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Democratic Candidates Tackle Impeachment Inquiry; Day Three of Hearings Following Ambassador Gordon Sondland Testimony; Winners and Losers in Dems Fifth Debate. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 21, 2019 - 04:30   ET




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


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: 2020 candidates take on impeachment right out of the gate during last night's debate.


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 the White House meeting, the answer is yes.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A diplomat hand-picked by President Trump delivers what might be the most damaging impeachment testimony yet.

BRIGGS: Britain's Prince Andrew stepping away from his royal duties. We'll tell you the reason for the move.

Welcome back to EARLY START on a Thursday. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

And the president on his notepad in Austin, Texas, saying this is the last word from the U.S. president. I --

BRIGGS: I wanted nothing.

ROMANS: I did nothing wrong. No quid pro quo.

All right. Democrats taking on each other 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 the hearings that had wrapped up just minutes earlier on Capitol Hill. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 president in the modern history of America. But we cannot simply be consumed by Donald Trump. Because if we are, you know what? 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 watch this is that there are clearly two different set of rules for two different groups of people in America. The powerful people who, with their arrogance, think they can get away with this and then everybody else.

WARREN: Read the Mueller report, all 442 pages of it 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-SOUTH BEND, IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are absolutely going to confront this president for his wrongdoing. 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 learned, number one, that Donald Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee. That's pretty clear. I think we have to ask ourselves, the honest question, who is most likely to do what needs to be done -- produce a Democratic majority in the United States Senate, maintain the House and beat Trump?


BRIGGS: All right. Many more key moments from the debate in just a couple of minutes. But first, the most damning testimony so far in the House impeachment hearings. U.S. ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, directly implicating President Trump in a campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival. Sondland telling lawmakers there was a quid pro quo for Ukraine to launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son. He testified the orders came via Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the president's expressed direction.


SONDLAND: It 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 that 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 our credibility.


BRIGGS: The third and likely final day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry begin this morning.

Congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly with more from Washington.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, 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. You're going to have 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 to answer from lawmakers. But there's 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.


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


Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a 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.


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 them first- person testimony, a first-person witness, who had conversations with 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 investigations that he was talking about, to the quid pro quo related to a White House meeting. Long story short, there's a lot of confusing details here and 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 are going to try and close out at least in the public hearing phase of the inquiry today. Republicans completely unbowed.

Guys, I've not talked to a single House Republican who thinks they're going to jump ship. A single House Republican who while privately may be somewhat unsettled by what they're hearing, not publicly going to say that in any shape -- way, shape or form. This is partisan camps at this point in time. It's not going to change, at least not anytime soon -- guys.

ROMANS: All right. Phil Mattingly, thanks for that.

Republicans now seizing on this, Ambassador Sondland did not explicitly link the $400 million in withheld military aid to Ukrainian investigations. He distinguished that carrot 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 wanted very much.


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 conditioned on the White House meeting. The aid was my own personal, you know, guess based again on your analogy two plus two equals four.


BRIGGS: President Trump himself also trying to spin Ambassador Sondland's impeachment testimony, reading from notes written with a big black marker. He claimed the Sondland testimony actually vindicates him.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He asked me, where -- what should he do? I said, I want nothing, then I repeated it. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Why didn't he put this statement into his opening remarks? That's the most important statement there are.


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

ROMANS: Sondland's testimony puts Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the heart of the Ukraine-Russia -- the Ukraine pressure campaign, rather. But when asked about it Wednesday, Pompeo dodged.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you respond to Ambassador Sondland's evidence today that you directed and coordinated 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 today. I was working. It sounds like you might not have been. I was in meetings all day and haven't had a chance to see any of -- of that testimony.


ROMANS: Sliding an insult to the press there whose job it is, of course, to follow impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States. Sondland testified that not only was Pompeo in the loop about activities connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign, but Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were as well.

BRIGGS: Because watching television is the job of reporters. Not someone else's job, though.

After his bombshell testimony, Sondland headed to the airport for his return flight to Brussels and said he is not resigning.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have any plans to resign, sir?

SONDLAND: Absolutely not. I'm going back to work.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you believe your testimony went today? Do you believe you were (INAUDIBLE) your concerns?

SONDLAND: I told the truth.


BRIGGS: Testimony resumes at 9:00 Eastern, with White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill and David Holmes, the diplomat who overheard President Trump's call with Sondland while sitting in a Ukraine restaurant.

ROMANS: And there was a Democratic debate last night. Sparks flew.


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 administration spent four years full time on FOX News criticizing President Obama who has spent full time --


REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's ridiculous, Senator Harris. That's ridiculous.

HARRIS: Who has spent full time --


ROMANS: All the key moments, next.



ROMANS: Mayor Pete Buttigieg entering last night's Democratic debate as the frontrunner in Iowa according to a recent poll. But he still struggles with African-American voters. Mayor Pete tried to reach out to those voters from the debate stage.


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.


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 possible 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 every day even if they are nothing like me in their experience.


BRIGGS: There were also some intense clashes. Senator Kamala Harris lashed back at Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard after Gabbard was asked about what she described as the rot in her own party.


GABBARD: 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 this stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States who, during the Obama administration, spent four years, full time on FOX News, criticizing President Obama, who spent full-time --


GABBARD: That's ridiculous, Senator Harris. That's ridiculous.

HARRIS: Who has spent full time criticizing people on this stage, as affiliated with the Democratic Party. When Donald Trump was elected, not even sworn in, buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump.

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


ROMANS: Joe Biden drew uncomfortable laughter with an unfortunate choice of words on stopping violence against women.


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


BRIGGS: Seriously unfortunate choice of words.

Also some fireworks between Biden and Senator Cory Booker prompting Harris to jump in with a correction of her own. Watch.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a lot of respect for the vice president. He swore me into my office, as a hero. This week, I hear him literally say that I don't think we should legalize marijuana. I thought you might have been high when you said it. And --


BOOKER: Let me tell you because marijuana -- marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people. And it was -- 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, that have nod for me, because they know me. They know who I am. Three former chairs of the Black Caucus. The only African- American woman that have ever been elected to the United States Senate. A whole range of people.

HARRIS: No. It's not true.

BOOKER: No, it's not true. That's not true.

HARRIS: The other one is here.


BIDEN: I said the first. I said the first African-American woman.

HARRIS: Thank you.

BIDEN: The first.


BRIGGS: Biden quickly corrected himself. The next debate is set for December 19th on PBS.

ROMANS: All right, 1400 miles away from his impeachment inquiry in D.C., President Trump was in Austin, Texas, taking credit for an Apple plant that has been opened for years, tweeting today, "Opened a major Apple manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high-paying jobs back to America."

Fact is, that factory has been producing Mac Pros since 2013. Apple announced it would keep making the Mac Pro line in Austin only after the Trump administration waived tariffs on parts from China. So Apple got an exception. Standing next to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the president said he will look into Apple receiving even more exceptions from his tariff regime.

This has been a very good year for Tim Cook. Apple stock is up 69 percent this year. Tim Cook has managed to stand there next to the president of the United States, get exemptions on computer parts and navigate what has been a brutal trade war with China.

We'll be right back.



BRIGGS: Britain's Prince Andrew stepping away from his public duties for the foreseeable future. The Duke of York trying to contain a firestorm 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 maligned BBC interview about his history with Epstein. He now says he unequivocally regrets his, quote, "ill- judged association" with the late convicted sex offender and he says he's willing to help with any ongoing investigations.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at markets around the world. Some unease about the progress in the U.S.-China trade talks. You can see European shares have all opened lower and Asian shares closed down. On Wall Street, you've got down markets, it looks like -- we got a long way to go. It's only 5:00 a.m. in the East so we'll see if things change. Stocks slid Wednesday after Reuters reported a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China might not get signed this year.

The Dow fell 113 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell as well. All three averages are now lower for the week. But look, on Monday, they were at the highest levels they've ever been.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting suggests the central bank is done cutting interest rates for now. 'The Fed said monetary policy was well-calibrated to support modest growth, a healthy job market, and keep inflation in check.


For the first time ever, parents and students can now see how much money graduates can expect to earn and how much debt they can take on. It's called the College Scorecard. Some 4400 universities. The highest pay, engineering, math, computer science. Public schools are a really good value. Of course you can afford to take on more debt for those high-paying degrees. Beware, more than 100 degree programs, the median debt was more than four times greater than the median salary, film, drama and visual arts programs among those.

Rule of thumb, your debt load should be no greater than your expected first-year earnings. Case in point, Columbia University, the writings studies majors graduate with a median $28,500 in student loan debt. They earn just $19,700 in their first year.

They started pulling this together under the Obama administration. Betsy DeVos in the Education Department and the Trump administration have really expanded it. And this is -- you know, people, this is the biggest investment you're going to make probably for your kid ever, right? Really important to make sure you're not going to a school where you're paying too much money for a degree that's not going to earn you enough money.

BRIGGS: I made 15 grand out of college. You?

ROMANS: Nineteen for me.


BRIGGS: Don't go into journalism, kids. That's our advice for you this morning.

ROMANS: I didn't start out for journalism there actually but --

BRIGGS: You might need a degree just to navigate the Web site. It's a little bit --

ROMANS: Is it clunky? It's a little for me.

BRIGGS: Take your time.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: Be patient.

Meanwhile, a life-saving rescue caught on video in Connecticut. The Stafford Fire Department releasing this video that shows a car exploding into flames. Edward Cyr was driving by in the other direction. You can see him pull over, get out of the car, run to the burning vehicle and somehow pull the driver out of it to safety. It happened earlier this month. The man who was saved, 61-year-old Glennwood Little, joined town officials on Wednesday for a ceremony to honor Edward Cyr as a hero.

The nominations for the 2020 Grammy Awards are out.

Lizzo leads the way with eight nominations including Album, Song and Record of the Year. She's also up for Best New Artist. Seventeen-year-old Billie Eilish grabbed six nominations. The two

will go head-to-head for all the major categories.

Lil Nas X with the blockbuster hit "Old Town Road" picked up six nominations.

ROMANS: All right. There were a few light moments during Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony to the impeachment inquiry. Stephen Colbert took one and rift on it.


DANIEL GOLDMAN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: The additional memory that you have gained over the past few weeks from reading the testimony of others, based on their notes, and reviewing your own documents, you have remembered a lot more.

SONDLAND: Yes. What triggered my memory was someone's reference to ASAP Rocky.

ASAP ROCKY, RAPPER: What's my name?


ASAP ROCKY: What's my name?

SONDLAND: ARAP Rocky. Everyone was in the loop.

ASAP ROCKY: They know.

SONDLAND: Chief of Staff Mulvaney.

ASAP ROCKY: They know.

SONDLAND: Secretary Perry. Giuliani.

ASAP ROCKY: They know. My girl. My ex.

SONDLAND: Vice President Pence. Again, everyone is in the loop.

ASAP ROCKY: They know.

SONDLAND: I e-mailed Secretary Pompeo.

ASAP ROCKY: It's me.

SONDLAND: Secretary Pompeo replied --


SONDLAND: I spoke by phone with President Trump.

ASAP ROCKY: The devil.

SONDLAND: Was there a quid pro quo?



BRIGGS: Sondland remix needs its own Grammy nom.

Finally, an emotional reunion last night at New York's Madison Square Garden.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is going to be surprised by his father coming home after a year in Afghanistan right now.


BRIGGS: Had nothing to do with the Rangers-Capitals hockey game going on and everything to do with that. 10-year-old Luke Buck. Luke's father, Army Staff Sergeant Ian Buck. He returned home after spending the last year in Afghanistan to surprise his son and the Garden crowd went wild. That is fantastic. The best side of sports right there reuniting -- I miss my kids when I don't see them for a day. Can you imagine?

ROMANS: You know --

BRIGGS: Thanks for your service, Mr. Buck.

ROMANS: And thank you for your family's service because it is a whole family that serves. It is that little boy. You know, when the dad and the mom is away. All right. That's a tear-jerker. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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


SONDLAND: Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes.

STEVE CASTRO, REPUBLICAN COUNSEL: He didn't say that he heard those words directly from the president.

TRUMP: I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.

SANDERS: We have a president who is a pathological liar. The most corrupt president in the modern history of America.

BUTTIGIEG: We need something very different. Somebody who actually comes from the kinds of communities that he's been appealing to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's hard to hit. People are a little bit afraid to engage him in that way.

KLOBUCHAR: If you think a woman can't beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.

ANNOUNCEMENT: This is NEW DAY, with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is CNN --