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Political Uncertainty Grips Egypt; Obama Chooses Words on Egypt: Uncertain Road Ahead for Egypt; President Morales Criticizes United States; Waiting for the Royal Baby

Aired July 4, 2013 - 12:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Celebrating its 237th Independence Day and the birth of democracy, the Statue of Liberty standing as a symbol of freedom.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And tonight, of course, fireworks will light up the skies. But as this country celebrates, another country struggles with a difficult transition to democracy.

HOLMES: We are, of course, talking about Egypt. Fireworks also lighting up the skies over Tahrir Square, but today a democratically elected president is out, a new president is in, the country's future uncertain.

WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone, I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Suzanne Malveaux.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. We'd like to welcome our viewers both here in the United States, also around the world.

OK, political uncertainty gripping Egypt today after those extraordinary series of events yesterday. The question in Cairo, a day after the military coup, now what?

WHITFIELD: The head of the country's supreme constitutional court was sworn in as the interim president today after the military deposed President Mohamed Morsy. Well, according to Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood, he is under house arrest now.

HOLMES: Ian Lee is in Cairo for us at the moment.

Now, you know, Ian, let's start off with what's been happening. The crowds behind you have dwindled away pretty much to nothing compared to yesterday, but a lot has been happening. A crackdown of sorts. All kinds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood basically being rounded up. A crackdown on the media there as well. Bring us up to date.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot has happened today. Like you just said, we've seen a roundup of the Muslim Brotherhood members. We're hearing from a state news agency that 300 people have been rounded up. Also president -- former President Mohamed Morsy is under house arrest. And one of the arrests includes the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, their top person. So it is quite a wide range round up. Earlier today, though, we also had the new president sworn in. He is now tasked with forming a government of technocrats to really kind of fix the problems that have plagued Egypt and really what brought people out into the streets. Also he's tasked with writing a constitution or getting a committee together to write a constitution, as well as overseeing the next round of presidential elections. He's going to be a busy man in the months to come. But today, definitely a big day with all of that going on, the swearing in of a new president and also the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

WHITFIELD: Ian, this is Fredricka. I'm wondering, this interim president, Adli Mansour, what is it about him, what can he do differently that Morsy couldn't or wouldn't?

LEE: Well, he has some benefits that Morsy didn't have. First of all, he has the army behind him. He was selected by the army to come in and rule as interim president and that's a big thing. He also has the ministry of interior, and that is the ministry in charge of policing the country. That's another big ministry to have on his side.

He also has from the support of the Coptic pope, or the head of the Coptic or the Christian church here in Egypt. He also has the sheik (ph) of al Ashar (ph), and this is the head of the - of al Ashar, which is the leading school of Sunni Islam in the world, as well as having a lot of the opposition support. So he does have a lot of support going into this new job, but he does need to tackle the security problem.

There's a security crisis in Egypt. They want -- need to get the police back into the streets. And there's also an economic crisis. He needs to turn around this economy and really give it a jump start so people feel the benefits quickly.

HOLMES: And, Ian, in all likelihood, he's really not going to be the one to do it. He's really a place holder, by all accounts, until there are elections. Speaking of which, the timetable is all important here. The last time the military stepped in, Hosni Mubarak went out, they hung around way too long. It took way too long to get to elections. What sense of urgency is there that they're going to move to an election process in the very near future? And if they're arresting all the Muslim Brotherhood, where's the inclusiveness?

LEE: Well, that's exactly right. Starting with the Muslim Brotherhood, they're going to have to be inclusive eventually. The Muslim Brotherhood still is a significant part of society and you cannot marginalize a section of society forever. You have to be inclusive. So there's going to have to be a dialog between the two sides to get the Muslim Brotherhood back in place.

What's different between this transitional period and the one we saw before is that the military quickly handed over power to a civilian, that he would lead the transitional period. That is a big step because he'll have support not from many different sections of society, he's also talking to the opposition. The last time we saw a transitional period, it really was the army ruling by itself. But this guy will have to get a consensus from a lot of different areas, which will be a lot more inclusive, albeit they do need to include the Muslim Brotherhood eventually.

HOLMES: Yes, Ian Lee there in Cairo, thanks so much. A much quieter Tahrir Square are today.

WHITFIELD: And that's good news, at least for now. The new interim president of Egypt takes over during this time of chaos and transition, all that we saw yesterday. Adli Mansour, a bit more of a description about him. He's considered to be rather low key and rather low profile, but today he is the leader of the world's most populous Arab country.

HOLMES: He is for now. And some background for you. You probably haven't heard of this guy. Not a lot of people had if you're outside of Egypt. He was born in Cairo, attended law school at a local university, then studied in Paris. He was appointed to the Egyptian supreme constitutional court, actually by the deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, back in 1992.

WHITFIELD: He was appointed head of the court by now deposed President Mohamed Morsy, and he took the position just two days ago. Mansour is 67 years old. He is married, has three children, and he is viewed as an independent.

HOLMES: Yes. How long he stays there, who knows. Probably not all that long. Now the coup, of course, a political mine field, as we've seen, for the Obama administration. A lot of people thought they were caught flat-footed when Mubarak was rolled (ph). How have they done now? Egypt is a crucial ally. The U.S., they're kind of in a no-win situation how they handle this.

WHITFIELD: And, of course, the White House trying to handle this as delicately as possible. President Obama says he is, quote, "deeply concerned" about the military toppling Mohamed Morsy, but he is choosing his words rather carefully. Athena Jones right now at the White House with more on the diplomatic dilemma facing the administration.

So, Athena, the president did not use the word "coup" to describe the political upheaval in Egypt. Why is that?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Fredricka.

That's right. The fact that the White House isn't using the word "coup" is probably one of the most significant things to come out of this statement the president released after a meeting with his national security team. Most people look at this and they say this is clearly a coup. It's the definition of a coup, in fact. And so why isn't the administration using the word?

Well, the shorter answer is, it's political reasons. U.S. law says that in the event of a military coup, aid to a country like Egypt, we're talking about $1.5 billion a year in aid in this case, must be cut off. And so there are some caveat to that law that say that maybe the secretary of state could declare it in the national security interests of the United States to continue that aid, but it gets complicated and so right now the White House is being very, very careful, using very carefully worded statements and avoiding the use of that one word "coup."


HOLMES: Yes, and also, you know, when you look at the U.S. and what is, let's face it, waning influence in the region generally, they've got to be careful what they say and about whom, don't they? They've got that $1.5 billion a year in aid to the Egyptian military. That's a very big stick, but they don't want to be seen to be overtly wielding it.

WHITFIELD: Uh, huh, taking sides.

JONES: Well, certainly. The point is that, as you mentioned, Egypt is a key ally to the U.S. in the region, the biggest country in the Arab world. And it's important for many reasons. Let's talk about the Suez Canal, for instance, which is an important passageway for the oil trade. Of course the peace treaty Egypt has with Israel. These are things the U.S. has interest in maintaining and promoting, in addition to promoting democracy and economic development. So they've been really careful.

The president was asked about Egypt during his trip to Africa and he said over and over again that it's up to Egyptians to determine their future. They really emphasize the democratic process here and so that's what they're continuing to try to do. And they're, of course, closely monitoring the situation, as we all are.

Michael. Fredricka.

HOLMES: All right, Athena, thanks so much. Appreciate that. Athena Jones there.

WHITFIELD: All right, of course, if you want any more on President Obama's choice of words, you want to read it for yourself, head over to And next hour we're actually going to be talking to our own Jake Tapper about the president's reaction and his point of view about the words choice chosen or lack thereof.

HOLMES: What's in a word? When it is coup, a lot.

WHITFIELD: A lot indeed.


WHITFIELD: So regardless of what the White House or anyone else wants to call it, what happened in Egypt was indeed a coup d'etat. The military has indeed overthrown the country's first ever democratically elected president.

HOLMES: Which make it that mine field for the White House. They're promoting democracy and here you are with a democratic government being thrown out.

Now, Egypt facing the instability that coups can inherently bring. And keep this in mind, this is Egypt's second revolution in two years, isn't it? The country's powerful military took control both times. The first time around Hosni Mubarak. He was arrested back in 2011. And, of course, yesterday, the military putting President Mohamed Morsy under house arrest.

And we've got Fareed Zakaria joining us from New York.

Fareed, you know, I want to - I want to ask you this. And in the broader regional aspect, you've got an Islamist government that was elected there. Everybody's been trying to get Islamists into the democratic process. To go down the electoral road. When you get a government that's been in for 12 months, gets thrown out like this, and pretty much nobody doing anything about that, what message does that send to the more extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, the salafists who might say, well, that didn't work out, did it?

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": You've raised the most dangerous aspect of what's happened here. Remember, the Muslim Brotherhood is the largest Islamic political party in the Arab world, but there are lots of them. They're - they exist in the Muslim Brotherhood, in many cases it's called as such in Jordan, in Syria, in Tunisia, in Morocco. And all these parties, these movements are going to ask precisely the question you're asking.

Remember, for them to get involved in democratic politics was something of a stretch. Many of these groups have within them people who believe in theocracy, they believe in the restitution of a caliphate, all kinds of things, and yet they have chosen mainstream democratic politics.

Well, it hasn't worked out so well in Egypt. In many cases for their own faults, but, of course, that's not how they're going to read it. And so the - it's very important, as you were - you were talking to Ian about this earlier, it's very important that the Muslim Brotherhood be included in any further democratic process because otherwise you will have splinter groups that will come up and say, we tried this democracy thing, it didn't work out so well for us, we're going to go underground. We're going to go violent. And that will be very unstable, not just for Egypt, but for the whole region because these parties exist throughout the Arab world.

WHITFIELD: And, Fareed, you know, the opposition has shown that it can indeed get an awful lot of people into the streets like we saw in Tahrir Square. But how do we know whether that is representative of the masses? Is this what most Egyptians wanted to see?

ZAKARIA: The -- this is the most difficult question to answer because you had - you know, we have a system by which you figure out what the majority wants. It's called elections. What we saw over the last few weeks was an incredibly impressive display of popular anger toward President Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood. But another way of describing it would be mob rule, right, where you just come out on the streets and protest.

Now, I think that the President Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood massively overplayed their hand. They acted in ways that were arbitrary, even unconstitutional, and it did trigger this mass revolt. But it's very unfortunate that it took the form of this street protest rather than some kind of regular electoral process, which is why again the sooner we can get back to some regular electoral process and a writing of a new constitution, the more this will be seen as a move to restore genuine democracy rather than a deviation from it.

HOLMES: Yes. And to that point, I mean, the Muslim Brotherhood, and as we were talking to Ian about these arrests, including the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood taken into custody, that doesn't all go well for inclusiveness. But the Muslim Brotherhood, regardless, remains the most powerful political group in the country. The opposition, as it showed last time around during the election process, was terribly disorganized. Is there any indication that you're hearing that they can get their act together to the point where there is an election, they go up with one candidate who's going to represent that secular, liberal side of the society?

ZAKARIA: Not yet. You raise the absolutely crucial point. The opposition part, the liberals, the moderates, were actually quite - quite well represented, by which I mean to say lots of people voted for them. If you looked at the first round, more people voted for secular or liberal candidates than for the Islamic candidates, but the vote got divided. So what these guys have to do now is come together.

It does seem that Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood in power galvanized the opposition and it did create a unified opposition. But as we all know in politics, it's easy to be against something. Now you've got to be for something else. So can these groups come together and be for a single, moderate candidate? So far they haven't been able to do that, but that should really be their principle preoccupation right now, can they find somebody they can unify around so that that person can be there so they can have a positive agenda rather than simply the negative one of bringing down Morsy?

HOLMES: Yes, in the cold, hard light of day, some harsh realities facing Egyptians.

Fareed Zakaria, thanks so much.


HOLMES: Always good to have you on and get your analysis.

WHITFIELD: All right. This is what else we're working on for this hour around the world.

Edward Snowden. Remember that name? Well, he is believed to still be staying somewhere in the Moscow airport. So, why hasn't anyone seen him there? We'll take you inside the airport and show you some of the places where he could be hiding.

HOLMES: Also, from the president of the United States to retirement. What is life like for George W. Bush? We asked him if he misses the Oval Office and what he does in his spare time.

WHITFIELD: And everyone is waiting for the royal baby to arrive. Hurry up already. Will it have dark hair like Katherine or will it be kind of strawberry blonde like Prince Harry? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If my math is correct, 6 percent.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So about a 6 percent chance that they'll have a red head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So if you're going to put some money on it, you might want to think about that.



HOLMES: Well, you have seen these things in spy movies, but they do really exist. They do, don't they?


HOLMES: They bugged, apparently, an embassy in London with a tiny microphone, the Ecuadoran embassy.

WHITFIELD: Guess which one. There you go.

HOLMES: Exactly.

WHITFIELD: I wonder why.

The country's foreign minister, in fact -- Ecuador, we're talking -- says they found a very small listening device squirreled away inside an electrical outlet panel somewhere in the bookshelf.

HOLMES: It's a good place to put it, actually, or in the lamp, that's normally it.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, where, of course, no one would see it.

HOLMES: Not surprisingly Ecuador would like the British to help them find out who put it there and how they did it. They think the microphone had been in place for several weeks.

Now, Ecuador, of course, getting a lot of diplomatic attention these days. Remember, the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange has been living at Ecuador's embassy in London for a year now.

WHITFIELD: Wow, can't believe it has been that long.

Also, intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, well, he has asked the Ecuadoran country for asylum.

HOLMES: He has indeed.

Well, snooping and spying, how much is the U.S. government secretly listening to what is going on with its European allies? E.U. officials would like to know, especially now that huge free trade talks are about to begin between the European Union and the United States.

WHITFIELD: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama spoke by phone in the last few hours mainly about allegations that the U.S is actively spying in Europe.

Some European officials want to delay trade talks until those spying allegations are addressed.

HOLMES: The president of Bolivia back home again, but not happy, Evo Morales blaming the United States for turning his return flight from Russia into an unscheduled zigzag through European air space, delayed more than 14 hours in full.

WHITFIELD: Wow, that's pretty big.

Rumors spread that intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was on board the president's plane. Well, it turns out he wasn't.

President Morales accuses the U.S. of trying to throw its weight around.


PRESIDENT EVO MORALES, ECUADOR (via translator): I feel it's an open provocation to the continent, not only to the president.

American imperialism is trying to intimidate us. What I want to say is they will never intimidate us. They will never scare us because we have dignity and we are sovereign.


WHITFIELD: Guess what? This is not over now that President Morales is home. Several South American leaders will meet in Bolivia today to talk about the incident where Morales' plane was not allowed into several European country's air space.

HOLMES: Yeah, Brazil's president, for example, says that all nations involved have some explaining to do.

Now, of course, all that fuss over President Morales' plane was about the NSA intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, as we said.

Somebody, it seems, was pretty sure that Snowden had hitched a ride on the president's plane.

WHITFIELD: And, as far as we know, Snowden is still at the Moscow international airport where he has been now for 12 days.

Karl Penhaul went to the airport looking for Snowden, or at least to see the place that he is reportedly calling home.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the view that may have flashed in front of Edward Snowden just after touchdown at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, through passport control, even though by then U.S. officials revoked his travel documents.

Then perhaps Snowden would have put the four laptops he was reportedly carrying through a scanner.

What really happened next is a puzzle more complex than any in these airport magazines.

There's no isolated transit lounge. Like all other international passengers, the leaker would have had free run to Terminals D, E and F.

That's a maze of tax-free and coffee shops close to three-quarters of a mile long and more than 50 departure gates bustling with travelers.

Even so, it would be tough for one of America's most wanted men to stay hidden in plain sight.

So we checked a handful of more private, VIP and first-class lounges. No sign.

Has he perhaps donned a classic spy disguise, dark glasses and a Russian hat? Maybe even a T-shirt tribute to the first man in space.

If Snowden needs a stiff drink to steady his nerves on the lam, what better than a dram of this, a taste of what could be the next stop on his odyssey?

The scandal Snowden generated seems like a throwback to the cold war, every bit like these Soviet mementos on sale, and so far President Obama, reduced here to a smiling Matryoshka doll, is floundering in efforts to hunt him down and bring him home.

It's the early hours of the morning now, and the passengers have thinned out. The question is, though, if Snowden is not in this sprawling airport departures area, has someone simply let him slip out of one of many side doors like this?

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Sheremetyevo Airport, Russia.


WHITFIELD: The search continues.

HOLMES: It does.

WHITFIELD: And the mystery intensifies.

HOLMES: Well, if he is there, he must be pretty bored by now, one must imagine.

Now let's talk about the royal family because everyone likes to, the royal bump keeping a lot of people guessing. Everyone wants to know --

WHITFIELD: People can't wait.

HOLMES: Yes, is it going to be a king or is it going to be queen?

WHITFIELD: Brunette or red or strawberry blonde or something? All of those details, oh, people are just coming up with all kinds of interesting little scenarios.

More on that, next.


HOLMES: Guess what? The royal couple, Will and Kate, are expecting a baby. Who knew? Actually, it's due any day now, isn't it?

WHITFIELD: That's right.

What's it going to look like, boy, girl, prince, princess?

Elizabeth Cohen met with a geneticist to actually find out.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: He was an adorable little boy, she a beautiful girl, but what will William and Catherine's royal baby look like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It'll be a good looking child, I presume.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everyone is hoping the baby's not going to have his ears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope it takes after her because she is so beautiful.

COHEN: It seemed fittingly British to discuss the genetic fate of the future king or queen of England over high tea with geneticist Dr. Anand Saggar.

Let's start with the baby's hair. Light like dad, dark like mom, or maybe red like Uncle Harry?

DR. ANAND SAGGAR, GENETICIST: That's two-over-five times two-over- three times a quarter which is approximately, if my math is correct, six percent.

COHEN: So about a six percent chance that they will have a red head.

SAGGAR: So if you're going to put some money on it, you might want to think about that.

COHEN: He says the baby's hair will likely be on the darker side since dark genes are dominant.

Then there's the eyes.

She's so green and he is so blue.

SAGGAR: It would be unusual, less likely that the child would have pure blue eyes.

COHEN: Like daddy.

SAGGAR: Exactly.

COHEN: He says most likely the baby's eyes will be more towards the green side like Catherine since green is dominant.

And as for height ...

They are both tall people.

SAGGAR: And that's one of the characteristics of the royalty. They're tall.

COHEN: Geneticists tell us a new prince could grow as tall as 6'7", a new princess as tall as 6'2".

Of course, science can't predict everything.

SAGGAR: That's the fun of having babies. You don't know what you're going to get.

COHEN: It's just a big question mark, right?

SAGGAR: I think it's part of the surprise.


WHITFIELD: I like that.

HOLMES: Oh, hey, we're back. We're having a whole conversation about it.

WHITFIELD: So we know they're going to have a happy baby.


WHITEFIELD: To heck what it looks like.

COHEN: And good looking. It'll be good looking, too. How could they not have a good looking?

HOLMES: So this guy reckons it will more like Kate.

COHEN: Well, coloring-wise because she is a little bit darker than him and so darker is more dominant.

And he was also commenting. He said, this is a great thing. This is the first time since the 17th century you've had commoner genes introduced.

He said this is good. Freshen up the gene pool. It was getting a little small.

So he said, for the health of the baby, it's really -- it's much better to have this broader spectrum of genes.

WHITFIELD: So are people fascinated about the guessing game? It is really lovely that they're keeping it a secret.

COHEN: It is. It is.

WHITFIELD: Even if they know.

COHEN: The gender. The gender, right. Right.

Even they don't know what the baby is going to look like.

But right, they're keeping -- even if they know, which apparently they say they don't, they're keeping it a secret.

But, you know, I think Americans and Brits, this baby is the future king or queen of England.

HOLMES: I've got to say, as a foreigner living in this country, I think Americans are far more interested in the royal family than they are.

COHEN: That may be true. We got some of that when we were there, sort of Brits saying like, oh, I didn't even know she was pregnant.

I didn't believe them, but they sort of want to seem a bit above it all.

But we were so curious that we asked the graphic artist at Turner Studios to come up with photos of what the baby will look like as a young adult.

WHITFIELD: Let's see.

COHEN: And so they took what they took what our geneticist said and they came up with this and they used composite software.

And so this is what the future prince or princess -- very handsome. We think Ryan Seacrest a little bit.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness.

COHEN: So this is what they could look like.

HOLMES: Oh, my, they have white teeth.

COHEN: Yes, they do.

That's lovely.

WHITFIELD: Interesting. This is fun.

COHEN: How can they go wrong?

WHITFIELD: It is going to be a lovely thing. No matter what, it is going to be a nice looking baby. Yeah, all right, thanks so much, Liz Cohen. Appreciate that.

HOLMES: I shake my head.

WHITFIELD: You're going to be into it as soon as the baby drops, suddenly you're going to be front and center. I want to see pictures.

HOLMES: All right. Yeah. Not happening. Sorry.

WHITFIELD: We'll see.

HOLMES: Elizabeth, good to see you, Elizabeth Cohen.

All right, well, the coup in Egypt, of course, knocked the Muslim Brotherhood off its pedestal. Does the movement have a future? You can bet on it, really.

We're going to hear from a senior adviser to the Muslim Brotherhood, coming up.