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The Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Boris Johnson: Sweeping Victory Gives an Overwhelming Mandate to Complete Brexit; Socialist Jeremy Corbyn to Step Down as Leader of Labour Party After Defeat in U.K. Election; The House Judiciary Committee Voted Friday To Send Articles Of Impeachment To The Full House; Six Bodies Recovered From New Zealand's White Island Volcano; Hundreds Of People Joined A Hunger Strike In Northeast India After A Controversial Citizenship Bill; Greta Thunberg Criticizes World Leaders' Climate Actions As They Meet At Cop25 To Discuss The Crisis. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired December 13, 2019 - 17:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: You can follow me on Twitter at @brikeilarcnn or tweet the show @TheLeadCNN, and our coverage on CNN continues right now.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, a victory for Boris Johnson and a stinging loss for Labour. What it all means for Brexit. In the U.S.,

history in the making, as the Articles of Impeachment head to the Full House of Representatives for a vote. And we'll look at the dangerous

mission to recover victims' bodies from the volcanic eruption in New Zealand.

Live from London I'm Bianca Nobilo, very warm welcome to the show.

Congratulations are pouring in from around the world for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he resoundingly won the general election. The

Conservative Party is celebrating its best election results in decades. They picked up scores of seats. Conservatives now have a comfortable

majority to pass legislation.

Labour, by extension, suffered a crushing defeat. Their worst election result since 1935. The Scottish National Party made big gains across

Scotland. In the process, they ousted the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson. The Prime Minister is now hoping to unite the country.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: If you ask yourselves what is this new government going to do? What are you going to do with his extraordinary

majority? I will tell you that is what we are going to do, we are going to unite and level up. Unite and level up.

Bringing together the whole of this incredible United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland together. Taking us forward, unleashing

the potential of the whole country.


NOBILO: Mr. Johnson says the voters gave him an overwhelming mandate to get Brexit done. Europe's ready to negotiate with the new British government.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The United Kingdom and the European Union, we face so many challenges that we have in common

globally, that it is in our common interests in both entities to come to a very good new relationship in an orderly way. So we go step by step, but in

an attitude that says we want to be good neighbors.


NOBILO: But, obviously, the Tories gain was the other party's loss. Hundreds of people gathered outside 10 Downing Street early on Friday,

chanting "Not My Prime Minister" about Boris Johnson.

Britain's Labour Party is now picking up the pieces of its disastrous election results. The policy leader Jeremy Corbyn blames the defeat

squarely on one issue alone--


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: Brexit has so polarized and divided debate within this country. It has overridden so much of a normal

political debate. And I recognize that has contributed to the results that the Labour Party has received this evening all across this country.


NOBILO: Meanwhile the Scottish National Party won a landslide in the North. Boris Johnson's rejecting their calls for a Second Referendum on Scottish

independence. But the leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon is not backing down.


NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY LEADER: It is time for Boris Johnson to start listening. I accept regretfully that he has a mandate for

Brexit in England. But he has no mandate whatsoever to take Scotland out of the European Union.


NOBILO: Nic Robertson is outside 10 Downing Street for us. Nic, first of all thank you so much for staying up, I can imagine you've had about 30

seconds sleep over the last couple of days. So what are the next steps going to be for the Prime Minister and are we likely to see a substantial

cabinet reshuffle?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well this is really interesting, because his speech today certainly talked about unity, but I

don't think we got an insight into whether or not he's sort of going to try to move the party back to the center knowing he went to the right and let

go some of his own Conservative MPs in the run up to all of this.

So, I think we'll get the hints of that when we see his cabinet announced and that's going to begin on Monday, that's what we understand - State

opening at a Parliament later that week and a vote on the Brexit deal. Again, that's a given that it will go through, the legislation in January -

the departure, the divorce part of the Brexit, if you will, by this - by January the 31st next year.

So, I think, yes, the first indications of what Boris Johnson intends to be as a Prime Minister unite and level up. Is he going to move towards the

center? He talked about those Labour voters who've never voted Conservative before that he'd be a Prime Minister for them as well. Bianca.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson outside 10 Downing Street for us. Thank you Nic, have a lovely weekend.

So what's next for the Labour Party after that bruising defeat? Phil Black reports from London.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL FREELANCE REPORTER: Jeremy Corbyn's critics in the Labour party are calling for him to admit his faults and go. But

Corbyn isn't doing either of those things.


He says he will stay on as leader, while the party reflects and chooses his successor, a process that is likely to take at least several months. And

rather than accept fault, Corbyn says, unfair media attacks and the dominance of Brexit as an issue are together responsible for the party's

terrible performance.

CORBYN: I will talk to our national executive about what we do in the future. I called for last night a period of reflection in the party, and

obviously, the ruling body of the party, our national executive, will decide what process we follow them for the election of a successor to me.

But I am quite prepared and I was elected to do so to lead the party until that takes place.

BLACK: Jeremy Corbyn's critics say his personal unpopularity was a key issue, so too the party's sharp turn to the left under his leadership. They

also blame what they describe as an overly ambitious and confusing election manifesto and a fence sitting Brexit policy. Corbyn's unwillingness to

accept responsibility for any of this suggests that he and his allies are hoping to change the party's leader without dramatically changing its


Phil Black, CNN London.


NOBILO: Thanks to Phil for that. And we'll have much more on the election in about 10 minute's time. But for now to Washington where Donald Trump is

now only one vote away from almost certain historical stain on his presidency.

The Full House of Representatives is expected to take up to up to two articles of impeachment next Wednesday after they were approved by a House

Committee today. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the House and the vote was strictly along party lines. Here's Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler

discussing the outcome.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Today is a solemn and sad day. For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has

voted articles of impeachment against the President for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House will act expeditiously. Thank you.


NOBILO: President Trump blasted House Democrats today, saying, they've made absolute fools out of themselves. He predicts their impeachment effort will

come back to haunt them.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a scam. It's something that shouldn't be allowed. And it's a very bad thing for our country. And

you're trivializing impeachment. And I tell you what, someday there'll be a Democrat President and there'll be a Republican House and I suspect they're

going to remember it.


NOBILO: Now once the House votes to impeach Mr. Trump, the Republican controlled Senate will take up the case and then put him on trial. Senators

have a constitutional duty to be impartial jurors. But top Republican Mitch McConnell is facing blowback for saying that he's coordinating every aspect

of the trial format with the White House. McConnell also said this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The case was so darn weak coming over from the House. We all know how it's going to end. There is no chance that the

President's going to be removed from office--


NOBILO: Let's bring in CNN's Manu Raju live on Capitol Hill for us. Manu, how do you think this is going to play out next week? And what are you

hearing from members about how reliably this is going to fall along party lines?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we expect a very fiery debate on the House floor reflecting what we've heard over three days

of bitter back and forth between Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. Now when it goes to the full House, the full

membership will weigh in and expect that debate also to play around - largely around party lines.

We do expect some Democrats - two Democrats right now to vote against those articles of impeachment. They've already signaled that they would. There

are a handful of others who come from districts that President Trump carried or swing districts that could turn Republican in the 2020

elections. Some of those members, particularly freshmen members in the first year, they're still weighing what to do. We'll see if any of them

ultimately defect, that's a key question.

Republicans, on the other hand, are signaling that they are going to be totally united behind the President. They're going to vote against both of

these articles. And Republicans also made clear, and in the aftermath of the Judiciary Committee proceeding, that the President did, in their view,

nothing wrong.

One Democrat - one Republican Congresswoman Debbie Lesko sits on the House Judiciary Committee. I asked her about whether or not there were any

concerns about the President's ask of Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate President Trump's political rivals. And then she denied it even



RAJU: Why is it ever OK for an American President to ask an foreign power to investigate a political rival? Why do you think that's OK?

REP. DEBBIE LESKO (R-AZ): He didn't do that.

RAJU: He did ask - he did ask Zelensky--

LESKO: He did not do that


RAJU: So she said it didn't happen. But, of course, it most certainly did happen according to the White House's own rough call transcript and

according to the President's own public comments as well as testimony backing up that President has asked to seek that Biden investigation.


But, nevertheless, it shows the extent to which the Republicans are standing behind the President. Hardly anyone in this course of these

proceedings raised any concerns on the Republican side about the President's conduct. So that's what you're going to see reflected in this

very bitter partisan debate playing out in the House right now. Bianca.

NOBILO: Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill, thank you.

RAJU: Thank you.

NOBILO: The U.S. and China both say that they've reached an agreement on phase one of the trade deal. The trade standoff between the world's two

largest economies has been festering for more than 17 months. Mr. Trump says that U.S. will drop plans to impose another round of tariffs on

Chinese goods that were set to kick in on Sunday. But he says remaining tariffs would be used as leverage during the next round of the talks..


TRUMP: That's going to be one of the great deals ever and it's going to ultimately lead to the opening of China, which is something that is

incredible, because that's a whole big untapped market of 1.5 billion people.


NOBILO: At the White House this morning the President also predicted that Beijing will buy $50 billion worth of farm goods.

Now authorities in New Zealand are searching for two more victims killed in a volcano. Six bodies have been recovered so far. They were victims of a

sudden eruption on White Island earlier this week that killed over a dozen people. CNN's Will Ripley was there when the specialist team returned with

the bodies.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sending prayers for the dead. The Maori community of Whakatane, New Zealand gave a traditional blessing,

as boats returned to shore with six victims from the White Island volcano eruption.

The operation to retrieve them was launched at first light Friday using helicopters, small boats and a naval vessel. A dangerous mission carried

out by eight military officers, working in soaring temperatures, wearing sealed protective clothing and breathing masks to protect them from the

toxic gases still flowing from the volcano.

The team spent four hours on the island bringing off the remains. They're still searching for two more bodies, one believed to be in the water. The

Prime Minister today thanking the team for their heroism.

JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: They carried out their role with dignity and respect for those who have been lost. There was, of

course, a huge amount of courage still required to do what they did today.

RIPLEY (voice over): The retrieval operation comes five days after the volcano erupted on the island, causing plumes of steam ash and rocks to

pour out onto the crater where dozens of tourists were enjoying a day trip. At least 16 people are dead or presumed dead and dozens more are being

treated for life changing burns.

Frustrations have been mounting that the remaining bodies left on the island had not been brought home sooner. The families of those brought back

now at least will have some relief that they can begin to say goodbye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These families are just so appreciative, so ecstatic, so overwhelmed and overjoyed to know that they've got their loved ones with


RIPLEY (voice over): That closure won't come, though, until the painstaking process to identify the bodies taking place at Auckland Hospital. As the

healing process for those lost out on White Island begins, for some families rescue efforts to find the remaining two bodies will restart on

Saturday. Will Ripley, CNN, Whakatane, New Zealand.


NOBILO: Victims Remains from the Chilean military transport plane that crashed at sea have been brought back to the base that the plane took off

from. A pair of wheels is among the first pieces of debris that's been recovered from the C-130 that had what had 38 people on board.

Some human remains have been found at sea and everyone on board is presumed dead. The plane was going from Chile to a military base in the Antarctic.

In India, two people were killed while protesting against a controversial new Citizenship Bill. The new law could give Indian citizenship to

immigrants from neighboring countries, but not if they are Muslim. India is home to some 200 million Muslims. Opposition parties say the bill is

unconstitutional and would further marginalize the Muslim minority. About 1,800 people have been arrested in the protests since Wednesday.

Greta Thunberg has made a name for herself by calling out world leaders for inaction on environmental issues. A teenage Swedish activist kept up the

pressure at a protest in Italy with harsh words for world leaders attending the United Nations climate talks in Madrid.


GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: World leaders are still trying to run away from their responsibilities. But we have to make sure that they cannot

do this. We will make sure they - that we put them against the wall and that they will have to do their job and to protect our futures.


NOBILO: Thunberg, who was named "TIME Magazine's" Person of the Year this week, the youngest ever, also urged activists to make sure next year is a

year of action.


From chunks of dead satellites to discarded rockets and paint flecks that have fallen off them, the European Space Agency is trying to clean up

decades of space junk. It will send a self-destructing robot into orbit equipped with a harpoon to latch onto the debris before diving back down to

Earth where the machine and the trash will burn up in the atmosphere.

There are about 170 million pieces of junk orbiting the earth and no international rules to hold space agencies accountable for that. All of

that junk can be dangerous. Some pieces are moving faster than a bullet and even a tiny piece could destroy working satellites or spacecraft.

And when we come back we will return to the historic general election in Britain and try and discern what other than Brexit Boris Johnson might have

planned for the U.K.


NOBILO: There was one major theme to Boris Johnson's campaign to get a Conservative majority in parliament and that was "Get Brexit Done". With

his party winning 365 seats, Johnson should have more than enough votes to make that happen.

In his victory speech outside 10 Downing Street today Johnson made it clear that all those newly elected Tories would know what they need to do.


JOHNSON: And yes they will have an overwhelming mandate from this election to get Brexit done and we will honor that mandate by January the 31st.


NOBILO: Joining me now for U.K. election debate is Joey Jones, Theresa May's Former Spokesman and the Former Deputy Political Editor of Sky. Joey,

it's always fantastic to see you.

So the Conservative Party were projected to get a majority in this election, but this does seem to have surprised most people that have been

monitoring this. What was the secret to her party's success?

JOEY JONES, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR THERESA MAY: So the upper end of projections, in terms of the vote share, it's pretty much what the

pollsters have predicted. But they've managed to translate that vote share very efficiently into seats, which gives them obviously a dominant


I felt as though, because the Lib Dems had - were so clearly going to underperform, and the Labour Party looked as though they were - there for

the taking for Boris Johnson that he would get a reasonably substantial majority.

But even so it does feel - you have to pinch yourself when you see some of these seats, some of these constituencies, which are classic working class

Labour territory, they're old mining towns that are now translating to Boris Johnson.

He himself said in his speech outside Downing Street this morning that, perhaps, some of those voters were lending their votes to the Conservatives

on the basis that they were overall - that their key objective was to get Brexit done, of course. But even so, I mean, it feels like a huge cultural

shift in politics.

NOBILO: It seems that the Conservative Party choosing a slogan of "Get Brexit Done" appealed to both those who were Brexiteers and want to see

Brexit. And people who were just exasperated at this point and wanted the country to move on, whereas, Labour seemed to isolate people on both sides

of the debate.

Where do you think the Conservative Party came up with that particularly powerful election messaging? You were mentioning the fact that they have

focus groups and that his strategist tries to listen to voters perhaps more than the Labour Party?


JONES: Well Dominic Cummings so his lead strategist went completely under the radar for about six months or so before Boris Johnson got elected. And

actually nobody really knew that Boris Johnson was going to recruit him. During that time he did a lot of focus groups up and down the country.

So that slogan came out of the mouth of somebody in one of those focus groups. And when it was played back to people up and down the country it

resonated, because this was not something that was just made up by some, if you like, advertising guru type or political consultant. It really was you

know from the heart of people who felt that we had been paralyzed for too long.

And "Get Brexit Done," but getting stuff done, getting anything done has been absent in British politics for such a long time - right back to the

Referendum itself. And that's why I think that the political dynamic does now feels so different.

Because, finally, we - I mean, we've been wading through mud for years and years. We have a situation where Boris Johnson can pretty much click his

fingers and the House of Commons will just stand to attention and give him what he wants.

NOBILO: Does seem like an interesting juxtaposition to have Corbyn essentially offering people the choice of Boris Johnson taking a very

decisive approach in his campaign and offering that.

People often say those who've worked with Boris Johnson and people who analyze him that it's very difficult to know exactly what he thinks. So I'd

like to ask you what you think his brand of conservatism is going to be beyond the issue of Brexit?

JONES: I don't think we know. I don't think we know which Boris Johnson is going to stand up. Let me give you one specific issue on which it's

possible he might head down different routes.

I mean, on Brexit, a pretty important issue, he has he has said absolutely, definitively and as a manifesto commitment that he will come - he will

ensure that a trade deal is done by the end of this year. Now, anybody who's done a trade deal ever says that that's pretty much not going to


So that would lead us to - anticipate that maybe along with his Brexiteer colleagues in the Conservative Party actually is anticipating a cliff edge

and are dropping out into the WTO rules.

Well, on the other hand, there are lots of people who point to his track record as a London Mayor where he's actually very liberal, particularly on

issues like immigration, free trade and all the rest of it, saying that actually no he will soften his tack towards Brexit. My own sense is that

that is probably the more likely route. But we can't tell at this time.

NOBILO: And just briefly Joey - I wish we had more time. What happened in Scotland is hugely significant, because the SNP had a really strong showing

after leading heavily on the independence message in their campaign--

JONES: Yes, and in Northern Ireland, because Scotland and Northern Ireland were put together, because we now have a nationalist majority among the

parties there. I do think one of the problems coming down the track of Boris Johnson is an unraveling of the Union.

Because, although, he will do everything that he can - and it's in his power to forestall and to see off a Referendum, but he has to make some

sort of an argument. And the problem is that the mandate is there for Nicola Sturgeon pretty powerfully, probably even more powerfully in 18

months' time with more elections in Holyrood.

NOBILO: That's what I was going to say, because if I have the balance of the Scottish - of National SNPs - the Union SNP shift decisively in favor

of Nationals SNPs then it's very difficult to keep denying them a referendum.

JONES: I think that will become ever more difficult. Now, know it would be cataclysmic for the Conservative and Unionist Party to see the Union

unpicked in that and yet at the same time there might be some really cynical people in the Conservative Party who say, well, hang on a minute,

that's 50 odd MPs that at the moment is subtracted from his own majority. I think they have a majority of what 120 odd over the Labour Party. Labour

would never get into power in England and Wales alone.

NOBILO: Indeed. I have to such cynics and it's a very interesting point. Joey Jones always good to talk to you, thank you. When THE BRIEF returns,

Boris Johnson is still in Downing Street, but how the election will keep him there represents seismic change.



NOBILO: On the face of it, the fundamentals here in Britain are staying the same. Boris Johnson still in Downing Street, the Conservatives are still in

power. But scratch the surface and so much has changed.

Take a look at this map. You can see easily where Scotland is, obviously, at the top and the great night, the Scottish National Party which is

represented by the yellow here had. Now it's likely that they will turn the focus heavily towards another independence referendum, a potential seismic

change for the fabric of the entire country.

Just south of Scotland it was a nightmare for Labour. Small towns in Northern England, the beating heart of Labour for generations, were ripped

away from them by Boris Johnson's Conservative whirlwind. It leaves the party at a crossroads and once again out of power.

Now throw in a slew of big names to lose their seats, and it was clear that this was an election filled with change. But with a clear way forward on

Brexit, at least in the early stages, we may not see the drama of last year on the Commons floor. But it does seem a tad unusual that the biggest

change of all after this election, maybe some political stability.

That's THE BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo. Have a great weekend. World Sport is up next.