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Trump's Two Battles, Trade and Syria; Market Sell-Off on Growing Fears of Trade War; Trump Wants U.S. Troops to Exit Syria Soon; OPCW Hold Emergency Meeting on Skripal Case. Aired 11a-12n ET

Aired April 4, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] LINDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Linda Kinkade at CNN's worldwide headquarters in Atlanta filling in for

Becky Anderson this hour.

Well, we are following the war on two fronts to the American president. One very real, very long and very deadly in Syria. We'll get you the

latest on all that in just a second.

But first, Now, an announcement in Beijing today is rattling markets worldwide. Right now, the Dow is deep in the red, as investors react to

news that China is retaliating against planned U.S. tariffs with a threat of new tariffs of its own. China says it will target $50 billion worth of

U.S. exports, slapping a 25 percent tariff on 106 products in all, including soybeans, cars and aircraft. Most of the top soybean producing

states went and voted for Mr. Trump in the election, meaning farmers who supported him could end up among those most affected.

Mr. Trump's reaction today, what war on trade? He's trying to calm anxieties with this tweet saying, the U.S. is not in a trade war with

China, because it lost that fight many years ago and is now trying to make up ground.

Let's bring in our senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, in Beijing. We also are joined by Richard Quest, host of "QUEST MEANS

BUSINESS" at the New York Stock Exchange. Great to have you both with us. I want to go first to Ivan. China calls the trade war a lose/lose

situation. It moved very quickly to retaliate against the U.S. and says it's going to fight to the end.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And it's warned ahead of time that this was coming. We sought at the beginning

of this week, China responded to U.S. tariff on steel and aluminum imports with a tariff on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods. And then the Trump

administration stepped up the ante with tariffs announced on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods for allegations of intellectual property theft. And

hours later, China responded in-kind saying that it was slapping 25 percent tariffs on some $50 billion worth of U.S. goods in about 106 different

categories, among them beef, corn products, aircraft, soybeans.

Two of these sectors are very significant, aircraft and soybeans because they are the two largest economic sector exports from the U.S. to China.

Soybeans earned about $14 billion worth of money for the U.S. economy in exports to China, in 2016, and so did aircraft. A 25 percent hike on that

could theoretically do some real damage there. Now, the Chinese have gone one step further, Lynda and they've said, hey, there's room to negotiate

here. We haven't levied the tariffs yet. We are going to wait for the next U.S. move to do that. Now is the time to negotiate, now is the time

to cooperate. But they're also making it clear that they're going to respond in the same way to every move that the U.S. makes in what could be,

could rapidly become an escalating trade war -- Lynda.

KINKADE: It certainly looks that way, doesn't it, in terms of the back- and-forth we are seeing. And it all started it seems when President Trump accused China of intellectual property theft.

WATSON: Yes, I mean, that's been something that he's alleged for some time. It's been a complaint that American corporations have made in the

past as well, about technology transfer in exchange for companies investing here in China. Now the deputy -- the vice minister of commerce was asked

about that at a press conference today, during which these tariff measures were being laid out by the Chinese government. He was asked about these

accusations of intellectual property theft, which President Trump argues costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars. His response to

that was that this is fake news. He denied it, and also, it's worth noting, China saying it will take the U.S. to the World Trade Organization

to try to negotiate this, to arbitrate this trade dispute -- Lynda.

[11:05:02] KINKADE: Thanks, Ivan. I want to go to Richard Quest, CNNMoney editor-at-large, and he is at the New York Stock Exchange there.

Uncertainty, Richard, and a global trade war is never good for the markets.

RICHARD QUEST, CNNMONEY EDITOR AT LARGE: No, and I think that's exactly what you're seeing. The market opened 500 points lower. It's rallied back

up, but I would hesitate to say that's terribly meaningful. We're in that part of the day where 100 points in either direction is pretty meaningless.

The next time that you really want to pay close attention to what the market's doing is in that last hour, before close at 3:00. And the

reality, Lynda, is that all the big stocks that we would expect, Boeing Caterpillar, 3m, even McDonald's, Microsoft, anybody who's got business

with China is being creamed in the market and Boeing certainly 3 to 4 percent. And today caterpillar a similar amount. So, look, serious damage

being done to the value of these companies and frankly speaking at the moment, no end in sight, as long as this battle of sanctions and tariffs


KINKADE: And Richard, President Trump said this is not a trade war, seemingly trying to perhaps calm the markets today in a tweet, saying

because the U.S. has already lost its trade war. What did you make of that point?

QUEST: I don't think that that tweet can be interpreted as calming the markets. Bring it up again, and I'll show you why. Yes, Larry Kudlow, the

new director of National Economic Council, has said that it's not a trade war. It's merely a trade rebalancing. But if you look at the last line,

look at the last line. All right, so we're not in a trade war, and then some sophisticated argument or the sophistry that the war was lost many

years ago. But then to talk about the deficit and the theft of intellectual property. The last sentence "we cannot let this continue."

Well frankly, if he was trying to modify the markets, you don't do that by basically rounding out with a threat at the end.

KINKADE: You certainly don't. Richard Quest always good to have you with us from the New York Stock Exchange. Ivan Watson for us, thank you so much

to you both.

Now to a very real war in Syria and we have breaking news this past hour. President Trump just told his national security team that he is willing to

keep U.S. troop in Syria in the short term, but says he wants them to leave soon. This gives us a clue about which direction the U.S. may move in

after earlier mixed messages about its future in Syria.

Well elsewhere, there is a united front without the United States. The presidents of Russia, Iran, and Turkey have spoken in Ankara, where they

have urged the importance of calm on the ground in Syria. We are covering this story from all sides. We have Nick Paton Walsh in London, and Gul

Tuysuz in Ankara. You have been watching the talks, Gul, and ahead of that meeting we heard from Iran's president Rouhani saying that foreign powers

in Syria without the support of Damascus should leave. He of course is referring to Turkey and the U.S. So, give us a sense of how these

discussions are playing out.

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Lynda, for Iran, the goal in Syria has always been to make sure politically Damascus stays a pliable regime

with which Iran can work with. And that is what they have been pushing. And of course, the U.S. presence, Turkish presence on the ground in Syria

doesn't move that forward for them. But that statement also looks forward to what Iran wants in terms of Syria's future. They're looking at this

economically as well and saying that if there is a solution in Syria, economically, how can Iran benefit? And we've seen very recently that

they're going ahead and getting contracts for infrastructure projects and the like.

But when it comes to what happened here today, we're at the presidential palace in Ankara, these three leaders sat down and talked about the

possibility of a political solution for Syria. They condemned, they emphasized, they highlighted, and they reaffirmed the idea that they want a

political solution. But what is that? Well, we have no idea. This was a lot of symbolism, basically putting these three leaders at the forefront,

cementing their positions as the power brokers in the war in Syria, but with very, very little to show for, for the millions of people who have

been suffering through the brutal war that has been engulfing Syria -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Thanks, Gul. I'll come back to you, but I want to go to Nick Paton Walsh. Who of course, Nick, you've spent much time on the ground in

Syria. Recently on patrol with U.S. troops. Give us a sense of what it will mean for the region, if the U.S., pulls out very soon

NICK PAYTON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting because we've seen basically four or five days of theater from

the White House, since Donald Trump suggested he would freeze the 200 million of assistance aid to reconstruction there. We've had a debate

about him saying he'd like [11:10:00] to leave very soon. That's since just been clarified by director of national intelligence, suggesting the

decision was eminent. And White House officials now hinting to CNN in Washington that actually he's going to tell people to stay there a little

bit longer but would like an exit strategy soon.

So effectively we've had a warning bell sounded on the duration of the U.S. presence there. One that's been coupled with some very I'd say bold

remarks from Donald Trump in which he said that they were thinking about leaving but certainly Saudi Arabia would like them to stay. And he might

like to see Saudi Arabia pay for some of their presence. So, it seems the last few days this has been about emphasizing the need for regional allies

to step up and pay perhaps reconstruction, maybe even a stark suggestion there, assist militarily, financially somehow as well.

But it looks like we're back to pretty much to where we started, which was the U.S. troops trying not to take a peacekeeper role up there while they

hunt down the remnants of ISIS. There are pockets of ISIS on the Iraqi/Syrian border and across the vast expanses of desert. But U.S.

troops too also provide a buffer on the western border, between the Syrian Kurds that they backed to defeat ISIS and some Syrian rebels that are

backed by Turkey. They occasionally come into sort of skirmishes or exchanges of fire. And to the south they're making sure the Syrian Kurds

don't lose territory to the regime and its Russian backers.

I remember an instance recently in which dozens of loyal regimes, loyal militia tried to take the oil field off the Syrian Kurds and were beaten

back with an incredible amount of U.S. fire power causing dozens of deaths. So, they have an extensive role there in terms of supporting Syrian Kurds.

But the broader regional issue, frankly, is to reduce Iran's presence inside of Syria and that comforts Israel on the Mediterranean coast to

perhaps concern that Syria will increasingly become a place where Iran can play its influence hard. And that troubled Saudi Arabia as well. So, they

perform a broad role for a small number, but that's still going to go on for little longer. Just not the longer term.

KINKADE: Nick, I just want to play some sound from the UN Security Council and come back to you, Nick. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., of course,

slammed what she called the frequent use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying action is needed urgently. Take a listen.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UN: Just a few years ago, a single chemical weapons attack would have united us in shock and anger. It would

have been enough for us to take immediate action. Now we have a regime that uses chemical weapons practically every other week. Our lack of

action has consequences. When we let one regime off the hook, others take notice. The use of nerve agents in Salisbury and Kuala Lumpur proves this

point and reveals a dangerous trend. We are rapidly sliding backward, crossing back into a world that we thought we left. No one wants to liven

a world where chemical weapons are used. No one wants to live in fear that a colorless, shapeless gas will suddenly seep into our lungs and leave us

gasping for air.


KINKADE: The U.S. ambassador there to the U.N. there. Taking quite a strong position, but almost at odds with what the U.S. president is saying.

He's sort of saying let the others sort this out now, right, Nick?

WALSH: It's an extraordinary duality to come from one single administration. On the one hand you have Donald Trump trying to voice the

fatigue of many Americans, like how much longer do we have to be in the region. Well to be honest, U.S. strategic goals mean the long-term unless

the U.S. reduces global geopolitical military footprint. And also, Nikki Haley, voicing the other frustration too, which is we can't live in a world

with chemical weapons exist like that. Remember, Donald Trump did order 59 missiles to slam into a Syrian regime airfield for the use of Sarin gases

in Khan Sheikhoun last year. The question is, how do you balance as in administration that's designed to seem like the international disruptor, to

ask the Saudis to pay, to get out of the Middle East, to reduce your footprint, to please your based. But on the other hand, too, taking the

Nikki Haley high ground. We are sounding like the global policeman really, which the U.S. has had the role for the last decades.

KINKADE: Absolutely. All right, Nick Payton Walsh, for us. Always good to have you with us from London, and Gul I think we just lost in Ankara.

But good to have you both with that perspective.

Well, as world leaders do their end debate One group of people continues to suffer on a day by day basis, Syrians themselves. Our Frederik Pleitgen is

on the ground where he has seen firsthand the trauma facing Syrians who are leaving that besieged of Eastern Ghouta.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After escaping violence on the eastern outskirts of Damascus for these kids

getting a haircut is a new and welcomed distraction from the traumatic world they got out of. 10-year-old Mohammed Mezzeh describes the fighting

he endured.

[11:15:00] MOHAMMED MEZZEH, DISPLACED CHILD: When it was calm we go out, he says, but when there were air strikes we had to go into the basements.

PLEITGEN: Rebels held the Eastern Ghouta area just outside Damascus for almost seven years. But a recent government offensive, forced tens of

thousands of civilians to flee. Many of them ending up at this camp run by the government and aid groups. Workers here say there have been around

21,000 new arrivals from the besieged areas in the past weeks, and they're struggling to keep up.

Malnutrition and even starvation were major issues in the encircled areas of Eastern Ghouta and now that thousands of people have fled just to this

one center for displaced people simply keeping them fed is a major logistical challenge. Medical care is another challenge. NGOs have

brought doctors and a mobile clinic to the camp. The camp's director tells me psychological care for the traumatized civilians is an even bigger


ABDUL RAHMAN AL-KHATIB, LOCAL MUNICIPALITY DIRECTOR: We're doing what we can, but it isn't enough, he says. A siege of seven years and planting

thought in the minds of children who were 6 years old when it began, this is the generation we have the biggest problem.

PLEITGEN: Tired, worn down and with an uncertain future, the people who have made it here don't know when or if they'll be able to go back to their

neighborhoods or whether they will still have a home to go back to. But some like this man say they used to fight with the rebels but laid down

their arms and came to this government-controlled area.

MARWAN KHALED, DISPLACED FROM GHOUTA: If you're a fighter with them, they won't let you go, he says. If you think you can escape, this option

doesn't exist.

PLEITGEN: After going through years of violence, losing almost everything they have, many here are happy to have just escaped with their lives.


KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, was a woman so mad at the video sharing site YouTube that she opened fire on its employees. We'll have the

latest on that investigation ahead.

Plus are we closer to answers in the Russia spy poisoning case one month on. We'll tell what you chemical experts have to say.


KINKADE: Welcome back. I want to turn now to two big investigation of very different natures.

On the surface yesterday shooting rampage at YouTube offices sounded like so many others. But there are striking differences. For one it happened

at a Silicon Valley company that's become a house hold name. And the shooter, police say, was a woman, which is very rare. They say she injured

three people which she opened fire before taking her own life. So, what do we know about who carried out the shooting? Kyung Lah, joins us now from

the scene. Kyung, what can you tell us about the shooter, this female attacker, and what do we know about her motive?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know quite everything yet because we are still awaiting to hear the details from the San Bruno police

department. Linda, you can see that there are a number of cameras over my shoulder and what we're waiting for -- within the next hour or so for

police to come out and perhaps fill in some of the details. A lot of questions about why she would have done this. But as we began to comb

through her social media history, began talking to family, people who know her, they began to give us clues as to what may have led her to do this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE DISPATCHER: We have a report of subject with a gun, this will be from the YouTube building.

LAH: New details about the woman police say shot three people at YouTube's headquarters before taking her own life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She shot that person up really bad. No remorse though, I mean, it was death row.

LAH: Authorities identifying the shooter as 39-year-old San Diego resident, Nasim Aghdam. The "L.A. Times" reporting that law enforcement

is looking at this website created by Aghdam, as part of their investigation. On the site Aghdam repeatedly criticizing YouTube, accusing

the website of filtering her channels to keep her videos from getting views, something she blames on, new closed-minded YouTube employees.

NASIM AGHDAN, VIDEO ON YOUTUBE: You see my new videos hardly get views and my old videos that used to get many views stopped getting views.

LAH: Aghdam's brother who did not want to be on camera, telling CNN affiliate, KG TV that his sister used YouTube to advocate against animal

cruelty, one of her passions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was a nice person, innocent person. She never hurt any creature.

LAH: "The San Diego Union Tribune" posting this picture from 2009 of Aghdam protesting with PETA. Aghdam's brother tells KG TV that his family

reported her missing this weekend after she stopped answering her phone. They then located her car in a city near YouTube's headquarters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had a problem, with YouTube. So, we called the cop again and told him that she might -- there's a reason she went all the way

from, San Diego to there.

LAH: local police did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. Authorities say Aghdam opened fire on group of YouTube employees

that she did not know, shortly before 1:00 p.m. Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, we heard two sirens and then we saw some people quickly running out of the building.

LAH: Two minutes after the first call, police arrived as employees fled the scene, before locating Aghdam body, and ushering the injured to safety.


LAH: The YouTube accounts, the Instagram accounts that you saw within that story they have now since been taken down. Now one of the things that we

are hoping that law enforcement will be able to clear up, are some conflicting reports. Two law enforcement agencies have confirmed to CNN

that there was some knowledge, some relationship between the shooter and someone at this particular headquarters, at YouTube headquarters. But what

police have told us as you heard within that story, Lynda, is that she didn't know anyone. So, there is conflicting information from law

enforcement. We're hoping to pin that down as that news conference behind me is gathering. And we hope to know something at the top of the hour --


KINKADE: Yes, certainly a lot of questions there. I understand four people injured, three with gunshot wounds. How are they doing?

LAH: From the latest that we've heard from the hospital, they were all taken there in varying conditions, from fair to critical condition, all

three of them. There was a fourth person injured, but that was just an ankle injury. As far as the gunshot wounds, the hospital does tell us

there is some good news, none of them had to go through surgery so that gives you an indication of their prognosis -- Lynda.

KINKADE: That is some good news. Kyung Lah, good to have you with us. We will come back to you I'm sure, when the press conference gets underway,

thank you.

To a major investigation where following in the U.K., exactly one month after former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned,

international chemical experts held an emergency meeting today.

[11:25:03] They say they're analyzing samples of the nerve agent that was used and should have answers next week. Britain of course blames Russia

for the poisoning. The Kremlin denies any involvement. CNN's Phil Black is in town of Salisbury where the poisoning took place. Phil, Britain of

course and many of its allies around the world were very quick to point the of blame at Russia. To say that Russia was highly likely responsible for

this nerve agent attack. But now it seems that it's harder to prove. And it's interesting to note the U.K.'s foreign minister deleted a tweet about


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Lynda, so, it appears there are recent small inconsistencies in the British case. The facility, the secured

Defense Science and Technology lab at Porton Down -- not far from Salisbury. That's where British experts have been analyzing the nerve

agent that was used here, as you say, one month ago today. In an interview with the chief executive who said, we know that this was from the Novichok

group of nerve agents developed from the Soviet Union. What we haven't been able to worked out yet is precisely whether the samples taken of here,

the specific nerve agent used here, will wear that particular nerve agent was made.

That is broadly consistent with what the British government has said over the last four weeks. But it does appear that on at least a couple of

occasions British officials have gone further than that to say these British experts have determined the nerve agent used here was, in fact,

made in Russia as well. We've heard a common from the British foreign minister -- foreign secretary I should say -- Boris Johnson, in an

interview with a German broadcaster where he seemed to suggest that a tweet from the British foreign office again seemed to say that those experts have

established that the nerve agent used here was made in Russia, not just developed in Russia, but made I Russia.

So, a couple of inconsistencies. That tweet I mentioned has since been taken down. The British government says despite these inconsistencies, its

assessment doesn't change. It believes that Russia was likely responsible, based upon the original development of the nerve agent, based upon

capability, intent and other intelligence, which it hasn't made public yet. It believes that its allies are also still of the same view -- Lynda.

KINKADE: So, Phil, at this point in time, Russia is demanding an apology from the British Prime Minister and wants intervention by the world

chemical watchdog.

BLACK: Yes, the apology won't be coming any time soon. I suspect Russia is also suggested a joint investigation with Britain that's been described

by British officials as a perverse idea. As you touched on, there is a meeting today of the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons.

Its executive committee was called together today at the behest of Russia. It is unclear precisely why Russia has called this meeting at this point,

what it hopes to achieve. But independent experts from that chemical weapons watchdog have already been on the ground here in Salisbury,

collecting samples from the environment, and from the victims.

Those samples are now being analyzed at different at laboratories undisclosed laboratories, and we are told that its report will be made

public probably early next week. And obviously, the British government will be hoping that its independence report will concur with what the

experts in Britain have determined, and that is that this was a nerve agent developed in Russia and very likely in this case made in Russia as well --


KINKADE: All right, Phil Black, good to have you staying across this story for us from Salisbury, England, thank you.

KINKADE: Still ahead, China strikes back at the U.S. with billions of dollars' worth of tariffs. Now markets around the world are unsteady amid

fears the two countries are headed for a trade war. That story and much more next.


KINKADE: Global markets are down as concerns of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies intensifies. You can see right now the Dow

down over 100 points. It has regained some, after dropping more than 500 points earlier today. That coming after China announced brand new tariffs

on more than 100 U.S. products. That move is in response to U.S. tariffs affecting more than 1,000 Chinese exports.

The U.S. president insists that there is no trade war between the two countries, because that war was lost many years ago. In an early morning

tweet, Mr. Trump slammed previous leaders who allowed China's theft of U.S. intellectual property. Beijing responded to those claims with the phrase

well-known to Mr. Trump.


WANG SHOUWEN, CHINESE VICE MINISTER OF COMMERCE (through translator): As for the media reports you cited, I think I'd like to use the term President

Trump often loves to say and call them fake news.


KINKADE: Let's bring in White House reporter, Jeremy Diamond, in Washington and CNNMoney's Clare Sebastian at the New York Stock Exchange.

Jeremy, first to you. China issued a statement saying we will fight to defend our legitimate interests with all necessary measures. President

Trump started this. Will he end it?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, he certainly seems poised not to back down in any way. The president's tweets this morning suggested

that he is continuing to be defiant. He pointed in particular to a $500 billion deficit, which even his chief economic council adviser, Larry

Kudlow, wasn't quite sure what he was referring to. But said when your down, you know, billions of dollars essentially in the trade deficit

there's no way the U.S. can lose. That is a contention that I think a lot of economists would probably debate, given the potential downsides of a

trade war between the United States and China.

We're seeing the beginnings of it already and this is not a president who typically backs down in the face of retaliation. Instead he typically

ramps things up. So, the question is, where does the U.S. go from here? And there say lot of uncertainty. You know the Republicans in Congress had

until now backed the President's moves to counter Chinese intellectual property theft and coercion. But with the Chinese retaliation now we are

seeing a lot of Republican members of Congress.

[11:35:00] Including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, pushing back and saying listen, this is a slippery slope, this administration seems

to be going down. But again, a lot of uncertainty about whether this is just the beginning of these kinds of protectionist trade measures or if

we're going to continue to see more of this from this White House.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly sounds like we're going to hear more of it. China, Jeremy, not exactly shy about getting its point across. Just take a

listen to this.


LU KANG, SPOKESMAN, CHINESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (through translator): What the United States has done is in total ignorance of the

essence of the mutually beneficial and win/win cooperation in trade between China and the United States over the past four decades. Total defiance of

the voices of the industries of the two countries, and in total disregard of the interests of consumers.


KINKADE: "Total ignorance" is what we just heard. This isn't just a trade war, but a war of words. Has the White House responded to that kind of


DIAMOND: Well, there is this question of, is this action that's going to take place or is this a negotiating tactic from the White House? We have

clearly seen the president impose some steel and aluminum tariffs that are going into effect. But the president's chief economic adviser, Larry

Kudlow, who just came in to office, suggesting this morning to reporters that these tariffs could also be a negotiating tactic, and he urged the

markets and other people not to overreact to the situation. You know, there is another month and a half at least until these tariffs actually go

into effect.

And so, Larry Kudlow, the president's economic adviser, suggesting that these tariffs could be used as leverage to try and negotiate with China to

ease some of those market restrictions that U.S. companies do face in China. But despite that talk from Larry Kudlow, the president seems intent

on slapping these tariffs on China. There is, of course, this question of will this incentivize further discussions.

Both countries tried to have discussions on the trade front before the president slapped the tariffs. And the White House had suggested that

because those discussions were not productive, that is why we are finding ourselves where we are now with these tariffs coming in. So, negotiating

tactic, real action, we'll have to wait for the next couple of months to find out which way it goes -- Lynda.

KINKADE: We'll have to see if this works as a negotiating tactic. Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thank you.

Of course, to Clare. This war of words, this trade war, certainly causing a lot of uncertainty on the markets.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Linda. Not quite as much uncertainty as we saw at the beginning of trading today when

the Dow opened -- it was down more than 500 points. It's come back a lot now. There some suggestion that might be because the administration has

deployed some of its top lieutenants to going television and try and reassured people. We've seen Wilbur Ross out this morning saying things

like, even shooting wars end in negotiations. Larry Kudlow, the new chief economic adviser, saying this a growth play. Saying there's a pot of gold

at the end of the rainbow. This might end up ending in better deal for the U.S.

So, I think the markets are definitely still nervous out there. We've seen quite a reaction from the business community this morning, including

General Motors. It's unusual for an individual company to come out and react to things like this.

But General Motors released a statement saying, we support a positive trade relationship between the U.S. and China and urge both countries to continue

to engage in constructive dialogue and pursue sustainable trade policies. We continue to believe both countries value a vibrant auto industry and

understand the interdependence between the world's two largest automotive markets.

General Motors relies on China for a lot of its car sales. It's just one of many companies in the markets that are heavily exposed to China and are

worried about what this could lead to. I think the uncertainty is whether or not this is a negotiating tactic. It's still unclear where this ends.

How it plays out and this is a very volatile market, not just because of trade.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. We have to see how it ends at the day's end of trading today. Clare Sebastian, good to have you with us, thank so much.

We are live from the CNN center this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

Coming up just how long will U.S. troops remain in Syria? Mr. Trump wants them out soon. But is the fight against ISIS completely over? We're get

on the ground with that, when we come back.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. Will be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people

take care of it now.


KINKADE: Returning to our top story in Syria. U.S. President Trump there. Last week saying his country will quote, be out of Syria very soon. But

just in the last hour CNN has learned that Mr. Trump told his national security team that he is willing to keep U.S. troops in Syria for the short

term but made known to them he wants them to exit soon.

The American commander and chief wants to fully defeat ISIS but then says the cost of stabilizing Syria must be borne by regional players. CNN's

senior international correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen, is reporting from Syria. He joins us from Damascus and over in Washington, CNN's military

and diplomatic analyst, John Kirby, is the former press secretary at the Pentagon and retired Navy rear admiral. Great to have you bot with us.

I want to go first to Fred. You're on the ground in Syria, while over in Turkey you've got three world powers discussing the fate of Syria. And

here in the U.S. a decision being made on whether when is the best time to pull out troops. Give us a sense of what the feeling is on the ground, as

you've got all these other countries talking about Syria, and Syria not at the table of those discussions.

PLEITGEN: I think it's crystallizing to a lot of people here on the ground on the ground, certainly on the government side and I believe on the rebel

side. As well as the little territory that the opposition actually still holds. The three key players that are going to determine at least a lot of

the fate and the future of this country certainly seem to be the ones sitting in Ankara. There is a sense that especially the Russians are

extremely important to that process, also that the Turks have their interests and that they are going to protect those interest or forward

those interests at almost any cost.

But I think one thing that we always have to keep in mind, Lynda, that while these negotiations are going on, you already said the Syrians at the

table at those negotiations, there are new realities that are being created on the ground here. And those realities quite frankly are that the Syrian

government backed by the Russians and the Iranians, more so by the Russians than the Iranians, certainly are making widespread territorial gains here

in wide parts of the country. You look at here, the Damascus area, and we've been reporting about the places in Eastern Ghouta, the Eastern

outskirts of Damascus, where the government forces are making huge gains there.

A lot of rebel fighters have had to leave those areas and go to the north of Syria, which is essentially held by the Turks. And then a lot of the

civilians have been displaced. And now we'll see whether or not or when they'll be able to go back to their neighborhoods. So certainly, it seems

to us here on the ground that while the Syrian government is not at the table there in Ankara you have other countries deciding essentially the

fate and the future of the country. It does appear to us that the Syrian government and the Russians do see eye to eye on what they want as future

moving forward. They certainly are seemingly feeling lockstep as far as those next steps are concerned, as far as winning that territory is

concerned. And if you look at the Damascus area where I am right now, Lynda, those negotiations that are going on in Eastern Ghouta to try and

get the last of the rebels to leave those areas, those negotiations are being led by the Russians. They're not being led by the Syrian government.

It's the Russians that clearly on the ground have a large say as to how things are going to be moving forward -- Lynda.

KINKADE: And Fred, as we have Russia and Iran and Turkey and the U.S. all weighing in here, you've been speaking to people to people in these

internal displacement camps. 11 million people, half the population of Syria has been displaced during this civil war.

[11:45:02] What are they telling you about how they're coping?

PLEITGEN: Well, I mean, it's obviously very difficult for a lot of these people. And you know, if you look at the people that we've been speaking

to over the past couple of days in those displacement shelter, you know, a lot of they left their areas under fire. There was fighting going on as

they were fleeing. That's something that we've been seeing not just in Eastern Ghouta, but for instance that we saw in Aleppo in 2016 as well.

So, you have a population large parts of which are either internally displaced or have left the country. You obviously have a lot of people who

have lost everything. And you know, if we speak to folks on the ground in these displacement camps, first of all they have no idea when they'll able

to go back to their neighborhoods. And second of all, they really don't know whether or not they're going to have a home to return to.

And one of the other things that's going to be a huge issue for this country moving forward, is the psychological trauma that especially the

younger generation have faced. The kids we spoke to in the displacement shelters the younger ones have known nothing but war their entire life.

You look like Eastern Ghouta its been under rebel control for about six to seven years, a little under seven years. The younger kids just simply have

not known anything except war in their lives. That's going to be a huge psychological scar for this country. Of course, you'll have similar

traumas from people from northern Syria and also who have had to flee the country as a whole as well -- Lynda.

KINKADE: It incredible is -- when you see the faces of those kids, people that are dealing with the political -- the real ramifications of these

political decisions. Fred thank you very much.

I want to go to John Kirby on this. Because I want to get your take on President Trump and what we're seeing play out here in the U.S. Where

you've got a president saying one thing, we want to pull our troops out very soon, and then you seemingly push back from the Pentagon saying hang

on a sec. There's a lot at stake here. Your take on this?

REAR ADMIRAL, JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, the statement today from the White House was very much threading the

kneeled needle. I think they'll be able to tell themselves that they are meeting the president's intent, which is to pull out troops from Syria but

to do so in a slower time frame to make sure it's done responsibly and not until the believe ISIS has been eradicated. But you definitely have a

division here of thought about the way forward. At least in the counter ISIS campaign.

The President is basically isolationist in his tendencies when it comes to foreign intervention. He doesn't like having troops engaged in foreign

conflicts like this. I think he generally feels like we are propping other people up. If you look at the last statement in that White House

statement, he talks about other countries need to do more to keep ISIS from reemerging. And you have the State Department and the Pentagon who very

much after 17 years of war in Afghanistan, and Iraq, understand that defeating the enemy militarily is not enough, not when you're talking about

radical extremist groups like ISIS. You have to stabilize the situation. You have to have some sort of a long-term presence to ensure that this

group can't reconstitute and reemerge, in fact, even stronger.

That's why the stabilization money that the State Department wants to continue to spend to sort of restore services and basic security to areas

that ISIS has departed or has been kicked out of, is so vital. You definitely have a split here amongst the cabinet about what the future of

the counter ISIS fight is in Syria.

KINKADE: So, John, talk to us a little bit more about those risk if the U.S. were to pull out. Given that right now in Ankara, we've got talks

going on about the fate of Syrians and this seven-year civil war we're seeing, and the U.S. even isn't even at the table of those discussions.

What would it mean for Russia, for Iran, for Turkey if the U.S. were to pull out very soon?

KIRBY: You have to keep in mind, again, that the U.S. military presence on the ground is really all about fighting ISIS, even under President Obama.

It was never about getting involved in the civil war. It was never about trying to find a military solution to the conflict and to the end of the

regime there. It was always about ISIS. That said, it does give us some influence in the outcomes in Syria. It does provide a foothold for us to

at least continue to work with Syrian democratic forces who are engaged in two fights, against the regime, of course, but also against ISIS. So,

leaving Syria gives Russia a huge gift, a for a president that yesterday said he's been tougher on Russia than anybody before, this is a huge gift

to Moscow.

[11:50:00] So, they'd love nothing better than the U.S. military to leave Syria. It's also a gift to Iran. And as Fred alluded to, it's a gift to

Turkey, which also has come wary of U.S. military presence in Syria, because they want to be more aggressive against the Kurds. And it is with

the Kurds that we're fighting alongside and we' been training.

The other thing I want to say, Lynda, is when Fred talked about, you know, the voices around the table in Turkey and you rightly just pointed out, the

U.S. isn't there. We have completely abrogated any leadership responsibilities that we used to have in trying to find a diplomatic

solution to the problem in Syria. We used to lead those UN discussions. I was on countless trips with Secretary Kerry as went all overseas to many,

many locations to try to bring an end to this conflict and now are not even there.

KINKADE: Yes, not even there. Just good to have your perspective, John Kirby, as always. And thank you so much Fred Pleitgen for us in the Syrian

capital of Damascus.

We're going to take a quick break. There are still plenty of stories ahead. There are of course good footballers and there are great

footballers. And then there is Cristiano Ronaldo. We're going to have a look at jaw-dropping goal in the Champions League quarterfinals that

brought an entire stadium to its feet in ah.


KINKADE: Well. It was such a stunning acrobatic strike that the goal keeper never even had a chance. In our parting shots tonight, a jaw-

dropping kick that came in Tuesday night's Champions League quarterfinals.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taken away by Buffon and then Ronaldo. What a goal by Ronaldo, Cristiano Renaldo.


KINKADE: That remarkable bicycle kick by Real Madrid's superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, brought the entire stadium to its feet. Even the

opposing fans. Joining me right now to discuss it is CNN's "WORLD SPORT," Patrick Snell. Now what an incredible goal. You know it's good when even

the goalie just said, all I could do is watch and admire it.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: "Gigi" Buffon, yes, so experienced. But he couldn't keep that one out. A really nice moment from the crowd there

in Turin. And that resonates with Ronaldo who said, he was touched by the fact that almost to a man and woman in the state, they were up on their

feet applauding the goal. It was sensational. Was it the best goal in Champions League history? More on that in just a moment. But I tell you

what, this goal -- that was his first goal of the night. But that goal that he scored just has the world of sports at-large resonating, talking

about it, even NBA legend -- were going to put up an Instagram posting from NBA legend, LeBron James, who said, are you not entertained, Cristiano,

that's just not even fair. That's King James speaking out.

[11:55:00] But was it as good as, Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid's head coach's goal that won the Champions League for Real Madrid when he was a

player at Hampden Park in Scotland against Bayer Leverkusenwhen. This is what Zidane himself had to say about that afterwards. Take a listen.


ZINEDINE ZIDANE, REAL MADRID COACH (through translator): It's something that only Cristiano has.

[11:55:00] He does things that belong to him. His own stuff. Which just say that this is one of the most beautiful goals in the history of

football. But maybe it's not more beautiful than the one I scored in the 2002 Champions League final.

Maybe because it's the most recent, people consider it the best.


SNELL: And that's a fair point. You have a new generation of Champions League fans who will be hailing that as the best. But I tell you what,

it's not a bad alternative to that goal from Zizou.

KINKADE: And just quickly, who is up with him? Who is the best in the sport?

SNELL: Now, how long do we have? Not long.

KINKADE: No long.

SNELL: Look, I think I mentioned Gigi earlier, the veteran keeper, he kind of put it best when he said, because of what we saw last night that now

Rinaldo is worth of being compared in the same breath as the legendary Pele, the legendary Diego Maradona, and of course his peer, and rival at

Barcelona, certainly Messi. By the way Messi played today in the Champions League for Barcelona against Roma. You kind of feel these two are

permanently bringing out the best in each other. Will it inspire Messi to new heights?

KINKADE: OK. Patrick Snell, good to have with us.

That was connect the world. What a great way to end. I'm Linda Kinkade. Thanks so much for watching.