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EARLY START

Trump Meets World Leaders At NATO Summit; Soon: Judiciary Committee to Hold First Hearing; Kamala Harris Ends 2020 Presidential Campaign. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 4, 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: President Trump arriving for what could be another tense day of face-to-face meetings with NATO leaders near London.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Adding to the tension, this new video which appears to show world leaders possibly joking about President Trump.

ROMANS: We get set for another split screen moment with the president speaking from London just as a new stage of impeachment hearings gets under way on Capitol Hill.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning to all of you.

I'm Dave Briggs. It's Wednesday, December 4th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York, 9:00 a.m. in the U.K.

And that's where we begin this morning with President Trump preparing for a full day of meetings with world leaders at the NATO summit in Britain, as a new stage of impeachment hearings gets under way hours from now in Washington.

The summit so far marked by some tense interactions, including a few with French President Emmanuel Macron. Adding to that tension, this new video had surfaced last night showing several of those same leaders seeming to gossip about President Trump. The full video was first noticed by the CBC microphones which can only pick up fragments of the conversation. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Is that why you were late?

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: (INAUDIBLE).

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: He was late because he takes four -- forty minute press conference off the top every time. Oh, yes, yes, forty minutes. He announced --

MACRON: (INAUDIBLE)

JENS STOLTENBERG: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUDEAU: I just watched, I watched his team's jaws just drop to the floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Someone's always watching as you can see there. They don't mention Trump by name. But he was the only NATO leader who held a 40- plus minute press conference.

Add it all up, and the day is sure to be a test of the president's diplomatic skill.

For the latest from the summit, let's turn to CNN diplomatic editor Nic Robertson.

Nic, good morning.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, good morning, Dave.

Justin Trudeau didn't say anything on the way into the summit this morning. Perhaps he decided he'd said enough yesterday, whether perhaps wasn't meaning for everyone to hear it the way that they did.

I think the big meeting to watch this morning with President Trump will be the one bilateral with Angela Merkel. We know President Trump wants her to up Germany's defense spending closer to that 2 percent GDP commitment that all of the NATO members are supposed to meet, the one that President Trump goes on about so much.

Will she get the same sort of bilateral meeting treatment that Stoltenberg and Trudeau and Macron got yesterday with long Q&A session with the president off the top? Not clear.

Then you got the big meeting. All the nations getting together. You have Stoltenberg going in this morning and saying, look, the agenda today is tackling terrorism, Russia, the rise of China. These are going to be the main issues.

Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, going in and saying, the reason NATO is so strong, 29 nations, a billion people. We stick together, safety in number, he said. Essentially, one for all, all for one.

So, that's the theme. Unity is the theme. But as we saw yesterday, anything can happen, Dave.

BRIGGS: It sure can. It should be another interesting day.

Nic Robertson live for us at the summit, thank you.

The Judiciary Committee is hours away from holding the final meeting. Four constitutional law professors will lay the groundwork for an impeachment vote, defining key phrases like obstruction of justice and high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Intelligence Committee report makes the case that the president's conduct toward Ukraine compromised national security. It asks whether we as a nation are committed to the rule of law or instead whether a president who uses the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a U.S. election is something Americans must simply get over.

More now from Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: The House Intelligence Committee voted on Tuesday night to send their more than 300-page report to the House Judiciary Committee. Of course, this is a significant step as the Intelligence Committee is concluding its more than two-month investigation into the president's call on July 25th with Ukraine's president and, of course, the withholding of that nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hear from four constitutional law experts discussing the merits of impeachment. That's setting the stage for the potential writing of articles of impeachment. Of course, that's a very significant step as the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are going to be tasked with writing the articles.

[04:05:00]

Now, next week, there could be more impeachment hearings as well as markup before this would move to the full House of Representatives, where the House would vote on whether or not to impeach President Donald Trump. A very busy few weeks in the House of Representatives, coming up just before the holidays -- Dave, Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Lauren Fox, thanks.

President Trump lashing out at Intel Committee Democrats and Chairman Adam Schiff, in particular. The president said he would love to have the secretary of state and his acting chief of staff testify if the process wasn't in his words a "total fix".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They get three constitutional lawyers. It's all nonsense, they're just wasting their time and we get one, OK. Nobody has to know anything about constitutional law, but they get three. And we get one. That's not sounding too good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The president says he will not watch today's hearing because he'll be busy with NATO business, which he says is much more exciting. ROMANS: In addition to laying out a case for impeachment, the Intel

Committee report reveals some never before seen phone records. Democrats say they prove a coordinated campaign meddling false narratives to bolster the president's pressure campaign against Ukraine. Among the participants, the Intel Committee's ranking Republican Devin Nunes.

The report says the deliveryman for the smear campaign was conservative journalist John Solomon. And it says Solomon was not working alone. Democrats say phone records subpoenaed from AT&T show Solomon coordinated with Trump personal attorney Rudy Guiliani, indicted businessman Lev Parnas and White House Budget Office.

CNN is owned by AT&T.

Last night, Nunes hedged a denial he even spoke to Parnas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): It's possible, but I haven't gone through all my phone records. I don't recall that name. I remember that name now because he's been indicted. I will go back and check on my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. The record show at least four calls or attempted calls between Parnas and Nunes, including one call that lasted more than 8-1/2 minutes.

BRIGGS: A programming note here, the House impeachment hearings now move to the Judiciary Committee. You can watch live coverage all day right here on CNN.

ROMANS: All right. A dramatic shift in the landscape of the U.S. China trade war. On Tuesday night, the House passed the Uighur Act condemning the Chinese government for its mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. Now, the bill would also authorize the White House to sanction Chinese officials.

China hit back at the U.S., saying it had wantonly smeared China counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts, adding China warned the passage of the act will affect cooperation in important areas, stopped short of directly mentioning the trade deal. The trade war has been dragging for a year and a half now, the president, President Trump, won't commit on a timeline now, instead telling reporters the deal is up to him. He said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Those few little word got a lot of attention with only 11 days now until a critical round of new tariffs on Chinese-made goods. There are frankly few signs the U.S. and China are any close to covering a skinny phase one trade agreement. The biggest question is if investors are prepared for another year of tariffs.

And you saw that realization in the stock market yesterday. A big decline in stocks. The stock market, investors and companies have been pretty much factoring in they thought the worse was over in the trade war. There is a real chance you have another round of tariffs against the Chinese in just -- in just less than two weeks.

BRIGGS: Further losses or stabilizing?

ROMANS: Futures are flat. It depends on what the president says. He could say something with these press availabilities that could change the mood, who knows?

BRIGGS: Indeed.

Ahead, Kamala Harris dropping out of the 2020 race. What caused her campaign to fold, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:13:43]

BRIGGS: All right. You are looking at some leave pictures now outside London of the NATO summit celebrating the 70th anniversary. That, of course, Marine One.

We are awaiting the president of the United States to step out of Marine One and arrive for festivities and meetings. A lot of ceremonial things this morning. The family photos, hand shakes followed by a two-hour session. It looks like there would be the president of the United States stepping out at some point.

Staff emerging first. We will follow all these events. Any chance the president steps to a microphone, we will, of course, step in and bring it to you live.

ROMANS: Three press abilities yesterday. He spoke for almost two hours with reporters answering questions. So, a very accessible President Trump there and seeming to want to do a lot of talking about a lot of issues.

BRIGGS: Stephen Miller on your left.

Yes, we would imagine this would be a less event eventful day than yesterday. But you never know when he might step to the microphone and answer all the press' questions. We'll bring you that.

ROMANS: All right. To politics now in the U.S. Senator Kamala Harris ending her once promising presidential campaign. Harris has struggled for months to improve her low poll numbers in a crowded campaign race and finally succumbed to campaign funding issues. [04:15:00]

Let's get more from CNN's Kyung Lah.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave and Christine, Kamala Harris is out. The California senator announced that she is suspending her presidential campaign saying that she is running out of money and that she doesn't see a clear path forward in the early states.

The senator announced the suspension via a video on Twitter.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): As the campaign has gone on, it has become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I cannot tell you my supporters and volunteers that I have a path forward if I don't believe I do. So, to you my supporters, my dear supporters, it is with deep regret but also with deep gratitude that I am suspending our campaign today.

LAH: Her departure ends a campaign that began so much fanfare. Thousands packed downtown Oakland. People cheering on a woman of color trying to crack the hardest glass ceiling in this country.

The senator once a top tier candidate now becomes the first major 2020 presidential candidate to drop out of the race. Harris pledged that she would still keep fighting, though, the Democratic fight, tweeting directly to the president saying, quote: Don't worry, Mr. President, I'll see you at your trial -- Dave, Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Kyung, thanks.

A guilty plea from Congressman Duncan Hunter from misusing more than $200,000 in campaign funds. The California Republican first denied using the money for family trips to Italy and Hawaii, plane tickets for his pet rabbit and to pay for romantic flings. Hunter called the charges a witch hunt. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA): I failed to monitor and account for my campaign spending. I made mistakes and that's what today was all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Hunter faces up to five years in prison. Prosecutors tell CNN they'll only seek a 14-month sentence. The congressman would not comment when asked about leaving office.

His wife Margaret also pleaded guilty to the same charge and could be facing jail time as well. ROMANS: A school resource officer shot and wounded a student at a

Wisconsin high school. This is the second shooting in as many days at a high school in that state. This one happened in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Police say the 16-year-old stabbed the officer during an altercation before being shot.

Both the student and officer were treated at hospital for a non-life- threatening injury. It comes just a day after a police officer shot an armed student at a high school. They say the suspect pointed a gun at officers there. They later learned it was a pellet gun.

BRIGGS: Two of the four teenagers who escaped from a juvenile detention center in Nashville are back in custody. Sixteen-year-old Decorrius Wright and 15-year-old Calvin Howse were taken into custody last night. Their arrest comes just hours after authorities released video of them running through halls and out the front door of the Davidson County detention center last weekend.

One of the two teens who remains at large, 17-year-old Brandon Caruthers who's been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's most wanted list. He is being charged as an adult in an armed robbery case and is considered dangerous.

ROMANS: All right. Eighteen minutes past the hour.

Georgia's Republican governor defying President Trump, and Mitch McConnell is with him. Are establishment Republicans making a statement? That's next.

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

[04:23:27]

ROMANS: All right, a big day under way this morning. Just moments ago, the president arriving for those NATO summit meetings today. It's the 70th anniversary of NATO. Very big day of meetings.

Three press availabilities with the president yesterday. He spoke with reporters I think for almost two hours yesterday, and now here he is this morning again arriving. So what will be a busy morning with the class picture, some more bilateral meetings and a couple different spots on the agenda for private meetings.

BRIGGS: You never know when you want to answer some questions.

ROMANS: That's right.

Meanwhile, the Republican governor of Georgia is set to buck President Trump today. Trump ally Governor Brian Kemp is to set to name political novice Kelly Loeffler to the Senate, instead of Trump's choice for the judge, Congressman Doug Collins. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he backs Loeffler. He says she'd be terrific. That's the sign establishment Republicans may be looking beyond the Trump coalition to the long-term health of the party.

More now from CNN's Michael Warren in Washington. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL WARREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, good morning.

CNN is reporting the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, is expected to announce later today he's appointing Kelly Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman and Republican donor, to the U.S. Senate.

Longtime Republican Senator Johnny Isakson is stepping from his seat at the end of the year, and Loeffler would succeed Isakson at the start of 2020.

Though what makes this unusual is that a few days before Thanksgiving last week, Kemp traveled to the White House with Loeffler to introduce her to President Donald Trump. But CNN is told that during that meeting, Trump advised Kemp against picking Loeffler and the president is said to prefer Congressman Doug Collins, a vocal Trump loyalist in the House, for the seat.

[04:25:10]

Republicans in Georgia tells CNN that by picking Loeffler, Kemp would be attempting to broaden the party's appeal in the suburbs of Atlanta, where the party has lost in recent years. If Loeffler is appointed, she'll have to run in a special election in November 2020 to complete the remaining two years of Isakson's term -- Dave, Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Michael, thanks.

Camp David will host next year's G7 summit. President Trump making that announcement from the NATO meeting in London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We'll do it at Camp David and we'll be doing special things at Camp David is nearby, it's close. We get very good access to the press. You will have great access.

And then we'll have a little bit of a Washington I think deliverance. We're going to have -- but it will be at Camp David.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Now, you'll remember the president initially awarded the G7 to his Doral resort if Miami but backed off when Democrats and Republicans accused him of trying to profit off the event. The Camp David, the official presidential retreat, was previously used for the summit in 2012 by President Obama.

ROMANS: Stunning news from the world's country music. The great Willie Nelson has quit smoking weed.

Nelson's reputation for smoking marijuana is rivaled only by Snoop Dogg. He says in an interview he has abused his lungs for a long time and breathing is more difficult these days. The 86-year-old icon had to postpone part of his tour because of breathing issues. Nelson, though, has no plans to give up touring. He says it's the key to his happiness and health.

BRIGGS: Off the weed again

ROMANS: Well done.

BRIGGS: I would imagine their experimentation --

ROMANS: There are alternatives, there are alternatives.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, President Trump meeting with NATO leaders near London under the cloud of new impeachment hearings at home. We're covering both, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END