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Massive Fires Continue to Spread in California; House Democrats Proceeds with the Impeachment; President Trump with his Bet in U.K Elections. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired November 1, 2019 - 03:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: -- CNN center in Atlanta. Hello, everyone. I'm Natalie Allen.

Next here on CNN Newsroom. The U.S. House of Representatives approves the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. But the White House has new stand on the vote.

Meantime, Donald Trump is not holding back as he weighs in on the upcoming U.K. election.

Plus, wildfires in California are growing as firefighters make daring moves in their efforts to get them under control.

We begin this hour in Washington. The chairman of the U.S. House intelligence committee says releasing transcripts of closed-door depositions could begin as early as next week.

This after the full House voted on Thursday to shift its impeachment inquiry of the U.S. president into the public realm. That vote, 232 to 196 was largely along party lines with two Democrats joining Republicans to vote against it, but Democrats were somber in victory, calling it a sad day for the country.

More about it from CNN's Lauren Fox.

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: A historic vote on the House floor, setting the stage for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is a solemn occasion, nobody, I doubt anybody in this place, or anybody that you know comes to Congress to take the oath of office, comes to Congress to impeach the President of the United States. And today, the House takes the next step forward.


FOX: The House voting mostly along party lines.


PELOSI: The ayes are 232, the nays are 196. The resolution is adopted.


FOX: With two Democrats Representative Jeff Van Drew, and Collin Peterson, voting against the resolution. Those two Democrats from areas Trump handily won in the 2016 election. Republicans sticking with Trump in blasting the process as unfair.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): This is the United States of America. Don't run a sham process, a tainted process like this resolution ensures. It ought to be rejected.


FOX: Democrats pushing back.


REP. HANK JOHNSON (D-GA): Well, their insistence that the process is somehow flawed betrays their decision not to deal with the substance that makes this process necessary.


FOX: And vowing to move forward.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We take no joy in having to move down this road and proceed with the impeachment inquiry, but neither do we shrink from it.


FOX: The resolution outlining the rules, including a measure allowing Republicans to subpoena their own witnesses, as long as the Democratic committee chairman agree. It also allows Trump and his lawyers to cross examine witnesses, and object to lines of questioning once the probe moves to the House judiciary committee.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The president has no rights inside these hearings, so they cannot go back and fox what is a fundamentally tainted and unfair record.


FOX: Also, in the capital, Tim Morrison, the president top Russia adviser, appearing under subpoena where sources tell CNN Morrison told investigators he was concerned the details of Trump's July 25th phone call would leak, and that he was involved in discussions about how to handle the call transcript.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are critical player. He was in many of the critical meetings.


FOX: The testimony largely corroborating another key witness, Bill Taylor, a career diplomat who confirmed the whistleblower's allegations that he was told Trump delayed nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine until that country launched an investigation into the Bidens.

Taylor also told lawmakers that Morrison talked to him after the call, and told him, quote, "it could have been better." Taylor testified last week that Morrison relayed Trump had suggested Ukraine's president and his staff meet with Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr. Morrison testified he was told to stay away from Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine.

CNN previously reporting Morrison believed the administration was legally within their rights in dealing with Ukraine.

Across, the key point there that Morrison believe that the president hadn't done anything illegal when it came to his relationship with Ukraine, but the underlying facts here between the Morrison testimony and the testimony that Bill Taylor gave remains the same.

For CNN, Lauren Fox, Capitol Hill.

ALLEN: Well, as we mentioned, transcripts of testimony collected behind closed doors for the past three weeks could soon be made public.


The House intelligence chairman says the transcripts will show that Republicans have not been shut out of the process as some have claimed. Here is what Democratic leader in the impeachment inquiry Adam Schiff told our Chris Cuomo.


SCHIFF: When you see the transcript, and we expect to begin releasing them as early as next week, you will see that that Republicans have every bit as much time to ask questions as the Democrats.

We would go one hour for the majority then one hour to the minority, then 45 minutes to the majority and 45 to the minority until --


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: But they call witnesses.

SCHIFF: -- until everyone had their chance to answer questions. Now, in terms of calling witnesses, they are in this resolution allowed to propose witnesses and if we turned down any of their requests, they can call for a vote. That is exactly the same right they had during Nixon and during Clinton.

There was never a unilateral right given to the minority party to control the process by deciding who would testify.

Now, you know, this is obviously a serious issue, when you consider the stunts the Republicans have been pulling, the storming of the SCIF and you know, all the other high jinx that the president concocts with them. They show a fundamental lack of seriousness about this.


CUOMO: Do you think the president knew what they were doing?

SCHIFF: And they rater turn into a circus.

CUOMO: Or had a hand in what they did in storming the SCIF?

SCHIFF: Without a doubt. I mean, that happened the morning after a meeting with these much of the same tea party members who came storming in the next day, and by the, way about a third of those tea party members were already eligible to be in the room, and when they were done with their protests, they didn't even stick around to hear the witness testify. They left. And I think it shows the fundamental lack of seriousness they are bringing to this.


ALLEN: CNN legal analyst and University of Texas law professor, Steve Vladeck joins us now from Austin. Steve, thanks so much for coming in and talking with us.


ALLEN: All right. Sure thing. First step here, the House passed a resolution to formally proceed with its impeachment inquiry of the president. How does this change, or does it ramp up the impeachment process?

VLADECK: You know, I think formally, Natalie, it does not make that big of a difference. I think we were already headed in this direction. Today's vote, I think formally adopts some rules so that there is no longer doubt or dispute as to what those rules are going to be.

I think really what this is a symbolic move, largely to put to bed the complaints that we had heard from Republicans about the lack of such a vote, and largely to signal to the courts, in some of these cases where there is ongoing dispute over subpoenas issued from Congress, that this is not just a run-of-the-mill oversight process, that this is actually looking toward a potential impeachment vote against president. ALLEN: Right. And Democrats have pointed out that the rules that

they're looking to use here mirror those in the impeachment process for President Nixon and Clinton, showing that Republicans and Democrats came together on these rules. Does this do anything to thwart Republicans and the president who have been calling this just a partisan ploy witch hunt?

VLADECK: Yes. You know, I don't think that today's vote is really going to change that view. I mean, you know, I hoped that we would see a little bit more bipartisan cooperation, but of course every Republican in the House voted against this resolution, all but two of the Democrats voted in favor.

So I think, you know, what Republicans will see, Natalie, is just more accusations from the Republicans that even this process isn't adequate, that this is all basically, as the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said, a sham, and I think the Democrats are basically trying to say, you know, we are accommodating your objections. We are giving you a role in this process. We are giving you subpoena power.

You know, I think the question is going to be, will that resonate with those folks out there who still haven't made up their minds one way or the other about President Trump?

ALLEN: Right, well, meantime, there was more evidence of a quid pro quo from testimony given Thursday by a top National Security Council official, Timothy Morrison. What was significant about the information he brought forward that you see?

VLADECK: Yes, you know, to me, the significance of Mr. Morrison's testimony here is yet another person inside the National Security Council, you know, in the White House who is corroborating the concerns of the initial whistleblower that really started this ball rolling, who is saying, yes, we had specific concerns that this was understood as a quid pro quo, and who is basically adding further force to the suggestion that the president knew what he was doing at that he knew that he was holding out this military aid in exchange for Ukrainian participation and trying to go after one of his political opponents.

And so now, I think it's just yet further evidence that these charges against the president are not just very serious, but that they are widely corroborated, and that really we have to get to a point where the conversation is not whether the president in fact did it but whether it should mean that he did.


ALLEN: Right. There had been several instances brought forward indicating a quid pro quo somewhere between five and ten at this point, so that doesn't look so good for President Trump, who has been reluctant to signify the needing of a coordinated war room atmosphere to tackle these accusations, but should that be happening at this juncture? VLADECK: Yes, I think that's the million-dollar question, Natalie. I

mean, I think you know, when we look at this process it seems pretty clear that the Democrats when we get to the end of the conversation in the House are probably going to have enough votes to adopt formal articles of impeachment.

I guess the question is whether the president is supremely confident that there won't be 20 Republican senators who break ranks and join the Democrats. I think it is also necessary. I think it's telling, though, that all of the attacks we are hearing from Republicans in both the House and Senate are not that the president did nothing wrong, but that this process is flawed.

And I think that is a pretty powerful suggestion, that if we can get past their process objections, if we actually get to the heart of the matter, maybe the president support is not as deep on substance as he believes it to be.

ALLEN: Right. And moving forward, what will you be looking for, the big question is, will Bolton come forward with testimony.

VLADECK: Yes. I mean, I think, you know, John Bolton was the national security adviser for a time, I think is expected to testify sometime in the next few weeks. You know, I think he has suggested he wants a subpoena but if he receives a subpoena he will show up.

I think that could be explosive. But I think each of these additional developments, each additional witness who comes forward with further evidence, each of these court cases that are still going on where the president loses his battle to resist the subpoenas, I think this is just going to add more and more and more weight to the amount of evidence the Democrats arrest him on for impeachment.

The question is whether there is any amount of evidence that's going to move at least 20 Republican senators to join their Democrats -- their Democratic colleagues if and when this gets to a trial in the Senate.

ALLEN: If and when. All right. We appreciate your analysis, CNN legal analyst Steve Vladeck for us from Austin, Texas. Thank you, Steve.

VLADECK: Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, President Trump says he hated making these decisions, switching his legal residency from New York to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. And he's been tweeting about it. He said, "Despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city state and local taxes each year, I've been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse."

He goes on to say that in the end, "It will be best for all concerned as president, I will always be there to help New York and the great people of New York. It will always have a special place in my heart."

Well, the New York Times is reporting that a person close to the president says the move was primarily for tax purposes. Florida does not collect income taxes.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, was not sad to see Trump go. He tweeted, "good riddance. It's not like Donald Trump paid taxes here anyways. He's all yours, Florida."

Well, Trump has his own campaign to think about, but that hasn't stopped him from weighing in on the upcoming elections in the United Kingdom. We will talk about that next.

Also, another major fire it's now burning in California. Firefighters are praying for the wind to die down as they struggle to get a grip. We will have an update from Derek Van Dam.



ALLEN: Take a look there in the center of the screen, a fire truck in Southern California driving straight into a wall of flames. This is the Maria fire that broke out just a few hours ago. It's already burned through 20 square kilometers and it's spreading rapidly.

More than 400 fire personnel were on the scene. Excuse me. Almost 2,000 buildings are threatened. At least 14 fires are now tearing across the state. Some who abandoned their homes are coming back to find nothing.

Britt Conway reports.


MATTHEW VALDIVIA, LOST HOME TO WILDFIRE: It sucks. It hurts. But this thing gets replaced. You can't replace a life.


BRITT CONWAY, CNN REPORTER: The hillside fire erupted Wednesday night, quickly destroying homes in the San Bernardino area.


VALDIVIA: It's devastating, man. It's devastating. Our fireplace where we had our first Christmas, and our Thanksgiving, it's sucks, man. It really, it hits. It's crazy.


CONWAY: The fast-moving fire consumed several homes and businesses in San Bernardino County, according to officials. The speed of the fire underscoring the importance of staying alert. It's just one of the many fires that crews are battling in California.

All across the state, crews are making headway as the winds die down slightly today and they are hoping the red flag warnings that are scheduled to end tonight actually will.


TRACEY MARTINEZ, PIO, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: You don't see the wind blowing real hard right now? At least where we're right, but you go up on the side of the hill, or up in the foothill areas, the winds are very erratic.


CONWAY: California Governor Gavin Newsom says the federal government is assisting and urges all residents to remain alert.

I'm Britt Conway, reporting.

ALLEN: All right. Let's get the latest on the new fire, the Maria fire, from Derek Van Dam.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Treacherous conditions in Southern California as we speak. And the Maria fire is getting larger and larger. In fact, just a couple of hours ago, we were reporting 300 hectares with the Maria fire, now it's over 1,600. There are 7,500 people that are being evacuated from their homes. Schools have been canceled in preparation in advance of this fire that continues to spread, and let's take you there.

Because this is a time lapse, I just found this video incredible to see. The ferocity of this fire and being fueled by the strong winds which are very evident with this time lapse. I will take you to the ground because you can actually see some of the personnel.

There are very women and men fighting this fire on the ground, with the other video you will be able to see, perhaps, some of the firefighting engines and the bulldozers and some of the equipment being ushered into the front lines of the flame, but an absolutely incredible scenario unfolding across Ventura County as we speak.

So, let's get to the details of the Maria with the graphics. And you can see just for geographical reference there. So, Los Angeles County. Here's Ventura County, zero percent containment with this fire. And there are over 250 personnel not only from the sky but also from down below. What you saw in that video a minute ago fighting this fire, as we speak.

And the reason these fires are spreading so quickly is because the embers from some of these fires are blowing one to two kilometers away from the original fire, starting what is called a spot fires in advance of the main fire.

So that is just the sporadic and difficult nature of what these firefighters are up against. Eighty-kilometer-per-hour winds at the moment, they will start to relax but it's the other information that's important too. It's very dry, relative humidity values less than 10 percent, and all the dry vegetation as well in place.

Fourteen large active wildfires, but if you look at the whole year, the cumulative 2019 season, we've already burned over 80,000 hectares, and nearly 700 structures either damaged or completely ruined. There is the wind across northern sections of Ventura County. But we

start to introduce some onshore winds as we head into the end of the weekend, so you start to see the green on this weather map, and that is what we want to see. We want to see the winds change from an offshore direction to an onshore because that means it will bring in some of the moisture from the ocean --


DAM: -- and help quell some of the fires.


ALLEN: All right, we'll wait and see.

DAM: Yes, hopefully it does.

ALLEN: It has been going for -- how long?

DAM: It has been two weeks now.

ALLEN: Gosh. All right. Derek, thanks.

DAM: Yes.

ALLEN: Well, fire ripped through several train carriages in Pakistan, killing at least 73 people there. A gas canister exploded in a railway car as the train was moving. Despite gas cylinders being banned, some passengers were making breakfast on a gas-powered stove. Officials say the death toll could rise.

In Iraq, mass protest that have engulf the country in recent weeks appear to have created political change. Iraq's president says the prime minister has agreed to step down when a replacement is found.

The move is seen as an effort to appease demonstrators who have been calling for reform. At least 200 people have been killed in weeks of protests against unemployment, corruption and a lack of basic services.

Well, Donald Trump doesn't stay silent on most issues, and that includes the election in the United Kingdom. He chimes in after this.


ALLEN: The U.K. was supposed to leave the European Union on Thursday but instead, Britain has now faced a December election with Brexit at the center.

Opposition leader -- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is campaigning and didn't hesitate reminding supporters that the prime minister has failed to meet the Brexit deadline.


JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: Friends, today is the 31st of October. It's all right. I'm just passing on information to you at this stage.

The day that Boris Johnson promised we would leave the E.U. He also said he would rather be dead in a ditch that delayed be on today. But he has failed, and that failure is his alone.


ALLEN: But opinion polls show that it's Boris Johnson's election to lose. The prime minister called the December 12th vote in hopes of breaking a parliamentary gridlock over Brexit. He says he hasn't oven- ready deal and just needs lawmakers that will approve it.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: If you vote for us and we get our program through, which we will, because as I say, it's oven-ready, it is there to go, then we can be out at the absolute latest by January next year.

And I hope very much but there will be a parliament that understands that this is now something that is kind of hanging over our country, it's a piece of business we need to dispatch, get it done. It was the mandate of the people. They voted by a pretty substantial majority to do this, and parliament has simply stood in their way.


ALLEN: U.S. President Trump isn't staying silent on the U.K. election. He is already gone on London radio to announce who he is backing.

Here is Anna Stewart with that from London.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: The U.S. president once again waded into British politics on the day that the U.K. was supposed to leave the E.U. before another extension was requested and the day that the queen gave her assent to a general election before Christmas.


In an interview with Nigel Farage, an LBC radio presenter, as well as the leader of the Brexit party, the U.S. president said Prime Minister Boris Johnson is his friend and the best man for the job. He also said that he thinks the prime minister should work other with Nigel Farage in the upcoming general election.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And I'd like to see you and Boris get together because you would really have some numbers, because he did fantastically in the election, the last election.


TRUMP: And he respects you a lot, I can tell you that. He respects you a lot. I don't know if you know or not, because I have no idea, you know I have enough to do over here without having to worry about the psychology --


FARAGE: You do. You do, you do.

TRUMP: Two brilliant people over there, frankly.

FARAGE: Well, if he drops the deal --


TRUMP: But he has a lot of respect and like for you. I just -- I wish you two guys could get together.


STEWART: He had a different opinion of the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.


TRUMP: Corbyn would be so bad for your country. He would be so bad. He takes you in such a bad way. He takes you into such bad places. But your country has tremendous potential, it's a great country.


STEWART: He also said Corbyn's claims that the British National Health Service would be included in a future trade deal with the United States were incorrect. His comments drew immediate ire from the Labour leader himself.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted, saying, "Donald Trump is trying to interfere in Britain's election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected. It was Trump who said in June the NHS is on the table. And he knows that if Labour wins U.S. corporations won't get their hands on it. Our NHS is not for sale."

A busy first day of election campaigning in the U.K., and it's unlikely to be the last time that President Trump is mentioned in this campaign, not least as the U.S. president will soon be visiting London for the NATO summit, the week before the general election.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.

ALLEN: Well, we have an end of an era in British politics. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow officially bellowed order for the last time.



(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: Bercow was a speaker for a tumultuous decade of British

politics and was known for keeping a firm grip on the chamber. Tributes poured in on his last day with one lawmaker thanking him for being a champion of freedom of speech.


JACOB REES-MOGG, LEADER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: The ultimate, most important, the highest duty of the speaker of the House of Commons is to be the champion of our House and its members and to defend our right to freedom of speech and defends of our constituents. And Mr. Speaker, you have done that.


ALLEN: Bercow as speaker was known for his cleverness and wit, though some recently criticized him for favoring the remain side of the Brexit debate. A new speaker is to be chosen next week.

Thanks so much for watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen. I'll have our top stories right after this.