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EARLY START

Nationals Bags Historic World Series Win Against Astros; Twitter CEO Says No to Political Ads; Raid Video at ISIS Compound Declassified; Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 31, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00]

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: -- candidates think.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And the Pentagon declassifies images from the raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. What was the ISIS leader doing at the very end of his life?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Happy Halloween.

ROMANS: You too.

BRIGGS: Are you going to dress up?

ROMANS: My kids all changed what they want to be last night so I'm focused on the kids.

BRIGGS: Come on, man. Dress up.

ROMANS: What about you?

BRIGGS: I'll be dressing up. You'll get a clue here in a minute.

ROMANS: Oh, good.

BRIGGS: Happy Halloween, everyone. 5:00 a.m. in the East. We start with, well, baseball over politics in the nation's capital this morning.

The Nationals are World Series champions for the first time in their history after beating the Astros in a game seven classic.

ROMANS: That's right. Andy Scholes is here in the champagne celebration aftermath.

BRIGGS: Houston's own Andy Scholes.

ROMANS: How are you doing, Andy?

BRIGGS: How you doing, pal? ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, guys. I mean, I'll tell

you what, that was a rough champagne celebration being an Astros fan. But I will say this, if any team was going to win the World Series and it was not the Astros, I'm happy it was the Nationals because this was just such a special team. And they had their backs against the wall so many times this year. They started off the season 19-31. They were down to the Brewers in the Wild Card Game. They were down to the Dodgers in the Division series. And of course they were down to these Astros in the World Series.

But they always just found a way. They stayed in the fight. And that was their postseason slogan this entire month. And in the World Series, they stayed in the fight once again. Down 2-1 in the seventh. Howie Kendrick coming through with the clutch two-run homerun to right to give Washington the lead. The dugout goes crazy. Then 21-year-old Dominican Juan Soto would add to that lead in the eighth inning with an RBI single. Soto was just awesome this entire World Series.

Washington would pour it on late to take game seven 6-2. And after all the postseason failures the Nationals have had, they're the World Series champions for the first time. And Stephen Strasburg was named World Series MVP. And in the clubhouse celebration, I saw a pretty awesome moment between him and fellow ace Max Scherzer with Scherzer saying over and over again to Strasburg, we did it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN STRASBURG, WASHINGTON NATIONALS PITCHER: Yes. There was -- there was some heartbreak in the past but nothing but love here. And we're just enjoying the ride.

SCHOLES: What do you got to say to the fans waiting in D.C. for you?

STRASBURG: Oh, man. I hope to see them -- I hope to see them loud and excited just like we are.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN, WASHINGTON NATIONALS FIRST BASEMAN: I'm happy for the organization. For the city. I hope they're ready for a party because we're coming home.

TREA TURNER, WASHINGTON NATIONALS SHORTSTOP: We couldn't be happier. You know, I think the fans have been behind us all year. We showed them how we were going to continue to fight for them and giving it our all. And I'm just happy we got it done for them.

JUAN SOTO, WASHINGTON NATIONALS OUTFIELDER: It's amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're 21. Look at this.

SOTO: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're 21.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES: Yes, first champagne party for Soto, 21 years old. Check out the scene outside Nationals Park in D.C. The fans just going bonkers after that final out. And then, there was this guy who rips off his shirt and tries to slide across the dugout.

BRIGGS: Oh, this guy.

SCHOLES: Looks like he's been waiting to do that for a long time.

BRIGGS: Legend. Legend.

SCHOLES: Yes. The team, they're going to return to D.C. later today. And the party, guys, is going to continue through the weekend, as they're going to have that championship parade through downtown D.C. on Saturday.

ROMANS: That's awesome.

BRIGGS: We got to find that guy. That guy is my new hero. I mean, he is an absolute legend, with the head-first dive.

Was that champagne or tears? We noticed the camera has fogged up to hide how disappointed and devastated you are this morning.

ROMANS: A little gel on the lens.

SCHOLES: Dave, I'll tell you what. We got right in the middle of that party.

BRIGGS: Yes.

SCHOLES: I mean, it was wild in there.

BRIGGS: It was. Congratulations to that team. They are an easy group to root for.

Andy, thank you, buddy.

All right. Some dramatic turns expected today in the impeachment inquiry. At 8:00 a.m., the National Security Council's top Russia expert, Tim Morrison, testifies. He'll be the second witness who listened in on the July 25th call between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine.

CNN has reported Morrison will corroborate key elements of Bill Taylor's account. Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine to publicly announced an investigation into the Bidens in exchange for security assistance.

ROMANS: CNN has also learned Morrison is leaving his job soon, raising expectations he'll speak more freely in his deposition.

Also this morning the first House floor vote on impeachment. That happens around 10:30 Eastern Time. Now the resolution allows for public impeachment hearings and the release of depositions transcripts. It also outlines the role of House Democrats and more limited rights for Republicans and the White House. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounding optimistic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Mr. Clyburn, our whip, has given me a very good report about our vote tomorrow. He's the whip -- the vote counter. Thank you, Mr. Clyburn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: One big remaining question, will John Bolton testify? A source tells CNN House investigators invited the former National Security adviser to appear next week. But Bolton's lawyer says he won't appear unless he is subpoenaed. Other witnesses have said Bolton raised concerns about shadow diplomacy with Ukraine by the president and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

ROMANS: Also today, two hearings that will determine whether the White House can defy subpoenas. Bolton's former aide, Charles Kupperman, has asked a judge to decide whether he should testify over White House objections. A different judge will hear arguments on whether former White House counsel Don McGahn is immune from testifying.

There's a lot of process there, I know. But there's a lot going on and this thing is moving forward and it's moving into the public phase now which is -- which is an important milestone, I think.

BRIGGS: A lot to unpack indeed.

Ahead, winds as fierce as a hurricane, driving raging fires across California, including one inching extremely close to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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[05:10:58]

JAMES CORDEN, LATE-SHOW HOST: Now, if you want to see dishonest political ads, you'll have to head over to literally any other Web site on the Internet. No political advertising on the Twitter platform. I will tell you, if the founding fathers were alive, they would have no ability to remotely understand this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: It's true. No more political ads on Twitter. Its CEO tweeting, "We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought." There is intense scrutiny of social media giants, particularly Facebook, for allowing politicians to run false ads.

Donie O'Sullivan is a CNN politics and technology writer. He joins us here this morning.

So glad to have you on the program bright and early. BRIGGS: Good morning. Happy Halloween.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN POLITICS AND TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Happy Halloween.

ROMANS: Happy Halloween. Trick or treat. Twitter is not going to accept these political ads anymore. How important is this?

O'SULLIVAN: This really puts Jack Dorsey, a titan of Silicon Valley, at odds with another titan of Silicon Valley Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg and the Facebook leadership have spent the past few weeks vigorously defending the right for politicians -- they say the right for politicians to place ads even if they're false on their platform. Jack came out yesterday and said, hey, we're not going to take any -- in fact we're not going take any political ads.

It was a good day for Jack Dorsey yesterday on Twitter. You saw even from Washington a lot of folks --

ROMANS: Yes.

O'SULLIVAN: -- were complimenting the move. The big question is going to be, will Twitter be able to enforce the policy, though.

BRIGGS: Yes.

O'SULLIVAN: We often see Twitter getting good publicity like this.

BRIGGS: Sure.

O'SULLIVAN: And then not being able to keep their --

BRIGGS: Want to get to the political reaction a second, but my first reaction was, what political advertisement? I'm on Twitter all the time and I never see political ads. How much do they take in there? Is it prevalent?

O'SULLIVAN: There's a much -- yes. This is a much easier decision for Twitter to make than Facebook.

BRIGGS: Yes.

O'SULLIVAN: Twitter I think in the 2018 cycle made something like $3 million in political ads.

ROMANS: Right.

O'SULLIVAN: Over the past 18 months, and we're not even in 2020 right now, but on Facebook, they've taken in over $1 billion -- almost $1 billion in political ads over the past 18 months there. So, you know, there is no comparison. This is a much, much easier --

BRIGGS: A lot easier to be principled.

O'SULLIVAN: Absolutely.

BRIGGS: When you're not making much coin from it.

O'SULLIVAN: When there's a few million, rather a few billion, I'd say.

ROMANS: But, you know, Mark Zuckerberg over at Facebook has made this point that they are the platform, and they're not there to police political speech. But if you look at 2016 as a guide, how do you run a platform if the credibility of what you're reading on it is so suspect and there's just a hands-off approach from management?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. And we saw this week the "New York Times" reported that hundreds of employees internally at Facebook have raised this as an issue. They said, we don't think that we should be accepting particularly false ads from politicians. And I think this is really going to come, you know, after 2020, how will history judge Facebook's decision here? We saw on 2016, they were caught completely off-guard when it came to Russian disinformation and all this.

ROMANS: Yes.

O'SULLIVAN: They've taken all these steps to sort of counter that and get rid of that. But at the same time now they are saying to politicians, if you want to pay us $1 million to run a targeted lie on our platform, that's OK.

BRIGGS: Speaking of politicians, 2020 candidates weighing in. Former VP Joe Biden says it's encouraging revenue did not win out. Andrew Yang, the rare triumph of the public good over the bottom line. Here's South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a bold step. And I think it reflects that sense responsibility. And I think other online platforms would do well to either accept their responsibility for truth or question whether they should be in the business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: What do you expect is politicians, Congress' role moving forward in trying to maybe police Facebook in the future?

O'SULLIVAN: Well, we hear a lot of noise from Capitol Hill but very little action on this.

BRIGGS: Yes.

O'SULLIVAN: Right? There's a lot of bringing Mark Zuckerberg and other executives in front and give them a grilling but then leading to no legislation or regulations. So there's a lot of talk and no action here.

I mean, coming back to the point of enforcing this. You know, it's not just ads from politicians that Twitter is banning. They're also banning any sort of political issue ad. And think about, you know, particularly in society today, everything is a political issue. You know, if you run an ad for recycling, that's going to be -- claim to be a climate, you know, advertising.

ROMANS: Right.

O'SULLIVAN: The same with sort of health care ads. So I think for -- you know, it's fine for Jack Dorsey to say this now.

[05:15:004]

How they're actually going to implement it and it might actually starts cutting into their bottom line when you expand this, you know, beyond strictly thinking about politicians.

ROMANS: The Trump campaign says that this is just a way for Jack Dorsey and Twitter to silence conservative voices. Is that true?

O'SULLIVAN: I mean, Donald Trump is the biggest and most prominent user of Twitter. Twitter even has rules for world leaders where they're allowed to break their -- break policy on the platform.

ROMANS: Right.

O'SULLIVAN: And where you say things that regular users can't and still stay on the platform. And also, the Trump campaign, compared to what they're spending on Facebook, has been spending very little on Twitter.

BRIGGS: All right. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you, my friend.

ROMANS: Yes. The Trump campaign doesn't have a publicity problem at all.

O'SULLIVAN: At all.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Trump has no --

BRIGGS: They're doing great. Quite the megaphone there.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: All right. Coming up, teachers in Chicago have a tentative deal to go back to work. So, why is the strike now entering day 11?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:20:55]

BRIGGS: The Pentagon releasing newly declassified video and images of the daring two-hour raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The U.S. Cent-Com commander revealing Special Operations Forces that carried out the raid were pre-staged in Syria after Trump ordered most U.S. troops to withdraw.

Here's Barbara Starr with the latest from the Pentagon. BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Christine, the top

U.S. commander, General Kenneth McKenzie, briefing reporters at the Pentagon about the mission to get Baghdadi. Right off the top it should be noted that General McKenzie said he could not confirm President Trump's details that Baghdadi died whimpering and crying. In fact, General McKenzie suggested that Baghdadi had at some point attempted to fire his weapon.

He showed three sets of videos. The first video was U.S. forces on helicopters approaching the compound when they came under fire from the ground. Forces on board those helicopters returned fire and eliminated that threat. They don't actually think it was ISIS forces protecting Baghdadi, that it was simply other militants in the area.

The second video, then, if you can look and see the dark figures approaching, those are U.S. Special Forces approaching Baghdadi's compound. They of course found him in a tunnel. He detonated a suicide vest killing himself and two children. They had thought it was three, now they know there were two children there.

The tunnel then collapses, fills with water and two U.S. troops and a military working dog are injured with electrocution injuries because there were wires in that water. Very dangerous business. All three, including the dog, have returned to duty.

The final video that they showed, of course, was U.S. warplanes rolling in and bombing the compound. General McKenzie said they really wanted to obliterate it. They didn't want it to become a shrine. They wanted it just to become another piece of ground -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Hurricane-force winds driving giant flames across a six-lane freeway in Simi Valley, California, setting fire to grass on the other side. A new inferno with a new name, the Easy Fire. Some flames reaching 30 feet into the sky. And this, a CNN news van got a little too close, drenched in fire retardant. At last report, the Easy Fire has burned more than 1600 acres and threatens 7,000 structures.

These flames, look at how close, dangerously close to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. It was a herd of hungry goats that helped save this library. The goats were brought, they're brought in every year, to chew a fire break on the hillside around the facility.

BRIGGS: As for the Kincade Fire at Northern California, crews are finally gaining ground on that huge fire. It's grown to more than 76,000 acres but is 45 percent contained. Evacuation orders remain in place for nearly 6,000 people. Meantime, Pacific Gas and Electric says its equipment may be linked to three more fires in the state. Right now more than 200,000 customers are without power in Northern California. That's down, though, from almost a million earlier this week.

ROMANS: All right. In court, in Congress, behind closed doors, it's shaping up to be a pivotal day in the impeachment inquiry. That plus the story that's actually uniting the nation's capital. The Nationals are world champs.

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[05:28:54]

BRIGGS: The Chicago Teachers Union reaching a tentative agreement with the city on a new contract but teachers will remain on strike for an 11th day. Union officials voted to accept the new deal but say they won't end the strike unless Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot agrees to add the days lost during the walkout to this year's school calendar. The mayor in response says she was gravely disappointed that the union moved the goal posts again, resulting in another day of canceled classes.

ROMANS: Lori Loughlin is terrified. She's going to jail for her alleged part in the college admissions scandal. A longtime friend of the actress tells CNN Loughlin is, quote, "at rock-bottom, devastated she knows she could go away for a long time." Loughlin, her husband Mossimo Giannulli, and nine other accused parents who rejected a plea deal were hit last week with a new bribery charge. Prosecutors say Loughlin and Giannulli bribed USC employees to have their two daughters falsely admitted as athletic recruits. Loughlin and Giannulli have both pleaded not guilty.

EARLY START continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 3-2, there it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The nation's capital is united for once. A World Series for the ages.

[05:30:00]