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Final Day of Opening Arguments for Dems; Health Officials: Coronavirus Not a Global Emergency; Gripping Testimony Against Harvey Weinstein; Serena Williams Upset at Australian Open. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 24, 2020 - 05:00   ET



REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Right matters and the truth matters.


Otherwise, we are lost.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats turn to obstruction of Congress today after a powerful presentation on abuse of power at the Senate impeachment trial.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Growing concerns about the deadly coronavirus. It is spreading beyond China. White House officials are not yet ready to declare emergency.

JARRETT: Gripping testimony at the Harvey Weinstein trial. Actress Annabella Sciorra with vivid details of the night she says the producer raped her.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this morning. I'm Christine Romans, everybody. It's Friday, January 24th, 5:00 a.m. exactly in the East. Ten days, if you're counting, to the Iowa caucuses.

Today will be the third and final day of opening arguments for Democrats in the trial to impeach and remove President Trump from office. House managers on Thursday made the case abused his power. They tried to convince skeptical and tired Republican senators the trial needs more witnesses and documents. Republicans have said a lot of what they're hearing is repetitive, but at least one admits some of this is fresh.

Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana telling "The New York Times": I've learned a lot. Everybody has. Senators didn't know the case. They really didn't. We didn't stay glued to the television. We haven't read the transcripts.

JARRETT: Democrats not shying away from a topic Republicans have tried to use against them. House managers repeatedly mentioned Hunter Biden's position on the board of the Ukrainian energy company at the heart of GOP conspiracy theories. Democrats also displayed elaborate exhibits throughout the day.

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler using a 1999 clip of Lindsey Graham to make the case an actual crime is not required for impeachment. At the time, Graham was a House manager in the Clinton impeachment trial.


THEN-REP. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): It's a high crime -- how about if an important person hurt somebody of low means? It's not very scholarly, but I think it's the truth. I think that's what they meant by high crimes. It doesn't have to be a crime, it's just when you start using your office and you're acting in a way that hurts people. You've committed a high crime.


JARRETT: Senator Graham was not in the chamber yesterday when that clip was being played.

ROMANS: Now, CNN has learned the president's allies are lobbying behind the scenes. They are pushing wavering Republican senators to oppose any witnesses. That push coming not only from Capitol Hill but also identifying people back home the senators trust and getting them to call and push the senators.

Democrats have 7 hours, 53 minutes left to open their case. Today, they'll move onto Article 2, obstruction of Congress.

Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny has more.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, Democratic impeachment managers begin making their last case in their opening arguments against President Trump. It was after a long day on Thursday about going after abuse of power which is laid out in the Article 1 impeachment.

Now, throughout the day, the Democratic managers led by Chairman Adam Schiff made the case that President Trump is an ongoing threat to the nation. It was no mistake, they argue, withholding that political aid from Ukraine. And they listed through a chronology of events spanning the months throughout the summer into the fall a series of bad judgments and also intentional bad behavior.

But it was at the end of a long day of trial, the senators, all of them were sitting in their seats when Chairman Schiff implored them to do what's right and said this.

SCHIFF: You know you can't trust this president to do what's right for this country, you can trust he will do what's right for Donald Trump. He'll do it now. He's done it before. He'll do it for the next several months. He'll do it in the election if he's allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed because right matters. Because right matters, and the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.

ZELENY: So those powerful words certainly hung heavy in the chamber, but it's unclear if Republicans enough will join Democrats to call for new witnesses or new evidence. Certainly no one is showing their hands to that point. But the final day today for the Democratic managers to make their case, the president's lawyers begin making their case in a shorter session on Saturday -- Christine and Laura.


JARRETT: Jeff Zeleny in Washington -- thank you so much.

Meantime, President Trump's legal team was gearing up to present their defense, suggesting they won't even need the allotted three days to do it.


JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: We're going to use a sufficient amount of time to not only defend our case and point out the inconsistencies of their case. We're going to do it in an appropriate manner. We're not going to try to run the clock out.



JARRETT: A growing number of Republican senators are pointing to President Trump's threat to invoke executive privilege to make their case against issuing subpoenas for witnesses. That could bode well for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's goal of a swift conclusion to the Senate impeachment trial. Four GOP senators who could force the chamber to call witnesses, well, they're not saying much at all right now. They're mostly waiting for the Democrats to finish their opening arguments before committing to a vote which could come as early as next week.

And Chinese officials plan to ramp up their efforts to fight the spread of the deadly coronavirus by building a dedicated pneumonia hospital in Wuhan by the middle of next week, much like the one built during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Dozens have died in China, and nearly 850 people have been infected worldwide.

But the World Health Organization says coronavirus hasn't spread enough overseas for it to be considered a global health emergency.

CNN's David Culver is live in Beijing for us.

David, what are officials saying now? I mean, it's 850 people. It's incredible.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, it is incredible, Laura. And Chinese officials are contributing a lot of their information, we're told, to the World Health Organization. But the WHO, while they believe it does transmit human to human and that's something that we learned from Chinese officials earlier this week, they say they don't have enough information quite yet how readily infectious this is. And so, that's why they fall short of calling this a global emergency.

But nonetheless, they are still moving forward with investigating this. And the CDC, of course, handling that within the U.S. itself.

Now, here in China the biggest concern is surfacing on social media, right? It's this desperation we're seeing out of Wuhan.

Now, we left more than 24 hours now, but our contacts there have confirmed that narrative to us. And so, you see this overflow at hospitals, this influx of number of patients and this really lack of ability to provide the proper care, turning some people with fevers even away.

Now, CNN has gained a few videos that we want to share with you from Chinese social media. We haven't independently confirmed these and verified them, but our producers did go through, they look at the images and they look at the dialects and they seem to be genuine. They show everything from tents being setup as makeshift hospital rooms, if you will, to accommodate just the surge of people. They show a woman who's -- you may have heard there, shouting towards a line of patients who are trying to get tested and telling them as best as she could to keep quiet and to not be nervous. That's quite difficult in those situations.

And this view from one patient in their hospital bed, looking out -- and imagine seeing this, your hospital staff and the medical workers who are supposed to be assisting you and attending to you covered in hazmat suits. That's what they're wearing to protect themselves for obvious reasons.

Now, this is something, Laura, that has been echoed across China right now and growing concern out of how things are being handled within what is the partial lock downed city of Wuhan.

JARRETT: Hazmat suits are a little disturbing for anybody who is there.


JARRETT: We should mention the Centers for Disease Control has now increased travel precautions for Wuhan to the highest possible level.

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

ROMANS: All right. It has been delayed twice already. Now the president's Middle East peace plan will go public as leaders battling to be Israel's leader head to Washington.

CNN is live in Jerusalem.


[05:12:38] JARRETT: A new Trump administration rule banning so-called birth tourism goes into effect today. The State Department will no longer issue visitor visas to women believed to be traveling to the U.S. specifically to gain birthright citizenship for their children. How the rule will be enforced will mostly be up to the discretion of visa officers, and State Department officials -- well, they've struggled to explain exactly how all of this is going to work. The rules say screening officers can't directly ask if the women are pregnant unless they can cite a specific reason for doing so.

ROMANS: All right. The White House wants more tax cuts.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: The president has asked us to start working on what we call tax 2.0, and that will be additional tax cuts that fuel the economy. There'll be tax cuts for the middle class and we'll be also looking at other incentives to stimulate economic growth.


ROMANS: President Trump has dangled more tax cuts before, including just before the 2018 midterm election.

His 2017 tax package slashed corporate tax rates. Those cuts were permanent for corporations, temporary for the middle class. That tax law and a huge two-year spending bill have swelled the federal budget deficit despite Trump's campaign promise to shrink or even eliminate the deficit.

It's an unusual situation. Usually, the deficit widens in economic downturns, but the U.S. economy is expanding. The president said in his second term he's open to cutting federal entitlements to reduce the deficit despite his campaign promise to protect Medicare and Social Security.

In 2016, President Trump said he wouldn't have to touch Social Security because his plan to boost the economy by at least 4 percent economic growth would take care of entitlements' long-term problems. The economy is growing at half the pace promised by the president.

JARRETT: Powerful testimony in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial. Actress Annabella Sciorra describing in terrifying detail how the Hollywood former producer barged into her Manhattan apartment more than 25 years ago and raped her.

The "Sopranos" star had troubled catching her breath at times, telling the court Weinstein gave her a ride home and later forced his way in the home. She says she tried to run into a bathroom, but, quote, he kept coming at me. I felt overpowered because he was very big. The actress went onto describe how she kicked and punched Weinstein, trying to fight him off until he held her arms above her head on the bed and raped her.

[05:15:01] Sciorra telling the court she confronted Weinstein about the attack at a dinner in New York weeks later and he told her, quote: That's what all the nice Catholic girls say. This remains between you and I.

ROMANS: In their cross-examination, Weinstein's lawyers played a video of Sciorra telling David Letterman in 1997 that she has a, quote, bad reputation for lying to the press. Sciorra's encounter with Weinstein happened too long to be charged, but prosecutors are using her testimony to establish a pattern of behavior.

Weinstein is accused of raping and sexually assaulting young women and actresses over the course of decades.

All right. Busy night for the Americans at the Australia Open. Who goes on, who goes home. Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.



JARRETT: President Trump says his long awaited Middle East peace plan will be unveiled in the next few days. It's expected to be released some time before Israel's prime minister and opposition leader visit the White House on Tuesday.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem.

Oren, what more are you hearing there?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, it looks like this plan has little to do with an Israeli-Palestinian conflict or advancing any sort of peace process and more with benefitting two people in particular. First, of course, President Donald Trump, and second, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Look at the timing of this. Trump himself, of course, has the impeachment hearings in Washington while Netanyahu faces indictment here in three criminal cases as well as immunity hearings which are set to start on the exact same day. Trump will be hosting Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz in the White House. Beyond that, Netanyahu is in the middle of a tough re-election campaign after failing the former government twice, that third election in March just over a month out. Even those who are generally supportive of a U.S. led-peace process

are deeply, deeply skeptical of the intent of putting out this plan now.

Twice the administration held this, before the April and September elections, now to put it right before this election seems to be an indication that the Trump administration has gone all out for Netanyahu. It looked like the administration backed away from Netanyahu before the last election, but now it seems someone in the Trump administration, whether it's Trump himself, Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or Ambassador David Freeman decided Netanyahu is the way they want to go. And why not from their perspective? Netanyahu has been Trump's loudest

international cheerleader, has cheered every Trump move when it comes to Iran and pushed other world leaders to do the same and has never once criticized Trump.

Meanwhile, it puts Netanyahu's rival Benny Gantz in a very difficult position, with few good options at this point. He's tacked to the right before this and is set to steal some votes from Netanyahu before the election. And now, he basically has to decide whether he's going to commit to the peace plan which seems to mean throwing some weight behind Netanyahu.

Where is this process going? Well, it could be a Trump green light for annexation for some parts of the West Bank by Netanyahu.

As for the Palestinians, they're almost sure to reject this. It will likely tick all of Israel's boxes and then some, and few if any of the Palestinian boxes.

JARRETT: Oren, thanks so much for laying all that out for us.

ROMANS: All right, an upset Down Under. Serena Williams losing in her third round match of the Australian open.

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

Hey, Andy.


You know, Serena's quest for grand slam title number 24, well, it continues. That's the number she needs to tie Margaret Court for the most all-time. And Serena didn't have it in this match against China's Wang Qiang. She had 27 unforced errors, 56 miscues in the match.

Serena went for the third set but would end up losing 6-4, 6-7, 7-5. And she now hasn't won a slam since winning the Australian open back in 2017.


SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: I was optimistic that I'm going to be able to win. I thought, OK, now -- now, I'll finish this off. I honestly didn't think I was going to lose that match.

Honestly, if we were just honest with ourselves, it's all on my shoulders. I lost that match. I can't play like that. I literally can't do that again. It's unprofessional and it's not cool.


SCHOLES: All right. The main event of the day at the tournament was defending champion Naomi Osaka taking on 15-year-old Coco Gauff. It's a rematch from last year's U.S. Open, but a different result this time. Coco dominating the match winning 6-3, 6-4 and she now moves onto the four round and even Coco can't believe how far she's come. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COCO GAUFF, ADVANCES TO FOURTH ROUND: Oh, my gosh, two years ago, I lost first round in juniors and now I'm here. Like this is crazy.


SCHOLES: All right, for inside the NBA. The starters for this year's all-star game in Chicago, LeBron once again getting most votes. He and Giannis Antetokounmpo are your captains for the second straight year. They'll draft the teams on February 6th on inside the NBA.

Now, look at Doncic for the match, an all-star for the first time. He's a starter. LeBron's teammate Anthony Davis also in the starting line-up. It's going to be a special game for him since he's from Chicago.

And check out the Hawks Trae Young when he found he was an all-star for the very first time. He broke down with emotion, definitely a special moment to share right there with his mom.

All right. Finally, the Pro Bowl is this weekend and one of those fun parts of the week has become the dodge ball challenge. The AFC down to their final man, which was Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, and he put on a show, single-handedly wins the game for the AFC catching that final ball there from the Cowboys Jalen Smith, impressive catch.

Christine, I mean, that's the way I would do it. I would really just put my team as all wide receivers if they would have the best chance, right, catching the ball?


ROMANS: Exactly.

SCHOLES: Linebacker versus receiver, it seems like a mismatch there.

ROMANS: I know. We should have a CNN dodge ball, that would be --

SCHOLES: It would be fun.

ROMANS: I'm going to start floating that rumor.

All right. Andy Scholes, nice to see you. Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Laura, what's coming next?

JARRETT: If we do that, I'm on your team.

ROMANS: All right.

JARRETT: All right, Christine.

Well, they've outlined abuse of power. Now, Democrats will drill down arguing how the president was and is obstructing Congress.

Stay with us.