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Syria 5-Day Ceasefire Ends Today; Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party Projected To Win; Benjamin Netanyahu Fails To Form Government. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 22, 2019 - 05:30   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: If Kurdish fighters are still inside a buffer zone, quote, "We will start where we left off and continue to crush the terrorists' heads."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: With the U.S. leaving, Russia is now among the players stepping in. Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, they meet today in Sochi, Russia. More on that in a moment.

President Trump speaking at length about Syria during this contentious cabinet meeting. He said the U.S. never promised to protect the Kurds who were fighting, he says, for their own reasons.


TRUMP: They hated ISIS, so they were fighting ISIS. But we never agreed -- where is an agreement that said we have to stay in the Middle East for the rest of humanity -- for the rest of civilization to protect because it never said that?

And we have protected them. We've taken very good care of them and I hope they're going to watch over ISIS.


ROMANS: The president said beyond a small force to secure the oil he didn't think it was necessary to leave troops behind in Syria. He said there had been only 28 U.S. troops on the Syrian-Turkish border, anyway. That does not mean U.S. forces are all coming home, though -- no.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh takes a closer look at some of the president's claims.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Christine, in that rambling statement from President Trump there were many things, frankly, that didn't strike true with reality here.

Yes, the U.S. has never promised to protect the Kurds forever but many thought that reliance would last a little bit longer or would at least end in a more managed fashion than the past fortnight.

Yes, there were 28 troops pulled back from the border area but, frankly, while they were there they were not about to be obliterated by two advancing armies. They were, in fact, the reason why Turkey felt restrained before starting this incursion.

So now, after the past 48 hours of slow withdrawal here, we've seen ourselves -- troops rallying and then leaving. We now see, I think, a different Syria left behind them.

Certainly, in the meeting in Sochi that we will see today between Russia and Turkey, maybe a peace can be arranged between Moscow, who backs the Syrian regime -- who seems to be the new ally for the Syrian Kurds here. Now they feel betrayed by the United States.

But there is a key option to all of this. There may be 200 to 300 U.S. troops still left inside Syria, Trump says, to protect the oil fields and continue the ISIS fight. But make no mistake here, oil is not strategically important to the U.S. here.

But more broadly, the mission will continue in Iraq with a similar number of troops simply in a much worse position in a neighboring country with a small number only on the ground. They no longer have the Syrian Kurds and allies, and Russia is in the ascendants, the Syrian regime stronger, and they're simply tactically worse off for a mission they needed to finish.

Remember, ISIS may even get a second life out of the vacuum and chaos here -- Dave, Christine.


BRIGGS: Nick Paton Walsh there for us.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are about to meet in Sochi this morning. The crisis in Syria expected to dominate the discussion. Turkey calls all Kurdish forces terrorists, and Erdogan says he is prepared to take necessary further steps in northeast Syria.

Fred Pleitgen joining us live from Sochi with the latest. Fred, good morning.


Certainly, all eyes are on Sochi today as Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are going to meet here. And essentially, they have the future of northeast Syria and certainly the future of the Kurds in that area in their hands. And, of course, the reasons why that is the case is because President Trump pulled those U.S. forces back from northeastern Syria and abandoned America's Kurdish allies.

Now, Vladimir Putin immediately swooped in and made a deal with the Kurds and has moved his forces -- Russian forces -- and also Syrian government forces up to that border between Turkey and Syria.

Now what he -- the Russians essentially want is they don't want the Turks to continue their offensive in northeastern Syria. They want to integrate some of these Kurdish forces into the Syrian security forces and essentially, have Bashar al-Assad in that area up there providing for security on the Syrian-Turkish border.

As far as Erdogan is concerned, what he wants is he doesn't want any Kurdish fighters in that border area. He wants assurances from Vladimir Putin that that is not going to be the case.

So certainly, we expect the discussions that are going to go on here to be fairly difficult between these two leaders. But at the same time, they do have a very good relationship with one another.

Once again though, Dave, the U.S. not in any way at the table and certainly, almost not part of the equation at all, Dave.

BRIGGS: All right, Fred Pleitgen -- great reporting there from Sochi, Russia this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, 34 minutes past the hour. A pivotal witness in the impeachment inquiry testifies behind closed doors in just a matter of hours. The latest, next.



BRIGGS: President Trump pushing Republicans to fight harder against the impeachment inquiry. His plea comes at a critical time as Ambassador Bill Taylor is just hours away from appearing before Congress. He's the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine and called the withholding of U.S. military aid in exchange for political favors, quote, "crazy" in a now-infamous text.

More on today's testimony from Boris Sanchez at the White House.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, President Trump complaining about unity in his own party during a cabinet meeting at the White House on Monday.

Now, the president saying that Democrats are vicious and that they're lousy politicians, but saying that he envies them a little bit because of their unity -- because they stick together and they don't have, in his words, a Mitt Romney.

Listen to more from President Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think they're lousy politicians but two things they have, they're vicious and they stick together. They don't have Mitt Romney in their midst. They don't have people like that.

They stick together. You never see them break off.

SANCHEZ: The context here is important. This comes at a critical time for President Trump when he's hearing criticism from a number of Republicans on his dealings with Ukraine -- on the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.


And, on his decision to host the G7 summit at his golf club in Doral, Florida -- a decision that he ultimately abandoned over the weekend.

But the president is hearing this criticism -- this splintering within his own party -- as some of the voices that he's hearing are the ones that he needs the most to stave off any possible forward movement of the impeachment inquiry that now sits in the House of Representatives.

Another important note, Dave and Christine. Bill Taylor, the president's top diplomat for Ukraine, scheduled to testify before House investigators today -- what could be a pivotal moment for the future of this White House, Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Boris, at the White House. Thank you.

You know, just days after reversing course on using his Florida resort to host the 2020 G7 summit, President Trump is still defending his initial plan and bragging about his property there, saying it was a win-win for the country.


TRUMP: I own a property in Florida. I was going to do it at no cost or give it free if I got a ruling, but I would have given it for nothing. It's a lot -- a lot of money I would have given away like I give away my salary. But I was willing to do this for free and they would have -- it would have been the greatest G7 ever.


ROMANS: The president blaming Democrats and the media for invoking the emoluments clause of the Constitution.


TRUMP: I don't think you people with this phony emoluments clause -- and by the way, I would say that it has cost me anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion dollars to be president.


ROMANS: The emoluments clause forbids a president from profiting from foreign governments or receiving any money from the U.S. government, except for an annual salary.

BRIGGS: Phony emoluments clause. All right, let's bring in "CNN POLITICS" lead writer, Zach Wolf, live in Washington this morning. Good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning, Zach.


BRIGGS: You write this morning, "The next House impeachment witness is the most important so far." Why is Bill Taylor so important to the process?

WOLF: He is at the fulcrum, I think, of what we've seen so far because he was raising concerns in real time after the whistleblower complaint, but before we learned about it, in text messages with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the E.U.; with Kurt Volker, who was then the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine.

He is the top guy in Ukraine at the moment and he replaced that ousted ambassador, Maria Yovanovitch. So he was kind of there at the moment.

And he is also a career diplomat. He came out of retirement --

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: -- when they pulled Yovanovitch, so he was kind of there and raising concerns before this thing blew up.

ROMANS: I mean -- and the words -- the words, "As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."

It's almost like this career public servant, an old hand in diplomacy, you'll -- well, I guess we're going to find out and these lawmakers are going to ask were you seeing these signs here and trying to get on the record for what was happening.

WOLF: Exactly. Was he, basically, trying to put out there to -- you know, to essentially say not just on the phone, but to have in writing his concerns. I think that is a key question --


WOLF: -- that they can ask him.

And we have to remember, we're not going to see this guy testify. We haven't seen any of this testimony. We're going to sort of see it -- hear about it through the filter of Democrats and some Republicans who are in these hearings, and that's a key point.

We will want to ultimately see this gentleman, Bill Taylor, testify but this will be sort of what filters out --


WOLF: -- from lawmakers. BRIGGS: Democrats would like to slow down on impeachment and the president urging Republicans to fight harder. Is there any cracks in that firewall?

WOLF: Well, let me slightly correct you. I don't think Democrats want to slow down, I think they kind of have to slow down. I think they would love to get this done.

But, you know, we saw this reporting yesterday from Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb that they're sort of being led in these new directions. They can't really wrap up an investigation as it's unfolding in front of them and they also are going to have to respond to these criticisms about --


WOLF: -- the process -- about it now being transparent enough. About people not seeing enough of this and just hearing --


WOLF: -- essentially what they want us to hear.


ROMANS: You know, meanwhile, you've got -- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off.

BRIGGS: No, you did not.

ROMANS: Oh, but meanwhile, you've got Democrats all over the Midwest campaigning like crazy, trying to break through from what has been an impeachment cloud in Washington.

And the president with a 70-minute -- a 70-minute cabinet meeting -- kind of diatribe -- it was all over the place yesterday -- just really owning the message.

And on impeachment, he said hey, look, it's the economy, stupid. This is the best economy in the history of the country, which is not true, but it is very good. And the president really owning the conversation.

It made me -- it made me think of a comment that Jeff Zeleny got from an Iowa voter about what are the Democrats doing to counter this message that the president owns about the economy. What is the message from the Democrats?

Listen to this exchange.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And elaborate who you're talking about when you say free stuff.

[05:45:00] SUSAN STRODTBECK, IOWA VOTER: I'm talking about Bernie. I'm talking about Elizabeth Warren and how it's just going to be free -- how health care is going to be free. I'm sorry, we can't do that.


ROMANS: Right. So she's saying like, look, you know, all we're hearing is free stuff, free stuff, free stuff, and that's just not resonating with her in Davenport, Iowa.

WOLF: Yes. I think that's going to be really interesting going forward as Democrats. That's kind of what -- the debate they've been having. You saw it at the CNN debate last week where there was a huge argument between Elizabeth Warren, specifically, where more moderate people in the pack kind of attacked her over --


WOLF: -- this idea that she can pay for Medicare for All -- or rather how she's going to pay for Medicare for All.

She hasn't kind of been on the up and up about that. She won't admit that it -- you know, taxes are going to have to be raised and whether or not this wealth tax is actually going to pay for it.

But, Democrats are in a different mode right now. They're in the primary mode.


WOLF: And, Donald Trump, while he's complaining about Republicans not being against him, he's in self-preservation mode.

So we're seeing two kinds of totally completely different conversations going on and after the primary, let's talk again -- you know, in about six months --

ROMANS: Where they can focus.

WOLF: -- and see how much they're talking --

BERMAN: Right.

WOLF: -- about Trump then.

ROMANS: Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Jeff Zeleny -- she said you know, look, we can't -- you know, we can't think so big that it's not realistic. We have to think big and think realistic. There seems to be these two camps.

BRIGGS: A lot of pushback from her.

ROMANS: Let's think big -- think big and then think about what we can do.

BERMAN: All right, Zach Wolf live in D.C. Good to see you, sir. Thank you.

WOLF: Thanks, have a good one.

ROMANS: All right, here's what to watch -- here's what to watch today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rising rent and home prices are pushing Americans further from the places they work. This is straining the backbone of our communities.

To do our part, Wells Fargo has committed $1 billion over the next six years to develop housing affordability solutions, putting affordable homes within reach. This is our commitment. This is Wells Fargo.


BRIGGS: All right. Up next, angry protesters change their whole tune at the sight of a young toddler.


LEBANESE PROTESTERS: Singing "Baby Shark."




BRIGGS: In Canada, Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party is expected to remain in power after Monday's general election, but as a minority government. According to projections from CBC and CTV news, Trudeau will serve as prime minister for a second term, but a partnership needs to be formed with at least one other party.

More now from Paula Newton in Montreal.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: And, good morning, Dave and Christine.

Justin Trudeau has eked out a victory here but it is not the victory he had four years ago. You know, after the blackface scandal -- the fact that he dressed up in blackface, apologized, and then said he didn't even know how many times he had dressed up that way, Canadians forgave him. They were still disappointed in him.

But the issue here is the kind of mandate they gave him. I mean, he didn't even win the popular vote but still gets to be prime minister. Sound familiar?

And through all that, the president, Donald Trump, did tweet out his congratulations and graciously said that he thought Canada was well served.

But this is a diminished leader, both at home and abroad. I want you to take a listen now to his victory speech.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: From coast to coast to coast, tonight, Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity and they voted in favor of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change.

I have heard you, my friends. You are sending our liberal team back to work -- back to Ottawa with a clear mandate. We will make life more affordable, we will continue to fight climate change, we will get guns off our streets.

NEWTOWN: You know, he might be right on the climate crisis and Canadians spoke loudly and clearly that they want more done on that, but not on the division.

Look, the results here leave a divided Canada, one that will be much more difficult to govern in the months or years to come -- Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Paula. Thank you so much for that.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a new government for the second time this year, opening the door for his main rival, Benny Gantz, to try. Gantz says he will try to form a liberal-ruling coalition.

Oren Liebermann live from Jerusalem with the latest developments for us -- Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: It was political deadlock that led to these elections and it looks like it will remain political deadlock.

First, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suffered a major blow in his second consecutive failure to put together a government. And for the first time in a decade, someone other than Netanyahu will have a chance to put together a government and be prime minister.

And, of course, all of this happens as Netanyahu faces potential indictment in ongoing corruption probes in which he has proclaimed his innocence. That could come in a few weeks or perhaps even a couple of months and that will deal another blow to Netanyahu as his political and personal future might seem a little shaky at this point.

The problem now is that Netanyahu's rival, Benny Gantz, who will have a chance to form a government, doesn't have a clear path to doing so either. He is saying he looks forward to trying.

But he was one seat behind Netanyahu and doesn't have a clear path, it seems, to get the seats he needs to be prime minister, which means that political deadlock that led here may continue and even the possibility of more elections, perhaps even in March -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, thank you so much for that. Oren Liebermann for us in Jerusalem.

BRIGGS: Facebook says it has removed a network of Russian-backed fake accounts that praise President Trump and attack Joe Biden in critical swing states. Facebook blamed the same Kremlin-backed group that interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

One Russian account pretended to be a black voter in Michigan and used the Black Lives Matter hashtag to criticize Biden on racial issues.

Facebook says it also took down three misleading campaigns originating in Iran.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

A look at markets around the world shows you green arrows. Asian markets closed higher and European markets are now all very slightly higher.

Looking at Wall Street with a few hours to go until the opening bell, barely moving there. Stocks finished higher Monday. The Dow inched up 57 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also closed slightly higher.

The rally would have been stronger if not for a weak performance from Boeing. Boeing is a Dow component.

It closed down nearly four percent. Why? Analysts downgraded Boeing on growing concern about its safety practices.

All right, the drones are coming and they're bringing your aspirin. CVS is teaming up with UPS to test drone delivery for your medications.

UPS has permission from the FAA to make limited drone deliveries. UPS said the drones making the deliveries will be automated, flying on preplanned routes, carrying up to five pounds, and leaving items on the home's front or back yard.

CVS and UPS have not said when or where deliveries will begin or how many will be made.

All right, it's finally here.


Scene from "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."


ROMANS: Two and a half minutes of wonderful. The official trailer for the final chapter in the Skywalker saga, "The Rise of Skywalker," debuted last night -- the ninth episode in the Skywalker story. It also features the late Carrie Fisher. It almost took my breath away when I heard her voice in it.

BRIGGS: Yes, emotional.

ROMANS: They used previously unreleased footage shot for "The Force Awakens."

"The Rise of Skywalker" hits theaters on December 20th.

BRIGGS: It looks outstanding.

All right, if kids in New England were searching for Halloween costumes, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold came through for them in a clutch. Just dress up as New England Patriots ghosts.

Tom Brady and company just blowing out the Jets from start to finish, shutting them out 33-nothing. The star of the game was the Pats relentless defense. They picked off Jets quarterback Sam Darnold four times and also returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Unfortunately for Darnold, he was mic'd up during this ugly game.




BRIGGS: Darnold said there, "I'm seeing ghosts," explaining he meant to see the field better. He wasn't seeing the blitz at all.

Pats are now 7-0, one of two undefeated teams in the NFL.

That will live on forever for Sam Darnold.

ROMANS: Protesters outraged over Lebanon's crumbling economy completely changed their tune when they encountered a mother who said her 15-month-old son was scared.


LEBANESE PROTESTERS: Singing "Baby Shark."


ROMANS: It was right in the middle of a protest -- in the middle of the street protest, a spontaneous rendition of Baby Shark. The mom says the cute clip spread so quickly her husband saw the video before she could even tell him about it.

That's baby Robin overwhelmed by all the people on the street -- the people who are very angry about unemployment, about the economy, about the elites in that country -- and they turned -- literally changed their tune so that Robin felt safe.

BRIGGS: Is that now the most universal song on the planet?

ROMANS: I love it.

BRIGGS: Three point six billion YouTube hits. I guess that's how you do it. It scared that little kid a little bit initially, but nice, nice video there.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Here's "NEW DAY."


BRIGGS: A new CNN poll on impeachment just out this morning.

TRUMP: The President of the United States should be allowed to run the country, not have to focus on this kind of crap.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is lacking legitimacy, credibility, and fairness and the vast majority of the Republicans in the House, in a private vote, would vote to impeach him.

TRUMP: We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't guarantee the Kurds safety for the next thousand years, but we absolutely told them we would protect them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a crisis of confidence in this country and it's one that I think we have to change.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, October 22nd, 6:00 here in New York.

BERMAN: I'm reliably told it is, in fact, 6:00.

CAMEROTA: It is 6:00.

And we are hours away from another consequential day in the impeachment inquiry. America's top diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, is set to testify behind closed doors.