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The Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Trump Sends Scathing Letter To Rep. Nancy Pelosi Ahead Of Vote; Senate Republicans Reject Dem. Calls For Trial Witnesses; Trump's Former Deputy Campaign Manager Given 45 Days In Jail; Controversy Over Anti-Racism Campaign Depicting Monkeys; Pope Francis Lifts Secrecy Rules For Sexual Abuse Cases; Protesters Clash With Police On Sixth Day Of Demonstrations; Estonia President Apologizes To Finland; British PM, Parliament Sworn In; CNN Speaks With Activist Who Campaigned For Ukskirting Law; Mariah Carey's Christmas Hit Finally Reaches Number One In U.S. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired December 17, 2019 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump it starts at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @jaketapper.

Tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Our coverage on CNN continues right now. See you bright and early tomorrow.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF, on the eve of President Trump's all but certain impeachment, he's lashing out at the top

Democrat. A campaign to fight racism in Italian football has inadvertently created a new controversy. And violent protest rage in India, we'll hear

from one Muslim woman who's become the face of the movement.

Live from London I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show. On the eve of a historic vote in which U.S. lawmakers are poised to impeach the U.S.

President, Mr. Trump, is attacking House Democrats, all the bombastic flair and drama of the nation's first reality TV President.

In a six page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Trump rails against the entire impeachment process. He writes, "You've cheapened the importance of

the very ugly word impeachment. By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you're violating your oath of office. You're declaring open

war on American democracy."

Let's be clear, the U.S. Constitution does give Congress the authority to impeach the President. House Democrats say the evidence of Trump's actions

gave them no choice.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Mr. Chairman, we present you not just with high crimes and misdemeanors, but a constitutional crime in progress up to this

very minute.


NOBILO: All day Tuesday, House lawmakers have debated over how to proceed with the impeachment vote tomorrow. In their arguments Republicans are

painting the process as rushed and flawed.


REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): The clock was running out, so they found a phone call they didn't like. They didn't like this administration. They didn't

like what the President did. They tried to make up claims that there was pressure and all these other things that they've so outlined in the report.

But the end of the day, it's simply last minute Christmas shopping. They ran and failed something they said we can do it.


NOBILO: A strong show of support there and it seems President Trump expects no defections from his own party.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been a total sham from the beginning. Everybody knows that. I've never seen the Republican

Party so united. We've got our last vote. As you know, we got 100 percent of the vote. I believe the Senate is equally as well united.


NOBILO: The Senate is already preparing to take up the case. But there may not be any new witnesses. Top Republican Mitch McConnell, seen on the left

has just rejected Democrats' requests for several Trump administration officials to testify.

Lauren Fox joins me now from Capitol Hill. Lauren, what are the next 24 hours going to look like? And when could we see the vote actually happen?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, the Rules Committee, Bianca, is still debating what the process for debate will look like tomorrow on

the House floor. Of course, the anticipation has been that tomorrow is when the House was will have their actual vote to impeach Donald Trump, we

expect very few defections on the Democratic side, perhaps one or two members.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, there is basically full united membership on the question of impeachment. McCarthy, the top Republican in

the House has argued that his party is more united than ever.

You also heard President Trump echoing those comments today when he was speaking with reporters, arguing essentially, that this has been a sham.

This is a hoax and therefore Republicans are going to be united tomorrow.

We expect the conclusion that the President will be impeached, but it's only the third time in history. So while this feels like a foregone

conclusion, it's very easy not to forget that this is a moment that is very important in history. Bianca.

NOBILO: Very serious indeed. Lauren Fox, always good to see. Thank you.

Meantime, Donald Trump's former Deputy Campaign Manager and a key figure in the Russia probe has been sentenced to 45 days in jail and then three

years' probation. Rick Gates flipped on President Trump in the Mueller investigation and admitted to helping his boss Paul Manafort, concealed $75

million in foreign bank accounts from their years of lobbying work in Ukraine. Manafort is serving seven years in prison for financial and other


Italy's top football clubs are condemning the league after it commissioned paintings of monkeys as part of a new campaign meant to fight racism. The

controversy is an own goal for Italian football, which has been plagued by racist abuse and monkey chants towards black players, have been playing a

big part of that problem. CNN's Don Riddell reports on this


DON RIDDELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is what footballs anti-racism campaign looks like in Italy - three monkeys. The

country's top league Serie A commissioned an artist to highlight the growing problem of racist abuse in their stadiums, but it appears to have

backfired, spectacularly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via translator): It is not as though people of color are like this. They are not monkeys. I do not think people of color are

monkeys, absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): If it is explained of the conclusion behind it, it could be positive. But just put up in this manner I don't

think anyone would understand it is something anti-racist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): In this moment if you speak in this manner, if you express yourself in this manner, there is just no pity.

RIDDELL (voice over): From England to Bulgaria, Ukraine and the Netherlands. There seems to have been an increase of racist abuse on

football fields throughout Europe this season, but Italy is often cited as the worst offender.


In September in, Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku was taunted by fans making monkey noises at Cagliari. And then in November Russia's Mario Balotelli

kicked the ball at Verona fans who were abusing him. Balotelli tried to leave the field, but he was encouraged to stay by players from both teams.

Two of the country's top clubs have been critical of the latest campaign, Roma tweeted that they were "very surprised to see what appears to be an

anti-racist campaign from Serie A." They went on, "We understand the League wants to tackle racism, but we don't believe this is the right way to do


AC Milan wrote, "Art can be powerful, but we strongly disagree with the use of monkeys as images in the fight against racism, and were surprised by the

total lack of consultation."

This comes less than two weeks after the headline "Black Friday" in the Italian paper Corriere dello sport. That article was meant to highlight

Lukaku and Chris Smalling in a positive way, but it was roundly condemned.

On that occasion, the publication was indignant, accusing the accusers of racism themselves. Defending his three monkeys, the artists Simone

Fugazzotto says that his work has been misunderstood.

SIMONE FUGAZZOTTO, ARTIST COMMISSIONED BY ITALY'S SERIE A: This reaction for me on my point of view, show how the mind is twisted by all the things

that are happening right now. A pure heart can see this campaign as a really huge step against the racism, because it's really brave, I guess.

RIDDELL (voice over): Fugazzotto's intentions are good, but for the second time this month, Italy is reeling from a badly misjudged anti-racism

message. The casual accidental racism indicates just how much work still needs to be done. Don Riddell, CNN.


NOBILO: And Tom will have plenty more on this World Sport at the bottom of the hour.

It's been a big shift in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has done away with a controversial practice that critics say protect sexual abuses. CNN's

Delia Gallagher has more from Rome.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN AND ITALY CORRESPONDENT: Pope Francis's new law abolishes Pontifical secrecy in cases of sexual abuse. Pontifical

secrecy is the highest level of confidential in the Catholic Church. It is used at the Vatican for a number of things. But with sexual abuse, it had

been used as an excuse not to hand over documents to civil authorities, for example, or not to communicate with victims about the status of their


It was highly criticized at the February meeting in the Vatican on sexual abuse by Cardinals and by other Vatican officials as not being in line with

their efforts at transparency. And those discussions may have played in to Francis's decision on Tuesday to abolish Pontifical secrecy for sexual


Sexual abuse survivor groups greeted the news as a step long overdue. They said, one prominent Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz tweeted that it was

the end of the circus of secrecy and obscurity.

Pope Francis also raised the age limit for child pornography. It is a crime to possess or use child pornography in the Vatican or by Vatican officials.

And the age limit had previously been 14, the Pope on Tuesday raised that to 18.

Delia Gallagher, Rome.


NOBILO: After a six year legal case former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death following a six year case. A court

found him guilty on five treason charges, including unlawfully declaring emergency rule in 2007.

The military ruler was tried in absentia because he's living in exile in Dubai for medical treatment. Musharraf, who's 76 years old has the option

to appeal the verdict.

To India now, where protesters clashed with police on the sixth straight day of demonstrations.


NOBILO: They are angry over a controversial new law that fast track citizenship for religious minority immigrants from neighboring countries.

But this new law excludes Muslims. CNN's Sam Kiley tells us how one Muslim woman has become the symbol for the movement.



SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A small women with a big heart comes between Indian police to protect a fellow

Muslim student from a beating.

Aisha Renna admonishes the officer. This video has gone viral. And for opponents of India's new citizenship law, her stand against authority

reflects widespread anger against a powerful state. She's been in hiding since the incident last Sunday, when demonstrations were broken by police,

who forced their way into her university library firing tear gas.

KILEY: Did you ever think that you would find yourself scolding a police officer?


AISHA RENNA, STUDENT: No at that moment I wanted to save my brother. So I - in order to that I wanted to make this people away. If we have - we got

saved only because there are a lot of media people came around us. If the media people didn't came then they will be brutally having and they will be

killing my brother.

KILEY (voice over): As for the man she saved--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to the group and we are going to protest again.

KILEY (voice over): Many parts of the country were and still are rocked by protests against the citizen Amendment Act, passed into law by government

led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just over a week ago. He has appealed for calm and rejected claims that the new law discriminates against

Muslims. It allows migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to seek Indian nationality, but not if they're Muslim.

It comes after Modi won a landslide election campaigning on a Hindu nationalist platform. India's 200 million Muslims make up about 14% of the

population. They see the new legislation as part of a Hindu dominated government plan to marginalize them, amid fears that their own Indian

identities could be questioned soon.

AQDAS SAMI, STUDENT: They don't want to give citizenship to the Muslims. So this is against the principles of national justice and equality, because

you cannot discriminate on the basis of religion in this modern world.

KILEY: But it is an Act of Parliament that's been passed by a majority of people that have been democratically elected here in India,

SAMI: Sir, but the thing is, you cannot let your democracy go into the hand of majoritarian view.

KILEY (voice over): India's Supreme Court has been asked to rule on whether the new law is unconstitutional. Its deliberations may take some time.

Meanwhile, at least five opposition led state governments have said that they will ignore the Citizenship Act, setting the stage for more classes

inside and outside the courts. Sam Kiley, CNN, Delhi,


NOBILO: Australia could see one of its hottest days on record this week. A heat wave is sweeping the country making conditions even worse for

bushfires. This video was taken in the Blue Mountains Northwestern Sydney. 110 fires are raging in the State of New South Wales alone.

CNN Meteorologist, Tom Sater joins me now from our World Weather Center. Tom, what factors are contributing to this? And is it only going to get

hotter, because it's not even the middle of their summer?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. It's not even peak summer. It's not even peak fire season and we're seeing all these extremes, Bianca. In

fact, we've been talking about the fires for weeks, not just to the East, but of course last week now in Western Australia, and they're not even near

the peak.

Records in Australia go back to 1910 and most likely, we could shatter a lot of them. But let's talk about first the fires. Here are the numbers.

103 active fires 56 or uncontained. We showed you this the other day, but there's been an update now with some of the numbers. We still have 2.7

million hectare scourged, unfortunate six fatalities.

But the number of homes now that have been destroyed is up about another 20-22. Some of those are firefighter's homes. Again, one number we didn't

share with you, but it should be shared. 6,000 homes have been saved by the firefighters.

All right. These numbers are in jeopardy. Hottest December temperature 49.5 from 1972. All-time highest temperature in Australia 50.7. This goes back

to 1960. And these could fall. In fact, just the other day we talked about how Perth had three consecutive days above 40. That's never happened in

recorded history.

Look at Adelaide, 42 degrees yesterday and their average is 27. They could have four straight days above 40 degrees. All of this heat is now sliding

to the East, South Australia. Fire alerts there and warnings and that's going to slide back into our New South Wales and even parts of Victoria.

Current numbers, it's not even 9:00 in the morning and it's 35 degrees in Adelaide. This heat that continues to be with us and no rain - remember,

last month, November, hottest November on record, driest November on record. All the rains up to the north above the equator should be on the

top end, jetstream trapping that cooler air to the south. Here are the high temperatures today.

Later today, the average high across all of Australia could be at 41 degrees. Adelaide, as mentioned, more of this heat and it's going to be

moving in this direction. So, again, fire threat really starts to pick up, Bianca, not only today, tomorrow, we'll see it into Saturday as well.

Those winds Wednesday and Thursday could give firefighters threats as well, its unfortunate. Record-breaking, check on your neighbors everyone if

you're there - elderly, those with infants most importantly.


NOBILO: Tom Sater thank you very much for taking us through it.

Estonia's President is apologizing after the country's interior minister mocked Finland's new Prime Minister. Mart Helme question Sanna Marin's

ability to run her country at age 34. According to Estonian media, he said, quote, "Now we can see how that sales girl has become Prime Minister and

some other street activists and an educated person have also become members of the government."

Marin tweeted in response, "I'm extremely proud of Finland. Here a poor family's child can educate themselves and achieve their goals in life. A

cashier can even become a Prime Minister." Helme says the comment was actually meant to be complimentary, not demeaning.

Ahead on THE BRIEF, taking photos of women's skirts didn't used to be illegal in England. Coming up, we'll talk to the activists who made it a



NOBILO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held his first cabinet meeting Tuesday after he and his new parliament was sown in. Mr. Johnson told his

Conservative MPs quote, "you ain't seen nothing yet."

This Parliament could see the U.K. is pop out of the European Union, but it's also historic for having the most amount of women elected to the House

of Commons - more than ever before, a record of 220 women stretching across party lines.

One former U.S. President thinks the U.K. is on the right track. Barack Obama told the BBC that women are indisputably better leaders than men. He

said quote, "I'm absolutely confident that for two years, if every nation on Earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across

the board on just about everything, living standards and outcomes."

For tonight's Debrief, I spoke to one woman who has become a leader in her own right, Gina Martin led the charge to outlaw upskirting in England and

thanks to her activism, it's now a crime to take a photo or a video under someone's clothing without their consent. Gina Martin has a new book out

called, " Be The Change: A Toolkit for the Activist in You." I asked her to tell us her story and how others can get involved.


GINA MARTIN, ACTIVIST & AUTHOR: That journey began in 2017. I was at British summertime festival waiting for "The Killers" come on stage with my

sister. It was broad daylight. It was like 30 degrees - big family festival. And we were waiting for the band to come on stage. Was kind of

chatting and a group of guys started hitting on me and my sister.

And I just said, no, I'm fine, just trying to have a nice day with my sister, like I'm really not interested. It went on and on and on. And then

one of them stuck his hands between my legs and took photos up my skirt with his iPhone of my crotchal region.

And I heard a bunch of them laughing. I didn't see him do this, but I heard them all laughing afterwards. And one of the guys was saying in front of me

with his back to me and I can look around his back and I saw him on WhatsApp, and he then sent this photo. So the guy taking the photo and send

it to all of his friends.

And I snatched the phone out this hand, and I run to the place - it's about 60,000 person crowd.


So I was like, running through this crowd. He was chasing me. We got into a bit of scuffle and then I handed the phone into the police. And they said,

you won't hear much from us. If you're wearing knickers, we might be able to do something.

If you weren't - sorry, if you weren't wearing knickers, you might have been able to do something, but because you are - it's not a graphic image,

so you won't hear anything from us and I kind of scurried off and tried to enjoy the rest of my night.

Spent most of it crying, totally humiliated and just - I don't know, it just felt so like nothing. You expect if that happens and there's that

people there are to help you and they can guide you through the process and just have nothing. So I went home, I looked into law and I found out that

upskirting wasn't a specific sexual offence in England or Wales, but had been in Scotland for 10 years and various other countries around the world

as well.

NOBILO: And do you feel like some of the resistance that you had initially to your campaign to make upskirting a criminal offence in England, people

who would argue that it's not as serious as other things. But actually what it does do is it shows itself to be a symptom, as well as the serious thing

in of itself of this wider cultural problem that you're describing.

MARTIN: Yes, 100 percent. I think that's the problem we have a lot of these social issues as we compartmentalize them and we go OK, well, this is a

small issue. It's happened to you. It was a laugh, it was a joke. And when we normalize things like that, and we give it that language, it kind of

brushes it off as a bit of a prank or something smaller.

We don't solve the wider problem, because sexual violence and sexual harassment is a problem with people saying women's are marginalized,

genders bodies as public property, whether that's upskirting or that's groping or that's all the way down to rape or that's child marriage. All of

these things are about female bodies being public property and so we have a wide paradigm of a problem in society.

So if you start to look at each puzzle piece, you can start to unpick and break down that problem, so I have no time for people that say this isn't

as important as this, or this is bigger than this. I think we need to - they're all valid problems and we need to fight separately.

NOBILO: What was your experience like the first time you went into the Houses of Parliament?

MARTIN: My experience was that that is a place that is not set up to make people like me feel comfortable. I don't feel like I belonged there in the

working class. I've lost my accent from a (inaudible). I worked and paid for a year to even be able to get a job in London. Like, I don't come from

that kind of - part of society and it's a really intimidating place, especially to young woman, because you're not really fully taken seriously.

The first time I walked in, I said to the receptionist, can we have a meeting with - name of the MP. We were meeting with MPs to try and build an

army inside the lot of (ph) small parties. And I said, I have a meeting with this MP and she kind of looked over me and looked at Ryan. He was

about five feet behind me and went who is you meeting with sir? And he pushed me forward and he went it's her meeting. That kind of gives you an

idea of what the environment was like, but I eventually won them over

NOBILO: And you mentioned the fact that you attacked this from the outset as a cross-party effort.


NOBILO: What was that experience like? And what do you think people could learn from that in Parliament?

MARTIN: I think we have a massive issue. The fact that we - I feel like we always are looking left to right, and we're not looking up and down. And

that's AOC said that not long ago in in one of her documentaries. We're not looking at human issues. Upskirting is a human issue. It's not a labor

issue or Conservative issue. It's not left or right. It's a human issue.

So it was really critical to get every single party on board and bring them together on an issue that they could all win on. Like, because they could

take action and win on this and it would be a positive great story.

NOBILO: Something which comes across loud and clear from the work that you do is that normal people, as you would call them, as you've referred to



NOBILO: --often feel put off from trying to make a change because they are normal, but actually that's the exact reason why they must be the people to

make the change.


NOBILO: So what are the key bits of advice would you give to activists in the making?

MARTIN: Probably the best piece of advice would be, if you're going to pick something that you want to forward and you want to push for progression

with, whether that's gender inequality, or that is on the animal rights or whatever that is. It has to be something that comes from your life.

Because what we see all the time is we see people telling stories that aren't theirs to tell. And now I finished the upskirting campaign, people

are asking what the next campaign is? I could probably look around and go, well, I care about that, I'll pick that. But there are 10, 15, 50,000 other

people who have been through that who could do it better.

So I always say to people take something that you've been through or something that's in your experienced, that's in your belly. I actually say

to people, what's the thing you can't stop talking about after two classes wine, that's probably the thing. So find something that is really in your

belly that you care about, you always keep coming back to.

And then find - think about your skill set, like what you're good at. I was really good at social media. I have friends who are amazing. I have people

who work with kids brilliantly. I have people who know great speakers. So find your skills and your passion and kind of overlap those and start



NOBILO: And I had a lot more to ask Gina Martin about, and you can watch the whole uncut interview at It's titled "Activist behind

landmark upskirting law speaks out."

When THE BRIEF returns, it's taken a quarter of a century, but one of the best known Christmas songs is finally sitting at the top of the tree.



NOBILO: It's that time of year again and everywhere you go you just can't escape hearing Christmas songs. And what reminds you more of Christmas than





NOBILO: And you're definitely not bored of it, because 25 years after his first release, "All I want for Christmas is you" has finally reached the

top. It's #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list for the very first time ever.

It's been a huge money spinner for Mariah Carey as well. She's made more than $60 million in royalties from that one tune, including half a million

this month alone. This song has been streamed more than 600 million times on Spotify. A quarter of a century ago, Mariah Carey changed the soundtrack

to Christmas and it seems we're still not sick of it.

That is all for THE BRIEF tonight. I'm Bianca Nobilo, and "WORLD SPORT" is next.