Return to Transcripts main page


Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty; A Woman Who Survived the Auschwitz Death Camp; G20 Summit Meeting With Russia Cancelled by Trump; Rain Hits Mexico; Angela Merkel's Plane Did an Emergency Landing; Conditions Inside Makeshift Shelter Deteriorates; Young Syrian Refugees Attacked At U.K. School; Giant Clock Face Dropped From Top Of Bell Tower. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 30, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:07] NATALIE ALLEN, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: President Trump's long time fixer pleads guilty. Michael Cohen admits he lied about Mr. Trump's business dealings with Russia during the 2016 Presidential campaign.

GEORGE HOWELL, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: Plus, the on again, off again G20 leading between the U.S. President and Russian President now off again, why President Trump is cancelling that meeting.

ALLEN: Also this hour, a woman who survived the Auschwitz death camp now dedicates her life to educating others so no one can forget about the horrors of the holocaust. We want to welcome our viewers joining us from around the world. We're live from Atlanta, Georgia. I am Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell from CNN world headquarters. The Newsroom starts right now. The U.S. President arrived in Argentina a few hours ago for the G20 Summit. But it is the Russia investigation that is casting a cloud over that visit.

ALLEN: It certainly is. Not long after landing, the President tweeted this. This is an illegal hoax that should be ended immediately. Thursday, the President's longtime fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen stated in court papers I made these statements to be consistent with Donald Trump's political messaging and out of loyalty to Donald Trump.

HOWELL: Before leaving for Buenos Aires, the President slammed his former attorney. Listen.


PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: He's a weak person. And by being weak unlike other people that you watch, he's a weak person. And what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence. So he's lying about a project that everybody that about. I mean we were very open with it. He's a weak person and not a very smart person.


ALLEN: There were a number of major revelations in the court filing.

HOWELL: That's right. We learn from our Senior White House Correspondent Pamela Brown.

PAMELA BROWN, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The President's former fixer Michael Cohen once again flipping on the President and federal court, revealing Trump, while campaigning to become President of the United States, knew more about discussions with Russians about a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow than Cohen has previously acknowledged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen will continue to cooperate.

BROWN: Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about how much the President knew about the deal dubbed the Moscow Project and about when it was terminated, telling the court he lied out of loyalty to the President. The plea agreement says the man who once said he would take a bullet for the President gave information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller during more than 70 hours of questioning between August and November.

The deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow was just one of many topics discussed according to a source. Court documents reveal Cohen discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Trump, referred to as individual one on more than the three occasions. And while Cohen told Congress last fall that the Moscow Project ended in January 2016, he now admits discussions about the project lasted as late as approximately June 2016.

When Trump was the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, Cohen now admits he made the false statements to protect Donald Trump and give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before the Iowa caucus, and the very first primary, in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations. Cohen also details a plan he was working on with a Russian-American business associate, Felix Sater, to travel to Moscow to discuss the deal ahead of the 2016 Republican convention in Cleveland.

Cohen was even looking to the possibility of Trump making the trip to Russia as well. Cohen writing to Sater, my trip before Cleveland, Donald Trump, once he becomes the nominee after the convention. The ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Michael Cohen.

BROWN: Which Cohen admits he lied to, want to bring Cohen back for truthful answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means that when the President was representing during the campaign that he had no business interests in Russia, that that wasn't true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anything the President has said is true, that there's no there, there, why are all his closest associates being found guilty of lying about their ties to Russia? BROWN: Now Rudy Giuliani, the President's attorney, said there is no

contradiction between the written responses from the President as it pertained to Trump Tower Moscow and what we have heard from Michael Cohen. We have also learned that the Justice Department notified the President's attorneys Wednesday night before Cohen's plea. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.


[02:04:58] HOWELL: There is a lot to put into context and a lot to digest here.

ALLEN: Yes. Our Cyril Vanier has been taking a close look at the court documents.


CYRIL VANIER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Here is the court document at the center of all of this. United States of America V Michael Cohen, nine pages signed Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a very interesting read. And here's the cheat sheet. Cohen now admits that he lied about the timing of the Trump organization's business dealings with Russia, about the extent of Trump's involvement in those business dealings, about Cohen's own willingness to travel to Moscow to pursue those deals, and the response that they got from the Russian government.

Now, Cohen's original narrative before he turned on Trump, that is, was that this idea never got anywhere. It didn't last long. Trump barely knew about it, and it never even got a response from the Russians. However, Cohen now says that the real story is this one. As the Presidential campaign was in full swing in the U.S., the Trump organization was pursuing an ambitious real estate deal in Moscow, one that would require approval of the highest levels of state.

And another key player in this says they even considered giving Vladimir Putin a penthouse in the future building. So now consider the new timeline. Cohen admits this Moscow Project was last discussed in June 2016. What else happened around that time? Well, we know that Trump campaign officials met with Russians in Trump Tower in Manhattan.

The following month, the Republican platform was being drawn up, and it was changed in a way that was seen as a concession to Russia. That same month, just a few days later, in fact, Wikileaks published the first batch of hacked e-mails, all of them damaging to Mr. Trump's political rival, Hillary Clinton. Now to be very clear, we do not yet know how all these pieces might fit together, or even if they all fit together.

But they do raise legitimate questions. Did Donald Trump hide his dealings with Russia during the campaign? If so, did that give Russia leverage over the candidate Trump, possibly over President Trump? Lastly, what else might Michael Cohen know and decide to share with Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Back to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: More than 70 years after one of the darkest chapters of human history, a growing number of people, this is hard to believe, seem to have no idea the holocaust ever happened.

HOWELL: A CNN poll found a total of 34 percent of Europeans know just a little or have never heard of the holocaust. Even more disturbing, 31 percent of Europeans believe commemorating the holocaust distracts from other atrocities and injustices that are happening today.

ALLEN: It should come as no surprise that the growing ignorance about the holocaust matches the rise of anti-semitism in Europe.

HOWELL: And for survivors of places like Auschwitz, it's unthinkable that the world's memories of those horrors as fading as they grow old and pass away. Here's CNN's Clarissa Ward.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was hell. It was hell, and yet I am here. I am here, hopefully, to tell young people that I can tell them.

CLARISSA WARD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Edie Eger was just 16 years old. She arrived at Auschwitz from her native Hungary with her family in May 1944. Nazi physician Josef Mengele was standing at the end of the train platform. Known as the Angel of Death, he performed cruel and often deadly medical experiments on his prisoners.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We appointed my mom to go to the left. And I followed her. He came after me and grabbed me. I'll never forget those eyes. Your mother is going to take a shower. You'll see her soon. Edie never saw her again. Both her parents were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, along with more one million Jews. Hundreds of thousands of others were worked or starved to death. Edie did see Dr. Mengele again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came to the barracks and he wanted to be entertained. So they volunteered me. And I ended up dancing, and closing my eyes and pretending that the music was (Inaudible) and I was dancing to Romeo and Juliet in the Budapest Opera House.

[02:09:51] WARD: It was that powerful spirit and imagination that helped Edie to survive the un-survivable. It would be eight months before Soviet troops would liberate the death camp, discovering horrors that remained etched on humanity's conscience 73 years later. In many ways, it is the experiences and the testimonies of those who survived that have kept the horrors of the holocaust alive. And the fear now is that as fewer and fewer of them remain, the memory will start to fade.

According to a CNN poll, it already is. More than a third of Europeans have either never heard of or know just a little about the holocaust. The statistics for the younger generation are even more alarming, 20 percent of young French adults have never even heard of the holocaust. Michael Schudrich is the Chief Rabbi of Poland.

When you hear that younger people say they know very little or next to nothing about the holocaust in Europe, which is where the holocaust was perpetrated. How does that make you feel as a Jew?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does it make me feel? It makes me feel I have more work to do. It makes me feel that we need to be more proactive. It makes me feel that we need to work far more intensively with ministries of education.

WARD: The stakes are high as Europe grapples with a resurgence of anti-semitism. But there are signs of hope. More than 40 percent of the respondents believe anti-semitism is a growing problem in Europe. Half agree that commemorating the holocaust help to combat anti- semitism. And nearly two thirds say it could help ensure such atrocities never happen again.

Today, the ghosts of Auschwitz still linger, serving a vital reminder to the more than 2 million tourists who visit every year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Visiting Auschwitz fundamentally transcends the intellectual. It confronts you face-to-face. You're not looking at a book. You're not looking at a film. You're looking at a place that was built to kill human beings. You're looking at a place that's a factory of death. Four huge gas chambers, with crematorium, built for the only purpose to eliminate Jews from Europe.

When you stand there, don't try to understand it. Just have your eyes open, your heart open. Absorb the moment. Somehow if you go there and you stand there and you experience it, maybe that will help every human being that visits to being 1 step, 20 steps away from ever doing something like that again.


HOWELL: It literally hurts to think about what happened there and to realize that so many people don't understand that history.

ALLEN: Beyond disturbing. It's incomprehensible.

HOWELL: It is. Well, the sharp rise of anti-semitism in Europe may be shocking to some but not to Israelis. They know it is a constant scourge that must be confronted wherever it arises.

ALLEN: Our Oren Liebermann sat down for an exclusive interview with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin who says anti-semitism is not just a problem for Jews. He warns left unchecked, it has a corrosive effect on all people.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I don't think it would surprise you that there is anti-semitism in Europe. But does this the depth of the anti-semitism surprise and worry you?

REUVEN RIVLIN, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: Anti-semitism worries us all the time. Also, the denial of Israel's right to exist, which is an extension of anti-semitism. That's also worrying. But we as a country have learned how to deal with it, how to deal with the memories of anti-semitism, how to teach the dangers of anti-semitism, and how to relate it in the wider world as well, and talk about the phenomenon.

We are diligent. And we have to be even more diligent to explain in all those places where anti-semitism is spreading or returning that we are not ready to accept it.

LIEBERMANN: The holocaust is one of the most important events in modern history. And yet, less than 100 years after the end of the holocaust, there are Europeans who either don't know what it is or don't know its meaning. How do you fix that? Is it a matter of education, museums, or is it something bigger?

RIVLIN: As you say, it is education. And it's also commemoration. It's impossible to do without commemoration. It's impossible to do without showing the facts, the historical facts. But anti-semitism did not begin with the holocaust and it did not start with Hitler. It began many years before that, hundreds of years, maybe thousands of years.

[02:15:11] And in order to deal with it, we've established an investigative center where the facts are clear, and whether is evidence from those places were terrible acts were carried out.

LIEBERMANN: On a personal level, as a human being, as one Jew talking to another, how does it make you feel, the anti-semitism in the world today?

RIVLIN: For us, it is clear as daylight. Anti-semitism is a presence in society that corrupts society itself. We try to explain to the whole world. If you don't fight against anti-semitism, it will hit your societies. Because there are stereotypes present in your societies that create a lack of understanding.

The treatment of minorities, which is not humane or normal, these corrupt your societies. Anti-semitism is an evil illness. It's evil. It's evil. And evil does not exist in one place. Evil can sprout in every society that fails to examine itself, that fails to remember the past, and that fails to educate.

LIEBERMANN: President Rivlin, thank you for your time.

RIVLIN: Thank you.


ALLEN: A poignant ending statement from certainly the President there. Our coverage of anti-semitism in Europe culminates with a special half hour report by Clarissa Ward Friday. That's at 7:30 in the evening in London, 2:30 in the afternoon in New York.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, why President Trump abruptly cancelled his meeting with the Russian President at the G20, and how the Kremlin is reacting to it.

ALLEN: Also, rain hits Mexico, Tijuana, where thousands of migrants are staying in a makeshift shelter that was already considered squalid. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. On his way to the G20 Summit, the U.S. President cancelled his upcoming meeting with the Russian President, tweeting it would be best for all parties.

ALLEN: The President says the decision was due to Russia's refusal to release a group of Ukrainian sailors who clashed with Russian forces last weekend. For more about it, here's CNN's Matthew Chance from Moscow.


[02:19:51] MATTHEW CHANCE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It's been hard to keep up with all the crises overshadowing the now cancelled Trump- Putin meeting. The latest controversy, Trump's former lawyer admitting he lied to Congress about his business dealings in Russia, prompting the U.S. President before leaving for the G20 in Argentina to vigorously deny any wrongdoing and suggests of a plan with the Russia President would still go ahead.

TRUMP: I think it's a very good time to have the meeting. I'm getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that. And that will determine what I'm going to be...

CHANCE: But he was barely in the air when all that changed. Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, Trump tweeted I've decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved.

This is the naval confrontation off the Crimean coast, to which the President referred. A Russian patrol boat ramming a Ukrainian naval tug before it and two other vessels were fired on and boarded by Russian Special Forces. Twenty four Ukrainian sailors were captured and are being held for violating Russian waters. Calls have already (Inaudible) for Russia to be diplomatically isolated.

But up until Trump's unexpected tweet, the Russian leader had been prepping for a two hour summit with President Trump in Buenos Aires. The Kremlin says it only learned of the cancellation from Twitter, and then texted its reaction to CNN. If this is the case, the Kremlin spokesman wrote, we'll have an extra couple of hours for other useful meetings. There are serious issues the two leaders had planned to discuss at the G20, from Syria to nuclear weapons.

But the latest event, at home and abroad, appear to have Trumped what would have been a controversial head-to-head. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


HOWELL: Ukraine's President is praising President Trump's decision to skip that meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. ALLEN: Petro Poroshenko tweeted this is how great leaders act.

Earlier, he told a German newspaper that Russia's President wants the old Russian empire back.

HOWELL: That would include all of Ukraine. And he's asking NATO to send reinforcements to the Sea of Azov where that clash at sea actually took place. Russia in the meantime says the Kerch Strait is open again for shipping.

ALLEN: Moscow also suggested some western countries may have helped stage the confrontation. Ukraine meantime is launching military drills near the key city of (Inaudible).

HOWELL: Let's talk more about what is happening with President Trump and the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires. Joining now we have Steven Erlanger. Steven, the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent in Europe, the New York Times, live in Brussels, Steven, a pleasure to have you.


HOWELL: So President Trump clearly changed course on the flight, the President, not now meeting with his Russian counter part at the G20. He says it is because of Ukraine, but there is that other curious cloud from Michael Cohen, who admitted he lied to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Russia out of loyalty to the President.

Let's focus in on that first. What is the biggest danger here to President Trump and the people around him?

ERLANGER: Well, the biggest danger is to reinforce what people have been suspecting for some time, which is that there was collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian state to win the election. And further than that, people wonder why President Trump is so fond of President Putin. And he will not criticize him.

He'll criticize anybody else. It is his other members of his administration will criticize Russian behavior. Mr. Trump is very reluctant to do that. He really wants to meet Putin. There is this bromance, and people wonder is there in the past. Does Russia have some hold on Donald Trump or on his business or on his, you know, his -- even on his finances.

This is part of what Mueller is looking into. So in that sense, you know, the Cohen plea is getting closer to the heart of the real Mueller investigation, which is into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign or even the President or his family, and Russia to distort the American election.

[02:24:52] ALLEN: Yeah. And Steven, we know that as soon as President Trump landed there in Buenos Aires, he started tweeted about it. We very much know that the Mueller investigation is top of mine and it does drive him kind of crazy.


ERLANGER: It does drive him crazy. ALLEN: It does. He's over it. But it continues to develop back

home. But let's talk about who he is meeting with at the G20 Summit. He's meeting with the Chinese President, of course, this amid the serious trade issues. What are the expectations there?

ERLANGER: Well, this is I think, you know, a much more important meeting to be honest, than any meeting with a Russian President. I mean China has a GDP the size of Sweden. China's a completely different question. And we're in the middle of a trade war with China. And the Chinese are uncomfortable about it. But Mr. Trump has become uncomfortable about it too.

I mean he's been yelling at General Motors. He's been yelling at other companies that have responded to tariffs, and to these new tariffs and to the potential of a real trade war with China, by reducing their staff, by removing their factories. I mean it's beginning to have an impact on the American economy and on the parts of the American economy that in states have supported Donald Trump, so you know?

He's a little vulnerable it too. But the general Trump strategy has been to put intense pressure on, then get into talks. Come up with some kind of deal, and call it the best deal to ever happen in the entire universe.



ERLANGER: You know, you know, that's how he does it. And it works by the way. It works very well. And I suspect this is a very important meeting on the wave to that kind of ending. I mean they won't, you know, make a deal themselves. The details are quite complicated. And of course, within the Trump administration, there are strains between people who want to hit China harder.

And people who think it is time to undo a deal. But there's no question that China feels vulnerable about it too. The rhetoric on both sides is of course, chest beating. But that's kind of a given. So I think that meeting really, really matters a lot.

ALLEN: It's one we'll be watching. And we'll hopefully talk with you again as more of this Summit plays out, Steven Erlanger, as always, thank you for your insights.

ERLANGER: Thanks, Natalie.

HOWELL: While on her way to the G20 Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel plane was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Cologne.

ALLEN: Yeah. A reporter on board says they were told there had been an electronic systems failure, and the aircraft needed a replacement part. Because of the delay, the Chancellor had to reschedule some of her meetings because she was delayed. Well, President Trump famously said he had no interest in Russia. We're still talking about our top story here. When we come back, a closer look at Donald Trump's attempt to do

business in Russia, and why do so many of those projects come to nothing.

HOWELL: Plus, dozens of police descend of Deutsch banks headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, details on the money laundering investigation ahead.


[02:30:36] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers all over the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on our top stories this hour. Donald Trump's former personal attorney plead a guilty Thursday to lying to Congress. Michael Cohen admitted talks over a Trump Tower in Moscow lasted well into the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen said he lied to protect Mr. Trump's political interest.

HOWELL: The U.S. president abruptly cancelled his meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 and says the decision would do to Russia's refusal to release a group of Ukrainian sailors who clashed with Russian forces last weekend. The Kremlin responded by saying it now freeze them up to have extra time for other useful meetings (INAUDIBLE)

ALLEN: For the first time in more than a decade, a train from South Korea crossed into North Korea. The trip was part of a joint study of how much it would cost to upgrade the North's railway system and build a trans-Korean rail line. The team had to receive permission from the U.N. to carry out the visit since sanctions against Pyongyang are still in place.

HOWELL: Back to our top story. President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

ALLEN: Cohen now admits he lied to Congress about a proposed project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. CNN's Crime and Justice Reporter Shimon Prokupecz has more on the connection between the president and his one-time ally.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: I think the bigger issue here right now is that you have Michael Cohen who was for so many -- so many years so close to the president knew all of sort of his business dealings, his real estate dealings knew some of the family's dealings has known so much about his family and so much about the president. That is really what their concern is. What else is he telling the special counsel?

The other thing is that Michael Cohen has now twice come into court, taken an oath, and has said basically that he was doing things on behalf of the president to try and cover up some of the president's actions to try and make the president look better, to try and make the -- protect the president. This is why he was doing this between the Stormy Daniels stuff and now this and we don't even know everything else that Michael Cohen has been telling the special counsel, FBI agents, and the U.S. attorney here in New York over at the Southern District of New York.

Keep in mind, a lot of people are really worried about where this investigation is going to go especially here in New York.

ALLEN: Well, all of these lays back to what President Trump once called his redline in the Russia investigation, investigators looking into his personal and family financial dealings.

HOWELL: CNN's Brian Todd has been investigating the Trump Organization's many attempts to do business in Russia.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The potential Trump Tower deal in Moscow which Michael Cohen admitted to working on as late as June of 2016 would have been sweet for Donald Trump. Two hundred fifty luxury condo units, fifteen floors of hotel rooms, the chance to name a spa after his daughter, Ivanka. But as President Trump stressed that deal never went through.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That was a project that wasn't done for a lot of reasons. Number one is that I was nearly -- not that I have to do it but I was focus on running for president.

TODD: Before and since taking office, the president has repeatedly denied ever sealing any real estate deals in Russia.

TRUMP: I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia. I have no deals. I have no loans. I have no dealings.

TODD: But it wasn't for a lack of trying. CNN and other news outlets have reported that while no Trump real estate deals inside Russia where ever finalize, there were attempts dating back at least 30 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was invited there by the Russians in 1987 and he made a famous trip there and he fell in love with Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He tried very hard several times to do deals in Moscow. He said, well, we and Moscow is inevitable. We'll be there. But in the end, he wasn't able to do the real estate deals.

TODD: Biographers and journalists who've investigated Trump's business deals say Trump tried at least twice to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Along the way, the Trump Organization enlisted some interesting characters to help him. One is Felix Sater, a mob linked felon turned FBI informant referred to in the Cohen plea who tried to facilitate the Trump Tower deal in 2016.

[02:35:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Felix Sater is one of the most enigmatic figures in the entire Trump-Russia saga and we know he and his father both allegedly had ties to the Russian mafia going way back. Felix grew up in mostly in Brooklyn, in the Brighton Beach area which was sort of the headquarters for the Russian mafia.

TODD: Why did none of those heavily hyped Trump real estate deals in Russia ever go through?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One problem that Trump always had was getting the approval of the Russian government. He was always concerned that the bureaucracy in the Kremlin was too time consuming that there was too much. That's one of the reasons. He was so interested in cultivating who -- himself.

TODD: But Trump has made money from Russians. He sold this mansion in Palm Beach to a Russian billionaire for $95 million and there was one business deal in Moscow that did succeed.


TODD: In 2013, he made millions when he partnered with a Russian billionaire to hold the Miss Universe pageant in the shadow of the Kremlin.


TODD: Could there be other Trump business deals in Russia that we haven't heard about? Analyst say probably not. But if there are, those deals could at least be politically harmful to the president if he doesn't disclose them. Brian Todd, CNN Washington.

HOWELL: Brian, thank you. Two American citizens are being prevented from leaving China. The brother and sister respectively 19 and 27 years old are not charge with any crime. They believe they're being denied permission to travel to pressure their fugitive father to return to Beijing to face charges there.

ALLEN: Now, as Chinese President Xi Jinping gears up for G20 talks in Argentina, the White House is demanding China let the U.S. citizens go home. For home, our Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Days before a much-anticipated meeting between the leaders of the U.S. and China, President Trump's national security advisor publishes a tweet drawing attention to two American siblings currently detained in China. These Americans need to be allowed to return home writes John Bolton referencing an article in the New York Times. He's referring to Victor and Cynthia Liu for months Chinese authorities have refused to allow these 19 and 27-year-old brother and sister from leaving China.

In a letter to Bolton obtained by the Times, Cynthia Liu claimed, "We are being held here as a crude form of human collateral to induce some with whom I have no contact to return to China for reasons with which I am entirely unfamiliar. She's referring to her father, Liu Changming, a fugitive former banker wanted by China since 2009 for allegedly making $1.4 billion in fraudulent bank loans. Beijing stands by its detention of Victor and Cynthia Liu.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): These people you have mentioned all have legal and valid identity documents as Chinese citizens. They are suspected of having committed economic crimes and have been restricted from leaving China by Chinese police in accordance with the law.


WATSON: Meanwhile, a state department official tells CNN that American diplomats are in close contact with the siblings while also expressing U.S. concerns over Chinese exit bans imposed on American citizens. A lawyer for the Liu family refused to comment further on the case aside from saying he's directly engaged with the Chinese government trying to secure their safe return to the U.S. Ivan Watson, CNN Hong Kong.

ALLEN: We'll definitely follow-up on that story.

HOWELL: Yes. There's a lot to (INAUDIBLE) consider there with that story.

ALLEN: When British Prime Minister Theresa May returns from the G20 Summit, she will barely have 10 days to get ready for parliament's historic Brexit vote that happens December 11th and the way things have been shaping it does not look as if that vote will go her way.

HOWELL: So some senior M.P.'s are now trying to avoid a possible no vote and the chaos that would follow after that. They want to introduce an amendment that would block the current Brexit deal and then ensure a no deal Brexit is also off the table allowing parliament to decide then what happens next.

ALLEN: But the prime minister she's having none of it. She warned lawmakers that trying to restart negotiations now would see the U.K. end up with an agreement that is worst.

HOWELL: All right. This story about Deutsche Bank offices in Frankfurt, Germany, they were raided on Thursday in a money laundering investigation.

ALLEN: That investigation is tied to the Panama Papers leak that exposed money laundering networks and shell companies. CNN's Atika Shubert has that story from Berlin.

[02:40:03] ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a hundred and seventy police officers, prosecutors, and tax inspectors swoop into the Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt and five other office locations in and around the city. Here's what we know about the investigation. They're looking at two main suspects Deutsche Bank employees believed to have helped in laundering money from offshore accounts linked to the Panama Papers leaks.

Now, they're looking specifically for evidenced of transactions between 2013 and 2018 and prosecutors told us that to give a sense of scale that in 2016 alone about 900 Deutsche Bank clients may have laundered money through these offshore accounts as much as more than $350 million. So there are two main things that prosecutors are looking for here whether or not Deutsche Bank actually helped to setup these accounts so that clients could launder money through offshore accounts or if they simply fail to report suspicious transactions.

Now, Deutsche Bank has released a statement saying that is fully cooperating with police and prosecutors and that they believed they had given all of the information regarding accounts linked to the Panama Papers but clearly prosecutors believed there is still more evidence that Deutsche Banks may have. That's why they took away a computer hard drives and documents as evidence. Atika Shubert, CNN Berlin.

HOWELL: Atika, thank you. Still ahead here on the NEWSROOM, migrants waiting at the border in Tijuana, Mexico, the situation there it is getting much worst for people and rain is making things worst at these makeshift shelters (INAUDIBLE)

ALLEN: Also ahead here, Syrian refugees targeted by school bullies in the U.K. The attacks caught on camera are now being investigated. We'll show you next.


ALLEN: United States says it will not file criminal charges against the 42 migrants arrested when clashes broke out along the border near Tijuana, Mexico. Tensions flared when migrants and Central America rushed the U.S. border and tear gas was fired. Thousands are now waiting in Tijuana for those seeking asylum in the U.S. It could be months before they can make their case to officials just across the border.

[02:44:57] HOWELL: Until then they have nowhere else to go. They're stuck in an overcrowded makeshift shelter. Authorities have now opened a second one that has better accommodations but it's a 45- minute drive from the border and some migrants are refusing to move because of the distance even though conditions at the first shelter are deteriorating. Our Leyla Santiago has more.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The rain is coming down, and you can see how people are reacting here in the shelter that is housing more than -- more than 6,000 people. Including children, women, and men, families who are now trying to take cover under whatever they can just to keep dry, just to keep warm. Many not enough to provide for their own families, and stay warm, and comfort them, and protect even their own children.

This entire area is flooded. And you can see what has already been left in the water. Children's books, blankets that are now soaked. Clothing that is now left behind with shoes.

Many have been trying to find whatever is left, that is dry to make use off, but there is not much of it. More than 6,000 are here. Migrants from Central America who have come up from the caravan trying to get over here. Trying to get to beyond this fence. To the United States of America under some beyond tough conditions. In Tijuana, Leyla Santiago, CNN.


HOWELL: Leyla taking us there to show us what people are really dealing with.


HOWELL: Children, mothers, fathers, are dealing with.

ALLEN: Yes, there was a child there pitching -- trying to pitch a tent in his pajamas, that's kind of heartbreaking to see.

HOWELL: Yes, but --


ALLEN: Well, that's same system is it's soaking them, is now bringing problems to areas in California.

VAN DAM: Yes, that's right.

ALLEN: And Derek sort to tell us, why.

VAN DAM: Yes, as where they long the entire coast of California, all the way down the Tijuana, as well. But those conditions are challenging to say the least. Let's just revisits some of those images. Because it's heartbreaking as it is to show them, and as it is to see them.

It's important to tell this part of the story because well, conditions there are simply just very, very difficult. And you got to consider and factor in that when you spent time in these conditions, it doesn't take long for hypothermia to set in, as well.

So, also a consideration, because it is cool, it is very damp, and it's just -- it's extremely difficult. So, here's the storm system that's bringing rainfall to California, all the way down to Tijuana.

In fact, the National Weather Service's radar that picks up precipitation is also picking up on the rainfall into the Northwestern sections of Mexico, including Tijuana.

There is a scattered activity we've had about 25 millimeters, so far, from this band of rain that's moved in within the past 24 hours. In additional, 10 to 15 millimeters of rainfall is still possible as isolated, the scattered showers move across San Diego, all the way southward in Tijuana, right on the U.S. and Mexico border.

So, the forecast for Friday, cool, damp conditions continue. We finally search to see a drying trend into Saturday and Sunday. But guess what, going forward, there's another waves of moisture that will impact the coastal areas of California, all the way down into northwestern sections of Mexico, including Tijuana. And that, of course, is a concern for the 6,000 plus migrants that are located within that region.

Let's get to the video coming out of the venture, a county region. And you can just see some of the mudflows, and debris flows that we warned about ahead of the storm system making landfall. And now, from the recent fires that have impacted this area. The Woolsey Fire, the Camp Fire in Northern California. And the rainfall that has moved across the region, this is the new concern and the new reality for this people that they are facing.

By the way, to the bit of research, mudflows and debris flows from burn scars and heavy rain. They can travel to 55 kilometers per hour.

Get back to the graphics, let me explain why. Burn scars are what is called, hydrophobic. Meaning there -- they do not absorb water well. So, the burned areas can also just to throw the water, and that water picks up the debris that has left over on the tops of the soil that has been burned.

So, rocks, burnt trees, burnt twigs, that gets collected and eventually streamed downstream into the valleys below. And that can cause a very dangerous situation.

In fact, U.S. geological survey has actually put out the highest risk is on. So, Los Angeles is just to the south and east here. Those shades of red call for an 80 to 100 percent likelihood of a debris flow if rain falls at 24 millimeters in a one hour of period. And that is what happened across Southern California.

So, that is our major threat going forward with more rain in the forecast as we head into early parts of next week. So, the conditions are difficult in Tijuana. They're also difficult in Southern California where the recent burns have taken place. And now, mudflows and debris flows of --

[02:50:09] HOWELL: All right. Derek, thank you.

ALLEN: All right. Derek, thank you. Well, they fled violence in the war-torn Syria only to encounter more violence in their new homes.

HOWELL: CNN's Samuel Burke has more now on the story of two young Syrian refugees who were attacked at a school in the United Kingdom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll drown you. I'll -- drown you.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: "I'll drown you." Those are the words a young man shouts in the face of a 15- year-old Syrian boy at a school in Northern England as he smothers his face in water, holding his hands around the boy's throat after head- butting him and pinning him to the ground.

Now, more than a month after the attack occurred, a video of the incident has gone viral. The victim's family is originally from Homs, Syria according to their lawyer. And fled the Beleaguered City to Lebanon after members of their family had been abducted and tortured by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

One family member was killed. In 2016, a U.N. program settled the family in the town of Huddersfield near Leeds. And within two months, the family's lawyer says the children started to be bullied.

MOHAMMED AKUNJEE, LAWYER, LONDON, ENGLAND: This shocking because of the background, as well. The fact that a father who's managed using every resource of his potential that he has to take his family away from danger through two countries, to keep him safe.

And then, finding that in the first world country that has offered them -- offer them sanctuary, that sanctuary has been non-existent.


BURKE: After the video of the incident went viral on social media this week, the boy's sister was assaulted at the same school according to local authorities. Also captured on video and shared online, you see the girls shoved and chased.

The family lawyer, says her headscarf was also torn off. Police say they're working with the family and asking witnesses to come forward. The principal of the school were the incidents took place said the situation is being taken extremely seriously. And quote, "We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behavior of any sort in our school."

A crowdfunding page has been set up online to raise money for the family. The campaign has raised more than $175,000 GoFundMe says, it's the fastest-growing fundraiser on the site in the U.K. for all of 2018. With donations pouring in from 50 countries around the world.

The family says, given the circumstances, any money would be used to move away from this town. Samuel Burke, CNN, Huddersfield, England.


HOWELL: We'll be right back after the break.


ALLEN: Well, here is one for you. A construction crew had a close call with a giant clock, and it left them wishing they could turn back time.

HOWELL: Literally. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains what happened when a crane operator dropped a clock from the top of a University Bell Tower. Jesus.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you've got time on your hands, try not to drop it. The way this clock got dropped -- it happened at Purdue University's Bell Tower in Indiana. But what really got dinged was the clock face being moved by crane. Watch how close it came to the two workers in the bucket lift. Though they truly almost got clocked, no one was hurt.

How time flies when you drop a clock? The contractor wasted no time, saying sorry. The family-run Verdin Company specializes in clocks, bells, and organs. "We want to express our sincerest apology to Purdue University regarding the damage to their clock."

The company promised to make good with a new one. No doubt wishing. Perdue was laid back in its response. Tweeting, "Notice anything different about the bell tower today?" Instead of face time, the clocks getting downtime. One woman tweeted, "Welcome to Purdue, the school that can get a man to the moon but not a clock to the top of a bell tower.

The first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue.

[02:56:09] NEIL ARMSTRONG, AMERICAN ASTRONAUT: That's one small step for man.

MOOS: One giant plunges for a clock.

ARMSTRONG: The eagle has landed.

MOOS: So, has the clock. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: This story just makes me laugh.

HOWELL: He is kind of funny.

ALLEN: All right. An American discount shoe company wanted to show how customers can confuse price with quality.

HOWELL: So, Payless Shoes set up a luxury shoe company called Palessi. It has its own web site and its own Instagram account. And it invited fashion influencers to a grand opening in Los Angeles.

ALLEN: Influencers, in case you didn't know, are people who try to get you to buy things based on their expertise. They lavish compliments on the footwear's quality and selled out up to $600 for shoes that were really worth just $40.00.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will pay $400, $500.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People going to be like, "Where did you get this? Those are amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are actually from Payless. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shut up, are you serious? We'll dodge as Casey Witch.


HOWELL: Jokes on them. And everybody got their money back, and they're -- a free shoes for their trouble as the company pulled off an effective publicity stunt, very effective.

Could you tell the difference?

ALLEN: No, no, not really, but, yes.

HOWELL: Thanks for being with us this hour. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: Still up at the tower thing. I'm Natalie Allen. We'll back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Please stay there.