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One World with Zain Asher

Ukraine Got The World In Their Back; Russia Must Pay The Price For Its Actions; Michael Cohen Testifies For Trump's Hush Money Trial; Russian Bill Angered Georgians. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired May 14, 2024 - 12:00   ET



ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Ukraine to win, and we're committed to helping you do it. In the immediate term, the United States

and dozens of other countries will get Ukraine the assistance that you need, and we'll get it to you quickly.

We're going to help you hold off Russia's attacks, make it harder for them to strike you, and keep the Black Sea open so you can keep growing your

economy and keep helping to feed the world.

We know that time is of the essence. That's why, just one minute after Congress approved our massive aid package, President Biden sent ammunition,

armored vehicles, missiles, and air defenses to Ukraine. Much more will be delivered to the battlefield in the coming days.

Other partners are also speeding up delivery of vital military assistance. Poland continues to facilitate the transfer of nearly all of the aid that's

flowing into Ukraine, including hefty contributions of its own. The Czech government is leading a year-wide effort to purchase half a million

artillery shells.

The U.K. recently announced a robust, multi-year military aid package. Australia committed new support for air defense. A truly global coalition

is behind you, made up of countries that see your security and, in turn, European security as a core security interest of their own.

Countries determined to defend the principles at the heart of the United Nations Charter - sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence -

countries that know that allowing Putin to redraw borders by force will embolden would-be aggressors everywhere.

As Japan's Prime Minister Kishida said when addressing the U.S. Congress, the Ukraine of today may be the East Asia of tomorrow. Through the Defense

Contact Group, which we set up shortly after Putin's invasion and is led by Secretary of Defense Austin, more than 50 countries are working hand-in-

hand with Ukraine's military to identify and fill urgent needs.

We've developed capability coalitions - groups of allies and partners who are addressing needs crucial to Ukraine's defense. Denmark, the

Netherlands, and the U.S. are leading the coalition on air force. Estonia and Luxembourg on information technology. Norway and the U.K. on maritime


These coalitions are pumping more support into Ukraine right now. As we help meet your immediate needs, we're also working together to help Ukraine

build its future force.

Our goal is to lay a foundation so strong that it dispels any doubts about Ukraine's ability to impose punishing costs on those who try to take its

territory. As President Zelenskyy recently said, we're creating the security architecture that Ukraine has never had, but has always needed.

We're bringing Ukraine closer to and then into NATO.

We'll make sure that Ukraine's bridge to NATO is strong and well-lit. At the last NATO summit in Vilnius, allies agreed that Ukraine won't have to

complete a membership action plan before being invited to join, shortening its on-ramp to the alliance.

We launched the NATO-Ukraine Council, elevating our cooperation and joint decision-making to the most intensive level NATO has to offer.

Ukraine is much more than a recipient of advice and assistance. Your warriors are confronting the greatest threat to transatlantic security

since the end of the Cold War, and have as much experience as any on Earth in fighting the wars to come. You have a lot to teach the alliance, and

NATO will be more secure with your military by our side.

When we hold the Washington summit in July, we'll take tangible steps to increase NATO's role in building a resilient, capable Ukrainian force,

supporting its ongoing reforms, better integrating Ukraine into the alliance.

And Ukraine's bridge to NATO will be bolstered by a series of mutually- reinforcing bilateral security agreements. We now have 32 countries who are negotiating these agreements with Ukraine, nine of which have already been


These agreements send a clear message that Ukraine can count on its partners for sustainable, long-term support. That's not a matter to be

debated from one year to the next. Nor is it a commitment by any one country.

It's guaranteed by a broad and powerful network of nations for the next decade.

Under our own 10-year agreement, the United States will support Ukraine's defense and security across a range of essential capabilities, from its air

force to its air defense, from drones to demining. If Russia or anyone else were to attack Ukraine, we will work with Ukraine immediately, at the

highest levels, to coordinate how to help you beat back the threat.


Our bilateral security agreement will accelerate our joint efforts to build and build up Ukraine's defense industrial base so that you can produce

artillery, ammunition, air defenses, and other crucial weapons you need here in Ukraine.

Ukraine's innovation and resourcefulness has been central to its success on the battlefield, figuring out how to use old Soviet launchers to fire U.S.

and other allied air defense missiles, manufacturing new kinds of air and naval drones that can effectively evade detection.

That same spirit has driven the growth of Ukraine's burgeoning defense industry, which counts more than 500 companies and hundreds of thousands of

skilled employees. The key now is to ramp up production without losing that spirit of experimentation and adaptation that has fostered so many amazing


That will also help Ukraine's businesses attract more private investments to scale up and increase Ukraine's potential to become a defense exporter

in weapons and in training.

The U.S. has provided concrete support to build that industry. In December, we convened some 350 government industry representatives from the United

States and Europe to deepen defense industrial cooperation with Ukraine. We created what we call a deal team with representatives from our departments

of state, defense, and commerce to help U.S. defense companies navigate the regulatory hurdles of investing in Ukraine's industry.

American companies have already reached several major agreements to produce munitions in and for Ukraine. And more are in the works. All of these

measures Ukraine's increased integration with and support from NATO, a growing network of security agreements with individual countries, a booming

defense industrial base, all of these will ensure that the moment conditions are met and Allies agree, Ukraine's invitation and accession to

the alliance will be swift and smooth.

These measures will also ensure that if Russia is ever serious about negotiating a truly just and lasting peace with Ukraine, your military

prowess will be formidable, your hands strong, your path to Europe and NATO secure.

Second, we will ensure that Ukraine's economy not only survives, but thrives. Ever since Putin failed to conquer Ukraine, he's been trying to

lay waste to its economy. What he can't have, he wants to destroy.

And yet, just as Ukrainians have courageously held their ground on the battlefield, Ukrainian workers, entrepreneurs, business owners have kept

the economy running. From the farmers retrofitting tractors with artificial intelligence to sweep fields for landmines, to the workers repairing power

stations to keep the lights and heat on, Ukrainians' grit and ingenuity are fueling the economy. And they're the root of Ukraine's extraordinary

potential for the future.

In 2023, despite living with nearly a fifth of the country occupied by Russian forces, and with your cities and industries under relentless

bombardment, Ukraine's GDP grew by 5 percent. Private investment increased by 17 percent. State revenue rose by 25 percent.

In 2023, 37,000 new businesses registered in Ukraine, more than in the year leading up to the Russian invasion. Over the last six months, Ukraine's

steel factories have doubled their output. In April alone, Ukraine exported more than 13 million tons of goods by road, by rail, by sea, exceeding pre-

war levels.

Yet, as Ukrainians know so well, this economic dynamism hangs on our ability to provide security. Patriots and other sophisticated air defenses

they do more than protect soldiers and save civilian lives. They create umbrellas of safety, under which Ukrainian workers and entrepreneurs can

adapt, innovate, build, and attract more foreign investment.

That's why we're working relentlessly with allies and partners to procure more air defense, and to do it fast. And just as security enables

prosperity, prosperity enhances security. A more robust economy means that Ukraine can put more revenue into building and hardening your defenses.

Ukraine's economic renewal will also encourage a speedier return of refugees and internally displaced people, the vast majority of whom want to

go home. Bringing with them skills and resources, that will be a boon for Ukraine's economy.


Together, Ukraine's partners have contributed $85 billion in economic and development aid, providing a lifeline to Ukraine's government at a time

when beating back Putin's invasion has forced the government to invest almost all of its revenue in self-defense.

That assistance means that first responders can charge into residential buildings to pull people from the rubble of Russian strikes. It means that

doctors and nurses can care for wounded civilians and soldiers. It means that teachers can educate Ukraine's rising generations the future of the


Now, for every dollar that the United States has put toward economic and development assistance for Ukraine, other donors have invested three more.

Japan and Korea are supplying generators and gas turbines to rebuild Ukraine's energy grid. Italy, Latvia are helping address the massive

humanitarian and environmental costs of Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka Dam.

Norway is helping rebuild schools, hospitals, other essential services. I could go on. We talk a lot about burden-sharing. This is exactly what it

looks like.

At the same time as we help Ukraine meet these immediate needs, we're again laying the foundation for Ukraine's long-term success through its full

economic integration into Europe and the West. The G7 is leading other countries, international financial institutions, the private sector, and

foundations in boosting the number, the scale, the speed of transformative projects in rails, roads, ports, energy, digital, among other areas - not

after the war ends, but right now.

These projects will foster growth and increase revenues that allow Ukraine to shoulder more of its military costs. And as Ukraine prospers, we all

stand to benefit from the goods and services it will provide and the innovations you will produce. And yet, for all the resources our government

and others will invest in Ukraine's infrastructure, in its innovation, in its people, Ukraine's economic transformation will ultimately be driven by

the private sector.

So, we're accelerating our efforts to help Ukraine attract more private investment, especially toward dynamic industries like technology, like

energy, like agriculture, like defense. As more countries stop doing business with Russia, Ukraine is uniquely positioned to seize the

opportunities that Putin has squandered.

We're helping to lower the cost of doing business in Ukraine. Thanks to the provision of war risk insurance, more grain is being exported through the

Black Sea today than before the war. In Ukraine's breadbasket is once again feeding the world. Now we're working with providers to expand war risk

insurance to other areas, like road and rail cargo.

We're putting the U.S. government backing on the table to shoulder part of the risk. That's the strongest signal that we can send that companies can

do business safely and profitably in Ukraine.

Now, they don't need to take our word for it. Nine of ten American businesses in Ukraine are running at the same or higher capacity than they

were before Putin's full invasion. But for all the steps that we can take, the most powerful lever to draw more companies to Ukraine, more investment

to Ukraine, lies in your hands and lies with reform.

Ask any company in the United States, in Europe, in Asia, what they're looking for when considering doing business in Ukraine. You'll hear pretty

much the same thing from all of them. A strong and predictable regulatory environment. Open and fair competition. Transparency. The rule of law.

Effective anti-corruption measures.

In fact, the list includes many of the same reforms that Ukraine will need to make to get into the European Union. The Ukrainian people, they're also

demanding these changes. Ninety percent of Ukrainians want to fast-track economic reforms so that their country can more swiftly move into the

European Union.

The Ukrainian government has taken important steps to combat monopolies, to strengthen anti-money laundering tools, to liberalize its energy market.

But more remains to be done. E.U. membership will be a windfall for Ukraine and for the E.U., enabling the free movement of goods, capital, services,

workers, and people to mutual benefit.


Ukraine will get full access to one of the most dynamic single markets in the world. Hundreds of millions more consumers for key exports like grain,

steel, eventually clean energy, and greater access to the financing it needs to rebuild and further power innovation. For its part, the European

Union will benefit from one of the region's most dynamic, skilled, and resilient economies.

And Europe will have a stronger footing in the fields that will drive the 21st century economy, like advanced I.T. and A.I., where Ukraine has

emerged already as a leader. Now, there's one more crucial step that we can take. Making Russia pay for Ukraine's recovery and reconstruction. What

Putin destroyed, Russia should and must pay to rebuild. It's what international law demands. It's what the Ukrainian people deserve.

Our Congress has given us the power to seize Russian assets in the United States. We intend to use it. We're working with our G7 partners to see that

Russia's immobilized sovereign assets are used to remedy the damage that Putin continues to cause.

The G7 can unlock billions of dollars and send a powerful message to Putin that time is not on his side. Finally, we will help the Ukrainian people

fully realize their democratic aspirations. For more than three decades, the Ukrainian people have been defending their right to choose the path to

democracy, to Europe, to the West.

That's the path that millions of Ukrainians from every region of the country voted for in 1991. It's what Ukrainians came to the Maidan to

defend in 2004, and then again in 2014. And it's why you fought back so tenaciously against Putin's full-scale invasion.

Your determination to write the future of your nation is why so many people around the world have been inspired by your fight, including so many

Americans who now hang the yellow and blue flag next to the stars and stripes. And that's why it's so important that Ukraine keeps taking the

difficult steps to strengthen and consolidate your democracy. Because the choices that you make, the kind of democracy that you build, will determine

the strength and the staying power of the coalition by Ukraine's side.

That means not just passing reforms, but making sure they're implemented and having a tangible impact on people's lives. It means rooting out the

scourge of corruption once and for all. Winning on the battlefield will prevent Ukraine from becoming part of Russia. Winning the war against

corruption will keep Ukraine from becoming like Russia.

Ukraine's security is eroded if the resources for its military are siphoned off by individuals looking to enrich themselves. Ukraine's economic

potential is undercut if investors and innovators cannot count on a level playing field.

Ukraine's democracy is weakened if citizens stop believing that they can hold their government accountable and fix the flaws in their system from

within. No wonder Putin sought to weaponize corruption in Ukraine. He knows how powerful corruption can be in sowing division and distrust, undermining

faith in government and its institutions. After all, he's been fine-tuning these tactics at home for nearly 25 years.

Ukrainians have been battling corruption for decades, and you have results to show for it. Ukraine is one of the few countries whose rating has been

consistently rising in Transparency International's ranks over recent years, in no small part thanks to its incredibly tenacious and skilled

anti-corruption activists, NGOs, independent media.

But more work remains to be done. Eight in ten Ukrainians still believe that there's one set of law for the elites and another for everyone else.

And entrenched interests are doing their best to stymie every reform. Ukraine's defenses against corruption have to be just as strong as its

military defenses. And we know what those defenses are. An independent judiciary. A free press.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right, you've just been listening to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking at a Polytechnic

University in Kyiv. This is important because this really is the first visit by a senior American official ever since Congress passed that long-

delayed $61 billion aid package to Ukraine.

Biden acted very quickly after that aid package was passed, sending munitions, missiles, air defense systems. And Blinken basically said,

listen, some of them have actually already arrived in Ukraine. We know that more is on the way.


But this really has been a very challenging time for Ukraine ever since that counter-offensive faltered. Ukraine really has been on the back foot.

Russia taking advantage of the gaps in funding. And we've been talking about the ground incursion. We're seeing it in

Kharkiv right now.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Yes, around the Kharkiv region, Russia taking on about 10 villages in that embattled area in the north-

eastern part of the country.

This is the Secretary of State's first visit in quite a while. Obviously, we've been covering the time he spent and the focus on the Israel-Hamas war

in Gaza. But as you noted, this surprise visit coming as that $60 billion supplemental was finally passed by Congress just a few weeks ago, the

armaments already making their way into Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy, saying they need those weapons as soon as possible, specifically Patriot defense systems in that north-eastern region of the

country. Kharkiv, we should note, is the country's second-largest city.

Let's bring in Kylie Atwood at the State Department, who's been following the Secretary's visit.

Kylie, an impassioned speech, once again reminding Ukrainians of U.S. support, and not just U.S. support, but that of a multinational coalition

that has, in addition to the U.S. $60 billion supplemental, that had been preceded by $50 billion worth of aid from the E.U. as well, and more, the

Secretary said, will be on its way as long as Ukraine needs it. What else stood out to you from what we heard from him?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think just piggybacking off of that assistance that has finally gotten cleared through Washington,

through Congress, and made its way to Ukraine, the Secretary acknowledged that, and he said there have been questions among the Ukrainians about the

reliability of the United States.

He said because that $60 billion was finally passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, he believes that that sends a very clear message to the

Ukrainians, that they can continue relying on the United States.

And he said, as you were saying, Bianna, that more support will be coming as it's needed. He made note of the progresses that Ukraine has made,

despite the fact that they are in a war right now, the fact that they have started to build up their economy, that there was thousands of new

businesses that were registered in Ukraine just last year alone.

But he also acknowledged that in order for them to continue growing economically and continue rebuilding that economic base, they're going to

have to continue getting the military support that they need. He committed to the United States to being there for that.

He also spoke to the fact that there has been this ongoing effort to try to get those frozen Russian funds that are now mostly frozen in Europe, but

some frozen in the United States, freed so that they can be used for reconstruction in Ukraine.

He said that the effort between the United States and the G7 to free those funds to make sure that Putin pays for the destruction, for the havoc that

he has wrecked in Ukraine are ongoing. He didn't give any time frame there, but that is something that we certainly continue to keep an eye on.

And the last thing that I think is worth noting, he was just saying at the end there before we began this conversation, he spoke to the need for

Ukraine to continue building up its democracy, to continue making sure that there are checks in place to begin making sure that they get rid of

corruption in the country.

We know that it's been a country that has dealt with corruption in the past and the U.S. continues to push them to make the changes that are necessary

in order for it to make progress that is needed to get into NATO, to get into the European Union and the like. So, a bit of a pressure on Ukraine to

continue those efforts as well.

ASHER: Kylie, thank you. I just want to bring in senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen, who's also joining us now.

Given the months-long delay in getting that aid to Ukraine, Fred, I mean, obviously, Blinken's visit to Kyiv is certainly a very welcome sight for

Zelenskyy, but given the months-long delay in getting that $61 billion military package to Kiev, can Ukraine continue to realistically view the

U.S. as a consistent and reliable partner going forward?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think at this point, the Ukrainians really don't have any other choice than to stick

with the United States and hope that there aren't further delays like the ones that we've seen with this most recent military assistance package.

I mean, one of the things that we just heard from the secretary of state is that he believed that that assistance package being stuck in Congress for

such a very long time was essentially a glitch that took place, and that in reality, the members of Congress, both in the Senate and the House of

Representatives, overwhelmingly support Ukraine, and so does the American public.


So that's sort of one of the messages that he wants to send. However, of course, as we've seen on the ground in Ukraine, the last couple of months

have been extremely tough for the Ukrainians. We've seen their issues with not having enough, especially artillery ammunition, starting as early as I

would say about September or October of last year, when sort of the debate about this military assistance package was really starting, and then all of

that becoming worse and more pronounced in the months that followed.

And of course, what we see right now is the Ukrainians trying to recover from that a little bit. The Russians, of course, now open this new front,

if you will, in the northeast of the country, but also pressing in other places as the assistance that is now flowing is sort of arriving on the

front lines, but certainly not at scale yet.

And as Secretary of State Blinken said earlier today, more aid is on the way and will arrive there quickly, but certainly the Ukrainians right now

definitely have to try and dig themselves out of a hole with the Russians definitely pressing.

There are some issues that the Ukrainians have had themselves. The secretary of state also talked about that as well. Mobilization has been

extremely slow in Ukraine. A new law on mobilization took a very long time to enact, and certainly in that time, the Russians were definitely building

up their military and mobilizing or getting a lot of people into the military.

So definitely manpower also an issue as well. But for the Ukrainians, and I think it's very important, the secretary of state also pointed that out as

well, is obviously not just the United States that they're partnering with, but also, of course, a lot of European countries and other NATO members as

well who are sending substantial aid to the Ukrainians.

But I think one of the messages that the secretary of state was trying to send also here in the speech that he's giving now, but also, of course,

earlier in the day as well, is that there is a long-term commitment by the U.S., the European countries and other NATO members to try and get the

Ukrainians to be able to stand more on their own two feet, produce arms themselves, produce weapons themselves, which could then be exported, but,

of course, also to build up a substantial military of their own that can be a serious deterrence to the Russians should they want to continue to


GOLODRYGA: Fred Pleitgen, thank you. Last, but certainly not least, let's get some analysis from retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling and CNN


It's interesting, of course, we heard the Secretary reiterate the U.S.'s longstanding support for Ukraine, but we have an election coming up in six

months in the United States right now, and there is a lot of concern and uncertainty about how longstanding that support would be if, in fact,

Donald Trump came back into the Oval Office.

Couple that, if you would, Mark, with the split screen we're going to see just tomorrow or later on this week when you have Russian President

Vladimir Putin making a trip to China to meet with Xi Jinping. I think it'll be their 42nd meeting.

Along with him will be a huge economic delegation with Vladimir Putin, just as we've seen a changing of the guard with a switch from the defense

secretary there and being replaced by a really relatively unknown economist, giving people a sense that Putin is in this war for the long

term and really turning the country into a war economic footing.

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's fascinating, isn't it, Bianna? The whole approach by Mr. Putin has been continuing to beg his allies, not

just China but also Iran and North Korea, for weapons, and at the same time attempting to fix what he knows now is just a dysfunctional ministry of

defense by placing a new leader in charge, a guy, like you said, who's an economist and an academic who he hopes can bring around much greater

efficiencies and effectiveness in the defense industry.

But there's only so much Russia can do. They have pushed, as Fred just said, a lot more mobilized or recently enlisted forces to the front line.

But they are still suffering casualties, even though they have been able to retake some ground.

It's been fascinating to watch what they're attempting to do while, truthfully, I can only say it this way, while Ukraine has been delayed in

terms of their ability to integrate new weapon systems and new arms from the West, this seven-month delay was debilitating for Ukraine. It caused

their front lines to stagger a bit.

They are seeing the effects of it now as Russia attempts to spread the battlefield, as you just mentioned, in not only Donetsk and Kharkiv, but

also in the Sumy Oblast. So they're attempting to spread out and attack Ukraine in many different ways. It will take time for Ukraine to stabilize

that front line once equipment gets to the front.

It will also take a lot of time to get more air defense systems to stop the massive, unlawful missiles that Russia has been firing against civilian



You know, Ukrainians are pushing it as fast as they can. But it becomes, it's changed from a political problem of voting on that new arms now to a

physics problem. How fast can you get all the needed arms and ammunitions to the front? It's going to be very difficult. They will get some forward,

but truthfully, having experienced the kind of supply chain disruptions in combat that Ukraine has just experienced, it's going to take weeks to

restabilize the front line. It's going to be very difficult.

And again, you see, you know, as Fred mentioned, the mobilization of the force. As Kylie mentioned, the attempts to build new infrastructure and

also the arms manufacturers within Ukraine. You both know that Ukraine had a masterful defense industry before they split with the Soviet Union. Can

they build that back up again?

Well, certainly the Biden administration has been attempting to create that new infrastructure to help arms flow inside of Ukraine and allow them to do

the things they need to do.

I took a lot from the secretary's speech. It covered a lot of area. Kylie has mentioned it. Fred has mentioned it. But what I take most of all is the fact that we will continue to support Ukraine.

We will continue to want them and help them to win. We will build a bridge to their NATO joining.

And as I think, secretary, I wrote it down. It was interesting. He proclaimed again there would be no map, the Military Access Program which

all new NATO members go through. That's fascinating because I've never seen that before in any of the other 32 countries.

And then the last thing, as Kylie mentioned, the fact that Blinken also said he is going to have Russia pay and the U.S. is going to force that for

a Ukrainian recovery program. That's huge. We have the capability to do that, and that will help Ukraine in the long term.

ASHER: Yes. Seizing frozen Russian assets. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, Fred Pleitgen, Kylie Atwood, thank you all so much.

All right. The man who was once Donald Trump's attorney is now back on the stand. We'll take a look at what Michael Cohen is saying about the former

president in Donald Trump's hush money trial. We'll have that next for you.



GOLODRYGA: Well, it has been another day of damning testimony from the star witness at Donald Trump's hush money trial.

ASHER: That's right. Michael Cohen continues to lay out piece by piece the full story of his role in the reported scheme to keep Stormy Daniels quiet

about her alleged affair with Donald Trump.

In today's testimony, Cohen has been going through the checks and the invoices that he says are proof that Trump reimbursed him for payments to

Daniels, critical items that get to the heart of the business fraud case.

GOLODRYGA: Now all of this is the calm before the storm. The prosecution is expected to wrap their questions for Cohen later today. And then Trump's

lawyers will begin what is expected to be a long and bitter cross- examination of the man who was once one of Donald Trump's closest allies.

Let's get to CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider. She is tracking all the developments in the courtroom today.

So, Jessica, day two of the prosecution interviewing Michael Cohen and his testimony yesterday revealing a surprise audio recording. What, if

anything, did we hear today?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, prosecutors really seem to be getting out all of the dirty laundry on Michael Cohen.

They've just finished going over his guilty pleas, his conviction, his time in prison. They're now actually going through his cell phones, talking

about, did you ever delete any of the audio files? Did you ever tamper with anything?

So, obviously, the prosecution is laying out a lot of these sort of random questions to, you know, proactively rebut everything the defense is going

to throw out there. You know, it's interesting, right before this testimony, Michael Cohen testified just about how, in his view, he felt a

major pressure campaign from Trump's allies after that FBI raid on his hotel room in April 2018.

That was the point he said when he never had another conversation with Donald Trump. Right after the raid, he talked to Trump. Trump told him

everything would be OK. And then he warned him, Trump warned Cohen, just don't flip.

That was the last communication Cohen says he ever had with Donald Trump. After that, Cohen was in constant communication with Robert Costello, who

was a lawyer for Giuliani. And Costello actually suggested that he could be the back channel for Cohen to talk to Trump as Cohen battled this FBI


So, you know, Cohen is going over a lot of his criminal history, disclosing why he eventually decided to plead guilty. He said it was actually because

his family had a talk with him and asked him why on earth he was still being loyal to Donald Trump when Cohen's real loyalty should lie with his

family. So, Cohen said that is when his mindset changed, when he decided to plead guilty.

So, the prosecution, guys, is really drawing out everything they can from Michael Cohen, trying to hit at all the little bits of information that the

defense might try to seize on when they eventually get up for cross- examination later this afternoon.

Everything from Michael Cohen's cell phones to his criminal history. So, the prosecution trying to get everything out that they can as we're in the

middle of day two here, and we expect the defense will come up for cross- examination at some point this afternoon. We'll see when they do.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Jessica, justice correspondent Jessica Schneider, thank you.

ASHER: All right, for some more legal expertise on this, I want to bring in attorney Bradley Moss.

Bradley, thank you so much for being with us.

I mean, Michael Cohen is a risky witness just because he's somebody who has admitted to past crimes. Just talk us through the strategy in the cross-

examination for the defense, because the goal is going to be, I imagine, to A, portray Michael Cohen as a total liar and B, portray him as somebody who

has an axe to grind with Donald Trump. What will you be watching for?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Yes, well, we saw a preview of this of sorts in the civil trial of the Trump Organization and Donald Trump

for fraud.


We saw Alina Habba sort of, you know, eviscerate Michael Cohen on the stand in cross-examination, take him down piece by piece, and he stumbled about.

He seemed a bit flustered at times in cross-examination. We should expect to see some of that later today when cross starts, and I assume it'll bleed

over into Thursday.

But the reason Michael Cohen is going last at the end of the prosecution's case is that the prosecutors have basically built a foundation around him

with documents and other witness testimony and text messages and phone logs. They want his testimony to obviously be critical, because he is the

person in the room, but to not be the only linchpin that jurors don't just have to believe Michael Cohen because he said it.

GOLODRYGA: The burden of proof, indeed, very high for the prosecution, as we're expecting them to wrap up shortly, and obviously we'll be following

very closely the defense's cross-examination of Michael Cohen.

Thank you so much, Bradley Moss. We appreciate your time.

Well, up ahead for us, anger spills out on the streets of Georgia's capital. Riot police are on the scene in Tbilisi as the country's lawmakers

pass a controversial new law. We'll bring you that story ahead.


ASHER: All right, turning now to Georgia, where parliament has passed the very controversial Russian-style foreign agents bill, despite widespread

opposition. A chaotic scene in Tbilisi as riot police moved in on protesters after some smashed down the barriers and broke into parliament


Demonstrators have been gathered outside parliament all day in anticipation of the law passing, which has received widespread condemnation for

derailing Georgia's route to becoming a European Union member.

GOLODRYGA: The passing of the bill didn't go without its own drama on parliament's floor. Scuffles broke out amongst lawmakers who were seen

shoving and shouting at one another over the bill, which requires organizations to register as agents of foreign influence if they receive

more than 20 percent of their funding abroad or face major fines.

Clare Sebastian reports.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No to the Russian law, they chant, as they have now for weeks. Young Georgians fighting for a

European future, they say, is under threat.


UNKNOWN: Our duty is to protect our country from Russia and move towards Europe where there is peace.

UNKNOWN: We're just going to keep going until there's a better outcome.

SEBASTIAN: Last year, protests worked, scenes like this forcing the government to scrap the same so-called foreign agent bill, seen here as a

replica of a repressive Russian law and a sign of Moscow's growing influence in this small post-Soviet state.

Then in March, barely three months after gaining E.U. candidate status, the Georgian government revived the law. In a rare appearance in late April,

the ruling party's honorary leader and most powerful driving force lashing out at the West.

BIDZINA IVANISHVILI, HONORARY CHAIR, GEORGIAN DREAM RULING PARTY (through translator): Despite the promises of the 2008 Bucharest summit, Georgia and

Ukraine have not been accepted into NATO and have been left out to dry. All those decisions are made by the global party of war.

SEBASTIAN: As protesters grew more determined, the police response escalated, violence widely condemned by the European Union. In this

shocking attack on May 1st, opposition leader Levan Kadyshvili says he was deliberately targeted, his bruises still visible.

LEVAN KHABEISHVILI, CHAIR, GEORGIAN UNITED NATIONAL MOVEMENT OPPOSITION PARTY (through translator): They did not get what they wanted from me. They

were filming to upload the video afterwards and to show the opposition leader in a state that would discredit me.

SEBASTIAN: And violence not the only means of intimidation. Transparency International says these posters of its local executive director appeared a

few days ago outside its offices and those of other NGOs. The text reads, traitor and grant cuzzler (Ph).

EKA GIGAURI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL GEORGIA: You are under the attack all the time. So, the governmental officials and even

the prime minister would organize the press conference where they would single you out.

SEBASTIAN: Transparency International, as an NGO, I assume you would be subject to this law. What would you have to do and would you do it?

GIGAURI: Yes, we are not going to register. We understand that then government will introduce penalties for us. They might freeze our assets

and accounts. It will be very difficult for us to monitor the elections.

SEBASTIAN: Recent polls show around 80 percent of Georgians favor joining the E.U., something Brussels has warned would be negatively affected by

this law. Georgia's opposition now wants Western condemnation to turn to action.

KHABEISHVILI (through translator): The United States can introduce sanctions. The time has finally come now. This should be done before we get

into the swamp that we cannot get out of.

SEBASTIAN: Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


GOLODRYGA: And joining us now is Ekaterina Kotrikadze. Ekaterina is a Georgian-Russian news director and anchor of the only independent

television channel in Russia, which was forced to shut down more than two years ago.

Ekaterina, thank you so much for joining us.

You are really the perfect person to help explain the significance of this law and the protests that we've been seeing playing out in Georgia, given

not only your background, but what you've gone through yourself as a journalist in Russia and as an independent anchor and director at TV Rain.

You, too, were labeled a foreign agent, as was TV Rain, and thus led to your exile.

So when we're trying to explain to viewers the significance of this law and not only the crush to Georgian civil society and threat to its E.U.

ascendancy, give us a sense of what transpired after you went through your own version in Russia a few years ago.

EKATERINA KOTRIKADZE, NEWS DIRECTOR & HOST, TV RAIN: So, thank you, Bianna. Good to be with you.

I just came back from Tbilisi, Georgia. I saw this protest, and this is what I was talking about during all those days in Georgia, trying to

explain to people why it is so important.

And my own example, I think, is really, I mean, it shows you everything, right? Because when it started in Russia, they were telling us, too, that

it's just about transparency, that nothing would be a problem for the journalists or NGOs or activists, that we would keep on working without any


But after a couple of years, you can see what happened. Right now, Russian government is keeping imposing new sanctions against so-called foreign

agents, against myself, for example, or TV Rain, which I work for. They have just banned today, finally, the opportunity for foreign agents to take

part in any elections or to observe elections in Russian Federation.

This is what is going to happen in Georgia as well. And people understand that. That's why they're calling it Russian law. This is what Georgian

government is doing to shut down independent NGOs and media organizations before the elections that are coming in October 2024.


ASHER: Ekaterina, I really want our audience to, I mean, you laid it out beautifully, but I really want our audience to truly understand what is at

stake here, because I was listening to an interview that one young protester gave to an international news outlet.

He was 29 years old, I.T. specialist in Georgia. He'd been protesting since April. And he said, just to sort of sum up what is at stake here, he said,

we either have to ensure our future by becoming a member of NATO and the E.U., or we will not exist. We will not exist in 10 to 15 years.

And you think about the context there, the fact that the Kremlin occupied parts of Georgia back in 2008, during that brief war. There was a lot of

fear here. How real is the perceived threat from Russia?

KOTRIKADZE: Yes, it's real. It's absolutely real. And this young I.T. specialist is absolutely right. Because what we're witnessing here, it's

not just about this law. It's about the course that the government has chosen.

Bidzina Ivanishvili, an oligarch, who is officially no one in Georgia, but he is the ruler of the country. And everyone knows that. He has made a huge

statement just a couple of weeks ago, where he said, and you have quoted a part of it, where he said that there is a global party of war, which has

agents in Georgia, meaning, this independent NGOs and representatives of civil society. And that this global party of war, meaning West, is the

biggest problem for Georgia.

I mean, he has declared a war against the western countries, western values. It's not only about foreign agents. They're also banning the rights

of LGBT community. They're banning the rights of women. This is what is going on in the country, which actually has declared that it wants the path

towards the European Union, European development, and they want to be in the European Union as an independent from Russia state.

So it really is going to the situation when Russian Federation, when Vladimir Putin declares that this is the state of influence of Russia, when

he sends, I don't know, his person to be a president or something like that, this is absolutely real.

I mean, this is what these people, the children, by the way, there are a lot of teenagers who are taking part in this massive protest in Tbilisi

streets. They're 13, 14, 15 years old, and they're saying we were not born to go back to the USSR. This is what they feel.

And I mean, I saw these people, I was talking to them. They are very educated. They understand what is going on. They understand that there is a

power which wants them to be a part of Vladimir Putin's influence. And it's not only Georgia, it's also Moldova and others. But Georgia is a target

right now.

GOLODRYGA: And Georgia is so important to highlight. It was the first former Soviet republic in 2003 to mount a democracy, a democratic colored

revolution that, as Zain noted, laid the lad up to the war. 2008, Russia still controls about 20 percent of Georgian territory there in South


And Katya, you couple that with what you just said. Eighty percent of the public there polled says they support Georgia joining the E.U. There is an

election coming up in October. That is one way of getting this bill ended. But what more can other western

countries do? The United States, what pressure, if any, can they put on this current party in Georgia?

KOTRIKADZE: You know, this is the moment and it is important because it's not only about the political processes, it's also about violence that the

representatives of the government are using. They're using pepper gas, for example, that I personally felt, which is not OK.

They're using water cannons. They're using sticks. And then they beat people on the streets in Tbilisi. And of course, this is much wider and it

can end -- it can end with the final steps where Georgia would not have other ways to develop. It would go back to North, to Russian Federation.

So right now, you know, the western countries can use sanctions. They can use strict steps and decisions which can change what is going on right now

in Georgia. In Russia, it's already impossible. No one cares. Putin doesn't care about sanctions. Right. If I mean, considering the sanctions are not

too strong.


In Georgia, they still do care about the reaction of the western community. They still are obliged to, you know, to answer the questions of the

society. And if there are sanctions coming from the Western world, from the United States of America, against Bidzina Ivanishvili, for example, the

oligarch who is in power in Georgia, it would actually change things, I suppose, because he doesn't want to lose his money.

GOLODRYGA: Ekaterina Kodrikadze, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate you really explaining this as thoroughly --

ASHER: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: -- as you have and the significance of this moment for our viewers. We appreciate it.

ASHER: And actually, a quick tease for you. You can actually hear from the president of Georgia in about 15 minutes from now. Our Christiane Amanpour

is going to be interviewing her at the top of her show, which starts in about five minutes from now.

GOLODRYGA: It's an important interview you don't want to miss. Well, that does it for this very busy one hour of One World.

ASHER: That was busy, my goodness.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, we got through a lot.

ASHER: I'm Zain Asher. Thank you so much for watching. Amanpour is up next.