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EARLY START

House Democrats to Unveil Articles of Impeachment; DOJ Watchdog: FBI Russia Investigation Justified; USMCA Could Be Announced Today; Man Who Inspired Ice Bucket Challenge Dies; At Least A Dozen Feared Dead in New Zealand Volcano Disasters; Eagles Rally to Beat Giants In Overtime. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired December 10, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


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: 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.

ROMANS: Yes.

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.

[05:00:06]

Breaking overnight, House Democrats plan to unveil two articles of impeachment against President Trump this morning. We expect to learn more at a news conference set for 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

Here's what we do know: according to sources, there will be one article on abuse of power and another on obstruction of Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 also include obstruction of justice detailed in the Mueller report. A source tells CNN getting the votes to pass that separate count could be too 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 chaotic hearing kicked off a two-week dash in the House 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman --

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: Civilized.

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: All right. 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 begun. Given these findings, he would like to hear from the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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, quote, 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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 probe was launched on, quote, the thinnest 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.

[05:05:01]

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, more than a dozen people feared dead after that volcanic eruption in New Zealand. Burn units are at capacity with no signs of life on the island. We're ahead in New Zealand.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Nine and a half minutes past the hour.

A sobering and tragic revelation drawing comparisons to the Pentagon Papers from nearly 50 years ago. A huge, new drove of confidential documents obtained by "The Washington Post."

[05:10:02]

They reveal U.S. officials lied about the war in Afghanistan virtually from day one, to manipulate public opinion. And they show a flawed strategy for winning the war, to remake Afghanistan into a stable, modern democracy so the U.S. could leave. "The Post" says it received nearly 3,000 pages in Freedom of Information lawsuit. They include memos from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He wrote in April 2002, six months after the war began, the fact that Iran and Russia have plans for Afghanistan and we don't, concerns me. Help. BRIGGS: General Douglas Lute, a top adviser to President Bush and

Obama, said in 2015, quote: We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan. What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What we're looking at here is something that calls into question, not only our military operations, but also is a dishonor to the sacrifices that have been made by the service men and women in Afghanistan over these years. This is an inexcusable way to run things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: And President George W. Bush said the U.S. would be in Afghanistan until al Qaeda was, quote, brought to justice. He gave a timeline from a month to a year or two. Over the last 18 years, the U.S. has deployed 775,000 troops, many of them more than once. Two thousand three hundred have died, 20,000 were wounded. The Pentagon alone has spent about $950 billion there.

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

This is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Sounding upbeat there.

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. Forty to 45 percent of auto content must be made in countries where workers earned at least 16 bucks an hour. That's the U.S. and Canada, not necessarily Mexico. It also includes a chapter on digital trade.

If it is approved, it would be a major win for Trump, a rarity with Democrats in control of the House. The deal was also key for freshman Democrats for more conservative districts. Now, 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 stages in the deal. Aides caution deal is not final yet but it looks like it is edging toward the finish line.

BRIGGS: There's a feeling that the Democrats don't want to give him a win before the election.

ROMANS: They need the win for labor more than they need to keep the president from having a win.

BRIGGS: Interesting point.

Ahead, Eli Manning is back as the giants' quarterback. Did he pull off a vintage upset against the rival Eagles? Andy Scholes has that answer in "The Bleacher Report."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:18:32]

ROMANS: The death toll to six and now a dozen people missing after a volcanic eruption in New Zealand. Emergency cruise are still unable to get to that island based on lengthy flyovers. They say there are no signs of life.

An intensive care paramedic who flew to help with the rescue effort compared the scene to a nuclear disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSSELL CLARK, INTENSIVE CARE PARAMEDIC: It was like I've seen the Chernobyl mini series. It was blanketed in ash. It's quite an overwhelming feeling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: CNN's Will Ripley is live in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Ands you've a cruise ship behind you. There were cruise ships dropping off passengers for an adventure hike. What do we know? I mean, people were on the island when this happened.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Forty-seven people were on the island, Christine. Just minutes before the eruption, there were a hundred people on the island. It's a very popular tourist destination.

Much of the local economy is centered around people visiting this active volcano, dancing with danger, hiking right into the crater of the volcano, looking at the steaming, bubbling heat. There were warnings in recent weeks about increased activity at the volcano. And even though the alert level was only level 2, not considered dangerous, there's questions asked.

Questions as to why these tourists paid hundreds of dollars each, to take boat rides to the volcano, and get so close, to this active, seismic, volcano that erupted when there were people that were standing feet away from the crater.

[05:20:12]

There were nine Americans that were on White Island at the time of the eruption, including an American couple from Virginia, Lauren and Matt Urey.

And we spoke with one of the other tourists that were on a boat that had just left the island. The eruption happened and you see this dramatic video of a smoke plume engulfing the entire island, blocking off the sun. The boats went back to rescue survivors. They describe 23 people, on one boat alone, with their skin hanging off of them, burns in some cases over 30 percent of their bodies, 27 people of the 47 were severely burned, Christine.

And, again, just within the last hour, the death toll raising from five to six. And hospital officials warn that more of the injured may not survive this.

ROMANS: Oh, my goodness.

All right. Will Ripley, thank you so much for that. Keep us posted in any developments. Thanks, Will.

BRIGGS: All right. To sports, now. The Philadelphia Eagles needing a huge second-half comeback in order to beat Eli Manning and the Giants.

Andy Scholes has that story in "The Bleacher Report."

It's that sequel that Eli 2, no one saw this one coming. Good morning, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's like the farewell tour, Dave. Good morning to you.

BRIGGS: Yes.

SCHOLES: Eli Manning making his return to the Giants' starting lineup, filling in for the injured Daniel Jones. And he looked like he would lead the Giants to a win over the Eagles. Second quarter, Eli finding Darius Slayton with a beautiful pass for a 55-yard touchdown. The giants led 17-3 at the half.

The second half was a different story. The giants' offense punted on every second-half possession. The Eagles able to force overtime. And Carson Wentz finds Zach Ertz for the game-winning touchdown. Giants have lost nine in a row, tying a team record.

All right. The World Series MVP isn't going anywhere. Stephen Strasburg re-signing with the Washington Nationals and record deal for a pitcher. Strasburg getting $245 million over seven years. That probably means that National star third basemen Anthony Rendon will be moving on.

Also, great move for former Astros ace Garrett Cole. He will likely get more than Strasburg's record deal. The Yankees and Angels reportedly, quote, going hard after Cole.

All right. The finalists for the Heisman Trophy were announced last night. LSU's Joe Burrow, Oklahoma's Jalen Hurt and Ohio State's Chase Young and Justin Fields will be making the trip to New York this weekend. Burrow, the overwhelming favorite after a record-setting season at LSU. The Buckeyes, the first school to have an offensive and defensive player both to be finalists in the same year. The big announcement coming Saturday night.

All right. Finally, the patriots are being investigated by the NFL for inappropriately filming the field and sideline during Sunday's game between the Bengals and Browns in Cleveland. The Bengals are the next opponent. They said the crew was at the game to film a scout, as part of a web series called "Do Your Job".

The team adding, while we sought and were granted access from the Cleveland Browns for the video crew, our failure to inform the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the situation on his weekly radio show.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BILL BELICHICK, PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: We have absolutely nothing to do with anything that they produce, direct or shoot, or anything. I've never seen any of their tapes or anything else. So, this is something, we 100 percent have zero involvement with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: You know, Dave, after spygate back in the day, you know, anytime the patriots are involved, everyone is suspicious.

But this really does actually seem just like an innocent oversight.

BRIGGS: Andy, if this is true, this is a dude in a Chick-fil-A cow suit, sauntering into KFC, going behind the counter to steal the KFC secret recipe of the Colonel. No one wants the --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHOLES: I mean, yes, yes.

BRIGGS: And you're going to get caught. It boggles the mind.

SCHOLES: Come on, yes.

BRIGGS: But again to your point, with Patriots, there's no gray area. It's like politics, you know? Very split.

Andy, thank you, my friend.

ROMANS: You had me at Chick-fil-A/KFC. Now, I'm hungry.

BRIGGS: Now, you're hungry, but you know what I was saying, but you're hungry.

ROMANS: KFC/Chick-fil-A, got it.

BRIGGS: Secret recipe, got it.

ROMANS: Thanks.

All right. Two articles of impeachment will be unveiled in just a few hours. Democrats laying the groundwork, calling the president a danger to the country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:29:14]

ROMANS: A 5-year-old Alabama boy shot and killed during a fight between family members. Birmingham police say there was an altercation Saturday and Tanarius Moore was caught in the crossfire. One suspect is in police custody, the other is still at large.

Tanarius loved youth football and selected to play in his league's all-star game on the morning he died.

BRIGGS: Pete Frates whose battle with ALS helped inspire the ice bucket challenge has died. He was 34.

The former Boston college baseball star was 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 started daring each other to dump ice water on their heads. Soon, people all over the world were posting videos of themselves doing the same. According to the ALS association, it raised $115 million over an eight-week period that summer. He will be missed.

END