Return to Transcripts main page
HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Russian Lawyer At Trump Tower Meeting Charged In Separate Case; Erdogan's Slam Bolton's Comments On Syria; Brexit Supporters Harass MP Outside Parliament; Peek Into The Future With New Tech Gadgets; Trump's First Oval Office Address Is Just Hours Away; Source Says Trump Undecided on Declaring A National Emergency; Pence Claims 4000 Terrorists Have Crossed Southern Border; UK Lawmakers Create New Obstacle to No Deal Brexit; Carlos Ghosn in Court, Says I'm Innocent.
Aired January 8, 2019 - 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. Will Donald Trump declare a national emergency in a
primetime address? The U.S. President wants to convince Americans there is a crisis at the border. We fact check and we have full coverage.
Also, this hour, London's Met Police on alert after pro Brexit extremists harass and insult a member of Parliament.
And later the Turkish President cancels a meeting with John Bolton, the national security advisor, and scolds him in public. We'll tell you why.
Just hours from now, Donald Trump will give his first-ever national address from the Oval Office using that powerfully symbolic backdrop to try to
convince Americans that his country is in crisis. President Trump is taking his case for a border wall directly to the people after Democrats
have said they will refuse his funding demands. The impasse has led to a partial government shutdown now in its third week. One big thing to watch
out for tonight, whether Mr. Trump follows through with a threat to declare a national emergency, which would give him, the President and his office,
extraordinary powers to bypass Congress and get his way. Now, Democrats say there is no crisis at the border and, in fact, the facts do not support
the notion that there is a crisis at the border. In fact, illegal crossings are down over the last few years, and certainly, as far as
official records can confirm, there are no terrorists, certainly not in their thousands streaming through the border between U.S. and Mexico. What
critics are saying is they are saying Mr. Trump is a danger to democracy. Right after the President's speech, the top two Congressional Democrats
will deliver a rebuttal. Let's get more now from the White House with reporter Sarah Westwood. Sarah, do we have -- will the President declare a
national emergency? Do we have any sense of what will be in this address?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Hala, sources say President Trump still is considering whether to declare a national
emergency tonight. But we know that this is something the President has been considering over the past week or so. He said it several times, that
if he can't get funding for his border wall legislatively, he will consider declaring a national emergency in order to unlock funds using his executive
power. Now, it's not exactly clear if that is something that is within his power to do. Almost certainly be met with a legal challenge from Democrats
who have already said that they oppose such a move. But President Trump is clearly growing increasingly frustrated with his inability to move the
needle in terms of the legislative stalemate he continually blaming Democrats for the fact that the government is partially shutdown and
standing firm behind that $5.7 billion demand in wall funding heading into this primetime address tonight, his first from the Oval Office where he'll
try to make the case directly to the American people, Hala.
GORANI: And how does he expect or hope that this address will win over some of his rivals and opponents in Washington? Because Democrats have
said quite clearly, they will not appropriate money for a wall.
WESTWOOD: Well, this is clearly an effort from the President to try to control the terms of the debate surrounding border security. His primetime
address will come after they expressed some concern that the President's message wasn't resonating with the American people. He's tried several
times over the past couple of weeks to make the case directly himself, including his first appearance at the briefing room podium, his first press
conference in the rose garden on this issue last week. So clearly the President is anxious to get out in front of people and try to make the case
personally to sort of shift the terms of the debate and maybe shift public opinion in favor of the wall. Right now, Hala, polls show the majority of
Americans do not support the wall or the shutdown.
GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Sarah Westwood at the White House. Less' talk more about Mr. Trump's power of persuasion to win over Americans
in the primetime address. I'm joined by the staff writer for the Atlantic. McKay Coppins, what's your expectation for this evening?
MCKAY COPPINS, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": You know, in the past when Presidents have used an Oval Office address to talk about an element of
their policy agenda, the goal is persuasion.
[14:05:00] Like you just talked about. I'm not entirely sure that is even President Trump's goal. In the past, what we've seen in the first two
years of his presidency is that he does not excel at persuasion and often doesn't even really attempt it. He attempts polarization. He attempts
agitation. And I think that when we're talking about this fight over the wall, I think, you know, he wants to deliver on this campaign promise that
he made that he would build this wall at the southern border. But as much as he wants the wall, I think he also wants the fight over the wall. He
wants this to be a partisan issue. He wants to fire up his base. And I would be extremely surprised if tonight he was making kind of a good faith
effort to win over moderates and Democrats who are skeptical of this idea. I think more likely he's going to try to agitate and turn this into the
wedge issue he's been using it as over the last two years.
GORANI: Do you think he'll declare a national emergency to go as far as doing that, basically invoking emergency powers and appropriating money
that should be set aside for genuine emergencies to build this wall?
COPPINS: You know, we obviously don't know. I've been talking to people in the President's orbit. They certainly think it's a possibility. They
also say there are key people outside the White House, you know, allies of his, people in the conservative media, people on Capitol Hill who are
advocating for that. I wouldn't be totally surprised -- I mean, "The Atlantic" where I work actually had a fascinating feature on this not long
ago about the extensive emergency powers that United States Presidents have and have taken advantage of and have sometimes abused throughout recent
history. So, it won't be completely unprecedented for him to decide to take advantage of that.
GORANI: And Democrats in the House would oppose it, though Republicans in the Senate, if he chooses to go that far, might not. I wonder, if you can
explain to our international viewers, Congressional Republicans have pretty much gone along with the President on, you know, all of his initiatives.
Why do you think that is? Is it because they believe that electorally and politically it would harm them to publicly oppose the President?
COPPINS: Well, that's right. I mean, look, as unpopular as President Trump is in this country, his approval ratings have consistently been below
50 percent, sometimes lower than 40 percent, the majority of Republican voters, an overwhelming number of Republican voters still support this
President, still give him high favorability ratings. The average Republican on Capitol Hill in Congress is looking out for themselves.
They're looking out for their reelection prospects, their fund-raising prospects and seeing the same numbers we're talking about and realizing
opposing him would be to their political detriment. There are a handful of Republicans from swing states or places where Trump is not as popular who
have indicated that they're not willing to go along with this forever. Remember, the government is currently shut down, which is adding a whole
other degree of political pressure here. But as of now, Republicans for the most part have stayed in line and that's the dynamic that has kind ever
defined the Trump era so far.
GORANI: You mentioned some Republicans that have spoken out, Mitt Romney is one of them and his state perhaps, he can afford to do that. The --
Trump himself and his spokespeople have used demonstrable lies to justify their support for a wall, claims of thousands of terrorists stopped at the
border. That is factually -- in fact, let's listen to the Vice-President, Mike Pence. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people aren't as concerned about the political debate as they are concerned about what's
really happening at the border. That's what the President --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COPPINS: Credibility -- the White House said nearly 4,000 terrorists are coming into our country. That's not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: Nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to come into the United States through various means --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COPPINS: At airports, not at the border.
GORANI: This is interesting to me, McKay, because these are factually incorrect statements. Mike Pence must know this. They haven't been
thousands of suspected terrorists at the border, nowhere near, less than ten actually in the last 40 years. And not at the Mexico border. Only
three went through the Mexico border in 40 years, and they went in as children and grew up to try to hatch a plot which was foiled. Why do they
keep lying about this stuff?
COPPINS: Because they can get away with it. You know, look, the reality is there is a very fervent base of support for President Trump. It's not
the majority of the country, but it's large enough to protect him politically. They'll believe what he says. They'll believe the
ideological media that caters to them says. Up until recently the conservative media has made no effort to fact check him on this. I will
point out one key moment from this past weekend when press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was making the same claim on "Fox News Sunday."
[14:10:00] Fox News, of course, being a conservative outlet, very supportive of the President. She was pretty rigorously fact checked on
that. So, you know, that's a small example. If there was more of that, I think we might see them back off that claim. But as of now they're getting
away with it.
GORANI: Sure. And then you're mentioning the interview with I believe Chris Wallace. But then the next morning, the morning show on fox news,
went with thousands of terrorists at our gates here.
GORANI: How do you then cover a President -- because we're all going to be watching -- I'm in London. 2:00 in the morning for us. We'll all watch at
some point. The Democrats do have a right of response. The major networks in the U.S. will carry the Democratic rebuttal. But how do you cover a
President -- your job is basically, you know, a good chunk of it is fact checking.
COPPINS: It's true. It's fact checking. It's also not amplifying false claims where you can avoid it. And I think that that's something we in the
political press and the United States media have tried to figure out over the past couple years, where -- you know, we've always had politicians who
lie and who mislead and spin. But we haven't had a President who lies at kind of this rate and this often and this aggressively and cavalierly. And
so, we've been trying to figure out how to handle that. And one of the things that we've learned is that we can't just stick his false claims in
headline, and then debunk it a few paragraphs down. We have to be careful about that. And it's something we are all still trying to grapple with. I
think some outlets and some journalists do it better than others.
GORANI: McKay, thank you very much. Appreciate you joining us on the program this evening.
COPPINS: Thank you.
GORANI: You can watch President Trump's primetime address as well as the response by the Democrats in just a few hours. It will start at 9:00 p.m.
eastern in Washington, 2:00 in the morning in London. For all you night owls.
Now, another leader banking on the power of persuasion is Britain's prime minister, and banking is the keyword, because the economic impact of
leaving the E.U. without a deal is becoming a huge worry. And in the past few moments, lawmakers have approved a change to a bill that would make
that prospect more difficult. That's being seen as a big defeat for Theresa May's government. We're going to explain because it sounds
complicated, but in the end it's actually a simple notion. In Westminster, Phil Black is in Portsmouth, which is a city that voted to leave. Bianca,
basically they have said we will not fund any effort to leave without a deal. So, in other words, the Parliament has to be consulted in the event
of a no deal, right? This makes Theresa May's job more difficult now.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does because what it does is ties the prime minister's hands in the event of a no deal. It needs to seek
Parliamentary approval for more public spending. So, the amendment itself says that given -- if Parliament agrees on a withdrawal agreement, if
Parliament agrees to extend article 50 or if Parliament agrees on a no deal, then fine, they can go ahead and sanction the public spending, but
that's important. So, Parliament has no majority for a no deal. In fact, Hala, you and I have gone back and forth many times about the fact there is
no majority in Parliament for anything apart from avoiding crashing out of the E.U. without a deal. So. this is just reinforced that problem for
the prime minister tonight. And even though it's going to be inconvenient for the government -- and it is a defeat that they didn't need -- it has
huge symbolic significance going forward.
GORANI: So, I'll get to Phil in just a moment. Let me put a hypothetical forward here. Let's say Theresa May's deal does not pass Parliament. We
don't expect it to. There is no alternative deal. What happens March 29 which is the date Britain is meant to exit the E.U.?
NOBILO: Well, of course, the main answer is nobody knows. The MPs that I'm speaking to that are obviously very engaged with this process, say they
would expect the prime minister to try and get her deal through several attempts. So, the ones that are most optimistic that think this deal has
any chance of passing think that's only likely after it's failed twice, even three times. The government could also table amendments to the
current deal, Parliament could amend the current deal bearing in mind the E.U. would have to agree to any key substantive changes and they can try
and pass it again. If none of that succeeds and Parliament is looking at a no-deal Brexit, then the government could approach the E.U. and discuss an
extension of article 50, which would require the unanimous approval of the E.U. 27 and the U.K.
[14:15:00] GORANI: All right. Well, the Parliament has said we will not fund a no-deal scenario. And, Phil Black, you're in a part of the U.K.
that voted to leave the E.U. and I wonder, with all these dire predictions and already some negative economic impact to this country as a result of
the vote to enact, is anyone changing their mind about this? Do they still support Brexit?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not a lot of change here, not that we've met today. This is a city standing up to continental Europe,
engaging in trade, standing up not always peacefully. The British base is here a long time. The will of the empire was imposed upon the world and
that meant when required, going to war with European rivals. That history is still very much celebrated here in Portsmouth. And from it lingers this
enduring powerful distrust in Europe and the E.U., and that's why 58 percent of people here voted in favor of Brexit. We've been talking to
people here about how they feel the Brexit process is unfolding. It won't surprise you to learn people on all sides don't think it's going very well.
But we've been asking them specifically what they think should happen in the event that Theresa May is not able to get her negotiated withdrawal
agreement through the British Parliament. This is what some people told us. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shouldn't sabotage Europe at all, no. But that would be a tragedy, yes, absolutely. The deal should go through, Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try and have a deal. They're not having a deal. Just say no to everything.
BLACK: So, if a deal can't be reached what happens then?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just have to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Preferably with a deal.
BLACK: If that's not possible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got to get out.
BLACK: Full Stop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they are just going to take us for a ride like they always have done.
BLACK: Do you think we should leave without a deal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, if it comes to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
BLACK: Why a difference of opinion?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to have a decent deal with the E.U. otherwise our trade is going to go down. There will be a massive impact if
there was no deal at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put a finger out and just cut the ties. We're going to fall down low and pick ourselves back up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just get on with it. Just get on with it. Carry on with our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Just get on with it. It's a view many people across the country would agree regardless of the stance on Brexit. What's notable here is not
that this is Brexit territory, but so many people say -- have told us today that they are prepared for the U.K. to take an economic hit in order to
secure Brexit through a no-deal scenario if necessary. That's significant because all the predictions as we know point to no deal being expensive,
messy, difficult. And what it means in real terms is real businesses floundering, real jobs being lost, real people across the country enduring
hardships that they probably would not have had to endure if not for Brexit. Hala.
GORANI: All right, Phil Black in Portsmouth. Quick last one to you, Bianca, because we saw some appalling video yesterday outside of the Houses
of Parliament with a pro-E.U. MP being harassed, insulted. There were the worst kinds of insults thrown at also a broadcaster from Sky News. I just
want our viewers to get a sense of -- this is anna Soubry, she's a member of parliament. This is what some extremist protesters were shouting at
her. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[protesters harassing MP}
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So, Bianca, what is -- first of all, any response from Downing Street? And what are the police doing? Because this could become violent.
This is a frightening situation to be in, for anybody to be in. Why didn't the police intervene?
NOBILO: Well, downing street and Parliament have condemned what happened in the strongest possible terms. We've also heard from metropolitan police
saying they are going to enhance the police presence outside Westminster so that protesters and Parliamentarians feel reassured. But it just is
testament to how febrile the atmosphere. Hala, you come here often. It's just getting worse and worse as we move along the Brexit timetable. Now,
I've worked in Parliament for several years before I worked at CNN, and MPs are often a lightning rod for abuse. Those with much longer careers than
mine, they tell me they can't remember a time when they had this much public anger encountering walking to work every day, the insults being
hurled at them. And what you experience with protesters occasionally in Westminster.
[14:20:00] A lot of time it's in good faith. But then it does escalate to more angry discussions as we are seeing more of. This is one of the main
concerns that people have about Brexit going forward, whether there is a second referendum or there isn't. Another campaign could serve to reignite
this very inflamed debate as it is.
GORANI: Sure. And you know, obviously it stays at the level of words and insults, but we know it can go a lot further than that as we saw a couple
years ago there with joe cox. Thanks very much, Bianca Nobilo. Staying with London, Heathrow Airport temporarily grounded all departing flights
after a drone sighting. Flights were resumed a few minutes ago. The airport is working with police to figure out what's going on with the drone
sighting. And obviously a major disruption, this is Europe's busiest airport. It comes weeks after drone sightings brought Gatwick Airport to a
standstill for more than 30 hours.
Still to come, Carlos Ghosn appears in court to tell his story for the first time. Why the ousted Nissan chairman says he is being wrongly
accused of financial crimes.
GORANI: Disgraced car executive Carlos Ghosn says he is innocent. He appeared in court for the first time since his initial arrest by Japanese
officials back in November. These are some of the court sketches. There were no cameras in the courtroom. He says he is wrongly accused of
financial misconduct. Once, of course, a legendary auto executive, the head of three major car makers, Ghosn only remains CEO of Renault. Melissa
Bell is in Paris. She joins me now with the very latest. So, these are just remarkable. I mean, nobody could have predicted this type of downfall
for someone like Carlos Ghosn, an icon and a legend in the industry and he's basically been -- he's in prison, and he's cuffed or not cuffed, but I
think there was kind of a rope around his waist --
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Yes. This is apparently customary in the Japanese judicial system. He was led into court, you're
right, Hala, with a cord, a rope attached around his waist. This extraordinary titan of the automobile industry, remember that his alliance,
one of which he was the architect and whose fate now hangs in the balance as a result of these legal woes, was one of which he was the architect. It
was he who saved Nissan from near bankruptcy two decades ago. It was he who built the alliance that now produces, Hala, one in every nine cars in
[14:25:00] Today, as you say, we didn't get a chance to see him. All we had were those artist depictions. Because the cameras were turned off when
he came in, but we did hear about his defense. We did hear that he denies any wrongdoing, and all the charges against him. The trouble for his
lawyers, Hala, is how to get him out. There have been many surprises as the international community has watched the proceedings within the Japanese
judicial system. But as much a French labor minister said today, these are proceedings going on in another sovereign country and there is very little
that can be said about them. She did go on to insist Carlos Ghosn should get a free trial and due process. This was our first insight today into
what his view of the situation is. Clearly, he feels that he's unfairly imprisoned. Clearly, he feels that the accusations against him are wrong,
and yet the lawyer sounded very pessimistic about their possibilities about getting him out of jail even on bail, which means, Hala, that he could be
in there for many more months.
GORANI: But, so, what happens now for him? He stays in jail waiting for the next court appearance?
BELL: We know that for now, a judge has granted the prosecution the right to keep him in jail because of a flight risk, he was told today, until
January 11th. The next step is his lawyers say he will be indicted or he will have new charges pressed against him. It gives you an idea of how
pessimistic they are of the possibility of get being him out on bail. That would mean many more months. During that time, Hala, it is that entire
alliance that he built, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, and its future that hangs in the balance. Clearly with its 15 percent stake the French state
is trying to do everything it can to ensure that alliance stays. For now, it is very difficult to see who is going to shepherd it through over the
GORANI: Melissa Bell live in Paris. Thanks very much.
At least one person is dead and two are missing after an oil tanker transporting kerosene caught fire just south of one of Hong Kong's main
islands. These pictures are unbelievable. Take a look. Emergency boats worked to put out the flames. CNN's Alexandra Field reports on the
extraordinary measures of the ship's crew members took to save themselves.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It happened just off the coast of one of Hong Kong's largest islands near one of the world's busiest shipping
lanes. A fuel tanker at anchor badly destroyed by either a fire or an explosion. You can see the damage to the decks. Emergency responders
explaining that the crew members aboard dove into the water to try and save their lives. We are told there were more than two dozen crew on board.
Police boats and fire boats are still surrounding that tanker just lifting off the coast of the island. They were quick to announce one crew member
had been killed, four crew members were taken to the hospital. They suffered various kinds of injuries including burns. There is still no word
on what caused what was either a fire or an explosion. We do know this is a fuel tanker that is registered in Vietnam. It had made its last stop at
a port in main land China. Alexandra field, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Lot more to come this evening. U.S. prosecutors announced charges against a Russian lawyer known for her role in that infamous Trump tower
meeting. Details on what she's accused of now coming up.
And as U.S. officials fly around the globe to reassure allies overseer I can't, let's just say John Bolton had a bad day. We'll be right back.
[14:30:20] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: One of the central figures in the now infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016 has been charged by federal
prosecutors in the U.S., Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya faces obstruction of justice charges and a separate case that highlights her
You may recall she helped set up that Trump Tower meeting with the promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton.
President Donald Trump's eldest son and his son-in-law were among those in attendance. Shimon Prokupecz is sorting through all of this for us and he
joins me now from Washington.
So this is a separate case. What case is it that she faces these charges in?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, it is. It's a completely separate case. Nothing to do with certainly the Trump Tower
But nonetheless, a significant move here by the Department of Justice. This has to do with something that the southern district of New York to
U.S. attorney's office in New York that -- in Manhattan, I should say, has been looking into Russian money, money that was used in a tax fraud scheme
that they've been looking into for a number of years.
Now, she was representing the Russians, some of the Russians in this investigation. It turned out to be just a civil investigation where the
U.S. government was going to seek some money and the Russians are going to forfeit the money. And she had filed some documents on behalf of the
Russians and the government now is saying those documents that she filed were false and fabricated evidence, and were meant, essentially, to
She claimed that she had done an independent investigation into these claims by the U.S. government and came up with her own findings separate
from the U.S. government. They say not so much, that in that separate investigation and this filing that she did, she actually coordinated with
Russian government officials in that filing.
Obviously this means that they believe that she has much deeper ties, closer ties to Russian officials than she has led many people to believe.
GORANI: So how does that impact the Mueller investigation, knowing that she organized that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower?
PROKUPECZ: Right. That's not entirely clear. There's nothing to suggest that this came as a result of the Mueller investigation. The documents
that she filed in connection with this Manhattan case were filed in 2015.
We don't know why all of a sudden the U.S. attorney's office there decided to go ahead and bring these charges, what changed. They seem to have
gotten some new information. We don't know if that came from the Mueller team or someone else.
But nonetheless, I think this puts her out there in the spotlight yet again with clear evidence that she had connections to Russian government
GORANI: Also, there's a development on Paul Manafort who's responded to accusations that he lied to Mueller?
PROKUPECZ: Yes. So there's something remarkable has happened here in these court filings. And it does not happen really. The attorney's -- his
attorneys actually screwed up here.
They were supposed to file these documents with redactions, but mistakes by them have led us to be able to see some of the information contained in
these documents. And this was in response to allegations from prosecutors, from the special counsel that Paul Manafort lied to them during his
And what these documents and this information that was supposed to be redacted revealed -- and this is remarkable -- that Paul Manafort, while he
was the campaign chairman, the President Donald Trump's campaign chairman in 2016, met with Konstantin Kilimnik. This is a man the FBI has said
worked for Russian intelligence.
They met in 2016 in Madrid. That Paul Manafort traveled to Madrid, and that is where they met, and that Paul Manafort shared campaign polling data
with this man believed to be Russian intelligence.
Now, we don't know why that's in the court documents or why Paul Manafort decided to go ahead and do that. But nonetheless, obviously raises a lot
of questions and certainly you can see why the Mueller team wanted to question Paul Manafort about this.
He wasn't so honest with them about some of this stuff. That's what they're saying. His attorneys are claiming, well, he just doesn't
remember, some of this has happened so long ago. It was in the height of the campaign so it's natural for him not to remember some of this.
But this piece of detail was not supposed to be out there and we'll see how this -- how this goes from here. But certainly that part of it is
GORANI: Shimon Prokupecz, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
A top U.S. official's comments have sparked controversy and confusion on the world stage. Turkey -- the president of Turkey is slamming remarks
made by John Bolton, the U.S. national security advisor. He said the U.S. would only pull its troops from Syria if Turkey pledges not to strike
Kurdish forces there.
[14:35:08] Mr. Erdogan emphasized that Turkey, quote, "will not compromise."
The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo sat down in Jordan, kick starting a tour of eight Middle Eastern countries. Officials say he's there to
reassure Arab leaders.
There's a lot to digest. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joins me from Beirut.
First of all, he didn't just scold John Bolton, Erdogan. He canceled a meeting and essentially John Bolton who was supposed to discuss everything
from buffer zones to protecting the Kurds, ended up meeting with President Erdogan's deputy, his assistant basically.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I have to stress, Hala, that at this point it's not clear if there ever was a meeting
scheduled between President Erdogan and John Bolton.
And certainly, as soon as Bolton made that statement about preconditions for U.S. withdrawal from Syria, the precondition being that Turkey would
guarantee that it would not go after the U.S. -supported Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria.
As soon as he made that statement, he was crossing what, for Turkey and definitely President Erdogan, was a red line, and that is the question of
the status of the Kurdish fighters in Syria, which Turkey believes are affiliated with the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which has been
fighting an urban guerrilla war against the Turkish state since 1984.
But definitely Mr. Bolton, who is now on his way back to the United States, will probably look back at this trip as an utter catastrophe when it comes
to trying to pave the way for an eventual U.S. withdrawal, that approximately 2000 U.S. troops from Syria. Hala.
GORANI: That's interesting, because reports in the Turkish press seem to suggest there was a meeting scheduled and that President Erdogan canceled
it in anger.
WEDEMAN: Yes, there is some lack of clarity, but certainly what we are being told by our sources in Turkey is that there was no meeting scheduled.
That President Erdogan said that -- basically indicated that Bolton was meeting with people on his level.
And he stressed in his speech to members of his A.K., the Justice and development Party, that President Trump made a commitment to him in
December before President Trump put out that video in a tweet, saying that U.S. troops would come out now, that there was no indication of
preconditions when it came to the U.S. withdrawal from Syria.
And President Trump, initially, didn't indicate there were any preconditions either and this has really come as something of a surprise
not just for the Turks who were very unhappy, but for many back in Washington as well. Hala.
GORANI: And stand by, Ben, because John Kirby, our military and diplomatic analyst, can join us now. He's in Washington.
Basically this is -- and Ben was saying that John Bolton might look back on this trip and, you know, look at -- see it as potentially a catastrophic
But this is the result of the U.S.'s pretty confusing messaging on troops in Syria, right? Because in December, the president said pulling out
quickly, then Pompeo said not yet, certain conditions need to be met, then the president said now chance. Our plans have not changed.
And then after that, John Bolton, the national security advisor said, "No, these conditions have to be met." So everyone's head is spinning. What is
your take on what happened?
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: No. I think you nailed it, Hala. This is policy making post tweet. And we've
seen this with this administration before. He tweets or he says something impulsive and then everybody has to go back behind him and try to put some
water to the chaos. And that's why Pompeo is on this trip right now.
And frankly, that's why Bolton was in Israel and went to Turkey was to try to clear up some of the confusion that had been happening after the
president made this impulsive decision, erratic decision on the phone with Erdogan.
You also see the consequence now of having an -- a non-coherent, an incoherent foreign policy and what the effect that that has on allies,
partners, and adversaries.
What worries me, Hala, more than anything is what this does to our troops in Syria, because people that I'm talking to close to the military tell me
that they are confused. They don't know what to make of all this. They don't know whether they're coming or going or on what timeline and they're
very concerned about the impact that this is going to have on the Kurdish fighters that they've been training and advising and helping go after ISIS.
GORANI: So what -- are the troops -- I myself don't know exactly what's going on. I can't figure out, because based on the president's tweets and
pronouncements and then Bolton and Pompeo, they're contradicting each other. What is happening exactly with these troops?
[14:40:09] KIRBY: So here's what I understand is that the four-month planning timeframe was pretty much the only option that was under any
really serious consideration, even after the president said, "hey, they're coming out now." And then somebody from the White House said 30 days.
It's my understanding that the Pentagon was always working on a four-month withdrawal timeframe. Once they got the order, which they did from Trump
to withdraw. For them to do it safely, they need about four months. That's pretty brisk actually, but I can understand where that's coming
from. I'm sure they would like to have more time if they could get it.
And I think that in the halls of the Pentagon, that's the planning timeline they're on and they're working on that. And I think Barbara Starr had some
reporting earlier, yesterday, that that might incur bringing a few additional logistics troops into Syria temporarily to help our special
operators get their stuff out.
So all that I think is in train. What's not clear --
GORANI: But that still goes against what John Bolton said. This isn't staying until ISIS is defeated or until Iranian influence in Syria is
countered. That's not what he -- that wouldn't be - that wouldn't be consistent with that statement.
KIRBY: That's exactly right. And I think what you have here is a real disconnect between the national security advisor and the president of the
It was John Bolton, remember, Hala, who actually changed the policy in Syria on his own in a speech saying that we weren't going to leave Syria.
This was only a few months ago, until Iran's influence in Syria was diminished or defeated. That was never a part of the calculus of having
troops in Syria.
Our troops, the policy, even since the Obama days, had always been about going after ISIS. So, Bolton, this is the second time now that he's gotten
ahead of the president and they don't seem to be on the same page about -- exactly what is our national interest in Syria and what's the policy going
Again, that sows confusion. It makes it hard for the troops, not only to plan for withdrawal, but to work with our allies on the ground.
GORANI: And, Ben, last one to you. Turkey, what does Turkey want now? It wants the U.S. out as soon as possible? Wants to mount that offensive
against the Kurds in Syria? What is its immediate strategy?
WEDEMAN: I think it's immediate and, in fact, long-term goal is to eliminate any sort of Turkish -- rather, Kurdish military force within
Syria. And we've seen that they've started that with -- at the beginning of 2018, which an operation in the freeing area in the north western part
of the country, which, in fact, defeated, the YPG, in that area and replaced them with Turkish-backed units of the FSA.
And I think they would like to replicate that experiment, so to speak, in the northeastern part of the country. But the difference is, of course, in
the freeing area there was no American presence. The Americans never indicated that they were going to back the Kurds in that area.
But in the northeastern part of the country, the Americans have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in arming and training the YPG in its fight
against ISIS. And for them to pull out and let Turkey come in and essentially maul the YPG, would definitely not send a very good signal to
other U.S. allies in the region. Hala.
GORANI: Sure. And the Kurds are even asking for Assad to help, they say, if this goes through.
Thanks very much, John Kirby and Ben Wedeman, to both of you. Great discussion.
Still to come tonight, Brexit divisions laid bare. Ugly scenes at Westminster as an M.P. has harassed over her Brexit news and journalists
insulted and threatened. We'll speak to the man who witnessed and filmed this abuse, next.
[14:45:01] GORANI: Now, as I mentioned earlier, the divisions over Brexit have become fraught and at times incredibly nasty.
But things actually took a scary turn when a Member of Parliament in this country, Anna Soubry, a vocal supporter of remaining in the E.U., was
harassed and insulted as she tried to enter Parliament. Take a look at some of the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You lost the people's vote. Anna, you're fascist. Anna, fascist. Anna Soubry, you're a fascist.
ANNA SOUBRY, MEMBER OF THE PARLIAMENT OF THE U.K.: Can you just show that there are children over there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anna, what were (INAUDIBLE) without any proof, Anna?
SOUBRY: And two policemen standing over there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well some -- so you just heard some of the abuse that Anna Soubry was subjected to. She was called a Nazi, a liar, scum. And some of the
language directed at the man filming the footage has been called racist.
So, does this ugly incident show just how divided the U.K. has become over Brexit? I want to bring in Femi Oluwole. He's filmed the incident that we
just showed you. Femi, thanks for being with us.
So some people have said that what these protestors were shouting at you. They were saying you're David Lammy. Explain who David Lammy is and why
that could be seen as racist.
FEMI OLUWOLE, "REMAIN" CAMPAIGNER: David Lammy is a black Member of Parliament and Labour Party. And so calling me Lammy and then was kind of
a flip a way of saying that we're all kind of the same.
But also, he was shouting other more overtly racist things at a member of the police -- a member of the police about an hour prior to that. He said,
you're all fair game this Saturday. If you want a war, we'll give you one. You're not even something British.
GORANI: Yes. You're not even effin British.
GORANI: Because they're not white.
OLUWOLE: Yes, yes.
GORANI: So what -- who were these people?
OLUWOLE: These are basically troublemakers. What we need to really careful of is there's a difference between people who voted for Brexit and
so the people we saw yesterday. Those people, their aim was simply to cause division and be aggressive and intimidate and actually shutdown
Whereas most Brexit voters voted on reasonable grounds in relation to the economy and feel that they could be richer if we left the E.U.
GORANI: Yes. Why were you filming this? Because you travel around the country in an effort to try to explain what benefits E.U. membership have
because you're pro remaining in the E.U.
GORANI: So you were there as part of -- as part of that?
OLUWOLE: Well, I saw that -- I mean, they shouted abuse at her while she was on T.V. and they shouted -- they called her a Nazi on television while
she was trying to conduct an interview.
And then afterwards, they sort of surrounded her and were shouting right in her face, massive abuse and physically stopped her from getting into
GORANI: So here's my question. Where were the cops?
GORANI: Look, I'm not -- I mentioned the name Jo Cox. She's an M.P. who was murdered a few years ago. Someone on Twitter told me that's a bit of a
stretch. OK. Granted, maybe it's a bit of a stretch. But you know what I mean? This is scary.
OLUWOLE: I wouldn't say that it was a bit of a stretch. I mean, right now -- in 2016, we had a massive and public debate around should we be in the
E.U. or not. And one of the local figures against that's leaving the E.U. was murdered in the streets by somebody on the far-right.
Right now, we have -- we're having a massive conversation of whether or not we should be in the E.U. And a prominent, another prominent female M.P.
who's advocating against leaving the E.U. is now and being harassed by members of the far-right. It's not a stretch at all.
GORANI: Let me tell you, I wasn't there. I watched it. If that had been me, I would have been terrified, to be honest. And I've been in parts of
the world where there were actual wars going on, and this would terrify me because the up close and personal nature of it means that there is almost
physical contact, right?
GORANI: But what were the cops doing?
OLUWOLE: So in fact, generally speaking, they were doing a good job other than in that particular instance. During the day, there have been other --
in fact, when I arrived, they were putting someone into a police van because he caused problems. And then unfortunately, because they were
distracted with that person, some other guys came and harassed me and called me a whole bunch of different names including scum, and others which
I can't say it on air.
[14:50:12] But it was just in that particular instance, especially given that one of the ring leaders of the aggressive group is somebody who was on
the news about a month prior for harassing Anna Soubry as well.
So there was enough reason to believe that it was a security risk given that she just been shouted at while she's on T.V.
GORANI: And also Sky News had an anchor there on the green opposite Parliament. She was also harassed. They used some sexual, terrible sexual
-- I wouldn't call them threats, but imagery and insults.
But let's talk about the wider picture because people watching this outside of the U.K. are wondering, you made the important point that this is
obviously not everyone who's voted for Brexit would be this appalling.
OLUWOLE: Yes. Exactly.
GORANI: How divided is this country, would you say?
OLUWOLE: The thing is -- one of the things that made the Brexit vote so divisive is because it feels like a vote against each other because by
leaving the E.U., we stop being as we currently are, British and E.U. citizens. So we're actually taking away the identity of an entire
And so that's why some people who wanted to be one thing and then, of course, be another thing, like it was a really personal attack. And so
especially given that there's a lot of issues regarding how will it affect the economy? Did half of the population just vote to make the other half
poorer, especially given that the older half voted to leave the E.U. and the younger half, in general, voted to stay in the E.U. Have an old
generation screw things up permanently for younger generation is a very, very personal issue.
GORANI: Sure. And it's just upheaval and change and it's a tense time.
Thanks Femi Oluwole for joining us. So, do you think Brexit will happen?
OLUWOLE: I don't think it'll happen.
GORANI: You don't think so? Interesting.
OLUWOLE: Nobody likes the deal. And the only way out is a vote. We'll see.
GORANI: We will see. Thanks so much for joining us.
OLUWOLE: My pleasure.
GORANI: A lot more to come on CNN. Stay with us.
GORANI: Do you want to peek into the future? There is no better place to do that than the Consumer Electronics Show. It's in Las Vegas right now
from artificial intelligence to voice control to all kinds of different robots.
The CES is bustling with products. Some of them could change our lives. Samuel Burke is there and with some of the gadgets that have caught his
attention. Samuel, take it away.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hala, you've covered these wacky gadgets with me. You've seen the innovative. But the
best part of being here at CES every year is finding the technology that can truly make an impact in people's lives. And many times those are tech
advancements for communities with special needs.
This year, we found a smart walking stick. It's called WeWALK. It costs $349. We have Kursat here from Turkey. You're one of the co-founders of
Hala, the technology is not at the bottom. Of course that's walking stick. It's up here at the top. Ultrasonic sensors to detect if there are tree
branches in Kursat's way. Speakers, microphones.
Kursat, walk me through. How did this technology come about?
KURSAT CEYLAN, CO-FOUNDER, WEWALK: Actually in YGA. It's a non-profit social tech innovation center. And we have been improving technologies for
visually impaired people for the last 10 years, like indoor navigation, technologies or other description in movie theaters or public -- smart
public transportation systems.
[14:55:06] And for the last two years, we have embarking on WeWALK smart cane.
BURKE: So you're taking all that technology that this group YGA has been working on and putting it into one device, the smart cane.
So I just talked about with Hala what all these different sensors are, for example. For you, what's the most important feature on your smart cane?
CEYLAN: The most important feature of this product -- it's not a product. It's a continuously improving platform for visually impaired people.
BURKE: So being able to include third-party applications, just like I can download apps on my phone, you want the ability for new things on your
CEYLAN: Yes. And we made the first example of this integrations with the Google Maps. Now, we will turn by turn navigation through it as well. And
also, we have been working on improving integrating Alexa and also ridesharing apps as well.
BURKE: And I've just got to say, Hala, you and I have talked about Alexa so often, that voice assistant. For us, it's just an extra. But for the
visually impaired community, being able to have that type of technology here, means that someone like Kursat can hear directions from Google Maps
instead of trying to use a smartphone which can be so cumbersome.
So I think this is the best part of being a tech reporter when you can see all that negativity about tech in 2018. You can just forget about it for a
second and see the positive side of tech for 2019, at least for now.
GORANI: Well, absolutely. Thanks so much, also to your guest there for giving us a sense of what that means.
There's just one other gadget. I think we have time -- yes, we have time to sneak one last one in.
BURKE: I have -- I'll get it up there quickly, Hala. Brush your teeth in 10 seconds. A French company called Y-Start has this device, costs $125.
And it's the same material you have on a toothbrush, but it's on the bottom, in the top and it's automated. There's a battery in here. So you
put it on. I can't believe I'm doing this on international television.
Push that button like this, five, four, three, two, one. Flip it. Five, four, three, two, one. So it's brushing in front and in back. All those
little brushes are moving. It's got that sonic with technology in it. And so it's getting the front and the back.
Well, maybe my breath smells a bit fresher. I don't know if you can smell it from there, Hala.
GORANI: I was going to say, never thought I needed a new toothbrush. This is really what you call creating a need.
Thanks very much. Samuel Burke in Vegas. And thanks to your guest. Thanks to all of our guests on the program this hour. I'm Hala Gorani.
And thanks to you for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.