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Time is Up for Kurds; Make or Break Moment for Boris Johnson's New Brexit Bill; P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu Failed to Form Coalition Government; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Won Another Term; World Dignitaries Witness Emperor Naruhito's Big Day; President Trump Calling His Party to be Tough. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired October 22, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The Kurdish allies are showing their anger over being abandoned.

And we will look at what's ahead for Israel now Benjamin Netanyahu has given up on his effort to form a coalition government.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

And we begin in Britain where Boris Johnson's vision for Brexit will see its first big test in parliament in the coming hours. U.K. lawmakers are expected to vote on his new withdrawal agreement bill.

The prime minister's Brexit plan was delayed yet again Monday after the speaker of the House of Commons refused a vote on it. The E.U.'s Brexit coordinator was very displeased about that.

Nina Dos Santos joins us now live from Brussels. So, Nina, what's expected to happen today in the House of Commons, and of course, in Brussels, and how much more clarity might we might all have on where Britain is going with Brexit?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, three and a half years since that referendum, everybody is demanding clarity, but so far, there's been very little often. And we still don't really know how things are going to go in Westminster later today.

What we do know is that there's going to be two crucial votes. The first one as you pointed that before, Rosemary, is that we're going to have another vote on that withdrawal agreement bill put forward by Boris Johnson, to use the technical language is going to be a second releasing of this withdrawal agreement bill.

And the government is going to have amendments to that. Obviously, they think that that's the best strategy allowing M.P.s to shape it.

Does it goes to, potentially attaching condition onto this withdrawing bill? If it does pass there's going to be a second -- to use another

technical term -- program motion put forth.

That's essentially a legislative maneuver to try and allow for a very quick fast-tracking of the necessary legislation that they would need to get this 100-page withdrawal agreement ill through parliament in time before Brexit. It's supposed to happen at the end of this very month.

Now contemporaneously, obviously here, the E.U. they're watching all of this with basic breath. On the one hand they have been through a procedure to try ratify the withdrawal agreement bill that obviously Boris Johnson struck in Brussels last week.

They pause that for the moment because the European parliament wants the last say on that so they want to see how Westminster votes on that, and of course, they're considering the request for an extension that they would see over the weekend. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Nina Dos Santos, joining us live in Brussels, many thanks for that live report. I appreciate it.

And time is running out for Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. A ceasefire with Turkey expires in a matter of hours. Turkey says it will not extend the deadline and the Kurds can no longer count on the U.S. for protection.

And that has led to scenes like this. The Kurds pelting U.S. troops with rotten fruit and vegetables clearly still bitter over President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw those forces.

And for more, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live from the Turkish Syrian border. Good to see you, Jomana. So, the shaky ceasefire coming to an end with no extension likely. What happens next in northern Syria?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the big question right now, Rosemary. In about 12 hours' time that is when that deadline expires, that's when the pause in the fighting comes to an end. What happens next, well, it all depends on whether Turkey got what it wants out of this pause in fighting.

If you recall, the reason they pause their operation for five days was to allow the United States to deliver on the promise that the Syrian Kurdish fighters will withdraw from its designated safe zone. Now, for Turkey, that designated safe zone, Rosemary, has always been the 444- kilometer long and about 30 to 35 kilometers deep inside Syria.

Now the question is, are they going to be satisfied with what they got? Because the one withdrawal that we saw during this pause in fighting is that the Syrian Kurdish withdrew from one of the main flash points where that Syrian -- where that Turkish operation was focused the town of Ras al-Ayn.

And on Sunday, the Turkey -- the Syrian Kurdish fighters withdrew from that town and giving control to the Turkish-backed fighters. So now basically Turkey has got control of an area that's about 120 kilometers long from the town of Ras al-Ayn to the town of Tell Abyad which they captured during the fighting when their offensive began.


So, we'll have to wait and see if that's going to be enough but it's very difficult to see how it's not going to be because when you look at the situation on the ground after Turkey launched its offense we saw the Syrian regime and the Russian allies basically moving into other areas of that safe zone.

Some key parts of it for Turkey like the towns of Manbij and Kabana. So basically, the feeling is that today it is going to be the discussions between President Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin that will be taking place in Sochi that will decide what happens next.

And this is something that President Erdogan said. They will sit, they will discuss and they will decide what the next phase is going to be. So, at this point in time, it's really unclear what is going to happen at the end of that deadline. But all eyes on Sochi right now, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And we know you'll be watching all of that very closely. Jomana Karadsheh joining us from the Turkish Syrian border with that live report. Many thanks.

Well, for the second time this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a coalition government. And that means the mandate will likely fall to his political rival Benny Gantz.

And while his Blue and White Party captured 33 seats in September's election, it's unclear if Gantz will be able to convince enough coalition partners to give him a majority in the Knesset.

So, for more, we turn now to CNN's Oren Liebermann who is live this hour in Jerusalem. Good to see you, Oren. So, what are Benny Gantz's chances of forming a ruling coalition?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frankly, Rosemary, Benny Gantz's chances are just as bad as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's. After the September election, which was just last month, neither of these leaders had a clear path to a coalition.

And crucially, nobody budges of the 10 or so parties in the Knesset and neither of them was willing to make a move to try to get one of these two leaders either Netanyahu or Gantz to that magic number of 61 that would indicate and be a parliamentary majority.

And so, Israeli politics is stuck in effectively, elections more with the possibility of third elections becoming a very real possibility.

Gantz has said he's looking forward to trying it's about time he's given the opportunity but it's unclear how much maneuvering room he has and if he can change anybody's mind.

What is the one big thing that could shift the balance here, perhaps a potential indictment against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the ongoing corruption cases he faces could provide some room for him and move the -- essentially move the chips here just a little bit and maybe give him an opportunity to form a government.

But even that isn't considered very likely. Meaning that Gantz, perhaps, will fail just as Netanyahu failed and that means Israeli politics is once again stuck as it has been with what now seems like forever, I'll be honest, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. What's the obstacle here? I mean, why can they not make this work?

LIEBERMANN: So, Gantz has said he refuses to sit with Netanyahu as long as he remains under criminal investigation. And that, at least after years of an ongoing investigation may be nearing its conclusion as the attorney general now has to make a decision whether to indict the prime minister.

Netanyahu refuses to sit in a unity government or any government in which he's not the prime minister. And so effectively these two aren't willing to sit with each other at this point.

Meanwhile, the king maker here, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said he's not sitting in anything that's not a unity government and that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon, and so Israeli politics is tuck.

Crucially, there is now a process here. Gantz gets 28 days to pull this off. If he can't there's a 21-day period in with members of the Knesset can pick somebody else, and if that doesn't work, third elections are automatically triggered which would be sometime in March or April. The third elections within 12 months.

And even that doesn't hold any serious promise of breaking this ongoing political deadlock.

CHURCH: Yes, presumably the same cycle would -- will happen over again. We shall see if they head toward a third election. It seems incredible.

Oren Liebermann joining us there with a live report from Jerusalem. many thanks.

An unusually nasty campaign comes to an end in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims victory but he is facing challenges ahead.

Plus, Boris Johnson gives up for a big Brexit push in parliament despite some dramatic delays. We will look at why his government is hoping for a possible breakthrough. Back with and more in just a moment.



CHURCH: Well, Canada's hard-fought election is over and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains in power but with a minority government. Early returns had his Liberal Party leading but far shorter of the 170 seats needed for a second majority government. Mr. Trudeau's popularity dropped during scandals of appearing in

blackface and his handling of a corruption case. Now Mr. Trudeau will have to rely on support from the new Democratic Party to get legislation passed.

He thanks supporters in Montreal.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: None of this would have been possible without you. Thank you for the early mornings and the late nights. You've sacrificed a lot. Taking time away from your families and friends to moved Canada forward.


CHURCH: Well more now on our top story. Another big decision looms for British lawmakers whether to fast-track Boris Johnson's Brexit deal for a parliament in time to leave the E.U. by the end of the month.

Now in the coming hours M.P.s will start to baiting the withdrawal agreement bill. Ministers are said to be hoping to force it through the commons by Thursday.

And we are joined now by David Herszenhorn, chief Brussels correspondent for Politico. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, the U.K. House of Commons set to debate the Brexit withdrawal agreement bill in the coming hours. Prime Minister Johnson wants that vote done as quickly as possible. What is the most likely outcome here do you think?

HERSZENHORN: Well, I bet he wants it done because he said he wants Brexit do or die by October 31st, and I suspect that he wants to be alive on November 1st. Whether he will be politically may depend on whether in fact, the commons go along with him and pushes this through.

But we've seen his political opponents really want to make that stop, don't want that to happen and want the E.U. to grant an extension and give them time to move either toward a U.K. national election or a second referendum.

CHURCH: And of course, the opposition will likely propose new amendments, right, and they will need to go back to the European Union. All of which would take time while the clock ticks down to the October 31st Brexit deadline. So, where's this all going on, what are the possible scenarios lying ahead and keep it as simple as possible.

HERSZENHORN: So, one possible scenario is an extension by the E.U. until January 31st. That's what Boris Johnson has officially asked for already. That would be the easiest thing E.U. leaders wouldn't even have to hold another summit to do that. They just pretend it was a technical extension and pretend that it's just a matter of finishing up the paperwork.

Now we know that there are plenty of political operators in the U.K. who want a lot more happen within that time.

Another possibility. They could extend until December 31st of 2020. That's the end of an envisioned transition period in the withdrawal period agreement and the E.U. could say, look, we don't want to deal with this anymore, it's your problem, you can use the transition period for transition, you can use it to work out your feelings about the withdrawal agreement but we're going to put this aside. Watch and wait.

The other possibility --


CHURCH: And of course --

HERSZENHORN: -- less likely it seems is the commons get to tuck together, jams this legislation through, it looks like they're ready for a departure an October 31st. Even then we think there might be a need for a technical extension, and perhaps Boris Johnson comes back and says, you know, that January 31st request, forget about that. Can you just give us another couple of weeks?


But remember, don't discount the European parliament. This is not optional. They must ratify this withdrawal agreement. They're not going to be rolled over, they're not going to fast-track it. It's a 600-page international treaty, they want to read it, they want to scrutinize it and they will have a lot to say about it.

CHURCH: And of course, as you've been speaking, we've been taking these live pictures of Donald Tusk in Brussels.

Talk to us about what -- what's going on there right now and what sort of things they will be considering as well as they watch this all play out in London.

HERSZENHORN: Well, Donald Tusk as the president of the European Council will be consulting, has started consulting with the E.U. 27. Those are the leaders of the remaining E.U. countries to see how they are feeling about a potential extension. Some of them have made clear.

President Emmanuel Macron of France really doesn't like the idea, he's trying to keep the pressure on the U.K. saying the deadline should be respected. Others are much more flexible.

Tusk, himself, as he said Thursday at the summit, in his heart still a remainer, he is hoping even though he doesn't talk about it too much that somehow Brexit is undone. He said the door should be open in the E.U. if the U.K. if the U.K. ever wants to come back. But more than anything, these E.U. leaders want to be clear that Brexit is not their problem. This is the U.K.'s problem. They've tried to make this clear all along that they are not obstructing the U.K.'s departure if the U.K. wants to go.

I've had a lot of folks in Britain TV viewers and radio listeners give me a lot of static when I say this that Brexit has always been about internal divisions in the U.K. The society in the U.K. is divided. They need to work that out, it's not the democracy is failing.

British representatives are actually acting on behalf of their constituents and society is truly divided. And that's what we see playing out in Westminster this week.

CHURCH: But in the end if this all fails who does get the blame? Does a -- or all the fingers point to Boris Johnson?


HERSZENHORN: I think at this point it's on the U.K. The E.U. has reached two different agreements with two different British prime ministers, three or more negotiators depending on how you count.

On the E.U., 27th side they have remained rock-solid in their unity. They thought they wouldn't be able to get a deal with Boris Johnson. He talks much tougher line than Theresa May.

In fact, they think they got a better deal for them and for Ireland and for Northern Ireland, a better deal all around in the second withdrawal agreement.

But if this one can't get through, and already they are seeing this that this is really a British problem. The British side has to make up its mind and take a step one way or another.

CHURCH: Yes. That seems to be a problem though, doesn't it? David Herszenhorn, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

HERSZENHORN: Sure thing.

CHURCH: We turn to Chile now. And the government is taking action to stand violent protest over a proposed transit fare hike. At least 11 people have been killed in what's being called the worst unrest since the Pinochet regime.

Protesters are angry about a small hike in subway fares. Late Monday, the country's Senate voted to cancel that proposed increase. Officials have extended a curfew for the entire Santiago region for a third consecutive day.

Lebanon has passed its own emergency plan aimed at calming tensions but it hasn't persuaded protesters. Lawmakers slashed government salaries and scrap austerity measures but demonstrations continued in Beirut and other cities into the evening.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have flooded the streets since Thursday. They are angry over the country's deteriorating economy which they blame on the political elite.

Well, a day of celebration in Japan as Emperor Naruhito officially complete his coronation. And we will bring you all the highlights of that ancient ceremony, next.



CHURCH: Japan is celebrating the enthronement of its emperor with pomp and grandeur. Dozens of royals, dignitaries and other heads of state gathered in Tokyo to witness Emperor Naruhito officially complete his coronation in a ceremony steeped in tradition.

The rituals began back in May with a much smaller event when he replaced his father Akihito and will culminate on November 10th with a parade.

So, let's turn to CNN's Will Ripley who's been following the events from Tokyo. Good to see you again, Will. Tradition took center stage here and it's very carefully choreographed event, very few surprises of course. How did it all play out?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're, you know, five months in now, Rosemary, to Japan's Reiwa era of beautiful harmony but I would argue that this was maybe perhaps the big debut for the new emperor, Naruhito.

The curtain literally open on the emperor as he sat atop the pine pavilion, the most prestigious place in the Tokyo Imperial Palace. He sat on the Chrysanthemum throne. He declared his enthronement.

And to be seen by the Japanese people in those 30-pound robes. The color burnt orange to symbolize the rising sun the symbol of Japan, and of course the emperor himself is a living symbol of Japan. And someone whose duty is to represent its people and strive for peace around the world.

And that's exactly what he pledged to do in his opening remarks when he gave a very short speech something very similar, remarks very similar to those that his father made, Emperor emeritus Akihito back in 1990.

We also saw a different side of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe briefly putting politics aside to represent the Japanese people. Only a small handful actually allowed in the room where the ceremony took place.

Even dignitaries like Prince Charles and the prime minister of South Korea, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, they were all sitting in another room watching on video monitors.

But Prime Minister Abe was there shouting long live the emperor before than gun salute that boomed through the streets of Tokyo. And then of course, Prime Minister Abe going back to an exhausting schedule of at least 50 bilateral meetings at this rare gathering of dignitaries from nearly every single corner of the world.

This is perhaps Japan's biggest moment until next summer's Tokyo 2020 Olympics. And so, clearly, even though the emperor himself is supposed to be above politics, the fact that he was able to pull in so many heads of state, world leaders, kings from across Europe were here. People from nearly every continent came to show their respect and to celebrate the new emperor.

And that celebration will continue in just a couple of hours, Rosemary, with a banquet at the Imperial Palace which is expected to be much more casual much more relaxed.

You know, despite the fact that Japan is still reeling from national disaster, a super typhoon that hit last week, that's partially why the images of the celebration today are being toned down.

And the big event, the parade through Tokyo has been postponed until November 10th out of respect for the upwards of 70 people who have killed and the thousands of survivors who were trying to put their lives back together.

You know, it's interesting, Rosemary, the Emperor Akihito, the emperor emeritus, he really gained the love of the Japanese people by being out on the scene after a natural disaster, getting down and kneeling and looking at, looking at the survivors at eye level and reassuring that the things would be OK.

And we saw those very similar scenes with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako just this past weekend. So clearly, the new emperor taking a cue from his father, even mentioning his father in his opening remarks although the emperor emeritus himself was noticeably absent from all of these celebrations, even though he is still listed (Ph) at the Imperial Palace when he announced his retirement he was effectively stepping out of the public eye. Today, clearly was his son's moment. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. And it was spectacular too. Will Ripley bringing us that live report from Tokyo where it is nearly 4.25 in the afternoon, many thanks.

Well, it's a tough week in Washington for Donald Trump and his anger and frustration with the impeachment probe is showing.

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, he called out his own party ordering Republicans to get tougher and fight and calling Democrats vicious as they stick together in their efforts to impeach him.

But the inquiry is not slowing down with several depositions planned for this week. Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Laura Cooper, deputy assistant defense secretary. And a source tells CNN Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs.


Meanwhile, President Trump is spinning another conspiracy theory. This one involving House intelligence chairman Adam Schiff. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The whistleblower gave a false account. Now, I happen to think there probably wasn't an informant. You know, the informant went to the whistleblower. The whistleblower had second and thirdhand information. You remember that. That was a big problem. But the information was wrong.

So, was there actually an informant? Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be shifty Schiff. In my opinion, it's possibly Schiff.


CHURCH: Ambassador Bill Taylor has become an unlikely yet major player in the Democrats impeachment probe. We have more now from CNN's Kylie Atwood.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Ambassador Bill Taylor came out of retirement to take over the job as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine earlier this year. But we are learning that it took some motivation to get him to take that job. He was initially weary to take it and he was suggested because career professionals said he would be a great fit for the job.

He served as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, so he was pulled in as a possible person to take this job. And he came in, he met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and some other senior officials at the State Department.

And during that meeting, he discussed with them the U.S. policy towards Ukraine. And there was a tenuous moment given that Ambassador Yovanovitch had just been abruptly removed from the post. We now know that she was removed because of the pressure that President Trump put on the State Department. He didn't want her there so they removed her.

So, Ambassador Bill Taylor took over and he is now set to provide testimony to Congress tomorrow. What they are going to want to learn from him is what he saw over the last few months with the Trump administration and the holdup of security assistance to Ukraine.

In one of his text messages to the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. he said that it would be crazy to withhold that security assistance for political favors from the Ukrainians. he was told that that was not the intention of President Trump, but there's clearly a reason that he believed that to be the case. And we are set to learn more about that tomorrow.

Kylie Atwood, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Inside Africa is coming up next. But first, I'll be back with the check of the headlines. You're watching CNN. Do stay with us.