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Isa Soares Tonight

Julian Assange Summoned to Court After a Plea Deal; Judge Lifts Parts of Trump Gag Order; Debate Strategies for Biden and Trump; ICC Issues Arrest Warrant Against Two High Ranking Russian Officials; Iran Gears Up for Presidential Election; Protesters in Kenya Stormed Parliament; China's Chang'e-6 Returns to Earth; Top Airlines Crowned in "Oscars of Aviation". Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 25, 2024 - 14:00:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: And a very good day to you wherever you're joining us. I am Richard Quest, Isa is off tonight, I am at the helm. We

start with Kenya. Bodies are on the ground and there are fires in parliament. Citizens are furious over new tax measures.

Within hours it will be morning in the Northern Mariana Islands. Julian Assange is appearing in court there after reaching a plea deal with the

United States. Donald Trump and Joe Biden are preparing for their first debate on Thursday. They've got starkly different styles, that's no

surprise, but who is likely to have the upper hand?

Let's begin in Nairobi in Kenya, the city is reeling from a day of chaos and violence. Protesters have been clashing with police. The protesters are

angry over proposed tax increases and the rising cost of living. And the President William Ruto, earlier, demonstrators stormed parliament as

lawmakers were discussing a controversial new finance bill.

Other buildings including Nairobi City Hall were also set ablaze. Our teams on the ground, CNN teams have seen police firing live rounds into the crowd

as well as using teargas and water cannons. We know of five people so far killed and dozens of people have been injured according to the rights

groups in the area.

The President William Ruto is expected to address Kenya in just a moment. He's going to speak to the nation. Larry Madowo is in Nairobi. This seems

to be deteriorating despite the best efforts, if you will, of you know, the President to say he'll meet protestors, he's willing to listen, but think

that they're not listening or not, and things are getting worse.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Things did get out of hand today, Richard, that's for sure. These protesters had called for seven days of

rage, and today was supposed to be a day of a total shutdown. And they did succeed in shutting down Nairobi, one of Africa's busiest capitals reduced

to just violence, looting, and teargas and water cannon for most of the day, it felt like a war zone.

And these are the residue of the police that are still left here making sure that no protesters come back at night and try and access parliament

again, because they did get to the floor of the national assembly earlier, they did burn a part of this back here, a city hall.

This is the office of the governor of the Nairobi City County that was set ablaze in two different sections. There's a fire that claimed one carrot-

side(ph), there's shell of that that's still out there, and they were expecting this statement from President William Ruto any moment now, it's

in this hour that the statement is supposed to happen.

And he's speaking on the backdrop of this security presence where hundreds of police officers were trying to protect Kenya's parliament, and

protesters still made their way inside them. Police having to use the live rounds and at least, five people killed as a result of that.

But also take a look at the scene over here, Richard, this is Carrefour Market, it is one of the major stores here in Nairobi. It was vandalized

and out here, it's now closed inside, but I'll just --

QUEST: Let me interrupt you there, forgive me, we're going to go now to President Ruto who is speaking. Let's have a listen to what the president


WILLIAM RUTO, PRESIDENT, KENYA: Institutions. And otherwise legitimate expression of the fundamental rights and freedoms of assembly.

Demonstration, picketing and partitioning of public authorities by a section of law-abiding citizens of the Republic of Kenya was infiltrated

and hijacked by a group of organized criminals.

Most regrettably, today's attack on Kenya's constitutional order has resulted in the loss of lives. Also destruction of property and desecration

of institutions and emblems of our sovereignty. Today's events mark a critical turning point on how we respond to grave threats to our national



I assure the nation that the government has mobilized all resources at the nation's disposal to ensure that a situation of this nature will not recur

again at whatever cost. I thank our security officers who were on duty today for applying themselves to the best of their abilities in the defense

of Kenya and its people.

Accordingly, I have directed all the organs of our national security to deploy measures to thwart any attempts by dangerous criminals to undermine

the security and stability of our country. As the people of Kenya go to bed tonight, I give you my assurance that your security, that of your families

and property remains my utmost priority.

To the young people of Kenya, who I must thank for helping our country organize our democratic discourse around issues, I thank you and assure you

that the conversation you have begun around pertinent issues of our nation will continue to inform our policy and governance decisions.

As I promised on Sunday, this conversation would not be in vain. I will not only champion for the cost of issue-based, policy-oriented and tribeless

engagement on critical national issues, but also provide a framework for this conversation to be processed and its outcomes implemented.

However, our national conversation on any subject matter must be conducted in a manner that respects and honors the foundational values upon which our

nation is established, namely, constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for institutions.

It is very painful for Kenya that a conversation this crucial was hijacked by dangerous people who have cost us the kind of loss we have incurred as a

nation today. It is possible, but the criminals who reigned terror on innocent people and attempted to challenge our law enforcement deployments

are still determined to continue with their dangerous behavior.

I assure the nation of the government's determination to fulfill its constitutional duty of protecting the people of Kenya against all forms of

harm. I hereby put on notice the planners, financiers, orchestrators and abaters of violence and anarchy, that the security infrastructure

established to protect our republic and its sovereignty will be deployed to secure the country and restore normalcy.

It is not in order or even conceivable that criminals pretending to be peaceful protesters can reign terror against the people, their elected

representatives and the institutions established under our constitution and expect to go scot-free. We must isolate crime from democratic expression

and separate criminals from people exercising the freedom of expression and divergent opinion.

I shall continue to lead a government that is fully committed to maintaining the integrity of our state, promoting the unity of our nation,

and enhancing the peace and security of all citizens and their livelihoods.


I am bound under sacred constitutional mandate to respect, uphold and defend the constitution of Kenya, which declares that all sovereign power

belongs to the people, and that this power shall be exercised only in accordance with the constitution. The government will therefore uphold its

constitutional mandate to secure our nation and its development, and shall treat every threat to national security and the integrity of our state as

an existential danger to our republic.

Accordingly, I assure Kenyans that we shall provide a full, effective and expeditious response to today's treasonous events. Thank you.

QUEST: Describing them as hijacking criminals who have hijacked the democratic expression. The President of Kenya said that the violence of

today was a turning point and a grave threat to national security, which he would not allow and he would follow his constitutional mandate.

He said he would assure the security of the people and the -- secure the conversation with listening to his critics. But he was absolutely resolute

when he said that they would not allow the hijacking by criminals of the democratic expression. With me is still Larry Madowo in Nairobi.

And I would say, having heard various versions of that over the years from different leaders, that the moment they -- the violence gets this bad, they

have no choice other than to say, basically, law and order, the rule of law as he put it, all these various other aspects have to come first.

MADOWO: And that's exactly what he did, Richard. So, he's saying the government will spare no expense, all security agencies are on notice. But

what President Ruto did not say is about the finance bill that precipitated what we saw today, this violent, chaotic day.

He didn't say anything about the concerns of the young people that have been on the streets for two weeks straight now complaining about the high

cost of living and their fears about the extra burden if this finance bill and those recommendations go ahead.

Because President Ruto knows, Richard, that he has the majority in the National Assembly and the Senate, and he does want to push this through, he

can push it through anyway. Despite the fact that this is the scene in Nairobi today, one of Africa's most vibrant cities, one of Africa's largest

economies, this scene, this is the hijackers and the organized people he's saying took advantage of these organized -- of these legitimate protests to

vandalize --

QUEST: Right --

MADOWO: And to loot, and that led to the death that we saw throughout the day today, Richard.

QUEST: OK, but to his point, that these were criminals who hijacked legitimate expressions of democracy. From your understanding of who did the

violence, is he right? I mean, clearly, the majority of protesters were going about their democratic duties in a peaceful fashion. But were they

hijacked by those who were determined to make trouble regardless?

MADOWO: I think both of those things are true. I was here covering the protest last week, they were peaceful. They were peaceful today, many of

the protesters were armed only with banners and flags. Many of them were singing the national anthem. They were telling the police we're fighting

for your rights too, why are you shooting at us?

And yes, there were also deeply violent protesters that vandalized, that stole from shops all across the city here in Nairobi and other parts of the

country, that were -- pelted the police with stones. But also what's true is that the police did respond in a deeply violent, heavy-handed,

militarized way.

We saw police use live rounds outside parliament, shooting at protesters who were unarmed. We saw dead bodies lying on the floor outside parliament,

and these young men who were killed today, didn't have any arms on them. They had banners, they had flags. That's the complexity today.

QUEST: Larry, I'm grateful to you. Larry Madowo who is in Nairobi following the events. Thank you, sir.


Now, joining us from London, a Kenyan writer, political analyst Nanjala Nyabola. The -- if you will, the rubicon is being crossed with the level of

violence that took place today. The president really has no choice other than to restore law and order first. But he did say that the conversation

with the legitimate protesters would continue. Do you buy it?

NANJALA NYABOLA, KENYAN WRITER & POLITICAL ANALYST: No, and the reason I don't buy it is because the opportunities for conversation between the

government and citizens are embedded in our constitution. We have mechanisms for public participation. We have mechanisms for voting, we have

mechanisms for referendum. We have all of these mechanisms in place that were overlooked in the process of trying to make this bill happen.

The moment to have had these kinds of dialogue was in the public participation process that preceded to tabling this bill into parliament.

And the fact that all of these constitutional mechanisms have been trampled over --

QUEST: Right --

NYABOLA: In the pathway. Remember this bill was passed today in record time. We've never seen a law passed in this short period of time in

parliamentary history. And that signals the fact that this is not really a dialogue, it's a monologue that leaves citizens at a disadvantage.

QUEST: All right, but do you accept that there is no excuse for the sort of violence on both sides that we saw today?

NYABOLA: I think what you have is a situation whereby anger has been compounding over a long period of time. I don't read this as specifically

anger about the Finance Bill anymore, but it's an anger about being unheard. It's an anger about -- last week, there was peaceful protests and

there was a demand to slow-down the process.

And instead, what the legislature did is that they barricaded themselves behind these protests lines and responded with violence. So, I think it's

an element of -- what we needed right now was de-escalation. What we needed was a kind of conversation that says, let's take the temperature down a

little bit.

Let's account for the dead. Let's support the families that have been harmed. Instead, what we're seeing is a doubling-down on the security-

speech, and that's what gives me the --

QUEST: So, can the president in a sense make concessions? Can he offer -- do you see any way in which he could offer either an olive branch or

something to the protestors' demands without appearing weak and therefore undermining himself?

NYABOLA: I think the organ that actually has the power to do that right now is the legislature. I think the legislature does have the power to go

back to the drawing board and to say that, this bill doesn't come to us in a form in which we accept, and we're going to send it back to a second

reading and have a further discussion. The president could refuse to send the bill and ask people to go back to the drawing --

QUEST: Right --

NYABOLA: Board and come back to him with a better bill. That would be an olive branch that he could give to the protesters. But I think at this

point with the security-speech, what is going in the opposite direction, what we need right now is de-escalation. We need the temperature to calm

down --

QUEST: Right --

NYABOLA: A little bit, and it doesn't seem like the executive is prepared to do that.

QUEST: Nanjala, I'm grateful for you joining us, I appreciate it, thank you. The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he is off to a remote Pacific

island, which is one of the U.S. overseas territories. There he is expected to enter a guilty plea to a U.S. federal court. Once the case is disposed

off, he will fly onwards to his home country of Australia in freedom.

CNN's Clare Sebastian now explains. Assange is ending a legal ordeal that's lasted well more than a decade involving the very highest level of U.S.

classified documents.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Julian Assange, this is the final sprint in a more than decade long legal marathon, agreeing to

plead guilty to one U.S. felony charge in return for normal prison time.

STELLA ASSANGE, WIFE OF JULIAN ASSANGE: Throughout the years of Julian's imprisonment and persecution, an incredible movement has been formed. A

movement of people from all walks of life from around the world who support not just Julian -- and not just us and our family, but what Julian stands

for, truth and justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case has dragged on for too long --

SEBASTIAN: Assange is now expected to return home to his native Australia, where he began his career as a computer programmer and hacker before

founding WikiLeaks where he first grabbed headlines in 2010 by releasing highly classified information.


SEBASTIAN: First, a U.S. military video showing an apache helicopter mistakenly gunning down two journalists and several Iraqi civilians in

2007. Next was the release of tens of thousands of classified military documents related to the war in Afghanistan, revealing more previously

unreported civilian deaths.

Documents on the Iraq war followed, suggesting widespread abuse and torture by Iraqi security forces. Then the leak of cables from U.S. embassies and

diplomatic missions around the world. Assange claimed his mission was to shine a light on evidence of war crimes and abuse of power.


JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: And that's how people can really understand what is actually going on, and whether they choose not to

support them or not.

Spiegel, 17 pages.

SEBASTIAN: As the world watched for WikiLeaks' next move, in November 2010, Sweden opened an investigation into allegations of sexual assault

against Assange and issued an international arrest warrant for his extradition. Assange denied the allegations, claiming it was retribution

for his political work and orchestrated to pave the way for his extradition to the U.S. over the leaks.

He turned himself in to London police and was later released on strict bail conditions. Then in an unexpected twist, he entered the Ecuadorian Embassy

in London in 2012 and was granted political asylum. The start of a seven- year diplomatic row.

J. ASSANGE: The courageous black American nation took a stand for justice.

SEBASTIAN: Still Assange was able to reveal details that rocked the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.


SEBASTIAN: WikiLeaks published hacked e-mails from DNC staffers and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign. Over time, his

relationship with his host soured. Ecuador revoked his asylum in 2019, and London police arrested him on an extradition warrant from the U.S. Justice

Department to face a conspiracy charge.

Seventeen new counts under the Espionage Act followed, accusing Assange of publishing information that risks the lives of confidential U.S. sources

and endanger national security. The Swedish charges were dropped later that year, but Assange was sentenced to prison for violating his bail conditions

and spent five years fighting his extradition to the U.S., mostly isolated at Belmarsh high security prison.

Two years ago, he married his lawyer and mother of his two children, Stella Moris inside jail. His plea deal with the U.S. on a remote Pacific island,

a final twist in this tale, a recognition that he's paid his dues. Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


QUEST: Really, a prominent human rights lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson QC or KC is of course with me now. Geoffrey, you represented Julian Assange some

years ago --


QUEST: You must have been -- you must be pleased with his release, but do you think this was as -- it may not be the best of all arrangements, but it

was a nice deal that ended this rather horrible incident in case.

ROBERTSON: It was a humanitarian deal, and Assange should be grateful, I'm sure he is to Mr. Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister who went into

battle for him, the previous government hadn't lifted a finger, and to the American Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who is herself a human rights lawyer.

And of course, do gain his health, burger and others --

QUEST: Right --

ROBERTSON: In America, who have made his case. And there is -- it's a deal that both have antecedent because the --

QUEST: Right --

ROBERTSON: Australia had the only white man in Guantanamo and the government is again, wanted to get him back.


ROBERTSON: And the focus groups wanted it. And they did this deal, and it's a simple deal. You plead guilty to an offense which you're not guilty,

but you've done enough time to have it just to be free --

QUEST: You see, that's the -- that's the key to it --

ROBERTSON: And go back home on that --

QUEST: That's the key --


QUEST: To it, isn't it?

ROBERTSON: It's avoid --


QUEST: I mean, he served time in prison -- I'm so sorry, we have a poor connection --


QUEST: Geoffrey, he served time imprisonment --


QUEST: In a particularly nasty prison, and at the same time, essentially - -

ROBERTSON: With toads --

QUEST: You have 14 years of his life have been ruined. Will the Justice Department, do you think be feeling well, the price was right?

ROBERTSON: Well, they wanted to crush him. They wanted to deter whistleblowers. It's always been the Pentagon that's working and to see

more humanitarian instincts in those that are more attuned to free speech, which of course, America boast of, because the amendment makes it the

freest country in the world.

But the Trump lawyers decided that Australians were going to get the benefit of the First Amendment. And that affected British and other

journalists who write about American literary. So, it was an important speech case, but I think the Americans got cold feet this week because the

CIA --

QUEST: Right --

ROBERTSON: Intelligence service were --


QUEST: Right --

ROBERTSON: Intelligent enough to realize that Britain would have a new government next week, which could not rely upon as the Tory government

could to send him back if the courts decided. So, I think it was partly nervousness about the --

QUEST: Wow --

ROBERTSON: Labor government that's --

QUEST: All right --

ROBERTSON: Coming in, that probably made the deal was on this week.

QUEST: Good to have you, Geoffrey, we have a very poor line, so, I wasn't able to -- we could hear you, but I'm afraid I'll have to bring it to an

earlier close and otherwise. But the last point you just made about the U.K. election just shows us the complexity of this whole deal.

Geoffrey, I'm very grateful for you, sir, tonight. Thank you. This is ISA SOARES TONIGHT and I'll be back after this short break.


QUEST: And turn to CNN, some news just in. A New York judge is lifting parts of the gag order on Donald Trump ahead of the sentencing in his hush

money case. The ruling from Judge Juan Merchan comes two days before the first presidential debate here on CNN.

Brynn Gingras joins us now from New York. So, what's been lifted or how is the gag order been varied?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's only a little bit of roll back here when it comes to that gag order, Richard. So,

essentially, what the judge is saying is that Trump is now able to talk about the witnesses who took the stand, who testified in his trial.

Remember, this is something the former president railed against during his trial, particularly when it came to Michael Cohen. He said that the gag

order at the time was stifling his ability to campaign, that he couldn't respond to any attacks that were coming from people like Michael Cohen.

So, this does give Trump a little bit more leeway as certainly as he heads into that CNN debate two days from now. What it doesn't do is allow him to

continue or to ever right now talk about the prosecutors in this case, the court staff, their family members or mention any of the juror's names.

The judge essentially saying, look, the criminal proceedings, the trial, it's over, but there are still things to be done, i.e., the sentencing,

which is set for July 11th. The judge saying that he wants those people to still feel safe to do their jobs free from any threats, intimidation,

harassment and harm.


And of course, let's just remind viewers, Richard, what this gag order was. It was put in place back in April by this judge as he feared the Trump

would say something that could really just derail the entire criminal proceedings.

And we know during that trial, he violated it 10 times. At one point, the judge even threatening jail time. It's something that the Trump campaign

has, you know, fought against losing all the way to the highest court here in New York. They said even with this partial rollback, they're continuing

to fight it, essentially saying that it's unlawful and they want the gag order completely to be lifted. Richard.

QUEST: All right. Brynn Gingras, thank you. Thank you.


QUEST: Still to come, how are President Biden and Donald Trump preparing for the high stakes CNN Debate? In a moment.

And we continue to follow the situation in Kenya where protesters have stormed parliament.


QUEST: It's a stark contrast in styles as President Biden and Former President Trump are preparing for their historic CNN Debate on Thursday.

The current president is huddling with his top aides at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. He's been prepping there for several days

and there have been numerous mock debates.

President Trump -- Former President Trump says he's getting ready by answering questions, posting during interviews and by speaking at campaign

events. Kevin Liptack is with us.


I mean, all I remember from the actual debates last time was, you know, man, will you just be quiet and let someone speak?


QUEST: You know, and this constant barrage. Now, we know the rules are slightly different in terms of hot mics and where mics are going to be

switched on and off. But this difference of styles will resonate very much.

LIPTAK: Very much so. In fact, Donald Trump -- or Joe Biden actually told Donald Trump to shut up at the last debate. That's how sour it got. And I

think that's one of the big challenges for the Biden team as they're getting ready this time around is you don't always know what version of

Donald Trump is going to show up on the debate stage. Is it the pugilistic shouting, interrupting Donald Trump that we saw in the first debate last

time, or in the hope of some Trump advisers, is it a more restrained, more presidential version of Donald Trump who shows up down there in Atlanta?

And when you talk to Biden advisers, they are preparing for both of those opportunities in this extensive, almost week-long debate camp out on the

mountainside in Maryland. They want to be ready, essentially, for any version of Donald Trump that shows up on the debate stage.

QUEST: Now, you see -- so, accepting that, you know, the unalterable fact that we can't ignore is that both men are just around about 80, one's over

slightly, one's under slightly. So, they are old. And one of them does look older and sounds older, Joe Biden, however, sharp his acuity might be, he

does come across as an older candidate. That's going to be his handicap.

LIPTAK: Yes, and it's no secret why they're spending a week at Camp David preparing for this debate is because they know that any mental slip, any

verbal slip is only going to be amplified underneath those debate lights and they really cannot afford an underwhelming debate performance.

The Donald Trump camp has responded to this by claiming baselessly that Joe Biden is going to take drugs before this debate. Donald Trump said at a

rally in Philadelphia over the weekend that he's going to get a shot in the ass. Of course, none of this is true, but it does just tell you the

expectations that the Trump people are setting.

In a way, it's helpful for Joe Biden to go into this debate to be -- for Donald Trump's supporters to be prepared for him to be addled, that he

can't put two sentences together. But, I mean, it really does show you the stakes, I think, that they're laying out.

QUEST: Which do you think the Trump -- which version is the Biden team hoping shows up? And if you look at the Trump potential for bombastic

versus well argued, what do you think the public want to see? His public want to see red meat. I'm pretty sure about that. But that middle ground of

America wants something different potentially.

LIPTAK: Yes. And I think that if the Biden people had their way, they would have the bombastic Donald Trump on the debate stage. And they

remember from 2020, that didn't necessarily go over very well with a lot of independent voters who are very turned off by what was a performance that

they didn't view as presidential and only sort of encapsulated the chaos that many people associate with Donald Trump.

When you talk to the Biden team, they are thinking about ways to try and get under Donald Trump's skin to try and bring that version of him out a

little bit. They think that that will only benefit them by comparison if Joe Biden is able to put on sort of a presidential, more restrained


By the end of the day, Joe Biden has a temper as well. They think that if, you know, Donald Trump goes after his family, goes after some of these

things that are very personal, I think, that that could demonstrate some anger as well from the Biden side.

QUEST: And both men are around about 80. Thank you, sir.


QUEST: I'm grateful to you. CNN's Steve Contorno follows the Trump campaign. He's with us from Washington. I assume he's doing prep. I mean,

he may not be doing prep in that sort of traditional sense of having somebody play the other person and gaming it out, but one would assume he

is doing prep.

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely he is. And I know he spent a lot of time talking about how his approach to the last days before the debate

is so different from Joe Biden's, but he is meeting with his own advisers, and he is now at Mar-a-Lago where he will be, for the next few days where

they are, talking about the issues that they believe that they will have to be on the defensive about, January 6th, his criminal convictions, abortion,

but also, areas where they feel like they can make headwinds with voters, immigration, crime, inflation.

That's where his advisers want him to focus his energy toward. Those are the kitchen table issues that they feel like this election could be won.

But of course, it's Donald Trump and the version that shows up on Thursday night is anyone's guess.


QUEST: I mean, is he going to be rude about Joe Biden, do you think?

CONTORNO: Well, it's interesting. He asked his audience in Philadelphia on Saturday, should I be nasty or should I be nice? And of course, this is a

red meat crowd. So, he threw them a lot of red meat there.

But there was one person who shouted out, be presidential. And I think there is a large amount of Republican voters who are sick of the Donald

Trump that emerged after the 2016 election. You're seeing it in these primary contests in the United States where Nikki Haley received 20 percent

of the vote long after she dropped out of the race. Demonstrating that there is a lot of unease among Republican voters because how they remember

Donald Trump in. And the concern among Donald Trump's allies is that that person will remind voters why they turned against him in 2020.

QUEST: So, the other significant part about this debate, besides the it's mere happening, is it is the first substantial event since the conviction.

Since he is now a convicted felon, pending appeals, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We are still not fully clear, looking at the polls, the effect

that's having on the electorate. You can read it either way at the moment. It'll clarify, don't get me wrong, Steve, it will clarify. But at the

moment, we can't really, with confidence, say how that conviction is playing.

CONTORNO: That's correct. This race has been eventually stuck at a margin of error race long before Donald Trump was even named a nominee, going back

to last year, when it looked very apparent that he was the front runner in this race. That is a function of Joe Biden's lack of favorability right now

due to some of these headwinds he is facing, but also the long-term lack of favorability that Donald Trump has after four years in office and four

years in the public eye.

QUEST: Steve, grateful. Could've been a night and a half, I can tell you that. And you'll be there watching it and you're helping us understand.

Thank you, sir.

Two days to go. CNN, of course, it is the CNN Debate, and you can see it here. The live debate is at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, which is some god-awful time

in the middle of the night in Europe and later in Asia. But do not fret, there's replays that are in far more friendly times that you can enjoy here

on CNN.

Still to come, as you and I continue, Iran is preparing to vote in an election brought on by the death of President Raisi. A report from Tehran

in just a moment.


QUEST: Two high ranking Russian military officials now join President Putin and another president in having arrest warrants for alleged

international war crimes and crimes against humanity. The former Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the chief of general staff are accused

of directing attacks on civilians in Ukraine. According to state media, citing the Russian security council, the ICC decision is, in their words,



Formal negotiations are underway for Ukraine and Moldova to join the European Union. A landmark moment for the two former Soviet bloc countries

as they seek to distance themselves from Moscow. Both countries have Russian troops on their territory. In addition to Russia's ongoing

invasion, peacekeepers are also based in breakaway region of Eastern Moldova.

Iran's supreme leader is calling for maximum voter turnout in Friday's presidential election. There are six candidates vying to replace President

Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash last month. They were narrowed from a pool of more than 80 hopefuls following a screaming by the

country's hardline Guardian Council. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports on the candidates.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just over a month after Iran's President Ibrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were killed in a helicopter crash, Iranians are gearing up to elect a new head of government. Even celebrating the

important religious holiday Eid al-Ghadir, people here are constantly reminded the vote is imminent. Iran's supreme leader urging people to go to

the polls.

Every time there's low turnout in elections, the enemies of the Islamic Republic and the envious denounce the Islamic Republic, he said.

With the Middle East in turmoil and Iran recently close to an all-out war against the Islamic Republic, people here have many issues on their minds.

We will defend Gaza and Palestine through massive turnout in the election, this woman says, all people will take part in the election and we will

prove that the Islamic Republic of Iran has a word to say in the world.

We should all take part in this election, this man says, to have a good choice so the country will come out of this difficult situation.

I will not vote, this woman says. I want the country to be strong, but I have not seen much action on their part.

PLEITGEN: There are six candidates remaining in this presidential race, and their posters are plastered all across cities and towns around Iran.

People are also handing out leaflets like this one. Most of the candidates that are still in the race are conservatives, but there is also still one

moderate up for the vote.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Masoud Pezeshkian is a former health minister and heart surgeon by training. He calls for improving relations with countries

across the region.

Just the way we can talk to each other, we can also learn to talk to our neighbors and the rest of the world, he says. We cannot fight everyone. We

should not fight. We should not show aggression to others.

But Saeed Jalili, a conservative candidate and Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, ripped into moderates and the nuclear agreement they negotiated

with President Obama, but then President Trump walked away from.

The result was that at the end of eight years, they themselves even said that not just the enrichment, but the whole nuclear program stopped, and

not only did the economic situation of the country not succeed, but the economic growth became zero and negative.

As Iranians celebrate in the streets of Tehran, their eyes are set on the near future and who will govern the Islamic Republic in very challenging


Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.


QUEST: Still to come, the count is in for the Oscars of Aviation. Who is the airline of -- the best airline in the world at the -- this year's World

Airline Awards. In a moment.



QUEST: An update now. After a day of destruction and deadly violence in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, demonstrators flooded the streets earlier,

storming the nation's parliament. And Nairobi City Hall was also set on fire.

They were protesting against legislation to raise taxes, which is coming as much of the population is struggling with escalating costs of living

crisis. At least five people have been killed and dozens of people injured, according to rights groups.

Earlier, the Kenyan president, William Ruto, addressed the nation, calling for today's violence turning -- a turning point and promising that security

is his top priority.

In a separate development, a source tells CNN that a Kenyan police contingent has arrived in Haiti. At least 200 security personnel and around

12 high level Kenyan officials have reached Port-au-Prince. According to the source, a Kenyan led multinational force was requested by Haiti to deal

with out-of-control gang violence, leading to a breakdown of order. The U.N. authorized the force last year.

China says its lunar probe mission was a complete success. The uncrewed module returned to Earth hours ago, according to state media, and it

brought samples from the far side of the moon for the first time in history. Ivan Watson takes a look.



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Floating back down to earth, China's lunar module returning from a mission to the

furthest reaches of the moon, named after the Chinese moon goddess, the Chang'e-6 spacecraft lands safely in the deserts of China's Inner Mongolia,

and makes history.

BRAD TUCKER, ASTROPHYSICIST/COSMOLOGIST, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: So, the only country that's landed on the far side, that side facing away

from us, is China. So, the fact that they've landed now two missions on that side of the moon and one of which has actually returned stuff back to

earth, is a pretty big deal.

WATSON (voice-over): For Chinese leader Xi Jinping, this marks a giant leap towards what he calls his eternal dream, establishing China as a

dominant space power. The probe collected up to two kilos of dust and rocks, which could help scientists better understand the origins of the

solar system. Treasure drilled from the South Pole-Aitken basin, a 4- billion-year-old moon crater not visible from earth. To do this, China had to create a way to communicate with its robot on the other side of the


TUCKER: The China has built a series of satellites in orbit around the moon. You essentially are building a communication network for the moon.

WATSON (voice-over): Beijing's bigger plan is to put an astronaut on the moon by 2030 and later build a moon base. But China's race to space

sometimes gets messy. On Saturday, suspected debris from a separate Chinese rocket frightened villagers in southwestern China. Experts say this is the

booster of a Chinese Long March-2C rocket belching toxic smoke. And it's not the first time Chinese space debris landed dangerously close to

civilians. Beijing's main space rivals at NASA are closely watching.

BILL NELSON, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: China has made extraordinary strides, especially in the last 10 years. I think, in effect, we are in a race.

WATSON (voice-over): But unlike the Cold War version, today's space race has lots of players.

TUCKER: We've seen India land on the moon. We've seen Japan land on the moon. The UAE has sent a rover. Mexico had a rover on a private U.S.



WATSON (voice-over): A crowded competition with China confidently displaying its flag on the moon.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


QUEST: And the winner is Qatar Airways has done it again, awarded the number one spot in the World Airline Awards. It's the eighth time they've

won it. The awards were held in Paris. They're known as the Oscars of the airline industry. It's by Skytrax. Anyone who's an avgeek knows them.

After Qatar, it's Singapore. And the -- Singapore and Qatar go backwards and forwards. The top three, frankly, weren't that surprising. Which one --

you know, they go backwards and forwards between the three, as to who takes it, Qatar or Singapore.

However, there you've also got ANA, which is way up, JAL, Turkish Airlines, which was up on the year, and in Europe, you have Air France and Swiss at

the back end of the 10.

That's our report for tonight's program. Isa is off for the week. I'm afraid you've got me. Stay with CNN. "Newsroom with Jim Sciutto" is coming

up ahead and of "Quest Means Business" in an hour.