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Emmanuel Macron's Task to Unify Country; UAE Crown Prince Set to Visit U.S. President; Uproar Over Comey Firing Continues. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 15, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:59] UNIDENTIFED MALE: I think as well our institution are under assault internally.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Internally from the president?
UNIDNETIFIED MALE: Exactly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The start in a frenetic two weeks for the U.S. president at home and abroad, but the fallout from that the FBI firing
threatens to follow him wherever he goes. We are straight to Washington in just a moment for details on what's ahead at the White House, including a
visit by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, which is later today.
Plus, whenver and wherever it wants, North Korea hints at more missile tests. Is it also testing its ally's patience? The details on that.
Plus, fighting back against a global cyber attack. We look at who's affected by the wannacry worm and how to protect yourself.
A very warm welcome. You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi just after 7:00 in the evening here.
We begin, though, with a busy day in Washington as Donald Trump tries to move beyond the uproar over his shock firing of FBI director James Comey.
Now, the president expected to speak any time now at a national memorial service for police
officers. He kept a pretty low profile during what was chaos last week, but we'll see him three times today alone as he kicks off key foreign
policy meetings ahead of what will be his first trip abroad as president.
Now, the firestorm over Comey's firing, as it were, is sure to follow him. Critics accuse Mr. Trump of abusing his power by dismissing the man leading
the FBI investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia. The entire country now keeping close watch on who the administration will appoint to
fill Comey's shoes.
Well, the White House repeatedly cites a former intelligence chief when it says there is no
evidence of collusion with Russia, not only is James Clapper correcting the record on that, he also has some extraordinary criticism about the
direction of america under Donald Trump.
Let's kickoff with more from Joe Johns.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fallout over President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey isn't going away.
JAMES CLAPPER, FRM. DIRECTOR NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally -- and that's -- that's
the big news here, is Russian interference in our election system. And I think, as well, our institutions are under assault internally.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Internally from the president?
JOHNS: The nation's former intelligence chief, James Clapper, suggesting President Trump is undermining America's democratic system.
CLAPPER: The Founding Fathers, in their genius, created a system of three co-equal branches of government and -- and a built-in system of checks and
balances. And I feel as though that's -- that's under assault and is eroding.
JOHNS: Clapper also rejecting the president's repeated use of his Senate testimony to dismiss the Russia investigation.
CLAPPER: Well, the bottom line is I don't know if there was collusion, political collusion. And I don't know of any evidence to it, so I can't --
I can't refute it, and I can't confirm it.
JOHNS: United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley coming to the president's defense, while White House aides avoided the Sunday shows.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: The president is the CEO of the country. He can hire or fire whoever he wants.
JOHNS: Lawmakers from both parties condemning the president's action and demanding an explanation of the president's threatening tweet, suggesting
that recordings may exist of his conversations with Comey. The White House denies the tweet was a threat.
[08:05:07] GRAHAM: It was inappropriate. I would advise the president not to tweet or comment about the investigation.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: If, in fact, there are such recordings, I think those recordings will be subpoenaed.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We want to make sure those tapes are preserved, because we're going to want to take a look at them in
Congress. JOHNS: The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asserting that Comey should have the opportunity to address the president's
allegations in public.
WARNER: I think Jim Comey deserves his chance to lay out to the American public his side of the facts, because how he was treated was pretty awful
by this president.
JOHNS: Some Democrats are now saying they will refuse to confirm a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is appointed.
TRUMP: I thought that this would be a very popular thing that I did when I terminated Comey, because all of the Democrats couldn't stand him. But
because I terminated him, they said, "Ah, we get some political points. We'll go against Trump."
JOHNS: President Trump insisting that an independent investigation is not necessary.
TRUMP: There is no collusion. We have nothing to do with Russia and everything else.
JOHNS: The backlash coming as the president scrambles to replace Comey.
TRUMP: I think the process is going to go quickly.
JOHNS: A decision could come this week, after eight candidates were interviewed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy over the
weekend. Lawmakers from both parties urging the president to look beyond Washington when selecting a new director.
SCHIFF: I would strongly urge the administration to pick someone who's completely apolitical.
GRAHAM: The president has a chance to clean up the mess that he mostly created.
ANDERSON: I want to bring in CNN White House, senior White House correspondent - sorry Jeff - Jeff Zeleny.
Just been listening to Joe Johns' report there. How much is the Comey fallout likely to affect what is the next very busy two weeks for Trump?
And in what ways, Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, first and foremost, I mean, this White House now has to find another FBI director. I
mean, we're planning this week to be sort of preparing the president and preparing the White House for his first overseas trip of this presidency.
But now this FBI selection, you know is yet one more controversy, one more drama that
they have to deal with.
Now, it's unknown, uncertain if they will name a new FBI director before the president leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday. That's the hope, that's
the goal. B ut sometimes, these things take longer than you might think.
But I do think in terms of of just upheaval inside internally in the West Wing, they're trying to move beyond that, and trying to focus on what is a
very important assignment the president is taking on as his first foreign trip, Becky.
ANDERSON: That's right. Saudi Arabia, Israel, on to Rome, to The Vatican into the NATO meeting in Brussels and then onto the G7 meeting in Sicily.
This is no small intinerary, as you right point out. And a meeting with the Abu Dhabi crown prince in Washington today ahead of that.
You alluded there to White House aides. What's their mood at present?
ZELENY: Becky, that's a great question. You often get a sense of their mood by looking at what the president is saying on social media. What he
is - what messages he is sending out. And he's been quiet so far this morning. And he was relatively so over the weekend as well.
White House advisers tell me the mood is brightened inside the West Wing, somewhat. Last week was one of the more challenging weeks of his
presidency, but they are trying to change the subject, turn a corner, whatever words you want to use to get beyond this by focusing on the itinerary
as you were just saying there.
So - but, look, I mean, this is a presidency where no one is exactly sure where they stand. And that is risky in some respects. And it creates some
drama and tension inside.
But so far at least, the sun is shining literally here and it seems to be shining inside there as well there, you know. No firings, no big dramas.
But it's Monday, so who knows how week will play out, Becky.
ANDERSON: There is a long week ahead. And they say a week is a long time in politics.
Jeff, it's a pleasure having you on and chatting to you.
ZELENY: Thank you.
ANDERSON: And we will catch up again very, very soon. We'll have a lot more here on this story ahead this hour, including Mr. Trump's live remarks
at the national memorial for fallen police officers.
Also ahead, acronyms and allies united. We'll hear why the UAE matters to the USA as the crown prince of Abu Dhabi visits Washington.
And are the U.S. media on a mission? Harsh words on air and on the page as the fallout over
James Comey's firing intensifies. We'll speak with our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.
Right. All over the world people arrived at their jobs relieved not to find this message on their computer screens Monday. We hope this doesn't
look familiar to you. It's what pops up if you're one 200,000 users hit by the world's biggest cyber attack.
There were warnings there would be more victims as the work week began, but in the EU, at least, Europol says it hasn't seen an increase and few people
have paid the ransom that was asked for to unfreeze their computers.
Well, for more on the attack let's go to where some organizations were hit hard. But where someone fought back. CNN Money's Europe editor Nina Dos
Santos joins us from central London.
Explain, if you will, Nina.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN MONEY: Thanks very much, Becky.
Well, yes, we've had, what, 72 hours of asolute cyber chaos in some of the world's biggest economies, 150 countries, as you mentioned so far 200,000
computers. This makes this the biggest and most devestating cyber attack that the world has faced so far, raising a lot of questions about why all
of these public and private entities hadn't actually updated their software and why they were still running old Microsoft software.
What essentially happened on Friday wasthat a group of as yet unidentified hackers who seem to have been criminals who are working for financial gain
here, they got into people's systems by exploiting a hole in a flaw in the Microsoft's XP software package that the NSA had been using for some time.
Those NSA tools had been leaked online a couple of months ago and Microsoft had patched over the problem, but a lot of people hadn't updated their
And just to give you an idea of how devestating this was, the NHS is only now finally getting back onto its feet, that's the public health system
here in the UK, which is effectively paralyzed for a couple of days over the weekened on the back of this crisis.
Some people were turned away from hospitals, emergency rooms, some people had their surgery postponed until this crisis was over. But even in
Germany, Russia, China, we've seen train operators, interior ministries and whole universities knocked off line.
As you pointed out before there, Becky, Europol saying, well, the numbers here in Europe aren't getting worse, that's good news. But on the other
hand, as Asia woke up to the trading day we did see a little bit of a wave there, but it seems as though people have finally updated their software.
We're not out of the woods yet, because we could expect copycat attacks. And even if you've upgraded your software and you've downloaded this thing,
well it could well be too late, Becky.
ANDERSON: And Nina, you and I have talked about this before, and we are told again and
again by security experts, cybersecurity is their number one concern, cyberterrorism is something that
really frightens many, many administrations around the world. How do we ensure that this risk isn't out there, going forward? How do we ensure
this just doesn't happen again and again and again?
DOS SANTOS: Well, it's really difficult here. What we saw over the weekend is the G7 countries, the biggest richest countries, seven of them
in the world, again pledging to do more to shore up cyber security defenses. But the reality is, Becky, is that this kind of situation is the
nightmare situation that Europol has been raising for some time. We had the private sector have been affected, the public sector having been
affected, everybody from FedEx to Renault, Nissan, some of the universities and health systems around the world from Indonesia to the United Kingdom
being knocked off line. And it can be as simple as an employee at one of those companies just not accepting the update on their computer.
The other thing is that remember that with some of these big organizations it's a major endeavor updating the whole system. So the advice here from
people at Europol and others is backup your systems and always do the updates, and make sure that your staff are doing the update, make sure they
have good digital hygiene to get rid of extra emails that might be lurking at the botom of their inbox tray and don't click on anything suspicious.
So, vigilence and backing up things is also key, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nina Dos Santos in London on what is an incredibly important story. Nina, thank you.
Let's get you up to speed, then, on some other stories on our radar right now. And Yemen's health ministry has declared a state of emergency over a
deadly cholera outbreak. An offficial tells CNN that at least 129 people have died since the outbreak began in April. Now, the disease is
overwhelming the country's hospitals already strained by years of civil war.
Ivory Coast military is trying to beat back an apparent mutiny. Rebel soldiers barricaded roads
in Adbijan demanding pay. Witnesses in several cities reported gunfire earlier as the rebels' rejected a government demand to surrender.
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf has withdrawn from the Iran's presidential election. That's according to Iran's state-run news agencies,
instead urging his supporters to back the conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi in a bid to unseat the current President Hassan Rouhani. Voting begins on
And China has wrapped up its Belt and Road trade forum in Beijing. It's part of President Xi Jinping's multi-billion dollar effort to boost trade
Now, world leaders, including the Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the forum.
And you can read a lot more about China's vision for its economic future all the while enjoying the music of none other than Presidnet Putin
himself, by heading to our website CNN.com. You know where that is.
Well, in addition to that recital in China that you can find online the Russian president weighed in on North Korea's Sunday missile test urging
the North not to escalate the situation on the Korean Peninsula. He said nuclear and missile tests are unacceptable and call for a peaceful
North Korea's ambassador in Beijing says his country will continue its missile tests anytime, he says, and anywhere the leader Kim Jong-un wants.
CNN's Will Ripley has more.
[11:16:42] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un testing the patience of two world powers, his strongest ally China
and he who he sees as his number one enemy the United States. New enemies show North Korea's supreme leader all smiles
supervising the test of what Pyongyang calls a new kind of nuclear capable ballistic missile.
North Korea says it can hit the Mainland U.S. and its Pacific operation, a claim most analysts say is exaggerated but still highly troubling.
Sunday's missile test represents a level of performance never been seen from a North Korean missile says think tank 38 North.
North Korean state media says Sunday's missile reached an altitude of more than 2100 kilometers or 1300 miles, higher and further than other recent
launches. Traveling from a launch site near Chinese border to the waters of Vladovostok, Russia, home to Russian
The launch, coming at a highly embarrassing time for China, North Korea's chief ally and economic partner. Chinese President Xi Jinping hosting a
major global trade forum, which includes a North Korean delegation.
ROBERT KELLY, PUSAN NATIONAL UNIVERISTY: If China were to cut off the North Koreans they'd have a sort of a crisis of things like food, and
energy, external resources, all that the North Korean needs for the lifestyle that they enjoy. So, China has a lot of leverage here. North
Korea doesn't actually want to become a colony of China.
RIPLEY: China under mounting pressure to do something it has resisted for more than a decade, put crippling economic pressure on North Korea, a
regime it has supported as a strategic buffer between U.S. allied South Korea.
It's interesting a lot of the canned food items you see here come from China.
During my twelfth visit to Pyongyang last month, I saw plenty of evidence of Chinese trade, pumping billions into the North Korean economy, even as
North Korean officials say domestic production is increasing and insisting China will have zero influence over their nuclear or missile development.
"Whatever new sanctions we're likely to face, whatever trade restrictions, we're not afraid," said Sok Chol Wol, a North Korean official given rare
authorization to speak with CNN last month.
The latest launch coming as the Trump administration deals with massive after massive fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey. North
Korea's leader choosing a time of political turmoil in the U.S. to advance his weapons program one step further, but holding off , at least for now,
on a sixth nuclear test, a test that could force the U.S. and China to take stronger action against a regime racing to become a nuclear power.
Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.
ANDERSON: Well the American president set to meet the crown prince right here, Abu Dhabi, just hours from now. But will they focus on the business
of peace or just straight up business? That's that royal visit, up next.
ANDERSON: You ain't never had a friend like us. Like the genie to Aladdin, that is the message the UAE's crown prince, or Abu Dhabi's crown
prince is taking to the American president today. Mohammed bin Zayed will drop in on Donald Trump in about two hours from now and the Sheikh will be
carrying a long list of wishes.
Almost sure to be topping it, standing up to Iran, fixing Yemen and Syria, plus, taking down ISIS. And it's not just political, there is also a lot
of cash moving around between Washington and Abu Dhabi as much as $40 billion each and every year.
CNN's human calculator John Defterios likes and lives for stats like this and is with me to help compute it all.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY: Does that make me a nerd?
ANDERSON: I think so. That's what we pay you for. No I'm joking.
Just how important is this visit, seriously?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I think if we take a step back, both - two elements to look at it. The substance of it itself, but I don't think we should
overlook the optics, the the timing of this visit coming before President Donald Trump hits to the road and coming into the region to visit Saudi
Arabia. I think it makes a bold statement in this country of less 10 million people and how it ranks in terms of priorities today.
And when it comes to substance, you suggested in the lead-in there Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, the influence Iran exerts over those three territories,
particularly in this kind of proxy war, if you will, between that ISIS influences over the area between Saudi Arabia and Iran over Yemen. And as
you know, Becky, the UAE has anchored itself to Saudi Arabia very closely, so they're going to bring that issue up.
And I don't think we should overlook the Gulf carriers, if you will, this laptop ban and the moves that Donald Trump has made. Now, he tried to play
it straight down the middle when he spoke to the three U.S. carriers about the big Gulf carriers before. But let's not forget that the Gulf carriers
represent a lot of jobs, particularly for back orders of Boeing, some 300 jets.
So, I don't think it's going to be a top priority, but I'm sure that the the crown prince wants
to check it and make sure where the president stands today.
ANDERSON: Right now, just last month it was the political polar opposite, in Moscow, when Sheikh Mohammed went to meet Russia's President Vladimir
Putin. A delicate balancing act, perhaps, John.
What's the UAE's endgame here? Because it's certainly positioning itself as a leader, if not the leader, in the Arab World at present.
DEFTERIOS: I think it's a fair comment. In fact, we said geographically at the crossroads of east and west we've talked about it editorially here.
I think in the past, the UAE was tilted very much towards the United States after the Obama administration, I think they wanted to start hedging their
bets and tilting east at the same time.
They had a Silk Road strategy within the foreign affairs ministry of the UAE and it's very clearly defined to balance out their relationships.
Also, with their largest oil customers, by the way, being China, Japan and South Korea. And that is what the growth is of the future.
But the Silk Road strategy foreign affairs fits very nicely in terms of their investment strategy as well.
And less than a month ago, as you noted here, the crown prince visited Vladimir Putin. Of course, he's concerned about the role in Syria. Of
course, he's concerned about Iran. Russia and Iran have been talking, but they're kind of strange bed fellows. They're not deep friends, but they're
getting closer together.
The UAE is suggesting what does that mean going forward. But there's an interesting statement coming out of that meeting with the crown prince, and
he suggested, and these are his words about that meeting with Vladimir Putin, the UAE-Relations are deep-rooted in witnessing remarkable growth in
all fields that would suggest geopolitical growth and also investment growth. And in fact, one of the investment funds here in the UAE has a $10
billion fund with its counterpart in Moscow as well. So, they're getting closer economically at the same time.
ANDERSON: Well, the team looked at Abu Dhabi as the largest investment fund. And we can estimate that they alone have more than $400 billion
parked in America. One investment firm, $400 billion, and that is not the end of the Emirati cash that could be in the
States, John, right?
DEFTERIOS: Well, in fact, I talked about the Silk Road strategy. They have it for investment. But at the end of the day, the stability of the
Unitd States, (inaudible) fast grown economy, perhaps even faster growing under Donald Trump, if he's able to push forward on infrastructure
and lower taxes is the number one home for the Abu Dhabi investment authority, the one you were quoting there. They have better than $800
billion. On their latest annual report they suggested 35 to 50 percent is parked into the United States, that's more than Europe and Asia combined.
So, that's making quite a statement.
Let's bring in the top four funds that they have here. They total about $1.25 trillion, Becky, and that's for population of 10 million people.
It's a very wealthy destination because of the oil revenues of the past. Also worth noting that
outbound investment from the UAE into the United States is very high, some $27 billion. So it fits very nicely into the narrative of Donald Trump
putting America first. It's some of the fastest growing FDI in the world.
And I don't think we overlook that Donald Trump has a golf course and a second one being built in Dubai as a partner. And Hussein Sajwani,
somebody he talked about at the inauguration event.
So, he feels comfortable in the UAE. And the UAE is thrilled that he's taken that very tough line against Iran.
ANDERSON: His son in Dubai just last night at AUD, the American University in Dubai's graduation ceremony I think.
DEFTERIOS: Yes, indeed. That's correct.
ANDERSON: So, yeah, the Trump family has got some ties where we are here. And when you look at those figures and you think of about Donald Trump as a
transactional president, as we have spoken about so many times, I guess, it makes sense. John, thank you.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead, viewers. Plus, Emmanuel Macron travels to Germany on his first full day as French president.
I'm going to get you to Berlin ahead of his meeting with German chancellor Angela Merke. Taking a very short break. Do not go away.
[11:32:00] ANDERSON: French President Emmanuel Macron has an ambitious first full day in office. He's set to arrive in Berlin at any moment for
talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The meeting comes just hours after he nominated Edouard Philippe to be the French prime minister.
We've got a team coverage of Mr. Macron's busy day. CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris and our Atika Shubert joins us from Berlin. Let's start with you
in Paris. What do we know about this new prime minister? How does he fit into policy and plan of the new president
of France going forward?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he represents, Becky, a right wing politician. A member of the Republican Party. He has
experience of political office, since he's currently the mayor of Le Havre and also an MP for that region in Normandy.
It is an important factor in Emmanuel Macron's strategy, since it allows him to show that he is really seeking to take politicians from all the
political parties. He himself, of course, served a Socialist government as economy minister. So it's important that he send this strong signal by
choosing a prime minister from the Republicans. This, of course, tremendously destabilizes Republicans here in France. They've accused him
of seeking to disunite their party and to attack them. He says he's simply seeking to trying to bring sensible people together to get behind a common
The big test will come with the nominations tomorrow, Becky, when we'll see whether he sticks to that other part of his pledge, which is to bring in
office people who have no experience of politics before to renew the faces of those who govern France.
ANDESON: Wasting no time, Atika, the new French leader in Germany which is clearly a big message and has very big optice.
Just how important is this trip?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is important. I mean, he signals that this is probably France's - possibly France's most
important relationship with Germany. And of course, during the campaign, Macron pushed for a number of EU reforms. And the French-
German relationship must be solid. It is crucial for any of those reforms going forward.
I think he's likely to get a very warm reception here. Merkel didn't hide her support from Macron. She was very happy to see him elected. Most
importantly, not only of his embrace of the EU, but also he put an end to this idea that Brexit might somehow trigger a domino affect across Europe,
of countries trying to leave the EU.
So, she's been quite happy to see him elected. I don't think they'll get into any of the nuts and bolts of EU reform that he promised during the
campaign. This is really about establishing a working relationship between these two leaders.
ANDERSON: What did he say during the campaign, Melissa, about a united Europe going forward? We know that certainly his competion as it were for
president, particularly Marine Le Pen, not a fan by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, he's got constituents across France effectively who
are going to need bringing back from the fold, aren't they, back from this anti-EU position. How's he going to do that?
BELL: Well, he was, of the 11 candidates for the presidency, Becky, the most pro-European and by a stretch. As Atika was just saying he really
does see eye to eye with Angela Merkel on a number of issues and not simply economic ones. I mean, he is one of the
few European politicians who have supported what she did with the migrant crisis, her handling of the migrant crisis by pointing out that she single-
handedly, and this was his words, had saved the dignity of Europe.
So, there is every chance that this relationship that Atika was just talking about, the Franco-German motor as it's called in French, will
possibly be saved by Emmanuel Macron's presidency. He wants to plow ahead. And this new prime minsiter that we mentioned a moment ago Edouard Philippe
is a fluent German speaker.
I think you're likely to see Europe really try and plow forward on the basis that we saw established at Versailles just a few weeks ago. It kind
of got lost in the presidential race.
But the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain gathered at Versailles just a few weeks tago to talk about the fact that what they imagine going
forward is perhaps a tighter, smaller Europe that will be able to move ahead with greater federalism.
And it's no surprise, Becky, that you saw the euro rally on the back of Emmanuel Macron's victory.
ANDERSON: Atika, the German chancellor celebrating a big election win for her party. Early results show that the Christian Democrats overtaking the
Social Democrats in Germany's most populous state. She herself is looking to win a fourth term as chancellor in federal elections in September. Is
Macron's win a boost for her, do you think?
SHUBERT: I think it has been a boost for her so far. I mean, certainly, she has Macron to thank for making sure Le Pen wasn't elected which would
have been a very difficult relationship for Merkel to deal with.
But I think that German voters have very different needs than French voters. And what they really prize more than anything else here is that
sort of stability going forward. And that's what Merkel really represents for many of them.
But Merkel and Macron really have a lot they can help each other with. I mean, Macron represents this very new energetic EU that wants to move
forward with reform. That is something that Merkel doesn't have and that she can certainly borrow from.
Now, on the other hand, Macron, as France's youngest president, doesn't have a lot of experience. And here Merkel is the elder stateswoman. She's
already dealt with three French presidents before him. And she is the one, the leader that steered the EU through its debt crisis.
So, they have a lot to learn from each other. And in fact, just a few hours ago, that's what Merkel said to her party members. You know, she's
not going to tell Macron what to do. But they can learn from each other and how to move the EU forward.
ANDERSON: To both of you, ladies, thank you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this Connect the World. You've been in Paris and in Berlin.
Coming up now, they gave Edward Snowden shelter when he was in Hong Kong, but now, these families may be deported themselves. Their story, up next.
[11:41:31] ANDERSON: All right, this is CNN. I'm Becky Anderson, and you're watching Connect the World. Welcome back.
Our top story this hour is the fallout from Donald Trump's firing of James Comey as FBI director. Since last Tuesday, many people have weighed in on
that decision, including U.S. whistle -blower Edward Snowden currently of course living in Russia. He said this FBI director has sought for years to
jail me on account of my political activities. If I can oppose his firing, so can you.
While Snowden was hiding out in Hong Kong back in 2013, he found shelter in the homes of three refugee families. But now those families are struggling
to find safe haven for themselves. Their lawyer says Hong Kong has rejected their asylum claim and could soon deport them. My colleague Ivan
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rejected by Hong Kong and facing imminent detention or deportation, these families sheltered NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden when he was on the run from the U.S. government in 2013. They took Snowden into their
cramped apartment and let him sleep in their beds, even though they did not know they were helping a
VANESSA RODEL, ASYLUM SEEKER: I see the newspaper. It was him. I say, oh, my god, the most wanted man in the world is in myhouse.
WATSON: All Venessa Rodel knew was that he needed her help. But now, after living in legal limbo in Hong Kong for years, their applications for
legal status have suddenly been rejected.
RODEL: I don't want this to happen to me and my daughter. It's very hard for me. I'm very worried. I'm very scared.
WATSON: Hong Kong's decision comes eight months after the refugee story was highlighted by the Olicer Stone film Snowden.
In an exclusive video message sent to CNN, Edward Snowden appealed for the world to help these families.
[08:40:18] EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: They could arrested and a ton of the children could be separated from their parents and the families
could be returned to the very places where they face torture or worse.
WATSON: This Sri Lankan father of two children born in Hong Kong and now stateless also hosted Edward Snowden.
SUPUN KELLAPATHA, ASYLUM SEEKER: Deportation means they not let us go alone. They hand over to an immigration department in Sri Lanka maybe some
authority. So, they don't offer that, maybe we disappear.
WATSON: The Sri Lankan foreign ministry told CNN it cannot comment on individual cases, but said we have an open policy. Sri Lankans are free to
The family's lawyer claims the cases were deliberately expedited.
ROBERT TIBBO, LAWYER: The Hong Kong government has intentionally targeted or
singled out these three families for screening, immediate screening.
WATSON: In a statement to CNN on this case, the Hong Kong government said there are no substantial grounds for believing that the claimants, if
returned to their country of origin, will be subject to real or substantial risk of danger.
The government also denied allegations it targeted individuals.
Campaigners have been raising money for the families who are now applying for asylum in
Canada. Despite their uncertain future, the families all say they would do the same again.
RODEL: If he asked me again he wants to my house, I will say yes again.
[11:34:06] WATSON: Families with almost nothing to begin with feel they are being punished for extending kindness to strangers.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN live from Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the world. Let me take you into Washington just briefly where the U.S.
president will shortly be paying tribute to slain law enforcement officers. You can see these are live pictures coming to you from the National
Memorial for Fallen Police Officers. And you can see Donald Trump there with some of his colleagues, not least Jeff Sessions and Mike Pence his
vice president. We will get to that and get you some thoughts from Donald Trump in a few moments.
It's been a whirlwind seven days in Washington. We take a look at how the media has taken it all in.
ANDERSON: Right. A day after being sworn in, the new French President Emmanuel Macron is making his first foreign trip. He's in Berlin to meet
the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Let's just pause on these images for one moment for you.
And t's 5:57 p.m. in the afternoon in Berlin. This an extremely important visit. And the optics on this should not be underplayed.
We must underscore the importance of both of these leaders, the leaders of Germany and of France, of just how important their standing together today
is for the future of the European Union. Some pomp and ceremony there for you today.
You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. You're back with us.
Donald Trump Jr. has a message for graduating college seniors: live your dreams. President Trump's eldest son spoke Sunday at the American
University in Dubai, not far from where we are here in Abu Dhabi. 500 students representing more than 100
nationalities were there in the audience.
Well, the UAE is very important to the Trumps right now. Abu Dhabi's crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed will be meeting Donald Trump Sr. just an hour
from now in Washington. We'll have coverage of that as it happens right here, of course, on CNN.
Well, at the beginning of today's show, we brought you strong words from James Clapper. He is the former head of U.S. national intelligence, saying
that institutions in the United States are, quote, under assault from President Trump. But they aren't the only harsh words we've seen in the
last six days from the airwaves to the web pages we've seen increasingly strong media reactions to James Comey's firing.
This from, for example, The New York Times an opinion, "Trump's madness invites mutiny," And the amateurish autocrat," an opinions in The
Let's get more into depth into this. CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is in New York.
These are media organizations who are taking, it seems, a position against Donald Trump as are others. He does have his supporters and his
supportive press, of course, but this is a new era isn't it, in American media and its association with the administration?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The past week, it felt like a low point, the low point of Trump's own presidency, and maybe a tipping point also. I
think we're seeing that reflected in columns in headlines, in 24/7 news coverage. In some ways there's a divide between experts and everybody
else. And what I mean by that is even conservative columnists, conservative commentators, folks that have been willing to give Trump the
benefit of the doubt in the past four months have now said, many of them, have said this is deeply concerning. What we've seen in the Comey firing
and the way it was handled and what's transpired since is deeply worrisome, that includes conservative
columnists, more moderates, definitely a lot of liberal columnists who are ringing all sorts of alarm bells.
So, all across the sort of media landscape, folks that do this for a living, experts in governance, they are raising alarms. However, whether
it's trickling down to the American people is another question entirely.
ANDERSON: Right. That's what I was going to put to you, because you can argue that the liberal elite who run these media organizations are the
people who will missed the story that was the Rust Belt, the polarization of America, missed the story about those that would vote for Donald Trump.
And that same media isn't read by his supporters, is it?
STELTER: I certainly think there's an issue of persuasion here, a challenge about persuading
people, you know, with regards to columnists, opinion writers who are trying to persuade voters to see it their way. Right now, that's very,
very hard, because people are so bitterly divided or into their own silos. We see that in the U.S. and other countries as well. But the data in the
U.S. about that is overwhelming.
You know, I think Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward would say, since there's been so many Watergate comparisons in the past week, so many references to
Nixon and similarities between Nixon and Trump is that even at the height of the Watergate scandal, a big proportion of the American people thought
it was overblown, thought Nixon was doing just fine, didn't think it was a big deal.
So, there are times in American history where there is a scandal, where there is a several situation where there is a crisis situation, and a lot
of folks just don't care, just do not choose to opt in for it.
It doesn't mean it's not a crisis, it doesn't mean it's not a scandal. I just wonder if we're in a similar situation today.
ANDERSON: Certainly, the fourth estate, as we would consider the U.S. media and media all over the world, certainly is doing its due diligence at
this point. It isn't, though, is it, Brian, just the news media that's been busy over the last week's controversy? As the late night comedy shows
that are a wealth of material to work on. And with actress Melissa McCarthy hosting Saturday Night Live, there was only one character that was
going to steal the show. Stand by.
STELTER: That's right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, I'm feeling it for Sean today. As you know, Sean is fulfilling his duty as an officer in the Naval Reserve and that is
why he cannot be here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; I'm pretty sure I can see him hiding in those bushes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that's a naval exercise. He's trying to blend in with his surroundings. Are there any more questions?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, I have a question, can you just do this full- time instead of him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he's your friend, why is everybody saying he's about to fire you and replace you as Sarah?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, bless your heart. This is the first I'm hearing of that.
MELISSA MCCARTHY, COMEDIAN: I'm going to find Trump. I'm going to New York! This press interview is over!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: However damaging Donald Trump believes an unsupportive U.S. media is at any time to his administration is what we just watched there
STELTER: Well, SNL has certainly had an effect. The avoided tweeting about it in recent months. But we know he used to watch the program. I
would say that the White House crisis of credibility that exists which we've seen for awhile now, which got worse last week, part of the reason
why there's credibility problem is because of mockery from late night comics.
Obviously, that's not the entire story, but it's part of the story because late night comics present this ridiculous impersonation of White House
characters that furthers the sense that we're not getting accurate information, furthers the sense that this administration is a punchline or
worthy of being a punch line.
You know, I think in some ways these shows are another example of a sort of release valve for
liberal America, right, it's a way to laugh and kind of tolerate what's going on. But there's been really strong words I think on a more serious
note. And people like CNN's Fareed Zakaria yesterday who said the task of the media and the courts and other institutions is to keep alive the spirit
of American democracy. Pretty bold words from people like Zakaria, kind of like Clapper yesterday on State of the Union: "comics have a small role to
play in that broader challenge."
[11:55:26] ANDERSON: Brian, you're a pleasure and a delight. Thank you, sir.
Of course, CNN covering this story on all platforms. Take a look at this article from Steven Collinson, no clear path for Trump to quell uproar over
Comey. You'll find this an many other articles and video. That is CNN.com. I don't have to, I'm sure your regular viewer so you'll know
where to find that information.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. From the team here in Abu Dhabi, those working with us in Atlanta and in London, thank you for
CNN, of course, continues after this short break.