Return to Transcripts main page


Brexit Negotiator Remain Optimistic; Too Little Too Late for President Trump; Former Officials Shaking the Impeachment Inquiry; England's Football Team Immune of Racist Attacks; Jacob Zuma Faces Trial for Multiple Charges. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired October 15, 2019 - 03:00   ET




KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Kristie Lu Stout, live from Hong Kong. This is CNN Newsroom.

And this just in to CNN. A difficult but possible, that glimmer of hope for Brexit deal comes from the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

At this hour, he is in Luxembourg updating the other European leaders in the progress of Brexit and this comes before Thursday's final summit between the E.U. and Britain.

Now Barnier says it's high time to turn good intentions into a legal text and the time is running out.

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the U.K. is leaving the E.U. on October 31, deal or no deal.

Now, Melissa Bell joins us live from Brussels for the closer look at what's happening this week, and what's happening this day. Melissa, Luxembourg, Michel Barnier offering a glimmer of hope to E.U. ministers?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I sliver of hope, I think the beginning of a possibility that there might be something that can be done at last between the European Union and the United Kingdom and especially that very thorny question of what will happen to Northern Ireland post Brexit.

It has been a sticking point so far for many, many months, Kristie. It remains a sticking point even now. This is what Michel Barnier had to say just a few moments ago as he arrived at this meeting where he will be briefing E.U. foreign ministers on exactly what's been happening over the course of the weekend because it may have been a weekend but those intense negotiations have been going on between the E.U. and the U.K. This is what he had to say.


agreement will be difficult, more and more difficult, we thought, it is still possible this week.

Reaching an agreement is still possible. Obviously, any agreement must work for everyone. All of the United Kingdom and the whole of the European Union. Let me add also that it is high time to turn good intentions in the legal text.


BELL: Now when Michel Barnier says that any deal that might be struck needs to satisfy all the parties, he means of course the United Kingdom, the E.U. and the Irish, especially.

There are so many questions about how this can be met through, and of course there is nothing new under the sun. We've been watching these negotiations for so many years now, Kristie, those very proposals that are being put forward by Boris Johnson on one hand, and stuck too by the Europeans on the other, the very ones that have been going on -- gone over and over and over again, simply there is nothing like a deadline to focus their minds. And the hope is that perhaps something might just be hammered out this week.

STOUT: Yes, there are so many questions, so many stumbling blocks, and yet, Michel Barnier in Luxembourg offering, as you put it, that sliver of hope ahead of that critical two-day E.U. summit.

Our Melissa Bell reporting live from Brussels. Thank you.

Now U.S. President Donald Trump is hitting Turkey with harsh new sanctions and tariffs, making good on his threat to try to destroy the Turkish economy over the country's offensive in Syria but that is little comfort to the Syrian Kurds, now pinned down and under fire.

And Mr. Trump warned the Turks not to attack, but by pulling back American troops, he all but ensured that they would. The U.S. sanctions go after current and former Turkish officials, but so far, the White House is not cutting off weapons sales.

Now some E.U. countries are though, including Germany and France. The U.S. is still withdrawing its remaining troops from northern Syria but says it wants to end the latest conflict.

Now U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence will soon travel to Turkey hoping to hash out a ceasefire. He is among the U.S. officials raising concerns that ISIs could exploit this chaos and regroup.

Now, the Kurds, they feel betrayed by the U.S. and they are finding new allies. They say that they've struck a deal with a U.S. enemy, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and now Syrian army troops are pushing north putting them on this potential collision course with Turkey.

And our Arwa Damon has more from the Turkish/Syrian border.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Developments in Syria are continuing to move at a fairly fast and dramatic pace, following the White House's announcement that U.S. troops would be fully withdrawing from northern Syria due to security concerns after the Turks and their allies on the ground captured a critical chunk of highway.

The Kurds say that they had no choice but to turn to the regime for support. That then led to the army of Bashar al-Assad for the first time in years to move to the northern part of the country and reportedly already take up positions along some parts of the border that Syria shares with Turkey and retake control of some towns.

That Turks and their allies on the ground are pushing full ahead with their operation, and it seems like there is something of a race, according to experts, between the two armies, that of Damascus and that of the one that Ankara is backing to gain as much territory as possible to give them a stronger bargaining chip.

Of course, central to all of this is the role that Russia is playing given that it has a relationship with the Kurds. It is the biggest backer of Damascus, and it has been speaking to and is enjoying fairly close ties with the Turks.

The loser in all of this, aside from of course the civilian population is it would seem the United States because without firing a single shot, Russia has managed to get the Americans out of Syria and ensure that it is both, according to experts, the playmaker and the kingmaker.

Arwa Damon, CNN, near to the Syria/ Turkey border.

STOUT: And for more, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us live from Istanbul. And, Jomana, President Trump is using the sanctions and these tariffs in an attempt to somehow restrain Turkey in response to that military offensive. How is and how will Turkey respond?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kristie, it's a little after 10 o'clock in the morning here and hours after that announcement, there has been silence from the Turkish government, Turkish officials, state media even here not really covering this, so we will have to wait and see what kind of reaction Turkey is going to have, not just to the issue of sanctions but also this push by the United States trying to push Turkey towards a ceasefire.

And according to the U.S. government, sending the Vice President Mike Pence to Turkey to try to try and broker this cease, something that we've heard Turkish officials in the past say that is impossible, that they are not going to sit down and negotiate with terrorists, as they describe it.

Now, when it comes to sanctions, the threat has always been there, and Turkish officials have said that they will respond with reciprocal actions against the United States. And you know, you look at it and the U.S. did choose to hit Turkey where it hurts. The economy is very fragile here, the Turkish lira so volatile that we've seen it over the past year or so really reacting to the politics, to the uncertainty.

But you know, there were lots of critics of the U.S. administration, analysts and observers who are looking at this and really questioning these sections.

Some say that this is too little too late, that this is President Trump under pressure to do something after essentially greenlighting this Turkish operation in northern Syria, and coming with these sanctions that the administration is describing as really harsh and very severe.

But some are really questioning that because, you know, if you look at the officials who are being sanctioned, it does not include President Erdogan. Others are saying also that if you look at the reaction by, the reaction from European countries, for example, a number of countries have stopped arms sales, arms that may be used in this operation in Syria. They stopped the sales to Turkey, but the United States has not done that.

You know, over the past couple of years, there has been always this threat of sanctions against Turkey for different actions that the United States saw as problematic. They didn't want Turkey to do, but that never deterred them.

For example, if you look at the acquisition of the Russian missile defense system, the S-400, there was always that threat of severe sanctions that have not been imposed and that is according to U.S. legislation that Turkey should have been sanctioned for that, so that never deterred them when it comes to that and other issues.

I really think at this point, these sanctions, Kristie, I don't think this is going to stop Turkey's military operation.

STOUT: Got it. So, bottom line, judging from history, Turkey will not be deterred.

Jomana Karadsheh reporting live from Istanbul. Jomana, thank you so much.


And now to some explosive testimony from the Trump impeachment inquiry in Washington. Multiple sources say that the president's former Russia adviser, Fiona Hill raised concerns that the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was circumventing the State Department on Ukraine.

Now she also reportedly testified that Giuliani was seeking the removal of the U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and pushing for Ukraine to open an investigation into Trump's political rival Joe Biden.

Hill is the first person from the White House to testify in this impeachment inquiry.

Here is more now from CNN's Manu Raju. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are told by multiple sources familiar of the matter that she had some concerns, one of them about the ouster of the then Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch concern that she had been pulled out of that position and offered high praise for her in that role.

Yovanovitch had been criticized by Trump. And according to Yovanovitch's testimony she had come, the State Department had come under pressure to remove from that position as Rudy Giuliani targeted her along with her associates.

Now in addition to that, she had concerns about Giuliani's role himself, including what some Democrats are calling shadow foreign policy. Giuliani's role outside of the U.S. State Department to pursue Ukraine matters mainly that investigation into the Bidens.


STOUT: That was CNN's Manu Raju reporting. Now meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that federal prosecutors in the U.S. are now examining Rudy Giuliani's Ukraine business dealings, including his bank records.

The paper sources say that investigators been questioning witnesses about Giuliani since at least August. Now the Journal's story builds on reporting from the New York Times that Giuliani is facing an investigation into whether his involvement with Ukraine violated federal lobbying laws.

Giuliani himself told CNN on Monday he was not sure if prosecutors were looking into his business dealings.

Up next, racism rears its ugly head in football yet again, and this time, officials had to stop a match twice. Coming up, we'll take a look at the beautiful games efforts to rise above the hate.


STOUT: Welcome back now. Now the death toll from typhon Hagibis in Japan is now nearing 60. A massive search and rescue operation remain underway. Fourteen people are still missing.

Now this monster of a storm brought about record setting rain as well as wind, resulting in flooding and landslides. More than 100,000 police, fire, and other workers are involved in this rescue effort.

Now a European football match is again plagued by racist taunts aimed at certain players. On Monday night, the Euro 2020 qualifier between England and Bulgaria in Sofia had to be stopped twice after racist abuse from spectators.


Bulgaria's captain pleaded with fans to stop the chanting and after a third stop the game would have been canceled. Now this is all part of a new plan to curb such abuse at matches.

England's Football Association is demanding an investigation by UEFA, the sport's governing body. Despite the taunts, England won six-nil. The club's manager says that is how his players rise above the racism.


GARETH SOUTHGATE, ENGLAND MANAGER: Sadly, my players, because of their experiences in our own country, are hardened to racism, so they actually are in the dressing room smiling because they've played so well. They also know they've made a statement. And they want to focus to be on the football.


STOUT: Good on them. Now let's bring in Pavel Klymenko. He is the Eastern Europe development officer for the FARE network. FARE stands for Football Against Racism in Europe. Sir, thank you very much for joining us.

First, we want to get your reaction to those appalling scenes, you know, just monkey sound, Nazi salutes, the abuse that was directed at the English players in Bulgaria. What's your reaction?

PAVEL KLYMENKO, EASTERN EUROPE DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, THE FARE NETWORK: Hello, Kristie. With all the warnings that came before the match, with all the risk assessments, it was still shocking to see what was happening during the match with England players being recently abuse continuously throughout the game and with the Nazi salutes and with hooligans in the stands continuously performing monkey chanting.

So, it was good to see the three-step protocol by UEFA implemented, it has been in place for already 10 years, and it has been implemented at least 10 matches throughout the past several years.

STOUT: And UEFA is going to follow up. It says it's going to, quote, "investigate as a matter of urgency."

But what has to happen next for football to be a safe space for everyone?

KLYMENKO: I think they have to be some bigger questions asked here with matches like last night, there has to be questions, you know, what are the venues they have to be played in? With all the warnings Bulgaria had why did they decided to play it in the Levski Stadium in Sofia, letting in all the Levskians Sofia fans who have known to have -- who are known to have a record of racist behavior in the club competitions?

STOUT: And does UEFA need to get more punitive? You know not just, not just talking about fines here, but potentially points deductions, you know, even expulsion. Should they consider that?

KLYMENKO: Absolutely. It's on the UEFA's books and Bulgaria have already been sanctioned twice for racist behavior at this season. They have been partial stadium closure and whatever the next step is on UEFA's disciplinary code, you have points deduction and relegation from the competition.

STOUT: Got it. And for those who are still pushing back, you know, we say that this shouldn't be an issue, that racism is not a football problem, it's a social problem. How do you respond to that?

KLYMENKO: Well, I think football is part of society and the problems have to be solved as football has a responsibility to clean up the house. So, football authorities have to step up their fight, and especially in Bulgaria after what we've heard from the Bulgarian president criticizing England for raising these issues, after we heard that the Bulgarian national team coach basically denying that he heard any racist chanting, I think any decent person after that would just resign.

STOUT: Yes, how do you address those individual denials? You know, what will inspire them to say, yes, I should step down?

KLYMENKO: Well, absolutely, this is for UEFA to intervene now, to point at the facts that have transpired during the match and to address this institutionally with the Bulgarian football union.

STOUT: Got it. And what happened in Bulgaria, you know, it's really appalling scenes but an incredible moment to see the England team rise above it, focus on the sport, ultimately win. Could this be a watershed moment for racism in football, you know, an opportunity to more effectively address this issue?

KLYMENKO: Yes, I think last night match should be a seminal moment for the fight against racism in football and against any form of discrimination. With UEFA showing a tough stance, stopping the match twice, activating the three-step protocol with players having each other's backs and ready to even walk off in solidarity. I think that should be a seminal moment and so we will go stronger.

STOUT: Yes, grow stronger to rise about the racism. Pavel Klymenko of FARE, thank you so much for joining us.

KLYMENKO: Thank you very much.


STOUT: Now you're watching CNN Newsroom. And still ahead in the program, we're going to talk about Jacob Zuma. He has his day in court. South Africa's former president goes on trial. We'll have the live report.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now police in Texas say an officer who fatally shot an unarmed black woman inside her own home has been arrested. Now former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean has been charged with murder in the killing of Atatiana Jefferson on Saturday.

Now police are responding to a call from a neighbor who was concerned that a door had been left open in the victim's home.

As you can see in this body cam footage, the officer who never identified himself walk around the house and opened fire just seconds after shouting a verbal command.

Jefferson was pronounced dead at the scene. The killing has sparked anger in the Fort Worth community which police address during a news conference on Monday.


CHRIS DANIELS, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, FORT WORTH POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our department is been working closely with the Tarrant County district attorney's office. Our major case unit and internal affairs units are continuing to work diligently to complete the criminal administrative investigations into this matter.

To the citizens and residents of our city, we feel and understand your anger and your disappointment. And we stand by you as we work together to make Fort Worth a better place for us all.


STOUT: And police say that they have submitted the case for review by the FBI for possible civil rights charges.

The trial of South Africa's former president on corruption charges is set to begin any time now. Jacob Zuma faces multiple charges related to a $2.5 billion arms deal. He was forced to resign in 2018 but only after the country's economy was brought to its knees.

David McKenzie joins us now live from Johannesburg. And, David, walk us through the case and what to expect.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, Kristie. It's hugely significant that Zuma is potentially facing trial today, though there is a strong possibility his legal team will try to continue the appeal in this process.

This has been going on for many years now. It's related to an arms deal in the 90s where Zuma allegedly took bribes from a French arms company. Since then, of course, Zuma has been implicated in allege corruption in different facets and to a grand scale in this country.

But this arms deal, this kind of original sin, as it were, that has been the focus of legal teams and prosecutors for many years, if it goes to trial it could be the first really concrete steps of having Zuma face some kind of actual jail time or even just a kind of public reckoning with his alleged crimes, Kristie?

STOUT: Yes, this case which involves an arms deal is separate from these allegations of corruption that ultimately brought about the end of his presidency. What impact had these scandals had on the nation on confidence in South Africa?

MCKENZIE: Well, the current President, Cyril Ramaphosa just yesterday estimated that it cost the country $33 billion. That is in line with analyst's expectations.


Does Zuma time in power in nearly 10 years of it saw a bloated public service that state-owned enterprise that many went largely bankrupt and settle this country with massive debt.

There is huge unemployment, more than 50 percent youth unemployment. Some of which, if not all, has been attributed to the lack of service delivery to the youth during the time of Zuma.

This is more than the economy which is struggling to get off its feet as other African economies do incredibly well. So, it's really important to say investors and civil society groups that there is some sense of justice being done, not just of the alleged crimes of Jacob Zuma but many of his cohorts, several of them who are still very senior members of the ruling ANC. Kristie?

STOUT: Yes, and it was Zuma successor, current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who pledged to crack down on corruption. You know, how is that effort proceeding?

MCKENZIE: Well, there is a lot of frustration in South Africa from People that I speak to about the slow pace of reforms in the South African economy and political scene. But Ramaphosa has several times said it's not up to him to use his position to politically go after his foes.

It seems the strategy has taken, Kristie, is to try and strengthen institutions, like the justice system, like the prosecutor, the national prosecuting authority to try and root out this corruption using procedures.

But in the case of Zuma as we've seen when he goes to trial today, they have used those very institutions to slow or stop the kind of reckoning that they should be having feel many South Africans for the corruption that they have allegedly been involved in for many, many years now, and as you put it, brought this economy down to its knees. Kristie?

STOUT: David McKenzie reporting live from Johannesburg. David, thank you.

And finally, a program we know for you. And be sure to tune in for the CNN/New York Times Democratic presidential debate. Twelve candidates will take the stage starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday in New York. That's 8 a.m. Wednesday here in Hong Kong.

And if those times don't quite work out for you, the debate replays at six, Wednesday morning in London and one in the afternoon in Hong Kong.

Thank you for joining us. I'm Kristie Lu Stout. Inside Africa is up next. But first, I'll be back with a quick check of the headlines. You are watching CNN.