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Tonight: Final Debate Before Iowa Vote; Russians Hack Company at Core of Impeachment; LSU Beats Clemson, Becoming College Football National Champs; Several Arrested in Iran Over Downing of Ukraine Plane. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 14, 2020 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Is America losing its taste for wine?


Americans bought less wine for the first time in 25 years as baby boomers are drinking less and millennials are drinking things like hard Seltzers and cocktails and non-alcoholic beer.

Overall, U.S. wine sales rose just 1.1 percent from a year earlier to $38.43 billion. The Wine Institute said while consumption has slowed down in recent years, it does expect millennials to start drinking more wine as they get older, just like baby boomers did.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Who is going to trade in a hard seltzer for --

ROMANS: Apparently, it is the new thing. I haven't had one of these. And I guess, I don't know -- have you?

JARRETT: No, absolutely not. I would have (INAUDIBLE)

ROMANS: I'd say, you read, and you light (ph), and what kind of light --


ROMANS: All right. There we go. Yes.

JARRETT: For international viewers, yes, have a great rest of your day.

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


ROMANS: The final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus tonight on CNN. Tensions simmering between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Did he tell her a woman couldn't win the race?

JARRETT: The Ukrainian company at the heart of the impeachment probe hack bide the Russians. Impeachment articles could go to the Senate as soon as tomorrow. ROMANS: And the Tigers win but which Tigers? We'll tell you whether

Clemson or LSU took home the college football national title.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Tuesday, January 14th, 5:00 a.m. in the East. Twenty days until the Iowa caucuses.

And we're just hours from the final Democratic debate before voting begins in the Iowa caucuses. And now a peace between progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren that stood for more than a year and at the risk of crumbling. CNN was first to report multiple sources saying Sanders told Warren during a private meeting in December 2018 he didn't believe a woman could win the presidency.

Sanders quickly denied that. He said, quote: It's sad that three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren't in the room are lying about what happened.

ROMANS: But last night, Warren issued a statement. She confirms the account. Quote: Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win, he disagreed.

Both sides struggling for control of this narrative. Warren says it happened, Sanders says it did not. Only one of these stories can be true.

This is how senior advisor to Sanders explained that on CNN last night.


JEFF WEAVER, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: I think their wires are crossed. It was a discussion about Trump, misogyny, sexism in politics, and the difficulty of running in the era of Trump for women -- the special challenges that women face in the era of Trump. But, you know, those conversations can sometimes get misconstrued, Chris.


JARRETT: Sunday, it emerged Sanders' surrogates were painting Warren as the candidate of the elites.

For more on all this, just one thing to watch on the debate stage tonight, CNN's Jeff Zeleny has it in Des Moines.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, that's right. It is debate night here in Iowa, the final debate before the first votes begin in the 2020 presidential campaign, on the campus of Drake University.

Now, there will be six Democratic candidates taking the stage. They have debated so many times before. This is a different moment. You can feel that voters are paying more attention, at least in early voting states like Iowa, and the arguments and tensions certainly different as well.

Think of this as sort of a Venn diagram if you will and get out a drawing here. Bernie Sanders going after Joe Biden on foreign policy, making a case of judgment all sparked by the Iran controversy and, of course, Joe Biden's old vote for the Iraq War. At the same time, a new fight breaking out between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all over electability.

As standing side-by-side on stage, what will their posture be?

Talking to both of their advisers in both campaigns, temperatures may cool a bit on that. They clearly do not want to alienate any progressive voters.

The other dynamic is this: Senator Amy Klobuchar trying to make her mark -- trying to get some momentum going into the final stretch here. She has been going after Pete Buttigieg -- his experience -- 37-year- old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana -- so she's started that argument. She's also been calling out other progressives in the race, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders -- calling for a reality check on some of their proposals.

Will she raise the word socialism? Will she say that Bernie Sanders will be tough to be elected against President Trump?

All of that is setting the stage here. The top four candidates bunched so closely in the race -- Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, and Biden. Amy Klobuchar, of course, far behind. Tom Steyer also on stage.

But this is the last big moment for these candidates before the impeachment trial is going to overshadow all of this -- so tonight, a critical moment here in Iowa. But three weeks from this morning, the winner and the losers will be heading to New Hampshire as the race goes on.

So, this is nearing the end -- Christine and Laura.



ROMANS: And then Jeff moves to New Hampshire.

The top Democrats head to Iowa for a live CNN presidential debate in partnership with "The Des Moines Register". That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

JARRETT: New overnight, evidence that Russian military hackers successfully penetrated Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of President Trump's impeachment trial. The disclosure raising fears Russian intelligence wanted compromising information on Joe Biden, his son, remember, Hunter served on Burisma's board.

The cybersecurity firm Area 1 says fake website setup by Russian intelligence tricked Burisma employees into giving up their passwords.

It's unknown how deeply the hackers accessed Burisma's network, and no comment so far from the Russian embassy in Washington.

ROMANS: In just hours, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet with House Democrats. Sources tell CNN she may announce who will serve as impeachment managers as early as this morning. Managers essentially act as prosecutors in the Senate trial. A both to vote to approve the managers and send articles of impeachment to Senate may take place tomorrow.

Key GOP senators say they're open to witnesses but not just yet.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I'd like there to be witnesses and be able to hear from someone like John Bolton. At the same time, I'm comfortable with the Clinton model, which is we hear the opening arguments first and then we'll have a vote on whether or not to have witnesses.


JARRETT: And we now know President Trump's defense team is mostly in place. Sources say the team feels confident after having to adjust after former national security advisor John Bolton offered to testify if subpoenaed. Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has been lobbying the president to join his legal team during the actual trial. Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine are a key facet of the impeachment case.

ROMANS: All right, a stain on the Astros 2017 World Series. A scheme to steal signs led to long suspensions for the manager and the GM, but the owner went further, much further. Coy Wire has this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.



JARRETT: New and serious doubts about the imminent threat claim President Trump used to justify the killing of a top Iranian general. State Department officials tell CNN they were not made aware to any imminent threat to four U.S. embassies and no warnings about specific dangers were sent to diplomatic outposts before the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

One State Department official describes being blind-sided and now top administration officials are shifting their narrative again from imminence to deterrence.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Trump and those of us in is national security team are reestablishing deterrents -- real deterrents against the Islamic Republic. BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It reestablished deterrents. It responded to attacks that had been already committed.


ROMANS: President Trump now insists imminence doesn't matter because of General Soleimani's horrible past. The president also found time to retweet this photo shopped image of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wearing Muslim clothing.

Two days ago, President Trump tweeted in Farsi to let protesting Iranians know how inspired he was by their courage. Of course, his travel ban prevents any of those people from seeking refuge in the United States.

JARRETT: And new this morning, several people arrested in Iran for their role in the shot down of Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752. It's not known how many people were arrested or their roles in the disaster. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani calling for accountability and again apologizing. Protests have roiled Iran since the country admitted it accidently shot down the Ukrainian jet, killing 176 people.

The remains of the passengers have been identified and are ready to be returned to their families. Iran's state media says damages from the plane could amount to $150 million. It's actually a surprising low sum for a new $100 million jet and 176 people killed.

ROMANS: Just about 12 minutes past the hour this morning.

LSU caps its dream season in a win over Clemson in the college football playoff national championship, and the president and First Lady Melania Trump were at the game and stood on the field with the national --with an honor guard for the national anthem.

When he was asked which team he liked, the president diplomatically answered both.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" from New Orleans.

I'll go with the Tigers.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you, Christine.

LSU's quarterback Joe Burrow has gone from small town Ohio kid to Heisman trophy winner and now to national champ after one of the greatest performances by a quarterback in college football or BCS title game history. Clemson, the defending champs, were up 17-7 but in the second quarter, Joe Burrow takes over, showing that poise and that jaw-dropping accuracy. He leads LSU to 28 points in the first half. That's more than Clemson all out in a game off season.

Second half the onslaught continues. Clemson just could not stop Burrow, dropping all over the place. The Heisman winner putting up the most passing yards and total touchdowns in any BCS or college football playoff title game, ever. Burrow also capping off the single greatest season of any quarterback. More passing touchdowns and total yards than any other.

Joe Burrow out to prove a point. He wasn't good enough at Ohio State before transferring to LSU they say. Now, they'll be getting a right in Baton Rouge. LSU and coach Ed Orgeron beating the defending champs 42-25 to win their first national title since 2007.


ED ORGERON, LSU COACH: You credit them (ph). So, they competed very hard. But we won them, we're national championships, and I'm so happy for this football team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all we have is heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole of Louisiana came down and support us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best ever living the dream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is for us. This is for Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am speechless. Everything feels like a dream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm shocked and speechless.




WIRE: Now check out the streets of New Orleans after the game. Tigers fans celebrating all night long even 30 minutes ago when we were down there on Bourbon Street, they were still hooting and hollering. And listen to this: classes back on campus canceled today, so the party is going to keep on going.

Another huge story as we switch gears this morning, the fallout from a bombshell in the world of baseball. Houston Astros owner Jim Crane firing manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for their roles in a sign stealing scandal that the team used for their home games in their 2017 championship season. Hinch and Luhnow were initially suspended for one year without pay by Major League Baseball but the organization felt it needed to go further.


JIM CRANE, OWNER AND CHAIRMAN, HOUSTON ASTROS: Neither one of them started this but neither one of them did anything about it, and that's how we came to the conclusion. We need to move forward with a clean slate, and the Astros will become stronger -- a stronger organization because of this today. You can be confident that we will be -- we will always do the right thing and will not have this happen again on my watch. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: The Astros fined $5 million and lost draft picks. But Hinch and Luhnow released statements accepting responsibility. More punishment is likely to come, though.

Major League Baseball's investigation found Astros bench coach Alex Cora was deeply involved. He is now, Christine, team manager of the Boston Red Sox and likely facing a long suspension when this investigation wraps up.

ROMANS: Nobody likes a cheater, but boy you certainly like to see -- like to see the punishment.

All right. Coy Wire, so nice to see you this morning in New Orleans.

WIRE: Thank you.

ROMANS: Laura, what's next?

JARRETT: That scheme they uncovered is just incredible, how intricate it was.


JARRETT: This is amazing to me.

Well, it's part of an election rebranding, the signing of phase one trade deal is set for tomorrow. Now, Trump gives China a big win. More details next.



ROMANS: All right, the pieces are falling into place for a symbolic phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China. The U.S. has now dropped China from its currency manipulator list and the Chinese vowed to buy more U.S. products, farm products and other things.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation while promoting transparency and accountability. Now, China stays on watch list with other countries like Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, but China was labeled a currency manipulator only five months ago, so this is a win for China.

And all of this part of an election year rebranding of the U.S.-China trade war as a promise kept. The deal they will sign Wednesday is a shadow of what the president promised. He vowed as recently as September that he would never sign a partial deal.

So, what's in this partial deal? Trump officials say the text will be published after the signing. No one's really seen it yet, but we've seen the promises.

What is promised? Fewer tariffs on Chinese made goods. China will make some changes to intellectual property and technology rules.

JARRETT: A U.S. citizen who begged to President Trump for help has died after more than six years in an Egyptian prison. Sixty-four-year- old Mustafa Kassem was detained in 2013 while visiting family in Cairo. His representatives say he was beaten in pre-trial detention.

After his sentencing, Kassem wrote a letter to President Trump. He told the president he was diabetic and going on a hunger strike adding, I am putting my life in your hands. The letter was passed on to the president by New York Congressman Peter King. It's not clear whether the president read it.

The president has focused on getting Americans released from detention overseas, but he's also known to be fond of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

ROMANS: All right. Progressives on a collision course. Elizabeth Warren says Bernie Sanders told her a woman could not win the election. The final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus just hours away here on CNN.



JARRETT: Rising temperatures are being linked to an increase in injury deaths. Researchers studied death rates in the U.S. from 1980 to 2017 to examine connections between abnormally high temperatures and mortality. They found about 1,600 more injury related deaths in years that were consistently warmer than average.

And why is this happening? Well, in warmer weather, driving performance deteriorates, alcohol consumption increases and get more traffic, coupled with more people outside increases the risk of fatal collision. Temperatures have been climbing as a result of climate change. The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

ROMANS: Authorities in Texas say parents left their toddler in an unlocked running car while they gambled then found the car had been stolen with the child inside. Kimberly Cook and Anthony Blue told deputies they checked on their 16-month-old occasionally why they played in a gas mart. Officials say two teenagers noticed the running car and stole it.

About an hour later, the child was found 20 miles away in a Houston park, found in a park shivering in a onsie but unhurt.


KERRY CLOPTON, HPD: It's pretty chilly around here and there's a lot of wild animals around here. So things could have ended up differently but the park ranger that come by here and located the baby.


ROMANS: The suspected car thieves were spotted a short time later. They were arrested. The parents and the suspects all face charges.

EARLY START continues right now.


JARRETT: The final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus is tonight on CNN. And tensions simmering between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Did he tell her a woman couldn't win the race?

ROMANS: The Ukrainian company at the heart of the impeachment probe hacked by the Russians. Impeachment articles could go to the Senate as soon as tomorrow.

JARRETT: And the Tigers win but which Tigers? We'll tell you whether Clemson or LSU took home the college football national title.