Return to Transcripts main page


Trump's White House "Meltdown"; Shifting Possible Outcomes in Brexit Negotiations; British Teen's Parents Felt "Taken Advantage of" by Donald Trump; Hong Kong Protest Organizer Attacked with Hammers and Knives; North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un Rides White Horse on Symbolic Mountain. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 17, 2019 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome everyone. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM. A lighthouse meeting about Syria terms and what Democrats to say was the presidential meltdown. Meanwhile it appears troops have arrived in a key Syrian town near where U.S. troops used to be stationed. Shouted down again chief executive Carrie Lam walks out of the Hong Kong's legislative council for a second time it. And we begin this hour with the crisis in northern Syria. As Turkish forces step but their offense against Syrian Kurds who they considered terrorists. The White House Democrats say Donald Trump had a meltdown on Wednesday. After the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly to oppose his trip withdrawal from Syria. U.S. Vice president Mike Pence is in their state Mike Pompeo on their way to Turkey for talks with the Erdogan. Later Erdogan says he will need to next week with national president lateral Putin. Russian flags are now flying over Kobani, the allegedly Kurdish city in northern Syria. Russian forces are on the border region who helped serve in government troops and the Kurds fights off to Turkish offensive. The president's decision to withdraw troops has only added to the pressure on isolation he is facing in Washington, on top of the overwhelming bipartisan opposition so that move, administration officials having to face lawmakers in the impeachment inquiry. Abby Phillip has the details.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, a White House meeting on Syria derailed hours after House Republicans joined Democrats to condemn his decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: He was shaken up by it and that's why we couldn't continue in the meeting, because he was just not relating to the reality of it.

PHILLIP: Democrats accusing President Trump of going off on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: He was insulting, particularly to the speaker. She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third- rate politician. He said that the -- there are communists involved and you guys might like that.

I mean, this was not a dialogue. It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe, not focused on the facts.

PHILLIP: Republicans pushing back.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Unfortunately, the speaker tries to make everything political.

PHILLIP: This as Trump continues to defend his moves to pull back from Northern Syria, which paved the way for a deadly Turkish military operation in the region.

TRUMP: I'm not going to lose potentially thousands and tens of thousands of American soldiers fighting a war between Turkey and Syria. Syria is not our friend. Assad is not our friend.

PHILLIP: Shortly before Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leave for Turkey to broker a cease-fire, Trump seemed to parrot Turkish President Erdogan's talking points against the U.S.' one-time allies the Kurds.

TRUMP: I'm not going to get involved in a war between Turkey and Syria, especially when, if you look at the Kurds -- and, again, I say this with great respect -- they're no angels. If you look at PKK -- take a look at PKK. ISIS respects PKK. You know why? Because they're as tough or tougher than ISIS.

PHILLIP: As the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry turns up the pressure on the White House, Trump is testing his Republican firewall in the Senate with his moves on Syria.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He is not listening to his commanders. He is not listening to his advisers. He is not -- he's making the biggest mistake of his presidency by assuming the Kurds are better off today than they were yesterday. That is just unbelievable.

PHILLIP: Trump firing back at one of his most loyal defenders, Senator Lindsey Graham.

TRUMP: Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years, with thousands of soldiers and fighting other people's wars. I want to get out of the Middle East. I think Lindsey should focus right now on Judiciary, like the Democrats, the do- nothing Democrats.

PHILLIP: The president also suggesting that U.S. troops in Syria are not in harm's way.

TRUMP: Our soldiers are out of there. Our soldiers are totally safe.

PHILLIP: But just yesterday, a U.S. official told CNN that advancing Turkish forces put U.S. troops on the ground directly at risk.


PHILLIP: Tonight, Republicans no longer trying to hide their frustration.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Many of us have been arguing that this was a mistake. I want to express my gratitude to the Kurds. They were great fighters. And we had a terrific alliance with them. I'm sorry that we are where we are.

PHILLIP: White House press secretary is pushing back on the Democrats characterization that this meeting with President Trump and Democratic Republican leaders.

She writes in the statement, president was measured last people that's a decision to walk I was baffling but not surprising.

We are also learning as Mike Pence, the vice president, and secretary of state Mike Pompeo are headed to Turkey that he offered a letter urging him to stop the violence. The president said in this letter, "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool" -- Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: The White House is sending a high level delegation to Turkey in an effort to end the crisis in northern Syria. As CNN's Arwa Damon reports, they have a tough task ahead.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This U.S. delegation led by U.S. vice president Pence is meant to try to convince President Erdogan that a cease-fire would be in Turkey's best interest.

But President Erdogan has already responded to that saying no and that his country does not negotiate with terrorists.

From Turkey's perspective, America asking Turkey to halt this operation would be similar to someone asking the Americans to have halted the operation against ISIS and potentially sit down to negotiate with ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

When it comes to the threat that Turkey believes fundamentally is posed by the YPG, Turkey believes that is an existential threat because, from Turkey's perspective, there's no difference between the YPG and the Kurdish separatists group the PKK. They're effectively sister organization so from Turkey's perspective they're one and the same.

And the border town Ras al-Ain that is behind us throughout the course of the day there have been some very fierce pitched battles. The most intense we've actually heard of since this operation began and the dynamics inside northern Syria have shifted dramatically.

You now have Syrian regime forces in parts of the country that they haven't been in for years. Turkey is in something of a race trying to capture as much territory as it possibly can and it is the Russians that are reportedly patrolling areas between those that are controlled by Damascus and those controlled by Ankara.

America has completely sidelined itself when it comes to Syria and negotiating at least the future of northern Syria. It is Russia that is both the playmaker and the kingmaker. It is Russia that will have the tricky job of trying to negotiate some sort of an understanding and it is at this stage Russia that is a clear winner in all of this -- Arwa Damon CNN on the Turkey Syria border.


CHURCH: Joining me now, Natasha Lindstaedt is a professor of government at the University of Essex.

Thank you for being with us.


CHURCH: Let's start with the White House meeting on Syria. According to Democratic leaders, it descended into a meltdown that the U.S. president. This image is showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi making her case to the president while he shouts back.

How much do you think this exchange had to do with House Republicans joining Democrats in condemning the president's decision to withdraw troops from Syria?

LINDSTAEDT: There have been many reports that Trump has completely been off the rails and unhinged. Not only is he dealing with this impeachment inquiry but he is also dealing with the fact that the Republicans have been fairly outspoken, very outspoken more than in the past that they disagree what he's doing in Syria with Turkey and he's abandoning the Kurds. They feel strongly about this and many of them are making public statements so he might feel isolated.

When he starts to feel isolated he acts petulant and starts getting very personal in his attacks. And that's what happened in this case, that he was calling Nancy Pelosi some sort of third-rate politician but that's the usual defense he goes to when he starts to feel that he is losing support particularly from Republicans.

CHURCH: We have seen Republicans standing behind him when it comes to the impeachment inquiry.


CHURCH: But as you said many are speaking out against him on the issue of pulling troops out of Syria. Senator Lindsey Graham the strongest critic yet saying this.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He'll have American blood on his hands if he abandons Kurds because ISIS will come back. And if any American is killed anywhere because of a resurgent ISIS, it will fall on Trump administration.


CHURCH: Strong words there from one of President Trump's most loyal supporters.

Could this potentially embolden other Republicans to speak out on this issue and perhaps on Ukraine as well?

LINDSTAEDT: It's possible. I think the Republicans know that what happened with the Islamic State and why it was able to emerge so powerful was that the U.S. left too soon in Iraq or at least that is their view and they believe that U.S. troops in the region were really important to helping their proxies defeat the Islamic State, but particularly the Kurds.

They were by far the most important and effective militia in eradicating the Islamic State which they thought they had done in the spring of 2019. So by abandoning the Kurds and allowing them to basically be aerially bombed by the Turks, we have a very vulnerable situation that you can see the Islamic State that might come back, might resurge.

And I think you're going to see more Republicans, because as we know Republicans care about security matters and terrorism, this is a talking point that they all seem to agree upon and I think you may see more of them speaking out against this if we start to see a greater resurgence of the Islamic State.

CHURCH: President Trump sent a letter to Turkey's president on October 9th, warning him not to continue with his deadly military operation saying, and I want to read a portion of it, "History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way.

"It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool. And he signs off by saying, "I will call you later."

Clearly Turkey's president ignored the warning and the threat to destroy the Turkish economy if he didn't do what the president asked him to do.

What did you make of this letter?

LINDSTAEDT: This is probably one of the most bizarre letters I have seen. I couldn't believe some of the language that was being used and I think it also shows that Donald Trump really doesn't understand Erdogan very well.

Erdogan is incredibly savvy. I think he's really pulling the strings here when he's dealing with Donald Trump. He was able to take advantage -- Erdogan was able to take advantage of the rift that he could see between Donald Trump and his administration.

And he was able to give Trump some of these talking points and we see Trump mentioning the PKK. That is something that U.S. hasn't really mentioned before because the Kurds have been our allies. It is really Erdogan who is the puppeteer here. And I don't see that

he has really much respect for Trump at all. And he believes that he can manipulate him and I don't think he will cower to any of these threats anytime soon.

CHURCH: As we reported vice president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, they're on their way now to Ankara as part of a delegation to try to broker a deal to stop Turkey's military operation.

But President Erdogan has made it very clear that he will never agree to a cease-fire so what can this meeting potentially achieve if anything?

LINDSTAEDT: Nothing. There's nothing this meeting can achieve because Erdogan is already gaining more popularity through this effort, this incursion into Syria has been very popular domestically. It's distracting from all the problems at home. It's killing many birds with one stone because he has this plan of trying to move the Syrian refugees back into Syria.

And he's not going to, as the report mentioned, stop this incursion just because the U.S. tells him to and he's especially not going to do so if Trump doesn't send himself and tries to send over some of his surrogates, the vice president and the secretary of state.

That will not be good enough for Erdogan and he has way too much on the line to try to make this happen effectively.

CHURCH: Natasha Lindstaedt at the University of Essex in England. Many thanks, we always like to get your perspective and analysis on these issues. Appreciate it.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: The crucial summit starts in Brussels soon after negotiators fail to come up with a Brexit deal between the U.K. and the E.U. late Wednesday. Despite that setback, sources tell CNN the British government remains positive a deal is close.

Some European leaders are also optimistic, with the clock ticking U.K. and E.U. negotiators are racing to resolve their differences. CNN's Melissa Bell is standing by for us in Brussels and joins us now live.


CHURCH: Good to see you, Melissa.

What is the latest and just how likely is it that the U.K. can come up with a Brexit deal as time ticks by?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's been the question for the last few days here in Brussels and the mood about whether the possibility was there or not has shifted dramatically over the course of that time, going up and down almost every day. Just now the statement tweeted by the Democratic Unionist Party in

Northern Ireland, which is really a party that wields a lot of power partly because it props up Johnson's minority government but also because so many of the Brexiteers and of his own party have said that they will follow the DUP's lead on whether or not to back his proposals as the leaders of European Union are prepared to be here to discuss those very proposals.

It has tweeted the statement in which it says, as things stand, it cannot back the proposals being suggested by Boris Johnson for reasons of consent and the problems over customs.

What shifted over the last week is this shift in what Johnson is suggesting essentially under his proposals and they've been at the heart of these very intense negotiations here in Brussels, by keeping Northern Ireland in the customs union but within the European regulatory framework.

The idea is that the need for checks on goods and trucks for instance trying to get across the border would no longer happen across the Irish border but rather between the rest of the U.K. and Northern Ireland and that for DUP is a huge issue.

Initially in Boris Johnson's proposal, they had had the possibility -- and this goes to the question of consent -- of vetoing those because the issue would've been brought up on a regular basis. That appears at the request of the E.U. to have gone away and that for the DUP appears to be a major sticking point.

So really in the last few minutes this has resulted in this tweet. The chances of a deal being reached when the E.U. leaders arrive later have systematically receded.

CHURCH: Many thanks, Melissa Bell, joining us live from Brussels.

The coming days are critical for Brexit. The U.K. Parliament is wrapping up debate on the Queen's Speech as the European Council meeting gets underway. Then lawmakers will sit for a rare Saturday session. Prime minister Boris Johnson is legally required to ask for a Brexit extension this Saturday if there is no deal by then.

As it stands the U.K. will leave the E.U. October 31st, deal or no deal unless that extension is requested and granted.

We'll take a short break. Still to come next on CNN NEWSROOM, the parents of a British teenager killed by a U.S. diplomat's wife saying they were set up when their meeting with Donald Trump seemingly turned into a choreographed stunt.

And more questions about what Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine, the growing investigation of the president's personal attorney.





CHURCH: The family of a British teenager is looking for justice after their son was killed in a motor vehicle accident involving the wife of an American diplomat. But when they met with Donald Trump at the White House, they felt like they were on a reality show, ambushed when the U.S. president dropped a bombshell on them. CNN's Anna Stewart has a report.


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 fault.

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.


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.


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.


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.


STEWART: The President described the meeting differently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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.


STEWART: He expressed his condolences, but also empathize with the position of Sacoolas.


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 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.


STEWART: In this case, a 19-year-old has died -- Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


CHURCH: Dutch Police are investigating the strange discovery of a family living on a remote farm apparently with no one knowing about them. Police found seven people, a father and six adult children, living in a small room of the farmhouse. It's believed they've been there nearly a decade but it's not known if they were there voluntarily or being held captive.


NATHALIE SCHUBART, POLICE SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Part of our investigation is to find out what the people in that house were doing exactly. There were so many questions to which we have no answer. The investigation is still going on.


CHURCH: Police say the family is receiving medical care, a 58-year- old man who rented the home has been arrested but police don't yet know his connection to that family.

In Hong Kong, Carrie Lam's annual policy speech to lawmakers was supposed to help restore calm after months of tense pro-democracy protests. It didn't.



CHURCH (voice-over): For the second day in a row, the chief executive was repeatedly shouted down by prodemocracy lawmakers forcing the session to be suspended numerous times.



CHURCH: Tensions are incredibly high after a prominent leader of the pro-democracy movement was brutally attacked and a warning, the image is very graphic. The man on the ground was set upon by several man with hammers and is now in the hospital with head injuries.

Dedicated watchers of North Korea believe dictator Kim Jong-un is up to something big. The reason North Korean state media is dramatically reminding its people that Kim is no ordinary mortal. It's all about a white horse and a mystical mountain. CNN's Brian Todd explains.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's nothing for Kim Jong-un quite like a ride on a white stallion on a revered mountain top as a means of inspiring his people. This time, the North Koreans made such an event out of it that they pulled their legendary state TV anchor, Ri Chun-hee, out of semi-retirement to give her signature breathless narration.


TODD (voice-over): Pyongyang's state-run news agency released several photographs of Kim riding the galloping horse atop North Korea's highest peak, the volcanic Mount Paektu. It's said he was taking in the first winter snow and called it a, quote, great event of weighty importance.

MICHAEL GREEN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ASIA AND JAPAN CHAIR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It's clear that the North Koreans are in full propaganda, full cult of personality mode.

TODD (voice-over): For North Koreans, few places are as sacred as Mount Paektu. Located in northern Samjiyon County. It's the birthplace about 4,000 years ago of the mythical founder of the Kim kingdom of Korea and the Kim dynasty has co-opted that story.

ANNA FIFIELD, AUTHOR: Kim Jong-un derives his legitimacy as the leader of North Korea from this kind of mythical Paektu bloodline that they call it. This idea that the Kims have descended from mythical Mount Paektu in North Korea and, therefore, have been divinely chosen to be the leaders of North Korea. So Kim Jong-un says he has Paektu blood in his veins.

FRANK JANNUZI, THE MAUREEN AND MIKE MANSFIELD FOUNDATION: I think a good way to think about Mount Paektu is a little bit like Camp David. It's a place where the North Korean leader would go to reflect and ponder important moves.

TODD (voice-over): Kim ascended Mount Paektu near the time of the test firing of his largest intercontinental ballistic missile. Again, ahead of the diplomatic opening with South Korea. And he went there just before giving a chilling order which consolidated his power. MICHAEL MADDEN, NORTH KOREA LEADERSHIP WATCH: The most famous instance of Kim Jong-un going up to Samjiyon County was when it was about two weeks before they executed Jang Song-thaek in 2013.

TODD (voice-over): Jang Song-thaek was Kim's powerful uncle who he accused of treason and reportedly had executed with an anti-aircraft gun. On this visit, Kim's pulled a page out of the Putin playbook. The Russian President is fond of being photographed on his horse, including a shirtless ride.

The two strongmen held a summit in Vladivostok this spring. It's unknown if Putin coached Kim on horseback propaganda, but tonight, analysts are concerned about what this photo shoot might foreshadow.

GREEN: Most likely scenario, frankly, is that they're going to resume missile tests or nuclear tests because they're unhappy with the U.S.' unwillingness to accept their demands. And the most recent working- level talks between the U.S. and DPRK fell apart.

TODD: But analysts say the Mount Paektu visit could also be a signal that Kim could be ready to make a deal with President Trump, and the clock may be ticking for that. North Korea previously gave an ultimatum that progress on a nuclear deal has to be made before year's end, and Trump is, of course, gearing up for a contentious re-election campaign where he's under more pressure than ever for a foreign policy victory -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: House Democrats hear new testimony in the impeachment inquiry, ahead high-ranking diplomats shed light on the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine.

Plus it could be one of the last criminal trials involving the Holocaust. A Nazi camp guard faces justice. We'll have the details for you when we return.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone, I'm Rosemary Church. Time to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. A White House meeting on President Trump's troop withdrawal from Syria fell apart Wednesday when Democratic leaders walked out. They said the President called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a third grade or third- rate politician. Pelosi has made the President's tweeted photo of the meeting of her cover photo on Twitter.

The U.S. Vice President and Secretary of State are hoping they can end Fighting in Northern Syria. Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo will meet with Turkey's President in the coming hours, but Recep Tayyip Erdogan is already ruling out a ceasefire in his fight against Syrian Kurds.

A crucial Brexit summit starts in Brussels soon, E.U. and U.K. leaders say they are optimistic an agreement is close, but the Democratic Unionist Party which has supported Boris Johnson's minority Conservative government, said it can't support the proposals as things stand on customs and consent issues. Even if negotiators make a deal, it will still need to go through the British House of Commons.

Well, the business dealings of President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, are part of a counter intelligence probe. A source say the investigation is focusing on a foreign influence operation and whether it was trying to gain access to the White House through Giuliani's foreign business ties. Last month's whistleblower complaint labeled Giuliani as a central figure in President Trump's efforts to solicit interference from the Ukrainian President in the 2020 election.

Meantime, a fourth associate of Giuliani's is now in custody. David Correia is one of four men charged in an alleged campaign finance scheme. Correia is accused of conspiracy and trying to hide the source of political contributions from foreign donors. He was arrested Wednesday at New York's JFK Airport and has been released on $250,000 bond. And a former Trump administration official who sources say resigned over the firing of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has testified in the impeachment investigation. Michael McKinley was a senior advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo until he quit last week. As CNN's Alex Marquardt reports, the ambassador said Rudy Giuliani made false sanctions against her.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today, a new member added to the parade of officials going before Congress, all confirming the concerns raised by the whistleblower over what has been called the President's shadow policy with Ukraine. Now, stunning new revelations from a former top advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accusing him according to sources, of staying silent, as Rudy Giuliani stepped up his pressure to have the President recall the U.S. ambassador from Ukraine. Mike McKinley testifying to lawmakers less than a week after abruptly resigning his position.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): Most of this is a concern by a colleague for an ambassador that he held in high regard.

MARQUARDT: Behind closed doors, he said he repeatedly asked Pompeo to show support for former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who sounded alarms about Giuliani trying to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine. She said she was targeted by Giuliani with false accusations and was removed from her post by President Trump. Yovanovitch had been railing against corruption in Ukraine, including opposing the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the company that Hunter Biden was on the board of and who has been indicted three times for corruption himself. McKinley's testimony, like that of officials before him, reflecting the whistleblowers report, despite this from the President today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The whistleblower didn't know what he was talking about. MARQUARDT: It started with former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt

Volker, one of the so-called "Three Amigos" who led the President's outreach to Ukraine. He provided text messages, showing Giuliani's active role in pushing for an investigation of Joe Biden and his son. Then, Yovanovitch, who told lawmakers there was a concerted campaign against her, that she was attacked by Giuliani and his associates.

On Monday, former White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill, testified she was also deeply uncomfortable with the rogue foreign policy Giuliani was leading. She said her boss, former National Security Adviser John Bolton called Giuliani "a hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up." She was followed by George Kent, also a career diplomat, who testified he was told by a boss to lie low, after complaining about Giuliani's projects in Ukraine. And today, McKinley's revelations about Pompeo's role.

REP. GERALD CONNOLLY (D-VA): Everything we've been hearing in depositions has corroborated the evidence we have in front of us.


CHURCH: Well, Joining me now is Richard Johnson, a U.S. Politics and International Relations lecturer at Lancaster University. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, House Democrats heard more testimony Wednesday in their impeachment inquiry. This time, from a former senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State, who apparently said he resigned last week because of attacks by the President on the ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and due to the State Department's failure to protect diplomats from politically-motivated pressure to go after the President's rivals. After what we've heard so far this week, how damning could Michael McKinley's testimony be?

JOHNSON: I think this is all pretty damning. And I think, you know, the President doesn't have a lot of love, I think in the kind of civil service community in Foggy Bottom in the -- in the State Department. And, you know, that's probably explains in some degree why people are feeling unable to come forward. But what I think what's even more damning is that, you know, people who are, you know, long-standing republicans are also engaging with this inquiry. And I think that's because there is a bit of a shock factor here. Add the sort of brazenness of the President's activities. And that's why I think it's important for the Democrats not to lose focus here and not to get too distracted, to keep the laser focus on the key offenses that they think the President has committed.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, testimony this week keeps highlighting Rudy Giuliani's role in the Ukraine scandal. And now, we're learning that investigators are looking into Giuliani's Ukraine business dealings, and have broadened their probe to a counter intelligence and criminal investigation into the President's Personal attorney. What does that signal to you? JOHNSON: Look, I think that Rudy Giuliani must be in very hot water. And I think that that is only going to -- going to worsen, but what I would say for the Democrats from a sort of political strategy about impeachment is that they don't want this to become a kind of another long, drawn out Mueller. I think that the strategy of moving quickly as they've done over the last three weeks is a wise one. And to remain focused on these -- on these real -- these key counts of the President soliciting political favors in exchange for U.S. military aid. The President trying to cover that up and the President trying to obstruct investigation.

I think that three-pronged approach is the -- is the one. There is a lot more going on, and I think that can also be there in the background. But I think that they don't want to get too distracted by all of these other cast of characters who seems to be popping up particularly around Rudy Giuliani, at least from a political investigatory standpoint.

CHURCH: Right. And according to testimony from the impeachment inquiry, former National Security Advisor John Bolton sounded the alarm about Giuliani, apparently calling him a hand grenade. Let's just listen to what President Trump had to say when asked what he might do if Bolton were called to testify. Let's bring that sound up.


REPORTER: -- you saw reports that John Bolton said that Rudy Giuliani is like a hand grenade the way he was acting. And are you concerned that Bolton could be called to testify in your impeachment inquiry?

TRUMP: Now, look, John Bolton I got along well with him. Some people didn't, some people didn't like John Bolton. I actually got along with him pretty well. It just didn't work out. I don't know that he got along with Rudy Giuliani.



CHURCH: But President Trump didn't get along with Bolton, hence his departure. So, what impact could his testimony potentially have if he were called? Do you think he will be called?

JOHNSON: Look, I think, you know, what is protecting President Trump at the moment in this impeachment process is that it needs buy in from Republican Senators to remove him from office. The area where President Trump has disagreed most with are those Republican Senators as all matters of foreign policy. And you know, John Bolton is probably closer to many of them in terms of the policy content. And so, I think the President is really getting into difficult ground here if he's expecting these Republican Senators to back him up.

Actually, in policy terms, these Republican Senators are probably more aligned to where John Bolton was in terms of policy. And I think that makes it really quite perilous for the President if these -- if these divisions between the Boltonites (ph) and the Giulianites (ph), as we might put it, are growing.

CHURCH: All right, Richard Johnson, many thanks to you, appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

CHURCH: The small rural state of Iowa plays a big part in the selection of the U.S. President. The time and money that candidates invest in this early voting stage allows residents to really get to know the contenders. Gary Tuchman join some of these politically savvy citizens for their take on Tuesday's democratic debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join our team (INAUDIBLE) Thank you very much.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When we met this group of loyal Iowa Democratic voters in June, they were all undecided on who they would support to the first in the nation Iowa caucuses.

We've now been with you for four debates. The first three debates, the consensus winner of each of the debates was Elizabeth Warren, according to all of you. Tonight, who was the consensus winner? We will start with you, Ed.

ED CRANSTON, DEMOCRATIC VOTER, IOWA: I'd say Warren and Klobuchar.

MIRA BOHANNAN KUMAR, VOTER, IOWA: I thought Booker and Klobuchar had the best night.

RUTHINA MALONE, VOTER, IOWA: Warren and Klobuchar.



TUCHMAN: Booker and Warren.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Booker, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Castro, Klobuchar, and Booker.

TUCHMAN: Elizabeth Warren got five mentions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's able to respond intelligently with the different attacks and with ideas that are going on out there.

MALONE: Sometimes the look on her face was almost like, oh, wait, me this time? But she was able to come back and keep her cool, and get her message across without diving into that fray of attacking them back.

TUCHMAN: But this time, Warren is sharing the position of favorite. Amy Klobuchar got the same number of mentions. KUMAR: She was intelligent, she was answering the question, she wasn't dodging anything and she was you know, sticking to being honest and clear and forthright.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She spoke clearly, she, you know, she was trying to also bring people together. And that's why I like Booker, as well.

TUCHMAN: And Cory Booker was a close third among this panel,

JANICE WEINER, VOTER, IOWA: It comes across as truly believing in what he's saying. And it's not the (INAUDIBLE) talking points.

TUCHMAN: During our four visits with this group, only one person has thought Joe Biden did the best job. And that was Eugene Malone after the first debate. But this time ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't do the best tonight.

TUCHMAN: And why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just a little off. I mean, the last couple of times for me, he just seemed a little off.

TUCHMAN: But the group agreed with this. How do you think Joe Biden handled the situation with his son, Hunter, and the Ukraine issue?

CARPENTER: I think he handled that reasonably well and gave it the time that it deserved, it needed to be addressed. And then set aside.

TUCHMAN: Nobody here selected Bernie Sanders as the top debater, but the consensus is he's improved.

CRANSTON: I think it's very important that he do a good job tonight, because he had kind of a raspy voice last time. He had the heart attack. And he came back and he was -- had a nice debate.

TUCHMAN: What about Kamala Harris? How come no one's mentioned her?

CARPENTER: I think we've heard her talking points well before many times.

KUMAR: I've heard the story about her mother every debate, and I just -- I know it, like I know it by heart right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's saying the same stump speech over and over.

TUCHMAN: Although our panelists started off undecided in June, after the last debate, Temple Hyatt (ph) said she decided on Elizabeth Warren.

My question for the other seven of you, after this debate, have any of you made a decision?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not yet. TUCHMAN: All undecided still.


TUCHMAN: Could you change your mind after the next debate in November?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot closer to caucus night.


TUCHMAN: Stay tuned. The next debate is November 20th. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Iowa City, Iowa.



CHURCH: Well, a former guard at a Nazi death camp is due to go on trial today in Germany. The suspect identified as Bruno Dey is accused of contributing to the killings of more than 5,000 prisoners between 1944 and 1945 in a concentration camp in northern Poland.

He was 17-years-old at the time. Now, 93-years-old, the accused guard reportedly confessed to being aware of the cab killings at the time. This could be one of the last criminal trials involving the Holocaust.

Do stay with us. CNN NEWSROOM continues in just a moment.


CHURCH: There have been countless designs that have shaped our modern life from the simplicity of the Apple iPhone to the complexity of rockets that took astronauts to the moon. One man is taking this philosophy of modern design to Africa.


RAVI NAIDOO, FOUNDER, DESIGN INDABA: The last 25 years with Design Indaba has been both looking at corralling the best talents of across the world to inspire the next generation of Africans. But then, as well, to convert this inspiration with Africans into product, and into platforms, and into projects.

And so, it's been a think tank and a do tank. And it's triggered over 200 projects from expansive things, like Africa's first museum of contemporary African art, through to new modalities for low-cost housing.

We were commissioned by IKEA to corral together at sets of designers from across Africa. It's been sold out, it has been fiercely successful. So, Design Indaba has become this amazing space where we give creative people their head, and we give them the opportunity, and very often through commissions to be able to put stuff out into the public domain, just to act as a catalyst.

Very few of these things we've got any commercial intent from. But it's mostly a whack on the side of the head that says, Africa, how about this?

There are lots of design fairs around the world that tends to be quite mercantile. And there are other spaces where designs use as a space for R&D; for experimentation, for looking at social issues. And I think I subscribe to that church as opposed to design just being a handmaiden to consumption.


NAIDOO: And the question is that how can we use design and the toolkit around design not just to serve brands, but to look towards solving problems of the day.

Clean water is a design challenge. Better housing is a design challenge. And I find increasingly the widest scope for what design is. One of the biggest spheres and areas that design is growing into is designed for social impact, and helping, fundamentally, in improving the quality of life. So, there's a huge scope for creativity, design, and innovation.

In 1999, we were responding to a statistic that said there were both phones in Manhattan than all of Africa. He posts a photo to 2019, then here's Africa at the vanguard of 5G.

And in South Africa, we involved in a project called Rain which has just launched Africa's first 5g network and I think the sixth in the world. I think this gives you a lot of confidence and a lot of heart in terms of what technology allows Africa to do is to leapfrog, and maybe miss a few developmental steps and go all the way to the bleeding edge.


CHURCH: Next on CNN NEWSROOM, from subtle hand gestures to wagging fingers at the U.S. Democratic candidates voiced their opinions without words trying to stage debate.


CHURCH: Well, the .U.S East Coast is starting to feel the effects of another bomb cyclone. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is here to explain what is going on. Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, pretty impressive storm system here, Rosemary, that is parked right off the Northeast. And the term bomb cyclone -- meteorological term here that kind of defines a storm that rapidly intensifies within a 24-hour period and it drops its central pressure by about 24 millibars in that 24-hour period, which is precisely what this particular storm is slated to do.

And with it, over 60 million Americans across the northeastern tier of the U.S. underneath high wind alerts and wind advisories. And notice, even a flooding concern with a slow-moving system here across portions of New England.

But we get our way into say, a Wednesday night and eventually into Thursday morning, I should say, across portions of the northeast. We're talking about tropical storm-force winds in places such as New York City by Thursday afternoon.

There in Philadelphia also at 76 kilometers per hour, those are the forecasts wind gusts there into the afternoon hours. And notice, must be head-on in towards Friday. The winds die down a little bit but still a blustery set up here with this particular storm system as it exits out of the region.

Now, it is going to be disruptive, to say the least. In fact, you take a look at what happened on Wednesday, over 4,000 flights were delayed, over 160 cancellations across the United States, and a high concentration of them across this region as the storm was on approach.

And, of course, we know power outage is going to be a concern because it is fall foliage across this region, the autumn colors peaking across New England. A lot of leaves still on those trees and when you have this in place there, of course, the trees begin bending and some power lines become -- come down as well across portions of New England, which is a concern with this particular storm.

But notice, it exits out of here finally by Friday, essentially, rains across New England as we go in towards Thursday. And then, beyond that quieter conditions will persist and much calmer conditions in the forecast across that region.

But want to take you down towards the Gulf of Mexico. This is our next tropical system. 60 percent chance it will form across the Gulf of Mexico. If it does, it would be our next storm in line here which is Melissa or Nestor, I should say -- Melissa should be crossed out. That particular storm was already named.


JAVAHERI: Nestor would be our next storm there, the N letter storm and then, of course, this particular feature the main concern initials with this -- initially with this would be the heavy rainfall that's slated right across portions of the Florida Panhandle into the southeastern United States, which frankly has seen quite a bit of rainfall in recent days and needs quite a bit of rainfall because a drought is in place in the southern U.S.

So, there's some beneficial rains, Rosemary, across the region.

CHURCH: All right, that's some good news there, right? OK.


CHURCH: Thanks so much, Pedram. Appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thanks, Rosemary. CHURCH: Well, Tuesday's U.S. democratic debate had 12 candidates on the stage, all trying to get their voices heard. But sometimes, their hands did the talking, as our Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nothing beats gestures to help make a point to accelerate the pacing. But this debate, there were 12 twitchy candidates on stage.

MARC LACEY, NATIONAL EDITOR, NEW YORK TIMES: Senator Klobuchar, let me bring you in here. Your response?


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, you -- I'm not finished. I'm not -- I'm not -- I'm not finished.

MOOS: Vying for attention, dying to be called on.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We cannot wait for purity tests. We have to --

MOOS: Or taking a more casual approach.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I'm president, I do want to bring in an assault weapon ban.

MOOS: In an effort to make their voices heard, the candidates let their fingers do the talking.

One finger.


MOOS: A bunch of fingers.

KLOBUCHAR: It is not one idea that rules here.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

MOOS: Fingers that said, come to me. A whole arm started.

KLOBUCHAR: Oh, I would like to respond to that.

MOOS: There were upraised arms.

BUTTIGIEG: And don't get a peep of support from the president.

MOOS: Peeping into the other candidate shot.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How do we stand up to Russia? MOOS: They gestured at the audience.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is nothing, nothing we been unable to do.

MOOS: And gestured at each other.

KLOBUCHAR: You are making Republican talking points.

BIDEN: And I went on the floor and got you votes. I got votes for that bill.

MOOS: Every gesture counts.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They got a two percent fine.

MOOS: Like school kids unwilling to commit to asking to be called on, sometimes a candidate raised a hand detoured for a scratch before raising it again. Watch Bernie, raised his hand, waver, scratch his head, put his hand down, put it back up, scratch his nose.

But it left us scratching our head, Joe Biden pointed the finger at the wrong target.

BIDEN: What does the president do? He says I believe Vladimir Putin. I believe Vladimir Putin, I don't believe our intelligence community.

SANDERS: Are you suggesting I'm Vladimir Putin here?

BIDEN: No, no, I'm not. No, no, no, I'm not. I'm not.

MOOS: Joe would never dream of hugging Vladimir. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And thank you so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. Love to hear from you, and I'll be back with more news in just a moment. This is CNN.