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Pelosi: U.S. Not Safer by Drone Attack on Soleimani, Will Send Impeachment Articles "When I'm Ready"; U.S. House to Vote on War Powers Resolution to Limit Trump; Ukraine Investigating Downed Plane; Prince Harry and Meghan Step Back From Senior Roles. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired January 9, 2020 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: We have just heard from the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, talking to reporters in Washington just hours before an
expected House vote on whether to curtail the U.S. president's ability to take military action.
She told reporters the White House has a responsibility to share information about military strikes.
All this comes, of course, after Donald Trump's order to kill the Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad Friday without alerting Congress. And
Pelosi also spoke on the effort to rein in some of the president's war powers and gave an update on Donald Trump's impeachment.
She defended her decision to delay transmitting what are known as these articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate which is, of course, holding up
Mr. Trump's Senate trial.
The House Speaker says she is waiting for the Senate to lay out the rules for the trial but also saying she'll probably send over the articles of
Well, we are covering this from all angles in the U.S. Athena Jones and Stephen Collinson are standing by. Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran and Nic
Robertson in Saudi Arabia for a sort of, you know, some context, too, and a discussion about U.S. involvement in the Middle East region.
But, Athena, what do you make of what we have just heard?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I thought it was interesting on two fronts. One, you heard her talking about how she
believes the administration acted cavalierly when it comes to Iran, talking about how they will have time on the House floor later today to lay out
their case, a factual basis, for why they believe the war powers resolution is necessary.
She said the administration, when they briefed her, was dismissive, disdainful. Talked about the president going to Twitter to talk about
actions he may take. So clearly she feels strongly about the need to make sure that the president is reined in when it comes to war powers.
On the impeachment front, we were talking about some of this movement, some of the sort of breaking of the dam when it comes to some Democrats,
certainly on the Senate side, becoming impatient about the fact that Speaker Pelosi has been withholding the articles.
And she said ultimately I'll probably send them over soon and she also talked about what's been gained by holding these articles over the last
JONES: And she mentioned what she called collateral benefits to the discussion, having a public discussion about the need for documents, for
She believes that the Senate majority leader, the Republicans in the Senate, don't want to have documents and witnesses because they don't
believe they can clear the president on the evidence.
She says that in these weeks she's been holding these articles since they were voted on in late December, that emails have come out, showing that 90
minutes after that fateful July 25th call between the president and President Zelensky of Ukraine, there were already discussions about putting
a hold on that aid.
Other emails that have revealed serious concerns among people in the administration, about the legality of holding that aid. Also, of course,
the fact that former national security adviser John Bolton now said he would testify.
And so these are things that she believes have been accomplished, at least during this period, holding onto the articles. And when pressed why not do
it with urgency if that's part of the argument, she said we have to act smartly and strategically.
She came with a ready answer on both fronts as to why she feels the war powers resolution is necessary and what she plans to do on the impeachment
ANDERSON: Stand by. We'll be back after this.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN, the breaking news on impeachment and Iran. Moments ago, the U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, saying that she will
only send articles of impeachment to the Senate, upper house, of course, starting the trial there when she is good and ready.
She started facing real pressure from members of her own party to finally hand over those articles to the Senate while, soon, lawmakers will vote on
limiting the U.S. president's ability to potentially strike Iran without coming to them first.
Those the newslines coming out of what was a news conference regularly scheduled but today a particularly important one from the U.S. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I have the panel back with us.
Stephen, let me just get to you.
What did you make of what we just heard from Nancy Pelosi?
It was interesting that our colleague, Athena Jones, pointing out that Nancy Pelosi, using the sort of collateral benefit argument of withholding
this articles of impeachment as the reason she continues to do so.
ANDERSON: I think our viewers might struggle to understand what she was really referring to there.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. So what she is saying is, by withholding the articles of impeachment, by not sending them
across to the Senate as soon as the president was impeached in December, she's given a window for a lot more details and, frankly, damning details
about the president's pressure on Ukraine to come to light.
She spoke about some emails, which showed there was concern about him withholding nearly $400 million of military aid in the Pentagon.
There's this idea that John Bolton, the former national security adviser, may now be ready to testify in a Senate trial.
She is saying her move, her power move, her confrontation with the Senate, is shaping the environment in which the trial will take place.
Having said that, I mean, I think you have to begin to question how much leverage she has. She cannot dictate how the Senate trial takes place. I
think what she is trying to do is build a picture for Americans that will be relevant during the election and after the trial.
What the Republicans are trying to do by suppressing documents and evidence is cover up for the president's wrongdoing. It's a fascinating news
conference because it shows, under the U.S. system, that the House Speaker, of a different party than the president, is not just an opposition leader.
As the head of one of the branches of government she has real power and she's deploying this power in the Washington power game, to try and rein in
a president who doesn't want to be constrained and to try to break this bridge between the president and his Republican defenders in the Senate.
ANDERSON: And she is a veteran with regard to Washington politics and who would we be to question her tactics here?
But a growing number of Democrats in the Senate, Athena, say it is time for this standoff over the impeachment trial to end. Let's just have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I think it's time to turn the articles over, let's see where the Senate can take it.
SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): I think it is time for the Speaker to send the articles over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Does she risk losing her caucus, as it's known here?
JONES: Well, I think that there's frustration but I don't know that the Senate Democrats are going to suddenly decide they won't support them. They
might begin to be more vocal about that frustration. There's only so much leverage that she has and even though she talked about the details that
have come out in the few weeks she's been holding the articles, she is not going to be able to control what happens in the Senate.
That is a job of the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, something he has pointed out frequently. We also heard her talk about a document shared
with the caucus about the argument that McConnell is making, that we'll do this just like the Clinton trial.
And she has a long list of points how this is very different from the Clinton impeachment back in the late '90s because, for one, in the Clinton
impeachment, not only was there a full report that had been carried out and people ad read, the Starr report, there were also witnesses who had been
People knew what they were going to say and so it's not exactly an apples to apples comparison and that's something she tried to make a point of. But
still this all comes down to what's ultimately going to -- who's going to be ultimately in charge of how things go in the Senate.
And it is not going to be the House Speaker. So that's where the frustration is coming from for these Senate Democrats, saying let's get on
with it. Plus the fact that a lot of folks wanted this finished before the Democratic primaries begin. And that's the beginning of February so less
than a month away.
ANDERSON: Yes. No, fascinating.
Nic Robertson in Riyadh. The impeachment expected as we went into the December break. It was impeachment that we expected to dominate proceedings
as we entered this new decade.
It is Iran which has swept into steal to headlines. The U.S. president determined in a press conference this time yesterday that Iran has stepped
back from the brink, blinked to a certain extent.
But he went on to say. it ain't over so far as the U.S. is concerned and announced further sanctions.
A sanctions expert tells "The Washington Post," and I quote, "They now touch every part of the Iranian economy and are likely or unlikely to have
any further impact," but added that the U.S. could after -- go after countries still doing business with Iran.
I bring this up because I guess it's now fair to say that Donald Trump's strategy on Iran is actually crystal clear at this point.
ANDERSON: It is all about maximum pressure. It is all about the fire (ph) that he believes will help if not ensure a normalization of the regime,
brackets, change, were you to believe many of the experts.
Your thoughts on the wider context here?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. I think if you're looking at the view from the region here and certainly from the U.S.
allies, like Saudi Arabia, then you would take issue with what Nancy Pelosi was saying.
She said that Qasem Soleimani was a bad man. They would agree with that. But she criticized President Trump for the action he took. They would say,
well, actually, it was necessary because Soleimani was the man who was behind the Houthis and firing ballistic missiles at the capital here, who
was responsible for helping arm the Houthis who were firing missiles that landed on a civilian airport and killed about 20 civilians, who helped the
Iranians target the Iraq -- target the Saudi oil facility.
Something had to be done. So I think that's the perspective for how they would look at it from here.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Riyadh. Appreciate it, thank you.
We are taking a short break. Back after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky Anderson. This show is from the Middle East broadcasting hub here and new
details about that horrific plane crash that killed 176 people yesterday in Iran.
ANDERSON: Ukrainian officials have not yet ruled out terrorism or even a bomb or missile for bringing down that Ukrainian International Airlines
Boeing 737 just after taking off from Tehran on the way to Kiev.
An Iranian report citing witnesses, who said the plane was on fire, changed directions and turned back towards the airport. Ukraine's president here
laying flowers, a tribute to the victims at the airport in Kiev. He thanked Iran for its, quote, "willingness" to collaborate on the investigations.
Experts from both countries meet in Tehran to kick off a probe.
Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran from where the plane took off.
Those countries now involved in the investigation and sadly there are a number of countries, citizens, from which lost their lives. Expecting a
transparent and thorough investigation.
First up, they want to know what happened and whether this might have been a missile that hit this flight.
What do we know about this point?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. The Ukrainians first and foremost want to know what happened to that plane that
obviously crashed just a couple minutes after it took off.
There's lot of moving parts that have been in play here throughout the better part of the day. And overnight what happened is Ukrainian
investigators arrived in Tehran. The Iranian side after a few hours tweeted out a picture of those Ukrainian investigators with Iranian investigators,
going through obviously what happened.
The big question right now is we're waiting to see how much access the Ukrainian investigators are going do get to that debris field, which is
right outside, I think a little bit north of the Tehran airport, where that plane came down.
The Iranians also saying that they have invited the Canadians and the Swedes, who have a substantial amount of citizens on the plane to join in
the investigation, as well.
The Ukrainians have already spoken to the Iranians. President Zelensky thanking President Rouhani but the head of Ukraine's national security and
defense council said that the Ukrainians are currently looking at several possible reasons why this plane came down.
A missile strike is one of them, Becky. He was talking about a Tor missile, a Russian surface to air missile that they're looking at. That missile
apparently is one used by the Iranian air defense forces.
However, that's only one of the things that the Ukrainians are looking at. They're looking at a potential bird strike, an engine failure, as well,
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran.
I want to leave you as we take a very short break with the names of all of those who died, 176 people from around the world. We will be right back.
ANDERSON: Well, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are all over the front pages of British newspapers today, a day after revealing they plan to take
a step back, as they describe it, from the public's gaze.
Prince Harry and wife, Meghan, announced they're distancing themselves from their senior roles in the monarchy and working to become financially
independent. Max Foster following it for us from outside Buckingham Palace.
And apparently headquarters unaware of the couple's plans.
What's been the reaction in the building behind you?
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're upset. They are deeply disappointed. And they're saying this is a complicated matter, which is
essentially saying to the couple, be very careful about what you're announcing here because it won't go ahead without our approval.
And that's not just the queen but Prince Charles and Prince William. Their offices giving out one message today and that's they weren't warned before
it was published to the world.
And it's not just the statement that went out, a short paragraph saying they want to step back from the senior roles, it's the website with huge
amounts of detail about their future, how it is funded, what to prioritize and the work they'll be doing.
And part of that is this public role which they want to continue, supporting the queen. The other part is they want to develop a private
role, earning private money, which is very difficult to marry. And you can't just go out there and make it happen is the view from here. You have
to collaborate with the rest of the family and they may not fund it ultimately either.
So it's become very complicated today and this language, as you know, we don't hear from the palace very often.
ANDERSON: It all begs the question, why?
Why are they doing this, Max?
I think they've had enough. They are really fed up with their current roles. They aren't -- they're very passionate people. They care deeply
about their causes and they want to really make a difference in the world.
They want to change the world. And it's all about fairness for them and they feel there are too many strictures in the current positions to be able
to do that and they can't achieve their dreams effectively.
And so they can't earn private money and they can't do things without approval from the palace system.
Unfortunately, there can't be compromise there because the palace can normalize as much as it wants, the monarchy can. But ultimately it is a
hierarchy and it's defined by that direct line of succession.
They're the priority, is Queen, Charles, William, George and they aren't part of that. So there's only so far they can go to appease them and
effectively their role to support the queen and that hierarchy and they weren't happy doing just that.
ANDERSON: Hmm. Fascinating. My colleague, Max Foster, in what looks like a rather nice evening now in London.
I'm Becky Anderson on what is a rather rainy evening really in Abu Dhabi. Unusual for here. Thank you for watching. My colleagues from "WORLD SPORT"
are up next.