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White House Will Not Participate In Impeachment Hearings; President Trump Heading To London For NATO Summit; London Bridge Attack Victims Identified. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 2, 2019 - 05:30   ET



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

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Good morning, everyone.

It's going to be messy out there for 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 Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed the National Guard on standby to deal with weather problems.

BRIGGS: More than 8,000 flights delayed in the U.S. on Sunday. The weather caused a plane to slide off the runway after landing in Buffalo, New York. Blizzard-like conditions creating havoc in the Great Lakes area, with heavy snow from the Dakotas 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 powerlines.

Let's bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with the latest.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. Yes, certainly a lot going on across the U.S. today. But first, I want to tell you this weather is brought to you by Nina Foodi grill, the grill that sears, sizzles, and air fry crisps. And I want to show you here the broad perspective because yes, 50 million people dealing with the wintry weather and parts of at least 20 states dealing with the mess as well. And the snowfall amounts, so far, ranging from just a couple of inches around, say, Boston, upwards to over a foot across areas of interior New York.

But even that 2.8 inches in Boston responsible for 500 flights being disrupted on Sunday alone. So it really speaks to, of course, how busy of an air travel day it was on Sunday and how disruptive this storm system that is really slow to move is going to be here through much of today and eventually, into early Tuesday morning before it finally exits off toward the east.

But again, a wintry mix in store here so we'll get some, some snow. High temperatures really just going to hover right around the freezing mark across some of these cities to just above the freezing mark, so I don't expect much in the way of significant accumulations around, say, Boston, New York or Philly. But notice with highs around 40 degrees you're not going to see that. It's just going to be a slushy mess and the concern is, of course, that makes for a more disruptive go across this region.

It is also going to be a windy setup as well going into this afternoon and this evening. But again, by Tuesday, things finally improve across the northeast -- guys.


ROMANS: All right, Pedram. Thank you so much for that.

All right, 32 minutes past the hour.

The White House won't participate in the next phase of the impeachment hearings, at least for now. Smart move? At least one Republican says no.



ROMANS: 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."

BRIGGS: Cipollone accusing Democrats of deliberately scheduling that hearing while the president will be at a NATO meeting in London.

The White House still faces a Friday deadline to decide whether to participate in future hearings. But at least one Republican on the Judiciary panel thinks the White House should be there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.


BRIGGS: The House Intelligence Committee is expected to let members review its impeachment report today and the vote on whether to approve the report set for tomorrow.

Joining us this morning, Princeton University historian and professor Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. It's good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning.


ROMANS: Happy December.

ZELIZER: To you, as well.

BRIGGS: Is it a smart move, given the White House's line of attack to not attend the hearing?

ZELIZER: Look, I don't know if it's smart but it makes sense. This is going to be less about the substance for Republicans and more about the process. And they are going to go all-in right now in saying this process is illegitimate and they're going to try to make sure not a single Republican votes for articles of impeachment.

ROMANS: Yes, delegitimization has been the whole sort of strategy all along the way.

Let me ask you about a couple of things on the calendar here. USMCA -- the new NAFTA, if you will. This so-called skinny deal on trade with China. Both seem to be just out of the president's reach, at least for now.

How important is some sort of a deal -- a win for the president amidst this impeachment -- this impeachment inquiry?

ZELIZER: Very big. Even though impeachment is unlikely, his poll numbers are really pretty poor for an incumbent president. So if he's able to complete any kind of deal, the deal itself will be something he can promote. And what many Republicans are hoping for is to relieve some of the trade and tariff pressure that's bearing down on key constituents in the country.

BRIGGS: And let's turn to 2020 and it looks like chaos could be the early tone as you could have four different candidates win the first four states. Who does that help and who does it hurt the most?

ZELIZER: Well, it ensures that this is going to be a very long primary. It obviously helps everyone other than Biden, meaning this is very much alive. Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, they are all extremely competitive.

Look, the party can benefit if they handle this well. Ultimately, it can bring more people into the primaries and to the debate, and it could allow the party to showcase its diversity and its breadth, rather than just being contentious.

ROMANS: Yes, you can't go to a house party in Iowa without running into one of these candidates. The people in Iowa are kind of really inundated.



ROMANS: Let's listen -- Pete Buttigieg has a new kind of position or an ad this weekend that was airing in Iowa about education -- listen.


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


ROMANS: Sticking out kind of the moderate middle with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren out there with free college.

ZELIZER: Yes. I mean, he has to be careful. That's a traditional Republican talking point. There's many programs that benefit everyone from K through 12 education to Social Security. So that's a challenge for Democrats not to give Republicans talking points for the fall while having a vigorous debate.

But this is what he wants to claim. He wants to be the alternative to Joe Biden should that Biden candidacy collapse, and he wants to make sure that doesn't go to Sen. Klobuchar. But he's that person.

BRIGGS: AOC was not happy about that ad and about the things that Buttigieg is saying on the campaign trail. Does that threaten the party's ability to coalesce around one candidate when we look forward or will they have fractures based around education, based around Medicare for All?

ZELIZER: I think they'll be OK. I think they can handle the fracture. And they are dealing with an opponent next fall who everyone in the party dislikes so much and is so unpopular, President Trump, that I think some of those divisions will fade away. Look, Obama and Hillary Clinton had the most contentious primary battles I've seen for a long time in 2008. Obama got the nomination, Obama won, Democrats came together.


ZELIZER: So I don't think it's impossible to recover from this.

ROMANS: Yes, all right.

Julian Zelizer, nice to see you this morning.

ZELIZER: Thanks.

ROMANS: Thanks for coming in.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BRIGGS: Thank you.

All right.

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 continues to show signs of strain.

Nic Robertson live for us in London with what to expect. Nic, good morning.


One of the things that other NATO leaders will be hoping for is that President Trump sticks to his script and that any differences and disagreements that he has with other NATO leaders are all kept indoors -- that none of this spills out because President Putin of Russia would love to see division at NATO.

Some of the things up for discussion, China -- 5G communications, and the difference of opinions within the NATO alliance over whether or not it's OK to buy 5G equipment from Chinese manufacturers. That's a key issue for the United States.

Turkey undoubtedly on the agenda. They've been buying Russian missile systems. That's a big no-no for NATO.

But I think there's a win in here for President Trump in the language around that we've already seen coming from the White House, saying that this is spectacularly successful that President Trump has managed to get the NATO allies to stump up more money. We heard from the NATO secretary-general just a few days ago saying that since 2016, the NATO allies are now putting $130 billion more into defense spending.

Of course, President Trump has been pushing the NATO partners to commit and make good on their two percent of GDP to be spent on defense spending commitments. Back in 2016 that was only three nations; now it is nine nations, so that does appear to be a big win for President Trump.

Differences, though, still exist. We have President Trump expecting to have a bilateral with the French president and the French president saying that NATO is braindead. And he's a firm believer that what President Trump is saying about NATO and his unease about NATO is a harbinger of what is to come more from the United States in the future. Britain takes a different position on that.

But, President Trump also having a bilateral with Angela Merkel of Germany, and we know how stormy some of those meetings have been when it comes to NATO defense spending in the past -- Dave.

BRIGGS: A contentious couple of days ahead.

Nic Robertson, live for us, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, to money now. The U.S. consumer is a powerhouse and the smartphone is transforming the annual American ritual of showing thanks by spending your money.

Shoppers spent a record $7.4 billion online Black Friday -- $2.9 billion of that was on smartphones. That's the biggest day ever for mobile sales.

But, Americans shopping on their phones meant fewer people heading out to physical stores. Foot traffic fell six percent from last year. That's the third year of decline.

Today's Cyber Monday is poised to be even bigger. Forecasters put total online sales at $9.4 billion. Wow, that would be the biggest online shopping day ever.

Retail is changing. More customers are shopping online, so retailers like Walmart and Target, and Best Buy -- they have been investing heavily in e-commerce and it is paying off. It's also transforming their brick and mortar stores. Stores now act as pickup locations for online sales and also serve as warehouses for those online orders.


We'll be right back.


(Audio gap)


BRIGGS: -- 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 and was released from prison last year. And that is sparking controversy in the U.K. about how to deal with violent criminals just one week before a critical general election.

Nina dos Santos live in London where that vigil begins very shortly. Nina, good morning.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Good morning to you, Dave. Yes, that vigil is set to take place in about 10 minutes time.

We've heard various friends of the two victims from Cambridge University who tragically lost their lives on Friday afternoon who have been arriving here to lay flowers.

We're expecting both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, to attend. And we're also expecting a speech to take place from the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. It will be more than the third time that he will have to have addressed the issue of terror -- deadly terror making its presence felt on the streets of London since he has been mayor of London.

And in the meantime, as you pointed out, this has become an extremely politicized issue with calls for tougher sentencing rules after it emerged that the attacker had only spent eight years in jail despite the fact that he had been given a 16-year jail term for plotting to blow up a building only about half a mile away from here. Also, in this district of London -- the city of London, which is a financial district, he was part of a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange alongside eight other individuals.

Now, all of this that was done immediately over the course of the weekend has prompted a review of the conditions of 74 individuals who, like Usman Khan, were out on license and could potentially pose a danger to the community, the prime minister said yesterday on the BBC.

We now know that one man has been arrested yesterday evening -- a 34- year-old-man who was arrested a couple of hundred miles north of London. We also know that a 23-year-old man has been arrested in North London here on Sunday as per the counterterrorism act, although police are stressing that that arrest is not linked in any way to the London Bridge attack.

Just going back to the victims' legacy because that is what is going to be remembered when this service gets underway. We have heard Jack Merritt's -- the first victim to be identified -- father say repeatedly over the weekend that this should not be used in pretext to try and push for more draconian sentences.

Over the last hour or two, we've heard the girlfriend (ph) of Jack Merritt also take to Facebook to express her condolences, saying, "You were quite simply golden -- the best thing. Your voice won't be lost, you will never be lost, and I will never let you be forgotten."

Back to you.

BRIGGS: Nina dos Santos live for us at just about 11:00 a.m. there in London. Thank you. ROMANS: All right, breaking news.

Three people killed in a small plane crash in San Antonio. The single-engine plane took off from Sugar Land when it developed engine trouble. The pilot crashed on a street while trying to make an emergency landing at San Antonio International Airport. No buildings or homes were damaged.

BRIGGS: Police are still looking for answers more than 24 hours after 10 people were shot on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans. One person has been detained but not charged. It happened on a crowded Canal Street.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, there were so many people out, we were unable to determine who was actually firing these shots at that time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and that went on for a series of 10 seconds nonstop.


BRIGGS: Two of the victims are in critical condition. The FBI is working on the case with New Orleans police.

ROMANS: Two brothers who founded a health and wellness company killed along with their father in a plane crash in South Dakota. Six others onboard also died.

Brothers Jim and Kirk Hansen founded Kyani, Inc. Their plane, with 12 people on board, crashed Saturday just before noon as a major winter storm rolled through. Three people survived that crash.

The NTSB and the FAA are investigating.

BRIGGS: A Chicago nightclub sued by a woman who claims security guards stood by as she was sexually assaulted. The incident took place on October 18th behind El Hefe Chicago.

The woman's lawyers released a security video. They say Chicago police obtained it from a nearby business. They believe the alleged attacked either works at the business or knows someone on the staff.

El Hefe, on their Facebook page, says security staff did not witness a sexual assault.

ROMANS: A man in Maine killed by a booby trap he set up to protect his own home. Sixty-five-year-old Ronald Cyr called 911 for help on Thanksgiving night. Officers arrived at his home in rural northern Maine to find he had been shot by a handgun he rigged to fire at the front door if anyone tried to enter. Police say they found other devices around the house and called the Maine bomb squad.

[05:55:08] He later died at a local hospital.

BRIGGS: A manhunt this morning for four teenagers who escaped from a juvenile detention facility in Nashville, Tennessee. Two of them are murder suspects. The teens are 15 through 17 and were last seen Saturday night.

Authorities say Decorrius Wright, Morris Marsh, Brandon Caruthers, and Calvin Howse simply ran out of the detention center. They were all on work detail when their staff supervisor left them to deal with a fight. Police say at least 35 minutes elapsed before they were notified.

ROMANS: Amazon has removed Christmas ornaments and bottle openers featuring a Nazi concentration camp from its site.

On Sunday, the Auschwitz Memorial Museum called on Amazon to remove them in a tweet, describing the porcelain ornaments as disturbing, disrespectful, and inappropriate. One of them was even in the shape of the star Jews wore on uniforms at death camps. Hours after the request to remove them, Amazon obliged.

BRIGGS: The late civil rights icon Rosa Parks honored in Montgomery, Alabama. A new statue unveiled on Sunday, 64 years to the day that she was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a city bus. Parks' arrest sparked a 381-day boycott to desegregate the Montgomery bus system.

Steven Reed, the city's first African-American mayor, honored Parks.


MAYOR STEVEN REED, MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us.


BRIGGS: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said no person ever stood so tall as did Rosa Parks when she sat down.

Parks died in 2005 at age 92.

ROMAN: A stunning discovery during renovations at Montclair State University in New Jersey -- a 112-year-old letter written by workers who built one of the original buildings on campus. It was discovered in a beer bottle while workers were tearing down a wall in February. The letter certifies the date it was written, July third, 1907. The school has been trying to find relatives of the men who wrote the note.

Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

Strong data out of China lifting markets around the world to start a new trading month. And on Wall Street, futures also moving higher here this morning. Chinese manufacturing activity in November grew at the strongest pace in nearly three years -- a surprise. China still faces major economic hurdles, of course, including uncertainty over a trade deal with the U.S. On Friday, that uncertainty sent U.S. stocks lower, ending a shortened holiday trading week.

However, November, for the record, the best month for stocks since June. The Dow gained 3.7 percent, the Nasdaq up more than four percent, the S&P 500 up three percent.

"Frozen 2" freezing out the competition, breaking more box office records.


Clip from "Frozen 2."


ROMANS: The sequel to the 2013 film had the highest-grossing weekend in Thanksgiving history, earning $123.7 million. That broke the record set by "The Hunger Games" back 2013.

Despite the record, overall holiday ticket sales fell from last year, according to Comscore. It could be due to cold weather or families staying in with Netflix. The Martin Scorsese gangster epic, "THE IRISHMAN," debuted on Netflix right before Thanksgiving.




BRIGGS: Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" voted the most annoying holiday song ever in the United Kingdom, but Mariah doesn't mind. It happens to be the highest-charting holiday song in 60 years and Carey's earned more than $60 million in royalties since 1994.

I think it's a fantastic --

ROMANS: I love it.

BRIGGS: -- Christmas song.

ROMANS: I love it. I don't know what's wrong with people in the U.K. I mean, like why wouldn't -- I mean, they gave us --

BRIGGS: Maybe they don't love "Love Actually," which is --

ROMANS: They gave us "Love Actually" --


ROMANS: -- but they don't like this song? BRIGGS: We agree, one of the great Christmas movies of all time.

ROMANS: I love it.

BRIGGS: I was not OK with hearing it prior to Thanksgiving -- we know that. But now --

ROMANS: Well, now we're well in --

BRIGGS: -- we're clear.

ROMANS: December's here.

BRIGGS: Yes, we're clear.

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

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


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deadly weather marches across the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew if we got stranded, we kind of prepared for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same system that brought heavy snow to the Northern Plains is now shifting to the northeast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House responded to House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler's offer to let the White House have a lawyer present at Wednesday's hearing and the White House will not be sending an attorney.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Rounds one and two by Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff are as rigged as a carnival ring toss.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, December second, 6:00 here in New York.

John Berman is off this morning. Jim Sciutto joins me. Good to have you.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And it's nice to be here. There's a little --