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Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) is Interviewed About Syria; Enes Kanter Talks About Turkey. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 22, 2019 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Here is what President Trump said about his rationale for why he didn't believe it was any -- necessary any longer to protect the Kurds. So listen to this moment.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 the Kurds? 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.


CAMEROTA: The president hopes they're going to watch over ISIS. What's the feeling there in the region about all of this?

REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D-MA): Well, now that the Kurds have to defend themselves against the Turks, the detention of, you know, 80,000 former ISIS fighters and families is actually secondary to their own survival. So we've already seen some ISIS fighters escape in the chaos that the president has created by pulling out U.S. troops.

Look, we don't have to stay in, in the Middle East for the end of -- until the end of humanity. We were trying to defeat ISIS. We were very close to doing that when the president precipitously changed our policy. Now, not only is our commitment in Syria to establishing a democracy and stabilizing that area, but when we visited Afghanistan, they're worried now that this president will do the exact same thing to them. Meanwhile, they're trying to recruit people into the Afghan military. But they're fearful that the U.S. will pull out again without notice and leave them abandoned. So it's hurt our credibility, I think, in a number of areas.

CAMEROTA: In terms of credibility, the president also promised, when he was running for president, that he was going to bring U.S. troops home. And at first he said that that's what he was doing here, but he's not bringing U.S. troops home. And, in fact, at this hour, their future and their location is uncertain.

LYNCH: Right. Right. It's apparent that the movement of these troops from Syria into Iraq violates the status of forces agreement with Iraq. The president also deployed another thousand troops into Saudi Arabia. I was there two weeks ago. So he's not bringing them home, he's deploying them.

He also made a statement that while we -- while we had no interest in defending the Kurds who were fighting for their freedom, we do have an interest in oil. And apparently the president's implication is that it's OK to put our sons and daughters in harm's way to defend oil supply, but not to defend the principles of democracy and human rights, which they were doing previously in northern Syria.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about what's happening there in the halls of Capitol Hill in front of your committee today, and that is the special envoy to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, will be coming to speak to you.

How important a day is this do you think and what do you want to hear from him?

LYNCH: Well, this is another important deposition, another important interview. As you know, Ambassador Taylor has firsthand knowledge of the president's conversations and his attempts to trade military aid to Ukraine in return for Ukraine getting involved politically, on a political hit on one of his -- one of his opponents, Joe Biden.

So, in the past, Ambassador Taylor has said that it didn't make sense for the administration to try to trade military aid for a political favor. So we're obviously going to go into that line of questioning during today's hearing, which starts at about 9:30.

CAMEROTA: And in terms of the timeline, we've heard it might be shifting. In terms of the impeachment inquiry and when you all might be ready to vote on articles of impeachment. So what's your view from where you sit on the -- on that important committee?

LYNCH: Well, we're doing three things. Obviously we're continuing our investigations. We're continuing to litigate. We've had two very strong -- two very strong decisions in the district court in D.C. and the district court in the Southern District of New York. We're also continuing to legislate. So it's not -- we're getting closer, let's put it that way. We did not expect all of these witnesses to come out. That's part of the delay that we have so many people -- there were 12 people on that phone call with the president and they, in turn, had a group of people trying to help them conceal the transcript of that phone call. So we've got a lot of people we've got to talk to. And -- but we're getting closer.

CAMEROTA: And does that mean before the end of the year?

LYNCH: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't care to speculate. I'd like to allow my colleagues, Mr. Schiff and Mr. Engel, as well as the Oversight Committee, to complete their work before we make that decision.


If we go to an impeachment decision, it's very, very important that we go with the best evidence. So when we -- CAMEROTA: Even if that takes -- even -- I mean I'm just curious, even if that drags into an election year, even if that goes past the new year, you would be willing to stretch the timeline just to continue to gather the evidence?

LYNCH: Well, there's obviously a cut-off point, Alisyn. We think that it's important to make this decision. Time is of the essence, let's put it that way. We understand that. And we will -- we will make that decision as soon as possible in order to give ourselves the full menu of options going forward.

CAMEROTA: OK. Congressman Stephen Lynch, we really appreciate you coming on and we'll look forward to hearing what comes out of today's hearing. Thank you.

LYNCH: Thanks, Alisyn.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Prince Harry said he and his brother are on different paths. What exactly does that mean? Interpreted around the world widely as some kind of a royal rift. But, up next, exclusive CNN reporting on what's going on behind the scenes.



BERMAN: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, expected to testify in the impeachment inquiry within the next hour. His text message calling it crazy to withhold military aid for political purposes is at the center of the probe.

CAMEROTA: Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan are meeting in Sochi, Russia. The Turkish offensive in Syria believed to be a key point of conversation, just hours before the cease-fire that lasted five days between Turkey and Kurdish forces is set to expire.

BERMAN: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau overcoming scandal and sagging popularity to win a second term. But his liberal party did lose the majority and will need support from one or two parties within its parliament to pass legislation.

CAMEROTA: British police say they will travel to the U.S. to interview Ann Sacoolas. That is the wife of the U.S. diplomat. She is accused of driving on the wrong side of the road in the U.K. and killing a teenager. Harry Dunn's family has wanted Sacoolas interviewed in the U.K.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People keep telling me they know me. No one does.


BERMAN: OK, I can't wait.

Expectations for the final film of the "Star Wars" saga just hit hyperspace.

CAMEROTA: Are you sure this is the final? I mean you mean the latest in --

BERMAN: It's like the latest --

CAMEROTA: Installment.

BERMAN: It's the latest one before the next 100.

CAMEROTA: Right, right.

BERMAN: The trailer for "The Rise of Skywalker" debuted during halftime of the Patriots win over the New York Jets yesterday. The launch of online ticket sales begins. The film hits theaters December 20th.

CAMEROTA: I mean this is like when I went to see the farewell tour of the Rolling Stones in 1981.

BERMAN: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: So I don't believe that -- you know, that nothing's ever the final thing with "Star Wars."

BERMAN: "Tattoo You" wasn't the end.

CAMEROTA: That's right. That's right.

BERMAN: For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: OK, here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:30 a.m. ET, Sen. Warren visits striking Chicago teachers.

12:15 p.m. ET, Kudlow discusses future of infrastructure.

8:08 p.m. ET, First pitch of 2019 World Series.


BERMAN: We have exclusive CNN reporting on the rift in the royal family. Prince Harry said he and his brother are on different paths. But are Prince Harry's comments being misinterpreted?




CAMEROTA: Now we have a CNN exclusive for you.

New information about the apparent royal rift between Prince Harry and Prince William. In a new documentary with the British broadcaster ITV, Prince Harry acknowledges that the two brothers have been on, quote, different paths.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Part of the -- part of this role and part of this job and this family being under the pressure that it's under, inevitably, you know, stuff -- stuff happens. But, look, we're -- we're brothers. We'll always be brothers. And we're certainly on different paths at the moment. But I will always be there for him and as I know he'll always be there for me.

You know, we don't see each other as much as we -- as much as we used to because we're so busy, but, you know, I love him dearly and, you know, the majority of the stuff is probably -- well, the majority of the stuff is created out of nothing. But, you know, it's just, as I said, as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days.


CAMEROTA: Well, a senior royal source tells CNN's Max Foster this morning that the brothers have been in touch and that the media and British tabloids are taking those comments too far.

Following the documentary, palace insiders say Prince William was worried about Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. Those remarks were picked up by U.K. publications. The source reacted to the many headlines telling CNN that Prince Harry has never shied away from talking about his own mental health and the importance of mental fitness and well-being.


PETER WESTMACOTT, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR: I thought it was a little surprising that the clips were broadcast while Harry's elder brother, the Duke of Cambridge and his wife, were doing an official visit very successfully to Pakistan. I wondered a little bit about the constant references from (INAUDIBLE), the interviewer, to mental health. To me, this is an issue about the strains and stresses of being in the public domain the whole time, and it really is very difficult.

Is it about mental health? I'm not so sure about that. But I thought what came through was a -- a very genuine, very loving young couple working hard to make the best of a pretty difficult role.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [08:50:02]

CAMEROTA: They added that any sibling or person seeing that talk of mental health would, of course, be concerned, but said the tabloids and the briefings by so-called palace insiders and friends are classic examples of anti-Prince Harry and Meghan hysteria.

BERMAN: All right, happening now, Turkey's president, Erdogan, and the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, are holding a news conference. This as the ceasefire in northern Syria between Turkish and Kurdish forces is set to expire in just hours. All eyes on the Turkish leader, including those of our next guest who knows President Erdogan all too well.

I'm joined now by Enes Kanter, a center for the Boston Celtics.

And, Enes, thank you so much for being with us today.

And I want to point out to our viewers, who may not know, when talking about President Erdogan, this is not an abstraction to you. This is your life. And let me just read something you wrote last week on Twitter. You said you haven't seen or talked to your family in five years. Jailed my dad. My siblings can't find jobs. Revoked my passport. International arrest warrant. My family can't leave the country. Got death threats every day. Got attacked, harassed. Tried to kidnap me in Indonesia. Freedom is not free.

So as we watch President Erdogan on the world stage this morning, to you, what kind of a man is he?

ENES KANTER, CENTER, BOSTON CELTICS: Well, like I said, again, freedom is not free. And when I talk about these issues, of course it affected me and my family. And you asking me what kind of person he is, he has no respect for human rights. There's no democracy. There is no freedom of speech, religion or expression in Turkey. So that's why I'm trying to create awareness of what's going on because I have a platform. So I'm trying to use this platform to be the voice of all those innocent people who don't have one.

So it's very sad because, in the end, it's my country. I love my country. I love my flag (ph). But what's happened in my country is definitely heartbreaking.

BERMAN: There was a lot riding on President Erdogan today. And the United States, among others, putting a lot of faith in him, a lot of trust in him to keep his word. How much trust do you place in the word of President Erdogan?

KANTER: I -- I have no trust. I have no trust in him for sure because, I mean, what he's doing is, disrespectful to his country and his people and he's definitely a very bad man. I mean I called him the Hitler of our century for a reason. If you see what's happening in all over the world, especially Syria to all the innocent Kurds, it's a human tragedy.

BERMAN: Just so people know, what are the roots of his issues with you? Why has he been after you, in your mind, for these years? KANTER: Because I talk about human rights. I talk about -- I stand for

democracy and freedom of speech. So just because of when I talk it goes viral. And he hates that. So just because I talk about these issues, he's, like I said, it affects me and my family. But people know my story because I play in the NBA, but there are thousands and thousands of stories out there. It's way worse than mine.

So what I said, I'm trying to be the voice of all those innocent people who don't have one. So that's why I'm trying to create awareness of what's going on in Turkey.

BERMAN: And, again, and now it's spreading beyond the borders of Turkey into northern Syria and there are Kurds there.

KANTER: Right.

BERMAN: You point out, the Kurdish issue, when you grow up in Turkey, is very different.

KANTER: Right.

BERMAN: It's all around you. You grew up in eastern Turkey and Kurds were your neighbors and friends, yes?

KANTER: Right. Yes, I grew up inside of Turkey, (INAUDIBLE), and I have a lot of Kurd friends. And they're amazing people.

And what's happening is Syria is definitely -- you know, it's a human tragedy because lots of innocent, you know, men, women, kids and babies are dying. And I think Turkey should stop its invasion in Syria and they should definitely stop working with the ISIS-minded militants on the ground.

BERMAN: When you see the Trump administration, when you see Mike Pence and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, last week going to meet with Erdogan, how do you feel about the U.S. outreach and, in some cases, President Trump seems to have faith in President Erdogan?

KANTER: Yes, I mean -- true. I mean, like I said again, I'm not an expert on the -- what's going on with American politics or American politicians, but what I'm trying to do is -- I'm trying to tell this world, listen, this man is not a good man. And he's -- he should not be trusted. And, of course, what's happened there is heartbreaking. And so, like I said again, I'm going to -- whatever happens, you know, whatever affects me, whatever sacrifice I have to make, I have to stand up for what I believe in is right.

BERMAN: Look, and we respect the use of your time, how much effort you put in to talking about freedom and how you choose to live your life. And we truly hope one day you do get to go home to Turkey.

On a completely different note, I want to say, that in the next few minutes you have to go across the street, you have to go to practice for the Celtics. Your first game is tomorrow night.

KANTER: Yes. [08:55:00]

BERMAN: And just, as a point of personal privilege, I hope you can tell me, how are we going to do this year? How good are we going to be? And I say "we" because I'm part of this.

KANTER: Yes. I feel like we have something very special.

BERMAN: So do I.

KANTER: You know, I feel like we can beat every -- every team on every -- I know, John, you are a -- you are a big Celtics fan, and I really appreciate for your support. But, hey, I think it's going to be a very exciting season. You know, Celtics fans are always there for us and they are amazing. The best fans in the world. So I just cannot wait to start the season tomorrow and just go from there because all the guys in the locker room willing to learn, hardworking guys, and it's going to be a very exciting season. We're going to shock a lot of people out there.

BERMAN: Enes Kanter, thank you for being with us and I really do thank you for speaking out and talking to us about these issues that affect so many people around the world. Thank you.

KANTER: It means a lot to me. I really appreciate it.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: When he says some -- we have something really special, I think -- I feel like you interpreted that as you and he.

BERMAN: I think he -- that's exactly what he said.

CAMEROTA: Having something really special.

BERMAN: That's exactly what he said.

CAMEROTA: It is what he said.

BERMAN: I am going to take him at his word.

CAMEROTA: All right, I understand.

Moments from now the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine will testify in the impeachment inquiry. CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow is next.

BERMAN: I'm basically on the Celtics.

CAMEROTA: You're basically --