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Trump, Iran Appears To Be Standing Down; U.S. Military Leaders, Iran Meant To Kill U.S. Troops; U.S. Official Warn Of Iran Proxies And Cyber-Attacks; Carlos Ghosn Opens Up About His Escape; Energy Independence; Disruptions in Strait Of Hormuz Affects Oil Prices; Justin Bieber Reveals He's Battling Lyme Disease; Meet Ballie, Samsung Unveils Its Life Companion Robot. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 9, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Standing down. The U.S. is not planning to strike back after Iranian missiles hit a base that houses American troops.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: New plane crash details what witnesses are telling investigators about that deadly crash in Iran.

And Megxit, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce they are distancing themselves from the rest of Britain's royal family.

Hello, and welcome to viewers here in the United States and of course all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Welcome to CNN Newsroom.

Welcome, everyone.

We begin with the crisis between U.S. and Iran where Trump administration officials tell CNN even a single American casualty from Tehran's missile strikes would have resulted in a U.S. attack on Iran.

Instead, the strikes left only moderate damage, no casualties. Iraq's prime minister says his country got advanced notice of the strikes and warned the U.S.

CHURCH: After days of threatening annihilation, President Trump took a somber tone at the White House Wednesday. He still bragged about U.S. military might but seemed intent on de-escalating the situation. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: All of our soldiers are safe and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases. Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.


CHURCH: Well some U.S. officials are suggesting Iran's missile strikes missed areas populated by Americans on purpose, that the attack was meant to send a message, but top U.S. military leaders insist Iran intended to kill U.S. troops.

HOLMES: And of course, CNN has the story covered throughout the region. Correspondent Jomana Karadsheh is live this hour for us in Baghdad.

CHURCH: And international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Well, first to Baghdad. Jomana, the U.S. says there was a new rocket attack aimed at the Green Zone in Baghdad. After all these attacks, what's the mood there?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's not unusual, Rosemary, to have these sort of rocket attacks in Baghdad targeting the Green Zone. Usually there's no claim of responsibility, but they're believed to be the work of Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary groups here in this country.

And of course when you look add it in the context of the current situation, that is why people get concerned when they see these sorts of attacks, and you know, while it does seem like that the crisis between the United States and Iran is headed towards de-escalation, at least for now, people still are very nervous here.

They're really worried that it's not over and that it is Iraqis who are caught up in the middle of it all.

You can hardly tell ballistic missiles struck Iraq just a few hours earlier, but Iraqis have seen it all. Life here seems to be one endless cycle of war.

Thirty-year-old Mohammad has lived through an American invasion, a Civil War, and the terror of Al Qaeda and ISIS.


KARADSHEH: We are a nation used to bloodshed he tells us. We're not afraid of anything. Whatever happens, we're not afraid, but we want the Iranians and their militias to leave Iraq.

Shaped by decades of war, Iraq is now trapped between its two allies facing off in a dangerous confrontation on its soil.


KARADSHEH: We're emotionally exhausted. Why should we be dealing with their problems, mother of (Inaudible) tells us. Iraq's not the only country with U.S. bases. Go target them elsewhere.

Here in downtown Baghdad when you speak to people some blame Iran for the current situation. Others blame the United States for this escalation, but the one thing almost everyone here agrees on, they want Iraq left out of it.

But for years now Iraq is where a bloody proxy war has unfolded.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really a mafia work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Galilee's fault.

KARADSHEH: A passer-by interrupts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want everyone to be silent and to leave this country in peace. I want to raise my grandson. I don't want him to die. We know this game. We know the educated people in Iraq they know this is a game.



KARADSHEH: But it's a game so many Iraqis have already paid for in blood.

And Rosemary, Iraqis are not just worried about a confrontation between the United States and Iran here in Iraq, they're also worried about these rising tensions between Iranian-backed proxies and the United States.

We have heard from these Shia paramilitary groups saying that, you know, at this point while they are -- they seem to be toning down their threats, they have made it clear they want U.S. troops out of the country, and they're vowing that if the United States does not leave, if they try and stall, that they will fight them like they did during the years of the U.S. occupation here.

CHURCH: All right, Jomana Karadsheh bringing us that live report from Baghdad. Many thanks.

HOLMES: Good to see the reaction on the street there.

Let's go to the Saudi capital Riyadh, that's where we find Nic Robertson our diplomatic editor. So, more U.S. sanctions. I'm just curious if you think that the calculus has changed because of this when it comes to Iran and how they are handling this basically ongoing downs with the U.S.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it's been to and fro and to and fro. It came to that escalation, it was sanctions, then Iran hitting tankers in the gulf and more U.S. sanctions, maximum pressure.

Iran hitting the Saudi oil facilities, Iran's proxies after more U.S. sanctions then targeting U.S. bases in Iraq, and then the killing of Qasem Soleimani and then Iran's response, and then President Trump says, yes, he thinks there's an off-ramp here, but he put some more sanctions. So, what's Iran's go-to position going to be? It has been to ramp up

tensions through violence. Do they believe that now the rules of the game have changed and that is no longer an option because the United States has made it clear that it's willing to target some very sensitive Iranian targets, Qasem Soleimani being foremost amongst them, and that's what has, you know, the United States allies in the region troubled as well.

They are trying to wonder has Iran's calculus changed, Saudi Arabia, is it still going to be the recipient of attacks from Iran? Is it still going to be the recipient of attacks from their proxies in Yemen, the Houthis who have fired Iranian made ballistic missiles here before?

But there's another part of the puzzle as well that will trouble Riyadh, and that is, is President Trump really looking at this as an off-ramp to make compromises. He talks about bringing in and increasing NATO's role in the region. Does he imply that the United States' role in the region is going to diminish?

And that is something that would certainly trouble allies like Saudi Arabia, like the United Arab Emirates and others in the region. So, you know, the concern here in Riyadh is what comes next, far from out of the woods.

And President Trump's actions seen as, yes, needed but at the same time destabilizing and not clear where his final end goal is, and that at the end of the day, doesn't bring the certainty that the Saudis and other U.S. allies want here, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, I mean, Nic, it would probably be fair to say that even stepping back from the brink put Iran, U.S. aside in this, Iran's not going to change its activities in the region in terms of its influence or disdain for America or what it wants to happen in the region generally. This may be diffused, but it's not going to change that, is it?

ROBERTSON: No, I mean, Iran says very clearly that it wants to get U.S. troops out of the region, that it is not going to change -- it has not indicated it's going to change its policies, which sort of built its strategic depth and strength in the region, which is building and strengthening ties to other Shia groups, particularly militia groups because that's the way they seem -- see they can extend their influence in the region, and of course, that's what the United States, that's what the Europeans, that's what other gulf states see as Iran's detrimental effect in the region.

That it wants to extend its influence through these military proxies in the region, and that's the rights of sovereignty of the countries where they do that and that's seen as very, very destabilizing.

And there's no indication that Iran is about to change that because it sees that as its sort of strategic depth and power and influence in the region in a region where they feel that they are -- they are the -- you know, they're under pressure as a minority. They're going to -- they're going to find ways to fight against that. HOLMES: Nic Robertson live for us in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Nic,

thanks so much. Rosemary?


CHURCH: Well, Michael, we have this breaking news on the Ukrainian airliner that crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran. Iran says the jet was on fire before it went down killing everyone on board.

An initial report also indicates the plane changed direction because of an unknown problem and then tried to turn back toward the airport. The cause of the crash remains unclear.

For more CNN's Scott McLean joins us now from Kiev. So, Scott, Iran is refusing to hand over the two black boxes retrieved from the crash sites. So how do investigators get closer to finding out the cause of this tragedy?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it could be some time, obviously you mention that initial report that this plane was on fire in the sky, which seems to be backed up by some bystander video that showed up online as well.

And Rosemary, I have to tell you, you know, we're here at the Boryspil Airport and there's just been a steady stream of people coming to pay their respects. The president here, Volodymyr Zelensky has declared a national day of mourning here. He was actually here earlier this morning to add to the massive and growing pile of flowers that have been dropped off by people here.

There were 11 Ukrainians on board that flight. You can see their pictures there, nine of them were crew members. Two of them were passengers.

There are no easy answers for these families, though. Initially, the reports had been that this was some kind of a mechanical failure. Then the Ukrainians came out and said that they had ruled out terrorism before backtracking saying that their investigation is still very much wide open.

There were three pilots on board that flight. They had a combined 31,000 hours of experience. That's the equivalent of flying for three and a half years continuously, and so because of that rich experience level, the airline was really reluctant to even -- to even consider the possibility that this could have been some kind of pilot error.

We know that this plane had maintenance done on it just two days ago. This was something that the airline calls 48-hour maintenance, something that's done every two days, and at that time they say that there were no issues, certainly nothing that would have affected airworthiness of this aircraft.

As you said, the Iranians are not going to turn over the black boxes to Boeing, which may complicate this investigation, but the Ukrainians are sending 45 people -- in fact, they've already sent, they've already arrived in Tehran, 45 of their own experts and investigators to try to figure out what happened here and also try to repatriate some of those remains.

CHURCH: Tragic for the victims and the families, and of course wanting some answers here, and they won't come anytime soon. Scott McLean, live for us there in Kiev, thank you so much.

Well, a royal couple makes a surprise announcement. Coming up, apparently, even Buckingham Palace was unaware of Prince Harry and Meghan's plans. We'll explain.



HOLMES: Welcome back. Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, well, they're defining new roles for themselves, and apparently it was news to the rest of the royal family.

They announced that they are stepping back from their senior roles in the monarchy and plan to become financially independent. They also plan to divide their time between the U.K. and North America.

Anna Stewart joining us now live from Buckingham Palace in London. It's rather extraordinary, Anna, perhaps even unseemly dare I say it in how this has publicly unfolded without family consultation. It's not how the royal family does business, is it?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: No, and if you think about it, Prince Harry and his wife the duchess of Sussex work for the royal family as part of a family business, if you will. So, you can imagine that there is a certain amount of shock here, that they were unaware that the couple were going to release that statement.

Buckingham Palace said yesterday we understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.

I do want to show you some of the headlines this morning if the wind doesn't blow me and the papers away. We have the Sun which is going with Megxit. That is certainly the trending line we're getting on social media.

Civil war as Harry and Meg quit the royals. Queen Sussex, Charles and Wales are furious. We have the Daily Mail, queen's furious, Harry and Meghan say we quit. And of course, the Daily Mirror, they didn't even tell the queen. And fondly enough, the statement is shocking in itself, but I think the idea that the royal family weren't aware they were going to release this statement was actually shocking people more.

I've actually just been speaking to some of the royal mega fans who attend all royal events. They are lining Buckingham Palace now as well. And they just told me that they feel they now have to choose and that they are very disappointed with the Sussex's. Michael?

HOLMES: Yes. I mean, what -- is there any sort of explanation of what we're going to become financially independent means? I mean, is he going to get a job? What would it be?

STEWART: See, that's the line I'm most intrigued by to be honest. How will they be financially independent? Currently around 5 percent of their income comes from the taxpayer, that's liberty of the royal family, 5 percent of that goes from there.

My papers have just flown into Green Park, Michael. And then 95 percent of their income is derived from Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. Whether or not that will still be the case. If they are going to be financially independent, you're right, they will need to derive some income by themselves.

It's hard to see how they can do that, particularly if they still want to be independent of the royal family. Because surely any job they will get will be a courtesy due to their royal presence, their royal titles.

And that brings me to another question, their royal titles. We have seen they were still (Inaudible) their titles the duke and duchess of Sussex, will they keep their HRH titles, that remains to be seen. So many questions, and frankly the palace haven't really had time necessarily to absorb it and consider the ramifications of the announcement. Michael?


HOLMES: I'm going to keep you out in the wind because it's fun. Would Meghan -- you're delightfully wind swept, only you can carry that off. Could Meghan return to acting perhaps?

STEWART: That's a big question. I think she's made it very clear in the past that she won't be acting any more. It's likely that they'll be doing more charitable work.

They actually say in the statement that they will be launching a new chapter, a new charitable entity. So perhaps that will replace the foundation, the Sussex Foundation, which is also fairly new.

They split off from Prince William and the duchess of Cambridge royal foundation. They created their own, it looks like they might be creating another one in the next few months. So, we have to keep an eye on that. So many questions. I hope we get some more answers. But I feel like it could be all be quite the palace as well. Some conversations I had between family members.

HOLMES: Yes. A fly on the wall. Nobody does windswept like you, Anna Stewart doing well there, delightfully calm in here so we'll leave it at that. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Thanks, Michael. And we go to Australia now. A New South Wales is pledging close to $700 million to help communities rebuild from the ongoing bush fires.

Officials say 2019 was the hottest, driest year on record there. Conditions which have fueled hundreds of fires around the country since September. The smoke has gotten so bad firefighting helicopters have been grounded, but they were able to fly on Wednesday. And CNN's Anna Coren was on board for this exclusive report.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A break in the weather, visibility at 900 meters. This Bell long-range helicopter was finally given clearance to fly. On board, Ian Jauncey, the air attack supervisor for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

IAN JAUNCEY, AIR ATTACK SUPERVISOR, NEW SOUTH WALES RURAL FIRE SERVICE: Because it's been so smoky and everything, they've got very little intel on exactly what the fire is doing.


JAUNCEY: So, they tried to just get some eyes in the sky.

COREN: Since the border fire that crossed from Victoria into New South Wales roared through parts of the far south coast over the weekend decimating townships, firefighters have been unable to get an aerial view of the monster they're battling until now.

With a front stretching more than 60 kilometers wide, it's burned all the way to the sea engulfing one of Eden's largest employers, the woodchip mill. But as the smoke billowed and will continue to for weeks, possibly months, this enormous woodpile nearby lies untouched as does the jetty.

JAUNCEY: They've protected that well.

COREN: The priority for firefighters isn't the massive blaze burning out of control, but rather the smaller fires that have jumped containment lines posing new threats to homes and townships.

MICK KENNEDY, PILOT: There will be a lot of hot, you know, smoldering stuff near the edges of the fire there, as soon as that hot, dry, wind comes in it will activate the fire again and it will start moving. We're now over the top of Eden township. Visibility has been better down here. We can go ahead and play (Inaudible) and we'll toss from here.

COREN: This is the first time the Rural Fire Service has been able to take to the skies here on the far south coast of New South Wales to assess the full extent of the fire damage. Smoke has just been too thick grounding full aircraft for days.

While those water bombing aircraft have just been activated allowing them to hit those fire hot spots as much as possible before conditions deteriorate on Friday.

Two black hawks soon appeared as Ian and pilot Mick Kennedy directed them to nearby dams to fill up their 3,000 liter buckets with water and extinguish identified hot spots.

JAUNCEY: It's only two o'clock and you see smoke up here on the ridge.

COREN: But it was Georgia Beach, the Erickson sky crane that made the biggest impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like clockwork.

COREN: Sucking up 9,800 liters of sea water at a time. She got to work dousing the flames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's sexy.

COREN: After two hours in the air, it was back to base to refuel before heading out again.

JAUNCEY: The fire from my opinion is a bit closer than I originally thought from Eden so we'll continue to monitoring and working with the ground crews.

COREN: For the specialized pilots who have been part of the aerial attack in this ongoing bushfire crisis there's nowhere else they want to be.

KENNEDY: No one likes to see houses burned. No one like to see property or life lost. But the guys are here. They just want to help. They just want to get to work.

COREN: Anna Coren, CNN, Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia.


CHURCH: And for more on how you can help the victims of Australia's bush fires you can visit

HOLMES: And by the way, 2019 wasn't just a record setting year in Australia, it was the second hottest ever on the planet.


The Copernicus Climate Change Service says that the only year that was hotter was 2016, and it wasn't hotter by much, turns out the last decade is considered the warmest on record.

Copernicus also said most land areas were warmer than average in 2019, especially eastern and Southern Europe, Southern Africa, and no surprise Australia.

CHURCH: Well, for our international viewers a CNN special, the Global Energy Challenge is coming up next.

HOLMES: And for those of you in the U.S., we will be right back with more news.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States, I'm Rosemary Church. MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Welcome everyone.

Now, Donald Trump says Iran appears to be standing down after its missile attacks on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops. He addressed the nation on Wednesday making it clear that any further provocation from Iran would have severe consequences.

CHURCH: Administration officials say even a single U.S. casualty from Iran's missile attacks would have resulted in a U.S. military response. For now, the president says he will impose punishing new sanctions on Tehran. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chief's Chairman General Mark Milley say, Iran intended to kill Americans with its missile strikes, but others in the administration are suggesting the strikes avoided U.S. targets on purpose and were only meant to send a message.

HOLMES: CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Erbil in northern Iraq. Iran targeted that city as well as Al Assad air base in central Iraq causing moderate damage but no casualties.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was extremely eerie to be flying in to Erbil at night. The airport was essentially deserted. Ours was one of the only flights that was not canceled, because one of the missiles that fell in Erbil actually landed within the perimeter of the airport. This is obviously extremely important place strategically for the U.S. It is the heart of the fight against ISIS. A lot of Special Forces operatives working in and around this area.

That fight is now frozen, but we did notice in our hotel roughly 100, if not more, U.S. military contractors, they had essentially been evacuated from places like Baghdad, also from the Ballad air base amid fears of continuing attacks. The assumption was that Erbil was the safe place to send people, but Iran sending a powerful message last night that no place is essentially beyond the reach or completely secure from the reach of their missiles.


HOLMES: Clarissa Ward there. Now, if things between the U.S. and Iran worsen again, and we all hope they do not, you just really need to have a look at a map like this to get a sense of what a target rich environment there is for Iran or its many proxies when it comes to U.S. troops. The U.S. has tens of thousands of troops in the region overall. They've got 12,000 in Afghanistan alone, and despite his campaign promise to bring American forces home, President Trump is instead sending thousands more that way. Some of them on their way as we speak.

Now, you've got Kuwait down here. There's 13,000 U.S. troops, and that, of course, is a key hub for the U.S., often used as a staging ground for deployment to Iraq and also to Syria. You've got Bahrain down here. Now, they've hosted American forces since World War II, now 7,000 troops are there, and of course the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia has always been controversial. That dates back to the gulf war. The kingdom currently hosting 3,000 U.S. troops. And CNN military analyst and retired air force colonel Cedric Leighton

joining us now from Washington. Always good to see you, sir. First of all, I want to ask, what do you make of this disagreement between the Secretary of Defense and top generals about -- about whether Iran was trying to kill U.S. service members as opposed to the widely held belief that they deliberately avoided doing that to head off a massive U.S. reaction? What's most likely true?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON(RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it's said -- I think it's going to be interesting to see how this actually plays out, Michael. One of the big things with intelligence, of course, is sometimes it can be used to satisfy different viewpoints, but in this particular case, my suspicion, my initial thought was that the way in which the Iranians programmed their missiles, targeted their missiles, it seemed to me that they were deliberately trying to avoid engaging areas in which Americans lived and Iraqis lived, so there seemed to be some effort at least to avoid contact with Americans and to avoid killing them, so that I think is something that at least needs to be taken into consideration.

HOLMES: The Iranians view killing a bunch of U.S. soldiers would result in massive retaliation. There's also questions that remain about whether there was an imminent threat that required all of a sudden the killing of Qasem Soleimani. Plenty of members of Congress aren't convinced. How important is it that that evidence is shown or is the administration just saying because we told you so?


LEIGHTON: Well, the administration loves to say because we told you so, and that's not necessarily something that's unique to the Trump administration, but, you know, having said that, I think it's very important in this particular case and actually, particularly for this administration, that they be very careful and very deliberate in letting people know that there was, in fact, an imminent threat, in other words something that was going to happen because of Qasem Soleimani that would actually have resulted in the deaths of Americans.

If that can be shown to Senators and to Congressmen, then that would go a long way to assuaging their concerns, if it can't be shown then that becomes another issue that shows that there's, you know, obviously something else in here and that's something Congress should be very concerned about.

HOLMES: I agree entirely. I mean, you would think if there was some massive plan afoot and you took out the head guy, the plan would still happen. It was interesting I was reading today, the Iran backed Shia militia, Saeed Balhak (ph) they were saying that it is time for Iraq to respond to the killing of Soleimani, and whether that happens or not is beside the point. It speaks to a bigger issue. That Iran has many proxies in many places, not all of them under direct command or control from Tehran. What is the risk that one of those proxies acts unilaterally independently?

LEIGHTON: I think the risk is very high. You know, in many cases as you know from your experiences over there, a lot of these militias will swear some degree (inaudible) to Tehran or to some other entity that appears to be above them, but they do act independently, and in many ways it's very much a decentralized execution element, in other words they have somewhat centralized command and control.

But when it comes to executing operations, they do so at a time and a place of their choosing, and in those situations, it becomes very dangerous, and these militias, these groupings could very well act independently and actually cause a great deal of damage potentially leading to misunderstandings that could lead, once again, to bringing both the United States and Iran to the brink of open hostilities.

HOLMES: Exactly, unintended consequences. Is it fair to say that stepping back from the brink in this situation, in the real world it's not going to change Iran's activities in terms of, you know, regional influence, military activity, keeping their tentacles in regional affairs. I mean, that doesn't go away since this current crisis is diffused for now surely?

LEIGHTON: That's right, none of this will go away. I mean, we're looking at, you know, in essence it's looking at the top of the ocean, you know, and thinking that there are no waves in the ocean, but we all know that there are waves always present in the ocean, and those waves can, you know, become a massive tsunami if we're not careful.

The Iranians have a very big organization that is steeped in, you know, growing their tentacles into various places throughout the Middle East, and the more influence they think they have, the more they want to grow that influence. There is a lot more that's going to come of this. The Iranians are not going to change their behavior because it's completely ingrained and not only in their way of life, but also in their way of doing things when it comes to actually engaging in political and military operations throughout the region.

And so they're going to be doing a lot of things that the United States wants them to stop, and it's going to be a challenge to any type of effort to preserve the peace in the Middle East or to diffuse tensions between the U.S. and Iran, and that, I think, will be the big challenge because at first you'll see this, and you'll say, OK, everything's done. Everything's fine, but the truth of the matter is beneath the surface it's still very rough down there.

HOLMES: Great analysis as always, CNN military analyst and retired air force Colonel Cedric Leighton, thanks as always.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Michael, any time.

CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. Still to come, President Trump boasts about America's energy independence, a closer look at the U.S. demand for oil from the Middle East.

HOLMES: Plus, former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn breaks his silence in an interview with CNN opening up about his escape from Japan where he is charged with financial crimes. We'll be right back.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, in his address on the Iranian strike, President Trump outlined his vision for a revised role in the Middle East. He claimed America no longer needs oil from the Middle East, so Washington's strategy in the region will change. For more on this, John Defterios joins us now from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you again, John. So President Trump claiming the U.S. has this energy independence. Is that the case?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Growing independence, I should say, but it certainly is not there yet, Rosemary, but it really has nothing to do with President Trump's policies. This happened well before he showed up to 1,600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is the number one producer in the world. Crude oil 13 million barrels a day, if added all the products that's 18 million barrels a day. But here's the rub, there's a gap of about 2 million, because America consumes 20 million, and they still need that oil from the Middle East.


Take a look at the chart here. The number one and two suppliers going into the United States, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Saudi Arabia, in fact, owns the largest refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, in the United States, so the ties are still very tight between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Where the U.S. is a major game changer is in the natural gas market. It's now competing against the major players, Russia, Qatar, and Australia, and President Trump is so aggressive on this front.

He's putting sanctions on companies working on a pipeline coming from Russia to Germany. So he's out to disrupt the market, take credit for it even, but they don't have energy independence in 2020. Not yet.

CHURCH: And John, President Trump also implied that NATO partners should get more involved in the Middle East. Talk to us about that, and of course how relevant the Strait of Hormuz is for energy security?

DEFTERIOS: Well, we know it well, Rosemary, because it's only a five- hour drive from Abu Dhabi. And it's got a fantastic view going across the strait to Iran. So, it is fascinating. It's the choke point, if you will, to the world. In fact, President Trump wants others to share in the burden of policing it because of the 100 million barrels a day consumed around the world, a fifth of it comes from oil producers around the Strait. It is used as the key passage point to the rest of the world.

If you had problems there and the UAE minister of energy told me in an interview yesterday, we could see prices shooting up well above $100 a barrel. Remember a decade ago it was $140 a barrel because of demand but also chaos here in the region. They don't want to see it again. But the president wants to have it both ways. He wants the Americans to still have influence in this region, but he's talking about burden sharing.

So, we have already Britain and Japan policing the ships going out of the Strait. He's now calling on NATO to do the same. The U.S. has all these troops here, but what's going to be the foreign policy of Donald Trump in the future if he's reelected. Do they stay a prevalent player or not?

CHURCH: Right, many thanks, John Defterios. Thank you.


CHURCH: And you can learn more about how energy supplies and demands are shifting around the world with John's series of reports. Just watch at

HOLMES: Carlos Ghosn is a wanted man, but he's hardly laying low. More than a week after his daring and rather mysterious escape from Japan, the former Nissan CEO was out in front of the cameras giving a news conference in Lebanon. He claims his arrest in Tokyo and the charges of financial wrongdoing against him were all part of a plot to oust him as head of Nissan Renault. Ghosn says he's not running from justice. He's fleeing injustice and he wants to clear his name.


CARLOS GHOSN, FORMER CEO, RENAULT-NISSAN: I would be ready to stand trial anywhere where I think I can have a fair trial, anywhere, but the only reason for which if I was -- if somebody could guarantee to me, which was not the case of my lawyers. When I asked my lawyers many times, and they will tell you that in Japan, will I have a fair trial? They were very embarrassed. They told me we're going to do everything for you to have a fair trial. And they kept saying this to me, which worried me a lot.


HOLMES: Well, after that news conference, Ghosn sat down with CNN's Richard Quest for an interview and spoke more about his escape.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR AT LARGE: The moment the plane is in international space and you pretty much know it's going to land in Lebanon, what was that moment like?

GHOSN: Well, as you know, it was not going to land in Lebanon. It was going to land somewhere else, but I --

QUEST: But then after that.

GHOSN: I felt relief. I felt relief, yes, I felt relief. And you know, the first thought I said is finally I'm going to be able to see my wife. That's my first thought.

QUEST: I'm just going to go for this and hope that you'll give me an answer. What was it like in the packing case?


GHOSN: No comment. Look, freedom, freedom no matter the way it happens is always free.


HOLMES: Now Interpol has put out a red notice that Ghosn is wanted by Japanese police and he's being summoned to face questioning about all of that in Lebanon on Thursday.

CHURCH: And coming up, Justin Bieber has made a startling revelation about his health.

HOLMES: We'll tell you what the singer is saying about it, next.



HOLMES: Welcome back, Justin Bieber says he's had a rough couple of years battling Lyme disease and a serious case of mononucleosis. The singer sharing that news in an Instagram post as one does these days, and said he would explain more about his health in a docuseries on YouTube as one does these days.

CHURCH: Yes. Indeed, and the news comes after the 25-year-old released yummy, his first new solo single in more than four years. Lyme disease is a treatable infection caused by bacteria commonly carried by ticks.

Much like your favorite characters from Star Wars, Samsung believes you should have your own robot wherever you go. I'd say you should. This is Ballie, the new personal assistant unveiled at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas.


HOLMES: It looks a bit like a tennis ball, doesn't it? That it is much more than that. Samsung calls it a life companion. Oh, for goodness sake, really, is it? Come to that? That's your life -- that's a bit of sad. If you spill something, Ballie's built in camera can spot it and tell your smart vacuum to clean it up. This is -- if an older person falls he'll see that and call for help, and Ballie can even entertain your pets while you are at work and let you keep an eye on them remotely. Oh, I'm sorry. Life (inaudible).

CHURCH: (Inaudible) older person doesn't trip on the Ballie.

HOLMES: Probably all I'll end up with it.


CHURCH: That's sad. Don't end on a sad note like that.

HOLMES: Thanks for watching CNN Newsroom, I'm Michael Holmes.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Stay with CNN for Early Start with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett.