Return to Transcripts main page

THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO

Hezbollah-Backed Candidate Is Designated Next Lebanese Prime Minister; United Kingdom Lawmakers To Debate And Vote On Withdrawal Bill Friday; India Protest Defy Government Crackdown; U.S. Democrats, Republicans Plan Next Move In Impeachment; Youtube's Best Paid Star Is An Eight-Year-Old Kid. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired December 19, 2019 - 17:00:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, THE LEAD: Martin Savage in Altoona, thank you so much. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @JAKETAPPER.

Tweet to show @THELEADCNN. Our coverage continues right now.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Tonight on "The Brief" President Trump has been impeached but now what? We'll look at the fight heading to the U.S. Senate.

Deadly wildfires rage in Australia while the nation hits a record high temperature. And Queen Elizabeth lays out her government's top priorities

and we'll look at the key Brexit vote happening Friday.

Live from London, I'm Bianca Nobilo very warm welcome to the show. President Donald Trump is now the third U.S. President in history to be

impeached but there's a battle brewing over whether or not the case can head to the Senate. With a bang of the gavel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

announced the vote Wednesday charging the President with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The House Democrats have now lost one member over that impeachment vote to Republicans. A New Jersey Congressman was at the White House with President

Trump today to announce that he's switching parties. And the President was asked what it felt like to be impeached.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Well, I don't feel like I'm being impeached because it's a hoax, it's a set-up. It's a horrible thing they

did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: The impeachment case now must go to the U.S. Senate for trial where Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at Democrats

demanding to hear from the Trump Administration witnesses.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The House Democrats case is this deficient, this thin the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it over here in

the Senate. The answer is the House should not impeach on this basis in first place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she's waiting for McConnell to hash out a deal with Senate Democrats before she hands over the impeachment

articles. Pelosi argues that the Republican Leader is biased in favor of the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Our founders when they wrote the constitution they suspected that there could be a rogue President. I don't think they

suspected that we would have a rogue President and a rogue Leader in the Senate at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: CNN Politics Congressional Reporter Lauren Fox joins me now live from Capitol Hill. Lauren, it seems as though Nancy Pelosi wants to put

some pressure on the Senate. Can you explain her strategy?

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, she does seem to be putting pressure on the Senate but the important thing to remember is that

the Republicans control the Senate. What we are hearing from them is they don't care essentially what Pelosi's position is. They're arguing that it

is their chamber she is not the Senate Majority Leader.

That job is of course Mitch McConnell's. Therefore he will set the rules and the parameters of how this impeachment trial is going to go. You know,

I was talking to Senator John Cornyn yesterday he is a Republican from Texas. He said I don't care if the House never sends us these impeachment

articles.

Essentially his point being okay, if you don't want to send them, that's fine. We won't be having an impeachment trial then we can get to other

business that we would rather be doing anyway. I think that there's an assumption and I think it's a fair one that there are not the votes to

remove President Donald Trump.

So when this comes to a Senate trial, there are not going to be enough Republican votes to actually remove the President therefore a lot of

Republicans are arguing if Pelosi doesn't want to send the impeachment articles over that's fine. She doesn't have to. Now Pelosi did seemed to

indicate today that she will eventually send them over but she does want to see what the Senate process looks like.

Now, I will tell you we know that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the top Democrat Chuck Schumer met a few minutes ago to discuss the parameters

of this trial now we're still learning more about whether or not they were able to come to an agreement.

NOBILO: Lauren, thank you. Lauren fox for us on Capitol Hill. We'll dig deeper into impeachment and what all of this means in about 15 minutes

time.

Impeachment is being talked about in Moscow and today we heard some of the same arguments that the Republicans have used. Russian President Vladimir

Putin mentioned in his annual news conference. He said the reasons behind the impeachment were made up. And according to Mr. Putin it's all a

political game played by Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: This is just the continuation of the internal political battle. One party that lost the elections, the

Democrats, is now trying to find new ways by accusing Trump of collusion with Russia but then it turns out there was no collusion. This can't be the

basis for the impeachment. Now they came up with some pressure on Ukraine. I don't know what is the pressure but this is up to your Congressmen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Back in the U.S., Mr. Trump is under fire for his attack on a late U.S. Congressman and his widow who succeeded him. Representative Debbie

Dingell won a congressional seat in Michigan this year that seat was held by her husband Congressman John Dingell who died in February.

Wednesday night, Mr. Trump attacked them both at a campaign rally in their home state. Debbie Dingell a Democrat voted for impeachment.

[17:05:00]

NOBILO: Mr. Trump not only appeared to mock her but listen to what he said about her late husband.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She calls me up it's the nicest thing that's ever happened, thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He's looking down he's be so

thrilled. I said don't worry about, maybe he's looking up, I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: The obvious implication being that John Dingell is in hell. Debby Dingell said that the comment felt like a kick in the stomach and some

Republicans urged Mr. Trump to apologize. But Mrs. Dingell told CNN that the controversy may have an upside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL, (D-MI): Republicans and Democrats were talking or hugging and they were all coming over to hug me. They all came over to tell

me, and then I started talking to other people. And after such a divisive day yesterday, if this in a little way gets people together feeling like

community then I get I can take the hurt. Although I miss him a loss and it will be a lousy Christmas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: In just the past hour, Democrats passed a new trade agreement with America's neighbors to the north and the south. The House of

Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve a new treaty with Canada and Mexico. The White House had been negotiating with Democrats for months

to get the deal known as USMCA approved. The Senate is expected to also approve it sometime after the holiday break.

Back to Moscow again one agent was killed and five other people were wounded in the shooting near Russia's main intelligence agency. The Russian

State TV reports a suspect was quite neutralized near FSB building. That's the spy agency that Russian President Vladimir Putin used to head. It

replaced the infamous KGB. Mr. Putin was making a speech nearby in honor of Russia's security service workers that day.

The man designated to be Lebanon's New Prime Minister says that he understands the pain of thousands of angry protesters. Hezbollah backed

Hasan Diab is calling on Lebanese to help rescue the country which has been accused of corruption and incompetence for decades. Our Ben Wedeman tells

us about more about the new Leader's goal of inclusion in this fractured country.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He stressed that he's independent, that he's not affiliated with any political party and indeed

we looked through his 134-page resume and he doesn't appear to have any political affiliation and when he spoke he said that he's going to consult

as he tries to put together a government here in Lebanon.

Something that is never very easy, that he will be consulting with Former Prime Ministers, Representatives of the political party's prominent

politicians as well as Representatives of the mass protest movement.

NOBILO: Diab will replace Hariri who said he'd resign amid those protests that Ben mentioned now. The British government is charging full steam ahead

with Brexit. The Queen formally opened the new parliament Thursday and in her speech, she told lawmakers the government's priority is to secure

Brexit by January the 31st.

The House of Commons is wasting no time and MPs will debate and vote on the EU withdrawal bill Friday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition

Leader Jeremy Corbyn both made appeals to their fellow lawmakers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is the moment to repay the trust of those who sent us here by delivering on the people's priorities

with the most radical Queen's speech for a generation. It was one resounding lesson of the election campaign one message I heard in every

corner of these Islands is not just that the British people want their government to get Brexit done, though they do. They want to move politics

on and move the country on.

JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: But I fear that those who would swayed by the Prime Minister's promises will be sorely disappointed. As

this Queen's speech shows what the government is actually proposing is woefully inadequate for the scale of the problems that this country faces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Phil Black reports from outside parliament on what this withdraw is and what this withdrawal bill is and what is expected to play out tomorrow

in the House of Commons?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, what we're talking about is the legislation that will ratify Boris Johnson's negotiated deal with the

European Union. The Withdrawal Agreement is often referred to as the divorce settlement and divorce kicks in on January 31. At that point

Britain enters the transition or implementation period for 11 months.

We now know the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will also include an attempt to prohibit an extension of that transition period. Boris Johnson promise

there would be no extension now he wants that enshrined in law and it matters because it means both the UK and the EU will only have until the

end of next year to negotiate and agree on the better part of their future trading relationship and that's a powerful statement of intent.

[17:10:00]

BLACK: According to the Prime Minister's fans or it's a delusional timetable according to his critics who also fear it means the dreaded no

deal scenario is back on the table. No matter how heated the debate gets in parliament on that point tomorrow inevitably well, we know the vote is

going to sail through because of the Prime Minister's much talked about 18- seat majority it also means that the legislation should pass easily.

Pretty much unchanged the following stages earlier in the New Year plenty of time to become law and meet that January 31 deadline. So Britain leaving

the EU on the terms agreed by Boris Johnson and the European Union is now inevitable. What happens after that is uncertain. Bianca.

NOBILO: Thanks to Phil there and we'll update you on the progress of the Withdrawal Bill tomorrow. Now Australia is being scorched both on the

ground and in the air. A state of emergency has been declared in the state of New South Wales by around 100 active bushfires are burning.

Some of them have reached the edge of Sydney. Adding to the problem is this heat wave, bringing some of the hottest temperatures Australia has ever

seen. So let's bring in CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater with more. Tom, are the same fact is driving both the heat wave and the fires?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, in a way yes. Climate change to put it bluntly. What we saw last week in for three consecutive days at 40 degrees

or higher. That's first time that's happened in recorded history and now the heat is sliding South Australia with the fires to the east, the

temperatures are raging across the entire area.

And a sad story yesterday. A number of homes again about 40 structures were burned. They're doing everything they can to protect and these homes on the

edge of Sydney but we have that mega fire just up wind from Sydney almost proving to be impossible to contain. Sad story, two firefighters -

voluntary firefighters lost their lives battling blazes yesterday when they had a vehicle rollover.

There is nothing going on the satellite imaginary and what we have got now is high pressure where the air condenses and it kind of heats up. It's all

moving now into parts of New South Wales. Now today it's in South Australia, Adelaide this morning, 33.6 degrees. That's the hottest low

temperature they have seen in 11years.

106 active fires, 53 contained. The fire threat now moves again back towards the areas where the blazes have been burning but this does not

help. On Tuesday the nations average high temperature 41.9 degrees, the hottest ever, topped yesterday at 49.9. And again, as you look at what the

record was at 40.3 that is back in 2013 hottest year ever.

Well, this year they're breaking it day after day. We're waiting now we are to see if yesterday may have shattered that average high temperature. It's

6 degrees warmer in Adelaide right now at 9:45 or 8:45 in the morning and again there may have a chance of rain that helps them. But look how the

temperatures drop here, Bianca even not just Adelaide and Melbourne but the fire threat in New South Wales, really starts to grow as the winds pick up

later today, Saturday and into Sunday. Terrible news.

NOBILO: Yes it is and it's not even peak summer. Tom Sater, thank you.

SATER: Sure.

NOBILO: India's government is pleading for calm after a volatile day of clashes on Thursday. Protests spread nationwide over a controversial New

Citizenship Law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. In some areas, police used water cannon and tear gas as protesters defied a

government lockdown, but in other areas the demonstrations remained peaceful. Our Sam Kiley reports from New Delhi.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Local authorities here in Delhi have declared this march here in the Capital and it's been in the

same pattern in about 15 other cities around the country that these marches are illegal because they don't have the capacity to control any potential

violence.

And any kind of gathering of more than four people has been ruled unlawful. This is a gathering just outside the Red Fort and the plan was to march

close to perhaps the India's Parliament. But the population who tried to join the march have been broken up very peacefully by the police in several

different locations.

And we had similar reports from elsewhere in the country. So far, these demonstrations, the marches have been peaceful but they have been piecemeal

because the police seem to have been effective in dispersing people. There have been reports of the arrests of some of the leadership, but policeman

here that we have spoken to said that they're negotiating with the local leaders here to try to get these groups to disperse because technically

speaking, they're illegal.

What they're trying to avoid is the sort of violence that we're seeing, particularly last weekend in the University here in Delhi where the place

charged in using tear gas right into the university's library.

[17:15:00]

KILEY: But this is part of a demonstration against the Citizens Amendment Act which has passed it's on the statute book in India. What it does is it

allows nationality up to immigrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan but only if they're non-Muslim and the demonstrators here are

saying in fact is a gross violation of the real founding principles the constitutional principles of the Modern Indian State. Sam Kiley, CNN, in

Delhi.

NOBILO: Just ahead on "The Brief", impeachment of Donald Trump is not without consequences the Democrats and for Republicans. What it can mean

for America's 2020 election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBILO: This impeachment marks the first time in American history that voters will get to have a say on whether an impeached President is re-

elected, assuming that the Senate does not remove him from the office.

Many lawmakers are already arguing that impeachment will have political consequences in 2020 for both parties but elections have consequences too.

Something we learned during the 2018 midterms when the Democrats won big across the U.S. and Nancy Pelosi made this promise in her prescient victory

speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans it's about restoring the constitution's checks and balances to the Trump

Administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Joining me for the impeachment debrief is Political Commentator and Republican Strategist Alice Stewart. Alice, it's wonderful to welcome you

to the program.

ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you, Bianca.

NOBILO: Let's begin by discussing the strategy of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. What do you think that she's gaining here by not immediately

proceeding with the articles of impeachment?

STEWART: Clearly she is trying to slow roll this. I think one of the big takeaways from the speech we had there in the beginning - really the

Republican - the Democrats taking over the House in 2018 was that she was very cautious about moving forward with impeachment. And she got pushed by

the foreign left plank of the Democratic Party and she made it quite clear that she wanted to - if they went down the impeachment road it needed to be

overwhelming and bipartisan.

Well, the problem is this has been clearly straight along partisan lines so I understand that she's trying to be strategic in the next steps here. But

I do believe she has to be concerned with the fact that this vote for impeachment was strictly along party lines and she's trying to make sure by

withholding moving the articles that they have a little bit more leverage over in the Senate with regard to how the Senate proceedings are playing

out?

But clearly she - absolutely would have preferred to have a more bipartisan support for impeachment when it didn't go playing out.

[17:20:00]

STEWART: This is her leverage that she can use against in the Senate.

NOBILO: It has obviously fallen completely along partisan lines. Do you think it's going to be a problem for President Trump though if Pelosi does

continue to delay? Just because obviously there is a an election looming and I suppose it's frustrating and to some extent Pelosi is taking into

account the President's psychology and trying to do whatever they think is advantageous for them politically.

STEWART: Certainly it will be frustrating for the President, but the further this is delayed and if this continues the Senate trial goes into

further into the 2020 election, that will have an impact on the Democrats who are running for election that cannot be out on the campaign trail that

have to be sitting in the Senate during the Senate impeachment aspect of this.

So the Democrats would be the ones that are being harmed by delaying this. But I understand what Pelosi is doing trying to use this as leverage to

have more influence on how the Senate proceedings are carried out, but it could potentially backfire specifically on those Democrats who are running

for President.

NOBILO: As that was going to be my next question about whether or not this might backfire and there's always the law of unintended consequences. Is

there any sign - whether it's President's approval rating or public support for impeachment that potentially this is starting to backfire?

STEWART: Well, I mean, that's an important thing to look at. If you look at how the polls have shaken out throughout this impeachment process? The

Democrats really have not moved the needle in terms of public support for this. There's actually about 50-50, but the key with that obviously

Democrats supported impeachment. Republicans did not.

But the key is independents and how they will go out in 2020 and the latest polls and the average of the polls independents more of them do not support

impeachment. So they will be frustrated in 2020 that the Democrats have gone this way. So that would lean their support closer to the President and

with conservative candidates.

If this rally he had last night is any indication of his base and his support they are standing strong, standing firm behind him because it's not

just as much about blind loyalty for the President myself included. This is about many conservatives of viewing the impeachment effort as a way to

unshed the election results from 2016.

It's not about the President's phone call it's about them trying to overturn the election results that they so strongly fought for. And that's

how they view this so I think people who support the President will continue to stand firm.

NOBILO: And Alice just briefly, you do write in your Harvard Article about the fact that this is just a continuation of trying to subvert the 2016

result and how it's not about blind loyalty for you. You did however call the President's discussion with Zelensky on July 25th inappropriate but you

don't think impeachment is the right way to handle it. So what is the right way to handle it in your opinion?

STEWART: Right, Bianca. I think that's a fair lane for people to be in. And there are a lot of people that share my feelings, what he said on the call

I view as inappropriate. But impeachment is not the correct remedy. And Jonathan Turley the Republican appointed to the Judiciary Panel, he shared

my view and he said the call is problematic, but the reality is what it resulted in there was no underlying crime.

There was not a crime, there wasn't anything that really pointed the finger or should have led to impeachment. Look if there was a problem with the

call that the Democrats wanted to call attention to they certainly can. But at the end of the day, let the American people decide if they want him re-

elected in 2020.

Let them decide if they have such a problem with how this call was conducted because the reality is we all know how that call ended up. The

President of Ukraine said he did not feel pressured the President said there was no pressure. They got their money and all the things that the

Democrats are saying that the president did, did not pan out that way. So let the people decide and impeachment is not the way to go about it.

NOBILO: Alice, thank you very much for your time today. Alice Stewart for us.

STEWART: Thanks Bianca.

NOBILO: Thank you. A programming note, you can watch the Democratic Debate right here on CNN, it starts at 9 am in Hong Kong that's 1 am here in

London. And when we "The Brief" return, it's Christmas so it's time to get a little jealous. This kid is 8 years old and earned $26 million this year.

We'll explain why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:25:00]

NOBILO: So what were you doing when you were 8 years old? I asked around the newsroom and the answers were collecting stickers, playing football,

learning French. Forcing their family to act out plays or even plotting the downfall of their school principal. Well, how about making $26 million?

That's what this kid is doing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to test out my sister's shoe. Let's go! So dirty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: This is Ryan Kaji, the owner of Ryan's World. He opens presents on camera and then comments on each one that he opens. Ryan has nearly 23

million subscribers and he's making a mountain of cash. Forbes says that he's Youtube's highest earner in 2019. And it is all based on pretax income

from things like sponsored content, advertisements and merchandise.

But the question is will it last? Because Youtube says that next year it's going to stop personalized ads on children's content after it paid out $170

million that it to several acquisitions that it broke the law when it knowingly tracked and sold ads targeting kids. That's all from "The Brief"

this evening. I'm Bianca Nobilo. Stay tuned for "World Sport" coming up next.

DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST, THE WORLD SPORT: Liverpool are ten points clear of the top of the Premier League and they don't want to blow.

END