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EARLY START

Democrats Begin Laying Out Case to Remove President Trump; China Locks Down Entire City Due to Coronavirus; U.N. Calls for Investigation of Saudi Crown Prince; 75 Years Since Liberation of Auschwitz. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 23, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:24]

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: With lots of testimony but no witnesses, Democrats start making the case to remove President Trump from office.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: An entire Chinese city is on lockdown to try to stop the spread of a deadly virus. CNN live in Beijing.

JARRETT: And is this how you end a 104-year relationship? Mr. Peanut meets his demise. We'll explain what happened.

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

ROMANS: Some clever marketing there pre-Super Bowl. And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, January 23rd. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York. 11 days now to the Iowa caucuses.

Democrats' opening argument in the third presidential impeachment trial ever, leaning heavily on a witness not in the room, President Trump himself. Congressman Adam Schiff led seven impeachment managers walking through a detailed timeline. They laid out the actions of President Trump and other officials dealing with Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China should start an investigation into the Bidens.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: If someone else offers you information on an opponent, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

TRUMP: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The president's own words. Key facts were drawn from last year's public hearings. Schiff admitted those may not have been watched by many Americans including the senators in that room. One interesting wrinkle late last night, new secret testimony made available only to senators. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: A single one-page classified document identified by the House managers for filing with the secretary of the Senate that will be received on January 22nd, 2020, shall not be made part of the public record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: A Democratic official says the document is supplemental testimony from Jennifer Williams. She's a National Security aide to Vice President Mike Pence who testified back in November. Republicans, who you'll remember have been blocking new witnesses and documents, well, say are already growing tired -- they say they're already growing tired of Democrats repeating the same arguments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): I didn't hear anything new at all.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): What we've seen is just a rehashing of yesterday's charade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: But Democrats argue if Republicans want new information they should agree to the subpoenas that House managers have been pushing for, and they pointed to this remark yesterday from President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're doing very well. I got to watch enough. I thought our team did a very good job, but honestly we have all the material. They don't have the material.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: To be clear that is President Trump bragging about withholding documents while on trial for obstructing Congress and abusing his power.

There is no question he's paying close attention to the trial. He posted 142 tweets yesterday, more than any day of his tweet-filled presidency.

Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is on Capitol Hill.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, as Democrats begin presenting the second day of evidence here, they are going to focus on the law and the Constitution. But on Wednesday, there was no question it was all about the chronology of the events leading to this moment.

It was a dramatic afternoon and evening of testimony. Chairman Adam Schiff was leading most of the arguments, chronologically explaining, often in the president's own words or in the words of many of his advisers, exactly what transpired all over the funding of the military aid to Ukraine and how the president was tying that to an investigation of the Bidens.

Some of the facts were known, of course, but senators we talked to in both parties said they, in fact, learned a lot by, A, watching the president's own words and seeing some of that testimony being replayed that was first discovered in those House hearings last year. But it was the final minutes of the Senate trial on Wednesday that it was absolutely silent in the Senate chamber as Chairman Schiff urged senators to find their courage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Why is it that Colonel Vindman who worked for Fiona Hill, who worked for John Bolton and Dr. Kupperman -- why is it that they were willing to stick their neck out and answer lawful subpoenas when their bosses wouldn't?

They risked everything, their careers. And yes, I know what you're asked to decide may risk yours, too. But if they could show the courage, so can we.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: Of course, it's still an open question if there'll be four Republicans joining Democrats to call for more witnesses and documents. Now, President Trump's side begins making their arguments on Saturday. So, today, a full discussion about the law and about the Constitution.

[04:05:07]

This trial could last at least one more week or longer if those witnesses come forward -- Christine and Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

The impeachment saga now following Joe Biden to Iowa. Top Senate Democrats are trying to tamp down the idea they would call Biden's son Hunter to testify in exchange for appearances by top Trump administration officials. Biden was asked if he would consider testifying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reason why I would not make the deal, the bottom line is, I -- this is a constitutional issue and we're not going to turn it into a farce, into some kind of political theater. They are trying to turn it into political theater but I won't no part of being any part of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Biden says if President Trump is not convicted by the Senate he will emerge stronger and harder to beat. ROMANS: All right, the city of Wuhan in China now on lockdown as the

country struggles with fear of a pandemic. More than 11 million people who live in that city now kept from leaving as authorities try to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The death toll keeps rising and officials say snakes of all things could be the source.

CNN's David Culver is live in Beijing.

David, what can you tell us?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as to that snakes aspects that's an interesting new development we're hearing. It appears that Chinese scientists have made that connection through protein and genetic code, Christine.

Now they haven't shared their information with the World Health Organization, and we know they're going to be discussing today whether or not this constitutes a global issue that they want to then move forward with investigating further.

Now as far as the state side and what they're doing in the U.S., we know the CDC's leading up investigating possible cases there. They've really got the only lab that can do this, so they're conducting that. Meantime here in China we're back in Beijing and it came after what was a rather tumultuous ride in.

I mean, this was something that caught us by surprise, this 3:00 a.m. wakeup really that we got word they were going to be locking down the city of Wuhan. No transportation out of the city after 10:00 in the morning. So we had a few hours, Christine, to get to the train station. And we weren't the only ones doing this.

We saw hundreds of locals lining up. The lines were stretching out the door. They were trying to get onboard the last few trains that would be leaving and then ultimately getting their way out of the city. So it was for many people uneasy. They were of course following through with wearing face masks. That's now been made mandatory in the city of Wuhan.

But you've got to understand that a lot of folks have also sent along loved ones without them. I mean, we saw one couple literally put their child on the train with his grandparent and waved good-bye and it was supposed to be the holiday but they're all together, the Lunar New Year. So it's rather heartbreaking to see stories like that -- Christine.

ROMANS: For authorities it must be incredibly important here because you're going to have millions of people on the move for the Lunar New Year, right?

CULVER: Hundreds of millions, and that's what's been so frustrating about this whole thing. So now they're talking about shutting down several other jurisdictions in discussion. But, you know, having done this in Wuhan the question is, is it too late? You know, is this something that should have been done days ago? According to some experts it may just be too late. ROMANS: All right. Thanks so much for that, David Culver, for us in

Beijing this morning. Thanks.

JARRETT: The U.N. calling for an investigation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A forensic probe that linked his WhatsApp account with the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' cellphone. Investigators believe the spyware was sent to try to influence the "Washington Post" reporting on Saudi Arabia after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. On Wednesday, Bezos who owns the "Post," tweeted a photo of himself attending a memorial service for the slain journalist.

A lot of entanglements here involving Bezos, the Saudis, President Trump and the "National Enquirer." Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from London.

And, Nick, what can you tell us about this?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I mean, this is a story about two of the world's richest men sort of in locking horns in accusation here. But the details the U.N. share in some ways it's extraordinary. Essentially suggesting that way before the death of Jamal Khashoggi back in 2018 a video was sent from a phone which was used it seems by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, that's what they allege, to Jeff Bezos' WhatsApp account. They met at a dinner in L.A. and exchanged phone numbers.

That video, according to the United Nations report which hasn't seen the phone itself but relies upon research commissioned by Jeff Bezos from a reputable consulting firm which the U.N., according to a source I spoke to, close to investigation, had four separate independent experts verify and say they were happy with.

Essentially that video contained something which caused Jeff Bezos' phone over the weeks ahead to send gigabytes of data to an unknown destination and then subsequently of course we know some of the issues he had over private messages being exposed.

[04:10:13]

Now, nobody really it seems, according to a source I spoke to, knew where this could have begun until their suspicions were aroused by two messages from the same phone that was thought to have been used by Mohammed bin Salman. One back in late 2018 which sent a picture of somebody who looked a little bit like the alleged mistress of Jeff Bezos along with a phrase, "Arguing with a woman is like a software license agreement, simply ignore and click I agree."

That was somewhat strange. And then later it appeared a few months that the same phone purported to be used by the crown prince may have warned Jeff Bezos not to pay attention to phone security warnings that frankly MBS should never have known he had in the first place.

All of that made people start looking at that message exchange and then essentially worked out this video file when you put it in different phone caused those same phones to do the similar thing. Now remember Saudi Arabia said very clearly these accusations are

absurd. They've highlighted the fact that in fact the U.N. investigation didn't get the phone physically. These two men publicly disputing of course since the horrifying murder of Jamal Khashoggi who worked for "The Washington Post" which Jeff Bezos owns, but at the end of the day, startling here, frankly.

And the one question I think many frankly cannot answer, one of the most powerful affluent men in the world, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, how could he have been convinced if this is the case to have been so foolish as to personally send this kind of file from his own account? Extraordinary and as yet all unproved in the entire detail.

Back to you.

JARRETT: Yes. It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds. Nick, thanks so much for all that reporting.

ROMANS: All right, 11 minutes past the hour. Breaking overnight three Americans are dead after a firefighting plane crashed while they helped battle wildfires in Australia. Officials say the air tanker crashed into a mountain side. The victims worked for a company contracted by the World Fire Service in New South Wales to fight those fires. No word yet what caused the crash. The tragedy unfolding as the U.S. sends more personnel to Australia to help fight the catastrophic fires.

JARRETT: President Trump set to attend Friday's March for Life in Washington. It'll be the first time any president has attended the annual anti-abortion event in person. Mr. Trump was the first president ever to speak to the march last year via video feed. He shared footage of that event in a tweet that said, "See you on Friday, big crowd." Abortion rights activists attacked the announcement calling it an act of desperation.

ROMANS: In the midst of an impeachment trial, President Trump and the White House working hard to sell the strong economy with trademark Trump exaggeration in some cases. In a CNBC interview the president declared he created 700,000 manufacturing jobs. Fact check, 487,000 manufacturing jobs have been added since January 2017. Forget the fact that presidents don't exactly do the hiring but they do create the atmosphere.

Then he said this about the Federal Reserve and GDP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Had we not done the big raise on interest I think we would have been close to 4, and I could see 5,000 to 10,000 points more on the Dow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: He also blamed storms. This is just impossible to know. 5,000 percent to 10,000 percent more on the Dow? 4 percent is twice what economists are expecting right now. The Central Bank of course is a favorite there. He's complaining about the Fed, but record highs on Wall Street may be because of the Fed not despite it.

Here's what I mean. There's a serious discussion in markets right now that record highs are coinciding with the resumption of qualitative easing, including efforts by the New York Fed to smooth out the money markets.

A strong economy is central to Trump's re-election of course with impeachment in the background. Expect Trump to continue to boast about record-high stocks and low unemployment.

The president also in that trip to Davos in those interviews also said he wants to cut taxes again this year, and he said he will tackle entitlement reform in his second term.

JARRETT: Yes. He said that was easy to do, right?

ROMANS: Yes. That's not easy.

JARRETT: We'll see about that.

Well, world leaders gathering in Jerusalem marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. CNN is live at Israel's Holocaust Museum next.

[04:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JARRETT: An extraordinary meeting of world leaders in Jerusalem. The gathering to mark the 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where more than a million people were killed during World War II, most of them Jews. It comes at a time of growing anti- Semitism both in the U.S. and in Europe.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live at the Holocaust Museum for us.

And, Oren, what do we expect to see today?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, this is arguably the greatest gathering of world leaders, members of royal families and heads of state that we've ever seen in the country of Israel. It is certainly a historic moment in that sense, and the timing of the occasion, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

Some of the biggest names who arrived this morning, Russian president Vladimir Putin who recently met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a short time ago. Vice President Mike Pence also arrived this morning as well as Prince Charles. They are scheduled to speak as well as many others.

And it's not just the occasion, 75th anniversary, that makes this important. It's the fact that we're seeing rising anti-Semitism in Europe, the U.S. elsewhere, for example Dresden, Germany declared an emergency over the reemergence of Nazi ideology. Because we've seen the attacks against Jewish targets in the United States from Pittsburgh, to San Diego, to Monsey to Jersey City, and that is what gives this an added importance, an added significance as the world tries to address this rising problem.

And in fact the Israeli president Reuven Rivlin who hosted many of these world leaders last night said this is an opportunity for world leaders to stand united and to stand against anti-Semitism, extremism and racism. At the end of day there will be some domestic politics at play on both sides. Pence and Netanyahu will visit the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, the holy site in which Jews can pray together, that will make Pence the highest U.S. official to ever visit the Western Wall with an Israeli leader -- Laura.

[04:20:11]

JARRETT: Oren, thank you so much for being there.

ROMANS: All right, 20 minutes past the hour right now, this Thursday morning. Zion Williamson makes his long-awaited debut. He did not disappoint.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JARRETT: A deadly shooting on the streets of downtown Seattle. One person is dead, at least five others injured including a 9-year-old boy who is listed in serious condition. Seattle Police say the suspect who is still on the loose appears to have acted alone. The shooting comes one day after a 55-year-old man died in a shooting near the same intersection.

[04:25:09]

ROMANS: The long wait for Zion is over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zion for three. Hit it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Zion Williamson, the number one pick of the New Orleans Pelicans, battling back from injury to make his NBA debut last night, and he did not disappoint. Scoring 17 straight points in the fourth quarter including four three-pointers. Williamson finished with 22 points but his Pelicans lost to San Antonio 121-117.

JARRETT: Well, after 104 years Mr. Peanut is toast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're too heavy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matt, let go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you let go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Mr. Peanut. No, you don't. Don't do it, Mr. Peanut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe he'll be all right. Maybe not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Talk about a roasted nut. Planters confirms Mr. Peanut died with his top hat on after his nut mobile veered off a cliff. He sacrificed himself to save actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. We're told his demise has something to do with the commercial that will run during the Super Bowl. Well, he had a good run.

ROMANS: Only if the commercials were somehow big during Super Bowl.

JARRETT: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

JARRETT: It is a big deal.

ROMANS: All right. Democrats start making the case to remove President Trump from office. Can they sway anyone with plenty of old testimony but no new witnesses?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:30:00]