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CONNECT THE WORLD
Catalan Crisis; Raging Wildfires; Trump White House; World Cup Heartbreak For Syria; Pence And Conway Defend President Trump; New Details In Las Vegas Massacre Timeline; Catalonia Is Not Spain; Escalating Feud Between The U.S. And Turkey; Syria Almost Places In The World Cup; President Trump To Meet With Secretary Tillerson And Secretary Mattis; Catalan President To Address Independence From Spain. Aired 11-12n ET
Aired October 10, 2017 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:21] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am Catalan she said, I can't deny my country but my blood is just boiling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDA KINKADE, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: the Catalan crisis, the region later is set to address parliament in the next hour. Will they announce
independence following a disputed referendum vote. Coming up, we'll go live to Barcelona. Also ahead, wildfires across northern California
reducing homes to ash and killing at least 11 people.
Ahead how firefighter are try to battle the blaze. Plus tension at the very top. The America Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense invited
to dine with the President. Later a look at trip to the White House and the deepening differences with their boss.
Hello. Welcome to Connect the World. I am Linda Kinkade in Atlanta, filling up for Becky Anderson and good to have you with us. In the next
hour Three hundred years of Spanish history will fall into the hands of just one man. This is Catalonia's President who could be about to declare
independence for the region. It's controversial in Spain where there have been ongoing protests for and against the move. Let's head straight to
Barcelona to join international diplomatic. Nic Robertson, good to have you on the story. And this announcement could happen within less than an
hour. What are we likely to hear when the Catalan President speaks?
NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is, again, the question that everyone is hanging on here, because his inner
circle have been very tight-lipped. They won't say precisely what he is going to say. They have said some of the things he won't say. I asked if
he was likely to call for another election. That is not likely. There's a sense he will make some kind of statement about independence. What will be
the language be, how strong will it be? We don't know right now we're literally outside the Catalan parliament waiting. The police have stood
up. The cameras are ready, the helicopters are circling in the area overhead. He left another government building just a new minutes ago to
drive through the cities. The crowds lining the streets with cheering him as we went on his way. There is an expectation and a feeling that this is
a moment in history. But the Spanish government has reiterated what the Spanish Prime Minister, the deputy Prime Minister has been saying all
along. The spokesman from the Spanish parliament today saying don't do anything irreversible. Don't do something where you can't make a U-turn,
and don't go into a dead end, and don't if you will, get yourselves into a position of declaring independence which will only lead to illegality.
I'm looking now just out of to my left and I can see three or four vehicles arriving. That is were expecting, Carlos to arrive in a number of
vehicles. A helicopter is right overhead. It's been tracking the movements of the convoy, looking to my left, here are the vehicles
arriving. I'm going to stand out of the way. We're expecting the President so get out of one of the vehicles. Possibly this grey vehicle
you're looking at now. See if he is getting out. There he is getting out of the black car on the far side. Shaking hands. Acknowledging the many
cameras there. Turning to look, glances up at the helicopter in the sky and he is gone inside the Catalan parliament building. He is gone in there
with the Catalan as a nation and there's a possibility he is going to push to declare the Catalans independent. That would cross many red lines set,
not least by the Spanish parliament, but also we've heard from the European council appealing to both sides to leave a window of opportunity for
dialogue, not to cross lines. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: A few days ago I asked the Prime Minister Rajoy to look for a solution to the problem without the use
[11:05:00] To look for dialog. Because the force of argument is always better than the argument of force. Today I ask you to respect the
constitution order and not to announce a decision that would make such a dialogue impossible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: It's a clear message from the European union to the President, literally in the hour before he entered the building a few minute ago. Not
to announce independence. The European Union has position on this, this is a constitutional Spanish issue. It doesn't involve the European Union.
The Carlos and his coalition would like to see the European Union involved so they could be involved in some kind of negotiation, getting past this
impasse with the Spanish government. At the moment it is all eyes and all ears on him. No one knows precisely what he is going to say. This is a
man known as a pragmatist, he is a former journalist, he has been the Catalan president for 18 months now. When he came to office the
expectation was that he would help develop and get the Catalan in a position for a referendum. He did that but also helping develop parallel
institutions. So the concerns right now for the Spanish government, what is he going to say? What has he been doing? What have his supporters been
doing to prepare themselves for this day? and this is why people here are very, very concerned about precisely what he says, Linda.
KINKADE: And Nic on the day of the referendum, we saw the police crackdown hundreds of people injured there. What can we expect if he declares
independence today, talk to us a about the police presence right now.
ROBERTSON: Sure. In terms of police presence here, what you're seeing around the Catalan parliament is the Catalan police. Right now and wanted
to come into the parliament, you would have to enter the extensive rounds around the parliament building here, and currently they're secured by mosa.
You would have to ask if you're a Spanish police officer, you would essentially have to get permission from the Catalan police to come in here.
There is a high court building here in Barcelona. It now has joint Catalan and Spanish police presence. That is not normal. Situation is still calm,
if you will. These are the indications that should push comes to shove, should there be a decision an announcement or independence, what will the
different police force do? If you look at the referendum were the Spanish police use force to try to stop people voting, what Carlos's Party say is
that there were areas where the police -- there wasn't any police presence and the voting and the turnout there was high, and they point to that
legitimacy in the elections.
They say in some places where there was no police present, there was 80, turnout, and 90 percent of the people who turned out voted yes for
independence, many people who would have voted no didn't turn out to vote, because they believed the referendum was unconstitutional. That is the
position of the Spanish government. As far as their referendum last week goes, we can expect it Carlos to point to the places where the police
weren't present and point to the legitimacy. Because that would be the foundation of trying to move independence.
KINKADE: All right Nic Robertson, diplomatic editor good to have you with us of the story. We'll come to you soon when the Catalan leader makes his
We will have much more after the break. Stay with us on what could be the run-up to this momentous decision in Barcelona.
We'll have breaking news out of Kenya right now where the opposition leader Raila Odinga has just announced that he has withdrawn from the country's
Presidential runoff election which was scheduled to happen later October. You'll remember the country's supreme court nullified the results of the
August vote after Odinga claimed the vote was hacked. This after his rival incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta scored a second term in a vote internationally
observe at least initially considered fair. We are in Nairobi with more on the developing story and what it all means for Kenya. The rerun of the
election was meant to happen October 26th. That is not going to happen now.
[11:10:00] FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well it's a big question, indeed. Presidential Candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, he has been campaigning
across the country in a bid to get the Kenyans to vote again for him on October 26th. Just over two hours ago, a coalition led Odinga by the
opposition people came on the press conference and decided basically declared the would not be running for the 26 of October polls and they're
withdrawing their Presidential candidate and vice president for the polls and they listed a number of reason just to read you from one of their
reasons, it is not clear the same criminal enterprise that perpetuated fraud in August election is firmly in charge of the commission. It's been
such a fraught existence to be seeing this. Because they are very much entrenched if their own position they are saying you can't go for another
rematch with the same tainted referees that officiated the August 8 poll. Meanwhile the government has been changing the electoral laws because they
have the majority in parliament since the August 8th, and they've been riding over the constitution. One of the candidates has withdrawn, and we
to know constitutionally where does Kenya go from here.
KINKADE: That is the big question. Where does Kenya go from here? We know during the election, it was meant to be about 1.4 million votes
between the two candidates. What are supporters of Odinga saying?
SEVENZO: For the last two weeks we had been going out in to streets, because the opposition had called for protests against the IEBC, every
Monday, every Wednesday, and ever Friday. Yesterday streets were full of the protesters, and at the supporters of the other Party were also there.
They're putting their anger and ire into the electoral body. Obviously the real question are asked if the irregularities and illegalities of the
judges found on September the first occur again, then the elections will have to be recalled according to Kenya's current constitution. At the
moment, I must tell you the economy is shrinking. Kenya is agreed up with the politicians, politic kin and no one has the money to carry on. And
because there's a resource needy thing in an election, they're worry about violence and for their children's safety, and we have children's exams
coming up. So it's anybody's guess what the politicians are going to do to smooth this out. At the moment the country is pretty tired.
KINKADE: Yes. No doubt. Good to have you staying across it for us. We will speak to you again very soon.
Still to come, the Trump administration is expected to announce the major policy change within hours. We'll tell you about the latest roll back of
an Obama-era regulation,
And so close to glory, but it's heart breaking for Syria as they crash out of the world cup qualifier.
[11:15:25] KINKADE: You are watching CNN and this is Connect the World. I am Linda Kinkade, welcome back.
To be a fly on the wall of the White House today. President Trump will have lunch soon with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to talk about
some major foreign policy challenges. New remarks about Tillerson intelligence could make for some awkward conversation. In an interview
with the Forbes magazine, Mr. Trump told about reports that their relationship has hit a low point. Both men deny that. But Tillerson has
not specifically denied calling the President a moron. Mr. Trump told Forbes, I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to
compare IQ tests and I can tell you who is going to win. Mr. Trump is keeping up fights on multiple fronts. He took anyone at Bob Corker who
told "The New York Times" that the President could push America to World War III. Mr. Trump wrote the failing New York Times set little Bob Corker
up by recording his conversation, was made to sound like a fool, and that is what I am dealing with. The transcripts shows Corker knew he was on
record -- being recorded. The reporter who did the interview tweeted that two of Corker's aids were also recording the interview. Joe John's has
more on the feud that some Republicans worry is distracting from the important issues.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is not finished with Senator Corker, according to a White House official. After a high-ranking member
of Mr. Trump's own party delivered this scathing rebuke of the commander in chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes I feel like he is on a reality show of some kind. He is not fit for policy issues, he doesn't realize that you know we
can be heading toward World War III with the kind of comments that he is taking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon who was fired in August lashing out at Corker last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, CHIEF STRATEGIST TO THE WHITE HOUSE: If Bob Corker has any honor, any decency, he should resign immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Signaling he is ramping up his efforts to unseat establishment Republicans in next year's primaries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BANNON: To McConnell and Corker and the entire clique on capitol hill have to go. There's a coalition coming together that is going to challenge
every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: They are telling CNN that the president is frustrated over a stalled agenda, negative media coverage of the federal response to
hurricane ravage Puerto Rico, and the defeat of the senate candidate he endorse in Alabama last month. Most Republicans aren't taking sides in
this bitter feud between Trump and Corker. But nearly a dozen aids and advisers tell CNN that Corker is saying what many believe privately.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he appreciates that when the President of the United States speaks and says the things that he does, the impact that
it has around the world, especially in the region that he is addressing, and so, yeah, I mean that is a concerning to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Vice President Pence and senior counsel Kellyanne Conway coming to President's defense on Monday. At attempting to flip the script on Corker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: World leader see that. I find tweets like this to be incredibly irresponsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Bit not everyone in the president's inner circle thinks the public feud is good for Trump. Trump needs Corker's vote to get legislation
passed and the President has already alienated John main.
KINKADE: Many headlines are focusing on the infighting and the inflammatory tweets, the policy change is expected to happen within hours
in Washington. The head of the environmental protection agency says he will sign a repeal today to the clean power plan. That is an Obama era
regulation of greenhouse gas emissions meant to combat climate change. The Trump administration says it costs jobs. The Obama White House said the
plan would prevent deadly health problems. Let's get perspective from Andrew Revkin the senior reporter for climate change at the public
nonprofit organization focused on investigative journalism. Great to have you with us, Andrew.
ANDREW REVKIN, SENIOR REPORTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE, PROPUBLICA: Thank you for having me on.
KINKADE: The environmental protection agency had the man charged with protecting the environment said, and I quote, the war on coal is over.
Today he is signing this proposal to roll back the clean power plan, what's your reaction?
[11:20:00] REVKIN: Well, it' a long journey. The climate problem, unlike traditional pollution were you could stick a filter on the smoke stacks and
they will be cleaner. Climate has this time scale that makes both solving the problem and contributing to it and very hard to do in a short time
scale. He is doing what was long anticipated which is going through the -- it's a year's long process to propose rolling back and replacing
regulation. The Obama administration took years to get in place. There's 23 states that are challenging it, so that's the first step in the latter,
and there's other contexts as well. It's kind of a long -- one step in a long journey, one way or the other.
KINKADE: What does this mean for Paris climate accord and the upcoming climate change summit next month given President Trump has said he would
withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. Does it cement his position?
REVKIN: I think it does. Most of what's happening is focused on domestic politics. For one thing but actually I don't know if this will come up in
a conversation with Tillerson. The state department is already getting geared up for the next round of Paris in November. In that context, it
sort of says this is a - this administration direction, a the United States commitments under Paris were all -- the clean power plan was one of the
tracks to get toward those goals, it was also transportation which the Trump administration is trying to roll back as well. There's this that the
President Trump already did really early that probably more a threat to the Paris process. He is cut off the flows of funding not just for the U.N.
Agency from the U.S. that supports that process, but also potentially the funding for developing countries to help them develop resilience to climate
impacts. That could be the bigger kind of impact, and it's already happened.
KINKADE: When the clean power plan was rolled out, the EPA said that up to 7,000 premature deaths could be prevented, and 150,000 asthma attacks in
children as a result of this plan. And when asked about that the new head of the EPA said he was more focused on jobs. Obviously there must be a lot
of people disgruntled within the EPA right now?
REVKIN: The employees? Day one after the election, for public we were receiving lots of e-mails and calls from within the administration just as
they he other agencies, trying to tamp down public outflow of information from environmental agencies. It's discouraging for those employees who
have worked on this for a long time to see how easy these easy this kinds of regulatory steps which essentially are an end run around congress, they
are hard to sustain if there's a big shift in the White House, and that is what we're seeing. there are lifers in there. Lifelong career people who
are in hunker down mode like a turtle drawing in its arms and legs and the bureaucracy of the EPA has the ability to hold itself together. For them,
it's a tough time.
KINKADE: And, of course, Europe depends on U.S. exports of natural gas. How does that make it tougher for them to be tough on Donald Trump?
REVKIN: Well, earlier this year when the administration announced the withdrawal from Paris, the plan, I wrote a piece, had just been
interviewing a key E.U. official at a meeting in New York City on sustainable energy. He was very happy in the interview I had to say that
E.U. had met with Trump officials and they were fast tracking gas exports to Europe. This is the complexity with climate policy. It's not in
vacuum. As long as Europe is eager for natural gas from United States which is now abundant through fracking, it's harder for them to take a hard
line against the Trump administration on other aspects of the climate. Fossil fuel dependents is still big in Europe. That is one of the
realities people have to deal with going forward.
KINKADE: Andrew Revkin, good to get your perspective on all of that. Thank you for joining us.
REVKIN: Thank you again, Linda.
KINKADE: As President Donald Trump aims to reverse 52 environmental rules, according to "the New York Times," 25 of those had already been overturned
including a rule requiring oil and gas companies to report their methane emissions. Republican called it an onerous requirement and the protested
case on pipeline, an oil project blocked during the Obama administration due to high carbon emissions interference with fresh water.
[11:2510] Some of the other stories on our radar right now, Liberia will have the first Democratic power transfer in 73 years. Thousands of
Liberians are lining up at polling stations in the capital today to vote to replace Africa's first female leader. She is led the nation for almost 12
years helping it recover from a brutal civil war which ended in 2003. The red cross will cut back operations in Afghanistan. Up to seven members
were killed there in the past ten months. U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced plans to send more troops to the country in what is
America's longest running war.
Police in Las Vegas are releasing new details about the massacre that killed 58 people. They say the gunman shot at a hotel security guard six
minutes before opening fire on concert goers and that in 200 accounts of the travels through the city, he was never see with anyone else.
The number of Rohingya Muslims leaving Myanmar has now hit a new level. 11,000 Rohingya arrived in Bangladesh all in one day. It's been going on
for two years but a number like this is unparalleled and has never been seen before. There are 520,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh camps. Live form
CNN's world headquarters, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the cost of Catalonia's independence. We talk to a businessman who says he is
preparing for disaster. Later, four wars that hosted many Presidents and their guests. We'll tell you why Washington eyes are all on the White
House private dining room right now.
KINKADE: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I am Linda Kinkade. Welcome back. The Turkish President is escalating a rile between
Washington and Ankara. The American ambassador should be dismissed. He adds that Turkish authorities no longer see him as representing the United
States. The U.S. and Turkey suspended visa services yesterday after last week's arrest of a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul, the second this
year. Well the full details of the strongly worded speech, CNN producer Gul Tuysuz is in Istanbul for us. Good to have you with us Gul. Relations it
seems has gone from good to bad to ugly between Turkey and the U.S. and the Turkish president now blaming the U.S. ambassador for this diplomatic tit
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Lynda. This is unprecedented. And Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in fact came out and took it even
one step further. And he said that he no longer recognizes the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Turkey as a representative of the United States. He also
said that he will not be accepting the farewell visit from John Bass who is the outgoing ambassador.
And none of his party members who are in high ranking positions within the Turkish government will be having him over. I mean, this is tradition and
decorum in diplomacy circles and to come out and say that he doesn't recognize the ambassador as a representative and that he will not be
accepting his visitations just goes to show you how strange this relationship really is.
These two countries are traditional allies. They are both members of the NATO alliance and they have broad range in cooperation through a myriad of
subjects that are critical for national security on both sides. And whether or not this relationship can recover having gone through something as
unprecedented as this is something we'll have to wait and just watch to see what happens, Lynda.
KINKADE: And Gul, of course, Turkey now claiming that not one but two American consulate staff have links with Fethullah Gulen, that
controversial cleric they blame for instigating the coupe against the government.
TUYSUZ: Yes, Fethullah Gulen is a very controversial figure here in Turkey. The majority of Turks believe that he is in fact the mastermind of
this coupe attempt, but really when you listen to John Bass, the outgoing U.S. ambassador's speech statement from yesterday. He says that this
consular local embassy staffer, his job is about providing cooperation for law enforcement. That it is in fact, his job to facilitate and allow for
communication between a U.S. law enforcement and Turkish law enforcement.
And he's now accused of basically having spoken to Turkish police officers and commissioners who have allegedly links to Fethullah Gulen. And what the
ambassador came out and said was that while this investigation is ongoing, there has been no sufficient access for his local employee in terms of
having access to a lawyer. That due process is not working the way that it should be.
And the fact that it seems Turkish officials with knowledge of the investigations into Fethullah Gulen that has embroiled around this consular
employee are in fact trying this case in the Turkish media. We've seen pro- government media outlets here in Turkey with spreads on how these consular officers are actually spies and that they've been engaged with the
Fethullah Gulen organization et cetera.
And of course, the ambassador here making the point that this is a violation of the very hallmark of any legal system which is the presumption
KINKADE: All right. Gul Tuysuz, good to have you with us. Thank you very much.
Well, to quote Al Pachino's character from "Any Given Sunday," life is game of inches. And on this Tuesday, it was literally inches between Syria
completing one of the most remarkable football stories, and a devastating failure. The war torn country were the massive underdogs against Australia.
In a last minute, they had one free kick to send them through but it hit the post, sending them crashing out. Let's go to London World Sports, Alex
Thomas is there. And Alex, many had written Syria off before kickoff in Sydney but they proved to be a pretty tough team, but couldn't get there in
ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes and Australia's football team certainly hadn't written them off. The (INAUDIBLE) and said it would be a tough game
and so it proved. We know the first leg of this World Cup playoff had finished 1-0 when played in Malaysia which where Syria have been having to
play their home matches because it's impossible in war-torn Syria itself.
So, remarkable that Syria that had never qualified for World Cup before even got this far. You thought
[11:35:00] Australia might have too much of a advantage playing on their home turf in the cosmopolitan Sydney, more than 40,000 in the ANZ Stadium
on the old Olympic Park from the 2000 games. So, real noise, most people supporting Australia, of course, but a significant small minority cheering
on Syria as a Syrian community in Sydney like any other cosmopolitan city in the world.
As you say, they even had a man sent off during that extra time period during the second leg of this playoff, but it come close hitting the post.
If that goal would gone in, it would have counted double because it's an away goal. Syria would have gone through if it had another playoff. As it
is, Australia advance. They should face Panama next in another playoff to see who's going to take one of the other spot for Russia 2018.
KINKADE: Well, Great news for the Socceroos. They can't complain about that. But let's look at another country, Iceland, now the smallest country
ever to qualify for the World Cup.
THOMAS: Yes, in terms of population it is. Trinidad and Tobago might be smaller island but they are about five or six times more people than the
330, 340,000 people that populate Iceland. Incredible they've reached this far. They've gone from a world ranking way above 100 only five or six years
ago. It's been ranked 22nd in the world right now.
They reached their first major tournament last year, the European Football Championships that were held in France and they reached the quarterfinals
there knocking out England on the way and drawing with eventual champions Portugal in the group stages so, plenty of confidence for them. They've
(INAUDIBLE) forward, proved they're not a one hit wonder and they got through to win.
Of course, famous for that sort of thunder clap that all the fans do in unison with the players after they get a famous win. So it will be great to
see them at Russia 2018. They'll certainly lift the spirits of all the atmosphere in Russia 2018, Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes. Certainly great scenes when you see them come together doing that. One academic in Iceland said that it's not genes, its cultural
organization and a bunch of characters. So despite being such a small country in terms of population, it does take a lot to qualify.
THOMAS: Yes, and they've done it, you know, in a very logical way. This is not a fluke, it's not an accident, it's not some sort of bit of Harry
Potter magic. They've just done it with building inside football pitches because it is a cold climate, a lot of the air in Iceland.
A lot of coaches as well, somewhat one football coach per 825 people, and you compare that with England, who originated -- who invented football,
there's that one coach every 11,000. I think that sort of stat is a little bit 0.1 percent of men aged between 22 and 35 (INAUDIBLE) will be at Russia
2018. That's how small a population is and you got to take a 24-man squad as something to the finals. So, lots of coaching, a football mad nation and
they've got their rewards.
KINKADE: Some great stats there. Alex Thomas for us in London. Good to have you with us. Thank you.
So, football dreams over for war-torn Syria. Of course, the country is still dealing with the nightmarish specter of ISIS. You can read our
exclusive behind the scenes account of the war against ISIS on the international coalition side that is on CNN.com. Here's a taste of what is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's impossible to think that any of the gains that have been made in the fight against ISIS, that those would have been
possible without air power.
The air war against ISIS consumes so much of the money on the fight against ISIS and it's so complex that it's really, really expensive and a lot
bigger than you'll see T.V.
If anything there goes wrong, it can have catastrophic effects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Still to come on "Connect the World," a relatively untested president turns to a veteran diplomatic grandma (ph) yet again. Donald
Trump meeting with Henry Kissinger this hour.
And later, Spain is a country on edge as it waits for an announcement that could change its entire future. We'll have those stories when we come back.
[11:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[11:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: And you're watching "Connect the World." I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back. Well, it could be a recipe for disaster. A beleaguered U.S.
Secretary of State has some weighty international issues on his plate, his boss, President Trump, who is clearly annoyed by media reports that Rex
Tillerson called him a moron, and Defense Secretary James Mattis all attending a closed door White House lunch in around 30 minutes time. So
just what will be on the menu? CNN military and diplomatic analyst John Kirby joins me from Washington. Always good to have you with us, John.
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Thanks Lynda. Good to be with you.
KINKADE: And so we've got the Secretary of State, Defense Minister, the President, certainly a lot of ground to cover, but all over shadowed by
this public spat we're seeing between Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump. Rex Tillerson, of course calling him a moron, and Donald Trump questioning his
Secretary of State's I.Q. Is this going to be an awkward lunch?
KIRBY: Well, I guess it could be, but I rather suspect, Lynda, that it won't be. This is a routine lunch meeting that the Secretary of State and
the Secretary of Defense have with the president every couple of weeks or so. I remember under the last administration, my two bosses, both Secretary
Hagel and Secretary Kerry used to do the same thing. So, I think it will be fairly pro forma in that regard.
There are certainly a lot of significant policy things for them to discuss, whether it's Iran and the future of the Iran deal, whether it's North
Korea, whether it's the fight against ISIS and so on. So I think they're going to have a full agenda as it is. And I would be very surprised if any
of this twitter drama that's out there is really going to seep into the conversation much.
KINKADE: And just speaking of North Korea, when the Secretary of State recently toured the region, President Trump said stop wasting your time,
there's only one thing that's going to solve this.
KINKADE: And when Trump was asked about whether he's undermining his Secretary of State, he said no. Why?
KIRBY: Yes. So, I've talked to some folks at the State Department about this and they really believe -- they really believe and the president
really believes that he is in fact trying to help Secretary Tillerson, that what he's trying to do is charge the atmosphere, pressurize the atmosphere
if you will for negotiations and diplomacy to work particularly with China.
This is really about trying to encourage, entice, and incentivize China to do more to get to the negotiating table with Pyongyang sort of out front.
Now, I think it's a very debatable point whether or not he's actually having that effect because the way its read and some foreign capitals
around the world and probably being read in Pyongyang is that Secretary Tillerson doesn't have the imprimatur of the president and therefore maybe
undermined by him.
So, I think it's -- I do believe that they think that is the strategy. I do think that that was done deliberately. Whether it actually works and has
the effect that they want in Beijing, I just don't know.
KINKADE: That's fascinating, John. So your contacts are telling you that this is a well thought out strategy. It's not just some random tweet that
KIRBY: That is correct. They say that this was something that the president did with malice aforethought in a good way, and that he was
really trying to help Secretary Tillerson entice the Chinese to do more diplomatically. Again, you know, that it is deliberate, I think is there a
point, but that it will work, I think is a great unknown right now.
KINKADE: And, of course, we are seeing the president's continued attacks on a top Republican, Bob Corker. We saw him tweet again this morning
calling him little Bob Corker, demeaning him, and we heard that sound, that interview with the "New York Times." I think we've got a bit of that sound
that I'd like to play from Bob Corker talking to the "New York Times."
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: One of the reasons I supported Mattis and Tillerson and Kelly last week is, again, as long as there's people like
that around him, they're able to talk him down and, you know, when he gets spun up, you know, calm him down and continue to work with him before the
decision is made.
[11:50:00] I think what we find -- I do worry that he's, again, sometimes I feel like he's on a reality show of some kind when he's talking about the
big foreign policy issues and, you know, he doesn't realize that, you know, that we could be heading towards World War III.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KINKADE: John, does he have a point at all? Could Trump actually say something that could trigger a dire reaction from an adversary?
KIRBY: Well, look, it's always possible that the president of the United States can do or say something that could trigger a violent reaction from
an adversary around the world. You can't rule that out, but I do think that it's not helpful for us to be throwing around words like World War III.
Now look, I understand where Senator Corker is coming from, and he certainly knows what he's talking about when it comes to foreign policy as
the chairman of Foreign Relations Committees on the Senate side and certainly has a voice and should have a voice in the foreign policy
direction of the United States. But I don't think it's helpful to try to ramp up the rhetoric and talk about World War III.
Look, the other point that Senator Corker makes and it's one that everybody should pay attention to is that there are good solid people surrounding
President Trump. I agree with the senator that the president's tweeting and some of his bellicose rhetoric is unhelpful if not reckless and certainly
irresponsible, but he has in place around him with Secretary Mattis, with Ambassador Haley, with Secretary Tillerson.
Some measured, deliberate, thoughtful professionals that are trying to work their way through some of these very difficult questions and issues. North
Korea is one of them and I actually have given and continue to give the national security team under President Trump credit for the work that
they've done to try to deal with this very, very looming challenge and very dangerous situation.
It's not always helped, and oftentimes undermined by the president. And that's why I think you've got to separate President Trump sometimes from
the rest of his team. And I think that's the larger point that Senator Corker was trying to make and I do associate myself with at. I just don't
think the World War III comment though, I don't think it's really helpful for us to throw it around.
KINKADE: Yes, fair enough. John, looking at the Iran nuclear deal, Germany and Britain certainly trying to make it clear that the Iran deal is
KINKADE: How do you see this playing out if Donald Trump decides to decertify the Iran deal later this week?
KIRBY: So look, here's a really important point on this. Even if he decertifies their compliance in this report to Congress this week, it
doesn't end the deal. It doesn't -- trash it, it doesn't pull the United States out of it. What it does is it kicks it over to our Congress. They'll
have 60ays to take a look at the president's decertification, and if they agree with it, then they could slap back nuclear-related sanctions.
Now, if that happens, then we're in a different ballgame. If they snap back, the nuclear related sanctions that the United States pulled when we
agreed to do. If that happens, then we're in a whole new ball game and the deal very well could unravel because what Tehran will do is say, well look,
if you're going to put these sanctions back on, that's in direct violation of the deal, which it would be.
Therefore we have no obligations to meet it. And then we're in a different situation. But if he does this, this week, it really doesn't change the
deal fundamentally and I have a hard time believing that our Congress, even our Republican-led Congress would put these sanctions back in place.
KINKADE: All right, John Kirby, we will see how this all plays out. So great to get your perspective on all of that. Thank you so much.
KIRBY: My pleasure.
KINKADE: Well, in just minutes the president of Spain, Catalonia region could make history by declaring independence. Carles Puigdemont is about to
address the regional parliament but he could be arrested if he calls for Catalonia to break away from Spain, something that would throw the entire
country into political and economic uncertainty.
Well Atika Shubert is covering the story for us in Barcelona. And Atika, do you think the Catalan president will be able to push forward with his
agenda while also leaving the door open to negotiations?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's really tricky. There are a lot of people on the street today and they're very
optimistic that there will be some sort of like declaration of independence. You know, you mentioned the risk of Puigdemont being arrested
if he makes that declaration. Well the parliament building is inside that park and all of these people are gathered here including firefighters who
are here, stationed here.
They stay to protect them, to prevent and from being arrested if he makes that declaration. But we still don't know exactly what he's going to say.
There's a huge crowd. Thousands of people have been gathers over here. I'm going to turn the camera around so you can see a little bit of it here.
So basically they have two giant T.V. screens over there and they are watching the parliament proceedings. Thousands of people with the
independence flag and they're waiting to see if he makes that declaration.
[11:55:00] If he does, I think you'll hear a huge cheer coming up from the crowd here. But the wording is going to be critical. Does this mean
independence immediately or are we looking at a declaration that says, OK, it will materialize sometime down the line. This is what people are waiting
KINKADE: And they're sending incredible things there. Atika Shubert, no doubt we will be watching your coverage over the coming hour. Thank you
I'm Lynda Kinkade. That was "Connect the World." Thanks so much for joining us. Stay right here on CNN as we will bring you the Catalan leader's
address as he makes it. My colleague, Richard Quest picks up the coverage right after this very short break. Stay with us.
[12:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)