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CONNECT THE WORLD
White House Communications Director is Out; Kushner's Connections to Russia Under Intense Scrutiny; Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Face T.V. Grilling; Baghdad Bombings
Aired May 30, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: This hour, the Russians talked about potentially having derogatory information about Donald Trump. Sources tell CNN that
bombshell. We're in Washington and Moscow.
Then carnage in Baghdad -- two deadly bombings rip into the city, one targeting old people, the other an ice cream shop. Now, the region is
standing up to this kind of terror.
Millions are watching this ad, as Ramadan rolls on in the Middle East -- details this hour. Hello and welcome to "Connect the World."
I'm Robyn Curnow at CNN's worldwide headquarters in Atlanta. Thanks so much for joining us. And we begin with what seems to be Donald Trump's
White House in disarray.
Its communications director is out after just three months on the job. Mike Dubke says he's leaving for, quote, "personal reasons" and isn't
commenting on the turmoil inside the West Wing.
This comes as that chaos grows. The crisis over Russian ties to President Donald Trump's campaign team is widening.
CNN has learned Russian officials talked about having some possible derogatory information on then candidate Trump and his inner circle. Well,
Chief U.S. Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto, now reports on that.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Two former intelligence officials and a congressional source tell myself, Dana Bash
and Pamela Brown that Russian government officials discussed having potentially, quote, "derogatory information" about then presidential
candidate Donald Trump as well as some of his top aides -- this, in conversations intercepted by U.S. intelligence during the 2016 election.
One source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussion centered around whether the Russians have leverage within
Trump's inner circle.
The source says the intercepted communication suggested to U.S. intelligence that Russians believed, quote, "They had the ability to
influence the administration through the derogatory information." Now, the source is privy to the descriptions of the communications written by U.S.
intelligence, cautioned the Russian claim (ph) for each other, quote, "could have been exaggerated or even made up."
The details of the communications do shed new light on information U.S. intelligence received about Russian claims of influence. The contents of
the conversations made clear to U.S. officials that Russia was considering ways to influence the election, even if their claims turned out to be
As you may remember, CNN first reported the U.S. intercepted discussions of Russian officials bragging about cultivating relationships with Trump
campaign aides, including Trump's first national security advisor, Michael Flynn -- all this, to influence Trump himself. Following that, CNN report,
"The New York Times" said that Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was also discussed.
None of the sources would say which specific Trump aides were discussed. One of the officials said the intelligence report masked the Americans'
But it was clear the conversations revolved around the Trump campaign team. Another source would not give more specifics, citing the classified nature
of this information.
As for comment, the White House tells CNN the following, quote, "This is yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources
to smear the president. The reality is a review of the president's income of the last 10 years showed he had virtually no financial ties at all.
There appears to be no limit to which the president's political opponents will go to perpetuate this false narrative, including illegally leaking
classified material. All this does is play into the hands of our adversaries and put the country at risk," end quote.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and FBI would not comment to CNN. The president himself has insisted on multiple occasions
in public that he has no financial dealings with Russia.
The FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election recently taken over by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, does include seeking answers
as to whether there was any coordination with associations of Trump but also includes examining alleged financial dealings of key Trump
associates. The FBI would not comment on whether any of the claims discussed in the interception we reported have been verified.
I should note that by the time that Trump took office, questions about some of his aides' financial dealings with Russian entities were already under
investigation. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
CURNOW: Well, thanks to Jim for all of that reporting. Lots of questions right now and so few hard answers. Well, CNN's political director, David
Chalian, joins me now from Washington.
Ivan Watson is in Moscow.
David, to you, President Trump is back in the oval office. How much pressure is he under? I mean, this is just a staffing (ph) shift? How
much -- how key is that?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, losing the communications director, we shouldn't be too distracted by that. It was an outsider to
This guy, Mike Dubke, never really jelled with the team and was only there for three months, not part of the sort of Trump team that -- that got him
elected. What will be key to watch is you are right, Donald Trump is under a lot of pressure.
How does he restructure his White House and his team? Who does he bring in? That will be far more telling about how he plans to combat politically
and from a communications point of view, the daily onslaught from this Russia investigation.
They need to figure out some way to wall off the Russian investigation, push back in rapid response from trying to enact the president's agenda and
all the other work that needs to get done in the White House.
CURNOW: And -- and Ivan, to you, with that Russian investigation, the fact that it's certainly not going to be going away anytime soon, we have
had more comments from Moscow. And we've also had comments from Mr. Trump himself who tweeted that the Russians must be laughing.
What is the reaction where you are?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there is a deputy foreign minister who came out and talked about this. And he wasn't laughing.
He was more kind of exasperated and lamenting the fact that there had been no breakthrough between Washington and Moscow at improving bilateral
relations. And you have to recall, there was a great deal of hope when Donald Trump was first elected president here in Moscow, a great deal of
hope within the top levels of the Russian government, that this would lead to some kind of day talks (ph) and some kind of partnership between these
Instead, the Trump administration has been mired in all of these investigations. There are these -- been all of these leaks as well.
And it's very clear that it's -- politically, it would be quite difficult for the Trump administration to make any big moves forward with Russia.
That said, this same deputy foreign minister came out and he said, you know, there's this ongoing defamation of our man in Washington.
The Russian ambassador there, Ambassador Kislyak, who's been at the center of much of the reporting about contact between the Trump campaign and in
the transition period, top officials in the Trump administration and this particular ambassador as well.
CURNOW: If there's frustration in Moscow, David in terms of frustration within the White House, particularly at the ongoing Russia investigation
and this drip-by-drip information relating to Mr. Kushner, what does that mean for this president, particularly because Mr. Kushner is his son-in-law
and a key adviser?
CHALIAN: Yes, it's a really unique role obviously to both be the family member, the son-in-law and the most trusted and very senior adviser. This
is -- this begins a whole new phase of this Russia investigation.
It's one thing -- you (ph) remember the other names that have been out there, Michael Flynn, the fired national security adviser, or Carter Page
or Paul Manafort. The White House was able to sort of keep arm's distance from some of those folks.
Now, with Jared Kushner at the very center and his meetings with Russians, whether Kislyak or this Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov, his meetings are
front and center in this investigation. That means that this investigation is now not just inside the West wing, but steps away from the president in
the oval office.
CURNOW: And so it's come to the oval office. And what are the questions, just David, with you about these meetings, the contradictory accounts of
what actually those meetings were about? And that's where the questions are.
CHALIAN: Yes. I -- I thought it was so interesting to see that when the bank that Sergey Gorkov works with, VEB (ph), was -- put out a statement in
March about that December meeting, they said the meeting was all about business contacts, meeting with Jared Kushner, the head of Kushner
Properties and talking about real estate. But Hope Hicks, the spokeswoman for Donald Trump, when spoke about it, said oh, he was just working as a
transition official and setting up a communication.
Well, that is very different. And now, the White House is trying to suggest that the conversation was all about Syria.
So we have two totally different interpretations of what that meeting was about. That provides a very wide opening for investigators to go deep to
understand everything about that Kushner-Gorkov meeting.
CURNOW: Well, that so-called also back channel was (ph).
And Ivan, to you, when we hear about Jim Sciutto's reporting about derogatory information, also one of -- a former national security person
was on CNN this morning, saying this is in the Russian playbook, compromising material. It's -- it's not -- it's not unusual to suggest
that the Russians might have tried based on their history to try and find some sort of derogatory information.
WATSON: Yes, but of course, all of this -- a lot of this is speculation. We don't have any concrete information. Certainly, though the Russians
haven't responded to this latest revelation that CNN's reporting, I'd be willing to bet a lot of money, if I had it, that the Russians would deny
But certainly, yes, that is an old kind of Soviet intelligence tactic -- compromise. And -- and we saw it in the post-Soviet period.
The -- it was called the -- the -- the case of Skuratav (ph), who was a prosecutor here in the '90s. And video emerged of him frolicking in bed
with apparently two prostitutes.
And that quickly brought an end to his career because that had been broadcast on -- on Russian state television. So there is a long history of
finding material that could blackmail people, that could make people kind of work with, perhaps, the intelligence services.
I'm -- I'm again, fairly certain that the Russians would deny that there would be any kind of allegation or insinuation that they have any type of
information like that when it comes to Donald Trump himself. The standard line out of the Kremlin has been that Russia does not interfere in U.S.
CURNOW: The view from Moscow and Washington, David Chalian, Ivan Watson, thank you to you both.
CURNOW: Now, coming up in the next few hours, the White House is set to hold a press briefing with all the developments swirling around this
administration and that building, the White House -- you actually don't want to miss this one. That's coming up at 10:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi, 7:00
p.m. in London.
CNN will bring it to you when it happens. And you'd think with all of that going on in Washington, Mr. Trump might be trying to keep his head down.
Well, not so much. He's now going after one of Washington's strongest allies, Germany, telling the world that while America buys loads of stuff
from Berlin, it's not exactly a two-way street, and that they don't pitch in enough for -- for NATO.
Well, this in an hour ago. I spoke to the editor of one of Germany's largest newspapers. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KLAUS BRINKBAUMER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DER SPIEGEL: .demand (ph) that Europe really has to step in, filling the gap the United States is -- is leaving
and -- and negotiate with China, find other partners in international trade and on security issues and really look at problems like Libya and Syria on
its own and not count on the U.S. What is really the first time, though, is Angela Merkel saying we cannot really trust the United States anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, our Fred Pleitgen joins me now to talk about the potential spat (ph) brewing between the U.S. and Germany.
And we heard Klaus kind of laying out the implications as well. But Mr. Trump certainly, again, tried to essentially pick a fight with Germany it
seems, at least to many Germans.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, yes, certainly. I mean, it certainly seems as though he is really firing some shots there at the
Germans with this latest tweet that he put out earlier this morning, really tweeting very early in the morning, American time saying, "We have a
massive trade deficit with Germany. Plus, they pay far less than they should on NATO and military -- very bad for the U.S.
This will change," is what President Trump said. And it was interesting because just minutes after President Trump put out that tweet, another
senior German politician, this time from the social democrats, one of their top foreign policy officials, he came out and said, this tweet shows that
President Trump thinks that Germany is the opponent of America.
And that is almost, Robyn, unheard-of language between these two very, very close allies who, of course, been this close for decades, but also, for
Angela Merkel to come out and say, look, we are not sure whether or not we can rely on the United States anymore and her reiterating that once again
in a speech today. That certainly does show that there is a large level of distrust and of alienation on the part of the Germans, that certainly
stems from some of the things that Angela Merkel heard from Donald Trump over the course of last week during that NATO summit, but then also at the
G7 as well. Some of his comments about NATO, about countries not paying their dues to NATO, I think the Germans think that some of those comments
are actually quite fair because they do only pay about 1.2 percent of their -- of their budget towards defense.
But some of the trade remarks saying that it was bad for Germany to sell so many cars in America really causes pause in Germany, causes them to think
about things. And one of the things that Mr. Brinkbaumer was saying there in your interview, it is the case that they are looking increasingly
towards Asia to try and bolster some of those trade alliances, Robyn.
CURNOW: OK, Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much, perspective there from Europe.
Well, when British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election, it seemed like a shrewd political move. Riding high in the
polls, she was expected to win and to win easily.
But criticism over her manifesto rollout has seen polls narrow and now, the race is very much back on. Both Mrs. May and Labour Party Leader, Jeremy
Corbyn, appeared on T.V. on Monday night, but not against each other. Instead, they faced an audience and then a grilling from presenter, Jeremy
Paxman, on a range of topics from immigration to Brexit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY PAXMAN, ENGLISH JOURNALIST: If I were sitting in Brussels and I was looking at you as the person I had to negotiate with, I think she is a
blowhard (ph) who collapses at the first sign of gunfire.
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, BRITAIN: I think -- I think, Jeremy, you'll find what the people in Brussels look at is the record that I had of
negotiating with them in Brussels and delivering for this country on a number of issues on justice and home affairs, which people said we were
never going to get.
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: If people hadn't migrated to this country, we would have a much worse health service, education system
and transport system than we have. The contribution it's made to your living standards and mine by people who have come here is huge.
But I'll tell you what will change. We will not allow companies to bring in whole groups of very low-paid workers in order to undercut often fairly
low-paid workers in this country.
.that displaced their workers (ph) in business (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, CNN's Richard Quest is traveling around the U.K., gauging the public mood of the week before the vote. He joins me now from Newport
And what are you gauging, Richard?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm gauging an electorate that is both weary from having gone to the polls so many times, for an election that
nobody thought was actually going to happen because the prime minister had said she wasn't going to call it at a time of great uncertainty, because
the Brexit negotiations start barely 10 days after the election is over. And in that scenario, the issues are pretty clear cut.
On the one hand, you do have Theresa May, who is putting forward this idea that Brexit is the issue upon which people will go for. She needs her
But then you have Jeremy Corbyn, who you've just heard, whose -- whose many of his policies sound like remarkably good sense, in the sense that he got
it (ph) straightforwardly but carries a certain amount of baggage from his previous views that he's held. And so Robyn, you end up with a bizarre
election, where the Tory (ph) started perhaps over 20 points higher in the polls and that lead has literally vanished to the point where some are
suggesting either she won't get much more of a majority and there's just a scintilla, Robyn, that she might actually lose.
CURNOW: Wow, either way, as we said, a political gamble. And it's certainly being played out on the air waves.
There's a song about Theresa May, not a flattering one, I must say. It's blasting out at speakers up and down Britain, I understand.
And our team, our CNN team took this image just a few hours ago. It's showing "Liar, Liar," is the second most popular download on the country's
And this is how it goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN SKA, SINGER: She's a liar, liar. She's a liar, liar. Oh, you can't trust her, no, no, no.
She's a liar, liar. Oh, she's a liar, liar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Richard, I mean, why -- why do you think this is so popular? Why is that hitting a chord, as you travel about?
QUEST: Oh, well, because, look, we're back to just good old-fashioned down-in-the-dirt politics. Here you have a Tory prime minister, in many
ways, quite on the right and not of our (ph) policies, who has been very hardline (ph).
And she now is putting forward a hardline Brexit. And the reason why that song says, "She's a liar, liar, liar," which incidentally, the song is not
being played on British radio stations, because it could infringe the various electoral laws in this country, but the reason why is because the
prime minister has flip-flopped.
She flip-flopped on a (ph) national insurance taxation. She flip-flopped on social spending commitments.
And she's flip-flopped on the fact that she was going to take an election - - call an election. Now, the other side of that coin is, the -- and this is why this election has heated up in the last few days -- the other side
of this coin is that Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour right (ph), simply saying, listen, she can't get the deal that she says.
And if she does, it will be a bad deal. And anyway, let's take this place where I am. This is Newport in Wales.
Newport in Wales, Robyn, has a very high level of unemployment. It has -- there are many people in this city who are out of jobs from steel works
that have closed from factories that have shut, from -- from high level of social spending.
Here in Newport, don't be fooled by this brand new, very nice posh shopping center. The reality of many parts of this country, of which Wales is one,
is an element of poverty that Jeremy Corbyn says will only be made worse with austerity, with cuts in spending if Theresa May is -- is reelected.
This election was going to be boring. I promise you, for the next nine days, it will be anything but.
CURNOW: And not just you watching it, but no doubt, many people in Brussels wondering what all of this, what kind of impact it's going to have
on Brexit negotiations.
Keeping us honest with all of that, Richard Quest, thank you. And of course, Richard will be back for more in less than an hour -- not alone, of
course, but with Freddie Davan (ph) and all the big important May numbers (ph) you need to know about Britain's big choice.
Stay with us here at CNN for that. But first, still to come, daily life shattered in the heart of Baghdad -- the city reels (ph) in the aftermath
of two deadly, devastating bomb attacks. We'll have the details.
Also, new images -- the Manchester suicide bomber with his suitcase -- the latest on the investigation into that and horrific attack also ahead.
CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow. And ISIS says it is responsible for two deadly car bombings in Baghdad, targeting both Iraq's young and
old. We begin with a video from the first blast, disturbing pictures that may make you want to turn away.
Chaos, it shows outside an ice cream shop where young families had gone for a late-night Ramadan snack. That blast in the heart of Baghdad killed 10
people, wounded dozens more.
Later, a second attack -- that bomb exploded at the general retirement office where elderly residents have queued up to collect their pension
checks. Eleven people died in this second blast and again, many, many more were hurt.
Well, joining me now from Istanbul with more details about these attacks is CNN's Ian Lee.
These are horrific. They're devastating. And -- and as we say, you know, they're targeting the very young and the very old.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And when you look at this, the video, the one thing that eyewitnesses described was the mix of blood and
ice cream. These are families going out, enjoying Ramadan.
It just started a few days ago. People go out. They spend the nights, late into the night before the fast begins again the next day and really a
time for family.
And hitting this ice cream parlor, a lot of young people, a lot of children there in the aftermath, you see the children running around. And that
death toll, Robyn, is slowly ticking up as well and now stands at 12 people killed in that deadly blast, ISIS saying that they're specifically going
after Iraq's Shiite community.
They said that in a message, Iraq's minister of interior says that he's going to track down the people responsible.
CURNOW: And what does this mean, the timing during Ramadan? And also what does it tell us about the efficiency of ISIS cells (ph) in Baghdad?
LEE: Well, Iraqi security forces were preparing for Ramadan. ISIS uses it as a time to tell its members to carry out such attacks.
We saw last year a real deadly attack where over 300 people were killed by ISIS during Ramadan.
So they were prepared for this. And ISIS believes that if you die, if you commit one of these acts during Ramadan, it is more auspicious. And so
there is this anticipation of uptick in violence.
But we're really seeing a couple of things here, Robyn. One, you have ISIS in the territory that they control, where they're losing it on a daily
basis to the international coalition, Iraqi security forces.
But you also have these cells that are across Iraq, which are more difficult to detect and to find. And these are the cells that are causing
this carnage around the country in areas that are supposed to be secured.
CURNOW: OK, this desperate brutality in Baghdad in the last 48 hours. Thank you very much, Ian Lee there in Istanbul.
Now, those bombings in Baghdad were claimed by ISIS. The terror group has also said it's behind the Manchester attack, where just over a week ago, 22
people were killed at a concert there.
And our investigators are trying to track down the suspected terror network they believed helped that suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, plan his attack.
And they're now calling for the public's help, asking people to come forward if they saw Abedi with this suitcase -- a blue suitcase he was
spotted carrying just hours before the bombing.
Well, CNN's Muhammad Lila is in Manchester with the latest on that investigation.
The country, the city still very much on high alert.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Robyn. Certainly, there is -- there's still a lot -- some tension in the air. People are on
But of course, the threat level was lowered over the weekend, in fact, just before that, from critical to severe. But the latest phase of the
investigation focuses very much on that blue suitcase.
Police released that images saying that the main suspect, Salman Abedi, was seen wheeling that suitcase around in the days and in fact, in the very
hours before the attack, wheeling it around, I should add -- I should add right here in downtown Manchester. Now, they believe the suitcase may
still be out there.
They don't believe there is any cause for concern or any dangerous materials in that suitcase. But they are asking the public that if they
see that suitcase, they shouldn't go near it but rather, they should call the police.
And one of the reasons why they want to find out more about that suitcase is because they don't believe the suitcase was used in the attack. They
believe it was a backpack that was stuffed with explosives that was used at the Manchester Arena (ph).
So they really want to find out why Abedi was seen carrying this around in the days leading up to the attack. And the hope is that by finding that,
they might be able to help -- that might help them uncover some of the other leads, including possible other people that may have been involved
in this network that they're trying to contain and uncover.
CURNOW: And just to underscore this investigation that, as you say, is still fast-paced, still very much going, still urgency, while you were
talking, the Manchester police have tweeted that they're currently searching a property in Wigan in relation to last Monday's attack. And
there's a cordon in place.
And they're asking people to avoid the areas. That investigation very much ongoing, at the same time, a city, families, victims still trying to come
to terms with the horror.
And there was a vigil last night. Tell us about that.
LILA: Well, that's right. I mean, the vigil took place last night to mark the exact one week anniversary of the attack.
Obviously, still a lot of raw emotion in the city but it's interesting because even as the investigation is still going fast-paced and as you say,
there are still raids taking place. On the other hand, this is a city that's very much trying to get back to normal.
The -- the train station, for example, Victoria Train Station that had been closed because it was right adjacent to the Manchester Arena. It had been
closed. Well, today, it reopened in a ceremony.
The mayor was there leaving some flowers at the scene. And there have been some concerts that are scheduled as well.
There are concerts today that are scheduled and some -- a number of events took place over the weekend. You have to remember, of course, here in the
U.K., this is a long weekend.
So now, being Tuesday, it is the first day back to work. So even the crowds that you see behind me, yes, there are still crowds coming here to
But the crowds are certainly significantly lower than we've seen in previous days. And I think the idea behind that is that Manchester and the
people of Manchester want to get back to work.
They want to get back to as much of a normal life as they can and move on from this disaster and really show the world that Manchester is returning
back to normal.
CURNOW: Yes, but still, I mean, that extraordinary monument of grief behind you with all those pink balloons signaling just how many children,
teenagers were struck by that bomber last week. Muhammad Lila on the scene in Manchester, thank you.
And we'll get you up to speed on the world's biggest stories in just a moment. Plus, new campaign intrigue from Russia, a mini staff (ph) shakeup
and oh, those tweets.
We'll have the latest on all the activity at the White House. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.
CURNOW: You're watching "Connect the World." I'm Robyn Curnow. Our top stories this hour -- CNN has learned Russian officials talked about having
some possible derogatory information on then U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and his inner circle.
One of our sources described the information as financial in nature. But the sources cautioned the Russian claims could have been fabricated or
Horrifying video from one of two deadly car bombings that ISIS says it carried out in Baghdad. Officials now say an explosion outside a popular
ice cream shop killed at least 12 people, later, at least 11 people killed in an attack near a government office.
And Russians are cleaning up after a powerful and deadly storm hit Moscow on Monday. At least 14 people were killed.
And Russian media report the storm uprooted thousands of trees, damaging cars and homes. And one of Central America's most notorious dictators has
Manual Noriega suffered complications following brain surgery. He effectively ran Panama with American support but ended up serving almost 20
years in a U.S. prison for drug trafficking. Noriega was dead -- is dead at 83.
Well, Donald Trump is back in Washington after a world trip in some frosty interactions with world leaders, particularly European leaders. And he's
being bombarded now with everything from Russia, possible revelations about possible derogatory information from the campaign trail to reported
discussion with the Kremlin about back-channel communication.
Some insiders say Mr. Trump is increasingly isolated in the White House. The White House communications director has quit.
Staff squabbles are abundant, leaving little time to focus on policy. Well, joining us now to indicate where all those could possibly be going is
He's the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. He joins us from Charlottesville, Virginia.
Larry, great to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us. This is Mr. Trump's -- President Trump's first day back at work after a long trip.
And then there was Memorial Day yesterday. What do you make of the pressure that he's under at the moment?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA'S CENTER FOR POLITICS: Well, no one's going to do a sword dance for him here, even his fellow
Republicans. The truth is that presidents always think when they have, in their view, a successful trip abroad.
Many disagree that Trump had a successful trip. But he certainly thinks it's successful.
Presidents always believe that somehow, that changes the domestic calculus. It almost never does. And there's a reason for that.
The problems he left behind are not only still there, they've gotten worse in his absence.
CURNOW: OK, and -- and what do you make of -- of the impact of Jared Kushner, particularly being targeted by this new (ph) investigation and
the questions about back channels and a meeting with a Russian banker.
How much does that factor into Mr. Trump's isolation or sense of concern, particularly because this is the first time this investigation is hitting
the oval office itself?
SABATO: Well, it's got to have an effect on him. Certainly, for Jared Kushner, he has an effect.
And I would think for Donald Trump, it does, too. And Ivanka Trump inevitably would be affected. So there has got to be some personal
reaction in Trump's office and with Trump himself.
But it's really more -- it's really broader than that. It's the fact that this is getting curiouser (ph) and curiouser (ph).
There are so many strands to this. I'm sure even Trump doesn't know about some of them.
And he now realizes, I'm sure, that in the end, he's going to have to wait for the special counsel and the Senate committee that's investigating it
and the house committee that's investigating it. Nothing's going to be cleared up until they report.
CURNOW: But what does this mean? And -- and as you say, there are so many strands to this. It has been drip, drip, drip.
Many Trump supporters, many ordinary Americans who perhaps didn't even vote for Trump are getting confused and exhausted by all of this. What -- what
are the political implications for Mr. Trump here?
SABATO: It's early in his term. So of course, there is time for this to sort itself out before the next set of elections in November 2018, the
congressional midterm elections. But there's also a time for it to get worse.
So the -- the current situation for Trump is dire, because the Republicans in Congress, they control both houses, they can't seem to produce much of
anything. They haven't produced health care reform.
They haven't produced tax reform legislation. And this is contributing to the fact that they're being unproductive.
They don't know whether to support Trump or to put distance between themselves and Trump.
CURNOW: And then a further complication is that we're expecting former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, to respond to two subpoenas sent
to his two businesses from the U.S. Intelligence Committee today. And in the past, General Flynn said he would evoke his fifth amendment rights
rather than comply with the subpoena.
And of course, the subpoena is an order for someone to appear in court or to provide records to the court. What -- what does all of that mean?
SABATO: No doubt, General Flynn is negotiating on his own behalf, as he should. He is the one of all the people who have been mentioned who may be
in the greatest legal jeopardy.
And so he has vital information that everybody wants -- the special counsel, the two committees that I mentioned that are investigating this.
That's his ace card.
He has to negotiate with it. And I'm sure that his lawyers are doing just that.
CURNOW: Larry Sabato, always great to get your perspective. Thank you.
SABATO: Thank you.
CURNOW: Now, Donald Trump's global business empire propelled him into politics. But potential conflicts between what's personal and what's
political have raised ethics questions since day one of his candidacy.
CNN's Cristina Alesci shows us one example of this fuzzy line from the Trump Hotel just a few blocks from the White House. Take a look.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An annual meeting on U.S.-Turkey relations. Most years, a standard event, but not this year, because this
year, it was at the Trump International Hotel in D.C., ground zero for President Trump's conflicts of interest.
EKIM ALPTEKIN, CHAIRMAN, TURKEY-U.S. BUSINESS COUNCIL: Frankly, most people involved in decision-making didn't -- didn't expect him to win the
election. But we liked the hotel.
ALESCI: Ekim Alptekin heads a business council in Turkey. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he is the guy who paid Mike Flynn, Trump's
fired national security adviser to work on Turkish interests.
Did the money that you paid Flynn, did that come from a foreign government?
ALPTEKIN: Absolutely not. It was my personal money. It came from my personal account.
ALESCI: Alptekin says the Turkish government didn't pay Flynn. And he says the government didn't fund this conference at the Trump Hotel either.
It was planned before Trump became president. But the contract was signed after.
ALPTEKIN: We pay for all our activities to sponsorships and -- and -- and membership fees. So there is zero money from the government coming in.
ALESCI: But ethics experts aren't so sure.
NOAH BOOKBINDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: It looks to us like several of the sponsors of the event
are government-owned and government-controlled entities. We haven't seen the flow of money.
ALESCI: Alptekin's group falls under the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, which is, indeed, linked to the Turkish government. Why does
Because critics say payments from foreign governments to Trump's companies violate the Constitution, specifically the Emolument's Clause. That's why
the Trump organization made this pledge back in January.
SHERI DILLON, ATTORNEY, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: President-Elect Trump has decided and we are announcing today that he is going to voluntarily donate
all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the United States Treasury.
ALESCI: Four months later, Trump board (ph) now says it's not practical to fully deliver on its promise. In fact, the company will not track
individual hotel guests or foreign government money that flows through an outside group.
BOOKBINDER: They're deciding who qualifies. They're deciding what's a profit. They're essentially saying, trust us, we've got this.
ALESCI: The Trump organization says, quote, "We take these matters seriously and are fully committed to complying with all of our legal and
ethical obligations." As for next year's U.S.-Turkey Relations Conference, it'll be at the Trump Hotel again.
And Alptekin denies it has anything to do with getting the president's attention.
ALPTEKIN: I personally think it's preposterous to think that you can curry (ph) favor by staying in this hotel.
ALESCI: Cristina Alesci, CNN, New York.
CURNOW: OK. And I just want to bring you up to date and (ph) some news coming into CNN. We're getting details of a memorial concert in Manchester
this Sunday, remembering the victims of the terror attack there. Ariana Grande will headline.
She will go back to Manchester. The bombing, of course, came at the close of her performance last week. A source tells other CNN other performers
include Katy Perry, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Williams.
Proceeds from this Sunday's concert will benefit the victims and their families. You're watching "Connect the World" with me, Robyn Curnow.
Up next, how an anti-terror commercial has gone viral in the Middle East with a powerful message. And also, Tiger Woods responds to news of his
arrest for driving under the influence.
The golf legend insists he wasn't drinking.
CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow. And a hard-hitting video encouraging Muslims to reject terror is being watched and shared by
millions of people in the Middle East. It depicts a would-be suicide bomber confronted by victims.
Kuwaiti telecom company, they launched it at the start of Ramadan and the holiest -- it is the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. It is 30 days
And there's a television (ph) Super Bowl for the region. T.V. audience is huge. Advertisers spend most of their budgets at this time. Take a look
CNN contributor, Dean Obeidallah, joins us now via Skype to discuss the impact and the reaction to this ad in the Middle East.
Powerful message and certainly being felt by three million people who watched it on YouTube so far. Dean (ph), what do you make of this message?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it is very, very powerful.
And as you mentioned, during Ramadan, so many people are staying home and watching T.V.
It's like the Super Bowl and the premier league championships all rolled into one for 30 days. You know, the question is will it be effective?
I'm not sure. But it sends a message for people watching it. It makes the point that 90 to 95 percent of the victims of ISIS and al Qaeda are
So they're the ones being slaughtered. So I think it's daring by this company to do this.
And I think it makes that point very powerfully that if you're a Muslim who is thinking about terrorism, the victims you're going to kill are almost
exclusively other Muslims especially we're in the Middle East.
I hope we can make a difference on issues. But I think it's a powerful message regardless.
CURNOW: It's certainly a powerful message. And the -- the question is how much of an impact it will make in the region.
I mean, that -- that is an open question. But certainly, an attempt is being made here to change minds.
OBEIDALLAH: Certainly. And I'm also -- I'm a big believer in using non- traditional ways to meet -- to reach people. If you have a typical speech or a serious lecture or a serious article on an issue, it reaches a certain
If you have a commercial like this that's going viral, it's showing up on people's Facebook feeds as I can see it now, I have so many friends in the
Middle East who are sharing it, you know, being tweeted out there. It's reaching people beyond like the normal base of people who might be taken --
they see a serious lecture on these kind of issues.
So I think for that, it's really remarkable. It can reach a lot of young people on social media who might be an alienated Muslim living somewhere,
who might see this and perhaps, you know, perhaps be moved. And that's the hope.
CURNOW: Yes, it is (ph), as -- as we say, the holy month of Ramadan, I mean, this is huge, Super Bowl time for television companies and
advertisers. So it's also important and strategic and it certainly amplifies this message that is taking place now.
OBEIDALLAH: It is. And if you think about it, this is a big corporation, you know, telecommunications company based in Kuwait doing a very daring
ad. This is extremely daring, to take on terrorism head on in this way.
I'm sure the internal debates there in that company were stunning what was going on. An American company can never confront something like this.
So I think for that, it's remarkable. People sit home during Ramadan, then they release (ph) a lot because they don't eat from sunrise to sunset,
watching T.V. or going out at night and seeing events, going together as a community and sitting around, though, and watching these events with their
family. Hopefully, it sparks a conversation with certain people.
We don't know who it's going to reach. But I think it has a potential to reach certain people and maybe has an impact.
CURNOW: Yes, as you say, a brave business decision certainly and a powerful message coming from a big company. But it was interesting, is
that this T.V. ad is not the only subject to address terror this Ramadan.
"Black Crows" is a major Arab television series that is dramatizing life and the ISIS. I want to show you a little bit of it. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pledge allegiance to the Caliph, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Caliph -- Caliph of the Muslim, through thick and thin and to give myself and everything I owe to the Islamic Caliphate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Dean, what do you make of that?
OBEIDALLAH: Well, again, I think this is a great way to use a non- traditional approach to reach people. During Ramadan, famous soap operas rolling out with beautiful people, not taking on such a difficult
And also, I've read about this before in the last couple of years. Comedians in the Middle East have been risking their lives to mock ISIS.
Kurdish comedians in Northern Iraq, in Lebanon, across the region in the UAE have been using comedy from YouTube to stand-up comedy to sketches to
make fun of ISIS and to raise your (ph) issues like this. So now, they're -- they're doing it much more through a company, organize its drama.
But you can -- you're reaching people during Ramadan. They're with their families. It's painting the picture of ISIS is a horrible, terrible bad
guy, which is important.
And don't get me wrong, in the Middle East, they know that. It's like my friends in the Middle East do not view ISIS as being connected to Islam at
all, while in America, we have that whole debate about is it sanctioned by Islam or not.
Over there, it's very clear to my fellow Muslims. ISIS is barbaric. They're slaughtering Muslims.
But again, I really applaud them for -- for this kind of daring way, the narrative being ISIS is terrible (ph), horrible. They're recruited a
terrible (ph) -- they're oppressing (ph) women.
Now, women are the heroes in this -- in this show. That's fabulous so.
CURNOW: Dean Obeidallah, thanks so much for your perspective. Great (ph).
OBEIDALLAH: Thank you.
CURNOW: So -- so what do you make of all of this? Let us know your thoughts and whether you're watching and sharing videos like that with your
friends. Go to facebook.com/cnnconnect.
Well, next up, Tiger Woods facing a charge of driving under the influence. He insists alcohol wasn't at play.
His explanation when "Connect the World" comes back.
CURNOW: You're watching CNN. And this is "Connect the World" with me, Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.
And we're getting new details about Tiger Woods' arrest on charges of driving under the influence. Police now say the golfer was found asleep at
the wheel and had to be awakened.
His speech was slurred. Woods is blaming prescription medication and insists alcohol was not involved.
Well, police arrested the golfer not far from him home in Florida. And he was released a few hours later.
CNN's Rosa Flores is in Jupiter, Florida. She joins me now with more on Tiger Woods.
And certainly, we've seen that mug shot. That in itself tells a thousand words. We're hearing about a new court date.
What else are we hearing from the police, this latest information?
FLORES: Well, court documents, Robyn, are really painting a clearer picture of what happened here. And according to these documents, Tiger
Woods was stopped on the side of the road.
His engine was running. The braker lights were on. The -- the flasher was on as well, the right blinker.
And once the police officer approached him, he realized that his seatbelt was still on and that he was fast asleep. Now, once that police officer
woke him up, that's when he realized that his speech was very slurred.
He was apparently very confused as well, telling the police officer that he was on -- on prescription medication. But then he also told the police
officer that he was coming from L.A., from golfing.
Now, we all know that he hasn't been golfing for a while. And so, of course, all of these things added up.
And the police officer did note that he did not smell of alcohol but he did ask for a breathalyzer test, which Tiger Woods agreed to. That test came
But he was still impaired. The police officer asked him to walk in a straight line, which he couldn't. He also asked him to stand on one leg,
which he had difficulty doing.
And of course, now we've learned that Tiger Woods' releasing a statement to media outlets. So CNN is still trying to get that (ph) statement.
But in the statement, he apologizes to his fans, to his family and says that he takes full responsibility of what happened, that alcohol is not
involved, that this was because of a prescription medication. And -- and of course, now, all of this is going to get ironed out in court.
His arraignment, Robyn, is set for July 5.
CURNOW: Yes, so a lot of this is going to come out in court. I mean, he wasn't driving. He was found asleep at the wheel on the side of the road,
didn't fail a breathalyzer test.
But there seems to be pills involved here. Either way, this is a fall from grace from an iconic golfing hero.
What does this mean legally, what next? And also, in terms of his sponsorships and stuff, there's already questions about that.
FLORES: You know, so all of this has to get ironed out in court. So he -- he gets arraigned, of course. But like you mentioned, this is just such a
dark shadow on his life yet again.
Now, most recently, of course, he hasn't been golfing since February. He's been recovering from four back surgeries.
He's been taking pain medication for sure. But he's also been blogging, Robyn, saying that he hasn't felt this good in years.
And so it's a bit confusing. We're hoping to learn a little more, perhaps, if -- if he speaks publicly about this so we can ask him questions because
one of the basic questions, of course, is if he has been recovering from four surgeries, wouldn't he know the mix of medications that he's taking
and the effect of those medications?
So why get behind the wheel? So there's so many questions, of course, that are still unanswered.
CURNOW: At 3:00 o'clock in the morning, as well. Thanks so much, the update there on Tiger woods. Rosa Flores, thank you.
So in today's parting shots, we say good bye to a broadcasting icon and a legend in the world of sports. Frank Deford delivered more than 1,600
sports broadcasts for NPR over a period of nearly 40 years.
He also wrote for "Sports Illustrated" for decades. He died over the weekend in Florida. NPR's president said the world of sports commentaries
will never be the same.
Recognition of his work went right to the top in 2013. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama for, quote,
"transforming how we think about sports." He was 78.
I'm Robyn Curnow. That was "Connect the World." Thank you so much for watching.