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SDF Says its Fighters Have "Repelled" Turkish Ground Troops; Civilians Flee as Turkish Military Offensive in Syria Begins; Democrats Prepare Subpoenas to Compel Testimony; Montgomery, Alabama Elects First Black Mayor. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 9, 2019 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATINAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, Turkey launches a military offensive in Northern Syria from the land and from the sky. CNN

is there as Kurdish families fleeing. A gunman has killed two people near a synagogue in Germany. Now we are learning about the suspect's anti-Semitic


Plus, I'll speak to an organizer from the extinction rebellion climate protests. Live from London, I'm Bianca Nobilo and welcome to the show.

Let's get right to our breaking news now, Turkey just dramatically escalated its military offensive in Northeastern Syria, sending ground

troops across the border. They're on a mission to clear Kurdish fighters from the area the same Kurdish fighters who were crucial U.S. allies in the

fight against ISIS.

This comes after Turkey pounded several towns with airstrikes and artillery fire today. Kurdish-led forces say three of their fighters were killed

along with five civilians. Thousands of men, women and children fled their homes in search for safer ground. The Kurds are calling on the world to

step in and prevent a possible humanitarian catastrophe. These are some of the towns that came under fire today. Turkey's president says his military

is fighting to liberate the region from terrorists.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: Our mission is obvious, it's clear. We will bring down the terror corridor. Hopefully, we will build a

peace corridor. This is our aim for a safe zone.


NOBILO: U.S. President Donald Trump pulled American troops from the area just days ago after speaking with Mr. Erdogan. He's now calling on him to

conduct the offensive humanely and is defending his decision to withdraw.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A campaigned in ending the endless wars. We're all over the world fighting wars. Half the places

nobody even knows what they're doing over there and I feel that we are doing the right thing, and I think the country feels that too. We've had

tremendous support out of the little Washington area. Even in Washington, people are saying you are doing the right thing.


NOBILO: A spokesman for the Kurdish forced talked to CNN acknowledged the superior fire power of Turkey but says the Kurds aren't afraid of the



KINO GABRIEL, SPOKESMAN, SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES: You cannot contain to what the Turkish army has, but again that doesn't mean we are going to

surrender just like that and give the area and give our homeland to the invaders, just because they are attacking us or just because they are



NOBILO: Let's go live to the Turkish-Syrian border. We are joined by Senior International Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, we are hearing now that

the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces saying that they've repelled the Turkish ground troops. What more can you tell us about what's going on the

ground and Turkey's motivation is in doing this?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's still in very early stages for this initial ground incursion and Turkey's Defense

Ministry said that began just pretty much in the first few hours of darkness here, saying, in fact, that their forces have gone alongside the

Syrian National Army.

Now that's Turkish - for Syrian rebels that they have been frustrating to assist them in something like this, to be sure that Turkish Armed Forces go

in alongside them, Syrian, Sunni Arabs who can essentially and in the eyes of Turkey return the land from the Syrian Kurds, who took off ISIS back to

its original owners.

That's Turkey's take on this. Where exactly these ground troops have gone in, what their mission is, is unclear, along the border at this point there

are multiple reports of shelling. It has clearly been a harrowing day for those Syrian Kurds on the receiving end of that. Where the ground troops

have moved into the state isn't clear at this stage. It's remarkable early on to be seeing that kind of move.

It suggests may be this careless operation is perhaps a little larger than sort of a symbolic move, many would have thought President Erdogan might

have been inclined after the staunch criticism he has been receiving from the other side of the Atlantic. Already Republican Senators normally very

loyal to Donald Trump are talking about moving on, putting sanctions against Turkey for this kind of move.

It may backfire on Turkey. Right now, the pressing concern is civilians in the Syrian Kurdish areas and quite what appetite Turkey has for a long-

scale military intervention here. Bianca.

NOBILO: Nick Paton Walsh thanks for joining us from the Turkish-Syria border. CNN is the only U.S. network inside Syria covering this military

offensive and our Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward witnessed a chaotic scene earlier as hundreds of people desperately tried to find a

road to safety.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here on the road out of the town of Ras Al-Ain and as you can see, it is a chaotic

situation. This street, roads just choked full of cars filled with families desperate to get out of here. None of them understanding exactly what is

going on, what has happened, what the intention of this Turkish military strikes are?

We saw at least six big plumes of black smoke with our own eyes. At least one building that appeared to be on fire. And these people are now fleeing

to try to get to safety. But they don't know exactly where safety might be. Let's just take a talk and chat to these people.


WARD: Are you afraid? They're saying that they're frightened for the children and you can imagine why? Look at the sky its thick with black

smoke. There have been strikes for the last couple of hours.

You can see, they're saying there were many different explosions. She is saying there were many explosions it was coming from shelling artillery.

They're now trying to get out. And they don't know where they're going or where they might be able sleep tonight. Clarissa Ward, CNN, outside Ras Al-

Ain, Syria.

NOBILO: Well, let me go now to CNN's Ryan Browne he is at the Pentagon. Ryan, a top adviser Erdogan told our Christiane Amanpour earlier today I

think it was that President Trump and President Erdogan have reached an understanding over precisely what this operation is and that President

Trump knows what the scope of this operation is.

Let me cover from the White House who said that they do not endorse this attack and they've made it clear to Turkey that this is a bad idea. Now

those two statements are not mutually exclusive, but what do you know about the extent of the White House's knowledge the liaison with Turkey about

these attacks?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, it's been a very confusing message coming from the White House. Initially, it was a bit unclear

whether or not President Trump supported this Turkish military operation. He said something like the U.S. wasn't going to participate and the U.S.

was getting out of the way. Many took that as a signal of a green light, that the U.S. had given a green light to Turkey.

You heard Turkish officials saying that President Trump handed the ISIS campaign over to Turkey in that moment. However, officials at the Pentagon,

officials at the State Department argue that point. They say that the U.S. has long warned Turkey against this operation, saying there would be

consequences if Turkey did this, that it would destabilize the region and lead to a resurgence of ISIS.

However, it appears Turkey did not heed those warnings and proceed to launch this military anyway. Now we are hearing from members of Congress

who are threatening to level economic sanctions against Turkey if it doesn't end this operation but not so as much pressure from the White


The President saying earlier today, that he was opened to the possibility of sanctions but not using that language he once used earlier about causing

economic destruction and devastation to Turkey if they attacked Kurd, Syrian Kurds.

So the White House message a bit muddled right now. We are still waiting for more clarity as to what the U.S. response to Turkey attacking its

Syrian partners is going to be. Bianca.

NOBILO: Ryan Browne at the Pentagon. Thank you. Now, for the first time Former U.S. Vice President and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden

is calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts. To preserve

our constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.


NOBILO: Declaring it will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry the White House has retained former U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy as outside

Counsel, rather ironically, Gowdy led a fight to obtain so Obama Administration documents back in 2012.


REP. TREY GOWDY, (R-SC): The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not

in power is wrong.


NOBILO: The Trump Administration is demanding a Formal House Vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry, but appearing before reporters a short

time ago, Mr. Trump refused to promise cooperation even if that did happen. The administration's stance is raising questions about this week's

scheduled testimony by Marie Yovanovitch, the Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.

Sources say House investigators have started to prepare subpoenas. Democrats say despite the Trump Administration's opposition they do expect

to question witnesses sooner or later.



REP. JIM HIMES, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: You know a subpoena is a very serious document literally means under penalty. If you don't show up, there is a

penalty, jailing, fines, that sort of thing. So subpoenas will be received by all of the people that the Congress wants to talk to. They will ignore

those subpoenas at their peril. You don't get to say no to a Congressional subpoena. So I imagine we will eventually get to talk to these people.


NOBILO: Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju is standing by live. Manu, we have learned from some of the reporting from our colleague Lauren

Fox that the consensus is among the Democrats, even though the White House is stonewalling this, it's not going to hurt their inquiry. In fact, it can

even bolster it. Tell us why?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, some Democrats do believe that. I have been talking to Democrats all day even if the White

House were to say no to their subpoenas that they believe can help their case that the President should be impeached.

Because if you look back in the Nixon impeachment proceedings, the articles of impeachment drafted for President Richard Nixon one of the articles was

about obstruction of congress. So the Democrats believe if they defy suspense, don't listen to the request, that just adds more strength that

the case in the President should be impeached by one count for obstructing Congress.

So that's why one reason that a number of Democrats are pushing the issue a wave of new subpoenas, you can expect those in the days and weeks ahead, if

the White House does not - if the State Department officials, in particular, who they are trying to get scheduled for interviews don't come

forward, those subpoenas could be coming sooner rather than later.

Also, expect suspense coming days for Rudy Giuliani's associates, three of them have been asked to come testify about what Giuliani did pushing the

Ukrainian government to investigate Bidens. They get to complies they could be here with subpoenas as well. Bianca.

NOBILO: Manu Raju, thank you for joining the program. In Germany, the federal prosecutor has identified the suspect in a horrifying attack is

what we know so far. A woman was shot dead near a synagogue and 600 meters further away, a man was killed at a kabob shop and right by where it all

happened a man with military gear opening fire.

Police say the suspect is a 27-year-old man and he appears to have streamed the attack live online. In that video, the alleged shooter goes on an anti-

Semitic rant. The federal prosecutor isn't commenting on that for now. The attack happened on Yom Kippur the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

CNN's Melissa Bell, is where this all unfolded. Melissa, what are police saying about the investigation and is this attack further evidence of a

wider problem, an uptick in far right attacks?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly authorities and I speak here, Bianca, of the Interior Minister but also we have been hearing from

spokesmen also for the prosecution confirming information to us. What we understand is that Stephan Balliet, this 27-year-old live streamed these

attacks that began, as you say, at that synagogue with one woman killed there, coming down the road through, behind me here to this kabob shop.


This is where it ended and where the second man was killed and that video of course that was live streamed, three minutes of it is now at the very

heart of the investigation, an anti-terror investigation. All of this was linked very early onto the question of anti-Semitism, first of all by the

interior minister. Then by authorities who were investigating, who said that they believed that the motive was one of right wing extremism. Bianca.

NOBILO: Melissa Bell, thank you. There is new fallout in the free speech conversation between the NBA and China. On Wednesday, all of the NBA's

Official Chinese Partners suspended ties with the basketball league. The firestorm began with a Hong Kong pro democracy tweet by the General Manager

of the Houston Rockets that infuriated Beijing. Now the NBA pre season games in China are in doubt. CNN's David Culver is in Shanghai and spoke

with some of the fans.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, perhaps the best indicator of the reaction from the Chinese people can be seen just over my shoulder here. We

are along a street in Shanghai. And you can see that giant poster. These are normally the posters that are put up to welcome the big stars, the NBA

players who are normally beloved here.

That is I would say a quarter of what was initially a few hours before. That's because slowly these are being torn down, all around that building,

it was wrapped up at one point. That gives you an idea as to what the reception or lack thereof has been for these NBA players who again are

normally beloved here.

As far as fans are concerned we caught up with a few, we found them outside the hotel where the players stay. And there were a few around the front

door trying to get an idea as to who was coming in and out. I talked to a few of them.


CULVER: They seem to suggest that they still have a love for the game but their love for country trumps that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of Chinese people they kind of are planting to very radical sorts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from China. So I sport support my country. I am not support I am not support NBA in this case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are born with different thoughts. No what I is wrong. I will have to ask freedom to talk. But they have to understand the

consequence of the freedom after talk.

CULVER: We also went into one of the merchandise stores for NBA style. It's interesting to note they had pulled all the Houston Rockets Memorabilia.

That the club told us that they got orders from corporate to remove them from the shelves and they did just that. It seems the relationship here is

worsening with CCTV, the big broadcaster having halted the pre-season games aired here in China. Then going a step further to say that the Chinese

people will not back down.

NOBILO: Thanks to David Culver for that report. Its day three for the Extinction Rebellion Protests and despite all the arrests, people are

turning out. I sit down with one of the people who is organizing it all, right after a quick break.


NOBILO: In a climate debrief, Extinction Rebellion Protesters are back in the street and about 800 have been arrested around the world so far. Hours

ago here in London, these women held essentially a breast-feeding blockade in support of the environmental group away for these mothers to stress the

climate emergency.

SALLY DAVIS, PROTESTER: In London, I'm concerned about the fact that the terrible air quality will be acting her lungs. That's one small piece of

the puzzle. I think it's not just here generation but her children. What kind of planet will they inhabitant? What sort of opportunities that I

going to have? So I couldn't forgive myself. I won't be able to look her in the eye when she is all fighting come out and do something.

NOBILO: These demonstrations are supposed to last for two weeks. And it all kicked off on Monday. Here are some of the largest in London, Berlin,

Amsterdam, New York. And that's not all. A website says it is coordinating protests in 60 cities across 56 countries the goal to put pressure on

governments and have them do more to combat global warming.

The group doesn't shy away from publication to get its point across using fake blood right on Wall Street. Joining me now is Extinction Rebellion

Activist and Media Spokesperson Chay Harwood. Chay, thanks for joining the program. First of all, I'm interesting to know how you developed

unconsciousness of environmental issues.


CHAY HARWOOD, EXTINCTION REBELLION MEDIA SPOKESMAN: That's interesting. If you said a couple years ago, I'd be a part of an environmentalist

organization or movement, I would have chuckled and said, no, I'm going to be part of a movement that centered around what I would called that a real

issues, quality, poverty, discrimination and exploitation in our society and around the world.

But the more you look into the issues, the more you see that actually it's the very same system, a system of corruption and ignorance that has led to

a gradual collapse of our climate and ecological systems.

NOBILO: Now, there have been hundreds of arrests as I just mentioned, a big police presence here in London, you would have seen, I saw coming into work

as well, obviously, disruption the being caused. That's the point, right?

HARWOOD: That is the point. You know, we are targeting Westminster on purpose. It's time to so call let officials taking notes of the issues and

actually put in place real legislative measures to not only combat the crisis but to prepare for when disaster strikes.

NOBILO: What would you say to the challenge that even though you are not targeting Westminster, you are aiming to target politicians. The people

that bear the brunt of this disruption are working people. Maybe people who can't afford to find alternative routes of travel that need to get to work

that rely on buses or car pooling. How do you explain it to them?

HARWOOD: Yes, so you know we are very aware of that and all we can do is apologizing for that. I would remind everyone, that the people at our

movement are workers as well. We have teachers, doctors, we have civil service personnel. I work nine-and-a-half a day, 5-days a week and I have

the courage to ask my boss to be able to come for this two weeks and he kindly obliged.

So we completely understand the struggles of being able to get to work on time et cetera. But at the same time, you know, we have been running to MPs

for the last 50 years, we've been signing petitions. It's just not working. We can't smuggle into Westminster and say we want this and that. We have to

take to the streets and we have to recognize our bodies and our mind. That's what we've done.

NOBILO: What are your demands? What do you want politicians to do?

HARWOOD: We have three core demands, the first is to tell the truth and that also means putting real time legislative measures in place that are

conducive to get out of the crisis.


HARWOOD: So, we've actually developed a draft bill. We have people that really know policy and legislation on the back of their hands, and that's

been put forward to MPs all they need to do is review it and work with us to come up with these policies. We're not a political group. We're made up

of ordinary people.

NOBILO: You don't have the policies revised yet, yourself, you want to work with politicians to form those policies?

HARWOOD: Absolutely. We want to work on a collaborative approach. We have lawyers, senior civil servants who are willing to work with elected

officials to draft these policies. You know, let's not forget, this country has done so much and I have no doubt that we can put in place the measures


Let's not forget during the Second World War, we saw factories in spit fire factories overnight. I have faith that we can deploy that same level of

hustle and bustle to get what we need done.

NOBILO: What would your message be to the Prime Minister? Somebody who referred to your protests and the groups of you is him smelling - I think.

HARWOOD: I think it was uncooperative - and such cooperative trustees and such cooperative words from our unelected Prime Minister. Look, it would be

really easy to dismiss our group as such, but it's not that simple. As I said, we have top tier lawyers, teachers, senior service personnel, people

who work on construction sites. You know it's really not a realistic representation of our movement.

NOBILO: What would you want to tell Boris Johnson, though?

HARWOOD: Quite simply, pull your finger out. You know the issues. You know the crisis. Yet you seem to be a large hit actually to putting in place any

realistic measures that will combat the crisis.

NOBILO: Chay Harwood, we thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it. In Ecuador a nationwide curfew is now on effect as violent protest push the

government out of its capital. While smoke fills the streets police are barricading government buildings. More than 600 protesters have been

detained. Demonstrators are furious over the President's Brendan Marino's decision to cut fuel subsidy, earlier this week, Marino blamed foreign

influences for the unrest.

And as we count down to Brexit, now just 22 days an away, the EU says it will not play the blame game. Michel Barnier addressed the European

parliament in Brussels Wednesday. He says the EU and the UK are not in a position to reach an agreement on Brexit. He outlined several sticking

points, primarily, obviously, concerns about the Irish border backstop plans. Barnier says he is optimistic about a deal but added that it would

be very difficult.

Brexit will be the main subject on Thursday when the British Prime Minister sits down for a private lunch meeting with his counterpart, the Irish

Leader Varadkar. When THE BRIEF returns, a remarkable story on the U.S. south a city if heart of the civil rights movement is making a new history

a new era begins in Montgomery, Alabama next.



NOBILO: We end tonight's show with a big change in the U.S. state of Alabama an election victory of historic proportions. The city of Montgomery

will have its first Black Mayor since it was founded back in 1819. That is the same city that was at the cradle of the civil rights movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had his famous Sel Mart a Montgomery Marches back in 1965 and met with brutal police violence and led to the Voting

Rights Act. It's also where Rosa Parks have had her bus boycott in 1955.

The city is 60 percent African-American according to a local census. Critical media says Steven Reed won the election with an overwhelming

majority. His opponent, David Woods, said he would work with the Mayor to be to support him and to bring Montgomery together as a united city. Reed

spoke of the significance of the moment.


STEVEN REED, MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA, MAYOR-ELECT: We are thankful and grateful for everything. Let it go far beyond Montgomery and let it go far beyond

Alabama and let it go far beyond this nation. We made a statement here tonight--


NOBILO: That's THE BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo. And "WORLD SPORT" is next.