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Overwhelming Defeat Of The British PM's Brexit Deal In The House Of Commons; U.S. FAA Doubling Down Saying There Is No Basis To Ground 737 MAX 8 Aircraft; Cardinal George Pell Will Soon Find Out How Long He Will Spend Behind Bars; College Cheating Scandal In The U.S. Involving CEOs, Celebrities, And Elite Coaches. Aired: 7-7:30p ET

Aired March 12, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


AMARA WALKER, ANCHOR, CNN; Hi everyone, and welcome. I am Amara Walker, coming up on CNN Today, Britain's Parliament votes resoundingly to reject

the Prime Minister's Brexit deal for the second time.

Standing firm, U.S. regulators say there is no basis to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 even as Europe and others are doing just that.

And guilty of child sex abuse, Cardinal George Pell will soon find out how long he'll be spending behind bars.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

WALKER: Welcome, everyone. I am Amara Walker. We begin with two breaking stories. First, the overwhelming defeat of the British Prime Minister's

Brexit deal in the House of Commons, plus the growing international backlash against Boeing 737 MAX 8 with one very notable exception just days

after the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.

We're going to begin in the U.K. where nearly two years after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union with just over two weeks to go until the

scheduled departure and there is no plan.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in the House of Commons handed the Prime Minister yet another crushing defeat when they rejected her revised Brexit deal

struggling to speak, literally, after nearly losing her voice, Theresa May says she still believes an agreement is possible, but the opposition leader

making it clear her time is up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight. I

continue to believe that by far the best outcome is that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in an orderly fashion with a deal. And that the

deal we've negotiated is the best and indeed, the only deal available.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: The government has been defeated again by an enormous majority and they must now accept their deal, their

proposal, the one the Prime Minister has put is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House. The Prime Minister has run down the clock

and the clock has been run out on her. Maybe it's time instead we had a general election and the people could choose who their government should

be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Parliament will vote again on Wednesday and decide if it wants to leave the E.U. without any deal at all and if that is a no, there will be

another vote on Thursday on requesting a deadline extension. And if that gets rejected, well, you know what? It's just unclear what happens next.

Joining me now to talk more about this Nina dos Santos at Downing Street; international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson in Londonderry, also known

as Derry, very close to the Irish border and Erin McLaughlin in Brussels with the European perspective.

Nina, let's begin with you. This last minute legally binding changes that the Prime Minister was able to eke out on the backstop, clearly, didn't go

far enough according to the lawmakers who voted no. Why and what's next?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, why essentially is because her own Attorney General said that essentially from his point of view nothing

had changed. She hadn't managed to secure anything legally binding enough that could give him the legal assurances that he would need to see to

change his opinion and his previous opinion was that the U.K. could, even if it's a theoretical possibility, end up locked in this transition period

if the so-called Irish backstop arrangement was to kick in.

This is his insurance policy to try and keep a hold of the U.K. in a temporary sort of Customs Union until the U.K. and the E.U. would have a

deal. The upshot of that was supposed to be to try to avoid a hard ball run on the island of Ireland.

Now, she hadn't managed to get enough legally binding assurances as footnotes to her previous deal to give the Attorney General confidence to

recommend this from a legal point of view. He said it was up to the politicians in the House to decide politically whether they wanted to

support it.

What we did see today as you pointed out, there was a resounding defeat for Theresa May's plan, 75 of her own MPs voted against her here. That's

smaller than the amount that voted against her last time. She lost only by a majority of 149 versus 230 that was a historic defeat back in January.

So either way, people are warming to her side, but it's not enough though to try and turn the tide here, so that brings us into the territory of

ruling out no-deal Brexit as you said. Yesterday -- as you said earlier.

Tomorrow, she's going to be holding, and this is the key bit, a free vote on that, so she won't be telling her own Party how to vote and that gives

you an idea of the kind of authority that Downing Street has lost over the last few days and then after that, we'll be having that vote on whether or

not to delay Brexit and here comes the key bit.

[19:05:00]

DOS SANTOS: What will the E.U. agree to? Because even though the messages that might come this week from the House of Commons is no-deal and we want

a delay, they don't know how much of a delay they may well get from the E.U. or indeed, whether they'll get one at all because it would have to be

decided upon a unanimous basis.

I just want to wrap up with one final thought. Especially when it comes to the delay in a no-deal scenario. This is where you've heard a group of

conservative lawmakers, in particular some who are important parts of the European research group, those vehemently Eurosceptic MPs that voted

against her, they've now proposed this idea of a so-called managed no-deal scenario by which the U.K. would eventually leave the E.U. sooner rather

than later, probably by May the 22nd, with a no deal but one that can be managed out of the next few weeks. It doesn't look as though the Prime

Minister is going to go for that, though -- Amara.

WALKER: All right, Nina dos Santos, thank you for that. Let's turn it over now to Nic Robertson in Derry and more on the reaction there, Nic, and

have the DUP talking about the strategy moving forward.

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Sure, their strategy is really plain and simple, Amara, and that is to say that they are going

to vote for a no-deal Brexit tomorrow. They think that Theresa May still could go back to the European Union and continue to negotiate. That is in

the face of what the E.U. says.

Look, the DUP is a really hard line party. They are the one that has been influencing a lot of the Conservative MPs and they are ready and willing to

accept a no-deal Brexit even though that would potentially mean a hard border, disruption on the Island of Ireland, trade across the border, the

potential of an escalation of violence in the province again.

And it's very simple why they say that they would like that border to remain open, but in essence, the one thing that's most important to them is

that they do not become -- Northern Ireland does not become part of a united Ireland. They want to keep the ties with the mainland strong.

And for that reason every single decision that they make will be based along those lines, so it will be a very hard and firm position, so tomorrow

Theresa May is expecting to publish what she would plan to do along the Northern Irish border and in Northern Ireland if there was a no-deal

Brexit. That of course is something people here are very, very concerned about seeing the details, but have no doubt about it, the DUP here is quite

ready and willing.

They say they used the tough negotiations. They think the E.U. has got more to give and they're ready to have a no-deal Brexit and all the

difficult consequences that may go with it.

WALKER: All right, Nic Robertson in Londonderry for us, thank you so much. Let's turn it over now to Erin McLaughlin in Brussels and you were with us

24 hours ago when we heard John-Claude Juncker say there is a second chance in politics, though not a third, we are not going to give more you

assurances on those reassurances. How likely is it that the E.U. would be open to extending the Brexit deadline?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, we're starting to hear from E.U. leaders about that very question. We heard from the Dutch Prime

Minister, Mark Rutte on Twitter saying he regretted the outcome of this vote with respect to a possible extension. He said that the extension

would need to have a credible and convincing justification.

I was speaking to an E.U. official earlier today and he was telling me that this has not been discussed among the 27 leaders at an official level, that

they have yet to have a robust conversation about the possibility of the extension and when they do, they'll be looking at several things.

They'll be looking at the duration requested by the United Kingdom. They'd be looking at the reason behind the request for the extension, and then

they'd be looking at the effects of the possible extension on the E.U. institutions, namely Parliament.

It's not lost on people here. They're very concerned about the fact that Parliamentary elections are in May and if the U.K. extends beyond July 2nd,

legally, they would have to run MEPs in that election. So those are all things people here are considering now. Privately, people telling me if

they believe that if the U.K. should in fact request an extension, that they would grant it -- Amara.

WALKER: This has been a dragged out process. Nina dos Santos at 10 Downing Street, Nic Robertson in Londonderry, and Erin McLaughlin in Brussels,

thank you to you all.

Breaking news on the Boeing story. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is doubling down saying there is no basis to ground the

controversial 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Boeing is under pressure over two deadly crashes involving that plane.

U.S. President Donald Trump just spoke over the phone with Boeing's CEO who stands by their position that the plane is safe. That is after Trump

tweeted that flying has become far too complex. A growing list of carriers are now grounding the plane and some countries are banning it, but the U.S.

is conspicuous by its absence.

[19:10:10]

WALKER: CNN's Tom Foreman explains why the aircraft has become so controversial.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN (voice over): Facing serious safety questions and brutal political headwinds, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is being

grounded around the globe. In the United Kingdom, the European Union, much of Asia, Australia and more.

In some cases, even other variants of the MAX line are being parked as many airlines say they won't use the plane until they have additional

information about the fatal crash in Africa and the one last fall in Indonesia. All of that is creating an uproar in Washington where the U.S.

stands nearly alone in allowing the MAX 8 to fly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Certainly, this is very early in the process, so we're going to be in constant contact through the

Department of Transportation and FAA to make determination at the appropriate time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN (voice over): A growing list of lawmakers is urging caution, if not by Federal agencies, then by the airlines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Every one of these planes should be grounded right away. They are accidents waiting to

happen. I've advised my family members to switch airlines because these planes are unsafe at any speed right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Still, the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Airlines that use the MAX 8 are standing by it. The Southwest Pilots Association,

extremely confident in the plane which is still flying domestically despite concerns from other aviation professionals such as the flight attendants

unions.

A software update is in the works for the aircraft, but Boeing says, "Even now, we have full confidence in the safety of the MAX." But in Africa, as

searchers scour the crash sites, Ethiopian Airlines is reporting initial details from the pilot of the doomed plane that seemed eerily suggestive of

a software problem which some analysts believe can make these planes uncontrollable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEWOLDE GEBREMARIAM, GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES: So, he was having difficulties with the flight control of the airplane.

So, he asked to return back to base and clearance was given to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN (voice over): He never made it. And that is clearly on the minds of some U.S. travelers who have found themselves somewhat alone in the

world aboard Boeing MAX 8 planes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I prayed a little bit more than usual, I think, but it is out of my hands. So, I had to make it on the plane.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WALKER: Tom Foreman reporting there. Now, the aircraft has been involved in two deadly crashes in less than six months as recently as Sunday in

Ethiopia. There is so much we still don't know about the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash. CNN's David McKenzie is there.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN (on camera): What's happening now is extraordinarily difficult, pain staking and sensitive work. This

international and local team of investigators are moving shoulder to shoulder stepping gingerly over the debris field of this Boeing crash,

picking up anything that could provide evidence or closure for the families.

And every time someone finds something significant, they raise their hand, they stop, they bring someone over, potentially get an international expert

in there to try and secure this evidence. This is the critical work that's needed to be done to find out just what happened in this crash.

They've taken away the audio, the flight recorders. Investigators I've spoken to say they believe the plane came at a very vertical trajectory,

slamming into this hillside and creating a very deep, but quite narrow crater.

Now they want to, with work like this, collaborating with many nationalities, including British, American, Israeli and, of course, the

Ethiopians here, trying to find out just what happened to this brand new plane -- David McKenzie, CNN, outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WALKER: Now, Boeing's stock is taking a hit. Just look at that, falling again Tuesday this time by about 6%. That's after Boeing's stock dropped

5% on Monday. It is the biggest two-day loss for the company in almost a decade.

Boeing stock is dragging down the rest of the Dow Jones Industrial average since it just so happens to be the highest priced constituent in the Dow.

Just months after being found guilty of child sex abuse, Cardinal George Pell will soon find out how long he will spend behind bars. We're going to

have the details in a live report when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:00]

WALKER: Right now inside a Melbourne, Australia courtroom, a judge is speaking to disgraced Cardinal George Pell as he gets ready to hand down

his sentence months after Pell was found guilty of five counts of child sex abuse. George Pell is expected to get significant prison time.

Our Anna Coren is standing by watching these developments. And she is joining us now with the very latest. We can see that the judge is still

talking right now, but as we were mentioning, George Pell is expected to get some hefty prison time. How much time are we expecting him to face?

ANNA COREN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, Amara, we are listening to Chief Judge Peter Kidd give these live televised remarks. This is very unusual

in Australia for a judge to do this, but so far we have heard him discussing the attacks that took place back in 1996, 1997 on these two

choir boys, both age 13 years old.

He describes the attacks as brazen and that the distress that they caused to both these boys, the significant long-term impact that it had on both

these boys. One of those boys, however, has since died. He died of a drug overdose back in 2014.

But as for the sentence, Amara, it is being speculated that he could receive anything from five to ten years. We know that these are serious,

serious crimes. He's been found guilty of five counts of child sexual abuse. Each of these counts hold a maximum sentence of ten years. So,

Amara, are expecting certainly a very lengthy sentence, but as we know, the Judge Kidd, he is still reading out his remarks and reasoning. He hasn't

yet got to the sentencing as yet, but certainly when we hear that, we will bring that to you live.

WALKER: Just tell us how much public interest, especially in Australia, there has been to this case considering that George Pell was the highest

ranking Catholic in Australia?

COREN: Amara, this is enormous and not just for Australia. This is global. This has reverberations right to the top of the Vatican. This was

a man from a country town in Australia who made his way up through the ranks of the Catholic Church to be the Vatican Treasurer. That is number

three in the Vatican. He was an adviser to Pope Francis, an incredibly powerful and influential figure who is now a convicted pedophile. So this

is absolutely extraordinary.

Such a fall from grace never witnessed before. It would have to be the biggest scandal that the Catholic Church has experienced in modern times.

But as far as Australia is concerned, this is absolutely front page news. Everybody will be listening as to what takes place today, as to what

sentence is handed down.

Judge Kidd talked of Cardinal Pell not being a scapegoat for all the other clerical sexual abuse that has happened in Australia.

[19:20:02]

COREN: Obviously, he is a lightning rod being the most high profile Catholic, but Judge Kidd said that he will not be sentencing Cardinal Pell

based on the crimes of the Catholic Church in Australia or the global Catholic Church. He is convicting and sentencing Cardinal Pell on the

crimes that he committed as Archbishop of Melbourne back in 1996, 1997 against those two choir boys who were 13 years old -- Amara.

WALKER: We are watching this closely with you. Anna Coren, thanks so much for that and of course, we'll update you as soon as we find out what the

sentencing will be.

Meantime, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces now say 3,000 ISIS fighters and their families have surrendered in 24 hours. CNN teams on the

ground witnessed intense machine gunfire in the ISIS held territory in Baghouz in Eastern Syria.

An SDF spokesman said at least 38 ISIS fighters were killed in the latest offensive on the ISIS enclave. The SDF tweeted hours ago, "The fall of

ISIS is approaching."

Now to a stunning college cheating scandal in the U.S. involving CEOs, celebrities, and elite coaches. Just hours ago, Federal authorities

announced charges against 50 people and accused them of paying and accepting millions of dollars in bribes to get kids into prestigious

schools. Two American actresses were among the group. Academy Award nominee, Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin known for her role on the TV

show, "Full House." They both face felony charges. We're back with just with more ahead on CNN Today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALKER: As students around the world get ready to mark My Freedom Day to raise awareness about modern slavery, we turn to the children of Kibera,

one of Nairobi's largest slums where opportunities don't arrive often.

But thanks to a shoe maker with the love of dance that children there are now finding a unique way to express their freedom through ballet.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo explains.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

FARAI SEVENZO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN (voice over): This is Kibera, one of Nairobi's largest slums. In times of political turmoil, it's also one of

Nairobi's flashpoints.

A new political peace is now in Kenya. But Kibera still has a high unemployment. And kids here long for much more than that label of poverty.

If dangerous for adults, what are these streets like for children? A shoemaker is putting the final touches to shoes that means so much to some

kids here. They are the tools for a brand new way to balance their lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE WAMAYA, FOUNDER, PROJECT ELIMU: The ballet shoes are uniquely designed to give children freedom in terms of dancing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEVENZO (voice over): Thirty-two-year-old Mike Wamaya, grew up in Kibera and studied dance in Europe. He says he wanted to instill dancers'

discipline to Kibera's kids. And in 2017, Project Elimu was born. Elimu is a Swahili word meaning "educate." And that education goes beyond the

classroom to places like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAMAYA: If you teach this children on this trend that kids have, the potential that they have in children, about the perception of the world

around about Kibera is on negativity in terms of crime, in terms of prostitution. And so, we try and teach to this children the power of their

beauty, the power of their voice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEVENZO (voice over): Thirteen-year-old Valery Auma, join the ballet project five years ago.

[19:25:10]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALERY AUMA, BALLET DANCER, PROJECT ELIMU, KIBERA: When I started doing ballet, I was so shy. Even I couldn't stand in front of people. But the

time I danced ballet for the first year, the second year I was so confident.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEVENZO (on camera): Kibera is a difficult place to live, right?

AUMA: Yes, but you have to experience the life because we are not -- our mind is not for Kibera, here is where we are, but soon, we are going to

higher places.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEVENZO (voice over): Ten-year-old Abdul, joined the project just five months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABDUL, BALLET DANCER, PROJECT ELIMU, KIBERA: Freedom is going to the mosque from Kibera and dancing at the same time. My heart is always full

of joy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEVENZO (voice over): Witnessing this, there is no doubt in the sense of joy these youngsters are feeling. The culmination of the pupils' constant

practice is here at their performance. Everyone has come to show off the ballet moves they've learned. Even the shoemaker has come to see what his

shoes can do.

Projects like these are even more remarkable for their lack of government funding. The freedom of the dancing arts has come to some of Nairobi's

most disadvantaged kids.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I danced ballet because there's a saying that goes: without ballet, your life -- your life is invisible and you're pointless.

The performance of today was fantastic. It was so fantastic because we were so many, so many children, and many people are watching us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEVENZO: Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WALKER: And CNN is partnering with young people worldwide for a day of action against modern day slavery on March 14th. We are asking them what

makes you feel free. Here are some of the answers from students in Hong Kong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me freedom means having the right to make a choice for myself and assuring that the right to choose is available for the next

person in this life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is making an effort to understand and appreciate others because in the world of global, if we are not to give, we

fail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, freedom is learning to love and respect yourself and others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Tell the word what makes you feel free. Share a story using the #MyFreedomDay. And that is our time, everyone. Thanks so much for being

with me. I am Amara Walker. "World Sport" is coming up next.

(19:30:00)

END