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President Trump Distracted by Heating Impeachment Process; No Answers Yet for Nine People Murdered; Brits Hopes for a Change; Former Twitter Employees Accused of Spying Saudi Regime; Huge Loss from SoftBank. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired November 7, 2019 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

Firing back. Donald Trump takes aim at Democratic leaders as new details emerged about White House request to Ukraine.

The scene of a massacre, a firsthand look at the spot where nine women and children were murdered in Mexico.

And the campaigning begins but will next month's British election break the Brexit stalemate?

Good to have you with us.

So, with public impeachment hearing set to begin next week, Donald Trump is ramping up his rhetoric. The president was in the U.S. State of Louisiana on Wednesday night to campaign for the Republican candidate for governor, but he spent much of his time railing against the impeachment probe.

He is demanding once again that the whistleblower be publicly identified, and he took aim at Democrats who voted to begin the impeachment inquiry.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: These people are bad people and it's so bad what they do to our country. They rip the guts out of a country, and it's a shame. And they shouldn't be allowed to do it, and people should stop. Maybe go to the Supreme Court, maybe but they got to stop it because we have a country to run. And these people in order to do things are willing to --


TRUMP: -- do illegal acts, it's an illegal as far as I'm concerned.


CHURCH: And back in Washington, Democrats release the transcript of what could be the most damaging testimony yet against the president.

CNN's Jessica Schneider has the details.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, told lawmakers it was his clear understanding security assistance money would not come until Ukrainian President Zelensky committed to pursue the investigation into the 2016 election, and the Ukrainian company where Joe Biden's son served on the board, Burisma.

Taylor recounted how top NSC official Tim Morrison told him President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016.

Taylor was alarmed and send a cable to 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's testimony points to a quid pro quo, something the president has repeatedly denied.


TRUMP: There was no quid pro quo, at all. I didn't do it. There was no quid pro quo.


SCHNEIDER: Taylor was asked if the president ever told Taylor directly why the aid was being withheld. Taylor responding, "I didn't hear it from the president. I can't say what the president was thinking."

And that is what Republicans are now seizing on as their latest defense.


REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): What they said was is any information that they had was from whom, Ambassador Sondland. None of them talk to the president. I can assure you that there has been no direct link to the president.


SCHNEIDER: And Taylor also repeatedly criticize the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for his rouge foreign policy on Ukraine. When Taylor was asked if E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland was responsible for withholding Ukraine aid in exchange for investigations, something former national security adviser John Bolton had called a drug deal, Taylor said it was actually Giuliani who was the proxy for Trump.

"I think the origin of the idea to get President Zelensky to say out loud he is going to investigate Burisma and the 2016 election, I think the originator, the person who came with that was Mr. Giuliani."

Meanwhile, depositions continued behind closed doors today on Capitol Hill before the public phase begins next week. David Hill is a high- ranking official at the State Department, and according to the Associated Press, intended to testify that Secretary of State Pompeo was reluctant to defend ousted Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch because it would hurt efforts to get the military aid to Ukraine released.


Plus, the A.P. reports there were concerns about how a public defense would play with Rudy Giuliani. And at the same time, this testimony keeps pointing fingers at Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani announcing on Twitter that he has hired a new team of lawyers. Giuliani previously told CNN that he would not be seeking a new lawyer unless he felt that one was needed.

But in the weeks since, sources have told us that Giuliani has been approaching defense attorneys. Now Giuliani isn't just being brought up in Congress but we've also learned federal prosecutors in New York are investigating his business dealings in Ukraine, in addition to a counter intelligence probe also involving him.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: When the public impeachment hearings begin next Wednesday, the world will be able to watch as Bill Taylor and George Kent testify. Taylor, as you just heard from Jessica Schneider is the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. Kent is the deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs.

On Friday, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch will testify.

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. 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: In the coming hours, funerals are to be held for the nine victims of a massacre in Mexico. Three women and six children all members of the same Mormon family were killed.

Investigators are still trying to figure out who carried out the attack and why. Mexican officials believe the family was caught in the crosshairs of a turf war between drug cartels. But the family had run ends with cartels in the past.

Well this gruesome attack also saw several children wounded. All are expected to survive. Relatives visited the scene trying to make sense of the killings.

Our Matt Rivers also toured the area and here's his report.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time we are making our way to one of the scenes, one of the places where these three cars were attacked. Investigators just open this up to us, they left for the day. And this is what remains of one of the cars that was brutally attacked, ambushed on Monday.

Inside this car five people lost their lives. Thirty-year-old Rhonita Miller and her four, four of her children, the 12-year-old, the 10- year-old, and two eight-month twins. They were shot and ultimately their car was lit on fire.

You can see how hot the fire got. Look at this. This is melted aluminum. That's part of the engine block there. That's why when their family members came here, there was really hardly anything left of the victims that were inside.

Of course, this wasn't the only car that was attacked down this road. Two more cars were attacked. A total of nine people were killed. And the reason why investigators were here today is because the government says they want to figure out who did this. But perhaps the more important question is why?

The Mexican government is pointing to where we are. Where we are standing right now is one of the most dangerous areas for drug trafficking in the entire world.

Drug cartels have been fighting each other and killing each other over one of the most lucrative drug smuggling around. It's only about 100 miles from the U.S. border for years. And perhaps, the government says this was a case of mistaken identity.

One cartel mistaking this car for another rival cartel. But what the family is saying is that because they are part of a community of hundreds of people that live in this area, that maybe the cartels targeted them on purpose. Several reasons for that have been floated around but that is something the family has been saying.

Regardless though, we don't know yet. One thing I want to point out, look where we are. Not everyone in this attack died. Seven children were able to make it out led by a 13-year-old boy who helped save his siblings by hiding down and going across this area to try and go find help.

He walked for over a dozen miles in a rough unforgiving terrain. It was an act that we called heroic before but seeing it here on the ground is something else. It's just an incredible scene here in northwest Mexico.

CHURCH: He is a true hero, that young man.

We'll take a very short break here. When we come back, maybe the third time will be the time. British lawmakers look to break the Brexit log jam with one more general election. We'll have the details ahead.

Plus, two former Twitter employees have been accused of spying. We will have details of the charges when we come back.


CHURCH: Well, five weeks from now voters in the U.K. choose a new parliament. It will be their third general election in four years but this time it's different. More than three years of Brexit deadlock has left the country exhausted, so, perhaps, the December 12 vote will finally bring a reservation.

We get the latest now from CNN's Nic Robertson.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: While the route of their gate for the election now, the prime minister going at it on a triple track strategy, attacked the leader of the opposition, promise a better future for the country, and say that only he can deliver where parliament is failing to deliver is in fact blocking the will of the people to have Brexit.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: No one wants to have an election in December, but we've got to the stage where we have no choice because our parliament is paralyzed, it's being stuck in a rot for three and a half years. And I'm afraid our M.P.s are just refusing time and again to deliver Brexit and honor the mandate of the people.


ROBERTSON: And the better Britain the prime minister is promising once Brexit is done, he said funding for 40 more hospitals, 20,000 additional police officers, improvements in education, improvements in social care.

Voting for the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, he said would amount to increase taxations, would amount to opening the door to immigration and damaging the national health service. A lack of protection even for children in schools.

Now the leader of the opposition responding to the prime minister's words. And indeed, what the prime minister had written in a national newspaper comparing Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, to Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, said that he wasn't going to fight such a personally divisive campaign.


JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: For me, real politics isn't about shouting matches in parliament. I'm not interested. I don't do personal attacks. For me, real politics the politics that I stand for is about sharing power and wealth with people who don't have a lot of money, don't have friends in high places, so they can take control of their own lives.

My job as leader of my party's task is to champion those people and bring it back that real change.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTSON: Well, Corbyn going on to say that he will deliver a million new affordable homes, do away with food banks, do away with tuition fees for higher education at universities. But it's the government that really appears to have been on the back for it.

Their spin doctors doctoring a video of a leading opposition figure having to walk that back, one of the cabinet members, Boris Johnson's cabinet ministers actually having to walk back comments that he'd made that were deemed to, by many people to sort of be quite offensive.

And on top of that, then a government minister, another government minister, secretary of state for Whales resigning for what appears to be something in his constituency that had been less than factual about in the past.

So, they're out of the gate, they're campaigning, the government however seems a little bit on the back foot already.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


CHURCH: CNN has learned former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce on Thursday he is running for his old Senate seat in Alabama. Now that would be exactly one year after President Trump fired him.

Sessions served as the head of the U.S. Justice Department under Mr. Trump but the president quickly soured on him after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. The president mocked and ridiculed Sessions for months before finally dismissing him.

Sessions served 20 years in the Senate before taking the attorney general job.

Well, two former Twitter employees are accused of spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia. A U.S. Justice Department complaint says a Saudi national and a U.S. citizen allegedly used their access at the social media giants to gather sensitive information on dissidents of the Saudi regime.

The case once again highlights efforts by the Saudi government to control anti-regime voices abroad.

Well, the Japanese investment firm SoftBank is one of the biggest players in the tech industry with a track record of underwriting promising start-ups. But it's not foolproof.

On Wednesday, the company announced a whopping third quarter loss of more than $6 billion.

CNN's Clare Sebastian has our report.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a critical moment for Soft Bank and particularly its visionary CEO Masayoshi Son, a man who has spent the last few years shaking up Silicon Valley with his investments, now having to admit that it was his judgment that drag his company to its first loss in more than a decade.

Now the biggest problem was WeWork. SoftBank compiled billions of dollars into the co-working company which had turned out was bleeding cash at an alarming rate and had to pull its planned IPO.

SoftBank has since step in with a $10 billion bailout to keep the company afloat. Now in the end his presentation Wednesday Maso Son said he regretted it, it was a harsh lesson and he said he'd overestimated WeWork now ousted CEO Adam Neumann especially when it came to governance.

But it wasn't just WeWork. SoftBank has a 16 percent stake in Uber which has seen its valuation slashed since the company went public on concerns about its inability to make a profit. Uber stock fell further Wednesday after the post IPO lockup which prevents insiders from selling shares expired.

And all of this raising question not just about Softbank but about lost making tech start-ups in general and whether their valuations are justified. Uber, Lyft, Slack, which is another SoftBank investment have all plummeted since their IPOs this year sharing that Wall Street's appetite for growth at any cost is waning.

Maso Son though, seen as responsible for inflating the values of the companies he backs said he stands by investments and he plans to keep going with a particular focus on artificial intelligence.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.

CHURCH: The latest internet craze is officially in the parliamentary record in New Zealand after a lawmaker used a millennial rallying cry to shut down an older lawmaker heckling her.


CHURCH: South Africa is celebrating the best rugby team in the world with a victory parade. The Springboks won their third World Cup title on Saturday upsetting England 32 to 12 in the final.


The trophy tour goes from Pretoria to Johannesburg and then through Soweto. Good on them. Well done.

Well, now to a big win for quality in supports. Australia's top women football players will now earn the same as their male counterparts. It's been a long time coming. He -- and of course this comes too 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, AUSTRALIA MIDFIELDER: 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 go 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 CB (Ph) shows signs of respect and now are going to be included. And also, opportunity. I think having these facilities at the men have been exposed to is now going to set us up for success.


CHURCH: Well done. And of course, the gender pay gap is the burning issue in sports. In March the U.S. women's football team filed a discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. soccer federation arguing that they are paid less than men for substantially equal work.

The American women of course won their fourth World Cup this year. The U.S. men well, they're still searching for their first title. That says it all, doesn't it?

All right. So many young people are sick and tired of what they perceive as the patronizing opinions of out of touch baby boomers. Take 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker Chloe Swarbrick. When she was heckled by an older member of parliament while giving a speech on the climate crisis, she casually dropped what's become a rallying cry for fed-up young people.


CHLOE SWARBRICK, MEMBER, NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT: Mr. Speaker, how many world leaders to how decades have seen and known what is coming, but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors?

My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury. In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old, yet, right now, the average age of this 52nd parliament is 49 years old. OK, boomer.


CHURCH: OK, boomer a now viral phrase is a tongue in cheek way to dismiss condescending older people. Swarbrick said some people were upset with her remark, to which she responded, I guess millennials ruined humor.

And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. A CNN special the Global Energy challenge is next. But first, I'll be back with the check of the headlines. You're watching CNN. Do you stick around.