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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Exclusive Video Shows Fierce Fighting Ongoing Against ISIS; Putin Agrees with Trump's Syria Decision; 120,000 Passengers Affected by Drones at Gatwick Airport; Trump Refused to Sign Spending Bill Without Wall Funding; Harvey Weinstein Case Moves Forward, Pretrial Hearing in March. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 20, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. One day after Donald Trump said the fight against ISIS
was won, this video shows it's far from over. We'll bring you exclusive footage. It isn't the only head ache for the President. Republican
leaders say he will not sign a bill to prevent a government shutdown, and it is all over his promised border wall. Also, it is the nightmare before
Christmas, thousands upon thousands of travelers are stranded and it's all because of some mystery drones. Now just a day after Donald Trump declared
mission accomplished in Syria, we're getting exclusive dramatic new video showing that the fight against ISIS is, in fact, far from over. This
footage was shot in eastern Syria earlier this week you can see how intense and close up the fighting is. Troops have been providing air coverage and
eastern fire power is no longer needed claiming is has been defeated in Syria and then saying, in fact, Russia and Syria can take on the fight.
Today Mr. Trump is defending his decision to with draw American troops. There are about 2,000 of them in the country saying that America, in fact,
gets nothing from being a policeman in the Middle East. Many disagree and they're furious over this that came as a surprise. Western allies
including Britain, Germany and France are also alarmed. But there's one happy man, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, he is welcoming the move
and so is Iran, ironically one of Mr. Trump's stated enemies. Turkey is also satisfied. That's because all of them stand to gain from the vacuum
left by U.S. forces. We're live on the story tonight in Washington and Moscow. Let's bring in White House reporter Sarah Westwood, and the senior
international correspondent that joins me as well from Moscow. Sarah, let me start with you, any chance at all that because there's so much
dissatisfaction and dismay even among Republicans that the us. President could reverse this decision or suspend it?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: So far, he's doubling down on his decision despite the backlash to his decision and the shock that U.S.
allies around the world expressed at this. The President is citing his so- called victory over ISIS as the reason for his decision to with draw the thousands of U.S. troops from Syria, all the while arguing in that series
of tweets simultaneously that the continued fight against ISIS is why he claims Russia, Iran, and others are angry at the departure of troops from
Syria as Iran, Turkey, others have sought to use the chaos to exert influence over that country in an American vacuum that would be created by
removing the troops could give Russia, Turkey and Iran the ability to expand their input. A big one in the Middle East is the administration's
desire to counter Iranian influence when the decision could allow them to gain more influence in this region but the President responding to this
criticism by defending his decision even more aggressively, Hala.
GORANI: As we mentioned Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, pleased at this U.S. decision. What more can you tell us?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: WESTWOOD: He's happy at this decision if President Trump follows through with this
decision. That's one that he made, that he held his annual press conference today that was almost four hours long and also spoke about this
complex. He said, for instance in Afghanistan, the U.S. has been for years saying it wanted to pull out and it hasn't done so. He'll say he will see
it when he believes it but if the U.S. does pull out, that would be something that Russia would approve of. For a long time, they have been
saying they believe the U.S. should leave Syria. They believe the U.S. is in Syria illegally because it's not there at the request of what the
Russians say is the official government of Syria. Of course, the government of Bashar Al Assad. So, the Russians have been saying, look,
they don't think this presence is something that at least to them would be helpful on the ground. He agreed with the President Trump's assessment
that ISIS has been defeated. Let's listen into what Vladimir Putin said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA, (through translator): He will be with drawing U.S. troops from Syria. As far as ISIS concerned, I agree with the
President of the U.S. and I have spoken about this before. We have really achieved substantial changes with regard to the militants in Syria and have
beaten the forces in Syria as far as the neighboring regions concerned and in Afghanistan and other countries moreover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So, the Russian President there praising some of the things that his soldiers have done over the past couple of years against is. Also,
like President Trump saying he believes that ISIS on the road but we do have to say this decision by President Trump, if he does follow through on
it will make the influence that Russia has in Syria, which is already enormous even bigger than it was before, Hala.
GORANI: Right. And Sarah, Lindsey Graham one of the top Senate Republicans had this to say about the President's decision to with draw
U.S. troops from Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: They did the honorable thing to come to our aid to help destroy a common enemy of mankind, is. We have
been dishonorable. This is a stain on the honor of the United States. I hope and pray the President will reconsider this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: When Lindsey Graham says they, he's talking about the Kurdish fighters that have been at the front lines of the battle against ISIS and
the concern is that once the U.S. withdraws, it would give Turkish fighters and Turkey the opportunity to target Kurds. Without getting into the
battle specifics, top Republicans in Washington are doing their -- you can tell that they're trying to get the President to change his mind.
WESTWOOD: That's right. That's one of many issues that critics have faulted the President for making this decision over the fact with this
being abandonment of the Kurdish. They have been voicing their displeasure. Also, one of the President's closest allies on Capitol Hill.
So, his opposition could carry some weight but of course the President so far is showing some signs of reconsidering. A lot of critics are also
curious to know how exactly this decision came about. The timing of it coming right after that phone call with the Turkish President. The
reasoning for it. It's not entirely clear at this moment, Hala.
GORANI: Right. That's been a head scratcher. There's been theories about why the President made this decision. Thank you very much. Sarah Westwood
is at the White House. We'll have more analysis in 20 minutes or so to talk about the impact this could have on the ground. Thank you to both of
you. If you're traveling and happen to be watching us there at the Gatwick Airport, you have my sympathies. This looks like a nightmare for people in
the airport. With five days until Christmas, like many people, you're probably planning to travel, tens of thousands of people here in the U.K.
have those plans ruined or disrupted by, wait for it, by a drone. Sightings of what could be more than one drone have triggered a complete
shutdown of one of the busiest airports in the U.K. and that is Gatwick. Let me put this in context for you. These are not average airport delays.
The annoying kind where your kids are crying and you have to sit on the floor for an hour. We're talking about an airport that has been closed for
almost 24 hours and the British military is being called in to help with the chaos.
[14:10:00] CNN's Anna Stewart is at Gatwick.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's clearly Christmas. One of the busiest times of the year, particularly here at Gatwick Airport. The
second largest airport at the U.K. but flights here are grounded and for once it's not the weather or computer glitch but an apparent act of
sabotage. Runways were closed at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday after two drones were initially sited. They were reopened at 3:00 a.m. but only for 45
minutes. The weather or computer glitch but an apparent act of sabotage. Runways were closed at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday after two drones were initially
sited. They were reopened at 3:00 a.m. but only for 45 minutes. The drones were spotted again. Police say the devices are buzzing over the
runways intentionally causing disruption. Impacting 120.000 passengers that are struggling to fathom why anyone would do this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing? You're making everyone's lives misery. I'm sure that's what the intention was in the first place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't understand why, why would they do it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like people wanted to be cool and be on the news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Some people have been stranded here since last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a deliberate act. And it's so disappointing that you have a perpetrator out there punishable by five years'
imprisonment and now disrupted 120,000 passengers' journey this close to Christmas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Drones present a major risk to aircraft. Flying into an engine or wind screen could have catastrophic consequences which is why in the
U.K. it's illegal to fly a drone above 120 meters and within 1 kilometer of an airfield or airport but tracking the perpetrator is proving difficult.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIET PARKER, POLICE OPS COMMANDER: This is an ongoing investigation and incident. There's been a number of sightings of a drone or drones today
which we are investigating. Working closely with Gatwick. Got a number of resources deployed to find out who is responsible and bring this to a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Police believe they're of an industrial specification. They could have a long range and may not even require an operator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS WHYLD, DRONE EXPERT: This is a huge problem for a civil aviation authority.
We have companies using the block chain to create a live map of all drone flights in the U.K. but in the event of a rogue operator, some kind of
physical interaction would have to take place. The drone would have to be destroyed or captured because they can have artificial intelligence so they
wouldn't work. So, the only way to be sure would be to knock it out of the sky, really.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: The U.K.'s aviation regulator like many around the world have been looking to increase drone regulation and for the passengers trying to
travel to and from Gatwick today, that can't happen soon enough.
GORANI: Well, many questions, more importantly, how could a single drone be allowed to cause so much chaos at a major airport. Anna Stewart joins
me now. They don't know when flights will resume? They can't say.
STEWART: They have no idea. The police now have the British military to help them with specialist equipment. So far, they're saying the risk of
shooting it or using impressive technology that we know of to get it have proven awkward because they don't want to be so heavy falling out of the
sky and falling on someone. They have now cancelled all flights out of this airport for tonight.
GORANI: I am surprised. I thought they would have a high-tech way of keeping drones and other flying objects out of their air space. Clearly
that's not the case at Gatwick.
STEWART: Many airports do. Some of these drones make that very difficult. Either they can have signal jamming technology so signal jamming equipment
wouldn't work but also, I learned that some drones are being sold or built and they're not ones that you get off the shelf but they operate not
necessarily with GPS or WIFI or any signal at all. They can work off A.I. and that may mean that they don't even need an operator which is why
they're so hard to detect and so hard to bring down.
GORANI: Of course. We're talking about ten's of thousands of stranded passengers that have been there, some of them for almost 24 hours. What
happens to them?
[14:15:00] STEWART: Let me tell you about one lot I just met. A group heading to a wedding including the bride and the groom. They were meant to
be getting married in the next couple of days. They came to Gatwick Airport last night. They were actually on the plane on the tarmac for
seven hours. They told me there was a mutiny on board because everyone got thirsty, everyone was very hot, they eventually got taken out. They came
here to the airport at 3 AM and slept through the night and it looks like they might be here for another night. People don't necessarily know
whether their flights will ever take off. EasyJet has now canceled their flights. That actually helps passengers because they can go home and get a
refund or a rebooking. For those where they are still delayed many of them are still here at the airport ready for a second night on the floor.
GORANI: Let me tell you once my flight was delayed overnight, and instead of calling it canceled, the airline called it delayed, there was no getting
our money back. So sometimes I think they can be a bit disingenuous with that. So hopefully they will call them canceled for the sake of the
passengers. Anna Stewart thanks so much, we will keep our eye on that by the way because so many of our viewers travel around the world and you
might even be traveling through London. So, it could impact you.
It is now increasingly likely that Donald Trump's quest for a border wall will cause a portion of the U.S. government to shutdown tomorrow.
Republican leaders just announced that Trump will not sign a Senate passed spending bill because it doesn't include money for his wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The President will not sign the bill because of his legitimate concerns for border security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: It appears the White House was ready to make a deal to keep the government open without that. So, what changed the President's mind?
Let's bring in CNN Washington correspondent, Ryan Nobles. What's going on now with the President because typically, you know, voters and Americans
across the country would blame Donald Trump for this. When you met them in the Oval Office a few days ago, he said he was happy to take credit for
shutting down the government.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Hala, it seems clear when it comes to this particular conversation the President is prioritizing
funding for a wall on the southern border of the United States with Mexico over keeping the government open over this current plan in place with House
Republicans which is literally being hatched as we speak adding $5 billion in border security is essentially a proposal that is dead on arrival. If
that happens, that means that the Congress here is going to run out of time before the United States government shuts down. At least in some form. It
won't be an entire government but a significant portion of it. This seems to be an effort by the President to play to his base. Keep this in mind,
24 hours ago, the vice President was here on Capitol Hill. The President was definitely going to sign the continuing resolution to keep the
government open but then the President heard from conservative voices strongly opposed to that and now President Trump reversed course.
GORANI: But also, the President, and this is playing to his base, promised time and time again that Mexico would be paying for this wall that he has
promised them. Now he's asking U.S. taxpayers to fund the wall. How is this still OK with his base? That's not what he promised them?
NOBLES: There's inconsistencies across the board. You're 100 percent right. He said many times and he recently said that Mexico will in some
way, shape, or form pay for the wall. It will stand to reason why he needs this funding at this time to get the job done. It's not anywhere near
enough to pay for this border wall. It would be somewhere more at a range of 25 billion. This seems to be a symbolic move on behalf of the President
and House Republicans and conservative Republicans here in Washington and there will be real victims to this. There will be federal employees in the
United States that will go without a paycheck for a certain amount of time and there will be government programs that won't be available to Americans
over the Christmas holiday if this doesn't get fixed within the next 24 hours.
GORANI: And also, Ryan, the Dow Jones is just tanking right now. This is on concerns of a government shutdown and for many months when stocks were
doing well on Wall Street, the President would tweet about stock indices and how that meant that he was managing the economy well. Now we're seeing
a completely different picture. Donald Trump is not talking about stocks at all anymore. Will this too be forgiven by his base? The fact that
stocks are suffering as a result of the trade war with China and now this government shutdown?
[14:20:00] NOBLES: I mean, it stands to reason, at this point in his presidency, two years in, despite everything that has happened, his base
has not abandoned him in any way, shape, or form. He seems to have a rock- solid hold on about that 35 percent of the American public with him through thick and thin. This after a damaging loss in the last midterm elections
where Democrats won in big numbers. These members believe and support President Trump. They believe what he says before they believe anything
they hear from the media, anything they hear from experts and even sometimes what they hear from their own representatives in Congress. So
that doesn't seem to change despite the inconsistencies and it seems the only way that's going to change is if he is ultimately voted out of office
and we have another two years before we're going to learn the outcome of that. Sometimes what they hear from their own representatives in Congress.
So that doesn't seem to change despite the inconsistencies and it seems the only way that's going to change is if he is ultimately voted out of office
and we have another two years before we're going to learn the outcome of that.
GORANI: Thanks very much. And to our viewers, you are seeing there on your screen, if we could bring it back up, how stock market indices are
reacting to this potential government shutdown and we're down 2 and three quarters for the Dow. Almost 650 points lower. This is after several
weeks of bruising losses for stocks on Wall Street. We'll keep our eye on that. Still to come tonight, Harvey Weinstein's court hearing in New York
took only 10 minutes. What the judge ruled would happen next in the sex abuse case. Are lives at risk because of Brexit? Britain's national
health service is preparing for a worst-case scenario. We'll be right back.
GORANI: U.S. prosecutors indicted a pair of Chinese nationalists that they say were working in a scheme to steal business secrets across the globe.
They were accused of targeting the intellectual property of 45 companies around the world. U.S. officials say there's no question that the Chinese
government is behind this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: They'll find it difficult to pretend that they're not responsible for these actions. America and its
many allies know what China is doing. We know why they're doing it, and in some cases, we even know exactly who is sitting at the keyboard
perpetrating these crimes in association with the Chinese government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Prosecutors say the hackers also stole personal information including social security numbers, birth dates and salaries of more than
100,000 members of the U.S. Navy.
[14:25:00] Harvey Weinstein will be back in court in March. The defense filed several motions to dismiss the charges but during a quick hearing the
judge denied all of the motions and ordered a hearing in these cases for March. His downfall is credited with helping to launch the #Me Too
movement. His attorney says this case is not about me too. Let's get to the bottom of the case. Joey Jackson is here with us. The big headline
here is that the judge did not dismiss any of these charges, right? The defense wanted them thrown out and he said no, we'll see you back in March.
Tell us why this is significant.
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You had a two-pronged attack. A renowned criminal defense attorney and exceptional at his job you have this lead
detective coaching witnesses telling them to delete text messages. In one case where the witness did not give evidence supporting what the witness
said, there were six counts, one of them was thrown out already. He argued that the detective's involvement so tainted the totality of the entire
indictment that it should all be thrown out. In addition to that argument, he was suggesting that he got text messages and the text messages that he
evaluated were inconsistent from the indictment. That is the indictment said that this was all nonconsensual. The text messages that he has his
hands on suggests there was a very jovial and cordial relationship between Mr. Weinstein and his accusers and at the end of the day he said these are
all questions of fact. Let's let a jury make the determination as to whether the witnesses are credible and the evidence is consistent and as to
whether Mr. Weinstein was guilty. As to the five charges that remain, you'll see a jury and panel of 12 people and should that jury conclude
beyond a reasonable doubt that he's guilty he'll be convicted. You could find someone guilty of one charge and not another. And we'll find out
moving forward what the results are.
GORANI: Why dismiss one charge in October and not the last five?
JACKSON: Because ultimately as it related to that particular charge and a particular actress, what the judge determined is based upon that it was
just overly consistent. That particular charge could not be supported beyond a reasonable doubt and it was fair to let it go. What the judges
concluded here is that the one isolated charge has nothing to do with these remaining 5 independent charges that will go forward on their merits.
Maybe he's guilty of them and maybe he's not but at this point the judge said that's not my decision to make. That's the jury's decision to make
after hearing of facts. I'll tell you this, a judge is a referee of sorts. What does a judge do and a referee do? They make sure the game is played
fairly. It's up to a jury to make the conclusion as to what the facts are. That's why they render verdicts whether guilty or not guilty. They decide
should something be dismissed or not be dismissed.
GORANI: Thanks very much. Appreciate it. Still to come tonight. They have been invaluable in the fight against ISIS in Syria, but now Kurdish
forces themselves could be a great risk if U.S. troops with draw from Syria as promised. We'll explain just ahead.
[14:30:55] HALA GORANI CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Well, back now to our top story and the face of some fierce backlash, Donald Trump is continuing to
defend his abrupt order to withdraw all American troops from Syria.
The U.S. president said in a Twitter video message that American forces have beaten ISIS, quote, "badly."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they're coming back now. We
won, and that's the way we want it, and that's the way they want it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So we won, but then this came out. Mr. Trump basically undercut his own argument that ISIS has been defeated in this tweet. He says,
Russia, Iran, Syria, and quote, "many others" are not happy about the U.S. leaving because in his words, "now they will have to fight ISIS without
us." So this is confusing.
Kurdish fighters deserve huge credit for beating back ISIS in Syria, but now they themselves could be very much exposed. American troops have been
assisting them and acted as a buffer against the possible Turkish attacks.
CNN's Arwa Damon has been in and out of Syria for years. So, Arwa, what are the Kurds -- I mean, what is their reaction now? The Kurdish fighters
that have been on the front lines of the battle against ISIS with these 2,000 American troops due to withdraw?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Hala, you can just imagine how stressed and anxious they must be at this stage given
that in some parts of Syria they're still very much in active battle zone and they are heavily reliant on U.S. air support and the other assets that
the U.S. does bring to the ground.
In fact, in this entire equation, the Kurds are probably most against the U.S. troop withdrawal. As Trump was mentioning in that tweet that you read
out there, the Iranians are very happy with it. The Russians are very happy with it. The Syrian regime is very happy with it. And Turkey is, in
fact, quite pleased with this development as well.
They want the U.S. out of this vital battle zone in the Middle East and it's not because they are going to be left to fight ISIS. It's because by
removing America, it allows their influence to expand and it removes the Americans, not just from the political negotiating table when it comes to
Syria but also the military ones.
The Kurds though have had quite a history of betrayal by the U.S. They have consistently been an American ally. They have going as far back as
1991. Heeded America's calls to rise back then against, of course, the government of Saddam Hussein. They did not receive any sort of U.S.
After they did that fast forward to 2003, the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq, they were a key ally for both the Americans and the Brits. And then they
were instrumental when ISIS swept through Mosul and stopping basically the militant advance, not just into Iraqi Kurdistan but into some other parts
of Iraq as well.
But when they found themselves being pushed back from territory they were holding, territory that had, that they had been holding, when they were
holding these frontlines against ISIS, they were pushback by the Iraqi forces. There was no U.S. support at that stage. And now, when it comes
to serious Kurds, they're finding themselves in the same position all over, again, Hala.
GORANI: But let me ask you, though, about Turkey, because the defense minister, the Turkish defense minister said when the time and place comes,
they, meaning the Kurds, will be buried in the ditches that they dug.
I mean, could -- obviously, the speculation and one of the theories out there is that the U.S. president, you know, asked to do so by Turkey,
withdrew these forces for whatever transactional benefit you felt, you know, that could bring him. Is that the prevalent theory in the region?
DAMON: Well, a senior Turkish official did say that following the phone call, the most recent one they have in a few days ago between Trump and
Erdogan that this decision by Trump to withdraw U.S. forces was part of a framework that was agreed upon.
[14:35:01] But we don't know the details of that at this stage and we also need to recognize that even if this was agreed upon, there was some sort of
transaction that took place. It still leaves not just the Kurds but the region incredibly vulnerable.
Turkey, of course, for quite some time now has been pushing the United States to back off of its support for the Kurdish fighters in Syria, the
YPG that Turkey has categorized as being a terrorist organization one in the same as the PKK.
But why this would then result in a full U.S. troop withdrawal from the entire country, that's one part of it of all of this that we're still
trying to make some sense of.
Because to a certain degree, the Americans, Trump could have placated the Turks by drawing support from Kurdish forces that are in mission in other
strategic areas along the Turkey-Syria border. Not necessarily withdrawing from the entire country as a hole and basically leaving a massive void at
this stage where it's not entirely clear who's going to fill it.
And then you have to think about the message that this gives to other local fighters on the ground and other parts of the world and international
allies. And it's not necessarily a big surprise, Hala, but really it's that message that the U.S., when it comes down to it, will only serve its
own perceived interest, no matter what the cost.
GORANI: But is this even in its own interest at this point. I mean, ISIS will be given an opportunity to make some gains, I imagine, without this
U.S. presence. And ultimately, the stronger that group gets, the more vulnerable countries half a world away are even.
I mean, you could do -- you could make that argument, I guess, that you want to really neutralize that group as much as you can so their influence
cannot radiate too far beyond their territorial gains, if you will, in Syria and Iraq.
DAMON: And that is most definitely the case. There are so few, if any out there when it comes to America's allies that actually believe that this
move is in America's own interests.
We're still struggling to kind of try to make sense of it all because it did come as quite the surprise and the issue beyond all of that too is, in
ceding control of Syria, America also cedes a certain degree of its own ability to impact what is happening inside the Middle East. And it really
does feel as if it's a very sort of shortsighted policy.
But again, one that was made by the U.S. president over Twitter in what seemed to be and is, as far as we know, with no consultation whatsoever
from his own military, from his own key advisers, from regional allies.
The French and the brits and others were caught completely off guard. Now, they are not, at this stage, can be withdrawing their forces from Syria.
But also, Hala, if we just quickly look at history, in January, the Turks launched an incursion into Syria to try to push the YPG, the Kurdish forces
out of a couple of areas that were up against the Syria-Turkey border. When they did that, that had an impact on the Kurd's ability, on the Kurd's
willingness to fight ISIS.
And what we saw is that Kurdish forces that were in the southern part fighting ISIS down there did end up being diverted to the north to fight
alongside the Kurds who are trying to repel this Turkish push forward.
And so the potential implications of this move, how it's going to play around the Syrian battlefield, we don't really know. But all of the
indications are is that it is essentially not going to be in America's interest. It is only going to serve ISIS's purposes at this stage and
potentially launch the region into even more chaos.
GORANI: Yes. Arwa Damon, thanks very much. Arwa is in Washington today.
A quick check again, once again on the Dow because the fact that the president has said that he will not sign a bill extending funding for the
U.S. government for a few weeks and that therefore, at least parts of the government will be shutting down from tomorrow is worrying investors.
The Dow is down 430 points below 23,000. And this comes after several very negative sessions. Cristina Alesci joins me now from the New York Stock
Exchange. So what are investors and analysts telling you about why we're seeing these losses today?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: I was on the floor when the market really took a turn south and that was tied to the president tweeting
about his frustration over the lack of funding for the border wall. And really undermining a potential deal to avoid a government shutdown. That's
when we saw, really, the selling pick up the pace.
But it really started yesterday when the Federal Reserve announced the decision to raise interest rates and this is a fight between the Federal
Reserve and Wall Street and President Trump. The Federal Reserve believes that the economy, the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand an
interest rate hike, and additional ones in 2019.
[14:40:03] Wall Street was expecting the easy money to keep flowing and President Trump wanted that outcome as well and they were very disappointed
when they didn't get it.
Wall Street, look, it sees flashing warning signs from several different places and the fact that the Fed really didn't focus on that and didn't
highlight that was a very worrying signal for many ambassadors and traders here on the floor. They wanted Jerome Powell, the Fed chair to talk about
slowing global growth. Worrying signs from China and a possible slow down there.
Investors and traders are also very concerned about the tax cuts that acted like a stimulus here in the U.S. The stimulus kind of wearing off and what
other stimulus can be put into the system to prevent the growth cycle that we've -- the growth rates that we've seen in the U.S., Hala.
GORANI: All right, Cristina Alesci, a lot of worries on Wall Street as we watch the Dow once again lose ground on this Thursday. Thanks very much.
After months of legal challenges, a mother from Yemen has finally arrived in California to be with her dying son. This is not a happy story, even
though she got that visa. It is a tragic, tragic story.
Shaima Swileh had been unable to accompany her husband who is an American citizen when he brought 2-year-old Abdullah to the U.S. for medical
treatment. That is because of the Trump administration's travel ban that covers people from Yemen among others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI HASSAN, FATHER OF DYING TODDLER: This is a difficult time for our family. But we are blessed to be together. I ask you to respect our
privacy as we go to be with our son again. The Muslim ban has hurt Yemen, Americans families and it needs to end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, he tells CNN, his wife just wanted to see her son to give him a kiss before he goes.
Still to come tonight, hundreds of people are dying on the streets of the U.K. and the numbers rising sharply. How can this be happening in one of
the richest countries in the world? We'll be right back.
GORANI: Here in Britain, shocking and heartbreaking new numbers are revealing how many people are, in fact, dying on the streets of Britain?
Nearly 600 homeless people died last year in England and Wales, according to official estimates.
It's a number that is rising as well. So the trend is going in the wrong direction. 24 percent over five years is the rise. And if you're hearing
this and wondering, does the government realize how big an issue this is? It does, tragically.
A homeless man recently was found dying outside the Houses of Parliament. Literally under the noses of lawmakers squabbling about Brexit probably on
a day like today.
[14:45:02] Let's get more on these figures from Maeve McClenaghan, who's with the Bureau of Investigative journalism. So the question is, in a
country as rich as Britain, why are homeless numbers going up so much?
MAEVE MCCLENAGHAN, JOURNALIST, BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM: Yes, it's really shocking, and we now know that homeless deaths are increasing,
but we've also known for a while that homelessness and rough sleeping has been on the rise for years now. And it's a complex issue, homelessness has
not one particular cause but it seems like cuts to drug and alcohol services, cuts to mental health services, lack of affordable housing,
skyrocketing private rents. All of these things that are combining to just create more problems for people.
GORANI: So cuts to social services and sort of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, that seems to be one of the major factors.
MCCLENAGHAN: Yes. I think it's that the safety net that used to exist has been decimated to the point that people are slipping through the net now.
GORANI: So it's austerity in some cases in terms of government spending that could be causing it. So, what is the solution here?
MCCLENAGHAN: Yes. Well, I think more funding for all of those services and looking into where they can cut and what that means? What we've been
doing at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism is trying to chart who is dying across the U.K. over the last year and to understand a little bit
more how those people have come to die on the streets.
GORANI: And what conclusion are you coming to? Because we're putting up this website, dyinghomeless.com and on it, our viewers can go on there,
you'll find little vignettes for each person that you've been able to gather information about. Oftentimes, they're painfully young in their
20s, 30s and 40s and they've died from a variety of causes. They're freezing to death, maybe it's drug overdose, maybe it's alcohol poisoning,
whatever it is.
But when you see that name, it humanizes -- it puts a face to the numbers.
MCCLENAGHAN: Yes. And I think that's really important to remember that these people -- they're not statistics. They're not just facts and
figures. Behind every person, there's life or hope. And I've spent the last year going to inquest, going to funerals, talking to family members.
Trying to understand a bit better how these people came to die like this.
GORANI: What are you learning from speaking to the families? Because, by the way, I hear that a lot. Where are these people's families? Why are
they letting their -- there's a young woman I see a lot on my way out of work and she looks like she's in her 20s. And I have to say, it's
something I ask myself almost every time I see her, where is her family?
MCCLENAGHAN: Yes. And we know that family relationships and breakdowns of relationships are one of the primary causes for why people might end up or
tip them over into homelessness.
But I've sat in on funerals thinking, gosh, I'm going to be a new person here and being shocked to find a room just full of people with amazing
stories, amazing memories and a great love for these people. So they're not all socially isolated and that's been one of the more powerful things
about doing this yield on project.
GORANI: So that means there is hope if you can reconnect them. But you know, one of the things we were talking about in the commercial break is,
in this part of London, which is basically SOHO and Oxford Circus, it's full of tourists, but also full of homeless people and rough sleepers. And
I am always reluctant. I may be wrong, tell me if I am, to give money because I think what if this money that I'm giving the homeless person will
be used for drugs and alcohol and what if that's the dose or whatever that puts them over the edge. Am I wrong to think that?
MCCLENAGHAN: I mean, there's certainly different schools of thought on that. Some people think these adults, we don't patronize them. Others
think exactly what you said. But there are services like street link where you can connect people to us, sleeping rough with services that might be
able to help them.
GORANI: Sure. And how do you do that? So you look up agencies and organizations that are basically charitable organizations that can take
people in. But that's a short-term solution, really?
MCCLENAGHAN: Absolutely. So street link has an app and it has a phone number so you can kind of immediately they can do that connecting work.
But, yes, absolutely, that's short-term. I think what needs to happen is real investigation into how these deaths are happening. We know there's a
mechanism which is called a safe guarding adult review which could happen after every single time a death, a homeless death happens.
GORANI: Quick last one, Finland has an interesting approach to homelessness which I'm sure you're familiar with. I wasn't. They house
first. So they house the homeless people first and then they deal with the problem later.
GORANI: Is that having a positive impact on their problems?
MCCLENAGHAN: That has almost eradicated rough sleeping, as I understand it in Finland. But it needs that continued support. I've heard stories here
in the U.K. of people being given houses and still sleeping in tents in their front room because they just don't have the capacity or the support
needed to get back into normal life.
GORANI: So you need professional help to ease back into normal life.
MCCLENAGHAN: Yes, that seems to be the finest.
GORANI: So all of that costs money and unfortunately, yes, that's kind of what we're seeing, cuts and more cuts.
Maeve McClenaghan, thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it. This is not just a British problem, obviously. Thank you so much.
Now there's a new warning that Brexit could literally become a life or death matter. There are very real fears about the impact on Britain's
National Health Service, which is a lifeline for millions in the U.K. and an institution that considered part of the fabric of this country. Samuel
Burke has that story.
[14:50:11] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. So it's routine.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Routines that are part of the fabric of the U.K.'s National Health Service. The supply chain
for prescription drugs for conditions like these anchored in the European Union for more than 40 years.
Now that arrangement is at risk under a no-deal Brexit. The Brexit Health Alliance, a nonpolitical group representing the health sector says 37
million patient pacts including prescriptions are imported from the E.U. every month, 45 million are exported to the E.U.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at the insulin, you can see it's being made in Denmark.
BURKE: The devalued pound, then makes that much more expensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
BURKE: Pharmacists are also facing uncertainty over future drug supplies from the E.U. Now, Britain's health ministry advises that in the unlikely
event of a shortage, pharmacists can provide an appropriate alternative medicine to their patients.
MITRA AZIMI, PHARMACIST: We've got a lot of people coming in with prescriptions where we turn them away and say, look, I can't get ahold of
this item. But we fear we're going to get a lot more shortages. The medicines that we're worried about are mainly the antidiabetics, the
inhalers, they tend to be out of stock.
BURKE: The health ministry says it's planning for the worst. Five hundred companies that supply medicines and medical supplies told to increase stock
piles by another six weeks. To expect delays of up to six months at the borders due to new customs checks. To seek alternate routes of shipments
for drugs including air freight and increase additional warehouse capacity for drugs at ports. That also includes increasing refrigerator capacity at
warehouses to stock pile medicines like insulin that must be kept at low temperatures.
What about people who say that we're scaremongering talking about stock piling drugs?
LAYLA MCCAY, BRITISH HEALTH ALLIANCE: I think that having pharmaceutical company's stock piling is in order to reduce the risk of scaremongering.
We need to know that in the worst-case scenario, if there is no deal and there is lots of disruptions at the borders, then we have put the right
plans in place.
BURKE: The fear is real, but the Brexit Health Alliance says if Theresa May gets her plan through, it would meet the major concerns of the health
industry. Medicines and medical supplies would continue to cross borders without customs checks during a transition period.
Still for James Moore (ph) who also takes multiple injections of insulin every day, he's planning his own contingencies while Britain is still in
JAMES MOORE: I can take my prescription and go into a French pharmacy and cash it. It is possible to conceive of hopping across the channel and
doing that offline across the line.
BURKE: This holiday season, the one give James and many others desire above all, an end to the uncertainty for what comes after Brexit.
Samuel Burke CNN, London.
GORANI: More to come, including a new deal would allow Cuban baseball players to pursue their dream of playing for an American team without fear
of being sent back home. We are live in Havana. Stay with us.
GORANI: Cuban baseball players soon won't have to defect to play for professional American teams. For the first time, a new agreement between
Major League Baseball and the Cuban baseball federation would allow Cubans to play for a U.S. team and then go home in the offseason.
[14:55:06] Let's get more from Patrick Oppmann. He's in Havana. Is that finalized or - I mean, is it going to happen for sure or is this still
possible that this won't go through?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's Cuba, so you can never say for sure definitively. But, you know, Major League Baseball and the Cuban
Baseball Federation have spent three years negotiating this. It comes about, thanks to some of the changes that President Obama -- ex-president
Obama made towards Cuba in their final years of his office.
The Trump administration says they're studying. There are some senators like Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American and a critic of the Cuban government,
who say that they are against it but it seems that the lawyers have really done their due diligence here and it is going to happen and this will allow
for the first time in 60 years, ever since the Cuban revolution.
Basically baseball players in Cuba have had two choices. They can stay here and they can earn a might earn a (INAUDIBLE) currently they made or a
couple thousand dollars a year. You have to think the worst paid player in the U.S. league probably makes more than the entire Cuban league put
So they can either stay here and never know the fame and fortune of playing in the U.S. or they can leave and then they would be prevented from
returning by the Cuban government. The Cuban government up until recently wouldn't even show gains where the defectors played in the unfortunately
So for a lot of the people that who's left and earned millions of dollars in the U.S., they haven't been able to come back home and now that all
changes. So it really is a sea change for Cuban baseball players who will be able to go and play in the U.S. and then come back. Play if they want
to in Cuba and they say that the money that Cuba will earn from this is really going to help improve the level of baseball here on the island.
GORANI: All right. Patrick Oppmann, thanks very much.
Now witness the creation of a world record. This is a time-lapse video of the world's largest outdoor mural when the city of Incheon, South Korea
wanted to improve the image of the port area and maybe give a boost to tourism, they hit on the idea of a giant painting along the side of a giant
It took 22 artists working for 100 days to complete. They used 850,000 liters of paint. The whole thing covers more than 23,000 square meters and
the theme is the four seasons and here is the end result. Well done.
Some parts of it are kind of like Diego Rivera-esque sort of.
Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. I'll see you next time. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.