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Former Trump Adviser Raised Concerns About Rudy Giuliani In Closed-Door Testimony; Top Pollers Biden and Warren At Center Stage In Tonight's Democratic Presidential Debate; President Trump Imposes Sanctions On Turkey Over Syria Defense. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 15, 2019 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: -- of this typhoon. This storm hit over the weekend bringing widespread flooding and landslides.

Fifty-eight people are confirmed dead, 200 injured, and at least 12 missing. More than 80,000 households in the country were still without power as of last night.

EARLY START continues right now.

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

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

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


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.


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

ROMANS: I'm not sure what he meant there.

BRIGGS: I've listened to it seven times and I'm still trying to decipher and translate that English.

ROMANS: He siding with China. He's saying don't speak out against China?

BRIGGS: It sounds that way. He had a week to think over the best choice of words and he missed that layup.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans, 31 minutes past the hour right now.

We'll get to that story in a moment, but let's begin with these breaking details -- 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.

Now, 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."

BRIGGS: 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, quote, "like a 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, while Republicans complained about the process.


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.


ROMANS: Hill told lawmakers the public squabbling that sowed confusion on U.S. policy is something the Russians could exploit.

Now, this was just the start of a very full week of testimony in this 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, directly.

BRIGGS: All right. A dozen Democrats face high stakes on the biggest primary debate stage ever. The CNN presidential debate is just hours away. Political reporter Arlette Saenz has a preview from Westerville, Ohio.


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.


BRIGGS: Great job, Arlette Saenz.

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

ROMANS: All right, much more on that debate and impeachment. Plus, 400 kids in Florida had no money to pay for lunch at school. A local businessman decided to fix that.


BRIGGS: Tonight, right here on CNN, the fourth Democratic presidential debate. No question, the impeachment inquiry of President Trump will come up, especially after this damning testimony from President Trump's former top aide on Russia.

She told lawmakers former national security adviser John Bolton once called Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani a, quote, "hand grenade."


Joining us, Princeton University historian and professor, Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. Good to see you, sir.


ROMANS: He didn't mean that in a good way. There's no way to be a --

BRIGGS: A hand grenade?

ROMANS: -- hand grenade in a good way.

BRIGGS: No, I guess there's no positive reference to a hand grenade.

But impeachment comes to the debate stage. How will it impact the massive 12-person field up there who wants to focus on issues?

ZELIZER: Well, this will be the issue, so there will be less on Medicare for All and more on the corruption and abuse of presidential power. It could help Democrats, meaning there's less that will divide them and they can focus more on their opponent, which is what gives the Democratic campaign its thrust.

ROMANS: Let's look at this recent Quinnipiac poll -- brand new. The top choice for 2020 nominee -- Warren, 30 percent; Biden, 27 percent; Sanders, 11 percent. And when you look at the fundraising numbers, Warren -- or Sanders is just barely ahead of Warren and Warren ahead of Biden.

Is this just Elizabeth Warren trying to preserve her position? Is Joe Biden -- who has the most to win tonight?

ZELIZER: Well, I think it's fair to say Warren emerges -- enters this as the front-runner. And so, she is both preserving where she is.

But that's not here style. She wants to keep moving forward on issues. She wants to keep focused on the matters that are important to her.

Biden really has to, in some ways, perform the best because he's been damaged. He hasn't had the kind of momentum she has. And all of these stories about Ukraine -- none proven, none true -- have still damaged him because that's been the central issue with him.

BRIGGS: And the narrative on Biden is just a slow leak. Still, in some people's eyes, a front-runner.

But if you're one of those lower-tier candidates that needs a breakout, that needs to take a shot at either Warren, Bernie or Biden, do you go after Hunter Biden and those perhaps inappropriate relationships -- the boards in China, the board in Ukraine? ZELIZER: I don't think so. I think the way they will try to do it is to continue to say he is not the most electable, she is not the most electable -- meaning Warren and the same with Sanders -- and to position themselves as the only real alternative right now in that primary -- the coalition-builder candidate. That's who they have to prove they are.

ROMANS: By the way, Hunter Biden will speak to ABC. We'll be able to hear from himself today. So ahead of this debate we'll have Hunter Biden in his own words.

What's interesting to me is that you've got the President of the United States with family members inside the White House and other family members doing business on behalf of the family business, but he gets to -- he's still -- everyone else is still on the defensive, right?

I mean, Donald Trump is the one who really sets the parameters for what -- you know, Biden is on the defensive but Donald Trump -- his family is doing the same thing.

ZELIZER: Yes, there's -- look, there's hypocrisy, it's not fair, there's a double standard. And it's true that the president is getting away -- or his family with far worse than anything that has been shown about any of the Democratic candidates -- Biden or others -- but that doesn't matter.

This is a campaign about character and character assassination and Trump doesn't care about that. His goal, his strategy is to throw as much dirt out there and to hope that some of it sticks come election season.

BRIGGS: I can't help but wonder if we'll hear the words of Republicans on this stage, namely Lindsey Graham, because of that situation in northern Syria.

Will national security be a focus?


BRIGGS: We're talking about one decision that hurt our allies, helped ISIS, helped the Russians, helped Iran and the Assad regime. Will that take center stage at some point?

ZELIZER: Well, Democrats would be smart to bring it up. I mean, this was a colossal failure of foreign policy by a president and it's hard to think of another recently, other than Iraq.

BRIGGS: Who's the candidate that can seize on that, though --


BRIGGS: -- at this stage?

ZELIZER: I think all of them can. There no reason you can't talk about a president single-handedly making a decision that's so disastrous.

Obviously, Biden would try to use that --


ZELIZER: -- because he has a lot of foreign policy chops to say that's not going to happen under my own administration. But they'll all make that claim. This is a big weakness.

BRIGGS: I was going to suggest Pete Buttigieg would be the one to really seize that moment. Really educated on foreign policy --


BRIGGS: -- having served as well. But it'll be a fascinating night.

ROMANS: All right. Julian Zelizer, nice to see you this morning.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BRIGGS: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

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.


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.


ROMANS: 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 is deteriorating.

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


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, it's really hard to see how the sanctions announced last night will change Turkish thinking at all, particularly given how Donald Trump threatened economic obliteration.

Remember, he referred to his great and unmatched wisdom would be -- seemed like a year ago now -- the great unmatched wisdom would be what decided whether Turkey had overstepped the lines. Now, they've gone territorially -- Turkey -- so much further into northern Syria than anybody expected.

And there have been civilian casualties from what seemed to be their air strikes. Brutal video is circulating online on quite how radical -- executing some civilians -- the Syrian rebels that Turkey is backing to do a lot of the fighting for them on the ground actually are.

But today, Turkey's president stepped forward and wrote in "The Wall Street Journal" that he is the one doing things where the rest of the world doesn't want to. Turkey has claimed that much of its work here is to establish an area of Syria in which it can resettle the 3.6 million refugees that have moved into Turkey.

But the situation on the ground is changing incredibly fast.

For example, the town Manbij, out to the west where U.S. forces were, it appears that they may at some point soon already have left and that it's unclear whether Turkey is going to be moving in or whether the regime has already taken parts of that town, too, echoing the situation across that area where the Syrian Kurds, an American ally, previously had free rein. They're now allied with the regime.

The Americans moving out in a situation where I'm sure no soldier ever wants to find themselves -- that your commander in chief says you're leaving before you've actually gone, making your exit route perilous, to say the least. And we'll be seeing that withdrawal unfold, I understand, in the days ahead.

But a deeply damaging moment for U.S. standing the region -- one, as you said, in which the U.S. adversaries are, frankly, in disbelief of quite how fast this is changing.

And one, too -- the main focus of why the U.S. is here in the first place, ISIS. One, too, in which ISIS, a feeling, a sigh of relief. A second life, one U.S. official said to me, is what they've not been granted.

Their detention facilities perilously held now by a Syrian Kurdish force that has a lot else on their plate. Will the Syrian regime take over those? Will ISIS find the gap to recreate a new caliphate for itself? That's the key question.

That's the lasting damage of this legacy here. And that, too, of course, are civilians in Syria who once again see the territory and the powers around them changing -- Christine.

ROMANS: A second life for ISIS. Oh my goodness -- all right.

Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much for that from Erbil, Iraq.

We'll be right back.


ROMANS: 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.


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.


ROMANS: The arrest capping a day of fast-moving developments in this case.

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


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.


BRIGGS: Lucy, thanks.

Another bombshell reported by Ronan Farrow in his new book out today about the "National Enquirer's" involvement in covering up for predators.

Farrow says the "Enquirer's" top editor ordered a safe emptied and documents shredded after "The Wall Street Journal" called about the tabloid's catch and kill relationship with Donald Trump. Farrow describes editor Dylan Howard as 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 will sit down with "NEW DAY" this morning in the 7:00 and 8:00 hours.

ROMANS: We look forward to that.

All right, a major setback for Harley Davidson. Deliveries of its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, finding a problem with its charging equipment.


"The Wall Street Journal" and the "Financial Times" say Harley is running tests to investigate. It's 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.

Taking a look at markets around the world right now, a mixed performance, really. You can see that Paris and Frankfurt are up, but London is just narrowly lower.

On Wall Street, futures barely moving here, up less than half of one percent. Stocks fell slightly Monday as optimism about that tentative agreement between the U.S. and China began to fade. The Dow closed 29 points lower. The S&P and the Nasdaq slipped a little bit as well.

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. It's now reconsidering that.

BRIGGS: LeBron James speaking out for the first time about the pro- Hong Kong tweet by Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey that sparked outrage in China. And now, LeBron is the one feeling the heat.

Here's what he said about the now-deleted Morey tweet.


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.


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 took to Twitter to try and clarify.

"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: All right, 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 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.

BRIGGS: Four hundred Florida students no longer need to worry about their school lunch debt. A local mom from Jupiter says she was tired of hearing about kids who couldn't afford lunch at school. She asked local officials how many students and how much they owed, then posted those figures online. Those numbers made it to local real estate agent Andrew Levy, who paid

the $944 bill in full.


ANDREW LEVY, PAID OFF STUDENTS' LUNCH DEBT: Food is something that you shouldn't have to think about, you know. Children shouldn't have to learn hungry.


BRIGGS: Levy is not stopping there. He says he plans to start a fundraising page so the school lunch debt never accumulates.

Another dominant pitching performance has the Washington Nationals one win from their first-ever World Series.

Steven Strausbaugh striking out 12 in seven innings. Starting pitchers have now allowed zero earned runs in almost 22 innings against the Cardinals in the NLCS. Nats win 8-1. They go for the sweep tonight at Nationals Park.

You'll need a second screen. Debate on one screen, baseball on another.

ROMANS: What about the one for Fortnite? Is Fortnite back?

BRIGGS: Fortnite is not quite back --

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: -- but there's a trailer looming out there for season two.

ROMANS: Yes, yes.

All right, that's it for us. Have a great rest of your day. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Here's "NEW DAY."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fiona Hill telling lawmakers about her concerns with Rudy Giuliani's shadow foreign policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At what point might we see Rudy Giuliani arrested?

ZELDIN: The Democrats should provide Republicans and the president exactly what they would insist if the roles were reversed.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Twelve candidates will be on the stage for the CNN-New York Times Democratic debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Biden seems to have plateaued.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elizabeth Warren steps on the stage perhaps as the front-runner in the race.

JAMES: I don't want to get into a feud with Daryl but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

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 Tuesday, October 15th. It's 6:00 here in New York.

And breaking overnight, major new developments in the impeachment investigation. A former White House insider describing a shadow foreign policy -