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Contingency Plans Still in Place for a No Deal Brexit; White House Bracing for Release of Mueller Report; Aid Efforts Under Way after Storm Causes Widespread Damage; Pentagon Tells Moscow Tone Down Rhetoric over U.S. Warplane; E.U. Agrees To U.K. PMs Request For Brexit Extension; Country Pauses To Reflect On Victims Of Mosque Attacks; Trump: It's Time For The U.S. To Recognize Israel's Sovereignty Over The Disputed Golan Heights; Trump Denies Trying To Help Netanyahu's Re-Election. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 22, 2019 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Brussels dictates the terms for a Brexit extension granting a brief delay for the U.K. to leave the E.U. but only if Prime Minister Theresa May could win Parliament's approval for her Brexit deal which no one likes. Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Allah, protect New Zealand. Oh, Allah, protect New Zealanders and the world.


VAUSE: Targeted for their faith, now they're praying for their country. A powerful message from the Imam whose mosques was at the center of New Zealand's deadliest shooting. Also, with one tweet, the U.S. president makes a major change in Mideast policy and maybe along the way helps a buddy in a -- in a tightly run Israeli election campaign.

Hello and welcome everybody. Glad to have with us. I'm John Vause, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Well, so much for taking back control of Europe as the Brexiteers had once promised. In late-night negotiations it was E.U. leaders we were dictating terms of any extension to the March 29th deadline. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May was given a two-week lifeline but with conditions laid out here by the European Council President Donald Tusk.


DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: The withdrawal agreement is passed by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until the 22nd of May. In the second scenario, that this -- there is no agreement if not approved by the House of Commons next week. The European Council agrees to an extension until the 20th of April -- 12th of April while respecting the U.K. to indicate a way forward for the swings and practices that will dictate all options will remain open and to the cliff edge states will be delayed.


VAUSE: So here we go again, like a bad sequel to a bad sequel to a bad movie. Theresa May will head back to Parliament and try and win approval for her Brexit deal, the same deal which has been rejected twice already. Essentially she'll be hoping that somehow will be third time lucky.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: While the decision today underlines is the importance of the House of Commons passing a Brexit deal next week so that we can bring an end to the uncertainty and the even a smooth and orderly manner. Tomorrow morning I will be returning to the U.K. and working hard to build support for getting the deal through.

I know MPs on all sides of the debate have passionate views and I respect those different positions. Last night I expressed my frustration and I know that MPs are frustrated too. They have difficult jobs to do. I hope we can all agree. We are now at the moment of decision and I will make every effort to ensure that we are able to leave with a deal and move our country forward.


VAUSE: CNN's European Affairs Commentator Dominique Thomas joining us once again from Los Angeles. Hey, Dom!


VAUSE: OK, so Theresa May this is not what she kind of expected in the beginning the week. She has just you know, essentially two weeks to come up with some kind of ingenious plan that she has may overcome so far. And from a lot of reporting out there, it seems that she made everything worse.

The Financial Times reports this. When challenged by E.U. leaders on what would happen, if she lost the vote on a deal in the House of Commons next week, Mrs. May frustrated them by refusing to speculate on her plans because she doesn't have any.

Well The Guardian says one aide is quoted as saying, she didn't even give clarity if she is organizing a vote. Asked three times what she would do if she lost the vote, she couldn't say. It was awful, dreadful, evasive, even by her standards. You know, this whole negotiation politics thing isn't just really isn't her bag is it?

THOMAS: It is not. And it's absolutely incredible when you think over the day with all the chaos and the craziness around this that 27 European leaders came together from radically different political persuasions including big hitters like French president Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

And in one day, in one day of meetings, they were able to think carefully about how they would protect the integrity of the E.U. institutions, reach consensus, and at the same time demonstrate tremendous flexibility. It was a lesson to Theresa May and a lesson to political parties back in the U.K. that have been fighting over Brexit for over three years now as to how to go about proceeding.

And you're absolutely right that when questioned by them she was incapable of coming up with a concrete solution beyond simply wanting to present her plan back in Parliament. And my feeling is that she has less chance of getting this deal through now than she had even and the first time when she went about presenting it.

[01:05:04] VAUSE: Emmanuel Macron of France, he seems to be the one who's sort of leading this hardline charge against any extended delay to Brexit. This is what he said.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: I'm just here to say we do respect the vote of British people. We do respect what the Prime Minister and the Parliament are making. But we have to be clear, we can discuss and agree an extension. It is a technical extension in case of a yes vote on the agreement we negotiated during two years. In case of no votes, or no, I mean, directly it will guide everybody to a no deal.


VAUSE: That stance has put him at odds with the German Chancellor. There was apparently you know, some reporting you know, there's much race voices, there was almost a confrontation between the two, but they you know, worked it out in the end. But why is Macron taking such a hard-line position here?

THOMAS: Yes. Well, there are two things. I think first of all what he said then earlier in the day disagrees with what essentially the 27 agreed later on which is that if you're unable to get the deal through, come back to us and we all have a short period in which we will discuss the various options. And actually, all options remain on the table as Jean-Claude Juncker pointed out from the no deal to a longer extension and so on.

But the specific issue for Emmanuel Macron is he has from the very beginning of his presidency being an unambiguous supporter not just of the E.U. but of Greater EU integration. And he spoke just two weeks ago about how these elections coming up in May are absolutely crucial and that they are essentially going to fit two visions of Europe moving forward.

The Europe that embraces the model that is in place that recognizes the value of this institution and those political elements in the E.U. today the Euroskeptics, the detractors the far right wingers, the anti-immigrants, the anti-Muslims and so on and so forth.

And so for him, one of the great concerns is that if the UK does not leave or does not crush out that they would be involved in the elections coming up in May. And the likelihood is that they will then return or bring to Europe an even greater group of disgruntled people potentially a larger group of kind of Brexiteers who are going to disrupt the operations of Europe.

And they're already concerned about right-wing candidates from the AFD in Germany coming in, from Italy, and so on and so forth. And this will be extraordinarily disruptive to E.U. institutions. And I think that by setting that deadline today of April 12th should she be unable to get that deal through, they're making a very clear statement that that is the cutoff point essentially for deciding whether or not you're going to run in these E.U. elections.

VAUSE: You know, we now have a situation where the worst case scenario is looking you know, odds-on favorites that is crashing out of the E.U. and that's bringing a red joint plea from the trade unions as well as business leaders. They've written an open letter to the Prime Minister. Here's part of it.

Our country is facing a national emergency. Decisions of recent days, of course, the risk of no deal to saw. Firms and communities across the U.K. are not ready for this outcome. The shock to our economy would be felt by generations to come. We cannot overstate the gravity of this crisis for firms and working people.

Well, you know what, no offense here, but tell us something we don't know. Those warnings have been out there for almost the beginning of this fast and the governor has taken absolutely no notice of them.

THOMAS: Right. But I think too that the government has been -- has been ignoring this. It's clear that that's also true even a strategy that is essentially my deal is the best deal and the alternative is the no deal. I'm not sure that's what the European Union was saying today.

They talked about the fact that the no deal was an option but there's also been talking about the possibility to revoke article 50 or to look at a much longer extension period that would involve participating in E.U. election so it's not a done deal.

I think if anything, they opened the door and Juncker was quite clear here that it is not absolutely clear where we're going to go from here. But they have set a line in the sand that if this deal does not go through, then you have must come back within a two-week period, not three months, not six months, but two year period in which we're going to decide.

And I think that Theresa Mays prime ministership hinges on whether or not this deal goes through Parliament next week. And if that doesn't happen, we're going to see some fairly significant moves in Parliament either for a vote of no-confidence. We already know that the parliament has voted against a No Deal, and it is possible that she will not survive this this time.

I don't see how anybody no matter which side of the political spectrum you're on would want Theresa May to be negotiating something beyond this moment. And she herself has said that she would not be interested in negotiating a long term. So she set herself up for vulnerability in that -- in that regard.

VAUSE: We're out of time, but I just see this all heading to a no deal Brexit crashing out worst-case scenario possible, but I guess we'll see. Dominic, we will be talking with you again. Thank you.

[01:10:07] THOMAS: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: A solemn day in New Zealand pausing to remember the daily mosque attacks one week ago. Thousands gather in a park near one of the mosques. First came the Muslim call of prayer broadcast nationally on television and on radio. And then few moments of silence.

The Imam of one of the targeted mosques saying he saw hatred and rage in the eyes of the terrorists who killed and martyred 50 innocent people. But instead of tearing the nation apart, the Imam said the attack proved that New Zealand is unbreakable.


GAMAL FOUDA, IMAM AL NOOR MOSQUE: Thank you for your tears. Thank you for your haka. Thank you for your flowers. Thank you for your love and compassion. To our Prime Minister, thank you. Thank you for your leadership. It has been a lesson for the world's leaders. Thank you for holding our families close and honoring us with a simple scarf. Thank you for your words and tears of compassion. Thank you for being one with us.


VAUSE: CNN's Ivan Watson live once again in Christchurch. Ivan, you know, it's been a difficult week and that was an incredible day there in Christchurch.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And after that memorial held in the center of Christchurch in the park there, we've been watching as families of victims have been burying some of the dead here. At least 26 burials taking place here.

The youngest of the victims buried is three year old Mucad Ibrahim. The oldest 77 year old Muse Awale finally a chance for people, anguished people to be able to bid a final farewell to their loved ones during what has been indeed a very emotional and painful week for Christchurch and for New Zealand as a whole.

Now to get a bit more of a sense of that and what that has meant for this country I'm joined now by Bob Parker. Sir Bob Parker, former mayor of Christchurch. And I wondered if I could get your thoughts on what you've seen today with the ceremony this call to prayer broadcast nationally, two minutes of silence. How did that make you feel as a New Zealander?

BOB PARKER, FORMER MAYOR, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND: It was extraordinary to experience walking into the big park in the middle of the city and seeing -- walking across that park like a thin stream that just seem to grow and grow and grow until there were thousands standing there. And it was an event of incredible emotional but dignity and a lot of warmth, a lot of embracing. It was very, very special.

So I mean, it's just remarkable the dignity first of all of the Muslim community in the city. They have been under such a heinous attack. Such a terrible thing has happened to them. Brutal, savage, cutting down of so many beautiful people, and the response has been one of dignity. And I think for New Zealanders as a whole, that's been an incredible insight into the strength of this culture in our city and in our country.

And I hope from the reverse direction it's also been us showing as a nation how we stand for each other and what our values are, and we've been keen I think not to let the Muslim community feel isolated at this time.

WATSON: I was struck to see so many women wearing headscarves in solidarity in a country where barely one percent of the population is in fact Muslim and many New Zealanders may never have even met a Muslim to put on -- put this on as a symbol of solidarity and respect.

PARKER: And I saw people talking to each other that often wouldn't really talk to each other. They might pass in the street or paths in the park or on the footpath near the mosque and perhaps wouldn't know what to say. So I've seen people reaching across that barrier. That's been extraordinary for us to witness.

But you have to understand I think that the people of this country will not allow one group of people in this country who are differentiated only by faith and perhaps sometimes clothing to feel that they are not welcome here. And so that has been the strength of the outreach and that has been an extraordinary thing to see.

[01:15:22] WATSON: You, of course, went through another crisis -- another trauma in this city. You were mayor when the 2011 earthquake hit and killed, at least, 185 people. And I thought I'd ask you, you know, looking forward from here, one of the big changes that the government has proposed is to ban a great deal of weapons that may be out there in the populace.

We haven't heard much blowback yet, but it will still have to go through Parliament. What are the prospects for these types of dramatic changes and this ban, you think, gone forward when, perhaps, the tears have dried?

PARKER: 100 percent. Yes. You know, it's going to go 100 percent. This should have been done years ago. And I think all of the politicians seem to be standing up whatever their political stripes. And saying, we shall do this. It's going to happen.

Now, the argument is around there, there is still more that could be done. So, there could be a registration of firearms. Not just the elimination of the semi-automatics. But we know people who've got firearms -- we don't know because they've got a license. But we just don't know how many firearms they've got on what they are. Now, that seems to me to be an extraordinary oversight. And so, I think there's pressure building for all of these things to be changed. I think the chances of success are very, very high.

WATSON: Is there an organized opposition? Is there a gun lobby that --


PARKER: Yes, yes, yes, there is. There is a gun lobby. And I mean, this is country of only 5 million people, rugged country, beautiful mountains, lots of bush, hunting is a big part of life here, and of course, agriculture is still the main part of our economy. And there are people out there dealing with pests and invasive creatures, and so on that. These all legitimate.

WATSON: That will be accomplished.

PARKER: Yes, as well as the hunters going out there. So there are -- there's a legitimate argument for both recreation and for -- in the farming areas, as well. But we do not need the sorts of weapons that are the weapons of war used against fellow human beings.

There are other weapons that can be used that are effective. And I think the whole community is embracing this.

Australia did this years ago. They took the semi-automatics out of their community. And should --


WATSON: And you -- and you -- the prime minister has invoked that model.

PARKER: Yes. She has, and you know, all political parties since that abandoned Australia have not made those changes in New Zealand. It's tragic that has taken this awful event for us to make these changes.

After changes are being made, I cannot see the government being allowed to back off this by the community.

WATSON: All right. Sir Bob Parker, former mayor of Christchurch. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on this day. Seven days after the deadliest terrorist attack in New Zealand's modern history. Back to you.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you for that. Well, mocking a U.S. war hero complained about the media retweeting white supremacist is same says nothing Donald Trump will not do on Twitter.

And now that includes casting aside decades-old Mideast policy. All these 213 characters could mean for Israel and U.S. relations in the region.

Also ahead, one week after Cyclone Idai, help is finally arriving with tens of thousands of people across Mozambique. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:20:37] VAUSE: Decades of long-established U.S. foreign policy out in a single tweet. U.S. President Donald Trump, says 52 years of Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights is enough. He tweeted, it's time for the U.S. to recognize Israel sovereignty over the disputed territory. It's a move that odds with international norms.

Israel's seizure and annexation of the land was condemned around the world needless to say the Israeli prime minister a very happy man. What he said with the U.S. Secretary of State by his side.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: We are deeply grateful for the U.S. support. We're deeply grateful for the unbelievable and unmatchable support for our security and our right to defend ourselves. And everything that you do on behalf of Israel and for the State of Israel in so many forms, thank you. Thank you, Mike Pompeo. Thank you President Trump, and thank you America.


VAUSE: Dalia Dassa Kaye is the director of the RAND Corporation Center for Middle East Public Policy. She joins us now from Los Angeles. Dalia, thank you so much.


VAUSE: OK, President Trump, but specifically asked about the timing here of this decision and whether it was made now to help the Israeli prime minister who was in the midst of a pretty tight reelection. Here he is -- this is was he said.


MARIA BARTIROMO, ANCHOR, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: It's not about Netanyahu's reelection?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I don't -- I wouldn't even know about that. I wouldn't even know about that. I have no idea he was doing OK. I don't know if he's doing great right now, but I hear he's doing OK. But I would imagine the other side whoever's against him is also in favor of what I just did.


VAUSE: If the U.S. president really doesn't know anything about the Israeli election, are there some pretty big problems here that we should be worried about, seriously?

KAYE: Well, I can't answer -- I can't answer that. But I have a feeling he follows it a little more closely than he might be suggesting there. But what he did say was correct in the sense that this is a popular move across the political spectrum in Israel. There is definitely concerned about what's happening in Syria, Iranian influence there. The Golan is a strategically important plateau for Israel, third of its water sources comes from there. So, it is true that it's welcomed in Israel but I think, you know, my concern and many others concern is that from a U.S. strategic perspective, it's not really clear what this move accomplished, while it really poses a lot of risk for long-term U.S. interest.

And that's what I think is very puzzling and it fits a pattern of moves by this administration that leaves the U.S. rather isolated. We're the only country in the world now doing this. We are breaking international law and it's setting a very dangerous precedent that claiming territory by force is acceptable. And that's a very dangerous message to be sending.

VAUSE: I want to get actually talk about breaking international law, because a lot of people said that this is, in fact, in defiance of the U.N. Security Council resolution, in particular, 242, which was passed after the Six-Day War.

So, much of that, this is getting a little long into the week, so bear with me, because 242 emphasizes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. And as the word "war" which is important because often war is replaced by the word "force".

And that matters because Israel took control of the Golan Heights, you know, as an act of self-defense during the 1967 War. And it's actually, you know, they took the territory, and if they were forced to give that territory back to the people who started the war, essentially, they can declare war whatever they want, they wouldn't lose anything, everything would return to the status quo.

The other important line in 242, it calls for the withdrawal of Israel from territories occupied in recent conflicts. Specifically, not that territories or as the French version says, du territoire, which translates to, of the territory.

You know, the Israelis they lean on the English versions to argue the resolution does not require to give up all the territory that you gain through the Six-Day War.

KAYE: Yes.

VAUSE: So, -- you know, like I said, it's very much in the weeds but words matter. So, is there an argument that can be met the U.S. is, in fact, not breaking a Security Council resolution?

[01:24:41] KAYE: Yes. Yes. Well, you know, I'm not a legal expert but I do think that the issue here is that we are breaking the principle of land for peace deal. And it is true that Israel has a right to defend itself, but I don't think anybody and it's -- I think, it's a misleading discussion to be talking about whether we're trying to push Israel out of the Golan Heights. I don't think anybody who's realistic about the situation in the region is really believing that Israel is going to leave the Golan Heights anytime soon. Especially given the situation in Syria and a horrendous Civil War that has been underway there.

But the idea is that this so -- this settlement should be decided ultimately in a diplomatic process and there was no one clamoring for this. You know, it's not like -- you know, U.S.-Israeli relations would have been abandoned. That it would have been the -- in a major crisis had the U.S. now done this.

The status quo was working perfectly fine for dozens of years. And, in fact, even in 1981, when Israel first unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights, the Reagan administration was concerned and opposed the move by Israel. Arguing that it violated the Camp David Accord.

So, putting international law aside, it violates a very important U.S. principle. And again, puts us at odds with the rest of the international community which is setting up a pattern here that we've seen again and again from this administration.

And most worrisome, I think, was the U.S. embassy moved to Jerusalem. But this fits a very similar pattern.

VAUSE: Yes, maybe Donald Trump will get a train named after him or another train or bus or something. That's happened with the Jerusalem move, I think.

Just add to your point here, just over a week ago, the Secretary of State gave no indication that this change to U.S. policy was coming. He is quoted as saying, his probably, New York Time story. "On Wednesday morning, before flying to Israel, Pompeo held a news conference in Kuwait City with the foreign minister of Kuwait. American reporter asked Mr. Pompeo for the exact position of the United States of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Were they or were they not occupied by Israel? Pompeo said only there is been no change in U.S. policy never be he did not lay out what that policy is."

You know, it's possible Pompeo didn't want to reveal details before any kind of official announcement. It just seems to unlikely they did just know anything was coming. No one knew anything was coming. There's been no planning in preparation ahead of time, and as you say, there are consequences.

KAYE: Yes, it could be this role it was a little more chaotic than expected, but most of us observing the region. I don't think or terribly surprised. This administration has really shown again and again an inclination to kind of support Israeli preferences. And what worries I think a lot of observers is the question of what long-term consequences, will this have for U.S. strategic interest.

So, again, this issue had been coming up over the past months, in fact, even the -- even last years since Trump came into office. I think there were Israeli leaders again across the spectrum. They saw this as an opportunity and administration favorable to U.S. interest, a very devastating war in Syria. Nobody is expecting Israel to give up the Golan anytime soon. So, I think, Israel saw an opportunity to capitalize on it. And you know, the timing, you know, may be linked or may not be linked to this particular moment in Israel's electoral politics. But I think this was not a particular surprise. And ultimately, does not change, I think that's the other concerning thing. Does not change the fundamental Israeli concern about Iranian influence in Syria.

This is really symbolic, though it does create international friction with no clear gain. Including for Israeli security interests because Israel's going to have to continue to be bombing and containing Iranian influence, and Iranian military assistant to Iranian allies in Syria with or without this recognition.

So, there's no real concrete changes on the ground in terms of what the U.S. is delivering here.

VAUSE: Yes. All practical sets, you know, everything stays the same, but it's the long-term consequences which are -- you know, which should be noted here.

KAYE: Yes.

VAUSE: Dalia, thank you so much. It's good to see you.

KAYE: Thank you.

VAUSE: When we go back, wait you can follow. The long-awaited report into allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign may soon be done. But until then, they playing other scandals going on at the White House, don't worry.

There's advisors using personal e-mail, unsecured communications with world leaders, obstruction of justice allegations over a violation for the Constitution, a volume is closed although this goes on and on and on. We'll have more on a moment.

And Britain has torched a no-deal Brexit bullet, at least, for now.


QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, EUROPE PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: Probably, we have all been a bit too laid-back about the prospect of no-deal, and saying, nobody could be stupid enough to let it happen. Well, guess what, they might be.


VAUSE: Oh, yes indeed. With a chaotic crash out still very possible. We'll look at the carnage that might cause.


[01:30:49] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody.

I'm John Vause with an update of our top news this hour.

Moments of silence and calls to prayer in New Zealand, a nation coming together to mark one week since a hate-filled gunman mowed down worshipers at two mosques killing 50 people, wounding 50 more; 26 victims are expected to be buried Friday.

Ending decades of U.S. policy, President Donald Trump says it is now time to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights. Israel seized the territory from Syria in a 1967 war, annexed it in 1981. The move comes less than three weeks before the Israeli voters go to the polls.

E.U. leaders have agreed to give U.K. more time to ratify a Brexit deal. Brussels has offered two options. Brexit will be delayed until May 22nd if the British Parliament approves Theresa May's exit deal but if that fails, again the U.K. has until April 12 to find a way forward.

U.K. still has the option to reverse Article 50 which would actually prevent Brexit altogether. More than two million people have signed a petition to do just that.

But Theresa May says she has no intention of reversing anything. She still believes she can win support for her Brexit deal in parliament even though she has failed big time twice before.

Meanwhile European leaders just want some clear answers.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We continue to hope that Britain will leave the European Union in an orderly manner. But we must also be prepared for other possibilities in such a way that they're acceptable to the people in Europe.

SEBASTIAN KURTZ, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): If there's no agreement in the British House of Commons, then it is up to Britain to take action if they want to prevent a hard Brexit. If there is no agreement in Britain, we will be a next step closer to a hard Brexit.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We wanted to provide clear answers that are compatible with our agenda. It's for the British to clear up the ambiguity. There's none on our side, we gave them two very clear dates.


VAUSE: Well even though E.U. has granted a short extension, there's still the a possibility of a no-deal Brexit, the worst case scenario option.

Nina Dos Santos looks at how that could affect daily life in the U.K.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The white cliffs of Dover, the first glimpse of Great Britain for goods arriving surviving from the continent. But with days to go before its official exit date what would happen to daily life if the U.K. went over the cliff and crushed out of the E.U. without a deal?

(on camera): After two years of negotiations with Brussels and a deal twice rejected by parliament, Theresa May's government has put forward more than 100 proposals designed to try and mitigate the short term effects of a no-deal Brexit.

This means that airplanes can still fly between the U.K. and the E.U., rail services and road transportation will remain uninterrupted and E.U. citizens who've lived in the U.K. since before March 29th will also continue to be eligible for medical care and social security benefits.

Well, that's the theory at least. But the practicalities are far less clear.

QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: We've lived in such a nice, easy world in Europe, for so long where there's been a single market and no border controls were necessary. We're suddenly going back to an old world we haven't seen fully for 50 years.

DOS SANTOS (voice over): The army has been put on standby in case of unrest. Police have had their holidays postponed. And the government's stocked (INAUDIBLE) essential goods like medicines and food less they get clogged in trucks like these at ports.

(on camera): But finding balance (INAUDIBLE) the U.K. supply means that even a small disruption can cause knock-on effects. Take for instance the petrol pump. Even if there's no actual no shortage of fuel, price rises (ph) could cause panic buying.

(voice over): The same could happen at shops and supermarket.

ANDREW OPIE, BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM: There's a real bottleneck at Calais. So if we get disruption which we do anticipate we're going to have major problems getting things like lettuce and tomatoes and strawberries on to our shelves.

DOS SANTOS: E.U. drivers know whether their licensees will be recognized in the U.K. And pet passports may no longer be valid.

For 17.4 million Britons who voted to leave the E.U. Brexit was about taking back control of their country's borders, laws and money.

[01:34:58] PEEL: Probably we have all been a bit too laid back about the prospect of no deal and saying nobody could be stupid enough to let it happen. Well guess what? They might be.

DOS SANTOS: With the prospect of a hard Brexit looming closer by the day, it's the uncertainty of how things will look like in the immediate aftermath that has many worried.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN -- London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Sometimes during moments of stress with the pressure continuing to build, and with the stakes sky-high you just got to laugh.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Tusk -- you said a while ago that there was a special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without a plan. Well, the withdrawal agreement is part of a plan. If British MPs don't vote for it next week, do you think that special place in hell should be enlarged to include more members of the House of Commons?

DONALD TUSK, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: According to our Pope, the hell is still empty and it means that a lot of space is left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is the right moment to conclude the press conference. Thank you very much.


VAUSE: I guess you had to be there.

Well moving on, no one really knows when Special Counsel Robert Mueller will finish his report into Russia's election interference. No indication if it will even be made public. Even so there is a growing sense of anxiety in Washington and beyond. But the only option now -- to wait.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports from the White House.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the White House is awaiting the arrival of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia the President is clearly gearing up for battle for the 2020 election firing up the conservative base.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have a president who is also fighting for you. I'm with you all the way.

ACOSTA: But tonight the President is facing new accusations of stonewalling as House Democrats complain the White House is blocking their efforts to seek information about Mr. Trump's conversations with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Democratic leaders released this letter from the White House counsel stating "While we respectfully seek to accommodate appropriate oversight request, we are unaware of any president supporting such sweeping requests."

House Democrat are seeking any documents that can reveal why the President seems so eager to accept Putin's denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election. TRUMP: I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will

tell you, that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

ACOSTA: House Democrats are also on the hunt for personal e-mails and encrypted text messages from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner revealing in a statement that the attorney for the President's daughter and son- in-law confirmed that Mr. Kushner has been using WhatsApp as part of his official duties in the White House.

And also confirmed that Miss Trump continues to receive official e- mails on her personal e-mail account and she does not forward the e- mails to her official account.

Using private messaging to conduct government business was something Mr. Trump slammed Hillary Clinton for doing in 2016.

TRUMP: Russia -- if you're listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.

ACOSTA: As for the Mueller report the President is urging its release.

TRUMP: Let it come out. Let people see it. That's up to the attorney general. We have a very good attorney general. He's a very highly respected man. And we'll see what happens.

ACOSTA: One reason why growing optimism inside Trump world where advisers believe the report will conclude the President did not commit any crimes. As one adviser predicted, "This clears the deck for us."

There is a fresh sign the President is working to shore up his support heading into the 2020 campaign as he lends a hand to a key political ally. The President announced the U.S. will recognize Israel's control over the Golan Heights, an area that's been hotly contested for decades.

Tweeting, "After 52 years, it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights."

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: President Trump has just made history. I called him. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel.

ACOSTA: The move is a gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an unabashed Trump supporter who's facing reelection next month. But the President denied he did it for any political reasons.

TRUMP: No, I wouldn't even know about that. I wouldn't even know about that. I have no idea. He is doing ok.

ACOSTA: But the President still facing pushback on his recent comments that he approved the funeral for the late Senator John McCain.

TRUMP: I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as President I had to approve. I don't care about this. I didn't get a thank you. That's ok.

ACOSTA: The site of McCain's funeral, the National Cathedral released a statement contradicting the President's comments saying quote, "Only a state funeral for a former president involves consultation with government officials. No funeral at the Cathedral requires the approval of the President or any other government official."

(on camera): As for the House Democratic investigations an attorney for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner pushed back on the claims coming from House Democrats saying they were not completely accurate.

[01:40:04] But the prospect that the President's own family members were conducting government business over private communications raises questions about whether the Trump family learned any lesson from the 2016 campaign when they hammered Hillary Clinton over her e-mail use.

Jim Acosta, CNN -- the White House.


VAUSE: Well the European Union has promised $4 million in emergency aid to the countries affected by Cyclone Idai. The storm has brought (ph) widespread devastation in southern Africa ever since it hit almost a week ago. The threat of more downpours is not over yet but the rain has started to ease.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo is on the ground in Mozambique with a look at the response efforts so far.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): When CNN landed at Beira International Airport, you could see the scene as it was at this place which was the first landfall of Cyclone Idai. There were several choppers belonging to humanitarian agencies that's about to begin descent towards here as well as a helicopter from the World Food Program.

Then you enter the airport and you see a massive hall with a rudimentally written words "Idai Response". And in there according to the office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations, there are over 22 international organizations that have come to do this Idai response.

The response of course comes about a week after the cyclone hit and put so many people's lives in peril.

But this is where it first hit -- in Beira. It then moved on up country and created what people are calling inland ocean which is massive -- a massive body of water throughout Mozambique. And it went on to Zimbabwe where it crashed people in their sleep by breaking down massive mountains.

And of course, it is quite unclear, how many people have been killed, what the death toll is in either Mozambique or Zimbabwe and in indeed, in Malawi. So at the moment as we are here in Beira, we're trying to see the extent of the damage for ourselves and of course, what's going to get done to rescue people that still need lifting from very heavily drowned, and watered down villages and in throughout the entirety of this three nations

Farai Sevenzo, CNN -- Beira, Mozambique.


VAUSE: Bad weather also is threatening parts of Australia with many now on the move before two huge storms arrive over the weekend.

Cyclone Trevor expected to hit the northern territory on Saturday with winds in excess of 200 kilometers per hour. And then Cyclone Veronica expected to cause flooding on the coast of Western Australia on Sunday.

Derek Van Dam joins us now with more details on all of this. So you know,200 kilometers per hour, it's the same size, same wind speed, if you like, as the Cyclone Tracy back in 1974 which left the region devastated.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. And what makes this situation so unique as well John, is the fact that we have simultaneous cyclones impacting northern Australia at the same time. I mean within the next 24 to 48 hours both western Australia and the Northern Territory are going to feel the impacts by two significant storm systems.

The only saving grace here is that they're going to be impacting areas that are sparsely populated specifically in the Northern Territory.

But look let's be honest, there are indigenous communities across the northern territory and that will be difficult to access once the strong, powerful, tropical cyclone moves in.

This is Trevor, the latest from the joint typhoon warning center, 140 kilometer-per-hour sustained winds. This is the Gulf of Carpinteria. And it continues to move in a general west -- southwesterly direction. It will still strengthen before making landfall.

There are currently evacuations taking place along coastal areas of the Northern Territory. A lot of people are taking harbor in the inland communities like the town of Catherine or perhaps into Darwin right along the coast, away from the storm's path.

We had gale force warnings in effect for much of the Northern Territory, coastal regions and the extreme northwestern sections of the Queensland region as well.

This storm system has the potential to produce several months of rain in a four to five day period as it tracks through the northern territory and in and around Queensland.

Look at Alice Springs. It's the rainy season this time of year but if that gets a direct hit from the moisture from this particular system they have the potential to see several hundred millimeters of rainfall that could of course create some inland flooding.

Now to the other side of Australia to western Australia -- tropical cyclone Veronica, 205 kilometer-per-hour sustained winds. This is a stronger, more powerful storm system. It is expected to slow down as it approaches the western Australia shoreline. And this will impact a slightly more populated part of the country.

The Port Hedland region, you can see that that is in the direct path of the storm. In fact they have gale force warnings for that particular area.

[01:44:58] And as it approaches the coast it's expected to stall out and bring copious amounts of rain to this region. So not only do we have a flood threat across Queensland and parts of the Northern Territory but right along the coastline of western Australia, we could see 500 millimeters in the next five days -- John.

VAUSE: Derek -- thank you for the update -- appreciate it.

VAN DAM: Welcome.

VAUSE: A holiday tragedy in northern Iraq has claimed at least 92 lives after an overcrowded ferry capsized in the city of Mosul. The boat was carrying about 150 people, twice its capacity. They were celebrating the Persian New Year as well as Mother's Day.

Dozens of people remain missing. And families are checking a public bulletin board hoping for any information. The river was high and moving quickly and the bodies were swept downstream long before would- be rescuers could try and save them.

Just ahead here, Russia's military says it's intercepted a U.S. bomber over the Baltic Sea. Was it a training mission or a warning by Moscow which says the U.S. is provoking a fight it may not be ready for.

Also Facebook and privacy -- words that don't really go together these days. So you may be thinking of pulling the plug but breaking up with Facebook is harder than you may think. We'll tell you how to do it. That's next.


VAUSE: The Pentagon has a message for Moscow -- tone it down. Russian defense officials now saying the U.S. is trying to raise tension by flying a warplane near the Russian border.

CNN's man in Moscow is Fred Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russia lashing out at the U.S. after claiming Russian jets intercepted a nuclear capable B-52 bomber over the Baltic Sea. A Kremlin spokesman saying America is risking an escalation in eastern Europe. DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN (through translator): Such actions of the United States do not lead to strengthening the atmosphere of security and stability in the region that is directly adjacent to the borders of the Russian Federation. On the contrary, this probably adds more tension. We regret such actions of Washington.

PLEITGEN: Russia claims it scrambled SU-27 interceptor jets. Russian state TV even showing a graphic claiming the Russian warplanes chased the B-52 away.

The U.S. Air Force denies that claim saying quote, "The B-52 had a routine interaction with a Russian SU-27 27 wile conducting operations over the Baltic Sea. The pilots were using transponders and operating in conformity with international law. The Russian aircraft did not chase the B-52 away and the bomber was able to complete its mission.

[01:49:59] The U.S. has recently deployed six of the B-52s to the European theater, a move apparently meant to send a message to a resurgent Russia. The Pentagon saying Moscow has been building up its forces and increasingly becoming more aggressive on NATO's doorstep.

The Russian air force recently flying their own supersonic PU-22 N3 bombers over the Black Sea. And while President Trump and Vladimir Putin both say they still want to improve U.S. Russian relations, Moscow accusing the U.S. of risking a nuclear war.

Russia's deputy foreign minister saying quote, "The threshold for the use of nuclear weapons is decreasing due to a newly--adopted strategy in the United States which blurs the line between national conflict and war within the use of nuclear.

The U.S. for its part says Russia has long been violating nuclear nonproliferation treaties and says Moscow needs to tone down its rhetoric and its posture.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Moscow.


VAUSE: Oops, they've done it again. Like a bad Britney Spears song that keeps coming back, Facebook has again failed to protect users' privacy. This time, the social media giant admits millions of passwords were accessible to its employees by storing them as plain text in an internal database.

Facebook launched an instigation when the problem was uncovered in January and says no evidence has been found that anyone abused or improperly accessed the passwords.

A spokesman told CNN, the issue primarily affected the users of Facebook Lite. The scaled-down version was available in countries with limited Internet.

Well there is a way to unplug from Facebook but deleting your account -- it's complicated.

Here's Sam Burke.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know the drill. A Facebook scandal emerges, users get worried about their privacy and hashtag delete Facebook starts trending. But ditching your account isn't as helpful or as easy as you think.

Deleting your Facebook account does not mean you actually delete Facebook the company from your life. Facebook still owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. You'll have to delete your account on those platforms as well.

And you may have even signed into other Web sites using your Facebook account. For example if you created you're Spotify log in through Facebook you will have to create a completely new account which means saying good bye to all your carefully curated playlist.

Getting rid of your account may prevent Facebook from collecting getting further data on you but if you're still searching for things on Google or buying things on Amazon, for example, big tech is still collecting information about you and using it to sell ads.

Despite that, if you're set on deleting Facebook here's how it's done. In your account settings download all your data and information first. At this point face gives you the option to deactivate your account. This removes most traces of you from the social network but saves everything in case you want to restore your account at anytime.

But if you're ready to delete your account go ahead and click that blue button. It's not instant but after 90 days Facebook says he will have cleared out your information and your Facebook account will be officially deleted.

And don't cry for Facebook it still has 2.3 billion other users to tend to.


VAUSE: Well thank you. It's nice to get and also to give but sometimes there's just no way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hallmark has a very limited offering on "thank you for the funeral" card.


VAUSE: Yes. Donald Trump just can't let it go when there's no gratitude for the funeral.


VAUSE: U.S. President likes a thank you even for a funeral he didn't unauthorize or for oil prices he had nothing to do with. But mostly Donald Trump is grateful for being Donald Trump.

CNN's Jeanne Moos reports Trump is making gratitude great again.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Here is a soundbite with little too much bit. That jaw dropper about John McCain.

TRUMP: I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted. I don't care about this -- I didn't get a thank you. That's ok.

MOOS: McCain sense of humor was such that he'd probably appreciate the late-night roasting President Trump got.

CONAN O'BRIEN, TALK SHOW HOST: Probably McCain is just one of many dead people who never thanked Trump.

I never heard from Lincoln.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hallmark has a very limited offering of "thank you for the funeral" card.

MOOS: How about thank you for those oil prices? The President once tweeted "So great that oil prices are falling. Thank you President T."

Or "Thanks for approving that oil pipeline."

TRUMP: Can you imagine the boss of whatever the hell company it is who never actually called me to say thank you but that's ok.

MOOS: Actually he did say thanks in person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you Mr. President.

MOOS: And how about those college students the President helped extricate from China after they were caught shop lifting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the three UCLA basketball players will say Thank you President Trump?

MOOS: But you know who does say thanks? Those cabinet members.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't thank you enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to thank you.

MOOS: And people in commercials for Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for fixing our economy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you President Trump for letting us say Merry Christmas again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to call the number on the your screen and deliver a thank you to President Trump.

MOOS: You'd think thanksgiving would be the President's favorite holiday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine thanksgiving at the Trump House. Let's go round the table and all say what we're thankful to me for. I'll start.

MOOS: President Trump was actually asked at thanksgiving what he's most thankful for.

TRUMP: For having a great family, and for having made tremendous difference in this country. I've made a tremendous difference in the country.

MOOS: He's made gratitude great again.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

TRUMP: I didn't get a thank you.

Thank you very much

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And press 1 to tell President Trump thank you.

MOOS: -- New York.


VAUSE: In the off chance that the President of the United States is watching, thank you Mr. President for watching.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. George Howell takes over for me right after a short break. You're watching CNN.

Thank you.