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Democrats Flip Virginia Senate & House; Sondland's New Recollection; Arrest in Mexico Massacre; Bye Bye Blind Spots; College Basketball Season Tips Off; Queen to Formally Dissolve Parliament. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 6, 2019 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Big blue wins in ruby red states, where power is shifting and what it means for 2020.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: The big revision from a top witness in the impeachment probe, what Gordon Sondland suddenly recalls and how it wrecks the White House defense.

ROMANS: An arrest after nine Americans were massacred in Mexico. The families said they were targeted because of past conflicts with cartels.

MARQUEZ: And we've all been thrown off by a blind spot while driving. Now a teenager has a solution and a $25,000 prize for her work.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this morning.

MARQUEZ: Good to be here.

ROMANS: Dave is off.

I'm Christine Romans. It's Wednesday, November 6th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the east.

Breaking overnight, an ominous election night warning for President Trump as reliably Republican seats go to Democrats.

In ruby red Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear claiming victory in the governor's race. No CNN projection yet, but Beshear leads Republican Matt Bevin by several thousand votes with 99 percent of the votes count. Bevin refuses to admit to defeat.


ANDY BESHEAR (D), DECLARES VICTORY IN KY GOVERNOR'S RACE: It's a message that says our elections don't have to be about right versus left. They are still about right versus wrong.

I haven't had an opportunity yet to speak to Governor Bevin, but my expectation is that he will honor -- he will honor the election that was held tonight. [05:00:02]

GOV. MATT BEVIN (R), KENTUCKY: Would it be a Bevin race if it wasn't a squeaker? I mean, come one. I mean, really and truly, this is a close, close race. We are not conceding this race by any stretch. Not a chance.


ROMANS: It's too early to tell whether voters picked the Democrat over impeachment concerns or if local issues like Medicaid work requirement and teacher pensions were the deciding factor.

MARQUEZ: Kentucky Republicans are rushing to distance themselves from Bevin, pointing to his high disapproval ratings. One veteran Kentucky Republican telling CNN: We found out that being an a-hole is slightly worse than being a liberal. Note that President Trump rallied for Bevin on Monday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're sending that big message to the rest of the country. It's so important.

You've got to get your friends, you've got to vote because if you lose, it sends a really bad message. It just sends a bad -- and they will build it up -- here's the story.

If you win, they're going to make it like ho-hum and if you lose, they're going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This was the greatest. You can't let that happen to me!


MARQUEZ: Overnight, we saw more of the same from the president. Three separate tweets pointing out Republicans won other statewide races, taking credit for Bevin's supposed surge while distancing himself from a likely loss.

ROMANS: A huge night for Democrats in the state of Virginia. CNN projects they will flip both chambers of the legislature. That gives them full control of the state government for the first time since 1994.

And there were two other notable winners in the state. Shelly Simonds ousted David Yancey for a seat in the House of Delegates. In 2017, Simmons lost a tiebreaker lot draw from a glass bowl. That's the rules.

And remember the cyclist who lost her job after flipping the bird at President Trump's motorcade in 2017. Her name is Juli Briskman and CNN projects she is the new supervisor for Algonkian District in Loudoun County.

MARQUEZ: And Republicans did manage to score one big one win. CNN projects Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves defeated Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the Mississippi governor's race. President Trump endorsed Reeves and held a rally for him in Tupelo.

Elsewhere, Jersey City, New Jersey residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of stricter regulations on short-term rentals. That is expected to shrink the number of Airbnb listings there. It's a big setback for Airbnb as it prepares to go public.

ROMANS: In Arizona, initial election results show more than 70 percent of voters rejected a initiative to make Tucson a sanctuary city. Tucson is located 50 miles north of the Mexico border.

And Scranton, Pennsylvania, has its first female mayor. Paige Cognetti, a former Democrat, ran as an independent when the local Democratic committee refused to endorse her. One other thing, she is eight months pregnant.

MARQUEZ: Well done, mom.

A very big blow to President Trump's impeachment defense. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, revising his testimony from three weeks ago to admit there was a quid pro quo imposed on Ukraine.

Sondland says he now recalls telling a Ukrainian official on September 1st, resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that he had been discussing for many weeks. That anti-corruption statement was supposed to target the Bidens.

ROMANS: Sondland's revision blows up the timeline peddled by the White House. It is the first clear acknowledgement that the request for a public investigation was on the table after Ukraine was told in late August that aid was held up. Trump allies have claimed that was not the case. So it could have been used as leverage.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't think this moves the impeachment needle.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I'm pretty sure how it's likely to end if it were today. I don't think there's any question it would not lead to a removal.


MARQUEZ: Now, David Hale is expected to appear at the impeachment inquiry today. He is the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department.

Investigators have requested White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify on Friday. It seems unlikely he will comply with that request. Last month on national TV, Mulvaney confirmed the quid pro quo. Hours later, he denied it. ROMANS: All right. Elizabeth Warren squaring off with the head of a very big bank. Who and why.



ROMANS: All right. Breaking overnight, Mexican authorities say a suspect has been arrested in the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family who were traveling on the Mexican side of the southern U.S. border. Officials say the suspect had several assault rifles and was holding two hostages who were bound and gagged.

MARQUEZ: Now, children who survived the ambush were taken to hospitals in Arizona Monday, heart-wrenching new details now emerging. The victims included three mothers and six children, ages 12, 11, 10, 2, and 8-month-old twins.

The survivors' story just as harrowing. A 13-year-old boy unharmed in the attack, he walked about 14 miles to get help after hiding his bleeding siblings in the bushes. Now, family members believe a history with the cartels could mean they were targeted.

CNN's Matt Rivers has more from Mexico City.



MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a country that has seen, on average, every single day so far in 2019, nearly 100 people murdered. And yet, this massacre of nine people in northwest Mexico has really shocked this country.

Here's what we know so far.

The people come from a community of people who are generally Mormon, who have lived in northwestern Mexico for decades.

The three women, driving three different cars, left that community in a convoy for safety's sake. Safety in numbers is the concept. But it was at 3:00 p.m. that armed gunmen attacked that convoy, shredding the convoy with bullets and lighting at least one of them on fire. And that's when the nine people who lost their lives were killed.

Other children were injured but managed to escape and were transported eventually to hospitals in the United States.

Mexico's government is saying that this could be a case of mistaken identity. This is in a part of Mexico where cartels regularly fight with each other over lucrative drug smuggling routes to the United States.

There is other speculation, however, by the family that we spoke to today of some of these victims that say perhaps these people were targeted themselves because they live in that area they've had run-ins with the cartels in the past.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had confirmation that this was orchestrated as a provocation for the cartel over here in Sonora where we live, and our family was picked to be the ones to stir up trouble and to start a war. It was an attack on innocent civilians on purpose.

RIVERS: President Trump tweeting that now is the time for Mexico to go to all-out war against the cartels, offering U.S. assistance. But the president of Mexico responded to that by saying that he appreciated the offer of U.S. support but that this was Mexico's problems to solve -- Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Matt Rivers, thanks for that. Just a troubling story, every turn of that.

All right. Eleven, almost 12 minutes past the hour, top ranked Michigan State tangling with number two Kentucky in the season's basketball opener. Andy Scholes with highlights to this morning's "Bleacher Report". Andy comes up next.



ROMANS: Time for some business news flash. Bankers are not fond of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Their criticism is usually behind closed doors. But JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said this out loud.


JAMIE DIMON, JPMORGAN CHASE CEO: She uses some pretty harsh words, you know, some would say vilify successful people. I don't like vilifying anybody. You know, I think we should applaud successful people.


ROMANS: Warren wears the criticism from bankers like a badge of honor, tweeting Jamie Dimon and his buddies are successful in part because of the opportunities that we all paid for. She added, the system is working great for the wealthy and well-connected and Jamie Dimon doesn't want that to change. I'm going to fight to make sure it works for everyone.

Well, to do that, Warren wants to tax companies, tax investors, and tax the ultra rich. Earlier this year, she released a wealth tax plan aimed for the most affluent Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million. That wealth tax a centerpiece to fund several of her proposals, including her universal child care and Medicare for all plans.

MARQUEZ: College basketball season tipping off with a sensational opening night. The top four teams meeting at Madison Square Garden. ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


What an opener. This is the first time since 1992 the top four teams in college basketball face each other on the same day. We got it on the very first night.

Now, Michigan State, top ranked team, to start the season. They were taking on second ranked Kentucky. Wildcats with two to go. After the free throw, the Spartans win within two but Kentucky's five-star freshman comes up with a three to ice the game. Wildcats upset Michigan State in the opener, 69-62.

Now, the other matchup, fourth-ranked Duke taking on third ranked Kansas. Two and a half to go, Cassius Stanley, the bucket plus the foul here. That gives the Blue Devils the lead. And Kansas not able to get a bucket to go late in this game. Duke would win a tight one, 68-66.

Texas hosting northern Colorado in their opener, and guard Andrew Jones playing his first meaningful minute since being diagnosed with leukemia back in January 2018. He made a few brief appearances last season after undergoing treatment. He was back to his old self leading Texas with a career-high 20 points and a win.


ANDREW JONES, TEXAS GRAND: After what I went through in the last two years, my maturity, approach, taking everything seriously as if it was my last hope.

REPORTER: Can I get a hug? Proud of you.


SCHOLES: Such a great moment.

Jones finished chemotherapy in September. He said he's taking it day by day as he tries to get back in shape.


All right. Finally the college football rankings are off and Ohio State, the number one team in the country. This is the first time the Buckeyes have held the playoff rankings during the season. Now, if the playoffs started today, this is what we would have.

Ohio State would take on Penn State and won semifinal, and while SEC powered LSU and Alabama would face off in the other. This would certainly change. Alabama hosts LSU this weekend, and Ohio state is going to host Penn State in a couple of weeks.

Interesting that Clemson despite being undefeated and the reigning champs came in at number five. But, guys, that's due to a weaker schedule and they almost lost to North Carolina, but if Clemson wins out, they're going to end up making playoffs just because the other teams are going to beat each other up.

MARQUEZ: He makes perfect sense of it all. Thank god for Andy Scholes.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes, nice to see you. Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: Have a good one, guys.

ROMANS: All right. A big win that Republicans have dominated for decades. Just local politics, or should the president be concerned?



ROMANS: It's campaign kick off day with the general election just over a month away. This morning, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads to Buckingham palace to meet with the queen to formally dissolve parliament.

CNN's Max Foster live outside Buckingham Palace where he is going to make sense of the craziness that's happening in his country.

Good morning.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You ask the impossible tasks every time, Christine. I mean, I can't really can't answer any of that.

ROMANS: Just try.

FOSTER: But we know that Boris Johnson will be heading down the road at any time, heading to Buckingham Palace. Parliament has already formally been dissolved, but this is the official moment. He goes in and meets the queen. There's some tension there.

You may remember there were briefings from Downing Street that Boris Johnson would just squat on Downing Street if he didn't get Brexit. The queen would have to fire him, and put the queen in a situation. It will be tense meeting inside.

So, she'll sign the proclamation allowing parliament to be dissolved, that's really the kickoff for the election campaign because Boris Johnson will then head off to Downing Street to make his pitch to the public. We've got Jeremy Corbyn doing the same later on today.

To give you a sense of the tone, Christine, it's going to be very feisty indeed. The election in mid-December. Here we are on the front of the "Daily Telegraph," Boris Johnson comparing Jeremy Corbyn to Stalin which has gone down very badly in Labour, as you can imagine, but also in some parts of his own party as well.

They want this to be a construction active campaign. Everyone has very different views as you know in Brexit.

ROMANS: Oh my. All right. As you always say, if you're not confused, you're not paying attention because it is very confusing.

Thanks, Max Foster. Nice to see you.

FOSTER: Absolutely.

MARQUEZ: A stunning vulnerability found in popular voice-controlled smart devices like Google Home, Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri. Researchers say hackers can use a simple laser pointer to take over devices, even from outside your home. They discovered it's possible to make anything that acts on sound commands to act on silent light commands.

Since many systems don't require authentication, hackers would not need a password or a pin. They just need to be in the object's line of sight.

ROMANS: She's not yet old enough to drive, but 14-year-old Alaina Gassler engineered a solution to eliminate car blind spots. The eighth-grader from Pennsylvania won $25,000 for her invention in a nationwide science competition.

She first noticed the problem when her mom didn't like driving their family's Jeep Grand Cherokee because the A-pillars caused blind spots. Gassler tells CNN since you can't take it off the cars, she decided to get rid of it without getting rid of it.


ALAINA GASSLER, PRIZE WINNER, 2019 SAMUELI FOUNDATION: I did that by having a camera behind the A-pillar of a car. And the camera sent video to a projector that projected the image onto the pillar, essentially making it invisible.


ROMANS: Gassler says she was motivated to work on the design after learning how dangerous blind spots can be, and especially because her older brother just started driving.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: Big blue wins in ruby red states where power is shifting and what it means for 2020.

MARQUEZ: A big revision from a top witness in the impeachment probe, what Gordon Sondland suddenly recalls and how it wrecks the White House.

ROMANS: Arrest after nine Americans were massacred in Mexico. The family says they were targeted because of if past conflicts with cartels. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: And I'm Miguel Marquez. It is 29 minutes past the hour.

Breaking overnight, an an ominous election night and a warning for president Trump as reliably Republican seats go to Democrats.

In ruby red Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear claiming victory in the governor's race. No CNN projection yet, but Beshear leads Republican Matt Bevin by several thousand votes with 99 percent of the votes count. Bevin refuses to admit to defeat.


BESHEAR: It's a message that says our elections don't have to be about right versus left. They are still about right versus wrong.

I haven't had an opportunity yet to speak to Governor Bevin, but my expectation is that he will honor -- he will honor the election that was held tonight.