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Fired FBI Director Testifying in Private Before A House Panel; Trump Nominates A New UN Ambassador and Attorney General; Mueller to Submit Key

December 10, 2018



<Date: December 7, 2018>

<Time: 15:00:00>

<Tran: 120701cb.k40>

<Type: SHOW>

<Head: Fired FBI Director Testifying in Private Before A House Panel; Trump

Nominates A New UN Ambassador and Attorney General; Mueller to Submit Key

Documents on Manafort And Cohen; French Officials Say Will Use All Means to

Prevent Unrest; Huawei CFO Makes First Appearance in Court; The Dow Drops

Over Jobs and Trade War Mixed Messages; Mueller To Submit Key Documents On

Manafort, Cohen; Bail Hearing Right Now For Huawei CFO; Belfast Reacts To

The Northern Ireland Backstop; Cautious Optimism In Yemen Peace Talks; New

Yorkers Flock To See Celebrity Duck. Aired 2-3p ET - Part 2>

<Sect: News; International>

<Byline: Shimon Prokupescz, Sarah Westwood, Stephen Collinson, Jim

Bittermann, Allision Kosik; Hannah Vaughan Jones, Evan Perez, Scott McLean,

Michael Holmes, Erin McLaughlin, Jeanne Moos>

<Guest: Agnes Poiner, Farea Al-Muslimi>

<High: Yellow Vest movement expresses program of extreme right and the

extreme left at the same time. Members of American president Donald Trump’s

inner circle current and former are in the special counsel’s sights now.

The bail hearing for the chief financial officer of Huawei is ongoing.>

<Spec: Congress; Investigation; James Comey; Attorney General; U.N.

Ambassador; France; Protests; Robert Mueller; Huawei; Justice; Canada;

Stock Market; Economy; Politics; Donald Trump; Government; Probe; Arrest;

Brexit; Peace Talks>

<Time: 14:00>

<End: 14:59>

Don McGahn, of course, is one of the people who has now already provided testimony about 30 hours or so of testimony. And, Hannah, what’s important here is that what keeps happening is that Donald Trump and his lack of discipline keeps making new witnesses for the investigators to have to interview. This keeps happening in this story and here we have it one more time.

JONES: And just reading between the lines if you can, Evan, do you think that what you’ve reported then about John Kelly and his questioning by the Mueller investigation could then be linked to the fact that we understand that John Kelly is about to quit?

PEREZ: Right. Well, we think the two things are sort of coincidental. The fact that we’re reporting this and the fact that John Kelly is on his last days so to speak.

We know that there’s been a terrible relationship between him and the president. They’re barely on speaking terms. Our reporters at the White House are told. We know there’s been a great deal of tension.

The president, actually, has been out in public saying there are certain things he likes about John Kelly, certain things he doesn’t like and that’s usually a sign that the president is getting irritated and tired of someone.

And so I think the two things, I think, are coincidental. They’re not necessarily one the cause of the other.

JONES: And two other people who very much be on Donald Trump’s mind, no doubt, today as we wait for court filings on their fate, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Your thoughts on what we might learn, at least, in the coming hours?

PEREZ: Well, with Michael Cohen what we keep seeing is every time there’s a new court filing, we find that -- he finds a way to twist the knife further in the back of his former boss, the person that he once said that he would take a bullet for. So we’re expecting more of that.

With Manafort, it’s going to be fascinating to see whether or not we get any window into what Robert Mueller and his investigators have found out on the central question of Russian collusion, of whether or not there were people associated with the Trump campaign who were trying to coordinate illegally with the Russians and we know, Hannah, that Manafort was in business with Russians for decades.

One of those people, Konstantin Kilimnik, who he was in business with is someone that the special counsel has already said, has identified, as someone who is believed to be an agent for Russian intelligence.

[14:35:04] So I think that’s one of the things I’ll be looking for is whether or not the special counsel can give us a little bit more of a window into where that connection is, how directly was Russian intelligence working with Paul Manafort, whether with his knowledge or without his knowledge.

JONES: Yes. And of course, then leads on to whether Paul Manafort is potentially angling for some kind of a presidential pardon as well in the aftermath of all this.

PEREZ: Exactly.

JONES: Evan, we have to leave it there. Evan Perez for us. We appreciate it.

PEREZ: Thank you.

JONES: Now, at any minute, we could learn more about the arrest of a Chinese businesswoman that rattled world markets this week. The bail hearing for the chief financial officer of Huawei is happening right now in Vancouver, Canada.

So far, we know nothing about why Meng Wanzhou was arrested. Only that the U.S. wants her extradited. CNN’s Scott McLean was outside the courthouse just a short time ago.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The CFO of the world’s second largest smartphone maker will be inside of a Canadian courtroom today asking for her freedom. This is a bail hearing while her extradition process makes its way through the Canadian courts, which could be a lengthy process.

The United States has to show the Canadian authorities that she should be standing trial in the United States. It has 60 days to do that and it’s not even clear whether that’s been done. The Canadians have 30 days to make a final decision and this is appealable right up to the supreme court of Canada.

In the extradition case, which has not yet been scheduled, U.S. authorities or the Canadian judge in this case will have to decide whether this is also a crime in Canada, whatever it is that she’s being accused of and whether or not the penalty for it is more than one year. Because of a publication ban outlets like CNN are not allowed to discuss the charges or the evidence being presented in this case.

So Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that the United States Justice Department was looking at Huawei and whether or not it had violated sanctions against Iran. Canada, for its part, does have its sanctions against Iran, as well.

Now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he addressed this yesterday. He said that this arrest last weekend at the Vancouver airport was completely apolitical. Though he acknowledged that he did have advanced notice of it.

Scott McLean, CNN, Vancouver, Canada.


ONES: Scott, thank you.

Now, Meng Wanzhou is more than just the CFO of Huawei. She’s the daughter of its founder and the face of the entire company. Our Michael Holmes has more.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sometimes elusive figure, Meng Wanzhou has often being seen as the likely next leader of one of China’s largest technology companies and the heiress to an empire.

The 46-year-old began in 1993 as a secretary at Huawei, a multi-billion dollar telecommunications giant founded by her father. At the time of her arrest on Saturday in Canada, Meng had risen to chief financial officer and deputy chair. Requested by the U.S., her surprised detention has China incensed demanding more answers.

GENG SHUANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (though translator): The Chinese side has made clear our solemn positions to the U.S. and Canada and asked them to clarify the reason of the detention. And to release the detainee immediately.

HOLMES: It’s not the first time China has gone on the defense for Huawei which has suffer a series of setbacks this year. Largely over increasing worries it might be influenced by the Chinese state.

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: There’s a grave concern in this country and Europe and other countries that embedding Huawei equipment in our next generation of -- the 5G generation of cellular, for example, creates a really serious national security risk. I don’t think this detention has anything to do with that but that’s an overarching issue in the background here.

HOLMES: In February U.S. intelligence agencies warned that Huawei’s phones and those of its rivals, ZTE, pose a security threat to Americans.

In August, Australia banned Huawei’s 5G technology there. And on Wednesday, a U.K. telecom company said it would no longer buy the firm’s products or technology.

Huawei has long denied any government interference in its business but some have also scrutinized the background of Huawei’s elusive founder and Meng’s father, Ren Zhengfei. For nearly a decade he helped build Chinese communications network while working as a civil engineer with the China People’s Liberation Army.

Much like her father, Meng, who also goes by first name Sabrina and Cathy, has largely kept a low profile. Little is known about her outside of Huawei’s website and limited media appearances. After earning a master’s degree in 1998, she has held mostly financial jobs at the company.

[14:40:59] In the most senior position of her uncle, brother, and stepmother who all work there, she was considered the obvious choice to take the helm about her fate and that of the global tech giant may be uncertain.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


JONES: Four days and counting. That’s how long Theresa May has to convince Britain’s parliament to back her deal. The crucial vote still set to go ahead on Tuesday and there are more warnings now from the government about what could happen if there is no deal.

The health secretary says there could be disruption at the border for six months if Britain crashes out with a no deal. Matthew Hancock said this was, quote, “Very much a worst-case scenario. But as a responsible government, we have a duty to plan for all scenarios.”

Now, the most controversial aspect of Theresa May’s Brexit deal is the so called Northern Ireland backstop. The arrangement is designed to ensure there is no return to any hard border for the island of Ireland. It is has been used as a talking point from Westminster to Brussels and back again many times.

But to understand how people in Northern Ireland are feeling about it all, Erin McLaughlin traveled to Belfast. Take a look.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Belfast is a city that knows division. When it comes to Brexit, there are new fissures over Theresa May’s deal. But many say they’re more confused than anything else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, like I understood at the start the Brexit thing, but now I just don’t understand what’s happening anymore.



MCLAUGHLIN: It’s difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understand some of it but not at all and to say. And I think the part that they don’t understand much themselves either, so. As I say it’s better hope for someone like ourselves.

MCLAUGHLIN: Isn’t that concerning?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is concerning. Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s us completely living.

MCLAUGHLIN: It’s concerning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don’t know where we’re going.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don’t know what the future will hold.

MCLAUGHLIN: Then there are those with the more definitive view. They say the controversial backstop drafted to prevent the return of a hard border means weakening the union between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keeping us more in the E.U. than with Britain.

MCLAUGHLIN: And that bothers you?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALEL: Because we’re British. We are not Irish.

MCLAUGHLIN: The Democratic Unionist Party feels the same. The DUP holds the keys to Theresa May’s minority government. Vows to vote down her deal next week.

NIGEL DODDS, DEPUTY LEADER, DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY: Northern Ireland will treat Great Britain as a third country. How can it possibly stand here and recommend this deal?

MCLAUGHLIN: But where the DUP sees a threat, Niall McMullan sees opportunity. If activated, the backstop means northern Irish businesses will be able to trade both in the E.U. and the U.K., friction free.

NIALL MCMULLAN, HERCULES BREWING COMPANY: And as I say, we could actually benefit from inward investment, you know, being in this unique situation where we can play with both markets.

MCLAUGHLIN: So it must be surreal to see arguing against a backstop that you see as a potential opportunity?

MCMULLAN: Yes. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me.

MCLAUGHLIN: The city of Belfast is known relative peace for the past 20 years. With Brexit, there’s newfound uncertainty and plenty of confusion. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Belfast.


JONES: German chancellor, Angela Merkel’s handpicked successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been tapped to replace her as head of the ruling CDU party. The election follows an emotional farewell speech for Mrs. Merkel who announced in October, she would step down from the post as German chancellor. She will not seek reelection as chancellor when her term expires in 2021.

Still to come tonight, cautious optimism and a subtle warning on a second day of peace talks in Sweden between Yemen’s warring factions. Is there really reason to hope? We’re going to discuss that in detail up next.


[14:45:07] JONES: Welcome back to the program. We’re going to take you back to take a look at the markets at the moment. A story that we’ve been covering throughout the last hour on this program. In particular, we want to see what’s going on with the Dow right now. Currently, as you can see there down 590 points or so.

We were speaking to Alison Kosik, our correspondent, at the New York Exchange just a short time ago. She was saying that investors are very jittery, indeed. In part, over the U.S. jobs report. The economy added some 155,000 jobs. But that was still far fewer than was initially expected.

Alison’s main point though about the reason we’re seeing all of these jitters right now on the markets is that investors are trying to decipher many mixed messages coming out of the Trump administration. Most of those mixed messages about trade in particular, of course, the ongoing U.S./China trade war.

Is there any way out of it? Is there any way that Donald Trump and his counterpart in China that they can actually come to some kind of deal on tariffs? Of course, Donald Trump himself recently said that he was a tariff man. He said that on Twitter. That’s got everyone upset, as well. And so, couple that with the Fed Reserve and increasing interest rates and then, of course, tech stocks tumbling. And then you see this jitteriness from investors, as well. Currently down 570, 575 points.

We’re going to keep an eye on this. Not as big a drop as we saw just a couple of days ago. But still, something that everyone in the economic world at least, business world, keeping a very close eye on.

Now, to other news. And this is -- today is the second day of talks aimed at easing the war in Yemen. The ongoing four-year war. And what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

For nearly four years, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iranian- backed Houthi rebels. In a savage war that’s resulted in thousands of deaths and a crippling famines. Some 14 million people are thought to be at risk of starvation as we speak.

Now, the two warring parties are holding direct talks in Sweden. Sweden acting as the mediator but the U.N. Special Envoy is cautioning against too much optimism saying these are only consultations. And right now, the negotiations haven’t even started yet. So just consultations as things stand.

So, are these talks still a cause for hope and the fact that you’ve just got these two warring parties in the same room at least? Yemeni writer and activist Farea Al-Muslimi joins me now in the studio. Very good to see you. Thank you.

And we know that these peace talks have just started. That’s got to be a good sign at least. But at the same time, bombs are still falling.

FAREA AL-MUSLIMI, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: Yes. It’s a good sign because, also, we haven’t seen sudden thing like this for more than two years. This is the first time that they meet. So it’s good. And I think one can be probably helpful because Yemen is different from Libya or Syria. I think the conflict there is solvable.

I think the number one problem Yemen currently face in matter of war is a matter of peace is the fact that there isn’t enough international attention and the pressure into it. I mean, there was a more diplomacy about the student in Abu Dhabi than about the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history.

So from that point of view, I share with the envoy his hesitation to actually be optimist. But again, the conflict is possibly if there is -- if there is that -- and attention into it and one should be -- I mean, he already assured the deal to release all the prisoners and that’s a quite a big deal and that’s quite actually a success so far.

JONES: One of the other things that we’ve been hearing so far to come out of these talks is a focus on the airport, the international airport in some of the Yemeni capital. And also port cities like Hudaydah and the like.

[14:50:04] How important are these areas of infrastructure for trying to solve the Yemeni crisis in terms of getting people in and out of the country, getting food in and out of the country and who currently controls say, for example, the Sana’a Airport?

AL-MUSLIMI: So the Sana’a Airport is important because the shutdown of that airport has probably led to more deaths than the bombs itself. Since you have no way you can get out of the country except from two airports that are extremely far up to 24 hours of drive some of them.

And it’s another issue because you have two airplanes for 27 million people.


AL-MUSLIMI: Two. And one for the president. You have two airplanes for 27 million people. The movement in and out of the country has never been more paralyzed. The Hudaydah port is extremely important also because the port where most of the food gets in the country.

The Houthis, yes, they only control 30 percent of the population or of the territory. But under them lives more than 70 percent of the population. So it’s extremely important. It doesn’t seem -- the envoy is actually interested as much or is actually hopeful in much in the Sana’a Airport.

He seems to be a lot interested in the Hudaydah ports. However, I’m not sure, to be honest, that the U.N. actually can get the port like Hudaydah. It’s quite complicated process.

JONES: OK. Well, Farea Al-Muslimi, thank you very much for coming on. Shining a light on this ongoing humanitarian crisis. We appreciate it and hope to speak with you again soon with more process of news. Thank you.

AL-MUSLIMI: Thank you.

JONES: Stay with us here on CNN. Plenty more coming up after the short break.


JONES: Welcome back. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, the chances are it’s a duck. But this one has been described as a Picasso painting, no less. Jeanne Moos has more on the bird that’s taking New York’s Central Park by storm.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is the duck that all other ducks revolve around. A flaming star. The Mandarin duck of Central Park. Ever since he parked himself here about two months ago, his celebrity has taken flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s beautiful.

MOOS: Out of towners flock to see him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just for the duck paid $50 to park.

MOOS: New Yorkers can’t believe he’s real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks fake, honestly. Am I being punked?

MOOS: Regulars have given him names.


MOOS: Mandy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I call him Mandy.

MOOS: Others have dubbed him Mandarin Patinkin after the actor. He’s also known as the most eligible bachelor in New York. Mandarin ducks are native to East Asia. Not North America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He’s got two leg bands, so came from somewhere. He belonged to somebody.

MOOS: The going theory is that Mandy escaped from someone’s collection of exotic birds or someone dumped him here. His photo has made it all the way back to China. In a People’s Daily. He’s on t-shirts, he’s even inspired imitators like Mandarin dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the talk of the town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is almost a Picasso painting.

MOOS: Mandy the Duck is copping it for the Quackarazzi photographers are always training their lenses on him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to get some action shots and I got some of him flying.

MOOS: Urban rangers keep an eye on him to make sure onlookers are --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Respecting the duck and --

MOOS: Sure. Over the weeks, his reputation has taken a hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enchanting Mandarin duck in Central Park turned out to be a mallard nipping jerk.

[14:55:03] MOOS: We did see him repeatedly chasing other ducks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he looks nasty. He’s like attacking them. That’s not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no. The Mandarin is doing nothing.

MOOS: A case of mistaken identity or perhaps Mandy is defending himself from underwater sneak attacks like this one.

A birder told the New York Times he’s the Kim Kardashian of ducks. We tried to lure him. Mandy? With his namesake song. Mandy? But it drove him back into the pond. I guess he wanted to duck Barry Manilow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you today oh Mandy.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


JONES: And that mission to the dark side of the moon. Not a Pink Floyd album remake but a space mission reportedly happening in China. Beijing’s national space administration is keeping exact details under wraps. But what we do know is that a lander named after a Chinese moon goddess has just launched. That is according to state-run media. If all goes well, it will touchdown in early January. And if it’s successful, the probe itself would be the first one to land on the far side of the moon. Potentially, of course, uncovering its many scientific secrets. Fantastic stuff.

A duck and the moon. What else could you end a program on? Thanks so much for watching tonight. Stay with us here on CNN. “QUEST MEANS BUSINESS” is up next with Eleni Giokos. Hope you can join her for that.


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