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Public Impeachment Testimony Begins Today; Turkish President Erdogan Visiting Trump Today; Arctic Weather Freezes Eastern U.S.; Roger Stone Won't Testify at His Trial. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 13, 2019 - 04:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: History unfolds today. Impeachment hearings begin in just a few hours. Will gripping private testimony resonate in public?

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

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs. Bars open early in D.C.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: Five hours from now, you can get to a bar in D.C.

ROMANS: Specialty cocktails.

BRIGGS: Yes, that's right. James and the giant impeachment is one. And I got 99 problems, but impeachment ain't one.

ROMANS: All right. Specialty impeachment cocktails.

BRIGGS: It's also history, today for the fourth time in U.S. history, public impeachment hearings begin against a U.S. president. Donald Trump used of leveraging $400 million in much-needed military aid to Ukraine, demanding in return an investigation into Joe Biden and his son.

Democrats' first witnesses, two career civil servants seated together for the entire hour. Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, tying the president directly to the pressure campaign, and saying he was told everything depended on Ukraine publicly announcing the investigations. As Taylor put it behind closed doors, that was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the president of Ukraine committed to pursue the investigation.

ROMANS: George Kent is the State Department official in charge of Ukraine policy. Among other things, he has testified he was concerned about politically motivated prosecutions. He told lawmakers President Trump wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to a microphone and say, investigations, Biden, and Clinton.

Even in extraordinary times, this will be an extraordinary day. Congressional reporter Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, Christine and Dave, here we go. This is it. This is what people have been waiting for the last month and a half.

The public hearing, the first public hearing, one of the several. Two witnesses, both State Department officials, one the top U.S. official in Ukraine, top diplomat in Ukraine, another, George Kent, another Foreign Service officer.

And here's what you're going to be seeing today. You're going to see two very divergent strategies, but with clear goals in mind.

For Democrats, paint the same picture they painted behind closed door. They believe that picture laying out exactly how that Trump administration's Ukraine policy was working, laying out the rogue elements of that policy and all the stresses and pressures that were put on the U.S. government because of that policy, they want out in public, live on television, so the public can actually all see it.

For Republicans, they have made very clear. They have an 18-page strategy memo they've laid out, laying out why they believe key reasons they don't believe is impeachable. They believe most of these witnesses, including the two you're going to hear from today didn't have direct order from the president, didn't have direct interactions with the president.

Those are the two arguments you're going to see. Here's how you're going to see it. When the committee gavels into session, you're going to hear opening statements from the chairman, Adam Schiff, the top Republican, Devin Nunes, and then you're going to see opening statements from the two witnesses.

After that, this is where things change. Instead of five minutes of theatrics and circus-like atmosphere from member after member on the panel, you are going to see 45 minutes straight from the Democrats, likely largely yielded to a staff counsel. Then you are going to see 45 minutes straight from the Republicans, likely yielded to one of their staff counsels.

That will change how the dynamics work, that will change how narratives are presented, that will change how effective either side is on the hearing. This will be different. This matters.

And when you talk to Republicans and Democrats, if there's only one thing they agree on, they agree on the gravity of the moment. The stakes of what this hearing holds and what the hearings further hold on as well.

So, keep an eye on it. It's a big day. I'm sure everybody is going to be watching -- guys.


BRIGGS: I'm sure, Phil. Thanks.

Democrats have been taking a low-key approach ahead of the public hearings. They're trying not to promise too much as they did in the run-up to Robert Mueller's testimony.

But House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff making it clear he believes impeachable offenses were committed.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): But on the basis of what the witnesses have had to say so far, there are any number of potentially impeachable offenses, including bribery, including high crimes and misdemeanors.


BRIGGS: Despite mounting evidence, Republicans seem determined to vigorously defend the president.


REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY): Second, third, fourth hand, no-hand information in some cases. You can't actually know what was really said when you're relying on third, fourth-hand information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what other people think about a conversation is really secondary to the fact that the two men who were participating in the conversation both said it was a good call.

REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R-TX): The burden of proof is on the Dems. They've got a much better risk factor tomorrow than we do. Our Democrat colleagues have got a big issue tomorrow to create some kind of aha moment that's going to be hard to do.


ROMANS: There's more in store next week. Eight additional hearings scheduled.

Most notably, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, he's the national security Ukraine expert who was on the July 25th call.


He went to his boss and expressed his concerns.

Also, Gordon Sondland, he's the Trump-appointed ambassador to the European Union. He initially denied a quid pro quo, but later amended his testimony recalling he had told a top aide to Ukraine's president that military assistance was likely linked to an investigation.

BRIGGS: One more official will testify this week. That's former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Overnight, "The Washington Post" published new reporting that ties her firing to two direct associates of Rudy Giuliani. "The Post" reports Lev says that Lev Parnas told associates he and his

partner discussed Ukraine with President Trump way back in April of 2014. That's more than a year before Yovanovitch was recalled. They reportedly told the president Yovanovitch was not serving his interests. And Trump responded saying she should be fired.

This would undercut the president's repeated claims, minimizing the relationship with the pair, and their influence. Both are charged with funneling foreign money to U.S. elections.

ROMANS: President Trump will no doubt be watching some of the impeachment hearing today, but he has counterprogramming in a very public way. Turkey's President Recep Erdogan is visiting the White House today.

Let's go live to Istanbul and ring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh -- Jomana.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, you know, some would say this meeting couldn't have come at a worst time, when it comes to the relationship between these two NATO allies. You know, the relationship has been strained over the past few years and especially in recent months. And it's a long list of issues that have strained ties. So, topping the agenda for the United States, for the Trump administration today is obviously going to be something that has been quite the controversy in the United States, and that is Turkey's military offensive in northeastern Syria. Something that has united politicians and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in their opposition to Turkey's offensive.

So, you know, the question is, is the Trump administration going to try and push for some sort of a permanent cease-fire there? And also, another issue that we'll likely bring up is the actions, behavior of the Turkey-backed Syrian forces on the ground, who some U.S. officials say that the United States has potential evidence that they may have committed alleged war crimes in the early days of that offensive.

Another very critical issue for the Trump administration is the Russian missile defense system. The S-400, that this NATO country purchased and acquired from Russian. They had their deliveries back in the summer, but they have still not activated that system yet. So, there's speculation that the Trump administration that is under a lot of pressure to try and resolve that issue, find a solution, because President Trump, based on U.S. law, should be sanctioning Turkey for that move.

And so far, he seems to have shielded Turkey from that. Are they going to try to find some sort of solution. For example, Turkey not activating that system.

When it comes to Turkey, we have heard their position on all of this before. They say that these are national security issues and they're not willing to compromise on that.

So it's going to be very interesting to see what comes out of these meetings, especially as Turkey experts say that Turkey has very much, especially President Erdogan, relied on his relationship with President Trump, and not tried to mend ties with U.S. lawmakers. And that is something they expect could backfire, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much for that, Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul.

Thirty-eight minutes past the hour. President Trump gave us a glimpse of his 2020 campaign message during a speech at the Economic Club of New York.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's a story. I don't like you, you don't like me. You have no choice but to vote for me. The truth is, you have no choice, because the people we're running against are crazy. They're crazy.


ROMANS: And it's all about the money. Trump building a case for his re-election around the economy. He's touting wages, the record number of people working, and his tax cuts.

Meanwhile, he gave no detail on a trade deal with China beyond saying, it could happen soon. Economists and markets have been waiting for any signals that a mini deal will get done here. A new round of tariffs on roughly $150 billion on consumer-facing goods is set to kick in December 15th. That would act like a big tax on consumers next year.

The president also renewed his attack on the Federal Reserve and asked for negative interest rates, claiming the central bank was putting the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage to other countries.

Then after claiming the stock market would be up another 25 percent if not for the Fed, Trump said this about his pick of Jerome Powell.


TRUMP: But we also make mistakes, don't we? Not too often, we do make them on occasion.


ROMANS: Joking, of course, the president saying it's a mistake that he picked Jerome Powell to be the Fed chief. Also in that speech, I thought it was interesting, the president said he'd like to lower taxes more. And that he's looking at that. And he said that --


BRIGGS: Middle class.

ROMANS: -- middle class taxes. That the tariffs paid for by the Chinese are coming in at such a big number, he wants to reach in and take some of that money and distribute it to the middle class. Of course, that's not how the economy works and how tariffs work.

We're running a $1 trillion deficit, so any new tax cuts would -- you would have to borrow the money to cut those taxes. But you could see maybe a savvy move heading into 2020, promising tax cuts for the middle class.

BRIGGS: How do Democrats oppose that? That would be interesting.

Ahead, did President Trump speak with Roger Stone about WikiLeaks? The president told Robert Mueller he did not recall, but a key witness in Stone's trial disagrees.



BRIGGS: Arctic conditions being blamed for at least four deaths in two states, all of them in car accidents. Three people in Michigan killed, one in Ohio. Bitter cold air pushing across the eastern two- thirds of the country. More than 240 million Americans are at or below freezing overnight. Hundreds of record lows set so far.

Freeze warnings and watches even reaching into the Florida panhandle. Look at this. McAllen, Texas, plunged from a heat index of 92 to a wind chill of 28 in a single day.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, guys. It is all about the cold air in a large area of the country as our arctic front has already exited to the east. And we do have high pressure in its wake, so we'll take the sunny skies, the clear skies for a large area of the country.

But of course, an additional shot of cold, Canadian air dropping in in the wake of it, as well. So wind chills this morning in New York City, down to 15. Atlanta, only 1 better at 16. Nashville into the single digits.

Detroit, sub-zero at this hour. That's the wind chill. And even Chicago sitting right around 4 degrees, what it feels like when you factor in the icy breeze that is in the air across the region.

But notice this. Certainly autumn temperatures feeling more like the middle of winter. Yesterday afternoon, Washington, New York, 33 and 43 there respectively. Temps you'd expect in the afternoon on January 15 and 27 respectively. Atlanta, middle 30s and Dallas also at 36. Those are in line with 20 degrees colder than what you would expect in the heart of winter.

Absolutely unusual trend set up across a large area of the country and about 70 percent of the population dealing with these sub-freezing temperatures. Here's the trend here comparing yesterday to today. New York City from a 58 down to the middle 30s and even around Washington, going from 60 to the middle 30s.

And notice, in Atlanta, the cool air has arrived, as well. Highs there, only 46 degrees today -- guys.


BRIGGS: Pedram, thanks.

Details kept secret in the Mueller report are now out in the open at the trial of Roger Stone, the self-described political dirty trickster. Charges against the Trump confidant include witness tampering and lying to congress. A witness took the stand Tuesday recalling details of a phone call the president said he couldn't remember.

CNN's Sara Murray outside U.S. district court in Washington.



Roger Stone will be back in court today, but he will not be taking the stand in his own defense. His lawyers made that clear in court yesterday. Instead of Stone defending himself, they played a portion of his testimony from the House Intelligence Committee, which he's accused of lying in front of, where he said that he did not collude with the Russians at any point to interfere in the 2016 election.

Now, there was another key witness who took the stand yesterday, and that's former deputy campaign chair to the Trump campaign, Rick Gates. He recounted when he was in the car with then candidate Donald Trump in the summer of 2016, Donald Trump got a phone call from Roger Stone and Gates said after the call, Trump turned to Gates and said that more information was going to be coming, seemingly from WikiLeaks.

That testimony really puts Donald Trump at the heart of Roger Stone's efforts to allegedly get dirt from WikiLeaks. Again, we will hear from both the prosecution and the defense today. They will offer up their closing arguments in front of the jury.

Back to you, guys.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that, Sarah.

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller peddled stories from white nationalists and fringe media. Leaked e-mails published by the Southern Poverty Law Center show Miller sending stories to staff members of the far-right website Breitbart in 2015, before the Trump administration. He was a senior aide to then Senator Jeff Sessions at the time.

One of the e-mails obtained by CNN show Miller sent a Breitbart staffer a link to VDARE, a prominent white nationalist website. Miller did not respond to CNN's request for a comment.

We'll be right back.



ROMANS: Former President Jimmy Carter is recovering after a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain. There were no complications, according to the Carter Center. The former president will remain at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for observation. That pressure was caused by bleeding sustained from recent falls. The 95-year-old was hospitalized twice last month. The Carter Center says he will not attend church services this weekend.

BRIGGS: The U.S. Supreme Court will allow a suit by Sandy Hook victims' families to go forward against Remington Arms. Remington is the manufacturer of the semiautomatic rifle used in the 2012 mass shooting. The decision could open the door to gun makers being sued in other gun violence cases.

Attorneys for the Sandy Hook families say their clients are grateful. They call Remington's appeal to the high court the latest attempt to avoid accountability.

ROMANS: So, he already has the coveted EGOT. Now, John Legend can add something else to his resume, "People's" sexiest man alive.


JOHN LEGEND, SINGER: Something I created for myself. It says EGOTSMA. Yes, just a little acronym. It stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, sexiest man alive. I'm the sexiest man alive.


ROMANS: The 40-year-old singer says he's excited and a little bit scared to wear the crown. He admits last year's winner, Idris Elba, is a tough act to follow.

BRIGGS: Check out his wife Chrissy Teigen's tweet about that.

We could be inching closer to a "Friends" reunion.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't know that we know that I know we know.


BRIGGS: According to "The Hollywood Reporter", the full cast and creator are in talks for an unscripted reunion. The special would be part of HBO Max. That's part of Warner Media, CNN's parent company. The deal is far from done, though. Many agreements still need to be

worked out. Classic sitcom that had a ten-year run, currently celebrating its 25 anniversary.

ROMANS: The streaming wars might be really good for consumers.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Take a look at markets around the world. You can see negative performances. Look at Hong Kong. They're down almost 2 percent. Stocks there falling as the city entered a third day of violent unrest.

On Wall Street, futures are also leaning lower here, about half a percent for the Dow. Stocks ended mostly higher Tuesday after President Trump's remarks. Even though the Dow closed exactly flat, the S&P 500 managed a small gain and the Nasdaq hit an all-time high.

President Trump said a phase I trade deal with China, quote, could happen soon, but he will only accept a deal if it's good for the United States.

America's largest milk producer is filing for bankruptcy. Dean Foods has struggled because Americans are drinking less cow's milk. Its stock has lost 80 percent this year. The 94-year-old company produces some of the most recognizable milk and dairy products and blamed its struggles on the, quote, accelerated decline in the conventional white milk category.

Dean Foods says it's working with Dairy Farmers of America on a potential deal where the cooperative would buy almost all of the company.

And Disney Plus is finally here, not without some bugs. Many fans looking to enjoy the new service found themselves looking at error pages starring Wreck it Ralph. Down Detector, a website that provides information on online outages, received nearly 8,500 reports of problems related to Disney Plus by 9:00 a.m.

The service includes Disney's extensive collection of movies and TV shows and a bunch of new and original content. Disney CEO Bob Iger called the launch an historic moment for Disney that marks a new era of innovation and creativity.

BRIGGS: On the eve of historic public hearings, Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" went impeachment caroling.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): It's the most wonderful time of the year, get Republicans screaming and Democrats dreaming impeachment is near, it's the most wonderful time of the year. It's the im-peachiest season of all, getting dirt from the Ukraine to help your next campaign will be your downfall, it's the im-peachiest season of all.

There'll be transcripts for reading, the president's tweeting that this whole thing is a hoax. There'll be Nunes and Jordan ignoring extortion, executive privilege, involved. It's the most wonderful time, yes, the most wonderful time, oh, the most obvious crime you'll ever hear!


ROMANS: All right, they had some fun with that. And the gavel on the --

BRIGGS: Pretty solid.

ROMANS: I like the gavel.

BRIGGS: You're all excited, though, for Christmas music, let's be honest.

ROMANS: I know, I know. I have to wait a few more weeks.

BRIGGS: December.

ROMANS: You're like my husband. He's like, wait until Thanksgiving. I'm sorry, I can't!

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: That's all we got. We're out of here. I'm Dave Briggs. Four hours of "NEW DAY". See you tomorrow.



ROMANS: In just hours, public impeachment hearings set to begin against president Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For those of us who have read the transcript, it is not, as some of these people have made it out to be. I think it's a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty clear this phone call wasn't just a one-off, it was an entire pressure campaign to get Ukrainians to influence our election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is a threat to the presidency, it's un- American, it denies the basics of due process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not just one phone call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The facts here are so powerful. Let people just hear what happened.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is a special edition of "NEW DAY," as CNN's coverage of the public impeachment hearings begins.

It is Wednesday, November 13th, 5:00 here in New York. Extra early.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I mean, this is only, what, the fourth time in American history we have had impeachment hearings. Just the third time they've been televised. It's a big deal.

CAMEROTA: It is hard to overstate the significance of this day. So we're hours away from the start of these televised hearings.

With the fate of Donald Trump's presidency at stake, veteran diplomats, George Kent and Bill Taylor will take the stand at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. And for the first time, the American people will see and hear for themselves how these diplomats believed that president Trump pressured Ukraine's government to investigate political rivals in exchanger for military aid.