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First Public Impeachment Hearings Wednesday; Carter Back in the Hospital; Record Cold Coming; Israel Forces Kill Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired November 12, 2019 - 04:00   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The impeachment hearing is just one day away. Democrats and the White House laying groundwork to make their case.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, former President Jimmy Carter back in the hospital. We'll tell you what's ailing the 95-year-old.

BRIGGS: And the coldest temperatures of the season, bearing down on the East Coast. Hundreds of record lows could be shattered, from the Deep South to New England.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Good morning, everyone. It is Tuesday, November 12th. It's 4:00 a.m. in New York. It's 11:00 a.m. in Jerusalem.

We begin, though, with new transcripts from closed-door impeachment hearings released, with just one more day until public testimony begins in the probe. Military and diplomatic aides describing with remarkable consistency, the White House acting directly on its own, to withhold $400 million in aid to Ukraine.

Now, some of the notable testimony, the freeze raising alarm at the Pentagon and in Kiev, worries the Trump administration would change its foreign policy to suit domestic politics and concern from national security secretary John Bolton over Rudy Giuliani's influence over Ukraine policy.

BRIGGS: Two of those officials said Ukraine was aware the aid was frozen soon after it was put on hold in July. That's earlier than previously known.

Ukraine's knowledge undercuts the argument from Trump backers the aid could not have been used as leverage. We also learn that military support to Ukraine had been withhold once before by then-Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to avoid upsetting the Russians.

As for what to expect in the next 36 hours and beyond, here's Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, lawmakers will arrive back in Washington, fully cognizant that in 24 hours, they will have the biggest hearing that has happened in years, maybe even decades. The first official impeachment hearing, first public impeachment hearing related to Donald Trump. Two witnesses that are testifying, State Department officials, including William Taylor, the official top diplomat to Ukraine right now, who has given explosive behind closed door testimony. We've seen the deposition. We've read through all of the key points.

One Democrat I was talking to said this is an individual, straight out of central casting, exactly who you would expect from a foreign service officer from a diplomat. That's who Democrats want on the stand.

Now, the strategy is not to unearth things we've not seen in the depositions. Again, we've had thousands of pages of depositions over the course of the last couple of weeks. Everybody's eyes are tired by now.

They want to paint the public picture. They want to make clear to the public what they believe they've seen behind the scenes, that there's a narrative that threads together, that lays out how problematic certain elements of the U.S./Ukraine policy was, how the president and his team were operating sort of a shadow and rogue policy as it related to Ukraine. That is the goal for Democrats this week, to be able to paint the picture of what they've heard behind closed doors.

Now, Republicans have made clear, they are also coming to these hearings prepared. They have been preparing, poring through the transcripts, I'm told, trying to pick up holes they have seen in witness testimony, trying to make clear that a lot of the witnesses, certainly the three you're going to hear from this week haven't had specific interactions with President Trump, haven't gotten specific orders from President Trump related to the things Democrats alleged he did.

All of this is going to play out in public. Now, one key thing to keep an eye on when these hearings launch, the start of them. It's not going to be a traditional hearing. You're not gong to be going member by member, five minutes at a time. No consistent narrative. People preening for the camera, if you will.

It will be 45 minutes for each side, Democrat and then Republican. And likely, the top Democrat and Republican will yield to staff counsel to ask the question. That means, it could be a very explosive start to the hearings.

Again, there will be more than two hearings. One hearing starts on Wednesday, one on Friday, likely more next week, all of the things that people have been saying were happening behind closed the doors, they're about to become live, in living color on your TV screen. We'll have to see how everybody prepares and everything kicks on Wednesday -- guys.


ROMANS: This is history, folks. You're watching history unfold.

All right. CNN has obtained the Trump campaign's talking points ahead of the public impeachment inquiry. According to the source close to the campaign, expect renewed attacks on the whistleblower, House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, along with claims that the entire process is a political stunt orchestrated by Democrats.

And with televised hearings about to begin, Rudy Giuliani rather is considering launching an impeachment podcast. President Trump's personal attorney was overheard discussing the plan at a New York City restaurant. And Giuliani's spokeswoman confirms it.

BRIGGS: A much more aggressive Joe Biden on display at last night's CNN town hall in Grinnell, Iowa. The former vice president forcefully calling out Elizabeth Warren after she suggested he was running in the wrong party's primary because he opposes Medicare-for-All.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: What specifically is elitist about how she's pursuing Medicare for All?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The attitude that we know better than ordinary people what's in their interest. I know more than you, let me tell you what to do.

And it wasn't she's elitist. The attitude is elitist. People can't make up their own minds.

Where I come from, growing up in middle class neighborhood, the last thing I liked was people telling my family and me, what we should know, what we should believe, as if somehow we weren't informed, that just because we didn't have money, we weren't knowledgeable. I resent that. And I wasn't talking about her. I was talking about the attitude that if you don't agree with me, get in the other party. I'm more of a Democrat from shoes sole to the my ears and -- about anybody running in this party, OK?


BRIGGS: Biden also used some of his strongest language to date on the impeachment of the president, even suggesting the Republican-led Senate could convict Mr. Trump.


BIDEN: Everybody says the House will indict, impeach, there's enough reason to go forward with the trial and the Senate will never move. I don't buy that. I don't buy the Senate will never move. It will depend on what their constituency says.

If you're a Republican and you live in a Republican area and you have a Republican representative and you think the president has clearly violated the law and the Republican senator does not have the courage to stand up, like Howard Baker and Bill Cohen and so many others did with Nixon, you're going to let them know. You're going to let them know and that's going to change their view.


ROMANS: Elizabeth Warren, campaigning in Exeter, New Hampshire, she was asked about the challenge of getting men to vote for a woman.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How about we give them a tough, smart woman to vote for?

If you got more ideas, I was told what I needed to do was smile more.


ROMANS: A new Quinnipiac University poll finds Biden holding a narrow lead in New Hampshire with Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders locked in a tight battle for second place.

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, Jimmy Carter undergoing a procedure this morning to relieve pressure on his brain. The former president was admitted to Emory University last night. Doctors say the pressure is being caused by bleeding from Mr. Carter's two recent falls in his Plains, Georgia home. Both incidents landed him in the hospital. The 39th and oldest president ever celebrated his 95th birthday last month.

ROMANS: Seven minutes past the hour.

It appears science will no longer be a priority for the government when protecting public health. "The New York Times" reports the EPA plans to limit the scientific and medical research needed to determine public health regulations. It would require all scientists to expose raw, including confidential medical records for the agency to consider conclusions. The EPA tells CNN they're committed to science transparency.

An internal watchdog reported, in September, EPA had exceeded its goals in rolling back environmental regulations during the first two years of the Trump administration.

BRIGGS: Welcome to January in November. There's a record-breaking cold air mass bearing down on the East Coast. More than 300 record lows could be set or tied in the coming days.


BRIGGS: A big scare for passengers on American Airlines flight landing in Chicago and skidding off the runway as you can see. More than a thousand flights canceled yesterday at O'Hare due to weather, and hundreds more already scratched for today. The coldest air of the season so far will cover much of the eastern two-thirds of the country over the next two days.

Here's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with the latest from the CNN weather center.



Yes, it is a pretty impressive lineup of cold air in place here over the next couple of days. The arctic air nature across portions of the Midwest. In the plains this morning, wind chills are already bringing the temperatures down, to about 6 below, what it feels in Chicago, 5 below in Minneapolis. St. Louis, even, the colder than we expect in February in some of these areas.

We're talking about wind chills, sub zero, down across St. Louis. But in Atlanta, New York city, Washington, temps on the milder end, as the front has not arrived, but it give it a few hours, as Tuesday afternoon builds, the arctic air is certainly going to be felt across the region, gusty winds accompanied as well. And enough cold air in places that produce at least some high elevations, snow showers across the Appalachians, and certainly into portions of interior New England.

But notice the major metro cities of the Northeast, just a little too warm beyond anything in the forecast. But across the Midwest, on Monday, thousands of flights disrupted because of the wintry weather that was in place, and the cold air already in place. And notice, after your highs in Chicago, only up to 19 degrees. Atlanta makes it up to the middle 40s by the afternoon hours.


And notice where the front hasn't arrived, in the middle 70s along the Gulf Coast. But it is Wednesday morning, which also looks pretty impressive. Temps down into the single digits from Chicago across into Detroit -- guys.


ROMANS: All right, Pedram. Thank you so much for that.

Breaking overnight, Israel takes down a senior jihadi leader. Dozens of rockets now flying into Israel. CNN is live on the Israel/Gaza border.



BRIGGS: Four-fourteen Eastern Time.

And breaking overnight, Israeli Defense Forces killing a senior Islamic jihad leader in Gaza. That could ignite tensions in the region. Gaza militants firing dozens of rockets towards Israel, one just barely missing several cars on the road.

Let's go live to the border and bring in Oren Liebermann.

Oren, what are you seeing?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, we're just a couple of miles from the border here. We had an interception above our head. We had to scramble to the bomb shelter near us a couple times over the last couple of hours. And it certainly looks like this will continue at least in the near future.

Now, this all starts about 4:00 this morning, when Israeli military says it carried out a targeted killing, an assassination of a senior Palestinian Islamic jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata.

Israel says he was responsible for many of the rockets we've seen over the course of the past few months or more, as well as someone who's involved in planning attacks against Israel, including some that were supposed to happen immediately. After Israel carried out that targeted killing, Gaza militants responded with a series of rockets. At this point, Israeli military says more than 100 had been fired. Many of those intercepted above the skies of Israel, some of them reaching 60, 70 kilometers outside of Gaza.

Where does this go from here?

Interestingly, Israel says it's only Islamic jihad behind the rocket fire, not Hamas. And that maybe an offer to Hamas of sorts, an off- ramp, if Hamas and if Israel are in any position to take that towards de-escalation. Right now, it seems like that's not happening at the moment.

This seems to be part of a wider operation, from Israel, against jihad leaders. Why do I say that? Well, in Syria, a state-run news agency, Sana reports an attack against a senior Palestinian Islamic jihad leader there, Akram al-Ajouri. But according to the state-run news agency, al-Ajouri wasn't killed. His son was instead killed in that attack in Syria, blames on Israel. The military not commenting at this point on that attack.

The question of Where does this go from here? The situation has been sense, as it has been for months. But, also, of course, since early Monday, as we wait to see developments and hear drones above our head monitoring the situation.

BRIGGS: Population just waiting on another siren.

Oren Liebermann live at the Israel-Gaza border, 11:18 a.m. -- stay safe, my friend.

ROMANS: All right. To business, now, Google is collecting detailed health data on millions of Americans. "The Wall Street Journal" reports Google began working on "Project Nightingale" in secret last year with a hospital chain Ascension, which is more than 2,500 hospitals. This project, Project Nightingale, collects the complete history of tens of millions of patients, and includes their names and dates of birth.

In a press release, Google says the initiative is compliant with federal health law and protects patient data.

According to "The Journal", at least 150 Google employees have access to these records. Neither patients nor doctors were notified. Privacy experts say, OK, that's OK, as long as the information is only used for health care functions. Now, Google is said to be using the data to design new software using artificial intelligence to suggest changes to patients' care.

The company has faced criticism in the past for not doing enough to protect user privacy. It's also under antitrust investigation. Regulators are considering whether its vast collection of data represents an unfair advantage.

BRIGGS: All right. Coming up, it wasn't as painful as the press briefings, but -- well, it was close. Could Sean Spicer survive another round on "Dancing with the Stars"?



ROMANS: Elijah Cummings' widow is running for his congressional seat in Maryland's seventh district. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings tells "The Baltimore Sun" she is determined to extend and carry forward her late husband's legacy while building one of her own. Her primary focus will be on health care and protecting Social Security programs.

If that's not challenging enough, she is undergoing a preventative double-mastectomy on Friday. The recovery process will be two to four weeks. After that, Rockeymoore Cummings plans to hit the campaign trail.

BRIGGS: One contestant's final "Jeopardy!" answer had host Alex Trebek close to tears.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": Let's look at your response. Did you come up with the right one? Nope.

What is, we love you, Alex. That's very kind. It cost you $1,995. You're left with five bucks. OK.


BRIGGS: Right before Dhruv Gaur's heartfelt message, the 79-year-old Trebek revealed he was resuming chemotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer. Trebek wasn't the only who was moved. The #weloveyoualex was trending on Twitter last night.

Gaur says he is glad he got to say what everyone was thinking.

ROMANS: All right. Quite a light show in the skies over St. Louis last night. Hundreds of people reported seeing a bright flash that was caused by a meteor shower. It was seen from Columbia to St. Charles County, and into St. Louis County. Witnesses say they heard two loud booms. And some of them even felt their homes shake.

According to the American Meteor Society, the Northern Taurid meteor shower is nearing its peak.


And that is likely the cause of the event.

BRIGGS: No more unbeaten teams in the NFL.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Seattle has done it.


BRIGGS: The Seahawks handing the 49ers their first loss of the season. Jason Myers ending what was a thrilling seesaw battle with the 49ers. The Seahawks improved 8-2, with 27-24 win. Niners fall to 8-1. Those '72 dolphins, the NFL's only unbeaten team, can now pop the champagne, as they do every year.

Sean Spicer's run is over on "Dancing with the Stars."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean, I really thank you. You've been such a good sport. You've been so entertaining. I've been hard on you. But I have to say Laurie --


BRIGGS: To Spicer's credit, he lasted eight weeks and managed to make it to the quarterfinals in the dance competition, despite, well, his lack of dance skills.

Last night, he performed a tango and a foxtrot. President Trump tweeted, a great try by Sean Spicer. We're all proud of you.

But, really, who can forget, even if you try, Spicer's dancing debut, when he donned a neon green ruffled shirt and danced to Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life."

I know, I never forget it.

ROMANS: He made it eight weeks, huh?

BRIGGS: A terrific showing there. Most thought he would be the first off.

ROMANS: In the oval office --

BRIGGS: The MAGA army was strong. ROMANS: Yes, cheerleader in chief there. The president likes to

watch his reality shows.

All right. Twenty-six minutes past the hour.

Democrats and the White House preparing for the biggest day in Capitol Hill in a generation. Newly unsealed testimony gives the Democrats fresh ammunition in the impeachment probe.