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EARLY START

House On Track To Impeach President Donald Trump Next Week; Last Campaign Day Before U.K. Vote; Police Officer, Three Others Killed In Jersey City Rampage. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 11, 2019 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:31:18]

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the first formal step toward impeaching the president. What to watch for ahead of the first votes tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They spied on our campaign, OK?

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: These irregularities, these misstatements leave open the possibility to infer bad faith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president and his attorney general both refuse to accept there was no spying on the 2016 campaign.

BRIGGS: Four people, including a police officer, killed in a shooting rampage in Jersey City, New Jersey. Who the mayor says was targeted.

ROMANS: And what does $324 million mean to you? Gerrit Cole gets the highest annual value in baseball history from the New York Yankees.

Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans -- and that's a lot of money.

BRIGGS: As Coy Wire just told us, $100,000 a day for nine years.

ROMANS: Nine thousand dollars a pitch.

BRIGGS: Wow. I'm Dave Briggs. It is 5:32 Eastern time.

We start in the nation's capital. First, the charge is now -- debate officially begins on impeaching President Trump.

Tonight, the House Judiciary Committee begins discussing and amending the articles of impeachment. The meetings will be public and on camera. Lawmakers will consider two articles introduced yesterday, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. ROMANS: Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff pushing back on the suggestion voters should decide the president's fate next November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The argument why don't you just wait amounts to this. Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Now, congressional Democrats face a glaring spotlight and a ticking clock. The House goes on recess next Friday.

President Trump hit the road just hours after the impeachment articles were unveiled and this was peak campaign mode -- a raucous rally in Hersey, Pennsylvania, a key battleground state.

He attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and called the case against him flimsy and pathetic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This is the lightest, weakest impeachment. You know, our country's had, actually, many impeachments. You call judges and lots of other -- many impeachments, but it was on today everybody said this is impeachment light. They're embarrassed by the impeachment. And our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And that's just not true. The president's poll numbers are essentially unchanged over the last few weeks.

The president downplayed his chances of being removed from office, pointing to the strong support he enjoys among Republicans.

BRIGGS: The Justice Department watchdog who found no bias in the FBI probe of the Trump campaign testifies publicly today. Michael Horowitz's report found the investigation was justified, undercutting two years of Trump conspiracy theories. But the president not backing away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The inspector general's shocking report proved that the Obama FBI obtained secret warrants to spy on my campaign based on a phony foreign dossier of debunked smears paid for by crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC. And, folks, they spied on our campaign, OK -- they spied.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: There was no spying and many parts of that dossier were actually later corroborated.

ROMANS: The inspector general did find some inaccuracies and omissions with surveillance applications for former Trump adviser Carter Page.

And the attorney general, Bill Barr, seizing on those mistakes. He claims they spoiled the entire investigation.

[05:35:03]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: These irregularities, these misstatements, these omissions were not satisfactorily explained and I think that leaves open the possibility to infer bad faith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Barr has appointed Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham to perform a more wide-ranging review of the 2016 FBI investigations. He says he will consider that the final word. Durham's report is expected in the spring or summer, just in time for the election.

BRIGGS: More ahead on this from Jackie Kucinich. Plus, an election with big implications for the future of the U.K. just one day away. CNN is live in London with the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: The House Judiciary Committee starts debating two articles of impeachment against President Trump today -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Opening statements today, amendments tomorrow, maybe a vote end of Thursday or Friday, and the whole thing will be televised.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

Let's bring in "Daily Beast" Washington bureau chief, Jackie Kucinich, a CNN political analyst. Good morning.

[05:40:03]

BRIGGS: Good morning, Jackie.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Good morning.

ROMANS: So, sticking real close to where we are right now -- today, tonight -- what does it do, I guess, for the national picture for the public to understand what's happening here?

KUCINICH: Right. So, tonight they're going to, what they call, start to mark up these articles of impeachment which they introduced yesterday. So, you know, what that means is we're going to see a lot of debate. I don't know that these will be changed at all coming out of committee. ROMANS: Yes.

KUCINICH: But what this does, it's the next step in the process for bringing these impeachment articles to the floor of the House. They need to be passed out of committee, which will likely be on a party- line vote and then they go to -- they'll go to the House floor as soon as next week. So this process is -- we're getting into the final stages of this process.

And, you know, who I'm going to be watching -- maybe not some of the folks that are on the Diaz (ph) of the Judiciary Committee, but those moderate Democrats who might not be as willing to vote for some of these articles of impeachment. You know, you can vote for one article and not the other.

ROMANS: Yes.

KUCINICH: We saw that during the Clinton impeachment. You had members doing that.

So it's about to get -- it's about to get really complicated for those particular members the next two weeks.

BRIGGS: And it should make for a very interesting congressional ball at the White House tonight. Certainly, a festive --

KUCINICH: Indeed.

BRIGGS: -- feeling.

Can we take some solace in the fact that yesterday, the USMCA was passed?

KUCINICH: Right.

BRIGGS: Democrats and Republicans and the White House working together to get a trade deal done.

KUCINICH: Well, it was -- so the compromise was or --

ROMANS: Right.

KUCINICH: -- the cohesion, I guess, was announced yesterday and I think we're anticipating a vote on that --

ROMANS: Yes.

KUCINICH: -- next week along with everything else -- government funding. You name it, dream it, you can do it next week, apparently.

But, truly, Democrats really -- it was -- it was a fascinating day on the hill yesterday because you had at 9:00 a.m. this very somber impeachment press conference, and at 10:00 a.m. you had Democrats essentially high-fiving each other around the podium and a very jovial scene announcing this compromise on USMCA. So -- and it was interesting, the optics of that second press conference. You had every faction of the Democratic caucus on that stage to show and -- as much to show --

ROMANS: Yes.

KUCINICH: -- unity and to show -- particularly those moderate members I just mentioned --

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: Yes.

KUCINICH: -- that they have something to sell going home.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: Mitch McConnell says they're not going to do anything until next year, so slow-walking that.

ROMANS: Yes, but --

KUCINICH: Right.

ROMANS: -- it does allow some of those freshmen Democrats in Trump districts be able to go home and say look, I'm not just about impeachment. I'm trying to get the work done --

BRIGGS: Yes, right.

ROMANS: -- for the American worker and that's --

KUCINICH: And that long -- that long holiday break.

ROMANS: Yes, exactly.

Let's talk about how the president is surviving impeachment. We saw him at this raucous Hershey, Pennsylvania press -- you know, rally last night that was just really something. And you can see that he's almost -- looks like he's surviving impeachment the way he campaigns, which is just --

KUCINICH: Right.

ROMANS: -- not even acknowledging facts and instead, holding onto lies -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This is the lightest, weakest impeachment. They're embarrassed by the impeachment. And our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment.

The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign. Look how they've hurt people. Their lives have been destroyed by scum. The dossier was written by a discredited foreign agent who, quote,

"desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the United States president."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Yes, sometimes these campaign rallies are more performance art than fact, right, but this is important to see where the president's mindset is. That he is telling his supporters don't believe what you see and hear, you know. Black is white, white is black. The sun doesn't rise in the morning.

KUCINICH: Well, so what the president is doing is he's making himself the only arbiter of truthful information to his supporters, which is why he's worked to discredit the FBI, he's worked to discredit the media, his opponents, other Republicans who might speak out against him. By creating his own reality he makes himself the most powerful person in the room, even though he is the most powerful person in the room.

But this misinformation is part of what keeps his base close --

ROMANS: Yes.

KUCINICH: -- and they don't care. As long as he's saying it they believe it.

ROMANS: Jackie, my favorite -- my favorite one from yesterday, honestly, was when he took credit for saving American marriages because men look smarter than they really are because the stock market is up 79 percent and they're taking credit for it even though they say sir, we know --

BRIGGS: Sure.

ROMANS: -- you're the reason the stock market is up but you're making me look better --

BRIGGS: It makes sense.

ROMANS: -- in my marriage. That's my favorite one.

BRIGGS: Jackie, last question is a surprise. "Time" person of the year comes out this morning. Who you got?

KUCINICH: Oh, man, I mean, I feel like it could be Nancy Pelosi. I know she's been --

[05:45:04]

BRIGGS: It could be.

KUCINICH: -- someone that's been talked about.

BRIGGS: Yes.

KUCINICH: But they could go -- they could go with the Hong Kong protesters because of --

BRIGGS: Yes.

KUCINICH: -- what they're still going through there. But it's always an exciting day.

ROMANS: Michael Smerconish has suggested the diplomats should win it.

BRIGGS: I thought Pelosi. The Hong Kong protesters overwhelming leader on the "TODAY" poll, but that should be interesting.

Jackie, good to see you.

KUCINICH: It will be.

ROMANS: Thanks, Jackie.

KUCINICH: All right, good to see you, guys. Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right.

More than 20 million people along the east coast will see treacherous driving conditions and travel delays are rain turns to snow.

Here's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, guys.

Another winter storm system across the northeast but at least this particular one going to be short-lived.

But first, this weather is brought to you by Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker, the pressure cooker that crisps.

And when you take a look at what's happening across the northeast you have the snow showers in place for at least the next couple of hours. We expect the weather alerts in place here to expire as we go in towards around lunchtime. And, of course, with it, the snow showers begin to taper off as well.

But just a dusting possible in and around Washington, Philly, and New York as well. You get up into Providence, on into Boston, maybe a couple of inches comes out of this quick-moving system.

Back behind it another weather maker -- another lake-enhanced snow machine in the works here with certainly some snow showers but really, minimal amounts. Generally, two to four inches across northern Michigan, Minnesota, and on into areas of Wisconsin as well.

The big story has to be the significant turn in temperatures, running some 20 to almost 30 degrees colder than this time yesterday across a large area of the country. In fact, it was 63 yesterday afternoon in Boston, about 35 this afternoon. And New York City goes from the upper 50s down to the upper 30s for an afternoon high -- guys. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Oh, that should be fun putting up the Christmas lights. Pedram, thanks.

We'll be right back.

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[05:51:34]

BRIGGS: Today is the final campaign day before British voters go to the polls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: (Smashing union flag branded JCB 'Brexit' digger through piles of boxes in campaign event.)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the controls of that front end loader. He announced the election date when MPs refused to fast- track his Brexit bill. Tomorrow's vote widely seen as a referendum on withdrawal from the E.U.

Hadas Gold live for us in London. A man that gets theatrics, to say the least. Hadas, good morning.

HADAS GOLD, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICS MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Good morning.

We have just under 24 hours before what's been dubbed likely one of the most consequential elections in modern British history because whichever party wins this vote will likely get to determine what Brexit will look like in the U.K. or even it happens.

Now, the conservatives, as you saw there, are going all-in on Brexit. They're saying they're the only party that can get Brexit done.

The Opposition Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, is focusing on more domestic issues like the National Health Service -- highlighting, for example, these really harrowing images of a young boy who has had to sleep on the floor of a hospital emergency room when the hospital ran out of beds. The Labour Party saying the NHS is in crisis and they are the only ones who can bring it back to what it used to be.

But when you look at the numbers, the conservatives have been leading in the polls in the last few months. And the latest polls that was released night by the YouGov does show that they're still ahead by a few seats, which would give them a bigger margin than they had in 2017.

However, the race is tightening. And when you look at the numbers compared to the previous polls and when you look at that line, it's going down. The margin is really narrowing and that is what the opposition parties are trying to get onto.

But with the race tightening, now the possibility of a hung Parliament is within the margin of error, which means if we get that, we're back to square one on Brexit -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Oh, boy, what a mess it could be.

Hadas Gold live for us at about 11:00 a.m. there. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

You won't believe what you're seeing here -- or not seeing in Sydney, Australia. Smoke from the many brushfires in New South Wales smothering Sydney.

In some areas, the air quality is 11 times higher than the hazardous level. The state director of environmental health calls the conditions unprecedented. There's growing concern about the long-term effect on children and the elderly.

BRIGGS: Many unanswered questions this morning after an hours-long gun battle ended in the deaths of four people, including a police officer, in Jersey City, New Jersey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(Gunshots)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The shooting began just after noon and moved among three locations that drew officers from neighboring departments.

The fallen officer was identified as Detective Joseph Seals. He was part of the statewide antiviolence unit credited with removing guns from the street.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. PHIL MURPHY, NEW JERSEY: There are days that require us to stop and think about what it means to put on a uniform every day, and God knows this is one of those days. If not for them, I shudder, we shudder to think of how much worse today could have been.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Police say three victims and two suspects were found inside a kosher grocery store. Jersey City's mayor says based on an initial investigation, the shooters targeted the location. He did not offer further explanation.

[05:55:00]

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio directed the NYPD to redeploy assets to protect key locations in the Jewish community. The Pentagon is halting operational training now for all Saudi military students in the United States as it investigates last week's deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The shooter was a Saudi airman.

The Pentagon plans to review how it screens foreign military students and how they are given access to bases.

CNN has also learned the FBI issued a warning in May about a hunting license loophole for gun purchases. The Pensacola shooter was able to legally purchase a 9mm Glock handgun under that exception.

BRIGGS: Children born from frozen embryo transfers face a higher risk of childhood cancer. That's according to fertility researchers who studied over one million children born in Denmark.

The cancer rate among those born to fertile women was about 17 per 100,000. It was 44 per 100,000 -- more than double among children born from frozen embryo transfers. There wasn't a significantly higher risk using other types of fertility treatment.

ROMANS: All right, a look at markets around the world right now, you can see struggling for direction here. Asian markets struggling without more progress signaled on the U.S.-China trade deal.

On Wall Street, futures are listless here. Markets didn't do much on Tuesday. Investors really didn't respond strongly at the end of the day to the new USMCA -- that new NAFTA -- or on news that the U.S. and China are working on a deal to maybe delay those December 15th tariffs.

The Dow barely wobbled. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also inched lower here.

Investors are paying close attention to today's Federal Reserve meeting. Policymakers are expected to hold rates steady. They could hint at future rate cuts next year.

All right. Peloton is speeding downhill. Its stock skidded six percent lower after a warning from short seller Citron Research.

Citron says the stock is only worth five bucks a share. That would be an 85 percent drop. The reason, Citron sees Peloton as a one-trick pony, like Fitbit or GoPro, with competition from cheaper rivals.

Remember that Peloton holiday commercial that went viral for all the wrong reasons? Critics accuse it of peddling negative body image. But, wow, that was the most talked about Peloton story for about a week there.

BRIGGS: At least.

An Atlanta church lending a big helping hand to struggling families this holiday season. The Cascade United Methodist Church paid off $10,000 in layaway accounts at a local Walmart for nearly two dozen families. For Suwanda McCreary, who lost her son back in April, the generous gift came at just the right time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUWANDA MCREARY, SON DIED IN APRIL: It's a big help. It's a tremendous help because I really wasn't able to do it because sometime I would borrow money. And to get this phone call, it meant a whole lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The church pastor says he hopes the families will be inspired to pay it forward someday.

ROMANS: It's a holiday miracle. Employees of a Maryland real estate company never saw it coming. At their annual holiday party this past weekend, the nearly-200 employees of St. John Properties received a very big gift.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are all participating in a bonus, based on the number of years, of $10 million.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The bonus varies depending on years of service, but the average employee received $50,000. People were hugging and crying, generally in disbelief after opening their envelopes. The money is on top of their regular annual year-end bonuses.

BRIGGS: Speaking of big bonuses, Gerrit Cole is a very rich New York Yankee this morning. The highly coveted free agent pitcher has agreed to a record-shattering nine-year deal worth $324 million.

The 29-year-old Cole was 20 and five with the Astros last season and led the Majors in strikeouts.

The new deal has an annual value of $36 million --

ROMANS: Is he worth it? I mean --

BRIGGS: Nobody is worth that on the back end. But if they win a World Series or two, absolutely, yes.

ROMANS: And that's really worth 300-and-some million dollars for one guy?

BRIGGS: In today's sports economics, yes. Hard to believe it.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm very envious of Garret Cole. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I am -- BRIGGS: "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ROMANS: -- a very poor Christine --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The House Judiciary Committee will begin formal discussions on impeachment tonight.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Two articles of impeachment charging Donald Trump with committing high crimes and misdemeanors.

TRUMP: You saw their so-called articles of impeachment. People are saying they're not even a crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A president who was willing to jeopardize the national security of the American people must be held accountable.

REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R-OK): From day one, they have been in search of a crime. President Trump hasn't committed a crime.

SCHIFF: Why don't you just wait amounts to this. Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, December 11th.

END