Return to Transcripts main page


U.K.'s Theresa May in Brussels for EU Talks; Maduro Blocks Aid Deliveries on Bridge from Colombia; Racism and Sexual Assault Claim Rock Democrats; Trump Facing New Investigation that Goes Beyond Russia; Trump Touts Gains Made Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq; U.S. Envoy in North Korea to Prepare for Trump-Kim Summit; Interview with, Marietje Schaake, European MEP For The Netherlands; Environmental Damage from Brazil Dam Collapse Could Last for Decades; Italian City Goes Silent for Treasured Violins. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 7, 2019 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Cyril Vanier live from Atlanta.

The big reveal, that's what Europe hoped for from the British Prime Minister in Brussels on Thursday. Instead it got what Commission

President, Jean-Claude Juncker, called, robust but constructive talks. The European Union is keen to know what the U.K. wants regarding the Irish

backstop and rules out reopening the deal. The U.K. has said it wants, quote, alternative arrangements and to renegotiate the deal. Our reporting

team had the latest. Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels where Theresa May spent the morning meeting with EU leaders. Bianca Nobilo is watching

developments in London. Erin, so Theresa May needs, needs the European Union to revisit this Brexit agreement, and any luck so far?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not that we can tell, Cyril. There was a joint statement out of her meeting with the President of the

European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in which they both said they had a robust and yet constructive conversation while at the same time

reiterating their red lines. Theresa May saying that she wants that withdrawal agreement revisited with respect to the backstop -- which is at

the center of this impasse. A mutually negotiated compromise that her government actually signed off on just a couple of months ago. But she

says she needs legally binding changes to that in order to get this deal across the line at Westminster. And the EU essentially ruling that out.

And yet both sides have agreed to continue the dialogue, to continue talking to try and find some way out of the impasse of both Prime Minister

May and President Juncker. A plan to meet again here in Brussels at the end of the month.

Now this hour she's meeting with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who had some very frank things to say yesterday in reference

to the Brexiteers -- the architects of the referendum that he said was conducted without a, quote, sketch of a plan. Saying that they have a

special place in hell. That's any indication on how that meeting is going right now, well, we can expect yet another robust conversation -- Cyril.

VANIER: A special place in hell, a colorful quote. Bianca, Donald Tusk -- the same person we just talked about the special place in hell -- warns

Theresa May before she came to Brussels that she needed to come with a realistic plan to break this impasse. Does she have such a plan?

NOBILO: Well this was what was interesting about why Tusk's statements, apart from being incendiary, touch such a nerve yesterday. Because he was

talking about the fact that the architects of Brexit simply didn't have a plan to execute it. And still now we have less than two months to go until

the U.K. is supposed to leave the European Union. The U.K. side doesn't know exactly what is asking for. Now, Cyril, what the Conservative Party

was intending when it got behind the so-called Brady Amendment to go back to the European Union and seek alternative arrangements to that contentious

issue of the backstop, the way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Some of the suggestions that were being put out there included, a fixed time limit on the backstop. Some mechanism for unilateral withdrawal if

future talks break down. Perhaps all technological solutions, which so far have been insufficient to persuade anybody that they could really tackle

this issue of avoiding a hard border.

Now I'm sure Erin would tell you, the EU has without question ruled out all of those things. So that's why we're in this really difficult position.

But the leader of the opposition today, Jeremy Corbyn, has also come out and said that he's willing to support a deal, provided that it meets five

criteria put forward by his party. Now that represents a deal that would be on the other end of the spectrum. A far softer Brexit than what the

Prime Minister is currently trying to find.

VANIER: All right, so Bianca, let me ask you a little bit more about that. Since you mentioned Jeremy Corbyn -- because I find is very interesting

that Jean-Claude Juncker, and Jeremy Corbyn, the head of the European Commission and the leader of the British opposition, all of a sudden seem

to have this point of convergence. They're both telling essentially Theresa May, that they are happy to help her and support her deal provided

it involves a much softer Brexit. Could that be her way out?

NOBILO: I think unlikely, Cyril, because there was a moment, a fork in the road if you like, several weeks ago, where in Westminster everybody was

discussing, is the Prime Minister in order to break the deadlock, going to look to her own party and the Brexiteers and go and try to pursue a harder

Brexit and tackle that issue of the backstop.

[10:05:00] Or might she reach cross-party and try to achieve a softer Brexit, one involving a permanent and comprehensive customs union for

example. Well we saw the Prime Minister orientate herself toward her own party and towards a harder Brexit. So Jeremy Corbyn coming out today, and

saying that he would support a Brexit deal, which had a comprehensive customs union, which had dynamic alignment, which kept the same kind of

standards as the EU and participated heavily in the EU institutions and bodies. It doesn't necessarily help the Prime Minister because she is

going to Brussels saying the only type of deal, I can get is one where you help me address the issue of the backstop and amend it in some way that

passable to my party.

By Jeremy Corbyn introducing another type of Brexit that could potentially command a majority in the House of Commons, a softer Brexit, a permanent

customs union, that adds another problem into the equation that Theresa May doesn't necessarily need. So I don't think this is necessarily likely to

help the Prime Minister, given the route that she's trying to pursue at the moment.

VANIER: You know you are in a bad place when a potential way out is coming from the head of the European Commission, that you're trying to leave, and

from the head of your opposition who wants your scalp.

Let's go back to Erin McLaughlin. Erin, the thing here is that the European Union has an interest in avoiding a no-deal Brexit. So is there

any sign, any sign at all that they could budge and could give Theresa May some wiggle room to secure a Brexit deal and avoid that crashing out of the


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we heard from German chancellor Angela Merkel just this morning. Says that she believes there is a

possible compromise that could be found outside of reopening the withdrawal agreement. Which of course is contradicted by Theresa May, saying that it

needs to be a legally binding change to the withdrawal agreement itself.

But there's not a lot of incentive at this point for the EU to budge. Yes, they don't want that dreaded no-deal scenario, which is seen as really

catastrophic for both sides of the channel, but at the same time, Brexit represents an existential threat to the European project, on several

levels, and the last thing the EU wants to do at this point is compromise a remaining member state, in this case, Ireland.

VANIER: All right. Erin McLaughlin in Brussels. Bianca Nobilo in London. Thank you both.

So Donald Tusk talked about that special place in hell. As Theresa May takes on Parliament in London and the EU in Brussels, she might instead be

recalling the words of her fellow countryman, William Shakespeare. Who wrote, hell is empty, all the devils are here. The devils being in the

detail, that is.

And the biggest detail is the backstop. It's unpopular in Britain. But the Europeans for the most really, really want to keep it in the Brexit

deal. Marietje Schaake is a member of the European Parliament for the Netherlands. She joins us from Brussels. Thank you very much for joining

us. Because we really want to get the European perspective on this. Right now, the European Union is essentially telling Theresa May, you're on your

own, we're not renegotiating anything. Doesn't that sound to you a little bit in intransigent?

MARIETJE SCHAAKE, EUROPEAN MEP FOR THE NETHERLANDS: Well, look, she, on behalf of the U.K., and the whole government, has been part of the

negotiations of the agreement that is now on the table. And I don't know if you've ever negotiated on housing price or work contract, or a trade

agreement -- is something that I work on -- reopening negotiations is a huge step. And especially if there is no clarity about what that would

lead to. So I think it is entirely understandable that the agreement between Prime Minister May and Jean-Claude Juncker today said there would

not be an opening of the withdrawal agreement, but there could be clarification in the Political Declaration. So I think it is absolutely

not being stubborn or difficult, but that a word is a word, and an agreement is an agreement.

VANIER: OK, but a couple of things here. The Political Declaration isn't legally binding. And I think everybody can see clearly that the British

Parliament wants something that is legally binding. Because there is a lack of trust between the EU and the U.K. right now. So British lawmakers

want to know that whatever the EU says will go, will be true.

SCHAAKE: But isn't it interesting that if a word should be kept and not changed afterwards, that is exactly what the U.K. would seek to do. I mean

let's remember that the backstop is similar to an insurance that you hope you would never have to use. We really hope that in the future

arrangement, a trade agreement, with all kinds of clarities and provisions that are legally binding about our relationship in the future, that that

would actually replace the need for a backstop.

[10:10:03] The backstop is really something that we shouldn't gamble with, because it would mean gambling with peace, and I really don't think anyone

wants that. And it should also be note that if there would be any change in the Withdrawal Agreement, it would require unanimity. So opening it, is

not the same as closing it, and I really hope that people in the U.K. understand that, and that they are not forgetting that it was actually

their own Prime Minister, Theresa May, who was at the table when this Withdrawal Agreement was negotiated, and that there were concessions done

on all sides.

VANIER: But respectfully, I fully understand that, as a matter of principle, but then there is the real world. And in the real world,

Theresa May cannot get an agreement for her Brexit deal. She does not get that agreement. The U.K. will crash out of the EU. There will be a deal

Brexit. The EU doesn't want that either.

SCHAAKE: Not at all. We don't. And we don't want to gamble with peace either. And it is remarkable that there are 27 member-states on the other

side of the channel that have stood with each other, and we should really be mindful of what is at stake in tweaking this whole backstop. The

backstop is there for good reason. Because we do not want a hard border. And we do not want to challenge the Good Friday Agreement. So I think that

it is important to understand what is needed. The backstop is a -- let's say remedy of last resort, that we hope all of us will not be needed.

VANIER: There's been yet another economic warning about Brexit. Now, the Bank of England has just slashed its forecast for economic growth,

mentioning the uncertainty around Brexit. The bank says the British economy will expand by just 1.2 percent in 2019, which is the weakest since

the global financial crisis in 2009. So again, I come back to the idea that this is in nobody's interest, not in the U.K.'s interest, not in the

EU's interest, to end up with a no-deal Brexit. So what if we flip the question? What could the EU do, to help avoid a no-deal Brexit?

SCHAAKE: The Withdrawal Agreement is a very good alternative, if not the best alternative to either no Brexit, or to a no-deal Brexit. And I think

that that is a very concrete proposal on the table, as agreed by the 28- member states, and it is true. I mean, the EU 27 don't even want Brexit, let alone a hard Brexit. So it is definitely in our interest to make sure

that this most unfortunate lose-lose departure of the United Kingdom is done in a mature predictable and as smooth as possible way, and if there

are clarifications needed to the Political Declaration, that can be done. I hope that there will be trust in what is agreed between all parties. But

it is also important to know what kind of alternative clarifications or tweaks to the backstop would be desired. And that is still very, very


We hear a lot of what people do not want, including from the British Parliament, but it is much harder to find out where an agreement, only

among the British, would lie, and that could be the basis to look at what needs to be tweaked and clarified between the EU-27 and the U.K. But

without clarity on that where do we even begin to see where there is support on this side? I just recall 27-member-states who are also in

significant interest, where we don't want to gamble with peace and we want as smooth as possible Brexit. Of course, there should be attempts to make

that happen without reopening the withdrawal agreement.

VANIER: Yes, I just don't see the kind of clarity that you seek in the British Parliament right now. You say it should be done in a mature and

predictable way. Maturity and predict ability appear to be in short supply throughout these negotiations. There are 50 days left --

SCHAAKE: That's right.

VANIER: -- until the U.K. --

SCHAAKE: And we cannot solve that for the U.K. We cannot solve that for the U.K.

VANIER: All right. We hear your message. Marietje Schaake, thank you so much for joining us. Something tells me we will be speaking again. Thank


Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says we are not beggars. We'll show you how his government is stopping

some desperately-needed humanitarian aid from coming across the border. Stay with us.


VANIER: You are watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Cyril Vanier. Welcome back.

A desperate situation unfolding along the border between Venezuela and Colombia. Venezuelans who were counting on deliveries of international

humanitarian aid, are staring at this instead. A bridge blocked by three tankers. President Nicolas Maduro is rejecting the aid saying quote, we're

not beggars. Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself Venezuela's legitimate interim President, tried to organize the shipment

last week, as the country's political crisis deepens. Isa Soares is live at a pedestrian bridge in Cucuta in Colombia. Stefano Pozzebon, is

following developments from Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. Isa, I go to you first. What's the scene where you are?

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me give you a sense, Cyril, of where I am on the main pedestrian bridge really linking Colombia

to Venezuela. Just over my right shoulder that is Venezuela. On that side is Colombia. The people are coming in. They've been coming in since 6:00

roughly this morning, and they are coming in either moving in, or getting medication, critically. A majority of those I'm speaking to, they're

actually coming in with trolleys, with bag, with suitcases. Empty one to actually go in by basic staples, be it rice, be it flour, be it eggs, be it

diapers. But there's another element to this. And before you came to us, I was talking to one gentleman -- I want to bring this gentleman in. What

are you going to buy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Food.

SOARES: What are your needs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pasta, rice. Cereals.

SOARES: He is coming here to buy medicine. What type?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Treatment for chemotherapy, he is saying.

SOARES: Who needs this treatment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So his wife needs it.

SOARES: What type of cancer does she have?


CHATTERLEY: What stage is she?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They discovered it on time.

SOARES: She needs medicine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's got the full dose.

SOARES: How many times do you make this journey?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before we were coming once a month. Now, weekly. Because she is at another stage of the breast cancer. Over chemotherapy.

She's given the type of the type of cancer.

SOARES: How do you feel? This is a lot of pressure on you. Every week, he does this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the high costs of doing this, of coming here every week to get medicine for his wife.

[10:20:00] SOARES: Are we going to continue doing this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because in Venezuela, we can't get chemotherapy.

SOARES: What are doctors saying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The director of the hospital, the oncology department said they don't accept any humanitarian aid.

SOARES: So had is coming from the head of the oncology department in Venezuela because the government told her -- so the government is basically

saying we've got everything, we've got all the medication, but it is not the case, Cyril.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing. If there were medicine there, I wouldn't be here, he's telling me. And she's young. She's 50.

SOARES: He has a photo of his wife to show me. And this is it, Cyril. This is the story. These are the stories. This is his wife who has breast

cancer. These are the stories that I keep hearing time and time again. People with no food, people with -- in desperate need of medication.

That's why you're actually seeing here, people selling on this bridge, actually any kind of medication, over there, there's a box just over there,

with actual medicines, people selling this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be aware, he's telling me. I want to be aware the director of the hospital, she has to stop it. Because in some

way she has to be blamed in some way. They are condemning people to death.

SOARES: That's what he is telling us.

VANIER: Isa, can you ask him a question for us? Isa, just one more question, if you can hear me. Can you ask this gentleman how long this is

going on and how long he's been having to go back and forth over this bridge just to help his wife?

SOARES: Since July, Cyril. Since July. That's how long he's been doing this. And it is very expensive. It's worth bearing in mind, he doesn't

live just across the border. He then has to travel. We're talking about getting buses, coaches, and he is doing so, with the help of his little

son, who is also, another son who's got here, who is with him. Who told me, he is his cane, he is his strength.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us, it is very expensive. Because the bolivar is not worth anything, the currency, compared to Colombia.

SOARES: So what do you do for the cash? So he gets 23,000 bolivars. But what he's telling me -- was telling me earlier just before you came to me,

is that he gets money from his family -- his daughter, who lives in Chile. So they transfer the money to an account here. He then goes to the cash

point, gets the money out and buys the food,

This is empty, Cyril, completely empty. Later on, there will be crossing, he will be crossing here. And his son lives here. This is the reality.

And, Cyril, whilst I'm hearing these stories, I want to give you a sense -- these are people coming in to have a look, and if I can turn around. These

are the people going back here, and now they've got cart loads full. Here you go, you've got people with tomatoes, with kitchen rolls. I've seen

people with nappies. And senor, what did you buy?

Food, he is telling me, he bought food. So people buy whatever they can. This lady, full of groceries, also. This is every day, every hour and the

numbers, 32,000 daily, Cyril. This is what the humanitarian crisis looks like -- Cyril.

VANIER: Isa, thank you so much. We couldn't ask for more at this hour to understand what is really happening in Venezuela. And I just want to

remind our viewers for a word of context here, so Venezuela currently, depending how you look at it, has two presidents. Nicolas Maduro and the

man Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition, who declared himself President.

The first thing he said was let's let humanitarian aid into the country and he called on the military to allow it into Venezuela. How did Mr. Maduro

respond? We showed you the pictures. Well he blocked that bridge going to Venezuela. You saw what the effect is. People have to leave the country

to get the basics.

Let's go to Stefano Pozzebon. He's in the Venezuelan capital. Are you seeing, what movement are you seeing, in Caracas?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: What we're seeing here, Cyril, is that the gamble, the pitch that Guaido proposed to the military hasn't paid,

frankly, paid off yet. Guaido a couple of weeks ago started working on an amnesty law from the parliament, from the National Assembly, in his

capacity of President of the legislative body here in Caracas.

[10:25:00] An amnesty law that would pardon and shelter every military official that would effectively turn on against Nicolas Maduro and the

fact, in favor of the opposition. But we haven't seen that happening in large numbers just yet. We saw a few defections, high profile defections,

especially an air force general, who defected some days ago. But at the same time, most of the military is still is on Nicolas Maduro's side. And

Nicolas Maduro, himself, is really trying hard, as much as possible, to show an image of himself as the commander-in-chief. The person who still

has a solid grip on this situation.

That's why for the past two weeks or so, he has been shown across military people, surrounded by men in uniform, and attending military exercises,

many, many times. Just to say that the reason that I am in charge, is that the army is still with me.

The question here in Caracas that many people are asking each other, not only the international observers, or us as journalists but regular people,

the normal people is, how long can this situation -- how long can it last? How long until either Maduro strikes directly against Guaido for

challenging his leadership, or until the army defects Nicolas Maduro -- Cyril?

VANIER: All right, Stefano Pozzebon reporting live from the Venezuelan capital. And Isa Soares with that very compelling report just a moment

ago. Isa, thank you so much and please think that gentleman if you see him again for sharing that story with our viewers. Isa Soares in Cucuta,

Colombia, along the Venezuelan border. Thank you both.

Live from Atlanta, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, President Trump faces a wave of global challenges but he seems convinced that the battle

against one at least will be over in a matter of days. We'll have the details on that.

And political turmoil. Three politicians. Three separate scandals. And one state that could flip from Democratic control to Republican because of

it. That story, when we come back.


VANIER: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Welcome back.

Brussels, Brexit and the backstop. A tangle the Prime Minister May spent the morning trying to unravel yet again. The EU is looking for clarity

from the U.K. on what it wants for the Irish backstop. The U.K. is looking to reopen the deal in order to reach that clarity. The result? Robust but

constructive conversation, says the European Commission President Jean- Claude Juncker. Make of that what you will. Mrs. May herself says the talks were good. She says EU leaders want to ensure that the U.K. leaves

with a deal. But that she still wants legally-binding changes. She also said she had a word with Donald Tusk about his unhelpful language

yesterday. You may remember he said there is a special place in hell for those who had advocated Brexit.

Now to the U.S. state of Virginia where allegations of racism and sexual assault have engulfed the three highest-ranking elected officials in the

state. They're all Democrats. If they were forced to resign, it would hand power over to Republicans. The latest scandal involves Lieutenant

Governor Justin Fairfax. A woman is accusing him of sexual assault. She has written a letter describing the alleged incident in detail. Fairfax

has lawyered up, and he hired the same law firm that defended Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, against his sexual misconduct allegations. Let's

get more on this from CNN's Jason Carroll. He's live from Richmond, Virginia -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, this is definitely a state that is in political turmoil. You've got the attorney general involved in

a scandal. You've got the governor involved in a scandal. You've got the lieutenant governor involved in a scandal as well. And a lot of folks here

now are wondering what is going to happen next.


CARROLL (voice-over): Growing turmoil, engulfing Virginia's political leadership, with the state's top three officials all Democrats, confronting

separate controversies. Attorney General Mark Herring, admitting to wearing blackface at a college party in 1980, amid the fire storm over this

racist picture, on Governor Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page.

RALPH NORTHAM, VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: I was appalled that they appeared on my page, but I believe then and now that I am not either of the people in that


CARROLL: Herring, writing in a statement, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to, and because we did not have

an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others. We dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup. Adding, the shame of that moment has

haunted me for decades.

Hours after Herring's revelation, Vanessa Tyson coming forward publicly for the first time, accusing the state's lieutenant govern, Justin Fairfax, of

sexual assault. Tyson, writing in a statement, that she met Fairfax at the 2004 Democratic Convention, and went with him to his hotel room. Where she

says they began kissing, before Mr. Fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch. Tyson insisting, I did not

want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent.

JUSTIN FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Do you think it's any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that when

this uncorroborated smear comes out?

CARROLL: Fairfax has fiercely denied the accusation releasing a new statement Wednesday, reading, Dr. Tyson should be treated with respect.

But I cannot agree to a description of events that simply is not true.

A source close to Tyson's legal team telling CNN that she told Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott about the incident over a year ago. Aides to Scott

confirming the conversation. But noting the Congressman did not learn the full scope of the allegation until yesterday.

Meanwhile, "The Washington Post" editorial board this morning is calling for Governor Northam's resignation, writing that he can no longer

effectively serve the people of Virginia who elected him.

But Northam showing no signs of stepping down. Hiring a crisis management team, and meeting privately with prominent black leaders to strategize his

path forward. The political crisis, sending shock waves to the state's leadership.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: If you look for any silver lining, is that Virginians are saying clearly, and loudly, that behaviors are unacceptable.


[10:35:00] CARROLL: So the question now is what happens if all three of these Democratic leaders have to step down? The next person in line is a

Republican. That is the House Speaker, Kirk Cox, and he has already said the governor should step down -- Cyril.

VANIER: Wow, one week is all it took for Virginia to become such a black mark for Democrats, even on the national stage. Jason Carroll, thank you

so much for your reporting.

He is already under multiple investigations, here in the U.S., but U.S. President Donald Trump now facing the most sweeping probe yet. And it goes

far beyond Russia. The House intelligence committee says it wants to know whether any foreign actor has financial leverage over Mr. Trump that may be

influencing his actions.

Democratic Chairman, Adam Schiff, says the committee will pursue credible reports of money laundering and other possible crimes, related to Mr.

Trump's business interests. He specifically named Russia and Saudi Arabia but says other countries may be scrutinized as well. The committee is also

giving transcripts of witness testimony to Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is leading the Russia investigation. Those witnesses include Donald

Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner. Mr. Trump is furious. He's calling the whole thing partisan fueled presidential harassment.

And as he attacks investigations at home, the President is also predicting another fight abroad. Yesterday, he told officials that the final battle

against ISIS is now on the horizon.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States military, our coalition partners, and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated

virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It should be formally announced sometime probably next week that we will

have 100 percent of the caliphate.


VANIER: It's just one of several global issues the President has been talking about. He's also looking toward his summit with North Korean

leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam later this month.

Meanwhile, one global issue that seemingly couldn't be further from the President's mind, climate change. He ignored it in Tuesday's State of the

Union Address but Democrats put the topic front and center in Congress the following day.

All right, Richard Haass joins me from New York. You're the President of the council on foreign relations, author of "The World in Disarray,

American Foreign Policy and The Crisis of The Old Order". Let's start with the fight against ISIS. Donald Trump says victory against ISIS could be

declared as early as next week. Is he right? Has ISIS been defeated? Is the caliphate over?

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: It represents a misunderstanding of the nature of the enemy to talk about final victories

or defeats or what have you. This is an open-ended struggle. And even if they are cleared out of a chunk of territory, they can return. Even if

individual fighters or terrorists melt into the population, they can come back. So you can't speak about final victories. This is not World War II.

There is no Battleship Missouri. There is no signing ceremony. So we ought to think of this, where we're going to have to engage and engage and

engage, over years, if not decades.

VANIER: There's an aspect of this, which is reminiscent, I find, of George W. Bush, unfurling that mission accomplished banner in the Gulf in 2003

after the U.S. had toppled Saddam Hussein. And of course, history then told us that was not in fact the end of the U.S.'s troubles in Iraq at all.

Do you see a parallel with this situation and ISIS?

HAASS: Well, they're different in the sense that the war in Iraq was a war against the country, so the President in that case, who I worked for, just

to be honest, George W. Bush, made that judgment. It proved to be premature and wrong. Because the war at that point, more from a

traditional war, to something that is more akin to what we're now seeing in places like Syria. Urban struggles against terrorists, against irregular

forces. As we saw in Iraq, as we're seeing in Syria, there is no and to that kind of a struggle. It is nothing that organized. There aren't clear

battle lines and so forth. So that's the lesson. You should never declare victory. It sets up expectations that can't be met. And it is too easy

for the adversary to come back.

VANIER: All right. Here's another claim -- perhaps a boast, you tell me - - that the President made during his State of the Union Address. He claimed that if he had not been elected, the U.S. would be in a major war

with North Korea. Actually, that would be only if U.S. attacks North Korea -- this is your tweet by the way.

If U.S. attacks North Korea, if it reversed to commit to total verifiable denuclearization, something the Trump administration has not required.

So again, is this an empty boast?

[10:40:00] HAASS: Well, again, since I agree with my own tweet, shockingly enough, the only way you would have had a war would have been if any nation

administration -- this one or say if Hillary Clinton had won -- and demanded that North Korea completely get out of the nuclear business by a

date certain. That it would be verified to our satisfaction and if they refused, we would have contemplated the use of military force.

Short of that, I don't believe we would be in a war with North Korea. And what this administration has done, is essentially accepted less than North

Korea totally getting out of the nuclear business by a date certain. So we have avoided a war. That's a good thing. But at a certain price. North

Korea still has a considerable nuclear and missile arsenal. That's where we are, and by the way, that's where we're going to likely still be after

the next Summit between the President and the leader of North Korea.

VANIER: OK, so tell me about the next Summit and tell me about the U.S. strategy here. Because the U.S. President wants to meet with the North

Korean leader again. It'll be the second time in three weeks. There has been little to no progress on denuclearization since the first Summit. So

is it -- is this just diplomacy and we should accept will is going to be a second Summit, even if we haven't seen results from the first one? Or is

this also premature?

HAASS: Well, we'll have a second shot. And my guess is we'll have some results. If I were a betting man, I would bet that North Korea would agree

to close certain nuclear-related facilities. The problem is, that we won't know exactly what it is they still have left, because they won't give us

access, or they won't give international inspectors access. So one metaphor might be that we will be spooning water out of the bathtub, at the

same time more water will be going into the bathtub. So North Korea could take the discrete steps to get rid of some pieces of the nuclear or missile

inventory, at the same time it very well may be adding to them. So any movement towards denuclearization will be theoretical or aspirational

rather than actual.

VANIER: So in summary, for the moment, is there any indication that the Donald Trump's strategy toward North Korea is yielding more results than

say his predecessor, all of his predecessor strategies?

HAASS: Well the one area where he's yielding results it seems to me is that North Korea has stopped the testing of nuclear devices and missiles

and that is to be welcomed. But again, I think we've just got to keep our ambitions in line with reality and the most likely reality is we will put

some kind of a constraint on North Korea, but we will not achieve denuclearization. We shouldn't promise that, because the North Koreans are

simply -- as the intelligence community just testified -- North Korea is highly unlikely to ever give up its nuclear inventory.

VANIER: Climate change -- to move on to this -- seems, I mean it doesn't seem, it is a blind spot of this administration. Will the U.S. come to

regret that and see this as the glaring hole of the Trump foreign policy?

HAASS: Well, the United States and, you know, 325 million Americans will come to regret it. As will the 7 billion people around the world. It's

not just the United States. It is others as well. But climate change is a slow-motion crisis. And we're already beginning to see some early signs of

it. Like the severe weather around the country. It will only get worse. Low level coastal areas will increasingly be flooded. And yes, in 25

years, and 50 years and 75 years, that generation will look back on this generation and they will say, what were they thinking? They were

irresponsible. They did not do what they could have done. And we now, these people in 25, 50, 75 years, if you will, the grandchildren of people

who are alive today, they will pay an enormous price for this.

VANIER: Richard Haas, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, thank you so much for joining us here today on CONNECT THE WORLD.

HAASS: Thanks for having me.

VANIER: Still ahead on the show, the death toll rises and hundreds are still missing two weeks after mud and industrial waste flooded from a

collapsed dam in Brazil. Will look at the human and environmental cost, next.


VANIER: Welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Cyril Vanier. At least 150 people are now confirmed dead. Two weeks after mud and

industrial waste flooded from a collapsed dam in Brazil. The full-scale of devastation is still not known but the disaster has brought environmental

consequences that could last for years to come. Shasta Darlington reports.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once pristine waters, now flows red brown. Carrying mining waste, debris, and

an unknown number of toxins through southeast Brazil. Running downstream from the city of Brumadinho. This river spreads the catastrophe of a

deadly dam collapse.

MALU RIBEIRO, PROJECT COORDINATOR,SOS MATA ATLANTICA (through translator): The Paraopeba River supplies water to the metropolitan area of Belo

Horizonte, and 34 municipalities along its basin. A population of about 20 million people across these cities are indirectly affected. All of them

using the basin.

DARLINGTON: With an avalanche of thick red mud, the ruptured dam killed scores of people burying everything in its wake as it devastated the area,

the flood of mining sludge swept into a key waterway. It's now laying waste to a vast ecology. Threatening all those who depend on it.

LEDA DE OLIVEIRA, LOCAL RESIDENT (through translator): We use the river to feed ourselves, for everything. It gives us fish. We use it to water our

plants. And now, we can't do this anymore.

HAYO PATAXO HA HA HAE, TRIBE CHIEF (through translator): The river was everything. We bathed in it. It we washed our clothes, our food. So we

are really sad from this tragedy.

DARLINGTON: Tragedies that may be compounded by an additional risk. Medical experts warn contamination could precipitate a health crisis.

MARCELO RIBEIRO, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, MINAS GERAIS STATE HOSPITAL FOUNDATION (through translator): We are really worried about what will happen next.

There is a risk of diseases like field fever, dengue fever, acute intestinal infectious diseases, and others.

DARLINGTON: If history is an example, the now sludge-filled waters likely won't clear any time soon. More than three years after a dam collapsed in

the same state, affected river water is still unusable. Some of the mining waste flowing hundreds of kilometers, into the Atlantic Ocean.

FABIANA ALVES, SENIOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY CAMPAIGNER, GREENPEACE BRAZIL: We are hoping for the best. We are hoping that the victims can be found. And

that things do not get worse than it was. We still need to see ways to help for this disaster to understand the ties of this disaster.

DARLINGTON: The most recent catastrophe has also ravaged expanses of forest, but some environmental officials say it may take thousands of years

to recover. Before and after images show huge tracts of land consumed under a sea of mud. A visceral picture of devastation promising untold

long-term consequences for Brazil. For CNN, Shasta Darlington, Sao Paulo.


VANIER: Live from Atlanta, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, a rare musical event. Next, we will capture sounds rarely heard. Stay with us.


VANIER: Welcome back. I'm Cyril Vanier.

The Italian city of Cremona is home to some of the world's most prestigious violins. Made by such historian craftsman as Antonio Stradivari and

Giuseppe Guarneri. The priceless instruments are kept at the town's famous museum. But every now and then they have to be brought out and they have

to be played. When that happens, the town goes silent. Barbie Nadeau, explains why.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): Few things compare to the sound of a virtuoso playing. But this is no ordinary instrument. It is an

Amati viola from the 17th century and it's being played here in Cremona where music making is an art form.

These instruments are displayed in the town's renowned violin museum. Renaissance and baroque masterpieces made by legendary artisans like

Stradivari and Amati who created many of the first violins, violas and cellos as we know them today. No one make string instruments like this

anymore. Which were created to delight the Royal courts of Europe. And the unique sound they create can't be replicated either. Maestra Fausto

Cacciatori is in charge of taking these impressive instruments out of their museum cases and down to the auditorium, where their sound can be recorded.

FAUSTO CACCIATORI (through translator): My dream is that these instruments that we are conserving will be played in 200- or 300-years' time and the

sound is just like we are today, he says.

NADEAU: Two tech companies have teamed up to immortalize the notes of these centuries' old instruments, into a sound to do just that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We record everything you can perform on the violin, but not as part of a musical performance, but basically bit by bit, one by one,

so we are recording long notes, short notes, just broken down into very tiny pieces, and elements, of the performance.

NADEAU: Once the recordings are finished, software developers will be able to use the notes and tones for their own compositions.

NADEAU (on camera): But it takes complete silence in order to carry out these recordings. The town has had to cooperate. They've closed this

street with cobble stones to traffic in order to try to limit the vibrations and reverberations inside the recording studio.

(voice-over): The project creators believe the sacrifices will pay off.

LEONARDO TEDESCHI, SOUND DESIGNER, AUDIOZONES STUDIOS: It will be something that will allow digital composers to make music, and it will be a

very practical tool. But it will never be like having a live musician.

NADEAU: 18th century composer Niccolo Paganini wrote this very music on a Guarneri violin just like this man is playing. Paganini is often quoted as

saying, he wouldn't repeat his original performances for fear they wouldn't sound the same. Thanks to these recordings, that will never be a problem


Barbie Latza Nadeau, for CNN, Cremona.


[10:55:00] VANIER: From the beauty and grace of a violin, to the tragic backdrop of a war zone. Our team is working hard to bring you all these

stories, and more. And you can find them by going to our Facebook page. That's I'm Cyril Vanier. This has been CONNECT

THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: There's lots to talk about this hour. Coming up, the government in Venezuela blocks desperately needed aid. We are live on

the Columbian border as Venezuelan scramble to get supplies.