Return to Transcripts main page


Speaker Nancy Pelosi Declares President Violated the Constitution; Trump and Allies Look Ahead to Senate Trial to Score Political Points; Joe Biden Calls Iowa Voter a Liar. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 6, 2019 - 04:00   ET




REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The president's actions made it necessary.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Speaker Nancy Pelosi now has House Democrats drafting Articles of Impeachment against President Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a hoax. It's a hoax. It's a big fat hoax.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Facing the very real prospect of impeachment, the president and his allies look ahead to a trial in the Republican-led Senate.

BRIGGS: A deadly gun battle breaks out after armed robbers hijack a delivery truck.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're a damn liar, man. That's not true.


ROMANS: Dramatic moments at an Iowa town hall. Joe Biden gets in a heated exchange with a voter.

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. Happy Friday, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. December 6th. 4:00 a.m. in New York. We are 59 days to the Iowa caucuses and one step closer to impeachment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has officially directed the Judiciary Committee to lay out the charges against the president in Articles of Impeachment. Just hours ago, at a live CNN town hall, Pelosi said the Constitution and the facts are now clear.


PELOSI: This is a very sad day, I think, for our country. It's something that I would hope we could have avoided. But the president's actions made it necessary. You cannot violate the Constitution in full view.


BRIGGS: Here are the next steps in the process. The White House has until 5:00 p.m. this afternoon to decide whether they will participate in a hearing on Monday. Lawyers from both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committee will present their findings from investigations into the president. Monday's hearing sets up a judiciary vote later in the week with a vote of the full House possible the week before Christmas.

Congressional reporter Lauren Fox with more from Capitol Hill.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Dave and Christine, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, making it clear that Democrats are moving forward with impeaching the president.


PELOSI: The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt once again the election for his own benefit.


FOX: Now, what we do know is that next week is going to be another explosive one on Capitol Hill. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold another hearing, this one to discuss that 300-page report from the House Intelligence Committee, all revolving around that July 25th phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine's President Zelensky.

We also know the Democrats are going to have to be drafting those Articles of Impeachment, and we have a sense of the direction that they're going. They are looking at whether or not the president obstructed Congress by the fact that he wasn't moving forward or allowing witnesses or information to be revealed to the Intelligence Committee.

We also know that they're looking at the abuse of power charges against the president. And there is a debate within the Democratic caucus about whether to broaden this out to include anything in the Mueller report. We know that that could potentially come in the form of an obstruction of justice Article of Impeachment.

Now, all of that will have to be voted out of the House Judiciary Committee. Then, the week after, they would vote on the House floor about whether or not to impeach President Donald Trump. If that's the direction Democrats are wanting to move it would make President Donald Trump the third in the history to be impeached.

ROMANS: Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this scathing answer to a reporter at her news conference yesterday. As she was leaving that news conference, a reporter from the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group asked if she hates President Trump. She came back with a passionate no.


PELOSI: And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full -- a heart full of love and always pray for the president, and I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.


ROMANS: President Trump reacted with a tweet. He accused Pelosi of having a, quote, "nervous fit" in that moment and lying about praying for him. Pelosi was asked about the reporter's question and the president's tweet at CNN's town hall last night.


PELOSI: The word hate is a terrible word. And so for him to say that was really disgusting to me. The president is a master at projecting. When you call somebody else nervous, he's the nervous one. When he suspects that somebody is not praying, he's probably not praying. But I do pray for him because he is the president of the United States. And I pray that God will open his heart to meeting the needs of people in our country.



BRIGGS: Meanwhile, after months of trying to stop impeachment in the Democratic House, the president and his aides and allies have accepted that it is all but certain they are now turning their attention to his trial in the Republican-led Senate. The White House signaling it will try to turn the tables on Democrats, aimed not only to stop the president's removal but to turn the Senate trial to his political advance.

Boris Sanchez with that story at the White House.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, with impeachment likely a foregone conclusion, the White House is focusing on the Senate, announcing a robust defense of President Trump. Sources tell CNN that the White House counsel is going to try to use this as an opportunity to bash Democrats and score political points.

The president tipping his hand a bit on Twitter Thursday, writing that he may compel some prominent Democrats to testify. He writes, quote, "We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi, and many more testify and will reveal for the first time how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to clean the swamp and that is what I'm doing."

Trump later tweeting that it is a good thing that Republicans have never been more united. Of course, Trump is going to lean on Senate Republicans to guide this Senate trial in a way that is favorable for the White House and to potentially call up that roster of witnesses he says he would like to hear from.

Notably, the White House counsel Pat Cipollone, members of his staff, members of the White House communications team have been meeting with Senate Republicans more and more frequently for weeks trying to iron out strategy and messaging and to fix problems before they potentially pop up.

This agreement, like whether that whistleblower whose complaint led to this impeachment process, should testify. Still plenty for the two sides to iron out. The president, though, sounding confident. He was asked on Thursday if he believed that impeachment would be a stain on his legacy. Listen to what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you worried, sir, about the stain impeachment might have on your legacy?

TRUMP: No, not at all. No. Not a t all. It's a hoax. It's a hoax. It's a big fat hoax.


SANCHEZ: One more note. While we've been hearing from sources that President Trump has struggled to grasp the reality that he likely will be impeached by the House, White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been preparing for a potential trial, hiring dozens of attorneys for what is likely to come in January -- Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Boris at the White House. Thanks, Boris.

New developments this morning on trade. China says it is considering tax exemptions on some pork and soy products from the U.S. The tariff waivers were based on applications by individual firms for U.S. soybeans and pork imports. That's what the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The end of the year is coming and President Trump has not closed on two big trade deals he campaigned for in 2016. China and the North America trade deal. Here's what we know on China. The deadline for new tariffs on $156 billion in Chinese goods is December 15th. "The Wall Street Journal" reports the hang-up here, the U.S. hang-up, is on the size of the farm goods purchases.

Chinese state media has said China wants current tariffs rolled back, specifically the ones that went into September. That's their hang-up. The president said this about additional tariffs.


TRUMP: Right now we're moving along. We're not discussing that but we are having very major discussions. On December 15th, something could happen. But we're not discussing that yet.


ROMANS: Bottom line, everything is up for grabs here. Trump said a deal was imminent in October. Back in June, the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the deal was 90 percent complete. Thursday he told reporters talks are progressing.

Then there's Trump's North American trade deal, the USMCA. Trade representative Robert Lighthizer is working to get Congress to ratify that deal before the holiday recess. The president has complained that House speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up the deal. It is clear, what we know for sure, trade wars are not easy to win and competing headlines will be the market drivers until something here is decided.

BRIGGS: Back to that USMCA, what is the primary holdup in that deal?

ROMANS: So there's a couple of things here. There's a holdup -- so the Democrats want more labor protections. They want enforcement of labor protections.


ROMANS: They want to be able to see that factories in Mexico have the same kind of standards that U.S. factories have or (INAUDIBLE).

BRIGGS: Not likely.

ROMANS: Well, you know, the Mexican government -- look. There's a lot there that's up for grabs. But protections for U.S. workers seem to be at issues here for the Democrats.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, a terrifying rush hour scene. A deadly police gun battle in broad daylight. Details, next.



BRIGGS: A frightening fatal gun battle breaks out when armed robbers hijack a UPS truck during Miami rush hour and led police on a dramatic chase. Police say it all started when two men robbed a Coral Gables jewelry score. The owner of the store fought back. One woman at the store was hurt. Minutes later, the police said the suspects took a UPS driver hostage at gunpoint and commander the man. They then led police on a breakneck 20-mile chase, dodging cars, driving on the sidewalks and driving through a barricade with dozens of emergency vehicles in pursuit.


CHIEF ED HUDAK, CORAL GABLES POLICE: This is what dangerous people do to get away. And this is what people will do to avoid capture. If people give up and are held accountable for their crimes, then we wouldn't put these many people in danger.


BRIGGS: Police approached the truck when it got stuck in heavy traffic. They say both suspects, the UPS driver and a bystander at the end of the chase were killed.


ROMANS: All right. It is day seven of Joe Biden's barnstorming tour across Iowa. The former vice president will be joined on the trail today by John Kerry. The former secretary of State and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate just endorsed Biden. On day six, Biden had this heated exchange with a voter at a townhall.

We get more from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, Joe Biden is receiving the endorsement today from former secretary of State, John Kerry. Of course he is the winner of the 2004 Iowa caucuses, a failed presidential candidate in the general. But he does know how to win the Iowa caucuses. The Biden campaign is hoping that his endorsement will help the former vice president over the next two months or so here in Iowa.

But it was a different moment from a town hall on Thursday in New Hampton, Iowa, that overshadowed that news.


UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: But you on the other hand sent your son over there (INAUDIBLE) and work for a gas company that he had no experience (INAUDIBLE), nothing, in order to get access to the public for the president. So, you're selling access to the president, just like he was.

BIDEN: You're a damn liar, man. That's not true. And no one has ever said that. No one has proved that.

UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: Now bear with me. I see it on the TV.

BIDEN: You've seen it on the TV.


BIDEN: No, I know you do. And by the way, that's the -- I'm not sedentary. I don't like (INAUDIBLE). And -- no, let him go. Let him go. The reason I'm running is because I've been around a long time and I know what most people know. And I can get things done. And that's why I'm running. And you want to check my shape on, let's do push-ups together, man. Let's run. Let's do whatever you want to do.


BIDEN: No one has said my son has done anything wrong. And I did not in any occasion, and no one has ever said it. Not one --

UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: I didn't say you were doing anything wrong. I said --

BIDEN: You said I set up my son to work at an oil company. Isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack.

UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: That's what I hear it on the -- on MSNBC.

BIDEN: You don't hear that on MSNBC. You did not hear that at all. What you heard -- look, OK, I'm not going to get in an argument with you, man.


BIDEN: Yes, you do. But, look, here's the deal. Here's the deal --

UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: You know it looks like you don't have any more backbone that Trump does.


UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: Let him talk. Let him talk.

BIDEN: Any other questions?

UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: Yes, all right. I'm not voting for you anyhow.

BIDEN: I know you weren't, man. You think I'd thought you'd stand up and vote for me? You're too old to vote for me.


ZELENY: Now Joe Biden later said he did not lose his temper in that moment. He said he was simply trying to correct the record. But he clearly was sensitive to any conversation about Hunter Biden and his business dealings with Ukraine.

Now of course Joe Biden is about wrapping up an eight-day bus tour here in Iowa. He's trying to regain his footing. Of course he was the front runner for much of the year, overtaken in some respects by Pete Buttigieg.

Now most of the Democratic candidates are coming back to Iowa this weekend for campaigning again less than months before the Iowa caucuses open the 2020 race -- Christine and Dave.

ROMANS: All right, Jeff Zeleny, with some -- logging some quality miles in Iowa, Jeff Zeleny.


ROMANS: Look, what do you -- I mean, the Joe -- I think Joe Biden handled that without raising -- you know, raising his voice, without showing a temper. BRIGGS: I'd argue that's the best he's performed throughout the

entire process. Better than he has on the debate stage.

ROMANS: All right, we can now -- I'll challenge you to push-ups in the break so.

BRIGGS: Let's do that.

ROMANS: All right.

BRIGGS: I can do that.

All right, we're going to talk little sports ahead. Good news for the Romans kids here.


BRIGGS: While you were sleeping, the Dallas Cowboys' struggles continue. Not so much for Chicago, though.



ROMANS: And welcome back. SpaceX's latest mission includes giving mighty mice a ride to the International Space Station.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four, three, two, one, zero. Engines ignition. Liftoff.


ROMANS: The SpaceX Dragon capsule blazed into orbit yesterday atop a Falcon IX rocket. It's carrying close to three tons of supplies. It's slated to link up with the International Space Station Sunday. The mice are from a lab in Maine. They have genes manipulated to enhance their muscular growth. They will help scientists understand how to limit muscle and bone loss in humans during space travel.

BRIGGS: A big night for the Chicago Bears and their quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky, he threw for three touchdown passes and ran for another score. The bears beat up on the slumping Dallas Cowboys, 31- 24, on "Thursday Night Football." Chicago won for the fourth time in five games to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFC. Meanwhile, Dallas has lost three straight and seven of 10. Their record drops to six in seven but believe it or not still in first place in the NFC and could still host a playoff game.

ROMANS: All right. A special day for a little boy in Michigan. Thursday was adoption day in Kent County. Five-year-old Michael Clark wanted his friends to be with him as his adoption was finalized, so he brought along his entire kindergarten class.

[04:25:07] They waved hearts and cheered him on during the courtroom ceremony. Michael's new mom and dad have been his foster parents for about a year. And the judges were impressed by all the love in that room.


JUSTICE STEPHEN MARKMAN, MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT: It's a great tribute to Michael that he had so many of his classmates here and so many said he was their best friend, too.

JUDGE PATRICIA GARDNER, 17TH CIRCUIT COURT FAMILY DIVISION: Never have I experienced that before and it was loads of fun. And the kids were into it in supporting their best friend and the family of Michael as well.


ROMANS: If that doesn't put a smile on your face you don't have a heart. The icing on the cake for Michael, a meeting with Santa to cap off his amazing day. Bravo.

BRIGGS: I like Michael's chair dancing early in that video, man. I mean, he was scooting around in the chair. Good for him.

ROMANS: A wonderful story.

BRIGGS: Wonderful.

ROMANS: I needed that today. Needed that today.

BRIGGS: Yes. We all did on a Friday.

Ahead, though, on the other hand, we're at a rare moment in American history. Just steps away from the impeachment of the U.S. president. More on what to expect in the days ahead, next.