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Justin Trudeau Apologizes For Wearing Brownface; Saudis Say Weaponry Was Iranian Made; Court Decision In Fukushima Daiichi Plant Negligence Case; Saudi Oil Filed Strikes; Israeli Election Still Too Close To Call; Brexit Showdown; UFO's Something Is Out There; Humberto Hitting Bermuda And 28,000 People Without Power. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired September 19, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: -- force to apologize for an offensive photo just weeks before his reelection bid.

Saudi Arabia's elaborate show and tell presenting evidence to the world that the weapons used to attack their oil facilities were made in Iran.

Plus, a major court decision in Japan on negligence charges over the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN Newsroom. Good to have you with us. So, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was already locked in a tight reelection race when his campaign took a hit on Wednesday. This 18 year old photo emerged of him wearing brownface makeup in 2001.

CNN affiliate time obtained the photo from the yearbook of West Point Academy, the private high school where Mr. Trudeau was a teacher. Now, at the time, the future politician was attending an Arabian night's theme party. Mr. Trudeau admitted wearing brownface was a quote, racist and dumb thing to do and said he was deeply sorry.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER, CANADA: I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better. It was something that I did not think was racist at the time, but now I recognize and it was something racist to do and I am deeply sorry.

I have worked all my life to try and create opportunities for people to fight against racism and intolerance and I could just stand here and say that I made a mistake when I was younger and I wish I hadn't. I should have known better then, but I didn't and I did it and I am deeply sorry for it.


CHURCH: Now, he also admitted that he wore makeup when he's singing the Jamaican folksong Day-O during a high school talent show. Mr. Trudeau's main opponent Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer says Mr. Trudeau is not fit to lead Canada.


ANDREW SCHEER, LEADER, CANADIAN CONSERVATIVE PARTY: Wearing brownface is an act of (inaudible), mockery and racism. It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019. What Canadians saw this evening, they saw what a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country.


CHURCH: Political columnist and commentator Bill Tieleman joins me now from Vancouver, Canada. He is a former strategist with the new Democratic Party. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, Justin Trudeau was hit with this bombshell, Wednesday and we heard him on his campaign plane tell the assembled media there that he was really sorry and should have known at the time that it was offensive. What impact will this likely have on his reelection campaign do you think?

TIELEMAN: Well, this is quite disastrous for the Prime Minister. He has made a point of going after his opponents, the conservatives and others, over alleged racism on their part and now suddenly the tables have turned on him completely, so this is an enormous body blow, as your introduction said.

The two main parties, the conservatives and liberals are tied, the third party, the opposition, the MDP are led by the first non- Caucasian leader of any federal political party in Canada, and he has been very offended by this, Jagmeet Singh (ph). So this is just a disaster for the liberal campaign with just over four weeks to go.

CHURCH: But Trudeau, Trudeau though also admitted, as we just pointed out, that he wore blackface makeup in a high school talent show, and he says he deeply regrets that. He also agreed that the photograph of him in brownface as adult was racist, but says he did not considerate it racist at the time, but now he says he knows better. Will most voters accept his apology and explanation given his history, and given this was back in 2001? Or do you think this the end for him?

TIELEMAN: Well, that is a very difficult situation. I think only time will tell what voters, but Prime Minister Trudeau got in trouble a few years ago on a trip to India where he wore many traditional and many said kind of pantomime, Indian costumes as well as his wife and children to the degree that it was widely criticize both here in Canada and in India and most observers have said, since then that that was one of the low point of his entire term as Prime Minister.

And so now it is even worse and he also has, in addition to Mr. Singh from the MDP who wears a turban, he has members of his own cabinet who are Hindi-Canadian back then who also wear turbans, and here he is seen in, you know, something that, which would be seen in the United States as extremely offensive to a lot of minorities, and the Liberal Party depends a lot on in urban writings, they have a lot of Sikhs, where there are large numbers of Hindu-Canadians, and others of people of color who are probably going to be pretty surprised and shocked by this as they wake up in the morning and then tonight to see the news.


CHURCH: Yes. No doubt. And of course, Trudeau was already struggling as a result of a scandal related to corruption charges being dropped against a large Canadian engineering firm. Will this, combined with, now this racist incident, possibly and his chances completely, or do you think is he good at turning things around? Can you see that he can save his campaign at this juncture?

TIELEMAN: Well, it is hard to say because he's only been one federal campaign before which was very successful, but in the essence of the level and scandal, his Attorney General, who was the first indigenous or first nations Attorney General in Canadian history, quit and discuss it on principle because she felt that the Prime Minister office was pressuring her to drop charges against this international firm.

So he already had a really challenging situation going into this election which is very, very tight and this body blow basically to (inaudible) party campaign, you know, will see how generous and forgiving people are, but just saying you are sorry doesn't really cut in this day and age and that is all we've done so far.

CHURCH: Yes, people will expect some other action from the Prime Minister. We will see what happens, as you say, in the next hours and days and weeks ahead. Bill Tieleman, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

TIELEMAN: My pleasure.

CHURCH: Well, now to the latest on the Saudi oil attack. How the U.S. will respond to those strikes, just might depends on who you listen to. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls it an act of war and says, no matter who carried out the attack, the U.S. will hold Iran responsible. President, Trump though, has been less combative in his response. CNN's Barbara Starr has our report on that.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Standing next to his new national security adviser, President Trump still stopping short of military action against Iran for its alleged attack on Saudi oil facilities.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are really at a point now where we know very much what happened.

STARR: Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, shortly before landing in Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, told reporters that the strikes on Saudi oil facilities where an Iranian attack on an unprecedented scale, calling it an act of war.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: There were no Americans killed in this attack, but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there is always a risk that could happen.

STARR: However, Pompeo did not provide details definitively showing the attack was launched from inside Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see all the debris.

STARR: Today, Saudi defense officials showing the world remnants of what they say are alleged Iranian missiles and drones used in the massive attack that disrupted world oil market. Iran denies involvement but the Saudis insist the weapons are of Iranian origin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was launched from the north and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran.

STARR: While via, Twitter President Trump announcing, he is imposing more sanctions. The Pentagon has been told to ensure plans for military options are up to date, but there is no indication of imminent U.S. military actions. Several officials telling CNN any strikes would have to be a coalition effort and President Trump wants the Saudis involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are looking at this issues now and getting briefed up.

STARR: What to do next about Iran may be front and center for Robert O'Brien. The U.S. hostage negotiator Trump named as his new national security adviser.

TRUMP: He did a tremendous job on hostage negotiation, really tremendous, like unparalleled. We have had tremendous success in that regard.

STARR: One senior White House official says it shows Trump wants a consensus builder, not a showboat or, a dig perhaps at predecessor John Bolton, a well-known hawk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the posture that will keep the American people say from the main challenges around the world today.

STARR: And in the way this development has been announced that Saudi Arabia has joined the international coalition to try to ensure maritime security in the Persian Gulf and in the Strait of Hurmuz. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


CHURCH: Well, Iran continues to deny it was behind the weekend attack and it is warning the U.S. against any military action. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blasted Donald Trump for escalating the U.S. economic war on Iranians by ordering a substantial increase in sanctions. He says it is an admission that the U.S. is deliberately targeting ordinary citizens, calling it illegal and inhuman. And be sure to tune in as CNN's Nick Paton Walsh sits down for an in-

depth interview with Foreign Minister Zarif. That is coming up at 11:00 a.m. in London, 6:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, only here on CNN.


Well, Saudi Arabia says it has recovered debris from the attack on its oil facilities that ties Iran to the strikes. The defense ministry laid out parts of drones and cruise missiles in Riyadh on Wednesday. CNN's Nic Robertson talk with the defense ministry spokesman.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is Iranian because you have looked at circuit boards or you've seen these missiles before?

LT. COL. TURKI AL MALKI, SAUDI DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN: We looked to everything, so the expertise and the ministry of defense, they looked at everything and it is not just the boards, but there are many things that we can work it out with the panel of experts and we can prove it for the international community that those components is Iranian components or is being used by the Iranians are being given to their proxies in the region.

ROBERTSON: How confident are you that you're going to find the point of origin where they were fired from?

AL MALKI: Because we do have the education, and from the indication that we have given today comparing the range for the assets, talking about the UAV or talking about the cruise missile, we know exactly how far can it go.

ROBERTSON: And it has things like a motor on it here that is one of the things that tells you how far it can go.

AL MALKI: Well, there are other capabilities in the system, or in the assets you put it together and you know exactly, and some of the information is not releasable to talk about the operational capability.

ROBERTSON: But you are confident you will find where they were fired from.

AL MALKI: You can accuse, let's say, under the international law, a country without having the evidence. We have given a lot of evidence to the panel of experts. We have given the evidence to the international community showing the involvement of the Iranian regime. The indication, one of the things, we have shown in the brief, the direction of the attack.

ROBERTSON: From the north.

AL MALKI: From the north and how precision is the attack which is showing advanced capabilities, and the cruise missile and there is no way it is coming from the south. It is not just assumption, but we are talking about facts and figures that we do have it and we can't release it right now and we are working on it.

ROBERTSON: If it's the north then, that is either Iraq or Iran, as a launch state.

AL MALKI: Well, it is not about saying Iraq or Iran, this time, but we have the evidence that is coming from the north. We are talking about the cruise missiles over there, which is three cruise missiles had landed short from a gate. That is proof it is not coming from the Yemen.

ROBERTSON: What is going to be the response to Iran?

AL MALKI: The response? Are you talking about the international community response? Because we said this attack is not just against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is not just against Saudi (inaudible), it's against the international trade, and against the security of the global community.

ROBERTSON: And does the international community believe that going out?

AL MALKI: I think we have a common understanding and we are working with our allies to -- stop the Iran from their hostile act in the region and in the world.


CHURCH: Nic Robertson with that report. Well, there is still no clear winner in Tuesdays general election in Israel and it is raising doubts about whether Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest serving Prime Minister, can maintained his grip on power. The latest projections show his Likud Party trailing Benny Gantz' blue and white party by just one seat, and neither appears to have the 61 seats needed to form a government.

The final election tallies are expected on Friday, and if the results are as tight as expected, it could take weeks of political wrangling from one of them to form a successful coalition.

Well, more than eight years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, reports a Japanese court has cleared three former technical executives of any negligence. That is next.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. A Tokyo court has cleared three former executives of negligence for the 2011 Fukushima disaster. They were accused of failing to implement safety measures. So, let's turn now to CNN's Will Ripley for more on this. Good to see you again, Will. So, it was the only criminal case to come out of the Fukushima disaster and now the three executives have been cleared. How did this play out?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All of this took more than eight years, Rosemary. Normally, the Japanese judicial system might move more quickly. Prosecutors, they normally wouldn't take a case to trial unless they felt they had enough evidence to secure a conviction. But in this case, prosecutors declined to go to trial twice because they thought that the evidence was pretty flimsy and they did not think they could get a conviction and that is exactly what happened.

Japan has a 99 percent conviction rate, but in this case, prosecutors simply were not able to prove that kept goes former chairman and two former vice president were negligent in the lead up to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown that was triggered by a 46 foot tsunami wave that overwhelmed the plants ability to protect against natural disaster, causing a power outage and of course a meltdown that forced evacuations and that irreparably changed thousands of people's lives, especially those who have lived in the immediate vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

I have been to these abandoned villages many times and I've spoken with relatives of people who died in the aftermath, the immediate aftermath of the evacuation. More than 40 elderly patients had to be moved very quickly and even though no deaths were directly attributed to radiation from the meltdown itself, the trauma of that event did cause some people who are already ill, already have a certain age, to die, and there are people, citizens in Fukushima who had been demanding justice for years.

In fact, it was a citizen judicial review panel back in 2015 that insisted that these three former executives go on trial, that somebody be held criminally responsible for what has happened because there are still many civil lawsuits, some penalties of already been awarded, others are still making their way through the courts.

And the reality is, after this result today, not a single person, more than eight years, later will be held criminally responsible for the Fukushima Daiichi disaster despite the fact that there is evidence that executives received briefings, briefings that told them that the plant might not be able to withstand the size waves that overtook the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

And also briefings that war of the fact that a larger earthquake, like the 9.0 earthquake that struck on March 11th of 2011 could create the kind of waves that would cause the power outage and the subsequent meltdown. Some have said that this is yet another example of Japan not really taking responsibility for what happened, and also what the international atomic agency and energy agency called basically a misguided faith by the Japanese in the safety of atomic power in the lead up to this.

But also the fact remains, Rosemary, plants just as old as Fukushima are still operating in Japan, reactors have been restarted, the country still relies on nuclear energy and it is a country that is highly prone to earthquakes and tsunami's, so there is real fear on the ground in Japan that this kind of thing could happen again if safety measures were not implemented.

But once, again this case kind of bringing to light the fact that at least as it stands right now, not a single person will be held criminally accountable for what happened at Fukushima. Consequences still being felt, a million tons of radioactive water, they are trying to figure out exactly what to do with it. They might even have to dump it into the ocean, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed, and as you mentioned, a lot of fear, there's a lot of outrage, with this outcome. We will see in the hours ahead what the reaction is on the ground there. Many thanks to our Will Ripley with the latest on that. A appreciate it.


Well, in the coming hours, the U.K. Supreme Court is to hear final arguments on whether suspending parliament for five weeks was done lawfully. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said he needed that time to prepare a new legislative agenda. But his opponents say he wanted to prevent lawmakers from challenging his handling of Brexit. Parliament is scheduled to reconvene on October 14th, 17 days before Great Britain is to leave the European Union.

Well, we might not be alone in the galaxy. U.S. Navy video from years ago apparently shows UFO's and now the military has acknowledged something really was flying across the sky. Details ahead.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. On to the weather, and hurricane Humberto is taking its toll on Bermuda. You can see the effect there, with all the wind, this along with heavy rain from the storm has been hitting the island some 28,000 customers are now without power and that means 80 percent of Bermuda has no electricity, so let's turn again to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, has been keeping a very close eye on this at the International Weather Center. How is it looking right now?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's quite again to improve Rosemary, you know, it is really incredible to think this storm system was about 100 kilometers from land when it moved just west of the island there, but such significantly large feature that, of course, sees impacts as such, where we have 80 percent of the island without power.

In fact, wind gusts across Pearl Island and the Wave International Airport pushing well over 180 kilometers per hour. So again, this is from the system that was nowhere near landfall when it skirted to the west of this island. It really speaks to how prone this particular island is to significant damage when a storm comes within close proximity.

But I want to take you out towards the coast of the state of Texas and Louisiana, because this is what is left of a tropical depression, but does not sound all that impressive, never really look that impressive on satellite imagery, but it has prompted an incredible amount of flooding across this region, and in fact another round of 200 to 300 millimeters of rainfall could fall in the next couple of days. Look at this, already half a meter has come down since Monday. That is the equivalent of what London would see in an entire year. They have pick this up since Monday alone because of a tropical depression, not a storm, not a hurricane, not a major hurricane, it really speaks to the flood potential of such a storm.

And look at this, anytime you get rainfall in an urban environment, of course, if it is a grassy area which urban environments have very little of, all of that gets absorbed, in a place such as Houston, Texas. You have concrete, heavy rainfall, and it settles right in at the surface there and leads to significant flooding which is precisely what has been happening across portions of eastern Texas.

Now back out into the Atlantic we here as tropical storm Jerry, sitting just east of the Leeward Islands, all alerts in place there across Anguilla and around the British Virgin Islands as well, as the system kind of skirts just to north of the island we think as early as Friday afternoon.

Notice this, models do want to make a sharp right turn as we go in towards Saturday into Sunday. This would spare the Turks and (inaudible), and also the Bahamas, but look up there, Bermuda in the direct path of yet another system potentially. Fortunately, this looks to be weaker, once the system does approach, if it makes it there, but still worth noting that you see significant damage with a storm that doesn't make landfall, you can only imagine what might happen when the storm gets closer to the island, Rosemary.


CHURCH: Absolutely. Thanks again for keeping an eye on that. I appreciate it Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, the U.S. Navy has finally acknowledge the video it has of UFO's flying through the air are real, but as CNN's Randi Kaye report, it does not call them UFO's.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Images of that rotating thing captured by U.S. Navy aircraft, sensors locking in on the target. Commander David Fravor saw it firsthand during a training mission, describing it like a 40 foot long tic-tac maneuvering rapidly and changing direction.

COMMANDER DAVID FRAVOR, U.S. NAVY PILOT: As we both looked at the right side of our airplane, we saw a disturbance in the water and a white object, oblong, pointing north.

KAYE: The object was first sighted in 2004, then similar objects again in 2015. Footage of the sightings, declassified by the military, weren't made public until December, 2017 by The New York Times and a group that researches UFO's.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My gosh! They're going against the wind. The wind is 120 miles of the west. FRAVOR: This was extremely abrupt, like a Ping-Pong ball bouncing off

a wall. The ability to hover over the water and then start a vertical climb from basically zero up towards about 12,000 feet and then accelerate in less than two seconds and disappears is something I had never seen in my life.

KAYE: The navy says it still doesn't know what the objects are and officials aren't speculating. A navy spokesman simply confirming to CNN the object scene in the various clips are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAP's.

The UFO reports were first investigated by a secret 22 million dollar program, part of the Defense Department budget, that investigated reports of UFO's. The program has since been shut down, but it was run by a military intelligence official who told CNN they found compelling evidence that we, quote, may not be alone. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Puts it all in perspective doesn't it? Thanks so much for joining us, I'm Rosemary Church. African voices, change makers is up next, but first I will be back with a check of your headlines. You are watching CNN. Do stick around.


CHURCH: Hello again, I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN News Now. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apologizing after a photo emerge of him wearing brownface during a party at a private school.