Return to Transcripts main page


Dems to Unveil Articles of Impeachment Today; Barr Pushes Back on IG Report; USMCA Could Be Announced Today; Man Who Inspired Ice Bucket Challenge Dies; Saudi Defense Official Traveling to Pensacola. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 10, 2019 - 04:30   ET




DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Today is the day. Democrats ready to unveil two articles of impeachment. What they are and what they mean for the president.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: No spying. No bias. A watchdog says the FBI investigation into Trump campaign was fair but the attorney general disagrees.

BRIGGS: Big day on the trade front as well. Democrats and the White House on the brink of a deal with Canada and Mexico. What it means for American workers.

ROMANS: He inspired a movement that raised more than $100 million to fight ALS. Pete Frates has succumbed to that disease.

And good morning. I'm Christine Romans. Nice to see you this morning.

Thirty-one minutes past the hour this Tuesday morning.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Good morning, everybody.

We start with the latest on the impeachment front. Breaking overnight, House Democrats plan to unveil two articles of impeachment against President Trump this morning. We expect to learn a lot more at a news conference set for 9:00 a.m. Eastern time. Here's what we do know: according to sources, there will be one article on abuse of power and another on obstruction of Congress.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We're at a place where our members -- our leadership of our committees of jurisdiction have now gotten the last input of it and the Q and A -- the question and answer from the minority side on all of this. They'll make a determination and recommendation as to how we -- how we will go forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: At a closed door meeting last night with Speaker Nancy

Pelosi, Democrats debated whether to include the obstruction of justice detailed in the Mueller report. Now, a source tells CNN getting the votes to pass that separate count could be more difficult but references to the Mueller allegations will likely be woven in to show a larger pattern of misconduct by the president.

BRIGGS: Yesterday's hearing kicked off a two week dash likely to end in the third impeachment of a president in U.S. history. Staff attorneys for each side laid out the cases for and against impeachment, highlighting a bitter partisan divide.


DANIEL GOLDMAN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: President Trump's persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security.

STEPHEN CASTOR, REPUBLICAN COUNSEL: To impeach a president who 63 million people voted for, over eight lines in a call transcript is baloney.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): If these abuses go unchecked they will only continue and only grow worse. Each of us took an oath to defend the Constitution. The president is a continuing threat to that Constitution.

We will now hear presentations of evidence --


NADLER: The gentleman is not recognized.

We will now hear presentations of evidence --

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I have a parliamentary inquiry.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): I haven't relayed (ph) my objection yet.

GAETZ: Is this when we just hear staff ask questions of other staff and the members get dealt out of this whole hearing and --

NADLER: The gentleman will --

GAETZ: -- for the next four hours you're going to try to overturn the results of an election with --

NADLER: The gentleman --

GAETZ: -- unelected people giving testimony?

NADLER: The gentleman will suspend.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Sources tell CNN debate on the articles of impeachment will begin in the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. White House sources believe impeachment is a foregone conclusion. They are looking beyond the House to a trial in the Senate and choosing witnesses to refute accusations President Trump pressured Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 elections.

ROMANS: So, President Trump's claim that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign is false. According to a report by the Justice Department's inspector general, the bureau's investigation of the campaign was legal and without bias. That finding undercuts years of conspiracy theories peddled by the president and his allies. The I.G.'s report did find the case was plagued by 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions in surveillance and warrant applications for Carter Page.

Jim Baker was the top FBI lawyer when the investigation started. Given these findings, he would like to hear from the president.


JIM BAKER, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FBI: I think the president should apologize to us. I respectfully ask him to -- I would ask him to apologize to me, to my colleagues because the things he said are just wrong. And I think he should step up and do that at a minimum.


BRIGGS: There were some new revelations in the report. Among them, pro Trump texts by FBI agents in 2016 comparing his win to a super bowl come back.


The president has spent years calling out anti-Trump texts by members of the bureau.

And Christopher Steele, a former British spy who compiled a controversial dossier on the president told investigators it was ridiculous to think he was biased against Mr. Trump. Why? Because he had been friendly with Ivanka Trump. According to the reports, if anything, he was favorably disposed toward the Trump family.

ROMANS: The inspector general's findings are clear and undeniable but the president and his allies disagree.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was an overthrow of government. This was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it and they got caught. They got caught red-handed.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": The actual report was something of a disaster for the FBI and it was obvious to anyone who actually read it.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEW HOST, "THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW": Everything we have been reporting for years was dead-on accurate. We were right every step of the way.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST, "THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW": The report, as I mentioned to Hannity, is a devastating indictment of our FBI and our intel-gathering apparatus.


ROMANS: No, it was not. But Attorney General Bill Barr is still taking the extraordinary step of disagreeing publicly with his own inspector general. He insists the Russian probe was launched on the thinnest of suspicions that in my view were insufficient to justify the steps taken.

U.S. attorney John Durham handpicked by Barr to separately investigate the investigation also says he does not agree with some of the report's conclusions.

An announcement to advance President Trump's North American trade deal, the USMCA could be made as early as today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won't say if she has all Democrats on board to make sure it passes instead saying this.


PELOSI: With all the aspects for Mexico, for Canada, for U.S., for our friends in labor, for the environmental concerns that we have, for issues that relate to pharmaceuticals that are perhaps going to be part of the discussion, but we also have to implement it -- let me just say, once we go down that path, we'll be OK.


ROMANS: USMCA is different from the 1993 NAFTA in several ways. One of the biggest changes is it will require more car parts to be made in North America in order for the car to be free from tariffs. It also includes a chapter on digital trade.

If it is approved, it would be a win for Trump, a rarity with Democrats in control of the House. The deal is key for freshman Democrats for more conservative districts. They support the deal in substance and believe a bipartisan achievement would play well for them on the campaign trail.

A source said Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and senior adviser Jared Kushner are heading to Mexico to discuss final changes in that deal but aides caution the deal is not final yet.

BRIGGS: Congress one big step closer to outlining surprise immediate bills after months of stalemate. House and Senate lawmakers have of reached a bipartisan deal sparing Americans from unexpected out of network bills sometimes up to tens of thousands of dollars, one of the few issues with broad support in both parties. But it became bogged down amid heavy lob jig and ad blitz by the healthcare industry.

Insurers want the government to set a benchmark rate. Doctors, hospitals and lab prefer resolving disputes through arbitration, but either way, under the deal, patients would only have to pay the in- network rate.

ROMANS: Bipartisanship not dead.

All right. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg acting to address concerns about transparency. He'll be able to disclose the corporate clients he served between 2007 and 2010 while working for a high end consulting firm McKinsey. McKinsey waived his nondisclosure agreement, but he can't reveal confidential information during that time.

The Buttigieg campaign decided to give the press access to his private fundraisers. Buttigieg has spent significant time at top dollar fundraisers, building a substantial campaign war chest.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the Houston police chief fired up and fed up with guns as he buries another officer lost to gun violence.


CHIEF ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: So I don't want to see their little smug faces about how much they care about law enforcement when I'm burying a sergeant because they don't want to piss off the NRA.




BRIGGS: It's 4:43 eastern time.

High-ranking Saudi defense attache traveling to Pensacola Florida to meet with U.S. officials to investigate Friday's shooting. Three service members were killed. The FBI investigating this as an act of terrorism.

Tensions are rising between the two countries over the detention of up to a dozen Saudi nationals, but President Trump publicly supporting the kingdom through it all.

Nic Robertson live for us from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the latest on this.

Nic, good morning.


Not quite clear precisely what that defense attache is going to Pensacola for, what he'll say U.S. to officials he'll meet with. But we do understand some of those Saudis on the base have been questioned are wanting to leave the base. They have had access to lawyers.

So, precisely what the defense the attache brings is not clear. What's emerging we're understanding from examining the Twitter account or what is widely being viewed as a Twitter account of the shooter here is that this is a man who in the last minutes before the attack was espousing anti-American views.


But actually, his Twitter account has spent far more time over recent months, at least since the summer of promoting views of, in one case an author, a Saudi author in jail here for his views since 2016 for promoting the views of a Kuwaiti cleric who the Saudis see as a radical extremist.

So, it really raises that question about how did, with all the high- tech sophisticated software that the Saudis have to watch social media accounts, how did he get away one the radar? And that is part of the question that is emerging, how did he get away with this, if you will? How is it not picked up by the Saudis?

So, of course, transparency and cooperation here is going to reflect very heavily on President Trump and how much he supports what the Saudi king says. The Saudis promise to help in the investigation. But there's beginning to emerge that questions about how much they knew about this shooter and what he was tweeting -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes, a lot of questions there indeed. Nic Robertson live for us in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, thank you.

ROMANS: The Russian President Vladimir Putin put showing little remorse after the World Anti-Doping Agency unanimously banned Russia from major sporting competitions for four years for doping. That means no 2020 Olympics and no 2022 World Cup. The Russian whistle- blower who exposed the cover-up said Russia weaponized doping fraud and state sponsored criminal activity. Putin slammed the decision.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Have to see what has been done by an individual (ph). A punishment couldn't be collective, and being applied to people who have no relations to such violations.


ROMANS: The ban leaves the door open for Russian athletes who can prove they are not tainted to compete as neutral athletes.

All right. This sweater is not safe for your office holiday party. Take a good look at that. Let it snow three lines in the middle. Oh, my goodness. This is a bad Santa, next.



ROMANS: A Boeing whistle-blower expected to tell lawmakers he alerted managers about mistakes and corner cutting months before two deadly crashes that killed 346 people. Former Boeing employee Ed Pierson is scheduled to testify tomorrow before the House Transportation Committee. Before the crashes, Pierson wrote to an executive, quote, for the first time, I'm hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane.

FAA administrator Stephen Dickson also scheduled to testify. That agency has come under scrutiny for allowing Boeing to self-certify planes. That's a process that's now changing.

BRIGGS: A blistering attack on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican lawmakers from Houston police chief, Art Acevedo. Acevedo was outraged by their failure to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Listen to his remarks as his department prepares to bury Sergeant Chris Brewster, an officer who was shot and killed while responding to a call on Saturday.


ACEVEDO: The NRA doesn't like the fact that we want to take firearms out of the hands of boyfriends that abuse their girlfriends. And who killed our sergeant? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend.

So you're either here for women and children, and our daughters and our sisters and our aunts or you're here for the NRA. So I don't want to see their little smug faces about how much they care about law enforcement when I'm burying a sergeant because they don't want to piss off the NRA.


BRIGGS: In April, the House voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act but talks fell apart in the Senate.

ROMANS: Twenty-eight patients at children's medical center of Dallas relocating after routine air tests found higher than normal levels of mold. Spokesperson said patients were moved last week from the cardiac intensive care unit to other parts of the hospital out of an abundance of caution. No patients have become infected and none had experience any ill health effects as a result of the mold. Hospital officials are investigating those test results.

BRIGGS: New York City has agreed to temporarily stop sending homeless families across the Hudson to Newark, a move Newark's mayor called jettisoning. Newark claimed in a lawsuit filed last week that New York was pressuring families in shelters to move outside the city to apartments New York paid for a year in advance. Newark, New Jersey, said New York wasn't properly checking the condition of the housing which was often substandard. The two cities will work out a more permanent deal including New York giving Newark a list of client addresses so Newark can monitor the places itself.

ROMANS: Fellow train passengers save the day after a man tries to steal a woman's wheelchair right under her.

Phoenix police posted security footage showing the suspect aggressively pushing a woman out of her wheelchair on the train. She tried to grab the handrails but he eventually throws her to the ground and runs off with the chair. Fellow passengers chased the man, grabbing him on the platform, and retrieving the wheelchair.

Twenty-six-year-old Austin Shurbutt is charged with robbery, kidnapping, and assault.


BRIGGS: Pete Frates, whose battle with ALS helped inspire the ice bucket challenge, has died. He was just 34. The former Boston College baseball star diagnosed in 2012 with Lou Gehrig's disease, which has no known cure.

The challenge went viral in the summer of 2014 after Frates and his family starting daring each other to dump ice water on their heads. Soon, people all over the world, from athletes to U.S. presidents, posting videos of themselves doing the same. According To the ALS Association it raised $115 million over an eight-week period that summer.

ROMANS: Soccer star Megan Rapinoe who helped lead the U.S. Women's national team to another world cup title has been named "Sports Illustrated's" 2019 Sports Person of the Year.


MEGAN RAPINOE, SOCCER STAR: New York City, you're the mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) best!


ROMANS: That was Rapinoe with the World Cup parade in New York City back in July. Rapinoe was a fierce advocate for social issues and pushed for pay equity equal to the men's national team. The two-time World Cup winner is just the fourth woman in the award's 66-year history to win the honor alone.

Let's get a check on CNN business this Tuesday morning.

First look at markets, mostly leaning lower here. Take a look at Wall Street. Wall Street futures also down. Looked like a triple digit decline.

Stocks closed lower Monday, giving back a chunk of the rally from late last week. The Dow fell 100 points. S&P and Nasdaq down as well.

Investors waiting for any news on the U.S.-China trade war. There are just five days until new tariffs on Chinese goods are scheduled to kick in.

Famed economist and former Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, has died. He was 92 years old. He's best known for his battles against inflation in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He returned to public service 20 years later after the financial crisis serving as an economic adviser to President Obama. He was praised by his successors including Jerome Powell who said his

life exemplified the highest ideals, integrity, courage and a commitment to do what was best for all Americans.

I had a good fortune of interviewing him many times. There we are I think three or four years ago -- 6'7". So there's my 5'3" niece, 6'7".

Really a patient mentor to young reporters and just fierce advocate for credibility. He often told reporters when you're not in a financial crisis, you have to be credible always, do your work, because when the bottom falls out of the economy or a crisis happens, your credibility is all you have and that's what leadership is.

So we thank him for his service to the economy and sad day for his family.

All right. Hard turn here on this. Look at this sweater. This sweater not safe for your office holiday party.

Walmart Canada is apologizing for a Christmas sweater that features Santa and three white lines that look similar to cocaine. Walmart said these sweaters sold by a third party seller on, our website in Canada, do not represent Walmart's values and have no place on our website. Walmart added the sweater has been removed and it was not available in the U.S.

Removed I think after the thing sold out, right?

BRIGGS: That's what I was reading online.

The description it made clear. If the picture didn't exactly what they are intending to sell. It is hard to find a unique ugly Christmas sweater. I don't know if you tried. I mean, it's such a crowded, overplayed industry.

ROMANS: The drug lord Christmas sweater wasn't going to go at my church Christmas party. No.

BRIGGS: I didn't see that one coming at all. Didn't see that one on my Christmas party.

All right. Ahead, thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.


BRIGGS: Today is the day. Democrats ready to unveil two articles of impeachment. What they are and what they mean for the president.

ROMANS: Not perfect but not biased. A watchdog says the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign was fair. But the attorney general disagrees. BRIGGS: A big day on the trade front. Democrats and the White House

on the brink of a deal with Mexico and Canada. What it means for American workers.

ROMANS: He inspired a movement that raised more than $100 million, to fight ALS. Pete Frates has succumbed to that disease.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

You must have done some of those, or few of those in your lifetime.

BRIGGS: I think I did it. And each of my kids successfully did it.

ROMANS: It was a movement, it was a movement.

BRIGGS: You weren't on Instagram but you probably did it, right?

ROMANS: I did it.

BRIGGS: Well, I guess it was a Facebook thing when it started.


BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs, everybody. Tuesday, December 10th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. It is 55 days until the Iowa caucuses.

But, of course, impeachment taking center stage. Breaking overnight, House Democrats plan to unveil two articles of impeachment against President Trump this morning.