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Militants in Gaza Announce Ceasefire With Israel; Pilots Accuse Boring of Withholding Safety Information; U.S. Trial for Accused Drug Trafficker "El Chapo" Begins. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired November 14, 2018 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Hello, I'm John Vause. Ahead this hour, the least bad option. The draft Brexit plan that is likely to please absolutely no one. The British prime minister began to hard sell with the cabinet.

Israel and Hamas stepping back from the brink, agreeing to another ceasefire. But the fundamental problems in Gaza remain. Fertile ground for future violence.

And slow progress in California as fire crews slowly contain two massive wildfires as the death toll continues to climb.


VAUSE: It took 872 days for the British government to draft a Brexit deal to leave the European Union. And now comes the really hard part. Prime minister Theresa May will ask her cabinet on Wednesday to approve the deal. Assuming that happens, far from guaranteed, next comes a Brexit summit with E.U. leaders and then further negotiations over trade, security and immigration and then finally, a vote by the British Parliament, which is overwhelmingly opposed to the current draft agreement.

So 872 days since the referendum to leave the European Union and now 135 days left until the Brexit deadline.

What could possibly go wrong?

More now from CNN's Bianca Nobilo.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.K. and E.U. negotiating teams have agreed on a draft Brexit text. An emergency cabinet has been called in the U.K. for Wednesday at 2:00 pm London time. It is in that cabinet meeting that Theresa May will be trying to win around her cabinet to fully back her Brexit plan. Now, to increase her chances of success, she'll be meeting with members of her cabinet individually and briefing them on her plan particularly the most controversial aspects of her Brexit plan pertaining to the backstop solution and how to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

If the cabinet backs Theresa May's deal, it will then go to Brussels where it will receive final approval. After that happens, the draft will then move back to the House of Commons. The cabinet see their agreement on this deal as a test of whether or not it's likely to make it through the House of Commons because that is going to be a huge obstacle for Theresa May to surpass. It's not known if the prime minister has the votes needed to pass her Brexit plan through the House of Commons. That's because the Democratic Unionist Party which props up her government has voiced strong opposition to her plan.

She also has the wrath of the Brexiteers appears to worry about on both sides of the Houses of Parliament who thinks her plan doesn't go far enough to separate Britain from the E.U. There's also Remainers who have other concerns about her Brexit deal. And as always with Brexit, the prime minister's survival in her post depends on her perceived ability to deliver on that referendum result and to deliver Brexit. It's absolutely imperative to her political survival -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.



VAUSE: CNN's European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas joins us now from Los Angeles. OK, Dominic, perhaps another British Prime Minister from a time long ago was able to sum up exactly where we stand right now in the Brexit process.


WINSTON CHURCHILL, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.


VAUSE: OK, that was Churchill in 1942 after a decisive victory at North Africa. He still had to go on and defeat the Nazis but that seems like a pretty modest to-do list compared to everything which Theresa May still has to do here.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Right. And I mean, I suppose you know it was quite an achievement at the end but it did take in several years and that the best kind of deal that Theresa May is looking at here is a is a transition period that'll be even longer than the period since they voted to leave the -- to leave the European Union.

And so when we think along the way there's sort of the different factions and groups that she somehow has to satisfy from the Democratic Unionist Party, to the Brexiteers, to the Remainers and so on, it seems really very unlikely that what she's going to come out with here is going to sort of move the goalposts in any real significant direction. VAUSE: You know, I do have a suspicion that this draft plan will be approved by cabinet on Wednesday because they've already bought the furniture for the government department. Here's information actually from the contract. 700,000 pounds have been spent, almost $1 million on 700 workstations in chairs, a thousand individual lockers, all to be delivered to an office in Leeds next week for a thousand full-time --


VAUSE: -- employees.

The prime minister's supporters also make the point she wouldn't be putting this deal to cabinet if she didn't think she could get it through. So in other words, do they kill it in cabinet or do they back a plan which has almost no chance of being approved by Parliament?

THOMAS: Yes, well you're being optimistic. I think the furniture company is going to do very well out of it and they better make sure that they sign that deal before this goes ahead. Look, when we spoke about this just a couple of weeks ago, shoots come out with this incredible declaration that the deal was 95 percent done. And at that particular moment the Brexiteers, the DUP and all the others spoke out and said no way. This is not going to sort of satisfy.

So one is really hard-pressed to imagine what the remaining five percent is going to be and how this is possibly going to move the goalposts in a meaningless direction. When we look at you know the opposition, the outspoken nature that it would not be you know at all surprising if the -- if we sort of started off the day tomorrow in London with more people and withdrawing from the government. There's already been criticism of some of the leaked information from the Brexiters and so on so it's very hard.

We've been through so many different options and ideas and plans and Theresa May has a tendency to think that each one is going to be the final solution and on each and every occasion it is led with opposition. One might argue that the cabinet members are so incredibly fatigued by the process that they eventually just going to go along with it once and for all or they're going to end up with is a general election which they're trying to avoid at all costs.

VAUSE: You know, what we know is this is about 400 pages of compromise and concessions actually aims for the least bad outcome which will please nobody. At the same time, there's no real tone from the Labour opposition. Its official position is to support a Brexit deal which delivers the exact same benefits we currently have as member of the single market and customs union. That is the news related by Labour status.

THOMAS: Yes, I mean, the Labour Party are part of the problem and not the solution. The level of divisiveness in that party and that really kind division parallels that in the -- in the conservative party. And so, there's no real solution to be found there. And yes, absolutely, now at the end of the day, leaving the European Union but ending up following essentially the rules and regulations but having no say in it seems like a bad deal and remaining in the European Union seems like far better deal in comparison with that.

And so, what we really have is a -- is a serious broader political crisis. And this was indicative really of the march for the -- for the people's votes where 750,000 people took to the streets and they were ignored by the bulk of the Labour Party and also by the -- by the Conservative Party. And you've got all of these different wings and different factions. And at end of the day, the destructive tendency of these different factions are going to most likely prevent any kind of meaningful deal really coming out of this.

VAUSE: And, Dominic, because it seems that the love of romance between French and U.S. presidents is voluntarily over. Two days after arriving home from a much-criticized trip to Paris, Donald Trump tweeted a stream of mean personal attacks on Macron.

"Emmanuel Macron suggests building his own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia, but it was Germany in World Wars I and II, how did that work out, France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!"

But wait, there's more.

"On trade, France makes excellent wine but so does can the U.S. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U.S. to sell its wines into France. It charges big tariffs whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wine and charges very small tariffs. Not fair, must change."

And then came this last one. By Trumpian standards, it should be considered maybe the lowest blow of all, going after the man's approval ratings.

"The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low approval rating in France, 26 percent and unemployment rate of almost 10 percent. He was just trying to get on to another subject. By the way, there is no country more nationalist than France, very proud people and rightly so."

OK. Dominic, there's been no comment from Paris and with regard to that first tweet, no comment from Berlin either. It seems the action among many European leaders now seems to be just ignore the American president and almost move away from the U.S. to a more Europe first policy in a bigger general sense.

THOMAS: Right. I think the whole purpose of the -- of the commemorations that just took place in France were to provide people with a reminder of the incredible sacrifices and the tragedies that Europe faced at one moment in history. And this was followed up short after with the Second World War. Since then, for over 70 years, through cooperation, through understanding, through conversation, a new Europe has been built and this is unambiguously evident in the close proximity between Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel during this particular occasion. And President Donald Trump was very much on the outside subjected to overt critiques from the French President and at the same time sitting there and witnessing this kind of understanding that was clearly there --


THOMAS: -- between the chancellor and the French -- and the French president. And this was -- this was lost on him. And it was an unfortunate situation of course.

VAUSE: It also has not gone unnoticed that the tweets from the U.S. president came two days after he left Paris. He was 8,000 kilometers away from the French capital and safe at home six time zones away.

THOMAS: Yes. I mean, this was the other aspect of it because of course as he was leaving Paris, he sending these positive tweets as anyone would do and after having been received by a graceful host saying that these were wonderful ceremonies, that he got himself to speak at a particular ceremony in the rain and thanked them for it. He said many world leaders were there.

I think he underestimates the impact of Emmanuel Macron's words and on the flight back to the United States and being confronted by domestic issues and the domestic media which let's not forget while he was away in France, the echo chamber he's accustomed to is not available on the networks over there and he came back to face that and responded as he -- as he often does and -- with Twitter.

And you know, we'd have some conversation about this you know, earlier over the weekend. It was obvious that the bromance was coming to an end and they really are as with Donald Trump. Every relationship is just simply one tweet away from it going south. And in this particular case things have decidedly and definitely cooled off.

VAUSE: Yes, Dominic, thank you. Good to see you.

THOMAS: Thank you.


VAUSE: A ceasefire appears to be holding on the Israel-Gaza border, this after a deadly night of rockets and airstrikes. Israeli warplanes hit dozens of Gaza targets in response to militants firing hundreds of rockets. CNN's Oren Liebermann has more now on the violence, reporting from Ashkelon in Israel.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been a violent, volatile past 24 to 36 hours along the Israel-Gaza border, the worst in terms of the fighting we've seen since the end of the 2014 war.

But that sharp escalation that we saw seems to have come to an end with a ceasefire announced from Gaza. It was standing on this very spot in Ashkelon north of Gaza that we witnessed Iron Dome, Israel's aerial defense system intercepting rockets.

And we heard the red alert last night. That is no longer the case in the skies behind us, the skies over Gaza and Israel quiet. It was Gaza and militant factions in Gaza that first announced the ceasefire, saying it took effect at 6:00 pm local time on Tuesday night. They said that Egypt had brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, Israeli forces and Gaza militants to end what had been 24 hours of fighting.

Israel has not acknowledged the ceasefire. That is not uncommon. In the past few months when we've seen these sharp escalations, Israel generally has not commented or acknowledged that a ceasefire is in place but, again, that quiet that we're seeing now has been holding from between Israel and Gaza over the course of the last few hours or so.

It put an end to the most volatile and violent 24 hours we've seen since the end of the 2014 war. Israel says more than 450 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. One of those rockets landed in this city in a residential building, killing one person because of rocket fire. The first person in Israel killed by rocket fire since the end of the 2014 war.

Meanwhile, Israel carried out more than 150 airstrikes across Gaza, hitting what they say are Hamas and Palestinian and Islamic Jihad military targets. The Palestinian ministry of health says seven Palestinians were killed in those airstrikes that period has now been put behind us, at least for now in terms of reaching this ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. So even if there is no comment from Israel, again, the skies behind us quiet once again -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, Ashkelon, Israel.


VAUSE: While Palestinians in Gaza were celebrating, just across the border fence in Israel, there were angry demonstrations. Hundreds of residents blocked roads and set tires on fire. They reportedly planned to take their protest to Tel Aviv on Wednesday. A cease-fire, they say, is just more of the same and they're demanding a permanent solution to end to ongoing rocket fire from Gaza.

And it seems they're not without support from high-ranking Israeli lawmakers. According to multiple reports, at least four senior Israeli cabinet ministers opposed a ceasefire with the mass militants in Gaza, including the defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who issued a public statement firmly denying he ever supported and end to the fighting, which raises the question, how long will this latest ceasefire hold?


Shibley Telhami is a Fellow at the Saban Center and Author of The Stakes, America and the Middle East is with us from Washington. Shibley, thank you for being with us.

SHIBLEY TELHAMI, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: My pleasure. I'm also a professor at the University of Maryland.

VAUSE: I'm glad we got that in as well, thank you. Here's part of the reporting from the Haaretz newspaper about the defense minister Avigdor Lieberman. Associates of the defense minister said that from the moment the latest round of hostilities began, he demanded that Israel take a tough and resolute action against Hamas. Lieberman is a hard right divisive politician but in terms of power and influence he is second only to the --


VAUSE: -- prime minister in Israel. Clearly, he wanted this military operation to continue. He had support and now he's somewhat accusing the government of being soft on Hamas. Is it only a matter of time before Lieberman gets his way?

TELHAMI: Well, first of all, it's not really clear if he means it or not. Now, let me say -- let me say what I mean by that. Obviously, there is a hard-line constituency in Israel that wants more action. I think that realistically there is not much that Israel could do that would solve this problem for them, the political problem. If there was a military solution for this Netanyahu would have gone for it. They -- you know, it's not just Lieberman.

Military -- right now Israel gets the unlimited support from the U.S. This administration would not stop them if they wanted to go in. The Arab world is preoccupied. So the reason they don't go in is because there really isn't a military solution. Of course, they could hurt Hamas quite a bit, but then they end up either occupying Gaza creating a vacuum, creating more instability, more misery, but also it comes back to haunt them. So they may score public opinion points in the short-term but by the time they come up for new elections, reality will set in and that's what Netanyahu clearly understood and that's why he decided to go for a ceasefire.

VAUSE: OK. So there's no military solution here and I think that's pretty obvious that there is no military solution unless the Israelis want to reoccupy Gaza on a permanent basis. Is there another plan, is there another way of dealing with this? Or are we looking at the plan right now? You used to have a flare-up of violence every couple of years and that's a you know, takes out -- you know, kills a few people and then it comes down and then we wait a little bit longer and the violence flares once more.

TELHAMI: Well, in the short term, you know, both sides obviously want to ceasefire at the moment. It serves both of their interest. No one has much to gain by an expansion of the hostilities. The question is whether they could come up with a longer-term ceasefire plan. Obviously, a full deal is not on the horizon right now. What the Trump administration, if it puts the plan on the table, it's not likely to have much to offer to the Gaza.

So the Egyptians have been working on a longer-term ceasefire plan. In fact, it was reported they're close to it and then, I understand Egyptian delegation is probably on its way to Israel to hammer that out again. The advantage of a longer-term ceasefire plan is obviously that you don't go through these shorter-term cycles. And clearly, each side would have to show restraint. It doesn't solve the big problem. And the big problem is that Hamas itself ultimately is not going to be able to solve the economic humanitarian problem it faces.

It might be a short-term fix with the infusion of funds or more opening. But clearly, people can buy time. And I think that's what the Prime Minister of Israel is trying to do.

VAUSE: There's no other time through here. I mean, by 2020, Gaza runs out of fresh water. The humanitarian's the situation inside the Gaza Strip gets worse by the day. The unemployment continues to rise. This is not a strip of land and a group of people who have a lot of time.

TELHAMI: Exactly. And part of it is if it's such a desperate situation in Gaza. And no one is really putting something on the table that can fix that. And especially, in light of the fact that the Trump administration decided to cut off aid to the Palestinians and to honor well the U.N. agency that is helping the refugees.

As you know, a very large proportion of Gaza's population is made up for refugees. So, it's a desperate situation and a ceasefire is not going to solve that. It might help in the short term things like providing a little bit more electricity.

Instead of a few hours a day, maybe expanding that, but that doesn't solve the big problem that we face. It is still a humanitarian disaster and it is still a political crisis that the military solution will not be able to fix.

VAUSE: Shibley Telhami, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Thank you.

TELHAMI: My pleasure.

VAUSE: Thank you.


VAUSE: After the break we go to California where strong gusting winds are fueling the fires to the south as the death toll rises in the north.

Later this hour, pilots say Boeing failed to issue a warning about a potentially dangerous feature in the new 737's flight control system.




(MUSIC PLAYING) VAUSE: Fire crews in California are making slow progress against two

massive wildfires at opposite ends of the state. In the north, the so-called Camp Fire Is about 35 percent contained. Winds have eased but any sign of rain could still be more than a week away. The death toll stands at 48 there and that number is expected to rise. Coroner recovery teams, cadaver dogs and two temporary morgue units have been placed on the scene.

To the south, strong gusting winds continue to fuel the Woolsey Fire, which has claimed two lives and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. At last report, it was around 40 percent contained. Here is Bill Weir reporting in from the Woolsey Fire in Ventura County.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the canyons above Malibu look like the surface of the Moon with almost nothing left to burn but all it takes is one hot ember riding one gust of wind to create a whole new front in this war on nature.

Imagine living down in that valley and realizing the only thing between your entire life and that wall of flame are these incredible pilots, not just helicopter pilots but big tanker jet pilots, who are bouncing around in these 40-50-mile-an-hour gusts, trying to precisely hit those spots.

In the space of two hours, we watched a full aerial assault above Hidden Valley, a swarm of helicopters sucking hundreds of thousands of gallons of lake water to drop on the flare-ups. The fixed wing tankers bomb the flames with a jelly-like retardant. Each run costing California thousands of dollars. Seawater is cheaper and the day brought the surreal sight of surfers and superscoopers sharing the lineup at Malibu Beach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to be picking up --

WEIR (voice-over): With crews from Orange County to Idaho spotting from the ground, the wind shifts. Residential areas are spared and they win this skirmish but no one can relax until the Santa Ana winds show mercy.

I'm Bill Weir from CNN. Thank you for your service, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what we're here for.

WEIR: You guys getting any sleep or...?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Intermittently.

WEIR: And it is anyone's guess how many of these smoldering hot spots remain in the canyons and hillsides of Malibu and that's what has so many people worried. This fire is not even out and it has already set records in terms of the cost of human life and dollars, of course.

But what is worse is that it's only going to get worse. When the rains eventually come, all of this ash will turn to mud. All of the vegetation that held those hillsides together will -- it doesn't exist anymore. So for generations, people who have known that if you want to live in paradise, the cost are mudslides when it rains and wildfires when it doesn't.

It seems like on a crowded planet that is just getting hotter by the year, that cost is going up and up. There are plenty of frustrated residents in Malibu still under the evacuation order who want to come home and assess what's left of their lives but what they don't appreciate is how many power lines, how many --


WEIR: -- burned and cracked power poles are hanging in precipitous fashion over so many roadways. You've got busted gas lines, melted roads. So this is just the beginning of what seems to be a record slow motion disaster. Back to you.



VAUSE: Captain Tony Imbrenda of the L.A. County Fire Department joins us now on the line.

Captain, thank you for taking time to speak with us. The word way we got from the Woolsey Fire about 24 hours ago was fairly positive, fire crews were able to hold those established containment lines. So, what's the latest update at this moment?

CAPT. TONY IMBRENDA, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Well, it's -- as we move in to the evening hours tonight, firefighters are continuing to shore up and reinforce containment lines that we have got a little bit of junk because the weather is starting to give us a little bit of cooperation. We're not getting very heavy winds in the fire area right now.

I think our gusts are about five miles an hour in the operational area at this time. You know, we're up at excess 97,000 acres and we're looking a 40 percent containment. And the damage assessment teams are working throughout the night right now. Trying to get information to residents who are understandably very concerned about the status of the property.

Pretty difficult circumstance because it's a very large evacuation area and a lot of the residents want to get in and see what's going on. But we have roadways that are obstructed by downed power lines, we've got a lot of debris on the roads.

But -- you know, at this time our preliminary assessments are in excess of 435 homes damaged or destroyed by fire.

VAUSE: Wow. And that's just in the southern fire alone. We're looking about 300,000 people across California have been forced to evacuate. 170,000 in the Los Angeles County alone. You talked about the difficulties that they going to face when they try to get back to the homes or what may be left to their homes sadly. Is there a time frame though? How long do you think they'll have to stay away from the fire zone?

IMBRENDA: Well, it's going to be really dependent on the specific area. Because this incident has a lot of different terrain features. We have some areas that are a little bit more exposed. Where -- you know, we have a little bit better road system to get in there.

But some of the areas are very remote, it's very steep, with the very narrow roads and the power line replacement process that's going on is pretty difficult. There's a lot of logistics that they're dealing with.

I mean, in some cases, they're not able to replace the poles that burn down. They're having to drill holes and put in new poles. You know, it's a very challenging situation right now. It's really extraordinary that the fire came through with really tremendous intensity the night it started on last Thursday. I was at the incident command post.

And that the figures that were coming in from our fire command were really quite incredible to all of us, because -- you know, we fought fire in this area for years. I'm an 18-year fireman and we've had a number of Malibu fires. But the rate that this thing was moving was startling to a lot of us.

We -- you know, we would get a report that the fire was at a specific place -- you know, right at the 101 freeway. And then it seemed like within an hour, we're hearing that it's two miles from the beach and it's covering -- you know an amazing amount of territory with -- you know just in tremendous amount of speed.

The ember cast that comes off of fires like this where it picks up hot smoldering debris, throws the two to three miles out in front of the fire head. So, we get a lot of spotting out in front of the fire. It's a very difficult process for our commanders to safely engage because you get in front of the fire head and before you know it, you've got embers thrown over your head and you've got fire behind you.

So, trying to safely engage this thing has been very challenging the fact that we put so much personnel into this area and we had so many residents there and had such a low amount of fatalities and injuries, it's pretty -- it's a testament to the to the skill of our firefighters, they're some of the best in world. And our commanders are certainly some of the most experienced.

We offer them up to agencies all around the state, all around the country throughout the year to help other agencies run their fires. Unfortunately, almost all of them were here in the county when this incident occurred and we had them in our disposal.

VAUSE: Captain, we leave it there. We appreciate the update. We wish you the best of luck. We should also note that -- you know, these are the two massive wildfires California is dealing with right now. You guys have dealt with 500 fires in the last 30 days. So, obviously, you know, this is a very dangerous and destructive fire season. Captain Tony Imbrenda there on the line with the L.A. County Fire Department.


VAUSE: A short break on NEWSROOM. When we come back, the Lion Air investigation leads to new questions about the safety of Boeing's 737s.


[00:30:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour. British Prime Minister Theresa May will hold an emergency cabinet meeting, Wednesday, to try and win support for a draft Brexit deal between the U.K. and E.U.

She needs cabinet approval before parliament can vote on the draft agreement. Brexit here is of Theresa May's own party, about not to support the plan, saying it does not honor the spirit of the yes vote to leave the European Union.

Palestinian militants in Gaza have announced a ceasefire with Israel, ending the worst uptick of violence there, since 2014, after an Israeli undercover operation in Gaza was botched. Hamas militants fired hundreds of rockets into Israel on Monday. The Israelis responded with dozens of air strikes.

Officials found six more victims of the wildfire in Northern California on Tuesday, bringing the death toll there, to 48. The so- called Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive in the state's history. To the South, powerful winds continue to fuel another deadly wildfire near Los Angeles.

Boeing has been accused of withholding critical safety information about the new 737, the plane involved in last month's deadly crash in Indonesia. The Allied Pilots Association says they were only informed a week ago about possible safety problems with the 737's flight control system. Boeing insists the plane is safe.

CNN's Ivan Watson joins us now from Hong Kong, with more on this. So, Ivan, the safety system we're talking about here, it's designed to avoid a possible stall by pushing the nose of the plane downwards, reducing the climbing angle. But if activated incorrectly, it could be catastrophic.

Boeing apparently issued some guidance about the system last week, they did so quietly. But, initially, was not included in the operating manual that came with the plane?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is called a flight crew operations manual bulletin, and the instructions are to basically slip in these new instructions into the existing flight manual.

And so what you had was this labor union, the allied pilots association, which represent pilots of American Airlines, which is one of the primary companies that has purchased many of this Boeing 737 MAX 8, the same kind of air crash that crashed on October 29th, with 189 people on board.

And the Allied Pilots Association has criticized Boeing, basically saying, hey, Boeing, "didn't provide us all the info we rely on, when we fly an aircraft." It needed to explain that there was this system in place that would automatically push the nose of the plane, down.

At this point, we have a situation where the investigators are basically looking, John, is the crash a result of some kind of pilot error or a result of some error on the part of the airline manufacturer or could it be a combination of the two.

[00:35:11] We know that this particular aircraft that in the four flights it conducted, before its ultimate crash, it had a problem with its AOA. That's the Attack -- Angle of Attack Sensor, and that this was actually replaced in one of the final flights before it crashed.

So, is it possible that this automatic turning the nose of the plane down, went into effect, and that the pilots perhaps weren't trained and did not know how to deal with it? And recall, did the plane crashed about 13 minutes into that final flight on the morning of October 29th. It basically went into a death dive.

So, right now, the investigators are trying to find the cockpit voice recorder, which could maybe explain what the pilots were saying in those last terrifying seconds before it smashed into the Java Sea. John?

VAUSE: Yes, it's important, Ivan. We're out of time. We should make the point again that, you know, this is an important factor, maybe a contributing factor, we don't know. And the actual cause of the crash is still under investigation. Ivan, thank you. We appreciate the update there from Hong Kong.

Donald Trump isn't the only Trump who can say you're fired. The First Lady gets a National Security Adviser booted from the West Wing. Details, when we come back.


VAUSE: Long-awaited trial for accused drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is now under way in New York amid tight security. The man once considered the world's leading drug trafficker pleaded not guilty to gun running, money laundering and conspiracy to murder.

Guzman claims he only played a minor role in Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. In court, his defense team, accused the current and former Mexican presidents of receiving millions of dollars in bribes from Sinaloa. Both men denied that allegation. If convicted, Guzman is facing a life sentence.

Well, a top deputy to the U.S. National Security adviser is on her way out after the First Lady, Melania Trump, put down her (INAUDIBLE) as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports it's a rare and stunning public rebuke from the First Lady.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Another White House drama today, this time, featuring First Lady Melania Trump, calling for the firing of a deputy National Security adviser, an extraordinary shot across the bow from the East Wing office of the First Lady, which issued this statement today, indirectly, at a top West Wing adviser.

It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House, the First Lady spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, telling CNN. She is Mira Ricardel, the Deputy National Security Adviser, who has tangled with several officials in the Trump White House, from Defense Secretary James Mattis to the First Lady.

But today, Ricardel was standing only a few feet behind the President, at a Diwali Lighting Ceremony, marking India's most important holiday of the year. CNN has learned the First Lady and Ricardel were at odds during their recent trip to Africa.

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I give him my honest advice and honest opinions, and then he does what he wants to do.

[00:40:13] ZELENY: It was on that trip where Mrs. Trump said she didn't trust all of the president's advisers.

Has he had people that you didn't trust, working for him?


ZELENY: The latest dysfunction coming as a staff shake-up is already looming in the West Wing and the cabinet. The President ignoring those questions today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you firing Secretary Nielsen?

ZELENY: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen could be the next to go. Officials telling CNN the President could ask for her resignation at any point.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, great job.

ZELENY: She's been unable to win him over on a signature issue, immigration and border security. It could touch off a domino of departures, including White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, who is Nielsen's top advocate in the administration.

Trump is already talking to a handful of potential replacements for Kelly, CNN has learned, including elevating Vice President Pence's Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, to the post. But as Democrats assume their majority in the House, and prepared to open an investigation to the administration, it's unclear whether the ongoing turmoil in the West Wing could complicate recruiting qualified candidates.

The President has rejected that premise.

D. TRUMP: This is a hot White House. We are a White House that people want to work with.

ZELENY: So the President saying many people want to work at the White House, that may be true, but Republicans here in Washington, wonder whether it's a smart idea to come into this administration as Democrats are about to take control of the House of Representatives, opening the floodgates of potential investigations, one thing that's clear, more shake-ups on the way.

One official said, the only people who seem safe, are those who are related here, to the President. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: And this note, CNN is suing the U.S. President and several aides to restore credentials to CNN's Jim Acosta. The White House suspended his press pass last week. White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, tweeted a doctored video of an incident claiming Jim put his hands on an intern.

But now, that story has changed. Sanders say, he was being disrespectful and unprofessional, refusing to yield to other reporters. CNN says the suspension violates the First Amendment Right to freedom of the press and the Fifth Amendment Right to due process.

Well, we'll finish with what everyone has been waiting for, new photos of the British royal family, which have just been released in time for Prince Charles' 70th birthday. They were taken in September, in the Garden of Clarence House, which is his residence in London.

Prince Charles will spend his birthday attending a party honoring 70 inspirational people, also, turning 70. Then, he'll attend a private event for family and friends hosted by his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" starts after the break.


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