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EARLY START

New Testimony on White House Push to Withhold Ukraine Aid; Carter Back in the Hospital; Record Cold Coming; Israel Forces Kill Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza; Seahawks Hand 49ers First Loss in Overtime Thriller. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 12, 2019 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: We start with the latest on impeachment. New transcripts from closed-door impeachment hearings, with one day until public testimony begins in the probe.

[05:00:04]

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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Two of those officials said Ukraine was aware the aid was frozen soon after it was put on hold in July. That is 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, withheld to avoid upsetting the Russians.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: All right. Phil, thank you.

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.

ROMANS: 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Everybody says the House will indict, impeach, say there's enough reason to go forward with the trial and the Senate will never move.

[05:05:06]

I don't -- 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile campaigning in Exeter, New Hampshire, was asked about the challenge of getting men to vote for a woman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: 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.

ROMANS: All right. Google has been criticized for how it handles user data. Now, it is collecting even more about your health.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:10:54]

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, Jimmy Carter is undergoing a procedure this morning to relieve pressure on his brain. The former president was admitted to Emory University Hospital 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 nation's 39th and oldest president ever celebrated his 95th birthday last month.

ROMANS: All right. 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.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

ROMANS: A big scare for passengers in a plane skidding off the runway. More a thousand flights canceled yesterday at O'Hare due to the weather. Hundreds more scrapped for today.

The coldest air of the season so far will cover much of the country the next few days.

Pedram Javaheri has the latest from the CNN weather center.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys.

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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Get ready.

BRIGGS: It should be fun.

All right. An instant classic on Monday night football leaves no team unbeaten in the NFL. Andy Scholes has that story in "The Bleacher Report."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:18:21]

ROMANS: To business, now, Google is collecting detailed health data on millions of Americans. Google began working on "Project Nightingale" in secret last year with a hospital chain Ascension, which is more than 2,500 hospitals. Project Nightingale collects the complete history of tens of millions of patients, and even 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.

"The Wall Street Journal" reports at least 150 Google employees have access to these records. Neither patients nor doctors were notified. Privacy experts say 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.

BRIGGS: All right. We no longer have any undefeated teams in the NFL. The Seahawks defeating the 49ers at very last second late last night.

Andy Scholes has that story in "The Bleacher Report."

Good morning, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning, Dave.

You know, this NFC West showdown was a classic. The game went back and forth so much in the fourth quarter and overtime.

We'll pick it up in the extra period for you. Seattle driving the win the game. Their in-field position, but Russell Wilson gets picked off. The 49ers get a great return out of it.

They would then go for the game winning field goal. And McLaughlin who hit a field goal to send the game to overtime just absolutely shanked this one. It almost left the screen. It was so bad.

The Seahawks end up with the ball with a little over a minute to go in overtime. Wilson, an 18-yard scramble. That was a big play in this one.

[05:20:03]

Sets up Jason Myers, and he nails the 42-yarder as the clock expires. Seahawks end the Niners perfect season with the thrilling win.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSSELL WILSON, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACK: Probably the craziest game I've ever played, to be honest with you. I don't think I've been part of a game that crazy, that long, that back and forth, that back and forth. It was huge. That was huge.

That's a team win. That is what championship teams do. We believe we can do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: All right. Last time, Kawhi Leonard was on the court with the Raptors, they were winning an NBA championship. Last night, Kawhi taking on his former team for the first time. The NBA Finals MVP struggling in this one, made 2 of 11 shots, going 12 points.

That Clippers' defense, it's stifling. They would win a rare low- scoring game in the NBA these days, 98-88, the final.

Elsewhere in the NBA, the Spurs retiring Tony Parker's number nine jersey last night. Parker, a part of the Spurs famous big three, with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, they won four titles together. Now, they will forever be together in the rafters of San Antonio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY PARKER, 4-TIME NBA CHAMPION: What can I say? What can I say? The friendship and the bond, that's what I love the most. I love you, too. And we'll be together forever.

I want a big go, Spurs, go, on three. One more last time for me. One more last time, altogether. One, two, three.

CROWD: Go, Spurs, go! (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: And, you know, Dave, Tony Parker put France on the map when it comes to basketball. As of right now, greatest French basketball player of all-time.

BRIGGS: No doubt.

Will Golden State's big three, you think, equal that, you know, drafted by the organization, staying together, and winning that many titles?

SCHOLES: You know, they need one more, I guess, right? To get there.

BRIGGS: Plus, Durant is in there. I don't know if you can compare them compared to guys drafted together. We'll debate this in the commercial break, OK, buddy?

SCHOLES: All right.

BRIGGS: Thank you.

Romans, what's coming up?

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Dave.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:26:50]

BRIGGS: Was Southwest Airlines flying unsafe airplanes? Documents just released by the Senate Commerce Committee show the airline appears to have flown thousands of flights without complete safety records for the jets. Southwest acquired 88 planes from foreign airlines starting in 2013. In May of last year, the FAA discovered paperwork abnormalities.

And an audit by Southwest revealed 360 major repairs had been made to the planes without the airline's knowledge. Southwest insists the planes are safe and calls the problem a miscommunication.

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, education, 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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. Thank you.

It cost you $1,995. You're left with five bucks. OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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: What a moment.

All right. Quite a light show in the skies over St. Louis last night. Hundreds of people reported seeing a bright flash that was likely 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 this event.

EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

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

ROMANS: 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, all the way to New England.

Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Good morning. I'm Christine Romans. It is 29 minutes past the hour.

And we begin on Capitol Hill. New transcripts from closed-door impeachment hearings released with just one day, 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 then- national security adviser, John Bolton.