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Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Preparing Presidential Bid; House Democrats Hope to Speed Inquiry Along; Emmanuel Macron Sounds Alarm Bell on "Brain Death of NATO." Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired November 8, 2019 - 04:00   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A potential earthquake in the 2020 race. Mike Bloomberg taking steps to run. What it means for the Democratic field.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The House could impeach President Trump by Christmas. What's behind a renewed push to wrap up the inquiry.

BRIGGS: Chinese surveillance gear sold to the U.S. government. Prosecutors say a top tech firm could have put sensitive information at risk.

CHATTERLEY: Seventy-six years after leaving school to fight in the war, a veteran from Oklahoma finally gets his high school diploma.

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

BRIGGS: Good morning, my friend.

CHATTERLEY: Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning to all of you. Happy Friday. I'm Dave Briggs. November 8th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York, 1:00 a.m. in California.

That tremor, it's coming from Alabama where it's 3:00 a.m. A big shock for the 2020 presidential field. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg preparing a White House bid. A spokesman says Bloomberg will file paperwork today to get on Alabama's Democratic primary ballot ahead of the state's early filing deadline. No filing decision yet, but the billionaire businessman has been making calls to connected Democrats over the last few days, including, and guess where? Iowa.

A strategist who's worked with Bloomberg says one major factor in his thinking is this week's election in Virginia. Funding from his gun safety group helped Democrats win control of the state legislature. Just six weeks ago, Bloomberg had ruled out a run.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: But the truth of the matter is, when you look at the layout of who is going to vote and where the country is, I would be very unlikely to get reelected -- to get elected. But in the private sector, I can make a difference.


CHATTERLEY: Bloomberg rejected a run earlier because that path to victory seemed narrow with Joe Biden in the same lane. But Biden has been struggling in the crowded Democratic field. As former Obama adviser David Axelrod tweeted, "This is a thunderclap and not exactly a vote of confidence in the durability of the Joe Biden campaign."

Today, Biden is in New Hampshire filing for the ballot there. He will no doubt face questions about Bloomberg. Bloomberg has made no secret he doesn't want the party dragged too far to the left. At a gun control forum in August, he jabbed Elizabeth Warren moments after her appearance.


BLOOMBERG: And I just said to Senator Warren on the way out, Senator, congratulations. It was a nice talk. But just to remind you, if my company hadn't been successful, we wouldn't be here today. So, enough with this stuff.


BRIGGS: Senator Warren in North Carolina was asked about a possible Bloomberg run.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not enough just to have somebody come in, anybody, and say they're going to buy this election. It's not enough when billionaires and millionaires and corporate executives get their cracks and get their fortunes and say, we want a bigger piece of democracy.


CHATTERLEY: Bernie Sanders echoing the same sentiment, "The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared." Meantime, the Trump campaign conceded Bloomberg could pose a threat as a fellow New York business titan who is even wealthier than Trump. But a campaign source adds, quote, "Let's see how well he can take a punch."

Last night, Bloomberg dined at a Manhattan restaurant where some patrons gave him a round of applause. One told him, you have my vote. Bloomberg's response, I'll need it.

BRIGGS: Wow. So intriguing.

House Democrats taking steps to avoid dragging out the impeachment inquiry. CNN's Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report the House could wrap up the proceedings by Christmas. Two main reasons to expedite, concerns public attention could wane after weeks of revelations and fear a lengthy process could complicate the 2020 race. And two ways Democrats are speeding things along, they're limiting the number of witnesses at upcoming public hearings and avoiding court battles that could delay the inquiry. This could explain why no subpoena was issued yesterday when former National Security adviser John Bolton refused to testify.

CHATTERLEY: In the meantime, the White House obstruction strategy drags on. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has been subpoenaed to appear this morning. But a White House official says he's not expected to comply. Remember, Mulvaney famously said this last month.



JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS REPORTER: But to be clear, what you described is a quid pro quo.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We do that all the time with foreign policy. And I have news for everybody. Get over it.


BRIGGS: New transcripts released in the probe showing remarkable consistency. A top State Department official, George Kent, describes Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani as a sort of shadow secretary of State, pushing a, quote, "campaign of lies." And he confirmed other officials' testimony that the president held up vital military aid until he got what he wanted in the Ukraine shakedown. Trump, quote, "wanted nothing less than Ukrainian President Zelensky to go to a microphone and say, investigations, Biden, Clinton."

CHATTERLEY: Well, now, a lawyer for the whistleblower whose report sparked the inquiry has sent a letter warning the president to, quote, "cease-and-desist" attacking his client. He says he is deeply concerned the president's rhetoric places the whistleblower and their family in physical danger.

BRIGGS: He was President Trump's first attorney general and some might say his punching bag as well, but when Jeff Sessions launched the campaign for his old Alabama Senate seat Thursday, he made it clear, the president is still his guy.


JEFF SESSIONS, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: When I left President Trump's cabinet, did I write a tell-all book? No. Did I go on the CNN and attack the president? Nope. The president is doing a great job for America and Alabama, and he has my strong support.


BRIGGS: Sessions' announcement coming a year to the day after President Trump fired him. Aligning with the president makes perfect political sense. Mr. Trump has higher approval ratings in Alabama than in just about any other state. CHATTERLEY: So this is an interesting one. The label said made in

the USA but federal prosecutors say the surveillance gear was actually built in China. Now, a New York tech firm is accused of selling it to the U.S. military and government agencies. The FBI raiding Adventura Technologies, charging seven current and former employees. Officials say the company was paid tens of millions for Chinese night vision cameras and other tech. Prosecutors say hostile foreign governments could have accessed some of the U.S.'s government's most sensitive facilities. The company claims the gear was made on Long Island.

BRIGGS: A New York judge ordering President Trump to pay $2 million for misusing Trump Foundation charitable funds. The president had vowed never to settle the lawsuit. The New York state attorney general alleged the president used the charity's money to help his 2016 campaign pay business debts even to buy a painting of himself. Mr. Trump has now agreed to shut down the charity and give its remaining money plus the damages for a total of $3.8 million to five real charities. He also admitted to poor oversight of his charity. But in a late-night tweet, the president attacked the New York A.G. and called the suit politically motivated.

CHATTERLEY: A new report by the Secret Service finds that most school shooters showed warning signs and that many of these tragedies could have been prevented. The analysis of 41 school shootings between 2008 and 2017 found in most cases attackers had threatened their targets within weeks of the shooting. The study found there was no general profile of a school shooter. But that most of the attackers displayed mental health symptoms and that most had been bullied.

BRIGGS: All right, ahead, it's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas. Not because the Starbucks cups, but record low temperatures headed to the East Coast.



BRIGGS: Thirteen minutes past the hour. An early taste of winter today in the East where an arctic blast could bring record low temperatures.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam with a frigid Friday forecast.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Great Friday morning, Dave and Julia.

I hope you're ready for winter-like weather over the next few days because we have several opportunities for temperatures to be 20 or 30 degrees below where they should be this time of year for many parts of the eastern U.S.

Here's our first cold front moving through at the moment. This has allowed for a clearing trend in the skies overhead across some or at least most of the major East Coast cities. Still a few clouds and showers lingering in and around the Atlanta region today. But high pressure will take control of the weather, allow for cool overnight lows, especially into Saturday morning. We have freeze advisories and warnings all the way southward into Georgia and the Carolinas.

And then another round for cold air and the potential for snow over the next five days, specifically as we head into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. A brief warm-up on the East Coast for the weekend, but then look at the frigid arctic air mass that will settle in from the Great Lakes to New England. You can already see the temperatures picking up from Minneapolis to Chicago for the day on Monday.

Back to you.

CHATTERLEY: Another day, another fresh record for U.S. markets. The Dow and the S&P 500 both hitting new highs yesterday. This after comments from a Chinese official sparked fresh trade optimism. A Chinese government spokesman said, "In the past two weeks, top negotiators had serious constructive discussions and agreed to remove the additional tariffs in phases as progress is made on the agreement."

The White House, though, sending mixed signals later on Thursday. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Bloomberg a phase one agreement would include tariff agreements and concessions.


On Fox Business News, though, Trade adviser Pete Navarro said there is no agreement yet.


PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: There is no agreement at this time to remove any of the existing tariffs, as a condition of the phase one deal. And the only person who can make that decision is President Donald J. Trump. And it's as simple as that.


CHATTERLEY: Stock market investors, though, taking the optimistic view here. Prices fell on U.S. treasury bills generally considered to be safe havens. Optimism has been high since the U.S. and China came to a preliminary agreement back in mid-October. The countries' leaders are still looking for a venue to sign that deal.

BRIGGS: More funerals planned today for the family of nine Americans killed in Mexico. Three mothers and six young children lost their lives. Forty-three-year-old Dawna Ray Langford and her sons, 11-year- old Trevor and 2-year-old Rogan, were laid to rest Thursday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dawna was a person that was full of life. She loved people.


BRIGGS: The Mexican government and the victims' families have different accounts of what happened. Officials claim it was crossfire between rival cartels. However, the family believes they were targeted. CNN has spoken to the families who expressed their frustration over what they see is an ineffective response so far.

Mexican security forces have moved into the area to protect Mormons who cross the border, hoping to practice their religion more freely.

So many questions there.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. So many questions.

BRIGGS: Around what was going on behind the scenes.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. All right. We're going to take a quick break here. But coming up, is the most critical transatlantic partnership in jeopardy? Blunt talk from the French president. Why he sees NATO maybe obsolete. Stay with us. We're back in two.



BRIGGS: In a stark warning, French president Emmanuel Macron says Europe is facing, quote, "the brain death of NATO." He used those exact words in an interview with "The Economist" Thursday. Macron says Europe can no longer depend on the United States because of its indifference to the transatlantic alliance.

CNN's Melissa Bell live for us from Paris with more.

Melissa, good morning. Did he use the name President Trump or steer clear of it?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it was clearly about the change from the United States and its attitude towards alliances like NATO and what that means for the rest of the world. This was all about Trump's change of direction with regard to its former allies. But the message was directed at Macron's European allies. He's hoping really to sound alarm bells and say, look, wake up, we are in danger of no longer being able to count on the allies that we once could count on.

All of these other forces are changing. The rise of China, the authoritarian regimes on the edges of Europe, in particular Russia and Turkey. Of course Turkey being within NATO. We now need to tread very carefully and think against about how we function in terms of our security, in terms of our economy, in terms of our politics. And this, at a time, Dave, when the Europeans are not particularly listening to him. They don't seem to have his urgency about the need to come together as a result of all of this.

And I think what's really interesting about this is that Emmanuel Macron is a president who doesn't give that many interviews. This was a rare assessment from a man that we know is fundamentally a multilateralist, a liberal, about the state of the world. And Dave, when you read that article, it is pretty bleak. BRIGGS: And you can't help but think of the long embrace between

Emmanuel Macron and President Trump and how long ago that seems.

Melissa Bell live for us in Paris, thanks.

BELL: Long gone.

CHATTERLEY: All right, let's move on now. An 89-year-old holocaust survivor living under police protection in Milan, Italy, after becoming the target of constant anti-Semitic threats. Liliana Segre is a senator for life in Italy received some 200 threats a day on social media from far-right extremists. The threats have increased since she spearheaded the creation of a parliamentary committee against hate, racism and anti-Semitism. According to a Milan-based Jewish group, there have been a significant spike in anti-Semitic attacks in Italy, particularly online.

BRIGGS: Ten people had to be hospitalized in Oklahoma after mistakenly getting insulin injections instead of flu shots. Eight patients were residents of a facility for the developmentally disabled in Bartlesville. Two were employees. Police say emergency responders found, quote, "multiple unresponsive people when they arrived because of their disabilities." Many were not able to explain their symptoms. Several remained in the hospital due to the long-acting insulin that was administered.

CHATTERLEY: A World War II veteran from Oklahoma just got an honor that was long overdue, his high school diploma.

Ninety-five-year-old Lewie Shaw left school early to enlist in the Marine Corps. He was finally presented Thursday with the degree he never had the chance to receive 76 years ago.


LEWIE SHAW, WWII VETERAN: I knew I was going to get the diploma. But I had no idea I was going to get such a turnout of people.



CHATTERLEY: Shaw served in combat with the 4th Marine Division in battles in Tinian, Saipan and Iwo Jima. He wore his 1943 uniform underneath his cap and gown. Wow.

BRIGGS: Very cool.


BRIGGS: All right, ahead, there could be a new entry in the 2020 race and it's a big one. How a Mike Bloomberg bid would change the game.


BRIGGS: A potential earthquake in the 2020 race. Mike Bloomberg taking steps to run.