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Trump Publicly Urges China To Investigate Biden; Iraq's Prime Minister Makes Public Address; Brexit Skepticism; Hong Kong Leader Addresses Media; Iraq's Leader Offers Olive Branch To Protesters. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired October 4, 2019 - 03:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: -- coming up next on Newsroom, the U.S. president is doubling down calling for Ukraine and now China to investigate his political rival in the run-up to the presidential election in 2020.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, the Prime Minister of Iraq speaking up, making his first public address since deadly protest broke out across his country.

ALLEN: Also coming up here, Brexit skepticism, the British Prime Minister facing uncertainty across Europe as he looks for support for a new Brexit plan.

And thank you for joining us. We are expecting another busy day on the impeachment front in the U.S. Capital, and it all starts with the inspector general of the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson is set to testify before Congress about the whistleblower's complaint alleging President Trump abuse of powers of the presidency. Atkinson has said, he found the complaint urgent and credible.

HOWELL: And it isn't just President Trump's phone call to Ukraine that is raising suspicions. On Thursday, he publicly urged China to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden. The president made a statement to a crowd of reporters, right there in front of the White House.

Then two sources tells CNN, the president discussed Biden and another Democrat opponent, Senator Elizabeth Warren in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June and just like the record of his conversation with the president of Ukraine, all details of that call were moved to a highly secured electronic system. Let's get the latest now, live in Kiev, Ukraine. And, of course we have our David Culver in Beijing, as well. Let's start with you Matthew Chance. Matthew first, you are learning more about that phone call or the pressure that the president put on this envoys in Ukraine to force an investigation. Tell us more.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, there were congressional testimony's yesterday particularly from Kurt Volker who was up until recently when he resigned, the U.S. special represents to Ukraine. And he played a pivotal role in making sure that diplomatic and political support, as well as military aid flowed freely from the United States to this country, and as such, he was a broadly trusted figure, particularly in Ukraine.

They saw him as a real sort of linchpin and the relationship between Ukraine and the United States and when he resigned about a week ago, or less, there were expressions of deep regret from various aspects of the Ukrainian sort of political establishments, including form the current, (inaudible) he gave his testimony yesterday, and basically confirm, more or less, the sort of idea that the whistleblower, in his report, or her report, put out there, that Kurt Volker was essentially trying to help the Ukrainian government, the new Ukrainian government on Volodymyr Zelensky navigate the sort of conflicting and sort of unusual requests coming from the Trump administration to investigate meddling in the 2016 election by Ukraine.

And to investigate the role that Joe Biden played in the end of the investigation to the gas company, were his son, Hunter Biden worked for. These are the things that the Trump administration was pushing Ukrainian government to get a grip on, and to launch an investigation into, And Kurt Volker was basically trying to help, you know, kind of navigate that and advice on how to deal with it. That is what his testimony was about yesterday.

He also, by the way, you know, went some way towards helping the United States in the sense that he told Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump's personal lawyer, of course, that he should not trust the testimony that was given to him by Yuriy Lutsenko. Yuriy Lutsenko was prosecutor general in Ukraine, he really sort of gathered together and crystallized, all of these sort of fantastical stories, about election meddling, and about Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden. And sort of presented them to the Trump administration or at least to Trump's personal lawyer. Volker basically advice Giuliani don't trust this guy, he is not credible, George.

HOWELL: All right, Matthew Chance, on details in Kiev, Ukraine, and now David Culver in Beijing. David, tell us more about the phone call, that President Trump had with the President Xi, and how are Chinese officials responding to this news?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president's words came out, in what was in the middle of the night here, George, so, add to that the fact that this is a national holiday week, were not hearing publicly from Chinese officials on this. We have formally put in the request that we do hope to hear something with regards to these claim to start an investigation.


But one Chinese diplomat did tell CNN, that this is a chaotic situation and they say that China wants nothing to do with U.S. Domestic politics and we have seen that in the past. That they've really tried to remove themselves from that. Go a step further and one other Trump ally outside the White House said that a Chinese government official actually reached out and said, essentially is the president serious here, is he really asking us, China, to investigate the Bidens, and the response to that, individual, was that, any sort of investigation of corruption, evokes goodwill from President Trump.

So, there seems to be a scramble of confusion and just unknown. After that June 18th phone call between President Xi and President Trump, on that call, according to two sources familiar with the discussion, President Trump brought up Joe Biden, he also brought up Senator Elizabeth Warren, and in that same phone call, according to those sources, and this is what's important here, George, there was mention of the president -- President Trump remaining quiet on the issue of Hong Kong.

We know, Hong Kong has been a growing crisis for President Xi here. It is something that has caused, reverberations across mainland China, and something that hit their monitoring closely but for him to suggest that he would be quiet on that, that raises concerns because it is all in the midst of a greater context of the U.S./China trade war.

I do want to point out as I'm looking at our feed of CNN here in China as we've been talking about this issue, while we may not be hearing from the Chinese government officially George our feed has been censored out on this topic. So it seems as of now, they don't want they don't want what we said here, to be broadcast publicly.

HOWELL: David Culver with the reporting and of course, the insights of what happens typically when we talk about these issues in Hong Kong, it is blacked out there. David Culver, thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: There are many developments in the impeachment inquiry today, let's break it down, with former assistant U.S. Attorney David Katz. David thanks so much for coming in to talk with us.


ALLEN: First question for you, President Trump has now called on another country, China, to investigate Joe Biden. Do you think that the president thinks that inviting a foreign country to do this, is OK, that it's not a crime is it?

Well, I think what's going on is that Trump got caught. Remember, he got caught red-handed along with Pompeo and Pence, who are on that phone call. Having got caught red-handed he try to hide the conversation by putting it on misclassified server at a higher security level, now he got caught. So now he's acting, I'm a criminal defense attorney now, I've seen criminal cases from both sides. This is it what people do, then you act like it's no big deal, I can do it right out in the open, why is everybody making a big deal.

It was a big deal when he did it with Ukraine, if possible, it's even a bigger deal now that he's done it with China, why on earth, especially after Trump's rhetoric about China, would anybody believe the communist Chinese about anything? So, this is totally chinned up and improper, it's a further article of impeachment in my judgment.

ALLEN: Well, meantime, about the impeachment process.

HOWELL: Will just take the moment here, we are monitoring what's happening in Hong Kong. The chief executive Carrie Lam is about to speak. Let's listen in live.


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: -- demonstration and assembly, were often they descended into violence. So far, 1,100 people have been injured and 300 of them were police officers enforcing the law. The violence instance have become more and more frequent. Affecting more and more places and also this violence - this does violence is getting worse. And writers are radical, protesters have been (inaudible), of Hong Kong trying to spread terror. They've cause -- they wreak havoc to Hong Kong.

The day to day life of people of Hong Kong had been affected. Work, employees, small and medium size enterprises are all very concern about the future of Hong Kong. People are asking, can Hong Kong go back to normal. Can Hong Kong still plays where we can have our sweet home?

People across sectors have been -- making appeal, we should all put aside our differences and we must stop the violence and we could go back to peace. We must, stop violence and we support the police in enforcing global (inaudible), make sure that all departments are trying to respond to these incidents and lessen the impact on the populous as possible.


There's always been the position of the government, that is always been our objective. The ruling team of the government has been trying various actions to try to work out this (inaudible) together with the people. A month ago, I announced for actions, or initiatives, that is to provide a good basis for dialogues, so I will formally withdrew the relevant extradition bill.

And then we (inaudible) a dialog platform involving various parties. Last week, there was an open community dialogue, we also we will find a way out for Hong Kong. And then I'm also preparing my policy address, policy initiatives will be proposed, to deal with the rooted problems in Hong Kong. And then I will also propose, invite scholars and experts to conduct independent review on these deep rooted issues. But unfortunately, what the public see, is that, in recent days, especially in the 29th of September and the first week of October, what we see is escalation in violence.

We have seen strangers to these shockingly violent incidents. Firstly, in the past days, protesters, confine to one or two areas, but now, it's all over Hong Kong across the territory. Secondly, previously, there were cases of arson, hurling of petrol bombs, but they was all on the street or outside of the entrance stations, but now they're doing it inside the (Inaudible), station and that could lead to serious danger certainly.

Buildings were substantially vandalized, most of these were public buildings in the past, but now some protesters are targeted certain buildings or shops. Fourthly, four people holding differently views in the past, there was just some bickering or some (inaudible), that is lynching to resolve these matters.

And then finally, in the past there was just confrontation or ambush on police officers, but now, there's more of assault and some use of lethal weapons, corrosive liquids, snatching of suspect, and snatching police pistols. So, the police have no choice, but to use their guns to try to save their own lives.

And there is another very worrying trend. Now in the past, and the reasons of violent protest we see, large numbers of student taking part, from June to August a number of students arrested, accounted for about 25 percent of those arrested but from September, since the start of school to now, the percentage has gone up to 38 percent. And in fact in the case, where a protester was shot and injured, he's also a secondary school student.

So, we see escalating violence. Public order is a very dangerous state. And then the last number of students to give part in protest is running sign, the violence is destroying Hong Kong. And then, young people, who are our future, and now plays in a very dangerous position. So, we must do, at most and violence, and prevent students from, breaking the law further.

We must save Hong Kong, the present Hong Kong and the future Hong Kong. Now because there had been cases of public order being compromised in recent days, so as a responsible government, we must not shy away from existing legislation, without using such legislation. We can't just leave the situation to get worse and worse.

As I, and the Secretary of Justice said before, we have been examining existing laws, to see which provisions could be used effectively to deal with the current situation. That includes increasing the deterrent effect for those who tried to break the law, and also to help the police to enforce the law.

This morning, I called a special meeting of the executive -- the chief executive in consul, decide to invoke the emergency regulations ordinance to in act a -- the prohibition on price covering regulations.


Now this has been discussed for a long time and the committee as the anti-mask legislation, this regulation will come into effect tomorrow, on the 5th of October. Why do we need to have this piece of regulation is because in past four months we have seen that almost all protesters who carried out vandalism, and violence, covered their face. The purpose was to hide their identities and evade the law, and they have become more and more daring. So we believe the prohibition on face covering regulation will be an effective deterrent to radical behavior and it will also help the police in enforcing the law.

In a moment the Secretary for Justice will briefing you on the content of the regulation. We note that many have openly expressed support for anti-mask legislations, there has been, in other countries there are so similar law, but I note also, there are people who are against the enactment of anti-mask legislation, and certain -- they've questions a certain legal principle, and they have expressed concerns.

In a moment, I would invite the Secretary for Justice to give a response. Now, what I would like to say to the people of Hong Kong is this, it is not an easy decision to legislate, to ban mask, but given the current situation of Hong Kong, this is a necessary decision. I would like to stress more points. Firstly, now, what we are invoking is the emergency regulations ordinance, and under that, we are in acting the prohibition in face covering regulation, but that does not mean Hong Kong is in the state of emergency.

The chief executive and council has not declared Hong Kong, having entered the state of emergency. It is just that the ordinance gives power to the chief executive and council that we believe there is a danger to public order then we could act accordingly. I don't think anyone will question that in Hong Kong, we have already seen the scenario of public order being endangered, so therefore, we could invoke the emergency regulations ordinance and the chief executive and council could make any regulations that are in line with public interests.

So, I'm going to stressed that, yes we are using the emergency regulation ordinance, and then the regulation we are enacting is prohibition on face covering, but it does not mean Hong Kong is in a state of emergency, but at the same time, the situation were seeing in Hong Kong, does satisfy these requirements of endangering public order.

And secondly, this regulation aims to end violence, and return of peace. I believe that is the aspiration of all in Hong Kong, and certainly the regulation will target those who use violence, many there are other people who need to, wear a mask, or cover their face because of legitimate need, that is why, in the regulation, there is exemption clauses where there is reason to defend that needs of this people will be taken care of. So, we believe therefore the regulations has struck the right balance.

In a moment the Secretary for justice or the secretary for security will be giving a detailed explanation. Finally, I would like to say, this is regulation. So, in nature is that, it is a subsidiary legislation, it is a piece of subsidiary legislation by negative vetting. That means, when the (inaudible) resumes on 16th of October, the government will table this piece of legislation to the legislative council for consideration.

Now, finally I hope the public will support, and the same what we are doing and I appeal to the public that we should all say no to violence, we must work together to let Hong Kong go back to the normal Hong Kong, a place where we can call home. I and my ruling team we will continue to go by the four initiatives I announced earlier through dialogue and through more studies, hopefully we could identified a deep rooted problems in Hong Kong and we could respond accordingly.

In English. Protests arising from the fugitive offender's bill, have continued for nearly four months now. Over this period, protesters violence has been escalating -- (END VIDEO LIVE FEED)


ALLEN: All right, Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, announcing, in an attempt to regain peace on the streets of Hong Kong, she is laying out dialog, she is looking for a way out, she's trying to get to the bottom of what people are so angry about, at the same time, also announcing a crackdown on these protests.

HOWELL: Right. Essentially saying, that you know, she withdrew the extradition bill that she held open committee dialog, that she proposed policies to address people, to help people of Hong Kong all of this to end violent, but she said the violence continued and now we understand, that the chief executive, invoking the emergency regulations ordinance.

Let's bring in our Paula Hancocks to tell us more about that, because Paula, essentially what this means is, now face covering is illegal?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right George, effectively what she has put into place today Carrie Lam, is that in any public assemblies people will not be allowed to wear masks. Now, this has been called for some time by some of the more pro-Beijing elements of her administration, and certainly they have said that they believe that it would cut down on the violence that you see at some of these protests. The so-called front liner protesters who were on the front lines and they are all dressed in black, there are heavily mask because they don't want to be identified.

Other ones that are throwing petrol bombs, for example, that are throwing things at the police, but from the protesters point of view, they fear that being identified in these protests. Indeed it's not just those that are throwing petrol bombs that wear them, there are many who are peacefully protesting who choose not to identify themselves.

And the greater concern from the protesters' point view here, is that an overall law has been in active. This is a colonial era law which is fairly tough, it hasn't been evoke for about half a century or more. So, the fact that these are very wide spread emergency regulation order that can bring in other aspects, for example shutting down the internet or a curfew in Hong Kong.

Now, to be clear that has not been brought in at this point, but to invoke that very wide ranging law, would take that once step further, but what Carrie Lam is saying she is doing at this point is, specifically wanting to have this anti-mask laws, saying that you can't continue as it is going at this point, Hong Kong is just becoming more and more violent.

HOWELL: All right. And to your point, you know, adding to that reporting, Carrie Lam also saying that Hong Kong is not in the state of emergency, and that there could be some exemption to this, but again it does seem quite clear to your point there, Paula, that face covering will not be allowed during these protest. Paula, thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: We often know that people are taking to the street of Iraq in protest at their government, bit now the government is offering to ease the protesters anger, I will tell you what that is about next here.



HOWELL: We are following the violent protest in Iraq that claimed the lives of 34 people that left 1500 others injured.

ALLEN: Now, the government appears to be trying to a peace the demonstrators, the Prime Minister says the government will soon offer a basic wage for the poor, that's what has taken -- put many people on the streets there in Iraq. So, let's go now to Beirut live, and our Ben Wedeman White House is following this story. Ben, is this enough from the government to help quell the unrest there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, even the Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, did say that he does not have a magic solution, and this certainly is not it, the promise of some sort of a basic income, for poor families. What we are talking about our infrastructural, structural problems in Iraq that go back decades, the fact that corruption has drained the country, which should be very rich, of much of it the resources that might have been shared with the populists, the fact that they've got 40 percent youth unemployment, every year, 10's of thousands, hundreds of thousands of young people graduate from University and cannot find a job.

This is a small measure, that may satisfy a relatively small portion of the population, but overall, you know, you still have, electricity cuts that had been going in Iraq for decades, you have for instance the southern city of Basra, last year, there war demonstrations, night after night which turned quite violent, over the fact that people were fallen ill by the 10's of thousands from dirty drinking water, because the government simply has not focus on the problems that Iraq suffers from. And the Prime Minister, what he is offering here, is probably just a drop in the bucket of what Iraqis want.

ALLEN: All right, well, on a hopeful note, maybe it's a start, but they've got a long way to go. Ben Wedeman for us, thank you so much. And thanks all of you too as well for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell, African Voices, Change makers is next. But first, I'll be right back with your World Headlines, right after the break.


HOWELL: I'm George Howell this is CNN.