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Frozen 2 Earns Highest-Grossing Weekend in Thanksgiving History; Storms Wreak Havoc with Post-Holiday Travel; President Trump Heads to London for NATO Summit. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired December 2, 2019 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Debut on the platform right before Thanksgiving.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, is she going to be too late or would she pass her up? Or is it going to be --


DAVE BRIGGS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: A baby crawl for the ages in New Orleans. Toddlers from all over the city competing during Sunday's Pelicans-Thunder NBA game. And it seems none of the contestants wanted it to end. A play date broke out at midcourt, somebody eventually won the race. But a future romance sparked there in that baby race --

ROMANS: Cute --

BRIGGS: Perhaps.

ROMANS: Love it. Love it.

BRIGGS: All right, thanks to our international viewers for joining us, have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.

ROMANS: A post-holiday travel nightmare for millions. No escaping an ugly day coast-to-coast.

BRIGGS: The White House will not have anyone participate as the Judiciary Committee takes control of the impeachment probe.

ROMANS: And the president heads to the U.K. today, and NATO Summit awaits, as signs of a fracture emerge in the 70-year alliance. Good morning everyone, welcome to EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

ROMANS: Good morning -- BRIGGS: Good morning everyone, I'm Dave Briggs, Monday, December 2nd,

it is 5:00 a.m. in the east, and, boy, does it feel like December out there. Millions of travelers 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 alerts, stretching from Oregon to Maine. Heavy fog led to a 25-vehicle pile- up on Interstate 68 in Garrett County, Maryland. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, placed the National Guard on stand-by to deal with weather problems.

ROMANS: More than 8,000 flights were delayed in the U.S. on Sunday, the weather caused a plane to slide off a runway after landing in Buffalo, New York. In the west, a strong storm system bringing 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 live in the CNN Weather Center. Hi, there.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, Christine. Yes, you know, this storm system here has been such a slow-moving system. Of course, the impact is widespread into the northeast, but there it is. The center of circulation sits kind of just east of the Great Lakes, and of course, it's gradually beginning to shift the energy all over portions of the northeast, and we expect the snow showers to begin inside the next couple of hours across New York City.

A kind of mixed again, a wintry mix across the region, and then gradually throughout the afternoon hours, we'll begin to see a slushy accumulation. But notice upwards of 50 million people and parts of at least 20 states dealing with the wintry weather pattern that's in place. And the snowfall amounts ranging from about 2 inches to over a foot. And in fact, yes, about 3 inches or so that has come down across Boston Logan in the past 36 or so hours.

That's enough to disrupt some 500 flights on Sunday across the region. But we expect the storm by this afternoon to be parked just offshore, close enough to land here, though still have some impacts with the wintry mix in place. And then, gradually, throughout the overnight hours into Tuesday morning, we'll begin to see the energy shift offshore.

And with it, of course, the snow showers taper off. But temperatures just a little too warm to lead to any significant accumulations, so, we'll keep that slushy snow in the forecast for Boston. Could see about 3 to 5 inches of it accumulated across Boston area and New York City, maybe as much as say 1 to 3 inches mainly coming in later on tonight after the sun sets.

But the high today in New York City, right around 39 to 40 degrees. Boston, same story, Washington, middle 40s, as well. And kind of an important graphic here, and kind of depicting how much snowfall is expected. Any time you get into the pinks and purples, that's 8 to 12 inches of snowfall, and there's plenty of that in interior New England. But notice, in Boston, right in line with the white contours, which

are about 2 to 4 inches, New York City, same sort of a pattern, but just to the west of New York City and to portions of say New York and New Jersey, far greater amount. So, that could shift here over the next few hours and add to the accumulations. But at this point, it looks like just a lot of slushy, wet snow, which is really the most disruptive kind across New York City.

BRIGGS: Yes, all right, thank you, Pedram. Meanwhile, the House impeachment inquiry moves from investigation to prosecution this week. 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.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone 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. Cipollone accusing Democrats of deliberately scheduling the hearing while the president will be at a NATO meeting in London.

ROMANS: 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.


REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R-CA): 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.



ROMANS: 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.

BRIGGS: Later this morning, the president will distance himself from the impeachment drama swirling in Washington as he and first lady Melania head to London to attend the 70th anniversary of NATO. Trump's trip happening as his relationship with NATO leaders shows continued signs of strain. Nic Robertson is live in London with what to expect. Nic, good morning.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, good morning, Dave. Well, look, those tensions between Trump and NATO lead to tensions within the other NATO allies themselves. And the real concern here is that any sort of differences that get expressed outside the closed doors of that meeting are just going to be food for President Putin of Russia who likes to see division at NATO.

So, of course, concerns about that, and much of those concerns would depend on what President Trump does. I mean, though that he's been very tough on some of the NATO leaders in the past, they're criticizing them for not making the 2 percent of GDP on defense spending commitments. Now, there is good news on that front for President Trump.

Spectacularly successful is how the White House is describing this, what we've heard from the NATO Secretary General is that since 2016, NATO allies are now contributing $130 billion more than they were five years ago. That, a success for President Trump, it is seen because he is the one that has been campaigning to get this money spent.

Of the -- of all of the NATO allies, 29, total, United States leaving 28 of course, only 3 in 2016 made that 2 percent threshold. Now, it is nine of those countries. So -- but this issue of the 2 percent is not dead yet, if you will. President Trump will be having a one-on- one bilateral with Angela Merkel of Germany, and we know that has come to pass some of it on camera in the past.

And it hasn't looked very good for the German chancellor. So, the real hope here is that President Trump sticks to the script and keeps any differences behind the closed doors. One meeting we understand from the White House that isn't on the schedule at the moment is with Boris Johnson; the British Prime Minister. Why?

Because there's an election coming up and if President Trump is seen as too close to Boris Johnson in the election, that could count against the British Prime Minister. Dave?

BRIGGS: This should be an interesting couple of days. Nic Robertson live for us, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, also in London, a young man and woman killed in a terror attack at the London Bridge, now, anger growing over a basic question. Why was a terrorist set free just eight years after plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange?



ROMANS: All right, 13 days until new tariffs on Chinese-made goods and no discernible progress in a trade deal between the U.S. and China. Last week, both D.C. and Beijing hinted a phase one deal was close. But now, it appears talks have stalled. China is unhappy that Trump signed a bill supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

But optimism for a deal was already waning. No high-level talks are on the calendar. Chinese state media now says the government wants all tariffs removed, not just those planned for December 15th, those tariffs are an escalation neither side wants. That tariff list in just 13 days includes iPhones, video games, toys, these are products popular during the holiday season. But a Chinese deal isn't the only Trump trade deal on hold. It's been

exactly one year since the administration agreed to a revised NAFTA. But the deal still needs approval from Congress. Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it may not happen this year. The hold-up sources say it's over labor standards.

However, a signed deal would give the president a much-needed victory on the Hill during the heated impeachment inquiry.

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight. The first retaliation from China after President Trump signed a law backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. China suspended U.S. military warships from entering Hong Kong. Sanctions will also be levied on American NGOs observing and reporting on the social unrest.

China says the United States quote, "severely breached basic norms by intervening in China's internal affairs." The new law could lead to sanctions on Chinese officials for cracking down on protesters.

ROMANS: Louisiana Senator John Kennedy can't seem to make up his mind on the subject of Ukraine. Last week, Kennedy was firmly behind the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, and then he walked it back and admitted he was wrong in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo.

Sunday on "Meet the Press", he flip-flopped again.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Russia was very aggressive and they're much more sophisticated. But the fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko --


KENNEDY: Actively worked for Secretary Clinton.

TODD: You've done exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do. Are you at all concerned that you've been duped?



ROMANS: The White House's former top Russia expert Fiona Hill testified to Congress that the theory that Ukraine interfered in 2016 is quote, "a fictional narrative being perpetrated by Russia."

BRIGGS: Two victims who were killed in Friday's terrorist attack on the London Bridge have now been identified. Twenty three-year-old Saskia Jones and 25-year-old Jack Merritt were both former Cambridge University students. Merritt once held a legal research course at a prison that brought inmates and students together. The suspect who killed them was stopped by bystanders and killed by police. [05:15:00]

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 where a vigil for the victims will be held this morning. Nina, good morning.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Good morning to you, Dave. Yes, that's right. We are expecting the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the leader of the opposition party, Jeremy Corbyn, as well as the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to arrive here in about 45 minutes time for that vigil to remember those two victims who tragically lost their lives just near London Bridge.

Twenty five-year-old Jack Merritt and 23-year-old Saskia Jones, both graduates of the University of Cambridge, one of the best academic institutions in the entire U.K., and both people were passionate about giving people who were either less fortunate in life or had committed crimes an opportunity for a second chance in life.

That was what brought them here to London on that fateful Friday. It also brought them into contact with Usman Khan, both of them, both parties were members -- were taking part in a particular event that sought to bring ex-offenders out on license together with academics so that they could learn together.

Well, now, we know that Usman Khan it seems was a convicted terrorist who had only served 8 years out of a 16-year sentence. And that of course has prompted a hot political debate both between the Labor Party and the Conservative Party about who is to blame, for changing the law to allow that to happen.

Boris Johnson, who's led much of his campaign pledging to get tough on law and order even before Friday's events has said that sentencing rules need to be urgently reviewed. Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand has said that rehabilitation whilst in jail also needs to be the focus of any future discussions on sentencing.

Now, in the meantime, the parents of Jack Merritt have come out with a statement over the weekend urging the PM not to politicize his death, not to use it as an excuse for more draconian sentences. And also in the last two hours, we've had a Facebook tribute posted by Jack Merritt's girlfriend saying, quote, "you were quite simple the best thing, completely golden. Your voice will not be lost, you'll never be forgotten either."

So, a question here about the legacy of where this will lead, 74 people we now know who were out on license like Usman Khan after committing serious offenses are now being more closely monitored. We know that one of those individuals, it appears, was arrested over the course of the weekend upon that review. Back to you. BRIGGS: Nina dos Santos live for us in London this morning.

Appreciate it. Ahead, we'll talk a little sports, Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans do a number on Tom Brady and the Patriots. Houston's own Andy Scholes has the "BLEACHER REPORT" next.



BRIGGS: New England Patriots were under the weather all week, and are not feeling much better this morning after losing to the Houston Texans. Andy Scholes has that story in the "BLEACHER REPORT", good morning my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, good morning, Dave. You know, the Patriots had so many players who were sick this week, they actually took two planes to Houston, a sick plane and a well plane. Kind of like a kids' doctors office.

And Deshaun Watson; the Texan, well, not making Tom Brady and the Patriots feel any better last night. Watson throwing three touchdowns in this game. This one right here, a 35-yarder to Kenny Stills, and the Texans' QB also catching a touchdown on this trick play right here on the fourth quarter.

Houston would hold off a late rally to beat the Patriots for just the second time in their history. The final in that one, 28-22. Now, a possible Super Bowl preview, the Ravens hosting the 49ers, Lamar Jackson continuing to strengthen his MVP case and make defenders look silly.

Check out that move right there, Jackson, another 100 yards rushing in this one. He put Justin Tucker in position for the game-winning field goal as time expired, and Tucker nailed it, Ravens win it 20-17. They are now the one seed in the AFC after the Patriots' loss. All right, in the NBA, meanwhile, the Lakers looking for 11 wins in a row, taking Luka Doncic and the Mavs yesterday, and Luka continues to dominate, the third, the 20-year-old, the quick movement, throws it down.

Then in the fourth quarter with LeBron guarding him -- look at this, steps back three from way down town, Luka's got 27 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists. Mavs end the Lakers' winning streak, 114-100, the final there. Elsewhere, the Pelicans hosting the Thunder, but the main event turned out to be the baby race at halftime.

Baby 6 looks like she has it in the bag, she's at the finish line, but decides to turn back, bold move there, baby 5 then makes her move with an interesting crawl of a baby 6 comes up to distract her after 3 and a half minutes of just awesome, Dave, baby 5 would finally cross that finish line.

BRIGGS: Once again, boys getting distracted by girls. Baby 6 had that thing all wrapped up, close finish there, much like the NBA game. Good stuff, Andy Scholes, thank you, my friend.

SCHOLES: All right -- BRIGGS: All right, Romans, what's coming up?

ROMANS: More babies. I want to see more babies --

BRIGGS: More babies --

ROMANS: Just -- how about babies? Thank you. All right, nearly 50 million people nationwide under a Winter weather alert. Treacherous weather delaying thousands of flights following the holiday.



ROMANS: Hollywood and fans of "Will & Grace" remembering actress Shelley Morrison.


SHELLEY MORRISON, ACTRESS: I'm free from that evil witch. I hope you rot and I hope it hurts.



ROMANS: The veteran comedienne's career spanned 50 years including a regular part on "The Flying Nun" as Sister-Sisto. 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 & Grace". Megan Mullally's character Karen(ph) loved 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, Shell, you accomplished wonderful things in this world. You will be missed." EARLY START continues right now.

BRIGGS: A post-holiday travel nightmare for millions. No escaping an ugly day from coast-to-coast.

ROMANS: And the White House will not have anyone participate as the Judiciary Committee takes control of the impeachment probe.