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EARLY START

Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in Virtual Tie in Iowa Caucus; DNC Takes Over Vote Counting Operation in Iowa Caucus; Utah Senator Mitt Romney Votes to Convict Trump; Two Cruise Ships Quarantined in Asia. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired February 6, 2020 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:09]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, new results from Iowa. Essentially a tie between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. State Democrats hoping for a final result today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): There's no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the president would never have done what he did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: What are the costs of turning on President Trump? Mitt Romney now bracing for fallout after voting to convict the president in his impeachment trial. The president speaks publicly later today.

ROMANS: And remembering a legend of the big screen. Actor Kirk Douglas has died at age of 103.

Welcome back to EARLY START this Thursday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

Breaking overnight, a dead heat in Iowa. The latest results from Monday's caucus show Pete Buttigieg in front of Bernie Sanders by one- tenth of a percent in the state delegate race with 97 percent of the vote counted. That is a statistical tie. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Amy Klobuchar round out the top five there.

Iowa's Democratic Party chairman Troy Price tells state officials the full results are expected by this morning.

ROMANS: The counting now in its fourth day after technical issues with an app led to a complete meltdown on caucus night, and the issues persist. After releasing a batch of results Wednesday, Iowa Democrats had to issue a minor correction, further clouding the already delayed numbers. Now the National Democratic Party is stepping in.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny still on the ground for us in Des Moines.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, the count is still going on here in Iowa, but the story here about the first Iowa caucuses is how did this go so wrong. So much finger- pointing already, starting between the Democratic National Committee and the Iowa Democratic Party. I am told that the DNC is essentially taking over this counting operation and has been making phone calls individually to those precinct chairs trying to get the information.

So, ask yourselves what has happened in the last day or so. I am told that they are trying to recreate, find that paper trail of all of those preference cards, and going through them and compiling them with the overall spreadsheets. So, what they are doing is trying to verify all of these specific numbers.

Much to be dissected here. The candidates have all moved to New Hampshire but still, the eyes are on waiting for that final vote here. And Pete Buttigieg, who people thought was sort of flatlining before the Iowa caucuses, certainly pulling off an upset over Bernie Sanders, who was promising a big turnout and a big victory. That is perhaps the key takeaway.

Why didn't more Democrats come out and participate in this first-in- the-nation caucus? The level of voters looks to be around the same as 2016, not the level of the record-setting in 2008 when Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses. For now, though, the Buttigieg campaign will certainly take this narrow, almost victory -- Laura and Christine.

JARRETT: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Well, a full field of 2020 Democratic contenders blanketing New Hampshire ahead of the state's primary on Tuesday. Last night four of the top candidates were on stage for a series of CNN town halls. Former vice president Joe Biden says he expected to do better in Iowa. He also gave a passionate answer when asked by a voter who asked something Biden has struggled with in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vice president Biden, what advice would you give a college student who has struggled with stuttering since he was a young child?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, stuttering when you think about it is the only handicap that people still laugh about. That still humiliate people about. And they didn't mean to. When I was a kid, I -- talked like that and some of you smile. If I said to you when I was a kid I had a cleft pallet, and people made fun of me, no one would smile.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Actually I just want to follow up on that. My mom actually stuttered and even at 95 when the last couple -- the last year of her life she still had a stutter from time to time when she got tired as you said. How were you able to -- how were you actually able to overcome that? I mean, how did you learn how to do that the right --

BIDEN: Well, what I did was I didn't have professional help, but I had three things going for me. I had a mother who had a backbone like the (INAUDIBLE), and she'd look, she'd go, Joey, look at me. Look at me, Joey, you're handsome, you're smart, you're a good athlete, Joey. Don't let this define you, Joey. Remember who you are, Joey, you can do it. And so every time I walked out she'd reinforce that. I know that sounds silly but it really matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: You know, it's interesting. Obviously Joe Biden didn't do that well in Iowa. He certainly has stumbled in some of the debates but it's moments like that that when you talk to voters that's what they love about him.

ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: It's the authenticity, it's the fact that he's open even about some of his challenges.

ROMANS: And he -- his brand of retail politics really connects with people when he's talking to them in these, you know, face-to-face events. That was -- I didn't know that Anderson's mom had stuttered, too.

JARRETT: Yes.

[04:35:06]

ROMANS: That was an interesting tidbit there.

JARRETT: Well, tonight round two of the CNN town hall event. The final Democratic presidential town halls before the New Hampshire primary. A special live event resumes tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump will speak publicly today after being acquitted by the Senate of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. This ugly chapter in American history is now over, but the fallout is just beginning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: Two-thirds of the senators present, not having found him guilty of the charges contained therein. It is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The Senate acquittal did not have the full backing of the GOP like the White House was hoping for. Senator Mitt Romney became the first senator to vote to convict a president in their own party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Romney. Mr. Romney, guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Breaking from President Trump is a huge risk for any Republican. Before the vote, Romney explained his decision in a dramatic speech on the Senate floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did. There's no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the president would never have done what he did.

The president's purpose was personal and political. Accordingly the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust. What he did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep one's self in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Romney has said he knew there would be a backlash and it did not take long. The president tweeted out a video calling Romney slippery among other things. President Trump's son, Don Junior, is calling on the Republican Party to expel him.

ROMANS: And even though the impeachment saga is over neither side seems willing to let it go. Republican senators are requesting Hunter Biden's travel records. And Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler says it's likely the House will subpoena former National Security adviser John Bolton.

JARRETT: Breaking overnight, the Trump administration barring New York residents from registering or renewing their memberships in Trusted Traveler Programs that allow travelers to speed through airport lines. That includes Global Entry and the Nexus Program. The new rule does not affect TSA's popular pre-check program.

The sweeping move by Homeland Security comes in response to New York state's Green Light Law. That law allows undocumented immigrants to get driver's license but prevents federal agencies from accessing DMV databases. So essentially this is the Trump administration making life harder for New Yorkers because the state won't help deport people. The acting DHS chief said access is databases is needed to vet applicants for those traveler programs.

ROMANS: All right, Amazon meet the taxman. For the first time since 2016 Amazon owed money to the federal government but that $162 million tax bill last year amounts to just a little over 1 percent of Amazon's profit last year. Amazon, of course, a frequent target for critics who complain the juggernaut doesn't pull its tax weight even though it's legal.

In a blog post, Amazon touted it had over $1 billion in federal income tax expense as well as billions and other federal state and local taxes. The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, a think tank, well, noted those amounts aren't taxes that Amazon actually pays, adding, quote, "Congratulating an employer for collecting the payroll tax is like congratulating yourself for breathing."

President Trump has frequently criticized Amazon for paying little or no taxes to state and local government but the Trump administration's 2017 tax cuts actually, well, helped lower the corporate tax rate.

JARRETT: Breaking overnight an American citizen abducted in Afghanistan. A U.S. official tells CNN, the individual was working as a contractor in Eastern Afghanistan at the time of the kidnapping. Efforts to track and locate that person are ongoing. A State Department spokesman would not comment on the case when contacted by CNN.

ROMANS: All right, what if Snow White wasn't white? A big book chain abandoning a plan to honor Black History Month.

[04:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Hollywood has lost one of its true screen legends. Actor Kirk Douglas died Wednesday at the age of 103.

For decades, Douglas was one of the biggest stars on the planet. He made nearly 100 movies. Perhaps his most memorable role and the one he said he was most proud of was that of a rebellious Roman slave in 1960s "Spartacus."

JARRETT: Off-screen, Douglas led an open revolt against Hollywood's infamous black list. He was nominated for Academy Awards three times in his career. He received an honorary Oscar in 1996, the same year he suffered a stroke.

His son, actor Michael Douglas, posting this tribute to his father on social media. "To the world he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years. A humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to. But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter, he was simply Dad. I am so proud to be your son."

[04:45:02]

Kirk Douglas leaves behind a big family including his wife Anne. They married in 1954.

The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into conditions at four Mississippi prisons after at least a dozen inmates have died. DOJ says it will focus on whether prison officials have done enough to protect prisoners from one another and whether there's appropriate mental health care to prevent against suicides. One of the prisons under investigation, the State Penitentiary in Parchman, has reported nine inmate deaths in just over a month.

ROMANS: The family of a missing 11-year-old boy in Colorado is making a desperate plea for Gannon Stauch's -- for help. Gannon's Stauch's parents say he left his home in Colorado Springs on January 27th and never came back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANDEN HOTT, MOTHER OF MISSING BOY: I'm afraid that I will never hear his voice. That I will never him run and say, Mommy, and that I'll never hear those corny jokes that he'd always tell every single day. He has to tell me a joke.

If you have anything that's credible, if you're afraid, don't worry about -- imagine my son how afraid he is. Imagine how afraid Gannon is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Police say evidence was found in a neighbor's security camera but they're keeping the details under wraps calling the discovery the break they needed in the investigation.

JARRETT: Barnes and Noble nixing plans to put people of color on classic book covers. The company wanted to commemorate Black History Month at its flagship New York store but canceled its Diverse Editions Program because of a backlash on social media. Barnes and Noble and Penguin Random House planned to release special editions of 12 classic novels including "Romeo and Juliet," "Moby Dick" and "Alice in the Wonderland." The idea got slammed online with one critic referring to it as literary blackface.

Well, over 20 million people are under a flash flood watch and 50 million are facing winter weather alerts as a powerful weather system pounds the eastern U.S.

Let's get more from Pedram Javaheri.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, guys. Quite a bit of active weather to be had across the country, in particular, around parts of the Midwest into New England later on tonight into Friday morning. And, of course, around the southeast some severe weather across the region as well as a level three, on a scale of one to five there in place for generally damaging winds, a few isolated tornadoes, certainly could see some large hail as well.

But this is the kind of pattern you'd see more in the spring season and frankly, the temperatures supporting a spring-like pattern across portions of the south where 60s and 70s are widespread. But flash flood watches in place for about 20 million people.

And over 50 million to the north, into the Ohio Valley, and eventually into New England dealing with winter weather alerts and that is an area where some icing is possible into New England later on tonight into the early morning hours. But notice Friday, 1:30 in the morning, the system beginning to park just offshore, so the impacts there begin exiting stage right.

But before it's done, a few inches possible as far as rainfall into parts of the south. And then work your way into New England. You've got to get away from the major metro cities to see any decent accumulations. Syracuse there, one of the bullseye regions for heavy snowfall later on tonight.

Temps, 60 in Minot, middle 80s down in South Florida -- guys.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that, Pedram.

A traffic stop in northwest Florida turned into a narcotics bust when police noticed what appeared to be a bag full of drugs in the car. Their first clue, the bag was labeled "bag full of drugs." Inside the bag methamphetamine, GHB, cocaine, Fentanyl, and Ecstasy. A Facebook post from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff notes, "Do not traffic your illegal narcotics in bags labeled 'bag full of drugs.' Our canines can read."

JARRETT: NASA astronaut Christina Koch returning to earth after 328 days in space. Koch was part of the first all-female spacewalk and has broken the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. She launched to the International Space Station on March 14th for what was expected to be a six-month mission. Her stay was extended to collect more data on the effects of long duration space flights. She landed in Kazakhstan just a short time ago.

ROMANS: My work trips are usually like four or five days.

JARRETT: I know. 328 is a little bit longer.

ROMANS: No. Not that long.

What goes up must come down. And did it ever for Tesla. CNN Business has the details on its stumble on Wall Street next.

[04:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JARRETT: Two more flights bound for the U.S. will depart today from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. The city has been on lockdown for two weeks now. Meantime two cruise ships are quarantined in Asia because of virus fears stranding more than 7,000 people. 28,000 cases now reported in mainland China with 563 deaths.

Steven Jiang, live for us in Beijing.

Steven, the government says it's working hard, obviously, to contain the virus. Are those numbers trustworthy right now?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, that is a big question. A lot of people were having their doubts especially from the ground. We've been talking to people who say their loved ones, for example, who died recently of pneumonia but didn't get tested for this virus. So these cases were not included in a government tally. But still the

government is doing a number of increasingly draconian measures to contain the fast spreading virus especially when it comes to quarantine rules.

As you mentioned millions of people in several parts of the country are now under virtual lockdown. In some cities we understand the authorities have told residents each household can now only send out one representative every other day to buy groceries. Everyone else has to stay home at all-time. They're also turning neighbors against neighbors to have people watch each other's movements and report any violation to the authorities via mobile apps.

[04:55:05]

Now speaking of high-tech measures the government here is also increasingly relying on big data from railway companies, airlines and mobile phone carriers to basically monitor the entire population's movements and track down any suspected cases and their close contacts. And police are involved as well in terms of enforcing these very strict rules with a growing number of reports of people getting detained for lying about their movements, travel history or simply going out without wearing a mask -- Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Steven. Thanks so much for laying all that out for us. See you soon.

Three people were killed when a passenger plane skidded off the runway and broke into pieces after landing at an airport in Istanbul Wednesday. Video shows the plane going off the runway and then catching fire. Turkish officials say 183 people were onboard the Pegasus Airlines flight and many suffered injuries. Dozens of first responders worked to rescue passengers from the wreckage. It appears the accident occurred in bad weather. An investigation is under way.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at markets around the world, rebounds. Some relief here in global markets. Those are really good gains in Asian markets. There's a feeling here that Chinese authorities are going to pump money into the system to fight the coronavirus spread.

Looking at futures in the U.S. right now, futures also here leaning a bit higher. Stocks closed higher for the third day in a row Wednesday, rebounding from a selloff caused by the coronavirus. The Dow closed up 482 points. That's a big move, almost a 2 percent move. The S&P 500, the Nasdaq also finished higher ending the day at record highs.

China said it'll cut tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports by half, starting next week. China's state council tariff commission said goods with a 10 percent tariff will be reduced to 5 percent. Goods with a 5 percent tariff will be cut to 2.5 percent. The commission said other tariffs on U.S. goods will be maintained while it works on exemptions.

Tesla's rally on Wall Street. Wow, what a rally and then a U-turn. Its stock fell from its all-time high ending 17 percent lower. Tesla's vice president said deliveries from a Shanghai plant would be delayed. Those deliveries were expected earlier this month. Last week Tesla said the coronavirus outbreak would hold up production at the plant. The stock by the way is still up 71 percent this year.

Thinking about getting a dog for Valentine's Day? Coors Light wants to help by offering to pay some of the adoption fees. Coors will give 100 bucks to the first 1,000 dogs adopted between now and February 21st. Coors said with almost half of millennials planning to stay in on Valentine's Day, "we wanted to empower people to savor the day with Coors Light and a dog by their side." Anyone of legal drinking age in eligible states can get some of their adoption --

JARRETT: If my husband gets me a dog for Valentine's Day we are going to fight.

(LAUGHTER)

JARRETT: That is not going to work.

ROMANS: That is not what you call --

JARRETT: No.

ROMANS: - a good idea. Well, while you were sleeping late-night comics shared their thoughts on the president's acquittal. Here are your late-night laughs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE-NIGHT HOST: Folks, I hope you're sitting down because I've got some terrible news. The news. Today the U.S. Senate acquitted Donald Trump, so -

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

COLBERT: There it is, OK? It's official. Nothing means anything. Right is wrong, up is down, Missouri is Kansas.

JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE-NIGHT HOST: Minority leader Chuck Schumer said that from here on Trump's presidency will always have an asterisk next to it, and Lindsey Graham will be there to kiss that asterisk at all times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That was a good one.

JARRETT: And tough.

Well, thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight, new results from Iowa essentially a tie between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. State Democrats hoping for a final Iowa result today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There's no question in my mind that were their names not Biden the president would never have done what he did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: What are the costs of turning on President Trump? Mitt Romney bracing for fallout after voting to convict the president in the Senate impeachment trial. The president speaks publicly later today.

ROMANS: And remembering a legend of the big screen. Actor Kirk Douglas has died at age 103.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START this Thursday morning. I'm Christine romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Thursday, February 6th, 5:00 a.m. in the east.

Breaking overnight, a virtual dead heat in Iowa. The latest results from Monday's caucuses show Pete Buttigieg in front of Bernie Sanders by 0.10 percent in the state delegate race with 97 percent of the votes counted now. That's a statistical tie.

Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar round out the top five. Iowa's Democratic Party chairman Troy Price tells stale officials the full results finally are expected by this morning.