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Anti-Semitism Reaches Fever Pitch In France; CNN Polls: Awareness Of Holocaust Fading; Putin: Ukraine Provoked Naval Clash In Kerch Strait; Court: Ukrainian Sailors To Be Detained Two Months; Ukrainians Say Russians Provoked Naval Clash; U.S. Senate Votes 63-37 to End Support for Saudi-led War; G-20 Summit; U.K. Government: Brexit Deal Will Hurt the Economy; Racist Attacks on the Rise in the U.S.; Christmas at the White House. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 29, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, a growing number of anti-Semitic attacks in France is forcing a difficult choice for many Jews either flee the country or stay and fight back. Just a minor border incident. Russia's Vladimir Putin plays down the latest military confrontation with Ukraine, accuses Ukraine's president of planning the clash at sea. And a defiant U.S. Senate brace with the President threatens to end support for the Saudi led war in Yemen.

More than 70 years since the defeat of Nazi Germany, more than 70 years since the horrors of the Holocaust and a CNN investigation has revealed anti-Semitism is once again casting a dark shadow over Europe. Today our focus is on France, home to the largest Jewish population in Europe. Our exclusive polling shows 48 percent agree anti-Semitism is a growing problem in France. 29 percent of those surveyed say they know just a little or I've never heard of the Holocaust, and 24 percent believe Jews have too much influence over global finance.

Rarely does a week pass in France without news of another anti-Semitic attack and the mood right now the country is driving some Jews to leave France altogether. CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward reports now from Paris.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In France today anti-Semitism is not just a prejudice. It's 26 people held hostage in a kosher supermarket. It's three children and a teacher gunned down at a Jewish school. It's a Holocaust survivor murdered in her apartment. It's eleven body bags in 12 years. Nathaniel Azula nearly ended up in one too. He says he and his brother were attacked in a Paris suburb by a group of local Muslim kids. One of them armed with a saw.

We were in our car and it happened very quickly, he said. It happened just because I had a kippah on. Just because you were wearing a kippah.

His speech changed when he saw the kippah, he told us. He started hurling anti-Semitic insults. Jew, you're going to die on this road.

Azula believes that his knowledge of Krav Maga the martial art form favored by the Israeli military saved his life. Instructor Avi Atlin says he has seen an uptick in the number of young Jews wanting to learn to defend themselves.

It's very sad but that's where we are, he told us. There are so many people who hate Jews.

According to the French government, the number of anti-Semitic acts here increased by a staggering 69 percent in the first nine months of this year and the nature of the attack has changed becoming more violent.

Frederic Potier has been tasked with managing the official response. He says the government does not yet fully understand the reason for the increase.

FREDERIC POTIER, OFFICE AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM, FRENCH GOVERNMENT: We worried about these figures but we have decided not to hide these numbers, we have decided to face it and that's very important.

WARD: So what do you say to a young French boy who's too afraid to wear a kippah?

POTIER: He shouldn't be afraid to wear it and I need him -- I need him to fight anti-Semitism. I need him to fight cliche and stereotype. I need him to stand for with the Republic saying that all the French Jews are French.

WARD: France is now spending nearly $6 million on educational and online initiatives to combat hate speech. But anti-Semitism is a complex issue here. Analysts say the traditional anti-Semitism of the far-right has been compounded by a more recent threat from radical elements in France's Muslim population. Hakim El Karoui has advised previous governments on what some are calling the new anti-Semitism.

HAKIM EL KAROUI, SENIOR FELLOW, INSTITUTE MONTAIGNE (through translator): We now speak about the Muslim anti-Semitism which is a reality in which aligns the anti-Semitism from the far right and from the far left which is mostly directed towards Israel.

WARD: A CNN poll found that more than a quarter of French people have a somewhat or significantly less favorable opinion of Jews as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. France is home to the largest Muslim and Jewish minorities in Europe with roughly half a million Jews and 4.7 million Muslims. But the relationship between the two communities has deteriorated steadily since the first Palestinian Intifada in the year 2000 as the politics of the Middle East has lapped up on Frances shores.

[01:05:26] They're right to be afraid because the conflict in Palestine has reached here. That's why there's this situation, Muslim resident Malika says. But for me when I see a Jew next to my place or on the street, I say we are the same family. They have nothing to do with what's going on in Palestine. They're afraid for their children and that's crazy.

[01France does not identify the religion of those convicted of anti- Semitic crimes making it a difficult problem to quantify and a sensitive issue to discuss with a Muslim community that already feels discriminated against and disenfranchised.

EL KAROUI (through translator): A perception of the Muslim is that they are the victims, they are the ones who suffer from racism and discrimination, and then the Muslim community is going to tell you yes there is an anti-Semitism problem but don't forget our situation. And the problem is that you start comparing victims.

WARD: Miriam and her family have considered moving from France joining the more than 55,000 Jews who have left since the year 2000. In the sanctuary of their home, they celebrate Shabbat a ritual assured in every Friday night by lighting candles and reciting a blessing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm scared for the future of my baby here. I hope that he will have a future here. And you know, Jewish community is a part of history of France, really. And so I think France without any Jews is not anymore France.

WARD: Merriam's prayers are for France of Tolerance where her little boy can grow up free of fear. But for now, there are no signs that her prayers will be answered. Clarissa Ward, CNN Paris.


VAUSE: And on Friday, Clarissa Ward will continue with her series of special reports where she'll speak with the chief rabbi of Poland about the younger generations frightening lack of awareness about the Holocaust. In fact, CNN poll has found a third of Europeans say they know just a little nothing at all about the systematic state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazis.

Also on Friday, we'll hear from Edith Eger, a survivor of Auschwitz who's dedicated her life to try and ensure the holocaust horrors are never forgotten.


EDITH EGER, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: We've pointed my mom to go to the left and I followed her. He came after me, grabbed me, I never forget those eyes. He said, mother is just going to take a shower. You'll see her soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Edith never saw her again. Both her parents were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz along with more than 1 million Jews.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Of all the horrific atrocities committed by the Nazis in the name of racial superiority, of all the grim statistics borne of mass murder on an industrial scale, keep this in mind. Of the hundreds of thousands of children sent to Auschwitz for extermination, only 52 under the age of eight managed to survive. And one of those survivors is Michael Bornstein who along with his daughter Debbie is with us this hour from New York. They're also co-authors of the best-selling book Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz. Michael and Debbie, it is a real pleasure having you both here. Thank you for coming in.



VAUSE: Michael, I want to start with that polling we had out of Europe. You -- are you surprised that a third of Europeans basically know nothing about the Holocaust or is that kind of the end result of the rise of these hard-right political parties in many countries?

M. BORNSTEIN: Well, I am surprised but I can tell you that my family visited Austria and we had a tour guide and I asked him about Kristallnacht which happened right there in Austria and he didn't know a thing about Kristallnacht. So that's one example where Europeans just aren't familiar with it.

D. BORNSTEIN: That was a tour guide, by the way. A tour guide.

VAUSE: He's supposed to know a little bit about the history of the country, I guess.


VAUSE: But when you hear that, I'm -- it's just -- it's incredibly surprising that an event is awful, this darkest moment of humanity is just being either ignored or we'll sort of not taught or people are just dealing with it in Europe.

D. BORNSTEIN: It's not being -- it's not being taught enough. I mean, you know, I look at those numbers and I -- and I feel like I'm letting my dad down. I feel like I'm letting -- like I'm not living up to what I should be doing as my role is the daughter of a survivor. I feel this like constant need to try to make sure nobody ever forgets what happened to my dad, what happened to his mom and dad and I just -- I don't know why it's not getting through. I don't know why people don't care. This is not ancient history. People are still walking the earth. My dad is still here walking the earth. This is not ancient history.

[01:10:25] VAUSE: I mean -- and we also have the situation here in the United States. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. These numbers which come out all the time, the Anti-Defamation League reports that the number of anti-Semitic incidents was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016. The largest single year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking instant data in the 1970s. You know, Michael, this is a country which was meant to be nothing like Europe.

This is the very place where you come, you could have freedom of religion, freedom of voice, or whatever you wanted. I guess, for the most part, it has been a fairly you know, well, the least anti-Semitic places in the world but I guess things are changing now. Well, the last month a lot of Jews shot dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue. That gunman opened fired. Allegedly he wanted to kill all the Jews according to the (INAUDIBLE). How concerned are you about where the U.S. is heading.

M. BORNSTEIN: I'm very concerned about it. First of all, during the Pittsburgh Massacre, my granddaughter had a Bat Mitzvah and that was a time for celebration. And then we heard about Pittsburgh and it's really sad that this goes on. It's said of the increase of neo-Nazis white nationalists walking around and I think we need to do something. I think the President needs to speak up and consider all this hatred that's going on in the United States.

D. BORNSTEIN: We went to actually a memorial service for -- at our own synagogue, my dad and I together, for victims in Pittsburgh and there was so much security there. And I have to tell you, my dad and I like every single Jewish person in the room was watching the exits and we know exactly how we would make our escape. Why do we have to think about that in a synagogue, you know? And my dad, I hate that he feels fear here. He escaped --

M. BORNSTEIN: And there were police all around the synagogue and not just synagogues, we talked a number of different places at schools and we have the same kind of story that we have police and guards. And you know, it's concerning for me because I have a tattoo on my hand, you might have seen it, it reads B1148 and my name is Bornstein. And that really is a prime target.

VAUSE: You shouldn't have to worry. It shouldn't be a target. It shouldn't be an issue. I mean, this is -- this is the -- this is why don't get right now. I just want to get back in time because, Michael, when you were four years old, that's when the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz and on that day came that very famous image of you, and you know a few other children wearing those stripe prisoner uniforms.

But then decades later here in the U.S. your image from all these years ago, it was actually being used by Holocaust deniers to prove that hey, Auschwitz wasn't so bad after all. And that's the moment when you decided to write the book with Debbie. I guess, how difficult was it to go -- to go back there and to talk about what happened to you and your family.

M. BORNSTEIN: We were extremely concerned about looking on the internet, looking at a computer and seeing these deniers because Auschwitz happened, the Holocaust happened, and I think people need to be educated about it. So this was a time that Debbie and I decided it's time to write a book about the Holocaust and my experiences and it has been on New York Times bestseller list and we're very proud of that. D. BORNSTEIN: Yes, it's encouraging to know that people are reading

it and that they care. But my fear is that the right people aren't reading it and so we need --

VAUSE: People should need to read it, I'm reading it.

D. BORNSTEIN: Yes, exactly. Those are the ones in denial. And I'm so proud of my dad for kind of coming out of the shadows and telling his story after 70 plus years.

VAUSE: Debbie, just very quickly because he hadn't -- he hadn't spoken a lot about everything he went through. So when he started everything up to you, was that tough to hear?

D. BORNSTEIN: It was so hard. It was so hard. Survivors Club, writing Survivors Club was the biggest labor of love in my entire life. I knew my dad. I've always known that my dad had that tattoo on his arm. I've always known in my memory that he you know, can never remember not knowing that he wasn't in Auschwitz, but hearing him talk about his experiences, remembering the smell of burning flesh, and the sound of Nazi boots marching, to hear your dad talk about that -- and even after the war, the malnourishment, his hair fell out from malnourishment, he was sexually assaulted.

My dad experienced so much that he had protected by siblings and I from it. He had never talked about it. He wanted to protect us and I'm really proud of him for realizing that to be strong sometimes, you know, you have to be weak and he was -- and he was so vulnerable and opened up and I was so, so super proud of him.

[01:15:17] M. BORNSTEIN: We do have 12 grandchildren.

VAUSE: Right.

M. BORNSTEIN: And when they talked to us and asked us about the Holocaust, and asked us to talk about it, I just couldn't say no. So, that really got it started as well.

VAUSE: That's great. Look, Debbie and Michael, I can talk to you all night, but we are out of time. But thank you. Thank you for coming in, and thank you for everything you do. It's appreciated.

D. BORNSTEIN: Thank you so much for having us.

M. BORNSTEIN: Thanks for inviting us.

VAUSE: And find a lot more about anti-Semitism in Europe and the alarming results about CNN poll is on our web site,

Well, a short break here. When we come back, racist attacks are on the rise across the United States, as well. We'll tell you why so many Americans feel emboldened to lash out at those who are different.

And the Russian president brushes over maritime ties with Ukraine. Describing the armed seizure of free Ukraine naval ships as legal and just a minor incident.


VAUSE: Vladimir Putin says a naval confrontation of Crimea was planned by Ukraine's President to boost his popularity ahead of March elections.

On Sunday, Russian forces seized three Ukrainian ships and detained the crew, accusing them of violating Russian territory. They have responded by imposing martial law in areas along the border. And the president warned that Moscow could launch a full-scale invasion.

But, Vladimir Putin, says Ukraine's president is playing a political game and it could backfire. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has details.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The three Ukrainian ships remain impounded at the other end of the bridge that I stand at right now in the port town of Kerch. And a court in Crimea has also announced that 24 Ukrainian sailors who were on board those ships are going to remain in detention for, at least, two months awaiting a trial.

The Russians, of course, accused them of entering illegally into Russia's territory. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin, he came out on Wednesday and he said that he believed that the incident was what he called a planned provocation by the Ukrainian government and its President Pedro Poroshenko, when the Russians say was in trouble ahead of an election in Ukraine.

That's one of the reasons why the Russians say, they believe that this maneuver was pulled off. The Ukrainians, of course, very much denying that. They continue to say, and it's the Russians who provoked this incident and are in breach of international law.

Now, the U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine, he came out and he said, those ships need to be given back by the Russians immediately. And the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, also coming out and blasting the Russians, saying they're showing that their word, "cannot be trusted".

The Russians are not feeling as much blowback from the U.S. President. Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russia's President Vladimir Putin, saying he believes that despite this recent standoff, that, that meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin at the G20 summit, that's upcoming, of course. That, that meeting is still very much on.

And Russia's President Vladimir Putin, he himself came out. And he said that he still believes that President Trump is positively inclined to bettering relations between the United States and Russia despite the incident that took place right near where I'm standing right now. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Taman, Russia.

[01:21:05] VAUSE: Jill Dougherty, joins us now. Jill's a CNN contributor and former CNN Moscow bureau chief. Good to see you.

JILL: Thank you, John. VAUSE: OK, you know, we've heard from the Russians for the couple of our units out there that everything they did was perfectly legal under international law. Fred just mention Vladimir Putin saying this was actually just all planned, it was a provocation by the Ukrainian president. Let's listen to Vladimir Putin for a moment.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Now, a small incident occurred and martial law was introduced in the country. This is being done obviously, in the run-up to the presidential poll. This is an absolutely obvious fact.

Now, on this specific incident or this provocation could be precise, and this is a provocation for sure.


VAUSE: OK. Just from a very practical, maybe even cynical point of view, does it actually make any difference who's in the right and who's wrong? Because it doesn't matter, it doesn't -- it won't change Russia's behavior, will it?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, there are principles in this world. And you have a definition and a disagreement over the very fact of what that water is, what our territorial waters. Who does it belong to, Ukraine or Russia?

I mean, obviously, there is -- there was an agreement between the two countries to in effect split control, to share control of the sea, of as of -- and around that area of the Black Sea.

So, if Russia is now saying, "No, that's our territory, then they were expanding their concept of sovereignty in that area. And why it's important John, is remember, what we're talking about that area is Crimea, the part of Ukraine that was annexed by Russia, many consider it illegal, the Russians for say that it was not illegal, but that's the principle.

And if you can fire on somebody who is in international waters, then, there's a problem.

VAUSE: All right. OK. Well, along with imposing martial law, the president of Ukraine has warned that this, in turn, could very quickly escalate. Listen to him.


PETRO POROSHENKO, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We must ensure effective personnel training so that when needed, the enemy will be defeated and will pay a high price for an irresponsible decision to invade Ukrainian territory.


VAUSE: This will be the eternal optimist. I mean the chances of a Ukrainian victory over Russian forces would be what, next to nothing on a good day?

DOUGHERTY: Maybe even less.


DOUGHERTY: No, seriously, that the Ukrainians hardly have a navy. Their army has gotten better obviously with the fighting, but they have no naval, real naval presence. So, there's no way that they can compete.

I mean, what you've got here is the political overlay in this situation, which is it is true that there would be elections -- presidential elections at the end of March of this coming year, 2019. And President Poroshenko hasn't really said he's going to run but his ratings are somewhere around I think it's 10 percent. He's not doing well.

So, what to Putin is saying -- look, number one, this isn't a big incident, this is just overreaction and politically motivated. But once again, you have kind of a same thing happening.

Russia setting something up, reacting, and then, accusing the other side of overreacting. It is what we are saying quite frequently. And especially, in this area of Ukraine and Crimea, and the pressing, constant pressing that Russia has against Ukraine.

VAUSE: Yes, it does seem to be a familiar play that obviously, it's worked in the past, we'll not do it again. Here's the U.S. Defense Secretary. He made it very clear that is Putin who is in the wrong. Here's James Mattis.


[01:24:57] JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It was obviously a flagrant violation of international law. It was, I think, a cavalier use of force that injured Ukrainian sailors. It was contempt really for the traditional ways of settling these kinds of concerns if they had any.


VAUSE: I mean, take that for it's worth. Earlier, we've heard from the U.S. President who's threatening like canceled talks with Putin at the upcoming G20. The response from the U.S. so far seems to be the equivalent of being hit with a wet piece of lettuce. Just doesn't to see them particularly, you have motivated in any major way.

DOUGHERTY: Well, look, again, we have another the same pattern. We have members of the administration of Donald Trump coming out, look at Nikki Haley at the United Nations, and then, his later statements. The strong statements against Russia, accusing that we can't trust them, et cetera.

But when it comes to President Trump, he temporize or he says we don't like. I mean, that actually wasn't what we don't like this aggression. What does that mean? This is the problem. What does that mean? Will there be punishment? Will he meet with Putin? Will he bring up this with Putin? It's a real disconnect between the rhetoric and actions. And many people are saying the principle here dictates that you have some type of reaction against sanctions whatever might be.

But this administration does not appear to be doing anything, it's saying a lot of things.

VAUSE: Right. Jill, thank you. It's good to see.

Well, it looks like Republicans in the U.S. Senate found the backbone to find the Trump White House on Saudi Arabia. Coming up, how the murder of Jamal Khashoggi threatens to end U.S. support for the Saudi- led war in Yemen.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour. Vladimir Putin, says a naval confrontation of Crimea was planned by Ukraine's President to boost his popularity ahead of a presidential election in March.

On Sunday, Russian forces seized three small Ukrainian ships and detained the crew. Saying they illegally entered Russian territory.

CNN has learned exclusively about two of the written answers President Trump, has given special counsel Robert Mueller. He said, to the best of his recollection, he did not know about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. The top campaign aides were promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin link lawyer.

Any claims longtime confidant, Roger Stone, did not tell him about WikiLeaks releasing Democratic e-mails.

Meantime, Donald Trump told the New York Post, "To pardon is not off the table." It's not off the table for the former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who's facing charges in the Russian investigation.

[01:29:53] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And he claims long-time confidant Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks releasing Democratic e- mails.

Meantime Donald Trump told the "New York Post" a pardon is not off the table -- not off the table for the former campaign chairman Paul Manafort who's facing charges in the Russia investigation.

And the U.S. senate has voted 63-37 to advance a resolution which would end American support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It came just hours after CIA director Gina Haspel skipped a closed-door Senate briefing about the conflict. Lawmakers want to know why Haspel's agency strongly suspects the Saudi Crown Prince of being behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and why the Trump administration will not acknowledge it.

So when it comes to comes to global crisis, we turn to Michael Moran. He's with the international consulting firm Control Risks. He joins us now from Denver in Colorado. Mike -- thanks for being with us.

If we look at this resolution that got passed through the Senate it's still a long, long way from becoming reality but ultimately the plan would be to invoke the war powers resolution which we give Congress oversight of the kind of military offensive. So what are the chances it will survive in its current form and then actually be implemented?

MICHAEL MORAN, CONTROL RISKS: It's probably pretty unlikely that it would survive in its current form. I think the Senate is flexing its muscles a bit. It's a very unusual coalition of Democrats and Republicans for this era to be pushing this through.

And this is really just moving a resolution out of the committee level into the full Senate. In the meantime, I think what they're saying, we're not buying your line, President Trump, that, you know, the prince had nothing to do with the journalist's murder. We don't buy the idea that there's, you know, due diligence being done on the Saudi side with regard to their war in Yemen. And we're going to demand something more than lip service in return.

And I think what the administration is likely to do is come to the table with something that falls far short of what the Democrats want but will give cover for the Republicans to back down a bit.

VAUSE: You know the last time a vote came before the Senate to limit the U.S. role in Yemen's war is back in March. That resolution failed to pass 55 to 44. This time around, it's a mirror image -- 63 in favor and 37 opposed.

Is the only major factor here and what's changed in all of this is the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the direct connection to the Saudi Crown Prince? Is that the only thing which has changed the vote?

MORAN: You know, I think there's been -- there's been a good deal of unease about the war in Yemen for some time dating back to Mr. Obama's presidency. It has become worse and worse with regard to the attention that's been paid, at least within, you know, the Washington bubble and among the now much-maligned elites in the United States.

It's become something of a cause celebre that, you know, this can't go on, that American arms -- American intelligence are enabling a war that looks very lopsided and very much like a punitive war rather than anything that's advancing U.S. interests at least.

The other issue is, I think there's been some push back on the inflated numbers that Mr. Trump has been throwing around with regard to the Saudi arms deals that have been negotiated. You know, they're multiples of 10 and 20 times larger in the rhetoric for the President than it actually exists on paper.

So that's bothered Congress a bit. Certainly they don't want to upset any arms sales. I don't think they'll go that far. They all recognize that it would be very easy to be used against them if there were jobs lost in any of their districts. But I think they are a little concerned with the inflated numbers that are being thrown around. The $110 billion in arms which a complete fantasy.

VAUSE: Yes. I was going to comment (ph) the other day, it was just kind of made up stuff. It's, you know, unicorns jumping over rainbows.

But what we saw in the Senate on Wednesday was a full-court press by the White House sending only the true believers there to defend the President and support for the Saudis. Here's the Defense Secretary James Mattis. Listen to this.


JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We have no smoking gun that the Crown Prince was involved, not the intelligence community or anyone else. There is no smoking gun. We have not changed that accountability for the murder is our expectation of everyone involved in the murder. Accountability is our position. That's not changed at all.


VAUSE: In case you missed it, there's no smoking gun. There was also the former CIA director now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who had a very sort of similar line. Here's what he said.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I believe I've read every piece of intelligence in the last few hours. I think I reads it all. There is no direct reporting connecting the Crown Prince to the order of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That's all I can say in a non-classified setting.


[01:34:55] Ok. So well, they were there testifying before the Senate. The current director of the CIA Gina Haspel was a no-show. Is that because the administration was worried that, you know, she knows stuff and she would have to testify and tell the truth or were they worried that she would actually testify under oath the CIA is right and the President is wrong?

MORGAN: Well, there's two things going on. First of all, you know, absolving Saudi Arabia because the Crown Prince can't be proven to be -- have his hands on a gun, you know, that's ridiculous.

I mean did Hillary Clinton get a pass for Benghazi? No. That was, you know, something that went up the chain of command as it does in a mature democracy. And, you know, it hit her hard. And whether it was fair or not, the buck stops at the top. So we're absolving the prince which is kind of silly.

With regard to the arguments that the administration is making, you know, the two people they sent, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense are people who would make a strategic argument. And there is a strategic argument for not upsetting completely the relationship with Saudi Arabia particularly since the Trump administration decided to pull away from the more even-handed or at least nuanced policy toward Iran that Obama was pursuing.

So now you need Saudi Arabia. You've put yourself in this position where you put all your eggs in one basket. So it is in some ways the administration's own fault that they've maneuvered themselves into this position. They have to stick with it.

Whether Haspel would have face questions, absolutely. She certainly is the person who listened to the tape, who produced an analytical verdict that there was involvement from the top in Saudi Arabia. And the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has every right to ask those questions.

VAUSE: And quite possibly the only person in the administration who listened to that recording of Khashoggi's death.

Michael -- thank you. Appreciate you being with us.

MORAN: Thank you.

VAUSE: World leaders are gathering right now in Argentina for the G- 20 summit. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince touched down on Wednesday. The U.S. President is expected Thursday. Official business begins on Friday.

The G-20 has long been a target of protesters making security a major issue which is why 22,000 police have been deployed on the streets of Buenos Aires. The 12-square kilometer area around the summit site is now a no-go zone and much of the city's transportation system will be shut down (INAUDIBLE).

It's an open question on how world leaders will greet the Saudi Crown Prince. It is still unclear if President Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin and will Donald Trump play nicely with traditionally U.S. allies. And finally,. perhaps the biggest and most consequential question of all -- will the U.S. and China, find a way to end their trade war.

For more of that here's CNN's Matt Rivers.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The knock (ph) on the G-20 is that it's all for show -- handshakes, group photos but nothing every really happens. This year though, the summit in Buenos Aires might be different.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If China wants to make a deal, if we can make a deal we will.

RIVERS: With the U.S. and China locked in a trade war, President Trump and President Xi of China are scheduled to talk and both sides are putting a ton of stock in that meeting.

LARRY KUDLOW, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: It will come to a head at the G-20. I think that's the key point.

RIVERS: The message seems to be if the trade war can be stopped or at least put on hold, this meeting is the only place it could happen and that's a big if.

WILLIE LAM, THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Both sides are trying to manage expectations because it's unlikely that something dramatically successful will take place.

RIVERS: A U.S. trade representative reports that this week, China quote, "fundamentally has not altered its practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation", things the U.S. has said must change. China rejected the report.

And then there was the APEC summit where Xi took a shot at the U.S.

XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): History tells us to take the road of confrontation whether it's in the form of a cold war, open war or trade war, it will produce no winners.

RIVERS: Just minutes later, Vice President Mike Pence fired back.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China HAS taken advantage of the United States for many, many years and those days are over.

RIVERS: U.S. tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports are already in place. And hundreds of billions more could take effect next year.

For its part China has more tariffs ready of its own and says these U.S. actions are merely attempts to stifle its legitimate economic rise.

It all makes an Argentina deal seem unlikely but there is a wild card, Trump mentioned it at Mar-a-Lago, the property where he first met Xi.

TRUMP: I think I'm prepared for this meeting. I had a meeting literally right in that corner with President Xi. We have a great relationship. I like him a lot. I think he likes me.

RIVERS: Trump has always shown a willingness to make decisions in the moment and perhaps he wants to make a deal. Xi might want the same. China's economy is quickly slowing down and a protracted trade war won't help.

[01:39:58] That's why this meeting is so important and why this G-20 could be a lot more than just a photo op.

Matt Rivers, CNN -- Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: A new report from the British government has found what seems to be the obvious. In the matter of the Brexit deal, the British economy would be better off if it stays within the E.U.

A string of economic forecasts also paint a similar scenario against a Brexit deal, notably the government numbers found that a new trade relationship with the E.U. avoided regulatory barriers, the economy could grow about 2 percent. The finance minister says economics is not the only measure.


PHILIP HAMMOND, BRITISH FINANCIAL MINISTER: If the only consideration was the economy, then the analysis shows clearly that remaining in the European Union would be a better outcome for the economy. But not by much. The prime minister's deal delivers an outcome that is very close to the economic benefits of remaining in, while having all the political benefits of being out.


VAUSE: But a disorderly Brexit is a different deal altogether. The Bank of England projects the U.K. GDP could drop by 8 percent, unemployment would rise more than 7 percent. House prices will plummet 30 percent. The pound would be devalued by 25 percent.

Included in that government economic report is the British Prime Minister's Brexit deal and just like all the others, it would leave the U.K. worse off compared with staying in the E.U.

That news has seriously undermined Theresa May as she tries to sell the agreement she brokered with European leaders. And with parliament set to vote on Brexit in less than two weeks, May is staring at defeat of her draft plan.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin in in Scotland right now where the Prime Minister is hoping for a little last minute support.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Convincing Scotland was always going to be a tough slog. In the Brexit referendum, the Scots overwhelmingly voted to remain. So British Prime Minister Theresa May is perhaps not the most welcome guest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she's got a brass neck to suddenly ask for Scotland's support when she's ignored us, disrespected us, and undermined our parliament.

MCLAUGHLIN: She's in Glasgow today. If you could meet here, what would you tell her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think I would speak to her. MCLAUGHLIN: Despite the bitter feelings, the industrial city of

Glasgow is a stop on May's Brexit tour -- a show of inclusivity, ahead of an historic parliamentary vote. Her Brexit deal fresh from the negotiating table.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm here today talking to employers, hearing some people and talking to them about the Brexit deal that we've negotiated for the U.K. So this is a deal that is right for Scotland and right for Scottish fishermen.

MCLAUGHLIN: This is a tightly controlled PR event. In fact, this is as close as we're able to get. It's being held at a leather goods factory known for supplying to British parliament and in Scotland this is about as friendly as it gets for Theresa May.

Inside the city itself, people recoil at the thought of leaving the E.U. and Theresa May's Brexit deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't just say that you've either got this deal or no deal because that means, that there's no other deal, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democracy doesn't work that way. Democracy does not work through a simple majority. You have to have consensus. And she chose to ignore that.

MCLAUGHLIN: And do you want to see an independent Scotland? You want to see --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now? Yes, absolutely. I did not when we voted originally but I do now.

MCLAUGHLIN: The government needs all the help it can get to see Theresa May's deal through but from Scotland, there's little support, plenty of anger and perhaps a new problem for the United Kingdom.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN -- Glasgow.


VAUSE: Next up here on CNN NEWSROOM.

The United States of Hate. Why one former white supremacist is now changing his stripes.


VAUSE: Welcome back.

All this week, CNN has been focusing on the rise of the far-right nationalism and anti-Semitism across Europe. But hate speech and racist attacks are also surging rising in the United States.

CNN's Sarah Sidner reports now from Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SARAH SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're all seeing hatred exposed on cell phones and social media. But of course, that's not what creates hate. It is what captures it.

Now you're going to hear some racial slurs in this story. Now, we're doing that specifically so that you can see what really happening in America today as some Americans are facing a rising state of hate.

Across America, racism and anger once hidden in the shadows, now pouring out into the light. In Santa Monica, a racist tirade over a parking space. A messages for Muslims in a car in North Dakota.

A black army veteran targeting and killing white police officers in Dallas. A landscaper abused in Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you hate us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you're Mexicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we're Mexicans?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Sharia Law don't mean (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to me.

SIDNER: Words of hate which seem to be vanished, now brandished more and more often. The FBI says in 2017, hate crimes shot up 17 percent. The motivation for nearly 60 percent of those the government says was race, ethnicity or ancestry.

KEVIN DUNN, AUNT KILLED BY GUNMAN: She didn't see it coming.

SIDNER: Kevin Dunn's favorite aunt, Vicky Jones had beaten cancer but she could not survive hate. 67-year-old Jones and 69-year-old Maurice Stallard shot dead while grocery shopping. Targeted because of their skin color, police say. They were black, the alleged shooter white.

A white witness armed with a gun told his son what the shooter said while fleeing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said please don't shoot, or I won't shoot you. He said that whites don't kill whites.

SIDNER: What do you think about what was said?

DUNN: It hurts. It's sad. It's terrible. People have the right to just exist.

SIDNER: The suspect police say could have caused far more carnage. Pastor Kevin Nelson says a parishioner saw him earlier at their church door.

KEVIN NELSON, PASTOR: He bangs on it and (INAUDIBLE) he backs up with his hand on the gun (ph). So whoever would have opened it would have possibly gotten shot and killed. SIDNER: His church began locking its doors after white supremacist

Dylann Roof entered this predominantly black church, massacring of nine people as they prayed.

Ken Parker knows something the hate that motivated Dylann Roof. A navy veteran, Parker says said he was out of work and without direction, he joined the Ku Klux Klan and a later a neo-Nazi group. Their biggest selling point making him feel he was important, part of a bigger cause.

KEN PARKER, FORMER NEO-NAZI: They were looking at it as like we're going to have a race war one day and the more people on our side, the better.

SIDNER: At the time, Barack Obama was president. Some white supremacist touted the first black president as the number one threat to white people.

PARKER: And we would even joke amongst ourselves like hey, we're going to send President Obama an honorary membership to the Klan because he's our biggest recruiting tool.

SIDNER: Then came the election of President Donald J. Trump. White nationalists cheered his anti-immigration rhetoric. Racists who feared what they called the browning of America began believing President Trump was the answer to their prayers.

[01:50:04] PARKER: They want to have an all-white ethno-state where white people just to live by themselves.

SIDNER: Seven months after Trump's inauguration, Parker virtually broke, paid $30 to help fill a bus of racists headed to Charlottesville, Virginia for a protest about a confederate monument. They dubbed it "The Hate Bus", reminiscent of a bus from the 1960s created by another neo-Nazi.

PARKER: On paper we were just going up there to like stand up for the white race but honestly I think everybody was just going, you know, to fight.

SIDNER: Violence does happen and a woman is killed. What did you think at that point?

PARKER: Well, when I found out that she died, I was happy at the time.

SIDNER: He and his cohorts giddy when an alleged neo-Nazi sympathizer killed counter-protester Heather Haier. In their minds the race where they wanted was beginning to materialize.

But when the President condemned the attacks he added --

TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

SIDNER: How did that play in the group? The good people on both sides? PARKER: Honestly, some of them were real happy about it. A?dn then

Trump back-pedaled on it a little bit and then others in the moment they got angry at Trump. Trump wasn't anti-Jewish enough. He wasn't doing enough for white nationalism.

SIDNER: Michael Germans (ph) spent 16 years trying to counter domestic terrorism as an FBI special agent.

There's always the counter argument from this administration that the leftists are violent, that Antifa is violent -- and there's some evidence of that.

MICHAEL GERMANS, FBI SPECIAL AGETN: How many people has anyone associated with the Antifa movement killed? None. How many on the side of white supremacists killed, many.

SIDNER: According to the Government Accountability Office, since 9/11 while radical Islamists were responsible for 27 percent of extremists motivated deaths, the far right-wing accounted for 73 percent of the deadly incidents -- far more than any other group.

In Parker's case it wasn't law enforcement but love that thawed his hate.

So you decided that animosity wasn't the way and shunning wasn't the way but the opposite.

PASTOR WILL MCKINNON, ALL SAINTS HOLINESS CHURCH: Absolutely. I fight for peace. And what better way to start than in your own community.

SIDNER: His neighbor Pastor Will McKinnon, not only opened his arms he opened his small predominantly black church to Parker. His outreach washed away the hate.

Parker isn't just talking the talk. He is physically removing hate symbols from his body. He has spent hours having a swastika on his chest and the hate symbols on his legs removed. It is painful, he says. But he says, he knows it is probably nothing compared to the pain and fear he may have caused others.

Sarah Sidner, CNN -- Los Angeles.


VAUSE: And thank you -- Sarah.

We'll take a short break now. Back in just a moment.


VAUSE: Norwegian chess superstar Magnus Carlsen did exactly what everyone expected and that is win his third world championship. But it was not easy.

For three weeks the world's top ranked chess player battled American grandmaster Fabiano Caruana in London only to end in a draw in all 12 matches. Wednesday they settled it with a series speedy tie-breakers that was the first in the championships 132-year long history.

[01:55:03[ Finally Christmas at the White House. First Lady Melania Trump, she's in charge of all the decorations. And now we know, she really loves a red Christmas tree but everyone hates them.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The President counted down. The first lady pressed the button to light the National Christmas Tree.

TRUMP: -- two, one.

MOOS: A nice normal green tree -- technically a blue spruce but when it came to sprucing up the White House 40 red cranberry covered trees lining the east colonnade had some critics seeing red or at least seeing carwash brushes or seeing the women from "The Handmaid's Tale" with their bonnets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Am I correct, girls?

MOOS: You are correct if you thought the red trees would become the butt of jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Soaked in blood, soaked in sweet, sweet blood.

JIMMY FALLON, TV HOST: Check these out. This looks like Christmas in hell. Then Melania said, "exactly".

MOOS: But you know what Melania really said?

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We are in the 21st century and everybody has a different taste. I think they look fantastic. In real life, they look even more beautiful.

MOOS: Tweeted one supporter, "I think the red trees are as fashion forward as she is. I love them."

Come on you regular trees are just green with envy. The first lady's office said the red motif is an extension of the stripes found on the presidential seal and the "Be Best" ornaments are an extension of Melania's campaign encouraging kids.

The first lady seems to like red, right down to her fingertips. Tweeted someone, "The gloves are killing me. Is it cold or is she trying not to leave fingerprints."

Twitter users needled the red trees by inserting the creepy girls from "The Shining".

But unlike "The Shining", when you peek out through your fingers, the red trees are still there.

Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause.

The news continues right here on CNN.