Return to Transcripts main page


Mugabe Era in Zimbabwe Ends; Roy Moore Go on to Fight; Lebanese Prime Minister Resigns for Safety; Chinese Diplomat to Visit Pyongyang; Mugabe's Political Future Uncertain After Military Takeover; President Trump Touts Progress On Trade, ISIS, North Korea; Moore Campaign Attacks Credibility Of Accuser; At Least 13 Dead In Flash Flooding In Greece; Rare Da Vinci Sells At Auction For $450 million; Aired 3-4a ET

Aired November 16, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] MAX FOSTER, HOST, CNN: From ruling with an iron fist to house arrest. Robert Mugabe's 37-year grip on Zimbabwe is crumbling.

We're live in the capital where there is an uneasy calm after an apparent coup.

Meanwhile, there are mixed about Lebanon's prime minister who's announced his resignation. Saad Hariri says he'll return to Beirut, but the French say he's flying to Paris soon.

In the U.S., Roy Moore is facing more allegations of sexual misconduct, and now his lawyers are stepping up their defense. How the Senate candidate is becoming a big headache for republicans and the president.

Plus, the long lost Da Vinci painting is now shattered the world record for the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Max Foster in London. This is CNN Newsroom.

Zimbabwe may be entering a new political era after what appears to be a military coup. President Robert Mugabe is under house arrest. And the 93-year-old who ruled for almost four decades is facing an uncertain future.

Military leaders deny they staged a coup but it sure looks like they have. Tanks and troops are stationed around key government buildings. State run television is under their control. A number of officials are reportedly been arrested. Analysts believe the military is trying to prevent the president's wife Grace from taking over from him.

CNN's David McKenzie joins us live from Zimbabwe's capital Harare. Just describe the atmosphere there today, David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, the atmosphere is calm but certainly the soldiers and the military and the military are incharge, both here in Harare and in Bulawayo, the other major city in Zimbabwe. There is calm but no sign of the police on the streets, the power is with the troops. The leader is unknown at this stage.

On paper, of course, it's Robert Mugabe, 93-year-old president. And I'm just getting word from a senior opposition member here in Zimbabwe that he is saying that it is, in his words, looks as if it might be a done deal that negotiations are ongoing to form some kind of transitional government here in Zimbabwe that could mean the opposition joining with the former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

There is a sense that there is feverish negotiations going on behind the scene, and persuasion perhaps of Robert Mugabe to go quietly. Certainly, if he goes it will be a seminal moment before this country.


MCKENZIE: His legacy is dominated by violence and oppression and an economic collapse so bad money became worthless and millions fled. It isn't a coup, cried the military, but tonight armed vehicles stand guard at strategic locations throughout the capital.

After a top general announce their plan in a dramatic pre-dawn address.

SIBUSISIWE MOYO, MAJOR GENERAL, ZIMBABWE NATIONAL ARMY: Comrade Arajin (Ph) Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and that their security is guaranteed.

MCKENZIE: (Inaudible) four decades ruling this country with an iron grip, the 93-year-old leader nowhere to be seen. In detention with his family, a far cry from the liberation fighter who said he had a degree in violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will never surrender, never to anybody. And Robert Mugabe is here and (Inaudible) on people decide to change him.

MCKENZIE: Now more lavish birthday bashes for Mugabe who likes to spend hundreds of thousands on his own party while his people languish in poverty. Flaunting their excessive wealth appears to run in the family as Mugabe's son was recently seen pouring champagne over his diamond encrusted watch.

In the end his first lady known as Gucci Grace for her extravagant lifestyle perhaps Mugabe's undoing. A controversial figure, earlier this year, accused of assaulting this South African model with a power chord. Grace denied the charges and fled South Africa with diplomatic immunity.

No such immunity for this young American, Martha O'Donovan, a 25-year- old New Jersey Native. She could face 20 years in prison for allegedly subverting Mugabe's government on Twitter. Her lawyer says the case is concocted and the Mugabe regime wants to make an example of her, a regime that maybe crumbling.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [00:04:59] MCKENZIE: Now certainly it seems like the military is trying to avoid the term coup, Max to spread that fine line because if it is deemed a coup from the regional powers despite what the evidence is on the ground, they are really force to come in and intervene in the situation. And you had this bizarre moment late yesterday on the national television, the state broadcaster when one -- the head of the Zanu PF, the ruling party is usually getting up on what looked a lot like hostage video making an apology to the military and saying that they had to fill in that day after they came up forcefully, saying they protect and were willing to die for Robert Mugabe.

So it seems that there's an ongoing struggle in this country as to who is in charge. But with Robert Mugabe in house arrest and the military on the streets it appears that, you know, his days as the true iron grip leader of this country could be numbered.

FOSTER: He's a legend, doesn't he, in many parts of Africa because of what he represented and ending -- you know, bringing true democracy for that country in the 80's and helping many poor people as very poor himself, wasn't he, growing up.

Are there people in the country that still revere him or has he lost all of that credibility?

MCKENZIE: Well, I think he's lost a lot of credibility amongst the ordinary Zimbabweans, not necessarily because of what you describe but because of the dire economic situation in this country. People are really struggling here. There's a very -- there's a big challenge accessing cash in the country. Very few foreign reserves and sort of ordinary goods and services people struggle to get that even civil servants are often paid late, you know.

So, when it comes to people's back pockets they are pretty angry at the situation here. So while many who support the opposition or even the government wouldn't necessarily welcome something like a military coup. They might be breathing a sigh of relief if a -- it is a time for that they can reset the politics in Zimbabwe and try bringing in foreign investment and growth. Because really rank and file Zimbabweans are hurting right now even if the politicians are squabbling behind closed doors. Max?

FOSTER: OK. David in Harare, thank you. Later this hour we'll be speaking with the journalist. She's covered Zimbabwe extensively about what could happen next in the country since once seen as one of Africa's most promising state actually.

A defiant U.S. Senate, meanwhile, candidate is refusing to step aside despite a growing scandal and calls from his own Republican Party to leave the race. Roy Moore rejects the allegations several women are making about his sexual advances and misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his 30's.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported two more women came forward with their stories of unwanted attention from Moore. In his latest denial he went on the attacks saying, "I adamantly deny the allegations of Lee Corfman and Beverly Nelson, did not date underage girls, and have taken steps to begin a civil action for defamation."

Donald Trump is being careful to avoid questions about Roy Moore. One republican source says the U.S. president is worried about the specter of sexual misconduct allegations begins himself.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports now from the White House.

JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump weighed in on most everything today except the elephant in the room, Roy Moore Alabama's politically radioactive Senate candidate. As Republican Party leaders stew over Moore and the implications for control of the Senate the president is taking away and see approach.

In a diplomatic reception room at the White House the president did not talk about Moore, referring to talk at length about his 13-day trip to Asia.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America's renewed confidence and standing in the world has never been stronger than it is right now.


ZELENY: He stopped twice during his remarks, thirsty for a sip of water.


TRUMP: They don't have water, that's OK. What? That's OK.


ZELENY: Instantly drawing comparisons to Senator Marco Rubio's infamous water gulp from 2013. A moment that then candidate Trump delighted in resurrecting on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: When they put Marco on to refute President Obama's speech, do you remember that gets to astrophe and he's like this, and we will, I need water. Help me, I need water. Help. And he's -- this is on live television. This total choke artist it's Rubio.



ZELENY: In Asia, the president said he would make a major trade announcement when he return to the White House. He recounted his trip day by day but made no such announcement and he did not answer a question about Moore.


[03:10:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Moore -- should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President?


ZELENY: Republicans implore the president to weigh in and address the crisis facing a party.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: He's the head of the party; it's probably good if he'd say something.


ZELENY: After returning to the White House late Tuesday from Asia, the president instead return to Twitter taking aim at some of his favorite old targets in the news media. "It is actually hard to believe how naive or dumb the failing New York Times is when it comes to foreign policy, weak and ineffective," the president wrote on Twitter. "Never mind that presidents not newspapers set foreign policy."

But the flurry of tweets was a deflection from the central question in Washington, will republicans be able to push Moore aside?

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell spoke to Trump again today about removing Moore and hope to keeping the seat in republican hands. One option is putting forward Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a ride-in candidate. The former Alabama senator gave up his seat to join the Trump administration.


MITCH MCCONNELL, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: He's totally well-known and extremely popular in Alabama that obviously this would be a big move for him and for the president.


ZELENY: The president did not address Sessions scenario but aide say he is watching as leading conservatives add their voices to the controversy.

Sean Hannity who talks to the president frequently did just that on Fox News.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: For me, the judge has 24 hours, you immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies that I just showed. You must remove any doubt. If he can't do this then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.


ZELENY: Also on the president's mind today, seeking credit for the release of three UCLA basketball players who return to the U.S. after being arrested in China for allegedly stealing sunglasses. Mr. Trump intervene with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Do you think the three UCLA basketball players will say thank you, President Trump?" He wrote, "they were headed for 10 years in jail."

But a news conference in Los Angeles today all three players did just that.


LIANGELO BALL, UCLA BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'd also like to thank President Trump.

CODY RILEY, UCLA BASKETBALL PLAYER: And thank you to the United States government and President Trump.

To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf.


ZELENY: Now one of the reasons the president is not weighing is because he does not want this to become about his sexual allegations in the past. I am told by a republican close to this White House the president does not want to relitigate all of the charges that came up against him during his own presidential campaign.

Of course, several women have suits against Donald Trump over the years. The president does not want Roy Moore to stay on the ticket, he wants to move on and he wants republicans to keep control of the Senate, of course, but does not want to be talking about his own matters.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

FOSTER: Beverly Young Nelson alleges Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was just 16. Moore's attorney wants to have Nelson's yearbook analyzed to see if an inscription signed 'love, Roy Moore' is real or forged.


PHILLIP JAUREGUI, ROY MOORE'S ATTORNEY: We have an handwriting expert that's looking at those. But here's the problem. A handwriting expert can't look a copy on the internet, right? They got to look in original.

So, right now, Trenton Garmon, our attorney has sent a letter or sending a letter to Gloria Allred demanding that the yearbook be released. We'll send it to a neutral custodian who keep chain of custody, and our professional expert will examine it. And we'll find out is it genuine or it is a fraud.


FOSTER: Well, Moore's attorney also challenge Nelson and her lawyer Gloria Allred on their claim that Nelson never had contact with Moore again after the allege assault. He said Moore was the assigned judge on Nelson's divorce. Allred is pushing for a congressional hearing on Moore's candidacy and says the divorce question will be adjusted then.


GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: We will answer any and all questions about that issue and any issue that they would like to bring at the hearing which should be held within two weeks. If they do not have that hearing then we'll go to plan B and I will say at that time what Plan B is. So, I'm not going to comment on that.


FOSTER: Well, Alabama's election is December 12. All eyes around on that one.

Still to come, flash floods triggered by heavy rains in Greece that killed at least 13 and left people trapped in their homes.

Also ahead, the prime minister of Lebanon may fly to Paris in the coming days. But France's president says it's not an offer of exile.

Plus, President Trump ask China to put more pressure on North Korea, now Beijing is sending a top diplomat to Pyongyang. We'll explain the high-stakes behind that high-level visit.


FOSTER: Flash floods have killed 13 people now around Athens, Greece. Others are trapped in their homes without power or running water. A state of emergency has been declared in the west Attica region. Parts of the national highway system are d being destroyed and many other roads are shut down as well.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is following the story for us from the international weather center. Is it going to worse, Derek.

DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Yes. Max, there is more rain to come as the system continues to move very slowly across Greece, and basically much of the eastern Mediterranean.

Let's show you on Google maps just to show you up put this into perspective for you. The West Attica region and where Mandra is located. This is just about 25 kilometers to the west northwest of the city of Athens. And even if we zoom in a little bit closer take note of the topography across this area. It doesn't take much rainfall to pileup and funnel in and filter in to some of these rivers and all of the little valleys below.

So this is a very susceptible place to have a community, let alone a small village or city like this. Now the cleanup is going to continue for several days to come there. There are still people trapped in their homes. We know that there were over 80 swift water rescues that were attempted within the past 24 hours.

You can see some of the storm reports associated with the system that continues to churn across the Adriatic and into the Aegean Sea near Greece. We have had several reports of flash flooding, hail, strong wind damage and even a few isolated tornadoes as well.

There's the broader perspective of low pressure system. And what's interesting to note here as well, is that the storm has no steering currents in the upper levels in the atmosphere, meaning there's nothing really to push this thing away from Greece so it's going to hang around. In fact, it's going to move to the West and Northwest which is a term that meteorologist use I called retro grading.

And that shows that the system really has nowhere to go and it's here to stay. That means more rain is in the forecast. And that's exactly what we're predicting for the next day or so. In fact, we highlighted an area just west of Athens basically the same region West Attica where Mandra is located. The excessive rain, large hail, and isolated tornadoes a high probability for the rest of the day today.

How much more rain can we expect? Well, we do have our computer models indicated anywhere between 52, perhaps 150 millimeters of rain, this was a very localized flash flooding event. So, any of these slow- moving thunderstorms could again pileup this rainfall very quickly in the mountainous terrain and funnel it right down into the valleys and villages below creating more scenes like this.

So, Max, it looks as if unfortunately flash flooding and excessive rainfall still in the future for Athens at least through the course of the weekend.

Back to you.

FOSTER: Ok. We'll be watching it. Derek, thank you very much indeed.


FOSTER: Recovering from hurricane Maria remains a huge challenge with power still plaguing in the Caribbean islands nearly two months now after the storm. The light went out throughout San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday on the same day the island's governor celebrated the return of power to 50 percent capacity.

[03:19:55] Officials say the source of the outage was the same transmission line but failed last Thursday. The Island of Dominica is also struggling with power. A spokesman for the prime minister says 96 percent of customers there still don't have electricity.

Britain's Prince Charles is set to visit Dominica in the coming days along with Antigua and Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands.

Twelve Days after abruptly resigning as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's prolonged stay in Saudi Arabia still has no explanation. His own government claims he is being held hostage which the Saudis deny. Hariri himself says he's fine and wil1 return to Lebanon God willing.

Now it looks like Hariri might leave Riyadh to Paris.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has the latest. BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: An attack on our independence is how Lebanese President Michel Aoun described to a group of journalists in Beirut Wednesday, the continued detention, in his words, of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia.

President Aoun Christian political ally of Hezbollah described Hariri as a hostage.

On the 4th of November from Riyadh Hariri suddenly announced his resignation accusing Iran of interfering in his country's affairs claiming there's a threat against his life.

Sunday evening, he spoke publicly for the first time since resigning to his own television station Future TV from his villa at Saudi capital. Journalist Paula Yacoubian grilled him about when he will return and eventually he said in two or three days. That was three days ago.

We spoke to Yacoubian in Beirut.


WEDEMAN: You have no indication whether he can leave the walls of his villa.

PAULA YACOUBIAN, LEBANESE JOURNALIST: I cannot confirm 100 percent if he is a free man or not. What I saw, I saw a man who was in his house comfortable just, you know, talking to everyone dealing normally.


WEDEMAN: Since the interview Hariri has emerged ever so slightly from his isolation. Tuesday afternoon tweeting for the first time in more than a week that he is very well and will come back in two days, tweeting again Wednesday "I will return to beloved Lebanon God willing as I promised you."

In another twist a spokesman for the French president says Hariri will fly to Paris in the coming days until he actually leaves Saudi Arabia. The curious case of Lebanon's missing former Prime Minister turns on.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.

FOSTER: Journalist followed up with French President Emmanuel Macron who is attending the U.N. climate conference in bone -- Bonne, rather, in Germany. He was asked if he was offering political exile to the Lebanese prime minister and here is what Mr. Macron had to say to that.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): No, not at all. I actually hope the situation in Lebanon fully calms and that political decisions can be made in accordance with its institutions. We need a strong Lebanon, as well as territorial integrity in Lebanon and leaders who are free in their choices in expressing them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, it's still not known if or when Hariri might leave Saudi Arabia for France or anywhere else in fact, for now he remains at his private residence in Riyadh.

Now on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump visit to Asia during which North Korea was frequently discussed, China is now sending a special envoy to Pyongyang. He is due to arrive there on Friday. An speculation this senior Chinese diplomat may carry a message to North Korean leader from President Xi Jinping.

CNN's Brian Todd has our report.

BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: North Korea's brash young dictator could soon get some arm-twisting from his most important ally. China says it's sending a special envoy to North Korea. It comes in the wake of what experts say has been near hostility between Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping.


JONATHAN POLLACK, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: North Korean officials saying we don't we don't trust China; we didn't expect to play any kind of a major role here. In one context Xi Jinping was accused of betraying North Korea.


TODD: Experts say the Chinese president himself to test Kim Jong-un for his reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons.


POLLACK: He really, really dislikes young Kim. He feels that Kim is doing nothing but creating bigger risks for China, bigger dangers for the region and that Kim isn't listening to anyone.


TODD: Did the Trump team coordinate the Chinese envoy's visit to Pyongyang to build on the president's trip to Asia, the White House and State Department aren't commenting. Experts say in Pyongyang the Chinese diplomat may press the Trump administration's message, may try to get Kim to at least pause his weapons buildup, but they say the Chinese will never exert all their might on Kim to give up his nukes and they'll never squeeze him out of power.

[03:25:03] A collapse Kim's regime, analysts say is China's biggest fear.


ANDREW SHEARER, FORMER AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: China would obviously be concerned about refugee uploads. It would be concerned about loose nukes as it were, where what happens to those nuclear weapons that the Kim regime has developed, but even more fundamentally it would be concerned about the potential for reunification of the Korean Peninsula on democratic terms.


TODD: At the same time, Kim welcomes the Chinese diplomat. He's hurling more insults at President Trump. His regime calling the president an old lunatic, a mean trickster. Still, resentful of Trump's personal salvos about Kim's ambitions.


TRUMP: A dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail.


TRODD: And a front to the dignity of the supreme leader that experts say can't go unanswered.


POLLACK: The North Koreans clearly take great offense at things that attack Kim Jong-un personally, so at the end of day the North Koreans feel that they have to protect the sort of eternal wisdom of the Kim family and of the regime and the dynasty that they have built. So those kinds of words bite.


TODD: And there is another potential piece of fallout here. Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials and even President Trump have implied recently that they could someday sit down and negotiate with Kim Jong-un's regime. Experts say all these personal insults back and forth are starting to erode the possibility of that.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

FOSTER: Now the U.S. will now allow American big-game hunters to import their elephant trophies from two African nations. The restrictions were imposed by the Obama administration in 2014 in response to declining elephant populations but now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will remove those barriers on trophies from elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In justifying the move an agency spokesman says the large fees paid by hunters will help fund wildlife conservation programs in those countries.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe once claimed only God can remove him from office. But now political change may be coming his way not from Divine intervention but from the military. Details next.

Plus, Venezuela gets the financial lifeline from half way around the world. Who's pitching in to boost the bolivar, still ahead.


FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster. Let's update you on our top stories this hour.

After Zimbabwe's military took over the country a member of the opposition party tells CNN the transition of power appears to be a done deal.

[03:30:01] The source says a transitional government will need to include the opposition. The political future of President Robert Mugabe is now uncertain. The 93-year-old is said to be on the house arrest after ruling for almost four decades.

President Trump says his trip to Asia is restored the U.S. standing in the world and made it clear that America is back. His claiming progress on trade and fighting terrorism and uniting the world against the nuclear threat in North Korea. Alabama embattles senate candidate showing no signs of giving up the fight, despite growing calls for him to step down. The Washington Post reports two more women to come forward accusing Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual behavior. At least seven women have now made accusations, Moore's attorney is challenging the credibility of one accuser that suggesting a signature in her yearbook is fake.

Flash floods skilled 13 people around Athens Greece, others are trapped in their homes without power or running water. A state of emergency had been declared in the West Africa region parts of the National Highway system that had been destroyed and many other roads shutdown as well.

More on our top stories. The military takeover in Zimbabwe of the country used to be one of Africa's most promising states. It was once a major agriculture power house known as Africa's red basket now Zimbabwe first economy has disintegrated and critics blame President Mugabe for the economic collapse. For much of this 37 year rule, Robert Mugabe presided a cash-strapped economy with traditionally high inflation and poverty. The down slide accelerated back in 2000 when the Mugabe governments began violent seizures that mostly white owned commercial farmland once the backbone of the economy. The lands were redistributed to inexperienced farmers and political cronies, the end result was that the economy collapsed hyperinflation and ensued rendering Zimbabwe currency almost worthless. Empty store shelves became a common scene and unemployment soared now estimated at between 75 to 95 percent. Journalist Geoff Hill is the author of "What happens after Mugabe" can Zimbabwe rise in the ashes? Geoff joins us now via skype in Germany. Thanks for joining us. First of all just take us back to the 80's and how Mugabe came to power on his wave of support and he was the great promise, wasn't he? For the country and part of a big movement in Africa as well.

GEOFF HILL, AUTHOR, WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MUGABE: Max indeed. He came power at the end of the Civil War, his promise reconciliation, but of course within the first 18 months he nationalized the press and within three years he was conducting genocide against the tribes in Matabeleland in order to consolidate his base. It was during that time that the British and Americans and pretty much everybody else didn't criticize him and one longest year in which you believe that he could get away with anything.

FOSTER: So over the course of his reign, we will call it that. How would you describe of his damage to the country? What did he do that shut the country down?

HILL: His key problem was exactly what you said. The seizure of land which is divide up into small sub economic pockets of 10 hectares and distributed out to young people. A bit like taking the unemployment of London and giving the meteor block there. This are people who through his wonderful education system had learn Shakespeare, could do Algebra and we are not being told to grow pumpkins and keep goats. And that is when saw the flood of young qualified people leaving the country. They certainly want to go to on to land, this are people that o levels and a levels, thanks to Mugabe's education system.

FOSTER: And in more recent years the traits of a succession plan, as Vice President quit popular, who is going to take over, what happen there? How did end up leaving the country and his wife effectively and stepping in to that Vice Presidential role?

HILL: Max, one after the other he is vice president and the people around him were strange by Mugabe who wanted to take over from her husband and it is - nobody knows whether it is her or that he wants a safe pair of hands. We talked about this genocide those worries when you step down and just become Mr. instead of head of state, that you could be put on trial. Maybe he wanted a safe pair of hands and he thought that was his wife. Either way it was a very unpopular move in the nation.

FOSTER: And so she is now out of the country as we understand it. So is the vice president and the government has orchestrated this on. Would you describe it is a coup, first of all?

HILL: It is a coup. It is a coup you have when you are not having a coup. The military is in charge, but a very quickly promise to restore the country to democracy. Something Zimbabwe hast seen for a long time. With first elections and the government controlling so much of the media.

[03:35:00] FOSTER: So what you understand the process to be right now, they are effectively saying to leaving politicians, form a new government or are they trying to restore their own leaders.

HILL: Max, from what I understand they want to have a very inclusive governments, possibly even with Morgan (inaudible) the very ill but very able leader of the opposition becoming his vice president, a government of national unity. The African union has made very clear and United Nations, they will not accept coup. And so they will need to be a process to a very quick transparent elections and Britain of course didn't recognize the un-American recognize the legitimacy of the most recent election a legitimate election that will install a government that seem as the will of the people and then getting on to, even now getting on to what you said used unemployment to has to be something done to cut down this massive level of youth unemployment.

FOSTER: And what happens to Mugabe and his family? HILL: It will hard, I imagine them to stay in the country. Mugabe

moves around with bodyguards and a motorcade. A motorcade bigger than President Trump. He is not able to move among the people, if he did there will be a high chance for him being assaulted. He is deeply popular especially in the cities and so I think it would be very difficult for him to stay inside the country. We have seen this before when Steve left Haiti when leaders (inaudible) from Congo, they had to leave the country, they will not be able to stay inside and I suspect the same thing, I suspect that he will go to Libya, maybe to South Africa and be very surprise for his safety if he stayed inside the country.

FOSTER: How would you think leaving Africa and United States will look on this, will they get involve or you know we do get those elections early on, they allow things to play out.

HILL: They need desperately to get involved, they need to get the restoration of things as basic as electricity. Zimbabwe has huge coal reserves, they cannot been use for the electricity, because the system has broken down. Very hard to both factories and industries, again going back to unemployment and the electricity. This are the basic things, clean drinking water, the refilling system is there, but the waters are not flowing. American, Britain, South Africa can help with basic things like that.

FOSTER: Geoff Hill, I appreciate your time, thank you very much indeed. Now Venezuela (inaudible) as well, with food and medicine I short supply, up next how Russia is coming to the rescue there. Plus could Russia be found in the winter Olympics the latest from a meeting of the world and (inaudible) agency.


FOSTER: The world anti-(inaudible) agency ruled a short while ago. The Russia remains non-compliance with anti-dote and regulations and this Russian athletes could possibly be ban from the Winter Olympics next February in South Korea. The decision came out of the agency board met with the Russian Olympic committee president and a sports minister. Russia's own anti-dote agency is what the question here has been deem noncompliance since the 2015 report. Detailing what it called state sponsored doping program of grand scale and ambition. Russia's denied that.

[03:40:20] International Olympic committee another final word was at least six months in Switzerland. Venezuela's has been spiraling out of control for years now, but now Russia is coming to the rescue. Venezuela's vice president for the economy announced the problem is restructuring more than $3 billion in debt payments. Function come soon enough in Tuesday the U.S. credit rating agencies declared Venezuela and its state run Oil Company in default and we have seen plenty of evidence of Venezuela is at its economic breaking point. Long lines that the staples all the normal this year of people wait for hours and often leave empty handed. Medicine is in short supply leaving many with treatable illnesses to die.

Venezuela's currencies has become virtually worthless once averaging 62 Boulevard to the US dollar today. Since that number more than 60,000 boulevards to the dollar this month. Today much is worst, the country is also running out of cash, it only got $9.7 billion left in its reserves. Compared to $30 billion in 2011 with debt topping $196 billion. Defaulting on its debt payments was virtually inevitable terminology Diego Moya-Ocampos, she is the senior analyst with IHS a country risk. Thanks for joining us. What happens when a country runs out of money to compare stats?

DIEGO MOYA-OCAMPOS, SENIOR ANALYST, AMERICAN IHS: What happens is what we are seeing right now very serious shortages of food from basic goods, lack of medicine, people starving people dying as a result of lack of medicine and the surprising thing here is the government has not shown any signs of changing the direction of economic policies. And so far the issue within the opposition made up these regime change unlikely in the one year outlook.

FOSTER: So they made money from somewhere and now they are getting it from Russia. It is a new thing is it? But they just announce the new deal.

MOYA-OCAMPOS: Yes. Absolutely. I mean what is clear from this situation is that the more difficult it is for Venezuela on international trade, the more difficult it is for them to accept funding, the more Venezuela will rely on credit from China and from Russia. When it comes to rushing particular I don't see how Russia which is under pressure itself can do much to elevate the Venezuela's solution. While we can see from Rochester to leave the country Russia which is trying to consolidate and secure more oil assets in the country. Certainly we see a restructuring and eating the sanctions made more difficult for Venezuela to operate and to export oil as a result of (inaudible). We could see Russia possibly playing a role in trying to transport or sale in Venezuelan oil, but other than that, we don't see how Russia could alleviate Venezuela under pressure finances.

FOSTER: What is it for Russia, the make much money from this all in terms of the debts, are they also looking at something more strategic?

MOYA-OCAMPOS: Well Russia have been trying to consolidate their position, their defense industry in Venezuela until 2012. They have sold 11 billion in weapons to Venezuela, making Venezuela the largest (inaudible) in the Latin America over Russian equipment and asked economic problems started to affect the countries. The country has move millions to Russia to try to sort of secure oil asset in Venezuela so that is what type of relations which we seem moving forward trying to also secure more and more assets there in terms of the oil sector. Something which is also down, because more sanctions are coming, more sanctions from the U.S. which could involve the oil sector, there's more sanctions coming from the E.U. There is more sanctions potentially coming from our Euro partners. The situation is becoming increasingly difficult for Venezuela's oil sector and these is crucial, because Venezuela depends on the oil sector. 50 percent of physical revenues, 25 percent of GDP and 96 percent of foreign exchange comes from the oil sector, so certainly the outlook is quite blooming for Venezuela. FOSTER: It is an interesting test base, because normally, this sort

of defaults are handle by the some management fund right or other Westerner Institution, but now we are seeing them negotiate a different way of Russia involve, China sometimes?

[03:45:12] MOYA-OCAMPOS: Absolutely, the normal thing with the country the (inaudible) like the case in Venezuela, the country will go to the IMF. The problem with Venezuela with the IMF is an ideological one. The country (inaudible) late president (inaudible) successor refuses to go to IMF is an ideological issue. Basically I think the main problem is that (inaudible) is so unpopular in the country that he does not have the legitimacy, the popular support to conduct the radical economic policies that need to be taken. The U- turn that need to be taken in Venezuela to sort of alleviate the economic situation. I think that the key thing which is concerning market investors. The Venezuela's announcing, our instruction if his dead, but so far there is no credible plan in the table to reassure markets an investors over how are they going to pay the 60 billion debt. And obviously as you are saying Max, the country is increasingly relying on support from Russia and from China which seems to be a more pragmatic position in to were Venezuela as well.

FOSTER: OK. Diego Moya-Ocampos, thank you very much for your analysis today. Next in our CNN news, President Trump search for water baffle, stole the show over the White House on Wednesday.


FOSTER: 500 million Euro painting of Jesus has become the most expensive artwork ever to sell at auction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $400 million. It is with Alex at $400 million. And the piece is sold.


FOSTER: All together the Leonardo Da Vinci painting fetch more than $450 million including fees. Christie's is there in New York, the auction house hasn't identified the buyer, and it was bid by phone. The piece called Salvator Mundi as you heard, it is one of only handful known paintings by Da Vinci. Sold here in London in 1958 for 45 pounds.

Meanwhile another Leonardo masterpiece is getting a new home in the two years of portrait of an unknown woman, it moves from Europe to Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of 600 art pieces on display at the new museum. Becky Anderson takes a closer look.


BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: Mona Lisa smile flaws millions of visitors in the Louvre each year. There is another portrait of a woman. Leonardo Da Vinci just down the corridor every bit has seductive. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody knows that the Mona Lisa, (inaudible) is

really one of his masterpieces.

ANDERSON: There some debate about the woman's identity. Most agreed detailing of her expression an extraordinary brush work make this a masterpiece of art.

[03:50:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is one of his better portraits, because it is really one of his portrait where he tried to paint the movement of the body. And also the movement of the mind.

ANDERSON: Now the painting itself is moving. Heading on a journey to her new home for the next two years. 5,000 kilometers away Louvre Abu Dhabi. (Inaudible) will be one of more than 600 artworks on display at the museum. All of it they hope tell the tale of humanity over the ages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the story of what makes us who we are today, the story of humans. Where we were, how we develop.

ANDERSON: Shawnee's job is to tell that story through the art. He is the chief curator here, a missing installations in 23 galleries. Objects position to show moments of universal dialogue between civilizations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question of (inaudible) very important to question. It is very courageous to open a museum, talking about the diversity in the future diversity of the world today here in the region.

ANDERSON: Louvre Abu Dhabi has an extensive permanence collection from all over the world, many pieces going back thousands of years. Have a look at this. This is one of the oldest artwork, this is the back trim princess from central Asia.

They also got a number of loans from French museum, everything from Mo Naugh to Van Gough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A massive collection that the Louvre Abu Dhabi has to this point, in the amount of time they had is remarkable.

ANDERSON: The cultural partnership between France and the UAE had created the Louvre Abu Dhabi provides a long-term loans from French Museum for a decade. Loans like that (inaudible). Although they are not happy to see her go, they know she will attract visitors with new universal museum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a wonderful lady and I'm sure everybody was falling in love with this girl. Becky Anderson CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEO) FOSTER: Now U.S. Senator Marco Rubio maybe having the last laugh at

President Trump expense on Wednesday Mr. Trump sent the media in to frenzy noticeably interrupting speech to take a sip water. It is a move Trump had mock Rubio for doing during the 2016 presidential campaign. Jeanne Moos has more on the political water fight. (BEGIN VIDEO)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump didn't have to eat his words he had to drink them, 11 minutes in his speech his mouth got dry, and a few seconds later...


MOOS: The president disappeared.

TRUMP: Can I have water if that is OK.

MOOS: Reporters pointed to a small table next to the lectern is what reporters pointed to a small table next to turn to the lectern, to your right, sir. Said one. Now the president is stopping his speech to swig from a bottle of water would be no huge deal if you haven't done this back during the campaign.

TRUMP: It is Rubio.

MOOS: Passing water around the stage he imitated Senator Marco Rubio and then lob the entire bottle.

TRUMP: I need water, help me. I need water. Help. Well this is live television.

MOOS: Then candidate Trump was mocking Rubio for the time Rubio desperately gulp down water while he was delivering the Republican response to the state of the union. What did Rubio say about Trumps parched moment, similar but needs work on his form, has to be done in one single motion and I should never leave the camera, but not bad for his first time pretty well considering what Trump called him.

TRUMP: You are a joker.

MOOS: Rubio guzzled made in the USA Poland Spring while the president trying to import Fiji water noted one reporter Trump drinks Fiji water while decrying trade deficits this year the U.S. has a $119 million deficit with Fiji. After Rubio Dr. Dre Trump imitated him.

TRUMP: I said where is he?

[03:55:00] MOOS: Where are you? The daily show commemorated Trumps- Rubio moment tweeting President Trump official portrait unveiled, you are looking at proof that water is never under the bridge. Jeanne Moo CNN.

FOSTER: There is assault there either as you might imagine. Late comedians in the U.S. can done enough at President Trump's photograph.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't always drink of water, but when I do, I look super weird. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that? He is usually confuse by the things coming out of his Trump's mouth.


Who even drinks like that? He looks like one of the robots on the Pirates of Caribbean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: insulting about a subject he is bringing job back to America, he is drinking a bottle of water from Fiji water. You should be drinking American water during the speech about American I think is a very good job of summing the man up right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish when he was still looking for water and he was really dry I wish at that moment people from Puerto Rico would come out and sort of throwing water bottles.


FOSTER: President Trump not gaining any politician gain, he is right now. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife were on social media after posting the sheets of money on Wednesday. You may recall the multimillionaire couple through criticism earlier this year. When it was posted a photo on Instagram, taunting a design of water while stepping on a flag, paid full by taxpayers. Many argued the couple was out of touch with the average American and now that the bucket of jokes for these new photos, take a look.

This one says, why the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and his wife insist of posting for photos that make them look like (inaudible). Here is another one. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin recreates his marriage proposal to wife on a visit to the Bureau of engraving and printing and a romantic one for you. Find someone who looks at you the way your wife looks Steve Mnuchin holds a sheet of dollar bills with their names on them.

You are watching CNN newsroom, I am Max Foster. We will be back with more news from around the world after this short break.