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U.S. Raid Kills Isis Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; European Union Grants U.K.'s Request For Brexit Flextension; Statewide Emergency In Fire-Ravaged California. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 28, 2019 - 05:30   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump and his team watching as the founder and leader of ISIS was killed, bringing the long search for a ruthless extremist to a dramatic end.

Baghdadi grew ISIS from an insurgent gang to a formable quasi-state that spawned copycat groups and lone wolves around the world.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The raid that killed him was carried out in northern Syria just weeks after President Trump pulled U.S. troops out. A source tells CNN the withdrawal had a major effect on planning the Baghdadi operation. The source says it would have been impossible without U.S. troops stationed in Syria and other partnerships with the Kurds.

More now from Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Christine, President Trump offered explicit details about how Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi met his fate when U.S. special forces landed at the compound in northwest Syria where he had been hiding out. About 100 troops coming in on eight helicopters with overwhelming firepower.

They called for Baghdadi to come out -- he did not. He apparently fled into an underground tunnel and it was at that point that he detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three children he had dragged down there with him.

U.S. forces then spent about two hours at the compound gathering intelligence. The kind of thing they typically look for, computers -- laptop computers, cell phones with data of addresses or contacts, any documents, any photographs. Anything that might give them clues about who Baghdadi had been communicating with, what the network looked like, whether there were operatives even potentially outside of Syria and Iraq.

But with U.S. troops coming out of Syria, the real question at hand is whether they will be able to readily continue these kinds of raids. They had to depend, clearly, on intelligence on the ground and if U.S. troops are not on the ground, getting that intelligence to be able to conduct these types of raids may be increasingly hard -- Dave, Christine.


BRIGGS: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks.

Baghdadi may be gone but officials warn that ISIS will go on.

Two senior sources tell us law enforcement agencies are on alert for potential retaliation from ISIS sympathizers inside the U.S. One Defense official suggests there could be more U.S. operations targeting high-value terrorists in Idlib, Syria. A senior Defense source says these targeting operations require a presence on the ground, which the official says will be harder to do as we withdraw.

For more, let's go live to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh in Iraq. Nick, good morning. How complicated is the mission moving forward?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been made more complicated by the man who is claiming credit for the success of one of its key elements, the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

During his speech, Donald Trump admitted that he was happy to take a phone call from President Erdogan of Turkey and authorize the green light for incursion against the Syrian Kurds by Turkish armed forces -- the Syrian Kurds who are the main, if not only, ground force assisting the U.S. campaign against ISIS.

He let that continue, enormously damaging the ground positions of U.S. forces fighting ISIS. They had to evacuate their main headquarters in Kobane because of the speed in which Turkish incursion and pro-Turkish forces developed during that two- or three-week period.

At the same time, he was being briefed that the hunt for Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was closing in. He said that during that press conference. It was a remarkable admission, frankly -- one that I think will eventually lead many to question his precise motivation in all of that because he's left U.S. forces in an extraordinarily difficult position.

They're now trying to reclaim the sort of tactical strength they had before the Turkish incursion went on. But in credit to them, frankly, while on one hand, they were trying to withdraw from bases, they were also achieving, simultaneously, the main goal of their campaign here, the death of Baghdadi -- almost like scoring a touchdown during a pitch invasion.

It was absolutely startling to hear that admission. And there's one key question to still be answered about all of this. What did Turkey know and when? Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding out in an al Qaeda stronghold -- ISIS's ideological rival, frankly -- in a compound about a sort of handful of miles away from the Turkish border in an area where Turkey has a lot of militia that it controls and influences.

People will be asking what they knew and when. They've always said they've been tough in the fight against ISIS and there's some evidence to back that up. But it is remarkable how close the world's most wanted man was to their border posts -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes. A lot more questions need to be answered in the days ahead.

Nick Paton Walsh live for us in Iraq, thanks.

ROMANS: All right, much more ahead. Plus, a key witness on the schedule for impeachment testimony today. Will a former top national security official even show up? All three branches of government now involved.



BRIGGS: President Trump did not inform any key Democrats about the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because this was a U.S. military operation and not a covert intelligence operation. He was not required to provide advance notice but it does defy the usual protocol for such high-profile operations.

The president suggesting that by informing Democrats, Baghdadi might have been tipped off.


TRUMP: We were going to notify them last night but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I've never seen before. There's nothing -- there's no country in the world that leaks like we do, and Washington is a leaking machine.

And I told my people we will not notify them until the -- our great people are out. Not just in, but out.



ROMANS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quick to point out that the Russians were notified of the raid in advance, but not top congressional leaders.

After making his big announcement, the president made a series of dubious claims, insisting the death of Baghdadi was a bigger deal than Osama bin Laden's assassination.


TRUMP: Bin Laden was a big thing but this is the biggest there is. This is the worst ever. Osama bin Laden was very big, but Osama Bin Laden became big with the World Trade Center.

This is a man who built a whole -- as he would like to call it, a country -- a caliphate -- and was trying to do it again.


ROMANS: With that in mind, this 2012 tweet did not age well. Donald Trump wrote then, "Stop congratulating Obama for killing bin Laden. The Navy Seals killed bin Laden."

BRIGGS: All right, let's bring in Princeton historian and professor, Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. Good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Hi, Julian.


BRIGGS: OK, are we so partisan, so divided that the commander in chief can't get credit for his significant success or did he step on his own message there?

ZELIZER: I think he stepped on his own message. I think if he had kept that short, announced what had happened and moved on, that would have been better for him and it wouldn't have turned this into a conversation about what he said rather than the operation.

ROMANS: It's so Trumpian -- the biggest, the best, the baddest thing. You know, Trump inflates everything so you really see his personality in that statement.

Does it take away the success, I guess, in the end -- or do we just switch here to impeachment again and he gets a few days out of this?

ZELIZER: Well, the success itself is still relevant. It's a major development militarily. It doesn't end the threat but it does remove a key player.

But I don't think it has any effect on the politics. I assume within a few days --


ZELIZER: -- we're right back to the same conversation where we were last week because it's a very big story.

ROMANS: He informed Russia but he didn't inform the Speaker of the House --


ROMANS: -- and top Democrats.

And, Pete Buttigieg, who is running for president as a Democrat, was on the campaign trail yesterday and he talked a little bit about what this says about this president and this presidency -- listen.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Politics are supposed to stop at the water's edge. Needless to say, that norm has been disrupted many times by this presidency. But it is a concern to hear that the Gang of Eight were not notified. I think this is about politics and if the president were concerned about leaks he should start with his own White House.


ROMANS: He didn't have to tell Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats but protocol is that you do for something like this.

ZELIZER: Yes, there was no reason not to. That reflects how much his own partisan interests shape what he does or his own re-electoral concerns and there's no need for that kind of situation.

It's not as if Speaker Pelosi or her aides would have leaked a high- profile mission like this as it was in operation. And he was willing to talk to other people --


ZELIZER: -- so he wasn't closed up in this.

BRIGGS: Nonetheless, it gives him a little reprieve from the impeachment story that continues to haunt the White House.

Here's what Gen. John Kelly, the former chief of staff, told the "Washington Examiner" over the weekend -- some eyebrow-raising comments -- listen.


JOHN KELLY, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I said whatever you do -- and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place -- I said whatever you do, don't hire a yes man -- someone that's going to tell you -- won't tell you the truth. Don't do that because if you do I believe you'll be impeached.


BRIGGS: Presumably, he's referencing Mick Mulvaney, the chief of staff.


BRIGGS: Is the president surrounded by yes men and how does that impact the president?

ZELIZER: The president is surrounded by yes men. Many people said Kelly, when he was in the job, turned into just that.

But what you're seeing is as the impeachment process gets worse, as more information comes out, more people want to go on record saying I told you so or I was somehow separate from this. So I think we're going to hear more statements like that.

But the statement gets to the nub of a problem. No one around the president wants to stop him, can stop him or says stop him.

ROMANS: He had the --

BRIGGS: But the president did say he did not -- that John Kelly did not tell him that -- did not warn him of that.

ROMANS: And, Stephanie Grisham, who is the White House press secretary, said this. "I worked with John Kelly and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president."

But if you believe John Kelly and what he said there at that forum, he's saying that the president, unchecked, will break the law and be unconstitutional.

ZELIZER: Yes, that's exactly the implication of the statement -- that the president needs someone to stop him and he needs that in the inner circle. And then again, you'll hear more of this as this unfolds.

ROMANS: All right, Julian Zelizer. Nice to see you. Thank you so much.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BRIGGS: Good to see you, sir. Thank you.

All right. Ahead, Microsoft won a hotly-contested contract to provide cloud services --

ROMANS: Cloud services to the -- to the Defense Department --

BRIGGS: -- excuse me. I'm jumping in your story there.

ROMANS: That's all right, that's all right -- a contract said to be worth as much as $10 billion over the next decade.

Amazon had been seen as the front-runner to win the bidding but the president -- President Trump put himself in this process, questioning whether the process had been fair even though multiple reviews found little evidence of wrongdoing.


Trump, of course, is a frequent critic of Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. He has accused Amazon of taking advantage of the postal service, without evidence. He doesn't like the coverage of "The Washington Post," which Bezos owns.

Trump became involved in this decision, according to a new biography of former Defense Sec. Jim Mattis. Trump, in that biography, reportedly called Mattis and told him to, quote, "screw Amazon" out of the chance to bid on this contract.

Amazon said in a statement it is surprised of the decision and that Amazon Web Services is the clear leader in cloud computing.

All right, here's what to watch today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rising rent and home prices are pushing Americans further from the places they work. This is straining the backbone of our communities.

To do our part, Wells Fargo has committed $1 billion over the next six years to develop housing affordability solutions, putting affordable homes within reach. This is our commitment. This is Wells Fargo.




ROMANS: All right, we have some breaking news for you this morning.

The United Kingdom apparently will not be crashing out of the European Union without a Brexit deal in three days. The E.U. agreeing to the British Parliament request for a so-called Brexit flextension.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live in London. And, Nic, this whole experience has spawned a whole new vocabulary -- a Brexit flextension.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: And the unfortunate news for all our viewers is the extension -- flextension of our vocabulary is probably going to continue because Brexit is far from done and an extension tells you exactly that.

What is on offer here? What we're expecting and what the European Council president Donald Tusk has tweeted is that rather than crashing out on Thursday this week, the U.K. will remain members of the European Union until the end of January 2020, three months from now. That's what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked for.

However, there will be a couple of get-out clauses that the U.K. can get out of the European Union at the end of November and at the end of December, providing both Parliaments have ratified the deal that was agreed in Brussels just over a week or so ago. So that's where it stands.

It becomes complicated here in the U.K. because the prime minister now has to decide does he get more time to negotiate the legal -- the legal parameters to get this deal through Parliament. Does he get that passed into legislation and then try and get out at the end of November? Or does he go for an election, which is what he was talking about at

the end of last week -- of going for an election on December the 12th? His problem is he doesn't have support in Parliament to go for that election.

However, everyone in the U.K. can breathe easy because there will be no crashing out of the European Union at the end of this week.

I have to add to that, of course, very interesting that earlier this morning, the government had already taken one of its significant steps to prepare for that.

It had put -- it had put conditions on trucks headed to the border channel to Europe, saying that they now had to drive only on the near- side lane and only at 30 miles an hour because the government was expecting massive backups of trucks -- miles upon miles upon miles. That seems to be headed off -- not gone -- not gone completely yet.

ROMANS: All right, Brexit flextension. Thank you so much, Nic Robertson, for that this morning.

BRIGGS: All right.

Meanwhile, California under a statewide emergency as wind-whipped wildfires in the north and south of the state keep spreading, destroying homes and forcing almost 200,000 people to flee.

In Northern California's Wine Country, the Kincade fire has expanded to about 50,000 acres and is 10 percent contained. Two firefighters suffering burn injuries.

Soda Rock Winery, a landmark dating back to 1869, engulfed in flames.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus, it's hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it's hot.


ROMANS: Drivers on I-80 terrified as fires roared all around them.

Close to a million Pacific Gas and Electric customers had their power cut off -- planned power outages to prevent new wildfires. They could be in the dark until Thursday. About 100,000 in the dark after winds knocked down power lines or damaged infrastructure.

Governor Gavin Newsom describing a historic wind event with unprecedented scope. The National Weather Service says winds reaching 70 to 80 miles per hour.


BRIAN VITORELO, SPOKESMAN, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION: We have done everything that smart planning and firefighter and citizen safety can allow. This is a very difficult event to stop because of exacer -- it exacerbates fire behaviors so drastically.



BRIGGS: All 40 Sonoma County public school districts are closed today and tomorrow. More than 800 Airbnb hosts in Northern California have opened up their homes and rental properties for free to evacuees and relief workers.

ROMANS: All right.

California congresswoman Katie Hill has resigned. She was facing allegations of improper relationships with staffers. Hill released a statement calling the decision to step down the hardest thing she ever had to do. She also called it the best thing for her constituents.

Last week, Hill admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before taking office. The House Ethics Committee had also announced it would investigate a separate allegation of a relationship with a staffer in her congressional office.

All right, let's get a check on "CNN Business" Monday morning edition.

In global markets, a mixed performance here. Asian markets moved higher on hopes for a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China. European shares are mixed here.

And on Wall Street, leaning slightly higher here.

You know, markets are pretty close to record highs and this week will have an awful lot of new information for us about the American economy.

On Wednesday, the Fed is expected to cut interest rates for the third meeting in a row. We'll get a first read of third-quarter GDP numbers forecast around 1 1/2 percent for economic growth. On Friday, the Labor Department will release jobs data for October.

All of this against the backdrop of a ballooning federal budget deficit. The Treasury Department, Friday, announcing a widening deficit of almost $1 trillion.

Louis Vuitton owner LVMH is thinking inside the box -- the robin egg blue box, that is. LVMH offering to buy Tiffany for $120 a share in an all-cash deal. That deal values Tiffany at close to $14.5 billion.

"The Wall Street Journal" says the deal would help LVMH increase its exposure to jewelry, one of the fastest-growing businesses in the luxury market. Tiffany has struggled to grow sales in recent years.

It is said to be evaluating that offer, Dave.

BRIGGS: "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" naturally focusing heavily on impeachment and bringing back an old friend with some experience on the subject.


DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR, PORTRAYING PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": But man, I wish I would have known that a president could be on the road like this doing rallies. Can you imagine? Oh, my lord, I would never come home.


HAMMOND: You are? You dirty dog.

BALDWIN: No, no, it's not for that. They don't mind when I do that -- trust me.

HAMMOND: Well, that is progress.


MICHAEL CHE, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": What the hell happened to Rudy Giuliani?

I'm a New Yorker. I remember Giuliani coming out on T.V. during 9/11 so calm and measured and he told us not to worry. And now, I watch him on T.V. and I'm like wait, did this guy even understand what was going on then or was he like Forrest Gump in Vietnam?

Somehow, Giuliani went from the mayor of 9/11 to the 9/11 of mayors.


BRIGGS: Meanwhile, in some sports, the Astros are one win away from another World Series title.


WORLD SERIES ANNOUNCER: That is clutched into left -- goodbye.


BRIGGS: That's George Springer's 15th career post-season home run and Houston's third of the game powering the Astros to a 7-1 win over the Nationals in game five. Houston now leads 3-2 heading back to Houston for game six.

After Nats' ace Max Scherzer was scratched with an injury, the Astros ace Gerrit Cole gave up just one run over seven innings.

The first time, meanwhile, since 1996, the road team has won each of the first five games in a World Series.

President Trump and the first lady were on hand to see the game.


The president and first lady in their seats (ph).



BRIGGS: A mix -- but yes, certainly some boos among that crowd. And then there was this chant.


WORLD SERIES CROWD (chanting): Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!


BRIGGS: That's the "lock him up" chant at Nationals Park.

But the hero of the game, at least says Bud Light's Twitter feed, was Nationals fan Jeff Adams, who was later identified as this man double- fisting two Bud Light beers and taking a home run ball to the chest.

Romans, at some point, he must have thought all right, drop the beer or take a homer the chest. And the decision was an easy one for Jeff Adams.

ROMANS: Well look, if you don't have 15 bucks to replace each of those beers -- I mean, what do you do?

BRIGGS: Plus, the wait that it takes, probably next to 30 minutes.

ROMANS: Right. That's valuable.

BRIGGS: Bravo.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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

ROMANS: You think they're 15 bucks?

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, October 28th. It's 6:00 here in New York.

And we begin this morning with brand-new video of the scene of the dramatic U.S. military raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The compound where President Trump says al-Baghdadi ultimately blew himself up -- it has now been leveled.