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U.S. Troops in Syria Heading to Iraq; Impeachment Inquiry; Poll: Support Increasing for Trump Impeachment; Warren Demands Answers About American Weaponry in Hands of Rival Militia Groups in Yemen. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 24, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause, live from Studio 7 at CNN World Headquarters.
Ahead this, hour call it the Trump doctrine: the U.S. president is claiming a great outcome from Syria.
Mass murder in the back of a truck. U.K. police find dozens of dead bodies found in the truck.
And a dramatic protest U.S. Republicans, stormed a secure room in the Capitol, demanding more access and transparency to the impeachment process, access that they already have.
VAUSE: Donald Trump has described that situation in north Syria being a schoolyard brawl. That might be accurate if a playground fight ended with innocent civilians dead. After allowing Turkey and Russia to take control, Trump declared victory in Syria, by saying, "Someone else should fight over the bloodstained sand."
He's happy to wash his hands, let Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran sort it out.
The Syrian Kurds, staunch U.S. allies and partners with the United States in the fight against ISIS, no one imagined that commitment can be undone by a tweet, the president's orders to withdraw, leaves the U.S. troops no choice but a quick retreat to the Iraqi border and leaving their former allies to fend for themselves.
The U.S. envoy to Syria told Congress that the Turkish invasion, was a tragic disaster for the Kurds and with evidence of war crimes, committed by Turkish backed fighters despite that, the U.S. president rewarded Ankara by removing sanctions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: People are saying wow, what a great outcome, congratulations, it's too early to me to be congratulated, but we've done a good job, we saved a lot lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Video of the Turkish offensive is coming out of Syria and shows what happened to, some of the Kurds as Turkish backed militants caught up with them, evidence of possible war crimes. CNN Nick Paton Walsh has more -- again a warning, images are disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Arabic).
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The gruesome videos keep coming but not just the normal brutality of war. Something, uglier, more radical.
Scenes of the Syrian rebels Turkey is backing abusing here the corpse of dead Syrian Kurdish female and male fighters Tuesday near Tal Abyad. Rebel leaders said they had arrested and would punish the fighters behind this.
A U.S. official had said these fighters backed by Turkey, are mostly extremists, former ISIS and Al Qaeda and from the start they were accused of savagery. This is the widely circulated video of the murder of Kurdish activist Tavrin Halaf (ph), a bodyguard beaten before execution.
We found their vehicle heavily shot up and discarded on the highway. Startling acts of violence like this have made many reassess exactly who Turkey is using to try and execute its goals here in northeastern Syria.
An autopsy report CNN can't independently verify said that the widely traveled activist was dragged by her hair and beaten with a blunt object on her head before being shot to death.
Some of the videos rebels had posted of themselves add support to the theory that Turkey was in such a hurry to build militia to fight for them it did not vet out extremists. It may be now liable for war crimes.
JAMES FRANKLIN JEFFREY, U.S. ENVOY ON SYRIA: We have seen several incidents which we consider war crimes.
MARK ESPER, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I've seen reports as well. We are trying to monitor them. They are horrible. And if accurate -- and I assume that they are accurate -- they would be war crimes, as best as I know the law of land warfare.
So I think all those need to be followed up on. I think those responsible should be held accountable. In many cases, it would be the government of Turkey who should be held accountable for this because we cannot allow those things to happen. WALSH (voice-over): Turkey and the rebels have rejected many accusations and often post media of how life has returned to normal under their control and some, with their behavior here though, posted on the rebels' own Telegram channels, is now distant to ISIS's old videos.
Turkey has loyal rebel forces in Idlib province, which Western intelligence has said it is now unfiltered by Al Qaeda. But it is unclear which units of rebels Turkey is using.
Will these men stop when Turkey tells them to?
Will Turkey tell them to?
And what sort of society will they build?
WALSH (voice-over): Will it have a place or reject ISIS? -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Irbil, northern Iraq.
VAUSE: For almost three years, now many have been asking how President Trump would cope when confronted by a real national crisis. That moment may have arrived but it seems no one predicted that the crisis would be the result of the president's own doing.
Analysts, experts, retired generals, armchair generals have all made the point that apart from, Turkey the biggest winners from U.S. forces withdrawing from northern Syria have been Russia, Syria, Iran and ISIS.
One single decision by the president of United States has benefited three major adversaries and a global terror group. And before Monday's cabinet meeting, the commander in chief explain how he reached this decision which turned out to be of such consequence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My largest cheer that night was two things, we're building the, wall that is number one, and number two and probably tied for number one was, we are bringing our soldiers back home. That was our largest cheer in Dallas. When I, said we are bringing our soldiers back home, the place went crazy. But within the Beltway, you know, people don't like it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: From Washington, now Josh Rogin, CNN political analyst and columnist for "The Washington Post."
Good to see, you Josh.
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Likewise. VAUSE: Have we now reached the point of American foreign policy is being decided by what gets the loudest cheer at a Trump campaign rally?
ROGIN: Unfortunately that seems to be where we are. The president is saying it pretty clearly and this is always been a tension in U.S. foreign policy between the political imperatives of whoever holds the office of president and the real national security needs of the United States and its allies.
But it used to be a bad thing. It used to be a situation where the president would try to deny that politics were influencing foreign policy or at least minimize that influence. And President Trump is embracing it and bragging about, it and we have seen the results.
And when the United States pulls out of Syria, that may in fact be a political win for the president with his base. He may be right about the politics. But the consequences for national security are very dire.
VAUSE: And foreign policy is one of the few areas where a president can actually do stuff. I guess that is part of the appeal for Donald Trump.
But what happens as he views U.S. foreign policy through the lens of a domestic election, as we get closer to the election, what do you think?
ROGIN: If you look at the polling, not a lot of voters actually vote on foreign policy. It's a very marginal, issue, actually when it comes to presidential decision-making.
Nevertheless, you are exactly right. This is something President Trump feels he can control. It is a campaign promise he feels he can fulfill. And now that we see he has done it on Syria and challenged the entire establishment and succeeded, we can expect that he will feel only more empowered and more emboldened to do more.
And so what the people inside the Beltway that President Trump talks about are looking for next is the prospect that he can withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan maybe in a snap decision and not even tell anyone in the military in advance. You see the bureaucrats scrambling to prepare for that.
VAUSE: You wrote about that in your column in "The Washington Post." Here is part of. It
"Several officials have told you (sic) that Trump has stopped soliciting, much less heeding the advice of large parts of the, national security bureaucracy when making big decisions. That is why the Pentagon is scrambling to devise plans for a rapid U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan just in case Trump blindsides the military."
So again, this explains for example why the U.S. is sending more troops to support a misogynist regime who murdered an American journalist, that would be Saudi Arabia, or betraying an ally who is building a democratic society committed to empowering women. There is zero consistency in all. This
ROGIN: The only consistency is what gets Trump cheers at his rally crowds and that is really what he is aiming for. And for some reason, a Trump base is OK with the president making excuses for Saudi Arabia but not OK with U.S. military intervention in Syria.
That is not a rational calculation. It is a political calculation. This has been a long struggle between the president and the GOP foreign policy establishment, including members of his own administration.
And for years, there was this tension between the people who wanted to focus on national security and the people who want to focus on politics. That is gone. The politics people have won out and the most stark example of, this of, course is the Ukraine example, where we see, unfolding before our eyes, in the impeachment saga, the fact that the president chose to have Ukraine policy that benefited him politically and damaged the United States national security and that of our allies.
After, that anything is possible.
VAUSE: But there has been moves by Republicans to condemn the president, the lower house passed a resolution condemning him earlier this year of cutting and running and leaving the Kurds the mercy of Turkey. Mitch, McConnell who is the leader of the, Senate the, Republican he wants the Senate to go even further than the condemnation. Here he is.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: My own view is that this is a good time to go beyond just the issue in Syria and also express ourselves on the inappropriateness of drawing down in Afghanistan, like President Obama did in Iraq, which clearly was a mistake and caused the rise of ISIS in that area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: At the end of the, day the question is, does any of this have an impact on an out-of-control president who is refusing to be controlled?
ROGIN: I, think but not the impact that Mitch McConnell wants it to have. Here we have the senior GOP establishment defending the party's traditional foreign policy agenda and it is going away.
And Trump is taking that away from them and they know it and every time they do, it only makes Trump more angry. And if you look at the president's Twitter feed today, all you saw him doing was criticizing, quote-unquote "never Trump Republicans," even the ones inside his own administration.
And the president, for him it is all about his own personal status and his own personal legacy, so the more they push back against, him the more determined he is to stand his ground.
And so yes, I think Mitch McConnell and the rest of them are trying to insert a little bit of traditional Republican foreign policy, thinking, back into the equation but it is not working and the president shows zero sign that he is being persuaded by them at all.
VAUSE: Josh, we're out of, time good to have you, could see.
VAUSE: So who are they?
Where they come from?
How did they die?
The 39 people who ended up dead in the back of a lorry on a road just outside London. Right, now investigators do not even know who they are. But CNN's Scott McLean reports the truck driver has been found and arrested.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is hard to imagine a more horrifying scene, 39 bodies found overnight in the back of this semi truck east of London.
In the front, forensic investigators were seen combing through the cab. The driver has been arrested. A local had counselor has identified him as Mo Robinson (ph), a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland.
PIPPA MILLS, ESSEX POLICE: At this stage, we have not identified where the victims are from or their identities and we anticipate this could be a lengthy process.
MCLEAN: This is a heavy industrial area and even at 1:30 am, it is unlikely that a large truck here would raise any suspicion at all. Police will only say they were called here by the ambulance service.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Thirty-eight of the 39 bodies were adults, except for one police say is likely a teen. Investigators think the container originated from Bulgaria, where officials say it was registered to a company owned by an Irish citizen.
Police now say they think it entered the U.K. by boat from Belgium shortly before it was discovered. The U.K. home secretary said immigration authorities were helping in the investigation. The British prime minister went even further.
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: And I must say, I do share her strong desire now that the perpetrators of that crime -- and indeed all those who engage in similar activity, because we know that this trade is going on -- all such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice. MCLEAN (voice-over): Police haven't confirmed this is human trafficking but British authorities say migrant smuggling into the U.K. rose significantly from 2017 to 2018. The truck was moved to a secure location to remove the bodies, police say, to give dignity to lives that ended seemingly without much at all -- Scott McLean, CNN, Grays, England.
VAUSE: Time for a short break. When we come, back chaos at the Capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We're going to go and see if we can get inside. So let's --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's do it.
GAETZ: So let's see if we can get in.
VAUSE (voice-over): Dozens of House Republicans storm an impeachment deposition, demanding greater access and transparency from the Democrats. Why this might just be a new supersize level of hypocrisy.
Also Bolivia's president says there is a coup to remove him after recent elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: There's an old saying on lawyers, if the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If you don't have either, pound the table.
Congressional Republicans struggling to defend the president against impeachment pounded the table, they forced their way into a deposition room, in one of the most restricted area in the Capitol, delaying what's supposed to be a closed door deposition from a senior Pentagon official. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has the story.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As President Trump is ordering Republicans to get tougher and fight impeachment tonight, House Republicans lashing out and chaos erupting on Capitol Hill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a sham and it's time for it to end. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a total political hit job on the president of the United States.
SERFATY (voice-over): With tensions high, Laura Cooper, a top Pentagon official in charge of Ukraine and Russia policy, testified behind closed doors in front of the three committees, leading the impeachment inquiry. But that testimony came to an immediate and dramatic halt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't hide from the American people. Show your face, where we can all see the travesty that you are trying to foist on America and the degradation of our republic that you are engaged. In
SERFATY (voice-over): Nearly 2 dozen Republicans not on the relevant committees forcing their way into the secure room where, the testimony was taking place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We're going to go and see if we can get inside. So let's --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's do it.
GAETZ: So let's see if we can get in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY (voice-over): Flooding in through three different doors, refusing to leave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are a number of members, congressional members that are not part of the three committees they're, actually in, there and plan to stay there, until we have a more open and transparent and fair process.
SERFATY (voice-over): Attacking the process and protesting the deposition being held behind closed doors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that Republicans are under a lot of stress and I guess when desperate people do desperate things.
SERFATY (voice-over): A source in the room calling it "the closest thing I've seen around here to mass civil unrest as a member of Congress."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may wonder, why is it happen now?
Because Bill Taylor gave a devastating opening statement yesterday, they are freaked out. They're trying to stop this investigation.
SERFATY (voice-over): That explosive testimony of Bill Taylor, the president's top diplomat in Ukraine, completely undercutting the administration's defense that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. Taylor telling lawmakers Tuesday that President Trump would withhold
military aid to Ukraine until it publicly announced an investigation that could help his reelection chances, including looking into former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter.
Meantime, as Democrats up here on Capitol Hill continue to push for more witnesses and more testimony and more information and witnesses in their impeachment probe off Capitol Hill, a federal judge on Wednesday granted an emergency motion from a watchdog group, ordering the State Department to release Ukraine related documents, including communications between secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. And the State Department has 30 days to hand over those documents -- Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, on Capitol Hill.
VAUSE: Ron Brownstein is CNN's senior political analyst and the senior editor for "The Atlantic." He is with us from Los Angeles.
VAUSE: Thank you for coming in.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, John.
You know the message from the Republicans, here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a sham, it's time for it to end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happening here is not fair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is Adam Schiff trying to hide?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a total political hit job on the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes, this is an unfair opaque process, it's in the shadows, except a number of outlets have done the reporting on this, 48 Republican lawmakers sit on the three committees holding these hearings. So they are allowed to participate in the impeachment process.
On Tuesday a press release from Republican congressman Matt Gaetz demanding increased transparency and inclusion listed all the GOP lawmakers who had been part of the sit-in.
"The Washington Post" reports 13 Republicans on that list are members of the committees. A week ago Republican congressman Mark Meadows, a staunch Trump defender, talked about the unlimited time he gets with witnesses, unlimited number of questions.
Again from "The Post," he told them, "Oh, yes, of the witnesses? We have, yes, you just keep going on until you wear out."
Meadows has attended all but one session according to "The Post." He said this on a break Tuesday night.
This is not your garden variety hypocrisy. It seems Republican lawmakers or many of them, have crossed the Rubicon trying to defend the president?
BROWNSTEIN: I think viewers around the world, experiencing countries, theoretically, have fewer democratic safeguards and structures, than we thought, we had in America, would recognize what we're seeing.
This is being played largely as farce. But I think it's something much more ominous than that it shows a coalescing of House Republicans toward Trump like strategies and Trump like behavior, essentially trying to discredit any institution that they see as a threat.
This is extraordinary escalation I, think of partisan warfare, to barge into a secure classified space, to do so with cellphones, in clear violation of House rules and to do so with the goal, of making it appear so partisan, so chaotic, that viewers and voters will tune it out.
I think this is more a scary moment than a funny moment, and one that again shows how deep the Trump-ish --
BROWNSTEIN: -- a threat to you is now permeating inside the (INAUDIBLE) particularly in the House.
VAUSE: So we have a few problems with Ron with the audio but we will stick with it.
No, we have lost Ron so will try to come back to Ron in a minute.
In, the meantime the president's victim mentality could be spreading. Here is the president Evo Morales has claimed victory in recent elections, he said the vote is being stolen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I've called this press conference to denounce before Bolivia and the whole world a coup is underway although I want to tell you we already knew it was coming. The Right has been preparing for a coup with international support.
Some confused young people, some confused sectors, should not be strung along by untrue messages on social networks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: His political rival Carlos Messa is calling the election process a fraud. So far the results of the race look tight. CNN's Matt Rivers explains, that some ballots have yet to be counted and could spell the difference for Morales. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He said when the remaining 2.5 percent of the vote, which will come from the countryside comes in, it will push him over a 10 percent lead. That's key because, if he doesn't lead by 10 percentage points or more, that will force a December runoff.
That's what analysts are telling us he's afraid of. Were it just an election, right now there's other candidates but if this was a united opposition, there's a very strong chance that Morales could lose. So that's, why he saying, this election is correct, this was done right, and he's hoping to get over that 10 points percentage threshold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's exclusive reporting inside prompts a U.S. presidential candidate to turn up the heat, on the Trump administration. Elizabeth Warren wants to know, how did U.S. military hardware end up in the wrong hands in Yemen. More on that we come back.
VAUSE: More now on the latest in the impeachment inquiry in the United States and a dramatic protest by Republicans who stormed a secure room where a Pentagon official was making a deposition. CNN's Ron Brownstein is with us still.
So Ron, let's just pick it up from where we left off. The president had demanded Republicans step up their defense of him. He got. That. Bloomberg is reporting that he knew ahead of time of the sit-in and the storming of the barricades would actually take place.
But here is the thing. During the, sit-in 13 Republican lawmakers spoke publicly but none of them defended the president when it to the issue at the heart of impeachment process, that this attempt by Trump to push Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and withholding military aid as leverage. They didn't go anywhere near it.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, well, it reminds me a little bit of the moment during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings when Lindsey Graham turned around the testimony from his accuser by basically saying, it really does not matter what she said. It is us against them. It is shirts against skins. It is tribal.
And that is what the president is trying to do here. He is, with the willing acquiescence of House Republicans, he is trying to basically make this into a, this is Democrats trying to undo our president as a way of consolidating rank and file Republican opposition to his impeachment. And it will be tougher for Senate Republicans, who are the ultimate audience here to consider breaking from him if and when impeachment reaches them.
VAUSE: One of the key lines of defense by Trump and his defenders has been, you, know no quid pro quo because Ukraine officials were not aware that the military aid was being withheld, so how could it be leverage if they did not know about it?
"Ukraine knew of aid freeze by early August, undermining Trump defense."
Everything that went right for the president and his supporters, going to war over the Mueller report and the Russian investigation. This, time everything's going wrong and the mojo is not there. It is not. Working bit by bit it all seems to be falling apart.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, the evidence, that they seem to be collecting and we are only scraping the surface of it and what has been made public so far, seems to be kind of saying, certainly the testimony from Ambassador Taylor yesterday could not -- it's almost inconceivable to imagine anything more damaging other than a text from the president himself.
It is as clear a quid pro quo as you can get, from a source as an unimpeachable as you can get. Some who served the presidents of both parties, who has fought in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, it is an unimpeachable source with an indefensible story.
And it leaves the Republicans of saying either we don't believe all this evidence, which is really not a plausible position, or perhaps that we don't believe it rises to the level of an impeachable offense.
But if this is not and impeachable offense, as many have, argued what is?
VAUSE: What is? And a lot of people coming around to that opinion, it seems. The latest opinion poll, another one, Quinnipiac shows support for impeachment and removal for office has surged. Forty- eight percent now say Donald Trump should be impeached and removed, up 11 points in a month. Forty-six percent say he should not be impeached.
This is interesting, the approval rating for Donald Trump taking a hit. Only 38 percent approval, 58 percent disapprove.
Would the president be more concerned, though, about the hit to his personal approval ratings as opposed to the impeachment numbers?
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, actually, that's a very, very perceptive point in time. This is -- this is a bit of an outlier, obviously, and having him at a 58 percent disapproval, which is the highest they have ever had in this presidency and higher than we've seen in other polling. You know, I think opinion -- First of all, in the CNN poll and the
Gallup poll, even in the FOX poll, they hit 50 percent of Americans saying they believed he should not only be impeached but removed from office.
So people ought to have perspective on that. For Bill Clinton, it never got higher than about 35 percent, in the Gallup poll. But Richard Nixon, it only reached 50 percent would say he should be removed once, in the very last poll before he left office and resigned in August 1974.
So we're talking about a pretty high number at this point, and it's converging with that approval rating. Where you've got, essentially, 95 percent at this point, and people who say they approve of his performance, saying he should not be impeached and removed, and 85 to 90 percent of those, depending on the poll, who disapprove his performance, saying he should be removed.
The importance of that is that, even if he survives, you, know one of the cornerstones of the Trump vision, campaign vision of how to win in 2020 was that they were going to convince people who disapproved him to vote for him anyways, because they dislike the Democrats even more.
If you believe that his behavior has been so egregious that he should be impeached and removed from office, it's going to be awful hard for Donald Trump to go back and talk to those voters in 2020, even if he survives and convinced them that he deserves another four years.
VAUSE: We finally found out what would shake that Trump support, that rock-solid support for so long. It looks like it's -- at least in this poll, it's moving and the other direction for the president.
Ron, thanks you so much.
VAUSE: Appreciate you sticking around.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: Well, the U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants answers from the Trump administration. This comes after a CNN investigation inside Yemen. CNN's Nima Elbagir reported that American military hardware supplied to U.S. allies is falling into the hands of rival militia groups in Yemen. This includes some who have turned against each other, complicating Yemen's already complicated four- year-long civil war.
Nima spoke to CNN's Wolf Blitzer about Warren's demands.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's demanding to know whether the Pentagon has any idea where U.S. weaponry is ending up in Yemen, whether it has any way of getting it back. And she says, and I quote, "The latest report raises legitimate questions about whether it is in America's interest to continue selling arms and other military hardware to the Saudi and UAE governments." Now, you remember, Wolf, this was a key issue, and President Trump
used his veto to overturn U.S. lawmakers' ban against weaponry. And now Senator Warren has given the Department of Defense an ultimatum. They must respond to her questions by November 15.
We also get the House Foreign Affairs Committee will be following up with a letter of their own. It's clear that this headache for the Trump administration isn't going away.
VAUSE: So, it was Nima's original and exclusive report which began this investigation. Earlier this year, she traveled to Yemen, along with her team, and they uncovered evidence that American military hardware was being distributed by U.S. allies, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, to militia groups. All of this a violation of U.S. Law. Here's more now from Nima's team.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Separatist militia in southern Yemen, and armed groups loyal to the internationally-recognized Yemeni government. Just a few months ago, these forces were on the same side, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, supplied with U.S. weapons.
Now they've turned those very weapons against each other, and terror groups are exploiting the resultant chaos.
In January, we traveled through Yemen, documenting the proliferation of U.S. weaponry there.
(on camera): Like a graveyard of American military hardware, and this is not under the control of coalition forces. This is in the command of militias.
(voice-over): This, in violation of the law governing U.S. arms sales, which says they can't be passed on. In our original investigation, we identified American-made armored vehicles, which had been sold by the U.S. to the UAE under a 2014 arms sale contract and had fallen into the hands of armed groups.
The conflict om Yemen divided north from south, with the Iran-backed Houthis controlling the capital, Sana'a. And the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led anti-Houthi coalition seizing the historic port of Aden.
But in-fighting in the south has further splintered territorial control between militia groups, threatening to plunge the entire country into a protracted civil war, turning the Saudi and Emeriti- provided weaponry on each other.
Six months on, and we spot one of the Emeriti-supplied vehicles, the U.S.-made Max Pro, being paraded by UAE-backed militia known as the Giants Brigade. Giants Brigade forces have a new mission, here on their way to the
strategic port city of Aden to fight against the very legitimate government the Emiratis armed them to restore. They are now fighting with the separatists.
The Giants Brigade did not respond to CNN's request for comment, but the UAE hasn't denied supplying them with U.S.-made vehicles. The Giants Brigade, they told us earlier this year, are part of Yemeni forces that fight the Houthis on the ground and under direct supervision.
The supervision has failed. Half a year on, as fighting between separatists and government forces escalate, we set out to find out what happened to the American MRAP vehicles.
(on camera): In the aftermath of our original reporting, we received death threats, so we haven't been able to return to Yemen. But working with local journalists, we have been able to verify that, amongst the military vehicles being used to wage Yemen's escalating civil conflict are those that we identified in the U.S.-UAE contract in our initial reporting.
(voice-over): Our team traveled to Shabwah, east of the Yemeni capital, Sana'a. A Yemeni army commander told CNN in this far-flung war zone, U.S. military technology is a game-changer, whichever hands it ends up in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They are lethal and powerful weapons that the militias were using against the people, and American weaponry is deadly. If the militias or others have them, they may be the winning side.
ELBAGIR: CNN also filmed this: an armored vehicle captured by forces loyal to the legitimate government of Abrabbuh Mansur Hadi. It's a U.S.-made BAE Caiman.
Inside, we found the serial number of the AC system, made by Real-Time Laboratories at their facility in Mississippi, USA.
We contacted Real-Time Laboratories, who confirmed it had been supplied under a U.S. government contract but said they couldn't comment on what the government may have eventually done with the vehicle.
America has been supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE since the war in Yemen began. These countries have passed them on, illegally, to militia on the ground that were supporting the Yemeni government, all to aid in the fight against the Iranian-backed Houthis.
This latest schism has seen the UAE-backed separatist forces turn the U.S.-made weaponry on the Yemeni government, further complicating the civil war and bringing the country closer to the abyss.
Already, the terror group ISIS has stepped in to exploit the chaos, launching a campaign of multiple suicide bombings, the group's first successful strikes in over a year, with a promise of more to come.
After years of drone attacks and the U.S. concentrating its military might on degrading their presence, terror groups once more developing a foothold here.
The U.S. is a key ally to the UAE in Saudi Arabia, and both countries have spent time and effort lobbying D.C. decision-makers. High on the agenda, rolling back the move by U.S. lawmakers earlier this year to obstruct arms sales to both countries.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): There is no reason for the United States to be involved in this war in Yemen. It is a humanitarian catastrophe, but it is also a national security catastrophe.
ELBAGIR: Triggered by CNN's original reporting.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): In a recent CNN report that suggests that weapons that have been provided to UAE and to Saudi Arabia have wound up in the hands of Houthis, that they have been traded and then used on both sides of that conflict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not authorized Saudi Arabia or the emirates to re-transfer any of this equipment to other parties on the ground.
ELBAGIR: Publicly, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been struggling to explain how and why forces loyal to them have opened fire on each other. Worse, as we've learned that they're using proprietary U.S. technology to do it with.
CNN has reached out to both the Emeriti and Saudi Arabian governments for comment. The Saudis didn't respond, but the UAE told us that "There were no instances where U.S.-made equipment was used without direct UAE oversight, except for four vehicles that were captured by the enemy."
CNN found U.S.-made vehicles being used in attacks on key locations and personnel within the U.S.-backed legitimate government of Yemen, this in spite of the fact that the UAE told us no weaponry was being used without their direct oversight.
We also contacted the Pentagon, who told us there is an ongoing investigation into our previous findings. For how much longer or what they'll do with it, they wouldn't say.
All the while, the war in Yemen rages on, more lethal than ever.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
VAUSE: A short break. When we come back, Google claims quantum supremacy, a super duper mega computer that can do in minutes what a state-of-the-art supercomputer right now would take ten thousand years. But one old-time competitor, IBM, says hold on. We'll explain.
VAUSE: The people who brought us the Google machine now say they've made a quantum leap in computer supremacy. The search engine company says its Quantum computer solved a complex problem, apparently really complex, in little more than three minutes.
A so-called state-of-the-art super computer, they say, would have taken thousands of years to crack it.
Instead of using binary ones and zeroes, quantum computers use something called quantum bits or cubits, which can be ones, zeroes, or both simultaneously.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNDAR PICHAI, GOOGLE CEO: For many years, practical quantum computing was only theoretically possible. Google's team has proven it can work. This is the hello (ph) world moment for quantum computing that many of us have been waiting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But IBM -- they used to make typewriters -- telling Google not so fast. It's developing its own quantum computer and says the classical computer still actually rules supreme, and defending its super computer, saying it can solve that problem, at most, two and a half days, and far more accurately. So there.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. WORLD SPORT is next.