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Netanyahu's Future in Jeopardy; DNI Refuses to Comply with House Subpoena; GM Strike Enters Day Three; Tropical Depression Drenching Houston Area; 2020 Democrats Make Late-Night Rounds. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 18, 2019 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we have breaking news.

The future of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest serving prime minister, one of President Trump's closest allies, his job in jeopardy this morning. The Israeli election locked in a dead heat. They are counting the votes at this moment. The exit polls, which came out overnight, shows that neither of the main parties has enough support to form a majority coalition.

Joining us now, CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward.

Cannot overstate the role that Benjamin Netanyahu has played on the world stage over the last several decades. Cannot overstate his relationship with President Trump. And now maybe he might be done.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's certainly what it's looking like. You know, even the -- of course in Israel you have to form a coalition. And it doesn't look, at this stage, like he is going to be able to do that or even that he would be invited to do that. And that has huge implications for Netanyahu because, of course, he's facing several corruption charges, indictments, what does this mean for his future if he was prime minister he would be protected largely from that. He wouldn't have to resign. But if he's a minister or lesser member of the Knesset, then he would potentially have to recognize.

So it has a lot of implications internally for Israeli politics, but, as you mentioned as well, on the world stage this has implications because of this very close relationship between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump. Before the April election, we saw Trump go out on a limb, recognized the Golan Heights. He sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Western Wall. He declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

And, again, before this election, again, he went out and tweeted that the two of them had been having phone calls, that they were looking into the possibility of establishing a defense pact. It's unlikely, even if Benny Gantz is able to form a government and he becomes the next prime minister, this is going to have a huge implications for U.S.-Israeli relations, which would likely continue to be strong.

But, still, President Trump is definitely watching this election closely and it would be a loss for him if president -- if Prime Minister Netanyahu loses.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Is there a way to summarize how Netanyahu has gotten into this politically precarious situation? Why he -- why this isn't going to be an automatic win?

WARD: Well, I think it depends on who you talk to. If you talk to his foes, people will say he fought a really dirty election. He had been extremely hawkish even by hawkish standards on many different issues. He has been very disparaging of Arabs and Palestinians and basically the window for any kind of a peace deal agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians has completely diminished under his tenure.


And, as you mentioned, John, he's the longest serving prime minister in Israeli history. So I think there's also probably a sense of, like, ready for new blood. And with the shadow or cloud of these various corruption charges over him as well, there is a sense that, you know, potentially the country is ready for new blood.

Now, at the same time, Benny Gantz is also a very conservative candidate as well. It's not likely that you're going to see huge policy shifts in how Israel comports itself.

BERMAN: I want to talk about Saudi Arabia and the missile strike on the oil facilities there in the context of something we just discussed here, which is the credibility of the Trump administration.

President Trump says things that are not true, period, full stop. How does that affect now the case that the administration is trying to make to the world that Iran is singularly behind this attack? How does the rest of the world view claims made by this administration?

WARD: You know, I think even more than the issue of whether President Trump and his administration is telling the truth or not, there is the issue of whether this White House can sort of pick a strategy, really focus on it, develop it, and then follow it through. And the real issue in terms of credibility is that the U.S. will sit down and come up with this nuclear agreement, for example, and then just walk away from it with no real, strong sense of what exactly the objective is in walking away from it.

And even know when we see from the White House, OK, we're going with maximum pressure, but we're not going to retaliate when the drone is shot down and we are going to get rid of Bolton, who is the biggest hawk on Iran. And even now we're kind of killing time and punting it back to the Saudis before reacting in any kind of a decisive way. And we're open to meeting with President Rouhani. So if you're an outsider looking from Europe, you're wondering, what is the policy here? What is the strategy? And what does that mean going forward in terms of trying to coalition build and with European allies? Very, very difficult. CAMEROTA: Clarissa Ward, always great to have you here in studio to explain all of these complex issues to us. Thanks so much for being with us.

WARD: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: OK, another member of the Trump administration is refusing to comply with Congress. Details in a live report, next.



BERMAN: So, new controversy this morning surrounding acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. He has rejected a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee to hand over a complaint from a whistle-blower. It's a complaint of such concern to the inspector general that the inspector general has deemed it credible and urgent. So why is the DNI shielding it or hiding it?

CNN's Alex Marquardt live in Washington.

And, Alex, I understand CNN has obtained a letter which lays out the DNI's case.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does, John, that's right.

The acting director of national intelligence has now refused to comply with that subpoena sent by the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Now, that subpoena was sent on Friday. The deadline was last night. And in this letter that we obtained, the acting DNI Maguire, he says that, first of all, he didn't have enough time to comply with this subpoena, just two business days.

But then, this is the crux of the matter, he says he doesn't consider this whistle-blower complaint to be of urgent concern. Why? Because even though the whistle-blower does come from the intelligence community, the complaint, according to this letter, is about the executive branch, so the Trump administration.

Now, the inspector general, as you said, of the intelligence community had found this complaint to be of urgent concern. But Maguire said it isn't because it doesn't relate to intelligence activity. Rather, it, quote, "involves confidential and potentially privileged matters relating to the interests of other stakeholders within the executive branch," end quote.

Who in the executive branch is this complaint warning about? So far we don't know.

For his part, Congressman Schiff responded that, "the committee's position is clear, the acting DNI can either provide the complaint as required under the law, or he will be required to come before the committee to tell the public why he is not following the clear letter of the law." But it does not look like that is going to happen either. In this

letter the lawyer for the acting DNI says it would be premature for Maguire to testify on Thursday as Schiff had demanded. They say a hearing would not be a productive exercise. And given how busy he is this week, he is not available on such short notice.


CAMEROTA: OK. Alex Marquardt, thank you very much for all of that.

The General Motors strike enters day three with no end in sight.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is live in Detroit with details on what the automaker is doing now with these striking employees.

What have you learned, Vanessa?


Day three, no deal. We know that the two sides are going to be heading back to the negotiating tables today, but they're still pretty far apart on coming to a deal.

We also know that GM is in jeopardy of potentially losing their credit rating, dropping a credit score to junk bond status. That's according to Moody's.

We also know that GM announced yesterday they're not going to be paying for their employees' health insurance who are striking as long as this strike goes on. UAW, the union, now having to pick up that tab.

We're also learning about the local financial impacts that this strike is going to be having. According to the Anderson Economic Group, which is a Michigan-based consulting firm out here that looks at the auto industry, they say in the first few days of this strike we could see a significant hit to local economies. So that means that people aren't spending as much here. They're not shopping as much, not eating out as much and not buying as many groceries.

A week from now we could see supply chains impacted. That means any businesses that support the auto industry, like tires or parts, are going to start being affected and we could see people start to be temporarily laid off from those supporting businesses.

And ten days-plus, this is really interesting. The Anderson Economic Group reporting that parts of Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio could go into a recession because of this.


And, John, when you look at this and you multiply this by the amount of plants around the country that are being affected, you're going to start to see these micro recessions happening, and that will have a greater impact on the general economy. But as for right now, these picketers behind me still very hopeful,

still pushing their union to come to a fair deal. But as we know, as this drags out, people here are going to start to become impatient. They're going to start to put a lot of pressure on the union to come to a deal as they start checking their bank accounts realizing they're not making as much money as they normally would if they were working at this plant.


BERMAN: That calendar you laid out there, Vanessa, fascinating. The ripple effects quickly can become something of a wave.

Vanessa Yurkevich for us on the picket lines in Detroit, thank you very much.

The Texas coast this morning bracing for rainfall levels it hasn't seen since Hurricane Harvey. And that was devastating. We'll have a new forecast for you, next.



CAMEROTA: Well, the Texas Gulf Coast is bracing for torrential rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda and Houston could see more than a foot of rain.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast.

Is that what's happening today, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Already a foot of rain south of Houston. And this storm continues to move to the north and so will those heavy bands of rainfall that are coming in right now. So south and southwest of Galveston, already 14 inches of rain on the ground.

And then the rain is going to continue to slide to the north up into Houston metro. Just there. Near (INAUDIBLE). That is 14 inches of rainfall since this started yesterday. A high likelihood of more flash flooding today. Much of the eastern half of Houston and then southeast of there will pick up the heaviest rain for a while today. That's where the flash flooding could occur. Watch out. Some of the schools are already closed because of this potential here.

Another 10 inches of rain still possible with this storm as it moves to the north.

Now, we still also have Humberto and also Jerry out there in the Atlantic. We'll watch those two storms for you as well.


BERMAN: All right, Chad, thank you very much.

Overnight, two of the Democratic hopefuls appeared on the late night comedy shows. We'll bring you the highlights next.

Also, why are so many candidates doing these shows? How many delegates does Jimmy Kimmel actually have?



BERMAN: While you were sleeping two of the 2020 presidential candidates went on the late night comedy shows. That makes a total of seven candidates over the past two weeks alone. It seems something's going on here.

CNN's Leyla Santiago has the highlights.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why don't we just quit now and do a selfie line? We could have some fun.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": We don't -- we don't have four hours, ma'am.


COLBERT: Please, have a seat.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Senator Elizabeth Warren capping her New York City trip with a stop at "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," just a day after thousands came to hear her speak.

COLBERT: By the way, I'm so sorry that we only have 450 people here tonight. Thank you for slumming here at the Ed Sullivan.

WARREN: No, no, but, you know, the selfies are the most fun about this. And it truly is the case because it means you get the person-to- person about this.

SANTIAGO: The late night circuit now a frequent stop for 2020 candidates attempting to show a more personal side from what voters see on the campaign trail.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": What goes on during the commercial breaks? Do you guys talk to each other? Is everyone racing to the bathroom? What happens?

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I, for the first time, had a race to the bathroom and, you know, I knocked Castro over.

KIMMEL: And then will you be like up at the urinal with like -- next to, like, Beto or something?

BOOKER: Yes. Well, first of all, when Bernie goes to the bathroom, nobody goes to the (INAUDIBLE).

Like, Cory, wait your turn.

SANTIAGO: "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon has long slow jammed the news with Democrats and Republicans alike. Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg joining that list this year.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": What about debating President Trump? You think you could deliver the goods against the commander in cheese puff?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Jimmy, if I do debate President Trump, I'm sure it will be a competitive face-off where either one of us could end up on top.

FALLON: Really?

HARRIS: No, I'd wipe the floor with him.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to invite everyone to join this campaign, Democrats and Republicans.

FALLON: Democrats and Republicans? So what you're saying is you go both ways?

BUTTIGIEG: No, I'm just gay.

SANTIAGO: The candidates taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with voters in a more relaxed setting.

SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS: You have a background -- an athletic background.


MEYERS: We dug up a high school track. There you are.

SANDERS: That's me.

MEYERS: There you go.

SANTIAGO: Candidate Bill Clinton set the late night standard back in 1992. Remember? Showing off his saxophone skills on "The Arsenio Hall Show."

And despite often being the butt of late night jokes, even then candidate Trump appeared on several late night shows during the 2016 race.


SANTIAGO: Some of those moments just sort of stick with you, don't they?

Listen, while this is about creating a moment, having a personal connection with that broad audience and those potential voters, it's interesting to see what these candidates are highlighting after the fact. If you go on Twitter and you look at Warren and Harris, the portion of the interviews that they are actually taking note of is when they talk policy. Harris noting the moment in which she talked about gun violence and Warren noting the moment in which she talked about Saudi Arabia and her wealth tax.

BERMAN: Leyla, I'm so glad you brought that up because that's what's different between Bill Clinton playing the sax on "Arsenio Hall," or Richard Nixon going on "Laugh In" (ph). It's now -- it's the comics who have changed, really. They're asking very serious questions.


BERMAN: And they're getting very serious answers at times from these candidates.


CAMEROTA: Policy and punchlines. It's a winning combo.

BERMAN: Really?


BERMAN: Really?

CAMEROTA: Leyla, thank you very much for showing all of that to us because we were sleeping. I was sleeping through "Wheel of Fortune."

BERMAN: I want to see again the Cory Booker talking about Bernie Sanders in the bathroom.

CAMEROTA: I -- I don't.

BERMAN: Oh, come on, that was really funny.

CAMEROTA: It was, but I'm not sure we took it that right way.

All right, we have much more serious news to get to right now because there's breaking news on the Israeli election with big implications.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Israel's longest serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, slipping a bit against Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many here believe that exit polls are wrong, as they have been in the past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Netanyahu is very unhappy at the moment. He needed 61 seats.