Return to Transcripts main page


Democrats Begin Laying Out Their Case In President Trump's Impeachment Trial; Chinese City Of Wuhan On Lockdown Over Coronavirus; 75th Anniversary Of Liberation Of Auschwitz. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 23, 2020 - 05:30   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Hitting the local Tim Horton's at about a third of the price.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Oh Doughnuts responded with a tweet thread of its own noting that it is locally owned, it uses local ingredients, and it pays its staff of 30-plus a living wage.

Now, the Canadian political newspaper "The Hill Times" tweeted out this editorial cartoon. Take a close look. We'll let you decide whether on the left, corrupting elections or on the right, buying pricing donuts is a worse leadership offense.

EARLY START continues right now.

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

ROMANS: 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 why and why everybody is so upset about this.

Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour this Thursday morning.

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.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China should start an investigation into the Bidens. GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC ANCHOR, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": 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. I don't -- there's nothing wrong with listening.


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 that room.

One interesting wrinkle late last night, new secret testimony made available only to senators.


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.


JARRETT: The document at issue here is supplemental testimony from Jennifer Williams. She's a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who testified back in November.

Republicans -- who, remember, have been blocking new witnesses and documents -- say they're already growing tired of Democrats repeating the same old arguments.


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

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


JARRETT: But the 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.


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.


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

JARRETT: There's no question he's playing very 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 for us.


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 that Col. Vindman, who worked for Fiona Hill, who worked for John Bolton and Dr. Cupperman -- 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 will 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. Thanks so much. The impeachment saga following Joe Biden to Iowa. Top Senate Democrats are trying to tamp down this idea that 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.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reason why I would not make the deal and 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.


JARRETT: Biden says if President Trump is not convicted by the Senate he will emerge stronger and harder to beat.

ROMANS: We have more on this ahead. Plus, world leaders gathering in Jerusalem marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. CNN is live at Israel's Holocaust Museum.



ROMANS: The House impeachment managers starting to lay out their case to have President Trump removed from office for trying to get Ukraine to bring down his political rival. Democrats focusing on the president's own words, but Senate Republicans say they are already bored with the repetition.

JARRETT: Let's bring in "Washington Post" congressional reporter Karoun Demirjian. She's a CNN political analyst as well. Good morning.

ROMANS: Morning.

JARRETT: Thanks for getting --


JARRETT: -- up with us.

DEMIRJIAN: No problem.

JARRETT: So, I want to talk about what I think the Democrats are doing here with two different audiences, right? So they had the senators in the room -- the moderates -- that they're speaking to, trying to persuade them, especially to get witness testimony, to get documents. But they're also speaking to the American people. You see Adam Schiff trying to lay out the case, acknowledging a lot of people haven't been paying attention minute-to-minute. How do Democrats thread that needle? How do they balance speaking to people in the room, trying to persuade them, and persuade people at home?

DEMIRJIAN: Well, they're doing that by a variety of different ways. I mean, they are laying out the case in a summary of the -- that they've been building for several months and making through those public impeachment hearings that we witnessed in November.

But each of the managers is basically presenting a different part of this case. They are using clips of video from those public impeachment hearings so that you can see other faces of witnesses who are part of this case that they built, speaking in their own words even if they're not actually physically in the Senate chamber themselves.

And trying to craft this narrative in lieu of having the additional, potentially bombastic witnesses that would -- that would add to it if they were able to -- if they had -- if they had been able -- excuse me -- to get those subpoenas sent out on the first day of the proceedings this week.

And so you're seeing these appeals made both to individual responsibility of the senators in the chamber and also to these greater American ideals, trying to put what happened in the context of why they say this is very bad and a threat to the entire system, and something that has to be brought in for the -- for the good of the country in the future.

ROMANS: And they keep using the president's own words to say what happened. The president asking a foreign government's -- plural, in some cases -- to intervene for his political benefit.

And we're told by -- you know, our sources who are in the room -- our people who are in the room -- that whenever the president's playing on that screen, heads come up. Senators come up and they're watching.

What does a win look like for Democrats here? Does a win -- is it getting witnesses?

DEMIRJIAN: A win is potentially getting some of the witnesses to come forward. A win absent that, because that's not a guarantee yet, is making a case that's convincing enough over the heads of the Senate to the American public given that we're in an election year and their ultimate goal is -- you know, you cannot get a conviction of the president to not have him win in 2020.

Look, that backdrop of the election has been there that both -- that both sides have used to make part of their case about the urgency. The Democrats have accused him of trying to steal the next election by doing these acts vis-a-vis Ukraine and trying to get the president to announce investigations into, potentially, his political rival in the -- in the main contest. And, Republicans are saying you're just doing this because you're trying to rob Trump of his right to be on the ballot for the next election.

I think that this is going to be a back-and-forth day. This is going to be one of the additional audiences, as you pointed out at the beginning, for every argument they're making.

And yes, heads are popping up when the president is on that screen -- those screens that are in the Chamber -- as well as others, too. Look, these are long arguments that are happening over several hours. The break in the case that the managers are making -- when you actually see those faces making those cases, whether it's Trump or some of the diplomats before, it adds an extra layer of compulsion.

And, of course, when it's the president himself, that is what the managers are hoping makes the biggest impact because they've been arguing this whole time that if you look at the president's own words in the transcript of that July 25th call, if you look at what Mick Mulvaney, his chief of staff said to reporters in October, that's the anchor of their entire argument.

JARRETT: Karoun, before we let you go I want to talk about this fascinating story in your paper, "The Washington Post," about Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the E.U., who one European diplomat is quoted as saying, "I think he's found his feet."


This is the man who testified just months ago that there was a quid pro quo. He had extensive dealings, obviously, with President Trump. He donated to the campaign.

You know, it's interesting. The president is obviously on trial right now. Sondland is doing just fine, though.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes. I mean, look, Sondland was one of the most explosive pieces of testimony in that public phase of the impeachment inquiry, but like many others who testified he's still on the job, although others have left the job and others reformers.

But there are still some people who were part of this case who are still on the job and doing the job and kind of living in those two worlds right now in which their face is being played from the -- from the public testimony they gave in making this very emphatic case to remove the president. And yet, they are still the president's spokesperson, basically, when it comes to international dealings and diplomacy. And having to exist in those two worlds is just -- illustrates the awkwardness of this.

But that's kind of the way it has to go. I mean, I think that you would have seen -- if people like Sondland had been pushed out as a result of their testimony, that you would have seen a real outcry from potentially more than just the Democrats.

I mean, there are a number of Republicans who are looking at the general scheme of what's going on here and developing their impressions of how the administration is acting and whether or not there is this -- the cover-up. It's the word that Democrats have accused the Republicans and Trump of participating in.

But if you were seeing some of these individuals who spoke out -- who dared speak out against the president even though the White House said don't -- being pushed out is a consequence for that, I think that would potentially throw more logs on that fire.

So the fact that that has not happened is indicative of the fact that the administration is trying to keep things on a semi-even keel here as they go forward, potentially suggesting that they feel like they're in a decent place given that in order to actually convict him you'd need 20 Republicans senators to --

ROMANS: Right.

DEMIRJIAN: -- join Democrats, and that seems like a far cry.

JARRETT: Yes, it's interesting. The story says that Sondland and the president haven't spoken in over two months.

ROMANS: That didn't seem like a surprise to me.

DEMIRJIAN: No. But again, it's coexistence in the wide government and how can you keep that basically going --


DEMIRJIAN: -- even if there is animosity between the individuals.

That's been the trick of -- that happens oftentimes in governments. In this particular administration, because it's so centered around Trump and his personal dealings, sometimes we forget that. But -- and certainly, this is a unique situation for any president to be in.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right, Karoun Demirjian, congressional reporter from "The Washington Post." Nice to see you this morning. Thank you.

JARRETT: Great to see you. Thanks so much.

DEMIRJIAN: You, too.

JARRETT: Well, the city of Wuhan, in China, now on lockdown as the country struggles with fears 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 in Beijing for us. And, David, I mean, how did they figure out that snakes could be at the backbone of all of this?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's kind of strange, Laura, when you think about it, right? But when you go to the source of this, according to Chinese officials -- and we were there just 24 hours ago -- and that is a seafood market. But I can tell you that source who was there in early December sent CNN some photos of snakes being sold in that market in early December, so it's not too far off from what we've been able to corroborate with our sources. Now, they have been able to determine this, according to Chinese officials, through genetic code and they were able to link it from the virus to snakes.

They've been sharing a lot of their information, interestingly enough, with the World Health Organization. Now, yesterday, the World Health Organization met. They didn't have enough information, they said, to determine if this was a global emergency. We've learned they're going to meet again today and we'll see if the WHO makes that declaration.

Meantime in the U.S., it's the CDC that says they are stepping up and doing more tests on suspected cases here. They're really the only lab that can handle this type of testing.

Leaving Wuhan was an interesting experience in and of itself and a lot of folks had to do that before the 10:00 a.m. deadline. We were among them. We got that call in the middle of the night. We had to urgently get into a car, then get to the train station, then get onboard the train.

And I can tell you we were not alone. There were hundreds of folks who were doing the same. They were in long lines that stretched out the door to get tickets. And this is in the midst of what is supposed to be a festive celebratory holiday season.

It was more of a panic situation for a lot of folks. Some said that they were simply taken it all in and they trust that this will pass. So it's an interesting range of emotions.

But overall, you have to wonder if this was a little too late. Some experts believe you don't just do this days after the fact and that this should have been done perhaps days ago or even weeks ago, Laura. But that remains to be seen how effective this will actually be when you're talking about air travel, trains, highways now shut down, leaving Wuhan.

JARRETT: Yes, and the travel just complicating all of this.


David, thank you so much for being there for us.

We'll be right back.


JARRETT: An extraordinary meeting of world leaders in Jerusalem today. The gathering to mark 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 antisemitism both in the U.S. and in Europe.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live at the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Oren, who do we expect to see there today?

[05:55:00] OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura, this is arguably the greatest gathering of world leaders, dignitaries, and heads of state that Israel has ever seen and many of the biggest names arrived this morning. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived this morning and then he quickly went into a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Vice President Mike Pence arrived, Prince Charles arrived.

Those will be speaking, as well as many others, at that World Holocaust Forum, which kicks off in about 45 minutes. And the event is titled this year, fighting -- "Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism."

And it's not just the occasion. It's not just that it's the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. It's also what we see around the world, including in Europe and in the United States -- rising fears of antisemitism and a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents and attacks from Dresden, in Germany, declaring an emergency over the rise or reemergence of Nazi ideology to the attacks we've seen in San Diego, Pittsburgh, Monsey, and Jersey City.

It was at the Israeli president's house last night at a hosting of world leaders that the president said this chance for world leaders to stand united and speak in one voice against antisemitism, against extremism, and against racism. So that's a powerful call and we'll see that echoed in the speeches today.

In fact, research from Pew Research suggests that more than half of American adults certainly have heard of the Holocaust but don't know basic facts about it. For example, that six million Jews were killed or how Hitler rose to power.

So that, too, will be part of the focus here as these world leaders come together. We'll see what they say, of course, and we'll see if there's a joint statement afterwards or agreed-upon actions that world leaders will take to combat antisemitism -- Laura.

JARRETT: A real education at an important time. Thanks so much for being there for us.

ROMANS: All right.

Hallmark Channel CEO Bill Abbott stepping down after backlash over his decision to pull a same-sex wedding ad.


(Zola Same-Sex Wedding Advertisement):

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Solo could have made planning your perfect wedding easier?





ROMANS: That's the commercial for the wedding planning Web site Zola. It featured two brides kissing. Hallmark, bowing to pressure from a conservative group, pulled that ad and then had to reverse course after widespread criticism from celebrities and LGBTQ activists.

JARRETT: The most extensive use of mobile voting, so far, in a U.S. election. Smartphone voting, called OmniBallot, is being used to elect a board member for a conservation district in Washington State. The county voting includes 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.

ROMANS: FedEx's new Sunday ground service will officially start this weekend, going head-to-head with Amazon. It was an option during the holiday and now will become available year-round. More people than ever before are shopping online, flooding the U.S. with packages.

FedEx hopes the expansion will help boost its position among its competitors. It could be a gamble, though. Amazon has its own delivery brand. And there's competition from UPS, which started its own Sunday service January first.

JARRETT: Well, after 104 years, it was a long run for Mr. Peanut. It is now toast.


MATT WALSH, ACTOR: We're too heavy.


WALSH: No, you let go.

SNIPES: Hey, Mr. Peanut, no you don't. Don't do it, Mr. Peanut.



JARRETT: Planters confirms Mr. Peanut died after his nutmobile veered off a cliff. He sacrificed himself to save actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. We're also told his demise has something to do with a commercial that will run during the Super Bowl.

And while you were sleeping, late-night hosts had a field day with the impeachment trial.


JAMES CORDEN, HOST, CBS "THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN": If you didn't watch last night, it basically went like this. What about no? How about no? What about absolutely not? JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Democrats chose the president's favorite, Adam Schiff, to kick things off today. Schiff spoke for 2 1/2 hours. Schiff quoted Hamilton so many times today he was nominated for five Tony awards.

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL "THE TREVOR NOAH SHOW": Some senators are playing with their Apple watches; others are solving crosswords. And worst of all, a senator from Idaho fell asleep -- like, asleep-asleep. Because you know you've been sleeping for a long time when an artist has time to sketch your portrait.


ROMANS: Alexander Hamilton.

JARRETT: I need more of their takes on all the milk that these senators are drinking.

ROMANS: I know, exactly, right?

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


ZELENY: As Democrats begin presenting the second day of evidence here, they are going to focus on the law and the Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people deserve to see the full truth when it comes to presidential actions.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The need for the Senate to hear the testimony of Hunter Biden has become all the more relevant.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I think that's off the table. First of all, the Republicans have the right to bring in any witness they want. They haven't wanted to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day, I believe, without question, the President of the United States will be acquitted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he's acquitted, then there's this real danger that he'll walk around saying I've been exonerated and he'll feel emboldened.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States.