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CONNECT THE WORLD
Defiant North Korea; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian counterpart; The vote of no confidence in South African president Jacob Zuma; Manhunt for suspects in attack on a military base in Venezuela; President Donald Trump on a working vacation; Israel closing down Al Jazeera office. Gender Gap in Google. Aired at 11a-12p ET
Aired August 7, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Non-negotiable complaints speaking from North Korea on its nuclear program, a defiant rebuke (ph) to an international
diplomatic push. Key meetings at the ASEAN summit seem to have come to nothing. We've got a full update from Manila in just a moment.
Also, life getting back to normal. CNN has an exclusive look inside government-held Syria where peace comes at a price.
Also, the nine political lives of Jacob Zuma. We are in South Africa as it's announced the president status of secret ballot, no confidence push
Hello and welcome to "Connect the World." I'm Robyn Curnow in Atlanta filling in for my colleague Becky Anderson. And we begin with North Korea's
refusal to back down in the face of international pressure. The country's foreign minister says new U.N. sanctions will not stop its nuclear program.
In fact, he says North Korea won't even negotiate over the program or its ballistic missiles. He met with his South Korean counterpart on the
sidelines of a regional security summit. Our Ivan Watson has been at that summit in Manila and he has more on the crisis.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he said that his goal in coming here to Manila to
this international gathering was to try to diplomatically isolate North Korea and he's had some success about that. First with a United Nation
Security Council resolution unanimously backed even by China and Russia who had major differences with the U.S. of late which slapped new sanctions on
the North Korean regime banning the exports of coal, iron and even seafood in an effort to try deprive North Korea of large sums of export revenue
that are vital for its economy.
Then you had the assembly of southeast Asian nations which put out their own statement at the start of this gathering expressing grave concern about
North Korea's two intercontinental ballistic missile launches that happened just last July arguing that they were a threat to world peace. I've learned
that the Philippines foreign minister, the host of this gathering personally delivered these comments to the North Korean foreign minister
and read them out loud to him essentially lecturing him on North Korea's pursuit of ballistic missile technology and nuclear weapons, all of which
are banned under multiple United Nation Security Council resolutions.
And then you have China and its foreign minister who also conveyed a similar message to the North Koreans in a face-to-face meeting here in
Manila. Well, North Korea is not responding as if it's really learned anything from this. It's responding with characteristic defiance seeking to
frame this entirely as a confrontation between Pyongyang and Washington. Arguing that it must have nuclear weapons as deterrence, as self-defense
against potential U.S. threats and arguing that none of the other countries that are criticizing its pursuit of nuclear weapons that they do not have
the moral right to criticize the Pyongyang regime.
So it doesn't seem to have earned itself any friends here at this gathering in Manila. And we do have to point out that it is Southeast Asian nations
that stood up for North Korea saying, hey, we should not expel North Korea from the Asian regional forum because it's better to talk to help reduce
tensions on the North Korean on the Korean Peninsula.
So at the end of the day, you've got more pressure, international pressure against Pyongyang that has been lead by the U.S. and a North Korea that is
more defiant than ever insisting it will continue with its nuclear weapons program, its ballistic missile test despite growing pressure against it
from many different corners internationally, Robyn.
CURNOW: Thank you Ivan for that report. Now, it's not just North Korea. The U.S. also confronted another major feign policy challenge at that
summit -- tensions of course with Russia now. Tillerson met with Russia's foreign minister. He says he told him point blank that meddling in the U.S.
election created serious mistrust. Let's go straight to Moscow for a reaction. Oren Liebermann joins us now. Hi Oren.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPNDENT: Hi Robyn. Tillerson had perhaps the hard job stuck in the middle of all this between the U.S. and Russia and he
acknowledge this in his statement. He said confronted Russia about election meddling but also had the tough job of
[11:05:00] trying to make these two countries get along and cooperate in certain areas. Obviously the key one of those especially at the meeting
they were at was North Korea and that is where the U.S. and Russia see eye to eye. Beyond that there are a few areas but now certainly especially
after President Trump's signing of the Sanctions Bill, there is more tension than cooperation.
Tillerson would have tried to cut through some of that saying that the relation is the worst it's been in years if not decades. Tillerson had some
harsh language when he talked about election meddling there and there the U.S. is presenting essentially a united front with some very harsh
criticism of Russia. And we also saw that from Vice President Mike Pence last week.
In fact it seems the only person in the Trump administration who is not openly criticizing Russia is Trump himself, who is directing most of his
anger towards Congress. Remember, Trump was riding a wave of popularity since he was elected some seven months ago. His inauguration I should say
seven months ago. Now it seems especially after the signing of the Sanctions Bill that popularity has come to an end.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The champagne flowed freely on inauguration night. Russia in adoration for President Donald Trump on display. Trump was
giving fawning (ph) press coverage. A favor he returned.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn't that be nice?
LIEBERMANN: In Trump, Russia saw someone's who's world view aligned with their own. Seven months later, the Trump/Putin bromance has come to an end
and with it the Russian love for the American president -- his approval rate sliding.
The leading weekly talk show saying Donald Trump shot himself in the leg, starting limping and lost a good chunk of his powers. Now, they see a weak
president, a Congress suffering from what they call russophobic hysteria and an expanding Russia investigation the Kremlin calls absurd and
What do you think of President Donald Trump?
"I don't think things have changed with Trump in the office. Of course we expected that there will be changes for good," this woman says. "He gave us
some sort of hope but think nothing has changed." "
"My opinion of him has changed a bit," says this woman. "There is little hope now that our relations will get better. He behaves more like a
businessman not like a president."
Trump's signing of the Sanctions Bill hitting Russia's energy and finance sectors dispelled any notions of the two countries getting along any time
soon, the anger playing out where else but on Twitter. Trump tweeting, our relationship with Russia is at an all-time and very dangerous low. You can
thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us health care.
Trump's frustration against Congress seen us submission in Russia. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tweeting, the Trump administration has shown
its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way. Trump and Putin have avoided criticizing each other
directly. That hasn't saved the American president's image in Russia now portrayed as impotent and weak.
A different image of Putin on holiday in Southern Siberia, seizing the moment. The president proudly bearing his own popularity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Putin better. He's the best president of the world. I think so.
LIEBERMANN: In a further response to U.S. sanctions, Russia has said it would look to remove the U.S. dollar as its reserve currency. That's more
of a symbolic statement because the dollar is so critical to oil and natural gas trading, which is what Russia's economy relies on. But it is a
symbolic statement, another push back against the implementation or tightening of the U.S. sanctions, Robyn.
CURNOW: And what else could they possibly pushback on?
LIEBERMANN: Well Putin, and this is a few days ago now about a week ago, talked about all the other areas the U.S. and Russia get along. Key of
those was space, cooperation on Syria, Russia could try to push back on any of those and cut ties on those, that would be a mellow response to U.S.
sanction. Remember, at this point, they've already closed two U.S. diplomatic compounds and have told the U.S. they need to cut some 750
members of the staff here.
CURNOW: OK, Oren Liebermann keeping an eye on all of that there in Moscow. Thanks so much.
And we'll have much more on President Trump, U.S. President Trump later o in the show. He may be out of the public eye for a couple of weeks. He's on
a working vacation but he certainly has a lot to say to the public on twitter. All details ahead on that.
Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. In Venezuela, a manhunt is under way for what those who took
part in what the government calls a paramilitary terrorist attack. President Nicolas Maduro's office says 20 people carried out the assault on
a military base in the city of Valencia. Ten are said to still be on the run.
And a storm battering Japan with heavy winds and torrential rains is weakening. Noru has been downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical storm.
It's reached central Japan early Monday after slamming the southwestern islands over the weekend.
[22:10:00] And a British woman is speaking out after she says she survived a brutal kidnapping. She says she traveled to Milan to work as a model and
photo shoot only to end up in handcuffs. Police in Italy arrested the man who brought her to safety on kidnapping charges.
And are we witnessing the beginning of a new alignment in the Middle East? Now the world is watching as Israel follows in the footsteps of four Arab
nations and targets the Al Jazeera television network. Israel has moved to shut it down. Its communications minister announced plans to pull Al
Jazeera broadcast from local cable and satellite providers after accusing it of inciting violence. But Al Jazeera denies the claim. Ian Lee joins us
now from Jerusalem with more in all of this. Hi Ian.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Yes, Israel has been known for years -- it's known as a country where there's a strong free press but that is
coming into question after these recent statements by the minister of communications here in Israel who said that they're going to go after Al
Jazeera for what they say is the terroristic journalism and saying that this isn't about freedom of speech and that it's about incitement.
And that's something we've heard from the Israeli government for quite some time saying that Al Jazeera is inciting the Palestinians to violence. They
were saying that late last month where there were two weeks of clashes here in Jerusalem and saying it for quite some time. But now we're seeing the
government saying that they're going to take steps to shutting down Al Jazeera by revoking their press credentials, also trying to find a way to
turn off the broadcast coming into Israel and the Palestinian territories.
They say they're going to start working on legislation to do that. This move has been condemned by the foreign press association here in Jerusalem
saying that Al Jazeera is a member of good standing. They'll be monitoring this. Also, the committee to protect journalists has said that censoring Al
Jazeera or closing its offices will not bring stability to the region but it will put Israel firmly in the camp of some of the regions worst enemies
of press freedom.
So, some strong condemnation there. Also Al Jazeera of course coming out against it. But the one thing that they said that really stood out was that
their journalists cover the news professionally and in an objective manner in accordance with the common journalistic standards set by the relevant
international organizations such as the British broadcasting code of Ofcom. So saying that basically that their broadcast is monitored by the British
so if it's good enough for the British it should be good enough for the Israelis, Robyn.
CURNOW: Broadly though this move, I mean, in many ways people are suggesting it's some kind of realignment particularly Israel following in
the footsteps of four Arab nations. What do you see? What is the conversation there where you are?
LEE: So you got three theories really about why Israel is doing this at this particular moment. One is it's a smoke screen. The ending of the
violence late last month, the government -- the measures the government took were deeply unpopular for many Israelis. So, they say that this could
be a side show. It could also be a side show to the prime minister's current legal woes.
But you also have people saying that this is an alignment with especially the Arabian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
It's an open secret really that Israel has relations with these countries although they have no formal diplomatic relations. But as all these
countries, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., view Iran as a growing threat, you really have to remember that old ancient expression, the enemy of my
enemy is my friend. So this shutting down of Al Jaseera is just seen as one step in alignment with those countries as well as countries like Egypt and
CURNOW: Thanks so much to you. Ian Lee there on the ground in Jerusalem. Thank you.
Well still to come, CNN exclusive inside Syria. A firsthand look at the ceasefire bringing peace that was a major battle field. Could this town be
a model for other (INAUDIBLE). Stay with us. You're watching CNN.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: Welcome back. ISIS is losing ground in Syria fast. On your screen, you're seeing scenes from the town of Al-Sukhnah. Syrian government forces
and their allies took back the area from the militant group on Saturday. Now, it was the last major town in Homs province under ISIS control.
And elsewhere in Syria, what once was a violent battlefield is now quiet. A ceasefire is in effect in the southwestern town of Quneitra. Now the truce
was brokered by the U.S. and Russia and is holding for now. CNN's own Fred Pleitgen traveled there to get a firsthand look at how life is returning to
one pocket of Syria. Here's his exclusive report.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN: It was one of the most violent battlefields in Syria. Syrian Army video shows fighting between government forces and rebels in
Quneitra, right on Israel's doorstep. But now there's a ceasefire. Tanks are parked. Soldiers relaxed.
"The fighting has significantly decreased since the ceasefire," this officer tells me. "You totally notice that. We don't hear shelling anymore
but sometimes groups like the Nusra Front break the truce. Nusra is not part of the agreement. If they start shooting we have to retaliate."
This is the front line right in the heart of town. While both the U.S. and Russia brokered this truce, the Syrian government troops feel its Russia
that has the upper hand.
"Russia has helped a lot," he says. "They laid the ground work for the ceasefire. They have the most power."
Quneitra is one of three areas in Syria where the U.S and Russia negotiated truces between government and opposition forces. The people here say of
course they appreciate the calm since the ceasefire has been put in place but they also say it's had almost an immediate impact on life here, with
more people venturing out and many businesses opening their doors once again.
A lull on the battlefield means more commotion at the barber shop where Hadi al-Asad works and many soldiers and townspeople now come to get a
"We want this to be solved for good." he says. "We just want our lives to be the way they were before." Farming is also ramping up again. Nasir al-
Sayed spends hours in the blazing sun threshing wheat. While he commends both Russia and America for brokering the truce, his grateful only to
"If America would have wanted to solve this, they could have done it a long time ago," he says. "Russia is working hard. They are strong allies."
From post on the Golan Heights, Israel is observing things with growing unease. The Israelis fear the ceasefire could allow its arch enemies, Iran
and Hezbollah, supporters of the Assad government, to move forces into this area. But at the moment the people in this town aren't worried about bigger
Middle Eastern security concerns. They're just enjoying the calm while it lasts. Fred Pleitgen CNN, Quneitra, Syria.
CURNOW: Great news there from Fred. Well joining me now for a broader look at the six-year conflict is Fawaz Gerges, professor of international
relations at the London School of Economics. He's also the author of "ISIS: A History." Fawaz thanks so much for joining us. We heard Fred's great
[22:20:00] and I mean, so important to focus on just a pocket in the life that is now going on in certain parts of Syria, but what does that tell us
broadly geopolitically? I mean who is in charge here?
FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, I think Russia is in charge, Robyn. There is consensus in Syria and in the region that
Russia yields more power than anyone else including the United States. I mean think about it. Russia coordinates with Turkey. Russia coordinates
with Israel. Russia is fighting on the same lines as Iran and Hezbollah and the Assad regime. Even the Trump administration, even the United States of
America acknowledges that Russia has the upper hand.
No wonder that basically Putin, President Putin decides you know, what particular area is the ceasefire works and where to go from here. And the
reality to answer your question in a very definite way, direct way, Russia has strategic advantage in Syria and in the neighborhood as well.
CURNOW: And has it outplayed the U.S. then?
GERGES: Well, I mean, the reality is the Trump administration does not really want to invest much capital in Syria. In fact, just two weeks ago
the Trump administration has decided to cut its major arms pipeline to the opposition. The Trump administration is not interested neither in Syria nor
in the Middle East itself because (INAUDIBLE) to an American first strategy.
And obviously the Trump administration has outsourced the Syrian portfolio to Russia. Now wonder why that Russia now is using Syria as a bargaining
cut in the region and vis a vis the United States as well.
CURNOW: In many ways, as you say Russia has strategic interests for being there, but Iran certainly has dominance on the battlefield though. What
does that mean?
GERGES: Absolutely. I mean think abut it, Robyn, a few years ago we were talking about Assad's day were numbered. Now, Assad is gaining ground, the
Syrian Army and its allies. Iran and Hezbollah are on the offensive. They're fighting as far as Raqqa and Deir Ezzor and no longer really
worried about the political survival of Assad.
Assad on his own could not have survived without the preponderant and pivotal support of Iran and Hezbollah and of course Russia. So by default,
Iran has a strategic advantage in Syria even though the Russian tell the Americans that they really they're not allies with Iran and Syria.
CURNOW: Where does Israel fit into all of this? I mean, you heard in Fred's package there that Israel's growing increasingly uneasy here. But
they too have, you know, a sense of Russia and Israel being on the same page.
GERGES: Absolutely. I mean I think about it. The Americans, the Russians and Israel have basically been talking about the security area of the so-
called Quneitra. Quneitra is the occupied areas by Israel on the Syrian- Israeli borders. There is an implicit agreement, Robyn, between the Americans and the Russians and the Israelis on the one hand and Iran on
Hezbollah, keeping Iranian, and Syrian and Hezbollah forces at a distance from the Quneitra area.
But the reality is Israel is disappointed. Israel is unhappy because the Assad regime is here to stay and the Assad regime's allies, Hezbollah and
Iran which are very impeccable enemies of Israel have really gained a strategic advantage in Syria. So even though the Russians have reassured
the Israelis that neither Iran or Hezbollah will be close to the Quneitra area on Syria-Israeli borders, the Israelis are very anxious about the
direction of the conflict in Syria.
CURNOW: So where does this leave us after six years and you've just laid out the very complex geopolitical situation. I mean many people have spoken
about the balkanization of Syria. I mean what is Syria look like in a few years time?
GERGES: You know, if the situation continues, if the Americans disengage from Syria, if Europe does not really invest strategic resources in Syria,
the Russians, by giving them the upper hand, by controlling the operational map land escape in Syria, it seems to me that Assad is winning. I'm not
suggesting that Assad will be with us forever.
But the reality is, in the next two or three or four or five years, that Assad now is trying to re-conquer many of the areas that were controlled by
ISIS and other opposition. The opposition in Syria, the mainstream nationalists, moderate opposition basically has been decimated as a result
of the Russian military intervention in Syria. If you ask me, really what's the broader
[11:25:00] geostrategic picture. It seems to me that the pro-Iranian camp in Syria, the Russian -- was Russian assisted, have really basically has
won so far operationally the war. It does not mean that basically politically and strategically in the long term.
CURNOW: Sobering assessment there from Fawaz Gerges. Thanks so much for your perspective. Appreciate it. (INAUDIBLE) from London. OK, you're
watching CNN. This is "Connect the World." Still ahead, 200 days of Donald Trump. The U.S. president reaches another milestone in office and accuses
the media of ignoring his achievements. We'll look at that and a whole lot more. Stay with us.
CURNOW: You're watching "Connect the World." The top stories at this hour.
North Korea's foreign minister says new U.S. sanctions will not stop its nuclear program. He says his country won't even negotiate over the program
or its ballistic missiles. On Saturday, the U.N. Security Council slapped tough new sanctions on the north targeting its key exports.
And U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with his Russian counterpart to the summit in Manila. He says he told the Russian foreign minister that
meddling with in the U.S. election has strained relations and created serious mistrust. The Kremlin has called the U.S. investigation into Russia
absurd and groundless.
The vote of no confidence in South African president Jacob Zuma is planned for Tuesday and crucially it's going to be a secret ballot. If it passes,
Mr. Zuma and his entire cabinet will step down.
Venezuelan authorities are searching for the perpetrators of an attack on a military base. The Sunday incident is being described by the government as
a paramilitary terrorist attack. Seven suspects were arrested at the scene and 10 are still on the run.
Donald Trump is taking a break from Washington but not from his twitter tirades. The U.S. president is on the offensive this morning lashing out
while on a 17-day getaway at one of his golf resorts. Now Mr. Trump is accusing the media of ignoring his accomplishments as he hits a new
milestone in office. Senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns has all the details.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump waking up on his 200th day in office at his golf club in New Jersey
where he'll be spending the next two weeks on a "working vacation" as the White House undergoes renovations. The president stressing on twitter that
he will still be taking meetings and calls while spending
[11:30:00] time at his resort while touting the successes of his first six months in office.
This is Vice President Mike Pence pushes back against a "New York Times" report that some Republicans had begun building 2020 shadow campaigns, with
Pence advisors allegedly signaling to party donors that he would plan to run if Trump did not. Pence contesting the story in a strongly worded
statement calling the report disgraceful and offensive and dismissing as laughable and absurd, the suggestion that he isn't working solely for
Trump's agenda and re-election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is absolutely true that the vice president is getting ready for 2020 for reelection as vice
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So no concern he's setting up a shadow campaign?
CONWAY: -- and he's also getting ready for 2018 -- zero concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: The report also cites a number of other Republicans allegedly weighing a 2020 bid as the president continue to grapple with record low
numbers and an intensifying Russia instigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATORNEY GENERAL: The special counsel is subject to the rules and regulations of the Department of Justice and we don't engage
in fishing expeditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS (voice-over): Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein asserting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller can investigate any crimes within the scope
of investigation during an interview on Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSENSTEIN: If it's something outside that scope he needs to come to the acting attorney general, at this time me, for permission to expand his
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS (voice-over): The "New York Times" reporting that Mueller's investigators have asked the White House for documents related to fired
national security adviser Michael Flynn and possible payments from the Turkish government.
CURNOW: Joe Johns reporting there. Well, Mr. Trump has said he doesn't watch much TV and he certainly doesn't watch CNN at all anymore. But and
yet, we know he tuned in this morning from an outburst on twitter. Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke to CNN about the Russia investigation. He was one
of the lawmakers investigating possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Blumenthal says the investigation must be pursued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The empanelment of the grand jury shows that Bob Mueller is pursuing this potential wrongdoing by the
Russians the attack on our democracy seriously and diligently. And there is no minimizing or underestimating that attack by the Russians.
So, protecting Bob Mueller through the legislation that a group of us on a bipartisan basis offered last week requiring a three-judge panel if the
president threatens to fire Bob Mueller, I think it's very important to protect and safeguard the independence and integrity of that investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Now, it didn't take long for Mr. Trump to fire back. He attacked Blumenthal for saying years ago that served in the Vietnam War when he
didn't. Mr. Trump wrote, never in U.S. history has any lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam
battles and conquest. How brave he was when it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?
Well, Senator Blumenthal has jus responded with several tweets of his own. He wrote in one, Mr. President your bullying hasn't worked before and it
work now. No one is above the law.
So, we certainly need to bring in our Brian Stelter, senior media correspondent. He's also the host of "Reliable Sources." I mean in many
ways this is extraordinary that we're seeing this tit for tat tweeting, but still it tells us so much.
BRIAN STELTER, SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It tells us more other things, that it's a rainy day in New Jersey and that matters because the president
is tweeting a lot. He's at his golf resort in Bedminster. It's a miserable day. Maybe that's why he turned on the television early on and he's
reacting to CNN. Also reacting and to the "New York Times" and other outlets that he frequently criticizes.
This is also notable because it's been one week since the new chief of staff, John Kelly took over. There was lots of speculation, lots of
suggestions that maybe Kelly would try to rein in the president's tweeting habits. On day eight of Kelly's tenure, then we could say well that hasn't
happened, at least not yet.
CURNOW: Not yet. And there's also a lot of response coming from the vice president. You mention the "New York Times" about the "New York Times"
saying the vice president was maybe gearing up for his own run in 2020. I mean CNN has got a headline there on CNN.com where Chris Cillizza says, you
know, the response to this "New York Time" story was bananas.
STELTER: Bananas because it was so over the top. Pence was saying the "Times" story was disgraceful, offensive, categorically false and designed
to divide the administration. It seem like a Trumpian response from the normally much more low profile and subdued Vice President Pence. Pence's
response caused a lot more news
[11:35:00] coverage and here we are talking about it more than 24 hours later. So that initial "New York Times" story has been amplified by Pence
and his aides who are trying to push back against it. But you know, they're not really denying the point of the story. The story says Pence has created
a super PAC. He's been having key politic events in swing states. He's been trying to stay in touch with donors.
All of those things are true. Whether they mean he's planning to run for 2020 or not is a separate matter, but Pence is doing what the "Times" story
has said he is. Pence apparently have to respond to this because the president didn't like reading the story but the fact that Pence had just an
aggressive response kept it going further.
And now we see the president lashing out against the "Times" on twitter, not explicitly about the story involving Pence in 2020 but I think a lot of
folks reached a conclusion that President Trump was frustrated at the "New York Times" because of the Pence story.
CURNOW: Yes, it's all so fascinating and I mean, we've been saying here today, it's his 200th day in office. I mean, this is a very American thing,
isn't it? I mean Presidents are measured or compared to the previous person in their office literally day by day.
STELTER: Yes. It's not so common in other countries to mark their 100th day, the 200th day and so on. I think why we're seeing it from the American
news media especially with regards to President Trump, is it is such an unusual presidency and there haven't been a lot of accomplishments that he
or his allies can plank to.
Well Trump always comes back to his Supreme Court and to the rollback of regulations and to the stock market. But in terms of legislative victories
and things like that, there's been relatively little and I think these kinds of made up calendar markings like the 200th day, there are chance to
take stock and acknowledge what a divisive presidency this has been. Why so many Americans are concerned about the president.
And yet the same time, how about one-third of the country, his base, is very reliably sticking with him so far. It is mostly a made up calendar
item but it's a chance for the press to take stock of what he's done so far.
CURNOW: OK, thanks so much. Brian Stelter, as always, great having you on the show.
STELTER: Thank you.
CURNOW: Well CNN is taking an in-depth look at how Mr. Trump proved the polls wrong and took the world by surprise, by pulling off an upset victory
over Hillary Clinton so that you can watch Fareed Zakaria's special report, "Why Trump Won" right here on CNN. That's at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday in Abu
Dhabi, 9:00 p.m. Monday here at CNN Central. You don't want to miss that one, do you?
You're watching "Connect the World." Still to come, the South African president faces huge pressure aft an e-mail leak. We'll have the details.
[11:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: And you're watching CNN. This is "Connect the World" with me Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.
Now, to one of Africa's largest economies that was once considered a beacon of hope for the entire continent, I mean, who can forget this historic
moment back in 1994.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- help me God.
NELSON MANDELA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: So help me God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Nelson Mandela there becoming South Africa's first black president after almost three decades behind bars during the apartheid era. Well, it
was a huge moment for the country there. That was then and this is now. Protest against a man who took on Mandela's mantle. President Jacob Zuma
had a rocky eight years in office after surviving a criminal trial, claims of corruption and numerous no-confidence votes.
Now, one more. The latest no-confidence vote which will be a secret ballot. Many believe that could be the death nail for this president. However, that
is uncertain either way. David McKenzie is following all of this from Johannesburg.
SIMPIWE MADAU, MOBILIZER, ANC PARTY: Corruption in this country is demoralizing our country.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Simpiwe Madau lives and breath the ANC like his father before him.
(on-camera): Your whole life you've been an ANC supporter.
MADAU: Yes, I am.
MCKENZIE: And you will remain an ANC supporter.
MADAU: I will.
MCKENZIE: But these are strange times for the party of Nelson Mandela.
Should President Jacob Zuma step down?
MANDAU: Yes is my view. I think our president must step down for the good of the country.
MCKENZIE: South Africa's president seems out of step with many in his own party. A politician in survival mode, facing anger and sustained protest
from the people. President Zuma faces more than 700 counts of alleged corruption. He used public money to fund his private homestead and the
highest court in the land says that he didn't uphold his oath of office. The list of scandals is long.
SUSAN COMRIE, JOURNALIST, AMABHUNGANE CENTER FOR INVETIGATIVE JOURNALISM: They've really managed to infiltrate and capture sort of almost every parts
of the state.
MCKENZIE: And the list is getting longer. A new throve of more than 200,000 leaked e-mails suggesting alleged corruption worth tens of millions
of dollars between the Gupta family, wealthy Indian expats with vast business interests in South Africa and cabinet members, state-owned
industry buses, even members of Zuma's immediate family.
COMRIE: He hasn't answered those allegations.
MCKENZIE: The Gupta's called the leaks fake news and Zuma has long denied any corruption.
But the South African journalist uncovering the e-mails now facing sustained harassment.
COMRIE: Once you start digging and you start investigating, you don't really know where it's going to end.
MMUSI MAIMANE, LEADER, DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE PARTY: We need a new beginning.
MCKENZIE: The official opposition sees an opening, calling for another vote of no confidence against Zuma in parliament.
MAIMANE: Jacob Zuma is a corrupt individual. He has lost the interest of South Africa and more than anyone sees (INAUDIBLE) by selling off the
republic for private use.
MCKENZIE: And can you do it? Can you get him out?
MCKENZIE: Many here say they want a new beginning for the Liberation Party of South Africa to focus on the people's problems not the politics of
CURNOW: So much to talk about. Let's go straight to (INAUDIBLE). David McKenzie joins me now. And that's really (INAUDIBLE) peace and what is so
important to know is in the last hour or two a big decision has come out of parliament which could have an impact on who is president tomorrow.
MCKENZIE: Well, that's right Robyn, it could have a very big impact and it really raises the stakes of this no confidence motion. And effectively what
ha happened is the speaker of the parliament has said that this vote can happen by secret ballot which indicates at least to the opposition that
they could be trying to push those ANC MPS (ph) to turn their backs on President Zuma and get him out. And if they do vote successfully on that no
confidence motion, then the president is expected to resign as well as the entire cabinet, Robyn.
CURNOW: And I mean, it's important to note if that votes of no confidence -- I think there've been seven of them already, but ANC is a comfortable
majority in parliament so generally it's never been a problem for him. The fact that this one is secret
[11:45:00] is key because many suggest that MP are being threatened which is why they feel they need to vote in secret. But that also raises
questions about Democracy.
MCKENZIE: Though it does and it does raise questions whether it takes this to have a honest, say many votes on the (INAUDIBLE) because it reflects the
speaker's decision of these, Robyn, that she feels that they are compelling circumstances to have it in secret. And as you mentioned there have been
several MPs from the ANC, one in particular who has received she says death threats for speaking out against the president and his allies.
There is also a major change I think is South Africa just based on speaking -- people I've been speaking to. Even ANC members as you saw there, the
rank and file of Africa's oldest liberation movement is saying while they support the ANC, they are against the president and want him out as quickly
as possible. Of course, later this year, the ANC will have their own big conference where they will kind of anoint a successor but it might be all
catching up to them a lot quicker than that.
CURNOW: Yes, and I think the big question is what is going to happen now. You laid out how the rank and file are disenchanted with Jacob Zuma.
Certainly the opposition party have bee as well. The question is will MPs even in secret turn their backs on a man who as you say in your piece
there, has created the politics of patronage and they're directly linked to him, having him in power benefits many of those MPs.
MCKENZIE: Well certainly that is the allegation and in recent months from those e-mails and in other revelations you see just how many of the senior
government and the (INAUDIBLE) heads and members of Jacobs Zuma allegedly have been involved in corrupt dealings. Now, they, you know, roundly (ph)
say that they are not involved in anything corrupted, deny those allegations but, you know, these daily revelations in the South African
press and from investigators in South Africa, rarely means that it's all laid to bare what has happened in this country in recent years.
And that also report a great deal of political pressure on MPs particularly back benchers in parliament because should they decide to say that
President Jacob Zuma must stay, they will certainly pay potentially a political price for that as well, Robyn.
CURNOW: So what happens tomorrow in parliament? I mean, what are we expecting?
MCKENZIE: We're expecting large scale protest to both those in favor of Jacob Zuma and those who want him gone which certainly could prove to be
very dramatic outside of parliament. Inside the parliament you have a debate prior to the vote which will give the opposition and the ANC a
chance to either defend or attack politically the president.
And then you'll have this ba1lot, the secret ballot. Unclear the mechanism of that ballot and then the results will come out. If they can get more
than 50 ANC MPs to back their measure, you could see that no confidence vote succeeding and then that will certainly be a very dramatic event
indeed in South Africa's political history.
CURNOW: Yes, it certainly will. You will be there. CNN will be covering. Thanks so much. We'll talk tomorrow. David McKenzie there Johanesburg.
You're watching "Connect the World." Still to come, condemnation and outrage over sexism in the tech industry after a male engineer at Google
suggest that the gender gap is due to gender. That's next.
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CURNOW: Welcome back. You're watching CNN and this is "Connect the World" with me Robyn Curnow. Now the tech industry has long battled claims of
sexism in the workplace and now a Google engineer is stoking the fire by saying he knows why women maybe under represented, their biology. He wrote
a memo, a memo that's certainly creating waves online.
Part of his reasoning that men have a higher drive for status and that woman may be more interested in people rather than things or coding. And it
has gone viral justifiably so. Our Laurie Segall joins us now from New York with more on that. I mean, tell us more about this memo and the reaction
from Google. Hi Laurie.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. I mean, it was a 3,000 word manifesto that was posted in a private format at Google and it got leaked.
I think that tells you enough. People wanted other people to see this. There is a lot of outrage within the company. I mean, this manifesto, he
wrote that Google's commitment to hire more women makes the company less competitive.
He went on to say that the gender pay gap is a myth. He said that diversity programs like teaching young girls how to code were highly politicized. So
there is a lot of controversial stops here and there was almost a window into, you know, what we don't necessarily hear from some of these
companies. Now I've spoken to folks within Google and they make it clear that the company itself does not fel this way.
A lot of folks at the company says they don't feel this way, but you know the guy who wrote this is getting private feedback that says, you know,
thank you for putting this out there. You know, I want to read you what their head of diversity said. She had a public response. She said, like
many of you, I found that document advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.
It's not the viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages. But I think you can see from this visceral reaction from women
and men too that it brings up a lot of sensitive subjects and there are a lot of people outraged by it, Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, I mean, they said there are a lot of people outraged. I mean, are you in the sense that -- are you surprised you've covered this story
about sexism in Silicon Valley? Were you surprised when you read this to see these kinds of attitude even in a company like Google for example?
SEGALL: You know, I share a reaction that a former Google engineer actually posted about. She says that this is not entirely new behavior. Her
name's Ericka Baker. She's at the company for years, and she said what is new is that this employee felt safe enough to write this and put it out
there in its current environment. And I've been covering technology for many years and I just did a whole special on women coming forward and
talking about sexual harassment and sexism and its intrinsic problem that's been going on for years.
Now, I think that the companies have better lines on diversity. They've now -- a lot of these different tech companies have hired diversity chiefs. You
know, you hear them talking about it more and more but it's a massive issue. So, actually I wasn't too surprised to see that these are some of
the attitudes that are kind of happening behind the scenes and, you know, diversity is a major issue, Robyn.
When you look at Google, they just had a diversity report come out in June, 69 percent of the total workforces are male employees. Fifty-six percent
are white employees. You know, I think diversity is important but there's also a business case for diversity. You need women. You need people of all
different races building out the code and creating the products that are going to impact and change humanity.
That's a bottomline and I think we have that conversation now but it's still as you see from this memo that went out there, there are still some
attitudes that are pretty problematic.
CURNOW: Yes, I mean, you make a good point. The fact that this person felt safe enough to publish this internally even is interesting. So then the
question is what do companies like Google can -- do they continue to push forward with their diversity mandate? Do they do something different?
SEGALL: I think every single tech company is asking that question. They brought in diversity chiefs. They have people having these conversations.
They've tried to talk about unconscious bias, this idea that these issues are happening and people might not be aware of them. So there are different
types of programs, but I'll tell you something. I mean, having talked to a lot of female engineers. Having just interviewed six women who came forward
talking about sexism and harassment, you know, you've got to have more than a company line.
They've got to be more than some of these kind of programs and I think it's, you know, Google does do a very decent job of trying to support young
women to learn how to code, trying to get people in at those early ages because there's this idea of Silicon Valley being a meritocracy, where
everyone has a shot and that's not necessarily the reality.
I think right now you got to get more women in those positions and more people of different race and different colors in those positions in order
for it to be a real meritocracy
[11:55:00] and I think those conversations are happening. But as you see, we're just kind of at the beginning phases of that and it is a bit of a
tipping point because if you have more people speaking out publicly and saying they're appalled by this, that they want change and that they're
demanding change or you know, these tech companies are going to lose some very valuable engineers if they don't -- if they're not able to handle
CURNOW: And as you say, I mean, all of us are using this technology so the need for democratic process and making it is key there. Laurie Segall,
thank you so much.
SEGALL: Thank you.
CURNOW: So, no matter what, you can be sure you'll get all the great coverage of the latest news here on CNN. Just visit our facebook page,
facebook.com/CNNConnect, among other things, we have story on a possible yacht of the future, one that you can fly. You can also get in touch with
me on twitter @RobynCurnowCCN.
Thanks so much for joining us. This has been "Connect the World." From me and the team at Atlanta and in Abu Dhabi and in London. Thanks for
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