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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO
Donald Trump: Kurds Are "Much Safer," They're "No Angels"; SDF: Northeastern Syria Under Intense Attack; British Teen's Parents Felt "Taken Advantage Of" By Donald Trump; U.K. Government Sources: Brexit Deal Unlikely Tonight; How The World Changed: Czech Chapel Clamps Down On Selfies. Aired 5-5:30p ET
Aired October 16, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) MINORITY LEADER: Nancy Pelosi. She stormed out of another meeting trying to make it unproductive. The other Democrats stay
naturally had very productive meet.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pelosi said the President had a meltdown during the meet. Our coverage on CNN continues right now.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, President Trump dismissing the Turkish offensive in Syria, saying, "That has nothing
to do with us".
The family of a teenager killed in a crash involving a U.S. diplomat's wife met with President Trump. Why they now say they feel defiled. And a
critical week for Brexit, no deal yet, but as Angela Merkel says, we're in the home stretch.
Live from London, I'm Bianca Nobilo and welcome to the show. On day eight of Turkey's offensive against the Kurds in Northern Syria, Donald Trump is
asking, what does it have to do with the United States? As American troops pull out, President Donald Trump said just hours ago, he had some strong
words about the U.S. role and America's one-time allies, the Kurds.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our soldiers are not in harm's way, as they shouldn't be as two countries fight over land, that has
nothing to do with us. And the Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight and, as I said, they're not angels. They're not
angels. You take a look, you have to go back and take a look, but they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us and that's
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: The President says he's fine leaving the problem for someone else, namely, Russia, one of the many players in this conflict.
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TRUMP: If Russia's going to help in protecting the Kurds, that's a good thing, not a bad thing, but it would be led by Syria and Syria doesn't want
turkey to take its land, I can understand that. But what does that have to do with the United States of America, if they're fighting over Syria's
land? Are we supposed to fight a NATO member in order that Syria, who is not our friend, keeps their land? I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: As the fighting intensifies, Turkish President Erdogan says a cease-fire is off the table. Mr. Trump later cast doubt on whether he
actually said that at all. The U.S. President is dispatching the Vice President and the Secretary of State to Turkey to try and sway Mr. Erdogan.
They should be leaving soon.
Now, one of the President's own supporters said that he's making diplomacy harder. Republic Senator Lindsey Graham tweets, "President Trump's
statements about Turkey's invasion being of no concern to the United States completely undercut Vice President Pence and Secretary Pompeo's ability to
end the conflict."
Let's get more now from CNN's Kylie Atwood who is in Washington. Kylie, how exactly are the President's comments, as he's dismissing this conflict and
the U.S.'s involvement in it, being received at the State Department, and why exactly does it undermine the mission that Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, well, the Vice President and the Secretary of State are headed to Turkey and in an interview just
today, before those remarks by President Trump, Secretary Pompeo was saying that the U.S. wants Turkey to stand down. That is the message that he is
planning to express to them on behalf of the Trump Administration with Vice President Pence when they meet with President Erdogan.
That does not match up with what we heard from President Trump today, saying it's not an issue of the U.S., because it's now an issue between
Syria and Turkey and U.S. forces are safe. It doesn't really matter to the U.S. Well, Secretary Pompeo, in his interview, also acknowledged that
because of this issue, it creates, in his words, no one disputes the fact by the President of Turkey has created enormous race income the region.
That's absolutely true. And he said that is precisely the reason that he and Pence were traveling to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan, to
convince him that there's a need for a cease-fire, not for anymore offenses into Northern Syria.
NOBILO: Kylie Atwood in Washington, thank you. Eyewitnesses tell CNN that the Syrian army has entered Kurdish controlled city of Kobani in Northern
Syria. After Turkey launched its offensive against Kurdish positions in Syria, the Kurds appealed to the Syrian government for help. Meanwhile, the
Kurds are having mass funerals daily. Patients are filling up the hospitals. Our Nick Paton Walsh reports.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's little light left for Syria's Kurds. They must bury their dead and their old
allegiances. It wasn't your time to die, my son. Why were you killed, she mourns. Your mistake was defending the country against invaders. Take a
moment to consider their world.
WALSH: They've grieved like this before, under American direction to fight ISIS and buried 10,000 sons and daughters. And now, America's president, in
one phone call, has unleashed Turkey's NATO standard army and air force on them, and America's army has reluctantly left them.
A martyr does not die, she chants. One of many here who do not look like they will submit to Turkey's new borders here soon. At the hospital, the
doctors line up outside to receive the wounded. It is an endless stream. Despite eight days of fighting, Syrian Kurdish fighters who complained so
often only having old Kalashnikovs to fight ISIS are still holding Turkish forces back.
They've had some help desperate enough to strike a deal with something worse than the devil the Syrian regime arriving here quite far north in the
town of Taltala. The flags may be so new they've just been unfolded, but the moves the show of loyalty, is old and practiced.
Our spirits are high and our will strong, he says. We're here to defend Syrian land and people, other ads. While diplomacy stores, and anchor -
Kremlin and the displaced scavenge shelter yet again possibly hundreds of thousands are on the move while the fighting continues.
Turkish President Erdogan wants control of a deep area of Syria, but the Kurds are fighting hard for Ras-Al-Ain with Syrian regime supporting in
nearby Taltala. Pro -Turkish forces pushed towards this road and the American base west, but the regime and Russia are now in Manbij, setting
both sides for collusion in the city of Kobani.
Tuesday, Turkish rebels fought fiercely for Ras-Al-Ain. U.S. officials have called them mostly extremists. Some former ISIS, but Turkey says they are
the moderate face of the Sunni Arab Syrians who rightfully live here. Yet again, Syria ground to dust and rubble as forces and hatreds that are hard
to restrain open another chapter in this endless saga. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Irbil, Northern Iraq.
NOBILO: We're now learning the federal investigation into the U.S. President's Personal Attorney includes a counterintelligence probe. Rudy
Giuliani is at the center of the impeachment inquiry over his business dealings in Ukraine. Sources now tell CNN the counterintelligence part of
the investigation indicates that prosecutors are looking at a broader set of issues than had previously been reported. Evan Perez has more details on
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: This involves not only Giuliani's financial entanglements with allegedly corrupt Ukrainian
figures, but also a counterintelligence angle to this, and essentially the idea that perhaps Rudy Giuliani and some of his business dealings were part
of essential essentially an influence operation, a foreign influence operation with the target being the Trump White House.
Now, there's a lot here to unpack and we all know about the two charges, the charges that were filed last week against some of Rudy Giuliani's
associates, including two of them based in Florida. They are still here in jail in here Alexandria and we're expecting them to appear in court in New
York on Thursday.
So, what -- that was the first indication that there was this broader investigation that's looking at whether financial that there was finances
from overseas that were coming into the United States to try to influence elections and Rudy Giuliani's part of this, obviously, is the fact that
he's the President's Personal Attorney and he has some influence with the President and with the White House and policy here in the United States.
NOBILO: A Former State Department Official was the latest to testify before the impeachment inquiry Wednesday. Sources say Michael McKinley told
lawmakers he repeatedly asked the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, for a show of support for the ousted Ambassador to Ukraine. But when Pompeo
stayed silent, McKinley resigned as his senior adviser in protest.
Lawmakers are expecting to hear testimony Thursday from this key witness, Gordon Sondland the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. He is the one
who exchanged text messages related to the freezing of foreign aid to Ukraine, which could be vital to the investigation.
Meanwhile, a new poll from gallop shows a majority of Americans, 52 percent, as you can see there, now support the impeachment and removal of
Donald Trump as President. And that continues a trend of recent surveys that we have been updating on that have found increased support for
The parents of a British teen killed in a motorcycle accident involving the wife of an American diplomat say they feel ambushed by President Trump.
They met with Mr. Trump at the White House on Tuesday, but in that meeting, he presented them with what they're calling a bomb shell. CNN's Anna
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORREPONDENT: They arrived in America with one objective. Getting Anne Sacoolas the suspect - of their teenage son back on British
soil. Seven weeks ago, Harry Dunn was fatally injured in a road collision near his home in England. This family have had to put grief to one side to
seek justice. Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, was interviewed twice by British police.
They say she cooperated but then left the UK about three weeks following the accident, protected under diplomatic immunity. Police say they are
still investigating and expect to submit a case file to prosecutors. This week, she broke her silence in a statement via her attorney. She admitted
Anne was driving on the wrong side of the road and is terribly, terribly sorry for that tragic mistake. Harry's parents Charlotte Charles and Tim
Dunn were invited to the White House Tuesday, along with their family spokesperson Radd Seiger, hoping President Trump would intervene. It was a
meeting that took an unexpected turn. Sacoolas was in the next door room.
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CHARLOTTE CHARLES, HARRY DUNN'S MOTHER: We are still more than willing to meet her but we made it very clear that that needs to be on our terms on UK
soil when she has faced our justice system.
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STEWART: Next morning, reflecting on the White House meeting, Seiger says the family felt ambushed, and given the bank of photographers present, they
say it appeared to be a choreographed press call.
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RADD SEIGER, DUNN FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: That did take us by surprise, because we had resolved that was not something we were prepared to do at
this moment. This family is still emotionally shut down, and that was potentially difficult meeting.
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STEWART: The President described the meeting differently.
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TRUMP: My meeting with the family was really -- it was beautiful in a certain way. They did not want to meet with the person in question, but we
had a very good meeting. They're very nice people.
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STEWART: He expressed his condolences, but also empathize with the position of Sacoolas.
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TRUMP: That happens in Europe. You go to Europe and the roads are opposite, and it's very tough, if you are from the United States. You do make that --
that decision to make a right turn where you're supposed to make a left turn, the roads are opposite. And she said that's what happened. That
happens to a lot of people, by the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: In this case, a 19-year-old has died. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
NOBILO: Strong words from the Dunn family following Mr. Trump's remarks. In a statement, the family spokesperson says, "President Trump said this
happens in Europe, that our roads are opposite, that it happens to a lot of people.
The actions of this driver killed Harry, a 19-year-old boy. Where is the humanity? Where is the compassion? Where are the values of this
administration? This was all just a stunt to make President Trump look good. We feel defiled, we feel unclean."
Hundreds of people are under arrest in the takedown of a global child pornography site. The U.S. Justice Department says users of the dark net
site in at least a dozen countries are facing charges. A South Korean National Jong Un Son, who allegedly ran the site, was arrested last year.
Investigations than began tracking down users of the site called "Welcome To", who bought the child porn using Bitcoin. The U.S. Attorney for the
District of Columbia described the "horrors they uncovered".
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JESSIE LU, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The site hosted more than a quarter million videos and users downloaded more than 1 million
files. The site's child exploitation material totaled about 8 terabytes, much of what included children, toddlers and infants engaged in sexually
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Well, authorities say nearly two dozen young victims were rescued in the U.S., Spain and the UK. Coming up on "The Brief," European leaders
say they're hopeful that a Brexit deal by Thursday. Could it be? We'll tell you what we've heard.
NOBILO: In our Brexit debrief, hopes for an 11th hour breakthrough appear to be fading. Last-minute negotiations are ongoing, but an EU official
tells CNN that more work is still needed. They were hoping to have an agreement in full or at least in principle ready for Thursday's meeting of
the European Council.
Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both expressed optimism. Unless there's an agreement for an orderly
departure or for continued talks, Britain is scheduled to crash out to the European Union at the end of this month, though very unlikely to happen.
In the last hour, I spoke with Neale Richmond, an Irish Senator from -- I began by asking him how confident he was that Britain and the EU would
strike a deal in time?
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NEALE RICHMOND, IRISH SENATOR: Well, I'm cautiously optimistic. The mood music has been quite good for the past few days. Obviously we're at the key
point now and hope they can get it done in time for tomorrow evening's European Council Meeting, but there's still a bit of work to do and hope
the two negotiating teams can get that over the line.
NOBILO: The work that there's still to do on this Brexit deal, the landing zone, as Boris Johnson refers to it, can you explain to our viewers what
that is exactly? Why that is the point is holding up the talks?
RICHMOND: Well, I suppose I can't really get into too much detail, because I'm not in the talks, so I don't know where they're at, but we bring it
back to what the original backstop was, in the withdrawal agreement, that will keep Northern Ireland in regulatory alignment with the single market
and keep the whole UK in customs agreement.
That was making sure that there was no creation of the border on the Island of Ireland that the single market was protected - the European single
market and the all Ireland Irish Economy was protected.
The proposal made by the British government by ten days ago did not do that. However, still to construct proposal and I suppose that the repose of
that proposal by European leaders at the start of last week, there has been another proposal from the British government that is something that shows
us that very narrow pathway to something that could be agreed by both sides involved changes to customs and involves right in channel alignments.
A lot more to that and I very much hope that what is achieved over the next few hours, if it is achieved, make sure that we still protect the integrity
of the Good Friday agreement while protecting the European single market, allowing the UK to leave the EU in a managed way where they meet their
NOBILO: Senator, you mentioned that you haven't been involved in the talks, though you are involved in Brexit in European issues. That does implies
huge amount of trust that you must have Varadkar and potentially Boris Johnson. How much faith do you have in both of the respect of these two to
come to a kind of deal that you can get on involved with?
RICHMOND: Well, I have absolute faith in - he is doing to protect our country and how he is working with European colleagues. Our negotiator at
the moment is Michelle Barney. Michelle Barney and this task force over the past three years and beyond has shown an absolute commitment and a deep
understanding of the key issues at play.
I have no doubt that whatever he brings to the European Council, whatever he brings to European leaders, will protect our key interests. On the
British side, it's up to the British Prime Minister then to bring something to the House of Commons and respect his interests. My faith is in Michelle
NOBILO: Cynics have been saying over the last couple of days that perhaps this last push, or this momentum that we've seen over the last week might
actually be both sides trying to avoid the blame for these talks breaking down, as opposed to a genuine concerted effort to come to a deal. Do you
think there's any trust to that?
RICHMOND: No, from us, from the European vantage, we always wanted a deal. A no deal is so terribly bad for everyone on the European side, but
equally, the United Kingdom side, that we have said, -- said us just feel the day.
RICHMOND: We've all worked 24/7 to the very last minute before the 31st of October the deadline to secure a deal. What we've seen in the last few days
is a realization from the British government of what is possible, what their responsibilities are and what the European side can accept, allow for
this very narrow pathway towards a landing zone.
And we hope over the coming hours in the next day or two, to see a legal agreement that can get through the European Council that can allow the UK
to leave in a managed fashion.
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NOBILO: Now, for your insight into the British perspective, Alistair Burt is with me in the studio. He was a British government Minister, who had the
conservative taken away from him after rebelling on Brexit. Alistair, thank you very much for joining us.
ALISTAIR BURT, BRITISH INDEPENDENT MP: Thank you.
NOBILO: When we talk about Boris Johnson's potential deal, possibly getting through parliament, and at the moment, I appreciate it is still very much
in the realm of speculation, it's members of parliament like you, former members of the conservative party, that people often assume he's
desperately going to need if he's got any chance of a deal. Do you think a deal is likely and are you prepared to consider voting for it?
BURT: Actually there is another great with MPs that he is probably more desperate to get over the line. MPs like me voted for the previous deal
organized by Prime Minister Theresa May and agreed with the 27 other states of the EU. It is the so-called ERG group, those who have supported the
DUP's position, who have always resisted a deal.
So, what the Prime Minister has to do is, he has to get us all onboard, because the likelihood of getting many opposition members to vote for his
deal is slight, so, he is working very hard to bring onboard a complete consensus of the conservative party family, plus the DUP, to get the deal
and he's working very hard with those.
NOBILO: Has he been communicating through his office with members of parliament, across the conservative party and people such as yourself about
what this deal might include? Because it's not leaving much time.
BURT: Yes, he has. Ever since we lost the whip, after the negotiations then accelerated, which was exactly what the Ban Act was designed to do, then
his office has been in touch with MPs who have lost the whip.
So, losing the whip, you know, matters in terms of your conservative nomenclature, but in terms of working together to try to achieve something
on behalf of the United Kingdom, we've been working in the same direction. And element that we should not leave with any deal for the same reasons
that the Irish Senator made clear and I hope we will avoid that but we need to secure something, otherwise, we can't move forward.
NOBILO: How optimistic are you that there's going to be a deal and Britain will be leaving on the 31st of October?
BURT: I'm not sure any of us can answer that. It almost swings hour by hour. Last week, after the phone call between the Prime Minister and
Chancellor Merkel, the chances seemed absolutely nil. Then you had a very good meeting with Varadkar and chances seemed very good.
This morning, it looked optimistic, by this evening, we still don't have a deal. The truth is any one of a number of options are still open. By far,
the best option is for the United Kingdom to leave with a deal. And that's a very real possibility, more than in recent days. I hope it does get over
NOBILO: There's been another de-selection today from the conservative party. It does seem that part of the collateral damage from the Prime
Minister's strategy, when it comes to Brexit, has been the breadth of the conservative party itself and that the future of Brexit and the future of
the conservative party bound together. What do you make of the state of the party currently and can he put it back together again?
BURT: I think the answer to that is that he can. It will depend on getting Brexit done. I think a lot of colleagues have been very disturbed by the
way in which Brexit has been approached, but it's not a completely new phenomenon. And that Prime Minister Johnson has been going on for a long
The Brexit has appeared to have taken an extremely dogmatic approach to the situation. A more less than new test of purity in the conservative party,
which we never had before, has been the attitude towards Europe and the EU. I entirely reject that. I think it's always been possible for people like
me, who supported the EU and the United Kingdom's membership to be in the same party as colleagues who wanted to leave, and it's not an illegitimate
political position to do so, but we've always tolerated each other. That has become very stretched and in some constituencies as we saw last night
with -- some constituencies.
Some members who are quite dominant in local affairs and can make decisions about no confidence votes have chosen to use that test of purity. It's not
too many and I hope the party will be able to find a way to come back together again, otherwise, we won't be able to appeal to the broad middle
vote in the United Kingdom, who thankfully is still the swing voter to make sure that our government's change from time to time, makes sure we all stay
moderate. Neither electing an extreme right wing party or extreme left wing party and I hope they stay the same.
NOBILO: Alistair Burt, thank you.
BURT: You're welcome.
NOBILO: When THE BRIEF returns, imagine if you will, a time when we don't chronicle our every move with mobile phone cameras. How far have we come?
Ahead even as this plant is taking Selfies.
NOBILO: Well, self-portraits have around for centuries. But Selfies have become ubiquitous over the last five years or so and have changed the world
of photography. As we see today, some pictures can innovate and others can irritate.
A chapel in the Czech Republic is putting restrictions on people taking photos. In an - known as the Church of Bones for its unusual day call that
nearly 60,000 skeletons discovered on the site have been used to create decorative elements like a large chandelier. The issue? People are taking
inappropriate Selfies with some attempting to touch or kiss skeletons and putting hats or sunglasses on the skulls for photographic purposes. Not
here to judge.
While boundaries are being set on some Selfies, new Selfies ground is being broken at the London Zoo, where the world's first plant-powered Selfies has
been taken. Yes, you heard that right. It's all part of the research that would lead to major advances in data collection for conservation efforts.
The vascular plant known as "Pete the Fern" creates energy that powers a camera and takes his own photo. That's THE BRIEF" I'm Bianca Nobilo. And
"WORLD SPORT" is up next.