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Russian Military Claims it repelled Ukrainian attacks in Zaporizhzhia; British PM Rishi Sunak Speaks to CNN; CNN Obtains Transcript of Trump saying on Tape he didn't Declassify "Secret Information"; Sunak: China not about "Decoupling, but Derisking"; Asiana Plane Hero Speaks to CNN. Aired 11:15a-12p ET
Aired June 09, 2023 - 11:15 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. Time here is a quarter past seven here being
Abu Dhabi in the UAE quarter past 11 on the East Coast. Let's recap our top story for you an exclusive new reporting. CNN has obtained a transcript of
an audio recording where Former U.S. President Donald Trump admits having national security documents that he did not declassified.
The tape is significant because it shows that Trump had an understanding that the records he had with him at his Mar-a-Lago estate after he left the
White House remained classified. And it could be crucial evidence in an investigation that marks the first time a Former U.S. President has faced
He is being indicted on seven counts in the classified documents probe, more on that story throughout this hour of course. Right now we are hearing
about the latest fighting in Ukraine from the country's Deputy Defense Minister. She says the frontline in Eastern Ukraine is still the epicenter
of the battle where "heavy fighting" continues.
This comes as Kyiv accuses Russian forces of shelling flooded areas in Kherson including evacuation points. Now, thousands have been fleeing
floodwaters unleashed by the catastrophic collapse of a major dam in Southern Ukraine.
We all know from watching this program it is still uncertain whether Kyiv's long awaited a counter offensive against Russian troops has actually begun
when Ukrainian forces do appear to be stepping up activity southeast of Zaporizhzhia. Russia's Military claims its troops were engaged in a major
battle there on Thursday, more now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Breaking news on Kremlin controlled TV claiming Moscow's forces are facing
massive attacks in Southern Ukraine.
OLGA SKABEEVA, RUSSIAN STATE TV ANCHOR: Ukrainian forces attacked with NATO tanks and light armored vehicles. Our army has fought off these attacks.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Russia's Defense Ministry releasing aerial videos like this one, allegedly showing their forces targeting advancing Ukrainian
formations in the Zaporizhzhia region. Moscow also claims to have taken out a modern Western anti-aircraft radar system close to the front line.
On a visit to an arms depot Russia's Defense Minister urging faster weapons deliveries. The enemy tried to advance today he says. So this equipment is
needed, let's hurry up. While the Ukrainians have not confirmed offensive operations and CNN can't independently verify this specific Russian claims.
U.S. officials have told CNN the Russians are putting up stiff resistance. Ukraine's leadership says they understand their counter offensive will be
long and tough and they lead lots of armor to penetrate Russia's defenses. They showed us this repair and modification shop where they fix up mostly
vehicles captured from the Russians, including this modern troop transporter.
PLEITGEN (on camera): Even with all the Western equipment that the Ukrainians have already received, they still have a lot less than the
Russians do. That's why every tank and every armored vehicle that they can get back on the battlefield will be vital for Ukraine's war effort.
PLEITGEN (voice over): That includes even seemingly destroyed vehicles like this blown up armored personnel carrier the project manager tells me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All this -- can restore and return the units.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Further along the southern front line, the situation in the areas flooded by the recent destruction of a major dam is
deteriorating. Ukraine and Russia accusing each other of targeting operations to rescue, flood victims.
Ukraine's Chief Rabbi dodging for cover as shells rain down.
MOSHE AZMAN, CHIEF RABBI OF UKRAINE: To bring people here, probably over the river and the Russia --
PLEITGEN (voice over): The Ukrainian says several people were wounded in Kherson, as the authorities continue to fight to bring those stranded to
safety, Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
ANDERSON: Well, against the backdrop of this war in Ukraine, a massive show of force from NATO, the military alliance is preparing for its biggest air
drill exercise in its history. Starting Monday about 10,000 participants will unite to simulate NATO's response to an attack on a member country.
250 military planes from 25 countries including the U.S. are taking part in the drills for the next two weeks. Germany is hosting the military events.
CNN's Nic Robertson, joining us from Jagel in Germany, it is very significant that it is Germany hosting this event taking a lead and
stepping up to show that it is interested in ensuring the security of Europe.
This is a real about face, of course, from Germany, traditionally, not taking this sort of military start. The scope of this drill is enormous.
And clearly it has a message and that message is directed at one key person at this point. Surely this is a message to President Putin.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: That's what the diplomats for tell you. That's exactly what the U.S. Ambassador to Germany
said just a couple of days ago, she said every world leader would look at the scale and scope of this military exercise, including President Putin
and draw their own conclusions from it.
But the way it's discussed here, and I was talking with the German commander of this military, this air military exercise that's going on
here. He said, look, this isn't about President Putin. He said he tabled this possible defender operation back in 2018. And of course, by then
Russia had already invaded Ukraine once back in 2014.
The 2022 invasion on full scale by Russia into Ukraine hadn't happened by then. So his point is, look, this was on the books long before what we're
seeing in Ukraine at the moment and his message to your point, that the importance of the Transatlantic Alliance is huge.
Germany's commitment to that alliance writ large here is very important. But the core of what goes on during this exercise is really sort of wingtip
to wingtip ability to fight side by side should they need to defend Ukrainian territory to prove to the alliance that prove to NATO.
They can do it to prove to their populations that they can do it right up to that red line at the edge of NATO territory, which of course is right,
essentially next to Russia. So, that message, the military message is train and be ready, approve that we're ready, be ready, the diplomatic message to
President Putin utterly unambiguous.
This is a military alliance that is ready to defend its territory. Should you step over that red line and I spoke to one young U.S. airman earlier
today. A first lieutenant had come from Colorado, which is where all these F-16s lined up behind me come from and he was from Colorado, based in
And he said, look, I've never partaken in one of these massive training exercises before. Yet here I am, for the first time ever able to fly side
by side, wingtip to wingtip with a Euro fighter just two days ago, he said you cannot replicate that in any other training environment.
And that, of course, is what's key to getting all these different nations talking to Turkish Air Force officials here before involved in this as well
saying the same thing we're about working together learning from each other, passing on experience. That's what it's all about.
But no one's under any illusions here, that these aircraft the F-16s, they're defending. And the biggest threat to the area that they're
defending right now is Russia. An aircraft very similar to these F-16s here will soon be in Ukrainian Air Force pilots hands to fight in that battle
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is on the ground. Nic, important stuff, thank you. Well twice impeached and now twice indicted. Unprecedented federal charges
now against Former U.S. President Donald Trump over the alleged mishandling of classified documents.
And Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Washington for the first time since taking office hear what he has to say about topics including
Russia, China, and leadership, age differences.
Also come up CNN exclusive interview straight ahead.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. Your headlines this hour French President Emmanuel Macron has
visited with the victims of families and families of a brutal stabbing attack at a playground 4 toddlers and 2 adults were stabbed in the town of
Annecy 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 in
custody. The U.S. government's humanitarian agency says it has suspended food aid to Ethiopia because its donations were not reaching the needy.
Both the U.S. and Ethiopia call the revelation disturbing and they say that their governments are conducting investigations to determine who to hold
accountable. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have announced a 24 hour ceasefire starting Saturday between the Sudanese armed forces and the rapid support
The Saudi Foreign Ministry says the two warring factions have agreed to allow the distribution of humanitarian aid across the country with weeks of
fierce fighting, of course have left Sudan in turmoil. And more our top story now an unprecedented legal case in the United States Donald Trump now
the first Former U.S. President to face federal criminal charges.
A grand jury in Florida indicted Trump in the special counsel's investigation of his alleged mishandling of classified documents after he
left office. The Former President's lawyer says the charges include violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy, obstruction, and making false
Well, CNN also has exclusive reporting on the existence of an audiotape, where Donald Trump acknowledges that he possessed secret information after
leaving office and admits he was not permitted to declassify it. While he is denying wrongdoing calls the indictment a political witch hunt meant to
hurt his campaign for the 2024 Presidential election.
He is expected to appear at a Federal Courthouse in Florida on Tuesday. A little earlier on CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig broke down what is
this complex case? And what to expect in the days ahead, have a look at this.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: We know there are seven counts in this indictment. Federal indictments can be as short as one count. There
can be some several dozen counts we know that one of the counts in this indictment is for willful retention of Defense information. Now that's part
of the Espionage Act.
You're going to hear references to the Espionage Act, but that word tends to have a broader meaning that we sometimes associate with it. All it means
here is that Donald Trump intentionally retained held onto defense information doesn't actually matter under this law.
Whether that information was classified or whether it was ever declassified, as long as it relates to information relating to the defense.
We also know that there is a charge relating to obstruction. Any effort by Donald Trump and effort ordered by Donald Trump to interfere with the
investigation in any way will be obstruction of justice.
We also know there's a charge for destruction or falsification of records. Let's keep in mind this could relate to a certification that Trump's team
submitted to DOJ. At the point when they served a subpoena response, they said, we searched everywhere in Mar-a-Lago, this is all we found turned out
there were many, many more documents, that certification was false, but was intentionally false.
The Prosecutors allege that it was. Next we have a charge of conspiracy. Now conspiracy simply means an agreement, a meeting of the minds between
two or more people really important because that tells us Donald Trump, according to prosecutors did not act alone, there was at least one other
person who knowingly agreed to commit a crime with him.
And the last charge that we know about relates to false statements. It's not a crime, to make false statements to the public. It is a crime if you
make a false statement to DOJ or the FBI. So I think that's where this one's going.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So where do we go next? What happens next?
HONIG: Yes, so here's the process as it will play out. The next time in court, the first time in court in this case, will be at the arraignment,
the initial appearance, that's Tuesday at 3 o'clock pm, down in Florida. After that prosecutors will have to turn over discovery. That means as a
prosecutor, you have to give over all your information, all your evidence to the defense.
Then Donald Trump's defense team will bring motions rest assured they will make motions to try to get the case dismissed. They've already told us
they're going to be arguing there's prosecutorial misconduct, then, at some point, we will have a trial query whether we will get that in before the
2024 election or not, that's going to be a really important issue.
Of course, only if there's a conviction, we'll then move to sentencing. And only if there's a conviction, we will then move to appeal.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Elie, I'm not asking you this in the political context, but in the legal context, because this actually prevents the
Former President from becoming President again.
HONIG: So the short answer is no, Phil, believe it or not someone can run for and be President, while they're under indictment. Someone can run for
and be President, even if they've been convicted, theoretically, even from prison. I will say this, there's one law that could be in play here.
It's not one of the ones that we know is in the indictment, but it was part of what got them the search warrant that says if a person's convicted of
this, he's disqualified from holding federal office, not clear whether that provision is constitutional. And in any event, it would have to go all the
way through trial and appeal before that bar could be put in place.
ANDERSON: Well, Kristen Holmes is in Bridgewater, New Jersey, just a short drive away from where Trump made those recorded remarks about declassified
documents that we've told you about today, an exclusive CNN reporting. And David Super is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
He said and I quote, he can be indicted on any number of times, and it won't stop his ability to stand for office. And we've just heard, Elie,
explaining much of the same. I think that will be remarkable to many of our viewers. Again, you know, there's no precedent for this, is that? Kristen,
can you hear me?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I'm so sorry. I guess I'm right here. Yes, I thought you were had another guest on right now. No,
look, there's no precedent for this. But we are in completely unprecedented times. But as you know, Donald Trump is going to do what Donald Trump wants
He is going to continue to run he has to campaign events this weekend. We are told that they are still on. We are expecting him to give remarks.
He'll talk about this indictment. But he plans to go through the end to continue this race to be President. And we're hearing from him now and from
We're calling this election interference. I think that that's something to really pay attention to, because those are not the same exact words. We've
heard in all of these other cases in the impeachment in the Manhattan indictment. We heard more of this is a hoax. This is a political witch
hunt, which he is saying as well.
But he's specifically focused on this idea of election interference. They are trying to argue that the GOP primary field is already set that they are
seven months to Iowa till that first caucus, and that this is now going to become interference in the actual election. Now, obviously it is unclear
how that is going to play out But what Donald Trump likes to do and what he's going to continue to do is lay this out in the court of public
He reported yesterday that his allies had already been calling members on the Hill who are Trump supporters telling them to fall in line to get out
there on the airwaves in defense of Trump calling this again, a political witch hunt, the same playbook that we have seen over and over again.
And one thing to point out here is that right now, there is only one person filling the space because we have not seen this indictment. The Justice
Department has not unsealed this indictment. We have not heard from Jack Smith, or Merrick Garland. So there is only one narrative out there right
And that is Donald Trump's, and he is really trying to take advantage of this moment. And we are also told that he is likely to give remarks it is
not set in stone after his arraignment back at his club in Bedminster. It would look very similar to what we saw after the Manhattan indictment when
he gave remarks at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
They are still working through all of this because even though Trump's team expected this, even though they were bracing for this, there are some of
them who were still surprised that it actually happened. And obviously, this is very striking to many of these advisors. They know the seriousness
And while Trump himself continues to say that this is going to help them in the polls, it's going to help him in the election when I help him
fundraise. There are senior advisors who I've spoken to who do not feel that way who think yes, sure, it might give him a brief boost in these
things possibly help him win the nomination.
But overall, this is something that could harm his electability. But again, as you noted, it was we started this whole, you know, conversation. This is
unprecedented. So no one really knows what to expect right now.
ANDERSON: Our viewers will hear a lot more about one Jack Smith going forward. What do we know about him?
HOLMES: Jack Smith is the special counsel in this case. Of course, we'll just take you back here. We know that there had been complaints that this
was going to be political because of Merrick Garland because of Joe Biden, from the Trump side. So then Merrick Garland stepped in and appointed its
special counsel both to the Trump documents case as well as to the Biden documents case.
This was a way of separating the politics out of it, as we know, Merrick Garland was appointed by Biden, so it to try to take the politics out of
it. Jack Smith has been really quiet. He has been underground. He is not somebody who is out there making statements. We are hearing you know, that
he is being very serious about this.
They are being very meticulous in what they are saying. But we still have not heard from him. And there are a lot of legal experts who believe that
now is the time to actually hear from the Special Counsel to hear about what those charges are? But again, Jack Smith is not a public figure.
So it'll be interesting to see how they play this how they play this very public spectacle and event. Is Jack Smith going to be making the remarks?
Is Merrick Garland going to be making the remarks? And right now which is not clear.
ANDERSON: Thank you. Stay on it. This story isn't going away. Thank you. Well, Britain and the U.S. renewed their long standing Security Alliance
this week. U.S. President Joe Biden, and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has signed what is known as the Atlantic Declaration on Thursday. The
countries made a pledge to partner on major economic issues of the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Today in Washington, we've had important and positive discussions to deepen our bilateral
economic relationship and expand our cooperation to shape the challenges and future for this remainder this century. It's a testament to the depth,
breadth, and I would argue the intensity of our cooperation and coordination, which has existed, continues to exist between the United
Kingdom and the United States.
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Our alliance is so strong because it is not abstract. It is rooted in our people. And it's never been about our
history alone, but about our ability to grasp the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Rishi Sunak standing next to one Joe Biden in an exclusive interview with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. Sunak talks about his country's
relationship with the U.S. he also talked about Russia's war in Ukraine and threats from China. During the interview, my colleague Kaitlan Collins
pointed out that 43 Rishi Sunak is the youngest leader in the G7.
While 80 President Biden is the oldest and well Sunak if there are any generational differences in their leadership style, have a listen.
SUNAK: I'm really fortunate to enjoy a close relationship with President Biden and through circumstance we just happen to have seen each other quite
a lot and that's not always the case for leaders. And that actually allows us I think, to build a close relationship --
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: But are there differences in how you leave because of your age?
SUNAK: It's just hard for me to say commenting on the outside, but look, I find that President Biden's experience is incredibly helpful particularly
on issues like China. I think there are, you know, few leaders anywhere who have spent as much time talking to President Xi, as President Biden has
over the years.
So, you know, at a time where China poses that particular challenge that it does, I think we're lucky to have President Biden's perspective on
President Xi. I found that particularly valuable to me as someone who is newer to this. And you know, certainly having the relationship there, he
and I have is delivering real benefits, you know, for our people in America and the UK.
COLLINS: What you often hear from President Biden on the world stage, as he says, America is back making a clear reference to his predecessor, former
President Donald Trump, who as I mentioned earlier, is the front runner for the Republican nomination. If he does succeed, and you are working
alongside him, what do you envision a Trump Sunak relationship would look like?
SUNAK: No, I think the great thing about the UK and the U.S. is that the strength of partnership between our countries has endured for decades, you
know, regardless of almost who is sitting in these various jobs. And that's because the values between our two countries are so aligned. I think we see
the world instinctively, in the same way.
Our two countries have stood together all the major times of crisis, we've come together, we've shed blood together, we've fought for peace together,
and those bonds are incredibly strong. But look, we can't dwell on history. It's my view.
We have an incredible history together our two countries. But we've got to reimagine our relationship to make sure it's relevant for now that it's
dealing with the particular opportunities and challenges that we face today. And that's why the declaration that President Biden and I announced
today that closer partnership between our two countries is so important.
It's the first type of agreement like that that either of us has reached, and it speaks to making sure that we are ready for the future. And that's
what I'm excited about and our values are enduring the strength between our two countries is evidence for everyone to see. It's delivered incredible
benefits, I think not just for our two countries, but for the world. And I think that will always be the case.
COLLINS: China is also a big subject obviously for you. Your government says that China represents a systemic challenge, but stopped short of
calling it a threat. How come?
SUNAK: Well, I think that what matters more than language, actually, our actions; I do believe China represents an epoch defining challenge. It's, I
think the only country with both the means and the intent to reshape the world order. Its behavior at home is increasingly authoritarian and abroad,
more assertive. And I think we need to recognize that the eyes wide open about it, and then take the steps required to protect ourselves against
COLLINS: Your French counterpart, President Macron was in China recently. And as he was returning, he made a comment about not fault having Europe
not follow the U.S.'s queue when it comes to Taiwan, and obviously concerns here about whether or not China would try to invade Taiwan or attack
Taiwan. Was that a helpful comment? Did you agree with him?
SUNAK: So all opposition on Taiwan is long standing and hasn't changed. And I think probably the U.S. position is very similar to ours. You know, we
see the Taiwan issue is one that should be resolved peacefully. We don't believe in any unilateral action. And we will continue to advocate for that
COLLINS: What would you do if China invades Taiwan?
SUNAK: I think, look, it's not helpful to speculate on these things. I think the most important thing for us to do more generally, is to ensure
that Ukraine is successful, because you know --
COLLINS: As you think as implications.
SUNAK: Well, I think more generally, I think, you know, when autocrats and dictators like President Putin are disrupting the global order and
conducting illegal and unprovoked invasions in other countries, and violating their territorial integrity, I think it's right that we stand up
to that. And whoever it is, needs to see that when you behave like that, that you're going to be met with a pretty strong response.
And I think that's why when I say, you know, why is it important for the U.S. and all of us to support what's going on in Ukraine? It's because
we're defending the rules that we spent a long time building over the past half century. And we need to send a strong signal of deterrent to
aggressors everywhere, that that kind of aggression is not going to go unchecked.
COLLINS: Do you want to meet with either of them, President Putin or President Xi?
SUNAK: No, look, you know, in general engagement is a good thing. And what I would say is with regard to China in particular, this is not about
decoupling, it's about de risking, you know, there are many topics on which, you know, it's right to engage with China, whether its global public
health, macroeconomic stability, climate change.
These are big global issues that aren't going to get resolved without China, engaging with those discussions of being part of the solution. So
whilst I think it's absolutely right to recognize the challenge that it poses, take the steps necessary to protect ourselves and work with allies
to do that, you know, where it makes sense to engage on these global issues with China where obviously they do play an important role. I think that
that is entirely right and reasonable too.
ANDERSON: Rishi Sunak speaking to my colleague Kaitlan Collins after his meeting with the U.S. president. Well, ahead on "Connect the World" air
pollution has been a major concern for much of the United States this week.
But many of those stuck inside may be able to enjoy the outdoors safely this weekend, more on that after this.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Former President Donald Trump being indicted on federal charges. We're going to have much more on what the breaking news
that John was just reporting with Evan Perez, much more on the president the indictment and the potential timing of one that indictment will be
unsealed. We'll be right back.
ANDERSON: Order for many Americans, she just smoke blowing across the U.S. from Canadian wildfires. The situation is now getting better in many places
even as smoke continues to linger. Washington DC, for example, is currently under a code Yellow Alert meaning only those people with unusually
sensitive health issues need to remain cautious but it has been a, it's been a challenging week.
Our Meteorologist Jennifer Gray has been following what has been this unprecedented weather story for us. Let's get to her from CNN Center. So as
we understand it, things are now beginning to improve, how quickly?
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They are improving very quickly. And this is going to be a perfect example for you. This was yesterday in Washington
DC. And here is a picture of today you can see skies are much, much clearer across the region from this earth cam view.
You can see still a little bit of a haze in the air. The air quality is still suffering a little bit, but we're nowhere near where we were
yesterday. So it is good news across much of the Northeast, the Ohio Valley and New England.
You can see some there is still some air quality alerts in effect, you can see all of Pennsylvania up and down the I-95 corridor, as we call it. And
then across the Ohio Valley, we are still seeing some air quality alerts. But at least it is getting better; you can see these dots that yesterday
and the day before were all red and purple are now indicating yellow in green, which is much better.
It's moderate, we're seeing a little bit of yellow, but we're not seeing near about the amount of red and purple which is unhealthy and very
unhealthy. And so a lot of this has to do with the dramatic improvement we've seen in wildfire activity across Canada, we're just seeing a fraction
of the smoke up there compared to a couple of days ago.
And so as a result with those winds out of the north, we're not seeing as much smoke driving down to the south. So as conditions are improving in
Canada, which we're grateful for because their air quality has suffered much worse than ours. Our air quality is improving as well, so you can see
as we go forward in time that was a smoke forecast.
It looks like things will be clearing out across the Northeast and the eastern half of the country. Also a little bit of rain is helping disperse
some of those smoke particles, so we are getting some rain across northeast and New England through the first half of the weekend, more rain on the way
early next week Becky, so good news all in all across the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada.
ANDERSON: Well, air quality alerts more familiar to people living in some of the major cities around the world. So as the air quality improves in the
U.S., what's the story elsewhere?
GRAY: Well, we are seeing poor air quality across other cities around the globe. The U.S. no longer holds any of those top 10 spots. But we are still
seeing poor air quality across other areas in the world, so Tel Aviv being the number one spot.
And of course, as we know, with climate change, and we've been talking about wildfires so much, there is some very strong evidence that drought
and heat waves are related to climate change. And we know those are two things that contribute to these wildfires. So as the smoke has filtered
down into the U.S., we know that climate change has played a huge role in increasing the number of wildfires.
And we have seen just an unprecedented number of acres burned across Canada this year already at almost 11 million acres burned. And the season is just
now getting started. So we are already on the charts for one of the top five seasons in Canada.
So as I mentioned, the season is still early on Becky, so we could see smoke continue across the U.S. later in the summer if these fires start to
kick off again.
ANDERSON: Thank you. Still to come, he sat next to the man who opened emergency exit door midair. Well, Asiana airline passenger, now being
hailed as a hero, talks about the terrifying moments when he believed he was about to die.
ANDERSON: Well, a Traveler Courtney terrifying ordeal on an Asiana flight is now talking to the media. In late May, a passenger open the emergency
exit door on a plane just as it was about to land in South Korea. My colleague Paula Hancocks tells us how the man seated beside him took
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It turned into the flight from hell; an Asiana passenger allegedly opened the emergency exit door a
couple of minutes before the aero plane is about to land in South Korea. The man sitting next to him seen here in red trousers tell CNN he thought
he was going to die.
LEE YOON-JUN, ASIANA AIRLINES PASSENGER: Disaster -- this everyone always seems to die when a door opens in the air. I wondered what I had done wrong
in my life. It was just a fleeting moment, but I had so many thoughts.
HANCOCKS (voice over): Lee Yoon-Jun says he didn't see the man opening the door and initially assumed it was a technical malfunction.
YOON-JUN: The wind was still in my legs and hitting my face so hard. I couldn't even breathe properly.
HANCOCKS (on camera): What was the man next to you doing?
YOON-JUN: He didn't say anything. We were both trembling with fear, he seem tense. When I looked down, I noticed his feet swaying in the wind.
HANCOCKS (voice over): Police arrested the man in his 30s at Daegu airport after the plane landed safely. He told them he felt suffocated and wanted
to get off the plane quickly, adding he'd been under a lot of stress after losing his job according to police.
YOON-JUN: From the moment he boarded the plane he looked pale and gave up a bad vibe. He appeared somewhat dark constantly fidgeting, looking around at
people and acting strangely.
HANCOCKS (voice over): Asiana says it has stopped selling certain emergency exit seats for safety reasons. An investigation is underway to find out how
the door was able to be opened 700 feet from the ground.
As soon as the wheels touchdown, Lee said the passenger appeared to try and jump from the fast moving plane.
YOON-JUN: I heard the sound of someone next to me undoing the seatbelt; I realized he was leaning towards the exit. The flight attendant then shouted
asking for help. So I just grabbed him.
HANCOCKS (voice over): Lee was helped by other passengers and flight attendants and is amused that he's being hailed as a hero.
YOON-JUN: I'm actually enjoying it; I suddenly became a temporary celebrity.
HANCOCKS (voice over): Lee feels he's been given a second chance at life, and he is determined to enjoy it. Paula Hancocks, CNN Seoul.
ANDERSON: "One World" with Zain Asher is up next live from New York. From the team working with me here and around the world, it is a very good
evening and a good weekend.