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One World with Zain Asher

CNN Covers The Third Criminal Indictment of Former President Donald Trump; Russia Steps Up Its Campaign To Cripple Ukraine's Grain Exports; First Flights Evacuating E.U. Citizens Out Of Niger Land In Europe; Trump Appears In Court On Thursday For January 6 Indictment; Three Former Dancers For Lizzo Claim Pop Star Is Different Behind The Scenes. Aired 12:20-1p ET

Aired August 02, 2023 - 12:20   ET





ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone, I'm Zain Asher from New York and this is One World. You've been watching our extensive coverage of

an unprecedented moment in American history, the third criminal indictment of a former U.S. president. Donald Trump is set to appear before a federal

judge in Washington, D.C., Thursday, charged in connection with trying to overturn the 2020 election. The special counsel leading the investigation

called the January 6th Capitol insurrection an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy fueled by lies.

Trump's lawyer, meanwhile, made the rounds on TV shortly after the charges were announced and claimed they were an attack on free speech.


JOHN LAURO, DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Donald Trump had every right to advocate for his position. While he was president, he saw irregularities,

he saw deficiencies. This is the first time that, in the history of the United States, that the Justice Department has weaponized and politicized

political speech. They want to go to trial so that -- so that, instead of debating the issues against Joe Biden, that President Trump is sitting in a



ASHER: We'll have much more coverage on Trump's latest indictment this hour, but first let's take a look at the international headlines we are

covering. Russia is stepping up its campaign to cripple Ukraine's grain exports. Russian drones targeted Ukraine's main port on the Danube River,

damaging silos and warehouses with grain that was supposed to be shipped to Africa, China and Israel. The Danube port is one of the only ways Ukraine

can export grain, since Russia dropped out of a deal that was allowing grain ships to safely travel through the Black Sea.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday about restoring that grain deal. Putin told the Turkish

leader that Russia will not budge until the West takes steps to allow more Russian grain and fertilizer to be sold. And diplomats seem hopeful that

the grain deal can actually be restored.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We have seen indications that they might be interested in returning to discussions. So,

we will wait to see whether that actually happens.


ASHER: Ukraine claims its offensive is starting to pay dividends, driving Russian forces back in the South and East, especially around the city of

Bakhmut. A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Armed Forces says Russia is mostly on the defensive right now.

Behind every inch of ground gained or lost, there are soldiers fighting and dying. Here are two very different soldier stories from this front line.

One of a Ukrainian saved and another of a Russian left for dead. Our Nick Paton Walsh has more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): It is usually only the dead lying here in the craters of Ukraine's southern

front, but sometimes a glint of life shines. This drone, spotting a Ukrainian soldier, Serhiy, separated from his unit. Wounded in the chest

and leg by shelling, he filmed this as he lay alone, bleeding. He feared whatever fight to live he put up would not be enough, he later told CNN

from his hospital bed.

SERHIY, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (through translator): I was ready to fight for my life, and I did, even lying there under the blazing sun. I realized I was

too close to the Russians, and you even start to look at your gun in a different way.

WALSH (voice-over): But the drone operators had other plans. They attached water, medicine and a note to the drone and sent it back.


It found him again and dropped the package. But he didn't know if it was friendly or Russian bomb.

SERHIY (through translator): All the time I was crawling, a drone was always hovering above. We didn't realize if it was friend or foe. It was a


WALSH (voice-over): This is the moment he realizes the drone may save him. The water and medicine kept coming, easing the pain that was visible, even

from up high. And then he crawled back to safety.

SERHIY (through translator): The combat medics who gave me first aid when they found me were very surprised I survived for two days with a pierced


WALSH (voice-over): Serhiy is recovering and talks now of a new life with greater value and purpose. They don't want to leave anyone behind, said the

drone operator.

EUGENE, DRONE PILOT, 15TH NATIONAL GUARD BRIGADE (through translator): Every life is important to us. I could not live with myself if we just left

someone behind in the field.

WALSH (voice-over): Probably only several miles away, salvation was uglier. Here is a Ukrainian assault by the 15th National Guard on a Russian

position. It is ferocious and eventually forced a dozen Russian troops to pull back. Artillery had injured the Russian commander badly and the

Russians left him behind, presuming he was dead.

But this video supplied by Ukrainian forces shows they found him alive. And he received medical treatment. We're not naming him for his safety, but he

was later awarded a posthumous medal, according to Russian media reports, left behind and declared dead by his comrades. The Ukrainians who found him

say he may have wished he didn't survive.

We said, don't try anything or you'll die, he says. And he asked us to shoot him. And we offered him a chance to do it himself, but he said he

could not do that. He's an enemy and I had no real desire to save him, but orders are orders and they have our guys and we can swap prisoners.

As a human, another says, I was shocked that they had left him behind. But as a soldier, I know my enemy and I know it's not an uncommon practice for

them. The opposite fates on different sides in these wide, ugly expanses of violence.


ASHER: The first flights evacuating E.U. citizens out of Niger have landed in Europe. As a number of countries rush to get their nationals out,

they're not waiting to see what comes next as Niger's neighbors in the region strike different tones in response to the coup. Meantime, a

Nigerian-led delegation from ECOWAS, a bloc of West African nations, is in Niger to negotiate. The bloc has been clear in its intention to restore

President Bazoum to power, but they face-down pushback from some of Niger's neighbors.

Joining us live now to discuss the situation is a man who's very familiar with the politics of Niger, America's Former Ambassador to Niger, Eric

Whitaker. Ambassador Whitaker, thank you so much for being with us. So, we know that defense chiefs from ECOWAS are negotiating right now, discussing,

meeting to discuss the situation in Niger.

We had heard a few days ago that ECOWAS was putting out there the possibility of the use of military force. At this point, do you think the

coup is essentially a done deal? Or how likely do you think it is at this point, a week since President Bazoum was ousted? How likely do you think it

is that Bazoum can be reinstated at this point?

ERIC WHITAKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NIGER: I think it remains a possibility, and we have to assume that all options remain open. It's still

relatively early in the process, particularly in a West African time perspective. I would refer to it as a detention of President Bazoum Mohamed

and his associates and an intervention by the presidential guard. How deep this runs is an open question. I would suspect that many in the military,

the armed forces, the gendarmerie, the National Guard, the National Police may have very different views from that of the Presidential Guard.

So, I don't think we should make too many assumptions just yet. And it's pleasantly remarkable that ECOWAS, the African Union, the neighbors of

Niger, and others have been very quick to step in and condemn this intervention and quick to bring leaders into country to negotiate so that

it can be resolved before it becomes too long in the process.


So, I remain optimistic that there's a potential that Bazoum Mohamed could be reinstalled.

ASHER: But what is the right strategy to bring about his reinstatement? You know, with ECOWAS threatening the use of military force, you have countries

like Mali, like Burkina Faso, saying, hey, wait a second. If ECOWAS doesn't respect the sovereignty of Niger, we will side with the Nigerian military

junta. What is the right strategy to go about this, do you think?

WHITAKER: Well, I've served in both Chad and Mali, in addition to serving in Niger, two times. I have spent over a decade in the Sahel. The stridency

of the remarks by Mali and Burkina Faso are most troubling. And one wonders where those strident remarks, that rhetoric comes from. Those countries

were members of ECOWAS. They self-isolated themselves by the choices they made.

So, their opinions have come across as something a bit strange. Other countries in the region, Chad, Nigeria, and others are saying way too many

coups. And several times over the past decade, the countries in Iqbal have said, that's enough, no more coups. We will set sanctions. We will close

borders. We will limit air traffic. We will cut off utilities. We might raise a peacekeeping force or a force who has reestablished peace.

We can't keep having coups. It pulls the entire region down. It cuts foreign direct investment. It cuts trade. It is negative every way when one

looks at it. So, I think they're standing up and saying, no more coups, we really do mean it.

ASHER: You know, what's interesting is that if you look across the Sahel, especially in the sort of former French colonies, there's three things that

a lot of these countries have in common, obviously the Islamic insurgency that's taking place in a lot of these countries, the fact that a lot of

them have been beset by military coups, but also there is this real sort of growing anti-Western sentiment.

And it is, I would say, mostly geared towards France because of France's former colonial relationship with these countries and sort of continued

security and economic relationship with them to the present day, but a lot of these countries are saying, look, we are tired of Western countries

meddling in our affairs, particularly France. I mean, the anti-French sentiment in these countries is very high right now.

Based on all of that and how the mood has changed over recent years, how will the U.S. sort of rethink its security relationship and its financial

relationship, actually, with some of these countries in the cell?

WHITAKER: Well, it's important to note that our aid is at stake. We wait for the situation to be resolved, and we hold every hope that a negotiated

solution may be found, particularly an African solution to an African problem. We have a USAID program that's very large, which reestablished its

mission three years ago. We have a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact that's over $437 million agricultural productivity.

Yes, we have security assistance designed to help Niger fight terrorism, to fight trafficking in all of its forms, trafficking in persons, arms and

ammunition, drugs. We're working in several respects to help Niger to make progress as our like-minded partners, which include the French. Of course,

for our former colonial problem, it's always problematic relationship. I know the same from serving in the Philippines, in the Peace Corps, that it

was a very strained relationship because it's a former colony of the United States. That relationship will ever be tense due to that past history.

But Spain, Italy, Germany, the E.U., the Brits, our other friends, like- minded partners in Europe and others, the U.N. agencies, NGOs, Niger has many friends who are accompanying it as it moves along the democratic path.

And it was consolidating its democracy.

So, to see this step backwards and to see this disinformation from outside countries, which again is so strident and the sudden appearance of so many

Russian flags in a country that doesn't even have a Russian embassy, that gives one pause.

ASHER: Yeah, I mean, it is suspicious. I mean, a lot of people are saying, look, there's no clear evidence that the Wagner group at all was involved

in this particular insurgency or this particular coup. But there are some suspicions. Ambassador, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much. We

appreciate it.

All right. Still to come here on One World, a moment like no other in American history. I'll speak with John Dean. That's Richard Nixon's former

White House Counsel following Donald Trump's third criminal indictment. That's next.




ASHER: Hello and welcome back to One World. I'm Zain Asher. It's a case that could undermine the rule of law in America and call into question the

future of U.S. democracy itself. Donald Trump is set to appear in federal court tomorrow, charged with plotting to overturn the 2020 election, and

then repeatedly and knowingly lying about the results. It's the former president's third indictment in four months, and it might not actually be

his last, but it still marks an extraordinary moment in American history.

A former president accused of using his authority in an attempt to cling to power and subvert the will of the voters. Trump's re-election campaign

responded to the charges by comparing his latest criminal indictment to Nazi persecution. But no matter the outcome of this unprecedented trial,

some warn the damage has already been done. Here's how one retired conservative federal judge described it. He said, "Never again will the

world be inspired by America's democracy in the way that it has been inspired since America's founding almost 250 years ago."

Time now for The Exchange and my conversation with CNN Contributor John Dean, who also, by the way, served as White House Counsel for Former U.S.

President Richard Nixon.


Mr. Dean, welcome. I think my first question to you as former White House Counsel yourself is really about the defense strategy in all of this. We've

seen Mr. Lauro, one of Trump's attorneys, come out on TV basically saying that, look, what this indictment proves is that the special counsel is

against free speech and that, you know, what if possibly, Donald Trump genuinely believed, we have to ask ourselves, this is his words, what if

Donald Trump genuinely believed that the election was indeed stolen. What do you make of that line of defense?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think there's two parts to your question. First is the freedom of speech issue. That's what exactly the

special counsel addressed in the way he drafted the indictment. It really avoids that issue as a legal issue. While they can claim that politically,

it's not going to work in court. This indictment is very carefully -- avoids really head on First Amendment issues.

So, as to his defense that Nixon, or that Trump actually believed that he had lost the election, I think he's got a very rough road to do. There's

enough sprinkled throughout the indictment again, showing that Trump didn't really believe that he had won. That I think that will be obviously a jury

question. And I think that Trump's gonna have a tough sell trying to show that he had really serious doubts.

ASHER: Yeah, I mean, he said to Mike Pence, listen, you're too honest. So, that obviously tells you something. What do you make of the fact that the

co-conspirators were not technically named, although we could sort of glean from the details that who they were. They weren't named and they weren't

indicted as of yet. What do you make of that strategy by the special counsel?

DEAN: Well, we can pretty well figure out co-conspirators one through five. Number six is the one that has me scratching my head who just listed as a

political consultant. That could be a host of people, so we don't know that when the other ones are pretty clear. And I think that what the special

counsel has done here is shot right across their bow to tell them, listen, this is coming. You either cooperate or you're next. You're going to get an

indictment because just the sprinkling of evidence that he uses in the Trump indictment is enough to tell them they've got serious problems.

So, I think it's an effort to get cooperation. Whether that will work or not is hard to know. Probably not with some of them. Maybe with others they

will get some cooperation. So, that's the next issue that will surface in this case is whether or not they're indicted.

ASHER: And whether or not they cooperate, as you point out. Let's go back to August 1974, you know, post-Watergate. Nixon had lost the support of the

House and the Senate, and he ended up resigning. You know, such a different political climate in America back then, because you had this president who

sort of had done and was accused of doing something pretty shameful, and the country and his former allies turned on him, he resigned in shame.

This time around, we're on Donald Trump's third criminal indictment, two federal indictments, by the way. And as a result of all of this, his

popularity only seems to be growing. In fact, he's raising even more money. There was a recent poll that showed that Donald Trump still has over 50

percent support within the Republican Party. I mean, the second person doesn't come anywhere close to him at this point. I mean, what do you make

of how much things have changed compared to 50 years ago?

DEAN: What's happened is that the authoritarian streak within the Republican Party has now become the tail that's wagging the dog, if you

will. They are dominant. They are the base of the party. They are the activists. And they're very attracted to Donald Trump. They're not people

who are likely to ever read this indictment. They're not even likely to read newspaper coverage of it. A few of them will, but the overwhelming

majority are not. They're people who want to be told what to think, they want to admire this man and follow him.

And that's what they're going to do. And it's almost a cult-like belief in his doing no wrong. So, they don't really want the facts. And they'll stay

with him till the bitter end. As he once said, he thought he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and they'd still vote for him. That's probably



And they'll send money to him as well, it appears.

ASHER: Yeah, I mean, it's interesting. I think, also part of the -- one of the reasons why Donald Trump is so popular is because he has never sort of

built his brand the same way that former politicians of old built their brands in terms of, you know, being sort of honest and upright, et cetera

because he never built his brand around all of that. He seems to be much more likely to get away with what he's getting away with, politically


What are the chances of him actually going to trial for some of these indictments before the 2024 election? I mean, how does the timing work? I

mean, obviously we have some of them scheduled already for early in the year, but how does it work with three potential trials happening before the


DEAN: We've had some indication that, for example, the State D.A. Bragg has indicated he was willing to change his schedule to accommodate federal

cases. The case that was filed yesterday, the indictment that we're talking about today, is a big case. It's one of the most important cases of my

lifetime. I think that the others will yield and let this case go forward and not try to compete with it. And it will become the principal case that

will go forward.

And I think the judge that is in-charge of this case in the District of Columbia -- she's very able. She's a former public defender. She'll watch

his rights and protect his rights, but she'll also make it a rocket docket, if you will, where they'll get this one through.

And I think that's what the special counsel is counting on, and that's what the American public really needs -- is somebody who will push this case

forward and get it tried and get a jury verdict one way or the other. And I think there's no doubt in my mind what's going to happen on this one before

the election.

ASHER: All right. We'll see what happens. Also awaiting just in terms of an indictment from Georgia, as well. So, that's looming over our heads, too.

We'll see what happens with that. Mr. Dean, always a pleasure. Thank you so much for coming on the program. We'll be right back with more.



ASHER: Pop Star Lizzo is known for her body, positive outlook, and confident message of self-love.


ASHER: The three dancers who used to work for her say that she's very different behind the scenes. The dancers have sued Lizzo, claiming that she

created a hostile work environment full of sexual, religious, and racial harassment. Surprisingly, one of the accusations is that Lizzo seemed to

discriminate against black dancers and dancers who had gained too much weight.


That is what they're saying. CNN's Senior Entertainment Writer Lisa Respers France is tracking this story for us. So, these are pretty serious

allegations against Lizzo and her dance captain, as well. The idea being that she created a very unsafe space for a lot of people who work for her.

Walk us through that Lisa.

LISA RESPERS FRANCE, CNN SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER: Yes, absolutely. Three of the women have come forward to say that Lizzo allowed a very

highly sexually charged atmosphere, but also that they felt harassed and discriminated against as plus size women and as plus size black women. Two

of the women people may know from the reality show "Watch Out for the Big Grrrls" in 2021 on Amazon where Lizzo was seeking plus size women to be

dancers for her.

So, you know, it's come as a shock to a lot of fans in particular because Lizzo is so well-known and has literally gone on social media to cry and

vent about how she feels like she's been treated as a plus-size black woman. So, these allegations have been shocking, to say the least.

ASHER: All right. We'll keep an eye on what happens, because there has indeed been some fallout in terms of people who we thought were supporting

her, who now may not be, but Lisa, we do have to leave it there. We'll be right back with more.



ASHER: Before we go, a couple of headlines for you. A United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has come to an end. More than 400 Egyptian

peacemakers have, peacekeepers rather, excuse me, have withdrawn from the West African country. The withdrawal comes at the request of the ruling

junta who came to power following a coup d etat in 2021. Peacekeepers from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Bangladesh will follow suit and

leave Mali in the coming days.

And in Nigeria, a nationwide strike called by the country's labor unions got off to a slow start. Most businesses stayed open as a few hundred

demonstrators marched through several cities, protesting the end of a popular petrol subsidy and demanding higher wages, as well.

Since taking office two months ago, President Bola Tinubu has embarked on some of the boldest reforms Nigeria has seen. While the reforms are

welcomed by investors, unions say they are further hurting the people who are dealing with the highest inflation in nearly two decades.


And a historic supplement that writes a 70-year-old wrong. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was receiving treatment for cervical cancer when her doctor

some of her cells without permission. While most cells die after being removed from the body, Lacks' cells somehow thrived. The first cells ever

to reproduce on their own. They've become a profitable cornerstone of modern medicine, used to help develop polio and COVID vaccines, AIDS

research, and cancer treatments, too. But Henrietta Lacks was never compensated for her contribution to all that research. Until now, on

Tuesday, her relatives reached a settlement with a biotech company that owns the cells.


ALFRED LACKS-CARTER, JR., GRANDSON: My grandmother gave the world a gift 70 years ago, and we're here today to give her a gift of justice.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHT ATTORNEY: It's not a very difficult act when you think of the massive amounts of wealth.


ASHER: The size of the supplement was not made public. It was announced on what would have been Henrietta Lacks's 103rd birthday. All right. Thank you

so much for watching One World. I'm Zain Asher. Amanpour is up next. You're watching CNN.