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EARLY START

Two Giuliani Associates Arrested At Airport; Turkey Claims More Than 200 Terrorists Killed; Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) On His Health And Campaign. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 11, 2019 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:32:10]

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A Florida man who opened fire during a deadly confrontation over a handicap-accessible parking spot last summer was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Michael Drekja was convicted in August of manslaughter for shooting and killing Markeis McGlockton, who was unarmed, in front of his family. So far, Drekja has served 92 days in prison.

You may remember the Pinellas County sheriff initially declined to arrest Drekja, citing Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law. But a month later, the state attorney charged Drekja with manslaughter.

EARLY START continues right now.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Two associates of Rudy Giuliani arrested with one-way tickets at the airport. They're charged with campaign finance violations and they're linked to the Ukraine scandal.

BRIGGS: A former ambassador to Ukraine set to testify in the impeachment inquiry if she's allowed to go. Will the White House block her?

KOSIK: Turkey says it has killed hundreds in its operation in northern Syria. The Trump administration trying to broker a ceasefire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've spent my entire life trying to fight for justice and I'm not a quitter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Bernie Sanders speaking to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about his heart attack and his campaign moving forward.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy Friday, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. KOSIK: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

And a stunning and dramatic airport arrest that could have links to the Ukraine scandal currently engulfing the White House.

Two associates of Rudy Giuliani were arrested on charges they violated campaign finance laws, including donations they made to a pro-Trump super PAC. The men are both Soviet-born U.S. citizens.

They were detained at Washington's Dulles Airport on Wednesday after the feds learned they had one-way tickets out of the country.

BRIGGS: Giuliani told the "The Wall Street Journal" the men were traveling to Vienna where Giuliani was also headed.

Giuliani tells CNN that starting in November of last year, the two men helped him in Ukraine digging up dirt on Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

You can see the two men here with Giuliani in a Twitter video. Now, we don't know when or where the video was shot but we do know the three met for lunch Wednesday before the men headed to the airport.

President Trump denies he knows the men.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know those gentlemen. Now, it's possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody. I don't know them. I don't know about them, I don't know what they do.

But I don't know -- maybe they were clients of Rudy. You'd have to ask Rudy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: As it happens, yes, there is a photo of the president with at least one of the men -- you're looking at it. CNN's -- oh, you're almost looking at it. Oh, there it is.

[05:35:00]

CNN's Jessica Schneider has more of the shocking details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: These two men arrested, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, they could be key characters in this broader Ukraine impeachment inquiry. That's because of a few things.

First of all, Rudy Giuliani has said that they helped dig up dirt in Ukraine on the president's political rivals, including Joe Biden. Also, that the two men introduced Giuliani to former and current Ukrainian officials. And, this indictment alleges that these two men asked for the help of

a former U.S. congressman who we've since learned is a Texas Republican, Pete Sessions. They asked him to help with the firing of the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich. She, of course, eventually was fired in May, mostly at the behest of Rudy Giuliani.

Now, these two men were arrested late-night on Wednesday at Dulles Airport and we've learned that prosecutors really had to act fast here. That's because they did not intend to unseal their indictment on Thursday, but that these two men had one-way tickets, prosecutors had to act fast to unseal that indictment and to make the arrests.

Now, these two men, along with two others, are facing several charges, including conspiracy and false statements. And also, funneling foreign money into U.S. elections. They're accused of giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Trump-aligned PAC and the indictment says they did it largely at the behest of a Ukrainian official.

The two men are also accused of funneling in about $1 million from a Russian national that they then put toward other state candidates in Nevada here.

So, these men are ultimately facing charges in New York, but they will be held here in Virginia on $1 million bond in the meantime.

And they're also facing new congressional subpoenas. Congressional investigators really want to know more about their role in Ukraine and also their relationship with Rudy Giuliani.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Jessica, thanks.

As she mentioned there, two of those Giuliani associates were subpoenaed by House Democrats in connection with their impeachment inquiry, and they were not the only ones.

Manu Raju now on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Subpoena after subpoena now coming out to demand documents as Democrats try to move to wrap up this impeachment probe in the coming weeks, potentially to decide whether or not to impeach this president as soon as Thanksgiving.

Now, what -- the latest information, a subpoena for Rick Perry, the Energy secretary, over conversations that he had with President Zelensky of Ukraine and about with President Trump and Rudy Giuliani as part of Giuliani and Trump's efforts to investigate -- get the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens.

Now, Perry has said along he has not speak (sic) to Zelensky at all about the Bidens. He said it was all about energy and energy issues. But, Democrats have raised concerns about some of those conversations, saying this in a letter to Perry.

Saying, "These reports have also raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company to benefit individuals involved with Rudy Giuliani's push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in our 2020 election."

Now, this comes amid the subpoenas that have gone out to the White House -- the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Pentagon, the State Department, Giuliani, Giuliani associates, including those two Giuliani associates who were arrested yesterday.

Democrats hope to get information. If they don't or if the White House continues to deny their demands, expect that ultimately to be rolled into an article of impeachment against this president because what they say is that the president is obstructing Congress from doing its job.

So no matter what happens here, Democrats believe that they could perhaps get more evidence to go after the president but also potentially, more evidence on obstruction of Congress.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Manu Raju, thank you.

House Democrats issuing multiple subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry. What's the road forward if the White House blocks testimony? That's next.

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[05:43:10]

BRIGGS: Two associates of Rudy Giuliani arrested on charges they violated campaign finance laws, including donations they made to a pro-Trump super PAC. Giuliani tells CNN that starting in November of last year, the two men helped him in Ukraine digging up dirt on Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Let's discuss with Karoun Demirjian, a CNN political analyst and congressional reporter for "The Washington Post." Good morning, Karen (sic).

These two -- Karoun, excuse me --

KOSIK: Good morning.

BRIGGS: -- arrested --

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: That's OK, it's early.

BRIGGS: -- with one-way tickets to Vienna. This is starting to feel like a cross between "Scooby-Doo" and "Spies Like Us."

And then, this cover -- "The Three Stooges" --

KOSIK: That's a good line.

BRIGGS: -- from the -- from the "New York Daily News."

How significant is this in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the impeachment inquiry and the investigation regarding Ukraine?

DEMIRJIAN: I think it's fairly significant. Look, if these individuals are shown to be connected to people beyond Giuliana, then it's extremely significant.

We know that Giuliani was involved with various State Department officials and President Trump as well, giving advice on Ukraine -- seeming to push policy on Ukraine. And these policies he's pushing are at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

The question being whether they were part of the quid pro quo to withhold anything from military aid to diplomatic meetings with Ukrainians until they conducted these investigations into the 2016 election and about the energy company that employed Joe Biden's son for a while.

So this is a step that reads like out of a movie script in a way, but it also just indicates the speed at which this is moving. That there's scrutiny happening not just from Congress and not just from a partisan perspective, but from the -- from federal prosecutors who are serving under the president and who the president appointed.

[05:45:00]

And that's a significant step in showing the gravity of this because this is a charge of campaign violations that involve the former congressman that potentially could trickle up to members of the administration as well.

KOSIK: I was going to ask you about your article here in "The Washington Post."

BRIGGS: Yes.

KOSIK: You write about the White House political appointees overriding career staffers when it comes to the aid that was frozen to Ukraine.

Can you talk to me a little bit about when the aid was frozen in relation to the call that President Trump made to the Ukraine president --

DEMIRJIAN: Sure.

KOSIK: -- and who -- and who froze it?

DEMIRJIAN: Right. Well, that article focuses more on what was happening at the White House's Office of Management and Budget where we knew previously that an order had come from the president to freeze and hold up Ukraine's aid on July 18th.

So that's a week before the president and the Ukrainian president spoke in that phone call of which we've seen the transcript that's really formed the centerpiece of what spurred Democrats to move into this impeachment inquiry because they believe that what they've seen in that transcript is basically the implied quid pro quo given that President Trump asked the Ukrainian president for a favor when he brings up the question of aid.

What this article adds to that is it shows that the -- there was a political official in charge of these decisions -- that being Michael Duffy -- and that he was signing off on these apportionment letters which were, frankly, being submitted in a non-traditional format as well. And it goes to show that as -- you know, this is not standard practice.

There were concerns already from State Department, Defense Department officials -- definitely from Capitol Hill -- because they were very much in the dark about what was going on and just being told that there are these short-term holds on the Ukraine aid.

But now, it seems that the fact that this was being orchestrated or directed by a political appointee raises questions about --

BRIGGS: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: -- why it was being done --

KOSIK: Absolutely.

DEMIRJIAN -- especially since there seemed to have been objections registered ahead of time.

BRIGGS: And quickly, to Capitol Hill today. Marie Yovanovich, the former Ukraine envoy, expected to testify. Do you think the White House will stop her? And if she does testify, will she speak openly?

DEMIRJIAN: Well, this is the question, right? The White House has issued that letter earlier this week saying we will not cooperate. We are waiting to see if the State Department has overnight or will be issuing a direct order to her not to testify.

She's no longer the ambassador to the Ukraine but she is still a State Department employee. So in that situation, it's kind of the House's next move.

BRIGGS: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: Do they subpoena her? There were discussions of issuing a quote-unquote "friendly subpoena" which would enable her to have a better legal argument to come and give that deposition than without a summons.

And I think that the next few hours are going to be very indicative of how this is going to go.

BRIGGS: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: Whether it's going to be smooth or whether it's going to be a fight.

BRIGGS: Well --

KOSIK: She's supposed to show up at 10:00 a.m.

BRIGGS: Yes.

Karoun Demirjian, I would say have a great weekend but you won't.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes.

BRIGGS: You're going to be working on this stuff all weekend long.

DEMIRJIAN: Sure.

BRIGGS: Thanks for being here.

DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.

KOSIK: Have a good weekend, anyway.

BRIGGS: We'll be right back.

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[05:52:32]

BRIGGS: Turkish officials tweeting overnight that their military operation has killed more than 200 people whom they consider to be terrorists. Among them, Kurdish fighters that helped the U.S. defeat ISIS.

Nick Paton Walsh is live at the Turkish-Syrian border for us. Nick, what are you learning?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've heard in the last hour or so that Turkey has said two of their soldiers have now died, the first causalities they've announced of this operation so far -- three injured as well in a mortar strike.

But they say in a statement that occurred quite far inside Syria, a town called Tarafat, which is further away than I think many have thought might have been part of the Turkish goals here. But it's clear those goals are wide and continue to broaden in scope.

The U.S. official I spoke to said their assessment -- they thought they'd start over there in Tell Abyad where you saw us documenting some of the air strikes and artillery fire yesterday, all the way down to Ras al-Ain along the border. These are huge stretches and the foreign minister did suggest they might go as far in as about 18 miles -- 30 kilometers. We're hearing from NATO's secretary-general, who has been in Turkey today, that he's urging them to basically show restraint in this operation. And also, expressing concern, like many have, over the fate of the ISIS detainees and the Syrian Kurds being fought here are currently still holding.

But Turkey moving forward with very little, it seems, concern for the broad criticism that they're facing from many other NATO members. Turkey is in NATO. We haven't really seen the alliance split like this since Iraq 2003.

Donald Trump has, somewhat confusingly again, tweeted overnight that he could send the American military in to fix this. He could punish Turkey with economic sanctions. He threatened to obliterate them a few days ago.

Or he would prefer to see Turkey and Syria get to a mediated situation with the U.S. doing that mediation. Well, I'm afraid the trust level of the United States amongst Syrian Kurds who were the allies of the U.S. in the fight against ISIS doing a lot of the dying and the trust amongst Turkey with the U.S. pretty low at this stage.

But still, those inside Syrian-Kurdish-held areas -- tens of thousands on the move -- a devastating humanitarian catastrophe is what many are fearing.

Back to you.

BRIGGS: The firefighter-arsonist at work on Twitter overnight, suggesting he'd clean up a mess that he made.

Nick Paton Walsh live for us along the Turkish-Syrian border. Thank you.

Senator Bernie Sanders skipped last night's CNN town hall after suffering a heart attack. Instead, he sat down for a live interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

[05:55:06]

They started with politics -- the Vermont senator slamming President Trump with the arrest of two associates of Rudy Giuliani.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Nothing about Trump ever shocks me. He is, I think, the most corrupt president in the modern history of America.

I think the impeachment process is going to unveil so many things about this administration that the American people have to know. But the bottom line is this is so clearly a president unfit to be -- hold the highest office in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The Vermont senator also discussed his heart attack and he promised to release his medical records. And he talked about why he believes it is critical for him to ramp up his campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: From last Tuesday, nine days now -- was there any point when you said you know what, I think the best course of action may be to drop out?

SANDERS: No, because -- you know, I don't know how -- again, you know, when you hear the word heart attack you're thinking of somebody lying on the ground in terrible pain. It wasn't the case, OK?

The day I woke up after the procedure, nothing -- zero pain. No pain right now. I feel really good.

So, you know, my feeling was once I assessed the situation and learned what happened that given that my whole life's struggle -- I don't mean to be overly dramatic here but I have spent my entire life trying to fight for justice. And we've struggled really hard to get to where we are right now, bringing millions of people together in the fight for justice, and I'm not a quitter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: You can see more of Dr. Gupta's interview with Bernie Sanders later this morning on "NEW DAY."

Get ready for what could be the make or break moments in the race of 2020. The fourth Democratic presidential debate will be live from the state of Ohio. The CNN and "The New York Times" Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday night, 8:00 Eastern time.

KOSIK: Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

First, let's take a look at markets around the world. Asian markets closed higher. We're seeing green arrows in European markets.

And on Wall Street, futures look like they could have a positive open to start Friday morning.

Stocks closed higher on Thursday. We saw this rally on hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal. The Dow finishing 151 points higher. The S&P 550 and the Nasdaq ending the day in the green as well.

Investors still will be paying close attention to the second day of trade talks. President Trump says he will meet with the Chinese vice premier today.

Amazon debuted a new Web site explaining its views on a number of hot- button issues it has faced criticism for. The "Positions" page, as it's called, includes issues like minimum wage, climate change, and the rights of LGBTQ people.

Amazon was recently criticized by its own employees for its climate policies and practices. And several presidential candidates have claimed the company does not pay taxes. It's also faced repeated attacks from President Trump. Amazon says, "While our positions are carefully considered and deeply held, there is much room for healthy debate and differing opinions."

Nestle leaning into the plant-based craze with two new vegan alternatives. The company says it's going to begin selling vegan bacon and cheddar cheese to its restaurant and food service clients in the U.S. and Europe next year.

It already has a plant-based patty called the awesome burger. So, with the three new products, Nestle is trying to create a space for itself in the rapidly expanding plant-based market.

While restaurants like Dunkin' and McDonald's have begun selling items that feature plant-based meat alternatives, the difference here is those meals aren't fully vegan.

Also not fully vegan, bagels to wish Dave a happy birthday. Today is his birthday. I didn't know --

BRIGGS: Thank you.

KOSIK: -- so I grabbed the plate bagels. Here, happy birthday.

BRIGGS: I'll take a birthday bagel. I've never had a birthday bagel in 43 years.

KOSIK: Happy birthday.

BRIGGS: You got -- you got some cream cheese, a toaster?

KOSIK: Over there. You'll have to get that yourself.

BRIGGS: No sliced?

KOSIK: We have to go. Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: Looks good, though. I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. Have a great weekend.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, October 11th. It's 6:00 here in New York.

There's a ton to get to this morning but we begin with life- threatening breaking news -- wildfires -- deadly wildfires, potentially, in Southern California. There are winds there gusting over 60 miles per hour, fanning the flames and forcing mandatory evacuations in the Los Angeles area. Thousands of residents have been ordered to leave, many of whom were asleep as the fires started overnight.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This has spread so quickly. Dozens of homes have already burned. The scene looks devastating on your screen. Two major freeways are shut down at this hour. You can imagine what

that means for Los Angeles.

So let's get right to CNN's Nick Watt. He is live in Porter Ranch, California. What's the scene, Nick?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well -

END