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CONNECT THE WORLD
CNN Interviews Mark Zuckerberg; Trump Stands by Saudi's MSB. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 21, 2018 - 10:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello, welcome to Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi for you.
When it comes to the Middle East, it seems the American president has four goals. One, the so-called deal of the century between Israel and the
Palestinians, two, going after Iran, whilst three, keeping oil prices low. And four, well, that nothing else matters.
Excuse me, while I just get a quick glass of water.
All right, let's try that again. And four, while nothing else seems to matter. And you've got to keep that in mind as we go through our show
tonight. I'm going to get you to Kaitlan Collins, at the White House. I'm going to kick off with Kaitlan Collins tonight, who's going to walk us
through exactly what we have heard from Donald Trump, who is standing by Saudi Arabia. Kaitlan?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is standing by and he issued that extraordinary statement that seemed to be dictated by President Trump
himself. It included a lot of exclamation points and it echoed what we've heard President Trump say privately to his aids and to his confidents about
this situation since it's been unfolding over the last few weeks.
So, that statement wasn't surprising, but you have to look at the timing of this. President Trump issued that statement before the White House had
even received the CIA's assessment of the Khasoggi murder.
We were told by sources, they were still waiting on it to come. They expected it to not be a conclusive assessment, but to essentially give the
president the best intelligence of what they had at the time for him to then look at from there.
Of course, President Trump issued a statement saying what he's been saying privately, declaring that he's going to stand by the Saudi's, despite what
happens, saying essentially, not that he didn't believe that the Crown Prince had anything to do with this murder, but that maybe he did and maybe
he didn't, and saying that he doesn't believe that we will every fully know who it is that ordered the murder of this prominent reporter.
Of course, this has sparked a lot of outcry, not just from the president's critics, but from his allies as well. Lindsey Graham is one of his closest
friends in Washington and he was on the president's favorite television last night, Sean Hannity on Fox News, saying that he does not believe that
just because Saudi Arabia is an ally and just because we have this arms deal in the making, that they should be able to get away with what they
Now whether or not the president is going to change his mind about that, whether or not he will be pressured by those on Capitol Hill, not only
Lindsey Graham, but also Senator Bob Corker, the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee is still an open question, Becky.
ANDERSON: Kaitlan, thank you and thank you for being in position while I seemed to have lost my voice at the beginning of all of that. I had a
glass of water and I am coping now. All right, Kaitlan, thank you. Excellent analysis.
Let's perhaps then look at what is, no surprise, Donald Trump standing by Saudi Arabia after the brutal murder and dismemberment of the Saudi
journalist and U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi.
A new tweet this morning actually thanking the Kingdom for low oil prices, making quite clear where the president's priorities lye. Well, Mr. Trump
issued a rather bizarre statement yesterday, rejecting the assessment of his own CIA, that the Saudi Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi's murder, as if
giving the whole thing a shrug.
Well, the president said, maybe the Crown Prince knew about and maybe he didn't, but, quote, "at any case, U.S. remains committed to Saudi Arabia."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you siding with the Saudis over your own intelligence?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: Because it's America first for me. It's all about America first.
Saudi Arabia, if we broke with them I think your oil prices would go through the roof. I've kept them down, they've helped me keep them down.
We'll see how that all works out. It's a very complex situation, it's a shame, but it's -- it is what is what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It is what it is. Critics say Donald Trump sending a chilling message to dictators the world over that it's okay to murder even a U.S.
resident as long as your country does business with Washington. Well, we are covering every angle of this story for you.
Manu Raju in Washington, John Defterios in Abu Dhabi with me and Arwa Damon is in Istanbul.
I want to start with you Manu. We got a tweet today from Bob Corker. Tell us who he is and why it matters.
MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Corker, of course, is Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and someone who's actually retiring at the end
of this year, but he has been trying to push this Administration to take firm action in the light of the Khashoggi murder and he raised some
significant concerns on Twitter last night, saying, I never though I'd see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
Now, that was his public concern, as some rhetoric from the outgoing chairman, but the teeth of the matter is going to come from Congress as
well. That's in the form of potential sanctions.
Now, what Corker and the ranking Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are doing, is they're demanding that the Administration make a
determination under the U.S. law know as the Magnitsky Act, to determine whether or not the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was responsible
for this murder in any way.
And under that U.S. law, if the Administration makes that determination within 120 days, then it must impose sanctions. So, the Administration
still is under pressure to respond despite the president's own decision not to side with his Intelligence committee and to side with Saudi Arabia as
well instead and Republicans and Democrats also, Becky, will be looking at other avenues to put pressure on Saudi Arabia, including using a bill to
keep the government open in the United States, that to use it potentially impose sanctions. Add language in there to go after Saudi Arabia, as well
as to block arms sales from going forward, which Congress has a role in saying.
So, the president may want to side with Saudi Arabia, but even some of his allies, Republicans and his Democratic critics are planning to push back
against Saudi Arabia. We'll see how the Administration ultimately responds to that, Becky.
ANDERSON: Manu, thank you. In the last few hours Mr. Trump tweeting, "Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the
World. Enjoy? $54 was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let's go lower!
John, what's going on here?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It's incredible actually. This is what somebody called in the market, The Trump Factor, where you put
the fundamentals of the oil market to the side and instead, focus, instead on the geopolitics of Donald Trump.
This is a blatant way by the president, let's just be blunt here, to intervene in the market. He's suggesting, I'll give Mohammed bin Salman,
the Crown Prince, some political cover. I want access to $450 billion of military contracts going forward, but I'd like to see the oil price go even
lower. He has an obsession with getting oil prices lower to give an elixir to the U.S. economy. It plays well to his base, he thinks, but there's
another side to this, of course, is the jobs in the oil and mining belt, that the unemployment rate in the mining belt and the oil sector was 8.2
percent before OPEC intervened in 2017. They cut that unemployment rate in half because oil prices have been hovering between $60 and $70 a barrel.
That's not something he's thinking about right now.
One senior source told me, a U-turn by Saudi Arabia of whether to cut oil or not would be catastrophic for the energy market right now. This puts
undo pressure on the defacto leader of OPEC, and that is the Saudi Energy Minister, Khalid Al Falih.
You remember here, a week ago in Abu Dhabi, he said, we're going to take a million barrels off today. Starting in December Saudi Arabia's going to
take a half a million barrels off the market already.
Now the Trump tweet didn't impact the market, it's interesting today, but we had that huge correction yesterday. So, recovery of 1.5 percent is not
substantial. So, we'll have to see, it's been eerily quite from Saudi Arabia over the last two days. So, many are very concerned within the
OPEC, non-OPEC Committee, that means that may be backing off the plan to take oil of the market.
We have to just remind our viewers, that Saudi Arabia has always played the stabilizer or the swing producer, they added oil when Donald Trump asked,
between June and October, and they want to take it off now to bring prices higher and that would go against the president's priorities, Becky.
ANDERSON: It was the Jamal Khashoggi affair that is really cast a significant shadow over much of what has been going on in the region here
and in Washington over the last couple of weeks.
Arwa Damon is in Istanbul. John, thank you. And we are talking, what, some six weeks, six and a half maybe seven weeks ago now, Arwa, the
"Washington Post" columnist walking into the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul and never leaving.
And it has been the Ankara government that has really, if you were, managed it's messaging on what they believed happened there and they are
continuing, it seems, to leak information to the media, despite the fact that both Riyad and Washington are trying to put the killing of Jamal
Khashoggi to bed. Tell us, what do you have?
ARWAS DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are Becky, and you really get the sense that the Turkish government, the Turkish authorities are just growing
increasingly frustrated, not just with Saudi Arabia, but with the United States as well.
As you were mentioning there, throughout all of this over the last six, seven weeks, Turkey has slowly been leaking bits of information that have,
at the end of the day, forced Saudi Arabia to slowly change it's narrative and then take on a certain level of acknowledgment that it was it's own
operatives that did got into the Consulate here behind us and brutally, brutally execute and potentially dismember Jamal Khashoggi.
And Turkey is still looking for certain answers to very critical questions. Where is Jamal Khashoggi's body? Where are his remains? Who is this, so-
called, local collaborator who allegedly disposed of the body and we did here from Turkey's Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavasoglu, who said that,
despite the fact that Turkey understands that the U.S. wants to maintain a business relationship with Saudi Arabia, that the west does as well and he
said that Turkey does as well.
But still, Turkey is going to stand by it's principles and Turkey is calling, is pushing for an international investigation. This was something
that Cavasoglu brought up with U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Cavasoglu saying that Pompeo did not necessarily seem to dismiss the idea,
was, perhaps, opened to it.
But you really do get the sense that at this stage, Turkey is standing alone in it's corner and trying to really find out exactly, not what
happened, but who gave that order. Of course, Turkey has hinted and said that it believes that the highest levels of the Saudi government were, in
It has yet to directly name the Crown Prince himself. But Turkey's in a tough spot right now and really trying to sort of navigate this as best it
ANDERSON: Arwas Damon is in Istanbul. Manu, let me just close out with you, if I can, because if anyone was in any doubt that Donald Trump is
determined to base his policy on value -- the value of any relationship he has with any other country to his America first project, rather than a
values based ideology, as it were, that many before him would have suggested that their policy was based on.
And I think, quite frankly, many people might have argued the toss (ph) on that with many presidents past, but this is a transactional president and
he is determined that nothing will get in his way.
However, there is a different make up the U.S. Congress these days and when you get somebody like Bob Corker tweeting as he did, how affronted he is
about what Donald Trump has done with regard to Riyadh, how might things change for the president going forward? Just how important is this new
make up of the U.S. Government?
MANU: Well, it's going to be a big -- a lot of pressure for him will come from the House side of the Capitol. Of course, Democrats taking control of
the U.S. House and they will take power in January and expect Democrats to investigate what was behind the president's decision here, potentially to
look into any business relationships that the president may have had, has had over the years with Saudi Arabia.
Recall that he said yesterday that he nothing to do with Saudi Arabia. Well, in the past, the Trump organization, of course, had deals with Saudi
Arabia, how much did that drive his ultimate decision.
Republicans still control the U.S. Senate. While you've heard some concerns from people like Bob Corker, most Republicans have not said a
whole lot about this yet, Becky, so don't expect the Republicans, who control the Senate, to do a whole lot.
Even the Republican leadership in the Senate, Mitch McConnell has been silent about this. The outgoing House Speaker, Paul Ryan, has said very
little, but since Democrats will have the power to investigate in the new Congress, this will undoubtedly be an area that they plan to pursue going
So, the president will have some pressure to respond to these questions and potentially also make that determination that he's going to be forced to
make about whether the Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, was behind this at all.
And if he doesn't make that determination, then there'll be a lot of question from Capitol Hill as to why and the president may not like the
answers that some of the Democrats believe they may be able to find, Becky.
ANDERSON: 10:14 am in Washington, 19:14 here in Abu Dhabi. To all of you on the show, Arwa included there in Istanbul, we thank you very much indeed
for joining us.
Well, amid all of that news, let's not miss this new reporting by CNN and the "New York Times," suggests those lock her up chants at Donald Trumps
rallies may have been more than big talk.
A source tells CNN that Mr. Trump actually wants to have Hillary Clinton prosecuted and the "New York Times" reports that he also wanted to
prosecute former FBI Director, James Comey. Stay us with here on Connect the World. We'll explore another key issue affecting U.S. Saudi relations.
Right now how the war in Yemen progresses. We've just learned some shocking new information about how that impacting children. It's not an
easy listen, but it's important and you won't to miss that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN REPORTER: Does that strike you as stooping low?
MARK ZUCKERBURG, FOUNDER OF FACEBOOK: Yes, I wasn't particularly happy about that piece of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: In a CNN exclusive interview the Facebook COO and founder speaks out after a week of devastating accusations. It's something you cannot
miss. That is up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUCKERBURG: We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake and I am sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, can you image things have gotten worse since that testimony in April? Well, they have, Facebook loosing friends by the
minute. Their fallout snowballing after the "New York Times" revealed that Facebook's aggressive campaign to deflate criticism over the spread of
misinformation during the 2016 election.
The report found the social media giant looked to undermine senator's questioning Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerburg. Well, CNN's Facebook
whisperer, Laurie Segall, spoke exclusively with Mark Zuckerburg at his companies headquarters. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEGALL: There are a lot of questions now about Sheryl Sandberg's role in the latest controversy. Can you definitively say Sheryl will stay in here
same role? ZUCKERBURG: Yes. Look, Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts to address a lot of the biggest efforts
that -- the biggest issues that we have. And she's been an important partner for me for 10 years and I'm really proud of the work that we've
done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.
SEGALL: Are you going to make changes -- not even looking at this crisis, but looking at a lot of the different ones over the last year, are you
making any changes in your top leadership?
ZUCKERBURG: Well, if you look at the management team at the end of 2018, it's quite different from what it was at the beginning of the year. On the
product and engineering side, I completely restructured things. So, I think we're leaving this here with a much stronger team in place.
SEGALL: But, you are CEO and Chairman of Facebook, that's an extraordinary amount of power, given that your rule a kingdom of two billion people
digitally. Shouldn't your power be checked?
ZUCKERBURG: Yes. I think that, ultimately, the issues that we're working on here, things like preventing interference in elections from other
countries, finding the balance between giving people a voice and keeping people safe, these are not issues that any one company can address, right?
So, when I talk about addressing these, I always talk about how we need to partner with governments around the world and other companies and non-
profits and other sectors. So yes, I don't think fundamentally that we're going to be able to address all of these issues by ourselves.
SEGALL: So, you are not stepping down as Cairman?
ZUCKERBURG: That's not the plan.
SEGALL: That's not the plan. Would anything change that?
ZUCKERBURG: I mean, like eventually over time, I mean, I'm not going to be doing this forever, but I certainly -- I'm not currently thinking that that
SEGALL: This idea of transparency is important and we keep hearing it, but then you have these reports coming out that say something otherwise. So,
how do you ensure that you do win back public trust?
I think this an incredibly pivotal point for the company and for you as a leader, because it certainly seems over the last year we haven't stopped
hearing about one thing after the next that shows otherwise that the company hasn't been as transparent.
ZUCKERBURG: Yes, well look, there are always going to be issues, but if you're serving a community of more than two billion people, there's going
to be someone who is posting something that is problematic, that gets through the systems that we have in place, no matter how advanced the
systems are. And, I think, by and large the -- a lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair, but I do think that if we're going
to be real, there is this bigger picture, as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering this. And .
SEGALL: But, if we've given the world a voice, look at what's happened in the last year. You've had elections, in the last year, elections
manipulated, hate speech that's gone viral and turned offline, it certainly seems like this mission has been accomplished in may ways and there's a
whole new set of problems, that perhaps, you guys didn't foresee. And now we're in a very complicated place where there's not an easy solution.
ZUCKERBURG: Yes, there's -- these are complex issues that you can't fix, you manage them on an ongoing basis. But look, do you think that the world
is better with everyone having a voice and having the ability to express their opinion and being able to connect to who they want? I don't think
we're going back to a world where there were just a handful of gatekeepers who got to control what ideas get expressed. But even if .
SEGALL: But, Facebook's a new gatekeeper.
ZUCKERBURG: . we could. Well, I'm trying to make it so we're not. I mean, that's why making it so that we're building these independent
governance mechanisms and things like that are really important and that's work that I really care about.
But, I think that the world will keep on moving in this direction. People will -- more people will keep on getting a voice. I think that that's good
and I think there are certainly going to be issues that we need to work through overtime, but I think that while we are doing that, we can't loose
site of all of the really positive things that are happening here as well.
Even if you just think about the economic impact of what we're doing. We serve 80 million small businesses around the world. About half of them
have told us that they're hiring people because of using our tools and that without Facebook and the tools that we provide, that they -- that their
business would significantly smaller and they wouldn't be hiring as many people as they are.
SEGALL: Given what you know now, can Facebook effectively be a part of politics and can you guarantee that you can control it?
ZUCKERBURG: Well, I think it's a positive force, because it gives more people a voice.
SEGALL: But, it's also given nation states a voice too in our Democratic process.
ZUCKERBURG: And that part needs to be managed really carefully, but .
SEGALL: And you're confident that you guys can do that?
ZUCKERBURG: With the right support from governments and partnerships and a ton of investment on an ongoing basis, I think we can stay ahead of these
sophisticated threats. So, we're not done here. We need to keep on making sure that we stay one step ahead.
SEGALL: The "New York Times" called it, Delay, Deny, Deflect: The moto for how Facebook leaders handle the last couple years in crisis. What do you
think the moto should be? What will it be going forward?
ZUCKERBURG: It's learn from the issues that we face and focus really intensely on making sure we resolve them, even if it's going to be long and
painful, even if it's going to take a year or two to get on top of some of these really complex issues. I mean, even if the solutions are never
perfect, these are really important things for society and I just want people to know that we take this incredibly seriously and are very focused
And I think over the last couple of years we've made a huge amount of progress and I'm very proud of that.
SEGALL: Have you, as a leader, looked yourself in the last year and reflected and made some hard, challenging changes? Because, you look on
the outside and there are a lot of people questioning your leadership, questioning this company. Have you personally changed in any capacity to
be able to better equipped to handle Facebook now rather than the Facebook that your built in your dorm room?
ZUCKERBURG: Absolutely. I mean, I'm always thinking about this stuff and I think the biggest learning for me, which I'm too slow to, is that when
you connect 2.5 billion people, you're going to see all the good that they're capable of and incredible things, but you're also going to have all
these people who just try to use those tools to subvert the same ideals that we care about.
And now, we're taking that lens toward everything that we're doing and not only trying to build the good to empower people to give more people a
voice, but in everything that we do, we're working to make sure that those tools can't be misused and I think that that's something that we're going
to come out of this episode, this series of challenges that we're dealing with and this will be baked into the DNA of the company, of how we operate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Mark Zuckerburg there and Laurie has a new series, The Human Code, which just launched. She sits down with the most influential leaders
in Silicone Valley who share their thoughts on where technology is headed and how it will change our lives. Well, how they think it will, at least.
Check it out at cnnbusiness.com.
Live from Abu Dabhi, you're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Just this evening, coming up, the most innocent victims of a
long and calculate war. Horrendous new details about how the conflict in Yemen is affecting children.
Another story from here in the UAE, which is causing an uproar miles away. Why a British doctoral student is being jailed for life.
ANDERSON: Recapping our top story for you, Donald Trump is standing by Saudi Arabia, despite the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a rather bizarre statement, it has to be said, the U.S. president rejected the assessment of his own CIA, that the Saudi crown prince ordered
Khashoggi's murder, as if giving the whole thing a shrug.
Well Mr. Trump said maybe the crown prince knew about it, maybe he didn't, but quote "in any case, the U.S. remains committed to Saudi Arabia",
calling it an important business partner and strategic ally.
This program of course is called "Connect the World", and we try to highlight important links between stories we (ph) may not have considered.
But sometimes the connections are quite frankly brutally clear, and that is something that links our top story to those images that you have just seen
Or perhaps I should say someone, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, his role in meeting the coalition fighting Houthi rebels was something
Jamal Khashoggi wrote passionately about before his death.
Well now horrifying new details are emerging about Yemen's war and how it if affecting the most vulnerable civilians. The charity Save the Children
estimates an 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from extreme hunger or disease in just three years.
The situation being made worse by blockades and air strikes in the port city of Hudaydah, which affect aid efforts. And tragically, Save the
Children says these deaths could actually have been prevented.
Well Ben Wedeman is in Beirut while Sam Kiley is here with me now in Abu Dhabi. And Ben, as long as this conflict has been ongoing, three long
years, well you've been reporting that this is manmade, repeatedly warning about a humanitarian disaster, which only now appears to be being heated,
those warnings in the light of a more aggressive position of the international community since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Correct?
BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's correct in the sense that yes, the United States has discontinued in our refueling of
Saudi led coalition aircraft over Yemen, that Germany for instance, in the aftermath of the murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Jamal Khashoggi
has discontinued arms sales to the kingdom.
But by and large it hasn't really impacted the continuation of this war. I mean look at these statistics from Save the Children, their estimate that
between April 2015 when the war began, the brainchild that must be mentioned of Mohammed bin Salman, the death toll from military action is
put at 10,000.
But with this Save the Children is estimating that almost 85 children under the age of five have died from either malnutrition or disease puts it in
perspective. It really shows that this war between the richest country in the Arab world and the poorest country or a faction within it is more like
a siege from the Dark Ages, where disease and starvation are used as a weapon in addition to high tech weapons provided by the United States and
Europe to subdue a rebellious population. Becky.
ANDERSON: Wedeman is in Beirut in that leg of the story, Sam's with me here, and the U.K. has it (ph) says taken a lead on putting pressure on
Riyadh to help get this war ended, saying that its weapon sales to Saudi Arabia actually give it a unique position to have the year of the crown
prince and King Salman.
And Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, has been in Saudi Arabia recently, trying to get their nod on a new resolution on Yemen. He has been here,
the foreign secretary, in the UAE and in Iran of late.
He said nothing about the case of a young PhD student, a British PhD student on his travels through here. And yet today, we hear this young man
has been jailed for life. What do we know about this student and what do we know about the case?
SAM KILEY, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well it's - it's a remarkable case. The Foreign Office traditionally likes to try and get
these issues resolved behind closed doors, typical approach of British diplomacy very often.
And nothing happens until the family members go public, and that's rather what has happened here. But it has not been resolved by any stretch of the
imagination. As you say (ph) there, Matthew Hedges, who's 31 years old, was doing a PhD investigation according to his family into why it was the
United Arab Emirates did not suffer the dynamics that hit other parts of the Arab world during the Arab Spring so called, during the revolutionary
period of 2011, '12.
Rather a positive examination in many ways. At some state he was picked up earlier on this year, much earlier on this year and charged with espionage.
His family say he's been held in solitary confinement for much of the five month period before he was released on bail.
And today after a very short trial, the family says that within about five minutes, he was found guilty, sentenced to life and had to legal
representation. Now the UAE have responded, saying that they are disappointed and even found Anwar Gargash tweeted before this whole issue.
We have reached out to the authorities here, they haven't yet come back for comment about the life sentence.
But he did point out, this is the deputy foreign minister here, that this was an embarrassing process between two allies. I think that's really the
critical issue here. The UAE is absolutely firm that this man was spying.
Nonetheless, in response, Jeremy Hunt, so he's the foreign secretary, I'll just read you a bit of what he said because the language is not diplomatic.
It indicates anger, perhaps also though perhaps waning British influence in this region.
He said I'm deeply shocked and disappointed by the verdict today. I have personally raised the case of Matthew Hedges at the highest levels of the
UAE government, including during my visit to Abu Dhabi on the 12th of November.
On that occasion I spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed and the Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, however today's verdict is not what we expect
from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom and runs country to earlier assurances.
Now two things in that, first is that as far as the U.K. is concerned, there is no independent judiciary here, and that it is in the gift of the
government to find a man guilty or innocent.
That is something I think the UAE might wish to dispute. But also there was some kind of assurance that the British were expecting to get, I think
everybody was blindsided by this life term.
His wife, Daniella Tejada, returned very swiftly after the case back to the United Kingdom, distraught. We have been trying to talk to her, but we
talked to friends of her, she's in tears and deeply, deeply shocked.
They have 30 days though to appeal. And all of this has come, I think it's coincident, you may disagree, but it was - this was a court hearing that
was scheduled, but it does come after that kind of monumental shrug that Donald Trump gave about whether or not Mohammed bin Salman may or may not
known about the death of Khashoggi.
It will be interpreted by critics of the Trump administration, critics of the monarchies here in the Middle East, as a - as a sign perhaps that the
monarchies feel that they can do what they like and even their colleagues and friends in the west can do very little about it.
ANDERSON: Sam Kiley in the house in Abu Dhabi, here on a story that has happened locally with true global appeal. Thank you very much. Indeed we
are in Abu Dhabi, this is "Connect the World", I'm Becky Anderson.
Coming up, Donald Trump takes aim at Iran and his bizarre statement defending Saudi Arabia. We take that up with a newly elected Iranian-
American lawmaker. That is just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are doing a big number on Iran today in case you haven't - they're not the same country they were
when I took office, I will tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The U.S. President Trump has made it no secret that one of his administration's top priorities is gaining leverage over Tehran, after
pulling out of the International Nuclear Deal, he re-imposed tough sanctions on the country, vowing to bring its oil exports to zero.
And on Tuesday, the statement expressing his support for Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump said this, "The Iranians have killed many Americans and other
innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly and with great force death to America and death to Israel. Iran is considered the
world's leading sponsor of terror".
Want to shift away from Washington just for a moment and head to Florida, Anna Eskamani is a newly elected representative to the Florida House, just
sworn in yesterday, making her the first Iranian-American elected to that legislature.
So congratulations to you for that. We applaud you. You are the daughter of Iranian immigrants. How did you react when you saw that statement from
the U.S. president?
ANNA ESKAMANI, MEMBER, FLORIDA STATE LEGISLATURE: Well thank you, Becky, for having me. I was incredibly frustration. You know, President Trump
has failed time and time again to hold acts of violence accountable to the perpetrators.
And I will say the Islamic Republic of Iran is no - has no strong track record when it comes to human rights violations, let alone freedom of the
press. But neither does Saudi Arabia, and the fact that our president is trying to pivot blame from one country to another for the murder of a U.S.
based journalist, is something that I have absolutely no patience for.
ANDERSON: The foreign minister in Iran tweeted in response, he said a nation is its people, @realDonaldTrump repeatedly calling Iran a terrorist
nation reveals hostility towards an entire people.
Now Mr. Trump has been using these attacks against Iran to justify his support for Saudi Arabia, despite the CIA believing with high probability
that the Saudi crown prince was behind the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
You work at the state level in Florida, how would you though like to see your Democrat colleagues in Washington to respond to this realistically?
What is it that you believe they can do?
EKAMANI: I think that's a good point to the question of what's realistic. I mean President Trump has made decisions unilaterally through the
executive branch that really makes it difficult for Congress to take united action.
In this case of sanctions, I have to tell you though, Becky, I have heard stories from Iranians across - across the country, around their struggles
with how broad these sanctions are impacting their ability to access humanitarian needs like medicine.
So I am encouraging my Democratic colleagues in the U.S. House to put into place as specific requirements around the sanctions to at least allow
medicine to go through. And I also do think that the first action of House Democrats should be to call a special committee to investigate every type
of intelligence document around the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, including the president's finances.
I am personally curious to see if President Trump has personal investments in Saudi Arabia along with his son in law Jared Kushner.
ANDERSON: Do you think - you may not like the way he goes about it, but do you think that Donald Trump has any points when it comes to his attitude
towards Iran? He says that deal, and it's not really a deal, it was a - it was an agreement wasn't it, but that deal was no good because it was all
about nuclear power, it had nothing to do with the expansionist policies of this what he calls regime.
We see it's ballistic missile projects, we see those exercise across the region. Like I say, we know this is a value versus value based president,
when it comes to Iran though, his position has an awful lot of support for example in most of the Gulf countries.
Does he have a point about his expansionist policies and what it's doing in the Middle East?
EKAMANI: I think that's the irony about it, I mean when you look at President Trump's - one of his first policies was the Muslim ban that
banned select Muslim countries and their abilities for their people to travel to the United States.
Iran was on that list, Saudi Arabia was not. I mean if you're going to look at the history of these countries and the terrorism that's happened in
the United States of America, there's one country that has more of a track record than any other.
I mean the reality is that President Trump does not make decisions with a long term vision in plan. In the case of Iran, I was a supporter of - of
the nuclear deal because I felt like it would restrict Iran's ability to have nuclear weapons, but at the same time really focus on soft power
politics to try to inspire collaboration so the people of Iran can finally fight for their freedom and that we can have an actual democracy in Iran
that is supported through means other than war.
And so, you know, I am a firm believer in (inaudible) war if we can, and so I support the policies that implement soft power versus hard.
ANDERSON: Yes, the U.S. president will say it's not - it's not about the Iranian people, it's about the regime, and you hear the same thing across
this region. All right, look, during your campaign, you didn't hide your ethnicity.
I want to play a clip from one of your rallies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ESKAMANI: My name is Anna V. Eskamani, I'm a working class daughter of immigrants from Iran, born and raised right here in sweet Orlando.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Your election got a lot of attention in Iranian media, articles have been written about you, you've appeared in Persian TV. Why do you think your
win resonated with so many Iranians?
ESKAMANI: Well I think it's two fold, Becky, I mean one to your point, we were - I was never shy about saying that I'm an Iranian-American. I grew
up in Orlando with a deep sense of cultural appreciation and then celebrate Iranian holidays and made sure on the campaign trail that I was my
And many Iranians were surprised that I did that. But it just speaks to the importance of diversity in our country and the fact that my district,
which does not have a large Iranian population, supporting me overwhelmingly just speaks to the American attitude of embracing people of
all backgrounds, at least in my district.
And then when you look at the timeline, you know, our election was November 6th, President Trump put sanctions back into place on November 5th. And so
I think that for Iranians who are watching, the movement that we built in - in Orlando, Florida, it demonstrates that not every American carries the
same negative attitude about the Iranian people.
And so I think that was a sign of hope for Iranians abroad.
ANDERSON: Fascinating, look, one of Donald Trump's tweets earlier, a link to a New York Post article, so finally let's just discuss this. Here's the
headline, "Trump Imitation Syndrome is afflicting the president's liberal enemies".
The article goes on to detail something called "Trump Derangement Syndrome", defined as a sudden explosion of crazy talk and sometimes
actions coming from people formally regarded as sane.
Do you think the author has a point here?
ESKAMANI: No I do not, and actually on our campaign we barely talked about President Trump. You know, I focused a proactive campaign, that stressed
the importance of public education, environmental protection and healthcare access.
You know, President Trump takes all the air out of the room, so I do my part to focus on proactive issues that we can find common ground on. At
the same time, when we build bridges when we can, we have to hold people accountable when we must.
And I've always held President Trump accountable to his actions and won't stop doing that anytime soon.
ANDERSON: There (ph) we wish you an awful lot of luck, thank you.
ESKAMANI: Thank you, Becky.
ANDERSON: I'm going to take a very short break, back after this, thank you.
Well misery is far from over in California. Fire crews have made significant progress containing the state's most destructive and deadliest
wildfire. But the death toll is still climbing.
Eighty-four people are now confirmed dead, and the number of people unaccounted for is in the hundreds. Now new threats, heavy rain could end
the long dry spell, but it also threatens flooding and mud slides.
CNN's Nick Watt has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK WATT, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This deadly destructive blaze now 70 percent contained, but these people, many who have already lost
everything, not out of danger.
Torrential rain is coming, a flash flood watch in effect from tomorrow afternoon through Thanksgiving into Friday morning. And this tent city in
the Chico Wal-Mart parking lot is in a flood zone.
CASEY HATCHER, SPOKESWOMAN, BUTTE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: What we really want people to do as the rain approaches and the weather starts to shift is get
WATT: There is plenty of space in evacuation shelters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to be here as long as we need to be here. We could be in the sheltering business through Christmas.
WATT: Some are scared to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just the germs, the norovirus going around. I'm scared because we already got that once, but we got over it.
WATT: More than 100 have been hospitalized by the gastrointestinal bug, others moved to isolation blocks within the shelters. Many evacuees plan
to ride out the rains out here in the open.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we're getting tarps and stuff like that. It's been rough, but we're making due.
WATT: Down in Los Angeles in Ventura County, where the Woolsey Fire burned, authorities also warning of mud slides, on hillsides stripped bare
by that blaze and potential debris flow as rains approach.
Free sandbags now available from fire stations, some people will likely be evacuated from their homes once again. There is also concern up here at
the Camp Fire site that rains could hamper the search for the dead, even wash away human remains or make them indistinguishable from the mud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to go as hard as we can as long as we can until we can't go any more. That's - that's what's going to happen.
WATT: And the official tally of the number of homes destroyed, that left about 1,000 in just the past 24 hours. That number is going up as search
teams make it into more and more neighborhoods.
You can tell that they were in this neighborhood today, that's today's date, 11/20 spray painted on the driveway. When they come through a
neighborhood they will often first go to homes with a car in the driveway, because that's a sign that maybe someone didn't make it out alive. Nick
Watt, CNN, Paradise, California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, we've -- well we started the show with a lot of serious news from Washington. There was some other fowl play at the White House.
We need to get you caught up on in (ph) your parting shots tonight (ph). U.S. President Donald Trump pardoning turkeys. Two of them. And at the
Thanksgiving holiday, the birds named Peas and Carrots both received clemency (inaudible) and won the White House poll to receive the official
presidential pardon. He's the one you're seeing right now, Mr. Trump joked that the contest was a fair and open election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even though Peas and Carrots have received a presidential pardon, I have warned them that the House
Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas. Nonetheless, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will be issuing both Peas and Carrots a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. It's Thanksgiving, of course, Thursday in the U.S. Thank you for watching from
the team working with me here and around the world. It is a very good evening (inaudible).
Becky Anderson; Kaitlan Collins; Manu Raju; John Defterios; Arwas Damon; Ben Wedeman; Sam Kiley