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EARLY START

White House: "Get Over It"; U.S. Announcers Ceasefire in Syria; Rpt: Mexico Captures, Releases El Chapo's Son; Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes Suffers Knee Injury. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 18, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:01]

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: I know you're going to try to get there. Take a bunch of us from CNN.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Sorry, you're not coming.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day.

It's a boys' trip. Just telling you.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump's chief of staff now trying to walk back the moment he admitted a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

KOSIK: Questions about the cease-fire in Syria. Did the Trump administration hand Turkey's president everything he wanted?

BRGGS: El Chapo's son at the center of a shoot-out with a Mexican drug cartel.

KOSIK: The NFL's MVP likely sidelined for several weeks. The latest on the injury to the Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Good morning and welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

Happy Friday, Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes, thank you.

Happy Friday, everyone.

I'm Dave Briggs, Friday, October 18th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. We start in the nation's capital, where the acting chief of staff,

brazenly, contradicting the administration's own line, admitting there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

Mick Mulvaney telling reporters the president withheld $400 million in U.S. military aid, in part, to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he -- to withhold funding to Ukraine?

MULVANEY: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about.

KARL: To be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well.

MULVANEY: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy.

I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Only hours later, Mulvaney was walking back the argument, essentially claiming in a statement that he hadn't said just what you heard him say. Quote: Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and an investigation into the 2016 election.

Mulvaney appeared to be road-testing a new White House argument that aid was withheld to pressure Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election. Mulvaney said it had nothing to do with investigating potential 2020 rival Joe Biden.

Here's a problem with this claim, though, is that it was President Trump who brought up Biden in his now infamous call with the leader of Ukraine.

KOSIK: Mulvaney's comments caught everyone at the White House off- guard. President Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow insists the White House legal team was not involved in the acting chief of staff's press briefing. A Justice Department official said of Mulvaney's claims the DOJ was involved, that is news to us.

And it seems the president, that he was left out of the loop too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Are you aware that he suggested that there was some sort of a quid pro quo involved with Ukraine?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I didn't -- I heard it. Somebody said he did a very nice job.

REPORTER: Do you know --

TRUMP: I've been -- you know what I've been focused on today very much? All of this and also if you look, Turkey and the great thing that happened in Syria. I don't know, but Mick is a good man. I don't know. I have not heard anything about it.

REPORTER: Do you still have confidence in him?

TRUMP: I have a lot of confidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: A source close to the president tells CNN, Mulvaney's acknowledgment to a quid pro quo angered Mr. Trump later in the day. One White House official says much of the president's anger is now focused on the media. He believes the press is intentionally misinterpreting Mulvaney's comments.

But Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, she doesn't see it that way. She says: absolutely, that's a concern. You don't hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period.

House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff agrees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Mr. Mulvaney's acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Even more bad news for the president. A key ally at the center of the Ukraine scandal turned on him in front of Congress, ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, telling House investigators President Trump ordered diplomats to go through Rudy Giuliani on all matters involving Ukraine. Sondland said he and other Foreign Service officers were disappointed by the president's direction. And he testified Giuliani stressed the president wanted a public statement from Ukraine's new president, committing to investigate the 2016 U.S. election, and the Ukrainian gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board.

KOSIK: With the Ukraine controversy heating up, Rick Perry is stepping down. The embattled energy secretary informing President Trump he would leave his post later this year. He announced his decision last night in a video posted on YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY, ENERGY SECRETARY: With profound emotion and gratitude that I'm announcing my resignation.

[05:05:04] There's much work to be done in these upcoming weeks. And I remain fully committed to accomplishing the goals that I set out to accomplish at the beginning of my tenure. I'll treasure the memories of what we've accomplished together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: President Trump says he's already picked Perry's replacement. He had nothing but praise for the outgoing secretary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's done a fantastic job for a long period of time. And we really appreciate it. The Department of Energy has far, far progressed from those days three years ago when you took it over. So, thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: Last week, House Democrats subpoenaed Perry for Ukraine- related documents in their impeachment inquiry.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the White House defending the decision to hold the G-7 summit at President Trump's own Miami resort. That story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:10:29]

BRIGGS: Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both in Turkey Thursday, emerging from hours of negotiations to announce a cease-fire deal in Syria, a deal that seems to give Turkey everything it wants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know the president is very grateful for President Erdogan's willingness to step forward to enact this cease-fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The deal appears to meet most of Turkey's military goals and will force America's allies in the fight against ISIS, the Kurds, to give up a huge swath of territory.

Last night, President Trump touted the deal at a rally in Texas, comparing Turkey's military attack on Kurdish forces to essentially a schoolyard brawl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Sometimes you have to let them fight. Like two kids in a lot. You got to let them fight and then you pull them apart. President Erdogan was a gentleman, he understood it. But without a little tough love -- you know what tough love is, right? Without a little tough love, they wouldn't have made this deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: So, how was the ceasefire being perceived in Turkey?

Let's ask Jomana Karadsheh live in the capital of Ankara this morning.

Jomana, good morning.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.

No doubt, for Turkey, they're seeing this as a big win. Turkish officials are saying they got exactly what they wanted out of this meeting. And they say that their military operation achieved its objectives. They finally got the United States to commit to what Turkey has been asking for and what it aims to establish with this military operation, this safe zone, this buffer zone, that is about 20 miles into Syria. And it stretches from the Euphrates River all the way to the Iraqi border.

Now, while they do have this pause in fighting over the next five days, at least there's this agreement that the Kurdish Syrian fighters say they've agreed to. There's so many questions that are out there. We do not know the details of this agreement. The Kurds saying that they have agreed to the ceasefire.

But they have not mentioned withdrawing from these areas, and that is a big thing for Turkey. They are giving the pause for the Syrian Kurdish fighters to get out of this zone. Otherwise, they will continue with this operation.

What happens after these five days is not up to the United States, really. It is going to be decided in a meeting between the Turkish president and Vladimir Putin at the end of those five days, because, as we have seen, it is now Russia that's moved into the area. And they do have leverage and the ability to call the shots on the ground, Dave.

BRIGGS: Again, all paths lead to Putin.

Jomana Karadsheh, live for us in Turkey this morning. Thanks.

Next year's G-7 summit of world leaders will be hosted by President Trump at his own Doral Resort in Miami. That decision made by President Trump. Historians called the move unprecedented, a president using his public office to direct a huge contract to himself. Revenue at Doral has been in sharp decline in recent years with net operating income down 69 percent.

The White House says the resort will host the event at cost. Acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, insists, that makes it OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MULVANEY: He's not making money off of this, just like he's not making money from working here. If you think it's going to help his brand, that's great. But I would suggest he doesn't need much help promoting his brand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler disagrees. He says the plan violates the Constitution. He says, quote: Hosting the G-7 summit at Doral implicates both the foreign and domestic emolument clauses because it would entail foreign and domestic spending to benefit the president.

KOSIK: The son of notorious drug kingpin El Chapo now said to be free after he was detained by Mexican security forces. Ovidio Guzman Lopez was arrested following hours of intense heavy gunfire with cartel members.

Listen.

A Mexican security official telling "Reuters" they decided to release Guzman Lopez in order to protect lives. Gunmen believed to be members of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel appeared to overpower security forces who later suspended operations.

According to CNN affiliate ADN-40, the clash involved armored vehicles with military-grade machinery and heavy artillery. Many residents fled in panic or locked themselves in their homes.

[05:15:04]

According to ADN-40, officials say schools are closed until further notice.

BRIGGS: All right. Coming up, NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes hurt in last night's Chiefs win over the Broncos. How badly injure is one of the stars of the league right now?

Carolyn Manno has "The Bleacher Report", next.

Good morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:20:23]

BRIGGS: Sensitive subject where we are here in New York. The Houston Astros are one win away from their second World Series appearance in three years.

KOSIK: Carolyn Manno has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" to tell us about a busy night in sports.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning. I love this headline from "The Daily News New York", we have a problem.

BRIGGS: Yes, a big problem.

MANNO: Houston certainly doesn't have a problem. Yes, the Yankees facing an uphill battle, for sure. This is more than that. This is a mountain.

New York is on the cusp of missing the World Series for an entire decade. It's the first time that they've century. It's bad if you're a Yankees fan.

The Astros getting it done with the long ball. George Springer putting Houston in the scoreboard in the third inning, with a three- run shot in the fourth. And then, in the sixth, Carlos Correa, who was a hero in game two with a walk off home run in extras. Anything you can do, I can do better, a three-run shot of his own.

The all-star sluggers combined to five hits in the series, but four of them have been home runs. The Astros walk away with a huge 8-3 win.

Meantime, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia's career may have come to a premature end. The 39-year-old left the game in the eighth inning due to injury. Sabathia has been dealing with a recurring left shoulder issue. Fans gave him a standing ovation as he walked off the field, possibly for the last time.

Yankees backs are against the wall in tonight's game five. Teams that fall behind 3-1 in a series come back to win just 15 percent of the time. It will be tough.

The reigning NFL MVP could be sidelined for a while. Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, dislocated his knee against the Broncos last night. He left the game in the second quarter after a successful QB sneak at fourth and one.

Mahomes was on the field for a couple minutes. He was in obvious pain before being helped to the sideline. He's said to have an MRI later today. That's the latest to see about possible ligament damage. Matt Moore taking over at quarterback with the team. He helped the Chiefs to a 24-point win over Dave's Broncos. So, I guess that's the silver lining.

Meantime, while the Nationals are the big sports story in D.C., the best postgame interview of the week, coming from a pint-sized hockey player. The capitals do something called mites on ice during the first intermission in every home game. It's when kids under the age of eight take a ice and play a game.

After two goals on Wednesday night, Jackson went on to steal the show. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON FRIEDLANDER, POTOMAC PATRIOTS YOUTH HOCKEY PLAYER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jackson --

FRIEDLANDER: I am seriously excited. I'm kind of shy, mostly excited and courageous. Hockey, always remember, hockey is not about winning. It's always about fun.

My hockey team, mom and dad, I just love you so much, everybody. Please, God bless everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANNO: Jackson Friedlander, everybody, the name to know right now.

KOSIK: Jackson Friedlander, the next president of the United States, ladies and gentlemen.

MANNO: Could be a draft pick coming up.

He's a pro already, Dave. How cute is he?

BRIGGS: You know, you see those sideline-type interviews are so awful. Like we should do them all with kids. Maybe that's a way to improve the product.

MANNO: I love it. Kids know how to have fun and tell the truth. Adorable.

BRIGGS: I love it.

Good to see you, Carolyn. Thanks. Have a good weekend.

KOSIK: Thank you.

The White House admits then denies a quid pro quo with Ukraine. You'll hear the White House chief of staff in his own words, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:28:19]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MULVANEY: I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: President Trump's chief of staff now trying to walk back the moment he admitted a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

BRIGGS: Questions about the cease-fire in Syria. Did the Trump administration hand Turkey's president everything he wanted?

KOSIK: El Chapo's son at the center of a shoot-out with a Mexican drug cartel.

BRIGGS: The NFL's MVP, likely sidelined for weeks. The latest on the injury to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

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

hour.

And the acting White House chief of staff brazenly contradicting the administration line and admitting there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. Mick Mulvaney telling reporters the president withheld $400 million in U.S. military aid, in part, to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he -- to withhold funding to Ukraine?

MULVANEY: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about.

KARL: To be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well.

MULVANEY: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy.

I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: And then, for the real head-scratching moment, only hours later, Mulvaney was walking back the argument, essentially claiming in a statement that he hadn't said what you just heard him say.

END