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EARLY START

Indicted Rudy Giuliani Associate Directly Implicates Trump; Articles of Impeachment Delivered to Senate; Vladimir Putin Reforms Could Extend Hold on Power. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 16, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": This is about 2020 to help him get the next four years.

LEV PARNAS, INDICTED ASSOCIATE OF RUDY GIULIANI: That was the way everybody viewed it.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight an associate of Rudy Giuliani implicates President Trump and top aides in the Ukraine scandal. Will it force Mitch McConnell's hand on witnesses at the impeachment trial?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: History today on the Senate floor. A hundred senators will take an oath for the impeachment trial of the president. We'll tell you what to expect.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you called me a liar on national TV.

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ROMANS: It looked tense, it sounded ugly. What the rift between progressive senators means for the 2020 race. That is some gender politics on display right there.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Thursday, January 16th, 4:00 a.m. here in New York. 18 days until the Iowa caucuses.

Indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, well, he's naming names. He is directly implicating President Trump in the Ukraine affair along with high-ranking officials in Trump's inner circle. Parnas describing how he helped orchestrate Giuliani's plot to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

He tells Anderson Cooper the effort had nothing to do with rooting out corruption. It was all about keeping the White House.

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COOPER: That's not how you personally viewed it, that this is about 2020, to help him get the next four years.

PARNAS: No, it was the way everybody viewed it. I mean, there was -- that was the most important thing is for him to stay on for another four years. And after Rudy would speak with the president or would come from the White House, I was the first person he briefed.

COOPER: So, Giuliani knew everything you were doing?

PARNAS: Everything, Anderson.

COOPER: You're saying Vice President Pence knew?

PARNAS: Well, I don't know if the vice president knew everything we were doing. I'm sure he was --

COOPER: He knew about the quid pro quo.

PARNAS: Of course, he knew. Everybody knew.

COOPER: Bolton?

PARNAS: Bolton.

COOPER: Mulvaney?

PARNAS: Mulvaney. Bolton, I don't think agreed with it. I think Bolton is a very important witness because I think between me and Bolton we could fit in all the dots I think because I was on the ground there and he was over here. I mean --

COOPER: And you'd be willing to testify?

PARNAS: I would be very willing to testify.

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ROMANS: His information is key because under a new House resolution impeachment managers have authorities to submit new evidence.

The president has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Parnas and his business partner despite a number of pictures of them together. All parties involved have denied pressuring Ukraine but acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney did say last year quid pro quos happen all the time in foreign policy. Mulvaney is one of several witnesses Democrats want to hear from at the trial.

Parnas' full interview with Anderson airs tonight on "AC 360." JARRETT: For just the third time in history, Americans will witness an

impeached president facing trial in the U.S. Senate. Newly-named House managers who will prosecute the case delivering the articles to the Senate on Wednesday. One notable change from the Clinton trial in 1999, CNN has learned the Senate impeachment resolution guarantees there will be a vote on whether to hear from witnesses. There's growing pressure on moderate Republican senators who could shape the trial with votes on witnesses and other evidence.

ROMANS: A remarkable, really remarkable split screen moment Wednesday, the president signing his long-promised phase one trade agreement with China hours before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed impeachment articles designed to remove him from office.

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Pelosi handing out the pens used to sign the articles, a move usually reserved for more celebratory occasions. The speaker is still insisting this is a solemn occasion. What we see on Capitol Hill today, it hasn't happened in over 20 years.

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REP. HENRY HYDE (R-IL): With the permission of the Senate, I will now read the articles of impeachment.

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ROMANS: History unfolds in just hours. CNN's Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Laura, after months of closed-door depositions, of public hearings, of House votes, of House Democrats deciding to hold onto the two articles of impeachment for a number of weeks, here's the bottom line. This is now in the Senate's court. The Senate is now responsible for two articles of impeachment and for deciding whether or not to remove the president of the United States.

What happens on Thursday is this. At noon, you're going to see a very similar procession. All seven House managers bringing those articles back over again. At which point when they reach the Senate floor they will go to the Senate floor and start to read those two articles of impeachment. After they are completed, right around 2:00 p.m., the Supreme Court -- the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, will come from the Supreme Court and be sworn in to preside over the Senate impeachment trial.

After that, all 100 U.S. senators will be sworn in for the trial as well. Here's some kind of interesting tidbits to keep in mind here. These senators, over the course of however many weeks this trial takes, are not allowed to speak during the trial. They are not allowed to have electronics inside the Senate chamber during the -- during the trial. They are not allowed to have any type of reading material outside of the scope of the trial itself. They are locked in and they are going to be watching the presentations

from the House managers, from the president's defense team. Questions from any senator that wants after that point in time. It is going to be a lengthy process. Many senators have told me they believe it's going to be an arduous process, but it is a historic process nonetheless.

One of the big questions, of course, going forward is, will there be enough votes to subpoena documents or to subpoena witnesses? How do you get to 51? A simple majority of the 100-member Senate is all it will take to essentially dictate any which way this trial wants to go. Democrats have made clear they want to hear from witnesses, they want documents subpoenaed. They only control 47 seats in the chamber. That means they need at least four Republicans to join them in that effort.

Four Republicans at least have opened the door to the idea of witnesses. Will they follow through with votes and who would they actually vote for to come testify? That remains an open question -- guys.

JARRETT: All right, Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much for laying all of that out for us.

And that icy post-debate encounter between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, it sounded just as intense as it looked.

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WARREN: I think you called me a liar on national TV.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What?

WARREN: I think you called me a liar on national TV.

SANDERS: No, let's not do it right now. You want to have that discussion, we'll have that discussion.

WARREN: Anytime.

SANDERS: You called me a liar. You told me -- all right, let's not do it now.

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to get in the middle. I just want to say hi, Bernie.

SANDERS: Yes, good, OK.

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JARRETT: Tom Steyer trying to get out of the way there. Well, after the debate CNN found the audio on back of recordings from the candidates' microphones. The Sanders campaign declined to comment. The Warren campaign did not respond to CNN's inquiry.

ROMANS: The exchange capped days of escalating tension between the progressive senators. On Monday Warren confirmed a CNN report that Sanders told her during a private meeting in 2018 a woman could not win the presidency. Sanders said he didn't say that including on the debate stage.

Big picture, the two Democrats are basically out of time to repair their rift in public before votes are cast. Both are back in Washington for the impeachment trial. That's expected to last about two weeks. So the senators may not be back on the trail again before the Iowa caucuses.

JARRETT: The Trump administration abruptly canceling four classified congressional briefings on the Iran crisis. The State Department called off two briefings on embassy security and the use of force on Wednesday. The FBI also canceled a counterintelligence briefing and the Pentagon was scheduled to brief the House Armed Services Committee about Iran today but that's now been shoved.

Lawmakers, mostly Democrats, continue to question the administration's justification for killing Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Senators appear poised to rebuke President Trump in the coming days by voting for a war powers resolution to limit his military options in Iran.

ROMANS: All right. The deal is signed, a truce has been called, President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He inked that phase one trade deal easing tensions, without addressing yet some bigger issues.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families.

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ROMANS: What's in the deal? China promises to buy $32 billion in farm goods over the next two years, $12.5 billion in the first year and $19.5 billion in the second. That's additional farm purchases. But the commitments don't go much further than making up for what was lost during the trade war. Remember, $28 billion has already been spent bailing out farmers.

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The pledge by China to buy more farm products is part of a broader $200 billion package which includes manufactured goods and energy exports. In exchange, the U.S. agreed to cut tariffs on $120 billion in Chinese goods in half.

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TRUMP: We're leaving tariffs on but I will agree to take those tariffs off if we are able to do phase two.

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ROMANS: The deal also includes better protection for U.S. intellectual property. The U.S. Trade representative Robert Lighthizer said this is a massively good first step. But he said this, are we in a good spot? No. Trump says the next round of negotiations will start soon.

You know, it's so interesting because it is -- you haven't seen the Chinese get ground ever really. So that is an important win for this administration. It is not what the president set out to do in the beginning and there are a lot of questions about whether phase two will have to be put off for some time after an election. Phase two is a real hard stuff.

JARRETT: And you see Lighthizer sort of dampening expectations there already.

ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: Well, coming up next why are counterterrorism officials warning police nationwide about the threat of ambush attacks?

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ROMANS: Counterterrorism officials are warning police departments across the country to maintain a heightened state of awareness for ambush-style attacks. Analysts from the National Counterterrorism Center believe officers and emergency services personnel are key targets for terrorists because of high visibility and easy accessibility. According to FBI data, 53 U.S. law enforcement officers are victims of ambush attacks by terrorists and non-terrorist suspects between 2014 and 2018.

JARRETT: A record number of guns were seized at U.S. airports last year. TSA officers confiscated more firearms at checkpoints in 2019 than ever before in the agency's 18-year history. Almost 4500 were discovered on carryon bags or on passengers. That's a 5 percent increase from 2018. 87 percent of the firearms were loaded. Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta topped the list of airports with the most weapons followed by Dallas Forth Worth, Denver, George Bush International in Houston and Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

ROMANS: All right. It turns out the Delta Airlines pilots who dumped jet fuel on several Los Angeles area schools, they told air traffic control they didn't need to.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got it back under control. We're going to come back to LAX. We're not critical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So you don't need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Negative.

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ROMANS: The jet fuel rained down on five elementary schools and one high school as the plane returned to LAX. 60 people on the ground were treated for minor injuries. The FAA says the pilots did not dump the fuel at an optimal altitude. The Delta flight was originally bound for Shanghai, China. An airline spokesman says it won't comment on an ongoing investigation.

JARRETT: A controversial bill in Tennessee will allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ families. No licensed adoption agency would be required to participate in child placement if doing so would violate their religious or moral conviction or policies. The anti-gay adoption bill also protects agencies from lawsuits. The state Senate gave final approval to the measure on Wednesday. Tennessee's governor expected to sign it into law. Eight states have passed similar legislation.

ROMANS: The incomparable Whitney Houston leading the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame Class of 2020. This year's inductees were revealed Wednesday. Whitney was one of four first ballot Hall of Famers, along with the Doobie Brothers, Notorious B.I.G. and T-Rex. The other artists in the 2020 class are Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. The 35th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place May 2nd in Cleveland and will be broadcast live on HBO.

JARRETT: How is Whitney Houston not already in there?

ROMANS: I know. I know. Every time I hear her voice I miss her.

JARRETT: I know.

ROMANS: I miss that talent.

JARRETT: I know.

Well, is Vladimir Putin trying to stay in power after his term expires? CNN is live in Moscow.

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ROMANS: Vladimir Putin appears to be maneuvering to extend his grip on power. On Wednesday the Russian president proposed sweeping reforms that led to the resignation of the entire Russian government.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen live in Moscow with more.

Fred, what does this mean?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it looks like, Christine, it means that the strategist Vladimir Putin has struck again. It looks like he's sort of ensuring maybe his future in politics beyond 2024. So what happens in 2024 is that Vladimir Putin finishes his fourth term as Russian president. And after that he would have to step down or he will have to step down as president.

There's a lot of speculation that's been going on here what happens after that. Does he completely leave politics or does he try to carve out a new role for himself? And so that's what some people believe might be happening right now. These constitutional reforms that Putin wants would essentially give more power to the Russian parliament and the prime minister and less power to the president who at that point of course won't be Vladimir Putin anymore but his successor.

So there's some people who are speculating whether or not he might try to go back as prime minister, remember he had that role for one term, or whether or not he might be trying to carve out some new sort of power center for himself where he'd be less involved in day-to-day politics but more involved in sort of larger decision-making.

Right now, I can tell you everybody here in Russia is speculating about all that. The interesting thing was that his prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, he came out and he said, look, the changes are so fundamental, the balance of power is changing so much that he wants to give Vladimir Putin a blank slate to sort of try and start things new. And Vladimir Putin then nominated almost immediately a new candidate for prime minister who's actually being discussed right now.

The head of Russia's tax authority who almost no one in Russia has heard of before. So the bottom line in all this is that Vladimir Putin is more powerful than ever and appears to be ensuring his future beyond 2024 -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Fred Pleitgen for us in Moscow. Thanks, Fred.

JARRETT: Pope Francis appointing the first woman ever to serve in a senior role in the Vatican's male-dominated secretary of state. Francesca Di Giovanni will serve in the newly created post of under- secretary. She'll be responsible for coordinating the Pope's relations with groups like the U.N. Di Giovanni is a specialist in international law and human rights. Despite the Vatican's push to appoint more women to decision-making jobs she joins only about half a dozen others holding them.

ROMANS: So is the United States the best country to raise your children? It depends on your priorities. According to a survey by U.S. News and World Report and the Wharton School, the overall best countries to raise a family are Denmark, Sweden and Norway. That's because they tend to have a generous paternal and maternal leave. They offer free preschool. By those standards the U.S. ranks 18th. The U.S. does come in first place for public education.

JARRETT: Senators will be sworn in for the president's impeachment trial today. Overnight an associate of Rudy Giuliani implicated the president and top officials in the Ukraine affair. Will that force Mitch McConnell's hands on witnesses?

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