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State Department Watchdog Asks to Brief Congress; House Democrats Slam Pompeo Over Depositions; Former Dallas Police Officer Found Guilty of Murder; Prince Harry, Meghan Sue U.K. Tabloid; Stocks Fall After Weak Manufacturing Report. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 2, 2019 - 04:30   ET


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But any move like this, Christine, is going to require real international action. And over the past year, we have seen outcry, outrage from the international community, but little action.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Jomana Karadsheh for us in Istanbul, thank you so much for that.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Straight ahead, a government watchdog demanding an urgent meeting on Capitol Hill. What must he tell Congress about Ukraine and State Department documents? That's next.


BRIGGS: The State Department's government watchdog headed to Capitol Hill later today for an urgent meeting.


The topic, Ukraine.

ROMANS: Secretary of State Pompeo accusing House Democrats of bullying State Department officials. House Dems say Pompeo could be trying to hide information.

BRIGGS: A former Dallas police officer facing life in prison after she was found guilty of murder for shooting her unarmed neighbor in his apartment.

ROMANS: Prince Harry and the duchess of Sussex suing a British tabloid, alleging the tabloid landslide about Meghan.

We have reports this morning from Istanbul and Johannesburg. We are all around the world today.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning to all of you. I'm Dave Briggs, 4:35 Eastern Time. We start in the nation's capital. Today, the State Department's

government watchdog heads to Capitol Hill after making an urgent and highly unusual request to brief several House and Senate committees. Sources tell CNN the secure meeting between senior committee staff and the State Department inspector general is connected to the documents on Ukraine.

ROMANS: This unusual I.G. request came just an hour after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused House Democrats of, quote, intimidating and bullying State Department officials by calling them in for depositions. Pompeo saying his officials would not have time to prepare.

All of this related to the whistleblower complaint, accusing the president of pressing Ukraine to investigate the president's potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, and Biden's son. There's no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.

CNN's Kylie Atwood has more on these stunning developments.



So, an urgent request coming from the State Department inspector general to speak with Congressional aides. They will be meeting with them today. And we don't know many specifics, however, of what they're going to discuss but the inspector general, according to an aide on the Hill, said that they were coming because they had received documents from the legal adviser at the State Department.

Now, we should note that the congressional aide also described this request to me as highly unusual, really not laying out many details of what the inspector general wanted to talk to Congress about.

But it came just an hour after Sec. Pompeo called out House Democrats for what he said was bullying State Department officials. He said that they weren't following procedure that would be traditional for those who are -- they had asked to come forth to Congress and talk to them about Ukraine.

But the key question here is what does the State Department inspector general have that's new and how, if at all, does it impact this impeachment inquiry that is ongoing in Congress?


BRIGGS: Kylie Atwood reporting. Thank you.

House Democrats responding to Pompeo's accusation of bullying a warning of own. The chairmen of three key committees writing to Pompeo that any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking to Congress is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. In response, Congress may infer that any withheld documents and testimony would reveal information that corroborates the whistleblower complaint.

ROMANS: The lawmakers accuse Pompeo of trying to protect the president and himself, because he was listening in on the phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine. They say Pompeo appears to have, quote, an obvious conflict of interest, because he is now a witness.

We have more from CNN's Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill.



Despite the back-and-forth between the secretary of state and House Democrats on Tuesday, Congress will likely still hear from some of these key players in the whistleblower's complaint. The president's former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, he is still scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill on Thursday, aides tell CNN, and that's set to happen behind closed doors.

Volker is no longer a State Department employee after he abruptly resigned his position last week after being named in the whistleblower's report. The whistleblower alleging that Volker had an involvement in the conversations with the Ukrainian president about navigating the demands that the president had made of him, and he was one of five people that these committees up here on the hill had wanted to speak to over the course of this two-week recess.

Now, meantime, the testimony of a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine which had been scheduled for today, that likely pushed into next week, likely set to happen next Friday, both potentially significant voices in the Democrats' impeachment probe -- Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: OK. Sunlen, thank you.

Ukraine's parliament is back in session for the first time since the whistleblower's report was made public. The country's former prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, is facing a criminal investigation for alleged abuse of power. You might recall, Lutsenko met with Rudy Giuliani to discuss investigating Joe Biden and his son.

Matthew Chance tracking the latest live from Kiev this morning.

Matthew, good morning.



That's right. And those allegations, of course, stringently denied by the Bidens that there was any wrongdoing were made relating to a period in 2016 when Vice President Biden, as he was then, had a meeting with the then president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.

Well, earlier, I got a chance to have an encounter in that parliamentary session with Mr. Poroshenko. I asked him whether he had fired his prosecutor, because of his investigations into the gas company, Burisma, and Hunter Biden's business address, he categorically denied that. He also denied ever having a conversation with Vice President Biden, who he met on numerous occasions, about anything to do with American companies and Hunter Biden or any individuals related to corruption.

I also asked him whether he was behind the sending of Yuriy Lutsenko, another prosecutor general, to meet with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, offering him those incredible stories about election interference, about Bidens conduct in this country.

And he said, look, I have absolutely no idea of this. And I certainly did not send him to meet Trump's personal lawyer -- Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. Matthew Chance live for us in Ukraine this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump recently suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down once they crossed the Mexican border. This is from "The New York Times."

"The New York Times" reporting that the president floated the idea during a meeting in March and also called for the entire border to be closed. "The Times" quotes excerpts from the new book "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration." It says, quote: Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate on this. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top, that could pierce human flesh.

After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That's not allowed either, they told him.

BRIGGS: Nothing normal here. According to the reporting, multiple advisers including ex-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, eventually persuaded the president to extend his deadline for the border shutdown until the following Friday. By the middle of the week, president Trump appeared to have abandoned the idea and instead suggested imposing tariffs on Mexico.

President Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $125 million during the July-to-September fund-raising quarter. And the Trump campaign plans to spend large chunks of that cash to mount a defense of the president, running Facebook and television ads, focusing on impeachment.

Some of the Democrats hoping to unseat the president next year also raising big bucks. Senator Bernie Sanders topping the list with just over $25 million raised, Mayor Pete Buttigieg hauling in $19.1 million. Senator Kamala Harris, $11.6 million, and Senator Cory Booker, $6 million. Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Biden have not yet disclosed their totals.

ROMANS: All right, 43 minutes past the hour. And leaked audio published by 'The Verge", Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg says what he thinks an Elizabeth Warren presidency would mean for the company.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: Like Elizabeth Warren who thinks the right answer to break up the company is, if she was elected president, I would bet that we would have a legal challenge and I would bet that we would win the legal challenge. Does that still suck for us? Yes. I mean, I don't want to have a major lawsuit against our own government.


ROMANS: According to "The Verge", the audio comes from two open meetings Zuckerberg held with employees in July, the same month it agreed to pay an unprecedented $5 billion penalty over privacy breaches.

Warren, who has been a strong critic of big tech responded tweeting, what would really suck is if we don't fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anti-competitive practices. Silicon Valley has faced growing criticism into whether it's harming competition and harming consumers. Earlier this year, Warren released a plan to break up tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. Facebook now faces a number of anti-trust probes, including one from the FTC.

BRIGGS: Very interesting stuff.

Sentencing hearings underway for a former Dallas police officer convicted of murdering her neighbor, Botham Jean, and she could face life in prison.




JUDGE: We, the jury, unanimously find the defendant, Amber Guyger, guilty of murder as charged in the indictment.


ROMANS: It took a Texas jury less than 24 hours to convict former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger in the fatal shooting of her unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean. It happened inside his apartment, which Guyger mistook for hers.

The victim's family celebrating the guilty verdict. The trial sentencing phase began immediately afterward and will resume this morning. Amber Guyger could face life in prison.

We get more from CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, it was a shocking verdict. This Dallas jury convicting Amber Guyger of the most serious crime she faced, murder. She now faces anywhere between five years and life in prison.

The sentencing phase of her trial started shortly after the conviction and the verdict was read here in the Dallas County courthouse.


The first person that testified in the sentencing phase was Botham Jean's mother, who talked about how much she misses her son, what a hole in her life this tragedy has left. And they also detailed what a beacon of light the young man was in his community, the charity work that he had done, the different groups and philanthropic efforts he was involved with.

Prosecutors also showed some offensive text messages and social media posts that were rather scathing and Amber Guyger, if she decides to testify on her own behalf in this sentencing phase, will have to answer to and will be seriously questioned about. So anticipate that as here on Wednesday morning as the sentencing phase continues. We expect to hear from defense attorneys who are trying to minimize the amount of time Amber Guyger will spend in prison -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for that.

All right. UPS one step closer to making drone deliveries nationwide. Pretty cool, right?


ROMANS: A drone superhighway to bring you medicine? CNN Business has the details, next.



BRIGGS: Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, are suing a British tabloid over a private letter they claim was published illegally and edited selectively to hide lies the paper told about the duchess of Sussex. In a statement, Harris says: Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences -- a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year throughout her pregnancy while raising our newborn son.

It comes as the couple wraps up a ten-day trip to Africa.

Max Foster has been along the way and joins us live from Johannesburg with more.

Max, good morning.


As we're speaking to a royal source, what they're talking about here is letters written from Meghan to her father, which were published in "The Mail" on Sunday. The palace says those letters were edited and they misrepresented what she was trying to say. Mail on Sunday, the parent company, saying they stick by the story and that they didn't edit it in that way, it was a clear reflection of what she was saying.

So, this is going to turn into a showdown in the courts, be a very being story in the U.K., probably around the world, as well. But it's not just about one publication, it's about a wider battle with the U.K. tabloid media, propaganda, as harry calls it, and a campaign effectively against his wife. It all goes back to his childhood, as well. The suffering he felt when his mother was pursued in a similar way. Take this quote from the statement, a long statement, a lot of reports say that it was rambling, but certainly from the heart.

Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one because my deepest fear is history repeats itself. I see what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.

And I'll point out, Dave, this was wasn't a statement for us, the media, it wasn't press statement, it was directed at the public, bypassing the media. This is a very big battle for Harry. It's about making things better and it's to stand up to bullying in his terms.

BRIGGS: Tough battle with the tabloid press there. Max Foster live for us in Johannesburg, thank you.

The Bronx Zoo now responding after shocking Instagram video surfaces of an unidentified woman inside a lion enclosure. She climbed over a safety barrier Saturday at the African lion exhibit. The Bronx Zoo called it a serious violation, then stated the obvious, that it could have resulted in serious injury or death. It is not known how long the woman was in there, whether she was removed by zoo staff or if she was left on her own.

ROMANS: Some of the reporting is that it gave a mighty roar and she then hightailed it back to get over the security fence, but clearly, that should not happen.

All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. First, let's take a look at markets around the world. You can see everything is leaning lower here. European shares have all opened down, at least 1 percent. On Wall Street, also, the mood a little bit grim here, about a half a percent point before the Dow futures right now. This is why, a key economic report shows that trade wars were hurting

American factories. Manufacturing activity had the worst month in a decade. Investors did not like that news.

The Dow ended the day down 1.3 percent. That's its worst day since August 23rd, the worst day in a month. The S&P 500 closed down 1.2 percent. The Nasdaq, 1.3 percent lower.

Some grim news also for the auto industry. Toyota and Hyundai reported a sharp drop in sales for September. Now, two fewer selling days and an early Labor Day holiday slowed down auto sales with some calendar tricks here. Toyota sales dropped 16.5 percent to just under 170,000 vehicles. Hyundai sales fell 9 percent to about 51,000 cars last month.

Declining demand from minivans also hurt dealers. Automakers are focusing on selling larger SUVs and trucks that are more profitable, while higher car prices kept shoppers away, analysts expect lower interest rates will boost car sales for the rest of the year.

OK, UPS one step closer to making drone deliveries nationwide. The FAA has granted a sector to UPS to operate limited drone delivery services across the country. Now, they've been testing this. This is active, actually.

Over the past six months, UPS has made 1,100 medical sample deliveries at a North Carolina hospital under a government pilot program. It plans to expand to more than 20 hospitals over next two years. It will be a while before a UPS drone is dropping packages off at your doorstep. The FAA is still developing rules for drone delivery, including a way for authorities to remotely identify drones.

What they've been doing is they've been -- some of these medical campuses are sprawling. You can take ten minutes for a truck, a UPS truck to get developing drone delivery including a way developing drone delivery including a way to remotely identify them. Some of these medical campuses are sprawling. It could take ten minutes for a truck, a UPS truck to get from one side to the other, but a drone can hop over with important medical supplies or test results in just moments.

BRIGGS: The FAA has its hands full.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a good rest of your day.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.