Theresa May Faces No Confidence Vote; In France, The Nation Has Raised Its National Security Threat Level After A Gunman Opened Fire Near A
<Show: NEWS STREAM>
<Date: December 12, 2018>
<Head: Theresa May Faces No Confidence Vote; In France, The Nation Has
Raised Its National Security Threat Level After A Gunman Opened Fire Near A
Popular Christmas Market In Strasburg; U.S. President Says He Is Open To
Using The Arrests Of Huawei’s CFO As A Bargaining Chip In Talks With China;
Google’s CEO Gets Grilled In The U.S. Congress. . Aired: 8-9a ET - Part 1>
<Sect: News; International>
<Byline: Kristie Lu Stout, Max Foster, Erin McLaughlin, Hadas Gold, Nic
Robertson, Melissa Bell, Matt Rivers, Samuel Burke, Oliver Darcy>
<Guest: Crispin Blunt, Jeffrey Sachs, Joey Jones>
<High: The British Prime Minister is fighting for her political survival,
but now, for the first time, Theresa May could actually be forced out of
her job whether she likes it or not. A massive man hunt is now under way
for the suspect who the Paris prosecutors says has dozens of convictions in
three different countries. The U.S. President says he will intervene in
the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou if it will help secure a trade deal
with China. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai pushed back on U.S. lawmakers
during a long awaited appearance on Capitol Hill.>
<Spec: Theresa May, Brexit, No Confidence, Vote, France, Gunman, Strasburg,
Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, Google>
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST, “NEWS STREAM”: Welcome to “News Stream.” I’m Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.
MAX FOSTER, ANCHOR, CNN: And I’m Max Foster outside the Houses of Parliament here in London. It’s a phrase that we’ve heard again and again. The British Prime Minister is fighting for her political survival, but now, for the first time, Theresa May could actually be forced out of her job whether she likes it or not.
In the coming hours, she’ll face a vote of no confidence after being challenged by members of her own party, but Mrs. May says she is going to nowhere without a fight, insisting her Brexit plan remains the best option for the U.K. That was a position she stood firmly by at Prime Minister’s questions in the past hour.
And at one point, she stated in no uncertain terms that she is staying and also said at Downing Street earlier on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will contest that vote with everything I’ve got. The new leader wouldn’t have time to negotiate a withdrawal agreement and get legislation through Parliament by the 29th of March. So one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding Article 50, delaying or even stopping Brexit when people want us to get on with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: And that is the sort of spirit that Theresa May will need ahead of the vote, too, when she speaks privately to lawmakers responsible for this challenge, the so-called 1922 Committee or at least a large part of it. We are covering all sides of these fast-moving developments for you. Hadas Gold is here outside Parliament and Erin is in Brussels.
Hadas, this was like a bombshell when it happened this morning, not completely out of the blue, but the timing was, wasn’t it?
HADAS GOLD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, the timing -- we were expecting it maybe in a few days, maybe on Monday after she had returned from this kind of dash through to the European leaders and we got it early this morning and we actually found out through the Chairman of the 1922 Committee that he informed Theresa May last night that he had reached that threshold and that there would be the vote.
But I have to say, instead of a Prime Minister seeming shaken by the sort of challenge, she walked into Prime Minister’s questions just in the past hour with, I have to say, a bit of swagger. She seemed almost to be enjoying Jeremy Corbin trying to needle her.
At one point, she even said that Jeremy Corbyn just wants to crash the economy. Let’s take a listen to actually how she reacted to Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader attacking her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: He should be honest with people. He should be honest with people about his position. He couldn’t care less about Brexit. What he wants to do is bring down the government, create uncertainty, sew division and crash our economy. The biggest threat to people and to this country isn’t leaving the E.U., it’s a Corbyn government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: I mean, you could just see almost that little smirk on her face while she was giving that response and we did hear some more of her Tory Party friends kind of supporting her, speaking out in her favor, getting some more cheers and I have to say, it’s sort of interesting that it would take a no confidence vote like that to at least give us some semblance of unity in Parliament which we have not seem to have seen in quite a while.
FOSTER: Well, it’s interesting, Erin, because the suggestion here is that Theresa May know she’s going to win, so she’s going into this day knowing that she won’t be able to be missed -- taken out of her position basically for another year. So it’s actually empowering her, this process, but is that the way Brussels sees it?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, at this point, Max, E.U. leaders, E.U. officials are being very tight-lipped in terms of the events unfolding there in London.
Traditionally, the E.U. does not like to comment on internal political dynamics of E.U. member states. Today, of course, is no exception. We have heard from German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier today lay down that consistent red line for the E.U. in all of this that there will be no renegotiation of that 585-page withdrawal treaty that’s legally binding the backstop of that withdrawal treaty what Brexiteers find so offensive.
We also heard from Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council on Twitter this morning tweet out a photo of himself and Michel Barnier along with Barnier’s negotiating team saying he is preparing for tomorrow’s summit. Brexit has been added to the agenda of that summit. The invite has gone out.
And according to that invite, their intent is, according to Tusk, for the British Prime Minister to be here in Brussels to brief the E.U. 27 on the current situation.
MCLAUGHLIN: And then at the end of the dinner, the Prime Minister leaves the 27 and then discuss next steps. Really, the focus at this point, how to help Theresa May get this deal through Parliament, but with the red lines here in Brussels, the answers to that question is pretty much elusive.
FOSTER: Okay, Erin, thank you. Also, Hadas here in Parliament. We’re going to Downing Street now. International diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is outside Downing Street. You were there, Nic, when Theresa May came out, gave that very defiant speech first thing this morning. She could lose though, couldn’t she? And if that happens, we are into a long- winded leadership election process.
NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: We are -- potentially long-winded and there are a number of reasons for that. Any conservative MP that has the support of two others can put their name in the hat, so to speak, for the leadership contest.
And then typically every Tuesday and every Thursday, the Conservative Party MPs here could vote on that list of candidates and each time they vote, the one who’s at the back of the pack drops out and it all continues until you have just two contestants left. And then when you reach that point it, then it goes to postal ballot by the broader Conservative Party membership. So tens and tens of thousands of people involved in that.
So, yes, potentially it could be long-winded, though, we have heard from Conservative MPs today who say that they would try to tighten the time on that and of course, candidates could drop out. So it could get much shorter. But as we saw when Theresa May was in the leadership contest, the opposing candidate can drop out leaving one person there in the job. You don’t have to go to the postal ballots.
So there are a lot of possibilities here. Potentially -- and Theresa May made that a big point of her speech this morning. The whole process of finding a new leader delays Brexit negotiations in a meaningful way. Therefore, you raise the likelihood of crashing out without a deal on the 29th of March. She made sure she pointed that out very clearly, Max.
FOSTER: Okay, Nic at Downing Street, thank you very much. I am joined now by Crispin Blunt, Conservative Party MP, former Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee as well, who is one of those who triggered the May election challenge by submitting a letter of no confidence.
And last time I spoke to you, you had revealed that you had sort of sent this letter in hoping to prompt others to follow you and they did.
CRISPIN BLUNT, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I did in 2003 and it took six months for them. This time, it was 24 hours, so that’s progress.
FOSTER: So what changed your colleagues’ mind, would you say?
BLUNT; A certain amount of comfort that there were people saying it was needed to be done. Plainly, the ending of the debate on the withdrawal agreement and meaning, there was no vote to demonstrate how uncomfortable the whole has -- the conference was with the proposed withdrawal agreement really catalyzed the position that I think most saw as one of the biggest factor.
FOSTER: Lots of confidence from Theresa May’s side today though going into that vote because they think they are going to win it. That’s the indication we are getting. What do you think is going to be the result tonight?
BLUNT: Frankly, I have absolutely no idea. And what you’ve got to remember is that the -- all of the government, almost under a duty to give public support to their Prime Minister because she has put them in that government. But what their private decision is in the privacy of a secret ballot about the merits of the Prime Minister is quite another matter.
So let’s see what happens. There are things my colleagues have got to consider like how likely is it that that Theresa May will continue to enjoy the support of the DUP to support her government and if they don’t, then we are off to an election and for at least the next year, if she wins tonight, they will then will be committed to being led by Theresa May into that election.
Now, given what happened in 2017, that’s a prospect that has the same modicum of concern for Conservative MPs if she is to present the vision of the party. That’s not her long suit. Her long suit is much more of a management -- detailed management and she’s got herself bogged down in the details of this negotiation.
Frankly, we’ve been rinsed by the E.U. Commission, this negotiation, which is why the British Parliament is going to say no. And now, we actually need someone who is going to give the country confidence that we are going to get to the 29th of March, we are going to deliver on the Brexit decision by the British people and we are going to engage with your European Union partners in a sensible way to make sure that transition to the World Trade Organization terms is as stable and as sensibly managed as possible. It’s in everybody’s interest.
FOSTER: But there will be members of your party who agree with you, but will still vote for Theresa May because there isn’t a clear alternative to her. They know that this election process within the party that follows could potentially be very, very messy, indeed because there is no one uniting figure on either side that could actually remain or --
BLUNT: Well, let’s see what emerges from -- if she loses. But if she doesn’t lose, she is -- all of this mutter about vote of no confidence and the rest of that is gone for a year, she’s secure in her position.
BLUNT: And then obviously, people like me will be encouraging her really hard to give the country the leadership and the vision and the confidence that we’re going get through to the 29th of March, we are going to manage on that agreement and move to WTO terms sensibly and we are going to deal with all the potential downsides because they are in the hands of our E.U. partners.
We do have, I think as mentioned on today, 39 billion reasons why they will want to make this process as easy as possible for both them and us.
FOSTER: But will you fall behind her and support her if she wins the vote? Because the concern is that the damage is really there within the party. And she can’t unite it anymore.
BLUNT: Well, she’s not going to get support for the deal. She needs to go back to the language she was using two years ago, very clear language ...
FOSTER: At Lancaster House.
BLUNT: At the Lancaster House speech. And she’s presenting us with a position that we are going to be indefinitely in the Customs Union and it is somebody else’s gift when we are going to be allowed to leave. Well, that’s a breach of our manifesto as well as a breach of the terms of her Lancaster House speech.
And then you add to that, she was also saying at the same time, that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a rotten deal. So she shouldn’t be supporting it. She should really be saying, “This is the best deal I could get from the European Union.”
And actually, if she’d been, I think cuter around her presentation to Parliament and she said, “Look, this is the best it is. You know what the alternatives are.” I just about think it passes me if that’s her judgment. But she certainly shouldn’t be batting off this with huge enthusiasm, heart and soul. This is in the old terms, you say, pretty ropey deal for the U.K. It might be great for the E.U., but not for us.
FOSTER: Talking to one of your colleagues in the Party -- in the Parliamentary Party, Jo Johnson the other day, he wants this to go to a referendum.
BLUNT: Yes, of course, he is a remainer.
FOSTER: Well, he is -- the other suggestions is the Parliament is a bit of a mess and you’re not managing to make any decisions right now, so maybe the public should decide.
BLUNT: And we can’t have -- we can’t have -- look, happily, Parliament has passed the laws for us to leave the European Union on the 29th of March and the government, if it is going to change the law would have to be part of that process. So that’s one of the reason why this ballot is happening because there is an anxiety that Theresa May might be pushed around a bit and might be complicit in changing the law to extend the Article 50 period or whatever.
Well, we’re clear that we give the country and business the certainty of WTO rules and our relationship with the E.U. that we get engaged in a free trade agreement negotiations with them immediately as we then can with anyone else in the world to improve our terms of trade and that’s the right place for us to be.
So there is every reason for an open opportunity and my colleagues will collectively tonight will decide whether Theresa May or another of us is better capable of expressing our hope and opportunity and managing us through to that process.
FOSTER: Crispin Blunt, thank you very much as ever, for joining us. You have a long day and long night ahead of you. It would be very interesting to see --
BLUNT: Well, I don’t. I’m going to the premiere of “Mary Poppins.”
FOSTER: Are you? You’re bailing out all together.
BLUNT: As someone who is holding my proxies.
FOSTER: Okay. Well, have a lovely time then at the show.
BLUNT: Thank you very much. I intend to.
FOSTER: Kristie, the market is rushing up today because there was a sense that Theresa May will win. If she doesn’t win, then it will cause some chaos tomorrow morning and that’s just a suggestion at least, we’re bringing you all the updates as they come through.
LU STOUT: Yes, Theresa May is exuding optimism and strength as we saw in her performance just in the last hour during PMQs. She does seem to be in fighting form. Max Foster reporting live. Max, thank you.
Now, in France, the nation has raised its national security threat level after a gunman opened fire near a popular Christmas market in Strasburg killing at least two and injuring some 14 others. A massive man hunt is now under way for the suspect who the Paris prosecutors says has dozens of convictions in three different countries.
German and French police have been securing the border carrying machine guns and setting up a roadblock across the River Rhine. Melissa Bell is standing by for us live in Strasburg. Melissa, the gunman is at large. What kind of assets are in play in this manhunt to track him down?
MELISSA BELL, PARIS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It is a considerable amount of policemen and women who are involved, several hundred, a couple of helicopters involved in this manhunt and it’s been going on since yesterday evening, Kristie, since it is now the afternoon here in France. This happened at 8:00 p.m. local.
Let me just show you where it happened. It was up this street that the gunman went just before 8:00 p.m., armed with a knife and a gun. He then killed three people and left many wounded. You can hear -- see here the security checks that have now been put in place at the entrance to this Christmas market, the Strasburg Christmas Market, one of the biggest in Europe, one of the most famous in Europe and one of the oldest. It’s been going on since 1570, Kristie and this is extremely well known.
It has also been the subject of several terrorist threats over the course of the years. One foiled attempt back in 2000.
BELL: But last night, the horror took place. That attack took place. Authorities were very cautious about ascribing any motive to it.
Now, this is a man, as you say, who is very well known to authorities, 27 convictions over the years in France, Switzerland and just across the border in Germany, but none had been for terror-related offenses. All of them were common law. That’s what he was known for and yet, he was on France’s terror watch list because he was believed to have become radicalized in prison.
But he had never been convicted of anything that was terrorism-related. He is now being hunted down both here in France but also, say German authorities on the other side of the border and particularly that border crossing between the two countries has become much more carefully watched ever since the terror threat was raised last night to its highest possible level.
LU STOUT: Melissa Bell reporting live first from Strasburg, France. Melissa, thank you. Now, you’re watching “News Stream” and still to come right here on the program, the U.S. President says he is open to using the arrests of Huawei’s CFO as a bargaining chip in talks with China. We’ve got the details on that, next.
All right, coming to you live from Hong Kong. Welcome back, this is “News Stream.” Now, the U.S. President says he will intervene in the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou if it will help secure a trade deal with China.
Now, in an interview with Reuters, Donald Trump said this, quote, “If I think it’s good for what will certainly be the largest trade deal ever made -- which is a very important thing -- what’s good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.” Unquote.
On Tuesday, a Canadian court released Meng on bail while she waits for her extradition hearing to the United States. CNN’s Matt Rivers joins us now live from Beijing and, Matt. Wow. President Trump is effectively saying that he is open to using Meng a bargaining chip. How is Beijing responding to that?
MATT RIVERS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, they are not really responding all that forcefully. I was at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press briefing earlier today, Kristie and I asked the question, you know, what is China’s viewpoint on essentially hearing the President of the United States say that Meng Wanzhou could now be used as sort of pawn in the broader trade war between the United States and China and the spokesperson really didn’t take the bait and just kind of said, “Look, we continue to look forward to trying to implement the agreement that both sides came to at the G-20 in Buenos Aires between President Trump and President Xi.
So really sticking to the boilerplate language there at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But you know, what have heard from China is that they are extremely upset with the United States and with Canada ...
RIVERS: ... for what’s happened to Meng Wanzhou and they continue to call for her immediate release and drop of charges. Now, granted she’s been put out on bail, but China wants to go further than that and they want Meng Wanzhou to be cleared of all charges.
And so, anything, I think, with the President opening up the possibility that Meng Wanzhou might be somehow a part of the overall negotiation, you know, China might look at that and say, well, if it helps us get one of our people back, it’s not a terrible thing. But at the same time, I think they’re going to be very, very wary of that being used as some sort of leverage by the United States because what you are essentially seeing there, Kristie, is the President of the United States weaponizing for political use his judicial system. I mean, that’s essentially what he’s arguing there and it’s a dangerous precedent.
LU STOUT: Yes, and you have “Global Times” calling it out saying this is the President abusing his justice system. Now, is there a link between this case with Huawei and another incident that you’re following -- the detention of the former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig?
RIVERS: Yes, you’re not hearing that officially from the Chinese government, but I think that that is the general speculation here amongst the expat community at the very least, Kristie, that what has happened to this former Canadian diplomat is connected.
Now, basically, so our viewers know, what happened here is this former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, he had been stationed here actually for Canada in Beijing and several other places around Asia, he was working for the International Crisis Group based out of Hong Kong, it’s an NGO, and on Monday, the group says that he was picked up by State Security Forces here in Beijing and they are concerned for his safety because they have not been able to get in touch.
Now, Canada isn’t really commenting too much on this. We are not sure if he’s been in touch with consular officials and we were asking the question pointedly today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press briefing saying what is the status of this gentleman and the spokesperson said he had nothing to offer on that particular issue.
But interestingly, Kristie, he did point out that if -- hypothetically speaking -- someone like Michael Kovrig was here in China working for the International Crisis Group, well that would be illegal because the ICG as it is called is not on China’s list of registered NGOs.
So really, without confirming what China has done to Michael Kovrig, what it seem like the spokesperson was doing there was laying out this public road map, if you will, public way to say, okay, there could be a charge coming down the road for Michael Kovrig in terms of his work for that NGO.
LU STOUT: Yes, nothing said explicitly, but there is this undercurrent of tension in what’s supposed to be a trade truce, right? Matt Rivers, reporting live from Beijing. Matt, thank you.
Let’s bring in Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs. He recently wrote an article about these developments against Huawei calling the Trump administration’s move to arrest Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou quote “dangerous and nearly unprecedented.” And Jeffrey, thank you very much indeed for joining us here on the program.
As you heard just now, when Donald Trump says that he may intervene in the case against the Huawei CFO, you know, it could be a part of a greater trade deal with China. What is he really revealing here?
JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT,COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: You never know what Donald Trump is meaning about anything, so it’s hard to read a mind that is so unstable. But I do think putting her arrest in a context of negotiations just shows the recklessness of all of this and the danger of all of this.
The United States government is not generally in the business of whisking CEOs or CFOs out of airports and into custody, certainly it doesn’t do it with American CEOs and CFOs that violate U.S. trade sanctions. This is nearly unprecedented. It’s extraordinarily provocative, it’s extraordinarily stupid, in my mind because the last thing we need is more escalation of tensions between the United States and China. But the U.S. just seems to be unstoppably provocative under the Trump administration and I think it’s a danger to the world.
LU STOUT: You’ve called this Trum’s war on Huawei? Why Huawei? Why is he singling out this Chinese company?
SACHS: Well, Huawei is the world’s leading provider of telecoms, the hardware. It is one of the world’s leaders in the emerging digital technology. It is a company that invests massively in research and development. It is a smart, capable company. And for many, many years the U.S. has been saying, “Don’t buy from Huawei,” and leaning on other countries like Canada, Britain ...
SACHS: ... or Australia, as many as the U.S. can influence to stop buying from Huawei. I think it’s part of a more general attempt by the United States to keep China bound. This is my general interpretation.
LU STOUT: Basically, you interpret it as Trump seeing Huawei as not a security risk as it is being framed, but as an economic risk; unfortunately, we are going to have to wrap up the conversation. The connection is falling apart as we speak, but Jeffrey Sachs, thank you for joining us. I do hope that we could talk again soon.
Now, the wife of the award-winning Chinese photographer Lu Guang, we have been reporting on this story, he was reported missing in Xinjiang. Officials have confirmed the reports that her husband was arrested in the northwestern part of the country.
Now, two weeks ago, Xu Xiaoli, revealed that she had not heard from her husband since November the 3rd when he was traveling in Xinjiang. She says Kashgar Police called one of her family members in mainland China and confirmed his arrest and says that her husband has not had access to a lawyer. CNN has reached out to Kashgar Police, but we have yet to receive a response.
Now, with only hours to go before a leadership challenge that could end her political career, British Prime Minister Theresa May has come out fighting, saying that a new face would be bad for the party, bad for the nation, and bad for Brexit. We are live in Westminster.
FOSTER: Welcome back. I’m Max Foster in London outside the House of Parliament. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s political survival hanging in the balance. Just a few hours from now, her party decides her fate in a vote after a mounting leadership challenge. She’s vowed to fight with everything she has though. The latest twist in the Westminster saga that began with a referendum in June 2016.
Could this spell the end of Mrs. May’s political career and the Brexit deal she’s been negotiating for more than two years now? Joining me for some insight into her strategy is Joey Jones, the Prime Minister’s former spokesperson. Have you had any contacts with Downing Street recently on this one?
JOEY JONES, FORMER PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY’S SPOKESPERSON: Yes, certainly, I mean, I speak to a lot of people in Whitehall and across Westminster. That’s part of my job as a consultant to business. And I think that everybody, everybody universally is impressed by the resilience that she has shown, the sort of dogged, grinding it out hour by hour, day by day.
JONES: But I think the other flip side of that is that she looks like she has a sort of tunnel vision, that doesn’t want to take a step back from the magnitude of what is going on because frankly, it might just all crowd in on her and become all too much in a way.
FOSTER: She came out so boldly this morning, didn’t she, in Downing Street when in our minds we were thinking she might be timid, but actually, she steps up for these occasions, doesn’t she, quite effectively.