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EARLY START

Democrats Face Big Test on Super Tuesday; Coronavirus Cases Top 100 in the U.S.; Migrants Caught in Battle Between Turkey and Greece; Apple Will Pay Up to $500M on Suit Over Slow iPhones. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 3, 2020 - 04:30   ET

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


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[04:30:33]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Fourteen states, a third of the delegates. Bernie Sanders hoping to run away from the field this Super Tuesday. But Joe Biden and his new supporters have other plans.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: And Wall Street with a huge rally, bouncing back after an awful week. Can stocks keep up the momentum as coronavirus cases in the U.S. top 100?

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

Good morning.

ROMANS: Good morning. Nice to see you this morning. I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 -- 31 minutes past the hour in New York this Tuesday morning.

And this is the biggest day in the race for the Democratic nomination, Super Tuesday. Fourteen states go to the polls this morning with one- third of all delegates up for grabs. In just the last few days, the field has narrowed. Moderates beginning to coalesce behind Joe Biden.

The former vice president winning several new endorsements including from former rivals.

KOSIK: Coordinated efforts to stop Bernie Sanders now thrust into public view after months of behind the keeps scenes maneuvering. One important question, could establishment support for Biden backfire and end up riling up Sanders' supporters who disdain the powers that be?

ROMANS: Sanders remains front-runner in many big states voting today like California. And he is fond, of course, denouncing the 1 percent.

But the number today is 15 percent. Candidates must reach a threshold vote of 15 percent to win any delegates. You see why that is important? Think back to Nevada when other candidates failed to reach 15 percent, they were excluded and Sanders won two-thirds of the delegates with only 41 percent of the popular vote.

Arlette Saenz begins our coverage on the trail with Biden in Dallas.

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ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: On the eve of Super Tuesday, Joe Biden here in Texas trying to project a message of strength and unity, as three of his former rivals met with him here and officially endorsed his presidential campaign.

It's been quite the turn of events for Joe Biden over the course of the past few days, starting with that decisive victory in South Carolina. And now, Biden is trying to coalesce the moderate support in this race. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O'Rourke, who dropped out of the raise months ago, joined him in Dallas to offer their endorsements.

Take a listen to the events.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm looking for a leader. I'm looking for a president who will draw out what is best in each of us. And I'm encouraging everybody who is part of my campaign to join me because we have found that leader in vice president, soon to be president, Joe Biden.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I look over at Pete during the debates. And I think -- I think, you know, that's a Beau, because he has such enormous character, such intellectual capacity, and such a commitment to other people.

(CHANTING)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Joe Biden has dedicated his life to fighting for people. Not for the rich and the powerful, but for the mom, for the farmer, for the Dreamer, for the builder, for the veteran.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The man in the White House today poses an existential threat to this country, to our democracy, to free and fair elections.

And we need somebody who can beat him. And, in Joe Biden, we have that man.

BIDEN: Most Americans don't want the promise of a revolution. They want results. They want revival of decency, honor, and character.

SAENZ: Now, Biden is hoping to, soon, turn this into a two-person race between himself and Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is the current leader in delegates, and he is looking to amass an insurmountable lead when it comes to delegates on Super Tuesday.

Now, Super Tuesday is the biggest night on the Democratic primary calendar with more than 1,300 delegates up for grabs across 14 states including delegate-rich California, and right here in Texas where Joe Biden was campaigning Monday.

Biden will spend Tuesday in California, at an event in Oakland, before rallying with supporters in Los Angeles where he hopes to have a successful Super Tuesday night.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: All right. Arlette Saenz, thanks very much.

Today, Bernie Sanders is determined to parlay anti-establishment anger into a commanding delegate lead.

Ryan Nobles is on the campaign trail in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Bernie Sanders finished his sprint to Super Tuesday with a massive rally here in Minnesota. And this turned out to be a significant stop for Sanders because, on the same day that he was in this state, the state's senator, Amy Klobuchar, announced that she was getting out of the race for president and backing one of his rivals Joe Biden.

[04:35:11]

Now, Sanders has for some time been preparing for this moderate wing of the party to coalesce in opposition of his campaign. That, now, seems like it's starting to happen. Sanders talked about the moderates coming after him. The establishment, as he calls it, coming after him and he said he was prepared.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not just the corporate establish. That's getting nervous. The political establishment is getting nervous.

I want to open the door to Amy's supporters, to Pete's supporters.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I know that there are political differences. But I also know that, virtually, all of Amy's support and Pete's support understand that we have got to move toward a government, which believes in justice, not greed.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

NOBLES: So, it turns out Minnesota's going to be an interesting part of this story and this crazy day in the campaign because while there's no doubt a long-term advantage to Joe Biden and the moderate wing of the party, with Amy Klobuchar getting out of this race, there is absolutely a short-term advantage to Bernie Sanders. With Klobuchar not competing here in her home state, that increases Sanders' chances of winning here on Super Tuesday and it is something his campaign believes can happen. And the evidence of the big crowd here today looks like it is certainly possible.

We'll send it back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Thank you for that.

Now, there are now more than 100 cases of coronavirus in the United States. That includes the first two cases in Georgia. One of them traveled to Milan, Italy, the epicenter of the European outbreak. That person returned to the U.S. through Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport, the busiest in the nation. Six people have now died in Washington state, four were residents at the Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland. That's a Seattle suburb.

Four other cases are also linked to that facility. And 26 firefighters and two police officers from Kirkland are quarantined because they were exposed to infected patients.

KOSIK: Schools in several districts remain closed today to prevent the spread of the virus. Be sure to check your local websites before heading out.

In San Antonio, officials lost a legal fight to keep evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined. Concerns were raised after one woman was released, then later found to have coronavirus. For those still isolated at Lackland Air Force Base, the anger and frustration, it's beginning to boil over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERYL MOLESKY, EVACUEE FROM THE DIAMOND PRINCESS: You can't take a drive if you feel like it. You can't talk to your friends very easily. You know, just all those things that -- all the little freedoms that you take so for granted, we just don't have here.

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ROMANS: I can't imagine the boredom of that, too.

Now, the U.S. surgeon general saying caution is appropriate, preparedness is appropriate, panic is not.

President Trump meeting with pharmaceutical executives and members of his coronavirus task force, he was contradicted by his own health expert over the timing for a potential vaccine.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've heard very quick numbers, a matter of months. And I've heard pretty much a year would be an outside number. You're talking about three to four months in a couple of cases.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIH: Make sure you get the president information that a vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that's deployable. So he is asking the question, when is it going to be deployable? And that is going to be, at the earliest, going to be a year to a year and a half.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The president, also, when talking to those pharmaceutical CEOs also asked pointblank can you just use the regular flu vaccine for coronavirus? And he was told, no, sir, you cannot.

KOSIK: The president asking a lot of questions. Almost being schooled in that meeting, right?

ROMANS: Absolutely.

KOSIK: Federal officials are pressing airlines to collect and share more data on international travelers. That would help health officials follow up with potential carriers of the virus or fellow passengers who may have come into contact with an infected person.

ROMANS: All right. After a terrible last week, stocks finally rebounding. A strong rebound on Monday. The Dow closed up nearly 1,300 points.

Folks, you have never seen that before in history. That is the largest point gain ever. When you look at it on a percentage basis, it's 5 percent. That was the best gain since March 2009. Think of that. That was a bounce back in the middle of the great recession.

The S&P 500, the Nasdaq, both finished above 4 percent. Take a look at futures right now. You've got more gains this morning, at least if this holds, in global markets. Asian shares closed mixed.

And European markets appear to be taking a lead from that huge rally you saw in the U.S. Now, headlines about the coronavirus are pushing and pulling investors. The OECD warned that the outbreak could slow down global growth.

[04:40:00]

The OECD said the global economy already reeling from trade and political tensions, there is hope the world central banks will ride to the rescue.

There is optimism inside the White House the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates. Officials believe the central bank could cut rates before its next meeting. An emergency rate cut, very rare, and runs the risk of sending a different signal.

The last time there was an emergency rate cut was the great recession. Before that, was 9/11. So, it runs a risk of sending a message to the world that the coronavirus is worse than it actually is.

Meanwhile, more companies limiting travel and urging people to work from home. Twitter has suspended all noncritical business travel and events. And it is urging all of its employees to work from home. Facebook has backed out of the South by Southwest in Austin. Warner Brothers has cancelled the New York premiere of its new animated film. British Airways is cancelling several flights, including 12 roundtrips from Heathrow to JFK.

KOSIK: And a lack of demand weighs on the airline industry as well. Those cancellations, by the way, begin March 16th.

The head of the World Health Organization says public health officials are now operating in unchartered territory. Almost nine times as many cases were reported outside China as inside over the last 24 hours. The virus has killed more than 3,100 people, with more than 90,000 infections in 70 countries and territories.

Iran has been hit especially hard, including at the top levels of its government.

CNN's Sam Kiley following developments live from Abu Dhabi.

Sam, good morning to you. What is Iran doing to try to contain this? Especially, now that it's -- the virus has infected more than a half a dozen of its own top government officials?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Very senior officials, indeed. You got the vice president judge of women's affairs has been infected. Deputy minister of health, infected.

And an advisor to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, Mohammad Mirmohammadi, his death was announced yesterday. He is also a member of the Iranian legislature and, importantly, comes from the holy city of Qom.

Now, Qom is being a -- not quite the epicenter but close to the epicenter in terms of number of infections. Partly, perhaps, because of the large number of pilgrims that always visit that city, and that it makes it extremely difficult for authorities to prevent people going not least because a lot of the pilgrims go in order to seek divine help for health complaints.

But the Iranian authorities have got a shortage, they say, of masks because, three weeks ago, they actually donated 3 million masks to China to help the Wuhan province deal with their problems there at the beginning of the epidemic. On top of that, though, the World Health Organization has just sent in 7.5 tons of equipment, including masks, but most importantly, testing equipment because that is something that Iran, which is facing very heavy sanctions, mostly led by the United States, is really struggling to import, because the financial systems that underpin importation have to be run or can often be link today American banks, and nobody wants to be in violation of federal law.

So there are serious problems for Iran. And that is spreading elsewhere in the region.

KOSIK: OK. CNN's Sam Kiley with the latest on coronavirus in Iran -- thanks very much.

ROMANS: All right. The Trump administration placing new restrictions on journalists from China working in the United States. Five Chinese state news outlets will be forced to reduce their U.S. staffs by 40 percent. The move is viewed as retaliation for Beijing's expulsion of two U.S. officials last month.

U.S. officials accused China of a crackdown on free speech not seen since the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. China calls this cap a political crackdown.

KOSIK: Updating our breaking news: at least two people have died in this huge tornado that ripped through parts of Nashville overnight. The Nashville Fire Department is responding to about 40 structure collapses. Nashville has partially activated its emergency operation center. Schools in metro Nashville are going to be closed today.

Importantly, election polling sites at the schools will be open, unless otherwise noted. Tennessee is one of 14 states that are voting today, Super Tuesday.

ROMANS: All right. Another humanitarian disaster, thousands of migrants caught in a dispute between Turkey and Greece. CNN is live at the border.

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[04:48:44]

ROMANS: Migrant camps along the border between Turkey and Greece are now overflowing after Turkey announced it will no longer stop migrants from crossing into Europe.

Yesterday, a child died when a makeshift boat carrying dozens of migrants capsized as Greece's guard approached.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is live on Turkey's border with Greece.

Jomana, just tell us what the state of play it. Just another sad turn in this story.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Christine, this all started on Friday when Turkey announced. They said that they are opening their borders with Europe. And they're just allowing migrants and refugees to go across.

They're no longer stopping them, based on their agreement with the E.U. back in 2016. They say they have had enough. That the E.U. is not doing enough to share the burden that Turkey has had to put up with, with about 4 million refugees here.

Let me set the scene for you. We are at one of the unofficial border crossings -- crossings with Greece. The official border crossing is shut.

Greece has beefed up security on the other side. They're not letting anyone through. They have used teargas. They've been accused of using force. Even the Turkish president accusing Greece of shooting and killing two refugees. Something that Greece has denied.

That border crossing, there are thousands of people who are crammed in that area.

[04:50:04]

We have no access to it. So we've been driving around to these unofficial border crossings. And along the way, Christine, you see groups of refugees, mostly, young men.

But you also come across families, like here. They've settled around in this area, waiting, trying to cross over to Greece. Of course, these are unofficial crossings. It's quite dangerous. You know, they -- they wait until nighttime. Most of the time, they wait for smugglers to help them get across the Evros River into Greece.

It's quite a dangerous journey and Greece says it stopped about 10,000 people coming across the land crossings. We have met people from all over the world. A few Syrians. We've met people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemenis, even Palestinians from Gaza. People who say that they understand this might be a political game, that they're being used as leverage by Turkey to negotiate a better deal with the European Union.

But they say they do not care. They don't care. Even sitting out here, they're -- they're out in the open, at nighttime, you know, for the past few days, it did drop below freezing.

But people say they do not care. Whatever it is, the chance they have right now, trying, attempting, yet again, to get across to Europe where they believe they will have a better life, is better than their current existence. Christine.

ROMANS: It's fascinating. All right. Jomana Karadsheh for us on the Turkey/Greece border -- thank you for that.

Fifty-one minutes past the hour. Another apparent purge and move to purge executive branch officials who failed to sufficiently please the president. The White House says it is withdrawing the nomination of acting Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker to take the job permanently. McCusker repeatedly raised concerns about whether it was legal to withhold military aid to Ukraine.

KOSIK: Other staffers like NSC staffer Alexander Vindman and E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland were forced out of their jobs last month over their testimony in the House impeachment inquiry. Days later, the president abruptly withdrew a Treasury Department nomination for former federal prosecutor Jessie Liu.

Sources tell CNN that move was tied to her role into prosecution of Trump ally Roger Stone.

ROMANS: All right. Fifty-two minutes past the hour.

Apple will pay big bucks over claims it deliberately slowed down older phones. Is there money in it for you? CNN Business is next.

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[04:57:02]

KOSIK: A UPS worker who threatened a mass shooting in text messages to his employer is in jail this morning. Thirty-two-year-old Thomas Andrews arrested after a police pursuit in Sunnyvale, California. More than 20,000 rounds of handgun and rifle ammunition were found in his home, along with high-capacity magazines, five tactical-style rifles, one shotgun, three handguns and body armor. Investigators say several tactical backpacks containing ammunition were staged at the front door of his apartment.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this Tuesday morning. Super Tuesday morning.

First, a look at markets around the world. You can see Asian shares closed mix. European shares, though, opening higher, following the lead on Wall Street. Wall Street right now, again, some optimism after what was a strong rebound to kick off the week. The Dow closed up nearly 1,300 points.

You've never seen that before. That is the biggest point gain in history. On a percentage basis, 5 percent -- that 5 percent gain was the best single day since March 2009. The S&P 500, Nasdaq, both finished above 4 percent.

All three averages are now less than 10 percent from their high so they are out of correction mode. A growing number of people are being urged to stay at home as the coronavirus spreads but there are investment opportunities as Americans go into bunker mode and stay indoors.

Nesting and prepping seemed to be the trends. Shares of Netflix are up slightly over the past five days. Meanwhile, movie theater chains, AMC and Cinemark, those stocks have dropped. Live Nation has declined. People worry about group activities.

A legend to the business world has died. The former CEO of General Electric died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 84 years old. Welch became CEO of GE in 1981 and led it through 20 years of its greatest financial success.

During that time, GE's market value rose more than 2,700 percent. He was named manager of the century in 1999. He earned the nickname Neutron Jack as he made deep cuts to the divisions he believed were not performing at a sufficient level, and he encouraged his managers every year to fire their underperformers.

GE's CEO Larry Culp said Welch was larger than life and said he reshaped the face our company and the business world.

Apple will pay a hefty fine to settle a lawsuit over slowing down older iPhones. The settlement requires apple to pay owners of certain Apple models $25 for effective device, totaling a maximum of $500 million. IPhone users in the U.S. can file similar claims if you owned versions of the iPhone 6 and 7, SE device bought before December 21st, 2017.

Back in December 2017, Apple admitted it used software updates to slow down iPhones. Some customers said Apple did it to do to compel you to buy a new phone. Apple said the updates were aimed at addressing issues with older batteries. It later apologized and offered battery replacements to customers. Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment. Twenty-five bucks. Paperwork. That's the thing. There is so many of

these rebates.

KOSIK: Everybody will do it anyway. They'll go get that 25 bucks. Including me, I think you bought that phone before 2017.

EARLY START continues right now.

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