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CONNECT THE WORLD

Donald Trump Backs Son Amid Growing Concern Over emails, Secretary Tillerson Now In Saudi Arabia. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired July 12, 2017 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:01] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD ANCHOR: A smoking gun or a silly miscalculation? Donald Trump, Jr., is on the defensive over e-mails showing

an apparent Russian offer to dish the dirt on Hillary Clinton. We break this all down for you from Washington and from Moscow in just a moment as

the U.S. President weighs in on the controversy.

Also, ahead out, playing peacemaker in a frosty war of words that is chilling the Middle East. Is the U.S. Making any progress? And.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say they are safe from sniper cover and there is the city right there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: An ISIS stronghold brought to its knees and CNN is on the dusty front line, an exclusive reporting from inside the old city in Raqqa just

ahead.

A very good evening. It's just after 7 o'clock in Abu Dhabi. Hello, welcome. This is Connect The World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Open, transparent and innocent, that's how Donald Trump describes his oldest son who is at the center of what is a growing firestorm. E-mails

released by Donald Trump, Jr., are the strongest indication yet that the U.S. president's inner circle was willing to accept Russian help in last

year's U.S. election. Mr. Trump suggests they are the victims, doubling down today on accusations of a witch hunt. He tweeted this. Why aren't the

same standards placed on the Democrats? Look at what Hillary Clinton may have gotten away with. Disgraceful. And CNN's Jason Carroll reports that

Trump, Jr., is on the defensive as well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, JR., U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently. For me, this was opposition

research.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump, Jr., confronting the ever worsening controversy that has his father's administration in full crisis

mode. Multiple outlets describing the president's growing exasperations with the Russian revelations and suspicion and finger pointing between his

closest west-wing advisers. The behind-the-scenes turmoil described to the Washington Post as a Category 5 Hurricane, a characterization that the

president's lawyer refused.

JAY SEKULOW, U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: This is a category 0. This idea that this has consumed the White House is false.

CARROLL: The White House on the defensive after Trump, Jr., released a series of bombshell e-mails he had in June of last year with music

publicist, Rob Goldstone, about setting up a meeting with a Russian government attorney. Goldstone saying he had a lead on dirt that would

incriminate Hillary Clinton, noting this is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but is part of Russia and its government's support

for Mr. Trump. Trump, Jr., replying, if it is what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.

TRUMP, JR.: Now, someone sent me an e-mail. I can't help it. This was 13 months ago before, I think the rest of the world was talking about that,

trying to build up this narrative about Russia. So I don't even think my sirens went up or the antennas went up.

CARROLL: The president's son and his attorney insisting that President Trump was not aware of the meeting or the e-mails.

TRUMP, JR.: It was such a nothing, there wasn't anything to tell. I mean, I wouldn't have remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff.

SEKULOW: The president, by the way, never saw an e-mail, did not see the e- mail until it was seen today.

CARROLL: CNN has learned that the e-mails were discovered as Jared Kushner and his legal team were preparing for his upcoming congressional testimony.

After being unusually reserved on Twitter, the president returning to a familiar line of attack this morning tweeting, my son, Donald, did a good

job last night. He was open, transparent, and innocent. This is the greatest witch hunt in political history. Sad. Yesterday, the White House

deputy press secretary read a statement on the president's behalf.

SARAH SANDERS, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.

CARROLL: Vice President Mike Pence distancing himself from the growing controversy, releasing a statement, stressing that the Russian meeting

occurred before he joined the Trump ticket. The newly released e-mails undermining what the White House has been saying for days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems to be on the end of the Trump individuals a big nothing burger.

[11:05:01] KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO U.S. PRESIDENT: No information provided that was meaningful. No action taken.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP: Nothing inappropriate happened. There's nothing inappropriate.

CARROLL: A number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill disagree.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Definitely he has to testify. That e-mail was disturbing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Jason is with us now live from the White House, also joined by CNN International correspondent Matthew Chance in Moscow. To you, Jason,

first. Is there any agreement on the legal implications of Trump, Jr.'s meeting at this point?

CARROLL: Well, there's a lot of disagreement, actually. Certainly, there are a number of people out there, Becky, legal experts who say without

question Donald Trump, Jr., crossed the line when he took this meeting with the expectation -- once again, the expectation of receiving derogatory

information about Hillary Clinton from someone representing themselves as being associated with the Russian government. But there still is a lot of

disagreement about legally did he cross the line. That's something that's going to be debated going forward certainly. And certainly, special counsel

will be investigating now those e-mails as part of their larger investigation looking into Russian meddling here in the United States. But

certainly, there's going to be a lot of debate there. A lot of debate here within the White House about what has happened here, debate in terms of how

to move forward with their agenda. Their agenda still seemingly overshadowed by this recent development. A lot of frustration here at the

White House, one White House official describing it as another weak loss of trying to push this president's agenda forward. Becky.

ANDERSON: Matthew in Moscow, Russia's foreign minister calling the story wild. Explain.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he did. He said it was wild. He said basically that this was exaggerated and he couldn't believe that it

had been exaggerated so much. He said that this was certain people making an elephant out of a fly. And so, it is like a mountain out of a molehill.

He was speaking in a Russian idiom. And so, yes, this fits in with the sort of category of responses that we've heard from Russian officials all along,

which is that this whole scandal about this whole allegation, about the Russians meddling in the U.S. election, about collusion between Russians

and Trump officials is made up and has an agenda of discrediting both Russia and Donald Trump as president.

And that's been going on again today, saying -- the Kremlin also issued a statement today, saying this is like being on a TV show that drags on for

too long. And so, they are using the most colorful language that they can to try to distant themselves from the scandal and to discredit it.

ANDERSON: All right. We were hoping to hear from Lavrov here, but perhaps we won't. So I'll leave it there for the time being. This Russia

controversy is far from over. Matthew, thank you. In fact, the president's pick to head the FBI is facing questions about it. He is testifying now at

a senate confirmation hearing. Christopher Wray is President Trump's nominee to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. He's already promised

not to pull any punches if he is confirmed.

CNN's political director David Chalian joins us now from New York. You and I spoke at this time yesterday when these e-mails had just been released on

Twitter by Donald, Jr. As you reflect on the past 24 hours and what we've learned, your thoughts?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think the most important thing that we learned from the e-mails that Donald Trump, Jr., posted was

that the meeting was clearly framed for Donald Trump, Jr., and for Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort -- we'll get to that in one second, as a meeting

with somebody who was part of the Russian government's effort to help his dad's campaign. Therefore, this was a willingness on Donald Trump, Jr.'s

part to attend a meeting with the understanding that this was part of the effort of Russia to meddle in the U.S. election. I mean, that's simple.

That's in black and white.

So the notion that has been dismissed for months by Donald Trump and his closest allies, that there's nothing to this whole thing, whatsoever, it's

a pure fake thing, fabricated by the Democrats and the press. That's been put to rest by anybody who is just looking at the facts. There is at least

something to the notion that the Trump campaign, at its highest level with Donald Trump, Jr., was indeed in contact with Russians about negative

information for Hillary Clinton that could be helpful to Trump's campaign. So when -- you know, so it was quite interesting, Becky, that over the last

several days until this morning, President Trump wasn't really pushing back and calling this whole thing fake the way we've seen with other

developments because this rocked their world internally as they began to wrap their arms around that this meeting actually put the entire narrative

in a different place, not as easy to dismiss for the president.

[11:10:26] ANDERSON: Now, David, let's get to the bottom of this. The legal implications of Trump, Jr.'s meeting still aren't clear, are they?

But here's what former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: We're beyond obstruction of justice in terms of what is being investigated. This is moving into perjury, false

statements, and even potentially treason.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: David, is Kaine right? Could this be considered treason?

CHALIAN: Well, I'm not a lawyer, so I like to leave the legal questions as best I can to those that are, but Tim Kaine is a lawyer and he's kind of

somewhat alone in this area right now, in terms of a lot of the legal analysis I've heard on CNN and elsewhere, and I've read about thinks we are

far away from anything that approaches treason, which is why you heard Kaine there say potentially. I actually think that the Trump, Jr., e-mails

are far less about the legal ramifications than they are about the political fallout.

ANDERSON: There are also some questions, of course, about the timeline surrounding Trump, Jr.'s meeting with the Russian attorney just a couple

hours later then-candidate Trump made this promise. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all of the things that

have taken place with the Clintons. I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Can you believe that was only a year or so ago? It's been a long year. He ended up not making good on that promise, David. There was no

major Clinton speech that Monday. What is your take on his remarks and suspicions at least of a connection here?

CHALIAN: There was that Orlando nightclub shooting that happened in the interim there which is why that speech on Hillary Clinton was delayed a

week or so. And even when it did happen, it wasn't overly focused on e- mails at all. But I agree with you, I find that statement really interesting that that happened on the same night that you can see in the e-

mails that this meeting was getting on the books and was about to happen, that Donald Trump, Jr., was already in receipt of information that said

there's somebody who wants to give you negative information on Hillary Clinton and her dealings with Russia and that this is part of the Russian

government's efforts to help your dad's campaign. And that night -- if you look at the broader timeline, remember, it's only the next month that

Donald Trump as a candidate holds a news conference, and basically invites the Russians to come in and hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails.

ANDERSON: So, the Trump administration absolutely determined that the idea that the Russians got involved in the campaign -- certainly that Trump and

his family and his inner circle knew of these alleged Russian interference in this campaign. They just call it a witch hunt. They say they are not

interested. The conservative media across the board seems in support, at least, until at least now. What's the fallout from this past 24 hours been

like domestically with you in the U.S.?

CHALIAN: So there hasn't been some breaking of the dam, if you will, that all of a sudden, Republicans or his core supporters or, as you noted,

conservative media, somehow all of a sudden turned on Trump and just started running for the hills. That hasn't happened in some big sort of

gush, if you will. You are starting to hear in a more nuance way, Republican allies of the president on Capitol Hill after this reveal of the

e-mail saying, well, there are more questions here that should be answered. You know, there are some corners of the conservative media that are noting

the significance of the development.

Again, we shouldn't leave your viewers with the impression that there's some big about-face, an abandonment of Donald Trump from his Republican

allies, and from his core supporters. That hasn't been the case. That remains the reason he's able to sort of continue to fight, I think, as he

is with this line of attack because those who are aligned with him are still sticking with him. If that begins to truly crumble, Becky, that is

going to create an entirely new political problem for Donald Trump than the one he faces right now.

[11:15:28] ANDERSON: You are always a pleasure, sir. Thanks for joining us. Mr. Chalian in the house for you today, in the U.S. Well, there are a

lot of really fast paced stories in Washington. But our next one, you might say, moving really fast. Why thousands of cows are being given first-

class plane tickets to this part of the world. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: In the middle of the night, they arrived, dairy cows by the dozen, dispatched to help with the crisis is in Qatar. Now, these cows

represent how the embargo there is affecting the tiny country. In normal times, they receive almost all of their dairy products from Saudi Arabia,

but these aren't normal times, and have to look elsewhere. Instead, they are turning to Europe, Australia and the U.S. among others. The bovine air

lift is expected to bring 4,000 cows into Qatar in the next month. So many interesting angles in this story. I'm Becky Anderson here from Abu Dhabi.

Welcome back.

On the diplomatic front, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now in Saudi Arabia and is lobbying foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and its

allies, to end the embargo. On Tuesday, the U.S. and Qatar entered into a memorandum of understanding in fighting terrorism, but Qatar's gulf

neighbors say the memo doesn't go far enough and that sanctions will stand until Qatar meets their demands. What's the latest in this beef that

Qatar's alleys have with the tiny gulf nation? Jomana Karadsheh is reporting in depth on this story all month. And she joins me now live from

Amman. Twenty four hours ago, America's top diplomats said, and I quote, Jomana, Qatar has been very clear in its position and is very reasonable,

end quote. He then hopped on a short flight to Riyadh where one can only imagine as his comments went down badly, to say the least. This trip was to

help deescalate this gulf crisis. Has it?

[11:19:52] JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're going to have to wait and see, Becky, what comes out of his meetings with the foreign

ministers of the quartet as you mentioned in Saudi Arabia today, but all indications, even as this mediation effort was going on, is that no one was

really backing down. No softening in their position by either side. You just have to look at the developments we've had today, hearing from the

Qataris, announcing the arrival of the fifth batch of the Turkish troops as part of their military cooperation deal with Ankara. As you recall, this is

part of the 13 demands, that they scrap the plans for a Turkish base in Qatar. And then, you look on the other side, you have got the UAE sending a

letter to the United Nations about Al-Jazeera and the Qatar-funded news network.

As you recall, the U.N. came out in defense of freedom of expression as they put it, when one of the 13 demands was to shut down Al-Jazeera. And

you have the UAE saying this is not really about freedom of expression. They say that Al-Jazeera is promoting extremist ideology. Of course, we

know that the network disputes that. And then, you also have Egypt saying that they have to expel Qatar out of the global coalition against ISIS

because you can't have a country that supports and funds terrorism if they accuse Qatar, something that the country denies, and you can't have

fighting terrorism at the same side.

So you know it really doesn't look like anyone is backing down. It's a very tough task for the Secretary of State but perhaps some feel that if you

have a consistent U.S. position, this kind of position, where he is trying to mediate not the mixed signals that we saw initially from the U.S. with

President Trump seeming to take sides with one side in this conflict. Saudi Arabia at that point which many felt made the situation worse, maybe he can

try and get compromises from both sides and try and get a resolution. But we'll have to wait and see what comes out of these meetings, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yep, impasse is the word that comes to mind. All right, Jomana, thank you for that. This ethnic diplomatic target is only getting more

complicated.

Right here, the Arab -- United Arab Emirates, the UAE, has just sent in this letter to the U.N. raising its concerns that Qatar's prized news

network Al-Jazeera Arabic is a platform for spreading terrorist ideology. My next guest is well-versed in the geopolitics of the Arabian Peninsula.

He has been calling for Al-Jazeera to be shut down for years. Ali Shihabi joins us now from Washington. The Qatari described the quartet factions as,

I quote, a propaganda campaign designed to curtail Qatar's sovereignty and dictate its foreign policy. They said that at the beginning, they continue

to say it, and they are not backing down. What happens next?

ALI SHIHABI, ARABIA FOUNDATION: Becky, the issue is not even a military base. The issue is Qatar adhering to its legal agreements, signed in 2013

and 2014 by their emir. And these are the documents that CNN was able to source a couple of days ago, which have now been read by everybody in the

region. And they show very clearly that CNN -- that Qatar had committed to control Al-Jazeera, that in effect it closed down one of its Al-Jazeera

branches beaming into Egypt, that Qatar was going to stop financing terrorism, and stop financing opposition, that was going to stop support

for the Muslim brotherhood.

So the whole question is simply holding them to their commitments, holding them to their agreements. And that's why Secretary Tillerson's visit is not

being -- or his actions in the past few days, my understanding is that they have not been taken well by the quartet, because this is not an issue of

finding a reasonable solution. This is an issue of holding people to their international treaties. As the Secretary of State and a chief diplomat, he

should be upholding these treaties.

ANDERSON: Right. OK. Listen, you've forgotten more about sort of the geopolitics of this region, Ali, that most people will ever know. You

concentrate your efforts on looking at the challenges that this region faces and relations between the U.S. and countries in this region. What

sort of leverage do you think Rex Tillerson thinks he has now with those foreign ministers in Riyadh, bringing as you say, or stepping off a flight,

as you rightly point out, some pretty damaging words as far as the quartet is concerned, Qatar has been in a very clear its position and very

reasonable in its position?

SHIHABI: Well, he's not going to have much leverage with it. After all, he's talking bout four allies of his. Saudi Arabia is a very strong ally,

Egypt, the UAE and Qatar. But again, he's also talking about the three largest countries in the Arab world, you know, 150 million people versus

250,000 people. So America's not going to put its relationship with those three at risk for the sake of Qatar.

Ultimately, the countries are asking for Qatar to abide by its written agreements, signed and resigned a year later, 2013 and 2014. That's all the

countries are asking for. You know, the recent 13 requests that went in, there was a little bit of negotiation tactics there. I don't think anybody

wants Al-Jazeera to close down. They just want Al-Jazeera to adhere to the commitments that its owner made in writing in 2013 and 2014, which is to

stop undermining the security of its neighbors, to stop promoting Jihadi organizations and terrorist organizations of the region, to stop giving

them a platform. And Qatar has agreed to that in writing.

So there is really nothing to debate now. And that's why the attitude of these countries is being so firm. And I do not expect Secretary Tillerson

would be able to get much, much flexibility out of them because their patience has run out. They have been patient since 2014.

ANDERSON: Then what happens next, Ali? What happens next in Egypt, for example, once they kick Qatar out of the global coalition against ISIS?

Here's a look at all of the members. I'm just showing our viewers here, more than 60 members in all, including Saudi, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates,

Egypt says it's not acceptable for coalition partners to include countries that support terrorism. They are, of course, a member of the anti-terrorism

or anti-terror quartet. Is that likely? I mean, what's the impact?

SHIHABI: Becky, what will probably happen is that this, if you want ostracization of Qatar will continue for a number of months if not years,

because as you show with your story of the Qataris, they have access to global markets. So they are not going to starve and Qatar is not going to

collapse, but Qatar is going to be isolated from its family and, you know, they may be thrown out of this or that coalition. The most potent thing is

that this embargo on Qatar is going to -- or blockade, if you want, whatever you want to call it, by these three countries and by Egypt is

going to continue until the Qataris meet their written commitments, which they made in 2013 and 2014. It's as simple as that.

And as the chief diplomat, Secretary Tillerson should understand that better than anybody. If you don't meet your written commitments signed by

your head of state, there's nothing left for diplomacy or the rule of law in trying to bring order to the region.

ANDERSON: Just very, very briefly, because you're in Washington. Is there a complete disconnect between the White House's foreign policy when it

comes to this story and Saudi and the State Department and the DODs?

SHIHABI: I think there is a feeling in Washington and even in the region that Secretary Tillerson, you know, Qatar was Exxon's most important

foreign investment. So he has dealt with Qatar extensively for years. He knows them very well. They are his closest relationships. So it's

understood that he brings a certain empathy for them. So I think that guy knows a little bit what he is doing. But ultimately, the reality is that

you have the three most powerful Arab countries, America's close allies also, and you have the legal standing of the agreements that they signed

with Qatar and America should be upholding the rule of law over everything else.

So, you know, you signed an agreement. It's public. You see the conditions. Meet those conditions that have been there from 2014, 2015. And the

patience has run out. Nobody is going to take your word anymore. Nobody is going take the word of Qatar signing, you know, an MOU with Secretary

Tillerson yesterday. Frankly, that's hardly worth the paper it's written on. Because if the Emir of Qatar can make multiple undertakings in writing,

agreements with its allies in the region and then break them immediately, then what's the signature of Qatar worth, frankly? Nothing.

ANDERSON: Ali Shihabi is the executive director of the Arabia Foundation out of Washington. For you, sir, we appreciate your analysis. And we are

staying on top of the story. If you're wondering how this isolation is impacting Qatar, do check out this great article on the website, that's

money.cnn.com on the CNN Money page. The link is right there on the home page for you.

Well, the Arab nations lined up against Qatar and say this is all about ending Qatar's support for Islamists.

Next, I'll speak to the head of the country that became the poster child of the Arab Spring, Tunisia, about what happens in one part of the Arab world

ends up affecting the rest. That and the latest world news headlines are just ahead. Stay with us.

[11:30:01] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching Connect The World. These are the top stories for you this hour. Donald Trump, Jr. says in retrospect, he would probably have

done things differently, but he's still defending his decision to meet with a Russian attorney he believed that had information helpful to his father's

presidential campaign. Trump, Jr., said he wanted to hear them out and play it out, but says he learned nothing meaningful.

President Trump is flying to Paris in the coming hours at the invitation of the French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Trump will be the guest of honor

during the France's annual Bastille Day celebrations.

New video shows U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meeting with the Saudi crown prince. He's in Jeddah to lobby Saudi Arabia and its allies to

end their embargo on Qatar. They have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and asked the tiny gulf state to submit to a list of demands.

A 12 percent on Antarctic ice shelf broke off this week, creating the biggest iceberg ever recorded, four times the size of London. Researchers

say they are watching it closely to make sure manmade climate change isn't to blame.

Well, Connect The World has covered the fighting in Iraq and in Syria extensively, not least Raqqa. Now, the de facto capital rises in Syria, it

is on the verge of being recaptured. In an exclusive report, CNN's team is on the ground with the Syrian, Arab, and Kurdish forces making that push.

The first journalists inside the walls of Raqqa's old city and the troops are close to reclaiming it, we learn. Nick Paton Walsh reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is where it ends. ISIS' twisted idea was built on claiming their own state. Well, now ahead of us, it's

just a few square miles of old city streets left of the capital of Raqqa. A major threat on the street, we're being told this is from snipers, although

the Syrian, Arab, and Kurdish forces have pushed further inside the old city. And they now have positions past the historic old wall.

A few days earlier, coalition air strikes punched holes through these 1,300-year-old defenses.

They say they can't move forward in daylight because of ISIS snipers, but here they are, literally 20 meters away from the historic old city wall of

Raqqa, a milestone in the war to rid the Middle East of ISIS.

American Special Forces providing precision fire power a few miles down the road, marked here where civilians are trapped, perhaps as human shields.

Some days, ISIS has cut off water and everything to them, he says. We told them to stay inside. And if they go out, they will slaughter them. We are

the first journalists that they take in.

They say they are safe from sniper cover. And there's the city right there.

Something we just hear regularly throughout the time that we're here. Targeting ISIS' positions deeper inside Raqqa.

They are foot soldiers in a global fight against ISIS. Fueled by hope, a U.S. support for a Kurdish homeland nearby afterwards.

[11:36:17] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump.

WALSH: But White House has let this assault gather pace, whisking through three miles of Raqqa's outskirts in its many weeks here. It's eerily empty.

The one civilian we do see further out unable to speak.

At least 50,000 of stories are lost in horror and now encircled inside Raqqa, hostage to the question, when does ISIS resolve to die finally

break? Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Raqqa, Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the fighters in this relentless battle in Syria expressed both grief and excitement as victory seems near. Find out more about the

impact of ISIS in the heart of Raqqa. That's on CNN.com. We go behind the scenes with some of the locals who have survived the oppressive rule and

have fought to get their city. That is great content, as you would expect, on CNN Digital.

Back to one of our top stories, we have been reporting Rex Tillerson in the region playing peacemaker in the Qatar crisis. As we know, what happens in

the gulf rarely stays there. The riverbed is frequently deadly or at least very destabilizing across the region. I spoke earlier with Youssef Chahed,

who is the head of Tunisia's government, and joining me from Washington earlier. I began by asking how the diplomatic crisis is in this region, in

the gulf, is affecting his country's relationship with some of these countries here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YOUSSEF CHAHED, HEAD OF GOVERNMENT, TUNISIA: In the Arab world, we don't need more conflict. We have enough problems and we call for a quick

solution. Tunisia has a good relationship with all of the Arab countries. This was the diplomatic ideology, let's say, of Tunisia, for all times. So

this also gives Tunisia a position to play a role.

ANDERSON: What kind of pressure, if any, have you had in being persuaded to possibly cut diplomatic ties with Doha, if need be?

CHAHED: I think we are not at this point now. We still have good relations with all the Arabic countries, France and we'll have an economic

relationship with them. We have ties, diplomatic ties. I mean, we look for a peaceful solution as soon as possible. Any continuation of this conflict

probably will lay the ground for other issue that needs to be tackled quickly, such as terrorism or corruption, or things like that.

ANDERSON: Your experience in Tunisia with Islamist parties, Political Islam, has been a successful model to most people's minds. How has it

reformed the way Tunisia works?

CHAHED: I think if we consider what we call Arab Springs succeeded in Tunisia, it is because the ground is different probably in Tunisia. The

civil society is very active in Tunisia. Status of women is totally different. And indication will have probably the highest level of

indication in the Arabic world. So this created the enabling environment for the democracy to succeed in Tunisia. This part of differences of views

and political affiliation, and that's probably what explains why the experience in Tunisia succeed and why in Tunisia we are no longer talking

about democratic transition today. We are already in democracy. We established it and I think this is what the situation permits.

[11:40:20] ANDERSON: It's estimated that -- I think I'm right in saying that the U.S. makes up 10 percent of your military budget. There have been

-- there has been much talk of cuts to that. You are in Washington looking to ensure that the U.S. doesn't cut its aid support to your government. Are

you completely convinced that that money is safe?

CHAHED: Yeah. First, the cut is not targeting Tunisia per se. It's an overall cut. But, of course, any discontinuation now, any cut at this

vulnerable time, we create burden to Tunisia. We will probably send the wrong message to the terrorist groups because Tunisia was on the frontline

of the war against ISIS, of the war against terrorists, and we did concrete and resolved, made some concrete steps against the terrorist groups. So we

don't have to stop in the middle of the war and we need to continue the job that we started. We doubled the budget related to defense, but also, we had

strong international cooperation mainly with the United States providing equipments and training of security forces. So we don't have to stop now.

It is really important for us that we continue to maintain the high level of cooperation with the United States.

ANDERSON: The Libyan government still struggling to control ISIS. Tunisia is also making up the largest group of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.

How will this all play out for your country?

CHAHED: Yes. This means that we are facing direct threats, threats mainly from ISIS next door in Libya, as you mentioned, and threats from what we

call foreign fighters. And that's why the United States needs to continue to support Tunisia, if they want really to destroy ISIS because we know

about these groups. We have good knowledge about them, about their findings, and we did concrete results against them. There are no major

attacks in Tunisia since 2015.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: The head of the government there in Tunisia Youseff Chahed, speaking to me earlier. You're watching Connect The World.

Coming up, President Trump returns to Europe where he will try to improve his tense relationship with the French president. We're live in Paris for

you, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:44:59] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect The World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. And if you're just joining us, well, you are

very, very welcome. It is quarter to 8 in the UAE.

Questions about his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer likely to follow U.S. President Donald Trump on his upcoming trip to Europe. He is flying to

Paris at the invitation of the French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Trump there is to be the guest of honor during France's annual Bastille Day

celebration. The two leaders haven't always seen eye to eye. Mr. Macron was a vocal critic of Mr. Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate

Accord. But this time, they have to find some common ground on issues like terrorism and national security. On Thursday, they are to hold a news

conference, a joint news conference. A big part of this trip on the country's national holiday, Bastille Day, July 14th, it features a

traditional military parade on this day for this year, for a special reason. And the members of the U.S. military are to take part. CNN's

European correspondent Jim Bittermann got access to the rehearsals.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Before dawn, nearly every day this week, members of the French military and security forces were

practicing their moves. Everything has to be perfect for the annual show of French grandeur marking French's Independence Day. And joining them this

year are nearly 200 American soldiers, sailors, and airmen who will be marking something else, the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World

War I.

For the servicemen and women, not much difference in age, but those who arrived here a century ago, the idea of being the first Americans to lead

the Bastille Day parade commemorating the historical events and at the same time, marching before the presidents of both the United States and France

is, well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a great privilege to be able to come here and celebrate this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me feel a little nervous, obviously, but it's an opportunity that not many people like me get.

BITTERMANN: But a few feel that sense of distinction more than the commander of the Paris detachment, Major Jared Nichols. He not only served

with the U.S. Army first infantry division, the first order of France in 1917, but his great-grandfather was among the first troops to come here to

fight alongside the French.

MAJ. JARED NICHOLS, U.S. ARMY: This is absolutely an amazing opportunity for the U.S. military and the United States to represent ourselves here in

France on this holiday. It's a significant event for the nation and for France.

BITTERMANN: The first American soldiers arrived here a hundred years ago, of course, it was not just for a ceremony, they marched on the bay to show

the French that they have arrived, they went off immediately to the battlefront.

Eventually, nearly 5 million U.S. servicemen were involved in turning the tide f battle in that war. More than 100,000 died on the battlefields or

elsewhere, more than 200,000 were injured. Many, like Major Nichols' grandfather, from the effects of poison gas. But the war left scars of a

different sort.

NICHOLS: A lot of what the current issues that Europe deals with and the world deals with stems directly back to the Great War. So I think there's a

lot of reflection, and a lot of trying to gain understanding about what occurred 100 years ago, and how it still affects us today.

BITTERMANN: And when the summit between the French and U.S. presidents part of Bastille Day this year, it's clear that one those things that still

affects us today is a sense of transatlantic cooperation with roots that go back not just a century, but to the founding of the American Republic. Jim

Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: While Mr. Trump deals with the fallout over his son's e-mails and Russian lawyer and other things, of course, he's facing his own

political pressure, accusations -- accusations, excuse me, of racism. Melissa Bell covering the trip and joining us now from Paris. And before we

do talk about the trip, what are these accusations against the president in France?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Macron, of course, has been enjoying something of a honeymoon period. It's just been over two months

now since he became -- since he was voted president, winning this extraordinary gamble that no one had expected to win. So now, every single

one of his words is really picked apart and he's coming in for a bit of flack. Nothing really serious. But for the time being, there is really very

little opposition to the French president. I think one of the remarkable things about the run-up to this visit by Donald Trump has been the lack of

any noise about substantial protests. The reason to visit the United Kingdom has been put off is that it is expected that it's likely to be a

very troublesome affair. That simply doesn't seem to be the case. There will be some protests planned, but there has been this left-wing and trade

union groups that have banded together against Emmanuel Macron's victory, but it's a fairly small-scale affair. Emmanuel Macron really enjoys this

for the time being. It's been a tremendous amount of popularity. And I think a measure of that is the fact that this visit is able to happen at

all.

[11:50:13] ANDERSON: What are they likely to achieve together, do you think?

BELL: This is really, as Jim's package I was just reminding you about, celebrating the 100 years since the entry of the first world war of the

American troops. And so, the extension of this invitation of Emmanuel Macron is no coincidence. He's not only hoping to build bridges with the

American president, but this, Becky, gives him an opportunity to do it while celebrating the 100th year anniversary, while celebrating the French

revolution, and all of those ideas of universal values that it gave rise to have fueled it, the same ideas by the way that led to the international,

super international institutions that are now under populist threats. And he's really reminding Donald Trump of all of the values, all of the ideas,

underpins and the alliance between the United States and Europe that has lasted for much of the last century.

Emmanuel Macron with other European leaders fears that it could now be under threat as countries like the United States and under Donald Trump

retreat behind the idea of pursing national interests rather than common values. This particular celebration is an opportunity for Emmanuel Macron

to remind Donald Trump of what the United States and Europe used to celebrate together. Becky.

ANDERSON: Melissa Bell is in Paris and what looks like a nice afternoon. Thank you, Melissa. Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect The World.

Late-night shows have no shortage of political material right now, how are they covering the latest saga with Donald Trump, Jr.? Well, we will show

you, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE HOST: Donald Jr. is like the guy at work who opens the obviously fake document and now everyone in the office has a

virus on their computer.

STEPHEN COLBERT, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT HOST: Seventeen minutes later, Don Jr. responded, thanks, Rob, I appreciate that. If it's what you

say, I love it, especially later in the summer.

TREVOR NOAH, THE DAILY SHOW HOST: You could not write a clearer more e-mail than that. It's like getting an e-mail that says would you like by your own

choice to smoke some illegal weed, marijuana drugs in violation of local statute 22, section 3.

KIMMEL: Did you see Hillary Clinton today? This afternoon, Hillary Clinton made a short statement in front of a group of her supporters in upstate New

York.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Ouch. Those parting shots definitely on target today. Now, Donald Trump has made a lot of things over the years from perfumes to

action figures. Now, it seems he's made himself and those around him a punching bag, even in defense of his son is being mocked, calling Trump

Jr., a quote, high-quality person. A high-quality person. A lot of people found those words interesting, to say the least. But Mr. Trump has used

similar words before to talk about his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She was always the highest quality that you'll ever find.

She is a very high-quality woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:55:06] ANDERSON: Not just high-quality, but very high quality. But what's higher than very high? Well, five-star gourmet quality, of course.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Trump steaks are by far the best tasting, the most flavorable beef you've ever had, truly in a league of their own. Trump steaks are five-star

gourmet, quality that belongs in a very, very select category of restaurants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: You are all five-star quality to me, viewers, every last one of you. So keep in touch, why don't you? There's no better way to do that than

here, facebook.com/CNNConnect. That is facebook.com/CNNConnect. I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect The World. Thank you for watching from the

teamwork with me here and around the world, as we always say, a very good evening.

Quest Express is up next.

END