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Theresa May's Political Future Hanging by a Thread; Macron's Concessions No Effect to Protesters; Climate Change Worsen by the Day. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 11, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Channel: The British prime minister takes a timeout on her doomed Brexit vote, but the E.U. counsel president is refusing to renegotiate a different package.

Plus, students in France planning a massive walkout in solidarity with the yellow vest protests despite President Macron's announced reforms.

And with prosecutors reaching into the U.S. president's inner circle, sources say President Trump is increasingly worried he really could be impeached.

Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all over the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

More chaos in Britain's complicated exit from the European Union. Face with certain defeat, prime Minister Theresa May abruptly announced a delay in parliament's crucial vote on her Brexit deal. Parliament will hold an emergency debate on that move later Tuesday.

Mrs. May says she will meet with the E.U. to get, quote, "reassurances to bring back to parliament." Her insistence that there was only one major sticking point in the deal was met with lawmakers' jeers and laughter.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is clear that while there is broad support for many of the key aspects of the deal, on one issue, on one issue, the Northern Ireland backstop, there remains widespread and deep concern.

As a result, if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow, the deal would be rejected by a significant margin. We will therefore defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the House at this time.


CHURCH: And we have all the developments with Nina Dos Santos out in parliament, Hadas Gold at 10 Downing Street, and Anna Stewart will have market reaction. Good to see you all. So, Nina, let's start with you. Theresa May stunned everyone as we saw

by postponing the vote on her Brexit deal, now she is back in Europe to try again, but the E.U. says negotiations are over, so what, if anything, can she achieve here?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: Well, in one sense, what she's trying to do here is show her M.P.'s that she's willing to try and convince Brussels give one last push to see if they soften their stance on the so-called Irish backstop arrangement. But U.K. M.P.s believed could end cleaving Northern Ireland slightly off of the rest of the U.K. and also leave the U.K. subject to such a period of negotiations with the E.U. because it won't be able to unilaterally remove itself from this backstop in years to come.

She's trying to get them to soften the language on that to give the U.K. some reassurances that it can pull out of this backstop if indeed that back stop is needed at any point in the future after the transition period.

That's what she's trying to achieve. In the meantime, to get the ball rolling for that she's in the European continent as we speak, pressing the flesh with people like the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. She's in The Hague there, the capital of the Netherlands, she'll be moving on to Berlin in about an hour or so as time to meet with Angela Merkel, the main power broker being Germany in the European Union.

And then obviously all of this will culminate in the next few days with an emergency E.U. summit that is being called by Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council extensively to discuss among other things Brexit.

But as you pointed out in your introduction, Rosemary, she they have made it clear that they are not willing to reopen in any substantial format this negotiation that they have spent two and a half years trying to get to obviously the withdrawal agreement is not for tearing up and massively rewriting. But they have indicated that they would be willing to superficially talk to Theresa May if it will help to try and convince the house of parliament to try and push this deal through at some point. Not looking positive, though.

CHURCH: No. And they certainly made that point clear, didn't they? Thanks so much for that, Nina. So, Hadas, Theresa May has certainly brought herself some more time, but what could this possibly mean for her leadership in the end? Can she survive all this?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, listen, Rosemary, Theresa May has survived a lot in her time as prime minister, so I wouldn't put it pass to survive this, as well. But as you said, she's buying herself is some more time.

There were definitely some members of the parliament and some members of the opposition who really wanted to see that vote last night because they wanted to see Theresa May lose and they wanted to see her on her way out. That obviously isn't happening quite yet.

She's trying to, as Nina said shore up just enough support through any sort of concession, she can get out of European leaders to get enough members on board to just squeak this across the finish line.

[03:05:04] It's not clear that that's necessarily going to happen. In terms of no confidence vote, she's facing opposition votes from within her own party and also from the opposition. We haven't seen anything official out there yet about any sort of no confidence vote.

A Labour Party spokesperson said yesterday that they'll put down a motion of no confidence when they judge it to be most successful. They are waiting to see what she brings back from these European leaders. Well, they are clearly gearing up.

I mean, if you listened to Jeremy Corbyn last night in the House of Commons, they are clearly gearing up for a leadership fight and they think this is their opportunity to take over.

CHURCH: Many thanks to you. And Anna, let's go to you now for a look at how the markets are reacting to all of this.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes. As Anna said I think the fears of leadership contest is what's really driving markets, particularly sterling yesterday just before Theresa May announced that she would be delaying the vote which was at that time while unexpected. You saw the pound start to fall.

But it was when the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow suggested that perhaps parliament needed to vote on the prime minister's decision to delay a vote and the uncertainty around all of that and the idea that maybe parliament doesn't back this prime minister any more. That sent the pound slumping even more.

It was down 1.7 percent at one stage, a 28-month low, and it's down over 7 percent on the year, down over 12 percent since the referendum. And analyst say that this volatility will continue. They thought it would continue up until the vote and then potentially we could see some instability.

Now the vote is delayed and also this vote frankly, we don't know when it will ever happen. So, we're looking volatility for some time still.

In terms of European equities, they were all in the red yesterday. Even the FTSE 100 which normally rises in the back of a weak sterling. Today we are expecting European markets to open higher, haven't quite got the data yet. But of course, we'll just have to keep watching to see what unveils today with lots and lots to watch in parliament, in Europe, let's see what happens, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. As we've discussed investors do not like uncertainty and that is exactly what they have right now. Thanks so much for that.

Nina, before we go, let's go back to you quickly because there has been much chatter about the possibility of a second referendum, of putting this back to the British people to give them another chance to place a vote on this. But the wording of that referendum would be critical and there's much discussion on that. Talk to us about the ramifications of that. DOS SANTOS: Well, as you said, the potential for a so-called people's

vote or a second referendum is significant, largely because obviously through now the British people are better armed with more weighty arguments as to by Brexit may be a good or bad idea.

Economically, obviously, the treasury said any type of Brexit will leave the British people poorer. Bank of England had even starker analysis in its own scenario that it published just last week. Saying probably prices could fall up to 30 percent.

So, in light of all of this, yes, there is momentum growing for a second referendum, but the real question is what would be on is the ballot sheet here, Rosemary? Would it be a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit, and then no Brexit at all? And then how would you campaign for all of those different factions.

Obviously, referendum are usually binary choices but here, we could have three on the ballot paper. So, at this point we really just don't know. One interesting factor is that had there been a vote today, and it hadn't have been canceled, one of the big amendments that was getting a lot of cross-party support was to try and push through some kind of, some kind of amendments suggesting that a no-deal Brexit could be ruled out at this point so that if there were to be a second referendum it would be just two options. Brexit or abandon Brexit all together.

Now obviously, the European court of justice ruling yesterday saying that the U.K. can extricate itself from the Brexit process all together, keeping its previous status quo is significant as well because that has emboldened those who want to see a second vote on the subject. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Indeed. We'll watch all of this uncertainty as it continues on. Nina Dos Santos bringing us a report there live at the front of parliament house. Hadas Gold at 10 Downing Street, and Anna Stewart with all the market reaction. Many thanks to all three of you.

All right, now we turn to France where students plan to walk out of classes and hold rallies and marches starting next hour. They are showing solidarity with anti-government demonstrators known as the yellow vests. They're protested four weekends in a row denouncing President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies and the rising cost of living in France.

Mr. Macron responded Monday, promising to raise the minimum wage and scrap new taxes on pensions.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): We have not been able in the last 18 months I'm sure to respond to this properly and I assume my responsibility here. And unfortunately, I gave the impression that I have other priorities, and I was not looking at these issues. And I have also hurt people by some of my comments.


[03:10:07] CHURCH: Well, it's not clear if Mr. Macron's reforms will be enough to quell the anger felt by many across France. Although we have had feedback from the yellow vests saying that this is too little too late.

But CNN's Jim Bittermann joins us now from Paris with more on this. And of course, it hasn't stopped the protest. We know the students are going to get out on the street, we know there's going to be a strike on Friday. So what all did Mr. Macron achieve with this address?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we really have to wait and see on this, Rosemary, because the fact is it depends on whether or not the yellow jackets, the yellow vests turn out on Saturday, as many say they are going to.

One of the things that -- one of the dynamics here is that when you're asked in front of your colleagues at one of these blockades are you going to protest on Saturday, it's almost an imperative that you say yes, and going to be part of this the blockade continues.

The question is how this sink in, for instance, to raise the minimum wage. We've just been watching the government closely in the last hour here being grilled on our sister network BFM about the details of what President Macron announced last night because there's a great deal of skepticism about his real intentions.

He's viewed as the president of the rich, and that sort of thing. And so, out in the blockade there's a great deal of skepticism about what he's proposing and are there some devils in the details that he's not saying, or he's glossing over.

And that will be something that I think people will have to think about a little bit in their own situation and whether or not that's enough. Their grievances are enough to get them back out again.

As for the students, they have their own grievances. They're worried about the educational reforms that Macron has proposed, also there are questions of national service. So, there may have other issues out there that both continue to make them stimulate them to march. I think the march is called for about noon local time today, into the first march, and maybe others as we've seen others in the last few days. So it's a real -- it's a real question of individual rights which of course that France cherished. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. And a lot of people, though, as you mentioned, they think that President Macron is in line with the wealthy, and he's taking care of the wealthy. He has increased, he's promised to increase the minimum wage, and dump some of these taxes on pensions. But is he out of touch with is the average French person who is really finding it difficult to survive out there under some of his economic policies?

BITTERMANN: Well, I think you can look at that a couple of different ways. I think that he seems to be out of touch because obviously people are out in is the blockade, so they must have some grievances that drive them out to the blockade.

You have to also look at the fact that the numbers are really quite small, the numbers of people that are on strike here compared to the overall population. Sixty-six million people in France, and you've got maybe 130, 140,000 demonstrators each weekend. So, it's a very small percentage.

But in fact, they're able to paralyze the nation with the way that the demonstrations have gone, the blockade, and whatnot. So, you know, is he out of touch? Probably with certainly the people out of the blockade. Is he out of touch with the majority of French? Well, they say they're sympathetic with the yellow vest protests but that again, does that mean they'll go to the blockades? Probably not. So, it's a real mixed bag, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And we will continue to follow this story. CNN's Jim Bittermann joining us live from Paris where it is 9, nearly 9.15 in the morning. Many thanks as always.

Well, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says his country will not extradite the suspects in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He also criticized Turkey's handling of the case, saying the government has not cooperated. Khashoggi's body still has not been found more than two months after he was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Last week, Turkey issued arrest warrants for two suspects close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Well, ties between the Saudi crown prince and President Trump's son- in-law, Jared Kushner, are coming under intense scrutiny right now. House Democrats promise an investigation into U.S.-Saudi ties next year and that could include Kushner.

CNN's Tom Foreman has more now on the controversy.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the weeks after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents, presidential son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner had repeated conversations with Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman or MBS about how to weather the storm of international outrage.

[03:15:03] This according to the New York Times citing a Saudi source. Furthermore, the Times says the alleged talks happen one on one. Contrary to the normal protocol of including a national security council staffer.

It was already known that Kushner and national security advisor John Bolton had talked to the crown prince once.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What kind of advice that you've given MBS in this whole situation.

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Just to be transparent to be fully transparent, though the world is watching. This is a very, very serious accusation and a very serious situation.


FOREMAN: Kushner's relation with the crown prince have been a cornerstone of the administration's ties to Saudi Arabia with international affairs analyst adjusting the two young men were cultivating each other as critical allies in a volatile region.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know yet the order, but he certainly knew about it.


FOREMAN: But a gathering storm of lawmakers is now demanding accountability from MBS and perhaps Kushner too.


SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D) MARYLAND: The fact that he thought he could get away with it is in part, due to the fact that he was getting a green light from Washington for reckless actions.


FOREMAN: And more details are emerging about the gruesome death and dismemberment. The latest, CNN has heard from a source who claims to have read the transcript of an audio recording from the Saudi consulate in Turkey where it happened. He describes the journals being confronted by someone who says "you are coming back," Khashoggi replies "you can't do that. People are waiting outside."

Then the source says amid scuffling Khashoggi says repeatedly "I can't breathe." He screams, he gasps, the noises of a saw and cutting are heard. Then a phone call. A voice saying "the thing is done, it's done."

CHURCH: Many thanks to our Tom Foreman for that report. We'll take a short break here. But coming up on CNN Newsroom, the climate change refugees, how global warming is driving some migrants to join the caravan to the United States.

And an accused Russian spy making a deal with U.S. prosecutors. What she could reveal about Kremlin efforts to influence American politics.

Plus, there's plenty of monkeying around and government buildings in India's capital. Why officials are not amused.


CHURCH: Just 1.5 degrees Celsius could decide the fate of our planet. If the rising temperature of Earth passes that threshold the results could be disastrous.

The Cup 24 climate change conference underway right in Poland is trying to find agreement on how to stop that disaster from happening, but some say the U.S. delegation is trying to derail the talks by promoting clean and efficient fossil fuels. Critics loudly mocked that idea.

A new report not only links climate change to extreme weather. It says global warming is causing some of those events.

The American Meteorological Society blames human activity, including greenhouse gas emotions, for a number of extreme events last year.

And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now to talk more about this report. What else were they talking about?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, essentially, it's breaking down is the fact that not only are we seeing this happen, because we've always said if the temperature at a certain threshold like 1.5 degrees Celsius, you're going to see the sea level rise, you're going to see major variations in our atmospheric pattern.

But what this study says is that has already happened and we're now able to see a direct correlation to all this in specific events that happened last year after an analysis of those in the last 12 months.

So, that's actually what we've had in the past when we've linked climate change to certain weather events, we know heat waves and coastal flooding with sea level rise and flooding in general has been really the strongest evidence has been related to that in climate change, and drought as well, but limited evidence for tornadoes, and cyclones, and hurricanes in particular.

But this study took on 120 scientists, examined 10 countries and looked to this through all of 2017 and actually was able to pinpoint 17 specific events. So, we've often said you can't take one event and relate that to climate change.

It's the broader picture with computer model data with analysis of previous events they've now been able to look at specific events, take thresholds and put, say, a three-degree variance, a two-degree variance, a one-degree variance and see how much rain, for example, this sort of a variation would cause in a specific event.

And with that said, they've looked at analysis, let's say, from hurricane Harvey from last august in 2017. That storm was the wettest storm in U.S. history, produced 150 centimeters of rainfall across that region around Houston, Texas. It was among the costliest disasters in U.S. history as well.

They were able to look at that and say if we didn't have warmer as of warmer waters as we had off the coast, they would not have that much rain fall. Maybe 50, maybe 70 centimeters, certainly not 150 centimeters. So, they were able to make that correlation.

And we know heat waves in Europe last summer took place tremendous heat waves also across the Mediterranean as well. They are now three times more likely to occur than say, in 1950. Also looking at flooding in places like Bangladesh, and in China as

well, and seeing direct correlation to this because we're seeing more water vapor in the atmosphere and a warmer environment is very common knowledge. That is going to be able to hold more water.

Coldest places on our planet are extremely dry, the warmest places on our planet are extremely humid. And once you increase the heat on our planet, you're able to retain more humidity, more moisture, meaning more cloud cover and more heavy rainfall and that's precisely how things have played out.

In fact, if you look at the eastern United States, much more heavy rain events have been observed in the most populated areas. And now something fascinating here, Rosemary, as well. This is from November 22, which is Thanksgiving weekend -- Thanksgiving week, about a month ago in the United States and President Trump went on record saying hey, we need, we're having extreme cold, we want where's that climate change, that global warming.

And when a you broaden out the perspective of that particular event and look at the global perspective, only where he was in the eastern United States was experiencing the cold.

CHURCH: Right.

JAVAHERI: So, it's kind of that this is relating to that it's not just specific areas. You can be very cold every single winter, the broader scale shows tremendous warming for just about everyone.

CHURCH: And of course, we keep hearing from President Trump. He denies climate change. It will be interesting to get from you the stats what percentage of meteorologists and scientists that study the weather would deny climate change.

JAVAHERI: Less than 3 percent.

CHURCH: That's incredible.

JAVAHERI: Over 97 percent.


CHURCH: Less than 3 percent.

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

CHURCH: The facts are there.

JAVAHERI: The facts are absolutely there.

CHURCH: You just presented them. Thank you so much, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, if global warming continues, experts fear a growing exodus of climate refugees forced to flee drought and starvation, that's already happening in parts of Central America as CNN's John Sutter reports.


[03:25:03] JOHN SUTTER, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Delmi (Ph) has been struggling to feed herself and four kids these days. The crops just aren't growing like they were. Conditions eventually got so bad that her husband Herman fled Honduras for the United States, part of the migrant caravan that attracted the ire of U.S. President Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And in that caravan, you have some very bad people.


SUTTER: Herman didn't join the caravan because of violence in his homeland, he left because of drought and climate change. Central America has been hit with an intense and unusual drought in recent years. Crops are failing, starvation is lurking, the U.N. says two million people in the region are at risk for hunger.


EDWIN CASTELLANOS, DEAN OF RESEARCH, UNIVERSIDAD DEL VALLE DE GUATEMALA: We have seen events of children actually dying out of hunger. So, it is that extreme. These people are moving away. It's not just out of their own will. It's basically because they have no option.


SUTTER: The reasons people migrate are complex, but the World Bank says in coming decades more than 17 million people in Latin America could be forcibly displaced because of climate change. This is already starting to happen in Honduras. And almost nowhere is the trend more pronounced than in Copan.

Data from the U.S. border patrol would seem, and analyzing collaboration with the University of Texas shows an increase in migration to the U.S. during the recent drought.


SUTTER: Climate model show it's only getting worse. Droughts are becoming more intense. The relatively small dry quarter of Central America is expanding and it may cover the entire region.


SUTTER: Emilio (Ph) says he fled to the U.S. three times with the help of a smuggler. Each time he was deported back to Honduras.


SUTTER: His wife Nora says their family would have starve if a relative hadn't send them help from the states. She wants Emilio (Ph) to try the dangerous journey again, but they don't have the money.

Climate migrants who join the caravan have a little chance of safe and lawful passage to the U.S. International law does not recognize the rights of so-called climate refugees. And President Trump has claimed that all refugee candidates have to wait in Mexico while their claims are reviewed.

Slashing carbon pollution could decrease the number of climate migrants by millions, the World Bank says and irrigation projects could help ease the pain of future drought, but this exodus already is taking a toll.

Delmi's (Ph) husband died on the road while trying to join the caravan across the border in Guatemala.


SUTTER: Circumstances of his death are unclear. The family buried him in the land he used to till.


CUTTER: John Sutter, CNN, Copan, Honduras.

CHURCH: And still to come, despite economic concessions from President Macron, France is bracing for more protests. This time, by students.

Plus, this alleged Russian spy just made a deal that could send shockwaves through Washington. We'll tell you why, when we come back.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone, I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you now on the main headlines we had been following. Theresa May is back in mainland Europe to try to win concessions that will help her Brexit plan win approval in parliament. Her first stop is, The Hague, where she was greeted a short time ago by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. May is on a mission after canceling the parliamentary vote from her withdrawal deal. Lawmakers look set overwhelmingly voted down.

The U.S. Marine Corps says five marines missing off the coast of Japan have been declared dead, following search and rescue efforts. The marines were aboard a military refueling aircraft and a fighter jet that collided and crashed into the sea during training last week. Two marines were rescued, one of them later died. The incident is under investigation.

The U.S. hit three more North Korean officials with sanctions on Monday. It's a response to North Korean human rights abuses and censorship. The move comes despite President Trump floating the idea of a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the coming months.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he will raise the minimum wage and get rid of new pension taxes in response to weeks of violent anti--government protests. The move may do little to ease public anger over France's rising cost of living. Students plan to protest starting next hour, and trade unions are expected to strike on Friday.

For more insight on the protests in France, and President Macron's reaction, Jean Bogais, joins us now. He is a sociologist and an associate professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: now, in his national address, France's President Macron promised to raise the minimum wage and get rid of new taxes on pensions in an effort to stop the anti-government protest, but the yellow vests say it's too little too late. So what happens next? And how should Macron have handled this?

BOGAIS: It is a little too late. Looking an increase on the minimum wage, for example, 30 percent will be taxed. So that brings it down to 70 cents. Only two months from now there will be another 30 euro paid to the French people. And therefore the increase there are proposing is on the 40 Euro, not 100. These issues are at stake. People do not trust the President. Do not trust the government anymore. What we are witnessing through the rejection of these measures by the (inaudible) is a reflection of that distrust the French people have of the government. Where are we going from this point? Probably to more demonstration, as we know, but also no doubt, more violence.

CHURCH: Right, why do you think President Macron left it so late to respond? Why not do this earlier? Given there was so much anger for weeks. And how could, how could he have missed all the warning signs from people who were really hurting from his policies and the high cost of living in France?

BOGAIS: I think to answer this question we need to understand the psychology of the President Emmanuel Macron. President Macron has been a very successful man. He has never experienced any failure in his life. University, work, and now he become the President of France, its youngest one.

[03:35:04] What President Macron cannot do is to understand the psychology and the need of the French people? And that this connection meant that when a crisis was building, he was to capable to assure the possibility of position, and to understand that this crisis is already, you know, over 40 years old in the making. And he applies a very democratic motto to a social crisis and that cannot work.

CHURCH: And of course, as it has been reporting, students are expected to walk out of classes in support of the protesters in what is being called black Tuesday rallies and marches and Trade Unions plan to strike on Friday. So Macron's address -- this has emboldened rather than appeased protesters. So where is this all going do you think? And will macron be forced to do more to help those struggling to make ends meet? BOGAIS: This is where the problem is. There's very little else he

can do, because we would need to see a complete reform process and he cannot do that. Economically, France cannot sustain it, even if we concede tax reduction, (inaudible) and so on, then it would go in contravention with (inaudible) and there will be a call for hostility.

So, President Macron has locked himself into a corner with absolutely no way out. Then confrontation and possible repression. This is why the first part of his speech this morning was actually about replacing of the violence, not so much resolving social issues. One of the key elements at stake is that is the French people, the demonstrators want a change, especially with regard to the taxes on the rich, the taxes on the wealth.

And that is something that Macron does not want to compromise with. So they look at him as the President for the rich, the President for big business, the President for Europe, who is incapable to understand the fundamental needs. And that this connection can only lead to more confrontation and to widening of this already very difficult crisis.

CHURCH: Yes and we will be watching this story very, very closely. Jean Bogais, thank you so much for joining us from Sydney, we appreciate it.

On Wednesday, a judge will hear the details of a plea deal involving Maria Butina. She is the alleged Russian spy who is now according to a source, cooperating with prosecutors. As Sara Murray reports she could provide a lot of information for the United States.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Maria Butina, the accused Russian spy who cozy up to the National Rifle Association is now cooperating with federal prosecutors, a source tells CNN. And that is part of a plea deal. This deal is not final, and won't be until she appears in court on Wednesday. They introduced that plea and the judge accepts it, but it means she is poised to plead guilty on at least one of the charges she is facing.

Now, prosecutors had cast her as someone who came to the U.S. and begin (inaudible) herself with U.S. political groups in order to advance Russian interests. Our understanding from a source is that she is cooperating on a couple of things. First, of course is her contact with the Russians, who she was in touch with, who her handlers were, what they wanted to know and what she provided them. But she is also providing information about another American, her boyfriend Paul Erikson.

They want to know what his role was and her plot here in Washington. And they also might want to know information about a separate fraud investigation into him in South Dakota. Maria Butina was arrested in July. She has been in jail ever since and normally in cases like this you are sent back to your home country. In this case it will be Russia, although that could be a little bit awkward. now that she is cooperating.


CHURCH: Thanks so much for that. And while the Butina case has no direct connection to the Special Counsel's investigation into Russia's election interference, there are plenty of other connections to Russia. These 16 Trump associates have been accused of having contact with Russians, including Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his son Donald Trump Jr., his daughter Ivanka, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and former attorney Michael Cohen.

Now, if you think all that may lead to the impeachment of President Trump, you're not alone. According to sources within the White House, Donald Trump himself sees impeachment as a real possibility when the Democrats take over the House next month. Jim Acosta has the details now from Washington.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is trying to convince the world where there is smoke there is no fire.

[03:40:00] The President is downplaying the latest revelations in the Russia investigation, mocking any notion of collusion with Moscow, while declaring his innocence in the payments made by his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to women alleging affairs with Mr. Trump. The President misspelled the word smoking and tweeted, Democrats can't find a smocking gun. No smocking gun, no collusion. That is because there was no collusion, so now the Dems go to simple private transactions wrongly called a campaign contribution which it was not, Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. Democrats insist those payments may well be campaign finance crime and potential grounds for impeachment.

JERROLD NADLER, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, they would be impeachable offenses whether they are important enough to testify in an impeachment is a different question, but certainly they would be impeachable offenses.

ACOSTA: If not impeachment, other Democrats say, perhaps prosecution.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D), CALIFORNIA: My take away is there's a very legal prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first President in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.

ACOSTA: The President is sticking to his talking points.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On the Mueller situation, we're very happy with what we are reading because, uh, there was no collusion whatsoever. Uh, there never has been. The last thing I want is help from Russia on a campaign.

ACOSTA: As he denies collusion, the President is trying to clear up the confusion inside the West Wing. After announcing the departure of his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, while teasing he was on the verge of tapping a replacement. TRUMP: We'll be announcing who will be taking John's place. It might

be on an interim basis. I'll be announcing that over the next day or two, but John will be leaving at the end of the year.

ACOSTA: The problem, the young ambitious staffer initially eyed for the job, the Vice President Chief of Staff Nick Ayers said, no thanks. And revealed he is leaving the White House forcing the President to start scrambling.

But sources tell CNN other top administration officials aren't interested in the post, as in budget Director Nick Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. GOP Congressman Mark Meadows has indicated he might take the job, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is also under consideration.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D), CONNECTICUT: I'm also worried about General Kelly leaving the White House. I imagine that he was one the people that was attempting to convince the President not to fire Mueller.

ACOSTA: The source close to the White House says, the President is, quote, super pissed, that he has to begin the selection process for White House Chief of Staff all over again, after Ayers, the Vice President Chief of Staff, took himself out of the running. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: The CFO of a Chinese telecom giant is headed back to court in Canada, the latest on the extradition battle over Meng Wanzhou. That is coming up.

Plus, Turkey's President is condemning the Khashoggi murder, but his government keeps targeting his own journalists. A live report from Istanbul to come. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, a bail hearing will resume in the coming hours for the CFO of Chinese telecom giant, Huawei. Meng Wanzhou is arrested in Vancouver, Canada on December 1st. She is accused of trying to help the company dodge U.S. sanctions on Iran. And the U.S. wants her extradited.

For the latest, CNN joins Ivan Watson joins us now live from Hong Kong, good to see you again Ivan. So what more are you learning about the charges Meng Wanzhou is facing right now and of course, how her lawyer plans to fight this?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The arrest warrant issued by the New York district attorney has yet to be revealed, but through some of the court papers that Meng's defense attorneys filed we're learning a little bit more about the case being brought against her, and about this executive in this Chinese telecoms giant, herself, because she has a rather low profile.

First of all, the bail hearings are now expected to go into a third straight day, the defense have argued that she should be released on bail. They've offered a number of measures, including a million dollar bond. The 24-hour security surveillance, the electronic ankle bracelets, those tips types of measures to insure that she would not be a flight risk. They have also revealed that she owned property in Vancouver, two homes valued at 5.5 and $16.3 million respectively in both in Vancouver.

Despite that, the judge was quite skeptical and questioning the defense attorney and revealing a little bit saying that in is the New York district attorney's letter to the Canadian authorities, that it was revealed that there was a grand jury investigation into subsidiaries of the company Huawei, and that Meng has not traveled to the U.S. since March of 2017.

The New York district attorney suggesting, that she might be avoiding U.S., the U.S. to avoid U.S. law enforcement, to which the defense attorney said, that could just be a coincidence. Now, the defense also submitted a PowerPoint presentation dating back to 2013, explaining how Huawei does business in Iran, and is in compliance with sanctions imposed by the U.N., the U.S., and the E.U., and detailing its relationship with Skycom, another company.

And that, we believe, is what the American authorities are claiming, that is where they claim that Huawei and Meng has misrepresented her company and her actions when it comes to doing business with Iran despite the sanctions. Now the Chinese authorities, of course, have been demanding her release. They've summoned the U.S. and Canadian ambassadors, and on Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry had some choice words for Canada for carrying out this arrest at the U.S. behest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): If the Canadian side fails to deal with this issue properly, it will face serious consequences. I can tell you that the consequences are entirely up to Canada. There had been media reports revealing details of Ms. Meng Wanzhou's treatment in custody, including possible inhumane measures, such as not providing her with basic medical care. We believe this is inhumane and infringes on her human rights.

WATSON: Now, Meng was taken to hospital after her arrest in Canada on December 1st. And our reporters who were in the courtroom on Monday, they say that she looked healthy and energetic. Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to Ivan Watson, reporting live there from Hong Kong, where it is 4:50 p.m. in the afternoon. Well, Turkey says it wants justice for Jamal Khashoggi, yet it's cracking down on its own journalists. Istanbul's chief prosecutors, wants prison sentences for up to 15 years for five journalists. They are accused of aiding the organization of Fethullah Gulen. Now this according to state media, Turkey blames the U.S. based cleric for failed coup attempt in 2016.

[03:50:00] Now, these journalists work for one of the few Turkish publications openly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And for the latest we turn to CNN's Jomanah Karadsheh, who joins us live from Istanbul. Also Jomanah, ironically, Turkey targeting its own journalists while at the same time calling for justice in relation to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What more are you learning about these five Turkish journalists and the charges and sentences they face right now?

JOMANAH KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, you know, many have accuse the Turkish government of hypocrisy when it comes to its stance in this case of Jamal Khashoggi and you know, pursuing justice in that case that you mentioned, at the same time, there's this crack down that has been going on for more than two years in this country against journalists. But also keeping in mind when it comes to Jamal Khashoggi -- that has more press freedoms tied to it. It is about regional politics and it is also seen as an attack on Turkey's sovereignties. We've certainly heard that from officials here.

Now those five journalists that you mentioned, we heard from the semi state news agency on Monday saying that the chief prosecutor for Istanbul has opened the case, has charged five journalists, two columnists, and three editors at an opposition newspaper, a secular newspaper. They were charged with aiding the movement of Fethullah Gulen, that is the group of course, that Turkey accuses of being behind that failed coup attempt back in 2016, and the two prosecutors seeking a prison sentence of anywhere between seven to 15 years, and their trial is set to begin on the 18th of January.

Of course Rosemary, this is the latest in dozens and dozens of cases, there are estimates about 140 journalists are behind bars in Turkey especially after that purge that took place following the failed coup attempt, where dozens of journalists were locked up. And then you had thousands who were either fired from their jobs, or, basically who were put behind bars as part of that purge.

And the Turkish government has been accused of using the coup attempt - this failed coup attempt as a pre text to silence dissent in this country, giving Turkey that reputation, earning a title amongst watch dog groups over the past couple of years of being the world's largest jailer of journalists, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, Jomanah, what evidence does Turkey say that it has that these journalists did anything wrong, and what will likely happen to them if we are guided by the past?

KARADSHEH: Well, Rosemary, as we speak right now, our producer here is going through a very lengthy indictment document to see what evidence the prosecution says it has against these journalists. But looking at past cases, previous cases as we mentioned there had been dozens of these cases over the past couple of years. You've got journalist who has been accused of either being members or supporting either the Gulen movement, or the Kurdish PKK group. And you know, one of the journalists that we spoke to today, one of those five journalists are being charged in this case has described these charges as absurd and ridiculous, and pretty surprised, really, to hear about this. We'll have to wait and see what happens with that court case next month.

CHURCH: Certainly. Jomanah Karadsheh, bringing you to date there from Istanbul, and it's nearly mid-day there. Many thanks to you for that live report.

Well, invading India's corridors of Palestinians, smart Alex are monkeying around the government buildings in New Delhi and officials are desperate to find a way to control them. We're back with that in just a moment.


CHURCH: Well, if you've ever visited India's capital, you have probably seen the monkeys that hang around just about everywhere. Normally, of course, they seem adorable, but now, there are so many living around government buildings, they've turned into gangs, tormenting ministers and employees and the city is getting desperate for a way to control them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Monkeys are over running the government buildings in New Delhi, performing a sort of tight rope walk near the national flag or doing acrobatics around the columns, and jumping from ledge to window ledge, oftentimes enjoying a little snack, taunting the security guards. Fun for tourists to see, but bureaucrats here say this monkey business is no fun.

Many times they snatch food from people as they're walking, and sometimes they even tear up files and documents by climbing in through the windows. Sometimes it so happens that you are carrying a mobile phone or hands-free device and they snatch that as well. Food? You can completely forget about having it.

Fears as many as five thousand of these monkeys in this area and Citywide it's estimated there are thousands more, the government warns people not to make eye contact with them. And definitely don't feed them. It's not a new problem, of course, but the authorities have found a new remedy. This man is a monkey chaser. Indian officials recently hired about 40 people to scare away the monkeys by imitating the call of a rival monkey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We imitate such a sound to chase the monkeys away. Once we scare the monkeys away like this, authority knows that it can be done like this as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The monkeys scurry away for a bit, but they come right back. Why wouldn't they, with so many people eager to give them bananas? Many Hindu followers here regard the animal as sacred.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this problem can only be solved, if people understand, stop feeding monkeys. Do not feed monkeys, because you will confuse them and then they will expect to be fed all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Until that happens, government employees will face the perilous walk into work. (Inaudible) an attack they carry sticks and stones to fend off the creatures.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: They're taking over, aren't they? Thanks so much for joining

us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues next with our Max Foster in London. Have yourselves a great day.