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EU Agrees to May's Request for Brexit Extension with Conditions; White House Says ISIS in Syria 100 Percent Defeated; Hundreds Dead, Thousands Missing After Cyclone in Mozambique; Millions Without Water Food and Supplies After Cyclone; Trump Backs Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights; Indonesia's Garuda Cancels Boeing Orders Worth $4.9 B; E.U. Agrees To May's Request For Brexit Extension; Washington Braces For Release Of Mueller Report. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 22, 2019 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN London, I am Isa Soares in for Hala Gorani. Tonight.


MICHEL BARNIER, EU BREXIT NEGOTIATOR: As you know hope dies last.

THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UK: We are now at the moment of decision.


ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: It's been three of the Brexit now Britain has three weeks to sort it out. After the drama in Brussels we ask what comes next?

Also, tonight, harrowing stories are coming out of Mozambique a week after a cyclone smashed into the country, and the small strip of land that is at

the center of the political storm. The Golan Heights after the United States President recognized Israel's right to its sovereignty.

First, the fate of Brexit is in the hands of the British. That's according to European Counsel President Donald Tusk. The length of that delay

depends on the British Prime Minister's ability to get her Brexit deal through Parliament. Some saying she's failed to do twice before. She had

hoped for a three-month extension but it could be as little as three weeks. Erin is in Brussels for us. Nina, I want to start with you. Theresa May

has a bit of breathing room but the pressure remains. She still needs to get her deal through Parliament. Has her chances improved or weakened

since she has gotten back from Europe?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well one of the things that weakened her chances of that was before she went to Brussels when she decided to

take to the air waves a couple of days ago pitching the very politicians she needs to get on her side. Next week as she manages to get that deal

through parliament because she has to get through the Speaker first who said that he will only entertain a vote on it if it is substantially

different than the two previous attempts. Those MPs she pitted against the people were left decidedly irked by that maneuver. She set a bit of a more

conciliatory tone when she made her speech in Brussels after the last night's agreement to get a shorter deadline than she was after.

It's looking unlikely that she will manage to make it third time lucky. As I said before, she's even got to get this past the Speaker to make sure he

will allow her to table a vote on this in the first place. Could see another embarrassing loss between Theresa May. With the deadline fast

approaching, she hasn't managed to buy the three months she was after. She has managed to buy about three weeks. The first thing she has to try to do

is get legislation urgently through the House to try and get that March 29th deadline off the cards now.

SOARES: Nina, to stay with us, I want to bring in Erin. Europe had until probably yesterday, you can correct me if I am wrong. Played hardball with

Theresa May and the agreement. Why have we seen a softening from EU leaders?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, LONDON BUREAU: Essentially, we have seen a softening. European leaders going into the

summit had been thinking of was presenting Theresa May with challenge of sorts. Get your deal over the line. If you do that, we'll give you a

short-term extension. I'm told it was changed after she addressed the EU 2017 leaders. She was invasive if her presentation. She didn't have clear

answers to the key question. What if you fail. She did not provide clarity. If that we saw a shifting in EU leaders thinking. They decided

to make a more flexibility situation. Essentially creating a new cliff edge. The new cliff edge being April 12th. That's the deadline in which a

member state needs to put forward candidates for the Parliamentary election. The deadline is designed to give a period of reflection to the

United Kingdom to analyze the tough choices before it, take a listen to what the President of the European Council Donald Tusk had to say about



DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: It means on the 12th of April, anything is possible. A deal, a long extension if they decided to

rethink the strategy or invoking article 50.

[13:05:00] The fate of Brexit, our British friends, as the EU, we are prepared for the worst but hope for the best. As you know, hope dies last.


MCLAUGHLIN: It is really seen here in Brussels as the cleanest, possible solution. It preserves the integrity of the European Parliament. It

prevents that cliff edge from happening next week. Critically, it puts the ball back in Theresa May's court.

SOARES: Erin McLaughlin for us in Brussels, Nina Dos Santos outside House of Parliament. I'll be speaking to you again. Plenty of time next week.

Thank you to you both.

Now the White House says the ISIS caliphate has been defeated. Sarah Sanders made that announcement and said the Pentagon will provide details

soon. I want to take you to the front lines in eastern Syria right now. There's action in the battle. That's where we find Ben Wedeman. He has

been on the ground in Syria for weeks now, I think almost 2 months, What can you tell us? What with you see this hour?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have seen air strikes in last 15 minutes on this last bit of territory which is the edge

of hill behind me over looks t-- this comes minutes after President Trump threw his spokesman Sarah Sanders said ISIS has been 100 percent defeated.

Lost 100 percent of its territory. Clearly the Syrian Democratic forces and ISIS haven't gotten that message. The fighting is ongoing. There is -

- I can still hear it. Ongoing gunfire. The spokesman said among those hundred, there are women and perhaps women and children being held as human

shields within the tunnels in the mountainside. I can just go quiet. Maybe you can hear some of that gunfire. The battle is ongoing. It's not


SOARES: Ben, I'm going the pause for a second. I want our viewers to get a sense of what's going on behind you. I'm going to silence for one


WEDEMAN: OK. It's very far away. I don't know if you can make out the sound of it. The air strikes are much more distinct on the audio spectrum.

SOARES: It's very faint, but we can see couple of spots behind you. We can. Do we know -- I know we had someone at the White House, really the

ISIS caliphate has been 100 percent defeated. I know it's dark right now. What do you see today during the last 24 hours to prove this is not the


Well, what we have seen, what we have heard behind us. There's been air strikes basically some from about 5:00 P.M. local time. That's two hours

ago plus. There's been a series of air strikes. At this point around six air strikes.

I did get in contact with a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces. He said the statement by the White House does not contradict what the Syrian

Democratic Forces are saying. There's a few hundred hold outs that need to be dealt with and they will be dealt with right now.

[13:10:00] SOARES: He's been there for two months now. Thank you.

I want to take you to Africa where the devastation from the Cyclone Idai is staggering, there are reports of hundreds of bodies strewn along the

streets of Mozambique. These are the latest pictures of survivors and you can see the tiny baby being taken off rescue boat. The Red Cross and Red

Crescent say the destruction is worse than imagined and fear from communities cut off from my flooding as well as landslides.

I want to bring CNN's Farai Sevenzo, he's in Beira, Mozambique. Give us a sense of what's happening on the ground and what you have seen.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a devastating kind of scenario as you may well imagine. What we have seen here on the first point of impact

with southeast Africa is that many buildings, the very hotel I'm standing in its windows are shattered. There's no barrier on this fifth-floor roof.

The real concern is the bodies of water. Their homes completely submerged. They were up to their chest, waist in water. The real fear is as the Red

Cross in Geneva just say a little over an hour ago that they are starting to see cases of cholera and malaria for those still stuck in the waters.

It was an area of 200,000 people. At the moment the real concern, the scene at the airport is chaotic mix of humanitarian organizations that I'm

trying to fly by chopper to this very far way places. Then we're hearing stories of bridges that have collapsed. Accessibility is extremely

limited. It's a critical kind of moment. How many can they save eight days or so after the disaster? How can they get them to safety? We have

seen pictures of people being whisked off by helicopter.

SOARES: All right. Painting a picture of what's happening on the ground. Thank you very much.

I want to bring in Elhadj As Sy, he's the Secretary General of the International Federation of The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, he is

in Johannesburg right now, but he saw the devastation in Mozambique firsthand just days ago. Thank you very much for joining us. I know you

left Mozambique. Give us a sense of what you saw and just how dire the situation is, because we just heard from our correspondent. He is saying

in fact many towns are still unable -- many agencies are not able to get access to those towns because they are completely submerged.


Even places where we had forests. 10-meter-high trees are underwater not to talk about the houses and unfortunately many people, their livestock and

livelihoods under water.

[13:15:00] The death toll we fear will be over a thousand. Also, hundreds of thousands of people who lost everything coming to the port of Beira.

And being registered and brought into transition centers which are not any better in schools that we visited, 16 classrooms, 6 toilets only but 3,000

people needing everything. Shelter, clean water. Sanitation, hygiene, food. And psychological support. So many children traumatized. We can

read it in their own eyes.

And because all of that are limited abilities in Mozambique, what people are facing is exacerbated. What we need to do is very fast and urgently

try to respond to shelter needs and water and sanitation needs in order to prevent diseases from breaking out and then turning into epidemics.

SOARES: You're talking about food, clean water, medical supplies still in dire need. The threat of disease is a huge concern no doubt. Has any aid

been able to reach the majority of most people? We are looking at some footage from your aid agency, your work on the ground there, how many

people, is there a sense of knowing how many people are still stranded, waiting for help from aid agencies on rooftops or the like? Can you give

me a sense of those people that are still waiting for help?

SY: Numbers are changing by the day, we are estimating, a number of people are impacted, affected, when the dust settles it will be in the millions.

Every day we discover more people that are stranded. I flew over today and many other places. We could not land because of the heavy rain. We have

to do what we don't consider the best way of distributing relief other than dropping them from the air.

We get as close as possible in towns to see people in desperate need, when they see the helicopter coming in waving and crying for supplies. Until we

get them down there and start counting those people, is very difficult about the numbers, but the fact of the matter is they are huge, at least

hundreds of thousands of people are already coming into Beira, not talk about those who are still stranded that we are discovering day by day.

SOARES: Is there enough assistance and should the international community be doing more?

SY: I think the community as well as the agencies are doing great work already on the ground. Altogether we are not anywhere near the scale and

magnitude of the disaster. We need much more shelter, food and clean water and medical supplies. The urgency is also there and we are sitting on

water and sanitation ticking bomb if we do not act fast. We all are trying now to increase our capacity to respond and we need to have more resources,

more funding. And we are calling on all supporters and donors and partners to invest more in the front-line workers that are already on the ground

doing the work, Time is of essence right now.

SOARES: We know from your agency saying that already some cholera cases have been reported along with increasing number of malaria infections of

people trapped by the flooding. This is what you and I have been talking about at this point. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

Still ahead, critics say it's a thin veiled gift to Israel's embattled prime minister that goes against international law. Donald Trump is

defending his decision to change decades of policy. We'll have much more after a break.


SOARES: When it comes to the Golan Heights it's Donald Trump and Israel against the rest of the world. There is a huge international blowback to

Trump's call to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Trump is expected to make it official next week handing Israel's Prime

Minister a gift before crucial elections.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am here in the Golan Heights were there is years of evidence of fighting between Israel and Syria.

Israeli forces seized this mountainous territory from Syria in 1967 during a six-day war. Since then it's been considered occupied by the

international community and the United Nations Security Council.

Israel annexed the Golan in 1981. No country in the world recognized that annexation until now. U.S. President Trump overturning decades of U.S.

foreign policy and saying it's time to recognize Israeli sovereignty here because of its strategic significance. Any position here has a great

vantage point from which to look into southern Syria on one side and northern Israel on the other.

The bigger question is why now? That appears to be because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who share a tight relationship with President Trump

faces a difficult re-election campaign ahead of elections on April 9th. He's been sliding in the polls a bit. This will give him a boost for that

election campaign. This happened while Mike Pompeo was here. He went to the western wall in the old city of Jerusalem which is unheard. Trump went

to the western wall on his home out of respect for the sensitivity. No more. Pompeo went with Netanyahu which what appeared to be the Trump

administration campaigning for Netanyahu. As for international reaction, so far, no country has indicated they are willing to following the U.S.

lead in recognizing Israeli sovereignty here. Saying the position remains unchanged. This remains occupied territory. Syria says the U.S. is

blindly biased toward Israel. The U.S. can't simply ignore U.N. Security Council and do something like this unilaterally on its own.

In terms of what changes here? The answer is very little. It has been administered and control by Israel for so many years this area, the Golan,

that it seems the community is accustomed to that.

SOARES: Thanks very much. Let's get more reaction to the story now. We are joined by CNN SENIOR diplomatic correspondent, Michel Kosinski live at

the State Department, and senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen joins us from Moscow. Fred, what does Moscow have to say on this?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very important. The reaction from Moscow obviously a big adversary of the United States.

[14:25:00] A country that is quite active in the Syria theater and therefore has a proximity to this conflict as well, in fact, a couple of

months ago I was with Russian forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, and obviously they are trying to bring that situation under

control there.

Some of what Oren has already mentioned, and delve into, the spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry she came out and said that essentially what

the US was doing was against UN resolutions, specifically, one from 1981.

One of the things the Russians are doing, they are trying to scratch at the U.S.'s moral authority in the world, if you will. The U.S. very critical

and has been in the past of Russia's annexation of Crimea. The Russians also firing back and also saying that essentially the U.S. could

destabilize that region. I want to read from it quick. We asked the spokesman for the Kremlin about this earlier.

He said, "Such calls," he calls what President Trump said a call. "Such calls can significantly destabilize an already tense situation in the

Middle East. The idea itself does not in any way contribute to the goals and tasks of a Middle East settlement. It's the opposite."

The Russians are saying the U.S. is destabilizing the situation. The Turks are saying something very similar, the Iranians calling this unacceptable.

Quite interesting also, the Turks said they support the territorial integrity of Syria. Of course, we do know that the Turks also themselves

have some forces on Syrian soil as well.

SOARES: Stay with us. I'll come back to you. I want to bring in Michelle. This recognition by the White House could be interpreted as the

government interceding. The U.S. government campaigning for Netanyahu. Is there a precedent for this?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: How could it not be viewed as that? Look at this timing. It's a decision that's listen

long and coming. We have seen some indications leading up to that. It's been discussed. Could it not have been done after the elections? In this

administration's view, clearly no because it is clear that they support Netanyahu 100 percent. They want him to win. They've been throwing him

these gifts. The proving of the U.S. embassy. The voting against a U.N. resolution condemning Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights. Here is a

big one. The Secretary of State side by side, beaming next to Netanyahu as he called this a miracle for the holiday. This is a big deal for him just

before a tough election.

I find it interesting though that it wasn't very long ago that when Secretary of State Pompeo was asked by reporters about Netanyahu aligning

himself with the more extremist for right elements in Israel, what did Pompeo think about that? Is that concerning?

Pompeo wanted to stay out of it at that point saying it wouldn't be appropriate. I'm not going to get involved in domestic politics. Here he

is today, yesterday, but here he is now standing along side Netanyahu just before this election acting like this is this great thing that the U.S. has

done, that they support Netanyahu completely on this.

I think you couldn't say given the timing this is not a big help for him during this campaign.

SOARES: And Michelle, the secretary of state has said more than just a miracle, he suggested divine intervention delivered Trump for the salvation

of Israel. Let's just take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could it be that President Trump, right now, has been raised

for such a time as this just like Queen Ester to help the Jewish people from an Iranian menace?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: As a Christian, I certainly believe that is possible, to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place, and

the work that are administration has done to make sure this democracy in the Middle East, of this Jewish state remains. I'm confident that the lord

is at work here.


SOARES: Michelle, how are these comments being received there?

KOSINSKI: There's plenty of talk about this. He was asked about this. Before that question, he was asked about how his evangelical Christianity

informs his work in the roles that he's played in the U.S. government. People say there's something wrong if it when he's talking about that

faith, informing his views of U.S. fought foreign policy and in his view, this is what is happening here. It makes people say it could be that god

has helped Trump to save the Jews.

[14:30:11] It's a clear violation of what is supposed to be a strong separation of church and state in this country. CNN analyst John Kirby

said, he called the remarks reckless and dangerous and giving comfort to extremists around the world who want to view the west as religious


SOARES: Michelle there for us. Fred Pleitgen in Moscow. Thank you.

Still to come tonight, the EU gives Theresa May more time to get her deal through Parliament but not simple as it sounds. We'll bring you the latest

developments and discuss what happens next after the break.


The crisis for Boeing grows. We're learning new details about the criminal investigation as orders are cancelled. We'll have the latest from Richard

Quest, next.


SOARES: Now, the Indonesian airline Garuda has cancelled a multibillion dollar contract with Boeing. The carrier ordered 50 Boeing Max 8 jets in

2014, but only one has been delivered so far. And it no longer wants the rest.

Garuda says its passengers have lost confidence in the plane after two of them crashed five months apart. One off the coast of Indonesia, one in


Meanwhile, a report in the New York Times says both of the planes that crashed were supplied by Boeing without two specific safety features which

were available to airlines, but for an extra charge.

And now, a criminal investigation in the U.S., into the safety certification of the Max 8 is underway. It has been found that pilots

flying the planes were given a short online course that made no mention of the automated system that is now the center of the crash investigation.

Let's put everything into context first. Richard Quest is here for more. Richard, what do you make of this? Because it's pretty worrying, isn't it?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: It is. The worrying part about it is that the pilots didn't know about this new anti-stall safety mechanism.

They knew what could happen. They knew the effects. They know how to deal with a nose down, but they didn't realize what was causing it.

And the FAA has just put out a statement this evening in which it talks about there was no need to because the pilots were trained. The pilots

were already -- trained on existing safety mechanisms to deal with this scenario. But they didn't note a crucial fact of what was causing it.

The FAA would say, well, that doesn't really matter. If a nose is down, there's only so many reasons why you do this procedure.

SOARES: So, what is Boeing saying to this? What do they have to say?

QUEST: Excuse me. Boeing is not saying much. They're in the midst of an investigation that's going to the very heart of the company's ethos and

philosophy. The CEO recently talked about how safety is first. Safety is foremost. Safety is their goal. It is their DNA.

Well, this report. This investigation could call that into question. Why? Because it could mean that Boeing allowed this plane's design to proceed

without thinking it through.

The clearest -- the lawyers have a phrase "Res ipsa loquitur," which means the facts speak for themselves. You know, when anybody in Boeing or the

FAA says pilots should have been able to, well guess what, the pilots in the previous Lion Air, the pilots in the instant Lion Air, and the pilots

in Ethiopian didn't.

[13:35:17] SOARES: Probably easy question, Richard, but don't they get simulated training when it's for situations like this?

QUEST: Yes. Well, you need two types of simulator training. You need simulator training for a runaway stabilizer.


QUEST: That, they can get with any sim. But then the MCAS, the new safety software would only be on a 737 Max simulator. And they've only just

started coming into operation. There's only, I think, it says -- there's only like a dozen or so anywhere in the world, as they are rapidly moving

them out.

So you've got to work out where you're getting the right form of training in the right kind of simulator.

SOARES: And meanwhile, you have an Indonesian airline basically saying, we don't want the other 49 planes. What do you think is going to happen here?

Do you think they're going to -- can they just rescind on that order or --

QUEST: No, it's much more complicated than that. Boeing won't let them just do that. Well, what they will do is they will end up changing the

makeup. So instead of taking maxes, they'll take NGs, Next Generations, an earlier model.

But my guess is the Garuda will eventually take the Max's. Because once this thing is sorted out, you have a fine aircraft. Because Boeing does

make very good aircraft.

SOARES: More than just tinkering, I think, isn't it?

Richard Quest, thank you very much.

Well, I want to return now, if I can, to Brexit. And the question everyone wants the answer to and that is, what exactly happens next? The E.U.

agreed to extend the deadline for the U.K. to leave the bloc, but there are strings attached.

Brexit can be delayed until May 22nd, but only if parliament approves a withdrawal deal at the third asking. Now, if lawmakers reject it yet

again, the delay will only last until April 12th.

So as usual, the road to Brexit is complicated as well as confusing. Let's get a view from Europe on this latest developments and a potential way

forth. German MEP, Hans-Olaf Henkel joins me now from Berlin. Sir, thank you very much for joining us.

First of all, I want to get your reaction to what was agreed last night in Brussels. And no strings attached Brexit delay. What do you make of it?

HANS-OLAF HENKEL, MEMBER, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Well, I think it's actually good news because Brexit in my view is a catastrophe for both Britain and

the European Union. And any opportunity that it might be avoided at the end, I think, is welcome or should be welcomed.

And so the parliament rejected next week then, of course, the British government has, as you said, until April 12th, to come up with different


What are the solutions? Number is revoke Article 50. That is possible. The other one is come up with a different deal. Well, then it will take a

long time. And the third one is call for a referendum and let the British public decide.

SOARES: We'll talk about what you would like to see in just a moment. But what the EU has done in many ways is leave the door open for Theresa May

for a different part, like you say. What are you hearing from your colleagues? Is there a sense that you're getting on the ground? There is

still hope for a soft Brexit or referendum or even a general election. What's the mood there?

HENKEL: Well, to my great astonishment, quite frankly, the mood in Europe is just too relaxed. They seem to ignore two things. Number one that the

European Union has some responsibility for Brexit, in the first place, because it was always Britain which want -- did not want centralization

which did not want socialization. They wanted competitiveness and less bureaucracy. And Brussels didn't play according to that game.

And number two, that is totally underestimated said in the Europe. The economic situation -- by the way, Germany doesn't grow more than one

percent this year is terrible. Britain going is equivalent to 19 smaller and medium size countries going at the same time. And Britain is today

still the largest single custom of the European Union. The head of China and the United States.

So I think it is in the interest of all to try to find a way out of this mess.

I think what we need here is a kind of Churchill in Britain who did say at that time, look, this appeasement policy of Chamberlain doesn't work, I'd

change it. So we need a politician in Britain who says, look, I will go back to the public and tell the public the cabinet couldn't make up his

mind. The parliament couldn't make up his mind, so I go back to the public. And I will ask the public, do you want the no-deal? Do you want

Mrs. May's deal or do you -- would like -- would you like to stay in the European Union? I think that is the only way out of this mess.

[13:40:04] SOARES: You say that Europe has been too relaxed. How would you describe Theresa May's leadership?

HENKEL: Well, of course, he's being criticized from everybody. But I also must say, quite frankly, I have some respect for her, for her tenacity

here. And I understand that she has no option than going for the third time and ask this question.

But once the parliament rejects it, then I think she should take that road. She should say, look, parliament, you didn't make up your mind. And the

only way out is I now go back to the people. I think that should be her role. That is what she should be doing. And if she does it, and I think

history will be rather generous to her.

SOARES: But, Mr. Henkel, with respect, Theresa May has said time and time again, the people have already voiced, the people have already voted on

this. They know where they stand and she wants to stand by their decision.

So you said that Europe has been too relaxed. How so? What else could Europe do at this point?

HENKEL: Well, I take your argument which I think is a good one. The argument coming forward by the Brexiteers which says, look, the people have

been asked and they gave an answer.

But by the way, it was her safe who now goes for the third time with the same proposal to her parliament. So I think she creates, if she wish a

precedent for doing this. And let's face it. No British person I have met and I've met a lot of Brexiteers, a lot of remainers, none knew what they

were going into when they went to the referendum.

And by the way, also the European Union has changed. Let's not forget that David Cameron, when he asked the European Union for some more autonomy over

immigration, he didn't get it. And that might have been the reason for the Brexit to go into that particular direction.

And meanwhile, more European countries than ever before want the same kind of autonomy over immigration. It's not only Poland and Hungary. It is

also Belgium and it is the Netherlands and Denmark. And even the German government has significantly changed its refugee policy.

So I think Europe needs Britain. Britain has always been the advocate for free trade, for competitiveness for subsidiarity. And without Britain, I

think the European Union is doomed and will not stay competitive as compared, for instance, to the United States.

SOARES: Mr. Hans-Olaf Henkel, thank you very much for joining us there from Berlin. 6:42 in the afternoon. We'll have much more talking on

Brexit after a short break.


[13:45:02] SOARES: Welcome back. So the path forward for Brexit is still pretty unclear. Muddy by uncertainty over whether Theresa May can get her

deal through parliament. It's not clear if there can even be a third meaningful vote.

The U.K. Speaker of the House ruled on Monday, if you remember, that such a vote would not be allowed without substantial changes.

Our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson joins me now. And, Nic, you and I have been speaking for many years now about Brexit. I imagine

you never expected that it would get here.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: In a way, in this exact shape and form, no. But I think the idea that it was always going to

come down to a tough negotiation down to the wire. We sort of knew that, but we didn't really know what it would look like. And we didn't really

know that the prime minister would, in essence, lose control.

And we didn't really know that she would fall out with so many people within her own party and across party lines over this. But we should have

done because, after all, a negotiation brings out the hard bottom lines in every one's position and that's what we're seeing now.

SOARES: We should have done knowing having seen the negotiations prior with Europe, when it comes to the Greek crisis, economic crisis. I

remember to a last minute, it's very tough negotiations. So maybe we expected that between the U.K., between Britain and Brussels.

ROBERTSON: (INAUDIBLE) officials warned it, look what happened to us. The position we were put --

SOARES: But we didn't think perhaps within her own party or how complicated it would be.

ROBERTSON: Or as British politicians said, we're too important a market for the rest of Europe to lose. We are too important for the rest of

Europe to lose. Yet, Europe is not -- is not just Britain. It's 27 other nations.

And irrespective of how much buying power relative to those other nations within the E.U. Britain has, it is still the organization of the European

Union that wants to survive, as Britain leaves and respects it once it leave. So it has to look to ensuring it so in the future.

SOARES: So trying to protect itself. We are here, in many ways, because of the Irish backstop. You have been aligned many times on this story.

Has the mood shifted, at all, in the last couple of months? Is there a sense -- people saying, well, we are where we're at because of assets our

fault? Always looked pretty adamant that we need to be here because this is crucial for us.

ROBERTSON: So one of the fundamental things -- there are several fundamentals to understand about Northern Ireland and one of the

fundamentals is it's not homogenous that we know that there are desperate views because they went through 30 years of violence over there, just for


But when it comes to the view that Theresa may is listening to and needs to listen to because that's what provides the majority in parliament and we

understand that that difference of views, a large chunk of that difference of views isn't represented in Westminster because the republican parties do

not take up their seats in Westminster.

There is actually a homogenous view for a non-homogenous situation being presented to the prime minister. So in the context --the simplest way I'm

putting it.

So in the context of Norther Ireland, you will hear the extreme views on one side that, you know, this hard Brexit and the -- and the backstop needs

to be in place to allow our view of a potential united island to exist.

Opposed against the view that Theresa May continues to hear from the Democratic Unionist party which very and even today is still saying, look,

you were in Brussels yesterday. You should have taken that opportunity to negotiate tougher.

They still believe that Theresa May can negotiate a better deal from the European Union. So you have only part of the population speaking for the

whole population and Theresa being driven by that and the Hardliners in her party hooked up to that view as well.

SOARES: We shall see whether she can get the third vote through. Nic, Robertson, thank you very much.

We'll have more to come including, I can't think of any government report more anticipated, in fact, than the one that we'll be discussing after the

break. We've been discussing for some time. U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller could release his findings any time now.

We're looking for all the signs that it's coming. We'll tell you after the break.


[13:50:06] SOARES: Washington is collectively bracing for the outcome of the special counsel's Russia investigation. Signs point to the Mueller

probe wrapping, in fact, as early as today.

President Donald Trump says he's just as in the dark about everyone else. But that's not stopping him from launching into a greatest hits of his

critics. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no idea about the Mueller report. Well, we're going to see what happens. It's going to be

very interesting. But we'll see what happens. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. Everybody knows it. It's all a big hoax. I

call it the witch-hunt. It's all a big hoax. So we'll see what happens. I know that the attorney general highly respected, ultimately, will make a



SOARES: He also told Fox News that people won't stand for unfavorable report. Stephen Collinson joins me now from Washington with more.

And, Stephen, all eyes clearly outside as we've seen Mueller's office looking for any hints this report may be nearing its conclusion. What

signs or clues she will be looking for that may suggest that Mueller is, in fact, nearing an end?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, there have been a lot of signs over the last few weeks. Certain prosecutors leaving his team.

Other activity that has ended or hasn't taken place for a long time around the grand jury, who which witnesses were brought to testify.

So there's long been a feeling that this is drawing to close. That has got much more intense over the last three days. And the whole of Washington

really is on edge to wait for the delivery of this report by Mueller to the attorney general.

Now, this isn't going to be some big reveal. We're not expecting to find out what's in that report for potentially days, weeks, or even months.

This is a report that Mueller is making to the attorney general. Then the attorney general, William Barr, has to decide how much of that report he's

going to make available to Congress and eventually to the American people.

SOARES: And I believe we have a little pilot graphic to show kind of those hints that you were just mentioning there, Stephen. I think we can bring

it up because we've had -- here we go. Mueller didn't take a lunch break on Thursday. The staff is bringing family to visit special counsel's

office and prosecutors seen wearing tan not dark suits.

I don't understand the third point, the tan not dark suits. What is that about, Stephen?

COLLINSON: Well, you know, when something as tightly under wraps as this, every anecdote becomes a potential clue and it's the cause of rumor and

everything else. The tan suit refers to Andrew Weissmann who's Mueller's deputy in this prosecution.

Mueller is famous for always wearing a white shirt, a neutral tie and a dark suit. And everyone on his team does exactly the same. That was the

same when he was at the FBI and it's the same now.

Now, the fact that Andrew Weissmann was seen by reporters wearing a tan suit was supposed to indicate, well, we're getting to the end of term.

Everything is a lot more relaxed. So you can see in the absence of any information, what happens here.

There is actually a serious point behind this. Normally in a Washington investigation, for example, during Ken Starr's investigation to Bill

Clinton that led to his impeachment. There was so many leaks. There were so many stories in the press.

Robert Mueller has run the most tightly controlled investigation we've ever seen in Washington, really. There's been no leaks. And that's why you see

these small anecdotes suddenly being blown out of all proportion because people are just trying to find out, OK. What clues do we have to tell us

how this is going to end?

SOARES: Yes. And the question really remains that Trump -- President Trump will no doubt say it's a witch hunt and the -- and the people -- his

basis will probably - will have already made up their mind, weren't they?

[13:55:02] Stephen Collison, thank you very much for joining.

And that does it for us tonight. Do stay with CNN. "AMANPOUR" is coming up next.