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EARLY START

SNL Spoofs Nancy Pelosi's Hot Mic Moment; Democrats Contemplate on Whether to Include Mueller-Russia Evidence in Impeachment Articles; FBI Investigates Pensacola Attack as an Act of Terror. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired December 9, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN JOST, COMEDIAN: Which is crazy because as a Catholic I know, there's always one person you hate, yourself.

(LAUGHTER)

Also the Catholic approach wouldn't be to impeach Trump. It would be to quietly transfer him to a different presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMARA WALKER, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Oh, gosh --

DAVE BRIGGS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Well said there, nice jab.

WALKER: All right, thank you everyone to our international viewers for joining us, have a great day. For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.

BRIGGS: The impeachment probe is nearing a climax in the house. Will Democrats risk adding details from the Mueller probe into articles of impeachment?

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

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, the death toll climbing after a massive volcanic eruption in New Zealand.

WALKER: And his legendary characters defined our childhood. Fans around the world are mourning the loss of "Sesame Street" puppeteer Caroll Spinney. And good morning everyone and welcome to EARLY START, I'm Amara Walker.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. I'm more Oscar the Grouch usually than big bird. How about you?

WALKER: I'm a big bird.

BRIGGS: You're a big bird --

WALKER: Yes, totally --

BRIGGS: Well, we balance each other out both sense of Caroll Spinney there. All right, it's Monday, December 9th, 5:00 a.m. in the east. We are 56 days out from the Iowa caucuses. We start in the nation's capital with another momentous political event. Democrats facing this huge impeachment finale as they set the scope of the charges against President Trump.

Judiciary Committee Democrats spent the weekend mapping out a crucial hearing today, party leaders are still debating whether to include evidence from the Russia investigation which included several potential examples of obstruction by the president.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Today --

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel comfortable that this whole thing was directed --

NADLER: Yes, absolutely --

BASH: By the president himself?

NADLER: Yes.

BASH: You feel that --

NADLER: Yes --

BASH: You have a rock-solid case?

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

BASH: As you're 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: Well, I wouldn't draw any conclusions. It is part of the pattern, which is why I bring it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Reviving Mueller's evidence could cause political headaches for Democrats in swing states. 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, CNN'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 Intelligence Committee lawyers will also lay out the evidence that they documented in that 300-page House Intelligence Committee report. We know that President Donald 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?

BRIGGS: Lauren Fox, thank you. Another prominent senator pushing the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Republican Ted Cruz got into a heated exchange with "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd and note the laughter here on set.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Do you believe Ukraine meddled in the American --

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Look, Ukraine --

TODD: Election in 2016?

CRUZ: I do and I think there's considerable evidence --

TODD: You do? You do?

CRUZ: Yes, also of course, and Chuck, let me say --

TODD: Senator, this sort of strikes me as odd. Because you went through a primary campaign with this president. He launched a birtherism campaign against you, he went after your faith, he threatened to, quote, "spill the beans" about your wife about something.

CRUZ: Because Russia interfered, the media pretends nobody else did. Ukraine blatantly interfered in our election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: He's talking about an op-ed though written in "The Hill". Experts warn a Ukrainian conspiracy theory has been promoted by the Russian Intelligence Services. Last week, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy claimed former Ukrainian President Poroshenko quote, "actively worked for Hillary Clinton".

Trump allies have been using the Ukraine-election-meddling claim to justify the president's decision to withhold military aid.

WALKER: Attorney General Bill Barr warning President Trump his personal Attorney Rudy Giuliani has become a liability. That is according to "The Washington Post".

[05:05:00]

Concerns are escalating among the president's advisors now that the former New York City mayor is becoming a key player in the impeachment inquiry. Giuliani is already under federal investigation in Manhattan for his business dealings in Ukraine. "The Post" also reports Giuliani tried to replace the ambassador to Qatar and pursued a back channel between President Trump and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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

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RACHEL ROJAS, SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: 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. Nic Robertson is live for us from Riyadh. Nic, good morning, what are we learning?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Dave, what we understand from the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman from a phone call that he made with President Trump yesterday as reported by the Saudi press agency here has given absolute commitment for Saudi investigators to help U.S. law enforcement figure out the motives behind this attack.

And a key part of that obviously is to figure out what he was doing while he was back here in Saudi Arabia. It would have been a natural break during his military training in the U.S. to come back to Saudi Arabia. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. But is what he did, who he saw, what does his family know?

So, what does that look like? An absolute commitment from the Saudis to help the United States. Well, it probably on the ground, and we don't have the details from the Saudis at the moment. But in all likelihood, it means that the Saudis will go talk to his family themselves. Will they bring the FBI along with them?

Perhaps for local sensitivities they won't do that. So, the FBI may have to rely on all the information that the Saudi investigators can provide. Of course, the FBI able to troll through his Twitter account for example, other social media postings, which will provide a trove of information about what he was thinking, about what ideas he was -- he was following in particular.

So, that's going to be very informative. But of course, President Trump coming under a huge amount of criticism for essentially passing what the king had to say to him in a phone call on Friday, offering that support to have the Saudis measure up in that support today, obviously is going to be very important for President Trump as he faces that sort of criticism.

BRIGGS: Yes, you go back to 9/11, and you have Jamal Khashoggi and now this complicated relationship. Nic Robertson live for us in Riyadh, thank you.

WALKER: Well, they've spent months battling about the future. Now, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg accuse each other of keeping quiet about their past.

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[05:10:00]

BRIGGS: Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg putting pressure on each other as they push to build support in early voting states. Warren releasing new details about her corporate legal works over the past 33 years. She's earned at least $1.9 million from private clients over the years. Last week, Warren called on Buttigieg to open his fundraisers to reporters and name the clients he worked for in his job at the elite consulting firm, McKinsey.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He should release who is bundling for him. He should make clear who is on his finance team. This is about the conflicts that he is creating every single day right now.

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WALKER: Buttigieg has said he can't release more details about his work at McKinsey because he signed nondisclosure agreements, NDAs, he is now seeking to be released from.

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MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This above all is a competition for the nominee to take on Donald Trump. And I will put my professional history, civilian and military, public and private up against his any day.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALKER: Nine candidates have yet to qualify for the last debate of

2019. And coming up next, they have only until Thursday, and only two appear to have a real chance, Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard who need just a single poll to make it. Now, as of this morning, only six candidates will be on the debate stage in L.A. December 19th.

BRIGGS: The man behind the characters that shaped millions of childhoods has died. Caroll Spinney was the puppeteer who brought the iconic big bird and Oscar the Grouch to life on "Sesame Street".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love it because it's trash, yes, I love trash -- anything dirty.

CAROLL SPINNEY, PUPPETEER: I've 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Spinney died Sunday at his Connecticut home after battling dystonia, a movement disorder. He was 85. "Sesame Street" co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney says, "we at "Sesame Workshop" mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to "Sesame Street" and to children around the world.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPINNEY: I think you're in my seat.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, I'll just -- look, I'll go backstage again --

SPINNEY: Oh, that's OK --

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:15:00]

WALKER: 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.

BRIGGS: It's tough, all right, ahead, the 49ers and Saints tangling in an instant classic on an NFL Sunday. Andy Scholes has that story in the "BLEACHER REPORT" next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:20:00]

WALKER: Just incredible pictures there. 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 the 23 victims evacuated from the island earlier. And more fatalities are expected. It's too dangerous for rescue teams to approach the island right now. More than 10,000 people visit White Island each year.

BRIGGS: Now, let's talk some sports, the 49ers beating the Saints in an instant classic yesterday. Two teams combined for 94 points and almost a 1,000 yards of offense. Andy Scholes has that story in the "BLEACHER REPORT", good morning, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Hey, yes, good morning. I mean, this game was just wild, Dave --

BRIGGS: Amazing --

SCHOLES: The 10-2 Niners, 10-2 Saints match-up, it definitely lived up to all the hype. And this is the game of the season, thus far. Picking up under a minute to go, Drew Brees is going to find Trey 'Quan Smith, and he's going to get in from 18 yards out to give the Saints a one-point lead. Brees had five touchdown passes in the game.

But George Kittle of the Niners would not be denied. Catches this fast in 40 seconds left and just bullies his way down the field. After the face-mask penalty, Robbie Gould, an easy game-winning field goal for the Niners. They win 48-46 to improve to 11-2 on the season.

All right, Patriots fans are crying foul this morning after a couple of calls didn't go their way yesterday against the Chiefs. So, Travis Kelce appears to have clearly fumbled this ball. The Pats picked it up, likely would have scored a touchdown, but the ref said Kelce was down. After the Patriots challenge, the call was overturned, but still they didn't get a score out of it.

All right, in the fourth quarter, N'Keal Harry then, catches this pass, he dives for the end zone, looks like a good touchdown, refs though said he was out of the 1, Patriots had to settle for a field goal and down 7, fourth in goal. Tom Brady's pass batted down, Chiefs win, 23-16, snapping the Patriots' 21-game home-winning streak.

All right, Lamar Jackson has been unstoppable this year. So, when some pictures of plays from the Ravens' bench blew on to the field, Bills players looking for any edge they could get, but as you could see, the ref quickly took them away. All right, I'll tell you what? Bill's Vincent -- this play coming, Jackson here scrambling -- looks like he was going to try to run it into the last seconds, just flips it over, Nick Boyle for the touchdown. Ravens win their ninth game in a row, they beat the Bills 24-17.

All right, and finally, college football playoffs are now set. Number one, LSU going to take on number four Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. And number two, Ohio State going to play third-ranked Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. Both those games are going to be on Saturday, December 28th, championship game going to be played January 13th in New Orleans.

And Dave, you know, everything shook out pretty nicely for that --

BRIGGS: Yes --

SCHOLES: Playoff committee, no chaos, no controversy. I don't really like it, I like it when there's some, you know, angry fans on this Monday morning.

BRIGGS: Well, Clemson is not thrilled, they still think they're number one, but there's always a lot of --

SCHOLES: Yes --

BRIGGS: Drama around the way, and right now, yes, the system seems to actually get it right. Thank you, my friend -- go ahead --

SCHOLES: Yes, you're welcome, Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes, one more --

SCHOLES: I was just going to say, we really have no idea how good Clemson is because they haven't played anybody this year.

BRIGGS: Yes, 28-straight wins, I think it is pretty good football team. Andy, thank you --

SCHOLES: Yes --

BRIGGS: Amara, what's coming up?

WALKER: All right, Dave, thank you. House Democrats say they have an air-tight case to impeach the president. But could they derail that plan by including details from the Mueller report?

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[05:25:00]

BRIGGS: A California man is accused of practicing a mass shooting, what officials call distressing YouTube videos. San Diego police arresting 30-year-old Steven Homoki on gun and child endangerment charges. In the video, Homoki appears to be loading guns, crawling on a floor with bullets, reloading and pointing the weapons at people out the window. He was taken into custody without incident last week. No word on an active plot.

WALKER: An Arkansas police officer ambushed and killed according to Fayetteville police. Officer Stephen Carr was sitting in his vehicle in the station's parking lot Saturday night when he was shot and killed. Authorities are describing it as an execution. The gunman identified as 35-year-old London Phillips was shot and killed by responding officers. Police say they have no motive to the killing.

And a rising rapper and singer has died in Chicago. Juice Wrld turned 21 last week.

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(MUSIC)

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WALKER: Chicago police say Juice suffered a medical emergency shortly after arriving at Midway Airport. He died a short time later at the hospital. Police say there were no signs of foul play. Juice was named top new artist at the Billboard Music Awards in May, and Drake posting on Instagram -- "I would love to see all the younger talent live longer. And I hate waking up hearing another story filled with blessings was cut short."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say hello?

(BABY SQUEALING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a very loud hello.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: That, folks, is the sound of pure joy. Four-month-old baby Georgina squealing when her new hearing aids were turned on. She was born with severe deafness. More than half a million people have already viewed the video. Georgina's dad is hoping it will start a discussion for other families with hearing-impaired children. Just imagine, seeing that as a parent, hearing your first sound --

WALKER: It's emotional --

BRIGGS: Remarkable to see.

WALKER: What a beautiful sound.

BRIGGS: EARLY START continues right now. The impeachment probe is nearing a climax in the house. Will Democrats risk adding details from the Mueller probe into articles of impeachment? >

WALKER: The FBI is investigating the Pensacola shooting as an act of terror.

END