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EARLY START

President Trump Says He's Willing to Talk to Iran Without Preconditions; Iran Rebuffs President Trump's Offer to Negotiate; Bernie Sanders Set to Announce Plan to Cancel $1.6 Trillion of Student Loan Debt. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 24, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-HOST, EARLY START: The brink of imminent confrontation. But tensions still loom as the administration weighs its response to a series of apparent provocations by Tehran. Chief among them, the downing of that unmanned spy plane last week. President Trump extending an olive branch to, quote, "start all over with nuclear talks." On "Meet The Press", he tried to strike a forcefully, yet diplomatic tone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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, but you can't have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk good, otherwise you're going to have a bad economy for the next three years --

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: No pre-conditions?

TRUMP: Not as far as I'm concerned, no pre-conditions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

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

TODD: Yes, you have some serious hawks --

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

(END VIDEO CLIP) DAVE BRIGGS, CO-HOST, EARLY START: National Security adviser John

Bolton in Israel Sunday had this message for Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The U.S. is expected to level major new sanctions on Iran this morning. Let's turn to senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen live for us in Tehran. Fred, how do you expect Iran to react?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's quite interesting, Dave, because we're getting a lot of reactions already from the Iranian side today on what President Trump says that he is ready to negotiate, as he puts it, without pre-conditions. And the Iranians are definitely pushing back on that notion.

In fact, just a couple of minutes ago, as the head of the National Security and Foreign Relations Council of Iran's parliament came out, and he said that "Mr. Trump, until the sanctions are suspended from Tehran, only military forces will talk to you."

And that just came a couple of minutes after a senior adviser to President Rouhani also pushed back on that notion, saying, "America's claim to negotiate without pre-conditions is unacceptable while threats and sanctions continue."

So, you can see the disconnect, Dave, between Tehran and Washington D.C. where the Trump administration is saying they're going to put additional sanctions on Iran until Iran comes back to the table. Where the Iranians are saying, it is precisely the sanctions from the Trump administration that are preventing Iran from getting back to the negotiating table.

At the same time, you do have some news threats and tough talk from Iran's military. They're saying that the shooting down of that U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf was a crashing blow to the U.S. that can be repeated. So, some tough language there.

However, you also have the foreign minister of Iran who seemed to be almost praising President Trump, saying, he believes there are some in the Trump administration and close to the president who are trying to box him into a situation where war becomes inevitable. But Javad Zarif saying in a tweet, but this time prudence prevented.

And so it seems that there's a little bit of praise coming maybe from the Iranian side for the president's decision not to strike Iran after that drone shot-down, but at the same time, Iranians also continuing their tough talk, Dave. BRIGGS: And their economy continues to shrink and inflation increases, so a contentious week ahead. Fred Pleitgen live for us there, thank you. A big week ahead for 2020 Democrats with the first presidential debates scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday night. Bernie Sanders looking for a bounce after losing some progressive support to Elizabeth Warren in recent polls. He's set to announce a plan to cancel all $1.6 trillion in student loan debt for some 45 million people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), 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)

BRIGGS: The ambitious plan goes 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.

ROMANS: Right, a group of wealthy progressives are telling 2020 presidential candidates tax us, take some of our money. In a letter released this morning, billionaire George Soros, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and others tell candidates that they support a moderate wealth tax on the richest one-tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans.

The letter reads the tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle income and lower income Americans. They claim that the idea is supported by most Americans across political parties. And the idea of a wealth tax not new.

[05:05:00] The letter says the revenue could substantially help cover the cost of investments and our future like clean energy, universal child care, student loan debt relief and other needs.

The authors write they believe it is their duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us. Saying it is in our interest as Americans -- brand new this morning.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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!

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Wow, Buttigieg says he will ask the Justice Department for an

independent investigation into this shooting. He also said the effort to recruit more minority officers and then to introduce body cams have not succeeded. He said he accepts responsibility for that. Afterwards, Buttigieg called the meeting painful but necessary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's my city and I have a relationship with everybody in the 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, and it's happening all over the country.

But it's happening here, then 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 like it's show or something. It's people's lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Buttigieg 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: Right, immigration raids in ten major U.S. cities delayed for two weeks by President Trump. After that, he insists deportations will proceed unless Congress finds a solution to the crisis at the border. The president announcing that delay after criticisms from the mayors of those cities and Democrats.

And in what was billed as his first television interview with a Spanish language network, Mr. Trump was questioned about his administration's zero tolerance immigration policy. Listen to this rather remarkable claim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm the one that put people together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just --

TRUMP: They separated. I put them together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did not, 2,800 children were reunited with their parents end of last year after the zero tolerance --

TRUMP: Excuse me --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Policy --

TRUMP: Because I put them together --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Separated thousands of them --

TRUMP: That's because I put them together. Under Obama, you had separation -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under a court order, right?

TRUMP: No, I put them together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: That of course is false. The Obama administration did separate some people on a limited case-by-case basis, it was not a full-on policy. Acting ICE Director Mark Morgan blames leaks for the delayed immigration raids. He didn't specify what information was leaked or who leaked it. But remember, the nation found out about the plan from the president of the United States in a tweet.

ROMANS: All right, an amazing rescue caught on video in Hazelwood, Missouri. Body cam images show a local police officer who was first on the scene responding to cries coming from the basement of a house that was fully engulfed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay ready, back up, back up, back up, back up, back up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Inside that house was the homeowner and her 3-year-old granddaughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, come here, watch this kid, watch this kid, go over here, I'm going to get your mom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The officer then kicked open the window, was able to pull the child out of -- out of the window, take her to safety. He returned to the window with the help of a neighbor rescued the homeowner as well. Latonya Hart and her granddaughter are both OK. So far, the hero officer has only been identified by his department as officer Rodriguez. Well done.

BRIGGS: Yes, kudos --

ROMANS: Well done --

BRIGGS: Indeed.

ROMANS: Right, a 30th horse has now died at Santa Anita race track. Now, a hall of fame trainer has been banned.

[05:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: A New York area man has died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Fifty six-year-old Vittorio Caruso is the tenth American tourist to die there in the past year. His family was told he died of respiratory distress and possibly a heart attack. Dominican officials are struggling to re-assure worried tourists that the deaths are isolated events.

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

BRIGGS: And infant formula sold exclusively at Wal-Mart has being recalled because the possible presence of metal foreign matter. The recall affects a single lot that the 35 ounce container of parents choice advantage infant formula milk based with powder -- with iron.

The company says no adverse events have been reported. They issue -- the volunteer recall of more than 23,000 containers of the baby formula out of an abundance of caution.

ROMANS: San Francisco is said to become the first U.S. city to ban e- cigarettes this week. The city's board of supervisors will hold a final vote Tuesday, it's a move that pits the city against one of its fastest-growing start-ups, Jewel Labs which has criticized the measure. Jewel is the dominant e-cigarette maker and has skyrocketed in popularity since launching its sleek vaporizers in 2015.

Last week, the company announced the purchase of a 28 storey office tower in San Francisco, the very city to ban it first --

[05:15:00] BRIGGS: A hall of fame trainer has been banned from Santa Anita Park after a 30th horse died at the track. The trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer has lost four of his horses since the race and season began at Santa Anita in December. Track officials say he is no longer welcome to the stable, race or train his horses at any of their facilities.

Hollendorfer tells the "Daily Racing Form" he thinks the decision was premature and extreme. Well, it has happened yet again. A young woman struck by a foul ball, hear from the star player involved. Andy Scholes has that scary story in the "BLEACHER REPORT".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:20:00] ROMANS: If you were lucky enough to play the numbers 0-0- 0-0 in Saturday's $7.8 million North Carolina Pick 4 lottery game, you are the jackpot winner along with 2,013 of your closest friends who had the same brilliant idea to pick four zeros.

Because there were so many winners, 1,002 players who bought a $1 ticket will each get a 5 grand, and a 1,012 players who purchased a 50 cent ticket, they'll get 2,500 bucks apiece, that's a lovely little return. Lottery officials are warning all the winners to expect extended waiting times when picking up their prizes, Dave.

BRIGGS: Oh, they were so clever. All right, the U.S. women's soccer team will continue to play at the World Cup today. In the meantime, they've agreed to go to mediation over their pay discrimination suit. Andy Scholes has that story in the "BLEACHER REPORT". You can easily make a case that the ladies should be paid more than the men, but we won't get into that. Good morning, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, good morning. It all comes down to the balance sheet, but oh, yes, we'll talk about that another time. You know, team USA is set to take the pitch against Spain at noon Eastern today. No more margin for error now, we've now reached the knock-out stage of the Women's World Cup.

And while the team is playing, they have temporarily(ph) agreed to go to mediation after the World Cup ends over their pay discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation. The players 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 to solve the ongoing gender disparities is genuine. The world is watching."

The U.S. Soccer Federation told "The Washington Post" meanwhile that they welcomed the opportunity to mediate after the World Cup. And they were actually disappointed that this news was shared while the tournament was going on, as it could create a distraction.

The players though, say there is no distraction and they can handle their business on and off the field.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALI KRIEGER, DEFENDER, TEAM USA: Bring it on, you know, we're not listening to any of the noise. We're here to win and we're here to do a job and do it well. And you know, you work your entire life for this moment, and nothing is going to get in the way of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: All right, and a highly-heated contest, England beat Cameroon yesterday 3-0 to advance to the quarter finals. After the game, England's coach said, he was quote, "utterly ashamed by the behavior of the Cameroon players." Now, two video replays did not go Cameroon's way in this one, and they were not happy about it.

A one Cameroon player appeared to even shove the official in the back during a play. Cameroon even threatened to walk off the pitch and quit over what they felt were unjust cause. Now, Cameroon's coach said he felt like his team had been the victim of an injustice.

All right, finally, it happened again yesterday, a fan at Dodgers Stadium, a young woman struck in the head by a foul ball at the bat of the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger as she was sitting just beyond the protective netting that extends to the end of the dug-out. Bellinger who was visibly upset, he went over to check on the young woman in- between innings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CODY BELLINGER, FIRST BASEMAN & OUTFIELDER, LOS ANGELES DODGERS: It was weird, that was the first time that I think I've actually hit a fan -- oh, I'm sorry, hit a fan, but I saw it literally hit her face. So, it was tough. I went over the next half inning just to make sure. And she said she was all right, she gave me a thumps up, obviously it was a scary situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Yes, first, the fan stayed in her seat and was given an ice pack, but then was taken to the hospital for cautionary tests. A woman died last August after being struck in the head by a foul ball at Dodgers Stadium. And you know, the White Sox and Nationals, Dave, they both announced --

BRIGGS: Yes --

SCHOLES: They're going to extend that protective netting basically all the way to the foul poles to protect the fans. It's going to be interesting to see what teams follow suit.

BRIGGS: All right, it's a foregone conclusion, right? It seems like the whole league has to do that in the off-season --

SCHOLES: Yes --

BRIGGS: It should be an interesting thing to watch --

SCHOLES: You don't want to be the team that's having fans get injured --

BRIGGS: Right, exactly, good stuff, my friend, thank you --

SCHOLES: Right --

BRIGGS: Romans, what's coming up?

ROMANS: All right, talking about Iran again this morning. Iran's top Naval commander just said more U.S. spy planes could be shot down. How will that affect the U.S. strategy to slow Iran's nuclear ambitions? And wiping out all college debt. Bernie Sanders has a plan to erase $1.6 trillion in loans, so who is going to pay for it?

[05:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump says he's willing to meet with Iran without pre-conditions. Will that change after a new threat overnight against American spy planes?

ROMANS: College debt in America could be wiped out under a new plan from Bernie Sanders. So, where is he getting $1.6 trillion to make it happen?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up, back up, back up, back up, back up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: And 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, oh, 2,000 of your closest friends? A lot of people in North Carolina about to find out. Good morning everyone, welcome back to EARLY START this Monday morning, I'm Christine Romans --

BRIGGS: Good morning --

ROMANS: Hi --

BRIGGS: Good morning to all of you, I'm Dave Briggs, 5:29 a.m. Eastern Time. We begin a massively consequential week for this president in Iran. U.S. and Iran seemed to have stepped back from the brink of imminent confrontation, but tensions still looms as the administration weighs its response to a series of apparent provocation by Tehran.

Chief among them, the downing of that unmanned spy plane last week. President Trump extending an olive branch to, quote, "start all over with nuclear talks." On "Meet The Press", he tried to strike a forceful, yet diplomatic tone.

END