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CONNECT THE WORLD
The president struck a dramatically different tone from one speech to the next; There are new questions about a possible Kremlin effort to establish contact with the Trump presidential campaign; Jared Kushner is on a mission to revive peace talks; U.S. defense secretary James Mattis is flying back from Ukraine; President Petro Poroshenko says there are at least 3000 Russian troops on Ukrainian soil; reports out of Yemen said at least 48 people were killed in Wednesday's air strike on a hotel on the outskirts of Sana'a. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired August 24, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:01] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time to heal the wounds that divide us, and just seek a new unity based on the common values that
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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Another day, another president, the American commander-in-chief takes a different tone in his latest speech. The latest
on the political whiplash in Washington, that's all ahead.
Jared Kushner taking on one of the most intractable problems of our times, trying to find a solution for Israelis and Palestinians, a reality check
from Jerusalem. That's coming up. Also.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your winning Powerball number tonight is 4.
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CURNOW: Hitting the jackpot. Find out how one lucky person won later on in the hour.
Hello and welcome to Connect The World. I'm Robyn Curnow. Becky is out.
Now, if you watched U.S. President Donald Trump's two speeches this week, one is Arizona, and the other in Nevada. You may have whiplash or at least
a very sore neck. The president struck a dramatically different tone from one speech to the next, and not surprisingly, he is attacking the media for
reporting on that change of time, in a series of new tweets, (Inaudible) has more on the latest tale of two Trumps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One day after delivering an angry and divisive speech at a campaign rally.
TRUMP: They're bad people. And I really think they don't like our country. They're trying to take away our culture. They're trying to take away our
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump striking a dramatically different tone when reading teleprompter at the American Legion Convention.
TRUMP: It is time to heal the wounds that divide us and just seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president wildly different speeches again, prompting criticism from the nation's former intelligence chief.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF U.S. INTELLIGENCE: You make a scripted teleprompter speech, which is good. And then turn around and negate it by
sort of unbridled, unleashed, unchaperoned Trump. And to me is -- the pattern is very disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump attempted to tamp down tensions comes as a new national poll says 62 percent of Americans feel the president is
dividing the country, and 59 percent says behavior encourages white supremacist groups, the president with members of his own party, growing in
the aftermath of Tuesday's unhinged rally.
TRUMP: Believe me, we have to close down our government rebuilding that wall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House Speaker Paul Ryan responding to this threat on Wednesday.
PAUL RYAN, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't think a government shutdown is necessary. And I don't think most people want to see a government shutdown,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump reiterating his claim that Republicans are just wasting time, that they don't get rid of the filibuster rule, an
idea Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has already rejected. McConnell releasing a statement Wednesday insisting that he and Mr. Trump are
committed to advancing our shared agenda together, amid reports that the relationship is rapidly deteriorating, and that they haven't spoken in
weeks. This as CNN learns that the president has begun his effort to unseat one of his top Republican critics, huddling with potential challengers to
Senator Jeff Flake before taking the stage in Phoenix Tuesday night.
TRUMP: And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator, who is weak on borders, weak in crime.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two other Republican leaders appear to be the president's crosshairs over Russia. Politico reporting that President Trump
called Senator Tom Tillis earlier this month to discuss a bill that Tillis had designed to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired.
And in a separate phone call in July, the president expressed his frustration with the Russia sanctions bill to Senator Bob Corker. The
foreign relations Chairman voicing his concerns about the president's temperament weeks later.
SENATE BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The president has not yet -- has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the confidence that he
needs demonstrate in order to be successful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: (Inaudible) reporting there. Well, let's go straight to the White House. Kaitlan Collins joins us now from there. With more of the
president's new attacks on the Republican leaders in Congress, the president has been tweeting quite a lot in the last few hours. The question
is how is Congress going to get anything done, if there is such bad blood between the White House and Congress.
[11:05:11] KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it is safe to say there is bad blood. It is kind of stunning to see a Republican president
go after other members of the Republican Party the way President Trump has been doing. We have him tweeting about Mitch McConnell, the senate majority
leader multiple times this morning.
And then, he went out after Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan at the same time saying, I just requested that Mitch and Paul tie the
legislation, into the popular Veterans Affairs Bill, which just passed, for easy approval. They didn't do it, so now, we have the big deal of Democrats
holding down, holding them up as usual on the approval. It could have been so easy, now a mess.
So we are really seeing the president, he is talking about the negotiations that are going to be happening here in Washington in September. But as a
larger part, it is pointing to his continued feud with Mitch McConnell. He is very displaced with him. We know that they haven't spoken in about two
weeks now. And in the last time they did speak was when Trump on his working vacation in New Jersey. He was on the golf course and he and Mr.
McConnell were in what was described as a profane loud argument. So we know that things are souring between them and that politely not going to helped
with his tweets this morning.
Both of their offices putting out statements yesterday that they remain united in some shared issues, but it is very clear that there are a lot of
issues between them as well.
CURNOW: Yes, they are pretty vitriolic considering these two men should be working together. These new polls, very interesting, aren't they? I mean,
it is interesting this is a president that has become a divider.
COLLINS: Right. And a lot of these we are seeing, the number of 62 percent of people believe he is dividing the country, while only 31 percent believe
he's uniting the country. A lot of that is likely stemming from his responses to the violence in Charlottesville recently. As you know, he
offered three different statements on that. And two of those have created a lot of complaints and headlines because he kept repeating there were
violence on both sides, and many sides.
And as you know, that was the violence in Charlottesville over a monument that ended up with one woman dead, because a group of white supremacists,
KKK members, and Neo-Nazis were there protesting, and a northern group of counter protesters who were protesting them. So that created a lot of
division in the country. And it is also the reason why the mayor of Phoenix where Trump has held his rally the other night asked him to delay it
because he said that political tensions were already running high in the country.
CURNOW: So we see the 59 percent approve of the job he is doing, but it is important to note that 35 percent, that's millions and millions and
millions of Americans approve what he's doing. And I think what is also -- if you look some of these tweets that the president has been putting out
this morning, presidency been handing out this morning, he re-tweeted an image, which showed him basically sort of like the eclipse that have taken
place earlier this week. And it basically showed his face, moving slowly in front of former president Barack Obama, like the moon moved across the sun.
Now, many of Trump's supporters, that 35 percent, would really like this image. This is exactly what they want from this place, to erase Obama's
COLLINS: Yes, the president also would like to say that he is a messenger and that Twitter is a platform for him to be able to directly reach his
base. And that's where we are seeing there this morning. The other night, he comically said, he does not tweet storms. But it's pretty clear from
this morning that he has been online today.
CURNOW: Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
There are new questions about a possible Kremlin effort to establish contact with the Trump presidential campaign. CNN has exclusive information
about an email sent by Rick Dearborn, now a Deputy Chief of Staff to the president. Sources say he paused on a request from an individual who wanted
to connect Russian President Vladimir Putin with Trump campaign officials. It is not known who the individual is or where the request was acted on.
Putting the issue front and center again, our Jessica Schneider is standing by with all the details. So what are you learning about this email. Hi,
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Robyn. Yeah, it is this latest revelation in the Russian investigations. So we know that the email,
it was sent in June, 2016. And in it, Rick Dearborn, the Trump campaign aide at the time, he explains that an individual was seeking to set up a
meeting between top Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Now, the individual who is trying to set up this meeting is identified in the email only as being from VW. And one source says that's a reference to
the state of West Virginia. But that's all we have in terms of clues as to who is trying to set this up. Now, in the email, Dearborn appeared
skeptical of the request to set up a meeting with Putin and it is unclear if he ever acted on the request.
Now, as for Dearborn himself, he hasn't responded to our request for comment. And the White House will only say it won't comment on potentially
leaked documents. Now, it is interesting because intelligence experts say that this latest email, it fits the pattern of Russians potentially trying
to gather human intelligence from the campaign. And yet, another attempt that they may have made to gain a point of entry into the campaign. Of
course, we saw that meeting that they tried to set up with Russians, a Russian lawyer and a lobbyist, with Donald Trump, Jr., and Paul Manafort,
and also Jared Kushner in that same month that this email was sent, Robyn.
So it's interesting to see that the Russians may have been trying to get even more details and get into the inner workings of the Trump campaign at
the height of the election. Robyn.
[11:11:04] CURNOW: It's fascinating. Now, this email -- and this is important to note, it is just 1 of the 20,000 pages of the document in the
campaign. So what's the latest on the overall Russian investigation?
SCHNEIDER: Well, it is going full steam ahead. We just haven't heard a lot of details. And investigators have really been keeping things quiet. The
developments this week in addition to this disclosed email is that Glenn Simpson, he's a former journalist that actually helped compile a Russian
dossier containing the salacious allegations also allegations of collusion between the Trump team and the Russians, well, since he spoke with the
Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, he spoke with them for more than 10 hours. And that is interestingly the same committee that had in the past
month or so cut deals with Paul Manafort and Donald Trump, Jr., in order for them to hand over information, to talk with the committee, but the
dates for Paul Manafort and Don, Jr., they haven't been scheduled yet.
So the Trump campaign, it does appear to be cooperating with the investigation on all these fronts. Of course, many different investigations
ongoing, Robyn, we have the congressional investigation by several different committees. And of course, the big one by special counsel Robert
CURNOW: Yes, you made a good point, not just one. Thank you, Jessica. I appreciate it.
Still to come, President Trump calls it the ultimate deal. And he is counting his son-in-law to help secure it. Jared Kushner is meeting with
Israeli and Palestinian leaders today, trying to revive the Middle East peace process. We are live in Jerusalem. That's ahead.
Also, the U.S. defense secretary wraps up his tour with the allies, while the Ukraine has a tough message for Russia. Those details also coming up.
Stay with us.
[11:14:57] CURNOW: You're watching CNN and this is Connect The World. It's me, Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.
After visiting Arab leaders across the Middle East, Donald Trump's son-in- law has now reached the heart of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Jared Kushner is on a mission to revive peace talks. He meets
with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and goes to the west banks, for talks of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. But protesters
are already waiting for his arrival. Palestinians want to hear a specific commitment from the Trump administration for a two-state solution. Well,
let's bring our Oren Liebermann for the very latest. He is in Jerusalem. Hi, Oren. Is there any window of opportunity here?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Trump administration may very well see one. And that's because Trump himself got quite a bit of credit
from the Jordanian king specifically for helping to diffuse tensions around the old city of Jerusalem about a month ago. In that window of relative
calm, after that, Trump and perhaps Jared Kushner as well see a window of opportunity.
And that's why they're making the rounds with the Arab leaders. They met with the Jordanian king as well as the Egyptian, Saudi Arabian leaders. And
now, it is a question of will he be able to make any progress of the two critical leaders, that being the prime minister of Israel and the president
of the Palestinian authority.
CURNOW: So, let's just talk about these leaders and their opportunities that might or might not be there, and question of concessions with Mahmoud
Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu. They're having problems. Is there a room for concession?
LIEBERMANN: They very much do. And they put themselves essentially in very inflexible positions to some extent. Netanyahu himself is under criminal
investigation. In response of that investigation, he has moved quite sharply to the right to shore up his own support among his own voter base.
And that leaves him very inflexible. He's even gone to attack former Israeli-Palestinian accords. Again, that leaves him unable to have a lot of
wiggle room on concessions.
Abbas himself as you pointed out was waiting for a Trump administration commitment to a two-state solution. That's the international consensus on
what has to be the outcome here, the state of Israel next to a state of Palestine. Trump himself and his administration have never openly committed
to that, which means that Abbas sees no vision here. And it's very difficult to commit to a peace process there.
Meanwhile, Abbas faces his own internal rivalries, and that makes it difficult for the Palestinian leader to make concessions, leaving this all
in question about what concrete steps Kushner can make here.
CURNOW: Is he doing anything differently?
LIEBERMANN: So far, not yet. We got a short readout of the meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was a short statement, at least from
the introduction of the meeting with nothing concrete, essentially just a commitment to keep trying here. Nothing new, no new vision, not even a
commitment to a bigger vision which is a two-state solution. So we haven't seen any new approach just yet here.
CURNOW: And what are his meetings before he came there, how key was that? I know you said it was smart, why?
LIEBERMANN: Because if Trump wants to move forward a sort of regional peace initiative, he is going to need the other players on board. Who are those
players? Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates as well, they're key in trying to influence and try to pressure or use leverage is Palestinians
to make concessions on that side. Trump himself has all the leverage that he needs over Netanyahu, and over the Israelis. So having the other
regional players onboard, that's smart and critical. I would say, beyond just being smart, to have them onboard for regional peace initiative, in
some sort of wider peace push beyond just the Israelis and Palestinians.
CURNOW: And let's also talk about the background. Jared Kushner of course is the president's son-in-law. He's also Jewish, but we also know that
American-Jewish leaders have fiercely criticized this president after the comments he made last week after Charlottesville. I mean one of then issued
a statement saying that the president lacked moral empathy for victims of racial and religious hatred. How has any of that potentially playing to
LIEBERMANN: It is worth pointing out that Netanyahu himself has criticisms over that, for not immediately, unequivocally condemning the Neo-Nazi,
white supremacists rally. It took him three days to condemn that rally. And he only did so after Trump did. And yet, you could argue that all of the
criticism doesn't matter at all in this context. Why? Because Trump himself remains very popular with Netanyahu's own voter base.
So whatever criticism that was at Trump or Netanyahu doesn't affect the relations between the two. It does affect the relations between Israel and
the U.S. And so, if Trump wants to push for peace here, the criticism is over Charlottesville won't be a major factor, if at all.
CURNOW: OK. Great to speak to you, Oren Liebermann. As always, thanks so much from Jerusalem.
Moving on, U.S. defense secretary James Mattis is flying back from Ukraine. He was there to send a strong message to Russia. Here is what he said at a
press conference with Ukrainian President just a little bit earlier. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We do not and we will not accept Russia's seizure of the Crimea. And despite Russia's denials, we know we
are seeking to redraw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:20:03] CURNOW: In 2014, Russia annexed the region of Crimea from Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko says there are at least 3000 Russian
troops on Ukrainian soil right now. Nick Paton Walsh has reported extensively from Ukraine. He joins us now from London. So how do you make
of those comments? Hi, Nick.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is the standard. Hi, Robyn. It is the standard of Obama administration policy continues, but at the
Trump White House, of course, given was perceived to be the proximity of Donald Trump. He was reluctant to criticize the Kremlin when you hear him
out of the gates like that being quite so strident, putting pretty much U.S. policy back to square one. You know, the toughest decisions have
always been the Russians have to get out of Crimea and they haven't got out of Crimea as well before the sanctions get lifted.
Under Barack Obama, there some elements of the belief that they have to accept the status quo and the peace in the east is the best thing that they
can they could try and negotiate after Moscow. But bear in mind, too, they haven't received an America's secretary of defense since Robert Gates at
the beginning of the Obama administration. So his presence there on Independence Day, a defined moment of Ukraine, distance from the former
Soviet Union is deeply symbolic in itself. And we got hints from Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, and James Mattis himself about talk,
about potential increases in military aide on closed doors. Mr. Poroshenko didn't go into details about that. He remains silent on that topic.
But we do know for a fact that Ukraine is very keen to get aide. And the Pentagon are floating antitank and antiaircraft missiles, perhaps being in
the offing for quite defensive purposes. But, of course, Moscow will see that up in lethal weaponry being supplied is something that Ukraine could
also use in offensive actions.
CURNOW: Yes. And that's could certainly heighten tensions between the U.S. and Russia. So Petro Poroshenko's point of view, he wants those weapons.
What else does he want, what else can the U.S. in his opinion change, how can the U.S. change, what is on the ground now? Russian troops.
WALSH: Absolutely. Minimal influence in the real world, the U.S. can actually have. Yes, they could potentially improve the arming of those
Ukrainian forces, but there was going to be a mash, frankly, what is really happening on the ground, which is the strength of the Russian military
often brandished against them.
I see ourselves, small units of Ukrainian troops that have received American training, improving their ability to fight, but they are massively
underequipped military. Even if they did get the tank missiles, and various other equipments that the U.S. are contemplating handing to them, I think
really it is about solidarity, it is about the USA saying we firmly with Ukraine, any semblance of proximity, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. They
might be trying to say it doesn't mean that if Russia pushes, just trying to take more territory, Washington won't respond firmly.
But it is still the broader issue. Who is willing to go to war, frankly, within the Pentagon to defend small amounts of Ukraine territory? I think
few in that regard. There is a broader move in Eastern Europe to show resolve against Russia. And that includes many we've seen, particularly in
the face the forthcoming exercises that the Russian troops are planning in neighboring Belarus, a lot of resolve as we have seen strong in the face of
But at this point, the best that Ukraine can hope for as we saw today a really symbolic symbol of frankly having their hand held by the United
CURNOW: Thanks much for that, Nick Paton Walsh.
Welcome to Connect The World with me Robyn Curnow. Here are some other news on our radar.
At this very hour, Qatar is restoring full diplomatic relations with Iran. This flies in the face of the boycott from full Arab nations that demand
Qatar cut all ties with Tehran, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, a charge it strongly denies.
And Macau is recovering from a deadly typhoon that struck the Chinese coast, killing at least 12 people, 8 of them in Macau, and left half of the
city submerged. Some have criticized the government to be unprepared for the storm, 34 people in nearby Hong Kong were injured.
And Danish media report prosecutors have decided to charge Peter Madsen with the murder of a Swedish journalist. Kim Wall disappeared while doing a
story about Madsen onboard his privately built submarine. The headless torso later washed ashore in Copenhagen.
And reports out of Yemen said at least 48 people were killed in Wednesday's air strike on a hotel on the outskirts of Sana'a. It is just the latest
violence in this civil war. The United Nations says 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict. And now, it has a new warning. It says hundreds of
thousands of children will die in the coming months if help does not arrive. Lynda Kinkade has the story.
[11:24:57] LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been the forgotten war. While the world is looking on Syria, the people of Yemen have endured two
and a half years of full blown conflict. A world largely underreported because of a ban on journalists. But children of this war are suffering the
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DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: We are trying to serve 9 million people in Yemen. If we don't receive the
funds we need, we're literally talking about hundreds of thousands of children alone dying in the next few months and millions of people on the
brink of starvation.
KINKADE: The United Nations is at a lost, unable to make a real impact.
STEPHEN O'BRIEN, U.N. HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: It grieves me as in these last two years, despite my and my team's best efforts, I have been unable to
report any significant improvements in the deplorable, avoidable, completely, man-made catastrophe that is ravaging the country.
KINKADE: Thirty rebels in the north allied with the former president and Iran, are fighting guards in the south, allied with the current president
and the Saudi-led coalition.
The United Nations blames the government and the Saudi coalition for failing to let them deliver help to those who need it most, in the areas
held by rebels in the north.
The Sunni coalition blames the rebels saying they are using the same port to smuggle in weapons. That port has been a target of Saudi air strikes.
O'BRIEN: Let us be clear. Most of the need is in the north of Yemen, not the south.
KINKADE: Amnesty International claims all sides have committed human rights violations, including war crimes. They add other countries have potentially
contributed, the U.S., U.K., France, Spain, and Turkey have transferred nearly $6 billion worth of Arms to Saudi Arabia between 2015 and 2016,
including bombs and rockets, which risk being used in Yemen. Some of those weapons banned under international law.
With vital infrastructure destroyed, a cholera outbreak is playing havoc. More than half a million people have caught the disease and without
treatment, many won't survive it. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Thanks, Lynda, for that. World news headlines just ahead.
Plus, the visit custody battle like no other, ending of the barrel of a gun.
It has been 17 years since U.S. federal agent returned Elian Gonzalez to Cuba after a harrowing ordeal. We will catch up with him in Havana. That's
just ahead. Don't miss it.
[11:30:10] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: This is Connect The World, the top stories this hour.
U.S. President Donald Trump is back in Washington after a brief trip to the Southwest. He delivered two speeches, strikingly different in tone, leading
some to describe his trip as the tale of two Trumps. And now, he is back on Twitter continuing his attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
And U.S. congressional investigators are looking into a 2016 email from a Trump aide. It discuses an unnamed individual's attempt to set up a meeting
between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is not known if the request was acted on.
And U.S. defense secretary James Mattis says Russia is trying to redraw borders of by force and says that the U.S. does not accept the annexation
of Crimea. He made the comments while on a visit to Ukraine and promise continued support, U.S. support. He is now on his way back to Washington.
And it was one in all the most unforgettable custody battle the world has ever seen. A little boy at the center of an international tug-of-war taken
by force from his extended family at gunpoint. U.S. federal agent there seized Elian Gonzalez in Miami to return to his father in Cuba. Little
Elian had left Cuba on a raft with his mother, but she didn't survive the journey. Well, it has been 17 years since that dramatic image captivated
the world. And Gonzalez says he is now and has been changed forever by that experience in the U.S. But he has no regrets about returning home. He
talked exclusively with CNN's Patrick Oppman in Havana. And Patrick joins us now live. Hi, Patrick. Tell us more about what he said.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, for years, Robyn, the Cuban government kept Elian Gonzalez out of view. Maybe every so often you would
hear a new report what he was up to. You might see a new image and be amazed by how he had grown, but there was almost no contact with him in the
outside world. That is changing as Elian Gonzalez all sat down for a wide- ranging interview yesterday. No subject was off the table. He spoke for great periods about his infamous custody battle in his life now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMAN: Now 23 years old, Elian Gonzalez walks on the street of his hometown in Cardenas, Cuba. Since coming back here, he only rarely speaks
in public. But Gonzalez appears in a new CNN documentary about his famous custody battle. Alongside his father, he degreed to talk to us about his
life now and hopes for the future.
What do you think your life would've been like if you have stayed in the United States?
ELIAN GONZALEZ, PUBLICLY RETURNED TO CUBA IN 2000: (Foreign Language)
OPPMANN: There are a lot of people who argued sending you back because they said you will be brainwashed, what do you say to those people now?
GONZALEZ: (Foreign Language)
OPPMANN: You're still hopeful that there could be reconciliation between your family here and your family in Miami.
JUAN MIGUEL GONZALEZ, ELIAN GONZALEZ'S FATHER: (Foreign Language)
OPPMAN: You watched President Trump's speech about Cuba, what do you think?
GONZALEZ: (Foreign Language)
OPPMANN: Next year, February of next year, President Castro says that he will step down as president, how do you think Cuba will change?
GONZALEZ: (Foreign Language)
OPPMANN: Do you think your case looking back, helped heal some the wounds that existed between Cubans in Miami and Cubans here in Cuba?
GONZALEZ: (Foreign Language)
OPPMANN: If you like, you have a foot in both countries?
GONZALEZ: (Foreign Language)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN: Elian Gonzalez, Robyn, is one of those rare issues ignites Cubans on both sides of the forestry straits. People here in Havana and of course
in Miami, also they wanted a better future for this young man and his case remains an open wound. But now that he is a man, Elian Gonzalez says he
wants to work on trying to bridge this chasm, Robyn. Of course, still a lot of work to be done there.
CURNOW: Yes. And you reported about him. What a compelling character. This is a fascinating interview. Tell us a little bit more about what Elian's
life is like now.
OPPMANN: It was incredible because for years, we heard that he is surrounded by bodyguards, we couldn't get close to him, that he lived this
privilege existence. And then, yesterday I find myself in his kitchen, having coffee with him and his family. No protection insight. His house was
nice by Cuban standards, but I have been in nicer, not the mansion that people said he would get when he came back here as a reward for his father
So he is kind of a normal guy, even though he is in any part of Cuba, certainly this small town of Cardenas, Cuba, he is something of a
celebrity, but everyone he stopped, he shakes people's hands, he give them hugs, he posed for pictures. This seems to be a role that he has accepted
and in fact, embraced. And even though he is a supporter of the government, you don't hear that kind of rant, that kind of bitterness you hear from so
many people here, who are often revolutionary people, he says that he feels there is a common point, a common humanity for Cubans, who like his mother
and for Cubans like his father. And he wants to be something that unites people, not divide them.
CURNOW: Yes. The next generation of Cuban leaders. Thanks so much. Great insight there. Patrick Oppmann as always from Havana. Thank you.
And now, a follow up on a story we told you about involving the U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana being attacked by mysterious sonic weapon.
Well, U.S. officials have told CNN that more than 10 diplomats and family members received medical treatments after the attack. Now, CBS is giving
details and reports a doctor who evaluated diplomats working in Havana, has diagnosed someone's condition as serious as mild traumatic brain injury.
The mysterious attacks reportedly began late last year, ending this spring. We will keep you updated on that story.
Meanwhile, still ahead here in Connect The World.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: The faith of transgender members of the U.S. military hangs in the balance. The White House could issue guidance on the president's ban in the
next few days. Stay with us for a live report.
[11:42:30] CURNOW: Thanks for joining us. You're watching CNN. This is Connect The World, with me Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.
Now, transgender members of the U.S. military could soon learn what their future holds. They have endured a painful wait, since President Trump
announced a ban on Twitter back in July. His tweet, if you remember took the Pentagon by surprise and sparked angry protests.
Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the White House could issue guidance very soon on that band. And the Journal's Pentagon reporter,
Gordon Lubold joins us now from Washington. Gordon, great to speak to you. What is this guidance, what are you reporting?
GORDON LUBOLD, PENTAGON REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: So the guidance is long awaited since as you mentioned the tweets came about a month ago.
There was a scramble because it really caught the Pentagon flat-footed. And now, we are learning that this White House's direct guidance to the
Pentagon is to stop what they call a sessions, stop enlistments of anybody who is transgender, stop spending money on medical treatment, which to
include surgery and medication. And then gives the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis six months to kind of essentially figure out what to do with sitting
transgender service members. And that's kind of the big key right there.
CURNOW: But it is a big key, isn't it? Because how would it impact those who are already serving. I mean, are they going to be kicked out of the
LUBOLD: That is I think the intention that is also the big question. My sense is that Mr. Mattis is -- his criteria is somebody deployable, which
means are they ready to go to war, deploy or whatever. And that's his standard. He doesn't really care about this issue as I can see. And I don't
think the Pentagon really saw this. This is obviously political thing from the White House.
But the six months that Mr. Mattis has in this deployability criteria is a legal basis where you would separate somebody gives a lot of wiggle room to
the Defense Secretary, who I think will be inclined to be disinclined to separate people.
CURNOW: OK. Again, I mean, this deployability criteria, how fraught is that as a reason for not allowing them to serve? What does that mean? Why is it
LUBOLD: So, it is important if you serve in the military that you can go to war, right. And with this is a very loose definition of can you go and go
to these places or not. What advocates of transgender policy will tell you is that a lot of people who are transgender, not transgender, just regular
people in the military, a lot of them are not deployable at any one time, for whatever, pregnancy or any number of medical conditions.
So they believe that this is not going to be of legitimate, legal criteria on which to separate somebody. And the numbers by the way, according to a
random study the public -- the Pentagon commission last year, a few transgender people in the military, who would even need the surgery anyway.
So it kind of seems a lot of questions right now -- but it kind of seems like some of this will be a non-issue. Give Mr. Trump what he needs. But we
will make room for everybody else.
CURNOW: So this has been as it is, a political issue. It sort of takes up a few boxes for Mr. Trump with his base. But beyond this ban, the president
announced this on Twitter, without a plan really, without informing the ministry, he was going to do it. The impact, the full back, the backlash
from that, I mean, are the generals still smarting from that?
LUBOLD: Well, you know, the ban was lifted last year under President Obama. There was some dissension, you know, among senior officers, the chiefs of
the different services about the timing of when to do this. Keep in mind like several years ago, the lifting of don't ask, don't tell, as
controversial as that was, was lifted and really without controversy. This is a little bit different, but not that much more complicated.
Some people might dispute that notion, but essentially it's an extension of that. And I think that the chiefs were concerned about timing, figuring out
logistics, what kind of facilities to be used, some basic questions. Keep in mind also that a lot of people are not as exposed personally to a
transgender person as they are say, a gay or lesbian a service member. So I think it was just a lot of time to get people's head around it.
Now, I think where the Pentagon was scrambling was, this was not expected that day, that morning when Mr. Trump decided to tweet all these things.
And so, they have been scrambling. But this is the guidance now, probably expected in another day or two, to the Pentagon, to give some clarity, some
CURNOW: Some clarity, but also we know, that the president had used sort of the burden off their medical costs to sort of explain his decision. In
reality, I mean, how much does that play into this debate, in reality?
LUBOLD: Well, it is a great political factor to play on Capitol Hill and other places. Advocates will tell you that the actual number to the
spending to support the medication and treatment for transgender service members is very low. And also that the number of people at any one time,
who actually would seek surgery, which are more expensive, is also low. And so, I think the advocates of this policy -- advocates of transgender people
and policy believe that that is a really red herring.
CURNOW: OK. Gordon, thanks so much. Great reporting and we will see what happens in the next few days. Thanks a lot.
LUBOLD: Thanks, Robyn.
CURNOW: In Israel, dozens of transgender sort of actually openly servicing in the military there. Now, the defense forces, old troops are assigned
based on their abilities, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Ian Lee spoke to one Israeli soldier who transitioned after he joined the
army. Here is his report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Micha Yehudi is happy today. A couple of years ago, he hit rock bottom.
MICHA YEHUDI, ISRAELI SOLDIER: I have never told anyone before. I was terrified.
LEE: Back then, he was a female Army captain and didn't feel right in her skin. So she went to her commanding officer and said she wanted to
transition to a man.
YEHUDI: I cried during the interview from the moment that it came out of his mouth and said, OK. And that was it.
LEE: Yehudi credits Israel's army for helping him make the transition. Today, he marches for transgender rights at Jerusalem's gay pride parade.
Israel says roughly 60 transgender soldiers serve openly in the country's military. In the United States, the future of transgender soldiers could
change. It started with a tweet from President Donald Trump ordering a ban on trans-soldiers in the U.S. military. That message left thousands of U.S.
military personnel in limbo.
He thought that any notion, transgender people aren't up to the task.
YEHUDI: If I'm not confident, I don't know what I am. I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be alive.
LEE: Israel also grapples with equality. Gay couples still can't marry and religious conservatives view the community as an abomination.
Shira Banki was murdered two years ago at this gay pride parade by an ultra-Orthodox extremist. And while the LGBTQ community fights for their
rights in society, in the Israeli army they've been accepted.
As for President Trump, Yehudi urges him to get it know trans-soldiers.
YEHUDI: They're no different from anyone else, they just want to -- they just love their country like I love mine.
LEE: A country where soldiers can march to the beat of their own drum. Ian Lee, CNN, Jerusalem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:50:08] CURNOW: Thanks, Ian, for that report.
Still to come, someone has become insanely rich in an instant. Who hits the record jackpot? This extremely important report coming up, after the break.
CURNOW: And we have a winner, the owner of the lucky ticket that smashed the Powerball jackpot and became the largest single prize in U.S. history.
Those are the numbers over there, behind me, over $758 million. Let's say, you're the lucky winner now, there are two to collect it. If you want all
of it, three quarters of $1 billion, you would have to take annual payments over 30 years. But if you want the money now, you can collect about $480
million. And that is no small change of course.
That would put you in some sort of truly VIP company would these illustrious folks. You would be richer than celebrities such as Beyonce,
Justin Bieber, or Johnny Depp. Let's go to our Brynn Gingras who is in Massachusetts where the winning ticket was drawn. There is a little bit of
confusion where it had been bought, Brynn. But you figured it out.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. It has been a hectic morning, Robyn. That's for sure. Basically, what happened earlier this morning is
that in Massachusetts State Lottery had tweeted that 1 o'clock in the morning, the winning ticket was sold at a convenience store in Watertown,
Massachusetts. So you can imagine, everybody frantically at our convenience went to that convenience store, waiting for it to open, and waiting to talk
to the owner, got that owner all excited about their possibility of earning as much as $50,000 for selling the winning ticket.
And fast forward a few hours, the Massachusetts State Lottery corrected that tweet and said, oh, wait, we were wrong. It was actually sold at this
convenient year, right here behind me in Chicopee, Massachusetts at the Pride Market. So we are here now. This is officially the place where that
winning ticket was sold and actually the state lottery is holding a news conference probably to even further detail how that confusion happened
earlier today. But we have had some excitement ourselves, talking to the owner of this -- he actually owned this location for 30 years. His family
has been in this business for 100 years and they own 30 different locations in Massachusetts, also in Connecticut.
And like I said, he could earn, he thinks and believes $50,000 for selling that winning ticket, so no change. And what does he say he wants to do with
it? Well, he said that they're going to donate that money to local charities all within this area, ones that are really geared toward
education, to children. So he is happy to do that, he says. He says that he had some winning tickets before and they have always donated the money.
Now, I'm not sure what we're hearing from that news conference that is going on right now, but he told us that the lottery told him, that a woman,
middle-aged, came here yesterday 2:30 PM and bought that winning ticket. So we're not sure if she is the only one, if she was part of the pool. We're
not quite sure. But as you said, it is making someone or several people very, very, very rich today. Robyn.
CURNOW: Very off the tax, $418 million. I mean, that is just crazy money. Thanks so much. Look after yourself there. Pick up a few pennies off the
pavement. Brynn, thanks so much.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that you will always hit the news jackpot with us, where the odds are always in your favor. That is so
cheesy, but I read it anyway. Just out of Facebook page, that's facebook.com/cnnconnect. Thanks so much for joining us here today. I'm
Robyn Curnow, this is Connect The World. Have a good day.
[11:55:30] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)