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Connecting Two Political Messes, in the U.S. and the U.K.; With 8 Months to Go, Brexit Remains a Mess; Despite Criticism, Trump Says Putin Talks Were Even Better than Meeting with NATO; Trump Facing Criticism from All Sides After Helsinki; Leave Campaign Fined for Breaking Electoral Law; Russia Hails Trump Summit as Major Success for Putin. Aired 11-12n

Aired July 17, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome, you're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson here in Abu

Dhabi. It is 7:00 p.m. in the evening.

Well, this hour we are connecting two of the biggest stories in the world. Roiling for some two years there or thereabouts, coming together right now.

Both absolutely massive. Political black holes sucking up every drop of oxygen and energy, obsessing and exhausting their entire political systems

and their people.

First, look at this. Donald Trump on a day unlike any other. That'll go down in history. Choosing to be side by side, shoulder to shoulder with

Russia's strong man, Vladimir Putin. Simply choosing to believe Russia over America on Moscow attacking the election that made Trump President.

Have a listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they

said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.


ANDERSON: That sending an enormous tidal wave of criticism hurtling towards the American President. As you're seeing on your screens, a lot of

it coming from his own people. His own party. Lambasted as disgraceful. The quote, imbecile. Even a traitor by some of them. Amongst other



SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The President's comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover.

SEN. BENJAMIN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: We did not negotiate from a position of strength. We acted from a position of weakness.

REP. WILL HURD, (R), TEXAS: I've seen the Russian intelligence and you know, manipulate many people in my career. And I never would have thought

the U.S. President would be one of them.


ANDERSON: Well do you think that Mr. Trump might pause, take all this in and maybe change his style a bit, you're wrong. Last hour, back on Twitter

calling the meeting greater and better than great.

We'll get you more on all of that. Especially Trump's reaction to the fallout. Heads up, he's furious, but now let's put it on ice for a second.

As we connect you to our second huge story this hour. This very moment, Brexit having its biggest day since Brexit with eight months to go and

counting until it all happens, it's still a cataclysmic mess for this woman, the Prime Minister Not she, not anyone in London it seems, in fact,

have any grip whatsoever on sorting it all out. All with a political civil war tearing through her own party and the government. Well this huge story

moving at lightning speed right now and the building just behind Hala Gorani. Hala, connecting you to the important details here -- Hala.

HALA GORANI, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Right, absolutely -- Becky. Lawmakers just behind me are debating another bill, it's the trade bill.

And that's how this country will do business with the world after Brexit. Last night was another huge piece of legislation. The Prime Minister

caving in pretty much, slapping her own brand-new Brexit plan in the face that she only came up with three weeks ago. You called it a cataclysmic

mess, that is what's going on. There's a lot going on. Nina dos Santos is with me, Peter Kellner, a British journalist and the former head of You-

Gov, a big polling organization in this country.

Peter Kellner, I'm going to start with you. First of all, the big question is will Theresa May survive? Because she has unhappy members of her own

party on the hard Brexit side and on the softer Brexit side.

PETER KELLNER, JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Will she survive the vote tonight? I don't know. It's going to be very close. I think there's

a key amendment going to be voted on in about two hours from now. There's a real possibility the government will lose. That doesn't necessarily mean

it's the end of Theresa May. In many other circumstances, a prime minister would fall over something like this. But you know, the Conservative Party

they're so divided. They know that if they move against her if either faction, either the pro Europeans, anti-Europeans, move against her, they

might let in somebody they like even less. So, I'm not sure that she will be wounded but I doubt think she'll be killed.

GORANI: Will there be a leadership -- I mean, will there be a no confidence vote? Could we see another general election? Could we see

another referendum, even?

[11:05:05] KELLNER: I think a referendum is more likely than another election. Nobody really wants another election.

GORANI: Really?

KELLNER: In order to get to the agreements for the election, not going to boring mechanical details, in effect you need the Conservative Party,

pretty well together to say we want an election. But they know if we have an election now, the warfare inside the Tory Party, is largely contained

within the buildings behind us, would go right out into the country. It would be utterly divided party. They don't want that. If parliament can't

sort out Europe, are they intent with an election? What's the alternative? The alternative is another referendum. I'm not saying it's certain, I'm

not even saying it's probable. But the possibility is there.

GORANI: The remainers would be happy for that to happen. Just tell our viewers though what are they debating today? Because there are a few

amendments that would require the U.K. to remain in the customs union.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, she in fact had to capitulate on a couple of amendments, though quite significant ones on the customs bill

yesterday. Today they're going to be debating the trade issue. A couple of the concessions that Theresa May had to make to her hardline Brexiteer

part of her party if you like, Hala, could be quite problematic for her. Because essentially what they would do is they would force her into

situation where she'd have to agree something with the European Union. We know already they've said they will not necessarily agree to. So, it just

removes more and more of the wiggle room and room for maneuver that she has at this point.

And whether or not we'll see another leadership battle, who knows, it's looking rather tenuous. But again, the question is, who wants to do the

job? Brexit is the most divisive issue so far and it's very difficult to see how she can get things passed in her party or passed Brussels.

GORANI: Peter, I have a question that many people around the world ask me when I travel -- why not have a second referendum on the Brexit plan?

Because people voted to leave the EU. They didn't vote on how to leave the EU? Why is that controversial?

KELLNER: Personally, think it's a big case for that. The people who won the first referendum say this is just the remainers, wanting not to accept

what the British public decided two years ago. But I agree with you. It may be -- there will be a deep crisis this autumn which the referendum is

the only way out. Nobody knew two years ago what -- we don't know today what the terms of the deal is. Even if parliament comes together around a

particular proposal, that's still got to be negotiated with Michel Barnier and the other people in the European Union. And they're not going to

accept were we are now.

GORANI: Brexit is in March of next year, let's be realistic. We won't have a deal or the outlines of a deal by March of next year, will we?

DOS SANTOS: And actually, to get to the point of March next year, you have to get past October. Because that's when the next big EU summit is taking

place. I was in Brussels just a week or so ago and everybody was beating the drum roll towards this big October summit. Where allegedly Theresa May

was supposed to have the paperwork sorted out, so it could be rubberstamped by the EU over the course of the next three months after that. That

doesn't look like it's going to happen.

KELLNER: And remember, March is not the deadline, it's to withdraw. But whatever deal is done -- if a deal is done -- it's got to be voted on by

the European Parliament. It's got to go to all the other 27 parliaments, 27-member states. And so, October is the sort of deadline. I think

December the is the real, real final ultimate deadline. So, you've got almost five months from now. And that includes quite a long summer break.

Hard to see them doing it.

GORANI: From a polling perspective, what do the British people want? Do they want another referendum? Do they want a hard Brexit? Do they want a

soft Brexit? Do they want to reconsider maybe the decision that the majority made in June two years ago?

KELLNER: As an obsessive poll-watcher. When a lot of polls are being done about should we have a referendum, it depends how you ask the question.

When you ask do you want to second referendum, on the whole people say, no. If you ask them, should the public have the final say, oh, that's a good

idea. So, what that really tells you is the public hasn't really made up its mind on this issue. I think it will have to this autumn and I think it

will. This is in terms of the public as well as Westminster, as well as Brussels, this is very, very fluid. It's not yet fixed.

GORANI: But also, there's a million different ways to Brexit , Nina. Can you leave, but you can leave with very close ties or hard Brexit. Just

absolutely off the cliff. No customs union. No common market. No harmonization of any kind of rules and regulations.

DOS SANTOS: The so-called hard Brexit or no deal Brexit if you like. That is looking like a realistic possibility here. Because the difference --

GORANI: Is it?

DOS SANTOS: Well, it is increasingly. Because the difference --

GORANI: But it's economically extremely damaging.

DOS SANTOS: It is, but the ideological differences within some of the hardline factions inside the Conservative Party and of course on the other

side of the aisle -- we also have a Labour Party that publicly doesn't necessarily want to advocate another referendum.

[11:10:00] Doesn't necessarily want to stay inside the European Union. But it does have some pro remain elements inside it as well. The differences

are just so significant that we are moving perilously close towards a hard Brexit.

KELLNER: Forgive me for disagreeing. A hard Brexit is theoretically possible. But it will be so catastrophic. Lorries piling up. Queues lies

back to at Dover. Medicines not coming into Britain. British Airlines not being able to fly into Europe. If it's really a breakdown. I think

parliament -- politics will not let that happen. How do we get out of it? Well, whether it's another referendum, I don't know. But a genuine no-deal

Brexit would be such a catastrophe it won't happen.

GORANI: Peter Kellner and Nina dos Santos -- but again, as you told me off air we have no idea where we'll be six months from now. Becky, there you

have it, that's the latest from Westminster, back to you.

ANDERSON: Hala, thank you for that. That's the politics in Britain. Very important times there. And still to come on this show, backlash at home

and abroad. Donald Trump returns from his summit with Vladimir Putin to a firestorm of controversy there at home in the U.S. There's even some fellow

Republicans say he betrayed his country.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with, me, Becky Anderson. It is just about 7:15 here in the UAE, 11:15 in Washington. And

we return now to what is a tidal wave of criticism coming at Donald Trump from both Republicans and house Democrats at home and America's allies

around the world. The U.S. President siding with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies at the Helsinki summit this time yesterday. Not

only playing up Putin's denial of election interference, but even doubting why Russia would want to interfere.

In the first place, and now in another move, sure to alarm NATO allies, Mr. Trump tweeting that his talks with Vladimir Putin went even better than the

NATO summit. No one knows where the fallout will lead. But one thing does seem certain, the next few days could be critical to see whether words of

outrage amount to any kind of action before the news cycle moves on.

[11:15:05] The top Senate Democrat spoke in Congress just moments ago. Chuck Schumer said, what we heard in public from Mr. Trump was alarming

enough. But the U.S. must know now what might happen behind closed doors when President Trump met alone with Vladimir Putin. Chuck Schumer is

demanding hearings to compel testimony from Mr. Trump's national security team who accompanied him to the summit. A bit earlier, Republican House

Speaker, Paul Ryan, also spoke out. Have a listen.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Let me be really clear, let me try to be as clear as I can to the world and the country. We stand by our

NATO allies and all those countries who are facing Russia aggression. How many times have I stood up here and told you what I think about Vladimir

Putin? Vladimir Putin does not share our interests, Vladimir Putin does not share our values.

We just conducted a year-long investigation into Russia's interference in our elections. They did interfere in our elections, it's really clear,

there should be no doubt about that. It's also clear that it didn't have a material effect on our elections. But as a result of that, we passed tough

sanctions on Russia so that we can hold them accountable. I understand the desire and the need to have good relations. That's perfectly reasonable.

But Russia is a menacing government that does not share our interests and it does not share our values.


ANDERSON: During the summit, in Helsinki, a reporter asked Mr. Trump if he holds Russia accountable for anything, election interference aside. He

could have mentioned Crimea. The bombing of civilians in Syria. The poisoning of a Russian former spy in Britain. But he didn't name any of

those things. The question on so many minds today, is why. Why is President Trump so hesitant to criticize anything Vladimir Putin does?

Let's bring in our reporters now. Stephen Collinson will answer that question or certainly try to in Washington. Fred Pleitgen is at the summit

site in Helsinki and Sam Kiley is in Moscow. And Fred, with no official communique the world understandably left trying to work out why the U.S.

President treated the Russian President the way he did. And what if anything was agreed upon during this summit? Is it any clearer at this


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really isn't any clearer. You're absolutely right, Becky, that the world at this point

is trying to find out what exactly President Trump had in mind when he met with President Putin. It's interesting to see one of the biggest dailies

here in Helsinki. Simply put that picture of President Putin giving President Trump a soccer ball, a football. And the headline was simply,

Putin 1, Trump 0. And it turns out that they believe, obviously, that President Putin is the one who came away from this meeting stronger of

these two leaders.

And then you obviously have some of America's closest allies who are quite concerned about some of the things that have been said. We've been getting

reaction from the likes of Germany for instance. Of course, where President Trump has criticized them very heavily. Saying look, they hope

that lot of the things that were discussed here will not translate into policy over the long run. So obviously you have some of America's allies,

who really didn't like what they heard from this meeting.

As far as things that were agreed, there might be some incremental things that were agreed, but by and large this was a very short talk. One that

focused on a lot of various different issues. It could be a stepping stone for some things but certainly didn't go into much in the way of detail.

They talked about arms control, for instance, saying that both of them want to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons. Maybe try to get a new treaty

going as well. Then of course you have the big-ticket issues like for instance Ukraine and Syria. Ukraine for instance, didn't seem to be much

movement on that. Syria potentially a little bit of movement where the Russians were saying, look, maybe there is some way to get refugees or

displaced people inside Syria, back to their homes. But exactly how that's supposed to happen is very much unclear.

They obviously also talked about the problem of Iran. That was something that President Trump wanted to bring up. By and large though, Becky, this

was a discussion where I think if you look especially at the Russian side, the optics to them mattered a lot more than the substance. And I think

that's something for President Trump as well. He tweeted not long ago saying that he believed that the meeting he had here with Vladimir Putin

went even better -- as he put it -- than the NATO meeting. We know what we heard after the NATO meeting. It seemed like the only person who is happy

with that meeting was in fact President Trump -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Well, magnificent is how Moscow has described this and I'll get to you, Sam, in a moment. But Stephen, you're in Washington, Donald Trump

facing criticism from all sides. This is one of Mr. Trump's most loyal supporters had to say about the summit. Listen to the former White House

communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I believe that the President didn't collude, and I accept him at his word there. But

I also believe Dan Coats that the Russian government and Russian intelligence officers are trying to disrupt our democracy.

[11:20:04] And they're trying to make Americans lose trust in the faith of their democratic institutions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the President needs to do something about it.

SCARAMUCCI: He's got to speak out about it and he's got to reverse course immediately. And I'm telling you, if you don't reverse course immediately,

what ends up happening is unnatural alliances are going to build up in Washington, and outside of Washington.


ANDERSON: Reverse course immediately. This straight after the summit. This is how one of his most loyal supporters, Stephen, responded to the way

he behaved. Why would the U.S. President have behaved this way?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think there are many theories about that. I think we'll have to wait to see what the special

counsel Robert Mueller says to decipher whether there is indeed some compromising material that Russia has on the President. Which a lot of

people in fact more people are coming to believe, may have something to do with his very solicitous relationship with Vladimir Putin.

I think there are a number of explanations for this. And I think a lot of them are personal perhaps more than political. The President is fixated

with his relationships, with strong men leaders, I think he sees himself in that company. So, Vladimir Putin of course is the most extreme example.

He never criticizes Putin. He seems to admire him greatly. But if you look at the President's relationship with Xi Jinping of China, other

strongmen leaders around the world. President Duterte in the Philippines. Erdogan in Turkey. When he's in the presence of these leaders, the

President becomes almost obsequious. And I think it's because he sees himself in the image of their strength.

And he does have, let's face it, autocratic tendencies. He basically went into that summit after rejecting all the advice of all his advisers and met

with Vladimir Putin for nearly two hours alone. This is someone that believes that he should be sitting down, with the great strongmen of the

world, and sorting out all the global crises. He's not someone that is instinctively looks to organizations like the U.N. like NATO, like the WTO

to solve problems. He thinks he should be sitting down with the world's most powerful people and righting the world's wrongs. And I think we saw

that play out in the summit yesterday.

ANDERSON: Inept and disgraceful were just two comments about the way that the U.S. President conducted himself, Sam, in the press conference. But as

we pointed out at the beginning of this, no official communique about what was actually discussed or agreed upon. I know that President Putin did a

round of post-summit interviews and briefings. What's the perspective about what was achieved during this one-on-one in Moscow?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think essentially, Becky, that this was an opportunity for Russia to come in from the cold

after a couple of years at least of feeling the chill winds from the international community. Now it may have just involved one man's

relationship with another man. But certainly, from the Russian perspective, as you hinted there. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign

minister saying he was magnificent. Better than super. Almost camp expressions to come from a man who is normally extremely cold-blooded in

these environments, very statesman like man, Mr. Lavrov. But he was seen high-fiving in the corridors with his colleagues after Helsinki. So, from

their perspective, it is a much more general position about being in an opportunity to warm things up. No substantive movements though, and that

probably, Becky, suits Russia.

ANDERSON: And so, that does raise the question whether any sort of substantive damage has really been done aside from the way that the U.S.

President conducted himself. I wonder with your sources in intelligence, what we know about his erstwhile allies, foes that the U.S. President has

refer to some of his allies, feel about his performance so far as being trustworthy is concerned. I know you talk to sources in intelligence

agencies for example. Do they trust this U.S. President?

KILEY: Well, there is a lack of trust that goes back if you'll recall, Becky. When he was not meeting one-on-one. In fact, he was recorded,

speaking to Sergey Lavrov and then Russian ambassador, revealing a third states very highly secret and sensitive intelligence about a plot from the

so-called Islamic state emanating from Syrian territory.

[11:25:00] He revealed information that was for his eyes only that resulted in some very rapid scrambling to try and protect lives following

that lead. That was seen as outright incompetence. That created extreme frictions with a very, very close ally of the United States in terms of

intelligence. And I have it from a numerous sources in that agency, that they don't do any top-level intelligence share anything more with the

Americans, because they don't trust Donald Trump not to blurt it out.

Going into this meeting therefore in Helsinki, a further level of discomfort ahead of the meeting came from this perception that perhaps he's

not only prone to blurting things out, but that he may well be compromised. Now there is something almost James Bond-y about that idea. I have no

evidence whatsoever that any agency actually believes him to be compromised. But they certainly believe that he might be. And as far as

they're concern, it's not worth taking the risk. If he's either incompetent or compromised and there are people's lives on the line.

Agents and operatives in the world's most dangerous places. They are now saying that they are definitely not sharing top-level of intelligence with

the highest levels of the CIA and other agencies of United States of America, that is strategically catastrophic -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Compromised, incompetent, very briefly, Stephen, I just wonder how long Republicans can continue to back this President. Briefly, sir?

COLLINSON: I don't think this is going to change anything. Republican voters are from 87 percent approval rating of the President. They're

deeply invested in what he's doing domestically. They're now having a Supreme Court nomination that will change the shape of American culture,

law and life for the next generation. I expect although there's a lot of storm over this right now, it will pass as far as domestic politics in the

United States is concerned.

ANDERSON: Remarkable. To you all, gentlemen, thank you. You can get a lot more analysis from Stephen Collinson and indeed our colleague, Nic

Robertson, online. Just had to our website and read why Stephen says the Helsinki Summit is a day that will live in infamy. Scroll around and

you'll also find insightful reporting from Nic. Who argues that Presidents Trump and Putin are pulling the West apart. That and much more. Many of

our colleagues writing really good insightful analysis on what has been quite a remarkable period in time. You know where to find that,

Meanwhile, a Russian woman has been arrested in the United States on charges of being a foreign agent and trying to interfere in U.S. elections.

Prosecutors say Maria Butina wanted to set up back-channel communications between U.S. politicians and the Russian government including between

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Butina has been connected to gun rights advocates in the U.S. and in Russia. Her lawyer denies she is a Russian


You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson. Just before 7:30 in the UAE.

Just ahead, we go back to parliament in the U.K. for more on the vote to come tonight. The fallout from that vote around Brexit that happened two

years ago. The latest arguments over Brexit, when we come back.


ANDERSON: This is CNN and CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. If you're just joining us, you're more than welcome, it's 7:30 in the UAE.

This is a program broadcast from our Middle Eastern hub.

Today, two massive political moments in time that are defining our world. Connecting you first to one in Washington, the American President there

facing a firestorm of criticism from the highest parts of his own party. Some labeling him a traitor. After throwing his own intelligence agencies

under a bus instead of backing the Russian President's claim that he didn't attack America's last presidential elections.

Well, the other big story happening in London. Where parliament just cannot figure out how to handle Brexit. In the next few hours, another

round of votes in the House of Commons are likely to further muddle Prime Minister, Theresa May's Brexit plans or so the experts say. And there is

outrage from Brexit skeptics over word that the leave campaign violated election rules ahead of the original Brexit vote two years ago. The leave

campaign has been fined. But many say there needs to be a much stiffer punishment.

Well let's go back to parliament. Nina dos Santos is there. And, Nina, have a look at these poll numbers. Asking people how they think the Prime

Minister is doing with Brexit. Supporting her, 24 percent, against her, 53. That number up 10 percent from about three weeks before this poll was

done. Caveat, as Peter Kellner rightly pointed out with you early on, the results of these polls really depend on what you ask. If you ask whether

there should be a second referendum. The latest betting is that you'd likely get a no. This is a huge day for Theresa May and her Brexit plan.

But I wonder, Nina, whether this couldn't just be the end of her troubles rather than the beginning. If she gets a win tonight, her very opponent in

her own party, who want nothing to do with Europe going forward, may have no ammo left. Is there an argument in that?

DOS SANTOS: Well, there might be an argument. Remember, we've also had nine government ministers resign over the last few weeks. Who were

obviously thorns in her side who are ardent euro skeptics, and they didn't like the way how she was negotiating Brexit. Said she was giving away too

much. If she manages to hold on to power and has gotten rid of them, well that again will helpful for her, won't it?

But remember that we're also here in Westminster on an evening when she's trying to get the summer recess to happen earlier than expected to try and

avoid a no-confidence vote from her own party. And that gives you an idea of just how tense the situation is. She may well face a bit of a rebellion

on one and have to capitulate on that. She's already had to capitulate we know, Becky, on some big elements of the customs bill and that famous white

paper that's published by the government. It's most significant policy document for negotiating Brexit after the so-called famous Chequers


[11:35:00] Where she managed to get her warring cabinet behind her. That again is looking as though it has been shredded into tatters. So, in the

next few hours we have the government voting on a final bit of legislation, a trade bill. It's not clear whether that's going to go through. It may

go through, but she may be again battered and bruised. And having had to capitulate to loud voices in her party who want to see a hard Brexit. Even

though it might not make economic sense -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Her supporters would say she has compromise and this is all about negotiation before she takes this plan to the EU. Be that as it may,

let's just discuss what this leave campaign news means today. Outrage from Brexit skeptics over word that the leave campaign violated election rules

ahead of the original Brexit vote back in June of 2016. What does this mean if anything?

DOS SANTOS: Well this is important. Because we're here debating how to go about Brexit. One of the hardest political decisions this country has had

to make in a generation. And now obviously this news from the electoral commission which by the way is the third time that they've had to find a

pro leave campaign in the last six months or so, Becky.

This also throws the question of legitimacy of the whole outcome of the referendum up in the air as well. We've seen prominent pro remain voices,

in the opposition Labour Party, table urgent questions, asking for an independent inquiry into all of this.

Essentially vote leave is significant here. Having been fined and also its official recommended for a police investigation. Because it was the

official leave campaign. Many senior members of the Conservative Party, including Dominick Raab, who is now Theresa May's new Brexit secretary, the

man in charge of the negotiating Brexit with Europe. They were on the committee of this particular campaign group. And it seems as though it

overspent by hundreds of thousands of pounds. It put its efforts alongside another pro Brexit campaign group without making that particularly clear.

And that one is also subject to a police investigation. I should point out that there was a third pro Brexit party that campaign group that is also

been fined and recommended for a police investigation. That one backed by Aaron Banks back in May. And Aaron Banks we know has close ties to Russia.

So, the question of interference in the Brexit referendum here. Potentially foreign money in the Brexit referendum -- unconfirmed. But

again, these are the kind of questions that MPs want a transparent debate upon. Because they say without having that it undermines the very

institution of democracy and the whole outcome of the referendum -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nina dos Santos outside the palace of Westminster. A lot of action there tonight and what is an enormous day for Brexit. Possibly the

biggest since the June 26th referendum. And here we are, more than two years later and the thing is still being debated. Nowhere close to working

out what will actually be delivered to the EU. And whether the EU will ever agree. Nina, thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, the fallout from the Trump-Putin summit in the United States was fast and swift. But

some countries saw the summit as a success. Why? That's next.


ANDERSON: You're back with us on CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you, 8:40 in the evening where we are based here in the UAE.

Condemnation was swift after Donald Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin. But in all of these allies were shocked or surprised by Monday's events in

Helsinki. In fact, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu liked what he saw. For more we are joined by CNN's Ian Lee in Jerusalem -- Ian.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, while most of the security establishment in the United States, if not all of it, views Russia as a

major threat, Israel views it somewhat differently. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he sees Russia as a strategic partner. Especially when

it comes to the situation in Syria. The Prime Minister has visited Russia a number of times. In fact, he visited recently just before the summit.

The one thing that he keeps talking about is Iran in Syria. How for the Prime Minister, first he would like to get rid of Iran in Syria? As that

seems very unlikely. How to campaign Iran and Syria. That's where he wants Russia's help.

And he also pressed the U.S. President Donald Trump to convey that message to Russia as well. They believe that, OK, they can't get Iran out of

Syria, so the next best thing is to keep it away from that frontier that separates Syria from Israel to keep Iranian forces out of there. And

Israeli officials have said, that they've told us that they believe that Russia can play a part in this. Because Russia has spent so much blood and

treasure inside Syria. That once the dust settles, it looks like Assad will be there. And Russia doesn't want anything to disrupt that calm once

this civil war is over.

The Prime Minister said after this, he said that he comments the abiding commitment of the U.S. and President Donald Trump to the security of Israel

and as expressed at the meeting, the friendship between Israel and the U.S. has never been stronger. Even President Putin also said that Israel's

security came up and that the U.S. President paid special attention to it - - Becky.

ANDERSON: Ian lee in Jerusalem. Well Israel is not the only country pleased with the summit. Here's what China said. And I quote, as

permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and influential major global powers, Russia and the United States bear important responsibilities

on international peace and security. China is pleased to see Russia and the U.S. improve bilateral relations.

And another place where the Trump/Putin summit has been described as an unqualified success as you might expect, is in Russia. Mr. Putin's foreign

minister, Sergey Lavrov called the talks magnificent and I quote, better than super.

And as Sam Kiley now reports, Kremlin-friendly news outlets are portraying the American President as a friend of mother Russia.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian pundits delighted. No real challenge from Trump of Putin over Russia's

alleged meddling in his election.

ALEKSEY PUSHKOV, MEMBER, RUSSIAN FEDERATION COUNSIL (through translator): An attempt to blame Russia, 12 people from Russia for the meddling of 2016,

which was absolutely designed to tie Trump's hands. We had no room for maneuvering talks with Putin to turn the theme of meddling into the main

topic of discussion between the two Presidents. This attempt failed.

Well, can you imagine tomorrow's headline of the "New York Times"? It seems to me that it will be easy. I wanted Trump to win. This is what

Putin said.

KILEY: In Russia there were no surprises from the Helsinki summit. Here, people have come to expect to hear Putin and Trump sing the same tune.

Take, for example, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which was set out to defend against the Soviet threat. Donald Trump, not much of a fan.

TRUMP: NATO is really there for Europe. Much more so than us. It helps Europe. No matter what our military people or your military people say,

helps Europe more than it helps us.

KILEY: Putin, happy to see frictions in the ranks of his rivals.

[11:45:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Putin, does all this squabbling over NATO help Russia?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Well in a sense that maybe they should completely be falling apart. That will help. But

we don't see that falling apart just yet.

KILEY: A former U.S. ambassador laid out the arguments.

ALEXANDER VERSHBOW, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Putin sees NATO as kind of the main obstacle to his efforts to kind of re-divide Europe. He

doesn't like the European Union for the same reason because it's spreading democratic values to places like Ukraine and Georgia. And Trump seems to

see these institutions as problems rather than bastions of the defense of freedom.

KILEY: When eastern European nations flooded into the European Union following the end of the cold war, Putin was furious. And he sought to

undermine it ever since. Trump also names the EU as a rival.

TRUMP: I think I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe.

KILEY: A dozen Russian secret agents have been indicted by Robert Mueller's special counsel for trying to hack and disrupt the U.S.

elections. Trump insists that this is a witch hunt and fake news. Putin agrees, but admits that they did work for Russian interests.

PUTIN (through translator): Hackers are free-spirited people like artists, if they are in god mood in the morning, they wake up and paint. It is the

same for hackers. They wake up today, they read that something is happening in the inter-state relations, and if they're patriotically

minded, they start making their contributions.

KILEY: But given this bromance between these world leaders, Trump's critics and American allies remain fearful that the U.S. President himself

has been hacked. By a master of that dark art. Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.


ANDERSON: Well for more on how the Russian press reacted and is reacting to that summit. I'm joined by Julia Davis, a former U.S. Department of

Homeland Security officer. She's also a Russian media analyst. Who specializes, she's says in exposing Russian propaganda tactics. It's great

to have you on. Surreal to so many watching in the West. But the spin in Russia on this summit, neither I assume unfamiliar or a surprise to you.

Would you though go so far as to say that coverage might also be described as somewhat choreographed ahead of time?

JULIA DAVIS, FORMER U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER: Yes, thank you so much for having me. For the Russian media the summit was

considered a victory even before it happened. Because it means that the slate is being wiped blank. Wiped clean of any Russia's transgressions,

that means that Ukraine, Crimea, Donbas, Malaysia airliner, Skripal, no longer matter.

ANDERSON: You weren't surprised at all by the way that this summit was spun? I have to say I'm not sure that the Russian media necessarily need

to spin it. Lavrov describes it as better than super and magnificent. I mean, it is a sort of overwhelming sort of a sense that this was a cave-in

by the U.S. President.

DAVIS: Even the Russian media thought it was surreal, how far Trump went. Where it is seemed that Trump was placing more value in Putin than did he

in the U.S. intelligence agencies. And they were also pretty stunned that in his remarks, Trump didn't even mention Crimea. And Russian state

television said, Putin had to come to Trump's rescue and bringing up Crimea. So, Trump wouldn't look quite as pro-Russian as he did.

ANDERSON: So, there are whole load of remarkable moments, probably everybody has their favorite. This was perhaps one of mine. Russia today

journalist asked the Russian President whether indeed the ball is in Moscow's court as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had tweeted the night

before this summit. The question led to this exchange.


PUTIN (through translator): Speaking of having the ball in our court in Syria, Mr. President, I'll give the ball to you and now the ball is in your

court. The United States will host the World Cup in 2026.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. We do host it and we hope we do a good a job, that's very nice, that will go to my son, Barron. We have no question. In

fact, Melania, here you go.


ANDERSON: Julia, this is what I mean by asking you, just how much of what or the way that this was portrayed on Russian media and with Russian

journalists. Might be described as choreographed ahead of time. That question on the way that the Russian President responded to it. Certainly,

gave the impression that was sort of a preorganized, preordained moment in time, didn't it?

[11:50:04] DAVIS: It certainly seems that way. And they are fully enjoying the moment and riding it out. And like you said, they don't have

to spin it too much. Because the reality is pro-Russian as it is. And they are fully taking advantage of it as expected.

ANDERSON: What do you think the upshot or the upshot for the Russians is out of all of this? And the damage that might have been done to the U.S.

How are Russian medias portraying the sort of result of all of this?

DAVIS: Russian media are saying for Russia this was certainly a victory and a defeat for Trump. And Putin obtained an upper hand. Because Trump

essentially caved in and agreed to a normalization of relations with Russia. While Russia didn't have to give an inch. Didn't have to make any

concessions. And the U.S. now seems to be in the position where the first concession was made by even going through with the summit. And more

concessions are expected.

ANDERSON: If I suggested one word, ridiculed. As to the way that the Russian media have dealt with the U.S. President in this. Would that be


DAVIS: Trump was constantly being portrayed as --

ANDERSON: We are losing the technology.

DAVIS: -- competent and just a showman. But at the same time, they never lost faith that he would continue through with his pro-Russian agenda as

promised in his election campaign promises.

ANDERSON: Fascinating, Julia Davis is a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security officer and a Russian media analyst. And as we've heard in the

U.S. the reaction has been what has been harsh. Even from normally Trump- friendly outlets.

This is the U.S. delegation of Mr. Trump's meeting with Mr. Putin yesterday. Take a look at the man second from right wearing the blue tie.

That is the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman Jr. And now take a look at this. This is what his daughter and Fox News anchor, Abby Huntsman

tweeted after the joint press conference.

Quote, no negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus. And it doesn't stop there. The "Salt Lake Tribune", Ambassador

Huntsman's home-town paper -- which by the way is owned by his own brother, Paul -- ran an op-ed urging him to resign his post and come home.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, a former U.S. President, some dance moves and a great speech in honor of a great man.

All this, just ahead.


[11:55:00] Well if you few parting shots. We're going to shimmy over to Kenya for you. Former U.S. President Barack Obama showed off some smooth

moves. He was there for a family visit scoring major points for the community there. And today in Johannesburg, he met with the South African

President before address a 9,000 strong audience at the annual Nelson Mandela lecture.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Given the strange and uncertain times that we are in, and they are strange, and they are

uncertain -- I thought maybe it would be useful to step back for a moment and try to get some perspective. So, I hope you'll indulge me.


ANDERSON: And indulge him, they did. Hanging onto his every word as the former U.S. President laid out a road map for what could be ahead for our

strange and uncertain world. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. From the team working with me here and

those working with us around the world, it is a very good evening. "QUEST EXPRESS" though next. Don't go away.