Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Very First Witness in Impeachment Inquiry Faces Congress; Stunning Moment in Amber Guyger Sentencing Trial. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 3, 2019 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:31:15]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Just hours from now, the very first witness in the impeachment inquiry faces Congress. What will the former special envoy to Ukraine have to say?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the president of Finland, ask him a question.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: I have one for him. I just wanted to follow up on the one that I asked you, which is --

TRUMP: Did you hear me?

MASON: What did you want --

TRUMP: Did you hear me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The president fed up with the impeachment probe, lashing out at Democrats, angrily refusing to answer questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRANDT JEAN, BROTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: I don't know if it is possible, but can I give her a hug, please? Please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And a moment like you have never seen in court. A convicted murderer and her victim's brother in an emotional embrace.

The power of forgiveness. I'm amazed. I don't know if I could do it.

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

BRIGGS: Couldn't do it. It's extraordinary. I'm Dave Briggs. 4:32 Eastern Time.

We start in the nation's capital. The Democrats' impeachment inquiry begins in earnest this morning. Three House committees will take their first testimony from the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine. Kurt Volker resigned one day after he was named in the whistleblower complaint. That report alleges a coverup by the White House of a call in which President Trump pressures the president of Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory about Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

ROMANS: Volker also set up a meeting between Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and an adviser to the Ukrainian president, part of an effort to move the Biden matter away from official channels. Now the Justice Department is telling the White House to preserve records of all the president's calls with foreign leaders. Democrats have warned they could be coming for those documents.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave and Christine. Potentially a huge moment up here on Capitol Hill. The president's former special envoy to the Ukraine, Kurt Volker, he is set to appear behind closed doors later today. Now, Volker was named in the whistleblower complaint, the whistleblower alleging that Volker had an involvement in the conversations with the Ukrainian president about the, quote, "navigating the demands" that the president has made of him.

This comes as several key House committees are readying potential subpoenas of the White House as early as Friday for key documents related to the president's phone call with Ukraine. And also the holding up of Ukrainian aid.

Now the House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings says the White House's flagrant disregard of multiple voluntary request for documents he says has left them no choice but to issue the subpoena and this really keeps in line with the similar rhetoric that we've heard from House Intel Committee chairman Adam Schiff. He said up here on the Hill on Wednesday, he warned against the blocking of witnesses, the blocking of documents coming from the White House, the stonewalling he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're not fooling around here, though. We don't want this to drag on months and months and months which appears to be the administration's strategy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: He is warning that this essentially just plays into the Democrats' hands potentially if they draw up Articles of Impeachment. He says it will be considered obstruction of Congress' duties -- Dave and Christine.

BRIGGS: All right. Sunlen, thank you.

Ahead of Kurt Volker's deposition, the State Department's inspector general provided Congress with an urgent closed-door briefing Wednesday. He turned over documents including some Rudy Giuliani gave the department earlier this year. According to source, Giuliani gave the documents to the White House and they were passed on to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The materials contain unproven claims about Joe and Hunter Biden.

[04:35:02]

Three top House Democratic chairmen say the documents include a package of disinformation and debunked conspiracy theories.

ROMANS: The "Washington Post" reports President Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Pence in his plan to exert pressure on the new president of Ukraine. It was Mr. Trump who ordered Pence not to attend the inauguration of President Zelensky. And months later Trump used the vice president to inform the Ukrainian leader that hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid was still being withheld.

BRIGGS: The "Post" also reports one of Pence's top advisers was on the July 25th call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky. Officials close to the vice president insist he was unaware of President Trump's efforts to pressure Zelensky. Recent conversations with the president close to the matter reveal a deep level of anxiety in Pence's office. His advisers are frustrated with how the White House has handled the fallout from the Ukraine revelations.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump's fury over the impeachment probe reaches a boiling point. Our Kaitlan Collins reports the president has been lashing out privately for days. Now the snarling is very public. First in this tweet complaining Democrats are, quote, "wasting everyone's time and energy on this BS." He also spent the day again targeting House Intel chairman Adam Schiff both before and after it emerged the whistleblower contacted Schiff's panel for guidance. Schiff denies seeing the complaint in advance.

BRIGGS: Later the president let loose on a reporter as the president of Finland looked on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MASON: The question, sir, was what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice President Biden and his son Hunter?

TRUMP: Are you talking to me?

MASON: Yes, it was just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir.

TRUMP: Listen. Listen. Are you ready? We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question.

MASON: I have one for him. I just wanted to follow up on the one that I asked you, which was --

TRUMP: Did you hear me?

MASON: What did you want --

TRUMP: Did you hear me? MASON: Yes, sir.

TRUMP: Ask him a question.

MASON: I will. But --

TRUMP: I've given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question. Don't be rude.

MASON: No, sir, I don't want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you.

TRUMP: I've answered everything. It is a whole hoax, and you know who's playing into the hoax? People like you and the fake news media that we have in this country. And I say in many cases the corrupt media because you're corrupt. Much of the media in this country is not just fake, it's corrupt. And you have some very fine people, too. Great journalists, great reporters. But to a large extent, it is corrupt and it is fake. Ask the president of Finland a question, please.

MASON: OK. I'll move on now. Mr. President, the WTO ruled today in favor of the United States saying that the United States can now impose tariffs on European goods because of illegal subsidies against Airbus.

TRUMP: That was a big win for the United States, right?

MASON: It was a --

TRUMP: You never had wins with other presidents, did you? But we're having a lot of wins at the WTO --

MASON: This was a case that started I think 10 or 15 years ago, but --

TRUMP: Excuse me. The wins are now because they think I don't like the WTO and they want to make sure I'm happy because all of those countries were ripping off the United States for many years. They know that I'm wise to it. We've had a lot of wins. This was a $7 billion win. Not bad.

SAULI NIINISTO, PRESIDENT OF FINLAND: But I -- the question is for me.

MASON: So the question --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: So the president never answered that question from Jeff Mason of Reuters if you are keeping track. Meanwhile in an interview with ABC News, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she thinks the president is trying to divert attention because, quote, "he knows the argument that can be made against him and he is scared."

ROMANS: Former vice president Joe Biden firing back at President Trump in his strongest remarks yet on the Ukraine controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now let me make something clear to Mr. Trump and his hatchet men, and the special interest funding of his attacks against me. I'm not going anywhere.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: You are not going to destroy me and you are not going to destroy my family. I don't care how much money you spend, Mr. President, or how dirty the attacks get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Biden says there is no truth in the charges against him. He calls President Trump exhibit A of a president who abuses power.

I have to say that press briefing with the Finnish president was remarkable. And we're used to remarkable performances over the past two or three years. This one takes it to a new level, I think.

BRIGGS: Yes, particularly odd when he wanted to move the spotlight off of him on to the Finnish president and then couldn't allow the Finnish president to answer said question directed at him by Jeff Mason.

ROMANS: I think it was clear he wanted to move the spotlight off of him only when the question was, what did you want the Ukrainian president to do about Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He did not want to talk about that.

BRIGGS: And we didn't even get in to the fact that the president said he is a very stable genius yet again.

Ahead next, a CNN exclusive.

[04:40:01]

The FBI running ads on Facebook. Who the agency is targeting and why?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: A new front in America's trade war. First China, now the European Union. The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the U.S. in a long running dispute over Airbus subsidies. And the U.S. now on the winning side of that dispute plans to quickly impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of goods including aircraft from France, Germany, Spain or the U.K., whiskeys, a variety of cheeses, coffee and olive oil.

[04:45:12]

Aircraft will be subject to a 10 percent tariff. Other goods will have a 25 percent tariff. After the decision Airbus warned the tariffs could create serious damage to the aerospace industry and the global economy. On Tuesday, the WTO slashed its global trade growth forecast to just 1.2 percent this year down from 3 percent last year. That's the slowest growth in global trade since 2009 when the U.S. economy was in a recession. The WTO will rule on Boeing subsidies early next year. It's likely that the E.U. will retaliate with tariffs of its own.

BRIGGS: CNN has learned exclusively the FBI is running ads on Facebook that appear to target Russian spies in Washington, D.C. recruiting them to switch sides. One of the ads shows a stock photo of a young woman with her family at graduation with Russian text saying, "For your future, for the future of your family." Other ads include Russian texts translating, "Isn't it time for you to make your move?" and "Time to draw bridges."

The ad linked to a page on the FBI Washington field office Web site with details on the counterintelligence team and an invitation to, quote, "come visit us in person."

ROMANS: Apple is taking a public stand on Dreamers. The company and its CEO Tim Cook say undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children have made an outsized contribution at Apple. The tech giant employs 443 Dreamers from 25 countries in 36 states. In a court filing Apple says, "We collectively owe it to the Dreamers to hold up our end of the bargain. It's not just a legal requirement, it is a moral thing to do. Who are we as a country if we renege?" The Obama administration approved the DACA program in 2012. President Trump rescind it in 2017. The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on that move soon.

BRIGGS: All right. Coming up, a big change for E-Trade. It's good news for mom and pop investors. CNN Business, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:51:34]

ROMANS: Protesters taking to the streets in Dallas after former police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years for murdering her unarmed black neighbor. The scene inside the courtroom was extraordinary with a stunning moment of forgiveness from the brother of the victim.

We get more from CNN's Ed Lavandera.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, the drama that unfolded at the end of the Amber Guyger murder trial is unlike anything that we've ever seen. A range of emotions that went from anger to sadness to forgiveness.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDGE TAMMY KEMP, 204TH DISTRICT COURT, DALLAS, TEXAS: We, the jury, find unanimously that the defendant did not cause the death of Botham Jean while under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from inadequate cause and assess the defendant's punishment at 10 years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. LAVANDERA (voice-over): The words left Botham Jean's family appearing

dismayed and shocked. Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years in prison. She'll be eligible for parole in five years at just the age of 36.

PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

LAVANDERA: Outside the courtroom, the sentenced angered protesters, sparking chants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police departments around the country -- this is not a joke. This is our lives.

LAVANDERA: But at the same time inside the courtroom, a dramatic scene was unfolding.

JEAN: I forgive you.

LAVANDERA: Botham Jean's 18-year-old brother Brandt spoke directly to the former Dallas police officer who killed his brother. He told Guyger that he didn't want to see her rot in prison and that he had one request before she was taken to her jail cell.

JEAN: I love you as a person and I don't wish anything bad on you. I don't know if this is possible but can I give her a hug, please? Please?

KEMP: Yes.

LAVANDERA: Guyger's attorney called it humbling and the most amazing moment he had ever seen in a courtroom. The emotion lingered long after the case ended. Judge Tammy Kemp hugged Botham Jean's family and in a rare move, also hugged Amber Guyger, the convicted murderer, and gave her a bible.

KEMP: You can have mine. I have three or four more at home. This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month.

LAVANDERA: Allison Jean, Botham's mother, shared her hope for how Amber Guyger spends her years in prison.

ALLISON JEAN, BOTHAM'S MOTHER: That 10 years in prison is 10 years for her reflection and for her to change her life. If Amber Guyger was trained not to shoot in the heart --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, right.

A. JEAN: -- my son would be standing here today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was no threat.

A. JEAN: He was no threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a shame.

A. JEAN: To her. He had no reason to pose a threat to her because he was in his own apartment, in his sanctuary.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[04:55:06]

LAVANDERA: Botham Jean's mother says her family will never be the same but they must go on living. The hope is the composure and grace shown by her son Brandt in the courtroom today will be the first steps in that long journey -- Dave and Christine.

BRIGGS: Terrific reporting there, Ed Lavandera.

At least people are dead after a World War II era B-17 bomber crashed while trying to land in Connecticut.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was way too low. He was way too low. When I ran over to the field and actually a guy had turned around in his car and he was like oh, my god, I thought it was going to land on me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Six others on that plane and at least one person on the ground were injured.

CNN's Athena Jones with more.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused this fiery crash that killed seven. This was quite an old plane. A vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. These were the bombers that helped Allied Forces win World War II.

The plane was trying to land when it crashed at the end of the runway at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks just north of Hartford. We know one person on the ground was injured. There were 13 people on board altogether, 10 passengers and three crew members.

We know that shortly after takeoff, one of the pilots had asked air traffic control to return to the airfield. Listen to the conversations the pilots had with air traffic control.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boeing 93012, we'd like to return to the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number 93012, say that again? What is the reason for coming back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number four engine, we'd like to return.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to make sure because we have jet traffic coming in. Can you go or do you need to be on the ground right now?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: The B-17 soon crashed running into a deicing facility there on the ground off to the side of the runway. The plane belonged to a Collings Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation dedicated to the preservation and public display of automobile and aviation history. A Wings of Freedom Tour featuring the B-17 and other aircraft was scheduled to take place through Thursday, according to the foundation.

The foundation said in a statement to CNN, "The Collings Foundation flight team is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress and will comment further when details become known" -- Christine, Dave.

BRIGGS: Athena Jones, thank you.

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib courting new controversy with her comments to Detroit's police chief. Tlaib told him he should hire only blacks as facial recognition analysts because she says people who aren't black think all blacks look the same. She made the remarks during a tour of Detroit's Real-Time Crime Center. Police chief James Craig had invited her after Tlaib tweeted her that facial recognition technology was, quote, "BS." Craig rejected Tlaib's suggestion saying he trusts people who are trained regardless of race or gender.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Looking at markets around the world, you can see European shares have opened mixed here, although German stocks down almost 3 percent. That's a big move for one day. Asian stocks led fears about trade and the global economy grow. Chinese markets are closed for the holiday week.

On Wall Street, we've got futures, it looks like they're going to try to bounce after what's been a rough couple of days for investors. The Dow fell about 500 points yesterday. It's down 3.1 percent in the first two days of the fourth quarter. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also closed lower.

Good news for mom and pop regular investors. E-Trade is eliminating commissions for its clients. The online broker had been charging $695 as a standard commission but now it will be zero. It follows rivals Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade who both ended commissions Tuesday. The industry faces competition from startups like Robinhood with no or low commissions via popular apps. Zero commissions at E-Trade take effect October 7th.

All right, Fortnite, one of the hottest games in the world. Its popularity is paying off. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has landed on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans for the very first time. Sweeney came in at the 150th spot with an estimated net worth $4.5 billion.

Also on the list for the first time, MacKenzie Bezos. She came in at the number 15th spot with an estimated net worth of $36 billion. She became an instant billionaire after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

BRIGGS: Fortnite is a free game, right?

ROMANS: It is a free game, but in his pocket, Mr. Sweeney has some of my hard-earned money because --

BRIGGS: Oh, yes, an awful lot of both of ours. Wow. The staying power of --

ROMANS: You're welcome, Sweeney. You're welcome.

BRIGGS: Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.

ROMANS: Just hours from now, the first witness in the impeachment inquiry faces Congress. What will the former special envoy to Ukraine have to say?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question.

MASON: I have one for him. I just wanted to follow up on the one that I asked you, which is --

TRUMP: Did you hear me? Did you hear me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The president unleashing --

[05:00:00]