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Democrats To Release More Witness Transcripts from Impeachment Inquiry; Hong Kong Protests; India's Toxic Smog Remains Hazardous; New British House of Commons Speaker Elected; Trump Administration Begins Formal Exit from Climate Accord; Poll: Trump Still Competitive in Battleground States. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 5, 2019 - 00:00   ET

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


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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause, live from Studio 7 at CNN World Headquarters.

Ahead this hour, there was no quid pro quo, no quid pro quo, no pro quo quid?

But if there was, it wouldn't have been a problem. The ever changing impeachment defense from Donald Trump, which includes character assassination and stonewalling Congress.

India's government tinkers around the edges as toxic smog continues in the capital.

And the U.S. begins withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

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VAUSE: It might just be the ultimate example of be careful what you wish for. For weeks, Republican lawmakers in Washington have been complaining about the secretive and shady impeachment inquiry with its clandestine private hearings which Republicans were allowed to and did attend as well as question witnesses. But that is beside the point. Public hearings are set to begin relatively soon.

But on Monday, Democrats released the first transcripts from those closed door depositions and what is in the testimony raises the question of why Republicans would want this detail made public.

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former State Department senior adviser Michael McKinley both did testify under oath about efforts by the Trump administration to subvert U.S. foreign policy and dig up dirt on the president's political opponent.

Yovanovitch spoke in a lot of detail about the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the lengths he went to try to force her out of her job because she was seen as an Obama holdout. She was asked, "Did you ever had any conversations after the November-

December 2018 with Ukrainian officials about Mr. Giuliani up until the time you left in May?"

She said, "I think perhaps in the February time period I did, where one of the senior Ukrainian officials was very concerned and told me I really needed to watch my back."

The response from the Trump White House continues to avoid addressing the substance of the allegations; instead, attacking the credibility of the witness or the evidence or the process. There is a Trumpian remix from the past, which goes something like this.

There's was no quid pro quo with Ukraine but even if there was, it would have been perfectly fine. We begin our coverage with CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With transcripts of damaging testimony being released in the impeachment inquiry, President Trump is taking aim at the investigation's most crucial witnesses. The president took a swipe at former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch who testified she felt threatened by Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: If you look at the transcripts, the president of Ukraine was not a fan of hers either. I mean, he did not exactly say glowing things.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But the president is saving his toughest rhetoric for the mysterious whistleblower who prompted the probe claiming without proof he is a partisan Democrat.

TRUMP: If he is 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.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president wants to blow the lid off of the whistleblower's identity tweeting, "The whistleblower gave false information and dealt with corrupt politician Schiff and must be brought forward to testify."

That is not accurate. Much of the account has been confirmed by the rough White House transcript with the call with Ukraine and as well as witnesses like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and the president will go after his character.

QUESTION: What evidence do you have that Colonel Vindman is a never Trumper?

TRUMP: We'll be showing that to you real soon.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Despite the fact that the White House is struggling to answer whether the president sought a quid pro quo. DANA BASH, CNN SR. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Was there a time when military aid was held up because the president wanted Ukraine to look into the Bidens?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: I don't know.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president is pushing back that GOP senators are beginning to believe that his call was inappropriate, tweeting, "False stories are reported that a couple of Republican senators that President Trump may have done a quid pro quo. But it doesn't matter. There is nothing wrong with that. It is not an impeachable event."

Democrats point to the witnesses that testified there was a quid pro quo.

REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN (D-PA): If all of those things are true and largely the testimony that I've heard has corroborated that, then we really do have something that is very, very serious and grave.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president was handed another major legal setback when a federal appeals ruled he must turn over the long secret tax returns and Jay Sekulow said in a statement the decision will be taken to the Supreme Court.

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ACOSTA (voice-over): The issue raised in the case goes to the heart of our republic, the constitutional issues are significant. The president has argued repeatedly he shouldn't release the returns while he's under audit.

TRUMP: I'm always under audit it seems. But I've been under audit for many years because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name you're audited. But until such time as I'm not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The foul atmosphere in Washington may explain why the president is clinging to the World Series champions Washington nationals invited to celebrate at the White House.

TRUMP: America fell in love with the Nats baseball. They just fell in love with Nats baseball. That is all they wanted to talk about. That and impeachment. I like Nats baseball much more.

ACOSTA: The president slamming the suggestion that the whistleblower should be able to respond to written questions. The president may be forgetting something pretty important. His own legal team was fine with written questions when he was answering them in the Russia investigation -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

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VAUSE: Michael Genovese is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University and joins us from Los Angeles. For the past few weeks has been no daylight between the president and

his supporters, when it comes to that July phone call with the president of the Ukraine and this is how it goes.

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CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST (voice-over): Do you believe there was a quid pro quo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, there was no quid pro quo on the call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already know the main facts about this, that there was no quid pro quo on the call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've heard from President Trump and President Zelensky The president did nothing, wrong there was no quid pro quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, see, the president did nothing wrong. There was quid pro quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no quid pro quo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So now with this increasing evidence from credible witnesses and the testimony, the backup argument seems to be, you know that thing that I've been telling you that I did not do repeatedly for the last couple of weeks?

Well, even if I had done it, there be nothing wrong with that. And it does sound like the Trump Tower meeting with Kushner and Junior and Manafort, at first the denials became it was OK, we did it but who would not do it?

And then it was, well everyone does it so what's the problem?

Is that where it's heading?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: You only give up what you have to give up, you start with an extreme position, you defend it and defend it and defend it. Then when the evidence is presented and it's widely believed that your story is false, then you give a few inches.

Then when you defend that for a few weeks, you may have to give a few more inches and a few more inches. One of the problems with the Republican Party is that they're having to defend Trump at every stage, as the story changes.

So now the story is, well, there may have been a suggestion of a quid pro quo but really the Ukrainians did not give us anything so there was no real quid pro quo.

It's like saying like, yes, I tried to rob a bank, I failed and therefore I can't be convicted because I did not succeed. But it's like the old "Wizard of Oz," when he says, don't believe that little man behind the curtain. We're having a hard time believing the little man behind the curtain because Donald Trump's story has been proven to be faulty if not false. And the evidence has become more and more overwhelming.

VAUSE: We went to that meeting expecting to get dirt on Hillary Clinton but there was no dirt so there is no crime done. Part of the evidence now was revealed on Monday with the release of the transcript of the testimony of mmcki. He's a veteran of the foreign service. He said he quit his job in part because of what he said, the use of the State Department to dig up dirt on political opponents and then he went on to testify under oath, "If I can underscore in 37 years in the foreign service in different parts of the globe and working on many controversial issues, working 10 years back in Washington, I had never seen that."

We also heard through the release of the depositions of the former ambassador to Ukraine and the attempt to smear her credibility and the attempts to smear the credibility of the whistleblower as well as Alexander Vindman, the White House expert on Ukraine. In movie terms, the scenes best described something as out of "The Godfather."

GENOVESE: There is a pattern that reveals the policy, which is anyone that criticizes us, anyone that has the audacity to question the president, we will go after. We will go after, we will unleash the hounds. The bully pulpit will be used to go public and try to humiliate you, intimidate you, bully you so as to put the fear of God into everyone else who might want to testify.

So if you don't want to be dragged through the mud in public by the president of the United States, you'd better keep quiet. That's been the way they've been trying to keep this story on track.

The problem is it is unraveling partly because you have a number of people who have been career civil servants in the foreign service.

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GENOVESE: These are the people that do the tough job every day, in and out, day after day, who are saying, I've never seen anything like, this is not right. Something is wrong here.

And the secretary of state is supposed to intervene on behalf of the career civil servants. Instead he has contradicted McKinley's testimony, so someone is lying.

Is it the secretary of state or the former ambassador?

VAUSE: Good question. If Donald Trump is going down for what he says was a perfectly fine phone call with Ukraine's leader, it seems he's not going down alone. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And all of those many people that listened to the phone call, why didn't they have a problem with it, because they didn't have -- many people listen to calls between -- I know that. For instance, the secretary of state, Pompeo, was on the call. Nobody had -- with all of those people, very few people that I know came forward. And they only came forward when you asked.

And some of them are never Trumpers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Given all the adults who once were in the room and now been pushed out for trying to run a mainstream foreign policy, "Politico" reported the team that is there now, and they quoted a former administration official who said, "I feel like already don't have an A team or a B team. You're really getting down to who's left that will say 'yes.'"

It's hardly surprising that no one challenged the president about that call. John Bolton, national security adviser, tried to push back and he was forced out.

GENOVESE: You push back at all, you get thrown out. So what we're seeing is not that Donald Trump is strong but he surrounds himself with people who are weak. If you're not weak he will throw you out. He wants people who will say yes, who will bow to him and even when the evidence is contradicting the president and he is doing something that is clearly not in the interests of the United States, Donald Trump wants to be bowed to.

He wants people to say yes, sir; yes, sir. You are right. You know more than the generals. Well, the career civil servants are not used to doing that. They're used to speaking truth to power and telling the audience that they have, whether the president or the secretary of state, this is what we see on the ground, this is the information that we have.

What can we do about?

This is a different situation. The president is demanding that the truth fit his story.

VAUSE: All up, six administration officials will refuse or have refused to appear this week before Congress. Democrats on Monday released the two transcript from those two State Department officials.

It was devastating to hear that testimony. Democrat Jamie Raskin is on one of the investigative committees and explained to PBS the reasons for releasing those transcripts on Monday.

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REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD.), MEMBER, JUDICIARY AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEES: We want to see all the depositions released to the public so people can read for themselves the really explosive statements of these lifelong public servants.

And so they're all going to come out. It takes a while, as your staff knows, to digest everything that's in there. So we're going to stage them on a daily basis over the coming week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: "A daily basis over the coming week," this seems a smart play by Democrats, especially when you have this demand for transparency by the administration, which is blocking testimony from these key officials.

GENOVESE: I think it's no accident and it's very strategic. Release two today, two tomorrow, drip, drip, drip. Every day on the front pages. Every day you have one of the lead stories is going to contradict the president.

So the Democrats are hoping that that cumulative effect will be so to overburden the presidency that his defense will collapse. Day after day, it's hard to survive the contradiction of the president's story by people who were testifying -- and a number of them -- all under oath saying, that the president is wrong, he's misleading, that that is not what happened.

So that's the Democratic strategy, to build the case against the president, not to just put everything out on the table but do it piece by piece by piece. Bring the public slowly in and if they do come in the end.

VAUSE: We are out of time. But it gets to a point where not everyone who testifies can be an anti-Trumper or against the president, right?

This character assassination cannot work indefinitely.

GENOVESE: The character assassination is the strategy. It is their tool. It is the weapon they have. They can't argue on the, facts they can argue on the evidence, so they have to go to personal attacks. You have to say this person is an anti Trumper, a Democrat, an Obama person. He doesn't like me.

Well how often can you go to the well on that?

Especially when you have military people and career civil servants, Republicans some of them, who are saying these things. After a while, that story will not sell.

VAUSE: We are out of time. I appreciate you sticking around and being with us.

China's president is praising Hong Kong's chief executive despite months of violent protests on her watch. Xi Jinping had a surprise meaning with Carrie Lam on the sidelines of China's International Import Expo. President Xi reportedly applauded Lam's efforts in stabilizing the situation but also demanded more be done to end the violence.

China reportedly dismissed reports it was planning to remove Lam over the pro-democracy protests now into their fifth month.

[00:15:00] VAUSE: Another day of protest and bloodshed and Iraq, at least three people killed and 150 wounded as demonstrators and security forces faced off in Baghdad. The protests started in October over unemployment, corruption and a lack of basic services. But now demonstrators want the government to step down. CNN's Sam Kiley has the details.

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SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At least three demonstrators killed in the Iraqi capital and over 100 wounded in the latest bout of violence that comes close on the heels of the deaths of three more at the hands of security forces, opening fire to protect the consul of the Iranian government in the city of Karbala, a predominantly Shia town.

It's very much the focus of Shia nationalism, the Shia faith. Ironic perhaps that they were killed trying to burn that institution down. But perhaps there is now a degree of frustration and rage towards even the heavy influence of Iran on that country.

The neighboring country, a massive oil rich nation that, so far, failed to be able to demonstrate in any meaningful way that it can allow the oil wells to trickle down to its population, which is now aflame, right away from the deep south in Basra, where the port access has been cut off, all the way to the capital and into predominantly Sunni areas.

People have taken to the streets, demonstrating about mismanagement, corruption, unemployment and a lack of access to basic items, such as regular supplies of power. Amidst all of this, there is the role of the government.

What will the outgoing prime minister, who was agreed to step down but has not left, do to try and draw the scenes of these demonstrations, which are growing on an almost daily basis, particularly at a time when his neighbor in Iran, the influential supreme leader, Ali Khamenei has said that this is all the result of foreign influence?

That is the line that we have come to expect from politicians in this part of the world and it's one being repeated inside of Iraq, while the leadership there is struggling to figure out what to do about these massive demonstrations and their spread -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come, India's capital city desperate for a breath of fresh air. Toxic smog creating dangerous conditions in New Delhi. What India's government is doing and actually not doing about the crisis.

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Welcome back everybody. 20 million residents at the Capitol continue to struggle to breathe. Record level of toxic smog linger over New Delhi for at least a week. They have spent all firefighters and the anti solution and Ivan Watson reports that the quality is more than three times the hazard limit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The air in the Indian capital is toxic. The air pollution, so bad that authorities have declared a public health emergency: cancelling school, diverting flights and urging residents to say indoors. The city's chief minister taking to social media to sound the alarm.

ARVIND KEJRIWAL, CHIEF MINISTER OF DELHI (through translator): We do not want to blame anyone. This is an issue of our health, an issue of breathing in air, the health of our children, our families, the people of Delhi. That's what's at stake here.

WATSON (voice-over): Bad smog is an annual problem in New Delhi. But this year, the pollution has hit record levels.

WATSON: Thermal satellite imagery from NASA reveals one contributing factor to the smog: thousands of suspected fires, burning upwind from the Indian capital in the neighboring state of Punjab.

WATSON (voice-over): Farmers in India typically burn their fields this time of year, after the harvest. Weather patterns then trap that smoke up against the Himalayas, around northern cities like New Delhi. But experts say the capital city also creates much of its own pollution.

SANTOSH HARISH, FELLOW, CENTRE FOR POLICY RESEARCH: There are four types of sources. You've got industries and power plants; you have transport emissions, particularly trucks but also private vehicles; you have waste burning of various kinds; and you have road dust and construction dust.

All of them are major contributors of air pollution in Delhi. And those are the sources that we need to be targeting better within the city.

WATSON (voice-over): The government imposed an odd-even policy aimed at reducing cars on the road. It's also issued millions of masks to children.

But doctors say they've seen a surge of patients suffering respiratory problems.

GOPI CHAND KHINANI, PUSHPAWATI SINGHANIA HOSPITAL AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Those who are perfectly healthy, leading a normal life, they've suddenly started complaining of respiratory issues: cough, sore throat, sleep deprivation, sometimes even fever. WATSON (voice-over): On Sunday, demonstrators protested against the pollution.

JAIVIPRA, PROTESTER: We're concerned about our futures and about our health. But we are also fighting this on behalf of children and the elderly, who are -- who bear the biggest brunt of the problem.

WATSON (voice-over): New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and forecasters say there are no signs the air will improve anytime soon -- Ivan Watson, CNN.

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VAUSE: The Parliament has a new speaker in the House of Commons. Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle, who was deputy Speaker for almost a decade, now is assuming one of the biggest roles in British politics. In keeping with tradition, he was dragged to the Speaker's chair by his colleagues where he promised to be neutral and to see the House change for the better.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDSAY HOYLE, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: I stand by what I've said, I stand firm that I hope this house will be once a great respected house, not just in here but across the world.

It's the envy; we've got to make sure that tarnish is polished away, that the respect and tolerance that we expect from everyone who works in here will be shown and we will keep that in order.

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VAUSE: And good luck to you with that.

He replaces John Bercow who stepped down last week after a somewhat controversial decade as chair. Critics claim Bercow favored lawmakers who were the Remainers, those opposed to Brexit.

Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both paid tribute to Hoyle for what they see as his signature kindness. But in less than 24 hours, the prime minister and Jeremy Corbyn will be battling each other as they hit the campaign trail in earnest. Britain goes to the polls for the selection next month.

Still to come here, the climate change denier in chief finally making good on a promise he made two years ago. The Trump administration filing the paperwork to officially withdraw from the Paris climate deal. Details on that when we come back.

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VAUSE: Thank you for staying with us. You're watching CNN Newsroom. I'm John Vause with headlines this hour.

U.S. health democrats have released the first transcripts from their impeachment depositions. The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a former State Department advisor say they were met with silence when they raised concern about President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani and the role he was playing in U.S. - Ukraine policy.

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At least three people were killed with 150 wounded during protests in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, on Monday. The protests across the country started back in October about unemployment, government corruption, and a lack of basic services. But now the demonstrators want the government to step down.

And residents of India's capital set to suffer through record levels of smog for at least a week. The country's highest court has banned all farm fires, and officials in New Delhi have declared a public health emergency. All schools in Delhi remain shut because the air quality is more than three times what is considered hazardous.

More than two years after promising to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, President Trump is finally making it official. On Monday, the U.N. received official notification from the White House, withdrawing from an accord accepted by almost every country around the world, including North Korea. It will take about a year, wrapping up on November 4, 2020, one day after the presidential election.

Critics like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say it's a disastrous move, but the Trump administration refuses to back down.

Here was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter: "Today, we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris agreement. The U.S. is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy and ensuring energy for our citizens. Our is a realistic and pragmatic model."

Well, for more, I'm joined now from Los Angeles by geologist Jess Phoenix, also executive director at the environmental group Blueprint Earth.

OK, Jess, let's just begin with that statement from Pompeo. You know, it's incredibly misleading. U.S. emissions were coming down significantly, most because of measures taken by the previous administration, and for almost three years, its current White House has been trying to undo everything that President Obama put in place.

JESS PHOENIX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLUEPRINT EARTH: Yes. That's pretty much par for the course for the Trump administration. It seems anything that's even remotely related to President Obama is on the chopping block. And U.S. carbon emissions actually rose last year. So things are

going in the wrong direction, and this withdrawal from the Paris agreement does not help.

VAUSE: You know, Reuters is reporting Emmanuel Macron and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will sign a pact that includes wording on the irreversibility of the Paris climate accord.

It says a lot about the isolation of the U.S., even when North Korea is part of this deal. But without American leadership, and more to the point, without an administration which seems openly hostile to efforts to reduce carbon admissions, how effective can this agreement actually be?

PHOENIX: Well, I think we're actually going to be in a situation that's a little bit reversed to where the U.S. has been for the past 50 years or so. We are actually going to be on the short end of the pointy stick here.

Other nations are -- you know, most of them around the world, except for us, are in on this agreement. And they're going to be able to exert pressure on the United States, since we are both such a large producer of emissions and one of the incubators for green and sustainable tech development.

So I think we're going to actually be seeing other countries attempting to push the U.S. more in line with the Paris agreement, a total reversal.

VAUSE: And with that in mind, here's how President Trump justified pulling out of the accord. Here he's speaking about two weeks ago in Pittsburgh. Here he is.

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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It would've been so bad for our country. They were taking away our wealth. It was almost as though it was meant to hurt the competitiveness -- really, competitiveness of the United States, so we did away with that one. The Paris accord would have been a giant transfer of American wealth to foreign nations that are responsible for most of the world's pollution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Is anything he said there true? Is there any element of truth in that statement?

PHOENIX: None whatsoever. I mean, we're seeing the typical Trump administration doublespeak here.

When every other time the United States has faced a big challenge, whether it's environmental or just an aspirational one, like the moon shot, we have risen to the occasion and developed and innovated and actually improved our economy as a result. So he's really just creating falsehoods yet again. And that you

cannot fool people who know what innovation really does for our economy and has historically done. So yes, nothing here is based on fact.

VAUSE: There's been the back and forth over the last couple of days between the governor of California and the U.S. president over the cause of the state's wildfires. It sort of ended with this tweet from the governor: "You don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation."

And he's right. The U.S. president has repeatedly said he does not believe in climate change. Here's an example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I'm not a believer in global warming. I'm not a believer in man-made global warming. I am not a believer in climate change. Now it's gone global warming, and climate change, and now they call it, actually, extreme weather.

Well, I think that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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VAUSE: You know, it seems to me it's time to stop talking about a belief in climate change, like it's a magical unicorn, and we have a choice in this. It's not a faith-based issue. Either you accept well-established scientific fact or you don't. And those who don't most likely are suffering from what is called denialism syndrome. And they need help.

PHOENIX: Right. I mean, we are at a point where, if you tell me that you don't believe in climate change, that's equivalent to saying you don't believe in gravity. And I think most of us would like to continue to say that we acknowledge gravity exists. And we're right there with the level of the science that we have on climate change and on the fact that it's human caused.

The -- we are way past belief, and we are way past the media wanting to give this, basically, a balanced platform. There should be no balance here, because one side is talking about evidence-based data, and the other side is talking about opinion and fanciful belief systems, which really aren't in play and are completely irrelevant to the challenges we face.

VAUSE: Yes. We're out of time. But we should -- you know, I think the thing is, we should say those -- There are people out there who do not accept basic scientific fact when it comes to climate change. It's not a belief. It's about accepting facts, as well.

And we are out of time. That is a fact, as well. But Jessica, thanks so much. Good to see you. PHOENIX: Thanks.

VAUSE: OK. And time for a short break. You're watching CNN. We'll be back in just a moment.

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VAUSE: You are watching an amazing rescue by a California Transit employee.

John O'Connor saved a man who fell from a train platform after an NFL game in Oakland on Sunday. The Bay Area Rapid Transit says the man was intoxicated when he slipped onto the tracks.

O'Connor grabbed him by his shoulders, pulled him up, just as a train went by. It was very close. The two men hugged after this close call, and O'Connor says he was just doing his job. He told the man to pay it forward. Good advice.

And maybe not drink so much at the game.

Well, despite the constant flow of negative news on impeachment, President Trump remains competitive in key battleground states, which he won in 2016.

Take Michigan, for example. The president held a narrow lead over Joe Biden, 55 percent to 45 percent. That's in a recent "New York Times"/Siena College poll. Donald Trump topped Senator Elizabeth Warren 46 percent to 38 percent. Notably, Senator Bernie Sanders, 45 percent, slightly ahead of Donald Trump, who's on 43 percent. Notably, that is within the margin of error.

CNN's Jason Carroll traveled to Michigan and asked voters who they're backing in 2020 and why.

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JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Picturesque small towns, affluent suburbs and overwhelmingly white. Michigan's 11th is a congressional district carved out of a district just north of Detroit.

TRUMP: Who won the state of Michigan after decades?

CARROLL: It's also a district that voted for Trump in 2016 --

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Haley Stevens, the Democrat --

CARROLL: Then flipped and elected a Democratic congresswoman, Haley Stevens, in last year's midterm. It's a swing district in a swing state, so no surprise, voters split on the impeachment inquiry.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a sham. OK? I think the president -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Horrible.

CARROLL (on camera): Horrible?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's horrible, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just horrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president is doing a great job.

CARROLL (voice-over): In Plymouth, Michigan, Rita Dunham (ph), former auto worker, proudly shows her support for Trump on her Ford pick-up truck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women in Michigan love President Trump, end of story.

CARROLL (on camera): I saw your truck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Women -- quit saying women are not for Trump.

CARROLL (voice-over): Tell that to Amy Neal (ph), a marketing director, who says the inquiry is long overdue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's heading in the right direction, finally, the impeachment. I think we're getting the evidence we need, and he -- you know, I think he gets what's coming to him.

CARROLL: UPS worker Steven Place says it's the Democrats who deserve to have what's coming to them, he says, for undermining a president who has done so well on the economy.

STEVEN PLACE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Look at the real estate. I mean, house goes on the market, it's gone in a week. The economy is just booming.

CARROLL: Since Trump's election, the state's unemployment rate has dropped nearly one point. It should be noted, he nearly won in 2015 by just over 10,000 votes after Obama won it twice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He needs to face consequences for his actions.

CARROLL: Christine Williams (ph) is a small business owner who supports the inquiry. She says he's about more than just the bottom line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's important that the inquiry be going on. I also think it's important that we not be distracted by it and that there's actually governance going on, as well, too.

CARROLL: About 30 miles northeast of Plymouth, in the upscale suburb of Birmingham, former Marine Paul Cane also supports the inquiry.

PAUL CANE (PH), VOTER: I wouldn't define myself as left or right wing. CARROLL: Cane (ph) says he's upset over how the president and his

allies have criticized decorated war veteran and White House official Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.

CANE (ph): It was just totally uncalled for.

CARROLL: James Melstrom, a financial adviser, could not disagree more.

JAMES MELSTROM, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think that the Democrats are just trying to overturn the results from 2016, and I think it's going to fail miserably.

CARROLL: Melstrom also says his newly-elected Democratic congresswoman, Haley Stevens, will pay a political price for supporting the inquiry.

So much division, but that doesn't mean those who may disagree cannot be friends.

CARROLL (on camera): All of you 50. You've been friends, some of you, since grade school and you can all talk politics?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even after we have a couple drinks.

CARROLL (voice-over): This group celebrating their lifelong friendship and their differences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think as a country, we have forgotten that we're all the same on some level. Political divisiveness isn't what is going to further this country. We have to act on a common ground.

CARROLL (on camera): So folks here evenly split it but there is one point when both sides can agree. And that is a lot of people that we talked to are having a difficult time understanding how the whole impeachment process works, how long it will take. And at the end of the day, whatever the result is, the country will end up being even more divided than ever.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Plymouth, Michigan.

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VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. WORLD SPORT starts after the break. You're watching CNN.

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