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Isa Soares Tonight

Democrats Secure Outright U.S. Senate Majority After Raphael Warnock's Win; China Overhauls Zero-COVID; Peru's President Dissolves Congress And Declares A Nationwide Curfew; Protests On Tehran Campus When Iranian President Visits For Students' Day; Peruvian Congress Impeaches President; Germany Arrests 25 Suspected In Plot To Overthrow Government. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 07, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ELENI GIOKOS, HOST: Welcome to the show, I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai, in for Isa Soares. Tonight, a Democratic victory in the Georgia Senate runoff

could spell disaster for Donald Trump's re-election hopes. Then dismantling zero COVID. Millions in China regain every day freedoms.

And Peru's president dissolves congress and puts the country under curfew, as he tries to block an impeachment vote. This Autumn's U.S. election was

once predicted to be a Republican landslide. But in the state of Georgia last night, Democrats put that firmly to rest as Raphael Warnock was

elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate.

Warnock defeated Georgia football hero, Republican Herschel Walker in a runoff election. His victory was another rebuff of Donald Trump who

endorsed Walker and other Republicans, almost all of whom lost their races. Warnock celebrated with his supporters using language which was more suited

to his role as pastor of the Atlanta Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once presided.


RAPHAEL WARNOCK, SENATOR-ELECT FOR GEORGIA: Let's celebrate for a little while on this mountain. Let's dance because we deserve it. But tomorrow, we

go back down into the valley to do the work.


GIOKOS: Well, CNN's Amara Walker is in Georgia state capital, Atlanta, for us. I want to look at the numbers because it's really interesting to

dissect, 51 Senate seats for the Democrats, 49 for Republicans. And this basically means the legislation is going to be, you know, processed faster.

But I'm interested in the Senate Judiciary members.

Twenty two members, 12 of whom are going to be Democrats. Could you tell us how this is giving Democrats an edge?

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's absolutely giving Democrats an edge. So, if you have a majority now in these committees like

the Senate Judiciary Committee, that approves Senate Judiciary nominations before it moves to the full Senate, then yes, it will definitely make an

impact in terms of moving these nominations through much faster.

And when you talk about the margins, Eleni, Raphael Warnock was able to extend his lead compared to the runoff by 95,000 more votes he got this

time around, compare it to 37,000 votes. I also want to mention, Eleni, that this was really a historic election. This is the first time that

Georgia saw two black candidates running for the U.S. Senate seat.

And Warnock's win also cements Georgia as a critical swing state now. His win on top of Biden's win in 2020 when President Biden won in 2020, the

state of Georgia, it was the first time that a Democrat had won the presidency in nearly 30 years. You heard Raphael Warnock's victory speech

there. Take a listen now to what Herschel Walker had to say, the Republican challenger, as he conceded last night.


HERSCHEL WALKER, FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER: I want you to believe in America and continue to believe in the constitution, and believe in our elected

officials. Most of all, continue to pray for them. So I want to thank all you as well because there's always excuses in life. And I'm not going to

make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight.


WALKER: What's notable there is you hear Herschel Walker, a man who is hand-picked by Donald Trump, telling his supporters to believe in the

constitution. A stark contrast to what Trump put out on his social media site over the weekend, calling for the constitution to be terminated.


GIOKOS: Amara Walker, always good to see you, thank you so much for breaking that down for us. All right, right before Donald Trump's candidate

lost in that Georgia runoff, a Manhattan jury found two Trump Organization companies guilty on multiple charges. And that's including criminal tax

fraud and falsifying business records.

Mr. Trump and his family were not charged in the case, but the Trump Organization could face a maximum fine of about $1.6 million. The group's

attorneys say they will appeal. Kara Scannell is in New York for us. And that as we know and we've just ascertained, Donald Trump, his children's

are not charged in this case.

What is interesting though, is that the prosecution suggests that Donald Trump explicitly sanctioned some of the fraud behavior during closing

arguments. Could you give us a sense of what comes next here?


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, you are absolutely right. The former president's family were not charged, but they were front and

center during this trial which spanned seven weeks, and in closing arguments, one of the prosecutors told the jury that Trump explicitly

sanctioned some of this tax fraud.

I know, of course, his attorneys are saying that, you know, he didn't and they wanted -- they moved for a mistrial on that, but the judge denied it,

saying that, you know, he would tell the jury and he did, that they shouldn't put as much weight on that. But this decisive verdict coming on

the second day of deliberations, eight men, four women, all New Yorkers, all agreeing unanimously that these two Trump entities were guilty of tax

fraud, falsifying business records and other crimes.

So now, what's next is that the Trump Organization says they are going to move to appeal. That is a thing that will take some process. It will be

sometime. But next month, the judge has already scheduled the sentencing for the Trump Organization entities. And they face under New York law a

maximum of $1.6 million in fines.

What is unknown is what kind of repercussions that this may have, either reputationally for the former president and this company, or you know, just

in a matter of how the company will function. If they will have any problems getting loans or engaging in new business or contracts. Because

there is a stigma attached to a company that has been both charged and convicted of a felony. Eleni?

GIOKOS: And what we've also heard now, lawyers for the former president hiring a team to search his full properties for any remaining classified

documents. And that's according to a source. This is also an interesting development because Mar-a-Lago has been in the news a lot. And of course,

the issues surrounding Donald Trump, of course, as you mentioned and said in terms of stigma on the tax fraud front. This is also a big weight on

Trump's shoulders.

SCANNELL: Yes, absolutely. I mean, this has been an issue, what kind of documents were at Mar-a-Lago. They've been back and forth in court. You

know, Trump has had a number of legal setbacks in this case. But you know, one of the issues has been this dispute between Trump and the Justice

Department where there has been some distrust by the Justice Department that Trump has actually turned over all of the presidential records

including those with the classified markings.

Well, a source tells our colleague, Kaitlan Collins, that the Trump team had hired two outsiders to go to other properties. They searched four

properties, two of them, Trump Tower and Bedminster in New Jersey where Trump has a golf course. Those searches were undertaken. They combed

through these materials, whatever they could find there.

And there's new reporting from "The Washington Post" that they searched also a storage facility in Florida and found two documents there that were

marked classified. "The Post" says that those documents were now turned over to the Justice Department.

GIOKOS: Kara Scannell, thank you very much for that. Now, we know that this guilty verdict comes just three weeks after Donald Trump said he was

running again for the White House. And I want to bring in senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joining us. Ron, thank you so much. There's so much

news surrounding Donald Trump --


GIOKOS: This is all in the lead up to the campaign for 2024. You know, Kara just said that there is a stigma attached to tax fraud of being found

guilty. We know they want to appeal, but how does this sort of impact Donald Trump's reputation?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the things that happened yesterday, Eleni, I think losing in Georgia will have a bigger --


Long-term impact on Trump's viability --

GIOKOS: Yes --

BROWNSTEIN: As a Republican primary candidate, then this. But I do think all of the legal challenges that are mounting for Trump is deepening the

sense among party leaders. A sense that is largely driven by the failures of Trump-backed candidates in the midterm election, that he simply cannot

be the party's nominee again in 2024.

Of course, the big question is whether the rank-and-file actual primary voters who will make the decision agree. And it's not clear to me that this

sort of thing will really sour more of them on Trump than have already moved away from him. If you are with Trump at this point, you have stood

with him through an awful lot of scandals and allegations --

GIOKOS: Yes --

BROWNSTEIN: And that -- and that may not be the critical determinant. The critical determinant may be whether or not Republican voters simply think

that he is a path towards losing the White House in 2024.

GIOKOS: And there's an interesting shift. And I want to quote, you know, a line from your article that you wrote today. "Warnock's victory over

Republican Herschel Walker, Democrats have defeated every GOP Senate and gubernatorial candidate endorsed by Donald Trump. This year, in five states

that flipped from supporting him in 2016."

So, I think this is sort of the punch-line for me. But what does it actually tell us?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, look, I mean, there were five states that decided the 2020 election. By flipping, as you said from Trump in 2016 for Biden in

2020 --

GIOKOS: Yes --


BROWNSTEIN: There were Arizona and Georgia, and I'll sound though(ph), Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in our rust belt. Trump endorsed

gubernatorial or Senate candidates in all of them. And in all of those states, his candidates now with Walker's defeat yesterday have been


And that came at a moment when three-quarters of Americans were saying the economy is in bad shape. And when a majority of voters in all five of those

states said they disapprove of Biden's job performance. And yet, despite all of those powerful tailwinds, the Trump-backed candidates lost in all of

the states that will likely decide the outcome again in 2024.

And I think that's a pretty clear signal that there is a stable coalition of voters in those pivotal states that are resistant to the vision of

America that Trump put forth. The last point that's worth noting is that the outcomes look very similar, Eleni, in all five of these states. The

kind of coalitions that came together to beat these Trump candidates, college-educated voters, young voters, secular voters, female voters.

All clustered in the big metro areas of those states. It looked the same in Arizona as it did in Georgia and Michigan and Pennsylvania. So, I think

there's a consistent and clear message to Republican leaders. Again, whether Republican voters want to hear it, is another question.

GIOKOS: Yes, and that's where it becomes interesting, right? So it's also the caliber of candidates that we've seen. And then the big sort of

overriding question. How strong are Biden and Trump looking as presidential candidates. And do parties have to, you know, reassess what they should be

doing. What is your prognosis on the next step?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I think as long as Trump is running, Biden is going to run -- health permitting, I think --

GIOKOS: Yes --

BROWNSTEIN: There's essentially no chance that he will choose not to run because he believes that it is his final mission after a five decade career

in American politics to prevent Donald Trump from destroying American democracy, which he believes Trump is a threat to do. The challenge on the

Republican side -- and clearly, there is more resistance to Trump and the leadership levels of the GOP than there was in 2016. The challenge is going

to be --

GIOKOS: Yes --

BROWNSTEIN: That the rules by which Republicans pick their nominee benefits the candidate who has the biggest piece, even if that piece isn't

a majority. So, Trump could, you know, push his way through even with resistance from the majority of the party, unless someone else can

consolidate enough of the GOP voters or resistant to him.

Ron DeSantis looks like he might -- the governor of Florida, looks like he might have a chance to do that now. But running against Trump on paper and

running against him in practice are very different things.

GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely. Ron Brownstein, really good to see you, thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me --

GIOKOS: Right, a remarkable reversal. China is rolling back many of its most stringent COVID restrictions. The move follows widespread protests

over the government's zero COVID policies. And while zero COVID requirements are not gone entirely, it will become easier now for millions

of Chinese to travel and even if they become sick with COVID, to stay at home rather than to go to mass quarantine facilities. So, this is a big

shift. CNN's Ivan Watson has the details.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): China is the last country in the world still trying to completely eradicate COVID. But

after months of harsh restrictions, some of the COVID lockdown barriers in China are starting to come down. This move by authorities comes just days

after protests erupted across the country against Beijing's zero COVID policy.


WATSON: This breath of fresh air for some exhausted citizens carries a harsh reality. Experts predict a tough COVID Winter is likely coming.

BEN COWLING, CHAIR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY: The Winter is the worst time to have a large epidemic because hospitals may already be

under pressure for other reasons during the Winter.

WATSON: The highly contagious Omicron variant is already spreading through the Chinese population.

LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Unlike the rest of the world, very few people in China proportionally, have had COVID. And that's because of the

strict lockdowns that the Chinese government has implemented. And so, there is a very low baseline immunity. The other issue is that China has been

using its domestically-produced vaccines which are less effective than the MRNA vaccines.

WATSON: China has one of the world's highest COVID vaccination rates. But vaccination for the elderly in China lags far behind. Twenty three percent

of Chinese citizens over 80 are completely unvaccinated. That leaves roughly 8.4 million very vulnerable unvaccinated people.

COWLING: So if COVID was to spread through China now, I think we'd see a lot of severe cases in that group of people with either no vaccination or

no recent vaccination.

WATSON: Epidemiologists say Hong Kong may offer a roadmap for what could happen in mainland China. After Hong Kong successfully maintained a zero

COVID bubble for nearly two years, Omicron spread out of control here last Winter.


(on camera): At the peak of the outbreak, Hong Kong suffered more than 7,000 deaths in six weeks. Most of them, elderly. At the time, it was the

highest COVID mortality rate in the world, driven largely, experts say, by very low vaccination rates among people over 60.

(voice-over): Per capita, mainland China has almost half the number of critical care beds in hospital compared to Hong Kong.

WEN: China got its investments backwards. So by putting their focus on testing and not on vaccines and treatments, China has actually not prepared

the country and the citizens for what happens when zero COVID ends, which inevitably, would end at some point.

WATSON: China was the scene of the world's first known COVID outbreak in December of 2019. If the experts are right, it could also be the last

country that faces a COVID crisis. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


GIOKOS: The rollback comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping has just arrived in Saudi Arabia on a state visit that the U.S. will no doubt be

watching very closely. Beijing and Riyadh are looking to deepen their ties even as their relations with the U.S. have soured. Xi will attend a pair of

summits drawing more than a dozen Arab leaders from around the region.

A string of trade, economic and military deals are expected to be linked in (INAUDIBLE) with billions of dollars. And still to come tonight, nearly

freed Ukrainian prisoners of war are returning to a heroes' welcome. But for many, it's a bitter-sweet homecoming. We'll follow their painful

journey. That's coming up, next.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. Now, Russia's president warns that his so-called special military operation in Ukraine may be a long process. And we're

already seeing that in eastern Ukraine where the battlefield has become a muddy slog. Russian fighters are launching attacks in Donetsk which

Ukraine's armed forces say they've been able to repel.

And Russia is continuing to shell territory it lost in the Kherson region. Now, Vladimir Putin says, as the conflict drags on, the risk of nuclear war

is increasing. And he does not promise that Russia won't strike first.



VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): We will proceed from what we have. There can be only one answer from our side. A consistent

fight for our national interests. We will continue to do so. And let no one count on anything else. Yes, we will do it in different ways and in terms

of means, first of all. Of course, we will focus on peaceful means. But if nothing else remains, and we will defend ourselves with all available means

at our disposal.


GIOKOS: Vladimir Putin there, and we've got Will Ripley joining us from Kyiv. And he says we will constantly fight, and we will use whatever means

possible alluding to nuclear. But for now, they're using Iranian drones, offering them a sense of accuracy when it comes to trying to target

critical infrastructure. And Ukraine has been successful in defending and intercepting some of those strikes, but not all.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, exactly. There are at least 14 Iranian-attack drones that Ukraine claims they have

shot down, and that was just during the overnight hours. But there have been scores of Iranian drones that have hit their targets, and more are on

the way, according to a U.S. official, western officials speaking with CNN.

Saying that they anticipate a resupply from Iran to Moscow, which like these drones, because they have a lot of accuracy, and they are essentially

performing kamikaze missions. They fly to their targets, they blow up. You talked about the nuclear issue earlier. It's kind of chilling that 1980s

Soviet nuclear capable missiles are also being used by Russia.

They're just being launched at the moment without warheads in them. Is that to try to overwhelm Ukraine's air defenses? That's what officials here in

Kyiv think. But perhaps also, not so subtle hint of what Vladimir Putin has up, you know, in his arsenal. Which, of course, most experts certainly hope

that he's just posturing when he talks about the nuclear weapons and their potential use.

Given all of the ramifications that are pretty much unthinkable as unspeakably horrible as this brutal and unnecessary war now dragging on

more than nine months is, Eleni, obviously, going nuclear would take it to a whole new terrifying level. But really --

GIOKOS: Yes --

RIPLEY: They're trying to prepare themselves --

GIOKOS: And --

RIPLEY: For any possibility here in Kyiv -- more drone attacks and of course, everything else.

GIOKOS: Yes, and it's a default narrative, right? The nuclear threat. But terrorizing people on the ground has also been, you know, one way that he's

been, you know, sort of operating. You have met with prisoners of war. People have just been exchanged, and you spoke with them about their

experience. Could you share with us what you discovered?

RIPLEY: You know, you look into these people's eyes, Eleni, and you can see the exhaustion, you can see the shock, you can see the anger. The raw

emotion, it's something that I am not going to forget. And I think about the fact that most of these people are from Mariupol, which is occupied by

Russia. So they can't go back to their homes.

If their homes were even still standing. Some of them have children there. Just the stories are so heart-wrenching every time we talk to these people,

and we had the opportunity, the privilege, really, to speak to them just in their first minutes of being back on home soil.


RIPLEY (voice-over): At an undisclosed location near the Russian border, two buses arrive with 60 Ukrainian soldiers. Prisoners of war just released

in a P.O.W. swap with Russia. Two women, 58 men. Their first minutes of freedom. This Marine tells me about his four-year-old daughter.

"It's so emotional", he says. "I can't wait to tell her I love her, and that I've missed her so much." Some are parents, others, grandparents,

most, defenders of Mariupol. The southern Ukrainian port city that fell to the Russians in May.

"All of us from Mariupol worry so much", he says. "We lost the city. We couldn't fight them off. We don't know how people will react to us."

They'll get a heroes' welcome, of course. As we go inside, they each get a cellphone. The first time they've called their families in months.

"How's mom? How's dad", he asks. "Are they alive?" Their bodies bear the scars of months of captivity. "We didn't have any medical treatment", he

says. It's been eight days since he's had a shower.

(on camera): A lot of these guys have physical injuries, scars. But the emotional scars, the mental scars from this kind of hellish ordeal are

going to take even longer to heal.


One of the two rescued women are radio Intelligence operator, describes months of psychological torture, lies that half of Ukraine was now part of

Russia. Brainwashing, forced to read Russian poetry, singing Russian songs. Pledge loyalty to mother Russia. "I wondered when will this be over", she

says. And now you're here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Sorry for my tears.

RIPLEY (voice-over): For this former P.O.W, there are no tears left. Her six-year-old daughter is still in occupied Mariupol. She has no way to

contact her or her husband, a sailor. They surrendered on the same day.

How does it feel to be out and know that your husband is still there, still in Russia? "I worry so much about him", she says. "They torture men much

more than women." She's not ready to talk about how she was physically treated. She, like everyone, here, just wants to see family, wants to go

home. For most, from devastated and occupied Mariupol, going home is not an option.


RIPLEY: They have literally lived through hell, whether it be the siege on Mariupol, where they were defending up until they literally ran out of

everything to then captivity and being fed all these lies, being told that Kyiv was under Russian control. And that their home wouldn't be the same

home that they recognize, which they're now unable to go back to because it's still occupied, and some of them have children there.

Eleni, it's an experience that thankfully most of us will never go through in our lives. But for these men and women who may have thought the same,

that they never have to go through anything like this, they're now living it, and they're in a rehabilitation program to try to help them process

everything that's happened and try to find a way forward.

GIOKOS: Yes, and you can't help but feel, you know, extreme emotion watching your piece. Thank you so much for getting those stories out. Well,

I'm sure it was really difficult to experience and see firsthand. Thank you. Right, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy has become a beacon of strength

during the war with "Time Magazine" today unveiling him as the person of the year.

The magazine annually names a person, a group or idea that for better or for worse has had the most influence on the events of the year. The

magazine also unveiled its heroes of the year, paying tributes to the women of Iran amid months of protests across the country. After the break, we

will go to Iran where we -- where amid modern-day unrest, people are marking the anniversary of students being killed by the Shiraz's forces

decades ago.

And a political crisis in Peru. Congress votes to impeach President Pedro Castillo after he dissolved congress and declared a national curfew. This

all coming up after the break.




GIOKOS (voice-over): Welcome back.

Iranians are marking the anniversary of students' day when three students were killed in 1953 by the shah's security forces. Social media video shows

students protesting at several university campuses on Wednesday, including the University of Tehran as pictured here, where president Ebrahim Raisi

also reportedly addressed students earlier today.

My next guest, Jason Rezaian, is the former "Washington Post" Tehran correspondent, who spent 544 days in prison by Iran's authorities. Joins me

now live from Washington, D.C.

We need to see the bravery of people in Iran taking to the streets, protesting, knowing how much they have to lose, it is incredible to see

that we've reached this point. And now, specifically, with what we've seen on this anniversary, shops shutting down, voices louder from the streets.


JASON REZAIAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST" (voice-over): Eleni, it's incredible. It's exhilarating; at the same time it's very frightening because we know

the stakes are so high. Over 400 protesters have been killed in recent weeks.

Tens of thousands have been arrested and continue to be detained. There is no end in sight. I keep coming back to is that the regime (INAUDIBLE) very

legitimate demands of the Iranian people.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Jason, one of the biggest headlines over the last few days was the potential abolition of the morality police because it was

something that was said during a press conference.

You have written about this, saying, for it to truly be abolished, that would mean that women should be allowed to do and wear whatever they want.

That is not the case. It's been questioned by many other things.

I want you to take me through the realities of how big of a decision this would be for Iran to abolish the morality police.

REZAIAN (voice-over): We've been talking about the morality police for many weeks now because they were responsible for the killing of Mahsa

Amini, the person who died in their custody at the very onset of these protests.

But it's a unit that's existed for over a decade in Iran.


REZAIAN: But the hijab laws have existed for 43 years. There were people enforcing those rules long before the morality police were patrolling

public places in Iran. So I don't want to say that it's a nothing burger, that it's meaningless.

But at the same time, it's really just designed to divert attention. The hijab laws are still on the books. And as long as they are, that will be

one pillar of this system that remains intact.

Ultimately, after three months of protests, people are not just asking for an end of the hijab.


REZAIAN (voice-over): They're asking for an end of Islamic rule. They're asking for the end of theocracy. They're asking for the end of corruption

and murder and arbitrary detention of their fellow citizens. So while it's a step, I don't think it should be overemphasized. And I think it has been

over the last few days.

GIOKOS (voice-over): There is a sense of hope, I guess, because people have taken to the streets and because there are willing to sacrifice at a

personal level so much in order to evoke some kind of regime change.

Do you think that message is getting through?

REZAIAN (voice-over): I think it's certainly getting through.

Does that mean that the regime is going to stand out?

No, they've never shown any willingness to compromise in the past.


REZAIAN (voice-over): They've never shown any willingness to make fundamental changes to the way that they rule the country in the past. So I

think we're at an impasse.

I think that the protests will continue for a long time to come. Unfortunately, that probably means the deaths of a lot of innocent people,

the imprisonment of a lot of innocent people who are really just standing up and saying, hey, we want equality, we want freedom and we want to have a

better future than the one that has been offered to us by this regime.


GIOKOS: The Iranian government has been a really good at deflecting attention, talking about sanctions or saying the West is interfering where

it shouldn't. When you take a step back and you see the ties with Russia, Russia buying Iranian drones and you see hot they're trying to assert

themselves on the international stage.

What can we read into this?

REZAIAN: Look, what aboutism is part and parcel to all authoritarian and ideologically driven regimes like the Islamic Republic. Ultimately, their

partnership or relationship with Russia right now is a marriage of convenience.

There are very few other entities right now who want to do business with Iran. And that Iran sees this sort of a security blanket in these

tumultuous times.

Will this alliance or relationship strengthen over the coming years?

Potentially. But I don't think that the future belongs to Putin's Russia or the clerics' Iran. I think that, hopefully, these will be kind of bookmarks

in history that we can forget about.

GIOKOS: Jason, always good to see you, thank you.

Peru's Congress has just voted to impeach president Pedro Castillo only hours after he dissolved the country's congress and said he was installing

an emergency government in an attempt to prevent the move.

Peru's congress announced that the vice president will be sworn in as the new president. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is in Colombia. He is following

the developments for us.

I spoke to you earlier. That is when the president had announced that he's dissolving congress. And then also instituting a -- instituting a curfew.

We're still seeing live pictures coming through from Peru. Lima, as you can see, people taking to the streets.

Congress held an emergency meeting. I want you to tell me what has transpired over the last few hours.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eleni, just as -- you are absolutely right. We spoke barely two hours ago. In these two hours,

these constitutional crisis escalated very quickly.

With congress proceeding to swiftly oust president Castillo from office just hours after Castillo had declared the dismissal of congress and called

for new elections.

What is key here is that all the powers of the state in Peru are standing by congress' decision and essentially relegating (ph) the order by

Castillo. These are members of his own cabinet. We have at least seven ministers, who have resigned in the last few hours.

We have these vice president calling his action a coup d'etat. And all the other powers of the state, the constitutional court, the attorney general

and even the armed forces command essentially saying to tell the president that you cannot do that.

You cannot just dismiss congress a mere few hours before they proceed to hold a vote on whether to impeach you. So these constitutional crisis has

escalated, precipitated very quickly.

Now the main question is what happens with Castillo himself?

What are his whereabouts?

Where is he right now?

Whether he will face charges. We're also hearing reactions already from the international community with the foreign ministries from Argentina,

Ecuador, Mexico all calling for quiet.

The United States ambassador delivered a message, calling on Peruvians to keep quiet and follow the rule of law while the Organization of the

American States has called an emergency session of its council later this afternoon to discuss Peru.

Surely, more is to come out of Lima, Eleni, where the situation is escalating very quickly and the main question is, just as I said, where is

the president?

Already (INAUDIBLE) calling him the former president, Eleni.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Yes. Very interesting, Stefano.



GIOKOS: This has definitely been a big move since we spoke a few hours ago. A story that we'll be watching very closely. Stefano Pozzebon for us.

Still to come, an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Germany. We'll look at how the country is getting tough on far-right extremists.

That's coming up after the break.




GIOKOS: Welcome back.

More than 2,000 far-right suspects have been arrested in Germany, accused of plotting to overthrow the government. The raids, which began early this

morning, are continuing across the country in what is one of the country's largest actions against far-right extremists.

Prosecutors say members of the group, the Reich Citizens movement, followed conspiracy theories and QAnon ideology. CNN's international diplomatic

editor, Nic Robertson, joins me now from London.

The more I read into the story, the more unbelievable it becomes. We're talking about suspects, 25 people, being arrested; that some of them were

former politicians that were involved in what seems to be a very organized network in an effort to overthrow the German government.

Could you break this down for us?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Not only that, this organization, the Reichsburger, the Reich Citizens movement, organized

itself sometime late last year. This is begun in a relatively short space of time. Little over a year maybe. That they put together a plot to go to

the Reichstag, the parliament, and take down the government by force, by military means.

Some of them were former members of the German military. One of them was a former MP, who sat in the Reichstag, who was a member of parliament for a

large right-wing party, the Alternative Movement for Germany.

It is shocking in what it was trying to achieve. It's shocking that it was done in such a short space of time. The German authorities say that this

plot had been planned for potentially spring this year, then fall this year.

But it's going to take some time before they can get to the full extent of how advanced all the preparations were.


NANCY FAESER, GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): Based on current findings, the suspected terrorist group uncovered today was found

in based on coup d'etat fantasies and conspiracy ideologies.


FAESER (through translator): Only a further investigation will give us a clear picture of how far advanced these coup plans were. Militant

Reichsburger are united by the hatred for democracy, for our state and for people who support our community.


ROBERTSON: The interior minister also said that they were extremists, violent fantasies that this group was basically (INAUDIBLE) similarities to

QAnon, of course, going back to Germany the sixth (ph) in the United States 2020, where QAnon was present in trying to take down the seat of

government. And there were weapons involved there as well.

This was more organized. This group had actually already plotted and planned who would take over various militaries. They were going to take

over the army and take control of the army as well. So this was a potentially deadly on the day plot with wide ranging implications.

Fortunately for Germany, this is a very tiny, very fringe group.

GIOKOS: Nic, I mean, firstly. Incredible that it was intercepted. Because it seems like this organization operated very quickly. But as the minister

said, this was based on coup d'etat fantasies.

I guess the question then becomes, how much bigger is the network?

Have they arrested all the suspects?

Are they going to try to root out even more potential issues?

ROBERTSON: We know for example that the police are going after 52 people today. And they have 25, 22 believed to be in the group. Three of those --

three others believed to be supportive of the group. There were definitely others out there.

How big is the conspiracy, look, we know that some of these sort of real right-wing populists delve very deeply and get sucked into these sort of

rabbit holes of ideologies and conspiracy theories, such as QAnon and the Deep State running the United States.

And the similarities here is that in essence, this group thought there was a deep state that was running Germany. They don't believe that the German

government was legitimate. They believe that, after the Second World War, the government that was established there was really run by the Allies that

brought down Nazi Germany.

There's so much -- look, the reality is most people are very aware that that is just complete lunacy. But these people were willing to believe it.

These ideas spread and get traction.

So I think the police really want to understand how broad does it go. They did get 25 today. They were after 52. They went into 150 properties. You

just have to know this is only the beginning.

GIOKOS: Interesting, Nic. Thank you so much, good to see you.

Still to come tonight, with at least one star player benched in the World Cup, you know who I'm talking about, we'll look at the delicate balance

between talent and teamwork. That is coming up right after this.








GIOKOS: All right, thank you so very much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. I am Eleni Giokos in Dubai, take

care until next time.