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Israel to Vote Again After Prime Minister Fails to Form Government; Trump Senior Adviser Jared Kushner in the Middle East; Arab Leaders Attend Emergency Summit on Iran; Young Victims Among Half a Million Dead in Brutal Syrian Conflict; Mother Says Whistleblower Reality Winner is Being Silenced; Two Foreign Policy Experts Say Common Ground Can Be Found Between Saudi Arabia and Iran; 11 Deaths on Everest This Year Alone; Godzilla Returns to the Big Screen. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 30, 2019 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: This hour you can talk like a prime minister, you can walk like a prime minister. But in Israel you don't get

to be prime minister.

Voters getting a do-over because the people they voted for couldn't work out a deal. It's busy all over the region. Tonight, drones, missiles,

guns, Saudi Arabia sets out its stall literally as it seeks to fill consensus against Iran. We'll explain.


MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, DIRECTOR, GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS: Even back then I inspired to make my own miniature Godzilla movies using my pet

turtle, my Star Wars figures.


ANDERSON: Well who didn't do that as a kid. My interview with the director of the new Godzilla movie is just ahead.

We are connecting all of that for you from London this afternoon. It's just taking past 4 p.m. here, 7:00 back at base in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky

Anderson. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Let's get going.

We begin with two roiling stories out of our shows usual home, the Middle East, separate but also deeply connected.

In Israel, President Trump's son-in-law, advisor, Jared Kushner just arriving. He's touring the region touting what he promises to be a

revolutionary Middle East peace plan. But he won't be talking about it with Israel's Prime Minister because there isn't one. The country forced

into its second vote of the year now as coalition talks break down.

Well then in Saudi Arabia, not a mood of peace but of war. Arab leaders arriving for an emergency summit, looking at how to deal with rising

tensions with Iran and perhaps even how to raise them.

As ever, we are covering these stories closely on the ground as you would expect us to do. In a moment we'll hear from Nic Robertson from that

summit. In a moment we'll hear from Nic Robertson from that summit in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. First though, let's head to Jerusalem where Oren

Liebermann is joining us. This is unprecedented stuff, a Prime Minister- elect in Israel unable to form a coalition. Explain how Israel has gotten to this point and why it's so significant now.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to have a clear path to victory after the April 9th elections.

Becky, you'll of course know this well, we were here covering the elections together. Not only that, the coalition he appeared to have was almost

exactly identical to the last coalition. But he couldn't negotiate a deal between his partners.

The former defense minister Lieberman and ultra-Orthodox parties were split, were at an impasse, a dead lock over a proposed conscription bill

and neither side was budging. After six weeks of negotiations it was down wire. Netanyahu tried to pull a few essentially tricks out of his hat.

He's been in this situation before, never quite this desperate. But he's been in tough coalition negotiations before. In the end he simply wasn't

able to pull it out. He had 60 seats for him versus 60 seats against. He couldn't bring in those extra seats of Lieberman.

There is of course a political mechanism of what to do then. Netanyahu could have perhaps should have gone back to the President of the country

and said, look, I can't do this. Then the President could have appointed somebody else, perhaps then a new Prime Minister. To avert the possibility

that it was anyone else in charge of Netanyahu's Likud party and anyone else in charge of the Knesset and the country, Netanyahu legislated new

elections keeping himself as the Prime Minister. Heading into what now are elections on September 17, and just 3 1/2 months here.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): He never meant to reach an agreement. He wanted in the clearest way to topple the

government. And he does it from considerations of getting more votes. That's what he thinks. But he's not going to succeed. He's dragging a

whole country through six more months of elections for a second time around.


LIEBERMANN: There Netanyahu giving an insight into his campaign strategy. He's all out attacking his former defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

Saying it was him who dragged the country to an election and using what is essentially the dirtiest word in Israeli politics especially for Netanyahu

calling Lieberman a leftist. Never mind the fact that Lieberman threatened and did leave the government in November because he thought Netanyahu's

policy on Gaza was too soft. Or that Lieberman lives on one of the isolated West Bank settlements. Hardly the record of a leftist -- Becky.

ANDERSON: This couldn't be a more important time for the region, for Israel specifically. Given that Jared Kushner's doing the rounds, trying

to drum up support for his Middle East peace plan. The summit for that, of course, is at the end of June. What happens next?

LIEBERMANN: That's an excellent question now because the timing of the peace plan's rollout at least partly relied on the timing of Israel's

election timetable.

[11:05:00] Meaning Netanyahu is supposed to have a government now that would have allowed him to engage on the Trump administration's peace plan

whether or not it was ever going to work out in the long run. Now this could throw all of that into turmoil. The indications right now are that

the Bahrain conference is still on. Do we know who's attending? Well were not sure if any of the Israelis are there. The Palestinians certainly are


So what's the point of the Bahrain conference and was the follow-on to that? I don't know that anyone has any definitive answers to that even as

the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, a special envoy to the Middle East peace process, even as they're here meeting with

Israeli leadership right now. Who know where and if this will be picked up again.

ANDERSON: Oren's in Jerusalem for you as Israel and the U.S. discuss peace.

The conversation is there in Jeddah. Well look set to take a very different turn. Saudi Arabia welcoming leader after leader, even inviting

estranged Qatar into the fold as they discuss its, quote, allies against their common foe Iran.

And here exhibit A in the Saudi case against Tehran. The display of what Riyadh claims are Houthi weapons from Yemen. These came from Iran, it

says. It also says Iran was behind drone attacks on oil assets in the Gulf earlier this month. Nic Robertson is in Jeddah for us. Just how

significant is it that this summit is being held now? And what's likely to be achieved?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Absolutely, Becky. It's significant because it's coming during the final days of Ramadan and

it's happening in Mecca. So it has a big religious symbolism, if you will. It carries extra weight for that reason.

The idea that leaders coming here to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation 57-nation summit as well as the GCC, Gulf Cooperation Council

summit as well. They're coming through this exhibit you're talking about at Jeddah airport which itself had a ballistic missile fired at it from

Yemen by the Houthis about a week ago. It was intercepted of course by Saudi defense systems. So it has a timely significance. It has a location

significance. And it has huge significance for Saudi Arabia because they believe they're at the sharp end of this Iranian threat.

And we heard words to that very clearly to that effect coming from the Saudi foreign minister, Ibrahim al-Assaf, saying that the attacks both in

Saudi and off the coast of the Emirates, just a couple of weeks ago had an Iranian hand behind them. This is what he said.


IBRAHIM ABDULAZIZ AL-ASSAF, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The kingdom reiterates that such cowardly acts threaten the global economy

and pose a danger to regional and international security and must be dealt with, with strength and firmness.


ROBERTSON: The Iranians are rejecting that and connecting the dots back to your conversation with Oren, if you will. They're trying to divert

attention away from what is this central issue for Saudi Arabia to build unity with all these different nations coming here. The Iranians are

saying they were hoping to come to OIC to discuss this or at least have part of the conversation about this Mideast peace plan. So a diversion


But the Iranians also just in the last few days rejecting what U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton had said, echoing what the Saudis

have said that Iran had a hand, a role in the background in those attacks. That narrative hasn't gone away and in the past couple of hours we heard

from the United States senior representative on Iran at the State Department saying unequivocally he expects in due course the individual

nations, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Norway to announce the investigations into precisely who was responsible for attacking their ships

off the coast of the Emirates. And after that, he said, then they can consider what's the correct action to take.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Listen, Qatar has been under a Saudi-led boycott of course since 2017. It's been invited to this summit. As this kingdom

tries to build this broad consensus against Iran, is this a case of better the devil you know or is this a real sign of warming relations did think?

ROBERTSON: You know, I think in one part it is a sense of potentially warming relations, but I think a lot will obviously depend therefore on how

Qatar performs in the eyes of the Saudis and the Emirates as well. Remember the Saudi's as you know so well, Becky, the Saudi's and the

Emirates may not be quite in lockstep behind the scenes as they are publicly about Qatar.

[11:10:00] This may be a case where the GCC -- that six-nation grouping -- wants to put forward a very strong demas toward Iran. And this may be also

a test of Qatar's intention. Will it sign up to it? Will it be with them or against the others in the Gulf? So this may be an important test of

Qatar's intentions as well. And that of course will tell us a lot about the road ahead for the relationship, particularly between Saudi, the

Emirates and Qatar.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson's in Jedda for you. Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. Thanks, guys.

Well keep it right here on CNN. In about 20 minutes we'll be joins by two foreign policy experts, veterans from Saudi Arabia and Iran who insist that

common ground can be found between their two nations and the time, they say, for peace is now. That's coming up right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

It's a little late for that in Syria where Iran and the Saudis, among others, already colliding. The war there far from letting up even into its

eighth year. The government there backed by Russia and Iran now attacking the last rebel stronghold in Idlib. Controlled by a former Al Qaeda

affiliate, while Syria's destruction may seem distant and remote, CNN's Ben Wedeman, using video from a freelance cameraman, shows us the insanity and

shows it close up. We must warn you we're about to show you some graphic images that you may find hard to watch.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rescue workers pull a small boy, a 12-year-old, Noor Farhan, from the ruins of his

home struck by a Syrian government air force bomb Monday morning in the Northeast town of Arihah. He's alive. Moments later out comes another

boy, his 9-year-old brother Zane. He isn't moving. Workers rush the boys to a wait waiting ambulance, struggling to resuscitate Zane. These boys

perhaps too young to make sense of the war raging around them.

This is not a tale of factions and fighters. It's the simple story of innocents caught up and destroyed by forces far beyond their control or

comprehension. His body is warm, insists this man as they arrive at the hospital.

He's alive, he's alive, someone says. Medics try to coax signs of life out of Zane. He doesn't respond. His twin 4-year-old sisters, Samand Wasim

and his grandmother, Sameha were also killed.

The medics lower Zane into a black body bag. Four more statistics with names and a family, lives cut short added to Syria's grim and growing toll,

more than half a million dead in this madness. In an adjacent room Noor lies in shock. Do you remember what happened, he's asked. I thought I was

dreaming, he whispers. It wasn't a dream. It's a nightmare.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.


ANDERSON: A reality of life in Syria.

There is a lot more ahead this hour. We've got a worldwide exclusive for you next. An emotional interview with the mother of a whistle blower who

exposed a Russian cyberattack on the U.S. voting system. She says her daughter is being silenced.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was up there with our guide and he looked at me and was like, hey, we're both really low on oxygen, we've got to go.


ANDERSON: High stakes on top of the world. We'll bring you a climber's eye view of Everest later this hour.

Plus --


DOUGHERTY: A lot of people embrace the movies because of the very easy spectacle of seeing giant monsters battling each other. But what's really

there underneath all that is a strangely poignant and surprising message.


ANDERSON: Godzilla returns to the big screen and he has an important lesson for our modern world. My interview with the film's director a

little later this hour.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia didn't help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got

me elected. Russia didn't help me at all. Russia if anything I think helped the other side.


ANDERSON: U.S. President Trump there speaking well just a short time ago. He was responding to special counsel Robert Mueller who made an appearance,

a public appearance yesterday. Have a listen.


ROBERT MUELLER, U.S. SPECIAL COUNSEL: I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systemic

efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.


ANDERSON: An ominous warning there. Mueller spent two years -- remember - - investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. One of the people to expose that interference was Air Force veteran Reality

winner. She's shown here in the middle. Winner serving a five-year sentence for leaking a classified document about a Russian cyberattack.

CNN's attempts to contact Winner have been turned down. Now Winner's mother though says her daughter is being silenced. CNN's Nina Elbagir rode

along with her mother to the prison. This is her exclusive reporting.


BILLY WINNER-DAVIS, REALITY WINNER'S MOTHER: This is a soldier who protected us.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reality Lee Winner, a decorated airman, a veteran of America's drone program.

WINNER-DAVIS: She said when you see somebody go poof on your screen, you've got to have it right.

ELBAGIR: A Russia whistle blower, the first to be arrested in the Trump era. And CNN has learned current blocked by U.S. prison authorities from

speaking to the media for any publication purposes.

In May 2017 Reality Winner leaked a classified NSA document to a media organization, describing a Russian cyberattack on a U.S. voting software

supplier. It was the first time the extent of Russia's war on the U.S.'s electoral machinery was revealed to the public. Winner did little to cover

her tracks and was arrested even before the document was published online. She pleaded guilty and is currently servicing a sentence of more than five


The prosecutor said Winner had leaked top secret information that revealed intelligence sources and methods.

[11:20:00] Her sentence is the longest received by a defendant for an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information to the media.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia also said it satisfied the need for both punishment and deterrence in the light of the

nature and seriousness of the offense. Reality's mother, Billy, invited us along as she went to visit her daughter in jail.

WINNER-DAVIS: Today we are traveling up to Ft. Worth. Which it's probably about a 7, 7 1/2-hour road trip.

ELBAGIR (on camera): What are you thinking about?

WINNER-DAVIS: The anticipation of seeing her, of being able to hug her.

ELBAGIR: So this is as far as we are allowed to go even though we've been seeking permission for months now to interview Reality in prison, but we've

been stonewalled by authorities.

(voice-over): As we wait for Billie, prison offices come by.

(on camera): Morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you all doing?

ELBAGIR: We're with CNN.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Trying to block our line of site. Eventually we just leave. The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons told CNN the

warden's decision with regards to interview requests is respected and final. The U.S. government has labeled Winner a quintessential insider

threat. Because we've been blocked from interviewing Reality, her mother Billie agrees to give us her first major TV interview since Reality began

serving her sentence.

(on camera): How is Reality?

WINNER-DAVIS: That's a hard question to answer. I can see the sadness in her when we show up. I feel like she's really embarrassed to be where

she's at.

ELBAGIR: The prosecution argued that the release of those documents endangered American national interests.

WINNER-DAVIS: I think that we as Americans deserved that proof. And so how is it that she put us in danger by giving us that proof? I wouldn't

change what she's done because I think that what she did was noble and I think what she did was patriotic.

ELBAGIR: We have been blocked from accessing Reality. Has Reality as far as you know come under any pressure to stop her from speaking to the press?

WINNER-DAVIS: She has been warned and she has been frightened, you know, as far as the restrictions on her communications. She knows with her plea

agreement what she can and cannot discuss. But the bureau of prisons has made it even harder for her because they're telling her she cannot even

have any contact with any kind of journalist or media in any way, shape or form.

ELBAGIR: Why do you think the authorities are trying so hard to block Reality's access with regards to the outside world hearing her voice?

WINNER-DAVIS: The prosecution painted her to be a very evil person and I honestly belief that they are afraid that if America gets to know who

Reality Lee Winner really is, they're going to see that wasn't the case at all.

ELBAGIR: If you could say anything to the President, what would you say to him?

WINNER-DAVIS: I would say please release her. She deserves it above anyone else. She has served her country. She deserves this.

ELBAGIR(voice-over): Back at home, Billie says she's going to keep campaigning for her daughter to be released, keep trying to show the world

that her daughter is not what she was not the trader she was betrayed as.

WINNER-DAVIS: This is my Christmas card when she was in jail in Lincolnton that that year.

You deserve so much more than this little card because you are my mom and my home.

That's who Reality is. You know.


ANDERSON: Reality's mother who says her daughter is blocked from having any contact with journalists. Nima Elbagir with me now. Fascinating.

ELBAGIR: Yes. Of course this is a mother's perspective on her daughter. It's always going to be good at prison. But unfortunately, we haven't had

the opportunity to find out what Reality's perspective is. And it comes at a time when journalistic sources are being targeted and they are being

tried in a way that we have not seen for decades.

ANDERSON: This arrest of course comes and to your point, at a time when Chelsea Manning has returned to jail and Julian Assange similarly facing

charges under the espionage act. What does this say about the rights of journalists and journalistic sources?

ELBAGIR: When you put it against the broader context of a President who calls journalists the enemies of the people, which is of course rhetoric,

but now you're seeing that rhetoric backed up by these extensive jail sentences. Reality has the longest of any journalistic source, over five


[11:25:04] But Julian Assange could be looking at double, triple that because he's also being tried under the espionage act. Chelsea manning is

back in jail because she refused a grand jury subpoena which didn't specify what they wanted to ask her. So it could have been any kind of a fishing

expedition. That's very scary for journalistic sources but it's also scary for journalists. Because this mishandling of classified information, the

charges around that could apply to journalists as well. And what it says is that we are not only being impeded in doing our job, but that our jobs

are being seen as being against national interests in the U.S.

ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir in the house for you. Always a pleasure. Thank you.

Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD. As their governments hurl accusations and fight a proxy war, a Saudi and an Iranian join forces to unite their

countries. Why these two foreign policy experts say now is the time for peace. That's coming up.

And then stepping back in time, way back. You won't quite believe how all this footage of Queen Victoria really is. That's ahead.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. We are out of London today. Normally out of our Middle Eastern base of course in

Abu Dhabi. I want to get you back to one of our top stories today.

Two emergency summits being held in Saudi Arabia amid heightened tensions across the region with Iran. The Saudi King called on Arab leaders to

attend the high-level meetings to address recent attacks on oil production and shipping in the Gulf area. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton

is pointing the finger directly at Iran. Though Tehran denies any involvement, calling the claim ridiculous. Saudi Arabia has also accused

Iran of ordering those drone strikes and says Arab leaders must address the attacks with strength and firmness.

[11:30:00] Meanwhile, our next two guests firmly believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia have significant differences, but they share common interests

in many critical issues. Joining us now, Dr. Abdulaziz Sager is the chairman and founder of the Gulf Research Center in Jeddah, in Saudi

Arabia. And Hossein Mousavian is Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University and a former spokesman for Iran's

nuclear negotiating team. To both of you, thank you.

You penned, Hossein, this op-ed together in which you say neither of you are starry-eyed idealists. Like your governments, you say you have a deep

mistrust for each other. And yet you say the time for dialogue is now. Given the current climate, what we are seeing in Jeddah at present, many of

our viewers will think you're mad. Do you really think this is the time for dialogue at this point? That's realistic?


with multiple crises, terrorism, civil war, sectarian war, instability, humanitarian disasters. And then I think Abdulaziz and I, we both believe

Iran and Saudi Arabia are two regional power houses along with other key countries like Turkey and Egypt. And as long as there is no peace and

cooperation between the regional powerhouses, specifically Iran and Saudi Arabia, we are not going to have peace, security, stability in the region.

This is the reality.

ANDERSON: Let me stop you for a moment, Hossein. Dr. Abdulaziz, I understand the concept of your argument with Hossein. It makes sense. But

you as you've described yourselves are hardened realists. Realistically then, Dr. Abdulaziz, do you believe that dialogue is possible at this point

between Riyadh and Tehran?

DR. ABDULAZIZ SAGER, CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER, GULF RESEARCH CENTER: First, good day to you and to Hossein and to all CNN viewers. It's a great

opportunity always to have a dialogue. Because Saudi Arabia have always encouraged dialogue with Iran and we have never stopped that. It's

unfortunate, the slowdown in the relation when the Saudi embassy in Tehran was burned and also the Saudi consulate in Mashhad. This is when the

relation was cut from the Saudi side and there was no further dialogue and meeting with Iran.

I think Saudi precisely saying if Iran changed its attitude toward the region in terms of the interventionist policy and using the sectarianism as

a damnation for the expansionist policy, we will be more than happy to talk. We have also Saudi Arabia endorsed at the time of President Obama

the B5+1 deal. But at the same time when President Trump emphasized on the issue of the nuclear deal and the missiles, I think Saudi Arabia also see

that continuing the same agreement does not make it a safe region. This is why they are endorsing the initiative from the U.S. government in terms of

dealing with the nuclear program and the missiles program.

ANDERSON: OK. You are in Jeddah, sir, at present. Hossein, as some Arab leaders arrive for the summit there, they visited or were led through an

exhibition conveniently put on at Jeddah airport showcasing the evidence of Iranian weapons used in Yemen and on Saudi. Riyadh contends, Hossein, that

what we're looking at here, these images are evidence of what they see as Iran's malign behavior and influence in the region. And it is that

behavior that the Saudis, the UAE, other Arab states in conjunction with the U.S. say is such an issue. And it's hard to argue that they don't have

a point, correct?

MOUSAVIAN: No, I don't believe this is the case because we have had such summits for 40 years. We have had hundreds of statements from such

summits. But there has been no progress, no solution, no peace and we are getting each day more deteriorated region. That's why I believe Iran and

Saudi, they have mutual accusations on sectarianism, terrorism, interferences.

[11:35:00] I can give you a long list of accusations. But what is the bottom line? What is the end state? Are Iran and Saudi Arabia going to

continue confrontation? We have experienced for decades and we are faced with a fazed region or we are going to have a breakthrough. I believe Iran

and Saudi they should talk to each other rather than talking about each other.

ANDERSON: I hear what you're saying. I'm just asking whether you think that is really realistic at this point. Dr. Abdulaziz, we are hearing all

the right noises. We don't want war is what we're hearing from both Saudi and Iran. We're also hearing that from the U.S. But there's always a

"but". Isn't it? We don't want war, but if you wind us up or provoke us, we are headed for conflict. You penned this op-ed a couple of weeks ago.

Are we closer to war, Dr. Abdulaziz, at present, a conflict with Iran, do you think than ever?

SAGER: I hope not. Because I hope not. No, I hope not because neither party is interested in having additional conflict in the region. We've had

three wars before and there is no intention or interest from any party to have an additional war. There are two different issues here. I mean, the

level of demand is different than the level of negotiation. The U.S. have put a very high demand, the 12 points, which was stated by Secretary

Pompeo. But I think when it comes to negotiations, there are key issues that are nonnegotiable.

And I think what Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries would like to see a friendly Iran sharing the safety and security of the region,

living in peace and focusing more on the prosperity and economic development inside Iran rather than increasing the conflict. Because the

region is sick and tired of additional conflict. We do not wish to see that. At the same time we understand it is essential and it's important to

have enough deterrent capability in case if there is any mistake or any act having taken place from Iran that requires some response.

At the same time, still my personal wish to see a much more wiser step taken from Iran to deescalate and at the same time come into a much more

sensible discussion, argument, you know, to live in the region in peace and to change a lot of the policies that was adopted since 40 years.

Unfortunately, Iran did a lot of the wrong thing in the region in terms of supporting militia groups, supporting the violence. They don't deal with

the region as a state to state. Most of their acts here focus on the violent actors and the way how they deal with them and supporting them.

Hezbollah in Lebanon, groups in Syria.

ANDERSON: You have made your point. Dr. Abdulaziz, thank you. I think your point very well made. Hossein, thank you as well. We've been

discussing the prospect or the potential for dialogue in what is a very difficult atmosphere in the region at present. Who knows? I mean, the

U.S. have said or at least the U.S. President has said, pick up the phone, I'm ready to talk to Tehran. Who knows? Can Oman broker something? Can

the Japanese broker something? We will watch this space in the next weeks and months to come. Thank you, gentlemen.

Well 11 climbers have died on Mount Everest this year. We'll ask a renowned mountaineer how to account for that trend and who bears

responsibility. That's next.

And it's set to be one of the big blockbusters of the summer, Godzilla coming to life once again. So is a bigger, better and more monster-y than

ever before. We get the scoop from the film's director. That interview up next.


ANDERSON: Well, this was the first team to summit Mount Everest way back in 1953. Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary became instant hero.

Thousands have followed in their footsteps since. Eager to stand atop of the world and, of course, make it back down. But countless others have

tried and failed. Those failures have been increasingly deadly of late. 11 climbers have died on the mountain this year raising questions about how

attempting Everest is regulated. CNN's Arwa Damon joining us now live from Kathmandu -- Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. We spoke to one climber whose hair-raising experience really encompasses all of the

challenges that anyone who wants to summit Everest can face.


DAMON: (voice-over): Ian Stewart was pushing for the summit. On the same day, this viral photograph was taken.

(on camera): What point where you at when you realized and said to yourself, I think I'm going to die?

IAN STEWART, AMERICAN CLIMBER: The first point that panic really hit me was at the summit.

DAMON (voice-over): Weeks earlier he had said good-bye to his wife Katie at base camp, the day before their first anniversary. She went back home

to the U.S. He was about to tackle Everest, a summit he had been training for a decade. What was the last thing you said to Katie before you said

good-bye to her at base camp?

STEWART: That I'll be safe and that it's just a hill and that I won't prioritize the summit over coming home safely to you. I feel like I looked

my wife right in the eyes and told her that and then almost didn't follow through.

DAMON: For the next weeks during the acclimatization period, Ian and other climbers put themselves to the test, moving in between the camps at

different altitudes to get their minds and bodies adjusted.

STEWART: Sadly there were abundant examples of inexperience all across the mountain.

DAMON: When the weather window opened on the 23rd, Ian waited a bit hoping the crowds would clear and then went for it.

STEWART: It's difficult to move up because there's also people moving down and they're trying to unclip around you.

DAMON: He had plan for an eight-hour trek to the summit. It took him 12.

STEWART: So I was up there with our guide and he looked at me and it was like, hey, we're both really low on oxygen, we've got to go. Immediately

got back in the cue to get down. As I mentioned very quickly got stuck at the top of the Hillary Step. And from there it just felt like the next

five or six hours was just sort of, not to be dramatic, but like a race for my life the get back down the mountain safely. And as I mentioned, I was

very lucky that one of our Sherpas in our group decided to make the decision to bring an extra bottle of oxygen up from the balcony.

DAMON (on camera): When you have that moment of, I might die because I just decided to pursue my dream, what's the thought process that keeps you


STEWART: Sort of this mantra that I kind of reiterated in my head over and over again was I promised Katie I'd come back to her safely. When I

finally got to the very end of the descent, I was about half an hour away from camp four, just started breaking down crying just out of anger at

myself for coming that close to not fulfilling that promise to coming back.

[11:45:02] DAMON (voice-over): Ian later found out that another member of the group he started out with didn't make it. Robin Haynes Fisher who

posted this video to Instagram concerned about the crowd, writing, I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people.

Ian is still processing, coping with the entire experience. Summiting Everest changed him, just not in the way he always dreamed it would.


DAMON: And, Becky, Everest no matter what is always going to be a deadly and a dangerous summit. The debate right now is about which of those

dangers can actually be mitigated and what measures need to be taken to make it as safe as possible.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon in Kathmandu for you.

Jake Meyer became the youngest Britain to climb Everest in 2005 when he was just 21 years old. He achieved overnight fame with that precocious

accomplishment. Though that record has since been broken, he remains one of the world's foremost mountaineers. Just last year he became the 10th

Britain to summit K2 also in the Himalayas. And Jake joins us now. And I do wonder whether not knowing whether you will make it isn't part of why

people do these climbs, take on Everest. But it must be about reasonable risks surely rather than ridiculous risks.

JAKE MEYER, MOUNTAIN CLIMBER: Absolutely. Of course when anyone goes on any expedition like this, you go with the desire to want to get to the top

of a mountain or row across an ocean or cross a desert, whatever it might be. But it's also about recognizing that an adventure by definition is

something with an unknown outcome. And you've got to be willing to take that risk of unsure return. Now of course the point of view of I want to

come back, we want to come home safe, has to be number one, has to be the focal point of why you do these things.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about what you brought in because I think this is fascinating. This is the sort of equipment that you would need to do the

sort of climb that we are looking at. Just take us through what is most important here.

MEYER: Absolutely. So when you're doing high altitude 8,000-meter peak climbing you are almost as close to being an astronaut as you can be while

having your feet on terra firmly. You are pretty much completely covered up. You of course have great big boots. These are double bits. You got

the crampons the spikes to help you remain ripped on the snow and ice. And the famous or infamous oxygen systems, which the very vast majority of

climbers will take him places like Everest.

ANDERSON: We were listening to the report just there and talking about -- you know we've heard now for days as these stories are developing about the

lack of oxygen up there. Walk me through this.

MEYER: So this is a 3-liter cylinder which is pressurized to 250 bar. Which means it would hold about 750 liters of oxygen.

ANDERSON: It will save your life up there.

MEYER: It will keep you going longer, absolutely. And the oxygen is used for two things mainly. First of all just helping to increase the oxygen to

your lungs to help you operate up there. But also it helps keep you warm as well. So there's quite a high correlation between people not using

oxygen and people getting severe frostbite.

ANDERSON: Was Everest as crowded as the images that you have seen in the past couple of days when you climbed it in 2005.

MEYER: No. I was fortunate that 2005 was a relatively quiet year. It was a bad year in terms of the weather on the mountain which meant that it was

a much later year. We didn't fit the summit until the 4th of June. Most people on the mountain are now completely left. So we went several weeks


ANDERSON: CNN spoke to people at base camp who shared their concerns about inexperienced climbers. I just want you to have a listen to this and then

we'll discuss.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were people I felt really, really sorry about them because they were super slow. They didn't have much techniques about

mountains. It looks like they have never been on a mountain except Everest. So these sort of people create a lot of problem on the mountain.


ANDERSON: What should we take from that?

MEYER: Well, I think that it's the main thing about Everest, it's not the place to go and learn to climb.

ANDERSON: I've done Kilimanjaro.

MEYER: And recognizing that it is an amazing challenge. For many people it's a life's ambition. It was for me back when I was building up to that

point. And so you shouldn't take away from the fact of people wanting to do it. Many won't, but several people will want to do it. But it's about

recognizing what is required to build up to that, the training, the experience that ultimately when you're on the mountain you don't have to

rely on anyone else. You may be part of the team. You may have Sherpas with you. But what happens if they're not there. What happens if you're

by yourself? Can you change your oxygen cylinder? Can you make sure your crampons are on the right feet? Which is one of the awful things that you

hear about. People not being able to absolutely basic knots.

[11:50:00] ANDERSON: What you achieved was phenomenal and remains phenomenal. I know you go on and do other sort of incredible things. But

at the age of 21, just finally, how did it feel? I remember when I got to the top of Kilimanjaro and I sort of ran down and I was pretty sick on the

way down. I remember feeling I can do anything after that. Similar for you?

MEYER: Yes, there's a huge amount of elation, of exhaustion, of relief that comes from it, but at the same time there's also a little bit of a

sense of was that it. In the moment you just can't wait to get off the mountain, get home, have a bath, have something nice to eat. But there is

this sense of what have I found at the top of a mountain? Have I found myself, have I found some higher being? And for me it was just a case of

now I want to do something bigger and better, what's the next thing.

ANDERSON: You will continue, I know. Thank you very much indeed.

Still to come, Godzilla gets a modern makeover. The director tells me about his inspiration for the newest iteration of the monster classic.

Hint, it involves a turtle. That interview coming up.


ANDERSON: Well, the monsters have arrived here taking over the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Mothra, Rodan, King

Getara, and of course the king of them all, Godzilla. 65 years after the first Godzilla movie, the king of monsters returning to the silver screen

once again, stomping into cinemas across the world today. I recently sat down with Godzilla's director who told me making the film was a childhood

dream come true.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you'd want to make Godzilla our pet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we would be his.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to be kidding.

MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, DIRECTOR, GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS: You said as a kid watching Godzilla movies, I felt like I was seeing those stories come

to life. I didn't see men in rubber suits destroying scale model cities. I saw ancient powerful mythic beings battling for dominance and fighting

out old grudges.

Pretty much. Even though they were guys in rubber suits, as a kid you couldn't help by fill in your imagination to fill in the blanks.

Even back then I was inspired to make my own miniature Godzilla movies using my pet turtle, my "Star Wars" figures. My first instinct was to

create Godzilla movies.

ANDERSON: So this is a dream come true for you then --


ANDERSON: -- as a screenwriter and as a director, yes?


[11:55:00] ANDERSON: How did it happen?

DOUGHERTY: I'm convinced it was a birthday wish around the age of 10 and it took a few decades to manifest, but here we are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there another creature that might stand a chance against him?


ANDERSON: There are lots and lots and lots of monsters in this movie.


ANDERSON: Just explain to our viewers why.

DOUGHERTY: Well, I mean, these creatures are the source for all of our ancient legends and lore about sea monsters, dragons, giants. The bible is

full of dragons and what not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Long live the king.

ANDERSON: For those who don't know, how would you describe Godzilla movies?

DOUGHERTY: Oh, good question. You know, what's interesting about Godzilla movies is that they work on sort of multiple levels. A lot of people

embrace the movies because of the very easy spectacle of seeing giant monsters battling each other. But what's really there underneath all that

is a strangely poignant and surprising message about mankind's connection to nature.

ANDERSON: Which couldn't be more prescient than today in 2019.

DOUGHERTY: Surprise, surprise. You know, even though he's been warning us since 1954 about what might happen, I feel as if his message will always be

there as long as it needs to be heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Godzilla's world. We just live in it.



ANDERSON: The Godzilla production for you on CONNECT THE WORLD today. See you on Sunday. Bye.