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U.S. & Germany at Odds Over Sending Tanks to Ukraine; At Least 54 Deaths Reported as Protests Enter Seventh Week in Peru; Skirmishes Between Small Groups of Protestors and Police in Paris; E.U. Parliament Calls on Member States to Add Iranian Revolutionary Guard to Terror Lists; London Police Face Scrutiny Over Criminal Officers; Legendary Musician and Songwriter David Crosby Dead at Age 81; Alec Baldwin Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter; Global Response to Ardern Stepping Down. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 00:00   ET





Release the weapons. Pressure continues to grow on Berlin to lift export restrictions to allow the transfer of Leopard tanks from NATO allies to Ukraine.

France goes on strike. At least a million workers walk off the job in protest of government plans to raise the retirement age by two years.

And more than a musician. He was the sound of the '60s. Remembering the life and talents of David Crosby.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: It seems the moment of truth may have arrived for Ukraine, in its months-long plea for Western-made battle tanks.

Ukrainian defense contact group is meeting at Rammstein Air Base in Germany in the coming hours. Ukraine's president has made it clear he's expecting a major announcement.

Specifically, it seems, on the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks. Not only has Berlin resisted weeks of pressure to send their tanks to Ukraine, but it's also refused to lift export restrictions, which are preventing other countries from sending their Leopard tanks, as well.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Germany earlier this week for talks with the newly-appointed German defense minister. "The Wall Street Journal" has reported Berlin is willing to allow other nations to supply Leopard tanks, but only if the U.S. commits M1 Abrams.

For now, though, another $2.5 billion in U.S. military aid will soon be heading to Ukraine, including, for the first time, Stryker combat vehicles, more Bradley fighting vehicles, and HIMARS rockets stems, but notably, no tanks.

European Council president traveled to Kyiv Thursday, where he was thanked by President Zelenskyy for the commitment of new weapons shipments from nine European countries.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We push politically as best as we can, but the most important thing is we push with arguments against thousands of tanks of the Russian Federation, it is not enough. The courage of our military is not enough. And the motivation of the Ukrainian people is not enough.


VAUSE: CNN has learned that the director of the CIA, Bill Burns, was recently in Kyiv and met with the Ukrainian president for a secret briefing on Russia's plans for a major offensive, expected as soon as the end of next month.

Some members of NATO like the U.K. believe a turning point in this war is fast approaching, and have been pushing hard to supply Ukraine with more advanced high-tech weapons. New details now from CNN's Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: One of the big questions that will surround the Ukraine defense contact group in Germany on Friday, where 50 nations or so will come together to find and ship an organized weapons to Ukraine revolves around the issue of tanks.

And that's because there's a growing standoff, an impasse, if you will, between Germany and the U.S. on sending tanks.

The U.S. has sent a tremendous amount of mechanized armored capability, such as more than 100 Bradleys now committed Stryker armored vehicles, which are designed to move infantry across the battlefield.

But the U.S. has not yet approved its own M1 Abrams tank, and there's a specific reason for that. The U.S. views those as too heavy, too difficult to maintain, too much essentially of a logistical nightmare for them to be useful to Ukraine.

Instead, the U.S. has put pressure on Germany to improve the transfer of its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. A tank used by a number of countries throughout Europe, all of whom, if they were willing, would be able to provide those to Ukraine, a capability Ukraine has been asking for for quite some time now.

But Germany has not yet given its approval. In fact, German leadership has said they won't do so unless the U.S. provides its own tanks. A U.S. official told CNN, they have us over the barrel. Germany does not seem to be relenting from this sticking point, and

the U.S. doesn't see its tanks as useful in Ukraine, so it's not going to send them.

The question: can this impasse be broken? Poland and Finland have both expressed a willingness to send their own German-made Leopard tanks. Of course, that relies on Germany giving the approval first. And that will be the big question hanging over the Ukraine defense contact group meeting in Rammstein in Germany.

We will hear from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and chairman of the joint chiefs, Mark Milley, to see if there was any break in this impasse, any way to move forward.

A senior defense official did say just a couple of days ago that they were optimistic that this would be solved or result, in some way, by the end of the week.

But the administration officials here were much more cautious about whether there was a way forward through this impasse with Germany that would allow either Germany or other countries to send in their tanks to Ukraine.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.



VAUSE: Dana Pittard is a CNN military analyst and a retired U.S. Army major general. And it's good to have you with us, Sir. Thank you for coming on.

DANA PITTARD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Hi, John. It's good to be here.

VAUSE: OK. So for the first part, there seems to be this broad agreement that Ukraine needs tanks, and should get them. Listen to this.


CHARLES MICHEL, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: I think that tanks must be delivered.

ADMIRAL ROB BAUER, NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE CHAIR: The Russians are fighting with tanks, so the Ukrainians need tanks, as well.

BEN WALLACE, BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY: Sunday's (ph) squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine.


VAUSE: OK, so we'll get to all the politics in a moment, what's surely missed (ph) now. But explain why tanks are so crucial at this point in the war for an upcoming offensive against the Russians, and not just any tank but the German-made Leopard tank, in particular? PITTARD: Obviously, the Ukrainians have been successful without tanks

so far in the war, but that's -- that's changing. It is changing with the fact that the Russians are using their armored vehicles and tanks, but it can't just be tanks alone.

It's tanks, armored vehicles, combined arms operations, as we call it, with infantry, with engineers, with artillery, and with aircraft. And so that total employment of those systems is what Ukraine needs.

And specifically, the Leopard 2 tank is one of the best tanks in the world. It's -- it's currently in nearly 20 countries, primarily in Europe. And I think 3,500 of them have been built. It's a very, very good tank, and it would be very helpful to the Ukrainians.

VAUSE: Just very quickly on the Leopard tank, how long would it take to train the Ukrainians to actually use one?

PITTARD: I think it would take a while, just like for the Abrams tank. It would take, certainly, months, and that's with really disciplined training of the Ukrainian tank crews.

VAUSE: Well, the sticking point so far, though, is that the Germans, the people who make the Leopard tank, have said no. And this refusal has put them at odds with the United States.


BORIS PISTORIUS, GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER: And as often during history, but especially during these times, Germany and the U.S. are standing together, when acting but also during concrete questions. May it be the tanks, the Patriot air defense or multiple rocket launchers.


VAUSE: Germany has offered to send Leopard tanks but only if the United States were to send its main battle tank, the Abrams, something which Washington has ruled out and for a lot of good reasons, which kind of makes the German demand look sort of nonsensical, right?

PITTARD: Yes, in fact, there are a number of countries who have German Leopard 2 tanks who are willing to send them to Ukraine.

All they need, though, is the permission of the German government, because it's a part of the standard export licensing.

It -- it does seem kind of silly that the Germans aren't allowing that.

VAUSE: And also, to think that they want the Abrams to be included in the deal. The United States is not sending the Abrams because some kind of moral objection; they're just not sending the Abrams because it's a gas guzzler. It's hard to maintain and hard to use.

Right, in fact what the United States has been doing, as far as military to Ukraine, it far surpasses anyone. So, I mean, the Germans don't really have much ground to stand on, as far as insisting that the United States send Abrams tanks.

There's some issues with the Abrams tanks. As you mentioned, it's a gas guzzler. It makes a 0.5 miles a gallon. You need a long maintenance, logistical and -- and fuel support and tail if -- if you have those kinds of Abrams formations, which the United States has.

But we've seen what happens if -- if you just give a nation Abrams tanks without the logistical support. We saw that in Iraq against -- against ISIS, with their tanks.

The tanks were very effective initially. But when it came to maintaining them and continuing to make sure they were fueled, or logistically supported, there were issues.

So, that all has to be in place beforehand. So I think it's a wise decision for the United States, at least for now, not to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

VAUSE: Well, right now Poland, in particular, is eager to send their Leopard tanks but is not hopeful about export restrictions being lifted any time soon.

Here's the Polish prime minister. Listen to this.


MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, POLISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): In the last days, the very great pressure on Germany has been noticeable regarding sending these modern tanks, Leopards, to Ukraine.

But I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that here I am, moderately skeptical, moderately pessimistic, because the Germans are defending themselves against this like a devil protects himself against holy water.


VAUSE: Which is quite the statement. But, according to "The New York Times," though, quoting a German lawmaker, who says so far no European nation has formally asked Berlin to permit their Leopard tanks to be sent to Ukraine.

The German lawmaker also described allies as hesitant to send the tanks unless Berlin joined them in a show of unity against Russia.


The Polish prime minister is among those suggesting he'll no longer wait for German permission and send his tanks regardless. So I guess at this point, what's more important, the appearance of unity, or new modern tanks for the Ukrainian fighters?

PITTARD: Yes. I -- I would vote with the new modern tanks for Ukraine.

Ukraine has got limited resources right now, and they're on, really, an operational strategic dilemma as to where to use their limited resources.

There could be a threat of Russian forces, and Belarusian -- Belarusian forces from the North, as well as some of the gains and the slow gains that the Russians are making in the East in this war of attrition.

So in order to get back their territory, and also to change the dynamic from really offensive operational defense to an operational offensive, they would need armored forces which would be helpful in doing that.

VAUSE: General Pittard, thank you so much, Sir, for being with us. Your experience is invaluable. Thank you.

PITTARD: Well, thank you, John.

VAUSE: Warm mass demonstrations are expected in Peru on this Friday, and with that comes expectations that more protesters will die. The government says 54 people have already been killed during weeks of political unrest.

Protests began in early December after former president Pedro Castillo was impeached, forced from office, and detained. Thousands of police and soldiers have now taken up positions around key buildings, including Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Reporter Guillermo Galdos reports from the capital, Lima, on Thursday's clashes between police and protesters.


GUILLERMO GALDOS, JOURNALIST: The police -- the police was just gassing the protesters just down the corner. Thousands of people have arrived in Lima from all over the country, in what has been called the takeover of the Capital.

They want Dina Boluarte, the president, to resign, the congress to be shut down, and a new constitution to be written.

In the past five years, Peru has had five presidents. And now, in the past month alone, more than 50 people have been killed all over the country in these protests.

The police are throwing tear gas and rubber bullets to protesters. I'm seeing people from the Amazon, people from the Andes, Quechuas and Maras, people from the South. People from all over the place have converged here in the capital.


VAUSE: Journalist Guillermo Galdos there, covering the ongoing protests in Lima, Peru.

Well, the French president plans to push on with pension reforms, despite more than a million workers striking on Thursday. Air and train travel was severely disrupted, many schools forced to

close as industrial action (ph) occurred across the country across all major sectors, it seems.

A major union puts the number of strikers at over 2 million. They're all furious at the government plans to raise the official retirement age by two years to qualify for a full pension.

But the French president says the reforms are fair and responsible. Meantime, a small number of clashes broke out in Paris between demonstrators and riot police.

CNN's Melissa Bell has more now from the French capital.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the first day of what French trade unions hope will be many more days of strikes and protests against the proposed pension reform here in France.

On the part of the government, to raise the age of retirement from 62 to 64, and this despite the fact that Emmanuel Macron doesn't have a Parliamentary majority right now.

He's made it his goal to get that pension reform pushed through by this summer. But as you can see, these demonstrations remarkably well attended for a first day of the strike and protests across the country with public sector workers, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sector workers that walked off their jobs.

And many people attending this rally here in Paris, but also across the country. The beginning of what the trade unions hope will be enough oppositions in the street to force the government to back down.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


VAUSE: And the French unions are calling for another round of strikes at the end of the month.

Well, a powerful branch of Iran's military is lashing out. When we come back, this all happened after the European Parliament called for it to be labeled a terrorist group.

Also ahead, dangerous criminals caught in the ranks of Britain's largest police force, and now some are asking, can they all be trusted, any of them?



VAUSE: Welcome back. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard seems almost unfazed after lawmakers in the European Parliament called for the Guard to added to the E.U. terrorist list. Iranian state media reports the Guard described the resolution as a sign of Europe's desperation, after plans to spark arrest inside Iran failed.

The E.U. has been a harsh critic of Iran's crackdown on peaceful anti- government protesters.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz picks up the story.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The E.U. Parliament has passed a nonbinding resolution, urging E.U. member states to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, this elite fighting unit, as a terrorist organization.

This was voted by an overwhelming majority of E.U. Parliamentarians. And again, it is nonbinding.

But it's a significant step, and one that prompted a very quick response from Iran's foreign minister. He, in a statement, said that the E.U. should be focused on diplomacy, and went on to say that if the E.U. did, indeed, designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, that that would be like -- and this is the words of Iran's foreign minister -- like the E.U. shooting itself in the foot.

This vote, this nonbinding resolution came about after an annual report was released yesterday that reviews for E.U.'s Parliament, again, its relationships, security relations and foreign relations. In that report, the E.U. Parliament, again, heavily criticized Iran's crackdown on protesters. This movement, these demonstrations that have been happening now for around four months.

I'm going to read you a small portion of the E.U. Parliament statement in that report, Again, it says it is "appalled by unrestrained and disproportionate use of force by Iranian police and security forces."

Again, this designation would be highly controversial, a hot-button issue for Iran.

The United States had designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization in 2019. Now the E.U. potentially looking at making that same move. The U.K., as well, considering that designation.

All showing just much relations between the West and Iran, have deteriorated since the start of these protests and that very brutal crackdown.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


VAUSE: The trial of alleged Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro has been adjourned by a court in Italy until March 9. Messina Denaro did not appear by video link at his hearing Thursday,

but he was not required to do so. His attorney appeared in court, on his behalf.

Messina Denaro has been on the run since 1993 and was considered one of Europe's most wanted criminals, before his arrest on Monday. He's now being held in a maximum-security prison in central Italy.

London's Metropolitan Police are under renewed scrutiny for failing to root out officers accused of some terrible crimes.

On Thursday, there was a revelation an active duty officer, suspected of distributing child pornography, was recently found dead the day before he was due in court, and two retired officers face similar charges.

Earlier this week, another police officer confessed to being a serial rapist. Nina dos Santos reports now on the growing outrage.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outrage like this has simmered across the U.K. since the death of Sarah Everard, raped and murdered by a London Metropolitan Police officer, almost two years ago.

Now, news that this other serving policeman has admitted to 24 counts of rape, has left Britons, especially women, questioning whether they can trust the very people who are supposed to keep them safe.


Patsy Stevenson was among those manhandled by officers from the U.K.'s biggest force, at a protest mourning Sarah Everard in 2021.

PATSY STEVENSON, PROTESTOR: It feels like we're screaming out, can you just change before something like this happens, and now it's happened again.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Both of these policemen had a history of misconduct towards women, and as diplomatic protection offices, they also had access to guns, a rarity within British law enforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. I know we've let -- we've let women down. I mean, I think we failed over two decades to be as ruthless as we ought to be in guarding our own integrity.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): The Met says it's investigating 1,071 officers, involved in 1,633 different cases over a decade.

Commissioner Mark Rowley has complained he doesn't have the power to sack them.

That's little comfort to the women who reported the latest offending officer repeatedly, both before and during his more than 20-year career with the police, to deaf ears. Again and again, he was vetted, and given the greenlight.

Del Baboo spent 30 years with the Met Police, and was once head of the firearms unit.

DAL BABU, FORMER METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I have turned down people when I was a police officer, who I did not think were appropriate. Despite people knowing about this individual, they still allowed him to become a firearms officer.

DOS SANTOS: Why? Is that just an internal protection culture that's prevalent?

BABU: You've got multiple failures in leadership, in making proper decisions.

I remember on one occasion been appalled when a detective sergeant had taken an young constable to a call, pulled up in the side area, and sexually assaulted her. And I -- I wanted him sacked, but he was protected by other officers, and he was given a warning.

I asked my daughters to text me whenever they go out.

DOS SANTOS: Their dad was a police officer for many years. Do you think they trust the police?

BABU: My daughters don't trust the police.

DOS SANTOS: Polling commissioned by a government watchdog in the aftermath of Sarah Everard's murder, suggested that less than half of the British population had a positive view of the nation's police forces.

Other surveys since then indicate that that confidence has only fallen further.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Campaigners like Harriet Wistrich want government inquiries underway to have legal powers to bring in changes to better protect women, and have filed a super complaint in the courts.

HARRIET WISTRICH, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR WOMEN'S JUSTICE: There is a culture of misogyny within the Metropolitan Police. Clearly, the -- they have to make some very radical changes, in order to sort of really encourage women to come forward, because some -- because many women won't come forward.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Transparency will also be key, but some say taking more officers to court might not cut it.

STEVENSON: I don't personally think they're going to change in the way that everyone thinks they are. I think they really need to start from scratch.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Until that happens, Patsy says turning to Britain's police, for her and millions more, will not always be preferable, or indeed, possible.

Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Climate activist Greta Thunberg has expressed her outrage and frustration with talks on climate change at the World Economic Forum. Thunberg was on a panel discussion at Davos and said it was quite absurd to look for solutions at the annual conference and that grassroots pressure from the outside will have a greater impact on leaders and key decision makers.


GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: I think that right now, the changes that we need are not very likely to come from -- from the inside. Rather, I believe that will come from -- from the bottom up, so to speak.

And because without public pressure, without massive public pressure from the outside, at least in my experience, these people are going to go as far as we they possibly can. As long as they can get away with it, they will continue to invest in fossil fuels. They will continue to -- to throw people under the bus for their own gain.


VAUSE: Thunberg says it's time to not rely on those investing in fossil fuels to solve climate problems, saying they're prioritizing corporate greed and short-term profits.

Actor Alec Baldwin facing criminal charges for the shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of his movie, "Rust." When we come back, has the prosecution overreached?

Also ahead, the death of legendary musician David Crosby, who helped write and perform some of the most beloved hit sons of the '60 and the '70s. A look back at his life when we return.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

David Crosby was not just a musician, not just a performer. He was to so many the sound of the '60s and the '70s. After a lengthy illness, he's died, age 81.

Crosby was a central figure in the Southern California music scene, inducted twice into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.

But he struggled with addiction and major health problems. Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He helped shape the sounds of 1960s folk rock, as a founding member of The Byrds. But David Crosby will always be best known as a founding member of Crosby, Stills and Nash. The wildly popular group was made up of, Crosby Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash, their sound distinctive for its melody and harmonies.


KAYE (voice-over): In the midst of the late '60s Laurel Canyon scene in California, their debut album went multi-platinum.

DAVID CROSBY, MUSICIAN: It's an absolute joy, and it's what I was born to do. I love it more than anything except my family. It's the most fun you can have, and yes, I'm including sex. It's really, really a joy. You're communicating to people. You're making them feel something.

KAYE (voice-over): In 1969, Neil Young joined the group, and together they emerged as a powerful cultural influence. A clash of egos between Young and Crosby got in the way, though.

CROSBY: It is not easy. Big ego, no brains.

KAYE (voice-over): The original trio disbanded during the 1970s, but some members would regroup over the years, including coming back together to release the classic, "Southern Cross."


KAYE (voice-over): In 1989, they played the Berlin Wall.


CROSBY: We had this song called "Chippin' Away" that just fit it. We said, "Hey, we're going to go there and sing that song. And it wasn't really a logical thing. It was just something we wanted to do, and we did it."

KAYE (voice-over): Over the years Crosby struggled with addiction. In 1982, after his arrest in Texas on drug and weapons charges, he would spend five months in prison.

CROSBY: I had to, you know, finish up being a completely wasted, you know, addict, and then spent a year in prison to get straight. And then once I did that, I jumped back in wholeheartedly.

KAYE (voice-over): Cocaine and alcohol abuse took its toll, causing Crosby to have liver transplant surgery in 1994. He wrote about his addictions in an autobiography called "Long Time Gone."


Still, Crosby continued to tour after that.

In June 2021, Crosby spoke with Howard Stern and offered his philosophy on life.

CROSBY: I am at the end of my life, Howard, and it's a very strange thing. And here's what I've come to about it. It's not how much time you've got, because we really don't know. I could have two weeks; I could have ten years.

It's what you do with the time that you do have. And so I'm trying to really spend it well. Whatever -- each day that I get, I'm very grateful for. And I try to do it making music, because I think the world needs music.

KAYE (voice-over): David Crosby was 81.


VAUSE: For actor Alec Baldwin, it's a terrible miscarriage of justice. He insists he's not to blame for the 2021 shooting death on his movie set.

But New Mexico's district attorney disagrees and Thursday announced Baldwin and the film's armorer have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Baldwin has vowed to fight the charges, and an attorney for the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, says she has, quote, "committed no crime."

Here's the prosecutor on the decision to bring criminal charges.


MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY, NEW MEXICO: I think it was the totality of the circumstances, that this was a really fast and loose set and that -- that nobody was doing their job.

There were three people, that if they had done their job that day, this tragedy wouldn't have happened. That that's David Halls, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and Alec Baldwin. If they had just done their basic duties, this -- we wouldn't be standing here.


VAUSE: CNN legal analyst Areva Martin joining us now, live from Los Angeles. Hey, Areva.


VAUSE: OK, so to make this charge of involuntary manslaughter stick, I understand the prosecution will need to prove that Bolton was not just reckless in his actions, but criminally negligent. That he was not only aware of the danger, but willfully disregarded it. How steep of a climb is that for the prosecution?

MARTIN: I think it's a difficult case, John, but I don't think it's an impossible one.

The reality is, people shouldn't die on movie sets. This should not have happened. And when you think back to 1993, with that tragic death of Brandon Lee on a set, that was a wake-up call for the movie industry to take better precautions, to impose, you know, better and more stringent safety guidelines.

And as the prosecutor said in this case, safety guidelines were not in place. We know there were text messages from the armorer, complaining about being stretched too thinly, complaining about, you know, lapses in the safety protocols.

We know some of the crew members walked off of the set because of their complaints about the failure to follow safety protocols. Clearly, not the kind of place where you have intentional acts, of premeditation, but just because a case is difficult to prosecute doesn't mean it shouldn't be prosecuted.

VAUSE: OK. I want you to listen to a little bit more from the special prosecutor on why charges were brought against Baldwin. Here she is.


CARMACK-ALTWIES: An actor doesn't get a free pass just because they're an actor. And that's what's so important, is that we're saying here in New Mexico, everyone is equal under the law. Everyone has to follow their duties and do what's right and take that safety into account, so that this doesn't ever happen again.


VAUSE: No free pass for an actor, which seems fair enough, but it seems there was one -- pretty close to one, the assistant director. "Variety" reports that David Hall, the assistant director, agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, which is a misdemeanor.

Halls has acknowledged that he did not check the gun fully before handing it to Baldwin. The maximum sentence is six months in jail. Under this plea agreement, Halls is expected to get a suspended sentence and six months of probation.

So how much does that plea deal undermine the prosecution case against Baldwin?

MARTIN: Well, I don't think it undermines it at all. I think it perhaps will strengthen the case against Baldwin, because one of the things that Hall has agreed to do, that is to testify on behalf of the prosecution, as a part of his plea deal.

Now, we don't know exactly what he's going to say as it relates to Baldwin. We don't know what he's going to say about the safety lapses that happened on that set. But he could be a very important witness for the prosecution, and a witness that's very, you know, detrimental to Alec Baldwin and his defense.

VAUSE: But just explain to me, how is it that Hall can be -- maybe receive six months' probation, and the charges filed against Alec Baldwin, which are very similar, but had the firearm contingency added into it, means he could be seeing up to five years in jail? MARTIN: Well, you know, John, everyone that is charged criminally has a potential to enter into some kind of plea deal with the prosecutor. That's not necessarily off the table for Alec Baldwin. These charges haven't been filed, if the prosecutors said they'll be filed at the end of the month.

And once those charges are officially filed, I would not be surprised if we don't see Alec Baldwin's attorney also having conversations with the prosecutor, about possible plea deals, where a plea deal that would allow him to plead to a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, and to have a suspended sentence in the same way that Hall does.

So I don't think we should assume that a plea deal is off the table for any of the other defendants that have been charged, or will be charged in this case.


VAUSE: Yes. And it seems one of the problems for Alec Baldwin is he can't keep stop talking about details of the case. Here's one example. Listen to this.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: It wasn't in the script for the trier to be pulled.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Well, the trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you never pulled the trigger?

BALDWIN: No, no, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never. Never. That was the training that I had. You don't point a gun at somebody and pull the trigger.

On day one of my instruction in this business, people said to me, Never take the gun and go click, click, click, click, click, because even though it's incremental, you damage the firing pin on the gun if you do that. Don't do that.


VAUSE: The problem is, an FBI forensic report found there's no way the gun would've fired without the trigger being pulled. So, you know, what sort of legal jeopardy could he be talking himself into with this kind of stuff?

MARTIN: Well, it's kind of surprising, John, that we saw Alec Baldwin give the series of interviews like the one you just played, and for him, as you said, to be giving a lot of details about what happened.

The prosecutor made it very clear from the beginning that there was going to be a thorough investigation and that everyone involved was a potential defendant and might potentially be charged. So it's a little surprising that he's been making those statements, in

the way that he has, because all of those statements can be used by the prosecutors. Some of those statements may be impeached. Other witnesses may come in and prove those statements to be false.

So there is always jeopardy for a defendant, when he gives out-of- court statements about facts involving a potential charge, like in this case.

So remains to be seen if those statements will come into the trial, if there is a trial in this matter. But not usual to see a potential defendant talking in such detail about a case when criminal charges are pending.

VAUSE: Yes. I guess this is one of those ones where we'll see how it plays out. And as you said, there could still be a plea deal. So who knows? But Areva, great to have you with us. Thank you.

MARTIN: Great to see, John.

VAUSE: Take care.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, a sense of relief for Jacinda Ardern a day after she stunned the political world by resigning as prime minister of New Zealand.


VAUSE: The cost-of-living crisis affecting much of the world has climbed to a new height in Japan, a country which has long struggled with deflation.

Japan's consumer prices rose 4 percent in December, compared to a year earlier, double the central bank's 2 percent target. The increase is the highest yearly inflation rate for Japan in more than 40 years.

More than half of big Japanese companies say they're planning to increase wages this year. That's according to a Reuters monthly poll.

But smaller and medium-sized firms, which provide most of the jobs around the country, say they're less likely to increase wages.

Well, a day after her unexpected announcement that she was stepping down as New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern says a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.


JACINDA ARDERN, OUTGOING PRIME MINISTER: I felt that I slept well for the first time in a long time last night. But there's still a range of emotions. I of course feel, you know, sad, but also, I do have a sense of relief.


VAUSE: Seems practically giddy. She also says she's deeply humbled by the responses that she's received. Messages of support and gratitude have been pouring in from world leaders in the past 24 hours.


And her resignation surprised a lot of people in New Zealand, as well. CNN's Ivan Watson has more now on her political legacy.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The most famous politician in New Zealand's history dropped a bombshell at her political party's annual retreat.

ARDERN: And so today, I'm announcing that I will not be seeking reelection. And that my term as prime minister, will conclude no later than the 7th of February.

WATSON (voice-over): After five and a half years in office, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she's suffering from burnout.

ARDERN: I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice.

WATSON (voice-over): The announcement stunned members of her Labour Party and drew mixed responses across the island nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she was an excellent leader, and I'm devastated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think her legacy internationally will be good. Locally, her reputation is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was awesome. She did everything she could during the pandemic, kept a lot of people safe. Yes, I think she's going to have a great legacy.

WATSON (voice-over): Ardern is New Zealand's youngest female prime minister, a leader who gave birth to her daughter Neve during her first full year in office, and then went on to face to two once-in-a- generation crises.

In 2019, New Zealand's deadliest terror attack. Ardern helped comfort a traumatized country after a white supremacist gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people.

She then banned military-style semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the attack.

During the first frightening months of the COVID pandemic --

ARDERN: You are not alone. You will hear us and see us, daily.

WATSON (voice-over): Ardern's compassionate leadership prompted a surge in popularity, followed by a landslide election victory.

But over the last year, post-COVID economic woes have battered the prime minister. BRYCE EDWARDS, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, VICTORIA UNIVERSITY OF WELLINGTON:

I think the real reason Ardern's going, is that she's lost popularity, so the opinion polls here have really plummeted for her government, and for her personally.

WATSON (voice-over): Now, Ardern no longer faces a potentially difficult reelection campaign. Instead, she plans to focus on her family.

ARDERN: And to Neve, Mum is looking forward to being there when you start school this year. And to Clarke, let's finally get married.

WATSON (voice-over): Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


VAUSE: Well, spectators at the Australian Open in Melbourne were on the edge of their seat until the early hours Friday morning, as an instant classic did not finish until 4 a.m. local time.

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray, who went underwent multiple potential career-ending hip surgeries back in 2018 and 2019, swept (ph) down two sets to one against Ozzy -- in the second round. OK.

Murray fought back to take the match to an exciting fifth set, the 45- year-old Scot stretching the match out to five hours 45 minutes, before finally completing the win.


ANDY MURRAY, TENNIS PLAYER: Unbelievable that I managed to turn that around. Thanasi was playing -- I mean, serving unbelievable, hitting his forearm (ph) huge. And I don't know how I managed to -- to get through it.

I did -- I did start play playing better as the match went on. And yes, I have a big heart.


VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. WORLD SPORT starts after a short break. We'll be back.