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Four White House Officials Refuse To Appear For Monday's Testimony; Polls: Donald Trump Competitive In Several Battle Ground States; Former Iraqi Prime Minister Hopes Current Prime Minister Listens To Protestors; Ukraine's War With Russia Shows Why U.S. Aid Is So Crucial; Transcript Released Of Former Ambassador To Ukraine's Testimony. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 4, 2019 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Our coverage on CNN continues right now. You can follow me only on Twitter @JAKETAPPER. Thank you for watching. I'll see you


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, allegations of bullying, security concerns and vague threats. Well, we're learning from

newly released testimony in the impeachment inquiry. Plus six smog in New Delhi air pollution so bad that classes being cancelled. And far right

protesters take to the streets after one German city declares a so-called Nazi emergency.

Live from the London I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show. Today marks the dramatic change in the investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump

and Ukraine. For the first time, the public is getting to see transcripts of what witnesses told lawmakers behind closed doors and just a short time

ago the House of Representatives released testimony from two key witnesses.

Marie Yovanovitch was the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine until Mr. Trump removed her from that post in May. She says one of the reasons that she was

recall was that she refused to help Rudy Giuliani put pressure on Ukraine. She described it as, "Partisan games".

The testimony of Michael McKinley was also released. He was a senior aid to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. McKinley resigned just before his testimony

last month. He expressed frustration that career diplomats were not being support Mike Pompeo and he also said that many State Department officials

felt like they were being pressured by the White House not to participate in the impeachment investigation.

Meanwhile, four White House officials who were supposed to testify in Congress today refused to show up. The Democrat leading the impeachment

inquiry says it's all just stalling tactic.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA): We are not going to delay our work. That would merely allow the witnesses and White House to succeed with their goal which

is to delay, deny, and obstruct.


NOBILO: Let's get more on these transcripts released today. Joining me now is CNN's Alex Marquardt. So Alex, what has the testimony showed us about

the inner workings of the State Department and U.S. policy toward Ukraine?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Bianca, it is fascinating to read these transcripts because it really puts more meet on

the bones if you will to what was more already explosive testimony that we heard about over the course of last few weeks. And the first thing that we

really see Bianca is that there were very much these two competing policies toward Ukraine.

There was the one that was being led by Rudy Giuliani in which they were pushing for investigations into the Bidens as well as the 2016 election,

and that was what Ambassador Yovanovitch said was really leading the charge when it comes to Ukraine vis-a-vis the U.S.. She said as you mentioned that

it was kind of a partisan game.

She said that it cut the ground from underneath the U.S. Embassy. The other big thing that we see Bianca is a real lack of support for Ambassador

Yovanovitch. She is a 33-year veteran of the Foreign Service. She had asked for a show of support from the State Department because she said that the

Ukrainians were having a hard time deciding whether she was the one who was really representing U.S. policy, representing the President on the ground.

And we also now know from the release of the transcript from Ambassador Mike McKinley who was the top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that

he went to the Secretary of State three times and did not get any sort of response so really damning added elements if you will to the testimonies of

both Ambassador Yovanovitch and McKinley. Bianca.

NOBILO: Alex Marquardt always good to hear from you. Thank you. We'll have much more on this in about ten minutes time because I'll be joined by the

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer who can offer us insight into the testimony released today.

And one year on from today, the polls in the U.S. will be closed, the guessing over, and the victory and concession speeches made. We should also

know if Donald Trump stays in office for another four years or whether the U.S. Presidency will go to someone else. Who that someone else will be is

the big question today.

As America counts down to Election Day on November 3, 2020, Democrats are battling it out for the nomination. Former Vice President Joe Biden and

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been leading a very crowded field. A brand new CNN poll of polls shows Biden leading the pack.

Many polls give the top contender the sizable lead over Mr. Trump nationwide, but the U.S. remember doesn't go by popular vote. It goes by

Electoral College. Harry Enten in CNN politics tells us what happens when you focus on some of the important individual states.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER: Last time around Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by two points but in six key battleground states that

were the closest Donald Trump won those in 2016 by a point.


ENTEN: And "The New York Times" Sienna College poll those six closest states again Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and

Wisconsin, and what do they show? What they is a massive difference between what those six closest states that Trump won in 2016 versus what the

national picture shows.

So nationally what we see right now is that all the leading Democrats Biden, Sanders and Warren lead by anywhere from five to eight percentage

points with Biden doing the best. But in those six closest states what do we see? We see Biden up by only a point within the margin of error and

Warren is in fact trailing Donald Trump by three points.

So this idea of looking at the national polls and saying the President is in a lot of trouble well there might be true nationally but how we elect

our Presidents here are those key swing states and the President is very much alive in those key swing states.

NOBILO: So, with nearly one week to go, CNN's Kyung Lah caught up with voters on both sides of aisle in Wisconsin. She asked them what they

thought about the impeachment probe. Take a listen.


BRUCE DUNN, WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT: I kind of don't like the impeachment you know the people that's on his side, I don't think they're going jump ship

because of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These Republican people are very enthused.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORESPONDENT: Is impeachment then helping you or helping the Democrats?

KEN BROWN, WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN: I think it's definitely helping the Republican Party right now. I say go for it. Bring it on.

SALLY FRANCIS, WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN: We are just digging in our heels deeper to fight what they're going to do and we will do it by voting.


NOBILO: Wisconsin is just one of the states that President Trump narrowly won in 2016 which carried him to victory. Now, India's capital is

struggling for a breath of fresh air as a thick blanket of toxic smog hangs over the city. New Delhi's air quality is more than three times the

hazardous level. CNN's Ivan Watson reports on what's now being declared a public health emergency.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The air in the Indian capital is toxic. The air pollution is so bad that authorities have

declared a public health emergency, canceling school, diverting flights and urging people to stay indoors. The city's Chief Minster taking to social

media to sound the alarm.


ARVIND KEJRIWAL, CHIEF MINISTER OF DELHI: We do not want to blame anyone. This is an issue of our health, an issue of our air, the health of our

children, our families the people of Delhi that's what at stake here.


WATSON: Bad smog is an annual problem in New Delhi but this year the pollution has hit record levels. Thermal satellite imagery from NASA

reveals one contributing factor to the smog thousands of suspected fires burning upwind from the Indian Capital in the neighboring state of Punjab.

Farmers in India typically burn their fields this time of year after the harvest. Weather patterns then trap that smoke up against the Hamimalayas

around northern cities like New Delhi. But experts say the Capital City also creates much of its own pollution.


SANTOSH HARISH, FELLOW, CENTRE FOR POLICY RESEARCH: You have four types of sources; you've got industries and power plants. You have transport

emissions particularly trucks but also private vehicles. You have waste burning of various kinds, and you have road dust and construction dust. All

of them are major contributors of air pollution in Delhi and those are the sources that we need to be targeting better within the city.


WATSON: The government imposed an odd even policy aimed at reducing cars on the road. It also issued millions of masks to children, but doctors say

they have seen a surge of patients suffering respiratory problems.


DR. GOPI CHAND KHILNANI, PUSPHAWATI SINGHANIA HOSPITAL & RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Those who are perfectly healthy leading a normal life they have

suddenly started complaining of respiratory issues, cough, sore throat, sleep deprivation sometimes even fever.


WATSON: On Sunday demonstrators protested against the pollution.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are concerned about the futures and about our health, but we are also fighting this on behalf of children and elderly who

bare the biggest brand of the problem here.


WATSON: New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and forecasters say there's no signs the air will improve any time soon. Ivan

Watson, CNN.

NOBILO: Now to Iraq where at least three protesters are dead and dozens more injured as demonstrations turned violent in Baghdad. Earlier security

forces fired tear gas into crowds of protesters that were trying to reach the Prime Minister's office. Meanwhile, the Former Iraqi Prime Minster told

CNN he believes the country is going in the wrong direction and had this message for the current government.


HAIDER AL-ABADI, FORMER IRAQI PRIME MINISTER: Well, I hope the Prime Minster listens to the people in the street, and he must do something very

quick. Otherwise it would be too late if he delays his decision. I don't think there will be a vacuum. I think parliament can agree on a substitute,

either transitional or someone who would continue for next three years.


AL-ABADI: We prefer transition because we really have people want to own back their own political system, their own state.


NOBILO: Protesters are furious over corruption, unemployment, and a lack of basic services. Activists say three more protesters were killed and dozens

injured when security forces opened a fire on demonstrators during an attack on the Iranian Constitute in Kabala on Sunday night.

In Germany, the city of Dresden is warning about a Nazi emergency. That warning prompted backlash on Monday as supporter of the far right party

held anti-Islam protests. One member of the City Council says the far-right movement is a growing threat to residents as extremists and racist

activities increased in recent years. The city's Mayor is downplaying the threat.


DIRK HILBERT, DRESDEN MAYOR: We had just recently had a proposal in the City Council that had the title Nazi emergency. That shows a completely

wrong picture of Dresden.


NOBILO: Dresden's Mayor called the title of the Council's resolution dangerous and populist the emergency that creation is symbolic and has no

actual legal consequences. When we return on THE BRIEF thousands of miles from the impeachment inquiry in Washington, we head to the front lines in

Ukraine to find out what withholding crucial U.S. military aid means for the battle against Russian backed separatists.


NOBILO: Now back to the impeachment inquiry into the U.S. President. At the center of the investigation is did Donald Trump withhold military aid in

order to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a political rival? That $400 million in aid was slated for Ukraine's ongoing battle

against Russian backed separatists.

In this exclusive report, CNN's Clarissa Ward traveled to the front lines to see why that money is so crucial.

CLARRISA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the front line of Ukraine's war with Russia - conditions are basic and the enemy is near this

position just 600 yards from Russian-backed separatists. Soldiers stand guard in dirt trenches, reminiscent of the First World War. Commander -

tells us one of his men was shot dead by a sniper ten days ago. He says Ukraine needs all the help it can get.

So he's saying that when he heard the news that President Trump had frozen the military aid he was unhappy because he says America is our most

important, our strongest ally. That aid was released in September. The temporary freeze left a chill.


WARD: The nearest village - used to be a popular seaside resort. Now there are no people left just devastation. Even the Church was hit. In war,

nothing is sacred. After five long years, the world's attention has basically moved on from Ukraine. But the war here is not over yet, and

Ukraine is still very much dependent on the support of the U.S.

Ukrainian Marine Alexander shows us what is left of the local school. It was destroyed by Russian artillery at the start of the war. It will be ten

years before people can come back, he says. All this territory needs to be demined. But that process can't even begin until the fighting stops.

Our guide has asked us now to put on our helmets because apparently the separatists have actually been using drones to drop ordnance on some of the

soldiers here. Alexander says it's time to move on, concerned we may have been spotted. We push further north to the mining town. Once under control

of the Russian backed separatists it was taken aback by the Ukrainian Army in a bitter battle in July 2014.

You can now see the planes shooing out of top of the building. Teresa Fillmon watched it all from her home. The Florida native runs a Christian

charity called "His kids too" and has lived here for many years.


TERESA FILLMON, AMERICAN CHARITY WORKER: I mean we were shelled for days on in. I would go sleep and I'd literally just lay there and just say, God

protect me.


WARD: During the worst of the fighting she would bring home cooked males to Ukrainian troops on the front lines.


FILLMON: So when you start knowing those people and putting a name and a face together - I mean, I have friends that were killed. I'm not going

minimize this.

WARD: Were you aware of the fact that the White House had temporarily frozen military aid to Ukraine? What was your reaction?

FILLMON: Probably frustration. As far as I'm concerned we are in a David and Goliath situation that we are outmanned and outgunned.


WARD: That hasn't slowed Fillmon down, for days a blur of activity, distributing food to the needy and displaced. Across this country, more

than 1 million people have been forced from their homes. Like this pensioner - she was hit by shrapnel while picking tomatoes in her garden.

She fled and has been living in this care home ever since.

What can I do? I can never go back, she says. Its five years since we left. Like so many here, - no longer cares who wins this war. So you just want

peace. You just want an end to the war. Ukraine's President is trying to make that happen, but peace is best negotiated from a position of strength,

and having the U.S. as an ally is key. In the west of the country far from the front lines, Ukrainian forces carry out military exercises under the

watchful eye of their American trainer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll be engaging targets and shooting.

WARD: Captain Matthew Chapman has been working with this unit for two months. Can I ask you what your reaction was when you heard that military

aid had been frozen to Ukraine?

MATTHEW CHAPMAN, U.S. ARMY CAPTAIN: Personally I don't pay attention to U.S. domestic foreign policy or politics while I'm here. We are solely

focused on the mission at hand.

WARD: And it didn't create an awkward atmosphere at all with your Ukrainian fellow soldiers?

CHAPMAN: It has not even come up in conversation with our overseas.

WARD: His Ukrainian counterpart agrees.

NAZAR SHPAK, UKRAINIAN ARMY LIUETENANT: You know I don't like to speak about politics. My mission and main role is to protect my land, my country.

That's all I want, and it's all I know for myself.

WARD: Do you believe that America as an ally Ukraine can rely on?

SHPAK: Completely yes.


WARD: Privately some Ukrainian soldiers admit to feeling uneasy. They fear that the White House's fickle behavior may strengthen Russia's position.

But all agree that with or without America's help, they have no choice but to continue this fight. Clarissa Ward, CNN, Ukraine.

NOBILO: Joining me now is the Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer. He's been keeping a close eye on developments involving the U.S. and

Ukraine. He's in San Jose, California.


NOBILO: Ambassador, it's great to have you on the program. Thank you for joining us.


NOBILO: First of all, I would like to get your thoughts, your appraisal, really of the situation. You spent more than 25 years working with the

State Department. You worked with a number of security issues. President Trump's defense so far in the impeachment inquiry seems to be that it was a

perfect conversation with Zelensky, that he doesn't anything wrong. What do you make of it?

PIFER: Well, unfortunately I disagree very much with the President. I do not think that the July 25 conversation was a perfect conversation. If you

read the memorandum of conversation of that phone call, you will not find a single bit of American government business that Nr. Trump was doing. It was

all about getting an investigation started that would lead to his personal political benefit.

NOBILO: And today we have heard from another Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Were you surprised with what's being publish

about her testimony? The fact that she speaks about these vague threats the pressure that she felt, the abrupt nature of her departure the fact that

she felt like she had such a lack of support from the State Department. What do you make of her ordeal?

PIFER: Well, I think Ambassador Yovanovitch was put in an extremely difficult position by the White House and by Rudy Giuliani. She was there

trying to conduct American policy pursuing American national interests and off on the side you have Mr. Giuliani who is not working for American

interest. He's working to promote the political interests of the President.

And they directly clash. So we see the U.S. government interests putting military assistance to Ukraine is in the U.S. interest in terms of

bolstering Ukraine and over on the side in this other channel they're threatening to hold that assistance up unless the Ukrainians begin to get

into our political business. That's a real problem.

And then you have Mr. Giuliani also spreading stories based on conversations with people like Former Prosecutor General Mr. Lutsenko. Mr.

Lutsenko clearly has something against Miss Yovanovitch and Mr. Giuliani is passing that on directly to the President. It's a big problem.

NOBILO: It is a big problem. Now Ukraine finds itself in such a politically sensitive situation because they are perhaps somewhat inadvertently

embroiled now in this impeachment inquiry. How do you think the government should act or not act?

PIFER: Well, I was in Kyiv last week until Saturday and had a chance to talk to a number of Ukrainians. And what they would say is that in Ukraine

they're a bit nervous. What does this mean for American support for Ukraine? What I think is important for Ukraine now is they don't want to

become a political football in the American domestic political debate or in the 2020 election.

Because that would put at risk what Ukraine has, which is a huge asset, and that is bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

And my sense is, "A," they understand that in Kyiv and if you look at how the Ukrainians have proceeded in the last couple of months they have been

trying to find the fine line between on the one hand doing nothing that would antagonize President Trump but also as far as I can tell they haven't

lost any investigations that might lead them to be pulled into our domestic contacts and into our 2020 election.

That's the smart path for them to pursue and I hope they continue that.

NOBILO: What do you think the repercussions of this inquiry are going to be or perhaps already are for American diplomacy? The fact that the quid pro

quo issue with the Ukrainian government is at the center of the inquiry?

PIFER: Well, again, I think that was entirely inappropriate to be seeking that kind of quid pro quo. Because again, what the President was asking for

and what Mr. Giuliani was asking for, those are not in the American government's interest. Foreign Service officers, Ambassadors, have a duty

to carry out the President's policy, but I would argue that the President has a duty to the Foreign Service and also more importantly to the American

people that he's pursuing American government interest, not his own.

That's one problem. A second problem and it gets to how Ambassador Yovanovitch was handled - her abrupt recall, the failure of the State

Department at senior levels to stand up and speak up for her I think sent a very bad message around the world. What we told anybody is that if you have

a problem with an American Ambassador who is pushing you too hard on certain issues well, talk to Mr. Giuliani, say this person discussed the

President in unflattering terms or something like that.


PIFER: And you may be able to remove the Ambassador. So I think what the State Department what the senior levels of State Department have done by

not speaking out more forcefully to defend Ambassador Yovanovitch is they have undercut the ability of American Ambassadors around the world to be

very candid in their pursuit of their policy.

NOBILO: Steven Pifer, thank you very much for joining appreciate your time.

PIFER: Thank you.

NOBILO: THE BRIEF will be right back after this short break.


NOBILO: It's the stuff that dreams are made of for many of us. Well, not me or any of the guys in the studio, but a four-day workweek and a long

weekend. Lots of smaller companies are trying to initiative, now one of the world's biggest companies are joining in.

Microsoft introduced a program in Japan this summer which shut down offices on Friday giving employees an extra day off the week. They also capped

meeting 30 minutes and encouraged employees to spend less time on email. The result? A 40 percent uptick in productivity compared to the previous


The fact that the initiative took place in Japan is significant. The country has a serious problem with overwork, but the idea of a four-day

workweek is gaining traction in other countries too, like in the UK and New Zealand. So the moral of the story is sit back, relax, and watch "WORLD

SPORT," which is coming up next.