Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Defense Department Reveals U.S. Troops Injured in Iran Missile Attack; Chief Justice John Roberts and Senators Sworn in for Trump's Impeachment Trial; Four Democratic Senators Off Campaign Trail Due to Impeachment Trial; China's Economic Growth at Slowest Pace in 29 years. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 17, 2020 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:15]

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, Defense officials reveal that there were U.S. troops injured in the 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)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVELYN YANG, WIFE OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ANDREW YANG: What happened to me should have never happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

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

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. About 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

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 there had been no casualties. No one seriously hurt and no one killed.

The initial report of zero casualties was crucial in President Trump's decision to not retaliate following Iran's attack. Asked about the discrepancy a Defense official told CNN it was, quote, "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 our national security reporter Ryan Browne in Washington.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY 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 -- 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.

ROMANS: Ryan Browne, thank you so much for that.

History unfolding, after of the anticipation and buildup, it is finally here. The third impeachment trial of an American president in U.S. history has now officially begun. With pomp and ceremony, the House transmitted and read out the articles of impeachment. The chief justice of the United States and members of the Senate all sworn in, and now the trial begins.

Congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly has more.

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.

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?

[04:35:02]

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 are 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 in 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: So glad Phil Mattingly is there to walk us through that. Thanks, Phil.

New claims this morning from the Rudy Giuliani associate at the center of the Ukraine scandal that led to this 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, 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 aid of that 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. President Trump revisiting some familiar grounds. Taking credit Thursday for a strong U.S. economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The president of the United States who's led the greatest growth, the greatest economic revival of any country anywhere in the world is the United States. And our country has never done better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That's quite a claim, and it's a claim not everyone agrees with including Democratic senator and presidential candidate Michael Bennet. And he gave one compelling example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama's administration created more jobs than Donald Trump's administration on average per month. I mean, if Donald Trump were creating jobs at the same rate Barack Obama were creating jobs, we'd have a million more jobs here in this country right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That is true. A million more jobs were created during the last 34 months of the Obama administration than in the Trump administration so far.

[04:40:05]

Now, critics argue that while the economy is solid, it's not working for everyone. Farm bankruptcies are rising. U.S. economic growth -- watch, so the president says this is the best economy in history, but you take that back, you had some pretty strong quarters in the Obama economy. And back in the '90s and also some years post-World War II you had much stronger economic growth than you're seeing today.

I always say that presidents get too much credit and too much blame for the economy. But this president so exaggerates and so uses hyperbole to talk about the economy but I think it's important for transparency to just show those numbers.

JARRETT: It's interesting using hyperbole. Even though the economy is good, you don't even have to.

ROMANS: He exaggerates when he doesn't need to, and I think that's sort of a hallmark of this president.

JARRETT: Well, the wife of a presidential candidate making 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 next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:45:15]

JARRETT: The 2020 Democrats racing to make a final first impression in Iowa with just 17 days to go until the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses, but several candidates are being sidelined at just the wrong time to sit in judgment of President Trump and his impeachment trial.

We get more from CNN's Ryan Nobles in Washington on this.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura and Christine, four senators still running for president. Members of the United States Senate, and none of them on the campaign trail on Thursday. They were all here in Washington to participate in the impeachment trial and be sworn in as jurors as the Senate now weighs the evidence against President Trump.

This is going to complicate things for many of them. They would have expected at this point in the campaign just a little more than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses that they would be talking to voters and holding rallies and town halls. Instead they are here in Washington. In fact, Senator Bernie Sanders talked about the balance between the campaign and his role as a member of the Senate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would rather be in Iowa today. There's a caucus there in 2 1/2 weeks. I'd rather be in New Hampshire and in Nevada and so forth, but I swore a constitutional oath as the United States senator to do my job, and I'm here to do my job. And I think the people of the United States understand that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Now, that doesn't they aren't still actively campaigning. In fact, Sanders last night held a live stream with his supporters where they talked about the status of the campaign. He did that here in Washington.

And many of the other senators are doing things like that as well. They're also planning to hit the campaign trail the second that they have an open window when the trial is not going on and they're able to leave. Many of them will be in New Hampshire, South Carolina and in Iowa this weekend.

But while they're here the other candidates for president are already doing that. In fact, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg held five events in Iowa on Thursday, just an idea of the balance between both of these sides. Of course they will be here in Washington in earnest. And next week when this trial begins everything scheduled to take place on Tuesday, and they won't have much opportunity to campaign after that -- Laura and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Ryan Nobles. Thanks for that, Ryan.

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 campaigning with her husband and listening to other women tell their stories, it's inspired her to speak out. Yang says visits to Doctor Robert Hadden in 2012 became gradually 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)

ROMANS: Eventually Yang reported the assaults to the Manhattan DA and learned several other women had already reported Hadden. In 2016 he pleaded guilty to two of nine counts against him which did not include his attack on Evelyn. Hadden, in the court documents, you can see 31 other Jane Does. He had his medical license revoked but he served no jail time. Yang and 31 other women are now suing Hadden and Columbia University which runs the facility where he practiced.

JARRETT: It's just a stunning number of other women that he allegedly assaulted.

ROMANS: And that's why she says this could have been prevented. I mean, just a remarkable number of women who, you know, Jane Does in these documents. And that he served no jailtime. That -- the after effect of that you can see a lot of stories have been written, a lot of traffic about why -- why did the Manhattan DA not put this man in jail.

JARRETT: Yes. It's lucky Dana Bash got that interview.

Well, Democratic Massachusetts Congressman 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 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 fulls 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)

[04:50:06]

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

ROMANS: 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 scheme during their 2017 championship season. He was the only player mentioned by name. He 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.

JARRETT: Well, the newest competitor in the streaming wars with a radical move to win over customers. Free content, say what? More on CNN Business next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:55:29]

ROMANS: All right. The world's second largest economy just reported its weakest growth in nearly three decades. China says its economy grew 6.1 percent in last year in line with what was expected. Fourth quarter GDP also grew 6 percent as the country faces rising debt, slowing domestic demand, and a trade war with the U.S.

CNN's David Culver live in Beijing with the latest.

And David, most economies would cheer for 6 percent in economic growth but this is China. And China has emerged into the developed world with 10 percent growth for years now.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christine. And you also have to take this for what it is, and that happens to be falling within their target of 6 percent to 6.5 percent, and that it should be worth mentioning that they never miss their target. So you have to question reliability of data, but we also have to look at other factors that are coming into all of this.

And we have seen some economic woes here. Certainly rising debt has been an issue. We've seen weakening consumer confidence. That's been exhibited through even car sales which have been declining for 18 straight months now. And of course the pork crisis. That's been something that's been hitting consumers directly. It's been up almost double from what it was this time last year.

All of these factors coming together contributing to this weakening economy, but interesting to see how it's being spun here. In fact state media Shinwa reporting that China's economy has expanded in their headline to 6.1 percent. So they phrase it that way, and the vice premier even as the signing of phase one happened characterized this as a positive outlook going forward for 2020 -- Christine.

ROMANS: That's true. Such a big economy, if its growth rate slows even a little bit the whole world feels it.

David Culver, nice to see you there in Beijing. Thank you, sir.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at global markets. It is enthusiasm around the world here, and on Wall Street futures at this hour also showing a little bit more of a gain.

Look, it was a record high day on Wall Street yesterday across the board thanks to solid U.S. retail sales. Strong earnings for big companies and easing trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Tech stocks the big winners. Google parent Alphabet hit a record high. That puts Google into an exclusive Wall Street club, companies worth at least a trillion dollars. There's only been a handful that have made it. Tech giants Apple and Microsoft are there as well. U.S. student loan debt is more than $1.6 trillion, and guess what?

Very few people are paying their bills. According to Moody's, student debt has more than doubled over the past decade and just about half of borrowers have made any progress paying it down, mainly because many Americans ask for longer repayment plans. The U.S. student loans now only second to mortgages as the highest debt. It's one of the reasons why Democratic candidates have made it a campaign talking point. Moody's says those proposals would stimulate the U.S. economy but hurt some financial institutions.

All right. The streaming wars getting another competitor. With a radical move to win you over, hey, free content. NBC Universal unveiled its new streaming service Peacock on Thursday. Peacock will have subscription options with exclusive content but will also offer a free ad supported version with movies and classic NBC shows including "The Office," "Cheers" and "30 Rock."

Now why the free content? Well, NBC Universal frankly has to play catch-up. It's entering a ring with Netflix, Disney and Amazon. Peacock will debut for Comcast customers in April and across the U.S. in July.

JARRETT: Interesting to see whether they can make that work.

ROMANS: Well, you know -- or you get hooked and then you start paying for the extra content. You know, at one point, how many streaming services are we going to have? You know, and how was it -- I have three right now.

JARRETT: I know. I have way more than three.

ROMANS: Right. So -- and I have traditional cable, so I don't know.

JARRETT: Yes.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers EARLY START continues right now.

Breaking overnight, Defense officials reveal that there were U.S. troops injured in that Iran missile attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: You will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws so help you God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: U.S. senators are now sworn jurors with the impeachment trial of President Trump underway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YANG: What happened to me should have never happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: Presidential candidate Andrew Yang's wife Evelyn shares her story of sexual assault.

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

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Friday.

END