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Sondland Changes His Tune; Controversial Hong Kong Lawmaker Junius Ho Attacked in the Street; Iran Violates Nuclear Deal; Sister of Slain ISIS Leader Captured by Turkey; Democrat Declares Victory In Kentucky Governor Race; Iran Takes Steps To Enrich Uranium Nuclear Deal; Scientists Declare Climate Emergency; P.M. Set To Formally Launch General Election Campaign. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 6, 2019 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers. Joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, turning on the president: a Trump ally reverses his testimony in the impeachment inquiry, now admitting there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

State election upsets: Republicans are on alert after Democrats flip the state legislature in Virginia and claim a big win in Kentucky.

And later, six children and three women from the same family ambushed and killed in Mexico. We are getting updates on the investigation and the survivors.


CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

A key figure in the U.S. impeachment inquiry suddenly remembers the quid pro quo he had long denied.

In a major reversal from his previous testimony, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, now says the Trump administration withheld aid to Ukraine until its new president announced investigations into Joe Biden and his son and the 2016 U.S. election. CNN's Alex Marquardt has the details.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): In black and white, one of the president's top envoys changing his testimony, now admitting he told Ukraine's leadership that hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid were being held up until President Trump got the investigations he wanted.

Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who's a longtime Republican donor turned diplomat who gave money to Trump's inaugural committee, amending his original testimony, writing: "I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."

That public statement that Trump wanted, according to the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, was that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.

Those investigations were being pushed by the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): There's really only one story. All of the witnesses agree that the president engineered a shakedown of the Ukrainian government.

MARQUARDT: In Sondland's transcript, released this afternoon, when asked if what Giuliani was doing was illegal, Sondland responded, "I assume so."

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): That's illegal. You cannot solicit a foreign power to investigate American political parties or your American political opponent.

MARQUARDT: Over time, Sondland said things got more insidious, the demands on Ukraine bigger and bigger, and Ukraine would have to play ball before the Ukrainian president got a meeting with President Trump. The problem grew for the State Department, which was fully aware of

what Giuliani was doing, Sondland said. And when Sondland raised it with his boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Pompeo rolled his eyes and said, "Yes, it's something we have to deal with."

Another member of the trio in charge of diplomatic relations with Ukraine was former special envoy Kurt Volker, who, according to the new transcript, told the Ukrainians about the Giuliani factor and described the extent to which Giuliani controlled Ukrainian access to Trump.

'The Ukrainians believed that by speaking to Rudy Giuliani, they could communicate to President Trump?" Volker was asked.

"That information flow," he answered, "would reach the president."

Kurt Volker also said he told Giuliani that the conspiracy theories about Biden and Ukrainian election interference were not true, that they had been debunked.

Now Democrats are trying to get all the witnesses they want before the public hearings start, as early as next week, while Republicans continue to slam the process.

Congressman Mark Meadows, who's the ranking member, on the Oversight Committee calling it partisanship, saying that Trump was just trying to clean up corruption in Ukraine -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: The witnessed transcripts not doing much to persuade Republican senators who would serve as jurors in an impeachment trial. One of the president's staunchest allies, Lindsey Graham, took a shot at Adam Schiff and said he would not even consider the evidence.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I've written a whole process off. I have written him off. I think this is a bunch of BS.


GRAHAM: The phone call, I made up my own mind, is fine.

QUESTION: Do you plan on reading these transcripts that were released?



CHURCH: According to the White House, these latest transcripts show there is even less evidence for impeachment than before. Press secretary Stephanie Gresham says that no amount of salacious, media biased headlines change the fact that the president has done nothing wrong. We get more now from CNN's Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Tonight President Trump has more to worry about than just the newly released transcripts of administration officials describing a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

There are more top aides who may be descending on Capitol Hill to testify, from former national security adviser John Bolton to Jennifer Williams, senior adviser to vice president Mike Pence and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney who has now been called to appear. Democrats say they believe he has substantial firsthand knowledge of what happened. The big lingering question is whether any of the officials will defy White House stonewalling and show up.

It doesn't improve the president's legal standing to keep several people from testifying. It just digs a different hole in terms of obstruction of justice.

Sources say it was Bolton who described Mulvaney and European Union ambassador Gordon Sunday land as cooking up a, quote, drug deal. Last month Mulvaney essentially conceded to reporters it was a quid pro quo.

I have news for everyone. Get over it. There's going to be political influence on public policy. The White House says both transcripts released today shows there's even less evidence for this impeachment sham than previously thought. Fill, the president has fixated on the whistleblower, hinting that damaging information is about to surface.

You haven't heard about the whistleblower, have you, because the whistleblower said lot of things that weren't so good, folks, you're going to find out.

The president's defenders are going further. GOP senator Rand Paul is demanding the media reveal the whistleblower's identity.

I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name.

While senator Mitt Romney is one of the lone Republicans saying that's going too far.

My view is that whistleblowers, particularly those that are blowing whistles on action within the government, should be allowed to remain confidential.

Trump supporters showed up at a rally in Kentucky wearing read the transcript T-shirts. It was during that call that the president said to the president of Ukraine, I would like you to do us a favor, though. The document released by the White House was a memorandum of a telephone conversation, not a verbatim transcript of the discussion. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell says he doubts it will result in the president's removal from office.

It's pretty sure how likely it is to end. If it were today, I don't think there's any question, it would not lead to a removal.

Which may explain why the president keeps on joking he may never give up the job.

TRUMP: What they don't know is that when we hang it up in five years or nine years or 13 years or maybe 17 years or maybe, if I still have the strength, 21 years.

One document the public may not get to see anytime soon, the transcript of Mike Pence is phone call with Ukraine. Sources tell CNN the administration is not likely to release that transcript even though aides of the vice president are adamant there is nothing to hide -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: So, let's get more on this from Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Thank you so much for joining us.


CHURCH: So, why do you think a key witness top U.S. diplomat, Gordon Sondland changed his testimony to impeachment investigators, now admitting there was a quid pro quo linked to Ukraine's military aid? SABATO: Well, his explanation of course is that his memory was refreshed by the testimony of others which he has just now read, as the transcripts are being released and no doubt on this lawyers advice because you can always get a perjury charge if you're not careful in these circumstances, but it's very significant because he is close to Trump. He gave a million dollars to Trump after the election to the inaugural festivities.

CHURCH: And so, given what we've all learned so far from all of this testimony, is there sufficient evidence at this juncture to prove the president abused his power?


SABATO: I think there has been for a couple of weeks, maybe longer, evidence to prove that the president tried a quid pro quo with Ukraine, holding up American aid in exchange for an investigation of one of his rivals, maybe his chief rival in 2020. That's an abuse of power. It seems to me, in anybody's definition. Whether it's enough to impeach him and convict him, that's up to the members of Congress.

CHURCH: So why aren't Republicans saying anything about this?

SABATO: Because they are deathly afraid of a single tweet from this president directed at them because it might result in a primary challenge and the end of their political careers. It really is that simple.

CHURCH: And former U.S. envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker didn't go as far as Sondland in his testimony, saying he saw no evidence of a link between military aid and a meeting at the White House, but both Volker and Sondland saw a problem with Rudy Giuliani's role in all of this. What does that tell you?

SABATO: I think most people in the Trump orbit have realized, possibly with Trump's exception, that Rudy Giuliani is as heavy as an iron anchor and they want to make sure it is not put around their necks.

CHURCH: And the White House of course says this proves nothing. How far will that defense go for them, do you think?

SABATO: That defense falls flat immediately for anyone who can think independently or has any personal integrity and independence. Look, politicians will say anything that will get them out of a jam, but if there are any people left who haven't already committed either pro or con on Trump and they take a look at this evidence, it is obvious what Trump did and it is obvious that what he did was wrong.

Whether it's ever admitted and certainly getting 20 Republicans in the Senate to vote to oust him after or if he is impeached in the House, that's a bridge too far. It's not going to happen, but that doesn't mean that this impeachment process was wrong to undertake. It was right to undertake.

CHURCH: And finally, Larry, you have been monitoring elections for the Virginia legislature where Democrats have now taken total control and it appears they are very well-positioned for the governor race -- the governor's race in Kentucky. What lessons are coming out of this and what messages are being sent to President Trump for the 2020 race?

SABATO: Virginia has become a blue state, a Democratic state, so I don't think the Republicans are in shock that they lost both Houses of the state legislature. They are not counting on Virginia in 2020.

Now, Kentucky will automatically vote for President Trump in 2020. It's not even going to be close, but it is quite a rebuke to President Trump who spent election eve in Kentucky urging his voters, he got 62 and a half percent of the vote in 2016, to vote for Matt Bevin, to save Matt Bevin. Now, Bevin is an unpopular governor, yes, but this is also an embarrassment for President Trump.

CHURCH: But how will he -- what will be his narrative, do you think on this?

SABATO: Well, if he is like he normally is, he will blame everyone else but himself.

CHURCH: All right, Larry Sabato, many thanks to you for running down all of those questions, all of the different areas we covered these days. I appreciate it.

SABATO: Thank you, Rosie.

CHURCH: We go to Hong Kong now and a controversial pro Beijing lawmaker is in hospital after being attacked while campaigning in Hong Kong. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong.

Good to see, you Kristie, what details are learning about this and what is the condition of lawmaker Junius Ho?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: This another horrific incident in the city. Now Junius Ho is more than just a pro Beijing lawmaker, he's a firebrand politician here in Hong Kong. He is a hate figure among many in the protest movement and he has now become the latest target in rising political violence here in the city.

Now I'm going to offer a warning. What you are about to see and hear is very disturbing. Junius Ho after the attack is doing OK. The attack took place this, morning 8:45, am it was documented by a bystander who was covering the incident all on his or her smartphone.

In this video we see the attacker approach Junius Ho, give him a bunch of flowers as he was out and about campaigning ahead of elections this month. He then reaches into his bag, takes a tonight and stabs Junius Ho in the chest. The attacker has been apprehended and arrested, according to the Hong Kong government.


STOUT: Junius Ho has been hospitalized. It is believed his injury is not serious. On the back of this attack, it has been roundly criticizing and

condemned by the Hong Kong government, by the pro establishment camp that backs Junius Ho and Junius Ho from hospital has released a statement on Facebook. Let's bring up the statement for, you and in the statement, translated from the Chinese, he says it is a dark day for Hong Kong.

But this kind of attack, Rosemary, has happened before. In fact, an attack happened on Sunday. And another graphic warning for our, viewers, what happened on Sunday, the target of that attack was a pro democracy politician, his name was Andrew Chu.

He had part of his ear bitten off when he and three other people who were assaulted at a shopping center popular among families here in Hong Kong.

Another pro democracy politician have been attacked, including Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Rights Front. This is an organization that mobilized millions of people to turn out in the streets of those large, peaceful marches that took place earlier this year in June.

And we also have the case of another high profile pro democracy activist who was targeted in a very different way, I'm talking with Joshua Wong. Last week he was disqualified from running in the upcoming district council elections.

District councils here in Hong Kong usually handle only very local affairs, with the upcoming district council elections due to take place in November the 24th have now gained this intense political significance because this will be the first test of public opinion since the Hong Kong protests kicked off five months ago. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Kristie Lu Stout bringing us the very latest on this unfortunate turn with these protests as they continue, as they mentioned, five months into it. Many thanks to you for bringing us up to date.

Well, Iran is taking new measures to flout the 2015 nuclear deal. Details on what Iran's president says they are planning to do. That is next.

Plus, toxic smog is creating dangerous conditions in India. New Delhi officials are taking action. But the country's top court says, it is not enough. We are back with that, more in just a moment.





CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Iran is taking steps to further flout the nuclear deal it had signed in 2015. President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran will begin injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its Fordow plant. And this move has world leaders worried. CNN's Nic Robertson tells us why.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The United States State Department has already criticized this move by Iran, the British foreign secretary has criticized it as well, the French have criticized it.

And what Iran has done here is taken what is now the fourth step in a series of steps that it's telegraphed, that it has told everyone that it's going to do that breaks the terms of the JCPOA, the joint international nuclear deal that Iran signed up to in 2015 that the United States pulled out of in 2018.

What Iran has done is now increase the number of centrifuges that it has enriching uranium. It has put gas into another just over 1,000 centrifuges at a mountain hideaway nuclear facility.

Now, under the terms of the deal, it was allowed to operate just around 5,000 of this type of IR-1 simple centrifuge. So, this has increased the number and therefore the speed and amount of low enriched uranium that it can produce, but this is a series -- one in a series of steps.

Since the summit, they have increased their storage, the amount of low enriched uranium that they are storing, the limit allowed under the terms of the deal was 300 kilograms. They have gone about that limit, the limit of low enriched uranium at specified 3.67 percent enriched. They have gone above that. They've said they have now gone to 4.5 percent enriched and they have also put online some research and development nuclear facilities that again breaks the terms of the deal.

Now, Iran has indicated that it can bring itself back into compliance if the United States reduces the sanctions on Iran and if the Europeans do more, they say to meet the terms of the nuclear deal.

So, Iran telegraphs these moves but what they amount to in the end is a shortening the pathway to make a nuclear weapon. Now, the low enriched uranium is way shorter than 90 percent enriched uranium that would be required to make a nuclear weapon.

However, the whole point of the deal and the terms of the deal were carefully agreed and carefully constructed to limit the pathway, limit the amount of time it would take to make a nuclear weapon. So, Iran is incrementally shortening that time. Thus, raising tensions over this most contentious issue -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


CHURCH: Well, video from northern Syria appears to show a joint patrols of Turkish and Russian troops being pelted with stones. This reportedly happened near Kobani. Russia and Turkey reached a deal last month to ensure Kurdish YPG fighters were pulled back from the border.

It came after Turkey launched an operation against largely Kurdish groups it considers terrorists. Kobani holds a special significance for the Kurds. ISIS laid siege the city in 2014 but with U.S. and coalition support, the Kurds fought, back handing ISIS one of its first major defeats.

Well, another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Turkish officials say the ISIS leader's sister has been captured and they shared this image of her identity card exclusively with CNN. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has the details.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A senior Turkish official is telling us that Baghdadi's sister was captured, along with her husband and a daughter-in-law. They were captured in the town of Azaz in northern Syria in a housing container. And now they are basically -- Turkish authorities are interrogating them.

And, as you mentioned, they believe that this could potentially be an intelligence gold mine. They're hoping to get insights into how ISIS operates. It's something that would help Turkey and Europe understand the threat that is caused by ISIS.

Now, while ISIS does remain a serious threat for Turkey, another threat, officials say, is Kurdish separatists, Syrian Kurdish fighters who, up until recently, were operating in this area.

We're in the town of Tal Abyad. As you recall, this was one of the locations that saw some seriously intense fighting when that Turkish offensive began on October the 9th. And it's been about three weeks since major combat operations came to an end here. But, still, we're seeing Turkish forces, who were embedded with, today, carrying out clearance operations.


KARADSHEH: They're sweeping areas and sweeping them multiple times checking for explosives, for devices that have been left. And we are told by Turkish officials that they're finding explosives on a daily basis and diffusing them, anywhere between 10 to 100 devices on a daily basis according to a senior Turkish official.


CHURCH: And that was CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reporting from Syria.

I want to turn to India now. The country's top court says authorities in New Delhi have violated the citizens' right to life by failing to limit air pollution. A public health emergency has been declared.

New Delhi's air quality has been slightly upgraded to very poor from severe. The number of cars on the road has been limited and construction at work sites has been halted.


CHURCH: We will take a short break here. Still to, come the world governments just don't get it. That is the warning from thousands of scientists about the climate crisis. They say those in charge are not taking action.

Plus, a massacre in Mexico, three women and six children and killed. Why the family does not think it was a random attack.



CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for this hour. U.S. diplomat Gordon Sondland now acknowledges military aid for Ukraine was tied to investigations of Joe Biden and his son and the 2016 U.S. election. Sondland revised his testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry. House Democrats are expected to release more transcripts in the day ahead.

Well, two big wins for Democrats in state and local elections across the United States. Democratic challenger Andy Beshear is declaring victory over incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin in Kentucky. The race is due to close to CNN to call. In Virginia, CNN projects Democrats will flip both chambers of the state legislature taking back control for the first time in 20 years.

Iran is taking steps to further flout the nuclear deal it has signed with world powers in 2015. President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran will begin injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at aids for the plot. Now this is part of the process to enrich uranium, though Iran continues to deny wanting to build a nuclear weapon.

Well, Mexican authorities have arrested a suspect in the horrific attack, the soul three women and six children killed. The victims all Jew citizens were members of a Mormon community living in Mexico. Authorities believing newly formed cartel ambush the family shooting and burning them. The family says they've had run ins with cartels in the past and they're now calling on the Mexican government to help them get justice. Mexico's president has promised to do just that.


ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (through translator): I send condolences and hugs to the whole LeBaron family, to the families of the victims. It is a regretful disgrace because innocent children lost their lives. And we will do what is appropriate in these cases. It is our obligation to gather all the information to see the causes and stop those responsible so that there is justice.


CHURCH: And Gary Tuchman has more on how the attack unfolded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was for the record. Nita and four of my

grandchildren are burnt and shot up. Right on the road out of La Mora.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On Monday evening, three cars filled with women and children from the same family were traveling and Mexico, not far from the U.S. border. When an armed group ambush them, gunning down the vehicles, setting one of the vehicles on fire. Three women and six children were killed in the attacks. Two of them still babies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None of my grandchildren made it out. Burnt to a crisp. And my daughter-in-law. And they're about as innocent as they come.

TUCHMAN: All the victims were dual Mexican-American citizens, members of a fundamentalist Mormon community who had been living in Northern Mexico for decades.

KENDRA LEE MILLER, RHONITA MARIA MILLER'S SISTER-IN-LAW: It was an attack on innocent civilians on purpose trying to basically start a war.

TUCHMAN: Kendra Lee Miller is related to the victims. She spoke to Anderson Cooper earlier on CNN's "FULL CIRCLE".

MILLER: We have our beautiful homes and built up an incredible community. And yet we all know that or horrors like this to happen, none of that is worth sticking around or --

TUCHMAN: She says her sister-in-law Rhonita Miller who they call Nita was driving one of the cars with four of her seven children.


TUCHMAN: Dawna Langford was in another car with two of her children. And Christina Johnson was traveling with Faith. Her seven-month old baby who survived.

MILLER: We don't know how she survived because around the door and kind of work she was full of bullet holes, her car seat base had bullet and somehow this baby escaped unscathed.

TUCHMAN: Eight children survived the attack, somewhere airlifted to a hospital in Arizona for treatment. Family members say some of the surviving children hidden bushes until the gunman left and that a 13- year-old boy who survived walk for 14 miles to find help. There was no known motive yet for the attack. The Mexican government says the armed group may have mistaken the family caravan for a rival gang.

But family members believe they were targeted by drug cartel members angered by the family's vocal opposition to the cartels. Mexico has experienced an upswing and fighting and violence from the drug cartels. Last year it had the highest number of homicides in its history. And the country is on track to break that record this year. The bodies of the nine victims have been returned to the family ranch in Mexico. Their funerals will take place in the next few days.


TUCHMAN: Eight children survived this massacre. Three of them were told by family members were not seriously hurt. The other five were medevac across the border here to the Banner - University Medical Center in Tucson Arizona. Hospital officials are being very tight lipped about their condition. But we are being told by family members that all the children who are here were shot, were seriously hurt. Their ages range from 14 years old to a baby. This is Gary Tuchman, CNN in Tucson, Arizona.

CHURCH: And despite the current violence the Mormon family lived in their Mexican colony for 100 years and it has been relatively peaceful before organized crime began to flourish. Rafael Romo reports.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: The victims of the ambush on the U.S.-Mexico border were all members of a large Mormon community whose roots in Northern Mexico go back a century. Most are descended from a single founder, Alma Dayer LeBaron, he moved his family south of the border to live as polygamists in the 1900s after the U.S. criminalize the practice of plural marriage and the mainstream Mormon church abandoned it.

In the 1940s, he began building Colonia LeBaron what would become a sprawling colony in La Mora, Mexico. Housing his many wives and children. In Mexico the family created a new Mormon faction named the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times. One of Alma's LeBaron sons, Ervil LeBaron eventually split from the SEC to form his own church, the Lamb of God. He and his followers became infamous in the 1970s after it was discovered Ervil had his brother Joel murdered in linked to the killings of several others in the U.S. and Mexico.

He was convicted and later died in a Utah prison. Ervil's brother Joel had taken over as leader of a colony before he was killed. After his gruesome end, Joel's many children and relatives continued the colony. For decades they grew quietly working mostly as farmers and relative peace. But when organized crime began to flourish in Mexico, the LeBarons compared to wealth made them targets of extortion and kidnapping.

In 2009, Joel's grandson became known for his opposition to Mexico's drug cartels and their kidnappings. He refused to pay a $1 million ransom when his younger brother was kidnapped and push the local community to take a stand against violence. Though his brother was later released, Benjamin LeBaron and his brother-in-law were killed shortly after they had been dragged from their home, beaten and executed.

Now a decade after their murder, a massacre by a known assailants in a region marred by violence and ruled by drug gangs. Back to you.

CHURCH: Many thanks to you for that report. We'll talk -- we'll take a very short break. We'll be back in just a moment. But ahead, it's looking very welcoming in Beijing, with the leaders of France and China shaking hands and saying yes to what they call an irreversible pact on the climate. We're live in China's capital. Plus, a call to action from scientists warning of untold suffering from a climate emergency. Back in a moment.



CHURCH: Well, just a short time ago in Beijing, the leaders of China and France reaffirm their support for the Paris Climate Accord. French President Emmanuel Macron is in China where he and President Xi Jinping just signed the packs aimed at cutting climate warming gases. It comes a day after the Trump administration officially began the yearlong process of leaving the Paris Agreement. So we turned to CNN's Steven Jiang who joins us live from Beijing.

Good to see you, Steven. How significant is the timing of this and what all has been agreed upon?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right, Rosemary. Very strong commitment from China and France and contrast to the U.S. move to formally withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Now, a French officials have been saying that U.S. leaving this agreement actually made the French-Chinese cooperation or the E.U.-Chinese cooperation on this issue or the more necessary.

Now with a French President Macron himself been saying during a trip that this cooperation is going to be very decisive. And both countries have previously said at this year's G-20 that they're going to update their commitments on this issue to reflect their highest possible ambitions. And as you know, China has already set it aims to have its carbon emissions peak around the year 2030.

And they're trying to raise the share of its non-fossil fuels and its energy mixed to 20 percent by that year, as well. So if they announced something bigger, that's going to be really ambitious. Now, the French president also said something similar the two leaders of course, also saying they will strengthen their cooperation in this and many other issues. I asked the Chinese foreign ministry about this cooperation and the U.S. move as well.

A spokesman told me on Tuesday that they really regret the U.S. decision and also saying what Chinese officials hope to see is that U.S. actually assume more responsibilities in this regard, instead of in his words, injecting negative energy into this process, Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Steven Jiang joining us live from Beijing. Many thanks to you. Appreciate it. Well, a warmer planet could threaten life and cause untold suffering. That is according to thousands of scientists from around the world. They say they declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency. An immense increase of scale and endeavors to conserve the biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis. The group says governments are failing to get a grip on the crisis.

[02:45:03] CHURCH: Some of the key issues include replacing fossil fuels, eating less meat, and saving more trees. The study released, and the scientific journal BioScience is based on 40 years of data.

One of the co-authors of that report, Thomas Newsome, a lecturer at Sydney University, joins us now from Sydney, via Skype. Thank you so much for being with us.

THOMAS NEWSOME, LECTURER, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY (via skype): No problem, thank you.

CHURCH: So, more than 11,000 scientists trying to alert world leaders that we confront a climate emergency of untold suffering. How likely is it that they'll take action since they haven't up to this point?

NEWSOME: Sure. There's been a long period and history of inaction against climate change despite all of the different warnings that have been put out there. But one of the things that we did in this paper that was published in BioScience today is really tried to provide all the different -- and key human activities that are contributing in some form or way or another to the issue of climate change.

We also tracked all the different climatic responses that have -- that have been changing over the last 40 years. We tried to provide these in a clear and concise way to paint a picture is unfortunately bleak -- paint a very clear picture that there is a climate emergency and that we need to act now.

CHURCH: Right. And, of course, replacing the word crisis with emergency hopefully will alert some of these leaders that this is something that needs to happen now. So, what does need to happen right now to reverse some of the damage done and to stop future damage occurring?

NEWSOME: Sure. Well, some of the main human activities that are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change include human population growth, livestock and meat production, forest loss, energy consumption, and air transport.

And so, taking into account, all of the different indicators that we presented, we outlined six key steps that we think are important to look at when developing and considering the issue of climate change.

The first is massive energy efficiencies. So, switching away from fossil fuels and moving to renewables and more clean energy sources. The second is reducing other pollutants into the atmosphere that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The third is protecting and restoring ecosystems. That would actually involve ceasing or decreasing land clearing.

Meat consumption we feel was important to consider because it has been rising and a lot of land is cleared to provide more land for livestock. We also thought it was important to focus on highlighting that there is a need to include other metrics of success when looking at -- you know, where countries stand globally. GDP is used globally to -- and often touted as a country's metric of success, and there's valid reasons for that.

We feel there's also room to include other metrics like human health and well-being. And also ecosystem health as other metrics of people should be reporting on.

CHURCH: Right. But how do you respond to leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump who deny that there's any climate crisis at all, never mind an emergency?

NEWSOME: Well, I think our paper paints a very clear picture that should be understandable to the general public. It is a very short report, it is clear and concise, and we provide easy-to-understand graphical indicators that really point to a bleak picture that climate change has arrived, it's accelerating as -- at a faster pace, that was anticipated, and we're already starting to see some of the impacts of climate change such as increasing in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events.

CHURCH: Right. So, if global leaders don't act and they're not showing any signs of doing that, are they? What should the rest of us be doing to make a difference?

NEWSOME: Well, obviously, our paper was aimed at -- aimed at a global level, and it was a broad attempt to really paint a global picture. However, individuals can make a difference in the choices that they make throughout their day-to-day lives.

That might mean are making preferences in our diet in terms of reducing meat consumption. If they feel like climate change is an important issue, then, they should be supporting and endorsing -- inviting for political parties that actively addressing the issue.

Other things might be divesting in fossil fuels, decreasing your air transport. But also, you know, taking on board and up taking the use of renewables, which is becoming more and more affordable.

I think lots and lots of shifts by lots and lots of individuals will start to make government's respond.


CHURCH: Yes, we might have to start at the individual level for sure and show our leaders, we'll give some guidance to them, perhaps. Sir. Thomas Newsome, thank you so much and for all the work you've done on this. Appreciate it.

NEWSOME: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, allegations of conspiracy, subterfuge in Russia. And that's not even counting Brexit. We will look at the rocky election facing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That's coming up.

Plus, the Labour Party's challenge to Mr. Johnson in his own constituency, why a win for the prime minister isn't a sure thing? Back with that and more in just a moment.


CHURCH: Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a new scandal as he said to formally announce the general election campaign. Critics say he's blocking the release of a report on attempted Russian political interference until after the December 12th vote.

Mr. Johnson's backer say it's common for reports to go through an intense security review. But the chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee says it was finished in March and was given to the prime minister three weeks ago.

He wants an explanation for why it hasn't been cleared for release. And so, does the Labour Party.


EMILY THORNBERRY, BRITISH SHADOW FOREIGN SECRETARY: What is Downing Street so worried about? Why would they not welcome an official report into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 referendum whether successful or otherwise? And I fear it is because they realize that this report will lead to other questions about the links between Russia and Brexit and with the current leadership of the Tory Party, which risks derailing their election campaign.


CHURCH: Well, some British voters are fired up about this election. Some are numb from Brexit deadlock and some are just angry. CNN's Nick Glass has the view from Uxbridge, part of the prime minister's constituency.


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The most unpredictable British general election in decades, so, the political analysts tell us. And evidently, anxious electorate both weary and bitterly split by the Brexit ordeal. We came prepared in hive this jacket to sound up views. Our chosen suburban high street, Uxbridge in outer London, and Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson's very own constituency.


GLASS: What do you think of Boris?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's good. I like him. He's a bit of fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he'd be a fabulous dinner guest. However, do I trust him? No.

GLASS: How do you rate Jeremy Corbyn?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I really liked him when he came. I feel like Labour needs a stronger leader.

GLASS: Boris Johnson evidently wants a presidential campaign of sorts, as does the opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a traditional two-way fight -- Conservative versus Labour.

The truth is the vote could well be seriously splintered, remain voters backing Jo Swinson on the Liberal Democrats. Arch leavers favoring Nigel Farage's Brexit Party and Conservatives could lose seats in Scotland to Nicola Sturgeon's National Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, hello, hello.


GLASS: Not everyone on Uxbridge High Street wanted to talk to us.


GLASS: Will there be voter apathy on Election Day?

I'm just going to ask what you thought about the state of British politics and politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm -- of with it all.

GLASS: Really?


GLASS: Do you welcome this election?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't be bothered that none of them are any good.

GLASS: Are you going to vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not really going to bother.

GLASS: According to a new British election survey, more people are switching parties than ever before.


GLASS: Volatility.


GLASS: You perceive that among yourselves and your friends?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, definitely. Definitely, amongst all of us, we're all considering changing our votes. I think this could be a very, very tight election.

GLASS: The campaign promises to be nasty, brutish, and short. And in some cases, domestic.

Do you welcome this election?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, definitely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't. I don't welcome it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should (INAUDIBLE) Brexited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the only way something is going to be done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Boris should have been allowed to let us -- let Brexit be done, and shouldn't have had another election.


GLASS: It sounds like there's a division at home here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, there is. There is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, well, yes. And we shouldn't get divisions --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But yes, we talk about it, we argue about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But then we just say, we've had enough now.

GLASS: As it happens, Boris Johnson is facing a serious challenge here from the Labour candidate Ali Milani, who lives locally and is less than half his age.

Do you think Boris will get in again here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there's a long six weeks to go. And I think there could be a few banana skins for a lot of people.

GLASS: Nick Glass, CNN, on Uxbridge High Street in the London suburbs.


CHURCH: And before we go, this frozen phenomenon has tourists on a Finnish Island wondering where did these come from? Thousands of the egg-shaped balls of ice have turned this Baltic Sea beach into a frigid Fantasyland. The ice balls form in turbulent water near shore as layers of slushy ice stick together and spin, building up a layer at a time.

A witness told CNN, she'd seen them before but not covering an area as large as this. Fantastic.

Well, thanks for joining us this hour. 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.