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EARLY START

Lev Parnas Personally Implicates Trump; Senate Prepares for Impeachment Trial; Warren to Bernie: You Called Me A Liar; Zion Williamson Expected to Make NBA Debut Next Week. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 16, 2020 - 05:00   ET

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


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.

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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, RUDY GIULIANI ASSOCIATE: That was the way everybody viewed it.

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JARRETT: 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?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: History today on the Senate floor. One hundred senators will take an oath for the impeachment trial. 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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JARRETT: It looked tense, it sounded ugly. What the rift between progressive senators means for the 2020 race.

Well, good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's Thursday, January 16th. 5:00 a.m. in the East and 18 days to go until the Iowa caucuses.

We begin with the indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas is 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 corruption. It was all about keeping the White House.

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COOPER: And 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 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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JARRETT: A new revelation from Parnas also suggests the pressure campaign started long before Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine.

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PARNAS: So, the first quid pro, again, was when we met with President Poroshenko. That was --

COOPER: The former president.

PARNAS: Former President Poroshenko.

COOPER: So what was your message to Poroshenko?

PARNAS: Well, Poroshenko -- if he would make the announcement that he -- that he would -- that he would get Trump -- either invite him to the White House or make a statement for him, but basically would start supporting him for, you know, president.

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JARRETT: Parnas' information is key because under a new House resolution, impeachment managers have the authority to submit new evidence. The president has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Parnas and his business partner despite pictures of them all together.

All parties involved here 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 airs tonight on "AC360".

ROMANS: All right. Americans are about to witness an impeached president facing trial in the Senate for just the third time in history. Newly named House managers who will prosecute the case delivering articles to the Senate Wednesday.

One notable change from the Clinton trial in '99, CNN has learned the Senate's impeachment resolution guarantees there will be a vote on whether to hear from witnesses. There's growing pressure on moderate Republican senators who could shame this trial with votes on witnesses and other evidence.

JARRETT: Pretty remarkable split screen moment on Wednesday. President Trump signing his long promised phase one trade agreement with China. Right there you can see. Hours before, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed impeachment articles designed to remove Trump prom office.

What will we see on Capitol Hill today has not happened in 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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JARRETT: History unfolds in just hours.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 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 are 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.

[05:05:04]

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.

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ROMANS: All right, Phil, thank you for that. That icy post-debate encounter between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren 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 (I-VT), 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. After the debate, CNN found the audio on backup recordings from the candidates' microphones. The Sanders campaign declined to comment. The Warren camp didn't respond to our inquiry.

JARRETT: The exchange kept days of escalating tension between the progressive senators.

On Monday, Warren confirmed a CNN report that Sanders had told her during a private meeting during 2018, a woman couldn't win the presidency. Sanders denied saying that including on the debate stage. Big picture here, the two Democrats are basically out of time to repair this rift in public before votes are cast.

Both are back in Washington for the impeachment trial of President Trump. That's expected to last about two weeks or so. The senators may not be back on the trial again before the Iowa caucuses.

ROMANS: I've watched that video so many times.

JARRETT: The hands.

ROMANS: The hands and OK, we'll do this later. We talk about do they have time to repair the rift? Do they want to repair the rift or is it, you know, progressives have to pick? They have to pick who they support, right?

JARRETT: There's not much time left.

ROMANS: All right. Why did the State Department, FBI, Pentagon scrap four classified briefings on the recent Iran crisis? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:12:05]

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 current intelligence briefing and the Pentagon has now shelved a briefing planned for today for the House Armed Services Committee. 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. A deal is signed. President Trump and the Chinese vice premier inked the phase one trade one, easing tensions without addressing some of the 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: So what's in the deal? China promises to buy an additional $32 billion in farm goods over the next two years, $12.5 billion in the first year and $19.5 billion in the second.

The commitments don't go much further than making up what was lost during the trade war. Remember $28 billion has already been spent bailing out farmers. That bail out is double the size of the 2009 auto bail out.

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

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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 and some inroads for U.S. financial services into the Chinese market. The U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called this a massively good first step. But he said are we in an ideal spot, no. Trump says the next round of negotiations will start soon. JARRETT: Vladimir Putin could be looking for a way to extend his grip

on power. The Russian president proposing sweeping reforms that led the country's entire government to resign.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen live in Moscow with more.

Fred, what is going on here?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Laura.

Well, it looks like the strategist Vladimir Putin might be back at work, and there's a lot of people speculating what exactly he's trying to do there. But the bottom line is that Vladimir Putin in 2024 will reach the end of his fourth time as Russian president so then he would have to step down. And the big question is will he leave politics, was he going to try and find some way to stay in politics or at least in some form of power.

And so, with this new thing that's going on, many people speculate that could be the case. What Vladimir Putin did yesterday is he had his state of the union address where he announced he wanted sweeping changes to Russia's constitution. Now, those changes would make the prime minister of the country more powerful and the parliament more powerful because they declare who the prime minister and would make the president and office of the president less powerful.

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That means the next president of the Russian Federation whoever it's going to be, and it's not going to be Vladimir Putin is going to be less powerful than the current president of the Russian Federation. So, there are some who are now speculating does Vladimir Putin want to make a move back to being prime minister, an office that he held for four years before? Does he maybe want to carve out some new role for himself, where he's maybe not as involved in day to day politics, but does still have a degree of influence?

Those are all things that are being speculated right now, but the changes are quite fundamental. It's quite interesting, when the government here stepped down and the current prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, announced his resignation, he said that the balance of power in this country is shifting to such a great degree that he wanted to give Vladimir Putin a clean slate. And, obviously, Vladimir Putin is filling that very quickly. He's already announced Medvedev's successor, Laura.

JARRETT: All right. Fred, thanks so much for all that reporting.

ROMANS: All right. NBA fans are waiting a long time for this. Rookie Zion Williamson is ready to hit the court. Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.

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[05:20:31] JARRETT: 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 service personnel are key targets for terrorists because of high visibility and easy accessibility. According to FBI data, 53 U.S. law enforcement officers were victims of ambush attack by terrorists and non-terrorist suspects between 2014 and 2018.

ROMANS: One day after mutually parting ways with manager Alex Cora in baseball's sign stealing scandal, Boston Red Sox executives addressed the media.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine.

You know, the Red Sox's brass stated that Alex Cora admitted to playing a central role in the Astros' sign-stealing scheme, and the club like the Astros in the market for a new manager. Cora was the bench coach for the Stros in 2017 when they won the World Series. He then joined the Red Sox as manager in 2018 and won the World Series again.

And Major League Baseball is now investigating allegations that the Red Sox used a similar system of using technology to steal signs during that 2018 season.

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SAM KENNEDY, BOSTON RED SOX PRESIDENT: Alex came to the conclusion he could not effectively leave the organization going forward in light of the commissioner's filings and ruling. And we came to that conclusion as well.

TOM WERNER, BOSTON RED SOX CHAIRMAN: I think we all agreed that moving forward would be very difficult and that what he did in Houston would be very challenging to continue to lead the Boston Red Sox.

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SCHOLES: All eyes now on the New York Mets. They hired Carlos Beltran this off-season to be their manager. He was the one player named in Manfred's report as being involved in the Astros cheating scandal.

All right. At long last, NBA rookie sensation, Zion Williamson is ready to hit the court. The New Orleans Pelicans say he's set to make his debut next Wednesday, January 22nd at home against the San Antonio Spurs. The number one overall pick has been sidelined since the middle of October due to a knee injury that requires surgery.

All right. And, finally, former Dallas Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson has been waiting 30 years from a call for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A Super Bowl champion and member of the 1970s All Decade Team invited family and friends to his home to watch as the class was unveiled yesterday, but Pearson's name was not called, and he just couldn't hide his disappointment.

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DREW PEARSON, FORMER DALLAS COWBOYS RECEIVER: They broke my heart. They broke my heart and they did it like this. They strung it out like this.

Can't catch no more damn passes. Can't run no more routes. What upsets me more is when they say, you don't deserve it, they talk negative about you. There's nothing negative about my career in the NFL, nothing.

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SCHOLES: Got to feel there, Christine, for Drew Pearson, such a good guy.

ROMANS: Yes.

SCHOLES: And he's hoping he gets in one day. He's the only member from the 1970s All Decade Team to not be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

ROMANS: Really? Huh.

All right. Andy Scholes, thanks so much for that.

Laura, what's coming up next?

JARRETT: All right, Christine.

Well, 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 scandal. Will that force Mitch McConnell's hand on witnesses?

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[05:28:26]

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

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

TOWER: OK, so you don't need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?

PILOT: Negative.

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ROMANS: But the jet fuel rained down on five elementary schools and one high school as the plane returned to LAX. Sixty people on the ground were treated for minor injuries. The FAA says the pilots did not dump the fuel at an optimal altitude. An airline spokesman says they won't comment because the investigation is ongoing.

JARRETT: A controversial bill in Tennessee will allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ families. No license adoption agency would be required to participate in child placement if doing so would violate their religious or moral or policies -- their moral convictions or policies. The anti-gay adoption bill also protects agencies from lawsuits.

Tennessee's governor is expected to sign the bill into law. Eight states have passed similar legislation.

ROMANS: The incomparable Whitney Houston leading the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2020. This year's inductees will reveal Wednesday. Whitney was one of four first ballot Hall of Famers. Along with 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 we'll be broadcast live on HBO.

EARLY START continues right now.

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COOPER: This is about 2020 to help him get the next four years.

END