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Flynn Sentencing Delayed after Judge's Sharp Rebuke; Trump Climbs Down from Wall Building Demand; U.K.'s Path to Worst Political Crisis in a Generation; Yemeni Mother Gets U.S. Visa to See Dying Son; U.S. Lawmakers Tour Border Facilities. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired December 19, 2018 - 02:00   ET




NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, I'm Nick Watt and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour, courtroom drama in Washington. The most senior Trump official to face criminal charges walks into court expecting leniency and walks out after a tongue-lashing from the judge.

Plus Brexit's plan B, officials prepare for the possibility of a no deal Brexit. Thousands of British troops will be at the ready.

And the search is on to find Manchester United's next manager after The Special One, Jose Mourinho, is sacked by the club.


WATT: We begin with a surprising twist in the case of former U.S. national security advisor, Michael Flynn. He was supposed to be sentenced Tuesday for lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation.

Instead, a federal judge scolded the retired Army general for his conduct, delayed sentencing and gave Flynn at least three more months to tell investigators what he knows. CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Michael Flynn's sentencing is on hold after a dramatic two-hour rebuke from the judge who hinted Flynn could end up getting prison time for lying to the FBI.

Federal judge Emmet Sullivan scolding President Trump's former national security advisor, telling Flynn, "I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain for your criminal offense."

The judge even raised the question of treason, asking the special counsel's team twice if Flynn's conduct "rises to the level of treasonous activity." Judge Sullivan also admonished Flynn for his work with the Turkish government, saying, "Arguably, you sold your country out."

The judge later walked back both rebukes, saying he wasn't suggesting Flynn committed treason and acknowledged that Flynn's lobbying for Turkey did not go on while he worked at the White House.

The judge focused his real frustration and confusion on the circumstances surrounding Flynn's guilty plea, asking why Flynn admitted guilt, even though his lawyers accused the FBI of tricking Flynn into lying about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during that January 2017 interview at the White House.

The sentencing memo where Flynn's lawyers criticized the FBI may have been a major miscalculation and seemed to offend the judge, who said, "I cannot recall any incident where the court has ever accepted the plea of someone who maintained he was not guilty."

Flynn finally admitted he was aware that lying to the FBI was a crime when he was interviewed in January 2017 and his lawyer responded, "No," when the judge asked Flynn if he believed he was entrapped by the FBI.

Judge Sullivan still gave Flynn several chances to rethink his guilty plea. But Flynn repeatedly told the judge he wanted to proceed.

The judge asked, "Because you're guilty of this offense?"

Flynn answered, "Yes, Your Honor."

The judge told Flynn he should consider delaying sentencing until he is finished cooperating, saying, "The more you assist the government, the more you arguably help yourself at the time of sentencing."

Flynn has already met with Mueller's team 19 times but indicated in court he plans to continue providing information.

SCHNEIDER: The two sides are set to file a status report reflecting that cooperation by March 13th and then a second try at the sentencing will follow sometime after that, in early to mid-2019 -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.



WATT: Joining me now to delve into all of the news from Trump world is David Drucker, CNN political analyst and senior political correspondent at "The Washington Examiner."

David, let's start with General Flynn. Now this morning, President Trump tweeted good luck to his former national security advisor. A couple of days ago, of course Trump called his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, "a rat." Both men have been cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

So, why is one a rat and one is getting wished good luck? DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, well, apparently Michael Flynn needed a luck because the judge really let him have it, even though the sentencing has now been delayed, so that the Mueller investigation can finish and any assistance that Mr. Flynn provides I suppose will be taken into account.

Look, Trump, it's all about personal loyalty. So, Flynn he doesn't believe has turned on him or if he has, we don't know about it. We know that Michael Cohen has turned on Donald Trump and he's had a lot of things to say about the president that are negative.

And that's all that matters to the president. That's why one is a rat and one gets a good luck and a thumbs up. Although all of that really didn't help Mr. Flynn's case in the end.

WATT: But, I mean, we heard today that Michael Flynn has met with Mueller investigators 19 times. The judge today threw out the word treason in court, he did walk it back but he --


WATT: -- used that word. So, what did the proceedings today tell us about Mueller's progress and maybe the depth of the president's problems here.

DRUCKER: Yes. And I think this is a really important point here. Because partisans on both sides like to assume that either Mueller really has the goods on President Trump or that Mueller has nothing on President Trump and as the president says, it's a witch-hunt.

I think for most of us, most of us I don't think many people actually know what Mueller has or where this is headed.

But with somebody who is as careful and as experienced and as committed as he is, to seeing something through and as an experienced of an investigator, I think we know that there's something there and at the end of this, there are going to be a group of people or at least some group of people implicated.

At least those people that have not ended up cooperating with the investigation.

So, I think this is a serious investigation. I think that nobody is really quite sure where and when it is going to end. It's important to stress that. But all signs point to the fact that there is something that the Mueller investigation is going to find. There are going to be some sort of political ramifications.

If the president is free and clear the way he thinks, he is better off not talking. But obviously, the president looks at this differently so he continues to insert himself and in fact, give the Mueller investigation a lot more attention than it would otherwise have.

WATT: But, I mean, listen, you know, there was a lot of talk of Flynn getting no jail time whatsoever. That would suggest that he's flipped. He's dished. DRUCKER: Well, that might suggest that, but dished and flipped on who?

That's what we don't totally understand and it's really impossible for us to know without more knowledge.

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Ken Starr, who was the special prosecutor when Bill Clinton as president was investigated via a very similar kind of investigation.

And I asked him, does anybody really know what Mueller has?

When you were investigating, did anybody really know what you had and where you were headed?

And he said no.

He called Mueller Mr. Honesty and said he can be trusted, that he has integrity.

But I think the question for Flynn -- and it's a good question you raise -- is flipped or dished on who?

We don't know that it's the president. It could be a whole number of people other than the president.

WATT: So, let's move on. I mean, also, today, President Trump's charitable foundation agreed to dissolve under judicial supervision. The foundation that was facing legal trouble in New York over using money charity dollars to settle disputes, to buy a portrait of the president that's hanging in Mar-a-Lago and over allegations in 2016, the Trump campaign staff were deciding which organizations would get donations from the foundation.

That's a charity political crossover that's a no-no.

But so what does this tell us, when it seems that the president isn't fit to run a charity but is still fit to run the country?

DRUCKER: Well, these are political questions. So, the voters are going to have another say at this in two years. They may decide they no longer see him fit to run the country.

I think that's interesting here is any crossover between the charity and the campaign and members of the Trump Organization, or the Trump campaign were directing the charity to involve itself in a campaign to boost President Trump's candidacy. That would be a very big problem.

In any normal circumstance, this story would be very embarrassing and very damaging. I almost think it's the fact that there are so many controversies surrounding the president that something like this is sort of like a thumbtack on a wall that you don't really notice. But if, you know, if anybody stepped on it, it would really hurt.

It's just one of those things where we're busy talking about Flynn and possible collusion with Russia and that's one of the reasons why a story like this gets overshadowed. But under any other circumstance, very embarrassing and very problematic politically.

WATT: I agree. And let's move on, finally, to Trump has been talking tough about building this wall along the border with Mexico since way back in the campaign. Earlier this week he was threatening a government shut down if the Democrats didn't agree to funding. Today it looks like the administration climbed down just a little.

So let's just listen to White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has asked every one of his cabinet secretaries to look for funding that can be used to protect our borders and for the -- give the president the ability to fulfill his constitutional obligation, to protect the American people by having a secure border.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: As for the idea of what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, they could get wall money from NAFTA or some other part of the government, they need congressional approval. And they're not getting it for the wall, plain and simple.


WATT: So, David, is President Trump climbing down on this, one of his signature policies?

DRUCKER: Well, he's caving on this particular standoff. I mean, he says he was demanding $5 billion ---


DRUCKER: -- specifically for the building of the wall. And then he was more than happy to shut down the government if he didn't get it. So, he has caved, he has backed away from that.

I think it is constitutionally questionable. I also think it's a lot of semantics saying they're going to scrape pennies under the couch to pay for the wall, you know, they found somewhere in the Interior Department, or the Department of State, that somebody had dropped or something like that.

So, I think all of that gets us back to the point that as big of a priority and as big of a political part of President Trump's aura as the wall has been, he continually pushes aside opportunities to do something about getting more money for the wall and border security.

And I think the bigger question about the president is, after almost two years in office, how much oxygen, how much effort did he really put into legislation that would overhaul U.S. immigration policy to make it more like something he believes it should be?

Never mind the opposition that would obviously be there from the Democrats and some Republicans. But he has not actually put that much effort into doing something about immigration as much as he has talked about.

And it's only going to get harder in the next Congress that begins in January because Democrats are going to be in control of the House. And given the politics of all of this, they're not going to give Trump any money for his wall, nothing specifically except maybe some crumbs.

And so, he's going to have to figure out how to explain this as he runs for re-election and explains to his base, possibly, why he wasn't able to deliver on a signature promise.

WATT: David Drucker, thank you very much for your time.

DRUCKER: Thank you.


WATT: Now to Europe. Belgium's prime minister is stepping down amid outcry over his immigration policy. Charles Michel announced his resignation to parliament Tuesday just before a vote of no confidence could be introduced. He said he'll hand his resignation to the king immediately.

But according to the royal palace, the king hasn't decided whether he'll accept it. All this comes just days after a violent anti- immigration protest over Belgium's support of a U.N. migration pact that some claim will increase migration into Europe.

There are just 100 days left until Britain is due to leave the European Union. There's growing worry, the U.K. will exit without a deal. Cabinet ministers met for another marathon session Tuesday and now Prime Minister Theresa May's government is preparing for that worst-case scenario.

Her office says there needs to be an emergency contingency plan in case Parliament rejects her deal next month. Britain's defense secretary said 3,500 troops will be on standby to support the government if there is no Brexit deal.

And families and businesses will receive advice in the coming weeks on how best to prepare for that scenario. So here we are, 2.5 years after the Brexit referendum and there's still no agreement on what will actually happen next: a Brexit deal, no deal, maybe even a second referendum and no Brexit at all. CNN's Nick Glass looks at how the U.K. got to this point.



NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flight of a cormorant along the River Thames, it's a wonderful life, as they say at this time of year, flying and diving and fishing. If only things were that simple in the great riverbank Palace of Westminster. But everyone agrees this is Britain's worst political crisis in a generation. And the prime minister is looking tired. THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: At this critical moment in our history, we should be thinking not about our party's interest but about the national interest.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: This, Mr. Speaker, is a constitutional crisis and the prime minister is the architect of it.

TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Our present situation is unique in modern British politics. The government is not in control, not of the agenda, not of events and certainly not of the outcome.

The clock, which had never been set ticking, now ticking ever louder as we approach the midnight hour.

GLASS (voice-over): The cartoonists have been cruel, oh, so very cruel. A dead duck is walking around Europe with the verdict of "The Guardian's" man, "Quack."

The tone seemed be to be set in Brussels in the weeks before Christmas, Theresa May confronting the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, reportedly accusing him of calling her "nebulous." Every word in the exchange later closely studied by media lip readers. It was all apparently a misunderstanding, but irresistible to "The Times" cartoonist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Oh, Juncker, there is nothing nebulous about my position on Brexit.

GLASS (voice-over): The truth is Europe seems disinclined to make concessions and is waiting to see what happens next in the House of Commons. Acrimonious parliamentary --


GLASS (voice-over): -- debate resumes in the New Year and the postponed vote on May's compromised Brexit deal will finally take place in mid-January. No one at this juncture expects the deal to be approved.

The Labour opposition would love a snap general election. Theresa May remains adamantly against a second referendum on Brexit.

"The Guardian" cartoonist characterizes it all as "Zombie Groundhog Day," buried with her leopard print kitten heels rising slowly from the dead only for more self-inflicted punishment.

So will Theresa May take in a new movie of a Christmas-like "Bohemian Rhapsody" to help take her mind off things?

Probably not, not with those lyrics.

As we all know, "Mary Poppins" has returned, but "The Times'" cartoonist quickly seized on that one and she crash lands.

Laurel and Hardy, back in a new biopic, "Stan and Ollie," might just make her laugh a bit. But you can't really think about them without thinking of their most famous and misquoted line, "Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into." -- Nick Glass, CNN, Westminster.



WATT: I'm joined now by Thom Brooks, the dean of Durham Law School and a professor of law and government at England's Durham University.

Thom, this planning for the no deal, these 3,500 troops, the government talking about booking space on ferries so they could get enough food and meds in the country, is this legit?

Or is this maybe scaremongering on behalf of the government to try to get people to back this deal that Theresa May has on the table?

THOM BROOKS, DEAN, DURHAM LAW SCHOOL: It may well partly be a bit of both. I think that it may well be in terms of the -- talking about the troops and the health secretary said that the government is the largest buyer of refrigerators at the moment for stockpiling medicines.

It may well be kind of an attempt to kind of really get to push members of Parliament into supporting the prime minister's deal.

But I think it's mostly a sign of the lack of planning. So it's only 100 days to Brexit and it's just about now that the government begins any serious thinking or planning for just about what happened if Parliament didn't back its deal -- it seems pretty certain at the moment it would not -- and if the E.U. did not cave in to give any special last-minute deal. That was always thought of during the referendum.

Those who are for leaving said that it was Project Fear to suggest that there would be no deal, that it was impossible to imagine German automakers allowing Angela Merkel to see Theresa May walk away without a deal. It now seems that Project Fear is turning into a bit of a project nightmare reality for the prime minister.

WATT: But surely, we're not actually going to get to the point of no deal, are we?

BROOKS: Well, that's what a lot of people guessed from the beginning, that such a scenario was really unthinkable. And so the thinking was that Britain was so important to so many parts of the E.U. economy that the E.U. would surely want to give the U.K. a deal unlike any other country -- some very special exemptions, very special cherry- picking of what we'd like to stay in those areas but leaving or being outside other areas that Britain did not favor. That doesn't seem to work at all.

There's been a concerted effort for about two years to, behind the scenes, approach different capital cities across E.U. to try to effectively divide and conquer the E.U. thinking on this. And it's come, really, really to nothing. And it seems that even, right now, with Theresa May looking very desperate and looking for some type of -- some small change in the agreement, that nothing has been forthcoming.

So I think that no deal is really genuinely unthinkable that something like that would happen. It doesn't mean that I think that Theresa May's deal is the only deal. Remember, only last week the European Court of Justice said that Parliament could rescind its triggering of Article 50 starting this Brexit process if it wanted to without the E.U.'s consent.

So, Britain -- the British Parliament could stop Brexit if it wanted to in the next 100 days. It doesn't have to have Theresa May's deal or no deal.

WATT: And, Thom, just finally, we're expecting to hear, a little bit later today --


WATT: -- the government is going to issue a white paper on immigration policy post-Brexit.

What are we expecting from that?

And how do we think it's going to affect people who want to move to Britain either from inside the E.U. or outside after Brexit?

BROOKS: Well, one of the things that's been leaked about the support is that the past drafts, no one other than the cabinet has seen the final draft. The past drafts of this paper removed the net migration target of 100,000 immigrants from the E.U. or outside the E.U. every year.

Of course, the government has been missing that target by quite a lot. It was 273,000 net migration over the last 12 months. So it's been a real kind of sore point for the government. So that's apparently been removed.

But in its place, we've been hearing a commitment to reducing the E.U. migration by something like 80 percent, possibly by introducing a salary threshold of 30,000 pounds or higher as a means of testing whether or not there's a truly highly skilled migrant.

And they're saying that, you know, highly skilled migrants making that amount of money, I think that salary contract in the U.K., prior to coming to the U.K., that there would be no cap on those numbers.

One of the many problems, I think, with this is, of course, there's a lot of highly skilled jobs, not least in laboratories, at universities and elsewhere, that pay nothing like 30,000 pounds a year. But this kind of commitment to kind of reducing overall numbers seems to still be the theme.

And I think the reason for it is that, in the wave of all of these problems that the prime minister has had on Brexit and trying to show that there's been progress made, this white paper on immigration might be a way of trying to show, look, if this Brexit doesn't come too much, if there's some kind of a big change of plan to something much softer, or if it were to indeed be a pause or stopped even right now.

The government feels very committed to doing something on immigration, to reducing immigration or being at least looked like they are reducing immigration, given that that was one of the key issues, if not the key issue, behind people wanting to leave the European Union in the first place.

WATT: Thom Brooks in Durham, thank you very much for your time.


WATT: Moving on, a Yemeni mother is finally granted a visa to see her child in the U.S. What U.S. officials are saying about the trip first being denied -- coming up.

Plus doctors face an uphill battle as they try to contain the highly contagious Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.





WATT: It appears the U.N.-brokered cease-fire is holding in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah. Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition have been fighting for control of the area. Minor skirmishes have been reported by both sides but a source for the coalition says the Houthis should withdraw by December 31st and, in turn, Saudi-backed forces will leave by January the 7th.

The city is crucial for bringing in aid and millions of lives hang in the balance.

And a Yemeni mother has finally been granted a visa to visit her dying son in the U.S. She's expected to arrive in the coming hours after being stuck in Egypt. The family says she was denied entry because of the Trump administration's travel ban. CNN's Dan Simon has more from Oakland.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a bittersweet moment for the family of this toddler who is on life support at the Children's Hospital here in Oakland, California. The family, of course, is elated that the boy's mother will not be able to come to the country to say her goodbyes to her son but they're sad in that he has such little time left.

A short time ago, I had the opportunity to speak to the boy's father, who told me about his reaction upon learning that his wife will now be able to come to country. Take a look.


SIMON: When you heard that the State Department issued this waiver for your wife, what did you think?

ALI HASSAN, ABDULLAH'S FATHER: To be honest, it was the best thing I've ever heard in my life. It was like my wife calling me, crying with happiness. Like she is going to see her son for the last time. She was literally crying of happiness. I'm like -- she's like, thank everyone that support us, thanks to the social workers, thanks to a lot of things, everyone that help us.

Thanks to care in Sacramento Valley. It's crazy, to be honest.


SIMON: The bottom line is, I think it's fair to say, that a wrong has now been righted. All this mother wanted to do was to see her son one final time. But the Trump administration's travel ban prevented her from coming to the country. She is from Yemen and Yemen is one of those predominantly Muslim countries that is on the administration's travel ban list.

Ultimately it seems the media glare is what caused the State Department to go ahead and issue this waiver. And I can tell you State Department officials actually apologized to the mother over the hardship this has caused her and her family -- Dan Simon, CNN, Oakland.


WATT: Arrangements are being made to repatriate the body of a 7-year- old Guatemalan girl who died while in U.S. custody. This according to a Guatemalan consul. Jakelin Caal Maquin had been detained while illegally crossing the U.S. border with her father and dozens of other migrants. Her father says he told U.S. officials she was sick.

She was airlifted to a hospital but did not recover. Her death sparked calls for more medical resources at the border. U.S. lawmakers toured the facilities this -- early this week and some have called for an independent investigation into the girl's death.

And governments around the world are calling on Myanmar to pardon two Reuters journalists. They were sentenced to seven years in prison after they exposed a massacre by the military. Details next.


[02:30:50] WATT: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt. And the headlines this hour, a U.S. federal judge has delayed sentencing Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI in the Russia probe. President Trump's former National Security Advisor will have at least three more months to tell investigators what he knows. Flynn told the judge he accepts responsibility for his crimes and walked back his and the president's suggestions that he had been entrapped by the FBI. The British government is speeding up preparations for a no deal

Brexit. The prime minister's office says ministers agreed an emergency contingency plan is essential in case parliament rejects her Brexit deal. Britain's defense secretary says 3500 troops will be on standby to support the government if there is no deal and Britain crashes out of the European Union. It appears a U.N. brokered ceasefire is holding in the Yemeni Port City of Hodeidah.

Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed forces both report minor skirmishing but say this time they're committed to the truce. The Saudi-led coalition source says all fighters should be withdrawn by January the 7th. And one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history is still spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 300 people now dead from the rate terrifying hemorrhagic fever. ITN's John Ray reports.


JOHN RAY, CORRESPONDENT, ITN: We are entering the world of Ebola where no faint heart dares tread. It is a world of pain and pity. With our camera carried by their medical team and through layers of latex and protected plastic, MSF offers its best it can, a human touch and care for the desperately ill. It is a highly contagious virus that can strip its victims of dignity. Some arrival ready so consumed by Ebola that it might be too late to save them. Doctors are trying experimental drugs untested in clinical trials because there's no alternative. Still, the death rates is more than 50 percent.


RAY: The world has never been better prepared and armed with a battery of new drugs better equipped to combat this disease. And yet, Ebola continues to confound every prediction and every projection. It is still spreading.


RAY: And still killing. A family has gathered to collect a body. Their grief is unrelenting and feelings are running high. We asked to keep a distance. Instead, we watch as a young boy listens to the weeping and we try to guess what emotions are running through his head. His mother and three brothers have all died. He is more or less alone with his thoughts. Since August, this outbreak has rolled through the jungles of Northeast Congo and has now arrived in (INAUDIBLE), a ram shackle city of a million people.

In villages Ebola has passed through and much misery remains. A single tear runs down a child's face as he remembers his mother. He tells me she was preparing his milk when their headaches begun. Later, the bleeding started then swiftly came death. In a nearby City of Beni, Joshua looks over the wall that separates his nursery from his mother who is fighting for her life in the treatment center next door. No one knows if he too will succumb.

So only those who have survived the disease and cannot be reinfected can touch him. I pray to God he doesn't go through the pain I went through (INAUDIBLE) tells me. But there's no happy ending here. Before we leave, we learned Joshua's mother has died. He is now one of hundreds of Ebola orphans.


[02:35:06] WATT: That was ITN's John Ray reporting. Now, a year ago, two Reuters journalist helped uncover a massacre of Rohingya Muslim men in Myanmar. Now, they sit in one of Myanmar's most notorious prisons convicted in what has been called a sham trial for exposing state secrets. CNN's Matt Rivers went to the site of the massacre and looks back on the past year.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The oldest was 45, the youngest just 17. Ten men and boys picked out by security forces from a crowd of Rohingya Muslims who had fled their burning village and were tied up with rope and forced to kneel and watch as their shallow grave was dug in front of them. A day later, they were all executed. Most of them shot by security forces, some hacked to death by their Buddhist neighbors all tossed into a mass grave.

ANTONI SLODKOWSKI, REUTERS MYANMAR BUREAU CHIEF: This is one of the stories that I see in your mind and keep you awake at night especially for (INAUDIBLE) who became almost obsessed with finding out the truth.

RIVERS: The massacre was unveiled by an explosive investigation by Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (INAUDIBLE) was just one of many reported massacres during a brutal military crackdown which started last August after attacks by Rohingya militants. The U.N. estimates at least 10,000 people died, 725,000 were forced to flee to Bangladesh. But the Reuters investigation achieved something nothing else has. It resulted in seven members of the military being jailed.

The only crime Myanmar authorities have admitted to during the crisis. Their reporting was also used as evidence in a damning U.N. fact finding report which concluded that the military general should be prosecuted for genocide findings which Myanmar rejected. That U.N. report also showed satellite images (INAUDIBLE) in the aftermath of the military's operation. The Rohingya side of the village was completely burned to the ground while the Buddhist side stayed untouched.

The population used to be 90 percent Rohingya. Now, it's zero. It's Rohingya. CNN recently traveled to India on a government led tour and saw the burned treetops bearing scorch marks of the fires that burned that village to the ground. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo made this journey a year earlier to find out what happened here.

SLODKOWSKI: It was an extraordinary feat of investigative journalism. It includes one after other stories from the people who actually did this and in some cases were actually very proud of what they've done.

RIVERS: But then last December, the reporters were arrested after meeting a police source for dinner.

SLODKOWSKI: They were hooded. They were taken to an interrogation site.

RIVERS: They were then put on trial for possessing state secrets under a rarely used colonial era law, the official secrets act despite evidence that it was a setup.

SLODKOWSKI: There was one remarkable moment when one of the police officers, he testified that the police organized the sting operation.

RIVERS: That testimony landed the police officer in jail for a year. The journalists were also convicted and sentenced to seven years in Yangon's notorious insane prison.

SLODKOWSKI: Their story has never been refuted or rebuked or challenged by anybody including the authorities. The story stands.

RIVERS: Exactly one year after Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested, they were named Time Person of the Year along with other journalists in what the magazine calls the war on truth. The front cover shows the men's wives holding their photos, a reminder of the families they had to leave behind while they languish in jail. Pan Ei Mon was pregnant when her husband Wa Lone was jailed. Now, she has to bring up her baby daughter (INAUDIBLE) alone.

I have to be strong enough to struggle, she says. But I don't know until when. I can't fall as my daughter is with me. Chit Su Win, the wife of the other journalist Kyaw Soe Oo also has a young daughter who at three years old is becoming increasingly aware and asking questions. She asks, why doesn't daddy live with us? Doesn't he love us? And then I have to explain to her. I say, her father is working in the prison. He's not leaving us. I lied to her and told her he was staff.

The families now await and appeal hearing set for Christmas Eve and governments around the world are also pushing for a pardon from Myanmar's de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

[02:40:01] AMAL CLOONEY, LAWYER FOR JAILED RUETERS JOURNALISTS: Our message to her now is, well, these were your principles. You've actually slept in the prison where these journalists now sleep. You have the power to get them out.

RIVERS: The case of the two journalists and their future is now being seen as a vital test case for the rule of law in a country trying to move towards democracy after decades of military rule. Matt Rivers, CNN.


MATT: Next on CNN NEWSROOM, sky high hopes for one of the world's biggest share offering SoftBank's mobile telecommute makes its market debut. But are investors in for disappointment? Details next.


WATT: Facebook is facing yet another controversy. According to the New York Times, the social networking giant gave other tech companies including Microsoft, Amazon, and Spotify more access to Facebook user data then they previously disclosed. The time says it obtained hundreds of pages of Facebook documents revealing that it allowed certain companies to see the names of friends of users without consent, read private messages, and obtained usernames, and contact information.

This comes just months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured U.S. lawmakers that users of the social network have control over everything they share on Facebook. Now, its public offering was supposed to be a blockbuster. But the market debut of Japan's SoftBank core was more of a fizzle. Shares in the Japanese company's mobile telecommunications unit plunged in Tokyo on its first day of trading ending down more than 14 percent. CNN's Will Ripley is in Hong Kong.

So, Will, what was SoftBank trying to achieve with this IPO?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were trying to bring in a whole lot of cash which they did, but a certainly a bit discouraging. It has to be to see the stock plunged by 14.5 percent by the end of the trading day in Tokyo. This is the world's second biggest share sale of course after Alibaba back in 2014. But it comes at a tough time for stocks and I think that's one factor. Japan's Nikkei down six percent this month. It's down 13 percent from early October.

That was its high of the year. Also, really, there was this embarrassing service outage in Japan, two weeks ago lasted more than four and a half hours. And word that they might be pulling Huawei gear from their network which to be very expensive. And then of course Saudi Arabia, another factor. They have that $90 billion venture fund to focus on emerging technologies.

[02:45:10] But the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has a lot of people calling on SoftBank to not continue to engage with the Saudis. SoftBank saying they're going to continue to do that. Look though, this is Japan's third-largest wireless network. The SoftBank CEO, Masa Son has been through rough waters before. He oversees a vast tech empire, and he does have big plans, Nick, for the money that he was able to raise with this IPO.

WATT: But, I mean, this was supposed to be them launching themselves onto the world stage as major players. I mean, a little bit of egg on their faces?

RIPLEY: There certainly is egg on their faces in that -- you know, the stock plunged by 14-1/2 percent. Remember, Facebook, when they went public back in 2012, they only raised $16 billion. And they had a similar circumstance at the beginning where the IPO didn't go so well.

But still, to raise 23-1/2 billion and they have plans for that cash. Masa Son wants to pump it into real technology that could change the world. Self-driving vehicles, robots. When I moved to Japan back in 2014, I remember doing a story with Pepper the emotional robot that was about to be unveiled at that time.

This is a robot that can actually look at you, read your mood and tailor the conversation based on your facial expressions. It was actually quite creepy to experience firsthand. But for SoftBank CEO, Masa Son, he says he's devoting 97 percent of his time and brain to AI which he thinks is going to revolutionize everything from health care, and agriculture, and transportation, to satellites, and e-commerce.

Interestingly, he believes that the singularity will come, which is the time when robots become smarter than people. He also thinks that the robot population will eventually rival that of humans. Nick, in Japan, people think that's great. They think that robots could really contribute to society.

Growing up in the U.S. and watching movies like Terminator, I actually find the concept of robots, to rival our population, and are smarter than us. A little bit creepy but like it or not, SoftBank feels that, that is coming and that is what this money that they raised with this IPO will be invested in. Of course, they're hoping for a better day tomorrow and in the days and weeks to come.

WATT: Will, I'm with you on that. Thank you very much for your time. Moving on, Huawei one of the largest telecom companies in the world is pushing back against claims that the security in its products is a risk.

It insists it's still on track to lead the world in rolling out 5G technology. It comes as the tech giants' chief financial officer remains in Canada, waiting for an extradition hearing. CNN's Steven Jiang, explains.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: The message was clear throughout Huawei's rare media tour and briefing on Tuesday. They are trying to tell the world that Huawei is an innovative company, their products are secure, and the company is open and transparent when it comes to addressing clients and government's legitimate concerns on cybersecurity.

The company's deputy chairman Ken Hu talked to reporters for more than two hours. Now, he did not directly comment on a case of the arrest of the company's CFO because that's an ongoing legal process in Canada. But he did emphasize that he is confident in the judicial independence and fairness of the legal systems involved in her case, and looks forward to a just conclusion.

He also said, her arrest has had no impact on Huawei's business operations. Including on his own international travel. He said he was just on a plane back from Europe on Monday. But he was very firm and passionate when it comes to defending Huawei's track record when it comes to cybersecurity.

Mr. Hu said in Huawei's 30-year history, there is no evidence showing its equipment was involved in any major cybersecurity incidents nor was there any proof of showing Huawei was doing the Chinese government's bidding spying on other countries or networks on Beijing's behalf. That's why he said the recent moves or allegations by the U.S. and its allies were purely groundless. They were not based on problems in Huawei's technologies. But rather based on geopolitical and ideological considerations. That's something he said, Huawei, cannot accept. But despite all these political attacks, Mr. Hu said Huawei is still the industry leader when it comes to 5G technologies.

That's why the company is being embraced and trusted by more and more clients around the world. And there was one point he kept referring to that was the U.S. government and its allies by shutting out Huawei, by rejecting the industry leader, really is placing its own consumers and companies at a huge disadvantage by forcing them to wait much longer and having to pay a lot more when it comes to the adoption of 5G technologies. Steven Jiang, CNN, Shenzhen, China.

WATT: Now, it was a sitcom theme heard on millions of televisions around the world in the 1970s and '80s. Tuesday nights in the U.S.


[02:50:29] WATT: The Adventures of Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney were must-see T.V. long before that was even a phrase. The show ran for eight seasons, a monster hit which was before its time. Two blue- collar working women living in Milwaukee and then later moving to Burbank but Penny Marshall was so much more than her tomboy character Laverne.

She would go on to become one of Hollywood's highest-grossing female directors. And two movies stand out more than all the rest. The iconic Big, starring Tom Hanks and Hanks again in A League of Their Own.

A spokesperson says, 75-year-old Marshall died Monday at home in the Hollywood Hills. The cause of death is reportedly complications from diabetes. We'll be back in a moment.



WATT: Apparently, the number that best sums up 2018, the International statistic of the year is 90.5 percent. That's the amount of plastic humans have produced and not recycled. That staggering number comes from the United Nations report that found in 2015, most of the 6 billion tons of plastic waste in the world is still somewhere out there in the environment.

Around the time of that report, our Nick Paton Walsh got a close-up look at how plastic is harming marine life near Midway Island in the Pacific.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To get more of a sense of scale, we head out from the atoll towards the reef that encircles it closer to the endless plastic of the Great Pacific garbage patch.

It's often hidden under the surface and almost invisible underwater soup of tiny fragments. And not easy to spot like this, a sunken barge. Used to ship fresh water here when this was a Cold War early warning station.

Man comes and leaves but this isn't his home, its dead. Listen, that's the sound of dolphins too. Well, far more intelligent animal in the sea than us now. And they just seem to be following us wherever we go. Staggering, completely unafraid, and possibly not used to seeing folks that often. But in an ocean which as we've been seeing is being changed really permanently by man's behavior. And something just so staggeringly beautiful and calm.

The contrast could not be more stark. The message in these bottles that have floated thousands of miles to get here is clear. The trash from your quick convenient gulp can end up anywhere on earth and last forever.


[02:55:05] WATT: The search is on to replace one of the most high- profile managers in the English Premier League. Jose Mourinho is out at Manchester United after a disappointing start to the season. CNN's Alex Thomas has the details.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The timing of the announcement is a surprise but the fact that the sacking is not. Josie Mourinho has been under pressure for weeks, if not months after another mediocre season that's left this globally famous team facing the prospect of a second successive year without a major trophy.

And that's a huge surprise of Mourinho, still the most successful coach of his generation. And who's to blame for his lack of success here compared to the other teams he's managed, like Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Real Madrid.

Well, he's been given hundreds of millions of dollars to spend and hasn't always spent it as wisely as he might. Similarly, though, some transfer targets he wanted have not been delivered by the Manchester United hierarchy, and that could yet lead to a restructuring of the club.

Mourinho still has plenty of fans, but we've been left with ultimately a feeling of sadness that such a charismatic man with a real X-factor seems to have lost his love for the game. We don't know that for sure we'll have to wait to hear from him.

In the meantime, all they got social, a former Manchester United player is the favorites to be the temporary replacement, with possibly, the Tottenham Hotspur coach, Mauricio Pochettino as a long- term replacement. Alex Thomas, CNN, Old Trafford Manchester.

WATT: Now, the whole time, Mourinho was managing Manchester United, he didn't buy a house in the city. Instead, he rented a luxury Riverside suite at the 5-Star Lowry Hotel that's for 895 days, at upwards of $750 dollars a night, for a total bill of around $680,000.

But, before you feel too sorry for Mourinho, the payout he's getting from Manchester United will weigh more than cover it. His family, by the way, chose to stay in the ultra-posh Belgravia district in London, while Mourinho was up North.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt. The news continues on CNN right after this.


WATT: Hello, everyone. I'm Nick Watt and you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, Brexit's planned B. Officials prepare for the possibility of a no deal Brexit. Thousands of British troops will be at the ready.