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Trump and Democrats Argue in Oval Office On TV; UK Prime Minister Meets EU Leaders in Bid to Save Brexit Deal; Parliament MP grabs Ceremonial Mace in Protest; Reaction to Macron's Economic Proposals; Rapist only gets $400 fine. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 11, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, from The Hague to Berlin to Brussels, Theresa

May dashes across Europe in a desperate attempt to save her Brexit deal.

Also, tonight --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Gained in the Senate. Nancy, we have gained in the Senate. Excuse me. Did we win the senate?

We won the Senate.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: When the President brags he won North Dakota and Indiana he is in real trouble.


TRUMP: I did.


GORANI: Is this a sign of things to come. President Trump argues and clashes with senior Democrats in the Oval Office as they talk border walls

and elections, and a nod to the guardians. "Time" magazine has chosen a group of journalists targeted for their work as "Person of the Year." We

begin tonight with a frantic rescue attempt by the British prime minister. On the line, her Brexit deal, her leadership and arguably the future of the

United Kingdom. Theresa May today flew to three European capitals to save the deal she struck with them. She is in Brussels now for talks with EU

leaders. The mission is to seek guarantees over the main sticking point. The European commission President Jean Claude Juncker shot down talk of

reworking the agreement and did offer this olive branch.


JEAN CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The deal we have achieved is the best deal possible. It is the only deal possible. No room

whatsoever for renegotiation. But, of course, there is room if used intelligently, room enough for further clarifications without opening the



GORANI: Further clarification and interpretations. We'll talk about that later. The day didn't start out great for the prime minister. She was

struggling just to get out of her car with German Chancellor Merkel waiting there. The British Parliament held a debate, an emergency debate instead

of voting on the deal as originally planned. From Brussels Theresa May had this message.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: The deal we have negotiated is a deal that honor it is referendum, honors the result and the best deal

available, indeed, the only deal available.


GORANI: Well, we have heard that talk before. Let's get the latest from the Parliament. Erin, I want to start with you. We heard there from

Donald tusk and other EU leaders and Angela Merkel. No reworking of this deal. What are they ready to give the prime minister in order for her to

be able to sell this agreement back in London?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, LONDON BUREAU: Well, Hala, let me just say it's chilly here in Brussels and I'm not just talking

about the weather. We heard from the President of the European Council Tusk out of his bilateral meeting with Theresa May on Twitter. See what he

has to say. He said, long and frank discussion with pm Theresa May ahead of Brexit summit. Clear that EU 27 wants to help. The question is how.

And I can tell you, Hala, those words long and frank are seen as really kind of icy words, descriptors in diplomatic circles here. I think that

this point it's pretty clear that the EU27 is standing firm behind this deal as he said this morning there will be no renegotiation. There has

been chatter, potentially about some sort of side declaration that might perhaps come out of the council meeting, the Brexit summit scheduled for

Thursday. Sort of an olive branch to may in terms of that backstop, the EU27 perhaps pledging to do everything they can to avoid that backstop.

But that's certainly not the legal certainty that Theresa May is looking for in all of this an it is difficult to see what she can possibly achieve

from this diplomatic push aside from simply buying herself more time, creating this pressurized situation, binary choice as the clock runs out

giving Parliamentarians there in the U.K. a decision between this deal and no deal chaos scenario. That's what lawmakers here in Europe tonight say

perhaps fear most.

[14:05:00] GORANI: Matthew Chance, you are in London. You have been with protesters and demonstrators for two days. Politically, is there anything

-- I mean, if Theresa May does not get anything added to this deal or changed, is it basically all over for her at this stage?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm not sure I'm prepared to go to that point yet but it is not looking good for her

deal in the sense whatever concessions she manages to eke out or assurances as she phrases it as she meets them today, I'm not sure spending time with

the protesters outside of Parliament that anything she brings back from Brussels is going to be enough to plicate either side. We've spent time

with the sort of stop Brexit campaigners outside here, waving EU flags, staging impromptu concerts. On the other side of the debates, anti-Europe

protesters being raucous and some police presence outside Parliament here this evening to sort of make sure things don't turn nasty. But just as the

protesters are split, the Parliament is split. As well, we saw that with the debate yesterday and today with the raucous behavior there and the

entire nation is split along these Brexit lines. It's an immensely divisive period.

GORANI: Atika, to you, finally, Angela Merkel repeated the message. They're not giving Theresa May a new or renegotiated deal. Is Europe

prepared for a no deal Brexit? In other words, is Europe prepared to allow the U.K. to crash out without any kind of agreement?

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is something that the EU does not want to see at all. But it is making preparations for a hard

Brexit. We have heard that from political leaders like chancellor Merkel and industry leaders, as well. They say they're preparing for this. If

somehow accidentally and in the words of some politicians here, Britain opts for a hard Brexit and absolutely not what anyone in Germany want it is

see and if anybody could have helped prime minister may today it would have been chancellor Merkel. But if Britain is divided, the EU is not. And

Merkel, you know, delivered that message that there is no possibility for renegotiations. The only possibility here is some kind of a political

declaration. And that was also echoed by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz who's just off the phone with Theresa May and he says he -- no

renegotiations but he's interested in finding something that makes the British people feel more secure. Again, that's talking about that

political declaration but that there could be no way to unwind this withdrawal agreement.

GORANI: Atika, Erin, Matthew, thanks very much.

Let's get some insight into the prime minister's decision making and her thinking, in fact. Joey Jones is joining me, a former spokesperson for the

prime minister and he's now at the political consultancy, Cicero. What is going through the prime minister's mind today? Because by the way, I have

to say a lot of people have buried May's political career many times over.


GORANI: Yes, right? Here she is hanging on by her fingernails. When really, it seems like nothing she can come back with from Brussels will get

this deal through. What is she thinking?

JONES: Theresa May confounded us time and time again when it looked like she reached the end of the road. Here as she looked into the eyes of the

German chancellor, of Donald tusk, she must recognize that the work that she has been doing, the prospects of a resolution are ebbing away. I mean,

if she puts herself in the shoes of the EU negotiators, she must know that there's nothing in it for them to really give ground at the moment.

GORANI: But they're saying they won't give ground. Not even like -- you know, there's some sort of hidden agenda on their part and not


[14:10:00] JONES: On the one hand, they want not to be seen to be sabotaging the deal so that the language is warm, the language is

ostensibly helpful and yet if they were to give ground all of their advisers in Westminster will be telling them at the moment this is going to

where. Whatever they do, it is going to get defeated. What's the point of giving away cards when it's not actually going to make any difference?

GORANI: This leads to my next question. You know the prime minister. Does she have a strategy right now? Or, is she when winging it?

JONES: I don't think there really is a strategy and what worries the people in the conservative party that I have been speaking to most of all

is the sense that she is basically adopting a tunnel vision mentality. Hour to hour. Day-to-day. Minute to minute. That she is just trying to

doggedly plod on in the hope that something turns up. Well, within her own party, I think there is a feeling that this many mini EU odyssey is

actually a bit of an irrelevance, already people are moving on to consider whether or not even over the next coming hours they might precipitate a

leadership challenge against her.

GORANI: What is in it for a leadership challenge right now? I mean, whoever takes that role on is going to be in trouble.

JONES: Well, you would think that nobody would want to take the role on and yet over the weekend there's a definite beauty contest mentality, a

feel as Boris Johnson and others, all of the individuals, parading around Westminster demonstrating their potential to actually take -- these are

ambitious people and my feeling is that whereas a couple of weeks ago when there was talk of a leadership challenge that then receded that's because

the party clearly would not have voted against her. Now, things can move very quickly. It's like a weather vane in the Conservative Party and

patience is running very thin.

GORANI: Lastly, of course, around the world people are watching this with a lot of interest, sometimes with some amount of dismay because they don't

understand how a country that needs to come up with a plan to save itself from the worst effects of a hard Brexit can't seem to be able to get its

act together. Is Britain headed for a no deal Brexit or not do you think?

JONES: I think we are or Parliamentarians are complacent. They say, well look, there's no majority for no deal in Parliament but that's not how it

works. I'm dismayed at what people must be thinking as they look on all of this around the world and they see the U.K. heading for the rocks and

complacent and unrealistic about the --

GORANI: Are we heading there do you think?

JONES: At the moment, it feels -- I think that there's no desire on either side for a no deal. The European Union don't want it either. I think as

long as there's a possibility of progress article 50 might be extended and so on and so forth. But at the moment I think the EU will look on and

they'll see a country that just cannot map out a way forward around which people can unify and, on that basis, then no deal becomes much, much more

likely than it should be.

GORANI: It's not just the U.K. As you know, many other countries having big issues with division within their borders. Thank you very much, Joey

Jones. Always a pleasure. Thank you for joining us.

Now speaking of British politics, most of the anger in the British House of Commons directed to the prime minister but then on Monday it was an MP

making a grab at the symbol of royal authority.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who dare? Put it back. No, no, no.


GORANI: Cries rang out as soon as Lloyd Russell-Moyle snatched the ceremonial mace. Now, without it, Parliament can't meet or pass laws. He

was quickly forced to give it up. He was by the way kicked out for the rest of the day, though there were I think only ten minutes left on the

day. It's a protest tactic last used in 2009 and Russell-Moyle later tweeted about the stunt writing in part thankfully they haven't locked me

in the Tower of London but if they had I'd expect May in the cell next to me for her treatment of Parliament. Never a dull day in the House of


Let's take you to not a dull day in the White House. This is not something you see often.

A short time ago, the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sat down with President Trump to talk about

government spending. Now, meetings like this are usually polite and respectful, especially when the TV cameras are on but not today. Listen as

they started squabbling, clashing even, over the results of the recent midterms.


TRUMP: Gained in the Senate. Nancy, we have gained in the Senate. Excuse me. Did we win the Senate?

SCHUMER: When the President brags he won North Dakota and Indiana, he is in real trouble.

PELOSI: When I --

TRUMP: I did.

PELOSI: Let me say this.

TRUMP: I did win North Dakota and Indiana.


[14:15:00] GORANI: It only got worse from there. Again, with the TV cameras rolling, the leaders of the Democrats and the Republicans got into

a shouting match. Which ended with the President threatening to basically shut down the entire government saying he would be proud to do so if he

doesn't get funding for his border wall.


SCHUMER: One thing I think we can agree on is we shouldn't shut down the government over a dispute and you want to shut it down.

TRUMP: Now, now, last time you shut it down.

SCHUMER: No, no, no. 20 times --

TRUMP: Opened it very quickly. I don't want to do what you did.

SCHUMER: 20 times you called for. I'll shut down the government if I don't get my wall.

TRUMP: You want to --

SCHUMER: You said it.

TRUMP: I'll take it. You know what I'll say? Yes. If we don't get what we want, one way or the other, whether it's through you, military, anything

you want to call, I will shut down the government.

SCHUMER: OK, fair enough. We disagree.

TRUMP: I'll be proud and proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.


GORANI: Now, in case you missed it, President Trump just took responsibility for a government shutdown. That's something that could come

back to haunt him if it happens. Let's bring in White House reporter Sarah Westwood and start by asking you, now, I don't remember seeing a White

House meeting break down like this before. Have you?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Hala, it was certainly remarkable and all the more so because we were not supposed to see that.

Originally this was scheduled to be a closed-door meeting between the President and Democratic congressional leaders. He decided to open it up

to the cameras. So, this is not something that we were supposed to hear and clearly if you watch the way Pelosi and Schumer reacted at the

beginning, they were not expecting to have the negotiations on camera either, Hala.

GORANI: Yes. Absolutely. So, what does that -- I mean, this is basically setting the tone here for the future relationship because the President was

expecting there to be no significant change in the relationship with congress after the Democratic win of the House of Representatives, I guess

now he must realize that it's going to be very contentious.

WESTWOOD: That's right. This is perhaps one of the President's first tastes of the what the era of divided government might look like come

January and he clearly did not like it. The President stood firm on his demands for $5 billion to fund his border wall. And Democrats have

consistently said they will not fund the border wall at that amount. Democrats want to extend the same levels of funding for the department of

homeland security that they authorized already for the past fiscal year. The President sort of ironic that he was touting the success of the wall

that the administration has already built while simultaneously rejecting the funding structure that made that supposed success popular. That's what

the Democrats offer to fund the wall either at $1.3 billion or $1.6 billion depending on whether you talk about the senate or house bill but the

President clearly signaling he is unwilling to budge and clearly not thinking that a shutdown could have political risks for him, note that it

would come four days before Christmas.

GORANI: Right. Because usually, typically in America, when there's a government shutdown, that's usually not great for the popularity of a

sitting President. In the case of Donald Trump, though, he has a very -- well, he has around 30 percent to 35 percent of a very loyal base. But I

wonder, I mean, this has to come with -- this has to be included in the calculation, right, of the White House? This whole idea of a shutdown.

WESTWOOD: Well, apparently the President is making the calculation that his push to shut down the government over funding for border security or

the wall would be popular with his base and obviously he's not going to hope to pin it on the Democrats as he specifically told Senate Majority

Leader Chuck Schumer he would not try to cast blame on Democrats if the shutdown occurred but the party in power typically receives blame for

shutdowns and Republicans would still be in control of all three branches of government if a shutdown did occur next week.

GORANI: Sarah Westwood, thank you very much for that. For that report.

Still to come tonight, Macron's olive branch to protesters in France, will the yellow vests accept his reforms or will they maintain their rage?

And, also coming up, a $400 fine for an alleged sexual assault. The plea deal that is outraging some people in the United States. We'll bring you

that story coming up.


GORANI: Exactly 24 hours ago French Macron delivered a speech that he hoped would calm the protests across his country. So far, his hopes appear

to have been dashed. Thousands of high school students took to the streets for what they called black Tuesday. They don't like changes to the

educational system and they blocked entrances to schools across the nation to show it. But the students are only a small problem compared to the

yellow vest protesters demanding economic reforms. Joining me now to discuss all of this is the deputy editor in chief of Paris much magazine.

So, first of all, the President of France Macron was pretty -- I mean, he had some very specific proposals to the yellow vests. He said he'd

increase minimum wage, scrap the increase on -- in fuel taxes. He's encouraging year-end bonuses. Is that going to be enough? Also, he said

he was sorry and he understood he could have been hurtful in the past with some of his words. Will this be enough for the yellow vests?

REGIS LE SOMMIER, DEPUTY EDITOR IN CHIEF, "PARIS MATCH": Well, at this point it's hard to say if it will be enough for the yellow vests because we

are all -- everybody is dreading or somehow what's going to happen next Saturday because every, you know, every Saturday for about the past three

weeks we have had this -- some riots and demonstration all over France. We are just starting to know the impact of President Macron's speech of last

night. A few polls said -- and the results are not really good. A few polls said over 57 percent of the French said they didn't believe Macron

when he said -- when he claimed he wanted to be closer to the people. That was one of the major problems there. Because beyond the economic reform

that we're asking and he offered is pretty much what the yellow vests were asking at the beginning of the movement. But, you know, in three weeks'

time the gap between the President and this part of France has been huge and it's turning into between these people and him. At the beginning they

were protesting because of the upping of the prices, gas price. A number of other items. They were asking. But slowly it became Macron out. They

wanted Macron out. And I think he got the message. But the problem with Macron goes beyond that.

GORANI: What do they want?

You have to go back to the --

GORANI: They expect him to resign? He's given them pretty much what the asking for in the beginning. They won't end until he resigns? Is that the

end goal now?

[14:25:00] LE SOMMIER: Some of them, for sure. Not all of them but some of them. To understand the full extent of the problem you have to go back

to the French Presidential election. Macron, you know, we were told in the second round of the election when Macron was facing la pen it was Macron or

chaos. Well, so far, 18 months after that, we have Macron and chaos. So, it's -- you know, it's becoming a -- you know, the problem with Macron is

in these 18 months is slowly but surely, he's distanced himself from the average people. He said things that are really contentious and people

remember these things. One point he was making a comparison between the people that meet success in their life and the other people and he called

the other people, people who are nothing. And I think even in his craziest tweets Donald Trump never went as far as saying things like that. People

are holding Macron accountable for a number of things and the worst thing - -

GORANI: I think that's debatable, by the way.

LE SOMMIER: Not seeing bettering in their -- sorry?

GORANI: I think that's debatable whether Donald Trump said anything as bad as that. There's room for debate there. Let me ask you. These

concessions, worth 10 billion euros in a country that needs to solve its budget deficit problem. So, you know, how are they -- how is the country

going to pay for this?

LE SOMMIER: Well, that's another thing. You know? Macron put out this measure, incent incentives, he didn't say how he would finance that. The

prime minister went forward today and gave further explanation and tried to say how he was going to finance. Of course, you know, it's another, you

know, it's another big amount on an already -- country that's already in debt. 2,000 billion euros of debt in France. But the problem with --

remains with the yellow jacket they see the debt as a burden they're going to carry. The problem with Macron is Macron has been perceived by these

people and this is the core of their movement, as somebody who's making gift to the rich and who's given the burden of paying the debt and, you

know, on the little people. If that perception doesn't change, I'm afraid the movement is going to keep going on.

GORANI: Well, we'll know soon enough on Saturday. It's always a pleasure having you on the program. Thank you so much.

Well, there is some outrage tonight over a sentence in a U.S. sexual assault case. A former college fraternity president entered a no contest

plea to charges that he raped another student. He got a $400 fine and no jail time. The accuser writes that she is devastated, adding, "Rapists who

get away with their crimes will never be cured, never changed and if anything, they will be emboldened in the ability escape justice."

Ed Lavandera is in Dallas, Texas. Update the international viewers on why in particular this case -- I think that especially probably in the age of

me too, as well, why it's caused so much outrage.

ED LAVENDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's just incredible amount of outrage and questions about just how this deal was reached, especially when

you consider that you have a young victim, from what we understand, went to authorities relatively immediately after the attack happened or the

incident happened. She went to the hospital, her friends took her to the hospital. She was willing to testify which in sexual assault cases around

the world, especially here in the United States, is obviously a very difficult and tough thing for victims of sexual assault to do. That is

young woman who wanted to testify. And according to court documents that we have seen today, it sounds like the family was led to believe that

prosecutors had assured them in this case that there was never going to be any -- they were never going to agree to any kind of plea deal. However,

that's changed dramatically. The accused in this case, Jason Anderson, who was kicked out of Baylor University in Waco, Texas -- this stems back from

a party in March of 2016.

[14:30:00] He was kicked out of the university. He gets a $400 fine, no jail time, ordered to go to counseling and more importantly he doesn't have

to register as a sex offender and that's the kind of thing to follow you wherever you move within the United States. So, the attorney for the

victim in this case described this as a sweetheart deal. The prosecutor issued a statement saying, "Conflicting evidence and statements exist in

this case making the original allegation difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. As a prosecutor, my goal is no more victims. I believe

that's best accomplished with a consequence and not an acquittal."

Prosecutors afraid of losing the case. However, the victim from what we have heard and her attorney has said was very much waiting and expecting to

be able to testify in this case and face down her attacker in court. That will not happen. Hala?

GORANI: Ed Lavandera, live on that story, thanks very much.

Still to come tonight, more on our top story. Theresa May's last-ditch tour of Europe. Can she wring out any meaningful changes from EU leaders

on her Brexit deal?

Reaction to "Time's" choice for person of the year. This year, the magazine shines a spotlight on journalists who've been jailed or killed. We'll be

right back.


GORANI: Let's return now to our top story and Theresa May's frantic efforts to save her Brexit deal as she races through European capitals and

a bid to revive negotiations. The Irish border is, of course, one of the most contentious issues and Mrs. May's tour continues tomorrow. She will

travel to Ireland to meet with the prime minister, Leo Varadkar.

He insists Mrs. May won't get anything new from the E.U. and she faces two options to avoid a potentially catastrophic no deal situation.


LEO VARADKAR, PRIME MINISTER OF IRELAND: I do believe that there's a majority that the United Kingdom should not be plunged into a no-deal

scenario. And it is in their hands at any point in time to take the threat of no-deal off the table either by revoking Article 50 or if that's a step

too far by extending.


GORANI: Let's get more on the reaction of the E.U. to Theresa May's mission. Dutch member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake, joins

me now live from Strasbourg. OK. So you're in Strasbourg, you're obviously a top member of the European Parliament, you are in touch with

the E.U. officials. Will they give May anything that could convince those who are opposed to this agreement to back it, do you think?

MARIETJE SCHAAKE, DUTCH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Well, will they ever be satisfied? The opponents of Theresa May herself politically or the

opponents of any deal. Those who had the big words of saying no deal is better than a bad deal.

We've heard so many summaries of what could be achieved, but at the end of the day these were all negative choices. And now that we are up against a

deadline, it doesn't add up.

So I don't know if these hard Brexiteers will ever be satisfied and I think it's a political question that only London can answer.

GORANI: It's not just hard the Brexiteers who don't like this deal, it's a majority of members of parliament including Labour MPs who are remainers.

They also see in this deal the worst of both worlds.

So basically what you're saying is you don't think May can come back with anything that will satisfy either her own party or the opposition?

SCHAAKE: Well, what I've heard is that European leaders are happy to know explain their insights, maybe make an explanatory statement, but not

substantially change the agreement as was negotiated over months and months with consideration of the very sensitive situation with the Irish border,

of course.

[14:35:12] But also, of citizens. That's a big concern of so many people that are in limbo and then other areas that have been agreed to now go into

transition phase which should give time to look at the future agreements.


SCHAAKE: And I think that explanations can be given but that substance won't be changed.

GORANI: Do you think the E.U. is really preparing itself for a no deal scenario? Are they ready to accept that the U.K. will crash out with no

deal? Because this obviously hurts the .U.K but it hurts the E.U., as well.

SCHAAKE: I think most people of the 27 member states, people living in Europe are really looking with pain in their hearts at losing the U.K. and

also at the process that is unfolding right now. It's painful. I believe it's unnecessary.

But of course, it is not entirely in our hands. I think we've seen remarkable unity among the 27 member states, much more unity than I would

have ever expected. And I think that it's not a choice that we have beyond offering the deal that's now on the table.

I hope that Theresa May can convince people. I think the opposition in the U.K. has a lot of discussions to have. Some of them -- would like to have

another people's choice.

GORANI: I know. But -- sorry to jump in. Do you think the E.U. is really preparing itself for a no deal here? Or are they just using this as some

sort of negotiating tactic?

SCHAAKE: Oh, no. I think people have always thought it was very possible. It was articulated early on by Theresa May herself and said no deal was

better than a bad deal.

So we've seen these big promises for a long time but I don't think anyone, frankly, can be truly prepared for what will happen if the U.K. crashes out

of the E.U. without any arrangements.

I think it will be a terrible scenario and we should not wish for it at all and hopefully people will be mature enough and constructive enough and I

really look to the U.K. politicians for that to avoid this worst-case scenario within a bad scenario that I believe Brexit is, unfortunately.

GORANI: Marietje Schaake, thank you so much. Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands for joining us on the program. Really

appreciate it.

In Turkey, five journalists face 15 years in prison as the country goes after employees at one of the few newspapers still openly critical of the

government. The columnists and editors are accused of assisting a movement led by the Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey says masterminded the

coup attempt in the country back in 2016.

Speaking to CNN, one of the five journalists called their charges absurd. It is the latest in a crackdown on journalists in the country in the last

few years. One union there claims more than 140 journalists remain behind bars in Turkey.

Time Magazine has chosen four journalists and one newspaper as its 2018 Person of the Year. The Guardians and the War on Truth share the

recognition by Time. Journalists who've been targeted for their work. The group includes Jamal Khashoggi, who was the first person of the year named

after their death. Sharing the recognition, the Capital Gazette newspaper where a gunman killed five employees in their workplace.

Also, two Reuters journalists arrested late last year in Myanmar. And Maria Ressa, chief executive of the Philippine news site, Rappler, who was

a reporter here at CNN, who's been targeted by the Philippines' president.

Maria Ressa is facing tax evasion charges. It's a case critics say is part of a wider crackdown on decent in the Philippines and she spoke with us

earlier about her work.


MARIA RESSA, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RAPPLER: For every single time that it is so apparent that the charges are politically motivated that we are --

that we are targeted, precisely because we keep telling the truth, well, then that challenges us to keep telling the truth. Like we know it's a

tough time to be a journalist. But I think what strengthens all of us is that there is probably no better time to be a journalist because this is

when we live our values and we live our mission.


GORANI: Joining me now is CNN's chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter. And it's an interesting choice, as I mentioned Jamal Khashoggi, one of

those named as Time Person of the Year for the first time ever after their death.

Talk to us a little bit about what was the thinking behind Time's decision for this year.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think it's because so many of the stories that we've been covering all year do tie back to

this trend of the truth being under assault and misinformation being on the rise.

[14:40:05] And we see that all around the world, whether it's here in the United States or in other parts of the world where there are threats

against journalists, attacks against truth tellers. And in some cases and the worst cases even deaths and killings of journalists.

So I think Time Magazine is trying to highlight the connective tissue between all these stories, between the shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, and

their office. And the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, trying to connect the dots between those and show that this is a chilling trend around the world.

GORANI: And the Capital Gazette newspaper, by the way, that was one of the covers that Time Magazine, because they had four covers for the three --

for the pair and then two individuals and then the group of journalists who suffered such a terrible loss. What was their reaction?

STELTER: Yes. This was a -- they were able to come together, the survivors of that shooting in Annapolis, come together for a photography

session for the cover. They have moved offices. They used to be really proud of the fact that their office address was published, anybody can stop

by, drop off a letter, drop off an ad.

Now, they have to work from a secret location with an armed guard. That gives you an example of what it's been like for that newspaper in

Annapolis, Maryland.

I was really struck by the words Karl Vick wrote in the cover story of Time. He said, this ought to be a time when democracy leaps forward. When

an informed citizenry being a central sub government.

He said instead it's in retreat. We are seeing journalism challenged around the world and they said this is sought on truth is somewhat

paradoxically one of the hardest stories to tell and that's a really important point here.

Maria Ressa is not able to talk about the case against her in the Philippines. By all accounts, it is a politically motivated case in the

Philippines. But because she's going through a legal fight, she can't address it.

In Myanmar, those two Reuters reporters have been behind bars for a year now. Tomorrow is the one-year mark since their detention. They're not

able to speak out. I thought it was heartwarming that Time was able to photographed their wives on the cover instead, but also very bittersweet

that it's been a year now and they have been behind bars.

These are just four of many cases of trouble -- of a troubling environment for journalists and it's useful, I think at the end of the year, to

highlight that on the cover of Time.

GORANI: Brian Stelter, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

GORANI: Still to come tonight, this year's report card for the Arctic Circle shows more, very rapid warming. We'll have the latest from a U.N.

climate conference on what the world is or is not doing to combat the trend.


GORANI: Well, it's yet another report sounding yet another alarm on climate change. This one says unprecedented warmth is changing the arctic

and already having a profound impact despite repeated denials from U.S. President Donald Trump and some senior members of his administration.

[14:45:18] Meantime, the COP24 conference in Poland is working to try to find ways to tackle climate change. Nick Paton Walsh is there and he joins

me now live.

So what is being said at this conference, especially as the U.S. has been sitting out, you know, the conferences and very meaningful ways, not taking

part as a signatory in some of the important agreements.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're right. Donald Trump famously said that he wasn't going to go along with

the Paris agreement, which is really the bedrock of what this COP24 summit is about.

If you can imagine Paris Agreement being like an expression of the sentiment of what the 200 or so wanted to do. This is the meeting where

they work out how they do it and how more important they work out if, in fact, they are all doing. There's some mechanisms here that are being

created that's extremely important.

You mentioned the damage being done to the arctic there. A record period of warm, whether the warmest sort of period since 2016. Really. Which was

the warmest on record and the damage that is in fact doing seems to weather patterns in the northern hemisphere period.

You got to remember that the compound effect in the arctic less snow, less ice means less sunlight is reflected and therefore more is absorbed into

the ocean warming up the ice, causing things to happen generally quicker.

Now, that hasn't really blown the lid off, so to speak, of COP24, because frankly that is absorbed with the broader global issue here. This is about

trying to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2030.

Now, we've seen the United States here over the weekend. Along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, well, strange bedfellows, pulled out

really on that idea from the IPCC report of 1.5 degrees. Stressing really weren't entirely sure they believed in that science, refusing to welcome it

into the summit and that's cast a strange tone over the week ahead, Hala.

GORANI: All right. So let's talk a little bit about what can be achieved without having the United States buy in here.

WALSH: Well, there are two different schools of thought here. One is the train has left the station. That essentially most of the world realizes

they have to do something. Technology is moving forward and there's a recognition in most hearts of educated individuals that something is going

to be done.

So the Trump administration standing on the sidelines here yesterday promoting fossil fuels. Imagine that. Compared to the Obama

administration who led the deal through in Paris. This Trump administration was promoting sensible fossil fuel. The idea being that

really this is already happening and the bureaucrats here are working out the rules, so to speak.

But I think as the more realistic view that this is really about symbolism. If you have some of the key fossil fuel creators, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the

U.S. And many of their biggest consumers standing on the sidelines pouring doubt on science and then the U.S. suggesting how you can best use fossil

fuels. You're really not sending the cohesive message the world needs to see.

Because whatever comes out of the rule book here, Hala, it's not really about pieces of paper. It's about what you and I decide to do tomorrow.

Do we eat beef? Which is a big producer of climate fuel, climate emissions in terms of its production.

Do we choose -- take certain forms of air travel? How do you transport yourself around the world? What are your daily choices that can really

impact whether or not we still have a recognizable planet in 2030?

I don't want to overstate this but those really what we're dealing with. It's not some belief system here. That's just scientific fact. And so I

think the concern is the tone that's being set by that U.S. statement over the weekend by what they did yesterday which is interrupted by protests,

but still had a sizable impact to think on how people feel they have in terms of wriggle room in the agreements here.

Because if you are a country deciding whether they're going to make the real sacrifices to be part of this global movement, then you see the U.S.,

supposed to be the global leader, deciding to basically ignore some of the science and then potentially think you might get away with it. Hala.

GORANI: Thank you, Nick Paton Walsh.

It's somewhat ironic that many of the politicians who push back against climate change reports also want to curb migration, because all indications

imply -- apologies, that ignoring climate change will only make the migration crisis far, far worse.

That's because as temperatures continue to rise, experts predict a growing exodus of what some are calling climate refugees, who will be forced to

flee drought and starvation. It's a reality already being seen in parts of Central America. As CNN's John Sutter reports.


DELMI (through translator): It did rain before, but not so much anymore, because there wasn't much harvested in the corn fields this year. We

didn't harvest anything.

[14:50:10] JOHN SUTTER, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (voice-over): 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 (ph) fled Honduras for the United States. Part of

the migrant caravan that attracted the IR 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 DE VALLE DE GUATEMALA: We have seen events of children dying out of hunger so it is that extreme.

These people are moving away. It's not just out of their own will. 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 which CNN analyzed in collaboration with University of Texas shows an increase in migration to the U.S. during the

recent drought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I believe around 30 percent of the population, 25-30 percent of the population has emigrated.

SUTTER: Climate models 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When it rains, the cob grows. And as you can see because of the drought, it doesn't.

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

JAVILLO (through translator): We didn't have much to harvest this year because of the drought. We had very little corn to harvest. We had even

fewer beans. Very little.

SUTTER: His wife Nora says their family would have starved if a relative hadn't sent them help from the states.

She wants Javillo to try the dangerous journey again but they don't have the money.

Climate migrants who joined the caravan have 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 droughts.

But this exodus already is taking a toll. Delmi's husband died on the road while trying to join the caravan across the border in Guatemala.

DELMI (through translator): He said he was going to look for a better life so that his children wouldn't suffer anymore. However, it wasn't possible,

no. What he wanted didn't come true.

SUTTER: The circumstances of his death aren't clear. The family buried him in the land he used to till.

DELMI (through translator): he left us alone. He left us alone forever.

John Sutter, CNN, Copan, Honduras.


GORANI: I want to bring you some breaking news now that we are tracking for you. Police say several people are wounded by gun fire in the French

city of Strasbourg. The national police spokesperson tells CNN, that the gunman, and that is the word that this person used, the gunman has not

been, quote, "Neutralized yet."

The city is in the northeast of the country. On the -- by the German border. It is the seat of European Parliament, obviously. We'll bring you

more details as they become available. But there is an incident going on in Strasbourg.

The question, of course, is what the status is of any attacker, whether or not other people who may have been victims have been wounded.

But authorities have been quoted in various media outlets are saying there has been an incident in the city center of Strasbourg with other media

report suggesting it is close to the central Christmas Market in Strasbourg.

Again, reiterating the French police saying gunshots heard in the center of Strasbourg. We'll bring you more when we have it. Stay with CNN. We'll

be right back.


[14:55:26] GORANI: Police are saying shots have been fired in the center of Strasbourg in France. Ben Wedeman is following developments from Paris.

What more are you learning, Ben?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know the police have put out a statement saying that people should stay inside and

stay away from the center of the city where we know a Christmas Market was being held. So the area was fairly crowded at the time that shots were

fired. We don't know precisely how many or even roughly. And that there are wounded.

Beyond that, details are very scant at the moment but, obviously, we're going to have to wait and see to find out more. But it does appear that

the situation is ongoing. The police are saying that the gunman has not been apprehended at this point. Hala.

GORANI: All right. I understand my producer Laura is telling me that there is confirmation from authorities of one killed and just to update our

viewers as well, Ben, the interior ministry has tweeted just a few minutes ago, there is a serious public security incident unfolding in Strasbourg.

So this is still ongoing, Ben?

WEDEMAN: Yes. It's still ongoing and we don't know the nature of it. We must stress. We don't know if this is terror-related or simply a criminal

incident. At this point, given that it's ongoing, I think we're going to have to wait and see to see these details, real details coming out beyond

what we're already reporting. Hala.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Ben Wedeman in Paris. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.