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Emmanuel Marcon Is the Next President of France; Trump Congratulates Emmanuel Marcon; GOP Health Care Bill Going to the Senate; 82 Chibok Girls Released; A Six-Month Ceasefire in Syria Begins; A Refugee Family Story of Escape; Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to Testify. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 7, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: In a landslide, the French people said no to a candidate who wanted to close the country's borders to immigrants, pull France out of NATO and take the country back in time to the days before the European Union. This is the man who will now lead France, at least for the next five years.
Emmanuel Macron, just 39-years-old. He's never held elected office until now. And he will be the youngest leader in France since Napoleon. President Trump tweeting a short time ago, "Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next president of France. I look very much forward to working with him."
Now on the losing side, Marine Le Pen from the political far right whom President Trump had initially called the strongest candidate a couple of weeks ago in an interview with the Associated Press. Le Pen recently called Macron and congratulated him. And right now, it's after 11:00 p.m. in Paris where CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is watching this historic election result for us. Also with us, Isa Soares in northern France. I'll start with you Christiane, what are the latest official result there and how is France reacting to the election Emmanuel Macron?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've just concluded a three-hour party here behind me and people are still here. It's massive. Huge, huge numbers of people have been flooding here all day to watch the results and they've only just seen their new president come out on stage and address the nation in a very exuberant, but very serious and strong way, saying thank you to everybody for rejecting the politics of fear and hate and for voting for the politics of hope and for future and for light and for progressive and tolerant politics.
He was very, very emotional but very, very strong saying that this country face a dramatic choice -- either we could continue to belong to the rest of the world and be outward looking and tolerant or you could have gone inward looking, anti-immigrant, protectionist (ph), anti-free trade and anti-E.U. He did something extraordinarily brave. He walked out for a period of minutes with a camera on him all alone. Guess what? To the anthem of the European Union. I mean this is massive given the way the rest of Europe is piling on
the European Union. And he ended with the anthem, the national anthem of France. And it was so dramatic and everybody here waving flags, French flags and European Union flags and basically voting for hopefully, they hope, reform, as he promised. He kept saying, our task is enormous and he kept listing off the enormous challenges to bring reform in France, to reach those people who have been hurting so badly that they could even have considered giving even more than 30 percent to the far right extremist leader, Marine Le Pen.
He thanked his own supporters and voters. Then he said he respected those who voted for Marine Le Pen, and that he hoped that his term of five years would mean that they would never have to vote for the extremes again here in France. He promised to fight terrorism. He promised to guard the climate. And he promised to work for the benefit of all French people, all European people. And he said the whole world has been looking at us, and this is what we have to offer tonight. Ana?
CABRERA: So true, the world is watching the result right now, watching the party, wondering what this election really means for the rest of the world. Many outside have looked at this election as a litmus test on the rise of populism around the world. What's more important, Macron's win or Le Pen's loss, Christiane?
AMANPOUR: Well, Ana, it just seems to me and everybody's been saying the same thing, that this election was being watched by everybody precisely because of that, because the populists, the nationalists believed that their wave was going to continue and travel right here -- the biggest most important election in Europe during this up-ended political season. And France said no.
And France stood in the face of this wave which started in Brexit, which went to the United States, and which could have won here and it didn't. And so this is an important turning point because it's not over. There are so many challenges, as he said. The underlying issues that made people come out and vote for an extreme white nationalist whose party was built on anti-Semitism and on which she layered Islamophobia, anti-immigration, anti-free trade, anti-E.U., anti-NATO, all that stuff, the French said no to that, but there needs to be
[17:05:00] economic reforms. There needs to be a greater understanding of the cultural divisions that have brought this country to where it is -- a lot of hard work to come in the future. There needs to be a majority for Emmanuel Macron who doesn't even have a party. It's a movement. They're now going to go to so-called congressional, here they call it parliamentary or legislative elections in the next month. He has to build a legislative body around him. That's the next big challenge.
So a lot was at stake here. And Macron has said the French chose the right path and we are not going to let the French down and we're not going to let the world down. So, you can see that he was very sober and somber as well. And he knows what has fallen on his young shoulders. A man who a year ago was nowhere near being an elected political leader, and here he is. CABRERA: We know France does have an impact, a trickle-down effect on
the rest world as the sixth largest economy in the world. We know they have battled terrorism in recent months. It's interesting though, Isa, President Trump all but endorsed Le Pen. Obama fully endorsed Macron. Did that even matter?
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT Well, it really doesn't. I mean president Trump --
CABRERA: Go ahead, Isa.
SOARES: Pardon me. I thought you were talking to Christiane. You know, the fact that we had -- President Trump didn't really come out and endorse Le Pen in many words. Many could read between the lines and knew exactly where he stood politically at least in what they see eye to eye as Christiane was clearly saying, you know, Le Pen very much anti-NATO, anti-E.U..
We know president Trump is very much aligned along the lines of Brexit. Also what we know in terms of Le Pen is that she wants closer ties with Putin. She wants to roll back some of the sanctions put in place against Russia following the annexation of Crimea. So, you know, many people here especially the north of the country, Ana, where we're seeing latest results, more than 50 or so percent of people voted for Le Pen. Hence, why you can see -- you can hear the silence in this part of the country.
But there is so much disillusionment in this part of the French rustbelt. It's very similar to what we saw in really U.S. elections. People here have been saying they're not being heard, the elites are ignoring them. They're talking about unemployment which is more than 20 percent. That's twice higher than national average. So there is a real concern. I know that Macron there was talking really about this anger and this anxiety being felt in parts of the country, the importance to unite the country.
But the reality is many people here don't believe he is the man to lead this country. Don't think he has enough experience and don't think he really cares for them. So there is this huge division within the country, Ana, that now he must try to heal. Of course, Christiane was pointing there to the legislative elections coming up in June. That is crucial because what we heard from Marine Le Pen today was a battle, her fighting on, fighting talk that we heard time and time again.
She said she was calling on the patriots, "we will fight at the legislative elections." And so she's trying to gain more ground, but at the same time, calling on her patriots. This has been, Ana, a campaign that's been very clear it's fought out. Globalization, this is the patriots -- the haves and the have-nots -- those who really belong to the elites of France, like Macron (ph), who was a former minister who come as a former investment banker and the pheasants.
It is about as Le Pen says, a forgotten France, Ana. And that's very much what now Macron will need to heal as -- because he hasn't been able to grasp this side of the country, the northern part that is facing so much economic loss with factories closing shops sorted (ph) up. There is a real fear now of trying to integrate the country into his vision of France and his vision that includes Europe. Many people don't want Europe. The fact that he walked on that stage with the song "An Ode to Joy" points to that, Ana.
CABRERA: Well, we did hear in his speech there in front of all of those to folks outside the Louvre as he wants unity. He wants unity in France, he wants unity within Europe. Christiane, President Trump here in the U.S. tweeted this a short time ago -- let's put that tweet back up if we can -- he says, "Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today. As the next president of France, I look very much forward to working with him."
I'm wondering what that relationship might look like moving forward after what Trump had said during this election, all but endorsing Le Pen, the rival of Macron. Christiane, how do you anticipate this will unfold going forward?
[17:10:01] AMANPOUR: Well, you know, obviously that tweet, that congratulations almost immediately from President Trump is very important and very significant precisely because everybody thought that he supported Le Pen. But here's the thing, both of them are going to be meeting at the G7 Summit at the end of this month. I had president Macron's spokeswoman on just a couple of hours ago right after the election results came in and she said Macron's been Democratically elected. President Trump is Democratically elected. You know, the future is these two leaders working together.
She talked about terrorism, ISIS, all the joint challenges and issues. She also then talked very clearly about what France calls important, that's the climate, and Macron is not going to give an inch and he's going to hope that he can persuade the United States to remain inside the 2015 Paris Climate Accords and to stick with it by the letter of the law and the spirit of it. Very, very important -- it is massively important to his young voters and to people all over the continent here.
And I think finally, you know, what's really important is that President Putin did have a favorite, and his favorite was Marine Le Pen. And there was a lot of Russian intervention in terms of the fake news, the sputniks, the artist (ph), all the Kremlin propaganda, all pro Le Pen. And there was a huge, huge, huge hack just as the wire ended on campaigning on Friday night of Macron's party, En Marche, all the e-mails and documents. We haven't been allowed to report them because of the law here. But there was a huge, huge attempt to wobble this election. And we still don't know who, why or what but there is a lot of, you know, reason to -- for Macron people to suspect it was those who wanted to do him in.
So, it's really important that that didn't work either, because the interference by Russia in the western Democratic elections trying to weaken western institutions has been, according to the CIA and all the other intelligence in the United States, the single most important threat the United States and the west faces today.
CABRERA: All right, Christiane Amanpour and Isa Soares, our thanks to both of you. Again, the French election just taking place and Emmanuel Macron winning this election by a landslide in many ways, over 60 percent of the vote. The French people have spoken about the direction they want to take their country. A direction of globalization versus nationalism, which was what Marine Le Pen had been promoting with her candidacy and you see the partying continuing almost midnight now in Paris.
Also ahead as we continue to follow the French election, here in the U.S. we're expecting a senate showdown this week. The president and House Republicans considering it a victory but they're facing a harsh reality check on the other side on Capitol Hill when it comes to the health care debate.
Don't go anywhere, we're just getting started. You're live here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Breaking news and live pictures out of Paris as the celebration continues following the French election of Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old who has never held elected office in the past. He ran as an independent, a centrist candidate. He formed his own party. He is a former investment banker, an economy minister. He held that position under the former president Hollande and he really defeated Marine Le Pen, the far right candidate, by a lot in this election -- 60 plus percent of the vote went for Macron.
And you see that people are celebrating the direction that the French will be taking as they move forward. They have a lot of challenges that lie ahead that could impact the rest of the world with France having the sixth largest economy and the relationship with the U.S. and fighting terrorism and other issues. There is a lot at stake here. We're going to continue to discuss exactly what this means to you at home throughout the hour.
Meantime, let's talk about health care. The Republican push to repeal and replace Obamacare is moving on to a brand-new battleground now on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate. President Trump and Republican lawmakers celebrated their phase one victory, but that's only a portion of all of this.
That's when it cleared the House. You can see everybody clapping in the Rose Garden that day. Well, now it is a new ball game and the West Wing chief of staff had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It's up to the Senate if there are improvements to be made, to make those improvements. Everyone is excited and ready to go to work and take the time necessary to look at the bill, make improvements where they need to be made, and then the bill will be brought back for conference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN White House correspondent, Athena Jones in New Jersey where the president has been spending the weekend at his Bedminster golf club. Athena, how much pressure are senators now getting from the president himself?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, I think there is going to be a lot of pressure. We've already heard the president talk about how the ball is now in the Senate's court. He praised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for knowing how to get things done. We know that he spoke with Senator McConnell on Thursday after the House passed the bill to deliver precisely that message, the message that it's now his task to complete this work.
We also heard him talk about the Senate this morning in a tweet just before 9:00 a.m. I believe you have that to put up on the screen, and I'll read it for you. He said, "Republican senators will not let the American people down. Obamacare premiums and deductibles are way up. It was a lie, and it's dead." We know the White House has already said that they expect the president to be fully engaged in selling the bill in the Senate, just as he was in the House.
And he's expressed confidence that he can be successful, that the Senate can be successful in getting this through. But all indications are that it is going to be
[17:20:00] a steep climb because despite the president's talk about how this bill unified Republicans, there a lot of Republicans who have already expressed concerns about the bill, Ana.
CABRERA: Right. Just how are Republican senators responding? What are you hearing from them?
JONES: Well, we're hearing different things depending on what senator you're talking to or talking about. Senator Susan Collins of Maine has expressed some concerns and she did so again in an interview this morning. Take a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The House bill is not going to come before us. The Senate is starting from scratch. We're going to draft our own bill. I think we will do so and that we will come up with a whole new fresh approach that solves the legitimate flaws that do exist with the ACA where we've seen in some markets insurers fleeing. But it will also keep some of the benefits of the ACA. My goal is to actually expand coverage for those 28 million Americans who still lack coverage today despite the ACA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So you heard Senator Collins echoing some of her colleagues, her Republican colleagues, who said that they're going to start over in the Senate which is what you might expect them to do. They'll bring together their own version. You also heard her talk about how she wants to expand coverage. We're still waiting for the score of this bill from the Congressional Budget Office, but the score of the earlier version said that it would leave 24 million people without health insurance by 2026. That's something that we know Senator Collins is concerned about.
Other senators have expressed concerns about there not being enough money in the bill for instance to help low income people and seniors up for coverage. The people have expressed concerns about the cuts to Medicaid, concerns about the fact that this bill would allow insurers not to cover certain so-called essential benefits that were required under Obamacare like maternity coverage or emergency room care and the like.
And then of course this other element that we've been hearing a lot about which is the matter of pre-existing conditions. This new bill would allow states to allow insurers to charge people with pre- existing conditions more for their plans. That could put plans out of reach for people with a long list of conditions, everything from cancer to diabetes, to asthma. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates says that it estimates that nearly 30 percent of Americans under 65 have a pre-existing condition. So, that's another big concern. Ana.
CABRERA: And now we hear this 13-person senator panel is going to be working on their own version of the bill perhaps not just tweaking the Republican house bill but really starting from scratch. Athena Jones, thank you for staying on top of it for us.
I want to talk this over with our panel, CEO and founder of the Public Religion Research Institute, Robert Jones, also with us former chief of staff for House Speaker Paul Ryan, David Hoppe, and CNN political commentator Maria Cardona. She's also a Democratic strategist. Robert, to you first, a lot of people who voted for President Trump wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare, is this the kind of plan that they were looking for?
ROBET JONES, CEO, PUBLIC RELIGION RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Well, you know, it's a complicated scenario and I think this is a really risky -- it's a win, no doubt, legislatively but it's a really risky win for the Obama administration and here's why. I think what's lost in a lot of the early --
CABRERA: For the Trump administration.
JONES: Yes, for the Trump administration, sorry about that. What's lost here is that even though white working class voters, for example, voted for President Trump by a margin of about two to one, a majority of them, about 51 percent of them still said that Trump did not understand the community problems that they were dealing with. And I think this group is going to be hit hardest by these pre-existing conditions clauses by being priced out of the market.
I think this is a real high-wire act with no net on the part of the Trump administration from the poll (ph). And only 38n percent of the country really supports says, supports like for example, letting states to opt out of these pre-existing conditions that the ACA guaranteed. And more importantly than that, half of Republicans in a recent poll this week opposed allowing states to opt out.
And I think the main reason for that is that we also had 20 Republicans going against the bill, and the main reason for that I think is that there is this crisis -- health care crisis in the white working class community. And I think that's really important. This comes at the time when public health officials are telling us that an opioid crisis is hitting white working class Americans at a rate that is as big as the aids epidemic in the 1980s.
So these things are not theoretical for white working class voters who supported Trump and who already were feeling like he was maybe out of touch with the problems down at their local community level.
CABRERA: Well, let's not forget, only 17 percent supported the original bill of all Americans who were polled prior to the most recent version coming out. Maria, Republicans as we've been talking about in the Senate say they want to craft their own version of this bill. So, should Democrats be reaching out to try to have a seat at the table?
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that Democrats have said from the beginning
[17:25:00] that they will work with Republicans if their goal is to actually make the Affordable Care Act better. And from what I heard from Susan Collins, is that perhaps that's exactly what they want to do. She did nothing less than essentially give the finger to the Trumpcare bill that just passed in the House. And she was every reason to.
She and every senator who understands how egregious, abominable, and monstrously immoral the health care bill that was just passed by the Republicans is, because it essentially does give Americans who are low-income Americans, seniors, Americans who are already sick, they give them less coverage, and it will cost a lot more money. In addition to that, it cuts Medicaid benefits. It defunds Planned Parenthood putting millions of Americans out of the reach of good health care, big preventive healthcare and it slashes taxes for the wealthy.
So, it's a huge tax give away for wealthy Americans in exchange for taking away protections and health care coverage to the most vulnerable Americans that are out there. There is a reason why this was --
CABRERA: Let's talk about that. Let's talk more about that, Maria --
CARDONA: Yes, I mean, there's a reason why plenty Americans are against it.
CABRERA: -- because it's not just Democrats. It's not just Democrats who are speaking out against the bill.
CABRERA: Republican governor John Kasich today blasted the GOP plan $8 billion boost for the high-risk pool saying there's still not enough money -- worries about the Medicaid expansion funds going away as well. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I think the fundamental issues here are the resources. I don't want to give you exactly the numbers, but it's about half the resources in this bill that were in Obamacare. Now I can tell you that we can do with less resources but you can't do it overnight and you can't -- and you cannot give people a $3,000 or $4,000 health insurance policy. You know where they're going to be? They're going to be living in the emergency rooms again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: David, I want to bring you into the conversation. You have said this bill is a good start. How do you take all that money away and still cover people at the same level that they're getting covered at now?
DAVID HOPPE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF OF REP. PAUL RYAN: Well, we had heard a lot of opinions here in the last minute or two. But one thing we know is that there are some facts out there. The skyrocketing premiums, the skyrocketing deductibles are part of the ACA. They're work into the fabric of the ACA so the poorest people can't get good care.
They can't afford it, or if they can get some care, if they can get an insurance policy, they can't afford to use it. That's what the Republicans are trying to do is put together here something that provides more access, more benefits, more choices, health savings accounts, and gives more options to governors. And I'm sure Governor Kasich will tell you --
CABRERA: But we just heard from Governor Kasich say that more people he believes are being covered right now under the ACA and that it has helped the people in his state versus what he sees coming up in this plan.
HOPPE: I'm sure Governor Kasich will also tell you -- I'm sure Governor Kasich will also tell you that he can do a better job on Medicaid in his state than the federal government can do in his state. He can save money, provide for more the people who are on Medicaid in his state. That's what they're trying to do here.
Now, the senator is going to take this on and they're going to start to work through this. But the big thing here is can they work together? Yes, they can because what's going on is they're going to try and change from an ever growing government control, which was put on steroids under the ACA, back to controlled by the doctors and the patients. And that's where the Republicans want to go. And if the Democrats want to join them in changing from this government direction to doctor/patient --
CABRERA: But doctors don't support that plan. You have the American Medical Association who says this isn't going to work. That it is going to hurt the people that are most vulnerable.
HOPPE: That's right. The AMA was part of the deal in 2009 and 2010. They got some special deals out of the Obama administration to work with them on this and that's an organization there. If you talk to doctors individually however, and many of them think this has been a catastrophe and they want to go to something else, looking at a different plan.
That's where Republicans have been focusing their time and attention talking to doctors individually as opposed to the AMA who set up a deal for themselves within the ACA. So you've got to look and pull apart a little bit what people are saying in this because the goal once again is to take this back from a government control to a doctor/patient relationship. And if they can do that --
CARDONA: I thought the goal was to give Americans better health care. This bill absolutely does not do that. This bill --
HOPPE: And that's what they'll get. And that's what they'll get if they have their doctor and the patient. Put the doctor and patient work together on this, they will have better health care. But the government -- we've seen what we've gotten. We've seen what we've gotten, skyrocketing premiums and deductibles --
CARDONA: By a few people, per few people. You know, let's talk about facts here. Yes, premiums have gone up, and that needs to be fixed. But those premiums have gone up for a minority of people on the Affordable Health Care Act. The affordable -- I'm sorry, the Affordable Care Act. The Obamacare. Obamacare now is at like a 65 percent approval rating because people understand that it does give them _-
CABRERA: The last one was 48 percent approval rating. Nonetheless, it does --
HOPPE: Part of the approval rating --
CARDONA: It does give them a lot. Americans understand --
CABRERA: Guys, we got to leave it there. We got to leave it there for now.
CARDONA: Americans understand it gives them more coverage, not less.
HOPPE: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Thank you Maria Cardona, Robert Jones and David Hoppe.
[17:30:00] We appreciate your time. We'll take you back to Paris right now. The celebrations still continue late into the night, 11:30 eastern -- 11:30 in Paris, 5:30 eastern here in the U.S. And you see French people celebrating, waving their French flags as they continue to celebrate the victory of Emmanuel Macron, a young person who has never held office before. Just 39-years-old who has vowed tonight to lead this country into a better future, one that is not divisive, one that is working within the European Union and one that is working and reaching across the globe to make the world a better place.
He talked about supporting efforts on the climate. He talked about cracking down on terrorism. He talked about improving the economy in France and in Europe and you can see as we look at the Eiffel Tower, the bright light that is shining over their country tonight. We'll continue to follow the latest developments out of France and here in the U.S. as we look forward to a big week ahead on health care, as well as on this hearing that we're expecting tomorrow regarding the Russian investigation.
Much more here in the CNN NEWSROOM, straight ahead.
[1735:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: A 39-year-old political newcomer is set to become the next president of France. Emmanuel Macron defeated far right candidate Marine Le Pen by a lopsided margin in today's election. A former banker who has never held elected office. Macron has no backing from a national party. He, unlike Le Pen, favor stronger ties with the European Union. Let's welcome our panelist and discuss all of this, historian and Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer is with us, global affairs correspondent Elise Labott and chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.
Christiane is there in Paris and we'll start with you. He French people wake up tomorrow, what's changed?
AMANPOUR: Well, what's changed is this very divisive election is over. And as Emmanuel Macron said on the stage behind me just in front of this amazing Louvre background, he said that our challenge begins starting tomorrow. We know that we have to make reforms. We know that we have to do better for those who've been hurting in the current economic environment, and that we need to do this all together.
And he appealed to the whole of France, and he named just about every possible area of endeavor. And a whole cross-section of France from the farmers to the, you know, heads of corporations and students, and everybody in between, that everybody had to work together to make this work. And he also said that, you know, in six weeks' time or so, there's another election, and that's for parliamentary positions. So you would call it congressional. Here they call it legislative for the national assembly.
He does not have MP's. He does not have deputy in the national assembly because he doesn't have a party. He has this En Marche movement. And now they have to translate that into actually a governing legislative body. So that's the next big challenge. But he stressed how, you know, he was pro-Europe, he was pro-looking outward, he was pro-getting everyone together and against obviously the politics of hate and fear that his opponent had run on.
And while she and her concession speech still talked about both conflict between patriots and liberals, he rejected those divisions. He said we're all patriots and I embrace even and respect even my opponents' voters and I will work for everybody. So that's where we are right now. Ana.
CABRERA: And Christiane, we even heard him tell people not to boo when he mentioned Marine Le Pen, which speaks to what you talked about there of trying to bring people together after a very divisive election. Julian, I want to read you what Hillary Clinton just tweeted. We read what president Trump tweeted a couple times earlier but this is from Hillary Clinton right now, "Victory for Macron, for France, the E.U. and the world. Defeat to those interfering with democracy." And then she says in parentheses here, "but the media says I can't talk about that." What do you make of her tweet?
JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, the tweet makes sense I think for many Americans, they're watching this through the prism of the 2016 U.S. election, and there was a sense that potentially we're in this movement with President Trump, with Brexit, and with France toward right wing nationalism, toward a move away from integration and globalism.
So, this is seen as a victory for the other side. And the values that Hillary Clinton represented in the campaign. So I think she's vicariously living through a victory in France remembering what happened to her here in November.
CABRERA: Elise, is this a turning point in this populist wave we've been seeing in Europe?
ELISE LABOTT, Well, I mean I think that's the hope certainly for the pro-E.U. supporters. You had this defeat in Austria of a right wing candidate, Geert Wilders. You had this defeat in the Netherlands of the kind of right wing populist candidate. And now France was really seen as the most important indicator of which way Europe was going to go. There were people that said that if France were to elect Marine Le Pen, and then you would see perhaps a trigger of withdrawing from the E.U., that that would not only be a disaster for France but a disaster for what they call the E.U. experiment, whether it is the E.U. as a bloc on open borders, a common currency and a common foreign policy.
So I think that, you know, that's what everyone is saying today, that this is really a defeat for those who wanted to walk back, you know, free and strong Europe altogether and certainly France is one of the strongest countries in that endeavor.
CABRERA: Thank you to all of you. We'll have more discussion of this French election coming up. But I want to turn our
[17:40:00] attention to the former acting attorney general who was fired by Trump who will now get her chance to speak out before Congress. It all happens tomorrow. We'll talk about what she might say about former national security advisor Michael Flynn's connections to Russia.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: One of the most high-profile witnesses is about to testify to Congress for the first time about contacts between former national security advisor Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is expected to contradict the White House on what happened leading up to the firing of Flynn. CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles is joining us now. What are we expecting to hear from Yates, Ryan?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well Ana, Yates has told sources that have told CNN, that she's prepared to set the record straight about her role in the events that eventually led to national security advisor Michael Flynn being asked to leave his post. At the core of her testimony will be a meeting that she had with White House counsel
[17:45:00] Don McGhan 18 days before Flynn was removed as national security advisor. In that meeting, Yates is prepared to testify that she gave a forceful warning to the White House about Flynn's contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At that point, Flynn had denied that he talked to Kislyak about U.S. sanctions on Russia, a denial which was not true, and that led Vice President Mike Pence to publicly defend Flynn.
After Flynn left office, the White House admitted that Yates had warned them about Flynn's interaction with the Russian official but they described those interactions as more of a heads-up, essentially bringing to their attention that Flynn may not have been honest with the vice president. Yates however remembers the conversation differently and is expected to testify that she expressed serious concerns and made it clear that Flynn should be fired.
The former acting attorney general was also forced out of her post by the Trump administration after she refused to defend the White House's controversial travel ban. Her testimony while potentially explosive could be tempered a bit because she will probably not be able to recount specifics of the certain events because of concerns over revealing classified information in an open setting.
But Ana, you can bet that all eyes will be on that testimony tomorrow. It could be one of the most important as we deal with this entire situation with Russia's potential involvement in the U.S. Election.
CABRERA: And it's an event that will be made public so we of course will be following that closely and bringing that to our viewers. Ryan Nobles, thank you very much.
Coming up, they survived violence, hunger, homelessness and hopelessness caused by the Syrian civil war and finally they're safe.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I feel excited and hapt because I was just -- I'm going to go to America. I'm going to have a future. I'm going to be safe in there.
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CABRERA: Our Martin Savidge has more on one family's remarkable journey next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Dozens of families are breathing a sigh of relief, a nation rejoicing as 82 school girls kidnapped from a boarding school in Nigeria are finally home. The teenage girls were he released from their captors in a swap with the terrorist group Boko Haram, as part of this deal we're learning five Boko Haram commanders were released by the Nigerian government, but not everyone is free. Some 276 girls were kidnapped originally by the terrorist group about three years ago. You may remember all of the outrage on social media and spread of the hash tag, #bringbackourgirls.
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EMMAN SHEHU, MEMBER, BRINGBACK OUR GIRLS CAMPAIGN GROUP: It's a welcome development. It gladdens our hearts and we know that even the parents of the girls are happy because it means gradually -- closure, we are obtaining closure and of course all or many Nigerians are happy.
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CABRERA: Back in 2014 when the girls were kidnapped you'll recall this photo, First Lady Michelle Obama tweeting the hash tag from her official first lady twitter account. More than 100 of the kidnapped schoolgirls sadly are still being held by Boko Haram.
Two new international agreements aimed at slowing the bloodshed in Syria. Ceasefire is in effect right now according to Russian state- media. It's supposed to last six months but only applies to four specific areas in Syria where civilians can theoretically live without being targeted by any party in Syria's war. But leaders of Syrian opposition forces stormed out of the signing ceremony for the so- called de-escalation zones and there are serious questions about how these zones will be enforced.
For many, the promise of protection is simply not enough and refugee numbers continue to surge. CNN's Martin Savidge takes a closer look at the incredible story of one refugee family who had to carry a disabled relative into Turkey.
NAWROZ: My name is Nawroz and I'm from Syria, Qamishli.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 11-year-old Nawroz and her family lived on a small farm in northeast Syria. It wasn't lavish by most standards but more than enough for a family of seven.
NAWROZ: Life before the war in Syria was great and beautiful. I went to school and I helped my mom and I played with my friends.
SAAVIDGE: Nawroz and her family decided to flee Syria in 2013 as the civil war intensified.
NAWROZ: My life changed because before the war I could go to school and after the war I couldn't. Before the war I could play with my friends but after the war I couldn't. And we had like -- before the war we had enough food and water and electricity but after the war like we did not. SAVIDGE: The (INAUDIBLE) family began walking more than 30 miles to
the Turkish border. They made their way during the night since it was just too dangerous to walk during the day. Many in the group took turns carrying a disabled member of the family on their backs.
NAWROZ: I left my relatives and my farm. I had a farm like my sheeps and of my other animals, and I left behind like my school and all of my friends.
SAVIDGE: After reaching the border they were turned away by Turkish authorities and waited for three days without food or water. Nawroz and her stabled brother Allen got very sick. Desperate, her parents pleaded for medical help and only then were allowed into the country.
NAWROZ: After Syria, I went to Turkey and lived in Turkey about
[17:55:00] two years. I was just home and I was sad and crying because I couldn't go to school a lot.
SAVIDGE: Nawroz's dad heard from a friend about the United Nations refugee resettlement program. After applying, the family was interviewed several times, and although Europe and Sweden denied their application, the United States agreed to accept them.
NAWROZ: Well, I feel excited and happy because I was just -- I'm going to go to America. I'm going to have a future. I'm going to be safe in there.
SAVIDGE: After two years living in the U.S., Nawroz is optimistic about her life.
NAWROZ: I have a future and my future is to become a doctor because I want to help all of the children in the world.
CABRERA: Our thanks to Martin Savidge. We'll be right back.
CABRERA: Top of the hour. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.