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CONNECT THE WORLD
Trump Warns Countries Against Doing Business with Iran; Rick Gates Back on the Stand in Paul Manafort Trial; Firefighters Battle Biggest Blaze in California's History; Study Shows Earth at Risk of Entering "Hothouse" State; Spat Escalates as Riyadh Calls Off Flights to Canada; Amnesty International Says Coalition Strikes in Raqqah May Be War Crimes; Infowars Content Pulled for YouTube, Facebook, Apple. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired August 7, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome to connect the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta filling in for Becky Anderson. Good
to have you with us.
U.S. President Trump has pointed a warning finger at the world. That if you do business with Iran, you can't do business with the United States.
Now he tweeted that out earlier today, as the first wave of American sanctions against Iran came back into effect. Mr. Trump called them the
most biting sanctions ever. His last message could put the U.S. at odds with among others, the EU, which has promised to protect companies that
deal with Tehran.
Well, Iran's President says he's open to talks with the U.S. but suggested that wouldn't happen unless the sanctions are scaled back. So, is this a
deadlock? CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us from our London studio. And Nick, President Trump said these are the most biting sanctions ever
imposed. But these are simply being reimposed after being lifted in 2015. Explain for us what they entail? And what's the likelihood they'll achieve
what he's setting out in his tweet which is world peace.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well put world peace aside, obviously. I don't quite know why that came in as such a short
character message. Presumably the idea being that somehow, he hopes he can sort of suppress the Iranian government into a place where he no longer
considers them to be a regional threat. But the broader question of these being the harshest sanctions Iran has faced, as you said, they are
essentially halfway reinstating what they the Obama administration had in place prior to the nuclear deal.
Now you may argue that come November, when the sanctions finally take in the Iranian oil industry and banking sector, that there's also been other
things the U.S. have put in against other individuals in Iran. That potentially make the final posture tougher than the Obama administration.
That's a back and forth that you can have. But certainly, as of now it is for midnight tonight Iranian accesses to foreign-currency, U.S. currency
particularly, precious metals and there are also sanctions on the automotive industry. So, it's far from the worst we've ever seen at all,
but it is the beginning of the turning of the screw.
Now there is distance obviously between the U.S. and its European allies. The EU has said that it will do what it can to shield companies that want
to do, quote, legitimate business with Iran. That is a difficult concept to necessarily prescribe. Because many of these private firms themselves
have in fact taken the autonomous choice to not put any way at all in jeopardy of their business with the United States. Because that tweet very
clearly spells out that the White House believes it will putatively go after those who choose to do business with Iran, to keep them out of the
U.S. market. So, your company, you got to choose is a going to be America or Iran. Well, there's pretty much a no-brainer there.
But all of this his tweets is essentially part of a broader psychological warfare, the Iranian government won't say. But it's one that has a bit of
diplomacy in the background here as well. Because Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, has just recently suggested that he would be open to
quote, talks right away. Now there are caveats put on that it seems. It did appear in his statement he wanted to see sanctions lessened before he
would talk. And he also said -- I paraphrased here -- that you don't talk to somebody who's got a knife in your arm or your back.
But possibly he may have seen Donald Trump's performance in Singapore with North Korea or in Helsinki with Russia and seen how Washington's opponent
pretty much dictated the agenda after that and maybe sees an opening. We don't know. Hardliners in both Iran and the U.S. will be un-keen to see
the idea of talks coming through. But we're now into sort of a very slim window of opportunity before the oil and banking sanctions snap into place
in November -- Lynda.
KINKADE: All right, Nick Payton Walsh for us in London. Good to have you across the story for us. We are going to stay on this story. Life before
sanctions was hard for many Iranians. Isn't about to get even harder? Let's cross over to the U.S. capital and senior global affairs analyst,
Jason Rezaian, who joins us from the "Washington Post." Good to have you with us, Jason.
JASON REZAIAN, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thanks for having me on.
KINKADE: Iranian leaders have tried to spin this saying that these sanctions will be an opportunity for a resistant economy where domestic
production thrives. From your experience, that's far from reality, isn't it?
REZAIAN: Yes, well look, it does provide an opportunity when a country's economy and its consumers are cut off from the products of the rest of the
world to jump start domestic production. But there's so many other things getting in the way of Iran's domestic production. And you know, the
blockades on purchasing goods and making transactions in U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies is only going to make it harder. So, that's
really empty rhetoric right there.
KINKADE: And Jason, you made some predictions about how sanctions would affect life in Iran. A few days ago, in the "Washington Post" -- which I'd
like to just read out for our viewers.
[11:05:00] Among other things you said the rial, the currency, would freefall further limiting spending power and you predicted small businesses
that have thrived, would fold and drug addiction would increase. And you said the general malaise of a society living under the perpetual darkness
caused by being marked a pariah nation will only worsen.
Pretty powerful words that these sanctions, of course, don't directly target food or medicine. But they will be affected, just explain how.
REZAIAN: Well again, when you can't transact in the normal currencies of global commerce you have a difficult time purchasing goods from abroad.
And Iran is able to produce certain medications. But there are plenty of medications for more severe illnesses, cancer, epilepsy, kidney failure all
sorts of stuff that Iran's medical industry or pharmaceutical industry don't produce themselves. So, they need to import them from abroad. Even
if they're not blocked from doing that by sanctions they're going to have a difficult time accessing those things.
And I think, you know, that the notion that the malaise in the country is going to spread, this is a long-term problem that Iran has faced, of being
isolated from the world economy. That the nuclear deal was supposed to bring Iranians back into the fold of nations, people had a lot of hope and
you know from their point of view, unfortunately, you know, because of their own government's mismanagement and because of obstinance by Western
leaders in bringing Iran back into the world, you know, they're the ones that are bearing brunt of this.
KINKADE: We have seen some sporadic protests in Iran. The majority of which seem to be targeted at the Iranian regime. Let's take a quick listen
to what some people in Iran are saying about all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm so worried about my life, future, country and as a young girl, I'm worried about my job, there are no
job opportunities and I'm afraid of losing my job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I feel like my life is being destroyed. The leaders of the country must think about the poor. No one
is concerned about workers there are no job opportunities for workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: And Jason from the people you've spoken to in Iran, does that sentiment ring true for the majority of Iranians? Are most angry about
corruption within the regime?
REZAIAN: People have been long angered about corruption inside the regime. But they also looked to the West and specifically the United States to come
to their aid somehow. But I don't hear anybody talking about how sanctions are going to make their life better. You know, they look at this as a two-
pronged problem. One, you know, the United States and other governments have pushed Iran's government into a corner. And Iran's government has
responded by protecting itself, and not serving its people. So as usual, they're stuck between two bad situations.
KINKADE: And Jason, we heard from President Rouhani late yesterday saying that he is willing to talk to U.S. with no preconditions. Although we've
since heard that Iran saying you can't negotiate with someone holding a knife. So, put your knife away in your pocket. That seems to sound like a
precondition. Do you see these talks happening?
REZAIAN: Ultimately, I think there will be talks again between the U.S. and Iran. If you recall the nuclear negotiations between world powers led
by the U.S. and Iran, in 2014 and '15 were the first direct negotiations, public negotiations between the two countries. I don't think you can put
the genie back in the bottle. There is interaction between the two governments, but I think both the Rouhani administration and the Trump
administration have sort of painted themselves into a corner. Where it going to take some time to walk back some of the rhetoric about what it
will take to, for the conditions to be optimal for the two sides to sit down.
And I think from the Iranian side, you know, they negotiated a deal that was supposed to lift sanctions, you know, permanently. And now less than
just a couple of years later, they're facing extreme measures, once again. So, you know, I think for them they have to be asking themselves what's the
benefit in it for us. And I don't think the Trump administration has really outlined yet what their strategy is and what their plan is.
Yes, certainly a big questions over trust there. Jason Rezaian always good to have you on. Thank you so much.
REZAIAN: Thank you.
KINKADE: Well, President Trump is remaining silent so far on the blockbuster testimony that's pitting two of his former senior campaign
officials against each other in court. Deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, is back on the stand today in the trial against former Trump
campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Now the prosecution's star witness told jurors that he helped Manafort, a long-time business associate, commit
crimes by hiding millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts.
[11:10:00] Manafort stared down Gates with an ice-cold glare, as testified Monday. Gates is expected to be cross-examined by Manafort's attorneys
Well, the defense is looking to undercut Gates' credibility. But Gates is cooperating with the special counsel on the Russia investigation and has
incentive to tell the truth on the stand. If he doesn't, his plea deal could fall apart.
Well, let's bring in CNN's Stephen Collinson to unpack some of this for us. And Stephen, we've got the deputy campaign chairman for the U.S. President,
testifying against the campaign chairman. It's quite a sight to see, and these crimes could mean a long-time behind bars. Certainly, it seems to
we're going to see Manafort's defense team try to discredit Gates today.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. Basically, what Manafort's defense team is going to say that Rick Gates is the real villain
here. And that he masterminded this scheme to funnel money from pro- Russian oligarchs in Ukraine who are barking the former President Victor Yanukovych through accounts in Cyprus to finance this lavish lifestyle that
Paul Manafort create for himself in the United States.
What's happening right now in the trial actually is that the prosecution is going through a number of e-mails. Gates testified that there were
hundreds of these, which purport to show that Manafort ordered Gates to make these transfers, and basically what they're trying to do is set up a
paper trail that adds to Gates' credibility. And you're right, basically Gates has a great deal of incentive to tell the truth, even though he's
admitted he lied in the past, and he's spending was time actually stealing money from Manafort's accounts in Cypress himself. Because he's facing
many years in jail himself if the judge in the case doesn't decide that he's made a useful contribution and sort of exposing what the prosecutors
allege are far greater crimes by Manafort.
KINKADE: Yes, certainly a fascinating case to watch, and interesting to know the President hasn't really weighed in on Twitter yesterday or today
But I want to move to the midterm elections, fast approaching of course. You've got a special election under way in Ohio today. A district
President Trump won by double digits, now up for grabs and Mr. Trump is going into bat for a Republican candidate. Backing Troy Balderson, who is
trying to fend off a surging Democratic challenger, Republicans, of course, have held that seat for decades, but polls show the race is too close to
call. Stephen, Democrats believe a win in Ohio could signal a strange chance they may take back at least one House of Congress in fall. This
certainly is one to watch. Right?
COLLINSON: Yes, this is a really interesting one. If the Democrats win this seat tonight you're going to see I think a great deal of concern, if
not panic among many Republicans who feared what they see as this Democratic blue wave coming in November that could turn the control of the
House of Representatives, from the Republicans to the Democrats. And of course, pose all sorts of problems for Donald Trump's presidency. The
question in this case is whether Trump's appearance in the seat over the weekend can lift conservative voters, motivate them to get out to vote.
Even though he's not on the ballot.
But the Democrats hope that his presence will sort of turn away some suburban, especially women voters in places like the suburban areas of
Columbus, or even get more Democrats out to vote. So, this is really in many ways a litmus test for what could happen in November. This is a
really interesting gubernatorial race in Kansas tonight as well. Donald Trump defied the advice of his advisers, his political team and strongly
backed Kris Kobach running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. A lot of Republicans fear that Kobach, who's a hardliner on immigration, very
close to Trump, could also incite Democratic turnout and even give the Democrats a chance to win in the fall in Kansas. And there are several
really key house seats in Kansas that could go either way, in November. If Democrats come out, in protest against Kobach, the Trump-backed Republican
that could weigh into those races. So, there's some really interesting political questions tonight that could give us some inkling into the big
election night that's looming now just a few months away.
KINKADE: Certainly, the President has a few things to be nervous about today. All right Stephen Collinson in D.C., good to have you with us.
If you've been following Manafort's trial, no doubt you've heard about the ostrich jacket and other extravagant pieces in his lavish wardrobe. Now
you can visit the boutique where Manafort reportedly spent half a million dollars on clothes. You can go to our website to check out the House of
Bijan often described as the most expensive men's clothing store in the world. That can be found at CNN.com.
[11:15:04] Well, live from Atlanta this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, as extreme heat and bone-dry vegetation fill California's biggest fire
ever. Could these scorching summers be the new normal? You're going to look at a new report that warns that earth is heading in that direction.
KINKADE: You're watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta, filling in for Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Monster wildfires continue to burn across California, two of the blazes have now combined to become the largest wildfire the state has ever seen.
The Mendocino smell something complex fire has already burned 290,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes.
Firefighters are busy trying to contain it, but as dry and windy conditions continue, more blazes keep popping up. Just take a look at this aerial
footage from a tanker plane. It was originally fighting another fire in the north of the state. It had to be diverted all the way south after this
new bigger fire broke out Monday. Well firefighters are currently battling a total of 16 wildfires across California. I want to bring in CNN
meteorologist Chad Myers for the latest. And Chad, these fires keep growing.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They certainly do. There's nothing stopping them. There's no rain in the future at all. Just the
firefighters trying to get a handle on them. When they get that big, when they get as big -- as I'll show you on the map -- the fire line was so
long. The firefighters just can't get themselves all the way around the fire as a grows out of control.
Here's a picture from the international space station. Alexander Gerst took this picture from the space station out the window. And you can you
see the big plume of smoke going up in the air. Even at times creating its own wind. Creating its own weather. Because the air is just rising as
fast as it can. And other air has to rush in, and that air that's rushing in that's the air other that makes more wind.
The season is lasting longer. We're burning more acres and we have a larger population. But the biggest problem is the urban wildland
interface, because people want to live in the mountains. They want to live near the trees, and now those trees are on fire. So, this is the problem.
We go back to 2007, a lot of fires.
[11:20:00] Already this is 2018, to date. A couple here, last years, 10, 11 and 12, not many fires. But already this is 2018 to date these are the
fires for the entire year and fire season is just really getting going here. Mendocino Complex, you talked about that, the biggest one, 1,146
square kilometers on fire. It's right near a lake. They're using that lake for the water to try to put the fire out.
But together now this is the largest fire in history of California. Almost as big as San Francisco Bay down here. And obviously there are other fires
across the country. In fact, there are well over 100 fires now burning across the West. The American West has been dry for many, many years.
That's the problem, trees are dead because of the drought. Trees are dead because there's been a weevil, a boring little weevil that got into the
trees itself and killed them. Killed the sap from going up the trees, those trees are still standing, but they're dead and there's estimates that
there's a billion with a "B" dead trees out there that are ready to burn at some point. Hot weather as well. Hot in Vegas, hot in L.A. temperatures
there will be somewhere around I think for 100 today. And the temperatures keep going up worldwide and the fires keep going up in California as well -
KINKADE: Hard to believe a billion dead trees standing there. Chad Myers, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
MYERS: You're welcome.
KINKADE: As wildfires ravage California blistering heat waves are sweeping across Europe and Japan. Scientists say this could be the new normal has
we approach what they're calling a hothouse state. The report warns that if we don't act quickly we might push the earth to a point of no return.
Our Ian Lee has more.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dangerous fires, deadly drought, and melting glaciers, symptoms of extreme weather and possibly a glimpse
into our future scientists warn, as scenes like this could become the norm. According to a report from the National Academy of Sciences. It starts
with what is called a positive feedback. Manmade emissions freeing the earth's natural greenhouse gases locked away like a set of dominos that can
driving global warming. For instance, releasing methane trapped in arctic permafrost or the destruction of coral reefs. Creating was described as a
hothouse where temperatures stabilize four to five degrees centigrade -- that's 39 to 41 Fahrenheit -- higher than preindustrial levels. Right now,
the earth is at about one degree higher. The hothouse scenario leads to severe heat, sea levels up 60 meters, about 200 feet, making some areas on
the earth uninhabitable.
JOHAN ROCKSTROM, CO-AUTHOR, "TRAJECTORIES OF THE EARTH SYSTEM IN THE ANTHROPOCENE": Now if we pass two degrees Celsius most indications are
that we can still adapt. But if we reach three, four degrees Celsius warming, from the evidence we have today, looking back geologically, it
would mean the planet that cannot basically serve the modern world as we recognize it.
LEE: This apocalyptic scenario can be prevented with collective human actions, scientists say. In 2015, nearly 200 countries signed the Paris
climate accord, pledging to work to keep temperatures from rising more than two degrees. But under President Donald Trump, the U.S. pulled out.
Dealing the global agreement, a blow.
ROCKSTROM: And the good news is, that we have more and more evidence that transforming the world to 100 percent fossil fuel-free world economy is not
only necessarily, is both possible, but also social, economic health wise and security benefits. So, the path to success is there and the window is
still open to succeed.
LEE: But if action isn't taken soon, then brace yourself. The report says we could be approaching the point of no return. Ian lee, CNN, Paris.
KINKADE: Well, to break it down I'm joined by Kim Cobb. She's the professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech and specializes
in global climate change. Good to have you with us.
KIM COBB, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR EARTH AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, GEORGIA TECH: Thanks for having me.
KINKADE: This report certainly paints a dire picture of reaching the point of no return. Just for our viewers, I want to take them through a couple
of main findings before I get to the questions. The report finding that temperatures could reach and stabilize at about four to five degrees
Celsius above preindustrial levels. That sea levels might rise up to 60 meters and other systems could combine in a feedback loop to further drive
up temperatures. So, if it continues as is, we could have some parts of the earth currently home to life uninhabitable.
COBB: Yes, that's correct. I mean, if we go down this road that we're on right now, we're facing the prospect for some tipping points, some
thresholds in the climate system that will simply further accelerate the warming that's already under way. And so, we do have some very important
choices. And the faster we make them, the more we can contain that tale of damages that's coming down the pike.
[11:25:00] KINKADE: As we just saw, we've seen those record-breaking fires, the biggest fire in California, we've seen record heat waves in
southern Europe, in Spain, in Portugal, but also, Japan, South Korea. And we've seen what is now, the worst drought in Australia, in living memory,
that they're facing.
KINKADE: So, tell us how long will it be, if we continue as is before we reach the point of no return?
COBB: Well we don't know. I think we're already witnessing some of the very stressful consequences of global warming which is the rise of global
temperatures. And one of the most direct consequences are these heat extremes and heat waves that are going to continue coming. It's a virtual
certainty. And so, when we look at the wildfires, we know that there are many contributing factors to wildfires. But heat is a very important one.
And so, as we warm the planet on average we're going to have these pockets come up every now and again that are just demonstrating that this heat
that's coming is going to be a stressing human systems, ecosystems, maybe not every year and every place, but again the statistical package becoming
very, very clear that these heat extremes and heat waves are a certainty for not just future, but now.
KINKADE: And the current U.S. President, President Trump, who is weighing in on the California fires, he's tweeted a couple of times now, blaming
what he calls the bad environmental laws of California. I think we've got one of those tweets.
I just want to bring it up. Because he says, California wildfires are being magnified and made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which
aren't allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree-
clear to stop fire from spreading.
And now we just heard from our sources at CNN that the White House is not commenting on this. I don't know where he got this information from.
What's your response to this?
COBB: My response is that we do understand so much about the water cycle. We do understand so much about what goes into trying to prevent these kinds
of fires. We understand how climate change is impacting heat extremes which are in turn contributing to fires. What I would say to the President
is there's dozens and hundreds of climate scientists just like myself who would be willing to sit down with him and talk to him about the science of
wildfires and the science of climate change and what we can do to fix this problem. So, he needs to just pick up the phone.
KINKADE: What would you tell him? You know, when you see a statement like that, where do you start?
COBB: I would say to him that your false choice between fixing this problem and building our economy, is bad messaging for the American people.
They need to know that we can fix this problem and grow our economy at the same time. And live a healthier life, not just for our children, but for
ourselves as well in the process. So, it's not a lose-lose scenario. There are win-win scenarios to fight for and I'd love to partner with the
administration in moving some of those along.
KINKADE: This is an administration that has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord. That's accord, of course, is nonbinding. There are hopes
of what we aim to reach for the countries that are signatories to it.
KINKADE: Is that the solution? And if not, what are the answers here?
COBB: Well it's very clear that without international coordination like Paris we're going to have a very hard time turning the curve on our current
emissions trajectory. However, it's not enough. We also need every citizen of this world to ask what we can do to be part of the solution.
They need to ask their institutions like their universities, their churches, their businesses, to be part of the solution as well. And I've
been heartened by the groundswell of activity in that direction since this administration took office. People are recognizing that Paris was never
going to be enough. And we have to do it in our own homes, in our own business and workplace and our places worship. That's the positive story
KINKADE: Well, it was really great to get your perspective. Kim Cobb from Georgia Tech, thank you so much for joining us.
COBB: Always a pleasure, thank you.
KINKADE: Well this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, the U.S. President warns other countries not to do business with Iran. We're going to take a
deeper look at that with a special guest when we come back.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: You're watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta filling in for Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Well, I want to go back to our top story. U.S. sanctions against Iran were reimposed today. While many companies have already pulled out of the
country, the EU has announced measures aimed at mitigating the sanctions impact. A move that President Trump probably does not welcome. He took to
Twitter earlier today warning that anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the United States.
Let's bring in CNNMoney's emerging markets editor, John Defterios, for more on all of this. He joins us live from London. And John, this is going to
affect almost every multinational that was operating in Iran. It sounds like Iran realizes that predicament and is offered to have talks with the
U.S. How is that being received? And how will it affect business?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well I think this boils down, Lynda, to who has the biggest way to apply penalties for those who
want to stay in Iran? Is it Washington or Brussels? Now if I was a betting man or a CEO of a global player with a European base I would
probably lean towards Washington in this case particularly after that tweet, President Trump making it crystal clear if you're going to do
business in Iran you will not be able to stay in the United States here. This is the harsh reality. It's kind of classic Trump if you will. This
is a pattern we see take the extreme position and negotiate from there.
The response from Tehran was pretty swift. But overall, they say in an essence that Washington cannot be trusted. The President, Hassan Rouhani,
used the analogy of the knife. He can't stab us, twist with the knife, pull it out and say let's sit down for dialogue. But in the meantime, to
your point here, the European companies that have global exposure and particularly exposure to Wall Street in terms of investment and also
institutional investors, are making an exodus already out of Iran. The latest has been that Daimler Benz. It's the big German conglomerate, of
course, the automaker and the aerospace giant.
Now this is despite the fact, Brussels has put in so-called blocking statutes to protect European companies that want to stay in Tehran. In
fact, a minister of state here in the U.K. said it boils down to a commercial decision.
[11:35:00] But I would beg to differ. I think President Trump is making this very personal and is peppering it with politics. Making it very clear
to the European companies, don't dare stay in Iran if you have any exposure to the United States with sanctions coming from the U.S. Treasury and the
U.S. Federal Reserve.
KINKADE: Yes, certainly a threat from the U.S. President. I want to pivot to Saudi Arabia. That feud with Canada continues. Starting next week,
they're going to suspend all flights to and from Toronto. And of course, it comes after Canada's criticism of the kingdom's human rights record.
The Saudi Arabia immediately expelled Canada's ambassador and froze new trade and investment with the country. Canada, of course, refusing to back
down. You of course spent a lot of time in Saudi Arabia, are they being overly sensitive here? It certainly turned nasty pretty quickly.
DEFTERIOS: I would say, Lynda, this is the big but very sensitive -- perhaps overly sensitive player in the Middle East. It's the biggest
economic player by a wide margin and they know it and they're opening up to investment. And they kind of dangle that as a carrot against trade
partners like Canada. But I think if I use the auto analogy, this is a spat that went from zero to 60 in a flash because of the response coming
from Riyadh. And it was because of a series of tweets coming from the Canadian Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Minister putting a question mark
over human rights violations, particularly for women activists. Particularly one, Samar Badawi, who has had support from the U.S.
Democratic Party in the past as well.
Let's take a look at the response from Riyadh, and this came in waves and really quickly as you suggested here. The first that you talked about the
Canadian ambassador being expelled. Trade ties being suspended. By the way, this is not a big bilateral trade relationship. It's worth about $3
billion but growing. I think this third item is interesting, 7,000 Saudi students in Canada being relocated. They have scholarships from Saudi
Arabia and this will take quite an effort to relocate them. But that is the threat. And finally, direct flights coming from Riyadh and Jetta going
to Toronto. Now despite all this pressure -- and I thought it was fascinating that Toronto took some time to respond. But the Canadian
foreign minister said they will not change their position despite the pressure. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Canada will always stand up for human rights, in Canada and around the world. And women's rights are
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Chrystia Freeland the foreign minister of Canada making her statement in Ottawa. I think that this is, Lynda, begging for some context
here. What I mean by that this is a player that's been flexing its muscle on many different fronts. And I think I would add because of the support
from Washington and this President -- after the weapons purchases by Saudi Arabia of U.S. military equipment -- this is the country that's led the
embargo against Qatar. It took this very aggressive stance going into Yemen. They arrested more than 400 billionaires and wealthy businessmen
and women in Saudi Arabia and extracted billions of dollars over corruption allegations. And finally, here, at the same time they're opening up with
this vision 2030 plan for economic reforms. And in fact, we have women driving in Saudi Arabia. Which is a big shift. Many don't think this
squares with the very aggressive action against any country that decides to criticize them. That's where it stands tonight.
KINKADE: Yes, it certainly does. All right, will continue to stay on that story. John Defterios good to have you with us. Joining us from London,
thank you so much.
DEFTERIOS: Thanks, Lynda.
KINKADE: And soon to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD, the U.S.-led coalition finally admits its air strikes killed dozens of civilians in
Raqqah last year. We'll look at the damning on the strikes from the Amnesty International report and what one official says must be done.
[11:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: Happy moment for the Badran family of Raqqah. This home video of them baking bread, joking around was taken shortly before they died in a
U.S.-led coalition air strike. All in all, Amnesty International says the family lost 39 family members in several coalition air strikes.
The U.S.-led coalition now admits 77 people including all of those just seen in that video was killed in air strikes on Raqqah. The earliest plans
and Amnesty International Report outlining five deadly incidents from June to October last year. Well, our Arwa Damon who has reported extensively
from Raqqah joins us now from Istanbul. And Arwa, I just want to point to some of the research for our viewers to begin with. Of course, an Amnesty
worker spent two weeks in Raqqah interviewing survivors and said hundreds of people were killed by coalition bombardments. And that the strikes may
amount to war crimes.
She told CNN and I quote, it is imperative that the coalition should do the right thing which is not being done until now and carry out a proper
investigation so that the survivors and the victims' families can get justice.
Arwa, from your past experience does that happen? Will they get justice?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's so hard to tell. In the past, no, not really. Now the U.S.-led coalition does investigate
all of the claims that are brought to it that it was the cause of civilian death. And it has actually said in about the last four years or so since
operation Inherent Resolve. That it is unintentionally responsible for just over 1,000 civilian deaths. This is both in Iraq and Syria.
But when we're talking about the kind of justice, the kind of accountability, the kind of reparations that these family members of the
victims would want and would need, that's going to be very hard for them to actually come by. And to give you an idea, there's children that are left
behind without loved ones, without family members. Here's a short clip from a conversation that Amnesty International had with 12-year-old
Mohammed in Raqqah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE(through translator): Can you show me where was the place exactly?
MOHAMMED, SURVIVED RAQQAH AIRSTRIKE (through translator): Here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who was killed here from your family?
MOHAMMED: My family, my father, my uncle, two of my cousins, little ones and my uncle's relatives. My uncle's relative and his daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: And you know, Lynda, when we were on the ground in both Raqqah and Mosul over the course of the reporting on the battles against ISIS in both
of those cities, we heard numerous accounts from civilians about how entire families or most members of families were wiped out in air strikes. Either
inadvertently for whatever reason it is or because ISIS was holding them hostage. And when you talk to the survivors or even when you talk to
civilians who somehow managed to get through it all, they say that they not only had to suffer under the brutality of ISIS, but then they had to
somehow try to survive. What they describe as being phenomenally intense coalition bombardment.
And it's very hard for them to try to understand that it did end up playing out the way it did, because many of them will tell you surely this was not
the only military strategy that could have been implemented. Surely there was a way for some sort of military strategy to unfold that would have been
more merciful on the civilian population. And when it's a conversation about justice and accountability, that's also a conversation that's very
critical, not just for the mere fact that it should be critical. But also, because people need to feel as if their pain is being acknowledged and they
need to be able to at the very least ever so slightly be able to try to heal.
[11:45:00] KINKADE: Yes, absolutely. We know, Arwa, since ISIS was forced out, about 100,000 people have returned to Raqqah. Home, of course,
isn't what it used to be. A U.N. team finding that as much as 80 percent of the city was destroyed or damaged. As you mentioned, you're in Raqqah
last year. How do people feel towards the coalition there? Is there a lot of anger?
DAMON: You know, it's actually so difficult for so many to articulate how it is that they, they were feeling. Because on the one hand they will say
to a certain degree that you know, yes of course they want to be safe from ISIS's brutal rule. But then there is a lot of anger and frustration on so
many different levels. Why is it that ISIS was allowed to grow so strong and powerful? Why is it that it was allowed and able to entrench itself so
deeply in these various different cities before there was some sort of action against them? And again, back to what I was saying before, was this
really the only strategy that could have been implemented?
Plus, you now have as you were mentioning there, this massive reconstruction effort that needs to start that needs to get under way. Not
just in Raqqah, but in other areas that were liberated by the U.S.-led coalition and its various different partners on the ground.
Because right now, no, most people don't have homes to go back to. I think one of the real striking things about some areas in Raqqah that we were in
is that there was no color. That's how obliterated everything was. You found no traces of the lives that were there. People need to be able to
feel as if they're not just being abandoned to the rubble of their former lives. They can't go back to nothing. There needs to be some sort of
system in place. And this is really where we see a lot of efforts fail. But there needs to be a system in place to begin rebuilding, to get the
funding that is need. To put kids back into school. To give people back their sense of dignity. So, these societies can begin healing and really
trying to put their very fabric back together again, if that's even possible -- Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes, if that is even possible. Certainly, going to take a lot of work and a lot of funds, Arwa Damon, good to have you with us as always.
Thanks so much.
We're live from Atlanta. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, why some of America's tech giants shot down access to Infowars and its
founder's conspiracy theories.
KINKADE: You're watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I am Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta filling in for Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Well a notorious conspiracy theorist in the U.S. now has a vastly smaller audience. YouTube, Facebook and Apple have removed Alex Jones' Infowars
content from their sites.
[11:50:00] Jones has called the 9/11 attacks an inside job by the U.S. government and the Sandy Hook School massacre a hoax. Brian Seltzer is
here to explain exactly why the tech giants decided to action virtually all at once. Brian, it kind of is surprising because there have been lawsuits
against Infowars for some months now. So, why are Facebook and Apple and Google responding now?
BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a long, long delay here. Some reluctance to take action and then all of a sudden,
these companies fell in line. Let's go back a few weeks, there's been scrutiny around Facebook and other companies giving a platform to Infowars.
A scrutiny partly because reporters from CNN and other outlets have been asking about the policies of these tech giants follow. Well, these are
some of the biggest companies in the world. Facebook, and Google and Amazon and Apple. They're known as FAANG, F-A-A-N-G, the collection of the
biggest tech companies. And they face these really tough decisions about how to handle certain users who are abusing their services and sites.
Jones -- you see him there on screen -- he's all over YouTube, he has millions of views, not any more. Over the weekend Apple's CEO, Tim Cook,
decided to pull the Infowars podcasts from Apple's Podcast Store. That action apparently caused a domino effect, where we saw Facebook, Spotify
and other companies take action against Infowars as well.
That's according to our colleague Dylan Buyers who was reporting today that it was Apple that had started this, and then other companies fell in line.
He said there was no coordination per se, but the other companies looked over at Apple, saw what Apple did, saw Apple went first and they quickly
followed. So now he's off of YouTube, he's off of Facebook. The big platform Jones is still on is Twitter. And so far, Twitter says he's not
violating Twitter's policies. But in terms of all of these other companies, these other platforms, they say he's violating hate speech
policies. And that's why he's been removed.
KINKADE: Yes, certainly it must have been some of those parents of the Sandy Hook victims.
I want to turn to another story now. Facebook, of course, as you mentioned cutting off Alex Jones. But asking America's big banks to share financial
data of big customers. It's really a hard story to believe but "Wall Street Journal" reports that
Facebook wants information such as checking account balances and credit card activity. Facebook now saying it isn't actively seeking that data.
Does this report put even more scrutiny on Facebook's privacy practices?
STELTER: Yes, that in this "Journal" story shows exactly what Facebook is trying to do with regard to advertising sales and how that comes up against
this tension involving privacy. Look, when you are using something for free on the internet, that means you are, you are the product. In this
case, Facebook is selling its users, selling you, selling me to advertisers, and according to the "Journal" by layering in banking
information -- for example if you know that I have a high credit score, you might try to pitch me luxury products, if you know I have a lower credit
score, you might try to pitch me something else. I think that's what Facebook is reportedly looking at doing. Like you said, the company is
denying that it's actively trying to do this. But it's an awkwardly-worded denial that makes me think there's something to this "Journal" story.
And I don't think we should necessarily be surprised. I mean, this is what big companies try to do with data. They try to know as much about you as
humanly possible, so they can better target you with ads. That is exactly the Facebook -- the business that Facebook is in. Even though the company
has been under scrutiny recently for its practices. They're walking this fine line. Trying to know as much about you as possible but trying to
convince you they're doing it ethically and responsibly.
KINKADE: We can only hope they are doing it ethically and responsibly.
STELTER: It's tricky.
KINKADE: Yes, Brian Stelter, as always, thanks for joining us from New York
STELTER: Thank you.
In our parting shots, who among us doesn't like to be reminded of the good times? Well a new Axios report says the U.S. President is no exception in
one way he relives proud moments is by watching replays of his debates and rallies, enjoying his own performance, here's our Jeannie Moos.
JEANNIE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know who loves watching Trump rallies? Trump. The President is often portrayed as
the type who likes looking at himself in mirrors.
NBC, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMY FALLON": It's going to be -- huge.
MOOS: And now, Axios is reporting he enjoys replaying his rallies on the TV in the ding room next to the Oval Office. Imagine reliving all that
fist-pumping, finger-pointing and waving. Give yourself a hand for how you tossed out protesters.
TRUMP: Good-bye, darling.
MOOS: Got out the vote.
TRUMP: Get your asses out tomorrow and vote.
MOOS: And confused your critics with puzzling sound bites.
TRUMP: You see what they do? Bing, bing, right. You see what they're doing?
[11:55:01] MOOS: The White House wouldn't comment, but Axios reports when watching replays, Trump will interject commentary. Reveling in his most
controversial lines. Wait for it see what I did there, he'll say. Whether it be using insulting nicknames.
MOOS: Or imitating himself if he acted more like other Presidents.
TRUMP: I'm very Presidential.
MOOS: There are parts the President might prefer to fast-forward through. Like the other day when he said --
TRUMP: Flamingo dancer from Argentina on the Tallahassee trail.
MOOS: Well actually it's the Appalachian Trail and they're called flamenco dancers. As someone tweeted President Trump, this is a flamingo dancer.
Axios reports that in the early days of the administration, President Trump loved re-watching his debates with Hillary this was one of his favorite
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in
TRUMP: Because you'd in jail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary Clinton --
MOOS: But replays don't always age well. These days, that "in jail" stuff is hitting closer to home. Jeannie Moos, CNN.
TRUMP: Because you'd be in jail.
MOOS: New York.
KINKADE: That was CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Lynda Kinkaid, thanks for watching, I'll see you tomorrow.