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Deal or No Deal: British Prime Minister Scrambles To Form Coalition; Insider Attack in Afghanistan Leaves Multiple U.S. Service Members Dead; Jeff Sessions Possible Connections to Comey Firing; Qatari Row Splitting Families Apart. 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired June 11, 2017 - 11:00:00   ET


Jomana Karadsheh, Dian Gallagher>

[11:00:09] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, HOST: Deal or no deal: the British prime minister scrambles to keep her party in power as pressure grows from all

sides. hello and welcome to "connect the world."

Hello, and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Hannah Vaugahn Jones live in London.

Also ahead on the program, a gulf in more ways than one: the diplomatic crisis in the Middle East shows little sign of easing up. We are live in

Doha with the very latest.

And we get reaction from the United States, which appears to be sending mixed messages to the region.

A British prime minister once said next to the assumption of power is the responsibility of relinquishing it. It was Benjamin Disraeli who spoke

those words, but nearly 150 years since he took office, his message may be relevant today.

From every color in the political spectrum, there are calls for Theresa May to step down. But despite Thursday's electoral blow, the prime minister

here in Britain is still clinging to power.

Mrs. May hasn't yet struck a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party despite indications a preliminary agreement had, indeed,

been reached.

The unlikely alliance is already controversial given the DUP's traditionally hardline views. But after losing her party's majority in

parliament, Mrs. May has been left short of options. Another setback, two of her top aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, announce their resignations

on Saturday.

Even with an alliance with the DUP, could a Conservative minority government actually work? Britain's defense secretary is optimistic. The

opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn sees yet another return to the polls.


JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I think it's quite possible and quite possible there will be an election later this year or early next year. And

that might be a good thing, because we cannot go on with a period of great instability. We have a program. We have support. And we are ready to

fight another election campaign as soon as may be, because we want to be able to serve the people of this country.

MICHAEL FALLON, BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY ; We're not in government with the DUP. We're not in coalition with the DUP. They're going to support

us, as I said, on the crucial, economic and security issues that face this country. We do not agree, and we do not have to agree with any of their

views on some of these social issues, and I certainly don't.


JONES: Our Isa Soares has the latest for us now from outside 10 Downing Street.

And Isa, some of the headlines that the prime minister would have woken up to this morning, Premiership in peril, a political breakdown. Theresa May

is fast running out of friends and seemingly running out of time now to get a grip on this situation.

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. If you look at those headlines, Hannah, you see really what must be feeling immense amount of

pressure. She is really hanging in by a thread. Although, being here, you probably wouldn't get it, because she's almost treating today, this

afternoon, as business as usual. You probably can hear the helicopter - helicopters whirring just before us. And we are being - I've seen more

than 5 MPs just go into Number 10, because because Theresa May is reshuffling her cabinet.

So, although she is treating this as business as usual, the majority of people believe that she is

really failing in many ways, and struggling to keep her post as prime minister.

I can tell you that Liz Trust, the Justice Secretary, has gone in. Deming Green (ph) has gone in, and he's out with what seems of a bit of a

promotion as a first secretary of state. We know David Gauke has gone in and Liam Fox, international trade secretary.

And in the last 30 seconds or so before you came to me, we've seen that Justin Greening has gone in as well. That's the education secretary.

They'll be finding out whether they're keeping their positions or they're losing them.

We already know that Theresa May is keeping five of her key positions, Hannah. And those are Philip Hammond, who we've been speaking - been

hearing from in the early hours of this morning in breakfast TV, also Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who many people

consider to be circling as the next P.M. Have a look, where another member of another MP is going in now to hear what his position will be in the

hours and days ahead.

We also know the Secretary of State for exiting the EU, David Davis has gone in. So, we're awaiting word on the remainder of the MPs, but there

will be so much speculation today. We're hearing reports, and these are just reports of a stage, Hannah, that Michael Grove might be coming back as

deputy prime minister and the idea here is that perhaps they'll try to reunite this kind of hard Brexiteers and the softer parts of the party.

But make no qualms about it, she is under intense pressure with one former treasury secretary saying that she's hanging in by a thread.

He said (inaudible) that she's a dead woman walking. Take a listen to what he said, George Osbourne, to Fareed Zakaria.


GEORGE OSBOURNE, FRM. TREASURY SECRETARY: What I think this really means unstable government, unfortunately, it probably mean the end of Mrs. May as

the Conservative Party prime minister, although that won't necessarily happen immediately, and it will mean a lot of hard thinking in the

Conservative Party about how to recover all this lost ground.


SOARES: And so you're hearing very tough words. As you talk, we've got a lot - several MPs already leaving their positions, having heard from

whether they're keeping their posts or not.

But you've just heard there, Hannah, from George Osbourne. And this is the sort of pressure that she's, indeed, facing, not just from the Conservative

Party, because there are already rumors that already some within the Conservative Party are eyeing up potential future

prime ministers and head of the conservative. One of those is Boris Johnson, although he is trying to keep the support for her, but also from

the opposition. Jeremy Corbyn said he's fighting on. He still thinks he can be prime minister and says that she is weak. So, he's getting their -

getting his ducks in a row should she fail to perform a minority government. And, of course, we shouldn't forget facing pressure from the

British people who want to see what she comes out with with this deal DUP as well as Brexit talks as we know due to start - Hannah.

VAUGHAN: Extraordinary turn of events, and pace of events as well since last Friday. Of course, there was the humiliation of the defeat, if you

like, or the loss of a majority for Theresa May and then we've had this embarrassing misstep on whether a deal has actually been done yet with the

DUP in Northern Ireland, many people now saying it's not a question of if, but when she goes.

SOARES: It is. And what happened overnight, Hannah, has been quite humiliating and quite

embarrassing, of course, for the prime minister, because overnight we heard from 10 Downing Street that they had reached a principles of an agreement

with the DUP, to which the DUP basically said, and I'm quoting them, they were surprised as anyone by the announcements, those were their words.

And then 10 Downing Street had to actually claw back some of their - what they said, issuing yet another statement saying that just negotiations are

still ongoing. So, it looks extremely humiliating and embarrassing for the prime minister, but we know the DUP's Arlene Foster is expected to meet the

prime minister here on Tuesday, and we are waiting exactly to hear on what that kind of announcement will be. We know it's a confidence supply. But

what is the DUP asking in return?

Immense amount of pressure on the prime minister, many thinking that it's not a question of when - whether she'll stay, but how long she can hold on

for - Hannah.

JONES: The news, things happening, very, very quickly around you. Isa Suares is live for us on Downing Street with this cabinet being formed

right behind you. Thank you, Isa.

Do stay with us here on Connect the World. Later this hour, we will be going live to Northern Ireland where the DUP, the Democratic Unionist

Party, could be about to play kingmaker.

Plenty more later in the hour.

Now, a London-bound airliner made an emergency stop in Germany after three passengers were allegedly having a terrorism-related conversation. The

three men, all British citizens, were taken into custody on suspicion of crimes against the state. The plane was evacuated and searched for

explosives, but none were found.

Russia is urging Gulf states to open talks if they want to untangle the region's worst diplomatic crisis in decades. On Saturday, foreign

ministers from Moscow and Doha met to discuss the situation in Qatar. Nine countries have now accused the tiny state of supporting terrorism and

they've cut all ties.

Well, Qatar for its part denies the allegations. At the meeting, the Qatari foreign minister praised Russia for its friendship and echoed its

calls for open talks.

Well, as Moscow calls for these talks, Washington has been sending somewhat mixed messages. Let's get straight to the point now with our Jomana

Karadsheh who is in the Qatari capital of Doha.

And, Jomana, Russia seemingly trying to play the mediator through this row, perhaps stepping into a vacuum that's been left by the chaotic situation in

Washington right now.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hannah, that would certainly be a concern for some U.S. officials who would be concerned about

this inconsistency in the U.S.'s position, the mixed messages. And President Trump seemingly taking sides in this

conflict. They would be worried that this would push this key U.S. ally, the U.S. military's ally, in the region closer to countries like Russia and

Iran, for example.

As you mentioned, we did see this weekend a visit by the Qatari foreign minister to Moscow meeting with his Russian counterpart, this coming after

we have heard Russia offering to mediate. But the message from the Gulf, from Kuwait, that is leading the mediation effort and from Doha is that

they want to try and resolve this amongst themselves within the GCC countries at this point, Hannah.

JONES: And Jomana, we are just learning that Iran has said that it will be sending food aid to

Qatar. Of course, in all of this with the diplomatic wranglings going on, it is ordinary citizens who are the worst caught up in these sorts of


KARADSHEH: And we've heard this, Hannah, from Amnesty International releasing a report saying that this political crisis is impacting people,

impacting people's lives, so many families that are threatened with being torn apart by this crisis. And we met one of those

families here in Doha.


KARADSHEH: The holy month of Ramadan is a time when extended families meet and enjoy generations' old traditions. But the political crisis in the

Gulf is threatening to tear this family apart. Doctor Walaa al Yazeedi is a Qatari single mother. Her children are Bahraini citizens. In Gulf

countries, children take the citizenship of their father, and when Bahrain, along with other countries, sever ties with Qatar this month, it ordered

its nationals to leave Qatar immediately.

WALAA AL YAZEEDI, QATARI CITIZEN: I am in a risk of losing my children, what I believe it's my dream of my life to raise them around me and to for

them to get married from around me and to be happy all the day. Now I may lose my children any minute.

KARADSHEH: The situation is uncertain, but they believe that if they defy this order, her al Yazeedi's children would lose their Bahraini passports,

leaving them stateless.

ALANOOD ALJALAHMA, QATARI RESIDENT: My mom raised us by herself. It's tough, especially because she's a single mother, but that made us closer.

And now after 21 years to decide us to pull us apart based on the passport that we have, I mean, families are beyond passports. It makes no sense to

separate them based on what your passport. In the end we're all humans, aren't we?

RASHED ALJALAHMA, QATARI RESIDENT: I've been raised all my life in Qatar. I've lived with my mother. I've gone to Bahrain four times, and it was

just to visit family. And now I don't have any family that's worth visiting in Bahrain. I wouldn't classify myself as a Bahraini, because,

you know, there is an English saying it says your home is where your heart is and my heart is in this place.

KARADSHEH: For Rashed, who is an aeronautical engineer, and Alanood, who is studying medicine at a branch of an Ivy League university in Doha, this

is not just about being separated from their mother.

ALJALAHMA: My point right now is my education to further develop myself and it's only that, and that's what's really important to me. And this

country has given me everything to do that, and then they say go back to the country that holds your 48 pages of a document, it's absurd.

KARADSHEH: According to Qatari government figures, nearly 6,500 Qatari citizens are married to Emiratis, Saudis, or Bahrainis.

ALANOOD ALJALAHMA: It's not right. I mean, children should never be separated from their parents, especially by force. I don't understand it.

I mean, especially with, like, a region that has multiple families from different countries. It makes no sense.

YAZEEDI: I never think that it would happen in our country and in the Gulf region. By who? By countries where there are as brothers and sisters and

neighbors where they live all their life with us. Why?

KARADSHEH: No one knows how or when this crisis will end, leaving thousands of families like this one living in limbo.


KARADSHEH: And Hannah, today we've heard from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all releasing what seem to be coordinated statements saying that

they will take the plight of these families into consideration and even saying that they will set up hotlines to deal with this issue.

JONES: OK. OK, Jomana live for us in the Qatari capital of Doha. Thank you.

Let's get you up to speed now on some other stories that are on our radar for the program. Iran says the mastermind behind the Tehran terror attacks

is dead. A top official says the terrorist fled the country and was killed with the help of foreign intelligence services. ISIS has claimed

responsibility for the attacks that killed at least 17 people on Wednesday.

Israel's prime minister is calling on the United Nations to close its relief and works agency for Palestinian refugees. Benjamin Netanyahu

accuses the agency of incitement against Israel and says it's perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem rather than solving it.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of the late Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, is free after six years in captivity. The militia that's been holding him

says he was released under a general amnesty, but he is still wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

OK. Still to come on the program this evening, pressure from all sides as Theresa May desperately works to pull together a new government. We'll be

live in Northern Ireland, which could prove to be her unlikely and controversial savior.


JONES: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Hannah Vaughn Jones live for you in London.

We return now to the diplomatic crisis in Qatar, Gulf nation has been a longstanding ally to the United States, especially in the fight against

ISIS, but Washington's position in all of this controversy is not clear.

On Friday, President Donald Trump urged Qatar to stop funding terrorism while his Secretary of

State Rex Tillerson warned about the diplomatic isolation of Qatar. Take a listen.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The blockade is also impairing U.S. and other international business activities in the region. It has

created a hardship on the people of Qatar and the people whose lives depend on the commerce with Qatar. The blockade is hindering U.S. military

actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding. They have to end its funding. They have to end

that funding and its extremist ideology in terms of funding. I want to call on all of the nations to stop immediately supporting terrorism.


JONES: Well, in spite of what you just heard, the White House insists that the president and the

secretary of state are indeed on the same page when it comes to Qatar and the Gulf policy.

Well, let's bring in our global affairs analyst David Rohde who joins me now live from New York. David, good to have you on the program. Let's

talk about these mixed messages coming from the White House. It seems a confused rhetoric, but is there a coherent policy, at least, when it comes

to the U.S. and Qatar?

What are America's interests as far as Qatar is concerned?

I think the general issue of pressuring countries in the Gulf to not fund ISIS and other extremist groups is a good policy and that should be the

approach. The question is how you do it. At best, to be fair, the Trump administration, and this is an intentional effort with a sort of a good cop

you know, role being played by Secretary of State Tillerson in a bad cop role being played by President Trump.

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: But my concern is there is a deeper problem in the Trump White House that sort of National Security

Council process where different views from the State Department or the White House and Defense Department are supposed to all be aired privately

and a joint strategy is supposed to be developed and a joint public message is supposed to be developed, that process doesn't seem to be working.

[11:2020] JONES: Yeah, but there could be to give them some credit, that could be a deliberate policy coming from the White House that was perhaps

initiated around the time of Donald Trump's visit to the Middle East last month and perhaps this blockade, this alienation of Qatar has a direct

consequence of Donald Trump's policy and his visit there.

ROHDE: It's possible. The concern, though, is that he's sort of buying frankly a Saudi line. There's been less of a problem of funding of

extremism from Saudi Arabia, but there is funding coming from Saudi Arabia. There's funding coming from the Emirates. There's a large amount of

funding coming from Kuwait.

So this picture, and it's very much the Saudi narrative, the one that Saudis want Trump to

believe and want the world to hear, is that the problem is Qatar and no one else and that's frankly, not true, and there's - you konw, this is also the

product of this long-running issue where the Saudi government and the Egyptian government has been upset at Qatar for its perceived support of

the Muslim Brotherhood and the al Jazeera station as well that that's very much seen as a threat to the Saudis continuing to rule their own country,

to President Sisi ruling Egypt.

So, there's an underlying political hopefully President Trump is aware of that, but that's driving this, as well.

JONES: Do you think that President Trump expected the level of blockade that we've seen. these nine countries, all isolating Qatar. We've seen

land borders closed off as well, and Qatar is something like 90 percent reliant on food imports. We could see,

therefore, a humanitarian crisis unfolding as a result of this.

ROHDE: You can. And, you know, I saw the piece earlier with the families that are divided. It's a very aggressive stance. Again, the fact that

Trump takes credit for it and praises it just emboldens the Saudis to do more extreme things. We've seen how the Saudi intervention in Yemen has

gone, hundreds of civilians have died in Saudi bomb attacks.

So, this is the Trump approach. It's tough. It's hard lined. Will it work? And again, is it clearly thought out as, you know, Secretary of

State Tillerson said himself this is inhibiting U.S. military operations, this large U.S. air base in Qatar is important for the U.S. campaigning

against the Islamic State. Again, maybe they thought this through and they have decided to take the risk in the White House that this will inhibit

U.S. military operations and I'm concerned that they didn't think it through and again that this whole policy process is not working as

effectively as it should.

JONES: We had to mention Russia, as well, Moscow trying to play the mediator role, if you like, with the Qataris at the moment.

How significant is the Kremlin's role in trying to mediate this diplomatic row and perhaps then alienating Washington as a main player in the whole


ROHDE: I just think it's the latest example of very savvy Russian efforts to sort of project influence into the Middle East. They've done that, you

know, very dramatically in Syria. Iran was really the critical backer of the Assad regime in Syria, but Russia has got a lot of credit for coming

in and acting forcefully there.

So, with a posture from the Trump White House of never criticizing Russia and seeing them as a

potential ally I think it's a win-win for the Russians to try to mediate in this situation to gain influence in the Gulf. And it doesn't seem like

they'll get much pressure from the Trump White House if they do this.

JONES: OK. Always good to get your analysis. David Rhode, we appreciate it. David is live in New York for us. Thank you.

ROHDE: thanks.

JONES: The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on U.S. soldiers. It happened in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday.

CNN's Diane Gallagher has more on what was apparently an insider attack.


DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Afghan Taliban is claiming responsibility for this attack, but there's no independent confirmation as

of yet. Now, it is important to note that this area where this happened is an ISIS stronghold. The Pentagon said that three U.S. soldiers was killed,

one was injured. That injured soldier has been evacuated for medical care.

Now, one U.S. official said that a member of an Afghan security forces opened fire on the soldiers during a joint U.S.-Afghan operation. Vice

President Mike Pence speaking in Wisconsin Saturday asked people to pray for the families of the soldiers who were killed.

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: On my way here I was informed that U.S. service members were killed and wounded in an attack in Afghanistan. The

president and I have been briefed. The details of this attack will be forthcoming. But suffice it to say when heroes fall, Americans grieve, and

our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these American heroes.

[11:25:03] GALLAGHER: Now this happened in the Achen (ph) district, it's an ISIS stronghold near the border of Pakistan and it's where the U.S. and

Afghan troops have been carrying out a months long offensive against the terror group's local affiliate ISIS K.

It is also where the U.S. dropped what is known as the Mother of all Bombs back in April. Now, during that same month, three U.S. soldiers were

killed in two different incidents there. Two Army Rangers killed during a U.S.-Afghan forces joint raid and earlier that month an army special forces

soldier was killed fighting ISIS K.

U.S. officials believe that ISIS has somewhere between 600 and 800 fighters in Afghanistan, about 8,400 U.S. troops are there now.

Diane Gallagher, CNN, Washington.


JONES: Diane, thanks very much, indeed. The latest world news headlines are just ahead on Connect the World.

Plus, he is America's top law enforcement official. Now Jeff Sessions may be about to talk talk about Russia. More on his upcoming Senate appearance

just ahead.



[11:30:03] JONES: More now on our top story.

Deal or no deal? Will the British prime minister be able to reach an agreement with the DUP in Northern Ireland to support her party in

parliament? This, of course, following Thursday's disastrous election result for Theresa May.

Well, our Nic Robertson is in Belfast with more on this now.

Nic, the problem for Theresa May is that any deal with the Democratic Unionist Party there not only impacts Westminster, it impacts Stormont

behind you and also, it impacts miles away in Brussels.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are huge ramifications here. And one of them is is, as you say, south of the border

for the Irish Republic. Brexit would be part of that.

And the concerns obviously of the Irish prime minister expressed today to Theresa May. They had a phone call today. Theresa May was explaining to

him how her arrangement with the DUP would work and he expressed his concern about the good Friday agreement, the peace agreement put in place

here about 20 years ago that any deal between the conservatives and the DUP could sort of threaten that delicate balance. The DUP here seen by many as

not sort of natural, you know, bedfellows in many respects with the Conservative Party, yes on some issues -- strong sense of the Union, strong

sense of Britishness, but in some ways the Democratic Unionist Party here, their views on some social issues are more conservative. So problems

ahead, potentially.


ROBERTSON: Elections barely over, the DUP or Democratic Unionist Party, Northern Ireland's most powerful protestant party, is already in talks with

Theresa May's conservatives.

This is DUP heartland territory and the writing on the wall sums up the thinking, the oldster (ph) Northern Ireland conflict is about nationality:

this we shall maintain. They are proud to be British, the Union Jack at the center there, fiercely loyal to the crown, and they're ready to fight

for it.

Not all unionists are as strident as the murals paint.

MERVYN GIBSON, FRM. DUP NEGOTIATOR: Here people wanted to vote Unionist.

ROBERTSON: Reverend Mervyn Gibson is a moderate Unionist, knows DUP policy well, sees the May alliance as good for his community.

GIBSON: I think it's very simple, that both parties are committed to the United Kingdom and I

think any cooperation between them will be good for the United Kingdom.

ROBERTSON: Across town in the Catholic or Nationalist community that aspires to Irish unity, the expectation, the DUP, are a political outlier

that will cause May problems.

GIBSON: They're against an Irish Language Act. They're against marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.

ROBERTSON: In this city, miles of peaceful divide protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists. Three decades of sectarian conflict ended 20 years

ago. Still, distrust runs deep.

And where that trust is bridged at Northern Ireland's power sharing government Stormont, suspended earlier this year, the impact of Theresa

May's DUP agreement could hit hardest. The power-sharing government here collapsed amid acrimony over hundreds of millions of dollars committed to a

green energy scheme managed by the DUP, and claims by Sinn Fein of inequality in here.

Negotiations to restart need May's neutral mediation and now she'll be perceived as deeply in

the DUP corner.

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN: We have never seen the British government as being neutral or being impartial or being a referee who sometimes they represent

themselves as carrying the white man's burden, you know. They are players.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The unionist parties are committed to seeing the assembly back up and running. I think there are other parties who want to

play politics, particularly Sinn Fein.

ROBERTSON: Far from securing a strong future, Prime Minister May's reliance on the DUP

could be saddling her with yet more problems: Northern Ireland's uneasy peace.


ROBERTSON: So, the next round of talks to get that Stormont power-sharing government up

and running are tomorrow morning, Monday morning. There is a deadline in about two weeks in principal for them to reach agreement. You'll have

there as well not just the political parties that are represented in Northern Ireland, but you'll have the British secretary of

state for Northern Ireland and the foreign minister from the Irish Republic there, as well. So that those talks, that imperative, gets under way early


[11:35:05] JONES: It's not just the DUP that could be playing a major role in what goes on in Westminster is it, Nic. We heard in your report there,

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams speaking. And if Sinn Fein took their seats in Westminster, which they don't traditionally do, that that could then give

Labour the opportunity to try and form a minority government and push the Torries out altogether.

ROBERTSON: Sure. It's something that they say they're never going to do, although there is a lot of sympathy toward Gerry Adams yesterday, clearly

sympathy for the way that Jeremy Corbyn has been treated, but no inclination on his part. I mean, the whole strategic ethos of Sinn Fein is

focused on uniting Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. So it would be an anathema for them to put their

politicians into Westminster, always has been. But as you say, that could be very timely.

But it was interesting today that the Irish prime minister, the as you say, that could be very

timely, but it was interesting today that the Irish Prime Minister, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, when speaking to Theresa May noted that there was no

longer any nationalist politicians in Westminster. Why did he say that? Because Sinn Fein won all of the sort of, quote, unquote, nationalist seats

here. They got seven MPs that could go to Westminster. That's up on four last time. They had five in the elections before that, but what that's

done is take away any representation for the nationalist community, the SDLP, if you would, a moderate nationalist here. They did take their seats

in Westminster. So that voice as the Irish prime minister noted, is gone. So not just as a voting element,

but as a representation for part of the community in Northern Ireland gone from Westminster.

And it really just, if you will, exemplifies the polarity and the polarizing nature of what's happened to the politics over the last 20 years

since that Goodf Fiday agreement. You have pretty much all the votes now falling either with the DUP or Sinn Fein, and that is very much polarized


JONES: Nic, thanks so much. Nic Robertson is there live for us outside Belfast city hall, not outside the Stormont assembly as I mentioned before,

but great to get your analysis. As always, Nic, thank you.

Well, in the meantime it looks like it's going to be another big week in Washington. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he'll testify before

the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday. The committee is investigating contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sessions

himself could also be asked about his role in the firing of former FBI Chief James Comey who, of course, appeared before the panel just last week.

For more on this, let's go straight to the U.S. capital. Ryan Nobles is standing by for us. Ryan, good to see you. And let's talk about the Comey

effect to start off with. Jeff Sessions was not supposed to have any role, of course, in his firing because he recused himself from any of the Russia

investigations. Do you think that is going to be the main line of questioning come Tuesday?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think that is going to be certainly one of the big things that senators are interested in, but they're also going

to be interested in whether or not he had a third undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. This is something that CNN reported

that was picked up on intercepts between Russian officials that perhaps this meeting took place on the date of President Trump's first major

foreign policy speech.

This is something the Justice Department has repeatedly said never happened, but it's a question that Jeff Sessions himself has never answered

and when he appears in front of this committee he's going to have to do so under oath.

So Hannah, you're right, they are going to be very interested in the very specific role that Jeff Sessions played and James Comey's firing especially

because it happened after he recused himself from anything that related to Russia and I guess this tracks back to the

question as to why James Comey was fired. Was it because of Russia or was it because of other reasons

President Trump had a variety of answers to that question.

JONES: He certainly has. And President Trump himself said that he will now testify under

oath. So when could that happen? Does that all depend on the existence, or otherwise, of any recordings, any tapes of his conversations with Mr.


NOBLES: Hannah, it shouldn't, right? Because the president is the only one who knows whether or not these tapes exist, and he has already said

that he is willing to testify under oath. He said 100 percent. So if the tapes exist or not, the president is the only one who has that information

and he said he'd be willing to, regardless.

The White House has a deadline now less than two weeks to explain whether or not those tapes exist. The big question is what forum could the

president testify under? Many in congress are uncomfortable with that, the idea of him testifying in front of an open hearing. They don't

necessarily think that's the best place for a president to go. Would it be in a private room with the special counsel Robert Mueller?

No one knows the parameters by which this would happen. And you can bet even though the

president promised it, that maybe his lawyers are less than enthusiastic about this happening. So if it happens, Hannah, it's probably going to be

a long time from today.

JONES: He's going to keep us all on tender hooks until then. Ryan Nobles, thank you.

NOBLES: Thank you.

[11:40:04] JONES: And we have much more on the political challenges facing President Trump on our website. And we will look at the tensions between

Mr. Trump and the man who held the job before him. Now U.S. presidents usually form a sort of club, but that's certainly not the case now.

Relations between Donald Trump and Barack Obama began cordially enough, but they've gone steadily downhill. And we'll take a look at why. You can

find that and much, much more at

And in tonight's Parting Shots, President Trump has yet to say, as we were just hearing from

Ryan, whether the Oval Office tapes exist of his conversations with the former FBI Director James Comey. Should we take him at his word? He says

we should all the time with two of his favorite words "believe me." And as Jeanne Moos reports, people are counting.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who says President Trump isn't a man of deep beliefs?


MOOS: He was deep in "Believe mes."

TRUMP: Believe me, we've just begun.

MOOS: Dropping five of them --

TRUMP: Believe me.

MOOS: -- as he announced the U.S. would drop out --

TRUMP: Believe me.

MOOS: -- of the Paris Climatic Accord.

TRUMP: Believe me, this is not what we need.

MOOS: But what is five in one speech?

TRUMP: Because, believe me, there is no collusion.

MOOS: When he has been a believer at the rate of two in under 10 seconds.

TRUMP: My total priority, believe me, is the United States of America.

MOOS (on camera): What is Trump's usage compared to other people?

TYRUS SNEVELYN (ph), LINGUIST: Trump's usage is off the charts.

MOOS (voice-over): Linguist Tyrus Snevelyn (ph) actually has made charts of Trump's usage.

TRUMP: Believe me.

Believe me.

Believe me.

Believe me.

Believe me.

Believe me.

Believe me, I know.

MOOS: The linguist tallied Trump at 580 occurrences per million words vs. immediately six for Hillary Clinton.

(on camera): You know, it seems to me it's a time killer or a time filler to collect your thoughts.

SNEVELYN (ph): You're emphasizing something that will let you play for time.

MOOS (voice-over): John Stewart has another theory.

JON STEWART, FORMER HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: Nobody says "believe me" unless they are not.


MOOS: The addition to saying --

TRUMP: Believe me.

MOOS: -- is ironic for some that's often described --

TRUMP: Thousands and thousands of people were cheering.

MOOS: -- as having his pants on having on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 2015 Politifact lie of the year goes to the collective misstatements of Donald Trump.

SNEVELYN (ph): I've got lots of friends tells me that their parents explicitly, don't believe anyone of says "believe me." But that doesn't

seem to be the case that this is just an easy marker of lying.

TRUMP: Nobody builds walls better than me. Believe me.

MOOS (voice-over): And you, personally, you don't say, oh, here comes a lie when he says, "believe me?"

SNEVELYN (ph): No, I don't.

TRUMP: We're going to knock the hell out of ISIS, believe me.


SNEVELYN (ph): He' is really actually most comfortable when he uses it.

MOOS: You better believe it.

Jeanne Moos, CNN

TRUMP: Believe, believe, believe, believe, believe, believe.

Can you believe it?

MOOS: New York.


JONES: I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, and believe me that was Connect the World. Thanks so much for watching.