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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

U.S. Now Says 11 Troops Were Injured In Iran Missile Attack; Iran Supreme Leader Boasts "Slap In The Face" to U.S.; Pompeo: State Department Will Investigate Whether Ex-U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Was Spied Upon; Ukraine Investigate Possible Spying On U.S. Ambassador; U.S. President Adds Big Names To Impeachment Defense Team; Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) Would "Likely" Support A Motion To Call Witness; Brazil's Culture Secretary Fired, Appeared To Quote Goebbels; China Suffers Its Slowest Growth In 29 Years; Australia Bushfires: Rain In Fire-Ravaged States Brings Relief And New Risk; Microsoft Lays Out Plan To Become Carbon Negative; Rafiki Filmmaker Challenges Stereotypes Depictions Of African Life. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired January 17, 2020 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Our coverage on CNN

continues right now. By the way, the name of the book "A Very Stable Genius."


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Tonight on "THE BRIEF." We now know that several U.S. service members were hurt in the Iranian missile strike. We'll explain

the injuries.

Microsoft has the lofty goal of becoming carbon negative, we'll find out how.

And a film featuring a lesbian romance was banned from theaters in Kenya, we'll speak with the filmmaker.

Live from London, I'm Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to the show. The U.S. is now saying for the first time that American troops were, in fact, injured

during Iran's retaliatory missile attack on Iraqi base last week, despite initially saying otherwise.

U.S. military officials tell CNN 11 service members are being treated after showing symptoms of concussion. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay

Gupta explains.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's often being called the signature injury of this conflict, because of the blast injury. And

what happens is that - this isn't a direct effect of the blast. This is an effect from the, sort of, pressure wave from the blast and that's what

causes air filled spaces in the body, in the ears, in the lungs, and the stuff like that to be affected, but also to move the brain around in the

skull, and that's typically what causes concussion.

It's tough. I will tell you sometimes I have headache now, I'm having difficulty sleeping, difficultly concentrating. Is that attributable to

this blast that happened a few days ago? It can be sometimes tough to correlate, but I think that's part of why they're going to do this

additional screening.

And maybe given that these troops are moving to Germany and to Kuwait City, there may be some additional tools that they want to use their including



NOBILO: This comes as Iran Supreme Leader delivered a defined message Friday. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led Friday prayers for the first time in

eight years and used the rare moment to slam the United States.


AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER (via translator): Even when they conduct negotiations, the negotiations are tainted with lies and

falsehoods. Those same ones who appear around the table of negotiations - those gentlemen are those same terrorists that hit the Baghdad airport,

they just changed their clothes. We have no fear of negotiations, but of course not with America, with others. But never from a position of

weakness, from a position of strength


NOBILO: Iran Supreme Leader also addressed the Ukraine Airlines being mistakenly shot down over Tehran last week, killing everybody on board.

That disaster has sparked days of public anger and protests.


KHAMENEI (via translator): We wish to give our humblest condolences, our most heartfelt condolences and I'm grateful that the responsible officials

with the RGC did give explanations. But the investigation must be pursued.


NOBILO: Let's turn now to CNN's Barbara Starr at the Pentagon with more on this. Barbara, I just wanted that our viewers know that we have reports

that President Trump said in the televised address that, "I'm pleased to inform you, the American people should be extremely grateful and happy, no

Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime." But now we know that that wasn't the case. So what do you understand about why

some of this information perhaps wasn't relayed?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pentagon officials are telling us, with these kinds of traumatic brain injuries, it is the case

that the symptoms don't often may not immediately appear.

And apparently what did happen in the days subsequent to the attack, troops reported symptoms. It is possible that some of them didn't get better and

they were - it was decided that they needed to be evacuated out for further evaluation. And some symptoms didn't emerge right away, and when they did,

those troops had to be evacuated out.

A lot of a lot of dismay, perhaps, over how quickly the information was conveyed, however, from Iraq back to the Pentagon. So Defense Secretary

Mark Esper would be fully informed about what was happening. Not a lot of clear answers on that part.

We are told just yesterday when the evacuation happened, a Four-Star General had to walk into the Secretary's office, interrupted meeting and

tell him all of this new information. But there had been some indications right after the blast that at the Al-Asad base, some troops were

experiencing some initial symptoms. Bianca?

NOBILO: Thank you, Barbara. Barbara Starr that for us.

Several days after bombshell allegations involving the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, America's top diplomat is breaking his silence. Mike

Pompeo now says that his department will investigate whether Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance while in Kiev.


Earlier this week, Democrats released text messages involving Lev Parnas, the indicted associated of President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Those messages suggested that Yovanovitch was being spied.

Here is the crux of the issue. Democrats say that Giuliani wanted Yovanovitch out of Ukraine, because she would impede his efforts to dig up

dirt on Joe Biden. She was removed last year and testified about her experience in the impeachment inquiry. Lev Parnas says that President Trump

was directly involved in her removal.


LEV PARNAS, INDICTED GIULIANI ASSOCIATE: To my knowledge he - the President fired her at least four times, maybe even five times. I mean, once in my

presence of private dinner for super PAC in Washington DC at the Trump hotel.

And in the conversation, the subject of Ukraine was brought up. And I told the President that our opinion that he is bad mouthing him, and she said

that he's going to get impeached, something like that. I don't know if that's word-for-word, but that she was--

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": You said that at the table?

PARNAS: Correct?

COOPER: Where the President was?

PARNAS: Correct, correct. And his reaction was, he looked at me, like, he got very angry and basically turned around to John DeStefano and said, fire

her, get rid of her.


NOBILO: But, Mike Pompeo is distancing himself from Parnas and his claims. Here is what he told the conservative radio host on Friday.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I've not met this guy, Lev Parnas, to the best of my knowledge. I've never encountered, never communicated with him.

We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there. I suspect that much of what's been reported will

ultimately prove wrong. But our obligation - my obligation as Secretary of State is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate anytime there's someone

who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we'll obviously do that.


NOBILO: Ukrainian officials have announced their own investigation into the possible spying, and it's not the first time the country's been swept up

into U.S. affairs. I asked some Sam Kylie about that.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, once again, Ukraine is caught in the middle. This time, a consequence of a text

exchange, which has been presented as part of the evidence in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump. This entails an exchange

between Robert Hyde, a potential Congressman in the United States and Lev Parnas who is a former associate of Rudy Giuliani.

He has now broken cover and is coming out on the networks, heavily criticizing Donald Trump's personal lawyer. Now, in that exchange, he seems

to hint that there's some kind of surveillance operation being conducted against the U.S. Ambassador here in Ukraine in the early part of last year.

As a consequence of that, the Ukrainians have put out a statement saying that they've actually launched a criminal investigation, because in their

mind is they're suggesting the U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, was allegedly under illegal surveillance and her electronic gadgets were

interfered with by private persons at the request of U.S. citizens.

Now, an odd situation really in which Americans are being investigated for spying on Americans on Ukrainian soil, and this has angered the Ukrainians

who have also said that Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on the territory of its own state. And saying that, if this were true, it

would be a violation of the diplomatic conventions known as the Vienna conventions, Bianca


NOBILO: Thanks Sam. And a reminder, that Robert Hyde has denied monitoring Marie Yovanovitch.

Now that the ceremonial oaths are over, the substance of President Trump's impeachment trial begins next week in the Senate. Mr. Trump is adding some

star power to his legal team to help prepare for Tuesday's opening statements. And you might recognize two names, in particular, both frequent

guests on Fox News.

Kenneth Starr was the independent counsel whose investigation led to Bill Clinton's impeachment. And Alan Dershowitz has represented several famous

clients, including OJ Simpson. Both also previously defended sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in jail last year.

One of the biggest unresolved questions here is whether the Republican led Senate will allow witnesses to testify as Democrats are demanding. One

moderate Republicans, Susan Collins, is now indicating that she would likely support that, but her statement stopped well short of a definitive


So let's bring in our Lauren Fox, on Capitol Hill. Lauren, as a few Republicans have expressed openness to hearing from witnesses, you have

reporting now on how the Senate majority leader is trying to pressure them to stay unified. Tell us about that?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Bianca, it's obviously very important that Majority Leader McConnell goes in goes into this senate

impeachment trial with his conference united.

Remember, he only has 53 Republican Senators, and he has to keep 51 of them together in order to pass this organizing resolution on Tuesday. So I have

some new reporting today, essentially, that lays out how he went about trying to win over moderate senators.

What we know is that last Monday, Senator Susan Collins of Maine who's up for reelection in 2020, and facing a lot of pressure back home to fight for

witnesses in the Senate, she approached the majority leader of staff with a copy of the 1999 Clinton organizing resolution, which essentially laid out

the process.


And said, Listen, McConnell, you often say that we're going to follow the quote "Clinton model," show me in this resolution in writing what you mean

by that. What transpired later were a lot of meetings back to back with staff and with the senators themselves between Lisa Murkowski, Susan

Collins, Mitt Romney, as well as Lamar Alexander and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, where there was really a discussion about where in this

resolution they would have a vote on witnesses.

Now, we don't have the actual resolution released yet, but what we expect it to say is essentially that this vote on witnesses will happen after the

presentations of evidence from both sides, Bianca, a major win for moderates.

NOBILO: Great reporting, Lauren. Thank you. Lauren Fox for us there in Washington.

Brazil's Culture Secretary has been fired after he appeared to quote a Nazi leader in an online video, Roberto Alvim posted a video in which he was

announcing a national award for the arts. Portions of Alvim's speech closely match the quote attributed to Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph


Alvim apologized and said the similarities were just a coincidence. But you can judge for yourself here. Alvim said that Brazilian art of the next

decade will be heroic and it will be national. It will be deeply committed to the urgent aspirations of our people or it will be nothing.

The Goebbels' quote says, "the German art of the coming decades will be heroic, will be nationalistic, with grand pathos, it will be both committed

and unifying, or it will be nothing." Brazilian President Bolsonaro dismissed Alvim on Friday, saying that his position had become untenable.

There's more evidence today of the struggling Chinese economy, it grew just 6.1% in 2019, and while that figure would be good for developed economy in

the West, it represents the slowest growth for China in 29 years. The CNN's David Culver told me that China is saying there's nothing to worry about.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's all in how you word things, and that's especially true when it comes to the reporting of China's GDP for

2019. Here, state media, is characterizing it in a more positive light, instead of saying what many are reporting and that is that China has slowed

to its weakest pace in nearly three decades.

They instead are showing that China has met its target. And that is the case, though, many analysts have often questioned the reliability of such

data. One thing is certain, and that is, China is feeling the economic woes. They have pointed to the trade war with the U.S. as a big contributor

of that.


NOBILO: Thanks to David Culver. One other reason for the slowdown, an outbreak of swine fever in China has caused pork prices to skyrocket.

Now, Australia is finally getting some much needed rain, following months of bushfires, but it's creating other problems like flooding in areas such

as Sydney and across New South Wales. Staff in the Australian Reptile Park had to rescue the animals as water gushed across the roads and bridges.

Here what they saw.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, god, it's coming in the park - a wall of water.

NOBILO: As more rainfall cast the parts of Australia, but Melbourne is a very different scene. These clear skies followed clouds of smoke and smog,

which disrupted qualifying matches at the Australian Open. But those conditions could return for the start of the tennis tournament next week.

And let's not forget, the bushfires are still burning. Here's a look at some of the damage. The footage was shot by drone. And as you can see,

where it isn't raining at the moment, there are still dry spots and utter devastation.

In the aftermath of those fires, many Australians believe that action on climate change cannot wait one moment longer. And according to new poll, a

majority of Americans agree. 58% of them are either alarmed or concerned about climate change. But the proportion of those who are alarmed has

tripled over the last five years.

So what's behind the change? Well, some experts attributed to scientific evidence, media coverage on politicians talking about it. Well, fairly

sensible. Now, as more Americans get concerned, a top us tech giant says that it wants to be part of the solution.

Microsoft is announcing a plan to become carbon negative in the next 10 years. But the company doesn't just want to tackle their future carbon

emissions, our Anna Stewart reports, Microsoft also is making plans to try and make up for the emissions it's already made.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Bianca, it's hugely ambitious, not only that Microsoft plans to be carbon negative by 2030, but by 2050, they plan to

have removed all the carbon they directly emitted since the company was founded in 1975.

In his announcement, Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote, "While the world will need to reach net-zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and

go further should do so." They plan to achieve this by reducing carbon emissions, for instance, using 100 percent renewable energy by 2025, along

with measures like only using electric vehicles on campus.


As well as reducing those emissions, they also plan to remove and offset them. For instance, planting forests, putting carbon back into the ground

and carbon capture technology. They are putting $1 billion into an investment fund to accelerate these new technologies. It's really throwing

down the gauntlet for Microsoft's rivals, many had set deadlines to be carbon neutral, but perhaps now they'll be revised up to be carbon

negative. Back to you, Bianca.

NOBILO: Our Anna Stewart there in London. Coming up on "THE BRIEF," this movie is part of a new artistic movement challenging perceptions of Africa.

The filmmaker behind the same sex love story is speaking to me next about a ban on her film.


NOBILO: In today's "Debrief," one filmmaker is helping African storytellers create art for a new generation. The director, Wanuri Kahiu who received

international acclaim for her movie, Rafiki, about the same sex love story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My exam results are out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can get a doctor. I can get a scholarship


(Foreign Language)

NOBILO: Rafiki is just one of several projects that Kahiu says is meant to combat longstanding stereotype depictions of the African continent. But

Kenya's film censors banned the movie over the lesbian theme, as homosexuality is a crime under a colonial era law.

Rafiki was made after the filmmaker co-founded a movement called Afrobubblegum with the intention of promoting a vibrant and fun

representation of Africa. I spoke with Wanuri about the movie and I asked her how she felt when Kenya's government decided to ban a film.



WANURI KAHIU, FILMMAKER: So when Rafiki came out and it was banned, I was completely shocked. I was dismayed and an incredibly disappointed, because

I had voted for the Constitution. Like I lined up on the 4th of August, way back when in 2010, and I voted on a constitution that allowed me freedom of


[17:20: 00]

So to have a film band when your constitution says otherwise, is - it's challenging. So, yes, I was I was very disappointed.

NOBILO: And Wanuri, I'm not sure how many Kenyans have been able to watch Rafiki, because it is banned in the country. Hopefully, you might be able

to tell me. But what has the response been from people?

KAHIU: Well, what happened is, as part of the court case, we asked for the ban to be lifted for a week, which it was, and for a week in September

2018, the film was watched in Kenya to an audience of over 6,500 people across the country to sold out theaters.

So Kenyans really, really embraced the film and came out in droves to come and watch the film. And that's the power of storytelling and also, that's

the power of a ban. Because, whenever you ban something, you inevitably make it more popular.

So as a result of the ban, but also because of the story that we were telling, people came out and found reflections of themselves. And were able

to start having honest conversations if they were part of the LGBT community, as well as a result of the film.

So we definitely pushed the needle forward in little ways. And what is remarkable now is, though it's banned in Kenya, it plays on DSTV, which is

an African cable station across the continent, except for the Republic of Kenya.

NOBILO: Wanuri, you've said, rather beautifully, that you think, "the right to love is the most basic human right." Why did you choose this love story?

What inspired you?

KAHIU: I wanted to tell a love story, because growing up, there weren't many images of us in love, whether it be heteronormative love, or whether

it was same sex relationships, there was not many depictions of us in love.

So when we started the task with myself and my producer, Steven Markovitz, to find a modern African story that we could adapt to the screen, we landed

on a book called Jambula Tree, which was the Caine Prize winner in 2007.

And it was such a beautiful story about pure love, and really began to ask questions that I deal with in many different areas of my work, which is

inspired by Lucille Clifton poem that asks, "What have you traveled towards more than your own safety?" And this story really asked that question. And

as a result, we decided that this was a love story that we wanted to concentrate on, because we believe that love is love. And, unfortunately,

that that wasn't the consensus in the Kenya Film Classification board.

NOBILO: I'd love to get your thoughts on the Oscar nominations this year. And I say this not in any way to limit you, because I imagine it's

frustrating to sometimes be referred to as a female filmmaker, or a Kenyan filmmaker or an African filmmaker. Obviously, you're you all those things,

but you are so much more than those things. What was your response to the Oscar nominations this year in terms of diversity and female


KAHIU: I think that the Oscars still have a ways to go. But in comparison to the films that were released last year, there was a lot more - as far as

I could see, because I am lucky enough to be a member of the Academy and I get to vote films. Is that, what I saw last year was that there was a lot

more diversity in the films and the films that were produced last year.

So there was more films of people of color to choose from than there was this year. So I think we have a ways to go when it comes to stories of

inclusion, and lowering barriers of entry, so that women and minority groups and people of color, have the right to tell stories and so that they

can be seen in front of - in front as well as and can participate behind the camera too.


NOBILO: And we have a lot more to discuss, including whether or not Wanuri would have considered editing her film to keep the authorities happy. And

you can watch the whole uncut at

When "THE BRIEF" returns, from impeachment to the royal side, it's been another busy week of news. We'll wrap it up for you and tell you everything

that you need to know.



NOBILO: It's been a hectic week of news. Let's bring you up to date with all that happened. The week began with anti-government protests in Iran.

Iranians vented that anger after Tehran finally admitted it shot down a passenger plane and they protested a lack of transparency.

In Washington, Senators have been sworn in after the Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump were bought across from the

House of Representatives. President Trump scored an economic victory, the first phase of the U.S. trade deal with China was signed. And in a rare

show of bipartisanship, the Senate overwhelmingly voted for a new U.S.- Mexico-Canada trade deal.

In Russia, the entire government resigned after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping reforms that could extend his grip on power.

The searing heat finally gave way to rain and hail in Australia, bringing much needed relief to firefighters fighting dozens of bushfires.

And here in United Kingdom, it's been another tumultuous week for the royal family. It all began with a summit in Sandringham where the Queen

reluctantly accepted Prince Harry and Megan's choice to step back from royal duties.

That's all for "THE BRIEF." I'm Bianca Nobilo. Have a great weekend. "WORLD SPORTS" is up next.