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Trump-Ukraine Whistleblower Report May Go Public Thursday; Israeli Election Report; Brexit Crisis; Johnson Tells Opponents To Hold No-Confidence Vote; Baby Archie Makes An Appearance; A Nice Conversation That Leads to Impeachment Call; Whistleblower's Complaint Soon to be Out in Public. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 26, 2019 - 03:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause, live from studio 7 at CNN world headquarters.

Ahead this hour, did the White House just make impeachment almost inevitable with the summary of Donald Trump's phone call with Ukraine's president now public? Many legal experts say there is enough evidence to prove high crimes and misdemeanors.

President Trump, though, continues to insist he's done nothing wrong. When some see extortion and abuse of power, he sees a beautiful conversation. And what does history teach us about impeaching a president? Why getting a conviction from the Senate may not be the only goal?

Consider this, for the past nine months the White House has stonewalled every oversight request by House Democrats but somehow the summary of that July phone call between Donald Trump and Ukraine's president was made not just public but the administration considered the details would actually help defend the president against allegations of extortion and abuse of power.

The only hiccup with that plan is that many legal experts say the summary actually seems to build on the case for impeachment and this could have been what the best they actually had in defense of Donald Trump.

Add to that, in the coming hours the White House is expected to release the whistleblower complaint which was filed over that conversation. That report has already been declassified and when it is released, sources tell CNN there will be few redactions.

And while many see the details as a devastating political blow for President Trump, he did not. During a rambling un-focused low-energy news conference he lashed out at Democrats, he brought back the witch hunt and he scoffed at impeachment.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When they look at the information it's a joke. Impeachment for that? When you have a wonderful meeting or you have a wonderful phone conversation?

I think you should ask -- we actually, you know, that was the second conversation. I think you should ask for the first conversation also. I can't believe they haven't. Although I heard there is a rumor out there, they want the first conversation. It was beautiful. It was just a perfect conversation.


VAUSE: And on Capitol Hill support for impeachment continues to grow, at least 215 Democrats now in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry. The first concrete step towards filing articles of impeachment.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The fact is that the President of the United States in breach of his constitutional responsibilities has asked a foreign government to help him in his political campaign. At the expense of our national security as well as undermining the integrity of our elections. That cannot stand. He will be held accountable. No one is above the law.


VAUSE: And with us from Los Angeles this hour, Jessica Levinson, professor of law and governance at Loyola Marymount University. Jessica, thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: OK. Remember, you know, when there was that blue dress, gold dress thing? Same dress but to some people it was gold, to others it was blue and neither could understand how the other saw it that way. It seems when the president and his staff read the phone call summary with Ukraine's president, they see gold. As in good as gold. Nothing to worry about.

A whole lot more people see blue, as in flashing lights of a police car blue because a crime maybe committed. So how do you explain this disconnect?

LEVINSON: Yes. That's such a good analogy. I mean, it really does feel like an optical illusion. I mean, one of the most depressing but accurate things that I heard today was somebody says and predictably, reaction has fallen along partisan lines.

But there is nothing that should, in fact, divide Democrats and Republicans in the sense that whether or not this phone conversation gives rise to criminal liability has nothing to do with your views on tax policy, the role of government, criminal justice reform, environmental protection. I mean, it just shows we really have become a nation of parties as

opposed to powers. So, what I would make of it is that President Trump, like he so often does, has left just enough there to give Republicans a hook, to give them cover to say, look, he was honestly asking about rooting out corruption. Or he honestly wanted to make sure that, you know, there was clarity on this issue.

So, there's always some word or phrase or sentence that gives Republicans cover to say, well, no, there's no smoking gun here.


VAUSE: You know what's interesting though, House intelligence Chairman Democrat Adam Schiff made the point that by releasing this phone call summary it brings in question the judgement not just of the president by having it released but also pretty much everyone around him. Here's Adam Schiff.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It is shocking at another level that the White House would release this -- these notes, and felt that somehow this would help the president's case or cause. Because what those notes reflect is a classic mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.


VAUSE: And keep in mind, this administration has bent over backwards to not give an inch to house Democrats on any of their demands in connection with oversight. But this phone call summary, not a problem.

LEVINSON: Yes, there's a couple remarkable things here. One, as you said accurately, this is not a transcript, this is a summary. So, there's a couple of situations where there's ellipsis. I would be really interested to know what is essentially redacted.

People said, well, his voice trailed off. Let's make sure that that's actually the case.

But two, and more importantly, if this is what the president thinks exonerates him then what is he holding back? So, what are all the subpoena fights about?

And then you know, let's talk about what the problem is. I mean, Adam Schiff, Representative Schiff used the phrase, you know, kind of a shakedown. What happens in real life when you are bribing someone, when you're going through the process of extorting somebody, when you are violating a campaign finance law and engaging in quid pro quo is you would never say, so, president of the Ukraine, I have military aid, I'm going to withhold it unless you investigate my political opponent Joe Biden and his son.

It would look much more like what this memorandum of the telephone call is. It would be more subtle. It would say America has been a friend. You know that America has been a friend. Now I have something I would like you to do for me, and he would circle back to it. This is a much more realistic view of how people talk when they are potentially engaging in those types of behavior.

VAUSE: Yes, it's never as explicit as, you know, you do this and I'll do that kind of stuff. You mentioned part of the conversation between the Ukrainian president and Donald Trump. Here's part of it which deals with the investigation into Joe Biden and his son hunter.

This is Trump. "There is a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great."

You know, William Barr is mentioned, you know, a bunch of times throughout this working hand and glove with the president's outside counsel, the world's greatest lawyer Rudy Giuliani. So, hold on to that thought as you listen to this question from Democrat Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris to William Barr back in May.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no, please, sir.


HARRIS: Seems you would remember something like that and be able to tell us.

BARR: Yes, but I'm trying to grapple with the word suggest.


VAUSE: That answer takes out a whole new meaning now once you've read this transcript, right?

LEVINSON: It really does. I mean, one, that answer's the reason that people hate lawyers. I hate to put it this way, but I'm grappling with what suggests means. We all know what suggests means.

And so, look, Attorney General Barr is a very smart person and I think what we've seen throughout this administration since he was nominated and appointed is that President Trump has really gotten his money's worth.

So, Attorney General Barr obviously refused to answer that question. He didn't want the follow-up, which is what investigation, what can you tell me, why was that investigation open?

And the conversation, the transcript or the memorandum of the conversation that President Trump has shown, I think that he really views Attorney General Barr as more akin to his personal lawyer as opposed to the people's lawyer, the White House lawyer, and that, frankly, is how Barr has been conducting himself.

VAUSE: Yes, and sort of going back to the old playbook here. This week Donald Trump I guess he, you know, he's thinking what worked once it's going to work again. So, he reached into his old bag of tricks and he pulled out a slightly used witch hunt. Here he is.


TRUMP: They want to try to start another witch hunt.

It's just a Democrat witch hunt.

It's a continuation of the witch hunt.

It's a witch hunt. I'm leading in the polls. They have no idea how they stopped me. The only way they can try is through impeachment.

It's the single greatest witch hunt in American history.


VAUSE: You know, it worked I guess at least partly worked for the Russia investigation. You know, muddied the waters. This time, though, it seems different because this is contained in, like, five pages of the memorandum. That's it. Not a lot of reading to do. There are three names and the American public know two of them already. This might be just a bite sized easy to understand don't have to read too much impeachment scandal America has been waiting for?


LEVINSON: Maybe. I'm not sure. Because, again, you don't have -- I think what many Americans have been, frankly, conditioned to expect, that the only thing that would give rise to impeachment is something where President Trump says, since I'm President of the United States, I would like to misuse my office and I would like to direct a foreign company -- excuse me, a foreign government to help me in my political campaign.

And I think President Trump has actually been very effective at conditioning at least his base into thinking that everybody's against him and that any sort of inquiries are witch hunts and that since we have not seen that sentence that there's really much ado about nothing.

You saw Republican senators, you know, tweeting out and saying today, I mean, this is -- this is a nothing burger. And so, the, you know, we're in this weird kind of post-factual era where even though, yes, it's bite size, it's short, as you said, it's not the Mueller report. People can wrap their heads around it. I'm actually not entirely sure it moves the needle for many Americans.

VAUSE: You know, you mentioned this sort of post-fact world. We also seem to be in a post-shame world in some ways with regards with respect to this nation. Jessica, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

LEVINSON: Thanks for having me. VAUSE: Well, coming up, Deja vu all over again. The hoax, witch hunt,

fake news all brought back from retirement. Also, we'll take a look at the president's own personal strategy and how he will deal with this latest controversy.

Also, ahead, an early start on royal duties. Archie in Africa, Britain's popular baby, makes his first official appearance.



VAUSE: Coming up to 3.16 here on the East Coast.

And back to our top story, President Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine pushing him to investigate political opponent Joe Biden as well as his son.

And when it comes to a legal defense for the president it's hard to know precisely what the White House strategy might be. Hard to know even if there is any strategy at all. But Donald Trump himself seemed to have settle on an old Soviet propaganda technique known as whataboutism. It works like this. Discredit the accuser by accusing them of the same crime.


TRUMP: I demand transparency from Democrats who went to Ukraine and attempted to force the new president to do things that they wanted under the form of political threat.


VAUSE: And even though there is not one shred of evidence, no proof at all they did it, loudly complaining about the hypocrisy. The hypocrisy.


TRUMP: They threatened him. If he didn't do things. Now, that's what they're accusing me of, but I didn't do it, I didn't threaten anybody.


VAUSE: And finally made no effort to refute or disprove the accusations or the allegations against you.


TRUMP: No push, no pressure, no nothing. It's all a hoax, folks. It's all a big hoax.


VAUSE: And with that we go to Los Angeles and David Katz, former assistant U.S. attorney. David, it's been a while. So, thank you for coming in.

DAVID KATZ, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: It's a pleasure to be here.

VAUSE: OK. It seems, you know, the best defense we heard from the White House, at least in terms of talking points which we should note were mistakenly e-mailed to Democratic lawmakers. It's the fact that there was no quid pro quo, there was no favor for favor even though the president asked for a favor. But in terms of a legal defense, whether there was quid pro quo or not seemed kind of irrelevant.

KATZ: Well, this is not a legal defense because you don't have to have an express quid pro quo. It's perfectly fine. You know, the extortion cases, someone doesn't say I'm going to burn your place down unless you pay me. You say, nice place you have here. Wouldn't it be terrible if something happened to it?

And that's why Adam Schiff, who I mentioned this before, I used to work with in the Reagan administration. We were fellow prosecutors here in Los Angeles. We prosecuted a lot of fraudsters. We convicted a lot of racketeers on less evidence than this.

This is a very strong case and the Republican senators who used to be lawyers know that very well. This is a very strong case. You have a tape by the person that there is a tape of it, this is only notes of it, but there will also be a transcript of it.

This is compelling proof out of the mouth of the -- of the suspect that an illegal, improper quid pro quo was going on and you can tell that from the sequence of events.

And one last thing. If you remember how Michael Cohen, the president's lawyer and longtime fixer described how Trump speaks. He speaks obliquely. He speaks where one thing happens and then another thing happens and it's very clear.

So, what you say is, you know, we've done a lot for the Ukraine. The Ukraine hasn't really reciprocated necessarily. Now, here's a favor I'd like to do for you and, of course, at the same time he's withheld the military aid --


KATZ: -- that Ukraine needs desperately to fight off Russian aggression.

VAUSE: Just very quickly. So more of a yes or no answer here. Is there a legal defense in the intangible powers of the presidency to conduct foreign policy or is that a stretch?

KATZ: No, that's a far stretch and it's not true at all. The president can't go around and bribe somebody for his personal benefit or for his political campaign and say, well, I'm allowed to do anything I want to in the conduct of foreign affairs.

VAUSE: OK. It seems there's in this five-page summary to paint a picture of extortion, abuse of power. Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen told CNN that could be just the start.


SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): The letter is actually worse than I thought for this reason. The president then says to the Ukrainian prime minister, I want you to meet with my personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and we're going to engage the United States attorney general in this effort.


So, the president is just expanding the scope of the use of his office and the U.S. government to try to get a foreign leader to intervene in an election. This really should outrage every American regardless of political party.


VAUSE: So, you know, in the big picture here, is it counterproductive to use standard criminal terms to describe what the president may or may not have done. You know, we know the sitting president can't be indicted. The only remedy is impeachment. So, would it be better to talk in terms of high crimes and misdemeanors?

KATZ: Well, that's a very good point. But these are high crimes and misdemeanors. It happens that they're also crimes --


KATZ: -- which, unfortunately, the president is never going to be charged with under this memo that exist over at the Department of Justice written by some lawyer years ago but taken as an article of faith by Mueller.

VAUSE: OK. So, we got this situation where there, you know, there is another element in all of this, which is the timing. The timing of the phone call to Ukraine's president. Literally the day after Robert Mueller testified before Congress about Russian interference in the 2016 election. And that's the day Donald Trump thought would be a good idea to ask a foreign leader for help in winning the next election?

KATZ: Well, I view this as two things, John. First of all, I think that, you know, like a criminal who gets away with something, the day after they get away with it, they think, wow, I walk on water.

VAUSE: I can walk on -- yes.

KATZ: I can do anything. And so, there is an arrogance. But there's another thing too. You know, what Mueller emphasized in his tepid testimony in front of Congress, he did emphasize that the president can be charged once he leaves office. The way I think Trump interpreted that was, wow, I better do anything to stay in office. I better take these kinds of risks because if I lose in 2020, I'll be indicted in 2021.

VAUSE: Yes. It means that out of all the candidates he probably may have the most to lose out of everybody. But now we've got this formal impeachment inquiry under way. Just explain for us briefly where we are in the timeline between now and the president ultimately if it ever happens standing trial before the Senate.

KATZ: Well, it looks like according to some reports that there are about 218 Democrats already in the House who are for the impeachment inquiry. I think that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and so as they get the other information about this call it will be worse.

So, I think as it gets worse for Trump, I think he led with what he thought was his best opening today with the -- with this five-page summary. I think it's going to get worse.

So, what I'm saying is that I think the House will impeach. The impeachment is like a formal indictment. The president will stand, as it were, indicted, he'll be charged, and then the Senate has a trial.

And people who remember the Clinton trial, the chief justice shows up. There will be a trial. I think all of that will happen probably about December, January, the impeachment is likely to be voted and then the trial will be January, February, March whenever a -- McConnell can't just push this down the road. The Senate majority leader has to hold an impeachment trial. And that should be very dramatic. It will be televised. It will have this sort of aghast presence and these will be his terrible witness.


VAUSE: Let me interrupt you there. Does he have to hold the impeachment trial like he has to hold, you know, a seat -- a Supreme Court justice? Because we know that he didn't exactly do that last time around.

KATZ: Well, I think that that was a little bit different. He had --


KATZ: -- that was sort of setting a calendar. But I think an impeachment. It's right there in the Constitution. There has to be trial by the Senate. I suppose if they had enough votes, they could dismiss it without even having a hearing, but we have had two impeachments in our history, and once the House votes articles of impeachment there was a Senate trial.

VAUSE: Right.

KATZ: There can't just be a dismissal or failure to put it on the record. So, I really think that we're heading toward an impeachment trial in the Senate which requires a two-thirds vote.


VAUSE: Normally -- you're absolutely right. Yes.

KATZ: That requires a two-thirds vote in order to remove him. And the problem is there is 52 Republican senators, and you can imagine maybe Sasse, maybe Romney voting to convict and remove the president, but it's very hard to imagine how they get to 67. That's what's been daunting for the House.

VAUSE: But, you know, we're out of time, David. Yes, it's a good point. But the other two impeachments, Johnson and Clinton, you know, they both remained in office. They weren't removed from the presidency by the Senate. So, you know, that was the outcome then. Probably be the same this time around as well if we get there.

KATZ: Well, Clinton's was too much of a stretch --


KATZ: -- and Johnson after the Civil War survived by one vote.

VAUSE: Your history is good. Thank you. Good to see you, David. Thanks so much.

KATZ: Pleasure to be with you.

VAUSE: Cheers.

As calls for impeachment grow louder on Capitol Hill, will history be prolog? But which chapter will it be? Will Trump be facing a Clinton, Nixon or Johnson type impeachment.

Also, ahead, Britain's parliament back in session. Erupting in anger accusations and taunts and a beleaguered prime minister settles on offense as the best defense.



VAUSE: And it is just 3.29 on a Thursday morning on the East Coast.

Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Vause.

There are new developments now in the investigation into Donald Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

CNN has learned the whistleblower complaint over that call has been declassified and could be released to the public in the coming hours.

Also, the acting U.S. director of national intelligence and the intel inspector general are set to testify before lawmakers on Capitol Hill. This is also happening on Thursday.

A summary of that phone call shows Donald Trump pressing Zelensky to investigate Trump's political opponent Joe Biden, as well as Biden's son hunter.

When the two leaders met on Wednesday, the U.S. president again defended the call, denied any quid pro quo while the Ukrainian leader did his best to distance himself from this controversy. [03:30:00]

VAUSE: CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance, live this hour in Ukraine. So, Matthew, President Zelensky says, political novice, but he seems to have developed some political skills very quickly. Listen to his choice of words when he's asked if there was pressure from Donald Trump to investigate Biden.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRANIAN PRESIDENT: No, we had I think a good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things and I -- so, I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed it -- pushed me, yes.



VAUSE: You know, he was careful to talk about in terms of himself. I felt no pressure. He avoided making any comment on what the U.S. President may or may not have done. And yet, there is a lot riding on his shoulders right now because, you know, when it comes to the relationship between the United States and Ukraine, it's all about keeping Donald Trump happy.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's about keeping Donald Trump happy, you're right, but it's also about maintaining bipartisan support in the United States for Ukraine. For military aid, not just under this presidency, but moving forward into the next presidency after 2020 as well.

And of course the Ukrainians are mindful that there is an election in 2020 and Joe Biden could be the next president of the United States. So they have to walk a very delicate, diplomatic line. They're stuck between a rock and a hard place. They want to make sure they get a consistent cross-party bipartisan support of the kind that they've enjoyed for the past five years in this country.

And that's the primary concern of President Zelensky. He wants to make sure that's maintained. He's got sympathy, of course, for the predicaments of President Trump. He has to maintain, as you say, a good relationship with the incumbent U.S. President, but he's also looking at a much broader national interest of Ukraine, and that is the real problem that being sucked into this American political crisis has posed for Ukraine. How do they maintain that relationship with the United States in general not just with this specific president?

VAUSE: OK, Matthew, thank you. Matthew Chance live for us. A very difficult place we have for the Ukrainian president, but he's learning very quickly. Matthew, thank you.

One of the more bizarre moments of the Zelensky/Trump news conference came from the Ukrainian president after Donald Trump was asked if he had ordered prosecutors to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, U.S. president's answer was typical Trump speak. He was rambling, he was unfocused, accused the Bidens of a host of crimes they never committed and then he said, well, someone should investigate. And without being asked to comment, Zelensky chimed in with this.


ZELENSKY: We have independent country and independent general security. I can't push anyone, you know. That is the question -- that is the answer. So I didn't call somebody or the new general security. I didn't ask him. I didn't push him. That is it.


VAUSE: In other words, there's the rule of law in Ukraine. In the U.S. right now under this president, that sometimes seems like an open question. For more now on the very not normal presidency of Donald Trump, CNN presidential historian and former Director of the Nixon presidential library, Tim Naftali is with us. Tim, it's been awhile, it's good to see you.


VAUSE: Explain to me this, for the past nine months this White House has had times mocked, ignored, belittled, snubbed every request for the Democrats had made in their role to provide oversight. And yet on this one phone call with Ukraine's president they buckled and released a summary. And that summary, you know, for most people who read it, it's devastating. Is it possible that this president has now surrounded himself with aides and staffers who are just like him, oblivious or ignorant to the constitution and to the law of the United States?

NAFTALI: Well, I think two things are happening here. One is that, he has winnowed out the Don McGrath, the kinds of folks, the kinds of advisers who actually understand the history of impeachment and the history of investigations of the presidency.

And the second thing is that, I think congressional Republicans are a little worried. I mean, the Senate, for example, voted unanimously to be sure that the whistleblower complaint was delivered to Congress. That was a unanimous decision. So I believe there is some pressure on the White House to be more forthcoming.

At the same time, I also believe that he is surrounded by people who do not understand that this is not an issue of norm busting or healthy populist disruption, but he's done something really wrong.

VAUSE: They seem oblivious to the weight of the possible charges here or the crimes that are such being committed. And you mentioned the Republicans, they did pass that resolution, but, you know, with a few exceptions. Republican lawmakers seem to be taking this nothing to see here approach.


So, you know, would you expect this to play out like Watergate? Republicans were with President Nixon until suddenly they were not or are we in an internally different political galaxy, the likes of which we've never seen before?

NAFTALI: Well, I think historian, and I'm a historian, tend to be lousy prognosticators, but let me tell you what I am looking for. I am looking to see if the Democrats work harder to create the possibility for a bipartisan investigation. Right now they don't seem to be bending over backwards to do that. And in 1973/'74, a Democratic house not only tried hard to make Republicans part of the investigation, but they so succeeded at it that Republicans voted against President Nixon and a number of Republicans publicly praised the Democrats for the bipartisan, fair approach they had taken. That is one.

The other is that the people who run for Congress in the United States are quite different from those who did in the '70s, in the sense that in that era you had World War II veterans. There was a sense of comradery. They disagreed a lot. But there was a sense they were working together for the country. Now the system produces people who come to Washington disliking Washington and disliking compromise, seeing compromises as a violation of the reasons they were sent to Congress in the first place.

VAUSE: OK. So, if we look back at all of U.S. history right now, two presidents have been impeached. When they are tried by the Senate, neither was found guilty by the necessary two-thirds majority to be forced out of office. The big reluctance among Democrats and Nancy Pelosi about impeachment is that the Republican controlled Senate is unlikely to find this president guilty of a bad hair day. A little abused of power. But you know, the last two impeachment has ended the same way. So, what's the big deal?

NAFTALI: Well, we've had three impeachment processes. Two of them were highly partisan. The one against Andrew Johnson. He was a terrible man, but the process was -- he basically -- the radical Republicans, that is what they called themselves, wanted to force him out because they didn't like his policy regarding reconstruction.

And Bill Clinton was the victim of a highly partisan impeachment process in the late '90s. The one that was a healthy process was the Nixon process. When the Republicans were looking to do -- were thinking through what to do about Nixon, many of them said we don't know if the Senate is going to convict Nixon. Why should we go on record against a Republican president?

And those that voted against Nixon, and a number of them did in the committee, decided what our standard should be is do we want future presidents, Republican or Democratic, to act this way? And if we don't want them to do what Nixon has done. We have an obligation to the constitution and to the founding fathers to indict him. And that is what an impeachment is.

So they were thinking the same things and they were thinking about the political consequences and they decided in '74 that they had a moral obligation and a constitutional obligation to make a politically difficult decision. So that could be done right now. Even if it's likely that President Trump regardless of the evidence is -- is found not guilty or acquitted by the Senate. VAUSE: OK. Tim, we'll leave it there. You are waiting for some, you

know, I guess very difficult to understand -- days as we move forward with this because of the complexity of what impeachment actually is and what it is not. That is why we have you. So thank you.

NAFTALI: I hope I helped. Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Absolutely. Thank you.

After Britain's Supreme Court ordered parliament back into session, the chamber erupts in raucous appearance in a rally and (inaudible) scenes in memory. All the details in just a moment.



VAUSE: Well, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not have a clear path to a fifth term, but he does now have a mandate from the president to try to form a working coalition government. Now, keep in mind, 120 seats in the Knesset or Israel's parliament, which means at least 61 seats are needed to form a coalition government.

So with the parliaments results are now in, Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing conservative block, they have 55 seats. Bennie Gantz who is the main rival to Benjamin Netanyahu and his centrist coalition on 54 seats, just one seat behind.

But so close and yet so far from that magic 61. So after power-sharing talks between Netanyahu and Gantz collapse. Israel's president tap Netanyahu to try and form a coalition. If he cannot do that over the next six weeks, then Gantz will be given a chance.

And the political fight over Brexit is back it seems and it's louder and more vitriolic than ever. After a stunning rebuke from the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Boris Johnson doubled down in a raucous appearance at the House of Commons on Wednesday. He challenged lawmakers to hold a no confidence vote. He taunted them. He said do it or get on with Brexit. Cyril Vanier explains why the deadlock still holds.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORREPONDENT: The parliament is back in session with a vengeance. The Prime Minister had a target on his back the moment he stepped in the House of Commons where, remember, he doesn't have a majority. Far from it. The majority of lawmakers in fact are fiercely opposed to him and they're extremely vocal about it. Watch this. Just a sample of what the Prime Minister faced in the House of Commons on Wednesday.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- adhering his opinion, he should be absolutely ashamed of himself.


VANIER: But if the Prime Minister was contrite, if he was browbeaten after the Supreme Court ruled that his suspension of parliament was unlawful, handing him another humiliating defeat, he didn't show it. In fact, Boris Johnson was defiant. He even dared the opposition to call a vote of no confidence on him and the minority government that he leads.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: So if in fact the party opposite does not have confidence in the government they will have a chance to prove it. They have until the house rises -- listen -- listen. Listen. I think they should listen to this, Mr. Speaker. They have until the House rises today to table a motion of no confidence in the government. Come on. Come on. Go on then. And we can have that vote tomorrow.


VANIER: But that is a no-go for opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn who kindly declined the offer and stuck to his guns. That is yes to an election, to reshuffling the political deck and putting it to voters, but only after an extension to the Brexit deadline has been secured.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: He says he wants a general election. I want a general election. It's very simple. If you want an election, if he wants an election get an extension and let's have an election.


VANIER: So here we are in London once again stuck. The Prime Minister wants an election, but can't make it happen. The opposition says it wants one, too, but not now, and in a sign that the Prime Minister isn't done tussling with lawmakers, we're learning the government intends to try once again to adjourn parliament.

This time, though, just for a few days during the Conservative Party conference that begins Sunday. This with less than five weeks before the current Brexit deadline of October 31st. In the words of my esteemed colleagues Richard Quest and Bianca Nobilo, it would take a chess master to know what happens next. Cyril Vanier, London.


VAUSE: Well, the newest member of the royal family makes a long- awaited appearance and Britain's baby Archie already knows the drills. Smiling for the cameras on a tour of South Africa.



VAUSE: Well, it's the moment royal watchers have been waiting for. Not just royal watchers, all of us. Baby Archie's first official appearance with his parents, Prince Harry and Meghan. They met with the Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town. Prince Harry travels solo to Botswana and that's where CNN's David McKenzie is live. Any particular reason David, why Harry has left the family behind?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I think this is a place where he has a deep passion for here in Botswana in Southern Africa, leaving the rest of the family back in South Africa, but you could really sense from Prince Harry today here on the banks of the river -- to one of his signature issues, conservation. And he talked about all the climate strikes that have been going on with the youth over this past week, and I put the question to him, why is he so deeply involved in this? Take a listen.


MCKENZIE: You've been so hands-on for years with conservation. Why do you want to be in the middle of it?

PRINCE HARRY, OF WALES: I think we're all in the middle it. There's an emergency that we are -- it's a race against time and one on which we are losing. And everyone knows it. There is no excuse for not knowing now. I think the most troubling part of it is that I don't believe that there is anybody in this world that can deny science, undeniable science and facts. Science and facts have been around for the last 30, maybe 40 years and it's only getting stronger and stronger.


MCKENZIE: Well, Prince Harry's been here to Botswana many times over the years. I asked him why he feels it's his second home. He got very personal, John, saying he came here in the '90s after his mother Princess Diana died to escape, as he put it. But then with more trips and more involvement in conservation, he really made close friends here and solidified his real passion, which is that of combatting climate change and dealing with the natural world that he says is in big trouble right now. John?

VAUSE: Yes, big trouble indeed. David, thank you. I know you have a busy day in front of you. So we appreciate you being with us. David McKenzie live in Botswana. Thank you for watching CNN Newsroom. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. Early Start is up next.