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Strikes Damage Ukrainian Port Facilities along Danube; Typhoon Doksuri Kills 21 in China; Trump Facing New Charges in Court Thursday; U.S., A.U. Discuss Safe Release of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 02, 2023 - 10:00   ET





BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): You've been watching CNN's special coverage of the historic indictment of former U.S. president, Donald Trump.

I'm Becky Anderson, live for you out of London, with CONNECT THE WORLD.

Let's recap that major story for you, Donald Trump due to make a court appearance on Thursday to face new criminal charges over efforts to

overturn the 2020 election. Now he is accused of four counts of conspiracy and obstruction.

The indictment saying he knowingly spread, quote, "prolific lies of fraud," after Joe Biden won that election, it also alleges six coconspirators

helped to exploit the violence. that unfolded on January the 6th, 2021.

Russia is dealing another blow to Ukraine's ability to export grain. Russian strikes damaged port facilities in Odessa, setting some on fire.

This was along the Danube River near NATO member Romania, a route that has become vital since the Kremlin stopped allowing shipments from the Black


Meantime, a group investigating war crimes for Ukraine says almost half of those held in Russian detention centers in Kherson were tortured. The group

says methods included electrocution and sexual violence.

My colleague, Nick Paton Walsh, is on the ground in Ukraine and he joins us now from southern Ukraine, with more.

Nick, if you will, on the significance of the latest strikes.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is the closest, really, it seems Russia has gotten to hitting a NATO

member, Romania, whose president called these repeated drone strikes hitting the grain facilities that the world needs to be functioning at full

throttle to keep food prices affordable, hitting those.

And I think reminding many that Russia may, as it begins to see its southern frontier come under increased pressure, seek an unanticipated way

to escalate the conflict.

But while the progress I think it's fair to say for Ukraine in the south is slower than they would like, it is still occurring. Here is a remarkable

story, told by footage supplied to CNN of two very different fates on the front lines.


WALSH: A Ukrainian soldier saved by the drones and a Russian commander abandoned, Ukraine says, by his colleagues and given help, despite the fact

that he was in fact declared dead by the Russian command. Here's what we saw.


WALSH (voice-over): It is usually only the dead lying here in the craters of Ukraine's southern front. But sometimes a glint of life shines.

This drone spotting a Ukrainian soldier, Sergei (ph), separated from his unit, wounded in the chest and leg by shelling. He filmed this as he lay

alone bleeding. He feared whatever fight to live he put up would not be enough, he later told CNN, from his hospital bed.

SERGEI (PH), UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (through translator): I was ready to fight for my, life and I did, even lying there, under the blazing sun. I realized

I was too close to the, Russians and you even start to look at your gun in a different way.

WALSH (voice-over): But the drone operators had other plans. They attached water, medicine and a note to the drone and sent it back.

It found him again and dropped the package. But he didn't know if it was friendly or a Russian bomb.

SERGEI (PH) (through translator): All the time I was crawling, a drone was always hovering above. We didn't realize if it was friend or foe. It was a


WALSH (voice-over): This is the moment he realizes the drone may save him. The water and medicine kept coming, easing the pain that was visible even

from up high. And then he crawled back to safety.

SERGEI (PH) (through translator): The combat medics who gave me first aid when they found me were very surprised I survived for two days with a

pierced lung.

WALSH (voice-over): Sergei (ph) is recovering and talks now of a new life, with greater value and purpose.

"They don't want to leave anyone behind," said the drone operator.

"Every life is important to us. I could not live with myself if we just left someone behind in the field."

Probably only several miles, away salvation was uglier. Here is a Ukrainian assault by the 15th National Guard on a Russian position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WALSH (voice-over): It is ferocious and eventually forced a dozen Russian troops to pull back. Artillery had injured the Russian commander badly and

the Russians left him behind, presuming he was dead.

But this video supplied by Ukrainian forces shows they found him alive. He received medical treatment. We're not naming him for his safety but he was

later awarded a posthumous medal according to Russian media reports.

Left behind and declared dead by his comrades, the Ukrainians who found him say he may have wished he didn't survive.

"We said, don't try anything or you'll die," he says. "And he asked us to shoot him. We offered him a chance to do it himself. But he said he could

not do that. He is an enemy and I had no real desire to save him. But orders are orders and they have our guys and we can swap prisoners."

"As a human," another says, "I was shocked that they had left him behind. As a soldier, I know my enemy and I know it's not an uncommon practice for


The opposite fates on different sides in these wide, ugly expanses of violence.


WALSH: Be in no doubt, there are significant casualties on both sides. And I think a feeling amongst Ukrainian forces that we saw, that slowly the

progress they're making may begin to grow in the months or weeks ahead.

But generally, it's important to point out that this southern counteroffensive happening now will likely decide the fate of this

conflict. In the winter we will see probably a bid for more peace talks, possibly concretizing the current front lines as we see them.

And so, so much importance for increased Ukrainian progress, particularly in the Zaporizhzhya area, right now.

ANDERSON: Yes. That's some remarkable reporting, Nick, as ever. Thank you very much indeed.

Well, in China, at least 21 people have been killed from rain and flooding after Typhoon Doksuri. Beijing continues to dig out from the mud and

damage. State media reporting evacuation orders were given to more than 127,000 people. The threat from storms is not over yet. Here is CNN Anna

Coren with more.



ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The death toll from former super Typhoon Doksuri continues to rise across China and 21 people now dead

according to authorities; 12 of those were in Beijing with another dozen still missing.

The storm has dealt the heaviest rainfall over the capital, ever recorded in 140 years. Heavy rains began pummeling Beijing and surrounding areas

last Saturday with the average rainfall for the month of July falling on the capital in just 40 hours.

Severe flooding washing away cars, damaged buildings and roads. Many residents needed to be evacuated. In neighboring Hubei province, over

800,000 people were evacuated. Authorities say nine people were killed, six still missing.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for every effort to rescue those, lost or trapped by the rain. State media reports maximum rainfall was recorded in

10 weather stations in Hubei province, also breaking historical records.

The local meteorological service says rainfall in Beijing and Hubei is expected to ease today as the storm moves toward northeastern China. As we,

know China has been experiencing extreme weather and posting record temperatures this summer.

Scientists believe it has been exacerbated by climate change. Another typhoon is now heading toward China, Typhoon Khanun, the sixth storm this

year, is powerful and slow moving. Currently, it's lashing at Japan although authorities say it's weakened slightly.

It's reached winds of 185 kilometers an, hour -- that's 115 miles per hour, the equivalent of a category 3 Atlantic hurricane. So far one person has

died. Khanun has knocked out power to one-third of homes in Okinawa. Phone and internet connections have been disrupted, the airport in the capital

has been closed for a second day.

Okinawa is home to the bulk of U.S. forces based in Japan. This typhoon is expected to move toward China and Taiwan later this week -- Anna, Coren,

CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Donald Trump is due to appear before a judge, tomorrow, to face his third criminal indictment this year. I want to get you live to the D.C.

court to find out what will happen in that hearing.

Plus the first evacuation flights leaving Niger begin landing in Europe. More on what is an exodus from West Africa is up next.





ANDERSON: Welcome, back I'm Becky Anderson in London. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Donald Trump finds himself advancing into further uncharted waters. In March, the former president became the first former president in U.S.

history to face criminal charges. Now an unprecedented third indictment accuses him of four crimes all related to his efforts to stay in the White

House after Joe Biden, won the election in 2020.

The charges came out of a federal investigation into election interference. Special counsel Jack Smith tied Trump's actions directly to the violent

January 6th insurrection. Have a listen.


JACK SMITH, SPECIAL COUNSEL: The attack on our nation's capital, on January 6th, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American


As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies; lies by the defendant, targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S.

government, the nation's process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election.


ANDERSON: Well, senior crime and justice, reporter Katelyn Polantz is outside the court, where Donald Trump is due to face these new charges


Katelyn, he does not have to appear, as I understand it.

Will he appear in court?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we do believe at this time Donald Trump will be here in person, at the federal

courthouse in Washington, D.C., to face these charges, for the very first time and potentially even enter his initial pleading of not guilty.

A pleading we expect him to stick, with because it is very likely Donald Trump is going to contest these charges the whole way to trial, to take

this case to trial.

But right now, there is a sizeable case against him and him alone as a defendant, U.S. v. Trump is this case. There are conspirators that are

outlined in this indictment, that the Justice Department released yesterday and had approved by the federal grand jury here in Washington.

But those conspirators are not charged at this time. They are, however, people who were lawyers, working with Donald Trump and a political

consultant, after the election to essentially spread disinformation and put pressure on different aspects of the political system, aspects like the

state legislators in battleground states.

Using fake electors to submit false certifications to the Electoral College, using the Justice Department, trying to pressure Mike, Pence the

vice president, to block the election and then to harness the ability of, rioters and a rally, a group of ralliers, Trump supporters on January 6th,

to help further this mission of blocking the transfer of power.

That is the overview of this case. Ultimately though, this case is one built around deceit. It is one built where the Justice Department believes

the fraud that Donald Trump was perpetrating, where he was saying the election was rigged and it could be overturned, in his favor as the results

were coming, out showing Joe Biden winning multiple states.

That was intentional deceit and fraud, that that was disinformation that was coming together, as a conspiracy, not just to defraud the United States

government but to also disenfranchise voters themselves from being able to have confidence that their votes would result in the next president.

So here is what Merrick Garland, the attorney general of the United States, said yesterday, after these charges were released.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Jack Smith, the special counsel, to take on the ongoing investigation in order to underline the department's

commitment to accountability and independence.

Mr. Smith and his team of experienced, principled career agents and prosecutors have followed the facts and the law wherever they lead. Any

questions about this matter will have to be answered by the filings made in the courtroom.


POLANTZ: Becky, this case kicks off tomorrow, in court, with the initial appearance of Donald Trump. That might not be the end. The special counsel

yesterday came out and said they are continuing to investigate, including investigating the actions of individuals, plural. We know there are those

six conspirators.


POLANTZ: People like Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, boldface names who were around Donald Trump very publicly after the election. They

have not been charged with any crimes.

But John Eastman, his lawyers released a statement, saying, if he were to be charged, he too plans to go to trial. Becky.

ANDERSON: How quickly, could this go to trial?

When I talk about, this of, course I'm talking about this Donald Trump trial at this point.

POLANTZ: It's not a question we can answer yet because we haven't even gotten the case before the federal judge who will oversee it to trial. But

from our experience, covering this court, this federal court does often have cases, even complex, ones with a lot of law that has to be weighed,

going to trial, essentially one year from being charged to the trial itself.

Now there are issues that could come up in the case. There could be attempts by Donald Trump to derail it. The Justice Department wants this to

happen fairly quickly.

They want it to get on the fast track rather than be one that's bogged down, in discussions over where the law should be on this, what the facts

of the case and the parameters of the trial should be.

But there is a lot of questions on how it will be handled. And so much will be ultimately up to that district judge, Judge Tanya Chutkan. She is a

Biden appointee and she is a judge, from my experience, who moves really fast and also has viewed the actions of 2020 quite firmly, quite harshly

since its many rioters from January 6 before her.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Katelyn, it's good to have you, thank you very much indeed.

As the first evacuees out of Niger land, back in Europe, the country's political future remains in flux. U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken,

speaking with the head of the African Union Commission, on Tuesday, to discuss a shared priority.

That being safe release of Niger president Mohamed Bazoum. With us now, David McKenzie.

Two questions: where is the president of Niger and how likely is it that will he be reinstated?

Why is it that the State Department is not calling this as of yet, at least, a coup?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a very good question, Becky, in terms of where the president is, we're not exactly

sure. He's certainly not free to roam.

He had a phone call with the secretary of state and other regional leaders. ECOWAS, the regional group, bloc of countries, is trying very hard to

defuse the situation and in their minds get Bazoum back into power because should this coup be successful in the long run, it really creates a cascade

of the security situation, in that zone.

The ability for the U.S. government, the French government and others to partner with Niger, to combat extremists in that zone. And Niger itself

faces a threat from the Western side, with Al Qaeda linked groups and ISIS led groups. And on the eastern, side with Boko Haram.

Now the reason the State Department isn't explicitly calling this a coup, is because, if they do officially designate this hostile takeover of the

government, then there is a legal act they have to follow, Becky, which means withdrawing much of the assistance that they are giving to the

country, which includes more than $100 million drone base, in the desert area of Agadez.

That is a critical intelligence gathering and operations launchpad for the Sahel region as well as the troops in and around the capital. If you look

at the toll of extremist violence, in the Sahel region, the Sahel is this, on this, graph, this very steep curve.

It's the most deadly zone, for civilians when it comes to this kind of, violence on Earth. And of course, while graphics cannot begin to explain

the suffering of civilians there, it does show how bad the situation has become. I spoke to a former CIA analyst and former U.S. government official

about what happens next.


CAMERON HUDSON, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CSIS AFRICA PROGRAM: I think we've seen all of these national militaries with some kind of outside assistance,

still struggling to contain the terrorist threat.

So absent not just any old military assistance but U.S. military assistance, I think you're going to find that the Nigerien army is going to

really struggle.

MCKENZIE: The real, estate as it were in the Sahel for the U.S. and, France to operate is almost running out.

Where do you see this going from here?

HUDSON: I think that's also why we're seeing Secretary Blinken and others really double down on not calling this a coup. It's obviously an ongoing

coup. It's almost more of a hostage situation.


HUDSON: And so I think that's in part why we are seeing diplomats continue to double down on the restoration of President Bazoum and civilian rule in

the country, because they don't want to make those hard choices about where they go next and whether or not they suspend military assistance to Niger

in the near term.


MCKENZIE: Where they go next, really, if Niger would become an official coup and the U.S. has to withdraw its troops. Or just cease operation there

in earnest?

There are limited countries left. And the threat is a threat not just for the Sahel but potentially creeping over to the Gulf of Guinea nations. That

could be an even more dangerous scenario, for much of that band of Africa - - Becky.

ANDERSON: David, David McKenzie with your analysis, thank you.

Further upset, at the Women's World Cup, as two more first-timers make their debut in the round of 16. We will tell you who and how they did it --

up next.




ANDERSON: More historic surprises at the Women's World Cup today as both South Africa and Jamaica advance to the round of 16. South Africa pulling

off a dramatic win over Italy earlier. It was a 3-2 result, while Jamaica fought Brazil to take a draw and get them into the elimination stage.

Patrick Snell with the details -- Patrick.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Yes, of course, it now means Brazil are out of the tournament. Powerhouse nation from South America end

of the road for them. We'll have that in "WORLD SPORT" coming. Up

But what storylines everywhere you look, on this day. Special celebrations for Jamaica and, of course, South Africa, the amazing way they did. It just

ahead Becky.

ANDERSON: Good stuff, that's on "WORLD SPORT" with, Patrick I'm back top of the hour for. You stay with us.