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UK PM seeks urgency in talks over citizens' right; Varoufakis on Brexit, Brussels and the economy; White House chief of staff speaks on Gold Star family controversy; Victims of sexual assault come forward with #MeToo; Strength and dignity during desperate times in Puerto Rico. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 19, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Tonight, CNN goes inside Raqqa. Our Arwa Damon reports from the liberated former ISIS capital. We are live

in Northern Syria this hour.

And just over the border, the tag of war over Kirkuk after the city was snatched back from Kurdish authorities. We are live from nearby Irbil.

Also, this hour, 10 out of 10, that is the grade Donald Trump is giving his administration for is Puerto Rico hurricane relief.

Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are coming to you live from CNN London. Thanks for being with us on this Thursday. This is THE WORLD


Well, it was once considered the jewel in the dark and twisted crown that ISIS seized in the Middle East, but after nearly three years in their hands

that jewel has ground the basically little more than dust.

Opposition forces may be celebrating their victory in the Syrian city of Raqqa, but the backdrop that is one so horrifying it feels like life itself

has abandoned it. Arwa Damon has this incredible insight into what is tragically just one aspect of Syria's war.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The destruction is so vast, it is so widespread, it is hard to even begin to imagine just how

terrifying this must have been especially for the civilians that ISIS was continuing to hold hostage until the very last minute.

And you can't even see traces of the life that was amid the rubble. That is just how devastated this city has become and we are still under very

strict orders not to veer off the main roads, not to go down any of the alleyways because of ongoing concerns that ISIS still may have explosives

buried throughout the rubble.

Commanders that we have spoken to have describe this as being a multi- leveled battlefield. There is the fighting that took place above grounds and then there is the fighting that took place underground with the vast

intricated tunnel system that ISIS had dugout.

This is one of the main squares in Raqqa where ISIS' horrors, its brutal reigns, were on regular display. We saw some of the first images emerging

from here of the ISIS public executions, the beheadings.

There was some footage and photographs that showed heads that ISIS had placed on top of these spikes to ensure that the civilian population knew

who was in charge, knew what their fate would be if they dare to even disobey the ISIS rulers.

What we have here now can really only be described as something of a surreal scene, Syrian democratic forces fighters took over this part of the

city a few days ago and now we have the women's units that is here part of a celebration that is going to be starting fairly shortly.

They are part of the Syrian democratic forces and we have been talking to some of the top leadership within the SDF and they are telling us that the

enormous challenge of rebuilding the city, of course, is among their top priorities.

And that of course is going to be incredibly difficult, but what they say is even more crucial even more imperative, at this stage, is trying to

rebuild the fabric of society and it's only if they succeed at that will they be able to ensure that an entity like ISIS never reemerges in a city

like Raqqa again.

And that the people of this city and so many others never have to go through this again. Arwa Damon, CNN, Raqqa, Syria.


GORANI: Well, I can speak now to Arwa. She is live from inside Northern Syria. Did you encounter any civilians, anybody still inside Raqqa?

DAMON: We didn't, Hala, and to a certain degree that is what was one of the many startling aspects of driving through the city. It's a ghost town.

I mean, as you saw on that report, you don't even see traces of civilian life.

[15:05:10] In other battle zones, you sometimes see a notebook sticking out of the rubble. You'd see a few toys covered in dust. You'd see something.

The destruction of Raqqa is so widespread that you don't really see anything and it's not in the areas that we were in.

And then you remember and recognize and realize that ISIS was holding civilians hostage in these areas when that bombardment, that destruction

was taking place. They were presumably civilians that were also still trapped inside having to somehow endure and survive that on plot.

GORANI: And if any part of the city inhabitable, (inaudible) if Raqqa residents choose to return?

DAMON: No, not at this stage. In fact, the SDF has issued orders and requests actually for no civilian to even attempt to return at this stage

because of the concern of not just a small pockets of ISIS fighters that are still out there.

These hard core foreign fighters they are believed to be, but mostly because of the fact that they believe that the entire city has effectively

been booby-trapped. That underneath the rubble is an unknown number of explosives.

There is a tunnel system underground that they haven't even fully explored and cleared at this stage. One of the commanders were telling us, Hala,

that they are estimating. It's going to take at least three months before civilians can even begin to go back. And then you think what do they

actually have to go back to.

GORANI: Yes. That's the question, what's next now? I mean, essentially the city, I don't if we could -- I mean, it looks like most of it will need

to be written off almost. What happens to all the civilians?

DAMON: And that's the big problem. Right now, they are languishing in overcrowded refugee camps with insufficient medical attention,

insufficient, you know, basic food supplies and things like baby diapers and baby formula.

There is a Raqqa Civil Council that has been established for the last few months if not longer, and they've been trying to sort of get things going

so that when they do move in, they can get to work fairly quickly.

But realistically speaking, it's going to be that fast. Where do you even start rebuilding the city? They need to get water, electricity going.

They need to find the money that is actually going to be funding all of it.

They do say that they have some pledges from international donors from various different nations, but nothing has actually materialized just yet

and then there's things like trying to get kids back into school.

Kids who have only known ISIS for the last four, five years, only know that ideology. They need to be shown something else, something other than

violence and brutality.

GORANI: Last one on ISIS, do we know for sure there no more ISIS fighters inside Raqqa?

DAMON: No. And what the commanders are telling us is that they are still encountering small pockets of ISIS fighters or a single fighter and they

are going through trying to comb through the city to ensure that no one has actually been left behind.

The latest estimate by the coalition was that there were perhaps most hundred or so ISIS fighters left throughout all of Raqqa, but again that's

one of the other reasons why they don't just yet want civilians to return.

GORANI: Arwa Damon, thanks very much inside rock today reporting from Northern Syria. It is hard to convey just how badly Syria has been ripped

apart, but it's still often the violence is really beyond our comprehension.

But these images are at least getting us a clue about what exactly it took to reclaim Raqqa. They were filmed over the past months, over several

weeks. They were given exclusively to CNN.

And you can see fighters chasing ISIS dodging sniper fire with body cameras and crawling between Raqqa's devastated buildings. These fighters eat,

sleep, and breathe in a war zone where the normal rules clearly do not apply anymore.

And as hair raising as these pictures are, there are horrors that have not been caught on camera. We were discussing with Arwa, obviously, the

children, for example, some of whom say they saw beheadings or watch their friends and family bombed in front of them. It's going to take a long time

to recover from all of this.

In one short week, the Kurds helps conquer one city but lost another they call their own, Kirkuk. That in itself is a reminder that the battle

against ISIS isn't just about the retreat of the terrorist group, but about addressing the powder keg that could be left behind.

And as the Iraqi government works to fully secure all of Kirkuk's virtual oilfields, tensions have been ramped up a little more after the Iraqi oil

minister said that other countries and companies must go via the government if they want to strike deals not with Kurdish authorities.

[15:10:04] Let's get more on exactly what is happening on the ground. Ben Wedeman joins me from Irbil in Northern Iraq. What is the exact situation

now in Kirkuk? Is the central government fully in charge?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fully in charge, I would not say, Hala. We are hearing that this evening there are scattered

gunfire in the city. The day for the most part was relatively calm, with more people returning to the city than leaving.

Now there are messages being passed back and forth between the Kurdish leadership and Baghdad, which might hint that there could be an opening for

some sort of agreement. We understand that the -- we saw a statement issued by the Kurdish Regional Government, saying that they welcome Iraqi

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's offer for a dialogue.

But we have not seen any movement beyond that, but when it comes to the situation inside Kirkuk itself. Many people do not know whether to stay or

to go.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): They return in the morning, car after car of Kirkuk residents, who had fled the city when central government forces and

paramilitaries seized control earlier this week.

(Inaudible), a car mechanic says it's safe to go back home now. The situation is good, he insists. There is nothing wrong. Units of the Iraqi

Army, the federal police, and the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units have deployed around the city replacing Kurdish forces who pulled out

suddenly Monday morning.

Among shoppers beneath Kirkuk's ancient citadel, relief change was swift and albeit by Iraqi standards relatively peaceful. I was scared,

(inaudible) tells me. We were afraid to step outside, but nothing happened, thank God.

(Inaudible), a Kurdish veteran of the Iran-Iraq war looks on the bright side. We're all Iraqis, he says. There is no difference between Arabs and

Kurds. But all is not well here. Five-minute drive away and the tune is very different.

People are afraid says (inaudible) construction worker. He says he'd leave if he had the money.

(on camera): Some parts of the city look almost normal. Others like this usually a busy market is pretty much dead. For a few years, Iraqis put

their differences behind them and focus on the fight against ISIS, but now that ISIS has almost been defeated those old differences are starting to


(voice-over): By early afternoon, suddenly the roads were once more jammed with people fleeing the city. Rumors spreading that Kurdish officials were

being rounded up. The clashes were about to erupt.

People are afraid of war says this man, and with the fear, anger at the U.S., which supported the Kurds in their war against ISIS, but turned its

back on their desire for a state of their own.

United States bears responsibility for what is happening in Kirkuk, (inaudible) tells me, as one conflict comes to an end, another looms large.


WEDEMAN: Now one major irritant in Kirkuk at least for the Kurdish residents of the city was the presence of the so-called Popular

Mobilization Units. Those are those Iranian armed and trained paramilitaries, who predominantly Shia did play a role in the takeover of

the city.

However, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi did order that all nongovernmental armed groups leave the city. We understand they have

redeployed to the edges so they are out, but they are not far away from Kirkuk -- Hala.

GORANI: OK. Ben Wedeman in Irbil, thanks very much.

I want to take you to Washington live now, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is appearing at the daily briefing. He is talking about the

president's calls or communications with Goldstar families, families that have lost servicemembers, men and women in combat. Let's listen.

JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: -- a congresswoman stood up to the long traditions of empty barrels, making the most noise stood up there and

all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building.

Now she took care of her constituents because she got the money and she just called up President Obama and on that phone call, he gave the money,

the $20 million to build a building.

[15:15:06] She sat down. We were stunned, stunned that she'd done it. Even for someone that with that empty avowal. We were stunned. So, none

of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and drew a fault.

We just said OK, fine. So, I still hope as you write your stories and I appeal to America that let's not let this maybe lost thing that tells

sacred in our society. A young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country, let's try to somehow keep that sacred.

But eroded a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress. So, I'm willing to take a question or two on this topic. Let me

ask you this, is anyone here a Goldstar parent or sibling? Does anyone here know a Goldstar parent, sibling? OK, you get to question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, General Kelly. First of all, pretty good respects (inaudible) for everything that you ever done, but if we could

take this a bit further, why were they in Niger? What was -- we were told they weren't in armored vehicles and there was no air cover. So, what are

the specifics about this particular incident and why were we there and why are we there?

KELLY: Well, I would start by saying there is an investigation. Now let me back up and say the fact of the matter is, young men and women that wear

our uniforms are deployed around the world and there are tens of thousands, near the DMZ, in North Korea, in Okinawa, waiting to go -- in South Korea.

In Okinawa, ready to go all over the United States, training, ready to go.

They are all over Latin America, down there they do mostly drug interdiction working with our partners, our partners, the Colombians,

Central American, Mexicans. You know, there's thousands.

My own son right now back in the fight for his fifth tour against ISIS. There are thousands of them in Europe acting as a deterrent, and throughout

Africa and they are doing a nation's work there and not making a lot of money, by way, doing it.

They love what they do. So, why were they there? They are there working with partners, local Africa -- all across Africa, in this case, Niger,

working with partners, teaching them how to be better soldiers.

Teaching them how to respect human rights, teaching them how to fight ISIS so that we do not have to send our soldiers and Marines there in their

thousands. That is what they were doing to there.

Now there is an investigation as always -- unless it's a very, very conventional death in a conventional war. There is always investigation.

Of course, that operation is conducted by Africom (ph) that, of course, works directly for the secretary of defense.

There is a -- I've talked to Jim Mattis this morning, I think he made statements this afternoon. There's an investigation ongoing. An

investigation doesn't mean anything was wrong.

An investigation doesn't mean people's heads are going to roll. The fact is they need to find out what happened and why it happened, but at the end

of the day, Ladies and Gentlemen, you have to understand that these young people sometimes oligarchs, put on the uniform, go to where we send them to

protect our country.

Sometimes they go in large numbers to invade Iraq and invade Afghanistan. Sometimes they are working in small units, working with our partners in

Africa, Asia, Latin America, helping them be better.

But at the end of the day, they are helping those partners be better at fighting ISIS in the North Africa to protect our country so that we do not

have to send large numbers of troops.

Any other? Someone who knows who knows a Goldstar fallen person. John?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General, thanks for being here. Thank you for your service. There has been some talk about timetable of the release of the

statement about the -- I think at that point, it was three soldiers who were killed in Niger.

Can you walk us through the timetable of the release of that information and what part did the fact that a beacon was pinging during that time have

to do with the release of the statement? And were you concern that divulging information early might jeopardize the (inaudible)?

KELLY: First of all, that's -- you know, we are at the highest level of U.S. government. The people that will answer those questions will be the

people at the other end of the military pyramid.

[15:20:04] I am sure there the special forces group is conducting it. I know they are conducting investigation. That investigation, of course,

under the auspices of Africom ultimately will go to Pentagon.

I've read the same stories you have and actually know a lot more than letting on some, but I'm not going to tell you. There is investigation

being done, but as I say, the men were men and women of our country that are serving all around the world -- I mean, what the hell is my son doing

back in the fight?

He is back in the fight because working with Iraqi soldiers who are infinitely better than they were a few years ago to take ISIS on directly

so that we do not have to do it. Small numbers of Marines where he is working alongside those guys.

That is why they are out there whether it's Niger, Iraq or whatever. We do not want to send tens of thousands of American soldiers and Marines in

particular to go fight. I'll take one --

GORANI: So, you are listening to the White House chief of staff, John Kelly. There had been criticism of President Trump's phone call with the

widow of a soldier who died in ambush in Niger, in Africa.

John Kelly came out today at the briefing. It is normally Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, and the chief of staff said he was stunned

that a call to the family of La David Johnson was criticized.

That call in which reportedly, the president told the widow of La David Johnston that he knew what he signed up for. He also answered a few

questions on the investigation into what led to the death of two Green Berets and two soldiers in that ambush in Niger. Kelly, by the way, lost

his own son in Afghanistan.

We are going to take a quick break. When we come back, we will be speaking to a Democratic lawmaker. Stay with CNN.


GORANI: This is not over by a long shot. Those are the words from Puerto Rico's governor today as he made a personal appeal for more hurricane

relief from the American government. Ricardo Rossello met with Donald Trump at the White House today. There they both are.

He repeatedly stressed that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens in need of both immediate and long-term assistance. Mr. Trump had high praise for Rossello

but also for himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 1 and 10, how would you grade the White House's response so far to the --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'd say it was 10. I'd say it was probably the most difficult when you talk about relief,

when you talk about search, when you talk about all of the different levels and even when you talk about live saves.

It hit right through the middle of the island, right through the middle of Puerto Rico. There's never been anything like that. I give ourselves a

10. I think that locally there -- I really think locally to have -- and this gentleman, great leadership.

[11:25:08] I have to tell you it is a tough job, but we have provided so much so fast.


GORANI: All right, 10 out of 10 is the grade that Donald Trump gives the federal government for its Puerto Rico response. Many Puerto Ricans would

disagree with Mr. Trump's perfect 10 rating. We've seen it in our reporting on the ground.

Our next guest, I am willing to bet does as well, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu is joining from California. Thanks for being with us. How do you

think the federal government has done in Puerto Rico? Do you think Donald Trump is right when he says it deserves a 10 out of 10?

REPRESENTATIVE TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Actually not. Thank you, Hala, for your question. The president is entitled to his own opinions of

himself, but not to his own facts. The facts are that about a third of U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico still cannot get safe drinking water.

You have a majority of U.S. citizens who do not have electricity. You have the "USS Comfort" Navy ship there that can have 250 beds for patients, of

which only about 30 some are filled because they do not how to get patients there. It is definitely not a 10.

GORANI: But why do you think that is then? Do you think there is not the will or do you think there isn't the competence or what is going on then?

Do you think if this had been a mainland state in America, not an overseas territory, that the response would have been different?

LIEU: I do because it was different. If you look at what happened in Texas or Florida, the response was much more immediate. In Puerto Rico,

the president had a delayed and weak response. And if you just look at the timeline, he was tweeting a lot about the NFL at the time that your

citizens in Puerto Rico were suffering.

This is a critical few days right after the hurricane struck. So, the facts are that there are a lot of people still suffering in Puerto Rico and

we need the Trump administration to focus and do a much better job there.

GORANI: OK, let us talk about we were disappearing from John Kelly, the chief of staff discussing that controversy surrounding the president's

phone call to a Goldstar widow. But before we get to that, I've seen you tweet about it.

We have heard some Democratic lawmakers bring this up and that is the death of those for four American servicemembers in Niger. You are saying that

there's still questions out there. What are those questions?

LIEU: So, it is important to know that there are four servicemembers that sacrificed their lives. I do not know what the president said or didn't

say to their families, but I do know that one of the best ways to honor their sacrifice is for the Trump administration to explain to the American

people what happened in that ambush.

Why is it that there wasn't more support? Why do we have to rely on the French military to bail us out? Are there steps we can take in the future

to prevent these deaths from happening again?

GORANI: And John McCain, the U.S. senator from Arizona believes that the lack of Niger answers may require subpoenas. Do you think it should get to

that level of inquiry?

LIEU: I hope it does not, but it has been over two weeks and the Trump administration still does not seem to have the facts about what happened in

Niger and we need to know if we are going to have U.S. troops in these countries, why they are there, how are they being protected, and are we

doing all we can to make sure that we do not have deaths that perhaps could have been prevented?

GORANI: I know that a lot of Americans probably did not know that there was some U.S. military presence in Niger and other countries where there

ISIS and al Qaeda presence. As I mention, the chief of staff, John Kelly, this is his second appearance in the briefing room and I think as many


So, he discussed the controversy and some of the criticisms aimed at Donald Trump for his phone call to a Goldstar widow, the widow of La David

Johnson. This is what he had to say about that. Listen.


KELLY: Understand there's tens of thousands of Americans, kids most of them, doing the nation's building all around the world. They don't have to

be in uniform. You know, when I was kid every man in my life was a veteran, World War II, (inaudible).

These young people today, they don't do it for any other reasons than their selfless -- sense of selfless devotion to this great nation. We don't look

down upon those of you that haven't served.

In fact, we are a little bit sorry because you'll never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kind of things our

servicemen and women do --


GORANI: All right. He said he doesn't look down on people who haven't served. That would include the president of the United States who didn't

serve in the military either, but one of the things he said is that he was stunned that anybody would criticize the president's phone call to the

widow of La David Johnson. How do you respond to that?

LIEU: So, I was not on that call. I do not know what was said or what was not said, but General Kelly is right, we do have a lot of military members

serving around the world. I was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force.

I'm very aware that we do a lot of missions in our amazing military, but when something goes wrong like in Niger --

Said or what wasn't said. Gen. Kelly is right. We do have a lot of military members serving around the world. I was on active duty with US

Air Force and very aware that we do a lot of missions in our amazing military.

But when something goes wrong, like in Niger, then the Trump administration does need to explain what happened. And I hope that in the future that the

president can do a better job of making sure we don't have stories like this that turned into what looks like a crisis, but we do need to know the

facts about what happened in Niger and to make sure we try not to have those things happen again.

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, THE WORLD RIGHT NOW: Well, we're - many more people today than just a few weeks ago are asking some of those questions. Ted

Lieu, a US House member from the Democratic Party, thanks for being with us. We really appreciate it on CNN.

LIEU: Thank you.

GORANI: We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. Stay with us.


GORANI: Well, it seems both sides in the Brexit negotiations can agree on one thing, it's all moving really slowly. EU leaders are meeting in

Brussels again amid a deadlock. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel says there hasn't been in the talks so far to move on to the next phase.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May says she needs other EU leaders to act urgently on the issue of citizens' rights. Bianca Nobilo is live in

Brussels. She is covering developments there.

So, where do we stand?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We stand at an impasse at the moment. It's definitely a tense situation. The EU is united and this

week in the UK has certainly been marked by division over Brexit.

We've had prominent cabinet figures contradicting each other. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, attacking his opposition on Brexit.

Today, Theresa May arrived trying to be cautiously optimistic and she spoke to some journalists as she arrived here at the EU council building.

Let's take a listen to what she had to say about her hopes for what these next two days might bring.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This council is about taking stock. It's also about looking ahead to how we can tackle the challenges that we

all share across Europe. That means, of course, continued cooperation, cooperation which is going to be at the heart of the strong future

partnership that we want to build together.

Of course, will also be looking at the concrete progress that has been made in our exit negotiations and looking at setting out ambitious plans for the

weeks ahead.

I specifically, for example, want to see an urgency in reaching an agreement on citizens' rights.


NOBILO: That is going to be much tougher than Theresa May just made it sound. In fact, earlier today, Hala, I asked the president of the European

Parliament Antonio Tajani if he thought that sufficient progress had been made to proceed to the next stage of Brexit negotiations.

[15:35:07] He told me definitely not, that the EU has not received enough firm details from the UK to be able to make that transition to the next

stage of negotiations where they can talk about today and they can talk about the future relationship.

That's a sentiment that has been echoed across all of the EU figures that have been speaking out. They really stayed on message. Meanwhile, the EU

is quite divided.

But, right now, as I'm speaking to, Theresa May is meeting with those EU 27 leaders at a working dinner to try and encourage them to get to that next

stage of Brexit negotiations.

So, hopefully, we'll have the outcome of that fairly shortly. It's definitely going to be a difficult pitch to those EU 27 for the prime

minister, Hala.

GORANI: All right. I predict a lot of working dinners in Theresa May's future. Thanks very much, Bianca Nobilo in Brussels.

Well, there is another person who knows a thing or two about prickly meetings at the EU and his name is Yanis Varoufakis. He served, as you

will remember, as Greece's finance minister during the height of the country's debt meltdown. And he resigned after clashing with his Brussels


But Varoufakis is still talking about the economy and the world of finance. His new book is called "Talking to My Daughter about the Economy." I

started by asking him why he wanted to explain something like the economy to a 13-year-old.


YANIS VAROUFAKIS, FORMER MEMBER OF THE HELLENIC PARLIAMENT: An attempt to understand it myself because we economists get all embroiled in these

highly mathematical models and we miss out on that which matters.

It's only when you try to explain these complicated concepts to a 13-year- old that you realize to what extent you are in possession of the facts.

GORANI: Last time we spoke, you said the Brits will understand that they are not negotiating with the EU. They are going to spend two years

negotiating on how to negotiate.

VAROUFAKIS: That's right. For their right to negotiate.

GORANI: The right to negotiate. Is that what's going on now?



VAROUFAKIS: You can see that, firstly, the EU has made it absolutely, abundantly clear that this is what's happening. Remember, when Michel

Barnier, the official negotiator of the European Union, put forward his agenda for the negotiations he said there will be two phases.

In the first phase, Britain will give us everything we want. So, in fact, he arrives in these meetings with a checklist of things that Britain must

give him and he just ticks boxes. He's not mandated to have -

GORANI: Is he holding all the cards? Because the British negotiators are saying, we don't understand, we keep making proposals and you keep sending

us back, saying it's not enough.

VAROUFAKIS: Well, what I've been saying, and I think we discussed this last time I was here, is that the greatest nightmare for the European Union

bureaucracy and the heavily-armed politicians behind them, the greatest nightmare for them is a mutually advantageous agreement with Britain

because, for them, a mutually advantageous agreement with Britain would signal to other constituent countries, like Poland, Hungary, Greece,

whichever, that they can trigger Article 50, they can threaten to leave the European Union and get a good deal.

So, a good deal is that which Brussels is trying to destroy.

GORANI: So, what's going to happen? Will Brexit happen at all? There seems to be a shift in public opinion. The latest polling has more people

opposed to Brexit than supporting it in this country.

VAROUFAKIS: It seems to me inexorable. The more progressives within the Tory government start making noises about the possibility of reversing

Brexit, the more adamant the Brexiteers become. So, it's inaction, reaction.

And also, there's another thing to consider. The European Union itself may not be interested in letting Britain stay even if there is a change of

heart, even if there is a second referendum because, think about it, what message would that send to Poland that they can cross Brussels on questions

of civil liberties, on judicial independence, on the independence of the central bank, whatever, and then they can increase their negotiating power

by triggering Article 50 and then pulling back from exiting the EU within the two years.

GORANI: So, you're saying, which is kind of an interesting take because many people who are pro-remain in this country believe that, if the UK

starts feeling the pain - we've seen inflation rise, for instance, because the currency has come down - that if Brussels makes it tough, tough, tough

that they will every time send the negotiators back home, saying we are not satisfied, we are not satisfied, that maybe in this country there will be a


What you're saying is possibly the EU wouldn't even potentially be interested -

VAROUFAKIS: Precisely. This is why - I am a remainer, by the way.


VAROUFAKIS: A radical remainer, but a remainer nevertheless. For me now, the way things have turned out so far, the only commonsensical solution

would be for Mrs. May to end these negotiations and to file an application for a Norway-style agreement (INAUDIBLE) Britain to do a Norway, to leave

the EU formally, but to maintain its customs union with the EU, freedom of movement, ECJ jurisdiction - European Courts jurisdiction for a period of

five years -

[15:40:17] GORANI: Right.

VAROUFAKIS: For a period of five years after the end of the two-year period, so a total of seven years as a transition period during which

businesses, citizens, both European citizens and British citizens, will have certainty.

And a period during which the House of Commons will be given the opportunity that it has been denied so far to debate, in the fullness of

time and without a ticking clock in the background, the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

GORANI: But the impacts on the British economy, regardless of how you look at it, is going to be negative, you believe.

VAROUFAKIS: Not under the Norway scenario. Under the Norway scenario, it would be steady as she goes.

Under the scenario that they are moving towards, absolutely, there's going to be either hard Brexit or a very bad deal.


GORANI: Yanis Varoufakis there with his take on Brexit negotiations. Interesting that he believes that even if the UK changes its mind, the EU

might not want the country back in the fold.

Spain says it will move forward with suspending Catalonia's autonomy. Madrid's announcement came minutes after the Catalan president threatened a

formal declaration of independence if the Spanish government doesn't take part in talks.

In a statement, the Spanish government says it will trigger Article 155 of the Constitution, which gives the Spanish government the power to enforce

the laws in the autonomous regions by any measures necessary.

The Prime Minister's cabinet will meet Saturday to OK measures to "restore the constitutional order" in Catalonia, calm, though, it appears on the

streets of big Catalonian cities right now.

Now, we've been telling you this hour about the White House briefing by Chief of Staff John Kelly. His words hold a lot of weight in Washington.

I want to get back to the White House. Kaitlan Collins is there with more.

So, John Kelly did address the questions surrounding the president's phone calls to Gold Star families, notably the Gold Star widow of La David

Johnson who was killed in Niger.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right. It's created a lot of controversy over the past few days after those incidents,

disputing over what exactly was said during that phone call and if the president struck a respectful tone when he was speaking of the widow of

Sergeant La David Johnson.

And instead of having the Press Secretary Sarah Sanders come out and address these questions from reporters today, they brought the Chief of

Staff John Kelly.

Now, this is notable not only because the chief of staff doesn't often speak to reporters, but also because Kelly lost his son in Afghanistan a

few years ago. So, he came out to speak today about what it was like to lose someone like that and went through a very somber process about what

happens to a soldier when they're brought back home.

Listen to this.


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Some presidents have elected to call. All presidents, I believe, have elected to send letters. If you

elect to call a family like this, it is one of the most difficult thing you could imagine. There's no perfect way to make that phone call.

When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it. He asked me about previous


And I said, I can tell you that President Obama, who was my commander-in- chief when I was on active duty, did not call my family.

So, when I gave that explanation to our president three days ago, he elected to make phone calls in the case of the four young men who we lost

in Niger at the earlier part of this month.


COLLINS: So, Kelly says there that he really coached the president on what to say during these phone calls. As someone who has experienced something

like this, he was saying that there's really nothing that the president could have said that would lightened the burden that's been placed on these


But Kelly also had some strong language for that Democratic congresswoman from Florida who was in the car when the president called Sergeant La David

Johnson's widow to give her a condolence call.

She's been very critical of the president saying that he said along the lines of Johnson knew what he signed up for when this happened and

extremely critical of what the president said during that call.

And John Kelly said just there, during the briefing just now, that he was stunned and heartbroken to see a member of Congress saying something like

that and that he actually left the White House yesterday and went to Arlington Cemetery here right outside of DC and walked along - where all

these soldiers that have died in battle are buried.

And it was a very emotional press conference to say the least.

GORANI: Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thanks very much.

Coming up, it happens at work, on the bus, even at home. We'll look at why so many women have united by saying Me Too. It's gone viral as they say.

We'll find what is next. Stay with us.


[15:47:18] GORANI: If you've been online this week at all, you will have seen the hashtag #MeToo. Two simple words that have become a rallying cry

of sorts. They've allowed victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment to speak out and reveal also the magnitude of the problem worldwide.

My next guest says the #MeToo movement has given society a conscious. It emerged in the post-Weinstein scandal days. Laurie Penny is a contributing

editor at "The New Statesman" and the author of "Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution" and she joins me in the studio.

Talk to me about #MeToo. Do you think it's going to change anything?

LAURIE PENNY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "THE NEW STATESMAN": Well, we have had this kind of viral moment before when it comes to the people sharing

stories about rape and sexual abuse and sexual violence.

But the magnitude of this is really unprecedented. What is happening is people are finally feeling free to talk about what has happened to them in,

I guess, a safer environment.

Because if there's a hashtag that brings everyone together, certainly individual women can't be targeted and shamed and humiliated in the same

way, which is what has been the consequence for speaking out about rape and abuse for so long.

GORANI: One of the things you wrote is this is neither a trend or overreacting. It's a rebellion. In what way is it a rebellion?

PENNY: Well, look, imagine that bit of the movie, the movie that everyone has seen, where there's a protest - there's people - an oppressive

government and then all these people are standing around. It looks like the oppressive government is going to win or whoever the (INAUDIBLE 3:53)

and then somebody stands up and says, no, I'm not OK with this and they stand up by themselves.

And they think - and you think, oh, my God, this person is going to get shot, they've made a terrible mistake. And then other people start

standing up and saying, yes, me too, me too.

GORANI: So, we're in that part of the movie.

PENNY: In that part of the movie -

GORANI: Where everybody stands up.

PENNY: It's an exciting part of the movie, but it's scary as well.

GORANI: I mean, I have to say I've never really seen such a tidal wave of reaction. Many, many women coming out in their millions with the #MeToo.


GORANI: We saw it in France with other hashtags #BalanceTonPorc. It was there.

Now, I have read some - I guess, some skepticism that this can be effective. It's not criticism of the idea of coming out and saying I've

been a victim, but does it water down - by lumping everyone in, from someone who's been harassed on the street - which if you're a female you've

been harassed on the street, period - all the way to rape, for instance, that, therefore, everyone can say me too.

Is kind of watering down the effectiveness.

PENNY: I don't think so at all because the issue that we're dealing with here and the horrible truth is that sexual violence isn't something that

only monsters and strangers that we don't know do. It's not a rare thing. But people doing this stuff are colleagues, are friends, are family, people

we see every day.

[15:50:14] Rapists and sexual harassers are normal - they're normal people because sexual violence has been normalized until now. And I think what

people are reacting against is just - they don't want to believe that it could have gone -

GORANI: And I have heard a lot of men, I have to say, post-Weinstein say I really didn't know it was this bad. If you ask any man, have you ever been

sexually harassed on the street, the answer is 99.9 percent no. The reverse is true for females.

There's another one. It was an article in "Wired". The problem with viral outrage - I don't know if you saw that one - is that essentially you're

venting outrage over and over and over again. It stays confined to the device and it really doesn't have much impact in the real world.

PENNY: See, I'm not sure that that's the case here. I think some people would like it to be the case that this discussion of sexual violence was a

trend. They'd like not to have to deal with it. But I think this is the moment when men, in particular, all around the world are going to have to

deal with the consequences of their actions because people are finally coming together and talking about it.

GORANI: I wonder if what will change is that men will realize that the consequences of treating women this way -

PENNY: Absolutely.

GORANI: Has changed.

PENNY: Yes, exactly.

GORANI: That it's not - you can't do this with impunity anymore.

PENNY: You can't just do it and get away with it. And you say a lot of men didn't know. And I'm hearing that too. It's happening in friendship

groups of mine. It's happening in societies, in communities. I know this is not the first time.

Stories are coming out about people in every industry. In every industry, there are men saying I didn't really know. But what does it really mean to

know? A lot of them kind of knew there was something going on, but they didn't want to know, so they chose not to find out. And now, they have to

face that reality. And it's painful, but this is how we change the world.

GORANI: Laurie Penny, thanks very much. Appreciate your time on the program.

You can check out some of our show's content on our Facebook page, We'll be right back.


GORANI: The United States is the richest and most powerful nation on Earth. But, right now, 1 million Americans are without running water.

Millions more don't have electricity. That's what life looks like in Puerto Rico one whole month after Hurricane Maria.

And while Donald Trump may have given himself full marks, Puerto Ricans aren't keeping score. Instead, they're doing what can feel inconceivable

when your world is coming down around you. They are carrying on.



LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's been cleaning for a month. Not much seems to have changed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it's like it was yesterday.

SANTIAGO: Angel St. Kitts (ph) lives in Humacao, the eastern coast of the island where the sea rushed in and Maria left little behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're suffering because we don't have electricity.

SANTIAGO (on camera): One month later, there were still people gathered at the church, hoping to get supplies that come in here in this area. And

their lives are on display.

On the sidewalks, you can see furniture, you can see paintings, even a Christmas stand down here. This home doesn't have part of its roof.

[15:55:03] There is no cell service here. Nobody has power. And food and water are limited.

(voice-over): A month we've been here, we've seen and felt Maria's terrifying force. And in the aftermath, dramatic rescues, desperation, on

the ground and through the mud. We've been the first to reach communities cut off by the storm.

Despite President Donald Trump's visit and his own rave reviews of the recovery, more than 80 percent still don't have power. About 40 percent of

the cell towers remain down. In roughly a third, no running water.

Banks that are open have lines that can be hours long. More than 100 bridges damaged, 18 closed until further notice, cutting off entire


Rebecca Rodriguez tells us her family's bakery has been here for decades.

(on camera): Yes, this is how high the water came, which is at least 4 feet.

(voice-over): The only light here comes from our camera.

(on camera): What once smelled of fresh bread is really now smells like something's rotting in here. And she's upset because none of this will be

covered according to her insurance.

(voice-over): Every day brings uncertainty.

(on camera): Of all the things you had in here, this is what -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what I've been able to save because the mattress I threw it out. The bed, I threw it out. The chairs -

SANTIAGO: This isn't much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. But what can we do?

SANTIAGO (voice-over): As time passes -

(on camera): These are all your watches.

(voice-over): Disaster has become a way of life, as if Maria never left.


GORANI: Well, that's going to do it for us this hour. We're going to have a lot more on what is coming out of the White House, John Kelly, the chief

of staff, giving the press briefing today, reacting to that controversy surrounding the president's call to a Gold Star widow, as well as the very

latest, of course, in the coming hours from inside Raqqa, Syria, new liberated from ISIS. But what comes next will be almost as hard as

clearing the city of the terrorist group.

This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Hala Gorani. "Quest Means Business" is up next.