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Report Blames Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi "Execution"; Iran Comments on U.S. Video "Evidence" for First Time; Four Charged with Shooting Down MH17 Flight; Relentless Bombing Ravages War-torn Syria; Chinese President to Make Rare Trip to North Korea This Week; Trump Officially Launches 2020 Campaign; Dominic Raab Is Out, Boris Johnson Still on Top; Brazil's Marta Sets World Cup Record with 17th. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 19, 2019 - 11:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Hi, welcome, I'm Robyn Curnow, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. We are coming to you live from Atlanta.

We beginning with the first independent report on the murder that shocked and horrified the world. The U.N. human rights investigators say Saudi

Arabia was behind the, quote, "deliberate premeditated execution" of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This isn't compilations of findings. It's also a call to action. The report urges sanctions against Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman until

and unless he can prove he wasn't involved. They are calling on countries around the world to invoke universal jurisdiction over what it calls an

international crime.

That would allow them to make arrests if someone's guilt can be proven. We will talk with the special rapporteur that wrote that report in a moment's


First, more background on the grisly murder. Nic Robertson reminds us what questions still linger today.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to find out what happened with respect to the terrible situation in Turkey having to do

with Saudi Arabia and the reporter.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: More than eight months after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi took these fateful steps into

the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, huge questions remain.

Where is his body?

Who killed him and how?

What we do know is a Saudi hit team entered the consulate a few hours ahead of Khashoggi. The hit team included intelligence officer Maher Abdulaziz

Mutreb in charge. Forensic doctor Salah al-Tubaigy and more than a dozen others, including Mustafa al-Madani, the body double, who dressed in

Khashoggi's clothes left by the back door, laying a false trail.

In reality, Khashoggi had been killed minutes after entering the building. His last words after being attacked, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe,"

before he was dismembered by Dr. Tubaigy's bone saw.

His remains were believed to be driven off in black vans shortly after from the consulate to the nearby consul general's residence, his girlfriend

waiting outside raised the alarm.

Turkish authorities listened to audio recordings from the consulate and then rushed to the airport, questioning members of the hit team, about to

leave on private jets, and searching some of their baggage but found nothing and let them leave.

In the following days, the Saudi government denied killing Khashoggi. The consul general even taking reporters on a hokey tour of the consulate.

Eventually, 16 days later, Saudi authorities finally gave Turkish investigators permission to search the consulate and the consul general's


There was evidence of a coverup but no body. In the coming weeks, local farms were searched. A consulate vehicle recovered from an underground car

park. But still no leads. All questions led back to Saudi, where the hit team fled. Finally after more than two-and-a-half weeks, Saudi authorities

admitted Khashoggi was killed by Saudi officials.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was killed in the consulate. We don't know in terms of details how. We don't know where the body is. The public prosecutor

then put out orders to detain 18 individuals.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): They called it a rendition gone wrong, an accident, saying local collaborators had the body although they never

provided the names or evidence. Earlier this year, they put 11 men on trial, five facing the death penalty. No names given.

So far, this has failed to lay to rest the most controversial and consequential question of all, who ordered Khashoggi's murder?

The CIA concluded the kingdom's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination, something the Saudis flatly deny -- Nic Robertson, CNN,



CURNOW: OK. Thanks to Nic for all that detail. I just want to recap some of the key findings from this investigation.

So first, they found that Khashoggi was the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution and the report says the Saudi government is

responsible. Plus it called for further investigation of high level Saudi officials, including crown prince --


CURNOW: -- Mohammed bin Salman.

CNN has reached out to the Saudi government for response to Wednesday's report. Previously, the government has blamed rogue actors.

Now the investigation was conducted by Agnes Callamard. She spent months investigating Jamal Khashoggi's murder, traveling to Turkey, meeting with

officials, gathering evidence, including listening to some of those gruesome recordings of Mr. Khashoggi's death. She joins us from Geneva.

Ma'am, thank you very much for joining us. I do want to ask you that question that our correspondent Nic Robertson posed at the end of this


Who ordered this murder?

How culpable was the Saudi crown prince?

What was his role, if any?

AGNES CALLAMARD, U.N. EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS INVESTIGATOR: I know that the questions regarding the -- who ordered the murder has been driving

attention and interest and focus.

My inquiry focused first and foremost on the responsibility of the state. And I think it is important to insist upon the fact that the killing of Mr.

Khashoggi was a state killing, that the killing and the circumstances of the killing meant that a number of other violations took place, including

violations of international law, for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible.

It is a responsibility and the authorities have not yet recognized, that's the first point I want to make. And I think it's an important one.

Secondly, the question of who ordered is, indeed, important. This is not something I can answer. And in many ways, it is not something that was the

object of my investigation. What I must point to, is that when it comes to the responsibilities of high level officials, there is a range of


There are a range of responsibilities that carry with them criminal liability. It may be about incitement, who -- and is there anyone who

directly or directly incited the murder. There may be questions regarding who knew about the possibility of a killing but failed to take actions.

Who was aware of the risk of escalation but failed to take preventive actions in terms of protecting Mr. Khashoggi and others?

So I think it is important and that's what I am insisting upon in my report, that the responsibilities of high level officials, including the

crown prince, are involved, whether or not they have ordered the killing.

CURNOW: OK. Thank you for explaining it in terms of what you found. I want to make sure we get this on air. We have gotten Saudi reaction to

this report, investigating the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

We translated it, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs has tweeted that, "There is nothing new in this report. It contains obvious

contradictions," and what he says are "baseless allegations," how do you respond to that?

CALLAMARD: Well, I mean, he hasn't given any details. So you know it's a very general statement.

I have -- what can I say?

The state from the beginning has denied the killing was a state killing. And it is a real pity that Saudi Arabia is failing to recognize its

responsibilities for the killing as a state and is putting the blame on the level so-called rogue individuals.

It is very alarming that the state of Saudi Arabia does not appear to know anything regarding international human rights law and the fact that

international human rights law dictate almost my findings, based on the evidence available, including evidence that the Saudi authorities

themselves have put forward.

The only implication that can be made is that the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible for the killing. And I could go on and on and on. But in the

absence of further details as to what they reject, I can't, you know, proceed.

CURNOW: Let's go to specifics. I want to highlight an exchange that you put in your report here. I will just read it because it's dialogue that

you heard on a recording.

"Khashoggi asks, 'There is a towel here.

"'Are you going to give me drugs?'

"'We will anesthetize you,' a man responds.

"Then a struggle can be heard, after which a man asks whether Khashoggi has passed out.


"'He raises his head.'

"'Keep pushing.'

"'Push here; don't remove your hand, push it.'"

How much tape did you have to listen to?

How much more of that is there?

And what kind of clues does that kind of conversation give you?

CALLAMARD: So I was able to listen to some 45 minutes of tape, not all of which are about the execution of Mr. Khashoggi. What those 7-10 minutes

highlight are, first, the increasing fear experienced by Mr. Khashoggi from the moment he enters and starts realizing that something very bad is going

to happen to him.

So the fear is something that stays with me. Second is the fact that there is no attempt on the part of the individuals in the room to either

resuscitate or do anything that will be -- that could demonstrate that this killing was accidental.

As you know, the authorities have said, no, it was an accident. There is nothing in the recording that indicates an accident. If there was an

accident, an accidental killing, you would expect people to, you know, say, my gosh, something is happening, what do we do, try to resuscitate him, try

to do this, try to do that.

There is nothing of that nature. So what the recording indicates is something fairly planned, not easy but something that goes as probably it

was planned and prepared.

CURNOW: So when you talk about the premeditation, I have another set of quotes that you have released in this report. And I want to read this


So the audio investigators heard from inside the consulate. Now we will also hear from a doctor who says this about this dismemberment of Jamal


"Joints will be separated. It is not a problem. The body is heavy. If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished."

That's a quote, very gruesome details.

What was your reaction to hearing that?

CALLAMARD: Yes, this is taken from the quote, there is a fairly long conversation about an hour or less before Mr. Khashoggi enters the

consulate. You know, that's where some elements of premeditation can be inferred.

I mean, from that conversation and the matter-of-fact way with which the protagonists are discussing the dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi. In the

conversation, themselves, they express concerns but not over what they are about to do but to where -- over their own fate and protection and what may

happen to them.

So that's what the conversation indicates, fairly selfish, self-centered consuls over their own well-being.

CURNOW: And my next question is, what are your recommendations?

What kind of pressure do you suggest is put on Saudi Arabia if you say this was a state killing?

What kind of recommendations?

What can the international -- what are you suggesting the international community do?

CALLAMARD: OK. So the first focus of the report is to identify means to provide accountability to Mr. Khashoggi. So for that purpose, A, I am

calling for the trial in Saudi Arabia to be stopped and, B, I'm calling on the United Nations secretary general to appoint a panel of experts to do

what I haven't done, which is to undertake a criminal investigation and they determine the best mechanisms to provide judicial accountability for

the killing.

Secondly, I am calling on the state of Saudi Arabia to demonstrate non- repetition. Non-repetition is at the heart of the human rights obligations of a state that have engaged into a violation.

That demonstration has not been made; as you know within the last six months and further, there has been continuing arrests of individuals,

allegations of torture. Last month, a number of individuals have raised the alarm about the fact that they were under threat, according to a

warning from the CIA. So all of that --


CALLAMARD: -- to me are demonstrating the state of Saudi Arabia is not taking its responsibility of non-repetition --


CALLAMARD: And I call upon the international community to insist upon that non-repetition.

CURNOW: Thank you very much, Agnes. Thank you very much for joining us. You offered that report, which we can see online at

So I want to talk more about the report and what could happen next. Jomana Karadsheh is live in Istanbul. You've listened to all these details. You

covered this story. You are based there. The report is attempting to increase pressure on the Saudi crown prince by calling for sanctions.

What can we expect from this?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, we will have to wait and see what the international community is going to do. This has been one

of the biggest frustrations you can sense in that report, when you read the report, is that lack of action from the international community and we have

to wait to see what the United States is going to do, what kind of reaction.

The feeling is they have done very little to really try and get to the bottom of this. When you have the CIA, on the one hand, saying they

believe that it was, the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was ordered by the crown prince.

Then you have the administration and President Trump saying they don't believe he had anything to do with it. So I think right now, as we hear

this, this really puts the pressure on again the international community.

Are they going to act?

Are they going to do anything right now?

Of course, as you heard from her recommendations, she is calling for an international panel of experts, an international criminal investigation

that has not happened yet. She believes that this is something that the secretary general of the United Nations must request. He should go forward

with that.

That has not happened yet. I believe that was one of the frustrations that led her to take the initiative and to launch this inquiry, this human

rights inquiry, into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

We heard Turkey saying there must be an international inquiry. But they stopped short of going forward and requesting that. This is one of the

recommendations also in her report, saying Turkey must request this international criminal investigation.

So as you mentioned, we are also hearing denials from Saudi Arabia, dismissing this report as they have with previous evidence and reports that

have come out in the past. But this is definitely the most comprehensive and detailed report so far of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

CURNOW: It certainly is and makes for very disturbing reading. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much. We will leave it at that. Coming to us live

from Istanbul. Thank you.

Escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The U.S. continues to present what it calls more evidence that Iran was behind last week's attack

on a pair of oil tankers. Just a short time ago, the U.S. Navy took CNN's Sam Kiley out into the Gulf of Oman to see the two damaged tankers

firsthand. Sam is back from that tour and joins us now live.

What did you see?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a rather extraordinary site. A lot of us have seen the stills of the Kokuka

Courageous but this was a hole about a meter above the water line blown in there. And the American EOD explosives, ordnance disposal experts said the

limpet mine blew, too.


CURNOW: Sam, I'm going to leave it at that and we will try to reconnect your audio because it's not in great shape.

Meanwhile, I want to take us to the outside of all of this, Tehran, where Iran is reacting for the first time to this video. The U.S. says

implicates Iran, here's CNN's fed Pleitgen from Tehran with their explanation on all of this -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. Yes, a lot of developments out of Iran this morning and throughout the day.

We have the Iranians commenting for the first time on the alleged evidence that the United States put forward, which the U.S. says shows in a video an

Iranian small boat coming up to one of the stricken tankers in the Gulf of Oman and apparently taking something off the side.

The U.S. says it believes it was an unexploded sea mine. The Iranians have said those allegations are not true. But today Iran's defense minister on

the sidelines of a cabinet meeting here in Tehran said that, look, when a rescue operation like this one happens, when a tanker is stricken or a boat

is stricken --


PLEITGEN: -- the Iranian boats go out there and conduct several checks around the vessel to make sure that everything is safe. The Iranians are

saying of course all of this can be videotaped from somewhere. They also say in their view, none of this provides any sort of documentation or can

be seen as documentation of anything.

The Iranians are calling the allegations by the U.S. cowardly. At the same time the Iranians are defending the pressure they're putting on,

especially European nations, to come up with an investment vehicle to make sure they can get around U.S. sanctions levied on Iran.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani defending the country's decision to continue to ramp up the country's civilian nuclear program, curtailing, of

course, some of the obligations the Iranians have under the nuclear agreement.

Hassan Rouhani says this is the minimum Iran could have done in light of the fact it is abiding by the nuclear agreement but it's not getting any of

the benefits because those sanctions are in place and because European nations have not so far found a way to get around those sanctions.

The Iranians, of course, say the sanctions placed on them by the United States amount to economic warfare.

CURNOW: Fred, there in Tehran, thanks for that.

So let's go back to Sam Kiley. We have rejiggered the audio.

You are back there. Sam, keep on explaining to us what you saw on that sort of tour given to you by the Americans and what they offer as proof of

Iranian involvement in this?

KILEY: Well, as Fred was talking there about economic warfare, in the words of the authorities, what we are seeing here in the Gulf of Oman and

the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world's oil passes in ships, is perhaps gunboat diplomacy, an American gunboat took us out to a

Japanese-owned ship, which had a hole on its starboard side, punched, the Americans say by an Iranian made limpet mine.

As far as Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, and the British foreign secretary are concerned, the Iranians put that mine there. It's not an

assertion made by U.S. experts. But they are comfortable in saying it was a factory manufactured limpet mine they have been able to identify from

fragments matched to mines they have seen published on the Internet by the Iranians.

Of course, if it is the Iranians -- and we have no independent verification of that, as Fred has been reporting -- they flatly deny it. But if it is

the Iranians behind the bomb attacks, the mine attacks here in the Gulf of Oman and in Emerati waters in May when four ships were damaged, this is

about signaling.

It is old-fashioned gunboat diplomacy. It is a process on both sides of saying, I'm big, tough, strong and dangerous and I can inflict economic or

physical harm on you. So at some stage, you have to talk.

The Americans have said via the Japanese prime minister most recently that they're open to negotiations with the Iranians, the Iranians are saying

we're not going to talk until those draconian sanctions are lifted.

At the same time we've got mysterious rocket attacks occasionally going into areas of American interests; lately, today, in Basra, a building

housing oil companies, among them, ExxonMobil, hit -- a rocket hit a building in Basra.

There has been an American base that came close to being hit near Mosul. There is another American facility that was almost hit in Baghdad in the

last few weeks.

So we're seeing these steady increases, perhaps if they are associated with the Iranians, signaling they have power in the form of militias allied to

them over the Middle East but the Iraqi authorities for the first time really have spoken out strongly about this and saying, quote, they are

going to use an iron fist to crush whoever is behind these rocket attacks.

CURNOW: In the UAE, Sam Kiley, thank you.

So still to come, investigators have charged four people over shooting down a commercial airline over Ukraine back in 2014. But they doubt any of the

accused will show up for the trial. We'll tell you why.

Plus, we get a rare look inside Syria as remarkable stories of survival emerge from the war-torn country. Stay with us. You are watching CNN.





CURNOW: Great to have you along with us. This is CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow, welcome back.

We know four people have been charged with murder for causing the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Investigators named three Russians and a

Ukrainian as suspects and said their trial will begin next year.

But Russia and Ukraine refused to extradite their citizens. Here they are here. It's doubtful any of the accused will show up for trial. MH17 was

shot down by a missile five years ago now over Ukraine, nearly 300 people were killed in that crash.

Let's bring in Moscow bureau chief Nathan Hodge for more on all of this.

Talk us through who the finger has been pointed at here.

NATHAN HODGE, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Robyn, investigators concluded today, announced today the four individuals, four Russian, one

Ukrainian citizen were not necessarily the ones who actually pressed the button that launched the missile that brought down the MH17 in July of


But they are saying that they did set off a chain of events that led to the deployment of that missile launcher, alleging that missile launcher was

brought in from the Russian Federation into separatist held territory in response to ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive against insurgent forces in

Ukraine's east at the time.

They've laid it out, the investigators, in a very forensic fashion. They've presented today in a detailed press conference, everything

including images of that rocket launcher as it was alleged to have been brought in from Russia, as it was spotted along the road by observers and

private individuals, as well as overhead imagery.

And intercepted phone calls, which they say support the case that these individuals, who were tied to Russia's security and intelligence, had asked

for the extra support, the additional weaponry, that they wanted to take on or to put a dent in Ukraine's airpower at that time and the conflict.

And then with the deployment of that weapons system, the rocket launcher, the boot shortly thereafter, that's what brought down the MH17, which was

flying en route to Kuala Lumpur, Robyn.

CURNOW: As we can see all those images of civilian clothes and children's teddy bears there from the scene. So this certainly has impacted more than

300 families. Thank you so much on the political developments on that.

Coming up, a rare look in the embattled province where fighting is ramping up again.

And the battle to become the U.K.'s next prime minister is heating up. We take a look at where the candidates stand just an hour before a vote knocks

one of them out of the race.





CURNOW: So you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. This is CNN. Welcome back.

It has been eight grueling years since civil unrest broke out in Syria. Once again, fighting has escalated in that country. Now CNN has a rare

look inside Idlib. It was provided by non-governmental organizations still operating in this region, including the White Helmets, who pull survivors

from the rubble after attacks.

But from the wreckage come stories of survival and we must warn you with this video. Some of you might find the report disturbing. Here's Nick

Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This war has gone on so long, it's almost forgotten, but the rescues here of a distance building across the

Olive groves in Idlib are daily. And the rubble is still fresh. Come, come, they say. All the rescuers can do in the anonymous rubble and clouds

is follow the screams.

Save me, a little girl screams. Latex gloves removing rubble carefully in case it hides her wounds. But rescue here after years of blockade and

bombardments spells a barring ambulance and a ride to an exhausted targeted hospital.

Territory changes hands around here as regularly as ceasefires (inaudible) between the Russians and the regime. And the mixed of Jihadist and rebels

that are trying to oust, but still this is too often skyline. The U.N. has demanded it stop, but not even with the night is there a rest fight.

Parents leaving so fast now that they don't even have time to bury their children.

A second miracle came earlier this weekend. Look here, hear, please sir, the boy screams, his hands too small to move the rubble. For god sake,

help them, he cries. The body is motionless, but extraordinarily, he is alive. That is the exception that proves the rule of extinction here.

Nearly a hundred children have died since the bombing escalated with spring. And even in the barrage, it is stalemate, meaning more rebel and -



WALSH (voice-over): -- tiny bodies will follow -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


CURNOW: Thank you, Nick.

The United Nations is warning of a humanitarian disaster in Idlib and top chiefs are urging Turkey and Russia to just help stabilize the area

immediately. The U.N.'s aid chief told the Security Council that, for civilians caught in the crossfire, the situation, as we saw there, is dire.


MARK LOWCOCK, U.N. AID CHIEF: Camps for the displaced people are overcrowded. Many people are forced to stay in the open. Those who remain

in towns and villages close to the fighting live in constant fear of the next attack. In short, we're facing a humanitarian disaster unfolding

before our eyes. There is no denying the fact.


CURNOW: So the conflict in Syria displaced nearly 900,000 people just last year. That's a small portion of the millions of people displaced around

the world.

According to the U.N. Refugee Agency's global trends report, in 2018, the number of people forcibly displaced hit a record high of 70.8 million.

Most of that was driven by persecution, conflict and violence. Two-thirds of the refugees came from just five countries. Look here, Afghanistan,

Syria, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.

We saw upticks in refugees from Venezuela and Syria. So let's get over to our senior international correspondent, Atika Shubert. She joins us now

from London.

Talk us through the details of this report.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, the numbers say it all, more than 70 million displaced. A lot has been driven

by the Syria conflict. Ever since it began, we've seen the numbers steadily rising, we are once again reaching the record highs.

This is really the first year the U.N. has seen increases out of Venezuela as well. That number of 70 million doesn't include the ones leaving

Venezuela to neighboring countries because they don't need to claim asylum. The U.S. estimates there could be as many as 5 million people that have

left Venezuela.

I think what's interesting here, for Europe, the U.S., a lot of the emphasis on this debate is seeing the numbers come either over the border

from Mexico into the U.S., or from Europe, watching people crossing the Mediterranean.

The vast majority of the refugees and those displaced are actually into neighboring countries, so Turkey, Pakistan, for example, they're the ones

really carrying the load in terms of the sheer amount of refugees seeking some sort of asylum in those places.

CURNOW: You make an excellent point there. When we talk about the domino effect of all of this, Germany, where you are based, was singled out in

this report. Tell us why and what the details were.

SHUBERT: It was singled out. It was the only developed country to take in more than a million refugees. This was over -- that huge spike in 2015.

But Germany has said not only have we taken people in, we will work on integration.

As you might remember, Chancellor Merkel took a lot of criticism for this, you can say she lost a lot of votes in the federal election precisely

because of this controversial refugee policy.

But the UNHCR commissioner singled out Germany today in releasing this statement, saying that it has been a success in Germany integrating

refugees and Germany should be an example for other nations to follow.

CURNOW: Atika Shubert in London. Thank you.


CURNOW: So I want to get you up to speed on other stories on our radar. We know millions of people are experiencing water shortage in southern

India and reservoirs in the city of Chennai are nearly dry, leaving water supplies dangerously low. The shortage has forced restaurants to

temporarily close.

Hong Kong's legislature has concluded its first meeting since demonstrations rocked the island. Many wore black and held signs,

indicating sympathy for the protesters. The meeting adjourned before pro democracy lawmakers could call for a no confidence vote in Hong Kong leader

Carrie Lam.

A busy week ahead for China's president with two big meetings in the coming days, Xi Jinping will make a rare trip to North Korea on Thursday, the

first by a Chinese president in more than a decade. He will then hold talks with president Donald Trump at the next G20 next week as both sides

are set to resume negotiations.

So let's get more from Will Ripley on all of this.

So what can we expect from that visit with the North Korean leader?

Hi, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems, Robyn, that both --


RIPLEY: -- China and North Korea are placing a lot of importance on this official state visit, which is an unusual term for the North Koreans to

use, which indicates -- plus the fact that they put Xi Jinping's commentary on the front page of their newspaper, that they are expecting something big

to come out of this.

Xi focusing on the longstanding ties between North Korea. We need to point out it has been a friendship of convenience at times. I mean, China still

is enforcing sanctions against North Korea at a very significant pace.

And one thing that Jim Kim Jong-un is trying to convince President Xi to do is to ease up on those sanctions, Xi is going to try to convince Kim to

take steps to denuclearize some sort of a plan to take to President Trump when Xi travels to Japan for the G20 and is expected to meet with the U.S.

president on the sidelines to talk about North Korea and also talk about a trade.

CURNOW: So the question is Mr. Xi trying to build leverage ahead of his talks with the U.S. president on trade?

RIPLEY: Oh, I, you know, in terms of trade, obviously, that is China's number 1 priority, economically, strategically, this trade war with the

United States has potentially massive damage for the Chinese economy. Especially that the U.S. is considering right now an additional $300

billion in Chinese goods that can be the subject of tariffs.

So Xi's first priority is to convince President Trump to put a pause on those tariffs. To continue the conversations about trade, acknowledging

there is a huge gap that exists here in Beijing, in Washington and the U.S., Robyn.

CURNOW: We have spoken about it before. We've seen a leader certainly become more confident. He has been called one of the most powerful Chinese

leaders in modern history.

What pressures is Xi facing domestically and how is that translating to how these conversations will take place next week?

RIPLEY: He has been called the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao, which is significant. But also potentially risky for Xi, because he has

amassed all of this power, yet things are not going particularly well, the Chinese economy continues to slow.

You do have the escalating trade war with the United States with no end in sight. You have one of China's largest companies, Huawei, essentially

blacklisted by the United States and being accuse of threatening U.S. national security, which put the patents they hold in the United States in


Then have you the situation in Hong Kong and the pro democracy protesters, reportedly 2 million according to protest organizers, and essentially a

silent response from the government here in Beijing, indicating that Xi at this stage doesn't feel like he has much he can do with the Hong Kong


He is trying to do something about the North Korea situation, trying to insert himself as an intermediary to, you know, reassert China's position

on a global stage and China's influence as well.

CURNOW: OK. Live from Beijing, Will Ripley, thanks for all of that. Thanks, Will.

So live from Atlanta, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. So after the break, is it his race to lose? We are looking at a front-runner. Here he is, talking

about that.

And we will check in at the Women's World Cup where the record books are being rewritten once again.





CURNOW: This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Robyn Curnow.

The U.S. president has launched his re-election campaign. Donald Trump formally announcing his bid for a second term in Florida Tuesday night,

while rehashing old grievances, including the Mueller report, Democrats and his former opponent Hillary Clinton.

And if the campaign rally was any indicator, 2020 is certainly going to look a lot like 2016. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Our immigration laws are a disgrace.

We went through the greatest witch hunt in political history. No collusion, no obstruction.

Many times I said we would drain the swamp.

We are building the wall.

Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage.

We'll tell sleepy Joe we found that the magic wand. The sleepy guy.

More than 120 Democrats in Congress have also signed up to support crazy Bernie Sanders' socialist government takeover of healthcare.


CURNOW: According to CNN analysis, President Trump's rally featured more than a dozen false claims. Well, senior political analyst John Avlon has

our reality check -- John.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He warned the Democrats wanted to use the power of the law to punish their opponents right while he is

making the DOJ investigate the investigators. And of course, there were chants of "lock her up," as if to prove a point.

Hillary Clinton also came under fire for refusing to respect a subpoena when the Trump White House has made refusing to respect subpoenas their

signature move.

And get this. He framed the election as a, quote, "verdict on whether we want to live in a country where people who lose an election refuse to

concede." Sound familiar? Well, in the closing weeks of the 2016 election, Trump repeatedly refused to say if he'd concede if he lost.

But the winner of that election still wants to campaign against a rigged system. He says that, quote, "My only special interest is you," while he's

continued to profit from his private businesses.

He's railed against illegal immigration, which has spiked on his watch, while falsely claiming Democrats favor open borders, which no one does.

Hitting Democrats on health care without a plan of his own yet, though he did repeatedly hail V.A. Choice, which was passed under Obama.

Trump, again, said he'd protect people with preexisting conditions while his DOJ is in court trying to throw out all of ObamaCare, including

preexisting condition coverage.

But after all of this, he said he also longed for bipartisanship when it comes to infrastructure and immigration reform when he's refused to deal

with Democrats on these issues as long as they engage in congressional oversight.

Let's face it, facts aren't the point of a Trump rally. The audience came for the show and the president is, first and foremost, a performer who

loves to play deflect, distract and divide.

But amid all the pyrotechnics, one prediction he made last night could come true in 2020. The only thing these corrupt politicians will understand, he

said, is an earthquake at the ballot box. We'll find out on Election Day whether that applies to Democrats or Republicans.


CURNOW: And that was John Avlon reporting.

Across the pond the battle is also on for the U.K.'s next leader. The five remaining Conservative candidates are facing a third secret ballot.

Whoever gets the least votes will be knocked out of the race to be the country's next prime minister.

On Tuesday, the candidates took part in a televised debate, including front-runner Boris Johnson, who has actually been avoiding most media

opportunities. Our Nick Glass takes a look at the man leading the charge.


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the most charismatic, shambolic and divisive of politicians about to become British prime

minister. Nothing, it seems, can halt the irresistible rise of Boris Johnson, just turned 55, not even his performance in a fractious television

debate with his rivals.

By his standards, relatively controlled in joke and gaffe. The key question, of course, was Brexit and the date Britain leaves Europe.

BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: We must come out on the 31st of October.

GLASS (voice-over): But could he guarantee it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can not guarantee it.

JOHNSON: I think that October the 31st is eminently feasible.

GLASS (voice-over): So no absolute guarantee, then. For the last week or so, Boris Johnson's image has been everywhere, that blond mop, always such

a gift to cartoonists --


GLASS (voice-over): -- Boris' basking shark, boat by boat, they are swallowing up his rivals like so many minnows.

ANDREW GIMSON, JOHNSON BIOGRAPHER: He has many faults, one could list dozens of faults. But he also has a touch of genius.

SONIA PURCELL, JOHNSON BIOGRAPHER: I get why he became popular. I totally get that. I'm just saying he's done nothing with it.

GLASS (voice-over): A question during the debate from a British imam yielded a rare Boris apology.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- in the party have said Muslim women who wear veils look like letter boxes and bank robbers.

Do you accept your words have consequences?


JOHNSON: Yes, of course. And insofar as my words have given offense over the last 20 or 30 years that I've been a journalist and people have taken

those words out of my articles and escalated them, of course I'm sorry for the offense that they have caused.

GLASS (voice-over): His managers are well aware of where the dangers lie in this campaign as do the cartoonists, that Boris just might say the wrong

thing and trip himself up.

To that end, campaign appearances have been carefully rationed. Even at his launch last ,week he seemed like a man in a hurry. The first thing he

did was check his watch. His newish girlfriend, Kerry Simmons, aged 31, knows all about PR. She's evidently smart and the mop got him to have his

hair trimmed.

Everything at the launch was carefully stage managed. A room full of attentive supporters. A snappy 16-minute speech. Journalists restricted

to just six questions in all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to be prime minister, can the country trust you?

JOHNSON: Well, yes, of course, Laura. And I don't want a no deal outcome. But I think it is right for our great country to prepare for that outcome.

GLASS (voice-over): We should know by Friday who Boris' opponent will be in the final round of voting to become third-party leader. Beyond that, we

don't know whether Boris can deliver on his Brexit ambitions.

They, of course, involve other parties, the European Union and the British Parliament. As Theresa May found out, both of them can be rather difficult

to deal with -- Nick Glass, CNN, with Boris Johnson.


CURNOW: Thanks, Nick.

Not everyone agrees that Boris Johnson is marching toward an easy win. Head over to our website, where CNN's Luke McGee argues that an alleged ex-

spy is the real star in the race to succeed Theresa May. That's at

And up next, who is the greatest player in the World Cup history?

Well, a new name on the list of candidates may just surprise you. That's next.




CURNOW: And in our parting shot, a tip of the hat to perhaps the greatest World Cup player of all time. Brazilian striker Marta scored her 17th

World Cup --


CURNOW: -- goal on Tuesday.

That puts her in first place among all World Cup goal scorers, male or female. Marta's record setting strike gave Brazil the win they needed to

allow them to advance to the knockout stage of the Women's World Cup.

And finally before we go, let's end on this inspiring story about another athlete. I want you to meet Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins, a 103-year-old took

gold at the U.S. National Senior Games in Mexico. Hawkins says running has helped clear and keep her mind sharp.


JULIA "HURRICANE" HAWKINS, SENIOR ATHLETE: I hope I'm inspiring everyone to be healthy and they realize you can still be doing it at this kind of an



CURNOW: 103! Julia Hawkins started running competitively -- wait for it - - just two years ago. Well done to her. It's always good to have a good run, isn't it.

I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks for joining me. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for watching.