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House To Vote On Impeachment This Week; Army And Navy Launch Internal Investigations Into Hand Gesture Captured On Video; Hallmark Channel Returns LGBT Ads To Air. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 16, 2019 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: -- EARLY START this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans. Good morning.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs. Good morning, everyone, 5:29 Eastern time.

We start in the nation's capital this morning. It is all but certain the House will vote to impeach the president this week. Before the case goes to the Senate, minority leader Chuck Schumer laying out his vision for the Senate's trial. He wants witness testimony and new documents, a far cry from the plan top Republicans are putting forward for a quick trial.

ROMANS: Among the witnesses Schumer wants, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who admitted a quid pro quo, then walked it back. And, former national security adviser John Bolton, who had intimate knowledge of all things Ukraine before his unceremonious departure this year.

Now, one reason Schumer is taking early action, Republican tactics are sparking claims from Democrats the impeachment trial will be rigged from the start.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, there wasn't any doubt.

GRAHAM: I am not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here. I want to end it. I don't want to legitimize it. I hate what they're doing.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with White House counsel.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The Constitution prescribes a special oath for the senators when they sit as a trial and impeachment. They have to pledge to do impartial justice. And here you have the majority leader of the Senate -- in effect, the foreman of the jury -- saying he's going to work hand in glove with the defense attorney. That's a violation of the oath that they're about to take and it's a complete subversion of the constitutional scheme.


BRIGGS: Overnight, the House Judiciary Committee released its 658- page impeachment report declaring President Trump has realized the framer's worst nightmare. The report argues the president committed crimes, including bribery, a point that was not explicitly in the impeachment articles. Part of the Republicans' defense of the president is no actual crimes were committed.

New polls out over the weekend show little to no movement in public opinion following the House proceedings.

ROMANS: All right. Sources tell CNN a freshman Democratic lawmaker is planning to switch parties and become a Republican. Now, six members of Jeff Van Drew's staff have quit. In a letter, the staffers say they can no longer in good conscience continue their service. Van Drew strongly opposes the impeachment of President Trump.

Internal polling shows he's losing support among Democrats in his district. Switching parties allows him to avoid a Democratic primary challenge.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is planning to hire Van Drew's former staffers.

BRIGGS: James Comey admitted he made a mistake, so President Trump wants him to go to jail. Comey said Sunday morning there was real sloppiness in the Bureau's effort to obtain FISA warrants in 2016 to secretly conduct surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The Justice Department internal watchdog determined the FBI was justified opening the investigation. There was no bias but the inspector general found serious errors in the way the probe was conducted.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Significant errors in the FISA process and you say that it was handled in a thoughtful and appropriate way.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: He's right, I was wrong. I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough. It's incredibly hard to get a FISA. I was overconfident in those.


ROMANS: It didn't take long for the president to react. Cue the Twitter tirade. What are the consequences for his unlawful conduct? Could be years in jail.

And then he went on to blame his predecessor because inspector general Horowitz was appointed by Obama. "Big credibility loss. Obama knew everything." As if often the case, the president -- current president provided no proof to back up that Twitter claim.

All right, more ahead on all of this. Plus, why Harvey Weinstein says he's a pioneer for women.



ROMANS: The full House set to vote this week on impeachment as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer now laying out his vision for the Senate's all but certain impeachment trial. He says he wants new documents and testimony from a number of administration witnesses, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Now, that's different than the plan top Republicans are putting forward, featuring a short trial with no witnesses.

BRIGGS: And coordination as well.

Joining us here, Princeton University historian and profession Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. Good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning.


BRIGGS: In terms of Mitch McConnell -- what he said to Sean Hannity over the weekend -- and Lindsey Graham over the weekend as well, how far are we in terms of what the framers intended when it comes to an impeachment trial in the Senate, specifically?

ZELIZER: Very far. I mean partisanship is Trump being over triumph -- I mean, over governance. And so far what the Republicans are signaling is they're not open to a trial. Their position is already set -- they will defend the president and this isn't really an open- ended part of the inquiry.

ROMANS: I mean, you're a historian, right, so the Republican Party coordinated -- Republican leadership coordinated with the president and with the White House for how it will respond in this -- in this trial.

What happened in the Watergate days? Did the Republican Party -- traditionally, does the party stick with the president?

ZELIZER: Republicans stood by the president pretty long during Watergate -- more than we remember. But they did start to break with the president when he started to obstruct. It was pretty notable in the House Judiciary Committee, Republicans who were loyal to the president.

When the president said I will not turn things over --


ZELIZER: -- they said you have to follow the process. We have a constitutional system. We are far from that.


ZELIZER: Right now, the process has been put to the wayside.

BRIGGS: And I hate to again fast-forward through this dramatic week in the House because it is historic and it is important.


BRIGGS: Again, in the Senate, how central a role could Justice Roberts actually play here?

ZELIZER: Well, very important. He's the one who can fast-track some of these decisions. He has the authority if Democrats are insisting on trying to call witnesses or get more documents to make that happen.


It's unclear if he will. He might defer to the courts. But he will have significant power to actually change what the president can or can't do.

ROMANS: What's so interesting to me is that there -- you hear the Democrats saying that the Republicans have prejudged how they're going to handle this. And the Republicans saying the Democrats have preloaded this and prejudged how they're going to handle this. And the American people have not changed their opinions along the way here.

This Fox News poll on impeachment and removal -- 50 percent said yes, 46 percent said no. And when you look from poll to poll to poll to poll you really haven't seen movement.

What does that say a) about the process and importance of the process and the constitutional sanctity of the process of impeachment, and the American public?

ZELIZER: The process is more important, not less important now because if we are that polarized and if public opinion doesn't shift, it makes it even more important that Congress goes through with this if they think a president has abused his power.

They can't do this based on public opinion and in this era, public opinion doesn't shift much. So it's about laying a case out for history and laying a case out for the public, and they have to follow through with that.

BRIGGS: Congressman Jeff Van Drew switching parties, going from Democrat to Republican. Will that have any impact on the proceedings, on the perception?

ZELIZER: No, it won't. It won't -- it won't have any impact on the vote. It will be a talking point for the president.

It's small potatoes compared to the damage Republicans have suffered in the midterms and with retirements and with Amash, so we have to put that in perspective. But it will be a talking point that the president talks about.

ROMANS: It looks to you like he's avoiding a primary challenger because he supports -- he supports the president, is against impeachment, and is a Democrat?

ZELIZER: It's not about principle, it's about he was about to lose and that's why he's doing this. It's unclear what his future will be, but a lot of Democrats are obviously unhappy that he's made this decision.

ROMANS: It sure is nice to have a professor on the set first thing Monday morning, right? How did we do?

BRIGGS: It is always --

ROMANS: Did I pass that test?

BRIGGS: Julian Zelizer, good to see you, my friend.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

ROMANS: Thank you, sir.

ZELIZER: Thank you very much.

ROMANS: All right.

The Democrats' final debate of 2019 is set for Thursday but candidates are looking to diversify the stage in 2020. Nine of the candidates are calling on the Democratic Party to ease the standards for qualifying in the January and February debates, Sen. Cory Booker leading the charge. He failed to qualify for Thursday night's event and is quick to point out that those who did are all white, with the exception of Andrew Yang.

BRIGGS: He and other candidates want the DNC to use polling or fundraising thresholds. Currently there are -- both are required.

DNC chairman Tom Perez has already decided that the January debate will continue to require both, he tells "The New York Times." He believes everything the committee has done has been quote, "completely fair and transparent."

In the meantime, all seven Democrats who qualified for this week's debate at Loyola Marymount University in California are threatening to boycott if an ongoing union dispute at the venue is not resolved.

ROMANS: All right, so stay tuned to that.

A trade truce. China has scrapped new tariffs on U.S. goods. The two countries are pulling back from a trade war that has gripped global markets.

On Friday, Washington and Beijing said they had finally reached the first phase of an elusive trade deal. China promises to buy more farm products. The U.S. will roll back some tariff rates. Businesses want to see the fine print.

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer claimed a major Trump victory.


ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Friday was probably the most momentous day in trade history ever. That day, we submitted the USMCA -- the Mexico-Canada agreement -- which is about $1.4 trillion worth of the economy -- I mean, of trade, and then in addition to this, which is about $600 billion. So that's literally about half of total trade were announced on the same day. It was extremely momentous.


ROMANS: That North American trade deal may have hit a snag just days after it was assigned. Mexico is angry over a clause allowing U.S. labor inspectors into Mexican factories.

A House vote to approve the deal is expected as early as Thursday.

Now, global markets right now are mixed. One economist saying this. Phase one picked the low-hanging fruit; now for the hard part.

All right, winter weather across the Heartland. Nearly 40 million people under some type of advisory from the Rockies to the mid- Atlantic.

I-70 is closed or blocked in several locations by accidents, and weather conditions in Missouri and Kansas. Near Greenwood, Nebraska, three people died, four were injured in a weather-related crash on I- 80.

There's also the risk of severe today for 10 million people in the southeast.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has more.



A lot of weather to be had across the country today, and even notice across the Gulf Coast some severe weather here along a frontal boundary where an enhanced risk is in place, which on a scale of one to five is a three, and it includes cities such as Jackson.

And work your way just into western areas of Alabama there. Enough of a risk in place for not only strong winds and some large hail but maybe a few possibilities of tornadoes across that region.

[05:45:05] But again, the active weather skirts off towards the east. A very quick mover here so expecting some wintry weather across portions of Missouri, Illinois and certainly, into the Ohio Valley, and parts of New England as well. But notice much of this is generally two to four inches. A few isolated pockets where we could see more than, say, four to six inches.

But, about a 1,700-mile stretch of land stretching out of, say, eastern New Mexico and Colorado all the way into areas of New England where winter weather advisories and alerts have been prompted.

And, of course -- and fortunately here for New York City, temps just a little too warm to support much in the way of snow showers. Maybe you'll see a flurry mixed in but highs on Tuesday climb up to about 40 degrees and notice it kind of hovers around that range and then drops off sharply with some colder air coming in as we approach this weekend.

Still, though, a warming trend into the weekend across the northeast -- guys.


ROMANS: All right, Pedram. Thank you so much for that.

We'll be right back.



BRIGGS: Internal investigations are now underway at the U.S. Military and Naval Academies after midshipmen and cadets were caught on ESPN's Army-Navy pregame show making a controversial hand gesture. Some are interpreting that gesture as a symbol of white nationalism. Officials at West Point say investigators are looking into the intent of the cadets in question.

The Anti-Defamation League does consider the OK gesture a hate crime in some cases. CNN has decided not to show the gesture.

ROMANS: The Hallmark Channel abruptly reversing a decision to pull ads featuring same-sex couples and Hallmark apologizing for removing them in the first place.




ROMANS: Hallmark pulled the ads for the online wedding planning company Zola and that sparked calls for viewers and advertisers to boycott the channel in the middle of the holiday movie season.

Hallmark CEO Mike Perry admitted Sunday the company made, quote, "the wrong decision." Quote, "Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are."

BRIGGS: The LGBT media watchdog GLAAD was one of the groups that had been pushing for an advertiser boycott. Now, its president is applauding the company's change of heart.


SARAH KATE ELLIS, PRESIDENT, GLAAD: I'm thrilled. I think it was off-brand for the Hallmark Channel to begin with, so we were surprised by it when it came out of nowhere. They want to do the right thing and I think that the quick reversal is the right thing. And now we have to watch and make sure and see what they do in the future.


BRIGGS: Hallmark removed the Zola commercials after the conservative group One Million Moms launched a campaign against the ads. No comment yet from One Million Moms on Hallmark's reversal.

ROMANS: All right.

Harvey Weinstein is speaking out weeks before his sex crimes trial. The disgraced movie producer telling the "New York Post" he is a, quote, "forgotten man." Weinstein claims he has been a pioneer for women in the film industry.

He tells the "Post" he "...made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I'm talking about 30 years ago. I'm not talking about now when it's vogue."

Twenty-three women who reported Weinstein's sexual misconduct not buying it. Quote, "He says in a new interview he doesn't want to be forgotten. Well, he won't be. He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing."

BRIGGS: All right, we want to warn you the video you are about to see is tough to watch. Some very disturbing surveillance video showing a school resource officer in North Carolina picking up a child and slamming him to the ground twice. After the 11-year-old is thrown down a second time, the officer yanks him up and continues to walk.

The incident hit home for the Vance County sheriff.


SHERIFF CURTIS BRAME, VANCE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I was stunned, I was shocked. Seeing a child that small reminded me of one of my grandchildren.


BRIGGS: That sheriff telling a local station the child was not hospitalized but has a bump on his head.

The officer has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation. A decision on criminal charges could come this week.

A man known for inspiring a relationship with a South Carolina football program has died. James Kennedy earned the nickname "Radio" in the mid-1960s when he began to show up at the T.L. Hanna's football field with a transistor radio. He was intellectually disabled.

He became a fixture at practices. Coaches and players eventually embraced and cared for him. The relationship was immortalized in the 2003 film "Radio."

Kennedy died early Sunday morning surrounded by his family. He was 73.

ROMANS: All right.

A bank employee from Charlotte arrested for stealing $88,000 from the bank's vault. The suspected in-house crook might have gotten away with it if he didn't post the evidence on Facebook.

Twenty-nine-year-old Arlando Henderson was so impressed with his loot he shared photos of himself holding stacks of cash and posing with the Mercedes he purchased.

Henderson facing, obviously, a range of charges including fraud, theft, and embezzlement.


BRIGGS: Through the fog, there was euphoria on the gridiron, a welcome distraction in Newtown, Connecticut on the seventh anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. The Newtown High School football team rallied in the closing seconds to win the state championship.

Quarterback Jack Street connecting on a 36-yard touchdown pass to Riley Ward in the final second to defeat Darien 13-7. Newtown last won the title in 1992.

ROMANS: Good for them.

BRIGGS: Congratulations.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Business" this Monday morning.

First, a look at markets around the world. Really, a mixed reaction, I would say, in Asian markets to a deescalated U.S.-China trade war -- the biggest issues punted to next year. Businesses still left with some uncertainty over details.

You can see a pop there in London markets. Paris and Frankfurt also a little bit higher here.

On the China trade front, economist Ian Shepherdson says phase one picked the low-hanging fruit; now for the hard part.

On Wall Street, checking futures right now, also a little bit higher. I would call this kind of an indecisive move. On Friday, the Dow eking up the smallest of gains. It was a similar picture of the S&P and the Nasdaq as well.

All right, shares of Boeing under pressure in premarket trade. Boeing considering whether to pull back production of the troubled 737 MAX.

Boeing could make that call as early as after the market close today. CNN is hearing that from a source familiar with the decision-making process. The company could either suspend production altogether or further cut production.

Boeing left a meeting with the FAA least week with the impression its 737 MAX jet would not be cleared to fly by the end of the month.

All right, a gigantic open for "Jumanji."




ROMANS: The latest installment in the franchise, "The Next Level," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart, raked in an estimated $60 million in North America.

Speaking of sequels, "Frozen 2" -- was there any doubt that it would break the billion-dollar mark at the global box office? No, it did it. The animated hit is the latest Disney film this year to make $1 billion.

Bob Iger -- this is why "Time" magazine called him the Businessman of the Year, right?

"Avengers: End Game", "The Lion King", Captain Marvel", and "Aladdin" have all hit that milestone.

Oh yeah, and I'm not done yet. There could be another billion-dollar film around the corner. The finale of the latest "Star Wars" trilogy opens on Friday.

BRIGGS: A busy week this week. Watch a movie.

ROMANS: And movie week -- Christmas movie week.

BRIGGS: OK, the nation is divided in case you haven't noticed. How divided? "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" attempted to answer that question.


CECILY STRONG, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I'm so happy everyone flew here for the holidays. And I'm even more happy that they did it -- they're impeaching Trump. BECK BENNETT, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Well, they did it. They're impeaching Trump.


BENNETT: I'm sorry, it's a disgrace. What crime did he even commit?

HEIDI GARDNER, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Well, I guess the crime of being an alpha male who actually gets things done.


KENAN THOMPSON, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I'm just asking, do you all think "Bad Boys 3" is going to be good or not?

CHRIS REDD, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I hate to say this but could we please talk about politics instead?

THOMPSON: Oh, you mean how Trump is definitely getting impeached and then definitely getting reelected? I'm good.

KYLE MOONEY, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I just don't understand who on earth could vote for Trump after this.

GARDNER: How could anyone not vote for Trump after this?

THOMPSON: Who you think is going to get voted off "THE MASKED SINGER" next week?

KATE MCKINNON, CAST MEMBER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" (PORTRAYING GRETA THUNBERG): My name is Greta Thunberg and I also have a Christmas message. In 10 years, this snowman won't exist. Her home would be a puddle. So Merry -- maybe our last -- Christmas to all.

And, Donald Trump, step to me and I'll come at you like a plastic straw comes at a turtle. I can't believe I'm saying this to a 70- year-old man but grow up.


ROMANS: It's so sad telling him he looks like a plastic straw at a turtle.

BRIGGS: The plastic straw and a turtle?

ROMANS: It's sad. It's bad but funny.


ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us.

BRIGGS: Kate McKinnon's got game.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BRIGGS: Yes. ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Have a great day, everybody.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Here's "NEW DAY."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House of Representatives, this week, is expected to vote on those articles of impeachment, making it all but certain President Trump will become the third president to be impeached.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We understood the importance of what we were doing but felt the urgency was such that we could not just allow the president to continue.

MCCONNELL: Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with White House counsel.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): There is more damning evidence to be had and they don't want the American people to see that.

GRAHAM: I am ready to vote. I don't really need to hear a lot of witnesses.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): They don't want to look at anything that might disagree with their worldview of Republicanism and this president.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, December 16th. It's 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill with me this Monday morning.


BERMAN: Great to have you here.

What a week we have in store.