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Climate Activist Scolds World Leaders For Inaction; Iran: No Talks Until Sanctions Relief; Ukraine Scandal Fuels Democrats' Calls To Impeach Trump; Corbyn Wants Parliament To Return To Work Immediately; U.K. Government Working to Bring Home Stranded Passengers; Duke and Duchess of Sussex Africa Visit; Getting Online Through Solar Power. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 24, 2019 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In the coming hours, U.S. President Donald Trump will deliver a message to a chamber full of presidents, prime ministers, dictators, and royals. We're told Iran will top Trump's address to the United Nations General Assembly. In particular, the U.S. accusation that Iran carried out drone attacks on Saudi oil fields early this month.
It's an allegation in which the U.K., France, and Germany have just signed on to and Donald Trump would not say if he is planning to meet with Iran's president Hassan Rouhani. But Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had a definitive answer when asked if he is meeting with Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you meet with President Trump?
JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER, IRAN: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And for the record, another person Donald Trump will not be meeting, 16-year-old climate activists Greta Thunberg. She stared down the U.S. president as the two passed in the foyer at the U.N. That was just after she ripped the world leaders at the U.N.'s one-day Climate Summit saying they failed an entire generation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I'm one of the lucky ones.
People are suffering, people are dying, and our ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: For more, CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Executive Editor of the New Yorker's Web site David Rohde is with us from New York. David, good to see you.
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
VAUSE: OK, in this smackdown between the 16-year-old versus the leader of the free world, or the leaders of the world and in particular the President of the United States, did the 16-year-old come out in front?
ROHDE: I think she did. In an American perspective, I don't think it changed anything. I think there's people who dislike you know, Donald Trump are very inspired by Greta and she was very passionate there in that speech, but there's a large constituency in the U.S. who you know, still reject the science.
It's clear that, you know, the planet is warming. It's clear the weather is getting more extreme. So we'll have to see how this plays out in a way in 2020 in the U.S. election. Clearly, Democrats and Liberals are energized about this issues, conservatives are not. You know will Liberals and Democrats turn out in enough numbers to remove Donald Trump out of power.
VAUSE: On the one hand, Donald Trump just set this history of a playing cookie when it comes to meetings on climate change. Most recently he didn't turn up to one of the G7. So does he get credit for just showing up even though you know, he clearly struggled to pay attention. He shuffles his papers around, he seemed to be unable to sit still in his seat. Was it just sort of an attempt to grab some attention away from Thunberg?
ROHDE: It might have been an attempt to grab some attention away. But I mean, the bottom line is the policy. And this, you know, administration has dismissed global warming, they've increased the use of fossil fuels, and there's no question that they're very hostile towards you know, Greta personally, so I don't see any difference.
It was good I guess he showed up but it's again the policy that matters and you know, I don't see any change at all in this -- in the Trump administration's policies.
VAUSE: Yes. And on the eve of the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday -- sorry that happens on Tuesday the General Assembly. There was a statement which was issued beforehand by the leaders of the U.K., France, and Germany which the public -- publicly called out Iran for the airstrikes on Saudi Arabia's biggest oil production facility.
Here's part of it. There is no other plausible explanation Iran bears responsibility for this attack. And these three leaders urge that Iran should refrain from choosing provocation and escalation. It's the other context here which seems much more important. It's part of much biggest statement which sort of reaffirms support for the Iran nuclear deal, talks about de-escalation of tensions and talked about sort of maybe renegotiating the around nuclear deal, maybe Trump can get a chance to sort of tinker around the edges, I guess.
Iran's Foreign Minister though says that the latest round of sanctions slept on by the U.S. Treasury was designed to cut off any chance of renegotiating or having negotiations or discussions with the United States. Here's Javad Zarif. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying that there's a plan afoot to close the doors to negotiation by the U.S. president?
ZARIF: I think the only reason they would re-designate our central bank is to make it impossible or very difficult for this president or his successor to remove their name from the list. The bar is very high and I think those who proposed this to President Trump wanted to close the door to negotiations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, to translate the diplomatic doublespeak, exactly what is Zarif saying?
ROHDE: Zarif is saying, you know, they need U.S. economic sanctions about Iran reduced. And I don't think there will be any negotiations until that happens. Earlier this summer, my colleague at The New Yorker Robin Wright reported that Donald Trump invited the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to an Oval Office meeting. This would have been historic, the first time since you know, the 70s that an Iranian minister or leader has visited the Oval Office.
The Iranian said no. There's been many outreach efforts by the Trump administration's for talks and the Iranians have said basically, President Trump wants a photo opportunity, they want sanctions relief. So they will not give Trump I think a meeting or a photo opportunity in New York unless there's you know, a reduction in these sanctions that are -- that are really pressuring Iran's economy.
VAUSE: So the sanctions (INAUDIBLE) that essentially it's sanctions relief or it's just there's no point talking?
ROHDE: I mean, that's the Iranian position and it's -- you know, look, I want to be fair to President Trump, but you know, leverage with Donald Trump is not giving him a photo opportunity. But there was a specific reference to this you know, in the summer was the reset he didn't want a big summit as happened you know, with North Korea's leader but there was sort of no concrete change.
So I see the attack on Saudi Arabia and these different efforts by the Iranian's military to drive up oil prices and sort of pressure the U.S. and the world and the Europeans to do more to relieve these sanctions. So you know, I don't think they'll be a breakthrough this week and you'll see possibly some other sort of military action by Iran to continue to pressure the world, drive up oil prices, and try to get relief from these sanctions.
VAUSE: Well, the speeches at the UNGA, the U.N. General Assembly begin later on Tuesday. Here's a reminder of what happened last year when Donald Trump is at this stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America is so true. I didn't expect that reaction but that's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, last year the world was laughing at the president and at the United States in a way. Does it feel like the mood is being shifted in the 12 months since then as they're now more concerned about what Donald Trump may or may not do in the next 18 months?
ROHDE: I think they're more concerned what he may or may not do economically. You know, the trade wars with China and you know, Europe and to a lesser extent now you know, Mexico and Canada can slow the world economy. The confrontation with Iran can you know, drive up oil prices.
The President has shown I think that he's not interested in military conflicts in the Middle East. He does not want a military conflict with Iran but he is putting enormous pressure on the world economy through his negotiating style towards China. So I do think it's a more somber meeting and he's seen as a threat, an economic threat to the rest of the world not a military one.
VAUSE: David, I appreciate your insight. Thank you. Good to see you.
ROHDE: Thank you.
VAUSE: The latest now on the whistleblower scandal facing the U.S. President. A senior administration official tells CNN last July and days before a call with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Donald Trump ordered a freeze on military aid for Kyiv.
The two leaders are set to meet Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Zelensky was only recently elected. He's a former comedian who is now caught up in a potentially major political scandal in the United States.
Donald Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden as well as his family, and that's fueling calls from Democrats for impeachment. Here's CNN's Sunlen Serfaty.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: House Democrats long-simmering impeachment push is about to boil over.
REP. VICENTE GONZALEZ (D-TX): I don't think we have a choice. Under the Constitution, we must move forward with impeachment proceedings.
SERFATY: President Trump's admission that he pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and then blocked Congress from seeing the whistleblowers complain about it is now flipping Democrats impeachment drive into supercharged.
Currently, 137 Democrats have come out in favor of starting impeachment proceedings. Our sources telling CNN that additional Democrats skeptical of impeachment in the past are now ready to announce their support for impeachment proceedings within days.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.
SERFATY: A potentially significant warning shot from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi too in this letter two House members ratcheting up her own language saying that if the administration does not turn over the whistleblowers complaint to Congress, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff who has resisted calling for Trump's impeachment in the past kept in close contact with Pelosi over the weekend before saying this to Jake on "STATE OF THE UNION."
SCHIFF: That may be the only remedy that is co-equal to the evil that conduct represents.
SERFATY: Despite this, some Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with leadership space and calling them out. House freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeting, the bigger national scandal isn't the president's law-breaking behavior, it is the Democratic Party's refusal to impeach him for it.
All this as many Senate Republicans are trying to avoid wading into the controversy with one outlier. Utah Senator Mitt Romney tweeting it would be troubling in the extreme if the president pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden and that it was critical for the facts to come out.
Meantime, three House committee chairs are now threatening to issue subpoenas if the State Department does not hand over the documents they've requested by Thursday of this week. Sunlen Serfaty, CNN on Capitol Hill.
VAUSE: For more, I'm joined now by political analyst Michael Genovese, author of a number of books, a lot of books including How Trump Governs. Michael, good to see you.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, John. Good to be here.
VAUSE: OK, the last few hours we feel like a little bit more about this story about Trump apparently ordering the Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to put on hold military aid just you know, within a week or maybe a few days before calling Ukrainian president. And he asked apparently for an investigation into Joe Biden's son.
We also learned from the Washington Post who was the first to report the story that like $400 million of military aid was held back. The Ukrainians were told almost nothing about why. Eventually, the funds were released September 11. But among other things, that brings into question this statement that Donald Trump made on Monday. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I did not make a statement that you have to do this or I'm not going to give you aid. I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It was never that completely blunt. But we know from you know, testimony from Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen, the president talks like a mob boss. He says it with a nod and a wink. It would be shame if you had an accident kind of stuff.
GENOVESE: Well, the president has been caught red-handed and he's trying to wiggle out of it. And yes, he talks like a mob boss instead of a president. And he represents the United States in ways that does not really show the best side of the United States.
I think in this case, being caught red-handed, he was trapped into admitting what he had done. And in that sense, it could be in fact a game-changer. It could be a game-changer because the only mechanism left to deal with President Trump and I hate to go this -- to this extreme is impeachment.
And that's because the Office of Legal Counsel has already said you can't indict a sitting president but they went further this past week in the Manhattan Court saying you can't investigate potential crimes of a sitting president. And so what they've done is they've closed every door and that makes impeachment much more likely.
VAUSE: I want you to listen to the President again at the U.N. on Monday denying he applied pressure during that call. It came with a but. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There was no pressure put on them whatsoever. I put no pressure on them whatsoever. I could have. I think it would probably, possibly have been OK if I did. And they probably know that Joe Biden and his son are corrupt. If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they'd be getting the electric chair by right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Well, that last bit is not true. But you know, we've been down this road before. I didn't do it but if I did there'd be nothing wrong with it.
GENOVESE: Well, you know, and this is -- the question then becomes why do you stonewall if you've done nothing wrong? Why do you cover up if you've done nothing wrong? The reason why you lie, the reason why you break the law is because you have something to hide and some reason to break the law. They've already broken the law. There's no question about that.
The refusal to turn over the report of the whistleblower to Congress is a violation of the law. There could be other violations now if, in fact, the President did hint at a quid pro quo. He didn't have to directly say either you do this and then I'll do this, all you have to do is say look, we have this money I'm interested in stopping corruption and you know I think Joe Biden has been guilty of X, Y, & Z, so there's your hint. There's your -- and the Ukraine is so dependent on the United States.
And let's not forget, Ukraine is fighting the Russians. So to withhold the funds is to help Russia. Why are we helping Russia again?
VAUSE: It's a good question. You know, usually, ignorance of the law is no excuse or it's not a defense but election campaign laws are a little different. It's a violation when a politician or campaign accepts something of value from a foreign country knowing that it is illegal to do so, right?
That takes us back to June 13th and the head of the Electoral Commission who tweeted out the precise regulation. And she added this comment, "I would not have thought that I needed to say this." And here's part of her statement with the actual regulation. "Let me make something 100 percent clear to the American public and anyone running for public office; it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election." And that statement came a day to this interview (INAUDIBLE) ABC News. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Your campaign this time around with foreigners. If Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponent, should they accept it, or should they call the FBI?
TRUMP: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. I don't -- there's nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, we have information on your opponent. Oh, I think I'd want to hear it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You want that kind of interference in our elections.
TRUMP: It's not an interference. They have information. I think I'd take it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I think it is an interference. So, either the president is unable to grasp some very basic legal concepts, or he believes he's above the law, or he thinks he's invincible, or is he just begging Democrats to impeach him?
GENOVESE: Well, I think there's some in Washington that think that the President is goading the Democrats and inviting them to impeach because I think there is a strain of thought in the Republican Party that says, look, after 1998, when we impeached Bill Clinton for lying under oath about an extramarital affair, we got trounced to the next election. Maybe the same dynamic will work for Donald Trump. I think the situations are so dramatically different that they're -- the two don't mix it all. But, you know, in the past year and a half or two, we have been focused on looking backwards at what happened in 2016. Did the Russians do this? Did the President do that? Did candidate Trump do this?
This is different. We're looking ahead to the next election. Now, he's using the leverage of the President of the United States to have an impact in his favor on the next election. That is clearly a criminal act. And that's the kind of thing that if I were the president, I'd be stonewalling, and I'd be trying to cover up, too.
VAUSE: Well, you know, the administration is blocking all these details. So, the whistleblower complain to Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to lawmakers over the weekend, here's part of that letter, "If the administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the President, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness, which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation."
What has to happen before Pelosi is able to say the "I" word, before she can go down the road of impeachment?
GENOVESE: Well, you know, John, I know we're not supposed to do math on this program, but the calculation has changed dramatically in the last just few hours. I think up to this time, I think Nancy Pelosi was right on target saying, you don't want to get too far out ahead of impeachment. You want to let the country head -- catch up; you want to let the story build up. This is a game changer in the sense that the number of democratic legislators are now writing on the New York Times have got to move ahead. There's a lot more pressured move ahead. This is a different circumstance than looking at the past. You're looking at now -- Now, he's trying to get foreign governments involved in the next election.
And so, I think, the calculation -- the political calculation has changed. And I think Nancy Pelosi will now find it irresistible. And I think you'll find it irresistible because there is no mechanism left to deal with Trump except impeachment. Now, whether the President is goading them to that or not, it may very well be that that's the only way to deal with a corrupt president. And this is probably the most corrupt president in my lifetime, which means in American history.
VAUSE: Yes. Michael, thank you. It's always great to have you with us. Appreciate it.
GENOVESE: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz are in talks to possibly for the unity government after last week's election ended in a deadlock. They met with the President on Monday and considering a rotation, each would take a turn at serving as Prime Minister. Big question, though, is who gets to go first? That's a potential sticking point, especially for Netanyahu who is trying to avoid prosecution on corruption charges and would like to stay Prime Minister as long as possible.
Still to come here on CNN, the U.K. Supreme Court will soon decide if Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was legal. It's a court ruling that could alter the balance of power in the U.K.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Happy Tuesday to you. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri on an unseasonably warm Tuesday afternoon across portions of the Eastern United States. And also, some severe weather across areas of the Midwest and the upper Midwestern region of the U.S. That's where the most active weather is going to be expected. A little farther towards the south around Springfield on into portions of Eastern Oklahoma, Northern Arkansas. That's where heavy rainfall slated to potentially some flooding as well in place in those cities.
Chicago, 26 degrees, not too bad with dry weather. New York cools off to 24. Atlanta hanging on to big time heat yet again, but we do expect a brief cooling trend across portions of the Eastern U.S. And notice, New York dropping into the middle-20s with a warming trend potential there later on into the week. Washington also climbs back up to 32 degrees and notice, we kind of go back and forth it is the season here where we see the temps want to battle with one another, whether it be summer-like heat for a few days and then getting autumn- like cooler air. That is kind of the trend here over the next several days across New York City.
How about out across the Atlantic? We've got tropical depressions and storms in the way of Jerry, Karen, and Lorenzo the most recently formed stormed, Karen is the most imminent storm that we're watching as it is impacting portions of the Leeward and also the Windward Islands, and we expect this particular storm to remain a tropical depression, very unorganized, with it bring some rainfall across portions of Puerto Rico within the next 24 hours.
VAUSE: In just a few hours from now, Britain's Supreme Court will decide if the Prime Minister's decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was legal. Critics argue it was attempt to shut down debate over Brexit before the October 31st deadline. At the time he suspended Parliament, Boris Johnson said it was needed so the government could prepare a new legislative agenda. If the court rules in Johnson's favor, the Parliament suspension will remain in place as planned until October 14th. And if that happens, the leader of the main opposition party I believe is Jeremy Corbyn told CNN, he won't actually do a whole lot, that's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: Demand that Parliament is recalled and that the suspension of Parliament be lifted at the moment. Parliament has been suspended until the opening of the new session of Parliament, which is not due until the middle of October. It's the longest suspension between one session and another for 300 years. And it seems to me, an attempt by the government to prevent any questioning, any debate, or any voting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Corbyn did actually have a win, though, on Brexit during the annual conference on Monday, voting -- they voted down a proposal that would have put Labour in the remain camp. These are the members of the British Labour Party. Instead, the party now wants to negotiate a new Brexit deal, and then allow voters to choose between that deal and remaining part of the European Union. For more now on Corbyn's Brexit win and also, more importantly, I guess what lies ahead for the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, British journalist Josh Boswell is with us from Los Angeles. Good to see you, Josh.
JOSH BOSWELL, BRITISH JOURNALIST: Hi, John.
VAUSE: OK. Essentially, it seems there are two issues here, which the court has to decide. Does the court actually have the authority to prevent a Prime Minister from suspending Parliament in the first place? And if they say yes to that, the next question follows, did Boris Johnson mislead the Queen in his suspension of Parliament? A No to either of those, it seems -- is a win for Johnson; a Yes, what happens then?
BOSWELL: Well, if the court does decide against him, then really, that's another open question. There's kind of a third element to it. What did they do afterwards? Now, it might be the case that they just say, OK, Parliament, it's up to you to decide what you want to do next. And Parliament would probably like to reopen immediately. But then there are other options. They could sort of say that this was illegal and you need to reopen Parliament, you need to have a Queen Speech again as soon as possible. So, it kind of making it as if this was a normal prorogation or suspension of Parliament. But you need the government to now declare a new session of Parliament set out its legislative agenda and start Parliament afresh as normal.
So, there's kind of two options there, really, that they could go for. And of course, we don't know what the court's decision is going to be. Legal experts think that it will probably go against Boris Johnson, but it does all hang in the balance. And we've got five hours to go until they're due at 10:30 in the morning U.K. Time to announce their decision.
VAUSE: Let's just assume, you know, the worst of Johnson, Supreme Court says he acted unlawfully. There'll be consequences for Brexit in terms of when it happens, I guess it -- even if it happens.
BOSWELL: The consequences here really are -- they would look pretty negative for Boris Johnson if the court rules against him, not because of any direct effect on Brexit. The court isn't ruling and they were very clear, the justices, they wanted to point out this is not a, you know, a ruling about Brexit. But what it means is that Parliament would be able to go back into session, they'd be able to scrutinize Boris Johnson's nascent, perhaps Brexit deal that he says he's working on. And they could really needle him for the next few weeks leading up to a general election we're likely to have fairly soon. It will take the power of the -- dictating what the conversation is away from Boris Johnson and putting it back to Parliament and that could really be tough for him.
VAUSE: Let's just finish up with Jeremy Corbyn, you know, with sort of non-committal Brexit policy they've decided on with the Labour Party. The background here is that while most Labour Party supporters are in the remain camp, about 30 percent are very much of the leavers camp. And so, now they have a solution, which sort of neither or tither (ph), how will that go down on a general election, they seem to have one of each way right now?
BOSWELL: Yet, there's a danger that Jeremy Corbyn is letting his party fall between two stools here. And now, he is obviously very concerned that the Labour needs to still keep those Brexit voters. And there are quite a few, about 60 percent of Labour constituencies voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum. But he's clearly very mindful of that, and thinking, well, yes, we're going to let people have a second referendum. But we're not going to want to come out in favor of remains, so that he can still say to those voters, well, we're not a remain party per se. You know, you can still vote for us and be a Brexiteer.
But I don't know if that's going to play with the voters. They've got him on the other side, the Conservative Party and the Brexit party saying to them, you wanted Brexit, that's what we're trying to deliver. And Labour has been kind of fudging this for the past two years. And they're the least clear out of all the main parties on their Brexit policy and we're just seeing more fudge here, more kicking the can down the road.
VAUSE: Josh Boswell, thank you for that. And still to come here, Thomas Cooks collapses. Like hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded all over the world. What's being done to get them home? Also, setting a joyous tone on their South Africa tour, Prince Harry and Meghan deliver a message of hope on one of Cape Town's most dangerous township?
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. I'm John Vause with an update on our top news this hour.
U.S. President Donald Trump set to speak at the U.N. General Assembly in the coming hours. Iran is likely the top of the agenda. On Monday Germany, France and the U.K. backed the U.S. assessment that Iran was behind the airstrikes on Saudi oil fields earlier this month.
A senior Trump administration official tells CNN the U.S. President ordered a hold on hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine just days before a call with that country's president. A source says President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his family. Trump though acknowledges they discussed Biden but denies any wrongdoing.
And the British Supreme Court will soon rule on whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend parliament for five weeks was lawful?
Critics believe he suspended the assembly to sidestep opposition to his Brexit plan before the October 31st withdrawal deadline. Mr. Johnson says the suspension was necessary to give the government time to prepare for a new legislative agenda.
British Labour opposition is demanding Thomas Cook executives pay back a reporter $24 million in bonuses they received over the past five years, bonuses which were paid despite the company filing for bankruptcy with more than two billion dollars of debt.
On Monday, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the U.K. consulate in New York where staff are working on the block (ph) as peacetime repatriation of British civilians. Johnson defended the government's decision not to bailout Thomas Cook saying it would have been a moral hazard.
CNN's Melissa Bell has our report.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was last Thomas Cook plane ever to fly. It landed at Manchester Airport from Orlando just hours after the world's oldest tour company had gone into liquidation.
PETER FANKHAUSER, CEO, THOMAS COOK: I want to apologize to my 21,000 colleagues who I know will be heartbroken. You all fought so hard to make Thomas Cook a success.
BELL: With all of its flights grounded overnight 600,000 tourists found themselves stranded abroad as British authorities prepared to get U.K. citizens home.
TIM JOHNSON, POLICY DIRECTOR, U.K. CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORIT: This is a huge operation -- 150,000 people currently abroad. We charted over 40 aircraft and those aircraft are already in position and in the next few hours we'll start bringing -- we'll start bringing passengers home.
BELL: Others who'd been scheduled to start their holiday arrived at British airports where they heard the news that they're trips and even their honeymoons have been canceled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We're absolutely (INAUDIBLE). We've looked forward to this for a long time. Had the wedding in July. So it's been another problem (INAUDIBLE). And yes, absolutely just totally gusted (ph).
BELL: The company has been in talks with its biggest a shareholder, the Chinese firm Fosun, over a 900 million pound bailout package. But the request with the British government for an extra 250 million pounds contingency fund was turned down leaving the British opposition and union to lay the blame squarely at the British government's feet.
DIANA HOLLAND, ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY FOR TRANSPORT: Today, we have members who have woken up to the story that their company has collapsed and they haven't got a job. It is absolutely shocking and (INAUDIBLE) scandalous that this could have been allowed to happen.
BELL: Excuse me. What do you tell staff this morning?
But the government says that providing the money would just put off the company's collapse, rather than preventing it.
GRANT SHAPPS, BRITISH TRANSPORT SECRETARY: So the government obviously would do anything we could to support, but the reality is I think THE times have changed, and this is a business that was still perhaps operating on a model that was good for, you know, the last century or the 1980s or something. But not for relay the Internet ager where people are booking their own holidays so much.
BELL: Online competition and political uncertainty in some of the company's key destinations have been blamed by Thomas Cook. But also Brexit for pushing people to delay making their holiday plans.
Three years Thomas Cook's advertising urged those looking to get away not to book it but to Thomas Cook it. This morning hundreds of thousands of customers found that they were going to have to re-book it themselves.
Melissa Bell, CNN -- at Gatwick Airport.
VAUSE: Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex will keep the focus on children on the second day of their African tour. They'll visit Waves to Change, a charity that provides mental health services to young people.
They'll mark Heritage Day in the largely Muslim area of Bo Kaap and later they'll attend a reception for youth at the British High Commissioner's residence. They began their tour outside Cape Town in a township notorious for high murder rate.
CNN's Max Foster reports the message of support from the duchess was met with cheers.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex received a rousing response at the end of their first day here in Cape Town. It all started though out in a township. Of course, they're very close to the Duchess's heart which is women's empowerment.
So young girls they talked about how to empower themselves, and about self defense. And in her speech, she spoke powerfully about her own identity.
MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I want you to know that for me, I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color, and as your sister.
FOSTER: After the event, they couldn't avoid but get dragged into the dancing music. There was music throughout the day as there often is here.
After that event they came to this area just to the side of District 6 which is the area which during apartheid was cleared. Tens of thousand of people were sent away from their homes to live in another area and they found out about that.
During the rest of the (INAUDIBLE) they found about different parts of South Africa, before Prince Harry heads off to Botswana, then Angola, then Malawi, then they meet up again in South Africa in Johannesburg as a family.
We don't know when, or if you will see Baby Archie. But he is due to make his first public appearance, his first official engagement at some point here in South Africa. So we'll bring you the pictures as we get them.
Max Foster, CNN -- Cape Town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: When we come back, the story of one man who is revolutionizing the way people access the Internet in Rwanda.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Using the sun's power to charge electronics is nothing new. But what if it could also create business opportunities and offer connectivity in the most off-the-grid locations.
In Rwanda, Henry Nyarkarundi is banking on this free form of energy to revolutionize the country's digital space.
HENRI NYARKARUNDI, FOUNDER ARED GROUP: The initial idea was to develop a hub that can charge phones. If you look across Africa you see a lot of agents that work for telecos -- the biggest problem with agents is they are locked into one company.
He or she is not allowed to sell more people service to maximize their revenue. Well, that's the problem, right.
So we said why not turn those kiosks into a hub where you don't just come to charge your phone. You don't just come to buy services. But you can also be connected and this whole kiosk basically combined all the technology into work.
CURNOW: Of Rwanda's 12.3 million people, barely 77 percent have cellphones but only 30 percent have access to charge them and get online. That is where the rolling tech hub or shariki (ph) comes in to meet the demand.
NYARKARUNDI: So this is the shariki hub. We have 100 watt solar panels that is it's retractable, you can close it and fold it. And as you can see it's very simple, it's light. And then you charge all your phones on the inside and then you have the wi-fi system also here that can connect up to a hundred people.
CURNOW: ARED currently charges 30 francs or 3 U.S. cents per 10 minutes of data and 50 francs to fully charge a phone.
NYARKARUNDI: 80 percent of our sales are 20 minutes. The number one access right now is WhatsApp online and number one -- content, the consumer's entertainment content.
CURNOW: This mobile one-stop shop also has a large social impact for employees, ARED operates as micro-franchises with small upfront costs and no costs to women and disabled people.
FLORIDE UWIMANA, ARED ENTERPRENEUR: The reason why I chose this businesses is because I found it to be profitable. I sell Internet, electricity and airtime to mobile phone companies, There are people who want to read news and what's happening around the world. With my wi-fi services all of that is possible.
NYARKARUNDI: If you compare our agent to other agent, they triple their revenue. They sell multiple services, and because it's franchise model, if you do maintenance for them, we support you and you take care of the customer.
And the last impact we had is the users. Now they don't have to walk miles. Now they can get all that aspect of the services from one location.
CURNOW: The sun is the limit for Nyarkarundi as his company continues to expand their reach in Rwanda and beyond.
NYARKARUNDI: I think we are the first generation of entrepreneurs, I would say, that really trying to build something from the ground instead of trying to import solutions from outside.
And I'm hoping the next generation will even do more than what we've done, because we just scratched the surface.
CURNOW: Robyn Curnow, CNN.
VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.
Please stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is next.