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The Brief with Bianca Nobilo

NYT: Trump Knew Of Whistleblower Compliant When He Released Aid; Trump Wants To Designate Mexican Cartels As Terror Groups; China Accuses Pompeo Of "Meddling" In Its Affairs; TikTok Video With An Anti-China Message Goes Viral; Albania Earthquake: At Least 30 People Killed, Unknown Number Missing; U.S. To Cut Financial Contribution To NATO; Corbyn: Johnson Will "Sell Off" Britain's Health Service. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 27, 2019 - 17:00   ET


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: You can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. You can find me on Twitter @EricaRHill.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving. Our coverage on CNN continues right now.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF revelations that could shake up the impeachment inquiry, what President Trump knew about the

whistleblower report and when.

Controversy over a viral TikTok video, how a makeup tutorial became an anti-China message. Plus, Boris Johnson put on the defense, arguing

Britain's National Health Service is not on the table in U.S. trade talks.

A very good evening to you, live from London. I'm Isa Soares, a very warm welcome to the show.

What did U.S. President Donald Trump know and when did he know it. That question is more pressing now than ever. New revelations undermine his main

line of defense in the scandal that could lead to his impeachment.

"The New York Times" reports, Mr. Trump knew about a bombshell whistleblower complaint before two pivotal events, including his insistence

to a top aide that there was "no quid pro quo with Ukraine." CNN's Alex Marquardt has more for you.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): New revelations deflating the White House's and Republican allies defense over

the President's actions with Ukraine.


MARQUARDT (voice over): According to New York Times by the time the President released the aid money for Ukraine on September 12th he had been

briefed by White House lawyers about the whistleblower complaint against him. So Trump knew about the complaint, which accused him of using the

power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.

Republicans have argued there was no quid pro quo, because Ukraine got the U.S. military aid money in the end, without launching the investigations

that the President wanted into the Bidens and the 2016 election.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): They got a call, they got the meeting, and they got the money and there was never an announcement of any type of investigation.

MARQUARDT (voice over): But the President knew the whistleblower was trying to out him.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): --shows a consciousness of guilt. Then the President tries to backpedal and say no quid pro quo. And then ultimately

because he's been caught has to release that aide.

MARQUARDT (voice over): As the aide was held up over the summer, two officials in the Office of Management and Budget resigned. Testimony just

released showed they expressed concerns about the hold. Though, an administration official disputes that was the reason they left.

Right before the President finally released the money he insisted to a point man on Ukraine, Ambassador Gordon Sondland on a call that there was

no quid pro quo. But Trump did tell Sondland that he wanted the Ukrainian President to Zelensky to do the right thing.

TRUMP: I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.

MARQUARDT (voice over): Sondland testified that the President had told him to work with Rudy Giuliani, who "The Washington Post" now reports, at the

same time he worked for President Trump, was negotiating a potential contract worth $200,000 with Ukraine's top prosecutor to represent him. The

deal however never materialized.


SOARES: Well, and that's not the only eyebrow raising news about Giuliani. "The New York Times" reports that Mr. Trump's personal attorney was trying

to negotiate hundreds of thousands of dollars in business deals with Ukrainian officials. At the same time, he was pressuring Ukraine to dig up

dirt on Joe Biden. The report says no deal was finalized.

Well, President Trump, meantime, is trying to distance himself from Giuliani by denying the most fundamental parts of the entire story.

Multiple witnesses have testified under oath that President Trump directed Rudy Giuliani to stay the Ukraine pressure campaign. Now, listen to what

Mr. Trump told conservative host Bill O'Reilly.


TRUMP: Well, you have to ask that to Rudy. But Rudy - I don't I don't even know - I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled a trip.

But Rudy has other clients other than me.

No, I didn't direct him, but he's a warrior. Rudy is a warrior Rudy went. He possibly so - but you have to understand Rudy has other people that he



SOARES: Well, that denial also contradicts what Mr. Trump himself said in his July 25th phone call with Ukraine's President. According to the rough

transcript Mr. Trump pressed for Giuliani's involvement saying, "He very much knows what's happening." He repeatedly stressed, he'd have Giuliani

give the Ukrainian president a call. We'll keep on top of that story for you.

Well Mr. Trump is also causing a bit of outcry with his plan to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists. This would give the U.S. more power

against such groups, financial and otherwise. Listen to what the President said during an interview on Tuesday when he was asked whether the U.S.

could start hitting these groups with drones.


TRUMP: I don't want to say what I'm going to do. But they will be designated--


TRUMP: I am going to be designating the - absolutely. I've been working on that for the last 90 days. Designation is not that easy.

O'REILLY: No, I know.

TRUMP: You have to go through a process and we're well into that process.


SOARES: Let's get more on the story, CNN's Matt Rivers in Mexico City where the government is pushing back on Donald Trump's plan. Matt what is the

Mexican government responding? What they're saying.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're I think, frankly, surprised and a little bit concerned. We heard from the foreign minister here in

Mexico. He says he's urgently trying to set up a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to get some clarification on this seemingly surprise

announcement from the President.

And this morning President Lopez Obrador of Mexico at his daily press conference, he didn't talk a lot about this, but he did make his point



ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (via translator): I only need to say, cooperation, yes; interventionism, no.


RIVERS: So by labeling criminal organizations in Mexico as foreign terrorist organizations, the United States sets up a legal framework where

mainly they can enact a lot of financial penalties, they can prevent certain people from traveling from Mexico to the United States.

But, I think, what the Mexican government is most concerned about is, will the Trump administration perhaps use this designation as some sort of a

justification for unilateral military activity by the United States inside Mexico's borders.

It's something the President has suggested before just earlier this month after nine Americans were killed in northwestern state of Sonora tonight.

He said the U.S. military might come here if Mexico wanted it. They didn't, at the time, but that's clearly what they're concerned about now.

SOARES: Matt Rivers there for us in Mexico City. Thanks very much Matt. Good to see you.

China's Foreign Ministry is accusing the U.S. of meddling in its affairs. That's after U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo accused China of

committing grave human rights violations against Uighur Muslims.

The U.S. and other Western nations say China is using mass detention camps to wipe out Uighur culture and Islamic practice from the country. China's

Foreign Ministry spokesman says there are no ethnic religious or human rights issues where the Uighurs live. Beijing claimed the camps are

voluntary vocational centers.

Well, the issue has even gone viral on TikTok, as Chinese owned social media company. The app is best known for pranks, for dancing videos and

other really lighthearted content. But an African-American teenager turned it into a political platform using a beauty tutorial to accuse China of

abusing Uighur Muslims. Take a listen.


FEROZA AZIZ, TIKTOK USER: Hi, guys. I want teach you guys how to get long lashes. So the first thing you need to do is grab your lash curler, curl

your lashes, obviously. Then you're going to put them down and use your phone that you're using right now to search up what's happening in China.

How they're getting concentration camps throwing innocent Muslims in there. Please be aware, please spread awareness. And yes, so you can grab your

lash curler again.


SOARES: Well, the teenager accused TikTok of temporary locking her account. Hadas Gold tells us why and how the company has been responding.


HADAS GOLD, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: She told CNN, she thinks, it's because she was criticizing China. And TikTok is owned by the Chinese company

ByteDance. It's one of the few Chinese apps to take off in the United States.

The company said in a statement, though, TikTok does not moderate content due to political sensitivities, but there have been long suspicions

surrounding certain Chinese tech companies and how closely connected they may be to the Chinese government.

But TikTok denied the company banned her video or her account, and CNN was able to find the video and her account on TikTok as of Wednesday. TikTok

did say it banned another account owned by Aziz, because she posted a video with an image of Osama bin Laden, which violated their ban on content with

imagery related to terrorist organizations.

The company also said that the device associated with that account was banned from the service. But as he says that that video is a parody.

Concerns over TikTok's connection to China have prompted some U.S. lawmakers to request a national security assessment of the platform, saying

such apps could be used to spy on U.S. citizens or even become targets of foreign influence campaigns.

In a recent interview with "The New York Times" TikTok had Alex Zhu denied that Chinese regulators have any influence over the company. He said that

for now the company was lucky. People still mostly associate the app for memes and lip-synching versus political discussion. That could be changing.



SOARES: Thanks very much, Hadas Gold. And coming up in about two hours or so from now, I'll be speaking to the teenager in that TikTok video, Feroza

Aziz. That will be on YOUR WORLD TODAY with myself and Cyril Vanier at 8:30 a.m. in Hong Kong or 12:30 a.m. if you're watching us in London. So do stay

tuned for that.

Now Albania's government has declared a state of emergency the day after the worst earthquake the country has seen in decades. At least 30 people

have died. Rescue workers are using drones, tracking dogs and heavy machinery and did desperate search for survivors.

It's not clear how many people are still missing, but there are reports of children trapped under collapsed building. Several countries have sent

troops and other resources to help. Albania's Prime Minister promises that people who lost their homes will be given hotel rooms for the winter.

U.S. President Donald Trump has long said America's NATO allies aren't paying their share for their own defense. Under New Deal, the Trump

administration will cut its contribution to the alliance. CNN's Ryan Browne is at the Pentagon with more.


So Ryan this comes, well, less than a week or so since the President's going to be in London for a meeting on NATO. So what would this actually

mean - practically mean?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well this action is largely symbolic. NATO has a budget of about $2.5 billion, and this would represent a

significant reduction in America's contribution to that, and forcing the European allies and Canada to pay more to cover the costs of the reduced

U.S. contribution.

As you said President Trump has long lambasted European members of NATO for not spending enough on their defense. This is a kind of - but this is a

symbolic victory for the Trump administration. It is getting European allies to, in fact, pay more and it comes, as you said, just days before

Trump will travel to London to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

A summit that could potentially prove contentious over this issue of burden sharing as well as other challenging issues like Turkey's incursion into

Syria, so this kind of the U.S. scoring a victory here as President Trump heads to NATO. It will be interesting to see whether or not this will

placate him or whether he will continue to insist that other European allies spend even more.

SOARES: Yes. Whether that actually intents kind of rattled the alliance to contribute more. Ryan Browne, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

BROWNE: You bet.

SOARES: Now German police say they suspect four people were behind this week's jewelry heist that grabbed global headlines. Surveillance footage

shows two people breaking into historical regional museum at the Dresden Castle. You can there.


SOARES: They got away with priceless pieces of jewelry. After looking at other video of the scene, police now say they think two other people were

working with these burglars. Investigators have got more than 200 tips from the public. They say they still do not know the identities of the thieves.

One month after 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in Britain, the first remains have been returned to Vietnam.


SOARES: The bodies of 16 victims were then immediately returned to their hometowns for funerals. Family members say the victims paid large sums to

smugglers in hopes of finding better lives in the United Kingdom. Their dead bodies were found in a truck in English, if you remember last month.


SOARES: A health crisis in Zimbabwe is about to get much, much worse. Senior doctors in Zimbabwe's public hospitals are going on strike to

protest deteriorating conditions, joining junior doctors who began a boycott back in September.

Farai Sevenzo, has more for you.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zimbabwe's senior doctors association announced Wednesday that they too would be dropping down their tools and

they are not assisting in the public sector hospitals. Those are the clinics and major general public hospitals that the very poorest of society

in Zimbabwe rely on for their health care.

They cited many things and were scathing about the government's inaction at the Ministry of Health in providing basic tools of their trade such as

syringes, rubber gloves for them to do their work. They also bemoaned a lack of medicines or basic health care.

This, of course, brings to a head what has been going on for the last two months in the Zimbabwean capital Harare where a junior doctors, those are

the very people would just finished medicine school and are about to complete their professional qualifications to become doctors, who too put

down their tools as doctors say that they cannot live on the wages that they've been given.

They are trying to fight, they say, triple digit inflation. And of course, Zimbabwe has moved into dire economic straits at the moment with the United

States dollar being dropped as the currency of use and the Zimbabwe dollar being adopted.

Of course, this loggerheads between the health professionals and the government has also affected nurses and now senior doctors. It remains to

be seen how the government will react. But we know for sure that they are fired the junior doctors and the senior doctors are now saying that some of

them were even given their letters of notice as they completed their theater operations.

This remains a story that's going to affect many people of poor health in Zimbabwe. Farai Sevenzo, CNN Nairobi.


SOARES: Well one day ahead of us Thanksgiving holiday two wintry storms are making travel miserable. One system attacked the upper Midwest. The other

is bringing snow rain as well as hurricane force winds to the west.

They're calling the storm historic as well as unprecedented because it's setting November low pressure records. It's blamed for multiple traffic

accidents on icy roads. On one of the busiest days for U.S. travel, many airline passengers were faced with delays or cancellations.

And when we come back here the struggles of Jeremy Corbyn.


I'll talk to a leading British journalist about how bad the past couple of days have been for the Labour Leader. You are watching THE BRIEF.


SOARES: In our "Debrief" now, next month's general election in Britain. Today Labour wanted to talk about healthcare. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

held a news conference where he unveiled government documents that he says prove Britain's National Health Service, NHS, will be on the table during

trade talks with the United States.

As for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he says, any claim that the health service is "up for sale" is ridiculous.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The NHS is in no way on the table, in no aspect whatsoever. And this is, what I say is continually brought up

by the Labour Party as a diversionary tactic from the difficulties they are encountering particularly over the problem about leadership on anti-

Semitism. And then the great vacuity about their policy on Brexit--


SOARES: And as you just heard, Mr. Johnson said, Corbyn is dealing with fallout from his attempt to rein in stories about anti-Semitism within the

Labour Party. Newspaper headlines right across Britain on Wednesday blast of Corbyn for refusing to apologize.


SOARES: You can see there to Britain's Jewish community in a nationally televised interview on Tuesday. Here's the crucial moment in that

controversial interview.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths. I don't want anyone to be

feeling insecure in our society and our government will protect every community--

ANDREW NEIL, BBC HOST: So no apology.

CORBYN: --against the abuse they receive on the streets, on the trains or in any other--

NEIL: So no apology for how you've handled this?

CORBYN: --or any other form of life.

NEIL: I'll try one more time. No apology?

CORBYN: No, hang on a minute, Andrew. Can I explain what we're trying to do?


SOARES: So just how bad have the past couple of days of anti-Semitism talk being with Jeremy Corbyn. I'll put that question to James Blitz, an Editor

with "The Financial Times."


JAMES BLITZ, WHITEHALL EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES: Well, it's been a bad 48 hours for Jeremy Corbyn, because he's not really able to get onto the

issues he wants to, largely because of the anti-Semitism problem that surrounds him and the Labour Party.

I mean to stand back for a second for your international viewers, Labour is around 10 to 12 points behind the Conservatives in the opinion polls and

has been fairly consistently now for quite a long period of time. And with two weeks to go to the election, Corbyn needs to break out of that position

and really bring that lead down to a - the tory lead down to about 5 points or something like that.

He can't do that. And he can't do it, because he can't get on the front foot for a variety of reasons--

SOARES: And this would have been the perfect moment, this interview that we just showed a clip of to apologize to the Jewish population here regarding

the chief rabbis comments.


SOARES: Why do you feel that he couldn't apologize?


BLITZ: Well I have no idea. And I think lots of people inside the Labour Party probably are wondering why he couldn't, because he has done in the


SOARES: Exactly.

BLITZ: But he didn't use this absolutely critical moment to do this. And at the end of the day, most objective viewers of what Corbyn is doing in the

Labour Party on this question would say he just hasn't done enough.

SOARES: What have Labour done then under Jeremy Corbyn to root out anti- Semitism within the party?

BLITZ: Well it's dealt with a few cases. It's got rid of a certain number of parliamentary candidates, activists on a case by case basis. But what

Corbyn has never done in the period that he's been leader since 2015 is give the really full throated emotional determined statement against anti-

Semitism and anti-Israeli feeling inside the Labour Party that was needed.

SOARES: The chief rabbis comments. How damaging do you think that will be for Labour when it comes to the election - on election night.

BLITZ: Well, I think most people who have a view on Labour and the anti- Semitic issue have taken a very firm view on it a long time ago. And so I don't think anything's going to change very much.

But, I mean at the end of the day when you look at this election, the two major leaders Johnson and Corbyn have been around for quite a long time.

People have got a very fixed view. And nothing, I think, that's happened in the last 24-48 hours is going to change that very much.

The problem for Labour is that because this keeps coming up. They are unable to get on to the issues that they want to get on to which are the

Conservative record on public services, the NHS and so on, and that's a difficulty, because legitimately, journalists continue to raise questions

about their approach to the Jewish issue.

SOARES: You mentioned Boris Johnson, who is also - Boris in the Conservative Party have problems with Islamophobia, yet no one seems to be

focusing on that. Why not?

BLITZ: Well, I think, people do raise it. But I think there is a general view that there is not the kind of institutional problem when it comes to

the Muslim community inside the Conservative Party that you have on the Jewish question inside the Labour Party.

I mean you just have so many cases. They've been going on for so long that just haven't been dealt with. Clearly, there are cases of Islamophobia

inside the Conservative Party. But I think it would be hard to say that it was on the same scale.

SOARES: 24 hours - less than 24 hours after that interview with Jeremy Corbyn, he unveiled a secret four hundred and what fifty one page dossier

to sell off the NHS. So this is the Conservative's - he argues Conservative plan to sell off the NHS to Trump. How is that being received?

BLITZ: Well it's been an attempt by Labour to move the conversation on--

SOARES: Has it?

BLITZ: Well, it's got a few headlines. The bottom line of this dossier - this series of dossiers which I've looked at myself today very closely, is

there's no smoking gun in there. I mean, the allegation that Labour is making is that Boris Johnson, if he's re-elected, will do a trade deal with

Trump or the U.S. - whoever's in charge of the U.S.

And as part of that, the U.S. will be given significant access to U.K. markets, and in particular--

SOARES: But we knew that already that, right?

BLITZ: We knew that, but I think the allegation is that the British will give ground on things like pharmaceutical pricing. Like pharmaceutical is

much more expensive and costing the NHS a great deal of money. That's the allegation that's made. But there's nothing in those documents that shows

that British officials over the last two years have said, yes, we'll give ground on that.

In fact, the British officials have said nothing about giving ground on anything. The documents certainly show that the Americans are very keen to

get into U.K. agricultural markets, change U.K. fuel standards, get into the NHS and pharmaceuticals and so on. And in long run, the British are

going to have to give ground on something.

But until now there is no smoking gun in there, were - call who say Boris Johnson or previous Conservative governments have given ground already. So

I don't think there's enough momentum at the moment in that story.


SOARES: James Blitz there. All 650 seats in parliament are up for election. So the magic number really is 326. That is what any one party needs to get

if it wants the control - wants control of the British government.

And just in the last few minutes, in fact, we got a new poll that estimates how many seats each party will get if the election were held today. The

YouGov poll on behalf of "The Times of London" says Boris Johnson's Conservatives are on course to win a majority of 68, taking 359 nine seats,

while Labour is forecast to only get 211 seats.

The outcome is based on 100,000 interviews over the last seven days and has taken into account voting preference based on age, gender, education as

well as past votes.

Now when THE BRIEF returns the sperm bank with a difference. How a new initiative in New Zealand is aiming to break the stigma on HIV with



SOARES: Now advances in medicine are changing the world for people living with HIV so much so that a new sperm bank has opened in New Zealand and the

donors are all HIV positive, it's called Sperm Positive. The donors have HIV, but the level of the virus is so low, it cannot be detected by

standard measures or transmitted.

The bank was launched ahead of World AIDS Day on Sunday. The company says it opened Sperm Positive to reduce stigma as well as discrimination. HIV

and AIDS have been around for decades. 10 of millions of people worldwide live with the disease.

But unlike the height of the epidemic back in the 1980s, the virus is seen as being something that can at least now be controlled even if it's not

eradicated. And opening a sperm bank maybe a small step course towards normalizing it. And that does it for THE BRIEF.

I'm Isa Soares. "WORLD SPORT" with Don Riddell is up next.