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Boris Johnson Trying to Avoid Meeting With Trump At NATO Summit In London; Supreme Court Divided On First Major Gun Case In Decade; Prince Charles Asserts Role In Wake Of Andrew Scandal; Leaked Documents Reveal China's Brutal Treatment Of Muslim Minorities. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired December 2, 2019 - 13:30   ET

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


[13:30:00]

WILL TANNER, DIRECTOR, ONWARD & FORMER ADVISER TO BRITISH P.M. THERESA MAY: And this comes at exactly the time, the two years ago, in the 2017 election, Labour started to make some serious gains and to squeeze the Conservative vote. So Boris Johnson and his team, we expect will be worried of that happening again, and typically trying to reduce that square whenever that comes. So I think that's what the prime minister was saying yesterday.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: How worried are conservative M.P.s about the president's visit?

TANNER: Well, I mean, clearly it's a NATO summit that is an issue that should play to the Conservatives' strengths. Typically they do better on security issues than Labour. We've just had a terror incident here in this country as well, which is an issue the Conservatives should be able to capitalize on politically to some degree.

However, the Labour Party has weaponized a U.S. trade deal in this election, particularly focused on the risks to the NHS and the risk to drug prices. So the conservatives will want to minimize it in every way possibly and keep the NATO summit on security issues rather than letting it stray into the election itself.

KEILAR: President Trump, as you know, has been critical of NATO from the start. Now the administration is cutting this contribution to NATO's collective budget. Are NATO leaders concerned that the U.S. could actually pull out of NATO entirely?

TANNER: Well, so I'm not sure I can speak for other countries within the NATO alliance. Clearly, the alliance has been around for a long time, 70 years. It's gone through stages of ripples in that process and I suggest it needs to go through a further stage reform.

A number of countries in the alliance are looking toward the future rather than trying to focus on the way NATO has operated in the past, and we have emerging threats which NATO needs to deal with.

I would say, from this country and, certainly, from my time in government, the U.S. was an essential part of NATO, and I really hope that the France, the U.S. and Britain can come together to ensure that NATO continues its role on the world stage, keeping us all safe.

KEILAR: I'm sure in recent years, you never could have even imagined that question being asked. Is this something you've entertained the possibility that the U.S. might pull out? Or are you not willing to go there?

TANNER: I personally don't think I can add very much on that particular point. But I do think the U.K. and prime minister Johnson and members of his cabinet will be urging their counterparts in the U.S. about just how critical the U.S. is to NATO and how critical NATO is at this moment in world history as well.

That's not to say NATO doesn't need reform and that NATO isn't an institution that needs to adapt to a changing environment. But withdrawal from NATO altogether would be a significant step.

KEILAR: All right, Will, thank you so much. Will Tanner joining us from London. We appreciate it.

TANNER: Thank you.

KEILAR: Did the Ukrainian president just exonerate President Trump in a new interview? No, not really, but that's not stopping the president from claiming so. I'll be speaking with a reporter who interviewed President Zelensky.

Plus, a Trump official once mused about nuking Afghanistan. Now he's a senior adviser at the State Department. We have that story ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:37:58]

KEILAR: Happening today, a divided Supreme Court grappled for more than an hour with its first major gun case in a decade. And it's a case that has potential to completely reshape America's gun laws. The court is hearing a dispute concerning a New York City gun regulation that restricted where owners can take their firearms. It's a law no longer on the books.

The Trump administration is hoping a solidly conservative court will use this case to expand Second Amendment rights, but it also comes as the court is reeling from mass shootings over the summer.

We have CNN's Joan Biskupic, who was at this morning's hearing and with us now to talking about this.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said this case should be dismissed because the law is now off the books. So why would they then say, no, we are going to decide this on the merits?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Yes. First of all, RBG was back. The last time many of our viewers heard about her, she was in the hospital. She was back. She asked the first question. She was very strong from the bench. But she and the other three liberal justices pounded away at the fact

that the city of New York and the state have both weighed in to amend this law that had banned the transportation of certain firearms, for example, to a lawful gun owner's second home or to a firing range outside the city. That was the key prohibition that the challengers were fighting.

When they changed it, the city said, this case is moot. You shouldn't decide this, Supreme Court, get rid of it. And the challenger said two things. First of all, there were still some lingering questions over what lawful gun owners can do in transporting their lawful firearms in New York. They said there's some lingering questions.

More importantly -- and this is where the justice has really spent a lot of their attention -- the challengers say, you shouldn't let the city just make this case go away just by amending the law here because everyone knows that this court is potentially poised to broaden Second Amendment rights and to really cut back on the kinds of government regulations that are allowed.

[13:40:06]

Everyone has been waiting for the court to take a case after about a decade.

KEILAR: Yes.

BISKUPIC: And actually New York and several of its fellow advocates don't want this case in the Supreme Court, so they did change the law. The lawyers for New York said, this is a good thing. Litigation has produced change. We're not trying to maneuver here. This is good.

KEILAR: So the advocates don't want this going to the Supreme Court --

BISKUPIC: Right.

KEILAR: -- because they feel their position is vulnerable. Are they're expecting there will a big ruling?

BISKUPIC: Yes. That's the important question here. Because with Justice Kennedy off the court and retired, the court is much more conservative. The court, as I said, is poised to broaden the Second Amendment.

But given the back and forth today at the court, it's hard to see that Chief Justice John Roberts wants to weigh in on a big gun rights dispute, just as you say, given the violence issues in the country and just how this is roiling America, just how far the government can go to regulate guns.

Will he weigh in when there's a logical way for him not to because the law has changed? He did not tip his hand, I will tell you that.

I will also tell you that Brett Kavanaugh, who succeeded Anthony Kennedy, did not ask a single question. KEILAR: Really.

BISKUPIC: So there's some uncertainties here. But I would be surprised if this court, as it stands, decides to weigh in and rule in a big way on the Second Amendment at this time.

KEILAR: It would be such a huge deal.

BISKUPIC: It will be.

KEILAR: We'll be watching it with you.

Joan Biskupic, thank you.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

KEILAR: Still to come, royal drama. As a scandal engulfs Prince Andrew, how Prince Charles is asserting himself as the man in charge.

Plus, why the mayor of Chicago just fired the city's police superintendent.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:46:52]

KEILAR: A new royal drama unfolding in Britain, with British tabloids, reporting that Prince Charles is asserting his role as future king with plans to cut the number of working royals to as few as possible after the fallout of Prince Andrew and his ties with the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

We have CNN Royal Correspondent, Max Foster, joining us from London.

Max, there are also these reports that Prince Charles has called a crisis meeting over the Epstein scandal surrounding the prince. Tell us what he wants to discuss there.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting because, you're right, there's this narrative building in the U.K. media that Prince Charles is asserting himself and stepping up as he heads towards the monarchy.

But I've been speaking to various people within the palaces and the family, and actually there's a great deal of frustration about that narrative. They're saying there was one decision here that was made by the queen. She very much runs things, so she consulted with Prince Charles and others had a meeting with Prince Andrew and said, you need to step back.

What's interesting, I'm hearing more and more is that this doesn't necessarily mean he's out of public life forever. There's a point that potentially he could come back to public life. And they're saying a few months down the line, perhaps, we'll look at all this in a very different way. I think certainly British sentiment is very much against Prince Andrew

currently. Certainly, media sentiment as well. All blowing up again tonight. Another interview going out today with Prince Andrew's accuser suggesting that he is lying in a lot of his statements and a lot of people around him are lying. He did carry out sexual acts against this woman and thinks she's terribly unfairly treated by all this. So it is blowing up again.

But certainly within the family, they feel that the queen has handled this effectively.

And Prince Charles has done just what he's always done. He supported her and he isn't overstepping the mark, as it were, and trying to take over her job. She's in this for life, I'm told.

KEILAR: Sure, but if he does have this idea of trimming the family, I mean, trimming the royal family with a number of-- of working royals, who would be in, who would be out?

FOSTER: You have a direct line. This has come up when a general election campaign, currently, the Prince Andrew story has blown up, questions about the monarchy. Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has been talking about a slimmed-down monarchy. And that effectively means the queen, Charles, William and then George.

So you find yourself asking, what happens to Prince Harry, for example. And I think we are seeing Prince Harry go out a bit on his own. He's taking time off currently. The duchess of Sussex won't be meeting Donald Trump at a reception tomorrow because they're stepping back a bit, at least temporarily.

Then the question about Prince Andrew, does he come back into the family.

That's why I think it's interesting they're suggesting he would have a future royal role, but they're going to use this as an excuse to slim down the monarchy.

But over time, there will be appetite for a big, bloated monarchy, which costs lots of money. Because it wants its value in the monarchy. I think that comes across in the polls quite regularly. That they don't want it to be too large and too unwieldy and taking public money when it isn't necessarily required.

[13:50:14]

KEILAR: Maybe dipping those polls numbers. They don't want to see that.

Max Foster, in London, thank you so much.

It's a phone call President Trump claims vindicates him in the Ukraine scandal. There are questions whether it even happened.

Plus, a special CNN report. New evidence that as many as two million Muslims were pulled from their homes and forced into detention centers. What leaked documents reveal, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:55:20]

KEILAR: There's new evidence of rampant human rights abuses in China. As many as two million Muslims pulled from their homes and forced into detention centers.

Chinese officials say the mass detention program will make them better citizens. But a trove of leaked classified documents shows a system of reprogramming designed to erase an entire culture.

CNN's Will Ripley explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): China doesn't want you to know the secret behind these walls. Men, women, children, sometimes entire families separated from each other. Cut off from the outside world.

The U.S. State Department says they live in prison-like conditions. Locked up, not for what they did, but who they are, members of Muslim minority groups in China's far west.

Why they're kept here is a carefully guarded secret. And if China finds the person who leaked more than 400 pages of government documents to the "New York Times," they could disappear, too.

AUSTIN RAMZY, HONG KONG CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": This person is a member of the Chinese political establishment, who wanted the leadership to be held accountable for the decisions that were made.

RIPLEY: Decisions made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, implicated in the mass round up for the first time. What the U.S. calls the "mass arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance of more than two million people."

(MUSIC)

RIPLEY: Massive effort to reprogram an entire ethnic group, Muslim Uighurs.

(SIRENS)

RIPLEY: China blamed the Uighurs for a deadly terror attacks five years ago, attacks that killed scores of people the same year.

That same year, 20124, President Xi made a series of speeches calling for a crackdown on separatists. "Show absolutely no mercy," he said in once speech.

This video suggests that's exactly what's happening. Men with their hands bound, hides shaved and blindfolded at a train station. CNN is not able to independently verify this video or when it was taken. But two former detainees told CNN the same thing happened to them. They describe being herded together with other inmates, moved from jail to jail.

The Chinese government initially denied the camps exist. Now, it calls them voluntary vocational training centers, teaching people how to integrate into Chinese society.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China's dream is one nation, one country.

RIPLEY (on camera): What happens to people who don't fit into President Xi's dream?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they've been tortured, they've been starvation. Their life is unimaginable.

This is my brother.

RIPLEY: This Uighur journalist, now in the United States, says her brother has been missing for more than a year.

She burst into tears as soon as our interview ended. Pain shared by every family torn apart. Someone they love vanished. No message, no warning, gone.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: These reports are consistent with an overwhelming and growing body of evidence that the Chinese Communist Party has committed human rights violations again individuals in mass detention.

RIPLEY: Tough talk from the Trump administration as the president praised Xi just this week.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a very good relationship, as you know, with President Xi. We're in the final throes of a very important deal.

(GUNFIRE)

RIPLEY: China's human rights record has been a focus of six months of violent protests in Hong Kong. U.S. lawmakers passed a bill supporting human rights in the Chinese territory. The president signed the bill on Wednesday.

CNN examined other secret Chinese government documents leaked by an investigative consortium. Guards are told, "Never allow escapes. Detainees may not contact the outside world."

China's ambassador to the U.K. Calls the mounting evidence pure fabrication.

LIU XIAOMING, CHINA AMBASSADOR TO THE U.K.: There's no so-called labor camps.

The government gave them opportunity to learn language, Mandarin, to be a good citizen and effective work. RIPLEY: That carefully woven narrative unraveling with each new

revelation.

(APPLAUSE)

RIPLEY: Shining light on a dark secret. What many believe is the Chinese president's plan to erase an entire culture.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from our Washington headquarters for a special edition of CNN RIGHT NOW.

[14:00:02]

It's a consequential week for a presidency in peril. Why the White House is refusing to participate in a key impeachment hearing.

And it's the phone call President Trump says vindicates him in the scandal.