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Iran Preparing to Supply Russia with Drones; Ukrainian Pharmacists on the Front Lines; Abe Assassin Planned Murder a Year Ago; Sri Lanka Political Crisis; Euro versus Dollar Hits Parity; More Images from James Webb Telescope. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 12, 2022 - 10:00   ET





JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these

(INAUDIBLE) with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Is Iran a possible new player in Russia's war on Ukraine?



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "We really need medication. We don't have a local pharmacy. We have nowhere

to buy anything," she says.

ANDERSON (voice-over): As more weapons head for Ukraine, vital supplies are becoming scarce.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just disbelief?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I can't believe this is happening in Japan.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Mourners attend the funeral of Shinzo Abe as questions remain of the motives of his assassin.



ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. In Washington, the stage is set for another day of political drama up on Capitol Hill as we learn more about the events

leading up to January 6 insurrection. More on that later.

Away from that big domestic U.S. story, the Biden administration very focused on the president's upcoming trip to the Middle East. The one

country that will undoubtedly dominate discussions during that trip is not on Joe Biden's itinerary.

I am talking about Iran. Last night the president's national security advisor suggested that Iran is gearing up to support Russia in the war in



SULLIVAN: Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including

weapons capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline. Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs

with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July.

It is unclear whether Iran has delivered any of these UAVs to rusha already. But this is just one example of how Russia is looking to countries

like Iran for capabilities that are also being used on maidad (ph) or have been used before we got the cease-fire in place in Yemen to attack Saudi



ANDERSON: As Iran packs up those drones for Russia, according to U.S. intelligence, Russian president Vladimir Putin is packing up to go to

Tehran. The Kremlin confirms Mr. Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, will meet in Tehron one

week from today. The focus is said to be on Syria.

But Iranian media says Mr. Putin and Mr. Raisi will also be looking at expanding economic ties. CNN's White House correspondent Arlette Saenz is

in Washington connecting us to this new development involving Iran.

And I guess it begs the question, how significant is the addition of Iranian drones to what is Russia's somewhat depleted arsenal.

Do we have an anwer on that?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House is arguing that this intelligence that shows that Iran might be providing drones to Russia, it

shows the severe costs they've described of their own stockpiles of weaponry being depleted as the war in Ukraine has extended on for many

months, because, of course, drones have been used on both sides by Ukraine and Russia.

This doesn't necessarily mark the first time that Russia is looking for assistance outside their own country. The U.S. earlier this year revealed

that Russia was seeking assistance from China.


SAENZ: But there has been no evidence that has shown that China offered military or economic assistance to Russia. But now as President Putin is

traveling to Iran next week, the U.S. is trying to provide this information that they have intelligence showing that Iran will -- is considering

providing these drones and weaponry to Russia, as well as training to use those.

Of course, iran has tried to seek some closer ties to Russia over the course of the past few months. But earlier today a White House

spokesperson, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, said this isn't necessarily drone versus drone war, that there are other elements,

other weaponries that are in play.

The U.S. is always trying to consider a suite of systems it can provide to Ukraine as they continue to fight against the Russians.

The U.S., of course, has provided small kamikaze type drones, Switchblades. But they're constantly evaluating whether to provide further, possibly

larger drones that could contain missiles on them as well.

But the White House right now is closely monitoring these developments as they are anticipating that Iran might be providing drones to Russia.

ANDERSON: Arlette, thank you.

For more, in a big week for the Middle East -- Biden will be in Israel and the West Bank and in Saudi to meet members of the GCC+3, Egypt, Iraq and

Jordan, big week. I want to bring in Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi. She follows Iran for the Royal United Services Institute for defense and security.

An awful lot to unpack. Let's start off with Jake Sullivan's news.

What do we know about any drones headed for Russia from Iran and the size and scope of Iran's drone industry?

ANISEH BASSIRI TABRIZI, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: Thank you for having me. This is a very important question to ask. We have had a study

conducted, looking at capability of Iran and other countries. A few years back, we were talking about 100 armed drones in local between the Shahed

129 and the Mohajer-6.

So when we are talking about the provision of hundreds of drones, even after a few years, there seems unlikely to happen. However, we cannot

really dismiss the possibility that Iran is actually providing drones to rusha.

I think kit is more a question about what type and how many and where drones would be deployed, because Ukraine is not really an area of shared

interest for Iran and Russia, where there a territory such as Afghanistan might be more in line with what Iran might be willing to achieve in joining

coordination with Russia.

So I think there is still a lot to discover with this intelligence.

ANDERSON: It's interesting, Iran's drones have been used by Houthi rebels in Yemen against Saudi Arabia again and again and again.

You talked about the question about capability. At this point what this will do is raise the stakes for Joe Biden's trip to the region.

TABRIZI: Yes, I think the timing is interesting. We know that the U.S. together with Israel is trying to shape what the medical and defense impact

between Arab countries and Israel and I think a lot of the focus of this defense pact is the capability that these countries could have when it

comes to drones.

So I think this intelligence will be used by the U.S. to argue in favor of shaping the defense --


ANDERSON: -- succeed and whether there is interest in the G6 countries (INAUDIBLE) Russia --

ANDERSON: Yes, I want to walk about that defense pact and what you make of it. We have heard it called Middle East NATO, regional security pact.

And when you talk to sources from the different countries across the GCC+3, you get a slightly different response as to the ambition and enthusiasm for


I just want to have our viewers listen to the Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, speaking to my colleague, Brianna Keilar, earlier today.


ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know that this necessarily has any effect on our efforts to try to get a nuclear deal with

Iran. It certainly is going to affect our efforts to continue to support Ukraine.

We have to see exactly how the Russians move forward here with the Iranians on these UAVs and what they get, how many, how they use them. So we will

watch that closely.

I do want to add that we continue to want to see a nuclear deal that takes Iran's nuclear ambitions or at least its nuclear weapons ambitions off the



KIRBY: And there is a deal there. There is a deal actually on the table. Whether the onus is on Iran now to accept it, Iran continues to isolate

themselves from the international community. Iran continues to pursue these kinds of ambitions. Iran continues their destabilizing activity in the


Another reason why this trip the president is leaving on tonight to Israel and to Saudi Arabia is so important.


ANDERSON: That nuclear deal is on the table. We know that. It is on the table in Vienna and the Americans want back in to the JCPOA that the

Iranians, holdouts at present. But it's this wider, more robust ambition and the malign activity of the Iranians around the region which is clearly

going to be incredibly important to the biden administration as they meet these key stakeholders around the Middle East, Israel, the Saudis and the

other Arab leaders.

I just wonder how you think this whole Iran-Russia drone story might impact negotiations on this nuclear deal in your view.

TABRIZI: We know that Russia-Iran relations have not being idyllic over the past few months and we know that has caused issues on the (INAUDIBLE)

front back in February or early March.

So I think if the intelligence that the Pentagon was sharing is true, there is a message there also from the Iranians and the Russians, that

cooperation is somewhat worked out. And despite the challenges and the issues, the two companies are working together.

And I think the trick of Putin next week is an example. And I think that, in a sense, would have positive indication on a day-to-day. But I think the

sticking point is how do you ask we'll deal with the Iranian repress and how and if Iran will cave in to what are the U.S. requests.

I think this is where the issue is, more than Russia (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: I've run out of time. We will have you back and we will do more on this potential defense pact that we hear so much about around the Middle

East at present. We will explore whether we think that there is a conceivable, realistic, as we move through this week.

It is front and center For Biden on this trip to the region. We will be in Saudi Thursday and Friday to cover that trip. Thank you for your time.

You can read a lot more about Joe Biden's high-stakes trip in our newsletter, "In the Middle East." Find out what to expect from the visit

and what not know what to expect. Our experts give us insights into all of the biggest trends from the region and, of course, you can sign up for that


It's a jolly good read. I encourage you to sign up for that.

Mr. Biden likely to discuss Russia's relentless bombing of Ukraine during his trip. We just got word of more casualties from the missile attack on an

apartment building in the town of Chasiv YAR. Ukrainian emergency services say at least 38 people have been killed, including a child.

They had nine people rescued from this building. Ukraine reports 12 people hurt Monday night in the southern city of Mykolaiv. The city has been under

heavy files. You will be well aware, this is the damage left by missile strikes over the weekend. Officials there say Russian missiles hit

residential areas and two hospitals.

The attacks have not stopped a group of pharmacists from undertaking a dangerous mission to get life-saving medicine to the front line. CNN's Alex

Marquardt reports from Kharkiv.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): In a boarded-up pharmacy in Kharkiv we follow Yulia Kelemyuk (ph) down into the basement. They never used this space

before the war. Now it holds shelf after shelf of vital donated medicine, while also serving another purpose.

As we've been down here, we can hear some heavy shelling from up above. That's not very common at this time of the day in mid-morning. Thankfully

we're already down in the basement. So where we - where we need to be.

That shelling killed at least six city residents, Yulia and her team are unfazed, preparing to head out on a monthly visit to multiple front line

villages which desperately need hard to get medicine, medical supplies and basics like baby formula.

"The pharmacy comes to the village," she says, "pharmacies are either destroyed or there are no pharmacists and people need medicine.

The lead vehicle in the convoy is an ambulance. When it arrives in the first village, its sirens ring out to tell everyone they're here. Soon a

line has formed in the rain, old retirees, young parents with their kids.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): Anyone who's left here seems to come out, including a village doctor.

"We really need medication. We don't have a local pharmacy. We have nowhere to buy anything." She says insulin, heart and blood pressure drugs are at

the top of her list, along with sedatives and antidepressant.

Animals are a priority too. Another car is full of dog food for beloved pets like Baykal (ph), whose owner eager says Baykal is shell shocked from

all the explosions. This village had been occupied by Russian forces and caught between the warring sides. The scars of the fighting very visible as

is the Russian retreat.

When the Russians occupied this village, a man who lives here says, that they would tuck their tanks and their armored vehicles between houses and

cover them up to try to hide them. But then the Ukrainians retook this village and you can see they blew up and destroyed this armored vehicle.

After about an hour, the team packs up and moves on to a poor rural village just 25 kilometers or 16 miles from the closest Russian position. Here, the

residents gather around even faster. The profound need for aid is clear. While we're there a team from World Central Kitchen arrives to hand out

meals. Another eager line forms.

Many of the Ukrainians we met were forced to live in the basements of their own homes while Russians occupied them, Yulia (ph) tells us. "They're

helpless, held hostage by this situation," she says, "we help because they cannot provide for themselves" -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, in Kharkiv.


ANDERSON: Well, after the break, tears and a final farewell to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe days after he was gunned down.

Investigators are learning about the suspect's motive.

Plus Sri Lanka's president tried to leave the country before his resignation is official. Why he and his family were not allowed on the


Also NASA moments away from releasing more images from the James Webb space telescope, what lesson scientists are gleaning from this unprecedented view

of deep space.




ANDERSON: The people of Japan pay their final respects for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe four days after he was assassinated. Family and close

friends attended his private funeral in a temple in Tokyo while well- wishers laid flowers outside.

Following the service, crowds lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying his body to be cremated. More about his alleged assassin,

according to NHK.


ANDERSON: He told investigators he made up his mind to kill abe a year ago. Blake Essig is live in Tokyo.

This funeral and the images that we've just been showing our viewers showed how shocked Japan is by the assassination. Before we talk about what we

know about his assassin, what was the mood like there?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a sad day here in Japan, where even the weather, gray skies and a lot of rain at times, seemed to be reflecting

the mood as Japan says goodbye and lays to rest its longest serving prime minister.

Following the funeral service, limited to only close friends and family, Abe's body traveled in procession to the prime minister's office, kante

diet (ph) and the LDP headquarters before heading to the funeral hall to be cremated.

Now we saw his hearse pass by Japan's parliament. Hundreds lined the streets, including children, people who look like they just left work. Diet

members and diet police all there to say farewell as abe's body passed by, some of them in tears.

For the past several days we would talk to people out on the streets. Every single person, whether they liked Abe or not, was shocked and saddened,

horrified that such a violent act could be carried out against one of the most powerful people in Japan in broad daylight in a country where gun

violence essentially does not exist.

This as a country very much in mourning as it said goodbye to a man who is most certainly responsible in a big way for the Japan that exists today.


ANDERSON: What do we know about his assasssin at this point?

ESSIG: What we know so far and more information continues to trickle out by the day, a 41-year-old man who fired two shots from behind as the former

prime minister was speaking at a campaign event in Nara on Friday around 11:30 in the morning.

This individual, NHK reporting that he had planned to kill Abe a year ago. He associates Abe with the group that he holds a grudge against, that was

connected to his mother, the Unification Church. This church that was founded in South Korea in the 1950s.

We are also learning today, according to NHK, that he originally had thought about going after the former prime minister with explosives. But

Abe was the only intended target, which is why he decided to use this homemade gun, which NHK also reports that he learned how to make by

watching YouTube videos.

This is these weapons that he made, several of them found at his home by police, made out of pipes wrapped with duct tape, some of them with two,

three, even six barrels. The gun that he used, police said, was the most deadly weapon.

And obviously had that effect, this is a man who had planned to assassinate the former prime minister and did so on Friday.

ANDERSON: Blake, thank you.

Political turmoil in Sri Lanka has taken another turn. Immigration officials stopped the president and his family from leaving the country

twice. A senior military source said the family was set to fly to Dubai. But officials at the airport refused to process the passports because they

didn't appear in person for cross checks.

It happened again hours later when family tried to fly to Abu Dhabi. The president and prime minister due to resign on Wednesday after months of

protest over the country's economic crisis.

Journalist Peter Smith of ITV joins us now. He is in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.

You've been speaking to people on the ground. Away from the politics, what is the mood like and what do people tell you they want to happen next?

PETER SMITH, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a very interesting atmosphere in Colombo. This is not an angry revolution but is a revolution

without weapons and is winning.

People are peacefully taking over one by one the government buildings in the capital city. We saw them storm the presidential palace and, today, if

you go there, they're selling ice cream at the gates.

There are families turning up and having picnics on the lawn complex. This presidential palace, Sri Lanka's equivalent of the White House, these

families are coming in from far and wide, from towns and villages across Sri Lanka.


SMITH: They're all coming to the capital city and queueing up for as far as the eye can see. These lines go on for absolutely miles just because

they want to be here for the moment they believe is coming tomorrow, when the president has indicated he is going to resign.

Their revolution, their coup will ultimately succeed and they will overthrow the government. What they want to happen next is not what is

being proposed. And that is why they are still occupying the palace and occupying the various government buildings.

What's been proposed is an all-party government for Sri Lanka to steer them through this crisis. The protesters say that includes the party of the

president and the prime minister. They do not want to see that happen at all.

What they want is a coalition of the opposition parties, including senior members from the protest movement. Many of these are student protesters and

thehy are coming and they say this is about people power.

And they want the people to be part of what happens next, part of the solution. That means forming a temporary government, involving the people,

involviing the opposition parties, the coalition, to steer Sri Lanka through the next six months, forming a new constitution that would mean

that this is removing what they have described as the clan, the Rajipaksa clan that has held onto power here in Sri Lanka.

After six months they want an election. They want a democratic election and a fresh start because there are bleak times ahead. This country is

effectively bankrupt. They've run out of fuel and the people running out of patience.

ANDERSON: Peter, thank you.

Next on CONNECT THE WORLD, this could be another day of dramatic evidence about the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as the committee

investigating turns it focus to violent extremist groups who led the assault.

Plus NASA is just moments away from releasing more images like this one from the James Webb space telescope. How the unprecedented is changing our

understanding of the early universe.

I know, it is deep, deep stuff. We will do more of that after this.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

We've talked about U.S. foreign policy and what is a momentous week for Joe Biden, well, domestically, we're a couple of hours away from the latest

testimony on the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol January 6.

The congressional committee investigating the attack will have a public hearing later today and testimony is expected to focus on the right wing

extremist groups who took part in that attack. Our Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona is with us for a preview.


ANDERSON: Just remind us, viewers internationally may not be as familiar with these extremist groups involved in the insurrection as in the United


Who are we talking about and what can we expect to happen today?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The groups that we are referencing here are the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, Proud Boys, extremist far right

militia groups.

And really what the select committee plans to do today is make the case that Trump's actions were directly responsible for incighting the violent

mob and members of his inner circle actually had connections to those right wing groups that had a role in coordinating the deadly attack on the


We know at least two live witnesses today include testimony from a former spokesman for the Oath Keepers, which is one of those right wing groups, as

well as one of the rioters who pled guilty to illegally entering the Capitol on January 6.

Specifically we are expecting the committee to zero in on a tweet from Trump in December 2020 in which he encouraged his supporters to come to

D.C. on January 6 and said it "Will be wild."

Committee members have said that tweet was really responsible for setting off a flurry of planning behind the scenes with these extremely extreme

groups and really helped mobilize the mob.

We're also expecting the committee to focus on an Oval Office meeting right before that tweet, in which Trump and some of his allies, like Michael

Flynn and Sidney Powell discuss ways to try to keep Trump in power, including the wild idea of seizing voting machines.

One other thing to look out for today is that we are expecting to see the first video clips of the committee's taped interview with Pat Cipollone,

the former White House counsel, who testified behind closed doors for eight hours last Friday and was seen as a critical witness.

So it could be another dramatic day of testimony.

ANDERSON: And you can watch the January 6 hearings right here on CNN. Special coverage starts in just 90 minutes from now. That is 5 pm London

and 8 pm in the UAE and, of course, that is where we normally broadcast this show from.

Let us get you up to speed on some the other stores on our radar. The United Nations world population prospectus projects that India will surpass

China to become the world's most populous nation next year.

Each country has more than 1 billion or 1.4 billion people. The report also forecasts the world's population will reach 8 billion by mid November this


Film director Jana Panai has become the third prominent filmmaker to be arrested in Iran in less than a week. He was taken into custody on Monday

when he went to the prosecutor's office to check on the case of another arrested filmmaker.

Stop selling tickets, that's Heathrow's message to airlines as the London airport hits its passenger capacity. The airport CEO says it will only

accommodate 100,000 passengers per day due to the current damond and resources. That cap will be in place until September.

Russia's war in Ukraine, causing wider fears in Europe over the energy crunch and that is doing a number on the euro. I have to say for the first

time in 20 years the single currency today touched parity with the U.S. dollar, continuing a sharp selloff in the euro in recent months.

Here is how the euro is faring now. Analysts say fears of a European recession stoked by high inflation and energy worries are affecting the

exchange rate. Clare Sebastian is on patrol.

I know you have the answer so your not on patrol today. We're on parity patrol.

What do you make of all of this?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those two sides to the story but the biggest issue for Europe right now is that the currency markets are facing

up to the fact that this may well be a full blown energy crisis.

This week we got zero gas coming through the Nord Stream pipeline. There are fears raiseed by two economy ministers in France and Germany that it

might stay that way.

At the end of this 10 day period of scheduled maintenance, that means that industry in Germany would be the first to face rationing. That means quite

high likelihood of a recession and that would ripple through the continent and beyond. So that is the biggest driver of this today.

On the flip side, of course, is a disparity with the economic fortunes of the United States, affecting the exchange rate. Yes, the U.S. is feeling

the pain of higher energy prices but not energy security.

That is the biggest oil producer in the world and then you have the disparity between what the central banks are doing. The Fed has raised

rates three times now this year in ever-increasing increments. The ECB has yet to act at all, set to do so this month.

But that will still only take it at a maximum to zero.

ANDERSON: Absolutely and as the Fed raises those rates, the dollar becomes more fashionable to hold.


ANDERSON: And the euro sinks again, remember the pound at 119 against the dollar at the moment, seems to be heading for parity. Absolutely


Let's take a look at the European bond market because these are always important. At the moment, European bond market is showing some cracks.

There is some significant debt, not least for countries like Italy.

How bad could this get?

SEBASTIAN: Right now, today it is more about growth. That is bringing bond yields down. But we had a situation in the past few weeks where 10 years

ago this month Mario Draghi said he will do whatever it takes to save the Eurozone.

Fears being raised again about a potential sovereign debt crisis. We are not there yet, the bond yields haven't spiked that high but we are faced

with the ECB having to come in and reassure the markets that it can deal with fragmentation, big disparity in borrowing costs between the countries'

periphery and in the core, like Germany.

Right now the borrowing costs are different. The ECB next meeting on the 21st, the same day that we find out if the Nord Stream pipeline is coming

back online. They have a narrow path to tread between attacking inflation, which is at record highs, and the Eurozone and dealing with these bond

markets in these peripheral countries.

They said that they don't talk of it. They said they are going to do something about it but I think the market has --


ANDERSON: What I think is really interesting at this point is we continue to hear from key stakeholders in Europe and in the U.S. saying that we

continue to be unified in opposition when it comes to war in Ukraine, which is seriously exacerbating the issues at the moment.

But you know Europe, when you take a look at the decisions ECB has got to take, normally it's like do we take decisions on behalf of the southern

Europeans, will that have a knock on effect with the northern Europeans?

Northern Europeans are actually struggling at present and then you have got east and west as well.

How concerned should we be that Europe is sitting on the precipice of some serious problems at the moment and the European project, the bloc, is

showing some fissures, is not completely fractured but is beginning to show some fissures?

SEBASTIAN: I think the problems that were there a decade ago haven't really gone away. I think that the risk associated with Italy is still

extremely different to the risk associated with Germany.

And that means that when ECB sets monetary policy for 19, actually seems to be 20 countries because Croatia was admitted today, they -- it's next to

impossible to get it to transmit the same way to all these different countries.

And I think that really hard to overcome.

ANDERSON: It was when the euro launched, of course. It was a debt-to-GDP ratio of less than 3 percent in order to become a member of the euro. I

simply do not believe that every country is a member of euro these days, has a debt-to-GDP ratio --


ANDERSON: -- I'm going to leave you to get on with your work because we have some remarkable pictures coming up.

Humanity has a new view of the universe. NASA just now releasing a slew of new, full-color infrared images, demonstrating what the largest space

telescope ever built, the James Webb, is capable of.

Want you to listen in to what is going on at NASA as we take a look at the deepest views of space ever captured. Have a listen.


MICHELLE (PH): -- telescope for the mirrors and the science instruments were integrated and tested here before launch. So for many of us, including

myself, things have come together bit by bit, right in front of her eyes, was an emotional and very inspiring experience.

So it's part of a part of us was out there with Webb right now, a million miles away, part of our hopes and dreams are out there.

So I am joined now by Jane Rigby, the operations project scientist for the Webb mission. And she is a familiar face for people who've been following

this before. So welcome Jane.

JANE RIGBY, WEBB MISSION: Hi, Michelle (ph).

MICHELLE (PH): OK. So you not only get the honor for doing the first image but this got a sneak preview. I understand it was a very slight audience

already seen the image.

RIGBY: So last night on behalf of the project, I had the privilege of traveling to the White House with the NASA administrator Nelson and other

senior staff to share our first image with President Biden and Vice President Harris.

And it was really fun. Where they really geeked out. We had a closed-door session where we got to walk through all the images and share the

excitement and they were so thrilled and they got the profundity of what were seeing.

So now let's do it.

MICHELLE (PH): We've got the whole room watching.

All right, here we go.


RIGBY: OK, so the first image is a deep field and it is also a deep field with a cluster. So walk through this just a little bit. So look at this

image, it is really gorgeous, teeming with galaxies, something that has been true for every image we've gotten with Webb. We cannot take blank sky.

Everywhere we look, there is galaxies everywhere.

And so this image, we're seeing not just all the galaxies but there is a cluster here, all these white kind of ethereal galaxies, we're seeing them

as they looked back in time, right. The speed of light is only so fast and so we're seeing distant galaxies out in space as they looked billions of

years ago.

So these cluster galaxies, the white ones, we're seeing them at about the time the sun and the Earth formed. Behind a cluster we have the gravity of

the cluster is distorting and working our view of what is behind.

And so there are galaxies that look stretched and pulled, like they have been magnified because they have been magnified by the gravity of the

cluster, just like Einstein said they would.

And it is really there is so much detail here, we're seeing galaxies in a way that we have never been able to see before. There is just a sharpness

and a clarity we have never had. So we can look at, if we zoom in on the image -- I encourage you as you grab this image at home, zoom in. You can

zoom in and play around.

There are galaxies here in which we are seeing individual clusters of stars forming, popping up just like popcorn. And then we also see, in the

background of this image, kind of littered like jewels all over the back of the image, these faint red galaxies.

Now that was what we built the telescope to do. The most distant of those are billions of -- we're seeing as they looked more than 13 billion years

ago. And so galaxies like that one right there, this little red guy, like, OK.

What is that?

Well, Webb got Spectra to figure out what the galaxies are made of. And this is that one. We're seeing as it looked 13.1 billion years in the past,

less than a billion years after the Big Bang. And we're seeing the elements of oxygen and hydrogen as well as neon.

This is the kind -- this is how the oxygen in our bodies was made, in stars, in galaxies. And we're seeing that process get started.

MICHELLE (PH): So for context, this is now the farthest away galaxy that we have this sort of detailed information about. We know what it is made


This was not a long exposure for Webb.

RIGBY: The previous record holder, the Hubble extreme deep field, was two weeks of continuous work with Hubble. It was just imaging. With Webb, we

took that image before breakfast.

The amazing thing about Webb is the speed at which we can churn out discoveries. So everything that you see here in this broadcast is a week.

And we will be doing discoveries like this every week.

MICHELLE (PH): That is actually incredible. Thank you so much for joining us. It is an honor to be working with you. Congratulations on all your hard

work. So wonderful to see it pay off.

I'll see you later on today.

So from distant galaxies we turn our eye to something a bit closer. It's a planet but not one in our solar system. Earth and its sibling planets are

not the only show in the universe.

When scientists and engineers started developing JWST, the search for exoplanets was not even part of the plan. That has changed. Exploring

exoplanets is now a major component of the mission and the subject of our second big reveal today.

Back to our friends, Natalie Willett and Sarah Gallagher at the Canadian Space Agency in Montreal.



MICHELLE (PH): Sorry for the brief pause there but now we're going to Canada.





OK, I apologize. We're having some trouble with the signal from Canada. But luckily for us, we have an excellent planet expert right here. This is

Knicole Colon and she is an exoplanet scientist at NASA. And we're going to talk about some amazing new results from a very hot planet, I understand,

about a 1,000 light years away.

KNICOLE COLON, EXOPLANET SCIENTIST, NASA: That's right. This exoplanet is named WASP-96b.


COLON: And it is this hot, gaseous, giant puppy (ph) planet though it is about (INAUDIBLE) away so that's why (INAUDIBLE).

MICHELLE (PH): Absolutely. So talk us through this.

COLON: This reveal is going to show the first spectrum of an exoplanet, as taken from the Webb telescope. And it is exciting because it covers

infrared wavelengths of light that we have not had access to before.

So we been able to use other telescopes to explore exoplanet atmospheres but not to this level of detail. And this is just one sliver of data that

Webb is providing us with, using the nearest instruments specifically.

MICHELLE (PH): Something about infrared that is particularly good for the spectrum. So in this case, what we're doing is take the light and break it

up into a rainbow and look very, very carefully at how much color is coming in each part of the spectrum.

So I believe we can put that up.

COLON: OK, I believe we are revealing the spectrum right here. OK. We now have our spectrum. What we did was we observed the transit of an exoplanet

and we observed the planet as a passive part of the stars.

Now mind you, this is not a direct image. This is an indirect image. So we have seen the effect of what happens on the planet and its atmosphere

passes in front of the star, light filters through the atmosphere and then you can break that down into wavelengths of light and you get a bunch of

what looks like bumps and wiggles but it is actually full of information content.

So you are actually seeing indications of the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere

MICHELLE (PH): Anything you'd like to highlight particularly?

COLON: So we have several features marked here. They are the telltale signature, the chemical fingerprint of water vapor in these atmospheres and

this specific exoplanet. And the other thing we can tell, actually, is that there is evidence of clouds and hazes because the water features are not

quite as large as we predicted.

So we can take that and infer that there are clouds and hazes.

MICHELLE (PH): We want people to understand this is a hot world, closer to its star than Mercury is to our sun. And we're looking at not liquid water

but steam.

COLON: This is an exoplanet about the size of Jupiter, about half the mass of Jupiter. It orbits around a sun-like star but it does every about three

and half days. So it is extremely hot extremely close and nothing like our solar system planets. But that is OK because what were seeing is, again,

the first exoplanet data from Webb and this is just the beginning.

We're going to start pushing down the further smaller planets and being able to take measurements just like this with the nearest instrument that

was built by the Canadian Space Agency. But also there is other -- three other science instruments that will add to our knowledge in the infrared as

well as direct imaging modes along with the transit method.

So there is a lot more to come.

MICHELLE (PH): We should mention is not only are we looking at planets that are more like here in the future, we will also be looking planets in

our solar system.

COLON: Absolutely, we are going to have exciting data from planets in our solar system, from Mars outward as well as asteroids and comets. So stay

tuned for a lot more to come.

MICHELLE (PH): Thank you so much, Knicole, for telling us about the spectrum and I will see you later on today.

So we have the more image reveals. And with that, new and more exciting science. But a look back at the journey that brought us to this moment.

Celebrations like this are only possible with years of hard work and a cast of thousands. When a new mission is being built, even the most enthusiastic

space fans only get to see dramatic moments this lifecycle. The news and images that come out are updates and press releases.

But that doesn't give you a sense of the huge effort that goes on behind the scenes every day. The planned schedules and organization to keep

everything moving forward really happens for the most part out of people's gaze.

Webb started as an idea that took root in NASA Goddard.

ANDERSON: I am going to leave the live broadcast at NASA for just a minute. I want to bring in Miles O'Brien.

It must be one of the most exciting days of your life. This is a really big day. This is CNN's aerospace analyst and science correspondent for PBS

NewsHour, of course, Miles O'Brien.

Just tell us what it is that we are learning here and why it is so significant.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Becky, this is as far as human beings have ever seen, period, and report. And that is a stunning accomplishment

in excess of 3 billion light years to the edge of the beginnings of our cosmos.


O'BRIEN: It's hard to overstate what an accomplishment that is and what a historic moment this is. And, yes it is a thrill. I certainly would be

remiss if I did not mention the birth of my two children as great moments. But this is the birth of a new era of astronomy, which will allow us to

imagine the world and the cosmos in ways we have not before.

And just as Hubbell did a generation or so ago, this will rewrite the astronomy textbooks.

ANDERSON: Does this surpass expectations, when the James Webb space telescope was launched, did you expect that we would see images like those

that we are being -- that are being revealed with quite some panache today.

More than you expected?

O'BRIEN: First of all, Becky, it is worth reminding that the fact that it even is in space is kind of an extraordinary tale of budgetary problems,

technical issues, delay upon delay, nearly getting canceled. It did launch on Christmas Day.

And after launch, there were no less than 344 what they call single-point failures, meaning, if that part failed, that was the end of the mission,

344. That is an extraordinary number of possibilities for trouble.

And yet systematically since launch they have ticked through those 344 items. They are fully deployed and, thanks to the help of really excellent

launch by the European Space Agency on that Orion rocket, they have an additional amount of fuel on board.

They can actually be out there for 20 years exploring the distant cosmos. And you know the thing is, we really do not even know what the questions

are we should be asking right now. And that is the beauty of this.

We're on a complete virgin campaign here. This is turf that has never been explored. We really do not know what we're going to see.

ANDERSON: Again, I still do not quite understand the impact and significance of what we are seeing. It took, for a layman like me, just

explain why it is that this is so important to us down here on Earth.

O'BRIEN: Well, it is a distance machine in the sense that it can look farther. But when you look far into space, you are also simultaneously

looking back in time, because it takes so much time for the light we are seeing to arrive here.

So the light we're seeing in those images left those stars, left those galaxies, left those planets more than 13 billion years ago. So we have

this ability to look back in time and see from whence (sic) we came.

And you know this expression that Carl Sagan popularized, we are all starstuff, "We are made of starstuff," we are actually looking at all of us

and all the elements around us. Everything that we're seeing in these images is what makes our world and what makes us.

So that is kind of a profound thought when you think about it. The more we can look back and deep in space, the more we understand about our world

around us and our existence as human beings.

And really, I got to say, it does give you a sense of, frankly, the insignificance that all of us have in this grand cosmos we live in.

ANDERSON: Given the excitement about the image we are looking at, at present, the first reveal today, do we have any notion of what may be

revealed by this telescope over the next 20 years?

What is the ambition at this point?

O'BRIEN: It is hard to know. It is interesting, you know, Webb is not a life detector. It was not built to seek out the possibility of some sort of

extraterrestrial life. But it is sure going to get us in the neighborhood of some places that will be very interesting.

When Webb was designed, we were not even aware of exoplanets. That is to say planets outside our own solar system. Over the course of that design,

over those decades, we have discovered in excess of 1,500 of them and that number keeps growing.

So we know there are planets out there. We know they orbit what we call a sun, their star. We know they are in places which we call the Goldilocks

zone, meaning just right for an atmosphere and for water and for all the things that we correlate with life.


O'BRIEN: And so as we look out, we will get to see more of this. That is a guarantee.

And will that lead us to some profound conclusions about whether we are alone in the universe?

Just statistically it stands to reason something, someone, something is looking back at us as we peer out.

ANDERSON: Ooh. I'm lost for words, which is quite unusual for me. Great to have you with us, Miles. Clearly for those who are involved in this project

this is such an exciting time. You saw that in the broadcast we were just listening in to. It was quite gratifying to see they have technical issues

at NASA when they tried to get from headquarters to Canada. We have had technical problems here at CNN.

Yet they can bring us these images from deep space.

If you had been part of this team and you looked down the lens of that scope, seeing image that we are looking at now, is this hairs on the back

of your hands stuff?

This is a really big deal for these scientists.

O'BRIEN: It is and the irony of not being able to connect with Canada is used not overlooked here, right. But let us take that aside for a moment

and yes. We are talking about scientists who have literally spent their entire careers on this.

You know I always like to say that people who do this for a living are like riverboat gamblers. They put all their chips on one thing and hope the bet

pays off, 20, 30 years later. And imagine, if it did not. How crushing would that be?

But they willingly dive in because of what happens when you win, the reward is so extraordinary. The payoff is so profound. And it is about rewriting

the way we think about the universe, you know.

We all have day-to-day issues with that are important to us, that we think about all the time but we should carve out a little bit of time to think

about these big questions. And the people who spend their time to help us answer those big questions, they get a hat tip today.

Miles, it's such a pleasure to have you on. We miss you at CNN. Nice to have you back on a day like today, so important, as we look at humanity's

new view of the universe, thank you, sir.

NASA just now releasing a slew of new full-color infrared images demonstrating what the largest space telescope ever built, the James Webb,

is capable of. You've been looking at some of the deepest views of space ever captured.

As they reveal more, we will bring those to you. Taking a very short break. Back after this.