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Democrats Lay Out Timeline of Ukraine Scandal in Opening Address; 11 Million People on Lockdown in China's Wuhan City Due to Coronavirus; U.N. Calls for Investigation of Saudi Crown Prince. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired January 23, 2020 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: With lots of testimony but no witnesses, Democrats start making the case to remove President Trump from office.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: An entire Chinese city is on lockdown, trying to stop the spread of a deadly virus. CNN is live in Beijing.
ROMANS: And is this how you end a 104-year relationship? Mr. Peanut meets his demise. We'll explain why.
Welcome back to EARLY START this morning. I'm Christine Romans.
JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. 31 minutes past the hour here in New York.
And we start with this. The Democrats' opening argument in the third presidential impeachment trial ever in history leaning heavily on a witness not in the room, President Trump himself. Congressman Adam Schiff led seven impeachment managers walking through a detailed timeline of events. 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)
JARRETT: Key facts were drawn from last year's public hearings. Schiff admitted those may not have been watched by many Americans including the senators themselves. 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)
ROMANS: 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 in November.
Republicans, who remember have been blocking new witnesses and documents, say they are 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 are 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)
JARRETT: 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 is paying close attention to the trial. He fired off 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. This trial could last at least one more week or longer if those witnesses come forward -- Christine and Laura.
JARRETT: All right, Jeff Zeleny, on Capitol Hill for us, thanks so much.
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 the 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 for us in Beijing.
David, snakes? How did they figure that out?
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And it's interesting to hear that, Laura, especially considering we just 24 hours ago were at the market that is considered to be the epicenter of this virus. It's in Wuhan and it's in a pretty centrally located place. It's a seafood market. And so for snakes to be determined as the source, well, scientists here in China they say they've determined that through the genetic code of the virus.
Now they're sharing a lot of their information with the World Health Organization. And we know that today the World Health Organization may decide to constitute this virus as a global emergency. And going forward, of course, the concern is spreading here. And one thing we notice even leaving Wuhan is that there's still a lot of uncertainty especially given that they have now created this essential lockdown zone.
I mean, for us the adrenaline, I can tell you, is just now starting to subside. We got the call in the middle of the night. We're told that this lockdown was coming and took place and to essentially find a way out. We worked with our team to figure out what would be the best way. We decided to take a train out. So too did hundreds of others.
We saw around 4:00 in the morning the lines to get tickets were out the door stretching with families and young ones. They were packed as much they could bring with them to try to get a ticket and to try to get on the train and get out of Wuhan. And as we went in through the rail station they were still doing that thermal detectors, trying to determine whether or not folks had fevers even as they were leaving and getting on the train.
Every single person that we saw with the exception of maybe two or three had a face mask on and that's because it is now mandatory there. So these are the efforts, Laura, that we're seeing being put in place to try to contain it. The reality is, though, experts say this may be way too late to be doing this kind of lockdowns.
JARRETT: Yes. Too little too late. David, thanks so much. Stay safe out there.
ROMANS: And it raises those memories of SARS back in 2003.
ROMANS: When public trust was really lacking because health officials had tried to cover up the extent of that. Public trust much better in health institutions now but a reminder that, you know.
JARRETT: Transparency is important.
ROMANS: Transparency is very important especially in China.
The U.N. calling for an investigation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A forensic probe linked to 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, the "National Enquirer." Quite a story.
Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from London. Good morning, Nick.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Absolutely an extraordinarily complex mess frankly here, one that at times beg us belief. Now I should point out the Saudi Arabian government have called all these accusations absurd and we are essentially talking about two extremely rich powerful men here having a very public dispute.
But let's say exactly what the U.N. alleged here, and they are not relying on their own personal handling of the physical phone of Jeff Bezos, just their own verification. With four separate groups of experts they say according to a source close to the investigation of work done by forensic experts, cyber experts, hired by Jeff Bezos, here's what they allege.
Way back in May 2018 before the death of Jamal Khashoggi when he was still reporting very negatively about the Saudi Arabian government, a video file was sent from a phone that apparently was used by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, to the personal phone of Jeff Bezos. They exchanged numbers apparently at a dinner party in Los Angeles.
That video while on the surface not containing any script or anything strange about it had a weird impact on that phone.
And essentially over the days and weeks ahead caused it to send gigabytes of information from Bezos' phone to an unknown destination. The source of the investigation doesn't exactly know where it all ended up. Nothing was aroused in terms of suspicion at that time. But personal information of Bezos began to be used against him by the "National Enquirer." And they began trying to work out where it could possibly have emanated from.
No direct connection here but their suspicions were aroused by text messages from his phone reportedly used by Mohammed bin Salman. One in November 2018 which strangely sent a picture of a woman who looked a bit like the alleged mistress of Jeff Bezos along with the phrase, "Arguing with a woman is like a software license agreement, ignore it and just click, I agree."
Strange, bizarre, frankly, people exchange memes the whole time, maybe not on that level. And then later in February a warning from MBS, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to Bezos, to pay less attention to warnings from activists about his cyber security. Things frankly that aroused suspicion that they began to look back at the previous chain between these two phones and found that the video file if you put it in other phones caused a similar reaction.
It caused large amounts of data to be sent from that phone to an unknown direction. That's led them to where they are at the moment. You have to ask yourself, though, you know, quite extraordinary that a man of the affluence, wealth and resources, Mohammed bin Salman, would be convinced by somebody to press go on a file like that leaving a digital fingerprint frankly that you could almost see from space there. That did eventually lead back to him. Many questions being asked now --
ROMANS: Right. WALSH: -- about who else possibly could have got those messages, where
these may all have gone. But really at the end of the day the Saudi Arabian government here saying the investigators at the U.N. didn't get the phone physically and we think this is all, quote, "absurd."
ROMANS: All right, Nick Paton Walsh, sorting it all out for us from London this morning. Thanks, Nick.
JARRETT: 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 Rural Fire Service in New South Wales to fight those fires. No word yet on what caused the crash. The tragedy unfolding as the U.S. sends more personnel to Australia to help fight the catastrophic fires.
ROMANS: Just days after it stopped production of the 737 MAX, Boeing now says it will start building them again before the feds clear the troubled jet to fly. The assembly line in Renton, Washington, temporarily stopped building Boeing's best-selling plane on Monday. Boeing says it does not expect regulatory approval for the plane to fly until the summer.
It hoped to get the plane back in the air by the end of last year but regulators said that would not happen until sometime this year. Boeing doesn't want this assembly line to be idle for too long. A long shutdown could make it more difficult to restart production. Some of Boeing's suppliers are now facing their own financial problems due to the shutdown.
And those of us who cover the economy, we've been trying to kind of back the envelope and figure out how much this is going to hit American GDP. Maybe up to half a percentage point because Boeing is a huge, huge economic driver in this country.
JARRETT: Yes. Something to keep your eye on for sure.
JARRETT: Well, mobile voting now being used in a major American city. Where and why, next.
JARRETT: Hallmark Channel's CEO bill Abbot is stepping down after backlash over the decision to pull a same-sex wedding ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think Zola could have made planning your perfect wedding easier?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: The commercial for the wedding planning Web site Zola featured two brides kissing. Hallmark bowing to pressure from a conservative group pulled the ad then reversed after the decision -- after widespread criticism from celebrities and LGBT activists.
ROMANS: All right. The most extensive use of mobile voting so far in a U.S. elections, smartphone voting called OmniBallot is being used to elect a board member for a conservation district in Washington State. The country voting includes greater -- county voting includes the greater Seattle. From now through February 11th, 1.2 million voters can enter their name and birthday to log into a secure Web portal directing them to the ballot. Mobile voting has been used before for people with disabilities or for military personnel serving abroad.
JARRETT: A bizarre scene in the aftermath of a deadly storm that pounded Spain. Take a look at Tulsa Delmar. The Spanish beach town is buried in sea foam. Look at that. In some spots it's waist-high. The storm whipped up the ocean churning up all that foam before high winds brought it ashore. It's not considered harmful, just extremely messy.
ROMANS: All right. Some doughnut drama for Justin Trudeau. The only- in-Canada controversy started with the prime minister tweeting a photo of himself carrying boxes from the Oh Doughnuts shop in Winnipeg to help fuel a wintertime cabinet meeting. Some on social media praised Trudeau for supporting a local business. Others criticized him for buying about $200 worth of elitist doughnuts instead of hitting the local Tim Horton's at about a third of the price.
JARRETT: Oh Doughnuts responded with a tweet threat of its own, noting it's locally owned, it uses local ingredients, and pays its staff a 30 plus living wage. The Canadian political newspaper "The Hill Times" tweeted out this editorial cartoon, we'll let you decide whether corrupt elections or buying pricey doughnuts is worth. I guess no good deed goes unpunished.
ROMANS: No good doughnut goes unpunished.
Want to bring a service bird on a flight or a cat or a pony or anything that isn't a dog?
Bad news. That's next.
JARRETT: Well, if you have travel plans you're going to want to listen to this one. Exotic emotional support animals could be banned on flights under a new federal proposal. The airline industry has been pushing for a crackdown to stop passengers from bringing untrained pet and passing them off as support animals. The results has been more biting incidents on planes. Only dogs would still be classified as service animals. Current rules allow a variety of creatures to be service animals including miniature horses.
Airlines could still reclassify other animals as pets which airlines could ban or charge extra for.
ROMANS: And the thing about the dogs, as in service dogs, have to be individually trained service dog. They can't just be you say I need my dog on this plane, you have to actually show that the dog has been individually trained to be a service animal. Not an emotional support animal. An I've been looking at the --
JARRETT: You clearly have some personal experience with this.
ROMANS: I saw a mastiff on a little Embraer Jet last week. A mastiff with a saddlebag and a saddle and all this stuff. And I don't even know how that dog could get onboard the plane. But at any rate no more peacocks, no more miniature horses for now, and it must be an actually trained dog.
All right, 55 minutes past the hour this morning for all you, business travelers. A shortage of surgical gowns is delaying lifesaving surgeries nationwide. Cardinal Health, one of the largest manufacturers, is telling customers to stop using its level 3 surgical gowns because some of them were produced in unapproved locations that did not maintain proper environmental conditions and were not registered with the FDA. The recall is voluntary. More than nine million gowns are affected. One Boston area man with stage 3 pancreatic cancer was told his surgery would have to wait two weeks -- two weeks -- until gowns could be obtained.
JARRETT: Well, imagine finding a box with $27,000 inside. That's just what happened to George Condash. Surveillance video shows he found the money outside an ATM at a Michigan Credit Union and he drove away. But George didn't break bad, he turned Good Samaritan and took the cash back to the bank. He says he hopes any honest person would do the same. The bank did reward him, however, with an undisclosed amount of money.
ROMANS: After 16 seasons with the New York Giants, quarterback Eli Manning is calling it a career. He will officially announce his retirement tomorrow. The 39-year-old led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles and with MVP in both games. But Manning was benched this season in favor of rookie Daniel Jones. The Giants owner says Manning, quote, "represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability." He says Manning will take his place on the team's ring of honor in the near future.
JARRETT: Well, it was a good run. 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: Planters confirms Mr. Peanut died with his top hat on after his nut mobile veered off a cliff. He sacrificed himself to save his buddies, actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. Planters didn't turn Mr. Peanut into a pile of peanut butter for nothing, though. We're told his demise has something to do with a commercial that will run during the Super Bowl.
ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning, taking a look at markets around the world, really trying to grapple with what's going on with this coronavirus. Chinese stocks had their worst day in more than eight weeks as concerns of the coronavirus is spreading across the country, eight months rather. Goldman Sachs warns the outbreak could dent oil prices adding jet fuel prices will likely decrease the most because it's a likely decline in regional air travel.
On Wall Street futures right now are down just a little bit. I would call that barely moving. Stocks same way yesterday, basically flat. Boeing concerns weighed on the market there. The Dow fell nine points. The Nasdaq and the S&P finished up just a bit.
Elon Musk may want to break out some more dance moves. Tesla stocks rose 4 percent Wednesday making it with more than $100 billion. That makes Tesla the second most valuable car company in the world. The latest catalyst, one analyst boosted its price target on the stock. Tesla still has a long way to go to catch up to Toyota. The Japanese car giant is worth more than $200 billion.
FedEx's new Sunday ground service will officially start this weekend going head-to-head with Amazon. The service had been an option during the holiday season, now it will be available year round. Ecommerce has been flooding the U.S. with packages and FedEx hopes the move will boost its position among competitors like Amazon. It could be a gamble. Amazon has its own delivery brand. It will also have competition from UPS which started its Sunday service January 1st.
JARRETT: That's helpful. Well, 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.
ROMANS: With lots of testimony but no witnesses, Democrats start making the case to remove President Trump from office.
JARRETT: An entire Chinese city is on lockdown, trying to stop the spread of a deadly virus. CNN is live in Beijing. ROMANS: And is this how you end a 104-year relationship? Mr. Peanut
meets his demise. We'll explain why and why it's trending.
Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm --