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Macron Defeats Le Pen; Yates to Testify; South Korea's Presidential Election. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 8, 2017 - 11:00   ET




EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT-ELECT, FRANCE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): .on behalf of our slogan, liberty, equality, and fraternity.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: After a meteoric rise, France's new president seeks to unite a divided country. Next up, what the defeat of far right

candidate, Marine Le Pen, means for the country and for Europe.

Also ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I asked her all questions about Russia, what she knew about Trump ties.


ANDERSON: In the hot seat, after being fired by the U.S. president, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, is set to testify. What did she know

about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russia?

Ahead, reports from Washington and Moscow. And.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not tolerate any military provocation from North Korea.


ANDERSON: Voters in South Korea will soon be at the ballot box to elect a new president amid rising tensions with the North -- a look at the state of

the race there later this hour. It is 7:00 o'clock in Abu Dhabi.

Hello and welcome. You're watching "Connect the World." I'm Becky Anderson for you. Corrupt, too young, out of touch but now, Emmanuel

Macron will be called something very different -- Monsieur President.

France's incredible election rewriting its entire political playbook is going to see him become the country's youngest leader since Napoleon.

Macron, on the left here, looking presidential just hours after his win, skyrocketing from a virtual unknown to where he is now all this in just

three years.

And check out just how he did it -- winning everywhere that's in blue here, crushing his right wing and populist rival, Marine Le Pen, who claimed just

two small spots of red. Filled with triumph, Macron gave an excited victory speech.


MACRON (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): What we have done for months and months now has no precedent nor equivalence. Everybody told us it was impossible.

But they didn't know France.



ANDERSON: Well, we are on every side of the story for you as you would expect. CNN's Isa Soares is out and about in Paris where there is already

a protest against labor reforms Macron wants to bring in.

Our Jim Bitterman, along the world-famous Champs-Elysees.

Let's start with you, Isa. Macron said he won't be stopped by any obstacle in his effort to reform France. So what is that plan? And how much

resistance does he face?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's definitely not the victory lap he had in mind, Becky. If you look, the police behind me, the -- the riot

police have been -- seen crowds of as many as a thousand people here or so, majority of them unionists.

But also, many people like you said who don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to his reforms, I wanted to give you a sense of the numbers. We've started

at about a thousand or so.

That is, as you can see, significantly reduced many people dispersing. But what I've heard from people here in Paris but also in Northern France,

where you were mentioning there, has turned majority (ph) blue, only a couple of -- of towns that really, the tough ones (ph) that became (ph)

Marine Le Pen.

People still feel that he doesn't represent them. People feel that -- that they're voiceless. And they feel he belongs to the elite.

So in terms of what we heard from the president-elect is really making France a bit more open, more open to free trade, more -- much more

globalist vision of -- of France. And many people here don't believe he is man to do it, one, because he's never held elected office, two, because

they don't trust him.

And that is the big point that keep -- I'm hearing time and time again, he belongs to the elite. He doesn't belong to us.

Interestingly, when I spoke to majority people (ph) here, which way did they vote, they vote Marine Le Pen, of course, they shook their heads as

you'd expect in voting and said no. Many said they voted white, which was ran almost eight or so percent, which is quite a significant number, Becky.

So there is -- I know it's quite a cliche when you say this is a divided country.


But you do get a sense that not everyone agrees or thought (ph) -- agreed on the last two candidates they had to pick from.

ANDERSON: Isa, stand by.

Jim, so western liberal democracy, if you like, %trumps a populist protectionist agenda from Marine Le Pen. What does this election result

mean for the French and indeed for the rest of the world?

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. I mean, some people are declaring this is a victory for the anti-populist, the ones that

were saying that populism really wasn't there, wasn't really a movement -- a worldwide movement.

And we've seen elections now in the Netherlands and here, which seem to back that theory up that populism could be dead if it ever was there in the

first place. But it should be said, too, just to back up what Isa was saying, Emmanuel Macron has been extremely lucky getting elected president

of the -- of France.

And just analyzing the votes, one of the surveys that came out yesterday was that 43 percent of French voters voted for Emmanuel Macron only to stop

Marine Le Pen from getting into office so voting against the populism of Marine Le Pen. So you -- you really have a contradiction here.

You have someone who's been elected president who's coming in with a lot of enthusiasm and whatnot but who has been extremely lucky getting to where he

is. Some of his opponents in the election, the first round of the election, self-destructed.

And it's a question as whether that luck is going to continue, whether it's going to hold, whether -- whether he's making his own luck. If he's that

clever, perhaps he's going to be able to make his own luck going forward.


ANDERSON: Jim, you've probably forgotten more about French politics than we will ever know. So this is about continuity rather than change.

How does that, though, improve the lot of the French? What does he need to do next?

BITTERMAN: Well, for one thing, he's going to have to -- because he says that France needs to be reformed and he knows the issues. There's no

question about that.

We've been reviewing him several times as a -- as a minister and as a campaigner for the presidency. And he clearly knows what needs to be done

in terms of economic reforms here to get the economy going again, to get people employed again.

And the question is will he be able to do it? And the thing, kind of pushback we're seeing even this afternoon out on the streets where he says

that the fact is he's going to face that again and again and again as he challenges the icons.

There have been a succession of presidents here, starting with Sarkozy, and then followed by Holland who said they were going to reform the economy.

And they tried. And they were hit with the kind of strikes and -- and demonstrations that we've seen take place here.

And they've been stopped in their tracks. They've been forced to stop in their tracks because they could see that it was going nowhere, that they

weren't going to be able to get the legislation through.

So he's got to be a good salesman. He's got to sell that program not only to the legislature, which that's going to be hard but also to the French

people so that they're not out on streets. Becky?

ANDERSON: Jim Bitterman is, as we said, just above the famous Champs- Elysees.

Isa, thank you, out on the street of Paris for you today. And later this hour, we're going to take a look at the very enthusiastic reaction --

it's got to be said in Europe to this man's election.

We are live in Berlin for more as the French and German leaders get set to meet. And we will look ahead to what happens next. I'll speak to the

French journalist, Christine Ockrent. >

What did White House officials know about Michael Flynn's ties to Russia? And when did they know it?

We can learn a lot more in just a few hours when a long-awaited hearing gets underway in the U.S. on Capitol Hill. Former Acting Attorney General

Sally Yates is expected to contradict the Trump administration's account of her warning about Flynn.

He was fired as national security adviser over his contacts with Russia's U.S. ambassador, remember? Well, CNN has learned the White House already

has a strategy for blunting Yates' testimony.

It plans to cast as a partisan Democrat trying to further her own political ambitions. In a tweet earlier today, President Trump appeared to accuse

Yates of involvement in a leak of classified information.

CNN's Manu Raju has more for you now from Washington.


MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Congressional investigators looking into Russia's role in the 2016 elections, running into a range of new

challenges, ahead of today's high-profile testimony from former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence,

James Clapper.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: They will ask her all questions about Russia, what she knew about Trump ties, was any administration effort

to unmask people for political purposes. We're going to get to all things Russia in terms what the administration and -- and what Russia did.

RAJU: Multiple lawmakers in both the House and Senate stressing that the committees still have mountains of documents to sift through.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: But we're continuing to go through documents from multiple agencies. We're continuing to go through


This will take several months to be able to finish it out.

RAJU: Cautioning that the probes could drag into the fall and even next year. Further complicating the inquiries, uncertainty over the leads the

committees are chasing and ongoing partisan disagreement over potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: I'm not sure that there's any reason for the president to believe that there was collusion between his (ph) campaign.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Great cause of concern, evidence of collusion, from Donald Trump, we have seen -- we have seen someone who

continues to try and obstruct an investigation.

RAJU: Lawmakers struggling with the key question, whether the meetings between Trump associates and Russians were related to the campaign, or

whether they were simply efforts by the Trump advisers to gain new business for their companies, these questions coming amid a new effort to get

information from at least four of Trump's former associates, including former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort and former campaign foreign

policy adviser, Carter Page.


RAJU: Page flatly rejecting the Senate Intelligence Committee's request to provide records of his communications with Russians, saying in an unusual

letter the head of the committee wants details. They'll need to ask former President Obama because of surveillance that occurred during his


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), VIRGINIA: When Carter Page says he wants to basically be cooperating and then all of a sudden we get another message,

that's not the way to conduct a thorough investigation.

RAJU: This by (ph) coming as Yates is expected to tell lawmakers today that she gave the Trump administration a forceful warning about hiring

former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, testimony at odds with the White House's account.

SEAN SPICER, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: The acting attorney general informed the White House Counsel that they wanted to give, quote, "a heads

up to us."

ANDERSON: Awesome, Manu Raju reporting. He joins us now live from Washington with more. We've also got our CNN's Diana Magnay following

developments tonight from Moscow.

Manu, how much of what we expect to hear in testimony from Yates do we already know at this point?

RAJU: Well, that's a really good question. I don't know if we'll know -- get any real smoking-gun evidence coming out of this hearing today.

And one reason why is because a lot of the things that Yates is going to testify about are classified stuff. She cannot reveal any classified


Source is familiar with account (ph) telling me there really are limits on what she can say. But what she can say is to give her account of how she

informed the White House about her concerns about Michael Flynn potentially being compromised by the Russians, where the White House has said that it

was just a heads up and downplayed the warning that Yates gave.

She's going to say she gave a forceful warning and contradict the White House's account. That is not classified.

She can say that. But when she's probably asked how did you come to the conclusion that he may be compromised, I'm not sure we'll hear much of


But the fact that she's going to say that she warned the White House will raise a lot of questions about why the White House continued to keep him on

staff for up to two weeks even after that warning was first given by Sally Yates.

ANDERSON: How much pressure has she been under by this administration?

RAJU: You know, you saw President Trump today issue several tweets going after her, specifically in one saying that -- not to -- to question whether

or not she was the source behind any of these leaks to the press. There's no evidence that she was.

Already, the White House trying to make her look like a partisan Democratic operative to undercut her testimony today so the bar will be high for her

to clear to show that is, you know, doing this because she believes she was acting in a non-partisan fashion, only issuing her concerns. But she has

not spoken publicly yet about her concerns, which will make today's testimony all the more revealing.

ANDERSON: Diana, allegations of Russian interference in the campaign plus- plus have been doing the rounds now we know for months and months and months. And we get a -- a similar response from the Kremlin every time

they are questioned about these new allegations turn-up.

What's the view where you are? Just how closely watched will this be, do you believe, in Moscow?


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, let's not forget that tomorrow is victory day. It's a May celebration. It's the huge military

parade through the streets of Moscow.

And it is a holiday. So first and foremost, that is what people are doing and preparing for at the moment. They're on a holiday.

As you say, the Kremlin's line on these succession of allegations remains the same. And that is we do not interfere in the elections of other


And as President Putin said very clearly last week, this string of allegations is really a symptom of U.S. political battles. Also associated

with this story, especially the Michael Flynn and his contacts with the Russian ambassador is these allegations that came up with Sergey Kislyak,

the Russian ambassador in D.C. was the head of a -- of -- of the Russian foreign intelligence agency and the top recruiter for them -- not the head

but a top recruiter for them.

That was coming from former and current U.S. government officials. And to that, Russia has also said, well, show us the evidence.

And this remains the sort of mantra from the Kremlin. If you want to put all these allegations out there, you need to show some evidence of it.

You need to show evidence that Kislyak was anything other than Russia's man in D.C., which doing the job that an ambassador must do. And you need to

show some evidence of collusion, which of course, none of these investigations to date have been able, certainly, in open sessions, to come

up with.


ANDERSON: Diana Magnay is in Moscow for you, Manu in Washington. Guys, thank you. And this just in to CNN (ph), the top U.S. and Russian

diplomats will meet face-to-face in Washington this week.

The State Department says Rex Tillerson and Sergey Lavrov will hold talks Wednesday to discuss the conflicts in Ukriane, Syria amongst other issues.

Lavrov will arrive in the U.S. tomorrow, clearly not taking the time that other people are on what is a public holiday there in Russia.

Right, still to come tonight, in just hours, South Koreans head to the polls to elect their next president. We're going to tell you which issues

are driving that race.

Plus, North Korea has detained yet another American citizen -- his wife's desperate plea for his release. Taking a very short break, back after






You are looking at the frontrunner in the race to be South Korea's next president. Polls open there in just under six hours.

Excuse me. You're watching CNN. This is "Connect the World" with me, Becky Anderson, out of Abu Dhabi for you, at 20 past 7:00 in the evening

here. Welcome back.

South Korea's election happening against the backdrop of increased tensions with North Korea. Pyongyang has just called for an end to the standoff.

And the frontrunner has previously signaled he is willing to talk. Paula Hancocks takes us on the campaign trail.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pure excitement at seeing the presidential frontrunner. Moon Jae-in has dedicated supporters, old and


And he's enjoying a significant lead in the polls. His policy on North Korea, though, has voters split. A liberal candidate, Moon is pro-


He supports dialogue with Pyongyang, even organizing the last North/South Summit in 2007. A group of North Korean defectors last week claimed 3,000

of them would leave South Korea and seek asylum elsewhere if Moon wins.

Defectors traditionally vote conservative for a more hardline approach to the regime they fled. But also rare defector support for Moon -- the

feeling here is that he's the only one who can prevent a future war on the peninsula.

"Our parents, brothers and sisters are all in North Korea," says this former member of the elite. The second we carry a rifle to defend South

Korea, we'll be pointing a gun towards them.

Moon declined repeated requests for a television interview but tried to fight criticism he's too soft on North Korea in a televised address.

"I will not tolerate any military provocation from North Korea," he says. "Through crisis management and a solid alliance with the U.S. I will stop

the war from happening."

HANCOCKS: Moon lost in the last presidential race to former president Park Geun-hye. Park has been impeached and imprisoned, currently on trial for

extortion and bribery.

She denies all charges against her. But Moon is assumed to have picked up support for being the opposite of her, in policy and personality.

MICHAEL BREEN, AUTHOR, "THE NEW KOREANS": He stood very clearly against her. So one big reason for his support is that he's not her.

HANCOCKS: Former businessman, Ahn Cheol-soo, also supports negotiations with Pyongyang, even highlighting the fact he went to the same business

school as U.S. President Donald Trump as a way of connecting with the country's main ally. Hong Jun-pyo, the conservative candidate from Park's

former party suffered a political body blow from her impeachment and holds a harder line against Pyongyang.

HANCOCKS: Thirteen candidates in all, vying for the top job, the results, expected overnight Tuesday. So unless the polls are horribly wrong, which

to be fair, has happened elsewhere in the world, Moon could well be the next leader to try and solve the problem of North Korea and also to try and

start to build a relationship with a U.S. president who had said that he is happy to go it alone on the issue.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


ANDERSON: Well, let's get you live on the ground in Seoul, which is just 200 kilometers, of course, from Pyongyang, where CNN's very own Ivan Watson

is for us now.

Ivan, just set the scene for us, if you will, on what is an incredibly important election there in South Korea.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here is one indicator. Several days before the polls formally open on -- on Tuesday in -- in the official

election, more than a quarter of the electorate had already cast their ballots in advanced voting, more than 11 million people, according to the

National Electoral Commissions. That gives you a sense of some of the enthusiasm out there.

There is certainly, appears to be a backlash against conservative politicians in the country after the scandal of the former president, Park

Geun-hye and her impeachment. When it comes to this frontrunner that Paula was reporting on, Moon Jae-in, yes, there is considerable talk about him

seeking a more diplomatic approach with Pyongyang if he is elected.

And there is a surprising similarity between him and the position of the Trump administration, Becky, in that both of them have said that the past

policy from the U.S. and past South Korean governments of, quote/unquote, "strategic patience" have failed. That is part of the rationale that this

candidate, Moon Jae-in, is using for seeking, perhaps, a more diplomatic approach to Pyongyang.

But again, if you talk to ordinary voters on the street, one of the biggest concerns right now is rising youth unemployment, which nearly doubled

between 2015 and 2016.


That's one of the things that is certainly driving young people to the polls and driving them early. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, and doesn't that sound familiar in -- in other parts of the world as well. Listen, North Korea detaining yet another American citizen

-- his wife is desperate for his release, of course.

What do we know about what's going on with him? And I wonder whether you'll just follow up with a little bit more on what South Korea really thinks,

sort of diplomatic outreach might mean with North Korea at this point.

Let's start with this detained American.

WATSON: Right. Well, not long ago, I met with his wife, Kim Mi-ok. And she is a very frightened, very worried woman right now because her husband

was announced detained on Sunday by North Korean state media for suspected plotting to harm the North Korean regime. That's a very serious detention

and charge.

And I asked her what message she has for the North Korean government. Becky, listen to what her message was.


KIM MI-OK (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We are all the same people. We have been serving the people we love.

So I hope this detention issue is solved in a humanitarian way and he is sent back to our family. Members of our family are waiting.


WATSON: So Kim's husband, Kim Hak Song was originally born in China, an ethnic Korean, who was naturalized an American citizen. He was an

evangelical Christian pastor.

And he had been working at Pyongyang University of of Science and Technology as an agricultural expert. His wife says that he was helping

teach more advanced techniques of harvesting rice there in a country that has suffered from deadly famine in the past.

And he is the second person working at that university to have been detained on similar charges by the North Koreans in just over two weeks.

The other was a Korean-American who goes by the name Tony Kim facing similar charges.

And this is coming against not only the climate of confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang, Becky, over the nuclear program in North Korea,

but also in recent days, North Korea announced that it had foiled what it claimed was a CIA-backed assassination plot targeting North Korean leader,

Kim Jong-un, that's dismissed by U.S. and South Korean intelligence. But amid those wild and dramatic claims, unsubstantiated so far, North Korean

officials announced that they would embark on a campaign to root out foreign agents.

And it is possible that these two Americans have been caught up in that climate of real concern and -- and fears about security in North Korea,

which some could argue, is paranoia.


ANDERSON: Ivan Watson is in Seoul in South Korea for you this evening. Ivan, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Well, latest world news headlines just ahead of you. Plus, what's ahead for France's new president? We're going to talk politics, policies and

those all-important parliamentary elections, up next.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is "Connect the World." I'm Becky Anderson for you. These are the top stories for you this hour.

And France's president-elect, Emmanuel Macron has appeared side-by-side with the outgoing leader, Francois Hollande. They attended a ceremony to

mark the end of World War II.

In Europe, Macron said he will reunite a divided France after he beat far right candidate, Marine Le Pen, in Sunday's runoff. Well, CNN has learned

that former U.S. president Barack Obama himself warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

That meeting happened in the oval office back in November. The news is surfacing just hours before a Senate panel will hear key testimony on Flynn

as part of its investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

A fourth American citizen is now in custody in North Korea. Kim Hak Song was detained on Saturday according to state media, accused of hostile acts

against the government.

Well, this is happening as South Korea prepares to elect its new president. Polls open there in just hours' time.

Moon Jae-in is the frontrunner in the race and has said he's willing to open dialogue with the North. Staying with our top story, France's new

president's being fettered by supporters at home and abroad, especially in Europe.

Germany's Angela Merkel says that Macron carries the hopes of millions of people in Germany as well as in France. Outgoing French President Francois

Hollande will meet the German chancellor later in just around 90 minutes' time.

Atika Shubert in Berlin covering reaction from there.

This is a victory as it were for the European Union, if -- if not just for France against Marine La Pen, who was a populist, who was looking for

protectionism, who was looking to move away from the European Union. This must be a victory which is going down a treat in Germany with Angela

Merkel, Atika.

ATIKA Shubert, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely and not just in Germany but across Europe. Certainly, in Western Europe, you've seen that.

I mean, the European Council President, Donald Tusk, put out a tweet saying that the French people had voted for, you know, equality, liberty and

fraternity over the quote, "tyranny of fake news." And Merkel, herself -- Chancellor Merkel was one of the first leaders to congratulate Macron, to

call him in person.

So yes, absolutely, there -- there is definitely a very positive reaction in Germany and across Europe primarily because Macron campaigned on this

pro-E.U. election, tackling the issue of E.U. reform head-on. And this is very different, of course, from Le Pen, who was promising a referendum to

exit the E.U.

So in one sense, this is a victory for the E.U. But in another, Macron is also promising substantial reforms. So, you know, there might be -- this

might be good times at the moment.

But at some point in the future, there will be some pretty tough discussions between Germany and France and how to, you know, how to get

those reforms underway.

ANDERSON: Yes, sure. All right. Well, let's talk about that. Thank you, Atika.

For more from Paris and veteran French journalist, Christine Ockrent is with us. She's a former head of Network France 24 and ex-editor of

L'Express newspaper.

This was a sort of victory that perhaps only weeks ago, nobody might have thought possible. It is possible. But by Monday morning, Christine, it

seems the papers have turned to whether he can really carry the momentum through into what are the legislative parliamentary elections in mid-June.


What does he need at this point?

CHRISTINE OCKRENT, FRENCH JOURNALIST: Well, Becky, we, journalists, tend always to be skeptical. That's part of our trade. But Macron is


And the mere fact that this young man, 39 years old, managed in just 14 months to achieve such a -- a remarkable prowess, shows that indeed, there

is hope in this country and there is hope for change. Now, the calendar is such and our institutions are such that indeed, there will be

parliamentary elections next month.

And the challenge for him is, of course, to use the impetus of his presidential victory to make his own movement, En Marche!, real political

party and hopefully for him and for them and for the country have a majority in order to sustain the reforms he needs to do. But all together.

ANDERSON: All right.

OCKRENT: .it's a sign for change.

ANDERSON: Well, that's fascinating because let's just show our viewers how France voted in this -- the second round. And you can see a sea of blue

there for the President-Elect Emmanuel Macron, just two French impact (ph) in the north where a majority voted for Marine Le Pen.

One of them was her stronghold. Christine, you're calling this a vote for change.

But when you consider what the alternative was in the populist, protectionist Marine Le Pen, this seems, to many, from the outside looking

in, a vote for continuity rather than change. What does all of this mean for the people of France, before we talk about what it means for France

within the bigger picture, as it were?

OCKRENT: I don't think it's continuity at all if only because the two mainstream political parties that have governed this country for the past

50 years are out. They were out of the presidential -- the second round of the presidential contest.

So it shows that indeed, the French are really tired -- sick and tired of seeing always the same people, you know, either conservatives or

socialists. So that means change.

You are right. The fact that Marine Le Pen has also achieved, you know -- it's a remarkable achievement for the Front National to have gathered

almost 11 million votes. But it shows that the same trend is at work that we saw in the U.S., that we saw with Brexit, you know, people who are

dissatisfied, destabilized, the identity -- all the arguments -- the populist arguments.

But Marine Le Pen hasn't been elected. And so, again, what matters is next month, how the French going back to vote will actually translate their

ambitions for the country and will probably get back to a rather fragmented political landscape very similar to what we saw for the first round of this

presidential elections just two weeks ago.

ANDERSON: Christine, Macron's critics accused him of being the candidate of the elite. So come Sunday when he takes office, what are his


Let's just have a look at where things stand at the moment. On the economy, he wants to cut corporate taxes and increase public investment.

Security, he says, is also important. He's promised to hire an extra 10,000 police officers. Now, Emmanuel Macron is a centrist, strongly pro-


He's committed to keeping France inside the European Union. So let's just explore where we think France goes from here.

It is that club, the European Union, and how it negotiates the exit of Britain that will likely dominate E.U. affairs over the next two years. So

what's Macron's position there likely to be?

OCKRENT: Well, you know, our British friends always think they are the center of our continental preoccupations. Well, it's not quite true.

I'm afraid Brexit is first and foremost an issue for the British. This being said, Macron is indeed a staunch pro-European, has been throughout

his short political career.

And indeed, he knows that in order to reform the union and get it probably better-fitted to answer all those citizens, especially in Southern Europe,

who are discouraged with globalization and all the rest of it, he knows he has to reboot.


ANDERSON: All right.

OCKRENT: .to reboot the German Frankel (ph) couple. And that's why Chancellor Merkel is obviously extremely satisfied that he's been elected.

It's -- it's a very, very strong impetus for Europe to have, again.


OCKRENT: .a good and balanced partnership between Berlin and Paris.

ANDERSON: And before the end of the month, that he's also got a NATO meeting May 25, I think it is, G-7, the 26th and 27th. He'll be meeting

Donald Trump at both of those.

How will his position differ, if at all, on issues like -- and it's a very pressing issue, Syria, for example? How will he differ from what will then

be a former President Francois Hollande?

OCKRENT: I think on that score, there will be continuity. I think the French diplomacy will not differ and particularly on the Middle East.

Emmanuel Macron is a strong believer in the Western liberal international order. He has said so. I interviewed him three weeks ago precisely on

that score (ph).

And he won't differ at all. And I think that, again, France being in NATO and being a strong member of the alliance, his policy towards the Middle

East will not be changed, you know, in a significant manner.

ANDERSON: OK. With that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much as ever for joining us. You've been a regular guest on this show

over the years.

OCKRENT: Thanks, Becky. It's freezing cold here. I can tell you.

ANDERSON: Thank you. Yes. Yes, you did a very good job, thank you, despite the cold. Well, look, we are back up and swing from Abu Dhabi this

hour, been out for a couple of weeks.

Just ahead, this report thinks it has the answers to what young people in this surely the world's most volatile region are feeling. We're going to

ask the man who put it together what is on their minds.

That is next. Stay with us.





JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.



ANDERSON: But what if the answer to both of those questions was simply nothing? What can seem idealistic in some places can seem outright

unrealistic in the Middle East.

And that is being measured by this -- the new Arab Youth Survey. It gauges what youngsters -- young people aged between 18 and 24 are thinking across

much of this region.

Myself and the "Connect the World" team got a first look at this report. And here is what is in it.


ANDERSON: War, famine, terrorism, ISIS, even unemployment -- all threads in the Middle East's brutal mosaic, a warped reality the Arabs themselves

can't escape, even those meant to have the most hope for it, its young. So almost half of those asked in this (ph) survey think this region is going

in the wrong direction, the one exception, here in the United Arab Emirates.

For yet another year, many look to it as a beacon of hope. But still, with so many problems and so many feeling permanent, old friendships are fading.


ANDERSON: Almost everyone doesn't like America's new president. And they no longer feel like America is their go-to for safety.

Instead, stepping in, Russia. So in a region where as many as seven out of 10 people are under 30, that matters here more than anywhere.


ANDERSON: And peaceful, rich, and safe -- that is how many young people look in the Middle East look at the United Arab Emirates. And let's stay

right here in its capital now.

Of course, we're in Abu Dhabi. I want to speak to the man who runs the company that carried out this survey, Sunil John.

And even before I started reading this, Sunil, I was fascinated. And I thought it was a brilliant move to dedicate this to the Arab world's 200

million youth.

This sort of survey is so important. The age group that you surveyed is so important because they are this region's tomorrow.

What struck you most about what they told you?

SUNIL JOHN, CEO, ASDA'A BURSON-MARSTELLER: I mean, absolutely, Becky. The region is probably one of the youngest parts in the world. You know, out

of 22 different Arab nations across this vast area, nearly more than 350 million people, but 60 percent below the age 30.

There is no other part of the world that is as young as the Middle East. And we've been doing this study over the last nine years.

So the value of the survey is, you know, how are young people changing their views? And what we see this year is fairly different from what we

saw in the hey-days (ph) of the Arab Spring in 2011 when people had a revolutionary trend.

They were speaking of the best days ahead of them. And things now, they have been tempered with.

ANDERSON: That -- and that -- and that, to a certain extent (ph), too many of our viewers may seem very disappointed. You know, there was that sense

of revolution.

JOHN: Yes.

ANDERSON: .of change, this can-do attitude by the youngsters in this region. So what happened?

JOHN: I think clearly, you -- you can see in the last six years after the Arab Spring, conflicts have risen -- the Syrian refugee issue, the

continuing conflict in Yemen, the Libyan almost -- the crisis in -- in the country and the Iraq issue as well. So when you look at that, so many


Also in the -- in the rich Arabian Gulf states, there has been an economic issue where, you know, the largest revenue from (ph) the (ph) government

has nearly halved from all the $700 billion to nearly about $350 billion.

ANDERSON: Talking about oil, of course, yes.

JOHN: .in 16 (ph) oil revenues. So when you look at that, there's pressure on governments. And again, after the Arab Spring, more -- the

governments are under pressure.

They have to prove their legitimacy to citizens. And that's actually putting a lot of pressure. There's a lot of positive energy as well.

So when you look at our top study, top finding, it was nearly half the population feel optimistic about the future. But young people in that age

group, by default, should be optimistic.


So the other half, who are pessimistic, is -- is -- is a concern.

ANDERSON: The Middle East region divided is how -- is how you've -- you've worked the formatting of this.

JOHN: Yes.

ANDERSON: If you live in this region, as we do in -- here in the UAE, in the GCC, it is absolutely no surprise.

JOHN: Yes.

ANDERSON: .to hear that this is a region divided with the GCC to a certain extent, with the challenges as you have just described, the level (ph),

and then, of course, the kind of wider Middle Eastern and North Africa. So what do you take -- what do -- what do the governments in this region take

from a survey like this?

And what sort of change should we expect?

JOHN: Yes, I think the team is an important one because when the outside look at the Middle East, you're looking at this vast land of 350 million

people as I said. But when you delve a little deeper into the findings, just one finding, for example, one question we asked young people is that

how do you see -- is your country going in the right direction?

Fifty-two percent said, you know, going in the right direction. OK. But then you dig a little deeper, 85 percent of that sample from the Gulf

countries said, they are hugely optimistic about going in the right direction.

But when you look at the sample, which is Levant and Yemen, you know, or what we call the fertile crescent (ph) in Yemen is the diametrically the

opposite. Eighty-five percent feel that they are going in the wrong direction.

So you know, Middle East can't be seen in a -- with a broad-brush approach. It's not region. You're distinctively looking at the Arabian Gulf

countries -- yes, secure, and not that affected by the Arab Spring.

The Levant and Yemen, conflict-ridden (ph) and somewhere in the middle is North African countries, the populous ones, you know, Egypt, Algeria,

Tunisia, Morocco. These are -- so you see very -- three very distinct region.

And that's why while this might seem obvious, but when you look at the perceptions of these young people, you're looking at a region that is

really divided in -- in how they see their current and their future.

ANDERSON: It was a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

JOHN: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: "Middle East, a Region Divided," out. It's worth a read. You're watching CNN. We'll be right back.




ANDERSON: I want to get you back to what -- what is breaking story this hour. We are learning that the warnings about the fired U.S. National

Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, went all the way to the top.

Sources say that the former President Barack Obama himself warned Donald Trump against hiring Flynn. Well, that mate meeting happened in the oval

office back in November, the news surfacing just hours before what is a Senate panel will hear key testimony on Flynn as part of its investigation

into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Let's get you straight to Washington. More from Joe Johns, who's live for you this hour. What more do we know at this point, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you hit the headline right there, Becky. The important new information is, yes, this went right to

the top, apparently, according to our sources.

Then President Obama delivering a warning to then President-Elect Trump about the person he was considering hiring as national security adviser,

that would be Michael Flynn, who we all know now was eventually fired by President Trump not long after he took the job. So this meeting occurred

two days after the election on November 10, it was.


The meeting lasted about 90 minutes. Both the president, then Obama, as well as the president-elect emerged from that meeting with glowing

representations, each about the other.

Also President Obama indicating he was going to do everything he could to help the incoming Trump administration become a success. So the question

that arises here, obviously, and I think our viewers know very well is if the system was, in fact, blinking red on the issue of Michael Flynn being

the national security adviser, because other people like Sally Yates had apparently raised some questions, too, why was it that Michael Flynn ended

up still getting the job, and then getting fired after that?

Why didn't the administration listen to the entreaties of the Democrats when Trump was coming into office? All of this against the backdrop of the

Russia investigation and questions about Russia interfering in the last election to the benefit of Donald Trump.


ANDERSON: Joe, with that, we're going to leave you there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.

That story is not going away, CNN all over it. I'm Becky Anderson. That was "Connect the World." Thank you for watching.

From us, it is a very good evening, from Abu Dhabi.