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Ugly Post-Holiday Weather; White House To Skip Impeachment Hearing; President Trump Heads To NATO Amid Fracture. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 2, 2019 - 04:30   ET




DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A post-holiday travel nightmare for millions. No escaping an ugly day coast-to-coast.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House will not have anyone participate as the Judiciary Committee takes control of the impeachment probe.

BRIGGS: And the president heads to the U.K. today. A NATO summit awaits, as signs of a fracture emerge in the 70-year-old alliance. Welcome back to Early Start. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans, it is 30 minutes past the hour here in New York. Good morning, everyone. Millions of travelers are still trying to get home from the holiday this morning. They face an ugly day from coast-to-coast, on one of the busiest travel days of the year. More than 50 million people are under winter weather alert, stretching from Oregon to Maine. Heavy fog led to a 25-vehicle pileup on Interstate 68 in Garrett County, Maryland. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo placed the National Guard on stand-by in New York to deal with weather problems.

BRIGGS: More than 8,000 flights were delayed in the U.S. on Sunday. The weather cause a plane to slide off a runway after landing in Buffalo, New York. Blizzard-like conditions creating havoc in the Great Lakes area with heavy snow for the Dakota, to Michigan. In the West, a strong storm system bringing several feet of snow to the mountains. Wind gusts of 45 to 60 miles per hour, could lead to downed trees and power lines. Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri in the CNN Weather Center. Good morning my friend. What's ahead?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave. And all of these to -- about three weeks before winter officially arrives. So, pretty impressive set-up here when it comes to the storm system. Moving right across the eastern Great Lakes right now. And with it, of course, a very slow-moving system. So, the disruptions have been widespread. We know snow showers already coming down across portions of interior New England. And that is the area here where as much of a foot and a half of more of snowfall could be expected within the next 36 or so hours. But across major cities, across Boston, New York, Philly, and areas

around D.C., as well, it's a little too warm to support significance snow accumulations. But we have about 50 million people impacted in parts of at least, 20 states with winter weather alerts that are in place. And notice the snowfall amounts already ranging from just a couple of inches to over a foot that have come down. And believe it or not that 2.5 or about 3 inches of snowfall in Boston, that cause of about 500 flights to be disrupted on Sunday alone. So, it kind a speaks to how many flights were in place, of course, one of the busiest travel days as Christine noted.

And you put a storm system like this that is slow to move, certainly going to lead to a lot of problems. But wintry mix, is what you will expect from the early morning hours across New York, into Boston, eventually transitions to be more snow. But the afternoon high, a little too warm to support all of this sticking around for long.

So, we expect the snow showers here to begin to taper off across New York later on tonight, throughout early morning hours of Tuesday for Boston. Highs right around 40 degrees. So, it will be a slushy mess across this region, which of course, leads to additional disruptions across the northeast.

And if you take a look at the amount of accumulations, notice, when you travel inland, you're talking about significant amounts of snow, as much as 12 to 18 inches. Notice, Boston, notice, New York getting in generally on the white contours, which are two to four inches of snowfall which is what we expect for those cities, Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Pedram. Thank you so much for that. Everyone stay safe today and pack your patience.

All right, the House impeachment inquiry moves this week from investigation to prosecution. But President Trump and his lawyers will not be a part of it. At least for now. The White House says neither will take part in the first Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. The White House counsel writing, we cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process. He's accusing that Democrats deliberately scheduling the hearing while the president will be at a NATO meeting in London.

BRIGGS: The White House still faces a Friday deadline to decide whether to participate in future hearings. At least one Republican on the judiciary panel thinks the White House should be there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would be to the president's advantage to have his attorneys there. That is his right. And in fact, yes, I think, it would be to the president's advantage to have him testify now. But of course, he has to weigh that against the enormous, catastrophic damage that would do to the doctrine of executive privilege.


BRIGGS: The House Intelligence Committee is expected to let members review its impeachment report today. The vote on whether to approve the report is set for tomorrow. President Trump is accused of abusing his power by attempting to coerce Ukraine into investigating his political rivals.

ROMANS: Later this morning, the president will distance himself from the impeachment drama swirling in Washington as he and first lady Melania trump head to London to attend the 70th anniversary of NATO. Trump's trip happening as his relationship with NATO leaders shows signs of strain. CNN's Nic Robertson is live in London and there's some sense here that he will try to take credit for a strengthened NATO and for European partners and spending more on defense. What else do we know about his trip?


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, spectacular successes how the White House is framing it. That we just heard from the NATO Secretary General in the last few days that NATO has increased it's spending by $130 billion since 2016. And that, only three NATO nations back in 2016, made that 2 percent of GDP spend on defense spending. That's a NATO threshold that in 2016 it was three countries and now is nine countries.

The White House is going to say that this is what we can expect President Trump to claim success there, that his narrative that NATO needs to step up and pay more, that is actually working. Some of the big issues on the agenda are going to be China, the issue of 5g communications. Divisions within NATO over that, Turkey undoubtedly an issue on the agenda there. Why? Because Turkey is buying missile systems from Russia, you know, a key enemy, if you will, of NATO.

So, these are some of the things that are going to underpin the talks here. But don't think that President Trump has given up on this 2 percent of GDP issue. He will be having meetings with Emmanuel Macron, a bilateral attempt. Macron recently saying that NATO is brain-dead and it needs to change. Macron also inside Europe saying that President Trump is not an outlier, if you will. That the policies that he has towards NATO and the questions that President Trump has towards NATO are actually something that we are going to see more of from the United States in the future.

Others within NATO and the European countries saying, no, that is not the case on President Trump on that, creating division. President Trump also having a bilateral meeting with Angela Merkel of Germany, who we know from the past, he has beaten up on before for not contributing enough. If NATO can -- if President Trump can keep to the script, if NATO can keep its differences behind closed doors, that will be a success. Because President Putin, as ever, will be looking for cracks.

ROMANS: Absolutely. All right, Nic Robertson, thanks so much for that on Monday this morning. The Iowa caucuses are nine weeks from today. If current polling and

trends hold, the Democratic field may face a long and grueling primary. There's a real chance that Mayor Pete Buttigieg could win Iowa. Senator Elizabeth Warren could win New Hampshire. Senator Bernie Sanders may take Nevada and former Vice President Joe Biden may win South Carolina. A split decision could pave an opening for former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. He is bypassing those early states hoping to make a big statement on Super Tuesday in March, and includes the biggest prize, California.

BRIGGS: Buttigieg is now trying to tighten his script on a moderate lane with a new ad in Iowa that focuses on education.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND-IN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we should move to make college affordable for everybody. There's some voices saying, that doesn't count, unless you go even further, unless it's free even for the kids of millionaires. But we only want to make promises that we can keep.


BRIGGS: Buttigieg plans to make two and four-year public colleges free for 80 percent of American students, depending on income. It stops short of the free college for all plans that Sanders and Warren propose. Warren was resolute about her big ideas during a town hall in Iowa.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 U.S. DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: It is easy to give up on big ideas. To say, you know, make yourself sound smart and sophisticated. Just give up on the big ideas. But when we give up on the big ideas, we give up on the people, who would have been touched by those ideas.


BRIGGS: Warren keeps campaigning in Iowa today. Biden will keep wooing voters there on his no Mularkey bus tour. Buttigieg heads to South Carolina, looking to broaden support among black voters.

ROMANS: Former Pennsylvania Congressman, Joe Sestak is -- ending his longshot bid for the presidency, he entered the Democratic primary field in June, hoping to leverage his career in the U.S. Navy. He said without the privilege of national press, it is unfair to ask others to sacrifice resources any longer. The announcement by Sestak leaves a still crowded field of 17 candidates in the Democratic primary.

BRIGGS: Hollywood and fans of Will and Grace, remembering actress Shelley Morrison.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm free from that evil witch. I hope you rot and I hope it hurts.


BRIGGS: The veteran comedian's career spanned 50 years including a regular part on the Flying Nun as Sister Sixto. Morrison died Sunday from a heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 83. She was best known as Rosario, the no-nonsense maid on Will and Grace. Megan Mullally's character Karen Love and sparred with Rosario. She tweeted last night, my heart is heavy. Putting Shelley, her beloved husband Walter and their children in the light. Thank you for your friendship and partnership. Shelley, you accomplished wonderful things in this world. You will be missed.

ROMANS: All right, 40 minutes past the hour, The U.S. consumers, the power house, Smart phone is transforming the annual American ritual of showing your thanks by spending your money. Shoppers spent a record, $7.4 billion online this Black Friday, $2.9 billion on that was on smartphones. The biggest day ever for mobile sales, but record shopping on their phones meant less -- fewer people are heading to physical stores. Foot traffic fell 6 percent from last year, the third year of decline.

Today, cyber Monday is poised to be even bigger. Forecasters put total online sales at $9.4 billion. The highest online shopping day ever. You know, retailers are changing with more customers shopping online. So, retailers like, Walmart, Target, Best Buy are investing heavily in ecommerce. And it is paying off. It is also transforming their brick and mortar stores, stores now act as pickup locations for online orders, but also serves as warehouses for online orders, as well. It's really, you know, I used to call cyber Monday a made-up internet holiday. Made up by marketers. But you know, they made it up and people are coming.

BRIGGS: And our e-mail box is proof of that.

All right, ahead, a young man and woman, killed in the terror attack at London Bridge. Now, anger is growing over a basic question. Why was a terrorist set free just eight years after plotting to blow up the London stock exchange?



BRIGGS: Two victims who were killed in Friday's terrorist attack on the London Bridge have now been identified. The 23-year-old Saskia Jones and 25-year-old Jack Merritt were both former Cambridge University students. Merritt once taught a legal research course at a prison that brought inmates and students together. The suspect who killed him was stopped by bystanders and killed by police. He was convicted in 2012 of plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange, but was released from prison last year. And that is sparking controversy in the U.K., about how to deal with violent criminals, a debate that comes one week before a critical general election there. Nina Dos Santos, live at Guildhall Yard in London were a vigil for the victims will be held this morning, Nina, good morning. NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Dave. Well,

yes. In about an hour and a half time, we are going to be seeing the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, also the leader of the opposition party Jeremy Corbyn as well as other local and national dignitaries, arriving here to Guildhall yard, which is only about a mile away from London Bridge, half a mile away from the London Stock Exchange, which is the original building that Usman Khan was convicted of being part of a plot to bomb more than a decade ago.

They're going to be talking about those who have caught up in these tragic events. Those two are promising Cambridge University graduates who tragically lost their lives because they were part of an event that sought to bring even most serious criminal offenders together with academics to give them a second chance in life. Well, that legacy is now a hot debate, with the political parties, as you write, you mentioned, just days away from an election. A seizing upon this as an opportunity to burnish their credentials to get tough on law and order.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I think it's repulsive, that individuals as dangerous as this man should be allowed out after serving only eight years. And that's why we are going to change the law.

JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I think there has to be an examination of how our prison services work, and crucially, what happens to one released from prison.


DOS SANTOS: Well, Dave, as you heard there, this is becoming increasing politicized issue. But Jack Merritt, the first victim to be identified, the 25-year-old Cambridge University worker of the Department of Criminology, his parents have taken to social media to appeal to the Prime Minister not to politicize his death, not to use his legacy as an opportunity to impose even more Draconian sentences on serious offenders. Having said that though, the government has announced that they're going to be closely monitoring 74 offenders after this weekend's events. We know that one of those 74 has been rearrested over the weekend. Back to you.

BRIGGS: All right. Nina Dos Santos live for us in London. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. More than 400 people have been killed in 2 months of protests across Iraq. This weekend, the Prime Minister resigned. Many in Iraq now turning against Iran. Even Iraqis who share Iran's Shiite faith. The violent backlash against Iran is escalating. But our Arwa Damon has visited one Iraqi city where the response had been peaceful and democratic. She joins us now from Baghdad. And just a staggering loss of life, 400 people in just 2 months. Just awful what's happening there?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is. And when you go to these protest grounds and you see just how emotional the people there are, because of everything that they have lost, just to get to this point. But how, at the same time, they remain so determined and hopeful about their future, you can't help but get a sense that, perhaps, this is that moment that brings about an end to Iraq's rampant corruption and an end to this sectarian, political system that has been established. An end to outside influence, even that of Iran, which is exactly what these protesters are asking for.

But when you step out of that, and look at the broader dynamics that are unfolding in Iraq, you realize also just how difficult and bloody that is going to be. We were in a place called (inaudible), where people were able to protest peacefully. They were able to mourn the dead without being shot at. But drive 45 minutes further south to the Holy Shia City of Messa (ph) and there you still have these very intense, very violent clashes going on.


Dozens of people killed there and throughout Iraq's Shia stronghold. Just yesterday, we saw video of a 5-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet. But these are areas that threaten Iran's grip on its neighbor, Iraq. These are areas where the political elite, the Shia political elite, have thrived. And they're not areas that they are going to necessarily allow to move forward with these peaceful demonstrations.

And so, you have on the one hand this youth revolution that believe that is beginning or attempting to bring about this really political upheaval in the country. And on the other hand, you have these very potentially deadly dynamics that can be even further exploited by Iranian proxies and potentially by ISIS itself, as well.

ROMANS: Arwa Damon, making sense of it for us in Baghdad this morning. Thank you so much, Arwa.

All right, 51 minutes past the hour. Off to the races they were not. Two babies take the court and take more interest in each other than the finish line.



ROMANS: Two brothers who founded an Idaho-based Health and Wellness company killed along with their father in a plane crash in South Dakota. Six others on board also died. Brothers Jim and Kirk Hanson, founded Kyani Incorporated, their plane, were 12 people on board crashed Saturday just before noon, as a major winter storm rolled through the area. Three people survived the crash. The NTSB and the FAA are investigating.

BRIGGS: A Chicago nightclub sued by a woman who claimed security guards stood by as she was sexually assaulted in an alley. The incident took place on October 18th, behind El Jefe Chicago. The woman's lawyer have released a security video which they say Chicago police obtained from a nearby business. They believe the alleged attacker wither works at the business or someone on the staff. The 23- year-old victim was found unresponsive in the alley and police confirmed she showed signs of sexual trauma. No arrests have been made. El Jefe has not responded to CNN's requests for comment. The business claims on Facebook that its security staff did not witness a sexual assault.

ROMANS: Ten passengers on a Mexican Riviera cruise treated for illnesses after docking in Los Angeles Sunday morning. This is the second outbreak in a week aboard the same ship, the Norwegian Joy. It's not clear what caused these illnesses. All of the people were treated without being transported to the hospital. The cruise line release a statement saying it is monitoring the situation on November 28, six passengers on a Panama Canal cruise were treated for a neuro virus.

BRIGGS: Social media star, Olivia Jade Giannulli, posting her first YouTube video since the arrest of her parents in the college admission scandal. Actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying half a million dollars to a fake charity to get Olivia jade and another daughter into USC. On Sunday, Olivia Jade posted a two-minute video titled, hi again, to her account, which has nearly 2 million subscribers.


OLIVIA JADE GIANULLI, SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER: I debated for seven or eight months, like, well, if I can't talk about it, is there a point in coming back? I'm terrified to make this video and to come back. I know that I also want to start taking smaller steps in the right direction.


BRIGGS: Olivia Jade took an eight-month break from her YouTube account, saying she was devastated and embarrassed about the accusations against her parents.

ROMANS: All right, let's go check on CNN Business this Monday morning. Strong data out of China are helping lift markets around the world here. On Wall Street, to start a new month and a new trading week, looks like a higher indication here. Chinese manufacturing activity in November, better than expected, growing at the strongest pace in nearly three years.

China still faces major economic challenges, of course, including uncertainty over a trade deal with the U.S. On Friday, that sent U.S. stocks lower, ending a shortened trading week. However, November was the best month for stocks since June. The DOW, in a month, up 3.7 percent. The NASDAQ, up 4.5 percent, the S&P 500 up more than 3 percent.

Frozen 2 freezing out the competition breaking more box office records. The sequel to the 2013 film had the highest grossing weekend in thanksgiving history, earning $123.7 million in the U.S. That broke the record set by the Hunger Games, Catching Fire back in 2013. Despite the record, over all holiday ticket sales fell about 16 percent from last year according to (inaudible). It could be due to cold weather or it could be families staying in with Netflix. The (Inaudible), gangster epic, the Irishman debuted on the platform right before thanksgiving.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is she going to be too late? Or will she pass her up? Who is it going to be?