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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Trump Special Counsel; Ukraine Winter Worries; COP27 Concerns. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 18, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Christina Macfarlane in London. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Ahead -- it's in the public interest. America's top lawman appoints an independent prosecutor to oversee criminal investigations into Donald


Then, millions of Ukrainians face power outage fears as winter sets in. We will take you to Kramatorsk where sunflower seeds are being turned into

heating logs.

And a ten-year-old climate activist gets a standing ovation at COP27. But the adults in the room are wrapping up the conference with few achievements

to cheer for.

Now, it's a blockbuster move that's already showing a fiery response from a former president. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a

special counsel to investigate Donald Trump for possible criminal actions. And he has named veteran Justice Department and war crimes prosecutor, Jack

Smith, to head up the probes.

The announcement comes just days after Trump announced he's running for president in 2024. Garland is assigning Smith to tasks to look into

potential illegal interference in the certification of the presidential vote following the 2020 election. And Trump's retention of documents at

Mar-a-Lago after his presidency ended.

Trump says it's political and he won't participate.

CNN senior legal affairs analyst Paula Reid is joining us from Washington.

Paula, as we said, this comes just days after Donald Trump announced he'd be seeking reelection. So, tell us what this really means for the former

president, and the timeline we're going to see him moving forward?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: For the former president, it means his investigations are far from over. We knew that justice officials

were considering possibly appointing a special counsel, if the former president announced a third run for the White House. They were trying to

insulate the Justice Department from political attacks or suggestions that the Biden Justice Department was pursuing, if, potential campaign rival.

But under the regulation, a special counsel still ultimately reports to the attorney general. So, it's unclear if this is really going to insulate the

Justice Department from questions about political motivations. A Trump spokesman has already attacked this, calling it a, quote, political stunt.

In terms of the day today, the special counsel will operate separately from the justice department in the day today, again, not interacting with the

attorney general on a regular basis. And we'll continue these investigations that have been underway for quite some time.

Now, they will oversee two separate investigations. One, into the possible mishandling of classified information, when that president and others

brought documents down to his Mar-a-Lago residents. The other investigation is into any role that the former president may have had in January 6th.

Now, speaking to his attorneys, they definitely see the Mar-a-Lago investigation as the greater legal threat. That the fact that they were

pulling out a special counsel suggests it's likely to go on for quite some time. There was some hope among the former president's lawyers that perhaps

this is wrapping up, but clearly, it's not the case.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, I don't know Trump has already pushed back, as we expect him to. Paula, thanks so much for bringing up this.

Well, it's still unclear whether Donald Trump will regain access to this one's favorite platform for airing grievances. Twitter's new CEO Elon Musk

said Friday the site will restore a number of controversial accounts that were previously banned, but this the company still hasn't decided what to

do about Trump 's. Musk said previously, no decision will be made until the new content moderation council is in place.

North Korea is stoking more anxiety and triggering more harsh rebukes after its latest provocation with its nuclear program. It carried out another

long-range missile test Friday, with leader Kim Jong-un overseeing the launch. This one, an ICBM that experts say could reach the U.S. mainland.

It flew to an altitude of more than 6,000 kilometers before landing in the sea west of Japan. It's a North Korea's second missile test in two days,

and the 34th this year. In response, U.S. and South Korea fighter jets conducted joint drills in a show of force.

Well, CNN's Will Ripley is joining us live from Bangkok, Thailand.

Will, this now a record number of missile tests in one year. Talk us through the concern around this latest ICBM and what this says about North

Korea's progress and developing weapons of this nature?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the key breaking their own records, Christina. This is something that we've been

watching all year long and evolving situation as they've been leading up to something.


The question is what are they leading up to? Is that this launch? Is it this test? Is it this new type, ICBM? The North Korean state media is

calling Hwosung-17 actually just in the last hour or so released new images of it being launched, being test fired from the Pyongyang international


They rolled it out on a transport direct launcher, and you can just get a sense, those transporter direct launch vehicles, if we have photos of the

muscle actually as it was taking off, there's still images of a North Korean state media. You can get a sense of the massive size of this thing.

This is a huge missile.

It's a type of missile that the United States and Japanese military believe is likely, or at, least theoretically capable of reaching any city in the

mainland United States.

Now, North Korea has believed, then believed to have missiles with this type of capacity before. But this is now indeed as they claim, a new type

of intercontinental ballistic missile, yet another advancement and ballistic missiles nuclear program, this is probably the most provocative

test yet. And it may be the type of missile that they test fired earlier in the year, but they actually failed midflight, and disappeared in the water

is between Korea and Japan.

We just don't know for sure. It could have been one of their older, long range missiles, or this, though, as they're claiming, a new type. Now, what

analysts are going to have to do is look very carefully at these images, look at that paint job, trying to figure out, you know, based on the specs

that they can see in the photos, and also based on radar analysis, whether North Korea's claims that this is a new and perhaps far more dangerous type

of ICBM are true, where does it go from here?

Well, there could still be that underground nuclear test, because remember, whenever there is a new type of ballistic missile, and a perfect, you know,

the launch system, there's still going to need to know if the type of 400 can be fit into it, or multiple warheads -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, and, Will, we said that U.S. and South Korea fighter jets conducted drills in a show of force, you know, as a result of this.

But it's clear that the actions the U.S. and South Korea, the condemnations, the sanctions, the military drills, are really having little

effect. So, what can be done here?

And unfortunately, we have lost Will. But thanks to him for bringing us that.

Okay, let's move on. Ukraine's foreign minister says experts from his country are working at the site where missiles killed two people in Poland

on Tuesday. TVN24 shot this video of Ukrainian vehicles at the site. Poland and some of its allies have said it was likely a Ukrainian air defense

missile, that was meaning to stop the Russian attack. Kyiv says it has evidence of a Russian trace in the explosion and has demanded to be part of

the investigation into what caused the incident.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is warning of a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine, as Russian attacks leave critical infrastructure under strain. And

millions of people without power. Our Nic Robertson is standing by for us tonight in Kyiv.

And, Nic, it's not just energy, its communication and gas supplies that have been targeted as well. So, what are you seeing of how average

Ukrainians are coping right now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's a struggle, and the elderly and the more frail, of course, having a much harder time,

particularly to stay warm. But great to be able to go out, the possible fact that they'll be possible aerate sirens going off, the cold winter

weather to go and get food. There were fewer places to buy food. For them, it's getting more expensive.

So, all of that becomes much, much harder. And the further away you get from the bigger cities, it, again, gets particularly hard. We were in the

east of the country in Kramatorsk, close to the front line there. That town is sort of, if you will, the end of electricity supply line.

So, it has more outages than many other towns. Kyiv has some rolling outages, but Kramatorsk, in particular, suffers a lot. We spent some time

there talking to residents about how they're trying to prepare.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Gas just came back to Kramatorsk, a boon of battlefield games. Maria, a 70-year-old pensioner was not expecting it. It

brought her wood burning stove.

It was hard without gas, she tells us. And now, thanks to God, we're okay.

But for how long?

When the government turned the gas back on here at the beginning of November, they did it without any big announcement because like every other

critical service here, gas depends on electricity, and that's what Russia's targeting.

When I met the mayor here three months ago, he was urging residents to leave ahead of winter.

OLEKSANDR HONCHARENKO, KRAMATORSK, UKRAINE MAYOR (through translator): We do not have gas at all, and it's not possible to repair our gas lines.

ROBERTSON: When we meet now, he tells me the population is actually increased by 30,000 to 35,000 people over 80,000 total.


Residents returning home, even though the situation, because Russia's targeting that power grid, is much more precarious. Lives, he fears, maybe

lost, and what expects to be the harshest winter since independents 30 years ago.

HONCHARENKO: When the electricity disappears, cities are plunged into darkness. Anything can happen. Borders cannot stop. Gas distribution

networks can stop. You could be left without everything, even without heat.

ROBERTSON: Keeping warm is on everyone's minds. This factory, making heating logs from sunflower seeds, demand outstripping capacity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (though translator): Our request has gone up three or four fold. We don't have enough trucks for deliveries.

ROBERTSON: They are working at full capacity here. Everything that's ready shipped out immediately. But the whole system here, extremely vulnerable,

the electricity could go off at any moment.

Every log delivered, a few hours spared from the cold. Each sack, perhaps weeks peace of mind.

His answer: everything, everything, all good perfect, I don't have words.

Food is also on people's minds this winter. Mostly, pensioners, mostly for, bundle off against a cold, a free bread distribution, tempting them out of

frigid homes.

If they help us likely to hear, it would be fine, 84 year old Julia tells us. I am a child of World War II, she says. We were cold, hungry, but we


Across town, another pensioner, 82-year-old Alexandra, shows us the basement she shares with neighbors, already stockpiling food for winner. No

gas for warmth here, just an old electric heater.

When there is no electricity, you have no heat, how do you stay warm?

We just have to put on our coats, wrap ourselves and blankets, and go to bed, she says. That is how we live, that is how we expect. Born into war,

she says, probably die in war.


ROBERTSON (on camera): And that's what worries the mayor that he has some 80,000 people, and in that time, this is a situation replicated all across

the country. The poor, the elderly are the ones that are going to suffer the most. Most communities here are strongly rallying around and helping

each other. But the ability to actually sit in a cold basement and withstand the winter chill, with temperatures getting down to many degrees

below sub-zero. They already are right now. It is snowing right now here in Kyiv.

And this is going to be particularly for the elderly, a very long and very, very hard winter.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, it's going to take remarkable resilience, as Nic, as we saw a new report there. Thanks very much. Our Nic Robertson live there from


Now, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus says he is thanking god now that McDonald's is leaving the Belarusian market. McDonald's restaurants

there are going to be re-branded under a deal that was made public a short while ago.


ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO, BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I say, thank god they are leaving. We should be able to do everything that

McDonald's was doing, if anybody needs it, and even better.


MACFARLANE: The U.S. fast food chain left Russia five months ago after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. And Belarus played a role in that invasion as

well. But there are also signs that the human rights situation in Belarus hasn't improved. French investigative journalists now reporting that IKEA

furniture made there was allegedly made by prisoners under forced labor conditions. They claim that at least ten of IKEAs subcontractors in Belarus

had ties with penal colonies over the past ten years.

Back in June, this Swedish furnished furniture company decided to leave about a rules and turn all its contracts, with supplies there over similar

allegations, and, of course, the war in Ukraine.

Now, a fire storm has erupted over controversial U.S. decision today involving murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi. U.S. Justice Department has

told a court, as head of state, Saudi crown prince and prime minister, Mohammad bin Salman, should be immune from a lawsuit of that Khashoggi's

fiance is pursuing. That comes despite U.S. intelligence finding that bin Salman approved his killing.

Khashoggi's fiancee is responding fiercely, tweeting, Jamal died again today. And "The Washington Post" where he worked is accusing the U.S. of

granting bin Salman, quote, a license to kill.

CNN's Alex Marquardt is covering the controversial decision for us today from Washington.


And, Alex, the State Department says this decision was purely a legal determination. But it's been viewed by many with outrage, as a capitulation

by the Biden administration.

So how much are they're coming under fire for this?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's fierce. It's quite a backlash, Christina. And that is, of course, because the Biden

administration, and Biden himself, has promised to hold MBS accountable for this murder of Jamal Khashoggi. One of the first things that happened when

Biden took office was his head of intelligence put out this report, pointing directly to MBS as the crown prince is no, as we responsible for

the death of Khashoggi.

So, it came with quite some surprise about last night when we learned that in fact, the Biden administration was recommending immunity for MBS in this

lawsuit that was brought against him by Khashoggi's fiance.

Now, throughout the course of the day, different parts of the Biden administration have been arguing that this is not about the lawsuit and

whether, and the merits of that suit, in fact, this is about international law and precedent that foreign heads of state, heads of governments,

foreign ministers, those three positions, in fact, cannot be prosecuted, that they should be granted immunity.

Take a listen to what a spokesman from the State Department had to say earlier today.


VECANT FATEL, PRINCIPAL DEP. SPOKESPERSON, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: Prime Minister Bin Salman is immune from suit in U.S. courts, while he holds the

office of prime minister. He is the head of government. It has nothing to do with the merits of this case. That immunity determination is a legal

one. The United States has consistently and across administrations apply these principles to heads of states, heads of governments, and foreign

ministers while they're in office.


MARQUARDT: So, they are really, you know, arguing that this is all about the legality of this.

Let's take one step back. We have known for years, of course, that MBS was and is the crown prince. He will likely be king of Saudi Arabia someday.

But his father, King Salman, made and the as the prime minister only a few weeks ago at the end of September, a move that has been criticized by

activists and even some legal experts as a ploy to give MBS this cover, to give the U.S. a justification to provide him with immunity. And that is

exactly what happened.

In the Department of Justice filing that came last late last night in the 11th hour, almost literally on the day that they had to make their

suggestion, the Department of Justice said that MBS should get immunity because he is, for now, the prime minister of Saudi Arabia and therefore,

the head of the Saudi government. Of course, the ultimate power, Christina, lies with King Salman, as we were noting.

There is a fierce backlash to this, including on Capitol Hill, lawmakers, including Democrats, really criticizing the Biden administration. I also

heard from Jamal Khashoggi's fiance who told me that she was devastated today. And that President Biden himself betrayed his word, and betrayed

Jamal Khashoggi - Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, it does feel extremely calculated, doesn't it? Alex, one can only imagine what Khashoggi's fiance must be going through.

Thank you, Alex, nonetheless, appreciate it.

All right, coming up on THE GLOBAL BRIEF, the COP27 climate conference is ending Saturday to try and get more accomplished. We'll talk about the

issues world leaders are facing, next.

And World Cup fans looking to have a cold one at this year's tournament in Qatar. There are now in for a sober awakening.



MACFARLANE: And welcome back.

Now, the Qatar World Cup is just two days away and it's going to be a dry one. Fifa says that no beer would be allowed at the stadiums in Doha. An

agreement was previously made that would allow alcohol to be sold at the games during limited hours. But instead, Qatar will only allow beer sales

during the fan festival and other licensed venues. The Muslim country normally tightly regulates alcohol sale and usage. We will have much more

coverage of the story at World Cup -- at "WORLD SPORT", rather, coming up in ten minutes time.

All right, let's take a look at the other key stories making international impacts today.

Hundreds of university students in Sri Lanka clashed with police Friday, demanding that release of two detained student leaders. The two played a

major role in anti-government protests earlier this year. Human rights groups have criticized the government for cracking down on peaceful


Thousands of people formed a ten kilometer chain through Budapest Friday to support teachers. Teachers across Hungary are demanding higher wages amid a

deepening shortage of profession. Protests were held in more than 40 towns across the country.

Kazakhs are preparing to pick their next president on Sunday, but the outcome seems really inevitable. About 78 percent of voters tend to support

Kazakhstan's current leader, according to a recent poll.

A Ghanaian climate activist received a standing ovation at the COP27 summit on Friday, after an emotional speech. Take a listen.


NAKEEYAT DRAMANI, GHANIAN CLIMATE ACTIVIST: There is less than 8 to 6 months to go before we hit 1.5. And I am already much older than that. So,

there are people at this cop, I appeal to you, have a heart, do the math. It's an emergency.


MACFARLANE: The COP27 president and the delegation rose to applaud the ten-year-old activist, who spoke, quote, on behalf of young people who see

the impact of climate change every day. Between air pollution, flooding, and drought, the activists says young people are in fear for their future.

While it was all applause there, COP27 is not ending however with a standing ovation. The conference will extend to Saturday, as the summits

president says he's concerned about the number of outstanding issues, just hours before the scheduled and, he said quote, time is not on our side.

Leaders are frantically trying to complete the deal to keep global warming at a minimum. It's been more than a decade since the cup conference ended

on time.

CNN's David McKenzie has more for us.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the climate meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt are coming to the business end of the

discussions. The talks have been extended after the official closing time, as countries try to hammer out some actual progress in fighting the climate


Here are three things we are really looking at, whether there can be a real affirmation of 1.5 degrees warming only. That is the aim of the Paris


Right now, with current pledges, we are going to blow away past that. Also, this big topic of discussion, loss and damage, where the rich countries

will give specific guidelines on how they will fund developing nations for the worst impacts of the climate crisis.


And finally, whether the countries can expand the wording of this document to whether they can be an official talk of transition, away from all fossil


We will see those answers in the coming hours, I suspect. There was also a powerful moment in the cup meetings on Friday. A young Ghanaian activist

called on the leaders to do better.

NAKEEYAT DRAMANI SAM, GHANAIAN ACTIVIST: There is less than 86 months before we hit 1.5. And I'm already much older than that. So, there are

people at this COP, I appeal to you. Have a heart, and do the math. It's an emergency.


MCKENZIE: Nakeeyat Dramani got a standing ovation from those assembled, including from the Egyptian foreign minister. The question is, when leaders

heed her goal to actually have action, not just words, when it comes to fighting the climate crisis?

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


MACFARLANE: And this just into CNN. A U.S. judge has sentenced the disgraced founder of Theranos to more than 11 years in prison. Elizabeth

Holmes was convicted in January on four counts of defrauding investors. Homes founded Theranos, a failed start-up company that promised to

revolutionize blood testing with a single thumb print.

Now, there is nothing quite like a mother's bond with her child, even in the animal kingdom. Mahale, a 28-year-old champ in Kansas was having a

difficult birth that doctors performed a C-section. You can see it here.

Everything went smoothly. But because the newborn needed a little extra medical attention, the primates were kept apart for two days. When it was

time to reunite, Mahale was nervous at first. But you can see in this video, a heartwarming moment, as soon as she saw her baby she moved and

rushed to pick him up and hold him close. The little guy has been named Kucheza, meaning play in Swahili.

That is my feel-good moment off the week, and a great way to end it, too. Thank you so much for joining us. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Stay tuned for "WORLD SPORT" up next.