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France, Britain Angry over Trump NRA Remarks; Lebanon Votes; Hawaii Volcano; Indian Teen Raped and Burned to Death; Alex Ferguson Recovering after Emergency Surgery. Aired 12m-12:30a ET

Aired May 6, 2018 - 00:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): U.S. president Donald Trump draws criticism in France and Britain after his comments at the National Rifle Association meeting but the leaders of those two countries are staying quiet for now. We'll be asking why.

After years of delay, Lebanon heads into its first parliament vote in almost a decade and the election could see Hezbollah expand its power.

Plus one of the greatest managers in football history in intensive care. Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson recovering from brain hemorrhage.

Live from CNN Center, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.


VANIER: U.S. president Donald Trump angering not one but two of America's closest allies. France is upset over comments Mr. Trump made about the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. At least 130 people were killed at the time, hundreds more were wounded.

Mr. Trump was speaking at a convention of the largest gun rights organization in the U.S., the National Rifle Association or NRA on Friday. He said this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They took their time and gunned them down one by one -- boom, come over here, boom, come over here, boom. If you were in those rooms, one of those people -- and the survivors said it just lasted forever.

But, if one employee or just one patron had a gun or if one person in this room had been there with a gun, aimed at the opposite direction, the terrorists would have fled.


VANIER: Francois Hollande was France's president of the time of those attacks and he called Mr. Trump's comments, quote, "shameful. The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing its firm disapproval and also called for the respect of the memory of the victims.

In the same speech, Mr. Trump also angered Britain, saying Britain had a knife problem. At one point he compared a London hospital to a war zone, saying the floors were covered in blood from knife attack victims.

Let's talk to Daniel Lippman about this. He's a reporter at "Politico" and co-author of the daily newsletter, "Playbook."

Daniel, there's criticism in France. There's criticism in Britain of Mr. Trump's comments as you would expect, given what he said. And I'll just read you another one. You heard the French president just now. I'll read you another one.

This comes from a former British Justice Secretary Charlie Falconer, "U.S. murder rate over five times higher than the U.K.'s. There isn't a person in the whole world, with the possible exception of the President of the United States -- and he's probably lying -- who believes the way to reduce our murder rate is to make it easier to get guns."

What I'm noticing, Daniel, is none of the criticism is actually coming from the very, very top, from Downing Street or even from the French presidency.

So do you think they're giving him a pass on this?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, "POLITICO": I think they see it as a way to avoid antagonizing Mr. Trump if they don't criticize them because they think that if they do so then he would lash out and put on tariffs or attack their country rhetorically.

You saw any time that a country gets in a argument with President Trump, he often does something like that. So they are trying to forestall that and try to have this blow over and have former leaders of their country do their dirty work for them.

VANIER: So essentially you're saying they've got their hands tied because they're talking about Iran, because they're talking about tariffs and they've got deadlines on those key issues coming up. They've got their hands tied.

LIPPMAN: Yes, the deadline for the Iran deal is May 12th. And the French leader, Macron, he had a pretty successful visit to the U.S. only in the last two weeks. And so he doesn't want to make it much more difficult for Trump to ally himself on the Iranian nuclear deal.

He sees that as very important for France's national security and Europe's well-being that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon. This was the crowning achievement for Europe to strike this deal with Obama and Iran a couple years ago and they don't want President Trump to disrupt it. And so they're willing to take occasional lapses in Trump's language on their two countries For overall national security and foreign policy goals.

VANIER: Yes, the bromance, the Trump-Macron bromance will have to allow for that kind of thing. By the way --


VANIER: -- do you think this could endanger Mr. Trump's visit to Britain that is now scheduled for July?

These inflammatory comments are exactly what got -- drew the ire of the British public and that led the British authorities to postpone or stave off any kind of visit from Mr. Trump until now?

LIPPMAN: I don't think that visit is in jeopardy but Trump is not going to get the best reception when he does visit the U.K. He was also wanting an invitation from London to really feel like he was very welcoming. But he is not winning over the U.K. public with these comments.

They seem like they are totally ridiculous to many foreign policy experts because how are we trying to -- how do we get the U.K. and France on our side when the U.S. president is making mocking hand gestures when hundreds of people died in terrorist attacks in France and the U.K. in the last dozen years?

Just imagine if President Obama did something like that. The Europeans would rightly criticize Obama.

VANIER: Daniel Lippman, thank you for joining us today. Always a pleasure speaking to you.

President Trump did speak with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday. We don't know if they discussed Mr. Trump's NRA comments. They did talk about North Korea, Iran, China, trade, and Mr. Trump's upcoming trip to Britain.

The U.K.'s foreign secretary Boris Johnson arrives in the U.S. in the coming hours and he'll be meeting with vice president Mike Pence as well as national security advisor John Bolton.

With a summit looming between the U.S. and North Korea, we continue to follow the fate of three Americans detained by that country. On Saturday one of President Trump's attorneys said there was a good chance the men would be released over the next several days.

Rudy Giuliani later said that he didn't -- he did not have any new information to back up his prediction. Last Thursday Giuliani erroneously stated that the detainees were to be freed that very day.

For the first time in almost a decade, the Lebanese are voting for their next parliament. Polls have just opened. The Saudi-backed prime minister, Saad Hariri, is expected to be able to form a new government but he will face pressure from Iran's ally, Hezbollah, as it looks to make it to make gains.

Regional power struggles aren't the only issues at play here. For the first time in Lebanon's history, candidates are promoting gay rights. Nearly 100 are calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

For more on this, I am joined by -- from Beirut by Ben Hubbard. He's a Middle East correspondent for "The New York Times."

Ben, so the first thing about these elections that you have to note is that they have been stalled for so long, for years.

What made this vote possible?

BEN HUBBARD, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, it is just basically that the people who are in parliament decided it was time to have another election. Last elections were 2009. It was supposed to be a four- year term. They decided that the situation in the country was much too unsure to have an election.

So they basically reelected themselves twice. And then finally it got to a point where they were able -- then we have a whole other period of more than two years, where we didn't have a president because the members of parliament could not agree on how to put a president in place.

And then finally they got around to passing a new electoral law and that paved way for the elections that we'll have today.

VANIER: What has the campaign looked like?

HUBBARD: There's been lots and lots of pollsters. There's been lots and lots of TV commercials, people that are candidates appearing on air. But I think what would look very different than what most Americans would expect is this very -- there are very few debates. There's very few. This is much more of a -- this is a sectarian-based political system.

So people vote much more just based on affiliation than they do based on whose program is offering this or whose program is offering that. There's much less focus on specific issues or for specific programs than we would see in the United States.

VANIER: It's a pretty tribal political landscape. Shiites, the Sunnis, the Christians.

Where does the center of gravity lie right now, you think?

HUBBARD: Well, one thing that is going to make the election very exciting is we don't exactly know. So we're operating according to new rules. There is a new electoral law that was passed.

So just the way that the elections will be held is going to be new and so nobody really knows. It's just like playing any old game with a set of new rules. We still don't know exactly what's going to happen. The other unsure factor, since it's been nine years since the last

election, you have somewhere around 700,000 or 800,000 people, new electees, new voters, people who have come of age in the last nine years who are to be voting this year.

So there's a lot of people who suspect that they could choose to make their decisions differently than their parents would have. So we don't really know what's going to happen. So the election makes quite an exciting day today for Lebanon.

VANIER: And I think back to earlier this year, Saad Hariri, the leader of the Sunni camp, had got a boost in popularity after he had been held in Saudi Arabia.


VANIER: Is that, you think, going to help him going into these elections?

HUBBARD: I don't think we really know. I think what it really did was it made people -- what we did is see a boost of Lebanese nationalism, people saying, OK, this is a country that for a long time has been a playground for foreign powers.

There's always been lots of foreign influence here, whether from the Saudis, whether from Iran, whether from Western nations. But I think that what happens is Saad Hariri made a lot of Lebanese people say, wait, this is just too much.

So how much that popularity boosts (INAUDIBLE) until today I just don't think we'll know until the results come out.

VANIER: All right, we'll have to wait and see. Find out who comes out. Ben Hubbard of "The New York Times," thank you very much for joining us on the show. We appreciate it.

An island paradise of Hawaii is anything but paradise. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within five minutes there was a 3-foot wall of lava on the street.


VANIER: Coming up we will find out if any hope is in sight for Hawaiians being chase from their homes by molten lava.

Plus: a debut fit for a king or at least a prince. Kensington Palace releases the first official photos of Prince Louis. We will give you a good look, of course. Stay with us.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VANIER: Frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and toxic gas are

all rattling Hawaii's big island. Hundreds of residents have fled from this dangerous display of red-hot lava, pouring from cracks in the ground right in their neighborhoods.

And officials say there's no sign that the Kilauea volcano is slowing down. CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Hawaii with the latest.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nothing really prepares you for the thunderous eruption of the lava out of these fissures here near Hilo, Hawaii. They are loud and they're impacted, too, with the gas, the sulfur dioxide that is erupting as well out of these fissures, shooting very high up in the sky.

And on top of that, the magma, which is so intense, an orange that's so intense it almost looks like your eyes are fooling you when you look at it, all of that is part of the reason why they have expanded the perimeter that they're telling residents that they need to stay away from.

Because imagine something like this opening up on your street, right by your house. That's what happened to Steve Gebbie (ph). And he doesn't know the house that he built by himself with his own hands -- he's a carpenter by trade -- he doesn't know whether or not it is still standing. Take a listen to what he said.


STEVE GEBBIE (PH), LEILANI ESTATES RESIDENT: Yesterday, everybody looked like "The Beverly Hillbillies." Everybody had everything in their trucks and on the run. Now this is the first morning after evacuation. And now it's time to figure out what the future brings.


ELAM: And for many of these residents, while the fissures are a huge fear, that sulfur dioxide is a major concern. When you get close to it, it takes your breath away when the wind changes. It's not something that they want anyone to even be around, including --


ELAM: -- their first responders. So they've expanded the perimeter around where these fissures have opened. You can even see it in some places, where this white smoke is billowing across the roadways.

So that's part of the concern and then there's still the issue of earthquakes that have been rocking this part of the island. One as big as 6.9, that knocked out power to thousands of residents in the area.

But all of this, all of this that is happening is what is of concern to people who are studying this volcano. They don't know where the next fissure may open, but they do expect that more will open. So because of that, they are asking residents to stay away -- back to you.



VANIER: A barbaric crime in India attracting international attention, in part because of how the village council has handled the case. This involves the alleged kidnapping and gang-rape of a teenage girl last Thursday. But when her family demanded justice, the next day, the story took an even more gruesome turn. CNN's Nikhil Kumar is in New Delhi with these disturbing details.

First, bring us up to speed with what's happened since Thursday, where we are in this case.

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Cyril, disturbing is absolutely the right word for these allegations. On Thursday, as you say, is when this alleged kidnapping, gang-rape and attack on this 16- year-old girl in the northeast in the state of Charcan (ph), it's in the northeastern part of the country, it's a remote state, mostly rural, quite poor.

That's when this is supposed to have taken place. The day after, the family of the girl approached the local village council. They don't have any legal authority but these councils tend to be made up of village elders. They tend to adjudicate local disputes.

The family went to them, seeking a resolution and seeking justice for the girl. The village council in response imposed a penalty of 50,000 rupees, which is only on about $750 and 10 sit-ups on the men that the family alleged committed the crime.

The family was enraged by this. But the accused were also angry that the family, in fact, approached the village council in the first place and are they are alleged to have then attacked the family's home, which is when the girl is alleged to have died.

She was -- the allegation is that she was burned to death when these men attacked the home. And now the case is with the police. The family then went to the local --


KUMAR: -- police authorities, who have now arrested 15 men accused of this crime, 15 out of 20 and they are investigating the case now -- Cyril.

VANIER: Is it typical for the family to go and see the council as supposed to go and see police first?

KUMAR: Cyril, in rural India, it would not be untypical that they went to the local village council, local elders with the complaint first. But they were so enraged that they went to the police.

And it's the context of this that I think is really important. You know, this come after weeks of renewed attention on the problem of sexual violence in India. Just a couple weeks ago, we had a story from further north in India, the state of Jammu in Kashmir, where an 8-year-old girl is alleged to have been kidnapped, gang-raped and then brutally murdered earlier in January.

There was another case that also attracted a lot of attention over the last couple of weeks involving another 16-year-old in the northern state of (INAUDIBLE), where a local lawmaker is alleged to have attacked and raped her last June.

And he was only arrested a few weeks ago, following lots of public outrage. So the context I think is very, very important and the top elected official in this state, where this latest crime is alleged to have taken place, has publicly called for the authorities to pursue this case, to investigate, to find out what already happened and to make sure the culprits do not get away -- Cyril.

VANIER: Nikhil Kumar, thanks for the updates on this. It is truly gruesome and an important story to cover. Stay with us. We'll be back after this.




VANIER: One of the most decorated and successful managers in the history of football, Sir Alex Ferguson, is recovering after emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage and messages of support are pouring in from across the sports and entertainment world.

Ferguson managed Manchester United for more than a quarter century. The club says his surgery went very well, but he will need a period of intensive care. Real Madrid superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, posted this photo of him and Sir Alex, his former manager.

Ronaldo writes, "My thoughts and prayers are with you, my dear friend. Be strong, boss."

CNN's Patrick Snell has more.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex Ferguson is no doubt the most successful football manager in British history and news of his hospitalization on Saturday sending shockwaves, not just in the U.K. but all across the football world.

Manchester United, the club where he managed for 26 years, giving CNN an update on the 76-year-old's condition.

It read, "Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain hemorrhage. The procedure has gone very well, but he needs a period of intensive care to optimize his recovery. His family request privacy in this matter. "We will keep Sir Alex and his loved ones in our thoughts during this time and we are united in our wish to see him make a comfortable, speedy recovery."

But it was less than a week ago the football world saw the Scotsman in public at Old Trafford when he came out onto the pitch to present longtime rival and outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with a commemorative vase to mark the Frenchman's 22-year reign at the Gunners. Ferguson has been a regular presence at United games since his retirement.

The five-year anniversary of which falls next week. Alex Ferguson started out in the game as a player, but it was as a manager that he enjoyed huge success, having won three Scottish titles at Aberdeen. He made the move to Manchester United in 1986, where he would remain in charge --


SNELL: -- until his retirement in 2013. That's over a quarter of a century at the helm of one of the world's biggest football clubs. He won a total of 38 trophies during a period of sustained domestic dominance for the Old Trafford club, which saw him win 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and he was twice a winner of the prestigious European Champions League as well.

The Scot was known as a fighter throughout his brilliant career. And now the worldwide football community is hoping he can keep his fight going and get back to watching the team that he loves soon -- Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.


VANIER: Let me run you through some of the well wishes coming in. David Beckham posted on Instagram this picture from when he signed with Ferguson as a teenager.

The caption reads, "Keep fighting, boss. Sending prayers and love to Cathy and the whole family."

And Manchester United player Michael Carrick writes on Twitter, "Absolutely devastated to hear about Sir Alex being unwell in hospital. All my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Be strong, boss."

That's a word that comes up often.

Former British footballer, Gary Lineker, sent this message, "Very sorry to hear the news that Sir Alex Ferguson is seriously ill in hospital. Wish him all the very best."

And here's Scottish first Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

"My thoughts are with Alex Ferguson and his family, wishing him a full and speedy recovery." Kensington Palace has released the first official photos of the

littlest royal. We promised it, here it is. In the first one, Prince Louis cuddling with his sister, Princess Charlotte.

And here's the second one. So that first one was taken on Wednesday, when the family was celebrating her third birthday. The other photo, this one, shows Prince Louis when he was just 3 days old.

Also this, before we wrap up the show, race favorite Justify won the Kentucky Derby, conquering rain and mud and taking the lead in the final turn. The Run for the Roses is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the United States and this year it was also the wettest race in the event's history.

There you go. That's it from us this half-hour. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. We are back in the headlines as always in just a moment.