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Boris Johnson Threatens A General Election And What It Means For Brexit; Donald Trump's Republican Allies Ramp Up Their Attacks On The Impeachment Inquiry; Outrage Right From The Middle East To Latin America, Protesters Around The World Are Demanding Change. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 24, 2019 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: ... on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @JakeTapper. You can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Our coverage on CNN

continues right now. Thanks so much for watching. We will see you tomorrow.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, giving up on his do or die promise, Boris Johnson threatens a general election and what

it means for Brexit.

Donald Trump's Republican allies ramp up their attacks on the Impeachment Inquiry.

And outrage right from the Middle East to Latin America. Protesters right around the world are demanding change.

Live from Atlanta, I'm Paula Newton in for Bianca this evening. Thanks for joining us.

Now the deadlock over Brexit could mean the U.K. is headed for yes, a new general election. Now, the British government will put forward a motion in

Parliament Monday, asking lawmakers to agree to an election on December 12. If they agree, and that's no sure thing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is

promising to give lawmakers more time to debate that all important Brexit bill. Listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The way to get this done, the way to get Brexit done is I think, to be reasonable with Parliament and say if

they genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal, they can have it.

But they have to agree to a general election on December 12th.

The reason for having that deadline is because otherwise, I don't think the people of this country are going to believe that parliament is really going

to do it by that deadline, because they spent three and a half years failing to do it. So let's get it done. And let's come out of the E.U.


NEWTON: Okay, now the Prime Minister will need the support of the opposition, Labour Party as we were saying if he wants that new election,

but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he first needs to hear from the E.U. about that request for a Brexit delay before he says that he can make up

his mind. Here is how he explained it earlier.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, LABOUR PARTY: We are not resisting the chance to have an election. We want an election because we

want to take our case to people of this country. But we do not want this country to be in any danger of crashing out of the E.U. without a deal

because of all the damage that will do to jobs, services and trade all over this country.


NEWTON: Okay, now as for the European Union, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker blasted Brexit Thursday -- you know, keep

in mind this is his final speech.

Juncker said quote, "Brexit is a shame. It is the most difficult problem we ever had to face. I don't think Brexit is in the interest of Britain or

in the interest of the European Union. All of us will pay the price."

Mr. Juncker did though go on, to kind of end on a note of optimism, adding that although Brexit could have split Europe forever, it did not saying

unity had prevailed.

Nic Robertson joins me now from London. You know, another day, another crisis, another scenario.

Now stripped down to its core, today's development was an ultimatum, right, Nic, from Boris Johnson to his opponents in Parliament. Can it work? Will

he get the election he wants?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it's another day, almost several -- several paths that lead out from this. So can he get the

support he needs in Parliament? It seems very unlikely.

Jeremy Corbyn is not likely to support it right now. Fundamental reason being that he wouldn't do very well if there was an election. Boris

Johnson is doing better in the polls than Jeremy Corbyn is; however, there's some difficulties with what Jeremy Corbyn said.

He is waiting to hear from the European Union tomorrow, Friday. However, it appears the European Union won't give their decision on a Brexit

extension tomorrow, Friday. They might wait for clarity after Britain's Parliament has that vote, whether or not we will have a general election

early next week, so that they may have to wait for.

Also, Jeremy Corbyn says that he wants to make sure no deal is taken off the table. And that may be complicated because he says, it is embedded in

the withdrawal agreement legislation.

So he may be referring to the end of the transition period, which is December next year - that will be very complicated to extract that. So

this may be code for yes, I'd love an election, but I'm not going to go for one.

And Boris Johnson has already called him on him on that essentially saying that he believes that the reason Jeremy Corbyn wouldn't do it is because he

won't do well in the election. That may be correct, but it doesn't mean the impasse is any less.

NEWTON: Yes, exhausting week and yes, another one to come. Nic, I do note that in fact, the pound you know, slipped a little bit on this news, so

clearly a lot of uncertainty out there and no sure thing.



NEWTON: Nic, really appreciate you staying late for us in London. Now to another British story here. The first victims found inside a trucking

container in Southeast England are on their way to the hospital to be identified.

Now U.K. police believe all 39 victims were in fact, Chinese nationals. They are extending the custody of the truck driver, arrested on suspicion

of murder.

Now investigators believe the truck originated in Ireland while the container itself started in Belgium. Belgium prosecutors are launching

their own human trafficking investigation.

The Belgian port authorities don't believe the victims got into the container at that port.


DIRK DE FAUW, CHAIRMAN, ZEEBRUGGE PORT: We have private firms and we have police with dogs. If they smell something at that time, they open the


Even when they go to the scanning, they can see if there are something hot in it, they can open it. But with a box so close like this trailer, it is

not possible. Everything is so cold inside like this -- the total of the box, so you have no difference and it's not possible to detect something in


If it was so easy to get on that ship in Zeebrugge, there will be no 50 migrants in a month, but there will be thousands like there is in France.


NEWTON: Now, meanwhile, as you can imagine, China is demanding its own comprehensive investigation and as David Culver reports, this tragedy has

many questioning why people might leave.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Officials here in China say they are still working to confirm details on this new revelation by police in the

U.K. that the 39 victims found dead in a container are believed to be Chinese nationals.

Chinese Embassy officials in the U.K. are headed to the scene and say that they received the news with heavy hearts.

Meantime Chinese Embassy official in Belgium, where the container was shipped from are demanding in a statement that Belgian Police fully

investigate the case.

This investigation brings up memories of a similar incident in 2000; fifty eight Chinese nationals found dead and a cargo container in Dover, U.K.

Now, seven people were later convicted for their deaths.

For China, it is not only a tragedy, but this most recent case also raises questions as to why people might leave. The country just celebrated 70

years since the founding of the People's Republic. And along with it, the prosperity that has come too many Chinese people.

The Chinese government often touting that some 850 million people have come out of poverty. But that still leaves millions more who might flee for

economic reasons or ethnic minorities who have faced increased oppression in recent years.

It's not clear if the victims were among those groups, but that is certainly a question that will be asked. And that's a topic that's

trending on social media here in China.

Some posting in disbelief that in today's China, people would leave for economic reasons, others circulating conspiracy theories, many demanding

answers from the U.K.

It seems Chinese officials here do not want this to circulate too widely. As we've been reporting on this topic, they have been censoring our

coverage, suggesting their concern as to how this might be received by Chinese residents. David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


NEWTON: And to Turkey now, where an adviser to the President is telling CNN exclusively that Turkey will in fact investigate claims of alleged war

crimes in Syria.

Now, this as the President vowed to fight what he called any remaining terrorists who have not withdrawn from the safe zone agreed upon with those


Now, the Syrian Democratic force is made up primarily of Kurdish fighters, say in spite of that ceasefire, Turkey continues to launch attacks in

Northeast Syria. Our Sam Kylie is in Turkey for us. He told us about the precarious position that both Kurdish fighters and of course, civilians are

now in, as alliances in the region have so dramatically changed.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Paula, President Erdogan says that his troops will now be going meter by meter in his words

to clear out the remaining elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces from the territory that they were supposed to have left under the agreement with

President Donald Trump.

But there is a much more important agreement, which was struck in Sochi with Vladimir Putin and with the endorsement of Syrian President Bashar al-

Assad out of Damascus, which is to get Russian military police to patrol the borders to allow Syrian government forces in to secure the border


But more importantly, to try to get the Syrian Democratic Forces dominated by Kurdish fighters to withdraw from 32 kilometers, a band of territory

right along this Syrian-Turkish border that runs 32 kilometers deep into Syrian territory.

The Turks want that completely demilitarized of the SDF by Saturday, and that's going to be highly problematic, not least because many ordinary

civilian Kurds are extremely fearful of the presence not only of the Turkish forces, the forces that -- the proxy forces that the Turks are

using, mostly Arabs to fight the infantry part of their battle on the ground.


KILEY: But they're also extremely anxious about the presence of their own government's forces which of course, have a record of atrocious human

rights abuses over many years.

So the real issue will be will the Kurds fully withdraw inside or from that 32 kilometers territory - that band of territory along the border and

prevent any further bloodshed. And if that happens, it's all got to have happened by mid Saturday.


NEWTON: And our thanks to Sam Kiley there. Now, witnesses testifying here in the United States in that Impeachment Inquiry have made some damaging

revelations about President Donald Trump in private hearings.

And House Democrats could soon throw open the doors. They are planning to hold public hearings as early as mid-November and could call back several

key diplomats including the top U.S. Envoy to Ukraine.

Bill Taylor has directly linked President Donald Trump to a quid pro quo demand on Ukraine to receive vital military aid.

Now, President Trump has urged Republicans to in his words, fight harder to defend him against impeachment. And today, a key Senator, Lindsey Graham

answered that call.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I have introduced a resolution today with Senator McConnell and the purpose of the resolution is to let the House

know that the process they are engaging in regarding the attempted impeachment of President Trump is out of bounds, is inconsistent with due

process as we know it. It is a Star Chamber type inquiry and it's a substantial deviation from what the House has done in the past regarding

impeachment of other Presidents.


NEWTON: Okay, that was a red line right there. Our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju talked to Senator Graham today. I suppose the

quote would be, "Game on."

But Manu, this will no doubt please the President, but is it a smart move for Republicans, really given the weight of the evidence against the

President so far?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But what Republicans are trying to do here is argue about the process, they are contending that

the process is not appropriate. They've been attacking the House for not having a vote to formally authorize an Impeachment Inquiry that's been done

in the past in the Nixon proceedings, during the Clinton proceedings, and they're saying it should be done during the Trump proceedings.

Now, there is no requirement in the House rules or in the U.S. Constitution that requires us to take a vote to formally authorize an Impeachment

Inquiry and the House Democrats have no interest in doing it for a variety of reasons.

But nevertheless, well, that's the argument they're making, but they are not necessarily weighing in on about as much is the substance that

revelations are coming out day after day from some of these witnesses.

Now, one of the big things of course that has come out in the last several is the testimony from Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in the E.U. from the US

who represent -- and who is in Ukraine -- who said that in his testimony behind closed doors that the President appeared to -- he had been told, had

wanted to withhold military aid that is vital for Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine announcing investigations that could potentially help the President


Now, when I've asked the Republicans today about that, they tried to discredit that testimony, including Lindsey Graham, who is calling it

essentially hearsay because Taylor did not hear from the President himself.

So you're hearing a more vigorous defense, including this resolution aiming to attack the process in the House -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, the strategy is clear. And yet of course, the Impeachment Inquiry proceeds at pace. Manu, thanks for the update. Really appreciate


Now, the House in fact, though, did pause its Impeachment Inquiry as Washington and the whole nation mourn Representative Elijah Cummings.

Now the Democratic Chair of the House Oversight Committee passed away last week. He is now lying in state at the Capitol before his funeral, Friday.

Now Republicans and Democrats alike were praising his character, integrity and lifelong commitment to Civil Rights.

Cummings was a powerful voice against what he considered President Trump's abuse of power. He recently said and I'm quoting here, "When we're dancing

with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?"

Elijah Cummings was 68 years old.

And we turn to wildfires now that yes, continue to rage in both Northern and Southern California. Now, near Los Angeles, there were mandatory

evacuation orders for some families and of course complicating the uncertainty for them are the millions across the state is California's

largest utility started another round of intentional power cuts to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.

Now north of San Francisco, thousands of people were forced from their homes as heavy winds fueled a wildfire in Sonoma County.


NEWTON: We want to go straight to our Dan Simon in Northern California now for us on the ground. It's been quite a day for you, Dan. I've been

watching it. What's the worst case scenario here when these fires over the next few days, especially for those residents who must be watching it so

anxiously by now.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Paula, not surprisingly, the worst case scenario is that these winds pick up again and then push this fire to new


We are in Sonoma County. This is the heart of wine country and you can see the fire swept through this area behind me destroying this house. There

have been some property losses. You can see behind me some more charred area.

I can tell you, Paula, the winds right now they have died down and so crews hoping to get some improvement on the containment lines. Last check, it

was still zero percent. Hopefully, they've made some progress.

But the wind is expected to kick up sometime on Sunday, and we know that PG&E, the utility is expected to cut power for a wide swath of this region

once again, to try to prevent some of these fires from breaking out.

Now, to be clear, we don't know exactly how this fire broke out. We do know that PG&E did cut power for some parts of this region, whether or not

it was included in this area, we just don't know yet or whether or not a power line went down when the winds kicked up. We just have to wait and


But right now crews are doing the best to try to prevent these fires from spreading further -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, I bet Dan, it continues to be a contentious issue there in that state about how these fires are started. And you know, the

involvement of the utilities, if any. Dan, appreciate it.

Now, enough is enough, it is a cry ringing out across the globe right now with the wave of protests happening in countries right around the world.


NEWTON: Okay, from Hong Kong to Beirut to Santiago, protesters right around the world are taking to the streets venting anger at their


Now, we must be clear of course, each protest has its own aims, grievances and demands, but we are watching demonstrators in countries spanning the

globe who have finally said enough and they are not going to take it anymore.

In Lebanon, the President Michel Aoun told protesters they are being heard and promised to fight state corruption, which he said had eaten the country

to the bone.


MICHEL AOUN, PRESIDENT OF LEBANON (through translator): I heard many calls for regime change. The regime doesn't change by protesting on the ground.

Sure, our regime needs developing because it has been years in paralysis.


NEWTON: Meanwhile, in Chile, a week of deadly protest continues as anger over the cost of living and income inequality is boiling over.

At this moment, you see the pictures right there, the government has extended the curfew for the capital, Santiago into its sixth straight


And in nearby Bolivia, tensions have escalated over the country's elections. Furious protestors accused the President of rigging Sunday's

vote. Evo Morales has declared victory, but says he is open to holding a runoff vote if needed.


NEWTON: Now we want to narrow our focus to South America. Eric Farnsworth is the Vice President of the American Society and Council of the Americas.

He joins me now for today's debrief on those protests.

Eric, always good to see you. You know, this has been an incredible reckoning for so many countries, they should now take note and let's go

first to Chile.

It's been interesting to see these protests take traction and we just saw those live pictures. Again, you have tear gas and water cannons in the

streets. The rage -- the rage seems to be so pent up. Why?


something that seems to have been building for some time.

You know, from the outside, we look at Chile and we see a success story. We see the star of the region, social indicators are higher than anybody

else. The economy has been growing. It is well-governed. You know, the transition of power and the wealthy have done well and poverty has been


So at the ends of the economic spectrum, people have done okay in Chile, it's the big middle that indeed is frustrated because their quality of life

seems to have stagnated.

And so the recent round of increase in fares for subways and public transportation seems to have really lit a spark that has now really built

into a much broader nationwide protest and as you say, it's really brought to the surface some long pent up feelings.

NEWTON: Yes, I want you to listen now to the country's President, because it's not to be said, the politicians seemed to indicate that look, they

know they have a problem and are trying to get control of this. Take a listen.


SEBASTIAN PINERA, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is true that the various governments were not able and currently unable to recognize the

magnitude of the situation. The situation of inequality and of abuse, which has led to a genuine and authentic expression from millions of

Chileans to acknowledge this lack of vision, and I ask my compatriots for forgiveness.


NEWTON: You know, Eric, how far can the contrition go? Is there any sign that they're going to get the substantial reforms that -- let's face it --

they have been promising for so many years?

FARNSWORTH: Well, you're right and that's part of the problem, the unmet expectations that have been dashed for so long and so often.

Look, this is a pretty bold statement by the President taking blame, showing contrition, saying he is sorry, asking for forgiveness. You don't

often see that in the Latin America context.

But the reforms that he has announced, the increasing social safety net provisions are going to take some time to work their way through the


Meanwhile, don't forget, Chile has its own history in terms of oppression and repression. I should say, not during this government, but in previous

eras -- 1970s and 1980s.

And so things like water cannons and military in the streets, really scratches, you know, a scab and the country that people really don't like.

They thought they were long past that. And so these pictures are particularly worrisome from that perspective, too, not to suggest that they

are going back to the past. But there is a history there.

NEWTON: Yes. And we are looking at those live pictures right now. I want to turn to Bolivia. We've seen some protests in the streets there as well.

I mean, that's a political deadlock, but it's a reaction, right, to a leader who continually runs for office and in terms of the factional

warfare, that also seems quite incendiary.

FARNSWORTH: Yes, you're exactly right. And the spark here is quite different from Chile, no doubt, but in some ways, it reacts to the same


Bolivia's economy is slowing as well. The unmet expectations of the people and frankly, Evo Morales has been in power for a long time and people are

just kind of getting tired of his governance, tired of the corruption, tired of the fact that he keeps running for office even when the

Constitution says he can't.

And now the possibility that this election has actually been stolen or is in the process of being stolen, I think people have said enough, we've had

it. It's time for new government in this country.

NEWTON: Eric, I'm pretty much out of time, but very quickly, we have this situation obviously in places even like Brazil or Argentina where there is

a lot of unrest. Do you see this as a trend to come in the weeks and months to come?

FARNSWORTH: I think it's a season of discontent, no doubt, economic growth with high commodities, prices has now returned to zero or in some cases

recession. People are tired of it. They think that they were promised a different approach that they're not receiving and their expectations have

not been met. Governance has not done that yet. They need to change.

NEWTON: Right. Okay, Eric, and unfortunately, we will have to leave it there.


NEWTON: So we'll continue talking about it. Appreciate it.

Now, when THE BRIEF returns, Spain exhumes the remains of a divisive figure exposing old wounds in a bid to heal. We will tell you about that in a




NEWTON: And finally, tonight, we take you to Spain to tell you how the world changed this day in that Kingdom, one name still ignites bitter and

deep divisions. Franco.

The remains of Spain's former dictator General Francisco Franco were exhumed earlier, 44 years after his funeral, they were moved from a vast

mausoleum to a far more modest grave north of Madrid.

Spain's socialist government making good on its promise to do this.

Now arguing that the country should no longer glorify by a man who many see as fascist, Franco ruled the country for nearly four decades from the late

1930s and thousands of executions were carried out by his nationalist regime.

Some Spaniards, if you can believe it do admire him saying he brought the country together. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He was the only head of state who worked for unity among all Spanish people and the for the good of the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's important to be here to pay tribute to a Spanish general who saved Spain from the communist hurts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Franco created Social Security. Franco developed lots of roads. He created reservoirs. He provide



NEWTON: Franco was loved and loathed and from a painful past, for so many years, now Spain has tried to move on.

Maybe closing one chapter will help towards bringing reconciliation and maybe just maybe a more you unified future.

That's THE BRIEF for today. I'm Paula Newton, "World Sports" is up next.