Return to Transcripts main page


Remembering Kobe Bryant; New Bolton Revelations Complicate GOP Plans; China's Unprecedented Response To Coronavirus; China Coping With Coronavirus Situation; Rockets Hit U.S. Embassy In Baghdad; Netanyahu And Gantz Meeting Separately With Donald Trump; Boeing 777x Takes First Flight; U.S. Stock Futures Tumble As Coronavirus Spread; Billie Eilish Sweeps Grammy Awards; Grammy Tributes To Kobe Bryant. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 27, 2020 - 04:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Emotions running high for basketball fans worldwide. NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter among nine killed in a helicopter crash. He was just 41 years old.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, new details from a draft of John Bolton's book will make a tougher to refuse witnesses at the impeachment trial of President Trump. We will tell you why.

More than 57 million people locked down in China, an unprecedented response from Xi Jinping who warns the coronavirus outbreak is accelerating. Welcome to back to Early Start I'm Alison Kosik.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. About 31 minutes past the hour here in New York. We begin with the stunning death of Kobe Bryant. A heart breaking tragedy for basketball fans and all who admired excellence. Bryant, one of the game's all-time greats and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna among nine people killed when their helicopter crashed into a hill side on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. Outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles thousands gathered numbed by the news. Kobe thrilled Laker fans for two decades. Leading the iconic franchise to five championships.

KOSIK: His stunning death shaking the league he elevated. Lakers superstar Lebron James distraught as he exited the team plane. High praise from Lakers legend magic Johnson, hailing Bryant as the greatest Laker of all-time. Sportscaster Bob Costas remembering an athlete wise beyond his years.


BOB COSTAS, NBC SPORTS BROADCASTER: The first time I met and spoke with him when he was 18 years-old, I was struck by how broad his view of things was, but sports is one of the very few avenues in life where people peak in terms of their ability long before most of us reach any sort of emotional maturity. You were a veteran when you're 27, 28 years old. Whatever happened is relatively meaningless between Kobe and Shaq, some kind of a spat with athletic ego's involve and all the rest that they've long since have reconciled. They're young guys. They are guys in their 20s. But the eyes of the world are on them.


KOSIK: You heard him mention Shaquille O'Neal there. Wm Bryant's former teammate says Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That is what we had most in common.

Friends say, Kobe was proud of his daughter's love for the game and he was not the only Bryant who could lead with his shoulder. He leaves behind his wife Vanessa and three others daughters, the youngest just 7 months old.

JARRETT: Among other victims local college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Kerry and daughter Alyssa. CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on Bryant and his impact on the game.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was born Kobe Bean Bryant and to the world the 41-year-old was a global basketball phenomenon, the son of a pro-basketball player the Philly native finished high school and was quickly drafted by the NBA. But at the time Bryant was the youngest player in the league's history at just over 17 years old.

KOBE BRYANT, NBA PLAYER: I think a lot of people even when I came out of high school, I think people were kind of giving me the cold shoulder to begin with, because I think unfortunately some people wanted me to fail.

SANDOVAL: The MVP spent his entire pro career with the L.A. Lakers winning five NBA championships with the team. During his 20 seasons Bryant became one of the league's top scoring players. Even surpassed Michael Jordan becoming fourth on the NBA's all-time scoring list.


On two occasions he helped secure team USA Olympic gold on the world stage. Bryant dealt with controversy too. In 2003 he was charged with sexual assault accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee. The charge was later dropped and the case was settled in civil court. Bryant also overcame various sports related injuries. Always determined to heal and return to the court.

Then in the fall of 2015 he announced his plan to retire from the NBA and played his final game in 2016. The following year his jersey numbers 8 and 24 were retired. Since then he's made his mark on Hollywood winning an academy award for his animated film Dear Basketball, but he's greatest accomplishment may have been off the hardwood, he was a husband and proud father of four children.

BRYANT: We all have moments like this in life where it just seems like the day is never going to end. You know, it seems like the moment you're in just feels like the darkest moment to you, you know, and at that point you really have to step outside of yourself and put it in perspective and understand that, you know, I have many, many blessings, a lot of things to be thankful for.

SANDOVAL: At six foot six, Bryant was more than just a little giant, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote, Bryant inspired, amazed and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court and honest with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius and ambassador for the game he loved. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


JARRETT: Pablo, thank so much for that report. And with the sports world and NBA in particular in a collective state of mourning there were moving tributes to Kobe Bryant around the league Sunday. Andy Scholes joins us now with more on those emotional moments and Andy, you know, so many tweets yesterday even from some of his biggest rivals.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Laura. You know, from rivals to just fans who loved Kobe, everyone just sending their condolences to the Bryant family and everyone who perished in that helicopter crash. You know, unfortunately, this is just going to be one of those moments that you never going to forget where you were and what you were doing when you heard this terrible news and tributes as we just mentioned, you know just pouring in from all over the country.

At NBA game, the arenas around the league holding a moment of silence before the game. The Spurs and the Raptors decided both to take 24- second violations at the beginning of their game in Kobe's honor. Kobe of course wore the number 24. Multiple players around the league are writing tributes to Kobe on their shoes. A hawk star Trey Young, who usually wear the number 11, he wore the number 8 to start the game in honor of Kobe. Kobe wore that number 8 at the beginning of his Laker career. There were many tearful tributes. Here's Kobe friend Dwyane Wade and Clippers coach Dock Rivers.


DWYANE WADE, FORMER NBA PLAYER: We'll forever, forever miss you man. You're a legend, you are an icon, you're a father, you're a husband, a son, you're a brother, you're a friend. Thank you for being my friend. I love you, brother.

DOC RIVERS, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS COACH: The news is just devastating to everybody who knew him, known him a long time and -- you know, he means a lot to me obviously. You know, he was such a great opponent. You know, it's what you want in sports.


SCHOLES: And Kobe's old running mate Shaquille O'Neal also emotional, he posted, there's no words to express the pain I'm going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi and brother Kobe Bryant. I love you and you will be miss. Michael Jordan saying I'm shocked over the tragic news of Kobe's and Gianna's passing. Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling. I love Kobe, he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much. This is an emotional Lebron James returning from the team's road trip to L.A. on the tarmac. He had just passed Kobe for third on the all-time scoring list. And Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, he released a statement saying that no mavericks player is going to wear the number 24 ever again in order to honor Kobe Bryant. I would imagine we would want to see that from other teams around the league as well.

JARRETT: Yes. And you can just feel the emotion from Doc Rivers in that interview, just, you know, just the rawness of it. Obviously such a shock. Andy, thanks so much.

KOSIK: To impeachment now. New revelations will make it much harder for Senate Republicans to vote against new witnesses at the trial to impeach and remove President Trump. A New York Times report detailing an unpublished draft manuscript by John Bolton. The former National Security Adviser claims the president told him in August he wanted to keep withholding military aid to Ukraine until it help would a probe into Democrats including Joe Biden. A source with direct knowledge of the manuscript confirming to CNN the Times description is accurate.


JARRETT: Bolton's account directly undercuts a key Trump legal defense that holding back security aid and the push to investigate Biden were unrelated. Here's a White House lawyer on the Senate floor on Saturday.


MIKE PURPURA, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: There's simply no evidence anywhere that President Trump ever linked security assistance to any investigations.


JARRETT: Before the Times revelations, Republican leaders were confident they could defeat the vote for witnesses. That now three GOP sources tell CNN that is less certain. White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond has more.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Alison and Laura. President Trump's defense team will enter their second day of making their arguments from the Senate floor in the impeachment trial of President Trump. But on Sunday night a bombshell new report in The New York Times could undermine one of the core defenses or the core arguments that they are making in their defense of President Trump.

And that is because according to The New York Times in a draft manuscript of Ambassador John Bolton's forthcoming book, Bolton in that book alleges that President Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue withholding that nearly $400 million in security aid to Ukraine until Ukrainian officials agreed to move forward and investigate Democrats including the former Vice President Joe Biden. According to The New York Times, Bolton lays this all out in dozens of

pages of this draft manuscript. Bolton and his team are not confirming or denying anything in that The New York Times report. But I do have this statement from Ambassador Bolton's spokeswoman, Sarah Tinsley. She tells me the draft of the ambassador's book was transmitted to the White House for pre-publication review by the National Security Council and she also says that the ambassador has not pass the draft manuscript to anyone, period.

Clearly trying to distance themselves from that New York Times report and to lay blame essentially at the White House for this document leaking. This is also going to thrust that question of witnesses right back at the forefront of all of this. The impeachment managers, the Democratic impeachment managers have already put out a statement saying there can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the president's defense and therefore must be called as a witness at the impeachment trial of President Trump. The president and his attorneys have been seeking a swift acquittal, and this could of course undermine that effort. Back to you guys.


KOSIK: OK, Jeremey Diamond, thanks very much. How the new revelations play out may come down to John Bolton's word against President Trump's. The president sending out this tweet just after midnight Eastern Time saying ,I never told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats including the Bidens. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.

JARRETT: Whether we hear from John Bolton as an impeachment witness remains to be seen, of course. But his book the room where it happened is slated for release on March 17th. And the cover of his White House memoir is not subtle at all showing the outline in the shape of an Oval Office.

KOSIK: The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has been hit by rocket fire. According to U.S. official, the attack causing one minor injury and that person has returned to duty. The State Department is not commenting specifically about the situation at the embassy and has not directly blaming Iran. But U.S. officials are calling on Iraq to fulfill its obligations and protect American diplomatic facilities.

On Friday, the Pentagon revealed 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries following an Iranian missile attack in Iraq earlier this month. President Trump has down-played those injuries saying some troops had headaches and a couple of other things, that's a quote.

JARRETT: Well, after a slow, initial response, China is now pulling out all the stops to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Why a response of this magnitude may be impossible in any other country. CNN is live in Beijing. Up next.


[04:45:00] JARRETT: A stark warning from Chinese President Xi Jinping. The

coronavirus outbreak is accelerating and his country is facing a grave situation. There are now at least 15 cities in China fully or partially locked down by the government affecting 57.2 million people. For context, that would be roughly one sixth of the entire U.S. population.

KOSIK: Five cases have been confirmed here in the United States. One American citizen who is trapped in Wuhan, China, tells CNN this, I woke up feeling quite desperate, sad, angry. Most of this is because of lack of information and lack of knowing what's going on. For more on what is actually going on, let's go live to Beijing and bring in CNN's David Culver. Hello to you. You know, one thing that many people are thinking of I would imagine is what is the strategy for containment now we've heard the incubation stage is lot longer and you don't necessarily show symptoms?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, that's what's most disturbing about this incubation stage and what Chinese health official, Alison, are saying going forward is that, this one to 14 days after somebody is potentially exposed to the virus, they could be a carrier and still transmit it. So, it brings into question some of the screening that's going on at airports, at rail stations, even at hotels when you're just passing through and they check your temperature. Is that really doing enough to prevent the spread.


The containment effort though goes well beyond that here in China. In fact health officials were speaking a short time ago and they announced an education campaign so that migrant workers and rural workers know exactly what they should be doing to help curb the spread of this. and why is that important? We're in the midst of the spring festival holiday. You've got hundreds of millions of people who have left the cities, Beijing is pretty empty right now and after the holiday ends they come back in. So, you're talking about hundreds of millions, travelling together, taking to skies, taking to the trains, coming by car and being in those close quarters obviously raises the risk of that exposure and that spread of the virus.

So, they're delaying them coming back by extending the holiday essentially and they plan potentially to do that again. So, they're going to maybe keep folks away, delay that human migration so as to try to contain this as best they can, Alison.

KOSIK: All right. CNN's David Culver live for us from Beijing, thanks.

JARRETT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival Benny Gantz meet separately with President Trump at the White House today. That comes ahead of this week's unveiling of the president's long awaited Middle East peace plan. Israel is also just weeks away from its third election in a year. Oren Lieberman live from Jerusalem with the latest. Oren, what do we expect to see out of this meetings? OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORESPONDENT: Laura, the first meeting of the

morning will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with President Donald Trump followed by rival Benny Gantz with Trump there close to the press were opening joint statement or anything like that today. But certainly, expect statements and perhaps even briefings from these two leaders right afterwards.

Then tomorrow ahead of the unveiling of the peace plan or perhaps coinciding with, there will be joint statements between Trump and Netanyahu. It's not just about the peace plan. This is also very much about domestic politics with as you pointed out our election, now something like 35 days away or so. So, it's a question of this long- awaited much hype plan that we've been waiting to see the political part of the plan, as well as how this plays in domestic politics here.

We know the Trump-Netanyahu bromance and is very much looks like another political gift from the Trump administration to Netanyahu, perhaps to try to get him over to lie in this case. Why do we say that? Well, as Trump faces impeachment hearings it is Netanyahu who faces indictment on criminal charges, and in fact the day of the unveiling tomorrow coincides exactly with the day the Knesset here vote on whether to begin immunity hearings to convene the committee that would do so.

So, that's certainly looks like the Trump administration trying to help out Netanyahu. The hosting of both leaders tomorrow looks like an attempt to try to make this seem less political than it already inherently is. Laura, it's also worth noting the Trump administration hasn't had contact with the Palestinians in some two years. Trump saying he spoke with the Palestinians. Meanwhile Palestinian sources say he tried to reach out recently but that went nowhere.

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

KOSIK: Boeing's biggest ever twin-engine jet just completed its maiden flight, a ray of hope after months of grim headlines for Boeing. CNN Business is next.



KOSIK: Welcome back. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. The spread of the coronavirus is shaking financial markets. Check on Asian stocks looks like a mixed picture overnight. European indices looks like red across the board. Wall Street looks like it's going to have a top opening, looking like the DOW could open more than 300 points lower.

Beyond the human toll, investors are anxious about the virus' impact on the global economy. Travel bans will hurt profits even in the U.S. hotel and resort companies, they do big business in China as do airlines. And airline shares took a big hit last week. That's also sinking oil markets down another 2 percent overnight for those oil prices. (Inaudible) flying in the region could bring down jet fuel prices.

Boeing's biggest ever twin-engine jet the 777x completed its maiden flight on Saturday. It's a ray of hope for Boeing after months of grim headlines. Successful flight kicks off a year of testing to gain regulatory approval for the 777x, a process that will receive major scrutiny following the two crashes of Boeing's 737 Max. The max crisis has been both a P.R. and financial disaster for Boeing. And we are going to be getting the latest account on Wednesday, when Boeing reports earnings for the last three months of the year.

JARRETT: Music's biggest night was bittersweet in celebration just hours after the death of Kobe Bryant. The night belonged to an 18- year-old singing sensation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Grammy goes to -- Billie Eilish.


JARRETT: Billie Eilish sweeping the four biggest prizes. She won best new artist, record of the year, song of the year and album of the year. She's the youngest solo performer to ever win that award. The Grammy's were held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as show host Alicia Keys put it the arena that Kobe built.




JARRETT: Alicia keys powered through tears along with Boyz II Men saying, it so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. The camera pan to Kobe Bryant's Lakers jersey hanging in the (inaudible) there.