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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Yulia Skripal Conscious, Stronger And Grateful; Russia: U.K. Liars Want A Pretext To Kick Out Diplomats; U.N. Security Council Meets On Spy Attack; More Than 50 Murders In U.K. Capital Since Start Of Year; Mayor Blames Uptick Of Violence On Government Cuts; Russia And U.K. Blame Each Other For Spy Attack; Trump Orders National Guard To U.S.-Mexico Border; Zuckerberg Pledges To Step Up Security; U.N. Security Council Meets On Russian Spy Attack. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired April 5, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, the U.N. Security Council is convening right now as Russia calls for an open meeting to rebut the nerve attack allegations. This as the
daughter of an ex-Russian spy makes her first statement since she was poisoned a month ago. We are hearing from Yulia Skripal.
And violence rising dramatically in London as the city overtakes the New York murder rate for the first time ever. I'll speak to a member of
parliament who is asking where are our leaders?
Well, world leaders are still arguing over the attempted murder of an ex- Russian spy. Tonight, the finger-pointing is happening at the United Nations. The Security Council is set to meet this hour over the poisoning
of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
And today, there is a pretty major breakthrough as Yulia Skripal who says she has regained consciousness a week ago is speaking out for the first
time since the attack. The dispute over who poisoned her and her father is getting nastier by the day as relations between Russia and the West
spiraled to their lowest point in decades. Today, we saw more diplomats head home, the latest in a wave of expulsions.
We're covering this from all angles. Matthew Chance is in Moscow. Richard Roth is at the U.N. First, let's go to Phil Black, who is with me here in
London. We are hearing from Yulia Skripal in a statement. What is she saying?
PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. It's good news really. We've heard that she is doing better, but we've
heard it from other people now we are hearing from Yulia Skripal herself.
The statement says this, it says, "I woke up over a week ago and I am glad to say my strength is going daily. I am grateful for the interest in me
and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received."
She goes on to say, "I'm sure you appreciate that entire episode is somewhat disoriented, and I hope that you'll respect my privacy and that of
my family during the period of my convalescence."
She is also very grateful. She thanks the people of Salisbury especially those people who rushed to help her and her father when they were affected.
This is obviously a big deal because if she is good enough to compose statements to the public, she is good enough to talk to investigators.
And that will no doubt help them as they were to piece together precisely what happened to her and her father in Salisbury one month ago.
GORANI: And in that statement, no word on how her father is doing.
BLACK: Nothing in that statement.
GORANI: All right. But Matthew Chance in Moscow, Russian state television aired an audio clip of a conversation that Victoria Skripal, Yulia's
Skripals cousin said she had with Yulia in Salisbury. We are not sure of the authenticity of that clip but tell us what Russian television aired.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. They aired this audio recording of Victoria Skripal speaking with Yulia
apparently. It's not authenticate even Russian television said that they could stand up for the veracity of it.
But they say that the tape was given to them by Victoria Skripal themselves. She has heard speaking in Russian to her cousin basically
talking about the condition that she and her father is in crucially. Take a listen.
CHANCE: So that was a slightly truncated version of the conversation, but basically, it's the first indication we've had of the actual condition of
the father. He is said to be sleeping a little bit and nothing that's wrong with him, she says. He is not fixable and that's some hope being put
across there by Yulia Skripal.
GORANI: And Phil with me here in the studio, you reported extensively from Salisbury. I mean, if this is a genuine audio recording of a conversation
Yulia had with Victoria Skripal, her cousin, do we know if she has -- I mean, because the person on that recording sounds fine, which she has
access to a phone to be able to make a call like that?
BLACK: Well, as we've heard today from herself, she is doing better. We assume that she has access to a phone. British hospitals (inaudible) phone
contact with their loved ones if they so wish it. Perhaps the question to ask is if it is a fake, why is it a fake?
I guess, it has been -- from the British authorities would say one of the Russian efforts has been to chip away at the credibility of the British
version of the facts all along. Matthew noted that the phone call suggested that Sergei Skripal is fine.
That he is sleeping. That they are both going to be fine. We've heard from Russian authorities a lot of times say, well, if this was nerve agent,
surely, they both be dead.
[15:05:09] Perhaps the nature of their illness or their injuries are being exaggerated to some extent. But the truth is, we are speculating
significantly, we just don't know.
GORANI: Right. And Matthew, what do we know about Victoria Skripal because she was quoted in the British press a few weeks ago. She was
quoted saying that the chances of survival of her cousin and her father, Sergei, were dim.
CHANCE: Yes, she seems to have been taken now under the wing of the Russian authorities and she sort of become someone who they've looked to
put out the concerns of the Russian government would like to have expressed.
I mean, just yesterday she appeared on a state television broadcast alongside (inaudible), who (inaudible) remember is accused of orchestrating
and carrying out the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko back in 2006, the former KGB agent in London who was poisoned with polonium 210.
And so, the Russian authorities seemed to be using Victoria as a way of expressing concern about the welfare of Yulia and I think that's the
context in which we can view this, this telephone conversation that she's saying, you were right, and they are saying, well, yes, we are kind of
(Inaudible) chipping away at this British allegation that, you know, these people were poisoned with this serious weapons grade substance.
GORANI: All right. Matthew Chance in Moscow. Phil Black here in the studio, thanks to both of you. I want to get to Richard Roth in New York
with more on what we expect at the U.N. Security Council today because this dispute is not going away. Diplomatic expulsions are underway as we speak.
What is expected at the U.N. today, Richard?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the many reasons that the U.N. remains of the spotlight at times, it is can be a world stage
and Russia in calling a Security Council meeting today on the spy poisoning case is expected to maybe theatrically point out its views.
Others fear critics say that Russia is just building a case for people not to trust the eventual results of the organization against chemical weapon
use and build a case so that people will dismiss the eventual results.
Now U.K. Ambassador Karen Pierce relatively new in her post used to jousting with the Russians. She expressed what she is worried about a few
hours ago to journalists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN PIERCE, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: I fear that the Russian motive in calling for a Security Council meeting today is another
step in the pattern of obfuscation and contempt for international institutions that we have sadly seen all too much of from the Russian
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: A deputy Russian U.N. ambassador had tweeted about what was going on and saying that there are some truth to happen at the meeting also, but
also the spreading of fears. The British ambassador said, bring it on.
And also, Hala, in the world of crime novels and characters, you may remember a few weeks ago, the Russian ambassador at the meeting that was
called by the U.K. on this topic said perhaps the Britain and Scotland Yard could use Sherlock Holmes.
Well, Karen Pierce, the British ambassador said, letting the Russia cooperate with the British on an investigation into what happened in
Salisbury is like letting Professor Moriarty into the case. Moriarty was Sherlock Holmes criminal mastermind antagonists.
And it continued a short time ago with Karen Pierce saying on the internet, it appears that many people think it is -- instead of Professor Moriarty,
Vacili (ph) should be the name, and that is the name of the Russian ambassador who will be speaking shortly. Back to you.
GORANI: All right. Richard Roth, thanks very much. The war of words continues. I'm sure we'll hear more of it at the Security Council today.
We'll keep an eye on it and get back to you, Richard, when we have news lines out of that meeting.
Now for an international city that prides itself on being safe, London is reeling these days from a surge of murders. The latest victim just 18
years old. He was stabbed and bled to death in the street.
It brought the number of homicides since the start of the year to more than 50. In fact, in the past couple of months, the murder rate in the British
capital has surpassed New York City. The first time that's happened in modern history.
The London mayor has been criticized for not acting to quell the bloodshed, but speaking today, Sadiq Khan was quick to blame the uptick of violence on
the U.K. government's austerity cuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: We are going to lose 1 billion pounds in total over the next three years, (inaudible) 7 million pounds over the last seven
years plus 3 million pounds. Translates to as losing (inaudible) officers, (inaudible), close down police stations, to make serious cuts. I'm doing
what I can as the mayor using (inaudible) taxpayer's money business race to fill the hole. That's a big hole to fill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That's Sadiq Khan saying, it is not him. It's because cuts have been made to police forces and cities and councils across the city, and the
councils that compose it don't have the funds to make up for that shortfall.
[15:10:05] The killings have been taking place across London's neighborhoods, but the two most recent ones happened last night in Hackney,
which is in East London.
Salma Abdelaziz joins me now from close to that neighborhood with more. And this is where the 18-year-old boy was stabbed and died yesterday --
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. An 18-year-old boy, who as you said, he stumbled towards police after a motorist alerted
the authorities. They tried to give him first aid, but unfortunately, he did still passed, and his death as you mentioned has now taken number of
deaths to above 50 here in London since the start of the year.
And that's a number that has people here worried and concerned but also outraged. They are afraid that there is two main issues that are causing
this uptick in violence. One is gang violence, going (inaudible) between gangs that they feel police and authorities are not controlling.
And the second is an issue of policing culture. One expert telling me that police think they can arrest their way out of this problem. That youth
feel that police are being over policing but under protecting, failing to reach out to the community, failing to have intelligence within that
community so that they know when this gang violence is going to take place.
This indefinite spurred a response again from the authorities. Sadiq Khan today tweeted, the London mayor, of course. He tweeted that he is
heartbroken and angered by the violence on London's streets and that more patrols will be out in London.
We also heard from MET police chief saying a new task force has been formed with 120 officers, who will specifically target issues of gang violence.
But for the people here on the streets, there needs to be a change in culture they say among the police and among the youth, if you really are to
stop the bloodshed in London -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Salma Abdelaziz, thanks very much there with the outlines of the problem. The murders have touched communities across the
capital, so Londoners here all have an opinion about what is going on in their city. This is what they have to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a son and he's young, but sometimes I think do I really want to live in this area because it's so close to home. It's
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's just a vicious cycle. They are stabbing members of their gang. They are shooting members of their gang and there's
just lots of gang war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) discounts basically, I don't even have an account. They complain, and they tell you, you know, they will send police
(inaudible). We'll do something about it, but actually, haven't done anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes it feel I'm safe because it could be outside, could have been at the shop, could happen to anyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got young children, you know, how am I going to raise them in London? Like something needs to be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And that is the residence of London there, sampling of opinion and reactions to what has been going on in their city. A lot of the murders
happen as a result of knife violence. By the way, in the United States, we have a lot more firearms. This is different here.
And politicians have been quick to condemn the violence obviously, come up with solutions of their own, none more so than my next guest, David Lammy,
the MP, the Member of Parliament for Tottenham in North London. He is with the opposition Labour Party and he joins me now live.
Thanks for being with us. What is going on because this issue of turf war of gangs, you know of -- I guess, lower income areas in London that feel
excluded and marginalized that's -- that kind of predates the recent uptick. So why the last two years, why they have been so bad?
DAVID LAMMY, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY MP: I think it is important to understand the London and the U.K. is the center of the global drugs market
here in Europe and there has been an increase in drugs, 11-billion-pound market, and that drives the turf war.
And that's not just the turf war in London, it's the turf war amongst London delivering drugs to towns across the United Kingdom. And there's a
sort of viciousness that's come to this recently because young people as young as 12 and 11 are recruited to run these drugs.
LAMMY: These young people have been recruited over these last periods and they are now getting older and the callousness to which they are taking
life is something we have never seen on London's streets. So that is the problem and that's the problem that the police and authorities are got to
GORANI: And how do they do that? You pointed fingers both at the police. Also, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, who says, you know, we are trying to
make up for the shortfall in funding, but we cannot do it all. What do you make of the mayor's response to all of these?
LAMMY: Look, I think that people in London are not going to be happy with a sort of passing the political buck between the mayor and our home
secretary who is responsible nationally.
[15:15:09] You know, we have cut money to our border force and that is why drugs are coming into our country and so are gangs. And here in London,
local authorities have had austerity, so we have not got the youth projects. We have not got the youth services.
We have not got the early intervention that we have had in the past. And alongside that, we simply haven't got the neighborhood policing so that
police officers pick up the intelligence early and they are able to get over the problem.
They are reacting a bit late and that is why at the moment, it feels like the level of knifings and shooting is just escalating, and yet again today
in the area of (inaudible), a young man knifed. So, we have got a real problem and it's going to take cross party consensus.
GORANI: Yes, but I mean, with the current level of funding and without increasing funding for border protection and the police force, what can the
mayor do at this stage? Because this is also -- this is a problem that directly affects residents of London.
LAMMY: Yes, and as you know the mayor hasn't got all the powers that he would like and that is why he has to work with our home secretary to
deliver on this agenda. Look it's been done. It was done in the city of Glasgow.
Ten years ago, Glasgow was the murder capital of the U.K. Ten years later, they did not have a knife killing last year. They cracked it with a public
health strategy. They cracked it with political consensus, with public agencies working together, standing with communities and having a zero-
tolerance approach to violence.
Not just violence among youths, but domestic violence and violence in all other areas of life. If they can do it Glasgow, we can do it in London,
but we are going to have to get a move on, to get politicians and parties working together.
And I think the population of London will not forgive politicians if they squander this moment with petty battles about money.
GORANI: Quick last one, the police commissioner saying that she is going to deploy a task force of 120 officers just to focus on high crime areas,
that's a start, isn't it?
LAMMY: It is a start. I am glad that she's finally announced that today, but she really has also got to focus on organized crime. You know, the
gangsters are not just young people in (inaudible). They are men in suits. They are running very strong illegal rackets of people, guns and of drugs.
And therefore, she has to say something about organized crime as well, and what her and the National Crime Agency are going to do about bearing down
on this mafia Britain that really has gripped our country and I think is running young men in communities like mine to deliver drugs up and down the
country. Organized crime is at the heart of this problem.
GORANI: David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, thanks so much for joining us live on the program this evening. We appreciate it.
As I mentioned at the top of the hour, the U.N. Security Council is talking about that poisoned Russian spy right now. I believe the Russian
representative is addressing the Council now. Let's listen in.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): -- including in the United States and in Great Britain. Boris Johnson in
response to a direct question of Doche Villa (ph) directly confirm that Great Britain does have samples of that substance important down.
Yesterday, on the site of a British foreign -- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the tweet about the Russian origin of the substance was deleted. This
already let some scandals and some serious talk behind the scenes.
However, Boris Johnson and the British Foreign Service immediately got extra support and assistance from the British Special Services. It's just
like Chippendale, which using "The Times" newspaper yesterday stated that they were able to, on the basis of a scientific analysis and intelligence
data, determine the probably origin of the substance already a few days after the chemical attack in Salisbury.
It is stated that on the 7th of March, the cabinet of ministers (inaudible) that of the chemical substance was produced in Russia with a very high
degree of probability. The British intelligence services considered that they have determined the location of the secret Russian laboratory where
the nerve agent was produced.
[15:20:08] And furthermore, be very attentive to what I am about to say, the sources of the British set up of the intelligence services cannot speak
openly about the location of the laboratory. However, their knowledge of where it is located, their certainty of where it is located is very high.
They also considered that the Russian side conducted test to determine whether Novichok could be used for politically motivated murders,
assassinations. There is even more, "The Daily Mail" also yesterday revealed that British intelligence services have highly secret information
from certain sources.
But the fact that Russia turns out just before the attack in Salisbury tested the nerve agent, Novichok, on every day targets like a door handle,
for example, or everyday objects.
Gentlemen -- Ladies and Gentlemen, I don't even know what to say about this. It is some sort of theater of the absurd. Couldn't you come up with
a better fake story? We all know what it is the worth of British intelligence information is based on the experience with Tony Blair.
We told out British colleagues that you are playing with fire, and you will be sorry because it's one thing to put forward unsubstantiated accusations
and it's quite different to start speaking using professional terms, which requires not, which means not simply who will speak loudest in diplomacy.
But it requires clear answers to very specific substantial questions. I do not think that British investigative bodies are grateful to the British
government for their hasty and unequivocal statements and conclusions.
All of this, of course, your politicians never thought about all of this, did they? They had no idea that their hyped-up statements might boomerang
and hit them. They used a very useful and timely anti-Russian canard.
A conflict, a Russian chemical attack (inaudible) because they did not -- they were not aware that once the dust settles, they will be held
responsible for their words and yet London -- London started poisoning our relations with other countries.
It's a sign of solidarity, a number of states that our allies of the United Kingdom as 150 Russian diplomats were expelled. We know that your
ambassadors run the world are putting pressure on sovereign states and are forcing them to follow this very terrible example.
You started a wave that even reached New York. Your allies, the United States, have undertaken an unprecedented expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats,
including 12 staff members of the Permanent Mission of Russia with the U.N. without providing any proof for this.
Without conducting consultations with us as provided for in the agreement on the headquarters, presidential headquarters, and hence, they clearly did
not comply with all the provisions of the headquarters agreement of United Nations and lived up to their obligations.
By the way, it's not the first time that the United States has not lived up to their obligations in this area. Now also, the United States forced
Russia to give up its diplomatic property. The United States that forced Russia to give up its diplomatic property.
The United States seized from Russia diplomatic property (inaudible) including both Russian property here in the Permanent Mission at the United
Nations in New York. They established a 25-mile zone for our diplomats, restricted zone.
[15:25:12] They are not extending and are not issuing them American visas. We call on the United States responsible, their responsibilities as a host
country and to return everything that they illegitimately took from us, and refrain from similar steps in the future.
Mr. President, we are witnessing truly remarkable events, this new approach in law, I already mentioned this where you have accusations based on simply
without any proof, I already mentioned this at the meaning of 14th of March simply on the basis of suspicions.
However, no less surprising something else, when I look at the interviews and statements of British politicians, I am simply stunned. (Inaudible),
what happened to good old England. Is there a lack of professionalism or deterioration of political culture or is this exactly the kind of new
political culture we are seeing?
I really don't have an answer. I perhaps will allow those present here to draw their own conclusions. The British authorities are trying to almost
make fun of Russia by providing some 30 versions of what has happened.
Now note that these are not versions of the Russian -- provided by the Russian authority. These are opinions by experts and journalists. It's
true that there are many versions because there is not enough facts or evidence.
Whereas in Russia everyone there wants to get to the bottom of this dark story. But the British authorities, in fact, do not have a lot of
versions, rather, they have just one version in which they have put forward as a verdict (inaudible).
At the same time, they can't determine, can't come to grip, can't determine what the source of the toxic substance is. Is that the house of Mr.
Skripal? The doorknob, flowers, buckwheat green or laurel and we have the knowledge that citizens and experts from Great Britain and from other
countries, those who were capable of thinking also have come up --
GORANI: Well, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations is not mincing his words. That is for sure. Vassily Nebenzia is calling this whole
Salisbury allegation from the U.K. that Russia was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the theater of the absurd.
That you could not come up with a better false story, he asked. He said, what happened to good old England, a lack of professionalism and
deterioration of political culture? He also said London is poisoning our relations with other countries, putting pressure on other nations to join
them in expelling diplomats.
He's saying there were so many different versions of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal that came from the U.K. that they can't be reliable. He
also continued to deny that Russia had anything to do with this nerve agent attack and referenced that deleted tweet by the foreign office blaming
Russia saying that the Novachok that was used to poison Skripal and his daughter had originated in Russia.
Of course, in the last 24 hours, security services here have said based on intelligence rather than scientific evidence that they can share with the
Russians that this Novachok came from Russia.
I am going to be speaking with a former ambassador who will join me after the break. Do stay with us. We'll have a lot more coverage on our
breaking news story after this.
[15:30:44] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. We were airing live what's happening at the U.N. Security Council, before the break, the
Russian ambassador to the U.N. attacking London, the U.K. government for putting the finger at Russia and for accusing it of being behind the
poisoning of the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal.
I want to bring to bring in the former British ambassador to Russia, Tony Brenton. He joins us via Skype. What do you make now of what Russia is
doing? They're attacking Boris Johnson by name. They're saying the foreign office has had to delete a tweet accusing us. The government is in
shambled. What happened to good old England? What do you make of their communications strategy so far today?
TONY BRENTON, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: I was British ambassador in Russia in 2006, which is the time when Alexander Litvinenko
was murdered and the evidence was absolutely slam-dunk for the Russians who did it. And the results or accusations then, we got exactly the same
deluge of noise and alternative series and sheer abuse. It was all designed to cover up backed of evident Russian gifts.
GORANI: Well, what -- I mean, I guess what they're seizing upon is that the actual chemical weapons experts have determined it was a specific type
of nerve agent Novichok, but haven't pinpointed its source and then you have that awkward moment with the foreign office had to delete a tweet,
that pointed finger at Russia. And so they're trying to play on that, that confusion or that at least the purines of confusion in the U.K. government.
BRENTON: Well, I mean, you're right. There have been failures of public presentation. It's worth recording a couple of points here. Firstly,
Novichok is an extremely sophisticated agent, developed in Russia, used by Russia, initially. Yes, there are potentially of the manufacturers and
users. But very few and it's a very sophisticated agent. The second point is the target was a Russian double agent. So who has the obvious
motivation? Russia. And certainly, we know the Russians do this obviously. They killed Litvinenko. So taken that bunch of evidence
together, the bigger points pretty interestingly to Russia.
And the other point I would make is that, OK, they've been saying this in public presentation is that the private presentations to a lot of very
sophisticated skeptical western government, including those United States, Germany, France and so on. They have all been persuaded by the evidence we
had given them. The bulk of them externally it support to our conclusion that it was Russia who did it.
GORANI: So, how will this impact then relations? Because this is going to - I mean, it's not, economically, hurting Russia, yet, although there are
sanctions against certain individuals in Russia and certain financial institutions. But so far, we've just has diplomatic expulsions. There
hasn't been the type of pictorial or wide-ranging sanctions that would really hurt Russia. But where do you see relations between Russia and
western countries going after this - in this context, in this war of words context here?
BRENTON: Well, I mean, relations are obviously very bad and pretty frozen. But don't misunderstand the nature of the results. It looks symbolic
diplomats on what else to do diplomats have expelled. But actually is that awful lot of Russian intelligence agents have been expelled (INAUDIBLE)
capitols from their point of view. And the point to that action is to say to the Russian security agencies and to the Russian government more
generally. You do this all this thing and you pay a significant price in terms of your own operational effectiveness. Think twice before you
contemplate doing it again. And I hope our reaction comes sufficiently widespread or sufficiently damaging or then indeed to think twice before
doing it again.
[15:35:25] GORANI: But do you think then therefore that it will change their behavior?
BRENTON: Well, I was around Alexander Litvinenko (INAUDIBLE) say we impose some sanctions then which were not very good as extensively supported by
our allies as this stand has been. And I think it will work. We're going through this again. As the result, the range and toughness of the
sanctions has been much greater. The hope is that this will teach the Russians a lesson. We'll see.
GORANI: Do you believe if the Russians, and you sound like you believe the Russians are behind it, that they underestimated the response -- I mean,
that they didn't anticipate this type of response from the U.K. and its allies?
BRENTON: Yes, absolutely. I think that they were -- they've identified the U.K. as being an important target for two reasons. Firstly, when you
carry amongst the most hawkish western nations with regard to Russia at the moment. And secondly, of course, with Brexit going on. There were
questions about the strong holdings to their allies remain. I think Russians had been really shocked by the unity and force of the western
response. And so all the noise have been now seeing and lots of all these arbitrations have been going on, which is intelligence do. And this is our
story today from the conversation between Yulia and Victoria Skripal. All of this feels like noise design to cover up embarrassment, confusion that
the reactions been such strong and one hopes some introspection about whether it was really worth it.
GORANI: Tony Brenton, former British ambassador to Russia, thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate having you on the program this evening.
And by the way, we'll be taking the U.K. ambassador to the U.N. response to what we've been hearing over the last several minutes from the Russian
envoy to the U.N. with those strong words directed at London which Tony Brenton, the former British ambassador to Russia is calling noise, designed
basically to obfuscate, that this is something quite similar that happened after the Litvinenko poisoning in London in 2006 (INAUDIBLE) is still
talking. But we'll get the U.K. response there once that takes place at the U.N. Security Council.
Let's turn our attention to the U.S. president, Donald Trump he just spoke in West Virginia where he was meant to promote the benefits of his tax cuts
passed last year. The reform is something republicans are trying to highlight ahead of what could be difficult midterm elections. But as he
often does, President Trump went way off script.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower, when I opened, everybody said, oh, he was so tough
and I used the word rape. And yesterday, it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody's ever seen before. They
don't want to mention that. So we have to change our laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Again, because we care about facts, if we take up a little bit of time to fact check that, but women raped at levels that nobody has ever
seen before, sounds like somewhat of it overstatement. His response for now is to deploy the National Guard to the border with Mexico. The troops
will play a supporting role to border officers there and that much we do know. What we don't know is how many will be deploy, where exactly, or how
long or what their duties will be.
CNN's White House reporter, Stephen Collinson is with me from Washington. What was this rape statement? It confused me a little bit. Women raped
where at levels not seen since when? I didn't exactly understand what that was.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With everybody have any idea what the president was referring to. It could be one of the stories
he has picked up on conservative media, that then get recycled, and there's no real safety net. They suddenly find themselves into this rhetoric.
That's one of the reasons why a lot of people are looking at the border deployment by the National Guard, simply a political act. Donald Trump
spent weeks stoking up passions and sentiments of his supporters on the immigration issue. We understand he's been under a little bit of pressure
from conservative commentators to do so. And this, I think fits into that. It goes back to that first campaign speech where the president said that
Mexico was sending rapists and criminals in the United States and that, in many ways, electrified that hardline immigration based on the Republican
Party in his favor.
But this appearance today was quite a remarkable one. The president also revived that argument that he has with millions of people voted illegally
for Hillary Clinton in the election. And that has been also proven to be completely false. So it's a very unrestrained and unchained president
we're seeing, Hala, today.
[15:40:11] GORANI: And another off script moment, the first time I'm seeing it with the president in West Virginia. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, this was going to be my remarks. It would have taken about two minutes. That would have been a little boring. Little boring.
And I really go off the first paragraph. I said, this is boring. Come on. We have to say tell it like it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: You got to hand it to him. He is a showman.
COLLINSON: Right. And that, in fact, was exactly the kind of behavior that made him so popular among his supporters during the campaign. You
also have to look where he is, West Virginia, is a deeply conservative state, one of the most pro-Trump states in the union. That event was
basically local politicians and businessman going one by one praising the president for the tax cuts saying he was a great leader. And it's in those
kind of environments where the president tends to go off script and it's clearly an environment he likes very much. But it's going to do nothing to
-- or even concerns of many people in Washington, mostly Trump opponents who say this new version of Trump where a lot of the restraining influence
in his White House had been script away during a staff surge, is going to be dangerous to the United States, especially the time, for example, if
there was a fast developing international crisis and the president's impulsive and instinctive comments suddenly turned into policy as we've
seen with his dispatch of the national guard who looks for all intents and purposes to be a non-existent crisis on the southwest border.
GORANI: Because with the tweeting, for instance, on Syria troops, in his statements on Syria troops, we at CNN International, cover these types of
things very closely, what U.S. troops are doing in the Middle East, and what country how long they're staying. With so much confusion and so much
back and forth from the president then contradictions from the pentagon, then again another version of the first statement from the president. It
does become very difficult to keep up.
COLLINSON: Right. And the Syria example is a great one, because the president came out at a rally in Ohio last week and say, we're going to
start bringing our troops home very soon. That set up a huge scramble within his own administration. He'd not tipped off the Pentagon about
this, the National Security Council. Diplomats in Washington had told me that they were shocked and trying to work out what was going on and that
goes back and it ripples all around the world. And that is a prime example of how sometimes the president's comments sometimes ill-informed or perhaps
based on a conspirator --
GORANI: But is it deliberate though? I wonder if it's deliberate though, Stephen. Because, I mean, it's just so in confusion and in a way is that
not also a strategy, just kind of throwing that possibility out there.
COLLINSON: I think it's deliberate in the fact that everybody knows that Donald Trump is very skeptical of keeping U.S. troops in the Middle East
and things that the Arab nations around Syria are not doing enough to pay America, to keep their troops there. That's on a surprise. But I don't
think he went into that event saying, I'm going to put this massive tribune out there and that's the way to bounce the bureaucracy into changing
If you look the take of that speech, it just almost -- it almost came to the top of his head and he has this habit of saying things that he think
will please the audience. And so playing to his base by saying, we're going to bring all the troops home, is something that's very popular. I
don't think it's necessarily calculated all the time from the political standpoint or in international relationship standpoint. But it shows you
that -- it shows you that one remark by a president can send shockwaves around the world or everyone has to try and scrambled to catch up.
GORANI: Stephen Collinson in Washington, thanks so much.
Still to come tonight, the numbers keep growing and growing and growing some more. We'll tell you how many users Facebook now says may have been
affected by a privacy scandals. We'll be right back.
[15:45:27] GORANI: Well, he already had a lot of explaining to do. Now, nearly two billion people may want answers. Mark Zuckerberg's problems
have multiplied dramatically, after Facebook said it believes personal data on most of its two billion users was improperly accessed by, "Malicious
Actors." That stunning admission came in a blog post that also said, 87 million users may have had their information improperly shared with
Cambridge Analytica, because it's here which countries were affected the most? The United States, top of the list. Philippines, number two. In a
conference called with reporters, Zuckerberg vowed to step up security. Listen.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: We're an idealistic and optimistic company. For the first decade, we really focused on all the good that
connecting people brings. But it's clear now that we didn't do enough. We didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people
could use these tools to do harm as well.
GORANI: All right. CNN's Laurie Segall was on that conference call and she joins me now live from New York. What is this two billion number?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's pretty unbelievable. I mean, look, you look at Facebook has two billion users. They're coming out and
saying before it was 50 million users that were impacted by this, now, it's going up to 87 million. And what Mark said - what Mark Zuckerberg said on
this call, was that they did - they calculated by the max impact it could have had. So they're not saying, no, that exactly 87 million were
impacted, but there could be no more than that impacted. That's a huge number. As you see 82 percent of these folks in the United States. And
then impacting the Philippines, Indonesia, the U.K. So begin to understand just how big this was. It seems as though it's only getting worst.
On this call, Hala, he also was asked by multiple journalist, would he step down, if that's the right thing. And he said, no. I think life is about
learning from mistakes. That's exactly what he said. But obviously, under a lot of pressure. And I think this call was interesting because it was an
hour long. Lots of journalists on, lots of hard question. You almost get the sense he's prepping for next week where he's going to go and appear in
front of Congress and testify how to take a lot of these hard questions from lawmakers who have these fundamental issues with data and privacy and
what Facebook has and has not told us.
GORANI: All right. Laurie Segall, thanks very much. We're going to the U.N. Security Council live now. We heard from the Russian ambassador who
was lobbying some pretty colorful insults at London. Now, we're hearing from the U.K. ambassador to the U.N., Karen Pierce. Hers her response.
KAREN PIERCE, U.K. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: And ordinary members at the public going about their daily business will push at risk. Mr. President,
I am glad, most certainly, to be able to inform the council that Yulia Skripal is able to communicate and is getting better. I can also clarify
what the Russian ambassador said about counselor access. We have received a request from the Russian consulate. We have conveyed to Yulia Skripal
and we await her response. This is an obligation under international law that the British government takes very seriously, but there is also the
question of Ms. Skripal's own wishes that need to protect into account.
[15:50:52] Mr. President, the Russian ambassador have several points to make about the U.K. demands of Russia. As he outlined on 12th of March, we
asked the Russian government a very clear question. Russia refused to respond and said it considered the request null and void. It was indeed
true, Mr. President that we asked for a response within 24 hours to the question of how did a Russian developed military grade nerve agent come to
be used on the streets of Salisbury? And did that mean that Russia had lost control of its CW stocks? We said that Russia should declare its
Novichok program to the OPCW. We gave 24 hours, Mr. President, because this is a weapon of mass destruction. This is no ordinary poisoning and no
ordinary attack and in our view the circumstances justified that tight deadline. But notwithstanding that, the Russians said to us the request
was "null and void." They did not say, "Please give us more time." They did not come to us and say, "We would like to look into this with you."
They rejected the very premise of the request.
We have said, as the Russian Ambassador quoted, that it is highly likely Russia carried out this assassination. The British Government came to that
conclusion because the positive identification by experts at Porton Down of the specific chemical used is a type of Novichok nerve agent. Porton Down,
Mr. President, is an accredited laboratory under, and it conforms to, the Chemical Weapons Convention. It is allowed to conduct protective research.
The second reason that helped us come to our conclusion was the knowledge that Russia has produced this nerve agent within the 10 years and remains
capable of doing so and as the Prime Minister made clear in the British Parliament, we know that the Russian state has investigated ways of
assassination through the use of nerve agent.
The third reason is Russia's record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations and I don't want to detain the Council, Mr. President, by
going through a long list but I can provide examples if anyone would like to hear them. And we also made our own assessment that Russia views
defectors as suitable targets for assassination and indeed there are public statements from Russian leaders to that effect.
I'd like if I may, Mr. President, just to say something about the use of the phrase "highly likely." We use this phrase because under the British
system only a court can finally determine culpability so the use of the phrase "highly likely" is a reflection of our judicial process and should
not be construed as casting doubt whatsoever on the likelihood of Russia being responsible. I would also like to take this opportunity to address
the Russian Ambassador's comment about Porton Down contradicting the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. There was no contradiction. The Foreign
Secretary was making clear that Porton Down were sure the nerve agent was a Novichok. A point that they have subsequently reinforced. He goes on in
the same interview to make clear why based on that information, additional intelligence and, as I said, the lack of alternative explanation from the
Russians, we have reached the conclusion we have. What the Foreign Secretary said then, and what Porton Down have said recently, is fully
consistent with what we have said throughout.
In contrast, Mr. President, we have had innumerable theories from the Russians, I think we have counted some 24 in all. On 21st of March, for
example, the Russian Foreign Ministry said they believed terrorists did it. On the 14th of March, Mr. Lavrov said the British response was aimed at
distracting from Brexit. Mr. President, the use of chemical weapons on any country's territory is far too serious for these theories to hold water.
Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into force 21 years ago, is clear in Article VII that states should adopt legislation criminalizing activity
prohibited under the convention. That's why the U.K. is conducting a full investigation of the incident, including under our own Chemical Weapons
Act. Because of this, we have in addition to the U.K criminal investigation, we invited the OPCW, the relevant international body, to
assist in verifying our analysis and this is on the basis of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention. This mandates the Technical
Secretariat to provide technical assistance and technical evaluation to States Parties.
[15:55:18] Everything we have done, Mr. President, has been consistent with the Convention on Chemical Weapons. And if I may say so, Mr. President, I
won't take any lectures on morality or our responsibilities under such international conventions from a country, which has this Council debated
yesterday, has done so much to block the proper investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The U.K.'s track record on that, Mr. President,
speaks for itself.
On 21 March, OPCW deployed a team to the U.K. to visit the locations where the victims were exposed to a toxic chemical. The DG briefed the OPCW
Executive Committee yesterday on their actions. OPCW expert staff collected environmental samples from the scene and biomedical samples from
the victims. OPCW has verified the chain of custody. These samples have been sent to several designated laboratories for testing. Analysis from
these laboratories will now be returned to the OPCW, and they will produce a report. Contrary to the Russian claims, Mr. President, the United
Kingdom looks forward to sharing its findings once we have received that report.
Yesterday, Russia tabled a resolution at the executive committee proposing a joint investigation. Mr. President, there are several ways to view this
GORANI: All right. The U.K. ambassador to the U.N., Karen Pierce, she's saying essentially Russia has come up with 24 different theories that last
count for who might have poisoned Sergei Skripal. She said, Russia is still capable of producing Novichok, that Russia has a history of doing
this type of thing, that it has a history of targeting its dissidence and defectors, and was of course, defending the U.K. position. The U.K.'s
position being that Russia was behind the attempted killing, assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.
That's going to do it for me. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.