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CONNECT THE WORLD
Silvio Berlusconi Back In The Political Spotlight; Germany SPD Votes To Join Merkel Coalition; Week Of Chaos Within Presidents Inner Circle; NYT: Kushner's Business Got $500M In Loans After WH Meetings; President Pokes Fun At Himself At Gridiron Dinner; Insult, First Oscar Nominated Lebanese Film. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 4, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Two high stakes votes in two of Europe's key economies. Is some seasoned political survivors taking center
stage? Germany and Italy see their political fate decided this Sunday in very different ways. What is at stake with live reports from Rome and
Berlin for you this hour? Also ahead, topping a wild week, the U.S. President raises the eyebrows when he praises Chinese leader for an
apparent power grab at home. Plus, an Oscar contender from the Middle East that tackles some of the region's most sensitive sore spots. We'll hear
from the director this hour.
Very warm welcome! It's CNN, I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi and you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD at just after 7:00 in the evening here. Two
crucial votes in Europe are playing out on the same day in Italy and in Germany. Germany first, Chancellor Angela Merkel will be breathing a sigh
relief at the results. She gets to stay on for a fourth term after the Social Democrats voted to renew a coalition with her Christian Democrats
avoiding fresh elections or a minority government. The outcome in Italy is far less certain. Its voters there casting ballots right now in the
nation's general election. Anti-establishment parties flourished amid what was a divisive campaign and thrown into the mix familiar faces like former
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Renzi. Ben Wedeman is in Rome for you this evening and an unpredictable vote, but one with familiar faces
specifically one dominating a lot in the run-up to this vote, Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Becky, and some countries old soldiers and politicians fade away but here in Italy in the case of Silvio
Berlusconi, he's not fading away. In fact, he doesn't even seem to age with the passage of time.
WEDEMAN: Rested, tanned, and ready to get in the fray. Thrice Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi is back in octogenarian with an
advancing hairline, weakness for beautiful women and a checkered political past. At 81, Silvio Berlusconi you might think would be ready to withdraw
from public life. But even though he's barred by law because of a previous tax conviction from running for office, he's very much part of this
election. He's still the undisputed leader of his party. The center-right Forza Italia which has formed the campaign coalition with a rabidly anti-
migrant leg upward league and the neo-fascist Fratelli D'Italia, the Brothers of Italy. It now represents the largest political block in the
ALAN FRIEDMAN, AUTHOR, MY WAY: BERLUSCONI IN HIS OWN WORDS: Berlusconi will make a deal with the devil as long as he gets to make stage his
WEDEMAN: Berlusconi as American biographer Alan Freidman recalls an Italian leader pursued by scandal.
FRIEDMAN: During all his years in government, Silvio Berlusconi was always distracted by 65 lawsuits and trials against him. Criminal trials,
accusations of corruption, accusations of money laundering, accusations of tax fraud and so he spent more time worrying about his own future than
about the future of his country.
WEDEMAN: Yet he commands a loyal base with an approval rating of almost 25 percent. In Italy's fractured political landscape, it's considered high.
He's an entrepreneur, says (INAUDIBLE), an Italian citizen, originally from Lebanon. He wants to cut taxes for businesses. I'd vote for him.
One-fourth of Italians may support him, the other three-fourths despise him.
[10:05:06] Berlusconi is really a thief, says Laura, studying to become aerospace engineer. He says one thing and does the opposite.
The ban on Berlusconi holding expires next year which means if his coalition wins, he could be Italy's once and future Prime Minister.
WEDEMAN: And the latest polls which were published on the 16t of February put Berlusconi and his coalition at 37 percent of the vote. But it's
important to keep in mind that according to the same polls, 33 percent of Italian voters had yet to make up their minds. Now the polls close in just
six hours from now and then we will see the first exit polls, then we'll get an idea of how those 33 percent decided to vote. Becky?
ANDERSON: And what about this populous tide that we saw across Europe in what the past 18 months with some success in some places, less so in others
specifically in Germany and in France, is this still a powerful force in Italy?
WEDEMAN: It is, it is. There's no question about it. It is led at the moment by what is called the five-star movement which according to the
polls has the largest share of the vote at about28.5 percent. But that movement refuses to make a coalition with anybody else so they won't
probably get to about 40 percent of the vote required to actually form a government. But it's important to keep in also that Berlusconi's coalition
includes La Lega, formerly known as the Northern League which is also a very much anti-establishment. So certainly if you look at the total
numbers, up more than 40 percent of the Italian electorate is part of this populist tide and really it's based upon the fact that for the -- for
Italians for instance, per capita income has not risen at all in the last 25 years.
In 2016, 124,000 Italians, young Italians had to leave the country to find decent work. So certainly, the message from 2013 to last general elections
and from this election is that the establishment in Italy has failed the people and they are increasingly looking for alternatives on the left, and
on the right. But it's the parties of the middle that by and large people are angry with and I think we will see in this vote that anger expressed
once more. Becky?
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman, in Rome for you this evening, thank you, Ben. For more now on the return of the grand coalition in Germany, the Social
Democrats' vote to join with Chancellor Angela Merkel brings a stable government to Germany and ends months of what was political deadlock. The
outcome means that Mrs. Merkel can shift her focus from trying to keep her position to actually governing the country. CNN's Atika Shubert has the
latest for you from Berlin.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, this is good news for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. You know the country has been
without a coalition government now for five months since the election. Now it's likely that they'll get one put into place within next two weeks. But
it won't be easy. Merkel has had to make significant connections -- concessions to keep the Social Democrats in the coalition including finance
ministry, labor ministry, and foreign ministry so she can expect pushback in those areas where previously hers own conservative party had dominated.
Now, she will also face quite a bit of resistance in parliament. Now that the social democrats have officially joined the coalition, it means that
the largest opposition party is the far right nationalist alternative for Germany Party. Now, it does mean however that this is a major obstacle
overcome for Chancellor Angela Merkel. She can now devote her full attention to the running of the country. Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.
ANDERSON: So two key votes and for more on those, do your CNN.com, there you can read why Rome's decline sums up Italy's problems. CNN Contributor
Bobby (INAUDIBLE) details public indifference to what is an internal city increasingly filled with trash and graffiti and growing anti-migrant
feeling. That is CNN.com for full analysis. Well, to Washington now, where the Trump administration is trying to basically recover from what was
a tumultuous week that saw shocking policy announcements and yet another staff resignation. The President brought that behind him Saturday night at
the historic Gridiron Club dinner where he mingled with the Washington with elite and even, well, made some jokes at his own expense. Earlier in the
day, Mr. Trump entertained donors at a fund raising lunch at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. There he praised China's move to abolish presidential
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
[10:10:34] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't forget China is great and Xi is a great gentleman. He's now president for life.
President for life. No, he's great. And look, he's able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that shot someday.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, joking or not joking aside, Mr. Trump's praised the controversial law could bode well for China's ruling party. CNN's Will
Ripley has the very latest for you from Beijing.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, here in Beijing, there has been no official response to President Trump's praise to China's authoritarian
President Xi Jinping and we don't expect the government to respond. They often don't when President Trump tweets or makes off the cuff remarks. But
clearly his comments praising the abolition of term limits here in China, effectively allowing Xi Jinping to potentially rule as president for life,
the fact that the President of the United States, the Leader of the Free World is voicing such support for that concept when he's supposed to
represent democracy to the world, well, it's greatly encouraging for the communist party here in China, but greatly discouraging for the many people
here who are very uncomfortable with this, who fear a return to strong man rule.
These term limits were established in 1982 to avoid the kind of bloody brutal dictatorship that we saw during the Mao Zedong era. Instead, now
China, instead of having a peaceful transfer of power, could potentially have the same leader. The Chinese government arguing that this will only
ensure consistency in leadership moving forward that the military, the party and the state, the three pills of power here now have no term limits
so they can push forward policies when it comes to diplomacy or the economy and of course, there's a lot happening in the region. Potential trade war
looming with the United States, the North Korea situation, they're arguing that stability is what China needs right now.
But anybody in China who doesn't feel that way, well, they can't -- they can't voice that because they're being blocked on social media. Terms like
emperor or even disagree are banned from Chinese social media users. CNN's signal here in China, whenever I talk about this is blacked out by Chinese
sensors. That's how it works in an authoritarian government like China. In the United States it a democracy and yet President Trump representing
that democracy saying that he thinks what's happening here in China is just fine. The nationalist people's congress kicking off on Monday here in
Beijing and we'll be covering it. Becky?
ANDERSON: Will Ripley reporting for you. Well, President Trump expected to release details this week on his new proposed tariffs on steel and
aluminum. Now, these new levies have angered allies like European Union and Canada. But China seems unfazed, only two percent of U.S. steel
imports actually comes from there. A Chinese government spokesman says the trade relationship with the U.S. right now is a win-win, but he warns that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZANG SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS (through translator): China does not want to fight a trade war with the United States but we absolutely
will not sit by and watch as China's interests are damaged. If policies are made on the basis of mistaken judgments or assumptions, it will damage
bilateral relations and will bring about consequences that neither country wants to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Speaking early on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Director of the White House National Trade Council, a man by the name of Peter Navarro
defended Mr. Trump's tariff decision saying it was in the interest of America's defense. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL TRADE COUNCIL: This is an action basically to protect our national security and our economic
security. The President was quite clear, we can't have a country that can defend itself and prosper without an aluminum and steel industry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that same Gridiron dinner I was just alluding to earlier, Mr. Trump said North Korea recently contacted the U.S. and said it was
interested in talks. But he said they first had to "denuke" or meantime CNN's Andrew Stevens tells u talks appear to be moving forward between
North Korea and the South.
[10:15:00] ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: South Korea is sending a powerful delegation to Pyongyang in hopes of making some
sort of major step forward in both inter-Korean relations and also the must thornier issue of direct talks, setting conditions for direct talks between
the United States and North Korea. This is a ten-person delegation led by two people who are very, very close to the South Korean President in his
inner sanctum. The first is the Suh Hoon, he's the head of the National Intelligence Service, basically the country's top spy master. Perhaps more
important than that though is also seeing as a key architect of two previous presidential summits involving the leaders of North and South
Korea back in 2000 and 2007.
Now, the other man here is Chung Eui-yong. He is the National Security Adviser to President Moon. He also has impeccable credentials in
Washington as well. It's said that he has the National Security Adviser of the U.S., H.R. McMaster, on his speed dial. It's no coincidence that after
this Pyongyang meeting they are heading to Washington for a debriefing there. It is though, a very, very difficult task they face. The North
Koreans want to talk, they don't want to put nuclearization on the table, Donald Trump is insisting as late as this Saturday that nukes have to be on
the table in those negotiations.
This what Donald Trump said in off the cuff remarks on Saturday night. He told his audience the North Koreans had actually spoken to the
administration in the last couple of days, saying that they would love to talk. And Trump said, I said so would we but you have to denuke. You have
to denuke. So, let's see what happens. It is a very, very difficult task actually getting some movement on this incredibly thorny issue of whether
nuclearization is going to be on the table at any eventual talks between the U.S. and North Korea. But at this stage at least, it is a major
diplomatic step forward just to have a high-level delegation from North Korea meeting the South Koreans in Pyongyang. Andrew Stevens, CNN, Seoul.
ANDERSON: Andrew Stevens wrapping this part of the show for you. Lots more ahead, though, including Benjamin Netanyahu on his way to America
right now to meet with Donald Trump. But back home in Israel, the Prime Minister is setting the stage for a different reason. That is up next.
[10:20:00] ANDERSON: The U.N. says violence is escalating in Syria's Eastern Ghouta region despite a cease-fire. Take a look at the moment, an
airstrike hits aid workers, rescuing a man there. The U.N. believes nearly 600 people have been killed and 2,000 injured in the Damascus suburb in
recent weeks. Medecins Sans Frontieres also known as Doctors Without Borders estimates those numbers are much higher with 770 people killed they
say, and 4,000 injured. The story we will be covering closely for you in the coming days a weeks here on CNN as ever.
This is "CONNECT THE WORLD" with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back. As Benjamin Netanyahu heads to the U.S. to meet with U.S. President Donald
Trump, the Israeli Prime Mister is now a suspect in three corruption investigations. Israeli official says Mr. Netanyahu
caution on Friday about what's known as case 4,000. It's one of five separate corruption investigators facing the Prime Minister and his inner
circle. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing. For more CNN's Oren Liebermann joining us now live from Jerusalem. Oren?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this trip to Washington will be welcome break from those investigations who have been hanging over the
Prime Minister and his inner circle. It feels like for months now and certainly that advancing with thet latest questioning, the eighth time the
Prime Minister has been interrogated in these on-going graft probes.
LIEBERMANN: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces arguably the biggest challenge of his political career. The Israeli leader and his inner
circle, the target of five separate corruption investigations. In case 1,000, police say Netanyahu and his family received expensive gifts
including jewelry and cigars from wealthy overseas businessmen worth some $280,000. In case 2,000, police say Netanyahu was in talks with a
newspaper publisher to receive more favorable coverage in exchange for hampering the circulation of a rival paper. In these cases, Netanyahu is
suspected of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust. In case 3,000, Netanyahu is not a suspect, but what's known as the submarines affair has hit many in
his inner circle including his personal lawyer and his confidant. Police are investigating allegations of corruptions around the $1.5 billion
purchase of German submarines.
In case 4,000, prosecutors say Netanyahu illegally advanced the business interest of an Israeli telecommunications firm controlled by one of his
friends. Prosecutor said a friend and businessman ripped up to $280 million while Netanyahu was to receive more favorable coverage from a
popular online news site. Police just questioned Netanyahu under caution, in this case, meaning he's also a suspect here. His wife Sara Netanyahu
also questioned under caution. Both proclaim their innocence. A member of Netanyahu's inner circle turned state's witness, in this case, agreeing to
work with investigators in one of the biggest blows to the Israeli leader. The last case is known as case 1270 in which investigators say Netanyahu's
family spokesperson tried to bribe a judge with an offer to be attorney general in exchange for a favor on a future case.
Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in all of these cases, insisting that there's nothing in them and that he will be proven innocent. So far he has
the support of his coalition partners, crucial to staying in power, and he refuses to back down. His coalition partners have said the wait for the
attorney general to decide whether or not to indict the Prime Minister, a process that could take months. And that gives Netanyahu room to maneuver.
LIEBERMANN: And that week away from Israel, the week that he'll spend in Washington meeting with Trump and speaking with the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC,
a welcome break from the investigations. But when he returns here Becky, that cloud will still be right here over his head.
ANDERSON: So what is he hoping to with return from Washington with then, Oren?
LIEBERMANN: Well, the Washington trip is an easy win for Netanyahu who will be meeting with President Donald Trump, but he made it clear he
intends to focus that meeting first and foremost his words on Iran, combatting Iranian aggression in the region or once again, lobbying against
and fighting the Iran nuclear deal. That's exactly where he'll keep this and that will be the biggest substance of the meeting. Although we expect
sort of a nod towards a peace process, especially with the Trump administration still working on their peace process, which they could put
here in the next few months. But Becky, this is more than about the substance of the meeting, it's also about the optics and appearance of it.
For Trump and Netanyahu, this meeting were to happen tomorrow morning at U.S. time, is an easy win, it's an easy score for their -- for their voter
bases, both for Netanyahu and for Trump. And that, amid the investigations of both leaders is exactly what they're looking for here.
[10:25:25] ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem where you were is 5:25 in the evening. It is 7:25 in the UAE. Just ahead, we've been talking
about what's been a wild week for the Trump administration. Let's break down some of what's been going on inside the White House and on the global
stage. We're live in Washington for you after this short break.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. It is just before half past 7:00 in Abu Dhabi. This is our Middle
Eastern Broadcasting have you all very welcome. Let's get you to -- well, back to at least our top stories because it was a tumultuous week at the
White House even by this administration's standards. It is hard to keep track of any single one of those stories, let alone all of them. So let's
at least try to get you up to speed with what you need to know right now. The President has been coming the down the hall with his threats to slap
tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the United States despite backlash from key trading partners like Canada and the European Union. He's
accusing E.U. countries of banding together to beat the U.S. on trade, that's one thing.
Place it to home, The New York Times reports that Mr. Trump asked his chief of staff to help get Ivanka and Jared Kushner, his own daughter and son in
law, out of the White House. And President Trump losing his Communications Director Hope Hicks, as well. CNN source described this Mr. Trump's last
Meanwhile, we are learning new details about the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election. The New York Times reporting that
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is looking into whether the UAE try to gain political influence by funneling money to support Donald Trump's
Now, according to the Times, witnesses have been questioned including this man, George Nada, who has been an advisor to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
Nader reportedly was a frequent visitor to the White House last year meeting with the President Trump's Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and former
Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
And the Trump family controversy doesn't stop there. Sources tells CNN, the FBI is investigating one of Ivanka Trump's international business
deals. Specifically, a negotiations in financing over Trump international hotel and tower in Vancouver. This comes after The New York Times reported
that Jared Kushner's family business receives hundreds of millions of dollars in loans following meetings with lenders at the White House.
Let's wrap this for you, CNN's Cristina Alesci, with this report.
[10:31:52] CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: This Chicago skyscraper is majority owned by Jared Kushner and his family.
Mortgage documents show a fund linked to New York City private equity powerhouse Apollo Global Management provided them with $184 million
mortgages for the building. Apollo was founded by Josh Harris. Months earlier that same executive was in talks with the White House about an
advisory role, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.
Jared stepped down as CEO of his family's business, Kushner Companies since going to Washington. But questions of conflicts still persist. Also at
the White House, Jared met with Citibank CEO Michael Corbat, last year. Around the same time, Citibank meet a $325 million loan to Kushner
Companies and its partners. Spokespeople for both Apollo and Citibank said their executives were not involved in granting those loans.
NOAH BOOKBINDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: You also have to worry about whether he has an incentive to
use his official power to use the power of the White House to help people that he has business relations with.
ALESCI: A Kushner Company spokesperson said, "There was nothing inappropriate and stories like these attempt to make insinuating
connections that do not exist to disparage the financial institutions and the companies involved."
Just last week, CNN reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is inquiring about Kushner, approaching foreign investors during the
transition, including a Chinese insurance company and Qatari investor for the family's biggest bet, 666 Fifth Avenue. The building hasn't generated
enough profit to cover its debts.
HITEN SAMTANI, DIGITAL, THE REAL DEAL: 1.8 billion was the record price for Manhattan skyscraper was a highly, highly leveraged deal. Which means
the income in the building wasn't even close to covering what they would have to pay in interest. So it was a deal that a lot of people say was
doomed from the start.
ALESCI: About $1.2 billion in debt on the tower comes due next year. But sources say that negotiations with lenders and new sources of capital need
to start soon. Kushner Companies confirmed it's in talks to buy out its partner in the project, but the question remains, how will they pay for it?
When asked by CNN, they declined to comment.
SAMTANI: They're always looking for loans and construction loans and development loans and acquisition loans. So I would say, it's an active
ALESCI: Kushner Companies also needs to find investors for a development in Jersey City. The company scuttled the plan to use a government program
that would help foreigners get U.S. visas in exchange for an investment after Jared's sister was reportedly referencing him during a presentation
Another deal raising questions, The New York Times reported that Kushner Companies receives $30 million from one of Israel's largest financial
institutions just before Jared's first diplomatic trip to the country.
Last week, the Washington Post reported officials from at least four countries, Mexico, Israel, China and the United Arab Emirates discussed
ways they could manipulate Jared because of his family's finances. The constant search for capital which is normal for any Real State Firm casts a
cloud over Jared's White House role because like his father in law, he has refused to fully divest from his holdings.
[10:35:10] ANDERSON: Which has been a fast-moving week for those in the inner circle in the White House. So this gets you up to speed, Michael
Zeldin is a CNN legal analyst and Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the Department of Justice. His joining us now live from Washington.
So, you know how Bob Mueller's mind works. What is special counsel up to then, with regards Jared Kushner and his foreign business ties? Let's
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: OK. Well, let's start with the disclaimer that I can't tell you for sure that I know what -- how Bob
Mueller's mind is working --
ANDERSON: All right.
ZELDIN: -- in respect to this investigation, because it's so fast moving and so multi-faceted. After the question of Jared Kushner and his issues,
the issue principally is whether or not he is engaged in government work and private business at the same time, and whether or not, that private
business is influencing government policy, case, and point.
There is a report out that his property that we just heard from Cristina Alesci, the 666 Fifth Avenue is in need of additional financing. Jared is
reported to have asked the Qataris for financing of that building and they were turned down. Not long after that, U.S. policy toward Qatar shifted.
We -- so I did it more, it seems with the Saudis and the Emirates against Qatar. So, the question is, is there causality? Was the effort to get
financing, the result and the failure to get it, the result of the U.S. (INAUDIBLE), that's what's being looked into.
ANDERSON: Will -- yes. With respect, that isn't, though, what most of our viewers would believe Robert Mueller's investigation is about. It was
about Russian interference with the 2016 Election, and the possible involvement of Trump officials. So I'm -- many of our viewers will be
struggling to work out how -- aside from a $1.2 billion Kushner company debt on a building in New York which must be disturbing to family members.
What's that got to do with Bob Mueller?
ZELDIN: So, the way that Mueller mandate reads is, number one, look at foreign interference with the U.S. election, the counterintelligence
investigation. And that principally focuses on Russia because that's how it started.
However, a paragraph within the mandate says, "And you shall also look into other matters which may arise out of that initial inquiry. So, if Mueller
believes that the Qatari financing, the efforts by the UAE to gain influence in the White House, all is part and parcel of a corrupt -- you
know, sort of Trump presidential campaign. And that's fits within the arise out of part of his mandate.
Now, it should say that the way this works in practice is Mueller gets supported by the Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein because the attorney
general is recused in this case. As he goes along in his investigation and he sees matters that are "arising out of" that is not directly tethered to
Russia interference. He goes to Rosenstein and says, "Mr. Deputy A.G., what would you like me to do? Would you like me to continue this, or would
you like to be to give it to the Justice Department for you to take over and the two of them make a decision? Well, we'll take this one, Bob, you
stay with that one."
And so, when you see something that is not closely connected to the primary mandate, you understand probably that Mueller is doing so with an expanded
mandate from the deputy attorney general after it conversed.
ANDERSON: Well, let's discuss that then. With nine months on the job, Robert Mueller has brought charges against 22 people an entity so far.
Four Trump associates have been charged. Mueller also brought charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for alleged
meddling in the 2016 Election.
Now, former independent counsel Robert -- Ken Starr, who led the investigation that led President Bill Clinton's impeachment contends. And
this was on CNN last week that these indictments suggest there was no collusion, and he went on to say, Michael, on CNN. The questions about
Donald Trump's business activities in Russia prior to his presidential campaign go beyond Robert Mueller's mandate. You said the mandate is what
happened during the 2016 Election in terms of collusion.
Now, hear what you just said -- but it seems to my mind at least that Ken Starr is under the impression of Bob Mueller, seems to have lost his focus
[10:40:12] ZELDIN: Yes, well, that -- I heard that it -- I heard that interview. And I think what Judge Starr misses is the paragraph above --
the paragraph that he's refer to. So, in this mandate, there is a paragraph that says look into collusion, but above that, it says, first and
foremost, look into counterintelligence and that includes efforts by foreign powers interfere in the U.S. election including, it says, including
Ken misses the point that this is, at first, a counter and foremost a counterintelligence investigation and secondary to that, if there was
collusion, we'd like to know about that too. And so, he hasn't lost his direction, Mueller. Mueller is looking at what he is supposed to look at,
Ken Starr just has not read the paragraph above that which he is quoting in my estimation.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Yes, all right, Michael, well, look, this isn't going away, so we will speak to you about this again. It seems to get
deeper and wider about that moment. Michael Zeldin, in CNN's legal analyst and Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the Department of Justice.
Thanks to your insight state.
ZELDIN: All right.
ANDERSON: In spite everything, Mr. Trump had time for jokes at that Gridiron Dinner at the expense of unusual target, himself. He made light
of some of the bigger bombshell to shake his administration on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who accused himself from the Russian investigation.
He said, "I offered him a ride over and he recused himself. What are you going to do?"
On his son in law Jared Kushner's lowered security clearance, he joked, "I wanted to apologize for arriving a little bit late. You know, we are late
tonight because Jared could not get through the security."
And on the wiz of White House departures, he said, "So many people have been leaving the White House. Now, the question everyone keeps asking is
'who is going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller or Melania?"
Funny man. Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, the sports world mourning the loss of Sir Roger
Bannister, the runner's benchmark moment that Theresa May, called an inspiration to us all. Up next.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. It's a quarter to 8:00 here in Abu Dhabi.
Tributes pouring in for the first man to ever run a mile in under 4 minutes. Roger Bannister passed away at his home, Saturday, at the age of
88. He became the first person to break the 4-minute mile when he clocked in at 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds in 1954. British Prime Minister Theresa May
tweeted her condolences saying Bannister was a sporting icon and inspiration to us all.
Well, Don Riddell's "WORLD SPORT" has more on this. And there is no doubt you and I growing up will remember his name on a regular basis. He had a
huge impact not just on his own sport, but on sport as a whole, didn't he?
[10:45:28] DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Absolutely. I mean, what he achieved in 1954 really was a landmark fits an iconic moment in sport,
propelled him into conversations where he was compared with the likes of Jesse Owens, Babe Ruth and -- you know, some of the real icons of the
history of sport.
It was an extraordinary moment, you have to remember the time. This was an amateur era for track and field. This sub 4-minute mile wasn't the main
focus of his day, he was a medical student. He actually began his day doing his runs on the worlds before he took the train to Oxford to try and
break what at this point was considered really a mystical barrier that of some people who didn't even think it was possible.
Running wasn't even his main focus, it was kind of something he did really in his spare time. But he was still very, very passionate about it,
obviously. And he kind of brought us a more scientific approach to this race because he did think that he would be possible to break the 4-minute
mile. It was to be said that his moment, his record, barely lasted a month. It was broken, I think, 46 days later. But nobody remembers who
broke it next.
Everybody remembers what he did, and as you say, Becky, when you and I were kids, he was a household name in the United Kingdom. He inspired a whole
raft of other athletes such as the current president of world athletics, Sebastian Coe, who said, there is not a single athlete of his generation he
was not inspired by what's a Roger Bannister did.
ANDERSON: What he did do afterwards, Don?
RIDDELL: Well, that's very interesting, and he's actually equally well known for what he did away from the track. He retired the same year, he
retires in 1954 to focus on his medical studies. And he spent the next four decades being one of the leading neurologists in his field. And he
has since said that actually, that for him is a much more important achievement than what he did on the track in Oxford.
But he was absolutely revered, he was quite a private man. He was very, very humble. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 88 having
acquired Parkinson's disease back in 2011. And he did comments about that. He said, you know, having studied so many other brains in his professional
life that he found there was a gentle irony to the fact that it was Parkinson's that he acquired. But he will be very, very missed by the
world of athletics and the world of sport and his name will forever endure.
ANDERSON: Remarkable to the days that innocent days of amateur athletics - -
ANDERSON: When you break a record live that it seems so many moons ago, doesn't it? What an extraordinary man, thank you. You're live from Abu
Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Coming up, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino and now perhaps Ziad Doueiri, and here for a Lebanese filmmaker who's hoping to join that elite
club of academy award winners. His story, up next.
[10:50:50] ANDERSON: Well, it is the biggest night of the year in Hollywood. The 90th Annual Academy Awards will be presented to announce a
more will be in focus than the movies. It isn't clear whether Time's Up or the MeToo movement will have a moment to bring attention to their calls
against sexual harassment as they have in previous award shows. Some celebrities, though, are expected to don orange pins in favor of gun
safety. Well, that's for the awards.
The fantasy film, The Shape of Water is leading, the 13 nominations including best picture. The movie is made out five of Hollywood, it's the
foreign film category that can really prepare filmmakers to international fame. And one filmmaker did it well tackling some serious issues in his
home country, Lebanon. Here is a look at the Middle East's very own Oscar- nominated film.
It's the first Lebanese film nominated for an Academy Award and not without reason, either. Set in Beirut, the tense courtroom drama tells a story of
a racially charged verbal fight between a Palestinian and a Lebanese man, turning into a full-blown sectarian standoff.
It's a multidimensional situation, threatening to reopen old wounds of war. But, for the film's Lebanese born Paris based director, Ziad Doueiri, the
aim is to transcend controversy.
ZIAD DOUEIRI, FILM DIRECTOR, THE INSULT: It's mainly about examining self, it's about reconciling with the other. Recognizing that your adversary has
also a point of view.
ANDERSON: Doueiri is no stranger to understanding the other side. He co- wrote the script for this now ex-wife Joelle who stems from a different religious and political background. The couple were able to channel their
different upbringings into creative process, adding their personal experience of growth to the story.
DOUEIRI: When we decided to write The Insult, her having raised and believed that my camp was the enemy, and me, outraised in believing her
camp was the enemy, we decided to switch the role during the screenwriting process.
ANDERSON: But despite winning early critical acclaim, The Insult, wasn't as easily embraced in Lebanon. For some people there, Doueiri can't be
forgiven for his decision to shoot parts of his previous film in Israel.
DOUEIRI: They lobbied, the Lebanese government, and asked the Lebanese government not to release the attack in 2012, and they succeed it. When we
went out and we did The Insult in 2017, they went at it again by opening in old files. But this time, the government said, The Insult is a legitimate
film, it's 100 percent Lebanese -- we're going to release it.
ANDERSON: In a region that itself resembles a polarized courtroom drama, separating politics and art is like splitting hairs. Doueiri insists in
maintaining creative autonomy.
DOUEIRI: I can always find ways where I can link the politics to art, in a way they are not so separate. In a way they are separate, I think
filmmakers, like journalists, like novelists, like painter, like composer we're supposed to cross borders. We are allowed, we should ethically
examine the other side. This is what I do for living, this is what we do for a living.
ANDERSON: On screen, The Insult, captures the fragility of a region where the legacy of conflict is only a verbal standoff away. Off-screen, it
might help bring acceptance of an artist who's not afraid to provoke debate.
[10:54:52] ANDERSON: And the Oscars, of course, later on, tonight out of L.A. Do stick with us for that on CNN. If there was a category for best
Facebook page at the Oscars as well, well, you know where we go with this, it's your -- it's your page. If you're a regular viewer, you let it tap
Facebook page, it's facebook.com/cnnconnect. Do use page to interact with us, it's your show after all.
And before we go, I do want to tell you about a project close to my heart and one which you'll find there on Facebook. CNN partnering with young
people around the world for what will be a student-led day of action against modern-day slavery on March the 14th. That is next week. And
ahead of my Freedom Day, we are asking students what freedom means to them. Here's what Diana, a sixth grader from the American community school, right
here in Abu Dhabi, had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANA, SIXTH GRADER STUDENT, AMERICAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL, ABU DHABI: Hi, my name is Diana. I'm in sixth grade, and to me, freedom is being myself and
not following anyone else -- what anyone else says.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Millions have shared with us what freedom means to them on social media and you too can join them, share your story, please do. Use
the #myfreedomday. I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD, from the team here at (INAUDIBLE), good evening.