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CONNECT THE WORLD
Remembering 9/11, W.H.O. Declared Coronavirus A Pandemic Six Months Ago; Trump Holds Rally Before A Mostly Maskless Crowd; Trump Tapes Show Two Different Attitudes On COVID-19; Beams Of Light Shine Over Pentagon To Honor 9/11 Victims; Wounded Ground Zero Supervisor Advocates For Injured Responders; Fire Erupts In Beirut Port Weeks After Deadly Explosion; U.S. Sacntions Hezbollah Allies In Lebanon; NLF, U.S. Open Take Center Stage; Legends To Face Off In "Random Chess" Competition. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired September 11, 2020 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: And right now it is a day unlike any other, welcome to the show. We start with an event that is forever changed and
defined our world, the unprecedented terror assault on the United States of America on September the 11th, 2001.
We have been living with it ever since in what is this post 11 era. We are only going to show you these images here once you only need to see them
Exactly 19 years ago today, this was the scene in New York. In the space of 17 minutes, terrorists flew to hijacked planes packed with passengers laden
with jet fuel out of the clear blue skies into the Twin Towers on a crisp early autumn morning.
The office buildings were packed with people, the conditions inside so unimaginable, and with no way out, people jumped from hundreds of feet in
the air to the ground. Less than an hour after being struck, the South Tower collapsed in less than 10 seconds. Then the North Tower fell.
A third hijacked plane struck the Pentagon, this, the moment of impact, and then a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania shortly after. It's
believed that the hijackers crashed it as passengers and crew tried to take back control. 2,977 people died that day and our world changed forever.
Memorial ceremonies are taking place in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, commemorating those who were killed. Thousands more were
injured. The President just spoke at a ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, honoring those who lost their lives on United Flight 93.
Earlier, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited Ground Zero and is now on his way to Shanksville. These events don't look like those of
years past, they are scaled back as the coronavirus pandemic hangs over our world.
We will never forget the events of 9/11 but let us not forget the events of 3/11 of this year. That is the day exactly six months ago that the World
Health Organization declared the coronavirus, a pandemic. Since that day, the virus has claimed more than 191,000 lives in the United States, more
than 900,000 worldwide.
The CDC warns more than 20,000 more people could die in the U.S. in the next three weeks. But according to the U.S. president, the U.S. is doing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is doing great. We had to take a pause to get rid of the China virus, and we got rid of -
we're getting rid. We're coming around. We're coming around that turn, I'm telling you. You watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Donald Trump dealing with the fallout from tapes released by the veteran journalist Bob Woodward's where the President acknowledged the
severity of the virus but continued to downplay it in public.
U.S. President Donald Trump's attitude towards the coronavirus pandemic again causing concern amongst his own health experts. Take a look at this
packed rally Mr. Trump held on Thursday night in Michigan. Among the thousands of people attending you won't see social distancing or very many
masks, and proudly so.
Michigan is one of 16 states where coronavirus deaths are rising and the CDC warns the virus could claim an additional, I as say, 20,000 American
lives in the next three weeks. The Director of the National Institutes of Health Francis Collins tells CNN, he is puzzled by the lack of masks at
Trump rallies and calls it disheartening.
This is the 16th rally Mr. Trump has held since telling Bob Woodward that the coronavirus is airborne and deadlier than the flu and then, "lying
about it" to the American people. As Joe Johns reports, the President says, it wasn't a lie at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A defiant President Trump launched his defensive strategy, responding to recording
showing he intentionally downplayed the coronavirus to the public.
TRUMP: I didn't lie. What I said is we have to be clam. We can't be panicked. I don't want to jump up and down and start screaming death,
death, because that's not what it's about.
JOHNS (voice-over): But just listen to the tape to hear Trump privately admit to Bob Woodward, he knew how dangerous the disease could be.
TRUMP: That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your - you know, your - even your strenuous flus, so, this is deadly stuff.
JOHNS (voice-over): And weeks later, he told Woodward this.
TRUMP: I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.
BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "FEAR: TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE": Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Yes, because I don't want to create a panic.
JOHNS (voice-over): Still, the president insisting his strategy was correct and even attempted to pass responsibility on to Woodward.
TRUMP: If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, then he should have immediately - right after I said it, gone out to the authorities so they
can prepare and let him know. But he didn't produce that--
JOHNS (voice-over): Trump's White House defense coming before he traveled to a Michigan rally to a crowd of several thousand.
ROB BEEBEE, TRUMP RALLY SUPPORTER: There's no COVID. It's a fake pandemic.
DANIEL GUIDER, TRUMP RALLY SUPPORTER: I'm not afraid. The good lord takes care of me. If I die. I die. We got to get this country moving.
JOHNS (voice-over): The Director of the National Institutes of Health says he's concerned by the lack of masks and social distancing at the event.
DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: If something that is so straightforward, can somehow get twisted into decision making,
that really makes no sense. So, I'm - as a scientist, I'm pretty puzzled and rather disheartened.
JOHNS (voice-over): Still, the president again told supporters the days of the coronavirus are coming to an end.
TRUMP: Our country is doing great. We had to take a pause to get rid of the China virus. And we got rid - we're getting ready. We're coming around.
We're coming around that turn. I'm telling you. You watch.
JOHNS (voice-over): But health experts warn the pandemic will most likely get worse in the fall and winter months.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I just think we need to hunker down and get through this fall and
winter, because it's not going to be easy.
JOHNS (voice-over): On the campaign trail in Florida, Kamala Harris slammed Trump for holding back information and continuing to hold large rallies
during the pandemic.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He knew the facts of it. 5 percent potential lethality. He narrated all that in that
In February, in January, he had all this information, yet he held rallies. He suggested that to wear a mask is a sign of weakness, as opposed to a
sign of strength. This is the President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Right. We've been talking about these Woodward's tapes, haven't we? My next guest, reacting to those tapes writing, "President Donald Trump
admitted that he lied to the American people about the seriousness of the Coronavirus threat and knew how deadly the virus is."
Democratic Congressman for California, Tony Cardenas is also calling for an investigation into the extent of what he calls a cover up. He joins me now
from California. And, Congressman, briefly, we must start with our thoughts and prayers for those in the United States and around the world affected by
the events of September the 11th, 2001, and I know that you will want to add your own word, so please do. Go ahead.
REP. TONY CARDENAS (D-CA): Yes. Well, we constantly pray for the families for their loss, and certainly for the first responders who lost their lives
as well and for their families, and we're trying to do everything that we can to help them in any way whatsoever and comfort them. And again, it was
a horrible dark day, not only for the United States, but for the world.
ANDERSON: Congressman, it is a frightening fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is now every week claiming twice as many lives as were lost on 9/11. At his
rally, last night, the president insists that despite confirming in private he understood the gravity of the situation back in February, he did nothing
wrong in publicly downplaying the virus. He says he didn't lie. And we heard that in Joe Johns' report as we - ahead of coming to you. Dr. Anthony
Fauci does seem to agree. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why are you guys not wearing masks?
TOM WOOD, TRUMP RALLY SUPPORTER: I have one with me. It's my prerogative.
ACOSTA: But why not wear one?
FAUCI: He really didn't see anything different than we discussed when we were with him. So I may not be tuned in to the right thing that they're
talking about. But I didn't really see any discrepancies between what he told us and what we told him and what he ultimately came out publicly and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: We got to talk to Fauci in the end, with respect. He was in the room and advising the president. Despite that, you say the president lied,
that doesn't quite stack up. Explain, if you will.
CARDENAS: What Dr. Fauci just said just left me confused. But I wasn't confused when Woodward - his taping of the president in real-time. The
President admitted that this is deadly. And then he came out to the public and said, everything's fine, it's going to go away, nothing to worry about.
And that's tantamount to just not doing his job.
The President of the United States is supposed to be there for the American people and supposed to have the will and the ability and the fortitude to
just speak the truth so that we can know what to do and to make sure that lives can be saved.
What the President did is just like, if you - the firefighters got a call saying that the fire just shifted, and it's going to burn these homes, but
don't warn the people, because you don't want to scare them. Those people have lost their lives due to coronavirus, because this president refused to
tell the people that this is deadly, and we should prepare and we should listen to the doctors and we should do what's right. So that now close to
200,000 people are now dead and the President of the United States lie and we would have many, many people with us today if it wasn't for his lie.
ANDERSON: And he was cross examined about the accusation that he lied, and we have heard his counterargument. You are calling for an investigation
into the extent of what you call this cover up. Is that likely to happen?
CARDENAS: Yes, it is likely to happen, because when the United States Congress gets information clearly on tape about somebody in the
administration, in this case at the top, the President of the United States lying, we need to make sure that we pull in not only the president, but
those people around him to make sure that they can speak on oath, in front of the American people.
I want to make something very clear. In the United States of America, when the United States Congress has a hearing it is filmed and open to the
public, so that the people can hear the questions and the answers, so that the truth can come out. So that the people will know what happened, when it
happened, what did they know, and when did I know it?
CARDENAS: That's what the United States Congress shall do.
ANDERSON: We are just shy of 50 odd - well, what, 50 odd days out from the November election. At this point, it does seem that Donald Trump's
supporters are, quite frankly, not that bothered about - at least his response to COVID-19. My colleague Jim Acosta spoke to some of Donald Trump
supporters at his rally last night. Just have a quick listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Why are you guys not wearing masks?
WOOD: I have one with me. It's my prerogative.
ACOSTA: But why not wear one to stay safe.
WOOD: I have a hard time understanding people when they talk, so that's why I don't wear it.
ACOSTA: But you could hear me right now?
WOOD: I can hear you.
ACOSTA: Sir, why are you not wearing your mask?
BEEBEE: Because there's no COVID. It's a fake pandemic created to destroy the United States of America.
ACOSTA: But the President said to Bob Woodward that there is a virus - the coronavirus and that it is deadly.
BEEBEE: That's his opinion. The truth is that the CDC said there's only less than 10,000 people died from COVID, the other 190,000 have to 2.6 or
2.8 other mortalities.
ACOSTA: Does it worry you guys at all to be in this crowded space with all these people.
GUIDER: I'm not afraid. The Good lord takes care of me. If I die, I die. We got to get this country moving. What are you going to do? Wear a mask and
stay inside for another year? Huh? Where will that get us?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: This clearly, congressman, reflects CNN polling numbers that only three out of 10 Trump supporters worry about COVID-19. How do the Democrats
plan on getting through to those Americans?
CARDENAS: Well, we're - Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are just going to speak the truth, and I'm just going to encourage people to do the right thing, to
protect themselves, to protect others, to wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance. And our economy will come back quicker sooner and
stronger. But Donald Trump and some of his supporters just refuse to listen to the truth.
And you know what? I pray for them too. I pray for them too, because I don't want anybody to suffer out of ignorance. I don't want anybody to
suffer because they don't want to listen to the truth, or that they're willing to believe Donald Trump when he says, it's just going to go away.
Again, 190 plus thousand individuals, that's 190,000 families are suffering because of a loss that didn't need to take place to that degree. So, we're
just going to continue to speak the truth. We're just going to continue to make sure that people understand--
ANDERSON: All right.
CARDENAS: --both safely.
ANDERSON: Even in your state of California, not only dealing with COVID-19, of course, but these wildfires three years ago your resolution to push what
was the more innovative use of new tools like drones to prevent wildfires was unambiguously adopted. I spoke to the former four term California
Governor Jerry Brown. This is what he told me earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY BROWN, FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: I feel like we're at a real turning point here in California, which is part of a larger turning point
in the world, that if we don't get at the climate change with real action to reduce carbon emissions, we're going to be in big trouble. And what you
see now in California will be more general throughout the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Look, I know that this is an issue very close to your heart. Congressman, what efforts does California need to take against climate
change at this point?
CARDENAS: Well, California has led the way when it comes to requiring companies that generate electricity to use cleaner fuels and alternative
methods and we've been doing that for decades. And I actually visited with some companies in Europe, including Italy, and they admitted that they look
up to California. And they like the fact that California has led the way.
So, California just needs to stay on the same track and lead the country and the world when it comes to cleaner, safer usage of fuels and make sure
that we have alternative fuels and cleaner fuels as well.
ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us--
CARDENAS: Thank you so much.
ANDERSON: --on this, the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Up next, we talk to a responder who had to have his foot partially amputated after an accident at Ground Zero. What happened next? Turned him
into a vocal advocate for those who were also injured responding to that tragedy.
Plus, we speak with a former Lebanese cabinet minister who resigned in the wake of the deadly explosion last month. See what she has to say about the
fire that broke out just yesterday in that very same port. Taking a short break. Back after this.
ANDERSON: These blue beams of light shone over Washington to commemorate the 184 people who died when a plane crashed into the Pentagon 19 years ago
today. They were among the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 terror attacks when Islamic radicals hijacked four planes and crash them into the
Pentagon, the World Trade Center towers in New York and a field in Pennsylvania.
Well, my next guest was a demolition supervisor at Ground Zero when a falling steel beam landed on his foot. John Feal eventually required
partial amputation. Does it happen outside of a 96 hour window after the attacks he was denied injury compensation. He has since become a vocal
advocate for 9/11 responders and has lobbied Congress for more funding. Have a listen to what he said at a news conference last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FEAL, INJURED RESPONDING TO 9/11 ATTACKS: But at the end of the day, I hold more compassion than anybody here. I am a kidney donor to a complete
stranger. I have walked the halls of Congress for 15 years. I've had 38 surgeries. I need two hip replacements and a knee replacement. I put my own
self through the mill for everybody here. Whether you like me or not, I really don't care anymore. But I'm going back to DC. And I'm going to
finish what I started, and that's kicking (bleep) out of Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: John Feal, also the founder of the FealGood Foundation. It's motto, "No Responders Left Behind." John joins me now and welcome to the
show. Sir, it's good to have you with us. You call 9/11, the longest day in the history of days that has never ended for so many. How are you holding
FEAL: Well, one, thank you for having me, Becky. It's an honor to be on CNN International. On 9/11, the United States is attacked, but it was felt
around the world, and the outpouring of love from every country in the world was amazing.
And I'm a strong believer that good triumphed over evil. That charity triumphed over anger. And I wish that we bottled September 12, for days
like we live in today. So this is a day of remembrance and a day of reflection to the innocent lives we lost because of senseless violence.
And listen, personally, with every ounce of fiber in my body, I blame the terrorist for the innocent lives lost. But I also blame Washington DC, and
Congress and the Senate and the White House over the years for their failure to take care of 9/11 responders and the people that lived, worked
or went to school in lower Manhattan.
A lot of people died that day didn't have to. And we're seeing - we're kind of seeing the similarity today. So I'm never going to be happy, I'm never
going to be content. I'm going to continue to advocate, and this is all I know how to do now. And this is all I know, I'm good at.
When do we accept this norm that it's OK for people to die? And we - I didn't need 9/11 to know right from wrong. I needed 9/11 to show everybody
how my mother raised me. My injury - it doesn't - it's just an important chapter in my life.
And this journey that led me to today's interview, it's not over. I don't know when my journey is going to be over. But before it ends, I'm going to
ensure that I help as many people as I can, because that's what I want to do, and that's all I care about.
And when you can remove yourself from a political party and you can remove yourself from a religion, but believe in God, and believe in a political
process, then you're at peace with yourself. Then you put on blinders and you get things done. I will never be tied down to any affiliation. I will
only be tied down to individuals that have suffered in humanity.
ANDERSON: John, I just want our viewers to have a listen to what you said last year after a meeting with the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
and pass an extension for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, part of what is and continues to be your extraordinary work. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEAL: Yes, I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I'm a ball of emotions right now. Because when I get angry, I cry. I've been to 181 funerals. I'm about to go
to 182. So, yes, it's frustrating when you see a dysfunctional body of work who promises to fix yesterday's problems today, maybe tomorrow, and they
don't work at our speed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: John, your passion works, it was past. And I know, the 9/11 community is better off for the work that you have done, but how much more
needs to be done for that community, sir?
FEAL: Well, Fox News apologized for my saucy language that day, because I believe I did curse. There's a lot of more work to be done. We're still
putting people in the World Trade Center Health Program. We're still getting people to file claims for their illnesses. It's only getting worse.
The average age of the 9/11 responder was 38 years old on 9/11. Now, the average is 58 years old. And take 9/11 out of the equation, take the
pandemic out of the equation, just what age humbles you and it hurts now. Now, all these debilitating life-threatening illnesses, and it sucks. It
My injury humbled me. I thought I was the world's best weekend athlete. I thought I was John Wayne and Bo Jackson combined. And I realized I wasn't.
I realized that wasn't invincible. And I realized I bled.
And then I got the COVID-19 and pneumonia in March and April. And I realized, I am really, really lucky, because I am not as strong as I
thought I used to be. And the fact that I'm still here and able to do what I'm doing, I feel blessed because every time something bad happens to me, I
continue to do good.
And I'm going to live my life accordingly. I'm not going to live - and I said it before earlier today, you know, they say you only live once, it's
an old saying. It's not true. You only die once, you live every day and that's how I live my life.
ANDERSON: John, I know you've said that there are three or four days from which I remember absolutely nothing when you got the virus. And you say the
lingering effects are real, and I'm still not the same bloke. What do you make of the response to COVID in the United States and the handling of this
pandemic by the U.S. President?
FEAL: No, without being political, and without getting into politics, the state local, federal, White House, Congress, Senate, everybody needs to
take responsibility in fault. I put out a video the first week of March, before I got sick, and I told the 9/11 community to heed the advice of the
experts. We're compromised. Our immune systems are not the same. Please be careful and be vigilant and use common sense, and a week later I got sick.
But I give I give our government a big fat zero. And I don't I don't say that lightly. And I'm not singling out anybody where a bunch of far right
or far left people are going to curse at John Feal. I don't care. I just don't care. I care about humanity.
And I care about - there's no more legislative process in Washington DC. It's all about tweeting. It's all about being who can Tweet the fastest and
who can be the wittiest. They all attack each other, and at the end of the day, the American people are suffering.
So if you're a Republican or a Democrat or far right or far left, I don't care what you do. Just do your job and stop tweeting. And this is the
problem with America. And I'm not saying anything else that nobody else is not thinking. I just say what else - is on everybody else's mind.
And that's all, and I'm not here to start a fight, because today is a day of remembrance and reflection of the innocent lives we lost. But we need
better at our local, state and federal governments. The American people deserve better. They're still waiting on money to put food on the table and
pay their utilities and to get proper PPEs.
They're still waiting - months, months. They can't even get - they can't even come together and compromise and say, hey, look, people are suffering.
You know what, the American people going through something right now. It's our job to help them out. We should at least do it. Well, we don't have to
like each other. But let's do this now and get it over with. They don't care.
FEAL: And come next Tuesday, Jon Stewart, and I will be back in Washington, DC introducing legislation with Senator Gillibrand for the soldiers coming
back from Iraq and Afghanistan that are affected by the aftermath and the toxins of the burn pits.
These people have been suffering for over a decade, and many have died. And they've gotten nowhere because Congress and the Senate is incompetent, and
I say that out loud, and we're going to punch them in the mouth with a piece of legislation, and we're going to help those ordinary people who do
Soldiers and first responders are heroes. But once they get hurt, or once they lose a body part or once they have a mental illness, they become a
financial burden on their entity, and then they're no good to anybody anymore. That's got to stop. It has to stop.
ANDERSON: John, you make a lot of sense. You're a strong bloke, and we appreciate you making time for us today.
FEAL: No, I make sense. And you know why I make sense? Because I make everything - I make everything simple, so I can understand it. And when I
open my mouth, I make it simple for everybody else to understand it. This is simple.
You don't have to like somebody to help somebody. This is about humanity and empathy and sympathy for your fellow human being, no matter their skin
color, or their gender or their religion, or their political affiliation. Just how treat each other with respect.
ANDERSON: John, thank you. Thanks for being on. John Feal, a close friend of the comedian. Jon Stewart. You called him your partner in crime, and he
is fond of you too. He recently said, "I have the greatest admiration for John Feal. He made all of this his life's work. If you hadn't done what he
did for over 18 years, and gone to Washington, and knocked down so many doors to those who wouldn't listen, I would not have gotten this done."
John Feal in the house, thank you.
Ahead on this show, anger is stoked once again in Lebanon, where they a massive fire in the same port as last month's deadly blast we speak with
one of the former government ministers who resigned in the wake of that disaster.
ANDERSON: You're looking at a huge fire that broke out in Beirut's port on Thursday, massive plumes of smoke billowed over the city, triggering waves
of panic. This, of course, just a month after an explosion in the same port killed 90 people and injured 6,000.
Well, now anger growing once again as many asked how could this happen again? Well, Lebanese president is calling for accountability. Michel Aoun
says, the fire could have been intentional or an accident, but there's no room for mistakes anymore.
The civil defense chief warns with highly flammable materials at the port like rubber and oil. It will take time to make sure this fire is
extinguished completely. He is promising the team won't leave the site until they can ensure that the blaze is entirely out. Well, no casualties,
thankfully, have been reported from this latest fire, but the country has once again been shaken to its core.
Arwa Damon with this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one knew what was happening as the smoke darkened the skies, and the fire
burned through what was left of Beirut's port. Just a few days ago, four tons of ammonium nitrate were found in the port. All they could think was
another blast is coming. Flee!
"I live some 500 meters from this fire," Majid Hassanan (ph) says. "I had to take my wife and children out of Beirut because of this, since they are
still living in fear after what happened before."
It's been barely a month since the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut's port, ripping through swaths of the city, taking lives and
"We saw the same thing happening again," Andrei Mulabais (ph) says. "We are definitely scared, and people are freaking out."
The trauma from that is still all too fresh, the anger at the government's incompetence too raw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a disaster. It's our (bleep) politician they are doing. No, no, no. Let me show - let me show the truth, because this is the
truth. We are working here in Beirut every day to help people. Where is the government?
DAMON: This area, just a short distance from the site of the deadly explosion in August, should have been secured. This should not be
happening. How did cooking oil and tires go up in flames? We don't know what caused this fire, just like we don't know what caused the initial fire
that led to the ammonium nitrate's detonation back in August.
And this, this just adds to the deep despair among the population here. A choking reminder of all they have suffered, still so incomprehensible.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, joining me now is Lebanon's former information minister Manal Abdel Samad. She resigned last month along with the entire government
under Hassan Diab in the wake of that original deadly blast. Currently, she is, in fact, doing the job until somebody else occupies that position.
Thank you for joining us. In the wake of yesterday's fire, Michel Aoun, the president tweeting and I quote him here, "Today's fire could be an
intentional act of sabotage, or a technical error of ignorance or negligence. In all cases, the cause must be known as soon as possible, and
the perpetrators should be held accountable." I'm sure everybody in Beirut, Lebanon would agree with him. What do you understand you have been the
MANAL ABDEL SAMAD, FORMER MINISTER OF INFORMATION IN HASSAN DIAB'S CABINET (via telephone): Hello. Thank you, Becky. I think whatsoever that Michel
said, there is a huge a negligence and a huge action of corruption that was along the years built in that system, and now it's exploded and it gets
what you get now. So corruption is the first reason behind this and which that investigations could reach what the truth as early as possible,
because at the end of the day, justice delayed is justice denied.
ANDERSON: Yes. That will be those who say - look, this is right coming from somebody who served in the government. I know it was only, what, sort of
for eight months. But you did serve in a government and during that time - this is the second time in, of course less than a month, where the City of
Beirut experiences a disaster like. This is a traumatized city. What's the latest? As you understand it on the investigation into that original port
SAMAD (via telephone): The result is really silly, because when we say that it's only - its sparks from a welding the tool, it's really silly and can't
be believed, because it is - we should have a lot of safety measures in this critical area. And especially that we have this catastrophe one month
ago, so we have to learn from our mistakes, and we should have done better operating procedures that we missed until this date.
So I think the negligence is cumulating now and I think the responsibility is bigger, and now we are going from bad to worse, and we didn't find any
way to solve our problems up till this minute.
ANDERSON: OK. And when I said earlier on, I think there will be people watching this who says that, well, this is right, coming from you, the
former information minister, still in the job, of course. I mean, I know you resigned after the August 4th explosion.
And you said that you regret failing to fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese people. Specifically you said and I quote you here. "Given the
magnitude of the catastrophe caused by the Beirut earthquake that shook the nation and hurt our hearts and minds and in respect for the martyrs and the
pains of the wounded, missing and displaced, and in response to the public for change, I resign from the government."
I have to ask you this, though, as a government minister, do you in any way, see yourself as responsible and to be held accountable for what
SAMAD (via telephone): Yes, definitely, everybody of us is responsible, either morally or legally, either directly or indirectly. So we have to be
all responsible. We have to be held accountable for every single, maybe negligence or any inappropriate act that led to this catastrophe. So I
think this time investigation should clarify the issues and should be - should lead to the right justice to the whole people.
ANDERSON: Let me push on a little bit and thank you for your response. President Donald Trump's White House has announced, at least in principle,
the preparation of sanctions against Hezbollah, the Iran backed group who controls a large part of Lebanon.
The WSJ, "The Wall Street Journal" reporting, officials also want to sanction the former Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, an ally of
Hezbollah. And quoting a former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon under George W. Bush, the U.S. says. "Gebran Bassil should have been sanctioned years ago.
No one has done more to enable Hezbollah's political overreach in Lebanon than he has in giving an Iranian funded Shia militia Christian cover." And
I interviewed him recently, your response to the potential for these sanctions against Bassil.
SAMAD (via telephone): I think these sanctions should be discussed on the table of the cabinet. And what I can say is, I have no clue about the
procedures that has been taken or any information that were included in this investigation. And I feel that this is a patriotic and this is maybe
an official decision that should be taken by the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Republic in front of such international decisions.
ANDERSON: You don't have a personal position on this, briefly.
SAMAD (via telephone): Believe that at the internal level everyone should be held accountable if is deemed responsible, whoever he is and how -
whatsoever his is high rank is.
ANDERSON: With that, we'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. We'll be right back.
DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there. It is time for World Sport. We are live from CNN Center and I'm Don Riddell. And it is starting to feel as
though sport is getting very busy again, so many leagues and major events have emerged from the gloom of the coronavirus lockdown. And this week
there is top action everywhere.
On Thursday, the eyes of the world were on the United States. We'll talk about the U.S. Open shortly, but first, let's start in Kansas City where
the Super Bowl champions returned, the NFL returned to action. And there were headlines both on and off the field. Andy Scholes was there to see it.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, is a part of the new social justice initiatives, the NFL is playing both the Black National
Anthem, which is the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and the normal national anthem here in the U.S., "The Star Spangled Banner," before games
during week one.
Now, the Chiefs on Thursday night stayed on the field for both anthems, while the Texans decided to stay back in the locker room. Texans executive
telling NBC that they didn't want to be seen as celebrating one song, while throwing shade on the other, that's why they stayed in the back.
The Chiefs, though, they all lined up together at the goal line for the Black National Anthem, and video tribute. Then just one player, defensive
end, Alex Okafor kneeling during the national anthem with his fist raised in the air. Now, once the Texans did come out and take the field, both
teams gathered at midfield for a moment of unity.
SCHOLES: I here's some boos there on the broadcast. Now, I was in the stadium, I did not hear any fans booing in the area where I was sitting.
The Texan star J. J. Watt said after the game, he didn't understand why anyone would boo that moment.
J. J. WATT, HOUSTON TEXANS DEFENSIVE END: The booing was unfortunate during that moment. I don't fully understand that. There was no flag involved.
There was nothing involved with that, besides two teams coming together to show unity.
PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: We wanted to show that we're unified as a league, and we're not going to let playing football
distract us from what we're doing and making change in this world.
SCHOLES: Now, right before the game, the Miami Dolphins in a powerful video message explained what they plan to do during pregame ceremonies in their
opener on Sunday, and they said like the Texans they plan on remaining in the locker room during both anthems.
ELANDON ROBERTS: Lift every voice and sing.
KAVON FRAZIER: Is just a way to say face.
SHAQ LAWSON: Lose mask and stop hiding the real game face.
ELANDON ROBERTS: So, if my dad was a soldier, but the cops killed my brother, do I stand for one anthem and then kneel for the other?
KAVON FRAZIER: This attempt to unify only creates more divide."
SHAQ LAWSON: So we'll skip the song and dance.
ELANDON ROBERTS: And as a team, we'll stay inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need changed hearts. Not just a response to pressure.
SHAQ LAWSON: Enough. No more fluff and empty gestures.
SCHOLES: The Dolphins play at the New England Patriots in their opener on Sunday. Now asked for the action on the field on Thursday between The
Chiefs and The Texans, Kansas City Head Coach Andy Reid battling a foggy face shield all game long of his team picking up right where they left off,
scoring 31 unanswered points.
At one point in this ballgame, Patrick Mahomes three touchdown passes. He was fantastic. A rookie running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 138 yards
rushing a TD in his debut as The Chief just cruise to 34 to 20 win over The Texans.
Now The Chiefs is one of two NFL teams along with the Jacksonville Jaguars that will be having fans in the stands during opening week. And only about
16,000 fans showed up here to Arrowhead Stadium Thursday night. It normally holds seven 76,000. The fans were all spread out.
All of the concession stands. All of the restrooms, they were open. Even the seats that weren't sold had zip ties on them to keep fans a distance
from each other. We talked to a number of fans down. They said they felt safe in this atmosphere. But they did play a couple of video disclaimers
throughout the game, saying that by entering stadium grounds fans assume all risk when it comes to COVID.
RIDDELL: Andy thanks very much, social justice campaigns attempts to try and make the world a better place. Clearly, a theme in the NFL this season.
It's been the same at the U.S. Open for the last couple of weeks, and especially with Naomi Osaka. We'll talk about that right after the break.
RIDDELL: Hey, we're back with tennis. And at the U.S. Open on Thursday, we witnessed two dramatic semifinals in the women's draw. And the big headline
is that Serena Williams is out. And after she bossed Victoria Azarenka in the first set, not many would have seen that coming. Carolyn Manno can tell
us how that went down and also how Naomi Osaka continued speaking up and moving on. Hey, Carolyn?
CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don, how are you? Well, the headline, of course, Serena Williams, another disappointment for the near
39-year-old in her quest, her attempt for another Grand Slam title. She's trying to tie the record at 24 and it was not to be here in Queens.
But she's played a lot of tennis to get to this point. This was her fourth consecutive three set match. But as you mentioned, she came out very strong
against Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka's mental fortitude really showing through. And then in the third set Serena Williams was hampered with a foot
injury. She required medical attention.
She went to the side. She took a full medical timeout and said after the match that she overstretched her Achilles. But that injury ultimately
played no part in her defeat. She returned to the court. She had her serve broken. She went down by two games. So as for that elusive Grand Slam
record, Serena now 0 and 9 in her last nine major appearances.
SERENA WILLIAMS, BID FOR RECORD-TYING 24TH MAJOR FALLS SHORT: It's obviously disappointing. But at the same time, I - you know, I did what I
could today. It feels like other times I have been close, and I could have done better. Today, I felt like I gave a lot--
MANNO: Azarenka is a two-time major champion in her own right and had faced Williams in a major 10 times before, but she had never beaten her. She had
to claw her way back after dropping that first set. She said she knew what to do in that moment, though, relying on her experience to win five
straight games to close out the second set.
It's fitting that she's going to meet Naomi Osaka here Saturday in the final, Don. That's a match that was supposed to happen two weeks ago in the
Western & Southern Open, but really never materialized after Osaka was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury.
So two years removed from winning it all here in Queens, Osaka met 25 year old Jennifer Brady in the first of the two semifinal matches. She donned
her sixth mask in her continued effort to raise awareness on issues of social justice, wearing the name of 32 year old Philando Castile, a black
man who was fatally shot in an encounter with police back in July of 2016. This match was very hard-hitting battle. The pair traded serves most of the
night, Osaka reaching 120 miles per hour, Brady reaching 117.
And on the men's side, Don, here in the semifinals, we are going to see a new Grand Slam champion crowned. The two remaining top seeds here Dominic
Thiem and Daniil Medvedev are going to square off in the second match later on tonight.
RIDDELL: Looking forward to that. Carolyn, thanks for much. OK, let's talk about the innocence of youth. At the age of just 13, Magnus Carlsen went up
against the greatest chess player of all time, Garry Kasparov. Look at this, wasn't he cute? And he was annoyed that he didn't win, but the
rivalry is set to be rekindled more than 15 years later.
RIDDELL: Hello again. Magnus Carlsen is without doubt the greatest chess player of his generation, a child prodigy who's been a grandmaster since
the age of 13. He's helped to popularize the game with a younger audience.
But he doesn't think he's the best of all time. He says that honor belongs to Garry Kasparov who he hasn't played since he was a kid. They're about to
meet again, though, and a special event put on by the St. Louis Chess Club. Earlier this week, he told me all about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAGNUS CARLSEN, CURRENT WORLD CHESS CHAMPION: So what is happening is that we're playing so called Chess 960 or Fischer random chess. Basically, that
just means the major pieces, meaning not the pawns, they are arranged randomly on the first rank in order to negate the sort of effect of opening
There will be 10 players playing all play all, and it includes basically all the best players in the world, including former World Champion Garry
Kasparov, whom I haven't played in a serious game since I was 13 years old. So that's going to be pretty exciting.
RIDDELL: What are your most abiding memories of that time? As you said, you were so young when you played him last time. What sticks out? What do you
CARLSEN: I remember two things, most of all. First of all, that I was a bit disappointed that I could not beat him from a much better position. And
secondly, that in the other two games that we played back then, I lost without much of a chance. So I, finally, have a chance for redemption now.
RIDDELL: How would you describe your rivalry with him, if we can even call it that?
CARLSEN: I wouldn't say there's been there's been much of a direct rivalry with Garry since our playing careers basically haven't overlapped at all.
So there will, I think, be more of a rivalry in the sense of historical comparisons. In those comparisons, I would say that, he is certainly the
greatest chess player of all time. I just hope that when I'm done, my achievements can, at least, to some extent, rival his.
RIDDELL: What would you have to do to be considered the greatest yourself?
CARLSEN: I would have to continue to be the best for probably 10 more years and win most of the tournaments that I compete in. That would be a very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: He's a great fantasy Premier League player too, by the way. We're going to talk about that within next week. That's just about it for World
Sport today. But I'll leave you with a look ahead to another exciting weekend in Formula One.
I'm Don Riddell with our CNN Center. Here is our "Rolex Minute."