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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO

Trump Praises Fragile Ceasefire As Violence Still Unfolds; Turkey's President To Meet Russian President Putin In Days; Economic Woes Trigger Big Protests in Beirut; Will Boris Johnson Get His Deal Through Saturday?; Demonstrators Clash With Police In Catalonia. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 18, 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]

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF new concern over that shaky so-called cease-fair in Syria and how the U.S. President

compared the war zone to children fighting. Anger in Lebanon with protesters furious over the sluggish economy what the Prime Minster is

demanding now and fires in the streets of Barcelona, a fifth day of protests stemming from the convictions of separatist leaders.

Live from London I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show. Right now the fighting has stopped in Northern Syria, but the tenuous cease-fire is on

shaky ground. Violence did erupt earlier Friday with reports of air strikes and motor fire. You can see the smoke rising from buildings there.

The Syrian Democratic Forces say that five people kill by Turkish strikes but CNN is unable to confirm those details. Turkey's President says the

U.S. has until Tuesday night to make sure Kurdish fighters move out of the cease-fire area in Northern Syria, otherwise Turkey will resume its

military offensive.

One Republican lawmaker in the U.S. says that he spoke with commander of the SDF. Lindsey Graham says the Syrian Democratic Forces will never agree

to proposals from Ankara which he calls it ethnic cleansing. He goes on adding a buffer zone is acceptable to Kurds but military occupation that

displaces hundreds of thousands is not a safe zone.

U.S. President Donald Trump admits violent broke out Friday that he says the fighting has stopped now. He earlier spoke about the situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are doing very, very well with Turkey. There's a cease-fire, or a pause or whatever you want to

call it. There was some sniper fire this morning. There was motor fire this morning that was eliminated quickly and they're back to the full pause.

So you have the Kurds who we're dealing with and I'm very happy about the way things are going I must say. We have taken control of the oil in the

Middle East. The oil that we're talking about the oil that everybody was worried about. The U.S. has control of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Now, it's not exactly clear what Mr. Trump means when he says that he says the U.S. has control of the oil. Well, listen to how he described

this conflict at a rally Thursday night in front of his supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Sometimes you have to let them fight a little while. Then people find out how tough the fighting is. These guys know right up here. These

guys know right? Sometimes you have to let them fight. It's like two kids. You got to let them fight and then you pull them apart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Critics are angered by Mr. Trump's attitude toward the conflict. The White House calls the cease-fire a success, but as Nick Paton Walsh

reports the bloodshed on the ground has not stopped a word of warning some of the images in Nick's report are graphic.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two decades banished in a week with the U.S.'s rapid withdrawal from Northern Eastern Syria, the rules of the

region are rewritten. U.S. forces leaving so fast so perilously they blew up their own base. Something they have not done since fleeing the Taliban

in Afghanistan and abandoned their key ally against ISIS, the Syrian Kurds, who died in there thousands fighting the terror group.

Where the U.S. flag once flew at this outpost near Kobani just days ago, Russia now stands tall. The Kremlin could surely not believe how easy

extending their influence has been.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Syria may have some help with Russia, and that's fine. It's a lot of sand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: President Trump campaigned on leaving what he called endless wars and has tried to put that into action. He also said he had 100 percent

defeated ISIS, but his first bit to leave Syria last year came just at the critical moment the group still had territory so it was delayed. The U.S.

departure from Syria was eventually inevitable some says as Mr. Syrian Kurds needing to find new allies but the speed and chaos of the withdrawal

announced before the troops got the order to leave.

In pearl not only the Kurds and the Americans. We saw a U.S. convoy buzzed here by a Turkish jet, but America standing as an ally globally.

America's other allies may be reeling. Saudi Arabia's gas oil fields hit, the U.S. officials say, by Iranian missiles. When Iran said they would

fight back if attacked Trump dropped his big stick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Do I want war? I don't want war with anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: So it was no coincidence that the Saudis who reflexibly expected U.S. protection met other President weeks later. He's also been keeping

close to another traditional U.S. ally.

[17:05:00]

WALSH: The last two decades of U.S. involvement in the Middle East has been exhausting in blood and treasure that led to alliances that injured as U.S.

troops came home. This week's hasty shambolic route in Syria in a lives of cost thoroughly exposed a president unwilling to restrain his whims

collogues to keep troops and allies safe, it also rearranged alliances in the world's bloodiest region. That risks more mayhem, as a new order

emerges to reset the rules of the game. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Northern Iraq.

NOBILO: But as that so called cease-fire hangs in the balance in Syria, the White House is walking a political tight rope in Washington. U.S. President

Trump is saying his Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has clarified his statement on Ukraine. That's after Mulvaney admitted there was a quid pro

quo in Mr. Trump's dealings with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That is, by the way, exactly what Mr. Trump had been denying?

Listen for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So the demand for an investigation into Donald Trump's was part of the reason that he - it

was on to withhold funding to Ukraine?

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHIT HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The look back to 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens

as well.

KARL: We do that all of the time with foreign policy. I have news for everybody - get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign

policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Mulvaney later tried to walk that back, saying in a written statement, there was absolutely no quid pro quo. But House Speaker Nancy

Pelosi says Mulvaney's initial statement amounts to a confession and some Republicans appear to agree.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANCIS ROONEY, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Yes, whatever might have been gray and unclear before is certainly quite clear right now. We are not supposed

to use government power and prestige for political gain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Boris Sanchez joins us now live from the White House. Boris, as we were just playing clearly some members of Republican Party are expressing

concern over what the White House Chief of Staff said. So has the White House been successful at doing some damage control here?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Some mixed results, Bianca. You have representatives like Congressman Adam Kinzinger who effectively

came out and said that Mulvaney's words from the podium yesterday were problematic and that tax payer funded aid should never be used for personal

political gain.

Conversely a lot of Republicans are defending the President, people who typically have his back like Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio who said

that Mulvaney clarified what he was saying that the President did nothing wrong and that the entire Republican Party is behind the President. We also

heard from the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on this. Let's listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN MCCARTHY, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I think you saw Mick Mulvaney clarify his statement. I think what Mick clarified in his statement was

very clear. I think Mick was very clear in cleaning up his statement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Mulvaney should step down?

MCCARTHY: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: We have to point out even as the White House is disputing what we all saw Mulvaney say that we should get over it, that political

considerations do play a factor in U.S. Foreign Policy. The Trump campaign is seeking to profit off of it. They have actually taken that get over it

slogan and put it on a t-shirt that they're selling online, marketing this moment that even some of the President's personal attorneys have told us

was baffling. Bianca.

NOBILO: Wow. Boris Sanchez in Washington. Thank you. Good to see you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

NOBILO: An economic crisis is triggering Lebanon's biggest protest in years. Security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators on Friday who

gathered outside the government headquarters. Some of them also set fires, barricaded roads and damaged store fronts in commercial neighborhoods.

The Prime Minster says that he understands the anger. He's accusing his political opponents of blocking efforts to fix the economy, and he's given

them 72 hours to come up with a solution. Our Ben Wedeman is live in Beirut. Ben, how likely are the Prime Minister's comments going to apiece

this angry public?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's not at all clear, because the comments were equally vague. He's really sort of brow

beating his fellow ministers in the cabinet. This is a unit government that brings together parties that are sometimes quite mutually hostile.

Now, interestingly in the last two hours Beirut has gone quiet. There's a bit of smoke rising behind me from where there were fires but they have

been put out. The protesters seem to have completely disappeared from the streets where we are, which is right across the street from the Prime

Ministry.

[17:10:00]

WEDEMAN: The roads are still blocked to a certain extent, but it does appear perhaps that after two very - basically actually 24 hours of some

very intense protests that things have calmed down. But after some rest there's a very good possibility that these protests can flare up again.

Because the fact of the matter is that nothing has been done so far to alleviate the miserable economy here.

Basically, it has not grown since 2011 with the start of the Syrian Civil War. A few months ago, the government declared an economic state of

emergency. Now, the World Bank says around 30 percent of the population lives under the poverty line, and they have seen in recent weeks a shortage

of dollars, which has an effect on the cost of imported goods.

So what we have seen, the average Lebanese citizen has seen their standard of living steadily fall now for almost ten years and it's hard to is a how

a government that's already mire in the corruption, incompetence and nepotism is going turn things around in 72 hours and suddenly open this

country up to the sunshine of some future, of some hope. Bianca?

NOBILO: Ben Wedeman in Lebanon. Thank you. We'll be sure to check in with you next week to see how the story is developing. Appreciate it.

At least 62 people were killed in a powerful explosion at a Mosque in Eastern Afghanistan during Friday's prayers. Dozens more injured in the

blast near the border of Pakistan. Violence against civilians in Afghanistan is on the rise. It increased markedly after the Taliban warned

voter not to go to the polls during a presidential election last month, an election marked by a low turnout.

Mexican forces say they let the son of El Chapo go free after federal troops were outgunned during a fire fight with the drug cartel in Sinaloa

state. Heavy gunfire came from a house where a video of - the son of the drug - was hiding. Officials say that he was detained but chaos ensued as

more cartel members showed up overpowering law enforcement.

Mexico's President says the operation was suspended and a video of - was release in order to save lives. He's believed to play a large role in the

Sinoloa cartel. The U.S. Justice Department is seeking his expedition of four drug charges.

To Brexit now, where it's all about the numbers for Boris Johnson. The British Prime Minster is scrambling to shore up support for his deal ahead

of a vote in parliament Saturday. He met with his cabinet earlier and then spoke to British media. He told MPs voting Saturday that there's no better

outcome than his deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think that what you have is a fantastic deal for all of the UK and particularly for Northern Ireland

because you've got a single customs territory. Northern Ireland leaves the EU with the rest of the UK, can take part in free trade deals. There isn't

any tariff though.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: But there are obstacles in his path. Northern Ireland's DUP Party is not on board saying we do not believe it's in the best economic interest

of Northern Ireland. More should have been secured from Europe. That is not all. An amendment by a Former Consecutive MP who has now had the whip

removed could complicate things further.

Yes, even further. All of the left wing is seeking to securing extension, no matter what, withholding final approval of the deal until all of the

withdrawal legislation is passed. This would block another potential route to a no deal that could go like this. Johnson passes his deal on Saturday,

and then avoids the Ben Act stipulation calling for an extension.

Then Brexiteers withdraw support for the deal next week, leaving Britain potentially with no deal. But if the left wing amendment passes it could

plunge Britain into another uncertain period where the UK has not left the European Union as the withdrawal legislation works its way through the

House of Commons. All very complicated, so things are going to get very interesting in West Minister on Saturday and not just for the parliamentary

under acts.

Among us, any vote taken here in the House of Commons is expected to be incredibly tight and Prime Minster Boris Johnson could win or lose with the

finest of margins. Here's something I made earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Boris Johnson is leading a minority government. Since taking office he's seen defections and he's expel these 21 rebel MPs from the party after

they backed an opposition bill that in theory blocks a no deal Brexit.

[17:15:00]

NOBILO: This exodus has seen Johnson's command of the commons go from a surplus of one to a short fall that's in the 20s. That if you include the

Conservative Party's partners the Democratic Unionist Party. They say they won't back Johnson's new plan. Can this minority government get the deal

through parliament? Not without the support of at least some of the opposition. But where could that support come from?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: As it stands we cannot support this deal and will oppose it in parliament on Saturday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party is against Johnson's new deal, but a handful of his pro-Brexit MPs could defy him and vote for it.

There's also the possibly that some of these Labour MPs from stanchly pro- Brexit constituencies might abstain making a majority threshold easier to reach.

Let's break down some of these smaller parties in this other category. The leader of the Liberal Democrats wants to cancel Brexit altogether so

Johnson is unlikely to win over any of these 19 votes. And as for the Scottish National Party, well, here's their leader in the Commons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IAN BLACKFORD, WESTMINISTER LEADER, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: The Prime Minster doesn't have to consent of this House; he doesn't have to consent

of these Islands for the deal or devastating no deal Brexit. Let me tell him no, he will never have the consent of the Scotland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Now, that still leaves these 35 independent MPs. Most are Former Conservatives and it's quite likely that some will be inclined to take the

side of their old party. So with the conservatives and the Labour Rebels and these independent wild cards, a majority for Boris Johnson's deal might

just be possible, it's still unlikely.

If you haven't had enough of me after this evening I'll be there at parliament tomorrow on Saturday. Tune in for our special coverage of the

Brexit debate and vote at parliament starting Saturday at 9:00 am London time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Coming up, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators fill the streets of Barcelona for the fifth straight day at some protests turn violent,

what's next for the Catalonia region?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBILO: Anger and frustration are growing across Spain's Catalonia region as peaceful protests turn violent for the fifth straight day. Half a

million pro-independence demonstrators flooded the streets of Barcelona on Friday. Roadblocks, burning debris and clashes were being met with force by

police.

These demonstrations erupted over recent jail sentences given to nine Catalan Separatist Leaders who're convicted for their role in the

independent movements two years ago. Now protestors are accusing the government of persecution. Something's Spain's Prime Minister fiercely

denied when the sentences were handed down.

[17:20:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PEDRO SANCHEZ, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER: Today is the confirmation of a political project that failed in its attempt to gain internal support and

international recognition. They leave behind them just the sad remainder of hanging confrontation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: However, Catalonia's Regional President is standing by his push for independence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUIM TORRA, CATALAN PRESIDENT: --for them to repressor for the release of the political prisoners to be free, to be home, for amnesty that should

mark an end point for all of those who have suffered reprisals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: For our Catalonia debrief, CNN Contributor Sara Canals joins me now via Skype from Barcelona. Sara, very good to see you. These protests were

largely peaceful, but now they are suddenly pockets of violence. Can you talk us through the changing character of the protests and be groups

involved?

SARA CANALS, BROADCAST JOURNALIST: Exactly. Well, these are two separate things as you said. Even though the independence protests are generally

peaceful, which is the hallmark of the movement, we have seen violence episodes every night here in the streets Barcelona since Tuesday. Today is

the fourth night in a row.

These clashes generally start around 9:00 pm when the sunsets. We are talking about minority groups, people without identifying themselves

wearing masks, acting - in an organized way setting cars on fire, throwing stones and objects against the police. We are also seeing clashes between

protestors and some police officers or clashes between Spanish far right groups and pro-independence demonstrators.

But it's a very different thing, if we compare these violent clashes to what we have seen during the day for the last week. Today for instance the

whole Catalan region has been paralyzed. State Unions called on general strike. Major roads have been blocked and people have massively taking the

streets for the fifth consecutive day.

More than half a million people according to the police have gathered in the heart of the Barcelona claiming freedom for the Catalan leaders.

Hundreds and thousands have been peacefully marching for the last three days from different parts of Catalonia and what they have called the march

of freedom to join today's mass protests.

Overall, the Catalan government, the Spanish government as well and the main pro-independence organizations have strongly rejected all sorts of

violence. Basically what we have seen in the nights hear in the streets of Barcelona.

NOBILO: Sara, how do to people who live in Barcelona reacting to this because our viewers are seeing some of the images that were taken from

moments ago. These are shocking pictures it must be quite disturbing for people living there.

CANALS: It is. It's something that people here in Barcelona are not used to. Basically, what's the approach of the demonstrators who take the

streets - is basically to just go home at night and just stay away from these groups of organized people who are in the streets right now.

NOBILO: Mm-hmm. Sara, obviously these protests they were triggered by the sentencing of these pro independence figuring but that's just the tip of

the political iceberg, isn't it? What are political grievances that are underlying all of this?

CANALS: Well, the general feeling when you talk to people who take the streets who peacefully demonstrate is that they tell you they want to be

heard, they want some reactions from the Spanish government. Even if they prosecute the people, the politicians and the Catalan leaders who organized

the referendum of independence two years ago, it's not an answer for the people who will still vote on the general elections and cast their vote and

who seek to vote on a referendum.

For instance, the Catalan President yesterday said in a statement in front of the parliament that he'll organize another referendum in the upcoming

two days, which kind of shows that the crisis is not ending as for now.

NOBILO: Sara Canals, good to speak to you in Barcelona. Thank you. Well, it's the first for women and for NASA as the entire crew of a space walk

outside of the International Space Station makes history details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:25:00]

NOBILO: we end tonight with an event that's changing the world, and it's not even happening on this planet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clearly flying over the beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are flying over the Middle East.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: That voice you could hear was NASA Astronaut Jessica Meyer, and earlier today, she and fellow Astronaut Christina Caulk made history

conducting the first ever all female space walk outside the International Space Station. They successfully removed to old battery charge discharge

unit from the exterior of the International Space Station.

You can see Jessica Meyer here on Twitter few days ago getting ready for the mission. The last time that an all female walk was attempted it had to

be abandoned because NASA didn't have enough medium sized suits. It's not the first time a women has done a space walk around a dozen have done it

before with their male colleagues.

The progress has taken decades. In 1962, John Glenn long back from being the first American to - said, the fact that women are not in this field is

a fact of our social order. Times have clearly changed. That's THE BRIEF. I'll see all you parliamentary enthusiasts tomorrow. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

And "WORLD SPORT" is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END