Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Focuses on Tariffs; Commemorating 75th Anniversary of Normandy Invasion; Joe Biden Campaign Says He Supports Hyde Amendment; Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 6, 2019 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:36] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The solemn ceremony this morning to remember the thousands of troops who died 75 years ago today on D- Day.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've told Mexico, the tariffs go on, and I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Also top of mind for this president, his tariffs. Speaking about tariffs just moments ago as he departed for Normandy.

BRIGGS: Border security is the president's sticking point and migrant arrests there have surged to the largest monthly total in more than a decade.

ROMANS: Plus, the FBI just released its file on Big Foot. What did they find about the mythical creature also known as Sasquatch.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. My kids will be interested in that.

BRIGGS: And that from the "I didn't see that coming file" as well.


BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs, Thursday, June 6th. That is 4:00 a.m. in the East, 10:00 a.m. in Normandy, France.

That of course where we begin this morning with hearts and minds focused on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Operation Overlord as it was once known. Thousands gather to commemorate the allies' huge invasion of France on June 6th, 1944, an assault that marked the beginning of the end of World War II. World leaders will join President Trump this morning to remember the triumph and sacrifices made there.

ROMANS: But the president is also focused on key tariff negotiations underway with Mexico. This is Vice President Pence meeting yesterday at the White House with Mexico's Foreign minister. The president demanding more action from Mexico to stop the record surge of migrants at the U.S. border. Officials say Border Patrol agents encountered more migrants in April than any month in the last 13 years.

Here's the president talking a short time ago.


TRUMP: We've told Mexico, the tariffs go on and I mean it, too, and I'm very happy with it, and a lot of people, senators included, they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to tariffs. They have absolutely no idea. We're the piggy bank. The United States is the piggy bank. It has all the money that others want to take from us. But they're not taking it so easy anymore. It's a lot different.


ROMANS: The president has been pretty consistent with that kind of theme, that the U.S. is the piggy bank the people are taking money out of. He also -- he also talked about Democrats. Let's listen to that.


TRUMP: The Democrats, Congress has been a disaster. They won't change. They won't do anything. They want free immigration, immigration to pour into our country. They don't care who it is. They don't care what kind of a record they have. It doesn't make any difference. They're not going to be changing anything. We go to them, we say let's fix the immigration laws. They just want it to do badly. The worse it does, the happier they are. That's the way it is and I guess that's the way it will be until after the election.


ROMANS: That's the president in Ireland before he's heading to Normandy. And we have some excerpts of his speech that he will be giving later this morning.

BRIGGS: Yes. You know, the president has always taken a direct route to supporting our alliances, to supporting Article 5 and NATO as you all remember but it does appear he has come full circle to support those alliances.

Here are some excerpts from the speech he'll deliver today. Quote, "Today we remember those who fell here and we honor all who fought here. They won back this ground for civilization." And here's where we talk about the alliances with the next excerpt that he is clearly supporting today on this solemn day, "To all our friends and partners, our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war and proven the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable. "

It was early in his administration that he was giving a speech and pulled out a line about reaffirming Article 5 and NATO.

ROMANS: Yes. BRIGGS: Committed to our self-mutual defense. Now it appears he does

support these alliances.

ROMANS: Look, today is the most important example of how those alliances worked, and even better than that, the Americans and the British post the World War II victory designed how the global system was going to be, how these alliances were going to work so that everyone had a mutual interest so that you didn't have a rise of a Nazi Germany again where it was one country that could go it alone that way. But the president has rejected that post World War II architecture.


ROMANS: Which is so fascinating that he has chosen to use or his speech writers have chosen to use those words today.

BRIGGS: Perhaps he has been moved by, you know, talking with Angela Merkel and the other world leaders, Theresa May, those who know well the sacrifices of our allies.

[04:05:07] Here now are some live pictures from Normandy, 10:04 a.m. there with D-Day commemorations getting underway. This will be a very solemn day. And here are the men we should focus on, the veterans, most of them in their 90s, those who served Operation Overlord.

ROMANS: It really is hallowed ground there. You know, it is American soil so when you step into the American cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, it is you are on American soil and you are surrounded by all of those crosses and Stars of David marking the graves of the men who died storming that beach. It's just such an important day, the -- they really, really determined the 20th century for the world.

BRIGGS: And if you don't get a chance to watch some of the ceremony today, later this morning with your family, you can get on YouTube with your kids. You can listen to a podcast with your kids of original BBC broadcast of that day.

ROMANS: Yes, that's right.

BRIGGS: Or FDR's speech or Eisenhower's speech as well. You get a sense of the sacrifice, the commitment that our alliance made as they took on what seemed unwinnable, 150,000 troops storming the Atlantic wall that seemed impenetrable at the time.

ROMANS: But they did it. They did it. All right. We'll continue to dip in to those live pictures there at the American cemetery in Normandy.

Meantime, the president's top trade adviser appears to give an ultimatum to Mexico. When discussing tariffs Peter Navarro telling CNN Mr. Trump is prepared to back off his threat only if he gets the right deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETER NAVARRO, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE POLICY ADVISER: We believe that these tariffs may not have to go into effect precisely because we have the Mexicans' attention.


ROMANS: "Have the Mexicans' attention." But look, they go into effect on Monday. So you would have to be asking Mexico to stop that in just two or three days.

Mexico has already taken some steps to beef up its immigration enforcement. Navarro says the number one demand is for Mexico to commit to taking all the asylum seekers and then applying Mexican laws, which he says are much stronger than ours.

BRIGGS: And as we mentioned, there's been a stunning rise in migrant crossings at the southern border in May. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 144,000 migrants were apprehended or encountered last month. That is a 32 percent increase over April, 11,000 unaccompanied children crossed the border illegally. Acting CBP commissioner John Sanders telling reporters, we are in a, quote, "full blown emergency."

ROMANS: All right. There was no deal yesterday to stop President Trump's threat to slap tariffs on all Mexican goods. The president saying this in Ireland yesterday.


TRUMP: They actually have to step up and if they don't, tariffs will go on. And if they go high, the companies are going to move back into the United States. That's all. It's very simple.


ROMANS: Well, it's not really that simple. We trade a lot back and forth with Mexico. Mexico is America's biggest supplier of Ag products, $26 billion worth in 2018. Remember Mexico will not pay these tariffs. American businesses will pass -- still pay the tariffs and then they can either eat the profit or they pass that on to consumers.

John Cornyn of Texas laid out the cost clearly on the Senate floor yesterday.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Tariffs on the other hand would be a massive tax. The U.S. Chamber estimates that Texas alone would face $5.35 billion in increased costs as a result of a 5 percent tariffs that could take effect as early as Monday. This translates into about a thousand dollars more on a car.


ROMANS: Deutsche Bank estimates it would be more than like $1300 more per car. Then there's this, a new study found the 5 percent tariff would cost the U.S. more than 400,000 jobs. The president is using tariffs to punish Mexico on illegal immigration, a move Senator Jeff Merkley essentially called hypocritical.


SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): This is not about tariffs for an economic deal. This is saying we're going to use it as a weapon in foreign policy. They also say, and by the way, the instability in Central America, this is coming from the dollars that come from the American drug trade so if Americans, if you quit buying drugs from Central America, we won't have this problem.


ROMANS: He also made the point that the president's threats to shut down the border are what are fuelling the coyotes and the smugglers who saying hey, you need to pay us now to get your family across the border because the president is going to shut down the border. So actually the president's threat swelling the numbers at the border, is what Merkley said.

Look, White House and Mexican officials are scheduled for more talks today.

BRIGGS: Republican senators are calling on the president to delay implementing any on tariffs on Mexico until he makes the case to them directly. They want to meet with him next week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't particularly favor the tariffs. I'm afraid that it might endanger some American jobs.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): This is the wrong solution to the crisis.

[04:10:01] SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): We think tariffs in this instance are hurting the chances of getting USMCA.


BRIGGS: Not clear how many Senate Republicans, if any, are willing to break with the president here to override the tariffs if he decides to move forward.

Let's keep in mind, Romans, you need some 17 Republican senators to vote with all of the Democratic senators to override anything the president does.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: That is not likely to say the least.

ROMANS: All right. All right. Today, 75 years ago today, 150,000 allied soldiers stormed five beaches in Normandy. Thousands of them would never come home. They are being remembered this morning, and we're going to take you there live.


[04:15:24] ROMANS: Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and thousands of people have gathered in Normandy where in 1944 allied troops stormed those beaches, many of them would not live to see another day. Their sacrifice key to the defeat of Nazi rule and the creation of lasting peace in Europe. That triumph, those sacrifices commemorated today, perhaps the last major remembrance where those who actually fought will be in attendance.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is live for us in Normandy, overlooking those beaches.

Hi, Jim.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine, yes, in fact, this is the beach of Arromanches and I just wanted to show you this because it illustrates the kind of thing was going through the planners' minds, what they had to consider.

This beach is now about half gone and at low tide it's much larger than this. And of course the Army and the Navy had an argument about this. The Army wanted a high tide landing because that way soldiers wouldn't have so far to run. But the Navy wanted low tide because they felt that they could see the obstacles the Germans had put in place a lot easier at low tide. In the end, they compromised and it was about -- about one to three hours after the very lowest tide that they landed, just about what we're seeing out there today.

And I just wanted to show you, Christine, a little bit of what the Germans had done. They knew the allies were landing. They didn't know where. So all along the coast of France and beyond, they built bunkers, like this one, two feet of concrete here, with a machine gun nest inside. And this machine gun as you can has clearly cited right down to the beach so they had a clear view that the soldiers were coming ashore, and this is what the allied troops had to contend with when they came ashore -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yes. That is really something. And, Jim, you know, you can see in the sea behind you the wreckage of what was called Mulberry Harbor, the British engineers, the American engineers came in and basically made a landing area for all of that equipment that was going to come in for the days and days and days after that successful -- that successful landing, and you can still see it there rotting in the ocean as a remembrance of just the engineering feat that was that morning.

BITTERMANN: That's absolutely right. These are big concrete shells that were built over in England, and floated across the channel. Part of the meticulous planning that went on, floated across the channel and then sunk here to be a break water for the other parts of the Mulberry Harbor, which were like what they call the whales, these were roadways, metal roadways that could laid straight into shore and they could bring in all that tons of material you're talking about. ROMANS: Just amazing the feat of bravery, of military planning,

engineering, General Eisenhower said, OK, we'll go. All that terrible weather. He picked a window and they did it, and now we're commemorating that 75 years later.

Jim Bittermann, thank you. Nice to see you this morning.


BRIGGS: All right. Back to politics here, another bump in the road for Joe Biden, the front runner. His campaign says he still backs limits on federal funds for abortions and that puts the former vice president squarely at odds with his Democratic rivals.

According to the Biden camp, the front runner supports the 1977 Hyde Amendment which bans state use of federal Medicaid dollars to pay for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Biden taking a lot of heat for supporting Hyde from every one of these Democratic candidates. Senator Elizabeth Warren says his position is wrong and the measure needs to go.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't support the Hyde Amendment, and I will lead the fight to have it overturned.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But could the nominee be someone who does?

WARREN: This isn't about the politics, this is about what's right. The Hyde Amendment should not be American law.


ROMANS: It has to be pointed out that Biden's support of the Hyde Amendment appears to be a flip-flop. Listen to what he told an ACLU activist just last month.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you commit to abolishing the Hyde Amendment which hurts poor women and women of color?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, and by the way, the ACLU member, I got a near perfect voting record my entire career.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard you did, but I'm glad you just said you would commit to abolishing the Hyde Amendment.

BIDEN: No, no. Right now it has to be -- it can't stay.


ROMANS: Huh. All right. You just heard the former vice president tell that woman twice that he opposes the Hyde Amendment. But Biden's campaign claims he has not changed his position. The campaign says he misheard the woman's question and thought he was referring to the Mexico City rule. That is a policy that prohibits federal funding for groups that offer or refer patients for abortions.

BRIGGS: You could see how he may have misunderstood that question.


BRIGGS: I was having a hard time figuring out what exactly she was asking. Loud room.


[04:20:03] BRIGGS: But he will have to answer to this position in the weeks and months ahead.

Ahead here, the FBI, they have a file on Big Foot. They even conducted lab tests to determine whether he's real. So what did they find out?

ROMANS: And remembering the heroes of D-Day, this tribute to the fallen about to get underway in Normandy, France. We're going to take you to the live coverage next.


[04:25:23] ROMANS: All right. The FBI has a Big Foot file. You heard right. The bureau has just released records from 19767. Those records detail how agents once analyzed samples of alleged Sasquatch hair in the interest of research and scientific inquiry. The testing was done at the request of a very hopeful director of the Big Foot Information Center. He believed the sample could finally confirm the existence of Big Foot.

The results, drum roll, please. The Sasquatch hair was from a deer.

BRIGGS: Wonk. Wonk. All right. Moments ago President Trump said a lot of progress has been made in tariff talks with Mexico, but is it enough progress to stop them from being implemented next week?

ROMANS: And many historians call it the most significant battle in U.S. history, the storming of Normandy 75 years ago today. A solemn D-Day ceremony set to begin in just minutes. We're going to have it live for you.