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Kobe Bryant And His Daughter, Gianna Die In Helicopter Crash; John Bolton Reportedly Claiming President Trump Confirmed His Intent To Withhold Aid From Ukraine Until Announcement Of Biden Investigation. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired January 27, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolute shock and speechlessness in Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: NBA legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heartsick Kobe Bryant fans remember their fallen hero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bombshell new report in the "New York Times" about Ambassador John Bolton's forthcoming book.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He may have a firsthand account of President Trump directly linking an official act to a personal political need.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If true, this would undermine a key argument that President Trump's defense team has been making.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, January 27th, it is 8:00 in the east. And we have two huge stories that are developing at this hour. First, an explosive revelation in the impeachment trial of President Trump. A firsthand witness who says President Trump directly linked aid to Ukraine to the investigations into the Bidens. That man is John Bolton, the former national security adviser.
"The New York Times" reports that in a draft manuscript of his new book Bolton says that in an August meeting, the president told him he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the Ukrainians agreed to investigate the Democrats, including Joe Biden. So there it is. That is the link the president's defenders claim did not exist. It apparently exists.
Will it convince, though, at least four Republicans they need to hear from Bolton under oath? The president responded after midnight denying he ever had such a conversation or said such a thing with his former national security adviser, but consider the president's record with honesty, and consider all the corroborating testimony from Bill Taylor, Fiona Hill, Gordon Sondland. This no doubt will hang over the president's lawyers as they present their case in the impeachment trial this morning.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But this morning we do begin with the tragic death of sports legend Kobe Bryant. This is the Staples Center. This is in Los Angeles where thousands of fans gathered through the night to pay their respects to the basketball giant.
He was killed along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when their helicopter crashed Sunday morning outside of Los Angeles. The helicopter reportedly went down in foggy weather on the way to a basketball game for his daughter.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin is live from the Staples Center for us in Los Angeles with the latest. Brooke, obviously just so devastating there and really around the world.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a gut punch. It's a gut punch to first learn of one of the greatest and his 13-year-old daughter perished in this crash. But then, as I'm about to report, every single person we've learned who was on that helicopter yesterday is a parent and a child.
So before I get to the investigation, let me just read these names because we need to honor these individuals as well. Also on board, Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli known as coach Alto. He was on board with Keri, his wife, and his daughter Alyssa.
Another name we have this morning, Christina Mauser, an assistant basketball coach at a K through eight private school in Orange County called Harbor Day School. And also on board, Alisyn, a mother and daughter, Sarah and Payton Chester.
And I know everyone is waking up this morning and thinking how in the world could this happen. They won't know for quite some time. We know investigators are on the scene. We know NTSB is leading the investigation. A couple factors. Number one, people are pointing toward the weather. Yes, it was foggy. Yes, even the Los Angeles Police Department grounded their helicopters. They wouldn't even fly in that weather. Is that the definitive cause? We just don't know that.
The other issue is just the literal location of this crash site. If there is any silver lining in this tragedy, it is the fact it was a residential area and this helicopter did not come down and injure or worse anyone on the ground in the Calabasas area. But the fact is, it's a logistical nightmare, according to the L.A. sheriff. It's a debris field as large as a football field, 100 yards in every direction, and just hiking in as the first responders had to do and now these investigators, to recover the remains in order to conclusively I.D. the victims will take some days.
Lastly, of course, for the man himself, the Black Mamba, the man who has not just one but two jerseys hanging in the Staples Center behind me, people are gutted. This is the saddest news in the sports world in quite some time. We're here. It's 5:00 in the morning pacific time. And so they are not actually opening this plaza for one who are hour. If you are in the L.A. area, you are allowed to come out but they are closing it. They just wanted to out of respect for everyone clean everything up. People were here until about 2:00 in the morning.
But to know that this was Kobe Bryant, 41 years young, and his daughter Gigi, 13, en route to a basketball game. He was coaching her game at this tournament at his Mamba Sports Foundation.
It's difficult for anyone to comprehend. And the love he had for his family, for his daughter Gigi, watch this clip about their shared passion of basketball.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOBE BRYANT, FORMER NBA PLAYER: The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me, and she'll be standing next to me and we'll be like, hey, you've got to have a boy, you and V got to have a boy, somebody carry on the tradition, the legacy. She's like, I got this.
BRYANT: That's right. Yes, you do. You got this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I think, Alisyn, to wrap it up, it's such a punch in the gut, because he didn't just give everything he had to this game of basketball. He didn't just give everything he had to anything he was involved with in his life, but people are mourning what never will be, what never will become of Kobe Bryant. He leaves behind his wife Vanessa and three daughters, the youngest, Alisyn, seven-month-old.
CAMEROTA: All of the developments are just devastating. Every single picture that you see, every single new thing that you hear about his family, it is, as you describe, that gut punch. Brooke, thank you very much for reporting for us.
Joining us now, we have Hall of Fame broadcaster Marv Albert. Great to have you in studio with us. Tell us what your thoughts were when you heard Kobe Bryant had been killed in that crash.
MARV ALBERT, HALL OF FAME SPORTSCASTER: Alisyn, my first reaction was disbelief, shock, surreal. And you can see the reaction from throughout the country and from athletes from other sports because of the respect for Kobe and the commitment he made to the game, and obviously what a great player that he was.
BERMAN: You had a court side seat to his entire career. Tell us about Kobe Bryant the player, but also Kobe Bryant the man.
ALBERT: Well, Kobe, when he first came to the league was 18-years- old. And Jerry West, who was the genius scout and was general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers was the first to really understand what Kobe Bryant could bring to the game at the age of 18. Kobe had a very unusual upbringing. He grew up basically in Italy, spoke fluent Italian, spoke fluent Spanish.
His dad, "Jellybean" Joe Bryant was a player with the Philadelphia Warriors, Warriors at the time, and then played professionally overseas. So Kobe grew up a little bit differently, although he did go to Lower Merion High School right outside Philadelphia, was a huge star. But this was before the 1996 NBA draft, and it was unheard of to draft a high school player.
BERMAN: He was 17. He was 17.
ALBERT: Right. Exactly. And Jerry West decided to have a work out with a couple of former Lakers, Larry Drew and Michael Cooper. And I can recall the newspaper stories at the time said Jerry said the players were overmatched by this 17-year-old youngster. So he made the trade with Charlotte. They sent Vlade Divac, who was a veteran center, to Charlotte for the Lakers. And it took a while for Kobe to make his mark. It took a couple of years.
But what strikes me most about Kobe is his commitment to the game. Obviously, his amazing talent there. But the way he approached the game, he was a vicious scorer. You could just see that on his face. He became, obviously, one of the all-time greats. And I think players today who are in the league emulate Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan is now basically just on film and tape. Although Kobe was a great fan of Michael's, and when I would be around Kobe and do interviews with him, he sounded exactly like Michael.
BERMAN: I don't think that was a mistake.
ALBERT: His gestures were the same, his movements were the same, he had such great respect for him.
BERMAN: I was telling John earlier that when the news crossed, I was driving, and my daughter, my 14-year-old daughter got a CNN news alert and her phone. And she said, oh, Kobe Bryant was killed. And I was with my mother, and we both went -- which we're not avid sports fans, my mother and I. Why was he bigger than the sport of basketball? Why did we react that way? Why did we have such success even beyond the court?
ALBERT: I think he was -- I don't mean this the wrong way, but I think he was one of the most intelligent athletes in any sport. He was -- when he first retired, I know he stayed away from basketball for a while.
Then he started to go to some games. And then he began seeing the interest in his daughter Gigi in basketball, so he began taking part as a coach. And he had all these ideas. In fact, ESPN has used him to break down plays. It was really good. It was something clinically you did not see. Even when we would talk with him either on NBC or TNT, he was kind of
a different person to talk to rather than another athlete. And I think that's part of it. He won an Academy Award, as you had mentioned, for his short animated films, for "I Love Basketball."
And he had many other projects which, you know, were alive. For example, he is very interested in children's short stories, and he was going to convert them into film. So there's a lot going on. And also, the first name aspect, Kobe, I think, strikes. There are very few people you know first name Kobe, Michael, LeBron, Serena. Not that many.
ALBERT: Of course.
BERMAN: There was a depth to Kobe Bryant that I think was clear from the beginning and lasted throughout his life, even in his interviews. Toward the end when he was talking about his daughter and relishing in her love of basketball, and to see that video, which was just two weeks ago, three weeks ago, of the two of them watching a Lakers game, and they were talking about basketball.
Here's the video right here. And I'm not a great lip-reader, but it's clear she's talking about pressure, right, she's talking about some kind of defensive pressure. Kobe Bryant was a vicious scorer, but he was also an eight time all NBA defensive team player also.
But they shared a love for the game. They shared a love for each other, and it was just remarkable to see him begin this next chapter in his life where, based on his past, there was no he question, he was going to win. He was going to win at this chapter of his life.
ALBERT: Right. He had that particular philosophy of I'm going to do anything to win. And he had a lot of confidence. He would miss the first -- he would be 0-for-9, 0-for-10, most guys would stop shooting. But not Kobe. He would shoot himself back into the game. And I think that's part of it, the fact he would come back every year with a new move.
Not many people have. I know Larry Bird would do that, Bernard King, Kevin McHale, where they wouldn't just be satisfied with what they had done the season before. So he was always working at it. He was kind of a thinking man's basketball player. I think LeBron is a lot like that. Michael was. These are very special talents in the sport.
CAMEROTA: Marv Albert, thank you very much for sharing your remembrances with us on this sad morning. Great to have you here.
ALBERT: Thank you. Thanks.
CAMEROTA: Now to this news, a new report in the "New York Times" reveals what John Bolton would say at the Senate trial if he is subpoenaed? We'll tell you what he is reportedly saying in a manuscript of his new book.
CAMEROTA: Well, "The New York Times" is reporting that the unpublished manuscript from former National Security adviser, John Bolton's new book says the President Trump personally tied the military aid Ukraine to an investigation of his political rivals.
Let's bring in Maggie Haberman, "New York Times" White House correspondent and CNN political analyst. She's one of the reporters who broke this story.
So Maggie, thank you very much for being here to explain this breaking news to us, you and Michael Schmidt now understand what's in this manuscript. So can you give us the headlines of what John Bolton would like to say in his book?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I can, but I want to talk about something that we didn't talk about before when I was here, which is just that this manuscript was sent to the White House and you had this bizarre standard review process.
You have this incredibly bizarre situation where there's an impeachment trial going on, a debate about whether to have witnesses, one of whom has sent this manuscript in to be reviewed by officials.
The N.S.C. is part of the White House, so I just think we shouldn't lose sight of that and how unusual it is. What he talks about in this manuscript, according to what we've been told is that the President in a conversation with him at some point in August of 2019 directly tied -- and it was after the President's trip to Bedminster for his holiday -- directly tied continuing the hold on the withheld aid to Ukraine until the Ukraine turned over all Russia investigation related materials about Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
What I think you will hear from the President's team is that's not the same as announcing investigations. It directly contradicts something the Deputy White House Counsel Mike Purpura said on the Senate floor on Saturday, which is that there's been no tie at all linking this aid to any investigations, not just the announcement of one by Ukraine.
It also -- Bolton describes Mike Pompeo telling him privately that none of Rudy Giuliani's concerns about the Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch who Giuliani had agitated to have removed for a long time, none of those were founded and none of those were based on actual facts and that he suspected that because Yovanovitch was so aggressively going after corruption, that she might have been targeting some of Giuliani's other clients.
Bolton says that he raised with White House counsel concern that Giuliani was using his relationship with the President as a client to help others of his clients.
He describes the May 23rd debrief that we've already known happened between some top Trump administration officials and Senator Ron Johnson, after their trip to the inauguration of the Ukrainian President, where the U.S. President went into a rant about his feeling that Ukraine had tried to harm him and mentioned that the D.N.C. hacked server conspiracy.
So this is a bunch of different information that has not been out there. Certainly, it touches on themes that we have heard before, but there has not been somebody with a firsthand account saying yes, these two things were linked before.
BERMAN: Yes, this is the missing link. This is the link that the President's defenders say they had not heard.
BERMAN: And is the witness they say we had not heard from who is now saying exactly that very thing. And you brought up Mike Purpura, and this was the President's defense on the floor of the Senate before 100 senators and before the Chief Justice the United States. This is what the President's lawyer claimed on Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PURPURA, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: There is simply no evidence anywhere that President Trump ever linked security assistance to any investigations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: But this manuscript now as you understand it, Maggie directly refutes that, and there is some indication that the President, this is at least in his head, it was the last thing he tweeted about this morning.
He's been on a tear for the last hour or so, one of the things he said is the Democrats never asked for Bolton which isn't true, "The Democrat controlled House never even asked for Bolton testify." They did ask. They didn't subpoena and he's gone on to retweet a lot of people suggesting that somehow the Bolton revelation is a Democratic conspiracy, and I'm not necessarily sure how that works, since we're talking about a --
HABERMAN: A noted Democrat, John Bolton. I mean, it's -- he gave his manuscript to the White House. That is going to raise a ton of questions about who knew what and when, some of which you and I discussed before.
It is on the White House to answer those questions, and they may or may not because we have seen this White House not answer questions any number of times.
But you know, what he writes in the manuscript just is what it is.
CAMEROTA: But on that note that you're talking about that I do think is vital to get into. He gave to the N.S.C., because that's where he worked and because that's who has to do the, like classified review of whether or not this can be published, and as you point out, that's part of the White House.
So is the feeling that they had seen this before last night? What we reported in our story is that it might have given White House lawyers, an outline of what Bolton would testify to. We also reported that for some of the President's advisers, there were concerns about Bolton testifying because of this book. I don't want to go further than what we reported.
BERMAN: No. One of the things they made clear also is that Bolton in his letter, they don't think there is anything classified in it. They don't think there is anything that should necessarily be withheld, but they were showing it to the White House because that is what you do in this situation.
BERMAN: John Bolton, Maggie, we've been saying this for a long time, if he wanted to walk to a microphone and say all of this ...
BERMAN: ... before 9:00 a.m., he could.
HABERMAN: Look, I don't know if he could say all of it because there is this question about executive privilege and that hovers out there, but certainly nothing has stopped him from being more forthcoming than he has about what he would say.
And he opened himself up to this by the fact that he has, you know, gone out and gotten a book deal, and it's not surprising that the President -- the President, in his tweets this morning are mostly retweets of other people, but it has been a lot of focus on the book deal, and it's not surprising.
I was already hearing even before we had this information this weekend, I had been hearing for a couple of weeks about Bolton as a disgruntled employee. It is certainly true that he left on terrible terms with the President, had a notoriously bad relationship with Secretary Pompeo and with the acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney.
I'm not surprised to hear both of those relationships being pointed to as an example of why people think there should be an asterisk on whether he is taken seriously.
And one of the things that was raised to me from White House officials is Bolton took notes -- and this was a couple weeks ago -- Bolton took notes that he shouldn't have taken with him when he left the White House.
I mean, the Ambassador can speak to that or not, but this is not surprising that this is how they're painting him, and to your point, he can either -- there's nothing that's stopping him from saying something publicly whether the full thing, I think is a question, but there is nothing that is preventing him from speaking and that's really on him.
BERMAN: Maggie Haberman, terrific work. I know you've probably barely slept in the last 48 hours. So we really appreciate you being with us this morning.
HABERMAN: Thank you.
BERMAN: Where does this leave -- the vote on witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial? We have new reporting on that. Joining us by phone is Manu Raju, CNN's senior congressional correspondent.
Manu you've been working the phones all night, all morning long. You told us that before yesterday, Republicans were confident they had the votes to block witnesses. How do they feel now?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): They're really uncertain. They really don't know how this is going to go because this is going to be a critical 48 hours to the White House to make the case about why they should not bring forward John Bolton.
The Presidents defense teams is widely expected to make some case today about exactly why they shouldn't bring him forward. We'll wait to hear how Republicans are convinced one way or the other about whether or not they should call John Bolton.
Already, we had expected two Republican senators to break ranks -- Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine -- and after the Democrats made their arguments, Republican leaders, others -- White House officials were making it pretty clear that they felt confident they could limit the defections to probably just those two.
But now, there are still questions about whether or not more Republican senators could break ranks. Potentially, a lot of focus on Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican.
RAJU: Lisa Murkowski, who has been critical of the Democrats' arguments so far, it's uncertain how she could come down. She has not ruled out moving forward witnesses. I've talked to others, as well as Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, someone who has not ruled out voting for witnesses, she's not said one way or the other how she is going to come down. She said she wants to wait until those defense arguments are made.
So what this has really led to is a critical moment right now, because at the end of the week, there is an expectation that the President could be acquitted by the end of this week.
But now, if there is a defection of four or more senators, then that could presumably prolong this trial, but the process is critical, too, John because the way it's going to work is that the defense team is going to finish its arguments probably in the next couple of days and afterwards, senators will have 16 hours of questioning and then once those questions are done, that's when there will be four hours of debate about the witnesses and then a vote by the end of this week about whether to move forward with new witnesses.
And if there's a simple majority to move forward, 51 senators, that means 47 Democrats and at least four Republican senators, then they could have more votes to subpoena witnesses, then there'll be another vote to subpoena John Bolton and if they were 51 votes for that, and then they would bring him actually behind closed doors, have him deposed, and then if the senators decide to have him testify in public, then there had to be another vote to testify in public.
So there are several steps that still would need to occur until ultimately Bolton were to testify, but ultimately will require enough senators to decide it's time to hear from him, and that's what's got the Republican leadership and the White House concerned this morning, because if there is that support, this could prolong the trial for an indefinite amount of time, particularly if the White House decides to fight this in any way, mount a legal battle that could lead things -- lead the President's trial in limbo.
So we'll see how Republicans respond. Democrats still have an uphill climb to get those votes. But if there is a defection that could change things, but at the moment, John, uncertain and that's what makes this next couple of days absolutely critical if the lawyers wants the President acquitted by the end of the week -- John.
BERMAN: Nearly 70 percent of Americans say they want witnesses. John Bolton says he wants to be a witness.
CAMEROTA: What's the problem?
BERMAN: What's left? Thanks, Manu. We really appreciate having you on for that new reporting.
CAMEROTA: All right, so how will this "New York Times" breaking news on the substance of John Bolton's upcoming book change President Trump's impeachment trial?
Congressman Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager is going to join us live, next.