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Violence Continues in Syria; Trump Increases Number of Public False Claims Per Week; Interview with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 18, 2019 - 10:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: There are new reports of deadly violence in northern Syria this morning. This, hours after the White House announced -- celebrated what it called a ceasefire there. Syrian Democratic Forces say that Turkey attacked a town in northeastern Syria today, killing five people.

And by the way, Turkey's president is calling those reports nothing but disinformation. However, Turkey's president didn't call it a ceasefire.

Despite all this, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham declared earlier this morning that the ceasefire is a success.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When President Erdogan made it clear that he was going to invade, the president acted decisively to pull our military out of harm's way. Now, he sent a delegation over and they were successful in a ceasefire. But that takes time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Well, within a few hours, a lot of dead people there on the ground. Joining me now, CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, along with executive editor of "The New Yorker" website and CNN global affairs analyst, David Rohde.

[10:35:00]

First of all, Nick, let's take advantage of your position on the ground there. Is there any evidence that the ceasefire is holding?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not really. And frankly, it was so complicated, it was hard to see how it really would be dead (ph) today. Well, we've seen video from a hospital near where this incident occurred, that seems to show, I'm sad (ph) to say, relatively fresh bodies here. We can't verify what Syrian Kurdish doctors say there, but they say it was from an airstrike nearby by Turkish forces.

The key question here, really, is where does the safe zone begin and end? Turkey says it's across the whole border and 20 miles deep. As far as we can tell, U.S. officials think it's an area between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain that Turkey already controlled, essentially not asking the Syrian Kurds to withdraw from anywhere because they're already out of those areas.

President Erdogan has been clear that a hundred hours from now, if they have not seen the Syrian Kurds pull out from that enormous area, including major population centers, then they will continue this operation with extra momentum, extra aggression.

Bear in mind that Vice President Mike Pence said one of those main Syrian Kurdish population centers, Kobani, was not going to be the subject of military action. So there are gaping holes, frankly, in how the ceasefire's supposed to play out. One of them, too, is that parties are allowed to act in, quote, "self-defense." That could be behind this morning's casualties. You could interpret that as broadly as you can.

But, frankly, Washington's fanfare and self-congratulation about this deal is simply not matched by this execution on the ground which, we'd better say, is shambolic. I, frankly, don't understand how it's supposed to work -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: David Rohde, put this into context for us. The president pulled back, U.S. forces had to destroy their own bases as they withdrew. Russia and Iran are moving into those spaces -- and Turkey -- that the U.S. and its allies occupied. ISIS fighters are being released, a ceasefire is being violated. How severe a crisis is this? How severe is the damage that the president did?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think for the Kurds, this is catastrophic. It's a huge win for Turkey and Russia, as you said. And, frankly, the White House communications director's statement was not true. Those U.S. troops pulled out of the area. They were preventing Turkey from doing this, they were greenlit. This was completely unnecessary and completely the president's own actions.

I was just on the Hill, speaking with a Republican. They didn't want to be named, but they just said, this is a -- you know, a disaster. Our friends don't trust us and our enemies don't fear us.

SCIUTTO: What are the consequences, then?

ROHDE: That's the question because I was talking to this member about, you know, the investigation into Ukraine and you know, as the president -- is he worried about the president's decision-making. And still, this person hedged. They said they weren't sure there was clear enough evidence of an impeachable offense.

But there was genuine anger from this member of Congress, a Republican, at what has happened in Turkey. It's unexplainable, it's catastrophic for the Kurds and it sends the wrong message to American allies across the region, Afghan troops that are fighting the Taliban: We will abandon you. You have militias, you know, that are fighting Shabaab in Somalia.

All these moderate Muslims that are fighting and dying to defeat extremism have been showed, the Americans will abandon you.

SCIUTTO: And then our adversaries, certainly watching that as well because they take -- they have a lesson from it. David Rohde, great to have your expertise, as always. Nick Paton Walsh on the ground there, where the fighting is happening.

[10:38:13]

And thanks to all of you. We're going to be right back after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right, welcome back. If you value facts -- and we know you do -- listen up. Last week, President Trump made over 129 false claims, the most false statements since CNN started keeping track in July.

SCIUTTO: Listen, it is important. And I know folks will think that politicians often lie, but the president is in a category of his own. Some of those false statements on Syria, others on Ukraine, a handful as well on the impeachment inquiry.

Joining us now to break down fact versus fiction, CNN reporter Daniel Dale. Daniel, you do such a great job of this and it's important to keep track as we go along. Let's begin with a false claim made by the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Yes. You know, we can spend so much time drowning in Trump's dishonesty that we can forget about dishonesty from members of his team. So listen to what the acting chief of staff said at his now-infamous press briefing yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: -- also mentioned to me in the past that the corruption related to the DNC server, absolutely. No question about that. But that's it, that's why we held up the money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DALE: What got most of the attention here was Mulvaney essentially admitting to a quid pro quo. What got less attention was that there is no corruption in Ukraine related to the DNC server that was hacked in 2016.

TEXT: Facts First. Claim: There was Ukraine-related "corruption" connected to Democratic National Committee server that was hacked in 2016. Fact: This is a debunked conspiracy theory. There is no known Ukrainian connection to the servers.

DALE: This is a debunked conspiracy theory that rests on two things that are not true at all. One is the suggestion that the cofounder of a cybersecurity firm was born in Ukraine; he was born in Russia. And the second is that Ukraine has somehow taken possession of the DNC server. And that is simply not the case. That server exists -- HARLOW: Yes.

DALE: -- in the United States, still, today.

HARLOW: And in fact, the Republican congressman Francis Rooney just told us as much, Republican congressman --

DALE: Yes.

HARLOW: -- a few minutes ago, Daniel.

So last night, the president had this big rally in Texas and made a false claim about the whistleblower.

DALE: Yes. So of those 129 last week, the most frequent -- 11 times -- was a claim that the whistleblower was totally inaccurate. Listen to what he said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What about the whistleblower? The whistleblower got it all wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DALE: Trump is getting this all wrong. The whistleblower made three primary allegations about Trump's call with Ukraine's president. All three of those claims were correct.

TEXT: Facts First. Claim: President Trump says whistleblower who complained about Ukraine call "got it all wrong." Fact: Whistleblower's account of Trump's call with Ukrainian president was highly accurate, as White House rough transcript confirms

[10:45:02]

DALE: The whistleblower said Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, correct; to speak to Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, correct; and to look into this debunked conspiracy with regard to the server.

So that is all accurate. The server made a couple of -- of other claims that may be considered inaccurate, but we don't have the full story yet. And all of his main allegations were indeed correct.

SCIUTTO: Listen, the president lies. We've got to be willing to say it. And, Daniel, it's great to have you because you document those false statements. And we're going to keep it up. Thanks so much.

DALE: Absolutely. Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Next, turning the page a little bit. Stay with us for a rare interview with the future queen of England for the first time since her wedding. CNN spoke exclusively with the Duchess of Cambridge as she and Prince William tour Pakistan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:50:02]

HARLOW: Welcome back. The Duchess of Cambridge, the future queen of England, giving her first-ever television news interview since her wedding, to us here at CNN. This comes as she and Prince William wrap up an historic trip to Pakistan.

SCIUTTO: Well, that visit included honoring the prince's late mother, Diana, and a scare of sorts aboard the royal plane. CNN's Max Foster spoke exclusively with Duchess Catherine in her first interview since officially becoming royal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the thunderstorms are finally cleared in this part of Pakistan. They caused havoc yesterday. We were on the royal flight, trying to go to Islamabad, but we had to abort two landings because the turbulence was just too bad. But the tour schedule is back on track.

FOSTER (voice-over): This week's royal tour of Pakistan has been a visual feast. But behind each photo opportunity lies an issue that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge care passionately about and want to highlight.

Take the SOS Children's Village in Lahore, a remarkable project that homes, educates and nurtures orphans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you!

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Thank you!

CATHERINE ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: (UNTRANSLATED)

(APPLAUSE)

FOSTER: -- excellent language skills, wow.

DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: I'm not sure --

FOSTER (voice-over): This was the Duchess' first news interview since she married the Duke eight years ago.

FOSTER: Thank you so much for speaking to us. But I know this is cause very close to your heart.

DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: Absolutely. I think William and I really wanted to come and see an SOS Children's Village like this. You know, there are so many vulnerable women here, but they've really sort of used their positivity and the support that the village here provides them, really, to support and protect the next generation, the children in their care, and give them the best possible start to their future lives.

FOSTER: You look like you really, really enjoyed that entire visit. DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: Yes. It's been fantastic. We've seen a lot of

Pakistan, huge variety. It's amazing, seeing some of the geography, but then to see some of the, you know, community activities like this has been really special.

FOSTER (voice-over): You can't come to Pakistan as a member of the British Royal Family and avoid comparisons to Diana, Princess of Wales, especially when you visit the same unmistakably beautiful mosque.

This, another memorable image from 1990s Lahore. And the Duke and Duchess, visiting the same hospital, keen to keep the late princess' legacy alive but without imitating her. The future king and queen, wearing royalty in their own way.

FOSTER: It's been really interesting, watching this couple grow into their roles. They are going to be king and queen one day. And what they're effectively doing is defining what sort of monarchy Britain will have in the future.

Max Foster, CNN, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Quite a trip to be on, there.

HARLOW: Yes, absolutely.

SCIUTTO: And there is a lot going on today around the world. Here's "What to Watch."

TEXT: What to Watch... ANY MOMENT, House Minority Leader McCarthy holds presser; 11:00 a.m. Eastern, Rep. Elijah Cummings tribute in Washington; 12:20 p.m. Eastern, Secy. of State Pompeo meets with NATO Secy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:53:29]

SCIUTTO: Well, Houston Astros stand one win away from the World Series. The New York Yankees, on the brink. That could happen tonight. "Bleacher Report" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: The Houston Astros, just one win away from going to the World Series against the Washington Nationals. Coy Wire in Norman, Oklahoma with all the baseball and football news you need in today's "Bleacher Report."

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, here. We're going to talk about these number five-ranked Sooners in a minute.

But those Yankees, they're facing not just an uphill battle, but a mountain. New York on the cusp of missing the World Series for an entire decade. It's the first time they've been in this position in a century.

Boy, those Houston Astros put a Jalen Hurts in (ph) on the Yankees last night, ALC (ph), as game four (ph). George Springer and Carlos Correa, they both hit three-run home runs in this game. These all- stars combined for just five hits during this series, but four of them have been home runs.

The Astros walk away with a huge eight-to-three win. They go up three-one in this series. The Yankees, in a must-win situation now in tonight's game five. And teams that fall behind three-one in a series come back to win just 15 percent of the time.

So, yes, we are here at the beautiful University of Oklahoma. The team is ranked fifth in the nation. And somehow, they pop out Heisman Trophy winners like PEZ dispensers. Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray have won in each of the last two years. The program has won seven Heisman Trophies overall. They could get a third in a row if Jalen Hurts can keep this team rolling.

[11:00:02]

WIRE: Boomer?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sooner!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sooner!

HARLOW: Coy has the best job, Jim. Let's switch next week.

SCIUTTO: Agreed. Let's --