Return to Transcripts main page


Impeachment Inquiry: Democrats Try to Paint Picture For Public; Carter Back in the Hospital; Record Cold Coming; Israel Forces Kill Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza; Dreamers Have Been in Legal Limbo for Two Years. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 12, 2019 - 04:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Impeachment hearings now just one day away. Democrats and the White House laying groundwork to make their case.

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

ROMANS: 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.

What do you say to January in November?

BRIGGS: Oh, it's wicked.

ROMANS: Welcome to winter.

BRIGGS: It's lovely here, though.

ROMANS: It's nice here. But let's wait, it will be colder tomorrow.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's going to be feel like eight in Nashville when they wake up at 7:00 a.m.


BRIGGS: It is 4:32 Eastern Time.

We start with new transcripts from closed-door impeachment hearings released, with just one day before 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.

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 then national security adviser John Bolton over Rudy Giuliani's influence over Ukraine policy.

ROMANS: 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 withheld 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.


BRIGGS: Should be interesting. Phil Mattingly, thanks.

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 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: All right. 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 my ears and -- about anybody running in this party, OK?


ROMANS: Biden also used his strongest language to date on the impeachment of the president, even suggesting that 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.


BRIGGS: 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 is smile more.


BRIGGS: Curtsy.

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

ROMANS: All right. 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.

BRIGGS: Welcome to January in November. 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 few days.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with the latest forecast from the CNN weather center.



Another incredible set up here when it comes to the amount of cold there in place over the 24 hours. The arctic blast impacting about 70 percent of the U.S. population, so about 240 million people feeling subfreezing temperatures within the next few hours. And already this morning, six below in places out of Chicago, that is what it feels like, three below in Omaha, minus five in Minneapolis.


An air temperature more in line with the heart of winter, say in February, than even the beginning of November. So, the trend here, pretty impressive to say the least. And notice the front. If it already doesn't feel cold across your area, it will get there soon.

Within the next couple of hours, the front pushes right across this region. With it, gusty winds and, of course, wind chills will drop down to subfreezing, as well. But Atlanta, 25-degree temperatures expected on Wednesday morning. Houston, they were in the 80s just a few weeks back, 28 and, of course, into the Midwest, into Chicago, ranging from 5 to 25 degrees, depending where you're tuned in from.

And the trend continues at least over the next couple of days. So, we think upwards of 350 record temperatures could be set for much of this week across the Eastern U.S. -- guys.


ROMANS: All right. That's your weather.

Here's your business. The plan is T-Mobile CEO John Legere is supposed to run the company when it merges with Sprint. But he may be considering other options. A source told CNN, Legere is now in charge of WeWork. The company has been struggling after a botched IPO led to Softbank bailing out the company.

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann was pushed out after controversy, but not without a large payout. He's been criticized after reports of strange management techniques and accusations of self-dealing. Legere's T-Mobile has had its own issues. Its merger with sprint has

to get regulatory approval. It has the blessing of the FCC the Justice Department, but it's now facing a lawsuit from 15 states over antitrust concerns. The suit is expected to go to trial next month.

Legere, known for his success in recent years. He's credited with transforming T-Mobile from a struggling carrier to the fastest growing network in the country.

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, Israel takes down a senior jihadi leader. Dozens of rockets are flying into Israel. CNN live at the Israel/Gaza border, next.



ROMANS: All right. Breaking overnight, Israeli Defense Forces killing a senior Islamic jihad leader in Gaza that could ignite tensions in the region.

Let's go live to the Israel Gaza border. I want to bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann. I know he has been discussing with officials in his live shot.

Hey, Oren, what's going on there?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, the idea at this point is trying to remove us from our location. We will move after we finish this broadcast.

Let me give you the latest on the update. Let's all starts -- I apologize. An IDF soldier is putting his hand on our camera. An IDF with his officers putting his hand on our camera, we're trying to broadcast the latest developments from -- the officer, now, is telling both soldiers he is not OK. And the soldiers are using violence against us, even as the soldier has told him we're OK to be live. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

ROMANS: All right. Oren Liebermann on the Israeli/Gaza border. We've been watching IDF officials there.

BRIGGS: The signal is still up. The camera has not been shut off, despite the warnings of the troops there. Let's see if Oren is still with us and still safe.

Oren, can you hear us still?

LIEBERMANN: Kill the camera.

BRIGGS: Oren can't hear us. But the shot is still up.

ROMANS: We've been broadcasting without incident this morning already from there. And Oren was ready to go to his live shot. And officials told him to move locations. He said he would as soon as he finished the live shot. They forced him from the scene. So, we're going to make sure everything is OK with Oren, we're going

to find out what's going on and why they are removing our broadcast and get back to you on that.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, former Bolivian President Evo Morales on his way to a new life after Mexico granted him political asylum. The head of Bolivia's armed forces announcing the military will carry out joint operations and police. He says it will prevent what he calls blood and grief in the unrest following Morales' resignation. A resignation Morales and his supporters called a coup; Morales asking Bolivians to take care of peace and not fall into violence.

It's unclear who will now lead Bolivia. A so-called extraordinary session of Bolivia's legislature is set for today.

ROMANS: All right. A new force awakens in the streaming wars. All you need to know about the new platform. You'll bring you CNN Business, next.



BRIGGS: Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on President Trump's decision to terminate DACA.

This group of Dreamers and their supporters walking hundreds of miles to be outside the Supreme Court. Inside, justices will be mulling the fate of the Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants that came to the U.S. as children. The court handing down a decision in the heat of the 2020 election.

Jessica Schneider with more.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, this could really be a break- make-or-break moment for the more than 700,000 so-called Dreamers, who depend on DACA to stay in this country and continue to work. The Supreme Court will hear arguments later this morning, whether the Trump administration followed the proper procedure under federal law when it decided to end DACA in September 2017. When that decision was made, several groups immediately went to court to challenge the wind down.

And several federal judges at the time agreed that the administration did not give an adequate explanation for ending the program and did not properly follow the acts. The program could not be terminated. It remains in effect now.

So, for the past two years, these Dreamers, they've had the protection but they lived in legal limbo while they waited for the Supreme Court to hear their case.

[04:55:01] If the justices, though, side with the administration in this case, the 700,000 Dreamers will be at risk of being deported. So, today's arguments, they will be very technical, all about the Administrative Procedure Act. But hundreds of Dreamers have come here to Washington. They're going to stand outside the Supreme Court. And they are trying to get their message out, that this is a human issue -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Jessica, thank you for that.

Southwest Airlines apparently conducted thousands of flights without having full knowledge of the safety of their planes. According to documents just released by the Senate Commerce Committee, Southwest acquired 88 jets from foreign airlines. In May of last year, paperwork abnormalities and an audit by Southwest revealed 360 major repairs had previously been made to the planes without the airline's knowledge. Southwest insists the planes are safe and calls the problem a miscommunication.

BRIGGS: All 14 campus fraternities at San Diego State University are suspended this morning after the death of a freshman student. Nineteen-year-old Dillon Hernandez of Jacksonville, Florida, was rushed from his residence to the hospital last Thursday morning, after allegedly attending a fraternity event. According to the school, six fraternities on campus were already suspended, four others were being investigated when Hernandez died. Police have not released a cause of death.

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


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": Let's take a 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.


ROMANS: 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.

BRIGGS: We love you, too, Alex.

Another game show icon Pat Sajak coming back to work on "Wheel of Fortune." Sajak had emergency surgery last Thursday to repair a blocked intestine. Vanna White stepping in as host with the taping of Friday's show. Sajak telling fans on Twitter: I'm so grateful for other good wishes. The worst has passed and I'll be out of the hospital in a day or two, then back to work, unless Vanna White has completely taken over.

Vanna responded, "Wheel of Fortune" without Pat Sajak is like a world without vowels. Don't worry, your job is safe. Well, pretty safe.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning, taking a look at global markets. You can see a mixed performance. European shares have opened higher. Asian shares closed mostly higher. Stocks in Hong Kong were up half a percent after their worst day in three months.

On Wall Street, a mixed look right here. And markets closed mixed yesterday. The Dow was up just barely enough to hit a record high. Boeing drove the Dow higher.

Shares of Boeing were higher after it said it is possible it will deliver the 737 MAX to customers by the end of the year. The next big event for investors, President Trump's speech at the New York Economic Club. He is expected to discuss trade.

A new force is awakening in the streaming wars.




ROMANS: All right. That's right. Disney Plus launching today. The feature has movies such as "Star Wars" and "Toy Story." It will cost only $6.99 a month.

Disney is pushing into a crowded space, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, they're already there. The streaming wars will not be cheap. Disney will invest billions into this platform, hoping for consumers' attention and money. Getting a lot of attention, the new series.

I mean, Disney has been working on this for a couple of years. A lot of people say this will be Bob Iger's legacy if he gets this right. And he can dominate --

BRIGGS: A pretty secure legacy, but --

ROMANS: Yes, but this is quite a way --

BRIGGS: "Star Wars" and streaming wars should be entertaining.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: Impeachment hearings just one day away. Democrats and the White House laying groundwork to make their case.

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

ROMANS: 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.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. Sorry if you're on a canceled flight yesterday at O'Hare, because you're trying to figure out where to go today.

BRIGGS: Sorry if you're in Nashville where it will be 8 at 7:00 a.m.

I'm Dave Briggs, Tuesday, November 12. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We start with the latest on impeachment. New transcripts from closed- door impeachment hearings, with one 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 adviser, John Bolton, about Rudy Giuliani's influence over Ukraine policy.