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EARLY START

Trump 2020 Campaign Officially Kicks Off; Acting Defense Secretary Out; Key Trump Aide Testifies on Hill Today; U.S./Iran Tensions; 100-Year-Old Sprinter Takes Gold in 100-Meter Dash. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 19, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


JIMMY FALLON. COMEDIAN: Port-a-potties or as Trump calls them, tweeting pods.

[05:00:03] STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Forty-five fest, MAGA-palooza, old cella. Merry Christmas.

The event will feature food trucks and live music from the band, The Guzzlers. Yes. Yes. Tonight, MAGA stands for make America guzzle again. We've -- are my Guzz heads here? We got some Guzz heads?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN ANCHOR: Just that word, guzzle.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Guzzle.

All right. A check on CNN business at 5:00 Eastern Time. Taking a look at global markets, stocks in Asia jumped after Trump's tweet about meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on trade. That fueled investor optimism about a potential trade wall.

On Wall Street, stocks were up around 1 percent. Futures are mostly flat ahead of today's announcement from the Fed. Chairman Powell will give hits to a possible future rate cut.

Who's the best CEO in America? According to Glassdoor's annual rankings released today, Pat Gelsinger from the software company VMware. He came in with a 99 percent approval rating.

Others did not do so well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg fell 39 spots, more than ever before after he faced multiple data and privacy scandals.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also fell. Last year, he was number 49 in 2018. This year, he did not make the top 100.

Soon, pizza delivery may come without a driver. Domino's announcing this week it's partnering with autonomous car company Nuro to deliver pizza. The two companies will try out the service in Houston starting this fall. And they hope it will allow customers and store owners more options during busy hours.

Customers will be able to opt in to use the autonomous service. They use a pin code to unlock a compartment to get their pizza.

Nuro has been operating in Houston since March. Good news you don't have to tip your driver I suppose.

KOSINSKI: It looks like a little kid car. You expect a little kid or a cat.

BRIGGS: It moves fast. No kid.

EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We went through the greatest witch hunt in political history. The only collusion was committed by the Democrats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump officially starts his 2020 bid for re- election. A new campaign, but the same airing of grievances.

KOSINSKI: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrawing from the confirmation process. The reason: new reporting about his troubled family life.

BRIGGS: Long-time Trump aide Hope Hicks headed to the Hill today. Democrats head to presser about her time with the president on the trail and in office but will the White House let her talk.

KOSINSKI: Plus, President Trump downplaying military threats to Iran but warning the country that war could come if they pursue nuclear weapons.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Michelle Kosinski.

BRIGGS: Good morning, Michelle. Good morning to all of you.

I'm Dave Briggs. Wednesday, June 19th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We start in Orlando, Florida. The president starting his first full day in re-election mode. His new campaign launched at an evening rally in Florida that was vintage Trump and airing of old grievances against the Mueller, Democrats, immigrants, even his 2016 opponent, yes, 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We went through the greatest witch hunt in political history. The only collusion was committed by the Democrats.

On no issue are Democrats more extreme and more depraved than when it comes to border security.

Remember, the insurance policy just in case Hillary Clinton lost. Remember the insurance policy.

AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: Sources tell CNN the president has been complaining to aides that cable networks have largely stopped airing his rallies live, as they did in 2016. A campaign source telling CNN officials hoped the rally would satisfy his thirst for the spotlight and reset the campaign.

Instead, we heard the same familiar refrains.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins was in Orlando and brings us more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Michelle, the president's campaign leading up to this has branded his rally as this blockbuster launch of the president's reelection campaign where he's going to swoop in and steal the limelight back from Democrats. They have new signs here. They have a live band outside. His supporters waited to get in. And they even brought out the first family on stage beforehand.

But when President Trump got on stage and he looked away from the teleprompters that were on both side of him, you heard the president essentially make the same argument to his supporters that he made back during the 2016 campaign.

[05:05:03] He talked about the news. He criticized Democrats. He went after Hillary Clinton in her emails.

It was really essentially an airing of his grievances that we've heard for the last four years ever since the president came down that escalator in Trump Tower and declared against all odds that he was running for president.

Now, there was one point in the evening where the president did get to the news and announced he was officially running for president again 2020.

TRUMP: I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States.

COLLINS: So, what you saw from the president in Orlando was more of a settling of scores than a setting of agenda for what he's going to do if he does get four more years in office. And the president said if he doesn't he painted this pretty dark picture, at times apocalyptic and said, quote, the Democrats want to destroy you and they want to destroy your country as we know it -- Dave and Michelle.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI: OK. Thank you, Kaitlan. Well, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrawing now for

consideration for the permanent job. His decision comes after new reporting from "The Washington Post" about a violent family incident in 2011 when Shanahan's son attacked his own mother with a baseball bat. Shanahan strongly defended his then-17-year-old son, arguing in a memo two weeks later that the teen was defending himself.

Shanahan told "The Post" he later regretted that memo and that the self-defense claim was false.

BRIGGS: An administration official tells CNN Shanahan was fully vetted and the White House was generally aware of the domestic abuse claims. But sources tell us even though Shanahan himself was never arrested, there was growing concern his wife would publicly accuse him of domestic abuse. Shanahan's withdrawal raises key questions about Pentagon leadership and comes just as tensions are escalating with Iran.

CNN's Ryan Browne with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN BROWNE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Good morning, Michelle and Dave.

This most senior shakeup at the Pentagon amid increased tensions in Iran, Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan stepping down, announcing that he will resign effective Sunday, we're being told. And this shakeup comes as President Trump has said he is seeking to avoid war with Iran while the U.S. simultaneously is deploying thousands of additional troops to the region to do forced protection, to respond to what it says is an increased Iranian threat, 1,000 troops being ordered most recently.

Those forces will include reconnaissance personnel, missile defense crews, forces that are said to be defensive in nature.

But again, Iran saying that the action is provocative, saying it will be prepared to respond if need be and, again, the senior shakeup at the Pentagon raising questions about leadership here.

Army Secretary Mark Esper will fill the role. He will take over on Sunday, we're being told. Again, he's had a fairly narrow portfolio of secretary of the army overseeing that one service. And he's currently getting a crash course in a variety of issues, including nuclear weapons, international security affairs, policy.

And he is an Army veteran. He spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill so he is familiar with some of these issues. But again, a real speed transition going on as he steps into the most senior level role at the Pentagon. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI: Big job, tense time. Thanks, Ryan. Turning now to the Democrats. Front-runner Joe Biden on the

fundraising trail later today, in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. On Tuesday in New York, the former vice president stopped by the Stonewall Inn, a scene of 1969 uprising that sparked the gay rights movement.

He told supporters the fight for LGBT rights must continue. Bernie Sanders reaching out to his backers on social media last night after President Trump's Orlando rally. The senator from Vermont evoking the Twilight Zone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to take you into another universe, a parallel universe from where Trump was this evening. It's really quite incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Amy Klobuchar laying out a plan for her first 100 days in office which includes a return to the Paris climate accord and a $15 minimum wage. The Minnesota senator telling Chris Cuomo enthusiasm will not be the issue for Democratic voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am not one bit worried about the excitement on our side. We just have to unite behind a candidate, and that's what these debates are all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: And today, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is focusing on his day job. He'll be speaking to families in South Bend, Indiana, after an officer shot a civilian over the weekend. Buttigieg returns to the campaign trail Thursday in Boston.

And Senator Cory Booker testifies before a House committee today. He is supporting a bill that would create a commission to examine reparations for slavery.

[05:10:03] BRIGGS: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems to be comparing the Trump campaign to Nazis over its policy of detaining migrants at the southern border.

Listen to what the New York City Democrat told her followers on Instagram live.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps. I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not -- that "never again" means something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: AOC's critics are slamming her for using the term "concentration camps", which is commonly associated with Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.

Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney tweeting: Please, AOC, do us all a favor and just spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. Six million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this.

BRIGGS: Ocasio-Cortez firing back: Hey, Representative Cheney, since you're so eager to educate me, I'm curious what do you call building mass camps with people being detained without a trial?

Ocasio-Cortez went on to tell CNN she is not comparing the situation at the border to death camps but rather to internment camps like the ones that held Japanese-Americans during World War II.

KOSINSKI: Longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks heads to Capitol Hill in the matter of hours. The president's former communications director will face questions from lawmakers behind closed doors. But the administration is asserting immunity for Hicks, insisting she cannot testify about her time in the White House.

More now from Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michelle and Dave.

Hope Hicks, the president's long-time confidante, someone who predates the time of the campaign, worked with him in the Trump Organization, worked with him through the campaign, into the transition, into the White House, she will go behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee and she's going to face an array of questions. We do know that the Democrats plan to press her on a key topic, that is those hush money payments that occurred back in 2016 to silence those alleged extramarital affairs involving Donald Trump. At the time, she was on the campaign, she had knowledge about that. The president cannot invoke executive privilege because he was not president at that time.

But there are instances that occurred that are outlined in the Mueller report that could lead into a fight between the administration and House Democrats, namely those instances detailed in the Mueller report about potential obstruction of justice.

Now, I'm told by Democrats that they plan to ask about five topics of potential criminality at this that were laid out in the Mueller report as it comes to potential obstruction of justice, the efforts to undermine the Mueller probe, the president's efforts allegedly to dismiss the special counsel, Robert Mueller, how he handled the firing of James Comey, his conduct around his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, and his efforts to get the former attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, to unrecuse himself and to oversee the Mueller report. Those are all topics they plan to press her on and the Democrats want to ask about -- Michelle and Dave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: OK, Manu, thanks.

Check on CNN business at 5:13.

Stocks soared yesterday after President Trump tweeted he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20. The Dow closed up over 350 points after Trump said the two had a very good telephone conversation, that they will have an extended meeting next week.

Trump and Xi were expected to meet to discuss trade. It was unclear whether a meeting would take place. And if Xi didn't meet with him, Trump said he would impose $300 billion worth of tariffs on China.

He seemed unconcerned about that possibility, though, last night at the Orlando rally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Because we are taking in billions and billions of dollars into our treasury and companies are leaving China because they want to avoid paying these large tariffs.

(END VIDOE CLIP)

BRIGGS: Hundreds of companies have warned the president about the effects of tariffs. A group of more than 600 of them wrote in a letter, quote: Additional tariffs will have significant negative long- term impact on the U.S. economy.

Even New Balance which makes 4 million pairs of shoes here in the United States said it needs to import parts from China and the tariffs would hurt its financial health. Yesterday's tweet gave investors and businesses more confidence that those tariffs will not take effect.

KOSINSKI: President Trump downplaying the threat of a military confrontation with Iran but saying it's all still on the table. We're live in Tehran, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:19:29] KOSINSKI: President Trump now downplaying the threat of a military confrontation with Iran. He tells "Time" magazine in an interview he wouldn't say he's considering that. But the president says he would consider using military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Meantime, Iran is responding on multiple fronts.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has all of that news now live from Tehran with breaking developments.

Fred, what do you have?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi there, Michelle.

A lot of breaking news coming out of Tehran this morning.

[05:20:01] The Iranians for the first time responding to some of that video evidence that the U.S. put shortly forward after those tanker attacks took place in the Persian Gulf. The U.S., of course, saying they implicate Revolutionary Guard small boats and say that the Iranian sailors were apparently taking an unexploded mine off of one of those ships.

Now, the Iranians have been denying that. Now, for the first time, Iran's defense minister came out and said, first of all, it's unclear when that video was taken. And he also said the Iranian small boats, when they go to a rescue operation like they did when the tanker was stricken, they go around the tanker and he said that they conduct various checks to make sure they secure the area.

He went on to say that all of that can be videotaped and used in certain ways. But he says none of that is any sort of document that could be used as evidence. He went on to levy an allegation against the United States, saying the statements by the United States saying that this was malicious intent on the part of the Iranians is what he called a cowardly attack on Iran by the United States.

At the same time, the Iranians defending their decision to ramp up their nuclear program once again, of course, giving a 60-day deadline for when they're going to exceed the limits. The president of the country, Hassan Rouhani, coming out just a couple of minutes ago and saying that was the minimum that Iran could do because the Iranians are saying they're adhering to the nuclear deal but they're not getting any benefits because of those U.S. sanctions and they say they want them to go away as fast as possible, Michelle.

KOSINSKI: The back and forth continues. Thanks, Fred.

BRIGGS: A federal grand jury investigating Harvard's fencing coach in connection with the nationwide college admission scandal. A source tells CNN coach Peter Brand sold his Needham, Massachusetts, home in 2013 to a wealthy businessman whose son was actually looking to apply to Harvard. The buyer, Jie Zhao, paid $989,000 for the house, nearly twice what it was worth according to tax documents.

Harvard is conducting an independent review of the sale. At the time, Zhao had a son on the Harvard fencing team and another who was a junior in high school.

KOSINSKI: A bizarre murder case in Alaska. Eighteen-year-old Denali Brehmer allegedly carried out a plot to kill her best friend after she met a man online who offered her $9 million for photos and videos of a murder. The victim, 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman, was fatally shot in the back of the head.

Brehmer was arrested and charged in the murder. Four other teens were arrested in connection with the killing. Police say the man who allegedly solicited the murder, 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller is in FBI custody awaiting extradition to Alaska. Brehmer is also facing federal child pornography charges.

BRIGGS: That is some dark stuff.

KOSINSKI: Yes, it is.

BRIGGS: Let's lighten things up ahead. She started her track and field career at the age of 101. Two years later --

KOSINSKI: What?

BRIGGS: -- Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins is a gold medalist.

Andy Scholes has her awesome story in the "Bleacher Report".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:28:03] BRIGGS: A first in Major League Baseball. The Chicago White Sox announcing they will extend the protective netting at their stadium all the way to the foul poles.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report".

Reaction to that young kid getting hurt earlier at the Cubs/Astros game long overdue at a lot of these parks, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dave, you know, a bunch of fans have actually been injured by foul balls recently at baseball games. Teams all around baseball games say they're going to extend the netting at their stadiums.

But the White Sox are the first announced they are taking it, their netting, all the way to the foul poles. And currently, all MLB stadiums have netting to the end of the dugouts. As you mentioned, you know, a renewed call for extended netting happened after that little girl was recently hurt at that Astros/Cubs game.

The White Sox announced this change they're doing is going to happen as soon as possible, as soon as maybe this summer. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said this is something teams will look into, but changes during the season are tough for most teams because it is a structural issue.

All right. Nationals Park, meanwhile, Max Scherzer working on his bunting before the game was rained out. Scherzer didn't lay that one out. The ball hits him in the face breaking his nose. The team says a CT scan was negative.

The three time cy young award winner was scheduled to pitch today. The team said his status was to be determined.

Twins and Red Sox, meanwhile, nearly playing two full games last night, tied at three in the seventh game inning. Max Kepler came through with the walk-off single. This was supposed to be Kepler's off day.

He came in in the sixth inning, ended up playing 11 innings. He tied the game with a homer in the 13th. Not bad for an off day.

All right. Finally, meet Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins. The 103-year-old taking gold in the 100-meter dash at the National Senior Games. Hawkins says running has helped keep her mind and body sharp.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIA "HURRICANE" HAWKINS, SPRINTER: I hope I'm inspiring them to be healthy and to.

END