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EARLY START

Can Democrats Slow The Bernie Sanders Surge; Axios, President Trump Wants Snakes Fired From Government; President Trump In India; Time Is Running Short For Sander's Rival; America's Choice 2020; Trump White House; Intel Official's Russia Assessment Called Misleading; Sotomayor Issues Scathing Dissent; Coronavirus Fears Tank Global Markets; Coronavirus Hurting China's Economy; China Warns Citizens Against Travel To United States; Rainbow Snake Spotted In Ocala Forest; America's Low Wage Working Army; America's Choice 2020; Sanders Offers Partial Defense Of Fidel Castro; Crawling For His Life; Mulvaney Dropped From India Trip; Daredevil Killed In Crash Of Homemade Rocket; Restaurateur And Cookbook Author B. Smith Dies; New Orleans Bans Tandem Floats; Jewish Center In Albany Cleared After Bomb Threat; Holocaust Remembrance Groups Slam Amazon; Fashion Institute Of Technology Apologizes For Racist Imagery; Stocks Fall As Coronavirus Spreads Beyond China; Wall Street Journal, Boeing Offers Support For 737 Max Suppliers; YouTuber Fakes Bali Vacation In Ikea. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired February 24, 2020 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Bernie Sanders is starting to run away from the Democratic field hell bent on a revolution. Is the moderate resistance out of time?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president obsess with the so-called the deep state, he wants snakes found and fired. New details on who is helping and how.

JARRETT: And it's going to be an ugly, ugly day on Wall Street. Futures weigh down, markets worldwide plummet as coronavirus cases expand well beyond China. Welcome back to Early Start. I'm Laura Jarrett. And as we mentioned in the break it's really that spread beyond China that's causing the plummet.

ROMANS: Yes. And 3 percent moves, those are big overnight moves. I'm Christine Romans, it is 31 minutes past the hour here in New York. Let's begin with the Democratic race, Democratic candidates not named Bernie Sanders are running very short on time with the South Carolina primary coming on Saturday, Sanders is close to wrapping up a lead that will be very hard to beat. It's full steam ahead for the Vermont Senator after a convincing win in the Nevada caucuses, expanding his now to Super Tuesday states. Sanders was in Austin, Texas last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I've

been hearing, you know the establishment is getting a little bit nervous about our campaign. And you know what? When they see if the cameras turn on this crowd and our friends in Wall Street and the drug companies see this kind of crowd, you're going to really get them nervous.

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: About a third of all delegates are up for grabs a week from tomorrow. Most of the splintered field is focusing on South Carolina looking for a momentum boost. After mostly ignoring Sanders at last week's debate, expect him to be a prime target at the next one tomorrow night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am here to make the case for a politics that aims higher than just replacing one form of divisiveness with another but rather unifies this country before it is too late.

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERS)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Courage these days is not standing by yourself in the corner, throwing a punch in the boxing ring. Courage is whether or not you're willing to stand next to someone you don't always agree with for the betterment of this country.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: A new South Carolina poll shows Joe Biden still in the lead, but the race is all about margins now. Biden's lead is narrowing. One important dynamic to watch, Tom Steyer who will be on the stage at tomorrow's debate. Biden is blaming him and his big money ad buys for the slide in South Carolina. Biden is also arguing Sanders at the top of the ticket could cost Democrats nationwide. Our Jeff Zeleny is on the campaign trail in Charleston, South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, now the South Carolina primary only five days away. Bernie Sanders still the clear front-runner in the Democratic nominating contest. Joe Biden trying to make a stand here in South Carolina. Campaigning here on Sunday making the case that the African-American electorate here, some 60 percent of the Democratic electorate African- American that he believes they own this election in his words and they will make their judgment.

That's exactly the case he's trying to make. But look, there's worry across the Democratic establishment particularly after the Nevada results over the weekend. Is Bernie Sanders simply too strong to stop? We asked Joe Biden about whether Sanders would be detrimental to Democrats down ballot.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not just can you beat Trump. Can you bring along, can you keep a Democratic House of Representatives in the United States Congress and can you bring along a Democratic Senate? Can you help people up down the line? And I think, I'm better prepared to do that than Senator Sanders is.

ZELENY: So Biden clearly trying to make this a two person race with Bernie Sanders, but that is simply not the case. There are so many others in his lane as well. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, even Tom Steyer here in South Carolina making big investments. So the question for Joe Biden, can he revive his candidacy? Can he show that he is the strongest candidate to take on President Trump?

Now, after South Carolina only three days before Super Tuesday next week. That's why so much is on the line here, more than anyone for Joe Biden. Five days left and the most important ones in his political career. Christine and Laura.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks for that. All right. The election year economy is strong, but something is wrong. President Trump tapped into it, now Bernie Sanders has, too. There is a low wage working army in America, and that coalition is behind Bernie's win in Nevada. The energy he had in Iowa, and now again we're seeing it in Texas.

Look at these numbers. Data from Brookings institution shows 53 million people are making $10.22 an hour. That's just under $18,000 a year, 53 million people. Two thirds of these low wage workers are in their prime earning years of 24 to 54.

[04:35:13]

These aren't teenagers, these aren't young people working with minimum wage or entry level jobs. These are adults and 40 percent of this group are raising children. Now, all this despite unemployment being at a 50-year low. This low wage army is told the college is the answer but they can't afford the tuition.

The Feds consumer debt report recently showed a record number of student loan holders are not paying their bills, one in nine borrowers 90 days or more delinquent or in default in the fourth quarter of last year. Important numbers, I think, behind what you're seeing on the campaign trail and what you're seeing on specifically from supporters of Bernie Sanders.

JARRETT: Bernie and Trump. ROMANS: Yes.

JARRETT: Well, moderate voters may have another reason to bypass Senator Sanders. The Vermont Senator offering up a partial defense of Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution. Sanders was asked on 60 minutes about something he said back in the 1980s that the Cuban people didn't rise up against Castro because he gave them education and health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but, you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know, when Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Anderson Cooper pointed out -- point out the number of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba, Sanders responded we condemn that.

ROMANS: Ahead of the South Carolina primaries, CNN will host town hall events with all the leading candidates. A two night events starts tonight with Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer. That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

JARRETT: President Trump stepping up efforts to weed out government officials he views as disloyal. Aides of Axios, the president has crossed a psychological line involving the so-called deep state ever since his Senate acquittal. They say he feels his government from justice, to state, to defense, to homeland security is filled with snakes he wants fired and replaced.

ROMANS: CNN reported last week President Trump's new personnel chief made it clear his office will be on the lookout for staffers across the administration who are seen as disloyal. Now 12 sources tell Axios the president and top allies over the past 18 months compiled lists of untrustworthy officials to oust and loyalists to replace them.

A well-connected network of conservative activists has been quietly developing never-Trump and pro-Trump lists and is sending memos to the president to shape his views. Members of this network include Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. CNN has reached out for a comment but has not heard back.

JARRETT: Axios reports one recent memo involves Jessie Liu. She was nominated for a top job at treasury only to have the president withdraw that nomination right before her confirmation hearing. She led the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C. overseeing the Roger Stone case. And the memo about Liu contained 14 sections making the case for why she was unfit for the job. Neither Liu nor the White House has responded to request for comment.

ROMANS: All right, stock markets around the world are tumbling as the coronavirus outbreak spreads beyond China. These are big moves to start the week. Hong Kong closed down nearly 2 percent. South Korean stocks had their worst day in more than a year down almost 4 percent, and the bad mood is extending to the president's favored economic indicator, the stock market, the industrial average looks like almost 800 points if this negativity holds into the next few hours.

Now, the White House is expected to ask Congress for emergency funding to battle the virus as fears of a larger outbreak in the U.S. grow. There are now 25 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., 14 Americans who tested positive for the disease return to the U.S. this week after spending weeks quarantined on the Diamond Princess docked in Japan. The exact amount of funding has not been set but a request could be sent to the Capitol Hill soon as today.

A spokesperson for Health and Human Services said, CDC has already notified Congress. It plans to spend up to $66 million for its infectious diseases, rapid response reserve fund to react to that outbreak. Those are big stock market moves. I mean, we're going to be bracing for a big sell-off this morning. The DOW was down also on Friday. It's sort of the realization here that they don't have a grasp on how badly coronavirus will spread and how that will hurt global growth.

You know, in China, China is now a third of global economic output, has tied into China. Much different than 20 years ago when we had the SARS virus.

JARRETT: Well, still ahead, a hiker in Washington State crawling, crawling eight hours to save his own life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:40:00]

JARRETT: Breaking news, India is rolling out the red carpet for President Trump. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, embracing the president during the optics heavy visit which kick-off with an elaborate Namaste Trump rally in the world's largest cricket stadium. CNN's Sam Kiley is there for us. Sam, of course the president also loved all the pomp and circumstance, but both men really not addressing what's going on in their home countries.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, but they were addressing how wonderful each of them were as leaders of their home countries, particularly fulsome praise from Donald Trump towards Narendra Modi suggesting that he was really the author of the Indian dream. Here's a flavor of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is all the difference in the world between a nation that seeks power through coercion, intimidation and aggression and a nation that rises by setting its people free and unleashing them to chase their dreams. And that is India.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:45:10] KILEY: Now, Laura, the Indian dream is very much a nightmare for many

Muslims in this country due to the populist policies of the Hindu nationalist leader here, Prime Minister Modi. A sort of criticism also leveled against Donald Trump. They both are populist politicians swept to power on a wave of the populism they're so clever and skilled at harnessing.

But this really has been a day of pomp and circumstance ahead of a serious negotiations which will begin tomorrow and culminate with a formal dinner over at the state presidency. But nonetheless Melania, the first lady, and Donald Trump heading off to do a bit of tourism now at the Taj Mahal. Laura.

JARRETT: All right. Sam Kiley, thanks so much for that.

ROMANS: White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney dropped out of the India trip in the last minute. Four White House sources insist Mulvaney has a cold and was advise not to travel in close proximity to the president and first lady. But note that both his predecessors, Reince Priebus and John Kelly, stopped traveling with President Trump near the end of their tenures. A note also that Mulvaney buffed the official White House line last week saying the U.S. is quote desperate for legal immigrants. Mulvaney also admitted to Republican hypocrisy on deficits under Trump.

JARRETT: A scathing dissent from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, she says her conservative colleagues on the bench are too eager to side with the Trump administration. Sotomayor was responding to the court's recent order allowing the controversial public charge rule to take effect. That rule makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they've used public benefits like food stamps or housing vouchers.

Sotomayor also took issue with the government for repeatedly asking the court to allow controversial policies on an emergency basis. She says the court's recent behavior has benefitted one litigant over all others, a clear reference to President Trump. The government has argued in the past that emergency requests have become necessary, because lower courts are issuing overly broad injunctions covering states that weren't originally involved in the cases.

The Supreme Court is in the midst of a historic term as it considers issues like abortion, LGBTQ rights, the second amendment, immigration and of course President Trump's effort to shield his own financial records.

ROMANS: All right, 47 minutes past the hour. It's going to be an ugly day in the stock markets. Stocks around the world are tumbling as the deadly coronavirus spreads beyond China, new cases in Italy and South Korea. CNN Business has the details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:50:00]

JARRETT: A public memorial celebrating the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna will be held today in Los Angeles. Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash last month with seven other people. The celebration of life takes place at the Staples Center, the House that Kobe built. Thousands of fans are expected to attend. All proceeds will go Bryant's Mamba and Mambacita Foundation. The date for the memorial is significant, February 24, 2/24/20. Two is the number Gianna wore, 24, of course, the number Kobe wore and 20 is the number of years that Kobe and his widow, Vanessa Bryant were together.

ROMANS: A convicted murderer on the run in Alabama, 43-year-old Daniel Miner was reported missing after a bed check Saturday night at a minimum security work release center in Childersburg. He is 5'6, weighs 192 pounds and has tattoos on his arms, neck and torso. Miner was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 1994.

JARRETT: Daredevil Mad Mike Hughes was killed when his homemade steam powered rocket crashed just after it launched near Barstow California this weekend. The 64-year-old Hughes was attempting the launch for a new science channel series, homemade astronauts. The rocket was supposed to launch him 5,000 feet into the air. He hoped to eventually develop a rocket that would launch him 62 miles in the air where the earth's atmosphere meet outer space.

ROMANS: Model, author and restaurant owner B. Smith has died after battling Alzheimer's disease. In addition to building restaurant and a home decor collection, Barbara Elaine Smith was also an actress, a TV host, bestselling cookbook author. In 1976 she became one of the first African-American women to appear on the cover of Madame Mademoiselle Magazine. Smith was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's in 2013. She was 70 years-old.

JARRETT: Tandem parade floats are now banned from the rest of Mardi Gras after two people were killed in separate accidents last week. Both incidents involved tandem floats that's when two or more floats are connected with a hitch and pulled by a single tractor. Five more parades are scheduled for Sunday and organizers say there will be one tractor for each float.

ROMANS: A Jewish community centered in Albany, New York, evacuated Sunday because of an e-mailed bomb threat. Nothing was found. A spokesman for New York's governor says other Jewish Centers in the state and across the country also received e-mail threats. No locations or details were provided. These incidents are the latest in a growing number of anti-Semitic threats and attacks in New York and around the country.

JARRETT: Two holocaust remembrance groups targeting Amazon with criticism over content available from the online retailer. The Auschwitz Memorial and Holocaust Educational Trust calling on Amazon to stop selling books by Julius Striker, the founder of a Nazi era anti-Semitic newspaper. Amazon hasn't responded yet to a request for comment.

[04:55:05]

ROMANS: The Auschwitz memorial also calling on Amazon for a scene in the new prime show Hunters. The scene depicts prisoners forced to kill each other during a game of human chess in the concentration camp. Now the group says the fictional scene could encourage holocaust deniers. The show's creator David Wild defending it in a statement saying he wanted to depict the horror of the holocaust without mining, quote, specific real acts of trauma.

JARRETT: The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City apologizing for a graduate fashion show that many including one of the models involved called racist. The show earlier this month featured models parading down the runway in oversized red lips, bushy eyebrows and prosthetic monkey ears. The model Amy Lefevre refused to wear the items and walked the runway without them. FIT also plays two academic officials on leave after the incident.

ROMANS: Hard to see why that was a good idea at all.

In this remarkable rescue in Washington state's Olympic National Park Joseph Oldendorf broke his leg when he slipped on ice while running on a remote mountain trail and he had a to crawl for nearly 8 hours in subfreezing temperatures to find help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH OLDENDORF, INJURED RUNNER: My ankle was in such shape that I couldn't -- I had to be facing chest down for it to not be flopping out of alignment. So I had to crawl on all fours and my knees it's a rocky, snowy, dirty wet trail and after a while my knees were just raw so I had the idea to put my shoes over on for a bit of traction and a little bit of protection.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Wow. After crawling for nearly 7 hours he was finally able to call 911 but he kept crawling. He was spotted almost 6 miles from where he was injured. A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted him out. He was taken to a hospital in Seattle. This never happens when I'm on the couch all weekend. You know, very safe place to be.

JARRETT: And now to Christine's favorite story of the day. A rare rainbow snake discovered by a hiker in the Ocala national forest in Florida. That species has not been seen in the area in more than 50 years. Rainbow snakes also known as eel moccasins are nonvenomous and harmless. Biologists speculate this rainbow snake slithered its way into the forest after a recent change in water levels in a local reservoir. Harmless but not to Christine.

ROMANS: Just do not like snakes. I really don't. All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. An ugly, ugly mood around the world. Global stock markets are tumbling here as the coronavirus spreads beyond China specifically South Korea and Italy. Big moves expected on Wall Street here. You're going to get maybe 700 points down on the DOW at the opening bell.

And stocks ended the week lower last week on worries that the virus -- it was just so unpredictable here to try to figure out what the economic impact will be. The DOW closed 227 points lower, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ also fell. Goldman Sachs says the likelihood of a near term correction in the stock market is growing. A correction is defined as a 10 percent decline from a recent high. And stocks maybe overdue for a pull back. The last time the S&P 500 fell by at least 10 percent was December of 2018. You're going to get 2 percent probably maybe even 3 percent at the opening bell this morning.

All right, a settlement years in the making. Wells Fargo was hit with a $3 billion fine Friday for its fake accounts scandal. The deal focused on that scandal not the mistreatment of workers, auto borrowers, home buyers and other customers the bank has been accused of recently. Now the deal does not remove the threat of prosecution against current and former Wells Fargo employees. The bank isn't out of the woods. So Labor Department is still investigating allegations of wage theft and retaliation against whistleblowers.

Boeing suppliers have been in limbo ever since it halted production of the 737 Max. Now the airliner is preparing to offer suppliers more support to prepare them for a restart in production and to prevent some of them from looking for more business from airbus. The Wall Street Journal reports Boeing has set aside $4 billion for additional expenses this year and plans to use some of those funds for additional expenses this year. (Inaudible), use some of those funds for cash advances and other financial support to its suppliers to address shifts in production. Some of Boeings largest suppliers said the Max production halt would hurt sales and profits this year.

JARRETT: All right, take a look at Natalia Taylor exotic Bali vacation. O'SULLIVAN: it look to good to be true. The YouTube influencer had her $300,000 plus Instagram followers oohing and a- hing. There were photos Natalia lounging in an exotic (inaudible) and lying on a sun lounger, turns outs the photos were taken in Ikea. Natalia said here-- to the pranks that she did this as to followers as a fun reminder to take social media less seriously and don't believe everything you see online. A little PSA to her Instagram followers. I don't know how that's going to go over.

ROMANS: Instagram is like lie a gram. You know, it's like look at my fabulous life.

JARRETT: Thanks so much to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers Early Start continues right now.

END