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EARLY START

U.S. Officials Believe Iran Mistakenly Downed Plane; President Trump Slams War Powers Vote; Prince Harry Defied Queen's Wishes. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 10, 2020 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00]

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: To be, to say the least, right?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

JARRETT: Well, EARLY START continues right now.

ROMANS: U.S. officials believe Iran mistakenly shot down a passenger jet that crashed near Tehran. New video of the impact moments away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had to make a decision. We didn't have time to call up Nancy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: The president rails on Democrats and makes a startling claim after the House passes a symbolic measure preventing military action against Iran.

ROMANS: And is today the day Democrats run short on patience as Nancy Pelosi holds articles of impeachment?

CNN is live this morning in Tehran, Moscow, Sydney, London, and Washington.

Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. Happy Friday, and 30 minutes past the hour.

U.S. officials believe the passenger jet that crashed near Tehran Wednesday with 176 souls on board -- well, mistakenly shot out of the air by Iran. CNN has obtained video that appears to show a missile being fired into the Tehran sky striking an object around the same time a Ukrainian 737 crashed just after takeoff.

A U.S. official familiar with the intel says the plane was shot down by two Russian-made surface-to-air missiles. The U.S. saw Iranian radar signals lock onto the jetliner before it went down, intelligence later confirmed by Britain, Australia, and Canada -- Canada, which lost 63 of its citizens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: It is now more important than ever that we know exactly how such a tragedy could have happened. The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The jet crashed hours after Iran launched a strike against U.S. military bases in Iraq. Those hostilities have complicated the investigation with American investigators, at first, kept out. But now, a U.S. official tells CNN Iran has invited the National Transportation Safety Board to join.

Allowing U.S. investigators is significant -- it allows Boeing to participate -- but it also sets up a thorny situation because some sanctions on Iran would have to be waived to allow the U.S. to join in.

Our coverage begins this morning with Frederik Pleitgen live in Tehran -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine, you're absolutely right. All those intelligence services from various countries saying they believe that the plane was accidentally shot down by Russian-made surface-to-air missiles fired by the Iranian military.

Now, this morning there was a press conference by the Iranian Civil Aviation Authority where they said that they do not believe in that theory. They said that they believe that theory is quote "not valid."

And the head of the Aviation Authority was saying he believes that the debris field that's there on the ground right now after that crash would have been a lot larger if that plane would have been hit in the sky by a missile. He also said that he doesn't believe that the plane would have been able to make a move to try and fly back to Iman Khomeini Airport if it would have been hit by a missile. That the plane would not have been maneuverable.

Now, of course, we have that video that we've seen of that plane possibly getting hit by something in the sky, yet impossible to independently verify that. But certainly, it seems as though something was on fire in the sky.

The head of the Aviation Authority saying that the -- from eyewitness accounts, they have pieced together that the plane was on fire for 60 to 70 seconds before impacting the ground.

The Iranians, as you've noticed -- as you've noted, also now inviting international assistance for this investigation -- the NTSB to be part of it, Boeing to be part of it. Also, various other countries like, for instance, Ukraine to be part of it as well. The Iranians are saying it could take two months to read the data in the black boxes because one of the black boxes is pretty badly damaged.

And finally, guys, there's been some questions about the actual impact site and what's going on there. We do have an eyewitness account now saying that apparently, a lot of the large debris that was at that site has already been cleared, guys.

ROMANS: All right. The black box investigation, we know, begins today.

All right, Fred Pleitgen in Tehran for us. Thank you.

JARRETT: Ukraine's president will discuss the investigation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later today.

The pilot's mother grieving at the arrival gate at the Ukrainian airport. Families of victims from Canada are shell-shocked.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing that comes to your mind is that you don't believe that. I still don't believe that it happened, you know, and I will miss them forever. I think that there's a hole in my heart now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They described my mom as a very kind and very smart person. I have been told by many people that she was their best friend.

My dad, he was very inquisitive. I always thought to myself that if he had the opportunity to study and get an education in a first world country he would become a very prestigious researcher, but unfortunately, that wasn't available to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: CNN's Matthew Chance live for us in Moscow. And, Matthew, obviously, it's just devastating for the families but another crisis for Ukraine's President Zelensky as well.

[05:35:08]

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, this is a novice president who was lurched from one crisis to the next. Of course, is at the center of the impeachment allegations against President Trump. That's been really difficult for him, a country that's so dependent on the United States for its military assistance, to deal with.

Now, he's found himself having to deal with this international tragedy of this airliner crash in Tehran, which has caused a lot of 176 lives.

And, you know, there was a statement from Volodymyr Zelensky -- President Zelensky of Ukraine in the last couple of hours and you could hear the frustration coming through when he was like look, you have a missile theory that has been talked about so much by what he called his international partners. It's still not been proven, he said -- it's not been ruled out.

But he called on the United States, on Canada, on Britain -- all of the leaders of whom have said look, we've spoken to our intelligence services and that looks like the most likely scenario that Iran shot it down with a surface-to-air missile, perhaps unintentionally.

He's called on them to come forward with the data, come forward with the intelligence, and present it to the investigators so they can get to the bottom of what caused that Boeing 737 800 New (sic)-Generation to crash from the skies in such dramatic and devastating fashion.

In the meantime, Ukrainian investigators are on the ground in Tehran at the crash site. They're looking not just at the missile theory, they're looking at the possibility of a bomb attack, the possibility of engine failure, the possibility that the plane struck some object, like a drone in the sky. They're not ruling anything out at this early stage -- Christine.

JARRETT: All right, Matthew. Thanks so much for being for us -- there. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right, Laura, more ahead on all this -- the war powers acts, impeachment. Also, a very unlikely collaboration to address the homeless crisis in Los Angeles.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:41:06]

JARRETT: President Trump in Ohio last night holding his first rally this election year. He railed against Democrats hours after the House passed a largely symbolic measure to stop him from taking further military action against Iran. The vote fell largely along party lines and made Democrats question the White House justification for the drone strike that killed a top Iranian general -- that justification that he was planning an imminent attack.

ROMANS: Thursday morning, the president said the U.S. took out Qasem Soleimani because he was targeting the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Last night, the president went even further.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Soleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad. But we stopped him -- and we stopped him quickly and we stopped him cold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Now, the public has not seen the proof that Soleimani was targeting embassies but he was with the leader of a group that attacked the embassy in Baghdad when he was killed, and that leader was killed with him.

There's a lot of legal uncertainty about whether concurrent resolutions under the War Powers Act are binding, but it appears House Democrats are trying to force the Senate to vote on the measure.

JARRETT: Democrats and a handful of Republicans remain frustrated by the White House resistance to involve Congress on the Iran strike.

Joining us now, CNN's Michael Warren, live this morning in Washington.

ROMANS: Good morning.

JARRETT: And, Mike, the vote, obviously on the war powers resolution, passed overwhelmingly with even a few Republicans -- buddies of the president, including Matt Gaetz from Florida there. So let's take a look at what the president had to say about all of this last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: ...trying to say how dare you take him out that way? You should get permission from Congress.

We got a call, we heard where he was, we knew the way he was getting there, and we had to make a decision. We didn't have time to call up Nancy, who is not operating with a full deck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The crowd loves those insults.

JARRETT: And he obviously had time to inform some of his friends, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, about the strikes.

But, you know, it's interesting. Kaitlan Collins is reporting, Mike, that the president is furious about this vote even though it's largely symbolic, at least in some respect. What do you make of this?

MICHAEL WARREN, CNN REPORTER: Well, that's right, it is symbolic that the House, of course, controlled by Democrats. And if you look at the Senate -- really, just two Republicans in the Senate, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, have even made a lot of noise about their frustration with the administration on this.

So look, the Republicans control the Senate and this is likely to die on the vine there. But that doesn't mean that it isn't getting under the president's skin --

ROMANS: Yes.

WARREN: -- to have this kind of challenge to what he very clearly sees as well within his rights as president. That kind of fight is really not something I think he expected to be having right now.

ROMANS: And, you know, the House Speaker has made it clear that she wants, as an institution, the House to be on the record about this. This is about being on the record for history.

Let's talk a little bit about how all of this factors into Iowa, factors into the upcoming election and the Democrats on the campaign trail. We now know Tom Steyer will also be on the debate stage next week at Drake University -- the CNN-Des Moines Register debate.

How does the foreign policy moves of the last three or four days factor into the race among those people?

WARREN: Well, you know, it sort of injects some unpredictability into a Democratic primary that has sort of been on the backburner as Washington has been focused on impeachment and now, Iran.

A lot of questions about where Democratic primary voters are going to go. Are they going to sort of seek out sort of the more progressive wing of the party -- someone like Bernie Sanders who has really been sort of a consistent, progressive, anti-war voice on this issue?

[05:45:01]

Is that something where -- that Democratic primary voters are looking for? Or are they looking for something a little more comforting -- looking at the way that the president has done this and looking for someone more like Joe Biden -- sort of an old-hand part of the old guard to sort of guide Democrats through a time in which the president could really be sort of gathering strength among his own base for something like this?

This really sort of throws things into sort of an unpredictable state as we look for this first debate of the new year where these candidates are going to go after each other on an issue that we haven't really heard much about, which is foreign policy and national security.

JARRETT: Yes. And, Mike, we want to get your thoughts on the impeachment front. And, you know, did Nancy Pelosi overplay her hand here? She's sitting on the articles of impeachment for three weeks now. She says she's going to hand them over soon.

But what did she gain from this gambit? Mitch McConnell hasn't budged an inch.

ROMANS: Yes.

WARREN: Look, I think Pelosi played the hand that she had and it was a pretty good hand, except Mitch McConnell, it turns out, had a better one, which was that no Republicans -- and I think this is clear pretty early on -- no Republicans or certainly not enough Republicans in the Senate were willing to cross him and willing to put pressure on Sen. McConnell to agree to witnesses before the trial starts. We should note that doesn't mean there won't be witnesses but certainly, that was a condition that Democrats were really pushing for.

Pelosi just really sort of ran out of leverage and ran out of time here. I think that's why you're hearing now from her that we should expect those impeachment articles really any day now to be transferred over to the Senate. She just was outplayed.

ROMANS: Yes. JARRETT: Well, that's the thing. Even if McConnell has the votes for how the trial will be set up, he may not necessarily have the votes on making sure that there are no witnesses whatsoever.

WARREN: That's right.

JARRETT: That part, we still need to wait to see on.

ROMANS: And the debate stage gets cut in half if the trial starts too early. There's also this interesting juggling there.

All right, Mike, nice to see you.

JARRETT: Thanks so much.

ROMANS: Michael Warren, CNN reporter.

WARREN: Thanks.

ROMANS: All right, this fascinating study here. An increase in the minimum wage could help prevent thousands of suicides every year among workers with a high school degree or less.

This is a new 25-year observational study that found a $1.00 increase in the minimum wage resulted in an estimated 3 1/2 to almost six percent decrease in suicide rates among adults 18 to 64 years old. Now, a $2.00 increase would have prevented, the study concludes, between 40,000 suicides between 2009 and 2015.

The study's author said this. "Our findings suggest that the potential protective effects of a higher minimum wage are more important during times of high unemployment."

The federal minimum wage is currently stuck at about $7.25 an hour. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia pay more. Their tax -- their state voters have been raising those minimum wages.

Over the past few years, multiple studies have shown a link between economic conditions and health.

JARRETT: And what's amazing about that is it's not $100, it's $1.00 to make a difference.

ROMANS: Absolutely, absolutely.

All right, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:52:38]

ROMANS: Firefighters from America arriving to cheers at the airport in Sydney and they have their work cut out for them. Dangerous fire conditions in the forecast across Australia's southern states.

CNN's Will Ripley live in Sydney where 30,000 people protested today. Will, what are they protesting?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're out here, Christine, and the protests have now ended, so we're just here at the iconic Sydney Harbor area where people are going about with their Friday night. But earlier, this center part of the city was actually brought to a standstill. There was gridlock in the streets with 30,000 people, as you said, who were out.

And this is just one of a number of cities across Australia staging similar large-scale protests trying to raise awareness about climate change and specifically, criticizing the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison. He's been getting a lot of heat and one, for his botched response in the view of some people here to the -- to the bush fires, which are truly unprecedented.

More than two dozen people have died. The fires continue to rage as we speak. And the forecast in the coming days not particularly good. There's a chance that the fires could intensify.

But people say the prime minister is still part of the old mindset, addicted to fossil fuel. Australia obviously has a huge coal industry. It's a key part of this country's economy. The prime minister famously held up a lump of coal in Parliament and said people shouldn't be afraid of coal.

But people out here in Sydney say times have changed and it's time to -- it's time to change the way that Australia relies on its energy -- to make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable. Because they say regardless of the economy or not, if the planet is dead you're not going to have an economy, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Will Ripley for us in Sydney. Thanks so much for that, Will.

JARRETT: The queen wasn't just caught off-guard. Prince Harry and his wife, Megan's, decision to step back from their senior royal duties directly defied the queen's wishes.

CNN's Max Foster is live in London, our official #Megxit reporter. What is going on there, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So she asked him not to publish this statement and issue the Web site as well, and he did both. So there's a lot of tension in the household right now because he crossed a bit of a red line there in undermining the queen -- the head of state, the head of the family -- an extraordinary moment.

But what she's done, along with Charles and William, is task their teams with trying to find a workable solution to this new role that the Sussex's want. And the implication there is that they don't think what the Sussex's have proposed is workable, so over the weekend they're going to be working towards some sort of solution here.

[05:55:06]

Meghan isn't around, though. She's flown to Canada. We do expect her back at the beginning of next week. But she's really left Harry back here in the U.K. to deal with this and try to find a solution.

The big question, Laura, is can they find a solution. Will Harry and Meghan compromise on the role that they clearly desire -- the hybrid role of some royal duties and some private work? We'll wait and see next week, but if there is no compromise it's difficult to see how they can stay as working royals.

JARRETT: And can they have it both ways and what does that look like?

Max Foster, thanks so much.

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

A big Friday jobs report. The December jobs report out in just a few hours. A strong end to the year in the mighty American jobs market.

An estimated 164,000 new jobs added at the end of the year. The jobless rate near this historic low, 3 1/2 percent.

Taking a look at global markets, some optimism around the world this morning. Wall Street futures are up a little bit, pointing slightly higher before this jobs report.

Stocks hit record highs Thursday with Iran fears behind investors and optimism ahead of the signing of a narrow U.S.-China trade deal next week. The Dow ended up 211 points, just shy of hitting 29,000 for the first time in history. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also closed higher.

Look at Apple here. It rose two percent to a record high on news that iPhone sales in China jumped 18 percent in December. Apple has had an incredible year. It is up 104 percent over the past 52 weeks.

All right, the housing market still one of the bright spots in the economy. One index shows housing prices up 3.3 percent annually. Homebuilder Lennar reported solid fourth-quarter earnings, citing healthy demand across the country.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, 3.64 percent. That's down from 4 1/2 percent last year. Cheap mortgages, a strong jobs market, confident consumers. Forecasters say they will keep real estate strong this year.

JARRETT: Here's an unlikely collaboration. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti reaching out to President Trump to help the homeless. In a letter to the president and HUD Sec. Ben Carson, Mayor Garcetti asked for aid to move L.A.'s homeless population into shelters, build permanent housing, and services they need to stay in their homes.

Sec. Carson signaling a rare spirit of cooperation saying he "looks forward to a new partnership to benefit our fellow citizens."

The president has been very critical of Los Angeles and San Francisco for their handling of homelessness.

Garcetti, by the way, endorsed Joe Biden for president yesterday. ROMANS: Jail cell surveillance video of Jeffrey Epstein's first apparent suicide attempt last summer no longer exists because of an accidental mix-up and technical issues. That's the claim in a court filing by the U.S. attorney's office in New York's Southern District.

Prison officers found Epstein on the floor of his cell with a bedsheet around his neck. It was the morning of July 23rd. But according to the government, jail cell video was not properly preserved and is now gone. A technical error is also being blamed for missing video from a backup recording system.

Amazon says it fired a number of employees in its Ring security camera business because they were abusing access to customer's surveillance footage. The company disclosed the firings in a letter after facing questions from lawmakers. Amazon says a smaller number of employees now have access to that type of video.

There have been numerous reports of Ring customers being contacted through their devices by online hackers and criminals.

JARRETT: Athletes will be sleeping on cardboard beds at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The general manager of the athletes' village says it's really sturdy cardboard; more sturdy than a wooden bed. The manufacturer claims it can bear the weight of a 440-pound sumo wrestler.

The beds will be recycled after the Olympics. It's all part of the plan by organizers to reduce the game's carbon emissions.

ROMANS: But are they comfortable? I know they're sturdy, but are they comfortable?

JARRETT: I don't know. I think that they should get a Tempur-Pedic. These are Olympic athletes.

ROMANS: Oh, reduce, reuse, recycle.

JARRETT: Fair enough.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. Have a great weekend, everyone. NEW DAY starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUDEAU: Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile.

PLEITGEN: The Iranians saying that they have invited both Ukraine and Boeing to take part in the investigation.

TRUMP: Soleimani was looking very seriously at our embassies.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We are passing a war powers resolution to limit the president's military actions. REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Nancy Pelosi does it again and her Democrats fall right in line. They are in love with terrorists.

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): This bill was to remind everybody that we should be debating things like war and peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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's Friday, January 10th. It's 6:00 here in New York.

END