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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO
Pro-Democracy Candidates Win Landslide Election Victory; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Report Will Be Sent After Thanksgiving Break; Impeachment Inquiry: Judge To Decide If Former White House Counsel Must Testify; U.S. Defense Secretary Defends Navy Leader's Ouster; Trump Welcomes Dog Who Chased Baghdadi; Precious Jewelry Stolen From German Castle; London Strips Uber Of Operating License; Iran Stages Pro-Government Rallies In Tehran; Michael Bloomberg Is The Latest 2020 Democratic Hopeful; World Wide Web Founder Warns Of Digital Dystopia. Aired 5-5:30p ET
Aired November 25, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, a landslide victory in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy parties sweep fundraiser action with
record voter turnout. Plus, a shocking heist of a German Castle. Thieves made out with priceless treasures. And ride hailing company, Uber, could
get cut off from one of its most important markets.
Live from London. I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show.
In Hong Kong, a calm sunny day of voting is triggering a tidal wave of change. Pro-democracy parties won a landslide victory in Sunday's local
district council election. They flipped all but one of the city's 18 pro- Beijing districts. It's one of the few chances that residents have to participate in direct elections, and they showed up in record numbers.
Hong Kong's election commission says that 71 percent of the electorate cast their ballots. That's nearly 3 million people, the highest turnout the city
has ever seen. The result is a clear rebuke of China and an affirmation of pro-democracy protesters. But Beijing isn't planning to loosen its grip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GENG SHUANG, CHINESE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): China's central government firmly supports the special
administrative region's government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam. And exercising law based governance firmly supports the special administrative
regions police in stopping violence and restoring order and firmly supports Hong Kong's judicial department and punishing violent crimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam says the government realizes that the election result reflects people's "dissatisfaction" with the
current situation. Earlier, I asked Nick Paton Walsh whether the election result will push Beijing's influence out of the city's governance, which is
what the protesters are hoping for.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The key thing, as you can see behind me, that hasn't really changed the dynamics on the streets
where there are still protesters out confronting the police, because essentially these are local council elections they really changed the
structure of how Hong Kong is run.
But at the same time they have provided absolutely startling popular mandate, frankly, that shows how ordinary people in Hong Kong still support
the protests despite how disruptive and damaging they've been.
WALSH (voice over): Taking on Beijing rarely gives cause for celebration. But after months of protests and clashes with riot police nobody thought
the pro-democracy movement would ever win this big.
JOSHUA WONG, PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: It's the remarkable achievement and efforts of all of the Hong Hongkongers that paid a price and sacrificed for
the movement and never imagined it would happen. But now we are the majority in the district council to show our cause on freedom and
WALSH (voice over): Hundreds of pro-Beijing candidates sent packing by voters on Sunday, but it was a victory an unexpectedly huge as it was
ultimately hollow. China says Hong Kong will remain part of it no matter what. And in Hong Kong democracy only goes so far as the newly elected
councilors decide local issues and not major policies or laws, that's left to those hand-picked by Beijing like Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
The unprecedented rejection of her rule, she once called protesters enemies of the people, hasn't however forged an easy path out of months of
JOSEPH CHENG, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: The danger of course is that people do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. There must be a
process of reconciliation, a dialogue with the pro-democracy movement, a response to the demands made, starting with the setting up of an
independent commission of inquiry.
WALSH: The polls may have closed and the results may be extraordinary. But the standoff here remains the same. Hatred still rife between police up on
that walkway and protesters down on the streets who are now assured of a strong mandate shown at the polls by the vast majority of the people of
Yet still, they wake up though to a territory where China remains ultimately in control. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Hong Kong.
NOBILO: The lead U.S. impeachment investigator says the inquiry into President Donald Trump is an urgent matter of national security and "cannot
wait." Democrat Adam Schiff just revealed an updated timeline saying his committee and others are preparing a final report and will deliver it to
the House Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving break next week.
Schiff says they're documenting in an unprecedented campaign of White House obstruction. But he says that they were still able to gather a massive
amount of evidence of wrongdoing. A court decision expected anytime now could impact future witness testimony.
A judge will decide whether a former White House Counsel Don McGahn must be compelled to testify. Democrats say the ruling should apply to other key
witnesses who've been refusing to appear as well.
Let's get more now from Washington we're joined by Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju. Manu, the Judiciary Committee says that the need
for McGahn's testimony in the impeachment inquiry is "urgent." Explain to us why.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The committee is moving very quickly to make President Trump just the third American
President in the history to get impeached likely it's going to happen before Christmas.
The way that the Adam Schiff, the Chairman Of the House Intelligence Committee laid it out today is that he will put together this report that
will detail the findings of its investigation that have occurred over the last eight weeks. And that report will serve as the basis of articles of
impeachment that will be taken up by the House Judiciary Committee probably in the first two weeks of December.
And that that point that committee will actually have a vote on what could be multiple articles of impeachment both obstruction of Congress, for not
turning over documents to the committees of Congress.
But also the underlying conduct detailed by this Ukraine investigation, the President's, in the Democrats view, abuse of power, bribery they say in the
way that he used the power of his office to force Ukraine to bend to his will and push forward on those investigations that could help his political
Republicans do not believe the Democrats have made their case. Expect Republicans to vote in lockstep against what the Democrats are doing. But
the indication today from Adam Schiff makes it very clearly that they're moving quickly, urgently and expeditiously.
That this could all be wrapped up in a matter of just a handful of weeks, before the Senate would take up impeachment - would move over to the
Senate. There'll be a trial. And at that point Republicans have the votes to acquit President Trump. Ultimately the voters have to decide whether or
not he gets to stay in office. Bianca?
NOBILO: Manu Raju, thank you very much.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is accusing ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer of ignoring the chain of command. Speaking with reporters at the
Pentagon, Esper accused Spencer of trying to establish a back channel to the White House to work out a compromise over disciplinary actions against
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
Esper ordered Spencer to resign over the weekend. Spencer complied with a letter suggesting that President Trump's insistence on leniency for
Gallagher is undermining military order and discipline.
Pentagon Correspondent, Barbara Starr takes a closer look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The President says he fired - Spencer was fired in part for cost overruns. The Secretary of Defense says
Spencer was fired because he went behind his back to the White House to try and cut a secret deal for Eddie Gallagher that would have allowed him to
keep his SEAL status, even though Esper was advocating for an impartial review.
The Navy Secretary says he was thinking about resigning anyhow because he could not follow in good conscience the President's orders about Gallagher.
Look, what this really gets to the bottom line when there's this much confusion. The risk - the real risk, of course, is for the troops.
Confusing chain of command, confusing orders - this is not the way the Pentagon works. There are supposed to be very clear direction, not
competing narratives. And the reason for that, of course, is so troops know exactly what their senior commanders expect of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: That was Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reporting for us there.
Donald Trump rolled out the red carpet on Monday for a four legged hero. The President honored Conan, a Belgian Malinois, who was injured during the
raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Conan pursued the ISIS leader down a tunnel where Baghdadi set off an explosives suicide vest.
He was given a medal and a plaque. But it does look like from the videos that all the dog really wanted was to be petted by the Vice President Mike
And we're following a major shakeup in the 2020 race. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has officially entered the Democratic primary. And the
billionaire says he is, self-funding his campaign.
But progressive candidates are pushing back, saying voters don't want another billionaire in the White House. We'll talk more about that in
around 10 minutes time with our guests Alexandra Rojas, the Executive Director of Justice Democrats, a group focused on electing progressive
candidates to Congress.
Now, a five minute smash and grab burglary has claimed some of Germany's most precious national treasures.
NOBILO: This closed circuit TV video shows the thieves who broke into the famed Green Vault in Dresden Castle. They escaped with masterpieces from
one of Europe's largest collections of gems and jewelry.
And while the monetary value is immense, officials say the cultural and historic value is even greater. And they worry that the thieves could just
melt the jewelry and recut the gems to make them easier to sell on. The director of Dresden state art collections calls the thieves cold hearted
CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now from Dresden. Melissa, tell us what you are learning about how the thieves managed to get around security to pull this
off if indeed this is one of the cultural houses of the most precious artifacts in Germany. How did they manage this?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems extraordinary back here that in just a few minutes this extraordinary treasury, as you say culturally
tremendously important, historically tremendously important, also incredibly valuable, since you're talking about 100 or so pieces that are
involved, diamonds and other gems, how they could have got in and taken it.
What we understand happened is that it was just before 5:00 a.m. local time on the CCTV footage. There were guards watching it in real time. They
watched these thieves make their way to that glass case and smash it with an axe nine times. Now it is standard procedure for them to call the
The police were called, but by the time they got here those few minutes are gone and the thieves were gone. Now we're not sure whether it is just the
two people that were involved seen on that CCTV footage or whether there are other people involved. The police have said that there may be other
people that they're looking for.
But tonight they have not been found. The jewels also remain missing and the question really Bianca of what they can now do with them. The police
have tweeted out this picture of them, and as you can see, they're really quite remarkable pieces of treasurer. There's no other word. They're very
intricate. They're very old. They involve a lot of gems and diamonds.
But what art experts have been saying is that it would be very impossible to sell them as they're so recognizable are they, but even dismantled. And
we also - we spoke earlier to the head of the state art collection here in Dresden about what her fears were that they might be dismantled and the
gems sold separately. She said that the thought was almost too much to bear.
But even the gems themselves were simply cut in a certain way and it wouldn't be that easy to sell them on the market. So an awful lot of
questions stand about where those jewels might end up and where the people who stole them are now, Bianca.
NOBILO: Melissa Bell, thank you very much for bringing us the latest.
The global migrant crisis isn't going away even when the story fades from the daily headlines. The International Organization for Migration says that
this year alone more than 1,100 people have gone missing or have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: This video shows how treacherous the journey is. It comes from Italy's coast guard who say they rescued 149 people from a boat capsized
near the coast of Lampedusa on Saturday.
A young girl in the purple jacket that you can see was found in the water with her father here. A Coast Guard diver pulls her out of the waves and
brings her to safety. Her parents were also rescued. Five women from the capsized ship have died and survivors say up to 20 people are unaccounted
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: There's been a major bump in the road for Uber in it's - one of its biggest markets. London's transit authority TfL is declining to renew
Uber's operating license, citing a pattern of failures to protect passengers.
CNN Business Reporter Hadas Gold explains what happened.
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Red buses, black cabs and Uber drivers, a familiar sight on London's roads. But that could
soon come to an end as the regulator Transport for London says it will not renew Uber as license after an independent assessment found a pattern of
GOLD: London authorities say unauthorized Uber drivers were able to drive around using others accounts simply by uploading their own photos. Others
they say were able to create accounts even after they had been dismissed or suspended. As a result Transport for London says as many as 14,000 trips
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: TfL's job as the regulator is to make sure operators and drivers are fit and proper. And I stand by TfL because our
priorities got to be the safety and security of London as the most (ph) is clear to me is that's been compromised by the Uber is operating.
GOLD (voice over): It's been a year's long battle between the city and the ride hailing platform. In 2017 TfL revoked the license over safety
concerns, but granted the company a 15 month extension. Uber is important to the millions of passengers who rely on the service every year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would definitely be damaging if there was no Uber, because it's a such a great service, you know what I mean. They - all over
the world you can use it. And it is just a click of a button, you know. I mean, so that would be terrible if that ceased to exist.
GOLD (voice over): But in a city renowned for its black cabs some are pleased with the crackdown.
DOMINIC, BLACK CAB DRIVER: I spent 3 years studying in London to become a taxi driver to be able to wear this and be a public servant, part of
transport for London. They've come in on the back of the Uber and they've paid 300 people are licensed (inaudible) and off they go.
GOLD (voice over): Losing London would cost the company. It's one of the top five revenue generating cities for Uber and the biggest outside of the
Americas. Uber called Monday's decision extraordinary and wrong.
JAMIE HEYWOOD, UBER: Uber has been on a process of change. We've changed very fundamentally since Dara came in as CEO, as a company. And if I look
at the way that we're prioritizing safety, the way that we're making our processes and systems better, today's decision by TfL isn't taken on the
basis of an Uber that I recognize.
GOLD (voice over): London Transport says Uber has made some positive changes. The company now has 21 days to appeal the decision, during which
they can operate as normal. For now it looks like Uber will have at least one more Christmas in London Hadas Gold, CNN London.
NOBILO: Now to a show of support for Iran's government organized by the government itself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Protesters turned out in state sponsored rallies in Tehran, some holding signs that read anarchists must be executed. They blame the U.S.
and Israel for instigating recent anti-government protests across Iran, which we've been telling you about.
Amnesty International says at least 143 people were killed by security forces in protest against higher fuel prices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: When we come back on the brief, the divided Democrats in United States. As another billionaire joins the race, we'll talk to a leading
progressive about what moderate Democrats are getting wrong.
NOBILO: The first time since announcing his bid for the White House Michael Bloomberg is speaking to the media and voters. Bloomberg campaigned in
Virginia on Monday, part of his unusual strategy to ignore the early voting states Iowa and New Hampshire, so you can focus on bigger states that vote
later in the calendar.
The billionaire former mayor of New York says his background makes him the ideal candidate to unseat Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government and philanthropy will enable me to both
win and to lead. As a candidate, I'll rally abroad and diverse coalition to win and as President I'll have the skills to fix what is broken in our
great nation. And there is a lot broken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Bloomberg is believed to be worth over $50 billion, making him far away the richest person to ever run for President. One of his rivals Bernie
Sanders says, Democrats won't support an ultra-wealthy candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections, and that is why we are going
to overturn Citizens United. That is why most billionaires like Mr. Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Let's talk more about the battle between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and wealthy moderates like Bloomberg. In our political
debrief I'm joined by Alexandra Rojas, she is the Executive Director of Justice Democrats, a group focused on electing progressive candidates to
Congress. And she was also recently named as one of "TIME Magazine's" 100 next rising stars who are shaping the future. Alexandra congratulations and
welcome to the program.
ALEXANDRA ROJAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: Thank you so much for having me.
NOBILO: First of all, I know that your political career began, I believe, when you were working with Bernie Sanders. So do you agree with him in
terms of your reaction to Michael Bloomberg now entering the Democratic primary?
ROJAS: Absolutely. I think part of the reason why we are having to not only defeat Donald Trump a deal with a series of crises that have been sort of
unchecked for a long time, whether that's the climate change, rising income inequality, the skyrocketing costs of health care rent, all of that kind of
But one of the foundational crises of our time that has captured both parties is the corporate takeover of our democracy and of the political
parties. And so to have the representation at the highest level of government, the presidency, the executive branch of our government, be
represented by a billionaire as the Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of the working class, I think is extremely, extremely problematic,
especially when we have to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.
NOBILO: And if you do want to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 you - you are obviously somebody who champions progressive candidates, are you not
concerned by polling which suggests that the Democratic nominee will need to be more in the center in order to have the best chance of seeing off
ROJAS: Well I think polling also show also shows two things. One it shows that even though you may have frontrunners like Joe Biden, for example, who
is still the Vice President - or who was the former Vice President to one of the most popular Presidents in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama.
They also support really big ideas like tackling the climate crisis by creating a 100 percent renewable energy economy and centering frontline
communities. They also want to tax some of the wealthiest so that we can create an economy and a society that works for everyone. So there's a
And then secondly, the two also national contenders outside of the former Vice President are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who combined,
capture the vast majority of America right now. They have the most diverse coalition. They have the youngest coalition and the most working class.
And that is the majority of where Americans are out right now. And so it's absolutely critical that we actually showcase solutions that match the
scale, scope and urgency of the crises that we're facing and name the reason - the special interests and reasons that have been halting progress
for so long. And so that's the danger again of having a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg that, again, is trying to represent the party of the
working class, the Democratic Party.
NOBILO: When you talk about the Democratic Party as the party of the working class and your mission with Justice Democrats to try and make
elected representatives look more like the people that they actually represent, and particularly getting more women into positions of power,
minorities, people from immigrant backgrounds.
Does it confuse you when you see women - for example, like Scherie Murray who's contesting Queens against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, when she's a
Jamaican immigrant, she's a female and yet she's somebody who's very supportive of the President's agenda. Do you find that odd?
ROJAS: No, because I don't think any group is monolithic. Look, I think that right now the leadership of the Democratic Party looks a lot different
than the base of the Democratic Party. Right now you have the Michael Bloombergs, the Joe Bidens, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer which are largely -
that they have hoarded lots of wealth throughout their careers.
They're obviously wealthy and mostly white where the Democratic - the base of the Democratic Party is largely young people, its people of color,
especially women, and its union households. And those are the folks that we need to show up in 2020 that didn't show up in 2008 and 2012.
And part of that reason is - and again why in the case of New York 14, which you're referencing with AOC, you have to talk about big ideas. You
have to talk about solutions that are actually going to get to the root of the problems that we're facing so that we don't have to defeat - don't have
to get ourselves into another situation where we have to defeat Donald Trump.
And so I think it's not necessarily confusing. It's just no group is monolithic and what we need to focus on is an agenda that speaks to working
people and is offering ideas that inspire them enough to come out.
NOBILO: Well, you definitely do stay focused on your big ideas and don't descend into any kind of bipartisan bashing, so we appreciate that.
Alexandra Rojas, thank you very much for joining the program. Hope to hear from you again soon.
ROJAS: Thank you.
NOBILO: When THE BRIEF returns, why the man who invented the World Wide Web is warning of a digital dystopia.
NOBILO: There's a warning of a digital dystopia if threats like disinformation and privacy aren't sorted out. And the man making that
warning should know, because he invented the World Wide Web.
Tim Berners-Lee says if the world fails to defend the free and open web it risks a digital dystopia of "entrenched inequality and abuse of rights."
He's drawn up a so-called contract for the web, a set of initiatives urging governments companies and individuals to stem the rise of online threats.
And it seems like powerful people all listening. Google, Microsoft and Facebook say that they're all on board as was the governments of Germany
France and Ghana. We all use the Internet, and some of you watching, are watching us on the Internet right now. It's changed our life.
But if the man who came up with the worldwide web is ringing the alarm now, it's probably time for the rest of us stood up and listened. That's the THE
BRIEF, I'm Bianca Nobilo. World Sport is next.