Return to Transcripts main page


Sen. Bernie Sanders Denies Claims He Said A Woman Can't Win In 2020; House Impeachment Managers May Be Announced Today; LSU Beats Clemson, Becoming College Football National Champs. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 14, 2020 - 05:30   ET



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

Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. It is exactly 30 minutes past the hour -- 5:30 eastern time here.

And we are 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 -- a peace that stood for more than a year -- is at risk of crumbling.

CNN was first to report multiple sources saying Sanders told Warren during a private meeting in December 2018 he did not believe a woman could win the presidency. Sanders quickly denied that. He said, "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."

JARRETT: But last night, Warren issued a state of her own essentially confirming 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 narrative here. Warren says it happened, Sanders says it did not. Only one story can be true.

This is how a senior adviser 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Sunday, it emerged Sanders' surrogates were painting Warren as the candidate of the elites. All this just one thing to watch on the debate stage tonight.

For more, CNN's Jeff Zeleny is 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. 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. Sen. 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: All right, Jeff. 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 raises 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 Web sites set up by Russian intelligence tricked Burisma employees into giving up their passwords. It's unknown how deeply the hackers actually accessed into Burisma's network.

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 vote to approve the managers and send articles of impeachment to the Senate may take place tomorrow.

Key GOP senators say they are open to witnesses, but just not 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: We now know President Trump's defense team is mostly in place. Sources say the team feels confident despite having to adjust after former national security adviser 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 Senate trial. Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine -- well, they're a key facet of the impeachment case.

ROMANS: All right, more on all of this. Plus, a policeman in Georgia struck by a train while looking for a suspect. Did he survive? That story in a moment.


JARRETT: All right, we've got some live pictures coming in there from Iowa. The final Democratic debate before the Iowa votes tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern on CNN.

There's sure to be some time spent on the escalating battle between the progressive leaders, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Sanders now denying Warren's claim that he told her a woman can't win in 2020.


ROMANS: Let's bring in Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of "Inside Elections" and a CNN political analyst. Good morning, Nathan. So nice to see you this morning.


ROMANS: So does this Sanders-Warren fight -- do we see her put on her fighter mode and go out there and really attack him on this tonight? Does that -- this is going to be on the stage, for sure.

GONZALES: Yes. Well, first of all, I think I'll watch this debate live rather than going to see "Star Wars" in the middle of the -- in the middle of the last one.

I don't think this debate has the potential to be critical. And I'm not contractually obligated to say that because it's on CNN, it's because voters in Iowa are actually tuning in. They're actually, you know, getting ready to make a decision on who they're going to vote for. And this exchange between the Warren and Biden campaigns I think is a fascinating way to walk into what's about to happen tonight.

I wouldn't expect Sen. Warren to back down. And when you listen to that clip that you played earlier from Jeff Weaver --


GONZALES: -- from the Sanders campaign, there was a conversation that -- he didn't disagree that there was a conversation along these lines. It was about what -- how did she take it? And, you know, I think as a man, it's tough to -- and, you know, it's tough to understand how different comments might fall on a woman's ears, in particular when talking about glass ceilings and politics.

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: Yes, I think his adviser said the wires were crossed. Obviously, she thought it was pretty clear.

But, you know, obviously, with Warren and Sanders in this feud right now it helps one person, in particular, I think you might agree -- Joe Biden?

GONZALES: Absolutely. I mean, I think that Joe Biden, he's never had a majority of the vote in the race but he's had a consistent plurality in the race. And I think that it helps to have the left progressive or liberal wing of the Democratic Party divided between multiple candidates --


GONZALES: -- and divided between Warren and Sanders.

And up to this point, they've really -- they've gone out of their way to be nice to each other. And as long as that continues -- as long as both of them stay in the race, I think that benefits Biden. And seeing this back-and-forth between them, I don't think that it leads to one of them getting out of the race. I think that just continues to help Biden as well because there's less of a focus on him and bringing him down among the --

ROMANS: Right.

GONZALES: -- primary electorate.

ROMANS: There will be more time for them to make their cases, too, here. I mean, you've got the president -- you've got the stock market at a record high, a job market that's churning through here. And you've candidates who are going to have to try to break through with that and talk about an unfair economy and maybe low wages, maybe inequality.

Do you think that the economy will get a moment tonight or no, because why try to chip away at what is an advantage for the president at this point?

GONZALES: Well, you know, part of the topics matter at the hands of the moderators --

ROMANS: Right.

GONZALES: -- and what they -- and what Wolf and Abby are going to ask.

I expect -- the economy is impossible to ignore and as we've talked about bright and early on mornings before, the Democrats have to walk a line between drawing a contrast and offering a change to the current president. But also, not looking out of touch and downplaying economic indicators that are showing that people think the economy is headed in the right direction.

ROMANS: It's interesting because this week the Brookings Institution sort of gamed it out and 53 million Americans make, on average, $10.22 an hour. That's less than -- that's $18,000 a year.


ROMANS: So there is this big chunk they could speak to but will they, I don't know.

JARRETT: Yes, it remains to be seen.

And, Nathan, just quickly before you go, Cory Booker drops out of the race yesterday -- Sen. Booker, I should say. You don't see this being a game changer but no doubt -- I mean, there's some votes to be picked up here, are there not? I mean, obviously, Joe Biden is already doing well with African-Americans but couldn't this help him?

GONZALES: Yes. I mean, he didn't have a huge following or else he would still be in the race. I -- but in a race where -- in a race that's tight, particularly among the top tier and the second tier, just a few percentage points could help.

You know, I think it's possible that Sen. Booker ends up endorsing a candidate. I'm not convinced that any candidates' following is just looking -- will go en masse toward one candidate or the other. They'll probably be divided between multiple candidates.

But, you know, he is a United States senator, he's up for reelection. It's still possible that he is added to a ticket, depending on who the nominee is. And so, we -- I don't know that we've heard the -- heard about the end of Sen. Booker for now.


JARRETT: Yes, fair enough. He could be a V.P. candidate for all we know. We'll have to stay --

ROMANS: Right, absolutely. All right, Nathan --

JARRETT: All right. Nathan, thanks so much -- editor and publisher, we should say, "Inside Elections" and a CNN political analyst.

ROMANS: Well, the top Democrats, they 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: And, 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 of any imminent threat to four U.S. embassies and no warnings about any specific dangers were sent to diplomatic outposts before the killing of Qasem Soleimani.


One senior State Department official describes being blindsided. And now, top administration officials -- well, they're shifting their narrative 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 Gen. Soleimani's horrible past. The president also found time to retweet this photoshopped 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 U.S.

JARRETT: And new this morning, several people arrested in Iran for their role in that shot-down Ukrainian Airlines flight 752. It's not known how many people were arrested just yet 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 accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jet, killing 176 people. The remains of 61 passengers on the Ukrainian Airlines flight have been identified and are ready to be returned to their families.

ROMANS: All right, 46 minutes past the hour.

Another milestone in the Trump economy, a ballooning budget deficit for the full year 2019. It topped $1 trillion for the first time since 2012 and since then the gap has only widened. The first three months of this new fiscal year the deficit has soared 12 percent. Back in 2011, then-citizen Trump slammed debt and deficits under President Obama.

Trump rode into the White House promising to shrink or even eliminate the deficit. Now the deficit has ballooned, partly because of tax cuts and a two-year budget deal that increased federal spending. Usually, big budget deficits happen during economic downturns, but this U.S. economy is expanding.

Speaking of debt, it's not just the U.S. The world is apparently drowning in debt. Data from the Institute of International Finance shows global debt grew to nearly $253 trillion in the first nine months of 2019, the highest level on record. The IIF expects debt levels to rise even more this year.

We'll be right back.



ROMANS: There is now a permanent stain on one of the greatest baseball seasons in recent memory. Houston Astros owner Jim Crane firing manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for using an intricate camera system to steal opponents' signs during their 2017 title 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM CRANE, OWNER AND CHAIRMAN, HOUSTON ASTROS: We need to move forward with a clean slate and the Astros will become stronger -- a stronger organization because of this today.


JARRETT: Both Hinch and Luhnow released statements accepting responsibility but emphasizing they didn't orchestrate the scheme.

More punishment is likely to come. Major League Baseball's investigation found then-Astro's bench coach Alex Cora was also deeply involved. He's now manager of the Boston Red Sox and is likely facing a long suspension when the investigation wraps up.

ROMANS: All right, there appears to be no let-up from a volcano near the Philippines capital. The Taal volcano erupting for a third day, spewing lava and ash and steam. More activity expected over the next several days. Officials have recorded more than 200 earthquakes in the area.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit areas affected by the Taal volcano eruption today.

Tens of thousands of people have been relocated to shelters. Aquino International Airport has resumed normal operations but flights could be suspended again. The country's agriculture secretary says spewing ash has damaged crops, including profitable corn and coffee.

JARRETT: Police in Florida investigating explosions at three ATMs in the Tampa area over the past two months. The latest occurred this past weekend at Regions Bank in Hillsborough County.

Police believe all three explosions are connected. They're searching for two male suspects. Investigators have identified the type of explosives used by the suspects but are not releasing that information.

ROMANS: New information shows the deadly Jersey City attack could have been much worse. FBI officials say the shooters had an improvised explosive device inside their rental van that could have killed people five football fields away.

The attackers killed four people on December 10th, including three people inside a kosher market and a detective a short time earlier. Officials say the attackers left a note indicating they were followers of the Black Hebrew Israelite Movement and held anti-Semitic views.

JARRETT: A Pittsburgh public library found it was missing $8 million of its rarest items. Nearly three years later, a bizarre scheme has been uncovered. It turns out a library insider was selling items to a local bookstore. This all happened at Pittsburgh's famous Carnegie Library.

Archivist Gregory Priore and bookstore owner John Schulman both face charges. Prosecutors say their relationship dates back to 1992. An audit of the museum's rare items found hundreds of books, plates, and maps vandalized or missing. Forty-two items were later found in a warehouse. Thirty-seven of them were listed for sale on the Internet.


ROMANS: Abby Huntsman is leaving "THE VIEW." She's been co-hosting the popular ABC talk show since 2018. Her last day on "THE VIEW" will be Friday and then she goes to work on her father, John Huntsman's, campaign for governor of Utah.


ABBY HUNTSMAN, HOST, "THE VIEW": This panel's special and I think will always go down as a really crucial time for the show, and I'm so thankful for this opportunity. But as you guys know, my number one priority has always been my family.


ROMANS: Huntsman is not ruling out a return to the show someday.

The show popular with women nationwide, even in this polarized era. But behind the scenes, sources describe a toxic work environment, including a soured relationship between Huntsman and fellow conservative Meghan McCain.

JARRETT: OK, this Georgia police officer is truly lucky to be alive after he was hit by a train while chasing a burglary suspect. Incredibly, it was captured by the officer's body camera.


ANDY ANDERSON, POLICE OFFICER, POLK COUNTY, GEORGIA: Me and Rob (ph) worked him up towards Piedmont at the railroad tracks.

(Train hits officer, captured on officer's body camera)


JARRETT: It's just amazing he's OK. Officer Andy Anderson broke six of his ribs, his elbow, and his shoulder. He also suffered a concussion, but Anderson is recovering. He was even able to give a thumbs up from his hospital bed.

ROMANS: Unbelievable video there.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this Tuesday morning.

Looking at markets around the world, a mixed performance, really. And futures in the U.S. kind of, I would say indecisive over here as we start the Tuesday trading session -- moving down a little bit now. They'd been higher earlier.

On Wall Street, we are looking for maybe an attempt to step back from the record high for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Monday, two very new records there, encouraged by reports the U.S. will remove China from its currency manipulator list. After the closing bell, the Treasury Department confirmed it and the Dow for the day closed up 82. The S&P closed up just close to one percent, and the Nasdaq one percent higher as well.

A couple of factors this week. A small trade deal with China will be signed tomorrow, and bank earnings. Expect banks to post record quarters. JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo released their fourth- quarter results before the opening bell.

This sort of chilling warning from the New York Federal Reserve. A cyberattack on just one U.S. bank could ripple through the entire U.S. financial system. According to the report, a single attack on any of the five most active U.S. banks "...will result in significant spillovers to other banks, with 38 percent of the network affected." The Fed also says a cyberattack could have a dramatic impact on payment systems.

All right, Americans love of wine, is it souring? New data from the International Wines and Spirits show Americans bought less wine for the first time in 25 years as baby boomers drank less and millennials turned to other things like hard seltzers, cocktails, and non- alcoholic beer.

Overall, U.S. wine sales rose 1.1 percent from a year earlier but the volume of wine purchased down 0.9 percent. The wine industry said while consumption has fallen off in recent years, it expects millennials to start drinking more wine as they get older, just like baby boomers did.

JARRETT: OK, it's an election year. I think we're going to see a reversal in those numbers.

ROMANS: There's a wine factor in relation there.

JARRETT: Yes, 2020, it is a -- it's a different ballgame.

Well, the Tigers are champs, but which Tigers? Let the good times roll at Louisiana State.


ANNOUNCER, COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Burrow from the pocket, launches to the end zone -- touchdown, Chase.


JARRETT: LSU capping an undefeated season, winning college football's national championship -- a 42-25 victory over Clemson, the defending champs. LSU was led by Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. He threw for 463 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another.

This is LSU's first national title since the 2007 season. And, Tigers fans have been up all night celebrating, as you can see there. A good thing they're still on winter break and don't have to go to school.

President Trump and the first lady attended the game at the Superdome in New Orleans and received a very nice ovation.

ROMANS: Yes, they were chanting USA. I mean, it was a pretty thunderous moment there in the -- in the arena. And a good thing -- go Tigers.

JARRETT: That's great for them.

ROMANS: EARLY START is in at 3:00 a.m. eastern time tomorrow for post-debate coverage, so you can stay up late and see us or you can get up early and see us. We'll see you then.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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


JARRETT: Top Democrats take the stage in the final debate before the Iowa caucus.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sanders told Warren he did not believe a woman could win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Sanders did not say that a woman could not win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's more than four Republican senators who reportedly are seriously considering having witnesses.

ROMNEY: I'm comfortable with the Clinton model with opening arguments first and then we'll have a vote on whether or not to have witnesses.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The case is now gaining momentum in the Senate.

ANNOUNCER, COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Let the good times roll. LSU sits on the throne of college football.



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