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Pivotal One On One Expected Between Putin And Zelensky; Did The FBI Spy On Trump's 2016 Campaign; Biden Makes Big Push In IA And NH; Crucial Week For The U.S./China Trade War; From The Bike To the Bar; One-Year-Old Connecticut Girl Still Missing; Third Suicide At Rowan University; Star Trek Benson Star Rene Auberjonois Dies; CNN Business, Stocks Finish Week Strong After Jobs Report; Apple May Ditch Lighting Cable By 2021; Late Night Laughs, SNL Spoofs NATO Hot Mic Moment; Will Dems Include Mueller Details In Impeachment; Full House Vote On Impeachment Before Holiday Recess; Debunked Ukraine Theory; Trump White House; FBI Probe Shooting As Terror. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 9, 2019 - 04:30   ET




AMARA WALKER, CNN NTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The impeachment probe is nearing a climax in the House. Will Democrats risk adding details from the Mueller probe into articles of impeachment?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The FBI is investigating the Pensacola shooting as an act of terror. Why the gunman's time in Saudi Arabia is being examined.

WALKER: And breaking overnight, the death toll is climbing after a massive volcanic eruption in New Zealand.

BRIGGS: And his legendary characters defined our childhood. Fans around the world are mourning the loss of Sesame Street puppeteer Carroll Spinney. Big Bird and Oscar the grouch. That's some range, folks. Welcome back to Early Start. I'm Dave Briggs.

WALKER: Hello, everyone, I'm Amara Walker. Half past 4:00 in the morning here in New York City.

Democrats facing a momentous impeachment finale, as they set the scope of charges against President Trump. Judiciary Committee Democrats spent the weekend mapping out a crucial hearing today, where investigators will lay out their case. Party leaders are still debating whether to include evidence from the Russia investigation. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report included potential examples of obstruction by the president.

BRIGGS: Judiciary Chairman, Jerry Nadler, confident in his case but cautious about using Mueller's evidence.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel comfortable that this whole thing was directed by the president himself?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Absolutely. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You feel you have a rock-solid case?

NADLER: We have a very rock-solid case. I think, the case, we have -- if presented to the jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you were talking about this, you keep bringing up the 2016 election and Russia. It certainly sounds to me like you want that to be included going forward.

NADLER: No, I wouldn't draw any conclusions. It is part of the pattern, which is why I bring it up.


BRIGGS: Reviving Mueller's evidence could cause potential headaches for Democrats in swing districts. They must balance a push to defeat the president with the needs of their constituents less than a year before the election. For more on what to expect today, here's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill.


LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Dave and Amara, a huge day on Capitol Hill, with the House Judiciary Committee hearing slated to take place in just a couple of hours. This hearing is going to look a little bit more like a trial, with House Judiciary Committee lawyers laying out what they believe is the evidence to impeach Donald Trump.

Republicans, of course, will refute that. Then the House Intel Committee lawyers will also lay out the evidence that they documented in that 300-page House Intelligence Committee report. We know that President Trump's lawyers had an opportunity to participate. They declined that opportunity on Friday.

And it could be a huge week in the House Judiciary Committee, because they could unveil articles of impeachment. And they could vote on them as soon as the end of this week. Then, there could be a full vote in the House of Representatives on whether or not to impeach Donald Trump before Christmas. Dave and Amara?


WALKER: All right. Lauren Fox, thank you for that.

And just hours, a pivotal face-to-face meeting in Paris between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. The hope is to ease five years of violence along the border. But Ukrainians fear peace will happen on Putin's terms as questions swirl over U.S. support. CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Paris with more. Melissa, what are the prospects for peace? You know, this obviously become the forgotten war, and a lot of concern that Zelensky has already given into some concessions. MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I think some of the

opponents of what he's agreed to so far and what we're talking about is the withdrawal of both pro-separatist troops and Ukrainian troops from free frontline towns is already be speaks backing off back of Ukraine by some of those who opposed it as a capitulation too far. Now, the big question is what this meeting will achieve of course, today. It's the first time in three years, that these four leaders, the president of France, the chancellor of Germany and the presidents of Ukraine and Russia will have met in this.

For that is the first time also that President Zelensky will be meeting with President Putin. What can actually be achieved? What can actually come out of it? The French have already dampened down expectations saying, look, there will be no written, formal agreement to the end of this. This is the first crucial step within a process. You have to bear in mind of course, that the very last time these leaders met of these countries met, the world was very different. The United States, in Washington, Ukraine was not a by line for presidential domestic woes, but rather for a search for peace and a hard line towards Russia.

Similarly, Emmanuel Macron has now signaled that he wants to reset his relations with Russia. And already France's position is with regard to this particular formula that was the basis for this meeting to take place at all, that essentially, the Russian position is that elections should take place before that 400-kilometer border between Ukraine and Russia is handed back to you Ukrainian control.


Ukraine insists that the border should first be secured before the elections. Already Paris had signaled that it is much closer to backing the Russian position than Zelensky. The question is, what the Ukrainian position given all this change in context can actually hope to achieve even while he tries to keep the support of the Ukrainian population.

WALKER: And no doubt, a high-stakes meeting. I appreciate you joining us, Melissa bell live for us there in Paris.

BRIGGS: President Trump has been claiming for years that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign. Today, the Justice Department's inspector- general will release the finding of his investigation. And as Marshall Cohen reports, he's report is widely expected to debunk yet another Trump conspiracy theory.


MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Dave and Amara, the highly-anticipated report from the inspector-general comes out today. We are expecting it will debunk major claims and conspiracy theories that President Trump has been peddling for years. First, we're told that the I.G. will conclude that the Russia investigation was properly launched in 2016 and that senior FBI officials for not acting out of bias against candidate Trump. Those findings undercut Trump's claims that the investigation was an illegitimate hoax designed to take him down. Also, the report is expected to say that the FBI did not implant spies

in the Trump campaign. But we are expecting a mixed verdict of sorts when it comes to the court-approved surveillance of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser. The report will say that the FBI had good reason to ask for those wiretaps. But there were problems and mistakes with how the warrants were prepared.

CNN previously reported that an FBI lawyer was caught altering a document. And that is now part of a criminal investigation led by U.S. Attorney John Durham. Long story short, the report will give us some much-needed answers and debunk some conspiracy theories once and for all. But the fight will continue. CNN reported that Attorney General Bill Barr has already told allies that this report won't be the final word. Dave and Amara?


WALKER: All right. Thank you for that.

Still, no official motive for Friday's deadly shooting at a Pensacola naval base, killing three people. Federal investigators with this grave assessment.


RACHEL J. ROJAS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism. This allows us to take advantage of investigative techniques that can help us more quickly identify and then eliminate any additional potential threats.


WALKER: A 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi air force opened fire in a classroom building on Friday. He was killed in exchange of gunfire with two deputies. There was a dignified transfer last night for his three victims, Joshua Kaleb Watson, Mohammed Sameh Haitham and Cameron Scott Walters. Now, law enforcement is looking into the shooter's recent time in Saudi Arabia. And the president's relationship with the Saudi kingdom back under a microscope. Our Nic Robertson has the following the story. He's joining us now live from Riyadh. Give us the latest, I mean, you know, when this first happened, there was a quick phone call from the king, King Salman, to President Trump, to express his horror and to promise his cooperation. And now, there's been a second phone call by the crown prince.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: yes. Absolutely. I mean, President Trump took a lot of heat over his passing of what the Saudi King Salman said to him on Friday. There would be absolute support for king, according to President Trump, saying that this was a betrayal of Saudi Arabia. That this was, you know, not something that the country supports at all. And that all of the security services inside Arabia should support the investigation.

We heard that again that now from the Saudi press agency. On Sunday, the crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, the second in charge, if you will, had another phone call with President Trump. Absolute commitment was the word used there about supporting the investigation. What does that mean on the ground?

Well, realistic, what the FBI investigators are going to want to do is to find out precisely what Mohammed Alshamrani did when he came back on that routine regular home leave back to Saudi Arabia from the course in Pensacola. The family had told us they had seen nothing untoward about him. But right now, the family is not responding to our questions.

Which sort of gives the indication that perhaps the investigation with them is under way or perhaps they have been told to, you know, to tone down their public comments about this. We know that the Saudi authorities, quite often, when they go into a sort of investigative mode, they're not going to say very much. We're asking them the questions precisely, what is the nature of the help that you're giving? What are you asking of the family? Are you speaking to the family? What are you learning? We're not getting answers to those questions at the moment.


But -- if the cooperation is as the Saudis say it will be, then the FBI should be learning -- now, learning more about Alshamrani's time here in Saudi Arabia. And that should help, along with his social media activity, should go a long way to informing about his motive. And precisely was he connected to other terrorists? What were his political and religious views?

WALKER: Yes. A lot of questions about, you know, what happened during his time in Saudi Arabia. I appreciate you joining us. Nic Robertson, live for us in Riyadh.

BRIGGS: At least five people are dead in the eruption overnight of a New Zealand volcano, popular with tourists. Officials say about 50 people were on White Island when the volcano exploded. More than 30 of them were traveling on a royal Caribbean cruise liner out of Australia. The explosion sent people rushing away by boat. Police say the dead are among 23 victims evacuated from the island earlier. And more fatalities are expected. It's too dangerous for rescue teams to approach the island. More than 10,000 people visit White Island each year.

WALKER: The man behind the characters that shaped millions of childhoods has died. Carroll Spinney was the puppeteer who brought the iconic Big Bird and Oscar the grouch, to life on Sesame Street.


BIG BIRD, SESAME STREET: I got a great idea. Since you're here playing with me, why don't we go through my old toy trunk and we'll see what's in there. I haven't looked in there for a long time.


WALKER: Spinney died Sunday at his Connecticut home after battling dystonia, he was 85. Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said, we at Sesame workshop mourn he's passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to the children around the world.

BRIGGS: Spinney's passing came the same day Sesame Street became the first television show to receive Kennedy Center honors.


BIG BIRD: I think you're in my seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry. I'll just go backstage.

BIG BIRD: That's OK. That's OK. I know that song. That's about my favorite street.


BRIGGS: Mine too. Matt Vogel filled Big Bird's shoes when Spinney retired last October. Before the Kennedy Center event, he tweeted he would be thinking about his mentor and friend.

WALKER: A new round of tariffs on Chines goods set to kick in next week and that makes the next few days pivotal in the trade war.



WALKER: The Iowa caucuses are now just eight weeks away. And we are nine weeks away from New Hampshire's primary. That is where one of 2020's Democratic front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden, ended the week. CNN's Arlette Saenz is traveling with the Biden campaign in Hampton, New Hampshire.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Amara, fresh off of his eight-day bus tour through Iowa, Joe Biden made a stop here in New Hampshire, where he was joined by his latest endorser, former Secretary of State John Kerry. Now, Kerry is a big get for Biden's campaign. He's not just the former Secretary of State but he also served right next door to New Hampshire as Senator in Massachusetts. And he had a bit of experience here in the state. He won when he ran for president back in 2004, he won here in New Hampshire in both the primaries and the general election. And one thing that John Kerry talked about over and over was Joe Biden's experience. Saying that he is the best positioned on foreign policy, on climate and also issues related to middle class.

JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Experience, wisdom, muscle memory, Joe Biden is a little bit like the New England Patriots, I think -- fun to watch the promise and potential of young quarterbacks. But come February, I like having an experienced quarterback like Tom Brady, calling those plays.

SAENZ: Now Biden's campaign in the past has said that Iowa and New Hampshire are not necessarily must-win states for the former vice president's campaign. But Biden understands the importance of this early primary state, the first in the nation primary state. He told voters here that New Hampshire will set the tone for who is selected as the Democratic nominee. Dave and Amara?


BRIGGS: Arlette, thanks.

A crucial week for the U.S./China trade war. Just one week to go before a new round of tariffs on $156 billion worth of Chinese goods kicks in. That deadline December 15th. The consensus is that both sides are working towards a phase one deal. On Friday, Beijing pledge to reduce tariffs on U.S. soybeans and pork and National Economic Council Director, Larry Kudlow said this.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: The deal is so close. It's probably even a, we bit closer than when I first made that statement in November.


BRIGGS: Keep in mind, it's still not clear what a phase one deal covers and even if the deals is reach, tariffs will still be higher than before the trade war started. According to one economists, that capital economic, the average U.S. tariff on imports from China has jumped to 21 percent. It was only 3 percent at the start of 2018. Rolling back all the tariffs placed is September would only take the average down to 18 percent.

Many strategists expect new tariffs to be delayed as talks continue. But they also note that what President Trump does before the December 15th deadline is truly the, quote, wild card. One thing is clear, trade wars are not easy to win and trade headlines will drive markets until something is decided. Amara.

WALKER: All right, Dave.

How bike -- from the bike to the bar. How aviation gin responded to the controversial Peloton ad. That is next.




WALKER: A one-year-old girl in Ansonia, Connecticut is still missing this morning, a week after her mother was found dead. Police say baby Vanessa Morales was last seen at a relative's House on November 29th. Her mother, 43-year-old Christine Holloway, was found dead three days later during a wellness check. Authorities say the cause of Holloway's death was blunt force trauma. Police say they are following leads and interviewing witnesses but no arrests have been made. BRIGGS: Rowen University in Southern New Jersey, rocked by another

student suicide. It's the third one this semester. The latest death coming a day after thanksgiving. The school is under fire for not doing more to help students with mental health issues. Rowan's president telling parents the University has tripled the number of counselors on campus over the past six years and is looking to hire three more.

WALKER: Start Trek actor Rene Auberjonois has died. Best known for key supporting roles in Benson in Star Trek, Deep Space Nine. Auberjonois big break in Hollywood. He came in the original 1970 movie version of Nash as Father Moque. But his youngest fans will know him from this --




WALKER: His son Ramie Auberjonois says he died of metastatic lung cancer. Besides his son, a daughter and several grandchildren, he leaves his wife a 56 years, Judith Renee Auberjonois was 79 years-old.

BRIGGS: All right, 56 minutes after the hour. And a check on CNN Business. A quick look at markets around the world. Cautious optimism as investors look for a potential trade deal on Wall Street. Futures are lower. Stocks finished the week strong after a solid jobs report. The economy adding 266,000 jobs, the unemployment rate remains at a 50-year low. The strong report also name the Federal Reserve is likely to leave rates unchanged. They meet this week.

Investors are also watching for progress on President Trump's North American trade deal, the USMCA. According to people close to talks, House Democrats and the administration nearing a deal after negotiating with the Mexican government over changes to labor enforcement and other provisions. But talks are not yet finalized.

We could be saying good-bye to Apple's lightning charging cable. A top Apple analyst said the cable and port on premium iPhone models could be gone by 2021. The analyst said Apple will opt for a completely wireless device to better differentiate the more expensive iPhone models. It already makes wireless charging docks for the iPhone 8 and newer models. Apple did not respond to request for comment.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First ride. I'm a little nervous but excited. Let's do this. Five days in a row.


BRIGGS: The peloton wife, she is trading her bike for a drink.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This gin is really smooth.



BRIGGS: A new ad for Aviation Gin, that's Ryan Reynolds, the actor, his liquor company, appears to make light of the controversial peloton ad by showing the wife played by actress Monica Lewis drinking rather heavily at a bar with her girlfriends. Drinking away the sorrows, if you will. The ad starts with Ruiz staring blankly ahead there. Completely different from the energetic mom she played in the peloton ad. Peloton received a lot of backlash for its holiday ad.

Critic accused the company of peddling negative body image, uncheck privilege and gross marital dynamics. The peloton husband does not appear in the gin ad, his name by the way, Shawn Hunter. He is a teacher in Canada when he is not acting. He had to take the psychology today to write a column on how he does not want to be associated with sexist (inaudible).


I thought it was a decent ad, myself.

WALKER: Full disclosure, I had to ask you, I didn't get that follow- up ad.

BRIGGS: We need to try the Aviation Gin. Maybe that will work out for all of us.

WALKER: Well, we showed you the video last week. World leaders caught on a hot mic talking about President Trump. Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live, did its own star-studded spoof.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see him speak for 45 minutes the other day? It was just supposed to be for a photo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I looked like him, I would try to distract the photographer, too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. He's not good-looking like us three.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, guys. Is this seat taken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, actually, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We would love to see you talk and chew at the same time. But we promised this seat to a friend. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm Boris' friend. Right, Boris?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't make this harder than it already is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll see you guys later at the party. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Yeah, totally. It's under the London Bridge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After announcing articles of impeachment, Nancy Pelosi criticized a reporter who asked her if she hates President Trump saying, as a catholic, I don't hate anyone. Which is crazy because as a catholic, I know, there's always one person you hate. Yourself.