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CONNECT THE WORLD
Leaders Gather for Separate Middle East Meetings; ISIS Makes Last Stand as U.S.-Backed Forces Close In; Airbus to Stop Making the A380; Iran the Focus of U.S.-Led Security Conference; Leader of Russia, Iran, Turkey Meet in Sochi; Former FBI Director McCabe Breaks Silence on Trump Probe; U.S. supplies Stuck at Border in Colombia. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 14, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Trapped, starved, sick, and wounded. We connect you to the last people standing after ISIS. Taking you to that
world in Syria, and the messy geopolitics around it.
Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD, with me Becky Anderson. Broadcasting live from our Middle East programming hub in Abu Dhabi, where it's 7:00 p.m.
Well let's start tonight with dueling summits happening right now, involving some of the most powerful nations on earth. One, taking place in
Warsaw, in Poland. You see it on the left of your screen. The other in Sochi, Russia, there on the right of your screen. They are perhaps
surprising venues given that they will both focus on the Middle East. Extraordinarily, Iran very much at the center of both.
Now, in Warsaw, it's very much seen as an anti-Iran get-together. America's Vice President calling out some Europeans for not getting on
board with the United States.
Meanwhile, over in Sochi, Iran very much in the thick of things in a very different way, Iran's President meeting with his Russian and Turkish
counterparts, Hassan Rouhani Vladimir Putin, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sitting down together. They are focusing on what to do in Syria.
Well, you would expect us to have every angle of these stories covered, and we do. CNN's Ben Wedeman has been bringing us incredible reporting from
the front lines in Eastern Syria. Atika Shubert is in Warsaw for you this evening. Fred Pleitgen joining us from Tehran with the perspective of
Iran. And Matthew Chance monitoring developments in Russia, from Moscow for you.
First, though, the complexity of this and the fears and ambitions, perhaps of Iran, clearly seen in Syria. A very messy spot. Let's get there with
Ben Wedeman, watching the battle against ISIS from very close to the front lines -- Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, well, this battle for the last dot on the map occupied by the state that called
itself Islamic does seem to be about to come to an end. All indications are that the resistance that was there in the town is beginning to fall
apart. Although it's hard at this point to say when the battle will actually end.
But what we do know is that as a result of the intense air bombardment and bombardment by artillery and mortars, that there are still many civilians
left inside that town and they are in dire straits.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Kurdish soldiers, female soldiers, frisk the veiled women one by one after they fled ISIS' last enclave in Syria. Bags are
searched. Scissors, nail clippers confiscated. The soldier says this morning they found a pistol in one purse. They both inhabit this land but
live in different worlds. This woman only identifies herself as "Um Mariam", the mother of Miriam. Her description of conditions in the town
of Baghouz Al-Fawqani are bleak.
UM MARIAM, FLEEING CIVILIAN (through translator): There's lots of shelling. Lots of wounded, she says.
WEDEMAN: The men folk are held apart. Waiting to be questioned by Kurdish American, French and British intelligence officers, on the lookout for ISIS
members and foreign nationals trying to escape among the civilians.
Prior to the launch of the offensive on ISIS's last sliver of land, Syrian Democratic Forces officials said about 1,500 civilians were inside.
WEDEMAN (on camera): What's clear is that officials have massively underestimated the number of civilians in the town. Within the last three
days, more than 2,000 people have left Baghouz Al-Fawqani, and there may still be thousands left inside.
[10:05:00] WEDEMAN (voice-over): Inside, and under heavy round-the-clock air and land bombardment. There is no clear picture of the number of
civilians killed and wounded. The accounts of those who have escaped to this area where those fleeing are registered, impossible to verify. Auda
Mahdi Saleh and her family were staying in a camp for the displaced inside the town. She says they left with bullets flying over their heads.
AUDA MAHDI SALEH, FLEEING CIVILIAN (through translator): Yesterday, rockets hit the camp, she tells me. They killed civilians. As soon as the
planes see movement, they strike. They don't know if they're hitting ISIS or civilians.
WEDEMAN: Hala was in the same camp.
HALA, FLEEING CIVILIAN (through translator): There was hunger, fear, bombing, cold, she says, many women and children were killed, but there was
no ISIS there.
WEDEMAN: As they wait to be trucked to a camp for the displaced north of here, there is no bombing. There is hunger, thirst, and misery.
Supplies arrive. They're gone in seconds. Children jostle in the dust for scraps.
WEDEMAN: And this is the miserable end to a State -- if you can call it that -- that brought so many people in this region --
(BROADCAST CONNECTION LOST)
[10:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: They say they didn't talk about it.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Right, and then after that in their doing that -- you have to image they're doing that because they can't.
Right? If they can say flatly, he never said it, I think they would. Not to read too much into it here and to try to parse this overly, you know,
too much here. But I think that that's worth noting. And he's now issued three statements. Two on the day when the reports about the 25th Amendment
and the wire first came out and now today. And they all follow that similar tact as you pointed out, Poppy.
And he's basically saying, it's beside the point whether we talked about or not because what really matters is that we never follow through on it. We
never did it. We never actually tallied votes. And so, why does any of this matter? And I think you can imagine for someone like Rosenstein who's
been sort of taking it from both sides. Both on the left, saying he hasn't done enough. And on the right, saying he sort of let the FBI and the
Justice Department run amok. You hear so much about the deep state. You see people like Congressman Mark Meadows tweeting out, Rosenstein has got
But at the same time this is really a credibility issue -- as you guys have been talking about. The President is tweeting about McCabe like he is some
bad actor here. But then at the same time, which side as he believed?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Right. But before we go, Jim, McCabe makes a point that he was concerned in the hours just after the President just fired Jim
Comey. The President then said he fired Comey because of his handling of the Russia investigation. That maybe this investigation would be quashed
and he was just making sure it could survive. Why is that a bad thing?
JIM SCHULZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I don't know that it is a bad thing. I mean clearly, Special Counsel was appointed. This is all being
run out and were going to hear a lot about it very soon, I would imagine. Especially from the comments that we heard from the Attorney General
nominee, Bill Barr. I think we're going to see a lot of this very soon playing out. So that's not a bad thing. In the interest of justice he had
a concern and that's OK. How you characterize it later in order to sell books and garner attention is a different story.
SCIUTTO: Jim, thank you. Jim, we're going to keep you around. We've got a lot more interrogation for you coming ahead. Laura Jarrett, thanks very
Still to come, a federal judge voiding Paul Manafort's plea deal with the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. The judge says that the former Trump
chairman intentionally lied to the FBI, to the Special Counsel and to the grand jury.
HARLOW: The question is why?
Also, Congress expected to vote today on a deal to avert another government shutdown. If it passes will the President sign it?
And one year ago today, 17 lives were lost, 17 people murdered during the Markland mass school shooting. In just moments, a moment of silence to
[10:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, it's just a bit of a flop really. You're looking at the largest ever plane built for passengers, an
absolute behemoth of four million parts, the A380. Pulling off some tricks here, but there is one it could never really nail down, making money. So
airbus, pulling the plug on it, for good. Well the super jumbo jet was once described as the future of air travel. Well, now the company says
it'll halt delivery of the A380 in 2021 after the biggest customer Emirates Airline slashed its order for the jetliner. CNN's Richard Quest spoke with
the Airbus CEO, Tom Enders, about what he calls a painful decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM ENDERS, CEO, AIRBUS: I said in my press release this morning, it's painful. It is indeed. That's an aircraft that we poured a lot of
resource, a lot of effort, a lot of sweat into, over the years. And we tried hard to, in recent years, to sell additional A380s, and you know, we
didn't have to take the decision earlier, thanks to Emirates. Because Emirates took an incredible 123 aircraft from us or ordered this number of
aircraft. But it's like with every product, if you don't find customers anymore, if you can sell them only below production cost, you have to be
consequential, you have to be economical, and cease production. And this is what we had to decide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right. That's Tom Anders there. Let's bring a man who's up in the air so much. He's got platinum status on pretty much every airline
including probably Pan Am.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Hey, that's not true on Pan Am. Nor is it true I have platinum cards.
ANDERSON: A pair of DVT stockings to boot, I'm sure.
Who else but Mr. John Defterios? John, this closes the chapter on the super jumbo pretty quickly, wouldn't you say?
DEFTERIOS: Yes, extraordinarily so. It's amazing. We have a model of this thing. This is a four-engine plane. Remember the double decker. And
everybody was so excited by the fact that when it was coming on.
[10:20:00] It could handle better than, what, 500 passengers if they needed it to. They could even configure it to take 800. But the market is
changing rapidly, Becky, so this big plane that could go 15, 16 hours is not needed anymore. What has changed radically is that we've had the
introduction of the A350, the 787. They're long haul but mid-sized planes. And they're much more fuel efficient.
So it was amazing, because I went and looked back and January of 2018, Emirates ordered 36 of the A380, working out a deal with Airbus.
Obviously, not at the list price of about $450 million and say, let's keep this alive. $16 billion is the list price and one year into it, said this
is just not working.
The other harsh reality we have in the region is India is restructuring its market. It's a gigantic market. They don't need to come into Dubai. You
have Istanbul with Turkish Airways competing fiercely with Emirates, Entebbe with Qatar Airways and they needed to make a change.
ANDERSON: Let's compare another super jumbo jet, shall we, to the A380. The iconic 747. It seems one maybe more successful than the other.
Because these are still around.
DEFTERIOS: Yes, if you think about it, the lifespan comparison is going to be inevitable here. Let's go back to 1970 when they launched the 747.
There're 1500 planes in the market. And to your point -- you're absolutely correct -- they are using primarily for cargo but they're still around and
may lose it down by the third quarter of this year, that has not been decided. If you look at the Airbus A380, 234 planes have been sold, 123 of
those sit with Emirates. So you can see why Emirates was so vital to the program.
And in fact, the group's CEO and the uncle of the ruler of Dubai, Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, was suggesting that he was disappointed. He had to pull
the order, but he thought it was inevitable. They needed to make the change. 2017 and '18 were not good years for Emirates because of the high
price of oil, price fluctuations that they saw. They felt they needed to be much more competitive, rejuggle the fleet. The other subplot here, the
A350, they took on 30 of those. They took 40 A330s, small planes. They were going to use smaller planes to connect into the giant airport in Dubai
International and A350s to do the longer hauls. Recently I've been flying to Europe and you've seen the same thing, right? Big planes but they're
not full and it's very suspensive to keep in the air.
ANDERSON: Yes, I mean, I have to say it's a super plane to fly on. It really is. It's an incredibly comfortable plane. You're absolutely right.
I've been on that flight when there's been very, very few people, but certainly between here and London. And they run these on a sort of multi-
day basis between Entebbe and Emirates. So you're right, not filling the planes. John, thank you for that.
We're going to take a very quick break, viewers. We will be back after this.
ANDERSON: A reminder of our top story this hour, forging a united front against Iran. We're watching a special conference or gathering in Warsaw
this hour. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to speak any time now, alongside the Polish Foreign Minister. Now, Pompeo is trying to rally
support for taking a tough line on Iran, which isn't a tough sell for many countries there.
Technically, the meeting is to address security threats across the Middle East. But the U.S., Israel, and some Arab states are making it crystal
clear they believe the true threat emanates from Tehran.
Let's get you to the very latest on that with our team of reporters. Atika is at the summit in Warsaw. Fred's in Tehran for you. And Matthew, at a
sort of competing gathering of Iran, Turkey and Russia in Sochi this hour. But he's out of Moscow for you. So stand by, Matthew. I want to get to
[10:25:00] Atika, certainly, the U.S. and its regional Arab allies in Poland with one message, ostensibly, this is a meeting about security and
peace in the Middle East, but it's all about Iran. I mean I think that's absolutely clear. The Vice President though rebuking some of the U.S.'s
European allies for either not pitching up, or their attitude towards what is going on with the JCPOA deal that they're still a part of. Explain.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. I mean, this was clearly a platform for the U.S. to rally its allies to support its
vision of how to constrain what it considers the maligned influence of Iran. Those are the words of Secretary of State Pompeo. And we heard from
Vice President Mike Pence today, that Iran is, as far as the U.S. is concerned, the single greatest threat to the region.
But while he was rallying, you know, allying like Israel, and others, he was also scolding EU allies who still want to stick with that nuclear
agreement. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more
distance between Europe and the United States. Some argue that Iran is in technical compliance with the narrow terms of the deal. But compliance is
not the issue. The deal is the issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: I can't hear the sound bite anymore.
ANDERSON: All right, sounds as if we've lost communications with Atika. We are having some problems tonight, with some technical gremlins but we
will carry on.
We'll get you to Tehran. Fred Pleitgen is standing by. And Fred, on Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu used some pretty tough language against Iran,
in a now deleted tweet he wrote. And I quote.
What is important about this meeting is that this is an open meeting, with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together
with Israel, in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.
Now that tweet was replaced minutes later with one which instead said the common interests of combatting Iran. Miscommunication or something more
from the perspective of Tehran?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think from the Iranian's, what they're saying is they believe the Israeli Prime
Minister said exactly what was on his mind, that has been exactly Israel's policy, at least the Iranians are saying, for a very long time.
And if you look at Tehran today, and both late last night, when that tweet first came out, I was monitoring that as well. And then it was later
deleted and then changed, you could see that this so far, this conference in Warsaw has essentially been a feast for the Iranian government.
On the one hand, they're saying, look, they see America as setting the agenda for this conference. They believe that the Arab states who are
there are not necessarily there voluntarily. They see what they think is a lack of enthusiasm of some of the Arab state, also some of the European
states as well. Atika was talking about this. Very few of them actually sent high level representatives to this gathering.
So what the Iranians are saying, look, from their perspective, they believe that America is essentially setting the agenda and that Israel is speaking
for the nations who are out there. Obviously, talking about what Benjamin Netanyahu there said.
As far as the meeting itself is concerned, the Iranians have been saying -- and this comes mostly in the form of Iran's President, but very much in the
form of the foreign minister, Javad Zarif. He was saying that he believes this conference is dead in the water, that in the beginning, the Americans
were saying that it was all about Iran, then they had to change that tune. Because obviously, the Europeans weren't very happy. Also by the way, the
host nation apparently wasn't very happy with that either. Saying look, they're still part of the nuclear agreement, they want to save the nuclear
agreement, so it wasn't necessarily in the interest of Poland also to have this meeting completely be about Iran.
It's a difficult position though that the Iranians are in. On the one hand, they're not too unhappy about the fact that there is some turmoil
right now between the Americans and the Europeans. And obviously, just hearing from Mike Pence there, really almost angry at the Europeans.
But at the same time, the Iranians not very happy, either. They're saying look, they believe that the Europeans aren't doing enough to try and keep
the nuclear agreement alive. They would like to see the Europeans to take an even more confrontational line toward the United States and tell them,
look, they want this nuclear agreement to stay in place. Because the Iranians of course want some of that economic privilege that -- or some of
the economic benefits, I should say -- that that deal was supposed to provide. And that simply isn't happening here in this country. We've been
talking about it for a very long time, the fact that many Iranians don't believe that the deal has brought them the economic benefits they were
hoping for -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Fred is in Tehran for you. And Atika is of course is in Warsaw.
[10:30:00] I've got Matthew up in Moscow. So Iran exercising a maligned influence across much of what goes on in this region, says the U.S., and
its regional Arab allies. The Iranians pushing back. They are not in Warsaw. They are at a meeting with the Russians and the Turks, to all
intents and purposes, sort of scoring out what happens in Syria next. Explain.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean the fact is that the Iranians, along with the Russians and the Turks, are
sitting at the table which will decide the division of territory, if you like, or the outcome in Syria, particularly after the United States moves
to, to pull its Forces out of northern Syria. Which the White House has said repeatedly that it intends to do.
This is a conference that is taking place in southern Russia at the moment with the leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia, talking about what needs to be
the next step after any American withdrawal. The Turks of course are pushing to be allowed or be permitted to establish a safe zone in northern
Syria, because they're concerned that that territory is used by Kurdish rebels inside their own territory to carry out attacks and to seek refuge
from the law enforcement and the security forces inside, inside Turkey.
But that's something both the Russians and the Iranians have stood very strongly against. They're both key allies of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian
President. And they're now saying that look, even though the U.S. withdrawal from that region is a positive step, it's the Syrian government
that needs to re-establish control over those areas. And any attempt to establish a safe zone on the part of Turkey in northern Syria must first
get the consent of the Syrian government. Which of course undoubtedly is not going to be forthcoming. And so Iran and Russia standing very much on
what is emerging as quite clearly the winning side in that Syrian conflict, and obviously, Iran helping to shape the outcome in that country.
ANDERSON: Ben, you are in eastern Syria, reporting on the fallout from the U.S.-backed offensive to rout ISIS from its caliphate. Which may of course
be thousands of miles away from Sochi, which is the meeting that Matthew is reporting on, and from Warsaw, where Atika is, and indeed, from Tehran.
And yet, the region you are in has connections which reach all of what is going on at present. What's the influence of where you are, when we sit
back and provide some context for what is going on?
WEDEMAN: Becky, I think when we see the Americans finally pull out, there are approximately 2,000 forces, in Syria, it will open up a power vacuum.
And that is where everyone is interested in seeing who is going to fill it. We know the Turks want to establish some sort of safe zone or buffer zone
along the border inside Syria. Because they're worried about Kurdish rebels who might become involved in the struggle of the Kyrgyzstan Workers
Party against the Turkish state.
The Russians are eager to see the government in Damascus re-establish its authority in this part of the country. Another serious worry is that in
the presence of a power vacuum, that ISIS -- even though it's down, it's not in any sense out. That they are about to lose their last dot on the
map. But that doesn't mean that they're completely powerless.
We understand from multiple sources, U.S., Pentagon official, the U.N., and others, that they believe that there are still thousands, perhaps tens of
thousands of ISIS fighters who are on the loose, have gone to remote parts of Syria and Iraq. They continue to carry out hit-and-run terrorist
attacks in northern Syria, and parts of Iraq as well.
And therefore, yes, this is really at the center of a lot of the geopolitical competition that we're seeing involved the Russians, the
Turks, the Iranians. What's interesting is that we are seeing, even though we're seeing the Turks, the Russians, the Iranians, definitely reasserting
themselves, what we're seeing at the same time is the Americans are slowly pulling out, withdrawing not only from Syria, but in a sense, an active
role in the region. And certainly, that seems to be one of President Trump's promises along the way. The question is, beyond U.S. domestic
politics, what is that going to mean for this part of the world.
[10:35:00] Because we know that when power vacuums open up, all sorts of forces can come rushing in -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman, your reporting has been extraordinary. Thank you. Out of eastern Syria today. Matthew, as ever, thank you, out of Moscow for
you viewers. Still ahead, a former acting FBI director has some stunning remarks about why he ordered President Donald Trump investigated for
possible obstruction of justice. We'll get some insight into secretive meetings in Washington, up next.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. If you're just joining us, you're more than welcome. It's about
25 to 8:00 in the UAE where we broadcast from.
We are getting some dramatic new insight today about the crucial first days of the Russia investigation in the U.S. Former acting FBI director, Andrew
McCabe, breaking his silence, about why he ordered an obstruction of justice probe against U.S. President Donald Trump in May of 2017. He says
he wanted to preserve ongoing inquiries into Russian election interference in case there was an attempt to shut them down. Now, he talked to CBS news
about meeting with Mr. Trump hours after the President fired then FBI director James Comey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency, and won the election for the presidency,
and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage. And that was something that
troubled me greatly.
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS 60 MINUTES: How long was it after that, that you decided to start the obstruction of justice and counter-intelligence investigations
involving the President?
MCCABE: I think the next day, I met with the team investigated the Russia cases, and I asked the team to go back and conduct an assessment to
determine where are we with these efforts, and what steps do we need to take going forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Another big revelation, McCabe publicly said, for the first time, that there were high-level discussions at the Justice Department
about invoking a constitutional amendment to remove President Trump from office. While a Justice Department spokesperson already knocking that
back, saying Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disputes McCabe's account of the discussion, about invoking an amendment, as, and I quote,
inaccurate and factually incorrect.
Let's bring in CNN legal analyst, Elie Honig, to help us break all of this down. He's a former U.S. federal prosecutor. And sort out the
significance of what we are hearing here, sir.
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure. So there is a lot of different things going on. But the first thing I think it tells us is significant is
just how strongly the FBI reacted to President Trump and his perceived ongoing interference in investigations. And I think one of the big lessons
of this is President Trump has struggled throughout his tenure to accept and abide by the rule that the President should have nothing to do with
ongoing FBI and DOJ investigations. And we've seen the President get himself into trouble on this time and again.
It's a norm that's been observed for many prior Presidents, but this President has not done it. And I think what we see from the FBI, what we
see that they were doing is essentially readying the life rafts. What do we do? He's just fired the boss, James Comey, what do we do if he starts
firing other people? What do we do if he starts shutting down investigations? And so I think what McCabe has said is, I wanted to make
sure we got this investigation started so it would be there, even if I was fired.
ANDERSON: It didn't take Donald Trump long to respond. And it was on Twitter of course. He tweeted out an angry response to McCabe calling him
disgraced and saying he was a big part of, quote, the crooked Hillary scandal and the Russia hoax. A puppet for leaking James Comey. McCabe, of
course was fired from the Justice Department last March. And Mr. Trump has long accused him of being politically biased. Are the President's attacks
on his credibility resonating?
HONIG: There actually is some merit to what the President is saying. I disagree with the juvenile tone of the tweets and the name calling and that
kind of thing. But the fact of the matter is Andrew McCabe was censured by the Department of Justice's Inspector General for being untruthful.
Essentially, McCabe -- in an unrelated matter -- McCabe was concerned that there was this appearance that he was going light on the Clinton
Foundation. And so, McCabe leaked to the press that he wasn't. And then apparently, according to DOJ's findings, he lied to James Comey about that.
And he lied to I.G. investigators about that. They made a formal finding that McCabe was not credible. And in fact, McCabe theoretically could face
criminal charges if he lied to DOJ. investigators. So he does have a credibility issue.
Now, look, the world is a complex place. Plenty of people are capable of lying in one instance but not being liar's 100 percent of the time. So I
think we immediate to sort out what's credible from noncredible. One of the things McCabe did at the time -- when Trump was meeting with him, and
sort of threatening the investigation -- was he made contemporaneous notes. Which is the same thing we saw James Comey doing which is something that
people do when they're concerned about a meeting they just had and want to make sort of a record of it. So those contemporaneous notes will bolster
McCabe's credibility, but he is no angel, as the President says.
ANDERSON: I have to say -- and I don't want to speak on behalf of our international viewers -- but I mean from an objective point of view, from
the outside looking in, it wouldn't surprise me if our viewers had one sort of overwhelming take-away in all of what is going none Washington with
these investigations, and what Mueller is up to, and those that he has interviewed to date, there is an awful lot of people involved around the
U.S. President and his campaign, and those who are clearly his foes, who seem to have done an awful lot of lying.
HONIG: Yes, and let me confirm that, Becky. This is not normal. I worked at the Department of Justice for eight years, from 2004 to 2012, about half
of my time was under the George W. Bush administration, about half of my time was under the Obama administration. None of this happened during --
I'm not saying everything was perfect, but this level, this pervasiveness of lying and deceit is new. I think it's unprecedented in our country's
history. And I think that's perhaps what led to some of the conversations that have been reported about invoking the 25th Amendment.
Look, the 25th Amendment is an extreme and extremely unlikely remedy. It's meant for incapacitated Presidents, not just for a President who is
perceived as a threat. So I don't think that was ever going to really happen. But the fact that there were apparently some conversations about
the 25th Amendment, in itself, says something about how unusual this whole situation is.
ANDERSON: Thank you, sir.
HONIG: Thanks, Becky.
ANDERSON: It is 10:43 in Washington, 7:43 here in the UAE.
We'll take you to another part of the world. Venezuelan's desperate for food and medicine and forced to leave their country to find it. I want to
get you a live report from neighboring Colombia where stockpiles of aid are essentially sitting trapped. That's next.
[10:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great respect for the man that most people, many people think is the real President of Venezuela,
he's very brave.
IVAN DUQUE, COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT: President Guaido, who is the person about to lead this transition in Venezuela has our strong support, and we need to
give him even stronger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well high praise indeed for self-declared Venezuelan President Juan Guaido from the leaders of the United States and Colombia. Who met at
the White House on Wednesday. And President Trump hinting once again that he may send U.S. troops to South America in an effort to end the crisis in
Well, CNN's Isa Soares is bringing us in-depth and harrowing stories about the despair at the Venezuelan border. Joining us from Cucuta, in Colombia
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we heard those words, yes, very much praise there for Juan Guaido, coming from the U.S. President
Donald Trump, but also from the President of Colombia, Ivan Duque.
Meanwhile the aid is still sitting idle in a warehouse waiting to be delivered. And people continue to make their journey. They are exhausted.
They are wary. And they desperately need the aid. And to give viewers a sense of how bad it's, the minimum wage in Venezuela, Becky, is $5. With
$5 you can't buy a block of cheese. And that's why you had so many people making their way in here. And it is understandable then why emotions are
running so high.
SOARES (voice-over): Every step is a burden. A load they have to carry for miles on end. But even the weight of their cargo does little to hold
their tongue. And while the majority cross this border legally, some others take a less-traveled road. And they all do it out of necessity.
(on camera): There's no food. Nothing. Nothing there, he is saying. Coffee. Toothpaste. There's nothing in Venezuela. Only sadness. That's
what she is telling me.
Yet 20 minutes away from here on Tienditas Bridge is a warehouse packed full of humanitarian aid, waiting to be delivered. Sure, it is just a drop
in the ocean, but it's creating a wave of expectations on both sides of border, and with that, desperation.
(voice-over): The frustration is evident in every corner of this border town. As Venezuelans line up for food, for money, and for any way out of
(on camera): He is staying here in Colombia but this gentleman here, he is collecting some money and he's going all the way to Peru. He is telling me
we don't want anything to do with Maduro.
(voice-over): It seems he is not alone. They're celebrating the fall of Maduro's regime. Premature, after all, he's standing his ground, with his
military still preventing the aid from entering the country. But they're heeding the call of Juan Guaido. Who has been rallying his troops, calling
on the people to volunteer and carry the aid across the border on the 23rd of February.
SOARES (on camera): Are you going to help on the 23rd?
As you can see here, everyone, as you can see here, everyone here is prepared to risk their lives to carry that humanitarian aid across the
(voice-over): And they are counting on the army, the rank and file, who too are living on the edge, to walk, as well as stand beside them.
SOARES: Becky, that chant that you heard there, that was directed at the rank and file, the soldiers, asking them to stand beside them.
[10:50:00] They're trying to copy, emulate what happened back in 2016, when the border with Colombia and Venezuela was blocked. A group of women
dressed all in white came face to face with soldiers at the border, and they allowed them in to Colombia so they can come and buy medication. And
that was in 2016, and it continues, and according to U.S. officials, the situation in Venezuela is only going to get worse -- Becky.
ANDERSON: All right, Isa, thank you for that. We will take a very short break. Back after this.
ANDERSON: Well, you might've noticed it's valentine's day in many parts of the world. Cynics say it's a big scam. But there is a group of people for
whom this day can feel momentous. That's high school kids. Remember? The drama, the intrigue, the excitement. There are a few kids who could use a
little extra love this year. You are looking at decorations made by 16- year-old Phoebe O'Mara. Seven of her friends were killed a year ago in the Parkland School shooting. Phoebe decorated her house this way, because she
says the gunman has already taken so much, she will not let him have Valentine's Day, too.
Well 14 students and three adults were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a day of service and love is planned for today. As
survivors continue to push for better gun safety. And on that front, President Trump has been speaking about -- out about his efforts and his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We cannot imagine the sorrow and suffering the Parkland families have endured. Our entire nation mourns for the victims and their loved
ones, and we pledge our unwavering resolve to work with the leaders in this room to secure our nation's schools and everywhere else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well whatever your thoughts are on gun control, or however heart-breaking you find this story, it is important for us to end on this
[10:55:00] According to nonprofit gun violence news site "The Trace", nearly 1,200 American children were killed by firearms in the year since
Parkland and these are their names -- at least some of them.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: So coming up in the show, the former acting FBI director breaks his silence about why he ordered an investigation into
President Donald Trump.