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German Holds Air Defender NATO Exercises; President Macron Visits Victims of Knife Attack; China Allegedly Plans to Build Spying Facility in Cuba; Donald Trump Indicted on Federal Charges; Janet Yellen Calls for Focus on U.S.-China Cooperation. Aired 10:15-10:45a ET

Aired June 09, 2023 - 10:15   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. It is 17 minutes past six here in Abu Dhabi. You've been watching CNN's

continuing coverage of the federal charges against former U.S. president, Donald Trump. More on that this hour.

Let's get you today's other news at this point as well. And as CNN watches and listens for signs of Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive, we are

hearing from the country's deputy defense minister. She says the frontline in eastern Ukraine is still the epicenter of the battle where, quote,

"heavy fighting continues." This comes as Kyiv accuses Russian forces of shelling flooded areas in Kherson including evacuation points.

Thousands of people have been fleeing floodwaters unleashed by the catastrophic collapse of a major dam in southern Ukraine. We're told water

levels there are now starting to recede. Fully broken dam along with support for Ukraine played a big part in Oval Office talks between U.S.

president Joe Biden and the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak.

Moments after Thursday's meeting at the White House, Mr. Sunak sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN. Here's what he had to say about that dam



RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It's too early to definitively say, and our military and security services are working through that as are the

U.S. But if it does prove to be an intentional attack by the Russians, it would fit a pattern of behavior that we've seen throughout this war, which

is Russia's deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure.


ANDERSON: Well, NATO is sending Moscow a message. That's certainly what it looks like, with its biggest ever air defense exercise. Germany is hosting

these drills, and CNN's Nic Robertson is there. He joins us live from Jagel in northern Germany.

What's the scope and scale of this exercise? And is it clear whether this is a definitive message to Moscow about the alliance's ability?


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, the scale and scope is the biggest ever in NATO's history for an air defense exercise

like this one. The message militarily is one about interoperability, that speaking with the German commander who's heading this whole 10-day

exercise, and he said, look, this is to prove to ourselves, to our public that we can react quickly.

That we can train together and be an effective military deterrent right up to the red line of NATO's border. Clearly with that image of Russia being

beyond that border, and Russia being the biggest potential aggressors there, but in military terms, it's about training and it's about getting

their air force pilots and all the support staff that go with them to be in lockstep, to have that quick response to be able to defend NATO territory.

But if you look beyond that, diplomatically, yes, there are diplomats around all of this from the NATO nations that say very clearly this is

something that is so big, 250 different aircraft involved, 190 of them at least fighter jets. 10,000 air force personnel involved. All of these

coming from 25 different nations.

This is a message that all world leaders including President Putin will see so he is going to see this, and he is going to understand, you know, the F-

16 fighter jets are lined up behind me here, all part of this training exercise here in these exactly similar to the F-16s and the Ukrainian

fighter pilots are training in today and will be bringing in to the battle space in Ukraine, expected at least by the end of this year -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson on the ground in Germany for you. Nic, thank you.

French President Emmanuel Macron has visited with the victims and family of a brutal stabbing at a playground. Four toddlers and two adults were

stabbed in the town of (INAUDIBLE) on Thursday. Two of those kids are still in critical condition, according to a government spokesman. The suspect is

a Syrian asylum seeker who is now in custody.

CNN's Melissa Bell joins us from Paris.

What did we hear from Macron today, Melissa?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a fairly moving moment because he'd come, Becky, of course, to thank all of those who had helped

in the immediate aftermath of the horrific attack. He visited those victims in hospital, said that everything he'd heard and seen of them suggested

that their health was heading in the right direction, so that was good news.

But it was also the opportunity for him to thank personally a man who's become a hero here in France ever since the attacks. When you look at the

amateur footage that was shot during the park yesterday, you can clearly see a man carrying a backpack, at one point trying to stop the assailant,

even as he tries to dodge his knife. He's become a hero. An overnight sensation. Of course the French media flocked to meet him.

He's become the backpack hero, and Emmanuel Macron had the opportunity to meet him and to thank him for what he's done. It turns out he's a young

student on a pilgrimage of cathedrals here in France who happened upon this horrific attack, did what he could to save whoever he could, try to stop

the man from acting, and asked Emmanuel Macron whether he might be invited to the inauguration of the Notre Dame when it opens next year, to which

Emmanuel Macron replied that he would be taking care of it personally.

So it was quite a moving moment for a lot of people watching this, and of course the good news that these children appear to be on the mend or at

least in a stable condition. Of course, that was what everyone was worried about. What we know also, of course, Becky, is that that Syrian national, a

Christian Syrian asylum claimant in Sweden is in custody. 31-year-old. We wait to hear more about the investigation as to why he acted the way he

did, the motives that may have been behind his attack of course. No suggestion that there was any terror link since the investigations often

sees by those authorities -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Melissa Bell is in Paris. Thank you.

Well, China may be building a spy facility on the island of Cuba. Sources told CNN that the facility would allow the Chinese to track electronic

communications across the southeastern United States, but there are mixed signals. The U.S. said the Cuba report is not accurate and China's Foreign

Ministry dodged questions on the alleged plans.

CNN Havana based correspondent Patrick Oppmann joins us now.

What are Cuban officials saying at this point?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're also angrily denying this report, which means it's one of the few times that I can remember my many

years of covering Cuba that U.S. officials and Cuban officials are on the same page about something like this.


But, of course, you know, it's back up. We are only 100 miles from the coast of Florida. It is really geographically the perfect spot to have a

spy base if one intends to be spying on the U.S. And so that makes (INAUDIBLE) sense, and according to the "Wall Street Journal," Cuba is to

receive billions of dollars if this base is actually built, and so certainly would help.

The government is cash strapped as the one here, but Cuban officials yesterday held a news conference in the afternoon and angrily said that

this was all just a pack of lies, and was being used to discredit Cuba. Let's take a listen.


CARLOS FERNANDEZ DE COSSIO, CUBAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: Policies promoted with the malicious intention to justify the unprecedented

reinforcement of the economic blockade. Destabilization and the aggression against Cuba and to deceive public opinion in the United States and around

the world.


OPPMANN: Despite those angry denials, we should point out that during the Cold War, the Soviet Union had a base just outside of Havana where I am now

for many, many years, that had the same purpose. To eavesdrop on signal communications in the United States, telephone calls, any kind of

communications they could essentially suck up and use to understand what was happening in American society and with the American government.

There has been a Russian ship over the years that I have seen. It comes very near our office here, that is well as spy ship. And so the Cubans have

let that spy ship in the Cuban waters, and so it's remains to be seen if this base will actually be built here, but at the moment, you know, all the

governments involved in this angrily denying it. And the Cuban government saying yesterday the only base with foreign troops on Cuban soil is the

U.S. base at -- the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo which they very much want to leave Cuba.

So for the moment everyone, Becky, saying this is not true. Sources saying otherwise. I think this will be one that we will continue to cover for a


ANDERSON: Absolutely, our man in Havana, Mr. Patrick Oppmann for you. Thank you.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Ahead on this show, it's just before half past 6:00 here. It's just before half past 10:00 on the East Coast of

America and the indictment of Donald Trump on federal criminal charges dominating the headlines. How this unprecedented legal case will impact

Trump's 2024 bid for president is coming up.

Plus, brand-new exclusive reporting. Donald Trump on tape admitting he kept a secret Pentagon document that he did not declassify. That is coming up.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. It is 6:30 in the evening here. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, and wherever you're

watching, you're more than welcome.

A stunning first in American legal history. A former U.S. president has been indicted on federal charges. Donald Trump's lawyer says he faces seven

counts related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left office. They include violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy,

obstruction and making false statements. Trump and his aides are said to be, and I quote here, "jacked up" by the indictment, not ready to fight it

beginning next week when he is expected to appear in a federal court in Miami.

Remember this is federal stuff. This isn't state stuff as we've seen before. This is federal stuff. We're looking at key questions surrounding

this indictment. What makes it different than other criminal cases that Donald Trump has faced? How does it compare to legal problems faced by

other past U.S. presidents? And what impact will it or could it have on next year's presidential election in the U.S.?

We'll break it down for you starting with Paula Reid in Washington, who Paula has exclusive CNN reporting on an audio tape that could prove

damaging to Trump's defense. Explain.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: This is a bombshell audio recording that CNN broke news of last week. It's in the possession of

prosecutors. We now have a transcript of exactly what was said. Now after we reported last week on this recording, the former president claims that

he has classified information and also acknowledges the limits of his ability to declassify it.

And we know in this meeting, he is in a room in his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, where several people including aides and two people working on

an autobiography for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. But I want to emphasize, he knew he was being recorded. His aides were recording

him as they were recording all conversations with anyone working on a book.

And here is what he said. At the time he was very upset about a magazine article that had just come out about General Mark Milley, comments that

were made about the former president's feelings and plans regarding Iran. He objected to what Milley said. He says, quote, "Well, with Milley, let me

see that. I'll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn't that amazing?

"I have a pile of papers. This thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this. This is off the record, but they presented me this. This

was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some, this was him. This wasn't done by me. This was done by him."

Now, I'm going to stop for a second. He says this was him about four times, clearly referring to Milley while talking to the group of people in the

room. He goes on to say, "All sorts of stuff, pages long. Look, wait a minute, let's see here. I just found, isn't that amazing? This totally wins

my case, you know, except it is like highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this."

So here he is referring to this information being confidential, also referring to it being secret. Those are two different levels of

classification here in the United States, but he's also saying, look, look, urging other people in the room who we know don't have security clearances

to look at this sensitive material. Then the key quote is that he asks if he can declassify this, he says as president I could've declassified, but

now I can't, acknowledging the limits of his ability to declassify.

So this is so damning, so key for prosecutors, because here he is acknowledging in his own words on a recording he knew was being made that

he had sensitive information, that he had retained it, and he did not have the power to declassify it. He also appears to be at least attempting to

share it with other people in the room.

ANDERSON: Paula, what makes this case different from other cases that the former president has faced? And how could or will this impact his potential

to run and win next year's presidential election?

REID: So he's faced many, many different types of investigations. In just the past few months, let's take those. He has been criminally charged by

the state of New York in an alleged scheme to offer hush money to a former adult film star. That is a criminal state level case. It doesn't appear

even if he was convicted that he would face jail time there. He was also recently found liable in a civil case, so that's a case about money, not a

case about jail time. Liable for sexual abuse of E. Jean Carroll.


They also found that he was liable for defaming her. So those are just two recent events. Those were significant because, again, it was the first time

a jury found him liable, that he was criminally charged for the first time. But this is a whole new ball game. These are federal criminal charges

brought by the Justice Department and the type of charges. We're not talking about adult film stars or a civil case over money.

We're talking about potentially, according to the charges, mishandling some of this nation's most sensitive secrets and potentially trying to obstruct

a federal criminal investigation into that probe. That is what makes this different. Even the average voter right now who is focused, right, on gas

prices, on the smoke in certain parts of this country, on the border. Even they understand how serious this case is.

Now he is of course innocent until proven guilty. It's unclear if and when there will be a trial, but we've seen even from our polling that this is

getting through. People do understand the gravity of this situation. This isn't about Russia, this isn't about adult film stars, this is about

something extremely serious that has to do was national security.

So as they weigh whether he should go back to the White House and whether he can be trusted with our nation's secrets. this is going to be weighing

on their minds.

ANDERSON: Paula, thank you.

Well, ahead in sports, we preview the Champions League Final in Istanbul. It's this weekend and we hear from one of Man City's top players about how

his squad is getting ready for the match against Inter Milan. And why U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says that or what she said to business

leaders about China behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., coming up.


ANDERSON: Headline first heard on CNN from a closed-door meeting on Thursday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told business leaders that

the U.S. is focused on working with China on several fronts, including the climate crisis, international trade and human rights. This happened during

the U.S.-China Business Council meeting in Washington, D.C.

Matt Egan broke this story for CNN. He joins me now from New York.

Matt, how much of a shift in policy are we hearing here from Yellen, or is this just sort of confirming what we already knew?

MATT EGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we do have to read the tea leaves here a bit because the U.S.-China relationship is arguably the most

important one on the planet and the most complicated relationship on the planet. And it has really been on the rocks, especially lately. Now during

this meeting yesterday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, she was meeting with business leaders at the U.S.-China Business Council. This is a trade

alliance of multinational companies, and they advocate for greater trade between the two countries.


Now during this closed-door meeting, Yellen told business leaders that yes, the United States wants to work with China on these urgent global

challenges like the climate crisis. That's according to a person familiar with the matter, and Yellen went on to talk about how important trade and

investment is when it comes to China, but, and this is important, she also pointed to concerns around barriers erected by China, blocking countries

and companies getting access to that vast market, and also some of the non- market tools used by Beijing.

And so of course this is a nod to concerns from business leaders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle about China's trade tactics. Now I

think that what is interesting here is this message from Yellen is another sign that U.S. officials are at least trying to cool off the temperatures

here. It fits into a broader pattern. We know that the new Chinese ambassador recently met with U.S. officials.

We know that U.S. Secretary of State Blinken is also apparently planning to go to Beijing in the coming weeks. So all of those are good signs. But,

Becky, we also sometimes hear the negative signs, and just yesterday we learned that China has actually granted Cuba the ability to build a spy

facility on the island. That is reporting from our colleague Natasha Bertrand. So for every positive sign, Becky, there's also some concerning


ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Matt, it's good to have you, twice in a week. We are very lucky.

EGAN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you, sir.

Well, a mismatch at least on paper, that is how it looks heading into the Champions League Final tomorrow in Istanbul as Manchester City local

certainly hope to make history against Inter Milan.

And, Andy Scholes, I have to say, I fancy their chances, don't you?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: You have to, certainly, right, Becky, because Manchester City, they're just on such an incredible run right now.

Erling Haaland just seems to score a goal every time you blink. They're having such an amazing season. They're favorites of course in this

Champions League Final against Inter Milan on Saturday.

And coming up we're going to talk to Kevin Debruyne about this team and playing with Haaland, what it's like. We've got a great interview from

Darren Lewis coming up here on "WORLD SPORT" preview in the game. And you now, here's hoping we get a good one, Becky, because no one wants to see a

runaway Champions League Final.

ANDERSON: I've listened to that interview with Darren, and I hope our viewers will absolutely stick around for it because it is a tremendous

interview. But it just struck me that here is a guy, that, you know, he's one of the best footballers I've ever seen on the pitch, and here he is

talking about a teammate or two, you know, Haaland and the rest of this team, who are really, you know, superlative when it comes to, you know,

playing this game of football.

So, I mean, at 31 years old, he's almost, you know, getting old in this team. Look, they played a fantastic end to the season. They've hit the

sweet spot right at the right time, but never underrate the underdog in a game of football. It's just one game after all.

So, Andy, looking forward to that. That's after this short break. We will be back top of the hour for you.