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EARLY START

Trump Team's Final Day of Opening Arguments; CDC Warns: Avoid Travel to China; Lakers Postpone Game After Kobe Bryant's Death. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 28, 2020 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: The president's lawyers tried to flip the script in the impeachment trial. They're focusing on the Bidens while Washington wonders, what's next from John Bolton?

[04:00:02]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All of China now under a travel warning because of the coronavirus. Overnight, China said the virus can spread just through contact.

JARRETT: And LeBron James breaks his silence on the death of Kobe Bryant. The emotional farewell as the Lakers postponed their return to the court.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, January 28th, 4:00 a.m. in New York, six days to the Iowa caucuses.

Today is the third and final day for the Trump defense team's opening argument, trying to sway senators and the public against removing him from office. On day two, the real issue was when the Trump legal team largely avoided John Bolton.

In a draft manuscript, the former national security advisor claims President Trump told him he wanted to hold back military aid to Ukraine until the country helped with an investigation into Joe Biden. The revelation goes against claims by the president and his lawyers.

Now, at least two Republicans are suggesting they will vote to hear from witnesses.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I can't begin to tell you how John Bolton's testimony would ultimately play on a final decision. But it's relevant. And, therefore, I'd like to hear it. I think it's increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: That was Mitt Romney.

And Susan Collins saying, quote, I've also said from the beginning that it was very likely that I would vote for witnesses. And that has not changed.

So that's two votes. Democrats need four. There are a couple of others known to be on the fence. The White House has been clear it doesn't want witnesses at all.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said it will make the trial longer and set a bad precedent.

ROMANS: The stakes here, heightened by more "New York Times" reporting. That reporting says Bolton claims in his book manuscript, he told Attorney General Bill Barr he was concerned the president was granting favors to the autocratic leaders of China and Turkey. Bolton claims Barr said he, too, had concerns that Trump created the appearance of undue influence over federal probes involving China and Turkey. The Justice Department says Bolton grossly mischaracterizes his conversation with Barr.

Even as the Trump defense team does its best to dodge this Bolton question, it's certainly a major focus on Capitol Hill.

Here's congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Laura, ostensibly, everything was about the White House presentation on Monday, their second day of presenting, their second day of three kind of laying out their defense against the two articles of impeachment against the president.

But the reality was, all anybody was talking about particularly inside the Senate Republican conference, was new revelations about a manuscript from John Bolton, the former national security adviser, saying explicitly that he heard from the president that U.S. assistance to Ukraine was, in fact, contingent on Ukraine launching investigations.

Now, senators were unsettled early in the morning. There is no question about that. Multiple people I spoke with confirmed that. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was blindsided by the news. Even though the White House had been -- the manuscript had been submitted to the White House. The White House never informed anybody in the Senate Republican conference, which was a major problem.

However, McConnell made clear to his members in a close-door lunch before the proceedings for the day even began, quote, take a deep breath. His point, don't make any rash decisions on whether or not to vote for witnesses until you have heard the entire White House presentation. Until you've had an opportunity to ask questions of both sides. Something will occur that the White House presentation concludes. Still, there are many days to go and obviously a lot of questions

left. As for the actual presentations themselves, only one person even mentioned the Bolton revelations. That was Alan Dershowitz when he said this.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense.

MATTINGLY: Now, guys, obviously, there are plenty of Democratic senators who disagree with that assessment but the big question is, did it resonate with Republicans? More notably, did it resonate with enough Republicans so that the Democrats wouldn't have the votes to move forward on witnesses?

And we won't have a final answer to that question for at least another couple of days. That's obviously the most operative question at the moment, one everybody is trying to figure out, but one that at least for the moment has no clear answer. And for Republicans, especially those who are unsettled by the Bolton revelations, that in and of itself is a victory again at least for the moment -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JARRETT: Phil Mattingly. Thanks so much.

Well, the president's legal team apparently believes the best way to defend him is to attack Joe and Hunter Biden. They point out how the former vice president's son secured a job on the board of a Ukrainian energy company at the same time his father was calling on Ukraine to fire its special prosecutor for not pursuing corruption. The president's lawyers describing Hunter's post as nepotistic at best, and nefarious at worst.

ROMANS: The Biden camp quick to respond, saying: Here on Planet Earth, the conspiracy theory has been conclusively refuted.

[04:05:06]

JARRETT: And here is what Biden told supporters in a Iowa city.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Presidents can't hold grudges. These guys are attacking me, I get it. And the press corps with me, they're all good people following me. They keep asking me, you know, they just brought up your son Hunter and they're doing this and that and the other thing.

Well, guess what? I don't hold grudges because presidents can't hold grudges. Presidents have to be fighters but they also have to be healers. They have to be healers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Biden tells CNN he expected his son Hunter to be a focus of the impeachment trial. But does not think there will be political fallout for him.

And what appears to be retaliation against the media directed from the highest levels of the State Department, an NPR reporter has been booted from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's upcoming trip. Michele Kelemen was removed from the press pool Monday. No official reason was given. The move comes just days after Pompeo's angry response to an interview with an NPR anchor.

ROMANS: Mary Louise Kelly says the secretary's staff knew ahead of time that she planned to ask him about both Iran and Ukraine. Emails appear to back that up. But Pompeo claims he agreed only to talk about Iran.

Kelly says Pompeo lashed out, berating her and cursing after the interview ended. The secretary doesn't deny it but he accused Kelly of lying to him and violating an off-the-record agreement which Kelly denies. NPR says the network will not be intimidated by the secretary of state.

JARRETT: All of China now under a travel warning because of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control cautioning Americans against any nonessential travel and now monitoring for the virus at 20 U.S. airports that handle the most passengers from China. At least 106 people are now dead and over 4,500 cases confirmed in mainland China. That number rising by nearly 65 percent in a single day.

Fifteen cities in China's Hubei province remain fully or partially locked down. That covers roughly 60 million people alone, mostly in Hubei province. The magnitude is serious. Hubei would cover a big swath of the eastern U.S. from Pennsylvania down to North Carolina.

Now, there's troubling information about how the deadly virus can spread.

Let's go live to Beijing and bring in CNN's David Culver.

David, you know, we're bringing the way this spreads is just by contact alone?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's one of the reasons why they are upping this alert in this more concerning announcement coming out. Not only contact, Laura and Christine, it's also by droplets, potentially saliva, too. So, heading to that, though, this concern from health officials that if during the incubation period, the 1 to 14 days, you are exposed to the virus and you are potentially a carrier, you may not show symptoms but could potentially transmit it to somebody else.

So that's why we are seeing these stepped up screenings and we are also seeing now plans moving forward to evacuate folks who are within that epicenter zone, talking about the city of Wuhan and Hubei province as a whole, including Americans.

The U.S. State Department estimates about 1,000 Americans live in the city of Wuhan. We know several hundred applied for seats to get on a flight that is scheduled to leave today. I touched base with one American woman and her daughter. They are, as of ten minutes ago, arriving at what is an empty airport in Wuhan. They are among 240 people who will be on that flight, including U.S. diplomats and their families. They essentially gave priority to those they believe could be most susceptible to the virus.

But here's the thing, because of that concern of contact, of spreading through saliva, of the 14 days being a potential carriers and transmitting to others, when they arrive after that long journey, Laura and Christine, they're going to have another long stay in quarantine, between 72 hours and 14 days is what they're preparing for now.

And the U.S. is not the only one doing this. You got Japan now moving forward with evacuations. South Korea. Australia's considering it. Worldwide, people are trying to get their citizens out of China.

JARRETT: David, thanks so much for staying on top of this for us.

ROMANS: All right. The coronavirus is a big new uncertainty for investors. After a dive yesterday, stocks looking to rebound today. The Dow fell 454 points. That's 1.6. The biggest one day percentage drop since October. This wipes out the gains for the year.

Take a look at futures right now. Little bit of a rebound on deck here. Concerns about the virus affecting global markets around the world. Markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for the Lunar New Year. European stocks open slightly higher. A bounce back after big falls in Europe Monday.

The outbreak concerns investors about the Chinese economy. China, the second largest economy in the world. Any slowdown in growth there could hurt the global economy, which is already slowed over the past year.

[04:10:02]

Pain in the Chinese economy could also hurt demand for oil. The U.S. oil price is settled almost 2 percent lower at $53.14 a barrel.

Keep an eye out on hotels, airlines, restaurants, anything with international travel. That's what we'll be watching here. Also, been seeing a flight to quality as they call into the bond market. So, yield on treasuries have been falling here.

JARRETT: Well, investigators are trying to determine what caused a U.S. military plane to crash on Monday in Afghanistan. The Bombardier E11 is also known as Wi-Fi in the sky because it's used to link troops in the field to their headquarters. It's not clear how many people were on board or whether anyone survived. A U.S. military spokesman says there's no indication the plane was hit by enemy fire, and claims by the Taliban about other U.S. aircraft crashing are false.

ROMANS: All right. Los Angeles Lakers have postponed tonight's game against the Clippers as the team and its city mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. LeBron James pouring out his soul writing: Please give me the strength

from the heavens above and watch over me. I got us here. There's so much more I want to say but I just can't right now. I can't get through it. Until we meet again, my brother, #mambaforlife. #gigiforlife.

JARRETT: Bryant's daughter Gigi dreamed of playing for the University of Connecticut. Last night, the Lady Huskies held a moment of silence and Gianna's uniform was draped over the UConn bench. All nine victims of Sunday's crash have now been identified. Mourners of all ages turned out for a second day at the Staples Center in L.A.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I miss Kobe.

REPORTER: You miss Kobe? It's really hard, isn't it? But you know what you have? Amazing memories, right? What do you remember about how he played basketball?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: He was really, really good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put your hands down, baby. Tell them how you were watching highlights yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: He was really good and he shoots three -- he shoots threes better than Michael Jordan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Bryant's pilot requested to fly under special visual flight rules used for poor weather conditions. In his final transmission, the pilot told air traffic control he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer. The pilot was then asked what he planned to do. There was no reply.

Unspeakably sad. These families affected by this. You know? The families on board. Just -- just awful.

JARRETT: Yes. And it seems like it's going to take a while to figure out exactly what went wrong here.

ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: Well, for the second time in a week, gripping testimony against Harvey Weinstein.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:16:51]

JARRETT: More emotional and graphic testimony at Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault trial in New York. A pivotal witness, former production assistant Miriam Haley, testified Weinstein assaulted in her 2006. She broke down several times describing how Weinstein pinned her down and forced her into a sex act in his apartment in 2006.

ROMANS: Haley said she eventually stopped fighting him because she figured it was pointless. She never reported it to police fearing they would find out she was working illegally on a tourist visa.

A few weeks later, Haley said Weinstein raped her in a hotel room. Haley's testimony is connected to two of the five charges against Weinstein. Meantime, Weinstein's defense presented texts and e-mails to support their argument that the relationship was consensual.

JARRETT: The FBI and prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office in New York report zero cooperation from Prince Andrew and their attempt to interview him about the late financier, Jeffrey Epstein. In November, the prince said he was willing to help any appropriate law agency with their investigations. Prosecutors are looking for individuals who helped Epstein carry out an alleged sex trafficking operation involving underage girls. One of Epstein's accusers alleges that she was forced into sexual encounters with the prince in 2001 when she was a minor.

ROMANS: Authorities are investigating after a fire at a marina in Alabama Sunday night killed eight people and destroyed about 35 boats. Seven other people swam to safety or were rescued from the Jackson County Park Marina at Guntersville Lake. That's 30 miles east of Huntsville. Officials said Monday it seems now everyone is accounted for. Although, that won't be confirmed until all the boats are pulled from the water and inspected.

People were living on some of these boats. They were live-aboard boats. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

JARRETT: Just incredible.

ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: Well, an incredible rescue. Help arrives just in time for a woman losing her grip on the side of a canyon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Facial recognition systems pose a direct threat to the American way of life. That warning from 40 -- 40 privacy and civil liberties groups urging federal agencies to stop using the software until the risks are assessed. The groups writing this week to the privacy and civil liberties oversight board asking the independent watchdog agency to recommend a ban to President Trump. Among other things, the groups point to the first facial recognition systems frequently misidentify women and people of color.

JARRETT: Truly dramatic rescue in California's Rubio Canyon. Take a look at this hiker clinging to some tree roots after falling off a trail and down a cliff. A rescue chopper lowered a paramedic just below the woman and he was able to catch her just as she let go. The woman's husband also fell. Both of them refused medical treatment but posed for photos with their rescuers and went on their way.

ROMANS: Wow, dangerous.

All right. The Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts for 15 NFL teams have been hacked, including the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Oh, by the way, they play a little game called the Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. The overseas hacking group OurMine claimed responsibility for the attack.

Many of the accounts had the same message posted: Hi, we're back. We are here to show people that everything is hackable. It's followed by a link to improve Internet security.

No comment from the NFL about the attack.

JARRETT: A remarkable moment on the streets of New York caught on video. A group of bystanders banding together to physically lift an SUV off a woman who was pinned underneath and pull her to safety. People can be seen rushing to aid the 25-year-old victim after she was hit crossing the street. Miraculously, she escaped serious injury. The driver, a 65-year-old woman, was given a summons by the police for failing to yield.

[04:25:05]

ROMANS: Wow. Just another day on the streets of New York.

JARRETT: Look at that.

ROMANS: All right. A split-focus in the impeachment trial, the president's lawyers target the Bidens. The rest of Washington has eyes on John Bolton. What it all means for the president's impeachment trial.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: The president's lawyers tried to flip the script in the impeachment trial. They're focusing on the Bidens while Washington wonders, what's next from John Bolton?

JARRETT: All of China now under a travel warning because of the coronavirus. Overnight, China said the virus can spread just through contact.

ROMANS: LeBron James breaks his silence on the death of Kobe Bryant. The emotional farewell as the Lakers postponed their return to the court.

END