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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO

Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg Resigns; Saudi Arabia Sentences Five People To Death; Democrats Renew Push For Witnesses And Documents After Ukraine Aid E-mails Released; TESCO Serves Ties With Chinese Printing Company; Burned Christmas Tree Becomes A Tragic Symbol. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired December 23, 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]

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, Boeing CEO fired after two deadly plane crashes. Saudi Arabia sentenced its five

people for death in the murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And a Christmas tree that you haven't seen before. Made from the burned remnant

of the Australian bush fires we'll speak to the artist who made it.

Live from London, I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show. After a year of crisis, Boeing CEO is out of a job. Dennis Muilenburg gave his resignation

Monday at the request of the board which says that it's necessary step to regain public trust.

Boeing's crisis began when two of its brand new 737 Max Jets crashed minutes after takeoff, killing 346 people. Those planes were grounded

worldwide in March. Boeing later admitted that the crashes were tied to a faulty automatic safety system. In October, Muilenburg told Congress that

the company bears responsible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS MUILENBURG, THEN-BOEING CEO: We can and must do better. We've been challenged and changed by these accidents. We've made mistakes and we got

some things wrong. We're improving and we're learning and we're continuing to learn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: But that was not enough for the grieving families. The mother of a woman who died in a Boeing plane told Muilenburg it was time for him to

step aside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADIA MILLERON, MOTHER OF ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES CRASH VICTIMS: When you make mistakes like that, and you can acknowledge them, then maybe someone else

should do that work and so I don't feel like you understand. I want to say I want to dig in and I want to confront a situation and I want to solve the

situation. It's come to the point where you're not the person anymore to solve the situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Muilenburg has long insisted that Boeing would have the 737 Max Jets back in the air soon. It is their best selling jet. But in another

setback just last week, Boeing announced it would suspend production on 737 Maxes in January. But that will be the new CEO's problem.

Former Boeing Chairman Dave Calhoun is taking over in January. Richard Quest is here with me to discuss this. Rich, to me it seems like this took

quite a long time. The first crash was in October 2018 and then another in March of this year. Why is it now that the CEO is leaving?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Just because of plane crashes, awful though that is, doesn't mean to say that the CEO has to go. In this

case though, the amount of evidence was growing. Particularly about within Boeing, who was questioning the safety system and caste? Who was

questioning the way Boeing was going about its testing and its certifying?

There was a growing body of evidence that showed that something was seriously systemically wrong. Now, why did Muilenburg stay on so long

because it was convenient to keep him there? Eventually, McAllister went. He was the guy who sold all the planes. The Chairmanship was given to

Calhoun but always Muilenburg was there. We knew he was going to go. The issue was when and now they decided he was more of a liability.

NOBILO: What else does Boeing need to do to restore confidence in the company's leadership and also that 737 Max?

QUEST: A variety of things. The first one is that they have to provide the FAA with the underlying data of the solution to the problem. They've got

it. The solution exists. They've got to provide that data. But what is really, what really did it in for Muilenburg, is a series of stories in the

last few weeks which have shown Boeing was not being fully transparent.

That it did have more info. It did have more whistle blowers. It did have more data. Each time they kept saying, no, you've got it all and then

something else would come along. Eventually it was too much. Last week when the FAA slapped down Muilenburg, who was trying to pressurize him to get

this thing back in the air, they said no. And that was the final coup taken on for Muilenburg.

NOBILO: Richard Quest always good to see you. Thank you.

Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death for the murder of the Journalist Jamal Khashoggi but there are still many questions about the way

that the Kingdom is handling this case. It is unclear who the five condemned people are. The Saudis have not released their names. We do know

that several close associates of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman were cleared of any involvement in the killing.

"The Washington Post" where Khashoggi was a columnist called the trial a sham. CNN's Nic Robertson told me more about the international reaction to

the verdicts.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It does appear that this does satisfy the White House at this time. They're saying that they

are encouraging Saudi Arabia to continue with its fair and judicial process. That's not the view that Turkish authorities are taking. They see

the verdict as falling short of their expectations, falling short on justice and accountability.

[17:05:00]

ROBERTSON: They say what we do know about the convictions and about those who have been freed are it does appear to give a distance between Crown

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the de facto ruler in the country beneath the King, give him distance against the crime. Now it was the assessment of the

CIA for the Crown Prince had a role in it but two of his very close associated, Saad Al-Katatni a Senior Adviser to him, and General Ahmed Al

Assiri, the Deputy Head of Saudi's main intelligence agency, both not guilty in this case.

Not clear who the five people are who received the death penalty. Although the U.N. Special Reporter released a report earlier in the year that

indicated that people who were likely to receive the death penalty, and we know that the verdict has been those were involved in the actual killing of

Jamal Khashoggi, likely included the Mahal Matlab the Intelligence Officer who led what the Saudis are calling a botched rendition, and also, Doctor

Tubaigy who was the forensic pathologist, the so-called bone saw doctor who was involved, believed to have been involved in cutting up Jamal

Khashoggi's body after he was killed.

So whether or not they are actually the ones to receive the death penalty, that isn't clear. However, what is likely is that they'll be able to appeal

and there is possibility of clemency. They can appeal to Jamal Khashoggi's family for clemency. And we've heard from Jamal Khashoggi's son and he says

that the process, the verdict has affirmed his faith in Saudi Arabia's judiciary.

It does feel very much like the Saudi authorities really wanted to put this behind them before 2020 when they hosted the G-20, very important global

summit of the world's most powerful economic nations.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson, there for us, who has been covering that story since the very beginning.

British police have made one arrest after accusations that fans racially abused a football player on the pitch during Sunday's match between Chelsea

and Tottenham. Match officials warned the crowd after players reported hearing monkey chants. The British government is threatening to step in its

sport authorities during a crackdown order on abuse.

As CNN's Anna Stewart reports, incidents like this have become a scourge on football.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Bianca, this is the second reported incident of racism in a Premier League match this month. Antonio Rudiger a Chelsea

player reported to officials during the match that he could hear abusive chants. Three announcements were made in the stadium warning fans about

abusive behaviour and racism and that will fill step one of the UEFA's three-step protocol.

Today plenty of questions being asked about whether the sport is doing enough to stamp out this kind of behaviour? The manager Jose Mourinho spoke

in a press conference today. He said he's actually looking beyond football for support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH MOURINHO, TOTTENHAM HOTSPOT MANAGER: I think society needs help. And then football is a micro society if you can call it that. But society needs

help. We need to eradicate this. We need to eradicate any four-month discrimination and in this case, we are speaking about racism. And yes,

football needs help. Society needs help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: The PSA, the Professional Football Association, says it wants to see a government inquiry into this issue. Meanwhile, the government says

clearly the football authorities need to do more to tackle the issue and they'll be monitoring them through the season to see how they implement

that plans which leaves the door open for government potential intervention.

However, plenty of people in the industry have told us that they're actually talking at the authority all government level and may not be

enough and that perhaps the players themselves on and off the pitch need to do and say more back to you Bianca.

NOBILO: Anna Stewart there for us. We'll have a lot more on that story in world sport in about 15 minutes time.

Now to Washington where Democrats saying newly released email show how crucial it is that the Senate obtain all available evidence in order to

conduct a full and fair impeachment trial. This email showed Donald Trump's Budget Office ordered a freeze in security funding to Ukraine just 90

minutes after Mr. Trump spoke with Ukraine's President by phone back in July.

Michael Duffey is the budget official who ordered the freeze. He's among the witnesses that Democrats want to hear from in the upcoming impeachment

trial. But the top Senate Republican hasn't committed to calling any witnesses at all. Duffey appeared to realize that his order could raise

concerns.

He asked Pentagon officials to keep it "Closely held" because of the sensitive nature of the request. The emails are heavily redacted with some

key parts blacked out. A top Senate Democrat says that the truth must come out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY): If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come testify, this is that information. This email is explosive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:10:00]

NOBILO: Let's bring in the CNN's Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta. Jim, it is great to have you on the show. Thank you for joining us.

What is it that the White House, what are they saying about these revelations? And how do you think that they could affect Mr. Trump's

defence when it comes to the Senate trial?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Bianca, I think that the big question at this point is whether or not the Senate Majority

Leader, Mitch McConnell is going to allow witnesses in this impeachment trial in the Senate. It doesn't sound like he's going to do that at this

point but Democrats are seizing on these new emails that you were talking about a few moments ago and saying, if there were ever a case for witnesses

at a trial, this is it even though the President has already been impeached.

New information is coming to light in this investigation and the administration at this point is saying, listen. The hold was talked about

on an interagency call on July 18 before the President's phone call with the President of Ukraine. And so they're saying to link these emails from

Michael Duffey who is an administration official over at the Office of Management and Budget to the phone call that the President had with

Zelensky doesn't hold water.

Another top official over here, Marc Short, who is the Vice President's Chief of Staff, he was on the Sunday talk shows over the weekend saying,

listen that the aide was ultimately released and so they're throwing a lot of excuses out there as to why these emails might have been sent.

But Bianca, it doesn't really take care of one big problem for the administration and for this White House and for President Trump. And

that's, new information is still coming out as the days go on. This was the result of a freedom of information request from a non-profit here in

Washington that unearthed this information.

So it stands to reason that more information could come out. Even though both sides are saying that we're in an impasse right now and the

Republicans aren't agreeing to witnesses at this point. The big question was whether or not other revelations could emerge that might change that

dynamics in the coming days. Bianca.

NOBILO: Thanks Jim. Jim Acosta there for us in Washington.

ACOSTA: You bet.

NOBILO: The Chinese government is denying forced labor is being used at one of its prisons in Shanghai it follows British Chief - is spending

production at a factory in china after a desperate message was allegedly written into one of its charity Christmas cards. David Culver has the

details.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Inside Shanghai's Ching-Po prison, new allegations of foreigners being forced into labor. The Chinese Foreign

Ministry calling the claims fabricated adding no foreign prisoner has been put into forced labor in Shanghai Ching-Po prison at all. The call for help

hand written in a Christmas greeting card sold by the British supermarket Tesco to benefit charity and as first reported in the Sunday times it was

6-year-old Florence Widdicombe who discovered the message at her home outside of London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLORENCE WIDDICOMBE, SIX-YEAR-OLD WHO FOUND CARD: I was sitting at the table. Opening my Christmas cards and I was writing in them to my friend

and the seventh or eighth Christmas card, I found that somebody wrote in it.

(END VIDOE CLIP)

CULVER: The message reading, we are foreign prisoners in the Shanghai Ching-Po prison for us to work against our will. Please help us. Notify

human rights organizations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN WIDDICOMBE, FLORENCE'S FATHER: If anyone were in a position where they needed to essentially smuggle a note out saying they had great human rights

concerns, then of course that's a real worry, isn't it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Florence's dad said the card aspirator to get in touch with British Journalist Peter Humphrey so he did Humphrey a former fraud investigator

which jailed for two years on what he calls bogus charges at Ching-Po prison in 2013.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER HUMPHREYS, JOURNALIST: What they're doing is assembling the cards, a mix of cards and then putting them into the packaging, sealing it and then

packing these box sets into shipping boxes. That's what they're doing. And this is being done without Tesco knowing about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: In 2013 CNN reported on a similar incident. A woman in the U.S. bought Halloween decorations and found a letter claiming to be from a

Chinese labor camp inmate the author pleading for someone to contact human rights organizations.

But in this Christmas card cry for help, Tesco responded quickly, a spokesperson saying that company was shocked adding "We abhor the use of

prison labor and would never allow it in our supply chain the supermarket chain serve ring ties with the Chinese printing company that provided the

cards does go said the supplier was audited as recently as last month and with stand to be incompliance.

CNN called that supplier. A representative said, "We have never been involved in such activities, at the media reported, adding "We think

someone is smearing us. It is a sentiment echoed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry which claims Humphrey is behind it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a farce my Mr. Peter Humphrey is behind it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:15:00]

CULVER: David Culver, CNN, Hong Kong.

NOBILO: Wall Street investors are getting a good dose of holiday cheer after getting another day for record books. All three made a U.S. stock

indices closed at all time highs. It's the third straight record finish for the DOW and S&P 500 and the eighth for the NASDAQ. Opportunities that the

U.S./China trade deal is on the horizon fuelled these games along with Boeing's Leadership shakeup.

Still to come this hour, bush fires are burning out of control across Australia, engulfing whole towns and leaving little behind. Amid the smoke

and the cinder, there are harrowing stories of survival.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBILO: Fire fighters in Australia are exhausted as they battle around 200 bush fires burning across the country right now. At least nine people have

died since the fires began. Hundreds of homes are destroyed and entire towns now ravaged. Emergency teams are ramping up their efforts to keep the

flames from causing even more damage.

Australia's Prime Minister acknowledges that there is a connection between fires like these and the global climate crisis. But Scott Morrison is

rejecting calls to reduce the nation's lucrative coal industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Australia is taking action on climate change. What we won't do is engage in reckless and job destroying

and economy crunching targets, which has been seeking to be postured to us at the moment taking advantage of natural disasters because no Australian

would think that the direct policies of any single government in the world is directly linked to any fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: It's not just people that are impacted. Fire fighters came across this little Koala thirsty for water and may be inferno. And it is just one

of the many species now threatened by these bush fires.

An art installation is reminding people how devastating the fires have been. This Christmas tree despite in down town Sydney is made entirely of

material collected from areas that have been affected by the fires. Charred wood, bicycles, even a scorch fire alarm it is becoming a tragic symbol for

this year's Christmas celebrations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it was striking because we've seen so many regular Christmas trees in the city and then to come see this. This is what

this is really what this Christmas is about, I think. In Sydney and across Australia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: James Dive is the artist behind the installation. And he joins us for today's "Debrief." James, it is really good to have you on the program.

Thank you for joining us.

JAMES DIVE, ARTIST: Well, thanks for having me.

NOBILO: I was looking at some of the work that you've done, that you've designed. And you actually designed earlier in the year, I presume. A 25

meter high Christmas tree for marine place in Sydney that is covered with all these flowers that belong to Australia.

[17:20:00]

NOBILO: And yet this Christmas tree obviously in complete die metrical contrast to that one. Tell us what inspired you to create it and what you

hope people will take away from it?

DIVE: I think the differences between last Christmas and this Christmas couldn't be more apparently to all of us here in Sydney. And I think the

burned Christmas tree came about with partnership with Red Cross. And I think to me I think everyone just wants to do something. I think we're all

feeling like this is very unusual a lot of anxiety out there, there is a lot of anger out there.

And I think a lot of us are feeling sorry. I think over 1,000 homes have been burned. There are a lot of people who are out there whose Christmas is

going to be very subdued this year and I think to me, to use my skill set to try to bring attention to what's going on.

And I think what is sort of happening is out in Sydney, the bush fire is all around us but it is a real way to bring the reality of the discussion

of these fires into a city context and get people to donate to help others out of this time of year.

NOBILO: It definitely is increasing the focus even further on this disaster. I read that you want this burned Christmas tree to not only

remind people of those and you know in your community and Australians are going through but also to remind people of the resilience that Australians

are showing in the face of this.

DIVE: Look. I think Australians, that's one thing we're very good at is picking ourselves up again. To me what was heartening, when I went out to

collect these timber and these household items from burned communities, was that our bush is pretty remarkable at balancing buckets actually designed

to be burned.

But in saying that, you can see seeds and regeneration but the one thing that's hard actually to get back on its feet is the community. For me, it's

both a positive message. What has been really positive has been the response. I think everyone wants to help these people get back on their

feet and I think everyone wants to see these fires get put out as soon as possible.

NOBILO: And James what can people does? So people who might be watching, whether it is donating to the Red Cross, what kind of disaster relief does

that provide? If it is anybody who is tuned in now wants to try to help, what would you suggest that they do?

DIVE: I really suggest we set up a dedicated website which is redcross.org.au/tree. Those go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and

obviously, the Red Cross, fantastic at putting aid where it needs to be helping those who are homeless this Christmas that sort of re-establish

them.

So I think they would be thrilled and I think all of Australia would be thrilled with any help we can get right now.

NOBILO: And just finally, if you could describe for us that experience you had when you went to retrieve all of these parts. These charred branches

and objects that you found which she used to create the burned Christmas tree. What was that like? What went through your head when you were doing

that?

DIVE: I came away feeling sad it is probably the best way to describe it. I live in the bush myself. The one thing I noticed entire day I didn't hear

one bird. Every animal has left. Birds left long before the bush fires. And then I hate to think what happened to the other animals.

So it was a bit of an eerie day and I think the reality set in, like where we were we got sort of relocated numerous times because of live fires. So I

think it was for me was very sobering and sad. Yes. I think by the time I got back to my home, that's what I kind of hope the tree would do, would

sort of bring - almost confront people a little bit into what's actually going on out there.

NOBILO: Well, James Dive, I think that's exactly what it is doing. Thank you very much for your time today. We really appreciate it. I hope that

maybe brought a little tiny bit more to the community as well.

DIVE: Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

NOBILO: When THE BRIEF returns repairs are still ongoing at Notre Dame.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:25:00]

NOBILO: And finally tonight, the tradition of the centuries is cancelled. This year, worshippers in Paris won't go going to Notre Dame Cathedral for

Christmas. We all remember this, the devastating fire that ripped through the 850 row cathedral. People all over the world came together to donate

money for their pairs and almost $1 billion was pledged.

The rebuilding process was slow and certainly not fast enough for this week's Christmas services. The French President Emanuel Macron is promising

to get the Cathedral back and running in five years time. For people of Paris, there is a midnight mass plan for Christmas Eve but it is going to

be at a nearby Church instead.

Notre Dame has hosted Christmas during both world wars. The last time it didn't do so was because of the French revolution. That's it for THE BRIEF

in 2019. We'll see you in January. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas whatever you're up to and a great start to the "New Year". Thank

you for watching THE BRIEF.

If you're just watching today or you've been watching for a while, we love it when you watch and you engage and tell us what you think and remember

you can now find longer cuts of all of our interviews on Youtube. So, everybody, I'm Bianca Nobilo. Happy holidays and "WORLD SPORT" is up next.

DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST: Racism in football. I'm afraid, that's the story again, folks. Is it football's problem or something much bigger? We'll have

the latest on "World Sport" today.

END