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EARLY START

CNN/NYT Democratic Debate Tonight; Former Trump Adviser Called Giuliani a "Hand Grenade"; Trump Levies Sanctions on Turkey; LeBron: NBA GM's Hong Kong Tweet Was "Misinformed"; Stocks Dip As Trade Optimism Fades. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 15, 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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[04:31:54]

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Twelve candidates, one battleground stage. Can anyone break out in the largest presidential primary debate in history, tonight on CNN?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade and a White House operation resembles a drug deal. Damning details from closed-door testimony on impeachment.

BRIGGS: New sanctions on Turkey and new trouble for U.S. allies in Syria. The U.S. scrambling to remove troops from a worsening situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: When you're misinformed or you're not educated about something -- and I'm just talking about, you know, the tweet itself -- you know, you never know the ramifications that can happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And LeBron James finally addresses the controversy that followed the NBA to China, but now he's the one facing big pushback.

Dave, what did he say, exactly?

BRIGGS: He said a lot of nothing. He had a week to talk to his advisers and the commissioner and owners and general managers and blew it.

ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Just being honest. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: We start with breaking news overnight. Stunning, new details from closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

President Trump's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, raising serious concerns about Rudy Giuliani's role in U.S. policy toward Ukraine. Multiple sources say Hill told lawmakers she tried to report wrongdoing, including to the attorney for the National Security Council.

One source tells CNN, Hill testified former national security adviser John Bolton referred to Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, as a, quote, hand grenade who was going to blow everybody up.

ROMANS: Hill also told lawmakers Bolton characterized a rogue operation by U.S. ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as being like a, quote, drug deal.

Another source says Hill drew a link between Sondland and President Trump that went beyond the text messages we already know about, whereas Sondland said there was no quid pro quo on Ukraine.

After 10 hours of testimony, Democrats came out backing Fiona Hill, Republicans complained about the process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Rudy Giuliani has clearly been a leading force for the administration in defining a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine.

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY): You have these witnesses, with their attorney, trying to scratch their head and figure out what they could say and what they can't say. There's a reason why White House counsel should be present.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Hill told lawmakers the public squabbling that sowed confusion on U.S. policy was a corruption the Russians could exploit.

This was just the start of a very full week of testimony in the inquiry. Today, the impeachment committees hear from a senior State Department official. Tomorrow, a departed top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And on Thursday, they'll have a chance to question ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland.

ROMANS: And even dozen Democrats face high stakes on the biggest primary debate stage ever. The CNN presidential debate is just hours away.

Political reporter Arlette Saenz with a preview from Westerville, Ohio.

[04:35:03]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Dave and Christine, it is debate day here in Westerville, Ohio where later tonight 12 of the Democratic presidential candidates will be taking the stage to face off in CNN's Democratic primary debate. Front and center on stage will be Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

Biden, in recent days, has ramped up his pressure on President Trump and also defending his son, Hunter, who has faced attacks from the president for weeks over his business dealings in Ukraine and China.

Over the weekend, Biden vowing that his son or other members of his families will not be working for foreign corporations or sit on boards of foreign companies if he becomes president.

Now, Elizabeth Warren is also going to be in the spotlight. She has been rising in the polls. So one thing to watch tonight is will more candidates, particularly the moderates on that stage -- will they go after Elizabeth Warren, trying to draw contrasts with her?

One other part to watch is what are those candidates on the outer edges of that stage going to do tonight? Are they looking for those big make or break moments, especially as we're getting closer to that next debate in November where the field will be whittled down and fewer candidates will be making the stage?

Also tonight, Bernie Sanders is making his return to the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack nearly two weeks ago.

This is all going to play out in a few hours here in Westerville, Ohio for the next Democratic primary debate -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Arlette, thank you for that.

The fourth Democratic presidential debate presented by CNN and "The New York Times," live tonight, 8:00 Eastern Time, only on CNN.

BRIGGS: President Trump has signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Turkey. Vice President Mike Pence saying Mr. Trump spoke to Turkey's president about his country's attack on the Kurds, a U.S. ally in Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion, to implement an immediate ceasefire, and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Pence says the president has directed him to travel to Turkey to help start negotiations.

Trump has faced intense criticism, even from leading Republicans, for his decision to pull U.S. forces from northern Syria. The situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the latest, live from Erbil, Iraq.

Nick, good morning to you.

So, this is just a long pattern of making a mess and then attempting to later clean it up.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Except that even the threat made against Turkey, if they didn't play ball with the White House's sort of vacillating policies, haven't come through in these new sanctions. They are not toothless, but they're not the economic obliteration which Donald Trump threatened. It's tariffs on steel. OK, fine.

A trade deal that was worth $100 billion. That's not going to happen for now. And it's the minister of defense and energy and their ministries targeted by sanction. That could hurt them but it isn't going to damage the Turkish economy in such a way that President Erdogan has to rethink his policy for domestic regions.

So, it's unclear really whether the assurances Turkey has been giving the United States that it won't attack Kobane, that that will hold. We haven't heard that directly from President Erdogan. And the assurances between those two sides, that seemed to be happening in the sort of background, in silence, haven't really being. This Turkish move is much deeper and more aggressive than anybody possibly thought.

And remember, too, it seems to have caused Turkish (INAUDIBLE) to land near U.S. troops near that town of Kobani itself. So, the days are utterly key for U.S. troops still in there. They have been put in a massive scramble now to get out because the announcement of their withdrawal happened before they have actually done it, startling reversal of how this normally works. Normally, you get out and then say you've left. So, that one key issue for them.

Donald Trump also suggested yesterday that, in fact, that the Syrian Kurds had been letting prisoners out to try and drag the United States back into the conflict, an extraordinary accusation to level at the allied you just betrayed, to then accused them of trying to keep you there. But that aside, factually, that appears to not be true. We're hearing from a U.S. official that maybe the SDF have relocated prisoners from border areas back into their territory to keep them away from trouble and to manage. But it doesn't appear that the mass escapes that Turkey has accused the Syrian Kurds of permitting have necessarily occurred and the scale Turkey is suggesting.

Except a lot of confusion over that but it is the key to developments here because if ISIS is able to reestablish a foothold, then the U.S. would probably drag back in at some point down the future.

For now, though, it's the Syrian regime capitalizing on the Syrian Kurds, needing a new ally. They're moving fast, very fast, into a lot of areas that were formerly places where the U.S. had free access.

[04:40:00] The U.S. pulling out and Russia who backs the Syrian regime are probably looking at this in disbelief, how U.S. policy can be not as quite so useful towards their goals here of broader control.

But have to see whether or not any kind of mediation between Turkey and the United States, and the Syrian Kurds, not of them trust each other at all at this point and often facing each other down the barrel of a gun if that goes anywhere in the days ahead.

BRIGGS: Astounding. Nick Paton Walsh live for us in Iraq -- thanks, Nick.

ROMANS: All right. Forty minutes past the hour.

Breaking overnight, a now-former Fort Worth police officer has been charged with murder for fatally shooting a woman in her own home.

Aaron Dean was arrested Monday after resigning from the police force. He later posted bail.

The family of the victim, Atatiana Jefferson, is relieved by that arrest but they know there's a long way, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADARIUS CARR, BROTHER OF ATATIANA JEFFERSON: This is only the start. There's no way this is enough. We know this is a good step in the direction there where we want to go but it's definitely not the end.

It's been a lot. It's been quite a bit of -- today, itself, has been speech -- I'm speechless about it. I can't put it into words.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The arrest capping a day of rapid fire developments in this case.

We get more from CNN's Lucy Kafanov in Fort Worth.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, good morning.

It's been fascinating to watch just how quickly all of this unfolded over the course of Monday.

That morning, Aaron Dean was a Fort Worth Police Department officer who quit just moments before he got fired, depriving investigators a chance to properly interrogate, to properly question him. That evening, he was behind bars, arrested, charged with the murder of 28- year-old Atatiana Jefferson inside her own home.

At the end of the day, the strongest evidence against him might just be that heavily-edited police body cam footage which shows him flashing a light through a darkened window, shouting a verbal command, and two seconds later, opening deadly fire. Atatiana Jefferson died in her own bedroom in front of, according to the police department, her 8-year-old nephew who she was babysitting.

The community torn apart.

Now, we know that Aaron Dean is a rookie officer. He graduated from the academy about two years ago, joining the police force last April.

We also know that the interim chief has launched a criminal investigation into the shooting and has asked the FBI to look into a civil rights investigation. We are expecting a press conference later today with more of those details.

Guys, back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Lucy, thanks.

Another bombshell out in the new book by Ronan Farrow in his new book out today about "The National Enquirer's" involvement in covering for predators. Farrow says "The Enquirer's" top editor ordered his safe emptied and documents shredded after "The Wall Street Journal" about the tabloid's catch and kill relationship with Donald Trump. Farrow describes editor Dylan Howard appearing to be, quote, in a panic.

"The Journal's" story about "The Enquirer's" payments to women on Trump's behalf came out just before the 2016 election. Farrow notes that Howard now maintains nothing was destroyed. "The Enquirer's" publisher tells CNN Farrow's reporting is dramatic but completely untrue. Ronan Farrow sits down with "NEW DAY", 7:30 Eastern Time this morning.

ROMANS: I'll watch.

All right. An Amber alert expanded in the South for a little girl taken from a birthday bard party. She is believed to be in extreme danger.

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ROMANS: A major setback for Harley Davidson. It has stopped production and delivery of its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, finding a problem with its charging equipment.

"The Wall Street Journal" and the "Financial Times" say Harley running tests to investigate and asking customers not to charge this bike at home.

Harley needed this bike to do well to help its struggling U.S. market. Earlier this year, it cut its forecast, citing the trade war with China. And then it reported poor sales in the second quarter as interest in motorcycles declines among younger people. And then, now this. Harley did not say when production would resume. BRIGGS: A curious case at the Vatican. Pope Francis's main bodyguard resigning over a leak related to an ongoing financial investigation. The Vatican claimed Domenico Gianni bears no personal responsibility for the leak, but is stepping down to allow the investigation to proceed. The Vatican police flyer signed by Gianni and leaked earlier this month revealed five Vatican employees were suspended for alleged financial wrongdoings. The source of the leak is unknown.

Frequent flyers want to pay close attention. All airline miles program would be banned to reduce carbon emissions, if the British government climate board had its way. The advisory board also suggesting attacks on frequent flyers. Recommendations all part of a strategy to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2020. Research shows 15 percent of the U.K. population takes 70 percent of the flights. The board argues those travelers tend to be wealthier and less price sensitive and should shoulder most of the burden.

ROMANS: All right. Target raised employee wages two years ago. So, why are workers having trouble paying their bills? CNN Business, next.

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BRIGGS: LeBron James speaking out for the first time about the pro- Hong Kong tweet by Rockets' GM Daryl Morey that sparked outrage in China.

And now, LeBron is the one feeling the heat.

Here's what he said about Morey's tweet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES: When you're misinformed or you're not educated about something -- and I'm just talking about, you know, the tweet itself -- you never know the ramifications that can happen -- and, you know, we all seen what that did. Not only did for our league but for all of us in America, for people in China as well. And sometimes you have to think through things that you say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: LeBron's Lakers were in China last week for two exhibition games. Amid the international furor, players were not made available to the media.

Some observers thought James was taking China's side against the pro- democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Last night, he attempted to clarify on Twitter, quote: Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I'm not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that.

ROMANS: He has a right to free speech, even though I'm not sure that was well-said.

BRIGGS: Yes, that wasn't good speech.

ROMANS: But I don't know what means.

All right. A delayed opening for California schools permanently.

California becoming the first state to mandate later start times for middle and high schools. The changes will phase in over three years so middle schools will not be allowed to begin earlier than 8:00 a.m. And high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Some rural schools are exempt.

The governor says the measure brings the state in line with research that shows that teenagers benefit academically and other ways with a later start to their school day. Changes take effect in the 2022-2023 school year.

BRIGGS: An Amber Alert in Alabama has been expanded to surrounding states for a 3-year-old girl last seen Saturday at a Birmingham birthday party. Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney is believed to be in extreme danger and may have been abducted by a man and woman. Police say they are questioning two people who did not appear to have any connection to Kamille's parents.

Birmingham's police chief says they found a Toyota Sequoia that may be used in the girl's disappearance, but no sign of Kamille. She was last seen wearing a pink t-shirt with a leopard print design, leopard print shorts and yellow, white and blue hair bows.

ROMANS: A month-long strike at General Motors may soon be over. Top officials with the United Auto Workers will be meeting in Detroit on Thursday to potentially approve a new labor deal for nearly 50,000 striking members.

Negotiators due back at the bargaining table this morning. A source tells CNN a lot of progress was made over the weekend with a few details still lingering.

The walkout has shuttered 31 GM factories and 21 other facilities across nine states. It's caused layoffs at plants in Canada and Mexico.

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

First, let's look at markets around the world. Right now, a mixed performance really here on Wall Street. Futures this Tuesday morning are up slightly. Stocks fell a little bit Monday as optimism about the tentative agreement between the U.S. and China seemed to fade. The Dow closed 29 points lower. The S&P 500 dipped slightly.

WeWork was one of the world's most highly valued private companies, but after its failed IPO it's now running low on cash and it may not have enough to last the year.

"The Wall Street Journal" and the "Financial Times" both reporting two possible options to save this company. One, to sell control to SoftBank. It already owns a third of WeWork.

Another option, letting JPMorgan Chase oversee a massive debt package. SoftBank had previously agreed to inject $1.7 billion into WeWork next year, but it's now reconsidering that.

All right. Target won praise when it said it would raise its minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour by the end of 2020. But some workers say their hours have been cut back, leaving them struggling.

CNN Business interviewed 23 current and former Target employees, including department managers. Some said they're now working 20 do 30 hours a week down from 40. One employee said, I have no idea how I'm going to pay rent or buy food. This comes as target enjoys its strongest market decision in over a decade. A spokesperson said existing staffers are working approximately the same number of hours as they were last year, but declined to provide numbers to support that point.

BRIGGS: All right. 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.

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BRIGGS: Twelve candidates, one battleground stage. Can anyone break out in the largest presidential primary debate in history, tonight on CNN?

ROMANS: Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade and a White House operation resembles a drug deal. Damning details from closed-door testimony on impeachment.

BRIGGS: New sanctions on Turkey and new trouble for U.S. allies in Syria. The U.S. scrambling to remove troops from a worsening situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES: When you're misinformed or you're not educated about something -- and I'm just talking about, you know, the tweet itself -- you know, you never know the ramifications that can happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: LeBron James finally addresses the controversy that followed the NBA to China, but now he's the one facing big pushback.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. He had a week and he came up with that.

It's Tuesday, October 15, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We start with breaking news overnight. Stunning, new details from closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry. President Trump's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, raising

serious concerns about Rudy Giuliani's role in U.S. policy toward Ukraine. Multiple sources say Hill told lawmakers she tried to report wrongdoing, including to the attorney for the National Security Council.

END