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EARLY START

Democrats Take On Impeachment Inquiry; Impeachment Hearings Day 3: Fiona Hill And David Holmes; Kamala Harris And Tulsi Gabbard Clash Over State Of Democratic Party; Mayor Pete Buttigieg On Aid For Soybean Farmers; Lizzo Leads Nominees For 2020 Grammy Awards. Aired 3:30-4a ET

Aired November 21, 2019 - 03:30   ET

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


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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to establish the principal no one is above the law. We have a constitutional responsibility and we need meet it.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: 2020 candidates take on impeachment right out of the gate during last night's debate.

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GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting the answer is yes.

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DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST, EARLY START: A diplomat hand-picked by President Trump delivers what might be the most damming impeachment testimony yet.

ROMANS: Britain's Prince Andrew stepping away from his royal duties over his ties to the now deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Welcome back to "Early Start" I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. 31 minutes past the hour. We start with the big Democratic debate last night. Democrats taking on what one another but even more, blasting President Trump at their fifth Presidential Debate in Atlanta. First question out of the gate focused on the impeachment inquiry and hearings that had just wrapped up minutes earlier on Capitol Hill.

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SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me make very clear that what this impeachment proceeding about is really our democracy at stake.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is likely the most corrupt person in the modern history of America but we cannot simply be consumed by Donald Trump because if we are, we're going to lose the election.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a criminal living in the White House. What it means, when I had watched is that there are clearly two different sets of rules for two different groups of people in America. The powerful people who with their arrogance they think they can get away with this and then everybody else.

WARREN: Read the Mueller report all 442 pages that showed how the President tried to obstruct justice. And when Congress failed to act at that moment and that the President felt free to break the law again and again and again.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are absolutely going to confront this President for his wrong doing. But we will also each running to be the President who will lead this country after the Trump Presidency comes to an end one way or the other.

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I learned something about these impeachment trials. I learnt number one that Donald Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee. That is pretty clear. I think we have to ask ourselves unanimous question who is most likely do what needs to be done? Produce a Democratic majority in United States Senate, maintain the House and beat Trump?

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ROMANS: We get the more key moments from last night's debate as the show goes on but first the most damming testimony so far in the House impeachment hearings. U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland directly implicating President Trump in a campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival Sondland telling law makers there was a quit pro quo for Ukraine to lost launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son. He testified the orders came via Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the President's express direction.

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SONDLAND: Was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link and that we were discussing the chicken and egg issue of should the Ukrainians go out on a ledge and make the statement President Trump wanted them to make and then they still don't get their White House visit and their aid that would be really bad for credibility.

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ROMANS: The third and likely final day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry begins this morning. Congressional Correspondent Phil Mattingly has more from Washington.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave this is the last day or at least very likely to be the last day of this stage of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry. They have got two witnesses today Fiona Hill the Former Top Russia Adviser on the National Security Council.

And David Holmes, who obviously became famous just less than a week ago when he flew to the United States for a closed door-deposition where he talked about a phone call that he overheard between Ambassador Gordon Sondland and President Trump while in Ukraine.

They will both be testifying publicly and there are no shortage of issues for them to address questions for them and answer from lawmakers but there is one thing to be certain. I mentioned Gordon Sondland. His testimony from Wednesday will most certainly carry into today as well. Take a listen to this very important moment.

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SONDLAND: Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky.

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SONDLAND: Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election, DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States.

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MATTINGLY: Now for Democrats that sound what Gordon Sondland said there what he said repeatedly particularly, at the beginning of his testimony was reason enough for them to say that they have all the evidence they need to move forward. No final decision has been made yet, but they have what they need.

Gordon Sondland gave him the first-person testimony first person witness who had conversations with the President Trump who had conversations with Rudy Giuliani that was what they had been looking for. Now it's worth noting Republicans made clear that there was one point that he continued to make. When it came to the U.S. security assistance to Ukraine there was never a clear linkage to the investigation that he was talking about to the quid pro quo related to a White House meeting.

Long story short there's a lot of different winding roads certainly a lot of names. One thing is clear though Democrats very confident in the case they're making, a case they're going to try and close out at least in the public hearing phase of the inquiry today. Republicans completely unbowed, the guys I've not talk to a single House Republican instinct they're going to jump shift. A single House Republican who whole privately and may be somewhat unsettled by what they're hearing not publicly going to say that any way shape of thorn. This is partisan camps at this point in time it's not going to change anytime soon.

BRIGGS: It is not a political roller coaster. Thank you, Phil. Republicans now seizing on this. Ambassador Sondland did not explicitly link the $400 million in withheld military aids a Ukrainian investigations, he distinguished that carat dangled in front of Ukraine's President from a different one a possible face to face between President Zelensky and President Trump. A meeting Ukraine very much wanted.

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SONDLAND: President Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on the meetings. The only thing we got directly from Giuliani was that the Burisma and 2016 elections were condition on the White House meeting. The aid was my own personal guess based on your analogy of two plus two equals four.

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ROMANS: President Trump himself also trying to spin Ambassador Gordon Sondland's impeachment testimony that directly tied the President to the Ukraine pressure campaign. He claims that Sondland testimony vindicates him.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You ask me what he should do. I said I want nothing then I repeated it. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Why didn't he put the statement into his opening remarks? That's the most important statement.

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ROMANS: The President contends Wednesday's testimony was a win and he says it's time for the impeachment hearings to end.

BRIGGS: Sondland's testimony put Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the heart of Ukraine pressure campaign. When asked about it this afternoon Pompeo dodged.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you respond to Ambassador Sondland's evidence today that he directed into coordinate Ukraine policy with the President's lawyer Rudy Giuliani?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The second one is easy. I didn't see a single thing that I was working. Sounds like you might not have been. I was in meetings all day and haven't had a chance to see any of that testimony.

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BRIGGS: Sondland testified that not only ropes Pompeo in the loop about activities connected to Ukraine pressure campaign but Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were as well.

ROMANS: After his testimony Sondland told reporters he's not resigning. The Ambassador making the comments as he prepared for his return flight to Brussels.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any plans to resign sir?

SONDLAND: Absolutely not. Going back to work.

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ROMANS: Testimony resumes at 9 eastern at the White House Russia Advisor Fiona Hill and David Holmes the diplomat who overheard President Trump's call with Sondland while sitting in a Ukrainian restaurant.

BRIGGS: Well, sparks fly during last night's Democratic Debate.

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HARRIS: It's unfortunate that we have someone on the stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States who during the Obama administrations four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama.

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BRIGGS: More from that exchange and other key moments next.

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BRIGGS: During last night's debate the 2020 Democratic field spoke of the importance of the African American vote. Senator Kamala Harris repeatedly talked about the need to rebuild the Obama coalition. Senator Cory Booker said black voters are "Pissed off" because their issues only seem to matter when politicians need their vote. Biden tried to argue that he is part of the Obama coalition but Mayor Pete Buttigieg who was taken huge for over stating his black support in South Carolina. He used the opportunity to reach out to African- American voters.

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BUTTIGIEG: While I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin. I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country. Turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate.

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BUTTIEGIEG: And seeing my rights expanded by a coalition of people like me and people not at all like me working side by side, shoulder to shoulder, making it impossible for me to be standing here wearing this wedding ring in a way that couldn't have happened two elections ago lets me know just how deep my obligation is to help those whose rights are on the line everyday even if they're nothing like me in their experience.

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ROMANS: And mostly - debate there are also some clashes as Senator Kamala Harris lashed back at Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, after Gabbard was asked about what she describes as the what in her own party.

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REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That our Democratic Party unfortunately is not the party that is of by and for the people.

HARRIS: I think that it's unfortunate that we have someone on the stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States who during the Obama Administrations spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama - full time criticizing people on this stage as affiliated group of Democratic Party when Donald Trump was elected not even sworn in bodied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump.

GABBARD: What Kamala Harris is unfortunately continuing to traffic in lies and smears and innuendos because she cannot question challenge the substance of the argument that I'm making the leadership and the change that I'm seeking to bring.

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BRIGGS: Joe Biden meanwhile reinforcing his reputation as the bit of a gaff machine for this remark on stopping violence against women.

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BIDEN: No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman in anger other than in self defense and that's rarely ever occurred. And so we have to just change the culture. And keep punching that and punching that - no, I mean it. It's a gigantic issue.

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BRIGGS: Uncomfortable laughter there and unfortunate choice of words. There were also fireworks between Biden and Senator Cory Booker over legalizing marijuana and Harris jumped in to correct Biden when he towered his black support.

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SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a lot of respect for the Vice President. He is sworn into my office as a hero. This week I hear him literally say we that I don't think we should legalize marijuana. I thought you might have been high when you said it because marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people and is what the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people.

BIDEN: If you notice I have more people supporting me in the black community because they know me, they know who I am. Three Former Chairs of the Black Caucus the only black African American woman that ever been elected to the United State Senate, a whole range of people.

HARRIS: The other one is here.

BIDEN: I said the first.

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BRIGGS: He said - he only may have meant the first. Biden quickly corrected himself there with Harris standing right next to him. The next debate is sent for December 19th on PVS.

ROMANS: All right, the Trump Administration has bailed out and they're - worth of a $28 billion in taxpayer aid. Farmers are the collateral damage of course of his trade war with China. When asked if he would continue those subsidies, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said this.

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BUTTIGIEG: We shouldn't have to pay farmers to take the edge of a trade war that shouldn't have been started in the first place. This is an even making farmer's hold, if you're in soy beans for example you're getting killed.

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ROMANS: He's right Trump calls the payments a symbol of his support for farmers but the Administration has said it's not enough to make up for the entire loss individual farmers are suffering. Soy bean farmers have been hit hard by retaliatory tariffs. China was once the biggest export market. Something like every third row of soy beans were shipped to China. But orders vanished when the tariffs went in to effect in July 2018.

The price for Soybeans dripped a record amount of Soybeans were left in storage at the end of last year. The Administration released a first round of aid a last year a second round of checks is expected to be cut this week it puts the Democrats in an interesting bind because for many years they've been critical of the very trade deals that Donald Trump has been critical of the pro-labor Democrats have been concerned about China in particular they wanted - successive administrations to get tougher with China. Trump does but then farmers suffer.

BRIGGS: He'll have to continue some of his policies like or not bottom line.

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ROMANS: I think they have to continue to pressure campaign on China. Our tariffs are best way to make that pressure campaign is a lot of argument about that.

BRIGGS: All right, had which college graduates make the most cash, details just next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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ROMANS: Israel now in unprecedented political territory faces the possibility of a third election in less than a year after blue and white party leader Benny Gantz failed to form a coalition government. The Former Israeli Military Leader negotiated for 28 days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also failed to form a government. For the first time in his history Israel now enters the three week period where any member of parliament who can master a majority can form a government and be Prime Minister. If not, new elections are triggered automatically most likely on March 3rd.

BRIGGS: They go again. Britain's Prince Andrew stepping away from his public duties for the foreseeable future the Duke of York trying to contain a fire storm over his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, he says in a statement that he asked the Queen's permission to make a public retreat from his royal duties and she granted it. The move comes after Andrew's much malign BBC interview about his history with Epstein. He now says he unequivocally regrets his "Ill judged association with the late convicted sex offender" and he says it's - he is willing to help with any ongoing investigations.

ROMANS: A new chapter in the Antonio Brown Saga. He is reportedly counter suing Britney Taylor the former trainer who is accused Brown of rape and sexual assault in her own law suit. According to ESPN Brown is seeking damages for defamation and interference with his NFL opportunities and endorsements. Taylor sued Brown earlier this year for alleged rape and multiple instances of sexual assault. Brown denies all of Taylor's accusations and he is asking for a jury trial.

BRIGGS: A life-saving rescue caught on video in Connecticut. The Stafford Fire Department releasing this video that shows a car exploding into blames. Edward Sear was driving by in the other direction you can see in pull over get out of this car run to the burning vehicle and somehow pulled the driver out of it safely.

It happened earlier this month. The man who was saved, 61-year-old Glenwood little joined town officials Wednesday for a ceremony to honor Edward Sear as a hero. Nominations for the 2020 Grammy awards are out and there is a new class intact.

Lizzo, one of the three new comers leads the way with eight nominations including album, song and record of the year. She's also up for best new artist. 17-year-old Billie Eilish was right behind the six nominations the two who are head to head in all the major categories. And Little Master, who has the blockbuster hit of the year with "Old Town Road" also, picked six Grammy nominations. And Former First Lady Michelle Obama nominated for a Grammy she will compete in the best spoken word category for her work on the audio book "Becoming". The Grammy awards will be handed out on January 26th.

ROMANS: Let's go to check on CNN Business this Thursday morning. Take a look at markets around the world, really gripped by drama in the trade negotiations. European shares have opened lower. Asian shares also down. On Wall Street it was a down day yesterday and it looks like that trend is continuing this morning. Stocks slid Wednesday on that pessimism about a trade deal being done this year.

"Routers" headline really catching a lot of attention that a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China may not be into this year. The DOW down at 113 points, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ down as well. All three are averages are now lower for the week but they did hit record highs on Monday.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting suggest the Central Bank is finished cutting interest rates for now. The Fed said Monetary Policy was well calibrated to support modest growth, healthy job market and to keep inflation in check.

One month after meeting a deal with the United Auto Workers Union General Motors has filed a racketeering suit against Fiat Chrysler arguing it was hurt by Fiat Chrysler's corrupt labor relations with that union. According to the suit GM claims Fiat Chrysler made bribes in order to get a better labor deal from the Union which resulted in unfair labor cost and operational advantages. The suit decides wrong doing by former Fiat Chrysler Executives who have pled guilty in an ongoing federal probe into the UA debut.

All right, really important news here for people going to college or sending a kid to college for the first time ever you can now compare student debt levels and first year earning of graduates based on what they studied. All those data are uploaded to college score card this is created by the Obama Administration live now gives visitors earnings information on more than 36,000 programs at about 4,000 colleges. Looking into an Ivy League School well, assumes that Harvard Brown and Yale typically earn high salaries.

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