Return to Transcripts main page

HALA GORANI TONIGHT

U.S. President Trump Driving Global Policy Agenda; Trump Tweets Threatening Press Credentials; Mueller Team Questions Russian Oligarch About Cohen Payments; 104-Year-Old Australian Goes To Switzerland To End Life; New Threat Emerges From Volcanic Eruption. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 9, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:09]

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gani. Tonight, it is Trump's world. We are just living

in it apparently. That's how many diplomats around the world are feeling today as the American president proves he is dead serious about his

campaign promises.

Also, ahead, as Trump's summit with Kim Jong-un draws closer, we now know where the two leaders will not be meeting.

And tomorrow, this man will die, but it is entirely his choice and he says he is not changing his mind. CNN brings you his story.

Anger erupts in Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal is sending shockwaves across the diplomatic

world and of course, sparking a backlash in that country.

Take a look at the reaction of lawmakers in Tehran. You are seeing members of parliament setting fire to images of the American flag. We have now

heard from the country's supreme leader.

This tweet from Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. He says the U.S. president lied that Iran will stand strong or Mr. Trump's corpse will be worm food.

Earlier, Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani ordered his nation to prepare to resume its nuclear activities and now provoked this response from Mr.

Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Iran will find out. I don't think they should do that. I would advise Iran not to start

their nuclear program. I would advise them very strongly. If they do, there would be very severe consequence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: All right. But then some in Iran are saying, you are the one who violated the deal, you are the one who walked away. We now can do what we

want. Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran. He is standing by live for us. There's new reaction today, Fred, from Iran.

We've lost the audio connection there with Fred Pleitgen. We will get back to Fred for a live report from Tehran once we fix that technical issue.

But in the meantime, let's get analysis with Robin Wright. She is a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and Woodrow Wilson International

Center, and a writer at "The New Yorker." She's live for us in Washington.

So, Robin, let's talk a little bit about where we go from here. The U.S. has walked way, very clear. What happens, though, can we salvage this

deal? Can Europeans and Iran and China and Russia stay in it somehow?

ROBIN WRIGHT, JOINT FELLOW, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE AND WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Well, so far, the Europeans, the Chinese, and the

Russians have declared that they will adhere to the deal. The Iranians have at the moment no incentives in walking away despite the furor in

Tehran over Trump's decision.

The fact is that if Iran walks away from the deal, it would find the international community imposing sanctions everywhere and that would hurt

its economy even more than Trump's re-imposition of sanctions would do.

So, for now, the deal is still on the table. The question for Iran is whether it will receive sufficient benefits economy to make it worth

sticking to the terms, and there will be enormous pressure on President Rouhani from hardliners to flex some muscle I suspect.

GORANI: But the president of the United States yesterday said essentially threatened people doing business with Iran, anybody who helps Iran's

nuclear program. That could -- I mean, you could -- one reading of that statement is anyone who directly invests money in Iran could be target of

American sanctions.

WRIGHT: Absolutely. That's clear that companies in third countries, whether it's in Europe, China, Russia, Latin America, Africa, any place,

would face sanctions if they wanted to do business in the United States as well.

So, a lot of companies will have to make serious choices, but this is going to be a test. There's a wind down period of up to six months where

companies will be given -- put on notice about how much time and what terms they have to comply with. So, we are still in kind of a transition phase

for another few months.

GORANI: And standby, Robin, because I believe we can go to Fred Pleitgen in Tehran. We saw some reaction, some anger in Tehran. We saw those

lawmakers as well, Fred, in parliament expressing their anger. What's next here? Because we're hearing both that Iran will start enriching uranium

again and that they want to stay in the deal.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, it's really an interesting dynamic that we see going on here. first of

all, sorry about those technical issues that we had. Obviously, some of these quite challenging to broadcast from here.

But I think one of the interesting that we've seen, Hala, is we saw those very strong words from the supreme leader, from Ayatollah Ali Khomeini

saying that President Trump's corpse would be worm fodder.

[15:05:03] But at the same time, you also saw essentially what the president, Hassan Rouhani, who, of course, a moderate and Ayatollah Ali

Khomeini not speak with one voice, but it seems as though that they are speaking in the same way.

Of course, the president, Hassan Rouhani, has said that he is thinking of something maybe like a smaller version of the nuclear agreement

encompassing all the countries that signed on to the original deal minus the United States.

They hope they can salvage the deal. Well, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini came out and said look, he still doesn't trust the European nations, but he is

willing to give that plan a shot. One of the things that the Iranians are saying is they want to see how things evolve over the next couple of weeks.

Whether or not the Europeans will be able to withstand that pressure that you were also just talking about with the companies being in jeopardy of

sanctions by the United States with countries also being in jeopardy of possible sanctions if they do business with Iran. Will the Europeans still

be willing to do that?

And if that's not the case, then the Iranians are saying, to them, the deal is dead and then indeed they could ramp up their nuclear program again

very, very quickly. They still say they don't want to build a bomb, but they can't say -- do say that they can bring it back, quickly and they say

they can bring it back and make it bigger than it was before -- Hala.

GORANI: Robin Wright, we heard from the U.K. foreign secretary after his failed trip to Washington where he tried to convince officials in D.C. not

to abandon the deal. He's essentially saying please, to the United States, we know you've left, but don't get in the way of European companies and

countries remaining in the deal. This is what he told parliament today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS SANCHEZ, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: It falls to the U.S. administration to spell out their view of the way ahead. In the meantime,

I urge the U.S. to avoid taking any action that would hinder other parties from continuing to make the agreement work in the interest of our

collective national security. I urged Iran to respond to the U.S. decision with restraint and continue to observe its commitments under the JCPOA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: I mean, I find it remarkable that the U.K. foreign secretary still doesn't have clarity about how the United States is going to deal with

countries that continue to want to abide by the terms of this deal, including his own.

WRIGHT: Particularly frustrating part for the Europeans and others is the United States has not identified Plan B. What do you plan to do next?

Diplomacy is not off the table totally or at least in theory. The United States has begun today negotiating with the Europeans on a way for

particularly on the issues that extend beyond the nuclear deal, Iran's behavior in the Middle East, its missile program, its support for extremist

movements.

But in theory, it's very hard to see how they can agree on the nuclear aspect of it, which was the pivot, the critical center piece of diplomacy

given the deep gap between the two sides. And the fact is that five of the world's major powers are sticking through the deal as is Iran.

GORANI: All right. Robin Wright, thanks very much for joining us. Fred, I have one last question for you. Because over -- since this deal went

into effect, we have companies like Total investing $2 billion in a plant, Volkswagen beginning to import cars into Iran, Airbus as well. What

happens to all that investment, all that corporate kind of interest in Iran. I know it hasn't benefitted the ordinary Iranian, but what happens

to those investments?

PLEITGEN: Well, some of that might be pulled back. I mean, if you look at, for instance, companies like Volkswagen, Siemens, other companies as

well, they are already looking and waiting to see what exactly this decision by the U.S. will mean.

Whether or not there are some sort of diplomatic solution that can be reached between the Europeans and the U.S. Whether they might be able to

continue that. It's not only those companies. I mean, if you look at the automotive sector, it's not just Volkswagen, French companies, a lot of

them have gone in here as well.

It's one of the remarkable things when we saw President Trump and the French president, Emmanuel Macron in the White House seemingly the best of

friends. The French are now one of the countries that will suffer most probably the most from what the U.S. has just decided if it does in fact

occur that there will be additional sanctions by the U.S. on anyone who does business with Iran.

(Inaudible) have huge stakes in Iranian automaker. So that could be a very big problem. I think right now a lot of these companies are living with a

great deal of uncertainty. They went in here. They saw potentially very large benefits.

I think for them it was also a little more difficult to operate here, one has to say. There's a lot of red tape here as well, but I think now that

uncertainty has just grown to an extreme amount.

And they are waiting to see whether or not their governments, European governments especially are going to be able to pull this through. Boeing

already seems to have had an answer. U.S. has said that it's going to revoke a license for Boeing to sell planes to the Iranians.

Airbus is going to have to wait and see what will happen to them. It certainly will make things more difficult and for the Iranians, of course,

you have to say, I mean, for them, it's going to be hard as well.

[15:10:07] You've already said, a lot of new jobs won't be created. But if you look at, for instance, the Iranian airline sector, they have been

flying very old planes for a very long time and they were hoping to get some new ones. It looks like that's not going to happen either -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Fred Pleitgen live in Tehran. Uncertainty as well for ordinary Iranians. People inside the country worried about the future.

We'll get back to Iran a little bit later in the program, but for now a look at President Trump's controversial pick to run the CIA. She says the

U.S. has to hold itself to a stricter moral standard.

Gina Haspel has been vague, though, about her role in interrogating suspect after 9/11 in those black sites with using torture techniques. But at

today's Senate confirmation hearing Haspel was asked if the agency would ever go back to that torture program. She said not on her watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINA HASPEL, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: We did extraordinary work. To me the tragedy is that the controversy surrounding the interrogation program,

which as I've already indicated to Senator Warner, I fully understand that. But it has cast a shadow over what has been a major contribution to

protecting this country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should the CIA even be in the business of interrogating detainees?

HASPEL: Having access, direct access to a terrorist is extremely valuable for intelligence collection and we do that. But CIA does not today conduct

interrogations. We never did historically, and we are not getting back in that business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: So, did Gina Haspel garner enough support to move forward? CNN's Phil Mattingly has been following her testimony. He joins me now live from

Capitol Hill. So how is it looking in terms of her confirmation?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you want to go straight to the end, Hala, and that is a vote on the Senate floor, it's looking pretty good

for Gina Haspel. The reality is all but one Republican is expected to support her. That means at least one Democrat probably a couple more would

need to push her across the finish line.

And they've already got on Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia on the Senate Intelligence Committee was inside the hearing today has

already come out just a few moments ago and said he will go yes on the Haspel nomination.

The expectation according to Republican aides I've been speaking is there are a couple of more Democrats who are likely to join him. She should move

through not unlike Mike Pompeo, the now secretary of state, with probably 53 or 54 votes, and that means she obviously will be confirmed as the next

CIA director.

However, as you noted, it was controversial pick and it was a tense hearing both in the audience where several protesters were moved out of the hearing

and on (inaudible) where while she made the commitment that the CIA would not get back into enhanced interrogation or as it should properly be termed

torture at any time in the near future.

She would not say that what happened in the early part of the 2000s was wrong, repeatedly dodging questions about whether she had moral issues of

what occurred or whether people had problems with what had happened back in that time.

That according to several Democratic aides I've been speaking to was frustrating to a lot of members and that more than anything else, Hala,

underscores why this is largely a partisan nomination for a position that historically hasn't been a partisan one when it comes to the votes on

approval.

GORANI: But one of her answers about whether or not she'd do it again or follow orders to use torture techniques again, she said no. But if those

orders come from above her, coming from the top, saying she will essentially not follow direct orders from her superiors?

MATTINGLY: You know, interestingly enough, this is what Senator Mark Warner, a top Democrat on the committee basically spent the majority of his

5 minutes of question and answer trying to pin her down on just that point.

Repeatedly asking her that question. She more or less evaded it until the very end when she said were she ordered to do something that she believed

was unethical or immoral under the current baseline by the president, she would not do it.

I think the big question for Democrats is they appreciate the commitment that things will not go back to what they were when it comes to

interrogation. But the idea given that the president has in the past during the campaign endorsed torture, enhanced interrogation techniques.

What would happen if that order comes down? She'd made a statement that should make Democrats happy. But as you know, when it comes to how the

president views the national security operation when it comes to how she views the intelligence community, there's still a lot of questions as to

whether or not it will end being true when she's actually in that role.

GORANI: Very quickly, if she says she will not follow any orders she believes to be immoral or unethical, does that mean that she believed that

the torture techniques used in the early 200s at a site she supervised were moral and ethical?

MATTINGLY: You would think that A and C would been B was there. B was never there. I think that was the frustration for a lot of senators, Hala,

is that she didn't actually make that statement. They repeatedly asked her to say exactly that.

She just kind of walked around it repeatedly. The implication was there but given that that she is going to run an agency that still has a lot of

agency officials that were involved during that time. She would never actually go there. That's why you heard from a lot of Democrats after the

hearing didn't really appreciate that she wouldn't actually cross that line.

[15:15:05] GORANI: All right. Phil Mattingly, thanks very much live from Washington.

Still to come, three Americans who were detained in North Korea are on their way home tonight, escorted on the plane by the new secretary of

state, Mike Pompeo. We'll have the very latest on Pyongyang's goodwill gesture.

Plus, a one-on-one with the president of Turkey who warns of dire consequences after America pulled out of the Iran deal. His exclusive

interview with CNN is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Donald Trump is welcoming a dramatic gesture of goodwill from North Korea ahead of this planned summer with Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang has

released three American prisoners and they are on their way home right now escorted on the plane, they're in the air right now, by the secretary of

state, Mike Pompeo.

President Trump says he'll we waiting to greet them when their plane lands near Washington shortly after midnight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are honored by the fact that the three gentlemen are coming home. It will be -- to me it's very exciting because it represents

something. It represents something very important to this country. People never thought a thing like this could happen and it can.

People never thought you were going to have a situation where we are having serious and positive communication with North Korea and we are. What

happens, who knows? We have a chance at something really great for the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Let's get more now from CNN's Will Ripley in Tokyo this evening with us. So, this was a gesture of goodwill. We expected maybe a few days

ago not based on what Rudy Giuliani had said on Fox News. Talk to us about how this came about and why under these circumstances?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Remember, we were chatting less than a week ago and a source told me that their release was imminent

although perhaps the definition of imminent was taken a little bit too literally. Imminent meant maybe on the horizon.

There might have been discussions in coordinating between the North Koreans and the United States about getting the secretary of state to Pyongyang,

but at least pretty clear, you know, when we spoke yesterday, he was bringing a press pool with him.

He was expecting success. In fact, he said that on the plane on the way back when they were parked on the tarmac here in Japan. They were delayed

quite a bit actually before taking off for Washington.

So, they are going to be arriving in the middle of the night or early morning east coast time. But Secretary Pompeo said he had no doubt that

they were going to be successful in finalizing details for this summit, which he says they've done.

He said that President Trump said they're going to announce the date and the location in the next three days. He said it's definitely not the DMZ.

So, now, putting bets on it, I think a lot of people are betting on Singapore. We'll wait for that official announcement.

And he has the three Americans with him. So, it's certainly something that President Trump can celebrate as a win when he shows up on the tarmac and

greets these three men who have been through just really an unimaginable ordeal for most people.

Imagine what you were doing in the fall of 2015, that's when Kim Dong-Chol was detained in North Korea. He has been cutoff from all contact with the

outside world for two and a half years and think of how much he's changed.

Just in the two and a half months never mind two and a half years. So, these men will have a very long tough road ahead. Step number one when

they land, they're going to have a face-to-face with Donald Trump.

GORANI: Well, he was, in fact, taken prisoner when President Obama was in the White House. I wonder when he learned that the candidate who won in

November 2016 was Donald Trump. Either way -- so you're saying the plane was delayed, which means just about what time eta in Washington? Do we

have a sense?

RIPLEY: So, they were saying 2 a.m. Now they are saying closer to 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. arrival. Obviously, it's about a 12-hour flight from Tokyo to

Washington. Maybe the plane can make up a little bit of time in the air, but we will be watching.

[15:20:12] And it should again, it's everything that President Trump loves. It's going to be a photo-op. It's pretty dramatic, these three men who

have been in North Korean custody walking out. You know, we know Tony Kim, one of the men who was detained last fall. He had a grandchild born while

he was in prison.

Kim Hak-Song will be reunited with his family and Kim Dong-Chol, the longest prisoner, who I interviewed in early 2016 and probably arguably has

had the toughest ordeal because he was serving hard labor, the other two were in -- what equivalent of a jail.

But Kim Dong-Chol was actually in the prison lifting up rocks, digging holes, zero contact, total isolation from other prisoners and from the

outside world. For him especially, you can imagine it's going to be a very difficult road ahead, quite an adjustment.

But they are free and I'm sure their families are elated. These last few days have probably felt like an eternity for them because we've been saying

the release is going to happen and then each day is passing, it didn't happen. Now it has happened. You got to give President Trump and his

administration credit for their part in making that happen.

GORANI: Well, they certainly were released on his watch and we're going to be seeing I'm sure some emotional scenes in the United States after their

plane lands. Thanks very much, Will Ripley in Tokyo.

After President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the president of Iran's neighbor, Turkey, isn't just afraid for the region.

Recep Tayip Erdogan says he's worried about the whole world.

Listen to what he told Becky Anderson in an exclusive interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): The drop of a hat turning this deal around and retreating from this deal possibly is

not just impact the region but also the entire world. The whole world economy is at stake and that is the reason why (inaudible) we will be hit.

And the United States might gain some certain positivities out of the withdrawal from this rising oil prices, but many of the countries in

poverty will be hit even harder and deeper. We don't need new crises in the region.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: What is the biggest risk here, sir?

ERDOGAN: In my point of view, the U.S. will be the most to lose. Iran will never compromise on this agreement and will abide by this until the

end that's what I think. However, the U.S. would lose in the end because you should respect an agreement that you signed. This is not how the

international mechanisms work.

International covenants and international commitments cannot be annulled upon will. If any document is bearing your signature, you need to respect

that, abide by that. Administrations might change, the government might change, but the signatures right there.

ANDERSON: What do you think specifically, sir, when you talk about new crises in the region. You, for example, are in touch with the Iranians and

Israelis. What's your message to them at this point?

ERDOGAN: Beyond American withdrawal from this process, actually there was another mistake made by the Americans or the (inaudible) administration.

First, moving the embassy to Jerusalem or that attempt was a huge mistake. You are in the position of moving your embassy to Jerusalem, thinking that

you're going to deal with some challenges once and for all, but that's not how it works.

What are you trying to do here? Are you trying to send some positive messages in your point of view to Israel? Are you trying to satisfy the

Israeli administration? Is that what your intention is?

ANDERSON: Let's talk Syria. What is your end game in Afrin Province and what happens next?

ERDOGAN: The northern part of Syria in Afrin, we are fighting terrorists. Who are these terrorists, (inaudible) and YPG. We are fighting them.

Unfortunately, the U.S. preferred moving with them and set aside Turkey who is the one last strategic partner.

ANDERSON: It does feel like you are on somewhat of a collision course with Washington, at odds on this decision on the Iran deal, Syria, and the U.S.

Embassy move to Jerusalem. Should the U.S. block the sale of military hardware? What would Turkey's point retaliation look like?

ERDOGAN: These are very interesting. If there is an alliance, if your allies, they should ground it with spirit.

[15:25:10] What you stated so far will never comply or will never (inaudible) the spirit of the lions. An agreement has been signed and we

are paying our installments duly in return for F-35s, but you cannot immediately or in (inaudible) decide not to give me the F-35s that I've

been paying for.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right. There's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of course, a major player in the region talking exclusively to CNN.

One man very happy with President Trump's Iran decision is the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. No surprise there. Well, he was in

Moscow today on a high profile visit to a country that was a signatory of that deal and that does not want it destroyed. He was there for a victor

day, a major public spectacle that celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany. Matthew Chance was in the crowd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (Inaudible) what their government has been spending billions upon billions of dollars over

the course of the past decade or so to modernize its military. (Inaudible) Russia's made battle tanks are parading past.

They've just been (inaudible) where they've been saluting the Russian president and a host of other VIPs as well, not the least Benjamin

Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. His visit here and talks with the Russian president is overshadowing this event because it comes in the

immediate aftermath of President Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Those talks will continue today about the Iran nuclear deal between Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin. The Russians have been strongly supportive

of the deal. They helped broker that after all. They've expressed their deep disappointment of the fact that the United States has now withdrawn.

And they've said that it could forge an even closer relationship with Iran that could involve selling military hardware. Some of the high-tech

equipment being paraded today includes (inaudible) missile. It's a hypersonic (inaudible) speed of sound.

So (inaudible) any kind of interceptors deployed against it. We're also seeing Russia's newest fifth generation fighter jets put on display here

Russia's for the first time as well as Russia's vast arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

It's a very important day in terms of Russia's nostalgia and it's interesting to see all this military hardware, but it's also an important

day diplomatically in the aftermath of President Trumps decision to pull out of that Iran nuclear deal. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

GORANI: Still to come tonight, President Trump's style of diplomacy is certainly unorthodox and definitely dominating the global agenda. But with

the U.S. leaving the Iran deal and the North Korean detainees flying home, is he by his own definition #winning? We discuss that next with one of his

supporters.

And a new twist in the Russia investigation involving mysterious payments made to Donald Trump's personal attorney by a Russian oligarch with ties to

Vladimir Putin. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:30:50] HALA GORANI TONIGHT, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Six seconds, 10 words and a worldwide fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Of course, Donald Trump has been railing against the Iran deal since he entered the presidential race, calling it the worst deal of all

time. And it isn't the only time President Trump has made promises on the campaign trail and is now following through on them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And then one of the papers called the other day and they said, would you speak to the leader of North Korea? I said, "Absolutely. Why

not? Why not?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: That meeting is expected to happen in the next few weeks. And then there was the Paris Climate deal. Another bugbear of the president,

when he got the U.S. out of in the first six months of his presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As of today, the United States will seize all implementation of the nonbinding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens,

the agreement imposes on our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: President Trump's whirlwind style of diplomacy is dominating global politics. But now, is his unorthodox style getting his supporters

want? Let's discuss with Jack Kingston. He's a CNN political commentator. A former senior advisor to the Trump campaign.

It does seem when we put them all together, all these announcements, these moves to exit or destroy agreements and deals and that type of thing, but

it really is about demolishing Obama era achievements. Is that what the president is doing?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think he's going out to deliberately do that. I think it's a byproduct of what he's doing because

that was so much of what the campaign was about, the difference between his style and his philosophy and that of his predecessor. Not unusual. Barack

Obama changed a lot of things that George Bush did and Bush changed a lot of things that Clinton did. So that's part of the democracy.

But I want to point out, fox example on Iran, he's waited a year and a half to do this. He has made abundantly clear that he was moving in this

direction. North Korea, he set the stage before having these talks. And I think he's been deliberate there. The rhetoric has made the diplomatic

community. I understand that. But still if you look at what he's done, he's laid the road work, which I think is very important.

GORANI: But it's not just the rhetoric on the Iran deal, it's the fact that this agreement was working, for all intents and purposes, Iran was not

enriching uranium. IAEA inspectors confirmed it. In fact, Mike Pompeo, the new secretary of state said there's no evidence that Iran is engaging

in any nuclear activity. So the deal was working. So here, we have a president who just rips it up then threatens -- potentially threatens

allies for continuing to do business with Iran. But there's no plan b. What's next?

KINGSTON: Well, I think, though, when we talk about it working, it worked for some people. I think for national security, particularly down the

road, it was not working. They still had the ability to make ballistic missiles which deliver nuclear warheads.

GORANI: That wasn't part of the deal. It wasn't part of the deal. So what you're doing is you're going back to where we were before the deal

without an alternative.

KINGSTON: But let me say it this way. The deal may have been working as respects the deal. But as respects national security, international

security it was not working, because the president made that point that the deal was a bad one to begin with. Allowing them to make ballistic missiles

and not having full inspection access on the military bases, for example, was there major flaw in it. The fact that they are still in Syria --

GORANI: No. That's not correct. Because if military access was requested and not granted, that would have been a violation of the deal as well.

KINGSTON: But we didn't have unfettered access to military --

GORANI: The IAEA had asked for access of military and solutions and not been granted the access, that would have been a violation, but that has not

been reported. My point is, OK, that's not a perfect deal. Certainly Iran is engaging in expansion its activities in the Middle East. They could

have been perfected, it could have been made better. But why ditch it with no plan b?

[15:35:08] KINGSTON: Well, I think plan b is that we are -- we will continue to talk to our allies. We will see what they want to do. I don't

think we're going to close the door on everything completely. But, you know, for a year and a half, these same people who are complaining had an

opportunity to say, OK, why don't we come together back to the table and modify the deal? They did not want to do that. They said, we'll have to

stick it.

GORANI: That's what Macron tried to do. That's precisely what the French president tried to do. And the president of the United States did not

listen to that idea.

KINGSTON: Well, that was one country. We have a really good relationship with France. It has not been damaged in that. But you know, we're going

to have disagreements with our international partners. That's not unusual. I don't think they have supported efforts bring peace in Syria nearly as

much as they should have been. In fact, I think their commitment to the Middle East in general has waned considerably. Sometimes you have to

disagree with your allies. For example, they haven't been as helpful on North Korea as they should be. We've turned to really Japan, South Korea

and China more than anybody in Europe that could have been helpful to us, particularly as respects United Nation type actions.

GORANI: Well, European countries have been, especially in terms of Syria, have been as uninvolved as America has been. Nobody really wants to go

into that conflict in a significant way.

But I've got to bring up yet again this Donald Trump tweet. Trying to take away the credentials of journalists. I guess international viewers asking

always the same question, why is the president of the United States writing these things when he's equating fake news with negative news? Does he

believe that journalists are there to sing his praises, like in some sort of autocracy?

KINGSTON: I don't think he does. I think it's a very interesting relationship, the dynamic between the media and this president is probably

like none other. I think they both seem to love to hate each other at times. Yet at the same time, Mr. Trump is in the media every day in one

form or the other using social media as much as anything else. But I do have to say, I think that there are certain reporters or certain outlets

had been unusually hard on him. For example, today we had a major scandal with the New York attorney general who's been a huge critic of President

Trump's and was a big supporter of Hillary Clinton's. But very little coverage about it. Now, if that had been a Republican or a big Trump

supporter, it could have bene a major story.

GORANI: Well, I can only speak for CNN. But on CNN, our domestic channel it was all over the place.

KINGSTON: And let me tell you this. As you know, I'm a pro-Trump guy and CNN gives me and a lot of other pro-Trump guys a platform. So I think we

do a good job of it. But I have to say, I think that there are certain, for example, print media, the New York Times and the Washington Post, this

list of lies that the Washington Post had a big feature on last weekend, you know, that's like the Republican National Committee coming up with a

list of lies that Hillary Clinton said. It's not exactly a fair source, because the Washington Post has invested in an anti-Trump --

GORANI: You know I'm going to disagree with you on that. I think the Washington Post has done some fine reporting over the last year and a half.

KINGSTON: There are a lot of good people there, but --

GORANI: Absolutely. Jack Kingston, thank you so much. Hopefully we speak again soon. Thanks for joining us on the program.

KINGSTON: Thanks, Hala.

GORANI: While Mr. Trump is claiming victory on several fronts, he still can't seem to shake the Russia investigation. And now, there are new

revelations raising a lot of new questions. CNN has learn that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has questioned a Russian oligarch about

payments made to Mr. Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen. That oligarch attended the president's inauguration. He's close to Putin, but was

recently slacked with U.S. sanctions related to Russia's election interference. His name -- you see his picture there on the left, it's

Viktor Vekselberg. He has close ties to the Kremlin. He's chairman of a group called Renova Group. We put together this graphic to help you

understand.

Sources say his company's U.S.-affiliate which you see there called Columbus Nova made the payments to Michael Cohen. The attorney for porn

star, Stormy Daniels is adding further details citing his own investigating. He says the payments from Columbus Nova totaled about half

a million dollars and went to the same shell company that Cohen used to pay Daniels. Are you still following? A lot to take in.

We're joined now by CNN legal analyst, Joey Jackson. So, Joey, just to reiterate for our viewers, the allegation here is that a Russian oligarch

essentially funneled money to that LLC, that company that paid off Stormy Daniels to stay quiet about her alleged affair with the president, $500,000

after the election. Is that legal?

[15:40:03] JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It depends who you ask. If you ask me, and I'm a prosecutor, I'll say potentially not. If I'm

defending the transaction, I'll say absolutely. So let me start there, Hala. Good afternoon to you.

Here's the issue. In the event that payments were made, so what? We live in a capital of society. I'm defending now. The fact is that people are

allowed to perform work and ask on behalf of multiple people consulting consult is not improper or untoward or illegitimate or illegal. People are

allowed to have investments and have conservations and people pay you for advice. That's perfectly normal. That's what the American system is all

about. That's what the American dream is all about. So big deal that payments were made. I don't care if they came from Russia. I don't care

Ukraine. Wherever they came from. He's allowed to make a living.

Now, I become a prosecutor. Something certainly could be a miss. Understand that context is important. The context here is that we have

unprecedented election interference. It come from Russia. We have meetings that the president's people are having with Russian officials. We

have this adoption meeting in June of last year, right? To get information about Hillary where they claim it's about adoptions, but we know it's about

something else. We have the president at every campaign stop saying, Russia, if you're listening -- if you're listening -- so this seems a bit

strange that now on top of this, you're having a president's personal lawyer. This is not just any guide. This is someone who has the

president's ear, having a significant relationship.

GORANI: Exactly, but that's my point. Can you -- can you -- if the money originates from a Russian oligarch goes through several stages, ends up in

a company created by Michael Cohen, who is the personal attorney of the president, can you pay that person when you know that he has such close

contact and direct access to the president of the United States? That there's no law against that, right?

JACKSON: Why not? Why not? Absolutely not. The fact is no matter where the money comes from, he is the president of the United States. He doesn't

lose his ability to earn a living independently of that and so --

GORANI: I'm talking about Michael -- but the fact that you're trying to get close to the president by perhaps hiring or using the services of his

personal attorney, there's no conflict there.

JACKSON: And I would say so what? From a defense perspective, I'll say, so what? If you look at the rules as they relate to lobbying, the rules as

they relate to what happens in Washington every day and twice on Sunday, it's about access. It's about having people who know other people so that

you can get laws passed that are favorable to your interests are, right? And so people do that all the time. Nothing improper about that.

GORANI: But what about the fact that the LLC that was created to pay Stormy Daniels, that received this money allegedly, was not used for its

declared purpose? Because that LLC was declared for real estate transactions and then it ended up paying hush money.

JACKSON: Well, here's the issue with that. From a defense perspective, there are entities that established that walk and chew gum at the same

time. It's for real estate and investment purposes, but there are also other essences of businesses. So for example, a law firm, in my line of

work. You have your department that does criminal defense, you have your department that deals with real estate transactions, you have your

department that deals with matrimonial matters, simply because it's a law firm, there are number of other things that the law firm does. So too, by

analogy Hala, as it relates to business, the essence of your business could be for real estate investment, but there could be other areas of your

business that focus on other matters.

And so I would say, again from a defense perspective, that nothing that we're talking about is improper or illegal without more. Now, if you want

to show me that the money, right, that came from Russia was directly related or funneled into the whole Stormy Daniels issue, now we can talk

about something. But if you can, and most businesses, by the way, have a general operating account and a whole bunch of money from a whole bunch of

source goes into that account. So, how do you ferret out what came from Russia and what came from some other area of the world or from a part of

the United States? And so it certainly looks bad optically. And from a political perspective, it's more Russia, it's more of these contacts, these

relationships. And it's 13 officials of Russia who have been indicted, don't know that they'll be brought to justice. But the fact is, is that

it's just more of this whole Russian interference. But on its face, I cannot say to you that it's illegal or improper.

GORANI: All right. Joey Jackson, thanks very much for your analysis, as always.

JACKSON: Thank you, Hala.

GORANI: And the story doesn't end there. The New York Times says corporations also made payments to Cohen through his shell company, not

just the Russian oligarch, totaling more than $4 million. AT&T is one of those corporations and it now confirms that it was making payments.

CNN reporter Hadas Gold is live in New York with those details. So it's AT&T, it's also a pharmaceuticals company. I have the list here, Novartis

and others, making payments into that shell company created by Michael Cohen. What more can you tell us?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So AT&T and some of these other companies have actually confirmed that they made those payments. AT&T specifically

said that they had engaged with Michael Cohen and his company for consulting, to help them gain insights into the new administration, to help

them understand what was happening. Now, this isn't that unusual for a company to try and hire people to help get them to understand a new

administration, especially one like the Trump administration where they had very few of the traditional Washington hands working for them. So a lot of

people didn't know how to approach this administration.

[15:45:23] What's interesting with a company like AT&T is that they have a lot of businesses in front of the government at that time, especially this

big $85 billion merger between AT&T and our parent company, Time Warner. Now, AT&T said that the payments started in early 2017, so right around the

inauguration and ended in December of 2017. But that's while this merger was being reviewed by Trump's justice department and ultimately that

lawsuit was actually brought. That lawsuit is currently -- we're still dealing with it. The judge is deciding on June 12th what will actually

happen, whether he will approve this merger. But it definitely is raising a lot of eyebrows about AT&T going to Michael Cohen for information perhaps

on ow to deal with the administration.

AT&T is not commenting beyond what they have said. They said they worked with Michael Cohen for insights. They haven't said whether they talked to

him specifically about the merger, whether they talked to him specifically about net neutrality. But obviously it's real issues. You see all of

these companies and all of the money that they pay because CNN has reporting that it actually goes beyond this $200,000 that Stormy Daniels'

lawyer, Michael Avenatti said in his documents was paid to Michael Cohen, that it's actually much more than that. So clearly the story is not ending

any time soon. And there's a lot more questions for AT&T that we're asking, including, have they talked with Robert Mueller and his team.

GORANI: All right. Hadas Gold, thanks very much.

Still to come tonight, CNN hears from the Australian academic who's lived more than one century and has now traveled thousands of kilometers to end

his life on his terms. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Now to a story that is reigniting the debate over assisted suicide. David Goodall is an accomplished Australian scientist. He's 104

years old. But says he greatly regrets living as long as he has. He's obtained mind. He's travelled to Switzerland where doctors will help him

end his own life. He spoke to CNN's Melissa Bell ahead of his appointment Thursday at a euthanasia clinic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an age most people only dream of reaching. But for Dr. David Goodall, the renowned scientist in academic

life has been too long.

DAVID GOODALL, AUSTRALIAN SCIENTIST: Life has become less worth living. Well, I'm not enjoying life now, as I would have done five or 10 years ago.

And I think the same may be true of most people of this age. I get up in the morning. I find a bit of breakfast. And then, well, generally

speaking, I just sit. What's the use of that?

[15:50:14] BELL: It is because Dr. Goodall loved life so much that he is choosing to leave it. A few days ago he left his home in Australia and his

family saying his final farewell. He was going to Switzerland, one of the few countries on earth where it is legal to choose death over life. His

final hurdle will be the confirmation on Wednesday by a psychiatrist that he is competent enough to choose.

GOODALL: You know, I don't find peace until I get there. Well, in a few days' time, I shall have it. That will be very welcoming. My message

would be once a person has passed the mid period of aging and have full competence, let it -- let it be their choice.

BELL: You've been obliged to leave your home, to leave your family, to travel across to the other side of the world to die in a country that isn't

yours.

Goodall: Exactly.

BELL: And without your loved ones around. How do you feel about that?

GOODALL: I feel resentful. Resentful of the government and establishment in Australia that they don't recognize that one would like to end one's

days in Australia as I would.

BELL: But part of the problem is that people are afraid of death. They don't want to talk about it.

GOODALL: There's no obligation for anyone to either talk about death or to engage in death, as I'm going. You know, just keep quiet and let other

people follow their own inclinations.

BELL: This is the bed on which Dr. Goodall will die on Thursday in this anonymous clinic at the foot of the Swiss Alps. This is the drug that he

will administer to himself as this is after all to be an assisted suicide. All the doctors will do is place the intravenous needle. I asked Dr.

Goodall what his final thoughts would be.

GOODALL: Well, I hope that they aim right. I'm sure they will, but that will be my concern.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, everyone has an opinion about this story and certainly it's a remarkable one that involves the debate over whether or not euthanasia

should be allowed, should be legal.

More to come, including earthquakes, lakes of molten lava and now another very serious threat. We get the very latest from Hawaii, live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: You've probably seen those incredible images from Hawaii's big island, the Kilauea volcano erupted last week and it spewed slow-moving

lakes of lava from volcanic vents. Take a lot some of that dramatic video on your screen. These are aerial images. And there's a new threat now.

Smog and acid rain, if you can believe it. And we're also hearing from U.S. geological officials that there is a growing potential of explosive

eruptions in the coming weeks.

Let's get out to Hawaii's Big Island for details and all that, Stephanie Elam is live there. So, what is this acid rain threat, exactly?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There's a lot that the people who live in this area are dealing with, Hala, no doubt about it. So acid rain,

really what is happening here, you've seen the pictures of those massive white looms that are going up over the affected area, that's those volcanic

gasses that are coming out from the fissures, it's called vog and the reason why this is an issue is because the trade winds are expected to

stall. And that would mean that this air is going to hang out over the people that live in this part of the island. And if that's there, it's

going to cause respiratory problems. It's hard to breath and then it's expected to rain. And if it does rain, all of that vog doesn't disappear.

It gets caught up in the rain and then it can rain back down as acid rain, which it's not really an issue on your skin, anything like that. The

problem is it can allow metals to leech and then it could have feed into the drinking water problem and that -- or into the drinking water and

causing problem there. That's why they care so much about that. That's why they care about the vog.

[15:55:45] But there's also another concern, Hala, with letting everyone know about and that's about the caldera, the lava lake at the top of

Kilauea, which you may have seen pictures of pictured out to the Hawaii volcano's national park. Well, that lava lake up there says the shelf

dropped off in Pu'u O'o which is one of the vents, since that happen, the lava lake dropped and all that magma spread out and that's why we've seen

this issue on the eastern rift. What the issue is now though is that lava lake continues to drop and below. If it gets to the point that is below

the water table, it's not a good thing, when you have water and lava mixing. If that happens, you can have massive explosions that did happen

here, I believe in the '20s.

They're concerned about that because again, you don't know where those explosions are going to be and while the fissures had been bubbling up and

shooting up lava and also coming in places where you don't expect them to have these massive built up pressure explosions, it could be very

dangerous, Hala.

GORANI: And what's been the damage so far to, I guess, property, roads? We saw cars as well damaged by molten lava on the roads.

ELAM: Yes. The numbers aren't even there yet. But we do know 35 structures have been lost. We know more than 100 acres have been covered

with lava. You still have people who don't know if their homes are standing and so they're staying in tents. A lot of these people,

everything they own and they had earned in their life was invested into these properties. So if their homes are gone, they're going to have to

start over. And that's a big concern there, but the actual numbers of what kind of economic damage this is, that's not even clear yet. And these

people are not in the clear either, because you still have the vog, the fissures, the eruptions still happening. We talked to scientists from the

U.S. Geological Survey and she told us that the reason why they know that this eruption is not is because there's still seismic activity. There's

still earthquakes and they've known enough now to know, if you see that, the story is not done.

GORANI: All right. Stephanie Elam, thanks very much on Hawaii's Big Island with the very latest on these dramatic volcanic eruptions, acid

rains, smog, you name it. They are going through a tough time there.

Thanks to all of you for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. There's a lot more ahead. All your top stories and your top business

headlines as well. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.

END

END