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CONNECT THE WORLD
U.S. Attorney General Looks To Be On Thin Ice; Source: Manafort Meets with Senate Intelligence Committee; Israel Removes Metal Detector at Holy Site; Jordanian Foreign Minister Speaks to CNN; Journalists on Trial in Istanbul; U.S. and Afghanistan say Russia Arming Taliban; Late Night Hosts Getting Their "Mooch" on. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 25, 2017 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. Today's news is in. Drum roll, please. The
American capital where you thought you might have thought you'd hear this way more often.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're fired. You're fired! You're fired. You're fired!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: You're fired. And so are you, and you, and you. Donald Trump, he can hardly keep those words bottled up firing them off like a rocket
ship on television.
But if we are learning anything nowadays, it's that reality TV while flattering, just ain't reality. This is. You're looking at something
A 137 characters sent at 3:00 in the morning, the American president trying to beat his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Let's bring this up, guys.
Into submission by tweet -- submission by tweet, against Jeff Sessions, the man who right here was the first senator to come out and go all in on
backing Mr. Trump, getting comfortable in the Oval Office.
All right, friends like these, hey, this was only five months ago. Our Joe Johns gets stuck in the details for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Jeff Sessions resign?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Attorney General Jeff Sessions' future at the Justice Department in question today with the
Washington Post reporting that President Trump and his advisers are discussing the possibility of replacing him, despite the fact that he has
been one of the president's most loyal supporters.
TRUMP: We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.
JOHNS: The president publicly shamed his top law enforcement officer again Monday. Labeling him as beleaguered and asking why he's not investigating
Hillary Clinton. The dizzying escalation began last week in the president's interview with The New York Times.
TRUMP: Sessions should have never recused himself. And if he wants -- if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the
job and I would have picked somebody else.
JOHNS: Despite this public rebuke, Sessions insisted he has no plans to step down.
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We love this job. We love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.
JOHNS: Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani dismissing reports. They are being considered as possible replacements
with Giuliani expressing support for Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: I believe Sessions made the right decision under the rules of the Justice Department.
JOHNS: President Trump lashing out at against his attorney general who he blames for the Russia investigation. It comes on the same day his son-in-
law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner met with congressional investigators for the first time denying any collusion with Russia and defending the
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP: Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign and that is why he won. Suggesting
otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, today it's round two for this man Jared Kushner. He's back on Capitol Hill, this time facing questions from investigators in the
We are also just learning that Paul Manafort met with the Senate -- Senate Intelligence Committee this morning. And yet another committee has
subpoenaed Mr. Trump's former campaign manager Manafort as well.
We haven't really even scratched the surface yet on a very, very busy day in Washington. It's just mid-morning, 11:00 there. Let's bring in CNN
Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston to help us up break all of these down, also joined, I'm glad to say, by CNN's man in Moscow, Phil Black.
Mark, let's start with you. You wake up in the morning and you find that your boss has been sending passive aggressive messages around the world
about you. Oh, and that boss by the way, happens to be the U.S. president. Can you put this in to context for us? Just how big a deal is this?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is huge. A, it's awkward. It's unprofessional. It's not normal. There's been talk about
the new norm in Washington in American politics. This is not the new norm.
And quite frankly, you know, I would say that Donald Trump in some ways is being a coward by not addressing whatever concerns that he has with Jeff
Sessions head on instead taking it to social media.
[11:05:00] Now, all we can do is speculate base upon these words in the social media posts is that he is very upset that Jeff Sessions decided to
recuse himself from the Russian investigation and is not in a position of power to fire Robert Mueller. And that is why Donald Trump right now is
trying to force his attorney general out.
ANDERSON: Why doesn't he just fire him?
PRESTON: You know, good question, because he talks a lot about firing people. Who knows if he actually has it in him to go out and fire Jeff
You know, when we take a 50,000 foot look at this and this would go to Phil, but when you get a 50,000 look at this whole situation right now, the
real winner in all of this is Vladimir Putin, because you know back in Moscow and through out Russia, they are laughing at the United States right
ANDERSON: Well, let's get to you, then, Phil. It's round two for Jared Kushner today on the Hill. We are hearing that the Kremlin pushing back
against a key part of Kushner's statement about his Russian contacts.
Kushner says he met with Sergey Gorkov back in December at the insistence of Russia's U.S. Ambassador Gorkov. Let's remind ourselves he is the head
of a Russian state owned bank that's been under U.S. sanctions for years.
Now, Kushner says he was described to him as someone with a direct link or line to Vladimir Putin. Today Mr. Putin's spokesman says the Kremlin did
not request that meeting nor sanction it.
I hope I haven't stolen your thunder, but I did want to explain to our viewers what's going on. Phil, what to make of all of this?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL FREELANCE REPORT: Well, the key point, Becky, which you're describing there is the Kremlin by reiterating its
version of what this meeting is all about, why it took place now stands again in direct contradiction of what Jared Kushner said publicly yesterday
through his statement. That he is sure.
He insisted that this was a meeting that took place upon the recommendation of the Russian ambassador to the United States meeting with someone because
he was said to be close to Putin and in the words of his statement, someone who could give insight into how Putin was viewing the new administration.
Essentially, it was all about foreign policy, U.S.-Russian relations generally. Now -- and absolutely, Kushner was solid on this, no private
business was discussed.
What we heard from the Kremlin again is that this was all business, that this is the result of a business road show that Gorkov was undertaking in
the United States at the time.
That the meeting with Kushner was meeting with a businessman -- in his capacity as a businessman. So you've got this very strong contradiction
between the two versions of events. Kushner says no business.
It was all about the transition and future relations whereas -- and this could be a key part of it in the future, the Kremlin is saying it was all
business and absolutely Gorkov was not there as an emissary of the Russian president.
ANDERSON: Phil, a sanctions bill could be passed in Washington as early as today. Where would Moscow be hit hardest if it does pass?
BLACK: Well, depends on what the final package looks like, the final package of sanctions. But the broad obvious answer is the Russian economy.
The Russian economy took a really big hit when the U.S. and the E.U. implemented sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea.
Unfortunately for Russia, that coincided with a big drop in global oil prices, which the Russian government really depends upon. That resulted in
a recession, a two-year recession. The Russian economy is only just coming out of now.
And the forecast for future growth, well, it's still pretty modest. So there's a vulnerability there. More specifically, look for anything in the
package that targets the Russian oil industry, specifically may limit the ability of American individuals or companies to work with the Russian oil
Because that would restrict access to the investment, the people, the expertise, the technology that that industry really needs to modernize and
grow in the future. And you can't overestimate how important the Russian oil industry is to the economy overall, Becky.
ANDERSON: Our men in Moscow and in Washington for you today. Mark and Phil, thank you. And we will hear from President Trump in just a few
He's holding a news conference at the White House this afternoon with Lebanon's prime minister. You can watch it live right here on CNN. The
leaders will take questions from reporters. That's 3:00 P.M. eastern and 8:00 P.M. in London.
Well, let's get you to the Middle East now and a push to defuse unrest in Jerusalem's old city. Israel has removed what a controversial metal
detectors at the entrances to one of the holiest sites.
Palestinian leaders said the revised security measures still hinder freedom of worship and won't accept them. CNN's Oren Liebermann joins me now from
[11:10:00] OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the diplomatic tension which we saw rise so fast between Israel and Jordan, it seems has
been defused, has been cut because of the removal of metal detectors. And from what we have seen, the removal of security cameras that were installed
over the weekend.
That's one level of this -- the all-important diplomatic level. The relations between Israel and Jordan, a crucial devote countries.
The question now is what happens on the street with Palestinian-Muslims and other Muslims who have come to pray at the holy site here behind me at al-
Aqsa, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and the Jews as the Temple Mount.
If they accept the removal of the metal detectors and security cameras, all may be quiet and protests on Friday that are pretty standard may be small
scale and not important.
But if they don't, if they still feel like there are limitations on their ability to worship, if they still feel like the occupation is hindering
them from getting to al-Aqsa this Friday, it could be just as problematic as last Friday.
Part of the question here, Becky, is what else does Israel have in store? What are the other security measures? We've heard from the Public Security
Ministry that they will be using smart cameras sometimes installed over the next few months, the question is where.
Are they just in the old city somewhere trying to monitor movement or are they near the holy site in which they could be just as problematic as those
metal detectors. So, Becky, although the diplomatic problem seems has resolved, there is a question of how the Palestinian public responds.
ANDERSON: Oren, you're flashing a really good point here. We are talking about the spot that was the metal detector, as it were. But this
extinguishing of that fuse, that spark may not be the end of this. Is that what you're saying? There's a wider context to this, isn't there?
LIEBERMANN: Of course, because this never was just about metal detectors or about security cameras. It was all about access to the holy site and
who controls the holy site, that being the most sensitive spot in all of Jerusalem which makes it arguably the most sensitive spot in all of the
And that is why we saw the International Community, the U.N., the E.U., America, Jordan, engage so quickly on this, because if this becomes a
religious -- becomes a religious struggle on top of a political conflict, that's when the entire International Community, Israel, the Palestinians,
the Jordanians, that's when they know this can get out of control.
And that's why it was important to cut this off, to head this off so quickly. And that's what we saw. At one level, it worked. Tension
between Israel and the Jordanians has been quieted.
At a different level, at a level of who comes to pray here on Friday, we're not quite sure yet. It seems it eased the tensions hasn't completely
quelled them. The day to answer that question is Friday.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem for you this evening. We're going to have a lot more about these tensions. Jordan's foreign minister
is my guest this hour. He is out of the Capitol, Amman, just an hour drive from the city of Jerusalem. That is in about five minutes' time. Do stay
with us for that.
Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories we are following for you on our radar today. Rescue workers in Mumbai are digging through the
rubble of an apartment building. Several families may still be trapped after the five-story building collapsed in eastern suburb at least 12
people were killed.
Two leading factions battling for control of Libya are set to commit to a cease-fire and work towards elections. Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and
Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who controls eastern Libya are attending peace talks in France.
The Syrian opposition group says a car bombing has killed nine militants in the northern Syrian city of Idlib. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
says, the explosion came hours after a coalition of al-Qaeda linked Jihadists captured the city most of the region.
You can find these stories and then a lot more of course on the digital page CNN.com. Head there to read analysis of President Trump's comments on
his attorney general and why they are so problematic amongst all of things.
Still to come tonight, days of unrest at a Jerusalem holy site put an already-tense region on edge. Up next we are live with Jordan's foreign
minister to talk more about what is this diplomatic fallout and the potential consequences.
[11:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Well, here late one night the world's one and half billion Muslims believe their Prophet Muhammad rose into with the Angel Gabriel.
Now the age is not much more about heavens, about the Al-Aqsa Mosque says what's around it, that is on their minds.
Swell, but of course the Old City of Jerusalem controlled by Israel. Who just a few days ago put these metal detectors to scan anyone going in after
gunmen shot two Israeli policemen dead.
Now the detectors are gone. Still though they show just how raw feelings are among those who saw these scenes and were worried by them, the people
who run the mosque complex, the Kingdom of Jordan, who better to speak to than Ayman Al Safadi, the Jordanian Foreign Minister. Ayman, how
significant a move is this on the part of the Israelis?
AYMAN AL SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Look, it is important that we look at things in the comprehensive kind of sense.
What we need to do is to find a solution that would in the escalation defuse the situation then put us all on track towards working rationally on
ensuring peace and security in Jerusalem.
From the number one, Jordan has been engaged with efforts led by his majesty the king to try and come -- come to the situation for that to
We have to have a solution that people accept and the solution that people accept is one that would get us back to that status quo and the events on
Friday with a view to ensuring one respect for the hysterical and the legal status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Haram Sharif. And two, get us all in
discussions that would allow us to work together towards...
AL SAFADI: ... and again, ensure that people accept that.
ANDERSON: Well, in a report in the times of Israel, just in the past hour or so, a senior Palestinian official is quoted as saying, the Jordanians
have not presented us with any details of the agreement they reached with Israel and it's not clear why. Ayman, can you explain?
AL SAFADI: First of all, we have not yet reached an agreement with Israel. We've been engaged in discussion with the Israelis and we've also been
talking to our American friends, and others at the international community.
The view is to find a solution, a solution that would result in removing the measures that have provoked this angry reaction. And we're in constant
coordination with the Palestinians.
And we have to understand that it is -- Jerusalem-Palestinian territory, Jordan has managed to have the custody ship of the Christian and Muslim
holy sites, and how's good offices and joint conference that allow him to play the role of trying to resolve the crisis.
But from the word go we said the Palestinians have to be on board. We are in constant coordination to Palestinians, we're in constant discussion with
the Israelis. Again, the ultimate objective is to find a solution that would defuse the tension.
For that to happen, it's not what Jordan wants or it's what anybody else wants. It's what could work to end the crisis. And based on the situation
at the ground, the only thing that could work to end the crisis is to remove all lateral measures that have been imposed and to enter into
discussions calm and rational..
AL SAFADI: ... with a view to agreeing measures that would ensure security and respect the status quo.
[11:20:00] ANDERSON: and there's clearly a much, much bigger picture here. I want to talk to you about that. Before I do very briefly, can you
clear up exactly what happened at the Israeli embassy in Amman over the weekend?
AL SAFADI: Absolutely. This is a totally separate case. There was a criminal attack as far as the indication has led us to believe. An Israeli
security official who was also accredit for that as a diplomat was in an apartment building that also belongs to the Israeli embassy.
Just a couple of Jordanians were there to do some carpentry work. The owner of the apartment was there. Ultimately, the Israeli shot two
Jordanians after what seems to be some lashes. We don't have all the details there yet. But two Jordanians were killed.
When that happens, we started investigating that. A 17-year-old boy was killed -- a Jordanian 17-year-old boy was killed. We were in touch with
the Israelis and we agreed to address this in a way that would ensure that law is respected and that justice is served.
And a such Jordan did that, we complied with that. We respected our obligations under international law, because the suspect enjoys diplomatic
immunity. We agreed with the Israelis to take a step in which we did, and then we agree wit the Israelis that he go back.
So Jordan did what it has to do. And the international law now, it is competent up on Israel to also do what it has to do under the law which is
to allow for the criminal justice to take its course and also to act in accordance -- act morally and allow for justice to happen.
And I have to say here that it is absurd some of the reactions that are coming from Israel which are trying to show this as if the ambassador and
the suspect were under siege and they're somehow liberating, and celebrating them as heroes coming back home. This is really absurd.
This -- this is a criminal case and I think it's in everybody's interest that it is sort of such that justice is allows to take its course, and to
respect the fact that two Jordanians were killed. Jordan action, legally and morally, it's upon Israel...
ANDERSON: Right, OK.
AL SAFADI: ... to do the same and allow for justice to take its course and to stop provocative kind of behaviors that is, again, to distort the facts
ANDERSON: Sir, your country of Jordan is just one of two Arab states signed up to a peace treaty with Israel, the other, of course, being Egypt.
Now, your former ruler King Hussein helped work that out. Let's take a moment to hear what he thought of it in his own words at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUSSEIN BIN TALAL, FORMER KING OF JORDAN: This is peace with dignity. This is peace with commitment. This is our gift to our peoples and the
generations to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: I mean, how close has this come to breaking down in the last few days? And for context here, what would the consequences be should that
AL SAFADI: Things are difficult. We entered into peace treaty with Israel at the time within hope that we'll be able to achieve comprehensive peace,
whose filler would be a peace treaty with the Palestinians that would allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state of living side-by-side with a
Jordan has remained committed to pursuing this. Well, King Abdullah is continuing on the legacy of his father, his late -- late King Hussein to
try again establish that peace.
Unfortunately, unless you have Israeli-Palestinian peace, we're not going to be able to have the comprehensive peace that we all seek and want.
And again, if we're talking about context, if you want to look at Jerusalem and why things are so tense, let's not forget there has been no political
horizon for a year that people has lost hope in the -- in any process that could ultimately deliver that peace that would bring dignity and peace to
the Palestinians, and would also assure security and respect for the Israelis.
We -- look, we're in it together here. Nobody is doing anybody after they go back pursuing peace. We want peace because it is something that
Palestinians deserve, Jordanians deserve, Israelis deserve. We know what needs to be done.
AL SAFADI: Let's move towards that clear political horizon, end the despair, end the -- the sort of blockage and move towards a solution that
would allow for a Palestinian state to live side-by-side an Israeli state.
And then move towards a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that would allow us all to make sure that we build a better future for the generations
that lived Hussein spoke about.
ANDERSON: And anybody who lives here or watches this region knows just how important that is. So commenting recently on the situation happened to be
Syria, one of the U.S.' foremost foreign affairs experts John McCain, says and I quote, the U.S. administration has yet to articulate its vision on
Syria beyond the defeat of ISIS.
And that's an issue that perhaps we can discuss as well. But he said let alone a comprehensive approach to the Middle East.
[11:25:00] Given the importance of U.S. policy to this region particularly with regard to the lack of any progress in delivering peace between
Palestinians and Israel, sir, does Trump -- Donald Trump have a plan and is it your experience that the state department of president under Rex
Tillerson is operating at odds with the White House?
AL SAFADI: Look. We're engaged with our American allies and friends. We strongly appreciate the commitment President Trump made to finding a
Palestinian-Israeli peace a deal that would put us all on a track towards resolving all the conflicts and crises in the region.
We continue to work with our American friends and we believe that the American involvement, American engagement is key to resolving the problem.
We believe from our experience that it's going to be extremely difficult for peace talks to move without an active American role and we're engaged
with our American allies to make sure that we move on that.
Throughout this morning I met with Jason Greenblatt. I met with him again before last night. And a conversation to see what we can do together to
overcome the current crisis in Jerusalem but also to cooperate together in working for a Palestinian-Israeli peace which would aloe for then a
And let me just remind you here, Becky, that lately we hosted -- in March we hosted the Arab summit. And in that summit we came up with a strategic
message that peace is a strategic Arab choice and we want to pursue it on the business of Arab peace initiative which again allows for the emergence
of Palestinian state.
And for historically reconciliation between Israel and all Arab states, that's what we're doing and that's what we hope we'll be able to continue
to work with our American allies and friends on achieving.
ANDERSON: If you love Jordanian and Palestinian blood, let's leave now. One lawmaker in your parliament said that before storming out. I want our
viewers just to have a little look at this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop fighting.
ANDERSON: Listen, they're hitting each other but it seems absolutely clear that they are very angry and it seems at you and your government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Are you worried about forces in Jordan, in your own country who may push you towards I don't know what at this point. I mean just -- just
how concerned are you?
AL SAFADI: Look, the situation is extremely difficult. And again, Jerusalem is -- has such a central position not just to Jordanians and
Palestinians, and Arabs, but to Muslims all over the world, as you said at the beginning of you report.
So Israel has to be very careful. We all have to be careful when we talk about Jerusalem. No issue as emotive and could be as explosive as
Jerusalem and that is why Jordan has front the word go, from the very beginning has been exerting every possible effort.
His majesty has been doing everything he can to ensure that we calm the situation in Jerusalem because if we don't, I think we're looking at -- at
what could be pushing us all deep into our best and what would continue for us in face-to-face with another round of violence that -- you know it would
be very, very difficult for any of us to contain.
So again, the Jordanian message is this is a very explosive situation. Calm down. Let me remind you that this Jordanian parliament in 1994
endorsed a peace treaty when it believed that peace was possible. This Jordanian parliament is extremely angry at how things are at measures that
are provocative in Jerusalem.
And actually, they were angry at us this morning because the diplomat had to leave. Of course we had no recourse but to do that because we are a
country that respects their obligation in their international law.
But again, we hope Israel would also respect the obligation and allow for criminal justice to be -- to be achieved and cooperate, and stop
provocative messaging from Israel.
ANDERSON: A warning from the Jordanian foreign minister live here on CNN. Ayman Al Safadi, we appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, a trial in Turkey that many see as a test as to whether journalists there can still do their
jobs. We'll be live in Istanbul up next.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. If you are just joining us, you are more than welcome just after half past
7:00 here in the UAE.
The headlines in the U.S. President Donald Trump is criticizing his own attorney general again, raising suspicions but he could be laying the
ground work to fire him.
Mr. Trump is furious that Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. And also blast him for not looking into, quote, Hillary
Well, some big developments in that Russia investigation. They vote Paul Manafort and Jared kushner on Capitol Hill to speak with congressional
Manafort, Mr. Trump's former campaign manager, senior (Inaudible), met with a senate committee behind closed doors. Senior adviser Kushner is still
testifying in the House.
Israel has removed controversial metal detectors at the entrances to one of its holiest -- Old City's holiest sites. But Palestinian leaders say the
revise security measures still hinder freedom of worship and won't accept them.
Seventeen staff members of the opposition newspaper, Cumhuriyet are on trial in Turkey. It's being seen as a test for press freedom in the
country. Journalists and other employees have been charged with their offenses related to last year's failed coup. Well, CNN's Ben Wedeman is in
Istanbul for you. Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, this trial began yesterday. We don't know when the verdict will be issued, but
whatever that verdict is, it will determine whether this country will maintain the semblance of press freedom or go the dark way of many of its
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN: They hold up a banner in Turkish saying Cumhuriyet will not be silenced, outside an Istanbul courthouse where many of the paper's staff
Seventeen journalists, executives and lawyers are charged with allowing these punctually secular opposition newspaper founded in 1924 to be taken
over by the network run by Fethullah Gulen.
The U.S.-based Turkish cleric the government claims master mind in the July 15th, 2016, failed coup d'etat. They are also accuse of ties and condemn
the PKK, the Kurdish workers party at war with the Turkish state since 1984. Yonca Sik, wife of defendant and investigative journalist Ahmet Sik
describes the trial as a farce.
YONCA SIK, WIFE OF AHMET SIK (Though a Translator): They came up with a cocktail of terror charges, she says. But we see the indictment as empty
and today it collapsed in court and Ahmed will say that in his defense. It's tragic comedy.
WEDEMAN: Eleven of the paper's staff have languished in pretrial detention for the last nine months. Columnist Barcin Yinanc is attending the trial.
Press freedom in Turkey, she says, is a glass half full, half empty.
[11:35:00] BARCIN YINANC, CUMHURIYET COLUMNIST: So that proves to us that there is critical journalism in Turkey that makes political forces unhappy,
that's the half full.
Half empty, obviously our colleagues are behind bars and they should not be behind bars because of expressing their views and because of being critical
to the government.
WEDEMAN: This trial is part of a creeping crackdown on the media by a government critics say wants to dictate all the news that's fit to print.
In recent years, the Turkish government has shuddered around a 150 media outlets and imprisoned around 160 journalists. Turkey which once had a
fairly vibrant press by Middle Eastern standards now ranks a decimal 155 out of 180 in the world press freedom index compiled by the group reporters
At this rate, Turkey is likely to fall even farther. Steven Ellis is here from the International Press Institute.
STEVEN ELLIS, FREEDOM ADVISER, INTERNATIONAL PRESS INSTITUTE: We're concerned because this appears to be an attempt to criminalize journalism.
It appears to be an attempt to silent dissent and chill any sort of questioning or criticism of the government.
WEDEMAN: Police keep an eye on a small protest outside the courthouse. Whatever they say and write, the state is watching and waiting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN: Now, press advocacy groups say that Turkey jails more than any country -- other country on earth, so many, in fact, that some Turkish
journalists joked that when they go to prison, it's a big reunion. Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman out of Istanbul in Turkey for you today. Ben, thank you.
We get you back to our top story this hour. As we've heard, Donald Trump is openly undermining one of his own cabinet members, Jeff Sessions. It's
all unraveling rather quickly for the Alabama senator who was once seen as a key ally.
All in all it's been a tumultuous few months in the White House. Whichever side of the story you are on one man has managed to hang on despite reports
that his relationship with the president is soured.
Our next guest spent more than 20 hours interviewing chief strategist Steve Bannon and his associate, source and journalist Joshua Green has just
published his new book Devil's Bargain: Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency.
In it, he writes about their relationship during the campaign saying practically, alone among his advisors. He wrote, Bannon had an unshakable
faith that the billionaire reality star -- TV star could prevail and a plan to get in there. It's going to be ugly Bannon would tell anyone who would
listen during the closing weeks of the campaign. But there is a path.
Please welcome Joshua Green to the show, joining us out of Washington. Today, we don't see Bannon, Joshua, very much, but he's been busy behind
A tweet posted inside the white -- west wing revealed the white board Bannon he's using to keep track at his white house to do list amongst the
items suspending the Syrian refugee program. Hiring more border agents and those surprise building a wall. Many saw this and viewed it as proof,
Joshua, of Bannon's clout and influence.
JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR, DEVIL'S BARGAIN: It is.
ANDERSON: Is that overstated?
GREEN: Well, it can be from time to time. Bannon understands that by cultivating this dark mystique as this strategic genius behind the curtain,
he can stays off of TV and he can whisper in Trump's ear.
And if you look at the people who've had the most problems in the Trump administration, they tend to be the people who are on cable TV talking
about it. Sean Spicer, his first press secretary who resigned in frustration last week. Other people who have defended Trump on TV have
come under his ire.
Bannon understands that the best thing to do is to help Trump shape his policies and to try and pull the strings behind the scenes which is always
where Bannon has preferred to operate.
ANDERSON: So a puppet master and evil genius, the great manipulator, these are just few of the caricatures and nicknames for Bannon. And you might
recall this particularly memorable impression of him. Stand by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIIFIED MALE: That's enough fun for tonight. Can I have my desk back?
UNIDENTIIFIED MALE: Yes, of course, Mr. President. I'll go sit at my desk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Saturday Night Live, Joshua, painting him as a...
ANDERSON: ... grim reaper.
ANDERSON: True in real life?
GREEN: Well, not exactly. In that portrayal actually cost Bannon dearly within the White House with standing with Trump. I mean, this was a very
popular idea back in February, back in March. People were talking about President Bannon.
[11:40:00] And Trump himself became enraged by this presentation on TV and all but fired Bannon kicking him off the national security administration,
kind of casting him out into the outer echelons of his advisers.
But in part because of this encroaching Russia scandal and the fact that Steve Bannon is not involved in it, Bannon has managed to move his way back
into Trump's inner circle.
ANDERSON: Right. You spent then what, some 20 hours interviewing him? So you are -- we'll use you today as a man who may be able to get inside this
The headline today is this seemingly open undermining of one of...
ANDERSON: ... Donald Trump's own cabinet members. This ranting tweet about Jeff Sessions in the middle of the night, bloke wakes up to see this
passive aggressive messaging from his boss as it were. How Bannon fit into all of that? What would this take on this be?
GREEN: Well, Jeff Sessions is not just a Trump cabinet member. He is the critical Trump cabinet member because he is the most powerful law
enforcement official in the land.
And further more, a story I tell in my book, he was also instrumental in Donald Trump's rise to the presidency. A little over a year ago, Trump had
won a few Republican primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
And yet at the time, no major elected Republican dared to endorse him. Jeff Sessions after months and months of Bannon trying to broker an
alliance behind the scenes finally came out, and endorsed Trump.
And I tell the story in my book of how Sessions flew in secret out to Memphis airport to meet Trump for a private meeting after a rally and had
And I described the scene in the book as Sessions says to Bannon on the cell phone, look, if I do this and Trump loses, my career as a Republican
politician is over.
In the end, Bannon talks him into it. Sessions endorses Trump and he goes on to win the nomination. So it's a real, real stab in the back of Jeff
Sessions what Trump is doing now with these tweets and publicly humiliating him like this.
ANDERSON: As a Washington watcher, you've probably forgotten more about Washington than most of us watching from afar will ever know. What's going
to happen next with Jeff Sessions and indeed possibly Rex Tillerson at this point?
GREEN: The one thing I've learned is you never try to make any predictions about Donald Trump and what he might do next because he's certain to defy
them. But Sessions has already taken so much humiliation.
And any ordinary administration an attorney general subject to this kind of treatment would have -- would have resigned to preserve his own personal
honor and integrity. And yet, Sessions hasn't.
I think the reason he hasn't is because he is a true believer in Trumpism. He's very errantly anti-immigrant, anti-free trade, knows that he has power
to shape policy in the Trump administration by virtue of the fact that he is the attorney general.
So I think he is loathe to resign this position and give up that influence despite what seems like unending public humiliation from his own president.
ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there. Your analysis is very (Inaudible), thank you, sir.
Coming up, America's longest war may drag on a bit longer. The catch, well, another player, it seems, on the field. We'll have all the details
on that up next.
[11:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Right. A quarter 8:00 in the evening in Abu Dhabi. You're watching CNN, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
The war in Afghanistan is the longest ever fought by the United States and so far, there's no clear policy from the Trump administration on the future
of the conflict there.
Now a further blurring of the battle lines, there are accusations that Moscow is supplying weapons to their former foes, the Taliban. It's a
charge that Russia denies. Nick Paton Walsh has this exclusive report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Decades of war in Afghanistan mean enemies have turned friends and back again but one new
devastating alliance risks redrawing the map here. The Russians once fought the Taliban here then called major redeem. The loss brought down
the soviet empire.
But now Moscow may actually be arming their old enemies the Taliban according to American and Afghan officials bolstered by exclusive images
obtained by CNN.
This is a breakaway Taliban group in the west with what they say are Russian government-supplied weapons they've seized from a mainstream
Taliban group they defeated.
UNIDETIFIED MALE (Through a Translator): These were given to the fighters of Mullah-Hibatullah (ph) by the Russians via Iran, he says. The Russians
giving them these weapons to fight ISIS in Afghanistan but they're using them against us, too.
We captured six of them with these guns when they attacked. And these weapons, too, the Taliban fighter in Hamas claims were supplied free by
neighboring Tajikistan by the Russians.
WALSH: These pistols have been brought to us recently, he says. They're made in Russia and they're very good stuff. Small arms experts told us
there's nothing here tying the guns to the Russian state.
They are new or rare, various markings missing or scratched off. Even this Chinese-made scope is readily available online. But the commander here was
outspoken on the threat.
JOHN NICHOLSON, GENERAL, UNITED STATES ARMY: But arming belligerence or legitimizing belligerence who perpetuate attacks like we saw a few days ago
in (Inaudible), is not the best way forward to a peaceful reconciliation.
WALSH: But you're not refuting that they're sending weapons.
NICHOLSON: I'm not refuting that.
WALSH: Afghans official suspect Russian deliveries for at least two months.
SEDIQ SEDIQI, DIRECTOR, AFGHAN GOVERNMENT MEDIA CENTRE: The Russians have said that they are -- you know, they maintain contact with the Taliban.
But we have lots of other reports from people that they are arming the Taliban.
WALSH: There's no smoke without fire, is there?
SEDIQI: Absolutely. We believe that there's no smoke without fire.
WALSH: These pictures are in controvertible proof. The Russians -- if they did this would have tried to hide their tracks and then Afghanistan
were torn as it is. The truth is often masked behind countless agendas.
But these pictures will spark questions as to the true extent of Moscow's involvement here in a country whereas the soviets they suffered a crushing
defeats at the hands of American-backed fighters.
Russia said claims they're arming the Taliban are, quote, utterly false and made to cover up for American failure. They talked to the Taliban they say
purely to promote peace talks. They deny to you that they are arming the Taliban.
SEDIQI: Absolutely they have denied that. The issue was contact to the Taliban by the Russians that was something that really concerned of as
well. So no contacts will be made with non-state groups.
WALSH: Another new agenda, another new fuel to Afghanistan's endless fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That was Nick Paton Walsh reporting there and he's joining us now from the Afghan capital, Kabul. Nick, does the evidence stack up here?
WALSH: It's hard to tell in all truth, Becky. I mean, we've heard these accusations from U.S. and Afghan officials persistently. And some of them
say they're quite aware and have evidence this is actually occurring.
The broader question is the videos we have now as far as we can, we are quite confident they have enough authenticity that we put them in front of
you here. As I've said in that report, there's always the potential for mass agendas here in Afghanistan obscuring the truth of the matter.
The point is though, we persistently hear these accusations from multiple different sources. And now we do have actual images of these weapons in
[11:50:00] You have to ask yourself are there some Taliban who are willing to put them in front of American cameras that may suggest that slightly
more commonly seen around the battlefield than just a rare occasion.
So perhaps, yes, this does begin to tip and do us a favor of quite likely being something we're seeing happing more than just once or twice. Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick, briefly, how much of a footprint does ISIS have in Afghanistan today July 2017?
WALSH: At this point less than it used to. The coalition are quite content that the intensive bombing campaign and Special Forces, they've
deployed in the east of the country to push them back have been veritably successful.
But we've seen them ebb (Inaudible) and rise before in the past. That sort of sign curve going up and down. No point of being complacent. That
massive ordinance that was dropped on one kept complex that had in the east, that is potentially a huge blow for them.
But they're never short of recruits. Their extremist groups are popular to disenfranchise insurgency here, many of whom see a Taliban as sort of
superannuated group, they're not sure they want to join anymore.
So a definite risk here without a doubt. And may say that could be behind the Russian plan if it indeed is happening on the scale in which some
suggest. They want to see the Taliban take on ISIS who they see as the more worrying of the two extremist groups. Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh out of Kabul with some exclusive reporting one again tonight. Nick, thank you.
You're watching connect the world with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, a name with a ring to it. A face you'll get used to seeing on TV and the
late show hosts in the states making sure you know all about it. But will he do the fandango? That's up next.
ANDERSON: Well, a name with a musical ring to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDETIFIED GROUP: I see a little silhouette of a man scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fandango
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The Mooch, the Trump administration's new communications director only five days into his new role. And already late night show
hosts are making gags. So without mooch further adieu, let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Trump appointed a new communications director former hedge funds manager and lawyer whose ad is above the urinal Anthony
SCARAMUCCI: I love the president. I love the president. I love the president. I've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. But I'm not buying that this guy is a great athlete.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Trump and Scaramucci have more in common than you think.
JIMMY FALLON, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: Anthony Scaramucci deleted a bunch of old tweets that were critical of Trump's platform. Trump was shocked. He
said, you can delete tweets?
UNIDETIFIED MALE: At the end of his marathon press conference where he talked about the president's karma and the love he has for the American
people, Scaramucci bid good-bye to the press corps with an air kiss. So in summer, here is the mooch gave us a smooch after spicy screwed the pooch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: I think we're all punned out for the night, but in case you aren't, smooches, pooches and mooches to you. Everything in between is all
on our Facebook page.
[11:55:00] That is Facebook.com/CNNconnect. If you are a regular viewer, you will be well aware of that. Do get in touch with us, have a look,
check it out. We've got lots and lots, and lots of stuff on there. Not just what we've done tonight.
But stuff we do throughout the week, months, and years that we've been on the air and the years to come will be really full. I'm Becky Anderson.
That was Connect the World.
From the team here and those working with us in London and in Atlanta, thank you for watching. The news of course continues here on CNN. Quest
Express is next.