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Unclear What State Department I.G. Wants to Brief On; House Democrats Slam Pompeo Over Depositions; Former Dallas Police Officer Found Guilty of Murder; Prince Harry, Meghan Sue U.K. Tabloid; Nationals Rally to Stun Brewers in NL Wild Card Game. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 2, 2019 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.


BRIGGS: The State Department's watchdog headed to Capitol Hill to give an urgent briefing on Ukraine-related documents. What information must he deliver?

ROMANS: House Democrats slamming the secretary of state. Mike Pompeo saying the Democrats are bullying State Department officials.

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 the British tabloid, alleging the tabloid lied about Meghan.

We have a live report from Istanbul and Johannesburg. We're all around the world as usual.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is Wednesday, October 2nd, 5:00 a.m. in the east.

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 general is connected to documents on Ukraine.

ROMANS: The I.G.'s 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 had time to prepare.

All of this related to the whistleblower complaint accusing the president of pressing Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, and his son. There is 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, thanks. House Democrats responding to Secretary Pompeo's accusation of

bullying with a warning of their own. The chairmen of three key committees writing to Pompeo that any effort to intimidate witnesses or to prevent them with talking with 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's 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 an obvious conflict of interest, because he is now a witness.

All this as Secretary Pompeo visits the Vatican and Rome where he may respond to questions later today on Ukraine affair.

CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Rome for us this morning.

Hi, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. Good morning, Dave.

This morning, Mike Pompeo having that tour of the Vatican where he is going to make speech. The whole point of this visit that had been planned for some time was to talk about the role of faith-based organizations and interfaith dialogue. Of course, by the time he gets here, the outskirts of Rome for the press conference with the Italian foreign minister, the questions that the journalists have to ask are clearly about what you just mentioned, Christine, how he responds to those accusations in that joint statement by the chairmen of the committees that his participation in that call of the 25th of July constituted a clear con flick of interest going ahead with this impeachment inquiry.


Also, the important question this morning, whether he intends to stand in the way of those depositions. We know that five former or current State Department officials have been called to make statements to the committees. Will he be getting in the way of those? We know two so far said that they will be giving those interviews.

Where does Mike Pompeo stand on that and on cooperation with the inquiry going forward? That's going to clearly overshadow what he's doing here in Rome today. A little while, questions for the foreign minister after he continues off leaving Italy, on to Montenegro, to Macedonia, and to Greece -- Christine and Dave.

ROMANS: All right. We'll be looking for that. We're glad you're there listening for us. Thank you very much.

We'll be hearing from the secretary of state, we'll hear from Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the house, at 10:45 Eastern Time. The president has a press conference at 2:00. So you've got a lot of developments. Certainly we'll be asking


BRIGGS: More about a coup that the president believes is happening.

Sentencing is under way for a Dallas cop convicted of murdering her neighbor Botham Jean and she could face life in prison.



ROMANS: New evidence the president's trade war has a lasting bite. America's manufacturing powerhouse is contracting, shrinking. A key economic number shows manufacturing activity fell again in September, dropping to 47.8, a level above 50 represents growth. Below is contraction. It's the weakest since June 2009. June 2009 was the last month of the recession.

The very sector President Trump sought to favor with his tariffs an his tough talk is shrinking because of the higher cost of those tariffs and the slowing global growth. The president, no surprise, attacked Jerome Powell, the Fed chief after the report, tweeting: Fed rate too high. They are their own worst enemies. They don't have a clue. Pathetic.

This is another warning sign for the broader U.S. economy and the president. The chief of the Deutsche Bank said this: There's no end in sight to this slowdown. The recession risk is real.

As recession worries resurface, investors wonder the Federal Reserve could cut rates again in its next meeting.

BRIGGS: 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.

More now from 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: All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for that.

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.

And CNN's Max Foster has been traveling with the couple. He joins us live from Johannesburg with more.

This is really remarkable from the heart statement from Harry, defending his family.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Just being here in front of the media, some people suggesting there was some tension. You would expect that after a remarkable statement. The core of it, (INAUDIBLE) telling me, a letter written by the duchess to her father, which was published in the "Mail on Sunday". They say that's against the law because she has copyrights but they're concerned because they say a large part of the letter was redacted. So, therefore, meaning of it was misconstrued by the "Mail on Sunday".

"The Mail on Sunday" denies that they're thinking it in that way. They also say they're going to stand up for this story.


So, this is, Christine, going to be a showdown in court. And it's not just about one publication because this statement as you point out was rambling. It was taken in the whole of the U.K. media, and it goes back to Harry's childhood, his experience of living under the pressure, the media pressure his mother lived with at the time and he blames him effectively for the death of his mother.

This is what he said in a statement referencing that: Though this action may not be the safe one, it's the right one because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they have no longer treated, or they longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife fall victim to the same powerful forces.

What he's effectively saying is this is bullying, it's not allowed, and he's going to stand up not just for his wife but all high-profiles and low-profile figures that fall victim to the U.K. tabloids, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Max Foster for us in Johannesburg, thank you so much for that, Max.

BRIGGS: We'll talk a little sports ahead. The Washington Nationals ending their postseason futility and they needed an improbable late- inning rally to do it. Andy Scholes has the story from D.C. in the "Bleacher Report".



BRIGGS: Postseason baseball, the Nationals moving on to face the Dodgers in the division series after a wild win over the Brewers.

Andy Scholes has the rare story that actually unites the nation's capital. That ain't easy to do in this era, in the "Bleacher Report".

Good morning, Andy.


They're all happy this morning, but it was almost not a good night in D.C. The Nationals six outs away from watching their season come to an end, but thanks to a Bill Buckner-type moment it was bottom of the eighth, 3-1, Brewers. The Nationals had the bases loaded with two outs.

That's when 20-year-old Juan Soto comes to the plate. He comes with a single to right. Trent Grisham trying to make a play lets the ball get by him. Grisham who's a rookie took over for Christian Yelich who's out for the year due to injury. A three-run score after the error.

The Nationals then win it in the ninth, 4-3, and the celebration was on. Just a devastating loss for Milwaukee, and it's certainly one Grisham won't be forgetting any time soon.


TRENT GRISHAM, MILWAUKEE BREWERS OUTFIELDER: It's going to sting for a long time, essentially gifting the Nationals a division berth. I mean, it's going to hurt. I expect it to hurt.

JUAN SOTO, WASHINGTON NATIONALS OUTFIELDER: For me, get a base hit. Get a base hit to try to tie the game.


SCHOLES: Yes, I wonder if they carded Soto before letting him in with the champagne. Again, he's only 20. You see someone carrying a lightsaber in the clubhouse. The Nationals move on to face the Dodgers.

Tonight, the American League wild-card game, the A's are going to host the Rays. First pitch just after 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Meanwhile, less than three miles away in D.C., the mystics looking to tack a 2-0 lead on the sun in the NBA finals. A player having to leave the game with back spasm. Delle Donne will have an MRI on her back.

All right. St. Louis Blues are going to get their champion rings tonight as they open the season. But before that, they made very special delivery to their biggest fan.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty cool, huh?

ANDERSON: I shouldn't be touching this.


SCHOLES: Yes, the team surprising 11-year-old Leila Anderson with her very own championship ring. Laila who's battling her immune disease was a huge inspiration to the team during their Stanley Cup run, and you can see she's overcome with emotion when she put that ring on. That's a pretty cool moment. Props to the Blues.

BRIGGS: Yes, that's just outstanding video. Good for Laila Anderson. She's been such a wonderful story. Deserving fans there in St. Louis as well.

Thank you, Andy. Hockey tonight, it should be fun.

What's coming up?

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Dave. Thanks, guys.

The government watchdog demands an urgent meeting on Capitol Hill. What's so important he has to tell Congress? That's next.



ROMANS: Just about half past the hour.

Two more vaping-related deaths are being confirmed in New Jersey and Virginia. That brings the death total to 16 nationwide, with the California, Oregon, and Kansas confirming two fatalities each. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced there are 805 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury associated with e- cigarette use, and 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A specific cause the nationwide outbreak remains unknown.

BRIGGS: Opioid drugmaker Johnson & Johnson agreed to a $24.4 million settlement with two Ohio counties. The deal includes no admission of liability and remove the company from a federal trial later this month to determine whether manufacturers of prescription opioids misrepresented the risk of long term opioid use. That landmark trial combines nearly 2,000 cases involving cities, counties, communities, and tribal land.

An Oklahoma judge ruled against Johnson & Johnson in a similar case this summer where they were ordered to pay $572 million for their part in the state's opioid crisis.

EARLY START continues right now.