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U.S. "Days In Our Region Are Numbered"; John Bolton Willing to Testify; WaPo: Facebook to Ban Deepfakes; USGS: 6.5 Magnitude Quake off Puerto Rico; Cowboys to Hire Mike McCarthy as New Coach. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired January 7, 2020 - 05:00   ET


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Well, 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.



JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER OF IRAN: The United States has to wake up to the reality that the people of this region are enraged.


JARRETT: A forceful warning from Iran's foreign minister. Iranian lawmakers now designating the U.S. military a terrorist organization.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: He called shadow diplomacy a drug deal. Now John Bolton says he is willing to testify, but Republicans aren't itching to invite him.

JARRETT: And Facebook will ban highly manipulated videos known as deepfakes. But critical loopholes still persist.

CNN is live this morning in Tehran, Baghdad, Australia and London.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, January 7th, 5:00 a.m. exactly in the east and 27 days until the Iowa caucuses.

Breaking overnight Iranian lawmakers designating the U.S. military a terrorist organization in response to the killing of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. There are now reports the Trump administration is denying Iran's foreign minister a visa to travel to New York ahead of U.N. Security Council meeting on Thursday. CNN has not been able to confirm this. JARRETT: Huge crowds pack into his hometown of Kerman for his burial

this morning. President Trump is standing by his decision to order the strike that killed Soleimani.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He should have been taken out a long time ago, and we had a shot at it and we took him out. And we're a lot safer now because of it.


JARRETT: But questions persist over U.S. claims that intel showed Soleimani was planning an imminent attack on U.S. interests. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley says very, very few people saw that intelligence, adding it was imminent and it was very, very clear in scale and scope.

ROMANS: A source tells CNN tough congressional leaders, the so-called Gang of Eight are set to receive an Iran briefing this afternoon.

In Iran, we have our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen. He's in Tehran, and he just spoke with the Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Fred, what did he say? What did he tell you?


Well, he was till very much angry and enraged at the killing of Qasem Soleimani, that senior general of the Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force who, of course, is pretty much the biggest general here in Iran. And his burial as it took place this morning in his hometown in Kerman and the latest reports we're getting is apparently there was a stampede at that burial because there were so many people that were there and that a number of people apparently have been killed. We're going to continue to monitor that as well.

But you're absolutely right. I did speak to Javad Zarif earlier today as well. He was ripping into President Trump, the Trump administration and saying because of President Trump's action that people in the Middle East are enraged at America's actions. Here's what he said.


ZARIF: He is showing to the international community that he has no respect for international law. That he is prepared to commit war crimes because attacking cultural sites is a war crime -- disproportionate response is a war crime. But he doesn't care, it seems, about international law.

But has he made the U.S. more secure? Do Americans feel more secure? That's the price for arrogance, for ignorance, for lack of respect. Their days in our region are numbered not because anybody would take any action against them but because they are not welcomed. This is state terrorism, this is an act of aggression against Iraq, and it amounts to an armed attack against Iran and we will respond.

The United States has to wake up to the reality that the people of this region are enraged -- that the people of this region want the United States out. The United States has been in this region for many years and has not brought itself or the region any security. We'll leave it at that.


PLEITGEN: One of the other things that he also said, Christine, was at this point in time he does not believe it's even worthwhile speaking to President Trump and the Trump administration under these current circumstances. And you heard it there. He's also saying that he believes this is essentially the beginning of the end of America's presence in the Middle East.

But once again, that vow by the foreign minister like so many other Iranian leaders that Iran is going to strike back at the U.S., Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Fred Pleitgen for us in Tehran, thanks for that excellent reporting, Fred. Thank you.

JARRETT: Defense Secretary Mark Esper contradicting President Trump, insisting the U.S. will not target cultural sites in Iran. The president has threatened do so twice now with the backing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but Secretary Esper tells CNN we will follow the laws of armed conflict. It's a war crime to deliberately target cultural sites in a military operation, and the Pentagon has a long- standing rule to avoid striking areas of cultural importance.


ROMANS: The White House readying action against Iraq if it expels U.S. troops. "The Washington Post" reports administration officials have started drafting possible sanctions on Iraq which President Trump threatened over the weekend. Adding to the uncertainty the top U.S. general says a letter suggesting America would withdraw troops from Iraq was released by mistake but, quote, that's not what's happening.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh live from Baghdad -- Jomana.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, a lot of confusion when that letter began circulating late in the evening on Iraqi media. You had U.S. officials here in Baghdad and also Washington, D.C. scrambling to try and explain this letter that was being portrayed in the media as the United States beginning its withdrawal from Iraq. U.S. officials saying that is not what the letter was saying although it does indicate -- the language in that letter does mention a withdrawal, does mention abiding by the decision of the Iraqi parliament. What they said was they were notifying the Iraqis there will be

movement of troops, this is just repositioning of troops, that they will remain in the country, but they're letting them know there will be some sort of activity, that this is standard procedure of letting them know. But there was really no explanation other than hearing from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, saying that this was an honest mistake, it was a poorly worded letter and it shouldn't have been released.

But really they didn't explain why that language was used, why it would indicate any sort of withdrawal if that is not happening from the secretary of defense and General Milley saying there are no plans for withdrawal despite the fact the Iraqis, the Iraqi government, the prime minister seemed to be moving ahead with plans, drawing up plans to try and talk to coalition countries about leaving the country. And also the concern here is when the United States comes out so definitively saying they will not be withdrawing is the threat from Iranian-backed groups here that have threatened to attack U.S. forces if they do not leave the country, Christine.

ROMANS: And all these questions about the chain of custody of that letter. How -- how could this roil so much of this situation and just be released like that, this draft, so many questions.

All right. Jomana Karadsheh in Baghdad, thank you.

JARRETT: Volunteers and veterans in North Carolina are stepping up to help the families of soldiers suddenly being deployed to the Middle East. More than 3,000 service members, many of them from Fort Bragg, are heading overseas following the U.S. airstrike that killed General Soleimani. Family members are understandably nervous.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was kind of like a crashing of our world cause he left without a moment's notice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a little concerned because of the newness of the situation, to not ever allow complacency to set in. And also, you know, take care of your buddies.


JARRETT: For security reasons, soldiers deployed with the 82nd Airborne are not being allowed to bring personal cellphones or electronic devices that could reveal their locations.

ROMANS: All right. Breaking news, Puerto Rico is in the dark after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast. The U.S. Geological Survey said it struck about 6 miles south of Indios, Puerto Rico. A tsunami is not expected.

Puerto Rico's power company tweeting its plants have activated their auto protective mechanism and is out of service. Remember most of the island was without electricity for months after Hurricane Maria in 2017. This is the island's second quake in as many days. We'll bring you new details as soon as we get them.

All right. The same day Harvey Weinstein trial begins on rape charges in New York, similar charges revealed in Los Angeles.



ROMANS: Tehran has vowed revenge for the American killing of General Soleimani. Now, U.S. officials are bracing for much wider range of attacks, including a major cyber attack.

The Department of Homeland Security issued an alert to American organizations to, quote, adapt a state of heighten awareness as tension with Iran escalates. The alert advised cyber securities teams to enhance monitoring of network and e-mail traffic, including for e- mail fishing attempts.

Experts say the risk of an Iranian cyber attack is real and it could cause disruption to the U.S. Iran has been accused of shutting down bank websites and attacking American casinos in the past, resulting in the loss of credit card information and social security numbers.

A cyber attack could expose companies to billions of dollars in damages. Many companies would not be insured against those losses because a lot of insurance policies exclude the losses tied to military conflict from coverage.

JARRETT: Facebook plans to rollout new rules that will ban users from posting so-called deepfake videos. The policy will ban videos that are edited or synthesized in a way average users would not be able to easily spot. But the rules do not prohibit all doctored videos.

According to "The Washington Post", the new guidelines would not have banned that deceptively edited clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that went viral last year because the technology that was used wasn't advanced enough. The change comes as company executives prepares to testify at a congressional hearing later this week on manipulation and deception in the digital age.

ROMANS: A potential game changer in the impeachment of President Trump. John Bolton declaring he is prepared it testify if subpoenaed in the Senate. The former national security adviser has firsthand of President Trump's conversations about withholding Ukraine military.

Here's how top Russian expert Fiona Hill testified about pressuring Ukraine.


FIONA HILL, FORMER NSC SENIOR DIRECTOR: Ambassador Bolton told me that I am not part of the -- this -- whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.

REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): And did your boss, Dr. Bolton -- I mean, Ambassador Bolton, tell you that Giuliani was, quote, a hand grenade? [05:15:05]

HILL: He did. Yes.


JARRETT: Bolton's willingness to testify gives congressional Democrats a big potential boost but also ups the pressure on Senate Majority Leader McConnell to allow witnesses at the impeachment trial of President Trump.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The Senate has the unanimous bipartisan precedent for when to handle mid-trial questions, such as witnesses -- in the middle of the trial.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): If any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we've requested, they would make it absolutely clear they're participating in a cover-up.


JARRETT: At the same time, a handful of key Republican senators dodged questions on Monday about whether they'd back a subpoena for Bolton. Senate Republican aides are down-playing Bolton's announcement, speculating Bolton is trying to drum up sales for his upcoming book.

ROMANS: All right. Just about 16 minutes past the hour this Tuesday morning. An Alabama star quarterback will forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Andy Scholes the details in the "Bleacher Report", next.



JARRETT: Well, just hours after the start of his criminal trial in New York, Harvey Weinstein is hit with new sexual assault charges in Los Angeles. Weinstein is charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another over a two-day period in 2013. Meantime, jury selection is set to begin this morning in Weinstein's New York trial. Prosecutors say the disgraced former movie mogul committed sex crimes against multiple women.


DONNA ROTUNNO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Here we are looking at a circumstance where she stands up in front of a court and calls my client a predator. Mr. Weinstein, again, has a right to a fair trial. I think she believes he's convicted already. That's not how this works.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: Weinstein has denied any criminal wrongdoing and claims any sexual acts were consensual.

ROMANS: All right. The Dallas Cowboys moving quickly. The team set to hire Mike McCarthy as the team's next coach.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.


You know, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys -- they let us know on Sunday night that they were officially moving on from Jason Garret and then, yesterday, the new surfacing they had already found their new man and former practice coach Mike McCarthy.

According to multiple reports the team set to make it official later this week. McCarthy made the playoff in 9 of his 13 seasons coaching the packers. He won the Super Bowl with green bay in 2011 beating the Steelers at the Cowboys State.

All right. In the NBA last night, we saw something rare. That was the Milwaukee Bucks getting blown out. The Spurs handling Giannis and co, handling them, beating the Bucks 126-104, just the sixth time the Bucks have lost this year. Patty Mills knocked about 6 threes for the Spurs in the game.

But his mind has been elsewhere lately. Mills from Australia and says it's been tough watching the coverage of the wildfires that continue to wreak havoc on his country.


PATTY MILLS, SAN ANTONIO SPURS GUARD: Going through some tough times now, our whole country is. And we're bracing for another big week of high temperatures and dry weather so, you know, yes, it's definitely tough. But like I said I'll try my threes for some rain any day right about now.


SCHOLES: All right. Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa making it official yesterday, announcing that he is entering the NFL draft. Tua suffered a season-ending hip injury back in November, and despite that injury, many still consider the Alabama quarterback to be a top 10 pick. Tua said, well, he hopes to be back on the field in an NFL uniform this year.


TUA TAGOVAILOA, ALABAMA QUARTERBACK: I'm optimistic that I'll be able to play, you know, this upcoming season. It's really all dependent on what the doctors, you know, have to say to the team and what the results come back in as.


SCHOLES: And, Christine, Tua presenting an interesting dilemma for some teams because with that hip surgery that he had, he's not going to be able to work out at all before the draft. So, they're basically going to have to go on what their doctors say and, of course, what Tua did in Alabama.

ROMANS: Right. Absolutely.

All right. Andy Scholes, thanks so much for that in the "Bleacher Report" this morning.

Laura, what's coming up next?

JARRETT: All right, Christine.

Well, Iran's foreign minister with a forceful rebuke of the U.S. He says President Trump has no respect for international law and America's days in the Middle East are numbered. More of what Javad Zarif told CNN live from Tehran, up next.



JARRETT: IKEA has agreed to pay $46 million to the parents of a toddler who died in 2017 when an IKEA dresser tipped over onto him. Attorneys for the parents of the 2-year-old Jozef Dudek say it's the largest wrongful death settlement in U.S. history for a child. It's nearly three times what IKEA paid to settle similar lawsuits in 2016. The company recalled more than 17 million dressers in 2016, including the one that killed Dudek.

ROMANS: Yes, if they're not anchored to the wall, they're incredibly dangerous, that line.

And it's a "Jeopardy!" showdown for the ages. Three legendary players will face-off starting tonight to prove who is the greatest "Jeopardy!" champ of all-time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have to really be quick on a signaling device I know against these two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's done it more recently, but you know, less than half as long as certain people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like riding a bike, you know? You get back up there. You never forget.

ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": Our elements that favor each of the three guys. They didn't win all that money by accident.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Wow. James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will vie for the coveted GOAT title. The first two win three matches will also receive $1 million. The other two will get a $250,000 consolation prize.

JARRETT: It's all about who's fast on that trigger.

ROMANS: That's all about the trigger finger.

EARLY START continues right now.



ZARIF: The United States has to wake up to the reality that the people of this region are enraged.


ROMANS: A forceful warning from Iran's foreign minister. Iranian lawmakers now designating the U.S. military a terrorist organization.

JARRETT: He called shadow diplomacy a drug deal. Now, John Bolton says he's willing to testify. But Republicans aren't itching to invite him.