Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. President Nearing One-Year Mark In Office; Turkey Accuses U.S. Of Building "Army Of Terror"; Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Challenges; Trump To Reporters: "I'm Not A Racist"; Trump Encourages Public Service On MLK Holiday; Trump, Lawmakers Face Deadline To Avoid Government Shutdown; "Vogue" Publisher Drops Bruce Weber, Mario Testino; Catherine Deneuve Apologizes To Sexual Assault Victims. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 15, 2018 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN headquarters in Atlanta on this Monday, I'm Hala Gorani. All this week

coming to you from the United States, where it's been nearly one year since Donald Trump took the oath of office.

Tonight, accusations and threats, Russia, Turkey and Palestinian leaders all taking aim at the United States as the list of grievances against

Trump's foreign policy grows. We'll have live reports.

Also, ahead on the day America celebrates civil rights icon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Trump is forced to deny he is a racist and has spent the day


Also --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he said what he said about the other countries, when you get upset, you say things sometimes in the heat of passion that

you should not say.


GORANI: No buyer's remorse in this Georgia town. I traveled into Trump heartland to find out what people who voted for him think of the president


Welcome. By any measure, it's been an extraordinary first year in the White House and around the world. Donald Trump is fast approaching that

milestone. All this week we'll be taking stock of the ups and downs of his presidency and see how it's changed Washington and the globe.

We start this hour by looking at the impacts of his foreign policy. Just today alone, Mr. Trump is facing criticism on multiple fronts. Turkey is

accusing the U.S. of, quote, "building an army of terror" on its border with Syria.

Palestinian leaders are holding a strategy meeting after Mahmoud Abbas slammed Mr. Trump's Middle East peace efforts as the slap of the century.

And Russia's foreign minister is openly questioning Washington's role in the world.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The U.S. and the whole so-called historical west is losing its dominance that it enjoyed

for the past five centuries. New centers of economic financial power and of political influence are emerging. The United States, unfortunately, is

resorting to illegitimate methods to try to stop the relative decline of their role in world politics.


GORANI: Let's get some perspective now from CNN senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon. We are also joined by CNN military and

diplomatic analyst, John Kirby, retired U.S. Navy rear admiral, former State Department spokesperson. Thanks for being with us. First of all,

let's talk about why Turkey is angry, Arwa, in Istanbul.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, some pretty scathing remarks coming from President Erdogan saying that the U.S. is

basically building an army of terror inside Syria. Now that is in reference to the Syrian Democratic Forces that are largely made of the

Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as being a terrorist organization, basically the sister organization of the PKK.

The U.S. has a plan in place to retrain tens of thousands of SDF fighters to become border security guards. From Turkey's perspective, this would be

akin to, say, any other country wanting to train al Qaeda up along its borders.

Turkey fails to understand why it is that the U.S., that is meant to be a key Turkey ally, that views Turkey, at least publicly as being key NATO

ally, is basically not giving any regard to Turkey's concern vis-a-vis the YPG -- Hala.

GORANI: And John Kirby, all of these developments -- and we heard that sentiment echoed by Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, really

underline the fact that what the U.S. is doing either by ignoring or angering traditional allies is isolating it on the world stage, isn't it?

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes. I can't believe I'm actually going to say this, but I agree with

Sergey Lavrov for once. I think there is an isolationist tendency to Trump's foreign policy, but removing U.S. leadership from key multilateral

institutions and multilateral opportunities.

Now, look, on this Turkey thing, I actually understand what the Pentagon is trying to do, and I support what they're trying to do. The Kurdish

fighters have been very effective against ISIS.

But I think to your point, Hala, it would be important, if they haven't done so already, to make sure they're coordinating this with the government

of Turkey to understand and have full visibility on what we're trying to accomplish there.

But yes, I think there is an isolationist tendency to Trump's foreign policy. It's rather chaotic. It's very transactional and I don't think

it's helpful in terms of U.S. influence around the world.

GORANI: Arwa, you're in Iraq. You obviously cover the Middle East extensively. What is the view in that part of the world of Donald Trump's

approach to foreign policy beyond?

[15:05:05] I'm talking beyond the Turkey issue, the Kurdish issue. How do they view this new era of American foreign policy?

DAMON: I think -- one has to preface this by saying the Middle East, this region in particular has always been very skeptical about America's intents

and actions, and now even more so. It's been something of a roller coaster.

Because yes, there has been success when it comes to the fight against ISIS, but if we look at Syria, for example, there has been very little

engagement when it comes to trying to actually end the war there.

There was a certain sense of optimism, Hala. Last year, you'll remember well after the chemical attack that happened in the springtime in Idlib

Province when the U.S. bombed the Syrian air base, where aircraft that carried out that attack were believed to have departed from.

There was a sense that perhaps this administration is going to be different, it's going to be more proactive in the Obama administration.

It's not going to allow these various different declared red lines to be crossed.

But then after that, nothing, nothing has actually happened. In fact, the U.S. has become even more disengaged when it comes to trying to negotiate

any sort of long-term solution. There's also been a phenomenal level of disappointment and also sheer shock at some of the rhetoric coming out of

President Trump.

Remember, there was the vis crisis, whitewashing a whole lot of countries in the region as basically being harborers of terrorists.

GORANI: Yes. John Kirby, when there is vacuum -- and we see it in the Middle East when there's power vacuums, you have terror groups like ISIS

filling those vacuums. But on the world stage when there's a vacuum of influence by the United States, other countries step in.

China, for instance, is investing a lot of money in countries like Pakistan and continents and regions like Africa. Russia is certainly stepping in

and forming important alliances with countries like Iran and propping up regimes like the one of Bashar al-Assad. Eventually will this hurt the

United States?

KIRBY: Yes, absolutely. In fact, Hala, it's already hurting the United States in terms of our credibility and influence around the world and don't

forget Saudi Arabia stepping into a vacuum quite well in the Middle East to try to exert their influence and further cause sectarian tensions there.

I mean, it's happening everywhere. When we pull back, others will fill in. The problem is that -- two things, first of all, they won't pursue

interests that are necessarily in keeping with normal Democratic values and the kinds of things that we believe enhance security and stability around

the world.

Number two, we will lose a voice in outcomes in these parts of the world. We will lose the ability to try affect things that actually coincide with

our national interests.

GORANI: John Kirby and Arwa Damon, thanks very much to both of you. And Arwa, we'll be featuring some of you excellent reporting from the region a

little bit later this hour.

There have been so many firsts of Mr. Trump's presidency. We're now seeing another one. In a sign of these extraordinary times, on the day the United

States honors civil rights hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., with a federal holiday, there is an actual debate going on about whether the country's

leader is a racist.

Mr. Trump's derogatory comments about immigrants from Africa and Haiti have touched off a firestorm. Reporters asked him about that backlash last

night. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That, I can tell



GORANI: Mr. Trump's reported slur has overshadowed virtually everything else the last few days. But we don't want to lose sight of all the people

affected by the policies. The president and lawmakers still haven't reached a compromise over the fate of hundreds of thousands of DREAMers,

those young undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

The impasse is holding up a bigger budget agreement and could result in a government shutdown if the deal isn't reached by Friday. President Trump

is encouraging all Americans to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. today with acts of community service.

But it appears he's not taking his own advice. Mr. Trump's public schedule doesn't list any service projects today, but we know he spent at least part

of the day playing golf.

CNN White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins joins us now from West Palm Beach, Florida. Talk to us about the president's -- how he spent his day

today, MLK Day, Kaitlan?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, he spent the day at his golf course. CNN actually caught video of the president spending his time

playing a few rounds of golf today. He heads back to Washington here in the next hour after his holiday weekend spent down here in Southern


But the president is going back to Washington as this outcry over that remark he made during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House where

they were discussing immigration only continues to grow.

And last night, the president denying that he made this specific obscene remark after citing two senators who have also denied that the president

made the remark, two senators who were in the meeting.

[15:10:03] But we should note that there are several other senators who were also in the meeting who are saying that the president did make that

remark. We also have Senator Lindsey Graham, who will not confirm the president made the remark, but he called the meeting a disappointment and a

step backwards and was really trying to straddle the line between saying whether or not the president actually made this remark.

But regardless of the president's denial, it does not change the sentiment of what the president expressed during that meeting, which was about

African countries, about Haitian immigrants, about how he believes the United States should take more people from places like Norway.

So, regardless of the semantics and the specific wording that the president used, it does not change the overall sentiment that he expressed to

lawmakers during a very serious meeting at the White House to discuss immigration.

GORANI: I guess, it's confusing. I mean, how could specifically two senators, Cotton and Purdue, said two days ago we don't remember if that

term was used, t s-hole term. Now they're saying, no, he didn't use that term. How did their memory become clearer in two days when they hadn't

recalled specifics right after the meeting? Did they explain that?

COLLINS: Exactly. That was Senator Lindsey Graham kind of alluded to that in his comments today saying his memory has not evolved over what happened

in that meeting like Senators Cotton and Purdue, who said they did not recall that the president used that exact phrase and then insisted during a

Sunday talk show that he didn't use that phrase.

And even his own Department of Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, didn't go as far to deny the president's remarks. She instead

said she didn't remember the president saying that exact phrase, but she did remember him making an impassioned argument.

So, you do see how that changes and it's also worth noting that the White House didn't even deny that the president made this remark after it was

first reported by the "Washington Post" on Thursday. They instead offered a pretty vague statement defending what the president had said.

You'd think that if the president did not say that in the White House, believed he didn't say, they would have come out and denied that right off

the bat. But they certainly didn't. Here we are several days later and this is still dominating the headlines.

Even though the White House and Capitol Hill have not come to an agreement on what to do about immigration just days before the government is

scheduled to run out of money and Republicans are tasked with creating a spending bill that they believe can actually get passed.

GORANI: Kaitlan Collins in West Palm Beach, Florida, thanks very much for joining us.

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich is no fan of Donald Trump. Just check out his Twitter feed. He called him an extraordinary talented con

man and warns it would be dangerous to underestimate him.

Reich is a senior CNN economics analyst and professor of public policy at the University of California Berkeley. Thanks for being with us. Does it

matter whether he said shithole or something else with regards to those countries? Does it matter to you?

ROBERT REICH, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: I don't think it matters exactly which vulgarity he used. He certainly did use some sort of

vulgarity that was very upsetting to a lot of the people who attended the meeting. And he used it in a way that was targeted toward Africa, toward

Haiti, toward countries that are racially different from white America.

And he also suggested at that same meeting at the same time that we ought to be accepting more immigrants from places like Norway. Norway is

obviously a white -- in fact, it used to be known as Aryan nation to the German fascist when they were talking about white supremacy.

I think all of this becomes a very big deal in the context of other things that Donald Trump has done. I mean, equating for example the people who

were white supremist parading in Charlottesville from Virginia with people who were protesting them.

Remember, Donald Trump got his start in politics in America by suggesting that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, but was born in

Africa. This is a man whose racism and who has used racism consistently, politically to drum up support, to solidify his base, to gain political


GORANI: Can I ask you, Robert, I mean, if he -- you believe he's -- you wrote a piece published in the "San Francisco Chronicle," Donald Trump

maybe dumb, but he's a talented con man. Clearly, you think he's dangerous, that the 25th Amendment of the Constitution should be invoked.

So, if he's so dangerous, why is his own party not doing something about it? If you really believe and others in Washington believe you speak to

that he presents a danger, that he's a menace, why is nobody doing anything about it?

REICH: I wish the Republican Party now controls the House and the Senate would do something about it. But they obviously are placing party and

loyalty to party above loyalty to the country.

You know, I find this really not only difficult to explain, but I find it immorally questionable.

[15:15:03] I mean, we are celebrating today, a holiday in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., among whose many memorable phrases was that it's just the

statements and the actions of the bad people that get us into trouble that we will have to pay for eventually.

But it's the silence of the good people, that is an even bigger problem for a society. If you don't have Republican leaders who understand that they

have that kind of responsibility to stand up to these kinds of statements, that's a huge problem.

GORANI: That's a big charge to level at elected officials and establishment politicians, that essentially they are more attached to their

agenda and their party than their country. That's what you're saying about the Republicans today.

REICH: Yes, absolutely. I think it's disgraceful. Hopefully, if Donald Trump continues the way he's been going, even his support among registered

Republicans will continue to deteriorate, and it already has from what it was.

At some point, there's going to be a tipping point. That is, Republicans who care about their party and care about being reelected more than they do

care about the country are going to observe that and maybe that will force some sort of action.

Whether it's the 25th Amendment or impeachment or just speaking out, just making sure that the world knows this doesn't represent America and

Americans know this is not morally right. It is ethically wrong. It is not what we believe in in this country.

GORANI: Let me get on the economy because obviously you're a former secretary of labor, an economist. By any measure, the metrics are good in

this country. I mean, they were on the up for the several years during Obama, but it's difficult to deny that stock market is obviously great,

jobless numbers are going down. Can you give Donald Trump credit for that?

REICH: It's very hard to give any credit to any president for an economy because there's so many things that influence an economy. This was a

recovery, as you said, that started in 2009. It continues. Unemployment continues to drop. Wages have not gone up. The median wage in the United

States is still pretty much stuck where it was for the last 35 years if you adjust for inflation. Donald Trump hasn't done anything in terms of the


GORANI: He's lowering taxes for corporations. This is what's driving stock prices up. Corporations say they'll give some of their employees'

bonuses. They'll pass on some of these tax savings to their workers. Those are things that corporations are saying.

REICH: They are saying it. They are saying it. But the history of tax cuts in this country -- you go back to the George W. Bush 2004 tax cuts.

They don't result in higher wages for workers. What companies do is they put more into executive salaries or they buy back their shares of stock in

order to get their shares of stock higher.

That's exactly what's happening. What's happening on Wall Street right now with regard to the stock market is anticipation of higher corporate

profits. And that does drive stock prices up, but stock prices, you know, 20 percent of the stock market is owned by the richest 1 percent of

Americans. Eighty percent of the stock market is owned by the richest 20 percent of Americans. This doesn't help average working people.

GORANI: All right. Robert Reich, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate your time this evening on the program.

A lot more to come tonight, he's photographed the late Princess Diana, countless movie stars and models. Now he's the latest person to be caught

up in sexual misconduct allegations, and he's not the only big-name photographer. We'll tell you who else next.

Plus, video out of Indonesia shows the horrifying moment a floor collapses at the stock exchange, sending people plunging to the ground below. Stay

with us.



GORANI: Well, it was a shock for many. Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of the Cranberries has died at the age of 46. Her publicist says O'Riordan

died suddenly in London during a trip there for a recording session. The Irish singer led the Cranberries to international fame in the '90s with

some really, really great songs. We all remember including Zombie and Linger. She was only 46. Always shocking when someone that young passes

away unexpectedly.

If you're not familiar with their names, there is a good chance you'll recognize one of their photos. This is Mario Testino. He's photographed

royalty like Princess Diana, her son, William, his wife, Duchess Katherine. He's one of the most famous fashion photographers in the world.

This is Bruce Weber. Along with Testino, you see their work in the pages of "Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ." But not anymore, though. Conde Nast, the

publisher of those magazines has cut ties with both of them.

The "New York Times" is publishing some disturbing allegations about both men. CNN hasn't independently verified the allegations. We're trying to

reach the two photographers for comment, but the ripple effects have already been felt.

Let's bring in Ashley Cullins for more details. She's from "The Hollywood Reporter" and live in Los Angeles. Talk to us about the significance of

these two powerhouse photographers -- Ashley.

ASHLEY CULLINS, STAFF REPORTER, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": These are men whose names are known across the fashion industry. For "Vogue" to put

essentially their contracts with them on hold while they investigate what's going on is a very big deal.

GORANI: But I mean, it is a big deal. How does it normally work in that environment? Is an allegation -- do they need something to substantiate it

before they sever ties with two photographers who are so world famous and important to Conde Nast as well?

CULLINS: I don't think there's anyone standard set of protocols right now giving what's going on. It's all sort of operating without a guidebook in

this crazy environment that we are in where we are seeing these claims across various industries.

But I think any employer, when you're faced with allegations of this nature, you have to take them seriously and investigate them before making

a permanent decision. So, I interpreted this situation to somebody being similar to that of somebody being suspended while an investigation goes on.

It's the responsible thing to do because many of these allegations are supposed to have happened during the course of their work. So, if "Vogue"

were to not take any action and something were to happen, again, then they're in a place where they could be held liable for it.

GORANI: Have we heard from the photographers themselves?

CULLINS: They've both largely denied the allegations. Although, I don't know that either of them have gone into too many specifics and any of the

specific claims.

GORANI: Ashley, I want to update our viewers on the controversy surrounding comments made by Catherine Deneuve, the legendary French

actress. She co-signed a letter pushing back against the "Me Too Movement." She's now apologizing to sexual assault victims who were upset

by that letter that she signed.

It argued that the "Me Too" campaign had spiraled out of control. Today, she wrote another open letter saying she wanted, quote, "to emphasize my

disagreement with the way some of the signatories have individually granted themselves the right to make appearances all over the media distorting the

very spirit of this text.

I fraternally salute all the victims of these hideous acts who might have felt assaulted by the letter published in Le Monde. It is to them and them

alone that I offer my apologies." It's kind of a half apology.

I read the letter originally in French and the translation in English. Obviously, there was a whole list of behaviors in that letter that the

actresses and the women who signed that particular open letter said would be acceptable.

[15:25:11] I thought perhaps that they shouldn't be. What do you make of this apology now?

CULLINS: It's an interesting situation, because it's one thing to speak out about what's happening to these men. Obviously not all of these

allegations are equal, but we're seeing a similar pattern.

Someone comes forward and tells their story to the press, and then that man immediately faces consequences and not necessarily all of the allegations

have been fully vetted by law enforcement or his employers when he faces those consequences.

So, it's one thing to say I think we shouldn't be publicly lynching people in the media, which I believe is what that letter hinted at, while

statement saying yet that shouldn't stop victims from coming forward.

I don't think she was so much criticizing the victims themselves as she was the immediate reaction by everyone stories to immediately find all of these

men guilty.

GORANI: Right. But also, you know, it kind of hurts sexual freedom and the rest of it and there were other components of the letter. Either way,

it got the conversation going, which we always love.

Quickly on Mark Wahlberg who was paid $1.5 million compared to Michelle Williams who got only $1,000 for reshooting scenes. He's now donating his

money to the "Times Up Movement." What should we make of that?

CULLINS: I think it was a smart call. Even if it was in his contract that he were to get a much larger fee for coming back because he is a box office

draw. He's a big name. People go see his movies because they are his movies.

Even if he was entitled to that, pay parity is a huge issue right now and that disparity was significant. If you're Mark Wahlberg, you don't really

need the money, you believe in the cause, donating it makes sense.

GORANI: Right. As a woman, I just wish we would just get paid the same from the beginning, and so we don't need, you know, a big male star to

donate money to make a point. Thanks very much, Ashley Cullins. We really appreciate your time with us from "The Hollywood Reporter."

Take a look at some of these images. It was a terrifying scene at the Indonesia stock exchange in Jakarta. A hallway between two buildings

suddenly collapsed with dozens of people on it. Most of them were student tourists visiting the stock market.

At least 77 people were taken to hospitals. Police say most of the injuries, believe it or not, appear to be minor. Remarkably, trading was

largely unaffected at the exchange and there's no word on what caused the collapse.

Still to come, remembering an icon as the United States marks the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. We speak about race relations with the descendant

of another historical figure.

Also ahead, this --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He truly has shown me that he loves America and he wants to change it, go back the way it used to be.


GORANI: Nearly one year to the day since President Trump's inauguration. I head deep into Trump country to find out how his base thinks he's doing.

We'll be right back.


HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Well, we're here in Atlanta, Georgia taking the temperature of the United States, nearly one year since

President Trump's inauguration.

But, today, across the country, Americans are coming together to remember the legacy of an icon and one of Atlanta's favorite sons, Martin Luther

King, Jr.


MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former

slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream -


GORANI: Martin Luther King and grainy black and white pictures portraying a world where color doesn't matter. Parades are taking place around the

United States to honor him. This one was in San Antonio, Texas. Others are giving their time for a day of service.

As we heard earlier in the show, the issue of race is as prevalent today in many ways as it was 50 years ago. Let's get more on this. I'm joined in

the studio by the Rev. Robert W. Lee. He's a direct descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who commanded the Army of Northern

Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until 1865.

Now, for all of our viewers, you'll know around the world the legacy of Robert E. Lee and the memorials to it have been the source of intense

discussion and controversy around the country. Robert W. Lee, thanks for being with us.


GORANI: I saw you behind Bernice King today. She was addressing at the Martin Luther King Center today, people who had gathered to celebrate the

life of her father. Why is this day important in America?

LEE: This day is important in America because we have a dream as a country that Dr. King so eloquently spoke of. But that dream is not fully


We have people in all sorts of places working against that dream today.


LEE: I would say that our current administration, as I said at my remarks at the King Center today, is currently working against the dream that Dr.

King worked for.

GORANI: In what ways?

LEE: I mean, you've got to think of - we work with people in housing, with healthcare, with these other issues that are playing out with police

brutality. We see that there are many issues that Dr. King would be on the forefront of today talking about if he were still alive, on the

opposite side of our current administration.

GORANI: Now, as I mentioned, you're a descendent of Robert E. Lee and that name has been referenced a lot, in that some of the memorials and

statues and celebrations of him have been taken down.

The Confederate flag, Confederate symbols have become even more controversial now than they have been in the past. What's happening in

America today that this is still such a sore point?

LEE: I think what's happening in America today is the polarization of political speech, of any type of speech. We're not talking to each other.

We're talking about each other in such a way to that is filled with hate, that is filled with ill will towards each other, whether you're a

Republican or a Democrat, gay or straight, or black or white. We're just not talking well with one another.

GORANI: By the way, last summer, you addressed spectators at the MTV Music Awards. It was in August of 2017 and it's what you said there actually

forced your resignation from a North Carolina church after making some comments that angered some of the congregants there.

Let's listen to just a short snippet of what you said.


LEE: We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the women's march in January and especially Heather Heyer

who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville.


GORANI: So, you mentioned Heather Heyer, who was run over by one of the white supremacist demonstrators, but that didn't please everybody, did it?

LEE: Well, it certainly didn't, but that's, ultimately, not the most important part of this. Getting to know Susan Bro, Heather Heyer's mother,

and having her come and teach at my class that I teach at Appalachian State University was one of the greatest honors of my life, to have her come and

talk to my students about what's going on in our world.

[15:35:09] She has a voice and a foundation that is working for good in this world. And in spite of all that's happened to me, I'm glad to be

surrounded by people that are making change in this world, like today, for instance, the King Center with Dr. Bernice King, with Bree Newsome, with

Dr. Raphael Warnock at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. I mean, people are making a difference, and that is a good thing.

GORANI: But have we not regressed in America, do you think, in terms of race relations? It seems to me - I don't live in the US anymore. So, I

left for a few years. I came back. It seems to me like the tension level is higher.

LEE: Well, the tension level is at a high point for us right now. But what we have to consider is our answer to that tension. Will we silo

ourselves off and segregate ourselves off and go back to the ways of old before when people think that America was great or do we go to a place that

is truly remarkable, that is what our nation should be.

GORANI: How do you achieve that because it sounds like a great plan -?

LEE: I think we'll achieve that with conversation. It's nice on paper, but you've got to actually enact that. You've got to serve. You've got to

engage. You've got to be willing to reach out a hand and shake, like I did today with Dr. Ben Carson and shake his hand even though I disagree with

him and say, gosh, I disagree with you, but I'd love to work together for a better country.

And that's really hard to do for people. It's really hard for me to do. I'll be the first to say that, to reach across the aisle, whatever that

aisle, but we're called nonetheless to do that.

GORANI: So, when you were resigned from the church where you were a pastor in North Carolina, why did you - what happened exactly there, after that

speech or after that address you gave at the MTV Music Awards? How were you made to feel or made to understand that it had angered some people


LEE: Well, what I can say is that there was a group of the church that felt that I was stepping out of my zone of being able to speak about Black

Lives Matter especially.

You've got to understand where I come from, in North Carolina. Rural parts of North Carolina, many of them believe that Black Lives Matter is a

terrorist organization, in some sense of the word. And so, they didn't like that, and that's OK.

But the real message, the real takeaway from all of this is that I have hope as a white man in America, I'm going to be OK. There are hundreds of

thousands of black people in this country who suffer egregious ills because of the color of their skin and we need to focus on that and that narrative

for the sake of our country's future.

GORANI: And that's dialogue, what else?

LEE: That's dialogue. That's action. That's engaging in policy. That's me, as a pastor, saying that racism is a sin. I mean, I don't think many

white congregants hear their pastor say that racism is a sin from their pulpit. We just don't hear about those things.

So, we have to be willing to engage in the hard work of naming it for what it's worth and calling it what it is. Racism is a sin.

GORANI: All right. Robert Lee, thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate your time on CNN this evening.

Well, I don't have to remind you of this. The past year's new has been dominated by one man, and that is Donald J. Trump. While we scrutinize his

first year as president, the one thing we hear time and time again is the importance of his base.

To get a sense of how that base is thinking one year on, I traveled to an area of the US State of Georgia that almost voted 90 percent for the



GORANI: Glascock County, Georgia, the small rural community of Gibson in America's deep south. Zoom into the Heritage House, a restaurant that

caters to the after-church crowd.

Here, Donald Trump is a hero. Almost 90 percent of voters cast ballots for the president in 2016. Today, Dalton Lamb is running the family business.

DALTON LAMB, GLASCOCK COUNTY RESTAURANT MANAGER: Everyone in this county, for the most part, is Trump supporters. Not everyone, but for the most


GORANI: So, almost one year to the day since the president was inaugurated, what do Trump supporters in this part of America think of

their president.

Glasscock County Sheriff, Jeremy Kelley.

JEREMY KELLEY, GLASSCOCK COUNTY SHERIFF: I'm a God-fearing Christian. And the Bible tells us that the greatest commandment is love or love our

neighbors as ourselves.

I think that's what we have to do as not necessarily a country, but humanity as a whole. Just love and respect each other.

And I'm glad to see a president of the United States giving an emphasis on that, being for one another.

GORANI: But I'll be honest with you, the perception from the outside is he not doing that at all, that he's being divisive, that he's insulting entire

continents when he called the s-hole word for Africa, et cetera. So, that's where some people watching this outside the US would say, but,

sheriff, what you're describing sounds great, but that's not what we see in the president at all. How would you respond to them?

[15:40:09] KELLEY: Well, and that's one thing. I'm in an elected position as well. So many things that I would say or I may not be perceived as to

the way it was intended.

As far as the comments he was making, I don't know the context or whether those comments ever made. So, I'm not going to comment as to how he mean

it or what he meant or whatever.

GORANI: Elizabeth Lamb is the matriarch of the family that runs the Heritage House.

ELIZABETH LAMB, GLASCOCK COUNTY BUSINESS OWNER: I admire the man because I think he truly loves our country and this is what we've got to have for the

United States of America, somebody that truly cares and not after a lot of power.

The man didn't go in for money. He's got many power. He truly has shown me that he loves America and he wants to change it, go back the way it used

to be.

GORANI (voice-over): For Linda Wasden, President Trump may be the most powerful man in America, but she still thinks he's being treated unfairly.

LINDA WASDEN, GLASCOCK COUNT RESIDENT: I think some of the things maybe he has said, I think, well, that's - don't say that -

GORANI (on-camera): Like what?

WASDEN: If he said what he said about the other countries, when you get upset, you say things sometimes in the heat of passion that you should not


GORANI: But, Elizabeth, one of the things that I hear often living abroad is people believe that the president is unpredictable, that he's probably

reckless and not maybe very stable when it comes to his reactions, that reacts a lot in the heat of the moment. This is, I'm just being honest

with you. This is what people say.

They're worried that in the heat of passion, he'll start a war with North Korea or he'll do something dangerous for the whole world. What would you

say to people outside the US about the president because, clearly, you don't think they should be concerned about this?

WASDEN: I do not. I think no Southern thing is - the proof is in the pudding. I would say, give him a chance. Some of this stuff, it's just

getting blown so out of proportion -

GORANI: But President Trump seems to me like not necessarily the most obvious choice for a God-fearing Christian person to support. Why?

Because of some of the things he's said, because of some of the issues surrounding, for instance, in that "Access Hollywood" tape where he brags

about touching women and things like that. It seems to me like that isn't necessarily logically the candidate you'd support. Can you explain to me

why you find him appealing?

WASDEN: We hear that about pastors. I mean, they do things that they should not do.

GORANI: But you still support them, you mean, because -?

WASDEN: No. But who are we to judge. We're not going to be the judge. But I feel like Donald Trump, like she said, loves America.

GORANI: Do you think there is something to this notion, and there's an investigation going on now, that the campaign of the president when he was

a candidate got help from Russia or colluded with Russia? Do you believe any of it?

E. LAMB: I do not.

GORANI: You do not.

E. LAMB: I do not.

GORANI: Why not?

E. LAMB: I just think that that would be fruitless. The man has got out and done more in his trying to get elected - I mean, he just - you could

tell, it was going his way most of the time. Yes, he'd say little things that would just make you so mad, you want to hit him, but the next day it

was something wow, look at this man. He's very intelligent.

GORANI: Right. The fact is the president said, when he was a candidate, I'm going to build a wall, Mexico is going to for the wall. He said I

don't know how many times. Dozens, possibly hundreds.

WASDEN: But the wall is not built yet.

GORANI: Not only that, but then the president is asking for the money from Congress, which means he's asking for money from all of you taxpayers? Is

that not a broken promise?

E. LAMB: Wait a minute. He's only been on a year. He can't perform miracles in one year.

WASDEN: He has to have someone to help him.

KELLEY: We have to get to where America is our personal agenda. And I want to see that from, whether it be Donald Trump, whether it be Barack

Obama or whether it be -

GORANI: Oprah Winfrey?

KELLEY: If she's elected by a majority -


KELLEY: If she's elected -

GORANI: There was all this talk about her possibly running - you don't - Linda, you don't sound like -

KELLEY: But at the same time, if she's elected president, as long as her personal agenda is America and she works for that, more power to her.

GORANI (voice-over): Here, the America first mantra resonates more than ever. And attacks against the president don't stick. One year on, no sign

of a shift in opinion in these Trump heartlands.


[15:45:08] GORANI: Very, very interesting visit. Two-hour drive away from Atlanta. It really, really felt, though, like another world.

We're going to be posting this interview and our latest news interviews and analysis on our Facebook page. So, check it out there and comment if you

like, and check out my Twitter feed, @HalaGorani.

Still to come tonight, Syrians fled one humanitarian disaster only to face another. We report from inside Syria's Idlib ahead.


GORANI: Well, we heard earlier from our correspondent Arwa Damon in Iraq. Now, we want to share with you a remarkable report that she filed from

rebel-held Syria. Arwa and her team went inside the city of Idlib.

Here is Idlib, the province, the area on a map. It was thought to be a safer space from the violence in the country's bloody conflict, but in the

past two weeks, the area has been pounded by Russian and Syrian government strikes. In the aftermath, Arwa found families living in fear.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It feels like one is peering into a macabre dollhouse of broken lives.

Bits of concrete tumble down as people try to clean up or salvage what they can amid the horrors that they can't escape.

(on camera): Five of his relatives were in that building, three children among them.

(voice-over): Images like this are familiar a year ago from the siege of Aleppo, but this is Idlib city. This is where families were supposed to be

safe. This was meant to be a refuge, one of the last remaining ones, part of a so-called de-escalation zone that lately has become anything but.

The four strikes that hit here happened five days before we arrived. And many of those we met had actually fled from Aleppo.

(on camera): So lucky they were in that back room.


DAMON (voice-over): Mohammad Hacomachi (ph) is haunted by all he has lost. His wife was killed in Aleppo six years ago. He's raising his two sons on

his own.

We ask where the boys are now and his eyes fill with tears. "We fled from Aleppo to get here," he tells us, whispering, choking on his words.

"There is no solution, there is just no solution. The boys were both studying for exams when the bombs shook the building, sucked the air out of

the room, and everything went pitch black."

"They were screaming daddy, daddy," Mohammed remembers. He couldn't find them right away.

[15:50:00] (on-camera): When the kids were younger, back during happier times.

(voice-over): "What childhood," he laments, "What childhood? Children have lost everything in life."

We head south where some towns already feel deserted. In (INAUDIBLE), closer to the front lines of the fighting, children rummage through the

aftermath of bombs to look for plastic to sell.

"We do get scared. We hide from the bombs," they say.

The Syrian regime and its foreign backers' latest push seems aimed at eliminating or at the very least suffocating the last major rebel


Hundreds of thousands of people have been on the move the last few weeks; many fleeing ahead of what they know is coming or as soon as the first

strikes hit. Some live in makeshift camps along the road to Turkey, bringing everything they can, including their livestock.

By now, everyone is resigned to knowing that no one is going to save them. No one is going to stop the violence.

Raza (ph) and her family were initially in ISIS territory over a year ago. As they were fleeing, there was an explosion. Her daughter (INAUDIBLE)

almost lost her leg.

"I don't like to remember," the seven-year-old tells us. They thought they would be safe, but then the regime and the Russians started bombing. Four

days ago, they arrived here.

Turkish aid organizations are building new and expanding old camps in Syria right up against their border.

(INAUDIBLE) Mohammad's youngest was born in the camp the day they arrived. He's saying freedom, (INAUDIBLE) bitterly jokes. If a barrel bomb had hit

us when we were sleeping, it would have been more merciful.

Syria's remaining rebel areas risk turning into the next Aleppo, only this time even fewer people are watching, even fewer seem to care. For many we

spoke to here, it's not about if this area will also get bombed, it's about when. And how many souls can get crushed into this shrinking safe space?

And what happens when it's gone.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Idlib, Syria.


GORANI: Misery continues for so many there. A lot more to come, including we remember a footballing trailblazer whose influence went much further

than the pitch.


GORANI: A controversy in the UK. The leader of a right-wing party is under pressure to step down because his girlfriend made comments about

Prince Harry's fiance, American actress Meghan Markle, offensive, racially charged comments.

"The Daily Mail" detailed the text messages which referenced Markle's race using highly offensive language. I don't have to spell it out for you, I'm


Henry Bolton, this is the man dating the young woman in her 20s, says they've broken up because of this.


HENRY BOLTON, LEADER, UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY: As of last night, the romantic side of our relationship has ended. We had that conversation last

night when I returned from Yorkshire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what did you say to her?

BOLTON: Well, the conversation, of course, will remain a private conversation, but it was a long and upsetting conversation for both of us.

At the moment, it is, obviously, quite incompatible as you said to continue the relationship.


GORANI: The girlfriend is a model in her 20s, substantially younger than the gentleman who leads that party. She has released a statement

apologizing for the messages, saying they were never meant to be made public.

Well, I imagine they never were meant to be made public and they were and there you have it. Deal with the consequences.

Now, to this. A lot of today's footballers receive nothing but adulation from the stands, but when Cyrille Regis played, a lot of the time, he got

something a lot, lot worse. The pioneer black player has died aged 59.

His career spanned nearly 20 years and he was the third black player to play for England. But during that time, he was a frequent target of

horrendous racist abuse from fans.

Just a few months ago, he spoke to CNN about some of these ordeals, including getting a bullet sent to him in the post.


CYRILLE REGIS, FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER: Well, I think you learn how to deal with the situation. And worse for me was getting my England cap and

receiving a bullet through the post, saying if you put your foot on our Wembley turf, you'll get one of these for your knees.

But over the years, you learn how to turn a negative into a positive. You say, right, you're not going to stop me doing all I want. I'm going to

turn that into motivation and go out and prove you wrong and do the best I can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you received that bullet in the post, how did it make you feel?

REGIS: Well, honestly, this is five years later. So, you've kind of known it's on you, a bit of threat. I showed it to my teammates. And actually

it inspired me to go out and play better.


GORANI: That was Cyrille Regis. He died Sunday, aged 59.

Thanks all of you for watching this evening. And don't forget, I'm here in Atlanta every night this week as we mark the runup to Trump's one-year

anniversary in office.

I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. After a quick break, it is "Quest Means Business".