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Judge Rules Sexual Assault Lawsuit against Prince Andrew Can Move Ahead; Novak Djokovic Clarifying "Misinformation" amid Visa Saga; No Commitments from Russia to De-Escalate Ukraine Crisis; Lawmakers Blast Boris Johnson Over Deepening Scandal; Aired 10-10:40a ET

Aired January 12, 2022 - 10:00   ET





LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: We'll continue to follow the case, speaking to a number of legal experts over the coming hours.

For now, I want to move onto the Djokovic story. And the drama surrounding the world's number one tennis star just keeps growing. Now a pair of French

sports journalists want to know why they were not told Novak Djokovic had COVID.

Djokovic sat down for an interview with them a day after a positive COVID test. And in a social media post, Djokovic said doing the interview and not

isolating was an error of judgment.

He also denied knowing he was positive before going to other events, including a youth tennis award ceremony. Australia's border force is

investigating all of these events and possible inconsistencies in Djokovic's visa documents. He calls these human error and he says they were

not deliberate.

Paula Hancocks is following developments and joins us from Melbourne.

Good to have you with us. After four nights in a detention center, Djokovic was cleared by a judge to stay in Australia but he's far from out of the

woods. Give us a sense of the timeline after he got the positive COVID test.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we heard from Djokovic himself on Wednesday, feeling the need to speak publicly, he said, on December 14th in

Belgrade, he attended a basketball match. And he said after that game there were a number of people who tested positive. And so he then took a PCR test

on December 16th.

He said December 17th, as he was waiting for the result, he took a rapid antigen test, which he says was negative and then went to a number of

public events, which you've mentioned. In the events he was photographed maskless.

And he says afterwards, he was positive with COVID-19 but the next day, December 18th, he carried out a media interview and photo shoot knowing he

was infected.

He said in the statement, which he posted on social media, he didn't want to let the journalists down but said, on reflection this was an error of


And when it comes to the Australia travel declaration, it's a document which specifies, when you fill it in, that filling it in incorrectly would

have repercussions. He said it was his support team who actually filled it in. When it asked if he would be traveling or had been traveling the 14

days before arrival, the no box was ticked; where, in actual fact, we have evidence and photograph evidence of him both in Spain and in Serbia, it


And so he said that that was an error as well but said it was a human error and certainly not deliberate.

So two errors that he is admitting to at this point. And, as you say, it's something that Australia border forces are looking at very closely. A

source close to the investigation tells CNN they are expanding the scope of their investigation, at this point looking at, they say, possible

inconsistencies in the documents related to the PCR test, from results from last month, and also his movements in the days after testing positive.

Now of course, we are still waiting for the immigration minister to decide whether he'll get personally involved, which he has the power to do, and to

revoke the visa of Novak Djokovic.

We haven't heard when that will be; presumably, he would wait until there is some kind of result from the investigation from the Australia border

force. We simply don't know at this point. So we're waiting to hear what the next move is. Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly a lot under scrutiny right now, Paula. We did hear from the shadow immigration minister, who spoke to our affiliate. I want to

play some of this sound from that interview.


KRISTINA KENEAILY, AUSTRIAN SHADOW IMMIGRATION MINISTER: This is an incredible mess and, Minister, prime minister Morrison and his home affairs

minister have a hell of a lot of explaining to do, because what we have seen from this is that Australians now know they can't trust the Morrison

government to enforce the rules at the border.

And they have done incredible damage to the reputation of the Australian Open.


KINKADE: That was Kristina Kineaily there, talking about the mess for the Australian government.

What is the process now?

Could Djokovic still be deported?

HANCOCKS: He could, yes. I mean, clearly, you know, by seeing and hearing what the shadow immigration minister has to say, this is very political. It

has become political here in Australia.

There is going to be an election coming up. And certainly that is playing into some of these decisions as to what to do. But the immigration minister

can still decide that Djokovic did break rules and that he does not tick all the boxes in order to be allowed into the country unvaccinated.

The rule is fairly clear for entry into Australia: you either have to be fully vaccinated or have a watertight medical exception. And that is the

question whether or not it was watertight. And there are a number of different rules that the immigration minister could look at, to give a

reason why Djokovic should not be in the country.

But of course, as I say, it is political as well. You have the prime minister, Scott Morrison, come down clearly on the side that rules are

rules. He doesn't believe that there should be separate rules for other people, that celebrities should not be treated any differently.

It's something we've heard on the streets of Melbourne as well. Yes, there is definitely a chance he could still be deported. But quite frankly,

Lynda, things are moving very quickly and changing all the time. So I don't think anyone would want to make any predictions.

KINKADE: Exactly. There is so much interest in this case and, from the people you're speaking to in Melbourne, from family and friends, I'm

hearing there isn't a great deal of sympathy, given the tough lockdown restrictions they've had the last year or so.


KINKADE: Paula Hancocks, good to have you with us from Melbourne, Australia.

Difficult to read (ph) but useful. That's how the NATO chief describes today's meeting with Russia. Jens Stoltenberg says the two sides have

significant differences on security issues. He called on Russia to deescalate the situation over its military buildup near Ukraine and to

continue with talks.

Both the U.S. and NATO had some strong words. Take a listen.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: The risk of conflict is real. Russia's aggressive actions seriously undermine the security order in


NATO remains committed to our dual track approach to Russia: strong deterrence and defense combined with meaningful dialogue. It is a positive

signal that Russia is now prepared to come to the table and talk because, when tensions are high, dialogue is even more important.



WENDY SHERMAN, UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE: The United States and our NATO allies were united in our responses to the deputy foreign minister and the

deputy minister of defense and their comments, including when it comes to certain core Russian proposals that are simply non-starters.


KINKADE: Well, let's kick off our coverage on this. Matthew Chance joins us from Moscow and Sam Kiley is in Kiev.

Matthew, we did hear threats from NATO and the U.S., should Russia invade Ukraine.

From a Russian perspective, what, if anything, has been achieved so far in these talks?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what NATO says is the talks might continue if Russia is prepared to do that. But I

mean, the fact is no progress has been made at this point on the core demands that Russia has made; namely, an end to NATO expansion eastward,

which Russia says violates or threatens national security, and a pull back of weapons inside countries that joined NATO since the collapse of the

Soviet Union.

Publicly, the Russians are saying these are not negotiable; these are the demands, their red lines they have to have met. Now you know, we don't know

what is going to happen if those demands are not going to be met, as seems likely.

No Western official, no one at NATO, no one in the United States is prepared to accede to those kinds of demands. But there are all sorts of

other possible compromises on the table; a new treaty, reviving a treaty to limit the deployment of missiles inside Europe and more transparency close

to Russia's border. There is a range of other bilateral issues, a reset as well to get diplomats back into each other's countries.

The big question is whether the one man who will decide Russian strategy, Vladimir Putin, is going to accept those compromises as being enough to

allow him to carry on talks and to hold back an invasion of Ukraine or whether he's going to say, look, you know, I've told you what my red lines


You're not prepared to seriously meet them. And therefore, press the button on an invasion. I suppose there is an ambiguity about which way Russia,

Vladimir Putin is going to go at the end of these negotiations, with these rounds that come to an end, of course, by the end of this week.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly not clear which way they will go, as you pointed out so well, Matthew.

Sam, to you. Because not only are there 100,000 troops on the border, the Russian military has been using live drills during the past 24 hours and

Ukraine is not involved in these talks.

What is their view right now, as they sit on the sidelines of these talks?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they would be reassured by the constant reassurance coming from NATO officials -- and we

heard from Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. official at these talks and at the bilateral talks, no talks about Ukraine without Ukraine's presence.

So the talks with Russia and NATO, much more as Matthew is pointing ,out on the wider scope of relationships with Eastern Europe and so on. But here in

Ukraine, there is a very deep sense that they could be on the verge of being invaded.

They have at least 120,000 troops reportedly massing on their borders in a kind of pincer shape around the eastern lozenge of the country. There are

Russian troops inside the Donbas region of Ukraine, albeit covertly. And they've got into Ukraine intelligence.


KILEY: They've seen evidence of two rebel units in the Donbas union, simultaneously with this live exercise being conducted across the border in

Russian territory, a clear indication both sides might be working together there, both sides of that border.

And meanwhile, of course, you've got these talks on going that are going to involve Ukraine at the OSCE on Thursday and indeed the senior military

officers from Ukraine and Georgia, another country neighboring Russia that has troops and occupation of some of its territory, will be there on the


So sorry, in Brussels, they'll be present at the NATO talks in Brussels. So in that context, they are feeling confident the allies in the West will

stand shoulder to shoulder and know there won't be military intervention to protect them, albeit there may be some military support in terms of weapons

and so on and training that's continuing to come in, Lynda.

KINKADE: We'll stay on this story. We'll speak to you soon. Thank you very much, Sam Kiley for us in Kiev. Matthew Chance in Moscow.

Political fireworks and a big apology out of London a short time ago. British prime minister Boris Johnson coming under fire from U.K. lawmakers,

including members of his own Conservative Party, when he confirmed he was indeed at a Downing Street gathering in May of 2020.

And that of course, is when England was under a strict COVID lockdown. Here is what the prime minister had to say about it.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary

sacrifices over the last 18 months. I know the anguish that they have been through, unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as

they want or to do the things they love.

And I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead, when they think, in Downing Street itself, the rules are not being properly

followed by the people that make the rules.


KINKADE: Well, during a heated weekly session of prime minister's questions, the leader of the opposition called on prime minister Johnson to

resign. CNN has been watching the Downing Street COVID scandal develop for weeks. We have been discussing it many times, Salma Abdelaziz joins us now

from London.

So this is not the first time, Salma, that Boris Johnson been called to resign over the handling of COVID and due to the fact his own staffers

ignored the COVID lockdown rules of the government at the time.

But this is the first time he has indeed confirmed that he did, in fact, attend a gathering like this during COVID lockdown.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Lynda. It is a significant day after weeks and weeks of controversy, after reports of Christmas

parties and garden parties and bring your booze parties, prime minister Boris Johnson finally offering an apology.

But here is the catch. It is a sort of apology. The prime minister did not admit to any wrongdoing. He did not admit his administration violated any

COVID rules; instead, saying all of this is under investigation. The opposition Labour leader was quick to call that out. Take a listen.


KEIR STARMER, U.K. LABOUR LEADER: After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man, who has run out of road, his defense --

his defense that he didn't realize he was at a party --


STARMER: -- is so ridiculous that it's actually offensive to the British public. He's finally been forced to admit what everyone knew, that when the

whole country was locked down, he was hosting boozy parties in Downing Street.

Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?


ABDELAZIZ: You know, those sessions can be quite boisterous but today it was ever more ferocious. At times you could see prime minister Boris

Johnson quite literally flinching as MPs pointed at him and said, you were having boozy parties while people were dying of COVID-19, while people were

separated from their families.

And yes, while this might not be the apology his critics wanted, it's again super significant to hear this from the prime minister, Lynda. You have to

remember, Johnson had for weeks now denied any parties took place -- no parties, no parties. I have no knowledge of any of this.

Now he's admitted to being at one of the gatherings himself.

Why is this important?

There is his political survival.

Does his party continue to back him and support him, now that he's admitted to being at one of those parties?

Of course, the prime minister's worst fear in this possibility is a no confidence vote.


ABDELAZIZ: That's not imminent by any stretch of the imagination. That would require the Conservative Party to literally mutiny against the prime

minister. That's not what is happening but that's his worst fear.

And there is the second thing to consider here, the court of public opinion. This is no longer about how many parties took place or who was

there or whether it was a summer party or a Christmas party. It's about how the prime minister has handled this Partygate scandal -- plural, of course

-- because it is seen by many here that the prime minister has simply lied to the public over and over again.

And it's hard to imagine, Lynda, how he comes back from that and wins back hearts and minds. A snap poll shows two-thirds of adults in this country

want to see him resign. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, we'll stay on this story. Certainly a lot of interest. Thanks very much.

Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, with a flurry of diplomacy and Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, I'll talk to with retired Army Lt. Col.

Alexander Vindman about the crisis of Ukraine. Stay with us.




KINKADE: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

It's a week of high stakes diplomacy in Vienna and Brussels as Russian diplomats meet with U.S. officials and attend the NATO-Russian council.

When NATO demanding Russian forces withdrawal from the Ukrainian border and Russia is insisting NATO not expand its membership to Ukraine and other

countries in Europe.

My next guest is a U.S. expert on Ukraine, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. He testified in Congress about former president Donald

Trump's 2019 call to Ukraine's president. Now transcripts of that call reveal that Trump asked for an investigation of Joe Biden's son after the

Ukrainian president asked Trump to release promised military aid.

The House impeached Trump on two charges, including abuse of power before he was acquitted in the Senate. Alexander Vindman joins me now.

Good to have you with us.

LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN, NSC TOP UKRAINE EXPERT: Hi, Lynda. Thanks for having me on.

KINKADE: On the eve of these talks today, the Russian military began these live fire drills in the region very close to the border with Ukraine.

Why would Russia do that?

What message is it sending?

VINDMAN: It seems to me that the military is on their own timeline to be prepared to go conduct this offensive within a matter of weeks. You still

have a significant buildup of forces from areas that we've actually not seen significant forces come from; the Eastern military district, some 11

time zones away, in the far east of Russia.


VINDMAN: Their forces are coming over from that region now to be positioned along Ukraine's border, in addition to the live fire exercises.

These are the kinds of reserve forces and rehearsals that are conducted in the closing days before a major offensive of this type.

So what we're really seeing is a difference, a divergence between words and deeds. The military is continuing to move forward, to be prepared to take

this massive military offensive within a matter of weeks, while a little progress is being made on the diplomatic front.

KINKADE: So this is the second of three engagements this week between Russia and the West. Yesterday's meeting with Russian and U.S. officials

lasted seven hours.

What did we glean from that?

VINDMAN: Little. Frankly, we're no closer to seeing eye to eye between the sides than we were a week ago. The bottom line is that Russians continue to

maintain a maximalist (ph) position.

These security guarantees that are supposed to really signal that the U.S. is willing to back off its policy toward support of Ukraine, that's really

the most important thing, is they're looking for the signal.

And the gravy, the secondary objective would be gains on the European security front, some of these security assurances. And the U.S. has not

yielded whatsoever on this. So we still have the same positions being laid out; no real progress being made, nothing that really maybe even offers

Putin that much of a face-saving measure, besides having meetings themselves, which, in a way, is a win.

He's on a global agenda, the U.S. agenda, the European agenda. But nothing that really advances his interests of retaining Ukraine or incorporating

Ukraine back into the Russian sphere of influence.

So little is being made while we still have buildup of forces and we're likely, because there is also a lack of deterrence, there is nothing on the

balance of this equation that suggests that the Russians will have a harder time in Ukraine. There's not a provision of military equipment, defensive

lethal aid to Ukraine.

There is no change in force posture. There is not an additional force presence being positioned in Europe. Nothing is really changing Putin's

calculus to take action. So I think we're just getting closer and closer to Russia's execution date. And this will be the largest military offensive in

Europe since World War II.

KINKADE: So given what you've just laid out, how prepared is Ukraine to deal with an invasion by Russia?

VINDMAN: Ukraine is just about as prepared as it can be. It's interesting that the Ukrainians, for the first several months of an earlier part of

this year, also attributed Russia's buildup to a bout of diplomatic coercion. And they dismissed it as saber rattling.

But we've seen steps in recent months and weeks that the Ukrainians are taking more serious precautions, repositioning air defense units,

positioning other combat units forward.

What we haven't seen from the Ukrainians is the activation of their combat capable reserve forces. So you have the front line units and then reserves

of people that have fought on the front in the past. And that amounts to several hundred thousand personnel.

Not many of those have been activated thus far. When we see those forces being activated again, more than likely, in the coming weeks, then we know

that this offensive is right on the horizon.

But the Ukrainians could really frankly do only so much. They've made huge strides since 2014; rebuilt the military, from some 60,000 troops on paper

with only several thousand that were actually operationally ready, to 250,000 troops.

But they're being encircled on three sides, the north, the east and the south, by a superior fighting force and, more than likely, this is going to

be a protracted battle. They will do what they can with regards to regular convention forces and then a home guard and stay behind forces to make this

as bloody and painful as possible.

The Ukrainians will defend their territory and this is going to be bloody.

KINKADE: None of it sounds good. Alexander Vindman, good to get your perspective. Appreciate your time.

VINDMAN: Thank you.

KINKADE: Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD a worst-case scenario for Prince Andrew as a judge hands down a stunning rejection. We'll have more on that

just ahead.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

We have more on our breaking news. A U.S. judge in New York is rejecting Prince Andrew's bid to dismiss a civil sexual lawsuit. It was filed by a

woman alleging she was sexually trafficked by the Duke of New York when underage.

Prince Andrew consistently denied the allegation. Max Foster is outside London.

New details just coming to us. Take us through this ruling.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, what it effectively means is Prince Andrew, having tried multiple times to get this case thrown out, has

failed in all attempts. The most recent one was to argue that there was an agreement with Epstein not to pursue cases like this.

The judge says that's not so clear cut. So therefore the case continues. And now it goes to depositions and Prince Andrew will be asked to speak to

the court.

Will he do that?

Will he even engage in the process?

It's not clear. Ultimately, it could end up going to trial in the autumn and he could be found guilty. He can't be sent to prison because this isn't

a criminal case; it's a civil case. But nevertheless, it's a huge blow to Prince Andrew, because all of his legal arguments have fallen on deaf ears

in the court.

And Giuffre's arguments, her attempt to have her say in court seem to be winning with the judge. The judge was more sympathetic to her arguments

last week in a hearing. It does feel as though this is going to go to a full case, which is very embarrassing for Prince Andrew and the royal


Prince Andrew of course denies all the charges but can't avoid all this PR.

KINKADE: Exactly. Talk to us about this PR. This is not good for Buckingham Palace.

How are they responding?

FOSTER: Well, we've only got one statement from them and that is they're not commenting because they don't comment on legal matters. And that's the

very difficult thing for them here. The monarchy can't be involved. It's a pillar of democracy, can't be seen to be involved in any judiciary, even if

not a U.K. judiciary.

They have to completely step back and allow the legal process to unfold. So they're not making any comment here.

I spoke to a source close to Prince Andrew. They reiterate the line given to us in the past, the Duke always vigorously maintained his innocence. It

is just a case of waiting to hear what Giuffre's lawyers want and see how Prince Andrew reacts to that.


FOSTER: No doubt they'll ask his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, other royals as well potentially, to potentially speak to the U.S. court because they may

be able to shed light on Prince Andrew's relationship with Epstein, that plays into this.

And they've talked to asking Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to give a deposition. She would be expected to give the deposition because she's a

U.S. citizen and this comes under U.S. law. We'll wait to see how Prince Andrew responds.

At the moment, they're not commenting to this. I think it's a big shock because, on multiple grounds, they've been trying to get the case thrown

out. They keep failing. So they have to find a new strategy and fight the case in court.

KINKADE: Exactly. We'll be following closely. Max Foster for us in London, thanks so much.

We'll stay on this story. I want to welcome in CNN legal analyst Areva Martin, who joins us live.

Off the very bat, Areva, take us through the ruling.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What this judge said is the settlement agreement that Giuffre and Epstein entered into in 2009 had language that

said the agreement was applicable to potential third parties that could have been brought as defendants in the lawsuit that Giuffre filed against


So the prince was relying on that language to say that this prevented Virginia Roberts Giuffre from going forward in any additional lawsuits,

particularly any against him. And the judge has rejected that argument, saying the language in that settlement agreement is ambiguous and is

subject to multiple interpretations.

So the judge says it's not clear that language was intended to benefit Prince Andrew and, for that reason, the judge says this case can continue,

which means the discovery process can commence.

We heard Max talk about depositions but there's also written discovery that can be served on the prince, as well as others, who may have information

about the allegations that Giuffre is making.

But essentially this could end up in a New York court and, if the prince is found liable, meaning he engaged in the conduct he's alleged to have

engaged in, he could be responsible for huge monetary damages.

KINKADE: Right. To backtrack slightly, you were referring to a settlement Giuffre was paid by Epstein to basically drop the claims against all

parties. But Prince Andrew's name was never mentioned in the documents, right?

MARTIN: That's correct. His name is not mentioned. There is a phrase in the settlement agreement and that agreement -- Giuffre sued Epstein

alleging he sex trafficked her and sexual abused her and made her available to his pals, including Prince Andrew. And they settled it, out of court

settlement, entered into a settlement agreement. And there is language in the document that suggests that Epstein was trying to prevent other people

from being sued by Giuffre or including them in this settlement but without mentioning their names.

And the judge says look, Prince Andrew is not mentioned in this agreement and it's not clear that he was intended to benefit from this agreement.

Therefore, this lawsuit can go forward.

KINKADE: So Areva, take us through Ms. Giuffre's complaints.

MARTIN: She is essentially saying, when she was an underaged minor, Jeffrey Epstein made her available, facilitated, allowed Prince Andrew to

engage in sexual conduct, sexual activity with her as a minor. And she's alleging that she suffered emotional distress as a result of being sexual

assaulted as a minor by Prince Andrew.

These are very serious allegations. We know that there has been a conviction, as it relates to Ghislaine Maxwell, another one of Epstein's

associates, former girlfriend, just found recently guilty of facilitating and allowing, helping to entice young girls and making them available to

Epstein and his pals to be sexually abused.

So this is an extension of what we saw in the Maxwell criminal case. Except this is a civil lawsuit. So jail time, those kinds of criminal penalties

are not at stake in this case. But huge civil penalties, by way of compensatory and perhaps even punitive damages, could be leveled against

the prince.

KINKADE: All right. We should note that Prince Andrew all along has consistently denied these accusations. All right. We'll leave it there for

now. Areva Martin, thanks very much.

MARTIN: Thanks, Lynda.

KINKADE: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll take a very quick break. We'll be right back.