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Israel Blames Iran for Golan Heights Missile Attack; Teen Bride's Death Sentence Sparks Global Outrage; Kelly Walks Back Embarrassing Comment; Giuliani Says Trump Denied TimeWarner-AT&T Merger Deal; A Royal Match: Harry & Meghan. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired May 12, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


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CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Iran is giving diplomacy a chance to salvage the nuclear deal but warns it will restart its nuclear program if the agreement collapses.

Also a Sudanese teenager sentenced to death for killing her husband while he allegedly raped her. The campaign to save Noura Hussein's life.

And another Rudy Giuliani controversy: Donald Trump's lawyer suggests the president tried to block the AT&T-TimeWarner merger that is currently in the courts.

Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.

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VANIER: So Iranian officials head to Europe next week on a last-ditch mission to save the nuclear agreement that the U.S. has now rejected.

Anti-American feeling raged through the streets of Tehran on Friday. Much of that anger directed at U.S. President Donald Trump.

The stakes are enormous. Iran's foreign minister warns that if the nuclear deal cannot be salvaged, the country may restart its enrichment program on an industrial scale.

Add to this the rising military tension with Israel, which has accused Iran of being behind missile attacks on the Golan Heights. That led to punishing Israeli airstrikes on what it says were Iranian military assets inside Syria.

CNN's Ian Lee is in the Golan Heights, which Israel says was attacked by Iranian rockets earlier this week.

Ian, there's been a period of calm since Israel launched those attacks on Iranian targets but we've seen this before. This has been the pattern. There's an attack and then there's a period of calm and the tensions resurface again. Where do you think this is headed now?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, we're in a lull right now after this latest round. But you're right. We see this pop up from time and time again. And I think it's quite likely that we will probably see another round. We don't know when, we don't know where -- likely in the Golan, where I'm at right now.

But we have seen this time and time again. And the tensions are remaining because you still have Iranian forces inside of Syria but then Israel watching that. They say if any red line that they perceive is crossed, then they'll strike again. So expect this to reoccur.

Again, although both sides are saying they want a deescalation of tensions -- Cyril.

VANIER: And the Iranians have a fairly muted response to the Israeli strikes but they are making loud threats on the Iran nuclear deal.

Can you tell us more about that?

LEE: Right now Iran's foreign minister Zarif is speaking with the other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, specifically the Europeans. You have the U.K., France, Germany; there's also Russia and China.

They're trying to see if anything can be salvaged there, if they can keep this deal going without the United States' participation. But he said, if this isn't the case, if they cannot keep this deal, if it looks like it is over, then Zarif said that Iran could start enriching uranium on an industrial scale, although we need to point out, too, that they didn't mention anything about a nuclear weapons program and even if they do start enriching uranium, that doesn't mean that is going toward a weapons program.

VANIER: All right. And the U.S. embassy in Israel is officially going to be moved to Jerusalem on Monday.

What's this going to change?

LEE: So this is a big move by the United States. It is the first country that is going to be opening up its embassy in Jerusalem. The United States has come under a lot of international condemnation for this move. But President Trump says this is fulfilling a campaign promise.

What we're also expecting to see are violent protests in the West Bank as well as in Gaza. Gaza has had these marches, these protests for weeks now, called the March of Return, where Palestinians inside Gaza say they want to return to lands that were lost in Israel in the 1948 war.

These are refugees and descendants of refugees and it has been fairly violent. Dozens of people have been killed. And Israel has come under criticism for the level of violence that's being used, although Israel says that that border is a red line and that they will defend it.

But heading up to Monday, we're expecting to see as well as everyone really on that side of the border and in Israel expecting to see the largest demonstrations, the largest protests which tend to lead to the largest amount of violence -- Cyril.

VANIER: Ian Lee, reporting from the Golan Heights, thank you very much.

Now we're learning more about a Sudanese --

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VANIER: -- teenager, sentenced to death for fatally stabbing the man she was forced to marry. She says that when she refused to consummate the marriage, he raped her as his relatives held her down.

This is the only photo we have of Noura Hussein with her husband. Her case has outraged people around the world, with some calling for Sudan's president to issue a pardon. Our Nima Elbagir has more from London.

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NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The details are harrowing. Noura's lawyer told us that she managed to escape a marriage forced upon her at the age of 15, fleeing to live with her aunt in a separate state, only to be tricked by her parents into coming home and forced to marry the man that she had rejected all those years ago.

At 19 years old, forced into a marriage that she wanted nothing to do with, Noura told her lawyer that, when she refused to consummate the marriage with her husband, his brother and two cousins held her down while he raped her.

The next day she says he attempted to do it again. This time she killed him.

Now none of that is being debated by either the prosecution or the defense. What is being debated is whether Noura had the right to refuse, whether such a thing as marital rape even exists. Under Sudanese law it does not. And that is what is sparking controversy, not just in Sudan but around the world.

Her legal team, who actually have volunteered their services, say that they're hoping that the fact that she was forced to marry this man while 15, so legally still a minor -- the age of formal consent in Sudan is 16 even though marriage is legal from 10 years old -- the bride has to give her consent if she is under 16.

The hope is that not only will Noura's case be viewed with mercy by the legal system but that also this debate that has been forced upon the Sudanese government and upon Sudanese society will cause a reformation, will cause a change in law that will protect other women, women across the country, from intimate violence, from rape within the confines of their own homes.

Her legal team tell us that she now has two weeks within which to appeal. And they hope that the court will have mercy on Noura -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

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VANIER: Activists are trying to save Noura's life. Activists around the world are mobilizing. Rowa Kodi is one of them. She's with the Justice for Noura campaign and she joins me from Washington.

First of all, Rowa, can you give us any news from Noura herself?

Do we know how she's doing?

ROWA KODI, JUSTICE FOR NOURA CAMPAIGN: Thank you for interviewing me and, again, thank you for spotlighting Justice for Noura campaign.

Noura right now is doing much better than before. Her legal team just updated us on her psychological status. She's doing, as I say much, better but she's still stressed, overwhelmed with the sentence.

And there are some social workers and activists in Sudan showing very huge support for Noura. And she's receiving also emotional support from the diaspora (ph).

VANIER: And time is of the essence here because Noura has been sentenced to death and her legal team only has two weeks to act?

KODI: Yes, that's correct. Her legal team is working to appeal within 15 working days from yesterday.

VANIER: What are the next steps?

KODI: The next step for the legal team right now is to strategize their appeal for the appeal hearing and apply for the appeal within 15 days, as I mentioned, and then wait for the court to decide when the appeal will be held.

VANIER: And maybe explain to us what the legal context in which we're operating is here.

Marital rape, there is no such thing as marital rape in Sudanese law, is that correct?

Meaning the husband can have intercourse, force intercourse with his wife legally, anytime he wants.

KODI: Unfortunately in Sudan, as soon as you have a marriage certificate, you have the right to have sex with the wife anytime, anywhere, regardless of her consent.

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KODI: And it's not criminalized by law and there's no definition for criminalized rape in Sudan. VANIER: Starting at what age is marriage legal in Sudan?

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KODI: -- 10 years old.

VANIER: At 10 years of age, it is legal to be married off to someone in Sudan, correct?

KODI: Without consent. Your parent can marry you off.

VANIER: Yes, which is what happened to Noura. And I wanted to point this out to viewers, which is she had refused this; she had actually fled her home for, I believe it was, three years until her parents got her back and then actually sent her to this man --

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VANIER: -- that she didn't want to be married to and force married her to this man.

Is there any sense that your campaign and the support for Noura is getting through to the government, that the government is maybe taking a new look at this?

KODI: Justice for Noura campaign is just stick to the objectives, which is raising awareness about Noura's case and other women rights violation cases in Sudan. And we are trying -- we are reaching out to human rights organizations, demanding actions to save Noura's life.

But Noura's case is not a political case. So we are very careful on reaching out to official authorities. But there's a very huge impact of social for justice campaign. As I mentioned earlier, for the first time, the district attorney have attended the hearing.

And also the minister of justice have delegated, have commissioned a delegation to provide a special report about Noura's case.

And this is what the Justice for Noura campaign nation have succeeded to do through the international media and social (ph) media engagement.

VANIER: So you sense there's some increased attention being paid by the government to this. We're going to see how it pans out and we're going to want to talk to you again and follow this every step of the way. There are two weeks left for Noura's legal team to file an appeal.

Rowa, thank you very much for joining us on the show.

KODI: Thank you very much for interviewing me.

VANIER: A United Nations agency is reporting that North Korea's government has promised not to carry out unannounced missiles tests and other activities hazardous to commercial aviation. Pyongyang also says its nuclear arms program is complete. Meanwhile

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo says his talk with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this week were warm and good. In fact, he says they share the same vision as the U.S. and South Korea for the Korean Peninsula's future.

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MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If Chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with prosperity for the North Korean people. America's track record of support for the Korean people is second to none.

If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends.

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VANIER: Now Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump are set to meet on June 12th in Singapore. Mr. Trump says he hopes an agreement can be reached but has also warned that if the conversation with Kim Jong-un doesn't go well, then he will walk away from these talks.

Immigration officials in Malaysia say the former prime minister and his wife are banned from leaving the country. Najib Razak is accused of corruption involving state funds. Rumors spread that he was planning to leave the country after losing his reelection bid earlier this week. But Najib has tweeted that he will respect the order.

And another day, another headache for the White House caused by the president's new lawyer. This time, Rudy Giuliani sent some confusing signals about a mega media merger. We'll sort it out after the break.

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VANIER: The end of another wild week in Washington brings its own sets of controversies.

First, White House chief of staff John Kelly is walking back his statement that president Donald Trump is "embarrassed" by the Russia investigation. Kelly later told CNN he meant to say Mr. Trump was "distracted" by the probe. Here's Kelly's original comment that he made to National Public Radio, NPR.

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JOHN F. KELLY, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There may not be a cloud but certainly the president is somewhat embarrassed, frankly, when world leaders come in. It's like, you walk in and the first couple minutes of every conversation might revolve around that kind of thing.

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VANIER: Secondly, the White House is not commenting or apologizing for a staffer's comment about Senator John McCain. McCain, who is fighting brain cancer, opposes Donald Trump's nominee to lead the CIA.

Well, special assistant Kelly Sadler said earlier, that doesn't matter because, quote, "He's dying anyway." A source says Sadler herself later called Mr. McCain's daughter to apologize. Here's Meghan McCain, the senator's daughter, responding on Friday.

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MEGHAN MCCAIN, JOHN'S DAUGHTER: I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job. And that's all I have to say about it.

My father's legacy is going to be talked about for hundreds and hundreds of years.

These people? Nothing burgers. Nobody's going to remember you.

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VANIER: And we have dueling messages from the Trump camp on the merger of media giants AT&T and TimeWarner, which, we should note, is CNN's parent company. One message comes from the president's new lawyer, the other from the Justice Department. Hadas Gold lays out the facts.

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HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rudy Giuliani is causing another headache for the White House and now also the Justice Department this weekend. It is all because of comments he made in an interview with the "Huffington Post."

Giuliani told the "Huffington Post" that whatever lobbying Michael Cohen did on behalf of companies like AT&T, who paid him for consulting, as we've recently learned, did not work. Giuliani used the example of AT&T's proposed merger with TimeWarner.

Now the Justice Department blocked that merger. They sued to try to stop it because they said that it would harm consumers.

But Giuliani said in his interview with the "Huffington Post" that it was the president who denied that merger. Now that matters because the Justice Department is supposed to operate independent of the president.

And they said that they sued to block the merger without any sort of interference from the president or any sort of political bias.

Rudy Giuliani's comments fly in the face of that and, in fact, there was even a sworn affidavit from the head of the antitrust division for the Justice Department, saying that he was not influenced at all by the president or the White House or anybody involved.

But now Rudy Giuliani is saying that in fact Donald Trump himself was the one who denied this merger. The question now is what AT&T will do with this information. A judge is currently taking his time deciding whether this merger can go through or not. We're expecting that decision from him on June 12th.

But AT&T could issue new filings on appeal; they could try to bring up this political bias defense. It's really giving them another part of their arsenal that they can bring forth in this defense. But at the end of the day, it is just another Rudy Giuliani headache for the White House and the Justice Department -- this is Hadas Gold, CNN, Washington.

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VANIER: Let's head to Kenya there. Kenyan authorities say the dam that burst on Wednesday and killed dozens of people was built illegally. At least 45 people are now confirmed dead and the local governor says 40 people are still missing.

Rescue efforts are ongoing. Homes were swept away when the wall of the dam collapsed after heavy rain and flooding soaked the area. The Kenyan Red Cross estimates some 500 families have been affected.

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VANIER: Only one week left until the royal wedding of the year and, just ahead, we will go inside the chapel, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot. Stay with us.

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VANIER: Welcome back. In just one week Britain's Prince Harry will wed Meghan Markle. Our Max Foster goes inside the historic St. George's Chapel and walks the path that will take the bride from American celebrity to British royalty.

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MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Windsor Castle, homes to kings and queens for nearly a thousand years. And within its grounds, St. George's Chapel, where many members of the family have been baptized, married and, yes, buried.

When Meghan Markle is driven into these hallowed grounds packed with special guests, she will mark a new chapter in this most famous of family histories. FOSTER: The car will come into what will be a quite eerily quiet cloister. It will stop here. And the first thing that will confront the bride is some 20 steps leading up to the chapel.

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FOSTER (voice-over): As Meghan Markle enters the church, the guests will turn around and see her at the west door beneath that spectacular stained glass window. This whole area will be filled with seats, 600 people in total.

And whilst it looks vast and spacious, it is actually quite intimate at this level. And quite a narrow aisle as we move up from the nave into the choir. And a few more steps.

As she enters the choir, wherever she looks, she will see a nod to the Knights of the Garter. It's the highest order of chivalry in the land, the oldest in the world. High up on the ceiling, a bust of Henry VIII, who completed this church 500 years ago.

Flags represent all the current Knights of the Garter, including the best man there, Prince William, his flag, and below it, the seat where he would normally sit. So all of these plaques represent a Knight of the Garter.

A gray marble slab sunken into the aisle, another reminder of Henry VIII, as Meghan Markle will literally --

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FOSTER (voice-over): -- walk over his grave toward her fiance. Past the royal family, who'll be seated on this side, the bride's family on the other side and she will eventually settle up there by the steps, where she will meet Harry.

And with the words "I will," an American celebrity becomes British royalty -- Max Foster, CNN, Windsor, England.

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VANIER: Now Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will likely redefine Britain's most famous family and might even change the monarchy forever. But before they got together, they had their own adventures. CNN takes an inside look.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a woman who has been married. People are fascinated by the fact that she was divorced. People are fascinating by her background, her acting, a career woman.

How would that work being with someone in the royal family?

That's not what we've seen before.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They also have not seen someone biracial dating a member of the royal family. And some of the conversation is blatantly racist.

AFUA HIRSCH, JOURNALIST: There was one newspaper headline saying, "Straight out of Compton," suggesting that she was from a gang-ridden neighborhood.

CAMEROTA: Afua Hirsch is a journalist and recently wrote a book about race, identity and belonging in Britain.

HIRSCH: Would Harry be dropping around for tea in gangland, which was very clearly racially loaded.

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VANIER: You can catch the rest of CNN's special report, "A Royal Match: Harry and Meghan," several times this weekend. That includes Saturday night in the U.S. and Sunday night in London.

And millions of people in Europe and parts of the world are expected to drop everything in a few hours to watch the annual Eurovision song contest.

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VANIER (voice-over): Eurovision is known for its sometimes bizarre acts, even launching groups such as Abba. This year a Chinese TV station is banned from broadcasting the final because it had censored earlier performances with LGBT themes.

Diehard fans are crowding into Lisbon, Portugal, the show's host city as producers say acts from 26 countries will celebrate diversity through music.

And that does it for us this hour. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'm back with the headlines in a moment.