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EARLY START

Iranians Protest Regime Over Airplane Crash; President Trump Claims Soleimani Targeted 4 Embassies; Bernie Sanders Attacks Rivals Ahead of Iowa Debate. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 13, 2020 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Dismissing is a cover-up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: The president's impeachment trial should finally begin any day. How does the speaker defend holding the articles for weeks?

And Bernie Sanders leaving no stone unturned. He's going right after Joe Biden and defending his campaign after surrogates targeted Elizabeth Warren. Good morning and welcome to EARLY START, I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: And I'm Christine Romans, it is Monday, January 13th, it is 5:00 a.m. in the east and 21 days to the Iowa caucuses.

But we begin in Tehran, a scene that could land these people in jail. On the streets there, protesters chanting death to the supreme leader. Iranians demanding the Ayatollah be held accountable for the downing of a Ukrainian Airliner. Anger growing after Iran admitted it shot down the jet last week, killing 176 people.

Iran calls it an accident, and says it was caused in part by heightened tensions just hours after Iran fired missiles towards bases in Iraq that housed U.S. troops. Now, it took Tehran three days to admit what Ukrainian investigators say they knew just hours after arriving at the crash site, that a missile brought down that jet.

JARRETT: Many of the victims were Canadian, one man lost his sister, brother-in-law and one-year-old niece who was the youngest victim. He speaks to the broader frustrations with the leadership in Iran.

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AMIR ARSALANI, SISTER, BROTHER-IN-LAW, NIECE WERE KILLED ON UKRAINIAN FLIGHT: She was an angel. Like how can you do that?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN: They say it was an accident. ARSALANI: It was not an accident.

NEWTON: What does justice look like for you and your family?

ARSALANI: We say eye for an eye. I know that's not a possible way. What are they going to do? Give us money, give us a piece of land, give us -- put a street under their name? I don't care. I can care less. I want them back. If I can't get them back, they have to leave, they have to go.

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JARRETT: President Trump went to Twitter to warn Iran's leaders several times not to injure or kill the protesters. The posts were then retweeted in farce. CNN's Nic Robertson is following the story from Abu Dhabi for us. And Nic, you know, we've seen images of protesters stomping on pictures of Qasem Soleimani and walking around the U.S. flag. What is going on?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is a major protest against the government in Iran, and quite simply because so many people now believe that the leadership doesn't care about them. The downing of that Ukrainian jet is an example of it, a huge and hurtful and painful example of it. Why? Because the leadership in Iran had the opportunity that night that they were attacking U.S. bases to ground civilian aircraft.

They didn't, and that means that so many Canadians and so many Iranians lost their lives. The brightest and the best of them among them. Those who were making new lives and new careers overseas, and that's really angered people here. A few weeks ago, we were looking at protests on the streets of Iran where people were angry with the government again for treating them as how they felt a sort of second class to the regime's ideals of sort of overseas adventures, of Qasem Soleimani's killings overseas, these sorts of things.

They saw the price hikes that the regime was putting on them as being unfair and wrong. We're seeing a return to that now, they're calling for the death of the Ayatollah, calling Soleimani a murderer, calling -- you know, calling out supreme leader a murderer. This is very significant. And what we're seeing in these protests is clearly the leadership ignoring what President Trump is saying, calling for restraint.

What we are seeing, people being shot by the police it appears in these protests. So, you can hear rounds of bullets being fired, one woman get shot in the foot, somebody else get shot in the leg. So people -- several people at a time being shot on the streets here. So, this is tensions that appear to be now growing and spreading across the country and becoming more violent.

JARRETT: Yes, a stark reminder that protesting is no small thing there and quite dangerous for folks on the ground. Nic, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right, so top national security officials here are tying themselves in knots to explain the intelligence behind the killing of the top Iranian general. The White House originally said Qasem Soleimani posed an imminent threat, then the president said he was targeting one embassy, then several. Then the president went even further.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Large scale attacks planned for other embassies, and if those were planned, why can't we reveal that to the American people? Wouldn't that help your case?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies, and I think that probably, Baghdad already started.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: So the president says four embassies. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he didn't see the evidence for that, but he still backs the president's claim.

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MARK ESPER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, UNITED STATES: He didn't cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said is he probably -- he believed could have been --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying there wasn't one?

ESPER: I didn't see one with regard to four embassies. What the president said with regard to the four embassies is what I believe as well. And he said he believed that they probably, that they could have been targeting the embassies in the region. I believe that as well.

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JARRETT: Meantime, the president's National Security adviser offering up this explanation for why the administration won't release the Intel to back up its claim.

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ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: That same intelligence, those same streams and channels are what allow us to protect Americans going forward. So rather than have a short-term political win, release the intelligence and say I told you so. We want to keep the American people safe going forward.

So we're going to be circumspect, but everything the president has said is consistent with, and his interpretation is very consistent with the intelligence which show that Soleimani was plotting to kill Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: Defense Secretary Esper says the top eight congressional

leaders were briefed at least on the Intel relating to a possible attack on the Baghdad Embassy. But House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the gang of eight says he doesn't recall any intelligence specifically on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

ROMANS: All right, to impeachment now. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has no regrets about her decision to withhold the articles of impeachment against President Trump. Critics say the move weakens the Democrats' case that President Trump's poses an immediate threat to national security. Pelosi wanted the Senate to lay out specifics for the trial process and commit to calling witnesses, that did not happen.

JARRETT: But Pelosi argues the delay put pressure on moderate Republicans. She's also calling out Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell for supporting a resolution to dismiss the articles.

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PELOSI: Dismissing is a cover-up. Dismissing is a cover-up. If they want to go that route again, the senators who are thinking now about voting for witnesses or not, that they will have to be accountable for not having a fair trial.

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JARRETT: Pelosi is expected to name impeachment managers this week after consulting with House Democrats tomorrow. She'll send over the articles to the Senate soon after.

ROMANS: All right, Prince Harry will face his family today for the first time since he and his wife said they wanted to step back from royal duties, a summit with big implications. CNN live in London.

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[05:10:00]

JARRETT: All right, the stage is set, six 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls will fight it out on this stage in Iowa tomorrow night in the final debate before voting begins three weeks from today. Senator Bernie Sanders edging out his rivals in a new Iowa poll as he pounces on Joe Biden's vote for Iraq war, and his campaign attacks Elizabeth Warren as a candidate of the elite in a growing rift between the progressive leaders. CNN's Jeff Zeleny in Des Moines for us.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, the Democratic presidential candidate descending on Iowa for a final day of campaigning before that debate on Tuesday. That is the final debate before the voting finally begins in the 2020 presidential primary. So much has changed in terms of the conversation.

Foreign policy of course now front and center in this debate. Both for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden to continue their, you know, really sharp disagreements about their view of the world. Also something happened over the weekend that we have not yet seen before, a fight between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

It is about the Sanders campaign, and some of the language that they're using, "Politico" reported that the Sanders campaign was essentially trying to take back some Warren voters by saying, look, she can't win. So, it was used as a script that volunteers were going out to talk to voters about.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me. I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have hundreds of employees, Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. And people sometimes say things that they shouldn't. You have heard me give many speeches. Have I ever said one negative word about Elizabeth Warren?

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ZELENY: The Warren campaign trying to raise money off this, saying, look, that Bernie Sanders is trying to call it out in an unfair way. Now, all of this means one thing, the campaign is getting tighter. Our new CNN-"Des Moines Register" poll shows just a close race with those four candidates at top. Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren all within the margin of error.

Of course, later this week, some candidates will go back to Washington for the impeachment trial, not Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden. They can campaign the rest of the month. Christine and Laura?

JARRETT: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much for that report. And it's the last debate before the first vote. Top Democrats head to Iowa for a live CNN presidential debate in partnership with the "Des Moines Register". Tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.

ROMANS: But America's biggest banks kick off a busy earnings season, expecting record earnings, record profits from some of the biggest banks. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, all of them report their fourth quarter results this week. Now, in 2018, the largest bank made more than $120 billion, that was a record pile of profit, last year may have been even better.

Lower interest rates have been a recent challenge for banks because they can eat into profits, but lower rates also encourage more customers to borrow money, and taking out on mortgage. And look, the economy has been strong, jobs growth has been steady, consumer spending is still strong. Those factors could mean another record year for banks.

JARRETT: Well, four teams left standing in their quest for the Super Bowl after a thrilling weekend of Playoff football. Coy Wire has this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT".

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[05:15:00]

ROMANS: The top members of Britain's royal family set to meet today. They'll discuss the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also known as Harry and Meghan. The couple announced last week they plan to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. CNN's Anna Stewart live in London with the very latest. Good morning, Anna, you know, the United States over here, we fought a war so we didn't have to worry about the monarchy. But we are riveted with what's going on, so what are you expecting this morning?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, you are getting a sort of live the crown episode, aren't you? Well, today, we're having a sundry summit where they're going to discuss the future role of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. This is the first time senior royals have actually seen each other face-to-face since that shock announcement last week on Wednesday.

We had a very terse response from Buckingham Palace, and that it all went very quiet where the households went behind closed doors and tried to discuss with each other what the proposals could be. There are a range of them we understand that are on the table.

[05:20:00]

Prince Harry will have to discuss them through with his family, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex will not be at the meeting, she flew back to Canada shortly after that announcement to be with baby Archie, he was already there. She is expected, however, to dial into the meeting. Now, there's going to have to be some compromise.

The very fact that there is this meeting suggests of course that the proposals that were lined out in the Duke and Duchess' new Sussex role website last week clearly don't meet with the queen's approval. So, there's going to have to be some give-and-take, there's going to have to be some horse-trading. But at the same time, there also has to be some family bonding.

The newspapers are absolutely chock-a-block with the so-called royal rift, all sorts of sides talking about a feelings, lots coming out. So, they're going to have to have some bonding as well, I think, Christine.

ROMANS: That's one of the reasons I'm sure this couple would like to step back a bit because they are in the middle of the spotlight no matter what they do. Anna, so nice to see you, keep us posted with the breaking royal news.

JARRETT: I love that Meghan is dialing in. I mean, this is a big time summit. She can't miss a moment.

ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: Well, the White House still struggling to explain what led up to the decision to kill the Ayatollah's right-hand man. But the sentiment in Iran is less anti-American and more anti-regime. CNN is live in the Middle East.

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[05:25:00]

ROMANS: All right, fans of four teams still have dreams of a Super Bowl victory. Coy wire has more on this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT" from New Orleans side of tonight's college football championship, and the little people I live with, boy, do they love Patrick Mahomes.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: What a superstar, good morning, Christine. The Kansas City Chiefs, they haven't been to the Super Bowl in 50 years, but they are now just one win away from the game's biggest stage, and it took a comeback of monumental proportions to give here, let's watch.

After falling in a 24-0 hole in front of their home crowd against the Texans early in the second quarter, reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes employing his teammates, do something special, and the Chiefs begin one of the greatest comebacks in NFL Playoff history. They erased the deficit in a little more than 10 minutes.

The young superstar's optimism paying off, throwing for 321 yards, five touchdowns. Tight-end Travis Kelce and running back Damien Williams finding the end zone three times apiece. Kansas City reels off 41 unanswered points, a 51-31 win. They are the first Playoff team ever to win by 20 after trailing by at least 20.

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PATRICK MAHOMES, QUARTERBACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Yes, obviously, we didn't start the way we wanted to, but all we were preaching, all this defense as a team is, let's do something special -- everybody is already counting us out, let's keep fighting and just go one play at a time, and we found a way. And obviously, this is a huge win, and now we get the AFC Championship at home.

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WIRE: In the NFC, the Pack is back into the conference title game. Green Bay dominating the Seattle Seahawks from wire to wire. Aaron Rogers connecting with Davante Adams eight times for one under 60 yards and two touchdowns. That's more yards than any Packers' receiver in Playoff history. And the Packs attacking on defense as well.

Zack and Russell Wilson, five times in the game, Green Bay wins 28-23 to reach the conference championship for the third time in six years. Here is the way it shapes up next Sunday. The Titans head to Kansas City in the early game, then is the Packers and Niners with a spot in the Super Bowl.

On the line, we are here as you mentioned, Christine, in New Orleans for the college football Playoff National Championship games between Clemson and LSU. The defending champs Clemson are led by coach Dabo Swinney, arguably, the greatest leader in the college game right now. His Tigers are hoping to win their third title in four years. Now, LSU's Tigers are here in large quite, because of their leader as

well. Coach Ed Orgeron is one of the most energetic coaches in the game, he's from Louisiana, and there's no mistaking when you hear him. It's been a long journey, and it means the world to have the chance to become a champ in his home state.

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ED ORGERON, HEAD COACH, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY: We're proud about Cegep Heritage(ph), we're proud of Louisiana. I just feel at home here. People had made fun of my accent before, I thank them, that gave me internal motivation to do better. So, I thank them to be motivators of my career.

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WIRE: Now, the motivated has become the motivator. His players feed off of his energy, they follow his lead and we found out, Christine, they love trying to be just like their lead man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Go Tigers!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're seamen!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go Tigers!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, go Tigers!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, the Tiger, oh, the Tiger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: These guys, they are fun. They're full of life and love for the game and each other. It's going to be a great competition, Christine. LSU's last title was --

ROMANS: Yes --

WIRE: Won back in 2007 in this very building.

ROMANS: All right, have fun, Coy, wow, that is a really unique voice --

WIRE: We'll do --

ROMANS: All right, thanks, Coy, Laura, what's coming up next?

WIRE: Yes --

JARRETT: All right, Christine, well, the nominees for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards will be announced in just a few hours.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'd always charge a guy with a gun, with a knife you run away. So you charge with a gun --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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