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Trump Impeachment Trial: Long Days of Impeachment Trial Opening Arguments; Dems Furious Over Impeachment Trail Rules; Washington Post: Trump Allies Working to Prevent Bolton Testimony; 4 Dead from New Virus Strain in China. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired January 21, 2020 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: The third presidential impeachment trial in American history begins in just a matter of hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It is a cover-up. It is a national disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats are furious as Senate Republicans push to finish the trial as quickly as possible.
NOBLES: And "The Washington Post" says that President Trump's team is maneuvering to make sure senators never hear publicly from former national security advisor, John Bolton.
Welcome back to EARLY START. Thank you for joining us. I'm Ryan Nobles.
JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett.
So great to have you here, Ryan.
NOBLES: Thanks, Laura.
JARRETT: About 31 minutes past the hour here in New York.
Democrats are furious this morning with just hours to go until a debate and vote on the rules for President Trump's Senate impeachment trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his rules proposal last night. And the Democrats are calling it deeply unfair.
Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer says McConnell's resolution shows he is, quote, going along with Trump's cover up, hook, line, and sinker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCHUMER: When you look at his resolution, it's no wonder he delayed it until the last minute. He didn't want people to study it or know about it. After reading McConnell's resolution, it's clear McConnell is hell-bent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Our senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju has the latest from Capitol Hill.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Laura and Ryan.
Now, just hours before the Senate trial is officially set to begin, Mitch McConnell unveiled resolution detailing the parameters of how the trial would actually take shape. And under the rules that Mitch McConnell put out, put forward, it's going to -- expected to be a pretty fast-moving trial if senators don't agree to subpoena witnesses or documents. If they decide to reject all that, then we could see the president potentially being acquitted by next week.
Now, this is how it essentially will play out under the resolution that McConnell laid out. After the debate on Tuesday, in which the lawmakers will take up the resolution that President -- that Senator McConnell put forward, there will be lots of amendments that Democrats will offer. Those Democrat amendments undoubtedly will be rejected by Republicans, probably all of them will fail. They'll seek to require witnesses and documents coming forward. Republicans will say we'll deal with that later in the trial. Ultimately, the McConnell plan will be adopted sometime late Tuesday.
Then, Wednesday comes the opening arguments. The Democrats will have 24 hours to make their case but they can only use two days of the 24 hours. So that means it could go probably on Thursday and -- Wednesday and Thursday of this week. That's when the opening arguments for the Democrats would happen.
And then afterwards, the White House would -- the president's team would have 24 hours to make their case. So that would happen on, probably, Friday, Saturday, and maybe they might use all that time, they could yield that time back. And then at that point, the senators will question all of the member -- question the two sides for up to 16 hours.
Now, it's possible those questions could extend into Monday. And then if we get into Monday, that's when the question time could be up. And then they will have a vote about whether to bring forward any witnesses, subpoena any witnesses. If that vote fails, which is very possible, then they'll move on to question about whether to admit any new evidence in the case, the evidence being the ones that have -- what has been gathered by the house Democrats in the impeachment inquiry. This is different than the Clinton case that allowed the House
evidence to be automatically admitted to the record. Now, the Senate will have to vote about whether to admit the evidence into the record. No matter what happens there, if there's no witnesses that have been agreed to to come be subpoenaed, no documents that have been agreed to to be subpoenaed, then the president could be acquitted if the Senate moves to acquit him sometime by the middle of next week.
And this is exactly what the president wants. He wants to be cleared by the time of his State of the Union February 4th and it appears increasingly likely that will be the case. But, of course, this is a hugely consequential trial, lots of twists and turns on the way. We'll see if anything surprises along the way.
Back to you.
NOBLES: All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.
President Trump's lawyers and his allies in the Senate are working behind the scenes to keep former national security advisor John Bolton from testifying in the impeachment trial.
Impeachment witnesses said that Bolton expressed alarm at the president's shadow Ukraine policy, comparing it to a drug deal. According to "The Washington Post," they're gaming out contingency plans in case Democrats win enough Republican votes to force witness testimony. The first step would be a battle in the courts.
If that fails, they would consider moving Bolton's testimony to a classified setting, citing national security concerns. That would ensure the former national security advisor's testimony does not become public. But it could come with serious political risks for the GOP with Democrats asking exactly what they're trying to hide.
JARRETT: Eight House Republicans are being added to the president's legal team, although, their legal role is a little unclear. Doug Collins of Georgia, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Debbie Lesko of Arizona, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, John Ratcliffe of Texas, Elise Stefanik of New York and Lee Zeldin of New York. None of them are expected to speak on the Senate floor. Instead, sources say they will serve as outside advisors and TV surrogates.
A number of house members have been meeting regularly with the president's lawyers to help them prepare for the floor arguments.
NOBLES: And a majority of Americans believe the Senate should remove President Trump from office. Take a look at the latest CNN poll: 51 percent of voters say the president needs to go before the trial even gets underway; 45 percent, though, do not believe he should be removed. Now, that's an increase of 6 percentage points since December.
And when asked if there should be testimony from new witnesses at the president's trial, 69 percent said yes and 26 percent said no.
JARRETT: As the Senate impeachment trial heats up, the president is at the 50th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He is expected to deliver opening remarks about an hour from now.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at Davos with the latest for us.
Jeremy, I'm sure his aides are trying to keep him off Twitter and focused on the task at hand.
What do you expect to hear from the president today?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, the president is indeed already on the ground here in Davos. And he is expected to deliver remarks in about an hour's time. And we expect him to focus largely on the U.S. economy, a booming U.S. economy that he credits, of course, to his policies. We expect him to also talk up, as he did two years ago, the extent to which he believes his policies are making the U.S. a hospitable place for business and investment.
But even thousands of miles away from Washington, the president still very much focused on this impeachment trial that is set to get underway in the Senate in just a few hours time. The president, of course, we've seen him on Twitter focusing on that impeachment trial, criticizing Democrats for pursuing this impeachment.
And privately, he was also complaining to his friends and allies while he spent the weekend at Mar-a-Lago about this impeachment situation. But as you mentioned, Laura, the president's aides are hopeful that at least his busy schedule at Davos will keep the president's mind off of impeachment trial. If even just momentarily off the TV screens, off of his Twitter feed as well.
But there is also something else that aides are looking forward to here. And that is the notion of this split-screen moment that we are seeing. The president here meeting with foreign leaders, including the Iraqi president, the president of the Swiss federation, as well as business leaders and billionaires from around the world, at the same time as this trial is going on in the Senate with Democrats of course pushing for the president to be removed from office -- Laura, Ryan.
JARRETT: All right. Jamie -- Jeremy, thanks so much for that. Appreciate it.
NOBLES: You know, there's only two weeks until people are actually going to vote on the race for president.
JARRETT: I know. It's finally here.
NOBLES: 2020's here.
Just two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, President Trump's impeachment trial already having an impact on the 2020 race for president. We'll have more on that when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:42:59]
NOBLES: President Trump's impeachment trial will have an immediate impact on the 2020 Democratic race. Less than two weeks out from the first voting in the Iowa caucuses, four sitting senators have to leave the trail and return to the Senate to serve as impeachment jurors.
We get more from CNN's Arlette Saenz in Des Moines.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Ryan and Laura, we're 13 days away from the Iowa caucuses, and these White House contenders are facing a new challenge, running their campaigns against the backdrop of an impeachment trial. Four of the Democratic contenders are turning their attention from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill.
Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bennet, all preparing to sit as jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate. That could take them away from the campaign trail for a good chunk of time in these final weeks before voting begins. So, these senators who are campaigning for president are going to have to find creative ways to stay involved in the 2020 race. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren are planning on deploying their spouses out on the campaign trail to stamp for them while they're back in the Senate.
And for candidates who aren't sitting in that impeachment trial, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, they are going to try to take advantage of this time when they are some of the only people on the grounds here in Iowa. But they also need to find ways to stay relevant as impeachment is going to dominate.
And let's not forget, 60 percent of Iowa Democratic caucus goers either aren't committed to their first-choice candidate or are still undecided, showing just how crucial these final weeks for the Iowa caucuses will be in swing voters' minds -- Ryan and Laura.
JARRETT: All right. Thirteen days. Arlette, thank you.
Protestors in Puerto Rico calling on Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced to resign.
Puerto Ricans are frustrated with their leadership and they took those frustrations to the governor's mansion on Monday, following the discovery of a warehouse filled with unused disaster-relief supplies, including bedding, food, and medical equipment. The island has been rocked by ongoing earthquakes and is still recovering from Hurricane Maria more than two years later.
NOBLES: China is trying to contain an outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus that's killed at least four people and sickened hundreds more. Officials now confirm cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus.
CNN's David Culver is live in Beijing with the very latest.
David, how are Chinese authorities responding to this development? Very significant now that the virus is being transferred from human to human.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That was a game changer in all of this, Ryan. And that really changed the perception not only for health officials but also for everyday folks, now realizing that they need to really get into some sort of preparation mode. The question for them is, what will that look like?
And that's the frustration here that we're seeing on Chinese social media. A lot of people are trying to figure out what kind of guidelines they should be following and have not yet received those.
Now, when this doctor went on straight broadcaster CCTV and put this out to the Chinese population that this now is confirmed to transmit from person to person, that was incredibly alarming. Even more alarming is he said 14 medical professionals, healthcare workers, have been impacted by one patient.
So this is now starting to change not only the perception but also the preparation and the screening processes that we're seeing playing out across China and really across the region because this is not only a China-specific issue. In fact, we've just learned that now the number of cases has jumped to 291 within China. But you've got cases outside of China. South Korea, Japan, Thailand. We've learned that Australia is putting in screening mechanisms. We know that JFK and San Francisco and LAX airports there likewise have the screening of thermal detectors to see if folks coming in may have a fever that they can detect.
The problem is, that is not a complete safeguard against this and it doesn't detect everyone. Health experts warned that people can still get through those and then, later on, show symptoms of the virus. So, this is early screening that's going on. And they warn that there needs to be more data, could be a few more days. Could be a few more weeks going forward.
Ultimately, though, the folks here are trying to figure out what they can do to prepare themselves, Ryan. And I was looking through some of the Chinese online retailers and they were already selling out of those face masks.
People are traveling amidst what is the busiest travel -- not only for China but across this region. It's the largest human migration. It's the Lunar New Year. So you've got hundreds of millions who are going to be shoulder to shoulder at airports and railways. The combination of that and this virus making things really uneasy.
NOBLES: And, David, you have already heard anecdotal stories of people changing their travel plans to avoid travel to that region. Obviously, there is a lot at stake here.
David Culver live for us this morning from Beijing. David, thank you for that report.
JARRETT: Well, coming up, how a California man, armed with only a backpack, took matters into his own hands, saving his son from a mountain lion.
JARRETT: Well, a peaceful end to a gun rights rally in Virginia's state capital. Authorities in Richmond were bracing for white nationalist and other extremist groups to disrupt the demonstrations but that never happened.
We get more from CNN's Nick Valencia.
CROWD: We'll not comply! We will not comply!
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came by the thousands, flooding the streets of Virginia's capital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Second Amendment and God.
VALENCIA: Gun rights activists, some heavily armed, carrying semiautomatic weapons and wearing body armor, protesting legislation that would restrict access to firearms in the state.
MANNY VEGA, RICHMOND GUN-OWNER: We're here to represent every citizen here that wants to keep the right to bear arms.
VALENCIA: An event the governor and state law enforcement officials feared would get out of control, instead was peaceful.
REGGIE BOWLES, RICHMOND GUN-OWNER: Wanted to come out here and show 'em that I can come out here, act reasonable.
VALENCIA: But in the days leading up to the rally, Virginia officials worried the worst could happen. A perimeter was set up around Richmond's capitol building. Outside of it, thousands roamed with weapons in hand. Inside of it, no guns allowed after Governor Ralph Northam issued a temporary weapons ban, citing credible threats of violence from extremist and white nationalist groups.
GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): Intelligence throws a threat of armed militia groups storming our capitol.
VALENCIA: Last week, the FBI arrested three alleged members of a radical neo-Nazi group, two accused of having machine guns and planning to attend the rally.
The kind of concern the governor cited in issuing the temporary weapons ban, which the governor's critics say was political theater.
(on camera): You don't believe that there's credible threats? SEAN RESTATTER, GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: I don't think there's credible
threats. I think what I see around here are very legitimate gun owners who have legitimate gripes of the government and Ralph Northam is trying to petty flag the issue and portray it to something that it's not.
VALENCIA (voice-over): At the core of the protestors' anger is the belief the governor and the legislature, controlled by the Democrats, are attempting to restrict gun ownership.
CROWD: Northam out! Northam out!
VALENCIA: The state s, last week, passed three gun control measures. As a result, some protestors circulated petitions to recall the governor.
RESTATTER: There might be left, far right and far left groups that might be out here today. But the vast majority of the message is guns save lives and we believe in the Second Amendment.
VALENCIA: Nick Valencia. CNN, Richmond, Virginia.
NOBLES: All right. Nick, thank you.
A New Hampshire father kills a coyote with his bare hands after it attacks his 2-year-old son. Dads, you're going to have to get up your game after hearing the next two stories. Ian O'Reilly says he was hiking on a trail with his family when the coyote grabbed the toddler and dragged him to the ground. O'Reilly was bitten and scratched by the coyote as he struggled to free his son and finally prevailed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IAN O'REILLY, KILLED COYOTE: I had its snout here, pushed it into the snow.
And then just took my hand and got on its windpipe the best I could. And then I put in its ribs to try and pin it.
Never underestimate the power of survival I suppose. That coyote was very much interested in living. But, you know, so were we.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Seems so calm given what he went through. O'Reilly was treated for his wounds and is OK. His son was not injured in the attack. Police say the same coyote had earlier attacked a vehicle and went after two dogs, biting their owner.
JARRETT: And in California, a 3-year-old boy attacked by a mountain lion. The child was also saved by his dad, who threw a backpack at the big cat after it came out of nowhere and grabbed the boy by the neck. The lion dropped him, picked up the backpack, and raced up a tree. The child suffered injuries to his neck and is listed in stable condition.
California fish and game officials at the Whiting Ranch in Wilderness Park confirm the mountain lion was put down.
NOBLES: Senators are gearing up for a very quiet and very low-tech impeachment trial. Under the rules of the trial, the chamber is now a no-phone zone.
CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sharpen your pencils, senators. It's going to be a low-tech impeachment trial.
No use of cell phones and no talking, you hear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment.
MOOS: No cell phones. No yakking. Oh, the humanity. Duct tape and barbiturates for all, mocked some heartless soul.
Special cubby holes were built so senators can stow their electronic devices just like school kids.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your cell phones are supposed to be where? Yes, in your locker.
MOOS: Senators struggling with phone withdrawal must confine themselves to salivating over the stenographer's keyboard.
None of this. Senate majority leader McConnell's phone seems to ring --
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Members will have the opportunity to review investigators' records.
MOOS: -- at the most inopportune times. But during the impeachment trial, no disembodied hand will have to reach out to relieve the senator of his phone. No one will be tempted to toss their phone like a grenade.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Put back in place. They've shot down -- they've shot down the -- sorry about that. They caught it, too.
MOOS: And no watching a golf tournament as Democratic Representative Cedric Richmond did during a House impeachment vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Stanton?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
MOOS (on camera): But racy stuff has popped up in the past. For instance, the time a Florida state senator said he innocently opened an e-mail on his laptop.
(voice-over): What should appear but topless women in bikinis, State Senator Mike Bennett told "The Sunshine State News", I opened it up and said holy expletive. What's on my screen? And clicked away from it right away.
Senators, if you have to do something with your hands, scratch your nose. At an old-fashion impeachment, the ayes may have it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Sensenbrenner votes aye.
MOOS: But not the iPhone.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
NOBLES: Laura, your phone's going off right now.
JARRETT: Ryan, I cannot be fooled. I already silenced it.
NOBLES: You silenced it? Oh.
JARRETT: We don't have cubbies here but we take this very seriously.
NOBLES: My dad calls me when I'm on television at least once a month. That usually happens.
JARRETT: As all good parents would.
Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day, everyone.
For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.
NOBLES: The third presidential impeachment trial in American history begins in a matter of hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: It is a cover-up. It is a national disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Democrats are furious as Senate Republicans push to finish the trial as quickly as possible.
NOBLES: "The Washington Post" says Trump's team is maneuvering to make sure senators never hear publicly from former national security advisor John Bolton.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to EARLY START. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Ryan nobles.
JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. So much, thanks so much for filling in here, Ryan.
It's Tuesday, January 21st, 5:00 a.m. in the East. Thirteen days to the Iowa caucuses.
Well, Democrats are furious this morning with just hours to go until a debate and vote on the rules for President Trump's Senate impeachment trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his rules proposal last night and Democrats are calling it deeply unfair.
Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer says McConnell's resolution shows he is, quote, going along with Trump's cover-up hook, line and sinker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: When you look at his resolution, it's no wonder he delayed it until the last minute. He didn't want people to study it or know about it. After reading McConnell's resolution, it's clear McConnell is hell-bent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)