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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Trump To Announce Decision On Iran Deal Tuesday; Melania Trump Unveils "Be Best" Campaign To Help Children; Nigerian Army: 1,000 Boko Haram Captives Rescued. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 7, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the program live from CNN London. I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, Donald Trump says he is going to announce his decision on the Iran deal tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. Washington time. We'll get the latest on what
the president is planning.
Also, ahead, Melania Trump is stepping into the spotlight to unveil her formal platform. We'll hear from the first lady shortly.
And Hawaiians are fleeing this lava, it is destroying everything in its path including many homes. We will be live from the big island this hour.
We begin with some breaking news on the Iran nuclear deal. Donald Trump just tweeted that he will announce his decision tomorrow on whether to
stick with the deal or walk away from it.
hat unexpected news comes as Britain's foreign secretary is in Washington, Boris Johnson, to make a last-ditch attempt to save the agreement. He met
with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today and will also hold talks with Vice-President Mike Pence.
He is not meeting with the president unlike Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Both met with the U.S
president pleading for him to remain in the deal.
Now earlier, Johnson appeared on Mr. Trump's favorite morning show, on his favorite channel, to send the president a message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The president has a legitimate point. He's set a challenge for the world. We think that what you can do
is be tougher on Iran, address the concerns of the president and not throw the baby out with the bath water, not junk a deal. Because as I say, plan
"b" does not seem to me to be particularly well developed at this stage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, France and Germany have also been urging Mr. Trump to stick with the deal as we've been reporting, Emmanuel Macron among those who
really, really did -- certainly, went all the way to Washington and tried to lobby with the president to stay in. But will those lobbying efforts by
some of America's closest allies be enough?
We're joined by CNN military and diplomatic analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby. So, was a surprised the president's tweet that he will
announce his decision on the Iran deal 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. What should we read into the fact that this is earlier than expected, the announcement?
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think clearly it signals he has made up his mind, that whatever Boris
Johnson came to say probably had no effect on this decision since he announced it literally on the same afternoon that Johnson is meeting with
Mike Pompeo, the new secretary of state.
What I hope it means, Hala, is that he'll stay in. That he'll once again waive sanctions. But what I probably I think it either is that he is not
going to and he is going to exit the deal or perhaps just maybe the Europeans have convinced him that go ahead and waive sanctions one more
And let us continue to work on this plan "b" that Boris Johnson was referring to that obviously isn't fully cooked yet, which is a sort of a
side agreement to try to get the Iran deal amended to deal with some of the other problems with Iran's behavior.
GORANI: Why would Donald Trump and this administration believe it's in America's best interest to walk away from this deal now? Because like it
or not, it has managed and according to IAEA, the inspectors and everyone who has really looked at Iran's nuclear program, managed to suspend that
country's nuclear activities.
KIRBY: That's really the question of the hour, isn't, Hala? I mean, I think -- obviously, I'm a believer in the Iran deal. I think it did what
it was intended to do. It made every other problem in the Middle East easier to solve without an Iran nuclear weapon.
Mr. Trump is fixated on three things. One that Iran still is a state- sponsor of terror. Two, that it's still has ballistic missile and advance program there, and three, that he doesn't believe the inspections are
serious and stringent enough.
None of those issues are going to be fixed any easier by ripping up the Iran deal and by slapping sanctions back on. What's going to happen is --
by the way, Hala, and we've heard Iran say this very clearly, there is no renegotiation. There's not going to a side agreement. It's either the
Iran deal or nothing.
GORANI: It's the key thing because even though Emmanuel Macron is talking about supplements and additional clauses to the deal -- by the way, I just
want to let our viewers know what they are seeing there on the right-hand side of the screen.
John, this is live at the White House, the president, Donald Trump, just sat down in the front row and I can see the back of his head. I believe
that's Mike Pence, the vice president. I'm just seeing the back -- it is, I'm being told.
[15:05:01] The first lady will be announcing her formal platform for the first time as first lady. This is coming a year and a half into the
administration. We will see what she presents to the American people. We will be talking about that.
But while I have you still, John, if the U.S. walks away, could there be a scenario under which Iran and European allies somehow remain in some Iran
deal light? Do you think that's a possibility?
KIRBY: I think -- yes, but not much of a possibility, Hala. The Iranians have already said that if the United States walks away, they walk away. I
think we have to take them at their word. Now, is it possible that the other partners could work with Iran to try to get them to stay in the deal?
But I just don't think the odds are very high for that and so then what happens? We go right back to a situation where the (inaudible) win, the
hardliners win. Iran starts chasing for the bomb again and we are down to, you know, months away from breakout capability. It makes absolutely no
For an administration that says it wants to be tough on Iran -- I get that, completely get that having been a sailor in the Persian Gulf myself. This
is an odd way do it, handing the (inaudible) and the hardliners exactly what they want, which is they want the deal ripped up too.
They're just like Donald Trump. They think the deal is an impingement on Iranian sovereignty.
GORANI: John Kirby, thanks very much.
OK, those in attendance are standing. It tells me the first lady is probably on her way in. Melania Trump, as I mentioned, announcing her
formal platform. We see her walking toward the podium. Her husband, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is in attendance alongside
his vice-president. We believe she might focus on themes like cyber bullying in this announcement. Let's go live to the White House.
MELANIA TRUMP, U.S. FIRST LADY: Thank you. Good afternoon. Welcome to the White House. As a mother and a first lady, it concerns me that in
today's fast paced and ever connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of
destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide.
I feel strongly that as adults we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life. So today I'm
very excited to announce "Be Best," an awareness campaign dedicated to the most valuable and fragile among us, our children.
There is one goal to be best and that is to educate children about the many issues they are facing today. If we truly listen to what our kids have to
say, whether it be their concerns or ideas, adults can provide them the support and tools they need to grow up to be happy and productive adults,
who contribute positively to society and their global communities.
At the same time, children deserve every opportunity to enjoy their innocence. Every child should know it is safe to make mistakes and that
there are supportive adults and friends nearby to catch them if they fell. We also need to be mindful that they should learn to trust in themselves
and their own emotions.
I believe our responsibility lies in the critical time before a child reaches adulthood. Let us teach children the importance of all aspects of
their well-being, which includes social, emotional and physical health.
There are too many critical issues facing children today so the three main pillars of "Be Best" will include well-being, social media use, and opioid
abuse. Together I believe we should strive to provide kids with the tools they need to cultivate their social and emotional health.
We can and should teach children the importance of social and self- awareness, positive relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
[15:10:02] Once a child understands these vital skills, they will be able to communicate openly with one another and instill positive feelings of
mutual respect, compassion and self-esteem.
Let us teach our children the difference between right and wrong and encourage them to be best in their individual paths in life. Take for
example, Christian Bucks (ph), a young man from York, Pennsylvania who is here with us today.
When he was in second grade, Christian introduced the buddy bench at his elementary school to address loneliness and help other kids build new
friendships. The buddy bench allows classmates to connect during recess and helps ensure that no student feels lonely.
If a child sits on the bench, it seeks out other students to come over and ask them to play. Christian's school and community embrace the buddy bench
and today at least one can be found in all 50 states.
Thank you, Christian, for your commitment to kindness. You should be very proud of your work which is I know hoping countless children. Please stand
I'd also like to talk about Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomingfield, Township, Michigan. I visited a school in October as part
of National Bullying Prevention month to speak to the students about the importance of being kind.
While I was there, I visited their Viking cuddle class which focuses on social emotional learning and teaches lessons about respecting others,
inclusion and being kind. As part of "Be Best," I plan to highlight programs such as buddy bench and Viking huddle class.
With the hope that other schools or community groups will be inspired to replace their efforts and take steps to improve the well being of our
children. We have invited some of the Viking huddle class here today. Thank you for taking time here with us in the White House.
As we all know, social media can be both positively and negatively effect on our children, but too often it is used in negative ways. When children
learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can effect positive change. I do believe the children
should be both seen and heard.
And it is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that when they are using their voices, whether verbally or online, they must choose
their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.
As an example, Kalani Goldberg, an eighth-grade student in Arizona posted a video on her social media account to share the challenges she faced from
bullies. In the video, she said every day you are hurting me. Every day you are hurting each other. So please stop. Stop hurting me.
Kalani and her family have joined us here today and I'm happy to report that since posting her video, many have watched it and most importantly
people have reached out to offer support and kindness. Thank you, Kalani, for being brave in your enough to share your story and also for using your
experience to bring positive change. Please stand up, Kalani.
I first learned about the real consequences of our nation's opioid on epidemic during my husband's campaign. Since then, I have met with and
learned from many people who have been affected by this true crisis.
In October, I traveled to West Virginia to tour Lilly's Place, the nation's first nonprofit infant recovery center. Lilly's Place puts a priority on
the whole family so that infants born dependent on drugs are given the best opportunity to thrive.
They have been successful in this endeavor because parents are also given the support and tools needed to recover and succeed. Lilly's Place is a
testament to the extraordinary work that everyday people can do when they put their mind to it.
[05:15:05] I will use "Be Best" to bring attention to programs such as this in order to encourage conversation and duplication. In February, I went to
Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Ohio and the panel of doctors briefed me on the devastating effects that opioids are having but also the important
research on neonatal abstinence syndrome.
I'm pleased to say that representatives from both Lilly's Place and Cincinnati Children's Hospital are here today. Thank you. Thank you for
being here and thank you for your heroic work on behalf of children.
I want to thank the many people I have met with and learned from over the past year while researching these vital topics on behalf of children. This
includes the cabinet secretaries who have joined us here today as well as representative from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Amazon,
National Safety Council and so many more.
I would like to thank the president, the vice president, Karen Pence, and other members of the administration as well as the members of Congress who
are here today. I'm honored to have you all with me and I look forward to working together on the behalf of children in the coming years.
In my time as first lady of the United States, I will make every effort to be best by championing the many successful well-being programs in existence
today and teach the tools and skills for emotional, social and physical well-being.
I will also work to shine a spotlight on the people, organizations and programs across the country that are helping children overcome the many
issues they are facing as they grow up. I will continue speaking with leaders in the technology industry about children's online habits and
raising awareness around the importance of positive behaviors.
I will continue to work with those who are fighting drug addiction and most importantly, I will continue to travel and speak to children directly about
both their victories and difficulty realities that they face. My hope is that together we can be best at helping children and families find
effective ways to educate themselves and support each other.
I'm asking you all to join me in providing support and guidance to our children so that we can make a real difference. How we raise and educate
our children will provide the blueprint for the next generation.
Together let's encourage children to dream big, think big, and do all they can to be best in everything that they do. Thank you all for being here
today. God bless you, your families, our children, and God bless the United States of America.
And now it is my pleasure to call my husband to the stage to sign a proclamation calling today, May 7, Be Best Day -- Mr. President.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Melania, thank you very much. That was truly a beautiful and heartfelt speech. It is the
way she feels, very strongly. America is truly blessed to have a first lady who is so devoted to our country and to our children.
Over the past 15 months, Melania has visited hospitals, schools, families who have suffered from the opioid crisis and suffered very deeply.
Everywhere she has gone, Americans have been touched by her sincerity, moved by her grace and lifted by her love.
Melania, your care and compassion for our nation's children, and I have to say this, and I say to all the time, inspires us all. Today, we pledge to
be best, best for our families, best for our communities, and best for our nation.
[15:20:06] And now I am proud to sign the "Be Best" proclamation. And I think you all know who will get the pen. Thank you. Thank you very much
very much. Thank you.
GORANI: There you have it, Melania Trump, the first lady of the United States and the president of the United States, both at the White House on
this occasion, the announcement by Melania Trump of her "Be Best Initiative" to help children with three pillars, she said, well-being
social media use and opioid use.
We don't hear from her often. This is, of course, coming against the backdrop of the scandal surrounding the payment and hush money made to
Stormy Daniels and some reports that perhaps there are some tension in that marriage.
We saw both of them there acting very affectionately toward each other with the president kissing the first lady twice, once before signing the
proclamation creating the "Be Best Initiative" and once after.
And another also interesting point here is that the popularity numbers of the first lady are higher than those of the president. She's at 57 percent
favorable according to the latest CNN poll, 27 percent unfavorable.
She talked a lot about social media use and respect online, and she even herself has said that perhaps some people are skeptical about this as her
president continues to use social media to hurl insults on his rivals. Used words like fat, liar, crooked, slime ball, nut job, total loser and
dumb among other adjectives he's used online.
And the first lady is saying that among -- social media use among young people that respect needs to be sort of the main guiding value there.
Let's go to Sarah Westwood. She's live in Washington as well. Sarah, this is more of a traditional first lady appearance by Melania Trump. We're not
always used to -- we haven't been used to hearing from her that much over the last year and a half, but that's bound to change now, right?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Hala. This is by far the most significant and high-profile moment from Melania Trump since her husband
took office. Before now, we only have the most general sense of what her role would be.
Now we have many more details about what she'll be focusing on for the next three to seven years, like you mentioned, the social and emotional well-
being of children fighting opioid abuse among youth and combating cyber bullying.
Now Melania Trump has raised her public profile increasingly in recent weeks. For example, she attended the funeral of the former first lady,
Barbara Bush, last month solo representing the administration.
And she's become more visible, she's also become more popular. Like you mentioned she's at 57 percent favorability right now in a new CNN poll.
That's a surge in favorability since January. Even among Democrats who don't support her husband.
Now this was obviously the longest and most substantive remarks that we've heard from Melania Trump perhaps ever -- Hala.
GORANI: Yes, and how do we explain this increase in popularity?
WESTWOOD: Well, it's typical, actually, that first ladies are sometimes more popular than their husbands. They are not partisan. They don't get
dragged down in the same politics often they pick a non-controversial issue to focus on.
For example, Michelle Obama focused on increasing fitness and nutrition among young children. No one can argue (inaudible) fighting opioid abuse
and bullying in youth like Melania Trump's platform is. Typically, they're able to stay above partisan politics in a way that a president just can't
GORANI: All right. Sarah Westwood, thanks very much. We are going to take a quick break. We'll be right back with a lot more. Stay with CNN.
GORANI: Welcome back. The Nigerian Army says it has rescued more than a thousand captives from Boko Haram. We are finding this out from the Army's
official Twitter account. The operation was carried out in Borno (ph) State, in the northeastern part of the country. The rescued captives are
described as mainly women and children.
Let's get to Lagos. Stephanie Busari is live for us from there. Do we know who these women and girls are, any of Chibok girls? Do we know? Do
we have more information on them?
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN AFRICA DIGITAL BUREAU: Hi, Hala. The details are still emerging on this story. What we do know is that some of these people
include men who say they were forced to fight in the insurgency by Boko Haram.
And you know, the army says it is focused really on getting them urgent medical attention. You could only imagine the state (inaudible)
malnourished, injuries, et cetera. So, the army is saying that these details about their identity will emerge in coming -- in the coming hours
They are really focused on that. it's a big win for them and so they are in celebratory mood. They really want to emphasize that it was a joint
task force operation with neighboring countries such Cameron and Chad and Niger, who (inaudible) Forest where Boko Haram has its enclave.
So, it's a big win, but details about who were released will emerge in the next coming hours -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Thanks for that update, Stephanie Busari.
Still to come tonight, the more interviews he gives, the more problems he appears to create for his client, Donald Trump, yet, he just keeps talking.
We'll look at the rather bizarre media blitz by Rudy Giuliani.
And we'll take you live to Hawaii where lava keeps spewing and flowing prompting communities to flee. We'll be right back.
15:30:23] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, he's supposed to be doing damage control for Donald Trump. But at times it seems he could be
doing just more damage. Attorney Rudy Giuliani has been on the media blitz trying to help the U.S. president navigate some very tough legal battles
including a lawsuit by porn star, Stormy Daniels.
But among other things, Giuliani is admitting he doesn't have a good grasp of the facts. Even as he declares Mr. Trump's innocent of wrongdoing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you misspeak or did people not interpret what you were saying? Were you talking about the facts or were you talking about
the law of this --
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I'm talking about the law and the conclusion. The facts -- that facts, I'm still learning. I'm not an
expert on the facts yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said he -- this is a regular arrangement he had with Michael Cohen. So, did Michael Cohen make payments to other women for
GIULIANI: I'd have no knowledge of that. But I would think if it was necessary, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you confident the president will not take the fifth in this case?
GIULIANI: Oh, how can I ever be confident of that? When I'm facing with a situation with the president, and how the other lawyers are, and which
every lawyer in America thinks he'd be a fool to testify. I've got a client who wants to testify. Please don't --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, we may be left with even more questions now than before Giuliani started hitting the airwaves. Let's bring in CNN senior media
correspondent, Brian Stelter for that media angle, because he's everywhere, Rudy Giuliani, and he is essentially contradicting himself sometimes from
one interview to the next. Is there a strategy here?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think it's generous to suggest there's a strategy here. If there is one, it could be that he's is
on the air saying what the president wants to say but can't. You know, we've been hearing reports for some time that President Trump has been told
by his aides and lawyers not to be giving some TV interviews and other interviews. He's pretty much has stopped doing them altogether, except for
a random phone call to Fox. Maybe Rudy is filling in. He's the next best thing saying what the president wants to say. That's a generous
explanation of this.
There's one other theory that Rudy himself has put forth. So I'll suggest that as well. He said to the Washington Post yesterday, now we control the
agenda, meaning, Rudy and Trump have changed the subject. They've been able to muddy the waters and create a lot of confusion and Rudy seemed to
be relevant on the fact that he had seized the agenda. Maybe he was somehow trying to cause all this chaos and contradictions. Although,
again, a lot of outside lawyers say this is actually detrimental to his client.
GORANI: Right. And what's interesting now is Rudy Giuliani is just the latest -- it's all become a joke once again, I mean so many of the
president's close advisors, those who have left the White House, those still there, Jeff Sessions among others (INAUDIBLE) on shows like Saturday
Night Live. Rudy Giuliani is just the latest with Kate McKinnon and this is what aired Saturday night in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy, is that you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That's right. OK. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer and his worst nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy, can we speak freely? Are you alone?
Yes, I'm pretty much alone. This is a commercial break. Right, toots?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We're good to talk. We're good to talk. Is everyone on?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Let me loop in Mr. Trump. All right. Is everyone on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes:
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: It's interesting. The national conversation -- and it's funny, but at the same time, this is the executive branch of the United States
being presented in this way on a weekly basis on shows like Saturday Night Live.
[15:35:08] STELTER: And in some ways comedy is able to get to the truth even more effectively than any news report or any commentator. What is
going on is a pathetic situation. And I think a lot of Trump voters as well as a lot of Trump detractors feel that they've bogged down in this
ongoing debate about law and about what went -- and what was done. Now, of course, the Trump supporters mostly feel that it's the Democrats, Obama
holdovers, who are out to get Trump. But there is this sense from all sides that the U.S. is paralyzed by these various legal disputes and
investigations and the Russian interference and other matters. It's one of these cases where Washington's reflecting the worst of the country. And of
course with the comedians like SNL, it's right for mockery.
GORANI: Bot also the White House itself is making policy announcements in a reality show kind of way and teasing them in a reality show kind of way.
Minutes ago, the president promised an Iran deal announcement at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, several days before we expected one. So stay tuned kind of
policy announcements as well. It feels sometimes like a television production.
STELTER: Yes. And you can't take the TV producer out of President Trump. This is something that he's been doing for decades up and it work so well
for him up until now. Of course, what we've seen since he assumed the presidency is his approval ratings are essentially stuck in a very low band
either the high 30s or the low 40s. That's where he stayed all along. So all of the tricks that he had learned in the TV world, all of the stay
tuned, all of the coming up next, all the surprises and twists, they don't work as well when you're the commander in chief as they may when you're the
star of the Apprentice.
GORANI: Brian Stelter, thanks very much for coming on this show.
Meantime, the White House says President Trump's pick for CIA chief is quote,"100 percent committed to seeing the confirmation process through."
Gina Haspel met today with a key senator in that process, democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, ahead of Wednesday's hearing. He says he spoke
very open-minded about her nomination. Sources say Haspel last week, offered to withdraw her nomination. There's been controversy over her role
in the intelligence agency, especially in its overseeing of some sites that used enhanced interrogation programs or torture on terrorism suspects.
CNN's Barbara Starr is following this for us from the Pentagon. So, we understand according to reports she offered to withdraw her name from
consideration, but the president is 100 percent behind her is repeated yet again in the last 24 hours.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: He has indeed, Hala. And her hearing before the Senate intelligence committee for confirmation as CIA
director scheduled now for Wednesday so the clock certainly is ticking. Ms. Haspel making her rounds on Capitol Hill, trying to drum up additional
support from both Republicans and Democrats.
One of the key question is not --is she qualified? Everyone agree she is more than 30 years in the intelligence services. Many of them in
undercover positions. But what wrote was her precise role in the torture enhanced interrogation programs during the administration of the President
George W. Bush? Of course, those programs were acceptable at that time, certainly not now. They are banned. They are against the law.
And she ran a black site, a so-called black site in Thailand where some of these practices were engaged in. She has told senators that she would not
ever do this again, that the CIA should not be in the detention and interrogation business, that she would follow the law that she would never
let this again happen to the CIA. However, there's a big problem here. President Trump has not totally ever ruled out going back to these
practices, so this may put her in a very difficult position at the confirmation hearing on Wednesday. Senators are likely to make its very
central case wanting her to publicly and openly describe what she exactly was involved in during those years. Hala.
GORANI: And do we expect her to be confirmed? She's met with the democratic Senator. Is that the expectation?
STARR: Well, I'll tell you most we'll tell you on the Hill -- on Capitol Hill and Congress. We'll tell you it's a close call. There are Democrats
and Republicans in favor. Democrats Republicans opposed to her. Right now, I don't think anybody has taken anything for granted. They are going
after every vote they can get.
GORANI: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks so much.
Still to come tonight, it's been one year since he took office. And in that time, the French president, Emmanuel Macron has enjoyed triumph, but
not all the time and certainly not without challenges. We look at that ahead.
[15:40:53] Plus, Lebanon hold its first general election in almost a decade. We'll tell you why Hezbollah is claiming a win today.
GORANI: The leader of Hezbollah is declaring a quote, "moral and political victory in Lebanon." The country held its first parliamentary elections
Sunday in nine years. We still don't have the final results. But according to early numbers, Hezbollah and its allies won just over half the
seats. Prime Minister Saad Hariri says his bloc took a hit, losing about one third of its seats. So, what does this mean for the balance of power
in the region and in the country as well?
Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is with us from Beirut. And it was also a very low turnout, Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It was just 49.2 percent this time around, compared to 54 percent in the last
parliamentary elections which were in 2009. What has become apparent is not only that Hezbollah's bloc has gained seats, but also most
dramatically. The future bloc of Prime Minister Saad El Hariri seems to have gone from 33 seats in the 128 seat Lebanese parliament to just 21. In
other words, he's lost about a third of his seats.
Now, what we've seen certainly since late this afternoon is a certain amount of celebrations in the streets of -- excuse me, Beirut by supporters
of Hezbollah and also the other main Shia party, Amal and this is leading to a good deal of tension in the city and my neighborhood in West Beirut,
one of the main streets leading to a gulf embassy was blocked off the street in front of the interior ministry has been blocked off. And
apparently, the Prime Minister Saad El Hariri has called on the head of the army to try to restore order before things get out of control.
GORANI: And be careful of that celebratory gunfire, what goes up must come down. I've read many tweets of journalists in Beirut who have found
bullets on their balconies and one even on her couch she was saying and tweeting.
But what does that mean for the balance of power -- Hezbollah and we don't have final results. But pretty much more than half the seats in
parliament. So, how does that change things? Because the system in Lebanon with the Prime Minister is from one sect or the president and
other, the speaker of the house, the Shia. But if you have more than half of the representatives from Hezbollah and Shia-backed parties, what is that
-- how does that change anything?
WEDEMAN: Well, it certainly gives them more leverage in dealing with whoever the prime minister might be. Now, the general assumption at the
moment is that the current arrangement won't change that Saad El Hariri who is the head of the essentially the largest Sunni bloc will remain as prime
minister. He, after all, in early April, he went to Paris to a donor's meeting and managed to convince them to give Lebanon $11 billion in grants
and soft loans and so he is very much the acceptable phase of the Lebanese government to the rest of the world. But what it means for instance, is
that in his cabinet up until now, he had two members affiliated, two ministers affiliated with Hezbollah. It may mean that Hezbollah and its
allies which also include Maronite Christians will have more leverage perhaps the ability to have more Hezbollah ministers pointed to the
government and generally have more influence over the direction of this country takes. Hala.
GORANI: OK. Ben Wedeman, thanks very much in Beirut.
[15:45:59] Today, marks one year since Emmanuel Macron became the youngest president in modern French history. He entered office as his interest and
promised to liberalize the labor market ad revitalize the country's economy.
But 12 months later, Mr. Macron faces stiff opposition from the left and from some angry labor unions which could prove to be the toughest challenge
of all. Mellissa Bell has more from Paris.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was to Beethoven's Ode to Joy that Emmanuel Macron completed his march to power. In less than a year, he
founded a new party and seen off the old ones. Now he had won the presidency and could take his vision to the world stage.
He began with Vladimir Putin receiving him grandly at Versailles but speaking plainly alongside the Russian president of human rights abuses and
allegations of meddling in foreign elections including his own.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Politicians have the responsibility to make decisions, to say things and when press
organs spread infamous counter-truths they're no longer journalists. They're organs of influence.
BELL: With Donald Trump, the exchanges would be warmer but the strategy the same, the building, whether in Paris or in Washington, of a solid
relationship combined with tough talk and plain speaking.
MACRON: I do not share the fast nation for new strong powers -- the abandonment of freedom and the illusion of nationalism.
BELL: Emmanuel Macron has been determined to represent and forcefully the world view based on common values and multilateralism that used to be
fashionable in London and in Washington. And domestically, he has been equally determined to liberalize France.
Last autumn, he saw off protests to reform France's labor code, among other things, giving companies more flexibility to hire and fire. Now, he's in
the middle of a battle with rail unions and despite strikes protests and popular discontent, he says he won't back down.
There are those in France who remain skeptical of the spin accusing Macron of being more style than substance and those on the left who worry about
the liberalizing of the economy and the direction in which Emmanuel Macron's march is taking them.
Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
GORANI: Let's dig deeper on president -- I have to say, President and then Macron, his first year in office. Sophie Pedder is the Paris Bureau Chief
of The Economist. She's written a book called "Revolution Francaise" that will be published in mid-June with a picture, a very close up picture of
Macron. She joins me live from the French capital.
So, Sophie, the biggest, the challenge for Macron is reforming the labor market, jumpstarting the economy, attracting business from maybe post-
Brexit from countries like the U.K. Stiff opposition though. He's got the labor unions striking already. Will he succeed?
SOPHIE PEDDER, PARIS BUREAU CHIEF, THE ECONOMIST: I think that this is his kind of key moment. It's the big moment that we've been waiting for since
he was elected to see what he's really made of and whether he's got what it takes to keep his nerve and hold out. This is a very unusual strike that's
been going on here since April. It's been planned to last until the end of June. It's two days after every five. So this is kind of rolling
renewable strike. It goes on and on. And it all depends whether the effectively a minority that the union is as to represent is outweighed by
public opinion, which at the moment remains on government's side. So, you know, this is sort of precarious balance between the government unions and
public opinion and it really depends in my view what the Macron can keep it public -- the public with him and hold out and then I think he will have
shown he can do it.
GORANI: Because I've been in Paris a lot the last -- and I know Paris is not France. But three times just in the last month and I got the sense
that these strikes didn't have the kind of public support that others have had in the past. But even if he succeeds, will he succeed? Because what
he's trying to do is to Anglo-Saxonize France a little bit. Make the labor market more flexible, encourage foreign direct investment. So even if he
succeeds in his reforms, will he succeed in executing a cultural shift?
PEDDER: Well, I would take issue with the idea he's trying to Anglo- Saxonize the French economy. I think what he's really trying to do is make a little bit most Scandinavian. I think he -- very strongly and this
French social model and public investments and public services. And his plans in terms of public spending are not that rather close. So this is
not truly a kind of factor figure. I think it's a big mistake to see him like that.
But what he's trying to do, I think is to unblock France, to make sure that business can thrive and that business can create jobs. And he knows to do
that. He's got to get rid of some of these rigidity. France with all these fantastic of assets but really the best use of them. And he's really
trying to just sort of lubricate the system and get it back up running.
[15:50:09] So I think if he can do that, if he can hold out on this particular series of reforms over this spring, but this isn't a man who's
just got one plan and this is it. He's got some wish list. He's not lacking on ambition and so he will keep -- lots of other things he wants to
GORANI: I think the last person I would compare him to is Margaret Thatcher. But one British prime minister you compared him to was perhaps
Tony Blair in the beginning of his prime ministership?
PEDDER: Yes. I think that that's a fair comparison in the early Tony Blair, so his first to the government. This idea of sort of new generation
trying to think differently about the country, trying to his middle way between markets and regulation. That in a sense makes it a bit more -- is
a more valid comparison. I think that Macron himself would refute that. I don't think he wants to be associated with new labor partly because of what
happened to Blair in his later years.
But I think that there is common ground there that sort of - its sort of liberal center left centrist, sort of policy makes which has a lot of
echoes of Blair.
GORANI: Sophie Pedder, thanks very much. The Paris Bureau Chief of The Economist and the author -- and your book comes out -- it's in June,
PEDDER: That's right in June, June 15.
GORANI: Revolution Francaise. All right. Best of luck with the book. Thanks so much for joining us.
More to come, including lava flowing down the streets, spewing fissures in the ground and tourists are being told to stay away. We are live in
Hawaii. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Back to a scary situation happening in slow motion. Lava is continuing to flow on Hawaii's big island. And authorities have a stark
warning to tourists. Stay away from it. Experts say there's no way to predict when the Kilauea volcano will stop erupting. Toxic gases are also
a threat, as fissures continue to open up and the blistering molten lava has claimed dozens of homes and a lot of structures.
CNN's Stephanie Elam isn't nearby and she joins us from the Big Island live. Talk to us about the situation now, Stephanie.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, they have been allowing some of the people who live in these affected neighborhoods and so they can
look at their properties and also get some last-minute items that they didn't get before. But that's only if the conditions are right. And
today, we understand that they have been changing despite the rain. Those gases there are still very strong. But to get a better idea of what it
looks like, we took to the sky to get a better picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: The eruptions seem incessant. A cluster of fissures spewing molten rock and devouring all that in its path, including more than two dozen
structures. From a helicopter, we can see the destruction is dynamic. At the head of the churning lava, a curtain of fiery red visible through a
vale of smoke and volcanic gas.
Earlier in the day, this molten march glow brightly in the predawn light. Now, it's clear more buildings, likely homes, are lost.
That right there is devastation. You can see it looks like at least three structures that are on fire there. The lava has flown deep go around
(INAUDIBLE) moving around of multiple size of those buildings.
These volcanic events continue to ravage the community of Leilani Estates, opening unpredictably along the lower east rift zone of the Kilauea
There is the circular house where you can see where the lava first broke out. You can see that it's still smoldering surrounded by the dead trees
that were burned there.
[15:55:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The destructions are actually breaking (INAUDIBLE) right now and so pretty much every morning I come out and it's
been loading higher up.
ELAM: The destruction snakes across the landscape in waves of black. We head about 15 miles to the source.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
ELAM: All of this when to the southwest the Pu'u O'o vent of Kilauea collapsed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bad news being almost one of top two rears appeared all collapsing once it caught.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) all of that magma all around and (INAUDIBLE)
ELAM: An outbreak that continues to threaten thousands of Hawaiians with eruptions, earthquakes and toxic emissions. But while scientists know what
is happening, they don't know how long it will last.
ELAM: And for the people who build in this part of the island, there is such a thing as lava insurance. But as you might expect, Hala, it is
massively expensive. And so because of that, most people don't have it. So the folks who have lost their homes and we know that there have been
dozens of homes lost now, they may have lost everything without getting any help on the back end.
GORANI: And that's terrible because the economic impact will be so damaging for them and tourism as well. The Big Island relies on tourism
money. Why -- and I apologize if this is a stupid question. But why is it worse this year than other years? I mean, is there something that explains
why it's so bad this time around?
ELAM: No. That's a fair question. No, there's not. And that's the funny thing about it. For all the studying that they do and they are constantly
studying these volcanoes. They don't know when it's going to rupture or when it's going to happen. This happened because that basically, that
shelf on top of Pu'u O'o collapsed and when that collapsed, it forced the magma down and when it forced it down through that system underneath the
ground, it started to pop up. They don't know where it's going to pop up and for how long this is going to go on. It could be days, weeks or
GORANI: All right. Stephanie Elam on the Big Island, thanks very much.
And thanks to all of you for watching this evening. I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. We have a lot more ahead. Your top business headlines and
all your top news stories as well on the other side of this break "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next.