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CONNECT THE WORLD
Emirates Airplane Quarantined at JFK Airport; U.K. Says Russian Military Officers Suspected in Group of Case; Russia Bombs Idlib Province Despite Warning from Trump; Woodward Book Describes "Crazy Town" inside White House; Deadly Clashes Between Protesters, Security in Basra; Social Media Execs Face Grilling on Capitol Hill; France Been Smart Phones in Primary and Middle Schools. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired September 5, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta sitting in for Becky Anderson. Good
to have you with us.
We are watching an unfolding story at New York's JFK airport. Emergency medical personnel on the scene right now after and Emirates Airline's
flight arrived from Dubai. A source tells CNN about 100 passengers on board are reportedly feeling ill. Emirates has issued a statement saying
about 10 passengers on the plane were sick. So, some conflicting reports. Let's go to CNN's Athena Jones live from New York. Athena, this flight --
this Emirates flight 203 coming in from Dubai, what can you tell us?
ATHENA JONES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Lynda. Well it's unclear why there is this discrepancy between this report from a port
authority source who says that a hundred of the 500 people on board this flight which landed at about 9:06 a.m. -- in the last couple of hours --
that 100 of those people fell ill.
We are still awaiting more information to clear up that discrepancy. But I can tell you that my colleague Martin Mireles has spoken to with an
official that said that seven crew members three passengers that were on that plane have been transported to Jamaica Hospital. That's in Queens New
York near where the flight landed at JFK. Other passengers are still being evaluated. So, we have a little bit more information about at least those
10 passengers that the airline itself has cited that.
There is also some interesting information were getting from a passenger who also spoke with CNN. Her name is Erin Sites, and she said, I asked the
stewardess for a mask before we even took off but there was none available. Yet it was so obvious that a large number of people were ill well before
takeoff. It had nothing to do with bumpy whether as we had a smooth ride. People were coughing the whole time. Now some people have fevers over 100.
They should never have been allowed to board.
Now that is just information we're getting from one passenger. As you noted, there are health officials on the scene, officials from the Center
for Disease Control and emergency health officials who are still evaluating passengers as far as we can tell and are still checking out. What exactly
is going on here -- Lynda.
KINKADE: And so, Athena, that passenger mentioned high fevers. Do we know what other symptoms the ill passengers were suffering? And what is it mean
when a plane goes into quarantine?
JONES: Well, in this case it means that the plane has been taken to what an official port authority source called a hard-standing area. So, an area
separated from other of their planes so that these health officials come onboard and evaluate these folks. Now when it comes to the symptoms, the
CDC is calling it an unspecified illness. Now, you heard this passenger -- what I just read to you -- saying that people were coughing, people had
symptoms of a fever. We're still awaiting more information on exactly how best to describe these symptoms. So, I don't want to mention symptoms that
we haven't really confirmed yet -- Lynda.
KINKADE: All right, good to have you staying on that for us, Athena Jones from New York, thank you.
We are learning new details in the U.K. poisoning case that dominated headlines and soured ties between the West and Russia. British authorities
say they now have enough evidence to charge these two men in connection with the nerve agent attack on a Russian double agent and his daughter in
Salisbury last March. Prime Minister Theresa May also announced that these Novichok suspects are officers of the Russian military intelligence
service. Our CNN's Phil Black joins us now from Salisbury, England. Who has been covering this story from the start. And Phil, this is not some
sort of rogue operation. Britain accusing Russia of a state sanctioned attack. What are you learning now about how this happened?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, the police have released quite a deal of information today following the six-month investigation. Through
which they have studied passenger manifest on incoming commercial flights. Trolled through hours of security camera videos in London, at airports, and
here in Salisbury as well. And from that they say they've identified two people who arrived at London's Gatwick Airport on 2nd of March. From there
traveled to Salisbury a couple of times and on that second occasion they believe were responsible for painting the former spy, Sergei Skripal, his
front door with Novichok. The nerve agent which they believe struck him and his daughter Yulia down.
[11:05:00] this was on Sunday, March 4. They then believe these two men went back to London, got on the plane at Heathrow bound for Moscow. Now
they think these two people were traveling under authentic Russian documents that is passports, but probably using aliases.
The British government has gone a little further. They're the ones that say there is a pile of intelligence that points to these two men being
members of Russia's military intelligence unit, the GIU. This was Prime Minister Theresa May briefing Parliament on this earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Based on a body of intelligence the government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police and
CPS are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU. The GRU is a highly disciplined organization with a well-
established chain of command. So, this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Now, Lynda, there's another branch to this investigation, which is very much ongoing. You may recall at the end of June two local people here
in the Salisbury area were struck down ill again with Novichok -- or having been poisoned by Novichok. In this case the police believe they found what
they thought -- these two people thought -- was a fancy bottle of perfume. One woman, Dawn Sturgis, a 44-year-old mother of three, sprayed it on her
wrist. She collapsed the same day. A week later she died. Her partner, Charlie Riley, also fell ill but recovered.
Police believe that this bottle of perfume was simply a method of smuggling Novichok into the country. And they believe it's clearly the same. That
it was brought here by these same people and part of the overall same plot to assassinate Sergei Skripal and his daughter. They are still
investigating that because they have a real concern there. In the sense that little depository of Novichok wasn't found for months afterwards.
They can't be sure that there is a still more of that stuff lying around posing an ongoing threat to this community -- Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes, and that's certainly a major concern. The Brits have said that they do have enough evidence to charge these two suspects. But with
no extradition treaty between Russia and Britain, and international arrest warrant, and a European arrest warrant has been issued. Is there any
indication of where the suspects are right now?
BLACK: The key blockage in terms of extradition is the Russian constitution. It bans the extradition of Russian citizens to third-party
countries. If the British authorities are saying they know where these guys are, they're not revealing that just yet. I think the last that they
believe that they've seen of them was when they boarded that flight back to Moscow. Again, although there saying they know these two are members of
the Russian military intelligence agency, they are not saying that they have confirmed their actual identities. That is their names, where there
from, who they actually are, because that today the police have only revealed the aliases that they believe they were traveling under. But I
guess what it does mean is that if they do set foot in Europe and they are identified it does open the possibility for them to be arrested and sent
back here. So, potentially if these guys are professional spies who move around to carry out operations, it does limit what they can do and how they
could actually move and operate within Europe itself -- Lynda.
KINKADE: All right, Phil Black for us in Salisbury, England. Good to have you on the case. Thanks so much.
Well Russia is now confirming that its warplanes carried out bombing raids in the Syrian province of Idlib just hours after Donald Trump warned Syria
and its allies against reckless attacks in the region. Russia's state news agency says the air strikes targeted the terror group, Jabhat al-Nusra.
Syria's military has been sending reinforcements to Idlib for weeks preparing for a final assault of the last major rebel stronghold. Well,
the U.N. warns that it could result in a bloodbath.
Let's bring in our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, who has reported extensively in Syria. Good to have you always with us.
Clarissa, even before this full-blown offensive, when we are seeing airstrikes, and of course the rebels responding.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Lynda. It had been a relatively quiet few weeks in Idlib because of these de-
escalation deals that had been struck. But as of yesterday, we saw 30 air strikes in the space of 24 hours. Most of them centering on an area about
25 miles west of the city of Idlib. This is home to two strategic highways that connect major cities within Syria. These are obviously for strategic
reasons. Quite important for the regime. The regime and its allies in the form of Iran and Russia had been signaling now for quite some time that
they plan to take Idlib. This is of course, the last stand really for the rebellion that rose up against Bashar al-Assad back in 2011. This is the
last province that they are in control of.
[11:10:00] So clearly, this is an important target for the regime. But I think that some people are a little surprised to see the offensive begin
ahead of some very important diplomatic meetings that are taking place on Friday in Tehran between Turkey and Iran and Russia. Also, the U.N.
Security Council is convening a session on Idlib on Friday. And then next week the U.N. in Geneva will be brokering a series of talks again, Turkey,
Iran, Russia, also the U.S. and its allies. Talking again. But clearly, Lynda, the only powers that really have any leverage in this game -- in
this conflict, one should call it a game -- are Turkey and Iran and Russia. And we have seen Turkish forces sending some 8 trucks into Idlib province
with howitzers, with tanks. They have about a dozen observation posts there. So, many signs that on all sides the situation is ratcheting up --
KINKADE: It certainly sounds that way. The U.N., of course, has warned that their worst-case scenario, this could be a humanitarian emergency that
we haven't seen on this scale before in Syria. Why does is have the potential to be the worst so far?
WARD: Well, seem to be put everyone who supports the uprising, who has been squeezed out of other territories that the regime has taken back, has
been pushed into Idlib. And so, what that means is that there are approximately 3 million civilians living in Idlib now. An estimated 1
million of them are children.
Unlike Aleppo where they were essentially surrounded, if they are pushed up towards the north of the province eventually they hit the Turkish border.
So, where they go, these refugees? Turkey has said many times before that it simply cannot take anymore Syrian refugees. And this really opens
Pandora's box, if you will, for the potential of more serious attacks on civilians. The likes of which we know the regime is capable of. They've
hit courthouses. They've hit schools. They've targeted hospitals. And now of course, the concern that's been aired certainly by a variety of U.S.
-- the people in the U.S. administration, is that the Syrian regime and its allies might seek again to use chemical weapons -- Lynda.
KINKADE: All right, Clarissa Ward, as always great to get your analysis on all that. Thanks so much.
Well, U.S. President Donald Trump and the White House are in full damage control mode trying to discredit an explosive new book by legendary
journalist, Bob Woodward the book, "Fear", pays a devastating portrait of an unhinged commander-in-chief. He is described by top aides as an idiot
with the intellect of a fifth grader and a threat to national security.
The President has been lashing out on Twitter calling the book total fiction. Even suggesting that Congress should change libel laws. But
Woodward released a statement saying he is standing by his reporting. CNN's Jim Acosta has the details.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Bob.
BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR "FEAR, TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE": President Trump, how are you?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before the release of his new book on the Trump White House entitled "Fear".
Legendary reporter Bob Woodward managed to finally get the President on the phone. Mr. Trump's assessment of the Woodward book, not good.
TRUMP: Sounds like this is going to be a bad one.
ACOSTA: There are devastating episodes throughout the book. Woodward explains how the President's former lawyer, John Dowd, attempted to do a
mock interview with Mr. Trump to demonstrate how he could perjure himself if he sits down with special counsel Robert Mueller. According to
Woodward, Dowd explains the stakes for the president in stark terms. Don't testify it's either that or an orange jumpsuit. Woodward says, Dowd, who
had later resigned, called Mr. Trump a liar.
The author also describes how former economic advisor, Gary Cohn, once removed a document from the President's desk to prevent Mr. Trump from
exiting a trade agreement with South Korea. Cohn said, I stole it off his desk. I would let him see it. He's never going to see that document. Got
to protect the country.
One of a number of actions Woodward describes as, no less than administrative coup d'etat. Woodward says other top officials were equally
harsh. When Chief of Staff, John Kelly, who said, he's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He goes off the rails.
You're in crazy town. This is the worst job I've ever had.
The White House released a statement from Kelly saying he never called the president an idiot.
Then according to Woodward, there is Defense Secretary, James Mattis, who said the president has the understanding of fifth or sixth grader. To
former White House Chief of Reince Preibus, who said the presidential bedroom was the devil's workshop.
Woodward also offers nasty comments from the President. Who says Preibus is like a little rat. He just scurries around. And refers to Attorney
General Jeff Sessions as mentally retarded and a dumb Southerner. According to Woodward, the President once told Giuliani, Rudy, your baby.
I've never seen a worse defense of me in my life. They took your diaper off right there you're like a little baby that needed to be changed. When
are you going to be a man?
[11:15:00] Woodward also revisits the president's handling of the deadly riots in Charlottesville. Saying, Mr. Trump regretted the speech he gave
at the White House. That was when the President actually condemned the white supremacists in Charlottesville. But Mr. Trump said that speech was
the biggest mistake I've made. The next day the president went back to blaming both sides for the violence.
TRUMP: Excuse me. They don't put themselves down as neo- -- and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very
fine people on both sides.
ACOSTA: Woodward says the president complained that he wasn't asked for an interview. But an audio released by "The Washington Post", Woodward
reminds the president he made multiple requests.
TRUMP: Nobody told me about it, and I would've loved to of spoken to you.
WOODWARD: Senator Graham said he had talked to you about talking to me. Now is that not true?
TRUMP: Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly on one meeting. And you know, that is true.
ACOSTA (on camera): President Trump sat down with the conservative daily caller website that called the Woodward book a bad book. And to accuse the
author of having credibility problems. President's former outside lawyer, John Dowd, push back on parts of the Woodward book, saying, quote, there
was no so-called practice session of a mock interview at the special counsel's office. Adding he did not refer to the president as a liar. And
did not say that he would end up in an orange jumpsuit. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
KINKADE: Well, for more now on all of this I'm joined by CNN White House reporter, Stephen Collinson. Hey Stephen. Woodward of course is one of
the most respected journalists. It is his credibility that sets him apart. He's not a disgruntled ex-employee. So, does that make this book more
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, I mean, the White House has been trying to do what it can to discredit this book. As you saw,
senior officials have come out and denied what they were quoted as saying in Woodward's book. But this is a different case. This is not like
Omarosa. The former White House official who came out with a book recently which does fit into the sort of disgruntled employee category.
I think this Woodward book is slightly different in some ways from some of his other books. For example, his books on President Bush, and President
Obama, he sort of took aim at the established view of a President who was in control, a good war leader and showed the sort of warts of their
What I think is really damaging about this book is that it seems to confirm a lot of the reporting that everyone has been doing in Washington about the
chaos in the White House, the dysfunction, the deficiencies of the president's character. And the whole issue of whether he is qualified for
office. So, having Woodward's credibility behind those narratives, I think that is quite damaging.
Now whether it will change the position that we've had throughout the presidency that the president seems to get away with things that a lot of
other presidents wouldn't because of his unique political situation. His strong support from his base. And Republicans unwillingness to challenge
that base, I think it remains to be seen. But I think you seen from the reaction of the White House, they realize this could be very damaging
KINKADE: Yes, no doubt major concerns there trying to discredit this book. As Jim pointed out in his piece, some of the accounts made in the book --
Trump being compared to fifth or sixth grader when it comes to his knowledge of North Korea. Chief of Staff saying that the Trump White House
is crazy town. And senior staffers sound like they are constantly in damage control even removing documents, key documents from the President's
desk. Is that kind of unheard of when you think of what goes on in the White House?
COLLINSON: It certainly is. I mean, there have been tales recently of the final days of the Nixon administration when President Nixon was in such a
sort of deteriorated mental state that some of his subordinates worried about what he would do. But we see nothing on the scale. I think it begs
the question, if these officials really do believe this, what are they going to do about it? You know, this is the president of the United
States, the most powerful man in the world. And if these officials believe that the world needs protecting from the American President we're in quite
a serious emergency.
And so, does this sort of convince some of these officials eventually to come forward and confront this issue? Or are they so cowed by the
personality and the belligerence of the president that they're just going to put out their denials and go back to doing what they've been doing. And
it also begs the question that eventually if some of these officials leave, who will want to go into this White House? And you have the chance
therefore perhaps up to the midterm elections of a hollowed out White House that's operating almost solely on the whims and the prejudices and the
anger of President Donald Trump.
[11:20:00] KINKADE: Yes, and you wonder if those denials will change once some of those people leave the White House. Stephen Collinson, good to
have you with us as always. Thanks so much.
Later this hour we will delve into the host of national security issues detailed in the book. I will be speaking to Vali Nasr, the Dean of the
school of advanced International studies at Johns Hopkins University. So, stay with us for that.
Well, meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump's Supreme Court nominee is being grilled by Senators on day two of his confirmation hearing. Brett
Kavanaugh is answering questions about his view of the law and issues ranging from assault weapons, to abortion rights, to presidential powers.
He said his personal opinion is not relevant and stressed the importance of legal precedent. Kavanaugh also said that no one is above the law, but he
wouldn't answer when asked if a president is required to respond to a subpoena.
Live from Atlanta, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, a curfew is declared after deadly protests in one of the wealthiest parts of Iraq.
We'll have the details for you just ahead.
KINKADE: Well, take a look at these images. Firemen smoldering a government building in Iraq, as workers remove wreckage from the streets.
It comes days after protests in Iraq's oil-rich Basra province, which has left at least 6 people dead. Well the government has declared a curfew in
Basra where failing infrastructure, power cuts and unemployment has fueled the protests. Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, has called for an
investigation. It comes at an uncertain time for Iraq. The country still hasn't named a new government for months after parliamentary elections.
Well, let's bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman who's watching the story from Beirut. And Ben, talk to us about Basra. Because this was always a very
rich city and now were seeing these protests. People are demonstrating, angry about a lack of basic services.
[11:25:00] BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's really been, Lynda, a summer of discontent in Basra. This is the city that
was once known as the Venice of the East, from the Basra area Iraq gets about 80 percent of its wealth, it's oil wealth from. But from the poor
state of public services and the infrastructure there you wouldn't know it.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The southern Iraqi city of Basra is in revolt. Its residents fed up with crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment,
contaminated drinking water that has sent hundreds to hospital, and prolonged electricity cuts in a city that swelter's in the summer. The
protests also spurred on by anger at endemic corruption and official incompetence.
So far this week security forces have killed at least six protesters, dozens of others, including police have been injured. The discontent here
is even more intense since many of the troops that help to defeat ISIS came from southern Iraq.
FADHIL QUSAE, PROTESTER (through translator): Is this the way they reward the people of Basra, demands protester, Fadhil Qusae. By attacking with
WEDEMAN: Basra should be one of Iraq's wealthiest cities. It sits atop much of the country's oil wealth, but little of that wealth has been felt
by the residents of this Iraq's third-largest city. The caretaker government in Baghdad already paralyzed since an inconclusive election more
than four months ago, has promised to address Basra's problems. But so far only promises have reached the city.
Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, has called for an immediate investigation into the killing of protesters. But is also blaming the unrest on unnamed
HAIDER AL-ABADI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There are parties that are pouring oil on the fire. Who are setting people against
the security forces to jeopardize Basra security, Al-Abadi told reporters in Baghdad Tuesday.
WEDEMAN: Basra's many woes are fuel enough for this fire.
WEDEMAN: And of course, just to give you an idea of how difficult the conditions are in Basra, it is just after 7 p.m. there. The temperature
is 42 degrees Fahrenheit. I think that's about 108 Fahrenheit and they don't have electricity much of the time. So, they can't run things like
fans and generators. This is causing a lot of illness in addition to the fact the water that comes out of the faucets is contaminated or very salty.
Now we understand, Lynda, that there are renewed protests this evening despite the fact that the government has imposed a curfew. And were also
told that there have been clashes between protesters and the security forces with at least one person wounded so far -- Lynda.
KINKADE: All right. We will stay across those protests in the coming hours. Ben Wedeman, good to have you on the story, thank you.
Just ahead we're taking you back our story of the ill passengers on a flight that just landed in JFK. We're talking to someone who was on that
plane. Stay with us.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: Hello, you're watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.
Well, were going to go back to our developing story. Passengers ill on an Emirates Airline plane that was quarantined at New York's JFK airport. Now
the U.S. Center for Disease Control says about 100 people, including some crew members, complained of illness including coughing and fevers.
Officials tells CNN that seven crew members and five passengers have been taken to hospital after the plane landed from Dubai. The CDC says it's Lou
working with local officials to evaluate people who were on the plane. Let's go to someone now who on that plane. Larry Coben joins me now on the
phone. Larry, I understand that many people were ill when they got on that flight. What can you tell us about that flight?
LARRY COBEN, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT NEAR JFK OR AIRPORT (via phone): The flight seemed quite uneventful until the captain came on about 10 or 15
minutes before we landed and said some of the people on board have taken ill and that we should remain in our seats when we land and not be prepared
to get off the plane right away.
KINKADE: Did you see the passengers that were sick?
COBEN: There didn't seem to be anything particularly noticeable or different about this flight as opposed to --
KINKADE: Larry, did you notice the passengers who were sick? Did you see people coughing people complaining of fevers?
COBEN: I did not, and this is an Airbus 380 double decker gigantic plane and so I did not see them. And at least nobody in my vicinity seemed to be
sick. We all sat around waiting to see what happened.
KINKADE: And what did you notice when you were disembarking?
COBEN: The members of the (INAUDIBLE) were taking people's temperatures. They had us fill out a form about where we would be in the next few weeks.
And they were taking everyone's temperature, assuming temperatures were normal. They let people get on the bus to be taken through passport
control and customs.
KINKADE: And so, it looks like they were well prepared when the plane landed for many people who may have been suffering some sort of illness.
Have they said whether you need stay in touch with them should you develop any symptoms?
COBEN: They didn't really give us any advice at all. I presume that people who do develop symptoms should probably get in touch with them.
They merely collected these documents with our addresses and I assume they'll follow up if they discover anything (INAUDIBLE) people who were
actually taken to the hospital.
[11:35:00] KINKADE: And when you flew out of Dubai airport did you notice anyone wearing masks at the airport?
COBEN: No, I did not. But as I said, there were 800 people -- 500 people on the plane, so I didn't get to see everybody boarding. But I didn't
notice anything unusual or different about this flight.
KINKADE: Apart from the fact that when you landed there were emergency crews everywhere, right?
COBEN: Yes, in fact, when we landed I looked out the window and saw about a dozen police cars, fire ambulances and a whole lot of people on the
tarmac. And that we had been towed some distance away from the terminal building.
KINKADE: And were any of those first responders, police, or the CDC wearing masks as they boarded the plane?
COBEN: Not when they -- at least not when came (INAUDIBLE). But by the time they got on the plane the CDC people were not wearing masks.
KINKADE: And so, I understand the plane is now in quarantine. Were you taken through regular customs when you landed?
COBEN: We were. Though the hall was empty and the people in passport control and customs -- at least some of them were wearing masks. I went
through the normal passport and baggage plane procedure.
KINKADE: Right. Do you have any concerns given how many people are believed to have been taken ill in that flight?
COBEN: I think we probably know less than anyone because we were just on the plane. We were not given any information like that. We were just kind
of sitting there staring out the window wondering what was happening and when we were going to be allowed off.
KINKADE: And we've been following your twitter account closely today as have many people trying to get some sort of answers. Were you family or
friends concerned about your wellbeing?
COBEN: They were. I received several tweets from friends, that I was OK. And then of course, a few jokes that I wouldn't repeat on a national
program like this one.
KINKADE: Good to hear. Larry Coben, we'll leave it there for now. But good to hear you're feeling well and I hope you stay that way.
COBEN: Thank you very much I appreciate it.
KINKADE: Well, U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House pushing back on an explosive new book portraying a presidency on the edge of, quote, a
nervous breakdown. The insider account was penned by one of America's most respected journalist. Pulitzer Prize winner, reporter, Bob Woodward, with
behind the scenes look and details Mr. Trump's positions on a host of international issues.
On North Korea it portrays Trump's policy as personal man versus man, Trump versus Kim Jong-un.
On Syria, it says Trump wanted to assassinate the country's leader, Bashar al-Assad. And the book says he questioned his top generals on Afghanistan.
Joining me now to break this all down is Vali Nasr, the Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University. Good to have
you with us.
VALI NASR, DEAN, SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Thank you.
KINKADE: You have to wonder what other leaders must be thinking right now when we hear about White House aides removing sensitive documents from the
President's desk for fear that it might put the country at some sort of national security risk.
NASR: There's a lot of colorful anecdotes in this book which will surprise many leaders around the world. But I think many of them have already
concluded that this was a highly personalized White House. That the President has his own views on foreign policy. Does not necessarily listen
to his national security advisers and that there is a chasm, there's a separation, a divide between him and his national security staff. And the
book essentially validates that impression.
KINKADE: When you look at Syria and his thoughts on what was going on there in April 2017, the U.S. and allies carried out air strikes in
response to a chemical weapons attack. And according to Woodward in his book, Mr. Trump wanted the response to be more punitive and wanted to
assassinate Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad. And in the book has claimed that his team wanted a more measured response. And they were quite shaken
by what President Trump had to say. Does he know what he's doing?
NASR: Well, first of all, assassinating world leaders is illegal, is problematic. No country admits openly to doing it. It's extremely risky.
It opens the door to a kind of international behavior that could have ramifications. Secondly, if he had assassinated Assad, more than likely
the Syrian government would have collapsed. The U.S. did not have a plan as to what to do with Syria if Assad was to fall from power, if Damascus
was to fall. And that would've meant a much more direct American involvement in Syria, which is not what he had wanted. Nor was the U.S.
military prepared for any of that.
And thirdly, it would have put the United States on a direct collision course with Russia, which is clearly Assad's main backer and is not
prepared to see him assassinated
[11:40:05] And the White House, the Pentagon, the President had not thought through what the Russian response might have been.
KINKADE: A question that we asked a lot at the time, earlier in this Syrian Civil War about who would fill that vacuum should Bashar al-Assad be
taken down. I want to ask you about one of the other claims in the book with regards to the Korean Peninsula. Because in this book Donald Trump
reportedly disregarded the military presence, a significant military presence in the peninsula and asked why the U.S. is spending resources
there. And apparently the defense minister had to say that we are doing this in order to prevent World War III. And when the President left the
room, the defense secretary reportedly said that President Trump has the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. He has denied that. So, who do
NASR: Wanting to remove -- aside from, you know, whether the Secretary of Defense said that, but the idea that the president would want to take all
of U.S. military presence out of Northeast Asia is very much in line with his attacks on NATO, with his arguments about no U.S. involvement in the
Middle East. He has a view in which the United States military is not around the world to protect U.S. interests. It somehow doing favors to
other people for which it's not being paid. So, to him there is no reason why the U.S. would have military presence in Korea. He doesn't see a
reason why U.S. would have military presence in Germany, in Japan, anywhere in the world. So, the idea that he would ask the Secretary of Defense to
remove U.S. troops from South Korea is very credible.
KINKADE: As I mentioned, the administration has been working overtime to try and discredit this book. The Pentagon says, and I quote, Mr. Woodward
never discussed or verified the alleged quotes included in his books with secretary Mattis, or anyone within the DoD.
The White House also doing damage control trying to discredit the book. We've seen the President take to Twitter. But we also heard the audio
recording, the President speaking to the author. Where the author said I tried to get an interview with you. And I tried through a half a dozen
people and I couldn't. How much damage could this book do to Trump administration?
NASR: Well, of course, those who are supporters of the President will dismiss this book as -- and believe what the President says in terms of
denial. But I think for the rest of the world the book underscores all the worries that they have about this White House. And Woodward has an
enormous amount of credibility. He has written on many other presidents. I've seen at least some of his reporting methods on a book he did on
Afghanistan during the Obama period. He's extremely meticulous. He spends a lot of time. He documents everything. And when he reports something it
is by and large accepted as being credible.
So, in a way he actually depicts a White House that would be a source of worry not only for Americans but also for many other countries that are
dealing with America and are anchoring their national security on some sort of a predictable American behavior.
KINKADE: Vali Nasr, always good to get your perspective. Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Thanks for joining us.
NASR: Thank you.
KINKADE: Let's get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar now right now. Right now, Japan cleaning up a trail of destruction after the
strongest typhoon to hit its mainland in almost 25 years. Slammed into the country killing at least 10 people, badly hurting hundreds and leaving
The U.S. Secretary of State says he's hopeful about resetting the relationship with Pakistan. Mike Pompeo met with the country's new Prime
Minister, Imran Khan, earlier just days after the U.S. canceled $300 million in aid to Pakistan. The U.S. has been frustrated at what it says
is Pakistan's lack of action in the war on terror. Mr. Khan says he also wants to improve U.S. relations.
The United Nations mission in Libya says rival militia groups and military officials have agreed on a cease fire. The deal ends days of clashes in
Tripoli which left dozens of people dead and more than 140 others wounded.
Another shocking upset in the U.S. primary just weeks before the critical November elections.
[11:45:00] Progressive Ayanna Pressley, defeated a 10-term incumbent and fellow Democrat and could become the first person of color to ever
represent the state of Massachusetts in Congress.
Well, still ahead, the stars of Silicon Valley face-off against U.S. senators. Just what Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey are saying on Capitol
Hill when we come back.
KINKADE: You're watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade filling in for Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Well the tech titans of Silicon Valley are being summoned to Capitol Hill once again. Twitter chief executive, Jack Dorsey, as well as Facebook's
high-profile chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, are set for grilling as they face the Senate Intelligence Committee today. U.S. senators are
expected to dig into what their respective companies have done to fort foreign influence of campaigns.
For more, let's bring in our Samuel Burke joining us from London. Good to have you with us, Samuel. Just based on the last time the Facebook
founder, Mark Zuckerberg, spoke to lawmakers and many of those creating laws around social media, sounded like they didn't really understand how
they work. Or they certainly didn't have a thorough understanding. What did they hope to achieve today and how will this play out?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNNMONEY BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: In fact, when Mark Zuckerberg was testifying on Capitol Hill, Facebook stock started
soaring because people realized if these congressman and women don't really understand technology how are they ever going to regulate it. This time
around as I'm listening to the testimony and I'm listening to the questions being asked, it sounds like they have a much better grasp. It's a
different selection of members of Congress who are asking right now. It does sound like they're asking very poignant questions.
But I have to point out the different style. Sheryl Sandberg, don't forget she doesn't just have years of experience in the business and technology
field, she was also the Chief of Staff for Larry Summers during the Clinton years in Washington D.C. She is incredibly poised during these hearings.
Facebook stock is down, but it's just down over 1 percent. So, I think maybe she's able to stem off some real stock falling here.
But if you look at Twitter and Jack Dorsey, Jack Dorsey started out by saying that he's very shy. He even tweeted at one point during his
testimony. He said I want to read from my phone. So, I don't think he's coming off as confident. And I think he's talking about fundamental flaws
in the Twitter platform that have to be changed. That's the reason that we see this twitter stock down over 5 percent.
Let's just play a bite of what jack Dorsey just told Congress about needing to label bots on his platform. And I think you'll get a sense of his more
muted style, let's say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:50:00] JACK DORSEY, TWITTER CEO: I do believe that first and foremost anyone using Twitter has a right to more context around not only the
accounts that there seeing but also the information.
So as far as we can label and we can identify these automations we can label them and I think that's useful context sense. An idea that we have
been considering over the past few months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURKE: Bots are these automated accounts. Some of them are good. I followed a few Trump accounts. They let me know any time the President or
his family are tweeting or liking something. So that's a bot that keeps us informed. But there are these negative bots that he's talking about.
Needing to get off of is platform and label them. I think the stand outline here -- if you're looking at this in terms of business perspective,
Lynda, Senator Mark Warner said in terms of the technology industry, the lack of regulation the error of the wild, wild west is over.
KINKADE: We'll see if that is true. Samuel Burke, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
Well more tech news ahead or should that be no tech. In some French schools why, children there are not allowed to bring smartphones to school
anymore. That story next.
KINKADE: Well, it's that back to school feeling for many countries and to make things worse for some students in France they will have to check their
phones at the door. It's all part of the French government's drive to improve focus and preventing online bullying.
KINKADE (voice-over): As a new school year starts in France this week, some students may find themselves having withdrawal or as the education
minister calls it, a digital detox.
JEAN-MICHEL BLANQUER, FRENCH EDUCATION MINISTER (through translator): Our primary role is to protect children and teenagers. It's a fundamental rule
for education. And so, this law permits that.
KINKADE: Pasted in late July a nationwide ban on cell phones is now in effect at primary and middle schools across the country. Mobile devices
can no longer be used at any point during the school day. It's meant to combat bullying and classroom distraction. A constructive mandate some say
that may be difficult to enforce.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it a good law but it will be very difficult, very hard, because it's a new way of life using mobiles all the time.
KINKADE: It's a campaign promise of President Emmanuel Macron who visited students on their first day of school. The latest move in a country that
has led the way in digital health. Last year France introduced a right to disconnect law banning businesses from requiring employees to respond to
emails after work hours.
BLANQUER (through translator): This is an opportunity for us to send a message to elementary schools, middle schools and to some degree French
society on how to develop a relationship with digital media.
[11:55:00] KINKADE: More than 90 percent of French children over 12 have mobile phones. That's according to a 2016 report by French telecoms
regulator, ARCEP, a significant jump compared to a decade ago. And the length of time spent on mobile phones has only increased over time in the
U.S. and Europe. A 2015 report found teens in the U.S. spent an average of nine hours a day. Teens in the U.S. spend an average of 9 hours a day.
But whether the technology is in fact addictive has been up for debate. And some argue that prohibiting technology altogether during the school day
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's pretty stupid because I mean, it's not going to be very useful. I think kids are still going to use their phones
anyway even if it's banned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: So, you're not going to listen and maybe they'll going to hide it in their pockets and play in the toilets and
KINKADE: One study by the London School of Economics showed that students at English schools where cell phone use is banned are higher performers.
France is about to find out if that rings true for its students.
KINKADE: I'm Lynda Kinkade. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for joining us. See you next time.