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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO

U.S. Touts Ceasefire In Syria, Turkey Calls It A 120-Hour Pause; Reaction Across Europe To E.U.-U.K. Deal; Tom Tugendhat: U.K. Has Had Enough Delay And Uncertainty; Plane Carrying Royal Couple Forced To Abort Landing; Top Democrat Elijah Cummings Dies At Age 68. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 17, 2019 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know how you can claim that is the President is not going to profit from it. Everyone stick around thank you so much for

watching. Our coverage on CNN continues right now.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, a day of two deals. The U.S. and Turkey reached an agreement that President Trump calls

an amazing outcome, but the Turks say it's not a cease-fire. And with two weeks before the Brexit deadline, Boris Johnson has struck a new deal with

the commission. Plus the impeachment inquiry, what the White House Chief of Staff now says about why that military aid to Ukraine was withheld?

Live from London, I'm Bianca Nobilo and welcome to the show. The U.S. is touting an agreement with Turkey to halt the Turkish military offensive in

Syria. But Turkish officials say this is not a cease-fire. Instead they simply say it's a pause in their operation.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with the Turkish President in Ankara earlier Thursday it was the first major meeting between the two countries

since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled American troops out of Northern Syria, a move that's widely seen as giving Turkey the green light to the

move within the operation against the Kurds.

After the meeting, Pence announced Turkey will suspend military campaign to allow the Kurds time to withdraw. The Vice President says the agreement is

partly thanks to his boss, Mr. Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: And I believe that the candor and frankness that President Trump applied to this and the strength of his

relationship with President Erdogan both contributed to the ability for this agreement to come about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: The U.S. President praised the agreement with Turkey as an amazing outcome. He spoke to reporters about it while traveling in Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As a group I want to thank the Kurds because they were incredibly happy with the solution. This

is a solution that well it saved their lives, frankly. It saved their lives. So we have done a great thing for our partner. If we didn't go this

unconventional tough love approach, you could have never gotten it done. They have been trying to do this for many years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: The pause in fighting comes as the United Nations says that more than 160,000 people have been displaced by the Turkish incursion into

Syria. Turkey says, it killed nearly 700 terrorists in the offensive, but many of them are Kurdish YPG fighters and the U.S. considers the YPG to be

allies in the fight against ISIS.

Jomana Karadsheh joins us now from Ankara in Turkey and Arwa Damon is near the Turkish/Syrian border. Let's start with you Jomana, what is the reality

behind this deal? The U.S. and Turkey are spinning this quite differently.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, Bianca, they are actually agreeing you have got the United States administration and you've

got the Turkish government basically saying that they have reached this agreement. In the words of one Senior Turkish Official, they say that they

got what they wanted out of this meeting and their military operation has paid off.

And the reason they are saying this is that for months they have been negotiating on a military level and the state department level trying to

accomplish this, this safe zone, as they describe it this buffer zone inside Syria. They're main aim is to push the Syrian Kurdish fighters away

from Turkey's border. They see them as a major national security threat to this country.

Now they say, as we have heard from Vice President Pence saying they have reached this agreement that the fighting is going to stop, a pause in

fighting for the next five days to allow for the withdrawal of the Syrian/Kurdish forces. But, of course, the devil is in the detail in any

agreement so we're going to have to wait and see how this actually unfolds on the ground, what happens next?

But really, for Turkey, they are looking at this as a win that they managed by pushing forward with this offensive to get from the United States what

they actually wanted.

NOBILO: And Jomana, why was Turkey resisting calling this a cease-fire that U.S.?

KARADSHEH: Well, look they are saying that in the words of the foreign minister he says a cease-fire is when it's an agreement between two

legitimate entities. They say that this is not with a legitimate entity this is a pause in fighting against what they describe as a terrorist

group. So this is what he means. Bianca.

NOBILO: Jomana, thank you. Let's go to Arwa Damon now who is live from the Turkish/Syrian border. Arwa, now we're now hearing that the commander of

the Syrian democratic forces has told Kurdish TV that the SDF is now ready to abide by the cease-fire. What's the reality here now for the Kurdish

forces?

[17:05:00]

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, it's a reality that the Kurdish forces have effectively had to accept early on in the

early days when Turkey started this incursion and that are why we saw them turn to Damascus and the Russians for support.

The Kurds have enjoyed a relative degree of autonomy in Northern Syria. Now they effectively have to push back from the border area from a number of

towns and cities that they managed to capture as they push forward in the fight against ISIS. They are going to have to accept that when they do sit

down to negotiate future agreements with the regime, which was going to at some point in time be inevitable any ways, their hand is significantly

weakened.

And the other thing Bianca, to note in all of this is that Turkey did not give up anything tonight. The only thing Erdogan gave up was a few extra

hours of his day.

NOBILO: Arwa Damon at the Turkish/Syrian border, thank you very much. A deal on Britain's departure from the European Union is now on the table.

The focus is shifting back to the U.K. where it's already come under heavy criticism from the corners you'd expect.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and E.U. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reached the agreement earlier today. Here's what they said

afterwards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Do we have a deal? And this means there is no need any kind of prolongation. And this is a fair

and balanced agreement. It's a testament to our commitment to finding solutions.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: For us in the U.K., it means that we can deliver a real Brexit that achieves our objectives. It means that the

U.K. leaves whole and entire on October 31st.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: European member states endorsed the deal but when the British Parliament evoked Saturday that is going to be a hard to sell. A key voting

bloc Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party is against the agreement. The deal would keep Northern Ireland aligned to a limited set of the rules,

note notably related to goods.

All checks and procedures on goods would take place at points of entry to Northern Ireland. U.K. authorities will be in charge of applying the E.U.'s

customs code within Northern Ireland. And Northern Ireland will remain in the U.K.'s customs territory, but will also be an entry point into the

E.U.'s single market.

A DUP says the plan could mean higher prices in Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland could vote on whether or not to stay in the deal after

four years. An announcement of an agreement came mid-morning Europe time and it elicited a flurry of responses across the continent. Here's what

Donald Tusk the European Counsil Leader had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TUSK, EUROPEAN COUNSIL LEADER: On a more personal note, what I feel today is frankly speaking sadness because in my heart, I will always be a

Romainer. I hope that our British friends decide to return one day. Our door will always be open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: The Ireland's Leader Varadkar, the deal represented the unique situation Ireland had in the negotiations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEO VARADKAR, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: I think it's a good agreement. It allows the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion

with a transition period which is very important for visitors and citizens across the European Union and also the U.K. and also create a unique

solution for Northern Ireland recognizing the unique history and geography of Northern Ireland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: But for the Europeans who seem happy with this deal, it's different for Boris Johnson's opposition. Here is Jeremy Corbyn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: This is a day when the Prime Minister seems to have made a deal with the European Union which doesn't

give us the complete freedom of movement between Britain and Northern Ireland because it creates a customs union boarder down the Irish Sea.

And secondly, it does nothing to deal with all the concerns we've raised during Theresa May's premiership and his about a race to the bottom in

rights and protections. We believe the deal he is proposed is heading Britain in the direction of a deregulated society that sell off of the

national assets to American corporations. So as it stands, we can't support this deal and will oppose it in parliament on Saturday. It also is unclear

if he has the support of his allies in the DUP or in deed many of his allies on his own back benches.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: One person who definitely won't leave the European Union beyond all doubt is Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage but he's not a fan of the deal.

[17:10:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIGEL FARAGE, BREXIT PARTY LEADER: I'll give him credit. I thought Theresa May's deal was the worst in the history. Boris and his achievements is the

second worst deal in the history. It's still from the point of view from Brexit completely and utterly unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: CNN's Nic Robertson is in Brussels for us to help sort all of this out. It's very complicated. Nic, it's been conventional Brexit wisdom for

some time now, but that the best chance of getting a deal passed by the British parliament is to present as the alternative no extension and no

deal. So do you think that E.U. is trying to help Boris Johnson by presenting that binary choice so that it can help get this over the line?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think what they have done here is helped him get this deal right now. Because there are fudges

in some of the ways that goods will be handled with Northern Ireland. There isn't really the mechanism to sort of really do this thoroughly.

So there's an acceptance on the part of the European Union they wanted to get this deal done as Boris Johnson wanted to get it done as well. So there

was a readiness to compromise there. But it is at this stage though over to Boris Johnson to get it through parliament. He's going to take it on the

terms as you say this deal or no deal leaving on the 31st of October.

So there's a sense here. There are those at the European Union. We heard from Jean-Claude Juncker today the Commission President saying, well, you

don't need an extension which raised a the lot of eyebrows because that sort of you know people see that as an intervention at British politics.

But I think the sense that the real help has been to get something that Boris Johnson can run with even if they think he may fall over with it.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson in Brussels, thank you. One conservative Member of Parliament is urging his colleagues to vote for the Brexit agreement. And

just finally move on. In our Brexit debrief, I asked MP Tom Tugendhat if he thought that Boris Johnson would be able to win over enough members of the

British parliament.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM TUGENDHAT, CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I think there are 650 members of parliament, all of whom have to look in the mirror and decide

what's best for their community and for our country. I think beyond me is pretty simple. We have marched the European Union up to the top of the hill

twice now to get an agreement.

The first time it was rejected. Three times them - if we do so again, the idea that we can do so the third time is really laughable. We have to get

an agreement. We have to leave with an agreement and that's why I'm intending to vote for this agreement would urge everybody whichever party

to do exactly the same.

NOBILO: Do you think the mood in the House of Commons and the mood in the country that members of parliament are responding to now is more conducive

to passing this deal than it was to Theresa May's?

TUGENDHAT: Yes, I think it is. For the last six months, they have demonstrated that frankly the country has had enough of all this delay and

uncertainty. We know that businesses who stop file before the 29th of March and again have been stop filing before the 31st of October. They have

already got cash flow issues because they us had to invest an awful lot in stock that they don't have to sell.

We know hospitals and schools have made plans. We know that our road network has been speeded up in order to make sure there aren't road works

in parts of Kent for example around the time that we're leaving. So we know that all the efforts have gone in. We know a lot of money has been spent

and really it's time to get on with it.

NOBILO: Do you think that the Prime Minister could still defy the Ban Act and just not write that letter to ask for an extension?

TUGENDHAT: The law is extremely clear.

NOBILO: And you'll be sitting in parliament on Saturday and then extraordinary sitting first time since the war. Are you concerned that

there will be amendments tacked on to this deal such as the second referendum which is going to make things even more complicated?

TUGENDHAT: Look, I'm pretty sure there will be amendments tagged onto this deal because to this bill because the change in order to allow them past

only a few hours ago today. So I think that is exactly what will happen. However, I would urge people not to add things to this. The reason for that

is we know that referendum and parliamentary systems are hugely confrontational and extremely difficult to manage.

We know where we are in this system because we have now come to a moment where 27 countries have got together and brought about an agreement. This

isn't a question of saying do we leave like this? Do we leave like that? This is a question of saying do we take the damn deal or do we not?

NOBILO: Do you think for a second referendum in parliament has grown though?

TUGENDHAT: It's very hard to say. I'm afraid it's a lot of people say different things at different times. So I couldn't be certain. All I can

say is that I won't be voting for a second referendum. I think the answer stands. I think what we look to do is move on.

[17:15:00]

TUGENDHAT: The truth is that for the last three years, we have been through a huge period of uncertainty and wouldn't be going back to the European

Union as though we hadn't left in 2016. We would be rejoining a different European Union because it's three years later. Decisions have been taken

and politics and events are going to happen.

NOBILO: Is it possible for the Prime Minister to pass this deal without the support of the Democratic Unionist Party?

TUGENDHAT: Yes, it is absolutely possible for that to happen. Every Member of Parliament whether they are labor, conservative, liberal, green, S&P

needs to decide what's best for their community and what's best for their country? My argument is very simple. There is no way back.

We can't pretend that the last three years haven't happened. We can't pretend the referendum didn't happen. We can't pretend that we didn't try

this only a few months ago and we can't pretend the 27 countries haven't spent months in some of the meetings years trying to get to an agreement.

We can't pretend that this doesn't matter. It's a really important friends like Ireland. So look, this is not really simple choice. Take a deal, don't

take a deal, we have to move on. The only correct answer is take this damn deal.

NOBILO: Tom Tugendhat, thank you.

TOGENDHAT: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBILO: A stunning admission from the White House. It's now coming out and saying, yes, there was a quid pro quo for Ukraine. President Trump's Acting

Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney telling reporters the administration did delay military aid to get Ukraine to investigate a debunk theory that Ukraine not

Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: To those with the driving factors, did he also mention to me in past that the corruption of related

to the DNC server, absolutely. No question about that. That's why we held up the money. Now there was a report--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that it was onto to and for funding to Ukraine?

MULVANEY: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about corruption with that nation. And that is

absolutely appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For holding the funding?

MULVANEY: Yes, at which ultimately then flowed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Mulvaney insisting however that the delay in providing aid to Ukraine had nothing to do with any investigation into Trump's political

rival Joe Biden. Although we spoke to Trump's campaign donor turned U.S. Ambassador to E.U., took center stage today in the unfolding impeachment

inquiry.

Gordon Sondland telling lawmakers the President directed him to run Ukraine policy through Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. CNN Senior

U.S. Correspondent Alex Marquardt joins many now. Alex, help us understand why the Ambassador's testimony is so critical to this impeachment inquiry?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, essentially it is because of what you said that he was one of the President's top envoys to

Ukraine one of these so called three amigos as they call themselves. Now normally the E.U. Ambassador, the Ambassador to the E.U. doesn't have

Ukraine under the portfolio. That was different under Gordon Sondland.

In it this batch of text messages that we have seen released two weeks ago, there's a number of text messages between the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine

Bill Taylor and Gordon Sondland, which Taylor says it's crazy that this aid for Ukraine was tied to a political campaign. In that text message, Gordon

Sondland says there was no quid pro quos.

But Bianca, we know that before he responded to that, he spoke to the President specifically. So this was someone who the Democrats in Congress

are leading this impeachment inquiry very much wanted to get their hands on an interview behind closed doors.

We have a bit of an excerpt to read from the prepared testimony in which he talks about essentially the shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that the

President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was running. He was set to tell Democrats today based on the President's direction, we were faced with a

choice. We could abandon the goal of a White House meeting for President Zelensky, which we all believed was crucial to strengthening ties and

furthering long held U.S. foreign policy goals in the region or we could do as President Trump directed and talked to Mr. Giuliani to address the

President's concerns.

Now Bianca, he was also set to tell Democrats that he understood much later that part of Rudy Giuliani's agenda might have also included investigating

Joe Biden and his son. There was a lot that the Democrats wanted to ask him about today. He's still being interviewed by them as we speak.

NOBILO: I bet. Alex, Marquardt, thank you. Still to come on the program, the royal couple experienced some scary moments in the air as they traveled

through Pakistan. Our Max Foster was there on the plane and he tells us about it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:20:00]

NOBILO: Severe weather caused some terrifying moments on a plane carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Pakistan. The crew had to abort

landing twice. Max Foster was on the plane and told me about his experience a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Hi Max, you were on the RAF Aircraft that was forced to abandon landing twice because of this severe weather. I hope you're okay. What

happened exactly?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: It was about a half hour flight, but in the end we're up for two hours. And we knew there was a storm over

Islamabad. And then we saw lightning and there was some turbulence. I think the pilot was trying to find his way through it basically.

But each time he attempted there were some really sort of loud movements on the aircraft. A lot of people in the flight were uncomfortable indeed. The

pilot would go back up and try again to find a path through. But he was trying a few times I don't know how many exactly. And eventually we just

had to go back to Lahore. I think a lot people were very concerned. They were the nervous fliers anywhere. I think everyone in the staff out there

in control of the situation.

NOBILO: And Max, did you hear from the Royal Couple about their experience?

FOSTER: Oh we did. I mean, we were actually joking, a few of us, the less nervous fliers. Prince William had taken control of the aircraft. He's used

to flying helicopters. When we landed, he came through to make sure we were all okay. He said the Duchess was well.

But quite a few people actually when we got out, we had to wait for awhile. There was some talk about refueling. We had to get off the aircraft for

awhile. There were people quite ill. There were people that felt very sick and there were points where it very much felt like being on the roller

coasters. Thankfully everyone included were okay.

NOBILO: We're very glad to hear it. Max Foster, thank you very much. Max Foster made of fast studious stuff than I. Now the Catalonia region of

Spain is reeling over some of the most violent protests it's seen in years. We are now looking at live pictures.

Demonstrators blocked highways across Catalonia when in Barcelona they set fires, overturned cars and through eggs and water bottles at police. The

protests began earlier this week over the convictions of several pro independence leaders. A general strike is being called for Friday.

When THE BRIEF returns, we'll take a look at the life of a political titan Elijah Cummings who sadly passed away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:25:00]

NOBILO: There's very little that reaches across the political aisle in the United States these days but Elijah Cummings was one. The political titan

of the Democratic Party died this morning. He's been a leading figure in Congress for more than two decades.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIJAH CUMMINGS, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I am a member of the accomplished United States of America. I am tired of this. You cannot just have a one-

sided investigation. The days of this committee protecting the President at all cause are over. Well, we're advancing with the angles. The question

will be asked in 2019 do we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: He's been described as injecting an unyielding passion and purpose into his work. And one of the most powerful, beautiful and compelling

voices in American politics. And that is from Republicans. Praise from Democrats has been equally as effusive. Cummings was the Chairman of the

powerful Oversight Committee and was a key figure leading investigations into President Donald Trump.

Black bunting was placed around his Chair in the Committee room. And just hours before his death, Cummings was still hard at work signing subpoenas

directed to two U.S. immigration agencies. Elijah Cummings was 68. That's THE BRIEF for this evening. I'm Bianca Nobilo and "WORLD SPORT" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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