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Saudi Sisters in Limbo After Trying to Escape Oppression; Second U.S.-North Korea Summit This Week; Vietnam Barber Offering Haircuts Resembling Trump, Kim; Atletico Win 2-0 Over Juventus; Osama Blames Loss on Negative Press Over Coach Split. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired February 21, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): After almost two years, 34 guilty pleas and a sprawling list of allegations, the Mueller investigation could be over next week.
Will the findings be made public and what will they say about the Trump campaign and collusion with Russia?
What could be a defining moment for Pope Francis may be another disappointment for survivors of clergy sex abuse. The Vatican now playing down expectations before a gathering in Rome, the first ever to deal with the church's long history of predator priests.
A CNN exclusive: two Saudi sisters making a daring escape from an abusive family. On their way to safety, they said Saudi officials attempted to force them back home.
Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
VAUSE: We begin, though, with breaking news out of Dhaka, at least 70 people killed after fire ripped through a historic part of the Bangladesh capital. At least 40 victims were taken to hospital. Police say the fire began when a fuel cylinder in a car exploded.
It quickly spread through an area across five buildings, including a restaurant and a warehouse of a perfume company. When we have more details we will bring them to you.
Two years and nearly 200 criminal accounts later, special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is coming to a close. Those familiar with the plans tell CNN attorney general Bill Barr will make the announcement as early as next week and Barr will submit a summary of the confidential report to Congress. Two major questions.
Will the report implicate Trump and how much of the findings will be made public?
CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked the president about the report on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, will the Mueller report be released when you're abroad?
TRUMP: That's up to the new attorney general. He's a tremendous man, a tremendous person who really respects this is country and respects the Justice Department so that will be totally up to him, the new attorney general. I guess from what I understand that will be totally up to the attorney general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Michael Genovese is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University and we're lucky to have him joining us from Los Angeles.
Michael, good to see you.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Good to see you, John.
VAUSE: These days it seems there are so many targets for the president's anger and his outrage so when he's playing nice with someone like Bill Barr, it's very obvious. And Barr, we should note it's on the record before Congress last month on whether the Mueller reports should be made public. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: I am going to make as much information available as I can consistent with the rules and regulations that are part of the special counsel regulations. I don't know what at the end of the day what will be releasable. I don't know what Bob Mueller is writing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That sounds very official, almost definitive, all at the same time being vague and saying nothing at all. He's got a very wide latitude here.
GENOVESE: Well, the Attorney General is in a non-win position. He knows who his client is, his boss Donald Trump and yet he's made some vague promises. It's going to be critical choices for him. The less he releases, the more suspicion is going to be created. And so do you release everything and just let the chips fall where they may or what's more likely do you go through the process, redact certain things, it will take time but all that time will lead to more suspicions.
And so I think you know, he's in a no-win situation. It might almost be better for him to just release everything to Congress and then let Donald Trump tweet about him the next day.
VAUSE: Yes. My theory on all this, I have very little doubt the report will actually be made public because eventually it will get out there because if it's favorable to the president, then the White House will ensure it's released. If there is evidence of collusion and goes badly for the president, then Mueller will ensure it gets out one way or the other or Congress will make sure it gets out one way or the other.
GENOVESE: Well, you know, any way you slice this, Donald Trump is in trouble. It's a question of how much trouble. Is it big trouble meaning impeachment process, post-presidency indictment, who knows what that could lead to, or is it just political trouble. But there's no good out for the president.
He will claim victory no matter what but I think there are going to be things that are in that report that are at least at the very least embarrassing, many things probably illegal. How close they come to Donald Trump, that's what we have to wait and see.
VAUSE: You know, right now, we have next to no idea of what this report will actually look like. The actual regulation says that the conclusion of a special counsel's work he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel.
So you know --
VAUSE: -- from that we can see the report is intended only for the Attorney General, not for Congress, especially not for the public because it's confidential. And as far as the final conclusion on that, you know, on that question -- on that question of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, I want you to listen to the former Director of National Intelligence who has a word of caution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I think that the hope is that the Mueller investigation will clear the error on this issue once and for all. I'm really not sure a will and the investigation, when completed, could turn out to be quite anticlimactic and not draw a conclusion about that. Again, I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I do you think it's more likely there could be a lot of disappointed people whenever this report is done be it you know, next week, next month, next year.
GENOVESE: I think so partly because we're really at the end of only one stage in the process. There's so much more yet to come. There's Congress, there are different investigations such as the Southern District of New York. They're looking into the inauguration, the money trail which is the thing that Donald Trump apparently fears the most. They're looking into his foundation. They're looking into the Trump Organization. So this is just a phase in a process, a stage in the process and there's so much more that's going to be revealed, so many more investigations yet to come. So whatever Mr. Mueller releases, if we get to see it, it's only going to be the beginning of a long process.
VAUSE: Yes. And to that point, you've mentioned this that the next stage really is with Congress and what they decide to do about, what are they prepared to do? The issue though is that there has been more than enough evidence already put out there on the public record for the Democrat-controlled House to impeach the president.
You've forced him to stand trial before the Senate, you know, let him answer for the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. They haven't done that. You know, so what happens next week? Does the Mueller report give them the political cover they need to finally begin impeachment proceedings?
GENOVESE: Well, you know, as you said, the case against the president's already devastating. I mean and I know we have to use the caveat for the 479th time he's innocent until proven guilty. But we keep saying that so many times that there's got to be something going on here. Congress, of course, the House would start first because the House would do the impeachment if there is one.
And while the Democrats have been very good about not advertising that what they want is impeachment, we all know that's what they want. They'd love to be able to start that process and really take Donald Trump down. The Senate, of course, would probably not unless it gets really -- unless what we find out is really devastatingly bad for the president. The Senate probably would never get two-thirds to convict.
But the House of Representatives might start the process and as the process goes on you're going to have the Southern District of New York give its report perhaps. You'll have other indictments come down. You'll have the Trump money trail that's more exposed. So again a long process, even the Mueller report is not the end zone.
VAUSE: Yes. A lot of these guys are in the (INAUDIBLE) to argue the other side. I'm going to get back down to a more innocent time, a time when the president of the United States would blatantly lie and we have no idea just how outrageous the lies were. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?
TRUMP: Well, I told you General Flynn obviously was dealing so that's one person but he was dealing as he should have been.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the election?
TRUMP: No. Nobody that I know of. Nobody -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're not aware of any contact during the course of the election?
TRUMP: Look, look, how many times do I have to answer this question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you just say yes or no?
TRUMP: Russia is a ruse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: 2017, I'm like you know, we now know so much. You know, what, 34 people charged, six of them Trump aides and associates pleading guilty. You know, we should note that the Americans have been charged. You know, they haven't been accused of conspiring with Russia, but you know, crimes like lying to the FBI and financial crimes.
Those charges are often the direct result of plea deals, you know. They plead to a lesser crime in return for cooperation. So you know, this has just been exposed so much of the dealings between Trump business, Trump campaign and the Trump administration and Russia.
GENOVESE: And so many of the lies deal with Russia. So the question is why are you lying about Russia? Why do you need to lie? If everything's on the up-and-up, you don't need to lie. And so I think that's where this story really starts to get juicy that people lie for a reason. Why do you lie about Russia? Because there is a connection. The question is what kind of a connection? Is it Trump money connection? Is it collusion?
I mean, there's enough with the Donald Jr. meeting with the Russians in Trump tower which the president assisted in a false reporting about to really get you suspicious. So there's bit -- there are a lot of connections with Russia. Again, the president probably fears the money connection the most.
VAUSE: Yes. Follow the money. I have Watergate and Trump 2020 I guess. Michael, as always, thanks so much for being with us.
GENOVESE: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: The possibility of global nuclear war apparently went up on Wednesday. The Russian president Vladimir Putin laying out his reasoning for potentially attacking the West, including Washington. NATO calls it unacceptable. The U.S. State Department called it Russian propaganda.
VAUSE: It is the latest step in a dangerous tit-for-tat over the all- but-defunct Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports from Moscow.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Russian President Putin threatening to target Washington, D.C., with nuclear weapons if the U.S. deploys medium-range nukes in Europe. The thinly veiled threat coming during Putin's annual speech to Russian lawmakers.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Russia will be forced to create and develop weapons which can be used not only for those territories from which threats may be directed at us but also toward those territories with centers of decision-making in employing rocket systems that are threatening to us.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Putin ripped into the U.S. for pulling out of the treaty banning intermediate range nuclear weapons. And the U.S. and its allies say Russia breached the deal, secretly developing and deploying medium-range nuclear capable missiles. Putin also announcing a new hypersonic weapon he says will be deployed soon.
PUTIN (through translator): Can they count?
I'm sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the advanced weapons we're developing. We asked them just one thing. Do the calculation first. And only then make decisions that can create additional serious threats for our country, which, of course, will lead to retaliatory actions from Russia.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Putin claiming Russia wants better relations with the U.S. but saying Washington needs to take the first step. But Moscow is not hopeful. A senior Russian lawmaker blasting remarks by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, saying President Trump could be a Kremlin asset.
ALEKSEY PUSHKOV, RUSSIAN SENATOR: All this nonsense about President Trump I think shows that there's some kind of deep psychological crisis in Washington. When former state officials suggest that American president colludes with Russia, there's something wrong.
PLEITGEN: Putin said Russia does not want a confrontation with the West and only would retaliate if attacked but Moscow is ramping up its arsenal and its rhetoric as relations with the U.S. continue to sour -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
VAUSE: Never before has this pope or any pope ordered his bishops from around the world to gather in Rome and confront the seemingly never-ending sex abuse scandal that has left behind a trail of victims counted in the tens of thousands and rocked the very moral foundations of the Catholic Church.
In the coming hours, the pope and the church hierarchy will talk openly about issues they've been notoriously reluctant to even acknowledge.
Questions like how many priests have sexually abused children and how many church officials have been involved in coverups?
For the next four days, the Vatican is hoping for what it calls reflection and discussion with survivors. But on Wednesday, one group of abuse survivors were angry that the pope never attended a meeting they had with senior church officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER SAUNDERS, SEX ABUSE SURVIVOR: And it would seem that the pope once again is giving the two fingers to survivors and to child protection everywhere, which I think is an absolute disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It should be noted, there was never any commitment from Pope Francis that he would actually attend that meeting.
VAUSE: For more on this, let's go to Los Angeles and CNN's religion commentator Father Edward Beck.
Father Beck, it's good to see you. It has been such a long time.
FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Yes, you too, John. Miss you here.
VAUSE: Yes. Thank you very much. I miss being there.
We talked about this summit, you know, midway through last year when it was first announced. And since then it seems that there's been a sort of rising expectation that this would mark some turning point in the church. It will be a defining moment for Pope Francis. But instead what we've been seeing now from the Vatican is an attempt, you know, to try to manage expectations, to put it kindly.
BECK: Well, John, let's just remind our viewers of the enormity of what we're talking about. So we have 1.2 billion Catholics. You have 450,000 priests -- we're talking about globally now. You have over 5,000 bishops.
So you're talking about this universal church in every country and you're trying to gather this meeting of three days of the leaders of those bishop conference to come together with some kind of a resolution, some kind of policy and yet the enormity of it and the cultural distinctions.
I mean for example, say you're in a country like Saudi Arabia or Yemen where Christians are a minority. And a priest is accused of sexual abuse. So we have the ruling in the United States, it's turned over to the civil authorities.
Well, if the bishop in Saudi Arabia does that or Yemen --
[00:15:00] BECK: -- the sentence is death. Death penalty to that priest. So it's just a small example of the cultural differences. So to try to have a universal policy that governs all of this in every country that is the same, it is a really, really difficult task right now.
VAUSE: I just want to -- if you, you know, look at that meeting that we talked about in -- in the introduction. You know, these survivors, they were never planned -- it was never on the schedule of meeting with Pope Francis but they're mad that he didn't show up.
There was this expectation that Pope Francis would be there even if he's not meant to be there. That somehow he will fix everything. If he really truly wanted he would do it. And that's the expectation that so many people have.
BECK: And it is a high expectation, John, and I think somewhat unrealistic. We know that Pope Francis has met with abuse survivors wherever he's gone in these various countries recently. We know he is going to meet with them and they're going to be part of the prayer services in the meetings over the next three days.
So it's not like he won't be seeing and talking to survivors. It was just this initial meeting that the planning committee wanted to start by meeting with survivors to hear them and that they would be attentive to these concerns in the meeting.
It was never planned, as you said, for Pope Francis to be there. So I think the expectation was rather unrealistic. But I understand the pain. You want to hear from the lead person that they hear you and they're going to act.
And I think Pope Francis does hear it but perhaps they just felt like they wanted that personal interaction.
VAUSE: Yes. And it's entirely understandable. But you can, you know see it from -- I can definitely see this from both sides. They want him there when he was never meant to be there. People get disappointed because it doesn't turn out how they expect.
You know, the "Washington Post" though is reporting what it calls a divisive undercurrent during this gathering and it has to do with the issue of gay priests. Here's part of their reporting.
"No abuse and sexuality had been found to have no correlation according to widely accepted research, they have become intertwined on the ideological battlefield of the church and Catholics of all stripes have descended on Rome this week with some arguing that Pope Francis is overlooking homosexuality in diagnosing the root reason for abuse."
So there is Pope Francis and his allies on one side who see the issue of sexual abuse through the lens of corruption and clergy who believe they are somehow above everyone else and superior to all. And then you have the more hardline traditionalists who believe homosexuality is the root cause for the abuse.
Who wins this battle? And how will we know? BECK: Well, certainly social science says that there's no correlation between homosexuality and sexual abuse. We know that most sexual abuse occurs in families. It is often heterosexual in abuse.
And yet with priests it seems to have been most of the occasions what with male, teen males but most say because that was the availability and perhaps the priest happened to be gay but that sex abuse is about power. It is about the abuse of power.
It is the issues you talked about, clericalism and the abuse ones stature. And so no social science that I have read, no psychologist says that there's a link between homosexuality and sexual abuse.
So I think it's a red herring. And you're right. I mean especially those on the right in the church are trying to say well if we got rid of gay priests -- well, I don't think that's the answer at all because heterosexual priests, heterosexual men, heterosexual teachers, we've seen people in Hollywood. They abuse too.
Abuse is about power. And certainly pedophilia is an illness. , a psychological illness. It has nothing to do with orientation.
VAUSE: Very quickly, almost out of time. But if the Pope doesn't move the church at least in the direction towards some serious reform is he in danger of being remembered for the style over substance. The Pontiff who said all the right things, knew the power of an image but ultimately his time as Pope lacks significant achievement?
BECK: Yes. I think this will be seen as a failure of this papacy if there's not real strong direction and action taken as a result.
Now, again, I think this three-day meeting can't do all of that. But it needs to set a direction, it needs to say to those bishops gathered, you now need to go back to your dioceses and you need to implement -- remember, there are countries right now -- Brazil, the biggest country, Catholic country still does not have policies in place. How can that be?
Well, they say it is not a Latin-American problem. We don't have it in the same way you do. Well guess what, those stories are still coming out. So this Pope has to say you do have it, you have to deal with it and you have to deal with it expeditiously.
VAUSE: Yes. It is his biggest challenge. And we wait and see how he manages to come to terms with all of it. But, you know, at least he's doing something which no Pope has done before and that is a start.
Father Beck, thank you.
BECK: Right. Good seeing you, John.
VAUSE: If it is Tuesday, it must be optimism day for U.S.-China trade talks.
With the clock ticking, can the world's two biggest economies --
VAUSE: -- make a deal on trade?
Also ahead, this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Years ago, these sisters secretly renounced Islam, a crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, and they began plotting their escape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE (voice-over): That escape was quickly followed by high-ranking Saudi officials in Hong Kong. This is not the first time, either. Their exclusive story -- ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.
VAUSE: Just one week remains for the U.S. and China to reach a deal and end their trade war. Two days of high-level talks will begin hours from now in Washington. U.S. tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese products are set to jump to 25 percent March 1st. But there's a possibility, Donald Trump will let that deadline slide if an agreement is close.
CNN's Will Ripley joins us from Hong Kong because Will's been following these trade talks with incredible enthusiasm.
Each time these meetings take place, batten down the hatches, war is coming. This time it is about they're close to outlining a trade deal and this is coming from Reuters.
So what is it?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's been one thing, one thing that is certain, it was March 1st, that's the deadline, just over a week away. On March 1st, if there's no deal, 25 percent tariffs kick in on $200 billion in Chinese imports. This has added urgency. That's why China's vice premier is in Washington to meet with Robert Lighthizer and Steven Mnuchin.
March 1st, nonnegotiable. That's what trade officials have said. Listen to what Lighthizer said in December to CBS.
"As far as I'm concerned it is a hard deadline. When I talked to the president of the United States, he's not talking about going beyond March."
Then this from the president this week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can't tell you exactly about timing. But the date is not a magical date. A lot of things can happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: So does this undercut his negotiators?
Because now he's saying question maybe we can drag this out.
Is it a way to get more concessions from China if they're not ready to make a deal on the thorny issues?
John, you know well, there's a lot of thorny issues. U.S. wants China to stop devaluing the yuan and stop making --
RIPLEY: -- Chinese goods artificially cheap. China agreed to purchase more U.S. products. It is hard to imagine how this can reduce the $375 billion trade deficit significantly just by purchasing products. But that's what they say they'll do.
But the real center of the trade war, where they're trying to hammer out details, technology, forced transfer, IP rights, cyber theft. And, of course, at the center of all of this, the U.S. government accusing tech giant Huawei of spying and pressuring countries to ban Huawei from their 5G networks.
So still a lot of thorny issues. We'll see what happens in Washington in the coming hours.
VAUSE: Even if they get an agreement on the technology, China breaks its agreements all the time or at least they have in the past. We'll see what happens. This is exciting stuff. Thanks, Will.
The vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve was asked directly by CNN's Richard Quest, what is the biggest global threat facing the American economy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD QUEST, CNNMONEY EDITOR AT LARGE: You've got China's slowdown, you've got Brexit, you've got the trade -- the trade war.
Which of those three concerns you the most?
RICHARD CLARIDA, VICE CHILDREN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: I think broadly, because China is such a big part of the global economy, obviously, a sharp slowdown in China, which we don't foresee, but if it were to happen, that would have consequences for all economies in the world, including the U.S.
Brexit, with all due respect, is primarily a big impact on the U.K. economy, a huge impact on the U.K. economy. We're very attentive to making sure that, were a hard Brexit to happen, that the global financial system and the plumbing would continue to function and we're confident of that.
But we don't see Brexit as being a big systemic risk for the U.S.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: While the Federal Reserve vice chairman downplays the impact of Brexit on the U.S., the British prime minister is certainly feeling it. Three members of Theresa May's Conservative Party have left the party over what they call the disastrous handling of Brexit. With just 36 days to go, the prime minister is aggressively working to find some sort of agreement.
On Wednesday, she met with the E.U. Commission president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I had a constructive meeting with President Juncker this evening. I've underlined the need for legally binding changes to the backstop to ensure that it cannot be indefinite.
That's what is required, if a deal is to pass the House of Commons. We've agreed to find a solution we'll continue at pace. Time is of the essence and it is in our both interests that when the U.K. leaves the E.U., it does so in an orderly way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The three who left the Conservatives are now sitting as independents, along with eight former members of the Labour Party, who also resigned over Brexit.
Two sisters flew to Hong Kong to escape a lifetime of family abuse and now they're trapped at the airport in limbo and CNN has their exclusive story after the break.
VAUSE: Thanks for staying with us, everybody. I'm John Vause with an update of the top news this hour.
[00:30:28] In Bangladesh, at least 70 people have been killed when a fire ripped through an historic part of the capital. Dozens were taken to hospital. Police say the fire started when a fuel cylinder in a car exploded. It quickly spread through the area, including a restaurant and a warehouse.
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr is expected to announce the completion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation as early as next week. Sources tell CNN Barr will then submit a summary to Congress, but it's not clear how much of any of the report will be made public.
In just a few hours, the Vatican will convene an unprecedented summit of church leaders on clergy sexual abuse. Vatican officials met with a group of survivors on Wednesday. Victims are demanding zero intolerance for abusers and the bishops who cover up.
ISIS bride Shamima Begum says she is shocked the U.K. plans to strip her citizenship. The 19-year-old joined ISIS four years ago. She's now living in a Syrian refugee camp and wants to go back to the U.K. with her newborn son. Begum's family has ties to Bangladesh, but the country says she's not a citizen and will not be allowed in.
Another young ISIS bride from the U.S. state of Alabama is pleading to return home, but America's most senior diplomat says 24-year-old Hoda Muthana won't be allowed in, since she's not a citizen of the United States in the first place. A family representative says Muthana was born in New Jersey.
A two-hour layover in Hong Kong has now stretched into five months of limbo for two Saudi sisters who were trying to escape oppression and abuse back home. Saudi diplomats were there waiting for them as they arrived at the airport and tried to force them to return home. They refused and are now stranded. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Ivan Watson, the sisters say they have few regrets.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was supposed to be a family beach vacation. Instead, it is proof, two sisters say, of the life they lived under oppression.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day, it was like a nightmare.
WATSON: This holiday in Sri Lanka last September was also the scene of their dramatic attempt to escape from their family. Raw an and Reem, not their real names, are 18- and 20-year-old sisters from Saudi Arabia. For their security, they've asked us not to show their faces.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since we were teenagers we experienced family violence and abuse. And we wanted to run away from this.
WATSON (on camera): Who was committing the violence in the family?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Father and the brothers.
WATSON (voice-over): Under Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system, women have fewer legal rights than men, forced to cover up and unable to travel or even apply for a passport without a husband, father or brother's permission.
Years ago these sisters secretly renounced Islam, a crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, and they began plotting their escape. On the family holiday in Sri Lanka, they saw their chance but first, they had to get their passports from their parents.
(on camera) You snuck into your parents' room?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
WATSON: While they were sleeping?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. So I just --
WATSON: To get your passports?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
WATSON (voice-over): In the middle of the night, they fled to a waiting taxi and took off the long black abayas they were forced to wear from the age of 11.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the first time we were without abaya.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
WATSON (on camera): And you're smiling right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a great memory. Very exciting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exciting.
WATSON (voice-over): At Columbo Airport, they bought tickets and received boarding passes for Sri Lankan Airlines to Hong Kong and then Cathay Pacific Airways to Melbourne, Australia, where they'd already arranged online tourist visas.
But when they landed at Hong Kong International Airport, the station manager of Sri Lanka Airlines and a representative of Jardine Aviation Services Group met them at the gate and asked them for their boarding passes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I showed it to him, and he grabbed it. And we were asking, what's going on? Why are you walking fast? And they said the plane, maybe you can't catch it.
WATSON: As they walked through the airport, they were led to the desk of Emirates Airlines, and the story changed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, "Now there's someone from the Saudi consulate to talk to you."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will come to explain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know, at that time, we just start to be panicked.
WATSON (on camera): Sri Lankan Airlines sent CNN this detailed account. It alleges that this man, Abdullah Hussein al-Sharif, the vice consul of the Saudi consulate in Hong Kong, came to the airport and asked the airline to change the sisters' itinerary.
[00:35:07] (voice-over): The Saudi consular officials had informed Sri Lankan Airlines staff that the passengers' mother was terminally ill, and the passengers were therefore required to return to Riyad immediately. Sri Lankan Airlines tells CNN Saudi officials canceled the sisters'
tickets to Australia and requested new boarding passes to take them to Dubai and then Saudi Arabia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we scream in his face, saying, "Return my passport. You have no right to take it. You crossed the line. We will tell the police," he's scared. And then we took our passport and literally run away.
WATSON (on camera): In the airport?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the airport.
WATSON (voice-over): This isn't the first time Saudi government officials have tried to stop women from fleeing. In Thailand last month, 18-year-old Rahaf al-Qanun barricaded herself in a hotel room and took to the Internet, begging for help to prevent deportation back to Saudi Arabia.
And Dina Ali Lasloom was filmed by passengers in Manila Airport in 2017, being forced by male relatives on a flight back to Saudi Arabia. Activists haven't heard from her since.
Back in Hong Kong, the sisters accused the Saudi vice consul, Abdullah al-Sharif, of intervening in their attempt to board a later Qantas flight to Australia, eventually prompting an Australian official to cancel their visas.
Australia's Department of Home Affairs refused to tell us why the visas were canceled, saying it does not comment on individual cases.
The sisters have been stranded in this city ever since.
(on camera): Do you think these sisters are in danger here in Hong Kong?
MICHAEL VIDLER, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yes, I do.
WATSON (voice-over): Human rights attorney Michael Vidler filed a criminal complaint on behalf of the sisters.
VIDLER: We allege that they were the subject of an attempted kidnapping at Hong Kong International Airport in the restricted area. We allege that they obtained their documents by deceit. They then used their documents unlawfully to cancel their boarding passes.
WATSON: Vidler says his team have screened airport security camera footage showing this man, Saudi consul general in Hong Kong, Omar al- Bunayan, shown here at the airport in happier times.
The lawyer says the diplomat was filmed holding the sisters' passports and boarding passes at the airport on September 6.
(on camera): A big question here. Why would the highest-ranking Saudi official in Hong Kong personally, allegedly, intervene in the travel of two adult Saudi women? CNN reached out multiple times to the foreign ministry in Riyad and the consulate here in Hong Kong and got no answer at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. Excuse me.
WATSON (voice-over): But Hong Kong police tell CNN they are now officially investigating what happened in the airport on that day.
Sri Lankan Airlines and Jardine Aviation Services Group both deny any wrongdoing, saying they did not pressure the sisters into changing their flights.
As for the sisters, they're still living in hiding in Hong Kong, hoping to receive political asylum. They have a defiant message for their family back home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be a successful woman and to give them that message with my success that they can't break me.
WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
VAUSE: Still to come, the first summit was unprecedented and historic. The second later this month is seen as crucial and significant. The U.S. president says there will probably be more summits with Kim Jong-un to come.
Also ahead, not everyone can be leader of North Korea or the United States, but those so inclined, they can now look like them.
[00:41:00] VAUSE: The second U.S.-North Korea summit is less than a week away, and President Trump says this probably won't be his last meeting with Kim Jong-un.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll see what happens. The sanctions are on and full, as you know. I haven't taken sanctions off. I'd love to be able to. But in order to do that, we have to do something that's meaningful on the other side.
But Chairman Kim and I have a very good relationship. I wouldn't be surprised to see something work out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: After their first summit in Singapore, North Korea agreed to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but a recent U.N. report found Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs remain intact.
Even so, there's been a blossoming bromance between these leaders. And though they come from very different worlds, with so little in common, there is that shared issue of hair and hairstyle. Now a barber in Vietnam can give you a Donald or Kim cut. Here's Michael Holmes.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Hanoi barber is offering free haircuts in advance of the visit of the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. But there is a catch. Remind you of anyone?
Let's call them fashion forward. The cuts on offer reproduce the distinctive hairstyles of the two world leaders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was doing this only for fun, but I'm surprised at how many people have responded. I'm very happy.
HOLMES: This nine-year-old Vietnamese boy says he's pleased with the likeness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm happy with this haircut, because people will think I look like the North Korean leader.
HOLMES: But the award for bravery has to go to this slightly more mature customer who's gone all in on the signature Trump hair color.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm not worried, because after this promotional campaign is over, the owner said he with make my hair go back to normal again. Donald Trump's haircut looks great, and it suits my age.
HOLMES: Of course, the free haircut promotion is all in good fun. Hopefully, there won't be a repeat of the 2014 incident when North Korean embassy officials complained to a barber in London who had used the phrase "bad hair day" under a photo of Kim Jong-un in an attempt to drum up business.
Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.
VAUSE: OK. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. WORLD SPORT is next. You're watching CNN.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hi, there. Thanks for joining us. Welcome to CNN WORLD SPORT.
You know, there were no goals on Tuesday night in the U.A. (ph) for Champions League. No worries, though, because Wednesday's action and, indeed, intriguing storylines have more than made up for that.
We start in Madrid where Diego Simeone's Atletico coming face-to-face with a very familiar face in these parts: none other than Real Madrid's former superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
This round of 16, first-leg tie coming to life in the second half. The flashpoint was the apparent goal from Atletico striker Alvaro Morata, a former Real and Juve player member, but VAR ruling he fouled Giorgio Chiellini in the build-up.
Twelve minutes from time, though, the breakthrough for the hosts. Jose Gimenez seizing on all the confusion in the Juve box, steering home the open. And then it gets better for Atletico. Look at this: 83 minutes were up when the Uruguayan defender Diego Godin gleefully steers it home, via deflection from Cristiano Ronaldo. Atletico in dreamland. Look what it means to their players there.
Juventus, the old conquering Italian champions, as well, failing to get that potentially priceless away goal.
We're joined on the phone by Italian football expert Adam Digby, author of "Juventus: A History in Black And White."
SNELL: Adam, an outstanding result for Atletico. Thanks so much for joining us.
You know, Atletico have never lost a home leg in a knock-out round in this tournament under Simeone. How does he get this team fired up for these big nights?
ADAM DIGBY, AUTHOR, "JUVENTUS: A HISTORY IN BLACK AND WHITE" (via phone): He just has them doing exactly what they do every single week. They're the same team, no matter who they're playing against. Every single player knows their job. They go on the field, and they execute it perfectly.
And you have to be ready for that. You have to match their intensity. You have to be ready for their -- their dedication, their effort, their gritty determination. And sadly tonight, Juve went off.
SNELL: Yes, sadly for Juve. They were very, very frustrated. And they didn't get that potentially priceless away goal, as I mentioned. We'll see how that comes back to haunt them.
But I want to put up a graphic now that we've been working on that actually shows the five Champions League titles from six finals that Cristiano Ronaldo has won during his storied career, compared to Juventus's two from nine finals during the whole club's history there. It's going to be tough now, of course, for Ronaldo and Co.
But what does that stat -- what does that stat say about how much the Bianconeri need him?
DIGBY: It shows exactly why Juve spent so much money to sign him in the summer. They do have a history of losing in the final. As you say, two wins out of nine tries. Seven losses. Two in the last four years.
And Ronaldo is the player who can shine in those big moments, but unfortunately, as we see tonight, him alone is not enough. And you have to have the team around him functioning properly. You have to have the right -- the right game plan, the right approach; and you need a lot of other things to go in your favor. And that's the job that's facing Juventus ahead of the second leg against Atletico in three weeks.
SNELL: Yes, a huge, huge ask for them to get back and overturn that. We'll see, though.
You know, Juve, you're an expert on all things Juventus. They deny it's an obsession, don't they, to win the Champions League. But I'll tell you what. After more than two decades, after 23 years, I think it is, has it become whinger (ph) field for this club?
DIGBY: It is 23 years, and it absolutely is an obsession. We've heard a string of players -- Giorgio Chiellini (ph), Naam Richam (ph), Miralem Pjanic, Moise Kean (ph), (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Fabrio (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the president, Andrea Agnelli (ph) -- all say it's not an obsession. But you don't -- when you've won the league title seven years in a row, when you can make it to the Champions League final, you don't spend 105 million on Cristiano Ronaldo and pay him three times as much as anybody else in the squad because you want to carry on winning the league. You do it because you want to do more than that. You do it because you want to win the Champions League.
And everything about the club, anybody who's watched the Netflix documentary series, every single time the Champions League is mentioned, every time the Champions League fixtures come up, every time there is a draw, you can just feel it. It permeates every aspect of the club from top to bottom; and everything in the season has been geared towards the Champions League. They're closer to the league season; they're already 13 points clear. And everything was building towards a good performance tonight and going through against Atletico Madrid and getting into another final and hopefully ending that 23- year drought. And they've made a real mess of that tonight.
But it is absolutely an obsession and to deny it is senseless to me. Because just on it. It's clearly the whole approach of the club for the past 18 months is to try and change that. And that's a good thing, you know. It's where they need to go. It's the one thing that this current edition of the team is missing.
And for me, I don't understand why they're trying to deny and why they're trying to downplay it. Say that you have to win it and then go out and do it. At least -- it might give the players the impetus to not put in performances like tonight and push them to deliver when it really matters.
SNELL: Wednesday's other match, featuring Germany's Schalke and the reigning English Premier League champs and current leaders, Manchester City, who are still on course for a glittering and, indeed, unprecedented haul of four major trophies this season.
The Citizens have never won the Champions League or, indeed, its forerunner, the European Cup, and in this incredible match they found themselves down to ten men again, Schalke, after Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi sent off for a second yellow card with just over 20 minutes left.
It matter not, though, because it triggered a sensational comeback from Pep Guardiola's men. Leroy Sane, the young German, leveling with five minutes left on that brilliant free kick and then, look at this, Raheem Sterling in the 90th minute. City take a 3-2 advantage into the second leg in three weeks' time at the Etihad. Guardiola absolutely delighted. That is some comeback from Manchester City. Schalke shocked in their own backyard on Wednesday night.
What a night of European footy.
All right. Naomi Osaka's discovering first-hand just what it means to be the world's top-ranked women's tennis player, and now wait till you hear the Japanese star's very blunt and direct message to the world's media.
SNELL: Welcome back. 2019 proving one roller-coaster of a year for Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka.
It began impressively enough when she won the Australian open. That was her second career grand slam.
Then came her recent parting of the ways from her coach and this week's defeat in Dubai that nobody at all saw coming. In fact, the world No. 1 now shedding more light on what, in her mind, caused that shock loss to Kristina Mladenovic of France in just the second round there in UAE. The defeat coming just over an hour's play in what was the first outing, as well, since that Aussie Open triumph.
The 21-year-old certainly not holding back either, making it clear how she feels about the increased and continuing scrutiny on the high- profile split.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAOMI OSAKA, TOP-RANKED WOMEN'S TENNIS PLAYER: No offense to you guys, I'm pretty sure, like, as time goes on you guys will stop talking about it. But for now it's like the biggest tennis news, I guess. It is a little bit hard, because I feel like people are staring at me and not in a good way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNELL: Blunt and direct message.
All right. Want to get onto a story of one truly long-suffering ice hockey franchise. The Carolina Hurricanes franchise is making rather a lot of noise these days for its success on the ice and the way the players have been celebrating.
After wins, the team now gets together on the ice for some standout celebrations. Just look at these. The players have done the limbo. They've gone bowling. They've even played Duck, Duck, Goose. And the fans here absolutely love all this. And the Canes have plenty of celebration since the calendar turned, as
well. They have the league's second most wins since the turn of the year. That's put Carolina within a point now of the playoffs spot in the East, and they haven't made the NFL playoffs, by the way, in a decade. So you can imagine just why they're pretty excited over there right now in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Just picture the scene: players and fans all having fun. But here's the sting in the tail, not according to Don Cherry. He's the legendary "Hockey Night" in Canada commentator who's known for his outrageous on-air attire, shall we say. He went on this rant about the team celebrations. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON CHERRY, HOCKEY COMMENTATOR: These guys, to me, are jerks. You have to do this. They're still not drawn. This is to me, and I'll tell you one thing they better not do this in the playoffs.
What I don't understand is Brind'Amour is a straight shooter. He always was. This is a joke. The rest of the guys, "Young men expressing them for joy of winning." You don't do this in professional hockey. What are these guys? Jerks or something? You never do anything like that. They're still not drawn. They're a bunch of jerks as far as I'm concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNELL: Saying what he thinks. All right. Cherry clearly not a fan.
Now unfortunately, there was no new skit on Tuesday night for the Hurricanes. They had a rare home defeat to the New York Rangers. But that didn't stop the team and its fans from having fun over the controversy in a brilliantly and incredibly fast marketing ploy.
The Hurricanes are unveiling their Bunch of Jerks T-shirts before the game to respond to all that criticism. More than 2,000 of the shirts have been sold on line in the 48 hours after his Saturday rant.
Capitalizing indeed. It's quite a story, isn't it?
All right. It's the story, in fact, you could say just keeps on giving.
Thank you so much for joining us for the entire team here in Atlanta. We'll see you again next time. Do stay with CNN and thanks for watching us.