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EARLY START

DNC Pushing Iowa Dems for Recanvass; Trump Unleashes Rage Post- Impeachment; Cruise Ship Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 7, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:18]

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: 2020 Democrats swarming New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday's primary. Results finally in from Iowa. What they mean for the upcoming states.

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REBECCA FRASURE, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER DIAGNOSED WITH CORONAVIRUS: I'm trying not to freak out with all of this.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: First on CNN, an American trapped on a quarantined cruise ship now diagnosed with coronavirus. What's next for her and thousands of others on that ship.

JARRETT: And a deadly weather system surges through the Southeast. Hundreds of thousands in the dark. What today holds in store.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday. Yes, we made it to Friday, February 7th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York.

Just four days to the New Hampshire primary, candidates are finally looking forward. They can do that because four days after Iowa we finally have results with 100 percent of precincts reporting Pete Buttigieg has a razor thin lead of 0.10 percent over Bernie Sanders. That's in the state delegate count. The yardstick used to determine the winner. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar rounding out the top five.

JARRETT: Sanders still has reason to celebrate edging out Buttigieg by more than 2600 in the popular vote. Bottom line here, Buttigieg and Sanders are heading into New Hampshire effectively tied. This was the reaction from Buttigieg, live at a CNN's town hall, hearing that he held on to that slim lead.

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CHRIS CUOMO, HOST, CNN TOWN HALL: What is your reaction? PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's fantastic

news to hear that we won. That win for us in Iowa is fantastic, but I also know that we're in New Hampshire now and we've got to look ahead. New Hampshire is a state that has never been told what to do.

CUOMO: Right.

BUTTIGIEG: And we've got to earn every vote and earn a win on Tuesday night right here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Sanders also had a CNN town hall. He's faced repeated questions about whether he did enough to help the 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton. Last night, he tried to put similar worries about 2020 to bed.

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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No matter who wins the nomination, needless to say, I hope it's me, but no matter who wins the nomination, we're all going to work together to defeat Donald Trump. That, I think, you could take to the bank.

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ROMANS: Amy Klobuchar with a surprisingly strong showing in Iowa. She's sharing the moderate lane with Buttigieg and Biden. But in her CNN town hall, she told a voter she's not going anywhere.

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AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every single time, I have exceeded expectations. We came very close in terms of the number of people that turned out to Vice President Biden. Look at the numbers yourself. So, we actually left Iowa with a lot of enthusiasm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: There will be seven candidates on stage tonight for the final Democratic debate before the first primary in New Hampshire. An especially big night for Joe Biden, who's trying to overcome a weaker- than-expected showing in Iowa. He was actually back home in Delaware Thursday with advisers plotting a reset.

JARRETT: The campaign is trying to look past the Iowa debacle but that's proving hard to do. A CNN analysis shows a variety of errors in the count reported by the state Democratic Party. Iowa Democratic officials also now say President Trump's supporters made matters worse. They say prank callers intentionally flooded the phone hotline used for recording results when that mobile app failed. Now the National Democratic Party wants to step in and straighten it out before -- straighten out those voting counting errors, but the state party officials are pushing back.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more from Des Moines. JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura,

four days after the Iowa caucuses, still counting the votes here in Des Moines. Interesting developments here going on inside the Democratic Party. Iowa Democratic leaders, I'm told, were blindsided by Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, calling for a recanvass. As it turns out, he does not have the authority to do that. A recanvass has to be requested by a candidate or a campaign.

So what you ask is a recanvass? Essentially, it's going through the numbers. It is, you know, essentially, reconciling the numbers on those spreadsheets that we saw with the numbers that were called into the state party.

Would that change things, unclear. But the reason for it is this, so many inconsistencies in the numbers. That's not necessarily uncommon in close elections. Elections are run by people -- always human error. But the difference about this, of course, is the satellite caucuses, which Bernie Sanders pushed for four years ago. That allows people to come in and vote early on Monday night.

So, as we head into today, the last day of the week, a couple of questions. A, will the Buttigieg campaign or the Sanders campaign come forward before the noon deadline and request a recanvass? The Iowa Democratic Party said look, we are not going to do it unless they do.

[04:05:04]

One thing that's clear from this, Democratic voters in Iowa sent a very mixed signal, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. That means as this primary goes on down the road, two very different candidates as the party reconciles who the strongest one is to take on President Trump -- Laura and Christine.

ROMANS: Emboldened and not afraid to show it, President Trump took a venomous victory lap to celebrate his acquittal in the impeachment trial. It all started at the yearly National Prayer Breakfast with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looking on.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong, nor do I like people who say I pray for you when they know that that's not so.

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ROMANS: This is the National Prayer Breakfast. You might recall Speaker Pelosi has repeatedly told reporters she prays for the president. And Mitt Romney, Senator Mitt Romney said it was his faith that drove him to vote to convict the president.

JARRETT: Later at the White House, the president heaped praise on everyone in the room and made this curious remark about his legal team.

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TRUMP: Right at the beginning, they said, sir, you have nothing to worry about. All of the facts are on your side. I said, you don't understand, that doesn't matter. That doesn't matter. And that was really true.

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JARRETT: It didn't take long before the president turned the heat up a notch going scorched-earth on his opponents in the White House.

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TRUMP: We first went through Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars. Say hello to the people of Utah and tell them I'm sorry about Mitt Romney. I'm sorry, OK?

And if I didn't fire James Comey, we would have never found this stuff because when I fired that sleazebag all hell broke out.

Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. She doesn't pray, she may pray, but she prays for the opposite, but I doubt she prays at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: A president not chasten but unleashed. The president is scheduled to get back to governing today. He will be in Charlotte for the North Carolina Opportunity Now summit. It's designed to facilitate investments in low-income areas.

JARRETT: Meanwhile, a key witness in President Trump's impeachment hearings is leaving his post at the National Security Council in the coming weeks. A source tells CNN, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is expected to return to the Defense Department. Vindman was originally asked to work at the White House for two years, which would take him into July. No official word on whether his departure from the NSC was voluntary, but sources were telling CNN, as far back as November, that President Trump's aides were exploring moving witnesses including Vindman out of their White House posts.

ROMANS: All right, breaking overnight, an alarming example of just how quickly the coronavirus can spread in close quarters. A quarantined cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan reporting 41 additional cases on Friday. That brings the total to 61, and it's only going to get worse the longer people are confined to that ship.

CNN was the first TV network to speak with one of the 11 Americans on that ship diagnosed with the virus.

Our Matt Rivers is live from Yokohama, Japan -- Matt.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, right now on that ship behind me there's about 3700 people who are quarantined onboard. They will be on that ship per the regulations by Japan's government for at least 14 days. And this comes as more cases are being confirmed. Yesterday we said there was 20 people, well, now that's jumped to 61, and it's a cruise ship. People are right next to each other in close quarters. So those numbers could very well go up.

We've been told 275 people roughly have been tested onboard for the virus, 61 have come back positive, and of that there are a number of Americans. 428 Americans onboard that ship, and we know a number of them have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Earlier today we managed to speak with a woman who was filming as she was told that she had been positively diagnosed and here's what she told us after receiving that diagnosis.

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FRASURE: Kind of disbelief and shock, a little bit -- a little bit scared. And it's hard to know what the future holds since I don't really feel sick right now. Like, is it going to get worse? I'm trying not to freak out with all of this, and so take it in stride and yes, see what goes.

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[04:10:00]

RIVERS: Some pretty remarkable stoicism there. Now what they're doing with people who have been diagnosed on board, they're taking them off, one by one, off that ship into local hospitals here in Japan, and that's a process we expect to continue if more people are diagnosed on that ship.

ROMANS: All right, Matt Rivers for us in Japan. Thank you, Matt.

JARRETT: Well, two flights carrying Americans out of Wuhan, China on the way to the U.S. this morning. One stopping over in Vancouver before heading to the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, near San Diego. The other will land first at Travis Air Force Base in California, then head to San Antonio and then onto to Omaha.

Meantime, China's top anti-corruption agency is sending a team of investigators to Wuhan following the death of a doctor who warned of the coronavirus outbreak months ago but was silenced by the government.

ROMANS: All right, a decade into the economic recovery the jobs machine has remained mighty in this country. We'll get a look at the first month of the election year at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time today.

President Trump of course takes credit for the job creation during his three years in office. Economists estimate employers added 163,000 new jobs in January. If the number is stronger, it could be because of the weather. Warmer than usual temperatures allow construction and other outdoor work at a normally cold time of the year. So that could be a seasonal factor here.

Now the president has tried to rebrand the economic recovery, the decade-long economic recovery as his alone while slamming the Obama economy. The job market is strong, unemployment at a 49-year low, wages are rising for low-wage workers, but those trends started after the Great Recession and have continued. Trendlines are pretty clear on this. So far the average monthly gain of jobs under President Trump is 191,000 average monthly gains. Employers were adding an average of 227,000 jobs a month during the last 35 months of the Obama tenure.

Now history will also be made in today's report, by the way. For the first time same-sex couples will be included in the count of married workers. The LGBTQ community has pushed to recognize this in official government statistics. The change will not affect the numbers, only a few categories in the underlying tables.

JARRETT: Sort of amazing that hadn't been done before.

ROMANS: I know, interesting, right?

JARRETT: Well, any FBI investigation of a 2020 candidate will need approval from now on. From who and why up next.

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[04:16:25]

JARRETT: Attorney General Bill Barr handing down orders to avoid ensnaring the Justice Department in the 2020 elections the way it was back in 2016. Under the new rules, no investigation into a presidential candidate can begin without Barr's sign-off. The FBI must also now involve top Justice officials before investigating any congressional campaigns. A memo obtained by CNN says the aim is to ensure the November elections are free from improper activity or influences. The move is clearly a response to criticism of the FBI's handling of the Russia probe and the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail servers.

ROMANS: The White House announcing last night that the leader of the terror group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen. CNN reported last week the U.S. targeted Qasim al- Raymi. The Pentagon did not comment when asked about that report but the U.S. had offered a $10 million reward for information on al-Raymi. The U.S. Military has recently conducted several strikes killing high- profile Middle Eastern adversaries including a top Iranian general in January and the leader of ISIS in October.

JARRETT: Breaking overnight, a Russian passenger plane forced to make an emergency landing at a Russian operated air base in Syria after it was targeted by Syria's missile defense system. The Airbus 320 had 172 passengers onboard. It was en route from Tehran to Damascus, and may have been fired on because of airstrikes hours earlier near the Syrian capital. This latest near-miss comes just weeks after the Iranians shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Iran backs Syria's Assad regime.

All right, coming up next why CBS anchor Gayle King is trying to correct the record and pointing the finger at her own network over an interview she conducted.

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JARRETT: Nearly 125,000 customers in the dark as deadly weather hits the southeast. In St. Petersburg, Florida, high winds brought down a crane in the middle of the interstate. The storm killing two people.

In North Carolina a man died after his vehicle hydroplaned and landed in a creek. And in western Alabama a tornado touched down killing one person and injuring another. In Georgia look on the right side of your screen there, that's a tree toppling on to a car speeding down a busy highway. Amazingly police say no one was seriously hurt. More than 100 million Americans are still under winter weather alerts. Flood watches and wind advisories still coming this morning.

ROMANS: A public memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven others killed in a helicopter crash will be held February 24th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The 2/24 date is significant. Kobe wore the number 24 in the latter part of his career with the L.A. Lakers. Gianna wore number 2 for her youth basketball team. No formal announcement yet about the timing or tickets for the ceremony.

JARRETT: Physical fitness tests in California schools may soon be stopped. Governor Gavin Newsom is concerned they promote bullying and body shaming. Right now the state requires students in grades five, seven and nine to take a test that includes a one-mile run, curl ups, pushups, and a measure of body mass index. The governor is particularly sensitive about the BMI tests since it requires students to identify as male or female. A number of districts have explained that the BMI tests discriminates against students who identify as nonbinary.

ROMANS: A dramatic heart-wrenching twist of fate at a house fire near Elon, North Carolina. A veteran paramedic called to the scene discovered it was his house and the woman stuck inside was his 40- year-old. Firefighters were able to rescue the woman and began CPR, but Candace Wynn died later at a hospital.

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EDWARD LIPSCOMB, ALTAMAHAW OSSIPEE FIRE CHIEF: He lost everything, a piece of his family. I'd be a wreck out there. Eddie never missed a beat and that's the kind of guy he is. He did everything he could.

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ROMANS: A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the paramedic Eddie Thomas with medical and funeral expenses.

JARRETT: Gayle King with some sharp words for her employer CBS News for sharing a clip from her recent interview with former WNBA star Lisa Leslie.

[04:25:03]

The morning show star questioned Leslie about a 2003 sexual assault allegation against Kobe Bryant and whether it complicated his legacy during a wide-ranging interview. CBS posted the clip on social media and the morning show host says she was blindsided by all the blowback.

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GAYLE KING, "CBS THIS MORNING" ANCHOR: I am mortified. I am embarrassed. And I am very angry. For the network to take the most salacious part when taken out of context and put it up online for people who didn't see the whole interview is very upsetting to me, and that's something I'm going to have to deal with with them.

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JARRETT: CBS says it's currently addressing its internal process and changes have already been made.

And, you know, Christine, the real shame of it is it was a much, much longer interview. We aired parts of it.

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: It was really well done. She was just doing her job. But obviously all the blowback on social media was swift.

ROMANS: All right. 25 minutes past the hour. Iowa's results finally in. Democrats fanning out across New Hampshire now. One candidate notably absent.

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