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Delta Plane Dumps Jet Fuel On L.A Schools Due To Engine Issue; What Are The Next Steps In The Senate Impeachment Trial?; Fire Causes Issues At Melbourne Airport And Australian Open. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 15, 2020 - 07:30   ET



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Got a second opportunity of 20 seconds to make another determination. You have to wonder if the plane could have survived.

The president of Iran now calling and saying that they have to be honest, that they have to be truthful, that the investigation has to be clear and thorough. And one of the Iranian state media stations -- T.V. stations is saying that the people of Iran need transparency, but it's not clear that that's actually what they're getting here at the moment.

And a last line from the Iranian president today. Speaking about the broader issues in the Middle East, he said that American troops are unsafe and tomorrow, the European Forces may also be insecure -- that's a warning -- John, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Nic. Thank you very much for updating that important story.

Back here in the U.S., the FAA is investigating why a Delta flight with engine trouble dumped jet fuel over a five-mile swath of Los Angeles, dousing dozens of children at several schools with toxic fuel.

CNN's Nick Watt is live in L.A. with more. So how did this happen, Nick?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, the plane was only a few minutes into its flight when the pilot reported engine trouble. It was still banking over Los Angeles and, of course, it had to lose weight to safely make an emergency landing. The result, one kid on the ground said he thought it was a rainbow until he smelled gasoline.


WATT (voice-over): Those aren't vapor trails, that's jet fuel -- enough to fly all the way to Shanghai, dumped from low altitude over one of the most populous cities in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane was coming over and it was throwing gasoline. WATT (voice-over): The fuel hit six schools and 60 people. Here at Park Avenue Elementary, kids were out on the playground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so scared so we just went inside. And then, my eyes were itching. And then -- so I came inside (INAUDIBLE).

WATT (voice-over): Twenty kids here were hit. They were confused, panicked. One kid said it felt like rain but he couldn't see any clouds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within four minutes, we had units on-scene. We have approximately 40 to 50 firefighters here, all from -- everything from paramedics, ambulances are assisting us.

WATT (voice-over): How did this happen? Flight 89 to Shanghai took off at 11:32 a.m., then according to Delta, experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return quickly to LAX. The aircraft landed safely after a release of fuel, which was required as part of normal procedure to reach a safe landing weight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It got in my eye and I'm blurred.

WATT (voice-over): The statement notes that Delta shares "concerns regarding reported minor injuries to adults and children at a school in the area."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I started -- like my skin was like itchy.

WATT (voice-over): Thankfully, nothing a little soap and water couldn't cure. Everyone was OK.


WATT: Now, it's not uncommon for aircraft to dump fuel but by law, they're supposed to do it in certain designated areas away from populations and also a lot higher so that fuel atomizes before it reaches the ground, but there were emergency circumstances. As you mentioned, the FAA and also Delta say they are still investigating -- guys.

CAMEROTA: That's really interesting Nick because I didn't know that there were designated areas. If you're in an emergency you just dump the fuel wherever you can, I thought.


CAMEROTA: But this shows us that there's obviously repercussions on the ground.

Nick, thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right.

The CNN debate last night -- the final debate before the Iowa caucuses. Which candidate got the most out of it and what to make of the incredibly tense moment between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders just after the debate? That's next.



CAMEROTA: Three of the top-tier Democratic presidential candidates will head back to Washington to be jurors in the Senate impeachment trial against President Trump. What does that mean for their chances in Iowa?

Joining us now, we have CNN political correspondent MJ Lee and CNN political analyst Jonathan Martin. He's a national political correspondent for "The New York Times." They've both spent ample time in Iowa to answer any of the questions we might throw at them.

So, J-Mart --


CAMEROTA: -- this is unfortunate timing for these senators.


CAMEROTA: I mean, just when they want to be making their final case in Iowa, they are going to be doing the work of the Senate impeachment trial, and will this set them back?

MARTIN: It's going to be a pretty wild split-screen for the final weeks of this caucus in a way that we haven't seen in past campaigns where, of course, the candidates are in Iowa having events for 14 hours a day in the final days before Iowa, and so that is different.

I don't necessarily know that it is hugely detrimental. Here's why.

I think whether it's Iowa or anywhere else, voters these days consume information on their phones, like we do, watching T.V. News and information gets to them.

And are there going to be some people who could use a one final look at a candidate in person before making their choice? Of course. It's going to be helpful to be there. I just don't know if it's as damaging as it would have been 30 years in the caucus where so much of this was up close and personal, how do you sound.

I think a lot more of it now is based on screens. And let's be honest, these candidates are going to be on the screens quite a bit as Senate jurors.

BERMAN: But, talking about something that Iowa voters in person and in polls tell us repeatedly --

MARTIN: Yes, fair enough.

BERMAN: -- this is one of their top issues.


BERMAN: They want to talk about health care, they want to talk about farming. They want to talk about other things.

And I will say that for me, some of the more memorable events for candidates in Iowa have been in the nights before the actual caucuses.


I was at a Bernie Sanders event. It was at Iowa State University four years ago where he was Vampire Weekend and the guy from "THE HUNGER GAMES" and there were 15,000 screaming people. And that can be an organizing --


BERMAN: -- moment for these campaigns to make sure they get their people to the caucuses.

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and especially in a state like Iowa. There is just an endless appetite of the voters there to see these candidates in person. I mean, the number of times that you speak with somebody and they'll say, you know, this is the fourth event for x candidate that I've been to or this is the fourth candidate that I've seen this week.


LEE: These voters in Iowa obviously take this job of being the first state to vote very, very seriously. And I think Jonathan is right, too, that obviously, there are going to be some people who would like that final in-person look at these candidates. I think that's why it's going to be so important for them to sort of come up with creative ways to make sure that they're reaching voters on their screens and making sort of memorable moments when they're having to spend all of this time in Washington, D.C.

CAMEROTA: It's the old John McCain joke of what do you think of John McCain, one voter asked another, and she says I don't know, I've only met him five times.

LEE: Right.

CAMEROTA: So I want to bounce off of you some post-debate analysis that our friend Van Jones -- our political analyst said last night after watching the debate. He did not feel that the candidates on stage, those six, really had enough firepower to beat President Trump. So listen to this.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Are they progressive? To see those two have that level of vitriol was very dispiriting.

And I want to say that tonight, for me, was dispiriting. The Democrats have to do better than what we saw tonight. There was nothing I saw tonight that would be able to take Donald Trump out.


CAMEROTA: So, obviously, he was talking about Warren and Sanders at the beginning there. But is there that feeling in Iowa? Having spent so much time, as you both have, is there any talk of that, that Democrats are worried?

MARTIN: There's talk, generally, about can we beat Trump. I'm not -- I'm not sure that the candidate performance at one debate is going to necessarily matter much. But I think certainly, the overriding topic in this campaign is who can beat Trump, which is why that debate last night eventually got straight to the heart of the matter of who up here is the best candidate to defeat the president.

Look, for a lot of voters that is the only issue in this race, is how do we find someone that can -- that can beat the president. I think where it gets complicated, though, is we just don't know the answer to that because it's not clear.

And if you just look at the last two presidents who were elected, these conventional questions about who can and can't win oftentimes are more complex than they perhaps seem on paper. That's why it's hard to figure out.

BERMAN: Right.

MARTIN: But, no, that is the key question. I can't recall an election where going into the primary more than one policy, by far, the dominating question on the minds of voters was the old Al Davis line, "Just win, baby" and who can do it.

BERMAN: And I have to say MJ, that was hanging over almost every answer from every question from each candidate in the debate -- electability -- even in the standoff between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on the issue of whether a woman is electable. Elizabeth Warren made it more -- about more than just the conversation that she says she had with Bernie Sanders.

LEE: That's right, and I thought her answer really captured this juggling act for women who are elected officials or in positions of leadership. The juggling act that they have when they talk about this issue, right?

One the one hand, they want to have this healthy discussion about issues of sexism or the obstacles that women face that men do not. But at the same time, you bring that up and you fear that even bringing that up will remind certain people that yes, women do have these challenges. And that could mean for some people -- translate to some people as well, maybe a woman can't win.

And I think that's why Warren and Klobuchar leaned really hard into this idea of women can win and we are examples of those women. Here are the races that we have won.

It very much was about electability; it wasn't just about gender. You're absolutely right.

MARTIN: Yes. She was trying to sort of make the best of a story that she didn't necessarily want to keep going because she wanted to sort of broaden the topic beyond the talk that she had with Sanders. And she also wanted to address what she basically called last night, the elephant in the room. This is on the minds of voters, she acknowledged, and so let's go ahead and address this straight on.

And so I think she was trying to sort of pivot off the Bernie conversation narrowly and try and talk about this broader topic that is looming over her campaign. We hear it all the time about Sen. Warren. Very impressive, like the ideas -- I'm just not sure she's going to win.

And it was fascinating as she has sort of slipped in the polls to hear her pivoting off issues, policies, substance, ideas and going straight-out process like she did last night. She knows that she's got to reassure Iowans yes, I can take on Trump and beat Trump, and last night she talked about it directly.


CAMEROTA: OK, J-Mart, MJ, thank you both very much.

And coming up in just minutes, we will have three of the candidates who were on stage last night. We have Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, and Amy Klobuchar. Stick around for that.

BERMAN: All right. It is a snow day for Seattle schoolkids -- heavy snow forcing public schools to close. More than 10 million people under winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories across the west.

And I want you to take a look at some video this morning of a violent storm in North Carolina.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh.

BERMAN: It ripped the roof off of this school gym. Oh, my. You can see the students and teacher running for cover there. Three students were hurt.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers now with the forecast. Chad, this video is crazy.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you never know what you're going to get. I mean, those cameras that are just set up now everywhere really bringing in amazingly devastating video there.

We are going to see some rain across the southeast today. Still, the snow in the northwest.

But this weather is brought to you by Celebrity Cruises. Go to and book your award-winning vacation today.

So what do we have? Chicago, you're going to get an ice event. Not big, but it's enough to slow down O'Hare for sure.

Right now, eastern Iowa is an absolute mess from all the way to Davenport to Iowa City -- just almost shut down. I-80 is, in fact, closed in spots.

This eventually gets to New York but it's going to be a rain event. It will be 36. It won't be a pleasant rain but at least it won't be piling up. You won't have to shovel at 36.

It does get colder for the weekend and that's when the next storm system tries to get there. It looks like the northeast will start to get snow around 4:00 and then all of a -- this is Saturday -- and then all of a sudden it warms up.

So you're going to get some now. It's going to be right there in your face and then it's going to rain on top of it. So just wait for it to go away. You won't have to shovel, at least most of you.

Now, if you're north of where it doesn't turn to rain, then all of a sudden you will have to shovel about four to eight inches in some spots -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Chad, thank you --

MYERS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: -- very much.

So, we keep hearing about how Nancy Pelosi is sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. What does that mean, what does that look like, what are you all going to see today? We have an expert who has been on the front line of this in the past impeachment. He's going to tell us exactly how this is going to unfold.



CAMEROTA: OK, impeachment wonks like John Berman -- wake up. This is the moment you've been waiting for. President Trump was impeachment about a month ago and since then, the Senate has been waiting for next steps. Today, those begin. So what will we see?

One man knows better than most -- he's Alan Frumin. He's the former Senate parliamentarian during the Clinton impeachment. He's now a CNN contributor and he's going to walk us through everything today. Mr. Frumin, thank you very much for being here.

We have a graphic that I think you've helped us with of what we're going to see next. So let's go through it and you can give us the color of what's going to happen so you've lived this.


CAMEROTA: OK, fantastic. Number one, the House notifies the Senate it has approved the managers. Who will do that notifying?

FRUMIN: It could be a clerk of the House. They do have clerks that carry messages back and forth between the two bodies. But odds are it will be managers themselves.

CAMEROTA: Oh, OK, and we'll find out today who those will be.

FRUMIN: Yes, we will find out.

CAMEROTA: OK, next. The Senate responds that it's ready to receive the articles of impeachment. Is that Mitch McConnell? Who's going to -- who's going to say that they've received -- they're ready to receive them?

FRUMIN: There will be a unanimous consent agreement directing the secretary of the Senate, pursuant to the Senate's impeachment rules, to notify the House of Representatives that the Senate is ready to receive its managers.

Sometimes, that order specifies that the managers arrive the next day, as was the case in the Clinton trial, but the order could specify that the managers either can remain in the chamber and exhibit the articles or return to the chamber and exhibit the articles later that day.


FRUMIN: This is truly up to the Senate.

CAMEROTA: Here's where the action begins. This is where the House managers march to the Senate to deliver the articles. And we happen to have that very moment from December 19th, 1998, which you will remember well. So let's watch the delivering of the articles.


REP. HENRY HYDE (R-IL): Those are the impeachment. Would you hold this? Thank you.


HYDE: Thank you, sir.

SISCO: As secretary on behalf of the Senate, I accept these into the official record of the Senate for deliberation later on.


CAMEROTA: Very polite exchange there. Is that how it's going to go today?

FRUMIN: Well, the unique situation there was the House had adopted the articles of impeachment when the Senate had adjourned for the year and so the Senate, itself, was not in session to receive the articles. But the secretary of the Senate -- the chief administrative officer of

the Senate -- in that instance, Gary Sisco -- physically received the articles of impeachment from Chairman Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who is the primary manager on the part of the House.

The Senate is in session now and so this delivery should take place on the floor of the Senate in open session.



FRUMIN: And we'll wait and see who the -- who the chairman is -- who the head manager is. And my guess is he will hand the articles possibly to the Senate's presiding officer.

CAMEROTA: And we'll see if it's done with as much decorum and politeness as then.

OK, then there's this ceremonial moment where the sergeant at arms says the hear ye, hear ye. And we also have that moment from January seventh, 1999. Watch this.


JAMES ZIGLAR, SERGEANT AT ARMS, U.S. SENATE: Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton.


CAMEROTA: Wait a minute. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment? What happens if somebody is not silent?

FRUMIN: I've recently spoken with a senator -- a current senator who is very excited about the prospect of having some of his colleagues arrested if they speak.

CAMEROTA: Who's that?

FRUMIN: He said it with a bit of a smile. But it's the Senate and you never know -- that could happen.

CAMEROTA: Who wants to have his colleagues arrested?

FRUMIN: Well, I will not spill the beans. If he wants to come forward he can.

But the point there is that in a Senate trial, senators are really supposed to remain silent. There is no debate in order. The only time they get to debate is when they close the doors for deliberation. So, senators who are quite used to speaking, and speaking at length, may not speak, generally, in an impeachment trial.

CAMEROTA: That will be very interesting.

And then quickly, one of the managers will read the articles aloud. Senators will escort Chief Justice John Roberts into the chamber. That will be a dramatic moment.

FRUMIN: It is a truly dramatic moment. The gravity of the situation is borne out by the fact that the head of the judiciary -- of the judicial branch of the government is presiding in the Senate over the impeachment trial of the head of the executive branch. It is a monumentally solemn event and it really does underscore the gravity of the situation.

CAMEROTA: Sen. Grassley will administer the trial oath to the chief justice. The chief justice will say the same oath to the senators. The senators will sign the impeachment trial oath book and then the trial can start.

Alan Frumin, thank you very much. You're a very unique person to talk to in terms of having lived through all of this. Thanks for walking us through it.

FRUMIN: I'm delighted to relive all these experiences.

CAMEROTA: I bet you are. Thank you very much.

FRUMIN: You're welcome -- you're welcome.

BERMAN: I'm just curious about the idea of mass arrests in the Senate if they all start talking in the back.

Flight delays and cancellations at Australia's Melbourne Airport as the thick haze from the catastrophic bushfires limit visibility. The fire is also causing issues at the Australian Open.

CNN's Will Ripley live in Australia with the latest details -- Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that smoke plume that we saw as we were flying in here to Melbourne, John -- that smoke has been blowing right in here to the city. You can see the haze behind me.

There was some rain earlier. It cleared things out for a little while but as soon as the rain stopped the haze came back in. You combine this kind of air pollution with the temperatures that are expected to soar back up, well over 100 degrees.

Imagine having to play tennis in that for two, three hours at a time. It's really grueling conditions and that's why we had a tennis player, just a couple of days ago during her qualifying match, break into a coughing fit and collapse with cameras rolling. They had to call off the match. Other matches were canceled as well.

Certainly, not the kind of optics that the organizers of the Australian Open are hoping for. This is one of this country's most important sporting event happening at a really difficult time for this country with more than 100 fires burning, many of them out of control right now.

And when you have visible smoke in the air and players saying that by the second round they can actually feel it in their chest, it's not only potentially dangerous for them but also potentially dangerous for the tens of thousands of fans that are going to be here watching the play this weekend.

Australia is already dealing with a very tough time. This sporting event is supposed to be a unifying, powerful moment for the country, but they're really facing a crisis here -- a crisis on the front lines of the bushfires. And also, trying to figure out if it's going to be safe for people who are going to be playing tennis here this weekend -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, Will Ripley for us in Australia. Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next.

For our U.S. viewers, we have three Democratic presidential candidates who were on stage last night coming up for. And, NEW DAY continues right now.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not beat President Trump.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can a woman beat Donald Trump? The only people who have won every election that they've been in are the women.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to move past a Washington mentality that suggests that the boldness of a plan only consists of how many Americans it can alienate.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": House Democrats unveiling new documents about President Trump's pressure campaign in Ukraine.