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Trump's Iran Strategy; Sanders Tackles College Debt; Officers Rescues Girl And Grandmother; Lottery, Absolute Zeroes; America's Choice 2020; Tenth American Tourist Dies In Dominican Republic; Coup Fails In Ethiopia; More Tragedy At Santa Anita; USWNT And U.S. Soccer Agree To Mediation; Storm Batter Midwest. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 24, 2019 - 04:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not looking for war. And if there is, it will be obliteration like you've never seen before, but I'm not looking to do that.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST: President Trump says he is willing to meet with Iran without preconditions, but will that change after a new threat overnight against American spy planes?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: A college debt in America could be wiped out under a new plan from Bernie Sanders. Where is he getting the $1.6 trillion to make it happen?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up. Back up. Back up. Back up.


BRIGGS: An incredible rescue caught on camera. A girl and her grandmother pulled from a burning house.

ROMANS: How would you like to share a lottery jackpot with 2,000 of your closest friends? A lot of people in North Carolina are about to find out. Good morning, everybody. Welcome to "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Kind of good news/bad news, isn't it. You won't believe the winning numbers in that lottery either, we will have that ahead. I'm Dave Briggs, Monday, June 24th, it is 4:00 a.m. in the East, 12:30 p.m. in Tehran. That is where we begin this week.

The U.S. and Iran seem to have stepped back from the brink of imminent confrontation, but tensions still indeed loom as the administration weighs its response to a series of apparent provocations -- excuse me, by Tehran. Chief among them the downing of that unmanned spy plane last week. President Trump on Sunday extending an olive branch to, quote, start all over with nuclear talks. On Meet The Press, he tried to strike a forceful and yet diplomatic tone.


TRUMP: I'm not looking for war and if there is, it will be obliteration like you've never seen before. But I'm not looking to do that, but you cannot have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk, good, otherwise you can have a bad economy for the next three years.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: No preconditions?

TRUMP: Not as far as I'm concerned. No preconditions.


BRIGGS: The president also emphasizing that he makes the final decision after he called off a retaliatory strike last week. Mr. Trump said, he decided the projected death toll from the strike, 150, was too high despite the urging of some top national security officials.


TODD: Do you feel like you were being pushed into military actions against Iran by any of your advisers.

TRUMP: I have two groups of people. I have doves and I have hawks.

TODD: You have some serious hawks.

TRUMP: I have some hawks, yes, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. It is up to him, he'd take on the whole world at one time, OK? But that doesn't matter, because I want both sides.


ROMANS: National Security Adviser John Bolton in Israel, Sunday. He had this message for Iran.


AMB. JOHN BOLTON, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East.


ROMANS: The U.S. expected to level major new sanctions on Iran this morning. For the very latest, let's turn to Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen. He is there for us in Tehran, where you had been for some days now, watching all of this unfold, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Christine. And the tensions certainly are extremely high still in this region between the U.S. and Iran. In fact a senior Iranian commander coming out today saying that the shoot down of this drone with a crushing response to the United States and is something that could be repeated again in the future. So the Iranians are certainly saying that their not backing down. At the same time we seem to have something like almost praise coming for President Trump from Iran's foreign minister. He tweeted late yesterday saying that he believes that the b team was trying to box President Trump into a situation where war with Iran would become inevitable.

Of course, he talks about the b team as being some of President Trump's closest allies like for instance national security advisor, John Bolton, but also Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And then as a referent onto tweets saying, prudence prevented it. They are seemingly praising President Trump but then going on to say that economic terrorism as he puts it text sews tensions, that is something with the Iranians are saying that policy that the U.S. has of those massive sanctions in Iran are causing a lot of discord between the U.S. and Iran.

And that brings us back to the fundamental disconnect between Washington and Tehran on this issue. The Trump administration of course saying, they believe that sanctions will bring Iran back to the negotiating table. The Iranians are saying, it's precisely those sanctions that are keeping Iran from going back to the negotiating table, Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, talking right pass each other on that sanctions, Fred, it looks like there will be new sanctions announce today. Fred Pleitgen for us in Tehran. Thank you.

BRIGGS: With all of that, today the first day on the job for acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper. He was secretary of the army until Friday, the day he was also officially nominated for the permanent Secretary of Defense position.

[04:05:10] Because of quirks in the laws, he can only hold the acting job until July 30. Among other reasons he has to step down to go through the confirmation process. In his first five weeks on the job he takes off for a NATO meeting. Pick up all the complications of this conflict with Iran.

ROMANS: All right. A big week ahead for the 2020 Democrats with the first presidential debate schedule for Wednesday and Thursday night. Bernie Sanders looking for a bounce after losing some progressive support to Elizabeth Warren in recent polls. He is set to announce a plan to cancel all $1.6 trillion in student loan debt for some 44 million people.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a little bit crazy for people to do what they have to do, which is to get a quality education and then find themselves in the absurd position of having to pay that debt off for decades.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: It is an ambitious plan. It goes well beyond the proposal

from Elizabeth Warren. It has no eligibility limitations. The Sanders plan would be paid for with a new tax on buying and selling stocks bonds and derivatives.

BRIGGS: Presidential candidate South Bend, Mayor Indiana Pete Buttigieg facing raw emotion at his community town hall. He was there to address the pain caused by recent killing of a black man by a police officer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the racists off the streets. It's disrespectful that I wake up every day scared. It's disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach today what to do.


BRIGGS: Buttigieg says he will ask the Justice Department for an independent investigation into the shooting. He also said the effort to recruit more minority officers and introduce body cams have not succeeded. He said, he accepts responsibility for that. Afterwards Buttigieg called the meeting painful, but necessary.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's my city, and I have a relationship with everybody in this city who looks to the city to keep them safe. And when somebody loses their life, because of a civilian, or because of an officer, it's happening all over the country, but it's happening here. And I feel like it's my job to face it. I'm sick of these things being talked about in political terms, in theoretical terms. It gets to show something. It's people's lives.


BRIGGS: Buttigieg is trying to separate the issue at home from his 2020 run, but this is all unfolding as he tries to find more diverse support nationwide.

ROMANS: All eyes looking ahead to the G-20 at the end of the week where President Trump is expected to meet with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. Investors hope the two sides will work toward a trade deal. But this week is starting out on a frosty note between the two. According to "The Wall Street Journal," the Trump administration is considering a requirement that 5g mobile data equipment made for the U.S. must be made outside of China.

The consideration stems from an executive order from last month barring the use of some foreign made equipment due to cyber security concerns. The order also started a review of the U.S. telecom equipment chain. Conversations are in the early stages, but officials are asking whether companies could make equipment like, you know, cell phones tower, electronics and software outside of China. The general noted there are no major U.S. manufacturers of cellular

equipment. The U.S. officials have worried that the Chinese government could put security holes into tech made in China and that those holes could be used for spying or other purposes.

BRIGGS: A New York area man has died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, 56 year-old Vittorio Caruso, the tenth American tourist to die there in the past year. Caruso's family was told he died of respiratory distress and possibly a heart attack. Dominican officials are struggling to reassure worried tourist, the deaths are isolated events.

Meantime, the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana said it's removing those liquor dispensers from guest room mini bars. It says the decision has nothing to do with two deaths that occurred there.

ROMANS: An amazing rescue caught on video in Hazelwood, Missouri. A body cam video shows a local police officer who was first on the scene responding to cries coming from the basement of a house that was fully engulfed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up, back up, back up. Back up.


ROMANS: Unbelievable. Inside a basement was the homeowner and her 3- year-old granddaughter.


[04:10:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Hey, hey, hey, watch this kid. Watch this kid. Go. Go. I'll get your mama.


ROMANS: Wow. The officer kicked open the window, was able to pull the child out of the window and take her to safety. He returned to the window with the help of the neighbor he rescued the grandmother or the homeowner, rather, as well. Latanya Hart and her granddaughter are both OK. So far the hero officer has only been identified by his department as Officer Rodriguez. All right. Heart-stopping stuff. Just another day at worked for him, but wow, changing people's lives.

BRIGGS: Thank you to our greatest.

ROMANS: An attempted coup fails in Ethiopia, but not before a four top officials are killed on orders from a renegade general. What it means for relations with a key U.S. ally, next.


BRIGGS: Turmoil in Ethiopia. A failed coup orchestrated by a renegade general, one of the country's largest regional states. According to the Ethiopian government, the overthrow attempt left four officials dead. Farai Sevenzo, live from Nairobi with the very latest. Farai, good morning.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. Yes, you're absolutely right. I mean, Ethiopia is hugely important within this region. It's a country of over 100 million people and of course it's been in the headlines internationally and locally in the region for their sweeping changes and reform. The Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has managed to engineer.

Now, Saturday night/Sunday morning, right about after midnight, the Prime Minister Abiy came on the television dressed in his military fatigues to say that there had been a coup attempt in the northern region of (inaudible). Where the regional president Sama Kuning (ph) and together with Attorney General and it other colleagues had been put under gunfire while in an office.

And of course, that 500 kilometers away in the capital (inaudible) the army chief of staff, Dave. The head of Ethiopian army was shot dead. Now Ethiopian officials are telling us that the army chief was shot from 500 kilometers away, because they knew that he would be the one to put down this coup attempt in this one region in the north Amahara, by this renegade general, a man known as (inaudible).

Now he is on the run. Of course, the Army Chief of Staff was also shot, another interesting fact by his own bodyguards, the Ethiopian officials had told us. But now, let's not confused our fears. What's happening in Amahara is not representative of all of Ethiopian out throw, even if a coup had happened in that northern region, it would not have affected the power dynamics in (inaudible) and Prime Minister Abiy's control of the country, but it does point to some kind of a discord, a kind of a lack of consensus in the whole governing coalition of the Ethiopian people's revolution, the Democratic front which Mr. Abiy heads.

And of course, while there's peace at the moment, he's got a very hard job trying to convince the hardliners within his own party and throughout the nine regions of Ethiopia, that he is the man to lead Ethiopia. Remember he is also important in the region. He is mediating in peace in Sudan. He (inaudible) peace with (inaudible). And if he is removed, Ethiopians fear going back to a very dark past. Dave.

BRIGGS: So chaotic week to say the least ahead. Farai Sevenzo, live for us in Nairobi this morning. Thank you, sir.

ROMANS: All right. A sharp blow to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan overnight as the main opposition party wins a rerun of the mayoral election in Istanbul with nearly all votes counted. The state news agency reports the opposition is in the lead with 54 percent. Now this was a revote demanded by Erdogan's Party after it lost the regional voting in March by a slim margin. It alleged fraud, sued in the court for a do over and won. President Erdogan party has slid in popularity since it clamped down hard on civil liberties following a failed coup in 2016 and the economy began to struggle. BRIGGS: Ahead, a 30th horse has now died at Santa Anita racetrack.

Now a hall of fame trainer has been banned.


BRIGGS: It has happened yet again. This time at Dodger's stadium Sunday. A young woman was struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of the Dodgers Cody Bellinger. She was sitting just beyond the protected netting that extended the end of the dugout. Bellinger who was visibly upset there went to check on her between innings.

At first she stayed in her seat and was given an ice pack, but then was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests. A woman died last August after being struck in the head by a foul ball at Dodger's stadium. Fan safety has received greater scrutiny since a young girl was struck by a foul ball during a game in Houston last month.

ROMANS: The U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. women's national team are heading to mediation over pay discrimination. Players including Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Meghan Rapanow are suing for wages more in line with the men's national team.

A spokeswoman for the players says, we hope their pledge to submit a proposal is solve, the ongoing gender disparities is genuine, the world is watching. The mediation process is expected to begin after the women's World Cup in France, ends on July 7th. Team USA faces Spain in the round of 16 today.

BRIGGS: A hall of fame trainer has been banned from the St. Anita Park after a 30th horse died on the track. The trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has lost four of his horses since the racing season began at St. Anita in December. Track officials say he is no longer welcome to stable, race or train his horses at any of their facilities. Hollendorfer for tells the daily racing form he thinks the decision to banned him was premature and extreme.

ROMANS: All right. Another round of devastating weather in an already battered Midwest. Evacuations and water rescues from vehicles stretching the resources of first responders. Multiple roadways wash out in Goodman Missouri. Parts of roaring rivers state park now under evacuation.

In Oklahoma, a 64 year-old woman is dead, swept away in her car by floodwaters. Police say she drove into a flooded creek crossing. And the national Weather service is sending an assessment team to confirm whether it was a tornado that caused extensive damage to a growing kid's daycare facility near South Bend. Thankful there were no injuries reported.

BRIGGS: Beyonce sharing a Lion King clip on her YouTube channel showcasing a magic she will bring to the film soundtrack.

ROMANS: Goose bumps.

BRIGGS: You're welcome. The latest teaser features her highly anticipated duet with Donald Glover singing Elton John's beloved, "Can you feel the love tonight." The teaser went viral when it leak last week before Disney temporarily shut the clip down. The John Favreau, directed live action remake of the Lion King hits theaters July 19th, just weeks after the 25th anniversary of the released of the original film.

ROMANS: All right. I can't wait. All right. If you were lucky enough to play the numbers 0000 in Saturday's $7.8 million North Carolina pick four lottery game, you are the jackpot winner. You and 213,000 of your best friends. Who also have the same brilliant idea to pick four zeros, because they were so many winners, 1012 players who bought a $1 ticket. You'll get five grand each and 1,012 players who purchased the 50 cent tickets, you'll get 2500 bucks apiece. Lottery officials are warning all the winners to expect extended waiting times when picking up their prices.

BRIGGS: You probably thought you were so clever with those numbers.

ROMANS: Not original.

BRIGGS: Ahead, Iran's top naval commander says more U.S. drones could be shot down. How will that affect the U.S. strategy to slow Iran's nuclear ambitions?

ROMANS: And wiping out all college debt. Bernie Sanders has a plan to erase $1.6 trillion of loans. So, who's going to pay for it?