Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Witnesses Refuse To Testify; America's Choice 2020, Joe Biden Top Polls; McDonald's CEO Force Out; NFL Undefeated No More; Impeachment Inquiry; Whistleblower Should Be Revealed; Two California Murder Suspects Escape; California Wildfires; EPA To Relax Coal Power Plant Waste Rules; Hong Kong Bracing For More Violence; Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump Immigration Order; Washington Nationals Visiting White House; White Supremacists Film At Emmett Till Sign; Jimmy Carter At Ease With Death; Niagara Falls Boat Dislodge After 101 Years; 20M Under Frost Advisory In Southeast; Olivia Newton-John's Grease Outfit Sells $405,000; Stock Rally After Strong Jobs Report; Under Armour Facing Accounting Probes; Jesus Is King Becomes Kanye West's Ninth Number One. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 4, 2019 - 04:30   ET

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


[4:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Four witnesses scheduled today, now refuse to testify in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Joe Biden tops three new national polls with just three months to go until the Iowa caucuses.

ROMANS: McDonald's CEO forced out over a consensual relationship with a fellow employee.

BRIGGS: The Baltimore Ravens hand Tom Brady and the New England Patriots their first loss of the season. And that guy the best quarterback on the field Sunday night, Lamal Jackson, Welcome back to Early Start, I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour here in New York.

The House impeachment investigators are all set to interview four witnesses today. But all four witnesses are refusing to testify. Sources telling CNN late Sunday that National Security Council lawyers, Eisenberg and Michael Ellis will not testify. Assistant to the president, Robert Blair and Brian McCormack, associated director of the White House Budget Office, have already said they won't answer the committee's question.

And administration officials says, Eisenberg is citing executive privilege while the rest are refusing to appear because they're not allowed to have an administration lawyer present. House Democrats say witnesses refusing to appear will not stop the impeachment inquiry. Several Democrats, telling CNN that there's already more than enough evidence to move on to the next step, public hearings.

BRIGGS: The whistleblower who ignited the impeachment inquiry is willing to answer written questions if Republicans want to submit them. But that offer is being rejected by President Trump and his top allies. They seemed determined to discredit the whistleblower and expose his or her identity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The whistleblower should be revealed. Because the whistleblower gave a false story. Some people would call it fraud. I won't go that far. But when I read it closely, I probably would. But the whistleblower should be revealed.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think that the whistleblower should come forward in an open hearing. And also bring the six people that he talks about inside his complaint that he said talked about other issues, as well. He needs to answer the questions. We need an openness that people understand this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The whistleblower's attorney, Mark Zaid says the fixation on the whistleblower is simply because the president and others are at a loss on how to address the investigations the underlying disclosure prompted.

ROMANS: President Trump responding to a Washington Post report that a growing number of GOP Senators already to acknowledge a quid pro quo on Ukraine as part of the shift in defense strategy. These Republicans insist the president's actions was not illegal and does not rise to the level of impeachable offense.

President Trump, though, is not changing his defense. They claimed there was no quid pro quo, he aimed his fire both GOP senators and the media complaining about quote, false stories. A few Republican Senators are saying that President Trump may have done a quid pro quo, but there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps though, but read the transcript, there is no quid pro quo.

BRIGGS: Three new national polls put Joe Biden on top of the Democratic field, with Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders rounding up the top three with less than 100 days to go until the Iowa caucuses. Biden leads Warren by 10 points in the latest Fox News poll. Democratic and Democratic leaning voters. The former vice president tops Sanders by 12 points. Biden's lead over Warren in the NBC News Wall Street Journal Poll, is just four points Sanders, eight back. And in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, Bidens margin over Warren is five points, Sanders trailing by 11.

ROMANS: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are panning Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for all plan. Warren released her $20.5 trillion proposal last week. It puts a heavy financial burden on big business, investors and the wealthiest Americans drawing criticism from her two chief Democratic rivals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 U.S. DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: I have a plan that shows that we can have Medicare for all, without raising taxes one cent on middle class families. It's all fully paid for by asking the top 1 percent and giant corporations to pay a fair share.

[04:35:05]

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's making it up. Look, nobody think its $20 trillion.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to say that it is free. Nothing is free. Health care is expensive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Until now, Sanders and Warren had been reluctant to cross each other on Medicare for all. And Warren is trying to keep it that way, even though, Sanders is attacking her plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: I think that that would probably -- will have a very negative impact on creating those jobs. I think we have a better way which is, a 7.5 payroll tax which is far more I think progressive.

WARREN: Bernie and I have a different vision on how to pay for it. But let's be really clear. Bernie and I are headed in the exactly the same direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Warren claims the $11 trillion Americans will pay in out of pocket medical cost over the next decade would vanish under her plan.

BRIGGS: South Carolina Congressman, James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip says there is no question that Pete Buttigieg's sexual orientation is part of the reason he's failed to gain traction in the key early voting state. Clyburn was asked about it on CNN's state of the union, Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Mayor Pete Buttigieg struggling with black voters in your state of South Carolina because he's gay?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, that's a generational issue. I know of a lot of people my age that feel that way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying for older African-Americans it is an issue?

CLYBURN: Yes, it is. There's no question about that. I'm not going to sit here and tell you otherwise. Which I think everybody knows that's an issue. But I'm saying, it's an issue not the way it used to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Mayor Pete on a bus tour across Iowa Sunday has this to say in response to the comments by Clyburn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND-IN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The thing about outreach is you can't (inaudible) a lot of areas, and I think the most important thing is the message. I believe that, when you go to the ballot, you go to the voting booth, you are asking yourself, how is my life going to get better if I have this president instead of that one? I think we are going to win on that. And my job is to keep (inaudible).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right, 37 minutes pass the hour. McDonald's CEO, Steve Easterbrook has been fired after violating company policy. The burger chain said Easterbrook who became CEO in 2015, demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee. In an e-mail to employees, Easterbrook expressed regret about the relationship, saying this was a mistake. Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on.

Easterbrook has been replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who was most recently president of McDonald's USA. Under Easterbrook, McDonald's stock has roughly doubled, but investors were recently disappointed, after sales grew 4.8 percent in the third quarter, down from the second. Investors are concerned the chain is feeling the heat from rivals who are aggressive on breakfast and plant-based menu items. Kempczinski says he is energized by this challenged.

BRIGGS: Just one unbeaten team remains in the NFL. It is not the New England Patriots. The Pats fall, 37-20 to the Ravens Sunday night, led by that man, the dynamic quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Baltimore rushed for more than 200 yards. The biggest play may have come here on defense for the Ravens. A 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Baltimore quarterback, Marlon Humphrey. It's the only NFL team undefeated now, the San Francisco 49ers at 8-0.

ROMANS: All right. The world champion Washington Nationals visit the White House today. At least one player will not be there. The story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:40:00]

BRIGGS: Officials in Northern California asking for the publics help locating a pair of escaped murder suspects. The Monterey County Sheriff's Office, say 21 year-old Santos Fonseca, and 20 year-old, Jonathan Salazar, were being held on unrelated murder charges. Details on how the pair escape weren't release, but authorities say they're investigating. Deputies say the men should be considered dangerous.

ROMANS: Some all inspiring aerial fire video from Southern California this morning. The footage tweeted out by the Ventura County fire department shows what it's like to fight a wildfire at night from a helicopter. The department says, night firefighting using choppers is uncommon and it requires special training, skills and technology. This is the Maria fire, which now covers nearly 10,000 acres and is 70 percent contained.

President Trump slammed California Governor Gavin Newsom over the states rush of wildfires, Sunday. The president blame Newsom quote, poor forest management and threaten to withhold federal wildfire funding. Newsom tweeting back, you don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.

BRIGGS: Later today, the EPA will announce it is relaxing the rules that regulate how power plants store waste from burning coal. The agency is also scaling back regulations for the released of water containing toxic chemicals into public water ways. The moves weaken two Obama-era rules from 2015 that control the disposal of fine powder and sludge which is also known as coal ash. Coal ash can contain mercury, arsenic, and other metals that harm human health and the environment.

ROMANS: Hong Kong is bracing for more chaos after another weekend of violent protests. Two people are in critical condition, at least, four injured in a knife attack. One Hong Kong lawmaker's ear, reportedly, partially bitten off in that brawl. Riot police stormed several shopping malls on Sunday to break up demonstrators forming human chains.

China is calling for a tougher stance to end the months of unrest. And now there are cries of police brutality, with one injured reporter claiming authorities are targeting journalists. Will Ripley live from Hong Kong, where police tried to hold a press conference within the last hour, but they had to -- had to call it off. It feels as though, Will, that this is a new face of the protest?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Smaller in terms of numbers, but more sophisticated in terms of tactic. And we haven't seen yet what happened just within the last hour or so, when a small group of people who claimed they were reporters, put slogans on the top of their helmets in the middle of the police press conference calling for an investigation into police brutality.

The press conference stopped, it was eventually called off when those reporters refused to leave. And over the weekend, we saw groups of protesters attacking businesses that they feel are pro-Beijing. Including this one, this the bureau of the Shinwa news agency, one of the main news outlets run by the Communist Party in China.

And it wasn't juts business like this, as you mentioned, shopping malls were hit all over Hong Kong, restaurants in some cases being severely damaged. It could potentially be closed for weeks. All the result of protesters accusing those businesses being in support of Beijing. And then of course, outside of one of those malls there was this

heated political argument that happened, involving someone who supported the mainland and a group of pro-democracy activists, including a Hong Kong lawmaker. During that scuffle, the pro-China man is accused of pulling out a knife, stabbing at least, four people and also accused, according to reports of partially biting off the ear of one of those lawmakers before a crowd of people surrounded him and beat him bloody. Video showed him lying on the ground. He's in the hospital right now, along with everyone else affected by this attack.

And on Saturday, even though we only saw thousands of people out on the streets, not 10's of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, the violence that ensued went on for hours. As police fired teargas, protesters throw a bricks and petrol bombs and in the end, public transportation was suspended or shut down altogether, here on Hong Kong Island, and even across the harbor in Kowloon, proving, Christine, it doesn't take huge numbers to continue a lot of disruption and another major protest set for tomorrow night, right her in Hong Kong.

ROMANS: All right, Will Ripley, I know you will cover it for us. Thank you, Will.

BRIGGS: An Oregon judge has temporarily barred the Trump administration from denying VISA's to immigrants who cannot prove they will have health insurance. A group of U.S. citizens sued the administration, claiming the order, is a new form of family separation that could keep hundreds of thousands of immigrants out of the country. The White House is calling the temporary restraining order wrong and unfair, because the administration was not allowed to defend the policy in court.

ROMANS: The world champion Washington Nationals will visit the White House today. But at least, one Nationals player is boycotting the event. Pitcher Sean Doolittle is an outspoken supporter of immigrants and the LGBTQ community and says, he just can't bring himself to go. Doolittle also has a brother in law with autism and says, he remains offended by President Trump's mocking of the disabled reporter during the 2016 campaign.

BRIGGS: All right, coming up, Under Armour under investigation. CNN has the details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:50:00]

ROMANS: All right. A white supremacist group filmed a video in front of a memorial to civil rights icon, Emmett Till Saturday before being driven away by an alarmed siren. You can hear a brief part of their messages in surveillance video provided by the Emmet Till Interpretive Center, in Summer, Mississippi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we want to know is where all of the white people --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Moments later, an alarm goes off and the group scatters to their cars. In 1955, 14 year-old Emmet Till was tortured to death after he was accused of making advances toward a white woman. The Center's historic marker at the spot where Till's body was recovered has been repeatedly shot at and vandalized.

BRIGGS: Former President, Jimmy Carter telling churchgoers in Georgia, that he is at ease with death. The nation's 39th president was delivering a sermon on Sunday and began discussing his 2015 battle with brain cancer. Carter told the congregation when he got the diagnosis, it didn't really matter to him whether he lived or died.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was going to die very quickly. And I would obviously pray about it. I didn't ask god to let me live. I asked god to give me a proper attitude toward death. And I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Mr. Carter celebrated his 95th birthday last month.

ROMANS: Stormy weather rocking the boat on Niagara Falls. The severe weather dislodged an old iron boat that's been stuck on the rocks above the falls for more than a century. The Niagara parks commission says, strong winds and heavy rains last week, caused the barge to shift significantly from its position near the brink of Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. The concern now is that the strong current could push the boat over the falls. Officials say the vessel, it became disconnected from its tugboat during a dredging operation in 1918 and it has been stranded on that Niagara River ever since.

[04:55:06]

BRIGGS: Olivia Newton-John's iconic bad Sandy outfit from Grease scores big at auction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sandy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me about it, stud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The black leather jacket and the skin-tight pants worn by the actress and singer in the movie, sold more than $405,000 more than double the auction estimate. The ensemble made famous in the 1978 films, final musical number, You're the one that I want, sold to separate anonymous bidders in an auction in Beverly Hills this weekend. Newton-John said she had to be sewn into those pants. Hundreds of other items from her career were also sold raising a reported $2.4 million for her cancer wellness center in Australia.

ROMANS: A very worthy cause, of course, but I have so many questions about this film. Like, the car. Flying away at the end in the car. What?

BRIGGS: Yes, 40 years, you've sat on that one and still, one of life's great unsolved mysteries. We'll work on it.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at markets around the world as you can see. Some optimism really here. Japanese markets closed for a holiday. The mood has turned positive again on U.S./China trade talks. The president said, there's progress. I want to get the deal with China.

And tech stocks rose after the Commerce Secretary, Wilber Ross, told Bloomberg that licenses allowing U.S. companies to sell to Huawei will be forthcoming very shortly. On Wall Street right now, futures are leaning higher. Stocks finished higher Friday, after a better-than- expected jobs report. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ, both closed at record highs. And the DOW ended just 12 points below its July record. You know, Sachs has been resilient this year, the DOW was up 17 percent. The S&P 500, up 22 percent. The NASDAQ, up 26 percent.

ROMANS: Under Armour is facing investigation over its accounting practices. The sportswear company says it is cooperating with investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice and began responding to request for documents in July, 2017.

The Wall Street Journal reports the probe is to whether Under Armour shifted sales from quarter-to-quarter to appear healthier. Under Armour says it firmly believes that the accounting practices and disclosures were appropriate. The Department of Justice, the SEC declined to comment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KANYE WEST, HIP-HOP STAR: We're here to spread the gospel. I'm not here for your entertainment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Kanye West's new album has landed him a new record. The Gospel inspired, Jesus is king is the rapper's ninth-consecutive number one album, tying him with rapper Eminem's record. The album also breaks a personal record for West. According to Billboard, Jesus is king has given the rapper his biggest streaming week ever, with 1.96 million on-demand streams. West said he plans to release another album, Jesus is born on Christmas day.

BRIGGS: You know, there's a chick-fil-a-inspired song on this one?

ROMANS: Is there really?

BRIGGS: Closed on Sunday. They are closed but Popeye's retuned yesterday with the new chicken sandwich. It's back, it's back, folks. All right. 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.

ROMANS: Four witnesses scheduled for today, now refuse to testify in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

BRIGGS: Joe Biden tops three new national polls with just three months to go until the Iowa caucuses.

ROMANS: And McDonald's CEO forced out over a consensual relationship with a fellow employee.

BRIGGS: The Baltimore Ravens hand Tom Brady and the New England patriots their first loss of the season. Lamar Jackson entering the MVP conversation, good Monday morning everyone. Welcome to Early Start, I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Good morning, I'm Christine Romans, it is Monday, November 4th, it is 5:00 a.m. in the east and 91 days until the caucuses in Iowa.

All right. House impeachment investigators are all set to interview four witnesses today. But all four are refusing to testify. Sources telling CNN late Sunday, that National Security Council lawyers Eisenberg and Michael Ellis will not testify. Assistant to the president, Robert Blair and Brian McCormack, associated director of the White House Budget Office, have already said they won't answer the committee's question.

Administration officials says, Eisenberg is citing executive privilege while the rest are refusing to appear because they're not allowed to have an administration lawyer present. House Democrats say witnesses refusing to appear will not stop these impeachment inquiry. Several Democrats, telling CNN that there's already more than enough evidence to move on to the next step, public hearings.

BRIGGS: The whistleblower who ignited the impeachment inquiry is willing to answer written questions if Republicans want to submit them. But that offer is being rejected by President Trump and his top allies. They seemed determined to discredit the entire whistleblower and expose his or her identity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The whistleblower should be revealed. Because the whistleblower gave a false story. Some people would call it fraud. I won't go that far.

END