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EARLY START

10 Democrats Face-Off In First 2020 Presidential Debate; President Trump Greets Troops On Way To G20; Bank Of America Takes A Stand On Border Policies. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired June 27, 2019 - 03:00   ET

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


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[03:00:16] JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that you should do your homework on this issue. If you did your homework on this issue you would know that we should repeal this section.

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DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of noise, passion, and policy. Democrats have their first 2020 debate, your winners, losers, and surprising Spanish speakers.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And while the Democrats sparred, the President took off for Osaka. The G20 begins today with major geopolitical issues to be discussed.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START, an early, EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: It is. I'm Dave Briggs. Thursday, June 27th, early for some of you, 3:00 a.m. in the east, late for others, midnight Pacific Time, let us know what you are.

Let the 2020 debate begin. It kicked off last night in Miami with dueling Democrats. The first batch of ten candidates sharing the stage, things got heated at times, but it was mostly civil and driven by policy.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've had the laws out there for a long time to be able to fight back. What's been missing is courage.

CASTRO: Pursue legislation so that women are paid equal pay for equal work in this country.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When people come to this country, they do not leave their human rights at the border.

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And for too long, our leaders have failed us, taking us from one regime change war to the next.

BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are supposed to break up big corporations when they're not serving our democracy.

REP. JOHN DELANEY (D-MD), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to make sure everyone has a living wage. And I've called for a doubling of the earned income tax credit, raising the minimum wage, and creating paid family leave.

JAY INSLEE (D-WA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think plans are great, but I'm a governor. And we've got to realize the people who brought us the weekend, unions, need are going to bring us a long overdue raise in America.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need an industrial policy saying we're going to dominate building electric vehicles, there's going to be 30 million made in the next 10 years. I want half of them made in the United States.

WARREN: Giant corporations have exactly one loyalty, and that is to profits.

INSLEE: Donald Trump is simply wrong. He says wind turbines cause cancer. We know they cause jobs.

WARREN: So, yes. I'm with Bernie on Medicare for all.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And pharma thinks they own Washington? Well, they don't own me.

CASTRO: I don't believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice.

KLOBUCHAR: I just want to say there's three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman's right to choose. So I'll start with that.

CASTRO: Watching that image of Oscar and his daughter, Valeria, is heartbreaking. It should also piss us all off.

DE BLASIO: All the American citizens out there who feel you're falling behind or feel the American dream is not working for you, the immigrants didn't do that to you.

WARREN: We can do the things that are sensible. We can do the universal background checks. We can ban the weapons of war. But we can also double down on the research and find out what really works.

RYAN: The mental health counselor in every single school in the United States. We need to start playing offense.

BOOKER: If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and own a firearm.

DE BLASIO: Democratic Party would stop acting like the party of the elites and be the party of the working people again, and go in to states, including red states, to convince people we're on their side.

INSLEE: We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last that can do something about it.

RYAN: We are not connecting to the working class people in the very states that I represent in Ohio, in the industrial Midwest. We've lost all connection.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Leaders as disparate as President Obama and President Trump have both said that they want to end U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

RYAN: We must be engaged in this. We must have our State Department engaged. We must have our military engaged to the extent they need to be. But the reality of it is, this President doesn't even have people appointed in the State Department to deal with these things.

GABBARD: As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable. We have to bring our troops home.

BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must begin impeachment now so that we have the facts and the truth and we follow them as far as they go.

DELANEY: This is not the number one issue the American people ask us about. It's not. They want to know what we're going to do for health care, how we're going to lower pharmaceutical prices, how we're going to build infrastructure, what we're going to do to create jobs in their communities.

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ROMANS: Perhaps the most explosive moment of the night was pitted -- was two Texans pitted against each other. Julian Castro and Beto O'Rourke clashing over immigration and the border crisis, Castro wants to decriminalize crossing that border, making it a civil offense instead of a crime. That's a position O'Rourke opposes.

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O'ROURKE: We would not build walls. We would not put kids in cages. In fact, we would spare no expense to reunite the families that have been separated already. And we would not criminally prosecute any family who is fleeing violence and persecution --

CASTRO: -- repeal of Section 1325.

O'ROURKE: We would make --

CASTRO: Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it. Some, like Congressman O'Rourke, have not. And I want to challenge all of the candidate to do that. I just think it's a mistake, Beto. I think it's a mistake.

[03:05:08] O'ROURKE: But you're looking at just one small part of this. I'm talking about a comprehensive rewrite of our immigration laws.

CASTRO: That's not true.

O'ROURKE: And if you do that, I don't think it's asking too much for people to follow our laws when they come to this country.

CASTRO: That's actually not true. I'm talking about millions of folks -- a lot of folks that are coming are not seeking asylum. And a lot of them are undocumented immigrants, right? And you said recently that the reason you didn't want to repeal Section 1325 was because you were concerned about human trafficking and drug trafficking.

I think that you should do your homework on this issue. If you did your homework on this issue, you would know that we should repeal this section.

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ROMANS: And it's been dramatic towards O'Rourke, he said he thinks they both have the same goal and that Castro is misrepresenting his position.

All right. Let's bring in CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston and Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic." Gentlemen, thank you so much. Mark Preston here in studio with us. Your takeaway, what was your surprise? Who came out in that field of ten?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: So a couple of things. One is I think the biggest surprise for me was the manufactured moments because these moments were not organic. They were certainly manufactured. They were rehearsed. We saw that with Julian Castro.

I do think what we just saw right there, though, when it comes to moments, that exchange is the real debate that we saw. And that's the kind of debate that we're going to see play out amongst these Democrats, these 20-plus Democrats over the next few months as they try to position themselves and try to gain bigger ground on their competitors.

BRIGGS: Ron Brownstein, you tweeted this. "Bottom line on tonight's debate, this is a stage with many more potential Cabinet officers than potential presidents." Who among these cabinet officers stepped up? Who to you won this night?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that is the big point. I think that, you know, we have a Democratic race that is tiered to a kind of striking extent early on. And I don't think anything tonight really fundamentally changed that, with a little nuance around the edge.

I thought that Julian Castro and Cory Booker probably did the most to help themselves from where they are. I thought Elizabeth Warren was steady as she goes and was fine in terms of the primary. Though, I think her unequivocally committing to the position of forcing people to give up private insurance and moving into a government-run system is a kind of long-term challenge and time bomb in her campaign if she gets to the general election.

And I thought that Beto O'Rourke and Amy Klobuchar, from people who are kind of in the top grouping, really had a missed opportunity. I mean they failed I think to more clearly delineate why they are in the race.

And Klobuchar in particular I think ducked the opportunity to differentiate herself from Warren on some of the more liberal policies. The other five candidates I thought performed well, but really did gave voters no reason to elevate them from the kind of asterisk and 1 percent where they are now.

ROMANS: Yeah, it's Warren who is in the heap of last night, right, who needs to hold on to her position and not sort of mess up. And it's interesting, in the beginning of the night, it felt like Warren -- it almost felt like the questions were geared toward her. She's the one with all the policies so they kept asking all the questions. Let's listen to the first questions of the night. Listen to the sound.

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SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC HOST: You have many plans, free college, free child care, government health care, cancellation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations.

And some Democrats want a marginal individual tax rate of 70 percent on the very highest earners, those making more than $10 million a year. Would you support that?

There is a debate in this party right now about the role of corporations, as you know. Senator Warren in particular put out a plan to break up tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. You've said we should not, quote, "be running around pointing at companies and breaking them up without any kind of process." Why do you disagree?

Senator Warren, I mentioned you, are you picking winners and losers?

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ROMANS: So the point of that, guys, and Mark Preston in particular, is that it seemed early on at least that Elizabeth Warren dominated without even dominating. She even dominated the questions by the questions that were asked.

PRESTON: Right. And she had the advantage because she was considered the front-runner on this stage last night, right? So tonight we're going to run into four potential front-runners. Of course Joe Biden is the front-runner because he's so far ahead.

But as we look at the second tier of folks, this is the night that you're looking at. The Bernie Sanders, the Kamala Harris, the Pete Buttigieg, you know, even when you get into the Kirsten Gillibrand, like you're starting, it's just a stronger stage tonight. I mean I do think that's for sure. BRIGGS: Ron, Jimmy Fallon actually sang his advice to the Democratic candidates and it was "Don't become a meme." And I got to tell you who failed to follow that advice. It was Beto O'Rourke in what is the viral moment thus far of the debate season. Let's watch.

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[03:10:03] GUTHRIE: Some Democrats want a marginal individual tax rate of 70 percent on the very highest earners, those making more than $10 million a year. Would you support that?

O'ROURKE: It's going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does.

(SPEAKING IN SPANISH)

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BRIGGS: Que? What happened there? Why? Did he help himself with that?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, look, I think in general, it was a striking moment how many of the Democrats.

ROMANS: Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, spoke Spanish tonight and reflecting kind of the changing of their coalition and the changing of America. But in Beto's case, Beto O'Rourke's case, I mean, I think it felt a little kind of forced and even precious. And kind of, you know, fit in with kind of the larger questions he has faced since entering the race about just seeming just a little too much on the kind of earnest change.

I did not think he had a good night. I don't think he kind of, you know, articulated -- I mean he did talk about kind of changing politics from the bottom up. But he didn't really kind of assert himself into the front here. And as I said, I thought Klobuchar also really missed an opportunity as someone, you know, she let John Delaney, who is on the far end of the stage and at 1 percent carry the case against a single-payer health care system. And she kind of mumbled her opposition to it without making that clear.

Cory Booker chose not to differentiate with Elizabeth Warren on antitrust policy. That was striking -- I think Mark would agree that candidates who have had differences with her in the past did not choose to highlight them tonight and kind of allowed some of the more liberal positions to, you know, basically go unchallenged.

ROMANS: Let's listen -- can we listen -- Cory Booker also spoke Spanish last night. Can we just listen to the -- Samantha Bee, the comedian, said, well, when your friend comes back from study abroad, hashtag demdebate.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

ROMANS: Well, let's listen to some of the other Spanish last night.

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(SPEAKING IN SPANISH)

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ROMANS: I do not have the qualifications to say whether that was great Spanish or OK Spanish. Mark Preston, what -- politically what does it achieve?

PRESTON: Well, a couple of things. One, it was striking that we did see three candidates come out and spoke Spanish or at least some Spanish. However, it seemed forced to me. I mean, I do agree with Ron. It was -- I think it was forced on all of them. And they were trying to make a connection. Again, this is a manufactured moment. OK.

ROMANS: But how can you not be forced when you have ten people on the stage and you've got a minute to prepare, you know what I mean? In a way, I mean that's what -- well you set up what we have so many candidates.

PRESTON: Right. But there's one thing to have an organic moment where it's on the fly and you can see it or its canned. And all this stuff was canned. Cory Booker looked down on his piece of paper as he was saying it. I mean clearly, they were planning for this, as was Beto.

BROWNSTEIN: Can I just say one quick point on that --

ROMANS: Sure, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: -- guys, which is that, you know, yes, it was canned and it was kind of forced to put it in. But it is indicative of a real difference that is going to matter as the -- as over the next year and a half, which is that you have a Democratic Party that is really putting a lot of chips on embracing the changing America and you have a president and Donald Trump who is defining the Republican Party in a whole series of ways in hostility to the ways that America are changing, who proposed the largest cuts in legal immigration since the 1920s and everything else we are seeing in terms of the hardline policies at the border.

So, I mean, it was kind of artificial and so forth. But it is indicative of something real in the way the parties are realigning around the issue of how America is changing itself in the 21st century. And it's something that's going to be a very important part of the general election.

BRIGGS: OK. Team no sleep, we appreciate you being here at 3:15 a.m. eastern time.

ROMANS: Thanks, Mark.

BRIGGS: Midnight out there on the left coast. Thank you guys. ROMANS: All right, thanks guys.

[03:14:21] All right, fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our nation, that's what U.S. asylum officers are saying about the policy to keep migrants in Mexico while they awaits asylum.

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BRIGGS: President trump in the air on his way to the G20 in Osaka, Japan at a refueling stop in Alaska, he greeted the troops. And here's what he said about the Democratic debate.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we have a big debate going on, just started. And I had my choice between you and them. And I chose you. You're smarter. You're smarter than they are and better looking.

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BRIGGS: You're smarter and better looking. The president's one-word take on the policy-driven debate, boring. That was it as far as the Twitter debate at this moment. Nic Robertson live for us in Osaka, Japan. Nic, good morning to you. What should we look for today at the G20?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think President Trump is going to get a taste of what is going to get across the whole of this G20, which is -- as we've seen before, you know, a fairly hostile crowd to what they view as his America first protectionism. They, of course, believe in multilateralism, free trade.

[03:20:03] So there's already that contest of wills. This evening shortly after he lands, President Trump will have dinner with the Australian prime minister where we're expecting the Australian prime minister to tell President Trump to dial back on his trade war with China because of the concerns about a global recession. That's going to be a message undoubtedly repeated many times.

We will have to wait until Saturday, however, for President Trump to have that all-important meeting with Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader. But before he gets there, he's going to be sitting down with Prime Minister Abe of Japan, who is the host here, who is trying to sort of push a de-escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran.

And even on that here, President Trump is quite isolated. He'll meet -- President Trump will meet as well with the Indian Prime Minister Modi, he'll meet with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, President Putin of Russia, and President Trump on that has had not -- has said it's not clear if he's actually going to talk to President Putin about not meddling in the presidential elections next year.

But as I say, Saturday, the big meeting with Xi Jinping, is the trade war going on? Is the President going to double down? Or will he put a pause on it as he did at the last G20?

BRIGGS: A massively consequential week for the President. Nic Robertson, live for us at the G20, thank you, sir.

ROMANS: All right, U.S. asylum officers slamming President Trump's policy of forcing migrants to remain in Mexico while they await immigration hearings. On Wednesday, they urged a federal appeals court to block the administration from continuing the program. The officers say it's threatening the lives of migrants and quote, "fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our nation."

The world still reacting to this heartbreaking image of a father and daughter drowned in the banks of the Rio Grande, her arm around her father as they took their last breaths. They had waited two months hoping to receive political asylum in the U.S. Earlier this year, a lower court blocked the, remain in Mexico policy. But the Ninth Circuit has allowed it to continue, pending appeal.

BRIGGS: That horrific photo of the dead father and daughter giving new urgency to lawmakers who move to approve billions of dollars in emergency spending. On Wednesday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a $4.6 billion emergency aid bill to help care for migrants detained by the U.S. after crossing the border.

The Senate passing its border aid measure after rejecting the version passed by the House a day earlier. Senate Republican leaders do not appear to be willing to negotiate over differences with the House. President Trump has indicated he supports the Senate bill.

ROMANS: All right. Public concern about the nation's border policy is growing and Bank of America is making its position known, announcing it will no longer do business with companies that run detention centers at the state and federal levels. Bank of America declined to comment about which companies it has previously worked with after backlash from its employees, Wayfair, said it would donate $100,000 to the Red Cross to help those in need at the border.

The online retailer also said it would donate profits from the sale of bedroom furniture to a migrant facility. Employees as you know, walked out of Wayfair's headquarters Wednesday. They were protesting the fact that their company was providing furniture, selling furniture to a detention facility, providing the beds.

Wayfair did not say where the funds for the donation would come from and declined CNN's request for comment. But clearly employees, you know, a two very different companies, a bank and, you know, an online retailer, clearly hearing from their employees that they don't want any kind of business being done with the people who profit from these detention centers.

BRIGGS: Employees being heard.

[03:23:36] All right, as we are in the summer travel season, some major news. As a new is flaw discovered in the Boeing 737 Max. Could this have tilted those two planes downward in the two deadly crashes?

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BRIGGS: A new flaw found in the troubled Boeing 737 Max Jet could further delay its return to the skies. Sources say government simulator flights testing new software revealed a computer system failure that could push the nose of the plane toward the ground. It's not known if the computer issue played a role in either of the two Max crashes overseas. Boeing engineers are now trying to address the issue. The Boeing 737 Max fleet was grounded in March following the crashes that killed 346 people.

ROMANS: A sweeping bipartisan health care bill approved by a key Senate committee. The measure would tackle surprise medical billing, lower drug prices, and increase transparency and the cost of health care. It also calls for raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 from 18.

Hospitals and doctors not pleased with the surprise medical billing provision, consumers would be responsible for only paying the in- network rates for emergency room treatment. And if they are admitted, they must be given advance notice of any out of network charges.

BRIGGS: A Chicago restaurant employee has been placed on leave after spitting on Eric Trump. The President's son telling Breitbart News it was quote, "a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems." Trump blamed the incident more broadly on the Democratic Party. Chicago police responded to the incident along with the secret service. The business and upscale bar and restaurant called aviary said it's getting online harassment in the wake of the incident.

ROMANS: Two Americans traveling in Barbados are missing after taking their rented jet ski out to sea. Barbados police are asking for the public's help to locate Oscar Suarez and Magdalena Devil. They said, the two were both wearing life jackets when they were last seen Monday. The operator of the company they rented the jet ski from began to worry when the two did not return 20 minutes later. They didn't return to their hotel either. The two are scheduled to leave Barbados on Saturday.

[03:29:46] BRIGGS: That foul ball that hit a 2-year-old girl during a Houston Astros game last month cracked her skull. That is according to the family attorney. He also says the toddler had a seizure while being hospitalized after the foul ball from the cubs Albert Almora Jr. This is the first time the family has released information about the girl's condition since the May 29 incident. The girl is now home and will be reassessed.