Return to Transcripts main page


Mulvaney Denies He Said What He Said; President Trump Reverse On G7 Summit; Tornado Strikes Dallas, Texas; Impeachment Inquiry, Trump Launches Twitter Tirade Against Adam Schiff; Royal Rift; Syria Crisis, Major U.S. Troops Withdrawal From Syria Underway; America's Choice 2020, Warren To Release Plan To Pay For Medicare For All; Hillary Clinton Cleared In Email Probe; General Motors Strikes Continues, Financial Toll Mounts In Midwest; Election Day In Canada; Best Jobs For Disney Fans; Prince Harry Acknowledges Tensions With Brother; Cranes Toppled At Hard Rock Hotel Site; Resilience On Wall Street. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 21, 2019 - 04:30   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were asked by Jonathan Karl, you described a quid pro quo and you said that happens all the time.

MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Again, reporters will use their language all the time. So, my language never said quid pro quo.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I never said what I said. The White House struggling their limit the fallout from impeachment key witnesses on top this week.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A quick reversal, a rare reversal by the president. Next year's G7 will not be held at his Doral resort after fierce backlash.

BRIGGS: And breaking overnight, a tornado rips through northern Dallas, debris is widespread. More than 100,000 customers without power.


PRINCE HARRY, PRINCE OF WALES: We're brothers and we will always be brothers. And we are set on different paths at the moment. But I will always be there for him and as I know, he will always be there for me. As brothers, we have good days and we have bad days.


ROMANS: Prince Harry for the first time reveals a rift with his brother. Harry and Meghan Markle will take time away from their royal duties. Welcome back to Early Start everyone, I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: That sounds right, doesn't it? Good days, bad days with their siblings.

ROMANS: I don't know. I spent the weekend with my siblings and we're all good.

BRIGGS: You're all good. I'm Dave Briggs. I'm good, 4:31 Eastern Time on a Monday. A very busy week ahead in the impeachment inquiry. We'll hear from senior U.S. diplomats in Ukraine, advisers of the national Security Council and top Pentagon officials. Most notable, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor. He is the career diplomat who texted at Trump appointee's saying it would be crazy to withhold U.S. military aid in exchange for a politically-charged investigation into Joe Biden and his son.

ROMANS: Now, acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, still frantically back pedaling after this remarkable admission from last week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he found to withhold funding for Ukraine.

MULVANEY: The look back to what happen in 2016, certainly was part of what he was worried about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened, as well.

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


ROMANS: Mulvaney and the White House are trying to convince the nation that heard that exchange from John Karl, that they didn't hear that exchange of John Karl. CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more from the White House.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Dave and Christine. White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, batting cleanup this weekend, continuing to try and backtrack on his words last week, when he made that stunning admission, that security aid to Ukraine was withheld in part of because of President Donald Trump's interest in Ukraine investigating this debugged conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election and the Democratic National Committee.

Mulvaney on Sunday was confronted with his own words on a Sunday news program, but he once again insisted that what he said was not what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MULVANEY: You again said, just a few seconds ago that I said there

was a quid pro quo. Never used that language, because there is not a quid pro quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were asked by Jonathan Karl, as you described a quid pro quo and you said that happens all the time.

MULVANEY: And reporters will use their language all the time. So, my language never said quid pro quo. But let's get to the heart of the matter, go back and look at that list of three things, what I was talking about. Things that it was legitimate for the president to do.


DIAMOND: The latest twist in Mulvaney's defense appears to be that he did not explicitly say the words quid pro quo, even as he continued to say that part of the calculus was indeed the president's interest in this investigation from Ukraine. None of this though appears to be helping the Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney.

A source familiar with the president's thinking telling me that, the president is increasingly frustrated with his chief of staff. And that Mulvaney is now on an increasingly shaky ground. Now, that being said, the president frequently gets frustrated with his aides, including his top advisers. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are out the door or headed for it anytime soon. Dave, Christine?


BRIGGS: Jeremy Diamond there, thank you.

The president lashing out at a key rival as the impeachment pressure builds. He's demanding that House Intel Chairman, Adam Schiff, be deposed in front of his own committee. And adds a call on Republicans to, finally fight back. The president seems to be sensing trouble ahead. More Republicans are starting to show signs of discomfort trying to defend the president.


One of them, moderate House Republican Francis Rooney, suggesting he is open to impeachment and says he won't be seeking another term.


REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R-FL): I think it's very bad, that the system that we have now, would probably disappoint our founders, it's so oriented towards re-election, raising money, and it creates a bias against action. Everybody is quaking in fear of being criticized by the president or something.


ROMANS: CNN has also learned, weeks before Rudy Giuliani became embroiled in the Ukraine scandal, the president's lawyer managed to get a meeting with the top official in the Justice Department's criminal division on behalf of a client. The DOJ now says it would not have agreed to that meeting if it had known the Manhattan U.S. Attorney was investigating, two Giuliani associates who were indicted this month for allegedly trying to funnel Russian money into U.S. elections.

BRIGGS: A rare reversal from President Trump. The White House announcing next year's G7 summit will not be held at his south Florida resort after all. Following some fierce backlash. The White House had been staunchly defending the decision to use Trump national Doral, saying it would be significantly cheaper than other options. Mick Mulvaney, stood by the choice, even after it had been reversed.


MULVANEY: At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business. And he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could. And he was very comfort in doing it at Doral.


BRIGGS: The White House had said that the event would be at cost, but making no profit might still violated the constitution. The emoluments clause bars the president from accepting any gifts or money from foreign government.

ROMANS: All right, Defense Secretary, Mark Esper says, the ceasefire between Turkish and Kurdish forces in northern Syria generally seems to be holding despite what he calls reports of intermittent fires. The New York Times reports that President Trump is leaning in favor of a new Pentagon plan to keep a small contingent of American troops in eastern Syria for counterterrorism.

Meantime, the largest U.S. troop withdraw from Syria so far is under way. CNN observing trucks carrying U.S. personnel crossing the border into Iraq overnight. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in Northern Syria. Tell us what you're seeing there on the ground, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that dawn transit you're seeing from Syrian territory, controlled by Syrian Kurds, into Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq, that mark a deeply symbolic moment for this, the largest ground move the U.S. has done inside Syria since they came here to fight ISIS. Deeply symbolic for those U.S. troops to leave this mission, frankly, in such a hurry, with such a muddled American policy and for Syrian Kurds who feel such a deep sense of betrayal, really though for the political leadership of President Trump in Washington.

We've seen these moves begin this day, when they rallied about 100- plus American vehicles near a base called (inaudible), and then began to move east, moving through the town Kamisha (ph), where we were. Even the fact as early as dawn still support aircraft hovering above to secure this convoy moving through, at times uncertain territory, 500 or so personnel as far as we understand, involved in this particular movement. But it comes at a deeply perilous time for this burgeoning conflict

here inside Syria. This new conflict, I should say. We're about 24 to 48 hours away from the expiring of a ceasefire deal, between -- brokered by the United States, between Turkish backed forces and the Syrian Kurds, back by the Syrian regime and Russia.

Turkey has said that if they don't see the withdrawal of Syrian Kurds, in a way they have expected, they will renew their offensive with extra aggression. But there's a potential meeting at Sochi on Tuesday. So, a potential peace that could be brokered in the meeting in Sochi between turkey and Russia. The question is, has this withdrawal of U.S. forces who run monitor on the ceasefire and weren't involved in the fighting, but still certainly acted here as kind of a large force that could stabilize matters if they got out of control as they departure embolden in any side of the fighting as the Syrian Kurds are feeling more vulnerable in talks. Where will we be after this talks in Sochi on Tuesday? Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, thank you so much for that, Nick Paton Walsh for us this morning in northern Syria. Thanks.

BRIGGS: For the first time Elizabeth Warren is vowing to reveal how she plans to fund her Medicare for all plan. At the last week's CNN debate, she was asked repeatedly whether taxes would have to be raised on the middle class. On Sunday, she told supporters in Iowa, the financial details will be publicized soon, but her Democratic rivals don't seem convinced.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 U.S. DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: We need to talk about the cost. And I plan over the next few weeks, to put out a plan, that talks about, specifically, the cost of Medicare for all. And specifically, how we pay for it.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm surprised that we haven't seen it yet. Because, you know, I think if she had a good answer, we would have seen it by now.


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When she studies it, she's going to find that it's impossible to fund what she is talking about without taxing the middle class.


BRIGGS: And this statement from the Joe Biden campaign quote, -- it's mystifying that for someone who has put -- having a plan for everything, at the center of her pitch to voters, Senator Warren has decided to release a health care plan only after enduring immense public pressure for refusing to do so.

ROMANS: All right, the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal that dominated the 2016 election narrative, remember that? It has ended with a whimper. The State Department acknowledging in a late Friday news dump, that there was no deliberate mishandling of classified information. We are telling you about this morning so that it sees the light of day.

The report appears to represent a final and anti-climactic chapter to controversy that arguably led to Clinton's 2016 election defeat. State Department investigators found 38 current or former employees did violate security procedures. In a review of e-mails to and from the personal computer system Clinton used. President Trump continues to raise that Clinton emails issue to attack Democrats. That is even though that impeachment inquiry testimony has revealed that Trump administration diplomats used private phones and apps to text about their efforts in Ukraine.

BRIGGS: All right, ahead here. Is the blackface scandal enough to cost Justin Trudeau the job as Canadian Prime Minister? We'll soon find out. The latest straight ahead.



ROMANS: All right, a tornado touching down overnight in Dallas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in a tornado. We're in a tornado.


ROMANS: Frightening moments for residence. The power company says, over 100,000 customers still in the dark this morning. See how ominous it looks that backlit by lightning strikes. Whoa. Officials warned of trees and powerlines down in northern Dallas along with other debris. Emergency officials asking residents to stay indoors.

You can hear alarms blaring in the background and see this home depot crushed by the tornado. Three injuries reported so far. The storm threat is not over, though. Here's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning Dave and Christine. We are following these storms here, another line back, the weather is stretching some 1300 miles from its northern periphery towards the south. The first line of the storm move through some time around 9:00 p.m. local time, that's where the initial reports of a tornado where in place.

We do have another line back behind it here that will put more straight-line winds. But notice, still quite a bit of activity into the early morning hours, upwards of 1,400 lightning strikes to be had across this region. Three reports of tornadoes across the Lone Star State and then, some 51 reports of severe wind gusts, even some significant hail to be had across these region, as well.

There goes the front, and the energy with it will shift farther towards the East. That's quite about 16 million people at risk going into towards Monday afternoon. And notice, Memphis, Jackson, down towards New Orleans, even Houston, in line here for a slight risk of tornadoes -- isolated tornadoes in the forecast for Tuesday afternoon.

But beyond this, very quickly, the conditions quickly taper off here. The temperatures, warmest day of the week across portions of the south, upper 70's in Atlanta, while New York City, 66. Not too bad out of Chicago's highest there, around 64 degrees. Guys?

ROMANS: All right, thanks, Pedram.

Striking General Motors workers will remain on the picket lines for at least another week even as the United Auto Workers national council votes to recommend a tentative agreement with GM for ratification. Now, nearly 50,000 rank and file workers have to vote on the proposal. And the strike continues until then.

The financial toll is mounting for GM and the states where GM has a concentration of workers. States across the Midwest already feeling the strain of the U.S./China trade war. Manufacturing job creation has stalled and economists say the effect of lost wages, lower production and temporary layoffs will linger even when this strike is over.

According to the Anderson Economic Group, a typical, a full-time UAW worker has already lost roughly $7,000 in wages. Keeping workers out on strike another week will cost members $14 million in lost wages. And nonunion workers that supplier firms who are furloughed because of the strike, they are going to lose about $20 million. More than $20 million, the ratification process could take up to eight days.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fighting for political survival, as Canadians head to the polls today. Trudeau is lock-in a very tight race against Conservative rival, Andrew Scheer. The Prime Minister has been (inaudible) about a blackface scandal that broke last month. Managing to keep the embarrassment from becoming a central issue in his campaign. 170 seats are needed to form a majority government and polls show neither Scheer nor Trudeau are close to reaching that threshold.

Calling all Disney fans, binge-watching your favorite movies can lead to a big payday. CNN business has the details next.



ROMANS: So, there's been reports of a rift in the royal family, right? Prince Harry seems to be acknowledging some tensions with his brother, William, in an interview during his recent trip to Africa. It's part of an hour long ITV documentary that aired Sunday.


PRINCE HARRY: Part of this role and part of this job, and this family, being under the pressure that it's under, evidentially, you know, stuff happens. But we're brothers. We're always be brothers. And we are certainly in different paths at a moment, but I will always be there for him and as I know he will always be there for me. And we don't see each other as much as we used to because we're so busy, but you know, I love him dearly. And the majority of the stuff is probably -- the majority of the stuff is created out of nothing, but you know, as I just said, as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days.


ROMANS: Max Foster live from London, with the very latest. Sounds like a brother talking about anybody's brother, right. You have good days, you have bad days.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but for a long time I've been told that there is no tension between the brothers and they are getting on very well. I mean, he does talk about how he loves William. They are always going to be brothers. They will always going to have that brotherly relationship. When he talks about policy, I think they are probably talking professionally. William, is heading towards a much more formal role of king, Harry doesn't have the same sort formal expectations.

He is doing things very differently, but they are acknowledging tensions. And I don't expect to hear anything from the other side, from Prince William's side. Because effectively, Harry is breaking one of the family rules. You don't talk about tensions in the family. Because what that does is weaken the wider institution. That is what you shouldn't be doing. You're one family, you're one monarchy.

The other interesting argument that came out of these, of course, is what the duchess has been talking about. She's been talking about, you know, the struggles she's had. And what you have from both of these two is two royals who are clearly struggling in their positions. And they're not always coping even. Just have a -- listen to how the duchess spoke to (inaudible), in last night's documentary.


MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY'S FIANCEE: Look, any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable. And so, that was made really challenging. And then, when you have a newborn, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. It was a long time ago, but I remember.

MARKLE: And especially as a woman, it's really -- it's a lot. So, you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed, it's, yes, I guess, and also thank you for asking. Because not many people have asked if I'm OK, but it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.


FOSTER: She talked also about the tabloid media, how her friends had warned her not to marry Prince Harry because the tabloids would destroy her. And she was effectively saying part of that seems to be coming to fruition. And she got quite tearful in that other part of the documentary, as well. It is interesting to see how this plays out. But it does also ties in with this other story that I had yesterday, royal sources telling me that the couple is going to take time off towards the end of the year. To have some family time. They are going to split their time between the U.S. and the U.K. Christine.

ROMANS: I've seen those some reports that maybe they will come to the U.S, to the Westcoast for the American thanksgiving potentially. So, a break, perhaps, for the family. Thanks, Max Foster, nice to see you in London this morning.

BRIGGS: Two cranes demolished in a controlled explosion at the Hard Rock Hotel construction site in New Orleans. Part of the hotel collapsed earlier this month during construction, killing three workers, injuring more than two dozen people. One of the cranes is now dangling off the side of the building. The other is lodged in the middle of the street. Not clear if that was part of the plan. City officials say they now hope to be able to retrieve the bodies from the debris. So far, just one victim has been recovered.

ROMANS: All right, 58 minutes past the hour. It is Monday morning. Let's get a check on CNN business. Taking a look at markets around the world as you can see. A mixed performance barely moving for the Asian stock markets, and Europe looks like it's mixed here.

On Wall Street, right now to start the week, futures up hardly at all. Hardly anything there, this is what I would call directionless. A trade could take a backseat to earnings this week. A flood of companies deliver their quarterly report card. Microsoft, Amazon, tesla, Caterpillar, Verizon, all among the names were putting results.

Last week, solid earnings from banks and other companies help boost stocks. Stocks have been at the mercy of trades and political headlines. But they are hanging on to gains for the month. The DOW is up close to 1 percent. The S&P up, 1.5 percent. And the NASDAQ, that is a pretty decent gain for what is usually a cantankerous month for investors in October.

How about this for a dream job for Disney fans? You can earn $1,000 just watching Disney movies. is looking for the biggest, baddest Disney fan to watch and review 30 of their favorites on Disney Plus. Five candidates will have 30 days after the Disney Plus launches on November 12 to complete 30 reviews. To apply, you must be at least 18 years old, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you also have to submit a sample video review of your favorite Disney movie and share details about your social media following.

Along with the grand, the selective fanatics will get a one-year subscription to Disney Plus and a Disney theme movie watching kit. The application closes November 7th. Are you qualified?

BRIGGS: I think I'm in.

ROMANS: You're really good of a Disney princess.

BRIGGS: I love Disney princess movies, 30 in 30 days.

ROMANS: He knows a lot of those. BRIGGS: I have a lot of time. Sign me up. 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.