Return to Transcripts main page


Tensions Escalate Between U.S. And Iran; Trump Campaign Fires Pollsters; Phoenix Family Alleges Excessive Police Force. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired June 17, 2019 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:29] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States is considering a full range of options.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Military action on the table amid U.S. tensions with Iran over attacks on oil tankers.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump firing some of his pollsters right before his reelection campaign officially kicks off tomorrow.

ROMANS: Police in the Dominican Republic say they are closing in on the mastermind of the ambush shooting of David Ortiz.

BRIGGS: Hundreds of thousands take to the streets of Hong Kong as protesters there refuse to back down. The Umbrella Movement, some are calling it.


BRIGGS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Yes, organizers say some two million people there in the streets of Hong Kong -- the second weekend.

I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

But, let's begin with these tensions that are rapidly escalating between Iran and the U.S. this morning following those attacks last week on two tanker ships in the Gulf of Oman.

Now, in the next few days, the president's national security team is expected to discuss whether to send additional U.S. forces to the Middle East. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the president has said clearly he doesn't want to go to war. Pompeo says the discussions will focus on deterring and defending against Iranian aggression.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POMPEO: In the last 40 days we've seen a number of activities -- not just these past two, but four other commercial ships -- which challenged the international norms of freedom of navigation. The United States is considering a full range of options.

And we've briefed the president a couple of times. We'll continue to keep him updated. We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence, which is our mission set.


ROMANS: Over the weekend, Pompeo, the British, and the Saudis all blamed the attacks on Iran. Tehran denies it and suggests the U.S. may have sabotaged the tankers, itself, to ratchet up the pressure on Iran.

But right now, Iran is also announcing that it is against scaling back its commitment to the nuclear deal.

We're joined now by CNN's Frederik Pleitgen. He is live in Tehran for us with the very latest. Hi, Fred.


Yes, a pretty significant announcement that the Iranians made just a couple of minute ago.

And, essentially, what they're saying is that they are scaling back their commitments according to the nuclear agreement and that they have already started ramping up their production of low enriched uranium. In fact, they say they've already quadrupled the production. And they say at the current rate, they will reach the ceiling for what they, themselves, have set in about 10 days' time.

And they say if at that point in time they are not convinced that, especially, the Europeans are giving them some of sanctions relief and starting to do business with them, they reserve the right to unlimitedly increase their production of low enriched uranium.

They also say that they are going to increase their production of heavy water. However, the Iranians are saying they want to use that heavy water here inside Iran rather than try to sell it.

Now, at the same time, as you've mentioned, those tensions continuing to ramp up in the Persian Gulf area. The Iranians now throwing things back at the Trump administration, saying they believe the U.S. might have been behind those tanker attacks. Of course, no evidence for that was provided.

But the Iranians are saying they believe the U.S. might have done it because the sanctions against Iran, as they put it, have not brought Iran to its knees. So, at the same time, the Iranians are saying they're not going to back down.

Also, quite a frontal attack on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Iranian head of Parliament saying he believes that Secretary of State Pompeo's work -- the Trump administration is trying to solve all of this diplomatically are false. He says he believes that the maximum pressure campaign of the Trump administration is nothing short of diplomatic warfare, Christine.

ROMANS: Wow, all right. Fred Pleitgen for us in Tehran this morning. Thanks, Fred.

BRIGGS: All right, back to the nation's capital.

The Trump campaign has fired several of its pollsters as it prepares to officially kick off the president's 2020 reelection bid tomorrow in Orlando.

Their latest numbers show the president trailing Joe Biden in 11 key states. When those results were leaked to the public, the pollsters lost their jobs.

The president, confronted with some unfriendly facts and figures, explaining them away with a familiar refrain.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't believe those polls. There's no way he beats me in Texas.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS, ANCHOR, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": But even your own polls show you're behind right now, don't they?

TRUMP: No. My polls show that I'm winning everywhere. I don't know --

STEPHANOPOULOS: We've all -- we've all seen these reports that where 15 out of 17 states you spent $2 million on the polling and you're behind.

TRUMP: So, on "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" today they had that phony polling information. I explained to you last night that it was phony but you didn't do anything about it. You should have, but it was late in the evening and perhaps you didn't get a chance.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why does it bother you so much?

[05:35:00] TRUMP: Because it's untrue. I like the truth. You know, I'm actually a very honest guy.


BRIGGS: Hashtag very honest guy.

The president also promising to produce a new Republican health care plan, but there's on giant caveat. He says to actually pass a health care bill Republicans, first, have to take back the House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We're going to produce phenomenal health care and we already have the concept of the plan, and it will be much better health care.

STEPHANOPOULOS: First, you have to tell people what the plan is.

TRUMP: Yes. Well, we'll be announcing that in about two months, maybe less.


BRIGGS: "The New York Times" says the president is willing to gamble and putting out a plan to be debated on the campaign trail will offset some of the advantage Democrats have on the issue. But, Republicans worry that putting out a concrete health care proposal with no chance of passage would actually give the Democrats a target to attack over this next year.

ROMANS: Now, we know straight from the president's mouth why after all the back-and-forth he did not fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Here's what he told "ABC NEWS."


TRUMP: I wasn't going to fire him. You know why? Because I watched Richard Nixon go around firing everybody and that didn't work out too well.


ROMANS: The president appeared to be referring to the Saturday Night Massacre. That's when Richard Nixon ordered the firing of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, leading to a series of resignations at the top of the Justice Department. Impeachment hearings followed and this all ended in Nixon's resignation.

Important fact-check: the Mueller report describes how the president did try to fire the special counsel despite his insistence in that ABC interview that he wasn't going to fire Mueller.

BRIGGS: All right, let's talk about this with Princeton University professor and historian, Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. Good to see you, sir.

ROMANS: Good morning.


BRIGGS: I hope you had a great Father's Day.


BRIGGS: A little context here. Republicans -- Jim Jordan leading that parade, railing against John Dean, the former Nixon counsel who dared compare the Nixon presidency to the Trump presidency. But now, the president himself is doing that.

What do you make of his comparison?

ZELIZER: Sure. I mean, he is right on the history in that the firing caused a lot of problems for the president.

But he's not right on the facts today and he's trying to create his own narrative. He's comparing himself to Nixon but he wants to separate himself because he understands that if he's like Nixon, that's the kind of argument Democrats want --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- to go further with impeachment.

ROMANS: The president declaring also that he's a really honest guy. Honestly, he is an honest guy, he said in that interview with George Stephanopoulos.

But he doesn't like these poll numbers and you saw that he fired some of the pollsters over the weekend for leaking those numbers. But, leaking those numbers, but they are also numbers he doesn't believe.

Listen to this.


TRUMP: They give you phony numbers. They give you numbers. They said that they have access to numbers, which I don't believe they have access to.

They suppress. They want to suppress the minds of people so they don't bother going out and look.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You think there's a real conspiracy?

TRUMP: No. I think it's just a bad group of people.


ROMANS: He doesn't believe the numbers or he thinks there's some kind of a suppression campaign out here.

Fox, his favorite television network, has its own poll here of registered voters that's brand new that shows the presidential trailing Joe Biden by 10 points, Bernie Sanders by nine points.

You know, what do you make of the president and his truthiness on these polls?

ZELIZER: Well, look, even those he's the incumbent, even though the economy is strong, the reality is he begins this campaign in a vulnerable position. The polls are consistent whether you're looking at Fox or whether you're looking at other kinds of pollings. He is vulnerable in all these key states and his approval ratings are low.

So he likes to control the narrative and he wants to say those are just not true, which is how he deals with most facts.

And what really angered him was the leaks, I think more than the data itself. And he wants to have a narrative going into the campaign that he is a strong incumbent.

BRIGGS: The consistency is that no matter what the poll is, the president's stuck right there around --


BRIGGS: -- 40 percent. So it doesn't matter who he's up against, that's the number he's stuck with.

But one number the Democrats love and one issue they love is health care. And I think the president surprised a lot Republicans yesterday -- or this weekend interview with George Stephanopoulos when he said they'll unveil a plan in two months.

We have no idea what's in this. He says it's going to be phenomenal, less expensive than Obamacare, and much better health care.

How dangerous is this for Republicans?

ZELIZER: It's very dangerous. Republicans just don't want to talk about it. They want to get through the election without mentioning the word health care.

He wants to neutralize the Democrats. He wants to find the elusive center and say Democrats are Medicare for All -- I have this other plan. It's the new wall of 2020.

But it's a high-risk proposition. In 2018, Republicans really got hurt --


ZELIZER: -- whenever health care came up, and he's going to inject it into the campaign.

ROMANS: Really.

BRIGGS: And, Mitch McConnell last said his plan is to fix Obamacare. I mean, it went under the radar but that seems to be the Republican plan.

ROMANS: Doesn't it just sort of remind everybody -- he says that we have to take the -- the Republicans have to retake the House to be able to pass this. Doesn't it remind everybody that wait, they did have -- they did have all the levers of government --


ROMANS: -- and they didn't fix Obamacare?

ZELIZER: No, that's true, but it's like the polling. He wants to create a new storyline and in this case, it will be based on a very vague promise. Not repeal and replace, but fix.

[05:40:05] But it's going to be very hard, not because of President Trump only, but the Republicans have the baggage of their own record on health care, which the public just doesn't like.

BRIGGS: Yes. I want to come full circle to the latest between the U.S. and Iran.


BRIGGS: Tensions continue to escalate and Tom Cotton, Republican senator, ramped them up even a bit more over the weekend -- listen.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): And we can make a military wreck response in a time and a manner of our choosing. But, yes, unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): For my colleague, Sen. Cotton, to advocate that we attack Iran and provoke a war -- that there's no congressional authorization necessary -- I think is exactly the wrong answer on both levels.


BRIGGS: Tom Cotton wants a military strike on Iran.

Where are we headed?

ZELIZER: He's not alone. There's a lot of people in the administration -- some of the serious foreign policy people like Bolton, the national security adviser, who want a military strike. We're in an election year.

The only check, in some ways, has been the president, who doesn't want any military --


ZELIZER: -- escalation.

But you could imagine this moving toward some kind of conflict -- military.

ROMANS: It's a dangerous situation.

ZELIZER: And so it's a very dangerous situation in an election year and we'll see who does the pushback.

ROMANS: Julian Zelizer, nice to see you this morning.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Pete Buttigieg leaving the campaign trail to rush home to South Bend. Why Mayor Pete canceled two critical appearances in New York City -- that's next.


[05:45:54] ROMANS: Mayor Pete Buttigieg canceling his campaign events in New York City today. Instead, he's home in South Bend, Indiana to personally deal with an officer-involved shooting that left a suspect dead. The mayor points out the case is still being investigated so he can't say much about it.

Buttigieg says he went home because of lessons learned from past shootings involving his city's police officers.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've had prior cases of use of force incidents in officer-involved shootings where I hesitated, frankly, to get in front of the cameras because we didn't know very much and it was out of our hands.

But what I learned -- what I was told by people in the community is that it is important to open channels of communication to try to be clear on where the city is, even if we don't find ourselves in a position to be able to say or do much right away.


ROMANS: Buttigieg was scheduled to be in New York later today to appear at an LGBTQ event hosted by the Democratic National Committee. His husband will speak at the event, instead.

BRIGGS: Investigators in the Dominican Republic say they are close to arresting the suspect who ordered the shooting of Red Sox legend David Ortiz. Police are calling the assassination attempt a complex plot involving at least a dozen suspects. So far, 10 suspects are in custody and facing charges for the Ortiz shooting.

The retired Red Sox star continues to recover this morning in a Boston hospital.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong demonstrating against a controversial extradition bill for a second consecutive Sunday. They came out despite the fact that Hong Kong's leader apologized and said she was suspending the bill for now.

The measure would allow extraditions to Mainland China, which protesters say threatens their very political freedom. They want it shelved for good and they want that chief executive to resign.

The mayor of Phoenix, Arizona apologizing to a couple after police drew guns and swore at them and their kids, responding to an alleged shoplifting incident just last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POLICE OFFICER: Get out of the (bleep) car. Get out of the (bleep) car right now.


POLICE OFFICER: Yes. Get out, now.


BRIGGS: Shocking video. In the end, no shoplifting charges were filed and the couple were set free. They have now filed a $10 million claim against the city.

For details, we turn to Stephanie Elam in Los Angeles.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is shocking about this video coming out of Phoenix is just how young the family is, with police officers pulling their guns out on this family.

Now, what you can see is that the man in the car -- this young couple in their 20s and their two young children -- the man pulled out, handcuffed on the ground, and then forced up against the police vehicle. You can see that an officer sweeps his legs from underneath him after that.

At the same time, you can see that his fiance is standing there, getting out of the car with one baby on her hip and the other young child walking next to her, and the officer trying to yank the baby away. Finally, the woman giving her children over to a stranger because she said she was afraid of what the police officer was going to do.

She told CNN, quote, "I really thought he was going to shoot me in front of the kids."

All of this transpiring because of a shoplifting call at a store that was already in progress. Then the store manager alerted the police officers that this family, the store manager claimed, had also shoplifted. The family saying they didn't know their daughter had walked out of the store with a doll. That is what they're saying.

And then later, if you go through the police report, they say that the man admitted that he had shoplifted some underwear and then threw it out of a window.

Regardless, many are saying that this was just too heavy a response for a shoplifting call. The family saying that their daughters are traumatized. That the older daughter is having nightmares and is wetting the bed because of all of this that the happened.

The mayor of Phoenix, Mayor Kate Gallego, also coming out with a statement saying that she was deeply sorry. That she is going to make sure that every precinct within the Phoenix Police Departments gets body-worn cameras by August, so speeding up that time line. And also saying that there will be a community meeting Tuesday evening so that people can come together and talk about this.

[05:50:02] And we've also heard from the police chief, Jeri Williams, saying that there will be an immediate internal investigation. And she also said that she was disturbed by the language and the actions that she saw from the officers in that video.

But a lot of people very much questioning the use of force by these officers in this case. Right now, all of those officers, though, are on desk duty.


ROMANS: All right, just a disturbing story. Stephanie, thank you for that.

Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

Take a look at global markets starting the new week. You can see that Asian markets closed slightly higher and European markets have opened higher as well. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up after the city's top official suspended that controversial extradition bill.

U.S. markets leaning a little bit higher here to start the week. I would call that non-committal, actually. U.S. stocks closed down on Friday, roughly flat for the week -- flat to higher for the week.

Investors looking ahead to this week's Fed meeting where Fed chair Jerome Powell may hint at the likelihood of an interest rate cut. And they're also looking toward the G20 summit at the end of the month where President Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi to discuss trade.

It was a tough weekend for Target shoppers, folks. Two separate incidents caused delays at checkout lines.

On Saturday, a 2-hour outage prevented people from making purchases. And on Sunday, the company said its vendor that helps it accept payments was having an issue at one of its data centers.

Twitter users complained and shared images of the confusion. That looks like my worst nightmare, actually. A beautiful Saturday afternoon, stuck in a Target line.

Target said that the issue wasn't related to security and that no payment information was compromised.

It was a failed mission for "Men in Black" this weekend. Sony's latest film of the franchise brought in $28.5 million. It led the weekend box office was expected to bring in $30 million.

The film likely stumbled due to poor reviews. It's rated at 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Next weekend could be better for the global box office. Disney and Pixar's "Toy Story 4" will open, bringing back Tom Hanks and Tim Allen to voice Woody and Buzz Lightyear. The "Toy Story" franchise has made nearly $2 billion since 1995, some of that from my house.

BRIGGS: Oh, yes, a large --


BRIGGS: -- portion of that. Love those films.

All right. Ahead, the U.S. women's soccer team dominating in World Cup play. Can they stay undefeated after dancing to the knockout stage? That story is next.


[05:56:44] BRIGGS: Gary Woodland is golf's U.S. Open champion.




BRIGGS: And that was the exclamation point of the first major title for the 35-year-old Kansas native. Woodland delivering clutch shots throughout the final round and topped it off with that 30-foot birdie putt on 18 for a 3-stroke win. He posted the lowest winning score ever in six U.S. Opens in Pebble Beach.

Brooks Koepka your runner-up, trying to match that 114-year-old record by winning his third-straight U.S. Open title. Both he and Woodland in the 60s all four rounds at Pebble Beach.

ROMANS: Good golf.

All right, two in a row for the U.S. women's soccer team at the World Cup.


WORLD CUP ANNOUNCER: Davidson with another corner, driven across, goal -- yes!


ROMANS: Carli Lloyd scoring two goals in a dominating 3-0 win. The victory advancing Team USA to the knockout stage. They will play Sweden on Thursday to determine the winner of Group F.

The U.S. women have made it to the semifinal round in each of the previous three World Cups. They have not allowed a goal in international play, if you're counting, since early March in a match against England.

BRIGGS: And in that game, Carli Lloyd, the first-ever in women's World Cup to score in -- ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- six consecutive matches.

ROMANS: Good for her.

BRIGGS: She's been terrific.

Comedian John Oliver tackling the prospect of impeaching President Trump in your "Late-Night Laughs."


JOHN OLIVER, HOST, HBO "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER": Look at Nixon. In hindsight, his resignation seems inevitable. But in the early days of the scandal, there was real public resistance to his removal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And many more things are bothering America than Watergate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're making a big fuss over nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing has been proven illegal about anything he's done, and I think he's on the right track.


OLIVER: Yes, exactly. For a while, people thought that Watergate -- the scandal that we now use as shorthand for every political scandal -- didn't matter, and that's shocking to watch.

Although to be fair, in the 1970s, they also thought that shag carpeting was attractive and that Liberace just hadn't been the right girl yet.


OLIVER: That decade had a lot to learn.


ROMANS: Oh, the 70s.

BRIGGS: We can agree on that one thing.

ROMANS: Oh, the 70s.

BRIGGS: The decade had a lot to learn.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


BRIGGS: A gunman opens fire at a graduation party in Philadelphia, killing one and injuring several others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was people outside watching. Many of them are in disbelief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know if the shooter or shooters left on foot or if they left in a car. Hopefully, people will be able to provide more information.

TRUMP: They were fake polls. We are winning in every single state that we've polled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president grew furious when polls have shown the president losing in key states. Now, pollsters for the campaign are being fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the data points that he believes drive his own sense of strength in these states.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, June 17th, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill with me this morning. Great to have you here.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Always good to be with you.

BERMAN: All right. We have breaking news as we come on the air this morning.

A wave of violence and a manhunt underway in Philadelphia after a deadly attack on a graduation party. At least one person is dead there.