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CNN International: David Holmes Describes Overhearing Call Between Donald Trump And Gordon Sondland; Fiona Hill: Push To Investigate Biden Was Domestic Political Errand; Democrats Say It's Time To Move Forward On Impeachment; Israeli Attorney General Unveils Charges Against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Labour Party Promises New Brexit Referendum In Manifesto. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 21, 2019 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

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CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: We are following breaking news this hour. Two major stories, the last impeachment hearings have wrapped up for the day on Capitol Hill. We will be live in Washington in just a moment, get you the details on that.

But first, we begin with a defiant response from Israel's Prime Minister after the country's attorney general unveils charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust against him. Just hours ago, Benjamin Netanyahu became the first sitting Prime Minister in Israel's history to face an indictment. Now, he is lashing out and taking aim at the investigators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: This evening, we are witnessing a governmental coup attempt against a Prime Minister by false, liable and with a contaminated investigation process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: That reaction from Mr. Netanyahu there. And it follows the announcement from Israel's attorney general, who called it a very sad day for Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AVICHAI MANDELBLIT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ISRAEL: The decision to indict him was taken with a very heavy heart. And yet, I'm very at peace with my decision in the interest of the public and the citizens of Israel. To obey the law is not a choice and it's not about politics. This is a duty that everybody has to obey to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Oren Liebermann joins us now from Jerusalem. Oren, Netanyahu signaled in his speech pretty clearly that he's not going to take this lying down. He's going to fight this. So, what's that going to look like?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that means the political deadlock that Israel currently faces is almost certain to be set to continue as the country continues to move towards a third election within 12 months. Netanyahu as you pointed out is the first sitting Prime Minister in Israel's history to face indictment and criminal investigations in three separate cases.

In one of those, he faces the most serious charge of bribery, as well as fraud and breach of trust which is one charge in Israel. In two other cases, he will also face a charge of fraud and breach of trust. Now that he has those charges against him, if he is found guilty, he faces jail time, but that process isn't going to happen quickly.

Netanyahu's strongest protection at this point is that he remains Prime Minister. He is allowed to request parliamentary immunity, even though that process is also stalled, because there is no functioning government. At this point until somebody can form a government or unless there is a major political shakeup, Netanyahu remains Prime Minister and remains defiant. Here's part of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETANYAHU: We need to get an independent committee in order to investigate what's happening here. The time has come to investigate the investigators. The time has come to investigate the attorney general who initiates this kind of investigations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu trying to turn the story around, essentially saying he's done nothing wrong, in fact, it's the investigators who may have committed criminal acts here, they need to be investigated. Members of the opposition continued their calls for him to step aside, for him to step down from his position so he can deal with his own legal situations instead of trying to lead the country while leading that situation.

His Justice Minister and some of his closest allies have come to his defense, but a lot of the right wing, a lot of those, in the immediate past here have been very loyal to him, remaining quiet at least right now. We'll see where that support falls and if it shifts. If not, the deadlock remains, Cyril.

VANIER: Oren that was going to be my question. For the moment, and I do mean for the moment, we don't know what happens tomorrow or the week after, has he lost any support over this?

LIEBERMANN: As of right now, it looks like he hasn't really lost any support. There has been a challenge within his own party some saying there has to be primaries before the next elections. And one person has put up his hand, his main rival in the party and said I'll run against you, but Netanyahu has far more support than his rival and at least as of this point not only his own Likud Party, but the religious Zinus Parties, the Ultra-Orthodox Parties are still backing Netanyahu. And that means that even if he doesn't have the support to put

together a government, he has the support to hang onto what he has. Even if that means that Israel is headed for a third election, and if that doesn't change anything, we could conceivably talk about a fourth election.

So, he's hanging on, essentially, with his fingernails now, very tightly to what he has. It is a strong protection, again, as long as there is no government in Israel, he remains Prime Minister and that, for him, is what he's hanging onto right now.

VANIER: Oren in Jerusalem, thank you so much. I want to get now the - I want to bring on the - well, no, first of all, I want to run you through the statement by Mr. Gantz, the rival of Mr. Netanyahu, who came out with a statement, saying that it was a very sad day for Israel.

[17:05:00]

VANIER: So, publicly, he was not rejoicing that his own rival, first person who tried to form a government after the Israeli general elections, had been indicted with on charges of bribery. Now, the question is what comes next? Haviv Gur his political analyst with "The Times of Israel" and he is live from Jerusalem.

So Oren was explaining to us that Benjamin Netanyahu can hang onto power because he's Prime Minister and that gives him protection, and for the moment, there's political uncertainty in Israel, so, he stays in his job for at least another three weeks. The question, what do you think happens if there is, indeed, another election?

HAVIV GUR, POLITICAL ANALYST, TIMES OF ISRAEL: I think the consensus at the moment among the pundits here and around the politicians is that this--

VANIER: All right, it looks like we lost Haviv. We'll get back to him in a moment. We'll fix the sound on that, thank you very much for bearing with us. Let's move onto our second story today. Impeachment, so, the impeachment hearings have wrapped up if the day in Washington and two key witnesses have been testifying in this inquiry.

They provided some powerful testimony on Thursday. Diplomat David Holmes told lawmakers it was his clear impression that U.S. aid was connected to Ukraine's investigation to presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. And President Trump's Former Top Russia Adviser Fiona Hill told lawmakers that the behind the scenes push for Ukraine's to investigate Democrats was a "Domestic political errand" that she warned would blow up.

She also warned that the Kremlin is prepared to strike again during the 2020 election and remains a serious threat to American democracy that the U.S. must seek to combat it. Now, the White House is pushing back. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement, saying, "The witnesses rely heavily on their own presumptions, assumptions and opinions". She also said Democrats are being clearly being motivated by a sick hatred for President Trump. CNN's Sara Murray has more on how Thursday's dramatic testimony unfolded on Capitol Hill.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear or affirm--

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SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: A U.S. diplomat in Ukraine recounted for lawmakers the moment he realized that President Trump cared more about having Joe Biden and his son investigated than anything to do with Ukraine.

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DAVID HOLMES, COUNSELOR, U.S. EMBASSY IN UKRAINE: The four of us went to a nearby restaurant and sat on an outdoor terrace. Ambassador Sondland selected a bottle of wine. During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said that he was going to call President Trump to give him an update.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: The phone call David Holmes overheard came July 26th, just a day after Trump spoke with the Ukrainian President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: While Ambassador Sondland's phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President's voice through the ear piece of the phone. The President's voice was loud and recognizable. When the President came on, he sort of winced and held the phone away from his ear, like this, and he did that for the first couple exchanges.

I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President and explain he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied yes, he was in Ukraine and went on to state that President Zelensky "Loves your ass". I then heard President Trump ask so he's going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied that he is going to do it adding that President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: After the call, Holmes pressed for more clarity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: I asked the Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the President did not give an expletive about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland agreed that the President did not give an expletive about Ukraine. I asked, why not? Ambassador Sondland stated that the President only cares about big stuff. I noted there was big stuff going on in Ukraine, like a war with Russia. Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant big stuff that benefits the President, like the Biden investigation, that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Rudy Giuliani's problematic role reemerged as both Holmes and Fiona Hill a Former Top White House Adviser on Russia described how Trump embraced Giuliani's conspiracy theory also championed by seven GOP lawmakers that Ukraine meddled in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Mr. Giuliani was having a direct influence on the foreign policy agenda. My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland stated, "Damn it, Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved, he goes and asks everything up".

FIONA HILL, FORMER TOP RUSSIA ADVISER TO PORESIDENT TRUMP: Ambassador Bolton had looked pains in the course of that discussion said that Rudy Giuliani was a "Hand grenade" that was going to blow everyone up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Alarm bells were also going off about Ambassador Gordon Sondland's role.

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HILL: He was being involved in a domestic political errand and we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those two things had just diverged.

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MURRAY: Hill recounted Sondland's deal with Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, to arrange about an Oval Office meeting between the President Trump and the Ukrainian President.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: He said that he had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mulvaney, that in return for investigations this meeting gets scheduled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: She recalled how John Bolton, then the National Security Adviser, told her to report it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Specific instruction was that I had to go to the lawyers, to John Eisenberg, who was senior counsel for the National Security Council, to basically say you tell Eisenberg that Ambassador Eisenberg told me that I am not part of this, whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: And made the impeachment sparring both Hill and Holmes offered sharp warning to lawmakers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukraine government is a U.S. adversary and the Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us in 2016. These fictions are harmful, even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: They described the perils of the false Ukrainian meddling narrative.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russians security services themselves.

DANIEL GOLDMAN, MAJORITY COUNSEL: Why would it be to Vladimir Putin's advantage to promote this theory of Ukraine interference?

HOLMES: First of all, to deflect from the allegations of Russia interference. Second one to drive a wedge between the United States and Ukraine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: And Holmes left lawmakers with an urgent reminder. The Ukrainians never got that White House meeting and they are still under pressure to please the American President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: I think that continues to this day, I think they're being very careful. They still need us now, going forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: CNN's Lauren Fox joins us now from Washington. Lauren, the last 48 hours have been brutal for the President and his allies. What reaction are you picking up from Capitol Hill?

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Republicans are still sticking with the President, basically arguing that this whole process from Democrats has been a sham, essentially, they're arguing that these witnesses, some of them don't have first-hand knowledge, yesterday, you saw with the EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, that many Republicans were trying to cut at what exactly he knew for sure versus what was his opinion when it came to whether or not the President wanted those investigations and whether they were contingent, of course, on getting that U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

Now, Democrats are arguing that this has been a transformative week. This has been multiple hearings stacked together, many, many new things coming out of these hearings and Democrats arguing that now they are ready to move forward with the next stage of the process. This likely was the last public hearing that we are going to see on Capitol Hill, Cyril, but very much a turning point over the last couple of days as Democrats feel very comfortable building their case to the next stage of this impeachment inquiry.

VANIER: All right, Lauren Fox, thank you so much for joining us live from Washington today. All right, I want to go back now to the charges facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the question we were asking just a moment ago, what's going to come next for Israeli politics and for the Israeli Prime Minister himself?

Haviv Gur is a political analyst with "The Times of Israel" we're going to try this again. He is live from Jerusalem. Haviv thank you for bearing with us. All right, run us through what you think is the most likely scenario going forward.

GUR: Thank you for having me. It looks like it's going to be very hard for various political parties to now join together with a Prime Minister facing an indictment in the next three weeks before the deadline essentially for going to new elections.

So, new elections are almost unavoidable. If they come, by law, they have to come somewhere around mid-March, around March 10th, and then we have to piece together a new parliament with new committees and a new government before - the parliament can really consider an immunity request for the Prime Minister, and all of that detail is to say Netanyahu is going to be Prime Minister, at least until May, we're looking at six, seven months in which he, essentially, has immunity from these charges. What happens then --?

VANIER: Haviv, pause for a second. Do you think he runs in the next election that you deem highly likely?

GUR: He has said he will. He has vowed to. He has called it a matter of justice. So, I--

VANIER: Will his party will the Likud Party let him?

GUR: At the moment, yes. A lot of the party has been quiet. Has not, you know, come out openly siding with him, but at the moment, he controls the party. He's been the leader he has delivered four consecutive election victories. He is very popular in the party, so, it's reasonable to expect that he will be Likud's candidate.

And Likud, many in Likud are quietly telling us that it's going to hurt them and that they actually expect to be very seriously hurt in the polls, to shrink in terms of their political power because of these charges and the fact that Netanyahu isn't letting go.

[17:15:00] VANIER: Well, so, if it hurts them, then they would likely lose the election, because they've been neck and neck, right, with Benny Gantz. They weren't able to form a coalition. If they go down from where they are right now, in terms of is up important, in terms of seats, in terms of votes, then they lose the election and they cannot form a coalition in this scenario.

GUR: Yes. And that's why we've seen - as your reporter said, we've seen for the first time since 2014, I believe, a primary challenge to Prime Minister Netanyahu. And we actually have two primary challengers now and they are arguing that they can have a victory. Likud itself is stronger than Netanyahu, and what we've believed over the last ten years, that Netanyahu is actually the one winning these elections for Likud, is no longer true.

We see Netanyahu having real competition inside his party for the first time in a long time. It's not clear if it's enough if it's actually to remove him from power. And just one last point, in June, we probably will see an indictment filed and then he will have to face a real trial and how a Prime Minister can function especially Prime Minister of a country that faces enemies, that has really tremendous political problems.

How he can function while going through a trial? It's something that nobody really understands. So, I expect Netanyahu will be in power for six months. After those six months, it's hard to imagine that he stays in power with this kind of sword hanging over his head so to speak.

VANIER: Haviv Gur, thank you very much you made it very clear. Pleasure speaking to you today thanks Haviv.

GUR: Thank you.

VANIER: Coming up, worse than Watergate. The Chairman of the Trump Impeachment Investigation makes a dramatic comparison. We'll break down the legal implications for the President. And frustrations over economic inequality reached a fever pitch in another Latin American capital. Stay with us.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA): What do we see here is far more serious than a third-rate burglary of the Democratic headquarters, what we're talking about here is the withholding of recognition in that White House meeting, the withholding of military aid to an ally at war. That is beyond anything Nixon did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: And that is House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff closing out Thursday's impeachment hearing with an unflattering comparison of President Trump and Former President Nixon. It was one of many striking moments during a day of explosive testimony.

To talk about the legal and constitutional problems President Trump could now face, here's CNN's Legal Analyst Michael Gerhardt, he joins us from Washington, I believe, if I'm not making a mistake, Michael. You heard Adam Schiff, so, let's start there. Trump's actions are worse than Nixon's. Do you agree, from a legal point of view?

MICHAEL GERHARDT, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think he could make a strong case that they are worse. Nixon had several problems that became the basis for his impeachment. One was not complying with legislative subpoenas. There were four subpoenas that he didn't comply with. President Trump has complied with far more and ordered others to not comply with far more.

Also instead of ordering the head of IRS and CIA which Nixon did to harass his political enemies as the Chairman just said, President Trump actually put together a systematic effort to put some pressure on the Ukrainian President to announce publicly that he was opening an investigation of the Bidens in exchange for a White House meeting. That's pretty bad. That's really an effort to really distort the next presidential election. Those kinds of things are unprecedented in American history and that's what the Democrats are focusing on.

VANIER: And the whole point of the Democrats from the last two weeks and of those public hearings was for them to make their case for impeachment to the American people. How do think that went?

GERHARDT: I think they've done a pretty good job in building that case, which is really all about the fact that the President of the United States has blocked the inquiry in every way that he can, in order to persuade people, or, in order to get people to recognize that the next election is the only way to hold him accountable, yet he's been trying to game that election. That's the democratic argument. And it's about the integrity of the next election, which the President was trying to undermine.

VANIER: Anything you think they mishandled?

GERHARDT: I don't think the Democrats have been terribly well organized. I think that they have sometimes each not been on the same page. I also think that asking people a lot about how they feel or what they believe was the significance of a particular action or not, those questions are not helpful.

VANIER: What about the other side? What about the Republicans? The point for them, obviously, was to try and mount as robust a defense of the President as they could. How did they do?

GERHARDT: I think that they certainly tried to put together a robust defense. The problem is, it's based on conspiracy theories and not a very strong, if any, factual foundation. Their defense seems to be that the President didn't do it or that it's really the Democrats' fault, or those kinds of things don't help.

I think Congressman Hurd was probably on the best track for defending the President and he basically said that, yes, it was inappropriate, it was wrong, but I don't think it's an impeachable offense. That accepts the facts that were seem to be beyond - at this point and instead he's looking at the gravity of the offense and he is offering his judgment on that.

VANIER: How is public perception going to factor into the - the lawmakers' thinking here both the Democrats and Republicans? I mean, the needle hasn't shifted all that much over the last two weeks, if you look at an aggregate of the polls. How does that impact the lawmakers' thinking as they conduct these hearings?

GERHARDT: I think that's a very important point.

[17:25:00]

GERHARDT: The public perception right now seems to be that most people might accept that the President did something wrong, it's less clear how much the American public thinks it's impeachable. But the President's popularity may be rebounding to some extent and that can't help the effort or movement towards impeachment.

So, public opinion if it solidifies or summons in a way that helps the President, that obviously could put a either a stop in this or hinders it and by the time it gets to the Senate, Senators may be in a much better position to say, look, the American people have reached a judgment on this and it's time to move on.

VANIER: Look, for the Democrats, officially, they were saying, we're going to conduct this investigation and at the end of it, we'll decide whether we draft articles of impeachment. We don't want to jump the gun. We don't want to decide what we're going to do before we've heard everyone. That's the official discourse, but for them, it would be a failure, at this point, if they didn't impeach. Would you agree with that?

GERHARDT: I think you're right. I think that would likely be a failure because of the evidence they've helped to find and to put forward to the American people. There are a number of things that the President did, he put together this shadow operation involving Rudy Giuliani, to displace the State Department people who were on the ground.

And the point of that shadow operation was to put some pressure on the Ukrainian Leader so that he would give the President what he wanted, which, again, was this public statement about the opening of an investigation against a political rival.

So, the evidence they produced is pretty strong. But they - still have to form late the articles of impeachment, that's going to take a little longer. And the longer things take the more I think that helps the President.

VANIER: Michael Gerhardt, great to talk to you today. Thank you very much.

GERHARDT: Thank you.

VANIER: Now, Colombia is the latest Latin American country to face mass protests over unemployment, income inequality and security concerns. These are some of the union members, teachers, students and indigenous groups taking part in a nationwide strike against the policies of their President Ivan Duque.

Authorities closed land and sea boarders to brace for Thursday's demonstrations. Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia are experiencing social unrest over grievances about corruption and economic stagnation.

Israel's Prime Minister defiant as he faces indictment. Coming up in this show, I'll speak with CNN's International Diplomatic Editor about the charges and how they could affect Israel's relations around the world.

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[17:30:00]

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is swinging back at prosecutors who announced Thursday that he is facing multiple criminal charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Mr. Netanyahu says he won't resign. He's calling the charges an attempted coup and accuses investigators of singling him out for political reasons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETANYAHU: We know from experience that these are the first accusations on political grounds. You probably realized that the decision of the attorney general is today, is coming today in the most sensitive timing of the political system and fighting in Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Let's bring in our International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson. Netanyahu really came out swinging a while ago when he gave that speech following the indictments. He said it's - he likened the investigations and the indictments against him to a coup, and he said the people weren't off the truth, they were after me.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I mean, this is sort of the classic, if you will, obfuscation deny, deny and deny and plot the finger at the other people, investigate the investigators. He said that on several occasions, that he said that he was questioning the motivation of the attorney general. He said it was interesting that the attorney general was putting this out at such a political moment that he done this early in the year.

He was suggesting that the police hadn't done that job properly. He was suggesting that there had been blackmail of witnesses that he had shed blood for the country and this was cutting into him and his wife deep every day. That he was doing the right thing for the country, so, he was sort of striking all the notes that we've heard him strike before, but this sounded stronger, it sounded more determined.

And very clearly, this is a guy who is not giving up office and not stepping away. But what it's done in the minds of his supporters, perhaps others, this is what he would be aiming for, is sign that little bit of confusion. It's not me, it's the others, and it's the system investigate them.

VANIER: And it's politically motivated. And for our viewers we just catching up on this, I mean, is there - are there grounds to believe what Netanyahu is saying, it's not me, it's them?

ROBERTSON: You know, the attorney general was so clear, he spoke a little longer, I think, than most people were anticipating, you know, about a carter of an hour quarter of an hour. He was so clear in stepping through what he said, he sort of went through for a couple of minutes, of the allegations he had, the issues that he had with Prime Minister Netanyahu's behavior.

But then he was very, very carefully going through, say, you know, giving all the reasons why it isn't politically motivated, why he's spent three years, many years, coming to these conclusions, that he'd gone back, had given, you know, an extra five months to go through this, so, I think, you know, I think--

VANIER: It sounded like maybe he knew what was going to come.

ROBERTSON: I think everyone knew what was going to come, in a way, because this is what has been heard from Prime Minister Netanyahu all along. And certainly - but this, you know, when the politics is as divided as it is right now and the Prime Minister certainly has his political supporters, he gives them something to hold onto.

But I think the evidence at the moment, obviously, is going to go through the full judicial process in Israel, that's, I think, what we've seen very, very clearly today, that the judicial, democratic process in Israel is working. I don't think too many people will be surprised if you get to the end of that and find that the investigators have been as thorough and as scrupulous as the attorney general has laid out but that seed of doubt has been created.

VANIER: Yes, and he did - the attorney general did signal that his case, he knew it had to be bulletproof and he made sure that it was. At least that's what he said. Look, Netanyahu is a political survivor nothing if not a political survivor. He's been written off before and the prognosticators were wrong when they wrote him off. Would they be wrong to written him off this time?

[17:35:00]

ROBERTSON: You know, he does appear to be reaching the end of his shelf life and all of this indicates that but he is also reaching the end of his shelf life and is going to a point where the polls have been so tight in the election and he got an opportunity to form a government and he couldn't.

Benny Gantz was given an opportunity to form a government and he couldn't. So, potentially, you have this current period where somebody from within the - can come forward, if they can, and form a government, if not a third round of elections. If you look at it from that point of view-- VANIER: Can he run again in those elections?

ROBERTSON: Right now he can, yes. And it's in his interest to run again and to be going through the process of trying to become Prime Minister, because that keeps the judicial process at bay for even longer. So, I think outside observers will look at this that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been in politics for a long time and has been a survivor, but there does come a time, and I think perhaps we're reaching that time, but it's not - he's certainly not going to hand it over and make it easier for anyone else.

VANIER: Sure. This is not just a local or national Israeli story, because obviously Israel is at the intersection of many regional, international issues. The relationship also between Israel and the U.S. is key, where do you think that's going?

ROBERTSON: You know, I think with President Trump, you know, he's not a typical President, so, the relationship has been very - has been one of a huge amount of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu, you know, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the U.S. Embassy there, and recognizing the go land is being Israeli territory and other issues, so, there's been that support.

And I think in early days, a lot of people had sort of thought, well this is part of a wider peace process initiative by President Trump and it really hasn't come to that. And so President Trump's relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu has been quite a personal one, but going forward, both countries have joint strategic national interests, so, I don't think you're going to see a change in relationship between the two countries going forward, but for his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu has done an amazing job for Israel leveraging the United States regional power, particularly towards Iran.

Prime Minister Netanyahu hasn't had to commit himself to any wars that are damaging and costly and, you know, potentially calamitous for Israel. He's been able to get others to do it. Develop that strong relationship with President Trump, got him to double down on Iran, the nemesis of Israel, and then he is also--

Netanyahu's been able to develop this new relationship with President Putin of Russia, just that May this year, the Mayday celebrations in Russia, President of Moscow and President Putin's side. That's quite a thing to do and why because Russia is such an influence right on Israel's border in Syria?

So in that regard, the relationships that Netanyahu has developed internationally have been a boon for Israel. However, I don't think we're going to see those necessarily crumble just because he may not be Prime Minister at the end of next year.

VANIER: Sure, sure. It may be bigger than Netanyahu. I hear what you're saying, but there's still a question mark as to where those relationships exactly go if he is no longer--

ROBERTSON: They'll probably change a little. VANIER: Nic Robertson, Nic, thank you so much.

ROBERTSON: Thank you.

VANIER: Britain's general election is right around the corner and the Labour Party is unveiling what it has to offer. But some say all the promises are never going to happen. Britain's Prince Andrew retreats from public view after a disastrous interview about his friendship with a convicted sex offender. We'll have the details on that when we come back.

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[17:40:00]

VANIER: Britain's opposition Labour Party has released its manifesto with a little less than three weeks to go until Election Day. The party leader Jeremy Corbyn defended the promises in the manifesto.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERMEY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: Labour's manifesto is a manifesto for hope. That is what this document is a manifesto that will bring real change a manifesto that's pull of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: And meantime, Prime Minister Boris Johnson blasted the opposition's plan, especially when it comes to the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: None of it has any credibility whatever, because the whole of the heart of Labour's manifesto. This was the moment, you know, it was lights, camera, action, Corbyn comes center stage, and he completely misses his cue. What we want to know is what is his plan to deliver Brexit? And what's the deal he wants to do? And which side would he vote on that deal? And we still don't know. Until we have answers to those questions, until we get Brexit done, none of this carries any economic credibility whatever.

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VANIER: And it's Mr. Johnson's party that has raised the most funding so far. In the first week of this election campaign, conservatives have raised about $7.3 million that is dramatically more than all of their rivals, all under the $300,000 mark.

Britain's Prince Andrew is shedding more of his royal duties following outrage over his ties to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York announced that he would resign as Patron of his Charity Outward Bound Trust. He is also stepping down as Chancellor of Huddersfield University, after his widely criticized interview where he tried to explain his friendship with Epstein. The British Royal said it has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work. Therefore, I have asked her majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable feature, and she has given her permission.

Prince Andrew now says that he sympathizes with Epstein's young victims and says that he's willing to cooperate with investigators.

That does it for me this hour. I'm Cyril Vanier. "World Sport" is up next. You've got Patrick Snell as your host for that. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.

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