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Dems, GOP Headed for Holiday Standoff; Christmas Forecast; Tragic Twist Caught on Video; 6-Year-Old's Warm Holiday Gesture; Christmas Spirit Comes Alive in Bethlehem. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired December 24, 2019 - 04:30   ET





SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We, at the very minimum, will require votes.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Look, we're at an impasse. We can't do anything until the speaker sends the papers over.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: The impeachment standoff will last into the New Year. What Democrats are demanding and why Republicans aren't budging.

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: If you're dreaming of a white Christmas? Keep dreaming. But some parts of the country face wicked weather for the holiday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. I'm getting out, I'm getting out.



KOSIK: New video of a deadly confrontation between California deputies and a suspected carjacker. It turns out the man was driving his own car.


POPPY SELLIER, 6-YEAR-OLD: I just want to make them happy and feel like they're at home.


JOHNS: She won her battle with leukemia. Now, a 6-year-old heads back to the hospital to spread some holiday joy.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Joe Johns.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

And not seeing much holiday spirit in Washington this morning. Congress seems headed towards a long standoff for the framework of a Senate impeachment trial. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer warning Democrats will stand firm on their demand for more witnesses and documents.


SCHUMER: We at the very minimum will require votes from all the senators on each of the witnesses and about each of these sets of documents. And I don't think my colleagues, Democrat or Republican, are going to want to vote to withhold evidence in such an important trial.


JOHNS: It would take 20 Republican votes to remove President Trump. But only four would have to side with documents to compel witnesses or documents. At the moment, though, it is unlikely Republicans are going to budge. Congress is not slated to return to Washington until January 6th. Officials are prepared for several weeks without resolution to the face-off.

Here's congressional reporter Lauren Fox.


LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Both sides digging in in Washington over when and if the Senate impeachment trial will start in January. There's still questions looming as everyone is waiting on Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house, to send over those two articles of impeachment. And Democrats still insisting on getting witnesses, even as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes it clear he needs Nancy Pelosi to send over those articles before he makes his next move.

MCCONNELL: Seems to me a rather absurd position to say after you've impeached the president, you won't send the papers over to the Senate for the impeachment trial, mandated by the Constitution. Look, we're at an impasse. We can't do anything until the speaker sends the papers over. So, everybody enjoy the holidays.

FOX: And there was more fiery back-and-forth in Washington on Monday. This as Chuck Schumer sent a letter to his colleagues arguing that they need to be negotiating witnesses now and not wait until the start of the Senate impeachment trial.

Of course, Republicans have been arguing what they are going to do is something very similar to what they did during the Clinton impeachment trial. You had the House managers make their case on the Democratic side, then the president's lawyers defending him on the Senate floor. Then you would make a decision about witnesses.

But all sides at this point digging in, no sign that the stalemate will break any time soon -- Joe and Alison.



KOSIK: Our thanks to Lauren Fox for that.

House Democrats raising the prospect of impeaching President Trump again. A court filing from a House Judiciary Committee, seeking to force testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn. The committee says McGahn could shed light on alleged obstruction of justice by the president in the Mueller investigation. That charge was not included in the articles impeachments that was passed last week.

JOHNS: Earlier Monday, the Justice Department argued in its own filing, the House impeachment ends any urgency to tie up the McGahn case and that the courts should not get involved. That's even though Republicans argue Democrats should have gone to court to resolve impeachment issues. The McGahn case is expected to be heard on January 3rd.

KOSIK: CEO Dennis Muilenburg is leaving Boeing after struggling unsuccessfully to right the company in the wake of two deadly crashes. The 737 MAX accidents killed 346 people. They reveal a corporate culture that discounted safety concerns and treated federal regulators as little more than rubber stamps. Muilenburg had been with Boeing more than 30 years and praised for bringing record profits and tripling Boeing's stock price. But the tragedies in Ethiopia and Indonesia were too much to overcome.

JOHNS: The climate crisis is a big issue in the 2020 campaign. Democratic candidates have called for sweeping measures to deal with the climate crisis. The president thrust the issue back into the forefront, with a bizarre speech, using the Green New Deal and said the crisis was a rallying cry. Trump says he wants to scale back inconveniences like light bulb regulations, low flow toilets, bans of plastic straws, and wind powered turbines.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understood wind, I know windmills very much. I've studied it better than anybody and it's very expensive.

Tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So, the world is tiny compared to the universe. So, tremendous, tremendous of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint -- fumes are spewing into the air. Spewing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KOSIK: OK. So, a lot of that is not true. For one thing, the Department of Energy says wind power has the smallest carbon footprint compared to other energy sources. The stark contrast on climate. It's shaping up to be a key theme here though with Trump hoping his pitch will attract voters skeptical of radical change.

Trump also has made nostalgic and unfounded claims on other issues like his election allowing people to say merry Christmas again.

JOHNS: Tens of millions are expected to travel this holiday week. The West Coast is already dealing with a powerful storm, bringing heavy rain and mountain snow. The probability of a white Christmas over the last four years or so, decent in the north. Not so much in the south. This year, dreaming of a white Christmas may be as close as you get.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has your yuletide forecast.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, certainly going to be dreaming of a white Christmas here when you take a look where snow is currently on the ground. You've got to be in the higher elevations of the U.S. or northern tier of the country.

That is about it. Of course, we had Christmas Eve and Christmas Day where snowfall shifted to the south. High pressure begins to build in the wake of a very slow moving system off the southeastern coastline. So, we'll generally begin to see a warming trend across much of the eastern half of the United States. A drying trend as well as the system departs here off the Carolinas.

Left with quite a bit of rainfall on the immediate coast of Georgia and South Carolina. But beyond this afternoon and this evening, it's all but offshore. So, we begin to see that dry air weather pattern take shape. And then the western U.S., that's all the action is. The four corner states, portions of the high country of Arizona and to Utah, certainly to Nevada and areas of higher elevations of California, that's all where the wintry weather is. And that is about it when it comes to active weather over the next 24 or so hours.

Los Angeles, only 60 degrees. But Chicago, they will take 53 on Christmas Eve and pair of fours out of New York City with generally dry weather over the next few days -- guys.


KOSIK: OK. Pedram Javaheri, thanks so much.

Last-minute holiday shopping has paid off big-time. Sales for the last Saturday before Christmas also known as Super Saturday hit a record $34.4 billion. That's the biggest U.S. shopping day in history. In data first reported by Bloomberg, customer growth partner said Super Saturday's results topped Black Friday sales by 10 percent.

[04:40:02] The National Retail Federation expects the average American will spend over $1,000 this holiday season. That's the most ever recorded. Analysts say strong job growth and wage growth, as well as happy household finances. All of that put shoppers in the buying mood this season.

The best deals may be actually the week after Christmas. An estimated 68 percent of holiday shoppers are expected to hit stores for more sales.

JOHNS: Breaking overnight, breaking overnight, Prince Philip is out of the hospital for Christmas. The 98-year-old left the hospital. The queen's husband was admitted Friday for what was called a pre- existing condition. He will join the queen with future kinds at the Sandringham estate where she spends Christmas.

KOSIK: A tragic end for a woman missing since October, when she told a friend she was involved in a shoot-out.


KOSIK: A tragic mystery in the back roads of Michigan. A body found submerged in a flooded area, near the town of honor, has been identified as 47-year-old Adrienne Quintal. She had not been since calling a friend in October, to say she was involved in a shoot-out with two men.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been hard searching for her, and even though we're glad to have some closure, it's been heart wrenching.


KOSIK: A search by police dogs, friends and family had been hampered until recently by flooding in the area. Officials said initial investigation showed no signs of foul play even though there were shell casings and bullet holes at the cabin where Quintal was staying. The medical examiner is waiting for toxicology results to determine a cause of death.

JOHNS: We want to warn you now, the video you're about to see may be disturbing. A deputy has been placed on lead, after body cam showed him violently removing a driver from his car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. I'm getting out, I'm getting out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did nothing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let go of my leg.

He just bit me.



JOHNS: So, those officers were responding to a report of a stolen car. After a pursuit, deputies Charlie Blount and Jason Little tried to pull David Ward out, thinking he was the carjacker. It turns out, Ward was driving his own car and had been the victim of a carjacking. He later died at the hospital.

The Sonoma County sheriff's office said Blount will remain on leave while the incident is being investigated. The officer's attorney says Ward is responsible for his own death because he took bizarre actions that left deputies thinking he was in armed carjacker.

KOSIK: A Missouri family dealing with unimaginable loss this Christmas eve. Two boys drowned in a frozen pond near their home. CNN affiliate KMOV names the brothers as 7-year-old Cleveland and 8- year-old Terence Hicks. Authorities say the boys went on a bike ride and ended up on thin ice covering a shallow lake. They believe one brother fell through and the other died trying to save him.

JOHNS: Police have identified a suspect in the fatal stabbing of the brother of 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard. Twenty-three-year-old Michael Mosley is facing attempted homicide after Nashville police say he stabbed three men, including C.J.'s younger brother, Clayton.


DON AARON, NASHVILLE METRO POLICE: Mosley has a violent criminal pass. He is a convicted felon, convicted of violent crimes. We consider him to be a danger to the community.


JOHNS: So, the stabbings, according to the police, appear to have happened during an argument about a woman. The third man stabbed has wounds to his eye and arm.

KOSIK: Concern over a measles outbreak growing in Austin, Texas. Health officials say someone with the virus traveled to several locations around the city and may have exposed others. The unidentified person visiting several restaurants, a Target store and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport between December 14th and 17th. For a full list of locations, check out the story at

This is coming after three people with the virus traveled through Los Angeles International Airport December 11th. Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. two decades ago. But there has been a recent upsurge as vaccination rates have declined. JOHNS: So, there's good news today for migraine sufferers. The Food

and Drug Administration approving a new drug for the acute treatment of migraines in the adults. The drug called Ubrogepant could be a new option for people who can't take or don't respond to medications currently on the market. The drug will be sold under the name Ubrelvy and is considered effective for migrants with or with auras, those that were sensitive to the visual disturbances experience by about a third of migrant sufferers.

KOSIK: A surfer survives a shark attack near Santa Rosa Island in Southern California. The Coast Guard releasing video of a helicopter rescue after the 37-year-old surfer was bitten on the leg by a shark this weekend. It's very likely he was saved by the quick thinking of his friend, who notified the Coast Guard and put a tourniquet on the victim's leg to prevent other blood loss. Officials say it was the best possible outcome to a truly terrifying situation.

JOHNS: OK, that is definitely not what the owners of a fireworks stand had in mind for the holidays. It's more like July 4 than Christmas. The stand along the highway in Williamson County, Texas, caught fire on Monday, igniting the fireworks.


And in spectacular passion, firefighters brought the blaze under control.

No one was injured. The cause of that is certainly was under investigation. It would have been better at night, though.

KOSIK: I think so.

Firefighters in Polk County, Florida, beyond the call of duty, saving a family's Christmas presents after responding to a fire over the weekend. Once the fire on the second floor was under control, crews went in to retrieve the gifts and the Christmas tree. Officials say all of the family's gifts and the tree were undamaged.

JOHNS: Another happy ending here, too.

A 6-year-old former cancer patient bringing holiday cheer to patients at a Virginia hospital where she underwent treatment.

Poppy Sellier was diagnosed with leukemia around Christmas last year. She's now in remission. On Monday, the popular and precocious 6-year- old returned to a place most kids would not go.

She came to Inova Children's Hospital bearing gifts.

Three hundred donated LEGO sets for old friends old and new.


SELLIER: I just want to make them happy. Make them feel they are at home. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She made it through, so I believe I can do the

same. It's very hopeful and just makes me feel good about myself and my future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a gift that keeps on giving -- gift of hope, gift of love, gift of compassion.


JOHNS: Poppy's mother says the kindness of other people helped her daughter heal and they wanted to pay it forward.

Amazing story. You see that turning into a movie, couldn't you?

KOSIK: The 6-year-old with a big heart. That's the holiday spirit.

Tesla's rival brought in the biggest yet. CNN Business has the details next.



KOSIK: Welcome back.

The Christmas spirit coming alive in Bethlehem. The city understood to be the site of the birth of Jesus hosting its annual celebration parades, services and carols.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is there live for us.

Well, good morning to you. It's morning time here. A little closer to midnight mass to you, but you still got a ways to go and I understand that people are still -- are starting to really gather where you are.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Still about 12 hours at this point until midnight mass. The Church of the Nativity here behind me, where the faithful believe that Jesus Christ was born. Even so, given all the hours until then, Manger Square is filling up. You might be able to hear the Christmas carols playing here all morning. It was "Silent Night" a few moments ago.

And it is a festive and joyous atmosphere here, especially because of the weather. They were calling for rain all week. Instead, it is just a little rain expected here. We expect more faithful and more tourists to come to Manger Square especially as we hit closer to midnight mass.

It is more than just a spiritual and religious celebration, it is also an economic celebration for the city of Bethlehem. Tourism numbers are up 15 percent over last year. Hotels are booked and the stores are full. And all of that will add to the joyous occasion here, the festivities and the warm feeling inside the Manger Square behind me that will go on throughout the day. But, of course, as you pointed out, the moment we're all waiting for, still about 12 hours away at this point, midnight mass.

And as we get towards that and it becomes dark here as evening sets in, it will become more beautiful and I suspect more joyous, Alison.

KOSIK: Beautiful and festive. Those are the words I want to hear around this time of year.

Oren Liebermann for us from Bethlehem, thanks.

JOHNS: A bit of a different story in France. A Christmas tradition forced to change in Paris. For the first time in more than 200 years, the city's iconic Notre Dame Cathedral will not celebrate Christmas mass. The cherished landmark nearly destroyed by huge fire back in April.

CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Paris -- Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, the Parisian Catholics will have to get used to not having Christmas mass here at Notre Dame. But, yes, the first time in more than 260 years that there's been no Christmas mass here at Notre Dame, and, of course, that is because of the scale of the devastation that was caused by the flames.

You remember, it's back in April, the whole world looked on aghast, when the flames took over the nave of that more than 850-year-old cathedral. At one point, the great spire in the center of it collapsed to the gasps of those that gathered all around. Now, the trouble with the reconstruction and the reason it hasn't begun yet, is as that spire collapsed, with scaffolding around it, it is that scaffolding that the giant crane is going to begin picking out in the New Year.

An extremely delicate operation that will take some months. In fact, Joe, reconstruction isn't going to begin until the end of next year. It will be a while before the faithful have a chance to celebrate mass. And it's probably the world's most famous cathedral.

JOHNS: All right. Thanks so much for that, Melissa Bell, in Paris.

KOSIK: Let's get a check on CNN business this morning, taking a look at markets around the world.

Looks like a mixed performance in Asian markets overnight. Hong Kong markets will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the holidays. European markets will open lower, and moving to Wall Street, looks like futures are barely moving. Flat on this shortened trading day.

But yesterday, different stories. Stocks closing at all-time highs again, on Monday. The Dow closing up 96 points. The S&P and the Nasdaq edging up slightly.

The markets will be closing at 1:00 p.m. for Christmas Eve and they're going to be closed entirely tomorrow for Christmas.

The newest car company on the block just had its biggest investment yet. Rivian, the company making electric vehicles for Amazon and Ford raised $1.3 billion. The investment Rivian's fund-raising for the year to almost $3 million. Not only is Rivian developing its own pickup and SUV, it's helping Ford develop a new plug-in battery vehicle. It is also making electric vans for Amazon.

Rivian's pickup truck is seen as the biggest competition for Tesla's new Cybertruck. Rivian plans to start delivering its cars to customers around the end of next year.

JOHNS: So, thanks so much for our international viewers for joining us. Merry Christmas. Have a great rest of your day.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.