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EARLY START

Democrats Use Trump's Own Words in Impeachment Trial; Chinese City on Lockdown to Stop Coronavirus; Zion Williamson Dazzles in NBA Debut. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 23, 2020 - 05:00   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 lock down, trying to stop the spread of a deadly virus. CNN is live in Beijing.

[05:00:00]

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 Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. 5:00 a.m. here in the East, 11 days until the Iowa caucuses.

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. 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 in the 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 1-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 VDEO 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 you remember have been blocking new witnesses and documents 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)

ROMANS: 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)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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's no question he is playing 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.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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.

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.

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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks for that, Jeff.

The city of Wuhan in China now on lock down. The country is struggling with the fear of a pandemic. More than 11 million people who live in that city now kept from leaving. Authorities are trying to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The death toll rising and officials say snakes of all things could be the source.

CNN's David Culver is live in Beijing. He was just there in Wuhan before the alert to get out of town.

And, you know, there are hundreds of millions of people who will be on the move for the lunar New Year.

[05:05:02]

So the timing of these concerns about a pandemic is very troubling, David.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a time of year, Christine, when really families are coming together. So, it's a holiday for many is the one time of year they can actually be with their loved ones. And what we're seeing and witnessed first hand in Wuhan is that this is actually a time now because of this virus that they're having to be apart.

In fact, we saw one couple leaving the train station along side with us. We thought they were going to get on the train as we were leaving Wuhan to come here to Beijing. Instead, they simply sent their young son along with his grandfather and they waved good-bye. We asked why they weren't going with him, they simply said they didn't want to risk bringing anymore exposure to their loved ones here in Beijing so they just sent their son and his grandfather.

But that's the reality for several people, seeing that separation and trying to make those tough decisions. But here's where the situation is right now. Wuhan is a city that is massive, 11 million people. It is essentially shutdown, it is locked down.

They are not letting anyone out via airport, via train station. The highways have also been shutdown in many other parts. And so, there are strict controls there. Now, outside of that, we know that they have linked it to snakes. That's a very interesting development as you mentioned.

It's interesting because we were there at the epicenter, and it's a seafood market. So for snakes to now be considered a source is a bit bizarre, but that's according to Chinese scientists who have been following the genetic code of this virus. They've been sharing their information with the World Health Organization.

And we know that WHO is going to be discussing today whether or not to categorize this as a global emergency. And the U.S., the CDC is handling some of the testing and they actually, Christine, are the only ones with the labs to do that. We know that they're stepping up the number of suspected cases that they're testing right now as well.

ROMANS: Yes. We know there's at least one case that's been identified in the United States of somebody who came from Wuhan.

All right. David Culver in Beijing, thank you so much, David.

JARRETT: So what on earth could link the Amazon founder, a crown prince, President Trump and a tabloid? Crazy story that started with a hack.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:11:25]

ROMANS: The U.N. calling for an investigation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A forensic probe linked his WhatsApp account with the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' cellphone. Investigators believe the spyware was sent to try to influence a "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 memorial service for the slain journalist. There are so many entanglements here, involving Bezos, the Saudis, President Trump and "The National Enquirer".

Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from London.

It's really -- it's just a remarkable tale. NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Extraordinary.

Most of this occurring before the chilling murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, allegedly at the hands of Saudi agents. Now, it's important to remember Saudi Arabia says these accusations are absurd, and there is some part of you which will probably ask yourself why would one of the richest most affluent men in the world, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, actually as it's alleged be involved in pressing send on a file which enables electronic fingerprints straight back to him in hacking of this kind of public embarrassment?

But the U.N. report which admits it didn't physically get its hands on Jeff Bezos' phones but instead used four independent experts to vet and verify testing Bezos had done himself by a reputable agency, that in fact alleges back in early 2018 or so Mohammed bin Salman or a phone he was thought to be using sent a video file to Jeff Bezos' personal phone, exchanged numbers in Los Angeles, and that video file caused the phone to send an enormous amount of data in the weeks ahead to an unknown destination.

That video file in itself when analysts looked at it didn't have anything malicious on the surface. When it was put in other phones by the analyst that Jeff Bezos hired, it had a similar result. Very strange.

How did they come across this in the first place? Suspicions were aroused not by this video file but in itself messages sent from this phone apparently used by the Saudi crown prince. One in November 2018 sent a picture that looked a bit like Bezos' alleged mistress at the time with the words arguing whether a woman was like a software license agreement, just ignore it and click I agree.

A bizarre meme but people send those kinds of things all the time. But in the next year earlier than that, messages were sent from the same MBS phone to Bezos saying he shouldn't pay attention to warnings he got from activist about his cyber security being violated. That raised huge red flags that these things really that frankly suggested someone had intimate knowledge of Bezos' personal messaging and that led to this inquiry which led to three months of intense research by forensic experts.

The conclusion, there was likely this video file that triggered it. But you have to ask yourself this spat between two of the world's richest men -- very personal, very much around the death of Jamal Khashoggi, would one of them be stupid enough to allow a phone he was associated with to send a video file like this? That's essentially the judgment you have to make sheer. The Saudis say no way. Jeff Bezos very clear, he believes yes.

ROMANS: Quite a tale, indeed.

All right. Nick Paton Walsh in London -- thanks, Nick.

JARRETT: Breaking overnight, three Americans are dead after a fire fighting plane crashed while they were helping battle wildfires in Australia. Officials say the air tanker crashed into a mountain side. [08:15:03]

The victims worked for a company contracted by the rural fire service in New South Wales to fight the 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: All right. The most anticipated rookie debut since LeBron James. Zion Williamson was worth waiting for.

Andy Scholes with the "Bleacher Report", next.

(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.

[05:20:04]

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.

ROMANS: All right, Zion Williamson giving NBA fans a glimpse of what is to come. He was fantastic in his debut.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine.

What a night. This was the most anticipated debut for an NBA player since LeBron James, and the anticipation was just building because Zion's been out of action since having knee surgery right before the start of this season. A sellout crowd was on hand in New Orleans for this one.

And, you know, it looked like it was going to be a ho-hum debut through three quarters. Zion had his five points but in fourth quarter, he exploded. Zion scoring 17 straight points. You know, he was on a minute restriction, so it's his first game coming off injury.

But Zion just going crazy out there on the floor. He got the Pelicans the lead but he would leave the game with five minutes left because he was on that minute restriction.

Coach Alvin Gentry, though, he actually had to keep calling players back from the scores table because the crowd was going nuts watching Zion score all those points. But in the end, he did end up pulling Zion before the end of the game.

Spurs would actually go on to win this one, but Zion, an incredible 22 points in just 18 minutes in his first NBA game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZION WILLIAMSON, NEW ORLEANS PELICAN FORWARD: It was everything I dreamed of except for the losing part. Just the energy the crowd brought, the energy the city brought. It was electric. And I was grateful that they did that.

So, it was a dream come true to finally get out there but at the end of the day, I did want to win, so I just got to wait for the next game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Zion is the first player in NBA history to go four for four better on threes in his debut. And get this -- the most threes Zion ever hit at duke was three, he got four in his first NBA games.

Zion's 18 points -- 22 points in 18 minutes, the most points in under 20 minutes in a player's debut in the shot clock era.

All right. Kansas head coach Bill Self in the Big 12 Conference handing out punishments in Tuesday night's brawl between Kansas and Kansas State. Coach Self says Silvio De Sousa would be suspended indefinitely for his role which included picking up a stool to use as a weapon. The Big 12 then later in the day announcing they were suspending De Sousa 12 games. Kansas State's James Love, he got eight games suspension for his role coming up the bench during the scuffle.

All right. Women basketball star Maya Moore says she's going to skip a second straight WNBA season and the upcoming Olympics in order to concentrate on criminal justice reform. That's according to "The New York Times."

Moore, a former WNBA MVP, four-time champion. The 30-year-old has been working on the release of Jonathan Irons, a man she believes is innocent of a crime he's been sent to prison for. Moore telling "The Times", quote, I'm in a really good place right now with my life and don't want to change anything.

All right. Finally, after 16 seasons with the New York Giants, quarterback Eli Manning calling it a career. He's going to officially announce his retirement tomorrow. The 39-year-old led the Giants two super bowl titles and was the MVP in both of those games.

Giants owner John Mara says Manning, quote, represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. He says he'll take his place in the ring of honor in the near feature.

And, Christine, next season, it's going to be the first NFL season without a Manning since 1997.

ROMANS: Wow.

SCHOLES: Quite the run both him and his brother had. ROMANS: Yes, end of an era.

All right. Andy Scholes, thanks so much for that.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Laura?

JARRETT: All right, Christine.

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 confirmed 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. I'm sure we'll see more of this saga on Super Bowl Sunday.

ROMANS: And it's so interesting how companies have been teasing their super bowl ads and getting viral responses online through social media. They've really learned how to magnify their millions, not just the 30 seconds, but beyond.

JARRETT: Well, they know people like me look for the commercials.

ROMANS: Right, exactly.

Twenty-four minutes past the hour.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [05:29:37]

JARRETT: Some donut drama for Justin Trudeau. The only in Canada controversy started with the prime minister tweeted a photo of himself carrying boxes from the Oh Doughnut Shop in Winnipeg to help fuel a wintertime cabinet meeting.

Well, some on social media praised Trudeau for supporting a local business. Others criticized him for buying about $200 worth of elitist donuts, instead of hitting the local Tim Horton's at about a third of the price.

ROMANS: Oh Doughnuts responded with a tweet threat of its own, noting that it is locally owned, it uses local.

END