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EARLY START

Dems to Unveil Impeachment Report Today; Trump in London for NATO Meeting; New Tariff Threat; About 40 Million Still Under Winter Weather Alert. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 3, 2019 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:19]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: House Democrats are just hours from voting on their impeachment report and releasing it to the public.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump in London, where meetings with NATO leaders begin just minutes from now.

ROMANS: Trump will meet with France's President Macron today, right after threatening billions in new tariffs on things like French wine and cheese.

BRIGGS: Parts of the Northeast waking up to a dangerous morning commute, as the heavy snow begins to wind down.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, December 3rd, 4:00 a.m. in New York, 9:00 a.m. in London. And there are now 62 days to the Iowa caucuses.

All right. Warring reports from House Democrats and Republicans as the GOP moves to get its version of events out, ahead of today's unveiling of Democrats' impeachment inquiry report. The House Intel Chair Adam Schiff says his committee will vote today on its report, which will form the basis of the articles of impeachment against President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're putting the finishing touches on the report, which will be released publicly tomorrow.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: OK.

SCHIFF: Tomorrow night, we'll also have a vote to formally transmit a committee report to Judiciary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: So, both sides have had their first look at the committee report. Congressional reporter Lauren Fox has the latest from Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Dave and Christine, Monday was the first opportunity that Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee had to actually review the full report from their committee, that they will vote on tonight to be transmitted to the House Judiciary Committee. That's an important step, because the House Intelligence Committee is expected to have a report that will actually form the basis for the articles of impeachment.

That's significant, of course, because as this moves to the House Judiciary Committee, that is exactly the committee that is going to be drafting the articles. They will hold their first public hearing on Wednesday, with four constitutional law experts who will certainly give a different tone but give us a sense of where the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are going when it comes to those articles of impeachment. Also, I'm learning that on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Democrats are going to be holding a mock hearing, trying to prepare for the Republican rebuttals that they expect to be coming in that Wednesday public hearing.

By the end of the week, we may know whether or not the president is going to participate in the rest of the House Judiciary's proceedings. Of course, they're not going to be participating on that hearing on Wednesday -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Lauren Fox, thank you.

The Republicans not waiting for the House Intel report to release their own prebuttal. The GOP report amounting to a full-volume defense of President Trump's actions in the Ukraine affair. It declares there simply was no demand by the president for Ukraine to investigate his political opponents in exchange for a meeting or military aid.

The summary of their July 25th telephone conversation shows no quid pro quo nor indication of conditionality, threats, or pressure, much less evidence of bribery or extortion. That's despite testimony from Trump's appointed E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland and comments from the president himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

REPORTER: What did you hope Zelensky would do about Biden after your phone call? Exactly.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I would think if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens. It's a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The Republican report also says it made sense for the president to withhold the aid, declaring, quote, President Trump has a deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption.

ROMANS: The president this morning in London wheels down, marking the 70th anniversary of NATO. The president opened last year's NATO meeting by scolding members for not spending more on their defense budgets. He's off to the same kind of start this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we'll work something out. And we pay far too much and they pay far too little. But we will work and all countries will be happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And Nic Robertson joins us live from Winfield House in London.

Nic, what do we expect?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there will be a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general. No doubt that Stoltenberg will be reminding President Trump just how good he has done, and putting the emphasis on President Trump, to get that additional funding from NATO allies, $130 billion more since 2016.

[04:05:07]

Now, nine of the NATO partners meeting that 2 percent of GDP spent on defense spending. That's up from three in 2016. That will be the sort of optimistic I think spin on that meeting.

President Trump's meeting a little later today is bilateral with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, could be a little bumpy, not just because they have differing views over NATO. The French seems to think that it's a better direction for Europe to move in now, to sort of separate out its defense from NATO and from the United States. Macron believes that what Trump is saying about NATO and his hesitating about supporting it is an indication of future U.S. policy towards NATO.

But it's going to be the threat from the White House yesterday of 100 percent tariffs on French goods. We're talking about wine, cheese, et cetera, coming into the United States, from France, that could be the bumpiest part of the meeting we heard this morning from the French finance minister, saying very clearly, that is unacceptable, and that if the United States goes ahead with those tariffs, 100 percent tariffs, $2.4 billion worth of goods, then the European Union will responds firmly -- Christine. ROMANS: "The Journal" this morning with a scathing editorial saying

the president is, you know, a tariff mountain interrupted again yesterday. So, clearly, getting a lot of attention on the global trade war front yesterday.

Thank you so much for that, Nic Robertson. We'll talk with you soon.

As I said, the tariff man strikes again. President Trump targeting U.S. allies with a slew of protectionist trade policies. The U.S. is threatening 100 percent tariffs, as Nic said, on $2.4 billion on French goods, champagne, cheese, hand bags, beauty products. That move retaliation for a new French digital tax that hit U.S. tech companies that U.S. officials are calling a barrier to trade.

Now, it wasn't just France. The administration also threatened the entire E.U. with additional tariffs over its aircraft subsidies. On both counts, the E.U. promised to retaliate.

This came after the president revived tariffs on aluminum and steel from Brazil and Argentina. U.S. farmers, he tweeted, are being hurt by a massive devaluation of those countries' currencies. Brazil and Argentina are both exporters of farm products. They have benefited from Trump's trade war with another country, China. They have found a new market in China. Brazilian soy beans have replaced American soybeans in China since the president's tariffs ramped up.

In fact, Trump's biggest trade war, China, that's far from resolved too. And one reason "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board slams the president's actions yesterday, writing that he should build global trade alliances. Instead, he uses tariffs as coercive tools at anytime, even against friends who have acted in good faith.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, about 40 million people still under some kind of winter weather alert. Parts of the Northeast have been snowed under while storms drench the West Coast. A New York man captured time lapse snowfall burying a set of figurines on his backyard deck including a seven-inch Godzilla, who apparently looks taller on television. He said more than ten inches fell.

Let's get the latest now from meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, guys.

We're probably going to begin to see conditions improve here over the next couple of hours.

But, first, this weather is brought to you by Ninja Foodi grill, the grill that sears, sizzles and air fray crisps.

And the conditions across the Northeast, look at such here with a radar, it kind of show the conditions. Boston, you have a few flurries left and could accumulate a few more inches. New York you're largely out of the woods. Philly the same story. Washington all but over as well. And the winter weather advisory allowed to expire within the next

couple of hours. Notice get up into northern Maine, that's where it's all at. As much as eight to 12 inches especially when you climb up into the higher elevations. While into Boston, again, a couple more inches. New York City, you're all done. Wind and some cold air left in place for your Tuesday forecast.

Highs in New York should be in the upper 30s across this region. We kind of tabulate everything, notice, Boston picks up four inches while in Plainfield, as much as 20 inches have come down. Here we go, 41 in Chicago, 38 out of New York City. Out west, some impressive rainfall in store over the next few days -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

BRIGGS: Kids back to school?

ROMANS: No, they're late start today, late start today. Yes.

BRIGGS: All right.

Ahead, an American woman who accused the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein of sex crimes reveals the night she was forced to perform sex acts with Britain's Prince Andrew. You'll hear from her, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:14:23]

BRIGGS: Four-fourteen Eastern Time.

An explosive new interview with the woman who claimed she was forced to perform sex acts with Britain's Prince Andrew. In her first U.K. interview, Virginia Giuffre tells the BBC she was 17 years old when she was trafficked by the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and she was forced to have sex with Epstein's friends including the duke of York.

Buckingham palace denies the allegation.

Max Foster live from London with the latest on this.

Max, good morning. What are we hearing from here?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, we've heard or Brits heard from the accused, Prince Andrew.

[04:15:00]

Now, now they are hearing from the accuser and she makes it very clear that only one of them is telling the truth and she knows who it is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER (voice-over): The allegations made by Virginia Roberts Giuffre put Prince Andrew under more pressure.

VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, PRINCE ANDREW ACCUSER: He knows what happened. I know what happened. And there's only one of us telling the truth and I know that's me.

FOSTER: In an interview with the BBC ahead on Monday, she doubled down on claims she was trafficked to the duke of York at the age of 17 by Jeffrey Epstein, later a convicted pedophile. Giuffre says they met at a London nightclub in 2001 with Epstein and then his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

GIUFFRE: He asked me to dance. He's the most hideous dancer I've ever seen in my life. I mea, it's horrible and this guy was sweating all over me.

FOSTER: She was forced to have sexual relations with him in London, New York and U.S. Virgin Islands, she says. Prince Andrew denies all the allegations made by Giuffre, as does Maxwell.

Buckingham Palace told CNN on Monday, it's emphatically denied that the duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.

The queen's son gave now a notorious interview to the BBC last month.

INTERVIEWER: Are you saying you don't believe her, she's lying?

PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: That's a very difficult to answer because I'm not in a position to know what she's trying to achieve, but I can tell you categorically I don't remember meeting her at all.

FOSTER: He even questioned the authenticity of this photograph of them together. The prince was criticized for the interview and since had to stand down from royal duties.

But a new allegation raises more questions for him. David Boies is a lawyer for five Epstein accusers. According to BBC Panorama, his clients have alleged the prince saw young women giving massages at Epstein's home. He says he's drafted subpoenas for the prince's testimony.

The prince told the BBC last month he didn't see, witness or suspect any suspicious behavior. Epstein died in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The New York City medical examiners determined he died by suicide.

GIUFFRE: I implore the people in the U.K. to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK.

FOSTER: One of Epstein's accusers determined to keep Prince Andrew and his relationship with Epstein in the spotlight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Prince Andrew says he will comply with any requests from investigators, former investigators like the FBI. Those haven't yet come true yet. I have to say, behind-the-scenes, behind palace walls, emphasis very much being made that nothing has been proven against Prince Andrew just yet, and even opening up the possibility he could return to public life in the future, which I think a lot of Brits would find extraordinary at this point.

BRIGGS: Yes, they would. Hasn't himself just yet.

Max Foster live for us in London, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. After a year of saying he did nothing wrong, embattled California Congressman Duncan Hunter will plead guilty today in federal court to illegally misusing campaign funds. Hunter says he's changing his plea to avoid a trial which he says would be really tough on his kids.

Hunter's wife Margaret pleaded guilty back in June to conspiring with her husband to convert campaign funds to personal use. She agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Despite his indictment, the six-term Republican narrowly won re-election in 2018. Hunter said he's prepared to accept whatever sentence the judge gives him.

BRIGGS: Former President Jimmy Carter back in the hospital less a week after he left a different hospital in Atlanta, following a two- week stay. The 95-year-old Carter was admitted over the weekend for treatment of a urinary tract infection. A statement from the Carter Center say he's already feeling better and looks forward to returning home soon.

Carter had previously been hospitalized for a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain. That was the result recent falls. He was released in time for Thanksgiving.

ROMANS: All right. The FBI says something you probably are using right now, right this moment could be spying on you. Details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: We're going to tune in to the president speaking now. He's at these NATO 70th anniversary meetings. Let's listen in.

TRUMP: You're doing a fantastic job. We appreciate it.

I think the secretary-general will tell you that through some work and some negotiation, we've increased the budget of countries other than the USA because we're paying far more than anybody else and far more even as a percentage of GDP, but we've increased the numbers that other countries are paying by $130 billion. It was going down for close to 20 years. If you look at chopper with like rollercoaster down, (AUDIO GAP) up, and that was going on for a long time. You wouldn't have had a NATO if you kept going that way. And now, we increased it incredibly well and I'm happy to have helped.

But the secretary has been looking to do that for a long time and I can tell you, he's very happy about it. And just generally, we're going to have a very big couple of days. I believe we're going to have a tremendous couple of days, but very big, very important.

We have tremendous spirit as it pertains to NATO, I would say, except, perhaps for one country and we'll be talking to that country. We'll see how it works out. And actually, the one country has a couple of points but those points are very devastating to NATO who will find out about that in the next few days.

And with that, I'd like to introduce the secretary-general to say a few words. Please?

JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY GENERAL, NATO: Thank you so much, Mr. President. It's good to see you again. I look forward to celebrating the 70th anniversary of our alliance together with all of the leaders today and tomorrow.

We are making real progress, most importantly, on the burden sharing. And your leadership on defense spending is having a real impact. Since 2016, Canada and European allies have added $130 billion more to the defense budgets. And this number will increase to US$400 billion by 2024.

This is unprecedented. This is making NATO stronger and it shows that this alliance is adapting and responding while the world is changing.

[04:25:02]

We will, of course, address a wide range of all the issues, being the fight against terrorism, arms control, our relationship with Russia, the rise of China and NATO is the most successful alliance in history and because we have been able to change as the world is changing. That's a tactic that we are doing again.

And the fact is that we are doing more together in this alliance now than we've done for many decades.

So, once again, thank you for your leadership and your strong commitment to NATO.

TRUMP: I love your statement that we're able to change when the world is changing. You do have to do that. Your original mission was somewhat different than it is now.

Today the world is a lot different than it was back then. But that's a very profound statement and a statement that everyone has to understands, it's very -- to me, is very important.

OK, thank you very much, everybody.

REPORTER: Here in London, are you going to be seeing Prime Minister Johnson?

TRUMP: Yes.

REPORTER: And do you have any thoughts on (INAUDIBLE) election?

TRUMP: I have no thoughts on it. It's going to be a very important election for this great country but I have no thoughts. I'll be meeting with him, yes.

REPORTER: When will that be?

TRUMP: I don't know. I don't have the schedule up here. I have many meetings. I have lots of meetings with lots of different countries.

(CROSSTALK)

REPORTER: President Macron's criticism about NATO, saying that it is brain-dead.

TRUMP: Who said that?

REPORTER: President Macron.

TRUMP: I know, and then Turkey responded by saying that he was brain dead which is interesting.

Now, NATO serves a great purpose. It got to be unfair for the United States because the United States was paying a disproportionate amount and I heard that President Macron said NATO is brain dead. It's very insulting to a lot of different forces, including a man who does a very good job in running NATO.

No, it has a great purpose especially with the fact that NATO is becoming much more flexible in terms of what it said. But I was very surprised. I'd like to ask you what do you think he made a statement about NATO being brain dead. What did you think?

STOLTENBERG: Well, I -- that's not the case, because actually, NATO is active. NATO is agile. NATO is adapting.

And we have just (INAUDIBLE) largest reinforcement of our collective defense seems to end with the Cold War, with higher readiness of our troops. For the first time in our history, we have combat troops with the eastern part of the alliance, European allies and Canada are investing more also with high-end capabilities and we are stepping up the fight against terrorism. And we are as an alliance, for the first time, also addressing the security implications of the rise of China.

So, the reality is that this alliance have proven once again to be able to adapt, to change, responding to a changing world. So, that's a reason why we are a success, the ability to change (INAUDIBLE) the world is changing.

TRUMP: It's a tough statement, though, when you make a statement like that. That is a very -- very, very nasty statement to essentially 28, including them, 28 countries.

I think that, you know, you have a very high unemployment rate in France. France is not doing well economically at all. They are starting to tax other people's products. So, therefore, we're going to tax them, which is taking place right now, in technology and we're doing their wines and everything else.

It's a very tough statement when you have such difficultly in at France. You look at what's happened with the yellow vests or, you look at what's going on during certain parts of their season. They've had a very rough year. And you just go around making statements like that about NATO. It's very disrespectful.

REPORTER: The Department of Justice secretary-general's report and it's been reported that the attorney general disagrees with that conclusion? Do you agree with Attorney General Barr?

TRUMP: Well, I just don't know. Yes, I just don't know. I haven't seen it. I purposely stay out of it.

We have a great attorney general. He's a very fair man. He's a great gentleman.

He didn't need this job. He took this job because he wanted to do something great for the country. As you know, he was a very successful man. Picked a great company to work -where he left, as you know. He picked a great company to work for.

He's a very successful man. He didn't need the job. He's doing a great job.

I have not seen the report. Perhaps he's read the report. I think he was quoted incorrectly. I do believe that, because I'm hearing that the report is very powerful. But I'm hearing that by reading lots of different things, not from inside information. It's really from outside information.

I think all we have to do is wait. It's going to be released on Monday, Monday or so. I think we have to read it and we have to see it. But I hear there's devastating things in that report.

But we'll see what happens. Look, we have a few days to wait. We've been all waiting a long time.

I do think the report that people are waiting for is the Durham report. That's the one that people are really waiting for. And he's highly-respected, and we're -- and he's worked very hard, and he's worked long hours, I can tell you, and gone all over the world.

END