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Hala Gorani Tonight
China's Quarantine Shows Lag in Response for Those Cured or Healthy; Trump Replaces DNI Following Intelligence Briefing; Not Much Polling to Predict Tomorrow's Nevada Caucuses Outcome; Epidemic Causes Nissan Factories In China To Delay Restart; Hong Kong Adapts To Life During An Epidemic; Voters Head TO Polls To Elect New Parliament; Prime Minister Of Lesotho A No-Show At Court; U.S. Presidential Candidates Plug Their Websites. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 21, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London on this Friday, I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, as coronavirus cases nearly double in South Korea, one town is worried it is becoming the new Wuhan.
Also, a warning from U.S. intelligence that Russia is meddling in the U.S. elections again, and Donald Trump doesn't appear to want to hear it. He is
furious at his intelligence officials instead.
Plus, we are minutes away from the beginning of a reduction of violence between the U.S. and the Taliban. The question is, will it last?
As the number of new coronavirus cases outside China multiplies, the World Health Organization is warning that the window of opportunity to contain
the epidemic is, quote, "narrowing." There are more than 76,000 global cases so far, most still very much in China. But health experts are
concerned about the way the infection is spreading in other countries among people who are not even connected to China.
Cases in South Korea nearly doubled just in the past 24 hours to at least 204. The virus is spreading to cities across Iran, at least four people
have died in Iran. And Japan is still dealing with the fallout from the Diamond Princess, that cruise liner. Health officials count 87 infections
on land and 639 cases from the cruise ship.
South Korea's Centers for Disease Control say two people there so far have died from coronavirus and fear is spreading in the country, especially in
Daegu, a city which saw the bulk of new cases. One resident is making a pretty grim comparison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEO DONG-MIN, UNIVERSITY GRADUATE (through translator): With more confirmed cases here in Daegu than in Seoul, I'm worried that Daegu will become the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, Paula Hancocks shows us where the new increase in cases came from.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Korea's massive spike in novel coronavirus cases can be linked to one religious group. Officials
say one member attended services in this building in the southern city of Daegu while infected. Well over half of the country's cases now trace back
to the Shincheonji group. Government officials have shut down religious services to stop the spread.
HANCOCKS: Health officials say that they're trying to get in touch with every single member of this congregation -- they say there's over 1,000 --
to try and stem this spike. But they admit that they are having difficulties. On Friday, they said that they are still trying to get hold
of 57 people.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): A five-minute drive away is a U.S. military base. U.S. Forces-Korea are restricting access on and off the base. Nonessential
travel to the city has been prohibited.
EDWARD J. BALLANCO, U.S. ARMY GARRISON DAEGU COMMANDER: The nice thing is, because we can be secluded from the general population, people are more
safe on our base than they are off the base.
HANCOCKS: I mean, what's morale like? How is everyone feeling on base, being shut in there?
BALLANCO: People are nervous. They're spooked. You know, if somebody is sick near them, they're very nervous.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Three South Korean military personnel have been confirmed to have the virus elsewhere in the country, but all have links
back to Daegu. The mayor has asked everyone to wear a mask and stay indoors if they can.
HANCOCKS: So this is the city center of Daegu. This is where all the shops, the restaurants, the bars are. And I've been here before on a weekend, and
it has been packed. This is early Friday evening, and there are very few people here, which shows that people are either staying at home or making
sure they are not in a crowd.
Are you worried?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me and my mother and friends are worried, very worried. Yes. It's dangerous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's very shocking, because it's spreading from just one small group of people. HANCOCKS (voice-over): The
government has designated Daegu and neighboring Chondo special care zones, meaning more doctors and funds will be provided. The focus, shifting now
from trying to prevent the virus entering the country to stemming the spread that's within. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Daegu, South Korea.
GORANI: Well, the World Health Organization announced its team will travel to Wuhan (ph), which is ground zero of the outbreak, for the first time
this weekend. Anxieties there have deepened as yet another doctor died after treating patients with the virus, the sixth doctor, in fact, to die
Authorities are still keeping residents under a strict lockdown -- we're talking here about millions and millions of people. But some people say
they're being quarantined with coronavirus patients even though they are healthy. CNN's David Culver has more from Shanghai.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are walking through one of several Wuhan field hospitals. This one, a converted exhibition hall. It
is aimed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Notice bed after bed after bed, people crammed in, just feet apart from one another.
Portable toilets, a bit messy inside, and trash cans overflowing. You could see the piles of used face masks.
The woman who toured CNN via video chat through this field hospital tells us the conditions here worry her. Fearing repercussions, she asked we call
her Lisa Wong -- not her real name.
LISA WONG, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT (through translator): There's a great danger of cross-infection, and there are people who are healthy and got taken here
CULVER (voice-over): Chinese state media aired images of the same field hospital before it opened, much cleaner inside. Wong says she and others
here are recovered and healthy, and were still forced into the facility.
WONG (through translator): I'm very angry because I feel I shouldn't have come here. I'm very anxious. I want to be back home soon.
CULVER (voice-over): Wong contracted the virus in late January, but fully recovered within a couple of weeks. Both her CT scan and swab test results
show that she twice tested negative. But officials still bussed Wong and several others to the field hospital for further treatment, despite her
negative test results.
WONG (through translator): They told me if I refused, they would force me to go.
CULVER (voice-over): Bo Hanlin faced a similar rounding-up in Wuhan. His wife was a confirmed case, so he was listed as a close contact person. But
his first two tests came back negative. The neighborhood committee tried to hospitalize him nonetheless.
BO HANLIN, WUHAN RESIDENT (through translator): I felt quite angry about this because there are so many people who have not been hospitalized at the
moment. Why would they quarantine the healthy people?
CULVER (voice-over): CNN reached out to the Wuhan Health Commission to better understand how the field hospitals are being used, and to ask why
people whose medical records show they're recovered were taken here. We've not yet heard back.
People in all kinds of circumstances are getting rounded up in multiple parts of Hubei Province, the epicenter of this outbreak. In Tianmen City,
the local government said they picked up people who were disobeying police orders to remain off the streets, and have confined them to a gymnasium,
all part of the strict lockdown policies.
After Wong complained to local health officials, Wednesday, she acknowledges they responded swiftly. The next morning, she says she and six
others who had likewise already recovered were transferred back to the hotel quarantine. She's still bothered by how officials initially handled
WONG (through translator): They couldn't provide me with a hospital when I was sick. Now, when I'm recovered, they forced me into one.
CULVER: The World Health Organization has repeatedly supported the Chinese government in its containment effort, and we reached out to them with
regards to this new information that our sources there in Wuhan relayed to us. This is what they had to say in part of their response here.
"China is facing an unprecedented crisis," they say, "and is responding in an unprecedented manner." They go on to say, "We need to acknowledge that
the relatively low number of cases of the virus detected outside of China is as a result of the intensive efforts that the Chinese government is
taking to contain the emergency and protect other countries."
David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.
GORANI: Now to a warning that U.S. President Donald Trump did not want anyone to hear. Multiple reports say he is furious that intelligence
officials briefed some House lawmakers last week, alerting them that Russia is interfering in U.S. elections again.
A source tells CNN the briefers were unambiguous that the Kremlin wants Mr. Trump re-elected in 2020. Republicans in the room pushed back, arguing that
the president has been tough on Russia. Mr. Trump is also pushing back with a distortion of the facts.
TEXT: Donald J. Trump: Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do
Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa. Hoax number 7!
GORANI: He tweeted that Democrats, not his own intelligence officials, are behind the warning on Russia, which is incorrect. Kaitlan Collins is live
in Washington with more.
So this is also pushing the president to, you know, replace intelligence officials and the rest of it. It sounds like he is not willing to listen to
these warnings from the intelligence community.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and we've seen the president do that before with intelligence assessments, essentially
disregarding them if he doesn't like them because he sees these threats or these assessments that Russia is interfering in the election, that it
interfered in 2016 as this threat to his presidency and an attempt to undermine him.
And we know he saw 2016 that way, and now it appears that he is seeing 2020 that way. And that is why it appears the president was so irritated with
this briefing. And also because he found out about it from a Republican lawmaker, his close ally, Devin Nunes, and not from the intelligence
officials, apparently, that they had given this briefing to lawmakers.
So it was the next day in the Oval Office when he got so angry with the acting director of National Intelligence at the time, Joseph Maguire, who
of course, days later, was pushed out of that job. And now a Trump loyalist, who is a very vocal person, is now put in that job.
And Democrats say essentially, what this is showing is that the president, if he gets intelligence he doesn't like, he's just going to remove those
officials. And they're worried that could have a chilling effect on the intelligence community, which of course is not supposed to provide
assessments based on politics or what it is that the president wants to hear, but essentially based on the facts and what is being shown there.
So that is really the question here, going forward, who the president is actually going to pick to run as director of National Intelligence full-
time. Because we're being told that Rick Grenell, who he's picking currently, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, is only going to occupy that job
on a temporary basis, and then the president is going to name someone who's more permanent.
But there are big questions about who it is. Because one person the president has already floated has already turned down that job, saying he's
not interested. And of course, this is a president who this person will (ph) be briefing on a near-daily basis about things like Russia attempting
to interfere in the election, which of course is just about eight months away.
GORANI: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much, live at the White House.
Let's talk more about this with CNN national security analyst Shawn Turner. He's a former communications director for U.S. national intelligence, and a
retired Marine Corps officer.
Thanks, Shawn Turner, for being with us. You said to my producer, this is a threat to our democracy, what's going on. Why?
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, look, you know, in our intelligence agencies, we need our intelligence officials to be able to
deliver intelligence to the president of the United States and to members of Congress in a way that's open and transparent, and they should never
fear that the information they deliver should in any way be taken personally by the president or result in some sort of retribution.
When that happens, Hala, what -- you know, we all are in a situation wherein the president is not acting on the threats that we face in this
country. And so the reason this is a threat to our national security is because the real issue of an attack on our democracy by Russia is not being
addressed because the president's taking it personally.
GORANI: So what will the impact of that be in real terms, do you think? The fact that this is a threat, that this threat is not being taken seriously.
What will the effect of that be on the U.S. electoral system and on American democracy?
TURNER: Sure. Look, when it comes to our elections, you know, we have two responsibilities. The first is to make sure that our system is one in which
every single vote is counted as it was cast. That means that we have to work very hard to keep foreign actors out of election infrastructure and
make sure that those systems are protected.
Now, that's the easy part, believe it or not, in this venture. The more difficult part is making sure that for people who are going out there and
making decisions about how they vote and why they vote and what issues impact their vote, we have a responsibility to make sure that large groups
of people aren't casting their vote based on manufactured information.
And so, you know, in my research, I've talked to people from -- who -- with -- under the previous president, said they didn't vote for Barack Obama
because they couldn't vote for someone who wasn't from the United States, or they didn't vote for him because --
TURNER: -- they didn't believe that a Muslim should lead the United States.
GORANI: But you get that also from Republican --
TURNER: That kind of --
GORANI: -- you might get that from the supporters of the incumbent president, potentially from supports of his challenger. I mean, you do have
that from within the United States, this type of fake news misinformation. You see so much of it on Facebook. I'm sure you saw McKay Coppins' article
in "The Atlantic" about this war of disinformation. So that's -- already exists within the borders of the United States as well.
TURNER: it does. And not only is it a problem because it exists within the borders, but it's also the case that, you know, previously, with regard to
Russia's attack in 2016 on our election process, they needed to create a lot of the disinformation that was used against Americans.
Well, you know, it's unfortunate that not only did foreign countries take a book out of -- take a page out of Russia's book, but now there's enough
disinformation -- domestically generated disinformation, floating around the United States -- that now all the Russians need to do is to gather up
that information and continue to distribute it, to push it around, to make sure that it further divides us.
And look, you know, I think it's going to be very difficult to ever make a determination that enough people were impacted by manufactured information
to swing an election one way or the other. But it certainly is a question worth asking. And over time, certainly, we may see people making those
decisions that are not in the best interests of the country based on misinformation.
GORANI: And Devin Nunes, the Republican congressman, a big supporter of Donald Trump, had this to say on "Fox News."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): These guys have lost their mind, OK? Vladimir Putin is not running some operation with Donald Trump, there's no evidence
of that. And so all this is is, they don't have anything to run on and so they've got to make up Russia again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So this has, Shawn, really been the kind of refrain that we've heard from supporters of the president, really, almost from the first day
that it was -- that there were questions raised about whether or not Russia tried to help Donald Trump get elected in 2016. What do you make of it?
TURNER: Yes. And, look, and I'll tell you, I was really startled to hear that out of this briefing -- this intelligence briefing that happened last
week, that there were Republicans who were apparently angered over being given information about what Russia is up to.
Look, here's what I fear is happening here. Look, you know, the president's about to go into his election cycle, and there's a -- you know, a strong
Democratic field out there that's going to give him a run for his money.
And my concern is that if the president is -- if the president loses the re-election, if he loses it by a small margin, then the president and his
supporters will need something to lean1 on to suggest that the election was somehow invalid or illegitimate. And I think that what you're seeing right
now is, you're seeing the supporters kind of put this plan B in place --
TURNER: -- so that if there is a close race --
GORANI: That's --
TURNER: -- that there's some way to say that we need to -- we need a redo.
GORANI: So it's interesting, what you're saying. You believe that if there's a close, for instance, defeat for the president, that what is
happening now is some sort of narrative that's being built before even that possibility materializes, to contest the result of the democratic process
TURNER: I think that the groundwork that's being laid is groundwork in which you can call into question the election. And to be clear, that plays
right into the hands of the Russians.
Look, you know, our process, you know, our system of elections here is one in which we will ultimately need to -- you know, if it's contested, it may
ultimately end up in the courts. But this is a process that could be drawn out --
TURNER: -- and certainly further divide this country.
So I do think that it's not only a way to have a -- you know, have something to say if that does happen, but it's also to send a message to
the president's supporters to say, you need to get out and make sure this is not close. Because if you don't, then you know, we may have a contested
GORANI: Thanks very much, Shawn Turner, for joining us. Appreciate it.
Still to come after a quick break, a diverse southwestern state gets ready to weigh in on the Democratic candidates for the White House. We'll have a
preview of tomorrow's caucuses in Nevada, just ahead.
And we're just minutes from a key moment in the future of Afghanistan, a pledge by the Taliban to reduce violence is set to go into effect. But will
it be a key moment? It all depends on whether everyone keeps their promise. We'll be right back.
GORANI: U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls are making their final pitches in Nevada today, trying to round up last-minute support before the
third contest of 2020.
Now, that state holds caucuses tomorrow, and candidates are looking for all the momentum they can get before heading next to South Carolina. You may
notice one prominent contender is missing from this video, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is not on the ballot until March.
Let's get an update now from CNN's Ryan Nobles, live in Las Vegas. Who's going into these caucuses confident, Ryan?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala, I don't think there's any doubt that the Bernie Sanders campaign feels the most confident,
heading into the Nevada races. It's interesting though, we haven't had a lot of really reliable polling on this state right now, for a variety of
reasons. One of the biggest being that this is a caucus state, and caucuses are sometimes unpredictable.
But Sanders has a pretty big operation here on the ground. He does have strong support with a lot of the unions here. And so he believes, based on
that, the energy and the enthusiasm behind his campaign, that he's in the best position to win. He's also made a great deal of inroads with the
Latino community here in Nevada, which is incredibly important and strong in this caucus.
So you know, Sanders isn't the only one who's anticipating a good night. Joe Biden's campaign believes that this perhaps could be a bounce-back for
him and his team, they've also made very important inroads with the union and the labor-backed organizations here in Nevada.
And, honestly, Biden needs a strong night here. If he were to finish in a strong second place, that could put him in a very position, heading into
the South Carolina primary here in about a week. So I would look for both the Sanders and the Biden campaigns to be the top two contenders here on
Saturday -- Hala.
GORANI: How has the Bloomberg factor changed things for the Democrats?
NOBLES: Yes, it's really been an interesting dynamic, right? Because as you point out, he's not even going to be on the ballot until March 3rd, but his
presence is looming large, he's obviously spent upwards of $400 million on this race, he was in a debate for the first time earlier this week.
What's interesting, though, Hala, is, you know, what -- there's a whole moderate lane of the Democratic field right now that's looking for an
alternative to Bernie Sanders. And there was a though that perhaps that might be Michael Bloomberg. But after this debate performance, it really
has a lot of moderates rethinking that assessment.
So could that be good news for Joe Biden? Joe Biden's campaign was thought to be perhaps long dead after his very poor performances in New Hampshire
and Iowa. But if Bloomberg is not a viable alternative for these moderates, do they take a second look at Joe Biden and give him a second life by
delivering strong performances in Nevada and South Carolina? I think that's the most interesting backdrop to the Bloomberg impact on this race.
GORANI: Yes. We'll see what happens. And certainly, Bloomberg did not have the best evening there, during that debate in Vegas. Thanks very much, Ryan
Nobles, in Nevada.
Well, early voting has been under way in the caucuses. Tune in Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern for special coverage of the results, that's 7:00 p.m. in
We are just minutes away from a key test of whether a peace deal can be made in Afghanistan. The U.S. and the Taliban have agreed there will be a
week of reduced violence across the country, starting at midnight Afghan time.
Now, if that happens, the U.S. says it will sign an agreement with the Taliban at the end of February. At that point, other Afghan parties
including the government will begin their own talks with the Taliban, and perhaps the U.S. could eventually look into pulling troops out of
Afghanistan for good, though we've heard many of these things before.
Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is here for some analysis. Should we be more confident this time?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We should be incredibly cautious. I think there is an opportunity here, and that's certainly the
way the U.S. administration is pushing it. This is a political initiative by President Trump to get the Taliban into talks. These talks with the
Taliban didn't involve the Afghan government.
But the fundamental reason both the Afghan government and, you know, some Western observers, the Western experts, if you will, who follow Taliban
communications, say that we should be cautious because there's been no indication that the Taliban had been preparing their ground fighting forces
for a de-escalation, a reduction in violence. And that really, there's actually -- all the indications that the Taliban are preparing to go on
GORANI: So -- well, I mean, that's interesting. They're preparing to go on another offensive while agreeing -- at least on paper -- to a reduction in
violence. So what's going on?
ROBERTSON: There's a concern as well that the Afghan government is going to be under an exceptional amount of pressure here, political pressure, if you
will, from the United States, having been put in this position that the U.S. agrees with the Taliban to have a reduction in violence, which will
open the door for the Afghan government to nominate a negotiating team, the numbers of which are not clear yet. That that team will then go into talks
with the Taliban.
But the Taliban are expected to -- the Taliban are very much expected to, you know, to try to play this for propaganda. But I think, you know, when
we stand back and look at it, we can be hopeful but there are many flaws.
GORANI: All right, let's take a look at your report.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Is this really the moment America's longest war finally winds down? It's what President Trump has been pushing for: get
U.S. troops home.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to stay until such time as we have a deal, or we have total victory. And they want to
make a deal very badly.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Total victory was never an option. How badly the Taliban wants a deal will now be tested, over the coming days, months of
U.S.-Taliban talks, now finally culminating in a Reduction in Violence agreement, RIV.
TEXT: Secretary Pompeo: After decades of conflict, we have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant reduction in violence
across #Afghanistan. This is an important step on a long road to peace, and I call on all Afghans to seize this opportunity.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeting, If the RIV is successful, it could pave the way for political talks. Ultimately, maybe
But the Afghan government, who were not party to the U.S.-Taliban talks but will be expected to begin their own talks with the Taliban soon, have
serious concerns about the Taliban commitment to a lasting reduction in violence.
Their own assessment is that the Taliban have not been preparing their fighters for peace, an assessment shared by some Western experts who track
Taliban communications and who believe, rather than peace, the Taliban are actually preparing for an increase in violence.
The country has been in conflict for over 40 years. First the Soviets, then civil war, then the war on terror. Since U.S. involvement, 19 years ago,
more than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed, hundreds of billions of dollars spent. In that time, a coalition of more than 50 (ph) nations has
battled the Taliban. At its peak, more than 110,000 U.S. troops were deployed.
Yet, since their post-9/11 crushing, the Taliban re-emerged, gaining ground and strength, year on year. Their spokesman now claiming the U.S. deal
means all foreign forces will leave Afghanistan, and the occupation will end. Taliban commanders are already telling their forces to stay at their
posts so they can stay battle-ready.
Afghan government officials wanted precise details on how the RIV will work, and are now expecting to be part of the mechanism to monitor Taliban
compliance. Another challenge for the Afghan government, staying united in upcoming peace talks facing the Taliban's already triumphalist propaganda
that they won the war.
The process is incredibly precarious. Trust is nonexistent. Taliban launch daily attacks. With U.S. forces scaled down and increased pressure on the
Afghan government, there is a real possibility Trump's drawdown gambit could backfire.
GORANI: Well, Nic Robertson, the Afghan government -- because this reduction in violence involves the U.S. and the Taliban, so this puts the
Afghan government in what position?
ROBERTSON: It puts them in a position now where there's this expectation to get into talks with the Taliban, the Taliban are arriving at this with a
sort of a triumphalist approach. And the Afghan government has to respond, it has to figure out how many people it puts into negotiation, who those
people are, are they just representatives of the government?
We had, this week, the chief executive of the government, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, threatening a sort of a parallel government. You have Hamid
Karzai, the former president, with his own constituency and other -- some of sort of the former power brokers in Afghanistan. Are they part of the
Afghan government group that it delegates then to hold these talks?
But as soon as that comes under pressure, this very weak government in a weak country risks falling apart. The Taliban will look at that and know
that that can happen, will work that to their advantage. There is -- the fundamental thing here is that there's nothing, no reason for the Taliban
to believe that they really have to put down their original objective, which was to take the whole country.
There are no guarantees about that. The guarantees are with (ph) the U.S., that they will leave the U.S. alone, leave the Afghan forces alone and
target al-Qaida and ISIS. And that's not convincing a lot of the other stakeholders at the moment.
GORANI: All right. Nic Robertson, thanks very much.
Quick break. When we come back, the coronavirus means things are not business as usual for many companies. We'll take a look at how the epidemic
is affecting Nissan after the break.
And polls are open for a very important election in Iran, but the turnout might not be as great as the government hoped. We'll tell you why.
GORANI: Even with a spate of new coronavirus cases around the world, the biggest threat is still inside of China. That's where the vast majority of
infections are at least 2,200 people have died, all but 18 in Mainland China.
Now businesses in the region are taking a major hit. Because of all of this. Nissan has delayed the reopening of plants in China, close to the
epicenter of the outbreak. The restart had been scheduled for Monday, but now it appears that will not happen. And this news comes as Nissan watches
its profits plummet.
Let's get to our business correspondent, Clare Sebastian, with more on this. And this, of course, Claire, is also affecting just ordinary workers.
You know, I mean people who rely on these factory jobs to make a living and feed their families.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Hala. If we go back to the beginning of this crisis, we talked a lot about Wuhan, and
how that is a manufacturing hub, the epicenter of this epidemic is where a lot of foreign international carmakers have operations. They usually joint
ventures with Chinese companies, but a lot of people are employed.
And we see in the way that these factories are struggling to get back to work just how difficult this is proving their local regulations that are
affecting this Nissan and that's one of the reasons that they haven't been able to restart production as scheduled on Monday and a couple of their
factories that are close to the epicenter, they have their restarted in a couple of months in different areas of the country.
But there's a patchwork of local regulations, the travel restrictions, and making it hard for people to get back to work. Toyota, for example, telling
us that they will, by Monday, have restarted production in all of their four factories in China but only on one shift., so that's half the level of
production that they had before this crisis.
And, you know, a lot of companies are seeing a gradual restart. G.M. started on February 15th, gradually reopening plants, they have to go
carefully, they have to make sure they have the people in place. And as you see with this, and this is starting to affect companies bottom lines, but
this doesn't mean that they can't recover once the virus is contained. It just means for the short term, that there are some difficult decisions
GORANI: So, do we have any timeline in terms of when things might start operating? More or less normally?
SEBASTIAN: Not really, Hala. I mean, the status that we're getting from the carmakers is that this will be gradual. I think Monday is a day, next week,
the 24th when a lot of carmakers start to see, you know, production return in the majority of their factories that we talked to airlines though, which
is another industry that has been badly hit. We got news from my otter this week that it'll cost them 29 billion this year in lost revenue. Airlines
have quite pushed out flights to China until the end of May. There are various other capacity restrictions going on that will last at least a
couple more months.
So I don't think this is going to be a matter of weeks. I think for the likes of the carmaker's and the airlines, it could probably be a couple of
GORANI: Clare Sebastian, thanks very much.
After months of uncertainty because of political protest, Hong Kong is now dealing with additional economic stress brought on by this epidemic.
In his reporter's notebook, CNN's Ivan Watson looks at the city's attempts to go on with daily life in the face of the deadly virus.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): This is Hong Kong, a city of around seven million people that are trying to live
and work their way through a public health crisis.
I want to give you a sense of what it's like living here in the time of coronavirus. This partially economist city hasn't had anywhere near the
number of infections or fatalities, as you've seen in some parts of Mainland China. However, there's still a lot of fear and uncertainty.
How long have you been waiting in line here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost like 40, 45 minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, we need the box of mask. This kind of mask.
WATSON: Are you worried about your health right now?
YEUNG TSZ CHIN, STUDENT: Yes, sir, worried.
WATSON: What are you doing to protect yourself?
CHIN: I just wear a mask and wash my hands every day.
WATSON: Before being hit by coronavirus, Hong Kong was already roiled by more than six months of political instability. I reported from this same
street when the air was full of tear gas as police and protesters clashed that contributed to plunging the city into economic recession before the
appearance of the virus.
WATSON (voice-over): All over town, we're seeing shops that are reducing their hours to cut costs due to the coronavirus crisis. And increasingly,
we're seeing businesses like this vegan restaurant closing completely.
PEGGY CHAN, GRASSROOTS INITIATIVES: We decided in January we were going to use the space, continue to use this space as a -- an event and function
space, which really helped to kind of just cover some costs and to pay off some suppliers. But then when the coronavirus hit, that's when we lost a
lot of our job. And so we decided, you know, that that was it. We can't wait around to see if we could lock another event down.
WATSON: Whole across Hong Kong, people are adapting to the new reality, trying to find ways to protect themselves from the disease.
WATSON (on-camera): The movie theaters are still open, but look how they're selling tickets, alternating rows for audience members to limit contact.
They're also checking people's temperatures when you go in. And all audience members must wear masks.
The Hong Kong government has closed schools until at least mid-March. But even amid these precautions and amid all this concern, you also get a sense
that life cannot afford to come to a complete halt. It must still go on.
Is it hard having your kids stay at home every day?
LIZ LEUNG, MOTHER: It's a little bit, a little bit because they are boys. They cannot -- to stay is very long and then they will feel not
WATSON (voice-over): In the time of coronavirus, people seem to be enjoying the little things a little bit more. And it makes sense because no one
knows what tomorrow may bring.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Well, Iran's health ministry has confirmed 18 coronavirus cases and four deaths. It comes as voters head to the polls to choose the country's
new parliament. Iran Supreme Leader urged people to cast their ballots calling it a religious duty. But now, fears of the virus spreading could
Fred Pleitgen has more on the election. Fred?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hala. Well, the voter turnout is certainly going to be the big question for the
authorities when they start counting the votes. It seemed to us as though more people seem to be coming later in the day rather than earlier in the
day, we went to several polling places here in Tehran. We didn't really see any long lines that in most of them.
However, the authorities did extend the voting hours. Originally, they said that the polling places would shut at 6:00 p.m. And in the end, they
extended that to 8:00 p.m.
Now, the folks that we've been speaking to here at the polling places, pretty much all of them said that the main topic for them is Iran's very
tough economy. And obviously, that's something that they want to see fixed.
In the run-up to the election certainly seemed as though it was the more conservative candidates, the hardline candidates who certainly seem to have
more momentum than the moderate candidates.
One of the things, of course, that moderates had been saying is that they believe that many of their candidates had been disqualified before being
allowed to run with the Guardian Council.
I spoke to the Guardian Council and they told me that it had nothing to do with the political affiliation of the candidates, but rather other factors
that fed into that decision. So voter turnout is going to be a big thing.
But one of the real wild cards in that is certainly going to be the outbreak of the coronavirus here in Iran. Iran has now confirmed that it
has four cases of people who have died of the virus. Eighteen cases in total, so far, have been confirmed by the Iranian government. And at least
two people outside of Iran have been confirmed to have coronavirus who seemed to have been in the comb area of Iran.
So that's certainly also something that the authorities here are dealing with. And, of course, if you have a public health issue like that, and
you've had the authorities here telling People in the run up to the vote, not to go to public places. But of course, that's something that really
isn't possible when you're trying to hold a nationwide election.
So that's one of the things that the authorities are also going to be looking at to see whether or not fears or concerns about the coronavirus
may have also had something to do with voter turnout, depending how high that voter turnout is.
Certainly, one of the things that we can say from having been at several polling places it did seem as though a good amount of people did wear
protective gear, wore masks, some of them gloves as well to certainly try and protect themselves while performing as they put it, their civic duty.
GORANI: Thanks very much, Fred Pleitgen.
Breaking news from the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial. The jury has asked the judge if they can be hung on at least one of the counts against
the film producer and unanimous on others. A reminder, Weinstein faces five counts and has pleaded not guilty.
Jean Casarez joins me now from outside the courthouse. Tell us more, Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a note and so it is a speculative at best at this point because it appears as though that they
are confused, but we do get some insight as to where they are right now. They're saying that if we find him hung on counts one and three, which are
the most serious charges, predatory sexual assault. It has to do with a life term because it involves two accusers.
But then they say but we'd find him a unanimous on the other counts, which would be before the two accusers in this case, the charges went directly to
the jury, Jessica Mann and also Miriam Haley. They want to know if they can do that.
Well, the fact is, they can't, because you can't find rape in the first degree, which is count four, and count five, rape in the third degree, if
in fact, that one is the lesser included of the other.
I believe we have some more information at this point that's coming in right now. The jury is being brought back into the courtroom, the judge is
going to talk with them right now. And what we do understand is that a charge is going to be given to them. It's normal at this point. It is a
charge to tell them to continue to deliberate, that they want the jury to find unanimous verdict on all counts.
Now, everything stops at 3:00 today. So this may mean we go into Monday. But at this point, it looks like their state of mind is to have what is
called a split verdict, hung on some counts, the most serious, and then also guilty verdicts on whatever else they can, but this is just a note.
GORANI: OK. Jean Casarez, thanks very much. Live outside the courthouse there with our breaking news
As the jury continues to deliberate and deliberated -- has already deliberated for several day asking they're in and out if they could be hung
on at least one count and unanimous on the others.
We understand from Jean that they were told, which is not at all unusual in this case to continue deliberation to try to reach a unanimous decision on
all counts, whichever way their decision that ends up falling, but that potentially this could take us to Monday because we are close to currently,
what time is it in the U.S. almost 3:00 p.m. East Coast time that we are close to the day wrapping up so we'll keep our eye on this story.
Now the Russian artists who released the sex tape of upending a Paris Mayor mayoral race says he stole the video and text messages from his girlfriend
without her knowing.
Now, just to remind you of this story in case or to even acquaint you with it, in case you haven't been following it.
Benjamin Griveaux, who is allegedly in the video, withdrew from the race last week after this, a sex tape was posted online. The artist defended his
actions to CNN saying this is just the beginning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PYOTR PAVLENSKY, RUSSIAN ARTIST (through translator): I stole the material from her computer. She didn't know that I found and took the video. It was
published and begin to circle it and then she couldn't do anything. She said, OK, if you're doing that, well, OK, you're doing that. She wasn't
happy. I didn't ask her. Of course, she wasn't happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you say that your website is only the beginning?
PAVLENSKY (through translator): For me, this is only the beginning. Of course, I was happy when I saw that people really needed this first
political porn resource. You can see people started to read it straight away. It was new media that people need it. But it only existed for three
days. It was the beginning and now I have to rebuild it again. Political porn is artistic endeavor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you scared of losing your asylum here?
PAVLENSKY (through translator): I'm not thinking about it. In my life, there's always been something meant to scare me. I'm used to it. It's
always these threats, it's prison or it's a psychiatric clinic or something else.
Now, it's the threat that I could lose the status of political refugee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And Pavlensky, oh, by the way, has done some quite shocking things by nailing parts of his anatomy to a sidewalk in the past and his
girlfriend are under investigation by French authorities over the release of the tape. And asked to be also mentioned that Benjamin Griveaux, this
gentleman we're speaking about, who is said to be in that porno sex tape, is a very close ally of the French President, Emmanuel Macron. He's
suspended his campaign.
Though, in the polls, he wasn't in the lead in any way, shape, or form when that campaign was suspended. And there was no expectation that he would win
the race. But either way, he is out of it now.
Still to come tonight, a murder, a love triangle, and now a prime minister has gone AWOL. That story, after the break.
GORANI: An update on the breaking news we brought you before the break. The judge is ordering the jury in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial to
keep deliberating. This after the jury sent a note asking the judge if they can be hung on at least one of the counts against the film producer and
unanimous on the other counts.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. There are five. We'll continue to update you on this story as it develops.
The Prime Minister of Lesotho was a no-show for his court date Friday where he was expected to be charged with the murder of his ex-wife. The former
first lady was killed in 2017. His current wife has already been charged and is out on bail.
CNN's David McKenzie has all the details on the scandal that is rocking the small African nation.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A very public wedding for Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and First Lady,
Maesaiah, made possible by a very sordid crime. Just days before his inauguration in 2017, the Prime Minister's estranged wife, Lipolelo, was
gunned down outside her home, clearing the way for Maesaiah.
Now, after spending weeks on the run, the current First Lady charged with murdering the former First Lady and attempting to murder her friend. She's
yet to plea. The scandal forcing the 80-year-old Prime Minister out
THOMAS THABANE, PRIME MINISTER OF LESOTHO: I wish to with all humility announced that I effectively retire as prime minister.
MCKENZIE: Thabane faces an even bigger threat. He was supposed to be in court Friday facing the same murder charges.
MCKENZIE (on-camera): Why do you think the Prime Minister didn't arrive today? We're hearing that he's sick.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): He was a no-show. Thabane's office claiming that he rushed to South Africa for a medical emergency. He denies any part in the
A close aide though to the Prime Minister told us that on the eve of his hearing, he was in fact healthy and ready to fight. The police chief says
his phone was used to call a person at the scene of the murder.
MCKENZIE (on-camera): Do you think you have a strong case?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do have a strong case against him.
MCKENZIE: You've attached his phone to the scene of the crime. What else do you have?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other evidence which is admissible and relevant.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): This impoverished mountain kingdom is ruled by a tiny sliver of wealth and power. And many Lesotho --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't know.
MCKENZIE: -- were too nervous to talk to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know anything news.
MCKENZIE: And unsure if justice will be served.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's pretty absurd for him at that level, to do that and think that people are just going to do nothing about it.
MCKENZIE: Police and prosecutors are confident that they will get their women and their man. Thabane's office says he will appear in court once his
medical treatment is complete. They just have to get him to court first.
David McKenzie, CNN Maseru, Lesotho.
GORANI: And still to come tonight, while the movie world is celebrating "Parasite's" victory at the Academy Awards, one very powerful person was
angry about it.
And that Wednesday night's presidential debate, the candidates tried to set themselves apart, but there was one similarity between them that some
viewers are now calling awkward. I'll explain.
GORANI: In the race for the White House, candidates are pulling out all the stops to get voters to check out their campaign websites.
Jeanne Moos has that story.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid the babble of debate --
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's talk about the major policy.
MOOS: -- they ring out loud and clear.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Join us at bernieSanders.com.
KLOBUCHAR: I ask you to join me at amyklobuchar.com.
MOOS: Reactions range from so incredibly cringey to better to have a tip jar on the podium. The candidates keep plugging.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Matter of fact, if you're watching right now, you can go to peteforAmerica.com.
MOOS: Going to town plugging websites at town halls.
KLOBUCHAR: You can see it on our website at amyklobuchar.com.
MOOS: As unsubtle as a late-night commercial.
Though occasionally, a candidate will work one in.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not a plan, it's PowerPoint.
MOOS: In the heat of debate.
BUTTIGIEG: I don't know if there are any PowerPoints on it, but you can definitely find the document on peteforAmerica.com.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can join me at mikebloomberg.com too if you want, but I'm not asking for any money.
MOOS: And his Web site doesn't. Unlike the billionaire, the others have to beg.
WARREN: So I ask everybody to go to elizabethwarren.com, pitch in five bucks.
MOOS: At least their plugs aren't as blatant as this one outside the Roger Stone sentencing. DCBlackTours.com offers tours billed as unique to black
experiences. The founder hoists his sign wherever hordes of cameras gather.
The candidates tend to close with their plugs. Joe Biden once confused texting with his web address.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you agree with me, go to Joe 30330.
MOOS: Joe Biden just told us his pin number. If you agree with me, go to Joe nuclear code sequence, boom.
Did Joe Biden just give out the combination to his luggage? Cue the "Spaceballs" clip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life. That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage.
MOOS: When someone says Joe's long record, it means he carries a lot of baggage. Remember this.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I changed the combination on my luggage.
MOOS: -- CNN, New York.
GORANI: Donald Trump has a new target to fire up the crowds at his rallies, a movie. On Thursday, the President attacked the Academy Awards for picking
the South Korean film "Parasite" for best picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the winner is a movie from South Korea. What the hell was that all about? We got enough problems
with South Korea with trade. On top of it, they gave them the best movie of the year. Was it good? I don't know. I'm looking for like, let's get "Gone
with the Wind." Can we get like "Gone with the Wind" back, please?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, "Gone with the Wind" won 80 years ago. Mr. Trump also attacked actor Brad Pitt, who gave a politically charged speech when he
accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Neon, the company that put "Parasite" in American theaters hit back at the president saying the criticism was understandable because quote, he can't
read. Obviously, that's a reference to the fact that "Parasite" is subtitled.
And spoiler alert "Parasite" is an absolutely amazing film. And you should go see it. Quite a masterpiece, actually, in some ways.
Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Hala Gorani. If it is your weekend coming up, have a great one. If not, I hope that work isn't too difficult.
I'll see you next time.
After the break, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.