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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Trump Faces Pressure To Keep Iran Nuclear Deal Intact; Nigel Farage Floats Idea Of Second Referendum. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 11, 2018 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:00]

(WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING)

[15:12:28]

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary briefing reporters on a number of topics. She took

questions on the president`s physical examination, which will take place tomorrow. The president`s doctor will brief reporters on Tuesday about

that.

Also, she was asked about whether or not the president would meet with Robert Mueller, who is leading the Russia investigation. She said nothing

has changed with regard to that and that if he is called upon to cooperate, the president would.

And then, she talked about the surveillance Act called FISA in the United States claiming that the president, who in the morning early sent a tweet

about how potentially that act could have been used to spy on his campaign in 2016, and then later said that he fully supports it because it actually

is used to spy on bad guys.

And finally, on the Iran deal, Sarah Sanders said that the Trump administration and the president have not made a final decision on the Iran

deal, whether or not to continue waiving sanctions against that country.

And let`s continue our discussion on the Iran deal. A critical meeting at the White House this hour will help determine the fate of this nuclear

agreement. Donald Trump is sitting down with top national security advisers on the eve of a deadline to decide whether to uphold the pact or

reimpose crippling U.S. sanctions on Tehram.

Mr. Trump can`t exactly kill the deal himself as other countries signed on as well, but Iran says its own adherence depends on full compliance by

Washington. So, de facto if the U.S. pulls it support, it could mean the deal dies.

Diplomats from the European Union, Britain, Germany and other signatories met with Iran`s foreign minister in Brussels today. Their main aim, they

want to send a unified message about the agreement. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEDERICA MOGHERINI, E.U. FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: The deal is working. It`s delivering on its main goal, which means keeping the Iranian nuclear

program in check and under close surveillance. It`s a key elements of the nuclear non-proliferation global architecture and it is crucial for the

security of the region, but also for the security of Europe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: And that is the foreign policy chief for the E.U., Federica Mogherini, clearly behind the deal. The agreement obliges Iran to curb its

nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Mr. Trump has called it the worst deal ever, but didn`t take the opportunity to scrap it when it

came up for periodic review last fall.

I`m joined now by our senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, and our global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, at the State

Department.

[15:15:01] So, Donald Trump is now meeting with his national security team regarding the Iran deal. What is the expectation? What do we expect him

to announce tomorrow, Elise?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think by all accounts, all of the president`s advisers think that President Trump should

sign those waivers, allow those sanctions to be waived. As far as U.S. compliance in the nuclear deal, the argument being not just by the

president`s advisers but obviously by European allies, even Arab allies, to keep the focus on Iran`s other behavior and activity in the region.

Its support for terrorism, its activity in Yemen, support for the Houthis, human rights, keep the focus on what`s going on with those violent

protesters. This way the U.S. is not blamed for the poor economy. The argument being that the United States would then be blamed.

I think the problem is, Hala, that one of the president`s advisers are saying, we want to keep European unity. The Europeans have said

particularly French President Macron has told the president that they would be willing for sanctions on other areas.

Advisers telling me that this didn`t necessarily, this meeting today with the foreign minister, didn`t exactly help that case. Everyone knows how

the Europeans feel about the deal. They would have liked to see more comments about Iran`s behavior and activity against these violent

protesters -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. It will be interesting to see whether or not that comes up tomorrow. And Nick, there`s a big rift now with the European

Union in terms of their approach to this Iran deal because the E.U. has been very clear. They think this deal is curbing the country`s nuclear

program. Don`t mess with it. It could be more dangerous if you do.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You got to remember, we`re dealing with quite a moderate government here in Tehran at

the moment. So, the idea of trying to stir them to the point of instability and then you suddenly get something even more moderate is

frankly a little naive.

And it is extraordinary today to have this last-minute theatrics. Sarah Sanders there saying we haven`t made a decision yet. Clearly, if his

national security adviser and staff are leaking to the media that I think he should keep this, it all comes down to that final moment of where does

the commander-in-chief really want to sit on this?

And that`s part of the pressure, this sense of theatrics exactly where will he choose to sit? Now his choices aren`t particularly good, frankly. I

mean, he can go with the deal as it stands. He has personally disparaged a great length or he could tear it apart in which point you open frankly

Pandora`s box of potential Iranian rush towards nuclear technology. The Israelis feeling pressure perhaps (inaudible) military action. It`s all

very bad.

GORANI: But is Iran abiding by the terms of this deal or not?

WALSH: Says the E.U., absolutely, yes. Says the IAEA, absolutely. Says Donald Trump, no. So, you have to take your own --

GORANI: Based on what?

WALSH: Based on the premise that the IAEA is happy with the inspections they`ve been carrying out as is the E.U., and Donald Trump believes -- I

think it has to do with the spirit of exactly how things are.

But bear in mind, this is not a spirit-based deal. This is a very specific deal about a nuclear program and certain sanctions that can be continued.

Now, the U.S. has taken a different tack in some areas where they put specific pressure on the Revolutionary Guards for different sanctions.

Remember, Iran is at a peak of its foreign policy influence across the region right now. Iraq and Syria too, the U.S. is keying to wind that back

in. Today, in fact, even we saw Hezbollah heavily backed by Iran.

There are military group working out of Lebanon. They often have had military confrontations with Israel. They, in fact, were targeted by

narcoterrorism particular operations by the Department of Justice.

So, we are seeing possibly the Trump administration looking for other ways to go for Iran`s proxies in the region and keep the pressure up. It does

seem unlikely that today will be the day where Donald Trump tears up the whole thing and says let`s start all over again because of the enormous

impact that will have regionally.

But still this theatricism, many analysts are saying this does not help with the longevity and sustainability of the deal, period.

GORANI: Right. Elise, finally to you, this is what Donald Trump said in October 2017. This is an idea reiterated by his press secretary today

about the Iran deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided

transactions the United States has ever entered into.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: How does he say that and then a few months later not tear it apart, tear it up?

LABOTT: I think what the president has said in the leading months is -- what he has signed, those certifications in the past, of course, he didn`t

in the last one, to say, I would rather have a comprehensive look at Iran. Let`s not just focus on the nuclear program. Let`s look at the behavior in

totality.

What is the most imminent threat? We are talking about not the nuclear deal because that`s keeping Iran`s program at bay. It`s more about

ballistic missiles. It`s more about support for terrorism.

I think even if you would talk to the Israelis and certainly the gulf allies who are very upset about this deal in the beginning are saying,

look, we didn`t love the deal at the time, but it`s the deal we have. It`s that more active activity in the region that`s the real threat -- Hala.

GORANI: Elise Labott at the State Department and Nick Paton Walsh here in the studio, thanks very much to both of you for joining us on this.

[15:20:07] Let`s continue this discussion. Reza Marashi is the research director at the National Iranian American Council. Reza, what happens if

the U.S. does withdraw support for this agreement? Is it dead?

REZA MARASHI, NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL: It`s not necessarily dead, but it opens a Pandora`s box. A variety of different things could

happen. It would essentially force the United States to either involve itself in a trade war with the European Union, Russia and China or back

down, which would then cause them to lose face and demonstrate that their threats are, in fact, empty threats.

GORANI: What happens to ordinary Iranians if this deal was threatened? Because we saw some demonstrations a few weeks ago of people who say they

are suffering economically and certainly haven`t benefitted from any of the lifting of sanctions accompanying this deal?

MARASHI: This is the great hypocrisy of the Trump administration. On the one hand, they voice support for Iranian protesters, but it really looks

like crocodile tears when you know a couple of days later, you turn around and you threaten to re-sanction Iran as a result of a nuclear deal that`s

overwhelmingly popular.

GORANI: But their point obviously is this sanctions leaders, the government, you know, those who might be corrupt or moving money around in

shady ways, this doesn`t necessarily hurt ordinary people who are being hurt by their leadership anyway. That`s what the Trump administration

would say.

MARASHI: And the Trump administration is basing that on zero evidence. Prior to the nuclear deal getting done, there was a longstanding

mismanagement (inaudible) and corruption inside of Iran. The sanctions made all of that worse and exacerbated it. Iranians inside of Iran

overwhelmingly understood that.

That`s why they approved and supported President Rouhani`s approach to try and get the deal done. While it`s true that the Iranian government over

promised and economic benefits haven`t trickled down throughout all of Iranian society, it would be far worse for Iranians inside of Iran should

the sanctions be put back on.

GORANI: You know, one of the interesting stories I found -- correct me if I`m wrong. Russia and Iran have been discussing collaborating on -- in the

banking system on banking cards and debit cards. Just trying to kind of get a financial flow going between these two countries bypassing some of

the western banks and western money center. Is Russia trying to fill a vacuum here, do you think, in Iran?

MARASHI: I think it`s less Russia trying to fill a vacuum and more realizing that sanctions are a double-edged sword. If you continue to

wield the sanctions tool without demonstrating that countries can find a way out of the corner that they have either backed themselves into or been

backed into, then it`s going to incentivize countries like Iran, Russia, China and other to create alternative financial infrastructure to bypass

America`s control over the international financial system.

GORANI: But I guess that`s kind of the point I was trying to make that you have here a situation where China as well with massive investments in

countries like Pakistan, Russia trying to establish direct lines of financial communication with Iran, where you have kind of an alternate now

business and financial alliance outside of western countries.

MARASHI: You are seeing the beginning stages of it. No question. It`s going to take a long time for an alternative infrastructure to build up and

be on the same level of the infrastructure of the United States has created and controls. But the more we go down the sanctions path at the expense of

diplomacy rather than combining the two, the more adversely it will affect long-term American interests.

GORANI: Reza Marashi, thanks so much for joining us with your perspective, the research director at the National Iranian American Council.

It is one of those dates etched into the memory here in the U.K., June 23th, 2016. Do you remember what that day was? It was the day Britain

shocked the world and voted to leave the European Union with Brexit, and it would have been hard to find a happier man that night than Nigel Farage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIGEL FARAGE, FORMER UKIP LEADER: When you perceived a dream, for a quarter of a century, it`s very difficult to believe it`s actually going to

happen. So, you know, I`ve been daring to dream and it now looks like it`s going to happen. It`s very, very exciting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: But now the most prominent "leave" campaigner says he is warning or warming to the idea of doing that referendum thing all over again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FARAGE: I`m thinking that we should have a second referendum because --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On what?

FARAGE: On E.U. membership.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole thing?

FARAGE: Yes, of course. Of course. Unless you want to have a multiple choice referendum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no.

FARAGE: I think if we had a second referendum on E.U. membership, the percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger

than it was last time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Bianca Nobilo joins me now in the studio. That`s remarkable because actually, those who want to remain in the E.U. would also love a

second referendum.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER: This is what`s so interesting about what happened today because Tony Blair and Nick Claig have been calling for

months now for a second referendum believing that the British public would change their mind knowing what they know now. But Farage actually said

that he wants a second referendum to silence, in his words, winging and moaning of Tony Blair.

GORANI: So, why not let`s have a second referendum? It would settle it that`s for sure.

NOBILO: It seems that way, but the whole reason that David Cameron when he committed to holding the referendum in the first place, he wanted to do

that, but he said this issue of Europe has divided and poisoned party politics in the U.K. for decades. He wanted to settle the issue once and

for all. He called the referendum. Here we are.

GORANI: By all accounts, it poisoned the atmosphere more. There`s a case to be made for settling it. In other words, getting the right voter

turnout. That rainy Thursday in 2016, June 23rd, a lot of young people were away. People assumed remain would win. Maybe they weren`t energized

to go vote. There have been polls conducted since that reveal that potentially a majority of Brits would now back remain. Sounds like a good

idea. What about the government?

NOBILO: This is the issue. As you mentioned, unequivocally if there was a second referendum, hypothetically, and it was shown the British people were

one way or another might help to guide the decisions the government would make. But I heard from a Downing Street spokesperson directly today saying

there will be no second referendum.

GORANI: They also said no general election.

NOBILO: They did. They said no general election when they called a snap election. So, how much we can read into that. I mean, in a democracy,

everything is provisional. If there was a huge shift in public mood, who knows what would happen. I would say that there`s certainly distaste among

the British public for the idea that the government would go against the democratic will of the people. So, that`s what they`ll have to balance.

GORANI: Yes, I get that. Then you have news headlines like the NHS, which is the National Health Service in this country that relies a lot on

European nurses. It`s right now absolutely crushed under the weight of a record number of patients over the Christmas period.

People who support remain believe that Brexit is actually hurting the U.K. in an unnecessary way, that you have a plunge in the number of E.U. nurses,

who have come to this country. This is one of many statistics that those who reject Brexit always will cite. Here you have evidence in front of

you, could it change public opinion?

NOBILO: It could. There`s certainly people on the remain side that truly believe what you just said. However, the department for exiting the

European Union made the point that actually the number of nurses from the E.U. going into the U.K. last year increased. There`s always going to be

the squabbles and of course, the Brexit Department has said that they didn`t place --

GORANI: The Nursing Alliance itself says the numbers have -- that`s contradictory.

NOBILO: There are so many contradictions. The government has said that the NHS has been well prepared for this -- crisis, but yet, we see today a

letter signed by 68 senior doctors across the country saying people are dying in corridors.

People are having to wait for 12 hours in makeshift wards in hospitals. This is just a sight which is almost inconceivable in the U.K. We think of

modern Britain in 2018 as a place that would be able to cater to the public in a much better way than this and the NHS is frequently cited as the jewel

in the crown of international health care.

GORANI: And for good reason. It`s a great system. It`s just not coping right now.

NOBILO: Another pressure on the government.

GORANI: Thanks. Absolutely. Thanks so much, Bianca Nobilo.

Up next, enough is enough. Protesters in Pakistan demand officials do more to keep their children safe, their girls, in fact, safe. Yet another

little girl was found brutally murdered.

Also, the death toll is rising in Southern California after mudslides engulfed entire neighbors just absolutely dramatic pictures coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Now, to a truly horrific story in Pakistan. This image behind me is of mourners carrying the body of a 7-

year-old little girl.

Her name was Zainab Ameen. She was raped, murdered and her body dumped in a garbage heap.

As if that isn`t shocking enough, 11 other young girls have been murdered in the same area before. Understandably, there is visceral outrage over

this. And now protests over these killings have turned deadly.

CNN`s Sam Kylie has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the last time that Zainab Ansari was seen alive, walking hand-in-hand with a suspected

killer on CCTV.

She was supposed to be on her way to a Quran recital. But days later, her body was found in a local dump. She`d been raped and strangled.

The 12th victim of similar murders in the past two years in and around Kasur, a village in Eastern Pakistan. The police say five killings have

been linked by DNA evidence.

Zainab`s father is incredulous that her attacker is still at large.

AMEEN ANSARI, ZAINAB AMEEN`S FATHER: Next, she was traced by camera. Who is the person with her? In these advanced technology days, the footage

should have been analyzed and kidnapper caught.

KILEY: Two demonstrators were killed in clashes with police.

The grief of Zainab`s mother almost drowned out by the anger of an impoverished community under threat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want justice. I want justice. I don`t know anything else. I just want justice. I do not have Zainab with me anymore.

KILEY: The cause is being taken up more widely across Pakistan now. In the western city of Peshawar, almost 400 kilometers away, men and women are

also on the streets demanding justice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right. Well, Sam Kiley was reporting there. I want to bring in Sulema Jahangir. She`s an advocate of the High Court in Pakistan and a

solicitor in the UK and she joins me in the studio here in London. Thanks for being with us.

First of all, talk to us about this area, Kasur. It`s very different from the big city, right?

SULEMA JAHANGIR, ADVOCATE: Well, the area where Zainab was abducted is the Kasur - the city within - the 11 children who were abducted within that 2

kilometer radius.

But Kasur is a district. It`s a bigger district. And within that district, in the last three years, there have been 720 children who have

reported - according to press reports, who have suffered sexual abuse.

GORANI: So, what`s going on there? Why so many?

JAHANGIR: Exactly. I think that is one of the reasons why there`s an outrage. And the reason is there`s been a lot of police inaction.

And even in this particular case, if you look at it, initially, when the girl was inducted, she was kept in captivity for two to four days according

to press reports.

GORANI: Oh, wow! OK.

JAHANGIR: And when she was abducted, her relatives went to the police and there was police inaction. So, the relatives themselves went and retrieved

CCTV footage showing which we just showed.

And the police didn`t help them. And it was only later, once there was -

GORANI: So, the family found the CCTV footage. And they took it to the police and said, look, find this man.

JAHANGIR: Exactly.

GORANI: And they didn`t act enough.

JAHANGIR: The family said that they didn`t act at all.

GORANI: At all? OK.

JAHANGIR: Properly. And it was a police inaction. And that was what sparked the outrage and had led to a protest outside the deputy

commissioner`s office, in which two people then got killed because the police started firing at the crowd.

GORANI: Why is the police not acting?

JAHANGIR: I mean, I think that is one of the deep-rooted causes for crime. I mean, the way that the crime has flourished all over Pakistan actually.

And a lot of people think it`s corruption. It`s political influence.

GORANI: Because it`s a girl versus a boy, could have something to do with it? Or would that not have made a difference?

JAHANGIR: Well, there have been lots of boys within that - the statistics that have been reported who have also suffered sexual abuse.

For example, in 2015, in the same area, in Kasur, there was a gang of pedophiles and they had abused 280 children. And this was all reported in

the press. And this was then debated in Parliament. So, this was a big case.

And a lot of people investigated and said that, two of the people who were caught from this gang were convicted by the anti-terrorism court and were

given life sentences, but five others were acquitted by the court.

And the initial thing goes back to the police. The police investigation wasn`t thorough. There was political influence.

GORANI: Just to kind of understand then, the police clearly, according to critics, is not doing enough and sometimes nothing at all. How do we

change this?

JAHANGIR: Well, I think police needs to - it`s a change of culture.

GORANI: That doesn`t happen overnight.

JAHANGIR: It doesn`t happen overnight. There is, obviously, political influence. There is corruption, which is quite widespread.

But then, of course, there are other problems as well. We have very limited machinery, state apparatus. For example, forensics are very weak

there. A lot of people are not able to - lot of people, first of all, don`t even report these crimes.

So, within the last - in 2016, according to press reports, there were 4,129 cases of children being sexually abused. But this is the tip of an iceberg

because a lot of people don`t report and they`re reluctant to go to the police.

GORANI: Yes. So, it is quite a problem. And, unfortunately, one that will take a long time to fix even if there is the will, as you mentioned.

Sulema Jahangir, thanks so much for joining us to talk about this important story. And Sulema was talking about how this is, obviously, not the first

time it`s happened, but we are seeing protests. So, maybe it will change things finally.

I want to bring you scenes of mud and devastation in Southern California. Rescue workers are frantically slogging through debris because they hope

that they will find survivors under that mud and the collapsed houses.

Officials say large fires followed by heavy rains sent rivers of mud down hillsides and cut people completely unprepared.

Berkeley Johnson says he and his family survived by running to the second floor of their house and he became emotional, as you`ll hear, as he

described finding a baby submerged in four feet of mud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERKELEY JOHNSON, MUDSLIDE SURVIVOR: We heard a little baby crying and we got down and found a little baby.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Let`s go live to Montecito. Paul Vercammen is live now. Talk to us about the hope that rescuers have of finding potentially survivors at

this stage.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, they reduced the number of missing to 8. There are 17 dead. So, that`s encouraging in and of itself,

but the clock is ticking fast.

And the search and rescue crews, we watched them come through here earlier are dealing with scenes like this. This is a house that was knocked on its

side.

I know we often hear the term affluent Montecito, but there are modest neighborhoods, including this one. Some would even call it Bohemian.

And if you look over here, you can see what looks like a vast mud plane. Well, this is where houses stood, smaller houses. Some would say a little

enclave where maybe somebody who might have an artistic bent or wants to surf or hike or whatever the case may be lived here, this is not opulence

or affluence, and this is what the rescue crews are dealing with.

They had come through here. You look over there. We`ve been talking about this all week. There is that orange X on that house. It means they`ve

been through.

But watch what happens when I step onto this sort of mud flow, if you will. The responders - the first responders have to go into this stuff and go

upstream. And you can see how quickly I am sinking in. No easy task.

And I heard, for the first time, a word that is rather ominous. Somebody said to me, they are now talking about not just search and rescue, but they

said that word recovery, and that often spells that hopes are really diminishing for finding anybody else alive.

[15:40:03] They did find three people and rescued three people yesterday. I have not heard of any rescues yet today as you hear a helicopter - a

sheriff`s helicopter whirl overhead.

Yes, they are searching frantically. But as we said, the sands of time are running out in the hour glass because how could somebody survive for more

than two days in that sort of muck and debris.

This is a community that is just awash in misery, Hala.

GORANI: Paul Vercammen, thanks very much. Though, you never know. There are air pockets. Sometimes, there still is hope. So, hopefully, they`ll

be able to find more people alive. Thanks very much, Paul Vercammen.

And still to come tonight. The MeToo movement has united many women around the world, but alienated others who say it has gone too far.

Up next, we look at both sides of a cultural phenomenon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Call it the backlash to the backlash. Some people are upset over a letter recently published in the French newspaper Le Monde.

The letter was signed by a group of 100 French women, including film legend Catherine Deneuve, criticizes the MeToo movement and defends men`s freedom

to pester women.

French word is (INAUDIBLE), by the way. There was some debate about how to translate it. Pester, bother.

It goes on to say men have been punished, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone`s knee or try to steal a kiss.

Well, a group of around 30 feminist activists have fired back in France. They accuse the signatories of deliberately mixing "seduction" based on

respect and pleasure with violence.

Let`s discuss this. Sylvie Le Bihan is a French writer and signatory of the letter - one of the signatories. And she joins me live now from Paris.

Here in the studio is Ayesha Hazarika, political commentator and former advisor to the Labour Party. Ayesha and Sylvie, thanks to both of you for

being with us.

So, Sylvie, I`m sure over the last 24 hours, you have heard the criticism directed at you and the co-signatories of this letter. How do you respond

to it?

SYLVIE LE BIHAN, AUTHOR: Well, the only thing I can say is that we are feminists who are against violence against women. We`re just wanting to

open the debate. What we would like to say is that there is not only one though. There is not only one way to speak about feminism. We are not

against men. And we just wanted to issue a warning about the possibility of the movement, the fantastic movement, the MeToo movement, leading to

censorship. And we are against that.

GORANI: And before I get Ayesha to weigh in, one of the things in the letter is essentially a list of behaviors that the cosignatories believe

should not to lead to the punishment of men, including stealing a kiss, talking about intimate things at a business dinner or sending sexually

explicit messages to a woman who is not attracted to the man.

I mean, doesn`t all that sound a bit like harassment to you?

LE BIHAN: Harassment is when it`s repeated. So, I would say - I`m a victim of a gang rape when I was 17 years old. So, I know exactly what

violence against women is.

What we`re saying is that we have to - there are degrees and we cannot consider that me touching, for example, should be considered as the same as

rape. And that`s the only thing we`re saying.

GORANI: Ayesha, how do you respond to this? I mean, a lot of women agree you shouldn`t lump together grazing a knee, obviously, and a horrible crime

like rape.

AYESHA HAZARIKA, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Nobody is lumping those things together. And quite often there is a continuum of such a behavior.

Nobody is saying that we want to have a puritanical existence, a joyless existence, a loveless existence, without flirtation between men and women.

Of course, that`s what happens between men and women and long may it continue.

But this is about harassment. This is about men using their power over women to sort of conduct themselves in a way, which is just not

appropriate.

And this is women, after decades and centuries of this type of behavior, finally having a moment where they can come together and saying, enough is

enough, right? We`ve got to try and change the conversation on this.

And that is what people are saying, consent is the crucial thing here. You can work for somebody. You can be sexually attracted to somebody you work

with. You can fancy somebody you work with. That is not an issue.

Where the issue is, it tends to be when there`s a person in power, that person tends to be men because - at the moment men. That may change over

time. Hopefully, it will. It`s about having power and using that power to basically pressurize somebody else into sort of kind of a sexual intimacy -

GORANI: But when you read the letter then, Ayesha - and, Sylvie, I`ll ask this to you. I mean, (INAUDIBLE) in French, we had a bit of a debate, it`s

to bother, it`s to pester. It is a negative act. So, why tolerate it? Why not just say men and women mutually attracted to each other, whatever

the context, that`s acceptable? Anything that constitutes something bothersome should not be tolerated.

LE BIHAN: That`s exactly what we`re saying. We`re against that kind of attitude. We`re against - when men are using their power to impose a

sexual act to a woman. That is not - what we`re just saying is that we`re moderate.

What we`re just saying is that, let`s open the debate to other women as well who are not in favor of making an amalgam between (INAUDIBLE) who have

that kind of attitude and other men who are trying to help.

I`m working with an association, victim association and I have so many men next to me that are frightened at this stage because they`re just thinking

we can`t say anything, we can`t do anything. What we just want to say is, let`s get together, but please, if you want freedom of speech, can you

please listen to other women that do not have the kind of, I would say, totalitarianism and that are sort of, in a sense, would love men and women

to cohabitate together.

But - yes, sorry.

GORANI: No, no. Absolutely. Ayesha, you want to jump in.

HAZARIKA: Yes. I think the issue that I had with the letter - I think in so many levels, we`re probably on the same page. But when all these women

- you have these women coming out and saying, oh, poor men, they`re not going to be able to do their flirting and things like that.

First of all, if you`re a man and you have to use your power at work to sort of flirt with somebody who tends to be a lot younger than you,

probably a lot more attractive than you, then I`m sorry, there`s a problem there.

And also, in terms of the voices being heard, for so long women`s voices have been silenced. And let`s not forget, when women put their head above

the parapet, most of the time they`re not believed as victims. They`re marked out as troublemakers.

GORANI: No, I can only agree with you on that. But is there a risk - and I think Sylvie`s point is this, right, that this becomes the thought

police. Any man who has ever done anything in the last 50 years, whether it`s graze a knee, and I think they`re referring actually to the case of a

UK minister who had to resign for having admitted -

HAZARIKA: And it wasn`t just grazing a knee, by the way.

GORANI: But that`s what we knew of it.

HAZARIKA: There was pornography on his computer.

GORANI: I`m talking about Michael Fallon. I`m not talking about -

HAZARIKA: Well, here we are. There are so many (INAUDIBLE).

GORANI: No issue with pornography on his computer that we know of. But what I mean is there needs to be a debate about the behavior, right? What

is acceptable, what is not acceptable. I think that`s the point.

[15:50:08] HAZARIKA: True. But what is amazing about this, like we have had centuries of this sort of patriarchal thing where men get to do

whatever they want, this is the first time women have felt able to come together and talk about. And already people are coming out and saying,

what about the poor men.

The man you referred to, the grazing the knee, it wasn`t just grazing the knee. He actually lunged at somebody and tried to kiss them, a

professional journalist at a lunch. Is that acceptable behavior?

GORANI: I`m going to ask this of Sylvie as well because I think the debate here is on every bit of behavior in between, right? Everybody agrees the

reprehensible behavior involved in sexually assaulting someone. It`s all the other stuff, the gray area, right, and you`re saying let`s not shut

everything down in the name of Puritanism. Is that the point that you`re making?

LE BIHAN: Exactly. Exactly. That`s exactly the spirit of the letter. And I`m sorry if it disturbs some people, but a lot of women have the same

feeling about this movement. We agree with the movement. We just don`t want - we don`t want a gender war. We want to be able to talk. We want to

be able to have a debate. We want to be able to have flirtatious encounters.

And we also think that we don`t need to be overprotected and we can also fight for ourselves. And it goes through education of our boys. It goes

through education of our girls. The girls should be raised in protecting their body, in saying no, how to say no, and boys should accept the no and

respect the bodies of the women. It`s a question of education.

It`s not through hatred that you can do everything.

GORANI: Yes. But, I mean, to be fair, Sylvie, I don`t think this is through a hatred of men. I think there is a real (INAUDIBLE), as they say

in French. There is just - we`ve had enough of the sexism, of the condescension, of the arrogance, of the being labeled and put in boxes and

stereotypes.

I think this is a real cultural moment. And perhaps, Ayesha can weigh in on this. The pushback is involved in saying, let`s not now so soon say men

are victims when women are still the ones suffering.

HAZARIKA: Absolutely. And I feel that that is absolutely imperative. Let`s look at - this is to do with power. Harassment and sexual abuse and

bullying is often to do with power. Who has power across society? It tends to be white women.

And this is not about a graze on the knee or a bit of flirtation. Look at how women are treated in society. Whether it`s in the workplace. whether

it`s economics, whether it`s in the justice system, whether it`s the creative industries, right across the board, women are discriminated by a

system that keeps them there.

And that`s why this MeToo is so powerful.

GORANI: Sylvie, I`ll give you the last word then. I mean, after the publication of this letter, and you`re a well-known novelist and you write

beautifully, what do you think has changed now for women?

LE BIHAN: Well, there is a freedom of speech and everybody can speak out now and that`s fantastic. But we don`t want a shift of power. We would

like to have our place in - our position in the society. We don`t want a shift of power. We want to share the power and we want to be recognized

and respected. And that`s the spirit of the letter.

GORANI: All right. Sylvie Le Bihan, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate this discussion.

LE BHIAN: Thank you very much.

GORANI: Ayesha Hazarika as well. Thanks to both of you.

And we`ll be right back. Check out our Facebook page in the meantime.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: President Trump has a new ambassador to the Netherlands and it`s fair to say that it was a controversial appointment.

Peter Hoekstra has been strongly criticized over claims he made back in 2015 that the "Islamic movement" has brought chaos to the country, created

no-go zones and even that Dutch politicians have been burned. Since then, the ambassador denied the claims. Then denied the denial.

So, when he held his first news conference in Holland, the Dutch media didn`t hold back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are politicians being burned in the Netherlands in the past? Is that something you believe, yes or no?

PETER HOEKSTRA, US AMBASSADOR TO THE NETHERLANDS: I`m not revisiting the issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

HOEKSTRA: I have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re truly an honest and wise man, could you please take back the remark about burned politicians or name the politician

that was burned in the Netherlands?

Hoekstra: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ambassador, can you mention any example of a Dutch politician who was burned in recent years?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: OK. That was a rough welcoming ceremony for the US ambassador. And, finally, this hour, Pope Francis wanted to reach out to refugees and

the homeless with an event to bring joy to some of their lives. But that altruistic idea has him in hot water with some animal rights groups.

The Pope invited about 2,000 disadvantaged people to a circus performance in Rome, but animal rights groups are condemning the move and asking the

pontiff to change plans.

The circus involved says it meets all regulations for the humane treatment of animals. Those invited to the circus will also receive a free medical

checkup and a free lunch.

I`m Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "Quest Means Business" is next.

END