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Op-Ed in "The New York Times" Describes Trump's Erratic Behavior and Amorality; Protests Rocking Oil-Rich Basra for Fourth Day; Five Suspects Arrested in Horrific Child Murder in India; India Decriminalize Is Gay Sex; U.K. Officials Briefed Security Council on Novichok Case. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired September 6, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] HANNAH VAUGHN JONES, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Hannah Vaughan Jones live in London.

We begin with a White House under siege from within. We're watching a situation unfold that simply unprecedented in modern American history. A

furious hunt is currently under way to try to root out a senior Trump administration official. Who says a secret resistance inside the

government is trying to protect the country from its own commander-in- chief.

Well that official wrote a stunning anonymous opinion piece in "The New York Times." It calls Mr. Trump impulsive, ill-informed and reckless and

says, quote, many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his

worst inclinations. I would know, I am one of them. The root of the problem is the President's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he

is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making. End quote there.

Well Donald Trump fired back as you would expect on Twitter. Suggesting the official is guilty of treason. He also questioned whether the person

really exists. And said if so, "The New York Times" must turn him or indeed her over to the government immediately.

Well the op-ed says Mr. Trump's cabinet witnessed such instability that it once considered a process to remove the President from office altogether.

Absolutely explosive allegations then. Let's bring in our senior chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward is with me in London. Also, our

White House reporter, Jeremy Diamond in Washington for us. Jeremy, to you first. At the moment we've got a situation where senior officials, cabinet

members no less, wherever they are across the world are furiously denying that they are this anonymous writer. And is this situation spiraling out

of control?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, you know, it really is a remarkable situation. Not only the fact that dozens and dozens of

administration officials could plausibly have written such an opinion piece. Because there are dozens of officials who have these very views

about the President's conduct. About the efforts that they undertake to prevent some of the President's more impulsive decisions from actually

taking place. And we're now in a situation where we've seen a half-dozen cabinet members that secretaries of various departments come out and

publicly state that they are not the author of this anonymous opinion piece.

And the floodgates opened up with the Vice President's communications director this morning who released a statement on Twitter saying the Vice

President puts his name on the op-ed "The New York Times" should be ashamed and so should the person who wrote this false and gutless op-ed, our office

is above such amateur acts.

And in just the last few minutes we now have an additional cabinet member who is coming out and denying it. The Attorney General Jeff Sessions,

through a spokesperson, denying that he is the author of this anonymous opinion piece.

But again, quite a stunning state of affairs that we're seeing for these cabinet members to need to actually come out and do this. And it seems to

be because they have seen how visibly unnerved and angry the President has become as a result of this opinion piece. We saw him yesterday in person,

calling this opinion piece "The New York Times" and the author for publishing this, gutless. And calling it a real disgrace for this opinion

piece to have actually been published. And he followed that up as you mentioned on Twitter suggesting that this is a treasonous act.

JONES: Yes, and Jeremy, I mean "The New York Times" even suggesting that there might be more to come, more of these anonymous op-eds that they may

indeed publish again. What is "The New York Times" then saying about this claim from Donald Trump that this is the exposing this individual as being

within the administration, is therefore a threat to national security.

DIAMOND: Yes, well they're certainly rejecting that claim and frankly, it's unclear what the President's basis is for this. I think one thing

that we have to keep in mind here is that while this editorial is quite stunning, particularly in its breadth and the fact that "The New York

Times" agreed to run something like this, suggesting it was indeed a senior official. It, you know we have seen these kinds of comments from senator

administration officials in CNN's reporting in "The Washington Post" in "The New York Times" in various outlets over the course of the President's

present term in office, suggesting that this is a consistent theme of officials trying to push back on some of the President's more impulsive


[11:05:00] Some of his more reckless actions and this is something we've seen demonstrated time and again on various foreign policy matters in

particular. So, while this is stunning, it is certainly simply corroborating information that we've seen over the last year and a half of

Trump's presidency.

JONES: I want to bring in Clarissa Ward now, our chief international correspondent for the international reaction to all of this. Whilst we

know that White House staffers are running around like headless chickens saying it's not them what are America's friends and foes making of this

dissent from within.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, was interesting, Hannah, we're seeing a lot of headlines that you might expect

in the international papers. They're calling it explosive. They're calling it frightening. But the one word you're not hearing is "shocking."

Actually, when you look at the media reaction globally to this very dramatic anonymous op-ed, the response has even been quite muted. Which is

something that I thought was really interesting. I spoke to one well- placed source here in the U.K. who says well it doesn't really tell us anything we don't already know, i.e. that sensible Republicans are trying

to manage an erratic President.

I think what we're starting to realize internationally, is that there is an understanding already entrenched among both allies and foes, that President

Trump is an erratic President. That there are people around him who are trying to contain some of that. That doesn't make it any less frightening,

Hannah. But certainly, it does something to mitigate the level of shock that we've seen.

JONES: So, if they're not shocked, that's one thing. But as you said, there's still the fright factor as well. How do people cope with -- how do

other diplomats cope with that danger emanating from Washington?

WARD: The danger lies precisely in that erratic behavior. And it was so interesting, there's a poll that's been done in Germany. Which says in a

survey of the various things that Germans find frightening, number one is not terrorism, but the policies of President Donald Trump. Ahead of

terrorism, ahead of the refugee crisis, 69 percent of people participating in this R+V Versicherung poll saying that Trump making the world more

dangerous is their biggest concern. That's over 59 percent of people who are worried about terrorism.

The real issue here is that he appears to be rearranging the world order. Old alliances, particularly between Europe and the U.S. that used to be the

lynchpin or the bedrock of liberalism as we know it, have been called into question. There have been a lot of policies that have left many people

confused. And feeling deeply insecure about the future of the relationship. This doesn't change any of that. It merely cements what

most people already knew. Which is that this is not necessarily a President that the rest of the world can trust. Know what they're dealing


JONES: Just briefly then, for the likes of Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, out on the international stage at the moment, the chief diplomat for

the U.S., what impact does it have on him when he's doing foreign policy negotiations, knowing that there's such disarray back home?

WARD: Well I think if anything one has to have the level of respect for the people who are trying consistently to contain the crisis. To manage

what Bob Woodward and his book referred to as "crazy town." as it were. And particularly the diplomats, people working in the State Department,

people who don't follow along partisan lines who are out in the world every day representing the U.S. and trying to explain some of this frankly often

inexplicable behavior -- Hannah.

JONES: Certainly is. Clarissa Ward with me in London. Also, Jeremy Diamond from the White House, thank you to both of you. We're going to

have much more ahead on this story. CNN White House reporter Stephen Collinson will tell us why he calls this an opening act in a stunning

effort to topple Donald Trump. Will be speaking to Stephen later on.

Just mentioning there to Clarissa about U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he's already distanced himself from "The New York Times" op-ed.

Here's what he told reporters in New Delhi about the article and its author a short time ago.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's sad that you have someone who would make that choice. I come from a place where if you're not in a

position to execute the commander's intent you have a singular option. And it's to leave. And this person instead -- according to "The New York

Times" -- chose not only to stay, but to undermine what President Trump and this administration are trying to do. And I have to tell you, I just -- I

find, I find the media's efforts in this regard to undermine this administration incredibly disturbing. And I'll answer your other question

directly. Because some will say, gosh you didn't answer the question. It's not mine.


JONES: Now picture this, you live in a city floating on about $5 trillion worth of oil. But when you turn on the taps, this comes out. Filthy, full

of stuff that will make you sick. All in Iraq's second largest city of Basra.

[11:10:00] Well things are so bad there, in fact, even the water itself is fuel for the raging fires and volcanic anger burning out from the

protesters. So far, some nine of them have been killed and almost 100 badly hurt over the last few days alone. Take a listen to one of them now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER (through translated text): We, the people of Basra fought in most will and we defended the Iraqi army. Is this the way

the government will towards the people of Basra? By attacking them with live ammunition? Basra produces more than 4.5 million barrels of oil and

generates revenues of 100 billion dinars of the federal government. Is this their reward?


JONES: Let's bring in CNN's ben Wedeman to break all of this down, all of the images that we are seen. Ben, these protests have been going on for

some time now. How have they been able to deteriorate to this kind of violence that we're seeing on the streets?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well they began actually, Hannah, back in the beginning of July and several people were

killed during protests then. Back then, the caretaker Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, promised to spend billions of dollars to improve the

situation in Basra. Where we have seen a rapidly deteriorating infrastructure with the water contaminated by salt. As many as 20,000

people going to the hospital as a result of that contaminated water.

These protests have been going on and on and the promises from Baghdad end up being merely promises and nothing really changes. So, we have seen this

week, things really getting worse. As you mentioned so far, according to an Iraqi human rights group, at least nine people being killed, one person

killed yesterday. We see a renewal of the protests that have been going on today. There was supposed to be 3:00 p.m. local curfew imposed by

security forces. But at last minute they canceled that. And what we are seeing is more protests there. There appears to be a fire in the

governor's headquarters in the building. It is really the main government building in the city of Basra.

We are hearing of more tires being burnt in the streets overnight. The road to Umm Qasr, which is Iraq's only deep-water port was blocked.

There's the possibility that these protests could interfere with the export of Iraq's oil. Keeping in mind that 80 percent of the country's oil wealth

is in the area of Basra and exported from there through the Persian Gulf. So, the potential for these protests which are based upon this mounting

anger over the collapse of the infrastructure in Basra are going to have implications far beyond Iraq itself -- Hannah.

JONES: Yes, we're just showing our viewers at the moment images of the build-up of rubbish, of trash there on the streets of Basra. As you say,

the local government efforts have just completely disintegrated. Ben, political instability coming from the government in Baghdad as well. Now

in this violence we're seeing on the streets of Basra, it doesn't bode well for Iraq and presumably it doesn't bode well for Iraq's closest neighbors

as well.

WEDEMAN: Well really this is an Iraqi problem now. Now keep in mind that on May 12 of this year, there were elections. And still the Iraqi

politicians have been unable to agree on a government. Now a lot of Iraq's problems in terms of the economy, infrastructure, development, education,

were put on hold beginning in 2014 with the beginning of the war against ISIS.

And I think what we are now seeing is the result. The fact that all of these problems have not been addressed. They've been building up for the

last four years. And certainly Basra, which is at the opposite end of the country, from Mosul, where much of the resources of Iraq were being focused

on during the war, is now in apparently open revolt. The government is not altogether clear how much control they have over this situation there. And

with the political paralysis in Baghdad it doesn't appear that anybody is really able to address the problems in a way that is going to prevent a

further decay or breakdown in the security situation in Basra and perhaps beyond -- Hannah.

JONES: Yes. We will stay across this story coming from Basra. And appreciate your reporting on it, Ben. Ben Wedeman live for is there in

Beirut. Thank you.

Now Russia is sending out a warning ahead of an expected all-out government assault on Idlib, Syria's last rebel stronghold.

[11:15:00] The foreign ministry says Moscow is killing and will be killing what it calls terrorists in Syria. The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran

are set to meet in Tehran on Friday to discuss the ongoing conflict. After a lull, lasting several weeks, Russia has confirmed air strikes on targets

in Idlib. Both France and the United States are warning the Syrian regime against using chemical weapons to retake that rebel enclave.

As the government prepares for what could indeed be the last major battle of this Syrian war, President Bashar al-Assad is trying to send a decisive

message to the world. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has more on that now from Damascus.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hannah, and this event that's happening in the Damascus today, the opening of the

international trade fair here in Damascus, is certainly something with a Syrian government is trying to send a clear message. They're trying to say

that look, the war here in Syria is coming to an end and they believe that they are the ones who are on the winning side. And that it could be

something that could be decided very soon.

Of course, we've been talking about the situation that seems to be shaping up there in Idlib province with an offensive that could be happening very

soon. And some of the talk coming internationally from both Russian and Syrian government officials. But here in Damascus, I would say that the

focus has gone a step further. If you speak to folks here in Damascus, many of them are already feeling as though the conflict could be coming to

an end. There's a lot more business, a lot more commerce going on, a lot more shops that are opening.

And then you have this Damascus trade fair, which is very important to the Syrian government. They say that there are people taking part from 48

countries around the world. And of course, one of the big focuses of that trade fair is going to be reconstruction here in Syria. We know that

internationally there's a big debate about who's going to be able to finance that reconstruction. Of course, the Syrian government doesn't have

very much money. The Russians don't really, either. And many Western countries quite reluctant to pitch in. Nevertheless, the Syrians are

saying they want to start that project.

So, we are going to be looking forward to seeing some construction companies most probably there. Some others who generally want to help

rebuild the infrastructure of this country. And you know, having come here, Hannah, for so many years as the war was going on, there's so much in

this country that's been destroyed. So obviously a lot of work to be done. And I think one of the signals in the Syrian government is trying to send

today is that they are ready for that work to really start to begin very soon. And of course, they're hoping the international community will pitch

in. But of course, we also know the big reservations that many countries still have -- Hannah.


JONES: Fred Pleitgen there for us in the Syrian capital, Damascus, from a trade fair there as the war continues to go on.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come on the program -- mourning and outrage after a horrific incident in India. We'll bring you

all the details.


JONES: You're watching CNN, and this CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones live in London. Welcome back.

Five suspects are now under arrest after the rape and murder of a 9-year- old girl in India. Some supporters set up a candlelight memorial for the little girl. Police say she was gang-raped, strangled, hit with an axe and

had her eyes gouged out. And they say it was the result of a family feud among the accused -- the girl's step-mother and step-brother. It is the

latest in a string of rape cases to prompt massive outrage in India. To talk more about this, we're joined by a Barkha Dutt, a contributing

columnist at "The Washington Post". She's also an author based in New Delhi. Barkha, thanks so much for joining us here on CNN. And just the

most horrific case that we're hearing. There seems to be a string of these sorts of cases that we're hearing from India recently.

Do you get any sense that the authorities there are starting to get a grip on what seems to be a sexual violence pandemic across the country?

BARKHA DUTT, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, Hannah, in this particular case, the incident was so gruesome, as you mentioned. This little child

actually axed to death after being gang-raped allegedly by her own half- brother on the orders, allegedly again, of her step-mother. That the police officer who was investigating the case while describing this to all

of us journalists actually broke down crying. I think that really brought home the horror of what even a man otherwise hardened by exposure to the

most horrific crimes actually went through when he saw this happening.

Now I think two things have happened here. A few years ago, we saw another horrific gang rape of a medical student that brought out young people on

the streets of Delhi. We got a new bunch of rape laws, much tougher laws in terms of the laws. We have good laws. But the fact is that the culture

of violence and the culture of patriarchy is what we're protesting here. And I think that's manifested in the fact that this was actually a woman

who ordered the gang rape and the murder of this little child. Because misogyny as they say can be gender-neutral, just as feminism can be.

I think what India is really grappling with is the entrenched culture of violence and patriarchy. But if there is any one silver-lining in a

country in which a child is sexually assaulted every 15 to 20 minutes. Those numbers vary a bit year to year. And a woman is raped every 20

minutes, the silver lining is only this, that there is no longer a shroud of silence over these cases. That used to be what happened in the past.

Nobody would come out and talk about this. At least all the horror, we have protests, we have candlelight vigils. We are talking about it. We

are out on the streets. We are demanding action. I'm not saying that's enough. But I think that that is the one shift that I sense.

JONES: Yes, and Barkha, stay with us because India is a country of contrasts, and we have a different story out of India today that I want to

get your comment on as well. The gay community has just seen an historic win. Celebrations got under way after India's supreme court decriminalized

gay sex. The ban dated back more than 150 years to colonial rule and potentially carried a life sentence. So Barkha, your thoughts on this

then? This was a Victorian-era law and finally it's been overturned after decades of pushing for it. But no thanks to India's politicians I

understand who have stalled on this for many, many years.

DUTT: Well, Hannah, I think you're right in saying that we are a country of paradoxes. We are a country of inexplicable contradictions. You know,

you had the report on the horrific gang rape and we have a country that's erupted in celebrations today. At what can truly be called without it

being a cliche, an historic verdict. Now what's happened is 158-year-old British law. It's been called wiping out colonial stain has been read down

by India's highest court. It was dramatic pronouncement.

The judges quoted everything, everybody from Shakespeare to John Stewart Milton, even Leonard Cohen. That's right, we saw Leonard Cohen's songs in

India's Supreme Court and gay rights activist are calling this the second independence. Their calling this the second snub to colonialism. Because

remember, Britain has moved on with amending its own laws, but India still been left with that kind of colonial hangover.

Now, you're absolutely right, this is all thanks to the judges. The politicians of both the ruling party and the opposition have been


[11:25:00] The Narendra Modi government, in fact, refused to take a position on this -- at all in the Supreme Court. They basically neither

said yes or no, they waffled. They said we leave it to the court. India's parliament showed no courage. Except for a few individual exceptions in

trying to bring legislation that would actually overturn treating millions of citizens as criminals. And the opposition party that are now jumping on

the celebration's bandwagon did nothing to change the law when it was in government. I think what you're seeing is a parliamentary democracy

outsourced to our judiciary.

JONES: In terms of India's international image now though, how entrenched is homophobia into Indian society? Are we going to now see a gay pride

parade for example down the streets of New Delhi?

DUTT: Well I think you would see a gay pride parade. I think social attitudes are changing. But the fact is, that you know -- again to take us

back to India being the country of contradictions -- there is a socioeconomic strata, people like us, educated liberals, relatively younger

where this is not stigmatized. But I can tell you from talking to gay rights activists that having the law change and having them decriminalized

is just one little battle won. The real battle is actually being able to get the jobs you want. To have people not snicker at you. You have people

not laugh at you in school and college. To get past the don't ask, don't tell attitude.

Even Indians who do not want gays to be treated as criminals would prefer, let's not talk about it. Let's just look the way. Why do we have to know

all this? Why do they have to flaunt their sexuality? Right. So, I think you hear a lot of that still in Indian society. So, I won't say that

everything has changed with the law. It's a little bit like women's safety that we were discussing earlier. You have a good set of laws, that's just

the beginning. The battle is a long, arduous battle. But it is still let's not undermine the moment. It is a great day in India.

JONES: And it's one thing to change the law. It's another thing to change people's views. But it is a good start nonetheless. Barkha, great to talk

to you. Thank you for your analysis. Barkha Dutt there in New Delhi, thank you.

DUTT: Thank you.

JONES: Still to come tonight on the program. The back and forth between the U.K. and Russia over Salisbury poisonings, goes all the way now to the

United Nations. Will be live there next.


JONES: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Hannah Vaughn Jones live in London. Welcome back.

Let's update you on our top story. One by one we're hearing denials from Trump administration officials who say they are not the author of an

explosive opinion piece that's rocking the White House right now. The list now includes U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, Attorney General

Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis. The op-ed said a secret resistance within the government is

working to protect America from President Trump. And says his cabinet even considered trying to remove him from office. We'll have plenty more on

that shortly.

Let's get you up to speed though on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. The first round of Yemen peace talks in almost 3

years is being delayed after the Houthi delegation was a no-show in Geneva. The U.N. mediator says the delay is nothing unusual and he's confident all

will be resolved. Talks are aimed at getting the Saudi backed government and Iranian backed Houthi rebels to and Yemen's devastating war.

Swedes are apparently swamped with so-called junk news in the run-up to Sunday's election. An Oxford University study says one in three election

related stories shared on Twitter is fake. Most of the stories were generated in Sweden and a very small portion in Russia.

The young Thai football team that captured the world's attention, of course, has finally come face-to-face with the divers who rescued them from

a flooded cave. The Thai government hosted an appreciation party for the rescuers and the football team in Bangkok earlier on today. It is the

first time that these two groups have all met in person. Of course, since that dramatic rescue.

And the death toll from a strong earthquake in Japan now stands at 7. Officials say 190 others were injured when the magnitude 6.7 quake hit

Hokkaido Island on Thursday. Dozens of people remain missing and rescue efforts are very much under way. More on that with our Kristie Lu Stout.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR, NEWS STREAM, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Multiple landslides seen from above triggered by a 6.7-magnitude quake on

Hokkaido island. Close up, the damage is clear. Homes destroyed. Roads demolished. Thousands of rescuers are on the scene pulling survivors to

safety and assessing the damage.

Around three million homes are without power. A nuclear power station had to switch on its back-up power to keep its cooling systems working. And

that reminds people of the Fukushima disaster in 2011 when a magnitude 9 quake and tsunami led to the world's worst radiation leak since Chernobyl.

Back on Hokkaido, regional authorities warned of continued power and travel disruptions. There has been one disaster after another in Japan this

summer. With typhoons, floods, and deadly heat waves. And now, the meteorological agency says people should remain vigilant to aftershocks and

other strong tremors after this devastating quake.


JONES: Kristie Lu Stout reporting there.

The U.K. and Russia are sparring over the Novichok poisonings carried out in Britain earlier this year. The Kremlin has called the U.K.'s

allegations that two Russian officers from the military intelligence carried out the attacks, quote, unacceptable. And the two countries are

now expected to go head to head and a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Let's go to our senior U.N. correspondent, Richard Roth,[11:35:00] who is at the U.N. for us right now. Richard, my understanding is that the U.K.

is about to lay its cards out on the table. What can we expect in response from the Russians other than "unacceptable"?

[11:35:00] RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well it should be pretty feisty. Previous meetings on the Salisbury attacks when is they

initially occurred, really erupted. And I expect to see that again. Especially since the U.K., as you mentioned yesterday, named names.

Whether they're the real names who knows, when they were doing anything alleged activities. But the U.K. is likely to speak first. And the

British ambassador just told the media, waiting outside the meeting, that she's going to give an update. Which she promised to do if there was

progress in the police investigation. And she may or may not call for further action by the international community. For the use of chemical

weapons. Which would be in violation of major treaties.

There's no vote today. It's just more momentum gathering. But once again, the U.K., the United States and the West will be lined up against Russia

and Russia has been given very sturdy defenses. So, look for sharp exchange to come. No sanctions here, and any sanctions would have to be

approved by the European Union, as long as the U.K. is a member of that.

JONES: All right. Richard, I know you'll stay across this as the U.K. ambassador and all the rest of them of course get their chances to say

their piece there at the Security Council. Thank you.

Just ahead on the program, who is behind it and what will the U.S. President do about the scathing op-ed in "The New York Times"? We'll

examine that, next.


JONES: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD, with me Hannah Vaughan Jones live in London. Welcome back.

We return now to our top story. A White House under siege from within its own walls. After a senior official in the Trump administration wrote a

blistering op-ed column in "The New York Times" newspaper. And the U.S. President and his top aides are firing right back. Calling the anonymous

author, a gutless coward. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more on the "Times" secret source, who says he or she is one of many insiders working to frustrate

parts of Mr. Trump's agenda. And thwart the President's worst inclinations.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New signs of a war within President Trump's White House. And anonymous op-ed in "The

New York Times," written by a senior Trump official offer as blistering look at how people inside the government are trying to protect the nation

from the President.

We believe our first duty is to this country and the President continues to act in a matter that's detrimental to health of our Republic, the person

writes. That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more

misguided impulses until he is out of office.

An extraordinary claim and the President is blasting the newspaper.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If the failing "New York Times" has an anonymous editorial, -- can you believe it -- anonymous.

Meaning gutless, a gutless editorial. We're doing a great job.

[11:40:00] ZELENY: Yet it rocked the White House. Amplifying and echoing the same overarching theme of a bombshell new book by Bob Woodward.

TRUMP: The book means nothing, it's a work of fiction.

ZELENY: President Trump trying to downplay and discredit Bob Woodward's new book. Which offers a devastating portrait of deep dysfunction inside

his White House. In the oval office, the President settling on one word again and again to describe the explosive book.

TRUMP: Fiction.

Fiction. Fiction.


It's fiction.


JONES: OK. We've got break news to bring you, the British ambassador -- U.K. ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Pierce, is currently talking

to the Security Council about that Novichok poisoning case, let's listen in.


KAREN PIERCE, U.K. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: . after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent, detective sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police

officer was also seriously ill after having been exposed to a nerve agent. Following this attack, the United Kingdom notified the OPCW, invited them

to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and we briefed members of the Security Council.

The OPCW's independent expert laboratories confirmed the U.K.'s identification of the Novichok nerve agent. Madam President, the Skripals

are thankfully recovering. But on June 30 this year, 44-year-old mother of three, Dawn Sturgess fell ill in the nearby town of Amesbury after being

exposed to Novichok. She suddenly died on the 8th of July. Her partner, Charlie Rowley was also exposed to the nerve agent and he became seriously


Police have identified that Sturgess and Rowley came into contact with a counterfeit perfume bottle which had been discarded in Salisbury. Tests of

this bottle following its recovery by police confirmed it contained a significant amount of highly lethal Novichok nerve agent.

On 4th of September, the OPCW's independent expert laboratories have again confirmed the U.K.'s identification of the Novichok nerve agent with a very

high level of purity and to remind council members that a very high level of purity means that it will have been made by a state.

The inquiry into the Amesbury incident has been formally linked by the police with the attempted murder of Skripals. The OPCW independent experts

have confirmed the identifications of Novichok nerve agent and it is the exact same chemical was used in both attacks. Madam President, it

stretches credulity for their identification of a such a nerve agent twice in close proximity to be a coincidence.

We have previously shared with the Council the information about the Russian FOLIANT programme from the 2000's. But to recap briefly there was

a development of Novichok outside the chemical weapons convention. And Russian agents were trained in assassination techniques, including the use

of such agents on door handle.

Madam President, in U.K. the police are independent of government and have been conducting a painstaking and forensic investigation. This

investigation has involved around 250 detectives who have trolled through more than 11,000 hours of CCTV footage and have taken more than 1400

statements. Working round the clock, they have carried out painstaking and methodical work to ascertain exactly which individuals were responsible,

and the methods they used to carry out this attack.

This evidence has been independently reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service. And they have concluded there was a sufficient basis to bring

charges. We have thus independently concluded that there is enough evidence to bring charges against two Russian nationals for the following

crimes. The conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal. The attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and Detective Sergeant Nic Bailey. The use and

possession of Novichok and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey. The investigation into the murder of Dawn

Sturgess remains ongoing.

Madam President, the evidence reveals the following. It shows the arrival of two individuals traveling under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan

Boshivov to the U.K. from Russia. CCTV and other evidence record their travel to and from Salisbury and crucially there are images which clearly

place them in the vicinity of the Skripal's house at 11:58 a.m. on Sunday, the 4th of March. This was moments before the attack took place which

involved placing the substance on the Skripal's front door handle.

[11:45:00] Madam President, should any council member wish, we can share copies of those images. Further, testing of the hotel the pair stayed in

in London revealed the presence of traces of the Novichok substance in their hotel room. Based on the thorough analysis of our intelligence, the

U.K. government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police investigation are in fact officers from the Russian military intelligence

service, also known as the GRU. This is a body of the Russian state.

Madam President, we previously when we briefed the council before, attributed responsibility to Russia on the basis of technical means,

operational experience and I recall the case of Litvinenko here and motive. Russian statements have said that former Russian agents are if you like,

fair game for assassination. These arguments have now been firmly reinforced by the clear evidence of the involvement of identified Russian

nationals, traveling to the U.K. from Moscow and returning there on Russian passports. This evidence has been sufficient for our independent

prosecuting authorities to bring criminal charges in relation to the Salisbury attack and to issue European arrest warrants.

Madam President, these two individuals are no longer in the United Kingdom. Were they with us, these two suspects within the U.K. jurisdiction would be

liable to arrest in clear basis in law for their attempted murder crimes.

It is clear, madam President, that the Russian state does not permit the extradition of Russian nationals, and I understand that this is a

prohibition in the Russian constitution. So therefore, with respect to these two individuals we have obtained a European arrest warrant. And we

will shortly issue an Interpol red notice. Should either of these individuals ever gain travel outside Russia, we will take every step open

to us to detain them, to extradite them and to bring them to face justice in the United Kingdom.

And we responded at the time, to Russian behavior robustly. The council will recall that we were joined by 28 partners and NATO, in expelling more

than 150 Russian intelligence officers. This was a proportionate and direct response to deter and degrade Russia's ability to conduct further

operations in the future and to reduce her ability to use the GRU network to cause our citizens harm.

Madam President, we have clear evidence of Russian state involvement in what happened in Salisbury and the use of CW. This is reckless

involvement. And endangering the lives of many citizens and reckless involvement and endangering the universal prohibition on the use of CW.

Madam President, as the council has discussed before, there is an established pattern of malign Russian behavior perpetrated by military and

intelligence agencies overseas. This was shown in the October 2016 coup attempt in Montenegro, shown in the June of 2017 NotPetya cyberattack which

caused an estimated $1.2 billion of damage worldwide. And it has been shown in other cyberattacks.

The GRU has time and again been responsible for Russian interference in other countries' affairs, and most recently, we saw U.S. indictment of GRU

individuals in relation to the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack. Now in the light of the evidence from Salisbury, we see that GRU activity

also encompasses the use of illegal military-grade nerve agent on European soil.

Madam President, P-5 members bear a particular responsibility to uphold global norms and international law. All the more so where weapons of mass

destruction is concerned. One P-5 member has not upheld these important norms. One P-5 member has undertaken a pattern of behavior which showed

that they tried to murder the Skripals. They played dice with the lives of the people of Salisbury. They work in a parallel universe where the normal

rules of international affairs are inverted.

[11:50:00] This is a direct challenge, madam President, to the rules-based international system, which has kept all of us safe, including Russia,

since 1945. In the face of such behavior, the international community needs to continue to defend the laws, norms and institutions that safeguard

our citizens against chemical weapons and safeguard them against the threat of hostile foreign interference. This is why the British Prime Minister

yesterday set out the importance of using transparent, multilateral mechanisms to identify and hold malign actors to account.

Allow me to summarize the steps that we believe should now be taken by the international community. We need to work together to strengthen the

chemical weapons convention against the use of CW around the world and which we saw most recently violated on the streets of the United Kingdom.

We need to build further the OPCW's capability to attribute the use of chemical weapons. There can be no place for such incidents as Salisbury


We need to shine a light on the use of state agencies to undermine the rule of law and interfere in the domestic lives of our country's citizens. And

we need to make best use of our established methods, including sanctions, in curbing threats to our societies and our ways of life.

As Theresa May emphasized yesterday, the United Kingdom has no quarrel with the Russian people. We continue to hold out hope that we will once again

enjoy a strong partnership with the government of this great nation. We have fought alongside Russian troops in the Second World War. But we will

respond robustly when our security is threatened, when the lives of our citizens are endangered and when the norms and rules of international law

and the international system are flouted in such a brazen and reckless manner.

We stand with our partners and allies, we are determined to continue to disrupt together the hostile activities of foreign intelligence networks on

our territories. We will uphold the prohibition of chemical weapons. We will protect our citizens. And we will defend ourselves from all forms of

malign state activity directed against us and our societies. Thank you, madam President.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I thank the representative from the United Kingdom for her briefing and I will now give

the floor to the representative of Peru.

UNIDENTIFIED PERU REPRESENTATIVE: The information just presented to us by the United Kingdom on the investigations undertaken and the evidence that

has been found and we have taken keen note of them. We wish to reiterate our deep concern at the use of a nerve agent in public spaces in the United

Kingdom, which cost the life of an innocent woman and placed at serious risk the lives of at least four other persons.

We extend our condolences and solidarity to the victims and with the population of the United Kingdom who may have been exposed to the chemical

agent in question. The rule condemns any use, strongly condemns any use of chemical weapons. We believe that in and of themselves, they constitute a

threat to international peace and security. And trusted crime and a flagrant violation of the relevant nonproliferation regime. We call on the

parties concerned to cooperate fully with the investigations on everything related to the sensitive issue especially through the organization for the

prohibition of chemical weapons and other competent bodies. And to do so in line with the principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes. We

underscore the need, the prevailing need to identify those responsible and to punish them accordingly and to do so within the framework of the rule of

law and due process, thank you very much.

HALEY: I thank the representative from Peru and I now give the floor to the representative of France.

JONES: So, the Peruvian representative there at the Security Council of the United Nations just there responding to what Karen Pierce, the U.K.

ambassador to the U.N. had to say. Of course, talking about this Novichok poisoning in southern England in Salisbury in March earlier of this year

and then the fall-out from that since. And of course, now the implications on Russia that some of its agents and indeed this goes all the way back to

the Kremlin perhaps -- [11:55:00] at least that's what the U.K. says -- as far as a chemical poisoning, a nerve agent used on foreign soil.

Let's bring in Richard Roth. Our U.N. correspondent who's been watching all of the developments that we've seen over the last five, ten minutes or

so. Richard what contractually did Karen Pearce, the U.K. ambassador to the U.N. want from her colleagues with regard to Russia?

ROTH: She said that in effect building momentum towards possible action over the use of chemical weapons in violation of international treaties.

She has not specifically laid out what should be done, but clearly hopes that the Security Council is going to take note of what happened. However,

we're all waiting for Russia to speak. A lot of things can't get through the council with the current divisions among the big powers. The

ambassador said that arrest warrants have been issued through Interpol for the two men named yesterday. And there was a joint statement that was put

out by France, U.K., U.S., along with Canada and Germany denouncing in effect what happened. And pressing for more action.

This should be pretty feisty. When Russia does respond, though. There may be many other speakers. For the ambassador, she said it was a reckless,

brazen attack. And she's been saying this before. Things really got heated last time. So much so, that eventually the security council members

staged a summer retreat in Sweden to say that in effect, it promised they wouldn't attack each other so much in public. Let's see if the retreat

still lasts.

JONES: All right, Richard thanks very much indeed. I know you'll stay across this currently looking at live pictures from the U.N. Security

Council. The French ambassador currently has the floor. We'll stay across this. But that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thanks so much for your company and

as I said, we'll stay across the latest from the United Nations in New York.