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Emmanuel Macron to Become French President; North Korea Missile Launch; Battle for Mosul; Search Underway for Comey's Replacement. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired May 14, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Emmanuel Macron, the man who defied the odds to win the French presidency, is about to be sworn into office. We'll have live coverage from Paris.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Also North Korea in the news, testing another ballistic missile. We have reaction from the Korean Peninsula and why Russia says it is also concerned.
JONES (voice-over): And the global cyber hack that locked up tens of thousands of computers has stopped spreading. But that might only be temporary. A live report on that ahead.
HOWELL (voice-over): It is 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell, live at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
JONES (voice-over): And I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, live for you here in London, where it's just gone 9 o'clock this Sunday morning. Thanks for joining us. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
JONES: A warm welcome.
A political transition is underway this hour in France. These are live pictures from just outside the Elysee Paris. Dignitaries have gathered in the French capital for inauguration of the president- elect, Emmanuel Macron.
He is set to arrive very shortly at the Elysee Palace, his new home, where he will take over from the current French president, Francois Hollande. Our Paris correspondent, Melissa Bell, is in the French capital and joins us now with the very latest.
Melissa, we could expect all of the pomp and ceremony you might expect from the French when it comes to these inauguration events. Talk us through the protocol.
What could we expect over the next couple of hours? MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Hannah. There is a great deal of protocol on these occasions. It is the handover of a lot of power from one man to another. And every time, these things are carefully calibrated, who's been invited to the Elysee Palace today, how Emmanuel Macron will enter, how he will be received by Francois Hollande, all these things are calibrated, timed, organized, orchestrated.
What is different this time is the leap into the unknown that France will be taking with Emmanuel Macron as he makes his way into the Elysee Palace. This is a man who has really, as you said, defied the odds, put aside the mainstream political parties, shaken up France's political system and now needs to get members of parliament in June's legislative elections, who needs to appoint 15 ministers by Wednesday from either the mainstream left or the mainstream right.
But all of this is a complete mystery and something of a leap in the dark. You're seeing Emmanuel Macron as he's arrives. He's just arrived at the Elysee Palace. He will be seen out of the car; he will make his way up the red carpet toward Francois Hollande, waiting for him at the end of the red carpet.
The two men will, once Emmanuel Macron has made his way inside, go into a private room, where state secrets will be handed from the outgoing president to the incoming president, along with things like the nuclear codes.
Now the reason this is such an unusual image that you're seeing today is that Emmanuel Macron, the man who was so spectacularly seen to triumph in the presidential election, the second round of voting last week really was a man who used to be an economy minister, he'd been appointed by Francois Hollande a few years ago, served for two years before standing aside and then launching his own political movement.
He was seen as betraying Francois Hollande in doing that. And Francois Hollande over the course of the last week has been seeking to bring him back into the fold, explain that he's here to show him the road to take. But this is one man who betrayed another, who's now making way up the carpet to take over the presidency.
These are extraordinary images at the best of times but this time all the more important with the fate of France really hanging in the balance. And Emmanuel Macron has vowed to shake things up, has vowed not only to reform France but profoundly to change the way it is governed.
JONES: Melissa, extraordinary pictures. We're seeing all this ceremony outside the Elysee Palace. We've just seen the president- elect being greeted by the current president and then entering into that palace behind.
You talked a little bit about Macron's meteoric rise to ascend to the presidency. He's going to have to hit the ground running. Up until now, he hasn't even had a party. And he's got these legislative elections taking place next month. BELL: You're absolutely right. He will have no time to lose, all the more so because the expectations of the French people are so great. There has been this huge frustration in France for many years, not only the five years that Francois Hollande spent in the Elysee Palace and he leaves today as one of the most -- as the most unpopular president since the start of the Fifth Republican in 1958.
But also the -- Nicolas Sarkozy's time in office, the five years --
BELL: -- that he spent, where he was seen to have failed to reform in the way that France needed to reform, there's been the sense that France has really been stuck with a flagging economy, with a political system dominated by political elites that simply have not done the business.
That is what Emmanuel Macron won on, a pledge to change all that, to change the faces of those who govern France and to change the way that France is governed in order to that finally it can be reformed.
So he has got these huge expectations on his shoulder and he's going to have to hit the ground running with not a single MP to his name and with ministers that he's going to have too choose very carefully, either to keep the political parties happy or stick to his pledge of renewing the faces that are in power and choosing people from civil society -- Hannah.
JONES: Expecting perhaps that he will name his prime minister tomorrow, as early as tomorrow. So, as you say, really getting down to the job very, very quickly. Melissa Bell is live for us in Paris, as we stay with these inauguration pictures of Emmanuel Macron.
This is our main story today and we will, as soon as we see the president-elect and the former president, Francois Hollande, we will see them again emerging from their talks in the Elysee Palace and we will come back to this story.
Melissa, for now, thank you.
HOWELL: Now to North Korea. That country launching another ballistic missile. This time it flew about 700 kilometers or 400 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. The U.S. says it did not threaten the continental United States and that it doesn't appear to be an intercontinental ballistic missile.
This is the first launch from Pyongyang since a new South Korean president was sworn just a few days ago. We have full coverage on this, starting with Alexandra field, live in Seoul, South Korea.
It's good to have you with us, Alexandra. This happened at a time of transition in that nation with a new president in office. This is a person who favored more engagement with North Korea, now faced with this.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly significant timing here, George. Look, officials from all countries involved are still closely analyzing the trajectory of this missile, trying to understand what its capability may have been.
We know it landed in the waters off the coast of the Korean Peninsula but closer to Russia than Japan, which has not been the pattern of some of the more recent missile launches. But this is certainly the kind of security situation that President Moon Jae-in will have to weigh in on and weigh in on quickly. He likely anticipated he would need to -- again, this is at least the 10th ballistic missile launch that North Korea has conducted just since the start of the year and it comes just a few days into President Moon Jae-in's tenure in that office.
He was the Democratic Party candidate, I'll remind our viewers, who campaigned on a platform of greater engagement with North Korea in order to achieve the goal of denuclearization here on the peninsula.
In the wake of this ballistic missile launch, he has of course met with the National Security Council. That is routine in the wake of these kinds of events. He has strongly, of course, condemned the launch, as is the practice of officials in his position here in South Korea.
And he has gone on to say that the South needs to show the North that talks can only be achieved if North Korea creates the right kind of conditions for that to happen. That's actually frankly quite similar to what a high-level North Korean diplomat said just yesterday, saying that North Korea could, at one point, could be open to talks or willing to have some kind of talks if the conditions are right.
And that is also similar to what we have heard in Washington recently, where they have held the door open for the possibility of talks with North Korea if certain steps could be met to show that North Korea would be serious about denuclearization.
In the wake of this latest launch, George, you have officials in Washington now again calling on all countries to strictly enforce sanctions against North Korea. When they make that kind of call, they are, of course, looking at China.
China is key to President Trump's strategy of isolating North Korea in order to force cooperation. China is, of course, the largest trade partner with North Korea. And, George, if the timing already seemed pretty suspect for this launch, it also comes at a time when President Xi Jinping is hosting a trade summit in Beijing that's being attended by world leaders, including a North Korean delegation and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Officials in China have condemned the latest launch but are calling for restraint from all parties -- George.
HOWELL: That's the reaction there, Alexandra Field, live, thank you so much, setting us up for Matthew Chance, bringing him in now live in Moscow.
Matthew, you heard just Alexandra pointing out the fact that the Russian president is in China for this major gathering of leaders at this trade and infrastructure initiative by China.
At the same time, if we could pull up the map here, Matthew, to give our viewers a sense of where this fell, this is near Russian soil.
So, Matthew, what are you hearing?
What reaction are you hearing from the Kremlin?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's some reaction. As you're right, it's a little difficult because Vladimir Putin is in Beijing right now as we just heard. But his --
CHANCE: -- spokesperson has issued a statement, saying that the Russian president is concerned about the recent missile launch and that's something they've been speaking with the Chinese leadership about.
There's also been a statement which has been carried by the Russian state news agency, one of them, from the head of the defense committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament. His name is Victor Azarov (ph). And he said that the air defense systems in the Far Eastern region of the Russian Federation, which is near where this missile landed in the Sea of Japan a distance off the Russian coast, those air defenses have been placed on high alert, not because they feel there is any intentional threat from North Korea.
Remember, that Russia and North Korea have a relatively strong political relationship. They're kind of friends. So the Russians say they understand that Russia is not the target of these missiles but, nevertheless, they've got the security of their citizens to think of.
And they've put their anti-missile defenses on high alert in that eastern part of Russia as well. So, yes, there has been a significant reaction at this point from the Russians. They've expressed many times in the past that they are concerned about North Korea's development of long-range missiles and nuclear capabilities. And they've expressed that concern again.
HOWELL: You've mentioned that the two are friends.
What is the sway that Russia has over North Korea?
Do they have any leverage here when it comes to missile launches like this?
CHANCE: Well, I don't want to exaggerate the extent to which they're friends or the extent to which they have influence over North Korea. But there have been visits in each others' countries, for instance, there have been visits by the leaders of both countries in the past, state visits to each other, which is rare from a North Korean point of view, of course.
And there's a certain amount of economic to-and-froing between these two countries that's been stepped up recently with at least 50,000 permits for North Korean workers to work inside Russia. They often work in logging camps or on construction sites and return their salaries directly to the North Korean government.
In the past, historically, the Soviet Union was the main backer of North Korea before its collapse in the early 1990s, at which point China took over that leading role.
So there is a historical connection between the two countries and, of course, Russia has a strong interest in playing an important role in resolving this diplomatic dispute because it puts Vladimir Putin at the center of international diplomacy once again and he absolutely relishes that.
HOWELL: Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow. Thank you so much for the report. We'll stay in touch with you as well.
JONES: We turn to Iraq now. And officials there say ISIS now controls just 10 percent of the city of Mosul after months of fighting there. But the most difficult part of the battle still lies ahead. CNN's Ben Wedeman has more from inside Mosul.
We need to warn you, the images in this report may be disturbing to some of our viewers but we feel it's important to show you the realities on the ground.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From a rooftop, soldiers fire towards ISIS positions. The struggle to liberate the city from ISIS is now well into its seventh grueling month of street by street, house by house fighting.
The end is near, but not near enough. Iraqi soldiers drag two dead ISIS fighters over the hood of their Humvees like hunting trophies, taking selfies to mark the occasion. This is what has become of their so-called caliphate. The one they swore was here to stay and destined to expand.
Locally made bazookas litter the streets. ISIS ran dozens of workshops in residential areas to manufacture these and other weapons.
"It's a complete factory, making anti-tank and anti-personnel rockets," this officer tells me.
Only 10 percent of Mosul remains under ISIS control, but taking the last 10 percent won't be easy.
WEDEMAN: Where that black smoke is rising is the 17 Tammouz, the 17th of July neighborhood. It's that neighborhood that ISIS entered first in June of 2014. They renamed the neighborhood Fatah to commemorate the early conquest of the Islamic Empire.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Commanders here say the battle for 17 Tammouz is going to be the hardest one.
Lieutenant Colonel Abu Fatima (ph) has been speaking by phone with residents inside the neighborhood. "Tragic" is how he describes their plight.
"They have no food, no water, no medical care. They're just waiting for our forces to free them."
Some could wait no longer, risking death --
WEDEMAN (voice-over): -- to escape.
"We left early this morning, after taking cover for days in the bathroom," says Sina (ph). "Our menfolk told us, 'Go, go.'
"We said, 'We can't because of the shelling.' But then we put our faith in God and we left."
Abu Said (ph) never fled the adjacent district of Mushairfa, hiding with his family under a stairwell, waiting for Iraqi forces to move in. Now he's leading them from one abandoned ISIS house to another.
"I gathered information for the past three years," he says. "I watched them. I wrote down their names. I kept an eye on what they were doing and now I'm sharing everything with the officers."
Senior commanders inspecting weapons seized from ISIS are confident victory will be achieved before the end of May.
"God willing," says Iraqi chief of staff Othman al-Ghanimi, "we will triumph before Ramadan and declare the liberation of Mosul and its people from the filthy scum of ISIS."
Those "filthy scum," as he calls them, haven't given up yet, however, as this incoming sniper round inches from our camera shows.
JONES: Ben joins me now from Erbil in Northern Iraq.
Ben, the final push for Mosul, perhaps the bloodiest part of the battle still to come, not just for Iraqi forces for the civilians trapped there still.
WEDEMAN: That's right, Hannah. We understand that this morning the Iraqi forces, including the counterterrorism service, the federal police and the 9th Armored Division of the Iraqi Army have entered four neighborhoods in Western Mosul, including the 17th of July neighborhood we featured in this package.
So they do definitely appear to be pushing ahead and perhaps they may indeed have this operation over by the beginning of Ramadan, which roughly coincides with the 27th of May.
But of course the real concern it's believed there are hundreds of thousands inside, perhaps as many as 400,000 civilians still inside. One officer told us they are eating grass, some of the people, they're so short of food.
And, of course, basic municipal services no longer exist in the ISIS- controlled parts of Mosul. There is no electricity. There is no running water. There is nothing in the way of medical services. So their situation is extremely dire.
And this is one of the principle concerns of humanitarian organizations who've scrambled to deal with the number of people who've fled the city. When this operation began in middle of February to liberate Western Mosul, NGOs were saying they expected perhaps as many as 250,000 residents of the western part of the city fleeing.
At this point, the number is more than 425,000 and it's growing every day, the number of those who have fled the city -- Hannah.
JONES: A dire situation indeed. Ben, we appreciate your very brave reporting on the situation in Mosul. Thank you very much.
Now do stay with us here on CNN NEWSROOM. Coming up after the break, President Trump says the search for a new FBI director is moving quickly. He could even make a final decision within days.
And the FBI firing controversy was apparently on the president's mind when he addressed graduating students this weekend.
What's he advising those students to do?
JONES: Welcome back.
The search is on for a new FBI chief to replace ousted Director James Comey who was abruptly fired last week by President Trump. The replacement could be any of these eight candidates, all interviewed on Saturday. More interviews are possible today, Sunday. Mr. Trump speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One said the vetting process is going very quickly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think the process is going quickly, because almost all of them are very well-known. You know, they've been vetted over their lifetime, essentially. But very well-known, highly respected and really talented people. And that's what we want for the FBI. So I'll see you over at the school. Have a good time.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Again, the president fired the person who was overseeing the investigation into possible Russian ties into the Trump campaign and possibly into the Trump administration.
To talk more about this, bringing in now Scott Lucas, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in England.
Always a pleasure to have you with us, Scott. So you heard a moment ago the search is on for a replacement for James Comey. And, again, let's take a look at the possible replacements. So far, a list of eight that we have and there could be more on the way.
You see here Andrew McCabe is also among the list. Andrew McCabe is the acting director at this point, given that James Comey is out.
But of that list, Scott -- and I know that you're well versed in the people there.
What do you think so far about the people the president is looking into?
SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Well, it's a wide sweep of candidates. Eight interviewed on Saturday. More to come, including acting director McCabe. And they each offer different possibilities and different questions.
McCabe, to start with, as acting director, is certainly very qualified. He's up to speed on the inquiries into the possible links between the Trump administration and Russia.
But, of course, that might disqualify him from the start for the job, especially since he challenged Trump after Comey's dismissal by saying, no, Mr. Comey did retain the FBI's confidence or the confidence of the agents.
If you take someone like John Cornyn, senator from Texas, quite prominent, the problem here is he is so vocal of (INAUDIBLE) of Trump that any prospective appointment raises questions as to whether the Trump administration is trying to shut down the FBI investigation.
There are a couple of judges on the list who have very solid records: Michael Garcia, Henry Hudson, a couple former Bush administration officials, (INAUDIBLE), Francis Townsend --
LUCAS: -- who headed up Homeland Security, a couple of former FBI agents. But I think the one candidate probably to watch out for at this point, without saying that anyone is a clear favorite, is probably Mike Rogers, a Republican who was head of the House Intelligence Committee, who's a former FBI agent and who, on Saturday, was endorsed by the FBI Agent Association which represents many within the bureau.
So Rogers, I think, if he passes the political test, that he's not coming in simply to shut down the Trump-Russia inquiry, may be able to appeal to both aisles of the Senate, which will be necessary for any confirmation.
HOWELL: And important to point out the timing. Director Comey, the former director, was ramping up the Russia investigation per reporting when he was terminated by the president, which was in the rights, well within the realm of ability of the President of the United States.
Let's talk also about Mr. Trump giving his first commencement address as president. Listen to just a bit of what he had to say at the commencement ceremony at Liberty University, Scott. We can talk about it here on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In my short time in Washington, I've seen firsthand how the system is broken. A small group of failed voices, who they think know everything and understand everyone, want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think.
But you aren't going to let other people tell you what you believe, especially when you know that you're right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: All right, there, Scott, so you get a little insight here. So he's giving advice to people who are graduating, heading into, you know, the business world, the world, you know, workaday world but, at the same time, giving some insight into his own presidency.
LUCAS: Oh, whenever Trump speaks it's largely about Trump, let's be clear. So that clip you just heard, which is, effectively, don't let anyone tell you you're not right. And then earlier in the speech talking about a small failing group in Washington that was trying to tear everything down.
You know, Trump's idea that, on the one hand, he's playing the victim, that he's under assault by the fake media, he's under assault from political opponents, but, on the other hand, saying I command this large majority of support in the fact that I am right, that I have this self-belief.
Well, clearly both can't be true. You can't be simply victimized by basically all these powerful forces and, at the same time, only be facing a very small group of recalcitrants.
But that's Trump. I mean, you don't look for logic here. You look for the fact that this is a man who will never say he's wrong, will never admit any type of mistake which in part accounts for the fact that whether or not you think he's right or wrong, he's going to continue this type of defiance, whether it's over the firing James Comey, whether it's of the Trump-Russia inquiry, whether it's any of his economic reform policy proposals.
HOWELL: Scott Lucas, always a pleasure, thank you so much.
This is CNN NEWSROOM. And still ahead, a cyber attack basically locked down thousands of computers in dozens of countries around the world. We'll tell you how an expert, though, finally stopped it. Stay with us.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell, live in Atlanta.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones live for you in London. It's just gone 9:30 this Sunday morning. The headlines for you.
JONES: Now an international cyber attack has been stopped, thanks to a security expert in the U.K. Thousands of computers were getting error messages like this one, demanding a ransom to use the system again. The U.K. even had to call a crisis meeting after the attack froze files at several hospitals across the country, forcing those hospitals to turn away patients.
The British home secretary says this is no small software bug.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER RUDD, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: If you look at who's been impacted by this virus, it's a huge variety across different industries and across different international governments.
This is a device that has attacked Windows platforms. The fact is the NHS has fallen (INAUDIBLE) -- fallen victim to this. I don't believe it is to do with their preparedness. There is always more we can all do to make sure that we're secure against viruses. But I think that there had already been good preparations in place by the NHS to make sure that they were ready for this sort of attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Phil Black following this story for us in London and joins me now live from Downing Street in the heart of Westminster.
Phil, the virus is stopped for now but the threat, as we're hearing, is far from over.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Potentially, that's right. Hannah, that's what we're hearing from online security experts, who say that further malware attacks could follow reasonably quickly.
We're also hearing that same warning from the young online security researcher, who was responsible for inadvertently stopping the spread of this particular malware. This is a 22-year old. We don't know if it's a man or woman, goes by the name of Malware Tech Online, who was studying --
BLACK: -- the malware and noticed that it was reporting back frequently to a strange Web domain, an Internet address that was unregistered. So this person registered that Web domain, took control of it for about $10 and, in doing so, inadvertently triggered some sort of kill switch, which stopped the malware from spreading further.
So an accidental hero. But this person is also saying that it would be relatively simple to rewrite the code and effectively relaunch the malware and that that could happen within the next week or so -- Hannah.
JONES: Any idea yet, Phil, who might be responsible for this global cyber attack?
BLACK: No, not specifically. This is something that's going to be investigated at an international level, as you can imagine, almost 100 countries affected. Tens and tens of thousands of computers around the world.
Here in Britain, the key question, how was this able to happen?
How was it able to have such a big effect, particularly on the country's national health system, where some 20 percent of hospitals and health facilities were impacted by the malware?
The British government is saying, as you heard there from the home secretary, that they think they were simply caught up in this big global event, it wasn't a question of a lack of preparedness but we also know that the security patch for this particular vulnerability within the Microsoft platform was released back in March.
So clearly not all of the I.T. within the NHS was up to date. And what this means for patients, they were the ones that are really being inconvenienced by this. The hospitals are getting back to normal now, we're told, almost all of them.
But for patients, it's a process of waiting to hear when their appointments and surgeries and procedures can be rescheduled. And because of the nature of waiting lists here, it also means that there will be a knock-on effect. So other patients could also be inconvenienced. Their health, their actual health care is being interrupted in this way.
Now, of course, it's all particularly sensitive at the moment because we're in the middle of an general election campaign here. So the British government is keen to push back and say, no, this wasn't a failure of our making.
But from the main opposition parties here, what we are hearing are questions about how this was able to happen and some of them are demanding some sort of formal inquiry as well -- Hannah.
JONES: Phil, great to talk to you, Phil Black live for us there on Downing Street, thank you.
Now do stay with us. Coming up, we will be taking you back to Paris for plenty more on the presidential inauguration of Emmanuel Macron. These are live pictures right now from the Elysee Palace, expecting to see Macron and his predecessor, Francois Hollande, emerge from the Elysee Palace, that front porch, in the next couple minutes.
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.
We now return live to France for the presidential inauguration of Emmanuel Macron. You see these live images there just there at the Elysee Palace. We're waiting at the moment to see the president-elect Emmanuel Macron and the soon-to-be outgoing president Francois Hollande to stand there in front of the Elysee Palace. And it is the beginning of a long day for them. This is the handoff of power that is a process there in France.
Again, let's bring in Melissa Bell, who is live following this as well.
Melissa, what more can you tell us about where we are right now in this process?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really on the brink of a new political era here in France. I don't think it's an exaggeration, George, to put it that way. Emmanuel Macron is coming in with all this promise, all these expectations on his shoulders, expectations of 66 percent of the population who chose to back this relative political novice. He knows the Elysee Palace, because he worked there as a counselor to Francois Hollande for a couple of years before being appointed economy minister.
But today he returned in triumph, walking up that red carpet through the main door of the Elysee to be greeted by the outgoing president, Francois Hollande, the man he was very much seen to have betrayed a few months ago when he was saying he would be standing without the backing of the Socialist Party for the presidency.
Now that political gamble played off spectacularly last Sunday. The two men are now inside the Elysee Palace for one of those meetings that take place every time there is this transfer of power and it's been this way since the start of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
The two men meet alone in a room and the outgoing president hands to the incoming president state secrets and the nuclear codes. You'd love to be a fly on the wall for this particular meeting, so momentous is this particular transition of power. Francois Hollande is about to walk out of that meeting to leave the
Elysee Palace as the most unpopular president since the start of the Fifth Republic, also a man who is handing over not so much to a political opponent, since Emmanuel Macron did serve as economy minister, but definitely to a political novice and also to a man who represents neither of the mainstream parties.
He's really seen them off over the course of this political campaign. Hence this very interesting relationship between the man he's seen to have betrayed in order to stand and this -- also this sense that Emmanuel Macron comes in with these expectations on his shoulders. He's really promised to shake up the political landscape here in France even more than he has done already by putting in place not so much people that we've come to know as the political elites who dominate France's landscape but political novices.
He wants to have people from what as he describes as civil society, people who've had real jobs, not career politicians. And that's what we're going to see announced over the next coming days. So a real political democratic evolution that we're witnessing here at the Elysee Palace today -- George.
JONES: And, Melissa, it's Hannah in London. As we await these two men emerging from the Elysee Palace, I'm intrigued about the vehicle that will be taking Francois Hollande away. It seems an very kind of understated car there waiting for him. And perhaps in line with the way he's going out of his Elysee Palace and presidential role with the lowest approval rating really in history.
BELL: I think that's right, Hannah, he goes out with those historically low approval ratings, also with the scene he's been talking about over the course of the last few days of having to face what he has described himself as the emptiness that will follow having been in the Elysee Palace.
There is a sense that what we are witnessing today is extremely carefully choreographed. The handover of power is full of very carefully thought through and orchestrated protocol.
But there is also this emotion in this day in the emotion of Francois Hollande as he leaves the Elysee Palace, not only leaving behind the power that he held but leaving behind a changed political landscape.
His own party, the Socialist Party, lies in ruins over what's happened over the last few months. As a result of the extraordinary historically political ascension of Emmanuel Macron.
So perhaps even greater sadness than in a usual transfer of power as Francois Hollande leaves. When he emerges from that meeting with Emmanuel Macron, he will be seen off by the incoming president, taken to the end of the red carpet and allowed to get into that car in order to leave. Emmanuel Macron himself, then, Hannah, is --
BELL: -- going to have an incredibly busy day. He will come back into the Elysee Palace, having said goodbye to Francois Hollande, to have the Legion of Honor bestowed on him, in order to have the official results of the election read out and in order to be made officially France's new president.
HOWELL: Melissa Bell, stand by for just a moment. Let's take a live look at again this image full screen, 10:45 there in Paris, 4:45 here on the East Coast of the United States.
And again, we're waiting to see the president-elect, Emmanuel Macron, soon to step there in front of the Elysee Palace with the outgoing president, Francois Hollande. Again, this is a process that will pass through the day. Of course we'll be watching this play out. Melissa Bell is live following this.
And, Melissa, you were describing the political landscape here. So again, this was a political gamble that paid off, as you described it, getting to this office.
But now this is an incoming president who, you know, really, does he know who his allies are when it comes to trying to get things done?
Because this is a person who represents a rebuke of the formal parties that are there in place in France. He's coming in with new, new territory here.
BELL: That's exactly right, George, and what had been in a sense a personal gamble over the course of the last few months now becomes a national gamble as Emmanuel Macron is sworn in as France's new president.
No one had expected that this man would come anywhere near the second round of voting, never mind go on to win. When he announced his candidature all those months ago, it was seen very much as a betrayal of Francois Hollande.
But people had expected that he wouldn't win. At the time, it's difficult to remember it now, but the Republican, the Republican candidate was very much the favorite to win.
Of course no one could have expected that Francois Fillon would be seen off as a result of the judicial troubles that he came to face; no one could imagine that the (INAUDIBLE) party would veer so far to the left in its primary with a choice of the candidate (INAUDIBLE) to make itself essentially unelectable and fairly unpalatable even to members of its own ranks.
This opened the way, created a boulevard for Emmanuel Macron down the center of French politics, which traditionally has not really managed to make it to any form of power. It created a boulevard that led him all the way to Elysee.
Now that personal gamble very much becomes one for the nation, since everything hangs now on Emmanuel Macron's ability to appoint 15 ministers over the next few days, including crucially a prime minister that can go on to carry out his program for reform. The other part of the equation is to get his candidates elected in
next month's parliamentary elections. For the time being, he doesn't have a single one to his name, George. He wants to get a majority in order to be able to govern and reform France as he's promised he will do.
HOWELL: My colleague, Hannah Vaughan Jones here along with me in London. I'm here in Atlanta. We're there with Melissa Bell, live in Paris. We're watching history there in France, this live image at 10:47 am there, as that nation soon brings in a new president-elect, who will soon be the president of France.
Stay with us. We'll be right back after the break.
JONES: All right, welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. We're going to take you straight back now to France. This is Paris, the Elysee Paris. These are live pictures inside the building. Emmanuel Macron, the president-elect of France, and the current president, soon to be former president, Francois Hollande. They have been in that building for more than 40 minutes now.
And Melissa Bell, our correspondent, is standing by as well, watching over the whole inauguration proceedings for us from the French capital.
Melissa, 40 minutes or more. Is this slightly longer, this meeting between these two, these two of course who were friends then they were foes and they have a lot to discuss, I guess, not just handing over the keys to that magnificent palace but also crucially the country's nuclear codes.
BELL: That's right, Hannah. These are two men who have a long and complicated history, since it's important to remember that Emmanuel Macron did serve as Francois Hollande's political adviser and then economy minister before announcing that he was standing down last August and confirming his candidature for the presidential race just a few months later.
And that was very much seen as an act of betrayal of the man who after all had given him the job of economy minister. Emmanuel Macron explained it was because he had touched the limits of the system with his own finger. That was his expression in August when he announced his resignation, is that he had decided that he wanted to launch this improbable presidential adventure. One, Hannah, it's important to remember, that no one had imagined it would lead him to where he is today.
And where he is today, as you say, is in that meeting, which is running for longer than expected, longer than had been planned in this extremely carefully choreographed and orchestrated day. And the two men presumably have a lot to discuss, not only the handing
over of state secrets -- and one would love to be a fly on the wall to see the nature of their discussions.
What you've seen over the course of the last week is the outgoing president very much trying to gain some credibility from the man who's come in so spectacularly, so unexpectedly to take his place, being by Emmanuel Macron's side over the course of the last week or so, explaining that he's there to show him which road to take.
The man who had been betrayed now trying to bask in the reflected glory of the man who in effect managed to pull off that unexpectedly successful political gamble.
And as we see the two men emerge from that meeting -- and no doubt what they had to say to each other will remain a carefully guarded secret by each of them out of respect for the other -- we will watch Francois Hollande head off down that red carpet, accompanied by Emmanuel Macron. You'll remember that, in 2012, Francois Hollande was seen to have committed something of a faux pas by not accomplishing Nicolas Sarkozy all the way to the end of the red carpet and back into his car.
He'd simply turned around and gone back into the Elysee Palace. He then apologized. And this is no doubt a mistake that Emmanuel Macron will be keen to avoid. But in a sense, Emmanuel Macron's long day begins only then, once he's seen off Francois Hollande. It is full of --
BELL: -- protocol, carefully orchestrated, carefully organized as this political novice becomes the new president of France -- Hannah.
HOWELL: Melissa Bell, it's George Howell here in Atlanta, joining in the conversation. Again, looking at this live image here at 10:55 there in Paris. So many people have come together to see this incoming president, soon to take the helm in France.
And just to talk about the big picture here, Melissa, again, this was an election that the world was watching very closely, Macron defeating Marine Le Pen.
Marine Le Pen had a very different vision for France, to close its borders, possibly taking it out of the E.U. Macron is now at the helm. Looking at this live image again, where we're soon to see Emmanuel Macron emerge alongside the president of France, Francois Hollande
But the question that I have for you, Melissa, at this hour, watching this process, the world watching it as well, what's it like across France, what's it like for people to see this play out?
BELL: I think there are an awful lot of expectations. Hopes are extremely high for what Emmanuel Macron might achieve, given the fact that he's made it this far, given the fact that he's come in with the promise to get rid of the political elites that he believe have prevented France from reforming and getting its economy back on track and, therefore, also taking part of the reforms, necessary reforms of the European Union.
All of France having given him the benefit of the doubt -- and it was a hard thing for France, for the French to do. Many people are extremely attached to the political parties that they've voted for year in and year out over the last few years. They've chosen to give him the benefit of the doubt and they will expect to see results very quickly.
So this is arguably the incoming president with the greatest amount of hope, of expectation on his shoulder. And that's no easy thing to carry.
HOWELL: Melissa Bell, live in Paris. Our camera trained right there at the Elysee Palace, waiting for the incoming president-elect to stand beside the outgoing president, soon to happen.
You're watching CNN. I'm George Howell in Atlanta.
JONES: And I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. Plenty more from Paris after this short break, do stay with us.