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CONNECT THE WORLD
U.S. Congress to Vote on War Powers Resolution to Limit Trump; Ukraine Investigating if Missile or Bomb Brought Down Plane; Day of Mourning in Ukraine for Iran Plane Crash Victims; Iran's Aviation Authority: Plane Was on Fire Before Crash; Interview with Ann Linde, Swedish Foreign Minister, Swedish Authorities Invited to Cooperate in Iran Crash Investigation; Iranian Spokesman Says Iran Wanted to Send a Message, Not Kill; U.S. and Iran Step Back from More Strikes; Pressure Mounts on Pelosi to Hand Over Impeachment Articles; Trump Says the U.S. Does Not Need Middle East Oil. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 9, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Ukrainian officials exploring four possible causes in Wednesday's crash of a passenger jet in Tehran. And right now,
they are not ruling out a missile strike.
The U.S. Congress set to vote to limit the President's war powers as Mr. Trump's tensions simmer with Iran.
And on the hunt for a new job while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex take everyone by surprise saying they're planning to become financially
independent from the crown.
Well, it's 3:00 p.m. in London, 10:00 in morning in D.C., 7:00 p.m. here in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. I'm Becky Anderson. This is our expanded edition of
CONNECT THE WORLD and you are more than welcome.
This hour, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to speak. We are expecting to learn more about a vote later today in the House of
Representatives, which is meant to limit President Trump's military action against Iran without Congressional approval. More on that, of course, as it
happens. You are seeing the shot up there from Washington.
Well, Mr. Trump says there are no plans for new military strikes. His speech yesterday seeming to take the off ramp in the crisis with Iran as
the two countries step back from what seemed to be the brink of war.
Meantime, Ukraine says it is investigating multiple potential causes in the crash of a passenger plane in Iran that killed all 176 people on board. And
that includes whether a missile or bomb brought that plane down. We're learning more details about the hunt for clues in the crash.
An Iranian report citing witnesses said the plane was on fire, changed direction and turned back towards the airport. The Boeing 737 plane came
down just minutes after takeoff from Tehran as Iranian and Ukrainian experts now meet to investigate the crash.
We have reporters fanned out across the region and around the world covering this story like only CNN can, of course. Scott McLean is on the
ground in Kiev for reaction from Ukraine for you. Paula Newton is in Toronto monitoring the response from the Canadian government and indeed,
from the families of the crash victims. Richard Quest live in Beirut to bring us his expert aviation analysis. And we'll get to Fred Pleitgen in
Tehran a little later. Well let me start with you, Scott. What caused this crash, the big question this hour? What are you hearing in Kiev?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A team of 45 Ukrainian investigators, experts have arrived in Tehran to try to answer that very question today.
The latest from Ukrainian investigators, or the latest from the country's national security and defense counsel, I should say, is that there are many
possibilities, as you said. Among them, potentially that the plane hit a drone. That there was a terror attack from inside the plane. Perhaps engine
failure, an engine explosion, something to that effect or that it was hit by an anti-aircraft missile which would have been fired from the ground.
These are all just possibilities, though, and so it is not entirely clear at this point whether one is more likely than the other.
But, Becky, I just want to point out where I am. I'm at the airport in the arrivals hall where this memorial has been growing all day. The Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky was here earlier to add his flowers to this pile and pay his respects. These are the nine crew members who were on
board. Nine of the 11 Ukrainians who were on board that flight.
And there was a really powerful moment earlier when -- it wasn't a moment. It was actually about 30 minutes where a woman who is the mother of one of
those pilots -- his name is Volodymyr Gaponenko -- she was openly sobbing quite loudly, and she was saying, why, why did you leave? Who will visit
me? And really sobbing and asking for any part of his remains to be brought back to Ukraine as is the custom.
I spoke to someone who even just had a fleeting encounter with two of these flight attendants on a flight last year. That's not something that a lot of
people would likely remember who their flight attendant was. But this woman said that the kindness and the professionalism of these young women really
left a lasting and unforgettable impression on her.
ANDERSON: Paula Newton is in Toronto. Paula, more than 60 Canadian citizens lost their lives. Just how are their families coping?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, and to tell you, the grief is so much more profound than that. We heard from the Prime Minister that,
yes, 63 Canadians lost their lives, but 138 on that flight, Becky, were on their way from Tehran to Kiev to here in Toronto and onwards to the rest of
Canada -- 138. Such a haunting arrival for that plane that arrived virtually empty yesterday in Toronto.
As I said, the grief profound from coast to coast. Of course you have tears. You have hugs. You have vigils. And you have moments of silence at
sporting events and this is still a country trying to come to grips with the loss. I mean, so many young academics, young students, families. It was
so depressing to see the manifest and see the ages of some of the children.
I want you to listen now though, Becky, to Hassan Shadkhoo whose story is absolutely incredible. He has, in his hand, you will see it now on his
mobile phone, a selfie from his wife that he says was in the moments before she died that she had a premonition that the plane was going down. And I
want you to listen to him describe his wife Sheyda and her last words. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN SHADKHOO, HUSBAND OF CRASH VICTIM: She was going down so she wrote, I'm leaving, but behind me there is worries. Behind me there are worries.
I'm scared for the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: I mean, the stories that are coming out and also people might ask, right, Becky, what were so many Canadians doing on a flight from Iran to
Ukraine, back into Toronto? But it's tough to get to Iran these days. There are sanctions. This was a very inexpensive flight. And you had really
travel agents in tears yesterday, Becky, saying, I got someone a last- minute ticket on this flight, and you can only imagine the grief.
I want to add as well, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister, says he really wants to be involved in this investigation. Canada held a rare call with
Iran with the foreign ministers. They've not had diplomatic relations until 2012. Becky, they want answers as to what happened here and how so many
Canadians lost their lives.
ANDERSON: And that investigation in its early stages. And as you say, difficult in that not everyone has a perfect relations with Iran. What are
the Canadian government's next steps?
NEWTON: You know, what's really interesting here is when the Prime Minister was pressed on possible causes, he said it's too early to rule
anything out. And I know that they are looking at all possibilities right now. And they do not want to take the word of the Iranians. They want to
see actual proof. What is also significant, Becky, is the fact the transportation safety board here in Canada hopes to be involved.
Now look, the Ukrainians want Canadian help. They want help from obviously the United States as well. It is right now an open question as to whether
or not Iran will invite people in and be completely transparent about the investigation. Although Prime Minister Trudeau made a very good point.
Dozens of Iranians also lost their lives on this flight, and these Canadians, a lot of them were dual citizens. And he buildings s believes
they obligation to them and their families to get to the bottom of what happened here.
ANDERSON: Paula Newton is in Toronto. Want to get to Beirut where Richard Quest is standing by. Happens to be in Beirut today as probably forgotten
more about aviation than most of us will ever know. Richard, more questions than answers here, not least, what on earth happened?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Becky, I've just got the English translation, the full translation of the initial report from the
Iranian investigators. Forgive me if I'm looking down as I read you some of the conclusions because this is the actual -- they say the Iranian
investigators -- and it's a very detailed account for so soon after the incident.
They say, according to witnesses, a fire appeared on the aircraft which was intensifying and then impacted the ground causing an explosion. The crash
site showed that the aircraft was returning to the airport. Now it does not say in the terms of its analysis or discussion of the wreckage. There's no
reference to what might have caused it or to any evidence, for example, of explosives or the fuselage or anything like that.
But it does suggest that the Iranian authorities are getting to grips with it and at least it's a superficial level are preparing the necessary
reports and international regulations.
One other point, Becky, which I think is interesting. Don't want to read too much into it. It says that they are inviting the other states
responsible to Ukraine as the state of registry and operator. They don't say the United States as the state of design and manufacture.
So the Americans have been notified about this incident, but whether or not they will allow the U.S. authorities representing Boeing, GE who made the
engines to take part. Becky, I think that's by no means certain.
ANDERSON: Yes, because briefly, Richard, the important thing here is that Iran is able to ensure the total transparency of this investigation,
QUEST: Correct. And I don't think you can say that at this stage. By all means we've seen it before many times. You can dress up the report and all
the right official language, but if the underlying science and investigation and conclusions are not reached for the right reasons, well,
you've just got a piece of paper.
ANDERSON: Richard Quest is in Beirut with his expert analysis.
I want to get you to Tehran where Fred Pleitgen is standing by. We've been discussing the challenges that the Iranians face in this investigation, not
least in ensuring the transparency in answering the question which remains answered. What exactly happened. What's going on there -- Fred?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think you're absolutely right. And I think that's one of the things that the Iranians,
Becky, are also quite aware of. Is that they need to ensure or try to at least make it seem like they're ensuring there's a degree of transparency
to this and also that the other nations that are part of this -- especially the nations where the airline is from, from which this airplane crashed and
then also nations that had many passengers on that plane are involved in this investigation as well.
It's quite interesting to see some of the messaging that we've been seeing over the past sort of 24 hours, especially the early morning hours of
today. Where overnight you had a team of Ukrainian investigators arrive here in Iran. The Iranian authorities immediately put out a picture or
photograph of those Ukrainian investigators meet with the Iranian investigators.
The Ukrainian investigators, of course, we know, Becky, are exploring several theories as to why this plane may have crashed. We heard that from
the Ukrainian national security adviser. A missile strike being one. A possible foreign object strike. Like, for instance, a bird strike being
another. Catastrophic engine failure and then possibly also some sort of explosive device on the plane as well. Those at this point are just
hypotheses or just possible theories that the Ukrainians are apparently looking at.
The Iranians for their part obviously right now conducting an open investigation. I think Richard was talking about the fact their preliminary
report says that the plane was on fire in the sky struggling, obviously, and then made a turn to try and get back to the airport. They say there
were other aircraft in the area that were flying at a higher altitude that actually saw that plane on fire in the sky and then trying to get back to
Imam Khomeini Airport. Which is I would say about 30 or 40 miles south of where I'm standing right here and sort of flat farmland to the south of the
Also quite interesting, what we heard today is that the Iranians apparently are also inviting the Canadians and the Swedes to take part in this
investigation as well. Of course, there were a lot of Canadians, mostly dual citizens, Iranian Canadians on the plane as well. It's a big, big
issue in Canada, the fact this plane went down. And the Swedes have a lot of their people on the plane as well.
So right now the Iranians are inviting other nations to also take part. Of course, one of the things that many people internationally are focusing on
is the fact the Iranians at this point are saying that they found the two black boxes -- the flight data recorder, and cockpit voice recorder. They
say they're going to analyze those. They say they are not going to give those to the Boeing company.
And I read the statement by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization, and they said they're not going to give it to Boeing or America. So it seems to
have something to do with the fact that Boeing is obviously an American company. You obviously have these major, major issues right now between
Iran and the United States.
Unclear whether or not they'll ask other countries for help. We've seen that in the past in aviation investigations where you were looking for the
causes of crashes. The BEA in France being one of those authorities. The Russians, obviously, also have capabilities to read these flight data
recorders and to help out investigations. Not necessarily sure that the Ukrainians would be fine with the Russians taking a lead role in that.
Right now that's still very much in the open but you do see that the Iranians, at least, are open to other countries sending in experts and to
What we have to look at in all that though, is how much access those experts are actually going to get to the debris field. That's something
that Richard was talking about. How transparent is the investigation are the forensics going to be in all of this -- Becky?
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran for you. And as Fred suggested, Canadian and Swedish authorities have been asked to help in the
investigation into the crash in which 176 people lost their lives. We speak to the Swedish Foreign Minister about how officials in Stockholm will be
approaching the hunt for clues. That is coming up.
And ahead of a vote which could restrain President Donald Trump's military actions, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi due to speak. We'll bring you that
when it happens.
ANDERSON: Well in the coming hours, the U.S. House could vote to restrict President Trump's power to take any future military action. U.S. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the vote after that drone attack that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Well she is due to speak to the
press later this hour.
Meanwhile, the President of Iran spoke by phone to the U.K. Prime Minister telling him that General Soleimani had made London safer because of
Soleimani's fight against terrorism.
And to quote him -- if it were not for the Martyr Lieutenant General and his efforts, you wouldn't be calm in London today.
Of course, our top story also from Iran, Ukraine investigating multiple causes for the devastating plane crash in Tehran. 176 passengers from seven
different nations were killed on board, 10 were Swedish citizens at least. The Swedish government has been invited to take part in the investigations
alongside Ukraine and Iran.
I spoke with the Swedish Foreign Minister earlier, and she told me that her government is looking into the possibility that more than ten Swedish
citizens might have been killed during the crash. Here is that interview.
ANN LINDE, SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER: It is a difficult time also for all the families and the loved one. What we have done is to appoint a person
from the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority as an expert in the role of assisting the investigation of the crash. But we don't have any more
information at this stage.
ANDERSON: Are you ruling out a missile strike?
LINDE: At this time, we're not ruling out anything. It has to be done by the accident investigation team to see what actually happened. But it's
very important that we get transparency in the investigation.
That everything is put on the table and that this can be starting quickly so that we can get them answered to what caused this terrible accident or
ANDERSON: Do you see it as problematic that Iran seems to be taking the lead on this investigation?
LINDE: No, that is just following the international rules because the plane crashed in Tehran so it's their authority who has the lead. But all
who has casualties in the crash has the right due to international rules to be part of the investigation. And that's why we immediately appointed a
Swedish expert to take part in the investigation.
ANDERSON: Do you have any concerns at this point about the transparency or lack of going forward from the ground?
LINDE: No, actually, we are counting on the Iranian authorities to be transparent and to let all the experts from different countries be able to
check all the evidence and to do the investigation as thoroughly and as transparent as possible. And we have no reason to doubt anything at this
ANDERSON: And you have no reason to doubt that the information from the black box would be forthcoming and shared?
LINDE: I take it for granted it would be shared because that, of course, one of the most important pieces to be able to see what was really
happening when the plane crashed.
ANDERSON: Foreign minister, this crash coming at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, including, of course, Tehran's decision
a few days ago to all but abandon its side of the nuclear deal or JCPOA. What do you see as the potential consequences, and how would that affect
Sweden and indeed the EU?
LINDE: Actually, there could be dire consequences of this. I think that the JCPOA agreement is one of the absolute most important agreements that
has been taken the last years. And the fact now that both the United States and now Iran is withdrawing from the agreement is really, really worrying.
We relied, though, that the IAEA is going to continue to monitor and verify the commitments that Iran has made. And we hope that they will be able to
go back into the agreement. The risk of nuclear options in the area is terrifying, really.
ANDERSON: In President Trump's address yesterday, in response to what is going on in region, not least those latest attacks on bases in Iraq, we saw
and heard him leaning in more on support from NATO in region going forward. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: I know Sweden is not part of NATO, but you are part of the coalition fighting ISIS. Would you be willing to send in more troops to the
LINDE: The troops we have, we have about 70 troops. It's a decision by the Swedish Parliament, and we are -- have no plans to send in more troops at
this stage. But we think it's extremely important that the troops can stay in Iraq. If the troops leave, they will leave a vacuum for Daish and the
terrorists to become stronger. And that means that the risks also for terrorist attacks in EU and not only in the area will be more eminent. And
that's why we are really trying to get everybody to stay with their troops.
And I hope that the Iraqi government will finally come to the conclusion that the troops should stay in Iraq and not follow the Parliamentary
decision of withdrawal.
ANDERSON: Your European neighbors Germany and Spain have announced they will be pulling their troops out of Iraq. You are clearly concerned this
will hamper the fight against ISIS, correct?
LINDE: Well, actually, what I know is that Germany has just regrouped some of their nonessential staff there and no troops has been taken back home to
Germany. That's the information I have at least. And I think that there is widespread wish to be able to stay and fight Daish together. Because the
coalition has shown that we've been very effective together to stop the so- called caliphate and to stop terrorist activities from Daish. So withdrawal that would be something that could be a sad loss for the security, not
only in the area but also in our countries.
ANDERSON: Ann Linde, the Swedish Foreign Minister talking there. We talked about the plane crash where at least ten Swedes died, 82 Iranians and 63
Canadians also lost their lives. We've connected you through all of those countries this hour. As we remember those who died and the search for what
ANDERSON: We're moments away from hearing from the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of a vote by American lawmakers on reining in the
President's power to go to war with Iran. This time diplomacy does seem to have won out.
And here's how Mr. Trump went about his duties. Let's call them. Swing open some doors with light flooding in from behind him into a room so quiet, you
could hear a pin drop. Flanking him, stoic military leaders and his top- ranking officials. A display of power in what was got to be said one of the President's biggest foreign policy tests to date.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A message that Iran was backing down, standing down reportedly coming via back channels, adding that the ball was now in the U.S. court. A
lot of back and forth here. Isn't there?
All happening as the U.S. assessed the damage from Iran's missile launches into Iraq. Those strikes did not kill or injure any Iraqis or Americans. An
Iranian spokesman said the goal was to send a message, not kill people. The top U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and the Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff dispute that saying Iran's targets were Americans in Iraq.
Chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Iraq for you. Fred Pleitgen, as you know, is in Tehran. John Defterios in the house with me
here in Abu Dhabi and in the U.S., Joe Johns is at the White House. Let's start in region on the ground in Iraq with Clarissa Ward who is standing
by. What is the very latest there?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I would say there's a sort of tense calm holding. And we've been trying to get more
to the bottom of this whole topic that you bring up after Vice President Pence's comments of whether Iranians were directly targeting American
lives. Whether they were actually seeking to kill them or they just wanted to make some kind of a statement.
And we actually went earlier today to the site where one of those Iranian missiles hit. It's in a very rural, remote area about an hour and a half
away from here, the city of Erbil. Hard to believe that they were actively trying to kill any Americans in that area. There aren't any Americans
there. But take a quick look at what we found out.
WARD: I am standing here right at the site of one of those missile hits. This is the crater, the damage that was caused by the impact of that
strike. You can see it's not a huge amount of damage, but the ground is very soft here. And you can also see it's been raining very hard. There's a
lot of shrapnel here on the ground from that impact.
But the question is, what exactly were the Iranians targeting here? Local security officials telling us there's simply nothing here. There's a
refugee camp just under a mile away in that direction. But no U.S. presence, no U.S. military presence particularly. This may have been, for
the Iranians, less about showing power and precision than it was about showing reach. That missile will have traveled hundreds of miles. This is
one of the furthest points that those missiles reach.
Obviously, none of this is much comfort for people who live in this area. We went to see a shepherd nearby whose home, part of the ceiling came in.
His windows were also blown in. But people here tend to accept that war has become part of life in Iraq.
WARD: Now, it's also entirely possible, Becky, that this missile simply misfired. That it missed its target entirely. It's also possible the
Iranian weapons are perhaps not as good as they would like to have the world believe. So difficult still to say with any real sense of conviction
as to whether they were actively trying to kill American servicemen and women. But certainly, the site that we visited appeared to be quite far
from any real American targets -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Clarissa is in Erbil on the ground in Iraq. Fred is in Tehran. And you've been listening to Clarissa. A lot of back and forth, clearly.
Were Iranians directly targeting American lives or not? The U.S. President at least, Fred, says the Iranians have effectively blinked. Have they?
PLEITGEN: Well, the Iranians certainly don't seem to believe that they've blinked, Becky. The Iranians are saying, look, they have, as the supreme
leader of Iran puts it, given the U.S. a slap in the face. Obviously saying it was a warning shot. It's quite interesting because you were just
mentioning that senior Iranian commander had said it was not the aim of the Iranians to kill Americans. In fact, he said, it was the aim of the
Iranians to hit the American military machine.
And those comments are important, not just for their content but for who made them. Because this was the head of the Revolutionary Guard Aerospace
Force which is essentially the commander who was behind those ballistic missile launches at the bases housing American troops and Iraqi troops as
He's also, by the way, Becky, the commander of the force that shot down that U.S. drone earlier this year. So clearly, they are saying that it was
not their intention to kill any sort of American troops. It was their intention, as they say, to send a message.
And the other interesting thing we've gleaned as well, Becky, that this same commander said in a wide-ranging press conference that he gave on
Iranian state TV earlier today, is he said that while that first phase of that retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani might be over, the
retaliation itself is not over. In fact, he went on to say it's going to be -- that this operation was part of a widespread and longtime effort to
avenge Qasem Soleimani, as they put it.
There have been other Iranian commanders who have come out in the past 24 hours and said make no mistake, this is still going on. There could be
similar strikes and other actions to take place. In fact, the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps said a couple of days ago that all this
retaliation by the Iranians would be what they call a strategic retaliation and would take place over a wide geography and over a longer period of
time. So the Iranians are clearly saying that it is not over yet.
The Iranians, obviously, listened very closely to what President Trump said yesterday. And on the one hand, I think they're quite happy that President
Trump didn't strike back. But of course, they are also saying that the fundamental issue they had with the U.S. which is this maximum sanctions
campaign of the Trump administration is not solved and until it solved, you're probably going to see more instability between the U.S. and Iran and
indeed, in this entire region.
ANDERSON: That's certainly not solved. I mean, further sanctions announced by President Trump in that briefing -- let's call it a briefing, slightly
odd theater to his announcement yesterday.
I want to bring in Joe Johns in. Stephen Collinson also joining us from Washington, a regular on this show. Joe, is it any clearer at this point,
very briefly, what Donald Trump and his advisers mean when they say they have a strategy on Iran?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's not clear at all what the strategy is, quite frankly. And it certainly wasn't cleared up
yesterday. Obviously, the big question with the President is, where do we go from here? And it's just not clear. He went back to some of the old
rhetoric about putting maximum pressure on Iran as you just mentioned, more sanctions on Iran. But a way forward is not clear as we stand, and some of
the people on Capitol Hill have been very concerned about that. Asking, where do we go from here? How do we get out of this confrontational stance
with Iran? And what's the end game? We still don't know just yet -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Let's be very clear, the Trump administration seems to think that however monumental a gamble it was in the drone strike that killed
General Soleimani that they've got a win out of this.
Stephen, after a closed door briefing on Iran on Wednesday, two Republican Senators ripped into the Trump administration calling the meeting, quote,
insulting and demeaning. Let's just get our viewers to have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): To come in and tell us that we can't debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. It's un-
American. It's unconstitutional. And it's wrong.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): The constitution said the power to declare war was to be given to Congress. They specifically did not give that power to the
I didn't learn anything in the hearing that I hadn't seen in a newspaper already, and none of it was overwhelming that "X" was going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And they are saying they would support a war powers resolution in the Senate. That vote only being put to the House as we speak. At the
moment, where is this going?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It's very interesting. I think it does show you that there is concern on Capitol Hill, not just
among the usual suspects among Democrats. About both the intelligence that was used to justify the strike on Soleimani and the Trump administration's
apparent desire in this and many other arenas to wield unaccountable power.
I would say that Mike lee and Rand Paul are two Senators who have a libertarian bent on constitutional issues, especially when it comes to the
waging of war. Congress, of course, under the constitution, is the sole body that can actually declare war -- although war hasn't been declared by
Congress since the second world war, but the power is vested in Congress.
We're going to see today a vote in the House which is likely to pass because there's a House Democratic majority that would curtail the
President's capacity to act against Iran if he doesn't get authorization in Congress.
There's going to be a vote over the next few days, probably next week, in the Senate on a similar motion. The question is, are there 51 Senators that
would vote for this? If you add Mike Lee and Rand Paul, you probably need another Republican to vote for it, for it to pass.
That would be a very strong message to the President. Of course, the President could then veto it, and you would need a 67-vote majority in the
Senate to override that veto. That is not there. But I think, you know, this is a very unusual flexing of authority against this Republican
President by Congress on a crucial issue.
ANDERSON: Stephen Collinson is in Washington, closing out our discussion just for the time being. Because I want to take a very short break. We'll
be back after this with our great analysis and our analysts standing by.
ANDERSON: Tensions between the U.S. and Iran seem to have calmed for now and the future though, Mr. Trump says or may not have as much leverage to
launch a military offensive.
Later today the U.S. House plans to vote on reining in the President's war powers. I'm going to bring you a shot up. This is where we expect to see
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the next few minutes. She will likely be talking on that proposal.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump himself said the showdown between the two countries has ended, but tighter sanctions are on the way. He spoke
after Iranian missiles rained down at U.S. targets in Iraq. No Iraqis, thankfully, or Americans were killed or injured.
We've still got the panel with us. Fred Pleitgen in Tehran, John Defterios with me here in Abu Dhabi. In Washington we have Athena Jones, Joe Johns
and Stephen Collinson.
And, Athena, the U.S. President's attention does seem to be shifting somewhat from Iran back to impeachment and to the Democrats.
He tweeted earlier, quote, Pelosi doesn't want to hand over the Articles of Impeachment which were fraudulently produced by corrupt politicians like
Shifty Schiff in the first place, because after all of these years of investigations and persecutions they show no crimes and are a joke and
I have to say, exclamation point. It's a quite difficult tweet to actually read. And then he tweeted that he hoped all House Republicans would vote
against Pelosi's resolution. Has he got a concern here, do you think?
ATHENA JONES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly when it comes to the War Powers Resolution, Speaker Pelosi wouldn't bring it to the
floor if she thought it would fail. And of course, the House is controlled by Democrats. The big question is what happens to the Senate version of the
war powers resolution, which is still being worked on, on the Senate side.
We should mention, of course, that there are two prominent Republican Senators, libertarian leaning Rand Paul and Mike Lee, who have come out in
support of that War Powers Resolution. But still, the story of the War Powers Act -- a resolution on the Senate side is going to be different than
here in the House where we're expecting to vote in a few hours.
But on the matter of impeachment, what's been interesting is that just in the last hour or early this morning, I should say, we thought there was a
break in this support for Pelosi at least on the House side. The first chairman, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, a
Congressman of Washington, coming out in an interview saying it's time for Speaker Pelosi to go ahead and send the articles of impeachment to the
Senate, acknowledging that she doesn't really have a lot of leverage here.
Well just in the last few minutes he's taken to Twitter to walk that back. But the bottom line is, we are seeing some frustration on the Senate side.
That's, of course, who is waiting to receive the articles. Senate Democrats like California Senator Dianne Feinstein staying, look, it's time to go
ahead and send these articles of impeachment over to the Senate. Recognizing there's not a lot of leverage that Pelosi has and it's up to
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, to conduct a fair trial.
So those are some of the issues we expect to be addressed when we hear from Speaker Pelosi just in a few minutes. The War Powers Resolution, the plans
on that and also what's going on with these articles of impeachment. How much longer is she going to hold on to them in the hope she can force some
agreement on witnesses and documents and that sort of thing -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, and impeachment, you know, front and center, of course once again. It has, though, been the U.S. and Iran that's been stealing the
headlines. The targeted killing of General Soleimani was, in most people's minds, a monumental gamble by the U.S. President. His Vice President,
though, has thrown his support behind the President, Donald Trump's call to take out Qasem Soleimani was described like this by Mike Pence, Joe.
ANDERSON: I was hoping that we would -- I was hoping that we would hear from Mike Pence. He certainly has his Vice President's support in his
position with regard to Iran, whatever that might be at present.
JOHNS: Right, and OK. Mike Pence number one, is a member of the national security team. He sat through all the meetings. He was on television doing
interviews just this morning here in the United States. And basically backing up the President on all of these key points indicating that in his
view, in the President's view, the attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq were, in fact, intended to kill Americans.
Also indicating that this was in the view of the administration an imminent threat that was facing the United States. However, Pence, like the others
in the administration, has refused to give up any of the intelligence, any of the closely held intelligence indicating why they believe Soleimani was
And of course, that's what's creating a lot of heartburn up on Capitol Hill because members of Congress believe they have a constitutional right to get
the information and Congress as a whole has a constitutional right to declare war. So something of a stalemate.
Frankly, on this issue of war powers, it's not something that hasn't happened before with other administrations. And many administrations have
squared off with Capitol Hill over the rights and responsibilities of the executive branch to use military force at times certain -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Joe Johns there in Washington.
John Defterios here with me, our emerging markets editor. It was at this hour yesterday that we were awaiting what was a much-anticipated address to
the nation by President Donald Trump in which he spoke about oil. Here's what he said, John.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: America's achieved energy independence. We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent,
and we do not need Middle East oil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Is that true?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It is not true yet, the growing in independence. But what I thought was most fascinating is
that he brought up oil in a conversation about Iran and doing so with such bravado when in actual fact he has no credit to be taken for this shale
boom. It was in place ten years ago. In fact, President Obama deregulated the gas market and the U.S. is also a major gas player.
It is huge, though, when it comes to oil in general right now. Bigger than Saudi Arabia, bigger than Russia. About all the products it's 18 million
barrels a day. Which raises the question in listening to that tone he had yesterday. Is he flexing his muscles a little bit too much when it comes to
the Middle East because of this new oil and gas power that he has? Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUHAIL AL MAZROUI, UAE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND INDUSTRY: I don't think the United States wants to become more aggressive in the Middle East. But there
is a power that there's also trying to go beyond its borders, trying to affect their neighbors, trying to affect, and that is not fair. That is not
giving assurance for the future generations that they'll have a better life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Once again, the minister of energy there, Suhail al-Mazroui, at the energy forum yesterday. He was making reference to Iran and suggesting
that President Trump needs to check Iran because the UAE is an ally of the White House, of course.
But there is a gap in the market right now, Becky. The U.S. produces 18 million barrels a day. The U.S. consumes 20 million barrels a day. So they
do take in oil from the Middle East still. It was 2.5 million barrels going back a decade ago, 1.5 million barrels in 2018 and below a million barrels
last year. But the U.S. still is taking it in from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
And as I noted before, they are big, big players in natural gas competing against Russia, Australia, Qatar here in the Middle East. And President
Trump has been so aggressive as of late, he's even applying sanctions on those who are building the pipeline between Russia and Germany. So when
Donald Trump thinks of power and flexes muscles these days, he's using the hydrocarbon sector in a big, big way in doing so, especially against Iran.
ANDERSON: It's absolutely fascinating. Power and pipeline, is a series for you, sir, because we are also seeing the Turks and the Russians working
through the Iranians on the similar sort of oil infrastructure operations. Thank you, John.
Stephen, I want to bring you in at this point because we have spent the last five or six days specifically talking about whether or not Donald
Trump's administration has a clear strategy on Iran. Let me tell you in this region, we have spent months, if not the past three years, knocking
about a similar narrative. Unreliable, unpredictable, a man prepared to take a gamble in this region is certainly the sort of conversations that
you hear during the rounds in the Middle East.
The new poll from USA and Ipsos today suggests the following. A majority of those polled in the U.S. say Qasem Soleimani's killing and its immediate
aftermath have made the U.S. less safe, 24 percent say it has made the country safer. 53 percent support Congress limiting President Trump's
ability to order military strikes or declare war without legislative approval while just 36 percent say they support President Trump's current
strategy on Iran. Which tells us what, sir?
COLLINSON: I mean, I think there are danger signs there for the President considering he's going into his re-election campaign very shortly or is
really under way. It's going to be a key issue. You've seen several Democrats, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in particular, seizing on aspects
of this Iran crisis to try to push their candidacies. So they feel that there's a political opening there. Either on the grounds that President
Trump is a very erratic and unworthy commander in chief or that he can pitch the United States into another Middle Eastern war.
On your question of the strategy, I mean, I think there is a clear strategy from the administration without any consideration of the end game. The
strategy and President Trump doubled down on this, notwithstanding the fact he said he wanted to talk peace. There is no loosening of the U.S. vice on
Iran which has humbled its economy. Quite the opposite, in fact. And the problem with that is that the only outlet Iran has for, you know, to try
and get out of this vice is through its proxy activity, which is what caused Soleimani killing. So this is going to boil up all over again,
notwithstanding this pause we have right now.
ANDERSON: Chicken and egg comes to mind. Stephen, always a pleasure. Stay with us. I'm Becky Anderson. That was the first hour of CONNECT THE WORLD.
We'll be back after this short break. Do stay with us.
ANDERSON: All right, Nancy Pelosi is speaking on The Hill. Let's listen in.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): In California, but today we'll celebrate her wedding in Washington, D.C. I convey that to you because it is a source of
joy to us as she is a source of joy in her service to the country and her personal happiness is lovely.
In any event, here we are. We've got eyes on Iran, impeachment. Let me start with Iran.
Today we'll have a resolution on the floor put forth by Congresswoman Alyssa Slotkin. We're very proud of her experience in terms of national
security under Democratic and Republican Presidents. Now a member of Congress putting forth a resolution of this week.
Last week in our view, the President -- the administration conducted a provocative disproportionate air strike against Iran which endangered
Americans and did so --