Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Hezbollah and IDF Exchange Fire Across Israel-Lebanon Border; Hamas Officials Talks About Day-After Plan for Gaza; Supreme Court Strikes Down Trump-Era Ban on Bump Stocks; Far-Right Parties Make Strong Gains in European Elections. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 14, 2024 - 10:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And welcome to what is our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD live here from Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson.

Just in the last hour, Pope Francis addressing world leaders at the G7 Summit, sending a clear message on one of the most important issues of our

time, AI. The Pope describing it as a tool with incredible potential, but also the capacity to generate real fear. We'll have more from Italy coming


Also this hour, attacks are escalating across Israel's northern border with Lebanon, raising fears that a wider war is imminent. And the U.S. Supreme

Court is convening and could give its rulings in some crucial cases. One outstanding ruling, whether Donald Trump can be tried on charges of trying

to overturn the 2020 election.

Well, a danger not only for Lebanon but for the entire region. That warning from Iraq's foreign minister on the escalating conflict between Hezbollah

and Israel. Clashes have been happening sporadically during the nine months of the Israel-Hamas war and erupted again this week after Israel killed a

top Hezbollah commander in an airstrike. Rockets landing in Israel today, starting fires and damaging property.

On the Lebanese side, at least two deaths are reported from Israeli strikes. Both sides are now striking deeper into the other's territory than

before. And this escalation happening as a top Hamas official talks to CNN about why that group hasn't accepted the U.S.-backed ceasefire plan to end

the war in Gaza, and neither an acceptance nor an outright rejection, of course.

Ben Wedeman back with us this hour from Beirut where that interview took place. And Oren Liebermann is in Haifa, which is in northern Israel. I want

to start with that northern front.

Oren, to you, just give us a sense of what we've just learned from the Israeli Defense Ministry about these tensions with Hezbollah. What can you

tell us?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this is something that not only we have been following very closely over recent days, but of course

Israel-Lebanon and much of the Western world has been watching the dynamics, the interplay here, as we've been on an escalatory trajectory,

not only over the past several days, but even before that. Widespread fires raging across northern Israel about a week-and-a-half ago because of

Hezbollah launches and that reached another level of escalation just several days ago when Israel carried out a strike that killed a senior

Hezbollah commander, Taleb Sami Abdallah.

Hezbollah responded with 200 rockets across the border from northern -- from Southern Lebanon, rather, into northern Israel. The largest rocket

fire in one day we've seen since the start of the war, sparking more fires, forcing more evacuations above and beyond the 60,000 residents of the north

who are already evacuated. And that has continued. Yesterday, there were approximately 50 launches across the border of rockets as well as about 35


So the number may be on a downward trajectory of launches coming from Hezbollah into Northern Israel but the concern is still very much there and

that's why we're watching this so closely here. Some of those rockets fired today hit Kiryat Shmona and Metula right on the northern border there. So

this is something both Israel and Lebanon are watching very closely.

It's also worth pointing out that Benny Gantz, a former member of the war cabinet, warned that the situation in the north of Israel, that is, can't

continue as it is. Israel, he says, can't afford to lose another year in the north. He points out that Israel would like it to be ended in a non-

military, a diplomatic fashion. But he also points out that if it comes to a fight then Israel will have to be ready for that as well.

ANDERSON: Let me just all ask you, just in the last few minutes, we've got sort of confirmation from Israel's defense minister ruling out any

participation by his country in a French proposed sort of framework to de- escalate tensions.


Why the rebuff from Yoav Gallant of the French president's proposal, which was made at the G7 Summit?

LIEBERMANN: It's difficult to get into Yoav Gallant's mind as to what he was or, you know, why he put out that statement about an effort to try to

de-escalate tensions along the northern border there. But it's also clear that Israel has been frustrated by statements coming from many Western

European countries mostly about the war in Gaza. So it's possible that that affected his decision to put out that statement but there is clearly an

effort to try to get some sort of off-ramp between Israel and Hezbollah.

There has been diplomatic efforts in the past. Those have clearly not worked out based on what we've seen over the course of the past 72 hours

and beyond that as well. So again, an area to keep track of and watch to see where this goes. But clearly Europe, very much the United States as

well, trying to find some sort of way to keep this from becoming the war that everyone is very much concerned about.

ANDERSON: Yes, and nobody is going to want that war where you are in Beirut. What's the perspective there, Ben?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly there is deep concern about the situation on the border. Last night there was an

Israeli strike in a building about 20 kilometers north of the border that left two women dead, more than 10 injured. Now we haven't yet found out

what perhaps the intended target of that Israeli strike was, but it was deeper than usual.

And certainly after, as the Oren was referring to, the killing of that Hezbollah field commander, Taleb Abdallah, the tensions have really

skyrocketed and the concern is that, you know, even though both sides are pushing the envelope, that it really is going to get out of control. And

what has been until now limited, although oftentimes very violent exchanges, could simply escalate to something much, much bigger -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Well, Oren talking about the former defense minister and former war cabinet member Benny Gantz, talking about his concerns on what is known

in Israel, at least since the northern front, as Israel continues its military assault in Gaza, of course.

Now you've got some rare insight into what Hamas is thinking about what is going on, particularly about the Gaza ceasefire proposal and negotiations

in an interview with a top Hamas official. What did he tell you?

WEDEMAN: You know, this is was Osama Hamdan who's a senior Hamas political leader who is in Beirut. We spoke to him about a variety of things. The

ceasefire, the state of current and past, Israeli hostages in Gaza, but in this clip, I started off by asking him, you know, the Americans are asking

the Israelis, pressing them for a day after plan for Gaza. I asked him, what is Hamas' day after plan.


OSAMA HAMDAN, HAMAS POLITBURO MEMBER: Well, we said that from the first time when this slogan was raised by the administration. When they asked us

talking about day after that, they have to understand the second day, day after is supposed to be a Palestinian day. The Palestinians, they don't

need someone to dictate what they have to do. They don't want someone to supervise them. How to manage their own issues.

WEDEMAN: But does this mean that the day after Hamas remains in control of Gaza?

HAMDAN: I think the most important that the Palestinian nation have to achieve them in goal to liberate themselves, to liberate their lands. And

then they can decide who can control them.

WEDEMAN: But, you know, the "Wall Street Journal" recently published an article which it said it had messages to Yahya Sinwar, and one of the

messages that supposedly he sent was the death of the civilians in Gaza was a necessary sacrifice, were the words they used.

HAMDAN: Well, I can assure you that was fake source, and we know exactly who sent those messages to "Wall Street Journal."

WEDEMAN: But as a concept, the idea that --

HAMDAN: No one can't accept the killing of the Palestinians, of his own people.

WEDEMAN: This article says that, for instance, that he likened the Palestinian struggle to the situation in Algeria during the war against the

French occupation. There, more than a million people died in order for Algeria to be liberated. Is this an idea that he would --

HAMDAN: I assure that this is not any idea in Hamas.


No one is saying that. I assure you that that wasn't a message from Yahya Sinwar.

WEDEMAN: Now CNN spoke to one of the doctors who treated the four Israelis who were freed on Saturday. And he said that they suffered mental and

physical abuse, and were beaten every hour. What do you say to that?

HAMDAN: Well, he's an Israeli, he has to say what the Israel authorities are asking him to say. If you compare the images of both before and after

releasing, you will find that they were better than before. I believe they have mental problem. This is because of what Israeli have done in Gaza

because anyone can't handle what was Israel is doing, bombing each day Gaza, killing civilians, killing women and children.

I think they live with that. They know that, they saw that by their own eyes. This is why, if they have some mental problems, this is why they have

the mental problems.

WEDEMAN: Now, Israel says that there's currently 120 hostages still held in Gaza, four of whom were held from before. How many of those 120 are still


HAMDAN: I don't have any idea about that. No one has any idea about this.


WEDEMAN: And regarding Hamas' position on the ceasefire, I mean, really to sum it up, what he was saying that beyond the initial phase, it is a part

of the U.S.-backed proposal for a ceasefire, which would involve essentially 42 days of ceasefire during which some hostages would be

released in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails.

Hamas is worried that beyond that, once that phase is over, that Israel will simply go back to war in Gaza and they're seeking clarifications and

guarantees from the Americans that that won't be the case. But the American position is, let's start with that 42-day phase temporary ceasefire, and

during that time we'll negotiate the next phase. Well, Hamas is worried that if those negotiations don't achieve anything then the war just goes on

and on after that -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is on the ground in Beirut, Lebanon. Oren is in Israel. Thank you both.

Still to come, the Pope tells G7 leaders about his concerns over artificial intelligence. More on that is coming up. And the warning, the most

dedicated Trump supporters on what might happen if their man doesn't win in November.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you concerned if Trump loses?


O'SULLIVAN: That there'll be another January 6th?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I think there will be a civil war. That's what I think will happen.




ANDERSON: We have been keeping an eye on the U.S. Supreme Courts this hour, which has just announced rulings on three cases.

I want to get you to CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez to understand what we have heard today. And the court just ruling on a Trump-

era ban on what are known as bump stocks, which is likely to have a massive impact on gun control in the U.S. So explain what we -- what's being

delivered and what we understand about the court's ruling.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, yes. This is a big decision in terms of gun rights. What was at issue, however, this

was more of a decision that was focused on the administrative state or the power of the U.S. agencies, the federal agencies in the United States, to

be able to create new rules or in the view of conservatives new law that doesn't go through the Congress.

And so in this case, in 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives passed a new rule under the Trump administration. This is

something that was done by President Trump that banned the use of these devices called bump stocks. But basically they do is they take a

semiautomatic rifle, gun, and they -- with this device, you can fire off hundreds of more of rounds, making it almost into an automatic firearm,

which are against the law in the United States. Generally against the law that you have to get a license to be able to get them.

And so these devices were a focus of the government because they were used by a mass shooter in 2017, in Las Vegas, who killed dozens of people at a

festival there. And the Trump administration banned these devices and a Texas gun owner, a gun store owner sued because these devices had to be

given up to the government essentially. So what the Supreme Court ruled today in a 6-3 decision is that that decision by the government was

unconstitutional and went too far.

So that means we're back to square one. These devices are now legal again in the United States and if the government wants to get rid of them, if

they want to ban them, we're going to have to get a law passed by the U.S. Congress, which of course is a very, very difficult thing to do in the

United States at this point. There is a staunch opposition by the Republican Party to do any kind of gun legislation whatsoever.

And so we are now in this place where, you know, these devices are now back on the market after being banned in 2017 -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Judge Sotomayor wrote a dissent on this decision. Can you explain what she wrote and why?

PEREZ: Well, she is -- you know, her point of view is that the -- you know, the administrative state is a legitimate way for these things to be ruled.

And I am looking through, I haven't gotten to her -- what she wrote here. I'm looking at, our team is sending in all of the updates so I haven't seen

exactly what she wrote, but we know from, when we heard the arguments, the oral arguments, we know that the liberal justices were defending this as a

legitimate role of the federal government to make sure that these devices that didn't exist before, right, something that was a more recent

invention, that they were properly regulated so that guns didn't turn -- a semiautomatic rifles and handguns didn't just by the use of these devices

become automatic rifles and guns that are prohibited under federal law.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you. Thank you very much indeed.

Let's bring in our other guest on this, Misty Marris.

Thank you. I'm going to let you take a look at what was actually written in that dissent because it is an important one. Justice Sotomayor, Misty, and

I've just been having a look at the same information that Evan will now be looking at. She's written a scathing dissent on this. She says the

majority's ruling will have deadly consequences. She was joined by the court's other two liberal justices, and said the decision she said

hamstrings the government's efforts to keep machine guns from gunmen like the Las Vegas shooter.


She said, when I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, she said, it is a duck. What do you make -- and quacks like a duck. She said I

call that bird a duck.

MISTY MARRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. Right. No, absolutely. I was working my way through the dissent and this is where the port is actually focusing

on, the practical implications of these decisions. So the decision itself, it really relates to the power of federal agencies, what can they do? Can

they create what is really, in this particular case, law? Can they create new definitions for terms? In this case, it hinged on what the definition

of a machine gun is.

So the case itself is about the power -- the balance of powers between federal agencies legislative branch, judicial branch. So it's really more

about the power of federal agencies. But what the dissent is saying is that, OK, well, if you limit the power of federal agencies to create

regulations when needed to protect public safety, then you're hamstringing these agencies to a point where that there is not going to be an ability to

regulate things that are really going to be detrimental to society.

In this case, the use of the bump stock, which is incredibly dangerous, and we know the genesis of the bump stock regulation came after 2017, a

terrible mass shooting.

ANDERSON: Yes. This is inherently political of course. I mean, this was even a Trump-era law and though this case didn't rely on the Second

Amendment. It does -- it is a -- it's a high court rule siding with gun rights groups, isn't it? I mean, is this surprising?

MARRIS: Yes. Well, I think at the end of the day, what the court has been doing, the Supreme Court in recent years is -- it's not surprising. And

part of it is because, yes, there's been a significant expansion in gun rights. The Bruen case from 2022 significantly expanded the Second

Amendment. Now this case is not touching on those Second Amendment protections. It's relating to something else, but there is another area

that the Supreme Court has been very, very consistent in the past couple of years now that we have a very conservative court and it is taking back

power from federal regulatory agencies.

There was just a decision which took away some power from the National Labor Relations Board. We're looking at a Supreme Court case which is

looking to take away power from the Securities and Exchange Commission. So the regulation of these federal agencies and limiting what they can do

independently is a trend of the court. So take that in conjunction with a significant expansion of gun rights just in the past two years on the

federal level, yes, absolutely, it is speaking to, again, another step in that direction of expansion of gun rights.

ANDERSON: Yes, it put the debate about guns back on the court's docket, and that makes it one of the most closely watched and controversial decisions

this year, correct?

MARRIS: Absolutely. And just to keep in mind, there are states, so I think that what we're going to see in the wake of this decision, there's 18

states currently that have banned bump stocks through legislation. So I think you're going to see a wave of states looking at what their laws are

on the books. And in more liberal states, you're likely to see more regulation at the state level. In conservative states, you're going to see

significantly less.

So this is another example of a Supreme Court decision which seems to be not very juicy, let's just say that because it's, OK, a federal agency and

reducing federal agencies' power and ability bloodied regulate or create law. But it has significant consequence and the fallout from the decision

you're going to be seeing a lot of other legal challenges all around the country, similar to what we saw when Roe v. Wade was overturned.

So you're going to see a whole patchwork quilt around the country of legal regulation and further challenges to components of the law.

ANDERSON: Right. Justice Thomas writing the majority opinion says that a bump stock is not a machine gun technically, and that was the crux of the

statue. The opposite of what Sotomayor said. What does this mean then for gun control going forward?

MARRIS: So basically at the heart of the case is the federal agency changing the definition of machine gun and therefore that was going to

encompass the bump stock and allow them to have regulations with respect to bump stocks, changing regular guns into machine. So additional regulations

and bans that were legal on machine guns.

So that definition in itself and the federal agency redefining bump stock with respect to machine gun is really what this case was about. But what I

find interesting is, you know, the debate between what is really the definition, well, I think that obviously there's -- that leaves everything

up to interpretation, right? You have Sotomayor on one side and Thomas on the other side, and the federal agency, who actually made that definition

what it was.

And so this speaks to the very point that the dissent was saying. It's that these agencies are better poised and positioned to make these types of

determinations. And so the government should allow them to do so because they're the ones who have the area of expertise as far as the regulatory


ANDERSON: As opposed to on a state-by-state basis, as you explained. Yes, this law came into being, of course, after the tragic Las Vegas concert

shooting, 58 dead as I recall back in 2017. So I guess, bottom line here, does this make it more likely that we will or are going to see more

violence like that in the future?

MARRIS: I certainly pray that that is not the case. I think what we're going to see immediately is a lot of additional legal issues coming out of

this. As I said, there's going to be a push now for states to make changes and view their laws under the guise of what is going to be better for

public safety because that is always the balance in almost every legal issue. The balance is rights, autonomy, the rights of the individual versus

those right on other people. The infringement of rights on other people and public safety concerns.

So this decision, this is going to have a widespread effect that will hopefully trigger a lot of statewide, basically analysis of the laws that

are on the books in order to put protections in place that will hopefully stop these types of horrible, horrible mass shootings that we hear way too

much about us in the news. It's so disheartening to hear them every day. So the point being, you have to get the laws on the books that can at least

help you deter and help to stop getting guns into the hands of the wrong people.

ANDERSON: Thank you. We'll be right back.



ANDERSON: All right. Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky Anderson. Half past 6:00 in the evening here, half past 10:00 on

the East Coast.

Let's get you back with the defense attorney Misty Marris who is joining us once again here on CONNECT THE WORLD from New York.

And we know that these Supreme Court has struck down what was a Trump-era ban on what are known, Misty, as bump stocks on guns, effectively kicking

decisions about whether those bump stocks which effectively convert a gun into what could be described as a machine gun, kicking the decision back to

the states rather than this being a federal ban. What do you make of this and what's the impact?

MARRIS: Probably for the scariest part of the impact is that these bumps stocks take a gun that could be acquired legally and make it a rapid-fire

killing machine. And so this was all -- the genesis of this ban, which comes from a federal agency to call bump stocks when bump stocks are

attached to another gun, that it could be legally owned, it becomes a machine gun. And so what the impact was, it was more regulation on who can

have a machine gun, can machine guns be banned?

So all of that was for the purpose of keeping bump stocks from being put on guns that individuals could have legally from becoming something that is

incredibly dangerous. And we've seen other cases that did involve bump stocks like Uvalde school district, that terrible, terrible, horrific

shooting, well, that a bump stock was used. It just malfunctioned. So keeping bump stocks out of the hands of individuals to create guns that are

essentially machine guns was the purpose of the regulation.

Now that's done. And so that means from a commercial perspective bump stocks are going to be back on the market. Now there is regulation on the

state level. There has been legislation, 18 states already banned them. You'll likely to see more states jumping on that bandwagon or creating

additional regulation relating to that. But as we know, those types of laws and working its way through the legal system takes time. So the immediate

impact is that these are going to be back on the market.

And again from the public safety perspective, that was the whole precipice of this to begin with. And so it's really taking away the power of federal

agencies to regulate these types of things which are in their area of expertise. So that's really the high level view of what we're going to see

moving forward.

ANDERSON: This was a 6-3 decision. One of the more, let's describe them as liberal judges of the three. Judge Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissent,

writing that this decision hamstrings the government's efforts to keep machine guns from a gunman like the Las Vegas shooter, killing 58 people in

Vegas back in 2017. It was a reason that the Trump administration brought in this ban of course.

A 6-3 decision. What does this ruling tell us about the position of the highest court in the United States firmly to the right at this point,


MARRIS: Yes. We're seeing that conservative judges again moving in a direction of a couple of different fronts. Number one, expansion of gun

rights. We've seen this in other Supreme Court cases that have come down, specifically the Bruen case, which substantially made gun rights much, much

more expansive under that Supreme Court case.

And we're also seeing limiting federal regulatory agency power and so in Sotomayor and the more liberal justices who were in the minority now, in

their opinion, in the dissent, we're seeing them lay out the argument, number one, that of course when it comes to public safety, we can't just

think about the law and OK, it's black and white, we have to think about its impact on the public.


We have to think about how the impact of these decisions is actually going to play out in the real-world. And so we see that when she's really going

back and speaking about the Las Vegas shooter and how this is the type of regulation that's necessary in order to prevent those types of mass

shootings. And then, again, these federal regulatory agencies, what is their role? What can they do? What power do they hold?

Well, the regulatory agencies are in place because they're specialized to certain types of areas and issues. They have expertise in those areas. So

why shouldn't they be able to create definitions as far as what's a machine gun. So we're seeing that breakdown really right across party lines,

specifically in this case where it directly relates to regulation of guns.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you. Thank you very much indeed.

Lynn Sweet also with us, the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun- Times."

Thank you for joining us. In terms of the election, we saw a ruling yesterday that keeps abortion in play effectively, and today machine guns.

Are these issues going to continue to motivate voters? I mean, when the polling is done, abortion and guns are always up there. But are these real

motivators at this point to get people out to vote?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, in this case, you don't need people everywhere in all 50 states to vote. Basically, you

need to seven swing states to -- you know, to move and these two issues animate a string bloc of voters, suburban women, and that's why these two

rulings between the abortion pill and banning a rule that basically converts a semiautomatic gun into a machine gun are issues that the Biden

campaign will use.

How do I know it? Because they have been using it. Just a few days ago, just this week, Biden was at the White House talking about gun laws,

celebrating some advances his administration was able to make two years ago. I've been covering these fight for more gun control in the United

States for decades. And sadly, and stunningly, two years ago I found myself at one of these mass massacres, myself as a bystander, and these events do

not move the courts or the Congress.

So knowing that this bump stock case was making its way through the Supreme Court, there is legislation pending in both the House and the Senate to

have a law to ban these devices. So you don't have to rely on an ATF ruling, which is what the court 6-3 knocked down. So these measures will

not pass Congress. I can almost promise everyone around the globe who is listening. You know why? Because, they, Congress, rarely does anything what

they did two years ago was about as much you could squeeze out at this time, especially before an election.

Both issues, though, go play to the base of voters that may be animated and triggered by these decisions that can be exploited most by the Biden camp.

ANDERSON: Yes. This of course the latest from the high court in what you could describe as siding with gun rights groups. You've just talked about

the work the Biden administration has been trying to do and how difficult that work has been in trying to get legislation on the books, anti-gun

legislation on the books.

What about this sort of fallout from this? This decision to ban bump stocks was a decision taken by Donald Trump. It's a Trump-era law post the

horrible massacre, I mean, a tragic massacre in Las Vegas in 2017. How will this inform Donald Trump's campaigning on the issue?

SWEET: Well, this was actually the deadliest massacre in U.S. history. 60 killed, more than 400 wounded. Former president Trump is remarkably fluid.

He did the bump stock ban because it is seen -- it was seen at the time as not eroding your right to have a gun, not eroding the Second Amendment, but

merely taking care of the -- and amplifying the ban on machine guns that we've had in the United States I think since the 1930s.


So if you add this device to a weapon and it makes it for practical purposes into a machine gun, it was seen as not taking an attack on your

basic right to a firearm. You know, in the United States only -- every weapon is not an absolute right. We can't have a shoulder-mounted weapon

that's used to shoot, you know, shoot down things in war. You know, so in this environment, though, where this playing to the right and needs to keep

his constituents together and widen the base, it's a needle to thread as to how he could support this ban and appeal to suburban women at the same


ANDERSON: Fascinating. Good to have you. Thank you very much indeed.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky Anderson. 20 to 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE. 20 to 11:00 on the East Coast. Wherever you are

watching, you are more than welcome. We'll be back after this quick brake. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: This breaking news just into CNN. The Biden administration is imposing sanctions on an Israeli group for disrupting humanitarian convoys

headed to Gaza. Both the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. State Department took action against the Tsav-9 Movement for its repeated

obstruction of the aid. More on that as we get it.

Well, U.S. President Joe Biden leaves the G7 Summit today after talks which spanned a lot of topics, but were heavily focused on the war in Ukraine.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Would we stand with Ukraine? Would we stand for sovereignty, freedom, and against tyranny? The United

States, the G7 and countries around the world have consistently answered the question by saying, yes, we will. We will say it again. Yes, again and

again and again. We're going to stand with Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, on Thursday Mr. Biden signed a 10-year security pact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It's a long-term deal, but one

that could be undone if Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election later this year.

Well, U.S. President Joe Biden bills his reelection campaign as a fight to preserve American democracy. But that is not resonating with Trump

supporters. Many of them say democracy isn't much to fight for in a country that they say isn't and never was a democracy. That by the way of course is

not true. But the MAGA base isn't letting reality get in the way of a good message as our Donie O'Sullivan learns when he speaks to voters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are a republic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're a republic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not a democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're a representative Republican.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America is not a democracy. It's a republic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a democracy. OK. Democracy is actually not as good as you think it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't see freedom in democracy. I see freedom in the republic.

O'SULLIVAN: Are you concerned if Trump loses --


O'SULLIVAN: That there'll be another January 6th?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think there will be a civil war.


ANDERSON: I want to take a look at this year's G7 family photo as it's known. Everyone highlighted is under major police political pressure back

home. It's less than a week since far-right parties dominated Europe's parliamentary elections. And these leaders' futures are now at best

uncertain. Of course G7 is always touted as the leaders of the world's biggest or leading democracies.

Well, meantime, the summit's host, right-wing Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni appears on the most stable political ground. She's the only

G7 leader bolstered by those recent election results.

Well, my next guest, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, is a professor of history at New York University and the author of "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present." She

joins us now live from New York.

It's good to have you. You wrote extensively about authoritarianism and I just wonder as you watch the right gain ground in many places around the

world, but we've just been looking very specifically at the European sphere with the election results there, how serious do you think the threat is at

this point?

RUTH BEN-GHIAT, AUTHOR, "STRONGMEN: MUSSOLINI TO THE PRESIDENT": I think, I mean, we should never discount it. And as somebody who studies right-wing

authoritarianism, I'm the last person to do that. The gains of the National Rally Party in France and the gains in Germany are indeed disturbing. And

of course, you know, there is now the GOP in America, which is embedded in these far-right networks, very close to Orban and his party.

And so there is sustenance being given to the far right from this situation that many thought would never happen, which is that one of two parties in

our bipartisan democracy has become an autocratic party very connected to the far right. And so this is part of the global situation now.

ANDERSON: Many of those that Donie was speaking to in what is his extensive report about the Donald Trump base, those who are determined that they will

vote for Donald Trump in 2024 is that the U.S. they say was never a democracy, which of course is blatantly untrue, but last week's European

election really underscored this trend of right-wing populism and what many, many see as a threat to democracy, particularly that sort of liberal

democracy upon which the sort of E.U. was founded.

I want to bring up some data from a report done by Cambridge University in 2020 and the line in purple highlights millennial satisfaction with

democracy. It's the lowest of any group in history. And the report found by their mid-30s more than 55 -- more than 50 percent, 55 percent of global

millennials say they are dissatisfied with democracy, and millennials make up more than 20 percent of the global population.

I was really struck by this. What do you believe is driving the trend?

BEN-GHIAT: I think it's important to highlight that because we're in a situation where we need to go take a very close look at how dissatisfied

liberal democracy has left people in part by going into neo-liberal direction which is, you know, which is taking away safety nets, leaving

people lonely. There are polls around the world, for example, Afro barometer and Latino barometer, these are continental wide polls that show

the same thing you're finding that, you know, 30 percent of people think that democracy has failed them in some way.

And this is what's driving the trend to these populist and authoritarian movements that know how to create a sense of community. Now the sad thing

is that authoritarian government tends to be very dysfunctional because these leaders only care about themselves. And in fact, European elections,

there's a counter trend going on that in places where either like Poland, which recently got rid of its far-right parties, people were highly

dissatisfied, they were taking away, you know, abortion rights, they -- the new civic coalition of progressive centrist got 37 percent of the vote.


And in Hungary, where there's a sitting autocrat, a new opposition party got 31 percent of the vote, which is the same as the far-right party got in

France. So there's also a counter wave of anti-authoritarianism building by people who have found the actual experience of being governed by

authoritarians is not good.

ANDERSON: That's interesting. That same Cambridge report that we -- you know, we teed up this discussion with concludes, quote, "Nations where

wealth distribution is relatively flat, such as Iceland or Austria, see only minor generation gaps in attitudes to democracy, while those with

persistent wealth inequalities such as the United States have large and growing divides." And that is not something that necessarily surprised any

of us who are having a look at this.

After all, it is one of the reasons why Donald Trump was so successful many people say in 2016. Is the brand the American-led brand of unfettered

capitalism failing at this point?

BEN-GHIAT: I mean, this is going to make everything far worse and Donald Trump and as well as many European leaders, as well as Javier Milei in

Argentina, they are what I call fake populists because they are the 1 percent and, you know, authoritarianism is actually about taking rights

away from the many so that the few, the elites, the billionaires who are backing Trump can have unfettered, you know, license to plunder the

economy, to plunder the environment.

And so deregulating, which is part of neoliberalism, is going to get souped up if Donald Trump comes back. Indeed, Project 2025, the governance

project, privatization is one of the main, you know, agendas there. So he, Donald Trump, is the latest to pose as the populist, the man of the people,

I'm going to take care of you, you're forgotten no longer, but in fact is going to make wealth inequality even worse in the United States.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. It's good to have you. Your insight and analysis are really important to us at this point. Thank you.

Well, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.

Just ahead, Elon Musk may feel like saluting his Tesla shareholders, that is an understatement. They just voted him a historic payday or at least

agreed again that that is what he would get. We will explain what happened and why, after this.


ANDERSON: Tesla investors seem keen to pay up to keep their CEO Elon Musk happy. The billionaire has won an historic CEO pay package from company

shareholders for the second time.


It comes after a court originally blocked what was the monster compensation package. The sum is eye-watering. It's about $50 billion, and remember,

that's around the same amount of new aid promised by the West to Ukraine. One way of looking at it, I guess.

Here's a quick look at how Tesla stock is fairing, and it's down around 20 percent to date, and it is important to know that even with this approval,

a Delaware court could once again have the final say.

Well, just before we leave you this Friday night, Saudi Arabia says more than 1.5 million people have descended on the country for the Hajj

pilgrimage. The annual event officially started today and runs through June 19th this year coming amid sweltering heat with temperatures expected to

reach as high as 48 degrees Celsius or 118 Fahrenheit. And to help people prepare for the harsh conditions, the Saudi army has deployed 1600

personnel with medical units, another 5,000 health and first aid volunteers are also ready to assist.

Well, that is it for CONNECT THE WORLD and the team working with me here, it's a very good evening, this Friday. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up