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Democrats Battle Over Border; Trump: Rape Accuser is "Not My Type"; Iran: U.S. "Closing Channel of Diplomacy Forever"; Bill Gates: Regulate Big Tech. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 25, 2019 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:20] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, infighting among House Democrats. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party wants changes to an emergency border funding bill. We'll tell you why.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: She's not my type, end quote. That is the president's dismissal of a woman accusing him of rape decades ago. Hear how Jean Carole responded to that.

ROMANS: New sanctions mean the end of the diplomacy. New push from Iran against the U.S. as world leaders prepared to head to the G20.


BILL GATES, MICROSOFT FOUNDER: Well, technology has become so central that government has to think, OK, what does that mean?


BRIGGS: And Bill Gates joins the call to regulate big tech. Why he says it's time his own industry was more closely watched.

ROMANS: Tech really lost an opportunity to self-regulate by making so many terrible mistakes along the way.

BRIGGS: That's one way to do it. He also talked about his biggest regret, which was interesting.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, June 25th. It is 4:01 in the East.

Let's begin with some infighting here among Democrats. A Democratic source calls it the hardest Nancy Pelosi has had to work in his speakership. House Democrats emerging from a tense late night meeting about an emergency border funding measure, with Speaker Pelosi agreeing to review specific changes. Why? Democrats in the Progressive and Hispanic Caucuses argue the $4.6 billion proposal does not go far enough addressing humanitarian needs.

Pelosi called the meeting following reports of poor conditions at border protection centers, and President Trump's threat of mass deportations, the speaker addressed the border issue before the meeting.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Families belong together in America. Everyone has rights. Immigrants have rights and we just have to beat that drum for the next couple of weeks. And as we do so, we must also pass legislation that meets the humanitarian needs at the border.


BRIGGS: The clock is ticking on several fronts. A vote on the Democratic proposal remains set for today. Lawmakers leave Washington for a week-long recess on Thursday and the president pushed back his time line, but said the deportations across the country will move ahead in 12 days. The chair of the House Democratic Caucus recently outlined leadership's border strategy.

Without some version of emergency immigration funding, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says that the effect on HHS would be, quote, like a government shutdown.

ROMANS: All right. Help is coming immediately for nearly 250 migrant children held at a Customs and Border Protections Agency in Clint, Texas. The Department of Health and Human Services will be shifted into its shelter system by today. This comes days after CNN reported on a team of lawyers, doctors and advocates warning of what they called major health and hygiene problems at that Clint facility.

Our Jake Tapper asked Vice President Mike Pence about those conditions on Sunday. Pence quickly pivoted to politics.

As of June 10th, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been transferred from DHS to HHS, a 60 percent increase over last year.

BRIGGS: OK. We are counting down to the first Democratic debate. Round one is tomorrow night. It features Elizabeth Warren and Beto O'Rourke center stage. O'Rourke just announced a new proposal for a war tax. He wants non-military households to help cover the costs of health care for veterans of new wars.

Round two is Thursday night, featuring Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders on the stage. Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris will also be headlining. These first two debates offer the lower tiered candidates a chance to break out of the pack. Most of them have kept a light campaign schedule over the past few days to prepare for what could be their make or break moment. That preparation ranges from mock debates to reading up on policy differences.

ROMANS: A lot of pictures on that screen.

All right. President Trump doesn't think he needs congressional approval for a military strike against Iran.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I like the idea of keeping Congress abreast but I wouldn't want to have to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy Pelosi actually said you must have congressional approval. So, you disagree with her on that?

TRUMP: I disagree.


ROMANS: Members of Congress have debated the question of the president's authority, especially in the wake of the attack the president called off last week. He ordered that strike in retaliation for Iran's downing of an unmanned American spy plane.

Senate Democrats weighing whether to block the annual defense policy bill. The idea would be to force a vote on an amendment requiring congressional approval for any war with Iran.

[04:05:01] BRIGGS: Meantime, the president targeted Iran's supreme leader with new sanctions Monday, warning that U.S. restraint is limited. Overnight, the Iranian foreign ministry slapped back, saying the new sanctions mean the White House is, quote, closing the channel of diplomacy forever.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is standing by live in Tehran.

Fred, what's the latest there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dave. Well, the Iranians today are essentially trying to laugh off these new sanctions by the U.S. against part of Iranian senior leadership, while at the same time, as you said, they're also saying they close off any sort of chance for diplomacy between the two nations. You know, around this time is always a big time for news lines, for things to happen, for people to say things. Here in Iran, that's exactly what's happening right now.

So, I do have breaking news for you guys, because Iran's President Hassan Rouhani just came out and he gave a speech and press conference here in Tehran, where he once again said these tariffs are not going to have any sort of effect on the supreme leader. He says supreme leader has no assets around the world, saying he's not like other leaders. He also called the sanctions abnormal and said he believes the White House and the U.S. is in a state of confusion right now.

He said, this is a quote, actually: The Pentagon is confused, CentCom is confused, the White House is confused as well. Among this confusion, they have begun to take illogical moves and lie.

Now, all of this comes, guys, as the Iranians are trying to downplay this. If you look at the Iranian media, which we have been all day today, the items of the supreme leader getting sanctioned are pretty low down in the newscast, really down in newspapers as well. And the same time, you do have the spokesman for the foreign ministry coming out and saying the fact that the supreme leader is being sanctioned, and that later in the week, the U.S. says it will also sanction the top diplomat, the foreign minister makes diplomacy between these two nations all but impossible.

And then just a couple of minutes ago an advisor to Hassan Rouhani, the president, came out and said because the foreign minister, Javad Zarif, is getting sanctioned by the United States, he is making more and more a Nelson Mandela of Iran, Dave.

BRIGGS: Quite an analogy there. These sanctions look largely symbolic, seems to be the sense of it over there as well.

Fred Pleitgen, live for us in Tehran -- thank you, sir.

A warning that some commonly prescribed drugs are tied to a 5 percent higher risk of dementia in older people. A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests the link is strongest for certain types of antidepressants, antipsychotics and epilepsy drugs. The researchers say the increased risk is associated with an adult taking a strong dose of one of these drugs daily for at least three years. It's unclear whether the drugs caused the dementia, or if something else is at work. The researchers say it's important not to stop taking the drugs without consulting your doctor.

ROMANS: Certainly a study getting a lot of attention this morning.

All right. Authorities in the Bahamas say five people were injured when a Carnival Cruise tour excursion bus was involved in a rollover accident. Four of them suffered injuries, two severe to be treated in the Bahamas. They were airlifted by a U.S. military plane to a hospital in Ft. Lauderdale.

There were 32 people on that tour bus. They were part of a Carnival ecstasy five-day cruise that departed Jacksonville three days ago. The cause of the accident under investigation.

BRIGGS: Bill Gates is calling on the United States government to step up its regulation of big tech. The founder of Microsoft says companies like the one he created have so much influence on culture, business, life that they must be constantly monitored.


GATES: Well, technology's become so central that government has to think, OK, what does that mean about elections? What does it mean about bullying? Things like privacy, I'm sure they will, and there should be at this point, better regulation that relates to that. The fact that now this is the way people consume media has really brought an end to a realm that, you know, we need to shape it so that the benefits outweigh the negatives.


BRIGGS: Gates' remarks coming on the same day Senators Mark Warner of Virginia, Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced a bill that could force companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook to reveal how much they make off of your data. The bill would compels commercial data operators with more than 100 million users to provide public updates.

All signs point to regulating big tech. They think they will continue down that line.

ROMANS: Well, yes.

BRIGGS: The money coming in from --

ROMANS: One of the big concerns is that, frankly, Washington Congress doesn't have the expertise to be able to regulate big tech well, but big tech lost the ability for self-regulations. They had right there in their hands and the quest for profit and the -- you know, privacy concerns --

BRIGGS: They'll pump a lot of money, though, into this 2020 cycle. You'll wonder if that will pump the brakes a bit.

ROMANS: All right. Ten minutes past the hour.

[04:10:01] A missing student mystery in Utah. A 23-year-old is dropped off at a park and hasn't been seen from since.


ROMANS: All right. More now on that remarkable attack from the president against the Federal Reserve. The president bashing the fed for bashing them on not helping a strong economy and yet in the same breath, the president taking credit for a strong economy.

President Trump said the central bank is acting like a, quote, stubborn child for refusing to pursues even easier money policies.

[04:15:06] You'll recall last week, the Fed kept interest rates steady but hinted it could lower interest rates, partly because of rising tensions over the president's trade war with China. The Fed on alert but stocks are near record highs and the president, again, with no evidence claimed that stocks would be even higher, a lot higher were it not for the Fed.

The president is right now, that June has been great for investors. You could argue it would be better if not for his trade war, not the Fed, by his own trade policy. The Dow was up more than 8 percent, S&P 500 more than 7 percent. Look at the Nasdaq in June, a very strong month on Wall Street. The Nasdaq up 9 percent.

Unemployment also is at the lowest level in half a century, but Trump still wants lowest rates. And after last week's meeting, Goldman Sachs said the Fed delivered a clear rate cut signal adding the central bank would have to drop the rates next month because of its fear of disappointing the market, and the economists have back Jerome Powell's wait and see approach to interest rates in order to keep inflation and employment levels near their targets.

BRIGGS: Police in Salt Lake City say University of Utah student missing for more than a week was last seen at a park before she vanished. Twenty-three-year-old Mackenzie Lueck arrived at the Salt Lake City International Airport in the early morning hours last Monday after visiting family members in California. She then took a Lyft ride to a park in north South Lake, miles from where she lived and has not been seen since.

Lyft and the driver are cooperating with police. The driver confirmed the route she took, telling police Mackenzie met someone after being dropped off.

The Los Angeles Dodgers plan to extend the protective netting past the far ends of each dugout at Dodgers Stadium. It comes after a fan was hit in the head by a foul ball Sunday.

Kaitlyn Salazar spoke about the incident.


KAITLYN SALAZAR, HIT BY FOUL BALL: You know those movies where a bomb goes off and you hear an eerie sound and then like the scene starts to get fady and then everyone sounds like mumble? Yes, like that.


BRIGGS: There has been greater scrutiny on fan safety after a woman died last year when she was hit by a line drive foul ball at Dodgers Stadium. Just last month, a 4-year-old was struck by a line drive during a game in Houston. The Washington Nationals will also make the changes with the netting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The host is Milan and Cortina.



ROMANS: The Italian delegation erupting in cheers after the International Olympic Committee announced the 2026 Winter Games would be held in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.

The IOC selecting Milan and Cortina over the other finalist, Stockholm. Italy has hosted the Winter Olympics twice before. Cortina in 1956 and Turin in 2006, but this will be the first time for the city of Milan.

BRIGGS: The U.S. women's national team is onto the quarterfinals to the 2019 women's World Cup. They defeated Spain Monday but barely, 2- 1 behind two Megan Rapinoe penalty kicks, one on a controversial call. Team USA, the defending World Cup champs, will now meet France, the host nation on Friday. U.S. and France are considered by many to be the top two teams in the tournament.

ROAMSN: All right. Shipping companies connect the world. So, what should they do when goods are banned from another? FedEx is now suing to make the point.


ROMANS: FedEx sits at the global intersection between commerce and trade, and now, the shipping giant is suing the U.S. Commerce Department pushing back against new restrictions aimed at the embattled Chinese tech firm Huawei.

CNN business reporter Sherisse Pham joins us now live from Hong Kong.

And this is just a remarkable fight that FedEx finds itself right in the middle of between the Commerce Department trying to basically black list Huawei and the company concerned to be more law enforcement than package delivery company?

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN MONEY REPORTER: You're absolutely right, Christine. This lawsuit against the Commerce Department comes as FedEx is under fire in China for mishandling a couple of deliveries to Huawei and essentially watching another one involving a Huawei smartphone. So, FedEx is saying, looks, we cannot be the police. We can't enforce these U.S. restrictions that have been placed on Huawei and other companies.

Of course, the Trump administration added Huawei to a trade blast list last month, essentially barring U.S. companies from selling and supply tech and components to the Chinese companies and this has left a lot of American and global companies scrambling to figure out what they can and cannot sell to Huawei. FedEx is just the latest company to be caught in the crosshairs.

And FedEx CEO Craig Smith gave an interview to Fox News saying, look, we don't have the wherewithal and the capacity to enforce these U.S. trade restrictions.

[04:25:05] Have a listen to what he had to say.


CRAIG SMITH, FEDEX CEO: The increasing use of restrictions on exports and imports by the Commerce Department in various geopolitical and trade disputes creates just an impossible burden. We are expected to be policemen for these export-and-import controls.


PHAM: The FedEx CEO there essentially calling out the Trump administration for using these Commerce Department restrictions against Huawei. The Commerce Department saying we have not reviewed the FedEx lawsuit but we look forward to defending the Commerce Department's position in protecting national security, Christine.

ROMANS: But, certainly, politically inside China, there's been such a backlash against FedEx. For FedEx to come out against the Commerce Department might play well in mainland China.

PHAM: Absolutely. And that is definitely -- you have to think that is factoring into FedEx's decision here. And this is a huge moment, too, because investors look at that as a bellwether for global and economic activity. And FedEx is saying, look, this is a burden on our company.

ROMANS: All right. Sherisse, thank you so much for that. Nice to see you this morning.

BRIGGS: All right. Coming up, billions of emergency funding at the border on the line, but the liberal wing of House Democrats wants more to address humanitarian needs. Could infighting sink the plan before lawmakers go on recess?