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EARLY START

Pompeo Was On Trump's Phone Call with Zelensky; Giuliani Will "Consider" Ukraine Subpoena; Hong Kong Police Deploy Teargas; California Passes Allowing College Athletes to be Paid; Meghan Markle Visiting University of Johannesburg. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 1, 2019 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[04:30:19]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on the Trump Ukraine phone call.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Rudy Giuliani gives his first response to a House subpoena in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

ROMANS: Seventy years of communist rule in China marked by a parade in Beijing and protest right now in Hong Kong.

BRIGGS: College athletes could get paid under a bill just signed in California. Will the NCAA play ball?

LeBron James hanging out with the governor of California.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

We begin with the latest on the whistleblower scandal. CNN has confirmed, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July 25th call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The story was first reported by "The Wall Street Journal". The State Department has not responded to CNN's request for a comment.

Here's what Pompeo told ABC News last week about the call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC HOST: What do you know about those conversations?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: So you just gave me a report about a I.C. whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Pompeo has not publicly addressed the call with the new Ukrainian leader or the State Department's role in Rudy Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine.

Here's what Pompeo said last week, late last week at the U.N.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POMPEO: To the best of my knowledge and from what I've seen so far, each of the actions that were undertaken by State Department officials was entirely appropriate and consistent with the objective that we've had certainly since this new government has come into office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The chairmen of three house committees have subpoenaed Pompeo over his failure to produce documents related to Ukraine.

BRIGGS: President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani saying he'll think about responding to a House subpoena for documents in the impeachment inquiry. Giuliani tweeting he believes the three Democratic chairman of House committees who issued the subpoenas, quote, have prejudged this case. He writes: It raises significant issues concerning legitimacy and legal issues. The subpoena will be given appropriate consideration.

Giuliani was just as noncommittal on Fox News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, I don't know, I'm weighing the alternatives. I'm -- I'll kind of like go through it. I'll get all my evidence together. I'll get my charts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Giuliani was repeatedly mention mentioned by Trump in his call with the Ukrainian president. Giuliani was to be president of Ukraine's primary contact in Trump's push to have Ukraine investigate Joe Biden and his son.

ROMANS: Now, the intelligence community watchdog debunking a GOP conspiracy theory about the whistleblower complaints. President Trump tweeting last night: Who changed the longstanding whistleblower rules just before submittal of the fake whistleblower report? Drain the swamp.

Other Republicans pushing the claim the new rules allow secondhand or hearsay information which they claim the Ukraine complaint relies on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I can't believe we're talking about impeaching the president based on an accusation based on hearsay. Why did they change the rules about a whistleblower -- you can use hearsay when you used to could not -- just weeks before the complaint?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): He had no firsthand knowledge. He heard something from someone who may have heard something from someone. JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": No, no -- his sources were firsthand sources. You know as well as I do that you do not need to have firsthand knowledge to be a whistleblower. And even if --

JORDAN: Well, you don't now because they changed the form. You used to and they changed the form.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: OK, the intelligence inspector general says none of that is true. In a statement issued yesterday, Michael Atkinson wrote this: The complainant had official and authorized access including direct knowledge. The whistleblower had more than secondhand assertions and the I.G. found other information supported the complainant's allegations.

Meantime, President Trump made clear he still wants to know the whistleblower's identity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Mr. President, do you now know who the whistleblower is, sir?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're trying to find out about a whistleblower, when you have a whistleblower that reports things that were incorrect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The identity of a whistleblower is protected by law.

BRIGGS: CNN has also confirmed that in a recent phone call, President Trump pressed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help Attorney General Bill Barr's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

Back in April, Barr raised a lot of eyebrows when he testified he believed the Trump campaign had been spied on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think that some spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Well, let me --

BARR: But the question is whether it was predicated -- adequately predicated. And I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated but I need to explore that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:35:03]

BRIGGS: The White House has recent released a statement on President Trump's call to the Australian prime minister. They say, quote: it relates to a DOJ inquiry publicly announced months ago to uncover exactly what happened. The DOJ simply requested that the president provide introductions to facilitate that ongoing inquiry, and he did so, that's all.

An Australian government spokesman says his country is always ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed light on matters under investigation.

ROMANS: If the House eventually votes to impeach President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says his hands will be tied and a Senate impeachment trial will be the next step.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It's a Senate rule related to impeachment that would take 67 votes to change. So I would have no choice but to take it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: McConnell's comment raises the possibility of a Senate impeachment trial just as the Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses are set to begin in early 2020.

BRIGGS: A new CNN poll shows Americans about evenly split over impeachment and support growing among Republicans and independents. Overall just about half, 47 percent, say President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 45 percent oppose impeachment. Independents, support for impeachment and removal has jumped 11 points since May to 46 percent. It has risen 8 points among Republicans to 14 percent.

ROMANS: All right. Senator Bernie Sanders released an income inequality tax plan aimed at closing the gap between CEOs and their employees. The tax would apply to companies with more than $100 million in annual revenue and kicks in when an executive is paid more than 50 times the median worker.

According to Sanders' campaign, if this tax were in effect last year, McDonald's would have paid $110 million in taxes, Walmart, almost $800 million more, and JPMorgan Chase almost a billion more. Retailers, banks and restaurants would be the most vulnerable to this tax. They have the largest share of lower paid workers.

Last year, Sanders called out Walmart, McDonald's, American Airlines and other big firms. He says they pay workers too little and some of those workers paid so little, they qualified for food stamps. Essentially, the way he lays it out, the taxpayer is already subsidizing employees of these big profitable companies. McDonald's stopped lobbying against a hike in the federal minimum wage, that was a big change there. Amazon and Disney raised their wages for lowest paid workers. The plan comes less than a week after his wealth tax plan aimed at taxing the ultra rich.

BRIGGS: All right. Next, a tale of two cities on China's national day. A military parade in Beijing, protests in Hong Kong. We'll take you there, live.

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BRIGGS: All right. Some breaking news: protesters taking to the streets of Hong Kong as China celebrates 70 years of communist rule. That, of course, teargas being fired by police.

Just hours ago, a huge national parade in Beijing. There were more than 10,000 participants with 2,019 of them national carrying a giant flag. China's military might also on full display, all while Hong Kong, again, remains engulfed in those aforementioned protests.

Demonstrators in the neighborhood of Wan Chai were out early this morning shutting down the subway system.

Will Ripley is there live for us with the latest.

Will, it looks like things are getting very testy. What are you seeing?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Dave. Yes, just a minute ago, we had more teargas. In fact, I think that's teargas being fired. I can hear the shots. Not sure where they are landing, but we had some land next to us, which is why I have this gas mask on.

Yes, we have teargas being fire fired. So, the police are right there on that overpass, Dave. This is Admiralty, right across from Hong Kong's legislative council building.

You see protesters are trying to storm up the escalator. Let's get closer. Protesters are raising towards the position where riot police are stationed. Riot police are now firing at close range at the protesters.

Keep getting in there, Rusty, see what we can see. So, protesters with umbrellas have gone up the escalator. Police -- wow, I have never seen them fire at that close range at the protesters now pulling back.

I have to tell you, this is exactly the kind of split screen moment the central government in Beijing didn't want to see happened today. They have a celebration in Beijing of China's 70th anniversary, the founding of People's Republic of China. And then you have this on the streets, you have these violent confrontations as the city's chief executive, Carrie Lam, who works on this building right here, she was in Beijing.

She was sitting in the stands celebrating alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with the delegations of Hong Kong while chaos continues to erupt on the streets of the city that she runs, a city that has been gripped by a crisis now 17 weeks of consecutive protests.

It looks like somebody is receiving first aid here. We have somebody injured on the ground here. You see this person being carried off right now. It looks like one of the protesters was hurt. It is just utter chaos on the streets here of Hong Kong. And this is

October 1st. This is obviously a big day for China.

And I can tell you, Dave, from the discussions that we have had with the young protesters who have been out on streets, they say this fight does not end here.

[04:45:02]

It doesn't end today. They say they are going to keep fighting. They say it's a fight for the future of Hong Kong, a fight that's grown increasingly violent, a fight that has continued to escalate and really no end in sight as far as I can see right now, Dave.

BRIGGS: Some trying circumstances. We apologize to follow up with you. But the fight specifically for what?

RIPLEY: The fight is for -- there's five things.

One is the extradition bill to be withdrawn, the bill that would allow criminals to be sent to China. That bill has been withdrawn, but they still have four other demands that haven't been met. They want an investigation into what they claim is police using excessive force. They want all of the arrested protesters, more than 1,500 of them so far, to be released and to be exonerated.

They want to be the protesters to be called to be reclassified because the government considers rioters right now. They say they're not rioting. They say they're out protesting.

And the number one, the most difficult demand that is unlikely to be met according to Hong Kong officials, according to the government in Beijing, is universal suffrage, the right to elect their leaders. That's something that Hong Kongers don't have. So, these young people will continue to fight for it until they get it, which is why I can tell you, it's hard to see a way out of this at this point.

BRIGGS: It is indeed.

Will Ripley live for us in the midst of some -- now turning somewhat violent protests. Teargas being shot there in Hong Kong, it's 4:46.

Thank you, Will.

ROMANS: The markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai -- they are closed because of the holiday, their celebrating of the 70th anniversary of Chinese rule. But clearly, this is another reminder that this huge financial hub, this financial capital is really going through some difficult times as it tries to maintain its independence in light of mainland China taking more control.

BRIGGS: And these pictures, folks, I mean, this is teargas. This is happening right now as we speak. It wasn't clear what action precipitated the firing of the teargas. It didn't look like violent protesters, but the teargas nonetheless coming.

And Will Ripley will stay on it for us. We'll check back with him in the 5:00 Eastern hour.

ROMANS: All right. To Ukraine now, the president of Ukraine says his country is willing to open an investigation into the so-far unproven claims against Joe Biden and his son. But Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine won't take orders to do so from anybody.

For the latest on the reaction to the whistleblower scandal in Ukraine, let's bring in CNN's Matthew Chance live in Kiev.

I can just imagine that leaders there are in a very tricky position. They want to be close to this administration because clearly, there's so much aid -- and military aid from the United States, but they don't want to look like puppets of the United States.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They don't want to alienate the current administration in the U.S. and they want to maintain good relations with any future administrations that come in. Of course, they've got one eye on the fact there's a 2020 election over there, and so they are being careful not to offend any Democratic sensibilities.

Ukraine has a war that it's fighting in the east of the country against pro-Russian rebels. It's fighting a diplomatic campaign as well to get back territory annexed by Russia in 2014. And it depends heavily on the United States, on cross party support, the military backing and financial backing and diplomatic backing to do that. So, it's absolutely mortified at the idea that it's been dragged into this divisive American political crisis. They are doing everything they cannot to make anything worse. Officials have been relatively tight- lipped, trying to sort of navigate the various conflicting demands of this administration and others in the political circle.

They are saying that they won't release the Ukrainian version of the transcript, of the July 25th phone call, the White House version of that transcript. They are saying they are not going to issue a Ukrainian one, so they can't be any comparison, any discrepancies between what was actually said in that phone call and what was released by the White House.

They are saying that they are prepared to consider opening an investigation into Burisma and to the various role that country -- that gas company played. Burisma is at the center of allegations that Joe Biden intervened to get prosecutors act to help business address of his son. But they're saying, look, they're not doing that because of pressure. They want to make sure Ukrainian law has been abided to.

ROMANS: And now we know, the developments overnight, we know that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, was on that call, listening in on that call. That's a new development, the call that is at the center of all of this. A new development we're following from this.

Matthew Chance, thank you so much.

BRIGGS: All right. Back here, defying the NCAA, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill allowing college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals. Under the Fair Pay to Play Act, athletes would be able to profit from their name and likeness. It's scheduled to go into effect in 2023.

Newsom says the Fair Pay law is an attempt to bring more fairness to big money college athletics and let players share in the wealth they create for their schools.

[04:50:09]

If it survives the expected court challenges, it could upend the world of collegiate sports.

And what follows, New York has a similar bill they are considering. South Carolina has a bill and just this morning, a Florida state rep has started a bill as well. California is a trend setter and it will spread.

ROMANS: So, as it stands now. The athletes are basically paid via scholarship, right? Free education.

BRIGGS: Well, yes.

ROMANS: But then the university is able to make all this money off of their names, their likenesses, ticket sales and the like, and they don't share in that.

BRIGGS: That's correct. And the NCAA will fight this. It's not just a court challenge. They -- indeed Ohio State said they won't be part of the NCAA if California passes this.

We'll be right back.

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[04:55:15]

BRIGGS: Four-fifty-five Eastern Time.

And Prince Harry wrapping up his solo trip to Malawi with a visit to a U.K. and U.S.-supported health center. Meantime, Meghan Markle will be at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa to discuss the challenges young women face in higher education.

CNN's Max Foster is live in Johannesburg with what to expect.

Max, good morning.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.

Yes. So, a lot of security concerns around this visit. So these engagements are preannounced and so the duchess arrives at events like this, you have people that are all lined across the bridge there earlier on, really taking aback by what they were seeing. She then went into the university and got involved in a roundtable discussion.

It was about women's empowerment. That won't surprise you. People were really taken aback by a lot of what she said. She talked about the fact that she went to university as well and how that was a real struggle getting together all the finance to go to university.

And she's here actually in her role running a commonwealth initiative. She took over as patron of that initiative from the queen, which is commonwealth university getting support for them. And she's particularly interested in empowering female students and professors. She announced a grant relating to that.

When they all came out, there's one student that said she was really struck by hearing someone who looks like her, talking about big issues that she can actually change. I think that's one of the reasons why the duchess is resonating here.

She's going on to another group now and is going to be a discussion about violence against women, women who had suffered violence. There's a huge lockdown, they don't want these women identified. She's going to make some comments there. I think that will be quite powerful.

And then later on, Prince Harry comes along and joins them all and will be united as a family for a series of events we'll bring you this time tomorrow, Dave.

BRIGGS: Meghan is a long way from home, but you can hear those screams. Very happy to see her there.

Max Foster live for us in Johannesburg, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Take a look at global markets. You can see kind of a mixed performance around the world. Markets in China and Hong Kong actually are closed for the holiday there.

On Wall Street, futures right now are leaning a little bit higher here. Stocks ended quietly. They closed higher in the last trading day of September. Still, all three major averages recorded their worst quarter of the year barely moving really.

Last month, investors largely shrugged off news of an impeachment inquiry and focused on the trade war with China and Federal Reserve policy. WeWork officially postponing its plan to go public after the CEO stepped down. The co-working space provider was originally expected to make a Wall Street debut in September. But in the weeks after it filed to go public, it just faced a barrage of scrutiny about its steep losses and CEO Adam Neumann's potential conflicts of interest. He stepped down last week.

In a statement, WeWork's new CEO said: We have every intention to operate WeWork as a public company and look forward to revisiting the public equity markets in the future.

Unclear when WeWork will go public.

A New York federal judge handled the Trump administration a win, dismissing a lawsuit against the president's SALT cap. The judge ruled the attorney generals of New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut were unable to prove Congress exceeded authority when it opposed the $10,000 limit on federal deductions for state and local taxes. The SALT deduction is part of the 2017 tax overhaul.

The architects of the tax law capped the SALT deduction to help pay for lower tax rates for individuals and companies. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the disagrees with the decision and is evaluating all options, including a possibility of an appeal. Something that felt keenly in, you know, Connecticut and Massachusetts and New York.

BRIGGS: Blue, blue, blue. Seemed political. A lot of people in this part of the country interested in that.

EARLY START continues right now.

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ROMANS: We're now learning Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was listening on the president's phone call with the president of Ukraine.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Rudy Giuliani gives his first response to a House subpoena in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

ROMANS: And 70 years of communist rule in China marked by a parade in Beijing and protest right now in Hong Kong.

BRIGGS: College athletes could get paid under a bill just signed in California. Will the NCAA play ball?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Now a law in California.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: LeBron James joins California's governor, signing a bill to let college athletes get paid. But will the NCAA play ball?

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, October 1st. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East, 5:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, noon in Kiev. We will visit all of those places in the next half an hour.

But let's begin with the latest on the whistleblower scandal. CNN has confirmed now that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on that July 25th call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The story was first reported by "The Wall Street Journal." The State Department has not responded to CNN's request for a comment

about this.

But here's what Pompeo told ABC News last week about the call.

[05:00:00]