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Theresa May To Ask E.U. For Another Brexit Delay; European Council President Tusk on Twitter: Let Us Be Patient; France's Macron: E.U. Won't Be Held Hostage to U.K. Political Crisis; Turmoil Turns United Kingdom Into Divided Kingdom; President: Congress Must Act To Keep Southern Border Open; Trump Threatens To Close Border With Mexico. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 3, 2019 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: One thousand and thirteen days ago, Britain voted to leave the E.U., and now, with just nine days before an already extended deadline, with parliament deadlock, the country facing its biggest political crisis in a generations, Britain's Prime Minister says it's time to take a new approach, if nothing else, better late than never.

Theresa May, reaching out to the opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to find a cross party compromise, one which can reach the elusive 326 votes in parliament. Corbyn is willing to talk, and with that, Theresa May will, once again, ask the European Union for an extension to an already delayed deadline.

And she insists, her withdrawal agreement, the only plan agreed to, by the E.U., but rejected three times by lawmakers, will be part of any deal.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: This is a difficult time for everyone. Passions are running high on all sides of the argument. But we can and must find the compromises that will deliver what the British people voted for. This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands, and it requires national unity to deliver the national interest.


VAUSE: So, the next move here, will be from Brussels, as CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports, patience among E.U. members is growing thin.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, patience, is the word of the evening here, in Brussels. Even though there is still no real clarity coming from London. We heard from President Donald Tusk of the European Council, reacting to British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on Twitter, saying "Even after today, we don't know what the end result will be, let us be patient." But the European Council, two weeks ago, at that Brexit summit, was extremely clear that it is now up to the United Kingdom to put forward a substantial proposal, and E.U. officials since, have provided clarity in terms of what that proposal could be.

Absent their approval, a majority in the House of Parliament, for the withdrawal agreement, leaves basically two options; a long extension, and a no deal possibility, both were essentially ruled out by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Instead, talking about an extension for a cross party compromise. a short extension at that, diplomats telling me that any extension would bear a minimum, and their view, require participation in the European Parliamentary Elections, by the United Kingdom, something that British Prime Minister Theresa May says she wants to avoid.

So, at the end of the day, where does this leave this process? Donald Tusk may be urging patience, others in Brussels say, patience is wearing thin. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Brussels.


VAUSE: Joining me now from Los Angeles, one again, CNN European Affairs Commentator, Dominic Thomas, OK. So, the E.U. is reportedly preparing to offer the British Prime Minister a long delay.

We have a report from the Financial Times, he's part of it, under any offer of an extension, E.U. leaders are expected to attach one non- negotiable condition: participation in the European Parliament elections, which are scheduled for May 23rd to 26th.

Faith in Mrs. May is so low that the E.U. would want formal parliamentary approval of the poll, officials say, rather than relying on the prime minister's word, which says a lot. But just very basic here, why is it so important to the Europeans that Britain takes part in those election?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, yes, I think there are two things, John, I think the first thing is to remember that each member of the European Union is allocated a certain number of seats.

If the U.K. withdraws from the E.U., that means there are 73 seats to go back to the European Union, and the European Union has spent the Brexit time, deciding what to do with those. And they've decided to allocate 26 to existing countries, and to hold back 47 seats for future members.

That means that in the 27 different countries, or in those that have been allocated new seats, there are going to be members running, they need to know when they're going to run, the need to prepare for their constituents.

And so, therefore, they need to know whether the U.K. is in this or not. The other aspect of this is quite straightforward. The E.U. is a 60-plus-year-old institution with its own rules, regulations, and so on. It has given the U.K. just about all that it could to be able to negotiate some kind of deal and reach consensus.

And so, for them, it is very straightforward. They don't want them hanging around without an absolutely, you know, finalized deal, in the E.U., without participating in these elections. And you have to be sympathetic to the E.U.'s position on this.

VAUSE: OK. The Labour opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, he seems optimistic that maybe there is a deal which could be done here, and approved in a matter of days, maybe a week. This is what he said.


JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY: Well, it looks as though that may not be -- we may not be taking part in those elections. I don't see that as the most important issue one way or the other.

[01:05:05] The most important issue is to make sure we don't crash out of the -- of the E.U. next week, with no deal, and what I believe will be a degree of chaos that follow as a result of it.


VAUSE: If you follow his logic, you need a deal worked out with Theresa May before the weekend. That just seems optimistic to be polite, you know, slightly delusional, perhaps.

THOMAS: I mean, John, it's just absolutely remarkable. I mean, you know, the parliament is moving to legislate against a no deal. So, that's going on while all of these other shenanigans are being talked about. Look, this has been going on long enough.

One that never really knows what could happen in a space of four or five days. If given all that has gone along so far, it is highly unlikely that they are able to reach a deal, get it legislated, and pass through parliament, so that Theresa May can skip across the channel to Brussels, next week, for the E.U. council meeting and present them with something.

Now, it's not impossible, the arithmetic is there, in parliament, for a cross party deal. But it's certainly is highly unlikely to happen, and would be really quite extraordinary.

VAUSE: Yes. So, from the E.U.'s point of view, it seems as sort of a binary choice here, crossroads, if you like, there'll be a long delay, which means taking part in European elections, or a no-deal Brexit. Here's the E.U.'s Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier.


MICHEL BARNIER, CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR OF THE EUROPEAN UNION: No- deal was never our desire or intended scenario. No-deal was never my desire or intended scenario. But EU27 is now prepared. It becomes day after day, more lively.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: He also noted the paradox here, that if there is this long delay, you have a departing member of the E.U., you need to touch in this, who will retain full membership rights and could use those rights in a kind of a self-serving way, to improve, you know, their lives in a post-Brexit world.

THOMAS: Yes, and there's a very likelihood that that is exactly what would happen, because then, the European elections, short of there being a second referendum in the U.K., or a general election, basically the next opportunity the British public would have, would be to weigh in on European elections.

Now, traditionally, only 30 or so percentage of people, have voted in these, as opposed to 60 percent plus in general elections.

But you can guarantee your bottom dollar that on this particular occasion, they will weigh into it, and the likelihood is that they'll send a whole group of Brexiteers to Brussels, to not just shape the process, but potentially disrupt the operations of the European Union. And that is of tremendous concern.

VAUSE: OK, so the Brexit bad cop here, you know, France's Emmanuel Macron, he keeps kicking heads. His bottom line is that the U.K. doesn't get a lengthy delay, simply, by asking for one. Here he is.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): A long extension involving the United Kingdom, participating in European Elections and institutions, is neither clear nor automatic. And I'd like to repeat that now with conviction.

Our priority must be the effective working of the European Union in the common market. The European Union cannot forever be hostage to the resolution of a political crisis in the United Kingdom.


VAUSE: Yes, he's been pretty adamant about this extension, but what I'm wondering is that if you look at what's happened with this, you know, deal that May has now, sort of, got into with the Labour Party to try and find this compromised plan, you know, will that be enough, though, enough of movement, of progress, from the E.U.'s point of view, to go forward with this delay, to give it more time to try and work it out?

THOMAS: Well, there is no more time, because the deadline for starting to run European MPs is coming up, which is why they provided them with that April deadline. The May is not a deadline. The May is if the withdrawal agreement is agreed and passed through Congress -- through parliament, and legislated, then they can go all the way to May. If not, the deadline is coming up.

And Emmanuel Macron, in many ways, has staked his reputation on these E.U. elections, because he was very clear in speaking out in saying that these European elections are about liberal Euro files, going up against far-right nationalists.

In the last European elections, in 2014, the largest constituent to go from the U.K., was UKIP, with a third of the votes, and in France, it was the National Front. He has got his own battles going on at home, but now, you add into the equation, the alternative for Germany, far- right, the leader in Italy.

There is a serious -- there is going to be some serious changes taking place in the constitution of the -- of the parliament here, and Emmanuel Macron is, I think, wise, to point to the risk of having the U.K. participate in these.

And therefore, short of having a real genuine deal that moves them forward towards Brexit, then ongoing membership in the European Union, and a long extension is the only other way out of this. And this is something that the E.U. going to have to think very carefully about, next week.

VAUSE: If we end up with this unity Brexit deal, I mean, however unlikely it is, if it does happen, it would be the worst nightmare, ever, for the hard line Conservative Brexiteers like Boris Johnson.

[01:10:02] Here he is.


BORIS JOHNSON, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, UNITED KINGDOM: I think it's very disappointing that the Brexit process is now being entrusted to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. And I think that the result will almost certainly be Corbyn gets his way that we remain in the Customs Union, so that we cannot control our trade policy.

The huge areas of law-making, we can't control, and Brexit is becoming soft to the point of disintegration.


VAUSE: So, how do they kill it, before it gets to that point of passing, if it does, in fact, you know, take any kind of form or shape, what is their next move?

THOMAS: Well, the next move is -- before we even go to the next move, I think it's really important to say that, you know, these hard core Brexiteers that are a minority in the British Parliament, have had an absolute incredible influence on the electoral landscape, in the United Kingdom.

And that they essentially instrumentalized the issue of immigration, stoked fears around xenophobia, racism, this island, being invaded, and a sow to be held responsible for the ways in which this has -- this has gone.

To answer your question more specifically, what they have to hope for is that this deal, that Theresa May is going to try and strike with Jeremy Corbyn, in other words, this soft Brexit, which will either result in a Customs Union, which means, virtually impossible to strike your own free trade agreements, or a European market, alignment on the single market, which means respecting the four freedoms.

It's the greatest hope for them, is that this process either collapses, or that somehow, rather, Theresa May gets her deal through, in which case, they will take control of the process, most likely, because she will have to step down. So, they're still looking to control this particular process.

The real issue, at the end of the day, is was what happened in today's meeting, a genuine change, in the direction in which the Brexit ship is going, or has Theresa May negotiated something during this cabinet meeting that essentially will allow her to get some kind of deal through, leave, having delivered Brexit, and then hand over to the Brexiteers. I think that's a great concern that we have, going forward here.

VAUSE: It's so painful, and it is just getting more painful, it seems, by the day. Dominic, thank you. Good to see you.

THOMAS: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: All the chaos and gridlock that is the Brexit process can be traced back to just one decision made by Prime Minister Theresa May. From the very beginning, she represented just one side and one side only, of the Brexit process, her party. And this last minute attempt at political compromise seems likely to be too little too late.

The once great United Kingdom now looks more like a divided kingdom (INAUDIBLE) in finding common ground. Here's CNN's Matthew Chance.



MAY: This house has indulged itself on Europe for too long.

CHANCE: This government barely capable of governing.

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: Order! Order! Order! There's a lot of very noisy barracking. Order! Order! Order!

CHANCE: These lawmakers needing police protection from public rage. Britain is meant to be one of the richest, most stable countries in the world, instead, it's militaries on standby, while its people stockpile food and medicine.

BERCOW: Order!

CHANCE: Inside the mother of parliament, even at the best of times, it's divided and rowdy.

BERCOW: Don't tell me what the procedures of this House are.

CHANCE: These are the worst of times, when the British Parliamentary System looks paralyzed and chaotic.

BERCOW: The eyes to the left, 286, the nose to the left, 344, so the nose have it, the nose have it. Unlock!

CHANCE: Recent weeks have seen a British government's biggest ever defeat, its Brexit plan rejected three times, so far, there's now talk of a desperate fourth try to get it passed.


CHANCE: It was the shock result of the 2016 Brexit referendum that plunged Britain into such a terrible mess.

QUEST: The British people have voted to leave the European Union.

CHANCE: Then-Prime Minister David Cameron, who'd argued to stay in Europe, promptly quit.

DAVID CAMERON, THEN-PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: the palace and off of my resignation, so we have a new prime minister in that building behind me, by Wednesday evening. Thank you very much.

CHANCE: Infamously, Britain's national broadcaster recorded him, humming, as he walked away to write his memoirs.

Enter Theresa May, a new leader with a definite swing in her step, and a clear idea, she said, of what Brexit really means.

MAY: Brexit means Brexit.

[01:15:00] CHANCE: What she didn't say is that it also meant tortuous negotiations with the European Union, where at times she seemed to struggle, not least with pesky car doors at important summit. Inevitably, talk has turned to a change in leadership.

You have ambitions for the leadership anymore?


CHANCE: A lot of (INAUDIBLE) is saying, you're 10 to one favorite to be --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No presents for you, Mr. Gove.

GOVE: I don't believe in betting.

CHANCE: Or possibly a general election, the third in four years to break the deadlock. Prime Minister May herself has promised to step down if lawmakers would only back her Brexit deal. She could be forced to resign anyway. Brexit may not be delivered by the end of May, but the end of May could still be delivered by Brexit. Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Well, still to come, the U.S. president started with a blatant threat to shut down the entire border with Mexico. Their country does not do more to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants are now maybe go part of it, maybe tell of it. Besides he said, Mexico suddenly swung into action with no evidence to back that claim. We'll have a look at the president's latest board of strategy in a moment.

And in less than two -- less than a week, rather, voters will decide whether Benjamin Netanyahu will remain Prime Minister of Israel. Will meet Saudi's most dedicated supporters despite the prime minister's legal woes.


VAUSE: In the United States, Democrats are stepping up their demands for the release of the full Mueller report into Russian collusion. At the same time, the president is facing questions about his threat to close the southern border. And then, there's healthcare.

And the amazing plan which the president says will be revealed after the 2020 election. Here's CNN's Jim Acosta.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In the greatest showdown over the Russia investigation, President Trump ripped into top House Democrats who were insisting that the administration released the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller.

TRUMP: Nothing you give them whether it's shifty shift or Jerry Nadler who I've known he's been fighting me for half of my life in Manhattan, and I was very successful, thank you. But Nadler is been fighting me for years and years in Manhattan, not successfully. I will tell you, anything we give them will never be enough.

ACOSTA: The president then accused unnamed forces of treason for launching the probe in the first place.

[01:20:04] TRUMP: People did things that were very, very bad for our country, and very, very illegal, and you could even say treasonous.

ACOSTA: But Mr. Trump was circling the wagons on Obamacare, confirming he's postponing any GOP plans to announce legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. Undercutting aides who said the White House would do just that.

TRUMP: I wanted to delay it myself. I want to put it after the election because we don't have the House.

ACOSTA: The President previewed the pullback on Twitter. Saying, a vote will be taken right after the 2020 election when he predicted Republicans hold the Senate and win back the House.

Democrats say that's because the GOP is all repeal and no replace.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Last night, the president tweeted that they will come up with their plan in 2021. Translation, they have no health care plan.

ACOSTA: On immigration, the president is amping up the rhetoric. Warning he's prepared to close the border over the recent spike and asylum seekers.

TRUMP: If we don't make a deal with Congress, the border is going to be closed, 100 percent.

ACOSTA: But the president left himself some wiggle room.

TRUMP: Or we're going to close large sections of the border. Maybe not all of it.

Mexico, as you know as of yesterday, has been starting to apprehend a lot of people at their southern border coming in from Honduras and Guatemala, and El Salvador. And they've -- they're really apprehending thousands of people.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump conceded shutting down the border could put a big dent in the economy.

TRUMP: Trading is very important, the borders are very important, but security is what is most important. Security is more important to me, than trade.

ACOSTA: The White House is also busy answering new questions about granting security clearances to top officials like Jared Kushner after administration whistleblower came forward to accuse the West Wing of making too many exceptions.

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I can't comment for the White House's process, but what I can say is that over the last few years that I've been here, I've been accused of all different types of things and all those things that turn out to be false.

ACOSTA: Democratic critic's counter these are valid questions, given that some aides like Kushner have been accused of using private messaging to do government business.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes and Instagram D.M.s? This is ridiculous.

ACOSTA: President made mention of an Inspector General report that he hopes will reveal how the Russian investigation got started. But the president keeps forgetting, he's the one who fired FBI director James Comey, which led to the appointment of the special counsel. That's likely to be a big part of the release of the other findings from the Mueller report.

But as the president told reporters, he will live with whatever Attorney General William Barr decides in terms of what to release from that Mueller report. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Whatever joined by Lynn Vavreck, professor of political science at the University of California in Los Angeles. Living, it's been a while. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. Let's take a close look here at what the president has been saying about closing down the southern border. If we go all the way back to Saturday, Trump tweeted out, "Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. Our detention areas are maxed out and we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the border. Will also help us with stopping the drug flow from Mexico.

OK, adamant, next step: close the border. By Tuesday, he's laying the groundwork to walk away from that threat. Mexico, he say, was apprehending more people. You know, there was a claim without any evidence. He also said large sections of the border would be closed as opposed to all of it.

Is this classic Trump in terms of negotiation so to set up this extreme position playing the other side is giving ground whether they are or whether they're not, and then, ultimately settle?

VAVRECK: It's classic Trump on multiple dimensions. The first is the one you just -- you just described where there's a declarative vitriolic statement. People love that about him because it seems authentic and it seems honest. Even though as you described sometimes there's no evidence for the claims. But it's classic Trump in another way too, and it's equally important. Which is that it's yet another effort by the president to make white voters in this country feel threatened and feel like they are becoming the minority.

And he does that repeatedly, and it -- and he has demonstrated there's a payoff to doing that. So, this is classic Trump on two dimensions.

VAUSE: Right, and the Speaker of the House, there about Nancy Pelosi, she described this approach -- you know, its overall approach to immigration the threat to close the border, as well as cutting foreign aid to three South American countries as one of the president's worst ideas ever. Here she is.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Stiff competition, mind you. This is one of his worst ideas. But there's just -- it could cover so much territory that it's hard to say worst. This is not a good idea. I don't know who's poisoning his mind on some of these subjects. But it's not a good idea to say, "I'm going to cut off the assistance -- "


VAUSE: Before what we know though is that many of the president's advisors, as well as leaders -- our Republican leaders in Congress. They've all warned him about the political backlash, you know, especially, when it comes to closing the border.

So, he may be getting advice from someone else. But, at least, the Republican leaders are saying this is not a good idea.

[01:25:14] VAVRECK: Well, I think it's part of the reason that you see the declarative statement with the vitriol and emotion, and then walking it back. It allows him to accomplish the thing that he really wants to accomplish which is talking to that set of the electorate for whom this message really resonates and is important.

And then, the fact that he has to dial it back, that he has to step it back. And he can say, he can blame other political leaders, he can blame Congress. That works for him politically. And so, sometimes I think the mistake here is thinking of these actions as being about policy. They are, and it's unclear maybe he believes these things he says maybe he doesn't.

But one thing for sure is that he knows that there are people in both parties who do feel threatened by the changing landscape in America, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, other ways that people are now different. And he knows that he can get payoff from raising these kinds of topics. And it's a big part of why he does it.

VAUSE: Yes, he also seems to be pretty good spirits at a Republican gathering a few hours ago. He predicted that Republicans would take the House in 2020. It also said the party should embrace health care for the 2020 election.

He also seemed mostly though to take delight in the controversy surrounding the former Vice President Joe Biden, on accusations of touching two women in an overly familiar way. Here is Donald Trump, listen to this.


TRUMP: We're going into the war with some socialist. And it looks like the only none sort of heavy socialist, he's being taken care of pretty well by the socialist they got to. Our former vice president he's -- I was going to call him, I don't know him well I was going to say, "Welcome to the world, Joe. You having a good time, Joe?


VAUSE: You know, when I heard that, I took that sort of your Trump referencing -- you know they all try to equate the controversy surrounding Biden with -- you know, Trump's own sexual harassment scandal.

You know, the grabbing moment, as all the allegations of -- you know, sexually inappropriate conduct. That -- you know, that seems to be a bit of a stretch, but that's never been a problem for Donald Trump, though, I guess.

VAVRECK: I don't even know what to say. The idea that the President of the United States is saying to a former vice, "Welcome to the world," is what he said. But I think everybody understands that what he's sort of saying is, welcome to the club.

And that is just problematic on so many levels more than we have time to talk about. But again, it's something that Donald Trump does all the time, us versus them. And this is again its strategy how do you neutralize Joe Biden as a potential opponent -- a 2020 opponent? Well, you make it seem to voters as if your opponent and you are the same on a whole bunch of things. And here is a dimension that a lot of people are probably going to care about in 2020. How men treat women. And he's basically said, "Welcome to the club, Joe, we're the same on this."

And so, as much as it seems like he shoots from the hip and it's just talking emotionally, a lot of these things that he says and he does really are strategically motivated.

VAUSE: This is strategy here, as a former president may say. Without in mind, you know, the president -- you know, he had a couple of good lines, I seen couples of the Democrats have this job at wind power, which seem to be a dig at this -- you know, the Green New Deal plan, which was put forward by these young progressive Democrats. Here he is.


TRUMP: If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say, the noise causes cancer.


VAUSE: And, of course, this is the president who's long had -- you know, a dislike for a strong gust of wind. But you heard the laughter in the room from here for that sort of schoolyard joke that taunting. It goes down very well a big part of the country. And in many ways, there will be a big challenge whoever the Democrat nominee will be in 2020. How do you deal with that and move on?

VAVRECK: Well, I think that this is again, I'm not sure you want to be on the wrong side of saving the planet. So, that --

VAUSE: Good point.

VAVRECK: The trick is, to talk about this, and this, this is complicated now for the Democrats. You know, Trump, again, cleverly labeling them as socialists. We heard that in that last segment that you played. "They're all socialists now, we're going to war with the socialists."

And part of that socialist agenda now is saving the planet. So, in his us-versus-them way, he's now lumped in saving the planet with these socialists who in reality are Democrats in the United States of America.


So to unravel all of that in your primary campaign as you're running for the nomination in 2020, that's a big ask. And they sort of gave that up to Donald Trump. And he took it.

And so now they're all lumped together and this issue is now part of that socialist agenda. It's going to be hard.

VAUSE: And of course, there's some people who don't think the planet needs saving which is also a big problem.

But Lynn, we're out of time. It's great to see you. Thanks for coming in.

VAVRECK: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well Malaysia's trial of the century, at the center of it -- scandal, big money and multimillion dollar yachts from the the former prime minister. That's coming up right here on CNN NEWSROOM.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will ask the European Union for another Brexit delay. If the U.K. is set to leave the E.U. next Friday with or without a deal. May also says she wants to talk with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to try and find a compromise and a way forward.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has given in to pressure and resigned. Weeks of protests focused on the 82-year-old leader. He's rarely been seen in public since a stroke six years ago.

The country's army chief seems to have played a major role here, also calling on him to step down.

President Trump renewing threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border. Hew also says he might only close, you know, parts of it. Donald Trump admits closing the southern border will hurt the U.S. economy and he says lawmakers have to change the immigration system if they want to keep it open.

Just one week before voting, Israel's election has turned nasty and personal. One candidate is accused of being unfit, the other corrupt. This has been a much tighter race than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expected.

But polls show he has a small advantage in building a majority coalition in the Knesset and that's despite facing indictment on corruption charges. He's the corrupt one, according to the allegations.

As CNN's Melissa Bell reports, Netanyahu can count on the rock solid support from some of his most dedicated supporters.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His late arrival did nothing to dampen his supporters' enthusiasm. He may be in the midst of a tough election campaign with the polls nationwide pointing towards a tight finish, but this is Likud country.

CROWD: Bibi. Bibi.

Bibi. Bibi.

BELL: In 2015, the party won nearly 40 percent of the vote here in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba . This time around, Netanyahu has the threat of indictment hanging over him from three separate corruption probes.

[01:35:00] But most of those we spoke to thinks he will win his fifth term regardless.

I think his charisma, and the way he speaks over the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Beersheba we love Bibi in here, Dimona, Yirufa (ph), Menole (ph) -- all the periphery love Bibi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's his charisma, and the way he speaks all over the world.

BELL: Who will you vote for?



BELL: Our guide to Beersheba is Uriel Gur Adam -- a local radio journalist.

URIEL GUR ADAM, RADIO JOURNALIST: A lot of people which are not living in the center of Israel mainly Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have found a place and found someone who would speak to their anger, who would speak for their misery.

BELL: Hello, how are you?

Inside the local Likud headquarters, the pile of signs was raised high we're told high, depleted by activists who came unprompted this year to get involved. They read "Davka Netanyahu" encouraging his vote not just in spite of his legal troubles but because of them -- a message not only aimed at voters but also at the media who Netanyahu accuses of leading a left-wing conspiracy against him.

GUR ADAM: You cover the indictment, you cover the whole police investigations, and actually in spite of that.

BELL: So what the signs say is pay attention to what he is being accused of and get out and vote because he's under attack.

GUR ADAM: And you remember, we've mentioned this earlier, people do give the benefit of the doubt.

BELL: Shimon Boker (ph), who is both the town's deputy mayor and the local Likud Party chairman agrees that far from being put off by Netanyahu's troubles, Likud voters have been fired up by them.

SHIMON BOKER, LIKUD PARTY CHAIRMAN (through translator): I want to tell you something. He is the Moses of our time. This is the Moses of Israel. The more they torture him, the stronger he will become, that's written in the Bible. The more they torture him, the stronger he'll become.

BELL: And yet, even here in Beersheba, Netanyahu spoke in an auditorium that was only half full.

To those that did turn up, however, their leader left them as impressed as ever and convinced that his natural ability to connect with his faithful would see him through once again.

Melissa Bell, CNN -- Beersheba.


VAUSE: A law straight from the dark ages is now in effect in Brunei, with the death penalty for adultery and gay sex, death by stoning to be precise. This strict new law was first announced in 2014 but there has been growing international pressure as well as outrage and now call to boycott hotels with links to Brunei Sultan.

Officials say, he doesn't expect anyone to accept or agree with the new law, and on that, he is right.

A high profile, high stakes trial underway now in Malaysia. As CNN's Ivan Watson reports, it all stems from a scandal involving the former prime minister, expensive real estate, Hollywood and a whole lot of money.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is Malaysia's trial of the century. Former Prime Minister Najib Razak in court on charges of corruption -- he has pleaded not guilty. Razak's incredible fall from grace began in 2016 when the U.S. Department of Justice implicated high ranking Malaysian officials in an elaborate corruption scheme.

LORETTA LYNCH, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Department of Justice has filled a civil complaint seeking to forfeit and recover more than $1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds stolen from One Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB.

WATSON: Razak's government set up 1MDB as a sovereign wealth fund, but in 2016, U.S. authorities moved to seize luxury property allegedly purchased with stolen 1MDB money including mansions and penthouse apartments in New York and L.A.


WATSON: The rights to the films "Wolf of Wall Street", and "Dumb and Dumber Too" and this $250 million super yacht. U.S. authorities claim a key mastermind in the 1MDB scandal was Joe

Lao, a suspect who is now in hiding, and also asserting his innocence.

This flashy Malaysian financier was a friend of Razak's stepson. He rubbed shoulders with Hollywood celebrities and allegedly sent jewelry and payments to someone Justice Department indictments identified as Malaysian official number 1.

That official, widely believed to be, Najib Razak.

In May 2018 a political earthquake shook Malaysia when the opposition unexpectedly trounced Razak's party in national elections.

MARC LOURDES, FINALIST: Today is the most significant moment in the country's history since independence in 1957.

WATSON: Malaysian police then moved swiftly, raiding Razak's properties, seizing $225 million worth of jewelry, luxury handbags and cash. Soon after Malaysian authorities pressed charges against Razak.

[01:40:00] The critical question would be why did the prime minister allow Joe Law (ph), who just graduated from college to run riots, to do as he pleased.

WATSON: Razak claims the charges against him are politically motivated.

And he's even recorded and released this song on social media to make his case.

Songs won't protect the former prime minister in court, however where he faces a possible sentence of more than 20 years in jail if convicted.

Ivan Watson, CNN-- Hong Kong.


VAUSE: Next up here on CNN newsroom, breakfast and bed, lunch in bed, dinner in bed -- all part of a new job which requires doing everything in bed for two months. It's finally up but where's the catch?


VAUSE: A reminder that Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones is mortal like the rest of us. The Rolling Stones icon, 75 years old, will undergo surgery this week to replace a heart valve. It means the Stones postponed their North American tour, performing apparently out of the question, say doctors.

Now Jagger said this news he knows is disappointing to his fans and so did the Stones. They tweeted this, "Mick has been advised by doctors that he cannot go on tour at this time as he needs medical treatment. The doctors have advised mick that he is expected to make a complete recovery so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible."

Joining us now is Dr. Vasilis Babaliaros -- co-director of the Emory Structural Heart and Valve Center. Doctor -- thanks for coming in.


VAUSE: I guess it's important to note here that, you know, we're looking at Mick Jagger's here from 20,000. You don't know the specific about what he's going through but you know a lot about heart valves and heart surgery, right.

BABALIAROS: Absolutely.

VAUSE: Ok. So what we're talking about here in general terms is a failed heart valve. And this is, again there's no real way to prevent it. And the only way of treating it is surgery. Is that what's happening to Jagger right now, right?

BABALIAROS: Yes. There are four different heart valves and they can either degenerate by leak or being narrowed. We really don't know what Mr. Jagger has. But we assume based on the age that he has probably has a problem with a narrowed valve, maybe even aortic stenosis.

VAUSE: You know, two weeks ago there was word of something of a breakthrough in treatment of, you know, heart valve problems and with the surgery. Here is part of the report from the "New York Times".

[01:44:57] "In open heart surgery, a patient's ribs are cracked apart and the heart is stopped to insert a new aortic valve. With trans- catheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR, the only incision is a small hole in the groin where the catheter is inserted. Most patients are sedated but awake through the procedure. Recovery takes just days, not months as is often he case following the usual procedure.

This procedure has been reserved mostly for patients so old and sick, they might not survive open heart surgery. Now two large clinical trials show that TAVR is just as useful in younger, healthier patients."

So for someone like Mick Jagger, what are the factors here that would determine what procedure he'll undergo. Will there be the traditional open heart surgery or this new TAVR procedure.

BABALIAROS: So there's anatomical factors -- what the valve disease looks like. There's also the physiologic factors. If he could tolerate an open heart surgery, it's a much heavier insult to the human body than doing something less invasive.

I think most of the patients today are pushing for a less than basic approach. And that's where the news from the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans came through with TAVR being a low invasive but very effective therapy for patients with aortic stenosis.

VAUSE: And would that be approval-ready for someone like Mick Jagger?

BABALIAROS: Well, it depends. The TAVR procedure has been approved for high risk patients. It's been approved for intermediate risk patients. The final approval has not come for low-risk patients though we believe the FDA probably will rule in this favor.

Based on all the data that's come forward, two different multi-center trials have been shown as just as good as surgery; in some cases bases than surgery for the patient.

VAUSE: Right. On Sunday when the band first announced that the tour was on hold, Mick Jagger tweeted out his apologies and he also added, "I'll be working very hard to be back on stage as soon as I can."

And when he's talking about getting back on stage. Take a look -- this is what he means.


VAUSE: Thisi is a guy who struts around, you know, for hours on end, you know and the tour goes through. This is a multi-city tour spread over weeks and months, you know.

So how long I guess -- it will be before he's strutting and stuff again. I guess he's determined to buy what procedure he goes; and also his own physical condition right now.

BABALIAROS: I think you say that quite well. You summarized. I think if he has open heart surgery we're talking about months in recovery. To me that's something like less invasive or a TAVR. He could be on the streets the next day. I'm actually hoping he's not going to cancel the tour4.

VAUSE: Yes. I mean that's the thing, you know, this TAVR procedure, its so simple and so much easier than what we've traditionally seen for a heart valve treatment right.

BABALIAROS: Yes. It's been a breakthrough. It's -- first it was performed in 2002. And it's only been iterated to be better and safer over the last 17 years. So it's no surprise that the trial was very positive in favor of a less invasive therapy for valvular heart disease.

We will see this trend likely in the other three valves as well over the next decade.

VAUSE: Right. So if we see Mick back on stage, you know, in a couple of weeks, we know that he's had this less invasive procedure.

BABALIAROS: Absolutely.

VAUSE: Those are raising the question, this sort of a cruel twist of faith. Because, you know, Mick Jagger, you know, he's lived this sort of healthy lifestyle. He's a vegan. You know, he spends a thousand dollars on face cream -- (INAUDIBLE).

But then we have King Richard who, you know, has lived the opposite style of life. This is a man who admitted, he stole the ashes of his diseased father.

And talk show host Rush Limbaugh seemed to put into words what many were thinking. Listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And this boggles my mind. Take a look at Keith Richards. The guy has defied -- the guy has done so much coke, the guy has done so much heroine. He still gets up, drinks a bottle of beer first thing out of bed. He smokes cigarettes like he owns the tobacco company.


VAUSE: So how do you explain this because you often hear these stories of, you know, the person who's led this very healthy lifestyle and leading sort of some kind of major procedures, somehow, you know, major surgery or contracting some kind of a serious ailment.

Where as the other one, you know, he lives a life maybe not quite like Keith Richards, but you know, you get the idea. You know, going through, skating through and nothing happening.

BABALIAROS: So some of it is like, a lot of it is genetics. And certainly diet doesn't seem to affect valve disease that we're aware of. So I think the vegan lifestyle or the vegan diet did help Mick do all his touring for years and years, I'm not sure it had any effect on his valve disease.

VAUSE: And Keith.

BABALIAROS: Keith is an enigma. And will remain so, a medical mystery. So we're rooting for both of them.

VAUSE: Right, yes. Because they're both the same age so that's the point we make here.


VAUSE: Wow. Ok. Doctor -- good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

BABALIAROS: Thanks for having us.

VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM: Help wanted -- 24 people have spent two months on bed design. What's the catch? While there is a lot.


VAUSE: John and Yoko famously spent a week in bed to protest the Vietnam war. They did everything under the sheets of the Hilton Hotel -- smoking, eating, singing, playing guitar or being interviewed by journalist, all to spread a pacifist message.

So if staying in bed floats your boat then here's a job for you. NASA is looking for 24 people who are willing to do everything in bed for two months. By everything, we mean everything. Think about that for a moment. But the money is good, almost $19,000.

Joining us now from San Francisco, senior writer for is Mike Wall. And Mike -- thanks for taking the time.


VAUSE: I want to read you something which comes directly from NASA. "Spending many days in bed might sound great. But most participants agree boredom sets in quickly. Daily routine, showering, getting dressed, eating, exercising takes a lot of time when you cannot stand up to do them. There is continuous data collection, blood pressure, heart rate, nutrient absorption, energy expenditure, bone mass, and even the participants' mood."

Just from a practical point of view, if you cannot get up, and you can't get out of bed, explain how does one perform bodily functions like going to the bathroom.

WALL: I would imagine that they kind of bring like a bed pan over, or maybe they even catheterize you. Like I don't know. I mean they probably -- yes. I mean it just doesn't sound good to me.

I mean people say I get to spend two months in bed. That sounds great and they pay me for it. But it sounds kind of like torture. I mean like you have to keep like at least one shoulder touching your bed mattress at like -- all times. That's part of the deal. It just -- it seems like it will be really, really difficult.

And it's all the way in like Germany. You have to get to Germany on your own dime to subject yourself to this. Like I'm definitely not going to sign up for this.


VAUSE: The only thing which -- you've got to have this 60-degree tilt where your heads lower than your feet so the blood is rushing to your head all the time. Why do they need to do that?

WALL: That like sort of simulates what you'll experience up in space so there's no gravity, to kind of pull blood down to your extremities, to your arms and legs. So like sort of like mimic that. Like actually leaning down a little bit so that the blood rushes to your head, which it does in space to you -- get like a puffy face and you get like chicken legs. So that's something else that you're signing up for if you agree to like do this for two months.

VAUSE: So when someone actually doesn't move for two months, which is essentially what this is all about, you have muscular atrophy which will set in. So this is the point of the experiment here, right. It's to recreate the conditions of long term space travel.

WALL: Yes. This is what does happen to your body up in microgravity where yes. I mean microbrewery, where, if you're not working your muscles, like every time you sort of walk around and get up, you do like the little things we all do every day. I mean that's actually work for your muscles and like keeps them in condition. And that's the same thing for your bones. It keeps your bone strong to kind of put pressure on to them and stuff. And so, when you're in space and you don't have that sort of gravity pulling on everything and making you work for everything that you're able to accomplish, yes. I mean you get muscles atrophy. You get bone loss.

All that stuff happens and that's a big deal if you're talking about going to Mars and it's going to be like a seven or eight months' trip. That's a big concern.

So what they're doing with the study is seeing what the effects are on this bed rest. And this is the sort of twist that's kind of exciting, too. It's like they're going to do it with artificial gravity component too. That's where each person who does the study is going to get spun up in a centrifuge for half an hour every day --


WALL: -- to simulate gravity. So you could also be sort of throwing up everywhere too; that's another thing in this part.

[01:55:02] VAUSE: Awesome. That explains why they're paying $19,000 for two months' work, right. That's a lot of money for, you know, someone taking part in an experiment.

WALL: Yes. I mean work. I would see this as work. Lying in bed all day and not being able to move to get up to shower, or go to the bathroom. It sounds like hard work as far as I'm concerned.

VAUSE: Ok. For someone who does take part, poor miserable person actually gets chosen for this. How long will their recovery time be. If you get the muscular atrophy sets in for being in bed for two months. You know, obviously it's going to take a while for them to get back to any kind of normality.

WALL: And that's probably is part of the study, you know. It's like they're going follow all these -- I guess they're not volunteers if they're getting paid. They're going to follow all of these kind of test subjects and see how long it takes for them to actually regain condition.

I mean they're going to monitor pretty much every bodily function, everything that they can measure, they're going to measure on these people. I mean part of that it's going to be, yes, how long does this reconditioning last. What does it take to get back up to normal after you put your body through this.

VAUSE: At the same time, this is two months when you are constantly monitored 24/7. You are never alone, with your head on the 60-degree tilt, with your shoulder on the bed at all times.

WALL: Yes. And you have to ask them to help you go to the bathroom or wash yourself. Yes. I mean maybe this is the way for us to prepare for what it's like to be old and not able to take care of ourselves anymore. Get us a little more empathy for folks who are in this condition permanently.

I mean if this is anything like space travel, I'm not interested. I'm happy to stay. It sounds like a horrible gig.

WALL: Yes.


VAUSE: I guess -- have they done this kind of things before? Or is this the first time they'll carry out this sort of experiment?

WALL: No. This is sort of a -- yes, this is a regular thing. I mean NASA does this, and the European Space Agency does this too. They're actually leading the study. It's in Germany.

They've been doing this now for a number of years. And yes. They're taking all the knowledge that they learn, and they're applying it toward the long term spaceflight problem.

And yes. And so like I was saying earlier, you know, this is the first time they're doing that official gravity thing. And if we'll all seen sci-fi movies of the starships, you know, they have part of starship is sort of rotating to like generate artificial gravity. That's sort of the idea, you know, we're a long way away from that but this is sort of taking little baby steps towards saying well what would that actually mean, would that actually help. Would that make everything better. This is the first kind of little exploration of that.

VAUSE: Yes. Miserable little tiny baby steps where you can't get out of bed for two months. Mike -- good to see you. Thanks.

WALL: Sure thing -- thank you.

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

The news continues next on CNN after this.