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Trump Denies Report on Bill Barr News Conference; Trump Holds Rally in Louisiana; Nine Family Members Massacred in Mexico. Aired 4- 4:30a ET

Aired November 7, 2019 - 04:00   ET



JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: New questions this morning about Attorney General Bill Barr's role in President Trump's impeachment defense.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A new 2020 poll puts Mayor Pete Buttigieg among the Democratic frontrunners in Iowa.

CHATTERLEY: Former attorney general Jeff Sessions plots his political comeback exactly one year after President Trump fired him.

BRIGGS: Plus, two accused killers who broke out of jail and fled to Mexico get caught trying to sneak back over the border.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

CHATTERLEY: And I'm Julia Chatterley. It's Thursday, November 7th. It's 4:00 a.m. in New York. 1:00 a.m. in California.

Breaking overnight, President Trump pushing back hard against a report in the "Washington Post." The "Post" says the president Attorney General Bill Barr to hold a news conference to publicly clear him of legal wrongdoing in his call pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son.

The "Post" reports Barr refused citing people familiar with the matter. But Barr's Justice Department did send out a memo declaring there was no campaign finance crime connected to the call. Trump advisers told the "Post" the president has said to aides in recent weeks he wishes the attorney general had agreed to hold a news conference.

Late last night, the president slammed the "Post" and CNN for reporting the story which he called totally untrue.

BRIGGS: Republicans struggling to come up with a clear and coordinated defense of the president in the impeachment inquiry. They've given up on the no quid pro quo mantra in the face of damaging testimony from several senior diplomats.

Listen to Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, trying out this new incompetence argument.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine, it was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem incapable of forming a quid pro quo.


BRIGGS: Incapable of forming one. Senator Graham did resort to one tried and true tactic, labeling the entire impeachment process as a, quote, "sham." He says he refuses to legitimize it.

CHATTERLEY: Getting a deja vu sensation.

All right. The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine told House investigators Rudy Giuliani encouraged the Ukrainians to intervene in U.S. politics. According to Bill Taylor's newly released deposition, President Trump's personal lawyer wanted investigations launched into his political rivals.

Taylor told lawmakers it was his, quote, "clear understanding that security assistance money would not come until the president of Ukraine committed to pursue the investigation," quote. Taylor went on to testify that he saw Giuliani's request as so dangerous he felt Ukraine's president should ignore them, even if it meant losing an opportunity to meet one-on-one with President Trump.

BRIGGS: Bill Taylor is expected to be one of the first witnesses to testify publicly in the impeachment investigation. House Democrats announcing the first televised hearings will be held next week. Taylor is the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, scheduled to appear on Wednesday, along with State Department official George Kent. The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, scheduled to appear Friday.

CHATTERLEY: A new 2020 poll reveals a tight four-way race among Democrats in Iowa. Elizabeth Warren leads with 20 percent in the Quinnipiac poll. She's followed by Pete Buttigieg at 19 percent, Bernie Sanders at 17 percent and Joe Biden at 15 percent. The top tier candidates in Iowa separated by just 5 percentage points. Tulsi Gabbard is polling at just 3 percent but she has qualified for the November DNC debate. And with her polls showing, Amy Klobuchar becomes the sixth candidate to qualify for the December debate.

BRIGGS: With damning evidence mounting in the impeachment inquiry, President Trump sticking to a familiar script. At a rally last night in Louisiana he called House Democrats deranged, delusional and destructive and labelled the investigation a hyper-partisan sham. That was just for starters.

Here's Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Julia, the president held a raucous rally in Louisiana where he railed against the impeachment inquiry. The president's remarks were laced with falsehoods. At one point, he accused the whistleblower of disappearing when that is not the case. The whistleblower's lawyers have tried to keep that person's identity a secret. President also accused Democrats of trying to overthrow him in a coup. Here's more of what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democrats are becomingly increasingly totalitarian. Suppressing dissent, defaming the innocent, eliminating due process, staging show trials and trying to overthrow American democracy to impose their socialist agenda.



ACOSTA: The president also laid into his potential Democratic rivals in the 2020 election. He also warned this crowd in Louisiana that if the Democrats take back the White House in 2020, there will be a great depression. The president's speech was more about fear than the facts -- Dave and Julia?

CHATTERLEY: The campaign of Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has asked for a recanvass of Tuesday night's vote. State Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, claimed victory but Beshear ended the night about 5100 votes ahead. That's less than half a percentage point. And Bevin refused to concede. The governor cited the narrow margin and reports of voting irregularities for which he offered no evidence.


GOV. MATT BEVIN (R-KY): We want the people of Kentucky to have absolute confidence that their votes were counted as they should have been counted, that the law was followed, and that regardless of whether they vote this side of the aisle or that side of the aisle that they can always have confidence that the electoral process works.


CHATTERLEY: So just to be clear, a recanvass is not a recount. It's just a reprint of receipts from voting machines that can then be re- tabulated. The recanvass is set for next Thursday morning.

BRIGGS: Happening today former attorney general Jeff Sessions expected to announce he is running for his old U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. But his troubled relationship with President Trump means the decision could throw the race into chaos. Sessions held the seat for two decades before the president named him to head the Justice Department in 2017. His relationship with Mr. Trump collapsed after he recused himself from supervising the Russia investigation.

Trump fired Sessions one year ago today. With six Republicans already in the race, how the president reacts to Sessions' announcement could mean the difference between returning the seat in Republican hands or losing again to incumbent Democrat Doug Jones. CHATTERLEY: Billionaire Bill Gates weighed in on political ads on

social media saying the problem isn't fact-checking, it's targeting.


BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: It's the targeting where you don't see the hate ad that just appeals to that one person. It's the targeting that's really screwing this thing up.


CHATTERLEY: Facebook and Twitter have been under scrutiny over how they handle misleading or false political ads. Now while Gates says targeting should not be allowed, he doesn't think the platform should be responsible for policing the content.


GATES: I disagree with people who think that a corporation should sit there and do fact-checking against those things. It -- yes, there are extreme cases. Somebody can come up with like holocaust denial or various things. But no. No private company can or should make those judgments.


CHATTERLEY: Now, last week, Twitter announced it would stop accepting political ads altogether, starting on November 15th. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, though, has defended his company's decision to continue to run these ads. However, he said he will continue to evaluate Facebook's policy on political ads.

It's an interesting one.

BRIGGS: Yes. Because there's so much money involved with Facebook. Now Twitter, of course, Jack Dorsey can say we don't want these ads because they don't take in much money on them. But Bill Gates says should and could. Could tech companies fact-check all these ads? Are they even capable of it?

CHATTERLEY: Well, that's a great question. But I think what we're saying here then it's OK to lie in a political ad as long as you don't target susceptible people.

BRIGGS: Right. You know, there's a lot more to discuss on these ads.

CHATTERLEY: Not sure I agree with that. We'll come back to that.

BRIGGS: Yes, we will indeed.

Just ahead, the wrong move that landed two escaped murder suspects right back in jail.

Plus --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAYSHAWN JACKSON, RESCUED FROM TRAIN TRACKS: It was like slow-motion. Like I fell. I see the train.


CHATTERLEY: A man who came this close to being hit by a train. Wow. Talks about the moment he was saved by a stranger. That's after this.



BRIGGS: The president to Mexico, setting up a special commission to find out who slaughtered six Mormon children and their mothers. More than 200 shell casings have been recovered from the scene of Monday's ambush near the Sonora-Chihuahua border. Mexico's secretary of State confirming gun caps found near the victims came from a weapon that was made in the United States.

More from Gary Tuchman in Tucson.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Julia, eight people survived this horrifying massacre in Mexico. They are all children. Two of them babies. Three of them were not physically hurt but it's anybody's guess how long the emotional scars will last. And then five of them also suffered physical injuries, serious injuries. They're all in this hospital, the Banner University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, about 65 miles north of the Mexican border.

One of the people hurt is a baby, a 9-month-old baby by the name of Brixon, can't even walk, can't talk, shot in the chest, shot in the wrist. The other four children are his brothers and sisters. Four- year-old Xander, he was shot in the back. Eight-year-old Cody, shot in the jaw. And two sisters, McKenzie and Kylie, 9 and 14. McKenzie shot in the arm and the wrist. Kylie shot in the foot. The two girls, we're told, the older children are doing OK and could be released soon.


The three boys more seriously hurt. All day long, family members have been going inside the hospital to visit the children. The hospital itself has not given us any information about their conditions but the family members are telling us that all of the children will survive, that they're all stable, and that's the encouraging news.

We talked with the man we know named Willie Jessop. Willie's son is married to a woman whose mother was one of the three women killed. And a short time ago, Willie went into the hospital to visit the children.


WILLIE JESSOP, HIS SON'S MOTHER-IN-LAW WAS MASSACRE VICTIM: One of them got multiple gun wounds. I don't know if you're -- if you're not suffering in your shoulder you're suffering where you were shot in the head. And if you've got your head fixed you're suffering where you got shot somewhere else. I mean, so, of course, the suffering is unbearable to watch. But the medical people are doing everything possible and I'm very grateful for what they're doing.

TUCHMAN: Painful, was it for you, as a grown man to watch small children and a baby scream like this?

JESSOP: No one should ever see this, Gary. This family should never have to be going through what they're going through. Nobody should see their little brother or sisters in this situation or a father look and see a mother slaughtered. His children slaughtered and massacred in the most heinous way as possible.


TUCHMAN: After we talked with Willie, he and other family members got in their vehicles, got in a caravan, headed across the border into Mexico where they will attend funerals for some of the people who died.

Dave and Julia, back to you.

BRIGGS: Gary Tuchman, thank you.

Steve Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, is expected to testify against Roger Stone in his trial for lying to Congress. Bannon was a key witness in the Mueller investigation. Also expected to testify, Rick Gates, another former top aide to Mr. Trump. Both men could shed new light on the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. Stone also accused of witness tampering and obstructing justice. Prosecutors alleged he regularly updated senior Trump campaign officials including Bannon about information he had on WikiLeaks.

CHATTERLEY: Two former Twitter employees accused of being spies for Saudi Arabia. The Justice Department alleges Ali Alzabarah and Ahmad Abouammo used their access at Twitter to collect sensitive private data on Saudi dissidents. The case underscores allegations that the Saudi government actively tries to silence anti-regime voices abroad.

The DOJ criminal complaint claims the two men were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Saudi Arabia for their work. The allegations are expected to heighten scrutiny of tech company's ability to protect the privacy of their users.

BRIGGS: Two murder suspects who cut a hole on a ceiling to escape from a Northern California jail have been recaptured. Twenty-one- year-old Santos Fonseca and 20-year-old Jonathan Salazar were arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at midnight Tuesday as they tried to cross from Mexico back into the United States.

Investigators had been tipped off the men were in Tijuana. It's not clear how they got there or why they decided to return. They'll be sent right back to the Monterey County Adult Detention Facility, which has undergone a security overhaul since the breakout.

CHATTERLEY: An Oakland Raiders fan who fell in front of an oncoming commuter train after Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions is thanking the rail supervisor who saved his life. Rayshawn Jackson admits he was slightly inebriated when he tumbled off the platform onto the tracks.

Listen to him describe the moment he fell and what it was like to be rescued by BART worker John O'Connor.


JACKSON: I knew I had a couple of seconds because I heard the train. I felt the vibration on the rails coming and I could see the light coming out of the tunnel. And as soon as I seen the light I jumped up and tried and get out of the way and I missed my -- I missed my jump the first jump. And I did it again and I actually felt like the man grabbed me in the mid-air and just took me out of the way.


CHATTERLEY: Wow. O'Connor will be honored by the Raiders during tonight's game against the Chargers. Wow. My stomach flips every time I watch that.

BRIGGS: I know. I've seen it 100 times and still I'm nervous. He's not going to get pulled out of the way.

CHATTERLEY: How did he do that?

BRIGGS: Just remarkable instincts there.


BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, a college student lines up for a half- court shot with free tuition on the line. See what happens next.



BRIGGS: Scientists have identified a new strain of HIV, the first in almost two decades. Researchers say the new strain is extremely rare and can be detected by current screening methods. HIV has several different subtypes or strains and like other viruses has the ability to change and mutate overtime. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says existing HIV treatments are effective against this new strain. More than 37 million people worldwide currently live with HIV, the most ever recorded.

CHATTERLEY: Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres are teaming up to stop fake celebrity endorsements. The two stars jointly filed a lawsuit Wednesday against 100 anonymous individuals and entities over false advertising and unauthorized use of their names and likenesses to endorse products.


The defendants are alleged to be behind pop-up sites featuring their made-up commentary about health and beauty products. The suit shines the light on so-called celebrity endorsement theft, which is a growing problem for Hollywood in the digital age.

BRIGGS: Hit a half-court shot and win free tuition for a year. That was the challenge for an Oklahoma University student at halftime of the team's season opener.

Unbelievable. In order to get this chance to take the shot, the student had to make a layup, a free throw, a three-pointer in 30 seconds. And he hit the three right at the buzzer. Well done and congratulations to that student.

CHATTERLEY: The mascots.

BRIGGS: Heck of a shot.

CHATTERLEY: The mascots are more excited than anyone else.

BRIGGS: Yes. Even the kid was a little stunned there at first. But the mascot definitely hooked him up with some love.

CHATTERLEY: All right. So we're going to take a break but coming up, President Trump pushing back on a new report about Attorney General Bill Barr's role in his impeachment defense. All the details, after this.