Return to Transcripts main page

The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

9 Killed At Two Bars In Suspected Far-Right Shooting; Police: Terrorism Not Suspected In London Mosque Attack; Trump: Roger Stone Has "Very Good" Chance Of Exoneration; Contentious Debate Sets Stage For Saturday Caucuses; Two Diamond Princess Passengers Die From Virus; Anxiety And Fear Grow In The Epicenter Of The Outbreak; Iraq, Kuwait Airlines Suspend All Flights To And From Iran; K-Pop Superstars BTS To Release New Album; A.I. Antibiotics Breakthrough. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired February 20, 2020 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks so much for watching.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Tonight on "The Brief," a shooting spree targeting two bars leaves nine dead and Germany on edge. The third far-right terror

attack in less than a year.

One of Donald Trump's former associates gets a prison sentence, but the U.S. President is already hinting of a possible pardon.

And the rise of BTS, who the boy band built an empire of global fandom.

From London I'm Bianca Nobilo. Great to have you with us. Welcome to the show. Germany is reeling from yet another terror attack linked to the far-

right. This time a gunman killed nine people in Hanau, a small city just outside Frankfurt. The attacker targeted two separate shisha bars location

is popular in the city's Turkish community.

Five of the victims were citizens of Turkey, the rest German nationals. All of them have been called - have been called by officials from migrant

backgrounds. Afterwards, police found the gunman in his apartment with his mother, both shot dead.

Prosecutors say he left behind videos and documents full of conspiracy theories and racist views. German politicians are condemning the attack.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says there's a simple reason these massacres keep happening.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): Racism is a poison. Hatred is a poison. And this poison exists in our society, and is

to blame for already far too many crimes.


NOBILO: Melissa Bell is in Hanau. Melissa how is Germany dealing with this growing threat from the far-right?

MELLISA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is something that German authorities have been warning about for some time, Bianca. We've heard that

they have been increasing their surveillance. They were planning to shake up their domestic surveillance and intelligence here in Germany next year.

And they've been warning for many months, that they believe that there are some 24,000 people in the country who are part of far-right extremist group

and they reckon that about half of those could be capable of some violence.

So what happened here and the rampage began last night at 10:00 pm. About 24 hours ago, this shisha bar just behind me - the midnight shisha bar in

the center of Hanau. That is the third far-right attack in under a year, so you can understand that sense of urgency in Angela Merkel's words.

This is a country that has been profoundly shaken by the 2015 refugee crisis. And not only has the far-right terror threats increased, Bianca,

but politically the country is more divided than ever has been before, and not simply between the far-right and the more mainstream parties, but even

within Angela Merkel's party herself. This is a growing problem and one that country is clearly struggling to deal with, Bianca.

NOBILO: Melissa Bell, thank you very much. And this is quite right with the AFD as well getting seats for the first time in more than 60 years back in


Now in Britain, police say terrorism is not suspected in an attack at the London mosque. It happened several hours ago and it was caught on video or

its aftermath, at least. Police say a man in his 70s who leads prayers was stabbed right in front of about 100 worshippers. He is expected to survive,

and the 29-year-old suspect is being held on suspicion of attempted murder. Police say he was attending a prayer at the time.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was deeply saddened by the attack and that his thoughts are with the victim and those affected.

Now, just hours after his longtime friend was sentenced to prison, U.S. President Donald Trump says he believes Roger Stone has a very good chance

of exoneration. A judge sentenced Stone to 40 months behind bars for witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation into the

Trump campaigns ties to Russia.

The judge said Stone covered up Mr. Trump and his lies represent a threat to the very foundation of American democracy. Mr. Trump suggested he won't

pardon Stone right away, but left his options open.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a President of the United

States. I want the process to play out. I think that's the best thing to do, because I'd love to see Roger exonerated, and I'd love to see it

happen, because I personally think he was treated very unfairly.


NOBILO: Kaitlan Collins is live at the White House. Kaitlan good to see you. Earlier, the Chair of the House Impeachment Committee Adam Schiff, he

tweeted that pardoning Roger Stone would be a breathtaking act of corruption. But how would a pardon for Stone be received by those closest

to President Trump?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that tweet from Adam Schiff might encourage the President to pardon Roger Stone anymore, because

his feelings on him are pretty clear.


But it depends on who you ask when you talk to people around the President about this potential pardon, because there are definitely people who've

been lobbying the President for months, telling him he should pardon Stone. They've been highlighting the financial distress he's gone through, what

his family has been saying about all of this.

But then there are other people as well inside this White House, who've been telling the President that pardoning Roger Stone before the election

is not a good idea, because there is a chance that could harm him politically. We've seen these other pardons in the past by other presidents

that have actually come back to really bite them. And so the question is, what is the timing here and the smartness of that?

Now, the President did indicate today that a pardon is still on the table, but he says he's not going to do so right now, which is kind of a surprise.

Some people thought that maybe you would do it as soon as Stone was sentence. But because of Roger Stone not going to jail immediately given

the appeals he's made. The fact that he wants this new trial, there is a chance that this could play out for a little bit, and that is essentially

what the President is saying.

But we should make it clear, they are asking for a new trial. It's not clear if they're going to get it. But the President seemed to be saying

today that if there is a new trial and it doesn't come out to his satisfaction, that this pardon or commuting Roger Stone's sentence is still

on the table.

NOBILO: We shall wait and see. Kaitlan, thank you. Kaitlan Collins there for us in Washington.

Now that the dust has settled on the most bruising us Democratic presidential debate yet, the main target of the attack from his rivals,

Mike Bloomberg, says he thinks the winner was President Donald Trump.

The blows started early last night and continued until a bitter end. Jabs were flying in every direction as candidates fought for a breakout moment,

some desperate to keep their campaigns alive. CNN's Ryan Nobles reports on the day after fiery debate.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So how was your night last night?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Bloomberg today joking around, hoping to move past his lackluster debate performance,

even as his main onstage foe Elizabeth Warren kept piling on.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I bet he's reaching in his pocket and spending $100 million more on advertising to try to erase

everyone's memory of what happened last night.

NOBLES (voice-over): But at a campaign stop in the Super Tuesday State, Utah. Bloomberg kept his eye on the front runner.

BLOOMBERG: If we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base like Senator Sanders, it will be a fatal error.

NOBLES (voice-over): For his part, Bernie Sanders telling me that Bloomberg's attacks are not what Democratic voters are looking for.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have more income and wealth inequality today than any time in the last hundred years. Mr.

Bloomberg himself is worth more as one person than the bottom 125 million Americans,

NOBLES (voice-over): Sanders seeming to survive his first debate at the top of the polls, with so much of the focus on the new guy on stage, Bloomberg,

WARREN: Democrats take a huge risk. If we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think you look at Donald Trump and say we need someone richer in the White House,

NOBLES (voice-over): Not just Bloomberg's billions, his opponents also attacked his past. Vice President Joe Biden raising Bloomberg's previous

support for New York City's controversial stop and frisk policing.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: it's the policy. The policy was abhorrent and it was, in fact, of violation of every right people have.

NOBLES (voice-over): While Warren challenged Bloomberg to release women who've alleged sexist and misogynistic behavior by Bloomberg and his

company from non-disclosure agreements.

WARREN: So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those non-disclosure agreements, so we can hear their side of the story?

BLOOMBERG: We have a very few nondisclosure agreements.

WARREN: How many is that?

BLOOMBERG: None of them accused me of doing anything other than maybe they didn't like a joke I told. And let me - there's an agreement between two

parties that wanted to keep it quiet and that's up to them.


NOBLES (on camera): And one of the knocks on Bernie Sanders last night was that he may not be able to unify the Democratic Party should he become the

nominee. And to that end, I talked to him today about his work trying to earn the endorsement of former President Barack Obama, who is, of course,

still an icon here in the United States.

Sanders says that he's in fairly regular contact with President Obama, and that once the dust settles on the Democratic primary and should he become

the nominee, he has absolute confidence that Obama will be at his side. Bianca?

NOBILO: Ryan, thank you. Ryan Nobles there for us. And in just a few hours join us for the Democratic presidential town halls with Joe Biden and

Elizabeth Warren. They start at 1:00 am in London and that is 9:00 am Hong Kong, live from Las Vegas right here on CNN.

Two passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship have now died from coronavirus. Japan's Health Ministry says both were in their 80s

and being treated in hospital. This comes as more passengers are allowed to leave the ship with 244 disembarking on Thursday, but not everyone will be

able to go home.

Coronavirus positive Americans will have to go through three steps of testing before flying back to the United States. And in South Korea, over

100 cases have been confirmed and now one death. Most new cases are in the south of the country. And the Mayor of Daegu is urging it's 2.5 million

people to stay home.


But China is still dealing with the worst of the outbreak. 780 million people are still on lockdown. People in the epicenter, Wuhan, can't even

leave their homes. CNN's David Culver spoke to one family under travel restrictions who are thousands of miles apart.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Guizhen Qian gave us a video chat tour of her Wuhan apartment. It only took a few

seconds to show us this small space where she has spent the past 20-plus days, unable to leave her home as part of the latest Wuhan lockdown


GUIZHEN QIAN, GRANDMOTHER OF FELICITY (through translator): Since the lockdown, I've been really rationing my food so it will last longer.

CULVER (voice-over): The local government has allowed for grocery delivery but Guizhen fears opening her windows and doors could mean exposure to the

novel coronavirus. She's not only protecting her own health but also that of her 2-year-old granddaughter, Felicity.

QIAN (through translator): I'm looking after this baby and the floors above and below me have confirmed coronavirus cases.

CULVER (voice-over): Felicity is a U.S. citizen. Guizhen has been raising her granddaughter as the little girl's parents are living and working in

New York City. But amid the outbreak and extreme lockdown, Felicity's mother is desperately trying to get the pair out of Wuhan.

AMANDA JIANG, MOTHER OF FELICITY: I'm afraid I cannot see my daughter again. I think if they're affected, I think they will die there.

CULVER (voice-over): Fearing the worst, Amanda Jiang is pleading with the U.S. Embassy to grant her mother-in-law, a Chinese citizen, a visa so she

can accompany the toddler back to the U.S.

In the meantime, she has started stockpiling supplies in her New York City apartment, hoping to ship them to Wuhan.

JIANG: We want to send this - all these masks to our - to my families, to my relatives, and donate some to the hospitals.

CULVER (voice-over): But she has struggled to find a carrier to deliver within the lockdown zone. There are similar fears and frustrations shared

by other Hubei Province residents.

WENDY YANG, ON LOCKDOWN IN CHINA (via telephone): And now, we are totally locked out. There's no person allowed to go out.

CULVER (voice-over): By phone, Wendy Yang told us that she was on day 27 or 28 inside her apartment. She's started to lose count. She sent us photos

from her window, looking out. She says she feels trapped and depressed.

YANG: So many people pass away in these long days and we are suffering.

CULVER (voice-over): Back inside Guizhen's apartment, the 61-year-old admits she's relied on cartoons to help keep Felicity entertained.

QIAN (through translator): If it wasn't for Peppa Pig, there would be no way I could look after her.

CULVER (voice-over): But there's an added fear for Guizhen. She says she's also battling thyroid cancer and worries she might be more susceptible to

contracting the coronavirus.

QIAN (through translator): If I get sick with this pneumonia, I have no idea what I would do with this child.

CULVER (on camera): CNN has been in touch with the U.S. Embassy here in China, but that particular case they tell us they're aware of the

situation. But the reality is things are far more complicated than just simply getting the grandmother and her grandchild on a flight out of here.

I mean, there's a lot of logistics working, not only within the City of Wuhan, but also in coordination with the Chinese government.

Meantime, the U.S. has gotten some 800 plus of its citizens on five separate flights back to the United States. All and although, there seems

to be a fear that is really shared amongst many of the folks we have talked to who feel trapped in the City of Wuhan. David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


NOBILO: Coronavirus fears in the Middle East have caused the Government of Iraq and Kuwait airline to hold all flights to and from neighboring Iran.

The decision was made as the number of confirmed infections in Iran increases to five.

Iran state news agency says schools and universities in the province are closed, Thursday, after two people died from the virus there. A government

spokesperson says counter coronavirus headquarters has been set up to address the outbreak.

Our Frederik Pleitgen is in Tehran where people are concerned by the virus ahead of national elections.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Public Health Authority here say they are still on top of all of this. However,

they do say that people should try to avoid larger public gatherings.

Now, of course, that's kind of a problem because Iran has a parliamentary election coming up on Friday where, of course, people are going to have to

go out if they want to cast their ballots. That's going to be one of the big wildcards as to what impact that could have on voter turnout.


NOBILO: Thanks to Fred there in Tehran for us, Frederik Pleitgen.

Much more coming up on the show, including K-pop superstars whose new album has 4 million sales and hasn't even been released stay with us.



NOBILO: This is the biggest boy band in the world, BTS. The group dominates the multibillion dollar cable industry. It's got seven members, all known

for their colorful haircuts, slick dancing and record breaking album sales.

In 2019. They became the first group in history to spend five weeks at number one on the Billboard Artist 100 Chart. And most recent record sold

more than 3 million copies in South Korea alone, making it the country's bestselling album of all time. BTS also holds the world record for the most

YouTube music video views in 24 hours, a massive 74.6 million.

But great success breeds great expectations. The band's new album comes out on Friday, so expect colossal scrutiny. BTS aren't overnight stars. The

group was manufactured in 2013 created as a hip hop act by startup label Big Hit Entertainment.

Originally, the name was drawn the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan, which roughly translates to "Bulletproof Boy Scouts." But then they began

attracting fans in the U.S. and around the world. This is them appearing on Saturday Night Live. In 2017, BTS announced their name would officially

stand for "Beyond The Scene."

The K-pop industry is notoriously high pressured. To break into it. BTS members assumed stage names and shared details about the work and lives on

social media, bringing them ever closer to their legions of fans. And the legion it is, over 24 million followers and counting on Twitter, many of

whom are fiercely loyal.

And it's these fans known as the army, who've driven the band from popular group to global superstars. Many of them stream BTS is songs constantly to

ensure the act keeps breaking records. Army members also run fan websites, pack concert venues and monitor media coverage.

Elements of the fandom are notorious. Some of the band's followers can be sensitive to any perceived slight. But BTS know the importance of their fan

base and they never forget to thank them.


RM, SOUTH KOREAN RAPPER: We're living the dream. So I just say thanks to all the armies, they made us, they give us force.


NOBILO: So what can we expect from BTS his latest album? Well, watch out for more streaming records to be broken and more stadiums to sell out.

While some boy bands struggle with the pressures of early success, this group shows no signs of slowing down.

Jeff Benjamin is a K-pop columnist at Billboard Magazine, and he joins me now live from New York. Great to have you on the program. Jeff, how you


JEFF BENJAMIN, K-POP COLUMNIST, BILLBOARD: I'm doing good. Great to see you again and congrats on the new show.

NOBILO: Thank you. So I understand from talking to you, and looking at what fans are saying about this album, that they're hoping it's going to be the

dream album. It's also an album where the band is going to reflect on the time that they've had together. So what statement can we expect the band to


BENJAMIN: Right. And I think if you, first and foremost look at the title, "Map of the Soul: 7" that's a really important part of this album. You

know, seven is a really significant number, not only because BTS has seven members, but this is their seventh year together.


It's kind of I think, going to tie up a lot of stories in BTS's albums. They've had so many stories in their albums, so many different topics that

they've ranged on that show their growth as young men to eventually come to be these young adults that they truly are.

And I feel like they've just learned so much and there's going to be so many messages. But I think we're going to be able to see just how much BTS

has changed from those early boys - those bulls "Bulletproof Boy Scouts" you mentioned at the beginning to now the true artists that they are today.

NOBILO: Some of the changes that we often expect from boy bands, but we haven't necessarily seen this time, what can happen to groups when they

become really successful. The kind of sex drugs and rock and roll that we've seen a lot of other groups eventually suffer from, but we don't see

the members of BTS partying, having high profile romances or behaving badly. How seriously do they take their status as role models?

BENJAMIN: Yes, I think what you're kind of picking up on in particular something very indicative to kind of the Korean music industry at large for

sure. We love - in the West we love a bad boy. We love a rebel moment. But scandal is not really something that a lot of people in the Korean industry

look well upon. They don't really like a controversial moment.

But I think BTS, too, they've always been such hard workers, I think because they've had that underdog status from the beginning. They didn't

come from a big company. They didn't start with a silver spoon in their mouth. They always worked hard, they always were kind of always grinding.

And there were a lot of people that, you know, kind of didn't necessarily believe in them at first. You could look at the numbers - and I remember

seeing them at their first big U.S. festival in 2014. And just being so amazed by the response that these fans were giving them, and realizing that

there was something special here that goes beyond, having big company funds or having the best producers or whatever it is.

There was that underdog status, and I think they've always felt like the underdog and kind of continue to always prove that in their art for sure.

Rather than wanting to make something you know unnecessarily dramatic or controversial, they've kept the goal and focused and they just keep

achieving their goals and keep going even higher than that.

NOBILO: And, Jeff, how much creative control does BTS have over their music? How much input do they have over the spectacles that we see on stage

and then their videos, it's so creative and so intensely choreographed?

BENJAMIN: Yes, and I mean, I think that's one of the most fun things when you when you watch BTS is that you really do feel like this is an extension

of themselves. BTS stuck out really early in their industry for having messages that felt very personal, and were definitely internal reflections

of themselves.

I think you can definitely tell from what we've seen with this album so far. It comes out in a couple hours, but you know, you can definitely feel

like this is - like you said, sort of a dream album for BTS. The new single "ON", it has a very anthemic chorus and it's something very powerful, very

spiritual in that way.

And we've learned that the guys actually reached out to Sia to personally be on it. And you can kind of hear why she was such a good fit for that.

The guys were really, really smart about that, I think. And definitely also being put - they've said that their fans of artists like Troye Sivan for so

long, and Troye Sivan and his team actually co-wrote and co-produced a song for this album "Map of the Soul: Persona 7" on this record. So you

definitely feel like lots of times this is an extension of BTS, rather than this isn't A&R (ph) doctored album made by a label. This does feel like a

genuine expression of BTS and kind of where they're at as artists.

NOBILO: It does sound like there's going to be a little dimension to different influences and the world will be listening. Jeff Benjamin, always

good to speak to you. You're so enthusiastic about the band and it's always great to hear your thoughts.


NOBILO: Thank you.

BENJAMIN: Take it listen when it come.

NOBILO: I will.

When "The Brief" returns, how the help of a handy algorithm is making finding a crucial antibiotic all the more easy.



NOBILO: A powerful antibiotic that kills some of the most dangerous drug resistant bacteria in the world has been discovered using artificial

intelligence. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention describes antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest public health challenges of

our time.

Resistance happens when germs no longer respond to antibiotics designed to kill them. Anytime antibiotics are used, they can contribute to resistance

in the population, and it can affect anyone of any age in any country.

Research has unleashed an algorithm that focused on a library of more than 6,000 compounds that were under investigation for treating various human

diseases. The author of the study said it took the algorithm a matter of hours to come up with its results.

So while I'm with Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates on the threat of machines that outperform humans might have when they self-improve beyond our

control, this is definitely good news for mankind.

That's all for "The Brief" this evening. I'm Bianca Nobilo. Stay tuned for "World Sport" coming up next.