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CONNECT THE WORLD

Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Detained; Theresa May Scrambles to Save Conservative Government; Interview with CEO of Qatar Airways. 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired June 12, 2017 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:25] ROBYN CURNOW, HOST: A battle royale in Westminster as Theresa May fights for her survival. There are reports the queen's speech

unveiling the government priorities could be delayed.

Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

Also ahead, adding fuel to the fire, the CEO of Qatar Airways speaks with CNN about the Gulf diplomatic crisis and points the finger firmly at the

U.S. And he's not the only one targeting Donald Trump. The U.S. president made an unwitting appearance at the Tony Awards. That and more on

Broadway's big winners coming up.

In just one hour from now, there will be a key meeting and a possible showdown between the

embattled British prime minister and conservative MPs. Theresa May is fighting for political survival against members of her own party and she's

surely keeping an eye also on Northern Ireland where a small party called the Democratic Unionists essentially controls her fate. The conservatives

need their support for a governing majority.

Now, there's just so much confusion that it could delay the queen's speech, which is when the government has the queen lay out everything they want to

get done in the year ahead.

So, even while scrambling to work all of this out, the prime minister is putting on a brave

face. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLPI)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There is a job to be done, and I think what the public want is to ensure that the government is getting on

with that job. I've pointed cabinet members - ministers today. I'll be meeting with my cabinet tomorrow.

On Tuesday, I'll be going to France for meetings with President Macron. These are important in getting on our preparations for the Brexit

negotiations, but also dealing with the challenges that people see in their everyday lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Theresa May there.

Well, at Downing Street Melissa Bell is standing by. And also keeping an eye on these big meetings that have been taking place throughout the day

there, she's putting on a brave face.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very much a brave face and this message she's getting on with the job, but clearly there is so much on

Theresa May's plate, not least convincing the rest of her party that she should be allowed to stay on as its leader. Even now at the cabinet

meeting for the first time since that disastrous election with Ruth Davidson present, who is leader of the Scottish Conservatives, and a woman

who has a newfound importance within the Conservative Party, bringing 12 MPs to Theresa May's attempts to cobble together a working government.

Now, of course, much will depend on those ongoing talks, as you mentioned, with the DUP. And Arlene Foster, the party's leader, here in Downing

Street tomorrow, no doubt we'll find out more about that.

Really, two things hang in the balance. First of all, what will go into the queen's speech, which as you suggested looks as though it's likely to

be delayed beyond next Monday, but also the government's approach to Brexit. And it's looking increasingly unlikely that the hard Brexit that

Theresa May had not only favored, but been seeking to prop up by calling this election, looks like it's a thing of the past.

There's little likelihood it can go ahead, not only because people like Ruth Davidson, another of the cabinet members that have appointed by

Theresa May oppose it, but also because the leader of the DUP is also in favor of a sotf Brexit.

So, it is really a political landscape that is entirely redrawn by this election result. The thing that is no doubt keeping Theresa May in power

is the fact that the last thing that conservatives want is another election. As you said, beyond this meeting here today, she's going to meet

later with the 1922 back bench committee, that conservative committee which is incredibly important and feeding up to Theresa May how the grass roots

within the party are feeling. Graham Brady, its chairman, has said there is zero appetite in the wider public for another election.

What is certain is that within conservative ranks there is, of course, zero appetite for that as well.

Here's what Boris Johnson had to says yesterday as speculation mounted about his potential as a leadership challenger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I genuinely think the people of this country, this is the third year running that we have to be demanding

the polls. We have asked them to vote on a general election, then a referendum, then another general election. I think they've had enough of

this stuff. I think what they want is politicians to get on, deliver Brexit, and deliver on their priorities, and Theresa May is by far the best

person, the best placed person to deliver that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:05:04] BELL: Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary there who has been reappointed to that job speaking yesterday to Sky News even as that fevered

speculation is going on about his potential as a leadership challenger, a man who might take over from Theresa May, but clearly it is in his interest

and it is in the interest of the entire Conservative Party that that crucial deal with the DUP is hammered out and a minority government is

formed and fast, Robyn.

CURNOW: You talk about a changing political landscape, all self-made. This crisis has made many within the Conservative Party angry, because they

felt this was an election that wasn't needed. So, what we're seeing here is a prime minister who is in office, but not in power. How does she

consolidate? How does she strengthen herself in the hours and days ahead?

BELL: That is a crucial question. And I think acting with some speed is going to be a key answer to that. I mean, really, the priority is going

to be hammering out this deal with the DUP since much of what is agreed with them, what many of the concessions that will obtained by (inaudible)

will be key to determining what goes into the queen's speech, hence this likely delay that we've been hearing about.

And she really needs to convince her own party that she can, despite being as damaged as she is, go onto form this minority government and that she

can continue to function as a prime minister. Tomorrow she'll be meeting with President Macron, very much trying to hammer home that message that

although she is damaged, although she is weakened, she is still capable of functioning as Britain's prime minister.

CURNOW: Thanks so much Melissa Bell there outside 10 Downing Street where it is all happening today.

But let's go to our Nic Roertson who is standing by in Belfast in Northern Ireland. And Nic, you've certainly been keeping an eye on the political

temperature there. And this sort of very uneasy alliance. What's the reaction where you are?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just heard in the last few minutes from Arelene Foster, the head of the DUP, she was asked

several questions about the talks she's having with Theresa May. She was asked sort of broadly how they were going. She said that they were going

well. She's looking forward to going to London later this evening, looking forward to having the talks tomorrow. That was really a recap of her

position over the weekend.

Of course, there was one round of talks with one of Theresa May's top officials over the

weekend. But she was also asked a very specific question going back to the party, the DUP party's position back in 2015 when we were expecting then

that they may be in a similar position they are today. Of course, it didn't pass then.

And some of the things that they'd outlined back then that they would want as to get their votes, some of the things that they would want, which was

to do with some of the parades here, which can become, some of them, many thousands but some of them can become quite contentious, but these issues

that are quite important to the DUP, she was asked about that, asked about a number of other

things, and she said very clearly, look, I'm not going to negotiate this over the air waves.

And what - the the message that emerges from the DUP is that they're going to have those talks. And they're very clear that they say that they're

going to be better for the United Kingdom. But they're not going to, and they've been very careful to sort of, if you will, silence the rest of

their MPs at the moment - they're all sort of on - instructions not to speak with journalists - to keep whatever deal it is

they're working out, to keep that very quiet. They don't want it leaking out.

But, of course, it is the very fact that they're talking to Theresa May, the very fact that there's a perception that they'll have an increased sort

of voice in Westminster is causing concern here.

And you talked about the temperature there. And I would say listening to Arelene Foster and Nigel Dodd (ph) her deputy, standing at her side,

talking about, you know, what's at stake here for the talks at the moment to get the Northern Ireland's devolved government back up and running, the

power-sharing government here, it's clear on that there's no deal about to be struck today, the parties are as ideologically as far away as they ever

were, and certainly for finding compromises to get into talk, to get those - the power sharing government back up and running, that's not looking

likely, and it's not in the next few days.

CURNOW: OK, so that's the domestic politics, which could be inflamed somewhat by whatever deal is made with Westminster. That deal is being

cobbled out, unknown yet what concessions, perhaps, Theresa May will give.

But broadly, also, there's the issue of Brexit, the DUP is pro-Brexit. What kind of influence will they have on that, on Brexit?

ROBERTSON: Well, that's something that's been watched very closely by the Irish government, of course. And the Irish foreign minister, the

(inaudible) is here today meeting with their parties here as - and as his role to get those talks up and running. And he was talking about that

issue of Brexit today both Unionists here, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Fein as well, the Irish government, don't want a hard Brexit. They want

one that allows business to be - to continue as it does across the border.

You have situations where farmers are setting cattle across the border. They're buying feed from across the other side of the border. It's an open

border. And there is a concern for both Unionists, the Democratic Unionist Party and others, that a hard Brexit would damage that.

But of course the big differences here are the Democratic Unionist Party, for them, security and a sure border and no tendency to drift toward a

united island, which is what Sinn Fein wants, that's the big issue. So, there are fundamental differences, the business is one part of it, but

they're fundamental differences over the way they see the future of the border, and that relationship shaping.

[11:10:51] CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much for all of that from Belfast. Nic Robertson, appreciate it. Well, the clock is ticking. In just 50 minutes

from now, members of the British prime minister's own party will gather for that showdown with Mrs. May ahead.

We speak to one of the lawmakers who will be there in that meeting. I've got a lot of questions to ask him in less than 10 minutes from now, so

stick around for that.

Now I want to take you, though, to U.S. politics and President Donald Trump meets this hour with his cabinet, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Now, the meeting takes place the day before Sessions is scheduled to testify before the Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating

contacts with Russia. He may also be questioned about his role in the firing of James Comey, his FBI director. A Justice Department spokesman

says Sessions wants that hearing to be public.

And the chief of Qatar Airways tells CNN the U.S. is putting fuel on the fire in the crisis between Qatar and other Gulf nations.

Last week, President Donald Trump accused Qatar of funding terrorism. He also claimed credit for the Gulf country's decision to isolate the country.

Well, our John Defterios spoke with Qatar Airways CEO and joins us now live from Doha. What did he say? Hi, John.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Robyn. Yeah, this is a CEO that's not known for mincing his words. And today he took aim at

his neighbors first and foremost because of the economic blockade, plus the United States and the United Nations for standing by and watching it all.

He chose to speak after posting record profits up a healthy 22 percent to just over $540 million.

I caught up with the man known as the chief locally in his board room here in Doha. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AKBAR AL BAKER, CEO, QATAR AIRWAYS: First of all, I'm very proud that we have made the highest profits in the history of the airline, but we've

also grown passenger numbers which was up nearly 20.1 percent, double of my competition. So, I'm very pleased, but said that, we now face huge

challenge, because this blockade that has happened has been unprecedented in the history of aviation when neighboring countries have blockaded a

country, both land, sea, and the air, which will, of course, create a big impact for Qatar Airways.

DEFTERIOS: In fact, do you have a legal right to challenge this, because our international conventions and for example, the UAE and Bahrain are

signatories, and they are your neighbors.

BAKER: Yes, we have legal channels to object to this. They are signatories to the Chicago convention of 1944, and the air services transit

agreement. And this is very important that IKO should now - IKO, which is the international regulator, part of the United Nations should heavily get

involved and put their weight behind this to declare this an illegal act.

DEFTERIOS: You are not going to roll over. You have options on the table as we sit today?

BAKER: Yes, we have options. As an airline, I have options, But I'm not prepared to talk about it in front of a camera.

DEFTERIOS: But this is fairly aggressive. In a sense, what's happened, that they've had offices closed in three countries so far. They don't seem

to want a solution.

BAKER: Yes. It is actually a travesty of civilized behavior to close airline offices. Airline offices are not political arms. They are

commercial offices, which sells tickets. We were not allowed, we were sealed as if it was a criminal organization. We were not allowed to give

refunds to our passengers and we were not given time to address those issues other than this 18 destinations that we have been blocked from.

(inaudible) and we are going to continue with our expansion, because the state of Qatar never gets intimidated by acts that are illegal and against

international law.

DEFTERIOS: We're looking at nearly 50 flights a day. It's almost a quarter of your capacity. How do you withstand that? And do you have to

go to the government and say, look, I need cash to get through what is going to be a very turbulent time?

BAKER: We are not going to ask our government for any cash, because Qatar Airways is a very cash strong airline. We have published our accounts

already, and people can look at those accounts and see our cash balance.

[11:15:13] DEFTERIOS: You were an early supporter of President Trump. And he's taken sides here, if I can be blunt, with Saudi Arabia. What do you

think today about that position, particularly because Qatar is home to a U.S. air force base?

BAKER: Well, we have 15,000 Americans living, 10,000 American troops, center command headquarters. It is for the American people to judge this.

I don't want to comment about President Trump. I'm extremely disappointed, because I never expected a country that is so dependent on its fight

against terrorism on my country is treating my country with staying on the backseat. They should be the leader, trying to break this blockade, and

not sitting and watching what's going on and actually putting fuel on fire.

DEFTERIOS: As the noose tightens on the economic blockade, does it play into the hands of Iran and Turkey, even if you look at it from a standpoint

of survival with food, for example? Air space, that you need to fly out of is over Iran, 200 flights a day.

BAKER: Well, this is when the time of need is when you really know your friends. And we have a lot of friends. Yes, Qatar is a small country, but

Qatar also has many big friends that will help us to circumvent this blockade and have a normal life.

DEFTERIOS: You have over 150 destinations. The country secured the 2022 World Cup. It has 13 percent of the proven natural gas reserves. Are your

neighbors trying to chop you down to size in the bigger picture do you think?

BAKER: Actually the truth is they opposite, they have climbed on a very tall tree, and now they don't know how to get down from it, and they will

only get down by injuring themselves. Qatar Airways will be robust and the state of Qatar will persevere.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DEFTERIOS: Akbar al-Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Robyn, almost sounding defiant, particularly, I thought when he talked about Iran and

Turkey and their support for the Gulf state, and also he said this could be a contagion not limited only to Qatar Airways, suggesting that the brand of

the Gulf connectors, the big Gulf airlines, could be hit because of the region-wide concerns of what's taking place as we speak right now. Back

to you.

CURNOW: Certainly fighting tough words there. Thanks. John Defterios, appreciate it.

In Russia now, protesters are transforming a national holiday into a day of defiance. Organizers expect the demonstrations in 200 cities against

corruption. And independent monitor says police have rounded up about 250 protesters. Police grabbed opposition leader Alexei Navalny as he stepped

out of his office. And his lawyer says he's now facing the prospect of a month behind bars.

We'll go to our correspondent at one protest later on in the show.

But still to come, two European countries, two very different election outcomes. We look at what's happening in France and Britain and how that

could affect Brexit.

Also as the British prime minister prepares to face fellow party members at a critical time, we'll get the view from someone inside.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:20:41] CURNOW: Hi, there. You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.

And returning, of course, to our top news, what the UK prime minister now faces. British media report a crucial fixture of the political calendar

has been delayed as Theresa May scrambles . to form a functioning government.

The queen's speech, due in a week, is a traditional event laying out the government's agenda for the year. A Downing Street spokesperson won't

confirm if it will go ahead as planned.

Meanwhile, the prime minister is about to face a key group of conservative lawmakers known as the 1922 Committee. Many are furious about the loss of

their majority in government. All of this as the prime minister moves to strike a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, although

no agreement has been reached with that.

So, what is the 1922 Committee? Well, it's a powerful committee made up of conservative back benches, members of parliament who don't hold a front

bench cabinet position. It meets weekly when parliament is sitting. The committee keeps the government informed of back bencher opinions and

concerns. It also handles leadership challenges. That can be triggered when 50 percent of sitting conservative MPs write to the committee chair.

This happened recently in 2003 when Ian Duncan Smith led the party in opposition.

Well, the committee was founded in 1923, but it makes its name from a famous meeting the previous year when the conservatives pulled out of a

coalition with the liberals ending the leadership of David Lloyd George.

So, our next guest actually served as the secretary of that 1922 committee, British lawmaker for the Conservative Party Mark Pritchard, joins us now

from London. I mean, that was certainly the ins and outs of the British parliamentary system. But when it comes to today and the meeting that you

are going to be in with Theresa May in the next hour or so, what do you want to say to her and what do you want her to tell you?

MARK PRITCHARD, CONSERVATIVE MP: Well, obviously the election result wasn't what we wanted or even expected. And I think that the prime

minister will want to set out, first of all, her sadness at the loss of parliamentary colleagues and also ministers in the government, recognize

some of the mistakes that were made within the general election campaign, but also, and most importantly, set out how she intends to govern as prime

minister.

And, look, there's been a lot of media speculation, but certainly in the tearoom today and speaking with colleagues over the weekend, there is no

appetite, one, to change the leader of the Conservative Party, and therefore the prime minister, and certainly no

appetite within the conservative parliamentary party, the governing party, albeit a minority governing party at the moment, for another general

election.

And whilst we see on our screens...

CURNOW: No appetite, but is there a sense of anger towards her?

PRITCHARD: Not at all...

CURNOW: How much anger is there toward her that, a, she called this election and, b, that criticism about the way she campaigned?

PRITCHARD: Look, whether it's in the United States or whether in the United Kingdom, France, wherever, it's not just the leader of a party or

prime minister that leads the campaign, there are other people, advisers around her. Her joint chiefs of staff have now left her office in number

10 as a result of the outcome of the general election. There are other people, advisers that were involved in the general election strategy and

tactics.

So it's not just the prime minister's responsibility. I think it is right that she stays on. Some might argue that she is a more competent prime

minister than perhaps she is a campaigner, but she's never been a flamboyant politician, and that's one of her strengths. She just gets on

with the job. And I think that her position will strengthen over the coming days and weeks.

CURNOW: So what does she need to do now? You talk about consolidating and strengthening her position, but there are a number of deals that now need

to be thrashed out. What is important that she does in the next few hours? Because I think timing is important here too.

PRITCHARD: Well, she needs to continue to establish the government. There are still vacancies that have not been filled. That will no doubt happen

over the next 24 hours.

I think there needs to be a refresh, as it were, with regards to engagement with the parliamentary party. And also I think there's already a

recognition in number 10 that there needs to be a more collegiate style cabinet government where decisions are made collectively. That collective

responsibility, which academics have written so much about, we've perhaps lost that in recent times, and I think it's right and wise and sensible

that we get back to that as we go into chartered waters, certainly in the last 40 years or so, of a minority government, which will be very reliant

upon the Democratic Unionist Party, the DUP, from Northern Ireland. We need to get that right.

Of course, the other bit thing in the entree is Brexit and whether we have the so-called hard Brexit or soft Brexit. I think there are unhelpful,

lazy terms in a way. I think what the election does shows is that the majority of the British people want to leave the European Union, however,

they probably want to stay within the single market or certainly within the customs union, a tariff free, duty free, trading free trading relationship

with the European Union - the single European market, the biggest free trade area in the world.

Now, that is an ongoing discussion within the conservative parliamentary party, certainly within the Labour Party as well. But I think you'll see a

consensus emerge over a period of time, and certainly the numbers are there, the parliamentary arithmetic across the parties to see a softer

Brexit, which is not only in the UK national economic interests, but also in Europe's national economic interests as well.

CURNOW: Do you not think that all of this has created a position that the UK is now in a weaker position as it goes into Brexit negotiations?

PRITCHARD: Look, if Theresa May had gone to Brussles and the majority, 120, clearly her position would be stronger. But I think the fundamentals

are still there. I mean, she's taken phone calls from leaders around the world recognizing the new government. Minority governments are nothing new

and certainly many countries, where your viewers are watching from right now, it's not something that we have very often in the UK, but it's

something that can work. It's more challenging, it's more difficult, but certainly with reliable friends and partners working on a

across party basis, we can get through a lot of the government's agenda.

The queen's speech, it appears, has been delayed because clearly there are some things that were in the Conservative Party election manifesto, which

would have been in the queen's speech which perhaps may not have prominence or even appear within the queen's speech, but there is certainly a lot to

do, and as I say, Brexit is at the top of the entree.

CURNOW: Mark Pritchard, thank you very much. Conservative MP who will be having a conversation with the prime minister in the next hour or so, along

with a lot of your colleagues. Appreciate you joining us.

And you can keep up to date with all the latest developments in the UK political turmoil on our website. We have some great interviews and

analysis, including this one on five reasons why Theresa May's troubles have only just begun. For that and plenty more head to

CNN.com.

And the latest world news headlines just ahead, plus a Russian opposition activist who boldly

called for nationwide protests is detained. We'll go live to Moscow with the latest on the demonstrations. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[11:32:06] CURNOW: And that landslide victory shows France united and a leader free to push their agenda forward. But within Europe, sentiment is

starkly contrasted when it comes to Brexit talks for Britain getting out of the EU are only just one week away. Remember, Britain's prime minister

held her own election last week trying to gain a stronger hand for those talks, but it backfired.

Theresa May now scrambling just to pull together a functioning government.

So, what we have here, a tale of two Europes perhaps? For reaction from across the continent, our Nina Dos Santos is in Strasboug, the seat of the

European parliament .

What is the view there?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the view here is they're delighted that Emmanuel Macron, Robyn, has managed to get a strong hand, but that Theresa May, whose fabled catch phrase was strong and

stable seems pretty weak at the moment and unable to put together the strong kind of government that they would like to be negotiating with here.

So, there's a lot of consternation here when it comes to the position that the UK is in.

And you have different points of view, I must point out, having spoken to a number of MEPs to gauge the reaction here over the last hour or two, they

started to flock in from Brussels. Remember, this is the second seat of the European parliament, this one being in France. Some of them saying,

well, what we should do at the moment is pause and allow the UK to cobble together a government

that's going to be lasting here so that we know who we're dealing with. But on the other hand, there are

some people who say, well, we should just get on with it straight from the get go. There's only two years to negotiate this and the clock is ticking

because Theresa May, remember, triggered Article 50 back at the end of March.

But there are some people who say we should wait to see if we have a new election in the UK. There's a lot of question marks about whether or not

potentially if Boris Johnson were to mount a leadership challenge and be the next prime minister of the UK, whether he would have any credibility at

all in negotiating the really fiendishly complicated things that they have to get down to negotiate with Brexit.

Now, this brings me to the position of the deputy negotiator for the European Parliament on Brexit. She said the problem is we're trying to

understand what the Brits actually want. And she said, we're not really entirely sure whether Theresa May knew herself. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOPHIE VELD, DUTCH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: We have an interest in a strong UK government. Sometimes people feel that there's a sense of

glee, people are happy, or sort of thinking that it's funny, but no. We want a strong UK government to negotiate with.

At the same time, the election of Macron, and the strong support, the strong majority he will have, that clearly makes the position of the EU

very strong in these negotiations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: So as you can see here, hear there from the Dutch MEP Sophie Veld, what we have here is no laughing matter. It is fiendishly

complicated and people are getting very, very worried about the situation that the UK is in now and those deadlines potentially starting to slip.

There's no official word that the deadline, which is June 19th, when those Brexit negotiations are set to formally start has slipped, but over in

Downing Street, we're starting to hear from David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the EU, that June 19th is still technically the working

date, but that negotiations could start a little bit later than that.

So, a bit of consternation here in Strasbourg as they start to get underway with about three

days' worth of meetings and as you can hear there, though, when it comes to Emmanuel Macron having been confirmed here as a very popular president to

France in that first round of the national assembly elections, probably going to have more confirmation of that in the second

round in a few week's time, Robyn. There's hope here that more Europe is the solution rather than less Europe. And of course the ultimate answer to

less Europe is of course Brexit, which is what the UK has voted for.

CURNOW: OK, thanks for the perspective from there. Nina Dos Santos, appreciate it.

Now, just a few hours ago the wife of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny tweeted that her husband had been detained in Moscow. He was on

his way to head an anti-government protest. Navalny has issued an appeal on his online channel, telling supporters to organize protests on this day.

And people in 200 cities across Russia responded. Police have already made arrests. Our CNN contributor Jill Dougherty is in Moscow. Let's go to

her.

You've been keeping an eye on the streets all day. You're back in the Moscow bureau. Give us a sense of how it played out on the ground.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, right from the beginning it was kind of unclear how it would play out, Robyn, because it was

supposed to be taking place in another location. But they had already decided that they were going to move it down to (inaudible) street that's a

main street in Moscow that leads down to the Kremlin. And they did it right during a street festival. It's actually in honor of Russia Day, kind

of like the Fourth of July Independence Day for Americans.

And so just as Navalny was arrested, detained, his wife sent out a tweet saying it's going go ahead. Go out to (inaudible) street. And they did

come. Ii fact, the estimate now by the Moscow regional security office is that there were about 5,000 demonstrators who

showed up. It ended up with about 600 here in Moscow being arrested. And Mr. Navalny has been held. He is facing about 30 days in detention for

holding an unsanctioned protest in Moscow.

Now, as I said, the first demonstration actually was sanctioned, but with the second one, the supporters showed up as you can see here, they got

through security and then began quite a lot of holding signs. Many of them anti-Putin. A lot of chanting. Russia without Putin, Putin get out

of here. Many anti-Putin chants.

And mostly I would say that the police were prepared for this in a rather methodical way began clearing the streets, letting some demonstrators in

and then pushing them. It was controlled. There were some cases of some very rough treatment by the riot police, but in order, I think you'd have

to say they were prepared. And then the question is did the message which is anti-corruption get out?

And apparently, at least to the supporters of Mr. Navalny, who is an anti- corruption activist but also presidential candidate, it did. People did show up.

CURNOW: Thanks so much. Jill Dougherty there.

Now U.S. President Donald Trump can't seem to stay quiet about the Russia investigation. The president is attacking James Comey again and even

retweeting about his chances of impeachment. Here's CNN's Jason Carroll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump on the defensive, retweeting a TV news clip downplaying the chances of his

impeachment just one day after lashing out at his former FBI director, James Comey. The president suggesting Comey acted illegally by leaking his

notes about their conversations, calling the FBI veteran "cowardly."

TRUMP: No collusion. No obstruction. He's a leaker.

CARROLL: After Comey revealed, under oath, that he leaked the memos in hopes that it would lead to the appointment of the special prosecutor.

COMEY: I needed to get that out into the public square. And so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter.

CARROLL: Comey testifying that the president asked him to let the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn go, a

charge President Trump flatly denies.

[11:40:03] TRUMP: I didn't say that. I mean, I will tell you, I didn't say that.

CARROLL: The president's son appearing to contradict his father's denial in a new TV interview.

DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: When he tells you to do something, guess what? There's no ambiguity in it. There's no, "Hey, I'm hoping. You

and I are friends. Hey, I hope this happens, but you've got to do your job." That's what he told Comey.

PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: When I've been reading the statements about how the president has been contacting Jim Comey over time, it felt a

little bit like deja vu.

CARROLL: Fired U.S. attorney Preet Bharara alleging Sunday that he also had uncomfortable interactions with the president before he was let go.

BHARARA: He called me in December, essentially just to shoot the breeze. It appeared to be that he was trying to cultivate some kind of relationship.

CARROLL: Bipartisan lawmakers now calling on the president to turn over tapes, if they exist, of his conversations with Comey almost one month

after Trump tweeted they may exist.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I don't understand why the president just doesn't clear this matter up once and for all.

LANKFORD: That I hope there are recordings, for Jim Comey's sake, if that's out there. But I doubt that they're really there.

SCHUMER: If there aren't tapes, he should let that be known. No more game playing.

CARROLL: A number of Trump's team insisting that disclosure could happen soon.

JAY SEKULOW, MEMBER, TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: The president said he's going to address the issue of the tapes, the -- whether the tapes exist or not, next

week.

GRAHAM: You're your own worst enemy here, Mr. President. Knock it off.

CARROLL: Senator Lindsey Graham encouraging the president to stop discussing the investigation.

GRAHAM: You may be the first president in history to go down because you can't stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just

were quiet, would clear you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Jason Carroll joins us now.

Lindsey Graham always coming out with the very frank statements, doesn't he? And Jason, as we're talking, also I wanted to stress to our viewers,

we might be getting some comments from President Trump in the White House behind you.

We know that - there he is. Let's listen in.

(PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MEETING)

END