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EARLY START

Iranian Protests Regime Over Down Ukrainian Jet; Officials Try To Explain Iran Intel Without Contradicting President Trump; Royal Crisis Summit To Discuss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Today. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 13, 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: Announced in just a few hours.

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SCENE FROM NETFLIX "THE IRISHMAN."

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JARRETT: Netflix is gunning for best picture. It has at least two contenders with Martin Scorsese's "THE IRISHMAN" and the divorce drama "MARRIAGE STORY." "1917" is also likely to get a nod after sweeping some of the top awards at the Golden Globes. The film widely expected to get the most nominations is Quentin Tarantino's "ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD."

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SCENE FROM SONY PICTURES "ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD."

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JARRETT: The Oscars will be handed out on February ninth.

And, EARLY START continues right now.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Death to the supreme leader. Renewed demands for change in Iran after Tehran admits shooting down a commercial jet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

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JARRETT: The president's impeachment trial should finally begin any day. So, how does the speaker defend holding the articles for weeks?

ROMANS: 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, this is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett, 31 minutes past the hour here in New York.

A scene that could land these people in jail. On the streets of Tehran, protesters there chanting "Death to the supreme leader." Iranians demanding the ayatollah be held accountable for the downing of a Ukraine 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 toward bases in Iraq that housed U.S. troops. It took Tehran three days to admit what Ukrainian investigators say they knew just three hours after arriving at that crash site that brought down the jet.

ROMANS: Many of the victims were Canadian.

One man lost his sister, brother-in-law, and 1-year-old niece. She was the youngest victim. He speaks to broader frustrations with leadership in Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMIR ARSALANI, SISTER, BROTHER-IN-LAW, AND NIECE KILLED ON FLIGHT PS752: She was an angel. Like, how can you do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say it was an accident.

ARSALANI: It was not an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: President Trump went to Twitter to warn Iran's leaders several times not to injure or kill those protesters. The posts were retweeted in Farsi.

CNN's Nic Robertson is following the story from Abu Dhabi. And, Nic, it's just remarkable to hear all of those people chanting death to the regime and going out of their way to not step on the Israeli and American flags.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Truly remarkable. I mean, you think when we look at protests in another country and protests in Iran, that's not like protests in our hometowns. This is where people are putting their lives on the line because they are absolutely fed up with their leadership.

Their leadership painted those flags on the ground so people would walk over them and show disrespect for the United States and Israel. These protesters are showing their disrespect for the leadership by not walking on those flags. They're calling for death to supreme leader.

And what is -- what is the leadership and what is the regime doing in Iran? Well, they are turning around and firing around at those crowds of protesters. The protests have become more violent. They've spread to other areas across the country in the north and the west of the country.

There have been protests this -- we're seeing some very bloody videos coming in from the second night of protests. A woman shot in the foot, somebody else shot in the leg, people bleeding on the streets. The gunshots appearing to be just sort of random into the crowd.

So people are literally taking their lives into their hands, and why? Because they believe that the leadership doesn't care about them because they could have grounded civilian airliners and not allowed this terrible tragedy of the Ukrainian jet to get shot down.

And this harks back to those protests we saw on the streets several weeks ago in Iran where the Iranian authorities again crushed the response to them putting up the price of oil and other commodities.

Again, the people of Iran essentially saying you don't care about us. You would rather continue your foreign adventures of backing people like Qasem Soleimani and the proxies outside the country than put your money into us, the people.

[05:35:01]

So these protests are now gathering momentum, becoming more violent, spreading across the country.

ROMANS: A regime that says the enemy is the Americans. The people are chanting no, our enemy is right here. A remarkable moment.

Nic Robertson in Abu Dhabi. Thanks, Nic.

JARRETT: Well, top national security officials tying themselves in knots trying to explain the intel 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 U.S. embassy, then several. Then the president went even further.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST, "THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW": Largescale 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)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Are you saying it 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 that 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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ROMANS: The president's national security adviser offering this explanation for why the administration won't release the intel to back up the 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 Americans safe -- 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 would show that Soleimani was plotting to kill Americans.

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ROMANS: Defense Sec. 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 does not recall any intelligence specifically on the Baghdad compound.

JARRETT: More ahead on all of this. Plus, a deadly series of tornadoes tears through the south the same weekend record highs made the northeast feel more like spring. What's in store for today, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [05:41:37]

ROMANS: 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.

Sen. Bernie Sanders edging out his rivals in a new Iowa poll as he pounces on Joe Biden's vote for the Iraq War and his campaign attacks Elizabeth Warren as a candidate of the elite in a growing rift between the progressive leaders.

JARRETT: Joining us here, Princeton University historian and professor Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. Julian, thanks so much --

ROMANS: Good morning.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, CO-AUTHOR, "FAULT LINES: A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1974": Good morning.

JARRETT: -- for joining us.

ZELIZER: Nice to be here.

JARRETT: Ok, so Iowa -- knives are out. Bernie Sanders' supporters attacking Elizabeth Warren as a candidate of the elite. And he's also obviously going after Joe Biden, a frontrunner, who is not leading in the Iowa polls but is leading nationally.

What does it tell you about the state of play that Bernie's sort of upping the ante right now?

ZELIZER: Looks, it's both influx and Sanders is performing very well. He is within striking distance of winning so it's not surprising he is going to be tougher both with Warren, whose supporters might easily go to him if she faltered, and then going after the frontrunner, quote- unquote, Biden because he could come away with this and New Hampshire and all of the sudden he is really making a play for the nomination.

ROMANS: All these debates are so important but this, I think, marks a new phase. You're going to be three weeks out from actual voting and you have a smaller crew up there. So what is the importance of how this new phase that we're in now?

ZELIZER: Well, a debate like this and any kind of interaction now gives each candidate a much greater amount of time to highlight what they're about and voters are now really thinking about what they're going to do in Iowa in February. So we are in a period where what happens matters much more than a few months ago where people will forget or there's more time to correct mistakes.

ROMANS: I just should say, as an Iowa native, people are inundated -- watching T.V., the phone is ringing off the hook. I mean, going door- to-door -- these doorknockers -- like these doorknockers for Bernie, for example. I mean, this is -- this is peak, peak political frenzy here in Iowa right now.

JARRETT: Absolutely, and at the same time, we're potentially heading into an impeachment trial.

So, Nancy Pelosi goes out this weekend and says on the Sunday shows that this delay actually pushed people to see the value in potentially calling witnesses, but is that true? Did she extract any concessions out of Sen. Mitch McConnell during this week's long sort of slog we've had?

ZELIZER: Well, she extracted zero concessions at this point. I think what she wants to argue is she just highlighted to the public the fact the Senate isn't really going to have a trial. And the delay -- the few weeks in-between -- allowed the press to cover that, allowed things like Bolton saying he would testify, and we're probably not going to see him testify, come to the forefront.

But we'll see. Historically, over time, it might be that those concessions weren't worth that much.

JARRETT: Yes, it's interesting. Now you see lawyers like George Conway and Neal Katyal suggesting that she not send up both articles at the same time, actually suggesting send up the second one for obstruction of Congress --

ROMANS: Interesting.

JARRETT: -- but hold on to the one, meaning she could actually sort of delay this even further. I don't know if strategically that makes sense but it's being floated out there.

ZELIZER: Yes, it's hard to imagine. I mean, you have the election timetable now conflicting with the Senate -- with the impeachment timetable.

[05:45:02]

I think she's made her point. I think the president still has suffered, meaning many Americans think he should be impeached and removed from office, which is not normal in presidential history, and that's probably as much as she could do at this point. So I'm sure she will continue with this.

ROMANS: Let's talk about Iran and the intelligence kerfuffle in this country about where is the intelligence. The president's top lieutenants sort of trying to explain how the president thinks that there were four or more embassies that were going to be attacked and was it an imminent threat.

I want to read you something that Stephen Collinson -- our Stephen Collinson wrote that I think is really fascinating.

"Discord over the rationale over the Soleimani attack is awakening history's ghosts of U.S. foreign interventions that went bad after questionable rationales for war -- for instance in Iraq -- as well as contemporary questions about this administration's attitude towards trust and truth."

That is a real debate and an important conversation being had. And then there's a split-screen. Protests in the streets of Iran against the regime and that is certainly a very pro-Trump outcome of all of this.

ZELIZER: Well, sure. I mean, they're two separate questions. Going to war or issuing a military strike based on faulty arguments --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- is not a good thing and it's certainly a big question you have about why this happened and what the president is saying.

On the other hand, the images you are showing -- it's not a pro-Trump moment but it certainly is a huge development, potentially --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- within Iran.

Let's see how the president handles it.

ROMANS: Yes.

ZELIZER: This is a very delicate moment. The president has to restrain himself. But the implications could be huge if this shook the regime.

ROMANS: And what I mean by pro-Trump is that it's something that Trump supporters would say look, all of you guys --

JARRETT: What are you complaining about?

ROMANS: -- in your -- in your ivory towers are arguing about intelligence and this and that. But look -- look what's happening in the street. This is disruption in the streets and it's because of Trump's actions.

JARRETT: Yes.

ROMANS: That's what they would say.

JARRETT: Julian, thanks so much for joining us --

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

JARRETT: -- as usual.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.

JARRETT: Always good to see you on set.

ROMANS: All right.

David Calhoun may have the hardest job in corporate America, fixing Boeing. Calhoun steps into the CEO job today and he has his work cut out for him.

His first task, getting the 737 MAX back in the air, a crisis that has cost billions of dollars. These planes have been grounded since March after two crashes killed 346 people.

Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin warned the crisis could have a bigger impact.

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STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: There's no question that the Boeing -- the Boeing situation is going to slow down the GDP numbers. Boeing is one of the largest exporters and with the 737 MAX, I think that could impact GDP as much as 50 basis points this year.

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ROMANS: So, Boeing kept building the MAX for the last year even without being able to deliver it. It's preparing to temporarily halt production of the model later this month.

Its biggest supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, announced Friday it's laying off 2,800 workers because of the suspension.

We'll be right back.

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[05:52:18]

JARRETT: The top members of Britain's royal family set to discuss the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today. Harry and Meghan announced last week they plan to set back from roles as senior members of the royal family.

CNN's Anna Stewart live in London with the latest. And, Anna, we know that Meghan will not join the summit in person today but she is dialing in?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: She's expected to be dialing in, that's all we know. She's back in Canada. She returned there shortly after the shock announcement last week -- formal announcement.

We had a terse statement from the Palace and then it all went very, very quiet while the royal households work together with lots of officials involved, trying to lay out different options for the duke and duchess.

Clearly, what they have put on their Web site is their plan didn't meet the queen's approval so they're going to have to get together and discuss this today. It will be the queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry -- Meghan, perhaps, on the phone.

Will they get to an agreement? I mean, it's really unclear. And whatever plan they do come up with if they can come to agreement -- and there will be a lot of compromise here -- it'll take time to implement.

JARRETT: And, Anna, you know, this really is an unprecedented reaction from the royal family. I mean, can you believe all of this is playing out in public?

STEWART: It's extraordinary. Just the terse statement we had last week was fairly unprecedented from the palace.

And, you know, I want to talk about feelings because ever since then what we are getting is a lot of chatter about how different royal family members feel, which is unprecedented. This is the royal family. We are used to the mantra of never complain, never explain. They're incredibly private.

Yesterday, the "Sunday Times" newspaper reported that Prince William said this to a friend. "I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that anymore; we're separate entities." Prince William, we're told, feels sadness over the rift.

And last week we were told by a palace source that the mood in the palace was of deep disappointment.

Now, is this trying to balance out the narrative from the Sussex's? They've spoken at great length and very publicly about their feelings. Is this how the royal family are actually communicating -- on the media, on a public stage? It's a brand-new chapter in the royal family.

Back to you guys.

JARRETT: Yes, something tells me we're going to be hearing a lot about more feelings coming out of today's summit. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right, to the Philippines now where authorities are urging a total evacuation of nearly a half a million people near the capital of Manila after the Taal volcano spewed ash nine miles into the air. More than 25,000 people have already left their homes. Ash from this volcano mixing with rain, creating a thick, black sludge that blanketed nearby towns.

Seismologists raising the alert level to four, meaning an explosive eruption could happen at any time.

Now, the threat didn't stop everything. The eruption looming in the background of a wedding ceremony in Alfonso.

[05:55:01]

JARRETT: Two living popes clashing on celibacy in the priesthood. Retired Pope Benedict XVI taking an unprecedented step of defending celibacy in a new book. The reigning pontiff, Pope Francis, is considering allowing the ordination of married men in the Amazon region.

Celibacy has been the norm for Catholic priests in the western church for about 800 years but it's not doctrine. The church has allowed for the ordination of married priests in specific circumstances.

ROMANS: Australia's embattled Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitting mistakes in the bushfire crisis. The prime minister saying there were things he could have handled much better. It comes amidst fierce criticism for his tone-deaf interactions with fire-ravaged communities and his government's climate policy.

Officials have dropped more than 2,000 pounds of vegetables for hungry animals escaping the fires in the -- in the last week.

The Sydney Opera House is honoring firefighters by illuminating its iconic sails with images of them battling the fires.

JARRETT: And some wild weekend weather across half of the country. About three dozen record highs set from the mid-Atlantic to New England, including Baltimore, New York City, and Boston, where it was 74 degrees in January.

At least nine people died as severe storms and tornadoes ravaged parts of the Midwest and the south. At one point, nearly 350,000 customers were without power across 10 states.

ROMANS: There were waves of crippling snow and ice that blanketed areas from the Deep South to the Upper Midwest. In Texas, a Lubbock firefighter and a police officer responded to a crash and were working the scene, and then were hit by another vehicle. Icy roadways were blamed.

Today, more rain for the southeast on top of the storms over the weekend could lead to some flash flooding.

All right, to business now -- CNN Business this morning.

Taking a look at markets around the world, leaning a little bit higher here. Tokyo -- the Tokyo Stock Exchange was closed for a holiday.

On Wall Street, futures look a bit positive to start the new trading week. Stocks closed lower Friday after that jobs report.

Some takeaways here. One hundred forty thousand new jobs in December, bringing jobs added in the first 34 months of the Trump administration to 6 1/2 million jobs. That trails the 7 1/2 million in the final 34 months of the Obama administration.

Also important, there were more women than men in the workforce for the first time in nearly a decade. Women had more than 50 percent of the jobs -- 109,000 more women were working than men.

Another milestone, the Dow crossed 29,000 for the first time in history but couldn't hold onto the gain and closed 133 points lower. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also down.

All right, in the oxymoron department, the Hummer goes green. GM bringing back the Hummer, this time, as an electric pickup truck. It's a surprising return for the usually gas-guzzling Hummer with a reputation for not being fuel-efficient. GM discontinued the Hummer back in 2010 after it filed for bankruptcy and it wanted to cut some of its more costly brands.

GM plans to show off the new truck in a Super Bowl ad and it will likely hit the market in early 2022.

JARRETT: Well, a contestant on "FAMILY FEUD" in Canada went viral after she missed out on $10,000 with this hilarious wrong answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERRY DEE, HOST, "FAMILY FEUD CANADA": Name Popeye's favorite food.

EVE DUBOIS, CONTESTANT, "FAMILY FEUD CANADA": Chicken.

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JARRETT: It's the dance that makes it. Here's the thing. Popeyes makes chicken. Popeye, the character, ate spinach.

Now, Eve Dubois is getting all the chicken she could ever ask for. The company tweeted her saying "Our survey says you got that right. Direct message us to claim your $10,000 worth of Popeyes."

The lesson there is do not gloat --

ROMANS: Oh, the dance.

JARRETT: -- before you know you're right.

ROMANS: The dance is everything. The dance is everything.

But it makes me hungry. Every Popeyes story makes me hungry, every Chick-fil-A story makes me hungry. It must be the time of day.

The dance -- the dance -- that's, oh -- it makes it -- that just makes it all the better.

All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Angry blowback for the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet gathering momentum in Tehran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is remarkable to see people bring back out on the streets knowing that they may risk their lives.

ROMANS: Top national security officials struggle to explain President Trump's latest claim.

TRUMP: I believe it would have been four embassies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The threat was imminent. I saw the intelligence. But the facts they presented indicated that there was not an imminent threat.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR, "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS": Any second thoughts about holding on for three weeks?

PELOSI: No, no, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is all about hurting Donald Trump in the election.

PELOSI: It is impeachable and this president is impeached for life.

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ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, January 13th, 6:00 here in New York.

And developing at this hour, anti-government protesters are back on the streets in Tehran for a third day. The demonstrations turning violent after the Iranian government admitted to accidentally shooting down that passenger plane killing all.

END