Return to Transcripts main page


Russia & Turkey Strike Deal On Syria And Kurds; E.U. Leaders Considering U.K.'s Request For Delay; Swiss Voters Usher In "Green Tsunami"; China Slams Trump Trade Adviser's Credibility; Taiwan Murder Suspect Leaves Hong Kong Prison. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 23, 2019 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. It is 7:00 am in, London 8:00 am on the Syria-Turkey border. From Atlanta headquarters, I am Rosemary Church, here with your next 90 minutes of CNN NEWSROOM.


JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: The ayes to the right, 308; the nos the left, 322. So the nos have it. The nos have it. Unlock.

CHURCH (voice-over): Britain's prime minister fails to get approval to fast-track his Brexit bill through Parliament. What that means for the October 31st deadline he promised.


CHURCH: Vladimir Putin's big diplomatic move in the Middle East, striking a deal with Turkey's leader over what happens in northern Syria.

Plus, the impeachment inquiry gets a jolt with a damning testimony from America's top diplomat in Ukraine.


CHURCH: Well, for the first time in 3.5 years, U.K. lawmakers agreed on a way forward for Brexit. They backed Boris Johnson's deal in principle.

But the prime minister's victory was short-lived because MPs then rejected his timetable, forcing Mr. Johnson to pause Brexit. The E.U. is now considering a flexible extension until January 31st. CNN's Nic Robertson breaks down the U.K. Parliament's busy Tuesday.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, after almost six hours of very intense debate, the prime minister got the result he wanted, the withdrawal agreement bill passed 329 to 299. But the victory was short-lived. The vote immediately after on the program motion setting out three days to go through the fine detail of the law was beaten 322 to 308.

The leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn rose to his feet immediately after offering the prime minister an opportunity to extend this hard October 31st deadline.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: The prime minister is the author of his own misfortune. So I make this offer to him tonight. Work with us -- work with us, all of us to agree a reasonable timetable. And I suspect this house will vote to debate, scrutinized and I hope immense the detail of this bill. That would be the sensible way forward.

ROBERTSON: With the prime minister had earlier warned if he lost that second vote, then he would stop the process, that he would then move to a general election. When push came to shove, however, he didn't answer Jeremy Corbyn's question and he pushed the decision towards the European Union.

BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Is that the government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal out. But secondly, I will speak -- I will speak to E.U. member states about their intentions until they have reached a decision. Until we reach a certain -- I must say, we will pause this legislation.

ROBERTSON: And within a few hours of that, the European Council president Donald Tusk responded, saying that he would recommend to E.U. leaders that they give the United Kingdom the extension that the British prime minister asked for over the weekend.

But where things go from here is still anyone's guess.

Will it end up in an election?

Will it end up and more time to go through the bill?

It really isn't clear. A big hurdle trust for the prime minister, a big success for the prime minister, can he build on that and how is that going to do it, just not clear right now -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


CHURCH: And CNN's Melissa Bell joins me now live from Paris.

Good to see you. So British lawmakers backed Boris Johnson's Brexit deal but not his timetable. Now, of course, it is up to the E.U. to decide whether to approve an extension.

What will they likely do?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the question is whether they should agree to that extension that was requested, remember, Rosemary, when that letter was sent, not because Boris Johnson wanted to send it on Saturday but because parliamentarians had introduced the Benn Act, that law a few weeks to that obliged, him should he fail to get that deal passed in time.


BELL: So it is up the E.U. leaders to decide whether they grant that full extension to the 31st of January and whether they grant an extension that is slightly shorter or whether they grant something called a flextension, some that could last until the 31st of January unless the United Kingdom found a way before.

That is something the E.U. has looked out over the course of the last few months. Every time an extension has been debated and then agreed and here we are again. With this difference this, time, Rosemary, which is that by granting the extension, Europeans will understand that what they are granting is time for the United Kingdom to hold an election.

Perhaps what was needed all along, that this can finally be put to bed in the minds of the British themselves -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: And that is exactly what Boris Johnson raised, isn't, it the possibility of calling early elections and the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is showing enthusiasm, that despite being what 15 points behind the Conservatives.

How is that likely to play out there?

BELL: Well, the changes in British law over the last few years mean that Boris Johnson, the prime, minister can no longer simply call an election as they used to be able to do. This time they have to get the backing of Parliament and given that he does not have a majority, he needs to rely on the votes of the opposition parties instead.

The LibDems have already indicated they will back an election, as have the Scottish Nationalists. The Labour Party, we are waiting to hear more specifically about how they will handle that question of an election.

But the expectation is that that would go through and then the whole thing would be put back to the British public. From the point of view of the Europeans, of course, this is an extension they can grant by firmly putting the ball back in London. And that is probably a good thing.

You are likely to see some tension and this is something we have seen throughout this negotiations over the course of the last several years, Rosemary, there are two factions in Europe, one led by Emmanuel Macron, that really want to get this over and done with as quickly as possible, since his priority ever since he came into office has been the future of the European Union.

He is an arch European and really cares about the project and its credibility. His view is the British need to get out and get out fast.

On the other hand, Angela Merkel whose economy would be seriously damaged by a no deal Brexit who has been much more moderate in her view of whether extensions should be granted and the United Kingdom should be given every last possibility to avoid that catastrophic scenario as far as the German economy goes.

So you are likely to see some chatter between Europeans about exactly what kind of extension, why an extension and how long an extension, the other thing they're likely to do is decide to do it in writing to avoid all of the European leaders having to come back to Brussels once again this week, because as you, said they will have had quite enough of that.

CHURCH: I think. So Melissa Bell joining us live from Paris just after 8:00 in the morning. Many thanks.

Things are moving fast after a cease-fire in northern Syria expired. There has been a game-changing deal the Turks reached with Russia that sees Kurdish forces moving away from Turkey's border.

Turkish media report the defense ministry won't carry out new operations beyond the area it's already in. And that the U.S. says Kurdish forces have now withdrawn. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more from Iraq's Kurdistan region.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a landmark deal on paper between Moscow and Ankara here, announced here in Sochi with great bonhomie between President Putin and President Erdogan.

They talked about culture and trade but most importantly they hammered out the basic details of how this new deal would work. Russia very, clear just after it, happened sending a direct message to the United States to butt out entirely, to let this deal take precedence over the U.S. broken cease-fire that expired hours ago.

It is unclear if we will see nothing but peace but at this point, all eyes are on noon, Wednesday, when this deal is to kick into effect. Syrian regime border guards are supposed to go to the border then with Russian military police and establish control along that border.

And at that point there will be 150 hours, about six days in which the Syrian Kurds are supposed to pull back from the border, their fighters and their weapons, to a distance of 30 kilometers. Once that has occurred, then the Russian military police and the Turkish military launch joint patrols in a buffer zone that is 10 kilometers depth along the border.

Quite what happens in the 20 kilometers between that zone and where the Syrian Kurds are supposed to pull back to, we simply don't know at this point.

What we do know is that the area the Turkish have already taken, often with the Syrian rebels and their backing the U.S. have called mostly extremists, they get to keep that to a depth of 32 kilometers between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. That would be something of a victory for them but also the Syrian Kurds, they get to hang onto control and find exempt from these patrol areas the city of Qamishli, which is a key stronghold for them.

What we don't know this at this point is how much the Syrian Kurds want to go along with this.


WALSH: I suspect that while they probably would not be particularly happy at this distance from the border, they will likely go along with it because the Syrian regime is really their closest ally now, the Americans have turned their backs on them under the orders of President Trump. And Russia has their backs with their power, too.

This is probably something that has taken a lot of background chats between Moscow and Ankara to define -- and it has quite clearly got United States nowhere near it at all.

Will it last?

That is unclear. It possibly represents a status quo, a stalemate that both sides can probably live with. But it certainly marks a change in the geopolitics of the region.

One important thing to remember here is that Turkey is a NATO member and it is dealing now in a diplomatic settlement with Russia that NATO was created to oppose. And now Russia's military police are patrolling along a long stretch of NATO's southernmost border, because that is what Turkey's border is as well.

A startling chain of events geopolitically and one that potentially ends the Syria crisis if it sustains with Moscow certainly in the driving seat -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Irbil, northern Iraq.


CHURCH: Russia and Turkey are happy with the deal but it does not sound like Russia's allies in Damascus. Are the Kremlin says Syrian president Bashar al-Assad thanked Mr. Putin for the agreement. But Syrian media report a different side of that phone call.

One channel says Mr. Assad told the Russian president he rejects any occupation of Syrian lands. He also spoke to his troops in Idlib province, calling Mr. Erdogan a "slave" to the Americans. He used the word daish, an Arabic term for ISIS.


BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): What I want to say is that when we say that Erdogan is a thief who stole the factories, stole wheat, stole oil in collaboration with daish, now he is stealing the land.


CHURCH: Meantime, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is now in Iraq, where U.S. forces are moving after withdrawing from Syria. In an exclusive interview, CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked Esper to discuss the backlash over the troop pullout.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: How does it feel to see your allies react to what they believe is a betrayal, throwing rotten fruit at you?

How do you react to Russian forces and we have pictures of them, marching nonchalantly into the abandoned U.S. bases?

MARK ESPER, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: So I think you have to go back to the original reason why we partnered with the SDF is going back to the Obama administration carried through into the Trump administration. The fate of ISIS which resulted in the physical destruction of the caliphate.

We didn't sign up to fight a war, to defend the Kurds against the long-standing NATO ally and we certainly didn't sign up to help them establish an antonymous Kurdish state. That was the conflict that the Turks put us in between. An advancing Turkish army opposed by the Kurds, at 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.


CHURCH: Back in Washington, U.S. president Donald Trump faces rare bipartisan criticism for his decision to pull troops out. He is being accused of abandoning the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Mr. Trump's special envoy for Syria took the flak when he spoke to lawmakers.


SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Isn't it fair to say the SDF has been a reliable partner in the fight against ISIS?


MENENDEZ: Isn't it fair to say that we cannot achieve an enduring defeat of ISIS through airpower alone and without some type of ground forces?

JEFFREY: We need ground forces. They do not necessarily have to be American, Senator.

MENENDEZ: That's, right and this is exactly the point. It was the Kurds who were largely our ground forces. It is the Kurds that lost 11,000 to 13,000 of their people. It is the Kurds that were detaining over 10,000 ISIS fighters and families for us. Isn't it true that U.S. troops would be at risk of significantly

higher casualties, in fighting a resurgent ISIS without SDF partners or some similar partner?

JEFFREY: Absolutely, Senator.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): It is my belief that Erdogan's goal is not a safe, zone it is a strip of land from the Iraqi border to the Euphrates under his control that has few, if any Kurds there, where he can relocate 3.5 million Syrian Arab refugees back into the country.

That is his real goal here, is it not?

JEFFREY: He has said, publicly, repeatedly, including in New York at the U.N., that his goal, here today, my assessment is that he will not get that or anything close to that.

RUBIO: But that is what he has said is his goal.

JEFFREY: Absolutely.


CHURCH: After a, break still to, come a top U.S. diplomat's testimony on the Ukraine probe has U.S. lawmakers rattled.


REP. ANDY LEVIN (D-MI): This is my most disturbing day in Congress so far.


CHURCH: What else Democrats are saying about Bill Taylor's explosive testimony. We are back in just a moment.




CHURCH: Well, after a day of shock and awe in the impeachment, inquiry Democrats are getting ready to grill another official. Laura Cooper is in the hot seat on Wednesday. She is the top Pentagon official for Ukraine policy and was involved with overseeing the aid package frozen by the Trump administration.

But Bill Taylor's explosive testimony on Tuesday rattled lawmakers. The top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine said President Trump's claim of no quid pro quo is not true. CNN's Sara Murray has the details.


SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A key impeachment witness telling investigators today he was told aid to Ukraine would not be released until Ukraine publicly announced the political investigations Trump was demanding into the Biden family and 2016.

The top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, offered those details in his opening statement obtained by CNN. He explained why he suspected Trump of taking part in a quid pro quo, something the president has denied.

Taylor told investigators the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, talked to him by phone, quote, "During that phone call, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election," Taylor said.

"Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of investigations. In fact, Ambassador Sondland said everything was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance."

Ukraine's involvement in 2016 is a conspiracy that has been proven false. And Burisma is the Ukrainian energy company that hired former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): You could hear a pin drop, literally, as the ambassador laid out in his opening statement.

MURRAY: A source familiar with Sondland's testimony said Sondland was only speculating about the political investigations.

Sondland also told Taylor the aid may have been frozen because of corruption generally or because the Europeans weren't giving enough money to Ukraine.


MURRAY (voice-over): Taylor's testimony fills in the gaps between his text messages with other diplomats over the summer in which Taylor raised alarm over the delay in money for Ukraine. As the new Ukrainian president was vying for an in-person meeting with President Trump, Taylor texted Sondland: "Are we now saying that security assistance and White House meeting are conditioned on investigations?"

"Call me," Sondland replied. Taylor sounded the alarm again on September 9: "As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."

Hours later, after speaking with Trump, Sondland replied: "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind."

Taylor's appearance behind closed doors left some Democratic lawmakers rattled.

REP. ANDY LEVIN (D-MI): This is the -- my most disturbing day in Congress so far.

MURRAY: Meantime, Republicans said they're still waiting to hear from witnesses closer to the whistle-blower who set off the impeachment inquiry.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): These are the people with supposedly the firsthand knowledge who gave the whistle-blower the information that formed the basis of his complaint.

MURRAY: The White House decided to respond to Bill Taylor's testimony with a statement from press secretary Stephanie Gresham in which she insists that President Trump did nothing wrong. She called Taylor's testimony "a smear campaign from radical, unelected bureaucrats" -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer joins us now from New York.

Great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So we learned Tuesday from top diplomatic key impeachment witness Bill Taylor that military aid to Ukraine was tied directly to a public announcement being made by Ukraine's president on that political investigation into Joe Biden and his son as well as the 2016 election; in other, words a quid pro quo.

How significant is Taylor's testimony and what impact might have on the impeachment inquiry?

ZELIZER: It is very important, it is not new news, but it confirms what we have been learning. It confirms all the allegations that have been made against the president. And for Democrats for sure, to hear this directly from a top diplomat is going to have an impact.

It will continue to fuel the process towards a vote on articles of impeachment and it gives what we call smoking gun evidence that this is what was going on. And again, the question is what happens with Republicans, does this shape them at all, does this impact their political calculations?

CHURCH: And Taylor also revealed details of a phone call he had with the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, where Sondland clarified a point, saying that everything was dependent on that public announcement being made, including the security assistance and a meeting at the White House for President Zelensky.

What was your reaction to that part of Taylor's testimony?

And do you feel that removes any doubt that this was a quid pro quo?

ZELIZER: It does. What it is really looking like is that there was essentially an operation working out of the White House, where this was the deal, that an exchange for recognition, meetings and, more the president was looking for assistance on matters that related to his campaign.

And every piece of evidence that comes forward only confirms, does not deny that.

And so for me at this point, the question really is, what does Congress do about it as opposed to, what is the evidence that we have?

And I think many Democrats for sure are going to feel that way walking out of today's hearings.

CHURCH: All, right we pretty much know where Democrats stand on this. Republicans say they did not hear anything new on Tuesday's testimony.

Is that just politics at play?

ZELIZER: Absolutely. This is consistent. The Republicans have been very steady in defending the president and rejecting what they are often hearing right in front of, them.

And so it is unclear if this shapes Republicans the same way it does Democrats and independents, towards the side of impeachment. But this is politics.

And on the Republican, side that is what you're hearing, you're hearing defensive talking points rather than a real reaction to the evidence, because privately what we hear from all stories is that there are many Republicans who are shaking from what they're hearing from the White House.

CHURCH: And Julian, as the Democrats push forward with their inquiry, public support for Donald Trump's impeachment is apparently growing. A CNN new poll indicates 50 percent of Americans say the president should be impeached and removed from office; that is up 14 percentage points from March.

It is important, of course, to keep in mind where Republicans stand on the issue; in that poll, just 6 percent say they support impeaching and removing the president. Here's a look at Mr. Trump's overall approval rating. 41 percent say they approve of the way he is handling his job as president, while 57 percent disapprove.


CHURCH: So, Julian, these numbers very similar to the recent poll results from FOX News.

But we have been burned before, haven't we, by poll results, because some people surveyed do not necessarily reveal their true feelings or intentions, so how reliable are poll numbers at this juncture?

ZELIZER: Even if they are reliable, they tell two different stories. On the one, hand they show growing support for impeachment nationally and even removal, which is the second step. But within the Republican Party, the support remains firm and that is

enough to protect the president from losing his job, because the Senate is controlled by Republicans and they won't vote to remove him if public opinion within the Republican Party remains the same.

In terms of the election and how this impacts his overall standing, there are concerns that people are not all being honest in the polls; the polls aren't really reading what's going on in the electorate.

But that is all speculation as well. The polls that we do have show a president who is very unpopular outside his base and is very vulnerable going into 2020.

CHURCH: Julian, we always appreciate your analysis and perspective, many thanks.

ZELIZER: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: Chile's president is offering a package of reforms in an effort to calm anti-government protests. The demonstrations began over a fare hike in public transportation but have escalated to calls for President Sebastian Pinera's resignation.

At least 15 people have died. Mr. Pinera is proposing a guaranteed minimum wage, a hike in state pensions and a stabilization of electricity costs.


SEBASTIAN PINERA, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is true that the issues have not started in recent days. They have been accumulating for decades.

It is also true that the different governments were not and we were not able to recognize the situation in all of its magnitude. The situation of inequality, of abuse, has already led to a genuine and authentic expression of millions and millions of Chileans. I recognize this lack of vision and I apologize to my country.


CHURCH: A curfew for the capital has been extended for a fourth day and more protests and a general strike are expected in the coming hours. CNN Espanol's Dario Klein has more now from Santiago.


DARIO KLEIN, CNN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: Defying the state of emergency, dozens of Chileans are here in the Italian square. They are celebrating, they are chanting, they are saying, Chile has woken up.

You can see on my right, you can see hundreds of people, that they are making the policemen, the military police, they are making them go back. They have been singing, jumping all the time, making noise, saying, Chile, wake up, saying that the president has to resign and they are defying the military police.

This has been peace until now. The police is not reacting, the Carabineros are not reacting right now. But in the past days what has been happening is that they started to throw pepper spray and water and sometimes shooting bullets.

So this is the situation here. There are 84 people who have been injured with bullets, with plastic bullets; another 15 people are dead right now because of this social explosion that has been going on here in Santiago and other parts of the country.

Another six cities have been in a state of emergency also. This is the situation right now, a situation in the country that Pinera has called an oasis in Latin America. Actually, this doesn't look like any oasis; it looks more like a jungle, a jungle of people that are asking the president to resign -- Dario Klein, CNN, Santiago.


CHURCH: And the scene is similar in Lebanon, where thousands of protesters are demanding the ousting of the country's political elite.

Plus, the E.U. does not want to be blamed for a no-deal Brexit and now it must decide whether to grant the U.K. the extension it requested. The latest from Brussels -- just ahead.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone, I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. Russia and Turkey have reached a deal to remove Kurdish fighters from the Syrian border with Turkey. Kurdish YPG fighters will have to move 30 kilometers away from the border. Russia is to carry out separate patrols with Turkey and Syria to enforce the deal.

More protests are expected in Chile, Wednesday. A proposed fare hike in public transportation sparked the demonstrations. The Senate cancelled the increase Monday night. President Sebastian Pinera announced a reform package Tuesday in an effort to calm the demonstrations.

Brexit is now on hold as E.U. leaders consider yet another delay. Boris Johnson had to pause the legislation process after the British Prime Minister's plans to fast track it was thwarted by Parliament. Yet for the first time, the House of Commons did approve the terms of the withdrawal agreement. Well, European Council President Donald Tusk is recommending E.U. leaders approve a flexible extension for Brexit until January 31st. Nina dos Santos reports now from Brussels.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: After two days of watching and waiting to see how those key votes in Westminster fared, eventually E.U. officials did make it clear late on Tuesday that they would entertain the extension request that the U.K. had put forward over the course of the weekend. That extension requests up until January the 31st of next year. Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council took to Twitter very publicly to say that he would be using a written procedure to communicate with the other 27 heads of E.U. States government to talk about this extension. That essentially means that they're going to be bypassing the need to have another costly and time-consuming E.U. summit, especially considering as they already had an E.U. summit just last week.

However, given that E.U. ambassadors already agreed to this written procedure back on Sunday, it's unlikely that E.U. member states will break ranks here. The European Parliament for its part has made it clear this week that it is not planning on ratifying any piece of legislation that could be subject to further changes from a turbulent Westminster. It wants the final say, and for all of those reasons, the timings could well slip well beyond October 31st, the next technical Brexit deadline. And for that reason, the E.U. is determined not to lay itself open to being blamed for a no deal exit. Nina dos Santos, CNN, in Brussels.



CHURCH: Thom Brooks is the Dean of Durham Law School at Durham University in England, where he's also a professor of law and government. He joins me now from Nice in France. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: Bonjour. So, it's now up to the E.U. to decide whether to approve a flexible extension for Brexit until January 31st. But we know Boris Johnson does not really want an extension, and he's talking about calling a general election. What's the strategy here and the likely outcome do you think?

BROOKS: Well, you're right, Boris Johnson wants to call a general election. The problem is that the Conservatives in -- when they formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats in 2010, stopped the ability of a Prime Minister to call a general election. It will be for a majority vote in the -- supermajority vote in the House of Commons to do that. So, he's not able to call an election even if he wants to. He's been trying to put this as he's just trying to do the will of the people and somehow being prevented by Members of Parliament. So, people versus the Parliament kind of a track to try to win support.

He thinks that if he went to a general election, showing how much he's been for Brexit, that somehow the public would rally behind him. The problem is he's trying to really kind of ram things through without anyone seeing what they are. So, the government is not publishing any economic analysis as to what they think the impact will be of their plans. They have given M.P.s only a couple of days to -- what they had hoped, only a couple days to debate and then pass the plan whether it was a provisional past subject to a final stage of the bill being considered. But I think his plans are in a lot of disarray, that the more people have had time to look at what's being proposed, there's being more opposition, the GOP Northern Ireland now against. And I think the E.U. will grant an extension if only to not be seen as the fall guy.

CHURCH: Right, put it back in Britain's court, right? So, why is the opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn showing enthusiasm for a general election given he and his party are, what, about 15 points behind the Conservatives?

BROOKS: Well, they've been in this position before. So, in 2017, Theresa May was almost 30 points ahead of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party widespread belief that Labour would be really killed off and the election and what was very different was Theresa May and her government consumed by Brexit, which is a very big topic. It obviously in and around Westminster, but for the rest of the country, I'm far more interested in issues around education and housing, and employment, and police. And things that have not been getting attention, laws that have not been changed, revised, updated, funding has not been forthcoming as all energy sapped away from Brexit.

And the Labour Party instead focused on those issues that are more concerned for the rest of the country beyond Brexit, because it could focus on that. And I think that that will be -- he's probably thinking that if they stick with that kind of message that that might help them. I think it's a difficult one right now, because I think that the Brexit issue needs to be resolved. One way or another, either Britain is going to be going out, or Britain is going to be staying in. And I think I support those voices who think that a referendum of some kind to draw a line under things is probably the better course of strategy, but he clearly fancies his chances. The last time, it turned things around quite dramatically, he must think he can do so again.

CHURCH: Thom Brooks, I have a feeling we'll be talking about this very soon again, and it still won't be resolved. Thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

BROOKS: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, for the first time in more than 10 years, someone besides Benjamin Netanyahu will try to form a government in Israel. Israel's President will ask the leader of the Blue & White Party Benny Gantz to try to put together a coalition. Prime Minister Netanyahu called two elections this year and twice tried to form a government and failed. Gantz has the support of 54 lawmakers in Parliament, seven seats short of a majority.

Well, the Alpine country of Switzerland is especially vulnerable to the worsening climate crisis. But environmental activists there are doing something about it at the ballot box. CNN's Isa Soares has the details.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Call it a Green Wave, some even say a tsunami.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a step into a new future, into a better future for our planet.

SOARES: As Switzerland's two Green Parties made historic gains in Sunday's Parliamentary elections.

REGULA RYTZ, PRESIDENT, GREEN PARTY (through translator): I really think people have realized that our economy has worked against nature for dozens of years, and we cannot go on like this.


SOARES: The far-right Swiss People's Party is still number one in Parliament, but lost ground as the Green and Green Liberal Parties seized on voters' concerns about the environment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Climate change, I think is pretty obvious that it's the most important topic of all in our time and age. There's really not any time to lose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, monument preservation, (INAUDIBLE) preservation is very important.

SOARES: Voters in Switzerland are now acutely aware of the climate crisis, feeling their country's temperatures rise twice as quickly as the global average. And watching Swiss glaciers melt away at unprecedented rates.

Last month, dozens of activists staged a funeral on the rapidly melting Pizol Glacier. While in the Swiss capital of Bern, tens of thousands march in a climate strike, many of them a new generation of voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This whole movement started with the young people and it's been continued by young people.

SOARES: With increase numbers in Parliament, the Greens plan to push for new environmental protections, but economists sworn regulation should be pursued carefully.

DANIEL KALT, CHIEF ECONOMIST, UBS SWITZERLAND: As long as you don't go with prescriptions and bands. I don't think that this is the right way. You should -- you should set market incentives to kind of incentivize not just the financial sector but companies or also the consumers as an overall to become more sustainable, to become more aware what their activities do with the environment.

SOARES: Well, their gains in Parliament are unprecedented. It remains to be seen if the Greens will claim one of the seven seats in Switzerland's national cabinet. It would mark a shift in six decades of politics. A first for either Green Party. And perhaps a sign that their wave has staying power. Isa Soares, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: U.S. President Trump's top trade advisor admits he made up a

nonexistent expert to bolster his case about China's threat to the U.S. economy. Hear what China has to say about the matter, that's next. And protesters in Lebanon are fed up. Why they're demanding change to the sectarian political leadership? We're back with that and more in just a moment.



CHURCH: Well, now to an awkward political misstep by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, China's foreign ministry is slamming him for citing a non-existent expert in his books to bolster his arguments about Beijing's threat to the U.S. economy.

Navarro has been a key player in President Donald Trump's trade talks. In a statement to CNN, he admits he made up Ron Vara, an anagram of his own name for entertainment value. And CNN's Steven Jiang is live this hour in Beijing with reaction.

So, Steven, China doesn't find this very funny at all. So, what's this all about, what's it saying, and also, what is the possible impact on that newly hammered out trade deal?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, this is quite a bizarre episode with the Mr. Trump's top trade adviser quoting a fictional character in his books on China, basically, reinforcing the author's notions about the danger of Chinese goods and Chinese policies.

Now, Navarro is not a traditional China expert. He didn't study China, doesn't speak the language, had never visited China until he became a Trump official. And he's always been viewed here as a staunch anti-China figure in the White House.

So, not surprisingly the Chinese are really seizing this moment and blasting his credibility. Here is what a foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday.


HUA CHUNYING, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FOREIGN MINISTRY INFORMATION DEPARTMENT, CHINA (through translator): I think this also reflects that certain people in the U.S. have tried all methods without having any limits to suppress and tarnish China because of their own interests or political intentions.

They fabricate and sell lies, even make policies based on lies. This is not only ridiculous but also dangerous.


JIANG: So, the government here is not only trying to discredit Navarro but the U.S. policies presumably influenced by him or with direct input from him at a time as you were saying when the two countries are engaged in the trade war even though there's a choose a ceasefire right now.

But if the Chinese government's intention is to change Mr. Trump's mind or U.S. policies towards China, they may be in for a disappointment because Navarro's book struck a chord with Trump, precisely, because his ideas matched what Trump was already thinking.

And dealing with China more forcefully is probably one of this rare bipartisan consensus right now in Washington. Now, of course, the Chinese government could be also trying to score domestically where the audience here trying to highlight the sinister nature of American officials and politicians, their evil attentions and containing a rising China, rallying the public here around the government and President Xi Jinping at a time when they are facing a lot of issues here including a slowing economy. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, it doesn't reflect well on the White House at all, does it? They haven't responded yet. So, what's China's likely next step?

JIANG: Well, Rosemary, at this point, I think it's more of a propaganda war against Navarro and his credibility. It's a little hard to imagine what concretes steps may followed, but if you ask out on us, they may tell you when it comes to publishing anti -- staunchly anti-American books articles, quoting questionable sources, the Chinese may be already way ahead in this game. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Steven Jiang, many thanks do you, bringing us up to date on that rather unusual story. Appreciate.

Well, Bolivia's government is asking the Organization of American States to audit the vote in Sunday's election. Angry protesters accused President Evo Morales of trying to rig the election.

The counting of ballots was suspended after a quick count showed Mr. Morales and his chief rival were headed for a second round. But when ballot counting resumed, it showed a lead for Mr. Morales that avoided a runoff.

The board's vice president resigned in protest. A televised address by the president is expected in a few hours from now.

Well, a murder suspect freed from a Hong Kong prison, says he will return to Taiwan and turn himself in. Chan Tong-kai bowed to cameras as he apologized. He's accused of killing his girlfriend last year in Taiwan. After she died, he returned to Hong Kong where authorities could only charge him with money laundering for stealing his girlfriend's cash and property.

For that, he served a 19-month sentence. His case led to that controversial extradition bill that sparked months of protests in Hong Kong.


CHAN TONG-KAI, MURDER SUSPECT IN TAIWAN (through translator): I understand that because of my irreversible wrongdoing, I have caused huge pain and I've been blaming myself. Therefore, I am willing to pay the price for my impulsiveness and my wrongdoing, which is to turn myself into the Taiwanese authorities and serve my sentence there. I hope Poon Hiu-wing's family will feel relieved now, and Poon can rest in peace.



CHURCH: Chan also asked Hong Kong citizens for forgiveness, but he did not address the months of unrest that followed his arrest.

Well, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters in Lebanon are not satisfied with the prime minister's announced reforms. The largest demonstrations since 2005 were triggered by a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls.

But as Ben Wedeman reports, the protest have expanded targeting the country's political class.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Whatever's on your mind, you can write it down on a long sheet of white paper stretching along the side of Beirut Martyr's Square. An initiative by the civil society group, Beirut Medinati or Beirut is my city.

NAGHAM ABOUD, BEIRUT MADINATI CAMPAIGN, LEBANON: If the politicians don't want to hear us, they can see what is our demands today.

WEDEMAN: Monday, Prime Minister Saad Hariri went on television to insist he did hear the demands from Lebanon's increasingly restive streets. Announcing a set of reforms designed to address the flagging economy and clamped down on official corruption.

But that fall was far short of what those in the street are demanding, they want the entire political elite to go.

DAYNA AYASH, CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVIST, LEBANON: The fact that you can come together now and say, yes, we can do these reforms, only is proof of how corrupt you really are because you never did them before. It just goes to show that you've had this power and you never exerted it, except to fill your own pockets.

WEDEMAN: The gap between the ruling class and the rest of the population is becoming a yawning chasm

GILBERT DOUMIT, CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVIST, LEBANON: It's too late -- it's too (INAUDIBLE). We're not going to take it and we don't trust them. Look at those people, no one trust that they will do anything.

RASHID QASIM, PROTESTER, LEBANON: We're done. We're fed up with this. We need reforms -- a real reforms.

WEDEMAN: Lebanon's October Revolution has taken on a life of its own. Where public spaces have been reclaimed, a sense of community rekindle. Prime Minister Saad Hariri, came out with a raft of reforms hoping it might bring the protests that have been going on across Lebanon to an end. But he didn't find many takers here, the protests carry on.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.


CHURCH: Just ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM.




TRUMP: No quid pro quo. No quid pro quo. No quid pro quo. There is no pro quo.

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Just turned into a full-blown threat, a full-blown quid pro quo, and I just don't see it.


CHURCH: It's the phrase that's raising alarm on Pennsylvania Avenue. But how is it playing on Main Street? We'll take a look. That's next on CNN NEWSROOM.


CHURCH: Well, if chirping birds ever wake you up too early in the morning, be glad you don't have one of these outside your window.

That ear-splitting screech belongs to the white bellbird. Scientists say it appears to be the loudest in the world, peaking at 125 decibels, the level where pain begins. It's louder than a jackhammer.

Thankfully, the mating call is limited to the Amazon. The bird flirts by screaming in the face of potential partners. Delightful, isn't it?


CHURCH: Well, it seems that you can't turn on the T.V. these days without hearing the phrase, quid pro quo, and even those in the no can't seem to get it out without stumbling. Jeanne Moos has our report.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's enough to make you say, quid pro, no!

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A quid pro quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no quid pro quo.


REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): This is the quid and that's the pro.

MOOS: Pity the missing quo.

TRUMP: There's no quid pro quo.

MOOS: What with the constant bombardment?

TRUMP: It was quid pro quo. That's all you heard about.

MOOS: Trump supporters even know to join in.

TRUMP: Now, that's what you call, quid pro quo.


MOOS: Though President Trump on occasion --

TRUMP: There is no pro quo.

MOOS: Forgets the quid. Maybe that's why he had it on a notecard the other day.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, CHIEF ANCHOR, MSNBC: The armed with a handwritten note that read, in part, no quid pro quo.

MOOS: Quid pro quo is from Latin, meaning, something for something. Think of it as you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quid pro quo. I tell you things. You tell me things.

MOOS: But there's something about trying to say it.

CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: President Trump had ordered a quid po crow -- a quid pro quo.

MOOS: That makes even a pro say, quid pro, oh-oh.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Has said there was nick -- no quick pro quo.

HOYER: He doesn't say that was the prid quo quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May have been a prid crow -- quid pro quo.

MOOS: Stumbling not just once.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say there's no prid quo -- quid pro quo.

MOOS: But twice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That don't require crid -- quid pro quo. MOOS: Forget the Three Stooges: Rudy, President Trump, and Attorney General Barr got labeled quid, pro, and quo in this cartoon.

Stephen Colbert pretended he was the president's acting chief of staff.

COLBERT: My point is we're not quid amateur quos. Were quid pro quos. We're really good at it.

MOOS: But is it possible to become allergic?

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, THE VIEW, ABC: This guy is saying I don't think you should withhold us the money. That's a quid pro quo. Gesundheit.

MOOS: Joy may be on to something here. Maybe every time we hear quid pro quo, we should all say, gesundheit.


MOOS: OK, that's good. And even if it's not good --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That there was a quid quo -- quid pro quo.

MOOS: Gesundheit. Jeanne Moos, CNN.

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Never in the sense of a quid pro crow.

BEHAR: Gesundheit.

MOOS: New York.


CHURCH: And we'll keep saying it. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter and I'll be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN, stick around.