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Race To Finish; Violent Protest; Tax Bill Trouble; Manafort And Gates Back In Court; Historic Wildfire; Body Cam Video Of Deadly Police Shooting; Appeals Judge Accused Of Sexual Misconduct; Queens Of The Stone Age Front Man Apologizes. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 11, 2017 - 04:00   ET




[04:00:15] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get out and vote for Roy Moore.



Do it.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump all in for Roy Moore in a new robo call going out to Alabama voters on the eve of the election. Can the President move the needle for Moore?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Violent protests across the Middle East after President Trump declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel. We are live in the Middle East for the very latest.

BRIGGS: New concerns about whether Republicans will be able to deliver on tax reform. Crucial Republican Senator said she is not made up her mind on the bill. Good morning everyone, happy Monday, welcome to "Early Start," I am Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: This is like your Tuesday. You worked yesterday.

BRIGGS: Just here.

ROMANS: I saw you on TV yesterday. I am Christine Romans, it is Monday, December 11, and it is 4:00 a.m. in the east. It is 11:00 a.m. in Jerusalem. This morning all eyes on Alabama where the campaign for Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are both in high gear ahead of the state's special senate election tomorrow. Today, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon campaigns with Moore who has been fighting against claims of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROY MOORE, (R) ALABAMA: Do not know any of the women who have charged

me with sexual molestation. I did not date underage women. I did not molest anyone. And so these allegations are false.


BRIGGS: Democrat Doug Jones meanwhile barnstorming the state hoping the accusations against Moore will help drive Democrats to the polls.


DOUG JONES, (D) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I believe those women in at a wall county. It's like he said today. Where there's smoke, there's fire. There is fire in there. I want to make sure when my granddaughters grow up they don't have to endure those kinds of things that those girls experience and sit silent for 30 or 40 years. I want to make sure we send a message of who we are and what we are.


BRIGGS: Jones also counting on appearances of Democratic political heavy weights to help turnout. Alex Marquardt is on the ground with the latest.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Christine and Dave. These two candidates are taking very different tact's in this final weekend of campaigning before the special election to be held on Tuesday. Judge Roy Moore has not been heard from or seen all weekend. He did not hold any events and likely letting the President do his talking for him. The President has recorded a robo call for the judge in which he repeat his endorsement and says that Moore is needed in the senate to help in advance his conservative agenda. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Hi, this is President Donald Trump and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore. But if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones all of our progress will be stopped cold. We need Roy Moore to help us with the Republican senate. We will win and we will make America great again.


MARQUARDT: Now, on the other hand the Doug Jones campaign is firing on all cylinders pulling out all stops. The name of the game is get out the vote. On Sunday alone Doug Jones visited seven different churches. He also listed some Democratic heavy hitters including former Massachusetts Governor Duvall Patrick. And New Jersey senator Corey Booker who can help in particular with the African-American electorate, who will be absolutely crucial in this election. He needs a black turnout that is almost as high as Barack Obama's in 2012 race. We did get a bit of the glimpse and to the confidence that Doug Jones maybe feeling. He said today, that if he had been asked the odds of how he would be doing in this election when he first got in he said it would be the same odd as seeing five inches of snow in Birmingham, which we have seen over the past few days. Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: All right Alex Marquardt thank you for that. Already signs of the resistance Roy Moore could face from congressional Republicans if he does win on Tuesday. Republican Senator Richard Shelby has represented Alabama in congress for more than 30 years. He says he already cast his ballot for a write-in candidate telling CNN Moore was simply not an option for him.


RICHARD SHELBY, (R) ALABAMA: I didn't vote for Roy Moore. I wouldn't vote for Roy Moore. I think the Republican Party can do better. I think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip, when it got to the 14-year-old story that was enough for me. And I said I can't vote for Roy Moore.


ROMANS: Alabama's Democratic senate candidate Doug Jones plans to do a statewide robo call today. Quoting Senator Shelby's criticism of Moore in that CNN interview.

[04:05:00] BRIGGS: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaking out about sexual harassment and assault, she was by cultural reckoning taken place in the country and the recent resignations of three members of congress. Listen to what she said about President Trump and the women who accused him of inappropriate conduct.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Women who accuse anyone should be heard and dealt with. I think we heard from them prior to the election, and I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.


BRIGGS: At least 13 women have come forward with accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against the President. Two Democratic Senators Corey Booker and Jeff Merkley calling on President Trump to resign over the weekend.

ROMANS: Ambassador Haley also defending the President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying the administration is making progress on negotiating peace in the Middle East, all this as violent protests in the region entered day six triggered by the president's decision, Israeli's launching airstrike in the Gaza against what is called Hamas target. After several rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. Palestinian official's reports two fatalities more than 300 people injured Friday alone on the west bank Gaza and Jerusalem. Let's go live to Beirut and bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman. We understand there have been violent protests near the U.S. embassy.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right Christine. Yesterday about a thousand people gathered in a roundabout, which is a mile away from the U.S. Embassy. They couldn't get any closer than that and the day during that protest, there were moments when rocks, stones and water bottles were thrown in the direction of the gate, which was closed, leading up to the U.S. Embassy, and Lebanese security forces responded with tear gas and bird shot. But by and large, in fact, the protest was peaceful. There were attempts by the organizers to maintain a peaceful atmosphere.

Now what was interesting in this rally, this demonstration is that it included Palestinian refugees, Islamist groups, Lebanese leftist organizations and essentially united groups that in recent years have been quite divided over the war in Yemen, over the war in Syria and the aftermath of the upheaval of the Arab spring. So what we are seeing, not only here in Lebanon but really across the Arab and Muslim world there is groups that in the past were strongly, deeply divided, have been united in their condemnation of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and today we are expecting Hezbollah is going to hold a massive demonstration in the southern suburbs of Beirut, It is expected to be peaceful because this venture usually very well organized and of course, there's no U.S. installation embassy sites anywhere near that area, so it will be very large, very colorful, very loud.

ROMANS: All right. Ben Wedeman. We lost his feed there, but he was wrapping up that report, live for us this morning from Beirut.

BRIGGS: Vice President Mike Pence heading to the Middle East at the end of the week. And the Palestinian President plans to snub him. Pence will meet with the Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian president el-Sisi, but Abbas backing out, protest President Trump Jerusalem announcement. A spokesman for Vice President Pence said the Trump administration remains committed to achieving peace between Israeli's and Palestinian and call the decision by Abbas unfortunate.

ROMANS: Former President Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates expected back in court this morning. Special Counsel Robert Mueller seem say Manafort the former campaign chairman violated the judge's gag order by ghostwriting on op-ed, while on bail last month. Prosecutors say the commentary was written with a Russian who has ties to Russian intelligence and related to his political work for Ukraine. Mueller's office said it is not seeking to send Manafort back to jail, but it said it is no longer backs the deal that would have him released on house arrest.

BRIGGS: A newly released documents backs the explanation for why Attorney General Jeff Session did not disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador on the security clearance forms. The emails shows the FBI told to Sessions aide, that Sessions was not required to disclose foreign contacts that happened in the course of his duties as Senator. The newly released emails supports the Justice Department explanation. Given last May when CNN first reported the omission of foreign contacts on Session's security clearance form. ROMANS: All right to markets now, GOP tax bill working its way

through conference committee, but as the house and senate hammer out the differences between their tax bills, Republican Senator Susan Collins says she may not vote for the final version.


[04:10:06] SEN SUSAN COLLINS, (D) MAINE: I always swayed until the final version of the bill is brought before us, before I make a final decision on whether or not to support it. Their major differences between the house and senate bills and I don't know where the bill is going to come out.


ROMANS: Collins vote is important. Republican leaders can only lose two GOP votes to the senate. And Republican Senator Bob Corker voted against the original bill. He is worried about raising the deficit. Collins told CNN she may vote no, if certain amendments are not included particularly amendments to help middle class families like deductions for property taxes and medical expenses. And assurance that Medicare payments will not be cut. Under the senate plan most lower income and middle class Americans will pay more by the year 2027, mainly due to expiring tax cuts and higher medical costs. Both bills promise big corporate tax cuts that are permanent that add to the deficit with no guarantee it will add jobs or raise wages.

BRIGGS: All right ahead Firefighters working around the clock to get the upper hand on those massive wildfires burning in Southern California. Report from Ventura County next.


[04:15:22] BRIGGS: All right the latest now from southern California, more than 95,000 people forced to evacuate their homes in Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, where the Thomas fire, now the fifth largest wildfire on modern California history is already consuming more than 230,000 acres, nearly 6,000 firefighters struggling to beat back the flames. Wildfire's already damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 structures. The cost of this fire alone, $34 million and climbing just to fight it. We get more now from CNN's Kyung Lah in Ventura County.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine this is Southern California largest wildfire, the Thomas fire and you can see it burning in those hills. It is most visible when the sun sets in these overnight hours and it is marching closer and closer to Santa Barbara further northwest fueled here by wind and dry brush. It has been some 250 days here in California without any significant rain. Firefighters relying on helicopters to be the big game changer in dealing with this wildfire. Here is what one firefighter told us.


LAH: So you've been hitting if from the air as well as working it from the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Correct. The helicopters have been a huge help. They get the water drops and slow it down, cool it off enough to allow firefighters to get in there on the ground and make better attack on the fire.


LAH: It's not just in the air but also on the ground. There are some 4400 firefighters just in this one wildfire, trying to contain it. Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Kyung Lah this kind of wind are so brutal. I mean you've got 260 days without meaningful precipitation in California. What does that mean? Firefighters needing help from the weather meteorologist Julie Martin has the latest and a look ahead of the chilling temperature in the east.

JULIE MARTIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well Dave and Christine another dangerous day here in southern California. Our concern, the Thomas fire only 10 percent contained, it is moving off to the north forcing more evacuations, already 230,000 acres consumed with this particular fire. And we take a look at the sheer size of this, you can see what the firefighters have the work cut out for them. 359 square miles, that is bigger than the City of Chicago in size. The good news is that, though, five of the six other fires are now more than 70 percent contained. So firefighters have been able to make some headway here in southern California. Taking a look though at the wind situation, those Santa Ana winds continuing for one more day. This is the longest that Santa Ana wind event so far this season. This high is going to retreat and move up to the north so the winds will be decreasing. The big story we're following all this cold air here, working its way across the eastern half of the U.S., even some cold temperatures sneaking all the way down into Florida and that cold is going to be hanging on particular here in the Midwest and northeast as we get into the remainder of this week ahead.

ROMANS: All right Julie, thank you for that.

BRIGGS: Winter finally out here in the east. OK. Ahead, the front man for a popular rock group apologizing after kicking a photographer in the face in L.A. Why that woman says the attack was intentional. Next.


[04:23:11] ROMANS: All right newly released body cam footage capturing the tense final moments leading to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man last year in Arizona. A jury acquitted former officer Philipp (inaudible) of second degree murder and reckless man slaughter charges, even though he shot and killed Daniel Shaver as Shaver beg him not to fire. Police were responding to a call of a man pointing a rifle out of a window of a hotel room. When they arrived they ordered Shaver and a woman to come out of their room. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said keep your legs crossed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't say the conversation. Hands up in the air. You do that again, we're shooting you. Do you understand?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please do not shoot me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then listen to my instructions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't talk. Listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands straight up in the air. Do not put your hands down for any reason. You think you're going to fall, you better fall on your face. Your hands go back. We are going to shoot you. Do you understand me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crawl towards me. Crawl towards me.



ROMANS: How is he supposed to crawl towards him if he is got his hands up in the air?

BRIGGS: It is difficult to hear and watch. The former officer testified he believed Shaver was reaching for a gun in his waistband as he crawled towards him. No weapon was found. After the shooting several witnesses and hotel employees told police Shaver was drunk.

ROMANS: How many times have we said it? De-escalation.

[04:2502] BRIGGS: It seemed like a relatively easy situation to handle.

ROMANS: One the country's leading appeals court Judges rejecting accusations of sexual misconduct levelled by six clerks and other staffers who worked for him. Alex Kozinski serves on the ninth circuit and was chief judge on the west coast court for seven years. Washington Post reports several female staffer alleged he suggested to inappropriate sexual conduct, some of them recently as 2012.

BRIGGS: One woman told the post he made her look at porn on several occasions and another says Kozinski suggested she work out naked in a hotel gym since it was empty. Kozinski dismissing the claimed in a statement to the Post and CNN quote, I treat all of my employees as family and work very closely with most of them, I would never intentionally or anything to offend anyone and it is regrettable that a handful of offended by something I may have said or done.

ROMANS: An apology from queens of the Stone Age Josh Homme. Take a look. You can see him. Kick a photographer in the face during a holiday concert in Los Angeles Saturday. That photographer Chelsea Lauren posted this video on her social media account. She said the incident was unprovoked and he smiled at her before he struck her. She was checked out at the hospital and fortunately she is ok.

As for Homme he released a statement saying he was kicking over lighting equipment on the stage and would never intentionally cause harm to anyone.

BRIGGS: Just one day left until Alabama voters head to the polls, the special election that captured national attention. How President Trump is weighing in on the final hours, next.