Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

President Trump In London For NATO Meeting; Democrats To Unveil Impeachment Report Today; Prince Andrews Accuser Speaks Out. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 3, 2019 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:32:21]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because if anyone's going to take advantage of the American companies it's going to be us. It's not going to be France.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump jabbing at France's President Macron just hours before a planned meeting in London and just hours after threatening billions of dollars in new tariffs on French wine and cheese.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: With House Democrats just hours from voting on their impeachment report and releasing it to the public, the president seems to be floating censure instead of impeachment.

Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START and I'm Dave Briggs on an extraordinary morning overseas.

ROMANS: Absolutely. I'm Christine Romans, 32 minutes past the hour.

We begin with the president. The president is in London, speaking moments ago. He's there for the 70th anniversary of NATO.

The president throwing jabs at French President Emmanuel Macron, praising NATO -- the same NATO he's harshly criticized -- and rambling about U.S. domestic politics and the impeachment.

Nic Robertson joins us live from Winfield House in London. Fifty-two minutes of press availability with the president covering an awful lot of ground. What's your takeaway?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The takeaway is very critical on President Macron for calling NATO braindead. In fact, it was an awkward moment where he tossed it over to the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg for his comments on it, and he found words that were a little bit more diplomatic than President Trump. President Trump saying that Macron had no room to speak -- that it was

dangerous, in essence, to get into this kind of language about NATO, pointing to the troubles in France with the gilets jaunes -- the protests in Paris that have been going on for almost a year now.

But really, I think we heard just such a wide discourse from the American president on what he believes are his -- you know, are the sort of leading key issues for him with things -- with things falling into sort of roughly, sort of positive and negative camps.

He was asked about Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- what he thought about him in the election -- and he stayed away from that. Mostly, he was asked about China -- critical on China. He was asked about President Erdogan in Turkey, siding with President Erdogan on that.

But I think perhaps the biggest takeaway was really President Trump saying that he was now pleased with NATO because they are flexible, and praising the NATO secretary general who was sitting next to him. But, of course, there was very, very wide-ranging. I think it's going to take a while to unpack it all.

BRIGGS: It will, Nic. It seemed to me that Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, actually gave some words of support to the president regarding his criticism of Macron. Is that the way you heard it?

[05:35:00]

ROBERTSON: It was very -- it was much easier for me to hear President Trump than it was to hear Jens Stoltenberg but it did appear that way. I think perhaps what we heard from Stoltenberg was a more diplomatic effort to sort of smooth over some of the sort of rough edges and language that President Trump was using, calling Macron dangerous.

I think what we heard from Stoltenberg was to point up the importance of NATO going forward -- to point up the way that it's changing -- the way that's evolving to deal with cybersecurity, to deal with space, to deal with a multitude of --

ROMANS: Right.

ROBERTSON: -- different issues other than what it was created for. For example, terrorism.

So I think what we really saw him do was try to sort of create an alternative narrative to that that the French president is putting forward.

BRIGGS: Sure.

ROMANS: Another big headline here is that the president said it might be better to wait until after the 2020 election for a trade deal with China. He said things are -- he's happy where things are with China now -- with the tariffs on China now.

That's something we're watching in global markets at the moment because we were thinking that they were pretty close to getting a deal and resolving that -- at least a symbolic deal.

ROBERTSON: Yes, and the president -- and here, I've written everything down into sort of a positive and negative column. It was wonderful to hear the president expand on all these issues for 52 minutes because generally, he doesn't give press conferences. So this was a great opportunity for journalists to ask him a multitude of questions and for us to hear.

But there were times when he seemed to be critical of China, then positive about them, and then back to being critical again. Sort of really sort of freewheeling on thinking -- on thinking the issues through out in the open.

Kim Jong Un -- we got to hear what he thinks about North Korea at the moment, about South Korea, about Japan. You know, very transactional the defense of Japan, the defense of South Korea, and paying more for the U.S. commitment there.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: And transactional and got a lot of support from again -- from Stoltenberg regarding increasing defense spending there -- increasing $130 billion as proportionate to your defense spending in NATO. So, Stoltenberg very supportive of that.

We'll get the president's comments on impeachment -- on where the Democrats are headed -- after we come back.

Nic Robertson live for us wrapping up 52 extraordinary minutes of the president. Back in a minute.

ROMANS: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:41:48]

BRIGGS: The impeachment proceedings against President Trump move into a new phase today. The House Intelligence Committee will vote to send its impeachment report to the House Judiciary Committee. Intel chairman Adam Schiff says the public will see that report today.

ROMANS: Just moments ago in London, the president was asked about impeachment. He mentioned censure as a lesser alternative.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Unacceptable. I did nothing wrong. I heard about it.

And now, they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment, so they want to go to censure. I don't want them to go to censure. I did nothing wrong.

I don't mind being censured if you do something wrong. I did nothing wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: May want to go to censure, he says.

Let's bring in CNN's Marshall Cohen live in Washington. What did you make of that, Marshall -- the president's comments there about censure?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Well, he is looking for an off-ramp, possibly, from becoming the third U.S. president in history to get impeached? He might want that.

I'm not sure the Democrats are ready to downgrade this entire affair from an impeachment to a censure. But, you know, it is true that there's been a lot of legal experts and people in Washington speculating that if Nancy Pelosi decided to go the censure route she could probably peel off some Republicans and pass a bipartisan resolution where if they push forward with impeachment it seems all but assured to be a party-line Democratic-only vote that Trump could use as a rallying cry to his base.

BRIGGS: Is that the first you'd heard of this censure talk, though, Marshall? And also, "The Washington Post" reported the Democrats are debating widening their articles of impeachment to include the Mueller findings.

COHEN: Right -- I mean, we're looking at two extremes here, right? One would be tacking on additional articles of impeachment, really adding page after page of accusation against Trump. The other being a censure, which is essentially a slap on the wrist, right, saying this wasn't good but it's not worthy of being removed from your office.

I mean, look, Democrats are not going to go for this. They have crossed that bridge. You know, they've already put so much time into this.

They've already -- so many of them have voted in favor of the impeachment inquiry. It would probably be seen as a huge backtrack to sort of take that step at this stage.

ROMANS: You know, the president was asked point-blank by a reporter there at that press availability if it diminished his stature in these international meetings on the international stage because he is amid this impeachment process.

And he really stuck to the -- to the playbook, saying that this is -- well, he called the Democrats crazy and he said it's bad for the country what they're doing -- listen.

BRIGGS: Unpatriotic, yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The impeachment witch hunt, it's really just a continuation of the hoax that's been taking place for the last three years. I think it's a very bad thing for our country.

Does it cast a cloud? Well, if it does, then the Democrats have done a very great disservice to the country, which they have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And this has been his position. Of course, it's been the position of the Republicans who are defending this president, trying to just blunt any kind of criticism in the impeachment proceedings.

COHEN: Right. So, guys, you know, there used to be a tradition in this country where presidents would typically refrain from domestic political attacks while they were overseas doing diplomacy for the country. Trump has never really adhered to that standard. You saw it on display today for 52 minutes.

[05:45:15]

You know, obviously, it's not a hoax, right, and he's saying that this is a continuation of the Russia investigation. There have been so many different probes that have checked into this and each one comes back and says yes, Russia meddled in the election, it's real, it's not a hoax, the investigations are well-founded.

So, you know, the president resorting to some of his typical talking points on there doesn't mean that there are any more true just because he's saying them in London.

BRIGGS: He also cited 100 percent support from the Republican Party, which does appear to be the case.

COHEN: Yes.

BRIGGS: Moving forward, the White House -- do you expect them to focus on the process more than actual accusations? And the president said repeatedly that legal scholars weighed in and called his phone call -- that July 25th phone call -- a perfect call.

COHEN: I haven't seen any legal scholars do that on television or in the press, so if they exist --

ROMANS: Yes.

COHEN: -- let's see who they are.

But I think that the president is going to try to push Republicans as much as possible to defend the substance of what he did. And you saw some of that in this report that the House Republicans put out last night where they basically gave the president a clean bill of health. Parts of that report seem to sort of defy reality a little bit and were cherry-picked and ignored key testimony from witnesses.

But I think they're going to try to mount a substantive defense and say look, presidents condition foreign aid all the time. The president has a legitimate concern about corruption in Ukraine. And they're going to say you might not like what he did but you can't impeach him for this because it does not reach that incredibly high standard --

ROMANS: Yes.

COHEN: -- of a high crime or misdemeanor.

ROMANS: All right, Marshall Cohen. The guy who is like writing the book for us on impeachment, following it every single day.

Thank you. We follow your work closely. Thanks, Marshall Cohen.

BRIGGS: The impeachment hearings move to the House Judiciary Committee. You can watch live coverage all day tomorrow on CNN.

ROMANS: All right.

An explosive new interview with the woman who claims 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, she says. Buckingham Palace denies that allegation.

Max Foster live from London with the latest details -- Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Christine, last month, Brits famously heard from the accused in that explosive BBC interview. Now, they're hearing from the accuser and the accuser says only one of them could be telling the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

VIRGINIA ROBERTS 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 (voice-over): In an interview with the BBC aired on Monday, she doubled down on claims that 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 his then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

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

FOSTER (voice-over): She was forced to have sexual relations with him in London, New York, and the 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 is 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 a now-notorious interview to the BBC last month.

EMILY MAITLIS, BBC PRESENTER, "NEWSNIGHT": Are you saying you don't believe her -- she's lying?

PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: That's a very difficult thing 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 (voice-over): He even questioned the authenticity of this photograph of them together.

The prince was criticized for the interview and has since had to stand down from royal duties. But a new allegation raises more questions for him.

[05:50:00]

David Boies is a lawyer for five Epstein accusers. According to BBC "PANORAMA," his clients have alleged the prince saw young women getting 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 whilst 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 (voice-over): One of Epstein's accusers determined to keep Prince Andrew and his relationship with Epstein in the spotlight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: When I speak to people behind the scenes at the palaces they say that Prince Andrew will comply with any official requests from official investigators. They haven't come through yet. They say he's innocent until proven guilty.

And they also, Christine, hold out this possibility that he could return to public life, which I think many people here would find extraordinary at this point.

ROMANS: Yes. The President of the United States asked about that at this NATO press conference and he said he didn't have any comment about the story but just called it a tough story.

Certainly, something that the palace would like to get through, I'm sure.

All right, thank you so much for that. Max Foster for us in London.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:55:58]

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

A look at markets around the world -- global markets now mostly lower except for Germany. And, U.S. futures fell after President Trump said any deal with China on trade will be on his terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The China trade deal is dependent on one thing, do I want to make it -- because we're doing very well with China right now and we could do even better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: He also said it would be better, maybe, to wait for after the election for a trade deal. Investors paying very close attention to any trade news.

Wall Street fell yesterday after the president hit U.S. allies with a slew of protectionist moves. Trump revived steel tariffs on Brazil and Argentina. He threatened France and the E.U. with additional tariffs. So trade will be the big story again today.

Trump's former economic adviser worries no one in the White House is challenging this president. Gary Cohn told CNN's David Axelrod that during his time --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY COHN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It was a group that was willing to tell the president what he needed to know whether he wanted to hear it or not. None of us are there anymore. So, I am concerned that the atmosphere in the White House is no longer conducive -- or no one has the personality -- to stand up and tell the president what he doesn't want to hear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Gary Cohn left the White House in 2018 partly in protest over tariffs.

BRIGGS: All right, we'll talk a little sports now. A great matchup on Monday Night Football. The Seattle Seahawks come away with their fifth-straight win beating the Minnesota Vikings.

Andy Scholes has that story in the "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, most of the talk and attention in the NFC this year has been paid to the San Francisco 49ers and rightfully so. They've been really good.

But after a win last night, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks now own first place in the NFC West. Wilson continued to make his case that he's the MVP this year. Now, it wasn't his best game last night but he made some big plays, including this 60-yard touchdown pass to David Moore.

Then check out the team's choreographed New Addition dance. It's pretty good.

Now, the Seahawks had a 34-17 lead at one point. But Kirk Cousins had the Vikings in position to go win the game late in the fourth quarter but they would turn the ball over on downs. Cousins now zero and eight on Monday Night Football in his career and that's the worst in NFL history.

Seahawks now 10 and two on the season after the 37-30 win.

And, guys, it's setting up a huge game in week 17 -- the last week of the NFL season where the Niners and Seahawks will probably be facing off for the NFC Division -- NFC West Division --

BRIGGS: Yes.

SCHOLES: -- and for a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

BRIGGS: And maybe for the MVP. Who you got -- Russell Wilson or Lamar Jackson if it were right now?

SCHOLES: I think you've got to go with Lamar Jackson. He's just been so good.

BRIGGS: He's been incredible.

ROMANS: Meanwhile, do you guys have those New Edition moves? I mean, was that from the 90s? What are those New Edition -- what are those moves?

BRIGGS: I don't recall New Edition. I don't know the moves that well. If it was like Backstreet Boys or NYNC I might be able to nail it.

ROMANS: You were a boy band guy.

SCHOLES: Boy bands, yes.

BRIGGS: Yes, I think I'd have it then. But I don't know about New Edition. Oh, here we go -- we got it cued up side-by-side -- OK.

ROMANS: Not bad.

BRIGGS: That is really solid. They had to practice that hard.

ROMANS: I miss that whole genre. Like, I was -- my boy band was Bon Jovi. Like, you know, it wasn't -- it wasn't those guys.

All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

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

And do begin with breaking news because President Trump is speaking out ahead of a NATO leaders' meeting while the impeachment process is about to take a significant step forward here in the U.S. The president just wrapped up a nearly hour-long Q&A with NATO's leader.

Mr. Trump, again, blasted the impeachment inquiry, proclaiming his innocence and insisting he will never accept even being censured, all while attacking France's president ahead of their one-on-one meeting in just hours.

So we'll bring you all the news from this in just a moment.

END