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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Saudis Seek Death Penalty for Five Suspects in Khashoggi Murder; U.S. Sanctions 17 Saudi Officials Over Khashoggi's Murder; Donald Tusk: "No-Brexit Scenario" Still Possible; Brexit Supporter Criticizes Theresa May and Her Deal; Theresa May Comes Out Fighting Amid Political Turmoil
Aired November 15, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello and welcome. I'm Hala Gorani, live from Westminster in London. We continue our breaking news
coverage. After a day of derision, dissent and dismay in some cases, Theresa May has just one thing to say about her Brexit plan, "I am going to
see this through."
The British Prime Minister is still standing after a day of multiple resignations from some of her top lawmakers and Cabinet members including
the Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab. There was also a letter of no confidence sent by leading Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg but if you were
expecting Mrs. May to admit defeat when she stepped out before an eagerly awaiting press conference a few hours ago, well, think again. Here's why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Leadership is about taking the right decisions, not the easy ones. As Prime Minister, my job is to bring back a
deal that delivers on the vote of the British people, that does that by ending free movement, all the things I raised in my statement, ending free
movement, ensuring we're not sending vast annual sums to the EU any longer, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, but also protects
jobs, and protects people's livelihoods, protects our security, protects the Union of the United Kingdom.
I believe that this is a deal which does deliver that, which is in the national interest. And am I going to see this through? Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Translation, I'm not resigning, unless I'm forced to. We're covering all sides of this story. Nic Robertson is at 10 Downing Street
and Bianca Nobilo is with me here outside Parliament. And Nic, I'll start with you.
What does - because Theresa May certainly has a lot of opposition within her own party and there are those within the Tory Party who would like to
unseat her and replace her with a very firm and passionate lever, a Brexiteer. How does she plan to navigate this over the coming days?
NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: She appears to plan to navigate it by believing that she can if challenged. It would take
those 48 letters from people like Jacob Rees-Mogg to trigger from the Conservative Party a challenge to her leadership. She would have to win
that by getting more than 50% of the vote of the conservative MPs, if she was able to do that, which she seems to believe that she can do, she would
then go to the European Union and I should add the caveat having of course first replaced her Brexit Secretary who resigned earlier today that she
still hasn't done by almost close of business it seems today.
She would have to do that, go to the European Union, get the deal signed off on and then she would have to come back and believe somehow despite
hearing from the leader of the Labour Party today, the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party today, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and
so from hearing from a number of Democratic Unionist politicians who ostensibly support and give her the majority in Parliament, all of these
people today saying that they wouldn't be able to do that. That their parties wouldn't be able to support her.
So she clearly must calculate that she believes somewhere along the road in the meantime before early December when this might happen, that she
could change minds and it's not clear how she plans to do that.
When she came out to give the press conference earlier and you just played a very defining, if you will, defiant moment to all of those critics that
she has. She began by saying it's a privilege to serve in high office. And the room sort of went electric because it sounded hike she was about to
embark on some kind of resignation speech, and it was completely the opposite.
She believes that she's doing the right thing, and I think that is her guiding light at the moment. She's in the thick of the battle. She's not
considering other options, taking each challenge as it arises, Hala.
GORANI: Yes, Nic Robertson, absolutely. When she said those words at the beginning of the news conference, you know, we thought perhaps this was an
indication that she was about to resign. Of course, she didn't. Quite the contrary, she said she was going to see this through, and Bianca, how will
she see this through? Because she can't do this on her own. She needs to get this Brexit deal through Parliament.
BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: She needs to do a couple of things. She needs to appoint a new Brexit Secretary, we don't know who that is
going to be. I was keeping a close eye on the door there behind Nic just to see if anybody's going in and out, and we need to keep an eye on that.
She also has always this looming threat of a leadership contest over here and I've been speaking to some MPs, all of which are Brexiteers that would
like to see the Prime Minister go, saying that they are expecting that threshold of 48 letters which would trigger the vote of no confidence in
the Prime Minister by next week, so possibly not this week.
GORANI: Now, you don't need just 48 votes to oust her. You need much more than that.
NOBILO: Precisely, and this I think is why they haven't moved. So it's 48 votes to trigger a leadership contest, but then you need 159 votes of the
Parliamentary Conservative Party to topple a Prime Minister, and even though the Brexiteers know that they probably have that number of 48, they
definitely don't have the number of 159. So then, Hala, what they could risk is calling a leadership contest or a vote of no confidence rather and
then Theresa May wins that.
GORANI: And then they can't challenge her for a year.
NOBILO: And they can't challenge her for a year, and then she will be able to continue with her Brexit plan for that length of time. But then, of
course there's this other check, which is Parliament.
So even if she stays in post, she's then trying to do the impossible and get a deal, which as we saw today in the House of Commons, does not have
support from any side.
GORANI: If you're going to topple a Prime Minister, you've got to pick your moment. It is about good timing. Yes, I'm sure they'll take advice
from you on this one. Thanks very much, Bianca and stay close because we'll be coming back to you with more of our breaking news coverage and
Members of Parliament had a chance to question Theresa May's plans earlier and they really did question her. They were - she was essentially pummeled
because lawmaker after lawmaker hammered her plans. Listen to how it all went down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BAKER, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: It is completely intolerable and I feel confident that even in the unlikely event that
legislation for it reaches this is House, it will be ferociously opposed.
MARK FRANCOIS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: The stark reality, Prime Minister it that it was dead on arrival at St. Tommy's
before you stood up. So I plead with you, I plead with you to accept the political reality of the situation you now face.
PAT MCFADDEN, BRITISH LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Is it not the case that far from taking back control, this is the biggest voluntary surrender of
sovereignty in memory? And it is time to think again.
JULIAN LEWIS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Can the Prime Minister describe any sure away of frustrating the referendum result and
ultimately remaining in the European Union than to accept a Hotel California Brexit deal, which ensures that we can never truly leave the EU.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's bring in a leading voice in the Brexit camp and UK business now, John Longworth is Chairman of Leave Means Leave and the former
director of the British Chamber of Commerce, and he joins me now. So you're unhappy with this Brexit draft text, I take it.
JOHN LONGWORTH, CO-CHAIRMAN, LEAVE MEANS LEAVE: I think unhappy is an understatement. This is the worst deal in history for the UK. It would
leave the UK effectively a colony of the European Union without any means of escape. We would be tied into all the things that the Conservatives
promised that we would not be in their manifesto for the last election and also of course, the Labour manifesto said the same thing.
GORANI: Do you think no deal is a better option?
LONGWORTH: Absolutely. No deal is no problem. It's not the best option. The best option would be for us to actually agree a free trade arrangement
with the European Union before we leave. But if we have to leave with no deal terms, it's not a problem. It would save 39 billions pounds which is
600 pounds for every man, woman and child in the UK and actually billions more because the red book the challengers have produced at the last budget
showed additional funding for EU. It would give us the freedom to make trade deals. We could reduce tariffs and boost the economy and reduce the
cost of living for ordinary citizens.
GORANI: But leaving without a deal, you do accept, though, that leaving without a deal just in terms of trade, trade that's been resting on the
foundation of EU membership for four decades would be chaotic. You don't expect that?
LONGWORTH: No, complete nonsense.
GORANI: But you have industry groups that are saying even just ports, just crossing the channel tunnel without an agreement would be a disaster.
LONGWORTH: It's absolute nonsense. We've got foreign owned multinationals mainly French and German owned companies saying because it's in their
national interest to do so.
GORANI: Well, you have British industry groups as well saying this.
LONGWORTH: Most of the people who have been vocal on this have been foreign owned multinationals. The only British companies that have been
vocal on it are those that depend on government contracts, so there are obvious reasons why they are supporting the government.
The fact of the matter is there will be no problem bringing stuff in because the only way in which there will be any shortages in the UK at all
would be if the UK government stopped things coming into the UK and they're not going to do that. And in terms of exports, the head of the Calais Port
said they would go bust if they didn't handle much goods.
And there are plenty of other ports in Europe that would do so if Calais didn't - Rotterdam and Antwerp for example.
GORANI: But just logistically speaking, where there are no checks today, if there are checks on every vehicle entering tomorrow --
LONGWORTH: But there won't be.
GORANI: What will happen there now - if you're outside of the customs --
LONGWORTH: No, hang on. Don't you understand how trade works? The World Bank itself said that only 2% of goods worldwide even between countries
that have no trade deals are ever checked at borders. The fact is, it's all done through e-documentation. There's no need for any checks. It's
all complete nonsense.
GORANI: So this is all - this is a project fear from the freight companies?
LONGWORTH: This is project fear from the government and remainers. The fact is that we can trade with the European Union perfectly well, and don't
forget, only 8% of British companies - 8% have anything to do with the EU trade at all, 13% of the economy.
GORANI: But what percentage of the British trade is with the EU?
LONGWORTH: The percentage of exports is 43%.
GORANI: That's right.
LONGWORTH: But that's immaterial because it's only 8% of the economy. Eight percent of businesses actually trade with the EU, that means 92% of
the British businesses are hampered by the EU and held back. The Chancellor threatened that if we had a no deal exit, he would reduce
corporation tax. What a threat. Why is it corporate Britain clamoring to have a no deal exit?
GORANI: All right, well, John Longworth, thanks very much. I mean, what would - if she wins, if she gets this through, if Parliament or her own
party I should say, is not able to oust her, they don't get enough votes to force a no confidence situation on the Prime Minister, this deal will
stand, won't it?
LONGWORTH: No, because Parliament will vote it down, almost undoubtedly, Parliament will vote it down. And then the default position is a no deal
exit unless we negotiate a free trade arrangement, which actually Barnier has offered us. He offered it to me 18 months ago when I was talking to
him, 18 months ago. There's no reason way that can't happen. If Theresa May in some way tries to keep us in the European Union --
GORANI: He offered it to you when you were the director --
LONGWORTH: No, no. when I went to see him as Chairman of Leave Means Leave.
GORANI: Right, okay.
LONGWORTH: So the fact of the matter is, if we stay in the European Union, we will end up in the situation where democracy in this country will be
broken. There will be no trust in the establishment. There have been riots on the street.
GORANI: Okay. John Longworth, thanks very much for dropping by. We really appreciate your time this evening. John Longworth, the Chairman of
Leave Means Leave. And here is where the UK's three main parties stand on this. Labour accepts the vote to leave the European union. The Liberal
Democrats say they believe Britain is better off in the EU, so they are fighting for an exit from Brexit, and then the Conservative Party, which
just gives you an idea there politically of how everyone is positioned.
Hard line Brexiteers say the draft deal gives the EU too much control. There's another perspective to consider of course, that's the EU's, Donald
Tusk, the President of the European Council endorsed the agreement but said Brexit is a lose-lose situation for both sides. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Of course, I don't share the Prime Minister's enthusiasm about Brexit as such. Since the very
beginning, we have had no doubt that Brexit is a lose-lose situation and that our negotiations are only about damage control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, and the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier urged British MPs to take responsibility and back the deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL BARNIER, EU CHIEF NEGOTIATOR: What we have agreed at negotiators level is fair and balanced, it takes the UK's positions, organizes the
withdrawal in an orderly fashion and ensure no hard border in the island of Ireland and lays the ground for an ambitious new partnership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's find out what the Institute of Economic Affairs thinks of the Prime Minister's Brexit plan. The IEA's Director General Mark
Littlewood is with me now. So what do you make of what we heard from the Prime Minister today? First before we get to that, what do you make of the
MARK LITTLEWOOD, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Well, I think it's very problematic. My own personal analysis would be, it's
almost the worst of both worlds that you sort of get all of the downsides of EU membership pretty much whilst also surrendering your seat around the
GORANI: But there's no payment to Brussels, none of that ...
GORANI: The Prime Minister has promised exiting the common agricultural policy, the common fisheries policy.
LITTLEWOOD: But the real big upsides of Brexit, people disagree about how big these upsides are is to escape the regulatory orbit of the European
Union so Britain can frame its own regulations and to be completely free to strike trade deals. Now, there's a huge argument amongst politicians and
economists about how big are those upsides, but those are definitely the big, big upsides. Not really the payment to the EU every year. I mean,
it's meaningful, but it's not colossal.
And I think the problem with the proposal put forward is it doesn't give us those upsides. It locks us into the EU even though we'd be formally
divorced from it.
GORANI: Is it better to adopt this deal, the May plan, or no deal at all?
LITTLEWOOD: Well, people say no deal at all. I think that's a slight overstatement. I find it almost inconceivable that there will be literally
no deal. There might be a very, very --
GORANI: But the clock is ticking.
LITTLEWOOD: The clock is definitely ticking. There might be some very thin mini deals. I mean, to give you an example, we probably need some
sort of memorandum of understanding about air traffic control, just to make sure that there weren't colossal problems at the airport.
LITTLEWOOD: That will be some very sort of thin deal, and I think those will be quite easy to get across the line, so the question is what can we
now agree? I mean, having chewed up more than two years since the referendum, we now have a position, whatever you think actually of the
merits or demerits of the Prime Minister's position, it seems that most people are saying the Parliamentary math just isn't there. I mean, it's
just - will not pass the House of Commons.
GORANI: It doesn't appear to be there. Yes.
LITTLEWOOD: So no deal becomes much more likely. I think the government making sure that all of our contingency plans for that are in place, it
becomes a higher priority than it might have been a year ago.
GORANI: Do you agree with John Longworth who we just spoke with who is the Chairman of Leave Means Leave that no deal is no big deal?
LITTLEWOOD: I think it isn't a huge deal. I think that some of the things that was said about if Britain votes leave, we're going to sort of
immediately witness the economic apocalypse did not turn out to be true. No deal is not my optimal scenario. I think it would be much better to
have a free trade agreement in place with the European Union, but I don't believe it's like total disaster as long as the contingency planning is
there. I think there will be some glitches and some problems --
GORANI: But I'm sure you've read, like we all have, the heads of big corporations, of banks, of freight companies, of border control companies
saying you cannot leave without a deal because the entire trade relationship between the UK and the EU has rested on membership in the
European Union, and now you remove that framework. How do you expect it to seamlessly and harmoniously continue after that?
LITTLEWOOD: Well, sure. I mean, the heads of big corporations always tend to favor the regulatory status quo, unsurprisingly. And I think what they
might be concerned about is if we just say, "Well, we're leaving with no deal and no guidance and no guidelines and we're not really going to tell
you what the regulatory framework is," but if for example, which wouldn't be particularly difficult, it wouldn't even need to be negotiated, if we
said unilaterally on our side we are going to observe all of the following protocols.
For example, we'll allow any EU single market product into the UK market just as we did pre-membership.
GORANI: But forgive me, you need - but this takes time ...
LITTLEWOOD: Well, it doesn't take --
GORANI: ... at least hundreds and hundreds of those little sort of mini reciprocal --
LITTLEWOOD: ... well, it needs to be reciprocal. That's my point. There is quite a lot we can do unilaterally to ease the problem here. I mean, we
can't insist what the French do at Calais, but we can control what we do at Dover.
So I think my advice to the government would be control the controllables and guidance about if we do get to a no deal scenario and having made such
scant progress over the past couple of years, and with there only now being four months to go, that has to be a likely outcome and preparing for that
is now I think especially important.
GORANI: You say scant progress. You're unraveling a 40-year relationship. It takes two people sometimes longer to divorce than two years. Did the
Prime Minister not do everything she could with what she had? It's an impossible task some have said.
LITTLEWOOD: It's a difficult task. I certainly don't envy Theresa May her job. I mean, not just the complexities of extracting --
GORANI: She wants to keep it, though.
LITTLEWOOD: She definitely wants to keep it, but the complexities of extracting this is awfully high, and obviously, the politics involved for
her. She doesn't have a majority for her party. Many in her party take a very different view to her. So it is complex. But look, we've seen some
fairly major constitutional changes across the world over my lifetime that haven't taken this long. I mean, the reunification of Germany, for
example, a highly complex thing. But that was gotten over the line relatively quickly. The division of Czechoslovakia in the Czech Republic
and Slovakia. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.
Now, I'm not necessarily - I don't think Brexit is actually as complicated as those things I've just mentioned, so if they were achievable in a
reasonable time period, I think the challenge here is actually clear thinking and some political will.
GORANI: All right, Mark Littlewood, the Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, thank you so much for joining us on CNN. Just three
paragraphs in the 580-page draft Brexit plan address the city of London and that has some investors on edge. We'll have the business reaction to the
day's events, next.
GORANI: Welcome back to Westminster. Brexit is serious business, but there was laughter in Parliament today. Listen as Theresa May made her
main points to MPs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: Mr. Speaker, what we agreed yesterday was not the final deal. It is a draft treaty. It's not. It is a draft treaty that means that we will
leave the EU in a smooth and orderly way on the 29th of March, 2019, and which sets the framework for a future relationship that delivers in our
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Jack Blanchard is the London playbook editor for POLITICO and he joins me now. So we were just talking during the break, you said this is
how she is, she just hangs on, she just continues to work through the pain, if you will.
JACK BLANCHARD, LONDON PLAYBOOK EDITOR, POLITICO: She's like a machine, this Prime Minister. We really haven't seen anything like this. She's the
opposite of David Cameron who was a very laid back figure and he used to sort of swan through events and sort of, like an essay crisis Prime
Minister, they used to call him. He just do it all at the end.
She just keeps going and keeps going. She did three hours in the Commons today, a long press conference this afternoon. We now hear she's going to
do a radio phone in first thing tomorrow morning. She just does not stop. She's seen what she has to do and she is going to sell it hard now.
GORANI: And will she survive this, do you think?
BLANCHARD: I mean, will she survive tomorrow? Honestly, I'm not going to pretend that I know what's going to happen. But what I would say is that
Theresa May has come up against obstacle after obstacle these last few years. There have been times when it seemed like she could never survive
and she has just carried on regardless. And so yes, my instinct is that she will do that again, but honestly, she is now at the mercy of events,
she is at the mercy of her Cabinet, so you can't say for sure.
GORANI: So but it is even if there is a no confidence vote that is put forward, are there enough votes in Parliament to actually unseat her?
Because that's a whole other calculation that you need to make.
BLANCHARD: Absolutely. It needs more than half of tor Tory MPs to vote her out for her to lose if that vote happens, and as things stand, I don't
think there are that many Tory MPs who want her out. I think the idea for a lot of Tory MPOs of having a very divisive battle for the leadership at a
time of national crisis would just seem almost insane, and so, a lot of Tory MPs I have spoken to are against that idea.
What I would also say though is that things can change. You know, if more members of the Cabinet resign tomorrow, there become grounds for a lot of
opinion against her, maybe one of them announces that they want to be Prime Minister and there is some support that suddenly goes behind them --
GORANI: Who would want to be a Prime Minister?
GORANI: I mean, it is just a poison chalice right now, isn't it?
Tory MPs These are politicians. They love it, right? They want to be it, but I mean, yes, it's a thankless task at the moment.
GORANI: Any possibility of another vote on this, on Brexit, another referendum?
BLANCHARD: That to me looks very unlikely. I don't really see how you'd get there. The Prime Minister is dead set against that as an idea. People
around her have said they would rather have a general election than have another vote on Brexit. And I think that is actually a more likely outcome
because when Parliament is this dead locked, it cannot make a decision. That's how it is looking.
The obviously answer is not to have another referendum, but you change the Parliament, right?
GORANI: What if because we've seen polls indicate that a majority of Brits now would vote to remain. What if it becomes that number increases more
and more at every poll? Then politically ...
GORANI: ... but yes, but then politically, then you could have MPs and Theresa May herself maybe even consider that it's in her political best
interest to follow that popular --
BLANCHARD: I mean, it's possible and things can change quickly. Right now, that to me is not the most likely circumstance. I think there are
other routes out this that look more likely. But you know, it's tricky. There isn't anything obviously that can happen at the moment. If anyone
who sits in one of these seats over the next few days and tells you they know what's going to happen, they are lying to you.
GORANI: Well, you know what, no one has.
BLANCHARD: That's good.
GORANI: Jack Blanchard, thanks very much. Editor, POLITICO London Playbook for joining us here on CNN. We appreciate it.
The drama surrounding Brexit and Theresa May's Cabinet is sending the pound plummeting. And plummeting is a little bit dramatic, to be honest. It
lost 2%, it bounced back. Sterling is now at around $1.27 and a half, so $1.27 forty five, no panic there, but clearly some concern. Anna Stewart
joins me for more on the market reaction. Anna.
ANNA STEWART, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, I'd say that the anxiety investors were feeling, particularly in the short run up before Theresa May actually
spoke when no one knew what she was going to say, there were fears that she would resign, that was when we saw sterling drop below the 2% mark for the
So that was a significant daily drop as you said there. A dollar twenty seven isn't the lowest we've seen sterling in the whole Brexit story over
the last couple of years. Interestingly, lots of stocks got hit today. The FTSE 100 normally rises when sterling drops because most of the
companies make their profits in dollars, but some of the sectors which are more susceptible to risks over UK economy problems were hit really badly.
And banking was certainly one. RBS closed down nearly 10%, wiping some $3.6 billion off its market cap. And I just want to read you some of the
sort of doomy gloomy scenarios we've had from various people today. We spoke to UBS earlier and they say, the risk of a disorderly Brexit
certainly rose today and they said that if there was to be a hard Brexit and we kind of fell out of EU, the UK economy could be up to 10% smaller by
S&P the rating agency, they kept that outlook as it is at the moment, but they said in the event of a hard Brexit, they would expect sterling to drop
some 15% against the dollar. So there you have the extreme risk we could see and the IMF have said that hard Brexit would see UK output drop maybe
5% or 8%. So lots of gloomy outlooks. This is why investors are very, very nervous, why sterling was down and why many of the stocks were
punished today. Hala.
GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Anna. Coming up, we'll bring you up to date on some other major world news. In Saudi Arabia, prosecutors
reveal the Kingdom's official version of Jamal Kashoggi's death confirming some disturbing details of the journalist's murder.
[15:30:00] HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Welcome back. We're coming to you live from Westminster tonight following chaos in the British
government. But here's another big story we want to update you on. Saudi prosecutors are revealing grisly details of the murder of journalist Jamal
And they are vowing to seek the death penalty against five of the 11 suspects. They say Khashoggi was injected with a deadly dose of a sedative
after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, then that his body was dismembered. Prosecutors say that was not the original plan and they
insist that the Saudi Crown prince had nothing to do with it and no knowledge of it.
Now, the United States responded to that statement by announcing economic sanctions against seven Saudi officials. Elise Labott joins us from
Washington. Before we get to the detail of the sanctions, are U.S. authorities buying this version of events that these were just rogue
assassins that just happened to be able to dismember the body and happened to have a collaborator in Istanbul that would dispose of it.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, how the public lied is that there's no evidence or I mean, it's not even public, it's kind of a
-- you know, anonymous officials saying that there's no evidence that the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman ordered this killing and that, you know,
even though its members close to him, members of the royal court, they're saying there's no evidence he himself --
GORANI: Can I have a sheet?
LABOTT: Ordered the killing. But I think privately, there are serious concerns. Let's face it, these are men that were, you know, super close to
him, his inner circle, I think there's a recognition that, you know, even if the Crown Prince did not order the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, that he
did know that there was some kind of operation going on, whether it was a rendition, whether it was, you know, actively trying to persuade him to
So I don't think they think his hands are completely clean, but in the absence of a smoking gun, I think they're willing to follow the Saudi
narrative that this was an operation that in the end went terribly awry.
GORANI: And what are this -- I mean, we know that these sanctions have been announced targeting 17 individuals. What type of sanctions are we
talking about and who are the individuals?
LABOTT: These are, you know, similar to the 18 that the Saudis had named several weeks ago, suspects in the case that were involved in the
operation. We understand 15 or so as the Saudis said in their statement by the prosecutor today, 15 or so were on various teams of the operation.
These are also individuals that were sanctioned a few weeks ago under a different executive order. This one is under the Magnitsky Act which is an
effect we know that this was initially sanctions regime for Russia, but now it involves individuals that are responsible for human rights, abuses
across the world and there are much more a stringent there.
Travel bans, there are asset freezes, all sorts of bans on dealing -- doing business for U.S. individuals with these individuals. And I think it
remains to be seen whether the U.S. is prepared to sanction the Saudi government. All instances kind of say no.
Again, in the absence of a, you know, a directive from the leadership of Saudi and the absence of that smoking gun, it seems that the U.S. does not
want to sanction the government. It remains to be seen what Congress will do. Certainly, they have the purse strings and they do have to approve
arms sales with Saudi Arabia, something President Trump has said he's not willing to sacrifice.
But I think if you're going to see further action, it could be from Congress.
GORANI: All right, Elise Labott at the State Department over in Washington I should say. Thanks very much for that update as the Saudi prosecutor
puts out the official version of the circumstances surrounding Jamal Khashoggi's murder in Istanbul.
[15:35:00] With the Brexit deal now in crisis, Donald Tusk; the president of the European Council said that the EU is still prepared for the U.K. to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: It is not for me to comment on the latest developments in London. All I can say is that the EU is
prepared for a final deal with the United Kingdom in November. We're also prepared for a no-deal scenario. But of course, we are best prepared for a
no Brexit scenario.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Back here in London, the critical and vocal Brexiteer Jacob Rees- Mogg had a very busy day, apparently, trying to lead the rebellion against this deal and maybe even against Theresa May herself. He started in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB REES-MOGG, CONSERVATIVE MP & LEADING BREXITEER: My right honorable friend, and she is unquestionably honorable --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes --
REES-MOGG: Said that we would leave the Customs Union, annex two says otherwise. My right honorable friend said that she would maintain the
integrity of the United Kingdom, her whole protocol says otherwise. My right honorable friend said that we would be out of the jurisdiction of the
European court of Justice, article 174 says otherwise.
As all my right honorable friend says and what my right honorable friend does no longer match, should I not write to my right honorable friend, the
member for Altrincham and Sale West?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, he asked the question dramatically, why shouldn't he write a letter of no confidence, and just a few hours later, he answered it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REES-MOGG: Well, that's what democracy is about. You make your case and then you have the vote and you accept the result. Many people of the 48
percent as shown by opinion polls accept the result even though they did not like it. And that's the nobility of our democracy and that what we
have voted for should be implemented and the Prime Minister is not doing that, and that is why I have no confidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: I want to bring in Tory MP Nigel Huddleston, he's parliamentary private secretary for Digital and Culture. And he joins me now live.
You're supportive of Theresa May's deal.
NIGEL HUDDLESTON, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Yes, I have, I think it's a sensible and reasonable deal that actually fulfills most of
the requirements that most people said they wanted when they voted for Brexit.
GORANI: Critics say it's the worst of both worlds because you have no say over rules that you must abide by now if you adopt it.
HUDDLESTON: I don't think that's the case, and also there are some ideological purists out there who want, you know, the 100 percent of
exactly what they want. That's not going to happen. It was never part of the deal, it was never going to be, the EU would not give us that. And I
think we all have to be a bit flexible, compromise a little bit and be pragmatic, and both the EU and the U.K. have done that.
So much as I respect Jacob, I've known him for a long period of time, he's one of those ideological purists and I don't think he's going to get what
he wants under any circumstances or under any leader.
GORANI: Well, he's trying to oust Theresa May.
HUDDLESTON: He is -- well, he's one of a few people who have put their letters in so far at least, I'm not aware of it reaching that magic number
to trigger --
GORANI: Forty eight --
HUDDLESTON: Forty eight needed out of 315 MPs. And I think even if they do reach that number and there will be a vote, Theresa May will get re-
elected with a massive majority.
GORANI: But there's another important number, and that is that she needs a majority in parliament --
HUDDLESTON: Yes --
GORANI: To get this deal through. It doesn't seem like she has those numbers yet.
HUDDLESTON: Not yet, and I think we've all got to go back to our constituencies this weekend and talk to our constituents and businesses
there and say, look, is this a deal that you can accept? It may not be perfect, but is it a deal that you can accept or do you want the
And the alternative is crashing out without a deal, and that is too horrendous for too many people to consider --
GORANI: Well, I've spoken to many MPs over the last 48 hours and those who support Brexit say there's no crashing out, it's not even the right term.
Peter Bone for instance said we've been trading with the U.S. without being in a single market with the U.S. for many decades, it's never been an
issue, we can do the same with the EU.
HUDDLESTON: Well, we've got rules and guidelines with our trade with the U.S. and many of the countries around the world. The problem is if we
default to this, will trade organization default? It's silent on non- existence on sways of industry like aviation.
So all of a sudden, we'd have to maniacally come in with hundreds of bilateral agreements that would cause absolutely chaos. Now, we are so
close to a deal, this almost, you know, acceptable to large numbers of people was so close. Can we not just all agree to just compromise just a
little bit more and we don't need that chaos.
GORANI: Well, the good thing about the situation your country is in now is that we actually have dates. We have -- we have hurdles that are clearly
HUDDLESTON: Yes --
GORANI: Posted now. So it's not this indefinite open-ended thing. You need this agreement to be ratified and discussed officially in Brussels on
HUDDLESTON: Yes --
GORANI: Yes, and once that happens, you've -- that's one hurdle that's kind of been overcome.
[15:40:00] HUDDLESTON: You're right and the clock is ticking, and then it's highly like that we will vote on it in parliament before Christmas.
And the issue is now, can we gather any more compromises from the EU? It's very difficult to think of the mechanics of that happening. It may be
GORANI: Well, she doesn't have a Brexit secretary, Prime Minister May yet --
HUDDLESTON: Not at the moment, watch this space, I should think within 24 hours, we'll have a new one.
GORANI: Who do you expect will get the job?
HUDDLESTON: I don't know this talk about the Michael Gove, but to be honest, there's a lot of talent on the back bench, which is at the
conservative party and I think there's many people who could do the job.
GORANI: All right, Nigel Huddleston, Tory MP, thank you for joining us on Cnn, we appreciate it. And what is the EU saying about all this? Erin
McLaughlin is in Brussels, what are you hearing, Erin?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hala, well, Brexit very much on the minds of EU leaders here in Brussels today, although they're not
commenting on the specifics of the political drama unfolding there in London. The president of the European Council today and now start
extraordinary summit that is scheduled on Brexit for November 25th.
He reiterated Brussels opposition that Brexit is a lose-lose proposition for both the U.K. and the EU. He pledged to the British people that this
process will be as painless as possible, that he'll make it. So -- but he also said that EU is preparing for all eventualities.
It is preparing for a no-deal scenario, it's preparing for the deal to go through. But it's also -- he said best prepared for a no Brexit scenario,
a comment which ruffled a few feathers there in the United Kingdom. As it stands now though, the wheels are in motion for this extraordinary summit,
the 585-page text, the withdrawal agreement has been distributed to all 27 capitals to be scrutinized line-by-line.
The EU ambassadors are expected to meet here in Brussels tomorrow to saying that he hopes they won't have too many comments on that as it's not a done
deal just yet. A major outstanding issue in all of this, though, is the political --
Excuse me, is the political declaration, that is the political declaration on the future relationship between the U.K. and the EU. That has not being
finalized, that has yet to still be negotiated, although I'm told that there is an outline for that.
The details have yet to be hammered out, that is an active negotiation that needs to conclude between the U.K. and the EU. The deadline for that is
Tuesday. It's unclear given the political dynamics playing out there in London, how that's going to get done at this point, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Erin McLaughlin, so much uncertainty in both capitals. Many questions about Britain's economic future are still unanswered, I'll
be joined by the British Trade Commissioner to North America, he is the man in charge of finding new deals, new trade deals once the U.K. is out of the
EU. We'll be right back.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: Twenty months of fraught Brexit negotiations have brought us to this day. At the start, there were eight main points of contention. Now,
we know the draft plan. When it comes to how much the U.K. will pay the EU for leaving, the draft says that Britain will honor all existing
commitments to the EU through 2020.
That has previously been estimated at $65 billion. London's status as a global financial center appears at risk, fewer than 300 words in the draft
address and the draft text addressed the U.K.'s financial sector. It says that U.K. firms will be treated just like those outside the EU without any
clear special access to the single market.
And a hard border with Ireland is avoided for now. The U.K. will stay inside the Customs Union and will be barred from doing anything that
undercuts the EU. Northern Ireland's DUP; the party which Theresa May needs to stay in power may not approve of this plan.
In fact, one of the MPs for the DUP said they will oppose it or told us this yesterday. Antony Phillipson is the U.K. Trade Commissioner to North
America and he joins me now from New York. So you are first-appointed -- you are the first person appointed to this post after the U.K. exits the
EU, you will be the point person to discuss any future trade relationships between the U.K. and the U.S., is that correct?
ANTONY PHILLIPSON, BRITISH TRADE COMMISSIONER TO NORTH AMERICA: Well, my role covers trade and investment priorities across the U.S. and Canada, but
it's part of a team of officials based in the U.K. and based in our embassy in Washington.
And we've actually been talking to the U.S. as part of a trade investment working group established between Secretary of State Liam Fox and
Ambassador Owen Lighthizer(ph) in July last year about the breadth of our trade and investment relationship including crucially our ambitions to
deepen and strengthen that partnership through an ambitious free trade agreement as soon as we leave the EU.
GORANI: And how will the relationship change between the U.K. and the U.S. after Brexit? Because obviously there is an existing trade relationship
between the EU and the U.S., the U.K. is still part of the EU.
PHILLIPSON: So yes. There is a very deep relationship between the EU and U.S., but I'd also say, to stress it, there's a very deep relationship
between the U.K. and the U.S. The U.S. is our number one export partner with the biggest investors in each other's country.
There are a million Brits who go to work each day for U.S. companies and a million Americans who go to work each day for British companies. And our
ambition is to deepen and strengthen that as we leave the EU. And that will come in phases when we get into the implementation period after the
March 29th next year when we leave the EU, we will be able, according to the terms set out in the draft withdrawal agreement yesterday.
We will be able to negotiate and even ratify trade deals. And then as we get out of the implementation period into the future partnerships, which I
would just stress, I mean, was the shorter of the two documents published yesterday. But it sets out a very clear ambition between the U.K. and the
EU for our future partnership in the trade and economic space and the security space that will leave us free to deepen and strengthen our
relationship with the U.S. going forward.
GORANI: And do you -- do you support this draft text? Do you think it's the best agreement that Theresa May could have negotiated?
PHILLIPSON: The Prime Minister has made it very clear that her ambition and her intent throughout this process has been to establish a future
relationship between the U.K. and the EU that provides for our future security and our future prosperity.
She's also made clear that she intends to ensure that we can leave in an orderly manner, and that's what the withdrawal agreement provides for,
especially in the context of the implementation period. That will mean that business and others have time to transition for an existing
relationship to the future relationship.
That is what is set out in the withdrawal agreement, and that is what the Prime Minister intends to deliver over the coming weeks and months.
GORANI: Yes, I won't dispute all those points you just made, but do you personally support the draft text? Do you think it's the best deal that
Theresa May could have negotiated?
PHILLIPSON: I'm a civil servant, I support the government of the day and we will do everything we can to prosecute the government's intent and the
government's policies, so yes, I do.
GORANI: All right, now, when you say that the U.S. is the U.K.'s biggest trading partner, you mean individual countries? Because the EU, 43 percent
of the trade that the U.K.'s trade is with the EU, isn't it?
[15:50:00] PHILLIPSON: Yes, the U.S. is our single biggest export partner in terms of countries, yes.
GORANI: Right, but as far as a single market is concerned, the EU is still your biggest partner.
PHILLIPSON: The EU is a significant economic partner now and will be in the future, which is why the Prime Minister has always said that our
ambition is, as we leave the EU to establish the terms of a future partnership that allows us to continue to trade with the EU, continue to
invest with the EU and then indeed continue to work with the EU on some of the big global challenges that we will face in the world in the years
GORANI: What is something you'll be able to do unilaterally with the U.S. that you're not able to do in terms of trade as members of the EU?
PHILLIPSON: So as a member of the EU, we are not able to pursue an independent trade policy in the context of, for example, agreeing a
different tariff rate for a particular product. We are also bound by the duty of sincere cooperation, which we will not be bound by once we have
left the EU.
So we'll be able to agree our own trade agreements that are more specifically focused on the future needs of the British economy across the
service industries, across advanced manufacturing and life sciences. But I would just stress that, you know, we're not looking to tear up the
relationship that we have with the EU.
We we're looking to establish a new partnership, a new relationship. The Prime Minister has said many times we are leaving the EU, but we're not
leaving Europe. We are still committed to the prosperity and security of citizens across Europe and we still expect to be a major strategic partner
of the EU across both the prosperity and security agendas.
GORANI: Antony Phillipson; the Trade Commissioner to North America, joining us from New York, thank you very much for being on the program.
We're going to take a quick break, we'll be right back.
GORANI: Earlier today, Theresa May faced a tough reception when she presented the Brexit draft agreement to the House of Commons. The
opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn had some harsh words for the Prime Minister's deal, calling it a leap into the dark.
Let's talk to a member of Corbyn's Labor Party, Rushanara Ali; Labor MP and who sits on the Treasury Select Committee and joins us now live. Thanks
for being with us, so you're against this deal because you want a second referendum, because you think this deal is essentially the worst of both
RUSHANARA ALI, BRITISH LABOR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: It is -- it is the worst of both worlds because we actually have a much better deal within the
European Union at the moment. And the hard line Brexiteers, when they campaigned for the referendum in 2016, promised that we would have a better
deal if we left the European Union, that we could benefit from exactly the same benefits by leaving the European Union.
And that it wouldn't cost the British economy and it wouldn't have -- do harm to the British people.
[15:55:00] But what we're finding is that this deal has a temporary Customs Union, it will cost 39 billion pounds to leave, and it is not
clear what the trading relationship -- future trading relationship with the European Union for the United Kingdom will be.
GORANI: But what will your party do --
ALI: So actually, it's a very weak proposal after --
GORANI: What will --
ALI: Nearly two years of negotiation.
GORANI: What will your party do to advance the cause of calling for a second referendum because your party leader Jeremy Corbyn has not been the
most passionate remainer. I mean, there's some interviews he's given where he said this is irreversible and it doesn't -- he does not send a message
that he is, you know, very passionate about staying within the EU.
ALI: Well, what he's made clear is that we want to see Britain's interests being served. And that means our economic interests, that means that we
have access to the single market, that we have a Customs Union that is permanent, that we have -- that we protect people's --
GORANI: Staying in the EU basically --
ALI: Protect people's rights and standards and environmental protections. Our six tests, and this deal doesn't provide that. It's not really much of
a deal. Now, what we're saying is that --
GORANI: Yes --
ALI: We in our conference set out what our tests are, but also that in the event that there isn't a good enough deal, and there isn't -- and it
doesn't succeed, it doesn't look -- the government doesn't win and it doesn't have the confidence of parliament as you will have seen today.
Then there should be the option of having a second referendum with the option --
GORANI: But there's no --
ALI: Of staying in or voting on this deal --
GORANI: Is there's a political backing for a second referendum?
ALI: Well --
GORANI: It doesn't sound like this is the most --
ALI: Well, actually, I think that the --
GORANI: Probable --
ALI: Interest in a second referendum on this deal and the other options has grown and public opinion is increasing support. There's increasing
support for it. The reason is because we have had nearly two years of this government trying to come back with a deal that is supposed to be better,
supposed to provide the exact same benefits, frictionless trade and the rest of it.
It's not happened. What it shows is that you cannot have your cake and eat it. That's what it exposes, it's an impossible situation. So the
government is going to be left with very few options if they lose this vote, which they will because there isn't a majority in the House that will
support Theresa May's deal.
GORANI: All right, Rushanara Ali, Labor MP, thanks so much for joining us on Cnn --
ALI: Thank you --
GORANI: And thank you for joining us for this special report, I'm Hala Gorani outside the houses of parliament. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper is