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6.4 Quake Hits Southern California Community; Opposition Leader Calls for Protests in Venezuela; Libya's U.N.-backed Government Considers Closing Migrant Centers. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 5, 2019 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:21] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Aftershocks are likely for weeks after the worst earthquake in Southern California in 20 years.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN ANCHOR: And it's deadline day for the Justice Department. Will they try to add a citizenship question to the Census? And what other options are the White House considering?

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Michelle Kosinski.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Happy Friday.

KOSINSKI: You too.

BRIGGS: Good morning, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs. Friday, July 5th. It is 4:00 a.m. here in New York, 10:00 a.m. in Libya, 9:00 a.m. in London. We'll be live there shortly. But let's start with a look at the fireworks on Independence Day. Happy Fourth of July. We hope it was for all of you here in the United States.

KOSINSKI: Those are nice ones.

BRIGGS: Yes, that is New York City. Did you get a glimpse or were you --

KOSINSKI: Beautiful.

BRIGGS: -- fast asleep by that time and night?

KOSINSKI: I was passed out.

BRIGGS: A beautiful, beautiful display across the city of New York.

KOSINSKI: That is gorgeous.

BRIGGS: Really some incredible still photos. We'll see if we can grab it for you. When you get a glimpse of this show from the Brooklyn Bridge it is unlike really anything you can see anywhere in this country. We hope you had a wonderful holiday. For some of you this is the start of a long holiday weekend. But we are starting with that earthquake out west.

They are starting to pick up the pieces in one Southern California community after the worst earthquake in that part of the state in some 20 years.

The quake, a magnitude 6.4 centered near Ridgecrest about 150 miles north of Los Angeles. Scientists recorded more than 150 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 or greater. The city of Ridgecrest announcing a state of emergency. Mayor Peggy Breeden spoke to CNN but was then interrupted by an aftershock.


MAYOR PEGGY BREEDEN, RIDGECREST, CALIFORNIA: This would either be our seventh or eighth one we've had. Oh, my goodness, there's another one right now. Oh, my goodness.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my goodness. Are you OK?


BALDWIN: Breathe, just breathe.


KOSINSKI: Broken gas lines in Ridgecrest may be what caused this house fire. Power outages in the city of 28,000, leaving many without air conditioning in 100-degree heat. Elsewhere a garage fire consumed two classic cars. This roadway near Ridgecrest will need some work before it's safe to drive on again. And video from inside a Ridgecrest Walmart shows the force of that quake. Meantime, 110 miles away in a studio city, the news team from CNN affiliate KCBS was shooting a promo for their morning show when the studio began to shake.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, earthquake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you serious?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're in your first earthquake. Are you OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's an earthquake?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the worst it's going to get, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, shoot, it's shaking.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this thing for real?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just look it. Shoot you, guys. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: "Shoot, you guys." Back in Ridgecrest folks now facing a monumental cleanup job. You can see a lake of liquor on the floor at Ed's Mini-Mart and books littering the floor at the city library. And the work may not be finished. The U.S. Geological Survey says aftershocks are likely for the next couple of weeks.

CNN's Paul Vercamenn has more from Ridgecrest.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER: Dave, Michelle, let me give you a sense of what's like here in Ridgecrest. Aftershock after aftershock, some of them as strong as 4.0. And you can see the devastation. Look at this mobile home park. They took some hits here. This mobile home knocked right off its platform. It has now been red tagged. We saw a California building safety inspector come through here making sure that everything was OK.

These residents of Ridgecrest are glad to hear that there are no mass casualties but they were absolutely saddened to hear that many of their neighbors had been moved out of their homes. This woman got out, you know, alive and not seriously hurt. But then the Fourth of July, it was all on their minds, and a memento here. Perhaps a symbol, one of the members of this park put his flag here and they had sort of a twist on, shaken and stirred. They said they were shaken and stirred but they are still Ridgecrest strong after this quake hit.

Back to you now -- Dave, Michelle.

KOSINSKI: Great that they are OK. Thanks, Paul.

Well, on Independence Day from the National Mall a rare unifying message from a deeply divisive president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: In the joy of freedom we remember that all share a truly extraordinary heritage. Together we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told, the story of America.


KOSINSKI: It rained on and off, but not enough to stop President Trump from urging Americans to come together.

[04:05:05] Ahead of the president's Salute to America, days of controversy over his unprecedented military extravaganza on the National Mall there.

BRIGGS: After that flyover by the plane designated Air Force One when the president is aboard he paid homage to America's early history and its military. He also spoke about more recent advances in civil rights and gender equality. The backdrop was competing protests D.C., including a flag-burning outside the White House. Out on the mall, sweltering crowds were pulled toward opposite

political poles with MAGA-wearing Trump supporters over here and opponents' infamous "Baby Trump" balloon over there. But for the most part, the July Fourth on the Mall seems to have been unifying as promised.

Here's Tom Foreman with more.


Despite scorching temperatures earlier in the day and then intermittent rain later on, a reasonable sized crowd did gather here on the National Mall for the president's speech to listen to him for about an hour as he extolled the virtues of the U.S. military, all branches of it, and the U.S. people in general.


TRUMP: Now we must go forward as a nation with that same unity of purpose. As long as we stay true to our course, as long as we remember our great history, as long as we never, ever stop fighting for a better future, then there will be nothing that America cannot do.



FOREMAN: Despite a lot of fears, the president steered away from partisan talk and instead focused on general comments about the American people, about American exceptionalism and America's role leading of the future, including, according to him, a trip to Mars -- Dave, Michelle.

KOSINSKI: Yes, no campaign messages there. Thanks, Tom.

Well, today is the deadline for the Justice Department to tell a federal judge whether it does plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Doing so would defy the Supreme Court. Earlier this week, President Trump ordered the DOJ to find a way after the administration had already conceded the Census would be printed without the question.

A source familiar with discussions tells CNN there are limited paths forward. One option would be an executive order from the president, but that would likely be challenged in the lower courts. There's also the possibility of an addendum or supplement to the Census with the citizenship question. And officials are considering going back to the Supreme Court directly with a motion to reconsider.

BRIGGS: Former Vice President Joe Biden trying to move on from the issue that tripped him up in the first round of the Democratic debates. Biden was asked about school busing again on the campaign trail in Iowa. The question coming one day after Democratic rival Kamala Harris said local school districts should be able to decide the issue for themselves. That's effectively the same argument Biden made when Senator Harris attacked him last week.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's absolutely right.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And do you think that there is like any difference between what she was saying to you on the debate last week versus today?

BIDEN: Look, she's a -- she's a good person. She is smart as can be and she feels strongly. It came out of nowhere. It didn't seem to be something at all consistent with anything I had been accused of before, but I think the end of the day, I'd like to get -- we can talk about the future. I mean, busing is something that 99 percent of the American people don't even know what we're talking about here.


KOSINSKI: I wonder for how many days we're going to be talking about this busing back and forth. But not everybody wants to forget the issue and move on. Senator Harris also campaigning in Iowa still thinks Biden has some explaining to do.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sadly, we do not agree. I've asked him and have yet to hear him agree that busing that was court ordered and mandated in most places and in that era in which I was bused was necessary and he has yet to agree that his position on this, which was to work with segregationists and oppose busing, was wrong. Period.


KOSINSKI: Well, a must-see CNN exclusive this morning. Joe Biden sits down with Chris Cuomo. They cover a lot of ground on policy, the president, the debates and whether he'd pick a woman as vice president. That debuts at 6:00 a.m. Eastern only on CNN.

BRIGGS: OK. Let's check on CNN Business at 4:09 Eastern Time. The rapid job growth of the past two years seems to be cooling off. The Labor Department will release the June jobs number at 8:30 a.m. today Eastern Time. Economists expect the economy added 160,000 jobs in June while the unemployment rate remains at an historic low at 3.6 percent.

[04:10:02] That would be a bounce back from the disappointing 75,000 jobs created in May but a slowdown from the average of 164,000 jobs created over the past six months. Two important sectors to pay attention to. Construction and retail.

Construction jobs have been a victim of the lackluster housing market. Retail has suffered thousands of layoffs from big box bankruptcies as online shopping continues to grow. Even though e-commerce has driven gains in the transportation and warehousing sector, it's unlikely they fully offset the retail losses. Any sign of weakness could increase calls for an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve later this month.

No doubt about it, the president will be pushing.

KOSINSKI: He'll be all over that.

BRIGGS: Ardently for a rate cut. Yes.


Well, another major escalation in Venezuela. A Navy officer tortured and killed in government custody. Big protests expected from the opposition today. We are live in Caracas.


[04:15:34] KOSINSKI: Opposition leader Juan Guaido is calling for huge protests in the streets of Venezuela today demanding the resignation of embattled president Nicolas Maduro. The call coming after a Venezuelan Navy officer was tortured and killed earlier this week while being held in government custody.

Isa Soares is live in Caracas with the latest developments.

Now, Isa, it's been, what, two months since the last large-scale protests and a coup that wasn't.


KOSINSKI: Is there a sense that the feeling and the momentum is any different than now?

SOARES: Well, Michelle, good morning to you. I think that will be a huge test. Today will come as a huge test for Juan Guaido, as you were mentioning, the opposition leader here. He has been pushing for months now to try and get Maduro to step down. But on what we have seen from Maduro is quite the opposite. He is digging in his heels and really not budging.

So today is a national holiday and he is asking -- Guaido is asking people to take to the streets. It will be a huge test for him. And he may have one thing on his side, which is the U.N. report is due out this hour in fact, from Human Rights Reports, from Michelle Bachelet, who -- we're already seeing a preview of it that was leaked yesterday and that has really strengthened Guaido's cause, saying on Twitter late last night, really the U.N. report, the highlight what everyone already knew in terms of human rights abuses, from political, social, civil, and what they call gross and great violations by the Maduro government.

I want to give you some tidbits from that report if I may. Now it says that the government is really in charge of a strategy of neutralizing, repressing and criminalizing political opponents. In terms of what methods they're using, they're using electric shock, suffocation with plastic bags, water boarding, beatings. More than 5,200 people died in 2018, 1,500 this year. Maduro government on its part says this is bias and selective and openly partial vision. Now on top of all of this the U.N. did not hold back. This coming

from a socialist person. It comes from Michelle Bachelet who is held in high regard here for being a socialist. And she said -- she said that 3.7 million people are malnourished, 4 million people have already left. For the people here of Venezuela they have heard this. But now they're seeing it not from a government but from an outsider group, from the U.N., and this in very black and white terms may force people to take to the streets today -- Dave.

KOSINSKI: Now Maduro of course has the backing of Russia and China.

Thanks so much.

BRIGGS: Libya's U.N.-backed government is now considering closing all migrant detention centers after (INAUDIBLE) Tripoli was hit by an airstrike killing more than 50 people.

Ben Wedeman live for us in Beirut with the latest. Ben, good morning.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Dave. Yes, this is what we're hearing from the government of National Court that runs Tripoli and is supported by the U.N. and Italy and other countries, saying that they may simply close these detention centers and let those people inside who they call illegal immigrants go free. Now keep in mind that these are people who were picked up by the E.U.

funded Libyan coast guard, arrested while trying to cross the Mediterranean, brought back to Libya and put in these detention centers but oftentimes these detention centers are either very close to the front lines in the ongoing war, in Libyan civil war, so to speak, or they're in areas with military facilities which is exactly what this detention center was in the eastern Tripoli suburb of Tajoura. Now we're also learning that after it was hit in an airstrike, it's

not clear what kind of airplane hit the detention center, some of the guards in this detention center opened fire on migrants and refugees who were trying to flee. But all of this underscores simply the rock and the hard place, these people are stuck between. They can't cross over to the Mediterranean or they'll get arrested by the Libyan coast guard. Many of them simply don't have the wherewithal to go home. At the end of the day in one form or another they're stuck in Libya in

the middle of a war which they had nothing to do with -- Dave. [04:20:09] BRIGGS: Difficult circumstances. All right. Ben Wedeman,

live for us this morning in Beirut. Thank you, sir.

KOSINSKI: Well, the wrong man was taken off life support in Chicago. Now two families are suing the city and the hospital.


[04:25:18] KOSINSKI: Two families are suing the city of Chicago and Mercy Hospital for taking the wrong man off life support. Back in April Chicago police incorrectly identified a man they found naked and unresponsive as Alfonso Bennett. Bennett's sisters told officials at Mercy Hospital they weren't sure it was their brother. But the suit says hospital staff insisted it was him, claiming he couldn't be recognized because of facial injuries he had suffered.

BRIGGS: When the sisters were told their brother had to be taken off life support, they agreed. Then the real Alfonso Bennett showed up while they were planning his funeral service. The victim who passed away was later identified as Elisha Brittman. Chicago Police and Mercy Hospital are not commenting. A wrongful death lawsuit accuses them of negligence and inflicting intentionally emotional distress on the two families.

KOSINSKI: A suspect is in custody after stabbing three people Thursday at a plasma center in Virginia. Police say a man walked into the Octapharma Plasma Center in Petersburg and began slashing people with a weapon similar to a machete. Some of the nurses and customers hiding in a restroom during the attack. One male victim is in critical condition. There were two female victims. One is in fair condition, the other in good condition at last check.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They got him. They got him. They got him. They got him.



BRIGGS: Caught on video. The moment a 5-year-old who fell into a sewer drain filled with water was pulled out. The boy was in the drain for about an hour and 15 minutes. The Evansville, Indiana, fire department telling a local station the boy fell into the drain while his family was watching fireworks. The officers say he was alert and talking throughout his rescue. Still the boy was taken to the hospital to get checked out.

KOSINSKI: No one is screaming for this ice cream. Authorities are looking for the woman who opened a carton of Blue Bell at an east Texas Walmart, licked the top, then put it back on the shelf. Apparently she thought it was hilarious but police aren't laughing. They say the freezer felony could land her in jail for up to 20 years for tampering, 20 years.

BRIGGS: Twenty years, kids.

KOSINSKI: Amazing. The tainted tub was found before anyone bought it so.

BRIGGS: So a few kids thought this was the next viral sensation.

KOSINSKI: Licking --

BRIGGS: You could get 20 years.

KOSINSKI: I know. That's incredible.

BRIGGS: Why? She just thought it was just fun? It was just a gag?

KOSINSKI: But I'm glad they found that tub. That's the happy ending.

BRIGGS: That is a good point.

KOSINSKI: So no one is getting that licked ice cream.

BRIGGS: All right. Aftershocks are expected for weeks in Southern California after the worst earthquake the region has seen in 20 years.