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Trump renews attacks on Sessions despite backlash; Sessions to announce crackdown on leaks; Kremlin: sanctions are a step back in U.S. relations; First Republican health care bill fails in U.S. Senate; Lawyers says Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty; Opposition starts two-day strike against Maduro; U.S. House overwhelmingly passes sanctions bill; Trump, let to lay out Afghanistan policy; Europe suffering drought and fires Aired 11- 12p ET

Aired July 26, 2017 - 11:00:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CONNECT THE WORLD SHOW HOST: And wildfires raging across France and Portugal. We're going to check out what is Europe's

extraordinary weather.


ANDERSON: Very warm welcome. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, just after 7:00 in the evening here. Time will


You could say that about a lot of the uncertainties plaguing the White House right now from a health care reform effort that appears on life

support to a Russia sanctions bill drawing the ire of the Kremlin.

But President Donald Trump's spending a lot of his time on a controversy of his own making, attacking one of his top officials yet again. He just

fired off new tweets rebuking Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Mr. Trump apparently ignoring the growing backlash from fellow Republicans who are rallying to Sessions' defense, he needs his party's support in

issues like health reform.

In fact, a Senate bill to repeal Obamacare is facing another vote this hour. That's a key vote this hour. Mr. Trump's new communications

director explains it this way. The president is a, quote, very expressive guy who tells it like it is."


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: You've got to have a very tough skin to work or deal with the president.

But if he respects your toughness and he respects your honesty, and your loyalty, somebody said, as you guys were entering this eight hour segment

that loyalty for the president's one sided.

That is absolute nonsense, OK? He is a symmetrical loyalist for sure. If you take care of him, he's going to take care of you.


ANDERSON: You heard it here first, that is Anthony Scaramucci. Well, the pressure is on Jeff Sessions may be paying off. The attorney general is

expected to announce a crackdown on intelligence leaks, one of the president's top priorities.

Well, their sources say it's been in the works for some time. Let's bring in the White House correspondent for you, Jeremy Diamond and in Moscow for

you tonight, it's Phil Black.

Let's start with you, Jeremy, I'd like to say that it's not the minutia here that matters to our viewers around the world, it is the big picture.

But when the leader of the most powerful country in the world insists on using Twitter to outline his administration's policy, then frankly we are

reduced to the minutia. Guess what do you make of Donald Trump's latest meetings?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is beyond Twitter even. You know, we saw the president yesterday during this news conference

again publicly rebuking -- rebuking Jeff Sessions saying that he's very disappointed in him.

He's referring in particular to Jeff Sessions' decision -- legal decision, we should know to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian

meddling in the 2016 election.

And the president however has refused to give Jeff Sessions any sense of his fate, refusing to say whether or not he would fire him, or whether he

is hoping that Jeff Sessions will resign.

However, two sources close to the matter tell me that several aides within the west wing including Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, the chief of

staff, have been encouraging the president to drop his continued attack against Jeff Sessions.

Reminding him of Jeff Sessions' long time political loyalty, and also pointing the president to the fact that Jeff Sessions has been one of the

most successful people in the cabinet as far as advancing the president's agenda, embodying the president's hard line on illegal immigration and also

cracking down on crime across the country, a key plank of the president's campaign proposals.

However, it seems as of yet there has been no meeting brokered directly between the two men. And sources close to the matter tell me that really

that is what will be needed if the president and the attorney general are to move forward past this and if Sessions is going to remain in the


[11:05:00] ANDERSON: Watch this space or your Twitter feed I guess at this point. When the bright lights are on and the cameras are rolling, U.S.

lawmakers usually choose their words very carefully, don't they, and keep especially biting comments to themselves.

But two U.S. senators didn't realize a microphone hadn't been turned off at the end of a recent hearing. Let's just have a listen to what they had to

say about President Trump, Jeremy.


SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: I think he's crazy


REED: I mean, I don't say that lightly and as a kind of goofy guy. Oof, and you know the -- this thing, you know, if we don't get a budget deal...


REED: ... we're going to be paralyzed. DOD is going to be paralyzed.

COLLINS: I know, I don't even think he knows there is a BCA or anything, I really don't


ANDERSON: And to be clear, these are two congressmen from across the divide, Democrat and a Republican. Look, Jeremy, Trump would accuse the

mainstream media of jumping on a moment like this just to congressman, you know, call off my -- going to call my -- as we call it in the media.

But look, is it clear whether what they are saying is reflective or indicative of the way that Congress feels about this president?

DIAMOND: Well, sometimes those hot mike moments are indeed more regulatory than the comments these senators can make when they know the cameras and

the microphones are turned on.

But certainly this is a Congress particularly the Democrats but even many Republicans who have when they know the cameras are on and the microphones

are on, they have publicly reprimanded this president at times.

Expressing disagreements with his policies and also the way in which he does business. And we have seen many members of Congress from Senator John

McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham, both Republicans, also Senator Collins who was caught on that hot mike.

You know, publicly criticizing the president and saying when he goes too far and saying that he's crossed the line. However as you know, I don't

think that they have gone as far as those hot mike comments -- you know, as far as Susan Collins went in those hot mike comments.

But clearly it is reflective of members of Congress' increasing distrust and sometimes perplexion as far as how this president is going about his


ANDERSON: That's a story out of Washington. I was going to say today. Let's just say this hour, shall we? Because things may change as it is

watch this space or watch the Twitter feed. Jeremy, thank you for that. Stick around there.

Phil, Donald Trump's latest dilemma if you will, is a Russian sanctions bill that will likely make its way to his desk for his signature in the

coming days. It's unclear how he will respond but I know the Kremlin already making noise your end.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL FREELANCE REPORTER: Yes, Becky, that's right. The Kremlin-Russian officials generally, there's been a lot of talk

about this today. There's been some, how dare they still outrage.

But more often -- more frequently I think, what we're hearing is pessimism, a resigned pessimism about what this means for the future of Russian-

American relations.

Russian officials here broadly believe that these sanctions will lock Russia and the United States into the cold bitter relationship that first

started to turn very chilly under President Obama. That's what the deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was getting at today.

In some of his statements he said this or I'll show them to you. He said, what is happening does not fit the framework of common sense. The authors

and sponsors of this legislation are taking a serious step towards the destruction of prospect for normalizing relations with Russia.

Essentially, he is saying, it makes current problems unfixable. There was a cautious hope here that a prompt -- Trump presidency, sorry, should be

able to or would be able to turn things around. But it was all offset by the suspicion that regardless of President Trump's intentions.

The bulk of the American political establishment remained deeply suspicious of Russia. I think you hear much more colorful language here and officials

talking about Russophobia or an anti-Russian hysteria among American politicians.

Now this near unanimous vote in Congress essentially confirms that suspicion. So there are some calls here for Russia to respond in a way

that would harm the United States. The Kremlin is saying that it's going to hold off for the moment.

[11:10:00] It's going to wait to see what the final sanctions bill looks like once it's passed both Houses of Congress before it declares precisely

what its response will be, Becky.

ANDERSON: Phil in Moscow, Jeremy is in Washington for you today. Both of you, thank you.

Well, Pete Sousa used to follow Barack Obama around snapping photos. He was his official photographer. You see now a days, he likes to share some

of his favorite memories on Instagram. Shall we say, opportune times.

So while goes after Jeff Sessions, a few hours ago, Pete put this up, the caption reading quote, President Obama standing alongside Attorney General

Eric Holder in 2013.

The U.S. Senate voted narrowly to open the debate on repealing Obamacare on Tuesday. It was a dramatic revival of an effort that many thought was dead

in the water.

But it wasn't long until Republicans saw their latest plan to replace Barack Obama's health care plan for well sure for the votes they needed.

Suzanne Malveaux on this from Capitol Hill.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Republican effort to broker an agreement on health care, suffering its first setback, with the

Senate decisively rejecting the GOP's most comprehensive replacement plan, nine Republicans voting against the measure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion is not agreed to.

MALVEAUX: The Senate expected to take up to day, Senator Rand Paul's proposal to repeal Obamacare with the delay on the replacement plan for two

years. A measure that the CBO estimates will leave 32 million more Americans uninsured and is also expected to fail.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: This is just the beginning. We're not out here to spike the football. This is a long way. But we'll finish at

the end of the week hopefully.

MALVEAUX: The Senate kicking off the health care debate with a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Vice president votes in the affirmative.

MALVEAUX: Pence casting the deciding vote after all Democrats and two Republicans voted against beginning debate. Senator John McCain returning

to a hero's welcome after his brain cancer diagnosis.

Chastising Republicans for the way they have gone about health care reform but voting in favor of beginning debate and the first repeal and replace

measure, the Senate veteran delivering a scathing indictment of partisan politics paralyzing their chamber.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Stop listening to the bombastic loud mouths on the radio and television, and the internet, to hell with them. Let's

trust each other.

Let's return to regular order. We've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help

from across the aisle.

MALVEAUX: President Trump taking a decisively different tone at a rally in Ohio Tuesday night.

TRUMP: Any senator who votes against repeal and replace is telling America that they are fine with the Obamacare nightmare. And I predict they'll

have a lot of problems.

MALVEAUX: At a Rose Garden news conference, the president slammed the two Republican senators who voted against beginning debate.

TRUMP: We had two Republicans that went against us which is very sad, I think. It's very, very sad for them.

MALVEAUX: Democrats pledging to keep the pressure on their Republican colleagues as they fight to preserve President Obama's signature health

care law.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We have lost an important battle today. But we have not yet lost this war.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: We are going to fight and fight, and fight, and fight until this bill is dead.


ANDERSON: Suzanne Malveaux, reporting for you there viewers. CNN political analyst and editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast John Avlon, now

live in New York to help us figure out what happens next.

Repeal, replace, let it fail, you be forgiven for having a sense of exhaustion in watching all of this unfold which is by no means to belittle

the very, very important legislation that affects millions and millions of America's poorest.

John, without getting stuck in the weeds for the millions watching around the world who are fascinated by what is going on and care, what happens


JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So today is essentially a Senate scrum. They're going to try to find -- find a way to put together a bill that can

get majority passage. But no comprehensive bill has been put forward. Repeal and delay bill is expected to come first.

Basically, repeal Obamacare and then wait around two years to figure out what comes next. This of course would cause enormous chaos because of the

inheritance certainty.

Other options are so called, skinny repeal, which would remove the individual mandate, the corporate mandate for coverage and a tax bill, and

then other options being put forward by individual senators.

But no one on Capitol Hill today with millions of Americans' health insurance and personal health on the line, there is total chaos with regard

to what specific bills will be put forward.

[11:15:00] And what a final plan could look like, and no guidance from the White House on that at all beyond the bunting of repeal and replace.

ANDERSON: John, during yesterday's proceedings, Arizona Senator John McCain who is a very familiar face on the international stage that has to

be set back.

One of the most familiar U.S. senators who we heard from in Suzanne's report spoke passionately about the need for compromise in the upper House,

the Senate. Let's have a quick listen to some of what he said.


MCCAIN: at times when I was involved even in a modest way with working on a bipartisan response to a national problem or threat, are the proudest

moments in my career and by far the most satisfying.


ANDERSON: But not a single Democrat voted in favor of the motion. Is there, John, really any hope of bipartisanship in the atmosphere that we

currently see in Washington?

AVLON: There is hope because this is a departure from the way American government and the Congress operates best in the past as Senator McCain


The problem is that you've got an increasingly ideologically polarized parties that don't actually reflect the full spectrum of reviews to the

American people and they're very dug in, in opposing anything offered by the other team.

I mean, look, you know, the Republicans were so fixated on repealing Obamacare. That totally united them. But they never did the work of

actually putting together a positive plan they would offer as an alternative. The replace was never filled in.

What John McCain is talking about is a by gone era, yes, but one that spends decades where bipartisan coalitions were put together. That is not


If, for example, the Republicans did not put -- find enough votes and they're trying to jam it through with a narrow majority to put forward a

plan, it's possible.

I don't want to put the triumph of hope over experience here, but it's possible that you could have a bipartisan reform bill to fix what's not

working, the unintended consequences of Obamacare.

But the atmosphere is so poisoned and it is so polarized that that common sense approach to legislation which is one of the principle of compromise

from which our constitution came about is almost a museum piece. And that's what John McCain was railing against is that drift and telling the

senators to take responsibility for restoring it.

ANDERSON: Another busy day in the U.S. and it is only 11:17 in the morning.


ANDERSON: John, we appreciate your time, thank you. The usual rancor in the Senate -- U.S. Senate paused on Tuesday as John McCain's return put out

a heart warming bipartisan spirit. The star chief political correspondent, Dana Bash was there.

And she writes, quote, I have been inside the Senate chamber to observe several momentous events over the years from the impeachment trial of Bill

Clinton to the vote to authorize war after 9/11.

But nearly hour-long swirl of emotion I witnessed Tuesday afternoon is seared in my memory. Dana has all the moments she didn't get to see from

tears to slightly awkward but well meaning bear hugs at where you'll find her reporters notebook. Well worth the read.

Still to come tonight, protesters back on the streets in Venezuela and this man, President Maduro, still drawing their ire. We are live in Caracas in

a few minutes.

And one of the Catholic Church's top cardinals appears in court. His lawyer says he'll plead not guilty. We are all over that story from Rome

to Australia.


ANDERSON: Well it's a scene you have seen many times before, I'm afraid. Opposition protesters on the streets of the Venezuelan capital Caracas,

they've been doing this for months, rallying against the presidency of Nicholas Maduro.

I would over the last few days right now, the opposition kicking off a two day national strike. It's not the first time they've done this. Millions

took part in one -- just last week. It is the latest push by Maduro's critics, ahead of Sunday's referendum on whether to elect a new assembly.

Let's get you to Caracas. CNN's Paula Newton is there. Paula? I see we just -- we just lost communications with Paula. Let's move on. We're

going to get you some of the other stories that are on our radar today. And we'll see if we can get Paula back.

The most senior cardinal in the history of the Catholic Church to face criminal charges has appeared in court in Australia. Cardinal George Pell

faces multiple charges of historical sexual assault offenses.

Pell who is taking a leave of absence from his job as Vatican treasurer has long denied the charges and his lawyers say he plans to plead not guilty.

Anna Coren, reports now from the court in Melbourne.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was always expected to be a highly anticipated appearance for one of the Vatican's most powerful

figures. But no one expected this level of intensity.

Flanked by police, Cardinal George Pell walked slowly into Melbourne Magistrates Court followed by his legal team. His head bowed, his face


Charged with historical sexual assault offenses by multiple complaints, the 76-year-old was not required to appear for this preliminary hearing.

However, with the world watching, he turned up to face court. Last month after Australian police announced the charges, he made a public statement

from the Vatican saying he had endured a relentless character assassination and that he is innocent.

GEORGE PELL, CARDINAL PRELATE, CATHOLIC CHURCH: I'm looking forward finally to having my day in court. I'm innocent of these charges. They

are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.

COREN: The charges are the result of a two year investigation by a special police task force set up to investigate complaints of widespread sexual

abuse in the Catholic Church and other religious institutions.

It follows the royal commission and national inquiry into the way organizations mishandled child sexual abuse with the Catholic Church

revealed as one of the worst offenders.

It found that seven of Australian Catholic priest had been accused of sexually abusing children between 1950 and 2010. And that within one order

the brothers of St. John of God, more than 40 percent of priest has been accused of abuse.

Back inside the small Melbourne courtroom, the Vatican treasurer sat in the front row directly behind his legal team. He appeared pale and motionless.

The routine hearing lasts for only eight minutes.

After the brief appearance, Cardinal Pell was again forced to make his way back through the media frenzy, this time to his lawyer's office. Rough

treatment, one of the pope's closest advisors is not used to.

While Cardinal Pell is not due to enter a plea before his next court appearance in October, his barristers, Robert Richter got on the front foot

telling the court to avoid any doubt, Cardinal Pell will be pleading not guilty to all charges. Anna Coren, CNN, Melbourne.


[11:25:00] ANDERSON: Well, our Vatican Correspondent Delia Gallagher joining me now from Rome. What does this mean for the pope? Is he

reacting to what is going on?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, there is no official reaction from the Vatican to today's proceedings. But Pope Francis last

year was directly asked about allegations against Cardinal Pell and possible charges, and he said at that time, I will speak once justice has


So we're not expecting to hear from the pope until we have a verdict in the case. And when Cardinal Pell gave his statement from Rome at the end of

last month to shortly after the charges were announced, he said that he has kept Pope Francis fully informed about the proceedings.

So we know that pope and the Vatican are well aware of what is going on in Australia and, of course, the most important thing is that justice is

served for the victims and for Cardinal Pell.

But the case has clearly secondary consequences as well for the reputation of Pope Francis. This is a man, Cardinal Pell, in whom the pope has placed

a great amount of trust. He hand picked him to come over here to serve as his finance chief.

He chose him as one of only nine cardinals to be a special adviser to him, so the outcome of this case will be important for Pope Francis on that

level as well as of those, of course, for the Catholic Church as a whole. Becky.

ANDERSON: Certainly allegations of sexual abuse now not unfamiliar. Just how troubling is this latest case to the Vatican?

GALLAGHER: Well, clearly it's shocking. He is the highest Vatican official Catholic Church official to be officially charged. As we said, he

is a man who is right in the inner sanctum there with Pope Francis.

What the charges have done really, Becky, over here is put the spotlight back on what is happening at the Vatican and what Pope Francis is doing

about sex abuse cases.

And, frankly this pope has received a lot of praise but sex abuse is one of the areas where there is still room for improvement. The pope himself said

there is a backlog of 2,000 cases at the office that handled sex abuse at the Vatican.

Two of the prominent members of the sex abuse commission that Pope Francis set up resigned in frustration. Now one of the things that the pope has

done and it happened shortly after a few days after the charges against the cardinal were announced, he removed the head of the office that deals with

sex abuse at the Vatican.

It is called the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. It doesn't only deal with sex abuse. So the pope's decision may not have been related

to the sex abuse crisis. However, he did remove him and there is a new man in charge.

That means that there is an opportunity now for Pope Francis and the Vatican to show that dealing with sex abuse and giving justice to the

victims is a priority for them. Becky.

ANDERSON: Delia is in Rome for you viewers. I want to get you back -- thank you, Delia -- to Caracas, now. That used to be technical hiccups a

moment ago, but beaming to our CNN's Paula Newton. Paul, just what is the latest from there?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now we have the start of the two day strikes, 6:00 a.m. this morning. Becky, normally this

street used to be clogged with traffic right now as can you see empty streets.

But this as many people have warned us is the calm before the storm. We heard that just few streets over, government authorities are trying to

break down a lot of the barricades that the opposition put up. And this is the problem.

It leads to confrontation and as we know more and more violence. The strategy of the opposition, Becky, is absolutely paralyzed these streets

for two days in order to try and convince Nicholas Maduro to not have that vote on the weekend.

A vote that opposition and some on the international community say will lead to the last remnants of Democracy here evaporating. They say this is

a crucial vote for Venezuela and they want many, many people here to stay off the streets and go back out this evening and Friday to protest. Becky?

ANDERSON: And, Paula, if the opposition finds no success at the weekend, what's next?

NEWTON: Yes, such a good question. Many people have asked this for months and months, and months as we continue to see more of the protests.

Quite frankly, the under occurrence of the humanitarian crisis which still exists and is quite pro found here, Becky. There are some game changers

though. Principle among them, the opposition is much more united than it was and seems to have more people behind them.

That is key. Another one, Becky, the White House, right, Donald Trump putting out that, look if, this vote continues on the weekend, they will

respond. The White House was strong and swift economic restrictions, sanctions perhaps.

We don't know what it's going to be but it could have an influence. And it is also putting wind of sails of the opposition.

[11:30:00] They feel that they have an American government that is behind them. Certainly the government of Nicholas Maduro is accusing the CIA of

being involved in what is going on here and for that reason though many are fearful of what could be a tipping point.

And remember, Becky, things develop here very quickly. They turn on a dime and things become very violent specifically because as the months have

rolled on, this humanitarian crisis, people have less and less to lose.

They don't have anything to eat, almost scavenging for food. And those shortages of medicine are quite key here, that have turned many people

against the government of Nicholas Maduro.

ANDERSON: Paula Newton's literally on the streets of Caracas for you. Paula, thank you for that. Our viewers latest world news headlines are

just ahead and plus 16 years and counting. We look at America's options in Afghanistan. Is there a way to end this war?


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson, start off half past 7:00 in the UAE. Now, the U.S. is facing --


Let's start that again, shall we? The U.S. is facing pushback from several corners of the world of renewed sanctions bill that targets Russia, North

Korea and Iran. The EU, France, and Germany have joined them to object.

Iran's president calls it another example of U.S. hostility. Saying his country will respond to any new sanctions against him. Well, measure

partly House of Representatives lured to shed, it still needs a vote in the Senate and then it will have to be signed by President Trump.

John Defterios is with me now. This is, John, legislation that bundles Russia, North Korea and Iran to go with help of the Russians. They

certainly don't like it and understandably so. How does Iran see this move by Washington?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, at a very quickly applied, Becky, particularly as the vote I think was so overwhelming 19-3.


DEFTERIOS: And also to your point, the bundling, I don't they like this idea of going back to days of George Bush Jr. and the axis of evil, Russian

and North Korea, and Iran.

They didn't want to be lumped in together. In fact, Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran was a man of very few words before his cabinet this

morning. But he was direct and to the point. Let's take a listen and then we can talk about it.


[11:35:00] HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through a translator): The Islamic republic of Iran will definitely react to the new U.S. Congress

action. We will definitely respond.


DEFTERIOS: Hassan Rouhani there again only said it in a total of ten seconds. He didn't say what the response will be from Iran. But I think

it is worth bringing up the very tricky fence that the U.S. is trying to straddle here right now.

Donald Trump signed the waiver back in May which left the nuclear agreement intact actually acknowledging that Iran is following it.

But at the same time now with this legislation that's in the House and going to Senate, they're suggesting we want to fight sanctions because of

the missile testing and accusation of terror financing.

Trying to bounce the two of those is very, very difficult. In Youngstown, Ohio, Donald Trump was suggesting that if they do not stick to the letter

of the nuclear agreement, this will create big problems.

It said basically acknowledge the law or else, actually threatening words. And I think it's also worth noting here, this happened when we had the

first tensions of the Trump administration in the Persian Gulf with the war ship sending a signal -- U.S. warship sending a signal to Iranian fleets.

So think about it, Becky. We're in now two years to the month since we had that initial partial agreement, July 2015. The U.S. is not happy with it.

Iran is not seeing the fruits of it. The allies of United States here, Saudi Arabia and the UAE certainly don't even like the idea that Barack

Obama ever put it on the table.

ANDERSON: It's fascinating to see the disconnect between the White House on Russia and Iran when it comes to the European Union, and that is a story

that we should continue to chase down. Perhaps not a disconnect when it becomes between Europe and U.S. on North Korea but definitely...


ANDERSON: ... with a disconnect between Europe and the U.S. and the other two only with (Inaudible). Thank you very much indeed. Iran of course --

thank you, John. Iran of course is not the only problem Mr. Trump is facing.


TRUMP: I told you before I'm very disappointed with the attorney general but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell.


ANDERSON: Time will tell. The president just one day ago publicly chastising his attorney general during a news conference with the Lebanese

prime minister. And Mr. Trump is back at it again on today Twitter attacking Jeffrey Sessions for not replacing the acting director of the


Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are pretty upset that president is going after one of their own. And they say that Sessions deserves better than

this. Well the president has the power to fight his attorney general, so why continue with the public attacks?

Well, our next guest predicted Mr. Trump's victory and now Allan Lichtman says he believes President Trump will be impeached. The author of the

book, The Case for Impeachment and Allen Lichtman joins me now from Washington. On what do you base the conceit of this book at this point?

ALLEN LICHTMAN, AUTHOR, THE CASE FOR IMPEACHMENT: Well, I've laid out in my book the case for impeachment eight possible grounds for impeachment.

And I think several of them have really come to the fore since I published my book in April.

First of all, there is the Russia connection. I wrote in my book that a Russian sword have domically hangs over this administration. And that

sword is hanging on a very narrow thread.

Because when it comes to Russia, we see all the hallmarks of a Richard Nixon type cover-up, conceal, deny, delay, lie. And then when you are

caught, claim it was all innocuous anyway, just like the Nixon team claiming that Watergate was just a third rate burglary.

Secondly, we've seen very powerful evidence of obstruction of justice with the firing of the FBI Director Comey and Trump admitted he was firing

because he had the Russian connection on his mind.

ANDERSON: All right.

LICHTMAN: And, of course, the emoluments clause of the constitution which says you can't take anything of value from foreign governments and he's

taken lucrative trade marks from nations like China.

ANDERSON: Allen, as much as it would suit the conceit of your book and I understand why what you are saying fits the narrative as it were, none of

it has come to pass as of yet.

None of this is tied down and there are still allegations towards intents and purposes gets this Trump administration. He has a deep base, a base

that is not walking away from him.

He's getting stuff through Congress even though he's -- it's on a knife edge clearly so far as health care is concerned. So like I say, it would

suit the narrative. But in no way close at this point are we?

[11:40:00] LICHTMAN: Well, I'm not so sure. It does take a long time for impeachment to proceed. Look, the Watergate break in was in June of 1972.

Richard Nixon did not resign until after the House Judiciary Committee voted articles of impeachment against him and he resigned in August of


That was more than two years. We're only six months into the Trump administration and it's extraordinary. You know, we've gotten this far in

the investigation and in then recalls for impeachment, 42 percent of the American people in a poll are just taking a couple days ago want to impeach

him right now.

And only 27 percent of the American people believe that he will definitely survive thinks first term. We've gone way beyond allegations.

Even from what we know publicly about obstruction of justice, there is a stronger case right now against Donald Trump than there was against Bill

Clinton when the Republicans impeached him on obstruction and that was a private affair. We're talking now about a foreign power...


LICHTMAN: ... subverting American democracy.

ANDERSON: Allen, just to ensure complete transparency, I do have to let our viewers know that you did unsuccessfully seek the democratic nomination

during the 2006 Maryland race of the U.S. Senate.

So let's just be clear you are not a Republican and it doesn't sound to me any way that you're a fan of Donald Trump. Nevertheless, you have done a

lot of work for this book. And it's an important narrative.

So as you researched this man, what did you learn about his vulnerability that's would be important for us to understand as we watch what's going on

from Washington from afar?

LICHTMAN: Yes. First, let me say, you know, I made nine predictions of elections. And I predicted I think five Democrats and four Republicans.

So my analyses are nonpartisan. And I never before predicted the impeachment of a president even though I might have disagreed with their


But you're right what I discovered through my deep study of Donald Trump. Number one, he has absolutely no concern or regard for the law.

His history is one of lawlessness going all the way back to the 1970s when he was violating the Fair Housing Act or his violation of the Cuban embargo

in the 1990s, or his running a non-registered charity in New York.

Secondly, his history is one of inveterate lying. In fact, he doesn't even believe in the truth. The truth is, whatever serves him at the moment,

after all, he got into politics by perpetrating the biggest and most protracted lie in the history of American politics that Barack Obama was an

illegitimate president because he was born out side of the United States.

Third, what I also discovered is Donald Trump cares about one and only one thing and that is Donald Trump. Even in his business dealings, when

business dealings have gone sour, he's just walked away and let other people take the pain.

And I think we're seeing, these three characteristics as a hallmark of how he's conducted as presidency and all of them make him vulnerable to


ANDERSON: Right. Allen Lichtman for you out of Washington and it's been - - good having you on. Thank you for joining us. It's 11:43 there, 19:43 here in the UAE to a Russian collusion of entirely different kind.

You might remember Rick Perry. He is the U.S. Energy secretary. He's had a few political clangors in this time like this moment in the 2012

presidential race.


RICK PERRY, U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY: The third agency of government I would do away with education, the -- commerce and let's see -- I can't. The

third one I can't. Sorry. Oops.


ANDERSON: Oops. Perry now in charge, the U.S. nuclear program in case you didn't know. Early this month, he was fooled by a pair of Russian phone

pranksters posing as Ukrainian prime minister.

And optimistic chat about energy needs turned south when the conversation pivoted to a new type of fuel made from alcohol and pig manure. Perry is

in good company though.

Elton John is also fallen victim to prank call from comedians. I'm sure, pranks and good luck rather, and the rest of it. A lot more good stuff

ahead. Taking a quick break. Back after this.


ANDERSON: In America's longest war, not only is there no end in sight, for now there is no policy either. Donald Trump has yet to lay out his vision

for Afghanistan. I mean, so much else going on. You may ask why focus on this?

Well, let me tell you, because besides the human toll on civilians and soldiers, it's one more place where Russia, the U.S., and Iran are vying

for influence and clout. Well, my next guest says President Trump is no easy option in this war.

Laurel Miller has just completed her service as acting U.S Special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and she is joining us now.

Thank you for doing so. How do you explain where we stand after nearly 17 years in Afghanistan and the U.S. interests there?


before President Trump and his administration.

As you noted, the war has been going on for very long period of time now. And new administration and a new administration is going to want to pause,

and consider the way forward, and whether there are any new directions available.

And unfortunately, there are not a very appealing set of options before the president right now. He has a choice to draw down from Afghanistan which



MILLER: ... create a serious risk and he has a choice to increase, and he choice to more or less stay the course. And that's obviously not a very

appealing menu to the president.

ANDERSON: can I just ask you about Rex Tillerson because -- in your capacity, you have effectively worked for the State Department, a

department that is just cutting costs all over the shop we are told.

Is this a man who is going to hang around? What do you know of him? And what sort of damage is being done to the healthy and efficient operations

of U.S. assets on the ground around the world in places like Afghanistan?

MILLER: Well, I can't speak to the secretary of state's own thinking about his role and his future in that role. Those are questions for him. I

can't say that in Afghanistan, we still have the largest embassy of the United States in the world.

One of the largest development assistance programs in the world and so those -- those activities and the necessary diplomatic activities that are

required, require resources, require people to manage the policy. You don't-- you don't do more with less. You do less with less even if you're

more efficient.

ANDERSON: We talk a lot about U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan. And we don't know whether there will be more or less of those going forward. But

that is also a little bit misleading, is it?

[11:50:00] Because the war in rebuilding efforts lean heavily on private contractors, a reliance that peaked in 2012 under the then President Obama

numbers shrinking as forces withdrew. But it is private contractors who today still outnumber U.S. troops in Afghanistan by about three to one.

I was surprised by those numbers. And of course, they cost the taxpayer a lot -- a lot more than $100 billion in less than a decade, those figures

from the U.S. congressional research service.

Surely when there is this much money to be made by so many interested parties, there is very little incentive to wind down this war.

MILLER: Well, I would say it is the case that there are huge number of contractors working for the United States government in Afghanistan.

Not only for the military but also for the State Department, also for the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies, and that has

long been the case.

Whether that factor influences American policy, I would hesitate to say, I mean, obviously organizations that have -- that benefit from the profits to

be made through contracting would have incentives to promote their services. But I don't think that that's what influences American policy


ANDERSON: Let's just very briefly talk about American policy making then because it's completely unclear what the U.S. -- Trump administration think

about Afghanistan and whether he even cares about Afghanistan at this point. Have you got any sense of what happens next? Where -- where the

White house versus the State Department is on this issue?

MILLER: I think it's unpredictable because it's apparent given that the policy review has been going on longer than anticipated. That there is

dissatisfaction with the option that's have been put forward.

The easiest course of action is the status quo. And I would include increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan slightly to be

effectively a status quo approach. It's easiest course of action because it's the least risk and the least cost.

Either ramping up or pulling out would be much more costly. But there is another option that is available to the president that has not been

discussed nearly as at much length as the question of...


MILLER: ... our troop numbers and that's the possibility of investing much more heavily, and much more concertedly in trying to negotiate a

political resolution of the conflict.

ANDERSON: Sure. Which we will continue to keep an eye on if that indeed is out in play. Thank you for that. We are in Abu Dhabi.

This is Connect the world. Our guest was out of Washington there. Coming up for you now, wildfires, droughts, floods, it's not the next disaster

film. It is reality on the ground in Southern Europe. That's next.


[11:55:00] ANDERSON: Well, one of Europe's most visited cities is trying to drown out its flames and another is turning off its water supply, for

that and more, joining us from CNN's weather center, Mr. Chad Myers. Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER EXPERT: Becky, I think this is desperate. Desperate for many people, Portugal, France, and even Italy that really has

not yet come to the forefront of mainstream media. Portugal, looking like this.

Now I want to take you to Google earth, plot all of the fires that are around France and Portugal, and Italy right now, right here along from Caen

all the way back down in Nice, somebody's areas on fire right now.

I want to take you to a piece of picture, some video that got in yesterday from (Inaudible), one of the reporters there. And he see, OK that is

smoke. I understand. There is smoke in the background. They're on a beach. And guess what?

They got to stay on that beach all night long because they were not allowed to go back to their vacation rentals. They had to sleep there because

there was no other place that was safe enough for them to be in the overnight hours.

They were all evacuated and they had to sleep right there. So let's get back to these maps here. We're going to see winds of 50 to 60 kilometers

per hour.

On top of those areas that are already seeing flames, that will fan the flames even more. People are in trouble here. We need rain and it's not

in the forecast.

ANDERSON: Yes. Chad Myers in the house for you this evening. Thank you, Chad. I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you so much

for watching. Quest Express is up next.