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President Trump Distracted by Heating Impeachment Process; No Answers Yet for Nine People Murdered; Turkey Taking Down Members of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's Family; American Made Weapons Funneled into Yemen. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 7, 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 and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Coming up, the top diplomat in Ukraine told lawmakers about a quid pro quo with Ukraine and in less than a week he and other officials will testify in public.

In the U.K. the election campaign is off to an urgent start and Brexit is on the line.

Also ahead, Mexican authorities intensify the hunt for the people behind the brutal attack on an American family. We are learning about the tiny survivors and some incredible acts of bravery.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had saved her baby by pulling it off the seat and tucking it down on the floor and she covered her baby up with a blanket.



CHURCH: Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are just about ready to take their impeachment case against Donald Trump to the American public. Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff says televised public hearings will begin Wednesday.

The testimony will mark a new phase in the inquiry, as Democrats try to prove the president abused to his power by withholding military aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of his political rival, Joe Biden. CNN's Phil Mattingly has more now on what to expect.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you look at the big picture of what we're going to see next week, Democrats are going to attempt to paint a picture of a U.S. foreign policy that was essentially operated through rogue channels, outside the traditional way foreign policy is run, with a heavy emphasis on Rudolph Giuliani, the personal attorney for the president and an acknowledgment that, based on what they are seeing, they believe they already have enough evidence for an impeachable offense.

You're also going to see Republicans make very clear some of the defenses we have seen over the last couple of days, that they don't believe any of the witnesses, no matter how damning their testimony, have a direct link to President Trump.

There will be a lot of that as we look forward, but bigger than anything else, Wolf, this is spilling into the public sphere, which means, more than anything, while impeachment is obviously part of what Congress has in its set of duties, it is also very much a public sentiment type of exercise.

You talk to Republicans and Democrats, they acknowledge that fact, the public hearings a real opportunity to start to sway public opinion, which has largely broken down on partisan lines, into their favor as they move forward in this process.

And also worth noting, the public hearings making clear this is moving forward and it's moving forward quickly. After those public hearings, likely a full report. Then it gets kicked over the Judiciary Committee. Those articles of impeachment will come and then a House vote before it moves to the Senate. Very clear Democrats are moving forward and moving forward fast.


CHURCH: CNN's Phil Mattingly reporting there.

The first witness to testify in public will be the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor. We have a preview of what he'll say on Wednesday. CNN's Alex Marquardt has the details.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It's among the most explosive testimonies yet in the impeachment inquiry. Now the transcript of the deposition of Ambassador Bill Taylor, the most senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, gives a damning on-the-ground perspective.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): Taylor told lawmakers it was his clear understanding security assistance money would not come until Ukrainian President Zelensky committed to pursue the investigation, meaning into the Bidens and the 2016 election.

Taylor added, "It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Rudy Giuliani." It was also Giuliani, according to Taylor, who came up with the idea of demanding that President Zelensky publicly declare he would investigate the Ukrainian company Burisma that Joe Biden's son Hunter had been on the board of.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think you will see in the transcript what a dedicated public servant Ambassador Taylor is, someone who graduated from West Point, someone who served in Vietnam, someone who is, I think, performing another vital service for the country in relating the facts that came to his attention.

MARQUARDT: Taylor testified that he was told about a meeting on September 1 between the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland and a top aide to President Zelensky, in which Sondland told the aide: "The security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation. Everything was dependent on such an announcement."

Days prior, Taylor had written a rare so-called first-person cable to his boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, "describing the folly I saw in withholding military aid to Ukraine at a time when hostilities were still active in the east and when Russia was watching closely to gauge the level of American support for the Ukrainian government."

Taylor was embarrassed he couldn't tell the Ukrainians why the aid was being held up and he prepared to resign. Despite these concerns, Taylor admitted he had never talked to the president.

MARQUARDT: Taylor's testimony is full of references to what Giuliani activists said the Ukrainian officials listen to him because they knew that he was working at the president's direction.

We've also learned that Giuliani has hired himself a team of lawyers tweeting up the names of three of them to the any clearly feeling the heat at this inquiry ramps up -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Mr. Trump isn't saying much about the growing list of witnesses who accused him of a quid pro quo with Ukraine. He has called some of them "never Trumpers" but he is being more focused on demanding that the original whistleblower's identity be revealed.


TRUMP: The whistleblower, before they knew I was going to release, he came out with a whistleblower. You know, like he's some wonderful person. Take a look at the whistleblower. But the whistleblower came out with this horrible statement about this call. So I really had no choice. I said immediately, talk about transparency. I said release it. Release it immediately.

And then the whistleblower saw it and Shifty Schiff saw it, is a total crook, Schiff saw it, Pelosi saw it and they said, we got a problem. We don't want to have anything to do with the whistleblower anymore. And the whistleblower disappeared.

You know who else disappeared?

The second whistleblower.

And you know who else disappeared?

The informer to the whistleblower, if there was such a person, which I doubt.


CHURCH: Donald Trump reportedly wanted the U.S. attorney general William Barr to hold a news conference, declaring the president did not break any laws in his phone calls with Ukraine's leader. That is according to "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post."

Barr declined the request. President Trump calls these stories "fake news" and the U.S. Justice Department did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

So let's talk more about all of this with Linda Feldmann. She is the Washington bureau chief for "The Christian Science Monitor."

Thanks for joining us.


CHURCH: So the publicly released testimony of top U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor confirms not only the existence of a quid pro quo of military aid for Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into the president's political rival but also the second quid pro quo involving a meeting at the White House for Ukraine's president.

Is this the most significant of all testimony so far and where does this take the impeachment inquiry do you think?

FELDMANN: I think it is the most significant not only because of what Bill Taylor is saying but also because of who he is. He is a career diplomat highly respected, was the acting U.S. ambassador in Ukraine. Has no political connections to the president and therefore he brings a lot of credibility to the table.

CHURCH: And Taylor's testimony like others puts the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, once again right at the center of the Ukraine quid pro quo. What might that reveal about Trump's role in all of this do you think?

FELDMANN: Well, that's an interesting question because by having it all go through Rudy Giuliani it insulates Donald Trump just a little bit. It doesn't prove that Donald Trump wasn't behind all of this but it doesn't go directly to the president.

But given that Donald Trump has said and told people go to -- go to Rudy on this, one can assume but you know, it's just sort of part of this whole larger scene of a shadow foreign policy run by the president's professional lawyer which completely bypasses the formal foreign policy structures of Washington. And it made a lot of people nervous here and it's not illegal.

I mean, this sounds kind of devious undoubtedly but in fact, the president has a lot of leeway in how he conducts foreign policy and even if it doesn't look good, it's that in of itself isn't illegal.

CHURCH: Right. And Democrats announced Wednesday they planned to hold public impeachment hearings next Wednesday and Taylor will be the first to testify signaling the significance of all of this.


CHURCH: Of course, his testimony has already undermined the president's assertion of no quid pro quo existing.

So how will Taylor play out in this public appearance? And you've mentioned his standing --

FELDMANN: Exactly.

CHURCH: -- in -- as a diplomat. So talk to us about how this is going to look and why it's so valuable to the Democrats.

FELDMANN: Well, this is, we are now moving into the public phase of all of this. We've have all the -- we've gone through a lot of fact- finding, all these depositions behind closed doors which allowed the Republicans to claim a lack of due process and that there was something secret and devious about what the Democrats were doing, even though there are, of course, Republicans in the room for these closed doors depositions.

Now it's all out in the open and we can all watch this and we get into the big spin war. We'll have the Democrats and the Republicans duking it out trying to spin their own narratives. Of course, the Republicans will be trying to poke holes in what Taylor is saying.

They'll say, for example, that he wasn't on that infamous telephone call between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25th. So they are trying to poke holes in his credibility. But I think allowing Americans to see it for themselves, look him in the eye and see who do they believe, I think that will be actually very powerful for the Democrats.

CHURCH: Right. And the Republican senator and staunch Trump supporter Lindsey Graham vowed Tuesday he would not read any of the publicly released transcripts. Then Wednesday he said this. Let's just bring up his words.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine it was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo, so, no. I find the whole process to be a sham and I'm not going to legitimize it.


CHURCH: It's certainly a unique difference, isn't it? Essentially saying the trump administration still do this organized to being able to form a quid pro quo. Will anyone buy that defense?

FELDMANN: So that's an interesting argument because that's what -- that's kind of what I was saying about the whole conspiracy theories around the Mueller investigations that they couldn't possibly have been colluding with the Russians because they weren't organized enough.

In the case of Ukraine, it's actually quite simple the president asking the Ukrainian president to do something in exchange for something else. It's not some big giant complicated conspiracy.

So I -- my message to Lindsey Graham is, nice try but I'm not sure people are really buying that.

CHURCH: All right. Linda Feldmann, thank you for joining us. We do appreciate it.

FELDMANN: Sure. Happy to be here.

CHURCH: Well, in the coming hours, funerals are to be held for the nine victims of a brutal massacre in Mexico. Three women and six children, all members of the same Mormon family, were killed in the what appears to be an ambush. Some relatives believe the victims were deliberately targeted by a drug cartel.

But Mexican officials say they were caught in a crossfire of a turf war.


GENERAL HOMERO MENDOZA, MEXICAN NATIONAL DEFENSE (through translator): As a result of that ongoing confrontation in the border area, between the two states, they decided to send a unit and we assume this unit which was sent to prevent the entrance of any criminal gain of the salazar towards (ph) Chihuahua, who are the ones being blamed for carrying out this attack towards the LeBaron and Langford families.


CHURCH: An aide survive the hundreds of bullets that rained down on them and we're learning new details about the horrific aftermath of that attack. Brian Todd has our report.


TODD (voice-over): Security forces descend on the grisly scene where three women and six children were murdered. A manhunt is under way tonight for the killers suspected to be affiliated with organized crime and Mexico's top officials are promising they'll solve this. One suspect was arrested then ruled out and relatives of the victims are frustrated.

OMAR LEBARON, VICTIMS' RELATIVE: There needs to be justice here.

TODD: Tonight, dramatic accounts from the extended family of the victims of how some of the surviving children carried wounded children to safety and how one of the mothers, Donna Ray Langford, saved the babies in her car before she died in a hail of bullets.

LAFE LANGFORD, VICTIMS' RELATIVE: She turned around and yelled at all her children to duck down immediately and they started grabbing the babies and putting them under the dash and trying to hide them and all of a sudden bullets just reigned from above. She had saved her baby by pulling it off the seat and tucking it down on the floor and she covered her baby up with a blanket. And how her nursing infant stayed there for eight -- nine hours or something is a miracle.

TODD: A U.S. official tells CNN some of the evidence may indicate that those members of an extended family of a fundamentalist Mormon group were deliberately targeted.


TODD (voice-over): The official points to the burning of evidence at the scene and accounts that the gunfire continued even after women and children got out of the cars.

MALCOLM BEITH, AUTHOR, "THE LAST NARCO": The message that is clearly received is no one is -- no one is safe really.

TODD: Analysts say the LeBaron family has a history of tension with local drug cartels.

CHRISTOPHER WILSON, MEXICO INSTITUTE, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Actually about a decade ago formed a group called SOS Chihuahua, an activist organization trying to draw government attention and pressure the government to do more to fight criminal organizations in the region and they had received some pushback from the cartels.

TODD: Pushback like the murders of two LeBaron family members who had led protests against the cartels after a relative was kidnapped. Still, one relative says the only thing those mothers were activists for was their children.

Tonight, a stunning admission by Mexico's president that the family and other law abiding residents of that region of northern Mexico were left vulnerable by their own government.

ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (through translator): Not enough policemen. Completely abandoned. Everything related to public safety. We are working on that.

TODD: Experts say the outmanned, outgunned Mexican Security Forces are up against a maelstrom of violence and chaos in that northern region of northern Mexico, a brutal war between drug gangs some of which are splinters of the Sinaloa Cartel, which was run by now imprisoned kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. BEITH: And you have newer groups, some of them formerly related to those cartels, who are trying to establish their own dominance through violence usually, through hyperviolence. So this family was basically caught off in the middle of that.

TODD: Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has ordered the formation of a new commission to investigate the murders, a commission consisting of Mexico's foreign minister and top military officials. The police are not even mentioned as being part of that commission.

Analysts say there's still a lack of complete trust in Mexico's national police and especially in local police forces since they have been corrupted by those cartels for decades -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington


CHURCH: We'll take a short break here, still to come, Turkey says one of the wives of late ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi has been captured. We will look at how this could help forces find other members of the terror group.

Plus CNN obtains exclusive new video of key U.S. allies secretly funneling U.S. made weapons into Yemen. Back in a moment.





CHURCH: Turkey is taking down members of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's family one by one. Turkey's president says they've captured one of the wives of the late ISIS leader and this comes as soon after his sister, her husband and daughter-in-law were caught. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has the details now from northern Syria.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Erdogan announcing on Wednesday that Turkey captured the wife of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It's not clear where this happened, when this happened or which of Baghdadi's multiple wives this was.

It comes a day after Turkish officials say they captured the sister of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, her husband and daughter-in-law in a raid in a housing container in northern Syria.

We spoke to an official from the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian national army as it's known right now. He told us that she had moved into the town about six months ago. She was posing as a refugee. The family came into the town with fake documents. They tried to blend into the local population. They're concerned there could be many more who are trying to do the

same, former ISIS members, the family members of ISIS members. They say they're on the lookout for that right now.

Turkish officials believe that these recent arrests are a potential intelligence gold mine. It could give them insights into how ISIS is operating right now and the kind of threat it poses to Turkey and to the rest of the world -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, in Azaz, northern Syria.


CHURCH: Amnesty International is accusing Turkish forces and their allies in Syria of war crimes, including gruesome killings and unlawful attacks. CNN's Becky Anderson asked Turkey's defense minister if the government plans to investigate these allegations. Take a listen.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Sir, you are the Turkish defense minister. I want you to respond to the allegations of war crimes by Turkish backed Syrian forces. Your counterpart in America, Mark Esper, called on Turkey to investigate allegations of war crimes, including allegations of summary killings and unlawful attacks, killing and injuring civilians.

The presidential spokesman told me allegations will be thoroughly investigated.

Is that true?

Are you investigating these allegations of torture?

HULUSI AKAR, TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTER: First of, all, that is shortly yes. Yes, of course. The Syrian national army, the (INAUDIBLE) interim opposition -- (INAUDIBLE) government outside. Representing the (INAUDIBLE) opposition against the SDF government.

Under the Syrian (ph) national coalition, there's recognized by the United Nations. The United Nations recognized them and then they have the army and the debt army (ph) fighting for the lands for their homes, for their territories. And they are -- they have the chain of command by themselves and, at the same time, they're acting, they're operating along with the Turkish armed forces elements.

On the other hand the --


ANDERSON: Who are these forces?

Sorry, sir, let me ask, you who are these forces backed by Turkey?

And can you categorically say they do not have links to ISIS and Al Qaeda? AKAR: Yes, of course. There is no (INAUDIBLE) language (ph) between them and the other terrorist organizations. They are totally, entirely under the Syrian people and then they're fighting for the independence for the (INAUDIBLE) territory for the (INAUDIBLE).


CHURCH: Well, meanwhile the U.S. is investigating whether Turkey misused American supplied weapons in Syria. This would be a direct violation of agreements between Washington and Ankara. The news comes as U.S. president Donald Trump gets ready to host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House next week.

The meeting has been opposed by several members of the U.S. Congress over Turkey's attack on Syrian Kurds.

CNN has obtained exclusive video on how key U.S. allies in the Saudi- led coalition are continuing to funnel American made weapons into Yemen.


CHURCH: CNN first exposed this story and, at the time, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress expressed their outrage. CNN's Nima Elbagir has more.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Weaponry arriving under cover of dark. This footage filmed surreptitiously that CNN was able to obtain and verify shows U.S. weaponry arriving in the southern Yemeni port of Aden.

This is not illegal. This Saudi delivery is not illegal. What it is, it is incredibly controversial, you can see that in the way that this delivery came about. The ship delivering this weaponry did not have its tracking device on, in spite of that being the norm under international maritime regulations.

And it was only through CNN's work of looking through port documents and speaking to whistleblowers that we were able to ascertain they left the port of Jeddah and arrived in Yemen on October 29th.

This latest delivery will come as a blow for U.S. lawmakers, who have been trying for months to stem that tide of heavy U.S. weaponry to the chaos in Yemen. If I had not been for President Trump's multiple vetoes, they would have succeeded so far.

And our understanding is that lawmakers are, after this recent report, seeking answers from the Trump administration. Already the House Foreign Affairs Committee has demanded an urgent briefing from Secretary Pompeo.

Saudi Arabia hosted successful peace talks between southern separatists and the Saudi backed Yemeni government but it doesn't seem to be very clear on details. So far, many of those we speak to believe that all it really has done is pushed the issue, the cause of southern secession further down the line while Saudi Arabia and its allies seek to resolve the broader conflict with the Iranian backed Houthis.

Many of those in Washington though are concerned that their weaponry, their armory, is only further inflaming the chaos in Yemen -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


CHURCH: The first public hearings in the Trump impeachment inquiry are just a week away.

What's got the White House most worried and how they're preparing?

Just ahead. Plus the election campaign is officially underway in the U.K. We will take a look at what they will take to break the Brexit deadlock in Parliament. Back in a moment.




CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's check the headlines this hour.



Public hearings in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry will begin next week. And the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor will be first to testify. Transcripts of his previous testimonies show repeated demands from the Trump administration for Ukraine to open political investigations in exchange for military aid.

And the White House is getting ready for those hearings by beefing up its legal staff, adding two new advisors. And President Trump isn't missing an opportunity to call the process, a scam. CNN's Kaitlan Collins has more.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We will begin our open hearings in the impeachment inquiry next week.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With a date set for the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry, the White House is bracing itself.

SCHIFF: We will be beginning with the testimony of Ambassador Taylor and Ambassador Kent on Wednesday.

COLLINS: All three witnesses on the schedule have already testified behind closed doors. But now, Democrats will be making their case for impeaching President Trump in public. Sources tell CNN, White House officials appear the most concerned about Bill Taylor, the Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who told lawmakers there was an explicit quid pro quo, according to a transcript released today. The President has tried to dismiss Taylor's word before.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a Never Trumper and his lawyers are Never Trumper.

COLLINS: But there's no proof of that. Some say it will be difficult to discredit the West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran who is still on the job, though some allies are trying.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Now, who in the heck can follow that? Someone told someone that I told someone that someone else knew about this in a different meeting.

COLLINS: The President's allies are also seeking to discredit his ambassador to the European Union, a Republican donor turned diplomat who gave a million dollars to Trump's inauguration. Gordon Sondland revised his testimony to reveal a September conversation where he told a top Ukrainian aide, "The resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement." Instead, the President and his allies are now relying on special envoy, Kurt Volker, who told lawmakers, he "didn't know there was a quid pro quo."

REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): Sondland, in his statement, not even sure why he has the opinion he has, and Volker was completely read in on everything that everybody was doing.

COLLINS: The White House believes the release of the transcripts is good for them.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So, these transcripts are actually, they're good for the President.

COLLINS: Now, CNN has also learned that the White House has added two new staffers to its ranks, as they are fighting House Democrats over this impeachment battle. Tony Sayegh is a former senior advisor to the Treasury Secretary who left the administration a few months ago; and Pam Bondi is the former Attorney General for Florida.

Both are expected to come on in a temporary capacity to help with the messaging and strategy. Two things that Republicans on Capitol Hill say the White House really needs to bolster as they are getting ready to go up against these House Democrats in public hearings. Though right now, the White House has still been maintaining, they didn't need any help. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: Well, five weeks from now, voters in the United Kingdom choose a new Parliament. It will be their third general election in four years. But this time is different. The voting comes after more than three years of Brexit deadlock. CNN's Bianca Nobilo explains how the major parties hope to shift the balance of power in Parliament.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Britain is heading back to the polls on December the 12th for the third time in four years. They will vote in a general election and one thing will dominate.

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: To get Brexit done -- and there is only one way to get Brexit done --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the deal because it's not Brexit.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: Labour will get Brexit sorted within six months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Catastrophic cliff edge of a no deal Brexit.

NOBILO: Britain was supposed to leave the E.U. in March and April and again, in October, but it's in the midst of another extension, and political parties are hoping a majority will unlock the parliamentary paralysis. Here's why.


There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom from Orkney and Shetland in the north to St. Ives in the south. To get a majority in Parliament, you need 326 seats. And that is where the problem has been for Theresa May and Boris Johnson since 2017, neither have had a majority on their own, meaning getting anything done was a problem.

Theresa May relied on the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist party, while Boris Johnson had even less the majority after taking the whip of M.P.s who rebelled over Brexit.

Here is where the big parties stand, Boris Johnson's Conservative Party have a simple message, get Brexit done. They were the biggest party in 2017. But we'll be hoping for a clear majority this time, to push the Prime Minister's Brexit deal through. In 2017, Labour did unexpectedly well, but they still ended up the minority party. Their Brexit policy is less clear cut than others, they now support a second referendum. And they're trying to thread the needle with their support base, some of whom are remainders and others who are leavers.

The Scottish National Party currently has 35 seats, but that could rise because of Boris Johnson's relative on popularity, and Scotland's votes remain in 2016. And that is precisely what the SNP will campaign for, remain and Scottish independence. The Liberal Democrats had a tumultuous political decade, they were coalition partners from 2010 to 2015. And that decimated their political support. Now, they're standing on a clear platform of remaining in the E.U., and they're polling in double digits.

Now, one party, not even in Parliament, but who could play a huge role in the election is the Brexit party. It didn't exist in 2017, but they won the most votes in May's European elections. Led by Nigel Farage, their Brexit policy is clear. They went out and they want a clean break from Europe. Britain is going through one of the most volatile political moments in its history. And the last few votes have shown that elections are just that. In short, no one knows how Parliament will look on December the 30th.


CHURCH: Bianca Nobilo with that. And still to come, an American father's desperate search for his young son and daughter, kidnapped by their own mother, who chose to join ISIS in Syria. Plus, tech giant, SoftBank, takes a hard hit to its bottom line, the CEO says he's learned a harsh lesson. Back in a moment.


CHURCH: For more than four years, an American man has been searching for his two young children taken by their mother to join ISIS in Syria. All he has are pictures and text messages she sent over the years. And now, the U.S. forces, he thought he could rely on to help him find them, have mostly gone. CNN's Rosa Flores has the story.


ROSA FLORES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bashirul Shikder has been on an agonizing quest to find his American-born children. It all started in March of 2015, when he says his wife of eight years, Rashida Sumaiya kidnapped 4-year-old Yusuf and 9-month-old Zahra from their home in Miami and joined ISIS in Syria.

BASHIRUL SHIKDER, FATHER OF CHILDREN LOST IN SYRIA: It was impossible pain that I was going through, but at the same time, I was turning to my faith, believing in God.

FLORES: A month later, ISIS called him with an ultimatum, join or lose your wife and children. Shikder says he reached out to American authorities, even giving federal agents access to his computer, his phone.

ZAHRA SHIKDER, CHILDREN LOST IN SYRIA: So, I'm sick. So, I'm always coughing. So, I miss you.

FLORES: And to the most intimate conversations with his family.

Z. SHIKDER: So I miss you. I like you, I love you. I know you love me.

B. SHIKDER: When I used to be talking to my son, I tried my best not to show my tears to him. I tried my best, but sometimes I could not.

FLORES: These images of his children captured by his wife nearly broke him. Yusuf, emotionless, Zahra, pretending to eat.

Did they have enough to eat?

B. SHIKDER: No, they were making soup with grasses. No fruits, no food, nothing is there.

FLORES: And then, there were the sounds of war. So frightening that Yusuf packed his toys.

B. SHIKDER: He's telling his mom that my daddy is coming to pick me up.

FLORES: He wanted to come back to Miami?


FLORES: His wife asked for money for the children.

RASHIDA SUMAIYA, WIFE OF BASHIRUL SHIKDER WHO JOINED ISIS: Send a very good amount, like at least 3,000.

B. SHIKDER: I really wanted, but in the same time, I didn't want to ruin anything that I will disrespect the law, so.

FLORES: Under U.S. law, wiring cash could equate to funding a terrorist organization. Under ISIS law, Shikder's punishment was spelled out in this document.

B. SHIKDER: The court is nullifying our marriage because I live in America.

FLORES: And just when he thought the situation couldn't get worse ...

B. SHIKDER: So many days past that no contact, no inputs.

FLORES: His wife was killed in an airstrike, the children suffered burns to their faces and were in the care of ISIS. Desperate, Shikder traveled to al-Hol camp in Syria. There, a boy said he saw Yusuf, but he was too late.

Shikder, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bangladesh was confident U.S. commandos would save his children. Then, U.S. forces began exiting Syria, leaving his American children behind.

Do you feel let down by the U.S. government?


FLORES: Let down, but not defeated. He says his quest is not over until Yusuf and Zahra come home. Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.


CHURCH: They live without their parents far from home often in extreme squalor. The Talibes of Senegal, are children sent to study the Quran, who were forced to beg on the streets and beaten if they don't meet a quota. The CNN Freedom Project introduces us to an activist who has devoted his life to helping these boys.



ISSA KOUYATE, FOUNDER, MAISON DE LA GARE: (INAUDIBLE) is a sad story. He's maybe 10 years old. There's no words to explain where these boys -- all these boys are living altogether in the garbage dump.

So, let's go, I wish I will show you. And they sometimes -- be careful because here is their toilet. They are doing toilets here.

DOMINIKA KULCZYK, FOUNDER, KULCZYK FOUNDATION: Yes, people shouldn't even be allowed to walk in here.

KOUYATE: Yes. Be careful about this. Here is the daaras. So, boys are -- you know, living open sky in the daaras.

KULCZYK: So, are you telling me that the boys are not having a roof over their head?

KOUYATE: They don't have roof.

KULCZYK: No way.

KOUYATE: Here is the daara.


KOUYATE: You can see --


KULCZYK: You must be joking me.

KOUYATE: They are living in this condition.


CHURCH: And you can watch the latest documentary from "THE CNN FREEDOM PROJECT: BEGGING FOR A CHANGE", Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in New York. 10:30 p.m. in London, only here on CNN.

Well, the Trump administration separated more families along the U.S.- Mexico border than was previously disclosed. According to a court documents filed on Wednesday, more than 1,500 additional children and parents were separated from each other from July 2015 to June 2018.

A court forced the U.S. government to comb through the records to get an accurate count about 2,700 families who are known to have been separated under President Trump's controversial zero-tolerance immigration policy when it went into effect. The number now stands at more than 4,200.

The health and human services inspector general recently released a report about the toll separations had taken on the children, including inconsolable crime, confusion, and feelings of abandonment.

All right, we're shifting to weather now and we're keeping a close eye on the stifling pollution in New Delhi. Let's go to our meteorologist Derek Van Dam, who's been keeping a very close eye on all of this. Are there any improvements being gauged at this point?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: You know, unfortunately, we thought there would be today, but that is just not the case because we've seen some of the images coming out of New Delhi, and it is equally as bad as it's been all week, if not worse.

In fact, we continually try to think of new ways to talk about this story. It seems like a broken record but it comes another day, another day of bad pollution in New Delhi and across northern sections of India.

This picture though was striking, at least, to me. Worshipers in northern India placed masks on some other deities to protect them from pollution. So, that just shows you incredible amount of -- you know, protection that they have. Even towards their religious figures, they are trying to protect them from the pollution that is taking place there.

And if you just look at the progression of the pollution over the past several days, how it's backed up across the Himalayan mountains, it really just has not improved. In fact, New Delhi at the moment with an air quality index of 308, that is in the purple category hazardous for people with -- let's say, asthma, for instance -- young children, the elderly, very difficult conditions.

We've been talking about how the smog from some of the winter burning takes place across northern India, it backs up onto the Himalayas, and it starts to pollute these cities. We talk about Lucknow and into the Patna region. There's New Delhi, all AQI index above 300 which is the hazardous category.

And you can see from Copernicus, the forecast from the smog not improving today across northeast India even though, we have an approaching tropical cyclone, which I'll show you in just one moment.

We have 18 or 17 of the world's most polluted cities across northern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan with the other three of the world's top polluted cities across parts of Africa and into China.

Here's the Tropical Cyclone Matmo, this is across the Bay of Bengal. So, approaching India, unfortunately, this isn't going to do much to help circulate the air. The pollution index will continue across northeast India regardless of an approaching tropical storm. Rosy.

CHURCH: All right. Thank you, Derek, for keeping a close eye on that. Appreciate it.


CHURCH: Well, the Japanese investment firms, SoftBank is one of the biggest players in the tech industry with a track record of underwriting promising startups, but it's not foolproof.

On Wednesday, the company announced a whopping third-quarter loss of more than $6 billion. That sent the stock price tumbling, although, it has recovered somewhat. And we get more now from CNN's Sherisse Pham.

[02:50:10] SHERISSE PHAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL TECH AND BUSINESS REPORTER: SoftBank is losing billions and it's all because of big tech companies like Uber and WeWork.

Masayoshi Son, humble and apologetic on Wednesday after SoftBank's Vision Fund reported operating losses of nearly $9 billion last quarter. That massive hit to the Vision Fund led Softbank to report its first quarterly loss in more than a decade, according to Reuters.

Softbank bailed out WeWork last month with a rescue package that included a big payout for controversial founder Adam Newman. Newman stepped down as CEO and chairman after he was criticized for governance problems and the company's sky-high valuation.

Son's saying he learned harsh lessons from WeWork and his relationship with Newman.


MASAYOSHI SON, FOUNDER, SOFTBANK (through translator): I overestimate that Adam's good side of which I should have known better and more. And probably, I looked his good side too much to look at his negative side of him.


PHAM: But Son also at times defiant, dismissing criticism that SoftBank is fueling a tech bubble and driving company valuations too high. Despite recent losses, the Vision Fund has made money overall. And Son isn't done yet. He said plans for another $100 billion tech fund are going ahead as planned.

Sherisse Pham, CNN, Hong Kong.

CHURCH: Scoring a goal for equal rights. A landmark decision in Australia aims to close the gender pay gap in football. Plus, a Trump official says his memory of the Ukraine controversy has been refreshed. We will have more on why late-night comedians are laughing.


CHURCH: South Africa is celebrating the best rugby team in the world with a victory parade. It's making its way through Pretoria right now. We're looking at these live pictures, in fact.

The Springboks won their third World Cup title on Saturday, upsetting England 32 to 12 in the final. After Pretoria, the parade will make stops in Johannesburg and travel through Soweto. Fantastic.

All right. Now, to a big win for equality in sports, how about this? Australia's top women football players will now earn the same as their male counterparts. About time you might say too.

It comes after a landmark deal aimed at closing the gender pay gap in the sport. The women members of the Westfield Matildas will also split commercial revenue equally and travel business class the same as the men who play for the Caltex Socceroos.


ELISE KELLOND-KNIGHT, MIDFIELDER, WESTFIELD MATILDAS, AUSTRALIA: This new deal is enormous. As a female footballer, it's kind of what we've always dreamed of. We've always wanted to be treated equal. We wanted to be able to step out on that pitch with equal opportunity and the equal facilities that the men have been exposed to.

So, I think as a player, the new CBA shows signs of respect. Now, we're going to be completely included. And also opportunity, I think, having these facilities that the men have been exposed to is now going to set us up for success.



CHURCH: A salute to Australia. And the gender pay gap is a burning issue in sports, of course. In March, the U.S. women's football team filed a discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation arguing that they get paid less than men for substantially equal work.

The American women won their fourth World Cup this year, the U.S. men are still searching for their first title.

Well, it's hard to remember all the twists and turns of the Ukraine controversy, right? Well, at least, that's what the U.S. ambassador to the European Union is claiming. Gordon Sondland, now recalls. He delivered a quid pro quo arrangement to Ukrainian officials. And that's something he seems to have forgotten when he first testified.

As CNN's Jeanne Moos reports, the late-night comedy shows are having a memorable time with all of this.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If only we could all have what he's having, the Gordon Sondland memory cure.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, NBC: And he claims his memory was refreshed.

MOOS: Voices dripped with skepticism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he now remembers or mended. That's right, corrected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Sondland's revision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden now he remembers this? What's going on?

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, HOST, ABC: What do you think jogged his memory?

MOOS: Jail was the number one answer. "The idea of using a stainless-steel toilet every day does wonders to improve the memory." KIMMEL: Maybe he started taking those omega-3 supplements (INAUDIBLE). They say those are very effective against perjury. So --

MOOS: In his updated declarations, Sondland use terms like "refreshed my recollection" and "I now do recall".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is quite a refresh of your memory.

MOOS: Equally refreshing were the snarky headlines. "Oh, that pro quo, yes, now I remember."

Someone demonstrated the exact moment. His memory was refreshed. There was a reference to a Tommy Lee Jones line from The Fugitive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you revise your statement, sir?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to change your -- story, sir?

MOOS: Ambassador Sondland denied changing anything.

GORDON SONDLAND, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: I didn't change my testimony but I can't answer any questions.

MOOS: He was chased by a couple of protesters down an escalator at Portland International Airport.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Gordon Sondland, tell the truth.

MOOS: Gordon Sondland had a Barbra Streisand moment when he refreshed all of those --

BARBRA STREISAND, AMERICAN SINGER: Misty water-colored memories.

MOOS: Of the way his testimony was. Jeanne Moos, CNN.


MOOS: New York.


CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church, and I'll be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Do stick around.