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GM Strike Leaves Ohio Plant Behind; Boeing CEO Faces Lawmakers; AT&T to Unveil HBO Max; California Gripped by Wildfires; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is Interviewed on the Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 8:30- 9a ET

Aired October 29, 2019 - 08:30   ET



VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These two shuttered restaurants are signs of the times.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What will this area start to look like in the next couple months, next couple years?

BILL ADAMS, VICE PRESIDENT, LOCAL UNION 1112: I would say it's going to get -- economically it's going to get worse. You're not going to have the engage that drove it for so many years.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Bill Adams heard the president's promise to save his job. And now he's helping other union members find new ones.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Do you think it was an unrealistic promise that he made?

ADAMS: Pretty much anything that man says is unrealistic to me.

YURKEVICH: But a lot of people do believe -- they believed that he was going to save jobs.

ADAMS: How'd that work out? It didn't. He lied.

DOUG GRANT, FORMER GM WORKER: I wanted to believe him. I wanted to give him a chance. I did not vote for him. But I thought, if he could do something, fine. We'll -- we'll take any avenue of help that we could get to keep the facility open.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Doug Grant worked in Lordstown for nearly 20 years and he doesn't plan on leaving.

GRANT: You hope for the best, prepare for the worst. And right now we're living the worst.

YURKEVICH (on camera): So what do you do now?

GRANT: I've looked for some jobs. As you get older, it's harder. I'm going to be forced into retirement, take a retirement package.

YURKEVICH (voice over): This plant represents more than just jobs. Its demise is an industry indicator. And for Grant, a warning about the future.

GRANT: If it could happen to Lordstown, again another cliche, if it could happen here, it could happen anywhere.


YURKEVICH: That economic anxiety that you're hearing is having Democrats here that we spoke to looking at candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Now, their Medicare for all plans would essentially take away their union health insurance, but the message about corporate greed could not resonate more, Alisyn, with these workers who no long have a job to return to here in Lordstown.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Vanessa, that was really illuminating. Thank you very much for going there and talking to those folks.

So, in just hours, Boeing's CEO heads to Capitol Hill where he is expected to acknowledge that his company made mistakes in the wake of the safety crisis plaguing their 737 Max jet. Three hundred and forty- six people died in two crashes.

CNN's Rene Marsh is live in Washington with more.

So what will this mea culpa sound like, Rene?


Yes, it's going to be day one of back-to-back hearings on Capitol Hill. Today will be the senators. Tomorrow will be the House. And Boeing's CEO, Dennis Muilenburg should certainly expect to get hammered with tough questions. One key question, as one member of Congress told me yesterday is, how the hell did this happen?

Now, the focus will be on the 737 Max automated flight control system, which investigators say played a major role in both of those crashes. The system, as you remember, relied on only one sensor for critical information. So that made it very vulnerable. It had no redundancies if that sensor failed. Pilots weren't trained on that system that essentially automatically pushed the plane's nose down. And there was no mention of it in manuals either.

So lawmakers, who have heard from Boeing whistleblowers, they're going to be focused on internal Boeing e-mails and messages that reveal, and I'm quoting, a pattern of extraordinary production pressure to keep up with the new jet from its competitor Airbus. Also indicating that the company was being driven by profits and not safety.

We also expect, as you point out, Muilenburg to express sympathy to the families. Some of whom will be there at the hearing today. He will also admit mistakes. And we have a portion of his opening statement that CNN has obtained. And he says, we know we made mistakes and got some things wrong. We own that and we are fixing them. We have developed improvements to the 737 Max to ensure that accidents like these never happen again. It is worth noting, today is the one year anniversary of that first

737 Max crash. The big question is, will he convince Congress these planes are safe to fly again, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to be watching that very closely.

Rene Marsh, thank you very much for your reporting.

Now here is what else to watch today.


10:00 a.m. ET, Boeing CEO testifies.

11:00 a.m. ET, Obama Foundation summit.

12:00 p.m. ET, 9/11 Families and survivors in New York City.


CAMEROTA: As you know, we've been covering wildfires for days, and dozens of them are scorching California right now, forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have a live report for you on what the firefighters are facing this morning.



BERMAN: It is time for "CNN Business Now." In just hours, our parent company, AT&T, will unveil a new streaming service, HBO Max. When will it launch? How much will it cost?

CAMEROTA: And how would you know since you just dropped your scripts everywhere on the set.


BERMAN: Everywhere. Everywhere.

CAMEROTA: Wow. It's a yard sale here, Christine, a yard sale.

BERMAN: CNN chief business correspondent, who's very kind and never critical in any way, Christine Romans.

CAMEROTA: All over.

BERMAN: Whose always supportive of me, joins us now with the details.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: There are no secrets with Alisyn Camerota. I love it.

Look, the streaming wars are officially here. AT&T introducing its new streaming service, HBO Max.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to retaliate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Responding militarily makes us a combatant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they attack your people, they pretty much made that choice.


ROMANS: HBO Max bringing titles like "The West Wing," "Friends," and HBO's library to subscribers. To be revealed today, the price. Set to launch next spring. It's the cornerstone of AT&T's purchase of Time Warner. And AT&T's entre into a growing field.

Apple is breaking in launching Apple TV Plus on Friday with a slate of new original programing, like its new series "Morning Show" starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Reese Whitherspoon.

Disney is tapping into its collection of Jedi, princesses and superheroes starting in November for $7 a month. You'll get access to Marvel, Star Wars and Toy Story.

You know, these newcomers are vying for space in a market already dominated by Netflix and its 158 million subscribers. Not to mention Amazon Prime and Hulu.

Now, AT&T hopes to have 50 million subscribers by 2025. It will spend $2 billion on HBO Max in the next couple of years. Guys, it's early in the streaming wars. It is unclear how many services consumers will sign up for, how much they're willing to spend for them.


CAMEROTA: Don't you mean our new best friend, Jennifer Aniston --


CAMEROTA: Who we partied with last night. See more on our Instagram page. Thank you. Thank you, Christine.


CAMEROTA: All right, now to very serious news. Sixteen fires are raging across California at this hour. The numbers are staggering. More than 25 million people across the state under red flag warnings, dozens of homes have been destroyed, thousands more are threatened. In southern California alone, more than 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate.

So joining us now is Cal Fire director -- or Deputy Director Mike Mohler.

Mike, thank you very much for joining us. I know that you're so busy.

Twenty-five million people under a red flag warning at this hour. What does that mean?

MIKE MOHLER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CAL FIRE: Really it's a -- the governor, as you know, issued a state of emergency a few days ago. Really, this is not an event. This is a storm, a firestorm, really, across the state. So what it means for first responders is, we've leaned forward. We've asked for additional resources, including 150 fire engines from out of the state. But we're prepared. But, again, Mother Nature, she bats last and she bats a thousand, so we really have to deal with that.

CAMEROTA: Do you have enough firefighters to battle this?

MOHLER: You know, we can always use more. But, again, we have to look at what's happening, not only statewide, but across the nation. We focus on areas where those red flag winds and humidities are going to be the most -- where we're going to see the extreme weather portions. That's where we focus our resources. But we also have the Kincade and now the Getty Fire in Los Angeles. We have to make sure that we're still on those fires because now they're going to be wind tested again.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Are people heeding the evacuation orders?

MOHLER: They really are. You know, it's really become a call to action for citizens in California as we've seen not just the past, you know, couple of years, but really the past ten years with these mega fires that the public has really become a partner. And when we issue these evacuation warnings, we're seeing people leave early and it really has an impact, one, life safety, but, two, so we can get our resources in there to protect their property.

CAMEROTA: Mike, can you give us some context of what you're seeing right now compared to other years, compared to other fire seasons there?

MOHLER: Well, what we're seeing is really -- we -- you've heard the term, it really is explosive fire growth. So when we talk a traditional, the front of the fire, the head of the fire, that no longer exists with these type of weather conditions. We get what we call ember casts, where an ember can be thrown over a mile ahead of the main fire, which, unfortunately, we saw a lot of in the Camp -- the devastating Camp Fire. And it starts additional fires. And then that head catches up and it becomes that mega fire.

So, tactics and strategies change minute by minute, hour by hour, depending on weather conditions. But this is -- this is not the new normal, this is the normal now for at least fire conditions.

CAMEROTA: We're thinking of all of you and praying for strength for the firefighters there.

Deputy Director Mike Mohler, thanks so much for taking the time this morning to give us an update.

MOHLER: Thank you so much.


BERMAN: Republican allies of the president this morning attacking the new star witness in the impeachment inquiry. A decorated American hero. Why?

We'll be right back.



BERMAN: In just a couple minutes, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, the highest ranking Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, will tell House investigators that he twice reported concerns to superiors about the Trump administration's pressure on Ukraine.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia.

Senator Manchin, thank you so much for being with us.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Good to be with you, John.

BERMAN: Colonel Vindman awarded the Purple Heart, a decorated veteran, an active duty member of the military will testify today apparently that he was very concerned by what he heard of President Trump's pressure on the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.


BERMAN: We've heard in response from allies of the president, including former Republican members of Congress today, questioning the loyalty of Colonel Vindman.


BERMAN: What does that tell you?

MANCHIN: Well, it's despicable. It truly is despicable. Any time that we have a service member that has served honorably, whether they're still serving or discharged, and then have a war hero, such as -- such as the gentleman we're speaking about right now. And for someone that trashed him because they disagree or basically they think that they're protecting is just wrong. It's just not who we are and it's not how I was raised in West Virginia. I mean we don't do that. We honor our veterans and give them all of the services that we can and all the accolades basically for putting themselves in harm way.


This person has a legitimate concern. That's why they're going through an inquiry. That's why they're going to go to a vote. And they're going to find out what the articles would be if they have enough evidence to go forward. Then it will be given to the Senate and we'll look at the evidence. But trashing people before they should be cooperating to get the facts out so either this can be put to rest or there's merit to it. BERMAN: One of the things that he's going to say in his opening

statement concerns Rudy Giuliani's role in controlling foreign policy in Ukraine. Let me read you part of this testimony.

In the spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy, Colonel Vindman will say.

What's your feeling on Rudy Giuliani?

MANCHIN: I agree with him. I really think Giuliani needs to be investigated. There should not be a surrogate for the executive, for the president or the administration or anybody else. It's not a part of the State Department, as part of the administration or the executive branch of the government speak with authority. But to go over there as a political hack or basically a lobbyist trying to make money and has made money and has a history of making an awful lot of money with the connections and representing one side or the other is absolutely wrong. And people have to say, how do we handle this? How do we talk to this person knowing that he's representing a certain extent to the executive branch and the president and now over -- he's trying to create policy, too.

It's very confusing. It's wrong. Should not be done. And I think that what Giuliani was doing was hurting the country, not helping us.

BERMAN: Do you think he could be in any kind of criminal jeopardy?

MANCHIN: I don't know. I'm going to make sure that basically there's an inquiry done on that also. I would like to see -- find out so we stop this type of behavior. And countries know exactly what our policy and from our State Department is speaking with authority from the president to the executive branch and Congress' support. And right now we don't have that. So there's not a clear message.

So, yes, he should be looked into.

BERMAN: You are a potential juror in a Senate trial, if the president is impeached in the House. So one of your colleagues, Republican Lindsey Graham, has put forward a motion sort of condemning the House process. You haven't signed on to that, but what is your view of the House process so far?

MANCHIN: Well, basically, the House process -- the Constitution is clear, it gives the House the responsibility of the impeachment process. And I have looked back and -- through history, I've had my staff look back, John, and we have seen through the Nixon impeachment process and through the Clinton impeachment process that basically there's a time period when they gather the information through the inquiries and then basically they either move forward or they don't move forward. In both cases, they move forward.

But it was about three or four months lapse between the two. Now that I have seen Speaker Pelosi is going to hold a vote. That basically says that it's moving in a process that we've done before. So I would say that Lindsey, if he believes that he's pushed that and accelerated that, then that -- so be it. That's what they believe.

On the other hand, I believe the process was going to work. I've always said there would be a vote on whether there's going to be an impeachment inquiry. We're going to have to see the articles of impeachment, what they think they have evidence to charge the president for impeachment and articles. Then it's going to come to the Senate. And we're going to evaluate those evidence and see if it warrants what they -- that they've given us.

BERMAN: You have been working very hard over the last few weeks, months, frankly, to protect pensions --

MANCHIN: Oh, my.

BERMAN: Largely of union members, including miners, having to do with bankruptcy issues. Talk to me about the legislation you're putting forth today.

MANCHIN: John, all pensions. Anybody that pays into a pension, the workers of America, and it's over 10.5 million workers who pay into a pension, and to find benefit and to find contribution plan to where they're really putting their hard-earned money and matching it with a company's in order to have something in retirement. And to have that in jeopardy right now and the bankruptcy courts allowed to basically anybody to walk away through a bankruptcy and not fulfill that obligation. And somebody takes all that money. Where does the money go? It doesn't go to the workers, John, I can assure you.

So I've introduced what I call the SLAP Act. Stop Looting America's Pensions. And definitely the United Mine Workers are on the front line. Last night, Murray Energy, the largest unionized mine company in the country, has gone bankrupt. And if this proceeds, as it has before, our miners will be left out. They -- by next year, they will lose their pensions. And the average pension for a mine worker that's retired or a widow that's receiving it is around $600, John. And that's a life-sustaining amount of money for them and all this (ph) have that eroded.

And it's Mitch McConnell that has had the bill. Miners -- the Miners of America -- the American Miners Protection Act for over three years and he won't move on it. It makes no sense at all. But now we have an urgency. So I guess it took another bankrupt. We'll see what he does. And I'm going to be urging that for unanimous consent as quickly as possible.


BERMAN: We've got about 20 seconds left here. You note the urgency here. Part of the problem is, is that some of these companies are going belly up and they are declaring bankruptcy, correct?

MANCHIN: Well, they are. They're declaring bankruptcy but basically when they declare bankruptcy and absolve themselves of it, the working person is on the back end of the line. It's their money on the front- end of the line that all these and other people come in to restructure a bankruptcy that are taking the assets off the front end, all the liquid cash, and leaving them with a tremendous amount of debt. The people on the back lot (ph), which is the workers, and their money's on the front line, get nothing. And that's got to be reversed and it's got to stop.

BERMAN: Senator Joe Manchin, thank you for being with us this morning talking about the SLAP Act. Good luck.

MANCHIN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, a national security expert who was on that July phone call with President Trump and Ukraine's president is set to testify in the impeachment probe this morning. More developments, next.



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

Goodness, things are moving