Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Ambassador Bill Taylor Brings New Bombshell into Impeachment Hearing; Ceasefire on Hold Between Gaza and Islamic Jihad; Venice, Italy Inundated with Record-Breaking Floods. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 14, 2019 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

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

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, a major revelation in the first day of public impeachment hearings. President Trump himself overheard talking about the investigations and Ukraine.

In Gaza, a cease-fire seem to be in place after two days of cross border fighting. A live update on how it's holding up so far.

And a swimming in St. Mark's Square, a novel experience, but the flooding in Venice is anything but fun and games.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

On day one of public testimony in the U.S. impeachment inquiry, two career diplomats stood firm in their descriptions of an alarming turn in U.S. policy towards Ukraine and Republicans made their defend strategy clear: attack the testimony as secondhand and suggest the witnesses have a political agenda against president Donald Trump.

Sara Murray reports the hearing began with a startling revelation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): In the impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States.

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the first public impeachment hearing, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine delivered a bombshell. New details about President Trump's added push for Ukraine to open investigations that could boost his reelection effort.

Bill Taylor recounted a conversation between Trump and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on July 26th, a day after Trump spoke by phone to Ukrainian President Zelensky and pressed the Ukrainians to investigate the Biden family and the 2016 election.

WILLIAM TAYLOR, TOP U.S. DIPLOMAT IN UKRAINE: The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. Mr. Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.

Following the call with President Trump the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.

MURRAY: At the time Trump had already frozen military aid to Ukraine. Diplomats were panicking about the national security ramifications of with holding the funds. And Ukrainian soldiers were dying on the front lines in their battles with Russia.

But according to today's testimony, Trump was primarily concerned about his own political prospects. In his testimony Taylor recalled first learning in July that money for Ukraine had been frozen.

TAYLOR: I and others sat in astonishment.

MURRAY: And later realizing not only a White House meeting but the military aid was contingent on Ukraine carrying out the political investigations Trump was demanding.

TAYLOR: Ambassador Sondland said everything was dependent on such an announcement including security assistance. He said that President Trump wanted President Zelensky in a public box by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.

MURRAY: He expressed alarm that Ukraine might publicly announce those investigations and the U.S. still might not come through with the funds.

TAYLOR: My nightmare is they, the Ukrainians, give the interview and don't get the security assistance. The Russians love it. And I quit. And I was serious.

MURRAY: As the funding freeze continued, Taylor raised concerns again early September.

TAYLOR: Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a business man. When a business man is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, the business man asked that person to pay up before signing the check.

Ukrainians did not owe President Trump anything and holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was crazy --

MURRAY: The hearing featuring Taylor and top State Department

official George Kent was led by questions from lawmakers but also by the chief counsel for the Democratic majority and the Republican minority. It was also peppered with partisan squabbling.

SCHIFF: I'll allow the question but are you asking --

STEVE CASTOR, REPUBLICAN COUNSELOR: Parliamentary inquiry, are you seriously interrupting our time here?

SCHIFF: I'll allow this question, I won't dock this from the time.

MURRAY: While Democrats focus on the president's allegedly corrupt motives for withholding aid to Ukraine and the role Rudy Giuliani played as a shadow diplomat.

REP. TERRI SEWELL, (D-AL): Was it normal to have a person who is a private citizen take an active role in foreign diplomacy?

GEORGE KENT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN: I didn't find his particular engagement normal. No.

MURRAY: The GOP focus less on the president's conduct and more on the conduct of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden who served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

KENT: The vice president's role was critically important.

[02:05:00]

KENT: It was top cover to help us pursue our policy agenda.

CASTOR: OK. But given Hunter Biden's role in Burisma's board of directors at some point you testified in your deposition that you expressed some concern to the vice president's office. Is that correct?

KENT: That is correct.

MURRAY: Kent testified that he was concerned about a perceived conflict of interest but he never saw any evidence of wrongdoing. Kent also rejected the GOP theory that Joe Biden had a Ukrainian prosecutor ousted to protect his son and Burisma from being investigated.

STATE REP. CRAIG GOLDMAND (R-TX): Mr. Kent, are you familiar as you indicated in your opening statement about these allegations related to Vice President Biden?

KENT: I am.

GOLDMAN: And to your knowledge, is there any factual basis to support those allegations?

KENT: None whatsoever. MURRAY: With the witnesses unwilling to take the bait on the GOP's conspiracy theories, lawmakers cast the witnesses as unreliable narrators with secondhand information.

REP. JIM JORDAN, (R-OH): The president -- you didn't listen in on President Trump's call and Zelensky's call?

TAYLOR: I did not. JORDAN: You never talked with Chief of Staff Mulvaney?

TAYLOR: I never did.

JORDAN: You never met the president?

TAYLOR: That's correct.

JORDAN: He had three meetings again with Zelensky and it didn't come up.

TAYLOR: And two of those they never heard about as far as I know. There was no reason --

JORDAN: And President Zelensky never made an announcement. This is what I can't believe. And you're their star witness. You're their first witness.

TAYLOR: Let me just say that I don't consider myself a star witness for anything.

JORDAN: They do. You don't. But they do.

TAYLOR: I don't. I'm just responding to -- I'm responding to your questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman, please don't interrupt the witness.

TAYLOR: I think I was clear about I'm not here to take one side or the other or to advocate any particular outcome. So let me just restate that.

MURRAY: Another player has emerged around all this testimony today and that is the aide to Bill Taylor who overheard this phone call between President Trump and Gordon Sondland. His name is David Holmes and he is going to be testifying behind closed doors on Friday -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about the public hearings is CNN legal analyst Ross Garber. He also teaches political investigations and impeachment law at Tulane Law School and has represented four U.S. governors in impeachment proceedings.

Thank you so much for being with us.

ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's good to be with you.

CHURCH: So, let's start with that bombshell testimony Wednesday from top U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor involving a second phone call which apparently further ties President Trump to Ukraine pressure.

So, Taylor revealed he learned from a staff member that President Trump cared more about the investigation into his political rival Joe Biden, than he did about Ukraine. So how did that change the game and does it bolster the Democrats efforts to impeach the president?

GARBER: So, it may not have changed the game that much but it was -- it was definitely interesting, apparently there was a, as you said, another phone call that an aide overheard. This is a phone call from the president to another individual.

Now that aide is, we hear scheduled to testify in a closed session later this week so we're going to learn more about exactly what that aide heard the president say and what he heard the person who the president spoke with say.

CHURCH: And you don't think these changes anything until we hear from that staff member?

GARBER: Yes. I think -- I think we've got to hear exactly what the president said and what the impression the listener had based on the testimony today. Although that sort of thirdhand, the impression seems to be --

CHURCH: Right.

GARBER: -- that the president cared very much about an investigation of the Bidens. But again, I think we need to hear a little bit more about what was actually said from the person who heard it.

CHURCH: OK. And of course, at a press conference President Trump was asked about this bombshell testimony and he said that he heard it was a joke and he didn't watch one minute, that was specifically his words, one minute, of the hearings. He also said he couldn't remember the newly revealed phone call.

What's your response to that?

GARBER: Yes. Well, it's interesting he didn't remember it. That may make it difficult for him to contest what the account of it was.

He may continue to not remember or maybe later he'll remember it and have a different sense of it, but again, I think we've got to learn a little bit more about, you know, what was said in terms of the president kind of not watching it and thinking it was a joke. Perhaps he didn't watch it, but I think he is definitely taking this seriously.

CHURCH: Right. And Republicans appear to be trying to use the so what defense, essentially saying if Mr. Trump didn't get the results from his effort to extort then you can't impeach him.

How does that argument stand up?

GARBER: Yes. As a legal matter, not very well. You know, an attempt to commit a crime in the United States is still a crime. On a practical level, though, on a sort of human level, it may actually resonate.

[02:10:00] GARBER: It may make a difference to people who were listening that nothing bad actually happened that something was threatened and the president wanted something to happen, but it didn't actually come to fruition. That may be something that resonates with the average person.

CHURCH: Yes. And lots of partisan squabbling at the hearings not surprisingly, who came out on top do you think?

The Republicans or the Democrats?

And who got the most traction with their line of questioning?

GARBER: Yes. So, this was day one. I think the chairman of the committee did a very good job keeping control of the committee. There actually weren't that many shenanigans. There weren't that many -- it wasn't that much partisan bickering.

I think the chairman had to control over what was going on. I think the questioning was largely effective and the Democrats I think did what they came into do. I think, you know, the witnesses came across as credible and serious and not biased and very, very truthful.

Now the Republicans scored some points. And overall, I think the question will still be once this is done, is it enough?

Does it resonate enough with the American people and their representatives in Congress that the president of the United States should be the first president ever in the history of our country removed through the impeachment process?

CHURCH: Yes. And more hearings of course will be held Friday with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and others testifying publicly.

And then of course next week, we'll all be waiting to hear what you U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland says in response to this newly revealed phone call he had with the president and of course from that staff member we just discussed.

What will you be looking for in all of that?

GARBER: Yes. So, I think Gordon Sondland is going to wind up being the key witness because he is the person who we know had direct interactions with the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

We heard today about an official channel of diplomacy between the United States and Ukraine and what was described as an irregular channel of diplomacy between the United States and Ukraine with which the president's personal lawyer was involved.

That's something that nobody has yet explained very well. Why is the president's personal lawyer is looking out for his personal interests involve at all in diplomacy?

I think Gordon Sondland's testimony may actually shed some light on that.

CHURCH: So many questions. We're looking for all those answers, aren't we?

Ross Garber, thank you so much for joining us and for your analysis. We appreciate it.

GARBER: Good to be with you.

CHURCH: President Trump was hosting his Turkish counterpart during the impeachment hearings. He declared himself a big fan of Erdogan despite bipartisan opposition to the visit because of Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria.

Several Republican senators joined the meeting to express concerns about Turkey's purchase of a Russian missile system and its military action against the Kurds, who are longtime U.S. allies. President Trump did not seem concerned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will say that we've had a great relationship with the Kurds and we fought with them very successfully against ISIS and by the way I think the president may have some factions within the Kurds but I think the president has a great relationship with the Kurds. Many Kurds live in Turkey currently under a happy and taken care of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Mr. Erdogan says he returned a letter President Trump sent last month, warning him not to be a tough guy by launching that offensive in Syria.

A cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad appears to be back in effect in Gaza after some of the worst fighting in months.

Palestinian say 34 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes since tensions escalated earlier this week. CNN's Melissa Bell is live this hour in Ashkelon in Israel. She joins us now.

Good to see you Melissa.

What more are you learning about the cease-fire and the possible terms included in it?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was a cease-fire struck in the very early hours of this morning. It's been confirmed to CNN by Islamic Jihad. But for the first couple of hours we were still hearing sirens in this part of Israel and we wondered whether it would take hold and stay firm.

But for the last couple of hours we've had quiet for the first time in more than 48 hours.

This suggests this cease-fire could bring to end this tension, fighting that has been going on since Tuesday morning and that targeted airstrike against an Islamic Jihad military fighter.

[02:15:00]

BELL: That kicked off a spate of fighting that has brought this region closer to the brink of war than it had been in years.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BELL (voice-over): Islamic Jihad rockets being fired toward southern Israel, day two of the counter offensive from Gaza Strip militants in retaliation for this: the assassination strike by Israel in the early hours of Tuesday morning on the home of Bahaa Abu al-Atta, one of the senior commanders of Islamic Jihad, with funerals for him and his wife held on Tuesday.

A strike aimed at protecting Israel, according to the country's prime minister, with far-reaching effect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There is a genuine change here in the equation because the terrorist leaders and the last of their militants now know that we can reach them in their hiding places with surgical precision and take action against them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: Occasional rocket fire from Gaza has been a constant in this part of Israel, but in September just ahead of the Israeli election, it became personal for Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister reportedly furious at being rushed offstage in Ashdod at the familiar sound in this part of Israel of sirens.

After Tuesday morning's airstrike southern Israel hearing and seeing more than just the sirens. With hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza, but more than 90 percent of them intercepted by Israel's missile defense system, Iron Dome, according to the Israeli military.

So that instance like this near-missed on a road near Ashdod were not as frequent as they might have been.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes have since Tuesday morning killed dozens of Palestinian militants, some civilians too. Among them, a seven-year-old boy.

With retaliation vowed through joint statements of Gaza's militant factions, but for now and crucially no military retaliation from Gaza's leading force, Hamas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: For now, that cease-fire appears to be holding about the conditions within it. What we know?

We know from the Islamic Jihad spokesman because, of course, Israel does not comment on cease-fires like this. What we understand those conditions were targeted airstrikes like the ones that kicked off this latest round of fighting, restraint by Israeli forces against demonstrators that continue to make their way toward the border on the Gaza side every Friday.

And an easing of the blockade on Gaza. These are some of the conditions included in that cease-fire. For Israel's part, we have heard that they have begun lifting those restrictions across the country and here, in these border regions, that security question is going to be reassessed, crucial to the end of the cease-fire being brought about rather in the end of this fighting, of course, with the fact that Hamas, the main group in Gaza, never got involved in the fighting.

It has shown restraint that the U.N. coordinator has said all sides need continue to show because as he tweeted this morning, the Middle East does not need any more wars -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Critical points there. Melissa Bell with the very latest on that cease-fire, bringing that live report to us from Israel. Appreciate it.

Well, Bolivia's new interim president has named new heads of the armed forces. The self-appointed leader says her mandate is strictly provisional, aimed at having new elections but scenes of chaos are still playing out on the streets of La Paz.

Police fired tear gas and blocked senators linked to former president Evo Morales from entering the legislature. He condemned the U.S. for conspiring in what he calls a coup and recognizing that de facto government. He accepted asylum in Mexico after resigning and promises to return if the people ask for it.

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is up and walking after an operation this week to relieve pressure on his brain. That's the word from the pastor of his hometown church in Plains, Georgia. The 95- year old fell at his home twice last month and had to get 14 stitches in his forehead.

Carter is the oldest living former U.S. president and has survived brain and liver cancer.

The mayor of Venice says the city has been brought to its knees, suffering enormous damage from historic floods. And now more rain and strong winds are on the way. Plus, tense situations as several Hong Kong universities become battlefields with protesters using campuses as bases against the riot police. More details when we return.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:20:00]

(WEATHER REPORT)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CHURCH: Schools in New Delhi will be closed for the next two days because of toxic air that's been choking the city. Some areas have air quality well past the severe rating. Delhi's chief minister blames the pollution on the burning of fields in nearby states.

Crews battling Australia's ferocious bush fires are catching a bit of a break with better weather but not for long. Temperatures are expected to spike again in some areas with little rain in sight. At least 59 fires are burning in New South Wales; half of them are not contained. At least four people have died.

Conditions are just as rough in Queensland, where dozens of fires are also burning. Police have identified a 16-year old in connection to one of those fires, which destroyed 36 structures. Bush fires are common during Australia's hot, dry summers but they came earlier this year and caught many people by surprise.

The mayor of Venice says the worst flooding in 50 years has brought the historic city to its knees. Nearly half the city is underwater. One man made the best of it, swimming in St. Mark's Square.

[02:25:00]

CHURCH: The mayor blames climate change for the exceptionally high tide that rolled into Tuesday night and said the damage will cause hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHURCH: Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is heading back to Europe, avoiding planes because of the pollution they emit. She is a hitching a ride across the Atlantic on a catamaran, tweeting, "We sail for home."

The 16-year-old Swede has been in North America since August, taking part in several large climate protests. She dressed warmly for the frigid crossing.

And a pair of Australians who chronicle all their sailing adventures on YouTube answered Thunberg's pleas for a ride. And she plans to attend the U.N.'s environmental summit in Madrid in December.

President Trump welcomes a controversial leader to the White House. Why he says he is such a big fan of Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We are live in Istanbul. That's next on CNN NEWSROOM.

[02:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour. A ceasefire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad appears to be back in effect in Gaza after some of the worst fighting in months. Palestinian officials say 34 people have been killed, and at least a Hundred civilians wounded by the latest Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

Almost half of the Italian city of Venice is underwater, its worst flooding in 50 years. A freak high tide swept through the city late Tuesday, inundating homes, businesses, and landmarks, including Saint Mark's Basilica. The mayor says the damage will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.

At the first day of U.S. Congressional impeachment hearings, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine revealed a previously unknown call involving President Trump. Bill Taylor said an aide told him of overhearing Mr. Trump ask the ambassador to the European Union about investigations of the President's political rival, Joe Biden. Taylor said the ambassador told Taylor's aide, the President cared more about the Biden investigation than Ukraine.

Well, President Trump says he didn't watch one minute of the impeachment hearings. Instead, he was hosting Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House. They talked about the situation in Northern Syria and Turkey's controversial purchase of Russian missiles. CNN's Gul Tuysuz is live this hour in Istanbul. She joins us now. Good to see you, Gul. So, what all came out of this meeting between President Erdogan and the U.S. President. And of course, what's been the reaction to it across Turkey?

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL PRODUCER: Rosemary, this meeting between Trump and Erdogan came at a basically a time when the Turkish and U.S. relationship couldn't be even lower. It is in crisis mode. And there are many issues that the two countries are at odds over. The list goes on and on. But number one on the list, of course, was Turkey's incursion into Syria. Turkey views the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as a national security threat. And about a month ago, began an incursion into this -- into Syria to repel back the SDF away from Turkey's borders.

Now, the SDF is the U.S.'s main ally in the fight against ISIS in Syria. And of course, that caused an uproar, and that very controversial decision by the U.S. President to pull back U.S. troops, effectively abandoning the SDF to the Turkish incursion, was on the list. What came out of discussions around that issue? Well, nothing. A lot of it remains the same. Another issue that was of importance between the two countries, of course, is as you mentioned, as well, the purchase by Turkey of Russian-made air missile systems the S-400s. The line there, once again, is the same, Turkey says that they're not changing their position on the S-400s, but that they are still open to buying the American-made Patriots if the conditions are right, so not a lot of change there either.

[02:34:59]

The other thing that was discussed between the two leaders was a letter that U.S. President Donald Trump wrote to Erdogan right before the start of the operation, basically telling him, Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool when it comes to starting Turkey's incursion in to Syria. On that particular issue, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he returned the letter to Trump, but didn't articulate as to what that meant. And a lot of the discussion in the press conference and the statements that came out, really seemed to be around trying to keep that crisis mode from escalating even further between these two countries. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Gul Tuysuz, thank you so much, bringing us the very latest there from Istanbul. Appreciate it. We'll take a short break here. Still to come, bracing for more unrest in Hong Kong, classes are cancelled and roads have closed, as violent protests continue to disrupt the city. The role of universities, that's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Hong Kong is bracing for more violence as anti-government protests continue for a fourth consecutive day. A 70-year-old man is in critical condition after he was hit in the head with a brick. Protesters are now fortifying universities, and more people are getting seriously injured. Paula Hancocks has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The sun rises over another day of unrest in Hong Kong. A protester keeps look out for incoming police. This is the Chinese University of Hong Kong, an emerging stronghold for anti-government protesters that dug in, and they are prepared. Food, water, helmets, gas masks are in plentiful supply. Petrol bomb production is relentless. Supply sit on every corner. The so-called "frontliners" practicing their throwing skills on the campus playing field.

This was the scene Tuesday night, among the most brutal clashes we have seen in five months. Police say they fired more than 1500 rounds of tear gas, 1300 rubber bullets, far more than at any other incident. Protesters threw petrol bombs, even using the fiery bow and arrow. Police say they wanted to safeguard a bridge leading to the university to prevent protesters throwing objects onto cars below. That bridge is now very much under protester control. The highway below closed and littered with debris.

Now, the police are blaming the protesters, saying the violence the protesters used could become deadly. What would you say to that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this thing is ridiculous, you know? Like, policeman can use any guns like pistol and rifles to shoot any protesters.

HANCOCKS: Are you scared?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think not only me, everyone here is -- are scared.

[02:40:04]

HANCOCKS: It's all about supply and demands at this point. On social media, there are protesters who say exactly what they need. And then, you have other protesters bringing it, food, water, medical supplies. Also, some residents from around Hong Kong have been dropping off donations, as well. And these are the queue. This is a queue of hundreds of people, not just students, some older people, as well, queuing to get inside this university. You can see it hooks all the way around then comes back up the hill to get inside the university, and to be part of this protest movements.

Foreign students in this university and others are leaving mainland Chinese students left by boats on Wednesday. This American student was told by his university, he must leave due to the situation.

JULIUS NEUBIG, STUDENT, CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: It is a little surreal, just because like I thought about it's like the same person who's sitting next to me in like my econ class is the one who's out here, but I understand like why they're doing it.

HANCOCKS: Classes have been canceled. The semester prematurely ended. As universities become the new battleground in an increasingly bitter fight. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Well, now to our "INNOVATE AFRICA" series. And look at how Google is bridging the technological gap in Nigeria, and helping to empower people across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi!

JULIET EHIMUAN, COUNTRY DIRECTOR, GOOGLE NIGERIA: How's it going?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going well. (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

EHIMUAN: I've always had a passion for Africa. And I've always believed very much in the role that technology can play in accelerating growth on the continent. And I wanted to be a part of helping to make that happen, and actually to be in the cutting edge of that. And so, I moved back to Nigeria to work in the technology space. And in 2011, I started working at Google. I was the second country manager at Google in Nigeria. Everything that I -- that I believed was possible with technology, has really come to fruition. It's -- we're still in early stages, but it's been very encouraging to see the level of progress and some of the developments that are inspired by technology. And I'm very proud of the work that, the team and I, at Google have been able to do so far.

So, for me, technology is an enabler. And can create empowerment in virtually any sphere of life, any sector. It's very inspiring to see some of the success stories from the programs that we've initiated in the market. I've seen cases of people developing new opportunities for themselves. I've seen cases of people 10x in their income just by acquiring digital skills. I've seen farmers being able to boost their harvest by using digital tools, even to the point of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. In parts of Africa, we have, you know, cases of farmers using machine learning to automatically detects diseases and prevent those diseases and boost their harvests.

The progress has been very consistent with my expectations. We were seeing -- and it's been very encouraging, as well, to just see the level at which technology is being applied to solve local problems. We've seen a rise in technology startups, creating very inspiring applications and solutions, you know, to solve issues like financial inclusion for the unbanked (ph), looking at solutions in agriculture, in health care, right? Just different aspects of society that really make a difference. It's just been inspiring to see that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And thanks so much for joining us, I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in about 15 minutes, right after "WORLD SPORT." Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WORLD SPORT)

[03:00:00]