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At Least 31 Killed In Russian Strikes Across Ukraine; President Joe Biden Says He's Staying The Race In Letter To House Democrats; Winning NFP Coalition Favors Recognizing Palestinian State; Beryl Slams Into Texas As Category 1 Hurricane; Kyiv Children's Hospital Hit In Russian Missile Strikes; Political Limbo After No Party Clinches Majority; Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian Wins Iran's Runoff Ballot. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 08, 2024 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome to what is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I am Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi.

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Isa Soares in Paris. Where we are following the shocking parliamentary election results that saw the

left-wing alliance fought the far right.

ANDERSON: Also coming up on this show, Russia has launched a barrage of rocket attacks across Ukraine just a day ahead of the NATO Summit in


And France, not the only political upset over the weekend. Iran has elected a reformist candidate as president, in a rebuke to the conservative


First, to our breaking news, a shocking daytime barrage of missile strikes that has killed more than 30 across Ukraine. Among the sites hit, a

children's hospital in the capital, Kyiv, thousands of young patients rely on that facility, which performs around 7,000 surgeries a year, as well as

providing treatment for cancer.

These are live pictures coming to us at 5:00 p.m. Kyiv time. The president there, vowing retaliation.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Undoubtedly, we will restore everything that these terrorists have

destroyed. And we will definitely respond to all these sub humans from Russia. Everyone who has been injured is now being provided with the

necessary assistance.

We must all work to bring Russia to justice for terror and Putin for ordering the strikes.


ANDERSON: Let's bring in Nic Robertson for us, who is out of London for you. And Nic, as we bring back those live images from Kyiv. This has

clearly been a catastrophic attack on that hospital. What do we know at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we know what President Zelenskyy said. As well, in addition, he said that there is

essentially no way here that after all this time, Russia doesn't know what it's targeting and what it's actually hitting. And in this case, a

children's hospital. It's hard to imagine a target or a facility that's hit that is intended to send -- appears to have be intended to send a very

chilling message across Ukraine.

And I think it also has to be said, intended, potentially as a message for those NATO leaders gathering in Washington later this week that there is

nothing that it appears is off limits to Russia's missiles.

We know from Ukrainian officials that these strikes, multiple strikes, happened today in Ukraine, that they said rush hour, sort of about 10:00

a.m. in the morning, 38 different missiles, the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles and the Kalibr cruise missiles, amongst others, were fired at Ukraine.

There were deaths in Lviv. There were significant number of deaths in Kryvyi Rih. There were deaths closer to the front in Donetsk and Pokrovsk,

three people killed there.

But this attack on the children's hospital clearly catches everyone's attention, and we've already heard condemnation coming from the new British

Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, condemning it. We've heard it from coming from the French foreign ministry as well. Both countries, of course, our

viewers will know have been wrapped up in their own elections and their own issues, but very quickly coming out to speak about this horrific attack in


And I think it's -- it is hard to underscore, perhaps, the message that this is intended to send, because this round of missiles has been a spike

comparative to recent weeks, particularly civilian targets, if you will, rather than the energy infrastructure that Russia's targeted on more


And interestingly, no drones involved in this particular attack, very specifically targeted missile systems that conceal, of course, hypersonic,

hyper fast.

ANDERSON: And these, of course, not intercepted, evidently. Staff that we have on the ground have said that they haven't seen anything like this in

Kyiv for more than a year.

I mean, you talk about the timing of this attack in a week where President Joe Biden, on pressure himself, of course, is convening those NATO leaders

in Washington, as they wake up to these images out of Kyiv.


What will the messaging going into that meeting be this week?

ROBERTSON: Well, look, I mean, this is a hugely important and symbolically important NATO summit. It's the 75th anniversary of NATO. We're seeing here

a changing of the leadership at NATO. Outgoing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, being replaced by the former Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Obviously, that actual event happens a little later in the year, but the symbolism of it is going to be in Washington. President Zelenskyy expected

to be there. Other officials from around the world expected to be there, but those 32 NATO nations leaders and one of those leaders, Victor Orban,

has just been sort of on a -- on his own, what he calls a peace tour. He went to Kyiv, he went to Moscow, he went to Beijing, and has been pushing

the narrative that there should be peace.

I think, you know, if he tries to speak about that more broadly at NATO, I think a lot of the other leaders are going to round on him and say, this is

what your putative friend in Moscow, the person you would rather not support Ukraine, defend themselves and be an outlier in NATO. This is what

they're doing inside of Ukraine.

So, there's obviously debate will circulate on the bigger issues at NATO, in sort of constructing this -- expected $40 billion monetary package for

Ukraine for the coming year, but understanding that the ambition was bigger than that, but it's not been achieved, because there is dissent, like from

Viktor Orban of Hungary.

So, it comes at a very strategically important moment where voices are trying to ramp up for some kind of peace that's Putin's peace, and not the

peace that Ukraine and the rest of the world talks about.

And of course, as you say, while President Biden is there trying to hold all this together, while at the same time trying to hold down critics

within his own party, saying he really does not have what it takes to win the election and that he should step down as a -- as the Democrats

presidential nominee.

So, this is -- or putative nominee, effective nominee at this point. So, it's -- there is so much at stake there, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Nic.

And we'll do more on this breaking news, of course, and your other international news headlines throughout the hour.

One though to send it back to Paris now and to my colleague Isa Soares for the very latest in what has been a surprising outcome in those elections in

France. Isa.

SOARES: Becky, as celebrations followed Sunday's shocking upset after the left-wing coalition won the most seats in the French Parliament, thwarting

the far right's attempt to take power. Have a look at this.




SOARES: But today, that joy is followed by, well, uncertainty, with none of the parties taking a clear majority. As you can see, their shaky alliances

and the threat of turbulent years lie ahead.

That didn't stop the leader of the far left's France unbound party from marking the victory with this defiant message.


JEAN-LUC MELENCHON, LEADER, LA FRANCE INSOUMISE (through translator): The ballot boxes have decided the issue between the two radical projects in the

race. The NFP is ready to govern. It is the only alternative with a solid, coherent, properly organized and costed program.

The unified left has shown it is capable of facing this historic event, and it has scuffed the trap, which was set for the country. Once again, in its

inimitable manner, it has saved the country.


SOARES: Let's get more on all this. CNN, senior international correspondent Melissa Bell is live for us in Paris.

Melissa, Jean-Luc Melenchon, who we just had there, may want his party to govern. But really, what are the chances here of that happening, given the

grievances between him and across party?

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we heard that firebrand of the French left who's been around for a very long time, very

clear in his message last night that you heard part of their speaking, also to the fact that his continued aim is going to be fighting against Emmanuel

Macron's centrists, accepting no coalitions. And of course, that gives you an idea of just how fraught things are likely to continue being between the

French center and the French left.

Of course, as you just showed there, Isa, those scenes of jubilation yesterday really represented from the people who went down on the streets

of Paris, a sense of relief that this hastily cobbled together left-wing alliance had done the job that they'd kept the far right from power, that

tactical voting had worked between the first and second round.

But that very -- those very -- that very result in the very scenes of jubilation that followed, Isa, also now, essentially plunged the country in

something of a political crisis.


The hung parliament that we face here behind me, the National Assembly, it has three big blocks. Of course, the left-wing Alliance on top, Macron

centrists in the middle and the far right beyond that. But still relatively big blocks, each of them, with, of course, both those radical extremes,

both on the far left and the Jean-Luc Melenchon formation within that alliance that sits on France's far left now have a more substantial number

of seats, and therefore, a greater capacity to make themselves heard.

And given both of those blocs determination that part of their mission should be over the coming months, to make things as difficult for Macron's

party as they can, it gives you an idea of some of the issues that lie ahead for the French president.

First of all -- first of all, of course, though, he has managed to convince Gabriella, tell the prime minister to stay on in a caretaker form for now,

to bring some stability to the country, but the negotiations that are going behind -- gone behind the doors, Isa, just between that left-wing alliance

that came out victorious in these elections last night are going to be extremely difficult.

These are not natural allies. They're not easy bedfellows, they have a substantial number of disagreements, and personal ambitions that they are

going to each want to satisfy in terms of naming the next prime minister. Isa.

SOARES: Melissa Bell for us there. Thanks very much, Melissa.

Let's get more on all of these. Joining us now is Leila Abboud, she is the Paris bureau chief for the Financial Times, and has been reporting in

business in Europe for more than a decade.

Leila, great to see you. I think you know, thinking about one newspaper front page today, which was La Paz yen (PH), which basically asked the

question, what now?

How do you see then the next couple of days planning out, given, of course, the frantic horse trading that we assume is happening behind closed doors?

LEILA ABBOUD, PARIS BUREAU CHIEF, FINANCIAL TIMES: Nobody knows the answer to that question. That's what's so stunning about this period. There is

really not been a moment in France's post war history where, after an election, nobody really knew who was going to govern. It just simply has

never happened before.

So, everyone is in uncharted waters, and I think it's going to take some time to sort out. I think the horse trading and the negotiations are not

really even started in earnest. There is been some back channeling, but for now, the left is trying to sort of position itself as the natural biggest

party and have a stake a claim on the premiership.

But they only have 180 seats, and that's almost 100 seats off of what you would need of an outright majority. So, it would be a minority government

that would be incredibly fragile. They seem to want to try it anyway, but who knows if they will be able to do that. And the President Macron's

centrist block in the middle sort of wants to play a pivot role as well.

It's just amazing, because the three blocks that voters have returned, essentially, the far right, the center and then this leftist coalition are

actually quite similar sizes, so, nobody is close to being able to govern.

SOARES: So, Leila, I mean, if we -- this political moment of uncertainty, clearly, as we wait for any sort of decision, one of the -- I mean, I was

speaking to a guest earlier, was talking to me, there is -- there is speculation that perhaps, Macron may look to the right to left, he probably

can site. Where do you -- do you -- how do you see that coming along, and how do you think, Leila that will be received potentially by the French


ABBOUD: I mean, if you add up the seats that the centrists and the L.R. have. It doesn't get you to 289 either. And the L.R., you have to sort of

keep in mind, that's a conservative party that's really been whittled away over the years and is really just remains a very tight, almost like a tiny

rump of what they used to be, and they have been in strong opposition to Macron for the past two years.

I don't see why they would suddenly flip and do him a favor to govern with him. But who knows? We're in a little bit of a very unclear moment. I don't

really know how the electorate would respond to that sort of thing. I mean, the left did narrowly win in the in the election, but it's narrow, right?

So, you know, you could also argue that right wing voters would think that they would be cheated if the left were in charge. It's just sort of a mess.

I don't know how to say it anymore clearly.

SOARES: And we will 18 days away or so before France hosts the Olympics. Do you expect, Leila, would get some sort of announcement or anything in terms

of prime minister -- before that? Or do you think we'll going to leave it until after the Olympics?

ABBOUD: I don't know, to be honest.


ABBBOUD: I mean, there's a key date, on the July -- on July 18th, which is the day in which the national assembly is supposed to elect its president.

And that's a key moment, right? So, usually it's the biggest party that takes, takes the presidency of the National Assembly.

You know, in an ideal world, some deal would have been hashed out by then to sort of properly do that process.


If they can't -- if nobody sort of reached an accord to be able to elect the president, then, I think you're going to go into a caretaker mode where

maybe Gabriel Attal, Macron's current prime minister stays on to sort of, you know, do the Olympics, make sure that we have functioning government

for like, the next few weeks, maybe the next month, and then, wait for this sort of negotiating process to take shape between all these different


SOARES: And there was much being said yesterday when we had the results come in at least the first exit polls, that Macron gamble, Leila, had kind

of paid off. In many ways, it kind of has, because it's pushed the far right to third.

But has it really changed anything? Is still in the same predicament right now?

ABBOUD: I mean, I think, before we say his gamble paid off, let's remind everybody of a basic fact. His centrist alliance lost two-thirds of their

seats. So, you know, actually, no, I think maybe it's slightly less than that, but they did lose a bunch of seats, so that can't be considered a


To the question Macron basically put to the country, sort of daring, the country, do you want the R.N. or not? They did answer no. So, to an extent,

that's a victory for both the left and the center.

But Macron does not emerge stronger from this period. In fact, he has the risk of a much-diminished presidency and sort of gridlock for the next

year. I find that hard to call a gamble that paid off.

SOARES: Yes, especially when you look at the numbers, 11 million as well for the far right, compared to like 4 million in 2022. So, very, very

worrying too.

Leila, great to get your perspective and allowances. Thank you very much.

And we'll be following all the developments following France's elections, from here in Paris, of course. But for now, II will hand it back to Becky

Anderson, Abu Dhabi for the rest of the international headlines. Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much indeed, Isa. And Leila -- and Leila is great. So, it's really good to get her inside analysis. Thank you.

We've got some breaking political news just in from the United States. Joe Biden, making new efforts at this hour to fend off calls for him to exit

the U.S. presidential race.

Just moments ago, he took a page out of Donald Trump's playbook, calling in to what is the liberal leaning cable network MSNBC, and he let the host

know, in no uncertain terms, what his future plans are. Have a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not going anywhere. I wouldn't be running if I didn't absolutely believe that I am the best

candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024. We had a democratic nominating process for the voters spoke clearly.


BIDEN: I want 14 million of those votes, et cetera. So, I just want -- I not only believe that from the beginning, but I wanted to reassert and

demonstrate this too, and I'm going to be doing that all through this weekend from here on.


ANDERSON: Well, we'll have more on this later in the hour with our reporters at the White House, as you would expect.

Also ahead, more on what is already a pivotal election year around the world. Iran, France, and United Kingdom, all ushering in new governments.

What does this mean for the future? More on that after this.



ANDERSON: Well. Iranians went to the polls last week in a snap election and made Masoud Pezeshkian their new president. He has been called a reformist.

In his campaign, he called for a reset, and I'm -- a degree of social change and for a re-engagement with the west.

And although voter turnout was lower than in previous presidential ballots, some have called the latest election a referendum on Iranian policy of the

past three years, a period scarred by violent protests and an unpopular, hardline president.

Well, the election triggered, of course, by the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, came as the world works through an election super cycle.

By the end of this year, national elections will have been held in at least 64 countries, which together account for almost half of the global


They come amid a rise in extreme politics almost everywhere. Some experts say democracy itself has been weakened over the past decade, as

authoritarian leaders, fascist ideology and parties of the extreme left and right have advanced.

However, three elections in just the past few days in the U.K., in France, and Iran, might just tell a different story.

Well, joining us now is Middle East scholar and professor at John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Dr. Valli Nasr. It's

good to have you.

The Raisi government was famously eastward looking. So, let's start with our new reformist, loosely termed, I think, in as you and I might agree in

Iranian politics.

But with the new president, do we expect him to be more westward facing, or at least inclined to engage with those in the West? More like the Rouhani


VALI NASR, PROFESSOR JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, in many ways, Pezeshkian's government is the third term of the Rouhani government. If you

look at the people that have been advising him, have been on his campaign, the former foreign minister Zarif, the former deputy foreign minister

Araqchi, the former economics minister, these are all Rouhani's men.

And so, they are not only inclined to engage the West. I think they actually campaigned on the idea that Iran's economy cannot improve without

engagement of the West and finding a way to negotiate some of the sanctions away.

And Pezeshkian also is of the view, like Rouhani was, that Iran should maintain a balance between East and the West, and that relying too much on

China and Russia is not to Iran's advantage.

So, I expect that Pezeshkian will lean very much into opening channels with the West.

ANDERSON: What does that mean?

NASR: Well, that means that he is starting from the position that his answer to talking to the United States is not, no. We will never do it. We

will not agree which was the position of his -- of his rival, Mr. Jalili, that Pezeshkian starting from the position that we will take diplomacy very

seriously. We won't have a diplomatic engagement with the West, the objective of which should be an agreement that would benefit the Iranian


ANDERSON: The Rouhani government, and you talk about this as being an extension of the Rouhani government, it was in place during a very

different political landscape and a very different atmosphere around the region that I am in here, that of the Gulf.

How does that different political landscape? You can start wherever you want on that Vali Nasr. How does that factor into the calculation of this

new president, and indeed that of the supreme leader, who we know ultimately is the decision maker in and for Iran?

NASR: Yes, I mean the supreme leader will make the ultimate decision. But the supreme leader, in my view, is open to a negotiation process. After

all, he allowed the former President Raisi to also go to negotiations in Vienna with the United States and Europeans, although that it was not



I mean, Iranians from the top to the bottom of the state and society understand that the economic situation will not improve without some kind

of an agreement with the West.

And that agreement is not going to happen with the declaration from Tehran. It has to be the outcome of a diplomatic process. So Pezeshkian is starting

with basically saying that diplomacy is his top objective.

And yes, the conditions have changed. Iran's nuclear program is much larger. You know, there is a -- there is a war being waged in the Middle

East that could very easily engulf Iran.

On the other hand, Iran's relations with its Gulf neighbors has improved, but the fact to the matter remains that Iran's nuclear program is a big

threat to the west and that Iran needs sanctions relief.

And that fact is not that different where it was in 2013, when the two sides engaged in a serious negotiation.

ANDERSON: Yes, and despite those who have sort of reworked their relationship with the -- with Iran, the Saudis, the country where I am, and

others around this region, I mean, you know, the threat is still there. There is -- there is no doubt about it when you talk to people around this


Look, Iran is out, undoubtedly a leader in the region. We are seeing an escalation in cross border hostilities, of course, between Israel and

Lebanon, with Hezbollah. Many will say that that is, you know, that is an outfit that basically stores Iran's weapons in Lebanon.

Do you -- at what point do you see Iran stepping. In to the fray there. This is becoming increasingly concerning for not just those in Lebanon, in

Israel, but also around this region. How does this change in government change if at all the calculus there?

NASR: It will not change the calculus. I mean, in Iran's view, there is a war happening in the Middle East, and the terms of that war, as you said,

is being dictated by what's happening in Gaza, Lebanese border, and Iran's not going to unilaterally change its position. I think the opportunity on

the region will come down the road if we don't have a full war in Lebanon, and if there is progress between Iran and the United States on the nuclear

front, then, it's possible to begin to contemplate other deals that could be on the region as well.

ANDERSON: It's always good to have you. You know that. Good friend of the show. Important we get you on, Vali. Thank you very much indeed for joining


Well, I want to get you to our breaking news, a shocking daytime barrage of missile strikes that has killed more than 30 people across Ukraine. Among

the sites hit, a children's hospital in the capital of Kyiv. At least, 20 people were killed in Kyiv alone.

Let's speak now to the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, who joins us from the Ukrainian capital. It's good to have you, sir. A difficult, difficult

day for you. Let's just get a sense from you of the extent of the damage, first and foremost, and how many people, including children, are as yet

unaccounted for.

VITALI KLITSCHKO MAYOR OF KYIV, UKRAINE: Good morning. It's really difficult day in our hometown. It's -- today is one of the biggest massive

missiles attack to our hometown. It was mixed the ballistic missiles. It's a cruise missiles, kamikaze drones, and biggest part of missiles shut down

anti-missile system, but some part of missiles destroyed two hospitals, one of the biggest children hospital in Ukraine, Ohmatdyt, and a lot of

buildings destroyed -- hospitalized almost hundred people, and more than 20 people was killed.

We don't know exactly numbers, because right now we try to saving people from the rubble of the buildings, because they will listen voices -- a lot

of people under rubbles in the buildings. And we working right now very hard to save the lives of these people. And yes, it's a result of this. I

can say war, because the war have some rules. Never touch children, all people, the whole world see the horrible pictures from Bucha (INAUDIBLE).

All world was shocked.

It's not special operation. It's not the war. I call that genocide of Ukrainian people, because Putin need property. Putin need Ukraine. Us

Ukrainian, they don't need, and that's why it's one of the biggest strategy in our hometown.

ANDERSON: Vitali, we're so sorry. And as you and I speak, we are looking at images of those who are desperately working through the rubble. And we can

see civilians, it seems there, the army, rescue workers doing their best to try and get through the rubble of that hospital.


You talked about some of what these missiles were. And the fact that some of those missiles were intercepted. You know, is it clear why others


KLITSCHKO: Russians ex -- tried to explain and find excuses. It's not we are, it's not our missiles or maybe anti-missile systems destroyed its

everything propaganda. It's everything the Russians tried to find excuses. And that's why it's horrible attack.

And so, the question is, what is the reason to destroy civil critical infrastructure of our hometown from the winter last (ph) -- last winter?

Let us living without heating, without electricity and water.

And right now, we have huge deficit of electricity in our hometown is a result of massive missiles attack to our hometown.

ANDERSON: This assault was a rare daytime attack. This was around rush hour. Of course, you know, over the course of this war, many of the sorts

of attacks that we've seen have happened at night. What do you make of the timing of this series of Russian missile attacks?

KLITSCHKO: It was morning time. It was around 10:00 in the morning, exactly the time when people go to jobs and a lot of doctors was killed in

hospitals and we're looking right now.

We don't know the exact numbers of people who was killed. And it was exactly timing where the people the Monday morning, it's everyone come to

the job.

And actually, the results are horrible result of this senseless war what did what will make Russians. And we already third year defend our homeland.

Thank you -- thank you for support of United States, it's very important for all people. Our whole partners who helped Ukraine defending our

homeland against aggression, Russian aggression.

ANDERSON: It is -- it is the 75th anniversary of NATO this week, leaders will be meeting in Washington, hosted by the U.S. President Joe Biden. What

is your message to those leaders gathering in Washington?

And secondly, what is your message to for example, the Indian Prime Minister who has just arrived in Moscow for meetings with Putin?

KLITSCHKO: The reason of this senseless war, we are Ukrainians want to be the part of democratic world. We want to be the part of European family.

Putin told, no, I'm not accept you. You are the part of Russian Empire.

It's not secret Mr. Putin want to rebuild Russian Empire and looking at Ukraine as part of Russian Empire. We don't want back to USSR.

We see our future as part of the democratic world. It's part of European family and we're fighting for that.

And everyone have to understand. Right now, we defend not just our homes, not just our city in our country, we're defending walls, the same walls,

and we're defending every one of you.

Because Russians go so far as far we are allowed to go. It's not secret. We listen to voices about Baltic countries. This was part of Russian Empire,

Poland, and tell to Germans, please, never underestimate the vision from Putin because Putin looking as part of Germany as part of Russian Empire

where Putin looking years long as KGB agent.

ANDERSON: Vitali, very specifically and briefly, do you see the timing of this attack coming as it does on the eve of that NATO gathering a message

from Moscow?


KLITSCHKO: I guess it was a message. We have a lot of messages from Russia, it's -- Russia's politics right now is very aggressive. And that's why they

pay attention for the strong position and that's why we Ukrainian have to be strong, economically, politically.

And also, thank you very much for support, especially defensive weapons. Defensive because we defend our homeland. It's very important. It's very

important for us, it's very important for the democratic world.

And the message for everyone another from us from Ukrainians, unity around Ukraine is a key for peace and freedom in Europe, peace and freedom in our

homeland. And that's why please support Ukraine, we're fighting and defending not just our homeland, we're defending every one of you. It was

message from Putin, I guess.

ANDERSON: Vitali Klitschko, is the Kyiv mayor joining us live as we report on the breaking news, you are watching images as we speak of those working

through the rubble to try and identify those men, women and children who are as yet unidentified after the series of missile attacks from Russia on

the Ukrainian capital.

We're going to take a very short break, back after this.


ANDERSON: Let me get you back to U.S. politics now. You're watching CNN. Of course, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson.

Joe Biden making new efforts today to fend off calls for him to exit U.S. presidential race. We told you about this a little earlier on this show.

Within the past hour, the U.S. president calling into what is a liberal leaning cable network MSNBC, doubling down on his earlier vows not to drop

out of the race. He also railed against what he called Democratic Party elites amid reports more of them and inverted commas are pressing Mr. Biden

to end his campaign.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm getting so frustrated by the elite. Now, I'm not talking about you guys. But by the elites in the party,

who they know so much more. If any of these guys don't think I should run, run against me. Go ahead. Announce for president. Challenge me at the




ANDERSON: CNN White House Correspondent Kayla Tausche is back with us this hour. I have to start with a very simple question. Who was he talking about

when he talks about the party elites? Obviously not "Morning Joe" hosts because he said that. Who's he talking about, Kayla?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It seems that he's talking about some of the senior most pundants in the Democratic Party.

David Axelrod as senior strategist for President Obama, who's been very critical of Biden's desire to stay in the race, including with an opinion

piece on CNN over the weekend. As well as donors, President Biden in that interview railing against the donor class saying that he is in the race for

the average voter not because he wants to carry the water for millionaires and billionaires.

But in that interview, Becky, was a full throated reiteration for the president's commitment to stay in the race. And he expressed quite a bit of

frustration with his own party too for the leaks that have been coming in recent days about the hand wringing and the soul searching that the party

is undergoing as they figure out the path forward for President Biden and for their own party come November.

To that end, President Biden releasing a letter earlier this morning addressed to all House Democrats in the wake of a senior level phone call

that was held yesterday in which several top ranking Democrats expressed a desire for President Biden to step aside.

But in this letter today, President Biden says the voters have already spoken, they've already participated in the nominating process and

delivered him 14 million votes and more than 3900 delegates enough to make him the presumptive nominee of the party by a wide margin in saying that

voters participation should matter and that he's not going to deny them that.

But at the close of the letter, Becky, President Biden writes this, the question of how to move forward has been well aired for over a week now and

it's time for it to end. We have one job, and that is to beat Donald Trump. He mentions the 42 days before the party's convention, the 119 days before

the election, and he says it is time to come together, move forward as a unified party and defeat Donald Trump.

Now, this message is being delivered to members of Congress right before all House Democrats are set to gather tomorrow to address some of these

concerns within the party and Democrats on the Senate side are expected to discuss them as well that President Biden is trying to tamp down on those

questions, saying he is not going anywhere, saying that he is more than just the presumptive nominee. He is going to be the Democratic nominee for

president and he's going to run his race till the end, Becky.

ANDERSON: Let's see. Good to have you. Kayla, thank you. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson.

Nearly quarter to 7:00, 6:45. Just shy off here in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. We're broadcasting from our Middle East programming hub, taking a very

short break. Stay with us, back after this.



ANDERSON: Fireworks lighting up the Parisian's evening skies. The national rallies run for power in French parliamentary elections ended in a stunning

upset. It is the left-wing new Popular Front alliance which has come out on top and if you were looking closely at this video of celebrations at the

famous Place de la Republique, you may have seen some Palestinian flags intermingled with the French, a whole load of Palestinian flags, in fact.

The ongoing war in Gaza has been a point of contention during this election and the new Popular Front has pledged to immediately recognize a

Palestinian state. It also says it will push Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza.

Now, France has previously somewhat distanced itself from recognizing Palestinian statehood, even as some other nations were making that move to

increase the pressure for a Gaza ceasefire.

CNN's Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson back with us for some analysis.

Nic, Palestine was also an issue for labor in the U.K. elections who lost at least three seats to independents who pretty much ran on a pro-

Palestinian ticket.

How is the war in Gaza reshaping the politics of Europe? Very specifically, the politics of Europe's center to far left?

ROBERTSON: Yes, I mean, let's break down just a couple of the statistics from the U.K. election. In constituencies were in the last census, more

than 40 percent of the population identified as Muslim. Absolutely. The Labour not only lost seats to candidates that essentially said that Labour

didn't go far enough in supporting the people of Gaza. They lost them to candidates who had formerly been Labour candidates.

If you take Blackburn in the north of the country, 132 votes was the majority by the former Labour candidate there who was pushing stronger

advocacy for doing more for the Palestinians. Birmingham Perry Barr 507. Again, the same scenario.

Look at Leicester South, another constituency where the former Labour candidate ran against the Labour candidate on this issue. 979 votes

separating them there.

The list actually goes on. It's a little -- it's a few more than three. And you could say plenty of others were influenced as well.

And yes, absolutely catching Macron really wrong footed on this, he's sort of sounded a bit behind all year. In February, he was talking about the

possibility -- the first time he was talking about the possibility of a two state solution in May when you had Norway, Ireland, Spain, as you said, who

independently recognize a Palestinian state. He said no, we should do this together at a different moment.

But there are populations within these countries and others in Europe who really feel that the center ground is not listening to them, is not

listening to their concerns. And they have a voice and this is something new, and it's certainly something that, you know, they may have to address

in the future. It's not an issue, I think and the idea of -- the idea of this voice is going to go away.

ANDERSON: Meantime, Nic, NATO celebrating its 75th anniversary this week. I mean, the symbolism couldn't be more important. The summit is in

Washington, the FT reporting that the U.S. has invited the foreign ministers of Israel and several Arab countries, bringing tensions over the

war in Gaza, to the gathering, as well. What can we expect?

ROBERTSON: You know, one of the key things that President Biden has been doing, every opportunity he has is tried to keep on side his Gulf, Arab

allies and partners in the region, where he's struggling to keep Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel that's an ally on the same page.

Netanyahu is going against everything President Biden has been asking him not to do in terms of the war in Gaza, not having an end strategy,

continuing to keep the war going, high civilian death toll in Gaza and growing. And so, this is a diplomatic stretch.


So, I think by having these nations in the same room, it has an opportunity to continue that conversation, but bring in -- bring to bear some other

allies and partners who are all be there in Washington, who all sort of have roughly similar views, whether it's the French and the British, who

are going to be there with their new political dispensations, etcetera, etcetera.

Another 31 nations who by and large Biden will hope will keep the narrative going that there is a deal around the corner that can be had and that he so

needs is our partners and allies on board with it when it arrives.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson in the house, our international diplomatic editor. Good to have you, Nic.

I'm Becky Anderson, still to come, millions of people are on high alert for flooding, for storm surges and for tornadoes as Hurricane Beryl tears

across Texas. A live report on that is just ahead.


ANDERSON: All right, Hurricane Beryl barreling through Southeast Texas right now, it made landfall as a Category 1 storm earlier today and now is

triggering heavy rainfall, life threatening flash floods, strong winds, power outages, and now threat of tornadoes as it moves inland across

eastern Texas.

CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam following the storm for us and he joins us now. What have you got as the very latest?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Beryl is definitely barreling through Southeast Texas including the Houston metropolitan where they're

getting absolutely slammed right now. You can clearly see that the location that I'm located in Port Lavaca right along the coastline of Central Texas

is a -- central coastline of Texas is obviously past the storm system.

But that is not the -- not to be said for points just to our north and east, particularly Houston where they're experiencing a hurricane force

wind gusts 130 kilometers per hour and rainfall rates, astounding rainfall rates that are causing localized flash flooding in and around the

Metropolitan. There are flash flood warnings in the area.

I want to get right to my graphics because this is astounding. Right now, Houston is reporting sustained winds of 81 kilometers per hour gusting to

120 kilometers per hour. And this is the first time since 2008 that's Hurricane Ike that Houston has received hurricane force winds from a named

tropical system.

So, that kind of puts it into context. Houston, people from Houston realize and remember what happened just a few weeks ago when a non-named straight

line wind events crashed windows and high rise buildings from similar winds to what they're experiencing right this moment in time.

So, we don't want to see a repeat of that. But unfortunately, they are getting some of the strongest part of what was Hurricane Beryl, which has

now been downgraded to a tropical storm.

So, this storm has so many different components to it. It's lost its energy source, which is the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but it's still

churning. And there's a look at those winds that are just incredibly powerful. 136 kilometers per hour. Its toppled trees, it's caused some

damage along the coast. And it's also taken a chunk out of the power here.


And we are one of those customers who are without power. But currently there's over two million customers without power from Houston all the way

to the coastline of Texas and that's a result of these powerful astounding winds that are just really focused right along that inner eye wall of

Tropical Storm Beryl.

So, what's to come, it's the flash flood threat that is ongoing. The winds, which are relaxing a bit from what they were this morning.

Interesting point to note is that without power, you can't cool your house and we have a heatwave that's going to impact this area the next coming

days. So, heat indices will be atrocious going forward and that means that people without power are going to have a hard time coping with these types

of conditions.

So, the flash flood threat continues this morning, an additional 50 to 150 millimeters of rain on top of what's already fallen. Millions of Americans

under flash flood warning as we speak, including Harris County where Houston is located. And additional rainfall before the storm system says

goodbye, good riddance. And it's on its way to the U.S. and Canada border by Wednesday and Thursday, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, Derek, it's good to have you. You are bang up to date view as and what is going on there, frightening stuff.

That's it for this show at least, CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson. Stay with "CNN NEWSROOM" with Eleni Giokos is up next.