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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO
U.K. Parliament Rejects Brexit Bill Debate Timetable; Prime Minister Boris Johnson Pauses Brexit Bill After Defeat In Parliament; U.S. Defense Secretary Speaks Exclusively To CNN; Key Diplomat Testifies He Was Told By E.U. Ambassador "Everything" Depended On Ukraine Announcing Investigation; Northern Ireland To Legalize Abortion And Same-Sex Marriage. Aired 5-5:30p ET
Aired October 22, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF a pause on Brexit after tonights votes in parliament leave the British Prime
Minister's deal this limbo. Turkey and Russia team up in Syria. After their leader strike a deal announcing joint patrols. And incumbent authority and
one of Latin America's wealthiest countries what protestors in Chile are demanding from their government.
Live from London outside the houses of parliament tonight because of the big Brexit day and who doesn't love a bit of gothic architecture? Welcome
to the show. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paused his Brexit legislation after losing a crucial vote in parliament today. The day
started off going fairly well for Mr. Johnson.
First, lawmakers voted to advance his E.U. withdrawal agreement to the next stage. This was the first time that parliament has ever agreed on a Brexit
deal or at least voted it through. Then it came time for lawmakers to vote on whether or not to fast track the debate on the bill which would have
seen all the Brexit legislation discussed debated and paused within three days a truncated time line. That's when the government's plans hit a major
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes to the right, 308, the no's to the left, 322.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Lawmakers rejected the government's effort to speed the E.U. withdrawal bill through parliament. This vote now threatens the Prime
Minister's promise to take the E.U. out of the European Union by the October 31st deadline. The Prime Minster gave this warning to parliament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The government has take the only responsible course and accelerates our preparations for a no deal Brexit.
But secondly I will speak to E.U. member states about their intentions until they have reached a decision. Until they reach the decision, we will
pause this legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Europe's now responding to the developments from London. Donald Tusk the President of the E.U. Council said just a few moments ago that
he'll recommend the E.U. accept the U.K.'s request for a Brexit extension, which according to the Ben Act is at the end of January next year. But in
the meantime, the British opposition is urging the Prime Minister to work across the aisle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR LEADER: The Prime Minster is the also of his own misfortune, so I make this offer to him tonight -- work with us, all of
us, to agree to a reasonable timetable, and I suspect this house will vote to debate, scrutinize, and I hope amend the detail of this bill. That would
be the sensible way forward, and that's the offer I make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Anna Stewart joins us now from outside 10 Downing Street. Anna, when I was speaking to you earlier today you were wave around all 115 pages
of the withdrawal agreement bill. What's the fate of that now based on events of this evening?
STEWART: Well, the extraordinary thing is that we have all raced through it today thinking we had only two and a half days to get our heads around the
ins and outs of it. Although it's 110 pages which is not long I can tell you Bianca this is an incredibly complex legislation. I've really struggled
through and it now it's in limbo so one has to question whether we are going to see this go back through parliament at all.
The Prime Minster says he wants to wait to see what the E.U. says about the extension. He has to by the Ben Act - the end of January and as he was
saying Tusk has minded to recommend that they want that extension. If it's to the end of January, one would imagine that the Prime Minster might want
to have a general election before we goes anywhere further. Bianca?
NOBILO: Anna Stewart at Downing Street, thank you. I now want to bring in two political minds on this. Joey Jones with Theresa May's Spokesman and
Alastair Campbell with Tony Blair's Communications Director and at this time I would like to bring in all the protesters behind us who are now all
in green out late tonight. Thank you both for being here. If you were advising the Prime Minster to succeed in passing some form of Brexit deal
for the 31st of okay, Joey, would you give up?
JOEY JONES, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR THERESA MAY: Yes, I think that's done, and you can see that from the very tentative and uncertain statement that the
Prime Minster cobbled together in the moments after that vote. That vote was a rebuff for him. He has made a huge play out of leaving on the 31st of
It's absolutely become a totemic Boris Johnson mantra for him, if you like that we were leaving do or die. So it is definitely a slap in the face for
him and I did think that he looked as though he was struggling to regain his composure at that particular point.
JONES: So I guess the advice as well, actually, this is a glass half full day for you, Boris Johnson, because yes, although that vote didn't go the
way you wanted, the main substantive on the substance of the deal that he negotiated persuaded some 19 Labour MPs to come over. That's a big fracture
in Labour discipline.
And it is the sort of thing that if he can encourage over time, and there will be more time now as the E.U. prepares for an extension, then that will
play well as a looks to a general election in the future.
NOBILO: But Alastair, this vote there was on the withdrawal agreement bill, that was really a vote on principle, wasn't it? So even though it doesn't
look on the surface like something of a victory for Boris Johnson, those Labour MPs perhaps and others who supported it might want to transform this
into something quite different.
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR FOR P.M. TONY BLAIR: Well, some of them were very explicit that that was the point of voting for it.
They wanted to show that they were accepting the principle and then they wanted to be able to amend for example to bring in the customs union, a
possibly second referendum.
I think it was yes, the first time ever a Brexit deal has ever passed, but as you say, it's a vote on the principle. What I find extraordinary about
Boris Johnson's whole approach is that it seems such a silly thing to do. Yes, I know he's got the absurd obsession with the 31st of October. This is
the most important piece of legislation, domestic legislation probably in our lifetime.
The idea that that can be discussed in couple of days -there are issues that already emerged, for example yesterday the Brexit Secretary Steven
Barkley. Perfectly obvious he didn't know the details of his own legislation, he go called out on something really important to the people
of Northern Ireland about the issue of consent and how the customs operation would work.
Unless legislation is properly scrutinized then those kinds of mistakes come out again and again and again. And all you saw I thought it was
responsive end when the result was announced, the result was pathetic, childish. It was trumpian, like a tantrum, saying, okay, I'm going to pause
the bill. No need to do that.
JONES: Don't you think it is a strange thing that he is digging himself in holes successively lots of tactical missteps. Only a couple of weeks ago he
was laying down what he said was going to be an ultimatum, take it or leave it, final of it that wouldn't be changed and that just he would be able to
sweep all aside.
Five minutes later he actually gave way when he recognized that wasn't going play and then was being cheered by the rafters, total discipline on
the conservative side. His own party -- I just think it's a really weird time. He can make mistakes. I completely agree that the way in which he's
framed the 31st of October puts him on a highway to nothing now. It's really damaging for him.
But he's better able than most politicians in Westminster. It's not high caliber right at the moment. He does show this ability to just allow
mistakes to wash off him like water off a duck's back at times.
NOBILO: But do you think his point in repeating October 31st and plunging himself into these parliamentary defeats which are fairly predictable. Is
all part of some kind of electoral strategy to position himself against parliament when he goes to the polls?
JONES: I'm doubtful about this idea which the classic dome idea that everything see round corner because they're always one step ahead of
everybody else. I think it's much more about sort of set him off when you like a Boris soapbox at the top of the hill. He just hopes he's going to
get to the bottom. They're giving him a sense of direction and momentum and just try to hope that they can overcome the buffets and bumps and all the
rest of it. Today was a significant one, but still a lot of momentum behind him.
NOBILO: Speaking of momentum, Alastair Campbell, you have been out campaigning for a people's vote possibly with some of these behind us. Do
you think that the events of tonight make that more likely?
CAMPBELL: I've always felt the second referendum will come when, if you like, everything else has been exhausted when the process is just ground
down. For example, Johnson wants an election because he thinks he can win a majority with 35 percent, but actually I think it's not entirely impossible
that if there were another election he'd get another hung parliament.
Surely at that point people say, okay, parliament can't do this. It's got to go back to the election, back to the country. Not as an election issue,
but as a binary choice. They want to remain to take Boris Johnson's deal. I think actually if your old boss had done that with her deal, I think she
could still win the primary --
JONES: I have to say I agree with that. I'm not sure this idea that Boris Johnson could just steam roll the Labour Party. The Labour Party is held
together with sticky tape at the moment and thread. I do think they'll end up being bit more resilient and he's going to lose it to the left - S&N
they get a more complex still more complex House of Commons. It is a bit - likely.
NOBILO: He was not happy based on his face this evening.
CAMPBELL: That's what's interesting. The right wing, the very hard Brexit people they falling into line because down the track they think they can
get no deal delayed. Nigel Farage is standing against that. He trying to do - under bus, he will throw that under bus as well. And he worries that it
will go for more kind of a close to European model.
So I think that plays -- that puts -- if this thing leads to an election without Brexit being delivered. I think that puts Farage in a very strong
position in election against Johnson and then you very much into a hung parliament scenario.
NOBILO: Yeah, because there's been talk of a possible electoral pact and not standing against each other in certain seats. No chance of that now
based on what he said. But do you think the E.U. only agree on extension to the end of January, that doesn't allow enough time for people to vote.
JONES: I mean, it's a terrible time to the - I mean, in the depths of winter it makes it very unpredictable. Even if Boris Johnson's strategists
are confident looking at the polls, they have quite a substantial gap at the moment. They will know there could be some seats - If you have an
election on the 5th December, people will be frankly just snowed in. You just don't know what's going to happen. It's the worst time if you want an
election where the result will mirror the polls.
CAMPBELL: And also you got a situation like our system, right, schools are incredibly important. Once you're into December, the idea of school,
suddenly saying, okay, just have to day off -- it's not going to happen.
NOBILO: Thank you both very much. We'll wait so see what transpires as the rest of the week in Westminster. Alastair Campbell and Joey Jones, I
appreciate you joining us.
Now the balance of power in Northern Syria is shifting once again. Russia and Turkey struck a deal just hours before a pause in Turkey's military
offensive against Kurdish forces expired. The wide ranging agreement between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan goes beyond the U.S.
brokered cease-fire, requiring Kurdish fighters to pull back from a big stretch of the Turkish border.
Russia will conduct separate joint patrols with Turkish and Syria troops to enforce the withdrawal. Have a listen to President Erdogan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: Turkey and Russia will not allow any separatist agenda taking place in Syria. YPG and the terrorists
together with their weapons will be removed out of the area beyond the 32 kilometers from within 150 hours from 22nd of October onwards and Turkish
and Russian forces will be patrolling the area together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: All eyes were on Northeastern Syria as the cease-fire deadline approached. President Bashar Al-Assad made a rare public appearance
visiting troops in Idlib the last major rebels strong hold. Let's get more on all of these developments from our Fred Pleitgen. He's live in Sochi,
Russia where the new agreement on Syria was inked.
Fred, talk to us about the significance of these developments and how things are going to change on the ground for the people who have been
displaced and those who were concerned about the power vacuums that have materialized in recent weeks?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all Bianca, I think this was the landmark agreement that was signed between
Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And you're absolutely right, it certainly does very much shift the power there in Northeastern Syria, with
the U.S. of course essentially exiting that area in Northeastern Syria also essentially abandoning the Kurdish allies at the U.S. had there.
Especially in the fight against the ISIS and now Russia really becoming the dominant power in Northeastern Syria. If we break some of it down, you can
really see how important some of these developments are. You were talking a little bit ago about the fact that there's going to be these joint patrols
between the Turks and Russians.
Well, joint patrol is something that the Turks used to do with their NATO ally the United States. So now the Russians really moving into that fold
and if you listen to what Recep Tayyip Erdogan just said in the sound bite that you were just playing, he was saying that the Turks were not going to
allow any separatist activity to go on there.
The Turks were also talking about the territorial integrity of Syria and that sounds very, very close to the Turks essentially recognizing the
government of Bashar Al-Assad there in Syria, which of course is something that they certainly haven't done in the past. In fact the Turks were saying
they wanted Bashar Al-Assad to leave power not too long ago.
So really seismic shifts almost that are going on there in Northeastern Syria but the big line out of all of this is the fact that the Russians now
very much the dominant power the U.S. really making way for them. The Turks certainly seem very happy on this evening as well, Bianca.
NOBILO: Fred Pleitgen in Sochi, thank you. U.S. President Donald Trump has come under fire at home for withdrawing from the Northern Syria.
Effectively abandoning the U.S.' Kurdish allies while allowing Russia and Turkey to fill that vacuum. But he is getting support for that decision
from his Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
NOBILO: While on a trip to Saudi Arabia Esper spoke exclusively with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. He backed Mr. Trump's remarks that the U.S. never
promised to protect the Kurds forever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We didn't sign up to fight a war to defend the Kurds against a longstanding NATO ally and we certainly didn't
sign up to help them establish on a timeless Kurdish state. That was the conflict that the Turks put us in. An advancing Turkish army opposed by the
Kurds, the least elements of the SDF and at the same time you had Syrian and Russian forces moving in. That's not the position which we want our
young American service members to be in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Esper also talked about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Saying their relocation to Iraq is only temporary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ESPER: We'll temporarily position in Iraq pursuant to bringing the troops home. And so it is just one part of a continuing phase, but eventually
those troops are coming home.
CHRISTAINE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So they are coming home?
ESPER: They will come home.
AMANPOUR: None will stay in Syria?
ESPER: Right now the President authorized that some would stay in the southern part of Syria, and we are looking at maybe keeping some additional
forces to ensure that we deny ISIS and others access to these key oil fields also in the middle part of the country, if you will. But that needs
to be worked out in time.
The President hasn't proved that yet. I need to take him options some time here soon. But the bulk of the force would reposition in Iraq and
eventually go home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Still to come on THE BRIEF the death toll climbs in Chile as violent protests surge in Santiago. What's next for the city?
NOBILO: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine says he was told that President Trump would withhold military aid to the country until it publicly declared
investigation that could help Mr. Trump's re-election chances.
Bill Taylor is speaking to lawmakers behind closed doors. CNN obtained a copy of his opening statement, in which Taylor describes a phone call with
E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland. He said he was told everything, including military aid and White House meeting was dependent on Ukraine's
investigation into gas company Burisma and the 2016 election.
Joe Biden's son Hunter had been a board member of Burisma. Taylor also said that he stands by that he sent Sondland last month in which he said it was
crazy to withhold security assistance to help a political campaign.
Meanwhile, President Trump is facing backlash over his tweet calling the impeachment inquiry a lynching. Let's get the latest from CNN's Lauren Fox.
She joins us now from Capitol Hill. Lauren, it's good to talk to you. There have been some more polls that have come out which basically show that any
Republican's support for impeachment has not moved what so ever.
NOBILO: But then again today we have had President Trump make these sorts of culturally insensitive and inflammatory remarks when he referred to the
impeachment inquiry as lynching. Is that likely to have any impact with his base?
LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICAL CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, I think it certainly has an impact with some of the Republican lawmakers who I was
talking to on Capitol Hill today. While they were some who were defending the President saying, look, he's just frustrated. This is where he's at
right now, you had others -- that includes Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives saying that is not the language
he would have chosen.
I also talked to Lisa Murkowski a Republican from Alaska who told me that was disturbing. She hasn't seen the President's tweets but she said if they
were true -- and obviously they are. We have all seen the tweets themselves at this point. She said that would be disturbing.
So you are hearing some reaction from Republicans who are concerned, be overall, the Republicans have certainly been defending the President on
every step of the way for this impeachment party, including the fact that they have been attacking Democrats for the process saying that this has
happened behind closed doors.
They've attacked Democrats for not having an impeachment inquiry vote to launch this inquiry. Of course, that's something that Nancy Pelosi the
Speaker of the House said is not required but Republicans really going after the process here, Bianca.
NOBILO: Lauren Fox, thank you very much for the update. In Bolivia now, accumulations of election feud are fueling violent protests. Three injuries
has been reported as demonstrators raided two electoral tribunal buildings in different cities Monday night.
Protests began after ballot counting was halted Sunday night when it appears the election would move to a runoff. Incumbent President Eva
Morales is claiming victory although official result could take several more days to come in.
Chile's death tolls toll continues to rise as violent protests paralyze Santiago. 15 people have died in the demonstrations and police say many of
the deaths took place over the weekend during looting and burning in the city. Outrage began over a small height in subway fast despite that
proposal being suspended, protestors are gathering in the streets again today. Earlier I asked CNN's Chile reporter Sebastian Aguirre, what more
the government could do to appease people?
SEBASTIAN AGUIRRE, CNN CHILE: Bianca definitely this is not just about transportation. That was just a spark needed to detonate this social
explosion that we have seen in the last five days here in Chile. The President Sebastian Pinera already reversed the subway fare, but specific
demonstrations on the streets have all on the rise here Monday and Tuesday.
The government probably will have to do some substantial proposals on pensions as one of the critical issues here, where basic pension is only
one third of the minimum wage. But people also request a decrease on electric and water rates also some subsidies, new subsidies for
transportation and an increase in the minimum wage for the next year.
They're also requesting a salary cut for Congressman and women. That's all to do so the government is also requesting some help from the parliament.
Today the President called the opposition parties to a meeting at -- government to address these social demands looking for some support from
There's a great sentence that has gone viral. These days hear in Chile, that's summarized very well what's going on here and it refers to the
subway fare. It's no about 30 Chilean Pesos, it's all about 30 years.
NOBILO: And in Lebanon, the message reverberating on the streets this week is end government corruption. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded
cities across Lebanon since Thursdays, accusing political leaders of pushing the economy to the brink of collapse.
The demonstrations have brought the country to a standstill with many businesses, banks and schools forced to close. An emergency economic plan
approved by the cabinet Monday has done nothing to ease the public anger.
When THE BRIEF returns a big cultural change for Northern Ireland, when it comes to abortion and same sex marriage, we'll explain.
NOBILO: You just saw the scenes of celebration there. The world has changed considerably for the people of Northern Ireland, and for once, it's not
Brexit related. The providence says restricted abortion and same sex marriage laws ended midnight on Monday. The decision though was made in
Belfast, but here in Westminster. Who has given the Northern Irish lawmakers until Monday night to restore its power sharing executive or have
the laws changed directly from London.
The executive tried to meet Monday but couldn't agree the laws - and the laws came into effect. That executive collapsed more than 1,000 days ago.
Pressure has grown in Northern Ireland after the Republic of Ireland legalized abortion in a referendum last year, but not everyone was happy.
The Democratic Unionist Party fiercely opposed the legislation. Their leader telling those celebrating think of us who are sad today and who
believe this is an affront to human dignity. That's THE BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo. "WORLD SPORT" with Don Riddell is coming up now.
DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: What a time to be alive. And I don't mean 2019. I'm just talking about this Tuesday for sports fans "The Champions League"
is back this week. We are at the halfway point of the group stage. The NBA returns today within the next few hours we have got a block buster clash
between the Los Angeles teams and we are talking to the Lakers' newest star.