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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO
House Democrats Seek Documents From Vice President Pance; Text Messages Detail Trump Administration Pressure On Ukraine; Trump Pressed China To Investigate Biden And His Son. Protesters Clash With Police As Mask Ban Goes Into Effect. Aired 5-5:30p ET
Aired October 4, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Tonight on "THE BRIEF", the impeachment inquiry. Text messages show how the Trump administration was pushing Ukraine to
investigate the Bidens. Hong Kong bans facemasks. Forcing violent protest to break out. And Boris
Johnson says new deal or no deal but no delay on Brexit. His father Stanley joins "THE BRIEF."
Live from London I'm Bianca Nobilo and welcome to the show. Time is running out for the White House to comply with a subpoena to turn over
documents in the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump by Friday. But it appears that the White House has no intention of doing that unless
Democrats take a key step first. The administration wants a House vote to formally approve an impeachment investigation.
Something Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said is not necessary. But also learning that House Democrats are now giving a deadline to Vice President
Mike Pence himself demanding documents on his meeting with Ukraine's president. All this as President Trump is giving a fiery defense of his
public call for foreign powers to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. He says it's got nothing to do with politics at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This doesn't pertain to anything but corruption and that has to do with me. I don't care about
politics. I don't care about anything. But I do care about corruption.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: You may remember that this all began with a whistle-blower complaint about Mr. Trump's phone call with Ukraine's president. The
inspector general who alerted Congress to that complaint is testifying behind the closed doors. And crucially also turning over documents.
Lawmakers are still pouring over text messages released by a witness who testified yesterday former envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker. House
Demonstrate says that they show a highly disturbing pattern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): And the text messages confirmed that this was not one off conversation that Donald Trump had with the Ukrainian leader. This was
a months long concerted campaign orchestrated to get Ukraine to target an American citizen for political purposes. This scandal was not hard to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: One of the biggest revelations to come from those text messages is that U.S. officials linked the push the investigation for the Bidens with
the the Ukrainian's president request for meeting with President Trump. Here's Jessica Schneider with some of the key texts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: One of the first text, July 25th. Of course, we know that's the same day that now consequential phone
call between the president and Ukraine's new president, Zelensky. On this day, U.S. special envoy Kurt Volker who abruptly resigned last week, he
texted President Zelensky's aide saying this, heard from the White House. Assuming President Z convinces Trump he will investigate, get to the bottom
of what happened in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.
Seeming there to make a White House visit contingent on Ukraine's assistance. So let's go to the next text. It shows just how involved
officials were in crafting a statement that was supposed to be issued by Ukraine but never was. So Volker writing to Rudy Giuliani. Hi Mr. Mayor,
had a good chat with Yermak, that's Zelensky's aide, last night. He was pleased with your phone call. Mentioned Z making a statement.
Can we all get on the phone to make sure I advice Z correctly as to what he should be saying? Days later, August 30th, the top American diplomat in
Ukraine, William Taylor, he tells Vulker that the president has cancelled his trip to Ukraine. The very next day, Taylor then text the man Gordon
Sondland, that's the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. And a very prominent Republican donor and he's sounding an alarm here.
Taylor says, are we now saying that security assistance and White House meeting are conditioned on investigations? Sondland replies, call me, it's
being like, let's take this off text. Well, that security assistants referring of course to the nearly $400 million in aid that was withheld
from Ukraine by the White House and finally released on September 11th. Two days before September 11th, September 9th, Taylor again brings up the
He says, as I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. Sondland text back later --
hours later defending the president saying I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The president has been crystal clear
no quid pro quos of any kind. Sondland suggests they stop texting and they --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Now, let's return to the news that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is getting more ensnared in the in the impeachment inquiry. House
Democrats are now requesting documents from him and the Vice President's office just responded. Congressional Correspondent Sunlen Serfaty joins us
now live with details. Sunlen, what are Democrats hoping to achieve by procuring these documents from the vice president and what have we heard
from his team?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they want information, Bianca, and they're demanding a slew of documents from the
vice president. This is a letter sent from the three very powerful House committees oversight Intel and foreign affairs today to the vice
president's office requesting documents related to his meeting last month in September with the Ukrainian president.
Of course that meeting taking place last minute so to speak. He went instead of President Trump who stayed home to attend the hurricane that was
happening here in the United States. So, the Democrats on that committee want information and this comes as Vice President Mike Pence has been
attempting, trying very hard to distance himself from this controversy saying in essence that so far he wasn't aware of these allegations, wasn't
aware of these allegations of the investigation.
And vice president's office just issued a statement a short time ago saying, calling this not a serious request. They say it's just another
attempt by, in their words, the do-nothing Democrats to call attention to their partisan impeachment inquiry. And this certainly is the focus of the
Democrats impeachment inquiry, these questions about Ukraine, the demands that president made of Ukraine to launch potentially an investigation into
Joe Biden. So a lot here and trying to pull Vice President Mike Pence into the mix. Bianca?
NOBILO: Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill. Thank you. So we're checking with you next week.
Of course, we now know Ukraine is not the only country that President Trump is asking to investigate his political rivals. And we're new learning new
details about a phone conversation with the Chinese president back in June. Mr. Trump spoke about Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. CNN's David Culver
has that angle from Beijing.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems President Trump's suggestion that China investigate his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden
has Chinese officials a bit confused. They're trying to gauge how serious President Trump is in suggesting China look into the former vice president
and his son Hunter's business dealings. Trump has said he never pushed China's President Xi Jinping to investigate Biden.
In 2013, Hunter Biden traveled with his father aboard Air Force 2 to China for a diplomatic mission. Shortly after the trip, a company whose board
the younger Biden sat on received a large investment of Chinese capital. Hunter Biden's lawyer say their client did not conduct any business-related
meetings to the investment fund during that 2013 trip. And there's no evidence the former vice president received money from China.
But that did not stop President Trump in front of cameras on Thursday suggesting both Ukraine and China investigate the Bidens. CNN has learned
that this is not the first time the president has mentioned his political rivals to China. On June 18th, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping
talked by phone. Two people familiar with the discussion say that Trump brought up Democratic presidential candidates Biden and Senator Elizabeth
On that same call, those sources say the U.S. President also told President Xi that he would remain quiet about the Hong Kong protests as the U.S. and
china continued through their contentious trade talks. China has not commented publicly about this matter and has not said if they will actually
open an investigation. They have been censoring CNN'S coverage of this which suggests their distaste for President Xi to be associated with
President Trump's controversies.
All of this comes as high level trade talks between the U.S. and China are expected to resume next week in Washington. Bianca?
NOBILO: Our thanks to David Culver there. Authorities in Hong Kong are cracking down after protesters descended into violence on Friday. A 14-
year-old boy is in critical condition after being shot by a police officer. Police say the officer was being attacked bay mob and fired in self-
defense. The protests erupted after the city's chief executive invoked rare emergency powers, banning facemasks, police fired teargas and
protesters set fire to several business and train stations. The city has shut down all train services indefinitely. Andrew Stevens is on the
streets of Hong Kong.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, this is becoming an increasingly common sight here in Hong Kong. Firemen putting blazes in
front of entrances to subway stations. This is the path to Hong Kong's premier shopping district known as Causeway Bay. There are now thousands
of predominantly young protesters here who are venting their anger at another move by the government to deescalate the crisis, the standoff
between protesters and Hong Kong.
STEVENS: The government enacted a new law under emergency powers which was set off during the colonial times here in Hong Kong to ban anyone using
facemask at a rally like this. And the -- more than dozen protesters we spoken to all says they fully intend to A, continued protesting and B, to
continue wearing these masks. You'll notice that there's very few faces here that are covered by masks.
Tonight represents the third night in a row now that there has been big protest right across this city. It was triggered on October the 1st when a
protester was shot by live ammunition by a Hong Kong policeman who said they were under threat, they're under physical threat from the protester
and that has triggered outrage here in Hong Kong. There have been violent confrontations on October the 1st.
The confrontation has continued over the past two nights. So far, tonight it has been relatively peaceful. We haven't seen the radical protesters,
we haven't seen much use of teargas and we certainly haven't seen any of the pepper spray or the rubber bullets. But what's interesting at the
moment is social media, the platform that many of these protesters use to define their next moves, social media is pointing to these protests
continuing not just tonight into Saturday and into Sunday.
In fact, into the -- into the indefinite future while the standoff continues and these protesters show no sign, no willingness to back down.
NOBILO: All right. Andrew Stevens there. Britain's Prince Harry says he's been hacked and he's suing the (INAUDIBLE) of two British tabloid
newspapers for allegedly intercepting his voicemail messages. Anna Stewart reports on how it's not clear when the suspected intrusion took place.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Bianca, it's just days since Meghan, the duchess of Sussex launched legal proceedings against the mail on Sunday for
allegedly publishing a private letter to her father. Now her husband Prince Harry has filed new claims against tabloid newspapers. Buckingham
Palace confirmed the lawsuit regards the illegal interception of voice mail messages. News group newspapers, the parents company of The Sun have
confirmed that they received a claim and a source of the publisher of the mirror says it's aware of legal proceedings but hasn't yet served official
Both papers have declined to comment on the allegations at this time. Now, the big question here is when did this alleged voicemail interception take
place? Does it date back to the so-called hacking scandal of 2005-2006? That was the hacking of royal and celebrity phones and engulfed those
newspapers as well as the now-defunct news of the world. It resulted in numerous lawsuits, settlements, criminal charges and even jail time for
some journalists and the multi-million dollar wide-ranging inquiry into press standards by Lord Leveson.
Prince Harry's decision to sue tabloid papers comes days after his wife's and after his extraordinary and emotional statement on the tabloid press in
which he criticized the double standards of a specific press pack which he says gave positive coverage of their recent trip in Africa and of his wife.
He says they vilified her for the last nine months. It feels like the first shots of a new world battle against the British media. Bianca?
NOBILO: Still to come tonight on the brief, with a Brexit deadline just around the corner. I sat down with Stanley Johnson, father of Prime
Minister Boris Johnson. What he has to say coming up.
NOBILO: In today's debrief, by getting conflicting signals today about Brexit. Shocker. First documents read in a Scottish court suggest the
British prime minister will request a Brexit delay if the U.K. cannot reach a deal with the E.U. in the next couple of weeks. The document appears to
say that the government will comply with law that requires it to ask the E.U. for an extension. But then Boris Johnson tweeted something very
He said, new deal or no deal, but no delay followed by the #GetBrexitDone and #LeaveOctober31st. Complicating matters eve3n further, all the
European member states agreed today that Mr. Johnson's proposal do not provide the basis for an agreement. So where does that leave things for
the U.K. and for its prime minister? Well, the prime minister hasn't come on the show yet so I sat down with someone who knows him very well.
His father. I asked Stanley Johnson if he thinks that his son will be able to rise to the challenge and get Brexit done. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STANLEY JOHNSON, FATHER OF BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: If anybody now is capable of rising to the challenge, I think it is Boris
because he has (INAUDIBLE) determination to drive through this thicket. I mean, he's not taking the bull by the horns, he's the bull with the horns
charging through. I think it -- and I still think he's going to get it. It being the agreement of the E.U. to a deal before -- well, really
speaking after him before or at the October summit which is 18th -- 17th- 18th I think of October. I think it's going to happen. If it doesn't happen of course we'll have to see.
NOBILO: Seems that the people, parliamentarians pundits, everybody is trying to work how whether or not Boris Johnson has made some mistake here
and Dominic Cummings' plan perhaps is backfiring or in fact is this all part of some master strategy? What do you think is most likely?
JOHNSON: Well, I speak here as a novelist. I think I have been on this program before talking about compromise. I think many times, several
times. As far as I do, indeed see this as a master strategy. I'm absolutely sure there is light at the end of the tunnel and that light is
the agreement or some agreement. So, yes, I personally would not fault, you know, some of the most controversial parts of the strategy have been,
you know, as you say the taking of the whip away -- whip away or the prorogation.
I don't see either of those as being actual disasters. Yes, you might have said the prorogation was forced the remainders to quickly, quickly, quickly
get the (INAUDIBLE) I think they would have done that anyway. So, I think the strategy is actually working. He's nearer. For example just take --
just take the fact, months and months and months the European Union community, the commission, Mr. (INAUDIBLE) Mr. Tusk said we are not going
to reopen the withdrawal agreement. That's what they said.
What is perfect obviously they have. Reopen the withdrawal agreement because they are now engaged in discussion about some form of replacing the
Irish backstop. That's (INAUDIBLE) Well, so that is progress. There has to be progress.
NOBILO: Do you think that Boris Johnson has completely changed the tone and the come position of the conservative party?
JOHNSON: I don't think so. I absolutely don't think so. You see, there was one moment in his conference speech which I've actually twitted. Is
JOHNSON: They're tweeted.
NOBILO: I would say.
JOHNSON: Tweeted. Tweeted. Or put on the Instagram and that is when he says rather passionately I am a European, I believe in Europe, I believe in
the European values and the most important thing will be as soon as Brexit is over for us to rebuild these bridges and realize we're still part of the
European community relations and we're going to go forward, you know, building bridges with Europe, building bridges with the (INAUDIBLE)
building bridges with United States, Japan, Australia and so on.
So I'm -- I think his personality is truly will suit his badge. He's not called Alexander Boris the 5th or Johnson for nothing. There's a Russian
element in there. There's a French and German element. So I think basically if any man can -- as it were fire in all -- fire in all
direction, Boris can.
NOBILO: A lot of people ask you, I know, what your Christmas dinners are like because your family come to this Brexit debate from all different
angles. I'd like to ask you what Halloween is going to be like. The 31st of October because all of you -- do you support different positions.
NOBILO: So what in Earth is it like when you --
JOHNSON: Just remind me what happens on Halloween. It's Halloween when you go around just saying trick-or-treat. Or I remember, I used that for
years and years in America. And it wasn't -- wasn't on eve of Halloween.
NOBILO: Halloween is trick-or-treat but more pertinently to this discussion, it is the day that Britain's first for the evening, the
European Union. So how all your family be feeling about that do you think?
JOHNSON: Well, no, let's be really, really honest about this. I think this is a matter of huge complexity for the country, huge complexity for
families, huge complexity for my individual family, and huge complexity for me as "paterfamilias." So I'm going to use -- allowed to use Latin word
here. So, then (INAUDIBLE) is the word.
It is difficult. It is difficult but I say to myself, well, actually, we are in microcosm as a family what the country as a whole. Everybody is
drawn in different ways. In Latin, no point in getting on one's high horse and saying, as the remainders sometimes do -- well, it's immoral to vote to
leave. I've heard that. On the other hand there's no point being a leaver, saying about remainders so that basically left is roominess and so
So we do have to come together but we do have to recognize and answering your question about the Halloween evening if that -- if that's right,
actually, is itself an evening. Isn't the in meaning evening.
NOBILO: Hallow's eve, all the hallow's eve.
JOHNSON: The eve (INAUDIBLE) well, I think it will be a tricky charm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Voters in Israel may have to head back to the polls for a third time in less than a year. There's been little progress in weaving together
a new government after a tight race between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Here's Oren Liebermann with the latest on the deadlock.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, we're now 2-1/2 weeks after Israel's elections and the country's political future is no clearer now
than was on election night. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unified the ultraorthodox, a religious sign as parties behind him but it's not
enough to form a government. And so far none of the other parties have shown any willingness to support Netanyahu and give him the government he
needs to continue as prime minister.
Speculation is high that Netanyahu will soon go to Israel's president and acknowledge his failure here say he's been unable to form a government.
That being said he hasn't done so yet, perhaps he's waiting to see here if the passage of time softens any of the other party's position and if they
will be willing to come in and support him. But if that doesn't happen it means Netanyahu will have failed once again to form a government just as he
did after April's elections.
Except this time Netanyahu's rival former chief of staff Benny Gantz would likely get the chance to form a government. But perhaps that doesn't
change anything because his path to success is no clearer than Netanyahu's. In this state of political limbo, Netanyahu and Gantz have tried to shore
up their own base while blaming the other for trying to drag the country to the third election within year. And as crazy as that sounds with each
passing day that looks more and more likely. Bianca?
NOBILO: Oren Liebermann there for us. For decades, wars, terrorists and sanctions crippled the lives of millions of Iraqis. But with those threats
gone for the most part, people are furious that they're still struggling for basics like electricity, clean water and jobs. Iraqi prime minister is
pleading for calm after four days of violent street protests. Dozens have been killed and hundreds wounded by security forces. I asked Arwa Damon in
Bagdad how a country is so rich in oil has been able to not deliver for its people.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Because it's dealing with decades of corruption, of an inability to get basic services up and
going, and rampant unemployment. When you look at the country's wealth, it's oil riches, it's very difficult to fathom that the population wouldn't
somehow be benefiting from it but they haven't been and they've reached a breaking point at this stage.
This is not first time that we've seen Iraqis take to the street and demand these things from the government. But these demonstrations are
countrywide. They are not organized. And it's really an indication of the fact that people have quite simply run out of patience. They are done with
numerous governments coming through, giving them empty promise, pledges to turn things around. I mean, if you look at unemployment, it's about 11
If you look at youth unemployment though, that number is much, much higher, just over 30 percent. People have higher education and are unable to go
out and find jobs. People know what kind of a life they should have. They know what their country should look like. And yet they are seeing the same
political faces being unable or unwilling to actually deal with government corruption and change the status quo of lives for the people and now we're
seeing that anger and frustration being expressed on the streets.
NOBILO: Awra, what reform specifically do protesters want to see?
DAMON: There are a number of things that they are demanding they want basic services which means electricity. This is a country that still
cannot provide electricity for its own population. They want clean water. They want sanitation. They want the government to turn around these
unemployment rates and create more jobs.
And more importantly, though, really at the core of all of this, they want an end to government corruption because that is really what crippled this
country on so many levels. Now we heard from the Iraqi prime minister saying that he did find the protesters demands to be righteous. There is
going a parliamentary meeting tomorrow focused on all of this although some key parliamentary groups are already saying that they may boycott that
But what people are calling for, Bianca, is just basic way of life. They have dealt with war. They've dealt with sanctions. They dealt with
terrorism. They dealt with sectarian bloodletting and they reached a point where they don't understand why their government is refusing to at the very
least provide these basics for the population. And the violence, the reaction to these demonstrations is only further angering people.
You know, we're hearing about snipers on roof tops directly targeting demonstrators. They bring numerous calls for the United Nations to get
involved from some Iraqi watchdog groups to try to protect the population as its making these very basic demands.
NOBILO: Arwa Damon, thank you. When "THE BRIEF" returns how advances in mind control technology, changing the world of one man paralyzed from the
NOBILO: We want to end the week with a story of human endeavor that's changed the world of one man. This is, Thibault, a 28-year-old from
France. He was paralyzed from the shoulders down after falling 40 feet from a balcony and severing his spinal cord. But incredibly he's been able
to move all four of his paralyzed limbs once again by using this brain- controlled robotic exoskeleton. Researchers implanted a recording device on either side of his between his brain and his skin.
Thibault then he trained an algorithm to decode his brain signals by making an avatar, a virtual character within a video game Move. He first trained
on virtual simulations before using the exoskeleton in the real world to start to touch objects and walk. Over the course of the study, Thibault
covered a total of 145 meters with 480 steps. And on that life-affirming and inspiring note have a wonderful weekend. "THE BRIEF" will be back on
Monday. But for now it's World Sport. Goodbye.