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Ukraine Imposing Martial Law in Areas Bordering Russia; British Parliament to Vote on Brexit December 11; Mexico Asks U.S. to Investigate Border Incident. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 27, 2018 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The state of hate: a sweeping new CNN survey reveals anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade.

There's concern around the world as a tense standoff between Russia and Ukraine shows no sign of ending.

Plus President Trump denies teargas was used on child migrants at the U.S. border despite pictures and video showing the opposite. Mexico now demanding an investigation.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

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CHURCH: We will get to the top stories in a few minutes. First, we want to tell you about a major CNN investigation revealing just how widespread and growing anti-Semitic attitudes are in Europe.

More than 70 years ago, when the nightmares of the Holocaust came to an end with the end of World War II, Germany as a nation vowed never to forget. Yet it seems that many in Europe have done exactly that or even more shockingly have never even known about the atrocities committed against millions of Jews by the Nazis.

So all this week, we are focusing on this shadow over Europe. Our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, begins our covering with a sweeping new survey commissioned by CNN that unearths some surprising statistics.

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CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To give us our unprecedented look at anti-Semitism in Europe, we spoke to more than 7,000 European citizens across these seven countries.

Forty-four percent said they believe anti-Semitism is a growing problem in their country, with 40 percent saying Jewish people are at risk of racist violence there; 63 percent, around two-thirds of the people we spoke to, agree that commemorating the Holocaust helps ensure that such atrocities will never happen again.

But awareness of the genocide seems to be fading. Of the people in the 18-34 age bracket that we spoke to, almost two-fifths said they had either never heard of the Holocaust or had just a little knowledge of it.

The situation is especially bad in France; 8 percent of people we spoke to there, across all age groups, said they had never heard of the Holocaust. That's around 5 million people in France alone, more than double the population of Paris.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance spells out what anti- Semitism is with 11 specific samples. One is the myth that Jewish people control global media, economies and governments.

In Europe, 28 percent responded that Jewish people had too much influence in finance and business across the world, a view that was most common in Poland and Hungary.

Europe's understanding of how many Jewish people there are in the world is also way off the mark: 16 percent of respondents thought that Jewish people make up at least a fifth of the global population. According to Pew Research, it is a 100th of that, around 0.2 percent -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, London.

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CHURCH: Well, authorities across Europe are reacting to CNN's reporting.

Felix Klein, the German government's anti-Semitism czar, says, "The results of the CNN survey are appalling ... anti-Semitism is a threat for any democratic, open society."

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, says this, "The results indicate that substantial numbers of European citizens hold dangerous views about Jews ... the stereotypes that we hoped were disappearing about Jews are sadly alive and well."

And the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France says, "The CNN poll shows that anti-Semitism is profoundly anchored in Europe but is evolving as a multiform disease."

Our week-long look at anti-Semitism in Europe turns to Germany on Wednesday. Clarissa Ward takes us to a right-wing extremist march on the streets of Berlin.

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WARD (voice-over): Christian Weisberger (ph) explains that neo-Nazis are finding new ways to express the same old hatred. And he should know. Weisberger (ph) used to be a right-wing extremist himself.

[00:05:00] CHRISTIAN WEISBERGER (PH), FORMER RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST: I would say that it is a form of anti-Semitism that disguises itself. So they don't talk about the Jew anymore; they talk about the Zionists or the globalists or the bankers.

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CHURCH: Clarissa also meets with members of the Jewish community who are questioning their future in Germany. Join us for the next report in our exclusive series, "A Shadow Over Europe: Anti-Semitism in 2018." That's Wednesday on CNN.

Meantime, you can find out more about anti-Semitism in Europe and the stunning results of the CNN poll on our website. Just go to cnn.com/antisemitism.

Western powers are raging against Russia after it seized three Ukranian ships over the weekend and they're loudly demanding the crew's release. Ukraine said its navy boats were attacked by Russia and these images appear to show one being rammed.

On Monday, Russia said Ukraine was the aggressor, calling the incident a dangerous provocation by Kiev. Ukraine's parliament has voted to declare 30 days of martial law.

Near the border with Russia, the Ukrainian president tweeting, quote, "This is where the blow can be struck."

Meanwhile, Russian state media said the Kerch Strait has been reopened for civilian ships. It remains a key economic lifeline for Ukraine and Russia's closest point of access to Crimea, the peninsula it took from Ukraine four years ago.

The two countries have been locked in a long-simmering conflict over that annexation and the war with Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Matthew Chance is tracking the story from Moscow.

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MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The confrontation off the coast of Crimea has threatened to reignite a major new crisis with Russia, a fact that has prompted condemnation both from Ukraine and from its Western allies.

NATO and the European Union have both expressed concern and called for deescalation. In New York, an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council is convened to discuss the situation, although it failed to agree a path forward.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, the government there is pressing ahead with plans to impose martial law, an extraordinary step that may see curbs on civilian freedoms and extra powers to the security services.

The tensions have been growing in the region for several months with Russia in control of narrow Kerch Strait and inspecting vessels sailing through it. Ukraine is accusing Russia of trying to damage its economy by hindering access to its ports in the region.

It is unclear at this stage how the situation will develop. But the immediate focus is on the plight of the Ukrainian navy crews that have been detained by the Russian authorities after their vessels were fired on, then boarded at the weekend.

President Poroshenko of Ukraine has demand their immediate release. But Russia has opened a criminal case into their alleged violation of the country's borders. And the expectation is that they will appear in court possibly as early as this week -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

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CHURCH: And for more, I am joined now by Jill Dougherty. She is a CNN contributor and our former Moscow bureau chief.

Good to see you. So, Jill, you have covered this region for many years.

What's Russia's endgame here after seizing three Ukrainian navy ships and holding 24 sailors over alleged border violations?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you'd have to say that number one by seizing them they are protecting that area around Crimea which is the area that they annexed from Ukraine. And in fact, they built a bridge.

And I think you know part of it is exactly physically what's going on the ground they built a bridge that connects Crimea to Russia.

And in effect this little strip of water is really a chokehold so that Russia can let's say cut off that area in -- beyond the Kerch peninsula -- the Kerch waterway -- Kerch Strait and make it very difficult for Ukraine to export and import product, steel, grain and others from the ports -- there are two of them -- that are located there.

So really one of the reasons I think is that they want to continue to economically weaken Ukraine and also continue to kind of roil the waters, pun not intended, politically in that area.

It makes it -- people are losing jobs because of some of this economic cutback of their trade and that creates --

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DOUGHERTY: -- societal problems and it can also create political problems. So weakening Ukraine is one of them, protecting Crimea and their land and the water around it is certainly the other.

CHURCH: Right. OK, so the U.N. Security Council convened Monday but failed to come up with any solution to this situation. This is what U.S. President Donald Trump had to say about the matter. Let's just bring that up.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do that like what's happening either way. We don't like what's happening and hopefully, it'll get straightened out. I know Europe is not -- they're not thrilled. They're working on it too. We're all working on it together.

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CHURCH: So Mr. Trump failed to call Russia out on this but his secretary of state Mike Pompeo wasn't afraid to do that saying this in a statement.

"The United States condemns this aggressive Russian action. We call on Russia to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crewmembers and to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders extending to its territorial waters."

So, Jill, what are the possible solutions to this imminent crisis -- or you could say it is a crisis now -- and would you expect Russia to do any of those things that Secretary Pompeo is asking for?

DOUGHERTY: You know, one would be releasing the man, releasing the ships, certainly. But I don't think that's going to solve it because you still have this problem of that chokehold and the control that Russia exerts over the Sea of Azov, which is the area is small, very narrow, shallow sea located right next to Ukraine.

They still have control over that. And the problem here is it's being used not only militarily but politically on both sides.

Russia continuing to say that you know there's a provocation coming from Ukraine and from the West and the Ukrainians accusing the Russians of provoking. I do not see this ending quietly or simply going away. I think it's going to continue to fester.

And one of the problems is when you begin to fire on another ship or another boat and you begin to arrest people, unpredictable things can happen and this is precisely what could happen. It might be contemplated it's kind of a political game but when you get live fire, then it can get very dangerous.

And already, obviously, you know, Ukraine, that situation in eastern Ukraine has been going on since 2014. So it's not -- it's very worrying and this is certainly way beyond anything that happened so far.

CHURCH: Yes. This is the concern indeed and of course, Ukraine is now threatening to declare 30 days of martial law.

What would be the likely consequences of such a move?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, originally when that proposal came up, they were talking about 60 days of martial law and pretty draconian aspects to that, right?

They pulled it back. President Poroshenko pulled that back to 30 days. He vows that it will not affect civil rights of the Ukrainians etcetera. But it certainly raises the level of concern into a kind of a fever pitch both in Ukraine and then in Russia reacting to that.

And don't forget you know, there's a political part of this Rosemary which is you have Ukrainian presidential elections coming up at the end of March, coming up just in a few months, three months. Mr. Poroshenko is not looking as if he's doing well so there are some who say that partially he could be doing this to gin up political support.

You also have President Putin whose ratings have been falling recently because of the economic reforms with the pension system. Some say that it could be partially that. But I do think it's this concern that Russia has for keeping control on Crimea and extending that control into that area that will affect Ukraine.

CHURCH: Jill Dougherty, we thank you for your analysis. Many thanks.

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CHURCH: Britain's Parliament will vote on the Brexit agreement on December 11th. At this point, it doesn't look like it will go the prime minister's way.

Theresa May has two weeks to convince her opponents to support the plan. But she faces strong opposition from within her own party, opposition parties and her coalition partner, the Northern Irish DUP.

Ms. May warned lawmakers Monday, if they reject this deal, Britain could leave the European Union with no deal at all and --

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CHURCH: -- that would hurt the economy. She will begin a tour of the U.K. on Tuesday to try to drum up some support.

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THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And I can say to the house with absolute certainty, there's not a better deal available. There is a choice which this house will have to make. We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people.

Or this house can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one.

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JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: The prime minister may have created agreement across 27 heads of state but she has lost support of the country. This deal is not a plan for Britain's future. So for the good of the nation, the house has very little choice but to reject this deal.

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CHURCH: And for more on this, CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas joins us now from Los Angeles.

Good to see you.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Hi, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So Dominic, right now the numbers don't look good for Theresa May.

How likely is it that she could win over enough British lawmakers over the next two weeks to get her Brexit deal through Parliament when it goes to a vote?

THOMAS: Right. Well, the numbers don't just not look in a favor, they look absolutely terrible and there's no support there. The irony of this, of course, is that there is overwhelming support in the House of Parliament for Brexit. There just isn't overwhelming support for her particular deal.

Either those that initially voted to leave support the idea Brexit or the opposition Labour Party's official position has been to support the outcome of the referendum.

I think in Theresa May's case, she is trying too late in the game to enlist domestic support around these kinds of issues. She's got her withdrawal agreement and a political declaration with the European Union that she's not going to be able to convince people back in Parliament to support this particular deal.

And so what we are going to have right now is a couple of weeks of sort of you know, of lobbying and pressuring and we see a lot of threats out there as she sends out different ministers and cabinet members to try and sell this deal.

But it doesn't seem like there is any path towards her getting the deal, the majority vote that she needs in Parliament to get this particular deal through.

CHURCH: The E.U. said it's the best deal that's available. They approved it.

How does the British prime minister plan to convince those lawmakers that her Brexit deal is the right path ahead?

Essentially what is her strategy over these next two weeks then?

THOMAS: Well, the strategy, unfortunately, I think even the European Union saying out loud but this was not only the best deal but the only deal was somewhat problematic. And you know, in some ways it's sort of forecloses the opportunity of

consulting with Parliament and returning to the European Union to ask for this deal to be -- to be tweaked.

So ultimately what she's doing is threatening the members of Parliament and therefore the British public with this sort of overhanging you know, possibility of the European -- of the U.K. crashing out with a no deal which of course would have all sorts of implications for E.U. citizens, the border with Northern Ireland and all the kinds of questions that we've been talking about.

And we have seen in the international media, both French President Emmanuel Macron, talking about aspects of the deal and the trade deal which would come after the agreement, even Donald Trump, you know, waited on this today.

And so, she's really sort of being attacked and challenged on all sides. And it was seeing that the deal is indefensible to the extent that there is nothing in there that can possibly satisfy the multiple factions that exist in the Houses of Parliament.

And I think she went about this process the wrong way rather than engaging in extensive consultation back home across party lines and across these kinds of divisions, she went to the European Union first and has come back with a deal that essentially endeavors to satisfy everybody and in so doing satisfies nobody.

CHURCH: All right. So, let's say you are right.

And going forward in two weeks, so the British prime minister fails to get the support she needs, what happens then?

A general election possibly?

Perhaps, another attempt to put this to the British people with another Brexit referendum?

What do you think will happen?

What needs to happen here?

THOMAS: Well, all of those -- all of those votes are there. What I think will happen, what I think needs to happen is, I think at this particular stage, if the vote does not go through Parliament, Theresa May must go. She must either resign or -- and the Parliament must produce a vote of no-confidence or table such a motion.

I think, at that particular stage, they need to be able to go back to the European Union with something concrete. Simply having Theresa May continue with these negotiations is not good enough.

They need to be able to go back to Europe and say, "Look, we're having a general election here."

And after the general election, I think one possible option is to consider a referendum. If the outcome of the referendum is to remain in the European Union, then, this saga is over once and for all.

And if it is indeed a vote to remain in the European Union, a cross- party commission must immediately be set up --

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THOMAS: -- that can explore and negotiate the parameters of a deal that they can then take back to the European Union.

But I cannot see Theresa May shepherding this way through any more than I could at the beginning of this process. What I thought, it was so outrageous that somebody who had supported remaining in the European Union ended up being the person to kind of shepherd this through.

CHURCH: It here -- it's been a tortured journey. No doubt about it.

Dominic Thomas, sir. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

THOMAS: Thanks, Rosemary.

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CHURCH: Chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border; a day after the U.S. fires teargas at migrants, Mexico demands an inquiry.

What is next for the thousands waiting in limbo at the border?

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CHURCH: Trump said the teargas fired on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border was, in his words, "very safe."

He asked, "Why were they there?" when he saw images of Border Patrol agents using teargas on children and parents as they rushed the U.S. border. Mexico is now also clamping down, deporting at least 98 migrants following this dramatic clash.

Mexico's foreign ministry Monday sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. embassy, asking for an investigation of the incident. Many running from the teargas were families with small children.

Among the crowd, this mother and her two little girls in diapers, desperately running for safety.

Previously, Trump falsely claimed the children were not teargassed.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you comfortable teargassing children -- ? TRUMP: They are not. As you know, they're not. They had to use because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas and here's the bottom line. Nobody is coming into our country unless they come in legally.

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CHURCH: And our Leyla Santiago was at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier and spoke with one of the mothers who was teargassed while holding her child. Here's her report.

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LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tijuana city officials tell me there are more than 5,000 migrants from the caravan at this shelter. This is an athletic facility turned shelter, specifically for them.

And while many are trying to figure out what their next move will be, when we arrived, we saw that some are still arriving here, Central American migrants hoping to seek asylum --

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SANTIAGO: -- in the United States. This is despite the clash that we saw at the border over the weekend.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Trying to escape the teargas and protect her children, she forgot her phone was still recording. Capturing her struggle to breathe and the screams from her daughters' fear.

A day later, Jessica (ph), who asked us not to use her last name, knows these images will haunt her forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANTIAGO: She said she was -- she said she was holding her child, pretty much like her child had fainted from the gas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANTIAGO: She said those tears were for her child.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Her 7-year-old daughter struggles to talk about what happened at the border.

Hundreds of migrants, men, women, children, marched in unity from this makeshift shelter to the border Sunday. Many told us they were caught off-guard when teargas was released by Customs and Border Protection on the U.S. side of the fence.

According to CBP, the migrants were the first to throw things, hitting four agents in the U.S. with rocks and that's why they responded with teargas, something that the migrants deny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot agree on the use of force, not even that type of force; that is, teargas or rubber bullets. I cannot be -- I cannot agree on any of those actions.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): For its part, Mexico said it will not tolerate disorderly conduct. Mexican immigration officials took about 100 people into custody and plans to deport them. The clash is making some reconsider plans.

SANTIAGO: She says she's thinking about staying in Mexico but she can't go back to Honduras because she said if she goes back to Honduras, they will kill her. That's the threat she faces.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Just outside the sports center turned shelter, we watched as about 20 Hondurans boarded this bus for voluntary deportation. But this is a small portion of the group here.

City officials say more than 5,000 are being housed at this shelter and, after the clash at the border, the federal police in Mexico have made their presence known, as U.S. military helicopters constantly fly over what has become the latest home of the caravan.

SANTIAGO: And when it comes to the asylum process, what could be next for these migrants of the caravan?

It could be a very long process. Before this caravan even arrived, there were already 1,600 people on an unofficial waiting list, just to get to the San Ysidro port of entry, a port of entry whose capacity is 300. So 300 and then 1,600 already on a waiting list, add to that this caravan of more than 5,000.

You're looking at about several weeks, possibly several months before they could get to their border to make their claim -- in Tijuana, Mexico, Leyla Santiago, CNN.

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CHURCH: And still to come, a possible new lead in the Jamal Khashoggi investigation. Why Turkish authorities spent the day searching the grounds of this villa outside Istanbul.

And the Trump administration's report on climate change warns the U.S. could suffer if nothing is done. The president's response summed up in four words. That's next.

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[00:30:00] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone, I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been watching this hour.

Ukraine will impose Martial Law in border areas with Russia and pro- Russia forces. Parliament approved the move, Monday, after a sea confrontation with Russia, near Crimea. Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and detained 24 sailors, both sides accuse the other, of being the aggressor.

British parliament will vote on the Brexit agreement on December 11th. Prime Minister Theresa May faces major opposition to the plan and will begin a four-nation U.K. tour in support of it, Tuesday. She addressed parliament, Monday, telling lawmakers it's either this agreement, or back to square one.

U.S. President Donald Trump says the teargas used on migrants, rushing the U.S. border was, in his words, very safe. There were some of the hundreds waiting at the border, to request asylum in the U.S. Mexico's foreign ministry has made a diplomatic request to the U.S. to investigate the incident.

A U.S. senator says there will be a lot happening on Saudi Arabia, in Congress, this week. Senators are planning for a briefing on Wednesday, from the Secretary of State and Defense Secretary, about the war in Yemen and the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

Meantime, Jomana Karadsheh reports on a new development in Turkey's investigation into Khashoggi's murder.

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JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For hours now, Turkish investigators have been searching this property in Yalova. This is an area, that's about a 90-minute drive south of Istanbul.

The chief prosecutor for Istanbul, on Monday, released a statement, saying the reason for this search is information they've uncovered in their investigation, linking a Saudi national, who resides here, in Yalova, with one of the 15 Saudis who was part of that hit team that carried out the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

According to the chief prosecutor, he says contact happened between this Saudi national and one of -- and that member of the hit team, a day before the killing of Khashoggi, and they believe that is related to disposing of the body.

Now, we've seen sniffer dogs being used, we've seen drones deployed here. We have seen forensic experts searching a well, in the garden. They have also -- were digging in the back and seem to be collecting samples.

It has been nearly two months since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and authorities have not been able to find his body or remains. According to their investigation, he was killed in the consulate and then his body was dismembered.

They've looked at number of different theories including the possibility that acid was used to dispose of his body. But Turkish officials say Saudi Arabia that is holding the suspects in this case, has the answers, and that they have put forward the questions, asking, where are the remains of Jamal Khashoggi?

And so far, they say the Saudis have not been cooperating and they've not provided them with satisfactory answers. The Saudis have said that the body, his remains, were handed over to a local collaborator. Turkey's skeptical about the existence of this local collaborator who hasn't even been identified by the Saudis. Another key question they say, that they asked the Saudis, it is who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Turkish officials are not convinced that this was a rogue operation. They believed this was ordered by the highest levels of the Saudi government, as we heard from President Erdogan.

The message from Turkey, on this day, is pretty clear that while some in Washington and in Saudi Arabia want to put the killing of Jamal Khashoggi behind them, and move on, Turkey's investigation is far from over.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Yalova, Turkey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[00:35:03] CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump is casting doubt on his own administration's report that warns of the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change. The President says flat out, he doesn't believe it.

The nonpartisan government report, released Friday, involves 13 federal agencies and more than 300 leading climate scientists. It warns that unless something is done, climate change could result in the deaths of thousands of Americans, cause severe crop declines, and cause the U.S. economy, hundreds of billions of dollars, by the end of the century.

Here's what the President told reporters, Monday.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've seen it. I've read some of it. And it's fine. Yes, I don't believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't believe it?

TRUMP: No, no. I don't believe it. And here's the other thing, you're going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia, and all of these other countries, you know, it addresses our country. Right now, we're at the cleanest we've ever been. And it's very important to me.

But, if we're clean, but every other place on earth is dirty, that's not so good. So, I want clean air, I want clean water, very important.

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CHURCH: According to an August poll, by Quinnipiac University, nearly two-thirds of American voters say the U.S. needs to do more to address climate change. We'll take a short break here. When we come back, seven minutes of terror, leads to years of exploration. The daunting task of landing a spacecraft on Mars and the knowledge we can expect from it, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Touchdown confirmed. InSight is on the surface of Mars.

CHURCH: There it is, after a nail-biting dissent, which NASA dubbed, seven minutes of terror, the U.S. space agency has successfully landed a new spacecraft on Mars. NASA quickly received this first image, from InSight, after landing on Mars, some 225 million kilometers away.

InSight will now begin a two-year mission studying the planet's interior, using a robotic arm to place instruments on the Martian surface, and probing as deep as five meters together, data, so let's take a closer look at all of this. And we are joined by Jim Bell, Professor of Planetary Science at Arizona State University. Good to have you with us.

JIM BELL, PROFESSOR, PLANETARY SCIENCE: Good to be on the show, thank you.

CHURCH: So, of course, the build-up was extraordinary, wasn't it? And once touched down, was confirmed mission control, erupted in cheers and celebration, we saw it there. What were you thinking, as you watched and waited through those seven minutes of terror, and then, of course, that first image of Mars, from the InSight lander?

BELL: Oh my gosh, Rosemary, it's so hard to try to imagine, working on a project with a team of people for many years, some people working for decade or more, and it all comes down to this one focused point, you know, where --

[00:40:10] Is it going to survive, is it going to crash, will all of your work go up in smoke, literally? And so, the tension was just really visceral among those folks. But boy, there are a lot of happy Martians around the world, today. That's for sure.

CHURCH: Yes. And, of course, you know, I was watching it. It is -- it was palpable, you know, just waiting to see what would happen. Could it -- could it go wrong? Could it -- could it work? And now, of course, that NASA has successfully landed the Mars probe, what comes next? What all might we learn over the next two years of studying and gathering data on the red planet?

BELL: Right. Well, this particular mission is a lander. It's not a rover. So, it's not going to drive around. It's just going to one spot, a very carefully selected spot, where there's a lot of, sort of, bedrock, in this part of Mars. And the idea is to do a geophysics experiment, a seismology experiment.

Search for Mars quakes, and search for evidence that Mars might still be active in its interior. We don't really know. You know, we think that Mars, like the other planets in our solar system, has a core, a mantle and a crust.

But how big is that core, is it still active like the Earth's core? Is it partially active? If it's inactive, when did it go inactive and why? And one way to do that, the same way that scientists do on the Earth, is to use seismometers. We look for earthquakes. There's a network all around the world, tens of thousands of seismometers.

And NASA, with the European colleagues, heavily involved in this mission, has now -- will deploy very sensitive seismometer on the planet Mars, and search for evidence of internal activity. There's also a small, like, drill device -- a drill kind of device, called a mould, that would go down to the subsurface, as you mentioned, and measure how much heat is coming out from underneath the subsurface.

So, lots of us think that there might be water, deep underground, on Mars, maybe liquid water. We know there's ice. In order to figure out if it's ice or water, we need to figure out how warm it is down there, and that's what that heat probe will do.

CHURCH: And how significant is all of this and what would you say to those critics who suggest that money spend on this mission, would we -- would be better direct at problems confronting planet Earth?

BELL: Well, I mean, that's -- and many people do feel that way. In an absolute sense, it's a very small fraction of -- in the U.S. NASA's budget is, 0.4 percent of the entire U.S. budget. So, it's a small fraction of our national wealth.

And I think it's important for us to be looking outward, looking at other planets in our solar system to learn about our own planet, as well as to rewrite the textbooks, to educate kids, to give teachers the materials they need to help our kids learn about Math and Science and Geology and Astronomy and how our world works and how other world works.

I, personally, think it's a -- it' a great investment. Small fraction of national wealth for these visionary kinds of exploration adventures, and you know, those of us who work with NASA, it's really important to give back, to make sure we communicate what these space probes are doing and why it's important.

CHURCH: Jim Bell, know you had a very exciting day. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it, here at CNN.

BELL: All right. Thank you, Rosemary. Appreciate it.

CHURCH: OK. Well, the White House is unveiling its holiday decorations. First Lady Melania Trump tweeted out a video of the White House rooms, bedecked with glittering Christmas trees. The color red was big, 40 Crimson trees are in the East Colonnade, more than 200 volunteers help put up the decorations. They include 12,000 bows and 14,000 ornaments.

Some, carrying the First Lady's motto, Be Best. Melania Trump's office says the choice of red, as the motto honors the presidential seal, and is a symbol of valor and bravery.

And thank you so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. Stay tuned now for "WORLD SPORT". You're watching CNN.

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