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Widow of Jihadist Linked to Paris Attacks; Thousands Flee Terror Group's Last Stronghold in Syria; London Police Investigate Explosive Devices; Guaido Returning to National Assembly After Foreign Tour; North Korea Rebuilding a Missile Engine Test Site; Trump in Fight of His Political Life as Investigations Mount; Cohen Back on Capitol Hill for More Closed-Door Testimony; Moscow Slams Expansive Investigations into Donald Trump; U.K. Labour Party Engulfed by Anti-Semitism Crisis; R. Kelly Denies Sexual Abuse Allegations; 13-Time Champions Real Madrid Humiliated by Ajax; Interview with Gigi Buffon, his future, PSG Goal Keeper. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 6, 2019 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I don't want to return to France, she tells me, because the French state used its arms to

kill my children and my husband and I know if I return, I'll be put in prison.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Connecting tonight, ISIS, like you've never seen it before. CNN taking you inside the minds of the wives left behind as

ISIS implodes around them. We're on the ground, for you this hour in eastern Syria -- Ben.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are causing huge damage in our party, and they're causing huge distress to the Jewish community.


ANDERSON: It's the second biggest group of lawmakers in one of the most powerful countries yet. Britain's opposition still being torn apart by an

anti-Semitism crisis. How is that still happening? CNN investigates.

Also, this hour --


ANDERSON: Is this your last year?

GIGI BUFFON, GOALKEEPER, PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: No. I'm 41 but I've got the energy of a youngster.


ANDERSON: And he's going to need every ounce of that spirit let me tell you. Hours from now, footballing mega star Gigi Buffon rocking onto the

pitch in an epic Champions League showdown. The man, the myth, and the legend, my interview with him coming up. It's pretty special. All of that

right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well from CNN's Middle East programming headquarters, hello and welcome. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. With me Becky Anderson. Live from Abu

Dhabi. Where it is 7:00 in the evening.

And we begin this hour with the remnants of the final assault against ISIS in Syria as the terror group inches towards the brink of collapse. Now,

the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say 500 fighters surrendered in eastern Syria Tuesday. And more than 6,000 people, militants and

civilians, have fled in the past few days alone.

Those numbers have taken the SDF by surprise. For weeks now, the self- declared caliphate has been pinned down in Baghouz, the last remaining ISIS enclave in eastern Syria.

A terror group drew recruits from around the world, including the widow of a jihadist tied to the Paris terror attacks in 2015, 130 people were

killed. The attacks, the deadliest in France, since World War II. A quick reminder for you as we take a look back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New developments coming in. France under a state of emergency, following six, six separate terrorist attacks. ISIS claiming

responsibility. So far, 128 confirmed dead. But the number is really, these numbers will change and go up. As many as 180 injured, maybe more,

we're learning that Americans are among the injured. What we don't know is just how many.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN's Ben Wedeman is today inside eastern Syria where he has been for weeks. And today, spoke to the widow, the widow who called

the caliphate home.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): The victor leads the vanquished. Boys and men of the so-called Islamic state now in the hands of their enemies. Tuesday,

thousands of men, women, and children were trucked out of ISIS's doomed domain. The numbers fleeing the sinking state, well over 6,000 in the past

two days, have taken the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces by surprise. Among them, Dorothee Maquere, the wife of Jean-Michel Clain, linked to the

November 2015 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Her husband, just composed religious songs, she claims. She told us an air strike killed him Sunday, while two weeks ago, a drone killed Jean-Michel's

brother Fabien who claimed responsibility for the 2015 Paris attacks in an audiotape. She says three of her children have been killed in the


DOROTHEE MAQUERE, FRENCH ISIS WIFE: (through translator): No I don't want to return to France, she tells me, because the French state used its arms

to kill my children and my husband and I know if I return, I'll be put in prison.

WEDEMAN: Tens of thousands of foreign nationals, including many from Western Europe, flocked to Syria and Iraq, when ISIS was at its height.

[10:05:00] Now many of their countries don't want them back. Sana, a Finnish convert to Islam came to Syria four years ago with her husband, a

Moroccan plumber, she said. Life was good in the beginning, she recalls. War, not ISIS ruined that life, Sana tells me. With the war almost over

and this land in ruins, now she wants to go home.

(on camera): You want to go back?

SANA, FINNISH ISIS WIFE: Yes, I want to go back to Finland now, yes, definitely. Definitely. Definitely.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): By all account, the final battle has left many civilians dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, BELGIAN ISIS WIFE (through translator): I'm lost, says this Belgian woman, who declined to give her name. For now, I can't

think of anything else. I'm traumatized. Back there in the camp, it was a massacre. There are dead everywhere.

WEDEMAN: No one is more traumatized by this catastrophe than the children who grew up in a madhouse of the state that called itself Islamic. Brain

washed and caught in a war, not of their choosing. The lucky ones may return to their countries, far, far away. The rest doomed to a grim life

in overcrowded internment camps.


ANDERSON: And Ben joining us now live from eastern Syria. And that's what I want to discuss, Ben, some want to go home, and others have got no

interest, it seems, and some seem numb by the whole process. This dilemma facing security forces locally and of course governments around the world,

what to do next with these people, Ben, long term?

WEDEMAN: Becky, nobody has come up with a solution for this. The Syrian Democratic Forces have asked repeatedly Western powers to provide some sort

of assistance in dealing with this problem, to take back their foreign nationals. But many countries, the United Kingdom, for instance, have said

no. They don't want them back. And it's a sort of ironic that while the Islamic state, the so-called Islamic state was contained, this problem

didn't exist. The people within the state stayed within the state.

Now, what you have -- and I'll just step out of the way of the camera. You can see there are hundreds of women and men here -- the men are over the

horizon because they're being interrogated by French, British, and American and SDF intelligence officers. What do you do with all of these people?

And I've spoken with more of them today, and one man from Aleppo told me that, as far as he's concerned, he remains loyal to the Islamic state, and

he told me that if he has to spend the rest of his life in prison for that loyalty, so be it.

So you have this problem that is really weighing heavily on the authorities here. They don't have the resources to take care of all of these people.

The biggest camp, Al Hawl, has more than 50,000 people in it. It was not designed for that number. And for many of them, it's essentially an

internment camp, and they may be there for years and years. And that, by itself, poses a danger of creating an environment that is fertile to the

continuation, the growth, and perhaps the intensification of their nihilistic philosophy when it comes to the religion of Islam -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben, if you weren't on the ground, witnessing this, filming it and showing us live, I don't think our viewers would believe what they are

seeing. It does seem absolutely remarkable, women and children, young kids, behind you, with absolutely nowhere to go next. When you talk to

them, I mean we've listened in your great report there to a number of women's sort of attitude, some want to stay, some want to go home,

whatever. What about the kids? What is the atmosphere for these people coming out of this last sort of enclave of the caliphate? What are the

kids telling you?

WEDEMAN: Well, we spoke to that Finnish woman, she had a 13-year-old daughter, who told me that she wants to go back to Finland because of the

traumatic experience of being caught in this war. But she doesn't want to reintegrate into Finnish society.

[10:10:00] She says she wants to be home schooled. She doesn't want to interact with other Finnish children, because basically, she considers them

infidels. A lot of these children have grown up inculcated with the philosophy of the so-called Islamic state, which considers everyone who

does not follow that very narrow interpretation of Islam to be a "kafir", an infidel. Whether you're Shia, Christian, Jewish, whatever, and

therefore, when these children who have been brought up on this mind set go back, if they can, to France, to England, to Germany, to Italy, to

wherever, they will be carrying with them, many of them -- we can't say all of them -- this very hostile philosophy toward anyone else on earth who

isn't within their particular mindset. So the children, I mean basically, this is like spores of a disease that are being spread into the world, and

before they were just in this small geographical area.

ANDERSON: It is absolutely fascinating, and somebody's got to come up with a solution at some point. Meantime, Ben, thank you, Ben, as Ben points

out, some 50,000 in camps that we might as well call internment camps now. And all of those behind Ben, those women and children, recently, just

recently today, having walked away from pretty much for some of those kids everything they ever knew, the ISIS caliphate.

Well as we've discussed many governments around the world are grappling with what to do with their citizens who signed up and survived and now

stuck in Syria. In the coming week, France will be bringing home a plane load of children of jihadists. Many of them orphans. More on the ISIS

orphans ready to come home at Well worth the read.

Well just days after the collapse of nuclear talks with the United States, new satellite images appear to show North Korea has begun rebuilding a

massively engine test site that had been inactive since August. The site was initially being taken apart as a show of good faith towards the United

States. But now, a South Korean lawmaker says intelligence shows increased vehicle movement, and signs of construction. CNN's Paula Hancocks has been

following this story from Seoul and she joins us live from there now -- Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this is satellite imagery that has been analyzed by the likes of 38 North and CSIS, both saying that

it shows that what North Korea is doing at this point, is reversing what they had been doing over recent months. This is a key site, Tongchang-ri,

which North Korea had been dismantling and the NIS as well here in South Korea saying, that you can see that they are reversing that, at this point.

Things like a roof which had been taken down. They've now rebuilt, a door has been rebuilt. They say there is proof, as you say of vehicles that are

carting things around. The think tanks say they see construction cranes in the imagery as well.

Now, one key thing, and we don't know the answer to this yet, is when exactly were these images taken. According to 38 North it's anything

between February 16 and March 2. So it could have been before the Hanoi Summit, before Kim Jong-un met with the U.S. President Donald Trump, or

during, or after. We simply don't know. And this is why many experts at this point are reticent to say definitively that this is a show from North

Korea, that they are not happy that that summit ended without agreement. It's simply too difficult to pinpoint it that closely.

But it is interesting that this particular site, Becky, is the one that Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea were discussing in

Pyongyang when President Moon was there last year. And they had been discussing whether or not there should be independent inspectors going to

look at it and make sure it was put out of action as North Korea said it was. They were waiting for corresponding measures from the U.S. but now

clearly, you can see that the intelligence agency here is saying they are reversing what they had done up until this point -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, in South Korea for you. Paula, thank you.

To the United Kingdom next, where the University of Glasgow has been evacuated after a suspicious package was found in its mail room. More

details on that story, of course, as it develops here on CNN. There is no indication that the incident in Scotland is linked to the counter-terrorism

investigation involving three explosive devices found near transport hubs on Tuesday. The packages were sent to Heathrow Airport, London city

airport and Waterloo Train Station. No one was hurt. The Irish police are assisting with the investigation.

[10:15:00] Phil Black joining me now from outside Waterloo Station. What do we understand to be the details of that investigation, as we speak --


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, some pretty big unanswered questions remain, Becky. Who did this? Why did they do it? And are there any more

of these packages to be found? Has the risk, as it was, has it passed? So far, we know these packages have been a real nuisance. They have consumed

police time and resources. They disrupted the offices they were sent to. But fortunately, no one was hurt. And there were no major transportation


That said, we're still talking about incendiary devices. And although they've been deemed capable of only creating small fires, those small fires

have the potential to grow and spread and do harm to people and property. So police are pretty keen to get to the bottom of this and determine

precisely why they were sent. Was someone looking to do harm? Was the motive sinister? Or something else? Attention-seeking prank, perhaps. We

don't know. The police say they're looking into it. But you're right, there is an Irish connection to this and that is that a couple of postage

stamps at least had postal stamps from the Republic of Ireland.

Now that means that the British media today contains speculation about whether or not there is a link or some sort of connection to militant Irish

Republicanism. It is at least a line of inquiry, a theory. We don't know how serious the police are taking it, although as you say, Irish police are

assisting them. The police have not gone further, formally, publicly, then to say they are still keeping an open mind about who did this and why --


ANDERSON: Phil Black, on the story, in London, today, where it is 3:16 in the afternoon. 7:16 here in Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD from

your Middle Eastern broadcasting hub.

Still to come, we'll get you to Venezuela, where threats of arrest are not keeping the opposition leader from returning to the National Assembly.

And later this hour, the man, the myth, the legend, I sit down with Paris Saint-Germain star, Gigi Buffon. What will he do next? Well certainly

first up we know there's a Champions League match for him tonight. All of that coming up after this.


[10:20:00] ANDERSON: The battle for control of Venezuela has moved from the streets to inside government. After a break for carnival, the

Venezuela National Assembly is back in session right now. And we expect opposition leader and self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido, to

speak at some point. He will brief lawmakers in this very room. These are live pictures out of the National Assembly there. On his visit to other

countries, a visit that incumbent President Nicolas Maduro said was against the law. Juan Guaido, we will get you here now and when.

Well we've seen Washington take a keen interest in the situation there of course. And we turn now to the American capital where President Donald

Trump is in the fight of his political life as he faces an avalanche of investigations. And it seems the hits, well, they just keep coming.

The latest revelation involves his daughter and White House adviser, Ivanka. Sources tell CNN Mr. Trump granted her a security clearance over

the objections of his staff. He reportedly did the same for Ivanka's husband Jared Kushner. The White House is refusing Congressional demands

to turn over documents on security clearances setting the stage for what could be a bruising legal fight.

Mr. Trump says it's all a big fat fishing expedition and he's getting some support in discrediting these probes from Moscow. Let's bring in our

senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, on this. And our senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, who is live tonight out of

Moscow for you.

Joe, let me start with you. Mr. Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen has made a lot of damaging statements about the President and he's not done

talking yet. He's back on Capitol Hill as we speak. Testifying today to the House Intelligence Committee, behind closed doors. Michael Cohen has

said he never sought a pardon from Mr. Trump but tell us whether there are some new questions about that, if you will.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there had been reporting, for quite a while now, that Michael Cohen had in some way been

in contact, apparently, with the President's lawyers. And now, we understand that this was apparently a lawyer to lawyer type conversation,

between counsel for Cohen and counsel over here at the White House, discussing a pardon, or clemency, for Michael Cohen. And now this was

apparently some time ago, and it happened apparently after there was a raid at Cohen's office.

We don't know any more than that. But we do know that Democrats on Capitol Hill are quite interested in this. Because how the President's pardon

power, or the power of clemency, is pretty much absolute, as to the federal court system, nonetheless, a use of that power in certain ways, a thing of

value, for a corrupt purpose, could still potentially get a public official into a certain degree of hot water. So that's one of the things apparently

on Capitol Hill people want to talk to Michael Cohen about -- Becky.

ANDERSON: He's already called the U.S. President a crook, a con man, and a liar. You thought things weren't going to get any worse than that. But

here, the jury is really split about just how damaging this testimony from Michael Cohen is, or will be. Your thoughts at this point -- Joe?

JOHNS: Well, there were some opportunities for Michael Cohen to sort of hit the ball out of the park, and in fact, in some small ways, he may have

helped the President just here or there. You know, suggesting that the President of the United States never directly ordered him to tell a lie,

because that's not the way the President works. So that creates some room for a defense in there of the President. However, this is a political

arena, and those on the House side of the capitol who are considering articles of impeachment understand that it was certainly damaging for the

President because Michael Cohen was there with Donald Trump for so long and knows so much about how he operates and he really painted a pretty brutal

picture of him.

ANDERSON: Fred, a hoax, a witch hunt, a big fat fishing trip, is how Donald Trump at various times has described these probes, across the board,

really. And you kind of get slightly lost in which one he's talking about at any one time. He is though getting some support, perhaps not

surprisingly, in discrediting these probes, from Moscow. Explain.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're absolutely right, Becky, we put that question to the spokesman for the

Kremlin about how they view this new probe by the Congressional Democrat.

[10:25:00] And essentially what the Russians are saying, look, there are so many probes already out there, that they believe that the value of the

probes is already very much diminished. They say what has come out so far out of a lot of these investigations is in their words laughable. The

Russians though you can tell, Becky, that they are somewhat unnerved by the fact that these investigations just keep going on and on and on.

Obviously, diminishing their chances of getting better relations with the U.S. Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): The Kremlin blasting the new wide-ranging Congressional investigation into the Trump administration. Requesting,

among other things, records of President Trump's communications with Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin's spokesman trying to discredit the probe.

DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN (through translator) We do not have the capacity, nor the desire, to comment on every single new investigation

launched by one or the other groups of U.S. lawmakers. There are so many of these investigations, that their value has definitely diminished.

PLEITGEN: The chairman of three House committees citing, quote, profound national security, counter-intelligence, and foreign policy concerns.

Saying they want to know whether Putin managed to influence Trump's foreign policy decision making. The Kremlin trying to laugh off those concerns.

PESKOV (through translator): It's less and less resembling a serious approach. The most important thing is that none of the previous

investigations have yielded any sort of serious results. It's nothing but laughable results.

PLEITGEN: The Kremlin's line, very similar to President Trump's.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, the beautiful thing, no collusion. It's all a hoax. You will learn about that as you

grow older. It's a political hoax. There's no collusion.

PLEITGEN: All this, as Russia seems to increasingly see itself in an act of conflict with the U.S. and its Western allies. Vladimir Putin's top

general laying out his vision for Russia's military strategy of hybrid warfare, involving not just military, but also political, economic, and

information battles.

GEN. VALERY GERASIMOV, RUSSIAN ARMY (text): Saying, quote, acting quickly, we must be able to pre-empt the enemy with our preventive

measures, promptly identify its vulnerable, and create threats of unacceptable damage to it. This ensures that the strategic initiative is

captured and held.

PLEITGEN: Many of President Trump's critics say his actions in office could amount to creating national security vulnerabilities. One of the

reasons those leading the new investigation say they want to know exactly what was discussed at the closed-door meetings with Vladimir Putin.


PLEITGEN: And Becky, very important to state the Russians in the past have said that obviously Vladimir Putin was never trying to influence Donald

Trump at any of these meetings. The Russians continually saying that each men, obviously, represents their own country but you can tell they are

somewhat unnerved by the fact that these investigations keep going on. And right now for the Russians, they really don't see a light at the end of the

tunnel, if you will -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fred's in Moscow. Joe in Washington. I'm live for you out of Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Gentlemen, thank you.

Coming up, violent threats, vial abuse just for being Jewish. The problem of anti-Semitism is one of Europe's biggest -- in one of Europe's biggest

political parties, is up next.

And a little later, my one-on-one with footballing living legend, Gigi Buffon. Who opens up about where next for his extraordinary career, that's

after this.


ANDERSON: You are more than welcome. You are watching Connect the World, with me Becky Anderson. Welcome.

British lawmakers might be knee-deep in Brexit, in fact, they are knee-deep in Brexit. But Theresa May's Conservative Party is now grappling with

another issue. That of Islamophobia. 14 party members have been suspended after anti-Islamic comments were posted on a Facebook page supporting a key

pro-Brexit lawmaker. The comments called for Muslims to be, quote, turfed out of public office and urged the U.K. government to get rid of all


Well a spokesperson for the Conservative Party told CNN that the Facebook page is not affiliated to the official party.

Well meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party in the U.K. is in the middle of a full-blown crisis over anti-Semitism. Later on Wednesday the U.K.-

based Jewish Labour Movement will hold votes on whether to break with the party after nearly 100 years of affiliation.

My colleague, Hala Gorani, set out to investigate the extent of abuse Jewish lawmakers face and what is being done about it.


HALA GORANI, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The British Labour Party is engulfed in an anti-Semitism crisis that refuses to

go away. The MP Margaret Hodge is among those accusing the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of willfully turning a blind eye to racism against Jews by

party members.

MARGARET HODGE, BRITISH LABOUR MP: It is worrying, that what has always been present at the extremes of the party, on the fringes of the party,

which is anti-Semitism, it has now moved into the mainstream.

GORANI: Spend a few minutes looking at replies on Hodge's Twitter feed, and you get a sense of the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, READING TWITTER RESPONSES: You filthy Zionist. You don't deserve to have a voice in society, the time will come when you are

shut up permanently.

An exceptionally rich yid, she's the very worst kind of scum.

GORANI: Look closely, and you find many of the accounts associated with these tweets claim they are supporters of Corbyn.

HODGE: I think the leadership of the party has given permission for those used to express, and again, as I said, they were always there.

GORANI (on camera): Do you believe Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic?

HODGE: I confronted and talked to him in the summer myself, and I did feel that his refusal to understand the nature of anti-Semitism meant that he

himself was guilty and if that is the case, you're a racist.

GORANI (voice-over): Corbyn ally, Barry Gardiner, denies Corbyn is racist but accepts the party should have acted earlier to root out anti-Semites.

BARRY GARDINER, BRITISH SHADOW SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRADE: They're causing huge damage in our party and they are causing huge distress to the

Jewish community. And for that, we as a party have apologized and we are determined to get on top of this problem and to get those people out of the


[10:35:00] GORANI (on camera): You don't accept the charge that it's Jeremy Corbyn's leadership that is allowing voices who may have been there

the whole time to come up to the surface? You don't accept that charge on any level?

GARDINER: No, look, can I be clear, the way in which we deal in any form of racism, but in particular the way in which with anti-Semitism in the

party is not a matter for the leader of the party. In fact, is not the matter for the leader of any of the political parties in the U.K. It's a

matter for the party administration. So it's the general secretary who does this. And the general secretary, since she came in last year, has

actually put in place a number of new processes, and also doubled the resource -- the human resource going into the investigation of those

complaints, to make sure that it is done in a much faster fashion.

GORANI (voice-over): But some within the party remain unconvinced. Including nine MP's who quit the Labour Party two weeks ago, all of them

citing anti-Semitism among other reasons. Other party members have also quit, including Adam Langleben of the Jewish Labour Movement. His group is

voting Wednesday on whether to break ties completely with the party after nearly 100 years of affiliation.

ADAM LANGLEBEN, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER, JEWISH LABOUR MOVEMENT: I think this may well end up destroying the Labour Party. And because if the

Labor Party can't stand true to its value of anti-racism, what is the point of the Labour Party existing?

GORANI: The effect extending beyond politics as well, many people we spoke to in the Jewish communities of North London saying trust in the party has

gone and some saying they'd leave the country if Corbyn came to power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think maybe many the Jewish people would probably emigrate to Israel or other countries. We feel we are not wanted year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we have now is an extremist party which is anti- Semitic, like all extremists are.

GORANI: Fear runs deep on some of these streets. As the anti-Semitism controversy reaches far beyond the walls of Westminster. Hala Gorani, CNN,



ANDERSON: Well, from London, and where the lawmakers are of course in Westminster, to the U.S. Congress, issues of Islamophobia and anti-

Semitism dividing U.S. politics as well as that of Britain. The House of Representatives will vote this week on an anti-Semitism resolution that

will now also include language in condemning Islamophobia, and the initial resolution against anti-Semitism was seen as a rebuke by the party of

newly-elected Democrat Ilhan Omar, who said a pro-Israel group was pushing allegiance to a foreign country. But Omar one of the first Muslim women

elected to Congress, has long been the subject of anti-Muslin rhetoric like this -- a poster linking her with the September 11 attacks. The change

came as the party faced pressure to condemn the comments and protect her from Islamophobic abuse.

ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, R. Kelly says he is innocent and he says he is fighting for his life. In his first televised interview since being charged with sexual

abuse, a live report on that, coming up.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. It's 20 to 8:00 in the UAE, that's where we are broadcasting to you from. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky


R. Kelly proclaiming his innocence in his first televised interview since being charged with sexual abuse. Now the singer sat down with CBS's Gayle

King, and vehemently denied all allegations against him. After two decades of accusations, Kelly was indicted last month, on ten counts of aggravated

criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged underaged victim. With tears in his eyes, he declared he's now fighting for his life. CNN's Sara Sidner

following the story from Los Angeles. This is pretty explosive stuff. And I couldn't find any contrition from the man accused of very, very

disturbing behavior. You?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, he was very clear, and called all of the accuser, all of the women accusers, those who say they were abused when

they were under-aged, those who were saying they were abused after that, he said they were all liars. He said their parents are liars. So that is

clearly going to be his defense going forward. We also heard the same thing from his attorney, who was there at the time, when he was arraigned.

We should mention that his reaction is an unusual reaction. It is very emotional. Explosive if you will. He jumped up during the interview at

one point and I want to let you see that part, and this is a part of the interview where the interviewer, Gayle King, is talking to him about the

allegations. Not just from the past, but the current allegations against him, not just the ones in court, but the ones that are being lobbed at him

from many women who came forward and took part in a series called "Surviving R. Kelly". Where they said that they had been sexually abused,

physically abused. Sometimes kept from leaving the house and sort of held if, you will. He responds to those allegations here.


R. KELLY, SINGER ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE: Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to. Love me if you want. But just

use your common sense. How stupid would it be for me to, with my crazy past and what I've been through, all right now, I just think I need to be a

monster and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement, and don't let them eat, and don't let them out, unless they need some shoes

down the street from their uncle. Quit playing. Quit playing. I didn't do this stuff. This is not me. I'm fighting for my [BLEEP] life.


SIDNER: So you hear him there, and later on, he does jump up out of his chair and he's losing his voice and he is yelling. And in many ways, he is

fighting for his life, a life of freedom, that he is living right now. Because the charges that are -- have been put against him -- have been

brought against him, they carry three to seven years per charge. There are ten charges. So that's up to 70 years possibly for him in prison, if he is


He had been in trial, back in 2008. There were 14 charges of child pornography brought against him by the same Cook County District Attorney's

office. Now, there is a new District Attorney, and we're talking 11 years later. Here he is facing different charges but still very serious charges

of aggravated sexual abuse, ten charges there.

So you know, he did beat that first case. And he talks about that. He talks about the fact that he feels like this is a double jeopardy issue,

that he's already been acquitted in the other case back in 2008, but here is the difference. And if you look at it from a legal perspective, Becky,

yes, he won that case. He was acquitted in that case but these are different charges. And this time there are more people coming forward,

there are more women who are accusing him, who are willing to take the stand. The first time, no one that was the accused and the believed to be

victim, she didn't take the stand. So this is a very different case, and there are very different charges, and therefore, double jeopardy doesn't

really apply here -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Sara, always a pleasure. Thank you. Sara Sidner is out of L.A. for you. We are in Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE


Coming up, a rough night for Real Madrid, and a jubilant one for Amsterdam's Ajax. What happened? Well they pull off one of the biggest

giant killing comebacks of all time.

[10:45:00] We're going to talk Champions League football, the highs and the very low lows. Up next. And my interview with the goalkeeping God. Will

be taking to the field for Paris Saint-Germane later as they face Manchester United in the competition. Gigi Buffon on life, as a legend,

coming up.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD, with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

The failure of the century. We're not talking about Brexit or Hillary Clinton's shocking loss to Donald Trump in 2016. That is how a Spanish

newspaper described Real Madrid's 4-1 divide to Ajax in the Champion's League on Tuesday night. And as far as giant killings go, it doesn't get

much bigger than this.

To give you some idea, Real Madrid had won the most coveted trophy in club football or soccer in four of the last five years. Contrast that with Ajax

who until last night had not progressed from a knockout game in the Champions League for 22 years.

Let's talk more about that and Wednesday night's game, between Paris Saint- Germain and Manchester United coming up. Don Riddell joining us from the CNN Center. I mean, that took me back, that 22-year stat. Because I

remember, I mean you got to go back to yours and my childhood as it were to get back to Ajax being at the top of their game. It was remarkable to see

this match last night.


ANDERSON: What happened?

RIDDELL: It really was incredible. And you know, the story has become all about Real Madrid. But fair play to Ajax. They've got this young exciting

squad. They went into the lion's den in Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, and they set up very aggressively. They were positive and they got their

reward with four goals, for away goals and they were all absolutely brilliant goals, too. There wasn't a tap-in amongst them.

But what has happened to Real Madrid? This is quite extraordinary. Because in the space of literally a week, their season is over. They've

been knocked out of the Spanish Cup. They're effectively out of the league and title race because they're now 12 points behind the leader's Barcelona

and now they're out of the Champions League. And all three of those decisive games happened at home.

I mean, can you imagine Real Madrid being beaten at home like that? Not once, but twice, but three times in such consequential games? It is

remarkable. And for those who say Real Madrid are in crisis, yes, they absolutely would seem to be. Pretty much everything that has happened to

them this season has been a fiasco.

Remember, Zinedine Zidane stepped down last year after their third consecutive Champions League win. And Cristiano Ronaldo left. They never

really replaced Ronaldo, did they? They certainly haven't gotten a goal scorer of his caliber.

[10:50:00] And they had Julen Lopetegui, the manager who came in. Remember, he was the manager of Spain during the World Cup. He accepted

the Madrid job. So Spain fired him. He never managed in the World Cup. He never settled at Madrid. He ended up leaving after a heavy defeat to

Barcelona. Santiago Solari came in. That's not gone well. Everybody expecting him to be fired at some point between now and the end of the

season. And the future is looking rather bleak for this club that until very recently were the kings of Europe.

ANDERSON: Yes, they'll be back. We all know they'll be back. You're right. This is not, this is not a good iteration. Let's say.

All right, let's move on to tonight's match. Thoughts?

RIDDELL: Well, if it is any like last night, then we're in for a treat. But I think Manchester United they're really up against it. I mean that's

the match that we're focusing on. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United. PSG are at home. They won in Manchester a couple of weeks ago with a

really good 2-0 win. PSG played really, really well.

And Manchester United, you know, their manager, their caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, is talking a good game. He's saying, they've got a

good chance. But I think he's being overly optimistic. When you look at the situation United find themselves in yes, they've played brilliantly

since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December. But tonight, they are missing ten first teamers either through suspension, illness, or

injury. Paul Pogba is the main guy they're missing. But ten first teamers out, and five academy players, kids who are 17 to 19 years old are going to

be in the provisional squad.

The bookies are not expecting any kind of upset. But if United could pull it off, if they could do an Ajax in this game tonight, it would be arguably

one of the greatest performances in the history of the club. So that's what's facing Manchester United. Paris Saint-Germain, of course,

desperately wanted to win the tournament and the way they played a couple of weeks ago, they are looking good.

ANDERSON: Yes, and before we went on to the man who will be having a crucial part in the game between PSG and Man United, that is Gigi Buffon.

I spent some time with him recently and I'm going to show our viewers a quick clip of that.

Just before we move to that, tell me, Ole Solskjaer, what is it about him, and the United team, that has made -- it's like we're watching a different

football team on the pitch and were not. We will be tonight. Because obviously, as you point out, everybody is injured. But we're not,

ultimately. We're watching the same football team playing completely different football. And they're winning. Why?

RIDDELL: Yes, you know, football management could be the hardest job in the world. And I'm certainly not saying that I could do it. You've got to

be tactically astute and you got to really understand the game. But it also, at the end of the day, it is a job of man management and Solskjaer

just seems to get.

The players seem to relate to him. They respect him. He came in after Mourinho and really lifted a very, very really dark cloud and a real sort

of feeling of toxicity which kind of seeped all the way through the club. And he just lifted that cloud. He encouraged the players to go out and

express themselves and be themselves and you see the difference. I mean, it is like chalk and cheese. It's remarkable.

ANDERSON: Yes, Don, always a pleasure. Thank you for that.

All right. Well that's the PSG/Man United match that we have been focusing on. And a man who will be, of course, hoping to play a crucial part in

that game, as I said earlier on, the greatest of all time, the man with the golden gloves, possibly, have a look at this.


ANDERSON: You had awards as long as your goal keeping arm. I mean your career has been absolutely prolific. You have said that you could go on

for another ten years. Do you really want to do that?


ANDERSON: Is this your last year?

Buffon (through translated text): No. I'm 41 but I've got the energy of a youngster and if I were to carry on playing it would be down to the fact

that I've got a lot of energy, talent and a good amount of experience. At this point in time, I have two objectives, firstly, to carry on improving,

and this has always been a very important thing in my career. Secondly, to be in a locker role with the boys even though I'm much older than them and

to develop a very direct and youthful interaction with the players. Because if I want to carry on being in a locker room, I can act like an old


ANDERSON: Do you want to coach?

BUFFON: That might be a possibility. I wouldn't want to be the coach a league team, but I'd love to coach a national team. I'd love to meet other

players, see other places in the world, and to be known in other places. So, the idea of becoming the coach of a national team, to live in another

country, to learn another language, a new lifestyle, and another way of thinking, would improve me as a person.


ANDERSON: There is no one, let me tell you, who wants to win the Champions League more than Gigi Buffon. He said to me, he wouldn't swap his World

Cup medal, with Dani Alves who has a number of Champions League medals, I'm quite sure about, that he really, really wants this. Anyway, game's on


Just a little taste of our special coverage of the man, myth, and legend, that is Gianluigi Buffon. And you can watch the entire piece online.

We've put that link up on our Facebook page for you.

A very good evening to you from us, I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD.