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President Trump Trying His Hand As Peacemaker; Trump Urges Cooperation To Fight Terrorism; May Backtracks On Social Care Pledge; Kim Jong-Un Commands Attention With Missile Tests; Social Media Site's Rules And Guidelines Uncovered; Source: Flynn Won't Provide Records to Senate Panel; Cholera Epidemic Feared in Yemen; Looking Back on a Season of Political Satire. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 22, 2017 - 15:00:00   ET





HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live in CNN London. Thanks for being with on this Monday. This is


Well, it could be the ultimate test for the man who calls himself the ultimate dealmaker. Donald Trump is trying to succeed where so many other

American presidents have failed attempting to broker some sort of deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Today a visit huge significance in symbols in Jerusalem in a trip marked by highly symbolic firsts. Take a look.


GORANI (voice-over): An extraordinary sight as President Trump places a prayer note into a crevice of Jerusalem's western wall. Never before has a

sitting U.S. president visited this site, which is one of Judaism's holiest. A private pilgrimage that is unavoidably political. The United

States does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the geography in this city is hotly disputed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome our good friend.

GORANI: President Trump came to Israel with a goal that virtually every American president before him has tried and failed to achieve for decades,

peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Arriving from Saudi Arabia today, Trump said conditions were right, but provided no details.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region

and to its people defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace.

GORANI: Trump has called it the, quote, "ultimate deal," and it is likely to be the ultimate test of his much lauded negotiation skills. The Israeli

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his part has already reiterated his longstanding red lines for any agreement.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The peace we seek is a genuine and durable one in which the Jewish state is recognized. Security remains

in Israel's hands and the conflict ends once and for all.

GORANI: By visiting Israel so early in his presidency and on his first overseas trip, President Trump sent out a strong message, a message

interpreted by Israel's president as the return of American involvement in Middle Eastern affairs.

REUVEN RIVLIN, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: Mr. President, we are happy to see that America is back in the area. America is back again.

GORANI: Clear signals also from Trump about who he sees as friends in the regions, and who he sees as foe. Today taking several opportunities to

criticize Iran.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There is a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran, and it in

indeed a threat. There is no question about that.

GORANI: Tomorrow, President Trump will travel to the West Bank to meet the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, as his quest for one of the world's most

elusive peace deals begins.


GORANI: So this was the second stop. The first one obviously was in Saudi Arabia. President Trump has sat down with the Israelis. Tomorrow,

Tuesday, he'll meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

This comes fresh off meetings with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia. In Riyadh, he spoke to a room full of leaders from Muslim majority nations and

it was a speech that could have been awkward. It could have gone wrong in some parts. He stuck to the script, though, largely.

He spoke of Islamist terrorism, and that all countries are in it together to fight it. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is not a battle between different faiths, different sex or different civilizations.

[15:05:06]This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people all in the name of religion.

People that want to protect life and want to protect their religion.

This is a battle between good and evil. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists.

Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out

of this earth.


GORANI: All right. There you got a flavor of what Donald Trump told that room full of leaders of these Muslim countries, and the president will

discuss the fight against terrorism when he meets other world leaders in Brussels and Sicily.

There are NATO meetings, G7, et cetera, that's at the end of the trip. Here is a look at the map to give you an idea of what the nine-day trip

looks like. His next stop after Jerusalem and the West Bank is Rome and the Vatican.

Now, back in Jerusalem, Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to reporters before sitting down to dinner tonight. They talked like old

friends. They shared warm words and praise for each other.

Mr. Netanyahu said for the first time in his life he sees real hope for change that could lead to a, quote, "realistic peace deal," but provided no


Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is traveling with President Trump, but before I get to sort of the headline that has come out

of most what Donald Trump has said over the last two days is that Iran is the common foe of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Let's talk first about the peace deal that Donald Trump hopes he can achieve based on what exactly? Do we have any more details on the


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, I think the president is trying to bring the art of the deal so to speak to the holy

land and you are hearing the president talk a good game when he comes here, and meets with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussing the idea of

Middle East peace.

But he is starting to acknowledge the obvious, something that his predecessors have known for decades, which is this is not easy business.

This is difficult business. He said earlier today with the Israeli prime minister that this is maybe more difficult.

This is maybe one of the toughest deals of them all, he said, and that it can be contrasted with what he said earlier this month, and just a few

weeks ago when he said it might not be so difficult to reach a Middle East deal.

And just an indication as to how simple this president thought this enterprise might become, he put his untested son-in-law Jared Kushner in

charge of trying to broker a Middle East peace deal.

That is obviously something that has probably going to have to be changed to some extent over the coming weeks, months, and years if it lasts that

long in terms of trying to reach some Middle East peace deal.

And as you know, Hala, the president is going to be meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Tomorrow, he'll have a very different

relationship with President Abbas. They don't seem to have much of a relationship so he'll have to get that going, even though he has this very

warm, very openly warm relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who obviously did not like President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

That was very clear because of the Iran nuclear deal, that agreement was just something that very much divided President Obama and Prime Minister

Netanyahu. President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu are very much on the common ground when it comes to that Iran nuclear deal. So we'll have

to see how this takes shape, but I think the president is starting to acknowledge the obvious here.

GORANI: Right. Absolutely. And Saudi Arabia was very happy to hear from Donald Trump that Iran is considered a sponsor of terrorism, and a foe in

on many levels. Let me ask you a little bit about the idea of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. This is something that Candidate Trump said

during the election, the campaign. And yet, we are not hearing any of that during the visit.

ACOSTA: That is right. Well, the White House before the president arrived here in Jerusalem, actually before he even embarked on this foreign trip

told the reporters, no, the announcement of a move of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not going to happen on this trip, although

White House officials were very careful to caution this is not a permanent decision, but a temporary shelving of that decision.

And you are right, it is something the president talked about time and again out on the campaign trail, and trying to appeal to the Jewish-

American voters in states like Florida and so on, but keep in mind that this is just another one of those areas where the president talked one game

out on the campaign trail, and finding governing is a very different thing altogether.

You know, he talked about tearing up the Iran nuclear deal time and again during the campaign, he has not yet fulfilled that campaign promise of

tearing up the Iran nuclear deal even as he is here in Israel and was in Saudi Arabia yesterday trashing that nuclear agreement.

[15:10:13]So as you have seen it, Hala, over the course of these last several weeks, the president is finding that campaigning is one thing and

governing is something very different.

GORANI: All right, Jim Acosta, thanks very much live in Jerusalem following the president as he continues on this tour, this nine-day foreign


Let's bring in Jamie Ruben, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state and also a senior media adviser for national security first for Hillary

Clinton's presidential campaign.

Hi, Jamie. Let me ask you first of all, we are hearing -- because if one thing unites Saudi Arabia and Israel, it is their (inaudible) mistrust and

frankly hatred of Iran and that nuclear deal in particular. Donald Trump is saying all the right things to those audiences.

JAMES RUBIN, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Right. In a way it is the "I'm not Barack Obama" trip. That is really substantively the only

thing that has happened. Barack Obama had a mistaken idea that Saudi Arabia and Iran could be treated in a way equally, and they could somehow

solve the Middle East problems themselves and America could leave.

This was an idea that not many people in the United States shared. I certainly did not think it was very realistic, but because of that, now

that he is the United States president returned to the traditional view, which is that Saudi Arabia has been an ally of the United States for

decades since World War II, and Iran has been a danger and threat to the region.

He is really just saying what everyone has been saying all along, and I should point out secondly, Donald Trump has not broken out of the Iran

deal. It would have been easy for him to do that if he wanted to. He does not want to because doing so would be stupid.

GORANI: So it is all talk do you think from Trump right now?

RUBIN: It is talk and hype, this idea on the Middle East process, really one has to laugh at the idea that Donald Trump is realizing that it might

be difficult. I actually think it is kind of insulting to the hundreds of thousands of hours that President Bush, President Clinton, President Obama,

and their negotiators spent working seriously on the Middle East peace process, for him to think that his son-in-law, a real estate magnate, can

suddenly --

GORANI: But supporters of Donald Trump would say precisely because they worked hundreds of thousands of hours and days on a deal that really never

materialized that maybe you need this type of fresh approach.

RUBIN: That is fantasy land. You work seriously on the problems, because that is the way you solve them. When President Carter got the agreement in

the Sinai (inaudible) it is because he worked hard. Donald Trump and his son-in-law are not going to waltz into the Middle East and throw some magic

dust on it.

This is the real estate flim flam that he's been pulling all along on China. He was going to impose these taxes and now China is the United

States best friend. The Iran deal is another example. NATO was a terrible alliance and now suddenly it has changed.

So this is just -- I don't know what -- you know, there are nice and mean words for it but at a minimum, it's spin.

GORANI: And it's interesting that this comes off the back what's he's been saying, Donald Trump about Iran and presidential election where a reformist

has one, and interestingly, the measured discourse is coming out of Iran. This is what President Rouhani had to say.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are still awaiting certain positions of this U.S. administration to be solidified and

properly be able to reflect those positions based upon which at that time we will be able to pass more precise judgments on the government in

Washington, D.C.


GORANI: There you go. We have to wait and see for elements to be solidified to be at some point to pass judgment. This is not a rash

statement coming from Rouhani at all.

RUBIN: No, and it comes right after he sort of said to the Saudis, you don't even know what democracy is and pointed out that Iran just had 45

million people vote. We should bear in mind that they voted for some candidates that were selected by the leaders, but nevertheless, a real

vote, a real election.

Choices were made by the Iranian people. As far as Iran's threat to the region, Rouhani's statement of the mild aside, Iran does pose a threat to

the region. It is their support for the monstrous government in Syria, the domestic government that allowed Assad to stay in power.

That allowed 300,000 or more people to die in Syria, and Iran has a lot of explaining to do about Syria.

GORANI: Right. Well, I think if we started a competition on which government or regime has had the worst potential impact in Syria, there are

many candidates, because that country has become such a proxy battle war there.

But finally, let's look at the future of the next few days, the Vatican, that is going to be an interesting photo opportunity, but then for the

first time ever, Donald Trump is going to be surrounded at the NATO summit and at the G7 by all of his peers pretty much the democracy leaders at the

same time and it is going to be fascinating.

[15:15:12]RUBIN: You call it fascinating, as an American, it's kind of scary because these are people have gone through the political system,

who've studied issues, who don't need to fly to Jerusalem to realize that the Middle East peace process is a difficult subject.

But for Donald Trump this is all no matter whether he does not measure up to these people or not, this is all good news, because it is the president

acting overseas, the power of the presidency abroad and Air Force One, and rather than the stuff that's going on in Washington, which is a subject

he'd rather not see --

GORANI: And he is coming back to that as well.

RUBIN: But more importantly a real successful president would be going to a summit of the leading democracies, and gathering them together under

American leadership to confront the danger from countries like Russia and Donald Trump can't seem to realize that the role of the president right now

ought to be to getting Italy, Britain, France -- the other countries to confront the government that has invaded Ukraine and used forces in Syria,

these are real challenges and threats that America should be confronting and not just ignoring.

GORANI: We will see how that develops, but obviously tomorrow is the West Bank, Bethlehem and the visit with Mahmoud Abbas. Thanks very much, Jamie

Rubin, as always. Great having you on the program.

Later, we will be talking by the way about those business deals that were announced between the United States and Saudi Arabia. One of the angles of

this trip wasn't all politics and Iran.

Still to come tonight, just a few weeks from polling day, and British Prime Minister Theresa May backtracks on an important pledge. It's hurting her

in the polls. We will see how she has reacted to that after the break.

But online policing, we all use Facebook, how does it decide what you get to see in your feed? A leaked document shed some light on that. We will

be right back.


GORANI: If you are watching us here in the United Kingdom, there are a few hours left to register for the June's snap election. It is a vote that

Theresa May's Conservative Party has been expected to win and to win handily in fact.

However, this poll from the weekend shows that Labour is cutting into the Tory lead. The conservatives are still out in front obviously but with 44

percent. Labour is 9 points behind that's down from 15 points behind in the weeks after the election was called.

So it comes after a difficult few days for the prime minister. She's been touting strong and stable leadership, but she has backtracked on elderly

social care, a policy that was in her party's manifesto, which has led to opponents calling her manifesto shambolic.

Let's get more now with Charlie Cooper, a U.K. political correspondent with "Politico." So, Charlie, thanks for being with us. So obviously people

around the world don't follow incrementally this campaign.

[15:20:04]So what's in a manifesto versus what's not in a manifesto is almost less interesting than the fact that she has had to backtrack on a

key element that was in her party's set of promises that she made.

CHARLIE COOPER, U.K. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "POLITICO": There is one election expert here in the U.K., who has covered 20 general elections, and

he said he thinks it was the first time he's ever heard of a party backtracking on a manifesto pledge before the election even happened. That

is slightly unusual and a little bit embarrassing for the prime minister.

GORANI: Yes. And she spoke to the BBC minutes ago and we have some of that. Let's listen to how she explained it.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What I have done today is I've seen the scare mongering frankly that we've seen over the weekend. I have seen

the way that Jeremy Corbyn wants to sneak into number 10 by playing on the fears of older and vulnerable people, and I have clarified what we will be

putting in the green paper which I set out in the manifesto.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Jeremy Corbyn is now rewriting your manifesto.

MAY: No. Not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is what it sounds like because you are reacting to it.

MAY: No, Andrew, we have not re-written the manifesto. The principles on which we have based our social care policy remained absolutely the same.


GORANI: Theresa May is calling it a clarification, not a U-turn on what her critics are calling a dementia attack, by the way.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, there was (inaudible) going to be a cap on the social care and individual pays is a very, very important part of that

policy. There was nothing about that in the manifesto and now suddenly there is. It is a U-turn.

GORANI: Right. So the question therefore is, Theresa May called an early election because she wanted to solidify her position in the polls, which

her hope at that time was she would get a triple-digit majority in parliament. Could that have been a mistake now when you look at the polls?

COOPER: Well, it is hard to blame if it's going for an election. I mean, before the election the Tory leader of Labour was peaking at about 19

percentage points, huge. Now, the polling is down to single figures. That is still potentially a big majority for Theresa May.

She only had 17-seat majority prior, anything more than that is a success, but I think she is a much less safe bet than she was this time a week ago

to win this big.

GORANI: But also the bigger she wins, the stronger her position when she negotiates on behalf of the U.K. for Brexit with her European partners,


COOPER: Well, that's her argument, yes. A lot of people think she really went for this election to try and marginalize a group of hard right wingers

in her party and the Brexit, the bigger majority, the smaller role they can play.

So it could be interesting if a majority is not quite big enough to marginalize them, and could be pushing towards a harder Brexit.

GORANI: Do we have the evening "Standard" front page? Here it is, "Strong and stable PM's care U-turn turmoil." I love U.K. newspapers. This is the

late edition of the "Evening Standard."

COOPER: Strong and stable is the word that we journalists have just had adnauseam (ph) in this election and we are sick of it. And the thing about

this U-turn for Theresa May is that it slightly undermines that claim. It is not a strong thing to do or stable thing to do. She is somebody whose

whole election bid is she plays with a strong back which is a cricket metaphor.

GORANI: I don't know what that means?

COOPER: It means strong and stable. This doesn't look strong and stable so it's not that good for her.

GORANI: Got it. Charlie Cooper of "Politico," thanks so much for joining us.

COOPER: Thank you.

GORANI: Appreciate it.

China is calling for calm as North Korea revs up the pace of missile testing. On Sunday, it carried out its second missile test in just the

past week. Will Ripley has that story in Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Essentially, what we are seeing right now from the North Koreans is almost geopolitical theater.

These missile launches certainly do help North Korean rocket scientists gain valuable intelligence, but they also do something else, they send a

strong message.

They give North Korea attention at a time that the world's attention is focused elsewhere in this case on the Middle East and U.S. President

Trump's first overseas trip. It is noteworthy that the North Koreans launched this latest ballistic missile hours ahead of President Trump's

major foreign policy speech that he delivered in Saudi Arabia.

And of course, later this week is the G7 meeting. Here in Japan, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to bring up the North Korean

issue with President Trump.

I've been on the ground in Pyongyang and have been told repeatedly government officials, they want engagement with the rest of the world.

They want discussion. However, they want to do it on their own terms.

The North Koreans say they are not willing to give up their nuclear program or their missile program, but they do want a seat at the table. They want

the world to acknowledge them as a nuclear power, and this kind of test is considered provocative, but happening despite very strong international

sanctions, despite condemnation from many countries around the world.

[15:25:09]This kind of activity continues. So a strong political message from the North Koreans as well as yet another missile launch help them to

get closer to their ultimate goal of an ICBM that could carry a nuclear warhead to the mainland U.S. Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.


GORANI: All right, jumping to Facebook now and we have some new insight into how Facebook decides what content violent, and explicit content it

allows on the site. A reporter in "The Guardian" has uncovered that and Samuel Burke can tell us all about it. So this is a leaked document,

right, because Facebook is not forthcoming usually about its algorithm --

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: They tell us a little bit here and there and this time, they are neither confirming this report

nor are they disputing it. But interesting because you know, so often you say to yourself, how did Facebook allow that video the stay up for so long

or conversely why in the world did they take that photo down?

But this gives us a little more insight into the nuances. I wanted to just break this down into three categories of what we found in this document and

go through this.

So starting with number one, violent threat, if it is against the heads of state, it is a no-go, it's not going up. If you say, I am going to kill

ex-president, no way, coming down, but if you say this on the average person's page, non-public person, I think somebody needs to kill so and so.

They say that's not a credible threat so that's not coming down. And interesting as well, violent videos, they might actually keep them up

because they say it might do some good if you are trying to inform about mental illness or war crimes.

GORANI: Example?

BURKE: Let's say that you see a video of somebody being slaughtered in a war, and you are trying to make the point that this is what is going on in

Syria, for example, and that is allowed that to stay up.

But the one that I think is the most interesting here if you can bring up that list, is the second one is about live streaming, those videos you can

do live on Facebook so people are seeing it in real time.

This one real surprised me, they will allow you to live stream self-harm or even suicide attempts, because they don't want to censor or punish somebody

who is in the middle of a distraught state. I see you are surprised.

GORANI: Full disclosure, we did discuss this before the program and I did find it surprising, but then when you explained the reason why it didn't

make sense.

BURKE: So I talked to some experts and they say when somebody is in the middle of something as scary as that, you don't want to do something

negative to them like bring down their video, and the hope is that if somebody sees this on Facebook, they will say, let's call the authorities

and do something about this.

But once that act is completed, once somebody has harmed themselves or God forbid, taken their life, then that video will come down. And then there

is a third category, we saw this come up with that famous picture of the photo in Vietnam war, but what they are saying is that news worthy

exceptions for nudity so like that picture --

GORANI: But wasn't that picture of a Napalm girl taken down a little bit?

BURKE: Exactly, and mistakenly. So now they have this policy that if it is newsworthy, but they say if it's too young even if it were a child in

the holocaust that was naked, they would take that picture down.

But if it is nudity that somebody has drawn, if it's art, not really a picture then it can stay up. So I think this is interesting because it

shows just how nuanced and difficult this decision process can be.

But it does look like they've done it in concert with the experts, people who have dealt with suicide, and people who know what to do.

GORANI: But I wonder for the self-harm live stream for instance. I guess that Facebook users would ask Facebook, what if I witness inadvertently or

unwillingly self-harm or as you said hopefully not someone who is successfully committing suicide or doing something like that to themselves

that is so extreme, shouldn't you protect the users?

BURKE: That is I think a very valid point. I think a lot of people looking at this list aren't going to agree with all of it and in fact, I

don't think that Facebook wanted it out there. And this is evolving and in fact, just last month, Mark Zuckerberg announced that they are hiring 3,000

more people to deal with this.

You and I have the luxury of discussing these things after, but keep in mind, they are making these decisions in real time. This video is

happening now, what do we do?

GORANI: And this is not an algorithm, these are individuals monitoring?

BURKE: It is a combination of algorithm, people, the users flagging, which is really the most important and then actual human beings like the 3,000

more people they are about to hire in addition to the thousands of people around the globe 24/7 who are actually looking at these videos and making

these calls.

GORANI: Well, with a billion users that is not much.

BURKE: You are right.

GORANI: Samuel Burke, thanks very much as always.

Much more coming up on Donald Trump's first foreign trip as U.S. president, how it could impact the politics and economics of America and the Middle


And it's been "Saturday Night Live's" most popular season in more than 20 years. They haven't been short of material. We'll be right back.


GORANI: I want to return to our top story, Donald Trump's first overseas' trip as U.S. president. It had many firsts.

So the question of whether he damaged the Israeli intelligence capabilities by sharing highly classified secrets with the Russians came up. You'll

remember that conversation, the transcript of which was leaked to reporters, that took place in the Oval Office with the Russian Foreign

Minister. Take a look at what Donald Trump had to say about that.


TRUMP: Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name, Israel. Never mentioned it in that conversation. They're all saying I

did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word, Israel.


GORANI: Well, nobody got the story wrong because no one ever accused Mr. Trump of telling Russian officials the information came from Israel. That

is not accurate. Instead, the intelligence is thought to be so specific that it's origin would become clear as a result. The Israeli Prime

Minister said, today, intelligence cooperation is terrific with the United States. So it doesn't seem that this created any hard feelings.

We want to look in depth now to political and economic implications of Mr. Trump's trip. CNN Analyst John Kirby and Rana Foroohar join me for that.

Rana, I want to start with you. This trip was as much about outreach and diplomacy as it was about megadeals. I mean, we're talking eye-popping

numbers here.


GORANI: $110 billion arms deal. There was a pledge to a fund run by an adviser to Donald Trump of $20 billion to invest in U.S. infrastructure.

Also word that $100 million would be donated to a fund that was championed by Ivanka and run by the World Bank. These are some big, big numbers,


FOROOHAR: Yes, absolutely. And we knew that going. I mean, what we're hearing is an estimated $350 billion worth of trade and investment deals

that had been inked, including this really eye-popping $110 billion arms deal as you said.

It is interesting, because aerospace and defense stocks have just been jumping, you know. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin really going through the

roof, record share prices. And that's been true. That entire sector actually, in fact, it's been rising since the election, so I think there's

been an expectation for some time that Trump would be really trying to get U.S. deals inked abroad.

It's interesting because, in some ways, this new generation of Saudi leaders is as economically minded and transactional with the President

himself. So, in some ways, that's a good pairing.

GORANI: Right. It does appear as though they are on same page. But, John Kirby, of course, human rights groups and others are criticizing the United

States because that arms package includes munition precision weaponry that was excluded from the Obama deal last year because of concerns that Saudi

Arabia is leading a military campaign in Yemen that is hitting civilian areas. Yet for Donald Trump, this doesn't appear to have been a major

issue at all.

[15:35:14] REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.), FORMER SPOKESPERSON, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: Well, it doesn't appear like human rights in

general have been, so far, on this trip a major issue for the President, and I think there's lots of groups that are concerned about that. But

you're right. With respect to this arms deal, one of the reasons the Obama administration blanched at giving them precision-guided munitions and,

frankly, curtailed other arms and weapons to Saudi Arabia was because of the concern over the lack of precision in the flights that they were

conducting in and around Yemen.

Now, the counter argument to that is one way to help be more precise is to give them precision-guided munitions. But as you might now, it's not just

about the munitions themselves, it's about the intelligence architecture that goes around that and the way targeting is done by the Saudis. And so

there has been lingering concerns about that. We'll see if these PGMs, as we call them in the military, will help, but there is and should be a

larger concern about what is going on in Yemen.

The only thing that I'd add is, remember when Secretary Mattis was in the region not long ago, he himself said it's really important that Yemen gets

solved politically and diplomatically and not through military means. So this arms deal could be construed by some as a little bit contradictory to

that effort.

GORANI: Right, yes. And we're going to have, by the way, a report later in the program, I want to tell our viewers, about exactly what is going on

Yemen, including now a cholera outbreak, 50,000 casualties, mass starvation in certain parts of the country.


GORANI: So, John Kirby, it's going to be very difficult to look at the deal, this big number, and defend it as some sort of initiative to help the

Saudis become more precise in their targeting of Houthi areas.

KIRBY: Yes. I think that is a challenge that they're going to have. They're going to face criticism on that. But, you know, the cholera

outbreak is a great segue to a larger point, which is that the international community has said long said that the answer to Yemen is

really a political one. It's getting the sides back to the negotiating table, working through the U.N. special envoy, to try to solve this

conflict diplomatically. This arms deal could be seen by some, and I'm sure it is seen by some, as contradictory to that larger effort.

GORANI: Yes, it certainly is by human rights groups. Rona, Saudi Arabia is spending a whole bunch of money here, no doubt about it.


GORANI: But its economy is not -- I mean, this is not a limitless amount of money that is going to flow into the Saudi economy. They are highly,

highly dependent on oil, obviously.


GORANI: So they're going to have to be more strategic about how they spend it.

FOROOHAR: Yes. And --

GORANI: What are they hoping to achieve here?

FOROOHAR: Well, it's an interesting point. They are really putting a new emphasis on diversifying their economy. And it's interesting because, you

know, this pending IPO of Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, in some ways, marks what may be a peek in the sort of petro economy there.

The Kingdom is definitely looking to diversify into technology, into manufacturing, into health care. This is going to be a slow and not an

easy process. There is not a lot of human capital in the region. The oil industry hasn't allowed for that to develop really, so it's a long slog.

In some ways, the deal making that we've seen is as much about U.S. homegrown politics as it is about anything happening in the Kingdom.

Donald Trump is desperate to make business leaders happy, to prove that he is a business-friendly president, that he can actually come up with some of

his agenda. A lot of business leaders have been saying, hey, where is this growth agenda that you promised? What part of it is happening? And he

hasn't had a lot to say, really, until now.

GORANI: Yes, there is certainly a transactional angle to this. And, John Kirby, he has brought up Iran to audiences that have certainly appreciated

the way he has brought up Iran in very adversarial terms. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are united by their dislike of that country and the Iran

nuclear deal. What is the strategy, do you think, for the White House here?

KIRBY: I think they are very much trying to use Iran and the boogeyman of Iran as a unifying effect here on both Sunni Arab countries and Israel

because Iran is a common threat to both, and he wants to use this as a unifying element. But in the rhetoric that we've seen in just the last

couple of days, he is making that, you know, very, very clear, but he is actually then putting his thumb on the scale of the Shia-Sunni conflict in

the region. So in one hand, he wants to say he wants to pursue peace and security. On the other hand, he is actually weighing here on the Sunni

side of Islam, and I think that's a dangerous thing for him to do in the long run.

The other thing I would say is that if you're trying to preserve peace and security in the region, none of the problems in the region are made any

easier with Iran having a nuclear weapon. So I understand his consternation about the Iran deal, but the Iran deal is working. Iran is

complying. Iran does not and cannot now have a nuclear weapon under this deal. That, in general, helps reduce some of the tensions in the region.

[15:40:05] GORANI: And, Rana Foroohar, do you think the nuclear deal is in jeopardy? I mean, we heard from President Rouhani, who was elected a

relative reformist --


GORANI: -- and more or less more open to the world certainly than his conservative rivals in this race. He sounded very measured, not too

worried, saying, we just have to wait and see. We'll see how things shake out.

FOROOHAR: Well, look, you know, the Trump administration said on Wednesday that, you know, they were backing the deal for the time being, that they

might be looking at it in the future. It doesn't seem to be going away right now. But I agree that it's an awkward time for the U.S. to be coming

out, you know, in any way in favor of the Sunnis within the sectarian conflict, in part, because the President has a commitment to fight


I mean, his speech is all about getting rid of terrorism. Well, you know, the conservative Wahhabi strain of Islam that's prevalent in Saudi Arabia

is certainly a part of the issue, and I think that a longer term --

GORANI: Well, you could argue that terrorism that Trump refers to has nothing to do with Iran actually.

FOROOHAR: You could argue that, and many people are arguing that. So there is some cognitive dissonance here is, I guess, the important point.

And I think that, you know, the Obama administration had really made coming closer to Iran a kind of a long-term play. This is a country that doesn't

have a middle class. You know, it could potentially be a greater ally in the future. So it's a very interesting pivot and a lot of people are

concerned about it.

GORANI: And --

KIRBY: I would just add and I think that's exactly right.

GORANI: Yes, go ahead, John.

KIRBY: No, I couldn't agree more. And I would just add that, don't forget, Iran just had a democratic election in just the last couple of days

and elected moderates.

FOROOHAR: Exactly. Yes.

KIRBY: President Rouhani was re-elected. So I'm not at all turning a blind eye to Iran's destabilizing activities or their state sponsorship of

terrorism. It's real, it's significant, and we have to keep pressing them on that. That said, this is a country that is trying to turn more toward

the West. And the fact that Rouhani won re-election is something that we should be welcoming, not in fact pushing them further away.

FOROOHAR: I agree with that.

GORANI: All right. Well, we have many more lights to this strip, so hopefully we'll have you both on to discuss those. Rana Foroohar and John

Kirby, thanks to both of you for joining us on CNN.

KIRBY: Thank you.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

GORANI: Mr. Trump may be half a world away from Washington, but he cannot escape his problems back home. Senators digging into his campaigns

contacts with Russia have subpoenaed Michael Flynn. But today, we learn the former national security adviser is not going to cooperate. Sources

say he is expected to invoke a constitutional protection against self- incrimination, the Fifth Amendment.

One of the Republican senators demanding that Flynn produce documentation of his contacts with Russians tweeted this, "It is Mike Flynn's right to

plead the Fifth. We will get to the truth one way or another." Let's get more from our Senior Washington Correspondent Joe Johns. So how will

things unfold then if he's subpoenaed, if he's requested to testify, and he won't play along?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, he really has two courses to take, Hala. The first one is to continue to pursue some form of

immunity from the Committee, which the Committee would certainly be reluctant to give, given the fact that we know there are other

investigations out there, especially into his dealings with Turkey and what he was doing for a company in Turkey ostensibly to help the government of

Turkey before he became national security adviser. He failed to register himself as a foreign agent as you're required to do under federal law and

then found himself in hot water once he got to the White House.

So there's an investigation into that and therefore, it would be a real problem for the United States Congress to give him immunity. So the

likelihood here is that a person in his position simply refuses to testify and waits to see what happens with the federal government investigations.

GORANI: And it's interesting we're seeing among more centrist Republicans, perhaps, the desire to put some daylight between themselves and Donald

Trump with regards to this Russia investigation and its fallout. Listen to what Marco Rubio and John McCain told the Sunday shows.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: If any president tries to impede an investigation, any president, no matter who it is, by interfering with the

FBI, yes, that would be problematic. It would be not just problematic, it would be, you know, obviously a potential obstruction of justice.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Why do you think the President fired James Comey?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don't know. Honestly, I cannot explain a lot of the President's actions. I don't it was a wise thing to do.


GORANI: All right. So what should we read into those answers, if anything?

[15:44:59] JOHNS: Well, it's certainly setting up a dichotomy, isn't it? Because in some ways, the President, in an interview with Lester Holt of

NBC News, essentially said that he got rid of Comey because the Russia investigation was on his mind. So to ask a number of members of Congress,

particularly Republicans, why they think Comey was fired basically says, well, what are you going to do about it? And the question, of course, is

whether more Republicans will join Democrats in being critical and wanting to get to the bottom of it.

By the way, you know, there is a bit of news. We were talking, at the top, about Michael Flynn refusing to provide his information. Well, we also

know that a couple of friends, associates, of President Trump have delivered at least some response of documents to the Committee. That would

be Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager, as well as Roger Stone, who was a political consultant close to the President.

So they've taken a very different tack from what Mr. Flynn has done, and that only tells you or at least creates an inference that he is much more

concerned about his legal exposure, at least at this time, than some of the others.

GORANI: All right. Joe Johns, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


GORANI: A civil war that is now in its third year, more than 50,000 casualties, 18 million people in need of aid. This is Yemen. There's no

end in sight to that conflict.

How it's playing out, in red are the areas under the control of Houthi rebels, this minority Shia group who drove out the government led by

President Hadi. Now, Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition supporting Hadi's government. The hold the territory in yellow. But human rights groups

have repeatedly accused Saudi Arabia of hitting civilian areas and infrastructures in their military campaign.

When you think things couldn't get any worse in Yemen, they did. According to the charity, Save the Children, a cholera outbreak could become a full-

blown epidemic there. Christiane Amanpour shows us the desperate conditions.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A little boy just a few short steps from hospital, desperately ill, but he

can't get in. There simply is no room. And so he is being treated outside, a bag of life saving fluids hangs from a tree. The doctors have

gone back inside and the boy's family are his caregivers for now.

This is what it looks like outside the Sabin Children's Hospital in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, where thousands of suspected cholera victims have

come seeking help. But inside the hospital, there is hardly any space to move. The wards are full. Patients are being treated in the hallways.

[15:50:03] Thirty-nine-year-old Fana Mohammad's (ph) two young daughters both have cholera. In fact, this mother of five fears that her whole

family could be infected. Fana (ph) says that she fainted while walking with her children to the hospital.

FANA MOHAMMAD (PH), CHOLERA PATIENT (through translator): We are sick. My children were about to die.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Keeping a watchful eye over Fana's (ph) daughters and so many others is Dr. Ismail Mansouri, one of the very few on duty

here. He treats suspected cholera victims every day.

In one two-hour period, he says 200 new patients arrived. He doesn't know where to put them all. They've created makeshift wards in the open air.

The doctor tells CNN the epidemic has reached a critical turning point. It is now three patients to a bed.

The cholera outbreak in this rebel-controlled capital is the latest crisis in a country that's been devastated by two years of civil war, poverty, and

hunger. Just outside this hospital, piles of garbage litter the sidewalk, ending up in the water supply, and exacerbating the epidemic. But the

garbage collectors are on strike because like all municipal workers, they haven't been paid in months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The health system is a typical example of the heavy tolls that this conflict has taken on the whole country, on its people, but

also on the system, the health, water, sanitation system.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Back at the Sabin Children's Hospital, Fana (ph) comforts her two girls. It's been a difficult time for this family. Like

so many others, they also barely have anything to eat.

MOHAMMAD (PH) (through translator): Once a day, we mix breadcrumbs with water. And that's only on lucky days. Mostly, we go to bed without having

eaten for the entire day.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Cholera, of course, is treatable if it's caught in time, but the epidemic is likely to explode if Yemeni hospitals continue to

go without basics, like rehydration fluids and food.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.


GORANI: A desperate situation there for so many. We'll be posting some of our show's content on our Facebook page. If you missed it, you can check

it out there at We'll be right back.


GORANI: From Alec Baldwin lampooning President Trump to Melissa McCarthy bringing Sean Spicer's podium to life, "Saturday Night Live" has earned

huge ratings this season and angered the President, even. In their season finale, they kept up the political theme with host Dwayne Johnson

announcing a presidential run with a well-known running mate.


DWAYNE JOHNSON, ACTOR: I've already chosen my running mate. He is also in the five-timer's club. And like me, he is very well liked. He is

charming, universally adored by pretty much every human alive.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Dwayne, I would be honored to --

JOHNSON: Mr. Tom Hanks, ladies and gentlemen.


TOM HANKS, ACTOR: I guess we got to do it. Come on.

JOHNSON: Yes. Yes, let's.

HANKS: Let's go.


JOHNSON: We're doing it.

HANKS: We're doing it. Hey. Hey, look at that go.


[15:54:59] GORANI: Well, they did say they were joking, but in this day and age, you never know. Dylan Byers joins me now from Los Angeles. So, I

mean, this has been an unbelievable season for "SNL."

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA AND POLITICS: Yes, absolutely, and really more than anyone sort of profiting off of the political climate

and the political situation and really just the absurdity of what is going on in our politics. Also, I would say that their ability to become sort of

the -- you know, to have this moment is due in no small part to the fact that they have successfully gotten under Donald Trump's skin.


BYERS: That is, you know, in large part, due to Trump's own sort of vulnerabilities, his own sort of obsession with his self-image and his

obsession with how he is perceived through many of the outlets that he often criticizes and discredits, whether that's "The New York Times" or

"The Washington Post" or satire like "Saturday Night Live."

He actually cares about these things. He watches these things. We know that he was upset by Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of Press Secretary Sean

Spicer. You know, "Saturday Night Live," which over the course of its many decades has sort of waxed and waned in terms of its cultural relevance, is

really having a moment right now, perhaps unlike any we've seen at least in the 21st century.

GORANI: And you mentioned that it's gotten under the skin of Donald Trump well before the inauguration, not since he has become president. He

tweeted about it saying it's not funny. It's a really bad television. But so many more viewers have been tuning in every Saturday.

And by the way, the cast with two guest hosts, Melissa McCarthy and Alec Baldwin, were on the cover of the "Hollywood Reporter," I believe. If we

have that? Yes, there it is. So next season --

BYERS: Yes, and --

GORANI: Next season, we're going to get more of the same presumably?

BYERS: Absolutely. I mean, I think you can expect this to go on. And much like, you know, almost everything on television, the expectation will

be that they will need to up the ante in order to maintain viewer interest. Look, a lot of people right now are looking to satire generally, whether

it's "Saturday Night Live," Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, to sort of engage with politics. And, you know, historically, there's been a sense

that maybe this is a service space outside of politics, but that's not what people are asking for right now and the ratings bear that out.

GORANI: Thanks very much. Dylan Byers live in L.A.

This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you tomorrow. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.