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Impeachment Inquiry; Rudy Giuliani's Role in the Ukraine Controversy; Innovate Africa. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 27, 2019 - 01:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: -- is a challenge to those who say it was behind the attack on Saudi oil facilities. We'll have a live report from Tehran on that. And Prince Harry tracing his mother's footsteps through the minefield of Angola.

Our top story here, in the blink of an eye, U.S. President Donald Trump has landed on the fast track to impeachment. He's accused of putting pressure on Ukraine to help in his 2020 reelection bid. Mr. Trump has reacted to the accusation in typical fashion, calling it fake, a hoax, and a scam. And he's hinted at a grim fate for those who told the whistleblower about his phone call with Ukraine's president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to know who's the person that gave the whistleblower -- who's the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that's close to a spy.

You know what we used to do the old days when we were smart, with spies and treason? We sued to handle it a little differently than we do now.


ALLEN: Well, Congressional Democrats have denounced the President's comment calling it witness tampering. For more on this unfolding scandal, here's CNN's Sara Murray.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Were you shocked at all by what you read?

JOSEPH MAGUIRE, ACTING DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: None of us is above the law in this country.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): The complaint relied on hearsay evidence.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: A bombshell whistleblower complaint made public today reveals that President Trump not only asked the Ukrainian president to have his 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter investigated -- TRUMP: That call was perfect. It couldn't have been nicer.

MURRAY: But White House officials were allegedly so alarmed, they quickly moved to lock down records of the call. They said of actions underscore to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call, the whistleblower complaint state.

Officials allegedly moved the transcript of Trump's call to an electronic system typically used to store especially sensitive classified information. According to White House officials I spoke with, this was not the first time under this administration that a presidential transcript was placed into this code word level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive rather than national security-sensitive information, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that Trump told Vice President Mike Pence in May to cancel a planned trip to attend the Ukrainian president's inauguration. Trump wanted to see how Ukrainian president Zelensky chose to act in office, the complaint states.

MAGUIRE: I believe that this matter is unprecedented.

MURRAY: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph McGuire appeared before the House Intelligence Committee and defended his decision to take a whistleblower complaint that names the President straight to the White House.

MAGUIRE: Such calls are typically subject to executive privilege. As a result, we consulted with the White House Counsel's Office, and we were advised that once you have the information, the complaint was in fact, subject to executive privilege, a privilege that I do not have the authority to waive.

MURRAY: Maguire refused to say whether he discussed the whistleblower complaint with the president, but he revealed that Trump never asked him to figure out the identity of the whistleblower.

MAGUIRE: I can say although I would not normally discuss my conversations with the President, I can tell you emphatically, no.

MURRAY: President Trump ultimately allowed the complaint to be made public after an outcry from Congress. While Democrats condemned Trump's conduct outlined in the complaint --

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The President of the United States has betrayed his oath of office.

MURRAY: Republicans mostly slammed Thursday's hearings as an effort to undermine Trump.

NUNES: I want to congratulate the Democrats on the rollout of their latest information warfare operation against the president.

MURRAY: But as Trump and his GOP allies began taking aim at the unknown whistleblower's motives, Maguire says that he believes the whistleblower acted in good faith. MAGUIRE: I think the whistleblower did the right thing. I think he followed the law every step of the way.

MURRAY: Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Joining me now to talk about it is CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd. Sam, thanks for joining us.


ALLEN: What Thursday was. It was something to watch in Washington. The key question, of course, centering around the President and the question of abuse of power. What has this whistleblower report and the testimony we learned Thursday revealed to you?

VINOGRAD: Well, frankly, this whistleblower complaint really leads like a rap sheet. It's important for people to understand. I urge everyone to read it. It does not just allege one instance of potential -- of potential abuse of power criminal activity by the President.

It details several instances over a course of time in which the President arguably engaged or allegedly engaged in myriad misbehavior, including the potential solicitation of foreign election interference, cutting off military assistance to Ukraine, to try to get that country to do his political dirty work, engaging his personal attorney and certain people, the State Department again to do his political bidding.


And I could continue, but the point is, there's so much in there, that now what happens here in the United States is various congressional committees in the House of Representatives will each be investigating pieces of what's alleged in this whistleblower complaint as part of their impeachment inquiry.

This relates to an alleged cover-up at the White House in which members of the White House of the national security team put information, put transcripts on a codeword-classified server to try to hide what was on there. It extends to the State Department where various officials appear to -- appear to have been engaged with the President's Personal lawyer to do, again, his personal work and not the work related to U.S. national security.

It also involves the Department of Justice, the Attorney General of the United States, is named in this whistleblower complaint. So the House Foreign Affairs Committee, House Intel Committee, House Judiciary Committee will likely each take pieces of this, try to find witnesses, issue subpoenas, and try to get access to documents.

ALLEN: So the question is, how long is this going to take? We've heard some people say, we heard enough on Thursday for that moving to impeachment. But as you say, if there are so many things in this report, if they each have to be investigated, so what are we looking at here? Is this another Mueller investigation?

VINOGRAD: I think it very well might be. I think that at this point, we had the whistleblower complaint. Part of that complaint has already been corroborated by the transcript of the call that President Trump authorized to be publicly disclosed.

But there are many other parts of that whistleblower complaint and the documentation that's been made public that I think Congress needs to corroborate. They need to speak with potential witnesses again, and get access to documents.

So while we have the political question here as to whether members of the House are convinced that they have enough to evidence move on articles of impeachment, then the secondary question of whether the Senate would actually move forward on their end, that's the political piece of it.

But just from an investigative standpoint, there's still a lot more work to do with respect misbehavior by the president, potentially impeachable offenses, as well as wrongdoing again at the State Department and the Department of Justice.

ALLEN: Yes. And I want to add to something you mentioned. We learned that the White House feeling that with the President's phone call with Ukraine was problematic and move to cover it up, moving the records of that call to a computer -- secure computer system, how problem is that for the president?

VINOGRAD: Well, it's problematic in that you cannot classify information at a higher classification to cover up wrongdoing or to hide something that's potentially embarrassing. That is prohibited under executive order here in the United States.

So if that was done, it would have violated the executive order. And from the President's perspective, he would have been -- if he directed it, was involved in it, he would have been abusing his power as a Commander in Chief, as a President of the United States to urge that kind of activity.

And what we have to remember is there -- I used to work on these transcripts. There are two separate servers, there's a server that's classified at a top-secret level, that's where most of these transcripts and documentation lives. And then you have a more classified system, a codeword system, it's really used most often for covert action information.

So, to move something that was not classified at a codeword level, over to this more sensitive server, would have really been in abuse of the classification system, and likely was done to try to cover up evidence of wrongdoing.

It's important to note the whistleblower alleges that it wasn't just this transcript that was moved to this other system. There were other transcripts as well. So I would imagine that Congress as part of their impeachment inquiry, will now try to subpoena those -- that information on that very sensitive server to try to figure out what else the White House may have been trying to hide.

ALLEN: Well, as you mentioned, you've worked inside the White House for the Obama administration. All of this information in this report is in the possession of the White House. The question is, will they fight to protect it now? Will they claim White House privilege over some of this?

VINOGRAD: Well, it probably depends which piece of it they're going to try to safeguard. We have to remember again that the transcript was publicly released to the July 25th call between President Trump and President Zelensky. They can no longer exert privilege over that.

And while I'm not a lawyer, I do know that you cannot exert executive privilege in order to cover up a crime. In the whistleblower complaint and in the DNS testimony today, the DNI said that he finds this complaint to be credible. Based upon that, there is at least a basis for an argument that there's a credible claim that there's wrongdoing being hidden on this codeword server.

So I imagine that Congress will try to make that argument and the White House Counsel will probably fight tooth and nail and claim privilege but I think that they're on weaker standing now again, because of the release of this initial transcript and the fact that there is a credible complaint of wrongdoing related to other information that may have been hidden.


ALLEN: All right, Samantha Vinograd joining us, thank you for your analysis.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, Saudi Arabia is about to get more military support from the United States. It is a response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities earlier this month. The Pentagon says it will boost the kingdom's air defense with the Patriot missile battery and radar systems.

Both Washington and Riyadh blame Iran for the strikes, but Iran again denies it was behind the attack and is challenging its accusers to prove it. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says those making accusations must back up their claims with evidence. He also reiterated that Iran is willing to resume talks with the United States if sanctions are lifted.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us live from Tehran. That is the one steady thing that we have heard from Iran, Fred, when it comes to try to getting through this impasse.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly has been. And certainly, one of the things that we've been hearing, Natalie, from the Iranians is that they have been saying that if the U.S. wants to get back to the negotiating table, they have to interblend the nuclear agreement.

I have a quote from Hassan Rouhani yesterday from his press conference. It's quite interesting. He said, the JCPOA, which, of course, is the nuclear agreement is not a maximum form of an agreement. It's what was possible in this time, obviously, in 2015, what was attainable, and it's time it must be implemented.

So they're essentially saying that they want the U.S. to go back to the nuclear agreement, implement all the sanctions relief that was in nuclear agreement, take away all of the sanctions that they have then puts on Iran, and then the Iranians would be willing to talk again.

Now, the Iranians are saying, look, if you want to move forward, if you want more than it's just in this nuclear agreement, then you're going to have to offer the Iranians more as well. They're saying that they want, for instance, permanent sanctions relief.

And if there is permanent sanctions relief that's granted, of course, obviously, after talks again, that would have to involve all the parties, that then the Iranians would also be willing to permanently allow inspectors to go into their nuclear facilities. That's something that they say could be at the end of some sort of negotiating process. But of course, that's something that's still very far away.

It was quite interesting to hear from Hassan Rouhani during that press conference that he said, he believes at this point in time the ball is not in the court of the Iranians, but it is in the court of the Americans. So essentially, they're saying the Trump administration needs to make some sort of move, and then the Iranians would possibly if they're happy with that follow suit.

Now, of course, it's very interesting to see that unlike what was going on at the United Nations General Assembly with the French and the Brits also to a certain extent pushing a Hassan Rouhani to go into some sort of meeting on the sidelines with President Trump.

It's something that Hassan Rouhani did not do because the Iranians, as you've said, I've been sticking by their guns, have been saying they want to see some movement out of Washington before they would be willing to then go back to the negotiating table and possibly negotiate something that is larger than the actual nuclear agreement of 2015 was.

But of course, it seems as though right now, while there may have been a little bit of diplomatic movement, and you could see that there might have been some -- let me say goodwill, but at least a certain -- to a certain extent, will by the Iranians to engage the United States if the sanctions are taken away. It still would be very difficult at this point in time to move forward and see if there was any sort of breakthrough in any form at the UNGA, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, we just saw a video there of Rouhani laughing along with Macron and Boris Johnson but President Trump nowhere in sight. All right, Fred Pleitgen for us, Fred, thanks so much. Well, the United States has long been considered as safe haven for persecuted refugees, but that reputation has taken a beating since Donald Trump became president. And now it's going to change even more.

Starting with the next fiscal year, the United States will only admit up to 18,000 refugees into the country. That is an all-time low. Every year, the U.S. has a cap on how many refugees it will legally allow into the country.

The number has fluctuated according to world events, but the Trump administration has been chipping away at the refugee gap since 2016 when it was 85,000, then lowered to 54,000 in 2017, then 45,000, and then 30,000 in 2019, and now just 18,000 in 2020.

Next year, more protests, more anger. Hong Kong's leader makes her perfect attempt at talking with members of the public to try to calm widespread unrest we have seen on the street for weeks. Also, the Taliban threatening suicide bombings and rocket attacks as Afghanistan prepares to go to the polls.



IVAN CABRERA, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: With you, CNN "WEATHER WATCH", I'm meteorologist Ivan Cabrera. Traveling into the United States are looking pretty good at major airports, anyway. Across the Northeast Mid-Atlantic into New York, D.C. I'll show you the seven-day forecast in a second. Very warm temperatures that has been and will continue to be the story across this part of the United States. And by the way, that includes the eastern provinces of Canada. We do have a feature that's moving to eventually getting into Toronto as well. The tail end of the front prompting severe weather potential across portions of the Midwestern United States. And then, out west, a developing a snow event coming; British Columbia will be impacted as well, and then Montana. Rocky's are particularly getting hit hard with snowfall. Imagine that, quite a difference across the continent here from west to east.

There is the area that we're watching for damaging winds large hail even some isolated tornadoes. As far as the temperatures, there I mentioned in the 20s will keep it in the mid-30s, not as unusual to have those temperatures in the Southeastern United States, despite the fact that autumn has begun, but it is unusual to have them in Washington. And we'll continue to see these temperatures much above average. The heat continues there. Low 30s will be joining us summer, Saturday and Sunday. Likewise in New York with mid and upper- 20s. As we check in on the seven-day forecast. Look at these numbers here, generally going above the line and peaking at 31 by mid next week.


ALLEN: On Saturday, Afghanistan holds its presidential election and the Taliban promised suicide bombings and rocket attacks. Nearly 80,000 troops have been deployed across the country to face that threat. And the tension is higher than ever after Taliban peace talks with the U.S. fell apart earlier this month. Here's our Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the election few thought would ever happened, whose success may be measured in the death toll not the turn out. High hopes for a peace deal were dashed by President Trump earlier this month, who counseled talks with the Taliban in a barrage of tweets. That sent Afghanistan hurtling towards a presidential vote with many felt might have been postponed had peace talks progressed. Instead, the vote will be rushed. Its campaign hobbled by huge security concerns amid some of the worst violence the country has seen.


But there is one likely winner from all of this, President Ashraf Ghani. He was uncomfortable with the U.S.'s direct talks with the Taliban. He'd always insisted the votes go ahead, and now may well win a clean endorsement, rare in Afghanistan's recent politics. This remains America's longest war with no immediate end in sight. Yet the suffering has been more acute for Afghans whose daily losses and intensifying violence often go unnoticed by outsiders. Elections are opposed by the Taliban, who first day said they would block all roads on Election Day, adding this is the umpteenth time that this fraudulent process is undertaken to mislead the people. So, voters must risk the violence that has closed about a quarter of polling stations or having the thumb that's inked when you vote cut off entirely, as some Taliban have done in elections past. Failed peace talks fermenting the violence here.

MOHAMMAD HAIDAR, STUDENT: Yes, there will be more violence in this election because Taliban want to attack on government and put on them pressure so they can convince America and young government to come back --

WALSH: Turbulent political situation, he said, shows that Afghans cannot make decisions on their own. And what happens is that only because of a single tweet, all destiny has changed. The vote will happen, and if Ghani gets over 50 percent, he can avoid a second round in November. But even that clean result, won't provide a path out of the brutality holding lives hostage here. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN.


ALLEN: Let's talk more about it with journalist Jennifer Glass. She joins us from Kabul, Afghanistan. And Jennifer, we just saw Nick Paton Walsh's report there. And there's a huge threat of danger for people that go to the polls, but Afghans have been resilient and they go to the polls, despite the threats. What can you tell us?

JENNIFER GLASSE, JOURNALIST: That's right, we saw it last October. There was a threat on those polls, as well. We've seen a more violent campaign season. This time, as you heard in Nick's reports, the Taliban launching some very brutal attacks, including one earlier this month, an election rally in Parwan Province, North of Kabul, that killed 20 people and injured dozens others, while President Ghani was actually speaking at that event. And so, President Ghani is the frontrunner in this. The real question will be, Can he win outright, and whether the Afghan people will see it as a legitimate government?

There is -- there are a couple of spoilers here. There are at least 16 candidates -- there are 18 candidates on the ballot, but a couple of them have dropped out unofficially. So, getting 50 percent with that kind of divide is going to be difficult. It's never been done before. We've seen runoffs in the last -- well, we've seen not a clear majority in the -- in the last three presidential elections. And that's going to be the real challenge.

You can tell here in Kabul, the elections are coming up, the streets are very quiet. Earlier this week, they banned any large trucks coming into the city. Right now, no minivans that serve as public transport are allowed around. And everybody has tightened security restrictions at the airport. There are new checkpoints that are -- that have cropped up around the Capitol and around the country. Everybody is on high alert, but Afghans I have spoken to say we know about the Taliban threats. We live under these kinds of threats every day, but this is our opportunity for our voices to be heard.

ALLEN: Very, very strong, as I said, yes. And we just hope that the Taliban aren't successful with their threats. Jennifer, thanks so much. Jennifer Glasse for us in Kabul. We know you'll be watching it for us.

Well, we turn now to Hong Kong, a large crowd of protesters chanted outside as Carrie Lam faced more public anger at her first community dialogue event. Out of more than 20,000 applicants, just 150 people were selected for the chief executives Town Hall. CNN's Will Ripley was there. He shows us what happened.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hong Kong's embattled chief executive Carrie Lam gets lukewarm applause from a preselected audience.

A much larger, louder crowd gathers outside. This is Lam's attempt to fix the crisis she helped create, holding her first community dialogue since the protests began four months ago. Some say it's too little, too late.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): You should show to the biggest responsibility as the whole movement comes to the (INAUDIBLE) you must step down.

RIPLEY: Hong Kong's summer of unrest began with outrage over Lam's disastrous, now withdrawn, extradition bill. Later broadening into a prodemocracy antigovernment movement with regular outbreaks of vandalism and violence. Outside the venue, hundreds of protesters, inside more than a dozen empty seats. 20,000 people applied for 150 spots. 20 didn't even show up. [01:25:08]

Many who did come say Lam herself is to blame. Others accuse her of being a puppet for the Chinese government. Lam says she's here to listen, and to help Hong Kong heal.

CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF HONG KONG (through translator): I've heard a lot of people questioning if this dialogue is a political show or a P.R. show. Because for the past days, confidence in the SAR government and confidence in me have been falling.

RIPLEY: Months of unrest have pummeled Hong Kong's economy, paralyzed public transportation, and postponed major events. Fireworks for China's National Day on Tuesday cancelled. October 1st is the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, a day expected to be a crucial test for protesters and police

STEVEN KWOK, CHAIR, HONG KONG LABOUR PARTY: This (INAUDIBLE) have more and more protest. And it is more militant, I think. It's more vigorous because it's just the National Day.

RIPLEY: Hong Kong Police keeping a low profile outside the dialogue venue, with hundreds of nearby officers standing by. Schools and stores taking no chances, closing early. Rumors had been circulating that protesters might try to storm the dialogue venue. Queen Elizabeth Stadium here in Wan Chai. Participants are also banned from bringing in what's become standard protest gear, helmets, gas masks, and umbrellas. Protection from the rain became a symbol of Hong Kong's prodemocracy movement five years ago. That movement lasted 11 weeks, this one approaching week 17, with yet another major protest planned this weekend. Dialogue or not, there is end in sight. Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.


ALLEN: President Trump's personal lawyer is seemingly everywhere. And now, we're learning Rudy Giuliani was a major figure in Mr. Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Next here, his role in that scandal. Also, Britain's Prince Harry is going on what's being called a significant journey as he visits the site of his mother's famous walk through a minefield in Angola.



ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Natalie Allen.

Let's update you on our top news this hour.

The United States has slashed the number of refugees it will legally admit next year to 18,000. That is a record low. The Trump administration has been chipping away at the refugee cap since 2016 when it was 85,000. Democratic leaders in Congress have accused the U.S. President of witness-tampering, after Mr. Trump suggested it was treason to tell a whistle blower the details of his phone conversation with Ukraine's leader.

Meantime, the acting head of U.S. Intelligence, Joseph Maguire told Congress the whistleblower acted in good faith and within the law. The complaint alleges the President asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the Democratic rival, Joe Biden.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is a cover-up. This is a cover-up.


ALLEN: No mincing words there from the Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi. From now on House Democrats say they will make the White House scandal over the Ukraine phone call their top priority.

And spearheading the impeachment investigation will be the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. There are five other investigations already underway among various committees, but Pelosi says, she wants her members to keep their eye on the ball.


PELOSI: This is the focus of the moment because this is the charge. All of the other work that relates to abuse of power, ignoring subpoenas of government, of congress, abuse and contempt of Congress by him, those things will be considered later.


ALLEN: One man the Democrats likely will focus on is Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The whistleblower complaint highlights Giuliani's questionable role in the Presidents dealing with Ukraine while he says any attacks on him are phony. Giuliani could be facing some real legal trouble, as our Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The whistleblower says in stark terms, he has information that President Trump used the power of his office to try to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and Biden's son. And that quote, "The President's personal lawyer Mr. Rudolph Giuliani is a central figure in that effort."

but Giuliani isn't just a central figure in the effort. He's a central player in the nine-page complaint.

MICHAEL WARREN, CNN REPORTER: He's all over the place, talking with Ukrainians in New York, going to places like Warsaw, even planning a trip to Ukraine that was eventually was scrapped, trying to pull together information that could really help, he says, his client. TODD: According to the whistle blower, Rudy Giuliani met more than

once with Yuri Lutsenko who was Ukraine's top prosecutor, even before the country's new president Volodymyr Zelensky took office this year. Lutsenko who was eventually pushed out, had accused Joe Biden of trying to quash an investigation of a Ukrainian company that Biden's son Hunter, was involved with.

There was just one problem with that accusation.

WARREN: It turns out not to be true. The investigation that the Ukrainians supposed stopped at Biden's behest had actually stopped two years earlier.

TODD: The investigation stopped, Ukrainian officials say, not because Joe Biden asked for it but because there was no evidence. And that prosecutor, Lutsenko, who made the allegation this spring and later admitted as much walked back the allegations.

But that didn't stop Giuliani from rabidly pursuing the conspiracy theory and talking about it on TV

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: I found out this incredible story about Joe Biden that he bribed the president of the Ukraine in order to fire a prosecutor, who was investigating his son -- that is an astounding scandal of major proportions, which all of you have covered up for about five or six months.

TODD: Giuliani continued to push that conspiracy and to sell it to Trump right after President Trump's phone call with President Zelensky in July in which Trump pushed the Ukrainian to investigate Biden and told him to expect a call from Giuliani.


TODD: That's when the whistleblower claims, Giuliani flew to Madrid to meet with the top aide to the Ukrainian president.

But that wasn't even the first trip. The former New York City has mayor had planned to quote, "investigate the debunked allegations. A couple of months earlier Giuliani publicly announced he planned to travel to Ukraine to push for investigations that he told the "New York Times", quote, "will be very, very helpful to my client".

At the time Giuliani said quote "we're not meddling in an election, we are meddling in an investigation which we have the right to do." Except legal experts say he really didn't because Giuliani was a private citizen, not a government official.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It makes no sense. Giuliani has no official role. And when you look at the circumstances there is just no reason for him to be involved in it whatsoever.

TODD: As the whistleblower's report sends shockwaves through the capital, analysts say the man who first made his name as a prosecutor could now be prosecuted himself. WU: There could be violations of the Logan Act which prevents private

citizens from acting on behalf of the United States. There could campaign finance violations to the extent that he's trying to get help for the President's campaign.

TODD: CNN reached out to Rudy Giuliani about the whistleblower's complaint and its information about his dealings with Ukrainian officials. Giuliani told us he quote, "has no knowledge of any of that crap".

And when we asked him about the concerns from U.S. officials about those dealing with the Ukrainians he called that total nonsense.

Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.


ALLEN: In the coming hours Britain's Prince Harry is returning to the site of his mother's famous minefield walk in Angola. In January 1997, you may recall Princess Diana walked through an active minefield in Wambo (ph). The city country was contaminated with weapons with country's 27-year civil war.

Diana made removing them a primary focus of her humanitarian work. Since her death, Harry has picked up the mantle on land mine removal. In 2010, he visited a clearance project in Mozambique.

Well, Prince Harry's cousin Princess Beatrice is engaged. Buckingham Palace says the Princess and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi are getting married in 2020. The property tycoon proposed earlier this month during a weekend away in Italy. Beatrice is the oldest child of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

We'll be right back after a quick break.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It may resemble the likes of quinoa but it's got a taste and nutritional profile all of its own. Introducing Fonio.

PIERRE THIAM, CHEF: Fonio is from the millet family. But it's a grain. It has been around for 5,000 years.

CURNOW: This tiny, ancient grain might just have the potential to transform Africa's agricultural landscape.


THIAM: It's gluten-free. It's rich in two amino acids that are deficient in most other grains, and also Fonio is rich in fibers. I thought it's Africans most best-kept secret.

CURNOW: The man making this grain mainstream is chef and restauranteur Pierre Thiam. Born and raised in Senegal's capital Dakar, he found his way to the streets of New York by chance. CHIAM: And I'm one of the lucky ones who have managed to get a

student visa and came to the U.S. The first job off happened to be a restaurant job and I fell in love with it. And 30 years later, I'm still in the kitchen.

CURNOW: Having opened three restaurants and a food store here, he's one of west Africans top culinary ambassadors.

THIAM: The food culture of Senegal is very vibrant and I was like it has a place in New York, I believe we should introduce this cuisine.

CURNOW: Chefs hat off and Thiam has another mission in mind. Food security.

THIAM: Over time, I wrote my first cookbook. It triggered another cookbook. I worked with the photographer. We traveled around Senegal meeting food producers, farmers, fishermen -- I'm talking about their stories. That's what led to my actual mission which is realizing that they had amazing products that wasn't accessible at all in the U.S.

And then I decided to start Yolele Foods, a collaboration with small holder farmers and bringing their products to the U.S. and to the rest of the world.

CURNOW: He saw the potential of Fonio abroad, but more so at home. The grain grows in nutrin (ph) for soil which makes it the perfect crop to bring economic development across the drought stricken Sahara region.

Fonio seems solid. Whole Foods, online at Yolele Food which is yours.

What does it taste like.

THIAM: it's interesting -- nutty but neutral flavors. Easy to substitute any grain with Fonio.

CURNOW: So you boil pour it in, simmer for how long.

THIAM: And in 5 minutes, the water will be completely evaporated. And you fluff your Fonio with a fork or with a spoon.

CURNOW: We've got -- it's already done.

THIAM: I have my pickled carrots that I just add to it. And then add the Fonio and some dressing. What do you think.

CURNOW: It's delicious.

What is it that you think is so important about giving this to the mass market in many ways?

THIAM: In many ways, you know, the mass market needs diversity in their diet. The main reason for me is to support the small holder farmers in west Africa in the poorest regions of the world where nothing grows. I collaborate with farmers and cooperatives in that region and open new markets for them. So it's a win-win. The consumers here, they get an interesting product, but the farmers they have new markets.

Robyn Curnow, CNN -- New York.


ALLEN: Well, thank you so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Natalie Allen.


See you soon.





[01:59:40] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. Great to have you with us.

I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Studio 7 at CNN's World Headquarters.

Coming up this hour, devastating new allegations of presidential wrongdoing in a declassified whistleblower report on Trump's phone call with the leader of Ukraine.

Iran ready to talk with Washington but there is a but.

And for Britain's Prime Minister, sorry seems to be the hardest word to say.