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First Public Hearings Set To Begin This Week; Russian Professor Found With Woman's Arm In Backpack; Nigel Farage: We Won't Contest Tory Seats In Snap Election; East Coast Warned Of Catastrophic Danger; U.K. Parliament Was Warned About Alleged Russian Infiltration. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 11, 2019 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, Bolivia's President has resigned but now it's not clear who's currently leading the

country. Protests in Hong Kong turned violent yet again as a man is set on fire just hour after a protester is shot by police. And Russia's influence

on the United Kingdom which hopes for high profile Britain's are accused of doing the Kremlin's bidding?

Live from London I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show. The question this hour, just who is in charge of the Bolivia after the resignation of Evo

Morales? A long time socialist leader resigned Sunday in a televised speech after election monitor's published report alleging fraud and other

widespread irregularities in last month's elections.

But it was the loss of support from the military which sealed his fate and just a short while ago Mexico's Foreign Minster announced his country has

granted Morales political asylum. At first, celebrations broke out, following Morales's decision to step down but overnight, that was looting

and vandalism that paradise the streets of La Paz. Now, Bolivia is leaderless.

Three people in line to succeed Morales have resigned and some lawmakers have scattered making it impossible to take any legislative action that

would stabilize the uncertainty. Matt Rivers joins us now from Mexico City. Matt, what happens next with Bolivia?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a tough question to answer frankly Bianca when you laid it out there right now in the sense that there is no

clear power structure at least right now in Bolivia. Nominal, the country's opposition party leaders within it would be in charge when other some those

leaders have called for new elections.

That seems to be a step that would have to take place in order for Bolivia to move forward with the understanding that it remains a democracy and to

detract from anyone who might say this was a military coup. But the fact is at this point that we don't know where Bolivia will go from here.

What we do know is at least it seems certain that Evo Morales will be on his way to Mexico after receiving political asylum for Mexico's government.

Mexico's government has called what happened in Bolivia a coup because it was the military, so claims the administration here that asked Evo Morales

to resign.

Meanwhile, the election officials that you mentioned there that said there was so much fraud in these elections that would be the organization of

American states, it was their findings that really spurred the resignation of the Evo Morales and they are set to hold a special emergency session

tomorrow at 3:00 pm in Washington, D.C., given their influence over what's going on in Bolivia in terms of those election result findings, it won't be

a surprise that they're going to hopefully lay out a time line for Bolivia and maybe recommendations Bianca moving forward.

NOBILO: Matt Rivers, thank you so much. Matt for us there in Mexico City. Hong Kong has been grip bid pro-democracy protests for five months now.

There may have been no day quite as tense or violent as today. A police officer opened fire on a protestor on Monday and only hours later a man was

set on fire by demonstrators. CNN's Will Ripley is in the middle of it. We must warn you that his report does contain disturbing images.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Combat on the streets of Hong Kong. Police versus protestors a dangerous almost daily struggle that sometimes ends

like this. Three live rounds fired by a traffic officer. A 21-year-old protestor hit in the torso. This 20-year-old university student saw it



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was heading there, and suddenly two cops ran out and pushed down more people. Then - when that protester was on the floor the

cops are still shooting people. None of the protesters are holding any gears and I don't think it is necessary to use the gun. It wasn't fair to

our people. We were leaving and we were not attacking those cops. And they just used violence to treat us.


RIPLEY: On social media, the news spreads like wildfire. Soon the protesters start to fire of their own. You can easily spot the front liners

dressed in the black, wearing full face masks in defiance of Hong Kong law. This no longer feels like a fight for democracy. It feels like a fight

against the government. The police the very institutions now struggling to maintain public order a public who many people no longer trust the



RIPLEY: At the time Hong Kong police race back to the scene, the damage is done trash everywhere. Traffics fall, clashes like this erupting all over

the city. The inevitable pepper spray and tear gas do little to stop the chaos. New strict laws and stiffer punishments may deter some, but not all.

It's like a game of cat and mouse they never seems to end. Protesters run away. The police chase them, and all the while, the crowds are watching

often screaming insults towards the police. Hong Kong police have suspended a protester caught on camera riding his motor bike into a crowd of


Videos like this only fuel the anger on both sides. Police are investigating this video showing a man apparently being douched with

flammable liquid and set on fire just before he was shouting, you are all not Chinese? What we don't see on the streets of Hong Kong is any attempt

at higher level of discourse all we see is a city growing more tense, more angry, more dangerous. Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.

NOBILO: The partisan battle lines are being drawn as Washington prepares for the most important week yet in the impeachment inquiry into U.S.

President Donald Trump. For the first time key witnesses will go to lawmakers and answer questions publicly in the House of Representatives.

After more than a month of investigations and more than a dozen closed door depositions the public will soon be able to watch and listen for themselves

as these three witnesses testify under oath. Democrats say the hearings will backup allegations that President committed an impeachable offense

during his July phone call with the President of Ukraine.

Republicans are requesting to interview and reveal the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment probe. But the

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff says it would be redundant and unnecessary to make the whistleblower testify now.

Just moments ago impeachment investigators released the testimony from Pentagon Official Laura Cooper. She testified about concerns raise when

U.S. military aid to Ukraine was held up. As evidence mounts in the inquiry, many of Mr. Trump's allies find themselves trying to walk this

tight rope as they defend the President.


REP. MAC THORNBERRY, (R-TX): I believe that it is inappropriate for a President to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. I

believe it was inappropriate. I don't believe it was impeachable.


NOBILO: But the President is not satisfied with that defense. He's warning Republicans not to testily imply wrong doing as they defend him calling

that "Fools trap". Kaitlan Collins joins me from New York where the President is this evening.

Kaitlan, good to see you. What's the President's strategy ramping up to these big hearings on Wednesday?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORESPONDENT: He seems to be going completely against what you heard from those Republican there and what we

have been hearing from several Republicans privately, which is that they don't agree with the President's conduct on the phone call. They actually

find that he did act inappropriately but they don't think it's something that the President should be impeached over.

That's an argument that the President says he doesn't want these Republicans making. As you noted here, thinks it's a fool's trap because

the President still not only publicly, privately insists he doesn't think he did anything wrong here. That's something that he's been pushing and

that's essentially what he wants these lawmakers to go out on television and say.

But we know that on the other side of this, these Republicans have been struggling privately with what their defense is going to be. It's taken

weeks to just get here. Now we are days before the hearings and essentially they're not in lock step with one and other you're seeing different excuses

from different allies of the President.

Some saying he did nothing wrong, but a lot of them using that line there the donor group what he did, they just don't think it's impeachable.

Whether or not that changes as you're starting to these witnesses come forward is something that the White House is waiting to see.

NOBILO: Kaitlan Collins, thank you. A reminder that CNN will have special coverage of the public testimony in the impeachment hearings all day

Wednesday and Friday.

Now, a grisly murder case that shocked Russia is highlighting the case of domestic abuse in the country. A prominent Russian Professor who was pulled

from a river in St. Petersburg with a woman's severed arms in his back pack appeared in court today. CNN's Matthew Chance has more details on this

particularly gruesome case.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca we have learned some absolutely horrific details of how this 63-year-old university Alex

Sokolov allegedly shot and killed his 24-year-old lover, one of his history students. Then as he confessed in court dismembered her body with a saw in

his apartment just a short distance from here.


CHANCE: Police say he then tried to dump her cutup remains in this Moika River which runs through the center of St. Petersburg.

Professor Sokolov is a distinguished expert on Napoleon and he is renowned for his reenactments of Napoleon voyeur of battles that passion he seems to

have enjoyed with his victim Anastasia Yeshchenko who was 39 years his junior. They two lived together. And today the court heard - couple had

argued before Anastasia was shot dead. It's that relationship that's now coming under scrutiny.

Doesn't appeared to have raised any alarm bells at the prestigious St. Petersburg's state university where the couple met, but CNN has learned

that previous allegations against professor Sokolov in which he said to have abused another female student with having an affair also went without

any action taken against him.

The whole issue is drawing the spotlight on to the way in which Russia deals with domestic violence cases. It sweeps them under the carpet doesn't

pay them enough attention, often, as in this case with fatal consequences.

NOBILO: Thanks to Matthew Chance for his reporting there. Now one of the leading backers of Syria's white helmets rescue group has died. James Le

Mesurier was a Former British Army Officer who founded a charity that supports the white helmets an all-volunteer group that helps civilian

victims of Syria's Civil War.

His body was found on the ground outside his home in Istanbul. Police are investigating. Mesurier's wife told friends that her husband fell from the

balcony while she was asleep last night. His charity, the May Day Rescue Foundation said James dedicated his life by helping civilians respond to

emergencies in conflicts. Nowhere was the impact of his important work felt so strongly as in Syria. James Le Mesurier was just 48 years old.

Iraq continues to be torn by violent anti-government protests. At least four people died and another 130 were injured in the Sunday's

demonstration. The protests began in early October and more than 300 people have died since then as Iraqis demand action on unemployment and government

corruption. CNN's Sam Kylie is in Baghdad. I asked him how the government is responding to these calls for early elections.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, the government has been almost silent in its response, not only to the demonstrations that

are now more than a month old, demanding a whole new fresh policy and of course elections, but these have been reinforced in the last couple of days

in statements by the United Nations.

Those endorsed by the United States, both calling for rapid economic reforms, crackdowns on corruption, and early elections. But above all in

the last day or so, the Ali-Al-Sistani the Ayatollah, the spiritual leader of Shia Muslims here in Iraq and they make up the majority not only of

Iraqis but also the majority of people demonstrating against the Shia dominated government Bianca.

He has now been called for early elections for a crackdown on corruption and richly endorsing the proposals coming from the United Nations. That is

significant, perhaps because he wants to be able to surf the wave of the predominantly Shia political energy here. But also because his voice really

does carry resonance even though on the ground demonstrators absolutely adamant that they want to see the back of political parties linked to

religious groups dominating this country Bianca.

NOBILO: Sam Kylie for us. Mexico says the FBI is welcome to help investigate the murder of nine members of a Mormon family who ambushed near

the U.S. border but with certain conditions. Meanwhile, a 13-year-old boy is speaking out for the first time about the horrifying moments during the



DEVIN LANGFORD, SURVIVED DEADLY AMBUSH IN MEXICO: They started hitting car first with a bunch of bullet just started shooting rapidly at us. It felt

real scary and I felt like a lot of bullets. The car didn't work so she was trying to start the car as much she could, but I'm pretty sure they saw

something so the car wouldn't even start.


NOBILO: Three women and six children killed in that attack. Large areas of North Sydney are under a state of emergency. Intense bush fires have killed

three people and destroyed some 150 homes. Australian authorities are urging evacuations. They say that dry conditions along with record heat and

winds could be, "Catastrophic". The fires can be seen from space. NASA captured this image of billowing smoke over huge swaths of Australia's



NOBILO: Chinese E-Commerce giant Alibaba has crushed the record for sales in a single day. Alibaba sold $38 billion worth of merchandise on Monday

during its Singles Day sale. Singles Day and Anti-Valentine's Day holiday in China celebrating people who aren't in relationships. Alibaba sold more

products in the first hour of Singles Day than Amazon sold in the 48 hours on its prime day promotion in July. Still to come on the program, a stark

warning for the British parliament sources tell CNN, Russia has infiltrated deep into British politics.


NOBILO: Nigel Farage says the Brexit Party will not challenge more than 300 seats held by the conservatives in next month's election here in UK. It's a

u-turn for Farage who had initially promised to contest 600 seats. Nigel Farage began the election campaign by pressuring Boris Johnson to move

towards a harder Brexit, claiming that the deal that Johnson had negotiated with the EU wasn't really Brexit at all.

But he's proclaiming a leave alliance, saying he would get Boris half a chance almost to avoid a second referendum by focusing on seats held by

other parties. Now on the surface this move looks good for the Toreys. But actually unless Farage agrees not to stand candidates in marginal seats of

that the conservatives want to win it from Labour is very unlikely to help much.

Now, Russia's influence reaches deep into the British establishment and successive governments in UK have failed to act. That's the stark warning

issued in testimony to a parliamentary inquiry on Russian infiltration into British politics. Sources tell CNN the Cross-Party Intelligence and

Security Committee heard from multiple witnesses.

They allege that Russia's built a network of friendly British diplomats, lawyer, parliamentarians and other influencers across the political

spectrum. The full parliamentary report has yet to be published, causing angry questions about why the delay. CNN's Nina Dos Santos investigates for

todays debrief.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just weeks before Britain's head to the polls a bombshell allegation. Members of parliament say Boris Johnson's

government is suppressing a report on Russian influence on UK politics. The contents of the report compelled by Cross-Party Intelligence and Security

Committee abound by secrecy until Downing Street approves their release.

The intelligence services and MI-5 and MI-6 made contributions as did private citizens who are experts on the field. I've obtained some of their

written and oral statements here and the picture that they paint is a troubling one. They say that successive governments have turned a blind eye

to Moscow's targeting of political parties and research roles inside the House of Commons and they claimed that well connected lobbyists, lawyers

and lawmakers have worked to help Russia infiltrate the British establishment.


SANTOS: One of the witnesses was the American born financier Bill Browder who disputed one point being Russia's biggest foreign investor fell afoul

of the Kremlin 15 years ago. I spoke with him before the report was complete.


BILL BROWDER, FINANCIER WHO PROVIDED TESTIMONY TO UK PARLIAMENT: The people who we have seen working to further Russian interests in the UK are some of

the people at the highest level of the establishment.

SANTOS: Can you give me names?

BROWDER: I can give you lots of names. We start out with Lord Goldsmith.


SANTOS: Peter Goldsmith was the UK's Attorney General under Tony Blair. Browder claims that he was involved in a failed effort to help a Russian

avoid being on an EU's sanctions list. Also mentioned in his testimony is a company cofounded by a Linton Crosby a heavyweight in Conservative Party

circles. That business is alleged to have helped Goldsmith's work.


SANTOS: Are you 100 percent confident of the evidence that you have to support these claims?

BROWDER: I would not have submitted the claims if didn't have confidence in the evidence backing it up.


SANTOS: Goldsmith's law firm said it would not comment on client matters but stressed that everyone has the right to legal representation. Crosby's

company said that it was enlisted by Goldsmith and did not interact with Russian parties. And Crosby's lawyer said that he was not personally aware

of the research done by the entity he cofounded.

Another witness of the inquiry accused authority of "Putting political considerations ahead of national security". In testimony delivered in the

wake of the poisoning of the Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, they say that Russia has managed to do what no terrorist organization has to been

able to thus far, deploying a chemical weapon on UK soil and they claim that Russia presents "Potentially the most significant threat to the UK's

institutions and its way of life". Analysts say it's high time that UK lawmakers tackle it to Kremlin's interference.


ANDREW FOXALL, HENRY JACKSON SOCIETY: I think during the cold war what Russia sought to do was gather intelligence. What Russia has been doing

since 1991 is trying to gather influence and pushing it's long wanted to weaken the European Union, divide the Trans-Atlantic alliance and

unfortunately western publics and western politicians are now doing those things for Putin.


SANTOS: In Westminster the role of a Russia was the subject of a contentious exchange during parliament's last session before next month's

general election.


DOMINIC GRIEVE, CHAIRMAN, BRITISH INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY COMMITTEE: So for what purpose is the Prime Minster still considering it? It certainly can't

be the risk to national security. The agencies themselves have said there is none.

CHRISTOPHER PINCHER, BRITISH MINISTER OF STATE: It is not as if, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minster has had not one or two other things to do during

the last several weeks, notably obtaining a good deal for Britain and withdrawing from the European Union.


SANTOS: Downing Street's declined to comment and has repeatedly denied that the failure to publish the findings was politically motivated. CNN has

approached to Kremlin but not heard back. With parliament now dissolved and the report kicks into the long grass it may be many months before the

committee's conclusions see the light of day.

NOBILO: And Nina joins me now. Nina, this is fascinating reporting. It's come at a very fascinating time, because we are now in an election period,

and the report itself looks like it would potential be bad for the last government for Boris Johnson. But as with many things is it going to be the

fact that it's the cover up rather than the report itself? They seem to be delaying it coming out.

SANTOS: Well, we don't actually know what is inside this report is. It's very important to point out that this is one of the most secretive bodies

that conducted this inquiry, the Security and Intelligence Committee that has oversight of the intelligence agencies. As much, the members of that

committee have actually signed the official secret site.

So for that reason, the Committee Chairman Dominic Grieve although he is making a lot of noise about the support of having a - 10 Downing Street,

he's not actually leaking it himself that's a very important distinction. What we have been talking about here is essentially testimony, private

citizen's input into this report.

As you can tell from my piece there, a lot of these testimonies had been handed in maybe even as many as 18 months ago, so we don't really know

whether or not this report includes a lot of historical allegations. We don't really know which party in particular is mentioned.

What we do know is that they're making the point that other successive governments there has been a large attempt by Russia according to these

private individuals to try to infiltrate the British establishment to focus money on political parties, parties that at the time would have been in

power and that can also be at the cross party effort as well.


SANTOS: Obviously at the moment it doesn't look great going into election to have anything blocks and that is why the decision to try and sit on it

at the moment, if indeed that's what's happening, is so incendiary.

NOBILO: Nina, thank you very much. THE BRIEF will be right back.


NOBILO: There are few places on earth that are such a visual, visceral reminder of military sacrifice than Arlington Cemetery, but as if to

emphasize the sacrifice made the U.S. Army now says that it's running out of space and has proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for


It comes as around the world people opposing to remember those who fought and died to protect their country. Dignitaries, world leaders and people

going about their day stopped to remember the dead. 101 years ago today, the World War I Armistice was signed between the allies and Germany.

It brought to an end a brutal war where at least 15 million people lost their lives and more than 20 million were wounded. That's it for THE BRIEF

tonight. I'm Bianca Nobilo. "WORLD SPORT" is next.