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Deadly Russian Strikes on Ukraine on Day before NATO Summit Marking 75th Anniversary; Hezbollah Attacks on Israel-Lebanon Border; Sense of "Sadness" inside the Democratic Caucus; Trump Possibly Waiting on Biden's Status before Announcing V.P. Pick; Euro 2024; Turkiye's Olive Oil Wrestling Festival Turns 100. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 09, 2024 - 10:00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Yes, it is. This is our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, where the time is

6:00 in the evening.

This is our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where the time is 6:00 in the evening. It is 9:00 am in Washington,

so its 10:00 am in Washington.

And a high-stakes NATO summit begins there with the war in Ukraine and consequential world elections taking center stage.

President Biden is preparing to address NATO leaders as he faces continued questions from his own party over his fitness to run for office.

But first, the evacuation with hundreds of thousands forced from their homes. Now Gaza City is under fire, even as negotiators try to find a

ceasefire deal.


ANDERSON: Well, we. begin just hours away from what is that crucial NATO summit in Washington, D.C., with Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine high on

the agenda. Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is attending just a day after a series of Russian air assaults killed dozens across his country,

including at a children's hospital in Kyiv.

Meantime, scrutiny of the summit's host, U.S. President Joe Biden, is expected to be intense after his faltering debate performance against

Donald Trump last month. CNN's Kylie Atwood is in Washington for us. First, I want to get you over to Fred Pleitgen.

He is at that children's hospital in Kyiv where a search and rescue operation, as I understand it, has now ended, Fred, a cleanup operation


And what can you tell us at this point?


First of all, that's absolutely correct. This is now a cleanup operation, no longer a search and rescue operation. But certainly you can see -- and

I'm actually at the actual impact site where that missile landed, just how bad the damage is.

I'm going to get out of your way and you can see behind me just how much you of this building has been destroyed. This is just one of the buildings

in what is the largest children's hospital here in Ukraine and also, quite frankly, one of the largest in all of Europe.

And you can see that part of this building was just completely annihilated. And this is a really sturdy brick building with a brick foundation. And

even that has been badly damaged and all but destroyed in all of this.

Now I actually spoke, Becky, a couple of minutes ago to a doctor who was on hand here when this missile landed. And she said she was in one of the

adjacent buildings. At first she saw a flash, then she felt this massive boom and heard that gigantic explosion.

And she described the chaos that happened here afterwards. And she said the worst thing for her was to come to this area right here, see a building

where a lot of her colleagues have been working in before, absolutely flattened.

And wondering whether they had managed to save themselves and whether they had managed to save the patients who were inside. Of course, most of those

patients being children.

And the Ukrainians are now saying that the death toll for this particular site is two with dozens of injured. But for all of Kyiv, actually, 29

people. There were other impact sites here in this city as well.

And then if we look over here, this just puts into context how powerful that explosion was, Becky. You can see over there, that whole building,

which is a gigantic hospital building, also badly damaged by this explosion. Pretty much all the windows on that facade have been destroyed.

The facade itself also as well.

The Ukrainians are saying that this absolutely was a Russian missile. The Russians have tried to call that into question. They are calling this,

Becky, an attack on Ukraine's healthcare sector and also an attack on the children of Ukraine as well.

ANDERSON: Fred's in Kyiv. Kylie's in Washington.

Let me bring you in at this point. Obviously, Ukraine front and center as these NATO members meet. A cloud, though, is hanging over this meeting,

with Joe Biden facing major domestic challenges.

How is the United States, at this point, looking to reassure its partners, Kylie?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, what they're saying is that the NATO alliance is strong. It's gathering here in

Washington. They know, the White House knows that all eyes are going to be on President Biden this week. And they're saying that he is the perfect

person to be the leader of the Democratic Party.


At this moment when NATO needs to continue to be strong but, of course, we've talked to diplomats who are going to be watched President Biden's

performance this week.

How does he move?

How does he talk?

What does he sound like?

And perhaps more importantly, members of the president's own party are going to be watching him this week as he is engaged with world leaders, to

see how he looks and how he sounds.

And that comes as there are these conversations over whether or not he should remain the leader of the Democratic Party, the nominee for the

Democratic president in November.

And we should know that he has been having conversations with members of his own party about this over the last few days after that disastrous CNN

debate that was less than two weeks ago. Now

And he is going to be making some changes to his schedule. He told Democratic governors he's not going to be taking meetings mostly after 8:00


But we heard from the national security spokesperson, John Kirby, earlier this morning, who's trying to make the case that that doesn't mean that

President Biden will be inaccessible to his national security team. Listen to what he said.



get to the president, they get to the president and it doesn't matter what the hour on the clock says.

He's always there, he's always available. And they have ready access to him. And he also knows that the world doesn't take a breather after a

certain time of day.


ATWOOD: Now, of course, when it comes to the substance of the NATO meeting here, we have been told by top U.S. officials there's going to be

announcements about new delivery systems to Ukraine for its air defense.

There's also going to be announcements about how they're going to regularize and routine the support that's going from NATO to Ukraine. That

is a key shift that they're going to make. It's going to go through NATO; it's not going to go through the United States' coordination process


And that will sort of back up what is expected to be this commitment in the final declaration, that NATO is on an irreversible path to joining NATO.

But of course, there'll be questions as to how all of this is going to be received by Ukraine. As they have repeatedly said that they want more of a

timeline for when they'll join NATO. We don't expect that to be happening this week but we'll watch and see exactly what those announcements look

like for Ukraine.

And of course, amid the backdrop of this intense scrutiny on President Biden.

ANDERSON: Kylie, it's good to have you.

Fred, thank you.

Let's stay on this because as Ukrainians clear the wreckage of Monday's strikes many will also be looking anxiously toward NATO and this week

toward Washington. I want to bring in first deputy prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Svyrydenko.

And it's very good to have you with us and I have to start there with what I've just been discussing with Kylie.

How concerned are you and your colleagues about Joe Biden's political survival as Ukraine continues its fight against Russia?

YULIA SVYRYDENKO, FIRST DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, UKRAINE: Hello, was just thank you for your question.

I think that, first of all, I would like to say that we are expecting a from the participation of president in another meeting. And we are

expecting forward practical deliveries. You already discussed that Ukraine right now is suffering from the Russian missiles attack that happened


And we are fully focused now on the practical steps that can help us to solve these problems in order that it might, the largest hospital in

Ukraine and actually even in Europe.

And you saw the pictures that during the strike. There was children who were suffering from cancer and they were receiving treatment. And it was

627 children in the hospitals. And it's fortunate it was that the hospital adhered the safety protocols and they were in shelters.

And it's -- for me, it's even just frightening to imagine what can be the consequence otherwise. So that's why we're there pushing for the recent

(ph) casualties and two doctors have lose their lives and HLN (ph) what endures.

And you're right, your correspondent, that the rescue operation was concluded on the few hours ago. And now we're focuses on the consequences

and try to help people. Then that's why I think that what we expect, the one to have very practical deliveries in into blood (ph) and by Russia.

They attacked hospitals and we have data showing that they targeted hospitals. And what we expect we works for correction (ph) and we expect

for deliveries very complete one (ph).


ANDERSON: And these missile strikes, absolutely catastrophic as you rightly point out. And on a children's hospital during the day, when

ofttimes these strikes have come at night. I mean, this is during the day, at a time when so many people were around.

But I must ask you again, in light of that and with that as the context and given Joe Biden's enormous support for Ukraine, how concerned are you about

his political survival at this point?

it is a -- it is a key question going forward.

SVYRYDENKO: I just would like to emphasize, once again, on the NATO issue that Ukraine's path to NATO is irreversible.

And we believe that our partners will firmly acknowledge this and, you know, the delegation lead by our president is working in the better

specific decision and (INAUDIBLE) Ukraine's defense capability and enhance the air defense.

And we are focusing together, I think that or you would agree to meet with President Biden on very practical results and decision that will aid our

army. So for us, one of the most --


ANDERSON: There's call for more support for Ukraine, particularly in the aftermath of yesterday's attack. Let's talk about the support and the sort

of key takeouts that you're hoping for.

And whilst you concentrate on what you hope to achieve as a delegation in Washington, you've also penned an agreement with the E.U, as I understand

it, for 5.5 billion euros in grant assistance for the Ukraine facility program.

Do you have other agreements on the table that would give more immediate support for Ukraine at this point?

SVYRYDENKO: So one of the most critical priorities for us is additional air and missile defense system, which will definitely enhance our

capability to defend against Russian missiles attacks, to defend our cities, to defend industries to defense our people.

We are on the path to making the skies over Ukraine safer with the help of our allies. Also, you know that we are anticipating for the decision

regarding transfer of F-16s.

And we hope that this summit will be a landmark even for Ukraine, resulting in some very complete and series of strategic decision that will ensure the

long-term support for Ukraine from NATO and the member countries.

And of course, Russia should pay. So that's why we're expecting --

ANDERSON: Would anything less than that be considered a failure?

Would anything less than the -- than agreement on further defense systems and the delivery of F-16s, would anything less than that be considered a

failure as far as Ukraine is concerned in Washington this week?

SVYRYDENKO: I think that now there's been the negotiations and the meeting is going to start. So now it's very early to speak about this. But we are

focused on, as I said, at the beginning, on very concrete results.

And because it's crucial for Ukraine and the Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital and because reminder that every day and every delay, every day that Ukraine

doesn't receive protection for our skies, for our cities, innocent children die and innocent people die.

Russia can stop this war any moment.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you.

SVYRYDENKO: And we hope that NATO countries (INAUDIBLE) help us. Thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you for joining us. Thank you for your time.

Still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Shtula, this is a community of about 300 people normally. But right now it's just an absolute ghost


ANDERSON (voice-over): Well, CNN has a firsthand look at fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border amid fears of a wider regional war in the Middle



ANDERSON (voice-over): Plus as cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas flounder, we'll speak to a former Israeli hostage negotiator about the

political ramifications for prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.






ANDERSON: Israel is continuing its operation in Gaza City. It follows the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the area. They were forced

to move again after the Israeli army issued new orders earlier this week to evacuate.

The U.N. says now 1.9 million people or 90 percent of Gazans have been displaced in the past nine months or so since October the 7th. And as the

conflict in Gaza continues, there is also a major concern, international concern about hostilities on the Israel- Lebanon border, where Hezbollah

and Israeli forces are increasingly trading fire.

My colleague, Jeremy Diamond, recently traveled to a village in northern Israel to get a firsthand look at the situation. There. Here is what he



LT. COL. JORDAN HERZBERG, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: They're going to see us right when we get up there, and we have three minutes.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Colonel Jordan Herzberg is talking about Hezbollah.

HERZBERG: After three minutes, though, they can start to fire. So we're going to go very quick.

DIAMOND: He's taking us to an Israeli community on the frontlines of Israel's simmering conflict with the Lebanese militant group. Up a winding

mountain road past a roadblock and a security fence and into the village of Shtula, which sits right on the Lebanese border.

We just entered the village of Shtula. This is a community of about 300 people normally. But right now it's just an absolute ghost town.

Let's go quick.

DIAMOND (voice-over): The three-minute countdown starts as soon as we are within line of sight of Southern Lebanon.

LT. COL. JORDAN HERZBERG, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: Look how close you are to the border here.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Where Hezbollah militants, armed with anti-tank missiles, are closely watching the border, prepared to fire once again.

HERZBERG: This house was hit by an anti-tank missile right here. Past the window.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Two homes, one next to the other, hit in the same attack, according to the Israeli military.

DIAMOND: This is one of the most dangerous places in Northern Israel right now. We're in Shtula, and you can see the Lebanese border just right across

once there, across from those concrete barriers.

We're just a few hundred feet. And what that means is that we are within range of those anti-tank guided missiles. And that is exactly what has

wrought this destruction on this civilian home.

DIAMOND (voice-over): The threat of anti-tank missiles is part of why Israel wants to push Hezbollah back to the Litani River, about 18 miles

North of the border, outside the range of those missiles.

HERZBERG: OK, we have 35 seconds.

DIAMOND: We've been here for three minutes. The colonel has been watching his watch the entire time that we've been here. And now, he's telling us

it's time to go.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Hezbollah has been firing rockets, missiles, and drones at Northern Israel since October 8. Israel has responded with

airstrike after airstrike, devastating parts of Southern Lebanon, where more than 90,000 people have fled their homes since October.

In Northern Israel, about 60,000 Israelis have been displaced, people like Ori Eliyahu and his nine dogs.


DIAMOND (voice-over): His grandfather was among the first people Israel settled in Shtula in the late 1960s. And after spending his summers there

as a child, Ori decided to move there.

DIAMOND: Shtula is a special place for you.

ELIYAHU: It's my house, to be honest.

DIAMOND: If you could return to Shtula, you would?

ELIYAHU: Of course, I will return.


I will return in the first moment I will be able to. Yes.

DIAMOND (voice-over): But he says that may not be the case for families with children.

ELIYAHU: I don't think that there is a condition that will make them come back, because whenever they know that Hezbollah is, like Hamas, can do what

they did in October 7, and I think then they won't return.

And there is no real solution, because a big war might ruin everything.

DIAMOND (voice-over): A big war is exactly what the Israeli military is preparing for.

HERZBERG: Our division has been training for this war for a long, long time.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Whether that war materializes is unclear. But for Colonel Herzberg, the objective is obvious. Get Israel's Northern residents

back into their homes.

Whether it happens before a major ground operation or after ground operation, I can't tell you. I'm in the tactical level, not at the

political level or the policy level. But the people are going to come back, sooner than later.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Shtula, Israel.


ANDERSON: Gaza City and surrounding areas are under fire, according to a Gaza civil defense spokesperson. The proximity of Israeli tanks and the

risk of being shelled is making it difficult for crews to remove bodies from the streets, the spokesperson said.

Now this, of course, is against the backdrop that the two sides are trying to find the path to a hostage and ceasefire deal.

My next guest is Gershon Baskin. He's a former hostage negotiator and the Middle East director of the International Communities Organisation, joining

us now.

And all the talk about your latest piece, about current strategy with regard Israel. But let's just start with the very latest on these

negotiations because, as we understand it, the U.S., Israel, Egypt and Qatar will be meeting in Doha on Wednesday to try and effect some sort of

progress in these ceasefire and hostage talks.

You can say we've been here before, we have, lots and lots of times.

Do you see anything different today, this week, about where we are at with regard a ceasefire?


difference right now and that's in the apparent Hamas concession, that they're willing to enter into the first phase of the ceasefire agreement.

That President Biden talked about a month ago, which would be a six-week period without having upfront an Israeli obligation to end the war.

Apparently, from what we understand, Hamas has been assured by Qatar and by Egypt, probably with backing from the United States, that once the six-week

theory began, even if they failed to reach an agreement on phase II, the ceasefire would continue and would become sustained or permanent.

This is what Hamas is believing. But of course, the Israeli government, the prime minister's office in particular, have put out announcements that

contradict the idea that the ceasefire would be permanent or that an agreement can be reached.

On the other sensitive issues that are under negotiations.

ANDERSON: And we've had these contradictory statements I have to say from both sides. We've moved through these months' worth of negotiations, which

have started and stalled and started and stalled.

In your very latest piece, let's talk about that. You are very clear about how you see the current strategy, the current Israeli strategy, as a failed

one, saying -- I want to quote you here.

"Israel's so-called leaders in the coalition and the opposition would like us to believe that Israel must live by the sword forever or perish."

What do you believe it will take -- or perhaps you will tell me that you are now seeing evidence of a move away from this strategy and narrative.

BASKIN: No, I don't think we have moved away from it yet.

But what we need to recognize is that, after more than 100 years of Jews and Palestinians killing each other in this land, at the end of this war,

which is the worst of them all, there will remain 7 million Israeli Jews and 7 million Palestinian Arabs living on the land between the river and

the sea.

And this must be the last war between them. We have the possibilities of regional agreements, a regional defensive pact that appeared on April 14th,

when Iran attacked Israel. Suddenly Israel's neighbors came to the defense of Israel.

The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be done in a regional accord that would provide greater security, stability and chances

of economic development and prosperity for us all.

We need to get rid of our leaders both in Israel and in Palestine. And we need new leaders, who are willing to look at the future for the first time.


With the idea that each side must recognize the right of the other side to live here in peace and security, that they all have a right to self-

determination, that we have a place in this land together.

And the two state solution is back on the table in front of us. And I think we will see more countries having out (ph) and recognizing Palestine.

Everyone should recognize Palestine; everyone should recognize Israel. We need the world to help us put this conflict to an end.

ANDERSON: Gershon, you may be right in suggesting that we should -- well, we may see more countries come out in favor of Palestinian statehood.

The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been accused by politicians in Israel of linking a hostage deal to his tenure as prime minister and

sabotaging talks thus far.

Aside from publicly calling him out, what recourse is there to move this deal forward if that really is the prime minister's thinking?

BASKIN: Right. It seems that the prime minister is putting his own personal self, political interest in front of the interest of the

country's. And more and more Israelis are taking to the street, calling for new elections and calling for Netanyahu to resign.

We're witnessing cracks within the coalition. It's not a very stable coalition right now. There's another 2.5 weeks of this Knesset session

before they go for a very long recess. And there're going to be marches of hundreds of thousands of Israelis, taking to the streets.

We only need five members of Knesset of the 125 for the 64 members of the coalition to vote against the coalition to bring the government down, the

people of Israel, the majority, a large majority of Israelis want elections and no longer have confidence in the leadership of Netanyahu.

And that's our strongest possibility of seeing change in this country. The people here no longer trust Netanyahu. He's responsible for what brought us



ANDERSON: You would argue that that poll (ph) suggests --

BASKIN: -- to protect --

ANDERSON: -- Gershon, yes. Let's be quite clear here.

Benjamin Netanyahu will be clear that there are polls suggesting that there are many, many Israelis who want him still as prime minister and support

his leadership at this point.

Be that as it may, he is due to go to Washington in the next week or so. In Washington, he will come face-to-face, we are told, with Joe Biden in a

meeting, a president who is looking increasingly weakened at home.

What leverage does the U.S. still have over the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu?

BASKIN: Yes, I'm afraid that, after the debate between Trump and Biden, there's lessening ability of the United States to put pressure on Israel.

Nonetheless, the United States is Israel's most important ally and Israel could not conduct its war in Gaza without the continued support of the

United States.

But I think that Netanyahu, when he addresses both houses of Congress, is actually going to be speaking above the heads of Congress and speaking to

Mr. Trump and winking to him and saying, listen here. I'm not the weak person that you thought I am. I'm not going to give in to terror.

I'm the person who's going to stand up to Hamas and I think that is what we're really going to see in Congress. I don't think that Netanyahu is

really going to be speaking to Biden or the current administration.

They're going to be looking post November.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, sir.

And you can find more of Baskin's analysis in our "Meanwhile in the Middle East" newsletter, which provides in-depth coverage on the biggest stories

across the region. Do sign up to that if you haven't already done so. Have it delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. Scan the QR code

there on the screen.

Well, still to come, President Biden set to deliver remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO as he fights, as we've said, to remain in the race for

the White House. More on that coming up.





ANDERSON: Welcome back.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me. Becky Anderson, time here 6:30 six in the evening in the UAE.

While President Biden focuses on the NATO summit in Washington today, it's not only world leaders he's trying to reassure but also those in his own

party. The Democratic caucus is wrapping up as we speak in Washington on Capitol Hill today, with one member describing a sense of, quote, "sadness"

looming over it.

Well, the goal was to figure out how to keep the White House where many Democrats are unsure whether Mr. Biden can win and carry out a second term

in office. We caught up with congressman Jerry Nadler just a short time ago.


QUESTION: Is your support for the president a pragmatic consideration, given that the president has said he will remain in?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Well, yes. He said he's going to remain in. He's our candidate and we're all going to support him. And I hope we're all

going to support him.

QUESTION: That kind of leaves you with no choice then.


ANDERSON: I want to talk more about this with Manu Raju, who is on Capitol Hill.

And Stephen Collinson, a regular guest on this show, is in our Washington bureau.

Manu, let me you start with you.

President Biden has made it very clear he's not willing to abandon his campaign despite congressional Democrats who are meeting today, some of

whom have voiced reservations -- but only some.

What's come out of the meeting so far and how much leverage do party members have over this issue?

Let's be quite clear about this.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They can't really do anything about it unless Joe Biden decides voluntarily to step aside and

drop out of this race, which leaves them with their hands tied here.

They can scream and call for his ouster as their party's nominee. But if he says no, then the party looks divided at a critical time in the U.S.

elections, which is what -- the reason why a number of members say that they're making a pragmatic choice.

You're either not enthusiastic about Biden. They say that ultimately they have to support him because he is their party's nominee and they need to

figure out the best way, strategy now, in the months ahead to try to defeat Donald Trump.

Now at this closed door meeting, it was a bit of an open mic session, a venting fest for the first time that members have had a chance to gather

since the Biden debate performance more than a week ago. They were on recess last week.


And they came back into town yesterday; today, their first meeting.

This is still ongoing and is about to break up officially. Now I talked to a number of members as they left the meeting and they've described it this



REP. SEAN CASTEN (D-): My takeaway is great sadness that we are not having a conversation about the fact that we have two people running for

president. One of them has a record that anybody would be proud to have.

And the other one's an adjudicated rapist, a twice-impeached, convicted felon, who there is not a single American who would trust to babysit their

teenage daughter. That is the conversation we have to be having over the next three months.

We need to make sure that we can run an effective campaign on the political side of this operation. But the stakes of this are not about elections.

Theo stakes of this are about what is the future for our country in different scenarios.

And I think there's a lot of concern about, will we be able to have that conversation in this media environment, that, my God, that's the

conversation we have to have.


RAJU: And I asked him whether he is supporting keeping Joe Biden at the top of the ticket. And the congressman there, Sean Casten, wouldn't say. He

said, "I've said what I'm going to say."

Other members, too, as they have left, I've asked them, do you support keeping Joe Biden as your party's nominee?

Refusing to say if they do one way or the other. So shows you there is still this concern within the Democratic Party about keeping Joe Biden

there. But ultimately, they may have to keep -- essentially keep their mouths shut and do the best they can to try to get him over the finish line

come November.

Because they're essentially left, Becky, with no other choice.

ANDERSON: Manu, I'm going to let you go because I know that meeting is likely to break up any moment now and you need to get on with pressing

those members and really pushing to find out where they stand on this. Thank you.

Stephen, Joe Biden expected to speak at the NATO meeting today. This, of course, is the meeting to celebrate the 75th anniversary.

Politically, just how important is Biden's performance at NATO today for his future, do you think?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think it's very important. The last few weeks have been a real roller coaster at times.

It's almost seemed that the presence position was unsustainable.

In the last couple of days, he appears to have at least got a handle on his own fate, within his own party, stabilizing his position. So if he can get

through the NATO summit, we have the Republican National Convention next week. Trump will be naming his vice presidential nominee.

I think some of the focus will get away from the president and he would have bought time. And that will make it much more difficult when everyone

comes back together after the RNC for there to be time to replace him as the nominee or the momentum to do so.

Having said that, any gaffes or slip-ups or senior moments that the president might experience over the next couple of days, they could

undermine all the political work he's done to consolidate his position. I think what will be especially important is a solo press conference that the

president is planning to hold on Thursday.

This will be the most high profile, unscripted, spontaneous event since the debate, which was an absolute debacle. So he's under enormous pressure, not

just domestically and inside his own party but the rest of the world is going to be watching this as well, with critical questions about the future

of NATO on the line.

ANDERSON: Yes. And if these NATO members weren't considering the prospect of a Trump presidency at this point, it would be frankly a dereliction of

duty on their part.

We've heard from Mr. Trump. We know -- it's going to be a busy, what, next week or so from him but we've heard from him very specifically about Kamala

Harris potentially becoming the Democratic candidate. Let's just have a listen.



concerned about the vote. If it's not her, they are very, very -- I mean, they're gun-shy. They don't want to do it any other way.

I've actually come to believe that's what they're going to do.


ANDERSON: And he also had this to say about his V.P. pick. Have a listen.


TRUMP: And I haven't made final decision but I have some ideas as to where we are going and a little bit we wanted to see what they're doing, to be

honest, because you know. It might make a difference. I don't know, I'm not sure that it would.

But there are those who say Trump's waiting until he finds out what is going to happen with crooked Joe Biden. And we'll see what happens with


But you know, I think probably within the next week, 1.5 weeks.


ANDERSON: What do you make of his strategy, Stephen?

COLLINSON: Yes, it's always amusing in a way to see how Trump often acts as a third-party commentator on himself and what he might do.


He's trying to put all sorts of charm in at the water, if you like, to confuse Democrats. My strong impression is that Trump and the Republicans

really want to run against Joe Biden. They've been building this case for two years, that he is weak and old and he is losing control of his

cognitive facilities.

That's what the president played into in the debate. So by talking about Kamala Harris, by talking about someone else, perhaps he's trying to

confuse Democrats. But it's been noticeable how Republicans are being quite quiet over the last week or so as Biden goes through this terrible post-

debate period.

I would predict that, once Biden is the nominee, officially after the convention, if that is the case, you're going to see an absolute onslaught

on the president in advertising, clips of him looking old and feeble and unable to -- apparently confused. And that's going to really be a challenge

for the president to counter.

ANDERSON: No one needs to -- needs Donald Trump to try and confuse or sow chaos amongst Democrats at the moment. They seem to be doing that


For the time being, Stephen, it's always good to have you. Thank you very much indeed.

Coming up on this show --


ANDERSON (voice-over): -- there is a titanic battle in store for football fans. Tonight as two continental heavyweights slug it out for glory in the

Euro's semifinals. We're going to have a live report from Munich for you right after this.




ANDERSON: Well, football or soccer fans, if that's how you refer to it, are in store for a treat this week. We are at the semifinal stage of the

European football championships in Germany tonight. It is powerhouses France and Spain going head-to-head in Munich.

La Roja are seeking their fourth European title and they go into this match as the only team to win all five matches at this tournament. But they are

looking to be crowned kings of Europe for a third time to add to their triumphs back in 1984 and 2000.

Let's cross live to CNN's Seb Shukla, who is in Munich, soaking up the atmosphere ahead of tonight's big game.

How do the fans that you've been speaking to feel, Seb?

SEBASTIAN SHUKLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we've been here since about lunchtime. And slowly the atmosphere is building.

As you can imagine, the Munich sunshine and the Bavarian beer is making a big difference to everybody's mood.


And as you can see in this main square in downtown Munich, there are a mix of Spanish and French fans. And I have one here with me actually, Becky.

Quanta (ph), who's come from Lille (ph), wearing fittingly his French tricolor shades.

Quanta (ph), can you tell me, are you going to win tonight?

QUANTA (PH), FRENCH FAN: Hello, my friend. Sorry for my English.

Yes. Yes. I think we can win and we have a good defense and we have Mbappe (ph). we have Dembele (ph). We have a great player. I think we can win.


SHUKLA: How are you going to win?

Because you need Mbappe to score you a score. But you haven't scored any goals yet.

QUANTA (PH): No, I think we can other way difference. We made the wall. We won it and we wait the penalty. Yes, there was a wall and penalty. That is


SHUKLA: So going to penalties, extra time and penalties is how you would be happy to win?

QUANTA (PH): No, no. It's not what we are be. But I think it's the method, yes, the method they show. And we adapt, we adapt with this method. If we

win and we are infinite (ph) and we are, we are happy (ph).

SHUKLA: Well, good luck.


SHUKLA: Allez Les Bleus!

QUANTA (PH): Allez Les Bleus! Yes.

SHUKLA: Becky, so optimism from the French fans. And from the Spanish side, there should be continued, even renewed optimism about how Spain's

fortunes will fare.

They're young stars, have basically dragged them through large parts of this competition but they have a good nexus and a good middle of that team,

too, with players like Rhodri (ph) midfield. He plays at Manchester City and who is arguably one of the best players in the Premier League.

But without key players at the back, so that means, Becky, that we should be set up for an interesting game forward on the front foot, Spain; whereas

France, with their more technical players at the back, hopefully should be able to unpick them. We shall see. There are just about five hours to go,



ANDERSON: Seb, said you just can't take blokes seriously wearing specs like that, can you?


ANDERSON: It's absolutely brilliant. All right, mate. Thank you for that.

I want to bring in CNN "WORLD SPORT's" Patrick Snell to get his perspective on these games.

Look, three weeks ago, I'd bet the bank on -- if I was a betting woman -- that the Spanish would walk through this tournament and win it. They look

absolutely fantastic. But now we know that performance has got absolutely nothing to do with how a team gets to the semifinal and ultimately,

possibly, the final.

Who are you backing?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I don't know, any one of four countries at this point, Becky.


SNELL: Look, you make a great point. France and England are both through to the semifinals, yet neither of them has played particularly good

football. But it doesn't matter exactly, right?

It doesn't matter how you play. It's how far you get.

I do want to just add a little bit to Seb's excellent insights there. I love the fact that Spain had got terrific team unity. There's no question

about that. Yes, they're without three players tonight, a couple due to suspension. Pedri is out injured as well.

But I love the Spanish's team unity and I love watching players like Lamine Yamal, just 16 years of age; Nico Williams just 21; wonderful, youthful

talent. And they are building their foundations on that, are La Roja.

But you're absolutely right about France, too. They, in effect, are a wounded beast. They have nothing to lose, in a sense that I feel they can

only get better. They can only get better. They haven't scored a single goal, Becky, from open play; two own goals at this tournament and a

penalty; one, Kylian Mbappe, penalty. They can only improve on that surely.

And Mbappe, who by his very own high standards, has not had the best of tournaments -- yes, he's had the broken nose, of course. But let's hear now

for more perspective from Didier Deschamps, the manager, whose team I feel can only get better. Take a listen.


DIDIER DESCHAMPS, FRANCE COACH/MANAGER (through translator): Listen, if you're bored, you can watch something else. It's not a big deal, is it?

You don't have to do anything else.

Listen, this is a special European championship, where it's very difficult for everyone. So far the number of goals has been much lower than in the

past. What I know is that we have the ability to share our emotions and make a lot of French people happy through the results we've been able to


Especially during this complicated period in our country.


SNELL: Deschamps there reflecting, I think, on that turbulent week for French politics. But right now his focus will be getting Les Bleus to try

and win this tournament for a third time and a first time in 24 years -- back to you.

ANDERSON: Who wants exciting football?

I mean, why would you?

Why would you?

Thank you, sir.

SNELL: Thanks up.

ANDERSON: Going head-to-head, we get a firsthand look at Turkiye's famous oil wrestling festival.


Which is celebrating its 100th birthday. Do stay with us.




ANDERSON: We have just time for your parting shots tonight and a famous Turkish tradition turns 100. Over the past few days, hundreds of people in

northern Turkiye have been taking part in the historic olive oil wrestling festival.

Now this tournament is listed by UNESCO, no less, as part of the country's cultural heritage. Scott McLean, my colleague, spoke to some of the

wrestlers to find out more about this time-honored tradition.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Turkiye's northwest corner, just a few miles from Greece, there's an ancient tradition that

came long before the urban sprawl of Edirne and even for its 450-year-old mosque.

It opens with pomp and pageantry, drums, horns and local dignitaries marching through the city.

Then a nod of respect to gladiators past, for centuries of tradition come to life in the present.

MCLEAN: It's right here, where boys become men.

MCLEAN (voice-over): This is the 663rd Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival. In Turkiye, it's the Super Bowl of the sport. More than a dozen fights

happen simultaneously in an uncut grassy field. Fighters grapple, push and attack to try to pin or lift their opponent to end the match, all the while

covered head to toe in olive oil.

MCLEAN: What makes this whole thing special is this. This is pure olive oil and these days, it is not cheap. Five liters of this right now costs

more than $60. And these guys are applying it pretty liberally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Of course, olive oil is a must for this sport but we don't see it as a cost but as an investment in

keeping our ancestral sport alive forever.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Outside the stadium, Cengizhan Koca is quietly preparing for battle.

CENGIZHAN KOCA, OIL WRESTLER (through translator): My father is an oil wrestler, so is my uncle, my brothers and my friends. We've been doing it

since we were kids.

MCLEAN (voice-over): In the tent next door, his opponent, Abdullah Bashar (ph), also has olive oil in his blood.

ABDULLAH BASAR, OIL WRESTLER (through translator): Why do I do this sport?

Because I'm taking after my father, my grandfather and my ancestors.

MCLEAN (voice-over): After a little oil helps them wriggle into their special leather pants, they're ready.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We got here through hard work. We shed blood, sweat and fought hard for months to prepare for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My strategy is to quickly go for the legs and go for the takedown. This has been my strongest move since I

was a kid.

MCLEAN (voice-over): The match begins with a ritual entrance and a quick prayer. The oil makes it almost impossible to grip your opponent. A hand

down his pants is one way to get a handle and entirely within the rules.

For more than half an hour, they spar, wearing each other down, trying to outlast until, with one final heave, it all comes to an emotional end.

BASAR (through translator): My friend was upset.

I tried to make him feel better but this is wrestling. I told him, I've won today but you'll win tomorrow.


MCLEAN (voice-over): After the match, we find Cengizhan Koca exhausted and beside himself.

KOCA (through translator): Well, I was emotional because I had high hopes. I wanted to make my family proud because so much effort and expense has

been put into this and I failed on day one.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Cengizhan's tournament, may be over.

But the ancient sport will live on to fight another century -- or six -- Scott McLean, CNN, Edirne, Turkiye.


ANDERSON: Elsewhere in the world of wrestling, John Cena plans to say goodbye to the sport that made him a star. The 47-year-old wrestler turned

actor announced he is retiring from World Wrestling Entertainment next year.

He says he will perform 30 to 40 dates through 2025 as he winds down his nearly 25-year pro wrestling career. The 16-time WWE world champ is tied

with wrestling legend Ric Flair for the most championships ever.

Cena has found success in recent years in Hollywood with roles in films like "Barbie," "Suicide Squad," and the "Fast & Furious" franchise.

That is it for us tonight. From the team working with me here on CONNECT THE WORLD, it is a very good evening. Stay with CNN. NEWSROOM is up.