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Hala Gorani Tonight
Bill Taylor Transcript Released Today; Democrats Win Kentucky And Virginia Elections; Possible Dangerous Situation On Plane At Schiphol Airport; Dutch Authorities "Investigating Situation On Board A Plane; Pro- Beijing Lawmaker Attacked With Knife; Mom Kidnapped Kids, Now ISIS Has Them. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 06, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Welcome. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, a new phase in the rapidly moving
impeachment inquiry. But first, public hearings start next week in Washington.
Also this hour, the very latest on the investigation into the brutal massacre of an American family in Mexico. What police are now saying about
an arrest they made yesterday.
And from Miami to an ISIS camp in Syria, a father's desperate search for his missing children, lost to the caliphate.
Let's get right to our breaking news this hour. The latest transcript in the U.S. impeachment inquiry has just been released. This one, revealing
the closed-door testimony of one of the key witnesses: Bill Taylor, a top U.S. official in Ukraine.
Taylor is one of three key witnesses set to testify publicly next week. You see his picture there in the center of your screen. Congressional
investigators have announced dates for those first open hearings starting on Wednesday, with Taylor and another official, State Department official
And then former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, will testify next Friday. She has said that she felt like she was pushed away by the
Trump administration from her post.
Now, the lead investigator, Democrat Adam Schiff, says the hearings will give Americans the chance to evaluate witnesses themselves and learn
firsthand from their own mouths about what he has called Mr. Trump's misconduct. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think you will see, throughout the course of the testimony -- not only their testimony, but many others -- the most
important facts are largely not contested. We are getting an increasing appreciation for just what took place during the course of the last year,
and the degree to which the president enlisted whole departments of government in the illicit aim of trying to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: House Democrats are also pushing ahead with more closed-door depositions. Today, there is one deposition, the third-highest State
Department official is testifying, breaking a string of witness no-shows on Capitol Hill this week.
All right. Let's discuss our breaking news with our congressional correspondent Lauren Fox, with more on these transcripts of Bill Taylor's
testimony a few weeks ago, released just minutes ago today. Tell us more.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, that's right. Basically, we have just gotten these transcripts released publicly. If you remember,
Bill Taylor was the diplomat who told lawmakers behind closed doors that he had heard, quote, "everything was contingent on the president seeing an
announcement of investigations into his political rivals."
TEXT: Bill Taylor, charge d'affaires, U.S. Embassy in Ukraine: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, 2006-2009; Raised concerns in text messages:
"As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."
FOX: Obviously very significant for Democrats who, behind closed doors, viewed (ph) that Bill Taylor was a very strong witness for them, someone
who they viewed took copious notes, someone who was very aware of what was going on and was recording it each step of the way, in the way that he was
TEXT: Highlights from Bill Taylor's testimony: Directly tied Trump to Ukraine quid pro quo; Was told "everything" depended on Ukraine publicly
announcing investigations; Sondland told him it was business as usual; Said Bolton opposed call between Trump & Ukrainian president
FOX: He was a career diplomat and he was someone who, of course, Democrats say was very trustworthy. It's why he has been announced to be one of
their first public hearings next week, next Wednesday, along with George Kent.
Then on Friday, of course, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will testify. They -- Democrats also view her as a strong witness
in part because of what she knows about Rudy Giuliani and his role to try and oust her from her job in the State Department. Very important
information, coming out.
But, again, Bill Taylor testimony released just minutes ago. We'll be moving -- reading through it in just a few minutes.
GORANI: All right. And as you mentioned there, this testimony through the transcript, emerging here. One of the lines coming out was that Bill
Taylor told lawmakers he was hesitant, in fact, to take the Ukraine job, calling potentially -- detailing concerns about it being a snake pit,
quote-unquote, in D.C. and Kiev.
Talk to us about next week, and Bill Taylor will be testifying publicly as well as -- we were telling our viewers -- George Kent and Marie
Yovanovitch. That will happen on Friday. What are the expectations there?
FOX: Well, Democrats are arguing that these are some of their strongest witnesses. These are people who will be able to tell the American people
directly, what they saw and heard when they were in the Trump administration, how concerns that they had -- especially from George Kent,
he raised concerns about Rudy Giuliani and was told to lie low.
So that gives you a sense of where they're going in this. They basically just want to use this as an opportunity for the American people to see
firsthand what they've been hearing for several months. I think one thing that gets forgotten a lot is that the official impeachment inquiry started
on September 24th. We are not in just the first week of November. And obviously, a lot has already transpired behind closed doors. Next week
really starts the public phase of this impeachment inquiry, for the American people to see and to be able to make up their own minds.
Democrats' hope, of course, this will shape public opinion and convince some independent voters who may have been supporting the president before
this -- Hala.
GORANI: Lauren, stand by. Our senior political analyst, John Avlon, joins us.
What do you make of these first few lines coming out of these transcripts that Congress has released with Bill Taylor's testimony there? "I was
concerned that there was, I think, I put it, a snake pit in Kiev and a snake pit here, and I was not sure that I could usefully serve in that
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: A tale of two snake pits. I think it turned out to be pretty good prophecy of the mess he was about to
walk into in both Kiev and within the Trump administration. And it's an indication of how Bill Taylor was serving reluctantly with a sense of duty.
Here's somebody who's deeply respected by the State Department --
GORANI: Could you send me more? Because I've got --
AVLON: -- deeply respected by the folks he's worked with of both parties. Someone who's come under very intense attack from the Trump administration,
with the White House calling him an unelected bureaucrat, the president possibly referring to him in a tweetstorm in which he referred to scumbags.
And this really has rankled the sense of honor and duty of Bill Taylor.
Taylor, as we also know, is the one who, in the text messages with Ambassador Gordon Sondland, said I think it's crazy to have a personal
political agenda be played out through the withholding of military aid. So a key witness, this testimony's going to be chock-full of information
beyond the sound bite of snake pits.
GORANI: All right. And what more are we learning, Lauren? Because I know you're having to go through pages and pages of written testimony or of
transcripts of the testimony behind closed doors. What more are we learning?
FOX: Well, we're still getting a sense of the fact that Bill Taylor was someone who told lawmakers behind closed doors that he believed that
military aid was being used as a way to try to extract these investigations from the Ukrainians.
And of course, that's problematic. He heard that from Gordon Sondland, and he heard it from another top diplomat, Timothy Morrison. And that's
problematic, of course. Because his concern, all along, like we heard just a minute ago, was that you cannot use military aid -- something that has
bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, something that had already been appropriated to be sent to the Ukrainians -- as a way to try to extract
investigations into your political rivals.
He was very concerned about that. We're learning more about those details as we are reading more of these transcripts.
GORANI: All right. Lauren Fox, thanks very much. We'll let you go continue your news-gathering there on Capitol Hill.
And, John, there's a lot to talk about because these very important hearings next week will be public hearings. How will that change things?
That fact that, now, the public at large, live on television, will be able to hear directly from these witnesses.
AVLON: It amplifies it dramatically. The closest precedent we have, the most infamous one, is Watergate. When the hearings went public, the
public's attention shifted and focused dramatically.
You know, so far, we've seen a steady ratcheting up of support for impeachment. And in some cases, removal of office. The president has been
really taking on water these past several weeks and months, as more information has come out about this Ukraine affair.
The transcripts we've seen to date have not helped his case. The president seems to be almost insisting on a denial strategy. And, indeed, some
congressional Republicans seem inclined to support it, while others are saying, look, we need to distance ourselves from the call, it was a bad
call. It doesn't rise to the level of impeachment.
But all America's attention and focus on this is going to ratchet up dramatically once you have the witnesses in public, taking testimony and
questions from folks on both sides of the aisle.
GORANI: All right. And also, very important political news in the United States, those off-year races. The governor race in Kentucky, where Mr.
Trump's Republican Party lost, although the incumbent, Matt Bevin, has not yet conceded.
But the big loss for the Republicans was in Virginia, not so long ago, considered a swing state. And both chambers flipped in favor of the
Democrats. It will be the first time in a quarter century, John, that the state government is in the hands of Democrats. Is this an embarrassment
for President Trump?
AVLON: This is a big deal, Hala. Look, these 2019 midterm elections, they are not high-profile. They are not typically high turnout. But we saw
massive turnout in Kentucky, a surge past the previous gubernatorial election.
The Democratic candidate, edging out an unpopular Republican incumbent who Donald Trump campaigned hard for. And instructively, the Democrat was
focused not on national issues, but on local issues and issues like health care.
Virginia, that legislature had been razor-thin and edged (ph) Republican last time around. This time, Democrats took it all. Seems to be moving
Virginia into the Democratic column, as you said, for the first time in a quarter century.
That shows there's an enthusiasm about elections right now, being motivated primarily against Donald Trump. We should say that Republicans kept the
governorship in Mississippi, not unexpectedly, but against a relatively strong Democratic challenger who's the attorney general.
But for Republicans to lose Kentucky with an incumbent, and for the Democratic candidate to win big in coal country, among massive turnout,
that's really significant. That's a major brushback (ph) pitch for Republicans, who maybe think that Donald Trump's personal popularity will
carry them across the line in some states in the south. Not the case, according to these two elections we just saw last night.
GORANI: Stand by, John. We have some breaking news coming in to CNN. We're getting word of an ongoing incident aboard a plane at Schiphol
Airport in Amsterdam. Police are on the scene, they're investigating.
Now, obviously, for our world travelers out there, you know Schiphol is a major transit hub, one of the busiest airports in the world. This is all I
can tell you right now, this is all I know, that there's an incident aboard an aircraft at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. I'll bring you more when I
John, I want to get back to you, here. The counterargument on Kentucky is Bevin was an extremely unpopular governor. He was picking fights even with
his own party. That yes, on the national level, Kentucky is red. But locally, oftentimes, voters choose Democratic candidates.
So, really, that -- you know, the Democrats shouldn't be celebrating too much about Kentucky. How do you respond to that?
AVLON: Well, look, I don't -- no Democrats who are celebrating today think that Donald Trump's going to necessarily lose Kentucky in a general
And I think one of the things it does, is it shows us that our stereotypes of the states and the partisan nature break down upon closer inspection.
One of the most popular governors in the country is a Republican from Massachusetts. Now, Kentucky looks like they're going to get a Democratic
governor -- also, by the way, the son of a former governor, so he benefited from some name I.D.
But Matt Bevin was pushing a national GOP agenda. He was -- a lot of the themes that Trump intends to hit, heading into the -- into his re-election,
talking about culture war issues.
And it turned out that voters were much more interested in kitchen table issues. So it does say a little bit about the kind of Democrat who can win
a state like Kentucky. You may love it for Bourbon and bluegrass, but its politics are more complex than you might think from a distance.
GORANI: And what's interesting is turnout, right?
GORANI: Because a lot of Democratic strategists have told me, over the last several months, this is going to be an election -- a turnout election.
If there is a large turnout -- and there was in Kentucky and Virginia as well, according to the figures I saw today -- that this could benefit
Democrats because it means Democrats are energized finally, that they have a foe in Donald Trump and they really believe that it's their duty to go
out and vote. Do you agree?
AVLON: Well, you certainly are seeing extraordinary turnout beyond all what the secretary of state of Kentucky, for example, calculated based on
primary turnout. You are seeing a motivated Democratic base. Republicans are pretty fired up, too. Donald Trump can get his supporters to the
polls, but you are seeing a kind of blue wave from the midterm elections extend into these typically off-year elections in territory that isn't
typically favorable for Republicans.
So, yes. What we're heading into in 2020 is going to have turnout unlike anything we've ever seen. Both sides are motivated, Democrats really
feeling a sense of civic responsibility, heading into this next election.
GORANI: All right. And regarding these transcripts, Bill Taylor, the other transcripts, especially yesterday's bombshell that the U.S.
ambassador to the E.U., who's a big Trump supporter, who could never be accused --
GORANI: -- of being a Never Trumper, Gordon Sondland, admitted quid pro quo, essentially, in that addendum he sent to congressional investigators.
How much will that impact the race itself, opinion polls? Because the president is still -- I mean, his popularity rating with his base just does
not move no matter what.
AVLON: The president is very solid. I think a lot of that's being buoyed by the economy. Look, impeachment doesn't help a president typically,
although Bill Clinton did see a bounce when Republicans overplayed their hand.
What we're seeing in the polling right now is that Donald Trump is historically unpopular, but he is much more competitive than his popularity
ratings would typically suggest. And his base is solidly in his corner.
The problem is, facts (ph) of impeachment come out. Republicans are realizing they don't have as many lines of argument to defend the president
as they'd like to. May not matter when it gets to the Senate.
But for example, they'd been saying there's no quid pro quo. Well, one of their star witnesses just basically changed his testimony on them, and that
is no longer operative. Got a lot of bad facts coming down the pike for President Trump.
GORANI: All right. Thanks so much for being with us, John Avlon, our senior political analyst.
Let's get you back to our breaking news, coming in to CNN. Really, some sketchy details here. We're getting word of an ongoing incident aboard a
plane at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Police, we understand, are on the scene. They are investigating.
It is a huge transit hub, it's one of the busiest airports in the world, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands of course, around 67,000 people work there.
There are also around 500 other different companies located at the airport, so a very busy hub.
Nic Robertson joins me now. What more do we know about what's happening at Schiphol, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The only line that we're getting from the Royal Dutch Military police at the moment -- and
this really indicates this is an ongoing situation -- is that a situation is ongoing on board an aircraft. So as you were saying, the things that we
know at the moment, the aircraft is on the ground so the situation is happening on the aircraft itself.
What we are seeing being reported by the national broadcaster in the Netherlands at the moment is that there are a number of emergency vehicles
in that area, and the Dutch national broadcaster is saying that the situation, from what they understand, involves a life-threatening element.
Now, these are yet to be -- those details in the Dutch national broadcaster have yet to be confirmed by authorities in the Netherlands, but this does
seem to be an ongoing situation. Other broadcasters in the area of Schiphol are also saying that they're seeing a large number of emergency
As we know, this is a large complex airport. And in contrast, in many other airports around the world, this is an airport that does its security
checks the very final stage, just before you board the aircraft, separate security checks for each departure gate. So the structure there is so
security is the very last step before you get on board the aircraft.
And this -- whatever is happening, we don't know what it is -- is taking place on board one of those aircrafts. We understand so far, at least,
well -- what we don't understand is, is it still at the departure gate or has it moved away from the gate.
GORANI: That would be interesting to know. Because if it's on board the aircraft, it means it happened after the last security check. For those
who know Schiphol, as you mentioned, it's the last thing before boarding the plane that passengers go through.
As you mentioned there, NOS, the national broadcaster in the Netherlands, Nic Robertson, is reporting that emergency services are flocking to
Schiphol, that this is what's called a grip three report, which means that there's a potential threat to the well-being of the population. This is
according, again, to the national broadcaster NOS, this is not something we've confirmed.
As you mentioned, on RTL Netherlands as well, reporting that a large alarm was sounded at Schiphol Airport. Talk to us a little bit about the airport
itself. This is a huge transit hub -- Nic.
ROBERTSON: You know, whenever you pass through Schiphol, whether it's early in the day or late afternoon -- and what we understand, that this
incident took place within the last hour, that's when it began developing - - it is a very, very busy airport with transits from all around the world, flights coming in from destinations across the globe.
So this is an airport that will have many different nationalities transiting through it, whether they're making connections or whether their
final destination is Amsterdam, which we know is a very, very popular -- excuse me -- tourist destination.
So an airport that's busy, an airport that has relatively long corridors connecting out to the gates, which are sort of at a distance from the main
hub buildings of the airport, which house -- as we're all familiar with now, in so many airports around the world -- many, many shops.
But atypically, as we've been saying here, this is an airport where security is done at the very last step before people go into the final area
before they board the aircraft.
GORANI: All right. Thanks, Nic Robertson. We'll let you go.
Our Richard Quest is in New York with more. NOS, reporting -- this is the national broadcaster -- Richard, that emergency services have flocked to
Schiphol and that this is as a result of reports of suspicious activity. This is according to a spokesperson speaking to CNN at Schiphol Airport.
Talk to us more about the airport itself, and about what the -- the huge transport hub that is Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes. Well, Schiphol is the headquarters and the hub, if you like, for KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines. And
as such, because KLM has such hugely (ph) long (ph) routes and tentacles, right the way around the world, it is a massively important -- it's one of
the mega-hubs of Europe along with Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Schiphol. And Schiphol vies between them all as to who is the busiest
at any given moment.
But it's the positioning of KLM along with other low-cost carriers, which have really dragooned their way into there. Those like Ryanair and
easyJet, which have taken advantage of the huge popularity of Amsterdam as a weekend destination in its own right, that has made Schiphol quite so
It's labyrinthic (ph) in the sense of you go into one area -- a lot of passengers, of course, going through Schiphol will never actually leave the
airport. Because of its nature as a transit hub for KLM and others -- excuse me -- they're -- you enter it often in one part, and you depart in
And as Nic was saying, the way they do security at Schiphol, there are several layers of security. The first will be from check-in, if you're
coming from outside, coming from Amsterdam. Then you come through, you do check-in, you do security.
Then, Hala, you've got those passengers who will be transiting through Schiphol from one flight to the next. They will often do a secondary
security check, depending on the destination of whether it's a Schengen or non-Schengen destination when they're arriving from. And then, thirdly,
you will have security at the gate.
Now, the reason Schiphol does security at the gate is so that it can mingle arriving and departing passengers in some cases. The rules of
international travel mean that the two groups cannot mix. Arriving and departing cannot mix unless departing passengers do a secondary security
check at the gate. Very few airports do that, by the way, Hala, because it's very time-consuming, it's expensive and it requires more resources.
GORANI: Richard, we'll keep our eye on this story. We don't have many details right now. These initial reports, though, that there is --
GORANI: -- potentially a suspicious situation on board an aircraft at Schiphol Airport. We'll be reconnecting with you very soon and we'll see
you at the top of the hour on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."
Just reiterating for our viewers, the public broadcaster in the Netherlands, NOS, is reporting that emergency services are rushing to
Schiphol Airport because there is some sort of suspicious situation on board an aircraft. We understand that aircraft is on the ground. We'll
bring you more when we have it.
Still to come tonight, new developments in the ambush that left nine family members dead near the U.S.-Mexico border. Why police now say the man they
arrested was not involved after all.
GORANI: Recapping briefly our breaking news this hour, we're getting word of an ongoing incident on board a plane at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Police are on the scene, they are investigating. Schiphol is a big transit hub, one of the busiest airports in the world, in fact. We'll bring you
more as it happens. This is all we know for now.
In Mexico, what started out today as a glimmer of hope for the investigation under way into the massacre of nine family members from a
Mormon community near the U.S.-Mexico border? Well, that glimmer of hope quickly disappeared.
Police are now saying that the man they arrested -- who was found with two hostages, weapons and ammunition, by the way -- is connected probably to
something, but not to this particular horrific tragedy.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more on this story from Mexico City.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mexican police say they recovered over 200 spent cartridges from the scene of the massacre. The
targets were all women and children who never had a chance.
UNIDENTIFED MALE: This is for the record. Nita (ph) and four of my grandchildren are burnt, shot up.
OPPMANN (voice-over): The victims, three mothers and six children, including two infants, were all dual citizens of the United States and
Mexico, and members of the Mormon community. The family was traveling in a convoy of three vehicles when they were attacked.
Rhonita Miller was driving one of the cars with four of her children, including her nearly eight-month-old twins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nita was one of the most vibrant, happy souls that I've ever met. She was -- just had so much spark and life in her.
OPPMANN (voice-over): The car was shot at and set ablaze.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None (ph) of my grandchildren made it out. It burnt to a crisp. And my daughter-in-law. And they're about as innocent as they
OPPMANN (voice-over): The two other vehicles were attacked about 10 miles down the road, each riddled with bullet holes. Donna Langford was killed
in one of those cars, along with two of the nine children with her.
And Christina Johnson was killed while traveling with Faith, her seven- month-old baby who miraculously survived.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know how she survived it because around the door, in front of where she was, was full of bullet holes. Her car seat
base had bullets, and somehow this baby escaped unscathed.
OPPMANN (voice-over): Thirteen-year-old Devin Langford survived the attack and hid six siblings in brush on the side of the road. A family member
tells CNN that he then walked 14 miles for six hours to find help. His nine-year-old sister also left the group to find help, and went missing.
Relatives and soldiers found the girl alive hours later.
Mexican officials said Wednesday that the families may have been caught in a turf war between two gangs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There were violent clashes between the La Linea and Salazar in the state of Sonora. This is one of the first
lines of investigation that the state's A.G. office is following. We assume that Salazar's (ph) intention was to enter Chihuahua. Therefore,
they sent an armed group through that same road stretch.
OPPMANN (voice-over): But family members say they believe they were targeted for speaking out against the cartels, and had been threatened
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our family was picked to be the ones to stir up trouble and to start a war.
GORANI: All right. And that was Patrick Oppmann reporting.
Let's turn to the victims now. CNN's Gary Tuchman is in Tucson, Arizona, where the surviving children are recovering. Tell us more, Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, I'm right in front of the Banner - University Medical Center in Tucson. And one of the patients
inside this hospital right now -- gunshot wound patient -- is too young to walk, and he's too young to talk. His name is Brixon, he's nine months
old, and he was one of their children shot. And he was shot twice in the chest and in the arm.
And then four other children inside -- I just want to be very specific, just so we get the magnitude of this, that these were women and children
who were shot in Mexico on Monday. Four-year-old Xander, shot in the back. Eight-year-old Cody, shot in the jaw. Nine-year-old Mckenzie, she was shot
in the arm and the wrist. Fourteen-year-old Kylie, she was shot in the foot. All five of the children are in five separate rooms right now in
this medical center.
The hospital itself is not giving out any information on conditions of these children. However, family members were talking to ours (ph). They
say that three of the children are very seriously injured but in stable condition. And that they are told those three children will survive. Two
of the other children, the two older ones, the girls are not as seriously hurt and they could be release from the hospital soon.
Now, we've been talking to family members who have gone inside. One man, Willie Jessop, who we've known for many years because we've done so many
stories on fundamentalist Mormon, he is a well-known fundamentalist Mormon leader who lives on the Arizona-Utah border.
He has a 19 years old son who was married to a woman whose mother was Donna, who you just heard in Patrick's story who was killed in this. So
he's very involved, obviously, because his son's mother-in-law was murdered. He was just inside the hospital a short time ago seeing the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIE JESSOP, RELATIVE OF WOMAN KILLED IN ATTACK: A lot of them got multiple gun wounds. I mean, if you're -- if you're not suffering in your
shoulders, you're suffering where you're shot in the head. And if you got your head fixed, you suffer where you got shot somewhere else.
I mean, so, of course, the suffering is unbearable to watch. But the medical people are doing everything possible and I'm very grateful for what
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Painful for was it for you as a grown man to watch small children and the babies going through like this?
JESSOP: No one should ever see this scary. This family should never have to be going through what they're going through. Nobody should see their
little brother or sisters in this situation or father look and see her mother slaughtered, his children slaughtered and massacred in the most
heinous way as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Gary Tuchman, thanks you very much.
We'll be right back.
GORANI: More details on our breaking news story coming into CNN from one of the world's busiest airports, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. A
spokesperson for Dutch authorities says there is, quote, "A suspicious situation aboard a plane there on the ground, a Dutch public television is
reporting that emergency crews are at the scene.
This is being called a grid three report meeting. There is a potential threat to people's well-being. We are awaiting more details and we'll
bring them to you as soon as we get them.
In fact, our Nic Robertson joins me now with more. And I'm reading reports, and it's important to tell our viewers, we have not confirmed
these independently, but that there are helicopters as well, circling above Schiphol. What more can you tell us?
ROBERTSON: Well, what we understand from the authorities that -- is that all emergency services are responding to the situation as usual.
Now, when they say the situation as usual, they don't mean that the current situation as usual, they're referring to the fact that this is their
response to what they're describing as a suspicious situation on board, an aircraft.
It's not clear how many other passengers are on board the aircraft. The Dutch national broadcast is, as you say, describing this in the terms of
that it is threatening to the well-being of people in the immediate vicinity of it.
There have been pictures on social media that, again, still await clarification and verification, but appear to show Schiphol Airport
corridors deserted and empty, as if people have been cleared out of certain areas of that airport.
Again, these are details that we're able to see but not yet verify. The national broadcast that is indicating, as other broadcasters in the
Netherlands are indicating that they're aware of this presence of a large number of emergency vehicles in the area.
Again, the reports about the helicopter were not able to verify those at the moment. But in the terms or the way that the Dutch authorities
frameless, they appear to be framing it as a dangerous situation in broad terms, and that they are responding the way they would do at the airport
for a dangerous situation.
As we know, airports are prepared for dangerous situation that develop because they've been targets by terrorists in the past. The Dutch are no
strangers to this, of course, and they do appear to be have put in place a plan that they would have had for an emergency of a precise nature that
we're not aware of at the moment.
But on board an aircraft, we're trying to find out at the moment if the aircraft still at the gate or had it moved away to the taxiways.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Nic Robertson. Flight Radar 24 is tweeting that the airport is still operating, though I understand portions
of it are closed as a result of this emergency situation.
No information though on the nature of the emergency, and it's important to underline to our viewers that we don't know exactly what's happening on
board this aircraft, but that the situation is causing flights at the D and E, even number gates to be directed to hard stance.
So there is some disruption there. Thanks very much, Nic Robertson. I will get back, of course, to what's happening in Amsterdam as soon as we
have more details.
To breaking news from the U.S. now though, busy, busy hour. The latest transcript in the U.S. impeachment inquiry has just been released by half
an hour ago. This one revealing the closed door testimony of one of the key witnesses, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. official in Ukraine.
Let's go to CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen, a former advisor to four U.S. presidents.
Have you had a chance to look at what was released and what do you make of what we've seen so far, David?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm afraid not. It has not yet arrived I've been preoccupied with other things.
But what I can tell you is that Bill Taylor's testimony has been pivotal already in these investigations. When he testified behind closed doors, as
you know, he also issued a public copy of his opening statement and it was a devastating report for the White House, because this is a man who is very
meticulous, who had retired but was called out of retirement by the Trump administration to go to Ukraine.
So he's a friend of the -- he was respected by the administration. And he basically said it was a quid pro quo that what the White House had been
saying is not really accurate.
And I think right now, Hala, where we are is that a growing danger for the president as this goes public. Is it we will be hearing people say from
the witness stand under oath, things that directly contradict what the president has been saying in his defense overtime?
And as a very substantial possibility that a lot of Americans will closed down. He's been lying to us. He's been lying to us, the public, about
what happened and that's unacceptable.
GORANI: This is -- and I'm also reading this for the first time by the way, full disclosure to our viewers. We were covering what was going on in
But Bill Taylor apparently, according to these transcripts elaborated on what he texted Ambassador Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland, the American
ambassador to the E.U., basically saying that it would be a nightmare scenario of Zelensky announced these public investigations into political
rivals of the president.
And said he told Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, he would quit if such a scenario took place. What's your reaction to that?
GERGEN: Well, that is consistent of what we've learned before. And I think that it shows that Taylor's testimony is going to be. You know, I
think you're going to see a three-step process in which he first testified behind closed doors and then he's -- and then he's going to -- put out an
opening statement and the next thing we'll hear from him in person next week, and I think he's going to be critical one of the three or four most
If the White House so chose, they could send forward people with who are more senior than Bill Taylor closer into the president, his national
security advisor, Josh (INAUDIBLE), acting staff, Mick Mulvaney, Rudy Giuliani, all it could be called.
And, frankly, from my perspective, if they wanted to clear their good names and clear the air, they ought to come forward and volunteer and say, I'd
like to go up and talk.
I know this sounds ridiculous on his face. But if they -- if they have nothing to hide, why not go up and talk under oath, tell them the story and
try to break the fever?
GORANI: But Gordon Sondland is someone no one could ever accuse of being a never Trumper because we know the president's defense --
GERGEN: I agree.
GORANI: -- has been to cast these witnesses as Trump haters. In the case of Gordon Sondland, we can't do that, and Gordon Sondland sent that
addendum to his testimony. Two congressional investigators saying, oh, I just remember, there was that one conversation where I did essentially say
there was a quid pro quo involving military aid and the release of military aid.
Would that be more damaging to the president?
GERGEN: More damage to the president, it's damaging by both ways. Sondland is a guy who gave a million dollars to the Trump campaign efforts
overall. And he's a fellow hotelier out of Oregon. So he and Trump share some things.
And the first time around, and he's under oath, he forgot conveniently a number of pivotal moments. And then he realized, I think that, after
Taylor's testimony that he might be subject to perjury charges in about whether he failed to tell the truth to the -- to the investigators. And
now, he has conveniently remembered, oh, yes, I did actually have a conversation which I said there was a quid pro quo.
So the president's got hurt here several times. You first had a guy going out and lied for him, now, he's got a guy who's saying, by the way, there
was a quid pro quo and that's why -- that's why I came from talking to the president and others.
GORANI: And one of the big lines emerged as well from all of these hearings is that it appeared as though Rudy Giuliani who is the president's
personal lawyer was really conducting a parallel foreign policy in the name of the United States and in the name specifically of the president.
Is that something that has any historical president in the United States?
GERGEN: I can't remember anything directly parallel. There was time -- at the time, Richard Nixon was running for the presidency in 1968. There was
a considerable questions about whether his (INAUDIBLE) had contacts with the South Vietnamese not to get a peace deal done with the North
Vietnamese, a peace deal would imperil Nixon's chances, frankly, of getting elected. And the South Vietnamese went along with that, and, you know, he
later on, got a deal.
But I must tell you again, I think that the president is in some parallel with the Ukrainians. More than one would have supposed.
Just a few weeks ago, because we've had this consistent line of being -- and all the dots are connecting up. And what had also -- I think what's
also very important, Hala, is that the Rudy Giuliani part of this is not just a parallel track to the diplomacy of the United States. When you look
at it, sort of, under the rocks and see what it emerges, it's a parallel track that has sales thuggish in which they're a threat, is we're lying
upon threats to people as opposed to persuasion.
And it has a sense of, you know, you're really going to be bullied, we're going to twist your arm, we're going to do you in unless you go along.
GORANI: David Gergen, thanks so much for joining us.
GERGEN: Thank you.
GORANI: We want to take a quick break. We'll have a lot more on our breaking news out of Schiphol Airport after this.
GORANI: Well, a big sigh of relief, at least for now. The Dutch military police has tweeted, passengers and crew are safe and off the plane. The
investigation is continuing. This was after a report of a suspicious incident on board, a plane that was grounded at Schiphol Airport.
Glenn Schoen is joining me. He's a security analyst and, I think, a lot of people are relieved. These are images from inside Schiphol. But really,
security forces deployed, a lot of manpower to address this situation.
What does that tell you?
GLENN SCHOEN, SECURITY AND TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, they took it very seriously and also the fact that -- as Nic Robertson pointed out, that they
went immediately to grid three. Grid three, the Dutch have a scale of system from one to five.
What level three tells you is its regional but all assets can be brought to bear to support both special policing powers, but also medical assistance,
fire department assistance, and other things. It gives more maneuverability for the government to move very fast.
As you know, Schiphol is a special place. I mean, it's Europe's third largest airport. It's the main port entry point for Holland. And there --
at Schiphol, they normally have the standard -- Dutch military police which also helps with custom functions there. But they have a Special Forces
team at the national level called the DSI where it has a lot of capability in the area and Schiphol being just outside of Amsterdam, of course.
And those people, when they are brought in, that normally comes with a lot of people and support to make sure security rings around an aircraft,
around the peer, around that part of the airport where they want to make sure nobody comes through if there's a running operation.
So it tells you that, you know, they took the situation very seriously but also that all assets were brought to very, very rapidly here.
GORANI: Yes. And they're not saying it's over, they're saying the investigation is continuing. So they're still looking into something.
SCHOEN: Yes. And I mean, of course, we're going to have to hear what the situation is, and if they detain one or more suspects, often one of the
situation is initially declared over. We're in a sense that there was somebody detained or multiple people.
There's still a lot of checks that need to be done. You know, in the worst-case situation that somebody have an explosive they left behind or do
they leave some other dangerous item or might there be somebody who assisted them and they have to identify that purpose.
So even when we hear it's all good news and it looks like it's over, there's still some checks to be -- to be performed.
GORANI: Glenn Schoen, we're going to leave it there. Thanks so much. And I'm sure a lot of relief there in Schiphol and beyond, the passengers and
crew aboard this flight.
Were safely taken off the plane and the Dutch military police tweeting that the investigation is continuing. Hopefully we'll get more details very
soon. Thank you.
In Hong Kong, a controversial pro-Beijing lawmakers in the hospital after having been stabbed. He was attacked while campaigning in his district.
Junius Ho is known for his fierce criticism of Hong Kong's anti-government protests.
CNN Kristie Lu Stout has that story.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Junius Ho is more than a pro-Beijing lawmaker. He is a highly controversial fire brand figure in
Hong Kong politics. A hate figure for many anti-government protesters and now, he's the latest target of rising political violence here.
A warning, what you are about to see is disturbing. In the end, he's okay. About 8:45 on Wednesday morning, Junius Ho was stabbed while campaigning
for upcoming district council elections.
And in the smartphone video, we can see the attacker approaching Ho to give him a bunch of flowers and then he takes out what appears to be a knife
from his bag and stabbed the lawmaker in the chest.
The attacker was quickly subdued, has been arrested. Junius Ho has been hospitalized. He issued a statement saying that his life is not in
Now, the attack was quickly condemned by the pro-establishment camp as well as the Hong Kong government. And Ho released a statement from the hospital
saying today was a dark day in Hong Kong.
This kind of attack has happened before on the other side. In fact, on Sunday, pro-democracy lawmaker, Andrew Chu had part of his ears bitten off
after a man attacked him and three others in a shopping mall.
Other pro-democracy figures have been assaulted or attacked including Jimmy Sham of the Civil Human Rights Front, that the group that organizes massive
marches back in June.
Another pro-democracy figure targeted in a different way, Joshua Wong. Last week, Wong was disqualified in his bid to run for the district council
Now, the district councils may only handle local affairs here in Hong Kong. But this election set for November the 24th will be the first test of
public opinion since the start of the protest five months ago.
Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Still to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASHIRUL SHIKDER, CHILDREN LOST IN SYRIA: When I was talking to my son, I tried my best not to show my tears to him. I tried my best but sometimes I
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Desperate to see his kids again. Four long years after his ex- wife kidnapped them. We follow one father's journey to an ISIS camp in Syria.
GORANI: Turkey has announced today, its captured a wife of former ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Turkish defense minister says the woman
is in the custody of Turkish security forces right now.
Baghdadi blew himself up when U.S. Special Forces stormed his compound in Syria.
News of his wife's capture comes just one day after Turkey says it has seized his sister and brother-in-law in Northern Syria.
A Florida man is on a desperate search to find his two children who were believed to be somewhere in Syria held in an ISIS camp. They were taken
there by their own mother who apparently became radicalized online. Now, she is dead and their father has no idea where his kids are. But he says
he's not going to give up.
CNN's Rosa Flores has his story.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bashirul Shikder has been on an agonizing quest to find his American-born children.
It all started in March of 2015 when he says his wife of eight years, Rashida Sumaiya, kidnapped four-year-old, Yusif and 9-month-old, Zahra,
from their home in Miami and joined ISIS in Syria.
SHIKDER: It was impossible pain that I was going through, but at the same time, I was turning to my faith, believing in God.
FLORES: A month later, ISIS called him with an ultimatum, join or lose your wife and children. Shikder says he reached out to American
authorities, even giving federal agents access to his computer, his phone.
ZAHRA SHIKDER, BASHIRUL'S DAUGHTER: So I miss you. I like you and I love you. I know you love me.
FLORES (voice-over): And to the most intimate conversations with his family.
Z. SHIKDER: So I'm sick. So I'm always coughing. So I miss you.
B. SHIKDER: When I was talking to my son, I tried my best not to show my tears for him. I tried my best but sometimes I could not.
FLORES: These images of his children captured by his wife nearly broke him. Yusif, emotionless, Zahra, pretending to eat.
FLORES (on-camera): Did they have enough to eat?
B. SHIKDER: No way. They were making soup with grasses. No fruits, no food. Nothing is there.
FLORES (voice-over): And then there were the sounds of war, so frightening that Yusif packed his toys.
B. SHIKDER: He was telling his mom that my daddy is coming to pick me up.
FLORES: He wanted to come back to Miami?
B. SHIKDER: Yes.
FLORES: His wife asked for money for the children.
RASHIDA SUMAYA, SHIKDER'S WIFE: Send a very good amount. Like at least $3,000.
B. SHIKDER: I really wanted but at the same time, I didn't want to ruin anything that I will disrespect the law.
FLORES: Under U.S. law, wiring cash could equate to funding a terrorist organization. Under ISIS law, Shikder's punishment was spelled out in this
B. SHIKDER: The court is nullifying our marriage because I live in America.
FLORES: And just when he thought the situation couldn't get worse.
B. SHIKDER: So many days passed that no contact, no infos.
FLORES: -- his wife was killed in an airstrike. The children suffered burns to their faces and were in the care of ISIS.
Desperate, Shikder traveled to al-Hawl camp in Syria. There, a boy said he saw Yusif. But he was too late.
Shikder, a naturalize U.S. citizen from Bangladesh, was confident U.S. commandos would save his children. Then U.S. forces began exiting Syria,
leaving his American children behind.
FLORES: Do you feel let down by the U.S. government?
B. SHIKDER: Yes.
FLORES (voice-over): Let down but not defeated. He says his quest is not over until Yusif and Zahra come home.
Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.
GORANI: Thanks for watching tonight. That's it for this hour. There's much more ahead on both the breaking stories we've been following first
that situation in Amsterdam. Passengers and crews safely off the plane. Thankfully the involved now says it was a false alarm.
Out of Washington, the newly released testimony of Bill Taylor, the top U.S. official in Ukraine, what we're learning from that.
Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.