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Hala Gorani Tonight
Leaders Convene For NATO 70th Anniversary; Protests Growing In Iraq And Iran; London Bridge Victims Mourned; Congress Moves From Investigation To Prosecution; Muscat To Quit Amid Investigation Of Journalist's Murder; Rising Sea Levels Putting London At Risk Of Flooding; Finding A Plastic Substitute. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 02, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Bianca Nobilo in for Hala Gorani.
Tonight, the U.S. president is just a few hours from touching down here in the United Kingdom. He's dogged by the impeachment hearings back at home,
and may get a frosty reception at this week's NATO meeting. We'll bring you all the details.
Also, we're seeing rare scenes in Iran as the nation's faced its deadliest political unrest in decades. The government is cracking down hard.
And, remembering the victims of Friday's terror attack in London. We'll have that story, just ahead.
Out of the country but not out of the center of the controversy. This hour, U.S. President Donald Trump is on his way to London for a NATO
meeting while the impeachment investigation picks up steam back at home.
Wednesday, a hearing will kick off a critical stage of the process of deciding whether the president should be impeached over his dealings with
The White House plans to sit the hearing out. Here's what Mr. Trump said just before he left Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Democrats, the radical left Democrat, the do-nothing Democrats decided when I'm going to NATO --
this was set up a year ago -- that when I'm going to NATO, that was the exact time. This is one of the most important journeys that we make as
president. And for them to be doing this and saying this and putting an impeachment on the table, which is a hoax to start off with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: While the inquiry moves forward at home. Mr. Trump will be meeting with NATO allies, and they've had some tensions before. CNN's Nic
Robertson joins me now, and Max Foster is at the U.S. ambassador's residence here in London, where the president will be staying.
Max, let's go to you first. So you are at the residence where President Trump will be staying this evening. What's the rest of his agenda shaping
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, he arrives tonight, then a series of bilaterals in the morning, one of them being Emmanuel Macron. He
recently described NATO as brain-dead because of the way that the U.S. has been undermining it, effectively, by stepping back and discussing its
future in a way that hasn't been discussed before by a U.S. president. So that's going to be an interesting meeting.
In terms of other bilaterals, noticeably, one that hasn't been announced yet or arranged, as far as we know, is with Boris Johnson, the British
prime minister. He'd normally have that as the host leader, but that isn't in the agenda just yet.
It might change, the speculation around that being that it's not necessarily good for Boris Johnson, who's ahead in the general election
polls here, to be associated with such a divisive figure, recent polling showing that two-thirds of Brits don't view President Trump in a positive
light, so do you really wanted to be associated with that type of foreign leader when you're running for the premiership in this country.
And then we're going to have -- the main NATO event, really, kicks off in the evening with a reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the queen.
Prince Charles will be there as well, the duchess of Cornwall. But Prince Andrew won't be there, we've reported on the reasons why. Also the duchess
of Sussex won't be there, that's because she's taking voluntary time out from public duties, currently, with Prince Harry.
And then the main event is the following day, there (ph) will also be a reception at Downing Street, where no doubt, Bianca, there will be pictures
of President Trump with Boris Johnson, but I think they'll both be very careful about how that plays into the general election campaign here.
NOBILO: Max, thank you. We'll be back with you in just a second.
Nic, let's pick up on what Max was just saying about the impact that any potential comments from the president could have on this general election
campaign in the United Kingdom. Talk our international viewers through that a little bit more, as to why the president supporting a particular
candidate or speaking out against a particular candidate might actually work in their favor or against them.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, I think the Labour Party, the main opposition party, of course, has really picked up on
those statistics, that two-thirds of the population here don't have a favorable view of President Trump. And they use that to target the prime
minister over his Brexit plans, and specifically what he'll do about the National Health Service.
We've heard Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, say a number of times that Boris Johnson will essentially privatize, in his Brexit -- post-
Brexit trade deal with the United States, will privatize parts of the National Health Service.
So -- and he calls it -- you know, he tries to sort of lump Boris Johnson and President Trump all in one basket. So the closer they are together,
whether it's in pictures or in meetings, there's a real strong possibility that the Labour Party would use that against -- would use that against
Boris Johnson. And it's so close to the elections, and that's not something, clearly, that the Conservative Party would like to risk.
NOBILO: Max was talking about the impact that President Trump has had on NATO, many people commenting that he has been a threat to it. But I
suppose another way of seeing it is, President Trump has been very aggressive in pushing the NATO members to meet their targets of defense
spending, and he says that the U.S. is treated unfairly because they shoulder the majority of the financial burden.
So is that another way of seeing it, that actually he just wishes that the other countries would pay their due and to buttress the organization?
ROBERTSON: Yes, the NATO nations made this commitment that they would spend two percent of GDP on defense spending, and they made that at the
NATO summit in Wales about five or six years ago, and that this was going to be over a period of time. President Trump came into office and said, no
thanks, I'll have that all now. You need to step up. So the language has been quite bellicose.
So I think it's no surprise that Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general at the U.N., in advance of this leaders' meeting, has said very cleverly,
well, look, the figures stack up really well. Since 2016, there's an additional $130 billion now being spent by all your partners, Mr. Trump, so
that's very good. And there were only three of those countries back in 2016, making this two percent of GDP. Now it's nine.
So we've heard from the White House, already calling this the president has been spectacularly successful. So really, what the U.N. -- the NATO
secretary general has done here is to try to get a narrative that puts Trump in a good mood, and puts his unpredictability to one side. But there
are many, many other issues that are going to be coming up here.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): From World War through Cold War to War on Terror, NATO has been a cornerstone of global peace. But as its leaders gather in
London this week, celebrating its 70th anniversary, its past is catching up with it.
JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY GENERAL OF NATO: The foundations of NATO are strong --
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Robust projections, but internal tensions are mounting.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Wake-up call.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron described the alliance as brain-dead.
TRUMP: As I told the countries, you have to step up. You have to pay.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): President Trump demands NATO partners pay their way. Now, likely (ph) the most pressing issue in London will be Turkey.
Its populist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, purchased the sophisticated Russian S-400 air defense system, and now toys with the idea of buying
Russian fighter jets too, both buys from outside the alliance, a no-no for NATO.
But don't expect public fireworks. Tensions with Turkey are not new. Neither is the solution, NATO better off with Turkey on the inside. But
with that, comes danger, warns longtime NATO expert Jonathan Eyal.
JONATHAN EYAL, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: The problem that we have is that we are used to the game of -- of Mr. Erdogan.
What we are not -- what we do not know is what the limits are. And the danger is, always, is that someone will overstep the mark.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): And then France, never an easy relationship within the alliance. Macron doesn't speak for Europe but tries to, recently
pushing the idea the alliance is past fit for purpose and Trump is part of the problem.
EYAL: There's no question that in general, Trump's statements were distinctly unhelpful and have shaken the alliance to the core. The Brits
lead the camp that say that Trump is a temporary phenomenon and will go away. The French lead the other camp.
ROBERTSON: President Trump is the most unpredictable U.S. president NATO has ever had to deal with. With him in the room, according to one informed
source, NATO can never be sure if it's one whim away from a wipeout.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): One person in particular will be happy for any dissent in London: Vladimir Putin. Russia is weaker than NATO and feels
threatened. Responding to his provocations is yet another challenge.
EYAL: NATO has a challenge, to try to suggest how, in a world like this, it still has the answers.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): A good outcome in London would be nailing differences behind closed doors. But with Trump int he room, that's not
going to be easy.
ROBERTSON: So, 70 years, NATO is looking a little bit brittle. It's still got some flexibility, but clearly there's going to have to be a lot of
stretching here for all parties, to sort of reach out over these differences and actually come to quiet agreement.
NOBILO: Nic Robertson, thank you. And thank you to Max Foster as well, outside Winfield House for us.
Now, anti-government protests are raging in Iraq and Iran, and authorities are responding with deadly force. In Iran, demonstrations over a massive
fuel price increase have morphed into a nationwide call for change. It's the country's worst political unrest since the Islamic Revolution some 40
years ago, and the government is cracking down hard.
We don't know exactly how many people have been killed. Amnesty International says at least 208 people have died since the protests began
two week ago, but they say the real number is likely to be much higher than that. It's nearly impossible for international reporters to get inside
Iran right now.
Sam Kiley is closely following all of the developments from Abu Dhabi. Sam, so talk to me about the character of these protests. What makes them
so much bigger? Why is it more appealing for Iranians to join in on them than others in the past?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think Iranians are being hit by two major factors. The one is that they have been ruled by a
theocracy since 1979, and a lot of younger people are simply fed up with it. We're seeing that played out not just in Iran, but Iraq and of course
in Lebanon too.
On the other hand, the Iranian economy's also been very badly squeezed indeed by sanctions from the United States, and that is provoking
indifference in this uprising. Not a bourgeois sort of response from the middle classes that we saw back in 2009, but a lot of very angry people,
genuinely suffering and taking to the streets.
But there has been an internet blackout. It's been extremely difficult to get anything out of Iran. What we have been able to put together is a
series of social media posts that we have verified. And they paint a very, very striking picture, one that really showing a transition in Iran from a
demand for reform, to a demand of revolution. This is what it looked like.
KILEY (voice-over): Iranian parliamentarians grab and throttle back dissent from one of their own, Muhammad (ph) (INAUDIBLE) who comes from
Iran's south, had sought to publicize allegations of the mass killing of demonstrators there. He was silenced in Iran's National Assembly by
politicians anxious to suppress news about what may be the worst violence in demonstrations in decades.
The internet has been cut for most of the last two weeks. But images of alleged brutality by the security forces have begun to emerge. Here, a
demonstrator chases a plainclothes officer, who shoots him in the leg.
Human rights groups have said that there have been hundreds of deaths across Iran since demonstrations began against a sudden 50 percent fuel
price hike last month. The government has said that demonstrators, who it calls "vandals" and "thugs," have burned 70 gas stations, more than 700
banks and even dozens of ambulances as Iran's crisis has deepened.
Sanctions imposed by the U.S. have hobbled Iran, the IMF saying this year, its economy will shrink by almost 10 percent. Ten years ago, a reform
movement was violently crushed. Today, there's more of a revolutionary drive with opposition leaders saying that Iran's supreme leader is worse
than the Shah that the Islamic Revolution deposed in 1979.
Opposition politician Mir Hossein Mousavi, who's under house arrest, issued a statement that said, "The killers of 1978 represented a non-religious
regime. The agents and snipers of November 2019 are the representatives of a religious government. At that time, the commander-in-chief was the
shah." Today, it's the supreme leader with absolute authority."
The language, too, is shifting from demands for reform to an end to the regime altogether. But with no leadership or plan, reaching that goal is a
distant (ph) prospect, and perhaps a dangerous dream.
KILEY: Now, Bianca, President Rouhani has always, at least until now, been seen as the reforming element or the more liberal element within the power
structures in Iran, but the demonstrators calling for him to go means that there is a danger that the hardliners will see this as an empowering
moment. That's the domestic angle.
And then, of course, internationally, the more the Iranians are squeezed (ph) from the perspective of the Trump administration, that is a good
thing. But when it -- when they act internationally, there is again a danger that the hardliners may use their proxies in Yemen and Lebanon, the
Syrian regime in Damascus, and of course in Iraq to violently hit back at what they believe is international interference in their sovereign
political matters -- Bianca.
NOBILO: Sam Kiley in Abu Dhabi, thank you very much.
In neighboring Iraq, the country's parliament has accepted the prime minister's resignation but anti-government protests are still going strong.
Hundreds of Iraqi women marched in Basra on Monday, many of them accusing the government of committing violence against protestors. Nearly 400
demonstrators have been killed by security forces since October, and more than a dozen Security Force members have also died.
Arwa Damon takes us to the heart of the country's anguish.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They cry for those they love, for those they never met, for the agony of loss today
and that of Iraq's painful past. The sorrowful lyrics, a traditional Shia mourning hymn told from the perspective of the martyr, saying farewell to
This is Hilla, the predominantly Shia capital of the province of Babylon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a speech (ph) for (ph) all the civilization in the world from Babylon. We love our country. We love life. So we made
this -- this full (ph) demonstration.
DAMON (voice-over): Our presence prompts an address in English, those who are here, starved to get their message out to an international audience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need all the world to support us, to stop crimes against innocent people.
DAMON (voice-over): Those crimes, reflected in this living piece of macabre art and along the walls leading to the protest grounds.
"After all the blood that was spilt, we won't let that go. We won't give up," 22-year-old Tabariq (ph) Faad (ph) avows. She's a recent college
graduate, and this is about her future. It's a future without the chains of Iraq's sectarian political parties, without the toxic influence of Iran
and other outside powers. Students of all ages are on strike, foregoing their education until their demands are met.
DAMON: They want to start over. They want a do-over when it comes to Iraq's democracy project. And it really is this generation that is forcing
about this change.
DAMON (voice-over): But few places are as calm as this, where there is an agreement with the police to keep the peace.
DAMON: This is the local provincial council that has been shut down at the request of the population. I mean, they've basically gotten rid of the
local government here.
DAMON (voice-over): They also torched the local offices of all political parties, a reflection of the outrage felt towards the political elite and
their outside patrons.
But just a 45-minute drive further south, in the holy Shia city of Najaf, the bloody repression against those who dare revolt, continues. In the
last few days, at least 20 people have been killed, more than 500 wounded.
"Check if my son is thirsty. I will drink after him. I'm worried he died thirsty," this father, utterly beside himself, cries out.
And this little girl, just five years old, was killed by a stray bullet when she was standing in front of her house.
Najaf is where Shia political power lies, and Iran's influence in more prominent. But even here, there is no more tolerance left for the status
quo. Protestors had already burned the Iranian consulate. And, more recently, attacked the shrine of a once-revered Shia cleric, whose family
is now entrenched in Iraqi politics.
Despite the crushing pain, there is hope and determination, a strength even in sorrow, that those here swear is more powerful than any sectarian force.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Hilla, Iraq.
NOBILO: Still to come tonight, London pays tribute to the victims of the London Bridge attack. Plus, one victim's family warns against politicizing
And in Madrid, where 25,000 delegates are tackling the next phase of fighting climate change.
NOBILO: London has come together to mourn the victims of the London Bridge attack last week. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour Party
leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan were among those in attendance.
Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were stabbed to death in Friday's terrorist attack. The two University of Cambridge graduates were in London for a
prisoner rehabilitation conference. CNN's Nina dos Santos has more details.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): Twenty-five-year-old Jack Merritt and 23-year-old Saskia Jones. Both were Cambridge graduates, both
passionate about giving even the most serious offenders a second chance. It was this belief that brought them to an event near London Bridge, to
discuss rehabilitation with former prisoners, and a belief that put them into contact with Usman Khan, a convicted terrorist out on license.
The fact he was freed early has been seized upon by the prime minister, already pledging to get tough on law and order with the general election
now less than two weeks away. And days before a NATO summit in the U.K., which will see the country welcome world leaders including the U.S.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I think it's repulsive that individuals as dangerous as this man should be allowed out
after serving only eight years. And that's why --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was --
JOHNSON: -- we are going to change the law.
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I think there has to be an examination of how our prison serves this work, and crucially what happens to them when
they're released from prison?
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Over the weekend, authorities have increased their surveillance of 74 criminals out on license like Khan. That led to
the arrest of a 34-year-old man on Sunday night. In a statement, Jack Merritt's family described him as a beautiful, talented boy who believed in
redemption, not revenge. And they urged Johnson not to politicize his passing.
"We know Jack would not want this terrible, isolated incident to be used as a pretext by the government for introducing even more draconian sentences,"
they said, a legacy captured in Jack's own words, describing his work in this radio interview earlier this year.
JACK MERRITT, LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK VICTIM: Our students in prison often have a very first-hand, very real but also very nuanced idea of how the law
works. We essentially start talking to our students about ideas of justice and access to justice.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Khan's lawyer says longer sentences aren't the answer. The focus instead should be on rehabilitation before release.
VAJAHAT SHARIF, LONDON BRIDGE ATTACKER'S LAWYER: The point to learn from this is that the system could benefit by reviewing its position on
something like this, and having offenders interact with deradicalizers some time before they are to be released in the community.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Police are still trying to understand the events leading up to Friday's attack. What they learn may have important
consequences for how and when offenders are released in the future, even if that may not necessarily have been the reform that Friday's gathering had
been hoping to achieve. Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.
NOBILO: A U.N. climate change conference has kicked off in Madrid, and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says it marks the point of no return in
humanity's fight against climate change. The 12-day meeting known as COP25,focuses on how to meet benchmarks set forth in the Paris Climate
Agreement. That landmark agreement increases countries' commitments to reducing emissions of planet-warming gases.
American diplomats remain part of the talks, even though the Trump administration has begun pulling the U.S. out of that agreement. Guterres
spoke to the urgency of the crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: Climate change is no longer a long-term problem. We are confronted now with a global climate
crisis. And the point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and hurtling towards us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: CNN's Jim Bittermann has more on that speech and what lies ahead at the summit.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This year's COP25 conference is meant to repair some of the deficiencies that were perceived
in the agreement that was reached in Paris four years ago, COP21, basically surrounding the area of enforcement of the goals, the climate change goals
that have been set by the world's nations.
In fact, though there are a number of other topics on the agenda in Madrid, including the carbon trading tax and things like that, in order to sort of
set the stage, there's been a number of very dire predictions from different quarters.
The secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, kicked off the conference with a speech, basically talking about how things have
changed. He said just a few years ago, that the -- that a dire situation for the world was a tipping point, as he put it, for the world's
atmosphere, was 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And he said last year, it was at 407.8 parts per million. So already over
what was once regarded as the tipping point. He said the tipping point used to be beyond the horizon, and today it's in plain sight.
A lot of delegates there, 25,000 in Madrid, among them many young people, including Greta Thunberg, the young activist, the climate change activist.
She is going to arrive there tomorrow, coming across the ocean in a catamaran basically because she doesn't like to fly because of what it does
in terms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from airplanes.
In any case, the conference kicks off and will be continuing throughout the week this week. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.
NOBILO: Still to come tonight, a look at Donald Trump's impeachment defense as his lawyers refuse to attend a key congressional hearing.
Plus, Malta's prime minister is under fire for how he's handled the murder of an investigative reporter two years ago. And now, he says he's
NOBILO: The impeachment of Donald Trump moves from investigation to prosecution this week. On Monday and Tuesday, the House Intelligence
Committee is expected to unveil the final report on its investigation. And on Wednesday, the House judiciary committee plans to start work towards
drafting articles of impeachment.
Judiciary chair, Jerry Nadler, has invited the White House to attend Wednesday's hearing where witnesses will testify about the constitutional
grounds for impeachment. But the president's lawyers say they will not take part in that.
I'm joined by CNN Congressional Correspondent, Phil Mattingly.
Phil, it's a huge week ahead. Talk us through the biggest flash points, and also why the president's team are not going to attend on Wednesday.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Bianca, I'll start with the process, because I think it's important. What you noted going
from investigation to prosecution is the huge piece of this. What we're going to see over the course of the next two days is the final product from
the House Intelligence Committee of that investigative piece.
The members will get a look at it tonight, they're expected to release it tomorrow evening, and that will immediately be transmitted over to the
judiciary committee, and that's where the drafting of the articles of impeachment will happen. That is kind of the starting gun to what will
eventually lead most likely to Democrats to vote to impeach President Trump. Only the third time in the history of the United States.
Why the president, and why his legal team decided not to participate up to this point is an interesting dynamic here.
Obviously, there was a five-page letter from the White House last night announcing this decision to at least not participate in Wednesday's
hearing. They have left open the door, they may participate in future hearings but the rational is I've heard it from Republicans I spoke into is
Essentially, they've called this process a sham from the beginning. They don't believe that they're getting a fair shake in their view of things.
And because of that to even participate at all would be to almost legitimize what House Democrats are doing.
Keep in mind, if the House votes to impeach the president, there will still be a trial in the United States Senate, a trial where the Senate is
controlled by Republicans. And the White House feels they might get a better shape of things.
Now, the inverse of that is Democrats have made it clear, you haven't cooperated throughout this process, they weren't really expecting much out
of them, going up to this point. If the White House wants to come in and play ball on this, they're more than welcome to, but if not, they're moving
forward one way or the other, Bianca.
NOBILO: And, Phil, before the president got on Air Force One to come over here where I am, to London, he did make a few remarks, several on
impeachment specifically. What did he say?
MATTINGLY: Look, he kind of echoed what you've seen from him over the course of the last couple of weeks, that he think it's a sham, that he
thinks Democrats have rigged this entire process.
But he also brought up another point, and that's that he's going to be at this meeting in the U.K., at this NATO meeting. And traditionally, the
politics stops at the water's edge. You don't hear members of Congress, either Republican or Democrat, talking about a president when he's
overseas, particularly talking about a president in negative terms.
Now, I will note, the judiciary committee long planned this schedule. This wasn't just something they because they knew the president was going to be
out of town.
But you've heard both the president and the White House, in general, seize on this idea that this just underscores. The Democrats didn't want him
involved to begin with and this just underscores the Democrats are doing this no matter what the White House does in its place.
Of course, Democrats would counter, we've been through this process, we've been moving through this process throughout and the White House has not
participated. Nothing's changing that at this moment. The one thing to keep in mind is the timeline here. This is going to move fast regardless
of whether the president or the White House participates, Democrats still planning to have a full House floor vote on impeachment before Christmas,
so just a couple of weeks from now, Bianca.
NOBILO: Phil Mattingly, thank you. Our congressional correspondent there for us in Washington. Appreciate it.
Drafting the articles of impeachment will likely get into some complicated questions as about presidential power and criminal activity.
Let's talk about what we expect to see this week. The CNN Legal Analyst, Elie Honig. Great to have you on the program.
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Bianca.
NOBILO: Let's start by talking about -- I mean, the grounds for impeachment and how far the testimony and the evidence collected by the
Democrats thus far parallels with that. Do you feel like they have sufficient evidence at this point?
HONIG: I do think the House Intelligence Committee has put together a strong case for impeachment. So a couple of things. First of all, it's
important to understand that under our constitution, you do not need a specific federal crime in order to impeach. Our history and president
established that. Congress can impeach and remove a federal official for abuse of power, for misuse of office, whether or not, that conduct is
Now, beyond that, I believe that the House has put together evidence showing that the president engaged in several federal crimes including
bribery, and extortion, and attempting to receive foreign election aid from Ukraine.
So I think on either bases, the House Democrats are covered. Now, it'll be an interesting strategic decision, how do they frame the articles of
impeachment? Do they base it solely on abuse of power or do they separately break out what I believe to be those crimes as well?
NOBILO: And, Elie, the fact that the president isn't going to be attending on Wednesday, I mean, he seems fairly consistent with the White House
strategy, thus far. But what is their strategy going forward? Are they just not going to engage with this?
HONIG: Yes, it's an interesting decision that they made. And I think it's sort of be speaks to real reluctance to engage with the actual facts. One
thing we've not seen is a formal, coherent, substantive merits based defense. And they've continued to not make that by taking this position
of, well, it's not fair, so we won't show, which really doesn't make much sense if you think about it.
The complaint has been this process is unfair, the Democrats say fine, send your lawyers now and they say, no, because the process is unfair.
Well, it sounds like House Democrats are trying to make it more fair. But it sounds like the White House has opted here -- has taken the position
that it's a better strategy to claim to be the victim of an unfair process than to actually come in and engage on the facts.
But at some point, Bianca, the White House is going to have to engage on facts. They may just be waiting for the Senate trial where they feel like
the ground rules with the Republican-controlled Senate will be more in their favor.
NOBILO: Yes. And on the Senate trial, what mistakes do you think that the Democrats and the White House have made thus far in this inquiry process?
And how do you think that's going to inform how the Senate trial's approach?
HONIG: Yes. It's hard to pinpoint any mistakes. I think Adam Schiff, in particular, on the intel committee, has done a really good job on a really
short time frame of pulling together evidence.
What I think the biggest issue seems to be that public support for impeachment has levelled off. It shot up when the initial inclinations
came out, but it's really settled right around 50 percent. Now, that's a remarkable percentage of the American public, according to recent polls
that want to see the president impeached and removed. But they've sort of hit a plateau at that point.
And as things stand right now, there's no Republican member of either the House or the Senate that seems inclined to vote in favor of impeachment.
So I think Democrats' biggest challenge from here on out was going to be really a messaging challenge and seeing if they can rally public support to
that next level up and perhaps persuade a few Republicans to cross the line, but if not, this will end up being a straight partisan impeachment in
the House and a straight partisan acquittal vote of not guilty in the Senate.
NOBILO: Elie, I want to get your reaction to comments by Ukraine's president. He was interviewed by Time magazine, and he said, "Look, I
never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That's not my thing. I don't want us to look like beggars, but you have to
understand, we're at war. If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us. I think that's just about fairness. It's not
about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying."
So that's what he said to Time magazine. Do those comments, are they likely to have any legal bearing on this case?
HONIG: I think those are really significant comments because one of the White House defenses, so far, has been that President Zelensky said he felt
no pressure. But we heard witnesses last week, foreign policy and diplomatic experts from the United States saying, of course, there was
inherently pressure. You have inherently on equal bargaining position.
Ukraine gets 10 percent of its annual military budget comes from foreign aid from the United States. So it's inherently coercive. And I think
President Zelensky's remarks, just today or yesterday, really echoed that that he --
What I read him to be saying there is, I had no choice. We're engaged in a war with Russia and this is an enormous percentage of our military budget
And so I think this Republican and White House rallying cry of, well, Zelensky said he felt no pressure has really undermined by his statements
NOBILO: And now, President Trump has decided not to accept this invitation that his attorneys to participate in the House impeachment hearing on
Wednesday, his Republican supporters in Congress appeared on Sunday to talk shows to defend that decision that they've taken and they're offering these
familiar talking points. So we've heard a lot throughout the inquiry. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R-CA): I think it would be to the president's advantage to have his attorneys there, but I can also understand how he is
upset at the illegitimate process that we saw unfold in the intelligence committee.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Whether you like the president or you don't, we both, I know, agree with due process. Nobody is above the law, Chuck, but
nobody is beneath the law and the bill of rights is not an a la carte menu.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): They want to get at this president right now before the -- before everybody completely sees through the process sham or
the elections for next year. So we're rushing this --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Elie, what's your reaction to those comments by GOP lawmakers?
HONIG: So the White House really has a binary choice here, either they engage on the facts and they make an actual defense or they claim the
process is unfair. Clearly for now, at least, they've gone the latter route.
That said, this rallying cry, this talking point about the process having been so unfair, thus far, is really unfounded.
I mean, when you look back, all of the deposition testimony that the House has gotten so far from witnesses, Republican members of the committees have
been allowed to attend those sessions, they've been present, they've been allowed to question witnesses.
Now, the president is allowed to send his attorneys in to this part of the process. So what I've not heard in a convincing way from the White House
is exactly how has this process been so unfair? By comparison, if this was a grand jury, and it's sort of akin to a grand jury and that we're in an
accusatory phase, as opposed to trial phase, in a criminal case like I used to do as a prosecutor, a criminal defendant gets no such rights in the
grand jury phase.
So if anything the president has been given substantially more due process and more rights than somebody typically would in a grand jury context.
NOBILO: Elie Honig, thanks very much for joining us today. Appreciate your time.
HONIG: Thank you. Any time.
NOBILO: So we've been talking a lot about the process of impeachment and removing a president from office has never been done easily. It's
something Congress has only very rarely, even contemplated.
Earlier, I took a trip into the archives to look at the history of impeachment.
NOBILO: The words you've heard a lot about recently, articles of impeachment. An investigation in the House that can lead to a trial in the
As the fate of the Trump presidency is debated in Congress, let's take a walk through the history of impeachment.
The first impeachment trial took place all the way back in 1868 and involved this man, Andrew Johnson. The 17th president was a Democrat and
took over from Abraham Lincoln as president in 1865. He was impeached after dismissing secretary of war, Edwin Stanton.
Congress had passed a law barring the president from firing cabinet officials. He was impeached by the House of Representatives but acquitted
in the Senate by just one vote. He went on to serve the remainder of his term but didn't run for re-election.
Just over a century later, it was this man's turn. But it's worth remembering that although the term impeachment is mentioned in the same
breath as Richard Nixon, he was never actually impeached. Before the House of Representatives was able to conduct a vote on whether or not to impeach
him, he resigned.
RICHARD NIXON, 37TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad or prosperity without inflation at home.
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.
NOBILO: Nixon faced possible impeachment on the grounds of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress in relation to the
Watergate scandal. While Nixon was never impeached, Bill Clinton was.
It came about after a four-year investigation by Kenneth Starr that began with a look into possible financial crimes and finished with a 445-page
report that included details of President Clinton's relationship with an intern, Monica Lewinsky.
The House of Representatives impeached him in 1998 with charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, but he was acquitted in the Senate and served
out his term of office.
So three presidents, two impeachments and as of yet, zero convictions. As things stand with a Republican majority in the Senate, this case looks set
to follow a similar pattern.
And CNN will have special coverage of the impeachment hearings on Wednesday. We'll bring you all the latest news and expert analysis as the
House Judiciary Committee plans to start drafting articles of impeachment.
An interview set to air on the BBC could have more consequences for disgraced royal, Prince Andrew.
For the first time, his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, is speaking out in detail about her alleged sexual abuse. She said she was the victim of sex
trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein and was forced to have sex with a Prince Andrew when she was 17. When asked if the photo of the prince was fake,
here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, PRINCE ANDREW ACCUSER: People on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses, like his arm was elongated or
the photo was doctored, or he came to New York to break up with Jeffrey Epstein.
I mean, come on. I'm calling BS on this, because that's what it is. He knows what happened. I know what happened. And there's only one of us
telling the truth. And I know that's me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: In response to the interview, Buckingham Palace says it has emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or
relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.
The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, says that he'll resign in January. It follows large protests and comes amid new details in a murder
investigation of a prominent journalist.
Mr. Muscat says that decisions he made were in the best interest of the case that some of them, quote, could have been better.
Melissa Bell reports.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two years after her murder, the question of who killed journalist Daphne Caruana
Galizia grips Malta.
Bringing thousands onto the streets and dipping this nation into a crisis. A car bomb killed Caruana Galizia near her home in October 2017.
A prominent reporter she was known for investigating alleged corruption in business and government. Some believe that her murder was an attempt to
silence her. And as the investigation has dragged on, many in Malta are angry for those responsible have not yet seen justice.
Malta's Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, has been under intense pressure in recent weeks, the prime minister's former chief of staff was arrested last
week and later released without charge. He's denied any wrongdoing.
Police charged one of Malta's most prominent businessman, Yorgen Fenech, with complicity to murder on Saturday. He's pleased not guilty and has not
asked for bail.
These arrests were possibly only because of our willingness to see justice for this shocking murder said Muscat. Protesters and Caruana Galizia's
family have accused Muscat of trying to shield members of his inner circle from the investigation.
He denies this, but he says that some decisions could have been better.
"All my decisions have been based on what I believed to be just." He said in a statement. "Justice is being done and I will see that justice is for
everyone. Investigations are not complete. No one is above justice."
Hours after crowds demand that he quit on Sunday, Muscat announced he would step down next month.
HERMAN GRECH, EDITOR, THE TIMES OF MALTA: I think he had no choice. He -- you know, there are thousands in the street protesting every day. Now,
people are angry, people are going out there and protesting in the street and saying, the prime minister has to step down because there is -- he
possibly has a conflict of interest here and his right-hand man has now been questioned in connection with the murder.
So there is clearly -- the office of the prime minister, people are saying, is tainted.
BELL: The question now is whether the prime minister's resignation will help bring all of the perpetrators of this crime to justice.
Melissa Bell, CNN.
NOBILO: Still to come tonight, the fight against rising sea levels. A look at just how much of London is forecast to be under water in the coming
NOBILO: Twenty-five thousand delegates from around the world have descended on Madrid in Spain for the U.N.'s climate change conference. The
summit will focus on how to meet emission reduction goals set in the Paris Agreement, and it comes as Oxfam reports climate change is forcing one
person every two seconds to leave their home, especially in poor communities.
AS Phil Black reports, even cities with ample resources are struggling to manage the rising sea levels.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): London has long respected the power of the sea, straddling the city's famous river you'll
find this, the Thames Barrier, finished in the early 80s, it's a mighty mechanized fortification.
This sped-up video of a recent test shows how it works. Fully extended, the gates stand five stories high, it's designed to hold back the North Sea
on its angriest days to protect lives and the vast riches of one of the world's wealthiest cities.
IVAN HAIGH, OCEANOGRAPHER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON: If there was flooding, it would be absolutely catastrophic, you know, particularly if it
happened at night. If something was to go wrong, the city would absolutely grind to a halt, you know, flooding of subway stations, flooding of the
BLACK: We meet oceanographer, Ivan Haigh, on a day the Thames is swollen by a big tide and the storm surge.
Have you ever seen the Thames look like this before?
HAIGH: I've never seen it this high.
BLACK: It's a close call, but experts monitoring the river have decided not to close the barrier. The Thames looking bloated and full gives a
powerful sense of London's vulnerability to what scientists now consider inevitable, sea level rise caused by climate change.
HAIGH: At the moment, we're on track to reach at least a meter.
BLACK: And that's factored in that we expect that regardless of sort of policy decisions from here forward?
HAIGH: So, that's very much dependent on whether we follow the Paris agreement or not.
HAIGH: The Paris agreement's goal is to sufficiently cut carbon emissions to keep the average global temperature increase below two degrees. That's
to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
Scientists say achieving that goal will limit rising sea levels from expanding water and melting ice sheets. But it's already too late to
BLACK (on-camera): Scientists say even if some of the best-case forecasts prove accurate, this big, impressive piece of infrastructure still has a
limited shelf life. Sea level rise means long before the end of this century it will have to be replaced by a new, bigger, hugely expensive
barrier further downstream.
BLACK (voice-over): These 10 yearly forecasts show what will happen to London if it doesn't have a barrier and the world doesn't act quickly to
cut emissions. By 2100, wide areas of land along the Thames turn blue. Within another 200 years, the river swallows much of central London.
For this advanced inland city with vast money and resources, managing rising sea levels will be an extraordinary challenge. While around the
world, small islands, coastal cities and river delta communities will be making due without those advantages.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
NOBILO: CNN is committed to covering the challenges facing our earth, but also what we can do together to find solutions. We're highlighting stories
from around the globe of people who are working on green solutions to better our world.
For more, visit our Web site, cnn.com/calltoearth.
And speaking of solutions, we'll look at a scientist who wants to unwrap -- it's upon that you'll get in a second. The solution to plastic pollution.
That's coming up in our series "Going Green" just ahead.
NOBILO: Around the globe, people are facing some of our biggest challenges to our environment with innovation. Among these inspiring
environmentalists is a scientist committed to winning the fight against plastic pollution.
This week, we're going green in Singapore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Professor William chin has walked the halls of academia for nearly two decades, but his passion to save the environment, led him
from teacher to inventor, and he's bringing his students along for the ride.
WILLIAM CHEN, PROFESSOR, NANYANG UNIVERSITY: I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of plastic waste. It's even more than food waste here in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's working on creating a biodegradable cling film made from a popular Singaporean staple, soybeans. By some estimates, soya
beans generate nearly 11,000 tons of food waste per year in Singapore and its byproduct often ends up in landfill. Most of the testing and research
takes place here at the professor's university lab.
Jaslyn Lee is a research fellow and part of Chen's team.
JASLYN LEE, RESEARCH FELLOW, NANYANG UNIVERSITY: We just try to extract the cellulous for the starting material of our film and then we kind of
mill it into a fine powder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cellulose is an organic compound found in plants and trees. It's a key ingredient in the process. The cellulose powder is
carefully mixed with water and Professor Chen's formula that dissolves the powered.
Once emerged in water, it transforms into a plastic substitute and becomes a sheet of biodegradable cling film.
CHEN: My dream will be do Singapore as an innovation hub and then lead the neighboring countries to see the benefit of this new innovation, which are
not expensive, and are simple to implement. Once they see this benefit or this new innovation, I hope that neighboring country can adopt and
implement this innovation, so that we create a win-win situation in the region.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chen hopes that his native Singapore will one day be sustainable. He is currently working with supermarkets in Singapore to get
his cling film on the shelves.
NOBILO: Thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. And "THE BRIEF" is on at 10:00 London time. So tune