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It's Mueller Time to Testify; Photo of Drowned Father & Daughter Underscores Border Crisis; First Democratic Debate Tonight; U.S. and North Korea Plotting Third Summit; Yankees Homer in MLB- Record 28th Straight Game. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 26, 2019 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It's a new perk to its rewards program which has free food, tuition reimbursement and medical insurance.

[05:00:01] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm sure there was financial news in there, I just see food. And think about food.

ROMANS: It's a fight for talent. You know, the CEO of Shake Shack said they were looking at four-day workweeks to make it easier for employees because you want to retain the best talent.

BRIGGS: You've seen my thought bubble. It says burrito.

ROMANS: Burrito.

BRIGGS: EARLY START continues right now.



ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL: There's been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report.


BRIGGS: Well, we'll find out. Robert Mueller will testify publicly next month. All it took was two subpoenas from House Democrats.

ROMANS: This heartbreaking and gut wrenching image, a powerful symbol of the border crisis. The House overnight passing a bill including new standards to care for kids at the border.

BRIGGS: It's finally here. The first 2020 Democratic debate is tonight. Will the candidates go after each other or the president?

ROMANS: And breaking moments ago, secret talks between the U.S. and North Korea for a third summit just months after those talks collapsed in Hanoi.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. BRIGGS: And I'm Dave Briggs, a clean-shaven Dave Briggs.


BRIGGS: Twitter, thank you for noticing.

It is Wednesday, June 26, it is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We begin with major news. Robert Mueller agreeing to testify in open session on July 17th after House Democrats issued subpoenas for his appearance. Something Mueller was reluctant to do.


MUELLER: Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public.


ROMANS: Mueller will testify in back to back hearings before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Members of both parties giving a clear preview of what's in store.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): It's important that he answer a lot of specific questions. I think one of the questions that isn't specifically in the report would be you wrote a letter, Mr. Mueller, to the special -- to the attorney general saying that he had misrepresented the report. How so?

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I've been a critic of how the Mueller team was assembled. I think it's ludicrous that you had people who are involved in defending the Clinton Foundation engaged in this investigation.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): There's no limitation on confining his testimony to the four corners of the report. That may be his desire, but Congress has questions that go beyond the report.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): Bob Mueller better be prepared because I can tell you, he will be cross-examined for the first time and the American people will start to see the flaws in his report.


ROMANS: President Trump weighing in on the Mueller news with a short but familiar two-word tweet: Presidential harassment.

BRIGGS: After days of reports on inhumane conditions for kids being held at the southern border, this image is the most vivid and most disturbing yet. A devastating reminder of the dangers many face when they try to cross into the United States. The image of a Salvadoran father and his daughter lying face down in the water on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. Oscar Alberto Martinez and his two-year-old daughter Valeria drown


The photograph was taken by Julia Le Duc who lives in Mexico.

The young girl tucked inside her father's shirt. Their bodies coming to a rest near a river bank along discarded beer cans. According to the photographer, the father and daughter had successfully crossed the river when the father started to go back for his wife Tanya. When Valeria saw her father swimming away, she jumped in after him.

Tonya witnessed the entire episode and tells Mexican media the family waited in a migrant camp for two months in triple digit heat for an appointment to receive asylum.

ROMANS: That just awful reality is a backdrop of the House last night passing a $4.5 billion emergency bill despite a White House veto threat. It contains provisions for the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody after a last minute push from the progressive.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It's not an immigration bill. It's an appropriations bill to meet the needs of our children. So, it can remove the needs that they have, but also the shame they don't have diapers and toothbrushes and the care.


ROMANS: Still, four Democrats voted against the bill. Three Republicans crossed party lines and voted for it, including Will Hurd, whose district is on the border.

It wasn't just the humanitarian crisis looming over the vote, also the president's threat to begin deportations of undocumented immigrant families. That was starting 11 days. The Senate has a bipartisan bill that would allocate more than $4.5 billion for the border crisis, but there are significant differences between the House bill and it's, frankly, unclear if a deal can be reached.

[05:05:05] BRIGGS: Hundreds of employees for online retailer Wayfair planning a walkout today to protest the company selling furniture to migrant detention camps. The workers learned last week about an order placed by BCFS, a nonprofit that manages detention facilities. The order was for about $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture. More than 500 employees sent a letter to management asking them to no longer do business with the contractor helping cage kids.

But Wayfair says it plans to work with the group. In a letter, they said, quote, our business is to sell to any customer who is acting within the law.

ROMANS: 2020 debate season is officially here. The first Democratic debate happens tonight in Miami. Expect the border to be a key topic as politicians react to the haunting image of the drown father and daughter at the border. That happened Sunday.

Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke tweeting, Trump is responsible for these deaths.

In the hours before the debate, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren will visit a holding facility in Homestead, Florida, where children are being held. Both will try to stand out as 10 candidates square off in a crowded field of 24 hopefuls.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's going to be tough, right? We've got 60 seconds to respond to some of the biggest questions on the minds of the American people right now. If I can reflect back what I have learned, what I have heard by listening to people across the country, I'm going to feel very good about this debate.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Preparing for the debate is trying to learn to speak in 60 seconds or less, which for me is sometimes a real challenge.

This is just a chance to be able to talk to people all across this country, about how this government works better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top.


ROMANS: For Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, tonight is a critical chance to shine a light on their underachieving campaigns.

Also on stage tonight, Jay Inslee, Julian Castro, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, Bill de Blasio and Tulsi Gabbard, all hoping for a breakthrough.

BRIGGS: Even more breaking news this morning. The U.S. and North Korea holding secret talks to arrange a third summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, that according to South Korea.

Let's bring in now CNN's Paula Hancocks live from Seoul.

Paula, what do we expect from this?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, this was information from the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He had done a written interview with a number of news agencies, and he said behind the scenes there's been negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea for that third summit.

He also said he believed that there was mutual understanding of each other's position following the Hanoi summit, so really trying to put a positive spin on the fact that that ended without agreement. He also went on to say he believed if North Korea offered to give up the whole the Yongbyon nuclear facility, then potentially there could be sanctioned relief. But, of course, that is what North Korea did offer back in the Hanoi

summit. And Trump said it wasn't enough. He wanted more of the undisclosed facilities to be put on the table as well.

It comes at an interesting time. We're days away from President Trump being here in the region for the g-20 in Japan. He's considering going up to the DMZ as well. And we heard from North Korea's KCNA state-run media an article from the foreign ministry slamming Trump's advisers and some reports suggesting they are still one of the worst human rights violators in the world filling them with hostility and vicious slander -- Dave.

BRIGGS: So, we're nearing a third summit, Paula, without a full accounting of what nuclear weapons facilities North Korea has or a clear, agreeable definition of denuclearization. 2019.

Paula, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Breaking overnight, two U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan. Their names being withheld pending next of kin notify notification. Military officials are not saying how they died.

The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced real progress in peace talks with the Taliban during an unannounced visit to the Taliban on Tuesday. He's hopeful of a deal to lead to the withdrawal of some 14,000 U.S. troops. A total of nine service members have been killed there this year. More than 2,000 since 2001.

BRIGGS: The National Rifle Association has reportedly shut down production at NRATV, according to "The New York Times." They are also cutting ties with the ad agency that operates NRATV. Officials cite concern over the financial cost of the live broadcasting arm and its right wing talking points. It's the latest in a tumultuous year for the NRA, which faced a leadership struggle and dealt with allegations it misused finances.

ROMANS: All right. Jerome Powell took a stand for the independence of the Federal Reserve, a day after President Trump bashed the Fed for not doing more to help the economy.


[05:10:09] JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: The Fed is insulated from short-term political pressures, what is often referred to as our independence. Congress chose to insulate the Fed this way because it had seen the damage that often arises when policy bends to short-term political interests. Central banks and major democracies around the world have similar independence.


ROMANS: Last week, the Fed kept interest rates steady but hinted this could be one rate cut later this year. The president with this tweet- storm saying that the central bank is acting like a stubborn child for refusing to listen to the president and pursue even easier money policies. Trump's history of attacking the Federal Reserve goes back to the

Obama administration. He repeatedly went after Janet Yellen, the Fed chief-then, on Twitter. He said she was keeping rates too low to prop up the economy. She called those policies reckless.

OK. So, today, it's a different story. He wants that. What he criticized in the Obama administration is something he wants, the same thing that he blasted during the Obama years.

BRIGGS: Could have kept Janet Yellen.

President Trump did not have to go far to find the next White House press secretary. First Melania Trump actually announced it on Twitter. Her spokesperson Stephanie Grisham will be taking on the dual roles of press secretary and communications director. Grisham will also keep her current job as the first lady's communications director. The new job will include a larger scope of responsibility than Sarah Sanders had.

Grisham will accompany the president on his trip to Japan and Korea. He leaves today. Sanders' last day on the job is Friday. It's been well-over 100 days since the last White House press briefing.

So, what will Grisham actually do in that role? Probably the biggest question.

ROMANS: All right. Police deputy shot and killed in Illinois. Five members of law enforcement now killed in the last nine days.


[05:16:47] BRIGGS: When President Trump delivers his Fourth of July address at the National Mall next month, John McCain's presence will be felt. Two military veterans groups plan to be on hand, passing out t-shirts honoring the late senator and war hero. VoteVets and Rags of Honor say their Big Bad John t-shirts will feature a picture of the USS John S. McCain destroyer. That ship was at the center of controversy last month when the Navy was asked to move it out of sight during President Trump's visit to Japan.

ROMANS: An Illinois sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty. Fulton County Deputy Troy Chisum shot while responding to a battery and disturbance call in Illinois. The 39-year-old Chisum was on the force for four and a half years. He also served as a paramedic.

Deputy Chisum is the fifth law enforcement officer to be killed in the country in the last nine days. The other four taking place in Missouri, Texas, California and Wisconsin.

BRIGGS: For the first time, the Medal of Honor awarded to a living veteran of the Iraq war.


TRUMP: Staff Sergeant David Bellavia.



BRIGGS: President Trump presented the nation's highest award to Staff Sergeant David Bellavia Tuesday. He received the metal for his actions on November 2004. Bellavia was serving as a squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury. He single-handedly saved the lives of his entire platoon during his firefight with insurgents in Fallujah.


DAVID BELLAVIA, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: My award has always been I'm alive and I'm home. And that's the greatest thing in the world to have.


BRIGGS: Because of him every member of his squad came home with him.

ROMANS: Yes, the story of his bravery is remarkable. One after another, he took on these insurgents in a dark house patiently and saved his entire team.

BRIGGS: Courage.

All right. The Bronx bombers living up to their nickname, setting a new mark for the long ball. Andy Scholes with that story in the "Bleacher Report".


[05:23:47] BRIGGS: U.S. women's national team star says no way she would visit the White House if invited by President Trump.

Andy Scholes has that story in the bleacher report.

First, a long way to go before winning the World Cup, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Getting a little ahead of ourselves right now, Dave.


SCHOLES: But if this were to happen, Megan Rapinoe says no. She's been very outspoken against President Trump.

You know, she's described herself as a walking protest to the president's policies, calling him sexist, racist and not a good person. Rapinoe with a strong response when she was asked if she would accept an invitation to the White House.


MEGAN RAPINOE, TEAM USA MIDFIELDER: I'm not going to the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) White House. No, I'm not going to the White House. We're not going to be invited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to be invited?

RAPINOE: I doubt it.


SCHOLES: Rapinoe has kneeled during the national anthem in the past. She now stands, but says she will probably never sing the anthem again.

President Trump meanwhile, he says he doesn't think it's appropriate for Rapinoe to protest during the anthem. He has also said he loves watching the women's team play.

Now, the U.S. plays France in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon. Many consider this the final of the World Cup as these two are the favorites. Kickoff is at 3:00 Eastern.

All right. Will the New York Yankees ever go a game without homering again?

[05:25:03] DJ LeMahieu with a leadoff home run last night. They have now homered in a Major League record 28 straight games. Yankees scored four runs on four solo home runs beating the Jays yesterday, 4- 3.

All right. Vanderbilt beating Michigan 4-1 to force a winner-take-all game three in the College World Series. Tonight, Wolverines head coach, football coach, Jim Harbaugh, in the meantime, playing a little baseball of his own last night.


JIM HARBAUCH, FOOTBALL COACH: You knocked the phone right out of my hand.


SCHOLES: Yes, Harbaugh's son maybe a future Wolverine. My favorite part of the video is Harbaugh wearing those khakis, always in the khakis.

All right. Finally, a 7-year-old Flyers fan Caiden O'Rourke got a big surprise getting a new prosthetic leg. Gritty, the terrifying Flyers mascot, was there to surprise him and give him a big hug. Caiden has a rare orthopedic condition and has had many custom prosthetics with different Philadelphia sports teams on them.

His latest request was a gritty prosthetics, and you just got to love his smile. Gritty surprising him with a jersey and a bobble head as well. Just love that story.

So, Gritty, Dave, you know, thinks he's giving kids nightmares, but he's actually making dreams come true. BRIGGS: I was going to say, if it's not already clear how tough that

young man is, he's not even scared the least bit by Gritty, who is terrifying.

Andy, thank you.

Romans, what's coming up?

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Dave.

You know, it took not one but two subpoenas. Robert Mueller will now testify in public.