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Hala Gorani Tonight
Protests in Hong Kong, Iraq, and Lebanon; Pakistan Train Fire; Airplane Safety; Washington Nationals Win World Series. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 31, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNNI ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, live from the CNN Centime (ph), Lynda Kinkade in for Hala Gorani, good to have you with us. Tonight,
we begin with a landmark vote on Capital Hill that formally paves the way for what could be just the third time in US history that a President is
A short time ago, a very divided House of Representatives voted to move the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump into a new public phase.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The resolution is adopted without objection. The motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
KINKADE: Well, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi there announcing the passage of the impeachment resolution, not one Republican voted for it and two
Democrats voted against it. The divisions were on display again after the vote when key leaders of both parties spoke to reporters.
UNKNOWN: We recognize the seriousness of this undertaking. We recognize that we have been compelled by the circumstances to move forward. When a
president abuses his or her office, when a president sacrifices the national interest, when a president refuses to defend the constitution, and
does so for the purpose of advancing a personal or political agenda, the founders provided the remedy.
I make no prejudgment as to whether that remedy will be warranted when we finish these hearings. I will wait until all the facts are put forward.
We will undertake this duty with the seriousness it deserves and to the best of our ability.
UNKNOWN; In March of this year, Speaker Pelosi said this about impeachment, impeachment is so divisive to the country, that unless there
is something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.
Today, the country just witnessed the only bipartisan vote on that floor was against. The question to the Speaker are the same questions I provided
in the letter about the unfair process that we had, what has changed nice March?
In all the hearings there's nothing compelling, nothing overwhelming. So, the Speaker should follow her own words and let (ph) bipartisan vote on
that floor and end the sham that has been putting this country through this nightmare.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KINKADE: Well, President Trump's immediate response to the vote was short and simple, he tweeted the greatest witch hunt in American history.
I want to bring in CNN White House reporters Sarah Westwood and CNN political commentator, David Swerdlick is of course the assistant editor at
the Washington Post. Good to have you both with us.
David, I want to start with you first, because ever since President Trump came to office, we heard the cause for impeachment.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: (Inaudible).
KINKADE: .explain why today is such a big moment.
SWERDLICK: Yes, hey, Lynda, so I think it's big for two reasons. One is that after a few weeks of some fairly productive hearings behind closed
doors, from the point of view of democrats, they've taken this next procedural step with having this vote not to impeach or not to have an up
or down vote on any articles of impeachment, but to move the process forward, formalize the impeachment inquiry and start bringing the
impeachment process into public view with a set of ground rules that the House democrats have said that in some ways have responded to criticisms
from republicans, but also in some ways very much favor the democrats.
The other reason is that this is a narrative the democrats feel like they can tell. They didn't set a story that they wanted to tell about President
Trump with the Mueller Report. There have been other grounds that other democrats have said the president has been impeached on, but this July 25th
call between President Zalenski and President Trump at the center of everything, is something the democrats feel they can unpack for the
KINKADE: David, just stand by for us. I want to bring in Sarah at the White House, because Sarah, before this vote took place, the White House
Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney basically said get over it, there is going to be political influence in policy. So, does that suggest that the White
House doesn't have a strategy yet to deal with this? What is their strategy if there is one?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Well, you're right, Lynda, you're hitting on it exactly. There really is no game plan from the White House right now,
as this impeachment vote today unfolded. That press conference from Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was widely viewed inside the White House as
disastrous. It really underscored the need for the White House to potentially bring on more personnel to deal with the impeachment process.
We know that the White House's ability to put forward some kind of unified strategy to defend the president has been hindered between tensions - by
tensions between Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, both of them pushing the president to take different approaches to defending
himself against the impeachment inquiry.
Of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, advising the president not to go after Senators as this impeachment process looks ever more likely
to land in the lap of the Senate. So of course, the White House right now, still struggling to navigate its way through this impeachment process.
Sources tell CNN, Lynda, that President Trump continues to be in denial about the seriousness of his political predicament.
KINKADE: Right. So, looking ahead, David, I want to go back to you on this, because.
KINKADE: . as you mentioned earlier, this goes essentially from what has been pretty private depositions to public - a more public phase. This
should appease republicans who were calling for more transparency, but will some of those republicans now regret that call?
SWERDLICK: So, Lynda, yes, I mean republicans last week you know, stormed the SCKF at the capital, which is a secure facility for looking at
classified documents or in this case, holding testimony that might contain classified information, in a sort of symbolic effort to say that they
didn't like the way that the process was being handled by the democratic majority in the House.
Democrats have responded partly by putting some of these ground rules around, but still democratic committee chairs will have the final say on
which witnesses get subpoenaed, and so even though republicans have now gotten some of this formalized that they want, they don't have control over
And so, I expect many republicans in Congress, as well as President Trump and other White House staff to still call this impeachment a sham, which is
what a lot of republicans have been saying in recent days. If I could just remind our international viewers as we sometimes remind our domestic
viewers as well, that this - the House vote is not to remove the president. The House votes to impeach, which is like an indictment.
Later on, in this process, if there's a House impeachment vote, it will kick over to the Senate, and the Senate will hold a trial and have a two
thirds vote on whether or not to convict the president on any articles of impeachment.
But we are a ways away from this, process wise, even as we move forward today with this formalized vote.
KINKADE: Yes, good point you're making there. And also, just to remind our viewers why this is all happening, because Donald Trump of course, is
accused of holding off millions of dollars in aid .
KINKADE: . to Ukraine in order to get the president to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden and his son. And to you, Sarah on that because
democrats, essentially today, saying we don't want to do this, but we feel we have to.
WESTWOOD: That's right. For a long time, Lynda, House democrats were resisting taking any steps toward impeachment. That was driven by
leadership. They did not want to have to put vulnerable House democrats in difficult positions by putting them in a situation where they would have to
potentially vote for or against impeachment, something that could be used against them in the election next year, but this Ukraine scandal pushed
Pelosi, forced her hand, so to speak.
Right now, the White House has not really been disputing the underlying facts. They released the transcript of the president's now infamous July
25th phone call with the president of Ukraine.
In it, you can see the president repeatedly pressing the Ukrainians to investigate this company linked to the Bidens. But the White House is
disputing the democrats' interpretation of those facts, pointing to the fact that the president of Ukraine said he felt no pressure to investigate
Like you had mentioned earlier, Mulvaney's saying that political influence in foreign policy happens all the time as a series of witnesses have
testified to the political interference in foreign policy as it relates to Ukraine, so right now really, the underlying facts, not in dispute, just
how they are being interpreted by House democrats versus republicans.
Soon though, the dynamics could change, Lynda because this resolution will allow for public hearings to start taking place, and that could renew the
public's attention on this, obviously a whole different ball game than headlines coming out of closed door depositions right now, Lynda.
KINKADE: A whole different ballgame indeed. Sarah Westwood at the White House, David Swerdlick in DC. Good to have you both with us. Thanks so
SWERDLICK: Thanks, Lynda.
KINKADE: Well, I want to take a closer look at the breakdown of this for what we saw today. We're joined by CNN's Tom Foreman. Good to have you
with us, Tom. So, clearly not a single Republican supported this vote today?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: . vote here, you can clearly see the degree to which these two parties are absolutely at war with each other.
Republicans came out, not one of them crossed over to say we will approve any part of this impeachment process right now.
Now, that said, what they have been doing is attacking the process saying oh the process is wrong, you can't do it this way. It shouldn't be done
that way. They're attacking the process because so many of them, politically seem to be in a bind here.
They're looking at the evidence of what the president did and they don't know what to say about that, because that looks very bad. So, they're
saying well, let's just talk about the way you're getting to that evidence.
On the democratic side, we had two democrats vote against this. Here's what's important to know about this, those two democrats are from districts
that Donald Trump won very handily during the presidential election, so they're in moderate districts where they easily could be toppled if they
irritate too many people in the district.
Nonetheless, both of those democrats made the point of saying the reason we're doing this is because we think that this is still too divisive to the
country, just look at the numbers in the vote here, we don't want to tear the country anymore apart.
And the last one to think about is the one independent who voted for this. In the sense, he would be a Republican who crossed the line, because Justin
Amash from Michigan actually - earlier this year was a Republican and in July, he said I am so troubled by what I see, I am declaring myself an
And in casting his one vote in favor of this, he also tweeted out to his Republican colleagues and people he knew from the past saying look, do not
just tow the party line on this, history is going to look very badly on your if you frivolously or disingenuously try to oppose a legitimate look
into what the president has done here.
Obviously, it didn't resonate with any of his old colleagues because they all stuck together.
KINKADE: They certainly did stick together, I mean it's something a little bit the way people have support for a football team. They didn't want to
break ranks, except for those two democrats, which you mentioned, and one of course, is a veteran. The other is pretty new to politics, so their
decision to break ranks that (ph) you think was quite political based on what they've got at stake?
FOREMAN: Well, it would certainly appear to be that way. And, nonetheless, even if you look at that, the democrats have overwhelmingly -
they overwhelmingly have the numbers to impeach here. It doesn't mean they necessarily will, because that's a different question to actually move to
impeachment, the formal charging, as David mentioned a few minutes ago, but they certainly have the numbers to do it and the republicans can't stop
that right now.
And immediately after this vote was taken, both sides came out swinging about it. The republicans came out once again saying this is a sham.
You're just trying to railroad this President. All these democrats are trying to do all this instead of dealing with the business of the country.
And the democrats came out saying republicans, you have to look at the evidence here. You keep saying to us don't prejudge the president as
guilty. And they're trying to say to the republicans quit acting as if he's done nothing. Don't prejudge him as innocent when there's a lot of
pretty damning evidence out here right now. Whether that leads to impeachment, we don't know.
And certainly in the Senate, where they must try this, the republicans have such a commanding advantage - well, it's not a commanding advantage, but in
terms of a two thirds vote you would need for impeachment, it's a commanding advantage. The question is can enough of them be persuaded by
the evidence, or persuaded by the idea that it'll be politically damaging for them to try to ignore the evidence to come across (ph)..
FOREMAN: . and actually convict the president, something which again, has never, ever happened in this country's history.
KINDADE: All right, Tom Foreman, good to have you with us to break that vote down for us today, thank you.
Well, there was a passionate response to the vote on both sides of the political aisle. Here's a bit of a reaction from law makers on the House
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Today's resolution fails to give the minority the same rights as were present during the Clinton impeachment and it fails to offer the same
due process protections that were given to Presidents Nixon and Clinton. I don't think there was any process that we can propose that republicans who
prefer to circle the wagons around this President and prevent us from getting to the truth would accept.
UNKNOWN: This is a travesty. No one should vote for this. This is a sad day. The curtain is coming down on this House because the majority has no
idea about process and procedure, they're simply after a President. I yield back.
UNKNOWN: This resolution sets the stage for the next phase of our investigation, one in which the American people will have the opportunity
to hear from the witnesses first hand.
UNKNOWN: Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Shiff long ago abandoned the due process and fairness that was guaranteed during the Clinton impeachment. I
know, because I was here in Congress for us.
UNKNOWN: Having been through this before, I know how painful impeachment investigations can be. I hope we will all vote to continue this
investigation, simply so that we can be clear on all the facts.
UNKNOWN: When you go back to the American public with the achievement of more subpoenas than laws, that is not why you ran.
PELOSI: It's about the truth, it's about the constitution. On this vote, the yeas are 232, the nays are 196. The resolution is adopted without
objection. The motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, let's talk more about the significance of this vote with Larry Sabato, a veteran political analyst and his star (inaudible) the
Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia Senate. Good to see you, Larry.
LARRY SABATO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you, Lynda.
KINKADE: So, only two US presidents in history have been impeached, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, but neither was convicted and removed. And of
course, Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, so just give us a sense of why today is such a game changer?
SABATO: Well, it is, as you're noting, the fourth time in American history that we have moved to a serious impeachment inquiry. And it doesn't happen
very often, although we have had three instances just in my lifetime, so I think it's becoming more common.
In this particular case, it's another very partisan divide. This is what we expected. It's what we saw. Everybody played their role. They stuck
to the script. Democrats will, in all probability, have the votes to impeach. Then of course, it goes to the Senate and the votes there will
probably be with the republicans.
So, people ask what is this really doing? And I would suggest, it does a couple of important things. It's speaking to history, it's telling history
what Donald Trump did do, has done, maybe is doing. And it's also speaking to the voters. Lynda, the election, believe it or not, the election for
Trump's - for the next presidential term is a year from this Sunday. We're at the one year mark, so, the voters will learn something,
KINKADE: And it is an important point you make, the timing of all of this, because this is the first time impeachment is happening before a second
term. And this is expected obviously to run up right through the election year next year in 2020, right?
SABATO: Well, I don't think the democrats want to carry it much beyond the turn of the year, that will be partly up to the Senate, but people will
certainly have a memory of it, and I'm sure the democratic nominee for president will be using whatever has emerged from the impeachment hearings
against President Trump on the campaign trail.
KINKADE: In terms of what we're hearing from both sides, the Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat, today said this is a sad day, she said, because nobody
comes to Congress to impeach a president, no one.
What do you make of that reaction? Because she certainly was reluctant to go ahead with this initially?
SABATO: In a general sense, she's absolutely right. This is not where a country wants to be. I think everyone, on both sides, would prefer that
Congress were focusing on the daily interest of Americans. But the democrats, at least, not republicans, the democrats believe that Trump's
violation of his oath, which is really what this is all about, are significant enough to warrant this kind of investigation and quite possibly
impeachment in the House.
And you have to let the constitutional process go forward - it is, unfortunately it has become completely partisan, and as a result - so (ph)
we already know what will happen in the Senate before this even gets there.
KINKADE: Exactly. Larry Sarbutter (ph), we've got to leave it there for now. Good to have you with us as always. Thanks for your analysis.
SABATO: Thanks, Lynda.
KINKADE: Well, coming up here, new declassified video showing a daring US raid on ISIS. The Pentagon has released new details from that operation
while ISIS makes an announcement of its own.
Plus extreme wild fire danger in California, more people losing their homes as more fires burn out of control.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, intense and erratic wild fires have their grip on parts of California for another day. They've been fueled by
powerful winds, at times, as strong as a hurricane. New fires also sprang up overnight; you can see homes being consumed by those flames. And take a
look at this another house being destroyed.
Well, as heartbreaking as those scenes are, it's pretty incredible that we haven't heard any loss of life, so it is another very dangerous day for
many though in California. CNN's Omar Jimenez is in San Bernadino, it's the southern part of that state.
Omar, good to have you with us. As I said, it is pretty amazing that we haven't had any loss of life, but more homes certainly being destroyed by
these flames and more fires breaking out overnight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Linda. And when you talk about the miraculous fact that there is no loss of life, you look no
further than a home like this behind me that was absolutely destroyed and you wonder how someone could've made it out like this.
And it came -- this is something that came in the middle of the night. And we actually are with the owner of this home who made it out with his entire
family Matthew Valvivia. So, Matthew, what was it like and how did you get out when this fire was coming through?
MATTHEW VALVIVIA, LOST HOME IN WILDFIRE: It was -- I smelled smoke pretty intensely. And we've been having a couple fires around the area. So, I
just wanted to make sure, went to my front window, looked, didn't see a fire then I came back into my room and looked out. Sure enough there was a
big flow in the back and flames.
And I woke up my wife; I said hey, you need to get up. We need to get the kids and get whatever documents that we have, get them going. I'm going to
go across the street and start knocking on these neighbors' doors and let them know that there's a fire coming.
JIMENEZ: And as you look at what your house has become, you told me this was your first home.
VALVIVIA: My first home, yes.
JIMENEZ: You obviously grabbed what you could.
JIMENEZ: But there were also a lot of things that you couldn't grab.
VALVIVIA: Baby pictures, man. I had my kids' baby pictures in a laptop and destroyed, destroyed.
JIMENEZ: And one thing that when this happened you were able to make it out with your family and then you assumed maybe your home would've gotten
JIMENEZ: But walk me through your reaction when you walked up to your home for the first time and saw it like this.
VALVIVIA: My heart broke, man. I mean, we have good memories in this house. It's only been here a year but good memories and to see it
demolished and charred up the way it is is heartbreaking, man. It's heartbreaking. And if the kids come back and see it, they're just going to
be shocked. So it's hard. It's hard. Definitely is hard.
JIMENEZ: And what do you tell the kids?
VALVIVIA: I just explain to them that playing with fire or any kind of fire whatsoever is really dangerous and things like this happen. But you
know what, everybody was safe, no lives were lost, that's all that matters.
JIMENEZ: Matthew, thank you so much for taking the time.
VALVIVIA: Thank you so much.
JIMENEZ: There are a lot of people that don't heed those warnings. You are one of them who did heed them and you can see why it paid off in the
long run on that front. Now, for the hillside fire and the others that we have seen throughout this region, firefighters are continuing to battle
But one of the complicating factors has been the wind over the course of this week. And it is basically popped up different spots all across
southern California, this one being among the latest in the situation. Crews are still trying to get it under control, Linda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Omar Jimenez, good to have you there with us. Good to hear from Matthew. I'm glad his family is safe despite the loss of his home. Thanks
Well, the terror group ISIS has announced its new leader. It is acknowledging for the first time its former leader was killed in a raid in
Syria last week. ISIS' Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi is the newest leader, replacing Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The U.S.' special forces killed the
former ISIS leader in a daring two-hour raid on Saturday confirmed Baghdadi's death with DNA evidence. Well it comes as the U.S. releases
declassified video of that daring raid that led to his death. Our Barbara Starr reports.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The top U.S. commander, General Kenneth McKenzie, briefing reporters at the Pentagon about the mission to get
Baghdadi. Right off the top, it should be noted that General McKenzie said he could not confirm President Trump's details that Baghdadi died
whimpering and crying. In fact, General McKenzie suggested that Baghdadi at some point attempted to fire his weapon.
He showed three sets of videos. The first video was U.S. forces on helicopters approaching the compound when they came under fire from the
ground. Forces on board those helicopters returned fire and eliminated that threat. They don't actually think it was ISIS forces protecting Baghdadi,
that it was simply other militants in the area.
The second video then, if you can look and see the dark figures approaching, those are U.S. Special Forces approaching Baghdadi's compound.
They, of course, found him in a tunnel. He detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and two children. They had thought it was three; now they
know there were two children there. The tunnel then collapses, fills with water, and two U.S. troops and a military working dog are injured with
electrocution injuries because there were wires in that water; very dangerous business. All three, including the dog, have returned to duty.
The final video that they showed, of course, was U.S. warplanes rolling in and bombing the compound. General McKenzie said they really wanted to
obliterate it. They didn't want it to become a shrine. They wanted it just to become another piece of ground.
KINKADE: That was our Barbara Starr reporting there.
Still to come, after weeks of protests, political change could be coming to Iraq. The prime minister on his way out. Ahead, we'll look at what happens
And tragedy on a train in Pakistan. Dozens are dead or injured. What happens now?
KINKADE: Well, in the face of unprecedented protests, Iraq's president is promising early elections. He also said the country's prime minister has
conditionally agreed to step down. It isn't clear when either will happen.
The protesters are demanding a political overhaul. They're upset about corruption, and of course, a lack of jobs. Iraq's Human Rights Commission
says more than 250 people have been killed, 10,000 people injured since those demonstrations first began early October.
But will elections be enough to end those protests? CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us from Istanbul with more on this story.
Jomana, so the prime minister came to power just a year ago, now agreeing to resign, once a successor is found. What's the reaction to that, though?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, we heard this through an address from the president Barham Salih who came out and addressed the
people today. This is the first time we're seeing Iraqi leaders do this since the start of the second wave of protests.
And if the purpose of that, Lynda, was to try and calm the streets down, so far it doesn't seem to have worked. Thousands of people are still pouring
into the streets of Baghdad tonight for these unprecedented protests.
It's very hard to really gauge the reaction because we are talking about a leaderless protest movement. These are people in their tens of thousands
who have been turning out into the streets, showing up because of these -- this is the result of years of frustration with just about everything in
Iraq. They are absolutely fed up.
And they've been asking for the removal of the prime minister, but this is just one of the demands. It's not just about the Prime Minister Adil
This is about change. They want to overhaul the entire political system in the country.
So we'll have to wait and see what the reaction is. But so far, the protests are still ongoing on the streets of Baghdad and other cities
And when you look at what the president today was talking about, what the promises are, this is all conditional. He's talking about, the prime
minister saying that he's agreed to step down, but that will only happen when they find a replacement.
They're working on an election law, and then they will agree to early elections, but these are things that take a very long time in Iraq.
Sometimes it takes months to agree on a prime minister because it needs the consensus of the various political parties. And obviously, the country is
very divided right now.
So, I think at this point for the protesters, they can really look at this as something else to add to that list of too little, too late, these what
they describe as empty promises from their politicians, Lynda.
KINKADE: And Jomana, as you've mentioned, the protesters certainly have a long list of demands, from the overhaul of government to a crackdown on
corruption, to economic reform. What realistically can be achieved with new elections?
KARADSHEH: Well, I mean, when they talk about these new elections, Lynda, they're just frustrated with this political system in following the
overthrow of the Saddam regime. Iraq has basically got this system that is based on the divisions along sectarian and ethnic lines.
And a lot of people believe that it is this system that has failed them, it is the reason why, you know, they blame this for the corruption, the lack
of basic services basically, and the economic situation, the unemployment, that this is the reason their government has not been able to really
deliver, their parliament.
They just feel that this is not -- you don't have technocrats, you don't have the real professionals in these jobs to be able to address the
people's demands and give them what they want. And this is what they blame it on. This is what they feel is the cause of the troubles in Iraq right
So they just want to see this whole system change. And that is why one of the demands has been a new election law, a new election, a new parliament.
But again, it's a very long list of demands.
And again, keeping in mind, Lynda, that this is years and years of frustration. These are people who are saying, enough now. And they want
to see change and they want to see it right now.
KINKADE: They certainly do. Jomana Karadsheh, good to have you with us on this story. Thanks so much. We're going to stay on that story as well in
But for now, we're going to go to the protests in Lebanon, where demonstrators there are also demanding change. Protests there over
corruption and economic deterioration are still going on even after the prime minister, Saad Hariri, resigned on Tuesday.
Protesters are demanding more resignations. And Lebanon's president now says the country will have a clean government. We're expecting to hear
from Lebanon's president.
CNN's Becky Anderson joins me now from Beirut.
And Becky, you, of course, have been on the ground there for many days speaking to the people and to politicians. What are they telling you?
BECKY ANDERSON, ANCHOR, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, they're giving President Michel Aoun just 48 hours to get on with things and start reshaping Lebanon
towards their demands. We're right now about 30 minutes away from hearing from the president for the first time since the prime minister resigned a
couple of days back.
And frankly, we are expecting a fairly glowing self-report card in a set- piece speech as he marks three years in the job. But your viewers will, of course, remember, all of them means all of them. Protesters here want root
and branch change.
In the meantime, things fairly quiet, I have to say, in Beirut, just by me here in Marta's Square. They have begun dismantling parts of the setup
But we took a walk around to grab a coffee a couple of hours ago, and we saw this, a few hundred people shouting "Bye-bye Michel Aoun," and that is
quite remarkable when you think about where we are. People crying for the downfall here of the president.
So, make no mistake, it is not far below this tension. I caught up with one of the prime minister's closest confidantes here in Beirut, a real
insider, the minister of interior, for an exclusive interview, Lynda. Here's part of that chat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Minister, thank you very much indeed for joining us on CNN. I just drove here to the ministry, and the roads are open. The protesters no
longer blockading the roads. A victory for these protesters?
RAYA EL HASSAN, LEBANESE MINISTER OF INTERIOR: I think it's a partial victory. I think this is a portion of what they were demanding. I think
by the prime minister's resignation from government, I think part of their demands have been met.
ANDERSON: Well, we need to talk about what happens next. But you, just after he resigned, tweeted -- and I quote -- "His resignation was necessary
to avoid civil strife whose danger we witnessed today in Central Beirut."
We are being told by protesters that riot police just stood by as demonstrators screamed for help. You are the interior minister. What's
your response to those accusations?
EL HASSAN: Listen, you have two sides protesting, if you want. What we saw yesterday was two sides protesting, those peaceful protesters who are
blocking the roads. The other side where bat and armed protesters who felt that their livelihood was being impacted by the road blocks.
Now, I'm not taking sides here. Like you, I have witnessed photos of baton-wielding people basically trying hit a woman.
That is totally outrageous. And I personally condemn any kind of force used against any peaceful protester, but sometimes, you know, bad things
happen, and I wish it didn't.
ANDERSON: The men provoking those peaceful protesters were chanting slogans hailing the two Shiite leaders here who, along with the president,
hold and wield an extraordinary amount of power here, and that includes Hezbollah. Who were those counterdemonstrators?
EL HASSAN: Obviously, obviously, they came from areas that are usually sort of controlled by Hezbollah or Ahmad. Whether they were directed to go
down, I'm not sure. I'm not sure.
These were definitely supporters, but irrespective, I mean, beyond that, at the end of the day, this is a street against another street, sort of, you
know. There is a huge polarization in this country.
ANDERSON: Michel Aoun, the president, has today said that he wants to see a clean government going forward and he has asked Saad Hariri to run a
caretaker government until such a point that he can put together a new government and prime minister. What does he mean by clean government?
EL HASSAN: I would believe he means that a government that does not have the fame of corruption. I would believe this is what he meant.
Obviously, we heard the protesters accuse the political elite of corruption, of sectarianism, of ineffective and inefficient --
ANDERSON: Are they right, by the way?
EL HASSAN: Yes, of course they're right. I mean, I think if you ask anybody on the street, they would -- everybody talks about the same thing -
ANDERSON: With respect, you're part of that political elite.
EL HASSAN: Of course. Of course, I am part of that political elite. If I may say so personally, lumping all of the politicians in one boat is also a
bit unfair, but that's neither here nor there. I don't think this is the issue, frankly.
ANDERSON: Should you have resigned, by the way, I mean, just out of interest?
EL HASSAN: Maybe if things had protracted further, maybe I would have reached that conclusion, but of course, I would have had to consult with
the prime minister first. But definitely what we need is a clean government if we can use that term. The protesters have set the bar very
high for us, so we cannot any more try to weasel our way out of that commitment.
ANDERSON: So, tell me what's going on behind the scenes, because it really isn't clear at present. Who's speaking to who and what happens next?
EL HASSAN: There is a constitutional process, OK? So, the president today took note of the prime minister's resignation, and he asked the government
to be a caretaker government.
What comes immediately next should be the president asking for binding consultation as per the constitution with the parliamentary blocs. So once
he announces that he will engage in these consultations, each of these parliamentary blocs will nominate a person. Whoever gets the majority will
be appointed as prime minister.
ANDERSON: Should you be asked to take that role, would you do it?
EL HASSAN: Hariri, the outgoing should be the ingoing prime minister, frankly. I strongly believe that.
I am not seeking that position. I mean, I am part of a bloc, part of a political party. The political party has to decide. And of course, you
know, the majority of parliament has to decide.
ANDERSON: Hariri says he's reached a dead end. Has Lebanon reached a dead end?
EL HASSAN: No, I don't think Lebanon has reached a dead end. Obviously, business cannot run as usual, so there has to be a change in the mindset of
I think by forming a technocratic government, that's a step in the right direction. It's a different ball game. Things have to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Lynda, without that change, this country unlikely to get the international financial support it desperately needs to stave off economic
collapse within days is what the Central Bank governor told me, unless there was immediate action here.
And the U.S. keeping an extremely close eye on what's going on here, saying that only a government that has its people's confidence will have the U.S.'
support. Washington, though, has provided more than $1.5 billion in military assistance here since 2006.
The elephant in the room for the Americans right now, the increasing influence of Lebanon's -- in Lebanon's government of the Iran-backed
Hezbollah and its allies.
Remember, Hezbollah are designated as a terror group by the U.S. state department. The problem then is self-evidence, isn't it?
Later in "YOUR WORLD TODAY" here on CNN, the second part of that interview where the interior minister admits these protests have been a wake-up call
to everyone, including Hezbollah. Lynda.
KINKADE: Becky Anderson, a compelling interview there. Good to get that perspective. Great to have you with us, Becky. And we will tune in to the
rest of that interview in the coming hours. Thank you.
Well, Bolivia is another country grappling with a wave of violent protests. At least two people killed, six others injured during clashes in the Santa
Cruz region late Wednesday.
Allegations of vote-rigging in the October 20th election sparked nationwide demonstrations. President Eva Morales declared victory in the first round.
However, the Organization of the American States is set to conduct an audit of those election results today.
Well, still to come tonight, there are questions about the safety of Boeing planes. We'll tell you why some say all of the Boeing 737s should be
KINKADE: We're turning now to Pakistan, where at least 70 people are dead following a tragic accident. A gas canister exploded in a train traveling
in the Punjab Province as passengers were preparing breakfast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tragedy on a Pakistan train. Dozens of people killed after a gas canister explodes, engulfing the train in fire. Intense flames
spreading through three cars of the train. Terrified passengers jump off the burning train while it's still moving.
MUHAMMAD IMRAN (through translator), INJURED ON THE TRAIN: A cylinder exploded and I don't know how fire erupted everywhere. I jumped out of the
train to save my life. There was a whole line of people behind me, and they pushed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Firefighters struggled to control the blaze while army troops, paramedics, and an army aviation helicopter raced to help the
victims. The train was running on the Tezgam line, a daily service from Karachi to the Northern City of Rawalpindi.
The explosion happening about halfway into the trip. The journey takes more than 25 hours, covering a distance of 1,500 kilometers.
The use in transportation of gas cylinders on trains is banned in Pakistan. Though passengers say people on board were using gas-powered cookers to
make breakfast inside the train carriage when the explosion occurred.
Police say many of the people on board the train were heading to a protest in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. Others were heading to a religious
Pakistan has a history of deadly railway accidents due to poor infrastructure and disrepair. Hundreds of people have been killed in train
derailments and collisions in recent years, but it's still a common method of transportation for Pakistanis. Some 70 million people traveled by train
in the last year.
KINKADE: Well, to Hong Kong now, where police fired tear gas to break up protests on the Halloween holiday. Crowds of protesters blocked a major
road before police came, and the antigovernment demonstrations targeted a popular party district in the city for the first time.
Well, at times, the protesters blended in with people wearing Halloween costumes. Protesters and party-goers alike were not deterred by a citywide
ban on face masks.
And of course, after months of protests, Hong Kong has fallen into recession. Shops have been closed, tourists have been scared away, and the
economy shrank 3.2 percent during the third quarter.
Well, much more to come, including a much lighter story about how a CNN anchor's choice for dinner may have impacted the results of the world
series. We'll have the story of superstitions when we come back.
KINKADE: Well, there are new concerns about the safety of Boeing airplanes. As many as 50 Boeing s-737 NG planes have been grounded after
cracks were found in a part that keeps the wing attached to the body.
Well, Boeing is inspecting all the 737 NG planes worldwide after cracks were discovered several weeks ago. The Australian Airline Qantas found
cracking in one of its planes and the Australian Engineering Union now calling for all 737s to be grounded.
All this is happening as Boeing's CEO was grilled by U.S. lawmakers about the mistakes that led to the crash of two Boeing 737 Max aircrafts. Well,
CNN's aviation correspondent Rene Marsh joins me now with more on all of this.
Rene, good to have you with us. First, let's just start with the cracking on some of these Boeing 737 NG planes. What more can you tell us?
RENE MARSH, AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, I can tell you that a union that represents aircraft maintenance engineers in Australia, they are
calling on Qantas Airlines to ground its fleet of 737 NG aircraft to make sure that any structural cracks in the planes are repaired.
Now, in September, the FFA here in the U.S. had ordered inspections of the Boeing 737 NG, which we should note is the earlier model of the 737 Max
that's been in the news, after Boeing told the agency that there were these sort of structural cracks that had been found on heavily used planes.
Well, on Wednesday, Qantas confirmed that it had pulled at least one aircraft from service after they inspected their fleet, and they found this
cracking. Other airlines have done the same.
But we should note, this is a totally different problem than what Boeing is dealing with, with the 737 Max. Nonetheless, this is essentially more
problems for Boeing and its brand, Lynda.
KINKADE: A lot of scrutiny on Boeing right now. And this, of course, comes not long after that report was handed down about the crash in
Indonesia involving the Boeing 737 Max which killed everyone on board.
And of course, that report finding partly to blame was Boeing's action and the design of that aircraft.
MARSH: Right, yes. Essentially, this report said that the design of the plane contributed to the crash. And it essentially overwhelmed pilots who
weren't familiar with a key system in this aircraft.
This system which is responsible for pushing the nose of the plane down, and the pilots were not familiar with it because Boeing had asked during
the development phase for the FAA to remove references of this flight control software from manuals.
So, these are all issues that other authorities like the NTSB have raised and Boeing is actively working on to improve before those planes are
allowed to fly in the air once again, Lynda.
KINKADE: All right. Rene Marsh, good to bringing us that update. Thanks so much for joining us.
KINKADE: Well, before we go, the Washington Nationals won the Baseball World Series on Wednesday night. It was the first World Series in
Washington history, and thrilled Nats fans everywhere, including CNN's own Wolf Blitzer.
Wolf admitted to our colleague, Alisyn Camerota, that he's very superstitious when it comes to his Nationals.
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: Wearing the exact same sweatshirt last night that I wore in game six. Not only that, I had the
exact same meal during the course of the game that I had the night before - -
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Which was what? What did you have?
BLITZER: It was Chinese food. It was a Musu chicken. It was delicious, with some green beans and some water, and I was ready to go.
So, everything I did during game six when we came back in Houston and won, I did yesterday. And clearly, it must have had some sort of impact.
CAMEROTA: It must have.
KINKADE: Wolf shouldn't be surprised that the Nationals were the team drinking champagne in the clubhouse last night. A few weeks ago, he asked
his Amazon Alexa who would win the World Series. Take a listen.
BLITZER: Alexa, who's going to win the World Series?
ALEXA: Statistically, the Astros are favored to win it. However, the Nationals are peaking at the perfect time. My prediction, I'm picking my
home away from home-based team, the Washington Nationals. All righty. Play ball!
KINKADE: Alexa was right. Well, thanks so much for watching us tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
Stay with CNN. "AMANPOUR" is up next.