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Trump Comments on NHS, Climate Change, and Meghan Markle; Trump Backs Tariff Threat on Mexico; Former Deputy Arrested in Parkland Case; Virginia Beach Gunman Targeted Supervisors; Virginia Governor Calls For "Common Sense" Gun Control; Biden Brushes Off Criticism From Warren; World War II Vets Return to Europe. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 5, 2019 - 04:30   ET


[04:31:47] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump departing London for a D-Day commemoration at any moment, but not before making some major headlines in the British media.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's more likely that the tariffs go on.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that's for sure.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president on another collision course with Senate Republicans over tariffs.


RICK SWEARINGEN, COMMISSIONER, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT: To protect the public. If you don't do your job, you will be held accountable.


BRIGGS: The deputy who stayed outside during the Parkland school shooting fired and arrested on felony charges.

ROMANS: Plus, a dizzying helicopter rescue that almost spirals out of control in Phoenix. Wow.

All right, welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning, good morning to all you. It is Wednesday, 4:32 Eastern Time. The president was up at 1:30 U.K. Time tweeting at what he calls psycho Bette Midler. It is Wednesday, folks. President Trump now though departing from London in Air Force One at this hour heading to Portsmouth on England's southern coast. He'll speak at an event in a couple of hours marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Before he lands though, the president making major headlines. An interview he gave with Piers Morgan, the host of "Good Morning Britain".

CNN's Phil Black joining us now live from Portsmouth with the latest. Phil, good morning. The president stunned the U.K. yesterday when he was asked if the NHS, the National Health Service would be on the table in a trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K. It didn't appear like he fully understood what that question meant or what the NHS was because now a major backtrack. Good morning.

Yes, good morning, Dave. You're right, so when he was asked that at a press conference he simply said everything should be on the table. And I think that was the president simply reflecting his view of trade talks which is everything should be up for grabs. Normally perhaps what he wasn't aware of was the fact that the NHS, the universal healthcare system, the taxpayer-funded universal healthcare system in his country is deeply loved, deeply sensitive. And there is a real controversy here over the possibility of a future trade talk allowing private American health and medical company's greater access to that system. It's something that across the political spectrum leaders in this country and indeed the general population is generally against in this interview with the British broadcaster.

He's now said that he doesn't think that would be the case that future trade talks would not include the NHS. He was also pressed on a wide range of potentially controversial issues. Points where the president is out of step, perhaps, with European views. One of them was climate change. This is what he said.


TRUMP: I believe that there is a change in weather and I think it changes both ways. Don't forget, it used to be called global warming that wasn't working hen it was called climate change. Now it's actually called extreme weather.


BLACK: Trump was also asked about comments that he made in a British newspaper interview just before he arrived in this country about Meghan Markle, the American citizen who is also now the Duchess of Sussex in this country in which he is said to have described her as nasty.

[04:35:03] This is what Trump said about that.


TRUMP: I wasn't referring to her, she's nasty. I said she's nasty about me. And essentially I didn't know she was nasty about me. So I said -- but, you know what, she's doing a good job. I hope she enjoys her life.


BLACK: Donald Trump will arrive here in Portsmouth in the next hour or so. He'll be here along with 15 -- he'll be one of 15 international leaders that are being hosted here as part of the D-Day commemorations. And in that sense, all those -- although those international leaders are certainly important guests, the real focus here today will be on the men, the veterans, now in their 90s who were part of the D-Day landing 75 years ago. The men who actually stormed the beaches of Normandy dropped from the sky and in doing so helped defeat Nazi Germany and ultimately shaped the history of modern Europe and indeed the world.

Dave, back to you.

BRIGGS: And that's where the focus goes, though some interesting headlines in that interview. Phil Black, live for us this morning. Thanks.

ROMANS: And there's this, the tariff man, the president is not backing down on Mexico standing by his threat to impose a five percent tariff on Mexican goods starting next week. Here he is at a press conference in London.


TRUMP: I think it's more likely that the tariffs go on and we'll probably be talking during the time that the tariffs are on and they're going to be paid.


ROMANS: The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is going to meet with Mexico's foreign minister today. There's a big Mexican delegation in Washington to talk about tariffs and immigration. The president frustrated with the numbers of migrants crossing into the U.S. via Mexico. He's using tariffs, he's using trade, right, trade to punish Mexico on immigration and this is drawing, you know, heavy criticism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of Republicans who say that they may take action to block you imposing those tariffs?

TRUMP: Oh, I don't think they'll do that. I think if they do it, it's foolish. There's nothing more important than borders.


ROMANS: Now the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell then weighed in on trade developments yesterday.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We are closely monitoring the implications of these developments for the U.S. economic outlook and, as always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric two percent objective.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Translation, the Fed is watching the president's multi-prong trade wars and will step in if the president's trade policy hurts the United States economy. Stocks rallied after the Powell comment, the Dow close up at 512 points, its best day since January 4th. Investors essentially taking those comments to mean that the Fed will step in and bail Trump out with lower interest rates if need be.

BRIGGS: A Trump bailout if the president follows through on those threats. So tariffs on Mexico, well, he's getting a little Republican pushback. About a half dozen GOP senators railed against the idea at a lunch with the White House and Justice Department officials on Tuesday. Even the most hardened Trump loyalists are resisting.


MCCONNELL: There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that's for sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you try to block those tariffs?

MCCONNELL: Well, what I'm telling you is we're hoping that doesn't happen.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I think it's a mistake. I'm not saying we don't have a crisis on the border. We do clearly. I'm not saying it won't work, at least short-term. My concern has to do with the long- term ramifications.


BRIGGS: Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas summed it up this way. "What we are seeing now is a giant game of chicken. It's like two trucks headed straight at each other on a country road. If the outcome of this is Mexico blinks and they turn and they actually become active, productive partners in helping stop illegal immigration that would be a good outcome. But if the outcome is massive new tariffs that destroy jobs in Texas and the rest of the country, that would be a terrible outcome."

ROMANS: All right, to Florida now. The former Broward Sheriff's deputy that waited outside Stoneman Douglas High School while a massacre was underway inside, he's been arrested on child neglect, negligence, perjury, and other charges. Former school resource officer Scot Peterson retired after the Parkland massacre and has been collecting a pension. That pension now in jeopardy after Peterson was also officially fired at a disciplinary hearing.

Peterson's arrest warrant says after he arrived on the scene, the gunman fired 75 times killing five students and a teacher and wounding four others.


SWEARINGEN: When we saw the timeline that day and he stood there for some 45, 48 minutes and did nothing, you know. As law enforcement officers, despite whatever policies and procedures our agencies have, we swear an oath to protect the public that we serve. And I think it says now that you will be held accountable.

[04:40:03] If you don't do your job, you will be held accountable.


ROMANS: Peterson's attorney calls the charges are, quote, thinly veiled attempt at politically motivated retribution against Peterson. But parents of murdered Parkland students applauded his arrest.


LORI ALHADEFF, DAUGHTER KILLED IN PARKLAND MASSACRE: He needs to go to jail and he needs to serve a lifetime in prison for not going in that day and taking down the threat.

GENA HOYER, SON KILLED IN PARKLAND MASSACRE: We miss our children every day. And there's nothing that is going to bring them back. And we know that. But it just hurts so much.


ROMANS: Fred Guttenberg whose daughter, Jaime, was killed in the massacre, he tweeted this, "I have no comment except to say rot in hell, Scott Peterson. You could have saved some of the 17. You could have saved my daughter. You did not and then you lied about it and you deserve the misery coming your way."

BRIGGS: Turning to the mass shooting in Virginia Beach over the weekend. Witnesses now say the gunman appeared to target supervisors in his department during a shooting rampage that left 12 people dead, Friday. A survivor of the attack and a city councilman say DeWayne Craddock walked past several employees before firing his first shots in an area where senior engineers and supervisors sat. Councilman Louis Jones says Craddock was apparently looking for specific people, at least initially.

The 40-year-old city engineer submitted a resignation letter Friday before the rampage. Officials say he was in good standing and was not on the verge of being forced out.

ROMANS: The governor of Virginia is convening a special session of the state legislature to take up gun violence measures in the wake of the Virginia Beach massacre. Democrat Ralph Northam says there is an urgency to act and he wants to see common sense public safety measures passed.


GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): I will be asking for votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers.


ROMANS: Republicans in Virginia's House of Delegates are headed in a different direction. They planned to push legislation to stiffen penalties for those who use firearms to commit crimes including mandatory minimum sentences.

Meantime, President Trump told Piers Morgan that he is, quote, seriously looking at banning gun silencers.

BRIGGS: A silencer was reportedly used in the Virginia Beach shooting.

The Democrat-controlled House passing a bill that would offer a pathway to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants including Dreamers. The measure would allow DACA recipients and two other documented categories the chance to gain lawful, permanent resident status. The bill is unlikely to become law any time soon even if it passed the Republican-controlled Senate, it would then go to President Trump who had sought to end the programs.

ROMANS: All right, "Jeopardy" James Holzhauer now reflecting on his historic run on the iconic game show.


ALEX TREBEK, "JEOPARDY" HOST: What is your wager? Oh gosh, $20,000. What a payday.


ROMANS: Holzhauer dethroned as "Jeopardy" champ after winning 32 straight games. He fell just short of the all-time record for total winnings. Holzhauer did earn 2,246,216 bucks.


JAMES HOLZHAUER, "JEOPARDY" CONTESTANT: I did expect to do pretty well when I was on the show, but I thought maybe I could win six, seven episodes. Certainly not 32 and certainly not this level of money. And the biggest preparation was the buzzer, but, you know, just kind of keeping in my head, they're like, hey, this is it. This is a game. It's just gambling. It's what you do at work.

Give me a segment of the population out there that doesn't forget about this. I don't think I've changed the game of "Jeopardy" forever but I guess I'll have to watch future episodes and see if everyone is playing this style now.


ROMANS: Our own John Berman by the way who is then celebrity "Jeopardy", he says that the buzzer is the hardest part. That you have to have a buzzer strategy. Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Vegas says he is very proud of how he did on the show. He is one of only three players who crossed the $2 million mark in "Jeopardy" winnings.

BRIGGS: But will play a lot of taxes, he leaves in Vegas where there's no income tax but California is where they tape that show.

Ahead, 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden fending off attacks from opponents who say he's stuck in the past. You'll hear from him, next.


[04:48:27] ROMANS: Joe Biden's presidential campaign scrambling to amend his $1.7 million climate change plan just hours after releasing it. That's because questions were raised about several passages in the proposal that appear to borrow language from progressive policy papers and websites. The Biden campaign says it inadvertently failed to cite sources and immediately corrected the problem once it was pointed out. You will recall Biden's first bid for the presidency in 1988 was derailed when plagiarism in his campaign speeches came to light.

BRIGGS: Joe Biden also fending off allegations he's stuck in the past following this dig from rival Senator Elizabeth Warren.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But here's the deal, we have this chance, we have this time. We have this opportunity together. It comes to us. It's a fundamental question about what kind of America do we want to be. Do we want to be the America of the last two years?


WARREN: But here's the deal, I want to be the America of 10 years back, of 20 years back or 30 years back. I want to build a better America. And I think this how we're supposed to do it for our time.


BRIGGS: The former vice president and 2020 frontrunner calling for unity while also doubling down saying he's not looking to go back to the past.


JOE BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You gotta get people working together. Because otherwise there is no way this country can continue to function like it had in the past and will in the future.

[04:50:05] It's really -- and I'm not talking about going back to the past. I'm talking about avoiding a terrible future. If we do not, if we do not figure out how to make this work.


BRIGGS: Biden campaigns again today in New Hampshire before moving onto Boston, Warren's backyard.

ROMANS: All right, check out this dramatic video of a helicopter rescue that turns into a terrifying ride for a 75-year-old woman who was injured while hiking Piestewa Peak in Phoenix. As she's being hoisted to safety, the basket is windmilling in a furious, out of control spiral. Emergency responders in an effort to explain say, sometimes, you know, stuff happens.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes if we're in a canyon, if it's a strong, windy day, it will just -- it will spin on us. It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes it just does. And when it does, we're trained to take care of it.


ROMANS: Officials say the woman felt nauseous and dizzy after being whipped around, but otherwise was not injured during that rescue. I just climbed that peak over Easter and I turned around when I saw a rattlesnake, I didn't go to the top. I was like a snake, good-bye. But it's a beautiful, beautiful spot.

BRIGGS: I felt nauseous and dizzy when my alarm went off this morning at 1:40. But that's just me.

Ahead, 75 years after D-Day, American veterans return to the beaches of Normandy. You'll hear from them, next.


[04:56:02] BRIGGS: It was the beginning of the end of World War II and this morning we're talking to veterans who put their lives on the line on D-Day. They're on a cruise ship ending their tour at Normandy. Many of them returning to Europe for the first time since the war. Jim Bittermann has more.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first time Vern Ollar sailed along the Normandy coast, it wasn't exactly onboard a luxury cruise ship. It was 75 years ago and his transport was a military landing craft heading for Omaha Beach on the coast of France. He barely got there. His boat got hit and he almost drowned weighed down by heavy mortar equipment, but Ollar survived.

VERN OLLAR, 81ST CHEMICAL MORTAR BATTALION: I lost a lot of guys. And I always get a little lump in my throat because all those guys, we had almost 2,000 D-Day. Just a normal 18, 19, 21-year-old guys. It makes me -- I get choked up.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): At 98 years old, Ollar has come back along with 17 other vets on a tour organized by the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Scores of allied veterans now at least in their 90s are in Normandy for this anniversary of D-Day. The last salute some are calling (INAUDIBLE) since he's not sure how many more years there'll be old soldiers around to share their living memories.

PAUL HILLIARD, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM: Keep that memory alive. There was a very high price paid for that freedom, so, value it. So that's -- I guess that's what we're trying to bring forward is the value of freedom. BITTERMANN (on camera): So much of this year's commemoration is about remembrance, not only for those who were here on Omaha Beach but for those who weren't. For those who never knew or who have forgotten exactly how much of modern Europe and today's world is based on what happened here 75 years ago.

(voice-over) Long gone are the generals and colonels who gave the orders and understood the bigger picture and how important it was for the D-Day landings to establish a toehold on a continent that had lost its freedom. Those who came back this anniversary were well down in the ranks, like paratrooper Guy Whidden who says he was just doing his job.

GUY WHIDDEN, 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION: I always thought God was with me. I don't remember any fear at all. Some apprehension, not knowing exactly what was happening.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): To help the vets and others understand just that, the importance of what they were part of, there were lectures and seminars onboard their cruise ship to put D-Day in context. And there was musical nostalgia, bring back a happy memory of what it would be like to feel young, again. But mostly (INAUDIBLE) this anniversary are serious about an event many here like Ollar say changed their lives and changed the world forever.


BITTERMANN: Dave and Christine, I'm off to beaches and into the fields here because we're watching some parachute drops this afternoon. And in fact, a number of paratroopers who are going to be dropping out of the skies. Members of the round parachute canopy team that are going to be coming into Normandy commemorating the 101st Airborne as well as the 82nd Airborne both of whom came into Normandy 75 years ago with 1,300 jumpers at that time though probably be a couple of hundred today.

Dave, Christine?

BRIGGS: All right, Jim Bittermann there for us, thanks so much, sir. What a wonderful commemoration of D-Day underway.

ROMANS: You know, I think that -- I've been there. I took my grandma there once and her brother had come out D-Day plus six hours and her cousin had been at the Omaha Beach and just to hear her talk about that generation -- I took my kids back last year. And, you know, at some point, if you can, it is a place every American should visit.