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EARLY START

Donald Trump: Whistleblower of Ukraine Call Should Be Revealed; Washington Post Reports GOP Senators Mull Admitting Trump Quid Pro Quo; Biden Tops Democratic Field in Three National Polls. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 4, 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]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Revealed because the whistleblower gave 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 if 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)

DAVE BRIGGS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: 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."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: President Trump responding to a "Washington Post" report that a growing number of GOP senators are ready to acknowledge now the quid pro quo on Ukraine. Part of that shift in defense strategy. These Republicans insists the president's action was not illegal and does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

President Trump, though, is not changing his defense. His claim that there was no quid pro quo. He aimed his fire at both GOP senators and the media complaining about false stories. A few Republicans are saying that President Trump may have done a quid pro quo, but there is nothing wrong with that, perhaps so, 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 out 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 of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. The former vice president tops Sanders by 12 points, Biden's lead over Warren in the new "NBC News"-"Wall Street Journal" polls just 4 points with Sanders, 8 back. And the latest "Washington Post"-"ABC News" poll, Biden's margin over Warren is 5 points with 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), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a plan that shows how we can have Medicare for all without raising taxes, 1 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.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's making it up. I mean, she's making -- look, nobody thinks it's $20 trillion.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, 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 have been reluctant to cross each other on Medicare for all. Warren trying to keep it that way, even though Sanders is attacking her plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Warren claims the $11 trillion Americans will pay an out-of- pocket Medicare costs over the next decade, those costs would vanish under her plan.

BRIGGS: South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn; the Majority House Whip says there's no question Pete put -- Pete Buttigieg's -- excuse me, 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".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Mayor Buttigieg's struggle 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 who 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 because 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: On a bus tour across Iowa, Sunday, Mayor Pete responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The thing about outrage is that you can't transcend a lot of barriers. And I think the most important thing is the message. I believe that when you go to the ballot and you go into the voting booth, at the end of the day you're asking yourself, how is my life going to get better if I pick this president or that one. I think we're going to win on that.

And our job is to keep it clean (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Mayor Pete wraps up his bus tour of Iowa later today.

ROMANS: All right, a relationship with a fellow employee just brought down the top boss at one of the world's biggest companies. More on McDonald's, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:05:00]

ROMANS: All right, fired over an affair. 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 over 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 disappointed after sales grew just shy of 5 percent in the third quarter, down from 5.7 percent in Q2. Investors are concerned the chain is feeling the heat from rivals who are aggressive on breakfast and plant-based menu items. Kempczinski said he is energized by this challenge.

BRIGGS: 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 alarm siren. You could hear a brief part of their message in surveillance video provided by the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Mississippi.

[05:10:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(SIREN GOES OFF)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Moments later, an alarm goes off and the group scattered to their cars. In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was tortured to death after he was accused of making advances toward a white woman in the city's historic marker at the spot where Till's body was recovered as repeatedly been shot at and vandalized over the years.

ROMANS: Some all-inspiring aerial fire video from southern California this morning. The footage tweeted out by the Ventura County Fire Department shows this is what it's like to fight a wild fire at night from a helicopter. The department says night fire fighting using chopper is uncommon, 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 slamming California governor, Governor Newsom over the state's rash of wildfires, Sunday. The president blamed Newsom's quote, "poor forest management" and threatened to withhold federal wildfire funding.

Newsom tweeting back, "you don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation."

BRIGGS: Hong Kong is bracing for more chaos after another weekend of violent protests. Two more people 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, Sunday, to break up demonstrators forming human chains.

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

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the press conference was disrupted, Dave, when a small group of people who claim to be local reporters put slogans on their helmets, calling for an investigation into what they call police brutality. There have been reporters who have been injured. You sometimes get tear-gassed if you get too close.

Whether it's collateral damage or intentional, I would say, it's up for debate. But what we saw over the weekend is smaller numbers, and yet, a continued uptick in the level of violence. Look at this here, this is the Xinhua News Agency, Hong Kong bureau. These are supposed to be glass doors. This completely smashed out.

The protesters targeted this, they swarmed shopping malls across Hong Kong, going over businesses that they say support Beijing, support the communist party in China, and it was outside one of those shopping malls that a heated political discussion turned violent, when a man who was supporting views in favor of mainland China pulled out a knife and allegedly stabbed at least four people.

As you mentioned, two still potentially in critical condition. And one of the activists, actually a pro-democracy lawmaker had his ear partially bitten off. You could see the video of him holding his hand up to his head, the ear on the ground. It just goes to show how divided this city is, with local elections coming up, just a couple of weeks from now.

And on Saturday, even though we saw thousands of people out in the streets, not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands like earlier in the Summer, we still saw violence. We saw police using tear gas and rubber bullets. Protesters hurling bricks and petrol bombs, and because of that, even with those small numbers, public transportation was suspended or shut down all over, not only here on Hong Kong Island, but also across Victoria Harbor on the Kowloon side.

And yet, another protest, Dave, is scheduled right here in Hong Kong for tomorrow night. This is week 22 and these protests show no sign of letting up.

BRIGGS: Do not. Will Ripley live for us, 6:13 p.m. there in Hong Kong, thanks, Will.

ROMANS: All right --

BRIGGS: All right, ahead, only one unbeaten team left standing in the NFL. It is not the New England Patriots, Andy Scholes has that story in the "BLEACHER REPORT" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:00]

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 release of water containing toxic chemicals in 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: All right, the world champion the Washington Nationals 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 he 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 a disabled reporter during the 2016 campaign, Dave.

BRIGGS: All right, for the first time since December, the New England Patriots lost a game. The Baltimore Ravens handing them their first loss of the season. Andy Scholes has the Lamar Jackson story in the "BLEACHER REPORT" --

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes --

BRIGGS: Good morning my friend.

SCHOLES: Yes, good morning, Dave, yes. The Patriots had won 13- straight games including the playoffs coming into this one, but the run coming to an end, thanks to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The Patriots defense through eight games was on pace to be an all-time great indeed. It allowed just four offensive touchdowns in that first eight games.

Well, Jackson and the Ravens scoring four touchdowns in this game alone. Jackson, throwing for one, running for two more as the Ravens will win this one big, 37-20. The 49ers, now, the only undefeated team left in the NFL this season.

[05:20:00]

All right, now, the other side of things, the Dolphins are no longer winless. Miami putting a beat-down on the Jets and their former coach Adam Gase yesterday, winning 26-18, the Dolphins then dumping Gatorade on their coach Brian Flores at the end of this one as he gets his first win as the head coach.

Jets and Dolphins now same record, 1-7, tough times there with the Jet. All right. We had the first big time firing in college football yesterday. Florida State axing Willie Taggart just two years into a massive deal. The school reportedly had to pay him a buyout of more than $17 million. "ESPN" is reporting that the school raised $20 million from private donors to buy out Taggart. Now, Taggart had a record of just 9-12 in his 21 games at the school.

All right, and the celebration tour continuing for the Nationals. Last night, they were at the Capitals game, the team on the ice as you can see beforehand, going shirtless. They had the trophy out there, and then they took a combo pic with the Capitals who won it two years ago.

That's a pretty cool picture. Good times there in D.C., the team heading to the White House later today. And finally, Texas quarterback Deshaun Watson doing it all Sunday against the Jaguars, check him out here, he's going to somehow escape the sack and then just flip it over to Carlos Hyde who makes a nice gain out of the play. Watson doing it all, leading Houston to a 26-3 win.

And this comes a week after he got kicked right in the eye. But Watson said after this game, he found a secret cure to help fix that eye.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESHAUN WATSON, QUARTERBACK, HOUSTON TEXANS: I'll tell you the key. The key is, it was the Popeyes spicy chicken sandwiches that I ate this week that helped the eye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: There you go, Dave, you get kicked in the face, you see a bunch of Popeyes chicken sandwiches, they're apparently good --

BRIGGS: Yes --

SCHOLES: For everything.

BRIGGS: But he's been in London, man, they didn't come out until yesterday. So --

SCHOLES: I mean, I'm sure he has special access or something, you know --

BRIGGS: I think he has a special hookup to the Popeye -- or the recipe himself. Andy, thank you my friend.

SCHOLES: All right --

ROMANS: I'm still waiting --

BRIGGS: What's coming up?

ROMANS: For that special hook up --

BRIGGS: I know, we've got to try it this week --

ROMANS: Oh, no, OK, we will --

BRIGGS: For sure --

ROMANS: That's on the agenda. Four White House officials were scheduled to give depositions in the Trump impeachment inquiry today. But now, the house will not hear from any of them, details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:25:00]

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I assumed naturally that I was going to die very quickly. And I obviously prayed 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 out that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: President Carter celebrated his 95th birthday last month.

BRIGGS: 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 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 a strong current could push the boat over the falls. And officials say the vessel became disconnected from its tugboat during a dredging operation in 1918. It has been stranded on the Niagara River ever since.

ROMANS: Olivia Newton-John's iconic bad sandy outfit from "Grease" scores big at auction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: Sandy?

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, ACTRESS: Tell me about it, Stud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That line is so bad. The black leather jacket and the skin- tight pants worn by the actress and singer in the movie sold for $405,700, more than double the auction estimate. The ensemble was of course made famous in the 1978 film's final musical number, "You're the One That I Want" sold to separate anonymous bidders at an auction in Beverley Hills this weekend.

And Newton-John said she had to be sewn into those pants. Hundreds of other items from her career were also sold raising $2.4 million for her cancer wellness center in Australia. A very good cause. But the movie -- the movie -- look, what -- so, what's --

BRIGGS: Holds up well today.

ROMANS: The biggest question of, basically, my generation, is why did they fly away in the car? What's the point of the flying car?

BRIGGS: I have been thinking about this for my entire life, yes, for 40 years.

(LAUGHTER)

Do you have -- do you have any answer for me?

ROMANS: I don't have an answer, it's a metaphor for I don't know what. But the other big question of course is that why does she have to change to be what he wanted to see in her to be happy? Why couldn't she just be herself?

BRIGGS: Yes, the flying car --

ROMANS: Happy --

BRIGGS: The flying car in JFK, it's just life's great mysteries, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: EARLY START continues right now.

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

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

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

ROMANS: Baltimore Ravens hand Tom Brady and the New England Patriots their first loss of the season, too bad, so sad, John Berman. Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans --

BRIGGS: Yes, he probably is a little bit bummed this morning --

ROMANS: I bet he is --

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs, 5:29 Eastern Time right here in New York and in the nation's capital which is where we begin. House impeachment investigators all set to interview four witnesses today. But all four refusing to testify. Sources telling CNN late Sunday that National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis will not testify.

Assistant to the president, Robert Blair and Brian McCormack; associate director of the White House Budget Office have already said they won't answer the committee's questions.

END