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Isa Soares Tonight

Key Meeting Ends Without Resolution on Tanks for Ukraine; State of Emergency Declared in More Regions Across Peru Lawmakers Under Pressure To Avoid U.S. Government Default; Biden: "No Regrets" On Handling Of Classified Documents. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, disappointment for Ukraine after a key

meeting ends with no new agreement on tanks. Then, a state of emergency is declared in more regions of Peru as protests continue across the country.

And then, millions are traveling across China for the lunar new year, raising fears about a new COVID surge.

But first, tonight, a meeting of NATO-Ukraine's task force has ended in indecision. The topic of tanks dominated the conversation, but neither the

U.S. nor Germany have decided to send any to Ukraine. Kyiv is planning for western -- pleading, has been pleading as you well know for western tanks

to help re-defend itself and to reclaim territory from Russian forces.

Germany's brand new defense minister says his country is ready to move quickly if allies reach a consensus. He explains the reason for the

hesitation. Have a listen.


BORIS PISTORIUS, DEFENSE MINISTER, GERMANY (through translator): There are good reasons for the delivery, and there are good reasons against it. And

given the overall situation of a war that has been going on for almost one year now, all the pros and cons have to be weighed very carefully.

Another assessment is explicitly shared by many allies. We cannot all say today when a decision will be made nor what that decision on the Leopard

tanks will be.


SOARES: Well, meanwhile, the U.S. has announced a $2.5 billion military aid package to Ukraine. And that includes armored and fighting vehicles but

does not give tanks or long-range missiles. U.S. military leaders are reiterating their support for Ukraine, but a top general warns the war will

likely end in negotiation, not on the battlefield.

Kylie Atwood joins me now from the U.S. State Department in Washington, and Nic Robertson is here with me tonight. Kylie, great to have you on the

show, let's talk first about the assistance we saw. There was plenty of it, military and air defense. But of course, the thing that wasn't there that

everyone was waiting for was tanks, in particular tanks, in particular, Leopard tanks. How is the mood with the U.S.? Are they worried by this

resistance from Germany, here?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a little bit different in terms of what they're saying publicly and privately. So,

we heard from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after this meeting, quoting the German Secretary of Defense, saying there isn't any linkage between the

U.S. needing to send tanks in order for Germany to send tanks.

He said, you know, he's just not aware of there being that direct linkage. But when you talk to U.S. officials behind the scenes, one senior

administration official told me yesterday, that Germany really has caught the U.S. here in a challenging spot. Because the United States isn't

fundamentally opposed to sending tanks, they just don't think that their tanks on the battlefield in Ukraine would be effective, because they're

logistically challenging to use, they take a ton of fuel and they just don't think that they are what Ukraine needs right now.

But they do support Germany sending their tanks, the Leopard tanks, because they are just a little bit easier to use and, you know, get around on the

battlefield. And so, there are frustrations behind the scenes about Germany holding this up and creating the appearance that they're not going to do it

unless the United States goes forth with it.

Now, we don't know how this is going to end, because we had all these defense ministers meeting today and you know, announcing new security

assistance to Ukraine. But you heard from President Zelenskyy addressing that group and saying, you know, he can say thank you and thank you over

and over again. But thank yous aren't tanks. He reiterated very clearly that they do think that they need more tanks for the battles ongoing.

SOARES: And I want to play that soundbite that's so important and pick up with you if I may. Can we just play that on President Zelenskyy talking

about the tanks?


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE PRESIDENT: The war started by Russia does not allow delays. And I can thank you hundreds of times, and it will be

absolutely just and fear, given all that we have already done. But hundreds of thank yous are not hundreds of tanks.


SOARES: So Nic, what stood out to you? Because I mean, I was glued to the TV, waiting to hear on those tanks. We didn't get that.


We did hear a lot of unity ahead -- I think it was General Mark Milley saying, this is the most unified I've seen NATO. What stood out?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? Because Russia --


ROBERTSON: Is looking, and this is what President Putin has been hoping for, some disunity. But overall, the trajectory is some of the developments

that have come at the contact group on what weapons to send, and Patriot missile systems, air defense missile systems have been one of them, have

been hard to get.

So, he is of course, going to want to portray this as overtime, they've had greater unity and brought the sides together. And that does -- that is

borne out in the reality. This particular challenge over tanks is tough, but I think I was also interested in what he said about, you know, the need

to act now. That there was --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: An undoubted need to act now. And that's the President Zelenskyy's point. And to the Intelligence assessment at the moment, let's

not forget that the director of the CIA was recently in Kyiv briefing Ukrainian officials. Intelligence officials on the U.S. assessment of how

Russia might be positioning itself equipment, material, men, for a big push in the Spring. So the time is really finite here.

SOARES: But Germany didn't say no. I mean, how you interpret? Is this more of internal domestic issue? Did you interpret it as not yet, at least?

ROBERTSON: I think if there had been a broader consensus in that room --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Then Germany would have moved. But it was significant that on the margins, you know, Ukraine has said that it would like to have 300 --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Of these Leopard 2 tanks. There were about 2,000 or so in use by its allies from Canada, Denmark, Germany, of course, Poland, Portugal,

Spain, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, so many countries. On the margins of that big meeting of more than 50 nations at Ramstein, there was a

smaller meeting of all those who have Leopard tanks.

So they will try to build a consensus about how they can move forward because some of them, Sweden and Poland are desperately keen to get those

tanks in the hands of Ukrainians and need Germany to sign on. So I think we will see diplomatic efforts to get it --

SOARES: To push on --

ROBERTSON: On the -- keep it on the agenda, and make it happen fast.

SOARES: And Kylie, let's talk about the battlefield and what we have been seeing in the last hour, I believe the U.S. Treasury has designated the

Russian mercenary group, the Wagner Group a transnational criminal organization. I mean, how significant is this?

ATWOOD: Well, I think this is the administration's answer to what has been a demand to label Russia a state sponsor of terror which they have

resisted, saying it would be -- it would make things complicated when the war ends. And they really just don't want to do that. But now they're

moving forward with this move.

Essentially what it does is it opens up the Wagner Group to being subject to more U.S. sanctions. Listen to what John Kirby, the NSC coordinator said

at the briefing about that today.



continue to not only sanction Wagner and put more squeeze on their ability to do business around the world, but will assist others in doing the same.

It will broaden the network of nations and institutions that will be able to stop doing business with Wagner.


ATWOOD: So as a result, of course, we should expect that there will be sanctions on Wagner in the coming next week or so. But the other thing that

John Kirby did was lay out some facts of the case for us, in terms of what U.S. Intelligence has found about Wagner Group's operations in Ukraine.

Saying, according to the U.S., they believe there are about 50,000 Wagner fighters who are there, 40,000 of those are convicts. You know --

SOARES: Wow --

ATWOOD: Previously in Russian jail. And then the other thing he said is that, the United States is declassifying some images that they have of a

Russian railway train going to North Korea. And they believe that back in November was the first time that there were the weaponry that was given

from North Korea to the Wagner Group, going to Russia.

So, some more details there in just about how Wagner is operating, though - -

SOARES: Yes --

ATWOOD: He didn't say that they believed that the weaponry that they have on the battlefield has really changed the battle all that much.

SOARES: So, Nic, if you are Putin sitting in the Kremlin and watching the press conference we saw today and all the promises of aid and military and

air defense, would Putin be rattled do you think by what he heard?

ROBERTSON: I think he's rattled anyway. He knows it's not a popular war. I mean, they're mounting air defense systems on the roofs of some government

buildings in Moscow. I mean, either that's extreme paranoia or that's to try to message the Russians that you are under attack, you need to come and

join this fight.

He also only has a finite window. Sanctions are going to begin to bite more. It's going to be harder for him to sell a winning message.


And I think, yes, he's always looking for the cracks in NATO. But when he wanted them was at the beginning of the war. And he's been able to see what

we've all been able to see, 11 months on, consensus --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Counts, and it might be desperate in the last-minute. And Ukrainians might even die if some weapons systems could have been put in

their hands sooner. But they are getting there in the nick of time, if you will. And potentially, you know, Putin's window here of a successful

offensive in the Spring, he's got a very narrow window. He recognizes that militarily --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Because this equipment is going to come.

SOARES: Nic Robertson, Kylie Atwood, thank you very much, thank you. Well, let's get the Ukrainian perspective. Andriy Melynk is Ukraine's Deputy

Minister for Foreign Affairs, and he joins me now from Kyiv. Andriy, great to have you on the show. I want to really get your reaction to what we

heard today from the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as well as General Mark Milley.

And really that military support that is coming. No tanks. Your reaction.

ANDRIY MELYNK, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, UKRAINE: Well, thank you, Miss Soares for having me this evening. In fact, we are very grateful to our

allies and partners, for most, to the United States with the biggest package of military help announced today in Ramstein, $2.5 billion U.S.,

you just mentioned it. But also the Brits, they decided -- it's the first nation to deliver a challenge of two main battle tanks.

And that might be a trigger, hopefully, for other countries, but unfortunately, not for Germany yet. And that has been a huge disappointment

for all Ukrainians that the new -- the government in Germany has not taken this important decision, not just to allow -- first to allow other nations

like Poland or Finland or Spain or Greece, which do have Leopard main battle tanks.

But also to do the same, and also strengthen and create this, as we call it, global tank coalition to help Ukrainian forces to push out the Russians

and to start the Spring counteroffensive. Which will allow us to liberate the occupied territories. So we are disappointed, but still, the decision

has not been taken here. So we hope that --

SOARES: Yes --

MELYNK: The government in Berlin would take seriously all the concerns they heard today in Ramstein, everything that we are telling them that it cannot

be true that after 331 days of brutal war, which Russia has been waging against Ukraine, they're still making an inventory of stocks, of Bundus-

sphere(ph) and of the industry, to check whether they have something to send to Ukraine.

It is ridiculous, because I've been an ambassador for many years, and I can make some suggestions how much Germany could deliver to Ukraine immediately

now without waking and without losing their precious time.

SOARES: OK, so you were -- I believe you were Ukraine's ambassador to Germany. So why do you think -- explain to our audience around the world,

Andriy, why do you think Germany has been resistant or reluctant to send these Leopard tanks to Ukraine. What's the reasoning behind it?

MELYNK: Well, to be honest, we cannot comprehend this position. There are some rumors, one point is that the party, the Social Democratic Party and

Chancellor Scholz, he represents this leading party in the coalition of three different parties, that more than a majority of members and of the

leadership of this party, they are engaged.

Because they still stick in the old thinking towards Russia, they don't want to provoke Putin, they still think that there might be some red lines

which cannot be crossed, and so on and so forth. Then, it's of course, the person of the chancellor himself, who cannot explain, either to us or to

the partners or maybe even to the Germans, why he is still hesitating.

Why he is not doing the right step because it's not just a game, it's not just a competition of who sends more to Ukraine or less. Because our

survival as a state, as a nation is at stake, and that's the only reason that might be a leading motive for the coalition in Germany, not to wait

any longer, not to hesitate.


But just do the right thing, just give the green light for those with the deliveries. So it's enigma for us, honestly speaking. But we hope that due

to the pressure that we have been seeing in the last weeks, especially, internally in Germany, today now, there is a huge demonstration for the --

before the windows of the chancellor in Berlin.

And we hope that our arguments will be heard, and that in the next days, not weeks. In the next days, we would expect this positive decision of

Germany because it will unleash, it will -- it will trigger, and it will enable the creation of this broad coalition. And Germany has declared, it

cannot act alone. But how we are --

SOARES: Yes --

MELYNK: Proposing, look, let's create this coalition.

SOARES: And Andriy, you say this is an enigma, an enigma to you. I mean, has this got more to do with historical sensitivity or do you think

Germany's close trading tries with Russia? What's at play here?

MELYNK: Yes, well, that factor also plays a role, no doubt. Because this inertia is still very strong in Germany, having or seeing Russia as a big

potential partner economically, but also geopolitically. So I think that those arguments do play a role in the consideration process in Berlin. Of

course, they have -- still fear that maybe that they would escalate.

Because you just heard what the Defense Minister Pistorius said, saying that there are good reasons for delivering tanks and there are good reasons

for not doing that. And it's completely wrong. There is not even one single reason not to do this. It's just some fears in the heads of the leading --

of the leadership in Germany that if they do that step, then Putin would get crazy and mad, and would do something.

And the fear of a third world war, the fear of an atomic strike, is something which is -- which is paralyzing to my mind. Paralyzing the

political process in Berlin. And it is a pity. Because after more than 11 months of this barbaric war that we have --

SOARES: Yes --

MELYNK: Been experiencing, so many people died. And still to think about some red lines that Putin might have in mind for not doing more atrocities.

It's ridiculous.

SOARES: So Andriy, do you think that they will? Do you think that Germany will bow to this pressure? And I mean, how long -- how long do you think

they will take? Because clearly time is of the essence here.

MELYNK: Yes, I still remain even though I have the skepticism. Because --

SOARES: Yes --

MELYNK: I know personally most political actors in Germany -- but still I remain optimistic because I cannot imagine, I cannot imagine in my

nightmare that the German government would be able -- would be able to further play this game, this puppet show. And continue finding some

argument and excuses for not doing the only right thing, which is to help Ukraine.

So, let's see how much time it would take, days, maybe weeks, but I hope that this decision is just a matter of time. The decision has to be taken.

SOARES: Andriy Melynk, always great to get your perspective, thank you very much sir.

MELYNK: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Miss Soares, bye.

SOARES: Thank you. Well, in Peru, the president is calling for dialogue, but also vowing to punish violent protesters after a day of rage rocked the





SOARES: Demonstrators from Peru's poorest southern regions battle police in the capital, Lima. Many protesters hurled rocks and other debris at offices

who fired teargas as you can see there. At one point, a historic building downtown was engulfed in flames, but it's not clear how that fire actually


And then in several southern cities, violent demonstrations targeted the airports. The protesters have been demanding the president resign, and they

want to see new elections, a new constitution and the release of imprisoned former President Pedro Castillo. They also accuse the police of killing


If you heard on the show yesterday, we were told -- we had an in-depth look at this, and at least, 54 people have died since the protests erupted, if

you remember about a month or so ago. Simeon Tegel is a journalist who is witnessing the unrest firsthand and he joins me now from Lima. Simon, give

me a sense of what it' like on the ground today.


SIMEON TEGEL, JOURNALIST: So it's a little bit quiet at the moment, but the protests are likely to start again in a little bit. They start in the

afternoon and then stretch into the evening and the night. That's what happened last night. So at the moment, I would say a bit of a tense calm

downtown in Lima, but I'm expecting things to pick up later on.

And I think this weekend we can expect more, because yesterday was really only the first day of action, so-to-speak in Lima, because it was the first

day that a significant number of protests that sort of arrived mainly from the Andes. Andes, mountain regions of Peru. But more are still on the way,

I suspect things are going to heat up again over the weekend.

SOARES: So they might heat up over the weekend, but we're already on the seventh week of protests. And it is, I think it's fair to say it's

intensifying and it is getting very violent. This time roughly yesterday here on my show, I spoke to the commissioner for the Inter-American

Commission for Human Rights.

And he raised a really important point, he said there was a racial element in the violence that he's seeing. How much is this tied to the deep

divisions and the inequality in the country, Simeon?

TEGEL: So this is complex. There are many issues, historical abandonment of this regions, corruption. But identity is a significant part. Peru is

divided along lines of race, class, geography as well. Most of these protesters are indigenous, from the Andes. And a lot of the people making

decisions in Lima, today, historically, are not just in Lima as they make the decisions, but often from Lima and tend to be white.

So there is this real racial element with that is felt In Peru. And that it's only really become more intense over the last 18 months since Pedro

Castillo was elected. He -- a large part of his appeal was his identity as a campesino, that means in Peru --

SOARES: Yes --

TEGEL: Someone of indigenous ancestry who works the land, so very humble beginnings for him. And although, he proved to be a disastrous president

who was inept and allegedly corrupt, the identity element here is, he's very important. Many of the protesters feel that he was the first president

who was one of their own, so to speak.

And the fact also that many of the members of Congress who impeached him, I think they impeached him completely correctly, he had attempted a coup

which failed. But many of the -- many of the members of congress, conservative members of congress who impeached him were people who had

never recognized the legitimacy in his election. Very Trumpian.

There was no evidence to suggest the election was anything other than very clean. But these conservative lawmakers did not accept it. So that really

caused a huge amount of resentment as well.

SOARES: Yes, and the protesters that we've been seeing, they want Boluarte to step down, they want a new constitution, they want new elections. But it

seems it's much bigger than her at this point. Thank you very much Simeon Tegel, keep us posted on the situation on the ground in Lima. Thank you.

TEGEL: Thank you.

SOARES: And still to come tonight on the show, cautious optimism for the global economy. The World Economic Forum in Davos has wrapped up. We get

the view from CNN's Richard Quest. That's next.



SOARES: As millions of people trekking home for the lunar new year holiday, Chinese officials are trying to ease fears the busy travel season will

cause a new surge in COVID-19 cases. CNN's Marc Stewart is in Hong Kong with the latest.


MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This weekend marks the start of a lunar new year here in Hong Kong and across many parts of Asia.

Travelers are on the move in many cases to see family members and friends amid months and even years of separation Because of the pandemic.

In China, train stations and airports have been busy. By land and on the water, this is described as the largest human migration on earth with the

holiday rush beginning earlier this month. The holiday comes as Chinese officials say COVID infections have peaked in many parts of the country.

Yet, there is concern about a COVID spread as testing is required to still enter some countries around the world. As China begins to reopen to the

world, the tourism ministry will now allow tour operators to resume trips overseas beginning next month. The travel packages were put to a halt in

January, 2020, amid a first wave of COVID infections. Marc Stewart, CNN, Hong Kong.


SOARES: U.S. Treasury Chief Janet Yellen has warned the world could face a financial crisis if Democrats and Republicans fail to reach agreement on

raising the debt ceiling. She spoke exclusively to CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Have a listen.


JANET YELLEN, SECRETARY OF TREASURY: The world's two most important economies have a responsibility to cooperate on issues that are of global

significance. And I am thinking here of climate change, preparing for future pandemics, Russia's brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine, has

led to an increase in hunger, food insecurity all around the globe.


SOARES: Well, meanwhile, the World Economic Forum has wrapped up in Davos, Switzerland. Business leaders and politicians leave with a mix of optimism

and caution for the year ahead. Let's bring in CNN's Richard Quest who has just got back in fact, from Davos. What was the mood like? Was that

optimism really?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: It's tempting to say, as many are that it was a downbeat Davos.

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: A different Davos. There wasn't the same energy. And that's certainly true in the coffee bars. There was a bit of partying going on up

on the Promenard(ph) last night as I trenched my way through the snow, and they were all waiting to get into some parties somewhere or other.

And so, yes, there was certainly that element to it. But I think that people were more serious. The range of issues that was on the agenda, the

climate issue, in relation to health where you're --

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: Financing of climate. It was a lot more serious in that sense.

SOARES: And, of course, the big top talker due to his time and obviously, and the importance of the issue, was the war in Ukraine. Was that -- was

that the main?

QUEST: Well, of course, we had the helicopter crash.

SOARES: Of course.

QUEST: And we had Zelenskyy's speech. But, you have to see it another way. Davos in May last year --

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: Had really dealt with a lot of the big issues. It had dealt with the war, it was only four months old after that. So it dealt with that in terms

of the alliance and who was -- who was with who. Interest rates --

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: Had just started to go up in the -- in the Fed -- in the U.S. And so, all the big issues, the medicine was being taken. And there was nothing

really to be decided.

SOARES: So, in that case, if we had already started talking about this last year, surely the mood would have been gloomy. I would expect.

QUEST: It starts gloomy and then it perks up. And the reason it perked up, the IMF said that maybe they would upgrade their growth forecast, and the

U.K. said things weren't going as bad as perhaps before. And I think that it's very tempting always to say -- anybody who has been going to Davos for

as long as I have, probably, first of all, needs to go and see a shrink.

But secondly, you know, it's always very tempting to say Davos isn't what it was.


SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: That usually means I've been going there too long. But the reality is I think this year, as indeed may, serious people were there to do

serious business and talking to each other.

SOARES: And you had, of course, a board as you normally do in the show.

QUEST: Oh, yes.

SOARES: And that really gauges the mood.

QUEST: The Worry Board. The Worry Board.

SOARES: The Worry Board.

QUEST: Absolutely. And there we are.

SOARES: So we got a picture of it. So --

QUEST: Let's see. So the top one was global recession and inflation, then you had Ukraine energy crisis, COVID and China, democracy, and then some

other ones at the bottom. What would you have gone for?

SOARES: I went with Ukraine and energy crisis.


SOARES: But actually, after we did our live hit, I thought democracy, the attack on democracies, I thought that was interesting, too.

QUEST: That's the -- along --

SOARES: And then you had climate change in top corner. Right.

QUEST: Yes. Well, we deliberately took climate change away.

SOARES: Yes. Because that was -- that -- everyone was going to pick it.

QUEST: Exactly.

SOARES: And that's important to everyone.

QUEST: Exactly.

SOARES: But which one won? Which one got the most ticks? I can't tell. Was it Ukraine?

QUEST: "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is in 30 minutes from now.

SOARES: That is a glorious tease.

QUEST: Although we're you guest program at Isa Soares Tonight, I'm afraid we have to keep some things.

SOARES: You have to wait for that to get the answer.

QUEST: Exactly.

SOARES: Richard, thank you very much.

QUEST: Thank you very much. OK.

SOARES: We'll take a short break.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to stop U.S. from defaulting on its debt for the first time ever. The

government hit the debt limit on Thursday and the U.S. Treasury is now taking extraordinary measures to help buy some time. Manu Raju breaks it

all down for us.


MANU RAJU CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Congress and the White House engaged in a risky standoff as the U.S. reaches its $31.4 trillion

borrowing limit. The White House congressional Democrats say no negotiations to raise the debt ceiling and no conditions attached.


Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the opposite.

RAJU: Is a clean debt ceiling off the table?

KEVIN MCCARTHY, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I don't see why you would continue the past behavior.

RAJU: Just raising the debt ceiling without any conditions, would you be open to that?

MCCARTHY: Yes. Well, no. I mean, well, we're six months away. Why wouldn't we sit down now and change this behavior that we would put ourselves on a

more fiscally strong position.

RAJU: Congress likely has until June to avoid default and allow the U.S. to pay bills already incurred. That has happened 61 times since 1978,

including three times under President Trump with little GOP pushback, but to win the speakership on the 50 valid, McCarthy cut a deal with the hard

right that the House would not raise the debt ceiling without commensurate fiscal reforms.

Also agreed without any one member to call a vote for his ouster, a dilemma that could grow real as a prospect of default nears.

RAJU: Do you think that you may pull to vacate the chair if he doesn't follow those concessions?

LAUREN BOEBERT, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I mean, that's what vacate is for. But I don't anticipate using it. I hope I never have to.

RAJU: A first ever default could derail the world's largest economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen this movie before. I've been here 12 years. I don't think that ended well for them before. I don't think it'll end well

for them now.

RAJU: In 2011, when a GOP house battled a Democratic president, the U.S. saw its credit rating downgraded and some cuts enacted in a deal to raise

the debt limit were later reversed.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There will not be any negotiations over the debt ceiling. There -- we will not do that. It is

their constitutional duty.

RAJU: Yet swing GOP votes reject the White House's position.

DUSTY JOHNSON, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: But what in the world are we doing here if we're not willing to have a serious conversation about spending?

NANCY MACE, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I've made a commitment that I'm not -- personally, I'm just one person, not going to vote to raise the debt

ceiling if we don't have a plan to either cut spending or balance the budget.

RAJU: Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, who hails from a Blue District, told CNN I don't think a clean debt ceiling is in order and said he is now

trying to find a bipartisan deal. That may require Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell who has engineered ways out of a debt crisis in the past.

MITCH MCCONNELL, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER: In the end, I think the important thing to remember is that America must never default on its debt,

it never has and never will.

RAJU: Now, there's some belief in the Capitol that perhaps a deal could be cut in the Senate and essentially the house could be jammed, work around

speaker McCarthy. There is a process in the house to do that that would require the support of 218 members, what's called a motion to discharge.

212 Democrats, six Republicans signing on to that effort.

But at the moment, Republicans who are swing votes are not ready to go there with a Republican -- White House's refusal to negotiate. As

Congressman Don Bacon told me, he said there needs to be good faith negotiations, some commitment to fiscal restraint, and he said the GOP

can't demand the moon and Biden can't refuse to negotiate. There needs to be give and take on both sides. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


SOARES: Well, the U.S. president is back in Washington after his trip to northern California to see the damage left by recent storms. Let's go to

Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly. And while he may have wanted to focus, Phil, on the situation on the ground following those

storms, he has been asked, hasn't he, about the classified docs. What have been -- what has been his response to this?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And he made very clear when he was asked that question that he would have rather been

speaking about the devastation that he was doing on the ground from those storms. However, he did provide his first answer on this issue that has

really consumed the administration for the last two weeks, first answer in probably five or six days, saying that he had no regrets that he was

listening to his lawyers, and that when this was all said and done, it would show the investigation that's underway. There's "No there there."

And I think it's a good window into not just where the President is on this issue, but also, what you hear from senior White House officials, they

acknowledge they don't have visibility and what the special counsel may look into, how long the investigation may last. But they do believe two

things, one, that it will show when it's all said and done, that their lawyers did the right thing, despite the very disjointed and -- on their

back foot communications effort they appeared to have at least last week and, two, the view that this isn't something that generally American people

care about.

And I think the President right now at this moment is speaking at a -- an event in the East Room of the U.S. Conference of Mayors talking about his

legislative agenda, talking about accomplishments of their first two years on the day of the two-year anniversary. And for the most part, what you're

going to see throughout the course of this investigation when you talk to White House officials, is the President doing exactly that, doing what they

plan to do long before any of this became public knowledge. Again, they recognize how serious the special counsel investigation is, but they don't

believe, one, there's much they can say about it at the moment, given the fact it's an ongoing matter.

But also that generally they're going to stick to their plan, because they believe, and I think they've got polling that they think backs this up,

that this isn't something broadly that people in the country care about. We'll see how this all lands. But that's the view and it was certainly

reflected when the President weighed in when he was asked about it in California yesterday.


SOARES: Phil Mattingly for us there at the White House. Thanks very much, Phil. Appreciate it.

And still to come tonight, outrage at London's police force after a serial rapist is discovered among its ranks. More on that story next.


SOARES: No one is above the law, and that's certainly the case for British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. He had been fined by police for failing to

wear a seatbelt as passenger in the moving car, as you can see there. You can see that here in the video he posted to social media, Downing Street

spokesperson said we're going to pay the fine and he has apologized. This will be the second time Mr. Sunak has been fined while holding public

office. The first was over lockdown breaking parties when he was, if you remember, Finance Minister.

London Metropolitan Police are under renewed scrutiny for failing to root out officers accused of terrible crimes. This after an officer confessed

earlier this week, if you remember, to being a serial rapist. CNN's Nina dos Santos reports on the growing outrage.


CROWD: Shame on you. Shame on you.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Outrage like this have simmered across the U.K. since the death of Sarah Everard, raped and murdered by a London

Metropolitan Police Officer almost two years ago. Now, news that this other serving policeman has admitted to 24 counts of rape has left Britons,

especially women, questioning whether they can trust the very people who were supposed to keep them safe.

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

PATSY STEVENSON, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: It feels like we're all screaming out. Can you just change before something like this happens? And now it's

happened again.

DOS SANTOS: Both of these policemen had a history of misconduct towards women. And, as Diplomatic Protection Officers, they also had access to

guns, a rarity within British law enforcement.

MARK ROWLEY, COMMISSIONER, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: I'm sorry. I know we've let women down. I mean, I think we failed over two decades to be as

ruthless as we ought to be in guarding our own integrity.

DOS SANTOS: The Met says it's investigating 1,071 officers involved in 1,633 different cases over a decade. Commissioner Mark Rowley has

complained he doesn't have the power to sap them.


That's little comfort to the women who reported the latest offending officer repeatedly, both before and during his more than 20-year career

with the police to deaf ears. Again and again he was vetted and given a green light. Dal Babu spent 30 years with the Met Police and was once head

of the firearms unit.

DAL BABU, FORMER CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: I have turned down people when I was a police officer who I did not think were

appropriate. Despite people knowing about this individual, they still allowed him to become a Firearms Officer.

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

BABU: No, you've got multiple failures in leadership in making proper decisions. I remember on one occasion being appalled when a detective

sergeant had taken a young constable to a call, pulled up in a side area and sexually assaulted her. I wanted him sacked. But he was protected by

other officers and he was given a warning. I asked my daughters to text me whenever they go out.

DOS SANTOS: Their dad was a police officer for many years. Didn't they trust the police?

BABU: My daughters don't trust the police.

DOS SANTOS: Polling commissioned by a government watchdog in the aftermath of Sarah Everard's murder suggested that less than half of the British

population had a positive view of the nation's police forces. Other surveys since then indicate that that confidence has only fallen further.

Campaigners like Harriet Wistrich want government inquiries underway to have legal powers, to bring in changes to better protect women and have

filed a super-complaint in the courts.

HARRIET WISTRICH, FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR WOMEN'S JUSTICE: There is a culture of misogyny within the Metropolitan Police. Clearly they have to

make some very radical changes in order to sort of really encourage women to come forward because some -- because many women won't come forward.

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

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

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

Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


SOARES: We'll be back after this short break.



SOARES: Long time football rivals, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, faced off in an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia. The match was Ronaldo's

Saudi debut after signing for, remember, reported $200 million contract with the Al-Nassr Football Club. Messi and Paris Saint-Germain ultimately

won the friendly 5-4. After the match, Messi shared video on his Instagram of the two rivals hugging.

And staying in the world of sport, the buzz surrounding the Australian Open is not about who's winning matches, but who's not allowed to use the loo.

Former world number one, Andy Murray, was denied a bathroom break while playing the longest match of his career, a whopping five hours and 45

minutes that went on until 4:00 in the morning. There was also some confusion of Novak Djokovic's permission to use the toilet early on in the

tournament. Murray calls the bathroom rule a joke as well as disrespectful, he says, to others.

Let's get more on all of this. Christine Brennan. Christine, help us make sense of this. Initially, I thought Murray is just whining. What are the

rules here?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Isa, hard to believe. Instead of talking about tennis, we're talking about bathroom breaks.

SOARES: Right?

BRENNAN: That is exactly what tennis -- in this case, men's Tennis, that's exactly what they don't want. This is ridiculous. Andy Roddick got on

Twitter and said this is so dumb, he's correct. So here's the situation, there's one bathroom break allowed three minutes. The reason for that is

because, in the past, it has been abused. Stefano Tsitsipas at the U.S. Open for a year, year and a half ago, was gone for eight minutes, and was

accused of using it to change the entire momentum of a match. And it did seem ridiculous that he was gone for that long.

So, the -- so the new rule is you have a three-minute break, one of them in the entire match. You could also add two minutes if you've got clothing

issues. Need to -- the guys need to change their shirt, the women need to change their shirt, you know, whatever it might be. So that's it. That's

the rule. And, of course, when Andy Murray was saying 3:00 in the morning, could he go to the bathroom, as you said, the longest match of his career,

seems like a very reasonable request and it seems to me that tennis needs to figure out how to change this.

SOARES: And it seems there are other players as well who feel the same if we're bringing it up, I've got one tweet from Navratilova who actually

feels very much in line with what we heard. Martina Navratilova saying, "It's essential we create better rules in tennis regarding the weather,

light and wind, and starting times or cut off times for matches. Murray and Kokkinakis will finish around 4:00 a.m. Crazy. No other sports does this."

And this is the thing, Christina, I mean, so you're saying one break, right? One break that happened, this is dependent on how long the match

goes on for. This lasted how many hours?

BRENNAN: Yes, this was almost six hours. 5:45. And what was happening was Andy Murray, 35 years old, by the way, been around forever, former world

number one and one of the greatest people playing tennis, feminist, always on social issues, just a terrific human being. So if Andy Murray says that,

I think he's usually right. Follow him. But in this case, so he's just won the four set. It's 3:00 in the morning and he's asking, Could I go to the

bathroom? This is an extraordinary circumstance. And it seems to me then what the tennis officials should do, Isa, is give the referee discretion.

So at that point, when Andy Murray looks at her, the referee, she's able to say, yes, go. It's not momentum shifter. It's not coaching. It's not

cheating. The guy needs to go to the bathroom, let him go to the bathroom at 3:00 in the morning. They played another hour of tennis before he was

able to finally get off the court.

SOARES: And why are these games being held so late in the first place?

BRENNAN: Yes. Well, what happens at all this happens at the U.S. Open. I've covered -- I have not covered the Australian Open, but I've covered the

U.S. Open in Wimbledon many times, is that they have a schedule and the matches start, and then if they go along, then the next match is later, and

the next match, and this is what happens all the time, and they try to schedule -- like Serena Williams, when she -- her last U.S. Open, you know,

right at primetime in the United States. So that's the idea, that things get pushed later and later. This was remarkable and they should have

definitely stopped it, said, guys, come back tomorrow, we'll figure this out.

Again, they need to use their brains, they need to figure these things out and have a little common sense in the midst of all these


SOARES: And, you know, the toilet break, or the lack thereof of a toilet break, Christine, did not hinder his skills, did it, because he did

exceptionally well in that last point.

BRENNAN: Oh, exactly. He won. He won the match, one of his greatest victories ever. As I said, he's 35 years old, that is not a prime age

anymore for a male tennis player, even though Novak Djokovic, who also got into a bathroom row back and forth a little bit about whether he could go

or not in his first match, he's also 35. But in general, to be 35 years old and to be playing as Andy Murray is with injuries, with issues over the

years in his career, it's remarkable.


As I said, he's a great champion, he's a great champion for social issues, for women's rights, he gets it. And I certainly hope he stays in the

limelight as long as possible, because he's such a fascinating and interesting person to cover, not just as a tennis player, but also as a

human being.

SOARES: Well, he truly speaks his mind. And I can tell you just on social media, Christina, he had a lot of support from everyone who found the rules

quite crazy to be completely honest with you. Christine, great to have you on the show, Christine Brennan there.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

SOARES: And then finally tonight, we hope none of the players, of course, came across this creature on their travels. You're asking yourself what is

this? This is the world's largest ever toad found in Queensland, Australia. It weighed a staggering 2.7 kilograms. Imagine that? Imagine coming across

that. The Ranger who found it said it looked, "Almost like a football with legs. We dubbed it," not very original "Toadzilla." And that is your quote

of the day.

Thanks very much for your company. Have a wonderful weekend. Do stay right here. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS with Richard Quest from London next. Bye-bye.