Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

U.S. Warns Against Major Military Ground Operation in Rafah; Prosecutors' Star Witness Micheal Cohen Takes the Stand; International Deals Paving the Future of AI; Prosecutors Allege a "Long-Running Conspiracy to Influence the 2016 Election"; Some Schools Alter Commencement Ceremonies Due to Protests; Michael Cohen Testifying in Trump Hush Money Trial. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired May 13, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well it's 5 pm in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching "Connect the World" this hour, two wars

hanging in the balance. We are following the very latest on Israel's operation in Rafah, while also asking what Putin's Defense Ministry

reshuffle means for Russia's war on Ukraine, just as new fighting begins in the Northeast.

ERICA HILL, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Erica Hill in New York with our continuing coverage, special coverage here on CNN of Donald

Trump's hush money trial, just 9 am. Here the former president has just arrived a few moments ago at the courthouse, the star witness today,

Michael Cohen, who was set to take the stand.

ANDERSON: Well, the stock markets in New York will open about 30 minutes from now. These are the futures markets indicating a higher open if indeed

the market. So reflect what these futures markets are up to as traders wait to see some key data this week including Euro zone GDP and U.S. consumer

prices, the Fed also looking at that number, of course.

Well we start in Gaza with reports of heavy fighting on the ground mass exodus and mass casualties. Gaza's Ministry of Health says more than 35,000

Palestinians have been killed in the now shattered enclaves since the start of the war. A U.N. Agency for Palestinian refugees says at least 360,000

people have fled the city of Rafah as Israel ordered evacuations of more neighborhoods there.

People are also fleeing the Jabalya refugee camp in Northern Gaza against a background of Israeli gunfire and explosions. This is Israel marks Memorial

Day to remember its fallen soldiers -- ceremony. Earlier Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the current war was a choice between Israel

and the quote monsters of Hamas.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live for you from Jerusalem, Alex Marquardt joining us this hour from Washington. And Alex, let me start with you. Antony

Blinken, the Secretary of State at spoke with the Israeli Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant on Sunday. As we understand it, reaffirming the U.S.

opposition to a major ground operation in Rafah.

What do we understand we the details of that conversation and -- has is being reported. Is this effectively, the strongest warning yet?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think without question, Becky, when you look at the number of conversations that top U.S.

officials have had with their counterparts over the past few days, this is a real turning point. And this has been a series of the strongest warnings

yet by the U.S. to Israel, not just saying we don't want you to go into Rafah in a major way, we still need to see a plan.

But now you have this threat on the table by the Biden administration to cut off weaponry for a Rafah operation. Obviously, there's been a huge

uproar within Israel, but also among supporters of Israel here in the United States. And for the past few days, you've had top Biden

administration officials essentially defending themselves against these allegations.

That they are cutting off Israel or leaving Israel high and dry, saying we simply don't want these American weapons to be used in Rafah. More than a

million people these officials point out have been told to go to Rafah to seek shelter from elsewhere in Gaza. Now they're being told to move again

to places that don't have much support.

But there are two main reasons now that the Biden administration -- Biden administration is saying that Israel should not mount this major operation.

First, because there's no plan to move the civilians and there could be major civilian casualties, but also because the Biden administration

doesn't think that an Israeli operation into Rafah.

The kind that they're talking about would actually be all that effective in removing Hamas from Rafah and really dismantling Hamas altogether in Gaza.

Take a listen to what Secretary Blinken had to say yesterday.


MAHER AL-RABAIA, DISPLACED FROM RAFAH: We are tired and lost. We don't know where to go and --

ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SECRETARY OF STATE: The trajectory right now is that going into to Rafah even to deal with these remaining

battalions. Especially in the absence of a plan for civilians, risks doing terrible harm to civilians and not solving the problem, a problem that both

of us want to solve, which is making sure Hamas cannot again, govern Gaza.



MARQUARDT: So Becky, I think that's really notable he's not just talking about the potential civilian casualties he's pointing out that elsewhere in

Gaza in Khan Younis farther north that Hamas is actually coming back and if -- if Israel goes into Rafah in a major way could create this vacuum, not

only would Hamas militants melt away, but when there's a power vacuum that would allow Hamas to come back.

So Blinken here is saying more and more that there needs to be bigger conversations about the day after governance of the Gaza Strip. And he

actually critiqued Israel for not taking part in those conversations in the way that other allies, specifically Arab countries are, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Alex. Jeremy, let me bring you in here. And Alex there just suggesting that, you know, people have been pushed down towards Rafah

during this more than seven month conflict now. And now people fleeing they're being told to evacuate some 360,000 people.

Now having left Rafah just in the past week or so, which does beg the question, where are people going to? And what is in the area that they are

fleeing to at this point, but what sort of infrastructure, what sort of facilities, what sort of what's the environment that people are moving into

at this point?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While they're moving to an environment that humanitarian aid officials say simply is not adequate for the tens of

thousands. Now hundreds of thousands of people who are beginning to flood to what has been described by the Israeli military as this Al-Mawasi

expanded humanitarian zone mainly encompassing the coastal sandy area of Al-Mawasi, and now expanded into Western Khan Younis, as well as parts of

Central Gaza.

There were already about 400,000 people living in tents in that area, before the Israeli military began this operation in Rafah and now over the

course of the last week since the Israeli military began dropping leaflets urging people to leave the city, leave parts of the city we have now seen

about 360,000 people flee Rafah according to the United Nations and many of them are headed indeed to that area.

And you can just hear the absolute exasperation and fear among many of the people who have are being displaced once again, sometimes for the second,

third or even fourth time. Listen to this one man who is fleeing Rafah.


RABAIA: We are tired and lost. We don't know where to go. In a small area, we are lost. No one is standing with us not Netanyahu, or Muslims, or Saudi

Arabia, or any Arab country. This is the destruction we are working as workers are left with a shirt and a torn under shirt. I'm working as a

worker for 10 shekels.

We are suffering from the high prices from one side and the war from the other side and we are displaced. I swear since five days I only had one



DIAMOND: And this is part of those concerns from the United States is not just about the fact that you're once again, you know, Israel would once

again be the displacing hundreds of thousands of people. But it's the fact that there simply are not other areas in Gaza that are adequately suited to

receive that number of people given the enormous scale of destruction across the Gaza Strip.

And in addition to Rafah where the Israeli military is kind of inching closer to the center of the city, trying to avoid it seems crossing that

red line that President Biden set last week. We're also seeing intensified fighting in northern Gaza and the Jabalya refugee camp where Israeli forces

had withdrawn from several months ago.

They are now going back in there because of that power vacuum that, Alex, is talking about there, which is the fact that Hamas fighters have now once

again returned to that Jabalya refugee camp and Israeli forces say that they are going in there to route them once again very intense shelling and

gunfire has been reported in the area of Jabalya.

Difficulty for ambulance services to be able to reach that area and safely evacuate the wounded and the dead and once again the people in that area

being displaced once again, as are the people of Rafah, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Jeremy. Thank you. And we have more on this ongoing story on the website. Of course CNN digital there you can find and

subscribe to the newsletter "Meanwhile in the Middle East" for an inside look at the biggest stories in the region.

Well to Russia's war on Ukraine now and what is Russia's biggest cross border ground assault in almost two years. Russian forces say they have

captured as many as nine villages in the Kharkiv region and they are closing ranks around the key village of Vovchansk which is being attacked

by five Russian battalions.

Ukraine liberated it from Russian occupation more than 18 months ago recapturing it could prove symbolically important to Russia's ground



Well this happening is Russian President Putin sacks Sergei Shoigu as his Defense Minister and replaces him with a civilian economist. Clare

Sebastian, joining us now from London let's starts with the latest on the ground, make of this shake up at the top. Let's start with the on the

ground activity. What do we know at this point? How is this stacking up?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Becky, it will be easy if you assume that this cross border offensive is about moving towards

Russia Second City of Kharkiv for which Russia has never occurred Ukraine Second City of Kharkiv rather, which Russia has never occupied in this

world that has been relentlessly pounded by airstrikes for months now life there is fundamentally altered.

Schools are all underground, for example, but most analysts will tell you that it is not so much about that there are more immediate goals here. One,

as President Zelenskyy noted in his overnight address is to draw Ukrainian forces and attention away from the Donetsk region where Russia has been

making its biggest push in recent months since the capture of Avdiivka in mid-February.

And the second is to try to expand or create a buffer zone on the border to prevent these relentless attacks that they now see across the border,

mainly into the Belgorod region on the Russian side of the border. So essentially to try to push Ukrainian forces further away from the border,

so they can't shell Belgorod as easily.

Of course, Russia is now blaming Ukraine for an attack on a residential building in Belgorod on Sunday, which they say now, has killed at least 15

people. This is also another piece of evidence of the fundamental landscape shift that was caused by that delay in U.S. aid reaching Ukraine.

Russia continuing while Ukraine right waits for that critical mass of aid to be delivered to try to exploit that narrowing window of opportunity,


ANDERSON: OK, that's the story on the ground. What about this palace intrigue at the Kremlin? What can we make of this shakeup at the top of

Russia's military? What's the received wisdom at this point?

SEBASTIAN: Well, like I mean, we've seen a revolving door of officials, military defense things like that on both sides of this conflict, Russia,

and Ukraine, but this really feels different. This is a core Putin loyalists, Sergei Shoigu. He's been defense minister since 2012 so all

through the annexation of Crimea.

Then, of course, the full scale invasion before that he was a government minister since 1991. So it doesn't really get much more, veteran than that.

So this is definitely a sign of Putin perhaps cleaning house. There was just a corruption scandal at the defense ministry, affecting a really top

aide to show your deputy defense minister.

There is also potentially a sign of Putin tightening his grip on power as he enters his fifth time. But I think you really have to look closely at

the nominated successor Andrei Belousov. He's an economist. He is a sort of rather gray suited individual who's already been up in Parliament today,

talking about improving conditions, payments, hospital treatments for servicemen.

But I think, the thinking here and certainly if you pass Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin Spokesman comments is that this is really about tightening the

links between the economy and the war really trying to ensure that supply chain of weapons and troops is sustainable and that there is this firm hand

to manage the sheer level of spending that is now happening for this war 6.7 percent of GDP, said Dmitry Peskov in a rare admission by the Kremlin.

So it's not good news for Ukraine because the certainly speaks to Russia's effort to make this war more financially sustainable, Becky.

ANDERSON: What happens to Shoigu?

SEBASTIAN: -- he's, I mean, look, some people will interpret this as a demotion. He is moving to be the Secretary of Russia Security Council

taking that posts from another core, Putin Ally, Nikolai Patrushev, who has also been around since his KGB days. This is a powerful role.

It's perhaps not as powerful as being defense minister, but he will have oversight in this position not only oversight of security policy, but also

he'll be helping very closely to run the military industrial complex. And as I said, those supply chains have weapons Russia is embarking on really

the biggest expansion of its military production since the Soviet area that will be under his purview as well, so he's not going too far.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Clare. Thank you. It's a big day in Donald Trump's hush money trial. Michael Cohen is a critically important piece of

the prosecutor's case and the jury will hear it from him. Today, Cohen is expected to connect the former president $230,000 payment to adult film

star Stormy Daniels to keep an alleged affair quite ahead of the 2016 election.

Erica Hill is watching the trial for us out of the New York Bureau and what can we expect to see today when proceedings get underway?


HILL: -- there is some anticipation of fireworks coming with Michael Cohen on the stand there. Of course he was once Donald Trump's fixer as he's

known. One of the witnesses we already heard from though in this trial said he was the fixer because he would break things and then have to fix them.

It'll be interesting. A lot of people will be watching, I think how Donald Trump reacts to Michael Cohen's testimony, and the prosecution has set him

up as someone who is challenging. He's a challenging witness, but he is, key here for the prosecution, Becky, because what he needs to do and what

the prosecution has been trying to do, in putting their case out there with all this various witness testimony over the last several weeks is they need

Michael Cohen to tie it all together.

They need him to show that Donald Trump was in fact a part of this idea to cover up those hush money payments and the reimbursement to Michael Cohen,

who paid that $130,000 to Stormy Daniels ahead of the election. But they need to show that Donald Trump was part of this plan to then cover up the

reimbursement to Michael Cohen as legal fees, not as reimbursement for that hush money payment.

I should point out that the prosecution even in their opening statement, Becky, they were very clear about knowing who they're dealing with here.

Michael Cohen is a guy who has credibility issues, he's gone to jail, he lied to Congress, he's a convicted liar, and you're going to hear a lot of

that from the defense as well.

What they send their opening statement, though, is that Michael Cohen made those payments at and this is, key for their case, the defendant's

direction, according to the prosecution, and that he did it to influence the presidential election. So we'll see what he has in terms of the goods

there Becky and the receipts, if you will, to make that connection.

This is day one. We're expecting Michael Cohen to be on the stand for a couple of days. So you can expect a lot of discussion about this.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. Thank you. Erica is in New York. Up next here smooth sailing in the skies, over the UAE find out just how much the Emirates

group has taken advantage of a global boom in travel.


ANDERSON: Well take a look at this. What authorities in Australia call a text book wheels up landing, meaning a successful plane landing without

landing gear. The pilot circled the airport for hours to burn off as much fuel as possible and eventually skidded to a stop but nothing textbook

about it to any of the nervous fliers out there.

I am sure good to see that going without incident of course that kind of scary scene, of course not deterring people from flying airlines posting

huge profit and record results.


Case in point Emirates Airline based in Dubai for a second year in a row, the airline is reporting its best financial results profits of 51 billion

U.S. dollars up over 70 percent from the year before the airline also reporting that over 51 million passengers use their services 5.1 million.

I'm sorry last year.

A trend we can see across the board for Middle Eastern Airlines as demand has increased by almost 11 percent. A trend also being seen globally as

demand was up by about 14 percent. Well U.S. officials are planning to express concerns over China's use of artificial intelligence, that's

because the Biden White House says Beijing is planning to deploy AI for military purposes.

Concerns over the rapid use of AI have been a major point of tension in the U.S.-China relationship. This latest use of AI by China will be a top

priority and an upcoming meeting between the two nations to be held in Geneva on Tuesday. Well, governments are working to use artificial

intelligence to their advantage even as it is developing before our eyes.

UAE Ambassador to the U.S. gave us some context in a recent "Bloomberg" op- ed saying quote, as oil was fortune in the last century data is destiny in this one. It was Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba as he explained how the U.S.

and the UAE are forging the future of this science together.

And joining us now to discuss this is Faisal Al Bannai. He's the Secretary General of Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Research Council and the Advisor

for Strategic Research and advanced technology affairs, to the UAE President. And some big news, we've just seen the launch of a new Falcon AI

model that it says is a challenge to Meta, and open AI.

It's good to have you here. And let's just talk about this open source, large language model, iteration 2.0. On a model that was only launched, I

think I'm right in saying about 18 months ago.


ANDERSON: Just explain the importance of this model here and to the wider relationship that you are building with the United States. And why this is


AL BANNAI: -- nice to meet you again. And I think it's been nearly a year. So around April, March last year is when we launched our first 40 billion

Falcon model version 1. And at that time, we were trying to prove to our self, can we really punch above our weight? And can we really do something.

And at that time, it's called as the best performing open source model out there when it launched. Few months later, 3d encouraged more players to do

stuff on the open source and a number of players did. In September, we launched again, the Falcon 180 billion model. And that was to further prove

to ourselves can we do it.

Since that time, there have been few key decisions that we have made in the country. One, we've announced the launch of the Falcon foundation to

clearly cement our dedication and our commitment to open source. So that's like the Linux Foundation. But now as the Falcon foundation for AI that

will host all the different Falcon models and keep it open for everyone to enjoy and for everyone to build on.

So we announced that, we announced a company called AI71, which is the commercialization arm for all the AI we're doing. And today, we're

announcing the second generation of our Falcon models, the Falcon 2, 11 billion parameter model. So starting with the small series and that today

outperforms some of the largest players globally, including from our colleagues from Meta the ADB model that they have.

ANDERSON: For those out there who may struggle to keep up as you explain what you're doing in this second iteration of large language models for the

-- those of us who aren't as well versed, what are you talking about here?

AL BANNAI: It's all about looking at how AI and large language models have improved in performance in the last 18 months, 15 months.

ANDERSON: Which is no time?

AL BANNAI: It's no time. I mean, since ChatGPT launched towards the end of 22 it was. Till now, the dramatic improvement what AI can do from just a

basic chat that you can chat with and crack some jokes. To today, it can write articles, it can look at medical results, it can work on engineering,

it can work on -- it can work on education.

ANDERSON: And images.

AL BANNAI: And images at much higher quality than before.


ANDERSON: The "Bloomberg" article that I introduced you with which was an op-ed written by the UAE Ambassador to the United States, spoke about three

key points. The first of those was emphasizing the importance of government to government collaboration to the UAE and the U.S. the biggest player in

this space in reality aligns on their goals. And if so, how, at this point, what's the future?

AL BANNAI: I think based on the op-ed that you've seen, based on the various engagement that we've been having with U.S., based on looking at

companies like Microsoft investing in G 42. I think these are all signs of closer collaboration when it comes to AI, whether it is on the AI model

itself, whether it is on the chipset side, and you're ensuring supply of Nvidia chips and other things.

Whether it's in looking at further investments in chipsets or other areas, there is definitely a closer collaboration that's happening to further

improve areas related to compute, areas related to the software part and areas related to the use cases.

ANDERSON: And this against the backdrop of the U.S. having a real problem with China and trying. It says at least that Geneva in an upcoming meeting

to try and sort of close some loopholes that they've seen in their worries about where China in its AI is headed.

A second point made in the op-ed that Yousef op-ed was, key and that was energy. We need significant amounts to process data and manage its flow. We

cannot deprioritize climate goals of the last COP meeting held here in Dubai, the UAE consensus pushed towards a future that wasn't as reliant on

fossil fuels.

What's the UAE doing about this to ensure that we are technologically proficient and ready for a new generation, and at the same time

prioritizing those climate goals and it says, and we see it is prioritizing.

AL BANNAI: Although on one side, many might say, look, you have energy of energy --abundance or not, but you have energy supply. Yes, you have energy

supply as a country to be able to fuel what we want to do in AI. But we are extremely conscious of how well at least we are building our AI.

So -- and we will be releasing a technical paper on it soon, probably this week, the AI model that we are building that led the Falcon 211 V model and

what we'll be releasing also, at the end of the month, a larger model, you will see very clearly, it's getting built with smaller teams than many of

our rivals.

And at the same time, it's getting built with much less compute than what is done an equivalent platform. We're being extremely conscious of how much

compute we do? How efficient we are in architecture? How efficient we are in our training? To ensure that we don't use more computes than required.

And I think we've done a fantastic job of how much compute we spent on the current model.

ANDERSON: You talked about the aligning of the private sector, the Microsoft investment in G 42 here was 1.5 billion dollars, the UAE has set

up a multi-billion dollar fund recently $100 billion, I think and that will be very largely focused on AI. The big question on everybody's mind is

whether there will be a net benefit going forward for everyone.

I talked about you and me. But I talk about people in parts of the world where they don't have the same opportunities. You know that, it -- this be

an AI that provides equality for the rest of the world. And I know that you launched the Falcon foundation, which you've talked about, and I know that

that's very focused in ensuring that there is an equitable nature to what is going on.

But at the end of the day, its haves and have nots, and also whether we can ensure that this there are safeguards, guardrails and regulation that

befits us all. Are you confident?

AL BANNAI: I am extremely confident and optimistic of the roadmap of AI. Today, what AI can do for us as individuals, or companies, or countries is

immense. And I think our current plan, probably splits into two parts from a UAE point of view. This is a diversified country that has talent from


So we're looking to definitely attract talent to work with us over here. We're making compute available. We're bringing the technology that we're

developing through Falcon and other things. And we're also bringing in clear use cases in the medical field, in the education field, which by the

way, we're currently rolling out to hospitals to try that.

Now where it makes an impact to the world, we will see announcement in May and June. So I'll give you a teaser to some of these announcements, where

we will be calling for calls for proposals telling different developers from around the world. You could be in Africa, you could be an issue, you

could be anywhere, and you could be in the moon.

If you have ideas of doing stuff on AI that can benefit societies, companies and another words pitching your idea. We will give you better

access to Falcon, we will give you compute from here.


And we can launch together your startup in this regard. So we're giving an opportunity for many young developers, young guys with interesting ideas,

to launch their products, launch their ecosystem, while we provide better access to Falcon where we provide compute, and we provide better advisory.

And I think that would open up for very different scales are people benefiting from AI and people leveraging AI in their societies?

ANDERSON: Do you finally understand Washington's concerns with Beijing with regard AI, and are the UAE and we asked this across a number of files,

taking a position?

AL BANNAI: I think when it comes to AI, like many other files, but even it's more, I think, more critical. There has to be a global discussion

between the key players, U.S. and China are the two key players in this game. On them finding the right terms between them on how they're covered

because reality, even if you're going to impose the regulations.

If you impose regulations, and some parties are not part of that regulation, it means nothing. So we definitely encourage all the key

players to have that discussion. Recommend what should be the guidelines, what should be the regulation, how should we make this AI is much safer.

So that we can all function within that ecosystem, having a polarized world that AI won't benefit anyone? I think the key players need to find the way

between them, which I think they're having some discussion at the moment to see what's the guideline?

Well, how should they cooperate, or not cooperate? But this should be the guideline when it comes to AI, because at the end of the country like UAE

is very interested in making a benefit to society, making a benefit to the ecosystem around it and making an impact around the world. We are very

focused on being pragmatic and delivering to what we want to do.

ANDERSON: -- good to see, thank you very much indeed --

AL BANNAI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: What any moment the self-described lawless lawyer will become the star witness Michael Cohen is going to take to the stand in Donald Trump's

hush money trial, more on that after this.



HILL: Welcome back to CNN special coverage of Donald Trump's hush money trial. I'm Erica Hill in New York, the man who signed the check who got the

money to Stormy Daniels expected to take the stand any minute now in this historic criminal trial. The prosecution star witness Michael Cohen

arriving at court a short time ago, the judge has actually just called for the jury to be brought into the courtroom.

Michael Cohen, of course, is, key here. He's the prosecution's key witness and -- does he have a lot of history with Donald Trump. He was once his

lawyer and self-described fixer. He's also the person who made that $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels to cover up that alleged sexual

encounter with Donald Trump.

That payment of course happened in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Donald Trump, for his part maintains there was no sex with Stormy

Daniels. Let's get some analysis here as to what we can expect today in court from Former State and Federal Prosecutor, David Weinstein, David,

good to see you as always.

Michael Cohen has a really important job here for the prosecution. He has to tie all these threads together. And he has to show that Donald Trump was

in on this that Donald Trump do exactly what they were doing when reimbursing Michael Cohen for making that $130,000 payment and saying that

that reimbursement was not in fact for the hush money payment.

But that it was for legal fees and retainers for Michael Cohen. What is the sense that he's going to be able to do that?

DAVID WEINSTEIN, FORMER STATE & FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you're exactly right, Erica, he has to tie it all together. Look, we know the payments

were made. We heard testimony last week from Stormy Daniels that there was an affair, whether the jury chooses to believe that or not, it's up to

them. She did very well on cross examination.

The checks had been signed, they were submitted, you know, the defense is contending they were in fact for legal fees. They were not as reimbursement

for the hush money payments. So that is why Michael Cohen is such an important witness. He's testified before in other proceedings, he's pled

guilty to the same crimes.

He is however, a witness who is a convicted felon and whom the defense is labeled as someone who is a liar. And who will bend the truth. So it suits

his, own means all of that is fine. The question is which version of Michael Cohen does this jury believe?

Do they believe someone who was on the inside, who knew exactly what had taken place and who could provide that linchpin to show that the former

president was part of the decisions, knew the decisions that were being made, signed those checks and knew exactly what they were for?

So quite frankly, it all comes down to the cross examination. The testimony that's going to come in today, indirect is going to be about all the warts

and lumps and bruises on Michael Cohen and who he is, and the prosecution is going to embrace him. How does he survive on cross? That's the bigger


HILL: And so we've no, we have a sense likely of where the defense may go on that cross examination because in the defenses opening statement, they

really sought to paint Michael Cohen is someone who's seeking revenge, which of course, was even the title of his book.

Someone who is still upset has an unhealthy obsession, they say with the former president, and was upset about not getting a job in Donald Trump's

administration in 2017. So they're going to -- be that's going to be their angle, right, the way that the defense is going to go in. There was a lot

made of the cross examination of Stormy Daniels.

A number of legal experts I spoke to said it went on a little too long. Is that also a risk for the defense when it comes to the cross examination of

Michael Cohen?

WEINSTEIN: Absolutely include me amongst those who say it went on too long. Look, you make your points. And then after a while, all that happens is the

jury hears from the witness who's being cross examined, reinforcing whatever it is they testified to, and you gave them another opportunity to

say, no, they're telling the truth, and you're just picking on them.

I don't think anybody's going to think they're picking on Michael Cohen. But he needs to keep his cool and the defense needs to go far enough to

show that he is self-motivated, that he will say what he needs to say to save his own skin and that he can't stand the defendant who's on trial


But if they beat on him too long, they're going to lose traction. It's not going to be as effective. So they need to be very surgical about what they

ask, when they ask and how long they asked him?

HILL: How do you prep a witness like Michael Cohen, his former attorney told me on Friday he thinks he's going to be fine. This is a man though who

is known for flying off the handle, known for being a hothead Lanny Davis said he's not worried. Michael Cohen knows what's at stake here. How do you

prep him?

WEINSTEIN: You prep these types of witnesses by telling them that the one thing that defense wants more than anything else is for you to lose your

cool and that's the one thing you have to avoid. Just listen to the questions, let them attack you.


Embrace whatever it was you did wrong before because the bottom line here you were on the inside that person who's attacking you and calling you a

liar, a fixer somebody who doesn't know what's going on in the past he's embraced you. And quite frankly, the only reason you know what you're

talking about was because you were in that inner circle.

So you have to get the witness to just listen to the questions. Take a breath before you answer and know that they're just trying to hit your

button and don't let them hit your button. Because that's going to diminish the testimony that you're about to give. It's a very difficult ask for

these types of witnesses, especially someone who's a lawyer who's been in the courtroom before and knows what's going on.

HILL: All right, David, appreciate your insight, your expertise, as always, thank you. And just an important note here, as you can see, as we're

following along on the side of the screen there, Michael Cohen has now been called to the stand. And I'm hearing from our colleagues in the courtroom

that as he walked in there.

He was darting around his eyes looking around as he's making his way there. To the witness stand, we will continue our coverage much more to come. Take

a short break though. We'll see on the other side.


ANDERSON: Let's college commencement ceremonies continue in the United States. So to the protests on Sunday, comedian Jerry Seinfeld was

interrupted at Duke University's graduation ceremony. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In addition to receiving an honorary degree, Jerry is also serving as our commencement speaker today.


ANDERSON: About 30 students walked out as the comedian was introduced. You can see some students waving the Palestinian flag, is how Seinfeld



JERRY SEINFIELD, COMEDIAN: And I know all of you here are going to use all of your brains and muscle and soul to improve the world and I know you're

going to do a bang up job. And when you're done as I am now I bet the world because of you will be a much better place.

But it will still not make a whole hell of a lot of sense. And it is worth the sacrifice of educational discomfort to have some laughs.


ANDERSON: On universities like Columbia and USC cancelled their traditional commencements altogether. Citing safety concerns others have relocated

their ceremonies to try and avoid interruptions. For instance, Pomona College in Southern California announced on Sunday ceremony will be moved

on 30 miles away to LA after weeks of protest on campus.

Let's get to CNN's Nick Valencia, for more on this. He is in Atlanta. Good morning there.



ANDERSON: How the university protests now developed to affect commencements because it is the season off of course at this point?

VALENCIA: That's right. It's so interesting. You know, we can't forget that four years ago these students had their high school graduations canceled

for them. That was a choice that was made for them. But this year, Becky, some of them are choosing to interrupt these graduation ceremonies take

matters into their own hands.

As you mentioned commencement season full swing here in the United States. And we're seeing these pro-Palestinian demonstrators who are calling for

ceasefires in Gaza continue to voice their opposition to the war there. They did so in a variety of ways over the weekend, some choosing to walk

out, others donning the Palestinian flag, some holding signs, chanting, but for the most part, these ceremonies continued without a hitch.

There was though at least one arrest according to "The New York Times", I want to show you a video from Pomona College in Southern California where

according to "The New York Times", there was a skirmish there that led to at least one arrest and they famously moved their graduation ceremony 30

miles away from the center of campus.

We also saw what happened to Jerry Seinfeld, a famous comedian at Duke University, he spoke at their commencement address, there were a few dozen

Palestinian protesters that walked out during his ceremony over the weekend, and of course, at UC Berkeley, there was also a brief pause in the

Commencement there.

I want to play some sound here from the dean of students who was forced to take the microphone because of what happened there.


SUNNY LEE, UC BERKELEY DEAN OF STUDENTS: Students, if you're open to it, I invite you to speak with me after the event in a space that's more

appropriate. But in the meanwhile, I ask that you allow the program to continue. OK. Because otherwise, we're going to have to continue to have

you leave. And that breaks my heart.


VALENCIA: No one was arrested there and protesters from we understand left voluntarily but you know commencement season, as I mentioned, is already in

full swing. And we're going to see more of these happen throughout the course of the rest of this month. And we're already seeing other colleges

try to you know, sort of curtail and anticipate these potential demonstrations.

Earlier this morning, we confirmed that the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee reached an agreement with the pro-Palestinian demonstrators

there, they're going to dissemble their encampment by Tuesday in exchange the university has said that they will now join the call for a ceasefire in


And the students say that they will not interrupt the commencement there at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Becky.

ANDERSON: Has protest groups announced or considered how they are going to keep up the momentum of these encampments that we've seen across

universities, not just in the States but internationally as well. I mean, universities are mostly going to break up for the summer at this point,

which will inevitably bring less attention to the sort of protests that we've seen.

VALENCIA: Yeah, that really takes the gas out of this momentum that we've seen happen up into this point. We're seeing it here in Atlanta already,

you know, Becky, Emory University, where we saw a heavy handed approached by police earlier last month, I should say in April.

You know, the steam really has been taken out of the protest movement there at Emory University, and we're seeing it now as students have gone home for

the summer. Many of these campuses are not as packed as they were during the month of April. And you know, earlier this month, when we really saw

demonstrations take off in places like Brown University, Columbia University, Texas.

I mean, really all over the country. But you make a really important point that as the students go home for the summer, there's just really in terms

of numbers, less of them to demonstrate. So we're already starting to see these movements, so to speak, really curtail as this commencement season is

upon us, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, sir. Thank you.

VALENCIA: Thank you, all right.

ANDERSON: Well, Kuwait has new government just days after the Emir there dissolved parliament and suspended some constitutional articles. Sheikh

Mishal Ahmad Al-Sabah has approved a new cabinet made up of 13 ministers including two women. This is after he alleged that corruption is spread

throughout state institutions.

And this comes on the same weekend international donors met in Kuwait pledging more than $2 billion in aid for Gaza. Sunday's conference

organized in part by the United Nations says the funds will be distributed over two years. Now the gathering got underway as U.N. Chief Antonio

Guterres again called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Well ahead of his trip to Kuwait, the U.N. Secretary General called for a ceasefire in Sudan. That country has been in Civil War for over a year,

Guterres said and I quote, I'm very concerned about the ongoing war in Sudan. Ultimately, we know there is no military solution to this conflict.


We need an urgent ceasefire and a coordinated international effort to deliver a political process that can get the country back on track. Well,

up next once Donald Trump's loyal fixer now the prosecution's key witness what has ex-lawyer Michael Cohen been saying in this New York courtroom for

the last 10 minutes or so, that is up next.

HILL: Welcome back here in New York. We are of course following a big witness in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial. His Former Lawyer --

Fixer Michael Cohen is on the witness stand right now. Being asked about his history, how he became a lawyer and how he became involved with Donald


He is a key witness here for the prosecution. The prosecution has said we'll show that Donald Trump not only knew about that hush money payment to

Stormy Daniels, but that he orchestrated the repayment to Michael Cohen of that $130,000 a repayment that was then disguised as legal fees.

We're taking a closer look at all of this. CNN Justice Correspondent, Jessica Schneider joining us now. So Jessica if we're looking at this,

Michael Cohen on the stand this morning, this is fairly, routine, in some ways. The prosecution really wants to set up his background who he, is

according to our colleagues in the courtroom, he's pretty calm this morning as well.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, just stating the basics so far, Erica, we'll see if things get fierier as they likely

will, as he documents -- the details of his hush money scheme. But you know the prosecution's star witness right now on the stand Michael Cohen. We

expect him to actually be on the stand most of this week, especially because we only have three days this week that court is in session.

You know, before Michael Cohen got to the stand. The jury's already heard his voice on audio recordings, but now they will be hearing this directly

from him. As he really documents how the hush money scheme to pay off Stormy Daniels evolved. What prosecutors want to hear from Michael Cohen is

that Donald Trump was behind the payment $130,000.

And we're expecting that Cohen will likely say that Trump personally OK what were monthly reimbursements for the payment after Michael Cohen and

Trump met in the Oval Office in early February 2017. We heard a little bit of that last week with the assistant who was outside the Oval Office.

She talked about how Michael Cohen went to the White House. But we'll hear directly from Michael Cohen at some point, because this Stormy Daniels'

payment is the key to the prosecution's case. You know, they've introduced already evidence of those other payments to Karen McDougal, also the Trump

Tower doorman.

But those aren't at issue here stored the Stormy Daniels payoff is the only payment that really forms the basis of these 34 counts of falsification of

business records. So Michael Cohen is key because he needs to help the prosecution prove that Donald Trump was the one who directed these payments

back to Michael Cohen, that they were labeled as legal expenses as opposed to what they really were repayments for the hush money deal.

So Erica, we're starting off slowly. We're talking about how Michael Cohen joined the Trump Organization? How he had this good relationship with

Donald Trump to start? But we're going to hear a lot more of the details as prosecutors make their way into this hush money payment because they have a

lot to prove with Michael Cohen.


So far, we have not heard another witness directly linked Donald Trump to the hush money payments or the scheme to call them legal expenses as

opposed to what they really were. So Michael Cohen is the linchpin for this prosecution. They know he's a dicey witness because he has been previously

convicted for lying.

The defense is going to seize on that, but the prosecution has a lot at stake here with Michael Cohen. We'll see how it plays out, Erica.

HILL: Yeah, absolutely. Jessica. Appreciate it. Thank you. And we'll continue our coverage from here in New York. But Becky for now, I'll hand

it back to you.

ANDERSON: Good to have you. Thank you. Well, that's it for this hour of "Connect the World". We'll both be back then after this short break, stay

with us.