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Boris Johnson Becomes British Prime Minister; Boris Johnson Speaks at Downing Street as Prime Minister; Robert Mueller: Donald Trump was Not Exonerated. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 24, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It's economy in life sciences, in tech, in academia, in music, the arts, culture, financial
services. It is here in Britain that we are using gene therapy for the first time to treat the most common form of blindness. Here in Britain
that we are leading the world in battery technology that will help cut CO2 and tackle climate change and produce green jobs for the next generation.
And as we prepare for a post-Brexit future, it is time we look not at the risks, but at the opportunities that are upon us. So let us begin work now
to create free ports that will drive growth in thousands of high-skilled jobs in left-behind areas. Let's start now to liberate the U.K.'s
extraordinary biased science sector from anti-genetic modification rules, and let's develop the blight-resistance crops that will feed the world.
Let's get going now on our own position, navigation, and timing satellite and earth observation systems.
U.K. assets, orbiting in space with all the long-term strategic and commercial benefits for this country. Let's change the tax rules to
provide extra incentives to invest in capital and research. And let's promote the welfare of animals that has always been so close to the hearts
of the British people. And yes, let's start now on those free trade deals, because it is free trade that has done more than anything else to lift
billions out of poverty.
All this and more we can do now and only now at this extraordinary moment in our history. And after three years of unfounded self-doubt, it is time
to change the record. To recover our natural and historic role as an enterprising, outward looking and truly global Britain, generous in temper
and engaged with the world. No one in the last few centuries has succeeded in betting against the pluck and nerve and ambition of this country. They
will not succeed today. We in this government will work flat out to give this country the leadership it deserves, and that work begins now. Thank
you very much.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Boris Johnson, goes through the door of Number 10, as Britain's Prime Minister, having just been appointed by her majesty,
the Queen. Well, I was looking at the numbers. Average Prime Ministers, when they go into Number 10, speak for about 4 to 5 1/2 minutes.
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: How long did he go?
QUEST: I don't know. It went on too long, I didn't have a clock on it, but I'm guessing it was much longer than that and it was somewhat of a
SOARES: It was at the end. It was a bit of a ramble. It was focused at the beginning. He talked about his policies at home, but then it became a
bit of a ramble. Interesting he said, never mind the backstop, the buck stops here. To all the doubters, all the doomsters and all the gloomsters,
we will have a new deal, a better deal.
QUEST: A restored trust in our democracy. Nic Robertson in Downing Street. The bit that I got, after three years of doubt, the pluck and of
spirit of the British. It was Churchillian but I'm not sure the message got through.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know what, I think the message got through. If you're in Brussels right now, you will have
heard some fighting talk there, calling the backstop undemocratic, don't underestimate this country. I mean, that was delivered in quite a very
serious tone. Accepting there that Britain needs its own satellite, security and navigation system. Well, that accepts that Britain won't be
part of that European system that they've told -- EU has already said we can't be part of. In the saying that he's already indicating his direction
But I think what he spoke about, if we have to have a hard Brexit, there will be 39 billion pounds to grease the way -- lubricate was his word --
lubricate the way for whatever inconveniences there are in the short term. This was quite a fighting, tough message, I think to the European Union in
part as well as to the electorate here.
[11:05:00] Talking about an additional 20,000 soldiers -- 20,000 policemen, rather. Talking about how people shouldn't wait three weeks to see their
GP, the doctor, that he will build new hospitals, 20 new hospitals, he said. And he will provide additional funding for both higher and lower
education, that there will be new roads and new rail and there will be high-speed internet. This was full of what he will try to deliver in
detail, in detail there, again. And this is uncharacteristic of other Prime Ministers who stepped through the door.
The speech was longer, but in that context, it had more detail on what he plans to do to alleviate complaints about the health service, complaints
about lack of safety on the streets, about lack of police, about the social welfare system. That he said he would put more money and resources into.
It will begin as soon as he steps through the door. He's already has a plan. He's laid it out here. But my big takeaway was really that real,
what I felt a takeaway as tough fighting talk with the EU -- don't underestimate this country, his words.
SOARES: Yes. Thank you, Nic. Fighting talk, perhaps, but on the question of Brexit, it did seem to me like it lack detail. Chuka Umunna joins me
now. What'd you make of it?
CHUKA UMUNNA, BRITISH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP: Well, a few thoughts. First of all, the reason that Brexit has been impossible to deliver is not because
the British people lack confidence in themselves. It's not because we don't have enough of a can-do mentality in this country. We do. The
problem with Brexit is that Brexit in the form that it was sold to the British people by Boris Johnson was a lie. It was an absolute fantasy.
And the reason that we've had gridlock in the U.K. Parliament since 2016 is because we've been trying to square the circle of fantasy that Boris
Johnson was responsible for.
And it's all well and good to make all these promises about what he's going to do around the Brexit negotiations. He was the foreign secretary in the
middle of these negotiations, and as for the various -- the list of domestic achievements he's promising us, he's been part of the cabinet for
much of Theresa May's time and hasn't delivered any of those things --
QUEST: Well, well, with respect, Chuka, every incoming Prime Minister or president of the previous -- of the same party -- always has to draw a
slight diplomatic veil over the failures of the previous --
UMUNNA: Although there is a bit of a difference. You are right in that sense. But obviously when a new government with a new party comes in, they
are not part of what went before. But for him to try and carry on like this, a new beginning, is absolutely ludicrous. I mean, a couple of other
thoughts. You could hear people shouting --
UMUNNA: -- in the background there. This is a very divisive figure. You know, he was seen as somewhat of a political celebrity, a non-politician
during the 2016 referendum campaign that we had here in the U.K. Now he is seen by half the nation as an inveterate liar. And I think that is going
to cause him a huge amount of problems.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But tonally, the takeaway there was the fact that he was trying to hammer home that he would take an optimistic
approach, which obviously Johnson's critics say is just masquerading his optimism. But actually it's just lack of grasp of the detail and
overlooking the facts.
However, his supporters would say that is precisely the vision that Britain needs at this moment, this crossroads, when it's looking at a very
confusing future where it's unsure what direction Britain's going to take. Is it going to orient itself more towards the U.S. or towards the European
Union? And he realizes that. It's something Boris Johnson does well.
NOBILO: He was obviously trying to underscore his connection to try -- I did clock a couple of Churchillian rhetorical devices. (INAUDIBLE) which
you mentioned, to get the back stop, the buck stops here. In the quote where he said, that what's been sapping business confidence over the last
three years is not the decisions we've taken, but the refusal to take decisions. That's chiasmus, that's another thing that Churchill used
frequently. So that was obviously in the back of his mind. And you could tell this is a moment that he's prepared for, for years.
UMUNNA: This man is no Winston Churchill.
QUEST: I'm not saying he was. I'm just saying he's employing --
UMUNNA: A more accurate comparison is Donald Trump. This is the Donald Trump school of politics. Which is to say, look, if you will it and you've
got this can-do attitude, you're going to be able to achieve it. Ignore the facts. Lie your way through the inconsistencies and everything could
QUEST: Hang on. Hang on. Is there just not a possibility though that having seen the rest of you -- the politicians --
UMUNNA: Having seen the rest of --
QUEST: The rest of the political world.
QUEST: The British public actually say, do you know, we actually want somebody who has this --
UMUNNA: They don't say -- this is the big difference from where we were during the referendum, Richard. Is that people saw him as separate to this
place and the political class in Westminster in 2017. Now he has become an emblem for it. You know, people in our country are totally disillusioned
with two-party politics in particular, and he emblematic of the worst -- of the most narcissistic, self-obsessed type of politician that they have come
to hate, frankly.
[11:10:06] NOBILO: One of the reasons that people are becoming more apathetic about the two-party system, though, is the equivocations. The
fact that whether it's Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May, they weren't taking a clear, unambiguous position in relation to Brexit or other key issues. One
could argue at least at the moment Boris Johnson is doing the opposite of that. So, you could argue that he's not going to deliver or that he's
covering up or glossing over some key facts. But he is taking an unambiguous position.
He said in 99 days' time, the U.K. is leaving the European Union, and that kind of clarity, even if it isn't underpinned by fact or reality, is
something that in essence and in terms of, you know, political hunger from the apathetic country is --
SOARES: He went on to say the ports will be ready, the banks will be ready, the farms will be ready for a no-deal Brexit. People up and down
the country are frustrated after three years, we're still not out. He is appealing to that.
UMUNNA: So, I'm the lead spokesperson for the economy and business for the main third party in this country, and I spent the last two weeks meeting
with most of the business organizations. You know, I'm a specialists in different sectors. I haven't spoken to one organization that thinks their
sector or the government is ready for us to leave the European Union without a deal on the 31st of October. Not one.
QUEST: Stay with me one second. I want to go to Erin McLaughlin. Erin, I know you're at Buckingham Palace, but never mind what's been going on
there. I'm much more interested to hear your view on how Brussels -- since you cover Brussels so closely -- how will Brussels react to what he said?
We want a new deal. We can do a new deal, and the remote possibility of not getting a deal, we can get a better deal. What will they make of that
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that will be received with a healthy dose of skepticism, Richard. You know, I was just speaking
with a senior EU official just a few days ago, and he was raising his concerns about some of the campaign promises that Johnson had been making.
In his view, they were simply undeliverable in the eyes of the EU. And that conversations he was having from different governments across the
capitals, across the EU, was coming to a sense of realization that a no deal was becoming the most likely outcome of all of this, if Johnson sticks
to his campaign promises, and that's a big if.
Because he was also telling me that when it comes to, say Theresa May, when she was Prime Minister, she had a sense of integrity. She carried a sense
of trust with her to Brussels. They knew they could trust her. What they couldn't trust was her ability to deliver because of the arithmetic there
in Parliament. The fact that she had a minority government, which is why in large part they were loathed to give her any further concessions on that
critical Northern Ireland backstop.
Now they're going to be dealing with a Prime Minister that is dealing with the same arithmetic, perhaps even worse than Theresa May, but they also
view him as not trustworthy. So according to this senior official, what they want to see going forward from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, they want
to see him tour the capitals. They want to see his to see what he has to say. How he can come up with a solution to solve this impasse. But given
what he just said there on the steps of Downing Street, I would say that senior figures in Brussels right now are preparing even more furiously for
that dreaded no-deal eventuality.
QUEST: Thank you, Erin.
SOARES: Thank you, Erin. But really, doesn't he deserve a chance? Don't you think he deserves a chance at trying to get this deal done? He's got
UMUNNA: He has that chance, right?
UMUNNA: There's nothing that we can do in Parliament to stop him having a chance to negotiate a deal.
NOBILO: Oh, there is, though.
UMUNNA: Hang on just a minute. There isn't in terms of stopping him from negotiating a deal --
NOBILO: But you can remove leverage from him in negotiating that deal by displaying that Parliament can intervene, like with the Cooper Bill --
UMUNNA: What we've illustrated is that Parliament will not stand by and simply allow the U.K. to leave the European Union without a deal. But in
terms of actually we're not around the table, he is. The issue is, he then has to bring the deal back to the House of Commons and see to get it
through. At the moment he has a majority of two. If my party wins the bi- election which is going to be taking place in Wales next week, then he will have a majority of one. So if he comes back with any deal, it's going to
have to be something that is acceptable to a majority of the House of Commons.
NOBILO: But Brexiteers would argue that by displaying the fact that Parliament will intervene to prevent a no-deal in any situation, that it
removes an incentive for the EU to try and negotiate a better deal for the U.K.
[11:15:00] UMUNNA: Wherever leading business figures in this country took that analogy and applied it in a business situation and said you don't
negotiate by saying, look, I'm going to sit in this car and drive it into a wall. But you know what, I'll put a seat belt on while I'm driving into a
wall. You don't kind of use that kind of threat and expect to be really be taken seriously.
And the long and short of it is, is that the European Union don't want us to leave without a deal either. It would be bad for them, but especially
bad for us. And Parliament -- you know, Boris Johnson argued for us to leave the European Union in the name of Parliamentary sovereignty. If we
as representatives of the people think that leaving without a deal will do irreparable damage to our economy, affect our national security and other
concerns, we're well within our rights to do something about that.
QUEST: Do you accept that in the absence of a second referendum, that the U.K. should leave the European Union on the basis of the 2016 referendum?
UMUNNA: Well, this is the problem with the 2016 referendum --
QUEST: No, no, I didn't ask that. Do you accept as the status quo stands at the moment. The country should leave.
UMUNNA: No, not without a deal. Because we were not --
QUEST: With a deal.
UMUNNA: With a deal. If there is a deal, then that will happen. But I've always said, my party's position is, whatever the deal is, we should be
having a peoples vote on it. And the reason we argue for that is that Brexit in the form it was sold to the people in 2016 is not being
QUEST: So, fundamentally, you will never agree with the Prime Minister because he wants to take the country out of the EU with a deal or without a
deal. Frankly, you don't want the country out of the EU, regardless.
UMUNNA: Oh, Yes, no, we've never made any bones about that.
QUEST: So you're never going to agree. You're never going to support whatever he comes forward with.
QUEST: There you are, then.
UMUNNA: You want a straight answer?
QUEST: Nice to know where you stand. Good to see you, sir.
NOBILO: And we know the Boris Johnson cabinet is going to be constructed of people who are willing to run in behind no deal, so divisions have
become more entrenched.
UMUNNA: Yes. I think the point that you make is that people want clarity of position. The reason that the main opposition party in our country, the
Labour Party, struggled is because it's facing both ways. And with the Liberal Democrats, we're clear, Brexit in the form it was promised is never
going to be delivered. We want a people's vote and of course we want it to stop Brexit.
QUEST: By the way, (INAUDIBLE) was extremely gracious today I thought in her comments --
NOBILO: To Theresa May.
UMUNNA: To Theresa May and we clapped her out. We clapped her out.
QUEST: Yes, and you stood.
UMUNNA: We all stood.
QUEST: The Labour couldn't even --
UMUNNA: Look, I fundamentally disagree with what Theresa May has done to our country, but she's a public servant and she has done what she in her
own view believes to be in the public interests and she has served our country with a degree of integrity. And I think for tribal reasons, you're
not prepared to show an acknowledgement of that, what does it say about our policies? We're just too adversarial as it is.
QUEST: I think it's a good moment tomorrow for us to pause.
SOARES: Thank you very much.
UMUNNA: Thank you.
SOARES: I want to take you now to Capitol Hill for other top story and those the most important hearings of the entire presidency of Donald Trump.
Former special counsel, Robert Mueller, is testifying about his report on Russian election interference and President Trump's efforts to impede that
investigation. Right off the bat in very clear terms, Mueller refuted Mr. Trump's repeated claims that the report totally exonerated him. He also
reaffirmed that he could not charge a sitting president under the Justice Department guidelines. Republicans are attacking not only Mueller's
investigation but also the integrity of Mueller himself. Suggesting he wasn't fair to Mr. Trump. We go live to Washington for a full report a bit
later in the show.
Two big stories, of course, that we are following here on CNN for you.
QUEST: A busy day. A busy day, indeed. We'll continue a lovely British summer's day, a good moment for us to take a break.
[11:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters, they are going to get it wrong again. The people who bet against Britain are going to lose
their shirts because we're going to restore trust in our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And that was Boris Johnson's first speech as Prime Minister of Britain as he took over 10 Downing Street. Nic Robertson is there live for
us. Erin McLaughlin, we've got Bianca Nobilo as well with us, as well as Carole Walker. Carole, we started talking a bit about what we heard from
Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister. Did you think his speech was what we all expected? Because there were a lot of expectations ahead of this
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought it was a very unusual speech. Usually, those words aren't, as the new Prime Minister arrives in Downing
Street, are there to convey an overall vision and an overall message, rather than to talk about any of the specifics. I think Boris Johnson felt
that there was a need for him to address some of those who doubted whether he is really bringing very much to the job. And you saw a really
reinforced message about his determination, his energy, that absolute commitment to delivering Brexit by October 31st. Saying that the
pessimists, the doubters would all be proved wrong.
But then we got a long list of policies. Including the ambition of fixing the social care crisis, how to pay for care for a growing elderly
population, 20,000 more police officers on the street. We heard the promise for more funding in schools, broadband, reconnecting forgotten
towns and cities across the U.K., bringing the union back together.
There was a huge list of policies there. And I think that what he was trying to do is to say to people, look, I'm not just somebody who is here
to deliver an optimistic message about Brexit. I am going to do other things to try to improve the lives of people around the United Kingdom.
And it was probably not the most statesmanlike of speeches. It did have a few good dollops of Boris Johnson style and rhetoric in there. A few
unusual phrases, and so on. But I think that those who were saying that this is simply a lightweight, he's not bringing anything to it -- I think
that's what he was trying to address.
WALKER: He's -- let's not forget, in terms of prime ministerial experience, in terms of ministerial experience, he hasn't got a huge
amount. This is a whole new challenge for him.
SOARES: And, Bianca, on domestic policy in terms of the to-do list at home -- social care. He outlined. He was very detailed. But when it comes to
Brexit, he wasn't detailed at all, besides saying we're going to leave. The buck stops -- and forget the back stop, the buck stops here.
NOBILO: He says we're going to leave in 99 days. And let's not forget that he's not coming out of the gate here in a strong position. Yes, he
has a resounding mandate from the Conservative Party, but a wafer-thin working majority, one which we haven't even seen tested, but it's around
two or one and it could drop further. So, he's dealing with an even more complicated and precarious Parliamentary arithmetic than increase Theresa
So his key cabinet appointments and the team assembled around him will be very significant because he has to have everybody rowing in behind him in
order to chart any street through the House of Commons. Because it's going to be hazard after hazard. Even the last few guests that we've had here
with us, have been passionate about their willingness to avoid no deal at all costs, the ways in which they're going to go about thwarting any kind
of no-deal Brexit. So, he is up against it from the get-go, and he obviously wants to give himself as much flexibility as possible.
SOARES: Let's go to 10 Downing Street. Nic Robertson is there for us. And Nic, I don't know why I was expecting -- I was expecting him to have a
slightly more unifying speech. I didn't really hear that from him.
ROBERTSON: Well, he talked about the awesome foursome, didn't he? This is sort of the equivalent, I suppose, of Theresa May, when she came in saying
how important the union was to her.
[11:25:03] This precious, precious thing that binds us together. She spoke about it. He called it the awesome foursome -- England, Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland. If I'm honest with myself and our audience, because it was Boris Johnson, I was hanging on that last word in the awesome
foursome, because this is a man prone to gaffs. And you're so keenly aware that every word is important. I thought, oh, my goodness, is he going to
say Ireland instead of Northern Ireland? But no, he nailed it and he delivered it.
So, in terms of sort of recognizing that he has a unity, a big constitutional unity issue that there is an element of mistrust now between
his political partners, the Democratic Unionist Party and Northern Ireland, and there is a real opportunity for the Scottish Nationalists in Scotland
to use his leadership as leverage to push for another independence referendum.
So, I think in terms of unity like that, but also, you know, he spoke about trying to sort of bring development and bring highly skilled jobs to areas
of country where there is poverty, bring the equality of pay, and if you will, income across the country, level that out, not just in the southeast,
but in some of the areas in the north of the country. Which I think is going to be an important early message of his.
So, I think in that regard, he tried to address what he sees as the upcoming issues. But in terms of who he is as a politician, and what he
represents in terms of past rhetoric, no, he's going to have to do a lot more if he wants to overcome the divisions that are inherent in that. And
inherent on the key line of what he delivered now, which was, you know, the reality of a potential for a hard Brexit and the fighting talk to get their
39-billion-pound sterling in the bank to lubricate the way if there was a hard Brexit. Don't underestimate the people of this country, he said.
SOARES: And Nic, while he was talking -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- I could hear what seemed to me, at least, like hecklers. Could you give us a
sense of the size of the crowds?
ROBERTSON: It would be hard for me to estimate from inside Downing Street what was happening outside. But what I can tell you, because inside
Downing Street is my vantage point so many times to listen to many speeches and we heard that single, solitary heckler during Theresa May's speech.
Who she replied to quite abruptly, if you'd like. She replied very carefully.
Boris Johnson was just really through the whole speech heckled by a crowd that I haven't heard that level of volume carrying this far up the street
before, for the whole duration of a Prime Minister's speech. So, however many people it was, what it created was much more noise than I've heard
before in this position for similar speeches. That was definitely unusual.
SOARES: Nic Robertson there, thanks very much. We want to come back to Bianca and Carole with me here outside Buckingham Palace. How much,
Carole, how much do you think we heard from him was a message, was a threat to Europe?
WALKER: Well, I think that, certainly, there will be many in Europe who will see this as a pretty uncompromising message, and it is very much a
direct contrast to the sorts of words that we've heard coming out from the EU side, who have been talking about their readiness to look again at the
future declaration, the political declaration. But have been talking about how they look forward to working with Boris Johnson to ratify the
withdrawal agreement. Well, I think the rhetoric that Boris Johnson used when he talked about getting rid of the backstop, about negotiating a new
deal with Europe, struck a very different note, indeed.
And I think as Bianca was saying, I think there's going to be huge difficulties actually achieving that. Clearly, one of the first tasks for
him and for his team for the new Brexit secretary, for his new EU negotiator will be to talk directly to the EU commissioner. And of course,
at the moment, he is still dealing with the team that Theresa May has dealt with.
SOARES: Has dealt with.
WALKER: And the new team don't take over until just after that October 31st deadline. And I think it would be -- it is very difficult when you
look at rhetoric coming from the two sides to see where they're going to find a meeting point.
SOARES: Bianca, he's saying the right things, but if you're in Europe and you're listening to this, where he's saying, you know, we'll get a new
deal, a better deal, people will be rolling their eyes and laughing at this.
NOBILO: Also, the sides are so far from being on the same page.
[11:30:00] Because we heard from Michel Barnier earlier in the week. Who said that Theresa May and her team never said to him or his negotiating
team that Britain would ever leave without a deal. So Britain have been spending almost billions on preparing for these contingency scenarios in
the event of a no deal and yet never actually used it as a negotiating strategy, which was indicated by the government.
Then on the other hand, I was speaking to members of the European Research Group, the vanguard of the Brexiteers that have supported Boris throughout,
and they were saying to me that they are not accepting the withdrawal agreement at all. They said it's dead in the water, it needs to go. We're
not having any of it. So, that just shows us that the EU are thinking we're going to address the withdrawal agreement, maybe add something to the
political declaration, change the language somewhat.
SOARES: Something -- well, the key --
NOBILO: Those who were trying to be pragmatic about how to address the withdrawal agreement wanted to tackle the issue of alternative
arrangements. Because the only vague idea that had any chance of passing through Parliament was demonstrated to be alternative arrangements
replacing the backstop. That had a majority. But obviously, it was vague, and who knows how to implement that. So, because alternative arrangements
are referenced in the withdrawal agreement, the thinking was, if there was a legally binding addendum explain what that is. That could be a way to --
SOARES: Ladies, we have to take a quick break. Will be back after about a minute or so. Do stay right here.
QUEST: I thought the speech was -- the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is now at Number 10, his new residence as leader of the government
of the United Kingdom. A short time ago, he departed Buckingham Palace after the Queen had formally invited him to accept the leadership role of
He is, of course, replacing Theresa May, who fulfilled her final duties as Prime Minister today when she took questions in Parliament. She left with
a standing ovation and applause, well, from her side and some opposition members, amid the last address of her tenure. And she said that serving
Britain as leader had been the greatest honor.
[11:35:03] Joining me now is the Conservative MP, James Heappey. Good to see you, James.
JAMES HEAPPEY, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Hi, how are you doing?
So what do you make of it? What he said on the front steps of Number 10, Boris Johnson?
HEAPPEY: I thought it was a really exciting speech. The content was great, but what was there that we have been missing for so long was energy
and belief and optimism, confidence. And I just thought given the scale of challenge that lies ahead, not just with Brexit but with all the other
things that the country needs to be doing. That was exactly what was needed.
QUEST: But it's going to take more than that. I mean, the real risk here is that it becomes style over substance. You can only -- I listened to
what he said, you know -- my job to do this, my job to do that. But you need to have the policies underpinning all of that.
HEAPPEY: For the first five minutes in Downing Street, I thought it was a pretty good start. He seems to be assembling a team behind the doors of
Downing Street, which looks to have lots of horsepower. And over the next few hours, we'll see the ministers that will become part of that team. But
I just thought, look, it was a place, as a starting point, that was bang on.
QUEST: OK. I'm going to sort of push you a little bit on that, because that's fine for Theresa May, who, when she became Prime Minister, the
negotiations hadn't begun. Article 50 was still an academic exercise. But he comes in at the end of the process, where we know that every avenue
seems to lead to a brick wall. It's hyperbole, good wishes, ambition, and dude, to put it crudely, may not just be enough.
HEAPPEY: Well, I'm glad the dude has made it into a lexicon, too. But look, what he did is he gave equal weight in his speech to a belief that
discussions with Dublin, Brussels, our friends around Europe, can lead to a real negotiation of the deal as it is --
QUEST: Let's -- I want to stop there --
HEAPPEY: And crucially --
QUEST: No, no --
HEAPPEY: -- but he also included a big section on our preparedness for no deal, which is the key leverage.
QUEST: OK. You know as well as I do, firstly, no deal would run into the heaviest sounds of difficulty in the building behind us. We saw that back
in March. We saw a one-clause Bill passed in record time to prevent no deal. So, that's the first thing. And the second thing -- how many times
do you have to be told that Europe is not going to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement? That's what they've said.
HEAPPEY: Well, on the latter, I think we're ready to have sold it many more times. There is plenty of time between now and October and the EU can
continue to say they're not interested in renegotiation, but they are now negotiating with a very different administration, with a different set of
motivations. And so the EU I think will need to reconsider that position.
As for your earlier points about reluctance in Parliament, of course nothing has changed there. In fact, the Parliamentary arithmetic is
getting harder, not easier. But there are lots of Labour MPs. And if you watch the reaction in PMQs today to two questions.
Firstly, when Jeremy Corbyn challenged the Prime Minister to a general election, absolutely nobody on the Labour benches was cheering that on.
And secondly, when Ian Austin stood up and reinforced PM's view that Jeremy Corbyn should go. It indicated that amongst Labour politicians, there is a
real concern that if they don't get Brexit done in their constituencies, that they will be in very, very serious trouble. Now, that might mean that
things change in Parliament.
QUEST: I think the best way, to continue our interesting discussion, is to put it in the context of what the leader and the Prime Minister said.
Let's have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Now and only now, at this extraordinary moment in our history, and after three years of unfounded self-doubt, it is time to change the
record. To recover our natural and historic role as an enterprising, outward looking and truly global Britain, generous in temper and engaged
with the world. No one in the last few centuries has succeeded in betting against the pluck and nerve and ambition of this country. They will not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The pluck and nerve of this country, they will not succeed if you get against it. This is all good stuff, but it's not going to get a deal.
HEAPPEY: Well, look, like I've said, this is the first speech on the steps of Downing Street as Prime Minister. It's really important to set the
tone. No, of course, it's not going to immediately in itself change anything.
QUEST: I guess what --
HEAPPEY: But it sets a direction.
QUEST: Well I guess what for myself -- people like myself are saying is I don't want unrealistic nonsense being spoke of. Having sat out -- and
you've been in there --
HEAPPEY: Welcome to Westminster. Everyone is spouting unrealistic nonsense --
[11:40:00] QUEST: But we sat out here and heard all this said about what we could do and couldn't do. We sort of got a pretty good idea of the
real. What I did find interesting, and let's talk about this, is his wish for these other things -- biotech, universities, hospitals, better
infrastructure -- even though he's not a supporter of HS-2. He's going to need to make sure his premiership is not completely derailed, as Theresa
May's was by Brexit, or is that inevitable?
HEAPPEY: No, look, there is no escaping that Boris is top item in the inbox, the thing that he will be judged on. The thing that allows him to
survive until Christmas is his ability to deliver Brexit. But there is a weariness, not just in Westminster, but around the country, that this place
has been so obsessed with Brexit for so long, and there are things that need to be tackled.
Now, Boris in his speech quite rightly said there is gross inequality in the way our schools are funded. That needs to be corrected. He said that
the way we do our social care system is straight up unfair. That needs to be corrected. He said that there's no longer confidence that our streets
are safe because there's not enough policemen on the beat. He said that he'll correct it. He said that our infrastructure is creaking. We four,
five of broadband. He said that he'll correct it. Those are all big things that matter not only to the 20 percent of the population at either
end who obsess about Brexit, but to everybody, because those are things that matter to daily lives.
QUEST: 100 days -- there's 99 days today I think since -- until Brexit. Can he get that deal?
HEAPPEY: Well, look, he's got to. And if he can't get the deal, then he needs to make sure that no-deal preparations are sufficient, that they can
somehow command a majority in the House. If he can't, make no mistake --
QUEST: It's your party.
HEAPPEY: Oh, completely. We are into a general election in the autumn. If he can't get Brexit --
QUEST: Oh, you're --
HEAPPEY: -- and the Conservative Party will be almost wiped from the face of the earth.
QUEST: At least that's a first bit of reality, that realism. You're not fooling yourself on that.
HEAPPEY: No, not at all. This is an existential challenge to the Conservative Party. It we do not deliver, the Brexit Party will eat our
vote from one end, the Lib Dems will eat it from the other, and the consequence will be a Jeremy Corbyn government by default and quite
frankly, that's the country really screwed.
QUEST: On that note, we'll go to break. Back in a second. Thank you, sir. More comes up in just a moment. This is CNN. Good to have you with
QUEST: An update now on the dramatic morning event on Capitol Hill. Former special counsel Robert Mueller is wrapping up the first of two
appearances before Capitol Hill and before the House committees. He's testifying about his report on Russian election interference and President
Donald Trump's efforts to impede that investigation. He agreed that the reason he didn't indict the President is because existing guidelines don't
allow for stating President to be indicted. He addressed Donald Trump's claim that the report totally exonerated him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:45:00] REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): So the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct?
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: That is correct.
NADLER: And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?
NADLER: Now, in fact, your report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president.
MUELLER: It does.
NADLER: And your investigation actually found, quote, multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law
enforcement investigations, including the Russian interference and obstruction investigations. Is that correct?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, Republicans are attacking the investigation and Mueller's decision to detail possible obstruction by the President, since he knew he
could not be indicted. A few things got really heated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): And if somebody knows they did not conspire with anybody from Russia to affect the election, and they see the big
Justice Department with people that hate that person coming after him. And then a special counsel appointed who hires dozens or more people that hate
that person, and he knows he's innocent. He's not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. What he's doing is not obstructing
justice. He is pursuing justice. And the fact that you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman's time --
GOHMERT -- and the fact that you ran it out two years means you perpetuated injustice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, that's more from our CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz. Shimon, the hot air is coming from the politicians on both
sides. Has Mueller actually said anything revolutionary or extraordinary yet?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: I think everything that we've seen in the report is exactly what we're seeing from Mueller in his
testimony, and he's not going beyond that. So, no, I don't think there's been anything revolutionary. There are key things and I think you've
already pointed them out.
And one of them is the fact that he says this report, despite what the President said, despite maybe in some ways what the Attorney General, Bill
Barr said, Mueller did not exonerate the President.
And the other thing is I think we're hearing a lot about the restrictions that were placed on Mueller and his team because of the principles, the
guiding principles out of the Department of Justice, that you cannot indict a sitting president. So, therefore, they were limited. They were
hamstrung in some of what they wanted to do and some parts of their investigation. Because ultimately, they couldn't come to a conclusion
because of the regulations by the Department of Justice.
And then the other thing I think that's important here is when he said that the President could be indicted once he leaves office. The other big story
inline, Richard, that's going to come out of this is Mueller's performance. How did he do? And really, right now that seems to be the thing that's on
the top of everyone's mind. Best way to describe him, probably, his testimony right now is halting and at times shaky. He has in some ways
refused to answer a lot of questions. More than 75 times as of this morning he told the Congress members when they were asking him questions, I
refer to my report, I refer to my report. We kept hearing that from him. It's going to be a big story line here, nonetheless, his performance and
how well he did in all of this.
QUEST: Right, but I mean, I hear what you say, but I don't know whether that matters in the sense of he's no longer special counsel. He's a former
head of the FBI. He's a man of great integrity and respect in many cases. And he always said from the get-go, Shimon, he said, I'm not going beyond
my report. I can't help feeling the politicians have gotten exactly what they expected they were going to get.
PROKUPECZ: There are some who feel like they have gotten exactly what they were going to get. Some people who are saying that this is a disaster for
the Democrats, of course, we're waiting to hear from the President. But you know, I think his performance -- he's not as sharp. But the thing is
that the Robert Mueller that we are all used to seeing -- sharp, concise, crisp, a man who has command of the facts -- you're not seeing that in this
hearing. And that is one of the reasons why he wanted to have his right- hand man sitting next to him. He is sitting next to him, but he's not allowed to speak. So, I think that's what I think is going to be one of
the bigger story lines in all of this.
QUEST: Right. Shimon, good to see you. Thank you, sir, for putting that into context.
This is CNN. A very big day, both sides of the Atlantic. We've got Boris Johnson as the British Prime Minister and we've got Robert Mueller who's
going to give his second part of his testimony to the intelligence committee. This is CNN.
[11:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SOARES: Someone talk to me please.
QUEST: Now in his first speech as Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson made two things extremely clear -- negotiating a new Brexit deal will be
his highest report priority. And two, if he cannot get a deal, he says a no-deal Brexit will happen at the end of October. Bianca's with me, and
Dawn Foster is also here, columnist for "The Guardian." Bianca's just dressing --
SOARES: No, she's ready.
NOBILO: We're good.
QUEST: Well, everybody's in and out all the time. It's nonstop.
NOBILO: This is live tv.
QUEST: Dawn Foster with me, what'd you make as he came into Number 10?
DAWN FOSTER, STAFF WRITER, JACOBIN MAGIZINE: He talked about a lot of things. Clearly, he's been brought in and he said over and over again, he
wants to get Brexit done. But when it came to speech, he tried to throw in a huge number of things. He talked about animal rights --
FOSTER: He talked about social care. I think it's because he knows that everything will be riding on Brexit. When you look at Theresa May, she had
to get Brexit through. She failed miserably. And in the last few days of her premiership, she tried to rush through things to try and instill some
form of legacy. He's trying to do that from the off. So he wants to solve the social care problem. He wants to solve all sorts of things that have
been pushed aside by Brexit. But it was very light on details. Whether or not he will be able to do it remains to be seen.
SOARES: And didn't come across as very convincing because he seemed to be interested in everything, but not very focused.
FOSTER: Yes, absolutely. So he said he was going to solve social care. He said he was going to look at animal rights. He didn't really say
anything about how he was going to do that. Obviously, social care has been a huge issue. It's really a big problem with the number of staff we
have, you know, looking at older people, people with disabilities. But there wasn't any detail on how exactly he's going to address that. You
know, as you say, it was very, very light on detail, but it seemed to be designed to make a load of headlines but without any real reason why.
QUEST: That's what this was about, wasn't it? I mean, I think if I had one criticism, Bianca, of this, was it was just too long. You obviously
didn't want a detailed policy speech going on for too long, but you didn't want just hyperbole on every issue that might come across the government.
NOBILO: No, and I'd say two things. First of all, it's consistent with his approach to present this optimistic vision of the future of Britain,
that he would paint a picture of what he wants to address. Whether or not all of them are achievable, especially with all the parliamentary oxygen
being diverted towards Brexit, is another matter.
The other thing as you mentioned, Richard, it did go on a bit long and Boris Johnson has been a genius when it comes to curating his media
appearances. He lied very low in the leadership campaign. He chooses moments very wisely. He's a good PR thinker. Now that he's going to be
addressing the nation daily or every other day, it's going to be interesting whether or not he retains that sparkle because we're going to
be seeing so much of him and he'll have to be addressing serious issues. But he'll have to restrain himself from his natural rhetorical tendencies.
SOARES: Compared to yesterday, or was this a different Boris Johnson, Bianca? We've been talking all day about having seen two sides of Boris
Johnson. Yesterday he felt he had more energy, full of hyperbole. I saw much more constrained.
NOBILO: Well, it's a different audience. Yesterday in the Queen Elizabeth Center, he was addressing members of the Conservative Party and others
intimately involved with the party. Whereas today on the steps of Downing Street, he knows that he's speaking to the country at large, so he needs to
temper some of his enthusiasm when it comes to Brexit, present a unifying message. But also a clear message of the direction of travel for this
government, and that's where we get to the key developments this afternoon where we're going to be finding out who is going to get the great offices
of state. Who are going to be the key members of the Boris Johnson cabinet.
SOARES: Unifying message says, Bianca. Did you feel it was unifying, his message?
FOSTER: Relatively speaking.
QUEST: Go on.
FOSTER: I think he was trying to be unifying. And when you look at some of the names you've floated for the cabinet so far, it does seem he is
trying to unify people in that respect.
[11:55:00] He could fill the cabinet with a lot of kind of, you know, hard Brexit head-bangers, people who were with him in the Leave campaign. There
will be a lot of them, but there are also a lot of people who served in Theresa May's cabinet. Sir Sajid Javid who voted remain, will almost
certainly in there. Matt Hancock has really been supporting him since he pulled out of the race. So, I think Boris Johnson will be trying to pull
together a lot of people who have previously attacked him, previously been at odds with him and try and drag them into the cabinet and try and, you
know, show more unity than there was for Theresa May.
NOBILO: A development in the last few minutes is that Penny Morton, who fairly recently became the first female ever Secretary of State for Defense
has said that she will now be returning to the back benches. An interesting move, given that Penny Morton is a Brexiteer. She did support
Jeremy Hunt during the leadership contest. But given that there's been a briefing from the Boris Johnson campaign that they're trying to achieve a
very good gender balance as well as a better composition of ethnic diversity within the cabinet. It's strange that she is not going to be
serving in this position because she is female, she is a Brexiteer, and from my sources in defense, she was doing a fairly good job of grasping the
brief from early on.
SOARES: Do you think, perhaps, that she was going to be moved, she saw that she knew what was coming? Was there a sense that --
NOBILO: Possibly, but unlike Jeremy Hunt, who it's been widely reported in the British media today, was offered that role as Secretary of State for
Defense and turned it down. We don't have absolutely confirmation of that, but that's the rumor. It stands to reason why he would want a great office
of state, who'll want to remain in the foreign office. But why Penny Morton would refuse a cabinet position, other than defense, is serious.
QUEST: Thank you both. The heat is now on Boris Johnson as he takes his place as Prime Minister. And not only politically, across Europe.
SOARES: We don't need -- we could tell you this -- it's been very hot, very hot day here in London. I know they're around 10:00 this morning, it
was what, 23, 24 degrees?
Well, the national weather center says part of the U.K. could reach 39 degrees Celsius. I live in the United States, so I'm afraid --
SOARES: Ooh, I'm European.
QUEST: You're very European. 102 degrees Fahrenheit in real money, as they say.
SOARES: Well, in Paris, they're beating the heat by frolicking in the fountains near the Eiffel Tower, you can see there. Really do, some of
that frolicking here, it's been rather hot the past two days.
QUEST: He is the Prime Minister.
QUEST: So the formal part of the day is over.
SOARES: Yes. You can take your jacket off.
QUEST: I think I can remove my jacket. I actually have a -- because you've got to -- you can't broadcast in your jacket while you're waiting
for somebody to go and see the Queen.
We'll be back in just a moment.
QUEST: A very good day to you.