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New Revelation Ties Trump to Pressure Campaign on Ukraine; Dems and GOP Both Claim Victory After Day One; Trump Insists Not Watching the Impeachment Hearings; Ukraine Relies on U.S. Aid to Hold Off Russia. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 14, 2019 - 04:30   ET




BILL TAYLOR, FMR. AMBASSADOR U.S. TO UKRAINE: The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. Ambassador. Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A top diplomat under oath ties the president directly to the pressure campaign on Ukraine. Now the ambassador to the E.U. has some explaining to do.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

We begin with this. President Trump's phone call with the leader of Ukraine under the microscope for months but it turns out a different call the very next day may be the most explicit proof yet the president himself pushed Kiev to investigate his political rivals.

On the first day of public impeachment hearings, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified he first learned about this other call last week.


TAYLOR: In the presence of my staff, at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kiev. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. Ambassador Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with President Trump the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden which Giuliani was pressing for.


ROMANS: That is the most direct evidence so far Mr. Trump himself was behind the Ukraine pressure campaign.

BRIGGS: Taylor's revelation also undermines Trump's claim he hardly knows Ambassador Gordon Sondland. The ambassador will no doubt be asked about this when he testifies publicly next Wednesday. And tomorrow David Holmes, Ambassador Taylor's aide who overheard that Trump-Sondland call, will testify behind closed doors.

Also before Congress and the TV cameras yesterday, senior U.S. diplomat George Kent. He defended ousted ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.


REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): Some in Ukraine probably disliked her efforts to help Ukraine root out corruption. Is that correct?

GEORGE KENT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: As I mentioned in my testimony, you can't promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.


BRIGGS: Democrats and Republicans each got some of what they wanted on day one of the public hearings.

Phil Mattingly has more from Capitol Hill.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave, it was the first hearing of many, but certainly a monumental hearing in the fact that this was the official public start of the impeachment inquiry. An impeachment inquiry that is almost certain to lead to Articles of Impeachment, almost certain to lead to a House floor vote to impeach President Trump.

Here's the bottom line from the hearing, when you talk to Democrats who were waiting for, looking forward to and now have the testimony from George Kent and Ambassador William Taylor, they believe it painted the picture. It laid out the extent of why things were going wrong in the Trump administration. Why there was a shadow or rogue foreign policy in part being led by the president's outside attorney Rudy Giuliani. That was their goal of the hearing.

Now if you talk to Republicans, it would almost be as if you're looking through two different completely world -- different world views. Take a listen.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): You didn't listen on President Trump's call and President Zelensky's call?

TAYLOR: I did not.

JORDAN: You've never talked with Chief of Staff Mulvaney?

TAYLOR: I never did.

JORDAN: You've never met the president.

TAYLOR: That's correct.

JORDAN: You had three meetings again with Zelensky that didn't come up.

TAYLOR: And two of those they had never heard about as far as I know. There was no reason for it to come up.

JORDAN: And President Zelensky never made an announcement. This is what I can't believe and you're their star witness. You're their first witness.

TAYLOR: Mr. Jordan --

JORDAN: You're the guy. You're the guy based on this. Based on -- I mean, I've seen -- I've seen church prayers chains that are easier to understand than this.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Are we prepared to say that asking a foreign nation now to intervene in our elections is something that is a perk of the Office of the Presidency? I don't think we can allow that to be the new normal, acceptable in any way, shape or form.


MATTINGLY: Now for Republicans, their primary goal was to poke one gigantic hole into the people that were talking. And that was, they don't have any direct knowledge of what President Trump said, what President Trump directed or what President Trump knew. And with these two witnesses both acknowledged they hadn't spoken to President Trump, hadn't met President Trump, and in that sense Republicans claimed victory.

But there's something to keep in mind here. As I noted, Democrats, this was laying the groundwork, setting the scene for the hearings to come. This was the start. This wasn't the finish. This weren't necessarily the all-stars. This wasn't the biggest show. This was just the beginning. Beginning of a process that's going to keep going for the next couple of weeks -- guys.

ROMANS: All right. Phil, thanks so much for that.

Top aides in the White House believe day one of the public hearings went well for the president. According to a White House official Mr. Trump asked advisers how the hearings went and he was told great day, big win. But that official admits the president is not out of the woods.

Kaitlan Collins is at the White House.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dave and Christine. The president maintained throughout the day yesterday that he was not watching these hearings or keeping a close eye on it. Even telling reporters he had not watched one minute of it as he was hosting the Turkish President Erdogan at the White House, though the president was certainly paying attention to what was happening, being kept updated by his aides and staffers.


And even during that press conference yesterday was asked about one of the most crucial moments during that testimony when Bill Taylor revealed there had been a conversation that was not previously known about where the president had been inquiring about the status of those investigations he wanted Ukraine to announce into the Bidens. The president said that he had no recollection of that phone call.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you recall having a conversation --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't recall. No, not at all. Not even a little bit.


COLLINS: Now the president also complained about that inspector- general for the intelligence community, the one who reviewed this allegation, this whistleblower's complaint, investigated it, found it creditable enough that they turned it over to Congress which of course jumpstarted essentially where we are now. That comes after the "New York Times" reported that the president had to weigh firing the inspector general, the inspector-general he picked for that job, in recent days.

This all comes as the White House is saying they're not worried about this. They found this hearing to be boring. But the president was tweeting multiple times about it. Retweeting some of his conservative allies and their defenses of him. And of course we know the president is going to be paying close attention to the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, when she testifies tomorrow.

BRIGGS: Kaitlan Collins there at the White House.

If you look past the furry and rhetoric around impeachment, there is a reason U.S. military aid to Ukraine is important in its own right. The aid President Trump offered withheld $390 million represents nearly 10 percent of Ukraine's 2019 military budget. And there's no dispute that helping Ukraine fight off Russian aggression in Crimea in Eastern Ukraine is vital not only to Ukraine, but also for U.S. national security.

Fred Pleitgen live in Moscow with more. Fred, good morning.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Dave. And one of the things, of course, that we keep talking about is those Javelin anti-tank missiles that are so key, the Ukrainians say, to their defense forces. One of the things that we have to mention is that those javelins were actually are not OK'd under the Obama administration. They did not green light the sale of those javelins. However, the Trump administration did.

But one of the things of course that has really hurt the Ukrainians was the fact that that aid was held up. And if you look at the Ukrainian military, they themselves have actually improved their military a great deal since 2014. But the things that they really need from the U.S. are those high-tech weapons, that high-tech gear. Not just the javelins, the other things that that $400 billion -- almost $400 billion military aid buys is for instance night vision goggles, it's anti-artillery radars, for instance. It's sniper rifles, for instance, as well.

So a lot of high-tech things that the Ukrainians don't have, but that actually increased their survivability on that frontline and that's why that military aid is so very important. And as you've noted also is a large chunk of their own defense budget. And there's also the psychological factor that you hear from Ukrainians time and time again, as they say that military aid also shows them that the U.S. has Ukraine's back. And then obviously any sort of holdup in that military aid or any sort of questions of that military aid gives them the opposite impression of that -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes. It's -- really great reporting, Fred Pleitgen. And also this military aid only approved after word of the whistleblower report began to circulate.

Great reporting, Fred, live for us in Moscow. Thanks.

ROMANS: All right, 38 minutes past the hour. Americans have racked up a record amount of debt. $14 trillion worth. New data from the New York Fed finds mortgages are the largest chunk of that debt. That's about $9.44 trillion. Student loans now top $1.5 trillion. Borrowing costs have dropped recently after the Fed cut interest rates three times in a row. One research officer at the New York Fed said the data suggests households are taking advantage of a low interest rate environment to secure credit.

Student loan debt still a very big issue here. Yes, they're taking on a lot of debt here but this data showed about 11 percent of student debt was more than 90 days late or in default. That's the most for any loan type and nearly double levels from 2004. The average per student is actually manageable. The problem is, the growing number of people with really huge, exploding debt numbers.

And a big problem in the student debt arena, people who take a year off in between, they've got a bunch of student loan debt to take a year off.


ROMANS: Maybe because they don't have enough money to get through the next year.

BRIGGS: Right. ROMANS: They don't go back, or they're taking too long to graduate

and they're racking up $20,000, $30,000, $40, 000 a year to loan debt. So it's this sort of these people on the far -- the far end of the spectrum who really have a lot of student loan debt that's just really hard to manage.

BRIGGS: Thankfully we are hearing something about it on the Democratic primary side of things.


BRIGGS: All right, ahead, believe it or not, the 2020 field, speaking of, is about to get even bigger. Who is in and why?



ROMANS: All right. It looks like another major case will be decided by the Supreme Court in an election year. For the second time, an appeals court denied the president's attempts to keep eight years of his finances private. If Mr. Trump loses an appeal to the Supreme Court, his taxes and related documents could be delivered to House Democrats just months before the 2020 election.

This is one of several big cases the court is to expected to decide next June. Others included challenge to a restrictive Louisiana abortion law and White House efforts to end the program protecting Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.


BRIGGS: A crowded Democratic field is getting even bigger. Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick telling friends and supporters he is entering the 2020 race. He will officially file for the New Hampshire primary today after he appears on CBS this morning. Patrick could seize on advantages in early voting states. He's from Massachusetts, which borders New Hampshire. Being one of the country's first African-American governors could certainly help in South Carolina. But the odds are steep. He is not known nationally and unlike Michael Bloomberg he does not have the personal wealth to finance an entire campaign.

ROMANS: A recent Monmouth poll shows just 16 percent of Democrats and Democratic leading voters want the already record-sized field of candidates to grow any bigger. Also, "The Washington Post" reports some Republicans are discussing whether to ask Senate leaders to hold a longer impeachment trial to influence the Democratic race. A longer trial could force six contenders to stay in Washington until the Iowa caucuses or longer.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is feeling better this morning. The 86-year-old Supreme Court justice was not on the bench Wednesday for oral arguments. According to a spokesperson, she was at home battling a stomach virus. This is not expected to stop her from participating in that two cases now before the court. She is getting briefed in transcripts delivered to her. This latest illness comes less than three months after Justice Ginsburg completed treatment for her fourth battle with cancer.

We wish her well. We'll be right back.



ROMANS: All right. Relief from the bitter cold is on the way. Much of the eastern half of the country will still shiver with below-normal temperatures through the weekend. But each day will be slightly warmer than the last. The edge of Lake Michigan resembling an iceberg. The arctic cold snap hit bottom yesterday morning when 232 million people were below freezing.

Here's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, guys. It is all about the cold air but it is going to gradually warm up and it is going to be noticeable here over the next couple of days. So at least one element of good news to look forward to but the front has passed. We do have high pressure trying to build a cold, sunny start to your morning and will climb up all the way up to 46 degrees out of New York City. That is about 10 degrees warmer than yesterday.

In Chicago, climbing up to the middle 30s and around, say, Cincinnati, from 29 yesterday up to 43 degrees by this afternoon. And notice, still a very cold setup. Down across the south, Atlanta, New Orleans, Montgomery, 40s and 50s, Houston only at 46 degrees. And kind of show you the perspective here because yesterday highs in Burlington, Vermont, 23 degrees go all the way up to the 70-degree latitude mark. In Barrel, Alaska, it was 22 degrees.

So kind of speaks to the significance of the cold air that was felt across the country. But again at least is going to be warming up over the next couple of days. There's another story here across portions of the Gulf Coast, the disturbance skirting by into the areas around Georgia and the Carolinas. That'll bring in some rainfall right on the coast. A couple of inches at the most and that is about it. But this graphic here shows there's a gradual warming trend we expect. Finally getting to the lower 40s by early next week in Chicago -- guys.

BRIGGS: Thanks, Pedram.

Heroism and tragedy in Massachusetts as a veteran firefighter loses his life saving others. Lieutenant Jason Menard was trapped searching for residents of a multifamily home including a baby during a four- alarm fire early Wednesday morning. Officials say strong winds and frigid cold complicated firefighting efforts. Menard had been with the Worcester Fire Department since 2010.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF MICHAEL LAVOIE, WORCESTER FIRE DEPARTMENT: Lieutenant Menard heroically and selflessly saved his crew, helping a probationary firefighter to the stairs and then returning to rescue another trapped firefighter, assisting him out the window. Fire conditions overtook the third floor at this time and Lieutenant Menard was unable to escape.


BRIGGS: The 39-year-old firefighter leaves behind a wife and three children. The family had planned to be on a trip to Disney World this morning.

ROMANS: In the next 15 minutes, someone in the United States will be killed by a superbug. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are five drug-resistant superbugs that have learned to outsmart the most sophisticated antibiotics, and they kill 35,000 people a year. The CDC has just placed them on its urgent threat list. Experts say superbugs typically frail elderly people but anyone can contract one.

America's veterans are a major target of foreign disinformation campaigns online. A veterans group telling Congress Wednesday vets have for years been targeted by foreign agents. Those groups try to sway political opinion, extract personal information and run online scams. The agents often gain access to Facebook groups and other online forums by impersonating veterans. Facebook and Twitter who also testified said they've made progress combatting inauthentic content.

BRIGGS: The FBI has broken up a big counterfeit iPhone and iPad ring. The scheme involved more than 10,000 knockoff devices imported from China that were intentionally damaged and exchanged at Apple stores for authentic products. The real items were then shipped back to China and other countries and sold as a markup. The scam reportedly cost Apple $6.1 million. 14 people now face dozens of fraud, conspiracy, identity theft, and money laundering charges.

ROMANS: West Penn Hospital in Pennsylvania is dressing up newborns in cardigans and ties to celebrate World Kindness Day. It's their way of honoring Pittsburgh native Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers, for his kindness and compassion to children. A new film about Mr. Rogers, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" starring Tom Hanks, premieres a week from tomorrow.


BRIGGS: Look forward to it.

Technical fouls are thicker than water.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the best. Look at his son saying call for a T. T up my daddy, who's on the other team and there it is.


BRIGGS: L.A. Clippers' coach Doc Rivers was ejected for arguing last night. That player you see there on the Rockets egging him on and calling for him to get T'd up is his son. Austin Rivers. The officials obliged. After the game, Rivers tweeting, "Thanksgiving is going to be weird."


ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check --

BRIGGS: It is.

ROMANS: On CNN business this morning. Taking a look at markets around the world. Leaning lower here mostly on Wall Street. Futures this morning also a little bit weak. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs Wednesday. The Dow ended up 92 points, the S&P 500 climbed just a bit and the Nasdaq fell.

Investigators reacted to a "Wall Street Journal" report that trade talks between the U.S. and China have hit a snag. This time, trouble brewing over farm purchases. According to people familiar with talks the Chinese cautious about putting a number on just how much ag it will buy from the U.S.

Stocks have been resilient this year. For the record Dow is up 19 percent. The S&P up 23 percent. Look at the Nasdaq, up almost 28 percent.

The extent of WeWork's trouble becoming stark here. The co-working company's losses more than double to $1.25 billion last quarter. Revenue was still up but it spent heavily on a failed attempt to go public. Last month Softbank took majority ownership of WeWork as part of a bailout deal. The package valued WeWork at $8 billion, just a fraction of its peak valuation. WeWork declined to comment.

Disney Plus has notched an impressive 10 million subscribers just a day after its big streaming launch. Disney did not say how many subscribers came from Verizon which is offering its customers a year of Disney Plus for free or how many were pre-ordered. Still it has a long way to go before catching up to Netflix's 160 million subscribers worldwide. Disney Plus launches in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain on March 31st. And investors liked it. Disney stock closed up 7 percent.

BRIGGS: While you were sleeping, late night, as you might imagine, was focused on impeachment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a member of the GOP? Tired of all of the damning testimony you don't want to hear? Introducing Bose fact- cancelling headphones. State-of-the-art, ergonomically designed and perfect for any GOP member who wants to ignore highly corroborated truths from highly credibly witnesses. Simply place the fact- cancelling headphones on a primary digit, insert them and activate the sound-cancelling feature.

JIMMY FALLON, LATE-NIGHT HOST: I admit, folks, I thought this whole impeachment thing would go away by now like a common cold or a second wife. But yet here we are. And worse, now you can't even get the truth from shows like FOX and Frenemies. I have to take matters into my own huge hands. And I'll be honest today's hearings had me on the edge of my seat like when Rudy Giuliani goes on FOX News or when Stephen Miller text KK -- stop right there, Stephen.

JAMES CORDEN, LATE-NIGHT HOST: People in the nation's capital got an early start because restaurants and bars in D.C. opened up as early as 9:30 this morning for impeachment viewing parties. You know, just what the founding fathers had always dreamed of. That had to be pretty confusing for anyone who didn't know about the hearings. Just imagine walking past a bar on the way to work and seeing a bunch of drunk people chanting quid pro quo, quid pro quo.


ROMANS: I was trying to think, what would the drinking game be yesterday. There wasn't like a word that was the --

BRIGGS: I know.

ROMANS: The trigger word. I will say --

BRIGGS: Quid pro quo would have been a good one, though.

ROMANS: Bill Taylor's voice, though, he sounds like a radio host, doesn't he?

BRIGGS: Oh, man.

ROMANS: What a voice.

BRIGGS: Walter Cronkite was trending all day.

ROMANS: What a voice.

BRIGGS: Because of that.

ROMANS: Wow. All right.

BRIGGS: And that's the way it is.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Here's "NEW DAY".


SCHIFF: The impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States.

TAYLOR: The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. TRUMP: I know something about that. First time I've heard it.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): The president's defense is that this is a perfect call. And I don't hear any Republican on the committee saying this is a perfect call.

JORDAN: I understand the facts. And the facts are squarely, strongly on the president's side. And I think again the American people see that.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Thursday, November 14th. It's 5:00 here in New York. This is a special edition of NEW DAY. CNN's coverage of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

And already this morning, we do have a major new development. New information revealed in the first public hearing describes a much more concerted effort by the president himself to get a foreign country to investigate his political rivals.

The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified that the day after President Trump asked the Ukrainian leader --