Return to Transcripts main page

HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Tony Blair Says He Believes A Second Referendum Must Happen on Brexit; Bill Barr Grilled on Mueller Report; First Exit Polling on The Israeli Election Expected in One Hour; Theresa May in Paris For Talks with Macron; Nadler Says He Will Subpoena for Full Unredacted Mueller Report. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 9, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, Israel will decide. But will Benjamin Netanyahu

like the decision. We are live in Jerusalem. And across Tel-Aviv for the last hour before polls close. Also, tonight --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY BLAIR, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, UK: The government tried to negotiate the unnegotiable which is to stay with the -- all the access and benefits

of membership of the single market and customs unions whilst be out of the rules and obligations of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Tony Blair tells me why he believes a second referendum must happen and why he feels sympathy for Theresa May. And facing Congress, the

U.S. Attorney General, the man who wrote that summary of the Mueller report, gets grilled by lawmakers. What he said coming up this hour.

We begin with anticipation and excitement in Israel. Where just an hour from now, the polls will close in the toughest election battle of Benjamin

Netanyahu's career. Former army chief Benny Gantz is posing a stiff challenge. Opinion polls mean nothing now because today is all about voter

turnout. Turnout was around 52%, let's go to our team on the ground. We are joined by Becky Anderson who is live in Jerusalem. And I understand

we'll get the first exit polls in about an hour?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: That is absolutely correct, Hala. Both camps trying to rally last minute supporters to the polls. Mr. Netanyahu visited

a popular beach earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): If you want to continue with the party and me, then you need to go vote. Go to

the beach afterwards. I'm telling you, go to the polling station and vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, for his part, Benny Gantz called the election a day of hope when he cast his ballot near Tel-Aviv.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENNY GANTZ, CANDIDATE FOR PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: We should all respect democracy, we all should take responsibility. Go to vote. Respect each

other and let us all wake up to what you have done and the history that will be made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: We are expecting the first exit polling just after voting ends at the top of the hour. But it could be a long night ahead as the actual

ballots are counted. Let's check in with our two reporters in Tel-Aviv, Oren Liebermann at the Likud election night center where Prime Minister

Netanyahu watched the returns come, and Michael Holmes is at Benny Gantz's Blues and White party election night headquarters.

Oren, what can be described as the fight of his political life, Mr. Netanyahu leaving absolutely nothing to chance, imploring voters to get out

and vote. What's the mood there with less than an hour to go?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are certainly some nervous jitters. They don't know if it will be a party or a concession speech. We

see that in Mr. Netanyahu's actions. He has implored his voters repeatedly using social media as he has throughout the campaign. We're seeing more

and more tweets from him, Facebook posts imploring voters to get out there.

He's said all weekend, he's four seats behind his rival and he needs all the voters to vote themselves but bring their friends to vote. That's a

stark difference, I might add from the campaign up until now which was all about highlighting his foreign policy accomplishments and his relationship

with his apparent best friend Donald Trump where he tried to openly campaign for Netanyahu.

That was U.S. recognition of U.S. sovereignty in the Golan Heights, Mike Pompeo visiting the Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem, U.S.

designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. All of this seemed to build Netanyahu up. That has gone

away at the moment and right now Netanyahu is focusing on getting out the vote here to make sure when those exit polls come in, the actual results

come in, it's Netanyahu who's ahead.

[14:05:00] But this is a very, very tough campaign. Netanyahu seeking that fifth term in office that will make him Israel's longest-serving official.

There's a tremendous amount on the line for Netanyahu. Becky?

ANDERSON: And just remind us, he could lose as far as the headlines are concerned in an hour's time and still win in the end. This is all about

coalition building, isn't it?

LIEBERMANN: It is. And here Netanyahu has the clear advantage because he's done it for so long and also because most of the smaller parties are

right wing parties and it seemed he was content with that strategy. He didn't need to come out with the biggest party after election day. As long

as he had the magic number of 61 seats.

That strategy seemed to shift in the closing days of campaigning where he made that sharp right turn promising his voters, promising the right-wing

base that he'll pursue annexation of settlements in the west bank. Now it seems he's trying to soak up, suck up, to take in as many right-wing votes

as possible. There's a risk there. He may put some of his potential coalition partners under the crucial electoral threshold. Those will

become wasted right-wing votes and that may make it harder for him to form that 61-seat coalition.

ANDERSON: Benny Gantz, of course, will be hoping that voters are getting out and voting for him. Michael, he described Mr. Netanyahu as running a

desperate campaign in order to overcome his legal problems. What's the atmosphere like where you are tonight?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's starting to build, I think, it's fair to say, Becky, here at the Gantz campaign venue. The crowds have been

building up. There's an enormous media contingent here, I must say. Dozens and dozens of international and Israeli media here. When it comes

to benny Gantz, he's been trying to differentiate himself. Benjamin Netanyahu has portrayed himself as Mr. Security.

But of course, benny Gantz is a former army chief of staff, the top man in the defense hierarchy and within the blue and white party, two other former

chiefs of staff as well. That's sort of blunted Benjamin Netanyahu's claim to believe the only one who can bring in security. Let's bring in a blue

and white official joining us now. We've seen Benjamin Netanyahu calling on the voters to get out. He says it's a desperate situation. We've seen

a bit of that with blue and white as well.

YAIR ZIVAN, SPOKESMAN, BLUE AND WHITE PARTY: It's close. We're about 45 minutes away from the close of the polling stations. We know every vote is

going to count. I can tell you the leaders of our party have been making phone calls to undecided voters and to our voters to make sure they're all

getting out and I'm sure that's happening with --

HOLMES: What are you hearing from your people out in the field? The turnout is a little lower than it was in 2015. How much of an issue will

that be for blue and white?

ZIVAN: We're hearing there's great excitement, a lot of people coming from across the political spectrum which gives us hope. We had an incredible

field operation out at ever polling station, that's very encouraging. Now we have to wait and see what the results are.

HOLMES: When it comes to that coalition building, it's been said that Netanyahu has the edge there. He's got more potential coalition partners,

that even if Benny Gantz is, two, three, four, five seats ahead in the head to head, that Netanyahu has the edge. Do you buy it?

ZIVAN: Not at all. If this election is clearly been a head to head, whether the public previews Netanyahu or Gantz.

[14:10:00] HOLMES: Donald Trump met with Netanyahu in Washington, he recognizes Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, moved to the embassy

to Jerusalem, designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization, Benjamin Netanyahu said thanks for doing what I asked you to

do. How much of an impact has that had?

ZIVAN: That has a great impact on Israel. We're very happy that President Trump did all of those things, recognizing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

as a terrorist organization. Those are all positive things --

HOLMES: The electioneering for Bibi?

ZIVAN: I don't think so, I think he was doing things that a good friend of Israel should do, things that positive and good for the whole country. And

we support it. We support it. We've been running a campaign for over a year and a half now to get international recognition of the Golan Heights,

it's something we're very happy about.

HOLMES: Yair Zivan, thanks so much. Appreciate that with the Blue and White Party. We're building up to those first exit polls. They were wrong

last time. We shall see. In the hours after that, we will get a firmer idea of how the voting has gone, Becky?

ANDERSON: Michael, Oren, thank you for that. 6.3 million eligible voters and all of those votes count in what many are calling a referendum on

Benjamin Netanyahu. From here in Jerusalem with more on the final moments of the election right ahead of the first hard data in days, those exit

polls, breaking them down and getting stuck into the numbers. That's all right here. Back to you for more on that, of course, soon.

GORANI: Becky, we'll be watching that coverage. Thanks very much.

The U.S. President's influence on the Israeli election should not be underestimated. Donald Trump has been a vocal supporter of Prime Minister

Netanyahu and just yesterday, the Prime Minister praised Mr. Trump for designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. He

even took credit of that decision tweeting, thanks to responding for another one of my important requests.

Nic Robertson joins me now. Let's talk about this. But also, the fact that the President of the United States recognized the annexation of the

Golan Heights, really throwing some help Netanyahu's way here.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Absolutely. Netanyahu, if you look at the latest polling earlier this year in the

country, he's given a 60% positive rating for his foreign policy dealings. He makes a lot out of his foreign policy. He went to Brazil for

Bolsonaro's election. He hosted Duterte. He goes to see Putin in Russia. He hosts the Indian Prime Minister.

So, he sets a lot of stock on that. So, President Trump validates that. It's not just, you know, the way Benjamin Netanyahu portrays himself at

home as strong on foreign policy. President Trump is validating that.

GORANI: Will it help him, though, in the election? You have a real contender here?

ROBERTSON: When it comes to foreign policy on those polls, Gantz comes out, you know, three times lower on foreign policy than Netanyahu. But on

security, which is sort of important to everyone in Israel, they come out neck and neck. So, recognizing the Golan in the run-up to the election --

GORANI: It's not just the Golan. It's also the promise to annex parts of the west bank and that is something that -- what has been the U.S. reaction

to that?

ROBERTSON: Well, obviously there was -- if you go back before the Golan Heights, you have the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,

the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, all of these have been positive things there and the -- and the United States, Trump pulling the

United States out of the Iran nuclear deal. All of these things have been positive for Netanyahu. The read on that issue is it seems likely that

President Trump is going to fall in line with what Netanyahu would want.

GORANI: Interesting, Netanyahu also visited Moscow. What was that about?

ROBERTSON: Well, he doesn't shy away from having big friends around the world who have bad reputations and that -- in the long run, may not be of a

benefit to Israel. But right now, it benefits him because it makes him look like a big guy playing on the big stage, goes to see the Sultan of

Oman. That foreign policy to be seen doing well on the international stage is a bonus for him. But it's a security challenge that he faces.

[14:15:00] GORANI: It's interesting to see the results. Thanks very much, Nic Robertson.

Let's shift gears to Brexit. The clock the running out. She will be discussing that with them on Wednesday. If there's no extinction, Friday

is still officially the day that the U.K. leaves the EU. Today she visited Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. No one was there to greet Mrs. May

when she arrived at the chancellery. After going in, both May and Merkel came back outside a few moments later to stage the handshake greeting they

were supposed to have earlier.

Let's bring in CNN correspondents in both capitals, Atika Schubert is in Berlin, Jim Bittermann is in Paris. Atika, some German press are

describing Theresa May as coming to Europe to beg for that extension. What came out of that meeting? Is Angela Merkel likely to support a long

extension of article 50 here?

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All the signals we've been getting from German politicians from her party are that a long

extension would be supported by Germany but it comes with conditions attached. The Prime Minister needs to deliver on the withdrawal agreement.

Germany as other EU countries has repeatedly said there's no reopening the withdrawal agreement or trying to re-bargain it. The withdrawal agreement

stands as it is. That needs to be accepted. It needs to be passed by Parliament. And so, you know, once they are convinced of that, then a

longer extinction may be possible. Those are the conditions for it. Of course, there's still the possibility that the U.K. could revoke article

50. This was something that was shouted out to the Prime Minister as she was leaving, somebody shouted out from the gardens outside just cancel

Brexit, and those were the last words she heard before leaving for Paris, Hala.

GORANI: All right. Well, I don't know what the effect of the shout-out will be. Theresa May's strategy. Jim, we saw Theresa May going to the

palace. I believe the meeting lasted about, what, an hour, and she went back in her car. Macron has been playing bad cop here, hasn't he? He's

been the more -- from the British perspective saying you better give me a plan here before I support any kind of extension. What came out of the

meeting tonight in Paris, do we know?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. We don't know, in fact, Hala. But in fact we got a pretty good idea just before the

meeting took place because there seems to have been a shift in the French position overnight here in the sense that there was a spokesman came out

just before the meeting started and said that they are agreeable now to an extension.

That was one thing that was not clear at all up until today. And they talked about an extension that might go on for some length. There's been

word around that -- being reported here that Emmanuel Macron might be amendable to something that would go to the end of the year. The spokesman

said that a full year would be too much. But nine months, maybe, to the end of this year, perhaps, they would agreeable to that.

But they made it -- they even hinted at the fact that they would allow for that because they said that any kind of an agreement to delay would have to

have regular sort of reviews of what was going on.

That is to say, the British government would have to update the rest of the European Union on what's going on, what they're using this delay for, what

kind of things are being accomplished, et cetera, et cetera, so it looks like there's a coalition around the idea of this was going to be a delay,

and maybe a substantial delay of up to nine months or so.

GORANI: A question on Donald Tusk sending a letter to the EU today saying there's little reason to believe that the U.K. can agree on ratifying a

deal by the end of June which is essentially saying that the EU position is if they will grant a delay, it will be a whole lot longer. What are you

hearing from German officials?

SCHUBERT: That's exactly what we're hearing and I think Jim is right. We are seeing this coalescing of opinion that an extension is likely to be

granted, but it will be longer to assure that this ratification process can go ahead.

[14:20:12] I think what's really being debated at this point in the EU is not if an extension is granted but what the exact date will be and what the

exact condition should be? Should there be these updates has been proposed in France, what is the process by which this is going to be ratified, how

can you guarantee that this withdrawal agreement is going to be passed?

So, I think that's the point that we're at now, at least that's what we're hearing from German politicians. It will be interesting to see. How can

you guarantee that this withdrawal agreement is going to be passed? So, I think that's the point that we're at now, at least that's what we're

hearing from German politicians. It will be interesting to see tomorrow if a final date is unveiled.

GORANI: All right. Thanks to both of you.

Still to come tonight --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLAIR: We have had an unbelievable mess, frankly, and therefore given the magnitude of the decision, I don't really see what's undemocratic about

saying to people in the light of everything that's happened, you want to think again?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: With Brexit in crisis and British politics in chaos, Tony Blair makes his case for a second referendum. We'll bring you my full interview

later this hour.

Plus, the U.S. Attorney General tells Congress when he intends to release portions of the report on Russian election interference but it's what he's

not saying that is raising concerns among some Democrats. We are live in Washington next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is promising a subpoena for the full unredacted version on Robert Mueller's report. This

after U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the public will see a redacted version of the report within a week in his first testimony to

Congress since the probe was completed.

While Barr set a time frame for the release of that edited version, he says he has no plans to allow anyone in Congress to see the full report and he

declined to answer questions about whether the White House has seen or been briefed on the report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NITA LOWEY (D-NY): Did the White House see the report before you released your summarizing letter? Has the White House seen it since then?

Have they been briefed on the contents beyond what was in your summarizing letter to the judiciary committee?

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I've said what I'm going to say about the report today.

LOWEY: Was the President or anyone at the White House alerted in advance of your letter's release?

[14:25:00] BARR: The March 24th letter, I don't believe so. But as I said, once the report is out, I'll be testifying and I'll be glad to

discuss all aspects of the process and also explain the decisions I've made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: I'm joined by Kaitlan Collins and Manu Raju both in Washington. Let's talk a little bit about the mood at the White House ahead of the

anticipated release of a redacted version of the Mueller report. What are you hearing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That was what was interesting about what Bill Barr said. The reason that's interesting is

because in the past since the investigation ended, Barr and other DOJ officials have been quick to say that the White House had not seen a

version of this report yet.

So when he didn't answer the question, it's now raising more questions about whether or not that means there's been a change, whether or not the

White House knows any more about this report than they did previously when they got a readout of what the investigation had concluded in its report.

That's the question here, whether or not they've seen it. Right now, Barr is not answering that question and no one back here at the White House has

been able to answer questions about that either, of course, he did say we should expect to see the redacted version soon.

GORANI: And, Manu Raju, Jerry Nadler is promising a subpoena for the full, unredacted report. How likely is he to succeed in this effort?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what Jerry Nadler just told me moments ago. They're prepared for a fight with the

justice department for the full Mueller report as well as the grand jury information. They have been asking for -- Bill Barr said in his testimony

today that he would not provide Jerry Nadler's committee with the unredacted report and he said they had no intention of going to court to

seek the release of the grand jury information before the Mueller probe.

Also, what he demanded, I got a chance to get his reaction to this. He said he's prepared to go to court. Let's take a listen. Oh, we don't have

the sound. Apparently, we don't have the sound. Sorry about that. But he also suggested that he's prepared to issue the subpoena after the report,

the redacted report is released.

There had been some questions about whether he would do it beforehand because of the indications that he was not going to get everything that he

wanted, but now, that the redacted report -- now it's very clear that it's going to come out within a week, that's when this fight is really going to

intensify here on the hill. Nadler also told me that he found it disturbing that the attorney general would not say whether the White House

has been briefed about the full Mueller report.

That's something that Bill Barr had pointedly declined to say. I'm being told right now we do have that Nadler interview. He's saying moments ago

that he's prepared to issue a subpoena. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

You heard what Bill Barr said today. Bill Barr said that he would not provide the unredacted report to your committee. He also said he would not

go to court to get the grand jury information. Your reaction to that?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): My reaction is we have asked repeatedly to cooperate with the committee. He has refused to do so far. He's announced

that he will refuse to do so. We have -- Congress has need of the entire report including the grand jury material, including all the -- including

everything, and I presume we're going to get the redacted report within a week. When we do so, if we don't get everything, we will issue the

subpoena and go to court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: So, Hala, expect a major fight here on Capitol Hill now that Bill Barr has made it very clear, he's not going to do what the Democrats want.

He'll be back before the Senate sub appropriations tomorrow. But expect more questions about the Mueller report. But this fight only just

intensifying.

GORANI: And a quick one, Kaitlan, on the President of the United States, according to CNN reporting, instructing some agents to ignore judge's

rulings when it comes to allowing immigrants and asylum seekers into the country. That is a remarkable thing to say. Have we heard anything from

the White House after this report came out that the President was actually asking border agents to circumvent the rulings of the court?

COLLINS: There's been no official comment from the White House. The President's spokespeople are hesitant to go on the record with any comment

because they think it's likely that the President has actually said this. We know the President has tried to push boundaries with officials and after

that meeting where he told them to ignore the laws, Kirstjen Nielsen said that wasn't her direction at all.

That comes amid a broader backdrop of the President being furious about the immigration numbers that are happening in the border. That's really a big

deal and a big reason about why you have seen them cleaning house at the Department of Homeland Security in recent days.

[14:30:00] Now, whether or not that's going to result in more changes, it's still something we're waiting on, especially before tomorrow, before the

president -- the president has picked to be the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary takes over, because, of course, there is still

the acting deputy secretary who's technically in line to get that job. That's Claire Grady. And whether or not she's going to be fired or forced

to resign before tomorrow, is still a question that many people in Washington are waiting to see.

But it's also going to raise a question on whether or not anything is going to change with someone knew in charge at DHS. Something that most White

House officials are skeptical about, because the president can't just change the law as easily as he's, obviously, tried to.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House and Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much to both of you

for joining us.

A lot more to come this evening.

I sat down with former Prime Minister Tony Blair to get his take on how Britain can find its way out of the Brexit chaos. We'll bring you the full

interview coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: "An unbelievable mess, a total debacle," those are the words of former British Prime Minister. No prices for guessing what he's talking

about. With British politics deadlock and in disarray, I sat down with the former Labour leader to talk all things Brexit, including his sympathy for

Theresa May, he says.

And as the prime minister scrambles to secure another extension to the Brexit process, I started by asking Blair what he thinks the way forward

will be.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It's very important to understand for two and a half years, essentially, the government tried to

negotiate the unnegotiable which is to stay with the -- all the access and the benefits of membership of the single market in customs union, while

being out of the rules and obligations of them.

When that then came to an end, the prime minister then was driven back because of the divisions within cabinet to form a Brexit that left open the

question of what type of Brexit the future relationship would entail until after we've left.

GORANI: But we don't know what that is yet. We still don't know what that is.

BLAIR: Exactly. So what we've got to do is have a process that enables people to say, right, this is what a soft Brexit looks like, this is what a

hard Brexit looks like, make up your mind.

GORANI: Asking parliament?

BLAIR: Parliament, first of all, and then if parliament decides, and this is a matter of parliament, I personally think they may be inclined to

decide this, then it can go back to the people for what's called a confirmatory referendum. When parliament takes the decision, the people

have the final say.

GORANI: That's a second referendum on Brexit, basically.

BLAIR: Yes.

GORANI: But that's what people who, essentially, whose position prevailed in 2016 will say is undemocratic.

[14:35:02] BLAIR: Yes. But, you know, one of the things I find really curious about this is to think, it's all about what is the will of the

people. But it's a strange thing to freeze that as it June 2016. I mean, the last three years, on any basis, we have learned a lot about Brexit,

what it might mean, the different forms of Brexit.

We had frankly, this would be a matter of consensus. We have had an unbelievable mess. I mean, a total debacle, frankly. And therefore, given

the magnitude of the decision, I don't really see what's undemocratic about saying to people and the light of everything that's happening you want to

think again.

GORANI: Remainers will agree with you, but even parliament has been faced with this question and rejected that option.

BLAIR: Yes, exactly. But that's because parliament hasn't gone through the deliberate of process. Just in the last few days, there was an attempt

to get -- to snatch the conclusion like a customs union. My strong view has been, don't snatch the last minute deal then exit Europe if that's --

GORANI: But what do you make of Jeremy Corbyn's approach to this thing? Because you've been quoted, as saying, you believe if Boris Johnson was the

leader of the conservative party, that he would win against the Labour Party, as headed by Jeremy Corbyn. You don't sound like you're a fan --

BLAIR: To specify it a little more, what I've said is, my view -- and I think this is a risk in whatever country you're in. If you have a populism

of the right fighting a populism of the left, in my experience and judgment, the populism of the right usually wins which is why it's smarter

for the progressive side of politics to be, you know, rooted in the center, but --

GORANI: So you're not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership?

BLAIR: Well, he and I disagree about the leadership of the Labour Party and that's pretty common knowledge. But in respect to Brexit, the problem

is that -- I mean, I think to be frank, he and some of the people around him have really been much more keen on Brexit than they've let on.

But the Labour party is a party --

GORANI: Do you think he's a closet Brexiteer?

BLAIR: I think even he would say it. It's a pretty -- he's not that much in the closet on it.

However, having said that, to be fair to him, where he is at the moment, he's negotiating with Theresa May as to whether it's possible to have a

deal. If they come to a deal, fine. But I think even if they were to come to a deal, which I think is unlikely, I think there would be an

overwhelming desire in the Labour Party to submit whatever deal there is to a final vote of the people.

GORANI: You've said you've had -- you have sympathy for Theresa May. Why?

BLAIR: Look, you got to have sympathy for her, because she's been dealt a very difficult hand. And the Conservative Party is pretty ungovernable. I

mean --

GORANI: But you're still saying you don't think she's doing a good job, but you do have sympathy --

BLAIR: I have sympathy with her at a personal level, and I understand how difficult the job is, and how tough it is to do. But I think the key

challenge for her, let's leave aside all the criticisms up to now, the key challenge for her now, and I think what she can do and should do, because I

don't -- by the way, think a change of prime minister at the moment is in the interest of the country, or a general election, by the way.

And she should pivot now to being the referee at this, the arbitrator, the facilitator, and not the captain of one team. Not a partisan.

GORANI: There were reports that you were telling E.U. leaders, including Emmanuel Macron, the French president, to hold firm, that the U.K. would

come to its senses. They'd have another people's vote. Is that true?

BLAIR: No. I mean, the final sort of desperate throw has been to say, you know, well, it all would have happened if Tony Blair hasn't gone and -- got

the Europeans rallied behind the hard position.

The Europeans haven't had a hard position. The Europeans have had a very simple position all the way through which I've tried to explain time and

time again to people in government. They've said, tell us what you want, you can have a soft Brexit, you can have a hard Brexit. What you can't

have is a cake and eat it Brexit.

GORANI: What did you tell Emmanuel Macron?

BLAIR: I'd say to any of the leaders I'm discussing with. I never go into the detail of the conversation. But all I say to Europe is if Britain ever

gets to the point where it's prepared to think again, in a fresh referendum, the new Europe will also think again.

Because the issues that gave rise to Brexit in Britain are European way. The British had a referendum, but these are the issues up ending politics

all over Europe. So don't make the mistake, you, Europe, in thinking this is just the Brits being unreasonable.

You look at the politics of Italy, you look at politics at Germany, you look at the politics of France, it's the same thing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Tony Blair there speaking to me about Brexit.

Still to come tonight, before he was taken to a Japanese jail, again, car executive, Carlos Ghosn, accused his Nissan colleagues of backstabbing and

conspiracy. We'll hear from him and the family lawyer, just ahead.

Plus, will it be bye-bye Bibi or a historic fifth term? Israel has been voting today in a general election, many say is a referendum on Netanyahu.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:40:02] GORANI: Carlos Ghosn was once one of the most powerful car executives in the world. He is now in a Japanese jail accusing his

colleagues at Nissan of backstabbing and conspiring to remove him from power. And we're finally hearing from Ghosn in a video recorded before he

was arrested in Japan for a fourth time. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLOS GHOSN, FORMER NISSAN CEO: The third point I want to tell you that this is a conspiracy. This is not about specific events. This is not

about, again, greed, this is not about dictatorship. This is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing. That's what we're

talking about.

And why? So we can say, why this happen? Why it happened? Because there was, first, a fear that the next step of the alliance in term of

convergence and in terms of moving towards a merger would in a certain way threaten some people or eventually threaten the autonomy of Nissan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, Anna Stewart joins me now with more on this spectacular fall of this automotive legend. And you've spoken to the family lawyer. What -

-

ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The family lawyer, he says, that he's not getting a fair trial here. Nissan haven't commented, of

course, as to whether the allegations he made about this plot, but this is what she said about his trial, so far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA FINELLE, GHOSN FAMILY LAWYER: He was arrested at 5:50 in the morning in his house where he was still sleeping with his wife by his side.

And this is treating people -- these people like terrorists. It's only terrorists that you come and wake up at 5:50, because they may be

dangerous. They would not have the time to react and take their weapons. And that's the way he was treated. There was him but there was also his

wife.

And his wife who has nothing to do with the case, who is not a suspect in the case at all, his wife was a victim of it -- of this brutality as well.

Why? Because she was there. Because she asked to have a shower and she had to take a shower in the presence of a policeman, of a female policeman

in the bathroom.

Every time she was going to the toilet, they searched her. They took her passport, her leaving these passports, they took the computer, they took

her cellphones. They tried to interview her without the presence of her lawyer. And when she asked for her lawyers to be called, they were just

saying, this is Japan here, so we do whatever we want. This is Japanese law. This is not to call her lawyer, they said this is Japanese law. This

is not any other law.

This is just made to humiliate him, weaken him once again since the beginning of the case. It's been the methods of the prosecution. We've

seen that before.

STEWART: So, are you saying Japan's prosecutors tried to silence him?

FINELLE: That's what I'm saying, yes. I think it's really worth asking ourselves the question of this timing. Why is it that the first time he

wants to speak and to counter the arguments of the prosecution that the next morning he's brutality arrested and put in for trial detention again?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: And that was the Ghosn family lawyer.

By the way, that video, how did it come about? If he's still detained, right? Was he given the opportunity to record --

[14:45:59] STEWART: He recorded this a day before he was arrested. And in Japanese media, it became clear that an arrest was imminent. And he had

already posted on Twitter that he wanted to speak at a press conference that would have been Thursday to speak in Tokyo.

So due to the rumors about the arrest, he delivered this video message. And actually lawyers had to redact, he did name Nissan executives who he

claims are plotting against him. They had to redact that information.

GORANI: The wife, the lawyer was saying was searched and mistreated, according to the family lawyer. What does the wife have to do with any of

this?

STEWART: According to family lawyer, and we have to put this to the prosecutors.

GORANI: Yes.

STEWART: She is not a suspect, the wife, in any way or any form. However, there was fears that we do know from prosecutors that Carlos Ghosn himself

could destroy evidence. They behalf stretches to that. But it is a question we'll be putting to them, simply because she wasn't a suspect and

bodily searches, supervision in showers, confiscating passports and phones, seems like an overstretch.

GORANI: All right. And the next step then in this --

STEWART: Well, they're going to launch a special appeal. The Japanese lawyers for Carlos Ghosn. If they fail, April 24th, either the Japanese

prosecutors have to indict him or let him go. If they indict him, they could keep him until trial. That could be over a year away.

GORANI: Wow. That's a -- yes. That's a tough time for Carlos Ghosn, certainly.

Anna Stewart, thanks very much.

More to come including Election Day in Israel. We ahead back to Jerusalem ahead of the all-important exit polls due in 15 minutes. Will voters say

enough of Netanyahu? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Israel has been voting today in a general election that is being seen by some as a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu. And we're minutes away

from the release of the all-important exit polls.

Our team in Jerusalem is there for the very latest. Becky Anderson is there as well.

So, we're just very close to -- but I was hearing Michael Holmes saying that exit polling is notoriously imprecise. So, at what point do we have

the clear picture of what party is ahead in these elections?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, that's a very good question. It's a very good question. These exit polls are usually bad.

I've been told by an expert that I have with me here that he thinks we should really have a sense within the next two to three hours, with these

exit polls at the top of this hour.

His clout, Hala, on the international stage certainly seen as impressive by those who love and by those who loathe him. But therein lies the issue at

home. Benjamin Netanyahu is a deeply polarizing figure now after indicating power. He finds himself in the fight of his political life.

My guest tonight says Netanyahu's last-minute media blitz was a super give out campaign. David Horovitz. He's editor of the Times of Israel. A

super give out campaign. Explain what you mean by that? You got a minute.

DAVID HOROVITZ, EDITOR, TIMES OF ISRAEL: It's like, oh, wait. You know, we're in trouble here. He's been giving interviews almost everywhere he

possibly can.

Today, he's 69 years old. He was up early voting. He was doing -- taking questions and answers on Facebook, because you're not allowed to give

interviews in mainstream media on Election Day. He was at his party's headquarters. He went to the beach and stood up there with the people in

their swimming pants costumes and said, guys, get out of the sea. You got to come and vote Likud.

[14:50:03] ANDERSON: Give us your best shot. We're a few minutes away. We're going to take a break before these exit polls. Give us your best

shot. At this point, what can we expect?

HOROVITZ: Here's what we have to bear in mind. You're going to see two big parties. Netanyahu's Likud, his main challenger, Gantz' Blue and

White. They'll both have maybe somewhere around 30 seats. There's 120 seats in the class. And therefore you, might not know the destination of

almost half of the parliament.

And therefore, the exit poll -- even if it's fairly accurate. A few changes can change the possibilities for building multiparty coalitions.

So even if it might look like Netanyahu is losing to Gantz, one on one, those are the parties, and what we're going to have to watch and that'll

take a little longer to come clear.

ANDERSON: Let's explain exactly what's been going on here. Because this has been less about policies, more about personalities and in the end, this

has been a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu, hasn't it?

HOROVITZ: I think so, but two sides. Consensually, widely seen as somebody who's kept this country safe, widely seen as someone who, perhaps,

is a divisive force within who's facing corruption charges and so on.

So it's kind of the Netanyahu who keeps Israel safe in this challenging region against the Netanyahu people worry is attacking the police and

attacking the state attorney and so on.

ANDERSON: How different a leader would Benny Gantz be? How different in the end are his policies as a centrist, as opposed to Benjamin Netanyahu

and his Likud Party?

HOROVITZ: Gantz would say he's not a centrist. Gantz would say he's not much different than Netanyahu on the Palestinians. He doesn't -- he hasn't

supported the Palestinian state. Although he'd maybe be a bit more inclined to try and make progress.

His difference he would say would be within. I'm an ex-army chief. I can keep this country safe, but be harmonious within. Netanyahu says, no, he

doesn't know how to keep this country safe. Only I can build the kind of relationships I have with the Trumps and Putins and so on.

ANDERSON: Very briefly, how important are the Arab citizens of Israel tonight to vote?

HOROVITZ: That's bene a big Election Day issue. Because the turnout, until the last few minutes, we don't know in the last few minutes, has been

low in the Arab sector. That helps Netanyahu, that harms Gantz, because those are people who would never side with Netanyahu. Those are parties

that have faced all below the threshold. Weaken the center left. And Arab bloc, and help the right-wing orthodox bloc of Netanyahu.

ANDERSON: Netanyahu has been very eager to get his supporters out. He's saying do not get complacent. This could be a disaster for Israel. This

could usher in the left and the Arab party. That's his position. Can we expect a big shock tonight?

HOROVITZ: The big shock tonight, I think we have to say, is if it turns out that Netanyahu does not have a path to victory. All the polls running

up to the elections have shown close race between Gantz and Netanyahu, but all of them have shown that Netanyahu has the best path to a coalition

majority.

If that in a few hours' time, not on the basis of the exit polls, when the real votes are in, if Netanyahu does not have a path to victory, that will

be a real surprise.

ANDERSON: David Horovitz, he's the editor of the Times of Israel with me through these next hours, as we look at what could be an extraordinary

night here in Israel.

Hala, for the time being, back to you.

GORANI: All right. Thanks, Becky. And thanks to all of you for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. Much more on the Israeli

elections as those exit polls come in. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is live from our London studio this evening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:55:22] ANDERSON: A very good evening, polls are closing here in Israel on an historic election night. I'm Becky Anderson for you in Jerusalem.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: I'm Richard Quest in London. We have a special edition of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" this evening. Israel

votes. And in this hour, we'll bring you the latest also of President Trump's tariff threat against the E.U. Of course, Brexit, Theresa May's

shot to diplomacy in France and Germany.

And we'll look up Boeing's new delivery numbers. All of that, of course, is to come.

But the big news for the hour, so far, Becky is with you in Israel.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much indeed. Voting booths, a few seconds away from closing here in Israel. The first exit polls will soon kick off a

spree of political deal making, as alliances are formed and party leaders try to cobble together a coalition government, where past elections have

hinged on economics or security today, this is seen, by many, as a referendum on one man, Benjamin Netanyahu.

If the prime minister wins, he becomes the longest-serving leader in Israel's history. If not, the country will have a new face for the first

time in a decade.

Well, polls before Election Day showed Mr. Netanyahu running neck and neck with political newcomer, Benny Gantz, who is a former general promising a

centrist new path.

Well, as many as 41 parties will soon begin to scramble to try and form a government here in Israel. Well, all eyes will be on a few key numbers.

Oren Liebermann explains exactly how this election works.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Israeli politics is a numbers game. The big number is 120, the total seats in the Kneset,

Israel's parliament.

If you want to be prime minister, you have to control or have the allegiance of more than half of those seats. So 61 seats is the minimum to

be Israel's leader. But no single party is going to win that many seats, not even close.

In Israel, there are more than 40 political parties running for the Kneset. Not all of them will make it in. They need to get 3.25 percent of the

vote. Most parties will fall far short of that mark, even so, Israel's next parliament is still likely to have between 10 and 14 different

political parties.

The biggest party will probably get about 30 seats. Clearly, that's not enough to claim victory.

So the thing to look for is the party that's best positioned to build that 61-seat coalition. This is where political wheeling and dealing is

crucial, since it may require a group of five or six parties to get to that magic number of 61.

Each parties will have its own demands, for ministries, for policies, and for money.

[15:00:00]

END