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Brexit Deal May Not Happen; Michael Flynn's Sentencing Moved; Answered Prayers by a Yemeni Mother. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 19, 2018 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:00] NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, court room drama in Washington. The most senior Trump official to face criminal charges walks into court and expecting leniency then walks out after a tongue lashing from the judge.

And the search is on to find Manchester United's new manager after the special one Jose Mourinho is sacked by the club.

There are just days left until Britain is due to leave the European Union. And there is growing worry that 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 says 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.

CNN's Anna Stewart joins us from London. So, Anna, there seems to be a new drama every day with Brexit. What can we expect today?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: You'll say right, Nick. So, I can tell you what we expect toady, but it may not be all that what we get. Today we're celebrating 100 days before Brexit, with the government releasing all these contingency plans.

As you said, military personnel on standby. They booked space on ferries for food and medical supplies worst case scenario in case the U.K. crashes out with no deal. Also, today, we expect to get the immigration white paper published. This is being much a delay and essentially will set up what the immigration policy will be in Brexit terms. This is after 2021.

It's going to move away from being, you know, based on nations more to do with skills, highly skilled workers will be invited in.

What we're expecting is there was some controversy, essentially over what the minimum salary threshold would be for highly skilled workers. And we believe it will be set around 30,000 pounds. That's had a lot of ire from businesses who say highly skilled jobs unfortunately aren't always paid that well. So, we'll see the fallout from that. We expect in this bill for the next migration target to be dropped

completely which will be interesting. Also, today, Nick, prime minister's questions time, it's Wednesday, we always have that at this time of the week. And it will be the last one between the prime minister and Jeremy Corbyn sparring before Christmas. So, we got to look forward to that.

WATT: And we've been talking a lot about this momentum building for the second referendum of people's vote, another vote that may result in Britain not leaving. Is that momentum still building, what's the latest on that campaign?

STEWART: Yes, it's certainly building, I'd say. There are lot of Labour M.P.s who support this, the minorities smaller parties like the SNP and the Greens, they support this, some Tory M.P.s, but it's only a handful really currently support this. Their problem is the prime minister doesn't. She said it would be undemocratic to take this back to the people. They already voted in 2016.

And actually, Labour's leader currently doesn't support a second referendum. And it's quite obvious why, two-thirds of Labour seats were in Brexit heartland, you know. They voted to leave. So, it won't do Jeremy Corbyn any favors really to propose a second referendum. What he much rather have is a general election but only when it looks like he can win it.

So, currently, not enough momentum. Also, I would say, Nick, this second referendum and it's something that's been spoken about a lot here in the British media. It will take time to organize. The last referendum in 2016 took seven months to get the referendum legislation through parliament. So, we have to extend article 50 in order to do that. And that would require the E.U. agreeing to it.

In addition to that, it's what would the question be, would it be another binary should we stay in the E.U., should we leave, should it be a three-way choice, should we have a hard Brexit, a soft Brexit or no Brexit. Or, as you know, should it be six different options, should we have a Norway plus, a Canada, should we have a hard Brexit, should we have a no deal Brexit. You know, there are just plenty of too many options and not enough support yet. But watch this.

WATT: Anna Stewart in London, thank you very much for your time.

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?

[03:05:06] 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 stock piling 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 auto makers 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 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, 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.

[03:09:54] 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.

Meanwhile, over in Belgium, the prime minister is stepping down amid outcry over his immigration policy.

Charles Michel announced his resignation to parliament on Tuesday just before a vote of no confidence could be introduced. He says 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 support of a U.N. migration pact that some claim will increase migration into Europe.

And disdain and disgust. That's how a U.S. federal judge described his feelings for General Michael Flynn's crimes. He scolded the fired national security adviser and his attorneys for suggesting that the FBI entrapped during the Russia investigation. But there is another chance at redemption for Flynn.

CNN's Alex Marquardt reports.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A surprising twist in the legal drama unfolding around Michael Flynn. As a federal judge gave a stunning rebuke of the former national security advisor, suggesting that he may have sent Flynn to jail.

In a dramatic series of statement in the court room, Judge Emmet Sullivan in the D.C. district court slammed Flynn for not registering as a foreign agent as he lobbied for Turkey. Suggesting he did it while in the While House. Saying, "That undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably you sold your country out."

Judge Sullivan also asked the prosecutors if they considered charging Flynn with treason. They said no. The judge late walked back his comments realizing that Flynn's work for Turkey occurred before he entered the White House.

The judge today repeatedly gave Flynn the opportunity to delay his sentencing and his lawyers ultimately got the hint. "We are prepared to take your honor up on his suggestion of delaying sentencing," Flynn's team said, "so he can eek out the last modicum of cooperation."

Cooperation, that is, with the special counsel's office and other investigation which could reduce Flynn's sentence. But the judge's stinging words and heightening tension in the court for both the Mueller team and Flynn's the requested no prison time because of extensive cooperation. Nineteen interviews totaling more than 60 hours which didn't seem to soften the judge's position.

"I am not hiding my disgust," he said, "my disdain for your criminal offense." Flynn was given multiple chances to withdraw his guilty plea of lying to FBI agents. He declines, saying he was aware it was a crime during his January 2017 interview at the White House.

A smooth year of cooperation between Mueller and Flynn was up-ended last week when Flynn filed the memo, alleging the FBI misled him during his interview. No lawyer was present and he claimed he hadn't been warned of the potential legal consequences.

Mueller's team fired back, saying someone in Flynn's position knows that lying to the FBI is a crime. The judge today asking Flynn's lawyers if he was entrapped by the FBI. The attorney then softening their position and admitting, no, your honor.

So, where does this go from here? Well, the judge told Michael Flynn the more you assist the government, the more you help yourself. So, he is going to be expected to cooperated further with the special counsel's prosecutors on top of the 19 interviews he's already given them.

Then on March 13th, there will a status update in court, and after that the sentencing will be expected.

Alex Marquardt, 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.

[03:15:00] 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 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.

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 HUCKABEE-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.

[03:19:54] SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK, MINORITY LEADER: As for the idea of what Sarah Sanders Huckabee 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 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: A Yemeni mother is finally granted a visa to see her dying child in the U.S. What U.S. officials are saying about the trip first being denied. That's coming up.

Plus, celebrities are demanding a woman serving a life sentence for murder be released. We'll explain why Cyntoia Brown's case is getting so much attention. Just ahead.


[03:24:59] WATT: It appears the U.N. brokered ceasefire is holding in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah. Houthi rebels and Saudi backed forces both report minor skirmishes but say this time they are committed to the truth. Millions of lives could depend on the deal as the city is vital for bringing in aid.

CNN's Sam Kiley has more from Abu Dhabi.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.N. negotiated ceasefire is finally in place over Hudaydah. Not it is problematic. Their remain drones and manned aircraft from the Saudi- led coalition still flying over the city and there are reports of sporadic gunfire and even some shelling on the eastern outskirts.

So, for most people that is something that should be expected. But a really critical issue now is how quickly the United Nations can get control as part of that agreement over the three ports that serve Hudaydah importing some 70 percent of all goods consumed inside the Yemen through that one location.

On top of that, they want to open up the main road to the capital Sana'a and they want to by January 7th have completely demilitarized the city of Hudaydah, and then over the following weeks, to demilitarize the entire province.

Now that is a level of ambition that could never really have been hoped for at the beginning of the talks between the Iranian-backed Houthis and the Yemeni government which principally is backed by a coalition led by the Saudis, but very importantly, including the United Arab Emirates.

Now the UAE has been very robust saying in a statement to CNN that this ceasefire only came about as a result of military pressure that was brought to bear on the Houthis and that one bullet fired by the Houthis would be met by 100 coming back the other way.

There is a strong feeling here in the United Arab Emirates that the Houthis have only agreed to a ceasefire because they didn't have much choice.

But more widely, as these negotiations progress, if indeed they do progress, then the political future of the Yemen is going to be fraught with argument and endless discussion. But in the more short- term, there are 14 million people on the brink of starvation who may be able to start to see a greater level of food aid getting through to them once the U.N. gets control of that port.

There may even be the opportunity to send aid across the frontlines which the Houthis had blocked in the past. But ultimately also, for both sides, this is going to be all about trying to control the very many militia forces that make up the coalitions on both sides.

Many of them have been profiteering from the civil war and persuading them to put their weapons down and give up income streams is going to be a substantial humanitarian challenge.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

WATT: Now, after an intense social media outcry, a Yemeni mother has secured a visa to see her dying child in the U.S. Shaima Swileh is set to arrive from Egypt in the coming hours. Right now, her 2-yeard-old son, Abdullah Hassan is on life support in California. He suffers from a brain condition and isn't expected to survive.

The family says she was first blocked from visiting because of President Trump's travel ban. Her husband spoke earlier to CNN about his wife's arrival.


ALI HASSAN, FATHER: To be honest, it was the best thing I've ever heard in my life. It was -- I had the nothing like this before. Again, I'm so happy. And then my wife calls me she is sure that really crying of happiness like, she wants to see her son. It's the best that she would ever have in her whole life. And I'm sure I will never forget that day.

I mean, touching your son, you know, is just, it's amazing for her.


WATT: The boy's father Ali, who we just heard from is a U.S. citizen. And he says U.S. officials in Egypt apologized to his wife for the delay in seeing her son.

And it was hyped as a record setting public offering for Softbank. But then shares in one of Japan's biggest wireless carriers nose-dived. We'll explain that ahead.


NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN "Newsroom". I'm Nick Watt with the headline 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 Adviser will have at least three more months to tell investigators what he knows. Flynn told the judge he accepts responsibility for his crimes and walk back his and the president suggestion that he had been entrapped by the FBI. And it appears the U.N. broke ceasefire is holding in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. Houthi rebels and Saudi backed forces both report minor skirmishes, but say this time they are committed to the truce. A Saudi-led coalition source said all fighters should be withdrawn by January 7th.

And 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 3,500 troops will be on standby to support the government if there is no deal and Britain crashes out of the European Union.

So, here we are. Two and half years after that Brexit referendum and there's still no agreement on what should 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. government got to this point.


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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 river banks Palace of Westminster. Everyone agrees this is Britain's worst political crisis in a generation. The Prime Minister is looking tired.

THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, BRITISH: At this critical moment in our history, we should be thinking not about our party's interest but about the national interest.

JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: This Mrs. Speaker is a constitutional crisis and a 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 on the agenda, not on the fence, and certainly not of the outcome. The clock which never been set ticking, now ticking ever louder as we approach the midnight hour.

GLASS: The cartoonist have been cruel, oh, so very cruel. A dead duck is walking around Europe with the verdict of the guardian's man. The term (ph) seems be to be set in Brussels in the weeks before Christmas.

Theresa May confronting European Commission President, Jean-Claude Junker, 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: Oh, Junker, there is nothing nebulous about my position on Brexit.

GLASS: The truth is Europe seems disinclined to make concessions. This way deemed (ph) to see what happens next in the House of Commons. Acrimonious parliamentary 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.

[03:35:09] The Labor 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 taking 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 sees 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 them as famous and misquoted lines. Well, here's another fine mess, you've gotten me into. Nick Glass, CNN, Westminster.


WATT: Meanwhile in Japan, and the run-up to its public offering, we were promised a blockbuster, but the market debut of Japan's Softbank core fizzled. Shares in the Japanese companies, 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. Will, what went wrong?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wow. Look, I think it's a whole host of factors. Nobody wants to put a third of their business up for sale which has the Softbank did and then have a lose 14.5 percent on the first day.

It is not unprecedented for tech stocks when they make an IPO. Facebook back in 2012, they lost a significant. It was a, you know, a quarter of their value or even more in the initial days and weeks of trading. Disappointing for them, but you've seen Facebook do very well since. I think Softbank is confident that they will do well, you know, moving forward.

But, look, this is a tough time for stocks. You have, you know, the Nikkei down 6 percent this month, down 13 percent from its early October highs. Softbank had a big service outage of 4.5 hours. People lost their cellphone service just two weeks ago. They might be cutting ties with Huawei which could be potentially very expensive. They have the controversy about their cooperation with Saudi Arabia, that $90 billion venture fund and then the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Softbank are saying they're still going to continue working with Saudis. You know, not to mention the fact that Japanese mobile carriers are under a lot of pressure from the government to start cutting their prices. I live in Japan. It's very expensive to have a cellphone there. That might be changing. So all of those things are affecting not a great initial IPO, but

still a massive amount of money raised by Softbank's CEO, Masayoshi Son, 23.5 billion U.S. dollars and that is money, Nick, that he plans to invest in his -- I would say, you know, he is trying to move away from the cellphone business and move towards what he really thinks is the future, which is artificial intelligence.

WATT: And you mentioned the huge amount of money has been raised. I mean, who is investing? I read that some Japanese people who had never had share portfolios before have open the camps and are buying into this as we describe it, this much hiked IPO.

RIPLEY: Yes. It was interesting to see that the people who are buying Softbank stock, there is a lot of retail investors in Japan. And that is because Softbank is a very well-known brand for the Japanese public. It is the third largest wireless carrier in the country. A lot of retail investors also invested in Japan Post when it went public.

That said retail investors also might be a bit skittish when it comes to getting their money out of there if they think they are going to start losing it. You know, they might not be so risky. A lot of Japanese people are very -- they hold their savings very close to the chest, they don't like to take risks. And to see a stock plunge by nearly 15 percent on its first day, that could scare away some of those retail investors.

But if they are -- you know, in it in the long haul, Softbank does feel that this money will be used to -- as an investment in technology that really has the potential to shape the future, this artificial intelligence, everything from transportation and healthcare, to agriculture. I was in Japan in 2014 when I first move there, I did a story about Pepper, the emotional robot that look at me and supposedly it could tell what my move was and that is how it kind of tailored its conversation with me.

I mean, this is the future that Softbank CEO, Masayoshi Son, believes in. He thinks that there will come a day when robots are smarter than people and their population rivals that of the human population. Somewhat terrifying to me at least, but a lot of people in Japan feel that robots that could eventually interact with us and in a number of different ways. They believe that is the future and a future that people are excited about investing in, Nick.

WATT: Will, thanks a lot. And Will just mentioned Facebook doing pretty well after its initial IPO, but it has also faced controversy and is facing another one right now.

[03:40:05] According to the "New York Times," the social networking giant gave other tech companies, including Microsoft, Amazon and Spotify, more access to Facebook's user data than they previously disclosed.

The Times said it obtained hundreds of pages of Facebook documents revealing that it allowed certain companies to see the names of friends of the users without consent, read private messages and obtained names and contact information. This comes just months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured U.S. lawmakers that the social network's 2 billion users have control over everything that they share on Facebook.

And two new reports delivered to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee are not sitting well with the Kremlin. They detail efforts by Russian Internet trolls to create political division among Americans. CNN Frederick Pleitgen has their reaction from Moscow.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An annoyed response from the Kremlin to the Senate report outlining Russian online troll activity against the U.S. both before and after the 2016 Presidential Election, Vladimir Putin's spokesman denying Moscow's involvement.

DMITRY PESKOV, PUTIN'S DEPUTY (through translator): Somebody is very critical of U.S. social issues and we are blamed for it. What does Russia have to do with this? It is not described. I can only repeat that we once again disagree with this. We think these are totally baseless statements.

PLEITGEN: Moscow also engaging in tough military talk against the U.S. In a year-end meeting with his military leaders, Vladimir Putin saying Russia is moving fast to beat the U.S.'s missile defense system.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is necessary to quickly switch over to modern weapons that possess the enhanced capability of reaching the advance missile shield defenses. Next on the agenda are the serial production and the delivery of the Avant-garde Global Range Missile Complex to the troops.

PLEITGEN: Earlier this year, Russia announced the development of what it says is a hypersonic nuclear capable missile with a global range called Avant-garde. Putin's Defense Minister says widespread deployment will begin next year.

SERGEI SHOIGU, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): In 2019, the Ministry of Defense is facing a number of defensive tasks which need to be fulfilled. Regarding our strategic nuclear forces, we need to deploy 31 launchers with the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles jars an Avant-garde.

PLEITGEN: Tensions between Moscow and Washington are increasing despite President Trump's stated goal of improving relations with Vladimir Putin. The U.S. is saying it will pull out on the IMF treaty which bans medium range nuclear weapons blaming Moscow is breaching the agreement. Putin today threatening to deploy new weapons if America abandons the deal.

PUTIN (through translator): If that, which they keep trying to frighten us with happens, well, we will have to respond accordingly. And as you understand, there won't be too big of a deal to do the appropriate research and development and put them on the ground if necessary.

PLEITGEN: As the Kremlin continues to lose faith in President Trump's ability to salvage relations between Russia and the U.S., Moscow is beefing up its forces, even announcing they will hold strategic nuclear forces drills next year. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


WATT: Next, fighting for a second chance. She was a sex traffic teen who ended up serving a life sentence for murder, but her supporters are demanding clemency. Cyntoia Brown's story just ahead.


WATT: A growing number of celebrities are speaking out for a Tennessee woman who is serving a life sentence. Cyntoia Brown murdered a man when she was 16 years old. She says she feared for her life but was a victim long before that. Lynda Kinkade reports on Brown's past trapped in sex trafficking as she fights for a second chance.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Nashville, Tennessee, a group of protesters interrupt the governor, demanding clemency for a woman whose faith lies in his hands. Only weeks before the end of his term, the activist joined a growing chorus pleading mercy for Cyntoia Brown. She is serving a life sentence in prison from murder. She was a victim long before she was a convict.

CYNTOIA BROWN, SERVING A LIFE SENTENCE IN PRISON FROM MURDER: He pointed at me. He hit me, choke, drag --

KINKADE: An in-depth documentary tells the story of a girl who is exploited, abandoned and abused, allegedly force to prostitution by a pimp named Cutthroat. She describes being sex trafficked at a young age and raped repeatedly.

BROWN: The first time he did something to me is when he choked me and I passed out.

KINKADE: In 2004, when she was 16 years old, Brown killed a 43 year- old man that had bought her for sex. The prosecution said it was premeditated. She shot him dead, took his wallet and fled the scene. Brown claimed she feared for her life.

BRENNAN: He does something to me. I'm sitting here thinking what can I do.

KINKADE: Although a teenager at the time a juvenile court found her competent to stand trial as an adult. She was sentenced to life in prison more than a decade ago.

STACY CASE, WZTV: Here in Tennessee we've had laws change. So, if Cyntoia Brown were tried today, the legal experts say she would not have been tried in the same way. Our courts today would view her as a child sex slave. They would view her as a victim.

KINKADE: The 2011 documentary revealed new evidence suggesting Brown suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause brain damage, something the jury that convicted her never saw. Her mother also admitted to drinking heavily while pregnant.

DERRI SMITH, FOUNDER AND CEO, END SLAVERY TENNESSEE: Cyntoia's story is heartbreakingly common. Traffickers are master manipulators. They're looking for vulnerabilities in a young person that they can exploit and no one is in more danger than the child of an addicted parent.

BROWN: Sometimes I didn't want to have sex with him. He's still (bleep). I'd be crying and everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how come you stayed with him?

BROWN: You're not listening, I made him money. He wasn't going to let me go nowhere. He told me he'd killed me.

KINKADE: Now 30 years old, Brown has been incarcerated for nearly half of her life. The story gained national recognition after support from celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian-West. During her time behind bars, Brown's advocates say she is trying to transform herself.

SMITH: She is mentoring even while she is in prison through the juvenile justice system. Troubled youth, she is working on her college degree. She is planning on a nonprofit.

BROWN: I've learned that my life was, and is not over. I can create opportunities where I can actually help people.

[03:50:00] KINKADE: Despite attempts to appeal the case, the Tennessee Supreme Court recently affirmed that Brown would not be eligible for parole until she is 67 years old, an announcement that renewed debate and outrage.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: I cannot find a case where there's been such a harsh punishment imposed on a similarly aged person, who was after all in the process of being raped as a child when this crime happened. We can't take that out of this equation.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The basic facts are no one can take a life. And so, if no one -- if you take a life and it is not deemed to be self-defense, that is you're not in immediate fear for your life, right? It is not deemed to be immediate and you didn't act out of that fear that it becomes problematic, no matter what age you are.

KINKADE: Brown's future may soon be determined by Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam. He declined our request from an interview, but a statement from his office issued to CNN, says, "The government and his legal counsel are currently reviewing numerous clemency applications, including Cyntoia Brown's."

Any clemency grounds would have to be completed by the time Governor Haslam leaves office on January 19. Brown's lawyer declined to comment to CNN before clemency decision is made, a decision now the subject of growing public interest.

SMITH: I know that the survivors that we served are watching carefully to see whether there's hope for them.

KINKADE: Gathering in Nashville, several Tennessee lawmakers also joined in a cause to release Cyntoia Brown from a life behind bars.

JOHN RAY CLEMMONS, TENNESSEE HOUSE DEMOCRAT: In the interest of equity, in the interest of fairness, and in the interest of justice, we, as a state, must address this issue and set Miss Brown free.

KINKADE: Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


WATT: Online petition and support of Cyntoia Brown had gained a lot of attention. One on the largest on now has more than 632,000 signatures. We'll be back in a moment.


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


ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORTS: At the start, it seemed to be a dream partnership for both United fans and Jose Mourinho. The first, hungry for a return to the glories of the Alex Ferguson era; the latter chasing the legacy of the legendary Scotsman who retired five years ago.

JOSE MOURINHO, FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER: I don't have that chase (ph), I saw Alex's records in the Champions League.

THOMAS: The man who famously once called himself a special one was given the money to assemble a star-studded squad, which at one point included Zlatan Ibrahimovic and United paid a record amount to sign talented midfield, Paul Pogba, now a World Cup winner with France. In his first season in charge Mourinho helped the club win two significant trophies including UEFA's Europa League.

MOURINHO: Of course, this is bigger than Europa League, but that is the last trophy. And the last trophy is the one where the feelings are under the skin.

THOMAS: But there was no silverware last season and United finished second in England's Premier League, a massive 19 points behind local rivals Manchester City.

[23:55:00] The current EPL campaign has been even worse. Reports of locker room unrest, including a falling out with Pogba and Mourinho's mood wasn't helped by two defeats in United's first three games.

MOURINHO: Three premierships and I won more premierships along than the other 19 managers together, three for me, two for them.


THOMAS: After almost after two and half seasons at the helm, Mourinho leaves United sitting in sixth place.

MOURINHO: This is not a dream job. This is reality. I have not (ph) Man United manager.

THOMAS: United, a global football brand is closer to the bottom of the table than the top. Mourinho's old Trafford dream is over. Alex Thomas, CNN, London.


WATT: And finally a 90's dance move is at the center of a lawsuit against video game developers. Remember this?

That is Alfonso Ribeiro dancing the so called Carlton dance. And he is now suing Fortnite and NBA 2K claiming they copied his moves. CNN's Samuel Burke has the story.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first time Alfonso Ribeiro did that famous Carlton dance was back in 1991 on the fresh Prince of Bell Air, and he's kept on doing it ever since. Even on dancing with the stars which he won in 2014. Now this lawsuit says the games Fortnite and NBA 2K had unfairly profited from using his likeness and from exploiting his protected creative expression.

The app sell in-game purchases with characters called Fresh and So Fresh doing what appears to be the Carlton. You could judge for yourself. Lawyers we've talked do say the actor certainly has a case arguing that this is a dance people identify Ribeiro with. They cite prior cases like game show host's Bannon White suing Samsung for intellectual property infringement back in 1993 when they showed a humorous ad of a blond robot turning letters. She won.

Ribeiro isn't the only one suing. The same law firm is also representing the teen who calls himself the backpack kid in the lawsuit against Fortnite for their use of his signature, the Floss. It's estimated, Fortnite has earned billions in revenue and was the most downloaded gaming app in 2018. Epic games declined to comment while 2K games did not respond to a request for a comment.

Now, one CNN anchor asked me if we're even allowed to do the Carlton as we cover this story. And since it's for editorial purposes, I can show you how it is done. Samuel Burke, CNN.


WATT: You're watching CNN "Newsroom". I'm Nick Watt. The news continues on CNN right after this.