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Aid Groups Struggle to Save Young Lives; Senators: Crown Prince "Complicit" in Khashoggi Killing; France Cancels Fuel Tax Increase for 2019; U.K. Parliament to Vote on Brexit Deal December 11; E-mail Shows Facebook Tried to Profit from User Data; Sesame Workshop's "Learn through Play" for Refugee Children; : U.S. Challenges Russian Claims On Sea Of Japan; 41st U.S. President Lies In Repose; CFO Of Chinese Tech Company Huawei Arrested; Satellite Images Show Expansion Of Missile Sites. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired December 6, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, tensions between Russia and Ukraine could be turning up a notch. The U.S. is preparing to sail a warship into the middle of the disputes. Plus, North Korea's missile program may not be slowing down. We'll bring you an exclusive look at new satellite images. And Donald Trump reunites with four former U.S. Presidents at the funeral for George H.W. Bush. It did not take long for things to get awkward.
The U.S. military is making plans to send a Navy warship into the Black Sea near Crimea. Officials tell CNN it's a response to Russia's actions against Ukraine which includes seizing three of its ships and two dozen sailors. But the U.S. naval deployment isn't the only way Washington is testing the Kremlin. CNN's Ryan Brown reports from the Pentagon.
RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: The U.S. military is requested that the State Department notified the Turkish government that it intends to sell a warship into the Black Sea, U.S. officials are telling CNN. Now, this is required under international treaties governing the Straits that connect the Mediterranean to the Black Sea but it comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the nearby Sea of Azov. Now, the U.S. moving a warship into that area could be seen as pushing back on Russia which recently captured Ukrainian vessels and is detaining some 24 Ukrainian sailors.
This comes the same day as the United States challenged Russia's claims over a part of the Sea of Japan sailing a warship inside areas that Russia says belongs to their territorial waters. This is near Vladivostok the headquarters of the Russian Pacific Fleet. Now, this exercise is what the U.S. calls a freedom of navigation operation and they conduct them all over the world. But when they're done against China and Russia, they tend to raise geopolitical sensitivities in the region.
And finally, the U.S. announcing that it intends to withdraw from the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing in Brussels giving Russia 60 days to return in compliance or the U.S. will exit the cold war-era treaty eliminating a wide range of nuclear missiles. Ryan Brown, the Pentagon.
VANIER: Steve Hall is a retired CIA Chief of Russian Operations, now a CNN U.S. Security Analyst. So Steve, what is this, the U.S. flexing its muscle?
STEVE HALL, CNN U.S. SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's a little bit of the U.S. flexing its muscle but I think you have to take it into context, Cyril, in terms of what the Russians have been up to. Let's recall that the Russians annex, the legally Annex Crimea the first time that's happened since the end of World War II. And they have been working to continue to destabilize the situation in eastern Ukraine by essentially sending Russians and Russian supported troops into that area.
So it's -- it is indeed the United States reacting, I think would be the most accurate way to put it to what Russia -- what Vladimir Putin is doing in the region and also as your reporter mentioned also in the -- on the other side of Russia on the Pacific side off of Vladivostok. So this is -- this is I think an attempt to speak to Putin in a language that he understands, that perhaps these things will not go without a response from the United States and hopefully the international community.
VANIER: So if the goal is to contain Russia or limit aggressive Russian military behavior, is it working?
HALL: I think that remains to be seen. What we've been trying to do and by we, I mean the West, not just the United States, but Western countries have been trying to do things like impose sanctions and other types of diplomatic and economic measures to try to register the displeasure that the unit -- that the international community has with Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its activities in eastern Ukraine.
The problem with sanctions, of course, is that they're slow. It takes a while to determine what's really going on and you could argue that Vladimir Putin perhaps doesn't care as much about sanctions as he does when he's looking at actual military force from the United States and again hopefully the NATO allies as well.
VANIER: Right. And Russia has been resisting the sanctions or coping with sanctions for a number of years now. So I wonder is all of this enough? Will Russia see this latest move for instance, the fact that the U.S. is getting ready to send a warship or preparing to send a warship in the Black Sea. Will they look at this and think OK, well there's only so far we can go or will they think well actually there -- the response is very limited? [01:05:03] HALL: It'll be interesting to see. Well, one would hope for the former that Vladimir Putin would say look, I have taken as much advantage as I can of the situation that we have. And that situation is a Western alliance NATO that is -- that is more divided and more preoccupied with its attention elsewhere than it's been -- it's been in recent past that were argued. The United States also distracted with its own internal political situations. The U.K. also you know distracted with things like Brexit. So I think that Vladimir Putin has calculated that he's going to take as much as he can, take as much geopolitical advantage as he can. And then when he starts to get pushback, the hope of course on the Western side is that he'll say OK, that's as far as I can go without really starting something that I don't want to be involved in. So we'll see how far he's willing to push on this.
VANIER: Is this any different -- is this much different in your view from what the Obama administration did and would have done in similar circumstances? It's -- there are some similarities and some -- and some differences. The Obama administration was relatively aggressive I would say with sanctions and other attempts to message the Russians about what displeased the United States in the West.
However, the Obama administration was very concerned and reluctant to send for example defensive weaponry to Ukraine, to help the Ukrainians defend against what is essentially a Russian invasion of the eastern part of their company -- country and of course what happened in Crimea. So this is a bit more aggressive but it still falls within the general category of sort of not routine operations but acceptable operations, the freedom of navigation, the freedom of ships of all countries to travel to these locations. So I'd say it's a bit more aggressive and we'll see what Putin's reactions.
VANIER: All right, Steve Hall, CNN U.S. Security Analyst, thank you very much.
VANIER: Now I want to take you to the state of Texas where former U.S. President George H.W. Bush lies in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, live pictures right now. There is to be a second memorial service in a few hours before is laid to rest at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station Texas.
On Wednesday, thousands of mourners, as well as President Trump and every living former U.S. president, gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington to pay tribute to America's 41st president. Jamie Gangel reports.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Washington says goodbye to President George H.W. Bush. Every living U.S. President, royalty, world leaders, politicians, and dear friends at the National Cathedral, a ceremony filled with tears and laughter.
JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: As Dana Carvey said, the key to a Bush 41 impersonation is Mr. Rogers trying to be John Wayne.
GANGEL: Former Senator Alan Simpson a longtime friend recalled how Bush helped him during a crisis.
ALAN SIMPSON (R), FORMER SENATOR, WYOMING: He reached out to me while I'm tangled in rich controversy and taking my lumps and he said, yes. There were staff members all who told me not to do this but Al, this is about friendship and loyalty.
GANGEL: Brian Mulroney former Canadian Prime Minister praised Bush's leadership as the Cold War came to an end.
BRIAN MULRONEY, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, CANADA: No occupant of the Oval Office was more courageous, more principled, and more honorable than George Herbert Walker Bush.
GANGEL: The son eulogized his father.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To us, he was close to perfect but not totally perfect. His short game was lousy. He wasn't exactly Fred Astaire on the dance floor. The man couldn't stomach vegetables, especially broccoli. And by the way, he passed these genetic defects along to us.
GANGEL: And praised him for teaching him how to lead in public life and in private.
BUSH: Through our tears let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief by the smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom's hand again.
GANGEL: And a final departure from Washington for the 41st president aboard the same 747 he used while in office taking him home to Texas for the last time.
[01:10:02] GANGEL: Special Air Mission 41 has now landed back in Texas. There will be a final Memorial on Thursday and former President George H.W. Bush will be laid to rest at his Presidential Library. Jamie Gangel, CNN Washington.
VANIER: Brian Karem CNN Political Analyst joins us. He's executive editor of The Sentinel Newspapers. Brian, you followed all the day's events obviously. Most memorable moment of the day for you?
BRIAN KAREM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I guess it was when George Bush Jr., George W Bush handed Mrs. Obama some candy prior to going up and speaking. I think that was a very touching moment when Michelle Obama, he reached over, he had pulled out the candy and gave it to her and the smiles they exchanged and the warmth that they showed each other was genuine and I thought that was probably one of the most poignant moments of the whole day.
I think it was also pointing it was very telling for this administration how diminished our current president looked against the other heads of state who sat there.
VANIER: So I want to show back to back first of all when the current president, 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump walks in, shakes hands with Barack Obama who's sitting next to his wife Melania Trump, shakes hands with Michelle Obama but you have two other living presidents sitting in the pews beside them does not shake hands with them and that moment was (INAUDIBLE) And then -- and just to complete that picture in compare and contrast because we saw Bill Clinton, we saw Jimmy Carter. This is George W. Bush walking in going out of his way to shake hands with every -- there's the candy there. We see candy. All right, your turn.
KAREM: Yes, I think it was -- I mean, it was a difference in grace, a difference in elegance, and it was sad and poignant and pointed to all this country has been and could be and how the current President is kind of an anti-president. He comes in and shakes up the (INAUDIBLE) but we kind of want our presidents to be dignified and to show some respect and to be observant of others and to show some quiet dignity and that hasn't been the case of this administration and it came in a very subtle yet haunting way today at the funeral for another leader who has been called in repose you know, the last great moderate president.
VANIER: So I want to play for you the words of his son, the 43rd president George W. Bush. Here is some of his words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Of course, dad taught me another special lesson. He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity leads with courage and asked with love and his heart for the citizens of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Is it fair to look at that -- I mean is he just eulogizing his father or is it fair to look at that as also a silent criticism of a man we know he doesn't like very much, the current president.
KAREM: Well, I think those words would have been said about President Bush no matter who the current president is. So in fairness to his son, I mean as a son, as a father, I looked at those and was very -- it was heartwarming. And so yes, he was eulogizing his father as best as he could. But because of the current conditions in the White House, you can't help but look at it as a subtle rebuke of the man who is the President of the United States, whether it was meant to be or not because the very words that he says of his father, the current occupant of the White House has shown none of those characteristics.
So even if you are just eulogizing your father, you look at the current occupant you go, wow, it would be nice if we had that once again. And so it -- I don't think he meant it as a rebuke of President Donald Trump but it stands as a stark and very significant reminder of what we've had in this country and what we lack now.
VANIER: So again, I want to compare and contrast and listen to some of the things that Donald Trump has had to say about the Bushes, the whole family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thousand points of life, I never quite got that one. What the hell is that?
Well, I think Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United States.
Poor Jeb Bush. I mean this poor guy with his low energy, it's sad, you know, it's sad. I came up with that term, it became so defining it's like having it on his forehead. I am low --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Now, for somebody who has defined his political persona that way with those direct attacks, I think it's not going out on a limb to say that he's guaranteed to get criticism on a day like this because you can't climb up that hill. You can't I should say climb up from that hole you've dug for yourself and then --
KAREM: There you go.
VANIER: -- and then portray civility on that day. But my question is this.
VANIER: Has Donald Trump actually and has this White House actually learned from the last significant political death that we saw in this country that of John McCain? And the reason I ask is because at the time he equivocated on Twitter as to the tone that he set, the flag at the White House didn't go down immediately and all those things were corrected this time.
[01:14:56] KAREM: Well, I think this president faces a very steep learning curve, it's a 90-degree slope. And so, I think that there were people on his staff who were well aware of what happened last time and corrected it. But I don't think Donald Trump has changed any. I think he's impervious to change that's one of the things that people love or hate about him. Is that Donald Trump is Donald Trump. And the things that he says about -- that he said about Bush, he doesn't regret any of those.
You have to understand, in Donald Trump's world, this is a mere hyperbole, this is chutzpah. He doesn't take it as seriously as other's take it. He doesn't realize sometimes that his words have meaning and have weight. And as the president of the United States, has a particular amount of weight to them.
I give him the benefit of the doubt in that regard. I think he's impervious to change, I think he's impervious to that type of learning. But that's also scary because he is the president of the United States, and at the end of the day he represents and serves all of us. And I think he's done it poorly and I think that today, you saw him sat with his arms crossed. People were giving him grief for not following the Apostle's Creed and all of that. But I think Donald Trump was just being today the quintessential Donald Trump. Somebody took his phone out of his hand. So, thank goodness he didn't -- you know, tweet during the middle of the service. I would have almost expected that had he done so in.
In fact, as I said earlier that I was speaking to a member of the White House staff today. He said, we just hope he gets through this without embarrassing himself. And that was the big hope for the president of the United States going in today's service for another president who had died.
VANIER: That's an interesting observation. Brian Karem, thank you so much for joining us.
KAREM: Thank you for having me.
VANIER: George H.W. Bush will be buried in Texas on Thursday. Tune in for our live coverage. It starts at 3:00 in the afternoon, London time. 11:00 p.m. if you are in Hong Kong. And is right here on CNN.
Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, what new satellite images tell us about North Korea's ballistic missile program? Ahead of another potential Trump- Kim summit.
Plus, the British academic, pardon from a life sentence for spying in the United Arab Emirates, speaks exclusively to CNN about his ordeal.
VANIER: The chief financial officer of Chinese tech company Huawei is under arrest in Canada. Meng Wanzhu was taken to custody while changing planes in Vancouver and faces extradition to the United States.
Authorities aren't sharing details of the case. But the U.S. Justice Department is reportedly investigating whether Meng violated trade sanctions against Iran. Huawei, says it's not aware of any wrongdoing and that the company complies with all laws and regulations where it operates.
Also, there are new indications that North Korea is doing very little to slow its ballistic missile program. Satellite images obtained exclusively by CNN show that the North is expanding a key missile base in -- near the Chinese border.
And apparently, a new facility is also being built. Our Paula Hancocks is standing by in Seoul, South Korea. Paula, what more can you tell us about this?
[01:20:35] PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, these are commercially -- a commercial satellite images. So, open source material that have been assessed by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey.
And what it shows is that in the northeast of North Korea, very close to the Chinese border is this, this missile base called, Yeongjeo. Now, this is known about U.S. intelligence assessments and analyst know about this particular facility.
But what these images show is that just about seven miles 11 kilometers away from that facility, there is another facility that is being built.
Now, we hear that back in 2017, there was construction in this area constructing drive-through tunnels in the mountainous -- a very mountainous region which experts say could well be to hide long-range missiles.
And it appears in 2018 that this construction is still ongoing. So, what we're hearing from this group that have been looking at these satellite images is that it is another example of how the missile program is still developing under the North Korean leader, Kim Jong- un.
Despite negotiations that are ongoing for the denuclearization process. This is what we have been hearing over recent weeks. Just last month, the CSIS report as well, saying that they found at least a dozen unnamed or previously unknown about missile facilities, as well. So, this is just a continuation of that. Cyril?
VANIER: All right. So, what conclusions can we draw from this? I mean, the U.S. and North Korea are supposed to be working toward denuclearization? Is this evidence of deceit? Is this evidence that North Korea isn't working toward that goal?
HANCOCKS: Technically, North Korea is not violating any agreement that they have made with this current administration, by continuing to develop its, its missile program. There hasn't been a definitive list from North Korea about what they have. What facilities they have. What institutions? How many warheads? How many missiles? That has not been forthcoming.
In fact, we heard just last month from the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence that, that wasn't necessary to have that list before a potential second summit between Kim Jong-un and the U.S. President Donald Trump. That was perceived as really the U.S. blinking first in a step back from what they were demanding from North Korea.
So technically, North Korea is not doing anything that is in violation of the agreement that we saw in Singapore, in June of this year. But, of course, it's not really in keeping with the spirit of trying to negotiate with the United States. It goes back to the Singapore summit, and the fact, that, that agreement was vague enough for both sides to walk away thinking that they had achieved what they went to Singapore to achieve.
But, of course, both sides agree to something very different. And it just underlines the difficulties that the U.S. is going to have going forward not knowing exactly what North Korea has. And even if a list is going to be produced by Pyongyang at some point in the future, there is a lot of assessments and speculation from analysts about how accurate or how truthful such a list might even be. Cyril. VANIER: Yes, well, up until this point, U.S. President Donald Trump has had nothing but nice things to say about Kim Jong-un. And none of these various pieces of evidence that keep emerging have deterred him from that position. Live from Seoul, South Korea, Paula Hancocks. Thank you very much.
Now, to CNN exclusive interview, a British academic who was sentenced to life in prison for spying in the United Arab Emirates, says he was forced to confess and threatened with imprisonment, and torture.
The UAE pardoned Matthew Hedges last month. He and his wife spoke to CNN's Max Foster about the ordeal.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why did you sign it?
MATTHEW HEDGES, FORMER PRISONER OF UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Because I had no other option.
FOSTER: But were they threatening you physically or --
HEDGES: Yes. So, I wasn't physically tortured. But I was intimidated and I was threatened with acts of physical violence. They had on one occasion threatened to illegally rendition me to an overseas military base where they would beat and torture me.
FOSTER: So, they said these are the charges we want you to admit to as opposed to what were you doing. Who came up with the idea that you might be an agent, for example?
HEDGES: They did, completely. This started off asking me if I was a member of the Foreign Office. Then it started. Then, it went to, are you a member of MI6? And then, they started to continue going down this line. This is when they, they asked me later what rank I was, and they said, are you a second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain, major?
And then in a moment of panic, I was like, yes, yes, sure, I'm a captain. Just, just to try and to appease them. And to tell them what they wanted, to help them go along. Because if I didn't, things would have been very different, and they made shorter to remind me that I was being treated relatively well compared to how it could have been.
So, I had to keep -- keep in going with the process to make sure my own welfare was, was OK.
[01:25:39] FOSTER: He's back, but you're still very worried about your futures. Just explain what you're concerned about now.
DANIELA TEJADA, WIFE OF MATTHEW HEDGES: You can't erase the mistreatment and all the trauma that these seven months of struggle have, have had on Matt, and on myself, and our family's, psychological and physical. Matt will certainly take a long time to recover from the traumas of it. And the medication that he was given and the general mistreatment.
But there's also the fact that he was granted a pardon, but he was never actually declared innocent, which he is.
FOSTER: So, technically, he's still -- on paper, a spy.
TEJADA: So, in the eyes of the law, he -- he's still a spy. Although the British government, the foreign secretary, and Alex Younger, head of MI6 made a very rare appearance to say, he is definitely not a spy. So, in the eyes of the law, he still is guilty of what he was accused.
FOSTER: In the UAE. But also, with their allies. That's your concern right there.
TEJADA: Internationally, that has massive repercussions, which means that we essentially won't be able to go on holidays to half of the world because his name has been tainted to such an extent.
FOSTER: So, what's your plan now? How do you clear your name? I mean, it seems like a virtually impossible task. And presumably, down the street in foreign office aren't keen to go to much further with this.
HEDGES: So this is something we're assessing. And we are looking at several ways in which we can try to achieve the same. You're right, it won't -- it won't be easy.
FOSTER: Finally, any regrets during this process?
HEDGES: I wish I hadn't happened for both myself, my family, but also for the UAE. Because I think, they need to have a look and see what do they stand for. This process has shed some light on -- some negative light on their process, on their laws, and I think maybe that's something they might have to look into.
VANIER: And that was CNN's Max Foster, speaking with Matthew Hedges and his wife. Meantime, a high-ranking UAE official stands by his country's claim that Hedges was a spy.
JABER AL-LAMKI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MEDIA AND STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, UAE: The UAE government can understand when an enemy is a spying on us. But when it comes from an ally that was a shock completely for the government. And we don't respond in the same -- in the same manner that there is no reason for us to ask him to work as a double agent. That's absolutely false, and is being rejected allegation. And we don't accept it at all.
We have a strong historical relationship between the UAE and the U.K. government. And we work with them and that's the reason we were trying all the time to find an amicable solution for that embarrassing situation for the U.K. government.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: OK, so he wasn't asked to be a double agent for the UAE. On the question of clearing his name, it's obviously something that Matthew Hedges and his wife are desperate to do. They say at the moment as things stand, he's still a guilty man in the eyes not only of the UAE but of the UAE's allies around the world, as well.
Did you think that with a pardon, this case would end, or did you always assume that he would go about trying to prove his innocence?
AL-LAMKI: In -- Hannah, in any -- in any -- in any case like espionage, a spy is a spy. We've said it on the press conference. He was 100 percent full Secret Service operative. He has been given a pardon, but that doesn't wipe out the case of being a spy, and that's something he has to live with it for the rest of his life.
VANIER: And that was Hannah Vaughan Jones, they are speaking with UAE spokesperson Jaber al-Lamki, earlier.
And the first talks in two years aimed at ending Yemen Civil War. We'll tell you who's taking part and what's at stake in the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Stay with us.
[01:32:05] VANIER: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.
Let's look at your headlines.
The U.S. Is making plans to send a navy warship into the Black Sea in response to the growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Both countries have ramped up military operations after Russia captured three Ukrainian ships and two dozen sailors in the region last week.
Satellite images obtained exclusively by CNN show North Korea is expanding a key long-range missile base in the mountainous region near the Chinese border. And it appears a new facility is also being built 11 kilometers away. This comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is considering a second summit with Kim Jong-un.
The warring parties in Yemen are preparing for their first direct talks in more than two years at a castle in Sweden. Negotiations are expected to begin in the coming hours. Yemeni forces supported by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. will be meeting with Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Let me tell you more about the war in Yemen. It's estimated that 85,000 children under age five in Yemen may have already died of starvation because of this war. We want to show you exactly what it is like to try and save a young life in the country. CNN has obtained exclusive footage and I need to warn, Nima Elbagir's report contains some graphic images.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At the front lines in Hodaidah, every inch of territory gained and lost has been brutally fought over paralyzing Yemen and ravaging its people.
As the world finally works to force the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels to an agreement, for so many here it's already too late.
What we're about to show you is almost unimaginable in its horror. These are nine-month-old Akil's (ph) last gasps. Filmed inside a local clinic, Akil died as the medical team fought to revive him. His desperate father borrowed the money to bring him here and what he's living with is a little body wrapped in white.
In hospitals and clinics across Yemen time is running out. Little Mukhtasin (ph) is also nine months old. He struggles to even keep his eyes open.
Support for the war in Yemen is waning and many U.S. lawmakers want out. Although U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says without American involvement, life here would be worse.
It's hard to see how.
Nima Elbagir, CNN -- London.
[01:34:55] VANIER: We want to follow up on what Nima was telling us about U.S. lawmakers. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators just introduced a resolution calling Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince complicit in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The resolution says Mohammed bin Salman should be held responsible not only for Khashoggi's death, and this is where it connects to Yemen, but also for Yemen's humanitarian crisis, for the blockade of Qatar, and the imprisonment of political dissidents.
Our Manu Raju has more details.
MANU RAJU: Now, senators from both parties are trying to confront Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration's timid response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, behind the scenes, top senators from both parties plan to begin discussions for a deal that would go after the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman as well as target the U.S. role in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. In addition trying to halt any arms sales between the United States and Saudi Arabia. All in response to what they believe is clear evidence that the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia were behind the killing of Khashoggi. Even though the Trump administration and the White House have downplayed any link between the Crown Prince and between the killing and of also, the President himself has pushed forward saying that there should be a strong relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and they should move forward with those arms sales.
But the key briefing that occurred earlier this week with the CIA director Gina Haspel and top senators made it crystal clear in the eyes of Bob Corker that the Crown Prince was behind this murder.
SENATOR BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: What I do know is that, you know, the CIA director came in and -- with some analysts and gave the most precise presentation I've ever heard in 12 years.
And I left there as I mentioned, somebody came up today and corrected me on my comments yesterday when I said if he went before a jury he would be found guilty in 30 minutes. One of my colleagues came out and said no, no, no, no -- 20.
RAJU: Now, the question is whether or not they can actually cut a deal, get it done in time. But the goal is to get this on the floor of the United States Senate as soon as Monday. And if it passes the Senate, it still needs to pass the U.S. House and then at that point they would confront the President with either a decision to either sign this into law or veto it sending it back to Capitol Hill.
Manu Raju, CNN -- Capitol Hill.
VANIER: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, France backs down, giving in to the demands of the yellow vest protesters. However the demonstrations are not over yet. We'll tell you why.
VANIER: And we've seen an about face from the French government, an increase in fuel taxes that was planned for next year has now been scrapped. The decision comes after violent demonstrations against it.
[01:39:57] But the protest movement has grown from anger over rising fuel costs to complaints about the cost of living and the French president's policies. The government hopes things will calm down.
Here's how the prime minister put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDOUARD PHILIPPE, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The state is to remain strong and stable. It must be, above all, the guarantor of public order. Setting the course and attaining this is a necessity for governing France. And as I said yesterday, no tax is worth putting the unity of the nation at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Yes. But France is still in crisis mode trying to deal with the demands of these protests. And it's not the first time the French government has been challenged by a violent uprising.
Jim Bittermann takes a look back.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Forty-year-old Emmanuel Macron is the first president of France who has no direct memory of what happened on the streets here in May of 1968. But many of those around the young leader recall graphically what took place back then and the consequences.
On the surface, the violent scenes of the protests that have taken place here looked a lot like the scenes from 50 years ago. The street barricades, burnings cars, running battles between police armed with tear gas and protesters armed with cobblestones -- all are signs in France that public anger has reached a boiling point. That people have had enough.
Laurent Joffrin, today editor of the left-leaning newspaper "Liberation", was a university student in 1968 and confronting the police on the streets.
LAURENT JOFFRIN, EDITOR, "LIBERATION": It's France, you know. It's a country that -- a country where you like rebellions and demonstrations. That's a cultural thing. And the fact that the -- that the government is lost. It was the same in 1968 in front of a revolt that they didn't foresee at all and don't understand in the first place.
BITTERMANN: While '68 protest started at the universities and today's began with higher prices at the gas pump, both then and now localized demonstrations quickly spread throughout the country. Common to both as well, is growing sense that the government was having a difficult time getting a handle on the situation as more and more groups joined in.
But a well-known French journalist who is a researcher for NBC News back in 1968 says there are major differences today.
CHRISTINE OCKERT, FRENCH JOURNALIST: First of all, the Internet, the social media, the fact that this movement is amorphous -- no leaders. The very few people who come out immediately receive threats from the others so it's very dangerous.
The other dimension is the trade unions are completely out, political parties are completely out.
BITTERMANN: Just like 1968 though the demands of the protesters have broadened as the protest has worn on. Demonstrators demanding more and more and now just like in '68, some want the president to resign even though he was democratically-elected just 18 months ago.
President Macron's government has now made compromises but still trying to identify a leader of the grassroots Yellow Vest Movement to accept them, still looking for an exit strategy.
Back in 1968, President Charles De Gaulle faced the country paralyzed in protests. He decided to suddenly leave the country without telling anybody where he was going or when he would come back. After a day of political uncertainty and high drama, he returned to make major concessions to the protesters, dissolve the parliament and call for new elections, something that just (INAUDIBLE).
Even though Macron is a committed follower of De Gaulle, it seems doubtful that the French president today could or will try anything quite so drastic at this stage. But just like then, there's a growing feeling Macron's style must change in order to prevent further chaos.
Jim Bittermann, CNN -- Paris.
VANIER: Now to Brexit -- in a report the British attorney general says the U.K. could be trapped in endless negotiations with the European Union by Theresa May's plan. How to maintain trade between the E.U. and Northern Ireland would be the sticking point. Downing Street was forced to publish the warning after MPs held the government in contempt for not making the full legal opinion public.
IAN BLACKFORD, WESTMINSTER LEADER, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: Is it time that the Prime Minister took responsibility, a responsibility for concealing the facts on her Brexit deal from members of this house and the public. Who should take responsibility?
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: He's absolutely wrong about that. We have not concealed the facts on the Brexit deal for members of this. What he will see is the legal position that we set out on Monday in the 34-page document together with the statements made and the answers to questions given by the attorney general on Monday very clearly set out the legal position.
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[01:45:02] VANIER: Now, lawmakers are debating Theresa May's Brexit plan ahead of next week's vote and currently it does not appear that she has the votes to approve her Brexit deal in parliament.
And Facebook is looking a bit red in the face at the moment. Hundreds of internal documents that the company tried to keep secret have spilled into the public domain and it's not a flattering picture. E- mail among Facebook executives show some proposed profiting from the company's user data.
We get more from CNN's Hadas Gold.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than 200 pages of internal Facebook e-mails were released on Wednesday by a U.K. parliamentary committee investigating disinformation and data privacy. The e-mails, mostly from 2012 until 2015, include conversations among executives like CEO Mark Zuckerberg as one of those external companies who work with Facebook's platform like Microsoft, Lyft, Tinder and AirBNB.
Some of the e-mails show Mark Zuckerberg discussing how to better gain value for the platforms by leveraging access to user data. Others show how the company restricted competitors from accessing Facebook data.
The chair of the parliamentary committee, Damian Collins, said they released the documents because they raise important questions about Facebook's approach to user data. The document stems from a lawsuit brought against Facebook by a small app company called 643. Now Facebook didn't want these internal e-mails to be released and they're still technically under seal by order of a California judge.
But last month the U.K. parliamentary committee got their hands on them in dramatic fashion when 643 CEO was escorted to parliament after a sergeant-at-arms appeared at his London hotel.
A Facebook spokesperson told CNN that 643's lawsuit is baseless and the documents are only part of the story and have been presented in what they say is a misleading way. The spokesperson emphasized that they have never sold user data.
The U.K. parliamentary committee continues to request mark Zuckerberg to appear before them to answer questions. Thus far, he has resisted. We'll see if these documents change the equation.
Hadas Gold, CNN -- London.
VANIER: Millions of refugee children need many things to survive but to thrive, they need to play.
Coming up, the "Sesame Street" muppets head to some of the poorest places on earth to teach young kids who have nothing, how learn by having fun.
VANIER: Millions of children around the world will spend this holiday season in one of the least festive places you can imagine -- a refugee camp. Displaced from their homes by war, violence, disasters these children face a precarious existence, devoid of the most basic necessities most of us often take for granted. There's a chronic shortage of nutritious food, fresh water, warm clothing, healthcare, education.
According to the U.N. as of 2017, more than 69 million people worldwide have been displaced. 25 million of them are classified as refugees. That means often living in squalid, unsafe conditions. And half the refugees in the world are children under the age of 18 -- kids who have no means to fend for themselves.
One critical factor affecting these children has often been overlooked and that is play time. It is a way for them to cope with the trauma, a way of keeping their minds and bodies engaged in healthy activities. A way for them to be happy, even if only for a moment. In other words bringing a moment of sunshine into their lives.
[01:50:00] (THEME SONG FROM "SESAME STREET")
VANIER: And perhaps no one understands better the importance of play in the development of young children than these guys -- the people behind "Sesame Street" as soon they and the "Sesame Street" muppets will begin working their magic on Syrian and Rohingya refugee children. All of this thanks to a $100 million grant from the Lego Foundation.
All right. With us from New York to explain more about this are Sherrie Westin, president of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, and Sara Bouchie, vice president of the Lego Foundation.
Thank you so much to both of you for joining us. Our team here really loves the idea behind what you're doing.
Sherrie -- perhaps I'd like to start with you and can you explain to us what it is like? Your teams have experience doing this. Going to see some of the unluckiest kids in the world and telling hey, I'm going to play with you.
SERRIE WESTIN, GLOBAL IMPACT AND PHILANTHROPY AT SESAME WORKSHOP: I think the thing is, you know the power of "Sesame Street" and its proven educational content. We have almost 50 years of experience.
And you're right. These children deserve a childhood but most importantly they deserve quality early childhood development. And many have left everything they know -- their schools, their homes -- they've been through a great deal of crisis as you could imagine.
And the most important thing to do is to reach them in those critical early years with quality learning.
VANIER: How do they react?
WESTIN: Well, you can see from some of the images you're showing that one of the things I love is these muppets have just universal appeal. And children everywhere connect with them. They relate to them. They bring joy to the children. And so it's a wonderful thing to see children reacting to the muppets.
But most importantly, we're reaching them with education. I think you mentioned a little bit about the statistics at the beginning. And less than 3 percent of all humanitarian aid goes to education, and a fraction of that goes to early education. It is so important.
(CROSSTALK) VANIER: So almost nothing, in other words. Almost none of the money actually goes to education. And you're right. This gets overlooked. I did not suspect that.
WESTIN: Right. Well, somewhat understandable when you think of a refugee crisis, there's shelter, there's immediate need to save lives. But as these crises are more and more extended where children and families are displaced for much longer periods of time if we're not investing in education, we're not giving these children a path forward. And that's an entire generation lost.
VANIER: Sarah -- tell me why the Lego Foundation wants to zero in on this.
SARAH BOUCHIE, LEGO FOUNDATION: Well, the Lego Foundation believes deeply that every child should have an opportunity to learn and grow in a playful and meaningful way. We have spent the last ten years really evaluating what evidence works to help children grow and learn and we have seen the play of ways when things are meaningful and joyful and interactive and iterative.
The children learn better and they're more engaged. When they're more engaged, it helps to develop these critical neurological connections that are needed in order for healthy brains to grow.
And in a situation like this, when you know that kids are experiencing so much trauma, having the resilience that you need in order to grow strong is important and we feel like if we can do something, we should. And drawing attention to this issue is really important to us.
VANIER: And tell me a little bit more about that because I read your literature. And it's very eloquent in the way it explains that, you know, these are not -- these are children who have been hurt, who've often been traumatized.
I mean in the case of Rohingya children, and we've covered this extensively on CNN, there are people who fled their homes, they saw -- often they saw murders, they saw sexual violence against their parents, against their neighbors. And all of a sudden they find themselves displaced in a place that they've never been in before. Many of them are in Cox's Bazaar now in a totally different country in Bangladesh.
You will be working -- "Sesame Street" will be working with some of these children. What exactly are their needs and their fragility?
BOUCHIE: Well, there's one really important thing. We know from science that kids need basically three things -- three things when children are behind.
First of all, you know, need to intervene early and make sure that there is a caring adult in their life that can help to ground them and give them a sense of routine and boundaries and help them to process the feelings that they have. We know that you have to give them opportunities to develop critical life skills and those are the kinds of skills that help you regulate, when do you prioritize things, and how do you hold back when you're excited about things?
[01:55:02] And we know that in order to help them grow and develop that reducing stress is really important. And play does all three of those things in a really critical way.
VANIER: Sherrie -- this is a sad question, I honestly wish I didn't have to ask it but is it ever too late? Do you ever work with children where you think if we had only got to them earlier, we could have course corrected?
WESTIN: Listen, that is the whole point of this. I think the reason this grant is so important and before it the MacArthur Grant because quite frankly a year ago, MacArthur stepped up and they were the first to invest a significant amount, $100 million, audacious philanthropy, in reaching young children in crisis settings.
And they hoped as we did that it would be a catalyst for others to step up because we know if we reach them in the early years, we have the greatest chance to change their trajectory, to give them a path forward.
And for Lego to step up and give a grant of the same size, $100 million, this is really transforming humanitarian response. And we want it to enlighten others for others to do the same because if we can change the way we respond to humanitarian crises and invest in reaching children in those critical early years, we literally can change their outcomes.
And if they don't have the tools they need to thrive, how can they be expected to rebuild their societies? This is really an investment in a more peaceful stable world for us all, if we're starting to invest in giving children a path.
BOUCHIE: There are two partners on the ground, the International Rescue Committee and BRACK (ph) -- it's in the Syrian response region and in Bangladesh who are working extremely hard with children and their families in all different sorts of ways.
And we're proud for them to be a part of this consortium and the grants and would encourage anybody who wants to find out more to think about the three recipients plus New York University that the Lego Foundation has chosen.
VANIER: Well, thank you so much to both of you, Sherrie Westin, Sarah Bouchie for your time and also your eloquence in explaining to us what this is all about. Thank you very much.
WESTIN: Thank you for having us.
BOUCHIE: Thank you.
VANIER: That's it for this hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. The news continues right after this on CNN. Stay