Preparing For The Worst, The U.K. and E.U. Brace For A No Deal Brexit With Contingency Plans To Prevent Chaos; Sentencing Delayed, Trump’s
<Show: NEWS STREAM>
<Date: December 19, 2018>
<Head: Preparing For The Worst, The U.K. and E.U. Brace For A No Deal
Brexit With Contingency Plans To Prevent Chaos; Sentencing Delayed, Trump’s
Former National Security Adviser’s Cozy Plea Deal Is Not Looking Too Cozy
Anymore; An IPO Flop By Japanese Tech Giant Softbank Lost Billions Of
Dollars On Its First Day Of Trading. Aired: 8-9a ET - Part 1>
<Sect: News; International>
<Byline: Will Ripley, Samuel Burke, Anna Stewart, Eleni Giokos, Shan Wu,
Frederik Pleitgen, Brian Stelter, Amara Walker>
<Guest: John Ray, Seijiro Takeshita>
<High: The “New York Times” says cyber security firm Area 1 found hackers
have been infiltrating the network for years, downloading thousands of
cables, encrypted messages sent on what was meant to be a secure network.
Area 1 made some of those hacked cables available to “The Times.” The
Prime Minister Theresa May has just been telling Parliament that she will
reveal the results of her discussions with the E.U. in January. South
African authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Grace Mugabe, the
wife of the deposed Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe. Sentencing has
been delayed for the President’s former National Security adviser. Russia
now says that it is moving forward with a missile contract for Turkey; this
is despite a possible U.S. arms deal. One of the deadliest ebola outbreaks
in history is still spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A hard
landing for Softbank after one of the world’s biggest IPOs, a pretty
disappointing start though. Shares in the Japanese mobile telecomm plunged
14.5% in Tokyo. According to the “New York Times” the social networking
giant gave other tech companies including Microsoft, Amazon and Spotify
much more access to Facebook user data than it had previously disclosed. a
celebrity dog in China may be extending his career on the silver screen
<Spec: Hack, China, Area 1, Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwe, Russia, Arms Deal,
Turkey, Ebola, Brexit, Theresa May, Softbank, Japan, Facebook, Cloning,
WILL RIPLEY, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I’m Will Ripley in Hong Kong. Welcome to “News Stream.” Preparing for the worst, the U.K. and E.U. brace for a no deal Brexit with contingency plans to prevent chaos. Sentencing delayed, Trump’s former National Security adviser’s cozy plea deal is not looking too cozy anymore. An IPO flop by Japanese tech giant Softbank lost billions of dollars on its first day of trading.
We begin with a major hack of the European Union’s diplomatic communications network. A hack first reported by the “New York Times”. The paper says cyber security firm Area 1 found hackers have been infiltrating the network for years, downloading thousands of cables, encrypted messages sent on what was meant to be a secure network. Area 1 made some of those hacked cables available to “The Times.” CNN has not yet reviewed the documents, but Area 1 has an idea of who might be behind the hack.
Joining me now live from London the CNN’s Samuel Burke. Samuel, it seems like these hackers wanted to learn everything they possibly could about international diplomacy. What did they find?
SAMUEL BURKE, TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, it’s incredibly interesting for the past two years, President Trump has brought a very different style to international relations. Now, we are finding out what these diplomats and world leaders think when they walk away from some of these incredible interactions with the U.S. President.
Let’s just put on the screen the most sensitive topics that we see in these cable, starting with Trump’s negotiations with China. President Xi Jinping quoted as saying working with Trump is like a no rules, free style boxing match. But more importantly, Xi reported as saying that Beijing will not submit to what he calls bullying from the United States, even if the trade war hurts everybody.
Now, when it comes to relationships with Russia, European diplomats described that meeting between Trump and President Putin in Finland back in July as successful, at least for Putin, not necessarily for Trump or the United States. Perhaps worrying in these cables, Crimea described as a hot zone where nuclear warheads might have already been deployed. And even though the U.S. has pulled out of the Iran deal, cable show European diplomats requesting to finance exports to Iran to entice that country to continue complying with the 2015 agreement.
Will, I think if you could summarize the most important sentiment here, the European Union seems to say that there’s a negative attitude from President Trump toward the E.U. and the word they keep on using is that causes a lot of insecurity.
RIPLEY: It’s so fascinating, and there’s a reason why these cables are encrypted. These are diplomats that supposedly should be able to speak candidly. Do we have any idea who these hackers might be and are - is the E.U. taking steps to prevent this from happening again?
BURKE: Yes, the idea is that they can speak candidly, but certainly they’re not feeling that today. Let me just also put up on the screen what we know and don’t know about this hack, starting with the fact that that cyber security firm, Area 1 says these e-mails were accessed using techniques resembling those long used by an elite unit of the China’s People’s Liberation Army.
But it was just a simple phishing campaign, Will, aimed at diplomats in Cyprus. These are e-mails that so many people get you to think it’s from your work, you think it’s from your cell phone company. You click it, put in your information and it turns out you’ve handed over your passwords to a foreign group, and many times, and then they can use that information to access your accounts or in this case, a much larger system.
Now, unlike WikiLeaks, which were high level cables, these are low level classified documents. And of course, the hackers didn’t publish them. Very important to mention here that the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs says this “New York Times” report is suspicious, groundless and extremely irresponsible. They point out that China has been the victim of hacks, certainly, something that I hear from tech leaders in the United States, here in the European Union as well in China, Jack Ma once told me that Alibaba faces thousands of hacks a day, Will.
RIPLEY: Yes, and, of course, the Chinese would never want any candid conversation that Xi Jinping would have go out in public, especially if it’s any way controversial. So obviously, they’re watching this closely and we know you are, too. Samuel Burke, live in London. Thank you.
RIPLEY: Well there are 100 days to go until Britain is due to leave the European Union - 100 days. Not a lot of time. The Prime Minister Theresa May has just been telling Parliament that she will reveal the results of her discussions with the E.U. in January. Now Britain’s leading business groups, they are warning that time is running out to prevent the severe consequences of Britain crashing out of the E.U. with no deal in place.
And the U.K. government says it is speeding up preparations in case no deal is reached with the European Union. I want to go to CNN’s Anna Stewart who is live for us in London and has been following all of this.
Anna, some are saying that a no deal scenario for Brexit would have disastrous consequences. How much of that is scare mongering?
ANNA STEWART, REPORTER, CNN: Yes, and the contingency planning that has come out in the last 24 hours from the government has also fueled speculation that what they’re doing is scare mongering. And we’ve just had “Prime Minister Question Time,” thankfully the last of the year. I am sure, Theresa May feels the same as I do. And I can say how I appreciate Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party later on suggested that she was scare mongering here.
He think that she is essentially trying to run down the clock and make a no deal Brexit look likely and terrifying so that her Brexit deal is the only one people will vote for and they will vote for it.
Of course, the Prime Minister has refuted that and she also actually took Jeremy Corbyn to task over his confusing antics this week. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: They said they’d put on a vote of no confidence; then they said they wouldn’t, then they said they would. Then they did it, but it wasn’t effective. I know it’s the Christmas season and the pantomime season. But what we see from the Labour front bench and the right Honorable gentleman, he is going to put a confidence vote. Oh, yes, he is. Oh, no, he isn’t. I’ve got some news for him. I’ve got some advice for the right Honorable gentleman. Look behind you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Clearly, the Prime Minister likes a bit of panto there. Now, what happened this week, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour opposition, it looked like he was going to bring forth a vote of confidence against the government, then he failed to do it, bringing one against the Prime Minister herself which effectively didn’t mean much. It was fairly meaningless, symbolic, it’s not going to get time in Parliament.
The smaller parties, Will, just in the last 24 hours have tried to put forward a confidence vote on the government, but they need Labour to join them and Labour is not joining them yet. But this, if it ever happens in the coming weeks or months, that would essentially pave the way for a new government to be formed or a snap election.
RIPLEY: Anna, if there wasn’t so much at stake, it would be quite entertaining to go watch all of the drama unfold in Parliament. But, you know, there’s another hot kind of issue that people are talking about. The Prime Minister ruled it out this week, but is this second referendum still a possibility?
STEWART: Well, a second referendum is something the Prime Minister has to rule out almost every day at the moment. There is so much chat about it. Frankly, it does not have the support at this stage that it would need to happen. Not within the Labour Party, not within the Conservative Party. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, he doesn’t want it largely I think because two-thirds of his MPs are from Brexit areas. You know, it wouldn’t be electorally not very useful for him to table that.
In addition, Will, it takes time, it takes about seven months for the last referendum in 2016, for the legislation to be passed. And then you’ve got the issue of what on earth would the question be? Because would it be in or out like we had last time or would it be hard Brexit, soft Brexit, no Brexit. Would it be Norway kind of Brexit, Canada kind of Brexit? I mean, there are just so many options. Parliament can’t agree on anything at the moment. I can’t imagine how that would go down, Will.
RIPLEY: You must be Brex-hausted, Anna Stewart. I have to steal that line from you. You e-mailed me earlier. I bet you can’t wait for Christmas Break and maybe a little bit of a pause in all of this, but it will pick right back up. Anna Stewart, live in London. Thank you.
Coming up on news stream, the Trump organization, the campaign, the inauguration, the transition, the administration and now, even the charitable foundation all under investigation. Yes, the scandals keep piling up for the U.S. President. Also, a developing story. Another hit for Zimbabwe’s Mugabe family. Authorities are looking to arrest the deposed leader’s wife.
Eleven minutes past 9:00 here in Hong Kong. It is Wednesday and you’re watching “News Stream.” South African authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Grace Mugabe, the wife of the deposed Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe. Now, she’s accused of assaulting a South African model in August of last year. A brutal assault if you believe the model’s account of it all.
Now, South Africa is also applying for to Interpol to issue a red notice which is almost like an international arrest warrant calling for Grace Mugabe’s arrest and extradition. This story breaking just in the last few hours. CNN’s Eleni Giokos is live in Johannesburg for us. This has not been a great year for Zimbabwe’s former First Lady.
ELENI GIOKOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. It absolutely hasn’t, and we know that the South African police, as you say, have issued that arrest warrant. What is interesting is that they are working closely with Interpol to try and force the warrant. They have applied for a red alert notice.
And if that does, in fact, come through, then Zimbabwe will be held accountable and liable to extradite Mugabe. Of course, this is going to be a very delicate situation because of the coup last year where Robert Mugabe and, of course, the First Lady were ousted out of government by Emmerson Mnangagwa and what is really important to note here is that Robert Mugabe and his wife have still be residing in the Presidential Palace.
So whether Zimbabwe is going to actually extradite Grace Mugabe is going to be interesting, but going back to these assault charges, Will, it’s important to note that over the time that it occurred in South Africa, viral photos were, of course, made massive headlines in the country because the model had alleged that Mugabe had assaulted her with an electrical cable that she says had opened her head - open in around three places.
And over that time, the South African government had issued Mugabe diplomatic immunity, even though she was in the country not for diplomatic purposes, and that is when the prosecutor for the Oscar Pistorius trial stepped in and decided to represent the model. Of course that went through the courts and, of course, we’ve got the diplomatic immunity that has now been overturned and we stand here today with an arrest warrant for Grace Mugabe.
RIPLEY: It will be interesting, though, to see if Zimbabwean authorities comply. Eleni Giokos, a lot to watch there and we thank you for your live report. Now, to Washington where President Donald Trump is facing more blows to his already scandal-plagued Presidency.
Mr. Trump’s charitable foundation, it is now closing its doors amid an ongoing civil lawsuit over its finances. Prosecutors say the organization was less of a charity and more like a personal piggy bank for Mr. Trump and his three eldest children. Meanwhile, a judge has ordered a unnamed foreign company to comply with a grand jury subpoena believed to be from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Now, the Justice Department has asked the firm to turn over information about its commercial activities.
And sentencing has been delayed for the President’s former National Security adviser. In Tuesday’s hearing, Michael Flynn eviscerated Mr. Trump’s claim that he was entrapped by the FBI during the Russia investigation. Now, if you remember, Flynn was a top adviser to Donald Trump on National Security issues. He resigned from the Trump administration after he failed to tell the Vice President that he discussed sanctions with a Russian official.
RIPLEY: In December of 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to Federal investigators. For more on this, let’s bring in CNN legal analyst Shan Wu who is live in Washington. Shan, let’s start with Michael Flynn. So despite this humiliating dressing down that he got in court, he’s not backing away from his guilty plea. He’s still cooperating with the Special Counsel. So what does that mean for Flynn and also, frankly, for President Trump?
SHAN WU, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: For Flynn, this is a second chance. Judge Emmet Sullivan really threw a monkey wrench into the agreements and plans of the Mueller prosecutors and the Flynn defense team.
I think the defense team may have made a minor miscalculation with good intentions. Earlier, they had filed a pleading in which they suggested that Flynn had been ambushed by the FBI. They hadn’t read him his were proper rights, etcetera, and the Mueller team pushed back on that and the judge was quite offended by that. He went into that with Flynn and even went so far as to ask the prosecution if it was possible that they could have considered charging Flynn with treason.
So this quite was stunning for both sides. They took a break and is then decided to ask for a postponement hoping that in the intervening period, over the next weeks, they can do even more cooperation and maybe convince the judge that he really should get no jail time.
I think the problem is Mueller would not have agreed to the sentencing at this point if they felt there was a lot more cooperation to be done. So I don’t really think there’s a whole lot more that they can do, that they can hope that the judge calms down a bit and that is probably what they’re banking on. In terms of what it means for the President, it seems although it’s a black box to us, that Flynn has probably been a very, very helpful cooperator. He was the first man in on the cooperation from Mueller and they have found it to be of substantial assistance to them such that they were agreeing he had no jail time.
So I think that’s really added a lot to the pressures on the President and his team as you were alluding to, there’s more and more allegations. I think there are about 17 investigations going on and I think that that pressure is mounting a lot. You really are seeing the strains and the cracks beginning to show.
RIPLEY: And now you have this lawsuit claiming, a, quote, “shocking pattern of illegality at President Trump’s charity.” I mean, what does that tell you about the way he’s running the White House?
WU: Yes, it says a lot. And it’s really quite, I think distressing for him and his team because he’s always tried to draw this line in the sand not to go into his personal businesses and his family, and of course, that charity exactly involves both of those -- his personal business and his family.
And I think really, disturbingly, you know for America as a country, it really indicates his recklessness and his feeling that he does not need to abide by the rules, and even when you hear the White House statements about this, it always strikes me that they reflect Trump’s sort of a second on or third creator’s view of what it means to be the American President which is he can just do anything he wants. The President can do anything he wants and that’s not true. And the facts and the law are beginning to catch up.
RIPLEY: And we’ll have to see what happens with this unnamed foreign company getting a grand jury subpoena, see if this there’s any connection to the Russia investigation. Shan Wu, appreciate your expertise. Thanks for joining us from Washington.
WU: Nice to see you.
RIPLEY: Turning now - yes, good to see you too - Russia now though says that it is moving forward with a missile contract for Turkey. This is despite a possible U.S. arms deal. The Kremlin says Moscow intends to sell the Russian made S-400 missile defense system to Ankara even though the U.S. has already approved the sale of rival missile equipment to Turkey. Now this comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin, he threatened to beef up security if the U.S. withdraws from a key nuclear treaty.
So I want to bring in CNN’s Fred Pleitgen who is following the story for us live in Moscow. Fred, what a mess? How did we get here what does this mean for NATO which is kind of caught in the middle?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I think you’re absolutely right. It is certainly a mess right now and the relations between the United States and Russia and it certainly doesn’t look as though things are going to get any better anytime soon. Of course, we know that the U.S. was certainly not very happy about Turkey potentially buying those S-400 missile defense systems from the Russians.
The Russians however, of course, very keen to have that sale go through. All of this, Will, of course, as the relations between the U.S. and Russia continue to get worse, especially after one report after the next comes out in the U.S. outlining the scope and the scale of, for instance, what online trolls did in the United States both before the last Presidential election and afterwards as well.
Kremlin originally didn’t want to comment on that yesterday. They finally did. Here is what they said to us.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
PLEITGEN: An annoyed response from the Kremlin to the Senate report outlining Russian online troll activity against the U.S. both before and after the 2016 Presidential Election. Vladimir Putin’s spokesman denying Moscow’s involvement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: (Through a translator). Somebody is very critical of U.S. social issues and we are blamed for it? What does Russia have to do with this? It’s not described. I can only repeat that we once again disagree with this. We think these are totally baseless statements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Moscow also engaging in tough military talk against the U.S. In a yearend meeting with his military leaders, Vladimir Putin saying Russia is moving fast to beat the U.S.’s missile defense systems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: (Through a translator). It is necessary to quickly switch over to modern weapons that possess the enhanced capabilities of breaching the advanced missile shield defenses. Next on the agenda are the serial production and the delivery of the avant- garde global range missile complex to the troops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Earlier this year, Russia announced the development of what it says is a hyper sonic nuclear missile with a global range called avant- garde. Putin’s Defense Minister says widespread deployment will begin next year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEI SHOIGU, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: (Through a translator). In 2019, the Ministry of Defense is facing a number of defensive tasks which need to be fulfilled. Regarding our strategic nuclear forces, we need to deploy 31 launchers with the intercontinental ballistic missiles, YARs, and avant-garde.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Tensions between Moscow and Washington are increasing despite President Trump’s stated goal of improving relations with Vladimir Putin. The U.S. saying it will pull out of the INF treaty which bans medium range nuclear weapons, claiming Moscow is breaching the agreement. Putin today threatening to deploy new weapons if America abandons the deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN: (Through a translator). If that, which they keep trying to frighten us with happens, well, we will have to respond accordingly. And as you understand, it won’t be too big of a deal to do the appropriate research and development and put them on the ground if necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: As the Kremlin continues to lose faith in President Trump’s ability to salvage relations between Russia and the U.S., Moscow is beefing up its forces even announcing they will hold strategic nuclear forces drills next year.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PLEITGEN: And one of the other areas where they’re beefing up their forces, as well, Will, is actually the Arctic and that’s a huge area of concern for the United States. The Russians saying just yesterday that they want to finish infrastructure for three sites for air defense systems in the Arctic. That, of course, on top of, for instance, the basis that they’re building up there, the air fields that they’re building up there, as well. An area where the U.S. is really lagging behind as that relationship between these two important countries continues to sour, Will.
RIPLEY: Certainly looking and sounding a lot like an arms race. We’ll have to see what happens. Fred Pleitgen there, live in Moscow. Thanks very much.
One of the deadliest ebola outbreaks in history is still spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 300 people have died from this rare type of fever and ITN’s John Ray reports stories that you’re hearing on the ground are just heartbreaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JOHN RAY, CORRESPONDENT, ITN: We are entering the world of ebola where no faint heart dares tread. It is a world of pain and pity. With our camera carried by their medical team and through layers of latex and protective plastic, MSF offers as best it can a human touch and care for the desperately ill.
It is a highly contagious virus that can strip its victims of dignity. Some arrive already so consumed by ebola that it might be too late to save them. Doctors are trying experimental drugs, untested in clinical trials because there’s no alternative. Still, the death rate is more than 50%.
The world has never been better prepared and armed with a battery of new drugs, better equipped to combat this disease and yet, ebola continues to confound every prediction and every projection. It is still spreading.
And still killing. A family has gathered to collect a body. Their grief is unrelenting and feelings are running high. We’re asked to keep a distance. Instead, we watch as a young boy listens to the weeping and we try to guess what emotions are running through his head. His mother and three brothers have all died. He is more or less alone with his thoughts.
Since August, this outbreak has rolled through the jungles of Northeast Congo and has now arrived in Butembo, a ramshackle city of a million people.
RAY: In villages, ebola has passed through, much misery mains. A single tear runs down a child’s face as he remembers his mother. He tells me she was preparing his milk when her headaches began. Later, the bleeding started and then swiftly came death. In the nearby city of Beni, Joshua looks over the wall that separates his nursery from his mother who is fighting for her life in the treatment center next door. No one knows if he, too, will succumb. So only those who have survived the disease and cannot be re-infected can touch him.
I pray to God he doesn’t go through the pain I went through, his carer tells me. But there is no happy ending here. Before we leave, we learn Joshua’s mother has died. He is now one of hundreds of ebola orphans.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
RIPLEY: That was ITN’s John Ray with a very important look at a situation that is not reported about nearly enough. You’re watching “News Stream.” We’ll be right back.
I’m Will Ripley live in Hong Kong. You’re watching “News Stream”, and these are your world headlines. A major breach of the E.U.‘s diplomatic communications network first reported by the “New York Times.” Cyber security firm, Area 1 discovered the breach and made some of the hacked cables available to the paper. CNN has not had a chance to review the documents, but “The Time” says they showed the E.U.’s anxieties about Donald Trump, Russia, Iran and other issues.
One of America’s senior diplomats says the U.S. is considering reviewing the ban that blocks most Americans from traveling to North Korea. Stephen Biegun told reporters in Seoul, the evaluation would take place early next year if conditions are right, and he said, it would allow American aid workers inside North Korea.
One hundred days to go until Brexit, and five of Britain’s leading business groups are warning that time is running out to prevent these severe consequences of Britain crashing out of the E.U. with no deal in place. The U.K. government says it is speeding up preparations in case no deal is reached or agreed upon. Defense Secretary says 3,500 troops are also being put on standby.
The Brexit debate has sparked a controversy over a possible sexism in parliament. We’re going to play again those comments from the Prime Minister Theresa May.
RIPLEY: And I want you to listen to the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn at the end of her statement, actually, pay close attention. Watch your screen and see if you can understand what he mouths.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: They said they put down a vote of no confidence, then they said they wouldn’t. Then they said they would. Then they did it, but it wasn’t effective. I know it’s the Christmas season and the pantomime season, but what do we see from the Labour front bench and the right Honorable gentleman. He is got to put a confidence vote. Oh, yes, he is. Oh, no, he isn’t. I’ve got some news for him. I’ve got some advice for the right Honorable gentleman. Look behind you. They’re not impressed --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: Did you see his lips right there? Did you catch that? He seemed to call Prime Minister May a stupid woman. At least that’s what she believes. And here is how she responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: Can I say to my honorable friend, that I think that everybody in this House, particularly in this 100th year anniversary of women getting the vote, should be aiming to encourage women to come into this claim and to stand in this chamber and should, therefore, use appropriate language in this chamber when they are referring to female members.