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Presidential Election Close as Iranians Decide on Future of Country; Trump Set for First Foreign Trip of Presidency; Trump Reacts to Special Prosecutor Appointment; Interview with Jimmy Carter. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 18, 2017 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:21] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Hello and welcome to what is a very special edition of Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson coming to you

live today from Iran, where the anticipation is palpable as a nail bitingly close presidential race enters its final lap. The winner, of course, will

have to work with this man, embattled U.S. President Donald Trump. More from me, then, in Tehran in a moment.

First, though, Robyn Curnow, my colleague in Atlanta, gets us in the eye of another political storm, this one in Washington.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks so much, Becky. We'll check in with you a little bit later.

But we want to talk more about Donald Trump. Never one to hide his true feelings for long, the U.S. president is lashing out on Twitter, furious

that a special prosecutor is now heading up the federal investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia.

Now, Mr. Trump says he's the victim of the single greatest witch-hunt in American history. And he points out that a special counsel was never

appointed during Hillary Clinton's campaign, or the Obama administration.

Well, the White House may not be happy, but the appointment of former FBI director Robert

Mueller is earning bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill, something pretty hard to do these days in Washington.

Well, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller apparently deciding the steady

stream of bombshells we've been seeing has reached critical mass.

Joe Johns has more on all of this.


JOE JOHNS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House issuing a statement from President Trump, responding to the appointment of

a special counsel. The president says, in part, "A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know. There was no collusion between my

campaign and any foreign entity."

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein naming former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation into Russia' election interference.

Rosenstein signing the order before alerting Attorney General Jeff Sessions and only giving the White House less than an hour's notice before making it


The surprise announcement comes after mounting pressure for the deputy A.G. to appoint a special prosecutor after President Trump initially cited a

memo Rosenstein wrote as the basis for why he fired James Comey.

TRUMP: He made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.

JOHNS: One source telling CNN, Rosenstein is throwing President Trump overboard with the special counsel, a move the White House opposed.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's frankly no need for a special prosecutor.

You have two Senate committees that are looking into this. The FBI is conducting their own review.

JOHNS: A statement from Rosenstein explaining, "The public interests requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who

exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command."

The move follows back-to-back bombshells from President Trump, including a damning memo from Comey, where he documented private conversations with

President Trump, in which he says the president asked him to drop the investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn just one

day after Flynn was terminated.

And today, more bad news for the embattled administration. "The New York Times" reporting that President Trump knew Flynn was under federal

investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist on behalf of Turkish interests, weeks before the inauguration, and yet still named him as one of

his top advisers, giving him access to the nation's biggest secrets.

Another report by McClatchy connects the dots even further, alleging that Flynn stopped a U.S. military plan that Turkey opposed. The plan was

eventually restored after Flynn was fired.


CURNOW: Joe Johns reporting there.

So, you may be wondering how a special counsel changes the investigation? Well, for starters it's supposed to remove politics from the equation and

it gives Mueller broad powers to subpoena documents including possibly Mr. Trump's tax returns if he deems it necessary.

So let's connect the dots, as Joe said. We're joined now by CNN political producer, Dan Merica. He's in the White House press briefing room. And I

certainly want to bring up this morning's tweet from the president. He came out swinging, saying this was a witch-hunt. Also it's clearly him

being angry. There was a spelling mistake in it. He misspelled counsel.

I mean, what does this tell us?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: I think it tells you about the president's state of mind around all of this. You had him yesterday at the

Coast Guard Academy basically say the same thing he said on Twitter this morning, being unfairly targeted, that he - his recommendation to the Coast

Guard graduates was to keep fighting, something he says he continues to do. And then when this special counsel announcement came out the White House

issued a pretty muted statement from the president basically saying that the White House wants to get to the bottom of all of this.

But this morning, Donald Trump on his favorite medium, Twitter, put out those statements that basically said that he was under a political witch-

hunt, the biggest political witch-hunt of all time. There's a lot of historians that clearly disagree with what he was saying, but it gives you

an insight into what he's actually thinking. He' is stewing about this. And it really has shown him the limits of his power as president. He, for

so long was the head of a private company in New York, did not have to, you know, be held accountable to any shareholders outside maybe of his family.

He comes to the white house and now being checked by not only people he has appointed, but now someone he appointed has put in control of an

investigation into his 2016 campaign and Russian connections.

CURNOW: Yeah, and I think that many people make that point on both sides of the aisle, that this is an example, perhaps, of American democracy at

its greatest, of checks and balances working.

Now, for many people, you speak to those in congress and across the board, this special counsel investigation should have parked in many ways the

Russia issue, that it should give breathing space both Republicans and Trump to get their agendas through.

How are these tweets in a way change that? Or have they?

MERICA: Well, you have seen Donald Trump's words be used against him before, not only in

political speak, but also in court. I mean, things that he's said about his travel ban have been used

against him in court. And there are questions about whether tweets that he sends this morning could be used in the special counsel's investigation.

But you are right about that this kind of takes the air out of some of the investigations into

Russia, into the 2016 campaign because now Republicans on Capitol Hill who may have no connections to this, they were being battered by questions from

reporters about what this meant for the party, what this meant for the president to the point that they really

didn't want to answer them any more.

Now they can just throw these questions to the special counsel. Obviously, they'll still get them, but it's easier for them to kind of deflect these

questions. That's not the same here at the White House. Morale here I think is fair to say is pretty low and that is evident by the president's

stewing this morning publicly on Twitter.

CURNOW: OK. So as you say there at the White House you get a sense of the president stewing. But he has a big trip ahead of him, an opportunity to

reset, to really focus his presidency. What do you think is going to be key in the coming nine days as he travels?

MERICA: I think his focus is key. I mean, this trip really couldn't have come at a worst time for the president. He's traveling abroad, his first

international trip, his foreign trip, as president. His aides had hoped this would be a moment for him to kind of reset the administration to show

he's nimble and able to operate on the foreign stage.

But all of this will be happening as issues back home kind of are dominating the political narrative and the front pages of newspapers. So,

his ability to stay focused on this trip. You know, it's very difficult for a president, any president, frankly, to go to Saudi Arabia and give a

speech on Islam and just kind of wing it. This is not something that he'll be able to do.

So, his ability focus on this trip while so much is going on at home will be critical and it really remains to be seen whether he's able to do that.

CURNOW: Dan Merica there reporting live from the White House. Thanks so much.

MERICA: Thank you.

CURNOW: OK, let's get you up to speed now on some other stories that are on our radar right now.

The Dow, take a look at these numbers, opened a little quieter a day after markets were rattled by turmoil from within that White House, as Dan was

just reporting. It had an impact what was playing out there on these numbers. But what we're seeing now the Dow pretty much flat, but slighty

up, up around 40 points.

We'll keep an eye on those numbers for you.

We're also watching video of a clash outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington. This was on Tuesday. Protesters had gathered to

speak out against President Erdogan when they were assaulted. Law enforcement sources say Turkish security officials were involved. The

embassy claims the protesters were tied to the Kurdistan Worker's Party and that they provoked the brawl.

And there were candlelit vigils in Caracas and other cities to honor at least 43 people who have died during weeks of anti-government places across

Venezuela. The government is sending 2,600 troops to put down unrest in a western province where a 15-year-old boy was killed.

And in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May has launched her Conservative Party's manifesto. The country goes to the polls on June 8

after Mrs. May called a snap election. The latest round of polls shows the conservatives with a commanding lead over her Labour rivals.

Now, one of the big issues surrounding that election is of course Brexit. CNN has gone to a town in northern England where the dissatisfaction is

palpable to see why last June's referendum has transformed British politics. That's all at Be sure to read that.

Well, now, he transformed Fox News Channel into a conservative television empire and changed the face of U.S. media.

Well, Roger Ailes has died at the age of 77. He had resigned as the head of Fox News last summer over a mountain of sexual harassment allegations.

Ailes also helped propel Donald Trump's political rise.

CNN Money's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joins me now live from New York.

Brian Stelter joins me now live from New York.

Roger Ailes was a huge personality, but also a man who changed America in many ways. I mean, you cannot overstate his legacy here.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN MONEY: Among many other things. He paved the way for President Donald Trump decades of television and political expertise that

Ailes had can be seen today in Trump and in future candidates who will run not just as politician but as media enterprises.

Thinking back to Ailes's start. He had humble roots in Ohio. He became a television executive

at a young age and then went back and forth between politics and television, politics and television, helping to really merge the two

things. He was both a GOP king maker working for presidents like Reagan and Bush, but also a television titan. And Fox News was really its

crowning achievement.

But think back to 1996, there was only CNN until Fox News and MSNBC launched. MSNBC was this other cable news rival that really couldn't get

its footing, but Fox News saw a mark inefficiency, a space to create an alternative for conservatives who thought the rest thought the media was


Ailes relentlessly exploited that on a daily basis. He was bold and brilliant and charming, but also intimating, grossly inappropriate behind

the scenes, sometimes harassing some of the women who worked for him according to allegations from a number of different women.

As you know, they came forward last summer beginning with Gretchen Carlson, ex-Fox News Anchor. She and other women have reached settlements with Fox

because of that alleged harassment, but up until the day he died, Ailes denied any wrongdoing.

CURNOW: He certainly did. And his family are mourning this day and many supporters as well. He had a very outsize influence, of course, because of

the power he wielded, the influence he had also with Rupert Murdoch, and just give us some sense again of how he molded, gave a platform for the right and how that changed so much.

STELTER: Yeah, we just heard from Rupert Murdoch, actually. He said Roger and I shared a big idea, was to create this alternative to the rest of the

media called Fox News.

And Fox essentially provided a platform, a virtual public square, for conservatives in the United

States. In 2016, we covered what I thought of as the Fox News primary meaning that GOP candidates like Trump and others had to go on Fox, had to

win the support of Fox News viewers and most importantly win the support of Ailes as they sought the presidency.

It was that kind of political and media influence that Ailes had that made him the most powerful man in media until he resign in disgrace last summer.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much, Brian Stelter there in New York.

Well, we're bringing you Connect the World today from two very different places, but two very

tightly-linked places right now. I'm getting the view from the United States and Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Well, I'm getting you all the latest on Iran's elections that will touch on the lives of all of us from right here inside the country.

Why that is, is up next. Stay with us.


[11:15:55] ANDERSON: They are loud, absolutely. Democratic, sort of. Late into last night and for weeks now, Iranians have been partying and

politicking out on the streets offering up their support to one of these two men, Hassan Rouhani or Ebrahim Raisi, each

hoping to be the country's next president.

And Iran will get to make its pick between them in what is this destiny defining election in just about 12 hours from now. They are both kind of

on the same page about the nuclear deal, but on pretty everything else they are about as far apart as you can imagine like on social issues and the


Take this, every Iranian can pick up a cash payment from the government every month worth about $15. Raisi, a hard-line populist, wants to triple

that. Well, Rouhani thinks that makes zero sense.

Well, let's bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen. He's out and about soaking up all the atmosphere here in the capital for the low down.

And on the eve of voting, what's the mood, Fred, where you are?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Well, I would say that the mood is quite divided. And I was actually at that, what

they call, the Hassan Rouhani street party last night which happened right in front of Hassan Rouhani's campaign headquarters. And any of the folks

out there said, look, we have to come out and really try and get out everysingle vote because they understand that this election is going to be

a very close call.

Now the same thing also happened at the headquarters of the conservative movement where they did exactly the same thing. They also came out and

they had a very big venue in the same place that they usually have the Ffriday prayers here in Tehran, and held a massive rally where they say

300,000 people attended. It might have been a little less than that, but it certainly was a very, very large crowd. So both sides coming out really

showing their colors, because they understand, Becky, as you've just said, just how pivotal this election is going to be. You're absolutely right.

Both of these candidates say they want to keep the nuclear agreement in place, but aside from that they really are not on the same page of any of

the issues. I would say, if I had to categorize it, it would be Hassan Rouhani really trying to internationalize this country's economy, trying to

get foreign investment whereas Ebrahim Raisi, the conservative candidate, he wants

self-sufficient for the economy. He wants Iran to grow in and out of itself rather than to look to outside investment to try and get this

economy going, which of course is so important for the people here.

ANDERSON: Well this is on a knife edge, as we know. What's the turnout likely to be, Fred? And what do people you have spoken to care about most?

PLEITGEN: Yeah. Well, I mean, certainly by far and away the biggest item, the most important item, is the economy. And really it's interesting to

see because it's also people who are really well to do, well off who also say, look, we have to do something to jump start this country's economy

especially to get jobs going for many people.

One of the interesting things that I've read recently is that the one unemployment is about 13 - 11 to 13 percent, but it's exceptionally high

for people who have a university degree. So, this very well educated population, and it is very well educated - many people speak multiple

languages. There's a lot of people who are very good at computer science, manufacturing, you name it, very difficult for them to find high paying

challenging jobs that really live up to the skills that they have.

So, a lot of people are very unhappy with that. Hassan Rouhani thought the nuclear agreement would really solve that issue. So far it hasn't, that's

why the conservatives are attacking him on that front.

We expect that there is going to be a very high turn out. Certainly, the highest authority of this

country, the supreme leader, has called on everybody to come out and vote, saying that that would be a show of strength for this society, but also

from seeing the campaigns of both sides.

And this is a second election I've covered here in Iran. You can really feel that there is a lot of political momentum on both sides, that they

under just how important this election is going to be, Becky.

[11:20:00] ANDERSON: Sure.

Fred Pleitgen is out on the streets of Tehran. Fred, thank you for that. The American president isn't just the talk of the town in Washington, also

here in Tehran. My next guest, Hamed Mousavi, tells us Raisi, his opponent, wants to see Iran stand up to Donald Trump, blasting Rouhani for

being, quote, too soft on the United States.

Hamed, a professor here in Tehran joins me now live.

And how big a factor is Trump in the minds of Iranians right now?

HAMED MOUSAVI, TEHRAN UNIVERSITY: Well, I can tell you the Rouhani team is actually pretty happy that Donald Trump is arriving in Saudi Arabia after

the elections, because if he talks, takes a tough approach to Iran, which he has in the past two to

three months, then that's actually going to hurt Rouhani because Rouhani's whole narrative is that he is going to improve the economy as the result of

better relations with the west. So, with Trump in power it is essentially hurting Rouhani's chances.

ANDERSON: That's fascinating, because in fact Donald Trump will arrive on Saturday on the day of the election results likely, so it will be

interesting to see, and as we know, he has been talking to the Gulf state leaders, talking about countering the influence of Iran. The centrist

leaning, moderate, pragmatic, call him what you will, but to suggest Hassan Rouhani is any less nationalistic than his conservative opponent, would be

naive, wouldn't it?

MOUSAVI: It depends. Rouhani is basically the representative of two political currents in Iran: the technocrats and the reformists. Now, the

technocrats, which were led by former President Rafsanjani and are represented in his cabinet by allies of the former president Rafsanjani.

They are very pragmatic both in their domestic approach as well as their foreign policy approach.

I would say that they are the least ideological group in Iran. And the reformists essentially want more political reforms at home.

So Rouhani is a mixture of those two political currencies.

ANDERSON: We've been talking a lot about Rouhani and Raisi, but in Iran being President doesn't of course automatically equal a lot of power.

Instead this man, Iran's supreme leader not elected of course by the people and in the job for life has the final word on almost anything.

With that in mind, how much real difference will there be here in Iran and of course in its all-important regional strategy whoever wins this


MOUSAVI: I think it will definitely have an impact. I'll give you and example. Iran's both foreign and domestic policies were very different

under Ahmadinejad and under Khatami, so that very fact shows that the president does actually have power to make changes.

Nevertheless, KI think if Rouhani is re-elected which seems likely, actually, we're going to see more of the past four years. If Raisi comes

into power, then definitely we are going to have changes in Iranian foreign policy.

ANDERSON: Changes in Iranian foreign policy means what exactly? We started this conversation by talking about the fact that Donald Trump will

be in Saudi on Saturday. He'll go from there to Israel. We know, we hear that there is an effort to get the U.S., the Gulf states and Israel on the

same map, to a certain extent, which seems counter to what you would normally expect. Should they believe that there is further expansionist

strategy from Iran? So, tell me what do you think happens next?

MOUSAVI: I think if Rouhani comes into power I don't really see improvements in Iran-U.S. relations, because of the Trump factor. So even

if Rouhani is elected I don't think we are going to see anything happen on that front.

In terms of regional strategy, again I don't think there are going be major shifts.

Now, if Raisi comes into power he has already promised that he is going to basically respond to the U.S. as the U.S.'s acting towards Iran. So, if

the U.S. is imposing sanctions, then he has said that he is going to respond appropriately.

He hasn't been specific, but he has said that he is going to basically stand up to American power.

ANDERSON: Hamed, we know that when we speak to people on the streets here, when we talk to analysts like yourself it is the economy, stupid, to quote

a former U.S. president, that is the real crux of the issue here.

The difference between the pragmatists here and the more conservative, the more central leaning and perhaps more conservative speaks to the economy.

They are on, to a certain extent have different ideas. But it is all about the economy. Who will be better at the end of the day for Iran and its citizenry?

[11:25:05] MOUSAVI: Well, it depends on who you ask. So, Rouhani believes in basically a free market capitalist society. And his approach in the

past four years has been privatization, et cetera. And it has had some results, but at the same time with that approach you also have the widening

gap between the rich and the poor, whereas Raisi believes in social justice and that is what he has been, you know, campaigning. He wants to attract

the poor who have been to a large degree actually disenfranchised.

You know that the unemployment in Iran is 12.5 percent officially, but the official definition is if you have one hour of work a week they would

consider you employed.

ANDERSON: So, what you're saying is it's a lot higher than that.

MOUSAVI: Exactly. Most probably it's either in the 20s or 30s depending on who you ask. So, that's weak point of Rouhani in this election.

ANDERSON: It's a pleasure to having you on. We've had you on before. We'll have you on again. Thank you very much indeed, Hamed, for joining


Worldclass analysis and expert reporting from right here in Iran where some 52 million voters, that is more people than live in Spain, will make their

vital choice tomorrow. We're going to bring you more special coverage of the election on Friday, 7:00 in the evening, Abu Dhabi time, half 7:00 here

in Iran, and 4:00 in the afternoon for you folks over in London.

Wherever you are watching, you'll work out what time it is with you locally. More from Tehran coming right up after this break.



REZA NAYEBI, PRESS TV PRESDENTER: Once again food, once again Nayebi. But I promise you, guys, this program that I'm doing here has nothing to do

with food. I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat at a hole in the wall. I love greasy hole in the walls.


ANDERSON: Well, don't we all. You just met my next guest, Reza Nayebi, he's a Press TV presenter and commentator. He moved back to Iran from the

U.S. when Hassan Rouhani was first elected.

His travel show on Press TV hopes to introduce modern Iran to the world. It's great. Let's talk about the hope that many young Iranians have in

Rouhani. You know, just talking about (inaudible) you're talking about youngsters, because clearly you're a Millennial.

NAYEBI: Definitely I am, but I'm not that young. I'm not that young. I swear, I wish I was but I'm not.

ANDERSON: You came back here, though, when Rouhani was first elected. He's the incumbent, of course, now in this presidential race. Tell me.

NAYEBI: I was in Iran for six months, and then the elections started and then Rouhani was elected. I really wasn't too familiar with it then,

because I'm really not into politics much, but I guess when you get older you kind of like get drawn into it. And, yes, the last four years it's

been all about Rouhani.

[11:30:13] ANDERSON: So, what do you want the international viewer - and I hope by being in Iran, the whole point is that we introduce this you this

country to people who may have missed or preconceptions about it and we just want to introduce them to a country as a whole.

What is it that you know that people don't know about Iran that you wish they did?

NAYEBI: Life goes on here. There's so much going on.

You know, sometimes I'll put something on my Instagram page or something like that and my friend will be like, oh my God they have that in Iran?

I'm like, come on, dude. What are you kidding me? 75 million people, they don't have that in Iran? But one thing I want more than anything else for

Iran balance, balance.

Every day you wake up and things are the same, sometimes it gets really hard. Things go up and down all the time and that drives you crazy.

But I have to say in the last four years that Rouhani has been the president, we've had balance.

It hasn't been great, but it's been balance. So, I'm really happy with that.

ANDERSON: What's the one thing that none of us here, and there are lots of your Iranian colleagues here, what's the one thing that even they don't

know about Iran I should know?

NAYEBI: Give me 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 10 seconds. OK. The one thing that everybody really doesn't know is that Iran really wants to be

modernized, really.

Sometimes, I walk into some places and people are like, man, I wish I could dress like that. I tell them, why can't you? Why won't you? Why don't


And they're like, come on, you know, it's Iran.

I'm like, why are you thinking that? You know, Iran, come on. That's one thing that's really important for me.

ANDERSON: How important is this election?

NAYEBI: Huge. From what I understand, it's really important because the leaders getting up there in age and maybe they are grooming the next

leader. I can't be for sure, I'm just throwing things out there. And it's also a very delicate time. Everyone is standing on eggshells in Iran, in

America. Can the next presidnet of Iran have some sort of relationship with Donald Trump? You have to ask yourself. Can anyone have a

relationship with Donald Trump at this point?

ANDERSON: Hopes and fears for the future. Go on?

NAYEBI: A couple of things about Iran: great food, great clothes. We love having fun. We love dressing up, as you can see. We always dress to the


We love the world. Sometimes my friends ask me back home. They're like, dude, how is it there? What's is going on? I'm like, it's great.

Everyone treats you with so much hospitality.

ANDERSON: And you talk about back home, of course, because I think you were a tiny little kid when you left, 3 years old, right, when you left to

go to I think it was Brooklyn and then Connecticut in the States.

So you are back here now and you and I were talking about what is going on in Washington. Just describe for our viewers how it feels for somebody who

is pretty much brought up in the States.

NAYEBI: Can I jump off this right here? I mean, do you guys mind. Nice tuning in. Thank you.

Yeah, it's breaking my heart. It's breaking my heart. Because one thing I learned in life if you

tell me that Reza Naybei is not a good guy, I'll decide for myself. But if 30 people tell me Reza Naybei is not a good guy I say there's something is

going on. There's hundreds of people are saying bad things about Donald Trump, hundreds and thousands of people saying bad things about him as a

president. And it's really breaking my heart. I love America.

ANDERSON: Fantastic. It's great to have you on. Love your show.

NAYEBI: It was my pleasure. You rock.

ANDERSON: You rock.

NAYEBI: Yes, thank you.

Can I just say one thing else? Can I just say one more thing? Do you mind? We would love for you guys to try our food. There's a page taste of

Iran and there's a friend of mine Mr. Taster, we're food critics. We love you guys.

ANDERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much.

There aren't many places in the world where the ultimate political insider is running like he's against the system. Think Hillary Clinton putting on

a Donald Trump style campaign, fascinating stuff for a lot more fascinating insights like that. Do, head over to Don't miss out. Do check

that out.

I know if you're a regular viewer you will know where to find that good stuff.

The view from Iran here.

Let's get you back stateside where Robyn Curnow is holding down the fort on all the other roiling news of the day at CNN's worldwide headquarters in

Atlanta - Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks so much, Becky.

And I do want to bring you guys up to date on Donald Trump. He is lashing out, the U.S. president is lashing out over the appointment of a special

prosecutor saying he's the victim of the single greatest witch-hunt in U.S. political history.

Now, Robert Mueller will lead the federal investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Mueller is widely viewed as a nonpolitical

determined investigator. He worked for years in the U.S. Justice Department. He was also FBI director from 2001 to 2013.

Behind J. Edgar Hoover, he was the second longest director of the bureau's history.

Well, Mueller's selection has been receiving praise in the U.S. congress. Our Suzanne Malveaux is on the ground in the capital.

And he's certainly garnered a lot of praise on both sides of the podium. There's been a huge sigh of relief across the board.

[11:35:16] SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, it really is unusual when you think about here in congress, even in Washington, to have

bipartisan agreement, but that is exactly what we are seeing here, the reaction, of course, first a big surprise that this was even occurring but

then a sense of relief. Democrats, Republicans both on the House and the Senate side saying they think this is a good idea.

On the left, you have people like Representative John Conners whose...

CURNOW: Suzanne, I'm sorry, I'm going to have to interrupt you. There where you are in

congress, Paul Ryan is making some comments. First response to the developments of the last few

hours. List listen in.


[11:47:01] CURNOW: There you have it, one of the most powerful Republicans in congress making his first comments after we heard that the special

counsel had been appointed to investigate links, Russian links to last year's election in the U.S.

I want to go to our Suzanne Malveaux. She's standing by at Capitol Hill. You were listening there to Paul Ryan. He made a point of saying that

folks like him could walk and chew gum at the same time, very much trying to give an image of being totally in control of what's happening.

MALVEAUX: And what was interesting, too, about that is that it underscores the fact that they really do want to get something done, that they want to

put some policy items on the agenda and really try to push them through congress and get the president to sign it.

So, that is pressure on congress, the Republican controlled congress to do that.

The other thing that he did that I found interesting was that he agreed with the Senate leadership Mitch McConnell in saying here that there was

enough drama that was coming from the White House, that that was not necessarily particularly helpful and that they have been waiting, really,

for this respite if you will.

I do think that's what happens here when you have this special prosecutor, this special counsel

to do that, you take a little of that pressure off of the members, the lawmakers here to go to the

constituents and say look this is what we're trying to push forward. We're trying to get attention on

our tax reform agenda, on our health care agenda, but at the same time we do have a role in holding these investigations and this administration to

account, but less pressure to do so because those are the kinds of questions that lawmakers keep getting.

One of the things that House Speaker Paul Ryan has done is that he has invited the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to come and to speak to

them tomorrow about a briefing, if you will, about what has been taking place. He is going to be doing that in front of

the full Senate today in the afternoon. Initially, it was about the firing of Comey what was

behind that. What did he know. Now, as the man who has really appointed the special counsel, it is about what do we see next in this

investigation? How is that going to play out?

So there is a tension there if you will, but there is also a sense that they can work with the special counsel to make sure that it's independent

of the Justice Department and getting some answers without having a lot of pressure on them personally to move this forward - Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, so in many ways it gives folks like him political breathing space.

But just for our international audience, I mean, besides the whiplash that we've been getting, there's certainly a sense that this could be a very

significant underscoring of this investigation.

Thank you so much, very much, Suzanne Malveaux there.

Well, coming up we get you back to Iran, a country ready to vote for their next president. And that's where Becky Anderson is.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Robyn.

Live from Tehran this is Connect the World. Coming up...


[11:50:01] JIMMY CARTER, 39TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think he should put in the forefront of all his discussions with foreign

leaders the (inaudible) of peace in the world.


ANDERSON: Advice from one president to another as Mr. Trump is set to embark on his first foreign trip. We hear from a former occupant of the

Oval Office. My interview with Jimmy Carter is next.


ANDERSON: The scene outside the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4th, 1979. That mob made it inside overrunning the diplomatic post and taking

66 Americans hostage. Then President Jimmy Carter froze Iranian assets and negotiated in secret to try to get them back. Well, eventually he

authorized a covert military mission, but it failed.


CARTER: Late yesterday I canceled the carefully planned operation which was under way in Iran to position our rescue team for a later withdrawal of

American hostages.


ANDERSON: But that didn't happen soon enough to save President Carter's political future. After 444 long days, the hostages set foot on American

soil. They were home and Ronald Reagan was president. The crisis a defining moment in Carter's failed re-election.

And the current president himself facing crisis, one threatening to overshadow his first foreign trip and commander-in-chief. And for his

foray into international diplomacy, the former president Jimmy Carter has some advice.

I spoke with him after the Carter Center's annual human rights defenders forum, which was a week or so ago. Here's our conversation.


ANNOUNCER: President Jimmy carter.

ANDERSON: He's a member of a very small club, an elder statesman and humanitarian. Jimmy Carter is just one of five former living U.S.

presidents, and a head of the current President Donald Trump's inaugural overseas trip, the former occupant of the Oval Office has some advice.

CARTER: Well, I think he should put in the forefront of all his discussions with foreign

leaders, the (inaudible) of peace in the world which is one of the prime human rights.

I think peace and human rights is a good thing to emphasize in every conversation as well as dealing with the current events of bilateral

relationships that might exist between our country and the leader with whom he is meeting.

[11:55:09] TRUMP: America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.

ANDRESON: But in this new era of America first, when a secretary of state says sometimes values and policy need to be separate, have a listen.

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Our values around freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated, those are our values, those are not

our policies.

ANDERSON: What do you say to that? And what do you say to the people who look to the U.S. as an example in this realm?

CARTER: The United States secretary of state has repeated that as a very clear policy established by the recent administration in foreign policy,

not to try to impose high moral and ethical values, which has always characterized the United States in the past, on other countries.

So in effect, just drop human rights as a major commitment of America.

ANDERSON: One of President Trump's first stops on his first trip will be to Israel and he has

said he wants to work for Middle East peace.

TRUMP: It's something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years.

ANDERSON: You, sir, know from your hard fought success with the Camp David accords that this is no easy task. A word of warning then to the president

as he sets out to embark on all of this?

CARTER: I hope that President Trump will make progress in the dispute between Israel and the

Palestinians, and that he will bring justice to the Palestinians in alleviation of their long term 50 year

now suffering as an occupied territory.

Of course, the Palestinians also have to be willing to recognize Israel as a nation, living side-by-side with them in peace.

ANDERSON: So, when he says this is not as difficult as people thought over the years, do you think he has a relatively naive approach to this


CARTER: Well, I know how difficult it is. And one of the things that he's doing is marshaling the more active support, I understand, of other Arab

countries, to support the overall concept, which has been expressed quite well I think in this so-called Arab initiative, which calls for the

restoration of Palestinian rights and a dividing of that disputed territory in the holy land between Israel and the Palestinians with both indepenedent

nations living at peace.

ANDERSON: Sage advice, then, from a president past on the ery pressing challenges of life in the Oval Office.


ANDERSON: And that was Connect the World live from Iran. Join us tomorrow same time same place for more coverage of what is this incredibly important


From us here, thanks for watching.