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EARLY START

11 U.S. Troops Injured in Iran Missile Attack; President Trump's Impeachment Trial Begins; Ukraine Probes Alleged Marie Yovanovitch Surveillance. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 17, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:18]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, Defense officials reveal that there were U.S. troops injured in that Iran missile attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: You will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. senators are now sworn jurors with the impeachment trial under way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVELYN YANG, ANDREW YANG'S WIFE: What happened to me should have never happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Presidential candidate Andrew Yang's wife Evelyn shares her story of sexual assault.

JARRETT: Major League Baseball says it found no evidence that players used wearable devices to steal signs in the cheating scandal.

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

Good morning, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning, everybody. It's Friday. I'm Christine Romans. It is January 17th, 4:00 a.m. in New York, 17 days to the Iowa caucuses.

Breaking overnight, new revelations several U.S. troops were injured in Iran's missile attack last week on American bases in Iraq. That's despite assurances from the Pentagon at the time that there had been no casualties. No one seriously hurt. No one killed. The initial report of zero casualties was crucial in President Trump's

decision not to retaliate following Iran's attack. Asked about the discrepancy a Defense official told CNN it was the commander's assessment at the time. Symptoms emerged days after the fact and they were treated out of an abundance of caution.

More now from national security reporter Ryan Browne in Washington.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Good morning, Christine and Laura. The U.S. Military revealing that 11 U.S. military personnel were injured during that Iranian missile attack on Al Assad Air Base in western Iraq as previously -- and the Pentagon had previously said that there were no U.S. casualties, but reports of concussions, potential traumatic brain injury has been suffered by 11 U.S. service personnel including some who have had to be sent out of the country, out of Iraq for more enhanced treatment.

Eight were sent to Landstuhl base in Germany. The remainder sent to a base in Kuwait so they could get more sophisticated care. But this comes amid continuing questions about the missile attack, the strike against General Soleimani, the Iranian general, which led to that retaliatory missile attack. Questions about how transparent the U.S. is being. The U.S. Military not initially disclosing these casualties and as the reports came in still continuing to not disclose those facts.

It wasn't until it broke in the press that the U.S. Central Command which overseas U.S. troops in the region finally did issue a statement. Now concussions are hard to detect. Sometimes they're detected days after an attack, after an explosion. Forces hiding in the bunkers for safety likely could have suffered that kind of injury.

It may have been taken a few days, but there was no official correction of the record despite the Pentagon initially saying that there were no casualties until the story broke in the press. And again continued questions about how transparent the Trump administration and the Pentagon are being given these major international security issues involving Iraq, Iran and U.S. troops deployed overseas.

Back to you.

JARRETT: All right, Ryan Browne, thanks so much for that report.

After all the anticipation and buildup, it's finally here. The third impeachment trial of a president in U.S. history has now officially begun. With pomp and ceremony, the House transmitted and read out the articles of impeachment against President Trump. The chief justice of the Supreme Court and members of the Senate all sworn in, and now the battle begins.

Congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly has more for us.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, this is now the Senate's job. The idea of whether or not to vote to remove the president of the United States. It started on Thursday with a procession of the seven House Democratic impeachment managers walking over those two articles of impeachment. And what followed was something that at least as it pertains to the United States president has only been seen two times prior on the United States Senate floor.

Take a watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STENGER, SENATE SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: 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 Donald John Trump, president of the United States.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): The managers on the part of the House will now proceed.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Donald J. Trump, president of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. With the permission of the Senate, I will now read the articles of impeachment. President Trump used the powers of the presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States' democratic process.

[04:05:04]

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The presiding officer will now administer the oath to John G. Roberts, chief justice of the United States.

ROBERTS: I am now prepared to take the oath.

GRASSLEY: Will you place your left hand on the bible and raise your right hand? Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws, so help you God.

ROBERTS: I do.

GRASSLEY: God bless you.

ROBERTS: Will all senators now stand or remain standing and raise their right hand. Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Now, guys, let me quickly kind of lay out what's going to happen next. You're not going to see the senators on the Senate floor for the trial again until Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. But in the meantime, stuff will be happening behind the scenes. The president has now officially been summoned for that trial. A response from the White House defense team will come this weekend.

Also both the House managers and White House defense team will have to file briefs and responses to those briefs over the course of the next several days. And when senators return on Tuesday they will be debating and voting on the initial rules and structure of the trial. The expectation at this point in time is it will essentially be presentations from both sides, each lasting 24 hours over the course of a couple of days and then questions from senators over the course of 16 hours.

Now that is a resolution that's been drafted or still being drafted by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. Democrats have made clear they're unhappy with that. They'd like to vote against it and likely will offer amendments to it in the initial stage of the process. So there should be votes. It could get interesting early. But the big question that's still outstanding for everybody is, will there be enough votes at some point of the trial, likely after the presentations considered the question to subpoena witnesses and documents.

At this point in time Democrats have made clear that is what they are focused on. They will need four Republicans to join the 47 Democrats to be able to make that a reality. Still waiting to see where those Republicans come down. Senator Susan Collins putting out a statement last night making clear that she is open to the idea but has not decided on any specific witnesses and is only open to it after those initial presentations which runs counter to what the Democrats want at least to the start of the trial.

So basically we'll have to wait and see likely for a couple of weeks to get the answer at least to the question of witnesses and documents -- guys.

ROMANS: All right, Phil. Thank you so much for that.

New claims this morning from the Rudy Giuliani associate at the center of the Ukraine scandal that led to impeachment. Lev Parnas says the president of Ukraine is lying when he says he did not feel President Trump was pressuring him to investigate Joe Biden and his son. Parnas says the Ukrainians are still afraid of Trump as are many Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEV PARNAS, INDICTED ASSOCIATE OF RUDY GIULIANI: There's a lot of people in the Republican Party that don't agree -- they're good people that don't agree with what he's doing, but they're scared. He gets away with everything and now, you know, especially with Attorney Bill Barr on the side and the Justice Department, I mean, a lot of people are scared. They don't want to get investigated.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": People are scared of being investigated by the Justice Department on behalf of President Trump, you're saying?

PARNAS: I think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Parnas has been indicted for making illegal campaign contributions including to a Trump super PAC. President Trump, as recently as yesterday, he denied knowing him personally at all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know Parnas other than I guess I had pictures taken which I do with thousands of people including people today that I didn't meet. But just met him. I don't know him at all. Don't know what he's about, don't know where he comes from, know nothing about him. He's trying to probably make a deal for himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Last night Parnas' attorney mocked Trump's claim, releasing this new video of the two men socializing at Mar-a-Lago in December 2016.

JARRETT: A new report by an independent government watchdog says the Trump administration broke the law by withholding more than $200 million in congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine. The Government Accountability Office says the decision by the White House to freeze the release of security assistance last summer was designed to advance the president's own agenda. The delay in delivering the aid is central to the impeachment case against President Trump.

ROMANS: All right. The Senate passing President Trump's new NAFTA trade deal with bipartisan support. The revised NAFTA also known as USMCA passed with a vote of 89-10 Thursday. Canada, the U.S. and Mexico first signed the pact in November 2018 but it took a year of negotiations between the administration and the Democrats to change it and pass the House.

The new version enhances labor protections. It also creates new rules for digital commerce, something that didn't exist when the first NAFTA was passed. It puts stricter regulations on auto parts and raises wages for auto workers.

[04:10:02]

It's been a big week for Trump's trade deals. On Wednesday the president inked a phase one trade deal with China easing tensions but pushing the bigger issues ahead. China pledged to spend $200 billion over the next couple of years on things like agriculture and manufactured products, drugs and airplanes. In exchange, the U.S. will cut tariffs in half on $120 billion in Chinese goods.

But the trade war has already hurt China's economy growing at the weakest pace now in 29 years. Last year in 2019 China's GDP rose by 6.1 percent. So while that's strong by global standards, but that's the slowest for China since 1990.

JARRETT: Well, the wife of a presidential candidate makes a painful revelation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YANG: Actually what happened to me could have been prevented. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Andrew Yang's wife Evelyn shares more of her story up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JARRETT: Authorities in Ukraine have launched a criminal investigation into possible illegal surveillance of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

[04:15:03]

It's a response to documents released by the House Intelligence Committee suggesting Yovanovitch was being closely monitored in Ukraine.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live in Moscow with the latest.

And, Fred, what are you hearing there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm hearing, Laura, that the Ukrainians are taking this extremely seriously. You're absolutely right, it is in relation to the House Intel Committee putting forward those documents. And the -- and those text messages, and the Ukrainians are saying, look, they saw that and they realized there might have been Ukrainian laws that were breached in all this.

I want to read you a little bit of the Ukrainian statement because it's just so key. They say Ukraine's position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States so they are trying to be very careful about this. But then they go on to say, "However the published references cited contain possible violation of the law of Ukraine and the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations which protects the right of a diplomat on the territory of a foreign country."

So clearly the Ukrainians are saying they feel and felt responsible for not just the safety of Ambassador Yovanovitch but also about her not getting wiretapped or eavesdropped on in some other way, shape or form.

All this of course, Laura, coming after CNN several times went to the State Department and asked for comment there and has not received any comment from the State Department on the matter yet. The Ukrainians also saying they would like the U.S. to participate in the investigation. They've asked the FBI to turn over anything that they find about it, and they say they want an answer from the U.S. as fast as possible.

All this, by the way, coming as Ukraine also launched another investigation. This one into the hack of Burisma, which they also take very seriously and also coming, by the way, today, this morning their prime minister resigned as well, Laura. So lots going on in Ukraine right now.

JARRETT: Oh, my goodness. Fred, thank you so much. See you soon.

And now to this, the wife of presidential candidate Andrew Yang revealing she was sexually assaulted by her OB-GYN during her first pregnancy. Evelyn Yang tried for years to conceal her identity through court proceedings but now she says she's campaigning with her husband and listening to other women tell their stories, and that's inspired her to speak out. Yang says visits to her doctor, Robert Hadden, in 2016 gradually became more invasive, culminating in what she calls a straight-up sexual assault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YANG: Grabbed me over to him and undressed me, and examined me internally ungloved. And at first I was a little bit like, what's going on here?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And there was no one else in the room?

YANG: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Eventually Yang reported the assaults to the Manhattan DA and learned several women had already reported Hadden. In 2016 he pleaded guilty to two of nine charges against him which did not include his attack on Evelyn Yang. Hadden lost his medical license but served no jail time. Yang and 31 other women are now suing him and Columbia University which runs the facility where he practiced.

ROMANS: That is so brave. That is so brave and important that women can share their story.

All right. Democratic Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley reveals she has a disorder that causes hair loss. In an interview with "The Root," she spoke candidly about having the autoimmune disease alopecia. Pressley, whose Senegalese twists have always been her signature hairstyle, says she first noticed bald patches in her hair this past fall. She says she began waking up every morning to sink full of hair and it made her feel ashamed. Pressley says she's speaking out now because she wants to be free.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): This is my official public revealing. I am ready now because I want to be freed from the secret and making peace with having alopecia. I have not arrived there. It's about self- agency. It's about power. It's about acceptance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The National Alopecia Areata Foundation says the disease affects nearly seven million people in the U.S.

JARRETT: You know, a huge reaction on social media yesterday to that.

ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: It's such a poignant and revealing and personal story that she shared with everyone.

ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: Well, another Major League Baseball manager is out of a job. The results of that signed stealing scandal that continues to rock baseball. The latest next.

[04:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JARRETT: Severe thunderstorms are bringing some much-needed relief to wildfire ravaged parts of Australia. The fire service says rain has fallen on most fire areas in New South Wales over the last 24 hours but not enough to put out the flames. 82 fires are still burning including 30 that are yet to be contained. Residents of drought hit areas celebrated the rain's arrival Thursday and forecasters say more is on the way over the next few days. CNN affiliate 9 News reported some neighborhoods were hit with a month's worth of rain in just hours triggering flooding, mudslides and a sinkhole.

ROMANS: All right. New developments in the sign stealing scandal rocking Major League Baseball. Major League officials in response to social media rumors say their investigation of the Houston Astros turned up no evidence that players used wearable devices to tip off hitters about what pitches were coming.

The New York Mets parting ways with manager Carlos Beltran. Beltran was cited in the baseball commissioner's report as one of the Astros players involved in the sign stealing scheme during their 2017 championship season. He was the only player mentioned by name. Beltran was just hired back in November. Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Red Sox skipper Alex Cora were also fired for the cheating scheme. Cora was the Astros' bench coach in 2017.

[04:25:02]

JARRETT: The San Francisco Giants rounding out their coaching staff and making major league history. The Giants hired Alyssa Nakken as assistant under manager to Gabe Kapler, making her the first ever female full-time coach. She first joined the team in 2014 as an intern. Nakken will work with another new coaching hire to focus on building a winner culture in the Giants' clubhouse.

ROMANS: All right. 25 minutes past the hour, Defense officials now reveal there were U.S. troops treated for injuries after last week's Iran missile attack so why are we just finding this out now? That story next.

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[04:30:00]