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CONNECT THE WORLD
U.K. Lawmakers Debating Brexit Options Right Now; Interview with Ben Bradley, Conservative MP; U.S. Charges Huawei with Fraud, Stealing Trade Secrets; Guaido and Maduro Locked in Fight for Presidency; U.K. Lawmakers to Vote on 7 Amendments to Prime Minister's Deal; Interview with Rushanara Ali, British Labour Party MP; Roger Stone to Submit Plea in Federal Court. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 29, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Great to have you with us. I'm Robyn Curnow. Hello and welcome to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.
And it's certainly a crucial day in the Brexit process with lawmakers squaring off against Prime Minister Theresa May over her deal to leave the
European Union. As you can see, Hannah Vaughan Jones is joining me and you're outside Parliament. It's already been a busy day. Hi, Hannah.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN HOST: It has been a very busy day indeed, Robyn, already a long, long day ahead. The debate though is happening right now.
Politicians are considering a host of amendments, some of those amendments would make Brexit perhaps more palatable, others would pull it apart
altogether. The vote itself on all of these amendments is expected in a few hours' time later on this evening here in London.
Now I had of the debate, Prime Minister Theresa May told her ministers she will seek to reopen negotiations -- reopen negotiations with the EU.
Bianca Nobilo has been following all of the developments, joins me now. I mean, that's crucial, isn't it? Because I want to ask you about the
amendments themselves and which ones are actually going to go to a vote. But crucially that bit that the Prime Minister having said all along that
that's it, this is her deal. It's not open for any kind of renegotiation, now she's saying sure, I'll give it a go.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's the most significant part of what we've just heard from the Prime Minister. Often what I hear every day and
feel like political stasis. That is very significant. Now the EU have remained adamant. The EU have said that the withdrawal agreement is not to
be reopened. That has been Downing Street's position as well. So the fact she's admitted that she needs to go back and ask them to reassess,
particularly that issue of the backstop, tells us that she's really listened to her back benches and the Brexiteers. Who have said that we are
not willing to accept some flesh on the bones of the political declaration, or a codicil, so an addendum which is legally binding. We want you to
reopen that withdrawal agreement and change it.
JONES: We were talking just in the last hour ever since we heard from John Bercow, the House Speaker, of which amendments would actually be put to a
vote. But the interesting thing here is the order of these amendments. The order at which they would be put to a vote. Explain which ones are
going to actually be put to MPs and why it matters.
NOBILO: Of course, so this is really significant. And actually I was just texting with an MP who has yet to decide which amendments he's going to
support this evening. And he reminded me how important the order is. Because if one of them gets a majority, then the rest aren't voted on.
Because if the motion is already amended, then that's it. So it's significant that the Brady Amendment, which is the one that would give
Theresa May that mandate to return to the EU and say, look, if you give me some maneuverability on the backstop, then I might have a chance to get my
deal through Parliament, that's lost.
So the ones that the Speaker, John Bercow, have prioritized are all to do with "A" extending Article 50. So that's significant in different ways.
There's also amendments which see, for example, Dominic Grieve's amendment, a series of indicative votes in the House of Commons, so it would be days
set aside for MPs to be able to debate various different Brexit scenarios as well. And then you have three amendments of the seven which all focus
on avoiding no-deal in one way or another. One simply bows to avoid it in principle. I think that's likely to get the most support if it manages to
get voted on. That's the Spellman Amendment. And then the Cooper amendment, which leave been discussing on our air for a day or so, is also
very significant. That would mean if there's no Brexit deal agreed by the 26th of February, that they would have to ask the EU for an extension of
JONES: Yes, so essentially it means that all the amendments that come first, are all the opposition amendments, rather than the Brady one, which
is what the government is now saying is urging its MPs at least two vote for. Bianca, thank you very much indeed. We'll come back to you no doubt
very soon, I'm sure.
Now as we cover this Brexit debate, we want to move outside of London -- where I am -- to other parts of the U.K. as well. Our Hadas Gold is in
Arundel, an area that voted to leave the European Union almost 2 to 1. Hadas, tell us what there are saying about everything that's going on here
HADAS GOLD, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well yes, this is Arundel and as you can see the beautiful castle behind me. It is the same name as the kingdom
in the Disney movie "Frozen." And I can't help but make the joke that people here just want the politicians to let it go. As you noted this area
voted heavily in favor of Leave. They voted 62.5 percent to leave in 2016, just 37.5 percent voted to remain. So like I said, heavily Leave the area.
We spent the morning speaking to people here in town. And what we got from people who are both Remainers and Leavers, is that what they don't want is
one of amendments that would extend the deadline. They wanted the politicians to get together, to come to some sort of consensus and just
[10:05:00] Even people who voted to Remain say the aspect of the unknown really scares them. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a complete mess, isn't it? Really and truly a complete mess. And I don't think many people would have voted to leave if
they had known what a mess this was going to be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has really been divisive. It scares me because you can see that it doesn't take much for countries to fall into disrepair
and to start worrying with each other. We've seen that in Europe before and I don't want that to happen again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm worried about a no-deal. I'm not stockpiling anything, maybe I ought to. But I'm worrying about a no-deal. I think it
will be disastrous for the U.K. economy if there isn't a deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being British we tend to obey what we're told to do. And I think it's time we kick back.
GOLD: So as I said earlier, this area voted heavily in favor of Remain, just 37.5 -- I'm sorry, heavily in favor to Leave, just 37.5 percent voted
to remain, 62.5 percent voted to Leave in the 2016 referendum. And the member of Parliament for this area actually just wrote a column in the
Sunday "Telegraph" trying to: people to come to a consensus. He actually slamming that amendment that would extend the Article 50 deadline. Extend
the Brexit saying it would just drag out more of a headache. Called on people to come together. It's not clear though -- we'll see later tonight
whether that will happen and whether the people here in Arundel will finally feel as though they have some sort of closure on this entire
JONES: All right. Hadas Gold live for us there in the English South Coast, Arundel, thank you very much indeed.
Let's speak now to Ben Bradley. He's a Conservative member of Parliament who used to be part of Theresa May's government until he resigned to
protest her Brexit plan. That was over the Chequers Plan last year. Ben, thanks very much for being with us. So all eyes on this Brady Amendment,
which the government is urging its own MPs to get behind. Essentially it would mean alternatives to the backstop as it stands at the moment. Will
you support it in the vote later?
BEN BRADLEY, CONSERVATIVE MP: I think so. And certainly after what she said in the Commons. It's something I've been considering overnight. I
think we all need to get behind a proposal that seeks to change or move the backstop. That is the obvious thing. But there are a number of vagaries
in the wording of the Brady Amendment that we were kind of -- I was hoping that she would clarify in her speech today and she has to an extent that.
There will be a vote on a deal when she comes back with it. So we will get a chance to check that it is acceptable. And particularly that she is
going to take into consideration the costs of the proposals that have been put forward by us and the Conservatives kind of across parties.
JONES: Isn't it fair to say that the lack of clarity and the vagaries' that are in this Brady Amendment is largely because the backstop as we know
-- we've been talking about it for years now -- it is so complex in itself. And ultimately if she goes back to the EU saying I want to renegotiate
this, they've already made it very, very clear that the agreement on the table is finalized. And so, in voting for it later are you concerned that
the EU are just going to say, well doesn't matter?
BRADLEY: Well I think the important point is laid out in the proposals that have been discussed over the last week across conservative benches on
Remain and Brexit sides. It's kind of seems to be known as the Over the past week, the Malthouse Compromise today where it does lays out plan "B,"
plan "C" in the event that don't --
JONES: Yes, we now have plan "C."
BRADLEY: Well no, this so this is the Malthouse proposal lays out plan "A" which is to go back and get changes to that backstop. It lays out
effectively what's been put forward by RG as a potential alternative arrangement. But in the event that the European Union won't do that -- and
there's every chance that they will truthfully. Whatever they're saying currently. Because they don't want to not be able to trade effectively
with the U.K. But in the event that it doesn't pass there is also within it a plan "B," I suppose which is that we continue to offer plan "A," or we
continue to say we want that comprehensive deal. But actually we can have an implementation period to help us transition to world trade terms and
manage that more effectively.
JONES: How concerned are you about colleagues of yours in the Conservative Party and indeed opposition benches as well, who may now vote in favor of
the Cooper Amendment, which would essentially delay Article 50 and push Brexit back, possibly up to nine months or so, and take power away from the
Prime Minister and from the government in negotiating Brexit going forward?
BRADLEY: I think it's very clear that the divide that's opening up between the parties today and see the Labour Party whipping their MPs to vote for
delay and frustration to the process. And more long-term debate and discussion and argument that doesn't solve anything on the conservative
benches really, argue about what it should look like. But we're all trying to leave for the most part. So that is something that's increasingly
visible within Parliament. But I do think the Prime Minister's been pretty clear. We need to leave on 29 March. And I don't think my constituents --
who voted 71 percent leave -- I don't think my constituents would accept anything less than that. And there are now options available to make that
JONES: Yes, and yet you still seem undecided exactly to how you will vote later on this evening. The debate is going on right now. How much of what
is said today is going to influence how you decide?
[10:10:00] BRADLEY: I think today a lot. Often that's not the case.
JONES: What about a WhatsApp as well? Because I hear there's all these WhatsApp groups. Are you a member of these WhatsApp groups?
BRADLEY: Too many WhatsApp groups as an MP. There are hundreds of WhatsApp groups. But yes, I mean there is a lot of discussion and
conversation trying to clarify and she's helped I think in her speech today. Precisely what she means by alternatives and different options for
the backstop. Precisely what the process will be afterwards. Because I think most of us on all sides of the argument want to give her the
opportunity to go back and get a better deal. But we do need those reassurances as to what that would look like. For me, she's done as good a
job as you can expect I think in laying that out. Unless something dramatic happens, we will probably support the Brady Amendment later on
JONES: OK, Ben BRADLEY, thank you very much. I can hear your phone buzzing away. WhatsApp messages telling you how to vote later on. We
appreciate your time today. Thank you.
Now stay with CNN for continuous coverage of the Brexit debate taking place here behind me in Westminster. We'll talk with another MP in about 15
minutes from now who is a Remainer, so don't miss that. In the meantime I'll pass you back to Robyn in Atlanta for the rest of the news. Back to
you for the rest of the news.
CURNOW: Thanks, Hannah, will pop back in 15 minutes to hear that. Thanks for that. Fascinating conversation.
But I do want to update you on other news we're following here at CNN. There are new developments in the U.S. case against Chinese telecom giant
Huawei, threatening to further increase tensions between the countries. Now Beijing has lashed out against Washington after U.S. prosecutors
indicted the company on charges including money laundering, obstruction of justice and technology theft. Huawei is denying any wrong doing. Matt
Rivers has more for us. He joins us from Beijing. Matt, it's good to see you. We're getting more details on what the Americans are accusing the
Chinese of doing here.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. It's a massive investigation. It went on for years and years and years. And the U.S.
certainly didn't pull any punches for its part. China at the ministry of foreign affairs press briefing today, Robyn, they pushed back, but they
kind of repeated the same denials that they've used throughout the case, ever since Meng Wanzhou was arrest in Canada in December. And if you're
wondering why the rhetoric didn't get more heated out of Beijing today. I've got one answer for you and that's trade talks.
RIVERS: Sweeping charges announced in Washington against Chinese tech giant Huawei and its top executive with U.S. officials presenting a united
front against a company they say is, quote, beholding to the Beijing government.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: These cases make clear that as a country we have to carefully consider the risks that companies like Huawei pose if
we are going to allow them into our telecommunications infrastructure.
RIVERS: The basic overriding allegation is that Huawei did business in Iran through a subsidiary using the U.S. banking system to clear tens of
millions of dollars in transactions for that company. That violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. Another major crime Huawei is accused of, stealing
trade secrets from its U.S. business partner T-Mobile. The company also allegedly had a bonus program that rewarded employees who stole
competitor's intellectual property.
Prosecutors paint Huawei as a company that lies and deceives to conduct and grow its business with direct involvement of its executives, like chief
financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.
Meng was arrested last month in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. She's now fighting extradition to the U.S. Her lawyer issued a statement
saying, quote, Ms. Meng is an ethical and honorable business woman who has never spent a second of her life plotting to violate any U.S. law,
including the Iranian sanctions.
Huawei says it's disappointed to learn the charges, saying in a statement that, quote, the company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have
committed any of the asserted violations of U.S. law and believes the U.S. courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion.
Beijing's response appears more forceful with the government urging Washington to stop what it called an unreasonable crackdown on Chinese
companies like Huawei.
GENG SHUANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): The U.S. has deployed state power to smear and crack down on targeted Chinese
companies in an attempt to kill their legitimate and lawful operations. With strong political motives and manipulations behind such moves.
RIVERS: Strong language but no mention of serious consequences like those Canada has possibly faced so far. Two Canadian citizens were detained in
China on national security grounds shortly after Meng's arrests. Both cases widely seen as retaliation for Meng, something Beijing denies.
One likely reason for the different responses, the latest round of U.S./China trade negotiations set to start in Washington on Wednesday.
Faced with a markedly slowing economy, analyst say the Chinese leadership is under pressure to reach a deal with the U.S. to end the month-long trade
war. And the last thing that China might want is derailing those talks before he this even begin.
RIVERS: Now, Robyn, one thing that is interested that we didn't see in either of the two indictments that came down, was the U.S. really laying
out in any sort of detail why they continually say that Huawei acts at the behest of the Beijing government.
[10:15:03] We didn't see that laid out in the indictment but it doesn't mean the U.S. government is not still sticking to that line. In fact, just
this morning at a Senate hearing, director of national intelligence for the United States, Dan Coates, said that there is a continued fear in U.S.
intelligence services that Chinese telecommunications firms are acting at the behest of Beijing in order to spy on enemies and allies alike -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, and we will continue to monitor those hearings on the hill. So with that in mind, what -- how important is Huawei to China? In many
ways how is this going to hurt Huawei's ambitions to become a global tech superpower? China's ambition is to become a global tech superpower.
RIVERS: Yes, I mean, when you think of Chinese tech, you have to think of Huawei. Right? I mean, it's kind of like Apple and the United States.
It's a point of national pride here. And the company has huge ambitions to become a global tech superpower. It's trying to lead the way on rolling
out 5G technology.
But you seeing two things really happening here. Recently you've seen the United States led a push to get other countries -- and other countries like
Australia have signed on to not allow Huawei to install things like 5G technology in their companies because of this surveillance threat that the
U.S. and allies say it poses. So that's one problem of the image problem.
But these other indictments that just came down, it's interesting, those indictments could be used as the reasoning behind the U.S. putting export
controls on products from the U.S. to China in the near future. Basically telling U.S. firms, you can't send certain products to Huawei. Huawei
needs those products from the United States in order to manufacture and run a lot of its equipment. And if they can't get those products from the
U.S., it could cripple their business. And we've seen that happen recently with another Chinese firm, ZTE. There were export controls, Robyn, put
into place. President Trump ultimately ended up cutting a deal on ZTE. But we could see the same thing happen to Huawei that would put a huge dent
in their business and really stall out their growth.
CURNOW: OK, great to have that perspective and analysis there from Beijing. Matt Rivers, always good to speak with you. Thanks, Matt.
OK, so here's what we have coming up in the show.
Moments ago Roger Stone -- you know him -- a long-time associate of U.S. President Donald Trump, arrived at a Washington D.C. court. These are the
images just in to CNN. He's appearing in front of a judge in the Russia probe.
Plus the U.S. now imposing sanctions on Venezuela keeping billions of dollars from Nicolas Maduro's regime. Will it be enough to remove the
embattled president? The latest from the region coming up.
[10:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: All right. You are looking at the U.K. Parliament where the debate over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan is taking place. Now
lawmakers are set to vote on a series of amendments in an attempt to find a way forward two months before that crucial deadline. Now today's debate
started with a statement from the Prime Minister who told Parliament to send a clear message on what they want from any deal struck with the EU.
We will bring you the latest developments from London. Hannah bond is a standing by as they happen.
But I want to talk now about the ongoing political turmoil in Venezuela as two rival leaders are locked in a fight for the country's presidency.
Right now opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido is prepared to hold a session in the national assembly to discuss new
elections and the transition of power. But the embattled president, Nicolas Maduro claims Guaido is violating the constitution and insists the
United States is behind a coup to oust him as head of state.
Meanwhile, Russia is calling the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company illegal. The move could cause President Maduro's government
more than $11 billion in assets over the next year alone. Washington's aim is for the economic squeeze to force Mr. Maduro out of office. Well Juan
Guaido says the money will be used to bring relief to Venezuela's people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN GUAIDO, SELF-DECLARED INTERIM PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): First, this is part of protecting Venezuela's assets. For a
long time the Maduro's regime stole this money, an estimated $4 billion which is four times Venezuela was GDP and losses. This would protect
assets so they can be used towards Venezuelan citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Now U.S. officials are also refusing to rule out military options, which would be welcomed by some Venezuela defectors. Nick Paton Walsh
reports now from Bogota, in Columbia. Take a look.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hunger often explodes as rage on Venezuelan streets has not ousted Maduro's
government as the military generals have their backs.
The defense minister tweeted his soldiers would die for the government. Yet while the rank and file express support in videos like this, they tell
us they're suffering like everyone else.
Some Venezuelan officers have even defected and outside the country have appealed on TV for a military uprising. And their supporters haven't
reached critical mass. And now they tell us they want the White House to arm them.
As Venezuelan soldiers we're making a request to the U.S., he says, to support us in logistical terms with communication, with weapons so we can
realize Venezuelan freedom. We're not saying we need only U.S. support, but also from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, all brother countries that are
against this dictatorship.
They show me the WhatsApp groups plotting rebellion they hope reach thousands of soldiers. Say they also rejected any possible military
intervention by U.S. forces themselves.
We don't want a foreign government invading our country, he says. If we need an incursion, it has to be by Venezuelan soldiers who really want to
free Venezuela. Now by unifying all those military groups working towards freedom to create a really big one that can be decisive.
The appeal for U.S. help comes after military uprisings have seen little success so far. This group of soldiers in Caracas over a week ago staged a
rebellion, it was short-lived and ended in their reported arrest.
In a basement car park in Caracas, I meet a serving soldier, afraid to be identified as he spoke of the chance of an uprising. There are soldiers in
every unit, he says, that are willing to rise up in arms. They're preparing themselves and learning from past mistakes. They're waiting for
the right moment so they can hit harder so people feel it. A few units are missing weapons and ammunitions too taken for this purpose. Past
operations have failed because the higher-ranking officers were against it. They control every area still. If an uprising happens, it is swiftly
But he's heard messages do rise up from defectors and says they do inspire. It's a very positive message, he says, because somehow, they give us hope.
They are outside Venezuela but feed our soul and inspire us.
But in the army for now as elsewhere in Venezuela it's a handful of elite keeping down many below them. Nick Payton Walsh, CNN, Bogota.
[10:25:00] CURNOW: And a quick update on a story we've been following this week. Officials have arrested five people in connection with that deadly
dam collapse in Brazil. The mining company, Vale, that operates the dam, says it is fully cooperating with authorities. We know at least 65 people
have been confirmed dead. And there are hundreds more are missing. Now the mining giant is linked to another deadly dam burst just over three
Also coming up, British lawmakers try to break the Brexit deadlock. Yet they continue to try, but the clock is ticking. We'll bring you the latest
from Parliament. Stay with us.
JONES: Welcome back to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. Live here from Westminster and back to our top story, the heart of which where we are
right now. The U.K. Parliament currently debating amendments to British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans and they're trying to break the
impasse over how exactly to leave the European Union.
In the coming hours MPs will vote on seven amendments. On the table an amendment to extend Article 50 to the end of 2019. Currently Britain is
set to leave the EU on March 29th. Another amendment though is backed by Prime Minister, Theresa May herself, and it pushes for changes to the Irish
backstop and could potentially salvage her deal altogether. Potentially that is.
[10:30:00] CNN's Nic Robertson has been following every twist and turn of the road to Brexit, joins me now outside the Houses of Parliament. So
let's talk about this one particular amendment, the Brady Amendment, as it's called. It's interesting that the Prime Minister wants her MPs to
back it now. Because it's essentially changes to her deal which she so steadfastly negotiated and stood by for so long.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: She said and the EU said and the EU continues to say that's the only deal, the best deal, take
this deal. This is what you have. So now she's saying, no, we can change this. The Brady Amendment that she's backing says rather than the
contentious backstop, let's do something else. Let's make some alternative arrangements. And it seems what they're doing here is trying to grasp at
words that have been used previously by the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, saying that alternative arrangements were possible.
What the EU means by that and what Theresa May means by that seem to be different things. The EU has said in recent days very clearly that the
withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation. And Theresa May today has said that I am going to go back and try to renegotiate that deal. That
seems to be an effort to gain support for the Brady Amendment but, you know, and also seems to reflect the fact that when she was asked this
question last night by MPs of her own party, reportedly Boris Johnson said to her, so what does it mean if this alternative arrangements? She said,
well you for -- essential you vote for it and then I'll show you what I'm going to do.
But today she seems to have like recognized that that wasn't enough. Rather it was the wrong message to send to the hard-liners and rather tell
them what she will do. Unfortunately that does seem to be something that EU so far has said they're not prepared to do.
JONES: And her critics would say that just two weeks ago into that historic defeat, when putting her withdrawal agreement to the House, she
said then she would go away and listen and listen to MPs and what they want. It seems like that she's really listening to her own MPs, her
backbench, her Brexiteers and of course, the DUP, who are so crucial particularly over this question of the Irish backstop.
ROBERTSON: It does. She's turned to the hard liners rather than turning across party lines. And there's a limited pool of support, and even as of
last night, and we don't know until today, will that pool of her own MPs -- 118 have voted against her before -- will they swing behind her today? Not
JONES: And we've also had a lot of other amendments as well. We know the order of them. Could we expect a lot of Conservative MPs to vote even if
they vote in favor of the Brady Amendment when we get to it, they could vote also in favor of some opposition amendments that have been put
ROBERTSON: It's possible and we may --.
JONES: That's complicated for Theresa May.
ROBERTSON: That is complicated. Because some of them are sort of in a way mutually contradictory. There will be members of Theresa May's
Conservative MPs who will perhaps see Yvette Cooper's amendment to delay the Article 50 until the end of this year. They may see that as a safety
net that they would like to go for now. But if you do that. That pulls the rug, if you will, from Theresa May's negotiating position which is
essentially for the European Union, we have to do this. If we don't, the alternative is a no-deal. On the other hand she already indicated today
come the 13th of February, MPs will get another opportunity to relook at this position if she hasn't been able to get a deal with the EU. It's
JONES: It certainly is. Everyone's very vocal certainly behind us as well. Nic, thanks very much. We'll talk to you later on in the day, I'm
Now Mrs. May says she needs Parliament's help. Parliament must come to an agreement on exactly what kind of deal Parliament wants. Of course she had
that historic defeat just two weeks ago on January 15th. If she doesn't get Parliament support, she says at least, there could be a no-deal Brexit.
Essentially Britain crashing out -- the U.K. crashing out of the European Union. Mrs. May said she needs a mandate from lawmakers so she can
negotiation with Brussels. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Unless we are to end up with no Brexit at all, the only way to avoid no-deal is to agree a deal. That is
why I wanted to go back to Brussels with the clearest possible mandate to secure a deal that this House -- to secure a deal that this House can
support. That means sending the clearest possible message, not about what this House doesn't want, but what we do want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Well I'm joined now by the Labour MP, Rushanara Ali, she campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union and is part of a group of MPs
who support a people's vote, essentially a second amendment. Thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it. So, when we come to all the
amendments later on today, many of the opposition amendments are what MPs are going to get to vote on first. Which ones will you support and why?
RUSHANARA ALI, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY MP: Well I've added my name to the Yvette Cooper amendment, Dominic Grieve's amendment, Jack Dromey and also
Rachel Reeves' amendment.
[10:35:03] These are the Labour MPs who are working across party with other MPs to get those amendment through. And the reason is because I think it's
really important, we rule out no-deal. Because that is catastrophic for our economy. And the second thing is important that we have some
additional time. Which is why the Yvette Cooper amendment is seeking, so argument Parliament has the opportunity to identify the most support for a
way forward. Because the current deal, the Prime Minister's deal, as you know, has been voted down. And we need time to make sure that happens. It
would be irresponsible for us to have a situation that the Prime Minister has put in where it's either her deal -- which has failed -- to get support
or crashing out. That is irresponsible and it's costing 4 billion pounds to prepare for no-deal.
JONES: You are a remain supporter. Hand on heart then when you cast your votes later on today, will your priority be trying to derail Brexit and the
path it's on now or will it be to simply support perhaps delaying Brexit?
ALI: You know, I think that it's wrong to present it that way. Because when the referendum result came out -- although I was bitterly disappointed
as the 48 percent of the country were -- it was really important for the Prime Minister to bring the country together. And she should have done
that by reaching out across party at the beginning of her premiership.
JONES: She has tried to cross -- to reach out and Jeremy Corbyn, your boss has said, no.
ALI: You'll see from the evidence of the dialogue she's had with other parties, she's not given an inch. That is not building cross-party
support. That is basically repeating the May-biotic line that she has taken for some years now without listening, even though she faced this
massive defeat, she is still ignoring Parliament. Her ministers, her chancellor, all ignoring Parliament and carrying on as if they didn't lose
that vote on her deal. And that is the reality of what's happening in our country. And this is a Prime Minister who's holding Parliament and the
country to ransom.
JONES: And the alternative to this Prime Minister would potentially be a Labour government and Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. He certainly has
said all along that his first preference would be to have a general election, and for Labour to take the reins presumably of Brexit as well.
Is Labour though united? Because when we started talking, you listed all of the amendments -- all of the many Labour amendments, but there's not
just one amendment that the whole party seems to able to come --
ALI: They're not inconsistent actually with our position of wanting to see no-deal being ruled out. That's why Labour set out its reasons for
supporting those amendments, including the Cooper amendment.
JONES: Do you think Jeremy Corbyn would support the Cooper amendment as well?
ALI: Absolutely. The party has set out its position and we will support it. Because it's irresponsible to leave no-deal on the table and not
provide space for the government with Parliament to try to get some time to avoid a no-deal and try and settle this. Now, personally I would much
rather -- as I'm sure many other MPs would have done -- Parliament was able to settle it, but you can't do that with a Prime Minister who's interested
in protecting her job and her party unity over the interest of the country. That's why we are in this mess.
JONES: How concerned are you about the Brady Amendment and the fact that it seems like at least from the murmurings and from the WhatsApp groups
that are going around, that various sides of the Tory party, the Conservatives, could actually come together and support this one and save
the Prime Minister.
ALI: Well, is about the Tory party trying to protect their own jobs, their own party unity over and above the interests of the country. But what that
amendment do, is potentially tear up peace in Northern Ireland. They are prepared to compromise anything including national security and peace in
Northern Ireland in the interest of keeping their jobs and keeping their party together.
JONES: But everyone said that the Good Friday agreement would be protected.
ALI: Well, I don't think so. And the EU27 today have all unanimously said they will not be renegotiating the EU withdrawal agreement that they have
agreed to. Not least because they are putting the interests of peace in Northern Ireland before this government. And that is desperately
disappointing that our government is prepared to risk peace in Northern Ireland for party unity and the pursuit of power and remaining in power.
That is not in the national interest.
JONES: Rushanara Ali, we thank you very much for joining us here on CNN. Thanks very much indeed. We will perhaps speak to you later once you cast
your votes on those many amendments.
There's seven in total. A very divided Parliament, the debates are still going on behind me, Robyn, as I speak. The votes themselves will start
around 7:00 p.m. this evening local time here in London. We are staying across it all here on CNN for you. Robyn, back to you.
CURNOW: Thanks, Hannah, for that. So, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now.
U.S. spy chiefs are meeting to discuss what they view as the top risks to American security. Now the director of national intelligence, Dan Coates,
said the intelligence community successfully protected the U.S. election infrastructure during the 2018 elections, but that the 2020 election will
be another target.
[10:40:00] Meantime U.S. intelligence says allies are seeking greater independence from Washington, given perceptions of changing U.S. policies
on security and trade. We'll continue to monitor that.
And a few hours ago we learned that a report into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will be made public by the end of May. The U.N.
specialist reportorial on extra judicial execution, shared the news outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was killed. But she says
she is still waiting for the Saudis to respond to her request to gain access to the consulate.
Meantime, CNN has an exclusive interview with a woman who claims to have insider knowledge of Moscow's election meddling in the U.S. The Belarusian
self-styled sex coach was released from jail one week ago. But in an exclusive interview with Matthew Chance, Anastasia Vashukevich says she
fears for her life but stands by her decision to speak out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you regret making those claims that you made about the evidence you said you had of
Russia and the Trump campaign colluding? Do you regret that?
ANASTASIA VASHUKEVICH, SEX COACH: I think it saved my life. How can I regret about that? Because if journalists not come at the time and that
story not come to newspapers, maybe I would die now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: OK, we will hear form Matthew and more of that interview in the next hour. So stick around for that.
Also coming up, British lawmakers are debating the way forward on Brexit. We've been following it all day. Our special coverage continues as we
monitor live debates from London.
CURNOW: Great to have you with us this hour. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Robyn Curnow here in Atlanta. Now I wanted to take to you northern
Japan and an enchanting winter wonderland there. We go along with tourists who make the journey to experience a more vintage way of life and to meet
the locals who help keep old traditions alive.
BILL WEIR, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Japan may have invented high speed modern train travel, but it's still possible to take a more old-
fashioned rail journey into the northern Tohoku region. Like this vintage 1950s era passenger car warmed by actual stoves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is really unique. You can enjoy riding with strangers, and it's fun.
WEIR: The winter-time trip begins in a small railway station in Japan's Aomori Prefecture. At 9:30 sharp, the train departs. For the next 45
minutes, the stove train meanders its way northbound on a snow-filled track, much slower than Japan's famous bullet train would. But that's part
of the nostalgia on offer here.
[10:45:00] Dried squid grilled over the fire. Washed down with locally produced sake. It's more like a trip through time. This line opened in
1930s to connect Aomori's northern most regions with its larger cities. Today most stove trains are out of service. This one, however, caters to
tourists. For how long is anyone's guess. Staff say the number of guests is declining. But they hope that changes.
SHINYA SAITO, ENGINEER (through translator): It's important for me to maintain the old trains. I want to keep upholding these traditions so they
WEIR: 20 kilometers down the track, and the journey is over. But not for long. After a shortstop, the stove train turns around steaming south into
more Tohoku snow.
CURNOW: That looks lovely, doesn't it? We are watching another story though. In a few minutes from now, Roger Stone has arrived at a federal
court in Washington. Those are images from a little bit earlier. He will have to answer some questions over some pretty serious charges in the
Russia investigation. We have more on that ahead.
[10:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: Now an update on the Russia investigation into meddling in the U.S. election back in 2016 and 2018. So far, we've heard only radio
silence from people actually in the know, until now. The U.S. official temporarily overseeing the probe raised eyebrows yesterday when he said
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Right now, you know, the investigation is, I think, close to being completed. And I hope that we
can get the report from director Mueller as soon as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well the acting Attorney General there, Matt Whitaker, also said decisions made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be quote, reviewed
through various means. Now that sends a chill down the spine of some Democrats who say Whitaker shouldn't be in that role in the first place
because of past remarks slamming the Mueller probe.
Meanwhile we are just minutes away from a court appearance involving one of the biggest indictments in the Russia investigation so far. Mr. Trump's
long-time associate and political adviser, Roger Stone, arrived at a federal courthouse in Washington just a short time ago. He's expected to
plead not guilty to seven counts including lying to Congress. The indictment against him is detailed and includes texts and e-mails that
appear to show Stone coordinated with senior Trump campaign officials about the WikiLeaks drops of hacked e-mails.
[10:50:00] As we mentioned, Stone is certainly a key part of Mr. Trump's inner circle. As he himself says, they've been friends for 40 years. Well
Stone calls the indictment and the attempt to silence him as a Trump supporter. And Jessica Schneider now reports, he was defiant as ever when
he left home to head to that court in Washington.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roger stone flashing his Nixon-esque victory sign outside his Fort Lauderdale home as
he as he headed to Washington. The self-proclaimed dirty trickster is expected to be inside a D.C. federal court to face arraignment on his
seven-count indictment, on charges of obstruction, false statements and witness tampering. All related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia
investigation. He courted reporters before leaving for the airport seeming to flip on his previous statement that he could cooperate with Mueller.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you willing to cut a deal with Mueller to avoid the case going to trial?
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: I don't answer hypothetical questions. I have no intention of doing so, however.
SCHNEIDER: But this weekend Stone left that possibility open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any chance you'll cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller if he asks?
STONE: I would certainly testify honestly. I would also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the President.
SCHNEIDER: Roger Stone has been making the rounds.
STONE: Two FBI agents here holding assault weapons. I said I would like to know what charges are. And they said we'll tell you that, you know, in
SCHNEIDER: Stone allegedly lied about districting Jerome Corsi to contact WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to find out about more e-mail dumps.
Corsi told Jake on "STATE OF THE UNION", the information in the indictment is accurate.
JEROME CORSI, FORMER STONE ASSOCIATE: I will be happy to testify. I would expect to be subpoenaed. I'll let the testimony fall where it falls.
SCHNEIDER: Corsi insists he has never met Assange and was just acting on instinct when he predicted the releases from WikiLeaks.
CORSI: I did just connect the dots and figured it out on my own. And I admit that's hard to accept.
SCHNEIDER: Roger Stone fired back.
STONE: I have email messages, text messaged and metadata that proves that that he would be lying.
SCHNEIDER: Lying exactly the charge Stone and several other former Trump associates are now facing in the Mueller investigation. Including the
President's former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, former national security advisor, Michael Flynn,
former campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, all accused of lying to federal investigators or Congress.
But the unanswered question Mueller's team may be trying to figure out why have they all seemed to have lied?
(on camera): And who else could be lying? Well that's the question House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff is pledging to help Mueller
get to the bottom of. Schiff says one of the first acts of his committee will be to send transcripts of all its witnesses to the Special Counsel so
Robert Mueller can consider any additional perjury charges. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
CURNOW: OK, thanks Jessica for that.
Let's go to Evan Perez, CNN senior justice correspondent. I mean, you can certainly see there's a lot of movement and there seems to be a lot of
momentum. So what are we expecting from Mr. Stone today? I mean, I think he's in court right now. Do we have a sense of if there's going to be a
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: While not immediately. But I think, Robyn, that we expect that he's going to plead not guilty, which
is no surprise. He says these are crimes that are process crimes, that this is no big deal, but this is a very serious case. He's facing seven
counts that include obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements. And this is a serious investigation. So, you know, one of the
funny things about Roger Stone is, you can see from his entrance there, he's smiling broadly as he went into the courthouse. He sort of enjoys
this circus atmosphere that he creates all around him.
But I think one of the things he will run into in this federal court in Washington is very serious judges who do not really like that. And so, one
of the things that we might see in the next few days is a judge will put a gag order on him so he has to stop doing this media tour we've been seeing
in the last few days.
Look, for Roger Stone, you know, knowing the president for 40 years, he's one of the closest people to Trump. He has known him, frequently talked to
him during the campaign. And so the big question that investigators have is in all of the things that Roger Stone said that he was in contact
through intermediaries to WikiLeaks to try to figure out when they were going to drop new e-mails, stolen e-mails that were going to damage the
Hillary Clinton candidacy and help Donald Trump, were any of those conversations between Trump and Roger Stone substantial towards this
investigation? Did they discuss any of those coming WikiLeaks e-mail dumps? So that's the big question in this trial that Roger Stone says he
is going to fight these charges all the way through this trial.
CURNOW: And the point is in many ways, this has gone further this case because a lot of intelligence experts say WikiLeaks is some sort of cut out
front for Russian intelligence.
[10:55:00] And that's the key here.
PEREZ: Right. Absolutely. We don't know whether WikiLeaks knowingly accepted these e-mails from the Russians, but we certainly know that the
intelligence community here in the United States believes that they are a cut-out for Russian intelligence. That they at least know that these e-
mails are being stolen by Russian intelligence. So that's the big question right now. Is whether or not there's more to come from this investigation
that gets to the bottom of that.
CURNOW: OK. We are watching that courthouse. Evan Perez, thanks so much, appreciate that.
PEREZ: Thank you.
CURNOW: OK, and as we mentioned, we are minutes away from Roger Stone entering his plea in federal court. So we will monitor that. Evan said he
will most likely plead not guilty.
Plus, it's a busy day, we'll continued our special coverage live from London as the U.K. Parliament debates amendments to Prime Minister Theresa
May's Brexit plans. More on all of that after this quick break.