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Clearing Operations Underway In Raqqa After ISIS Defeat; ISIS Rapidly Losing Foothold In Middle East; Children Forced To Serve As Slaves For ISIS; Iraqi Kurds Flee City Of Kirkuk; Controversy Erupts Over Trump's Call To Military Widow. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 18, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm Hala Gorani. We are coming

to you live from London this Wednesday.

Civilians in Raqqa are enjoying their first real taste of freedom in more than three years after the Syrian city was recaptured from my ISIS, but the

streets are still not entirely safe obviously.

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters are now clearing that they are trying to at least there are so many explosive, trying to clear the streets of mines

left behind by ISIS. They are also trying to hunt down any remaining sleeper cells.

As you can see from these pictures, Raqqa is in ruins after months of intense fighting. It won't be easy rebuilding the former ISIS stronghold

or restoring any kind of functioning government for residents exhausted by years of war, good governance what is sorely missing in the entire region

and especially in that part of the Middle East.

This hour, we are not only looking at the future of Raqqa, but also the future of ISIS itself as its self-proclaimed caliphate collapses around it.

Nic Robertson will have more on that later this hour.

Let's bring in Fred Pleitgen. He is following developments from Tehran. So, what's the latest now on Raqqa itself. Obviously, the SDF and Kurdish

fighters are saying that's it. They've retaken it. Anymore ISIS fighters inside the city as far as we know?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, the U.S.-led coalition for its part is saying it's not quite it yet. They put

a statement earlier today, Hala, saying they believe that about 90 to 95 percent of the city have now been liberated from ISIS, have now been

cleared from ISIS fighters.

So, they are a little more cautious in their assessment than those Syrian democratic forces fighters, who are on the ground, who as you say are

saying that yes, the major fighting is now over there.

Now, they say that they've taken back the city center and also all of the former ISIS fighting positions as well. But they are also saying that they

are still going through the city and trying to clear it of any sort of fighters, who might still be there.

So, certainly they still do have that concern that there still might be ISIS fighters who were hold up. As you said this was, of course, ISIS'

self-declared capital and therefore, there could very well still be fighters on the loose there possibly hiding out there as well.

And the other big thing that you also mentioned, which I think is very important is the fact that there are still those improvised explosive

devices, many of which apparently have been left behind there.

We got reports of one water treatment plant, which, of course, is something that's so very important to try to get the infrastructure of the city back

up and running fairly quickly. Well, that was apparently mined with about 150 improvised explosive devices that now, of course, need to be cleared.

And you know, we both have been in places like Iraq. We know how difficult it is to clear one improvised explosive device, how dangerous that is and

this city appears to be littered with such. So, there still is a lot of work to do.

It appears as though the situation is not completely safe just yet, but certainly this is a very, very big milestone in the fight against ISIS --


GORANI: Yes. And we know ISIS likes to booby-trap, leave IEDs as it retreats to make it much harder to retake the territory that is forced to

abandon. Where is ISIS still in charge in Syria and Iraq? How much territory does it still have?

PLEITGEN: Well, you know, it's interesting because we keep talking about all the gains that have been made against ISIS and certainly, they have

lost all their very large or most of their very large strongholds in both countries.

You look at places like Mosul, which, of course, also was a bastion of ISIS. You look at some places in Syria or even in Darasur (ph), the city

itself. ISIS seems to have been all but taken out of there.

But if you look at the map, they actually still do hold quite a considerable amount of territory, especially some smaller places, in places

they are still in the Euphrates Valley also in Syria, but also in Iraq as well.

So, there is still considerable amount of territory that needs to be cleared, but what we've been seeing in the past couple of weeks, couple of

months, especially, is that there seems to have been a major acceleration in the gains made against ISIS both by the Russian-led coalition and the

forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

But of course, also especially with the American coalition as well now culminating in the fact that they seemed to have all but -- or completely

taken back Raqqa -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much. Fred Pleitgen live in Tehran.

ISIS has lost the two most important jewels in its caliphate, Mosul and Raqqa. This time lapse maps, we were talking about territory just now.

This time lapse maps show how the terror groups territory has in fact shifted and strung since 2014.

[15:05:04] Last month, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff predicted that a loss of territory would leave the terrorist group with

much less credibility. Other experts say ISIS shouldn't be counted out just yet.

I'm joined now by CNN military analyst, Mark Hertling. He served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army. He joins

me via Skype from Orlando, Florida. Thanks for being with us.

So, let's talk a little bit about why at this stage ISIS seems to have lost its two main cities, its self-declared capital, Raqqa and Mosul, a few

weeks ago as well. What changed in the last few months of military engagement that made this possible?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, the map say it all, Hala, and what you've just portrayed and what -- especially what Fred

Pleitgen has just said, they have actually drifted away from a large city. They have been killed and there been some great victories by, as you said

the Russian-led coalition in Syria and the US-led coalition effort, but particularly the Iraqi Security Forces and the Peshmerga in in Iraq.

However, what you just said is key. They are gone and depleted in Mosul, but I would suggest that there probably in the (inaudible) Mountains near

the city of Kirkuk potentially also in some of the other strongholds that we saw that were also strongholds during the al-Qaeda days.

Cities like (inaudible), smaller cities in the Zibe (ph) triangle between various provinces in Northern Iraq. So again, I don't think ISIS is

completely defeated yet, but there is the continued push to go into these smaller areas and push them out and (inaudible) capture.

GORANI: Yes. And let's also obviously the US-led coalition, these airstrikes, which have intensified it has been reported. They've been

easier to call in as well have come at a cost. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and you saw the images along with our viewers of what's left of

Raqqa. So, there was a very, very high price to pay for this as well.

HERTLING: Yes, and not only that, but you're seeing a great deal of casualties on the side in Iraq on the Iraqi Security Forces in the

Peshmerga side. They have sustained significant casualties and equipment loss during the campaign of the last two years.

But once again I would suggest the fighting is going to get tougher, because when you were going against -- when the coalitions were going

against ISIS in the cities of Raqqa and Mosul, you had large targets of opportunity.

You had large formations that you could go after. Now that they've drifted into the Euphrates River Valley, the Tigris River valleys, some of the

smaller towns and in the (inaudible) canyons of some of the mountains in Eastern Iraq, it's going to be that much more challenging to finish to


And then as we said so many times before, what's next? The governmental issues -- the current conflict between the Arab government in Iraq and the

Kurdish regional government in Northern Iraq is certainly not helping the situation.

There is going to be continued conflagrations in areas that are not considered under the Kurdish regional government control. So, that's going

to continue to affect the good -- the establishment of good governance, which is the key to completely stopping out ISIS and now allowing its


GORANI: It is good governance. It's -- the ancestor of ISIS and Al Qaeda in Iraq, it was dormant for a bit. It came back. Is it your belief that

unless there is a functional sort of healthy representative political system in these countries that some of these areas will once again have to

face the horror of groups like ISIS under another name?

HERTLING: I absolutely believe that, Hala. When we were in Northern Iraq with the great soldiers of a task force I commanded, what we saw was the

focus of the media and the politicians when it was -- was on Al Qaeda just like it is on ISIS right now.

But in our region of Northern Iraq in the areas of Kirkuk and (inaudible) provinces, there were 20 or 30 terrorist groups of both sides of Islam,

both the Sunni and the Shia led groups.

So, you had organizations like (inaudible), I could go on and on, and they were almost like gangs. Some of those still exist, they are still contrary

to the government of Iraq. So, those continue have will be continued thorns in the sides of the central government in Baghdad.

And it will only be disestablished if that central government pays attention to the northern provinces and the western provinces.

GORANI: Yes. They have their work cut out for the central government and I would venture to say they know what that work should be. Thanks very

much, Mark Hertling. Really appreciate your time as always joining us from Orlando.

Hope is difficult to come by in this part of the world, even as the world celebrates the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa.

[15:10:05] Ordinary Syrian families are faced with the reality that their homes have been literally torn apart by war and their children's earliest

memories will be formed not at school, not at home, but in refugee camps.

Those camps are bursting at the seams already according to the aid group "Save The Children." It is warning that Syria's humanitarian crisis is

actually getting worse despite these battlefield gains.

Some 270,000 civilians who fled the fighting in Raqqa have no homes to return to at all and aid workers say many civilians are plagued by

nightmares after witnessing horrific violence and will need extensive psychological help and you can imagine how hard that is going to be to get

a country like Syria today.

Those invisible scars are a reminder that even though ISIS fighters are in retreat, the devastating toll from their reign of terror lingers on.

CNN's Nima Elbagir met some children who suffered unimaginable cruelty at the hands of ISIS. They were rescued just days ago after being forced to

serve as slaves. Here's Nima's exclusive and heartbreaking report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): (Inaudible) the moment (inaudible) has been waiting (inaudible), the moment

he finally gets to met Marwan (ph). (Inaudible) is responsible for helping smuggle Marwan (ph) to safety.

Marwan is 11 years old. Three years ago, when he was just eight, he said he was abducted by ISIS and forced to serve as a slave on their frontlines.

Since then he's been sold on 11 times.

From Sinjar to Aleppo, then Aleppo to (inaudible) to Raqqa (inaudible) he casually comes off towns and territories reciting with equal provider, his

slave (inaudible). ISIS, he says, trained him to use an RPG, a Dozka (ph) maching gun, a pistol.

I blew things up twice he tells me with pride. He shows us how to throw a grenade. The trick he says is to count to three first. He shows us his

wounds, a slashed elbow, twice broken leg.

His eyes tell a window into the trauma he's seen. As we arrive at a refugee camp that now houses his family, Marwan can't quite believe his

eyes, his sister, brothers, and grandmother.

Marwan's father is still missing. The joy today is Marwan's return, a reminder that his grandmother had lost. A lost he says never leaves


ELBAGIR (on camera): Just in this camp alone, more than a dozen rescues by this network of smugglers, traffickers, good Samaritans in some more

dubious characters, it may not be orthodox, but those we speak to say, it doesn't really matter if it gets the job done.

ABDULLAH SHRAM, SMUGGLER (through translator): My family was captured by ISIS. I had first didn't know much about this, but it became a duty for us

to go in and rescue these people. We don't see it as the peoples of the world were standing up for the Yazidis. So, we had to do it ourselves.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): In a day since ISIS began selling women and children, a secondary market has now sprung up, and young Yazidi boys he

says can go for as much as $1,000.

SHRAM (through translator): They don't think we are human beings. They think our children are slaves.

ELBAGIR: Hussein Al Qadi (ph) works at the Kurdish Prime Minister funded office for kidnap and rescue.

HUSSEIN AL QADI, KURDISHTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT: We started our work in October 2014 after ISIS took over Sinjar, around 3,200 Yazidis remain


ELBAGIR (on camera): We are heading in (inaudible) taking us to the hour of a 4-year-old boy, who was kidnapped and sold by ISIS. It's just around

the corner here.

(voice-over): In a makeshift house with mattresses against the walls, (inaudible) greets us. His father (inaudible) is still waiting and hoping

for the return of his wife and two other missing children.

Lazin (ph) was rescued four days ago. He sits quietly before agreeing to show us where he plays. It takes a little while to find the (inaudible)

field used to play football. He waits but no one turns up.

Lazin (ph) can't speak the local language. He was a toddler when he and his mother were abducted. Our producer manages to ascertain that Lazin

(ph) grew up speaking Turkish, the language spoken by his then owners.

[15:15:10] Lazin doesn't want to talk about his missing mother or the scars on his forehead. Lazin like Marwan also changed hands a number of times

and until he was returned to his father, he didn't even know his own name. He tells us his owners calls him, boy.

AL QADI (through translator): As long as I am alive, I'll be trying to save Yazidi captives.

ELBAGIR: Across Iraq and Syria, the fight against ISIS maybe waning, but the fight to rebuild their lives and families they shattered continues.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Northern Iraq.


GORANI: Well, in Northern Iraq, some Kurdish families are fleeing the city of Kirkuk, which Iraqi forces seized on Monday. The military operation

followed an overwhelming vote for independence by Iraqi Kurds.

Now the displaced families are grieving and they want to know how the Kurds lost the strategic city. Our Ben Wedeman is inside Kirkuk.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is not a repeat of Saddam Hussein's (inaudible) campaign in the late 1980s when he did wipe

out, push out, drive out, the Kurds but clearly this is a situation that is going to remain quite tense for quite a while.

But we were speaking to people fleeing Kirkuk today, Kurds, who are accusing the United States of abandoning them, of supporting them in the

fight against ISIS, but when it comes to defending the rights of the Kurdish people in Iraq for independence, the Americans turned their backs.

And it should be kept in mind that the United States repeats over and over again that their goal is the destruction of ISIS. ISIS is essentially in

its final phases, but what is the American policy after the destruction of ISIS.

There is reconstruction to be done. There are political situations which the Americans have played a part in, but we don't see any moves to try to

resolve these problems as we see here in Iraq between the Kurds and the central government in Baghdad, as we see in Syria.


GORANI: That was Ben Wedeman reporting from Kirkuk.

A lot more to come this evening, stay with us. Donald Trump and a brand- new war of words over a phone call to the family of a fallen soldier. We are live in Washington.


GORANI: New controversy erupting over President Trump's phone call to a military widow. Today, he was locked in a "he said, she said" fight with a

Florida congresswoman over that. Let me walk you through this.

[15:20:03] Sergeant La David Johnson was killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month, along with three other American soldiers.


These are images of his body being returned home to Miami on Tuesday and the drive to the airport, Sgt. Johnson's widow received a call from

President Donald Trump. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was also in the car with the soldier's widow.

She says she heard the president tell the widow that her husband knew when he went to Niger what he was signing up for, but it still hurts. Listen.


REPRESENTATIVE FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: For him to say that this young man, stayed in school, did all the right things, went into the

service, became a sergeant so quickly that he signed up for his own death? That is so insensitive.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: How did she hear it? What was her response?

WILSON: She was crying. She broke down and she said he didn't even know his name.


GORANI: President Trump doesn't like that type of criticism. He disputed that claim where else on Twitter, "Democratic congresswoman totally

fabricated what I said to the wife of the soldier who died in action and I have proof, fad!"

Now we did hear from a family member who was also in the car during the call, she tells CNN that Congresswoman Wilson's recollection is, quote,

"very accurate."

Let's bring in CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin. He is live from Washington. Really, I think only President Donald Trump would find a way

to get into this kind of controversy with something that should be as simple as offering condolences to the family of a fallen American soldier?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That is exactly right. And it's worth remembering that this whole controversy began when President Trump was

asked why he hadn't mentioned the case of the four fallen American soldiers in almost two weeks and his response was to accuse the Obama administration

of not being in contact with the families of fallen soldiers, which was totally incorrect.

Then when he finally did call the family of La David Johnson, the sergeant who we are talking about, he mangled the call so badly that the widow and

the mother and the congresswoman sitting next to her reported it and then he denied the report.

And now today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended all of those events. It's just a stunning and unique example of President Trump

taking what should have been sort of an easy, you know, compassionate task of the presidency, which is consoling the family members that American

soldiers. And turning it into a political circus where everybody listens.

GORANI: You mentioned Sarah Huckabee Sanders defending this phone call and what the president said. The president said he had proof. So, one of the

reporters at the briefing today asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders what that meant. Here is what she answered.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What proof does President Trump have when he says Congresswoman Wilson is not telling the truth? Are there recording of his

phone calls made to Johnson?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, but there were several people in the room from the administration that were on the call, including

the Chief of Staff General John Kelly.


GORANI: So, John Kelly, and by the way, John Kelly lost a son who was in the military on the battlefield as well and the president brought up the

loss of John Kelly's son, something that John Kelly himself almost never talks about to attack President Obama and how he dealt with consoling or

making calls to the families of fallen soldiers.

ROGIN: Well, that's right. John Kelly is known for not wanting to invoke the name of his son who died in Afghanistan seven years ago and he has been

very careful not to do so. Nevertheless, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is relying on the alleged confirmation of Chief of Staff Kelly to back up the

president's story that this call was respectful.

That he didn't do anything wrong that even when he said your guy, he actually did know Sgt. La David Johnson's name even though he didn't use

it. So on the one hand, he is really taking John Kelly's family tragedy and bringing it out into the open in a really brazen way.

And on the other hand, then leaning on the account of John Kelly, who by the way, has not been heard from directly so far to back up his claim that

the scalds of his widow and his family was not as the family described it and the family described it as disrespectful.

GORANI: Yet another controversy there involving the White House. Josh Rogin, thanks very much live from Washington.

While we were talking about La David Johnson, Sgt. Johnson and he died in ambush in Niger and we are learning more about that ambush two weeks ago

that killed three other soldiers.

[15:25:09] A U.S. military official says a private aviation contractor conducted evacuations of American and allied troops after the attack, and

it is raising questions about communication and coordination during the response.

Barbara Starr is in Washington, our Pentagon correspondent, with the very latest. What more are we learning then, Barbara? To what led to the death

of these four Americans?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, you know, two weeks later, as you say, we are still learning critical details and just now we

are learning that a company called "Berry Aviation," a contractor in West Africa, flew one of the missions to evacuate the casualties from that


We are not learning it from Africa command whether it was dead, wounded, or both, but a private contractor generally is not armed other than the crew

may carry sidearms. So it suggests the battle was over at that point.

And it does raise questions potentially about whether this contract aviation aircraft and the French who were flying overhead had good

communication and they knew exactly how many people they were supposed to pick up.

You know, we are not saying at all that this is what led to La David Johnson being left behind. His body found two days later, but something

separated him from the unit. Something happened where he was not picked up when everyone else was evacuated.

So, this is another factor in all of this. The investigation now looking at the intelligence, what did they know about ISIS? How did they walk into

an ambush? Did they have poor intelligence?

And also, the question of Sergeant Johnson for the United States military, it has a very long-standing motto, leave no one behind and this time they

did. They need to find out what happened -- Hala.

GORANI: Yes. And only 25 years old and the others also so young. How will this change operations in Africa? Because I think a lot of Americans

might not know that there are many parts of the world where there are U.S. service members engaged in training -- or personnel to fight against ISIS,

Al Qaeda and the rest of those groups in that part of the world.

STARR: Sure. And that is now why there is such an extensive review and investigation into what happened. Defense Secretary James Mattis wanting

some answers very definitely. When they find out how this one went so wrong, they have told -- said -- the Pentagon has said they will make what

changes are needed.

GORANI: Barbara Starr, thanks very much live at the Pentagon.

Still ahead, more on our top story this hour, the end game for ISIS in Syria. What it means for both the Middle East and the world.

Plus, strong, unified and on force for the future, China's president is hitting all the high notes at the Communist Party Congress. We'll speak to

an expert about how political controversies in the west are perhaps extending China's global influence.

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, THE WORLD RIGHT NOW: The fall of Raqqa means we're getting closer to the end of ISIS at least as we know it. But as we watch

this battle, a dark and disturbing old thing comes to mind.

Only the dead have seen the end of war. Because the fact is the fight against terrorism is far from over. Nic Robertson has more on ISIS'



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN GLOBAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This was the old ISIS, a terror group with territory. Now, shelled out of Mosul, shot out of Raqqa

and being shorn with the rest of their so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Change is coming. And this is what their future will likely look like. A network of social media and deep Web connections. A virtual caliphate held

together by trust, bolstered by far-flung franchises.

It's what Al Qaeda did when it was beaten out of Afghanistan. Survived through trust, friends forged from the frontlines, dispersed around the

world in defeat kept their ideology together through secret communications, attacking when and where they could.

ISIS' changing circumstance is already breeding a change in tactics. Last year, telling would-be jihadists, "stay home and attack there". Attacks in

the US, in Orlando and San Bernardino; as well as in Europe, Nice and Berlin and Brussels, among others last year; London and Manchester in the

UK this year attest to the power of ISIS' message.

On the demands of western governments, social media companies toughen up on the terrorists. Nevertheless, a virtual caliphate, ISIS will be weaker.

Without territory, they'll lose safe training camps and the space to plot and plan atrocities with impunity. Loss of territory alone won't snuff

them out completely.

ISIS' precursor in Iraq still carries out a wide-ranging terror campaign from remote farms and urban lock-ups.

Candidate Trump threatened to bomb the expletive out of ISIS, but it's easier said than done. Their extinction, when it does come, will be over

time and through attrition. But until then, their social-networking virtual caliphate will remain a threat.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


GORANI: Whatever the challenges tomorrow holds, right now, the US president is taking credit for the liberation of Raqqa. He told an

American radio show that the military wouldn't have been able to do it without him and praising himself for changes he said he alone has made.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I totally changed rules of engagement. I totally changed our military. I totally changed the

attitudes of the military. And they have done a fantastic job. ISIS is now giving up - they're giving up, they're raising their hands, they're

walking off. Nobody's ever seen that before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't that happen before?

TRUMP: Because you didn't have Trump as your president.


GORANI: Be that as it may, the scale with which Syria is being torn apart is staggering even by the standards of modern warfare. And without clear

leadership from the US and its allies, and frankly without clear leadership from inside the country, it's likely to get a whole lot worse.

Add to that a very delicate situation in Iraq and Donald Trump's new rift with Iran, handling the Middle East won't be as easy as making a few

changes to the military.

Let's speak to Jim Sciutto in Washington. First, Jim, Donald Trump taking credit for Raqqa, for the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa. Does he have any facts

to back that up?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, you might say, it fits a pattern for this president. He often does that for issues

domestic and foreign.

In this case, listen, the coalition plan and effort began long before President Trump was elected. Some two years, in fact, before he was

elected. So, this is, in effect, a continuation of the plan that began under President Obama with US allies, largely the ground force made up of

Kurdish forces in Syria, Iraqi forces, Kurds in Iraq, US airpower, some special operators, US special operators on the ground.

Since he came into office, he can rightly claim that he did somewhat change the rules of engagement. He made it a bit easier for airstrikes to take

place, a bit fewer steps that you have to go through to do that.

[15:35:10] There have been some complaints in the military that they had to run through so many traps before they were able to take out targets. And

there were a handful more US special operators, particularly on the ground inside Syria.

But as far as the overall plan is concerned, it looks very similar to the plan that was initiated under President Obama. So, it's a stretch, I

think, you might say, reasonably, maybe even to say the least, for Donald Trump to claim all credit for the defeat of ISIS on the ground.

GORANI: Certainly, we've heard a lot from sources on the ground and also in the military that it has been easier to call in airstrikes.

Let's shift from Syria, Iraq to Iran. The Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had this to say about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a big

mouth who pretends to be an idiot. That's remarkable for the supreme leader of Iran. He used that term.

SCIUTTO: It is. It is.

GORANI: What do you make of that? What message is he trying to send here?

SCIUTTO: Both sides, that statement interesting. Big mouth, throwing some - and it's not the first time we've heard Iranian religious leaders make -

supreme leaders make - use some colorful rhetoric, you might say, about America leaders or America.

The second party is interesting because he's saying that - he seems to be implying that this is an act, right, that, in fact, the US has devious

plans behind this.

But I also think it was interesting to hear from him - he said as well in this speech that Iran will not leave the nuclear deal despite President

Trump at least making warnings about that.

And that's - I don't want to say hope is the right word, but there is a sign of the status quo continuing at least for now. I think you can be

assured that European allies are communicating to Iran, listen, hold off, as far as we know, the deal stays in place, we're certainly sticking in the

deal, we're speaking with our American counterparts, President Trump is not abandoning this deal just yet.

So, in there, you see something of an Iranian perhaps acceptance of that message for now, but also there's nervousness on the ground there because,

listen, this is an unpredictable president.

The US president has effectively punted this to the US Congress and it's not clear what the US Congress does now. It is possible that they will

reinstate sanctions, which would take effectively the US out of the deal.

GORANI: Right. But the EU, as you mentioned, the foreign ministers were very clear a few days ago. They issued a statement. They're essentially

we're sticking to it.

Just back to Raqqa a little bit, and those - that territory that ISIS is losing, we've reported over the last several years that European nationals

have swelled the ranks of ISIS in their self-proclaimed caliphate.

And the MI5 chief here in the UK has said that this country, the UK, is as its most severe terror threat ever as the fear is that hundreds of Britons

and then hundreds of individuals from other nationalities would flee parts of the Middle East where ISIS is losing ground and try to sneak back in to

their countries of origin.

SCIUTTO: This is a real concern now. No one is saying it's a bad thing. In fact, it is a devastating loss for ISIS, for them to lose what was

really an unprecedented achievement, which was to have a country or least have land occupying two countries for some time.

That's essentially over now. But this is a group with an ideology that still appeals to many young radicalized men and women. And many of those

people are now returning or will attempt to return to their home countries or will stay in their home countries as they have been instructed to by the

ISIS leader and try to plan attacks.

And the fact is, to some degree, those attacks are harder to prevent because there are no lines of communication to intercept on the way. There

are no people to intercept leaving Syria to - perhaps dispatched by ISIS organizers on the ground in Syria or Iraq. So, that's the difficulty here.

They've lost their territory, but a more disparate, more dispersed ISIS is very dangerous and arguably more difficult to stop, at least attack by


GORANI: All right. Jim Sciutto, as always, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

SCIUTTO: Thank you, Hala.

GORANI: China's president is setting big goals for the country's future. He says Beijing is entering "a new era." President Xi Jinping opened the

19th Communist Party Congress saying the communist system is still the most effective way to serve the Chinese people. But Mr. Xi also argued that

openness was the key to China's future.


XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA: It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.

Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind.


[15:40:08] GORANI: Xi Jinping. Even as the US administration struggles to clarify its foreign policy in Europe, tries to get a handle on Brexit,

China's president is expected to only solidify his power at this Congress.

Let's talk about it with Leland Miller. He is the cofounder and CEO of China Beige Book International, which helps investors navigate the Chinese

economy and he's a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Thanks for being with us.

So, first of all, Xi Jinping is painting a very rosy picture. And when we look at the graphs, he's right. I mean, the GDP growth is obvious. The

GDP per capita growth is obvious as well.

But is he right to be so optimistic? There's still a lot of poverty in China, among other issues.


What's amazing is what they have done for the past year-and-a-half. So, a year-and-a-half ago, we were talking about China crises and capital outflow

crises and all of the problems in the Chinese economy.

And in the last six quarters or so, he really has put the economy on firmer ground. Now, there's a price to be paid for that. And I think we're going

to start seeing that next year and beyond. But, right now, the economy does look good.

But I think it's difficult to read too much into what a leader is talking about. This is a very sensitive leadership Congress. Of course, he's

going to talk about China's place in the world, he'd talk about the party's place, he's talk about his own power consolidation. This doesn't mean that

it's actually happening.

GORANI: What's coming? You said this comes at a price for China. What's the price?

MILLER: Well, a lot of people only see the economy rebounding. They said it was bad before. Now, it's a lot better.

But when you look at the data, a lot of the things that people think of and happening haven't really been happening. So, there's a lot of talk about

deleveraging. They have been accomplishing these impressive economic accomplishments despite deleveraging.

Well, it's very clear, the data. China credit is flowing freely right now. There is no deleveraging going on in China.

And if you look at rebalancing, everyone talks about the rebalancing of China's economy. Well, what got them the growth in 2017 was the old

economy sectors. It was manufacturing, but it was commodities, it was property and these are things that the Chinese government is actually very

worried about overheating.

So, the growth that they had in 2017 and what they were able to accomplish in 2017 is going to be very difficult to duplicate in 2018 and beyond.

And, in fact, they will not do that.

GORANI: Let's talk about also - I mean, China isn't like Russia. And by the way, their GDP per capita, as I was looking at the numbers, is the

same, China and Russia. But Russia loves to project itself diplomatically, to get itself involved in conflict.

China, what's the future for China in that regard? I mean, it has economic involvements in Africa and other parts of the world. It's clearly spending

money and investing and expanding. But what about geostrategically? Is that something it's interested in?

MILLER: Definitely. But there's a huge tension there. So, as much as they want to talk about being a global power, what they're interested first

and foremost is ensuring that they are a Pacific power, hopefully, the Pacific power.

So, while they want talk about their involvement and how much they've been doing around the world, what they really want to say is Southeast Asia,

that's our world; South China Sea, that's our world; East China Sea, that's our world. We are the hegemon in Asia. We're also a global power.

But there's a real tension there because, at the same time they're saying that they are involved in the rest of world, they are very worried about

the fact the US is coming into their hemisphere and it is a power as well.

So, there's a tension that's not going to away about this. But, first and foremost, their focus is on their own neighborhood.

GORANI: And how does that play into how they are managing the North Korean problem?

MILLER: Well, North Korea is sort of a unique situation. They are actually doing more than they have done before, but it isn't enough and it

will never be enough to solve the North Korea problem.

What people are coming to slowly is the realization that North Korea is a problem to be managed, not solved. The Chinese are not going to solve the

problems for the United States.

And as that realization becomes clearer and clearer to the world community, to the United States, it will be interesting to see if this changes the

White House's view on a lot of this because a lot of the soft approach, you could say, that the Trump administration has had towards China, whether

it's South China Sea, whether it's trade, has been premised on the idea that, well, China will be helping us out in other places, primarily North


When that doesn't happen, and it will not happen, then it'll be interesting to see what happens next coming out of the White House.

GORANI: I predict some tweets, among other things. Leland Miller, thanks very much. Really appreciate your time.

The latest Brexit talks seem to be going nowhere slowly. Right now, it's a matter of money. And as Erin McLaughlin explains, unless a deal gets done,

ordinary Brits may end up paying a hefty price.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been called a disturbing deadlock. Despite Theresa May's diplomatic push, including a

dinner in Brussels and a round of calls to EU heads of state, the showdown between the UK and the EU over money persists.

[15:45:02] The president of the EU's parliament says the UK is fractured.

ANTONIO TAJANI, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: I'm not against the UK, but please help us to help you without -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By paying you another 20 billion more than we've already offered.

TAJANI: But 20 billion is peanuts. It's peanuts, 20 billion.

MCLAUGHLIN: The stalemate is a threat to the British economy, but business leaders saying transition deal by the end of the year or they're skipping

town. Already inflation is at a five-year high, food and transport costs are on the rise and things could get much worse.

According to one study, if talks collapse, a no-deal scenario could cost British households an average of $345 a year, with the poorest households

hit even harder.

Both the EU and the UK say they're getting ready for that possibility.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: - would they cough up a hundred? Would you?

MCLAUGHLIN: Although Theresa May's own cabinet seems split on the topic, some saying no deal unthinkable.

It's not just economics of the situation. Brexit taking a social toll as well. The UK home office confirms, a month after the referendum, hate

crimes went up over 40 percent before returning to pre-Brexit levels.

(on-camera): Well, the UK's Brexit secretary, we're going to have to see how things play out during Friday's EU summit in Brussels. Unless someone

backs down on the so-called divorce bill, the uncertainty will persist along with the social and economic anxieties.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


GORANI: Quick break. When we come back, first, he was suspended. Now, he's stepping down. We'll tell you about the sexual harassment scandal

that has cost the head of Amazon Studios his job. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Another sexual harassment scandal is engulfing a Hollywood powerhouse and another resignation of a boss at the center of it. This

time, it's a man named Roy Price, the chief of Amazon Studies. There he is.

He has quit after a fellow producer accused him of sexual harassment. Price did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.

While the Weinstein allegations are rocking Hollywood, let's remember another big media boss who was embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal

before him. I'm talking about Roger Ailes, the former "Fox News" chairman and CEO.

And the former anchor - a former anchor from that network, Gretchen Carlson, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, you'll remember.

She received a reported $20 million settlement deal.

And speaking to my colleague Poppy Harlow, Carlson says the floodgates have opened on calling out sexual harassment.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was not a fight you thought you would ever take on. Even when this was happening to you, even when you

were being harassed, you told my colleague Patty Sellers of "Fortune", I never expected to become the face of sexual harassment.

Well, look, where we're sitting today? OK, look what has transpired with Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood? All these women were silenced.

[15:50:08] GRETCHEN CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So, it's not just about the silencing of women. It's about the enablers who normalize this

within their own corporate culture, right?

So, the flood gates have been opened. I really am optimistic that we're actually going to see change. And as I said in "The New York Times" op-ed,

predators watch out because people are starting to talk.

HARLOW: When anyone, men or women, go through, experience sexual harassment, a natural place to go in workplace is HR, is human resources.

You make the counterargument, the controversial, frankly, argument that HR may not be where you need to go. Why?

CARLSON: Well, because people who work in HR departments are getting their paychecks from the company and that's one thing that people always told me

as I worked my way up.

Are they really your friend? Np. Because they're being paid from the company. Now, I have heard from tons of people who work in HR who are good

people, who are trying to do the right thing. So, I'm not trying to malign the whole industry of HR people.

However, I do believe that with regard to discriminatory cases and sexual harassment that we should have an outside source that would be - come

inside the company, but not work at the company to be able to hear these complaints.


GORANI: Gretchen Carlson, the former "Fox News" anchor. Check our Facebook page, for more of our show's content.

And the Weinstein scandal has really put a spotlight on sexual harassment, women's equality and the social challenges many women say they face still,

to this day, in 2017.

Up next, we bring you the story of one woman who wants to tackle body shaming in France. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Right now, probably more conversations are being had than would have been the case before the Weinstein scandal about women. Some are very

difficult, whether it's about rape, harassment, power or equality.

One woman in France in particular is speaking out about her own very personal battle. Gabrielle Deydier has written a book about being obese

and dealing with the social pressure that she says that naturally follows. And it's igniting a massive debate in France. Melissa Bell has that story.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Glitter, glamor and the ideal female form, all were celebrated during Paris Fashion


But away from the runway, another female type has been attracting a lot of attention in France.

Gabrielle Deydier is speaking up as she never has before. With the book on what it is like being overweight in a country where larger women are rally

seen and never heard.

GABRIELLE DEYDIER, AUTHOR (through translator): The French woman is supposed to wear size one clothes. She's meant to always be made up.

She's meant to be perfect with lovely firm arms. The idea is that thin women are winners.

BELL: As a child, Gabrielle was on the heavier side, but she says that she only got fat trying to get thin and that ever since her life has been

defined by her size.

DEYDIER (through translator): What you get every day is people intruding into your life. So, when I go grocery shopping and I'm buying chocolates,

someone would tap me on the shoulder and say that's not a good idea.

[15:55:07] BELL: And it isn't just intrusion she's come up against, but until the book and the signings, difficulty finding work and keeping it.

DEYDIER (through translator): The principal hired me in July. And when school started, I presented myself to my colleague. And she looked me up

and down and said, I don't want to work with a fat woman.

BELL: Which is why Gabrielle says the book has been both therapy and a much-needed opportunity.

It's made her something of a media celebrity in France, precisely because it appears to have hit a nerve in a country where looks matter as much as

they do.

JEAN-FRANCOIS AMADIEU, SOCIOLOGIST: It's very odd in France. And maybe more in France than other European countries because, as you know, in

France, how you look, your dress code and your physical appearance is very important in the French society.

BELL: Which may be why Gabrielle's book, "One is Born Fat", has been in such a hit. Not only do so many women relate, they also think it is time

things changed.

MARIE GARAMBOIS, FRENCH CITIZEN: I think we are at the moment when people - maybe they are fed up of being excluded for what they are or the way they

look or the way they think, and they just, like, want to change things. And maybe that's why her book is successful right now.

BELL: Gabrielle says she's surprised at how well the book is doing and more determined than ever to be heard and perhaps, most of all, seen.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


GORANI: Now, Google Maps is trying to navigate through body issues itself and it led to a U-turn. Stick with me.

Now, there was a new feature that it had on its maps and it led to an online backlash. And it's interesting. Not everyone agrees with those who

have sort of initiated that backlash.

The features told just how many calories they'd burn it they decided to walk to their chosen destination. The problem is that it gave an

equivalent amount for those calories in mini cupcakes.

So, it would say, for instance, if you walk this .4 miles, that's the equivalent of half a mini cupcake. The company had been trying to promote

healthy living.

But then, some people tweeted that it was actually unhealthy because it triggered people with eating disorders, which is interesting because I have

a few map apps on my phone and they all give me the calorie equivalent if I choose to walk somewhere rather than take a cab.

So, it's interesting that Google has had to face that. And there have been different opinions in the newsroom about it.

I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching. Do stay with us. "Quest Means Business" is next.