Return to Transcripts main page


Michael Bloomberg Gearing Up for Presidential Run; House Dems Continue to Face White House Obstruction Strategy; Berlin Wall Fell 30 Years Ago Saturday. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 8, 2019 - 04:30   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 United States 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 has his high school diploma.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Julia Chatterley.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Happy Friday, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. 4:30 right here in New York.

A big shock for the 2020 presidential field as 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 filed 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 has worked with Bloomberg says one major factor is this week's election in Virginia where his gun safety group helped Democrats win control of the state legislature. Just six weeks ago, Bloomberg all but 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHATTERLEY: So 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.

BRIGGS: 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 will need it.

BRIGGS: 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, concern 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, 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: 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. Trump, quote, "wanted nothing less than Ukrainian President Zelensky to go to a microphone and say, investigations, Biden, Clinton."

CHATTERLEY: Now, a lawyer for the whistleblower whose report sparked the inquiry has sent a letter warning the president to 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 punching bag but when Jeff Sessions launched the campaign for his old Alabama Senate seat 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: 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 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 technology. 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, some major moves in retail. One big chain closing stores. Another says good-bye to their CEO. CNN Business has the details, next.



BRIGGS: An early taste of winter today in the east, where an arctic blast could bring record low temperatures.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam with the 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.

BRIGGS: Derek, thanks, buddy.

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 on 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.

CHATTERLEY: Two major retailer are facing tough times. Sears announced it will close another 96 stores in the next few months after closing several hundred others in the past year. The 132-year-old company has been closing locations at an accelerating rate after declaring bankruptcy a little over a year ago. The company will operate only 182 stores after these closings.

And it's not the only retailer with troubling news this week. Gap announced yesterday its CEO, Art Peck, is also stepping down. He's been in charge during several years of declining sales at the clothing brand. He's also one of the highest paid chief executives in retail. Filings showed he made over $20 million last year.


Peck was expected to stay on as the company spins off its Old Navy brand. Investors did not appreciate the news. Shares fell 12 percent in after-hours trading. Both Sears and the Gap have struggled to compete with e-commerce companies like Amazon.

This is my favorite story.

BRIGGS: This one or that one? This upcoming.

CHATTERLEY: This -- yes. The last one not so much.

BRIGGS: OK. Here it is. Her favorite story today. So you don't want to miss it. A new nominee for dad of the year. Why this Virginia father went move for move with his daughter's cheer team.



BRIGGS: It's more deadly to live in rural areas than in cities. New research from the CDC shows deaths from preventable causes are more common in rural America. Those five leading causes, cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and unintentional injury including drug overdoses. For most of the decade the gap widened for several of those causes. Rural areas have more limited access to health care. About 60 million people, that's a fifth of the U.S. population, live outside cities.

CHATTERLEY: The CDC says there are now more than 2,000 cases of lung injuries linked to vaping across the U.S. States have reported at least 40 deaths. The CDC says trying to pinpoint what exactly is causing the illnesses. This is not -- appear to be any one product to blame. This as Juul announces it will stop online sales and accepting orders of its popular mint flavored Juul Pods immediately.

The company says the decision comes after research this week showed that the mint flavor is attractive to young people in particular. An estimated 2.4 million high school and middle school students use flavored e-cigarettes.

BRIGGS: A young girl has finally been reunited with her father for the first time in months after he was detained in a massive Mississippi immigration raid. Back in August, Magdalena Gomez Gregorio made this tearful plea in front of reporters for her father's release.


MAGDALENA GOMEZ GREGORIO, HER FATHER DETAINED IN AUGUST: I need my dad with me. My dad didn't do nothing. He's not a criminal.


BRIGGS: Her father, Andres Gomez Jorge, was released last week after family and friends raised $7500 to pay his bond. Gomez Jorge is currently unemployed. Because he brings in all the income the family of six has been surviving on donations of food and money.

CHATTERLEY: So they say it's never too late to say I love you or in this case, Happy Valentine's Day. More than 168,000 text messages sent on February 14th were just received this week, more than eight months late. The messages were sent and received using both iPhone and Android phones. The issue occurred across all major U.S. carriers and apparently stemmed from a maintenance issue with a firm that serves several telecom companies. Some people reported getting Valentine's text messages from now ex-boyfriends or girlfriends. How awkward. Clearly the Americans are very romantic.

BRIGGS: You can't text Happy Valentine's Day.

CHATTERLEY: Swarms the system.

BRIGGS: So it shouldn't make much of a difference. Right?

CHATTERLEY: Send a card, OK?

BRIGGS: You don't get credit for a Happy Valentine's text.

CHATTERLEY: Keeping your options open.

BRIGGS: Come on.


BRIGGS: All right. 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.


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

CHATTERLEY: So tomorrow marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The meaning still resonates for so many who lived in Germany before and after.

CNN's senior international correspondent and Berlin native, Fred Pleitgen, has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The line of demarcation in the Cold War lies in Berlin.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): For 28 years, the Berlin Wall symbolized the struggle between capitalism and communism, and the cruel division between the people of East and West Berlin.

RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

PLEITGEN (on camera): So here at CNN, we actually own our own CNN Trabant. This was the epitome of community East German automotive engineering. And for the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, what we're going to do is we're going to take this car and take a drive back into history, that is, if I fit into the car because it's small and I'm big. Ready to go. (Voice-over): The remnants of the wall are a tourist attraction

nowadays. But this deadly barrier with border guards, observation towers and barbed wire struck fear into the Berliners it divided. I stop and pick up Peter Beaver, who grew up in East Germany despising the communist regime and the wall it needed to keep people from fleeing into the West.

PETER BEAVER, GREW UP IN EAST GERMANY: You look and saw the wall. And you know, it's end. It's end of the world. You can go where you want.


PLEITGEN: As a young man, Peter Beaver attempted to flee East Germany several times until he finally succeeded in 1972. He then helped others get out, as well, until he was betrayed and arrested by the East Germany's secret police, the (INAUDIBLE), and spent five years in jail there.

BEAVER: It was a little -- (foreign language).

PLEITGEN (on camera): Psychological terror.

BEAVER: Yes. I sit in a little room, not so light. And one month, two months, and nobody came and said anything.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The West German government eventually paid East Germany to release Peter Beaver. But many others who tried to get away paid with their lives. More than 100 of them in Berlin.

In 1989, East Germans had had enough. After wave of mass protests, the regime opened the wall, leading to mass celebrations as people from all over the world joined in to literally tear down the wall.

BEAVER: I think about the freedom, that's for me. The highest point.

PLEITGEN: The highest good. Yes.


PLEITGEN: Highest good that people can have is freedom. Yes.

(Voice-over): Thirty years later, a united Berlin is thriving, having shed the shackles of communism and dismantled the wall many thought could never be breached.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


CHATTERLEY: Some incredible pictures there.

All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at global markets right now. A mixed picture for Asian stock markets. Investors, I think, still are trying to make sense of the trade war developments. Some strong rally earlier this week to take into consideration. Officials giving different signals on the path for tariffs going forward.

What about Wall Street? Well, slightly softer this morning after markets closed at fresh record highs yesterday. In individual names, shares in Disney jumping 5 percent in after-hours trading. The company announcing better-than-expected earnings. And its CEO said the Disney Plus streaming surface will be available on Amazon Fire TVs.

General Motors meanwhile sold its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, to an electric truck maker. According to "The Wall Street Journal," the start-up Lordstown Motors bought the facility and hopes to build an electric truck there starting late next year. During a six-week strike, GM workers unsuccessfully pressed the company to keep the plant open. The start-up said it plans to hire 400 workers and pay them wages similar to what they would have made if GM had still been running the plant. The facility has been idled for nearly a year.

Drake, looking to get high. High profits, that is. The rapper partnered with a Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth to launch a producer in his hometown of Toronto. He joins a wave of other celebrities getting involved in the cannabis industry. The names include Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen, and even Martha Stewart. Still, Drake is unusual and that he is a majority owner of a company since most other arrangements involve endorsements or minority investments. Getting stuck in there, it seems.

BRIGGS: All right. A Virginia father is becoming known as the ultimate cheer dad.

Rolland Holland usually likes to mimic a move when rooting for his daughter at York High School football games. Last week he asked them to show him a new routine, and after three 14-minute sessions, Holland already at Friday night's game, he stood up every time the Falcons scored and cheered his heart out, in sync with his daughter's team. Holland does admit the kicks were a bit hard to execute.

I love it. I'm kind of a crazy sports dad. But I don't know if I could pull off the cheerleader moves. Good for you.

CHATTERLEY: Well, I have to say, he would need a good warm-up for the rest of (INAUDIBLE). There was some pretty high kicks.

BRIGGS: Yes. That's flexibility, man. I wonder if daughter MacKenzie was embarrassed by dad or proud by him.

CHATTERLEY: How do you feel about that?

BRIGGS: I don't know. I mean, I know my kids would be embarrassed if I was up there doing that. But I hope they're proud. Good moves.

CHATTERLEY: Go, Dad. Yes, we like it.

All right. Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of the day. For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.

A potential earthquake in the 2020 race. Mike Bloomberg taking steps to run. What it means for the Democratic field.

BRIGGS: The House could impeach President Trump by Christmas. What's behind a renewed push to wrap up the inquiry.

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

Good morning. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Julia Chatterley.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning, everyone.

CHATTERLEY: Good morning.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Happy Friday, November --