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EARLY START

House to Lay Out Impeachment Rules Today; Boeing Halting 737 MAX Production in January; Tornadoes Tear Through the South; Heisman Speech Inspires Donations to Food Pantry. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired December 17, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

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 are dead and damages are widespread as tornadoes rip across the South.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The Heisman Trophy winner got emotional about his hometown. People got the message. Wait until you hear how much.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: He's a remarkable young man.

BRIGGS: He's a terrific player and a better human.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's Tuesday, December 17th, 5:00 a.m. in the east.

If you're counting, 48 days to the Iowa caucuses. But we begin with today, 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. 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 the historic final vote tomorrow.

Here's congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly.

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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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Phil. Watching history there.

Breaking overnight, Rudy Giuliani revealing details about his role in getting Marie Yovanovitch removed as envoy to Ukraine. In an interview with "The New York Times", Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, confirms he briefed President Trump, quote, a couple of times earlier this year about Yovanovitch to set her removal in motion.

Now, according to "The Times", Giuliani told the president, Yovanovitch was hampering investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump and that she was impeding Giuliani's attempts to defend the president. No mention of corruption in Ukraine.

BRIGGS: Yovanovitch is a 33-year veteran of the Foreign Service. She testified Giuliani orchestrated a smear campaign against her to have her recalled.

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MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Shady interests in the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Giuliani also further implicates Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He tells "The Times", after he briefed Mr. Trump, the president told him to either discuss it with Mike or turn it over to Mike. Pompeo has suggested he was unfamiliar with president Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine but he was on the July 25th call where President Trump raised the idea of investigating the Bidens.

ROMANS: All right. A devastating setback for Boeing, the company plans to suspend production of its 737 MAX fleet starting in January as it waits for this plane to be recertified. Now, this plane was grounded worldwide in March after two deadly crashes killed 346 people. That has caused major financial issues for Boeing. Right now, there are about 400 of these planes in storage.

BRIGGS: 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 42 737 MAX jets a month since the grounding to prevent hardship for its suppliers and layoffs for its workers. The company stock price closed down more than 4 percent on Monday.

ROMANS: And you will see that in economic data, I'm sure. I mean, labor, I'm sorry, the commerce secretary said that the problems of Boeing have shaved four-tenths of a point off GDP at times over this year.

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I mean, that's a significant hit from a very big company with tentacles throughout the American company.

BRIGGS: Six thousand suppliers in more than 100 countries.

ROMANS: Yes, they've been making the plane because they've been hoping to get it back up in the air.

All right. The big pharma family accused of fueling the opioid crisis withdrew $10 billion from their company while the opioid epidemic was spiraling out of control.

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BRIGGS: A fifth Obama cabinet official lining up behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 race. Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has now endorsed Obama's VP. Lew follows the group that includes former Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Obama remaining neutral on the Democratic nominee. We are now just two days away from the next Democratic debate and this

one could be critical to voters just beginning to pay attention. That is if the debate happens at all.

More now on that story from Jeff Zeleny.

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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.

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ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

All right. We've been telling you how America's economy is growing. It seems the growth is being driven by the top 1 percent of the nation's counties. A third of U.S. economic output last year was generated by just 31 counties. That's according to the Bureau of Data of Economic Analysis first reviewed by Bloomberg.

Here it is on a map. Those hot spots of economic growth, in or near large cities mostly by the coast that zero in on Los Angeles County. That $395 billion to overall U.S. GDP between 2001 and 2018. Manhattan added $340 billion for the same period.

The economic might of those counties is still growing, even though their share of the overall population fell. That signals the economy is being concentrated in urban areas as economic output for those more rural counties is dwindling.

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. And the town's mayor called that a blessing.

There was one fatality reported in Louisiana. A woman was killed in a mobile home killed in Vernon Parish. And in Alabama, a husband and his wife were killed on a road in Lawrence County.

ROMANS: After Purdue Pharma paid out $600 million in opioid fines, its owners, the Sackler family, withdrew more than $10 billion from the company. A new audit and court document shows these withdrawals from 2008 to 2018, as the crisis was worsening, were more than eight- times as much as the previous decade. There's growing concern that a large chunk of the Sacklers' wealth would be overseas that would put it out of reach for plaintiffs and Purdue suing them for the dangers of OxyContin. Purdue says the audit shows extreme transparency.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees cementing his Hall of Fame legacy with a record shattering performance on Monday Night Football. Andy Scholes with that story next in "The Bleacher Report".

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

The study's authors say they were a little surprised to find evidence of lung disease in the short three year study. They say, if they come back in another five years, they will find bigger effects -- Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. Saints quarterback Drew Brees passing Peyton Manning for the most touchdown passes in NFL history.

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

Quite a night for Brees, broke a couple of records. Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Dave.

Cool night in New Orleans, for sure. And, Drew Brees is the perfect example of hardworking paying off. You know, he's never been the biggest or the fastest or the strongest arm for a quarterback. He's just six feet tall.

But when it comes to heart and perseverance, hard to find someone better than Brees.

[05:25:04] Third quarter against the Colts last night, Brees, he's going to find Josh Hill for the touchdown right here. And with this score, Brees passing Peyton Manning for the most touchdowns in NFL history with 540.

And Brees was outstanding in this one, completing 29 of 30 passes, which was also an NFL record. The 40-year-old clearly still at the top of his game, Saints win 34-7, on a special night in New Orleans.

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DREW BREES, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS QUARTERBACK: You don't really think about these things especially when you first enter this league. I can remember a young player, just trying to become a starter one day, maybe. Maybe I can make a little bit of impact.

And it is hard to believe that here we are, 19 years later, and having a chance to do some of these things. These moments are special because of the people on this journey.

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SCHOLES: All right. The Milwaukee Bucks looking for their 19th- straight win last night taking on the Mavs. Luka Doncic is not playing in this one. And despite no Luca, the Mavs led by Kristaps Porzingis and Seth Curry able to beat the Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo pouring in 48 points but it wasn't enough. The bucks lose for the first time since early November. A 120-116, the final there.

Elsewhere in the NBA, things getting testy between the Rockets and the Spurs. James Harden and Dejounte Murray exchanging some shoves right here. San Antonio had a 25-point lead at one point in this one. But the Rockets come storming all the way back. They win 109-107, completing the largest comeback in franchise history.

All right. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow's acceptance speech triggering 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.

He held back tears as he talked about his hometown.

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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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES: Yes. Those words inspired Athens resident Will Drabold to create a fund-raiser for those living under the poverty line. He set a goal for $50,000, Dave. And just moments ago, we checked. It's up to $323,864. People just continue to donate and donate.

So, great job there by Joe Burrow, just, you know, highlighting the situation there. And props to people for donating.

BRIGGS: Incredible player. A number one pick, but a better person. Now, a goal of $400,000. Let's see if we can reach that today.

Andy Scholes, good stuff. Thank you.

Romans, what's coming up?

ROMANS: The sports stories about a young man using his platform to change the world --

BRIGGS: The power of sports.

ROMANS: -- those are the sports stories I love. You know that.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: All right. How will history play out tomorrow? A House committee is ready to lay out the ground rules for impeaching President Trump.

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[05:27:56]

ROMANS: A Mississippi man tried six times for the same killings will await a hearing away from home. A judge ruling Curtis Flowers is eligible for bond after spending 23 years in prison. Flowers had been tried six times for murder, with each case resulting in a hung jury or his convictions later vacated by higher courts. He's accused of capital murder in the 1996 deaths of four people inside a furniture in Winona, Mississippi. Flowers' bail is set at $250,000.

BRIGGS: Former President Barack Obama believes the world would be a lot better if every country was led by a woman. On Monday, Mr. Obama told a Singapore audience he believes older leaders, particularly old men, need to get out of the way in order to solve problems. He says if women ruled every nation on earth for two years, we would see significant improvements in living standards and outcomes. Former president had over a dozen women in his cabinet.

ROMANS: It only took what, a quarter of a century, Mariah Carey's holiday hit, "All I Want for Christmas is You," finally landing in the number one spot on the Hot 100. It's the first time the 25-year-old song reached the top spot.

No need to feel sorry for the self-proclaimed queen of Christmas. The song has earned Carey more than $60 million in royalties. It's good. I'll tell you, it's good. BRIGGS: I'd say it's my greatest of all time, the GOAT. Yes.

ROMANS: A Christmas GOAT.

EARLY START continues right now.

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BRIGGS: It's only happened twice in U.S. history. How tomorrow's plan to impeach the president will play out. House Democrats lying out the game plan today.

ROMANS: The future of the Boeing 737 MAX in serious doubt. Production will be suspended with no date to recertify that plane in sight.

BRIGGS: Three people are dead and damages are widespread as tornadoes rip across the South.

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