign for the June 8th snap election and left many people reaching

for their dictionaries. In a column for the "Sun Tabloid," Johnson described Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as a mutton headed old "mugwump."

That is a 19th Century American term that means a person who is independent or undecided in politics. Quite an insult from the foreign secretary.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also weighing in on Brexit. She says it looks like some Britons, quote, "Still have some illusions about Brexit,"

adding that the U.K. cannot and will not have the same rights as a member of the E.U.

Well, French students are sounding off as well against both of their final presidential candidates. Protesters carrying signs that read, "Neither the

banker nor the racist," clashed with police in Paris today. Police say the demonstrators damaged a bank branch and a Paris Board of Education says a

number of schools were shutdown.

CNN is tracking the candidates as they battle for those final undecided votes. National Front candidate, Marine Le Pen, just spoke at a rally in



MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): In fact what you see is a project aimed at dismantling the country of its values,

benchmarks, social justice and unity. Mr. Macron is our perfect opposite. His project is globalist, oligarchic, pro-immigration, individualistic and

ultra-E.U. It is a complete opposite of our project.


GORANI: Well, yes, it is complete opposite of Marine Le Pen's project because Emmanuel Macron has made no secret of the fact he thinks the E.U.

need to reform, but it's a great institution that it keeps the continent at peace.

Let's dig a little deeper into both campaigns. I am joined now from our Paris bureau by Ludovic Subran, the chief economist at Euler Hermes, a

subsidiary of Allianz.

Ludovic, first of all, we know what the polls say, and by the way, they were very accurate for the first round, so we will give the pollsters a

little bit of credit in France this time around.

The second round, though, I mean, it just seems as though it's going to be by all accounts unless there is a major change a big victory for Emmanuel

Macron, but in the first few days of the campaign, who is ahead in terms of their strategy, do you think?

LUDOVIC SUBRAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST AND HEAD OF RESEARCH, EULER HERMES: Well, as you have said, you know, Emmanuel Macron got 1 in 5 French voters and

Marine Le Pen got 1 in 5 French voters and now they are both after the two left in the second round. So it is something that is something that is

going to be hard because the campaign just started.

The problem is that the evening of the first round, Emmanuel Macron was actually behaving and France was behaving as if everything was done, but

the honeymoon period did not last.

So for the past three days, it has been every group of people, every vulnerable group, and you talked about the protests, and the schools,

18 percent of the French population is neither in education nor employed or training.

And so of course, they want to be sure that the program, the person they vote for will actually change the fate of France, and so indeed, it is a

tough one, and it is a tough battle, also, because there is no complacency here.

You know, everybody is looking at us and of course, the (inaudible) is a bigger risk and we know that one of the candidate, Marine Le Pen, is quite

a professional when it comes to that one.

GORANI: But yesterday, there was this remarkable scene. So Emmanuel Macron goes to a Whirlpool factory and potential job losses happening over

there because some of the jobs will be shipped to Poland. So he goes there to talk to the union leaders and what does Marine Le Pen do?

She hears he is there, and she shows up herself in the parking lot of the factory, and there is this really bizarre kind of like sort of the

political battle that is happening on the outside of this factory. I mean, it is becoming very dramatic here.

SUBRAN: Well, the good news that she took the good lessons from the American president, and she knows that the social media is very, very

powerful, and that is selfie war yesterday basically at this very sad location, which is the Whirlpool factory in the northwest part of France.

So yes, it is a very interesting moment because you have to really have two different types of France, and two types of future for France. One is

really the candidate of the France that is global, and that is open, and that is trying to do within the rules of the system whatever is good for

the people.

[15:25:03]And the other candidate is really about a close France. She basically said she wants to exit the E.U. and euro, and she basically also

said yesterday something like, we will keep this firm, and we will make sure that we will nationalize it if we have to, but we actually won't let

it go.

And so it is really two different and one wanting to abide by the market rules to go with Europe, and change it from the inside, and the other one

is actually an anti-system, and in the referee is resonating with a lot of the French today.

I am convinced that somehow Emmanuel Macron can make it to be the president of this country, but we see very much that it is not done yet. It is not a

walk in the park, and he had to actually fight for it, and he is going to be getting this 12, 15 more million voters he needs to make it to be

president of his country.

GORANI: But I wonder, is there that realization within his team, because the criticism when he gave his victory speech, and then the subsequent

hours a couple of days after the first round was they really are acting like it is in the bag, and maybe they shouldn't.

SUBRAN: Well, they did indeed apologize for that one because indeed, you know, I think it was such a tense election, and as you know, there were a

lot of, and you know, it is like telenovela and everybody was waiting for the next episode.

And so when they made it and they arrived first, you know, that was I think such a surprise, but also such a momentum for them to actually show to the

rest of the world and to France that there is another way.

That it's not just the old way that we can change France from the inside- out. The problem is that it has been interpreted as if he claimed victory a bit too early.

And indeed even though there is this tradition in France that if there is an anti-system extreme party like Marine Le Pen making it to the runoff,

you know, the rest of the political spectrum actually backs the candidate that is pro Europe, and backing the candidate that is pro-democratic

values, and that is not what Marine Le Pen is pushing for.

She is pushing for very autocratic France and extreme way, she is still make massive mistakes when it comes to the minorities in France, and I

think so this is what the French political landscape has been backing Emmanuel Macron and indeed, it is not meaning that it is done yet.

So he has to explain again what his tax reform is about, and explain again how France can change Europe from the inside. He also has to explain what

he is going to do for each and every voter.

You know, I talked to a campaign person working on the campaign, and she said that everybody is calling saying, what is Emmanuel Macron is going to

do for me, and everybody is building this persona and what is he exactly about because we have not looked at his program yet, and so he is having to

explain it again and he is doing quite well so far, I must say.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Ludovic Subran, the chief economist of Euler Hermes, we appreciate it. We'll see you in Paris hopefully soon.

We'll be covering the second round obviously.

Returning now to our breaking news, the settlement between United Airlines and the passenger that its employees dragged off of the flight. Let's go

the Ryan Young in Chicago.

In fact, it was law enforcement called by the employees of United Airlines that dragged Dr. Dao. It was a video seen around the world and there is

this settlement. So Ryan, we don't have an amount, though, we don't know how much they settled for?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No, we don't have an amount, but you can see there is some coordination going on in terms of today, because

the investigation that United was concluded overnight, and in fact they gave some new information about some policies that they want to put in

place to avoid any incidents likes this from happening again.

But as you know, when you talk about United at this point, everyone has been talking about this video. Tens of millions of people have watched

this video, and all have an opinion about exactly what happened to Dr. Dao when he was pulled off that plane.

Four aviation officers from the city of Chicago have also been placed on leave because of this video that you have witnessed. Now, just to let you

know United did put out a statement recently just in the last half hour or so that says, "We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have

reached a resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard Flight 3411.

We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced which will put our customers at the center of everything we do." I think that is

the main focus of today in terms of what United is saying because we have seen several statements about how they are going to improve customer


One of the things they outlined is they are going to promise to reduce overbooking and offer as much as $10,000 to customers, who give up their

seats in oversold flights.

In fact the CEO talked about some things they are going to do in the future.


OSCAR MUNOZ, UNITED AIRLINES CEO: It was a system failure across the board. I own the policies and the procedures and the common sense and the

empowerment of the people to do the right thing because a circumstance like we have all witnessed should have never happened.


YOUNG: Now when you talk about PR nightmares, this was obviously one for United, but now you hear the tone in terms of customer service, and you see

that moving forward is obviously a conversation that's happening not only in front of our faces, but on social media where people definitely have an

opinion about what they've watched on that video.


GORANI: I know everyone has an opinion. Interesting.

YOUNG: Absolutely.

GORANI: I have to say I'm curious to know the sum. I know we don't have it, but I'd just really like to know what it is.

YOUNG: I think we all would.

GORANI: And I'm not the only one.


GORANI: Exactly.


GORANI: Ryan Young, thanks very much.

YOUNG: Thank you.

GORANI: Still to come tonight, Syria accuses Israel of a missile strike near its international airport in Damascus. We'll shine some light on the

web of warring parties and the conflict, and why Israel would want to target that particular site.

Also ahead, as Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in the White House, we will look at how his relationship with Russia has been, in fact,

unexpectedly rocky. Stay with us.


GORANI: Syrian state television say Israeli missiles hit a military site near the Damascus airport. Israel won't confirm or deny the strike.

However, the Israeli Intelligence Minister, Yisrael Katz, says it would fit with their policy of preventing advance weapons from reaching Hezbollah.

The son of Venezuela's top human rights official is urging his father to do something about the deaths of protestors in clashes with police. The law

student, Yibram Saab, released this video addressed to his father.


YIBRAM SAAB, SON OF VENEZUELAN HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN TAREK SAAB (through translator): I condemn the brutal repression by the government's security

forces, which I was a victim of today, as was Juan Pablo Pernalete, 20 years of age, a university student, who died because of this terrible and

inhumane use of tear gas after he was hit in the chest. That could have been me.

Lastly, I would like to directly address my father. Dad, at this moment, you have the power to put an end to this injustice that has sunk this



GORANI: The Pentagon has opened a new investigation into Donald Trump's former national security adviser Mike Flynn. Flynn is accused of receiving

payments from state-run Russian T.V. but not disclosing it. However, his attorney says the Pentagon, in fact, did know about this paid trip to

Moscow in 2015.

Now, it was the political bromance of 2016, then presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Based on Trump's

rhetoric on the campaign trail, observers thought the old Cold War enemies might be set to become fast friends. But as CNN's Matthew Chance reports,

relations with Moscow have been unexpectedly rocky since Trump took office.


[15:35:07] MATTHEW CHANCE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At first, he was the darling of the Kremlin-controlled media. Russian state

television fawning over Donald Trump and his pro-Moscow promises.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn't that be nice?

CHANCE: There were even Trump election parties in Moscow with some Russians literally toasting their good fortune.

"To Donald Trump," cheered this prominent nationalist politician. "Now we can become allies in Syria and Ukraine," he declared. "Maybe America can

stop funding NATO."

And it was, of course, wishful thinking. Talk of partnership ended in a barrage of 59 U.S. cruise missiles aimed at Russia's Syrian ally. The

Assad regime airbase targeted may have been moderately damaged, the prospects for a Trump/Putin friendship were blasted into smithereens. The

Russian President preferred understatement.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): One could say the level of trust on a working level and especially on a

military level has not improved. Rather, it has deteriorated.

CHANCE: In fact, that deterioration began well before amid the lingering allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and

suspected Russian links with Trump officials, the reporting of which annoyed the Kremlin as much as it did the White House.


news. This is a good advice for CNN.

CHANCE: Are you concerned that the investigations into Russia are going to turn up more secret meetings?

ZAKHAROVA: Please stop spreading lie and false news.

CHANCE: It was that almost constant flow of bad news that may have eventually taken its toll. Disillusioned Russians protested at the amount

of Trump coverage on their television screens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are all against Trumpmania here.

CHANCE: Behind the complaints, though, real disappointment that Trump's first hundred days saw hopes of an early diplomatic call with Russia slip


Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


GORANI: Let's get more now on that explosion near the Damascus airport that Israel refuses to confirm or deny with a missile strike. If it is, it

wouldn't be the first such act. Going back to 2012, Israel fired warning shots at Syria after a mortar shell hit an Israeli military post, the first

time Israel had fired on Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

A year ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Israel had struck Syria dozens of times. Experts say Israel often takes aim at weapon

shipments intended for Hezbollah in Lebanon. And just last month, Israeli fighter jets struck several military targets near the ancient Syrian city

of Palmyra, also potentially trying to target Hezbollah positions.

Let's go straight to our global affairs analyst, Aaron David Miller. He was an adviser to six former American Secretaries of State.

If it indeed is Israel, and the Security Minister Yisrael Katz said something to the effect of, yes, it would fit into our strategic self-

defense to do something like this, if it's Israel it would make sense, wouldn't it? Because there are Israeli -- I should say, Hezbollah

positions in that area.

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. I mean, Israelis have drawn at least pretty clear internal red lines with respect to what

they're prepared to do in Syria. Stay out of the Syrian civil war, for sure, but protect certain interests.

One is impeding, constraining, disrupting the transfer of Iranian shipments. And that morning, apparently there were a number of Iranian

cargo planes in Damascus, so that would make sense. And number two, insuring that the Golan Heights does not turn into another Iranian-

Hezbollah sort of probed open front.

Those are two red lines. I think they've communicated that to the Russians for sure. And the Syrians, by now, know what the consequences of,

particularly, transfer of sophisticated military technology and weapons that are qualitatively different than shipments we've seen before.

GORANI: And the tension is increasing between Hezbollah and Israel. And also, I should say, Hezbollah fighters inside Syria have gained many, many

years now of battle experience, and there is renewed concern now that this could turn into another hot war between Hezbollah and Israel.

[15:39:55] MILLER: I mean, I think since '06, there has been relative quiet and certainly signaling between Israel and Hezbollah since the last

Israeli-Hezbollah confrontation. So you've had 11 years now of a sort of impasse in which neither Israel nor Hezbollah wants a confrontation.

I still think that that caution and restraint prevails on both sides. And you know, my own view, Hala, is that Middle East wars don't happen by

accident. They usually are preceded by a sort of fuse of gunpowder which takes time to ignite, and I'm not sure in one of those periods.

I don't think the Iranians, which have tremendous influence over Hezbollah, wants to play the Hezbollah card right now. And I don't think Hezbollah

and Israel, in particular, wants to incur the reaction of what this time I suspect would be a willful Israeli and purposeful Israeli effort to target

not just Hezbollah position but Lebanese infrastructure too.

GORANI: But it does. There is a fuse that takes a long time for it to burn down. But at the same time, there are so many actors inside Syria

right now. I mean, Israel, in its limited involvement, targeting probably Hezbollah armed shipments.

But you have Turkey, obviously. You have Iran. You have Hezbollah fighters. You have the Assad regime and many, many others. Russia,

obviously. The United States targeting ISIS targets. And all it takes is an accident.

MILLER: Well, you know, we talk about the regional implications of Syria. And clearly, the Syrian civil war for six years have spewed out jihadi

terrorists as well as refugees, the largest single refugee flow since the end of the Second World War, not to mention the displacement of millions of

Syrians. But for all of the talk of regional conflagration, it hasn't happened.

Yes, Syria is a mess in large part. You accurately identified the players and their complex motives, but it's more or less maintained within Syria

proper. Lebanon has been remarkably stable. Jordan, under tremendous pressure of absorption of refugees, remarkably stable. And I don't think

the Israelis have a stake nor do the Russians, nor does Hezbollah of igniting a broader regional confrontation. At least not yet.

GORANI: Aaron David Miller, as always, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

MILLER: Thank you, Hala.

GORANI: Now, I mentioned those Arkansas executions. Well, that U.S. state is going to put to death another inmate later today, and it would make it

the state's fourth execution by lethal injection this week alone. The plan, initially, was eight executions in 11 days. It's the most in the

shortest amount of time since the 1970s when capital punishment returned to the U.S.

Four of those executions are now on hold pending appeals. Officials say it's their only option because the drugs in the deadly cocktail combination

are expiring and are hard to find. Some inmates are filing suit, claiming death by lethal injection is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's at CNN Center. Now, the execution scheduled for tonight is still being appealed. And we know that,

sometimes, at the very last minute, there is a stay, there is a postponement, so there is still a chance that this execution could not

happen tonight, right?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Hala, there certainly is a chance. But if that does still move forward, then Kenneth Williams will

become the fourth person to be put to death in the state of Arkansas this month.

A little bit of background on him. He was initially sentenced to death in the year 2000 for a 1999 murder. And as you mentioned, there were several

attempts by family and his legal team, even one of the family members of one of his victims, have even written the Governor of the state of

Arkansas, asking that this be stayed, arguing that he suffers from, quote, "intellectual disability," so as a result they should reconsider, and

saying that putting him to death would, essentially, be unconstitutional.

Now, the state of Arkansas said that after that Sunday, they no longer have that key drug that essentially sedates these death row inmates before

putting them to death. Then the rest of those four executions that you just touched on, Hala, will essentially be indefinitely postponed until

they're able to reacquire more of this drug supply.

A little bit of background on that drug there, midazolam. It's a highly controversial drug that the manufacturers of this medication maintained

that their drug, that their product, is meant to save lives, not end them. So I think the big question is, what will happen after today and will the

state be able to acquire more of this? Hala.

GORANI: Exactly, because the drug's companies are saying we don't want our drugs used for this type of thing. And I know this story has generated a

lot of interest especially in Europe because, in Europe, obviously, the E.U. doesn't have the death penalty. It's outlawed.


GORANI: It's seen as something barbaric in a civilized society, so the fact that four people are put to death in one week seems to actually

concentrate that type of thing more and get more attention. But what is interesting is you mentioned one of the victim's families is actually

petitioning against the execution tonight. What are they saying?

[15:45:09] SANDOVAL: It is one of the many emotional turns that the story has taken here, specifically the family of Michael Greenwood. He's one of

the four victims that were allegedly killed by this man, or at least that were killed by this man. His family has actually written a letter to the


I want to read you a very small portion of that, if I could. This is the family of Michael Greenwood writing a letter to the Governor. This is his

daughter, saying, quote, "We are no way asking you to ignore the pain felt by the victims of Mr. Williams' other crimes. We know what they are going

through, but ours is a pain that we have decided not to try and cure by seeking an execution. His execution will not bring back my father or

return to us what has been taken, but it will cause additional suffering."

What's very important the point out here, though, Hala, is this letter does not necessarily reflect how the families of the other three victims in this

case feel and whether or not they feel that this execution should go on. But the last thing I should mention here, that the family there of Michael

Greenwood has went ahead and paid for this inmate's daughter and granddaughter to take a flight to Arkansas -- you see that reunion there --

to be able to be with their a father one last time before this execution takes place tonight.

So, again, this is one of the many emotional turns that this story has taken, but it will all boil down to this, will the Governor of Arkansas

choose to put to death Kenneth Williams, who would essentially be the fourth person now to be executed in the state of Arkansas this month?

GORANI: All right. Polo Sandoval, thanks very much for that report. Check out our Facebook page, for more on our


This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Finally free after three decades in slavery, one woman is rebuilding her life and learning for the first time to make

decisions for herself.


GORANI: Well, forced to work long hours for no money at all under an abusive person for three decades is the very definition, obviously, of

slavery. And it was real life for one woman until she was finally able to escape. Here is Rafael Romo.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Life's simple freedoms, a walk in the park, ice cream on a sunny day, still seem foreign

to Lupita Perez Castillo.

LUPITA PEREZ CASTILLO, DOMESTIC SLAVERY SURVIVOR (through translator): They took away my innocence and the hope of being a self-assured person.

ROMO: Lupita says she was kept as a slave for more than 30 years. Her story begins as a 10-year-old girl living in an impoverished indigenous

community in Veracruz, Mexico. That's when she says a woman, accompanied by a translator, approached her mother offering the recent widow money in

exchange for Lupita.

[15:50:06] MARIA TERESA PAREDES, LAWYER FOR LUPITA PEREZ CASTILLO: And they told her mother that they were going to take her daughter with them

and send her to school, and that they were going to send Lupita's family her monthly salary. They also gave her mother some money at that moment.

ROMO: Once taken to the new family, Lupita says she was forced to do house work and care for other children. She was not paid, and she remembers the

lady of the house gave her only leftover scraps to eat and not giving her a bed.

CASTILLO (through translator): She would say that we indigenous people were used to sleeping on the floor like animals. She had a sofa but

wouldn't let me use it because she said I was going to ruin it.

ROMO: Lupita says she tried to escape several times, but nobody in the new city understood her indigenous dialect, and she was punished for trying.

CASTILLO (through translator): They would pull my hair. Sometimes, when I had to take frozen meat out of the freezer, they would hit me with it in

the head.

ROMO: It wasn't until she was almost 40 that she got the opportunity to finally break free.

CASTILLO (through translator): That night, the lady's son, the youngest, the one I used to babysit, had an accident. She went to the hospital and

that is when I escaped.

ROMO: Her captor was convicted on slavery and forced domestic work charges. Still, after three years, transitioning into a life of freedom is

proving difficult for Lupita.

PAREDES (through translator): She couldn't stop. If we went to a restaurant, she wanted to do the dishes. If we traveled and stayed at a

hotel, she wanted to do the beds, wanted to do chores. They really stole 30 years of her life from her.

ROMO: Lupita has now been in therapy for some time. Because she was held captive for nearly three decades starting when she was a child, she never

learned to make her own decisions, manage her own money, and have a sense of self-worth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you ask what's your favorite ice cream flavor, chocolate or strawberry, she'd say, what do you want it to be?

ROMO: Now, 43, Lupita has a paying job working as a seamstress, and she is hoping to make up for lost time.

CASTILLO (through translator): My dream is to study nursing. It was my dream since I was a little girl. I'm trying hard. I'm reading because

that is the only thing I want to do, even if I never make it.

ROMO: A dream deferred by a nightmare no one should ever have to face.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Mexico City.


GORANI: We'll be right back. Stay with us.


GORANI: He tweets. He gives TED talks as we told you yesterday. He's willing to broach touchy subjects like divorce and contraception. He even

calls a lot of the faithful on the phone.

It's all part of Pope Francis' unique approach to leading Catholics in the 21st Century. But the Pope also realizes that sometimes, all you need is a

fresh clean shirt. Delia Gallagher reports from the Vatican.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Inside this former hospital in the heart of Rome, Pope Francis has set up a place which offers a different

kind of care. A free laundromat for the poor.

Ciro and Rosanna, two of the estimated 7,000 homeless in Rome have brought their clothes here where volunteers do the washing for them. Ciro says he

sleeps wherever he is, often in a hospital or on a bench.

[15:55:08] CIRO GUARDACCIONE, LAUNDROMAT PATRON (through translator): In the summer it's OK. In the winter, we are like popsicles, penguins.

GALLAGHER: Before the Pope's laundromat, he says he would wear his dirty clothes until they were falling apart and then throw them away.

GUARDACCIONE (through translator): For us, it is a very important thing. I want to thank Pope Francis. It is really an amazing gift.

GALLAGHER: So there are six washing machines and six dryers here, as well as ironing facilities next door. And the volunteers tell me that they can

do about 16 loads of laundry in a day. And what's important for them is that the name of the person gets on to the load of laundries so that they

can be sure, once it's washed, dried and ironed, it gets back to the right person.

The laundromat is the latest in Pope Francis' projects for the poor in Rome. He has already opened a dormitory for men and women, and showers, a

barbershop, and medical facilities at the Vatican.

MASSIMILIANO SIGNIFREDI, VOLUNTEER, COMMUNITY SANT'EGIDIO (through translator): The bodies of the poor are taken care of by someone, and it's

beautiful because Pope Francis really understood that this is what they need.

GALLAGHER: Massimiliano remembers one of the homeless smelling his freshly laundered clothes.

SIGNIFREDI (through translator): He said, it reminds me of home. That is what we do here. This is a little like a family, which helps people to

feel at home.

GALLAGHER: A home where doing the laundry is not a chore, but a gift for which they are grateful.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


GORANI: Well, that is not the Pope's only charity initiative. He has also paid one year's rent on a private beach for people with disabilities. It's

a donation to the charity group, Work of Love, that has provided a portion of the beach to people who are disabled for years. Volunteers installed

ramps, boardwalks, and water vehicles to help people get access.

Work of Love says hundreds of people with disabilities use this part of the beach each year, and they're able to enjoy, just like able-bodied people,

sunshine, the sand, and the water.

This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani.

A special edition of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" live from Lagos, Nigeria, is up next. Stay with us.