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PM Johnson Trying to Speed Brexit Bill Through Parliament; Trump Defends U.S. Withdrawal, Says it Could Lead to Deal; President Trump Is Pressuring Republicans To Get Tougher And Fight Impeachment Inquiry; U.S. Troops Harassed As They Withdraw From Northern Syria. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 21, 2019 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you tomorrow.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, it's a final push for Boris Johnson's Brexit plan after he suffers another setback in

parliament. The U.S. President defends himself as American troops pull out of Syria.

And protesters across the world fight for political and economic reform. Live from London, I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show. The British

government has been dealt another major blow in its bid to get Brexit through parliament after the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow

ruled that would not be a binary yes or no vote today. Here's how he explained his decision.


JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: In summary today's motion is in substance the same as Saturday's motion and the House has decided the

matter. Today's circumstances are in substance the same as Saturday's circumstances. My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated

today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so.


NOBILO: Instead the government will try to speed the legislation needed to implement the deal through parliament over the next three days. Lawmakers

will have the chance to make amendments so this opens up the government's deal to changes which could be substantial.

Perhaps so substantial, it changes Boris Johnson's deal into something that his backers can no longer support. To kick off the whole process the

British government tonight, officially published the withdraw agreement bill, all 115 pages of it and Europe is making clear, it will not ratify

the Brexit deal until Britain's parliament signs off on it first.

All very confusing but political analyst Carole Walker joins me now to help you through it so Carole, the government was always going to have to go

through this part of the process, putting all of the legislation through the parliament anyway.

So is it really the blow that we're all making it out to be?

CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a setback but given all the setbacks that Boris Johnson's had, this one 's not a huge one and I think although

there was clearly some irritation in government circles when the speaker as you saw there intervened to say that Prime Minister could not have the

chance for this make or break vote on his deal today.

People weren't too surprise at that. He'd already indicated that he felt that it was going to be far too similar to the motion they already debated

on Saturday so this was another day when MP's got to get up for a big principle vote and instead they were told that they would have to wait.

So what happens now as you mentioned that is that we're moving straight on to the legislation. This is essentially all the details of how to ratify

for parliament to approve that deal which Boris Johnson thrashed out with E.U. leaders and we've just seen the full text of that, 115 pages in the

last hour or so.

And I think the problem for the government now is that a lot of MP's are absolutely furious at the amount of time they're going to have to

scrutinize this. Usually, it would take an awfully long time. Weeks if not months to get a complicated bills through parliament.

The government's trying to do it in a matter of days.

NOBILO: OK, so let's wargame this Carole. If you were Boris Johnson, what's the best case scenario to unfold tomorrow that might mean Brexit's still

achievable by October 31?

WALKER: Well, I think the first thing Bianca, is that we're going to have a vote on what is technical called in Parliament, the second reading but it's

actually the first big vote on the principle of the bill.

The government is very how hopeful indeed that it can get a majority on that will be a big symbolic victory for Boris Johnson if indeed MPs do back


NOBILO: So does mean that they're essentially accepting that scheduling?

WALKER: That would mean they're accepting the principle of the deal, that will then be a vote on what's called the program motion which is that idea

that you can rush the whole thing through before the end of this week by Thursday night.

The government feels that it needs to get the backing of MPs if it's going to have any chance of passing that in time for the Brexit deadline. That is

more doubtful but even if the government gets that, there are then further problems along the way because when you look at this bill, it covers all

kinds of details.

The amount of money the government's going to pay. How the rights of EU citizens are going to be governed and protected as well as those very

controversial arrangements for Northern Ireland.

All the customs details and so on and at every stage along that, the government's opponents may try to make changes, may try to make amendments

on specific bits of it that they don't like. The trouble is as soon as they start to unpick the deal, well, that changes it from that big agreement

which Boris Johnson has had and that could mean that it's simply not enough time to get the whole ratified before the October 31 deadline.


NOBILO: It could unravel and Carole Walker, I think you'll be with us tomorrow.

WALKER: Indeed.

NOBILO: And help guide everybody through the amendments as they come in. Thank you.

U. S. President Donald Trump is defending his decision to withdraw troops from Northern Syria saying, America never agreed to protect its Kurdish

allies forever. He's also defending Turkey's military offensive that's now opposed with only one day left until that ceasefire expires.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If shooting didn't start for a couple of days, I don't think the Kurds would have moved, I don't

think frankly you would've been able to make a very easy deal with Turkey.

I think what it started for a few days, it was so nasty that when we went to Turkey and when we went to the Kurds, they agreed to do things that they

never would have done before the shooting started. If they didn't go through 2.5 days of hell, I don't think they would have done it. I think

you couldn't have made a deal.


NOBILO: U. S. military vehicles rolled out of northern Syrian towns Monday. Years of American presence in the region all but coming to an end. Some

Kurdish residents showed their anger and feelings of betrayal at this action by throwing rotten vegetables at the armoured vehicles as they were

driving out which you can see here.

A small number of U. S. troops will remain in other locations in Syria. Some to protect oil fields. Our Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground in

northern Syria and we asked him what difference those remaining U.S. troops will make?

NICK PATON WALSH, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, it's possible it will make quite a difference. The mission allegedly in the south for

protecting oil well, that's not real strategic use to the U.S. but having troops in the south to block the fruit through Syria for Iranian

sympathizers towards Lebanon and Israel.

That's a key U.S. goal here and of course too, they will now have boots on the ground inside Syria to continue the fight against ISIS, try and rebuild

that relationship with the Syrian Kurds and make sure the ISIS detention facilities are still on the back control.

But the broad outlook of all of this is now, the majority of U.S. troops that were in Syria fighting ISIS in its last dying moments are now in Iraq,

none of them are going hung. They're in Iraq.

The neighboring country continuing the same mission from the worst position without any Syrian Kurdish allies who now frankly feel betrayed by the

United States and with a completely different field here inside Syria with most likely the Syrian regime and it's Russian backers and the ascendants

and Turkey, feeling emboldened too with its proxies on the ground. Back to you.

NOBILO: Thanks to Nick for his reporting. U.S. President Donald Trump is pressuring Republicans to quite get tougher and fight the impeachment

inquiry. He added that the Democrats are lousy politicians and slammed their investigations as illegitimate.


REPORTER: Do you believe it's a foregone conclusion that the House is going to impeach?

TRUMP: Well, I think they want to. Any Democrat wants to because they're not going to beat me in the election so of course, they want to impeach.

Why wouldn't they want to impeach me?

It's so illegitimate. It cannot be the way the founders, our great founders meant this to be.


NOBILO: Well, key testimony is expected now in an investigation this week. It begins tomorrow with the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor.

Taylor's been in the public eye over text exchanges in which he expressed concerns about these foreign policy news being tied to political motives.

Sources tell CNN that Taylor was initially hesitant to take the role of the state department mainly because of the sudden and politically motivated

departure of his predecessor Marie Yovanovitch.

In Israel now, opposition leader Benny Gatz is likely to have the next shot at forming a government. As Benjamin Netanyahu announced on social media

that he is giving up and President Reuven Rivlin says that he now intends to ask Gantz to try and put a coalition together.

Gantz's Blue and White party won more votes in last month's election than any other won but that was no clear winner. Gantz's party's already

indicating that he's ready to give it a go.

For more on this we are joined by Oren Liebermann live from Jerusalem. So Oren, Benny Gantz is willing to give this a go. Do you think he stands a

good chance of forming a government?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, his chances in fact, look just as bad as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's. Neither of these leaders had a

clear path to a coalition after September's election or for that matter after April elections and that political deadlock looks like, it's set to

remain here.

Netanyahu after the last election last month had 55 seats behind him, Gantz had 54 seats. Both are still in Israeli politics well short of the 61 seats

necessary to govern. Meanwhile those key seats pretty much belong to the potential kingmaker here, the former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman who

right now is sitting on the sidelines rather quietly, not hinting what he's going to do, over the course of the next 28 days, which is how long Gantz

will have to form a government.

So first what does this mean for Netanyahu? It is no doubt a historic occasion. For the first time in 10 years, Netanyahu does not have an

incredibly tight grip on Israeli politics. For the first time in 10 years someone else will have a chance to put together a government.


Netanyahu failed now twice in a row at forming a government and these are all historic occasions, unprecedented in Israel's political history and on

top of that Netanyahu faces potential indictment in ongoing corruption cases in the next few weeks. Therefore it's up to Gantz to see if he can

get Israel out of this mess. Bianca, if not, more elections may well be in order.

NOBILO: Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, thank you. It's Election Day in Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fighting for his political

future as voters head to the polls, neither of the top two contenders, incumbent liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and conservative leader

Andrew Scheer has a clear path to victory.

Trudeau is being rocked by scandals in recent months that have turned off Canadian voters and added another layer of complexity to the selection. His

rival, Andrew Scheer has been unable to capitalize on this scandal and galvanize sufficient support. At this hour the race is to place to call.

In Lebanon, major economic reforms are being announced in an attempt to defuse widespread protests. The approved 2020 budget slashes government

leaders and minister's salaries in half while scrapping austerity measures.

Days of protests began over a faltering economy, lack of basic services and a proposed tax on mobile messaging apps. But these reforms do not appear to

be appeasing some of the protesters up. Our Ben Wedeman joins me now live from Beirut.

Ben, if these reform suggestions of these proposals aren't appeasing the protesters, does that means that the people don't have faith in the

government to actually deliver upon them?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, the problem is that over the years, the government here has promised a variety of things.

For instance here in Beirut, every day we have 3:00 hours of electricity cuts.

In other parts of Lebanon, it's much as 12. Every few months a government committee is formed, promises are made to fix the situation and this is not

a huge country. In Lebanon, the population is less than - it's about a third the size of the city of Cairo but somehow they never can solve these


The government has forever announced reforms that will modernize the economy. It never gets around to doing it so therefore, even though this is

urgently delivered by the Prime Minister, people we spoke to after the speech, told us we've heard all of this before and it's never been done and

so they don't have any faith that even after four days of protests and all these promises of the grand, bright new future, they just don't see it

coming from this group of people who have been in power.

Many of them the sons of people who were in power, who are the sons of people who were in power. That they are ever going to deliver on anything.


NOBILO: Ben Wedeman in Beirut, thank you. And Chile is reeling from another day of violent protests too. It's being called the worst unrest since the

Pinochet regime. At the center of protesters' complaints, a small hike in subway fares.

The country Senate discussed suspending the increase, Sunday but the President still needs to sign on. At least 11 people have been killed.

CNN's Matt Rivers explained earlier why Chileans are so angry.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a saying going around in Chile right now where the fare hike which is now been suspended, it was only

going to raise the price of a metro ticket by 30 pesos but you're hearing people on the street they it's not 30 pesos it's 30 years.

Meaning what people out on the streets right now are saying is that they're protesting not over a simple a rate hike in the subway system but what they

believe are years of government policies that have benefited the wealthy. It's a country where the rich get richer so the critics say.


NOBILO: Santiago's Mayor says that she's received the protesters message but he's asked for peace to install changes. Prince Harry is admitting he's

not on great terms with his older brother, Prince William. Tabloids have been speculating about a family rife for a while.

The Duke of Sussex confirmed it for the first time in an interview with ITV that aired on Sunday but he also suggested that whatever differences that

they might have, they'll still be there for each other.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Part of his role and part of his job and this family being under the pressure that is under, inevitably stuff - stuff

happens but like we're brothers, we'll always be brothers.

We're certainly on different paths at the moment but I will always be there for him and as I know, he will always be there for me. We don't see each

other as much as we used to because we're so busy but you know, I love him dearly and you know, the majority of stuff - majority of stuff is created

out of nothing.


But as I said as brothers, you have good days, you have bad days.


NOBILO: Meanwhile Harry's wife, the Duchess Sussex made some revelations of her in that interview. She said her British friends advised her not to

marry Harry. That's because according to those friends, the British tabloids would destroy her life. Meghan also got emotional when she talked

about the pressures that she's facing.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: Look, any woman when they're - especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable and so that was made really

challenging and then when you have a newborn, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a long time ago but I remember.

MARKLE: Yes, you know, and especially as a woman, it's really - it's a lot so you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a

newlywed. It's - yes, well, I guess and also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm OK but it's - it's a very real thing to

be going through behind the scenes.


NOBILO: After that interview the hashtag `we love you Meghan' started trending on Twitter. As Max Foster reports. Harry and Meghan now plans to

take some family time.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Bianca, we're having rumours in the British tabloids about a rife for some time and this confirms it. There

are at least tensions between the two of them and they've separated to some extent.

They've drifted apart although of course they do say that they still love each other so it's interesting to see the reaction to this. Many people

saying this is Prince Harry at his best, being open and honest and opening up about his feelings and that's very endearing to a lot of people.

But others say it undermines the wider institution that they're both part of which is the British monarchy. That's about continuity and there's a

risk, if you start talking about family dynamics, that that could all be undermined. The Duchess as well admitting in this documentary that she just

wasn't prepared for all the pressure that comes with being a member of the royal family.

Yes, she expected some backlash in the tabloids but she didn't expect them to be unfair so this is why they've told us - a royal source at least has

told us that they're planning some time off after this card run of engagement which finishes in November. Bianca.

NOBILO: Thanks Max Foster. Now to European football. A qualifying match for the FA Cup between Haringey and Yeovil has been rescheduled after reports

of racist abuse caused the game to be abandoned over the weekend.

So far two arrests have been made and England's football association is continuing to investigate. This comes less than a week after England's Euro

2020 qualifier in Bulgaria was halted twice over racist behavior.

We'll have much more on this story with Don Riddel, coming up on World Sport in just about 15 minutes' time. Coming up on THE BRIEF. President

Trump's roller coaster foreign policy is turning heads and with THE BRIEF next.




NOBILO: U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign policy and its repercussions are coming under increased spotlight with a flurry of criticism. His army

suffered the indignity of being pelted with rotten potatoes as they withdrew from northern Syria. A decision that's drawn division from both

sides of the political aisle but it isn't the only reversal that we've seen recently.

Last month, the secret Camp David meeting with the Taliban was scrapped at the last minute. The meeting was due to take place a few days before the

anniversary of 911. We're also learning that the number of U.S. troops left in Afghanistan has been reduced despite the lack of a peace deal.

Add to that the accusations of a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that's now saying the President face impeachment peril and it's clear that U.S.

foreign policy is lurching in new and unexpected directions.

For more on these decisions and their ramifications, I'm joined by CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd. She's a former Senior Adviser

to the U.S. National Security Adviser and she joins me now for President Trump's Debrief.

Samantha, great to have you on the program and I'm curious if we just take a step back for a second because President Trump obviously has a very

bombastic rhetoric. If we leave that to one side and purely look at his strategic decisions and military actions over the last six months, what do

they tell you?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: What they tell me is that the President doesn't think before he speaks or before he tweets. What

we've seen over the course of his presidency is a series of tactical decisions that are really taken on the fly.

We know that President Trump is guided by his campaign needs. He wants to be able to say that he's bringing U.S. troops home. Welcome currently

saying that he's the toughest guy in the room on issues like Iran that play well to his political base.

But if you look at the course of his decisions when it just comes to troops, deployments and military action, there's no consistency. He decided

to withdraw troops from Syria the first time which he didn't end up doing on the phone call with President Erdogan last December.

He was then on this call with Erdogan again and supposedly agreed to withdraw troops a second time. Now we're learning that a residual force

will be kept in Syria. So we'll put that to one side. Concurrently he's deploying other troops to Saudi Arabia to try to deter Iran while

withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

This sounds confusing because frankly, it is. There is no guiding principle to where President Trump applies military force and that's because he's not

really listening to his Generals. He's listening to whatever foreign leader's on the phone with him or whatever he hears on Fox News.

NOBILO: And I think earlier, didn't the President say, we'll get out of some wars, we might have to get into some wars. I was going to ask you if

you did think that there was any kind of overarching philosophy that he's adhering to if anything, it seems like just keeping the enemy guessing but

am I overstating that.

VINOGRAD: I think you're giving him a little bit too much credit. I don't think it's about keeping the enemy guessing. I don't think there's any

coherent guiding principle to his application of military force. I worked under two presidents, under President Bush. We deployed a lot of forces

overseas to fight wars and under President Obama, we tried to bring some of those troops home.

President Trump likes to apply military force or threaten to apply it when it comes to Iran, again, he has not really done that. He rightly called off

a military strike that he was supposedly about to launch, you know minutes before it was going to happen while he is saying that he wants to bring

troops home from "endless wars" but again it's highly discordant.

He's made fighting ISIS a cornerstone of his supposed foreign policy when the fight against ISIS is still ongoing in Syria and he was just played by

Erdogan on the phone.

NOBILO: Yes and on that point, Sam, do you think that the backlash that President Trump's received after announcing the withdrawal of troops from

Syria has almost taught him that he might say that he wants to end the endless wars.

But if you pull troops out irresponsibly and too quickly without thorough planning then that just leaves power vacuums behind and often leads to an

escalation of violence and certainly compromises counterterrorism efforts?

VINOGRAD: Well, certainly and this is exactly what Republicans here in United States criticized Obama for doing. Withdrawing troops too quickly

and leading to a security vacuum but what's interesting is President Trump doesn't learn from his mistakes.

Again this is deja vu. Last December, he announced a withdrawal from Syria that never ended up happening and came under serious bipartisan pressure

including from his closest allies here in the United States.

That is now happening again and what we're seeing is kind of a strategy making in reverse whereby the President is trying to come up with some plan

to keep forces in Syria without acknowledging that he made a mistake by withdrawing them in the first place.


So it is a likely a security vacuum will emerge if we withdraw the - if we continue to withdraw troops from Syria but the truth is the damage is

already done. We cannot redeploy 1000 American troops into Syria to bases that Russian and Syrian forces have already taken over.

So my fear is that ISIS will reconstitute and President Trump is going to be directly responsible for that.

NOBILO: Quite. Sam Vinograd, thank you very much for joining.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

NOBILO: When THE BRIEF returns from Chile to Catalonia to Hong Kong. People are taking to the streets and venting their anger. We look at why, next.


NOBILO: Normally at this point of the show, we tell you how the world changed but tonight we want to tell you how people are taking to the

streets looking for change. From South America to Asia, people are letting their voices be heard. Earlier we told you about the street protests in

Chile and Lebanon and for a week, we've seen mass protests in Barcelona.

For months now, we've seen anti-China protesters spill on to the streets of Hong Kong fighting the democratic reforms and in Haiti, thousands have

taken to the streets to demand the President stand down.

Some like Chile and Lebanon are citizens railing against basic things such as subway fares and the tax on WhatsApp calls. IN other places it's more

political but whether you agree or disagree with the protesters, one thing unites them, they're fed up and they want to change their world. That's THE

BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.