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Vladimir Putin And Xi Jinping Pledge To Expand Ties In Show Of Unity; Uganda Legislation Passes Law Criminalizing Identifying As LGBTQ Plus; Israeli Lawmaker Slammed For Denying Existence Of Palestinians; New York Grand Jury Expected To Resume Hush Money Probe. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 22, 2023 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM. Bizarro World in the Kremlin, where the man who ordered the invasion of Ukraine claims to be peacemaker, enabled by his dear friend with a peace plan, which blames NATO for starting the war.

Party gate the sequel, former and one of the future British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be questioned by lawmakers for hours of accusations he misled parliament.

And Google's not so intelligent artificial intelligent chatbot, playing second fiddle to Microsoft, that's got to hurt.

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

VAUSE: The leaders of China and Russia have wrapped up a three day love fest in Moscow on the surface matters a show of unity and deepening ties between both countries. But Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have also used these talks to pose as peacemakers, touting a suppose plan to end the war in Ukraine. That plan presented by Beijing calls for negotiations and a ceasefire but critically, no requirement for Moscow to withdraw forces from Ukraine.

To make any sense of most of what these two men had to say, required a willing suspension of disbelief. U.S. says it's nothing more, nothing more than an excuse for Putin to buy more time to press on with his war of choice.

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping signed a joint declaration aimed at deepening their partnership. Xi says he's built a close relationship with Putin. And that relationship between Russia and China is crucial to the world order.

Later, they raised their glasses for a toast at a state dinner, where Putin declared relations between the two countries are at the highest point ever. When it's time to say goodbye, Xi told Putin they should put forward chain -- changes "That had not happened for 100 years". More details now from CNN's Matthew Chance reporting in from Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With a drumroll, a grand entrance for the Russian leader.

It's the Chinese president, now on center stage. The Kremlin pomp and ceremony, underlining the crucial importance to Moscow of this visit, President Putin is isolated and sanctioned over Ukraine. But he still has Xi Jinping at his side. The Chinese diplomatic and economic lifeline, vital as Russia is cut off by the West.

We're ready to support Chinese business replacing Western enterprises that have left Russia, Putin says.

The two leaders also spoke of a new gas pipeline to China and signed more than a dozen deals that further connect the two countries. Like it or not, Russia and China are becoming increasingly aligned.

And it's not just raising concerns in the West.

The danger (PH) in Moscow hints at a deep seated Russian mistrust of Chinese expansion. On the one hand, Xi's visiting is good, she says, but knowing their Eastern ways, we should be careful.

On Russian state T.V., there's a similar warning. China can have only one ally, this guest tells the host, China --

But it's the war in Ukraine. Not the wisdom of embracing China overshadowing this summit. There's been no mention of China providing military aid to Russia. But the Kremlin says a controversial Chinese peace plan was thoroughly discussed.

The senior Ukrainian official tells CNN talks are now underway to get the Chinese and Ukrainian leaders on a call.

But there are serious doubts that Xi Jinping who calls Putin his dear friend (INAUDIBLE) of an honest broker to bring the warring sides together.


Or the China which is itself at odds with the U.S. really wants peace between Russia and the West.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


VAUSE: Live there in Hong Kong CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following all of this for us. So, you know, what a couple of days. You know, first up, they're on display for all to see in Moscow. But what does this mean for the war in Ukraine, does anything change?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You know, very chummy, very performative. That's the key question that you just raised and the answer at the moment is no. Look, in Moscow we saw the leaders of China and Russia perform, pose as peace brokers, they were playing up and touting China's plan for peace in Ukraine.

As reported, this is a plan that calls for the end of sanctions. It calls for a ceasefire, calls for talks. It does not include any call for Russia to withdraw from occupied territory, it was drawn up without the involvement of the Ukrainians. It has been roundly criticized by the West, again criticized by the U.S. and NATO.

And overnight, we also heard from the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who added that a ceasefire was not in his country's interest.

Now, in addition to the overtures that we witness for peace in Ukraine and Moscow, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, they also emphasize their ever-deepening relationship and it was on full display at the start of the state dinner on Tuesday, the two leaders raised the glass for a toast and that we heard from Putin, he proclaimed that Russian Chinese relations are at the highest point ever. And we also heard from Xi Jinping who touted their close economic ties, take a listen.


XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): We have signed a joint statement to deepen our comprehensive partnership and strategic engagement as we enter a new era and a joint statement on the development plan for key areas of Chinese Russian economic cooperation for the period up to 2030.


STOUT: Since the invasion, China has been buying Russian energy, effectively softening the impact of Western sanctions. And Putin now says that Russia is ready to increase uninterrupted oil supplies to China.

He points out that Russia is the fourth largest supplier of liquefied gas to China, and those supplies will expand and Putin also said that Moscow will support Chinese business in replacing Western enterprises that left the country.

Now, there will likely be another meeting. We heard from Xi Jinping, he invited Putin to make another visit to China this year.

And separately, John, a senior Ukrainian official tells CNN that talks are underway for that possible call between Xi and Zelenskyy but nothing has been locked in, John.

VAUSE: What is also interesting is that at the same time this is all happening, we have the Prime Minister of Japan who made a surprise unannounced visit to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy.

This is the first time a Prime Minister of Japan has actually visited an active war zone since World War II, it is considered a good visit. So, how is China responding to that right now? STOUT: You know, we -- it's very interesting, we had these two parallel summits involving two Asian leaders with China's Xi Jinping in Moscow and Japan's Fumio Kishida in Kyiv. He made that surprise visit on Tuesday going to Ukraine to visit with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The question was posed on Ministry Foreign Affairs spokesman on Tuesday about the visit, this was the response from MOFA. The spokesman said this, the international community needs to stick to the right path of promoting peace talks and create conditions for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

He goes on to say, "Japan has hoped to do more things that can help de-escalate the situation, not otherwise."

The parallel visits that have been underway underscored the deepening geopolitical divide in Asia, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Of course, Japan is a close ally of the United States. Fumio Kishida the Prime Minister of Japan has been very vocal about the conflict there.

Last year, Prime Minister Kishida saying "Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow." Back to you, John.

VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout live for us, as always there in Hong Kong, we appreciate it.

STOUT: Thank you.

VAUSE: To Seoul now, CNN Political and National Security Analyst David Sanger. He's also the White House and a national security correspondent for The New York Times and it's good to have you with us, David.

First, we have a little technical problem there, we're going to try to get back to David in a moment. Well, issue there with the -- with our link to Seoul. Hopefully, David will be with us in just a moment.

In the meantime, we'll move on to the situation in France where protests continue for six consecutive night there, as anger continues as the government's move to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police in Paris burning garbage piles, it comes as President Emmanuel Macron is set to appear for a television interview on the controversial legislation in the coming hours.

Meantime, unions are calling for a 9th day of nationwide strikes and protests on Thursday.


A sigh of relief from Wall Street as the U.S. Treasury secretary is hinting at more support for small banks. Janet Yellen says the government is willing to guarantee more deposits if the baking meltdown continues.

Cyclical markets in Asia are reacting to the news. It's green across the board, the Nikkei up by more than two percent. Hong Kong up by almost two percent. Shanghai Composite up by a quarter of one percent. So, KOSPI up by almost one percent.

In the U.S., the Dow gained more than 300 points. The S&P finished up 1-1/3 percent, the NASDAQ added more than 1-1/2 percent.

Yellen says Treasury's efforts would help the entire banking sector.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: The steps we took were not focused on aiding specific banks or classes of banks. Our intervention was necessary to protect the broader U.S. banking system. And similar actions could be warranted if smaller institutions suffered deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion.


VAUSE: U.S. Fed central announced its decision on interest rates in the day ahead. Most economists are predicting a modest quarter point hike meant to curb inflation without upending the bond market any further.

Let's go right now to Seoul, CNN Political National Security Analyst David Sanger, he is with us. I believe, David, it's great to have you with us. Thank you. Let's just start with --


VAUSE: Let's just have this joint statement that we heard on Tuesday, both leaders declaring the purpose of the principles of the U.N. Charter must be observed and international law must be respected when it comes to the situation in Ukraine.

You know, this is China and Russia. It all sounds great but neither the Chinese leader or the Russian leader seem willing to do that. So, would we know if there was anything positive that came from this meeting some kind of agreement, or deal maybe behind closed doors that might bring an end to this war?

SANGER: Well, there are two possible ways that there were deals John, one was whether or not Xi Jinping quietly got Putin to agree to withdraw some forces that would enable them to actually have a serious conversation with President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians.

We probably won't know that until President Xi calls President Zelenskyy, which we expect could well happen in the next few days. And we also expect that President Biden and President Xi may also be speaking in the next few days or a few weeks.

So, China's clearly trying to play a little bit of a roll of a peacemaker here. What the concern is for the U.S. is that he's going to try to get an agreement that freezes everything in place. And that would essentially give the Russians a reward for their invasion.

VAUSE: You know, this is almost like Bizarro World at times listening to their statements coming from both leaders on Tuesday, they made this joint declaration like this one from Xi Jinping, listen to this.


JINPING (through translator): China took its position based on the rights and wrongs of true events, we've always been on the side of peace and dialogue on the side that can stand the test of history.


VAUSE: Incredible, he said it with a straight face, almost like he believes it to be true.

You know, in fact, statements from both Xi Jinping and Putin were just blatantly false. At best, they're misleading. Why the need for this kabuki theater?

SANGER: Well, in part to show that Russia has got support and got friends, and the Chinese at this point, I think, consider that the war itself is of somewhat decent utility to them, it has forced Russia fully into their camp, it has distracted the United States, it's kept the U.S. from focusing on the buildup in the Indo Pacific.

It has had the downside, as your earlier report suggested, of hardening some old alliances. So, the image right now of having Prime Minister Kishida in Kyiv at the moment that Xi Jinping is in Moscow really tells you that these alliances have hardened.

Japan has sided more fully with the U.S. So have the South Koreans, I hear they have not made a big deal about their help to Ukraine, but obviously, they are doing some help to Ukraine.

So, if I was President Xi at this point, I would probably think that if anything, this keeps China in the game in two ways.

One, it has a subservient state in Russia right now that's supplying it with oil and so forth. And secondly, it gives the Chinese a moment to play the peacemaker role that the United States really dominated from the end of World War II forward.


VAUSE: The General Secretary of NATO pointed out that this meeting between Xi and Putin is sort of another step in the evolution in their relationship. Listen to this.


JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY GENERAL, NATO: We'll see how China and Russia are coming closer and closer in the military domain, the joint exercises, joint patrols, naval and air patrols in the economic domain and also in the political and diplomatic domain. So the meeting in Moscow is part of that pattern. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And that pattern continues in that direction just getting closer and closer and closer. Do we eventually reach the point where Beijing either covertly or overly start supplying weapons to Moscow because it has no other choice but to support its good friend Russia?

SANGER: Well, we may, they don't have a full alliance yet. I would say they have a condominium of interest. But China's got a lot of interest in the world. And one of them is in not angering the Europeans, trying to split them away a little bit from the United States.

Both the Europeans have significant trade with China, South Korea where I am has significant trade with China.

So, the Chinese know that there is a desire not to sort of openly have a breach with Beijing, and giving weapons to Russia may will trigger that breach.

So, they've been cautious so far, if they hadn't been cautious, John, when the Russians came last summer for drones, they would have provided them. Instead, the Russians had to go to Iran.

VAUSE: This is theory about and it's a valid one too, as you're touching on here, that China is concerned about losing you know it's -- losing its major trading partners, or at least losing access to much of its business with the United States and with the Europeans.

What about conversely, how much can the United States and Europe afford to take on China with economic sanctions? And the economy of the West aren't too great at the moment either.

SANGER: That's right. And there is sort of a mutual hostage taking here. China gets a huge number of its semiconductors from South Korea, from Japan, it wants to keep that trade going. The United States and Europe get a huge number of their consumer goods from China. Everyone wants to keep that going.

The question is, at what point does it become impossible to separate your trade and financial relationships from your geopolitical relationship?

We're not at that point yet. But boy, this hardening of positions in which Russia and China come together, something the U.S. and its allies have been trying to avoid for 50 years now. That's beginning to push the envelope I think.

VAUSE: Yes. Maybe because we live in an interesting times, I think. David, it's good to have you with us as always, thank you, Sir.

SANGER: Great to be with you.

VAUSE: Take care.

VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, a powerful and deadly earthquake hits Afghanistan and Pakistan, causing landslides, damaging homes. More on that in a moment.

Also, Uganda passes new laws criminalizing and identifying as LGBTQ Plus, why this East African nation is seeking such a hostile presence.



VAUSE: At least 11 people have died including two children after a powerful earthquake struck in a remote area in northeast Afghanistan on Tuesday, dozens more had been hurt. Tremors from the 6.5 magnitude quake were not as far away as Pakistan and India.


JAMAL RASHID, STUDENT: The intensity was so high it felt like something is shaking very rapidly and the sound of rattle still haunting my ears right now.

REHAN RASHID, STUDENT (through translator): Women were calling for Allah and the men were running quickly. They were not slowing down for anyone, even for the children who were almost crushed under people's feet. Women were following the elderly too.

ABRAR, SALESMAN (through translator): We were waiting for customers when suddenly it felt that the earth was shaking. I thought it's only me who was feeling vertigo, I could not figure out what was happening.


VAUSE: Quake triggered landslides, which parts of -- which parts of roads in Pakistan and the tremor cause cracks in homes in the capital Islamabad.

Authorities in Ecuador have opened a terrorism investigation after explosive devices were mailed to at least five journalists. A television reporter suffered minor injuries after he plugged in a memory stick containing one explosive into his computer.

The government said in his statement that it categorically rejects all types of violent acts perpetrated against the media.

Well, already lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda face discrimination and legal challenges and now lawmakers are taking that one step further, parliament on Tuesday passed a law imposing a punishment of up to 10 years in prison for identifying as LGBTQ Plus. Uganda say the aim of the bill is to "protect our church culture and traditional family values".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Homosexual is the one who protects, promotes defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, let it be life imprisonment. Whoever recruits our children, whoever gets involved in making sure that our children are involved into this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These people should be castrated, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So despite her being sexually woman, she defends herself as a man. I find it very vague.


VAUSE: Opponents of the bill say the state sponsored bigotry unfairly limits the fundamental rights of LGBTQ Plus persons.

More than 30 African nations, including Uganda have already banned same sex relations.

Israel's nationalist finance minister created an international firestorm after denying the existence of the Palestinian people in nationhood. His comments were condemned by the Palestinian authority and the militant group Hamas and also drew criticism from the U.S. and E.U.


JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: It is wrong. It is disrespectful. It is dangerous. It is counterproductive to say these kinds of things in a situation which is already very tense.


VAUSE: The comments came on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, CNN's Hadas Gold has details.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): One of Israel's top government ministers Bezalel Smotrich, once again causing a diplomatic dustup while speaking in Paris at a memorial service for right wing activist and former executive of the World Zionist Organization.

Smotrich not only claimed that there is no such thing as a Palestinian identity, claiming it was invented in the past century in response to the creation of Israel, but also on the podium was a flag that appeared to show an extended map of Israel that included Gaza, the occupied West Bank, and parts of Jordan.

The remarks about Palestinians and that image of a senior Israeli minister speaking alongside that expanded map drew swift condemnation from the Americans, the Europeans, Emiratis, Saudis and of course, the Jordanians who summoned Israel's ambassador in Amman.


AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The Israeli Government should say clearly that this minister's comments do not represent it.

I saw the statements already made by the government that pointed to their position on this, but we continue to follow up to make sure that we send a clear message on our stance.

GOLD: Now, without directly disavowing Smotrich, the Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, said he called the Jordanian Foreign Minister and assured him "of the commitment the Israeli government has to uphold the peace treaty between the two countries".

The relationship between Israel and Jordan who sounded -- signed a peace treaty in 1994 is very important, but it can often be tense. The Jordanian kingdom is the traditional custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, which is often the site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.

Smotrich's comments actually also came on the same day that Israelis and Palestinians were holding a summit attended alongside the Americans, Egyptians and Jordanians in Sharm El Sheikh, a meeting that was meant to try and help calm tensions ahead of the upcoming Ramadan and Passover holidays.


But clearly, other elements of the Israeli government like Bezalel Smotrich seem to be doing the opposite.


VAUSE: That was Hadas Gold there reporting in from Jerusalem.

We'll take a short break, when we come back, no indictment, no arrests. But tomorrow is another day and another scandal. What we're expecting from New York grand jury investigating Donald Trump as well as his other ongoing legal problems.


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

New trouble for Donald Trump and another ongoing legal scandal. Sources tells CNN the Justice Department has presented compelling preliminary evidence that former President Donald Trump knowingly and deliberately misled his own attorneys about his retention of classified materials after leaving the Oval Office.

And the judge in this case is determined that Trump may have committed a crime and the Justice Department has evidence to back it up.

That evidence is likely to be significant in the obstruction of justice investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith. That's all about the documents that were found at Mar-a-Lago.

A New York grand jury is expected to resume its investigation in the day ahead into Trump's alleged hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Tuesday came and went without an indictment or arrest, only a handful of protesters.

CNN's Paula Reid has more now on the former president's legal troubles.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Right now former President Trump is facing no fewer than four criminal investigations.

ALVIN BRAGG, NEW YORK D.A.: The investigation concerning the former president is ongoing.

REID (voice-over): The case that seems to be putting Trump in the most immediate jeopardy, the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation into hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?


REID (voice-over): The case involves potentially falsified business records and possible campaign finance violations, something that would have surprised Trump back in 1999.

TRUMP: Nobody knows more about campaign finance than I do.

REID (voice-over): The payments to Daniels were facilitated by Cohen in the final days of the 2016 campaign, the Access Hollywood tape had just come out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When your star they let you do it. You can do anything.

REID (voice-over): And Daniels was allegedly trying to sell her story about sleeping with Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it hush money to stay silent?

STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: Yes. The story was coming out again.

REID (voice-over): Cohen Trump's former fixer and personal attorney became one of his primary antagonists.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a con man. And he is a cheat.


REID (voice-over): Cohen has met with the Manhattan D.A.'s office 20 times and appeared before the grand jury twice to testify about the $130,000 payment to Daniels to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump.


REID (voice-over): Trump denies any such affair. Now, almost seven years later, the case may be coming to a conclusion. But, while this particular investigation may be the most imminent, legal experts say it's far from the most consequential.

Trump is also facing a dual-pronged special counsel investigation.

MERRICK GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.

REID (voice-over): Examining both the former president's handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and possible obstruction.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to walk down to the Capitol.

REID (voice-over): And his involvement in the events leading up to the storming of the Capitol on January 6th.

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ATTORNEY: Jack's case is the most important, because it's the constitutionally most significant to the country.

REID (voice-over): And that's not the only investigation related to the 2020 election and its aftermath in Georgia. Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis is looking into Trump and his allies' efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

TRUMP (via phone): I just want to find 11,780 votes.

REID (voice-over): In that case, a special grand jury returned a report recommending multiple indictments, and the D.A. is still deciding on whether to bring charges.

REID: Prosecutors here in Manhattan have a deadline. The statute of limitations in this case expires in May, so it's now or never for the district attorney.

Paula Reid, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has acknowledged Britain's largest police force has been hugely damaged. Sunak's comments to the BBC followed an independent review into London's Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard.

The report found a culture of, quote, "racism, misogyny and homophobia."

London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, urged all reformations to be implemented quickly.

But Britain's home secretary said yesterday the findings don't represent the vast majority of the Met Police force but does concede the need for change.


SUELLA BRAVERMAN, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: Today's report, commissioned by Sunak's predecessor, makes for very concerning reading. It's clear that there have been serious failures of culture, leadership and standards within the Metropolitan Police.


VAUSE: Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley says the force fully accepts the findings and intends to act on them.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will soon face hours of televised questioning that might just determine his political future.

He'll be asked about the so-called Partygate scandal yet again. At issue this time, whether Johnson misled Parliament about the parties held while the U.K. was under lockdown for COVID-19.

In written testimony, Johnson said, "It's clear from that investigation that there is no evidence at all that supports an allegation that I intentionally or recklessly misled the House."

If the committee finds Johnson's deceptions were deliberate, he could be suspended from the House of Commons and deliberately lose his seat -- and potentially lose his seat in Parliament.

More details now from Bianca Nobilo.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Johnson, you made the rules. Surely, you must have known that they were being broken.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Boris Johnson, out of office but not the spotlight. The former prime minister to be grilled on live television by a panel of lawmakers on the scandal that destroyed his premiership, Partygate.

KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The hubris and the arrogance of a government that believed it was one rule for them and another rule for everyone else.

NOBILO (voice-over): Johnson will once again have to answer questions about these damning photos, evidence that he and members of his government attended gatherings within 10 Downing Street while the country was under COVID-19 restrictions.

As the allegations hit the British press, Johnson categorically denied any rules were broken.

JOHNSON: All guidance was followed, completely.

I certainly broke no rules.

All the guidelines were observed.

There was no party.

NOBILO (voice-over): But Johnson was forced to apologize after an internal report showed rule-breaking did occur, and he was fined by the Metropolitan Police.

JOHNSON: I take full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch.

NOBILO (voice-over): Now the key question being considered is whether Johnson deliberately misled Parliament when he was prime minister. If found guilty, Johnson could be suspended as a member of Parliament, potentially triggering a by-election, where he could lose his seat, stymying his efforts to grow his reputation as an international statesman or return to frontline politics.

Johnson maintains he did not intentionally mislead Parliament and has submitted a dossier in his defense, where he claims the inquiry is highly partisan.


His supporters say that he'll be vindicated, and they see it as an opportunity to clear his name.

But Wednesday is a make-or-break moment for Boris Johnson's turbulent political career and legacy. One his critics hope will snuff out any chance of a political comeback.

Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, Google pulls back the curtain on its new A.I. But is Bard ready for prime time?


VAUSE: Google doesn't usually play catch-up, but the Godzilla of online search engines is doing just that with the roll-out of its new artificial intelligence chatbot called Bard.

To experience the new chatbot, users can sign up on a waiting list. It's being rolled out first in the U.S. and the U.K.

Bard is meant to rival ChatGPT, but Google acknowledges Bard still has a lot to learn and says continued feedback from experts and users will help with improvements on the responses.

Josh Constine is a venture partner in venture capital fund SignalFire. He joins us now from San Francisco. Welcome back.

JOSH CONSTINE, VENTURE PARTNER, SIGNALFIRE: Thank you so much for having me.

VAUSE: OK, so here's part of the statement, which came from Google as they opened up Bard for a limited number of users. "While large language models are an exciting technology, they're not without their faults. For instance, because they learn from a wide range of information that reflects real-world biases and stereotypes, those sometimes show up in their outputs. And they can provide inaccurate, misleading or false information while presenting it confidently."

I know that, all about that.

Rolling out a new product with a disclaimer would suggest it's not exactly ready for prime time doesn't suggest a lot of confidence in all this right now.

CONSTINE: You know, Google Bard is named after the poets and singers of old who used to tell those salacious stories like William Shakespeare, but don't expect to get anything too spicy out of its responses.

Google is deeply afraid of its brand being tarnished by misuse of its A.I. And that's why whenever you put a question into the Bard box, it actually gives you three responses to kind of limit its liability, and it's constantly disclaiming that no, you should not be looking at this for facts.

So what can be useful for pulling up, you know, a group of opinions or culling (ph) together information, you want a specific thought? It might not work that well. Which his exactly what happened at the embarrassing launch of Google Bard last month, when they first debuted it, and it got an answer wrong in front of everybody.

But still, I think this is exciting, though, because finally, we have -- we have competition. You know, after an age of monopoly in technology, where Facebook ruled social networking, and Google ruled search, we have real competition in the A.I. market, which can benefit users with better capabilities and benefits start-ups as they all vie to offer the best developer platform.

VAUSE: "The New York Times" has this reporting: "Many in the tech industry believe that Google -- more than any other big tech company -- has a lot to lose and to gain from A.I. A chatbot can instantly produce answers in complete sentences that don't force people to scroll through a list of results, which is what a search engine would offer."


In many ways, it seems Google just never really wanted to go down this road in the first place. And it's kind of easy to see why. "The Wall Street Journal" says ads placed next to search results will produce $162 billion in revenue for Google.

So are those days coming to an end, and Google just doesn't want to see those campaigns (ph) stop?

CONSTINE: I can imagine that Google is hoping that this would never become a fruitful technology that everyone else would be able to offer. That's also why it ended up behind and ChatGPT launched last year and sucked up all of the attention in the space.

And you know, Bard and ChatGPT could become an alternative to search, because instead of having to dig through a ton of results, you'd actually be able to get responses right away. But only to very generic questions.

And that's why I'm more excited about what's going on in the start-up scene. They're actually using these A.I.'s and fine-tuning them for special-use cases bringing the utility where people actually need them, rather than having to paste an answer into ChatGPT or Bard and then copy it out and put it somewhere else.

You know, start-ups like Grammarly from SignalFire's portfolio, it's a grammar and writing assistant. It actually just works wherever you write: in your text messages, in your e-mail, and gives you those kind of tone and clarity and grammar suggestions where you need them.

So I think what's really exciting is the fine-tuning of these platforms to specific use cases and bring the utility out of the search engine, out of the box, and bring it wherever people actually need it.

VAUSE: Everything I've learned about artificial intelligence I've learned from the movies, like HAL. You want to see? Here we go.


KEIR DULLEA, ACTOR: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

DOUGLAS RAIN, ACTOR: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.


VAUSE: HAL's the computer which went insane and killed everyone. Except for Dave.

And then, of course, there's the Terminator.


MICHAEL BIEHN, ACTOR: It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead.


VAUSE: So either Bard, ChatGPT or anyone else, which one's likely to go insane and kill us all? I don't think it's going to be Bard, because Bard doesn't seem to be smart.

CONSTINE: You know, I think none of these are going to be what's happening. I wouldn't worry too much. There's a lot of sensationalist fear that suddenly, these robots and computers are going to come alive and kill us.

Honestly, they're still learning. They're kind of in their adolescence right now. And more exciting is how we finetune them. You know, I think if we make a general-use A.I. that's good at everything, that could be a little bit more scary. But by building specific finetune models for very specific use cases, they get better fast. And they can actually answer without getting confused, the way that Bard does. You know, our friend (ph) SignalFire, we built our own A.I. to help us find the best start-ups. And you can't ask ChatGPT what the best seed stage (ph) company is. It's going to tell you what's most popular or what had the most press coverage. You have to have human, in-the-loop feedback, where you do these feedback cycles where the human teaches the A.I. what's right and wrong.

And what we need to rely on is that all of these major platforms are doing that finetuning, are keeping those safeguards there, and are making sure that this technology does not get out of hand and instead, takes away some of the ordure and boring parts of life so we can get back to focusing on what makes us truly human; our creativity and our ability to curate what these A.I.'s give us.

VAUSE: I just hope they're not going to kill us, Josh. That's good enough for me. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

CONSTINE: Thanks so much for having me.

VAUSE: Thanks, mate.

I'm John Vause. Back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM. But first, WORLD SPORT starts after a short break.