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Last Phase of House Impeachment Begins Today; Boeing to Suspend 737 MAX Production; Tornadoes Tear Through the South; Emotional Speech Leads to Big Donations; India's New Citizenship Law Sparks Violent Protests. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 17, 2019 - 04:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It's only happened twice in history. How will tomorrow's vote to impeach the president play out? House Committee laying out the game plan today.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Future of the Boeing 737 MAX in serious doubt. Production will be suspended with no date to recertify the plane in sight.

ROMANS: Three people dead and damage is widespread as dozens of tornadoes rip across the South.


JOE BURROW, HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER: I'm here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that, you know, go home to -- not a lot of food on the table.


BRIGGS: The Heisman trophy winner got emotional about his hometown and people got the message. Wait until you hear how. Big day for a couple of Louisiana quarterbacks.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 31, almost 32 minutes past the hour here in New York.

And history in Washington, D.C., President Trump is one day away from joining a very infamous club. He will be only the third president to be impeached by the house. Today marks the beginning of the end for impeachment proceedings in the House. Today marks the beginning of the end of impeachment proceedings in the House. Lawmakers on the brink of a momentous vote on two articles of impeachment -- abuse of power and obstructing Congress.

Today, House leaders plan to begin bringing the articles to the floor, setting up a historic final vote tomorrow. Here's congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Christine and Dave. Here we go. This is the end, more or less, of the impeachment effort in the House. This is the official start to what you're going see on the House floor tomorrow for those final votes on those two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

You've seen the closed door depositions. You've seen the hearings in the House Intelligence Committee in the House Judiciary Committee. You've seen the House Judiciary Committee kicked the articles out of the committee, along party line votes.

Today, you are going to see a meeting of the Rules Committee and why this is important, guys, and it will seem kind of in the weed and certainly divisive at times but this will structure the debate for the actual articles of impeachment on the House floor -- how long each side gets, who the managers will be, how it will be structured. Those are the things we'll find out today.

Obviously, everything leading up to tomorrow. The final floor vote on those two articles of impeachment supposed to split down party lines over the course of the last three or four days. You've seen the most at risk from House line Democrats coming out in favor of impeachment, kind of underscoring the fact that House leadership knows they will have the votes to pass articles of impeachment.

And the other thing you can be sure of, House Republicans remain very united, almost certain to all vote against the articles of impeachment. Basically, this is now set, this is now moving. Pay to attention to what happens today because it will tell you how it will play out on Wednesday -- guys.


BRIGGS: Phil Mattingly, thank you.

The White House and President Trump's top allies are concerned about a handful of Republican senators whose views on impeachment remain unclear. The administration is worried they could break ranks and side with Democrats on key trial-related issues. All it takes is four Republicans to resist calls for a short witness free trial to bend the process. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said success handled in coordination with the White House.

ROMANS: The group includes moderates up for reelection like Susan Collins of Maine and Corey Gardner of Colorado. Plus, retiring Senate veterans like Lamar Alexander, Pat Roberts of Kansas and Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

Trump critics, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah, are also considered wild cards. The group is not large enough to threaten Mr. President's presidency. At least 20 Republicans would have to switch sides and vote to remove him from office. BRIGGS: Meanwhile, a devastating setback for Boeing. The company

plans to suspend production of its 737 MAX fleet starting in January as it waits for the plan to be recertified.


The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March after two deadly crashes killed 346 people. That's caused major financial and reputation issues for Boeing. Right now, there are about 400 of the planes in storage.

ROMANS: Until last week, Boeing was hoping to get certification to fly again before the end of this year. But the FAA rejected that idea. Boeing has been building 42 of these jets a month since the grounding to avoid hardship for its suppliers and layoff for its workers. Company stock price closed down more than 4 percent on Monday.

BRIGGS: Lawmakers have agreed to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. Sweeping new spending bill that will be released next week, according to people involved in the talks. The plan also repeals three health care taxes that were designed to pay for Affordable Care Act. The medical device tax, health insurance tax and Cadillac tax on high cost employer plans all face bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill.

And for the first time in decades the spending bill also includes $25 million for gun violence research.

ROMANS: All right. A fifth Obama candidate official lining up behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 race. Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has now endorsed Obama's vice president. Lew joins a group that includes former Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Obama himself remaining neutral on the Democratic nominee.

We're now just two days from the next Democratic debate. This could be crucial to voters starting to pay attention, that is if the debate happens at all.

More now from Jeff Zeleny in Washington.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Christine and Dave, a consequential week for the field of Democratic candidates who are making their way to California for the final debate of the year in Los Angeles.

Now, it's scheduled for Thursday night but there's a potential hitch. A union strike at Loyola Marymount University is still threatening to derail the debate. Seven candidates have all said they will kip if the labor strike is not resolved.

So, look for potential movement on that today. But the debate is shaping up to be a big one. A new poll out from Quinnipiac University shows that nationally Joe Biden is still in command of this race at 30 percent in this poll followed by Elizabeth Warren at 17 percent and Bernie Sanders at 16. Pete Buttigieg is at 9.

But the debate offers one last chance for candidates to meet before the end of the year. They have been sparring from afar increasingly and this is one of the frames. Are Democrats looking for a fighter like Warren and Sanders or a healer like Buttigieg, Biden or even Amy Klobuchar.

Now, the race has been overshadowed this week by the impeachment vote set for Wednesday. It will be overshadowed by the Senate trial in January, which is why this gathering on Thursday is so important -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: All right, Jeff Zeleny. Thanks, Jeff.

All right. Many of the 2020 Democratic candidates want big companies to pay more taxes. You'll have an idea why with this next news. We all know household names like Amazon, Chevron, Halliburton and IBM, but unlike your household those corporations paid no federal income tax last year. They are among nearly 100 Fortune 500 companies may an effective tax rate of zero for 2018. That's according to a new report from the Institution of Taxation and Economic Policy. 2018 includes the first year following those tax cuts championed by President Trump.

The report found among those Fortune 500 firms, 379 paid an effective tax rate of just 11 percent on their 2018 income, 11 percent effective tax rate. That's around half the statutory tax rate of 21 percent.

BRIGGS: More than two dozen tornadoes tearing up the Deep South. At least three people have been killed. Most of the tornadoes reported in Mississippi.

In Guntown, Mississippi, several homes and churches were damaged. No one was killed. The town's mayor call that a blessing. There was one fatality reported in Louisiana. A woman in mobile home killed in Vernon Parish. In Alabama, a husband and his wife were killed on the road in Lawrence County. At this hour, 1.1 million people remain under a tornado watch.

Wet wintry weather today stretching from the Ohio Valley through New England.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, another day of wintry weather and a lot of energy here expected to move out within the next few hours or at least it is short-lived. Notice what happened on Monday across the gulf coast states upwards of 27 reports of tornadoes. Keep in mind, the monthly average for December which is the quietest time of year is about 23 reports. So, essentially, more than a month's worth of tornadoes happening in a matter of a few hours. That energy has shifted off towards the southeastern coastline. A

marginal risk of one to five is one for damaging winds, maybe some large hail associated with this front. To the north here we expect wintry mix take place.


In fact, winter weather advisories are in place for at least the next several hours and should be allowed to expire because of the quick nature of this particular storm.

And notice, snow showers pushing across portions of New England. But in New York City, just a little too warm to support in the way of snow showers, maybe you see a wintry mix at times. That's about it. But accumulation-wise, you got to work your way to the north to Boston, two to four inches, Portland, Maine, gets a couple of inches and around Albany picking up as much as six inches before it's all said and done -- guys.


BRIGGS: All right. Pedram, thank you.

Odds of developing lung disease extremely elevated for vapers. Some alarming new research, next.



ROMANS: Deadly protests spreading across India over a controversial citizenship bill, critics say it violates India's constitution and could further marginalize the country's minority Muslim community.

CNN Sam Kiley is in Delhi.

And, Sam, so many people there in the streets. What is their objection to this bill?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in brief, very quickly, there will be an application to the Supreme Court today making the argument on behalf of students and academics here in one of Delhi's top Islamic institution, is the scene of violence. They claim meted out against them and by police and applications overturned the Citizens Amendment Act that was passed by Narendra Modi's BJP- dominated parliament, a vote (ph) legislative a little over a week ago that confers or gives opportunity to seek Indian nationality for immigrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan so long as they are not Muslim.

And that's the bit that the plaintiffs will argue violates India's constitution, which guarantees freedom of worship under the law and, of course, legislate against any kind of religious discrimination.

This is against the background, Christine, of a growing sense among the Muslim minority in this country, numbering some 200 million people, 14 percent of the this vast nation, the world's biggest democracy that they are falling increasingly victim to what they say is an increasingly Hindu nationalist agenda being set by Mr. Modi. He did campaign and won landslide elections earlier this year in the summer on an avowedly Hindu nationalist platform. And this they say is a result.

The government has responded and said, no, they will not be discriminated. The fact of the matter is, Christine, this excludes Muslims from the opportunity to seek citizenship.

ROMANS: All right. Sam Kiley for us in Delhi, thank you so much for that, Sam.

BRIGGS: A new study finds vaping is linked to higher risk of serious lung disease, like chronic bronchitis, asthma and COPD. The study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine looked at 32,000 Americans who smoked, vaped or have had a lung condition. It found the odds of developing lung disease was by about 30 percent higher for vapers than nonvapers.

The study authors say they were a little surprised to find evidence of lung disease in the short three-year study. They said if they came back in another five years, they would find bigger effects.

ROMANS: Those studies are certainly troubling given the popularity of vaping.

BRIGGS: Raising the age to 21 to tobacco products, at least a step in the right direction.

ROMANS: That's right. Netflix is up against a growing number of rivals at home. But guess what? Outside of the U.S., it's a blockbuster hit.

CNN Business, next.



BRIGGS: In the end, a university fraternity has been suspended, accused of physical assault in the use of anti-Semitic and racial slurs. Fight broke out Friday night during a party at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house. The university says two members of Alpha Epsilon Phi, the Jewish fraternity, were not on the guest list and were asked to leave. A fight broke out and they were injured. The national Pi Kappa Phi now saying the incident was not anti-Semitic.

ROMANS: A snowboarder in Utah killed in an avalanche. Officials say he accidentally triggered himself. Forty-five-year-old Raymond Tauszik of Salt Lake City was trying to leave Canyon's Village in Park City through a backcountry exit on Sunday morning when he got carried away and was buried by the three-foot deep 100-foot wide avalanche. On the day of the accident, the Utah Avalanche Center had issued a considerable danger warning about the avalanche risk. BRIGGS: He was pushed out of the military for being gay. Now, more

than 60 years later, the U.S. Navy is building a ship named for slain LGBTQ icon Harvey Milk. The USNS Harvey Milk was announced in 2016, construction finally began in Friday at a San Diego ship builder. The new oiler ship will resupply fuel to other ships at sea.

Milk's nephew "The San Diego Union Tribune" that this sends a global message of inclusion, more powerful than simply will tolerate everyone. It says we'll celebrate everyone.


ANNOUNCER: Five, four, three, two, one. Ignition, liftoff.


BRIGGS: A successful satellite launch by SpaceX last night. The goal is to bring the digital age to isolated nations between Asia's southern coast in Australia. Singapore-based Kacific, a satellite starter company is betting the Asia-Pacific region is starved for Internet access and people are willing to pay for it. More than 80 percent of the population in the region lives in remote rural areas with no broadband.

All right. Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow's acceptance speech triggered more than $300,000 in donations to hungry children in southeast Ohio. The LSU quarterback held back tears during his big moment as he talked about his hometown of Athens, Ohio.



BURROW: Coming from southeast Ohio, it's a very, very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average, and there's so many people there that don't have a lot.

And I'm up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that, you know, go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. And you guys up here too.


ROMANS: Those words inspired Athens residents Will Drabold to create a fundraiser for residents living under the poverty line. He set a goal of $50,000. As just a short time ago, donations, $323,000 and climbing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For another mighty mark. Will he get it here? Yes!


BRIGGS: Another Louisiana quarterback Drew Brees taking his place in the history books. Future Hall of Fame quarterback breaking Peyton Manning's career touchdown record with that five yard pass to Josh Hill and last night 34-7 trouncing of the Colts.

Now, it's 541 career TDs. Brees went 29 of 30, breaking the record for completion percentage, 370 yards and four touchdowns.

Tom Brady just behind Brees with 538. Those two could be dueling for a few more years.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. First, a look at markets around the world. You can see a mixed performance, really narrowly mixed in European markets as they have just opened.

Stocks around the world, still have found a footing here. Market across Asia edged higher in Tuesday's session. They were riding momentum on gains from Wall Street. Investors optimistic that the U.S.-China trade deal as symbolic as it is inches towards the finish line.

Stocks in Europe climbing especially in London what's called the Boris bounce following the election of the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A quick check on U.S. futures, again narrowly mixed.

Just a look of S&P 500, it's been on a tear this year. Eight trading days are left in this decade. It's been a blockbuster year, a blockbuster decade for investors.

As we head into another very busy period for online retailers, some not good news if you're expecting Amazon orders before the holidays. Online retail giant pumped the breaks on third-party sellers using FedEx's ground service to ship prime packages. That change could hit small businesses and lead to higher prices for some customers. We're getting this information from an internal email obtained by the "Wall Street Journal".

The email reportedly says FedEx delivery performance prompted the decision. FedEx says the decision affects a small number of shippers.

Netflix has released new numbers showing how fast it's expanding in regions around the world. The data shows Europe, the Middle East and Asia and Africa as one giant region has more than doubled in subscribers since the start of 2017. It's the first time we're seeing a breakdown like this. Streaming giant trying to wet Wall Street to focus on its growth from outside of the U.S. as it faces stiff competition from rivals at home.

Its stock over the past decade up some 3,000 percent. So, it's quite a ride. Now, the company trying to show people maybe that ride can keep going.

BRIGGS: Yes, from the streaming wars to "Star Wars," the original "Star Wars" saga comes to an end when "The Rise of Skywalker" opens Friday.

While you were sleeping, Jimmy Kimmel gave a chance for the youngest members of the audience to ask some tough questions to the cast.


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I'm wondering how the force works and how it's so powerful.

J.J. ABRAMS, DIRECTOR: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Hey, Ray, can you really do a back flip or are you just a liar?


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: How did you like being a bad guy. How old he is. Does he wear glasses or not? Does he go shopping at Gucci or Macy or does he go to normal stores and buy food or does he go to other places the


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I have a question for you. Everyone else calls Chewbacca Chewbacca but you call him Chewbacca. What does that mean? What's the reference behind that nickname?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was pronouncing. It's as simple as that. For a long time I didn't know whether to call Han, An or Han.


BRIGGS: First year, he takes kids Halloween candy, now he just teases them with "Star Wars" insight.

ROMANS: Pulls back the curtain. Love it.

BRIGGS: No one excite kids.

All right. 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.


ROMANS: It's only happened twice in history. How will tomorrow's vote to impeach the president play out? A House committee laying out the game plan today.