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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
U.S. Judge Delays Flynn Sentencing After Stinging Rebuke; White House Holds Briefing After Flynn Sentencing Is Delayed; White House Speaks on Border Wall Funding and Government Shutdown; Manchester United Sack Jose Mourinho. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 18, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, we begin with breaking news that almost no one saw coming. A
surprise delay in the sentencing of Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. A judge abruptly adjourned a hearing in Washington
to give Flynn more time to finish cooperating with investigators under a plea agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD CHANTING: Lock him up! Lock him up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: This was the dramatic scene when Flynn left the courtroom. You can clearly hear chants of "lock him up." people, of course, using that
chant as a nod to his -- one of his favorite chants especially during the Republican convention in 2012 regarding Hillary Clinton. That she should
be locked up and chants of USA. There were some people who showed up there in support of Michael Flynn. Flynn's lawyers took the judge up on his
suggestion to delay sentencing today presumably concerned that their client could be sent to prison. The judge told Flynn, quote, "I'm not hiding my
disgust for your criminal offense." We're waiting on the White House press briefing which should start any moment with Sarah Sanders. We'll bring you
the administration's first response to the surprising breaking news when it happens and there's a live shot of the briefing room in Washington. Let's
get to our reporters to help us break down the dramatic afternoon in Washington. We're joined by White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.
Alex, let's start with you. This was a big surprise because the expectation was that Flynn would go in and get no jail time as a reward for
cooperating with prosecutors.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Both the Mueller team and Michael Flynn's team requested no jail time. The
expectation today was to go into court, there would be a sentence of likely no jail time. It was quickly apparent throughout the proceedings that the
judge somewhat on a path to handing down a sentence of prison time. The judge repeatedly asking Michael Flynn and his lawyers whether he wants to
withdraw his plea deal, whether he wanted to delay sentencing. Michael Flynn said very clearly that he understood that he was guilty of the crime
of lying to FBI agents but as this questioning kept coming from the judge as you hinted at, the Michael Flynn lawyers really got -- they understood
the signals and that it would work to their benefit to actually delay the sentencing. This is what Flynn's lawyers said at the end of the
proceedings before they adjourned. We are prepared to take your honor up on his suggestion of delaying sentencing so he can eke out the last modicum
of cooperation. That's an insinuation unless there's more cooperation I'm ready to sentence you to some jail time so you need to keep cooperating
with the special counsel's office. That is now the expectation. But, Hala, very, very harsh statements from this judge in the D.C. circuit in
the course of the proceedings. I want to read some quotes. There were no cameras in the courtrooms. This judge saying you were serving as national
adviser to the President of the United States and undermines everything this flag, indicating to a flag, stands for. Arguably you sold your
country out. Hala, that's a deference to Flynn working as an unregistered agent and the judge said that Flynn had not, in fact, continued his
lobbying activities when he actually joined the administration. Some incredibly harsh statements from the judge. Now the two sides expected
back in court in March and expectation is now Flynn will continue to cooperate with Robert Mueller's team.
GORANI: And, really, just a shocking turn of events as the expectation as we mentioned there at the top of the hour was for no jail time for Michael
Flynn. And, Boris, we are expecting as I mentioned, as well, a press brief which will be an opportunity for the White House and the administration to
react to these dramatic developments in Washington.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. The White House scheduled a press briefing for 1:30 and delayed once and I wouldn't be
surprised if it's delayed again and the expectation is a short, brief sentencing considering both sides suggested to the judge that Michael Flynn
to face little to no jail time.
[14:05:00] Obviously, the judge had very different sentiments but this is significant for the White House because the entire time that Michael Flynn
has gone through the legal ordeal, what we have heard from the White House is he was a victim of entrapment, that the FBI agents in the interview of
January of 2017 essentially coerced him into perjury trap and into lying about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador to the United States
Kislyak. Today Flynn shot that down and added that he knew that lying to the FBI agents was illegal and by not withdrawing his plea he admitted that
he knew what he was doing is illegal and there go the claims of the President and Sarah Sanders and others of the FBI effectively working to
entrap the President's former national security adviser. This gives legitimacy not only to the Russia investigation, the special counsel and
the FBI as an institution itself. The question now is, how's this White House going to defend Michael Flynn if they choose to go that direction?
Or, whether the President may as he's done in the past suggest that this judge is partisan and part of the deep state and aiming to go after --
GORANI: Boris and Alex, stand by. Sarah Sanders just walked up to --
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Good afternoon. As you know, the World Economic Forum will take place in Davos, Switzerland from January
22nd through 25th. The President will attend as he did last year. Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, will lead the delegation. That
will also include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chow, Kirstjen Nielsen,
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Linda McMahon, Adviser to The President Ivanka Trump, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner And Deputy Chief of
Staff Chris Liddell. The President is once given fulfilling a promise to the American people and this morning the acting Attorney General signed the
final rule making clear that bump stocks are illegal because they fall within the definition of machine guns banned under federal firearms law.
A 90-day period now begins which persons in possession of bump-stock type devices must return them to an ATF office or destroy them. Instructions
will be posted on the web site today. Martha McSally has been appointed to the Senate. We congratulate her. The President applauds Governor Ducey
for his swift and qualified selection and appreciates Senator John Kyle and thanks the people of Arizona. I'll take your questions with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your reaction to the delay in the Flynn sentencing and the
rather unusual inquiry from Judge Sullivan this morning asking prosecutors if Flynn possibly committed treason?
SANDERS: The delay is something within the court. In the meantime, we wish him well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the inquiry about whether he committed treason? Does the President see any reason why Flynn should be asked if
you committed treason?
SANDERS: I'm not aware of anything that would indicate that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the courthouse the last hour when Judge Sullivan basically said he was disgusted by Michael Flynn's crimes, he said
he had disdain for Flynn, Flynn said he knew it was illegal to lie to the FBI and he was ready to accept responsibility, this is all before agreeing
to a delay in sentencing. Given that, are you in a position or would you like to revisit comments earlier today that the FBI ambushed Flynn here?
SANDERS: No. We still firmly believe that the things that may have taken place, again that's for the judge to make that determination, whether who
engaged in something inappropriate. What we do know that was inappropriate by own self-admittance of James Comey is the FBI broke standard protocol in
the way that they came in and ambushed general Flynn and, in the way, that they questioned him and the way that they encouraged him not to have would
you counsel's office present and we know that because James Comey told us that.
He said the only reason they did it, it was the Trump administration and they thought they could get away with it. Those are facts and certainly
there may be other issues there but that we don't have any reason to want to walk that back.
[14:10:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very quickly about Michael Flynn. He has cooperated with the special counsel's office and met with them 19 times.
Is there a particular reason why the President has not said that he is rat the way he said Michael Cohen is a rat?
SANDERS: Look, we know Michael Cohen to be a liar on a number of fronts and the President's opinion is extremely clear on that front. I don't see
any reason to go beyond that comment at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two questions on the government shutdown. Can you clarify us the current White House position towards the continuing
resolution that's floating you on the hill? Is it a demand more $1.6 billion in border wall funding or supporting taking this up after the
SANDERS: At this point we're disappointed in the fact they've yet to vote and pass something. When they do that, we'll make a determination whether
we're going to sign that. The President has asked every one of his cabinet secretaries to look for funding that can be used to protect our borders and
give the President the ability to fulfill his constitutional obligation to protect the American people by having a security border. So, we're looking
at the other options. In the meantime, we'll see what the Senate does and let you know when we have an announcement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Following up on that, there are other sources that could potentially pay for the wall, what sources are you looking at?
SANDERS: The President has asked every agency to look and see if they had money to be used for that purpose.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they could find that money, does that mean the President would accept a proposal that does not include funding?
SANDERS: We'll see what the Senate will pass. We're disappointed in the process and their inability to put something forward. Once they put
something on the table, we'll make a determination on whether we'll move forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Flynn did say he lied to the FBI repeatedly. Does that concern the President? He seems to be concerned that Michael
Cohen was a liar. Is he concerned one of his top aides lied to the FBI and was working for a foreign government?
SANDERS: Not when it comes to things having to do with the President, the activities he is said to -- we'll let the court make that determination --
that he's said to have engaged in don't have anything to do with the President. Let remember what this is supposed to be about, whether or not
Russia influenced the election and whether or not the President had anything to do with it. We know Russia tried to create chaos but certainly
not that the actually impacted it. The only reason the president is the president is because he was a better candidate and beat Hillary Clinton.
We also know that the president never colluded with Russia. So that's the whole reason that we have this and we know those things to be false.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the President concern that Michael Flynn lied to representatives of his own government and was working for another
government during the campaign? Does that concern him or not?
SANDERS: There's certainly concern but that's for the court to determine. We're going to let the court play that out and they'll make a determination
on whether or not he engaged or certainly right or wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is the President making positive comments about him?
SANDERS: Again, we are going let the court play that out and they will make a determination and whether or not he engaged something right or
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is the president making positive comments about him given the things --
SANDERS: It's perfectly acceptable for the President to make a positive comment about somebody while we wait to see what the court's determination
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask you about a tweet the President sent out earlier today as he continues to vent frustration about the Federal
Reserve. He said that he hopes the Fed reads the "Wall Street Journal" op- ed. Part of the op-ed the "Journal" points out that U.S. growth might be slowing, housing and autos are down and a few cracks in the credit markets.
When the President talks about the fed, is he just venting at this point or is he generally worried that if there is a rate hike tomorrow that the
economy will slow down?
SANDERS: The President is stating his opinion, which he is perfectly within his right to do so. I think that's one of the reasons people like
him is because he does that and he does it regularly. He's been very clear about what his position is while at the same time he understands the fed is
an independent agency. It doesn't take away the President's right to state his opinion on a particular matter.
14:15:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to clarify one thing and move back to the border wall. The clarification on Michael Flynn, one of the things
concerning the judge is he lied inside the White House as the national security adviser to the President. Is the White House disputing that
Michael Flynn is a liar?
SANDERS: We're disputing any actions he engaged in had nothing to do with the President. Maybe he did do those things but that doesn't have anything
to do with the President directly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it comes to the border wall, today on television you mentioned that the President would be willing to accept $1.6 billion
for the wall the way that I understood it when you said it and also that plays into a broader $25 billion bill over ten years. Is that what the
White House's current offer is to capitol hill that it would accept?
SANDERS: Again, we are continuing to have constant and regular conversations with the hill. I'm not going to negotiate here. We've laid
out clearly what our parameters are with members of congress. We want to know what they can pass. We want to know what they think they can actually
get done. We've laid out what we'd like to see. In the meantime, we're looking at other areas where we can draw money from to make sure the
President can protect our border and protect American citizens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the deficit ballooning to over a trillion dollars under this President, where are the additional monies on this wall going to
come from and why is he asking the American taxpayer for them when he promised Mexico was going to pay?
SANDERS: We're not asking taxpayers for that. We're looking at existing funding through other agencies that we can draw on to do that immediately.
The President has been clear that the USMCA deal would provide additional revenue that would show Mexico was paying for the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trade benefits, if there are any, don't go to the Treasury.
SANDERS: He's saying we could pay for the wall four times over and by doing the new trade deal --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But trade benefits go to private citizens.
SANDERS: He's talking about the general revenue that comes from that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you're going to tax --
SANDERS: No, we're not taxing. We're talking about additional revenue that wouldn't have existed without the President doing a new deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you done the math on that in.
SANDERS: We know we'll have additional revenue from the USMCA. We think there will be more than that that comes in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was announced today that the President's charity was being dissolved. Does the President or anyone in his family have regrets
about how that was handled?
SANDERS: I'll refer you to the Trump Organization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the President given any indications to Turkey he would be willing to extradite the cleric?
SANDERS: The only thing he said is we would take a look at it but nothing committal at all, just that he'll look into it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've been saying things don't have anything to do with the President, he's just giving his opinion, has a right to give his
opinion, but does he not have a broader right -- responsibility, as far as if his national security adviser is lying, should he not be speaking on
behalf of the American people, not just himself, President Trump, man under investigation, but in all these aspects. You're talking about saying he is
just speaking for himself and he's not been linked to collusion is the claim and therefore it doesn't matter what he says.
SANDERS: That's not what I said at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And his comments on the fed have no bearing, he's just giving his opinion.
SANDERS: I didn't say it has no bearing. I said he's the President of the United States and he should not only does he have the ability to give his
opinion, he should give his opinion. That's why the people elected him is because they trusted him to make decisions on policy matters. They want to
know what his positions are on specific policies. He absolutely should state his opinion on not just that but on every topic that comes up that he
wants to engage on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, a lot of people who are somehow involved in investigations feel the FBI is unfairly targeting them, but the President
normally has a different role --
SANDERS: We know for a fact that the FBI engaged in an outrageous amount of political bias, particularly under James Comey's leadership is frankly
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Using terms like rat, who are cooperating witnesses --
SANDERS: Or --
[14:20:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn't he have a responsibility to preserve confidence in the rule of law?
SANDERS: Certainly. That's why he's appointed new people to do that, whether it was Director Wray, a new Attorney General, somebody that can
come in and be very transparent throughout this process. One last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to go back to the shutdown. You keep saying you've asked agencies to look for more money. On this issue of
reprogramming specifically, is your red line in these negotiations that you need Congress to reprogram money explicitly so the defense department or
whoever it might be, the congress say you can spend this money that we didn't on this issue of reprogramming specifically so DHS or the Defense
Department or whoever it might be say that Congress says you can spend this money that we didn't spend on something else on wall construction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or are you saying you have the legal authority and what are you basing that legal authority on since Nancy Pelosi said today that
in fact --
SANDERS: I would never use Nancy Pelosi as my source for legal authority on probably anything but I would use attorneys that work here at the White
House and agencies that's their entire job is determining whether or not something is legal and we're looking to those individuals to find out those
specific pots of money that can be used for that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, a bonus amount of money reprogrammed by Congress won't be necessary for the President's signature on this budget bill?
SANDERS: We would like to see congress pass an appropriations bill that fully funds our government and allows the President to protect our border
and provide appropriate border funding but we're also looking at other eaves that would allow us to provide and do our constitutional
responsibility and the President to carry that out. I encourage you guys to tune in to the President's events. Thanks, guys.
GORANI: That's Sarah Sanders. She said that delay of the sentencing of Flynn was between Flynn and the courts and the White House wishes Michael
Flynn well and stood by the comments that the FBI ambushed Flynn and maintains that the FBI broke protocol in a way -- in the way that Michael
Flynn was questioned. She was also asked why is the President not calling Michael Flynn a rat the same way he called Michael Cohen a rat for
cooperating with investigators. And she said it was because Cohen was a proven liar. She reiterated that she wished Michael Flynn well but
reporters could not get Sanders to condemn the acts that Flynn admitted he'd engaged in, lying to the FBI. And when asked about the President's
response, Sarah Sanders said perhaps Michael Flynn had lied and nothing to do with the President himself. She also mentioned the way off the top that
Donald Trump will be going to the Davos forum, the World Economic Forum held every year in Switzerland.
Boris, at the White House, nothing there terribly surprising by Sarah Sanders reiterating some of the points we have heard from her and the
President before. Specifically, that the White House wishes Michael Flynn well. And something the President himself had tweeted. He tweeted good
luck to Michael Flynn.
SANCHEZ: Yes. That's right. At this point it's interesting that the White House is sticking to these talking points despite what Michael Flynn
has said himself today at his sentencing hearing. It was notable that Sarah Sanders specifically said that she still believed that he was
ambushed by the FBI. She effectively put much of the onus for his legal troubles on James Comey and political bias within the FBI. That's despite
the fact that Michael Flynn said today he knew that lying to these agents was illegal and that he refused to take back his guilty plea. So, he is
aware he was guilty and aware of what he was doing and the White House not condemning him for doing that. And you nailed that point when she was
asked whether the President was concerned about the former national security adviser being an agent to a foreign country during the campaign
and the possible impact that may have had over this White House, over this administration, over foreign policy within the United States.
[14:25:00] She basically said that the President wasn't really concerned with Flynn's lies, that the court should take care of. Because Flynn's
lies were not specifically having to do with the President, that he simply didn't see him the way he sees Michael Cohen and he claims told personal
lies about the President. Sort of paints a picture of where the President's mind is on this issue and where his priorities are. The other
big news as you noted is that the President is headed to Davos next month. Obviously, she buried the lead coming out with that and instead of the news
on everybody's mind, that's the sentencing of Michael Flynn extended now happening, scheduling for march.
GORANI: Spoke again about the border wall and that the administration would try to find funding for that anywhere that it can. Thank you, Boris.
A lot more to come this evening. One of the biggest names in world football is gone from one of the world's biggest clubs. This is a story
that transcends sport and we're live in Manchester for the latest on that and we'll have more on Flynn's delayed sentencing. Stay with us.
GORANI: We don't often talk about football on this program but this story transcends the world of sport. That's because one of football's most
legendary clubs and one of its hottest managers are splitting up. Manchester United has fired Jose Mourinho and Mourinho, once a really
swaggering figure, is now looking miserable and feuding with players and with the media. Let's go to the stadium, called the stadium of dreams, as
of late it's not much of theater of dreams for fans. Alex Thomas is in Manchester at Old Trafford. Why did they pull the trigger now?
ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: We have to wait to find out exactly why they did it, Hala, but the guess is maybe you can get someone else in to use the
January transfer window in the new year. Clubs around Europe to buy and sell players for a month. They can't now and maybe the new coach to change
the squad and transform Manchester United's fortunes, sixth in the English premier league table and they wouldn't qualify for next year bringing in so
much money and the American owners are always worried about here and the latest rumor is a former Manchester United player could be the man to take
temporary charge at least until the end of the season and then another to be long-term replacement. Just astonishment although we saw this passing
of ways coming, the sacking coming this early, Hala, for a manager a serial winner wherever he's gone, most successful coach in the modern era and find
it very hard to fill the huge boots of Alex Ferguson that ruled here for more than a quarter of a century before quitting back in 2013.
[14:30:00] The club hasn't quite got back into the same winning routine ever since then. We thought Mourinho was the dream solution and turns out
two and a half years later he is not and on his way. More turmoil here. Hala?
GORANI: All right. Keep following that story, especially to see who replaces him. Thanks very much, Alex Thomas in Manchester. More on the
Flynn sentencing and the rest of the day's news after a quick break.
[14:30:10] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Well, an update now on our top story. A surprising last-minute delay in the sentencing of former
Trump national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan gave the court a brutal assessment of Flynn's actions in the Trump
campaign and as his national security adviser.
The judge chastised Flynn for lying to the FBI and other actions. In fact, he said, "I'm not hiding my disgust for your criminal offense."
CNN White House reporter Stephen Collison joins me now from Washington. And CNN legal analyst, Renato Mariotti. He's a former federal prosecutor.
Thanks for joining us.
Renato, let me start with you. What did you make of this delay? Because it was a surprise to most everyone.
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, the judge I think made it pretty clear in court that he was disgusted, as you pointed out, with Mr. Flynn's
conduct. And I think the judge was surprised that Robert Mueller gave Flynn as good of a deal as he did.
And it seemed clear to me that the judge wanted to sentence Mr. Flynn to, at least, some jail time. His lawyers, I think, had been pushing for this
earlier sentencing, usually cooperator sentencing would occur at the very end after all this cooperation.
And I think they wisely sought some additional time to regroup because they had made a mistake here. Mueller was recommending zero jail time and what
they should have done has been as quite as possible and gone along with that. Instead, they tried to minimize Flynn's conduct and the judge was
having no piece of that.
GORANI: So what happens in March then, Renato, do you think? I mean, what is it that the judge is waiting to see from Flynn? How much more he
cooperates with prosecutors?
MARIOTTI: Exactly right. So typically, you know, the judge would get a full report on Flynn's cooperation and he is required under law to consider
the full extent of Flynn's cooperation.
What's going to happen between now and then on the defense side is that Michael Flynn's lawyers are going to regroup and reposition this and I
strongly suspect that at -- when the sentencing occurs, they are no longer going to be even hinting at any kind of misconduct or trying to minimize
what Flynn did.
Mr. Flynn is going to be very contrite. He's going to fully accept responsibility. They're going to -- they are going to use the information
they glean today to their advantage.
GORANI: But, so, before I get you, Stephen, Renato, he could still get jail time. Right?
MARIOTTI: No question. It is unusual, I will say, for a judge to recommend -- or excuse me, to sentence a defendant to prison time when the
government's recommending none. But I will also say it is very unusual for someone to get no prison time for something that the judge I think
rightfully said appeared like he was selling out his country.
[14:35:06] GORANI: And, Stephen, the White House reaction, we just heard from the press Secretary Sarah Sanders, she rerepeated several times, we
wish Flynn well, that this delay is between Michael Flynn and the courts and also -- but didn't condemn the act that Michael Flynn admitted to have
engaged in, the criminal offense itself, which is lying to the FBI which I found interesting.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. So yet another unusual and scarcely believable performance really from the White House press room
What was interesting to me going into this hearing is that the Trump team and conservative media has constructed this narrative by which Flynn was
forced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and had so much pressure that he was forced to lie and say things about the president.
In the hearing, the judge basically asked Flynn whether he felt he was trapped by the FBI. He made him say in court that he wasn't. So it seems
to me on a political sense notwithstanding what Sarah Sanders says standing by their claim that Flynn was ambushed.
A lot of the political case here has been cut out from under the White House. I think it shows that while attacks on Mueller and the judicial
process and the FBI are effective political tactic to some extent on conservative media and in shoring up Trump's base.
When you get to the actual reality-based situation of the courtroom and the application of the law, that does not work.
GORANI: And, Stephen, why -- reporter asked Sanders, why are you calling - - why did the president call Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney, a rat for cooperating with prosecutors but he's wishing Flynn well? And in
fact, wishing him good luck on Twitter. What's the difference than she said? Because Cohen is a proven liar. Why do you think they're making --
they're distinguishing between these two cases?
COLLINSON: I think it's difficult to say. A lot of people are looking at those comments and wondering whether the president is trying to send some
kind of message, as he perhaps did to Paul Manafort in an interview recently.
A lot of people are wondering whether the president is perhaps dangling the possibility of a pardon.
Flynn, of course, as Mueller has said today, is still cooperating in the special counsel's probe and that can continue. So there will be a lot of
people who view this as yet more inappropriate interference by the president in a live case and a case in which a witness is testifying
against him and people around him. So I think there are real questions about the motivation of those questions.
GORANI: All right. Stephen Collinson and Renato Mariotti, thank you very much to both of you.
And as some of you saw on our air, Michael Flynn left the courthouse in Washington, D.C. And people, protesters there were chanting "Lock him up."
Of course, you remember during the Republican convention it was Michael Flynn who was chanting "lock her up" in reference to Hillary Clinton. And
he's the one hearing those chants about him now.
Get ready for a possible no-deal. That is the stark warning we're hearing from Theresa May and her government is now 101 days before Britain leaves
the European Union.
And after another marathon cabinet session, members have made no deal planning, quote, "an operational priority." We also found out that more
than 3,000 troops will be on standby in case of no deal. Not exactly sure what they'd be responding to.
The government will send out details to households and 80,000 businesses likely to be affected and businesses will also have access to 100-plus page
document online to help them prepare.
Let's explain exactly what all of that means and where it fits into the bigger puzzle that is Brexit. Bianca Nobilo joins me now in studio.
So prepping for no-deal, I mean is that -- I mean, I guess I could understand the E.U. allowing that to happen because, in a sense, perhaps
the E.U. is just a bit fed up with the whole process and they feel like, you know what? You want to fall off the cliff, be my guest.
But the U.K., even opposing parties, will they let this happen to their country?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a majority in the House of Commons to avoid no deal at almost any cost. But technically,
Hala, what happen remains to be seen. Because, at the moment, no deal is the default. They want to agree on May's deal. That's what's going to
happen. But the government maintain that it's any responsible government's duty to make these kinds of preparations.
The health secretary Matt Hancock said today who is a remainer. This isn't what he wants the happen but it might happen, so it's necessary they
prepare. He also said as part of those no deal preparations that the U.K. is now the biggest refrigerator buyer, globally. Referring to the fact
that medicines, such as (INAUDIBLE) and other types of biologics as they're called in the industry, required this cold chain storage.
So meaning on medicines have to be kept cold so that they still work when they get to us in hospitals or GP surgeries. So Britain's having to
stockpile all of these medicines for an extra six-week supply just in case there's a gridlock at the border and that's all these issues at the channel
because of the new customs --
[14:40:10] GORANI: So the strategy be, look, we're going to tell the British public that we're preparing for a doomsday catastrophic no deal so
that my imperfect deal, Theresa May's imperfect deal seems like the better option between the two.
NOBILO: That has been the prime minister's strategy throughout. She's tried to threaten those that want to remain, that is scared of a no deal,
with that being an option, with the Brexiteers trying to say that no Brexit also could be an option. That has been her strategy throughout.
However, her cabinet are divided on that. The justice secretary, David Gauke was reported saying today, we need to slay the unicorn that is this
idea of a managed no-deal Brexit. Many cabinet ministers thinking that there is just is no such thing. Brexiteers might advocate that if we start
having discussions now by the no-deal, it can be smoother and we can try and avoid some of that chaos. But other cabinet members standing firm and
saying that is simply not possible. It's a myth.
GORANI: OK. Well, thanks very much, Bianca. Just the latest twist there in this soap opera that is Brexit. Thank you very much.
Still to come tonight, this really heartbreaking story. A dying child, a desperate mother, and a government travel ban that is keeping them apart.
A new development this evening in the case of a Yemeni banned from seeing her dying son in California. In just a moment.
GORANI: There are reports of some minor skirmishes but it appears that a cease-fire is holding in Yemen. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Both
sides in the civil war have agreed to withdraw from the port city of Hudaydah by January 7th and that would allow some food and medical supplies
to get in. But it would be just really, really a positive development if that pocket of Yemen could see some calm. For a sustained period.
The United States has agreed to let a Yemeni woman into the country so she can visit her dying son. 2-year-old Abdullah Hassan has a brain disease.
His father, Ali, is a U.S. citizen and he brought the boy to the States for medical treatment.
By the way, the boy is also an American citizen. But Abdullah's mother was barred under the Trump administration's travel ban because she holds a
Yemeni passport. But now after, it has to be said, the story made headlines, perhaps, the state department felt some pressure, a visa waiver
has been granted to the mother of the child.
CNN's Dan Simon has been following this story. When will the mother be able to travel to California, Dan?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Hala. We are told that she will actually be arriving in San Francisco tomorrow night. And then presumably
she'll immediately come to Oakland where the boy is currently on life support in this hospital behind me. This is a wrong that has now been
[14:45:05] As you said, this is a woman who just wanted to come to the United States to say goodbye to her 2-year-old boy who has this rare brain
disease. He can no longer breathe on his own. But because of the Trump administration's travel ban, which forbids travel from five predominantly
Muslim nations which includes the country of Yemen, she was blocked from coming.
But as you said, once CNN and other outlets broadcast this, throughout the entire world, the State Department apparently reversed course and decided
to allow this woman to come to the United States. She actually now has a spousal visa which is better than what they initially wanted. They were
trying to get an expedited humanitarian visa. Now with this other visa, she can stay in the United States permanently, which is obviously great
news for this family. Hala?
GORANI: And there -- we have many viewers from that part of the world here on CNN International. And I think I was a little confused because I was
under the impression that the ban allowed for travel for citizens of these countries if they some sort of bona fide family relationship in the United
States. Was that not the -- I mean, why did that not apply to this mother?
SIMON: You know, it's a good question and the State Department has not answered any of the queries as it relates to any individual cases. They
were essentially stuck in bureaucratic gridlock as she applied for this application or applied for this visa to come to the United States. It just
kept saying pending.
But you're right. Her husband is a United States citizen. Along with her son. But when they filed the paperwork to try to get her to the country,
they got that, you know, standard message saying that due to this ban that she was unable to come.
GORANI: But also, the State Department didn't immediately reverse course. I mean, they issued sort of this very generic statement 24 hours ago saying
essentially that's just the way it is. Is it really the pressure that the spotlight from the news coverage that seems to have changed minds at the
SIMON: I have to believe that's the case, Hala. There's no other explanation for why after months of desperately trying to get to the
country and essentially hearing nothing from the State Department and then once the cameras came in and the council on American and Islamic relations,
they held a news conference to talk about this. And then, lo and behold, 24 hours later you have this reversal from the State Department.
So once again, you know, a positive sign that this, in fact, occurred, of course, there's going to be a lot of questions as to why it took the media
spotlight in order to make this happen.
GORANI: And how many other families, as well? And this poor little boy, Ali, what is his condition?
SIMON: You know, he's on life support. He only has days left to live. Is what we're being told and that's why time was really of the essence to
allow this mother to come to Oakland to say goodbye to her son.
So, and the hospital is very supportive of this. He's on life support and I know the family, you know, unfortunately, they made the tough decision to
pull life support because this child absolutely has no hope of recovering and the hospital was supportive of the family's efforts to get the mother
here to say goodbye, Hala. It's just a tragic story all around.
GORANI: It really is. And our sympathies are with this family. Terrible, terrible time for them.
Dan Simon, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu's eldest son is being called out for what he writes online. Facebook says Yair Netanyahu used hate
speech and, in fact, kicked him off Facebook for 24 hours. His account has since been restored.
At issue is series of posts targeting Muslims and Palestinians. Netanyahu says he's been singled out by Facebook's thought police. Ian Lee joins me
now. He's in Jerusalem. What did he write on Facebook that got him kicked off?
IAN LEE, CNN FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yair Netanyahu who is no stranger to controversy. There were three posts that eventually got him
kicked off. The first one basically alluded to that all Muslims should leave Israel. The other one, he said, was he called Palestinians monsters.
And also, he said there's no terror in Iceland or Japan. He said that's because these countries don't have Muslim communities. And so, Facebook
saw these posts and they took them down.
Well, Yair Netanyahu took a screen grab of them and reposted them on Facebook and that's when this 24-hour suspension came into play.
Facebook in a statement said that, "Yair Netanyahu posted several posts which included hate speech. This clearly violates our community standards.
Due to that, the content was removed from our platform as we would not do for anyone posting similar content about any protected characteristic.
Following this, Yair Netanyahu decided to share a screen shot of a removed post and called for people to share it, which is the same as writing the
hate speech all over again."
[14:50:22] As he says is that he believes that Facebook is targeting him. Something that Facebook denies. He calls Facebook the thought police. He
also said it's an extreme, progressive organization.
But again, Yair Netanyahu is no stranger to controversy. Previously, he posted something that also got him in a bit of hot water. He then deleted
it. It was a picture of -- it was a picture of Jewish philanthropist, George Soros, as well as other critics of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the
Anti-Defamation League said that it was blatantly anti-Semitic. He even got David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to praise him
in that post.
GORANI: That's usually not a -- yes. That is controversial certainly when David Duke praises you.
Thanks you very much, Ian Lee, in Jerusalem.
All right. Something completely different. Including this. A 90s television star claims a video game is copying his famous dance moves and
he is suing. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Now to an unusual lawsuit and an interesting question. Should dance moves be copyrighted? It's a question for an American court with a
TV star suing the developers of a videogame Fortnite for copying his moves. First of all, remember this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM JONES, SINGER: It's not unusual to be loved by anyone, it's not unusual to have fun with anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, it's the Carlton dance move from the 90s TV show "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." And now the actor, Alfonso Ribeiro, is accusing the
videogame of copying his dance. Ribeiro says the company used his likeness without permission and has unfairly profited from it.
And Samuel Burke is here with more. Does he have a case, Samuel?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: It's not unusual to have fun with this story. We've been talking to lawyers who say that
people associate that dance with that actor so they think that he has an argument that he can make in court.
The other thing here is that these games, Fortnite and NBA 2K, they offer this as in-app purchases. Fortnite was the most downloaded game in 2018.
They've made billions in revenue. Your audience can decide for themselves, but they call that character that you see on the screen right there.
GORANI: It's very similar. Yes.
BURKE: They called that character Fresh and So Fresh in these games kind of like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. So they talk about other cases, Vanna
White, you remember from Wheel of -- not "Wheel of Fortune." Yes, "Wheel of Fortune."
GORANI: Yes, "Wheel of Fortune." Yes.
BURKE: She sued Samsung, at one point, in 1993 because they had a robot with a blond wig turning letters and she won. So they say there's some
GORANI: But I guess you could say, you know, turning letters is very specific activity whereas dancing -- could I do it if I -- can I?
BURKE: Oh, oh. Be careful.
GORANI: Oh, oh, oh. I don't want to get sued.
BURKE: I talked to the CNN lawyers because it's editorial. They're not the only ones -- we can do it. They're not the only one suing. They're
also -- the guy who did the floss. You know that one? The backpack kid. He's also being represented by the same law firm. I think we might have
video of that. So you can make your own judgment. I'm not a lawyer. But certainly there are some other cases, movements and image when people --
[14:55:16] GORANI: Well, I think it's a little trickier with the dance. But, yes, in some cases you can see definite similarities.
Have you been following this man Jose Mourinho story?
BURKE: Of course.
GORANI: Well, because we're an international network, we can ask people all over the world what they think of Jose Mourinho getting fired. In
fact, because this story transcends sport, I think.
BURKE: Of course.
GORANI: People just become such a cultural phenomenon.
We went -- where did we go first? We went to Manchester first. Here's what people says.
BURKE: That makes sense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- turned against him. People that I knew had lost interest in Manchester United generally and I just -- yes. I just think it
was just time. His time had come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, definitely. I definitely think that the support is kind of split. There are also Jose in and some Jose out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And there were wise words in London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think for Jose Mourinho, I think it's pretty sad that Man United giving his way -- his Man United manager and I think can
replace him or one of the assistant coaches like (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since when?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy moly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, let's go beyond England. The English Premier League and Manchester United are huge in Africa. So we went all the way to Nairobi.
This is what they said.
BURKE: Hit it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what is happening with Mourinho is failing to do the sovereign rights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not doing a good job for Manchester. They must fire him, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a Manchester fan. I'm happy that Mourinho is dismissed. Because he was not working well with the players.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And even New York City had something to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm happy about it because I don't really like him. I think he's got a really -- he's got a good reputation because he's won a
lot of trophies and stuff but then he's got a really bad track record of like just falling right off after like just a couple of years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURKE: When you've got Americans commenting on soccer, then you know you've got an international sport story on your hands.
GORANI: Exactly. Well, football is big in the U.S. now, especially in Atlanta. They just won the MLS Championship. And I know this because I
follow people on social media in Atlanta.
BURKE: Not because they're attending soccer games in Atlanta?
GORANI: Not quite. But anyway, it is a huge story and it just goes beyond sport. So we'll see who replaces him.
Samuel, thanks you so much. It's not unusual to feel loved by Hala Gorani.
GORANI: Right. Thank you, Samuel. That was fun. And thanks for watching. I'll be here same time, same place tomorrow. "QUEST MEANS
BUSINESS" is next.