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White House Witnesses Refuse To Testify Today In House Impeachment Inquiry; Biden Tops Democratic Field In Three National Polls; Hong Kong Bracing For More Violence. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 4, 2019 - 05:30   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Robert Blair and Brian McCormack, associate director of the White House Budget Office, have already said they won't answer the committee's questions.

An administration official 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.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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 seem determined to discredit the whistleblower and expose his or her identity.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false stories. Some people would call it a 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.


ROMANS: 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."

BRIGGS: Brand-new polling just out from "The New York Times" and Siena College shows President Trump is still very competitive in key battleground states. That's especially true against Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; less so against Joe Biden. More on that in just a few minutes.

Meantime, turning to three new national polls of Democrats. Joe Biden at the top of the field with Warren and Sanders rounding out the top three just 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. Biden's lead over Warren in the NBC News-"Wall Street Journal" poll, just four points, with Sanders eight back.

And in the latest "Washington Post"-ABC News poll, Biden's margin over Warren, five 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 wealthy Americans and drew criticism from her two chief democratic rivals.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a plan that shows how 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 one percent and giant corporations to pay a fair share.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's making it up. She's making -- look, nobody thinks it's $20 trillion.

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


ROMANS: Until now, Sanders and Warren have 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.


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 1/2 percent payroll tax which is far more, I think, progressive.

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


ROMANS: Warren claims the $11 trillion Americans will shell out in out-of-pocket medical costs over the next decade would vanish under her plan. BRIGGS: South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, says there's no question 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 that on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: 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.

BASH: 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.


BRIGGS: On a bus tour across Iowa Sunday, Mayor Pete responded.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The thing about outreach is that you can transcend a lot of barriers and I think the most important thing is the message.

I believe when you go to the ballot -- when you go to the voting booth, at the end of the day, you're asking yourself how's my life going to get better if I pick this president instead of that one? I think we're going to win on that.

And my job is to keep (INAUDIBLE).


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


ROMANS: All right. Are Republicans shifting their impeachment defense strategy? Not if President Trump has his way. That's next.


ROMANS: President Trump responding to a "Washington Post" report that a growing number of GOP senators are ready to acknowledge the quid pro quo on Ukraine as part of a shift in defense strategy. These Republicans insist 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 Republican senators are saying that President Trump may have done a quid pro quo but there's nothing wrong with that. Perhaps so, but read the transcript. There is no quid pro quo."

BRIGGS: A lot of quid pro quo.


Joining us this morning, Princeton University historian and professor Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. Good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Hi, Julian. Good morning.


BRIGGS: Happy Monday.

All right, so if that is, in fact, the line of defense for Republican senators in an impeachment trial, do they have a defense there? Is there high crimes and misdemeanors if, in fact, there's a quid pro quo?

ZELIZER: Well, I think a lot of people would disagree that's a legitimate defense. That's just shifting the goalpost and basically saying well, the president did what everyone is saying he did -- the evidence is overwhelming -- but we're not going to impeach.

BRIGGS: But does it -- does it fit high crimes and misdemeanors?

ZELIZER: Yes. I think what the president did, there's a strong argument that's exactly what the founders were worried about -- a president governing for his own interest --


ZELIZER: -- and a governor -- a president potentially becoming corrupt because of foreign policy and foreign influence. So it's not so simple to say this just doesn't fit the bill.

ROMANS: Meantime, the attorney for the whistleblower has said he is willing to answer questions from Republicans -- written questions from Republicans, and Republicans -- but allies of the president are saying that's just not good enough. You can't -- you can't start this whole impeachment fire and not -- you know, and not sit there in an open hearing.

And the president wants to hear -- wants to see who this whistleblower is. He wants the whistleblower revealed.

Listen to the president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There have been stories about a certain individual -- a male -- and they say he's the whistleblower. If he's the whistleblower he has no credibility because he's a Brennan guy, he's a Susan Rice guy, he's an Obama guy, and he hates Trump.


ROMANS: Is that -- is that intimidation or witness tampering to be calling out this witness in such a way?

ZELIZER: Well, it's surely intimidation to have the President of the United States go after you like this in a public setting. The whole point of a whistleblower law is to protect the person revealing the information and so far, all of the information has actually supported what the whistleblower said.

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: So this is just an effort to put this person in a corner and to raise questions about their legitimacy, which is his main strategy.

BRIGGS: Not entirely clear all this is hurting the president. There was a national poll that came out over the weekend that shows President Trump would lose to Joe Biden by 12 points.

But just like 2016, you have to look within the battleground polling -- and that's "The New York Times." It shows, this morning, essentially competitive races down the way.


BRIGGS: Joe Biden being the leader, but very competitive with President Trump --

ROMANS: In battleground states.

BRIGGS: -- and Elizabeth Warren trailing. We don't have the exact data for you but right within the margin of error.

Is this very similar to 2016 regardless of all the impeachment noise?

ZELIZER: Sure, this should be a warning sign to Democrats. Even though the approval ratings for this president are terrible, in those battleground states he is holding his own against all the Democrats.

Biden is winning in some -- is winning the margin of error -- and so that should be an eye-opening poll that this is going to be a really tough election because of the Electoral College.

ROMANS: Is there a risk in the Democrats right now -- like a circular firing squad about Medicare for All and squabbling about health care? I mean, when the former president's signature -- legislative -- you know, Obamacare -- they're not talking about that.

BRIGGS: No, they're not.

ROMANS: They're arguing and squabbling over something far to the left of that.

ZELIZER: It could be. The benefit is to do all this now and sort it out and let the voters then pick based on whatever --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- comes out of this debate rather than doing it in the fall. And that's the purpose of a primary.

BRIGGS: Less than 100 days to the Iowa caucuses.

Julian Zelizer, good to see you, sir. Thank you.

ROMANS: Ninety-one days.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.

BRIGGS: I want to ask you about the New York Jets but I don't want to --

ZELIZER: Let's not go there. Let's not go there.

BRIGGS: -- I don't want to pick on you too much on a Monday. It was a rough weekend for your team.

ZELIZER: Right. I don't have a bag for my head.

BRIGGS: Get a bag. I would highly suggest investing in a paper bag.

ROMANS: All right, football. That's something about football, apparently -- all right.

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 into public waterways.

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.

BRIGGS: Some awe-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 uses choppers -- using choppers is uncommon and requires special training, skills, and technology.

This is from the Maria Fire, which now covers nearly 10,000 acres and is 70 percent contained.

President Trump slamming California Gov. Gavin 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.

While Newsome fired back on Twitter. "You don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation."

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.



BRIGGS: Hong Kong is bracing for more chaos after another weekend of violent protests.

Two people in critical condition and 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 are cries of police brutality with one injured reporter claiming authorities are actually targeting journalists.

Will Ripley live from Hong Kong where police tried to hold a press conference a short time ago. Then what happened next, Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A group of people who claimed to be local reporters put slogans on their helmets calling for an investigation into alleged police brutality. Police asked them to leave the room and they refused. They were surrounded by officers and eventually, police just decided to call the whole thing off and give statements on Facebook.

But this just shows you the division and the conflict that's been erupting here on the streets of Hong Kong just a couple of weeks before local elections.

On Saturday, we saw thousands of people -- not tens of thousands and not hundreds of thousands like in the earlier months of this movement -- but thousands of people who were out. And even though the crowds were smaller they still managed to shut down major roadways.

And also, after the large protests ended, there were smaller outbreaks of violence that went on for hours -- this cat and mouse game with police officers going after people who were hurling bricks and petrol bombs at them. Of course, police firing back with rubber bullets and 400 rounds of tear gas just on Saturday and Sunday alone.

Now, also, protesters have been targeting businesses like this. This is the bureau of the Xinhua News Agency -- Chinese state media. They smashed through these glass doors and they're still trying to figure out what they're going to do here. They're trying to build some sort of a barricade in case protesters come back.

And on Sunday, we saw protesters hit up shopping malls all over Hong Kong, going after other businesses that they accuse of being pro- Beijing.

Week 22, Dave, and no end in sight here.

BRIGGS: All right, Will Ripley live for us -- 6:50 p.m. there in Hong Kong -- thanks.

ROMANS: All right.

Officials in Northern California are asking for the public's help to locate a pair of escaped murder suspects. The Monterey County Sheriff's Office says 21-year-old Santos Fonseca and 20-year-old Jonathan Salazar were being held on unrelated murder charges.

Details on how the pair escaped were not released but authorities say they are investigating. Deputies say these men are on the loose and should be considered dangerous.

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 can hear a brief part of their message in surveillance video provided by the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Mississippi.


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

(Alarm sounding)


BRIGGS: Moments later an alarm goes off as the group scatters 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, and the center's historic marker at the spot where Till's body was recovered has repeatedly been shot at and vandalized.

An Oregon judge has temporarily barred the Trump administration from denying visas to immigrants who cannot prove they 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: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Business" this Monday morning.

Taking a look at markets around the world, some optimism. Japanese markets there closed for a holiday but the mood has turned positive again on U.S.-China trade talks. The president said there is progress -- want to get the deal with China.

And tech stocks rose after Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg that licenses allowing U.S. companies to sell to Huawei will be forthcoming very shortly.

On Wall Street, futures looking like they're a little bit higher here this morning. Stocks finished higher Friday after that better than expected jobs report. In fact, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both closed at record highs. The Dow just 12 points below its July record.

Stocks have been resilient this year. The Dow up 17 percent, the S&P 500 up 22 percent, the Nasdaq up 26 percent.

McDonald's CEO, Steve Easterbrook, has been fired after violating company policy. The burger chain said Easterbrook, who became CEO back 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."

He has been replaced by Chris Kempczinski who was most recently president of McDonald's USA.

Easterbrook made $15.9 million last year.

Under Armour is facing investigation over its accounting practices. The sportswear company said it's cooperating with investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, and that it began responding to requests for documents in July 2017.


According to "The Wall Street Journal," the probe is into whether Under Armour shifted sales from quarter to quarter to appear healthier. The Under -- Under Armour says it "...firmly believes that its accounting practices and disclosures were appropriate."

The Department of Justice and the SEC declined to comment.

Under Armour is scheduled to report its third-quarter results before the opening bell.

BRIGGS: Stormy weather dislodged an old iron boat that's been stuck on the rocks above Niagara 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 the strong current could push the boat over the falls.

Officials say the vessel became disconnected from its tug boat during a dredging operation in 1918.

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 and he began discussing his 2015 battle with brain cancer. Carter told the congregation when he received that diagnosis it didn't really matter to him whether he lived or died.


JIMMY CARTER, (D) 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 just asked God to give me a proper attitude toward death. And I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death.


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

BRIGGS: The world champion Washington Nationals visit the White House today. This video from their parade over the weekend. At least one Nationals player is boycotting the event.

Pitcher Sean Doolittle, an outspoken supporter of immigrants and the LGBTQ community, 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.

Just one unbeaten team remains in the NFL and it's not the New England Patriots. The Ravens beat the Pats Sunday night 37-20, led by their dynamic young quarterback Lamar Jackson. Baltimore rushed for more than 200 yards on Sunday Night Football.

The biggest play of the game may have come on defense -- a 70-yard fumble returned for a touchdown by Baltimore quarterback Marlon Humphrey.

The only undefeated team still standing, the 8-0 San Francisco 49ers.

ROMANS: All right.

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




ROMANS: The black leather jacket and skin-tight pants worn by the actress and singer in the movie -- get this, they sold for $405,700. That's more than double the auction estimate.

Look, the outfit was made famous in the 1978 film's final musical number, "You're the One I Want." It sold to separate anonymous bidders at 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 at this auction, raising a reported $2.4 million for her cancer wellness center in Australia. And a very, very good cause. Very tight pants for a very good cause.

BRIGGS: Yes, and you're still wondering why the flying car --

ROMANS: Flying car -- I don't understand.

BRIGGS: The theory is on the Internet that she was dead.

ROMANS: It was all a dream sequence.

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: I didn't realize there's a whole community of people who have wondered for 40 years why they flew away in the car. I never thought about it that deeply but did wonder why, and --

BRIGGS: The director won't spill the beans. John Travolta laughed off that. So it's just -- you know, we're never going to know.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Here's Rizzo and Kenickie with "NEW DAY" right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. I'm wearing the tight leather pants this morning. It's Monday, November fourth. It's 6:00 here in New York.

And we have breaking news in the race for president. A series of brand-new polls from the six battleground states that determined the outcome of the election in 2016 and could very well decide it again in 2020 -- Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina.

We have match-ups between the leading Democrats and the president, and we have two big major headlines out of this. First, it's tight -- wicked tight. The president is outperforming his national poll numbers by a lot. And second, Joe Biden fairs better against the president than his democratic rivals in these states, pretty much across the board. Harry Enten digs in, in just a moment.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, several big developments in the impeachment inquiry this week. This witness list for today appears to have gone from four to zero. CNN has learned all four White House officials who were scheduled to testify today will not be showing up.