Return to Transcripts main page

HALA GORANI TONIGHT

World Leaders Share Their Visions For A New Year; The Mayor Of Manchester Says That A New Year's Eve Stabbing Appears To Be An Isolated Incident; Brazil has a new President; American Man Currently Detained In Russia Aired: 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 1, 2019 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


HALA GORANI, ANCHOR, CNN: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, on this January 1st, 2019, world leaders share their

visions for a New Year, but we're hearing some pretty familiar rhetoric from the American President. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has congratulated

this man with the stroke of a pen, Jair Bolsonaro is sworn in as Brazil's new President, we will discuss what it might mean for the country. Also

the twin brother of an American detained in Russia is speaking out. Moscow has accused Paul Whelan of spying, something his family is strongly

denying.

We begin tonight with New Year's resolutions - 2019 is finally here and we're all trying to do those little things a bit differently, but it's not

just you or me. Leaders around the world are saying or claiming that they're going to change things. Even North Korea's Kim Jong-un. He says

he wants a better relation with the United States, but has a warning about what could happen if Washington's policies don't change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM JONG-UN, SUPREME LEADER OF NORTH KOREA (Through a translator): If the U.S. does not keep the promise it made in front of the world and

misinterprets our people's patience and makes one-sided demands and continues down the path of sanctions and pressure on our Republic, then we

have no choice, but to defend our country's sovereignty and supreme interest and find a new way to settle peace on our peninsula.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, London started off 2019 with a bang and get used to seeing fireworks in Westminster because the first few months here sees Brexit come

to a head, even these fireworks couldn't escape controversy, by the way. I'll tell you why. Take a look.

Well, this is the phrase "London is open." It was spoken in a number of European languages and as you can see from this tweet by London Mayor Sadiq

Khan, "The London Eye was lit up in the colors of the EU flag," and Brexit supporting lawmakers were not amused by this.

Now, away from the political fireworks, Theresa May had her own New Year message on Brexit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: In the next few weeks, MPs will have an important decision to make. If Parliament backs the deal,

Britain can turn a corner. The referendum in 2016 was divisive. But we all want the best for our country. 2019 can be the year we put our

differences aside and move forward together into a strong, new relationship with our European neighbors and out into the world as a globally trading

nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: For Donald Trump, it was a case of new year/old me. He released this video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to wish you a very, very Happy New Year. It's going to be a great year. Complicated,

but great. I'm fighting for you. We're going to win. We're going to win all the way, we are going to win at everything we do. So, Happy New Year

and let's enjoy the next year and then we're going to enjoy the following year and then we have four more and everything is going to be so beautiful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Everything is going to be so beautiful. This morning, Mr. Trump was back on Twitter with a specific New Year's message. Let's take you

live to Washington. Jessica Dean is at the White House; Barbara Starr joins me from the Pentagon. And Jessica, let's start with this Trump

tweet. Happy New Year. And this is not the first time he sent out a tweet in this vein. "Happy New Year even to the haters," all in capital letters,

the entire thing. " ... and the fake news media," loves using that expression. "2009 will be a fantastic year for those not suffering from

Trump Derangement Syndrome."

Jessica, he's starting the New Year pretty much on the same note that he ended 2018 on.

JESSICA DEAN, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, that's exactly right, Hala and he is also starting the New Year with this partial government

shutdown continuing to drag on here in Washington, D.C.

We have just learned in the last hour that final details are being put together for a meeting here at the White House that President Trump has

invited leadership from both parties, from the House and the Senate here to the White House, tomorrow that they will meet and that there will also

likely be a briefing from the Department of Homeland Security during that meeting. So again, waiting for all of those details to come together.

[14:05:06]

DEAN: As it currently stands, President Trump remaining firm that he must have a border wall and he want the $5 billion to fund it. Democrats

remaining firm that they are going to vote on a series of bills to reopen the government on Thursday when they take control of the House. There will

be $1.3 billion in there for border security, but no funding for the wall.

So he wants that wall in the funding. They're saying we are not funding the wall and thus, here we are in a continued stalemate.

GORANI: And, Barbara Starr, there's a lot to talk about from the Pentagon. Not only what we heard from Kim Jong-un on the North Korean situation.

There's a new acting Defense Secretary and Syria now, it appears there will be a pull out of U.S. troops, but it will be many more months before we see

it completed which is not the impression the President gave when he first tweeted out his decision a few weeks ago.

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, that's right, Hala. Initially the President certainly sending the message he wanted a rapid and

immediate pull out of some 2,000 U.S. ground troops from Syria and really throwing commanders into a bit of turmoil about it because what they were

saying at the time, if you want the troops out, we will of course obey that order, but we need to do it in a safe and orderly fashion and that would

take some time.

It would take several weeks, perhaps as long as four months. That was a ballpark, never anything official announced by the Pentagon. But the

emphasis had always been on trying to make sure they were doing it safely to protect the troops and now, it appears that Mr. Trump is more on board

with that, with that concept than he was initially.

He is saying that he never said he wanted to rush the troops out of there, but he's making it clear that he feels it's time to begin to wrap it up in

Syria -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, and it's going to be a question because there was some confusion about after the Senate Republican Lindsey Graham said that the

President accepted that this pull out would only happen once ISIS is defeated and Iranian influence is managed there in Syria and now, we are

hearing a different version.

But Jessica, I want to ask you, with Democrats taking control of the House, eminently, how will this change the whole shutdown drama in Washington?

DEAN: Well, I think there's a lot of hope that perhaps it kind of changes the dynamics to move something forward, but again, until they can find some

middle ground and a way to compromise, if the Democrats maintain that they simply are not going to allow any funding for that wall and the President

continues to say "I'm not signing anything that doesn't have funding in it for a wall," you know, they're going to have to find some middle ground.

They are going to have to compromise and we'll see if that happens in the coming days.

GORANI: Lastly, Barbara, on North Korea, we heard Kim Jong-un say, you know, I'm happy to work with the United States, but they have to change

their policies. How is that being read at the Pentagon?

STARR: Well, you know, I think that video was pretty interesting seeing Kim Jong-un in a business suit, walking in to what appeared to be a

library, lots of books on shelves, photos of his ancestors, a very business-like, calm demeanor from the North Korean leader. So they are

looking at those optics very carefully.

Kim however, not really changing what his agenda is. He says that he isn't testing or making nuclear weapons anymore and certainly they haven't tested

in many, many months. But he is also holding open the option that he may not give up his weapons program fully, that his version of disarmament

maybe quite different than President Trump's version.

Kim Jong-un still very focused on the North Korean economy. He wants those sanctions lifted and eased - so that is perhaps his major priority -- Hala.

GORANI: Yes, certainly interesting how he chose to present himself in that video. Jessica, Dean and Barbara Starr, thanks very much to both of you

and Happy New Year.

STARR: Happy New Year.

DEAN: Happy New Year.

GORANI: Here in the U.K. - thank you - the Mayor of Manchester says that a New Year's Eve stabbing appears to be an isolated incident. Police have

opened a terror investigation into the attack. Three people are in the hospital with some serious injuries and the suspect is in custody.

The New Year's Eve attack happened just meters away from the site of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. CNN's Phil Black has more. Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hala, this was swift, violent, potentially deadly. But fortunately, it was quickly suppressed. It was 9:00 P.M.

local time at Manchester's Victoria Station when a man started shouting and attacking people with what's been described as a large kitchen knife.

Two people, a man and woman in their 50s were seriously injured. A police officer who rushed to intervene was also stabbed. But it was a group of

officers who responded quickly and were able to bring the man down, ending his attack within seconds.

Police say they know who he is and they have searched his home. He is still in custody. Witnesses have told British media, the man shouted pro-

Islamist slogans during the attack, suggesting a religious political motivation.

[14:10:10]

BLACK: And it's likely why police say they are treating this as terrorism. The location is significant. So close to where a suicide bomber blew

himself up, killing himself and 22 other people including parents and children as crowds were leaving the Arianna Grande concert at the

Manchester Arena in 2017.

The Manchester Arena's exit feeds into Victoria Station. That's how close these two attacks were and that proximity, police and local authorities say

has made this event even more dreadful for the still traumatized people of Manchester.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY BURNHAM, MANCHESTER MAYOR: Last night's incident at Victoria Station was a vile attack on families seeking to enjoy a peaceful New Year. We're

all thinking today of the couple who were injured, and of course, the police sergeant, as well. They're in our thoughts and we wish them all a

very speedy recovery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: Police are also keen for people to know that there is no evidence of a wider threat or plot. It appears one determined radicalized person

was responsible. The sort of attack which is so difficult for police to identify and interrupt before it happens -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, Phil, thanks very much. Now, four people were injured in Western Germany in the early hours of New Year's Day, another attack

there. The man accused of ramming his car into a crowd of people celebrating the New Year was an attack that authorities say may have been

racist.

Police told CNN he shouted xenophobic slogans when he was arrested. This happened, you can see where it is highlighted in Bottrop in the Western

part of Germany. Syrian and Afghan citizens were in the crowd apparently targeted and there was a ramming attack in Tokyo. A man has been detained

after he alleged rammed his car into a crowd of people celebrating the New Year there. At least nine people injured, one seriously. And police say

the suspect initially admitted to carrying out what he called a terrorist act, but then said he was actually protesting the death penalty.

Brazil has a new President. Jair Bolsonaro was inaugurated a short time ago, giving South America's largest nation a right wing populist leader who

is widely compared to Donald Trump. Mr. Bolsonaro won the election with a promise to repair Brazil's economy and fight crime and corruption. Critics

say his policies will deal blows to human rights and the environment among other things and much like the U.S. President, there are big questions over

how effective Mr. Bolsonaro's policies will be.

At home and abroad, he is promising a lot of things. I want to bring in Paulo Sotero, Director of the Wilson Center's Brazil Institute. Thanks for

being with us. First of all, we're going to show our viewers some live images of the inauguration festivities happening right now in Brazil. Why

-- you know, "populist," the term -- and he is speaking now, Jair Bolsonaro -- it encapsulates many things. Why do we call someone like Bolsonaro a

populist? What should we know about him?

PAULO SOTERO, DIRECTOR, WILSON CENTER'S BRAZIL INSTITUTE: Because he appeals directly to the people. He was able to identify a moment of

fragility of the political system in Brazil. He presented himself after serving seven terms in Congress as a Federal representative. Not one of

note, didn't do much there, but saw his opportunity, mobilized public opinion through social media to internet and other means, taking or

borrowing a page out of Donald Trump's playbook and was successful, successfully elected in a second round of elections with, though, a little

bit less than 40% of the popular vote.

GORANI: And he said some things that were homophobic, that were racist, that were xenophobic. I mean, he is appealing to some of the, I guess,

maybe playing on the fears, some of the nationalistic feelings of the voters. Right?

SOTERO: Well, he was appealing to his constituents, the core constituency that helped him get elected. He has started already to moderate his

positions on those views. He has a firm position on what he call gender policy. He opposes that. But he will have to govern for all Brazilians.

His campaign rhetoric will not help him do that. He will have to have a brother agenda and is one of difficulty, especially because of this fiscal

situation he inherits ...

[14:15:10]

SOTERO: ... from Mr. Temer.

GORANI: But this is what sounds a lot like what people said about Donald Trump, that he won by appealing to his base, that he was going to govern

for all Americans and Americans and for two years, we have seen, in fact, him continue to appeal directly to his base and insult or disparage pretty

much everyone else. Will Bolsonaro be different?

SOTERO: He will be different in two ways. First, he does not have the same talent to work with media that Mr. Trump shows. Obviously, in his own

very aggressive style. Second, Mr. Bolsonaro will not have the economic room, for instance, to do a huge tax cut.

On the contrary, he will probably have to propose tax increases and deep cuts in expenditure which will test his popularity very early. Most

commentators in Brazil believe that his honeymoon, although genuine, there is a sense of optimism in Brazil that the economy in recession for a while

now, just starting to recover, that the economy can grow again and there are 11 million jobs lost in brazil in the past few years. This is the test

for Bolsonaro and this remains to be seen because he does not have a majority in Congress.

GORANI: All right, thank you very much. Paulo Sotero of the Wilson Center. The U.S. President Donald Trump to whom he's been compared has

tweeted out his congratulations to the newly inaugurated Brazilian President. Thank you so much for joining us.

Only a few world leaders attended the inauguration. The Trump administration sent U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and he used the

time in Brazil to have a working lunch with one of those world leaders, The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Their main topic of

conversation, the looming American troop withdrawal from Syria.

Now, Pompeo says it doesn't impact any aspect of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, but we know that the Israeli leadership would much rather

have those American troops remain in Syria.

Still to come, we have new details about the American man detained in Russia on spying charges. Relatives of Paul Whelan are speaking out.

We'll hear from them, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, we are learning more about the American man currently detained in Russia. Paul Whelan's family members say they are deeply

concerned for his safety and wellbeing. He was arrested Friday in Moscow on suspicion of being an American spy. His family says, he is innocent of

what he is being accused of.

[14:20:05]

GORANI: Martin Savidge is following the case from Detroit, Michigan, where Whelan lives. What are we hearing? Because he has a twin brother. He

spoke to CNN and his family has also issued a statement.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Right. They have. Let me give you just a bit of background about Paul.

He is 48 years old. He is Canadian-born, but he is an American citizen, a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq several times, former law enforcement

in the United States, and now works as a security consultant for a large auto parts manufacturer, so that's why he lives in the Detroit area.

He travels a lot, but he was in Russia, according to his family, to attend a friend's wedding. In fact, he was helping to facilitate that wedding and

when he didn't show up, that's when family members became gravely concerned. They do not believe in any way that he is involved in any kind

of espionage. They say that is a total fabrication.

And they also point out that he is just a great guy. Here's what his twin brother had to say about him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID WHELAN, BROTHER OF PAUL WHELAN: He had a request from a friend and he thought he could help out because he had been to Russia and could maybe

help other Americans from the family who hadn't been to Russia to, you know, navigate the way around, get on the Metro and that sort of thing.

But he is a very kind person.

Paul is a very capable person. He's physically a large person. So, I mean, he has a background in law enforcement. He was a Marine. He does

corporate security. And he travels regularly. So he is not the sort of person who would stumble into a strange environment or make poor choices

that could cause him risks, but particularly he wouldn't have made choices that would have gotten him sideways of the Russian government and its

Espionage Act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: As strange as it might sound, Hala, the family was actually relieved to hear that he was taken in custody by Russian authorities

because once he had dropped out of sight that was on the 28th of December, they heard nothing. They actually feared for his life. Thought he might

have been a victim of crime, maybe been murdered.

So now they know he is alive, but of course, he is in serious trouble and they are now concerned for his welfare. They are anxiously awaiting for

U.S. officials to have the opportunity to meet with him in Russian jail and they want to hear back first and foremost how their brother and son is and

then want to know when's he coming back -- Hala.

GORANI: But have they been given more details of about exactly what he is accused of doing? Because these security services in Russia say he was

caught in the act. That's what they claiming. Have they been given any more information about the circumstances under which he was arrested?

SAVIDGE: No, they have not. In fact, you know, they have been greeted with nothing but really - a lot of silence. Certainly, from Russian

officials and they haven't heard that much back actually from the U.S. State Department, as well.

They just say it's preposterous that he could be considered in any way a spy and they also say that originally, he was reported missing by the bride

and groom of the wedding on the Sunday after the Friday, which the wedding took place. They showed up and reported to Russian authorities early that

morning to say "This American is missing." It was just a short few hours later that Russian authorities announced that he had actually been arrested

on the charge of espionage.

GORANI: All right. Martin Savidge, thanks very much in Detroit, Michigan. And elsewhere in Russia, we have new video from that apartment building in

the southern part of the country that collapsed after a gas explosion. And it is an absolute miracle when you consider the state of the building and

the number of people who were killed.

This video shows a baby less than one year old being rescued 35 hours after this explosion. Pulled from beneath the freezing - the rubble and freezing

temperatures. Officials describe the boy's condition as serious, but he's alive. Russia's Emergency Ministry says the infant's mother also survived

the explosion and was able to see her son at the hospital.

At least eight people died in the collapse and dozens are still unaccounted for. But really, truly, a miraculous rescue. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:25:00]

GORANI: The New Year was a great one for NASA because it started off with a new record. The U.S. Space Agency's New Horizons probe essentially

completed a flyby of the most distant object in history in space.

So it snapped pictures of Ultima Thule, which is more than six billion kilometers from earth. Granted, granted it is not the clearest image we

have ever seen but we are going to get more in the coming weeks and months. It is so far away, the flyby happened just past midnight in the U.S. but

the signal didn't reach earth for ten hours.

And here is how NASA envisioned the flyby. Astronomers say that Ultima Thule is shaped like a bowling pin and spins like a propeller. And they

expect it to give them an unprecedented look into the origins of our solar system.

It's a deep freeze out there by the way. The sun doesn't reach it. It's close to absolute zero. That's your astronomy update for the evening. I'm

Halal Gorani. Thanks for watching. I'll have your headlines after a break and then "The 100 Club" is after that.

[14:30:00]

END