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America's Choice 2020, Democratic Presidential Debate; Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Dispatched To Turkey; U.S. Pulling Equipment Out Of Syria; New Born Rescued After Being Buried Alive; Fort Worth Community Outrage At Police Shooting; Old-Growth Acres To Be Opened To Logging; CA Firefighters Battle Refinery Ethanol Blaze; British Family Traumatized By ICE Detention; Nationals Sweeps Cardinals To Win NCLS. Aired 3:30-4a ET

Aired October 16, 2019 - 03:30   ET







DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: That will do it for our coverage of the dozen Democrats debate. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is Early Start. I'm Dave Briggs.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, now for the analysis and I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, October 16th. It is 3:40 a.m. in New York. A tough welcome to front-runner status for Elizabeth Warren. Attention from her Democrat rivals hoping to knock her off her perch at that CNN New York Times debate in Ohio. Senator Warren now essentially tied with former VP Joe Biden for first place in recent national polls.

BRIGGS: Many of her centrist rivals attacking her plans, most notably when she was given four chances to answer whether her Medicare for all proposal would increase taxes on the middle class. Jeff Zeleny was at the debate and has this recap from Westerville.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. If there was any sign that Elizabeth Warren was not the front-runner that was eviscerated last night at the debate here. Clearly she withstood the most attacks, the most questions from all of her rivals. One of the biggest takeaways of the fourth debate here in Ohio was the fact that Elizabeth Warren's policies and plans were coming under scrutiny from a variety of opponents.

The second tier candidates. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, even Beto O'Rourke, repeatedly asking Senator Warren to explain her plans on health care, on the wealth tax. Now, one question Senator Warren has repeatedly and purposely not answered is if her Medicare for all plan would raise taxes on the middle class.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 U.S. DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Let me be clear on this. Costs will go up for the wealthy. They will go up for big corporations and for middle class families they will go down --

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND-IN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The yes or no question that didn't get a yes or no answer. Look, this is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general and Capitol Hill in particular. Your signature, Senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'm sorry, Elizabeth, but you have not said that, and I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're going to send the invoice.


ZELENY: So going away from this fourth presidential debate as candidates are going out to campaign today in Iowa and New Hampshire, the question is will Senator Warren have to put more meat on the bones on her plans? She has not put out a health care plan. Of course she has many other plans, but by design no health care plan. Of course she does support the Medicare for all plan that Senator Bernie Sanders has. He says his plan would raise taxes on the middle class, but it would bring down costs in other places. She has not yet said that. So keep an eye on her going forward.

Another big takeaway from the evening, Vice President Joe Biden. He was defensive at the beginning of the debate. Answering questions about Hunter Biden, his son. Of course he's been at the center of all the controversy. He said his son's statement speak for himself, but then he did also raise questions about Senator Sanders' and Senator Warren's plans as well.

So going forward here, these debates have not necessarily been pivotal, but they are coming at a time when more voters are paying closer attention here. Senator Bernie Sanders, of course, recovering from that heart attack. He said he is feeling just fine and he stood for more than three hours during that competitive debate. Dave and Christine?


ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Ohio. After the debate we learned Sanders will pick up some coveted progressive endorsements including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We'll have more on the debate in just a few minutes.

America's labor market remains strong. The pace of hiring has slowed since 2018 and there are cracks forming in manufacturing. One concern there automation a McKenzie study estimated automation could kill a quarter of U.S. jobs in the next 10 years. During the debate, several candidates were asked how they would prevent those job losses.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have an infrastructure which is collapsing. We can put 15 million people to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our waste water plants, airports, et cetera.

ANDREW YANG, AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR AND PHILANTHROPIST, 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact is most Americans do not want to work for the federal government. We have a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month. It actually recognized the work that is happening in our families and our communities. It helps all Americans transition.

WARREN: The data show that we've had a lot of problems with losing jobs, but the principal reason has been bad trade policy. The principal reason has been a bunch of corporations, giant multinational corporations, who have been calling the shots on trade. We also need to make it easier to join a union and give unions more power when they negotiate. We need to restructure strength in this economy and that is where it starts.


ROMANS: Even with the 3.5 percent unemployment rate big concerns about automation and technology and what that means for the future of jobs. Democrats attacked that last night, but that is an issue that the president of the United States was very successful in leveraging in the last election. We'll see if he keeps the higher ground there.


BRIGGS: Today Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, lead a delegation to Ankara trying to stop Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria, but Turkish President Recep Erdogan has already dismissed President Trump's call for a cease-fire and now he is preparing for a, quote, working visit to Russia on Vladimir Putin's invitation. Let's go live to Turkey's border with Syria and bring in CNN's Arwa Damon. Arwa, good morning.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. And the Turkish president is quite adamant as he said after we heard about Vice President Pence and the delegation's trip to Ankara that he would not sit down and negotiate with terrorists. Look, from Turkey's perspective this would be as if someone had asked the United States to have a cease-fire with ISIS and then sit down and have a conversation with Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Turkey is Adamant that it is going to be pushing forward with this.

And I don't know if you can hear what's happening behind us, but that in the distance is the border town of (inaudible), and of the last five days that we've been up here, I have to say those are the most intense battle sounds that we have been hearing. So at the very least in this one particular portion of the border, the clashes most certainly are so ongoing between the Turks and their allies and the Kurdish fighting force inside which, remember, since it was abandoned by the U.S. Had to turn to the regime in Damascus for help.

And now we have a situation where Bashar al Assad's forces have taken up positions in portions of this border and territory in northern Syria that they had not controlled in years. The U.S. military is as we know pulling out of northern Syria. There have been a couple of dicey situations for U.S. forces that forced them to adopt defensive positions when they came a bit too close to the Turkish-backed Arab forces, Syrian Arab forces inside Syria.

The Americans have, as far as we are aware, begun moving some of their equipment out of the country, but when it comes to actually having the capability of negotiating any sort of resolution to what's happening inside Syria at this stage. That is not something that realistically speaking the U.S. is going to be able to accomplish.

The U.S. In this scenario doesn't have any real leverage? Inside Syria it's the Russians who experts say are both the play makers and the king makers, and they are the ones who most likely because they have a relationship with all sides are going to be able to negotiate some sort of resolution to what's happening.

BRIGGS: All right. We're going to hear more from Arwa Damon as well as how this was discussed at the Democratic debate last night in just a few minutes.

President Trump expected to meet with congressional leaders later today on the Syria crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both on the guest list, but one key Democratic lawmaker is not, Adam Schiff. CNN has learned the House Intelligence Committee chairman is not invited, because President Trump does not want him in the White House.

ROMANS: All right, 48 minutes past the hour. Left to die. Buried alive, but a little girl in India has a second chance at life.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did something, but you not doing nothing.


ROMANS: A community outraged in Fort Worth, Texas. Protesters taking over a city council meeting in the wake of the fatal shooting of a black woman in her home, in her home by a white police officer. The Fort Worth mayor says she wants a special panel to review police use of force. The attorney for the now former Fort Worth police officer tells CNN he will not discuss details of this case, but he says his client is sorry and the former officer's family is in shock. CNN's Lucy Kafanov in Fort Worth.


Emotions are still raw in this corner of Texas as the Fort Worth police department and the community here continue to deal with the aftermath of the murder of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot inside her own home over the weekend.

Now, according to the interim police chief, the 34-year-old former officer accused of this shooting, his name is Aaron Dean, he was arrested on murder charges on Monday night inside his attorney's office. We got some fresh details from his arrest warrant which reveals that Jefferson's 8-year-old nephew who was inside the room, he witnessed the whole thing. He told investigators that his aunt reached inside her purse to retrieve a handgun after hearing noises outside.

Authorities say she had every right to do so. Dean never identified himself as a police officer and went from a verbal command to deadly force within seconds. Now, the chief got emotional when describing the impact that the shooting had on the community and the relationship the community had with his officers. Take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I likened it to a bunch of ants building an Ant Hill and somebody comes with a hose and washes it away and they just have to start from scratch and build over.


KAFANOV: Now context is important here. This was the ninth officer- involved shooting by the Fort Worth police department this year alone. And the Jefferson family said, they do not trust this department to get to the bottom of it. They are calling for an independent investigation. The chief saying that they are exploring that option as well. Dave, Christine, back to you.


BRIGGS: Lucy, thanks. 180,000 acres in the country's largest national forest would be re-opened for logging under a Trump administration proposal unveiled Tuesday. 165,000 of the reclassified acres are old growth parts of the huge Tongass National Forest in the Alaska Panhandle. The state Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, he says, it is the first step to rebuilding an entire industry put in the Alaskan back door. Environmentalists call it another Trump administration effort to roll back wildlife protections and hand public lands over to private interests. The proposal is now open for public comment.

ROMANS: A big Northern California refinery fire now contained in the east bay town of Crockett. Firefighters battled for hours to control about 250,000 gallons of ethanol burning in two large tanks at the New Star Energy Facility. Just a few hours ago, authorities lifted a shelter in place order for area residents.

BRIGGS: A British family says they've been traumatized by their detention in the U.S. Immigration facility. Two couples and their three young children, including a 3-month-old were vacationing in British Columbia when they say they accidentally crossed the U.S./Canada border after going down an unmarked road to avoid hitting an animal. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested them for unlawfully entering the country. Officials tell CNN by all appearances they were trying to get into the U.S. undetected. The family is currently being held at a federal facility in Pennsylvania. They filed a formal complaint with Homeland Security saying they've been living in, quote, filthy and frigid conditions.

ROMANS: A stunning rescue at a cemetery in northern India. A 4-day- old baby girl found buried alive. She was pulled to safety by a couple who was there to bury their own child who had died in a hospital. Police believe the newborn was buried for four to six hours before she was rescued. She had some infections, she weighed just over 3 pounds. An investigation is under way to locate the parents who could be charged with attempted murder.

BRIGGS: The nation's capital not entirely focused on impeachment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the air, center field. This should do it. Robles will squeeze it. And there it is.


BRIGGS: That is right, baseball on the minds of D.C. residents. The World Series is coming to Washington, D.C. First time since 1933. The Nationals completing a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. The NATS put up seven runs in the first inning and won 7-4. First World Series birth and franchise history and first for a Washington team yes, since 1933. The NATS await the winner of the American League Championship Series. The Astros have a 2-1 lead over the Yankees after their 4-1 win at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. And one of my favorite things in this nationals run, and you can appreciate this, Christine Romans.


BRIGGS: Is the walk-up music of Gerardo Parra. Listen --

-- just love that. I mean, look at the entire crowd with the baby shark motion. He was paying tribute with that walk out music to his young daughter at home. They have a baby shark in the dugout for each and every game. Congrats to the NATS.

ROMANS: That is really cool and will be in my head for the rest of the day. Thank you very much.

BRIGGS: You are welcome.

ROMANS: Early Start continues right now.


BUTTIGIEG: A yes or no question that didn't get a yes or no answer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're going to send the invoice. BIDEN: We all have good ideas. The question is who's going to be able

to get it done.


ROMANS: Elizabeth Warren's front-runner status makes her a target at the CNN debate. Moderate questions her plans trying to slow her rise.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: We're not here to call bluffs. We're here to find the truth.


BRIGGS: The speaker puts the White House on notice. The vice president, Rudy Giuliani, and others fail to comply with demands in the impeachment inquiry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'll squeeze it and there he is.


ROMANS: Finally something gets done in Washington. The Nationals sweep their way to the World Series. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is Early Start. I'm Christine Romans. Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning. I'm Dave Briggs. Still parting there in D.C. this morning, Wednesday, October 16. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York.

A tough welcome to front-runner status for Elizabeth Warren. Democratic rivals hoping to knock the Massachusetts Senator off her perch -