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President Trump Willing To Talk To Iran Without Preconditions; Bernie Sanders To Announce Plan To Cancel $1.6 Trillion Of Student Loan Debt; Four Killed In Ethiopia Regional Coup Attempt. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired June 24, 2019 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump extending an olive branch to, quote, "start all over" with nuclear talks.

On "MEET THE PRESS," he tried to strike forceful, yet diplomatic tone.


TRUMP: I'm not looking for war and if there is, it'll 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 can have a bad economy for the next three years.


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


BRIGGS: No preconditions. The Iranians don't share that sentiment. A bit more on that in a moment.

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 of 150 from the strike was too high despite the urging of some top national security officials.


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

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

TODD: Yes, and you have some serious hawks.

TRUMP: I have some hawks -- oh, yes. John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was 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) CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: National Security adviser John Bolton in Israel Sunday. He had this message for Iran.


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.


ROMANS: The U.S. expected to level major new sanctions on Iran this morning.

For the latest on that, let's turn to senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen. He is standing by live for us.

He's been in Tehran. He has been watching these tensions simmer here. What's new this morning, Fred?


Well, you're absolutely right. I mean, it's an absolutely consequential week between the U.S. and Iran and it certainly seems as though Iranian officials are feeling that as well.

Just a couple of minutes ago, a senior adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came out and pushed back on President Trump's notion of negotiations without preconditions. One of the things that he said -- he said, "America's claim to negotiate without preconditions is unacceptable while threats and sanctions continue."

Now, there was another senior Iranian politician -- this is the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran's Parliament who put it more bluntly. He said, "Mr. Trump, until the sanctions are suspended from Tehran, only military forces will talk to you."

And that goes back, Christine, to that fundamental disconnect that you have between the Trump administration and Tehran where the Trump administration is saying they're going to sanction the Iranians until they come back to the negotiating table. Whereas, the Iranians are saying it's precisely the ramped-up sanctions from the Trump administration that are preventing them from going back to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, the situation here in the Middle East continues to be extremely tense. A senior Iranian commander coming out and saying the shooting down of that drone was, as he put, "a crushing response to the U.S." And he said it's something that can be repeated in the future.

Also, Iran's foreign minister coming out, once again blasting the Trump administration but seemingly not doing the same about President Trump himself -- almost praising President Trump, saying he believes there are some close to President Trump who want to box him into a situation where war becomes inevitable.

But he said, in this case, prudence prevented it -- seemingly, a little bit of praise there for the president coming from Iran's foreign minister, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Fred Pleitgen for us in Tehran. Thanks for being there for us.

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

Because of all the quirks and the lies, Esper can only hold the acting job until July 30th. Among other reasons, he has to step down to go through the confirmation process.

In his first of five weeks on the job, he takes off for a NATO meeting and picks up all the complications of this conflict with Iran.

ROMANS: All right. Joining us this Monday morning, Princeton University historian and professor, Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst. So nice to have you here this morning.

BRIGGS: Morning.


ROMANS: So, the Trump strategy here appears to be trying to get the Iranians to talk. He wants to talk, clearly. He's offered no preconditions but he's going to turn the screws with more sanctions at the same time. It doesn't appear as though the Iranians are any closer to talking.

What is the Trump strategy?

ZELIZER: Well, this all started with the end of the Obama agreement with Iran, which set us on a path to conflict. I'm not sure there is a strategy. I think this is more a day-to-day responsive position from the president.

Within the administration, there are hawks who would like military conflict and who are on that path. And the question is can the president, himself, pull back from that and what's his position tomorrow?

ROMANS: Our allies confused. They watch this and they're confused.

BRIGGS: Yes. It's almost as if we had some deal with our allies to confront Iran and --


BRIGGS: -- contain their nuclear ambitions. Oh, wait -- we had just that.

[05:35:00] But this is also the playbook, Julian, on the southern border where the president announced on Twitter that he was going to start these mass deportations across the country.

And then he pulls that back on Sunday -- where else, on Twitter -- saying he's giving Congress two weeks to work out some asylum changes. But then, adding at the end, "It probably won't happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and a big deportation begins!" -- because it's got an exclamation there at the end.

Here's what the president told Jose Diaz-Balart about his immigration policies -- specifically, the child separation.


TRUMP: I'm the one that put people together. I just -- they separated. I put them together.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART, ANCHOR, NOTICIAS TELEMUNDO, NBC ANCHOR, "NIGHTLY NEWS" SATURDAYS: You did not -- 2,800 children were reunited with their parents in this last year after the zero tolerance --

TRUMP: Excuse me --

DIAZ-BALART: -- policy.

TRUMP: -- because I put them together.

DIAZ-BALART: You separated thousands of them.

TRUMP: That's because I put them together. Under Obama, you had separation.

DIAZ-BALART: Under a court order, I may add, right?

TRUMP: No, I put them together.


BRIGGS: Put your historian hat on for us. Is that true or false, and what's going to happen in the next two weeks to avoid these deportations?

ZELIZER: Right. It's not true on what's happened with these families and we've seen real evidence of what's going on at the border. I don't know what he's going to do. This is a threat-no threat scenario that's not unlike Iran.

But in both cases, the president is leery, I think, about implementing what he threatens. With Iran, it was what would a military strike look like in real life? And here, what would this mass deportation, unlike anything we've really seen since the 1950s, look like if he starts to do it?

So I do think there's part of the president that likes the threats more than the reality of what he's threatening.


BRIGGS: And when you look at what he's doing, sitting down with Chuck Todd for the first time in his presidency, sitting down with the Spanish-language network for the first time in his presidency, sitting down with Stephanopoulos for days, clearly worried about the politics -- the polling right now --


BRIGGS: -- whether he admits it or not.

ROMANS: Let's talk about Bernie Sanders, quickly, because he's got a new plan today that is going to wipe out student loan debt for 45 million Americans -- $1.6 trillion in student loans.

Here's what he says is the urgency.


BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And 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.


ROMANS: He wants to pay for it with a tax on stock and bond trades.

It's interesting -- most student loan debt can be paid off in a decade, which is the repayment time if you're talking about $28,000 in student loan debt. You're talking about $200 or $300 a month for a decade.

Does that play, you think, to wiping out everybody's student loan debt?

ZELIZER: I do think there is appeal to it. You have to remember, in the primaries, millennials are going to be a big pocket of voters.

ROMANS: And they have more student loan debt than mortgage debt -- the first generation in history at that age.

ZELIZER: That's exactly right. They have been living through this.

So I think the Sanders campaign is aware of that. That's how it has appeal. But it will run up in the 'how do you pay for it' argument which will -- yes.

ROMANS: And no eligibility, right? So the idea that somebody -- like, do you want -- I don't know. Do you want taxpayer dollars to go for --


ROMANS: -- paying up somebody else's big bill?

ZELIZER: And, Warren has a competing plan but there, there's more of an income-based --

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: -- formula for it. And so, that's going to be her way to carve a path to the middle on this bold issue, and I think that's going to be difficult for Sanders to compete with.

BRIGGS: That's right. And, Warren's on the move up --


BRIGGS: -- and Sanders inching down a little bit.


BRIGGS: It should be interesting to see who stands out Wednesday and Thursday night. Who can break out --


BRIGGS: -- of the pack. It's going to be a fascinating week for that massive Democratic field.

Julian --

ROMANS: Nice to see you, Julian.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BRIGGS: -- thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

ZELIZER: All right.

BRIGGS: All right, an amazing rescue caught on video in Hazelwood, Missouri. Bodycam video shows a local police officer who was first on the scene responding to cries coming from the basement of a home that was fully engulfed.


OFFICER RODRIGUEZ, HAZELWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT, HAZELWOOD, MISSOURI: Back up, back up, back up, back up, back up, back up.

(Kicks basement window out).


BRIGGS: Inside the basement was the homeowner and her 3-year-old granddaughter.


OFFICER RODRIGUEZ: OK. Hey, hey, hey, come here. Watch this kid, watch this kid. No, go, over there. I'm going to get your mom.


BRIGGS: The police officer kicked open the window and was able to pull the child out and take her to safety. He returned to the window and with the help of a neighbor was able to rescue 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 Office Rodriguez. Kudos, sir.

ROMANS: Thank you, sir.

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


[05:44:05] ROMANS: A New York area man has died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Fifty-six-year-old Vittorio Caruso is the 10th 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 struggling to reassure 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 minibars. It says the decision has nothing to do with two deaths that occurred there.

BRIGGS: San Francisco set 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 startups, Juul Labs, which has criticized the measure. Juul, a dominant e-cigarette maker, has skyrocketed in popularity since launching its sleek vaporizers in 2015.

[05:45:00] Just last week, the company announced the purchase of a 28-story office tower in San Francisco.

ROMANS: An infant formula sold exclusively at Walmart has been recalled because of the possible presence of metal foreign matter. The recall affects a single lot of the 35-ounce container of Parent's Choice Advantage Infant Formula Milk-Based Power with Iron.

No adverse reactions have been reported. The voluntary recall of more than 23,000 of these containers was issued out of an abundance of caution.

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


Well look, it is a hugely significant development in a country that's a massive ally of the United States in that region. It's over 100 million people populate Ethiopia.

And, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been heralded and lauded for his massive sweeping reforms of more advances to allow capitalism that hadn't allowed freedom of speech in which the journalists we spoke to had been jailed for 15 years.

And this happened -- this coup attempt, according to the Prime Minister Abiy, himself, happened on Saturday in the Amhara Region. There were -- we heard there were gunshots in Bahir Dar, the capital of that region. What ensued is that the regional president, Mr. Mekonnen, was shot dead in a meeting in his -- in his region.

Now remember, Ethiopia has nine regions altogether that make up the Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front of Prime Minister Abiy -- his rule.

And then, of course, then, 500 kilometers away over in Addis Ababa the army chief of staff, Dave -- the head of Ethiopia's army was killed in what officials in Ethiopia are saying are two linked developments because they knew that the one man who was going to (INAUDIBLE) in Amhara was an army chief of staff.

At the moment, we are struggling to find out how many people have been killed beyond these four officials. We know for certain that the attorney general of Amhara received serious injuries on Saturday night.

Now, what does this say? It says that even though he's so popular, people within his own coalition are not sure of the direction he's going.

Remember, he suffered a grenade attack at a rally last year in June and there was troubles in the army in October. And it remains to be seen now how he (INAUDIBLE). Whether or not he arrests his renegade general and puts him in jail or whether he's soft on them, it will also have a massive impact on the way forward for Ethiopia, Dave.

BRIGGS: A chaotic week ahead there to say the least. Farai, thanks.

A sharp blow to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan overnight as the main opposition party wins a rerun of the mayoral election in Istanbul.

The state news agency reporting a short time ago the opposition party has won with 54 percent of the vote. This was a re-vote demanded by Erdogan's party after it lost the original vote in March by a slim margin. It alleged fraud, sued in court for a do-over, and won. President Erdogan's party has slid in popularity since it clamped down hard on civil liberties following a failed coup in 2016 amid a struggling economy.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

Here's where we're starting the week. You've got global markets moving higher -- closing higher in Asia. Watching geopolitical tensions, specifically between the U.S. and Iran, sent oil prices up.

On Wall Street, you've got futures up just barely here. I would call it almost directionless -- treading water.

They finished slightly lower on Friday looking toward that G20 summit at the end of the week. That's going to be really important -- the president's meeting with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, where they are expected to talk about trade.

FedEx shaking up how it delivers packages. According to "The Wall Street Journal", the shipping company is cutting prices to fill its planes and will offer 2-day delivery for the same price as ground shipping. The move is partly an effort to win business from the competition.

FedEx announced earlier this month it will end its air shipping contract with Amazon, which built its own delivery network. That puts it in competition with all of its partners.

And, UPS has spent billions of dollars to adapt to the shipping boom, building automated sorting facilities. Now, they're delivering packages six days a week.

The move will also help FedEx adapt amid large growth in e-commerce. FedEx air network was built to ship items like legal documents and medical devices long distances in short periods of time. But the e- commerce boom has put distribution centers closer to where people live. That's reduced the need for air shipping, especially when it cost more than ground shipping.

Not even Buzz Lightyear could fly high enough to meet Disney's expectations.


Clip from Disney's "Toy Story 4."


ROMANS: "Toy Story 4" brought in kaboom -- $118 million in North America in its opening weekend. But that was still short of the $140 million Disney had hoped for.

[05:50:06] The film has a 98 percent rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes so look, people like it. It features Tom Hanks and Tim Allen voicing Woody and Buzz Lightyear. But more important maybe than opening weekend is staying power -- staying strong over time. That would be sorely needed for a June box office that has been in a bit of a slump.

We'll be right back.


BRIGGS: It happened, yet again, this time at Dodger Stadium Sunday. A young woman was struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of the Dodger's Cody Bellinger.

She was sitting just beyond the protective netting that extends to the end of the dugouts. Bellinger -- you can see, visibly upset -- went to check on her between innings.

At first, she stayed in her seat, simply given an ice pack. But then, was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests.

[05:55:01] Fan safety has received greater scrutiny since a young girl was struck by a foul ball during a game in Houston last month.

ROMANS: All right. The U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Women's National team are heading to mediation over pay discrimination. The players, including Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe, 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 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.

Best-selling romance novelist Judith Krantz has died. She sold more than 80 million copies of her novels, which told racy tales of the rich and elite. They were translated into more than 50 --

BRIGGS: Incredible.

ROMANS: -- languages.

In her 2001 autobiography, she wrote, "While I seemed like another nice Jewish girl, I grew up in a complicated tangle of privilege, family problems, and tormented teenage sexuality." She added, "I'll probably feel slightly insecure as I breathe my last, still wondering if I'm wearing exactly the right thing."

She was 91.

BRIGGS: Another round of devastating weather in the already battered Midwest. Multiple roadways washed out in Goodman, Missouri. Parts of the Roaring River 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 sending an assessment team to confirm whether it was a tornado that caused extensive damage to a growing kid's day care facility near South Bend. There were no injuries reported.

Beyonce sharing a "Lion King" clip on her YouTube channel, showcasing the magic she'll bring to the film's soundtrack.


Clip from "The Lion King." Beyonce and Donald Glover singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."


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 leaked last week before Disney temporarily shut down the clip.

The Jon Favreau-directed live-action remake of "The Lion King" hits theaters on July 19th, just weeks after the 25th anniversary of the release of the original.

ROMANS: All right.

If you were lucky enough to play the numbers 0-0-0-0 in Saturday's $7.8 million North Carolina Pick Four lottery game, you are the jackpot winner -- you and 2,013 other people who had the brilliant idea to pick four zeroes.

One thousand two players who bought a one-dollar ticket will get five grand each. One thousand twelve players who purchased a 50-cent ticket get $2,500 apiece.

Lottery officials are warning all the winners to expect some extended waiting times when picking up their prizes.

BRIGGS: But you still urge everyone in this country not to play the lottery.

ROMANS: Look, play the lottery after you have fully funded your 401k and 529s for each of your children.

Thanks for joining us.

BRIGGS: Oh, there's our wet blanket.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" is next.

We leave you this morning with a fantastic earworm. Lil Nas and Billy Ray Cyrus rocking Staples with their version of "The Old Town Road" at last night's BET awards.


ROMANS: Bernie Sanders unveiling a plan to eliminate all $1.6 trillion of student debt.

SANDERS: It is crazy for people who find themselves in the absurd position of having to pay that debt off for decades.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the racists off the streets.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: The effort to recruit more minority officers have not succeeded. I accept responsibility for that.

TRUMP: I'm not looking for war. If there is, it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump's doing the right thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Trump administration doesn't have a strategy. We don't know what they want to do next.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, June 24th, 6:00 here in New York.

And breaking overnight, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders will unveil legislation today to cancel the student loan debt of every single American. If passed, his plan would impact an estimated 45 million people. The price tag for forgiving all of those loans, $1.6 trillion.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, it will be paid for by new taxes and we will tell you how in just a moment.

But the why and when of this are just as interesting. This comes just days before the first Democratic primary debates and with polls showing Sanders all of the sudden in a close race for second with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren already has a plan on college debt that does not go as far this one.

CNN's Jessica Dean is live in Washington. And, Jessica, all of this was supposed to be released from Sen. Sanders at 7:00 a.m.