Return to Transcripts main page


Saudi-Led Coalition Admits Mistakes In Yemen Bus Bombing; As Washington Mourned McCain, Trump Golfed And Tweeted; U.S. Pull Aid For U.N. Palestinian Refugee Agency. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired September 2, 2018 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It is great to have you with us. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Cyril Vanier filling in

from Becky -- in for Becky Anderson today. I'm live from the CNN center here in Atlanta. And our top story this hour is one that we keep returning

to here on CONNECT THE WORLD usually to update the climbing death toll or to hear the latest humanitarian warning.

Today, however, it's something more rare in Yemen's bloody war. An admission of fault by the Saudi-led coalition, they say mistakes were made

and they acknowledged that civilians paid with their lives as a result. This was the attack that shocked the world last month, a direct hit on a

school bus. It killed at least 40 children after.

After its own investigation, the Riyadh based coalition has admitted that it made a mistake in ordering and carrying out air strike and says it will

take measures to hold those responsible accountable. We will hear directly from the coalition spokesperson in just a moment on the show. Before that,

however, Nima Elbargir has reported extensively on this story, she joins me now from London. Nima?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is absolutely a rare confession, Cyril. You'd have to go back to 2016 and that horrifying

funeral strike that killed around 155 people to see a similar concession. There is something a little different this time. This time the incident

assessment team are calling for a review of the rules of engagement.

Hopefully, the coalition spokesman who you're speaking to next will be able to clarify for us whether they will follow sue by changing the rules of

engagement. I want to read to you what the investigator said. He said there was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate

time, a place thus losing the opportunity to target this bus as a military target in an open area.

Now, that is the key paragraph that's being combed over today by both legal advisers within the coalition and within those states such as the U.S. that

are supplying arms to the coalition because under International Humanitarian Law, for an incident to be deemed a war crime it has to be

either intentional or reckless. The question is if you go ahead with a strike when you acknowledge that they have lost the window of opportunity

to hit the target within an area that minimizes collateral damage, are you acting recklessly.

And that's the question that the coalition no doubt will be asked again and again. For its part, the U.S. which supplies much of the weaponry that's

being used in the war wage by the Saudi-led coalition has already released a statement welcoming this investigation even though we don't know as yet

what steps will be taken, what reparations will be granted, and what the way forward is, Cyrik.

VANIER: Nima, I want to make something crystal clear because what shocked you when you were doing this reporting, what shocked me when I started

reporting and I think what shocked our reviewers was the fact that a school full -- a bus full of schoolchildren was targeted, but that's not exactly

the point that the coalition is addressing. They are addressing the timing of their strike, am I getting this right?

ELBAGIR: Absolutely. They are -- and again just to read a little further, just to remind our viewers, it's to target this bus as a military target in

an open area. So there is no debate about whether the bus itself was a legitimate military target or at least in the statement that we -- that we

received here from the investigative team, it's -- their concern seems to be around the fact that the bus was targeted in an inner market where there

would have been widespread collateral damage.

And we saw the cell phone footage that was filmed by one of those little boys and you could see that this was a school bus. These were children

carrying little blue UNICEF issued school backpacks. There seems to be no debate about the fact that there were children on the bus the debate if

there is one is where who else was on that bus but that's not what the coalition is in any way dealing within at least their initial statement,


VANIER: Nima, behind the scenes after this strike early August, the Pentagon has been putting pressure on the Saudi-led coalition.

ELBAGIR: The Pentagon has said that immediately after the strike on the 9th but on the 10th they said when a general was on his way to Riyadh that

he took with him a warning that greater care needed to be taken but it's always a little difficult with these kinds of public shots across the bow

because in practical terms for any kind of assistance to be cut off we would have to need something to come out of the White House.

And President Trump has made very clear going so far as to overturn an Obama era ban on specific laser-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia

and to the coalition. President Trump has shown that he is very supportive of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen. And it would

need to be President Trump himself who had unpick this.

Now, moving forward it depends what we see from the coalition from this point on if greater care is taken or if it isn't and then we will find

ourselves really in untrod territory, Cyril.

[11:05:17] VANIER: All right, Nima Elbagir joining us from London this hour, thank you very much. Let's hear from the coalition now. Coalition

spokesperson Turki al-Maliki, he joins me from me from Riyadh. Colonel al- Maliki, thank you so much for joining us. I want to start with this. You spoke to CNN hours only after that attack on the school bus last month and

at the time you insisted that the bus was a legitimate target.

You said these are not children in the bus. We do have high standard measures for targeting. Now the Coalition is admitting error. So explain

to us what the investigation found and how this mistake happened?

TURKI AL-MALIKI, SPOKESPERSON, SAUDI-LED COALITION: Well, Cyril, thank you for having me. First of all, on behalf of the Joint Force Command, I would

like to extend the sympathy and condolences to the family of the victim in that incident. Well, the investigation being conducted by the JIAT or the

Joint Incident Assessment Team, as we announced last night, we do accept the outcome and the finding of the result of that allegation and that

incident and it's been -- I think is that --

VANIER: Sir? Sir, can you hear me? So the question was how this mistake could have happened? What were the findings on that?

AL-MALIKI: The voice, there's an open -- yes you hear me?

VANIER: All right, we're going to -- we're going to get -- we're going to fix the sound with Colonel al-Maliki in just a second. Nima Elbagir is

still standing by. Nima, can you hear me?

ELBAGIR: Yes, I can Cyril.

VANIER: All right, Nima, I want to I want to find out from -- you told us that the Pentagon had been putting pressure on this. What can we expect

from the coalition moving forward so that this doesn't happen again? The reason I asked you this is that objectively speaking the Coalition has a

pretty poor track record when it comes to protecting civilian lives.

When you were speaking earlier, we put up that chart that shows other questionable incidents where there were numerous, numerous civilian deaths.

ELBAGIR: And these aren't new concerns. Under the Obama administration there were concerns expressed directly to the Saudi-led coalition and

directly to Saudi Arabia about what we are being told was a lack of specificity in the targeting and this is something that many of those were

speaking to go back to again and again and even today with the Pentagon publicly at least saying that it welcomes the decision being taken by the

coalition to review their rules of engagement.

In fact they say that it actually said they congratulated them on changing their rules of engagement. But behind the scenes we hear that the

Secretary of Defense is very concerned still about this.

VANIER: All right, Nima, thank you. Let's go back to Colonel al-Maliki, Spokesman for the Saudi-led Coalition. Colonel, I was asking you what your

investigation has found in terms of how that mistake that cost 40 children's lives could have been made?

Colonel, can you hear me?

AL-MALIKI: Well, the investigation and the outcome is not the Joint Force Command investigation. We do have our interior mechanism to look to the

procedure as being announced before. The incident and delegation being referred to the Joint Incident Assessment Team -- the Joint Incident

Assessment Team is independent team and -- Cyril, I think there is a -- I think there is a problem of the --

VANIER: Colonel, I think what's happening here is that we have a long delay so I'm going to try this one last time. And I'm going to go back to

this simple question and I asked our viewers to bear with us as there is clearly a delay that is several seconds long here.

Colonel, one more time, what is it, and I asked you to be specific here, that the investigation has found in terms of how the mistake was made and

who made?

[11:10:09] AL-MALIKI: Well, I think I need really to talk about the question. I need to answer the question because the voice is returning

back and I kind of talk in this matter. They let me talk about the incident, the outcome is very clear, the target is legitimate target. The

timing as the result came out last night was wrong. The timing -- Cyril, I think if we -- if we can't clear the issue and I come back because I really

need to clarify this point.

VANIER: All right, Colonel I appreciate your patience. I appreciate you standing by. Clearly, we have about a 10 second delay. That's not going

to allow a conversation to happen. We will have this conversation however at a later time. The colonel is standing by. We'll get that fixed.

Now on Saturday, most of Washington mourned the late Senator John McCain but Donald Trump was not invited. Instead, the U.S. President spent the

day -- spent the day golfing and tweeting and then tweeting and then tweeting again. Mr. Trump's day started at 6:19 in the morning attacking

the media as it often does.

Through 16 tweets on Saturday, Mr. Trump assailed NAFTA, Canada, the Justice Department, the Russia investigation, and he cited a number of Fox

News Commentators as he is want to do. He even retweeted himself saying just make America great again. For more on this, Sarah Westwood joins me

now from Washington.

Sarah, a Presidential tweet storm in this presidency is not particularly unusual especially on the weekend. The timing of this, however, does raise


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Cyril. President Trump spent the day of Senator McCain's funeral like you mentioned going

after some of his favorite foes threatening to leave Canada out of a potential new trade deal to replace NAFTA but he didn't pay any tributes to

Senator John McCain and spent the day instead spending his 153rd day on the golf course since he began his presidency.

And that was an interesting juxtaposition with all of official Washington and three former Presidents and many lawmakers who gathered at the National

Cathedral to honor Senator McCain. It's been a difficult week for Trump politically as his White House has been criticized for what's been

perceived as an inaccurate -- inadequate response to McCain's death.

He released a perfunctory tweet the night that McCain passed but sources tell CNN that a more fulsome statement praising McCain was thrown out by

Trump and then he raised the flag which had been lowered to half-staff after just 24 hours and only lowered it once again in the face of intense

criticism. So President Trump certainly making his feelings clear and it we should note that he was not invited to yesterday's funeral.

VANIER: Absolutely. Now, let's get to the content of the President's anger at least as far as he tweeted it. He went after pretty much as usual


WESTWOOD: That's right. President Trump taking aim once again at the Russia investigation several times and harkening back to that -- those

NAFTA renegotiations which took place this week. They failed to reach a consensus on NAFTA by Friday with Canada but his administration went ahead

and alerted Congress that a trade deal is coming anyway so that they can get a 90-day process started before the new administration in Mexico gets


Obviously, there's a lot on the President's plate right now but with those 16 tweets he couldn't seem to find time to fire off one about Senator

McCain and of course that's only going to further the criticism that he's received for the way that his White House has handled the death of a

political adversary which McCain was to President Trump.

VANIER: All right, Sarah Westwood, CNN White House Reporter, thank you very much. So you've just heard about the politics, up ahead though, John

McCain's journey will end later on Sunday when he's laid to rest

The nation is saying goodbye to McCain with a memorial at Washington National Cathedral that was on Saturday. We'll take you to the celebration

of his life and show how America remembers a Titan of politics.

Still to come, the Trump Administration is cutting off its funding to Palestinian refugees. What the move could mean for peace in the Middle

East next.


[11:15:00] VANIER: Israel is praising the United States decision to end funding to the U.N. agency responsible for providing education, health

care, and other services to more than five million Palestinian refugees. But Palestinian officials warned the move could destabilize an already

volatile region.

The organization known as UNRWA looks after over half a million children who attend hundreds of schools run by the agency. They expressed deep

regret and disappointment that the U.S. pulling the financial plug and they're now looking for new donors. CNN's Ian Lee joins us live from

Jerusalem with the latest. Ian, clearly this is a political move first and foremost. Explain to us why the U.S. has suddenly decided to stop giving

money to Palestinian refugees.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, the State Department says that they are stopping this because they believe that the United States is shouldering

too much of the burden. The United States pays hundreds of millions of dollars to support UNRWA about a third of the budget and they say it's time

for other countries to chip in and pick up the slack.

They also say that UNRWA isn't reforming enough, and they also said that it was irredeemably flawed operation, so some very strong words against UNWRA.

And this has also had the support of Israelis Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has called for the defunding and the closure of UNWRA for quite

some time. And today at a school he praised the U.S. decision.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): They created a unique institution 70 years ago not to absorb the refugees but to

perpetuate them. Therefore, the U.S. has done a very important thing by halting this financing for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA.

It is finally beginning to resolve the problem. The funds must be taken and used to genuinely help rehabilitate the refugees. The troop number of

which is much smaller than the number reported by the UNRWA. This is a welcome and important change and we support it.


LEE: Cyril, there has been a lot of reaction to this. We've heard from the Turks, Egyptians, as well as the E.U. a lot of them expressing a shock

but also concern about what this could mean for those Palestinian refugees. Egypt right now is in negotiations we're hearing between Gaza militants and

Israel trying to keep calm right there. This could make that situation more unstable, Cyril.

VANIER: Ian, how important is UNRWA to the Palestinians? I mean, how much of a loss is this funding going to be for them?

[11:20:04] LEE: It's a big loss especially if they can't make it up. UNRWA right now is trying to get funding from other people to try to fill

in this gap but it is quite a big gap. And we're not just talking about housing refugees in Gaza or the West Bank but also in Jordan, Syria, and


Like you said, nearly a half million children rely on UNRWA for their schooling, millions rely on it for health care, and so this is a U.N.

agency that really does affect life on the ground especially when these students are going back to school. But also if we look at the civil war in

Syria where there are nearly half a million Palestinian refugees who are getting services from UNRWA there. Look at Lebanon as well where

Palestinian refugees rely heavily on UNRWA as they cannot have Lebanese citizenship.

So there is a lot of concern about what this cut could mean not only for these people and their daily lives but really for the stability not only in

the Palestinian territories but also in these neighboring countries, Cyril.

VANIER: Ian, actually tell me a little bit more about that. Because the Palestinians are saying it's going to make an already volatile region more

volatile. So what is the foreseeable impact of this decision?

LEE: Well, it's hard to tell but let's just take a look at what we've seen this year so far. When the United States declared that Jerusalem was the

capital of Israel, they moved their embassy here, we saw a lot of violence around the Gaza-Israel border that led to scores of Palestinians being

killed by Israeli soldiers as well as an Israeli soldier being killed by Gaza militants.

And so that violence has really swept through the beginning of this year in the spring and early summer. Now we've had a bit of calm because of these

talks, this dialogue that we hear is taking place but there's a real fear that this could spark further unrest. Now it may be a coincidence but this

announcement came Friday night here, Friday, as we know, is that day of protest so when it comes out at night possibly thinking that it would give

them an entire week to let the tensions calm down before the following Friday.

But really you do play what's going on here Friday by Friday what could happen during the week that could spark further violence on Friday and what

does that mean, could that spiral out of control further. You know, everyone is working, we know U.N., Egyptians and others working to keep the

calm but really it just takes one spark for things to ignite, Cyril.

VANIER: One of the Palestinians -- at this stage the Palestinians think they can get -- they have in the U.S. an interlocutor or do they think

there is nothing to hope for from their point of view from this Trump Administration?

LEE: You know it's really hard to tell. But we did hear from Husam Zomlot, he is the Head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization

Delegation to the United States. He basically say that said that this move basically declares that the United States is not a peacemaker and this is

something we've heard from the Palestinians for quite some time is that the United States doesn't earn a place at the table when negotiating a peace


But when you listen to the international community and really about anyone, they say the United States has to play a role. It's the only country that

can really play a strong role in solving this conflict, so it really creates a very awkward situation and creates further obstacles to trying to

bring about a resolution to this conflict though. Cyril, this is a resolution that is far away even though President Trump has said that he is

trying to achieve the ultimate deal.

VANIER: We're yet to see what that would look like. Ian Lee reporting live from Jerusalem, thank you very much. My next guest is the

Spokesperson for UNRWA. He categorically rejects the U.S. criticism that the program is "irredeemably flawed." Chris Guinness joins me -- Gunness -

- joins me now live from London. Your reaction, sir.

CHRIS GUNNESS, SPOKESMAN, UNRWA: Well, you cannot airbrush out of history 5.4 million people. You cannot -- you cannot airbrush out of the equation

5.4 million Palestine refugees who we serve. You can't airbrush out their rights, you can't airbrush out their history.

Let us get back to basics, that is re-historicize -- forgive that expression -- this debate under was created in the wake of the 1948 war in

which the entire populations, entire people effectively were dismantled. And we were charged by the General Assembly to bring them services until

there was a political resolution.

Now, there hasn't been one, and as a result, for the last 70 years they have languished in the most appalling refugee camps in the absence of any

real political future and no single member state of the United Nations can unilaterally change our mandate. We will continue steadfastly with our

historic and our mandated responsibilities to the Palestine refugees until the General Assembly makes determination.

Now, there are 167 members of the General Assembly. They last voted over - - there are 190 something members of the General Assembly, they last vote at 167, voted overwhelmingly only one voted against. So we will continue

with our mandate. What has changed is not our mandate, what has changed our budget.

[11:25:30] VANIER: If I can interrupt you for a second. If you continue with your mandate, can you keep providing the same services if you lose

your biggest donor?

GUNNESS: Well, let's be clear here. In the last eight months, we have raised $238 million. Yes, we have a large budget deficit but we are

absolutely determined to continue with our services. As I say our mandate remains unchanged.

VANIER: When you say you've raised $230 million, now that needs to be relative for our viewers to the 300 million or so that the U.S. was

providing, is that -- are you saying that you've made up 80 percent of the shortfall?

GUNNESS: Sadly no because the needs have increased. Our present shortfall is $217 million. I don't want to sound complacent. We opened our schools

in the last week but to be clear we only have enough money to run them until the end of September. At that point we don't have enough money to

teach our 22,000 -- to pay our 22,000 teaching staff. And in fact it's not just our education of 526,000 Palestine refugee children that it is at

risk, it's all of our service too.

A population that's living under blockade for more than a decade in Gaza, 50 years plus of Israeli occupation in the West Bank, and more than seven

years of one of the most brutal conflicts of our age in Syria. And that is why we will remain true to our mandate. We have to because we have a

historic responsibility to these people. And despite the policies of a single member state of the U.N., we will not be deterred from that historic


VANIER: But sir, respectfully, you just told us that in three-and-a-half weeks you will not be -- you'll have to close down the schools I assume

unless you have a sudden cash injection.

GUNNESS: Well, we're hoping for let's not necessarily call it a sudden cash injection but behind the scenes, various donors have come forward and

made clear that they will help those --

VANIER: Can you tell us who?

GUNNESS: I'm not -- I'm not at liberty to say that, unfortunately. We have very delicate donor relations but we're certainly hoping -- and I

don't want to be prematurely optimistic that we can -- as I say what has changed is not our mandate, what has changed is the money with which we

implement it.

VANIER: And Turkey has said it might be willing to step up. What do you know? Have they said anything specific and concrete?

GUNNESS: Turkey is one of a number of donors who we are talking to and we are hoping that they will provide the money that would allow us to keep our

schools open. Because as I've said before, we have to get back to basics, we have to remember -- the world community has to remember this is not

UNHCR, this is not the other UN refugee agency. This is an agency, a U.N. agency that is specifically mandated to give service to a specific people

because of the specifics of their history. We cannot lose sight of that.

UNRWA is not like UNHCR. They deal with all of the refugees, all the other refugees on the planet. But UNRWA remains as I say steadfast to its -- to

its mandate.

VANIER: Chris Gunness, a Spokesperson for UNRWA. Thank you so much for joining us.

GUNNESS: Thank you very much.

VANIER: Now, the U.S. is also planning to slash spending elsewhere around the globe. The Pentagon is moving to scrap $30 million in aid to Pakistan

because of "lack of decisive actions in support of American strategy in the region. The decision comes just days before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

is scheduled to meet Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad. The U.S. has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on militants in the


Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, remembering the late U.S. Senator John McCain. His burial now just hours away after heart-warming and bipartisan

farewell on Sunday -- on Saturday.


[11:32:47] VANIER: The late U.S. Senator John McCain will be laid to rest in just a few hours. His burial at the Naval Academy will cap five days of

mourning including Saturday's celebration of life at Washington National Cathedral.

McCain began planning his own funeral just after he was diagnosed with brain cancer last year. The result reflected his philosophy on life and

politics. His past rivals former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush gave eulogies. And his son, read one of the Senators favorite poems,

one that he recited at his own father's funeral.


JAMES MCCAIN, SON OF JOHN MCCAIN: Under the wide and starry sky, dig the grave and let me lie. Gladly did I live and gladly die, and I laid me down

with the will. Be this the verse you get grave for me, here he lies where he longed to be. Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter

home from the hill.


VANIER: Our Jeff Zeleny has more now on Saturday's ceremony.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Washington paid tribute and bid farewell to John McCain, an American patriot, and politician. At

the Washington National Cathedral, a living tableau of history, who's who of leaders from all stripes assembling to say goodbye to a war hero and

veteran Republican Senator.

McCain's daughter, Meghan, overcome with grief and emotion throughout the week, spoke passionately about her father with a poignant and pointed


MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF JOHN MCCAIN: We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing not cheap of rhetoric from

men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and


ZELENY: Inside the soaring Cathedral, it was the first of several references to President Trump and his own brand of politics her father


[11:35:05] M. MCCAIN: The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.

ZELENY: The funeral unfolded as a parting lesson in civility from McCain, himself. To eulogize him, he invited two men who extinguished his own

dreams for the White House. George W. Bush, who won a bitter primary fight in 2000, and Barack Obama who prevailed in 2008.

Amid moments of humor --

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From trouble making plea to Presidential candidate --

ZELENY: -- praise for McCain's core beliefs.

BUSH: At various point throughout his long carrier, John confronted policies and practices that he believed were unworthy of this country. To

the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist we are better than this. America is better than this.

ZELENY: But the personal tributes came with a sharp critique of today's tribal politics.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Trafficking in bombast and insult, and phony controversies, and manufactured outrage.

It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact, is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be

better than that.

ZELENY: Despite deep differences over politics and policy, and Obama said there were many with McCain, he still fostered a sense of American unity.

OBAMA: When all was said and done, we were on the same team. We never doubted we're on the same team.

ZELENY: While President Trump's name was never spoken, his absence was an unmistakable undercurrent. McCain made clear he didn't want him there.

The two men's strained relationship goes back to the 2016 campaign when Trump insulted McCain's military service. Saying real American heroes

aren't shot-down.

Yet, several of the President's advisers were on hand, including his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief of staff John Kelly, and

defense secretary James Mattis.

The Senator was sent off in scripture and song with upper star Renee Fleming's gripping rendition of Danny Boy.

RENEE FLEMING, OPERA SINGER: Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.

ZELENY: He'll be laid to rest Sunday in a private ceremony at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Senator's final resting place will be on a grassy hill at the U.S. Naval academy cemetery next to a lifelong friend, Chuck Larson, another

veteran of the Vietnam War.

He selected this out of the way spot in the shadow of Navy midshipman like he once was rather than an Arlington National Cemetery, where his father

and grandfather, both admirals are buried. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.


VANIER: What does all this say about the state of politics in America today? Let's find out. CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer is a

professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He joins us from New York.

So, Julian, I defer to your expertise. What does all this say about this moment in American politics?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think a lot of the speeches and a lot of the sentiment inside the memorial tells us just about how

bitter and divisive things have gotten outside. This is not the Washington that we heard about. Washington is pretty brutal right now.

And that's why I think John McCain's memorial and this whole week meant something to Americans who are searching for something different.

VANIER: When you look at the week-long farewell to McCain, I mean, there was Arizona, Washington. You think John McCain was a former President?

So, you're a historian. Can you think of many Presidents for this, for the way he was memorialized?

ZELIZER: No, most of these events are for a deceased President where you have this kind of ceremony, not Senators or members of Congress. So it's

extremely unusual to have so much, such an extensive commemoration, and part of it is about him, and part of it is about the very distinct moment

in which we are in.

And again, the memorial became a statement, and discussion about the state of American politics in addition to remembering his legacy on Capitol Hill.

VANIER: You know when you listen to the speeches by Barack Obama, by George W. Bush, the two predecessors of Donald Trump, it was impossible not

to hear them as withering criticisms of this current President.

In ways that they haven't, and words they haven't actually used until right now. It felt like only this venue, the funeral and the memorializing of

John McCain, afforded them the opportunity to speak out and say things they hadn't really been able to say before.

ZELIZER: I think that's right. And what is important is they didn't speak directly about President Trump. They talked more about our institutions

and our processes and the urgency of preserving, which is a message very consistent with who Senator McCain was.

But it's impossible to hear all that, and not hear it in part -- in large part as a criticism about the current President. But that makes the

President more remarkable than the statement. Obviously, if former President George Bush condemns bigots, for example. Normally, we wouldn't

then say, "Oh, that was about the President of the United States, but that's the state we're in right now.

[11:40:38] VANIER: I want to show our viewers something, a cool little moment from the -- this memorial. Here's a moment from the late Senator

John McCain service, Saturday, illustrating the lighter side of bipartisanship. Former President George W. Bush, sneaking a piece of candy

to Michelle Obama.

You can see the former first lady whisper, "Thank you." An unlikely friendship there because the two -- the two are often seated next to each

other at formal events, something which I actually didn't know. Why all of this is happening and you have these cute little vignettes if you will.

The current President, Donald Trump is tweeting angrily. It's impossible not to see the contrast you commented on it just a moment ago, but why?

Why would Donald Trump do it? How does it possibly serve his purpose or his image in any way?

ZELIZER: I think part of this is not a strategy. This is just who he is. He can be very vindictive. He can really lash out. And I think, this is a

way of doing that. He really didn't commemorate the Senator. He went to great lengths to make his own feelings part of the week whether it was with

the flag outside of the White House or whether it was tweeting about Russia as everyone else is watching the services.

If there's a strategy, it's just a show President Trump will do whatever he wants to do which is what his supporters like. He doesn't mind decorum,

doesn't care about custom, that's the strategy. But I think this was personal. I really think he had a lot of anger about Senator McCain, and

Senator McCain felt it and thus didn't want him at his own memorial.

VANIER: Julian, one last thing. You're historian again. Generations from now when American kids learn about American history, and some of the

details of John McCain's life and policy positions have faded from view, what's the one thing they'll remember?

ZELIZER: I think they'll remember him as someone who loved public service in an era when public service was devalued. I think that was his lasting

legacy and that's worth a lot whether you're Democrat or Republican. The love of politics, the love of government in an era when many people don't

understand how you can have that passion.

I think that's the seed of trying to rebuild our policy and to make the system better in the future.

VANIER: And Julian Zelizer, great talking to you again. Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

VANIER: And America didn't just bid farewell to John McCain over the weekend, it also paid tribute to the legendary Aretha Franklin.

Hundreds of people including friends and family members gathered in Detroit, Michigan to pay their final respect to the Queen of Soul. As

former President Bill Clinton noted, she was known for her often bold fashion choices.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope God will forgive me, but I was so glad when I got here. And I hope you will forgive

me. When the casket was still open because I said, I wonder what my friends got all the day. That's it.


VANIER: Aretha Franklin's incredible career spanned six decades and earned her 18 Grammy Awards. Including for one of her biggest hits, Respect.

Perform here in a tribute outside Buckingham Palace. The song became a soundtrack not only for Franklin's career but for feminism and for civil to

the civil rights movement, as well.

We take a quick break, back right after this.


[11:46:32] VANIER: Japan is bracing for another powerful storm in a season that just hasn't let up on severe weather. Now, typhoon Jebi is on its

way. The storm is packing winds up to 250 kilometers per hour. That's about 155 miles per hour. And even though, it's weakening, it's still

going to hit parts of Japan hard.

Let's get the latest weather updates from our meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I think the one difference between yesterday and today that it lost the supercategory that was in

front of typhoon. The thing you have to understand is going from a super typhoon to just a regular typhoon, really only means that the winds have

died down.

But in terms of the rainfall estimates, we expect out of it, not much of that has changed. We still expect some pretty significant amounts of rain.

So, that's going to be one of the biggest impacts we expect out of this storm as it makes its way towards Japan.

But also, subsequently, landslides are going to be a concern. Because you have to understand numerous systems have already impacted Japan in the last

several weeks. So, that ground is already saturated. It will not take much rain to really trigger some of those landslides.

And then, again, still damaging winds. Even though they may be weaker now than they were 24 hours ago, that was expected. But winds are still going

to be strong as we approach Japan. Still likely between 150 to 165 kilometers per hour, is where we expect that range of Jebi to be at its

crossing over Japan.

Now, we will start to see some impact late Monday evening, local time. But some of the worst of the storm will actually hold off until we get to the

day on Tuesday. Here's a look at that timeline. Again, you can start to see some of those outer bands bringing some of that initial heavy rainfall

starting late into Monday. And then, some of the heaviest rain and the strongest winds arrive as we go into the day, Tuesday.

And then, it eventually goes back out over open water again once we get to say about Wednesday and Thursday. Here's a look at the rainfall totals.

Widespread amounts about 50 millimeters of rain, but there will be several spot that could pick up nearly100 millimeters of rain over just the next

couple of days.

Again, 100 total may seem like, OK, that's a decent amount. You have to keep in mind some of these locations of Japan in the month of August picked

up over 1,000 millimeters of rain. So, any additional rain we throw at them is likely just going to exacerbate some of those flooding concerns.

The winds, we also talked about this. Again, the worst areas will be right along those south and eastern coastlines, they're just south of Osaka.

Wind forecast gusts expected to be about 100 kilometers per hour but could reach as much as 125, it not even 150 kilometers per hour in some of those

coastal locations.

Again, we will see that quickly die off, though probably by about late Wednesday heading into Thursday, those winds should really start to calm

back down. But as we've mentioned, they've seen a lot of these systems.

This, look at all of these, this is basically for the most part since August first, just the last four weeks really we've been hit by not only

several storms directly but even some that have just kind of skirted along the coastline, as well. And this is what's giving us the big issue with

landslides, Cyril.

Because the main concern going forward is going to be basically a lot of those places have already had about 800 to a thousand millimeters of rain

in the last month.

That ground is saturated. You add even so much as 25 or 50 millimeters on top of it as that ground is saturated, it will be quickly allowing to let

loose and that what -- that's what could potentially trigger some of those landslides not to mention just the potential for flash flooding in and of


[11:50:01] VANIER: Yes. Japan has had more than its fair share of extreme weather as you said over the summer. Both yourself and the entire CNN

weather team, all our meteorologists have been talking about this. I keep hearing about it's been extreme weather in terms of heat, extreme weather

in terms of rainfall, and now it continues. Alisson Chinchar, thank you so much.

CHINCHAR: Thank you.

VANIER: The Myanmar's LGBT community is fighting for equality in a highly conservative society. That some are finding a rare chance to be accepted.

Our report, next.


VANIER: For your parting shots today, shining a light on fighting for equality. Many LGBT people in Myanmar face discrimination and struggle to

find jobs. Some, however, are finding some acceptance and even a way to make a living at a traditional spiritual festival. CNN's Will Ripley has

this story.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Men in makeup idolized by crowds, showered with cash. This could easily be mistaken for a gay pride

event, celebrating diversity and acceptance. But here, homosexuality is illegal, this is Myanmar's spirit festival. These are spirit wives known

as Nat Kadaws.

Nat Kadaws are said to have supernatural abilities and are revered as celebrities, even in deeply conservative Myanmar, where being LGBT can mean

a life of hardship. The audience believes these people in jewelry and colorful costumes can be possessed by spirits, spirits that deliver

valuable advice for the right price with Nat Kadaws acting as mediums.

For U Win Hlaing, it's a lucrative career and a rare chance for acceptance in a restrictive society.

U WIN HLAING, SPIRIT MEDIUM (through translator) I want to help people to solve their problems. People might have different difficulties, such as

physiological needs, like food, clothes, and shelter, their business or relationships. I talk with supernatural beings on how to solve this


RIPLEY: When it comes to gender, Nat Kadaws identify themselves as men or women because stigma prevents them from identifying as transgender. In

Myanmar, members of the LGBT community face discrimination making it hard to find jobs. They also have higher arrest rates and suffer abuse.

Chit Ya Aung, who identifies as a woman, says she was beaten as a boy for being too girly. Her name means, "Let's love".

CHIT YA AUNG, DANCER, NAT FESTIVAL (through translator): I met my husband at the Nat Festival. I am a dancer, he is a drummer. After meeting

several times and making eye contact, it felt like there was something special.

RIPLEY: Gay marriage is not recognized in Myanmar, but if the community accepts a couple's relationship, it can be considered socially, though not

legally legitimate. Growing number of LGBT advocates hope large crowds like this are a sign that things are changing.

[11:55:02] HIA MYAT HTUN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, COLORS RAINBOW (through translator): In their whole life, when they are -- when they are young,

they were discriminated. They were looked down because of their identity. They become Nat Kadaw and they were now being worshipped by the believers

who believe in Nats.

RIPLEY: For many in Myanmar's LGBT community, living like this is the only way to be accepted for who they are. Trading a life in the shadows for a

life in the spotlight. Will Ripley, CNN.


VANIER: And remember, you can always follow the stories that the team is working on throughout the day by going to our Facebook page that is, where you can read more about the Saudi Arabian- led coalitions admission that mistakes happened during last month's deadly bus attack in Yemen.

Now, I could say goodbye or I could show you this. The Revenge of the Blimps. This is happening in London. This big balloon flew in near the

British Parliament, Saturday. It depicts London Mayor Sadiq Khan wearing, wearing a bikini.

The mayor says, "Yellow is not my color." Organizers say the balloon is a statement on rising crime since Khan took office. They also say it was

retaliation after Khan allowed protesters in July to fly this one, the original blimp giant balloon depicting an angry diaper-clad, baby Donald


I'm Cyril Vanier, this has been CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.