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Yemen Peace Talks To Begin Today In Sweden, Says U.N.; U.S. Prepares to Send Warship to Black Sea; U.S. Senators Claim Saudi Crown Prince "Complicit" in Khashoggi Killing; France Cancels Fuel Tax Increase for 2019; Brexit Legal Memo, U.K. Risks Endless E.U. Negotiations; CFO of Chinese Tech Company Huawei Arrested; British Academic Talks about Detention in UAE. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired December 6, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): With military tensions rising between Russia and Ukraine, the U.S. is now preparing to send a warship into the Black Sea.
Lawmakers in the U.S. and officials in Turkey are putting new pressure on the Saudi government over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Plus the state funeral for George H.W. Bush: touching tributes, fond remembrances and one awkward moment.
We're live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta. Thank you for you joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier.
VANIER: The U.S. military is responding to the simmering tensions between Russia and Ukraine making plans to send a warship into the Black Sea. Moscow and Kiev have been at odds since a confrontation in the waters off Crimea just last week and the U.S. response is just one of the ways Washington is testing the Kremlin.
CNN's Ryan Browne is at 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 Browne, CNN, 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 muscles?
STEVE HALL, CNN U.S. SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's a little bit of the U.S. flexing its muscles 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 annexed, illegally annexed 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 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?
HALL: It'll be interesting to see. Well, one would hope for the former, that Vladimir Putin would say, look, I have --
HALL: -- 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 we'll argue.
The United States is also distracted with its own internal political situations. The U.K. also, you know, is 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?
HALL: 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 and 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 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 reaction is.
VANIER: All right, Steve Hall, CNN U.S. security analyst, thank you very much.
VANIER: 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 but also for Yemen's humanitarian crisis, for the blockade of Qatar and the imprisonment of political dissidents.
And it is not just Saudi Arabia being called out here. The senators are also implicitly rebuking President Trump for casting doubt on the crown prince's involvement. One top senator from the president's own party said he simply doesn't agree with Mr. Trump on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The presentation was very damning. I mean, it's just -- so, now, you know, we move ahead, at least in my mind, with absolutely no question that he ordered it and monitored it, you know, knew everything that was happening.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you make of the president saying he may or may not have done it, referring to the crown prince?
CORKER: Well, again, I don't know what presentation he has seen. I don't. But I don't know. All I know is, you know, I know they have access to the same intelligence I have, they can have Gina come over at any time. I assume she does daily briefings with him. And there's no question in my mind that the crown prince ordered this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Senator Bob Corker, speaking to our congressional reporter earlier.
Meantime, Turkish authorities are threatening to get the international community involved if Saudi Arabia is not more transparent in its investigation. On Wednesday, a Turkish court issued arrest warrants for two Saudis close to the crown prince who are suspected of involvement in the murder.
Our Jomana Karadsheh joins us from Istanbul, where she's been covering this story from the very beginning.
Jomana, Turkey has really been trying to keep up the pressure on Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi was murdered back in early October. Tell us about this latest move and how much leverage Turkey really has left.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, on Wednesday, the chief prosecutor in Istanbul who is overseeing the investigation issued two arrest warrants for two senior Saudi officials. That is Saud al-Qahtani, a former senior advisor to the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and also another arrest warrant for Ahmed Asiri, who was the former deputy head of intelligence.
They say they issued these arrest warrants based on strong suspicions that they were amongst the group of individuals who planned the events that took place here behind me at the Saudi consulate here in Istanbul. Now, back in October, these names were released by the Saudis.
They say the two were fired from their positions for their role in the killing and in the operation. And we know that they have taken -- the Saudis have taken several measures also against al-Qahtani, including a travel ban.
But a senior Turkish official --
KARADSHEH: -- is saying that the -- that this move by the chief prosecutor in Istanbul, quote, "reflects the view that Saudi authorities won't take formal action against those individuals," and this senior official also saying that the international community is very skeptical.
They have doubts that Saudi Arabia is really going to hold those responsible accountable, that they will really have prosecution that is credible in Saudi Arabia and, again, so they're saying that the solution is, hand over the suspects to the Turks, to the country where the crime took place and let them face justice here.
And, as you mentioned, we heard that renewed call also from the foreign minister yesterday for an international investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
But so far, the message from Saudi Arabia, Cyril, as we have heard in recent weeks, they are saying, no, that those individuals will face justice in that country and they're refusing to extradite them to Turkey.
VANIER: Jomana Karadsheh, reporting live from Istanbul. Thank you very much.
There are new indications North Korea is not slowing its ballistic missile program. Satellite images obtained exclusively by CNN show the North is expanding a key long-range missile base in the mountainous region near the Chinese border. Apparently a new facility is also being built just 11 kilometers away from there.
We're learning this as U.S. president Donald Trump is considering a second summit with Kim Jong-un to press the North Korean leader to hold up his end of the bargain on denuclearization. It is an about-face from the French government: a rise in fuel taxes
that was planned for next year has been scrapped. The decision comes after violent demonstrations. But now, after the government backed down, the protests are still gaining steam. Our Jim Bittermann tells us why.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: This is about as close as a total climb-down by the government as you can come. The presidential palace confirming to CNN tonight that there will be no fuel tax hikes in 2019. The government had planned to raise fuel taxes on January 1st to finance its environmental programs.
But because of those protests across the country, the so-called Yellow Vests movement, those protests led to government to abandon their plans. The problem is, though, that in the process of the last couple of weeks, as these protests have gone on, other people, other French have joined in with their own demands.
For example, the pensioners want to see their pensions raised.
The school students at high schools and in some universities were blocking campuses with their demands. And on Sunday night, the -- one of the larger truck drivers' unions here has called for a strike by truck drivers.
So the government was feeling mounting pressure. The question is whether this climb-down will be enough to get rid of the blockade, to get things back to normal. It is an open question. We'll just have to wait until Saturday. Some of the protesters say they're going to continue those protests this weekend -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.
VANIER: The British government has been forced to publish its full legal opinion on the Brexit deal and the fallout follows. When we return, the findings and controversy surrounding that report.
Plus the chief financial officer from a major Chinese tech company is behind bars. We'll tell you how the U.S. is involved. Stay with us.
VANIER: The British attorney general says in a report that the U.K. could be trapped in endless negotiations with the European Union by Theresa May's Brexit deal. How to maintain trade between the E.U. and Northern Ireland would be the sticking point.
Downing Street was forced to publish this warning after MPs held the government in contempt for not previously publishing the full legal opinion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 in this house and the public?
Who should take responsibility?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime Minister.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: He's absolutely wrong about that. We have not concealed the facts on the Brexit deal from members of this house.
What he will see is that the legal position that was sent out on Monday in the 34-page document, together with the statement made and the answers to questions given by the attorney general on Monday, very clearly set out the legal position.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: Lawmakers are debating Theresa May's Brexit plan ahead of next week's vote. Right now, it doesn't look as if she has enough votes. Theresa May may not survive the vote on her Brexit deal in Parliament next week.
Let's bring in CNN's Nina dos Santos from London.
Lawmakers have been pretty hostile, Nina, relative to the prime minister this week. And it is not over.
What is going on in Parliament?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: We're now to day three of the five-day debate leading up to the crucial meeting for a vote on December the 11th. And it looks like it will be a slightly more peaceful day in Parliament for the moment after the two torrid first days of the debate.
The first day obviously Theresa May suffering three defeats in three key votes, one of the worst days for any British government in the best part of 40 years. And yesterday, she was forced into the humiliating U-turn, where she had to published in full over six pages of legal advice that her attorney general was laying out about the terms and technicalities surrounding this withdrawal agreement that she just recently inked with Brussels and the devastating advice, at least according to the DUP, the Northern Irish party, that props up the majority in Parliament, was that it made it pretty emphatically clear that the U.K. could be locked in a protracted period of negotiations with the E.U. to try to extricate itself from the so- called backstop arrangement, the insurance policy, if you like, designed to try and prevent there being a hard border between the European Union and Ireland to the south and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. So the Northern Irish party is clearly seeing that as a red line that
they aren't willing to cross. The Scottish National Party, on the other hand, being even more forthright, accusing the government of trying to cover up the facts because originally the government didn't want to publish this legal document in full.
That set the ground for another torrid day in Westminster. Today MPs will look at the economic ramifications of the withdrawal agreement ahead of the vote that will take place next week.
VANIER: I wonder, is there anything that Theresa May can say at this point to get support for her Brexit deal?
DOS SANTOS: A lot of it hinges at the moment on the really contentious point, the Irish backstop. Theresa May yesterday said to Parliament, I've always been clear with you, that, in theory, yes, it is true that the U.K. wants it sent to this backstop agreement cannot unilaterally extricate itself from its customs arrangements, particularly with regard to Northern Ireland with the European Union.
But she said at the end of the day, all of this is largely hypothetical because, in theory, the backstop agreement shouldn't have to come into place. It is just a last ditch insurance policy.
Obviously that's not good enough for many MPs on both sides of the political spectrum, Leave and Remain. So unless she manages to table some kind of amendment --
DOS SANTOS: -- that modifies the backstop agreement, that means that her Brexit plan is still looking as though it's not likely to pass through Parliament with the current numbers.
Then the big question is, even if she manages to change the wording in some way to placate people here, will it be enough for Brussels?
They have made it clear they do not want to reopen this whole can of worms and they don't want to be caught renegotiating this key withdrawal agreement that is a building block for future relationships they will have from here. So that's where we stand for the moment.
In terms of the parliamentary mess, it is still looking as though only about seven MPs of Theresa May's own party could actually torpedo this deal. But there may be many more rebels on the Brexit and Remain side in her party and in other parties that are willing to vote it down, based on the votes that she lost this week, that gives us a good idea of how much resistance she's facing.
VANIER: It's barely past 7 o'clock in the morning where you are. You're going to have a fun day. Nina dos Santos, thank you.
The highest ranking Catholic official ever found guilty of concealing sexual abuse by priests has had his conviction overturned. Philip Wilson was archbishop of Adelaide, Australia, when he was accused of covering up priest sexual abuse in the 1970s. That former priest, James Fletcher, died in prison in 2006. Wilson
was sentenced to six months home detention but he appealed and the court tossed out his conviction, saying it had reasonable doubt Wilson committed the crime.
The chief financial officer of Chinese tech company Huawei is under arrest in Canada. Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody while changing planes in Vancouver and faces extradition to the United States.
Authorities aren't sharing details of this case but the U.S. Justice Department is reportedly investigating whether Meng violated trade sanctions against Iran. Our Matt Rivers is following this from Beijing.
Matt, what more can you tell us?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not a ton of information in terms of exactly what led to Meng's arrest in Canada in part because the Canadian authorities have put a publication ban in place, which prevents CNN and other media outlets from specifically talking about or referring to in our reporting the charges and evidence that back up those charges that Canada is looking at.
But what Huawei has said in a statement is that it was Meng who was going through Canada. She was changing planes and taken into custody by the Canadian authorities at the request of the Americans.
Now Huawei is saying she's facing extradition to the Eastern District of New York, where she faces a series of unspecified charges. Because of that publication ban, we can't get into the charges specifically at this point.
But here's what we can say, the broader context here. Both Bloomberg and "The Wall Street Journal" earlier this year reported that the Department of Justice in the United States was looking into Huawei and the potential that the company violated certain sanctions that the U.S. had put in place against Iran, basically that Huawei would be doing business with Iran that would break U.S. law.
So if this arrest has something to do with that, it is a big deal. Either way, this is a huge escalation on the part of the United States. This is a high-profile executive.
It's one thing to just file charges in the United States. But the fact that the U.S. authorities went to the Canadians and said not only do we want to file charges here in the U.S., we want you to arrest her and extradite her back to the U.S. to face justice in front of a judge in the Eastern District of New York.
That is a massive step up. It's a massive escalation. The Chinese won't be happy about that.
Of course, Cyril, this is all taking place in the broader context of a trade negotiation going on right now between the U.S. and China, 90 days of negotiations that were agreed to between Trump and President Xi at their meeting at the G20 in Buenos Aires a couple of days ago. Those negotiations would be hard, made all that much harder by this
VANIER: No doubt. Matt Rivers reporting live from Beijing. Thank you.
Matthew Hedges is speaking out exclusively to CNN about his ordeal. The British academic was accused of spying by the UAE and sentenced to life in prison. But last week he was pardoned and released and has since returned home to the U.K.
He said he was forced to make a bogus confession under threats of torture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW HEDGES, FORMER PRISONER OF UAE: I was in the UAE for two weeks conducting research. I thought on a number of occasions that I was being followed.
I also noticed that my phone was blocked to some degree. I went to the pre-departure room, where they take your boarding pass. And about 10 Emirate security officials came out. They are wearing the local wear but also men who just dressed all in black and had guns on them.
HEDGES: And they told me that I had to go with them. They wouldn't confirm or deny if I was under arrest. I asked them if I could have a lawyer. I wasn't allowed a lawyer. They said that there was a case against me. Then they said there wasn't a case against me. But, in essence, I had to go with them.
I wish it hadn't happened for both myself and my family but also for the UAE, because I think they need to have a look and see, what do they stand for?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: The UAE is responding, saying Hedges was treated fairly and insists that he was, quote, "100 percent a spy."
The first talks in two years aimed at ending Yemen's civil war. Who is taking part and what is at stake in what has been called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Plus former U.S. president George H.W. Bush lies in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. We'll have more on the events honoring George H.W. Bush's life and legacy when we come back.
VANIER: Welcome back. I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's look at the headlines.
VANIER: This is a scene that could not be more opposite than the devastation and destruction of Yemen, peace talks are set to begin in the coming hours at a castle in Sweden. The goal is a cease-fire and an end to the crippling famine in what the U.N. calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
What should we make of this?
Let's ask the question to our CNN senior international correspondent Sam Kiley. He's live this hour in Abu Dhabi.
Sam, first, who is going to be talking to whom?
And perhaps more importantly, is this an earnest attempt to stop the fighting?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, I think the first part of your question is absolutely spot on who is talking to whom. Now, in broad terms you have on the one side the Houthis who predominantly share backed rebels -- Shia rebels backed by Iran dominating the north of Yemen close to the Saudi border. They're up against the Saudi-led coalition which includes the Yemeni government and the United Arab Emirates and of course Saudi Arabia.
Now, they are the internationally recognized body that is the Yemeni government. But what are not present for these talks are the many other militias that are involved in this fight, not least southern separatists' movement who are absolutely critical at the moment to the government-led efforts. The Yemeni government backed by the Saudis to try to capture for example the Port in Hodeidah. They have been excluded all along from all of the peace talks and that have failed in the past.
So longer term, there will be in any case continued frictions in the Yemen even if there is all there a possible temporary ceasefire might be the best possible option that could be imagined, that could emerged from these talks in Stockholm. But nonetheless, these are coming several at a time when there is greater hope for a breakthrough, not less because the whole war in Yemen because of the humanitarian catastrophes that are unfolding there not just the threat of famine but also the danger of a Cholera epidemic are reflecting extremely badly.
They become a very toxic issue particularly for the Saudi-led coalition at a time of course when Saudi Arabia is already suffering international reputational damage over the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi. So in a sense because things have got so bad and there is so little support now that continuing to prosecute a violence future in Yemen, there is hope that the backers of both sides might be prepared to encourage their clients if you like inside the Yemen to inched toward peace. But in the long-term, I think it's very, very distant prospect and it
need lasting peace because of the -- there are so many different war and factions and so many people have vested interest frankly in profiteering from the war, Cyril.
VANIER: So I want to just brief in you touched on this get back to the second part of the question. Do you feel that there is a genuine momentum here in favor of if not striking a peace deal at least stopping the fighting because, you know, with these -- with these peace talks whether it's Syria, whether it's Yemen, we've seen multiple attempts that usually don't get anywhere?
KILEY: Yes. I think that there is a prospect here, Cyril, because I think the humanitarian situation is so catastrophic. So potentially super catastrophic with some the U.N. claiming that there are some 14 million people in eminent danger of starvation. When the -- when the scale of the problem gets to that level and you have a situation such as you got unfolding in Washington at the moment in which Saudi Arabia's continued support of Saudi Arabia's coalition in terms of arm supplies from the United States in doubt.
You've got the Germans and the French talking about cutting off arm supplies and ending arms deals also to the Saudis. So you got a lot of things that are building up that really mean that particularly from the Saudi-led coalition's perspective, there's very little to be gained internationally from continuing the war and quite lot to be gained from persecuting a ceasefire rather than more violence, Cyril.
VANIER: All right. Well, fingers cross, we hope for an end or at least stop wars in the violence. Sam Kiley reporting live from Abu Dhabi. Thank you. With tears and tributes, the U.S. bids farewell to former President George H.W. Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To our peers, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man. The best father a son or daughter can have and in our grief by the smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom's hand again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:37:00] VANIER: At this hour, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush lies in repost at the Houston Church where his family worshipped. This is a live look right now in Houston, Texas. And there's going to be a second funeral service in a few hours before he is laid to rest at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. On Wednesday, thousands of mourners gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington to pay tribute to America's 41st president.
Our Jeff Zeleny reports on some of the highlight of the day.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Washington paid
tribute and bid farewell to George H.W. Bush, an American patriot whose presidency helped changed the face of the world.
BUSH: When the history books are written, they will say that George H.W. Bush was a great president of the United States.
ZELENY: After following in his father's footsteps, George W. Bush now stands as the family patriarch praising the 41st president for peacefully leading the world through the Cold War-era.
BUSH: A diplomat of unmasked skill, a commander-in-chief formidable accomplishment, and a gentleman who executed to do these of his office with dignity and honor.
ZELENY: A living (INAUDIBLE) of history as leaders from around the world, the Prince of Wales, the King of Jordan, the Chancellor of Germany joining nearly 3000 others at the Washington National Cathedral.
BRIAN MULRONEY, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: When George Bush was president of the United States of America, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman.
ZELENY: President Trump coming face to face for the first time since his inauguration with his four living predecessors. His first official act is the newest member of the president's club. The awkward protocol of the most exclusive group in the world on full display shaking hands with Barack Obama and Michelle, but not the Clintons. Bill Clinton glancing over but neither he nor Trump extending a hand. Hillary Clinton staring straight ahead.
George W. Bush showing how to rise above it all shaking hands with all first families as Trump sat silently listening to accolades for a different brand of politics in a kinder and gentler time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was our shield in dangers hour.
ZELENY: After being excluded from Barbara Bush's funeral in April, George H.W. Bush, 41, wanted Trump to know that he, 45, would have a sit at his services, not for a love of Trump but for the love of office. The elder Bush once called Trump an ass during a 2011 interview with the New York Times were in doubt. Trump had equally harsh words for most all members of the Bush dynasty.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But why did you said? I heard it myself. Why did you say it?
ZELENY: Including Jeb Bush who ran against him. But inside the soaring cathedral today, those feelings went unsaid as Trump played a rare role silent and respectful spectator watching in the most (INAUDIBLE) from one President Bush to another.
BUSH: And we're going to miss you, your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever. So 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.
[02:40:15] And in our grief, by this smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom's hand again.
ZELENY: A rare day of reprieving Washington from the vitriol and division as Trump went to Bush family Air Force One to fly the late president home to Texas. As Trump returned to the White House still under a deepening cloud from the Russia investigation.
ZELENY: More uncertainty here at the White House about the Russia investigation particularly as it pertains to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Of course, he is the subject of a latest development from Special Counsel Robert Mueller who revealed two more investigations. Now, no one knows here at the White House what those maybe. Normally, this might have elicited some response from President Trump.
But for now, at least, silence and respect at President George H.W. Bush is laid to rest finally in Texas on Thursday. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
VANIER: And George H.W. Bush will be buried in Texas Thursday. We will have full coverage of the final goodbye to the former U.S. president. That will begin at 3:00 p.m., 3:00 in the afternoon in London, 11:00 p.m. if you are in Hong Kong and that's right here on CNN. One more thing, the tiny European nation of Luxembourg will soon make history about six months from now all public transportation will be free, absolutely free. Now, that would be a first for any country.
The hope is to get a hand low on Luxembourg's terrible traffic congestion. That's partly because thousands of people from the neighborhood countries, France, Germany, Belgium commute into Luxembourg each day to work. That's it for me this hour. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. Stay tuned. We got "WORLD SPORT" up next. You're watching CNN.