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Saudi Military Trainee Was Suspected Shooter In Navy Attack; Democrats To Spend Weekend Drawing Up Articles Of Impeachment; Growth Soars, Employers Add 266,000 Jobs In November. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired December 6, 2019 - 13:00   ET

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


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[13:00:00]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN's Washington headquarters.

Underway right now, will the president participate in impeachment proceedings? The deadline looms as the Democrats decide how far to go with their articles of impeachment.

Plus, the president and his allies in the House want the Senate trial to be a political circus. Will Republicans give it to them?

And where in the world is Rudy Giuliani? He's in Ukraine literally doing something the president is being impeached over.

And speaking of Giuliani, are foreign spies listening to the unsecured conversations between him and President Trump?

And we are right now following breaking news out of Pensacola, Florida, where a gunman opened fire this morning inside a naval air station, killing three people. And we are now learning that the suspected gunman is a member of the Saudi military who was training there at that naval air station.

I want to bring in CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr along with retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, and we have CNN Correspondent Josh Campbell as well.

Barbara, tell us what you're learning.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, the information that we have from several U.S. officials, what they currently know is that the suspected shooter was a member of the Saudi military who was at Pensacola for training. This is very typical. Several countries send their military personnel to U.S. military bases for a variety of training activities. The information they have right now, that is why this person was there and that they are a member of the Saudi military. This now from more than five U.S. officials.

Investigators are looking, obviously, at a motive. They don't have one yet. They do not have any motive related to terror. They're looking at everything. FBI most likely will take this over now. They will be getting any information from the U.S. Navy, from local sheriffs' law enforcement that moved into action to bring this to a close early this morning when it happened.

Expect to see typical techniques. They're going to be talking to other military personnel at the base. Did they know anything? Did they see anything? Did they have any conversations with the alleged shooter? Did they see any unusual behavior? There may be additional Saudi students there that they will be able to talk to and see if anybody knows anything about why this happened, what the motive behind it may have been. Brianna?

KEILAR: Barbara, thank you.

Josh Campbell, what questions are authorities going to have at this point in time?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are several questions. And if you think about personnel that are coming from overseas to be trained by U.S. officials, there is a process that's involved in vetting individuals. It's part of a standard process. You want to ensure that particular individuals don't have derogatory information in U.S. holdings associated with them. And particularly when you talk about access to a military installation, again, that's part of the proper protocols.

I can tell you from the perspective of the FBI, we've been reporting that they have now assumed federal jurisdiction in this case. We have not received indication yet that they are going down the track of a terrorism investigation, but because this was on a federal facility, the FBI would be asserting federal jurisdiction.

I was just speaking with a law enforcement official who says that there is a bit of time that is required in this process to make the appropriate notifications to the victims. They want to ensure that that information is provided to next of kin, for example, and obviously we're dealing with several injuries here as well. So there will be a delay in officials coming out with a confirmation of specifics until they can make those appropriate notifications.

But a herculean effort ahead for law enforcement now to try to dig into this suspect, this person's past, and just another added layer when you're talking international relationships between these two countries. It's yet to be seen how forthcoming Saudi officials will be as far as providing information on this person, their background and the like. But, again, just a multi-faceted investigation ahead for federal law enforcement.

KEILAR: All right. Josh, thank you.

And, Admiral Kirby, I mean, you were based for five years at this air station at Pensacola. It isn't lost on us that this week we saw another attack at Pearl Harbor just a few days ago. But now we have this new information when it comes to this at naval air station in Pensacola that this was a member of the Saudi military who was training there. What questions do you have?

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JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, I think I would -- I mean, we've got to be careful not to ascribe motive here. We don't know. But I think one thing that the Navy is going to be looking at is, to the degree there are other Saudi students, what do they know? As Barbara said, what connections do they have with the alleged shooter here, and were they at all informed or knowledgeable of any issues he might have had, he or she might have had.

I think also the Navy is going to be looking at, in terms of big picture, procedures here. Now, we've had a second shooting at a navy base here in a span of a week. Were there any procedures or protocols that were lapsed or let fall through? Did we not learn enough lessons out of the Navy yard, or is there something we can pull from that forward to take a look at whether we have force protection issues writ large or in a systemic way that could have somehow alleviated this.

And then lastly, the Navy is going to be wrapping their arms around the families. We have to remember that there are families that are going to be grieving as they get this horrible, horrible news. You're going to have family members that are dealing with injured members as well, and then, of course, just the shock to the community on the base and out in Pensacola. So the Navy is really going to, I think, wrapping their arms around the victims and their families too.

KEILAR: And just speak to how common it is that you have members of other militaries allied with the U.S. who train at Navy bases. This is incredibly common.

KIRBY: it is. It is not unusual, and all the services do this to some degree. In Pensacola, it is the heart of U.S. naval aviation, so some most of the training there is naval aviation related. And I suspect that that's what is going on here. It's a longstanding program, it's been very, very effective at helping these allies and partners. Their aviators learn the systems that we are selling them, that they are buying from us. And the Saudis are strong allies in the Middle East, so we've had this training program in place for a long time.

Now, will this affect that going forward? I don't think it will in the aggregate, but clearly they'll be looking at now in the immediate future whether they need to make any changes to the training program going forward.

KEILAR: All right. Admiral, stick around with us because we are expecting a press conference coming up here, a news conference with officials there on scene very soon. So we will be paying attention to that. We'll bring it to you as it happens.

And now to that 5:00 P.M. deadline. President Trump has just hours to decide whether he'll have a lawyer represent him in next week's final impeachment hearings. And so far he's opted not to do that. His attorneys were not at Wednesday's hearing, for instance, saying, quote, it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process. White House Counsel did not rule out participation in future hearings though, like the one that's coming up on Monday. But nonetheless, Democrats are not waiting around for an answer. They plan to stay in town this weekend. They're drafting articles of impeachment and they could actually vote on those articles as soon as next week.

Let's bring in CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju following all of this live for us from Capitol Hill.

And, Manu, tell us, are lawmakers expecting an appearance from Trump's attorneys? Do they think that's unlikely? And also what do we know about what might be in these articles of impeachment?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think the expectation is there's probably not going to be participation from the White House given the way that this has gone in the last several weeks and that we do expect those members in the House Judiciary Committee to spend the weekend preparing for that Monday hearing, that hearing that will focus on the investigation that the House Intelligence Committee did, looking into the Ukraine matter that some have looked into, of course, the last two months they issued that report. They're going to detail that report at that hearing.

And also at that hearing, House Judiciary Committee counsels will also testify and discuss what is unclear at the moment. A number of members who we have spoken to on that meeting are uncertain about exactly what the Judiciary Committee counsels are going to testify about. That's a question going forward.

And there is also a question about whether or not that Mueller of evidence that was gleaned during the Mueller report that shows the president attempted to thwart the Mueller investigation, those allegations of obstruction of justice, whether or not that will be included in the ultimate articles of impeachment. That is an ongoing debate within the House Democratic Caucus at the moment, one that not every Democrat is behind, including some freshmen Democrats who got behind moving forward on an impeachment inquiry, because it was focused on the matter of Ukraine. They were concerned about national security.

One Democrat, Max Rose of New York, who I just caught up with outside the capital, told me very clearly that he only got behind this because of the Ukraine episode and not because of the Mueller findings.

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RAJU: What do you think about adding Mueller evidence to potential obstruction of justice charges?

REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY): Here's what I would say to that. I was against going through with impeachment previous to the Ukraine scandal. So with the understanding that I'm not going to entertain any hypotheticals, I was very serious when I came out and said that, very serious, that this is the second most consequential thing I could do as a member of Congress, second only to declaring war, second only to sending soldiers to combat. And so when I came out and said that, I was very serious about it. And unlike most of the people in this institution, I'm not going to just say something and forget about it, okay?

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RAJU: And there are other warnings too from other freshmen Democrats that I spoke to, including, Anthony Brindisi of New York, whoh told me that he couldn't get behind something that would include Mueller findings. Also Gil Cisneros of California, similarly said that he would want to -- he's focused exclusively on Ukraine.

But those decisions, Brianna, made by three people, one in particular, Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, in consultation with Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler. And we expect those articles will eventually probably be unveiled next week. Brianna?

KEILAR: All right. We'll be waiting. Manu, thank you.

And meanwhile, in our latest edition of where in the world is Rudy Giuliani, Giuliani tells CNN he has now left Ukraine but he won't tell us where he's heading next. Even so, it doesn't take a whole lot of sleuthing to figure out what Giuliani is up to, because he's making it brazenly clear.

Yesterday, for instance, a former Ukrainian diplomat who has pushed debunked conspiracy theories posted this picture with Giuliani and he captioned it, quote, to all the conspiracy theorists, there is no secret to what we're doing. The truth will come out.

Giuliani later teased that evidence would be released very soon, and a quick reminder that Giuliani is under federal investigation for his work with Ukraine. And his pro bono client, President Trump, spent two years under federal investigation as the FBI and Special Counsel looked into whether his campaign had a role in Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. That's a clear signal that it's illegal to seek foreign interference in a U.S. election, and yet it's the very thing Giuliani appears to be doing now in this upcoming one.

We have CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins live for us there on the north lawn.

Kaitlan, President Trump is Rudy Giuliani's client, admittedly pro bono, but it would be odd if Giuliani were doing this without his okay. So what are you hearing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you've seen two different things come from the president. At times, he said that he didn't know what it was Rudy Giuliani was doing, that he wasn't the one to put Rudy Giuliani up to digging up these investigations in Ukraine, but then there are things like the transcript that the president ordered the White House to release, where you can see the president himself telling the Ukrainian leader three times that he's going to have his personal attorney call him in regards to these investigations that he wanted.

Now, people inside the White House and the president's allies who tried to keep Rudy Giuliani essentially at arm's length, distancing themselves from what he's been doing, because they're not entirely sure of his motives here and what exactly he's been saying to these officials. And now given this trip, given what Rudy Giuliani has been tweeting today, people are kind of stunned inside the White House of the audacity he has to continue going to Ukraine digging up these investigations given the enormous amount of scrutiny that he's under and what he's been saying, and given that the fact that the president is now facing impeachment, a lot in part to what Rudy Giuliani has to do.

Now, he's not answering a ton of questions on his latest trip. He says he's no longer in Ukraine. But right now, Brianna, Rudy Giuliani is not telling us exactly where he is.

KEILAR: All right. Kaitlan, thank you for that report.

And as the House Judiciary Committee is drawing up articles of impeachment and preparing for a vote as early as next week on them, let's talk now to Congresswoman Jackie Speier. She is on both the Intelligence and Oversight Committees, and she is joining us right now. Congresswoman, thanks for being with us.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Great to be with you, Brianna.

KEILAR: Do you think Rudy Giuliani is breaking the law here or is in danger of breaking the law here?

SPEIER: I think Rudy Giuliani is potentially breaking the law and has been for a period of months, if not, years, if, for no other reason that he has not filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. It's called FARA. And anyone with a foreign entity must register. He has not, to my knowledge.

But beyond all that, I don't, for a moment, believe that the president is telling the truth when he says he doesn't know why Rudy is there digging up dirt. As it was pointed out, he has specifically asked any number of people to take directions from Rudy Giuliani on the Burisma- Biden investigation that he so desperately wanted.

The fact that they are doing a documentary suggests to me that they're probably doing a campaign ad. And I am deeply troubled by what appears to be, yet again, an effort by the president to have foreign interference in our election.

KEILAR: So you think he may be making a campaign ad that says what? That says -- raises the specter of maybe there really is something to the whole, I guess, couple of conspiracy theories that the president has on Ukraine?

SPEIER: Well, we are only speculating. But, typically, the president doubles down whenever he makes a statement. And I think even though you have Lindsey Graham on the Senate side saying there is no truth to the fact that there was a Ukrainian engagement in our election in 2016, and that there was a server, the president has never recanted that.

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And I think that what we'll see is an effort to try and legitimize what is, in fact, a tinfoil hat theory and conspiracy theory that's been promoted by a very small group of people, all of whom have special interests involved.

KEILAR: Where he's tweeting here that he's promising evidence, do you see it as a confession that he's seeking foreign interference in a U.S. election?

SPEIER: I don't know what we can really figure out from that. If, in fact, Rudy Giuliani is there doing opposition research for the president, we better make sure that it's being paid for out of the president's campaign. Otherwise, it's a campaign contribution that would probably exceed the limits under the Federal Elections Commission. So whatever it is, we need to sift through what is and is not accurate.

Again, it's more of the same. We do not know much of what we should know because the president has done a very good job of covering up. He has prevented 12 people who we sought to have investigated to be interviewed. He has also prevented the Department of Defense and the State Department from providing us any documentation. So we have relied basically on individuals and on Ambassador Volker's text messages that were from his private phone.

It is reprehensible that the administration has stonewalled Congress in this manner and completed what is absolutely a problematic cover- up.

KEILAR: You are on two of the three committees that oversaw these impeachment inquiry hearings and referred findings to the Judiciary Committee, which is now working on drawing up articles of impeachment. Do you personally think that those articles should broaden out to include obstruction of the Mueller probe?

SPEIER: Personally, I am not in favor of having them broadened out. It doesn't mean I wouldn't support them, because, clearly, Bob Mueller found that there were ten incidents where there was obstruction of justice of the 11 he looked at, and there is plenty of evidence in volume two of the report to suggest that.

But I would say that we have a very good case, a very complete case on abuse of power, bribery and cover-up by virtue of that July 25th phone call, in which he bribed the president of Ukraine and then his efforts to withhold aid to Ukraine until he got his public announcement of an investigation.

KEILAR: Right now, borrowing (ph) someone for seeing sea change, Republicans in the Senate, they're in charge there, they're not going to convict. Bill Clinton wasn't impeached. He stuck it out. He wasn't convicted in the end. He decided to stay, as has President Trump. Is impeachment, has it become this kind of toothless tool of Congress? How do you see it as an enforcement mechanism? SPEIER: I think impeachment is a very serious undertaking and it's not done lightly. But in this situation, we are compelled to act, I believe, because the actions that we are critical of, the actions that appear to be problematic suggest that they are going on right now. Interference in our elections by foreign entities is diabolical and we should not allow that to go to on. If we allow that to happen, we have lost our democracy. And foreign countries can play in our elections on a regular basis with impunity.

KEILAR: Congresswoman Speier, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

SPEIER: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: And we have some more on our breaking news. CNN reporting that a member of the Saudi military who was training at the naval station there in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today's deadly attack. Officials are going to be speaking any moment. We are waiting for that. Stand by.

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KEILAR: The November jobs report is out, and good news, the numbers are strong. The U.S. economy adding 266,000 jobs last month, putting unemployment at a 50-year low at 3.5 percent. And this is a gain that is largely because autoworkers at G.M. returned to work after a six- week strike. The healthcare industry added 45,000 jobs and so did the leisure and hospitality industry.

But while the jobs numbers might be up, U.S. farmers say they have been hit hard in part by this ongoing trade war with China, and this is something that President Trump says could last beyond the 2020 election.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no deadline, no.

In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make a deal now, and we'll see whether or not the deal is going to be right. It's got to be right.

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KEILAR: We're joined now by John Boyd Jr. He is the founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association.

[13:25:01]

John, thanks for joining us.

JOHN BOYD JR., FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION: Thank you for having me today.

KEILAR: When you hear the president say this -- sorry, go on. BOYD: Yes. I just listened to what the president said, and basically it sounds like he's given up on American farmers. You know, most Americans, if you had told your employer today that you're not going to try to do your job, duties until after the election, you basically would be fired. We need the president to take action and to take action right now.

Farm foreclosures are up, farm bankruptcies are up, and the very people that the president says he's trying to put in a check, which is China, are the very people who are buying up U.S. farms. So this is very devastating news, and farmers right now are in distress.

And many farmers have supported this president, hand over fist, and at this point, I really don't know how long farmers can continue to go on and support this president in the condition and that state that we're in right now.

KEILAR: China is now saying that it's planning to exempt some U.S. soybeans and pork products from tariffs. How do you see that? That sounds like it is good for farmers. What's your reaction?

BOYD: Well, basically, China has also said that they're going to be buying more soybeans from foreign countries such as Russia. And this president has hurt us because by taking away the largest market, China was purchasing up to 90 percent of the U.S. -grown soybeans in the United States.

And when he closed that market off, it was a devastating effect, and basically soybeans dropped at its all-time high, from $16.86 a bushel, and I'm selling soybeans right now out of my field in the southern part of Virginia for roughly $8 a bushel.

So right now, farmers are facing a 50 percent loss of income because we don't have any new markets to make up for the loss of income based on the China tariffs.

KEILAR: I'm curious what you think -- you have your pick of so many Democrats, but I wonder if you feel like you have your pick of Democrats who are really speaking to the issues that concern you. You've argued they've not really given a concrete answer on what they would do to combat this ongoing trade war or what would they do, let's say, if they came into the White House and they had to reverse damage from it, what they would do. What do you want to hear from them?

BOYD: I want to hear how they're going to put farmers back to work and give us a fair market. That's what I would like to hear from the Democratic candidates that are running, and basically the candidates to start running against each other and start running against President Trump, the man that they want to defeat. Everybody can't win. Find the best candidate. Get behind that candidate as quickly as you can and bring us a message that we can support.

I'm out here right now. I would like to hear from the 20 or so candidates that are running how they're going to make agriculture better for farmers, African-American farmers who have been distressed by the United States Department of Agriculture for decades, come up with a sound plan of action that we can get behind and support a good candidate that can defeat President Trump in the general election.

KEILAR: Can you name a candidate in the Democratic field that you think has been speaking to these concerns?

BOYD: I think that there are many that have touched on the issue of farming but not the strong message that I would like to hear about how they're going to get the markets back for farmers in general across this country. And if they want to defeat President Trump, they're going to have to bring across a strong message for U.S. farmers so that they cannot support this president but vote for the Democratic president.

There are candidates who have spoken out in the past, Senator Sanders have spoken about the issue in the past, Senator Cory Booker. There are many Democratic candidates that are out there, but I would like to see for the candidates to come together, come up with the best candidate that can defeat President Trump and not prolong agony here by staying out here too long with so many different candidates that confused the message for the Democratic Party.

Vice President Joe Biden is out there, so I think that there are many good, qualified people that can beat this president in the general election, but they need to come together now and stop running against him and stop running against each other.

KEILAR: Iowa is just around the corner, so we may see that happening soon. John Boyd Jr., thank you for joining us.

BOYD: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: And we have more on our breaking news, CNN reporting that a member of the Saudi military, someone who was training at the naval station there in Pensacola, is the suspected shooter in today's the deadly attack there. And officials are going to be speaking live from the scene at any moment. Stand by for that.

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