Return to Transcripts main page


Donald Trump Jr. India Controversy; New Troubles For Israeli Prime Minister; Carnage Making Humanitarian Catastrophe Even Worse; Students Demand Stricter Gun Laws; Evangelist Billy Graham Dies At Age 99; Reports: At Least 300 Civilians Killed In Eastern Ghouta; Aid Group: Airstrikes Killing Without Mercy; Students Deman Stricker Gun Laws At #NeverAgain Rally; Source: Second Netanyahu Confidant Turns State Witness. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 21, 2018 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:23] BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: Very warm welcome and this is "Connect the World" and it is 7:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi. I am Beck

Anderson for you. We are tracking some huge global stories this hour. Reverend Billy Graham known as the American pastor decides more on his life

and legacy. Plus, Donald Trump Jr. facing questions over his ethics, and we will get you to New Delhi for why, and that as a second person very close

to the Israeli Prime Minister turns state witness as the corruption and investigation tightens. We will go to Jerusalem, and that is all ahead

this hour. We start tonight, taking you what is perhaps the closest place to hell on earth and why? Because you need to see what it is really like?

Warning, these images and the sounds will haunt you.





ANDERSON: Children, kids, dug out from beneath the remnants of their homes. Their small bodies are smashed to pieces by large metal bombs,

bombs dropped on them by order of their countries own President. Kids like anyone else's, their moms and dads, mothers and fathers just like us, just

unlucky to be there in eastern Ghouta one of the last Syrian rebel strongholds under siege, and for four years, this regime now wants this

suburb of Damascus back for itself, and back it seems at any price even obliteration. More than 300 people there killed since Monday evening.

That is a single person dead every 10 minutes.

CNN Ben Wedeman is following this war along with us from the beginning as we burn through in every superlative of what you can think of what the

people are going through. And Ben is with us from Beirut tonight. Ben, it seems impossible to show just how bad things are as it is quite frankly too

graphic for TV, but there are rooms full of bodies lined up next to the one another, and side by side, and just help take us through what is going on

inside of eastern Ghouta right now.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this is a part of Syria that has been under rebel control for several years now, but it

has been under siege, and the situation has always been very difficult there, and what we have seen in the last few week, and particularly in the

last few days is onslaught by the Syrian regime against these approximately 400,000 inhabitants there. What we have gotten today is a statement from

the international committee for the Red Cross saying that the few medical facilities in eastern Ghouta are running out of medicine. They also point

out that the residents of a Damascus are also living in fear from the mortars being fired from the eastern Ghouta into the capital. The

statement says that this is madness and it has to stop. Certainly there is no question that it is madness, but appears that there's no one restraining

that madness at the moment. This report that we are about to show you, however, we have to warn the viewers that the images are indeed very



WEDEMAN: Nadal weeps over to the body of his daughter. His other five children went missing. The Syrian government subjects the eastern Ghouta

the rebel held suburb of Damascus to the most intense bombardment since the war began. Bodies line the floors in this hospital's morgue, and a bed

sheet is a child simple death shroud. It is the children who suffer the most in the war without mercy. According to local tradition Ghouta was the

original Garden of Eden, and now it is perhaps the closest thing to hell on earth. Home to as many as 400,000, it has been under siege for many years.

[10:05:03] Tuesday, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF issued a blank statement for this situation in eastern Ghouta, and a small footnote

at the bottom explains we no longer have the words to describe the children's suffering and our outrage and to those inflicting the suffering

still have words to justify their barbaric act. CNN reached out to the Syrian government for comment, they have no words. These are the worst

days of our lives, a hospital Director told CNN by phone from the eastern Ghouta. It could not get worse than this she said, but she may be wrong.

It is widely believed that the bombardment is a prelude to the offensive to retake eastern Ghouta, one of the last opposition's strongholds.

Many of this disturbing images are captured by the local civil defense unit the so-called white helmets rushing from one bomb site to another. Here

there are no bomb shelters and people huddle in their home, and all too often die in them. Beyond that, there are no words.


WEDEMAN: And their words of course that were hearing are those of shock. We are hearing Theresa May the British Prime Minister is calling the

situation and the eastern Ghouta appalling, but there doesn't seem to be any effort underway beyond the words to stop the fighting and one Damascus

newspaper today is saying that the worst may yet be to come what within the next coming days it says that there may be a full-on offensive to retake

the eastern Ghouta, Becky?

ANDERSON: Absolutely shocking, Ben. Local tradition holds Ghouta was once the Garden of Eden and days that must now seem almost forever ago, and the

once that you will keenly remember. What was it like back in the day?

WEDEMAN: I lived in Damascus in the late '70s and the early '80s and the Ghouta back then was vast oasis and it was very popular during the weekend.

People would go there to go on picnics. I remember going there with my family on picnics with my friend, and playing backgammon underneath the

tree, there were water canals bubbling through the groves there. And during the 80s and the 90s, there was a lot of construction in the area and

a lot of the poorer people moved to those suburbs of Damascus and of course, it is there where many of the supporters come for the uprising

against the regime of Bashar al Assad. Today, the Ghouta obviously even before the war didn't remember anything of my youth, but of course now it

is a moonscape, Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman reporting on the story out of Beirut, Lebanon this evening.

And let Syria crumbles back in to being (inaudible) and becoming more complex. We want to step back for a second. Give you a sense of the broad

sweep of how the war stand now in three arenas. Bear with me on this. Arena 1 where we just were eastern Ghouta, the regime they are attacking

rebels same as Idlib in the east, I mean the two that is where the war on ISIS is playing out. Back towards the north, I mean three a newly extreme

intense front of the multi-faceted conflict. A month a Turkey launching a massive assault against Kurds in Afrin and in just the last 24 hours,

Turkey shelling a convoy militia loyal to the regime as they head into Afrin and you can see the cloud of Turkish artillery firing here. There is

a lot to take in, I know, but it is really important stuff. Joining us is now CNN Sam Kiley to help us make sense of it all for you. After Aleppo

Sam, we thought had seen the worst of the sort of the scenes out of Ghouta and indeed Afrin and dual offensive from the Syrian government, is that

what we are seeing here?

[10:10:00] SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is. In short order what east Ghouta was supposed to be as you see one in that

map up to Idlib, and they were supposed to be de-escalation zone, and what had that proves to be is giving the Syrian regime a period of consolidation

and ability to rearm and re-plan, and now what we had seen in Idlib and our Arwa Damon with the dramatic report reporting there. And then again in

eastern Ghouta a massive assault being carried out by the Syrian regime. With the critical support of Russia and Iran without whom the Syria regime

would have collapsed of the rebels at least two years ago, I think the tactic is to smash the place in to submission and then move in. That is

exactly what happened in Aleppo, many though it was the end of it and the handful of survivors can be shipped out, sent to a place of safety,

ironically the place of safety for them was Idlib where they are moved under pressure again by the regime. The regime is feeling much more

emboldened even though territorially, they are invaded by the Turks.

ANDERSON: "The New York Times," and you are talking about the regime, and pick apart why exactly you say that you have alluded to it with the support

of Russians and the Iranians. And The New York Times is quoting that the leader of the government's elite tiger force warning Ghouta, I promise to

teach them a lesson in combat and in fire. Going on. You won't find a rescue and if you do, you will be rescued with y water like boiling oil,

and you will be rescued with blood. How is it that seven years in that as you have rightly described, were looking at a Syrian government seemingly

so emboldened?

KILEY: Well in the beginning, the Turks were calling for an air explosion zone, no fly zone for anybody on any side. That is what prevailed in Libya

and then this allied forces started to attack the Gadhafi regime. And the collapse of Libya in to anarchy spooked the very people who could have

imposed a no-fly zone. A no-fly zone would have been problematic, because the Syrians have a very powerful air defense, and quite relatively they

started getting Russian support and started to boost the air defenses, and then the point at which the Syrian regime looked like it would collapse,

similar to maps that CNN was showing three years ago an embattled Damascus and the growing rebel ownership and in came the Russians enforce with the

doctrine of the overwhelming force. If you are recall in Aleppo, the deliberate attacking of the medical facilities breaking the back of

spiritually and physically of are rebellion, and that is being repeated again in Ghouta.

ANDERSON: Very briefly, the Russians they have said that it is all over for them in Syria, and they are sort of scaling backed and is that true?

KILEY: Well, they are sneering of the Americans for getting stuck for so long and the American allies in Iraq, and now Syria. It will very

interesting to see indeed whether the Russians can extract themselves in the way they want --

Or whether they want to want but the more they stay there they will hemorrhage blood and treasure as others this have. This is a quagmire of

sand and it is extremely difficult to get out. But if they leave, they will leave that regime vulnerable, and whether it is to ISIS 2.0, the

Kurdish rebellion or the reconfiguration of the rebel movements. They will permanently need the defense of that outside power.

ANDERSON: Sam Kiley in the house. Thank you, Sam. We will be on top of this story throughout the hour. Later I will to talk to the U.N. regional

humanitarian coordinator for Syria crisis. Those all too well the complexities and the horror facing the people of the country right now.

I want to get you to the U.S. State of Florida at this point where in the wake of last week's horrific school shooting, students are walking out of

classes calling for gun control, these images are just coming into CNN. And we are looking at literally hundreds of kids walking out of schools in

Florida. We have already seen the sea of activism earlier on in the week. The kids want their voices heard.

[10:15:00] Never mind what politicians are up to. It is these students who want some action, and they are certainly out there asking for that now.

We'll have Jake Tapper's town hall later today on CNN talking specifically to this issue, but those are the kids. They are not waiting for

politicians. They are out there.

One of America's most famous ministers passes away. We look back at the life and legacy of reverend Billy Graham. That is next.

And later, teenaged survivors of the school massacre take their message directly to Florida lawmaker, and they want stricter gun law in the hopes

of saving lives. All of that coming up this hour. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You are watching CNN and is "Connect the World." I'm Becky Anderson and welcome back. It is 18 minutes past 7:00, and reverend Billy

Graham has passed away at age of 99, one of America's most famous evangelic leaders preaching to people around the world. Michael Holmes has this look

back at the life of Billy Graham.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: He was called America's pastor, and a minister in the old time tradition of the Southern U.S.

Baptists a built mass following worldwide and traveling to the globe and taking to the airwaves as no religious leader ever had done before. He

have no home, church nor regular congregation, and no church hierarchy except for the one he himself created. But through radio, television,

movies, publishing and appearances in 185 countries, a record-breaking crowds, Graham reached out to hundreds of millions of people, and reaching

the gospel to try to save the souls of each and every one.

GRAHAM: There is no other way. Man cannot be saved by bread alone.

HOLMES: Billy Graham was born in 1918 and raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina, a time and place familiar with traveling

preachers who would visit long enough to try to revive the community's faith in Christ. Graham attended a revival meeting when he was 16 and

became a minister and launched his own revival.

[10:20:14] GRAHAM: I do not believe that any man, a man can solve the problems of life without Jesus Christ.

HOLMES: He called the revival campaigns crusades and made them the bigger than any ever seen before. Night after night for example at New York's

Madison square garden for 16 weeks. In 1950, Billy Graham made his first visit to the White House and he met and prayed there with Harry Truman and

through the decades with nearly all of Truman's successors.

GRAHAM: I know that god has sent me out as a warrior on the five continents to preach the gospel and I must continue until he gives me the

signal that I have to stop.

HOLMES: He prayed in Russia, China, and South Africa.

GRAHAM: Christ belongs to all people. He belongs to the whole world.

HOLMES: He prayed in North Korea, Canada, and Hungary.

GRAHAM: And today I pray in the name of the lord Jesus Christ.

HOLMES: And then in 2005 he had his last crusade to over 200,000 people in New York.

GRAHAM: We hope to come back again someday.

HOLMES: Billy Graham prayed all around the world in the seven decades as a media savvy minister, and a preacher who reached out to the planet.


ANDERSON: Well, Billy Graham's spokesman says that he died of natural cause at his home in North Carolina, just moments ago the U.S. President

tweeted that the great Billy Graham is dead, and there was nobody like him, and he will be missed by Christians of all religions. A very special man.

Graham's impact was felt Christian community and Evangelist Joel Osteen spoke with CNN's new day about the man he looked up to. Have a listen.


JOEL OSTEEN, EVANGELIST: I group up as a preacher's kid, and Billy Graham was our hero, you know growing up and watching him and his life of

integrity and honesty and passion to people, and you know, we knew that this time is coming but it is still interesting to think that Billy Graham

is not here with us, and on the me, it is a loss of a hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does your generation of the faith community owe to him?

OSTEEN: I think that we owe to continue on what he started which is to preaching good news, and letting people know about Christ and the love and

respect that we can show one another, and so I think that it is to continue on that passion and the boldness that he had. He took great steps of

faith, he paved the way for young ministers like myself doing television ministry which was not heard of back then and going across the globe, and

reached out to people just like him, and took some criticism for it, but it opened up the door for us to say, hey, we don't have to reach out to kind

of people who come from our faith or that are like us, but you know, opened up the door to something bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let talk about that a second more if we can, because you have a unique perspective on this, and you know how difficult it is to

build a following, and you have done it with huge success, but do you think back on how difficult it must have been for him, the for ways into

television that is seen so heretical to many of how you suppose to express your faith, but what he mean as a pioneer.

OSTEEN: I know. It is. It is easy for us now, but you know, yeah, back then, that was a -- I was very young, of course, but he took some big steps

of faith. He did. He pioneered it and even some of the entire meetings, and the different things that he did overseas that were unusual, and I

loved the vision, a the integrity and, you know, another thing, so, Christ, it is not a great statement, but it is not a lot of ministers with his age

of the integrity and honesty and faithfulness, and there are plenty, but not well known, and that inspires as a young minister that it is not how we

start, but how we finish and he finished with grace and dignity, and Christ, he reached out to young ministers like myself and I was able to

visit with him, and when I the did, I mean I was meeting my hero, but he wanted to talk about was me, and he did not to talk about what he did, he

just talked about me, and my church, and how I got up there, and how I did this. What a gracious man, and humble man turning his focus, and he is a

legend and I'm a learner, but he just wanted to encourage me.


[10:25:00] ANDERSON: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter just issued this statement on Graham. Broadminded and forgiving and exemplified the life of

Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve. He had an enormous influence on my own spiritual life, and I was pleased to count

reverend Graham among my advisers and friends. Former President George H.W. Bush had this to say, Billy Graham was America's pastor. His faith in

Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired the people across the country and around the world, and I think Billy touched the hearts of

not only Christian, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man. I was privilege to have him as a personal friend. Candida Moss is a

professor of theology at the University of Birmingham, and joining me now by skype from Birmingham. And as big of a character and as of an influence

as Billy Graham had, it does seem that it was a generation to a younger generation who may not know as much about Billy Graham. What should his

legacy be? What should we be teaching of the legacy?

CANDIDA MOSS, THEOLOGY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Well Billy is really the architect of modern evangelism, as sort of every organizations

and every church for itself, and so he brought people together not just in the United States, but globally he organized the world congresses and

foreign ministers to the attend and one of the important parts of the legacy is that he united the evangelical Christians under a single banner.

ANDERSON: He didn't steer clear of politics, did he? At least I got him into trouble let's say. Should that be something that we remember him or

not, or is it bigger than that?

MOSS: Well, it is really interesting, because Billy Graham did visit a number of countries behind the iron curtain, and so he went to Russia for

which he was widely criticize and went to Romania and Hungary, and he did adapt his language in order not to draw offense there, and he has drawn

criticism, but it is a mistake to see him as just another member of the religious right who is active in politics, because when it came to U.S.

politics, Graham actually wanted to stay out of the fray and unlike many others, he was really strongly opposed to marrying his message to the

Republican Party.

ANDERSON: His ministry, I think it would be right to say somewhat grew larger than himself. How difficult was that at times, the assumption that

those who would be speaking in his tone, as it were might have had a different attitude and tone at times. Does it make sense?

MOSS: It does and it is an excellent point. In fact, Billy Graham actually said in an interview that one of his regrets is that some of the

organizations had grown too large, and that they then sort of difficult to control and to manage. And there were a lot of people who can coopt the

legacy of Graham for that ideological and political goals to say nothing of those who confused his religious message.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Thank you for your thoughts on the day that we learn that Billy Graham has died at age 99.

Just ahead, three of the worst days in Syria ever as citizens are dying in the hundreds on the bombardment from their own government. We talk to the

United Nations up next.


[10:31:07] ANDERSON: Welcome back. It is just after half past 7:00 in the UAE. This is our programming from out Middle East and business hub and

this is Syria.

And we are going to get you back into the tiny insight into the horror of a place meant to be a safe place, but instead, it is hell on earth. And

right now, the area of the Eastern Ghouta, the so-called de-escalation zone, where you seen there, it looks like a battlefield.

These images are graphic, but we think we know, in fact, that it is important that you see them. Reports say that at least 300 civilians,

ordinary people and kids, children have been killed in the last few days, targeted in their homes, in hospitals and in schools by their own


And for the people fortunate enough to have survived, hundreds wounded, there are now no working hospitals. Well, Panos Moumtzis is the U.N.

Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis.

He says that the situation in Eastern Ghouta is spiraling out of control. He joins us now live from Kuwait via Skype. And with the greatest of

respect, sir, this conflict on multiple fronts, not just Ghouta, but obviously that is specifically awful at present, a living hell.

This is a conflict in which the players involved on the ground and those watching from gilded offices around the world have patently failed the

Syrian people, and we have to include the U.N. in that, sir.

PANOS MOUNTIS, U.N. REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR THE SYRIA CRISIS (via Skype): This conflict has been going on for seven years. It has been

going on for too long without any solution.

The United Nations on the humanitarian side were really very active, helping more than 7.5 million people every month, an extraordinary

difficulty to reach there. There are some areas that we cannot, and Eastern Ghouta is one of them. It is a besieged area.

We also have the hard to reach areas over there and I agree on the political side, there has been humanitarian diplomacy failure. There

hasn't been any achievement on bringing to gether to help to us access.

The political conversations are on-going. But on our side, we are feeling highly frustrated, because the situation today with Eastern Ghouta, 400,000

people have been besieged there since 2013.

[10:35:08] In the last few days, there has been a massive escalation of air strikes and the offensive taking place, and the really resulted to a

totally catastrophe in the protection of civilians.

We are hearing reports and seeing women and children, and families, whose life is completely devastated with the air bomb attacks and the offensive

that is taking place, and also, attacks of health facilities.

I mean, it's unacceptable, a places where you go for treatment to be attacked and to be bombed, and people to be losing their lives there. And

it is some national similar law principle, and the basic principle of war. You expect civilian infrastructure and respect civilian locations that is

really not happening with the dramatic impact on people's lives.

ANDERSON: Your words resonate with any of us who have been either covering this war, reporting on this war, trying to keep this conflict at the front

-- forefront of people's minds, so that something can be done.

I think that you might well agree that we have reached a point where we are quite frankly speechless. On Tuesday, UNICEF, the United Nations

Children's Fund issued this, a mostly blank statement stating simply no words will do justice to the children killed, their mothers, their fathers

and their loved ones.

And effectively, they left their statement empty, because they want to emphasize the fact that they are speechless. There are no words that can

describe this horror unfolding.

In your work, sir, as the assistant secretary-general for U.N. Regional Humanitarian Coordination for the Syria Crisis, what can you do on a daily


Can you just -- can you explain, you talk about your frustration. Can you explain what that is and how we might be able to help you, those of us

doing this job, and watching around the world if at all?

MOUNTIS: Well, on the practical side, first of all, once we get the authorization to get into Ghouta and all the besieged and hard to reach

areas, we are ready.

We are ready as the United Nations with our NGO partners to go in to help people who are the in desperate need, but what is needed to this problem is

really clear is not the humanitarian response, but political solution.

So we raise our voice, and we are eyewitness, we will brings the facts and the figures to the conscious of the politicians, the Security Council there

is a resolution that is finally a discussion for a cease-fire.

We are really calling for an urgent cease-fire. We need to have at least the modernization of the facilities be able to bring assistance team, to be

able to take medical people who needs medical situation. People who are really seriously injured and whose lives in threat where they are.

We need the world, the conscious of the politicians to be activated, to bring every pressure, and every influence they can with capitals who really

can bring an end to this carnage.

We see that the humanitarian solution clearly is not the answer, yet, we need to make sure that we need to have the humanitarian with the political.

ANDERSON: And I totally understand what you are saying. But the point is this, isn't it? That as we talk about getting a resolution on the floor of

the U.N. for example, and Security Council, we are talking about trying to get an agreement amongst countries who are actually physically on the

ground for example, in the case of Russia supporting this Syrian regime.

We are talking about asking governments like the Turks, the U.S., the Iranians to the come together and, you know, create a solution that will

work for the people of Syria, when they are quite frankly fighting on different sides of this conflict. Do they care any longer about the people

of Syria, do you think?

MOUNTIS: Well, this is exactly what our concern is, it's the civilians, it's the people of Syria who are really suffering on the day-to-day and the

people attacked on all side.

There was also, you know, bombs and rockets that fell in Damascus, itself, and so we had also information of 13 people who were killed in Damascus,

and so really, there has to be a solution.

The history has taught us that the wars were never a solution, and that really, the civilians are the ones who pay the price through it.

The so-called escalation area, and Ghouta is one of them, has been anything but the escalation, and in fact, there has been an escalation. So when

these areas are called as safe zones, they are given fake and false impression to the people that they are safe.

[10:40:05] Today, we hear -- I just spoke with a family in Eastern Ghouta, and they were really desperate to say, where is -- why is the world not

responding? What would it take to respond and to have some action?

Many of us who have worked in previous conflicts and remember in Bosnia, it was in Sarajevo market attack that made the world to move, and in Syria, it

has been going on for seven years. And the stories are getting really more and more dramatic.

And yet we don't see a change -- a change to bring an end, a change to bring a cease-fire, and to bring a solution to a situation. And on our

side, really we call first of all, to all parties to respect and protect civilians, to and respect and protect the civilian infrastructure,

hospitals and schools.

In East Ghouta today, the residents there have no water, have no electricity, and the markets are closed. They have all tried the to hide

in basements and whatever they can with the aerial attacks that they take everyday and not knowing if the building there is going to fall on their

head as it has happened to other houses, and hundreds of people who were killed.

ANDERSON: We have to leave it there, but we really appreciate your time and we hear your frustration, and I wish we didn't have to talk, but we do,

and we will talk again. Thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, you are watching Connect the World. Coming up, new investigations target the inner circle of the Israeli Prime Minister

Benjamin Netanyahu. And there is word that some of his associates are willing to talk. We are live in Jerusalem for you next.

And later, students in Florida staging mass walkout to send a message loud and clear. These are live pictures, and we will get to a report for you

from Florida as these students push for tighter gun control. That is next.


ANDERSON: You are watching CNN and in is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson and welcome back. We want to get you to some images.

They are live images coming to us from Florida, and never again is that rallying cry filling the streets of Florida today as the students who

survived a horrific school shooting demand that lawmakers take action to strengthen gun control.

They have been marching to the steps of the capital building in Tallahassee, while students in others cities staging mass walkouts. You

can -- we will see images of those mass walkouts in this show as we well in a show of solidarity.

We are looking at the live images from Tallahassee at present out of Florida, students from patent sharing their stories of surviving last

week's shooting. Let's bring in CNN's Dianne Gallagher live from a Tallahassee. What you have been hearing and listening to there, Dianne?

[10:45:06] DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Becky, I have been with the students for about 24 hours now. I rode up on a bus with

them, a three buses full of about 100 students from Stoneman Douglas here to Tallahassee.

They are inside the capital building here, speaking with the lawmakers right now. They are in small groups of about 70 or so trying to tell them

what they want from their government.

They are students who want to talk about gun control, Becky. They want to talk about mental health, they want to talk about strengthening the

background check, and maybe even making it, and taking it longer to get a background check.

And so they have demands, but they want a conversation and they say so far, they have been texting with them while they are in there. They say that

they are getting it, as of right now.

Meanwhile, on the outside, I don't even know I they have any idea of just how large the crowds are. You were talking about those walkouts down in

South Florida where they all drove up from.

There are kids that we have seen from schools, high schools, Florida State, and teachers' union groups that are showing up in Tallahassee for the rally

that is going to happen in about an hour.

Some of the speakers include Mark Kelly, the former astronaut, who was married to Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman who was shot in the head

several years ago. There is the president of the Brady foundation.

And so, anti-gun law advocates are here speaking. There are Pulse nightclub massacre survivors speaking at this event here at the really.

So, you have a lot of people who are coming together to show support.

They kids though from Stoneman Douglas, Becky, they are not participating in this rally. They said they are going to a press conference. They are

here to work. This is all about business for them.

ANDERSON: Well, as we look at the images of that gathering, growing, sort of minute-by-minute. Let's just have a listen in before we move on, Diane.

Hold on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other kids were in the theater. They were hiding in an alcove on the top, like, above the theater. One of them was arrested

because they thought that he was the shooter. But he wasn't.

We waited in a closet for 2.5 hours. I was -- I had no service at all. I had all of my friends just leaning on me, freshmen and sophomores crying,

because they had no idea what was happening. This shouldn't happen. We are kids.

We are all high school kids. All of us. We are all the same. Nobody should be in a drama class and have to worry if they are going to die.

Nobody should be in a math class studying algebra and worrying if they are going to survive.

After a few hours, the SWAT team came in and broke the glass and took us out. Little did we know that the door on the outside of the other room

that they came into, because it was a connecting closet to two classrooms was open.

So if the shooter had gotten in, I would not had made it because I was right in front of the door blocking it. A day of pure love and happiness

was instantly turned upside down. We are the generation that can make a change. We have a voice.

People are hearing us. People are listening. And look at this. This is incredible. We can't allow a world where kids are not safe in their own

school. Kids shouldn't have to wear a bulletproof vest everywhere that they go in fear of being shot to death.

I don't have all of the answers. I'm just a kid like you guys. But it is obvious that it is so easy for the people to purchase assault riffles like

AR-15 that was used in this shooting to kill my friends. It is up to you guys.

If we don't stand united as students, as community or as a nation, then nothing will get done. I beg you, please, juniors and seniors, register to

vote, because the 18-year-olds to 21-year-olds age group is unrepresented, and we need our voices to be heard.

We have voices, and they are hearing us, and if we go out there, we can overpower every other age group. Yesterday, I had to attend the funeral of

my friend, Carmen.

[10:50:00] She was 16-years-old and a National Merit Scholarship finalist which she never even found out that she was, because she got the letter the

day after she died.

Today is her birthday. She was supposed to turn 17, and she didn't make it. We need this to change. We need our kids to reach the ages of 90-

years-old, because she was going to cure cancer. I knew her. She was going to University of Florida, like many of you kid will in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hear you, Stoneman Douglas!



ANDERSON: Some powerful, powerful words, and personal stories of course of a tragic, tragic day in Florida. This Tallahassee -- sorry, this Broward

County in Florida and the beginning of what should be a huge rally.

This is student activism, folks, in motion. And just hours from now, survivors of the Florida school shooting will take part in a CNN town hall,

and so will the NRA, the most powerful U.S. gun lobby. You won't want to miss, Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action, hosted by

Jake Tapper.

My colleague hosting that, that is at 9:00 p.m. in New York, that is 6:00 a.m. here in Abu Dhabi. That will be Thursday morning here, and you will

be able to work out where you are watching in the world, and what time it will be with you. We will be right back.


ANDERSON: All right, to Israel where investigations of corruption swirling around the inner circle of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A source

tells us, a second confidant of Mr. Netanyahu has agreed to testify.

We must note, the prime minister has not been charged, although police say there is enough evidence to indict him in two cases. But he maintains his

innocence. Well, now to CNN's Oren Liebermann for -- Oren, the very latest developments if you will.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been an incredible week of development, starting with police saying that they have enough evidence to

indict him in the first two cases, and now this blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and this is perhaps the biggest blow yet over the course

of these investigations, which have now gone on for more than a year at this point.

A second confidant of Netanyahu has turned state's witness. We have learned from a legal source with knowledge of the matter, agreeing to

testify on a case that touches on others in Netanyahu's inner circle.

[10:55:02] This is the biggest blow, because this confidant -- Shlomo Filber was Netanyahu's right-hand man for some two decades and knows the

inner workings of those around Netanyahu, he could potentially implicate Netanyahu, himself, in the two cases in which he has not yet or has not

been named a suspect.

He is a key witness or could become a key witness in what's know as Case 4000, which looks at the Ministry of Communications and its relationship

with Israeli telecom for Bezeq.

It's worth noting that a time being investigated, Netanyahu himself held that ministry and one of his closest friends was the controlling

shareholder of Bezeq.

The suspension is that the ministry advanced Bezeq's interest illegally, in favor of Netanyahu -- in return for Netanyahu getting favorable news


I would be Filber, himself, that knew the relationship between Ministry of Communications and Bezeq. And as where his testimony could be key. Becky,

again, this could be major blower here to Netanyahu.

ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann reporting out of Jerusalem for you. A very busy hour, folks. I'm Becky Anderson, and that was your world, we have

connected it. And we will do it all again tomorrow. We will see you then, same time, same place, and thanks for watching.