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President Trump Confident in Alex Acosta; Obamacare on Life Support?; Delta Flight Makes Emergency Landing; Here Come the Champions. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2019 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:01] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're talking about a long time ago. And again, it was a decision made I think not by him but by a lot of people.


BRIGGS: Can Alex Acosta survive? The embattled labor secretary has the president's support. But allies of the president not so sure.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Obamacare could be in serious jeopardy. Two judges suggest they may back a Texas ruling that says the law cannot exist without the individual mandate.

BRIGGS: Scary moments on a flight from Atlanta to Baltimore forced an emergency landing due to engine trouble.

ROMANS: And, boy, it's a beautiful day for a parade. The U.S. women's national soccer team honored in the Canyon of Heroes in New York City.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning to all of you. I'm excited to be there. The first parade since the women's team did it again in 2015.

I'm Dave Briggs. It is Wednesday, July 10th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We start in the nation's capital. A reprieve for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta for now. He is under scrutiny for a sweetheart plea deal he made with Jeffrey Epstein when the well-connected financier faced sex abuse charges in 2008.

Sources tell us President Trump is saying privately he has confidence in Acosta. Publicly, the president is downplaying Acosta's role in the plea deal which as a U.S. attorney he oversaw.


TRUMP: For 2-1/2 years, he's been just an excellent secretary of labor. He's done a fantastic job. But you're talking about a long time ago. And again, it was a decision made I think not by him but by a lot of people.


BRIGGS: CNN, however, has learned that confidence could vanish in a flash depending on the news coverage. The president's longtime confidante, Chris Ruddy, told CNN's Don Lemon that Acosta's future is, well, not so bright.


CHRIS RUDDY, CEO & PRESIDENT, NEWSMAX MEDIA: I think the plea agreement he did is indefensible. I think that he's not going to stay for long. I haven't spoken to the president about it, but I do think -- and we're reporting on Newsmax actually tonight, our White House correspondent says he will be out in the next couple of weeks.


ROMANS: Acosta defending the Epstein plea deal but also says he's pleased that New York prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence. The "Miami Herald" editorial board says Acosta should resign. The "Herald" broke the story of the light punishment, 13 months in county jail, and the freedom to work at his office 12 hours a day six days a week. It's not clear what role will play investigating that 2008 plea deal which is now under intense scrutiny.

BRIGGS: The president trying to distance himself from Epstein in the wake of this new indictment in New York, charging him with running a child sex ring. This is the same Epstein Mr. Trump once described as a terrific guy. Now, not so much.


TRUMP: Well, I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. People in Palm Beach knew him. He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn't a fan.


BRIGGS: "The New York Times" also has new reporting this morning suggesting closer ties between the two. A 1992 party at Mar-a-Lago billed as a calendar girl competition. A Florida businessman who organized it tells "The Times" 30 people were at the party, 28 girls, plus Trump and Epstein.

ROMANS: All right. There are signs this may be the beginning of the end for Obamacare. Two Republican-appointed judges strongly suggesting they back a Texas legal challenge that could doom the law. Chief Justice Roberts famously upheld the Affordable Care Act in 2012, declaring the individual mandate legal as a tax. But since Congress eliminated the tax for not buying insurance, conservatives believe the whole law is unconstitutional.

BRIGGS: Two of the three judges on the appellate panel in New Orleans appear to be siding with the lower court judge who ruled last year the entire law should be struck down.


JUDGE JENNIFER WALKER ELROD, APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH IN 2007: If you no longer have the tax, why isn't it unconstitutional?

SAMUEL SIEGEL, DEPUTY SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR CALIFORNIA: Because it is possible to still understand this as a precatory provision that doesn't create any rights or obligation.


BRIGGS: Wiping out Obamacare could end coverage for millions of Americans and have a dramatic effect on a presidential race that has already focused heavily on health care. President Trump is repeatedly saying people with pre-existing conditions would be covered even if Obamacare were struck down. But he has failed to offer any type of replacement plan.

[05:05:02] ROMANS: All right. Just in to CNN, Senator Kamala Harris teaming up with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to help people with criminal records fairly obtain housing. The Democrat's introducing a bill to reform eviction and screening policies to allow people with a criminal past to apply for federal housing assistance.

Harris is not the first 2020 contender to pair up with the progressive idol. Senator Bernie Sanders joined with AOC, as she's known, to campaign for progressive candidates in 2018. And Senator Elizabeth Warren partnered with her on a number of efforts.

BRIGGS: Airbus is poised to overtake Boeing as the world's largest plane manufacturer. Boeing is reporting no new orders of its MAX aircraft for the third straight month. The fleet has been barred from flying for nearly four months after two deadly crashes killed 346 people.

European rival Airbus has already shipped 389 planes through June and is on track to deliver a record number of jets this year. Boeing's slump is having a ripple effect across the aerospace industry. The supplier has been forced to cut output and idle staff while airlines have had to cancel thousands of flights. Analysts don't expect regulators to clear the MAX to fly again before the end of September.

ROMANS: All right. A tweet storm from the president urging people to support Home Depot, warning, quote, two can play at that game on business boycotts. The hashtag #boycotthomedepot begin trending in response to reports that its founder Bernie Marcus plans to back Trump's reelection campaign. Trump tweeted Tuesday night they don't want people to shop at those

great stores because he contributed to your favorite person, me. These people are vicious and totally crazed. He adds this: More and more, the radical left is using commerce to hurt their enemy. They don't care who gets hurt, but also don't understand that two can play that game.

Marcus, by the way, retired from Home Depot all the way back in 2002. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he was a Trump supporter. He donated $7 million to Trump during the 2016 election.

In a statement to "USA Today", the company, Home Depot, said Marcus isn't speaking on behalf of the company and says it does not endorse presidential candidates as part of its practice.

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, actor Rip Torn has died.


RIP TORN, ACTOR: I was doing a Bob Hope special at the time, and I was so screwed up I let it affect my work. I -- I made Elke Sommer cry in the middle of a dance rehearsal. I'm not proud of that.


BRIGGS: Born Elmore Torn, the Oscar and Tony nominee won an Emmy for his role as Artie on HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show." He had nearly 200 credits in a career that spanned seven decades. After his success on "The Larry Sanders Show," Torn's career picked up steam leading to a memorable turn in the "Men in Black" franchise.


TORN: Containment may be a moot point, old friend. The exodus continues. Just like the party's over, the last one to leave gets stuck with the check.


BRIGGS: Torn's publicist says he passed away peacefully at his home in Connecticut with his family by his side. Rip Torn was 88.

In a matter of hours, there will be a ticker-tape parade for the U.S. women's soccer team down New York City's Canyon of Heroes. The team won its second straight World Cup, wrapping up a dominant few weeks with the win over the Netherlands Sunday. It's not clear whether the team will get an invite to the White House even though President Trump promised one win or lose.

Megan Rapinoe has been an outspoken credit of the president. She had this message for him last night with Anderson Cooper.


MEGAN RAPINOE, USWNT CO-CAPTAIN: I think that I would say that your message is excluding people. You're excluding me. You're excluding people that look like me. You're excluding people of color. You're excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.

I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you're saying about make America great again. I think that you're harkening back to an era that was not great for everyone.


BRIGGS: The ticker-tape parade begins at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. I will be part of CNN's live coverage. So keep it here all morning long.

Again, these ladies have said they're eager to visit both the House and the Senate.

ROMANS: Sure. Today, they'll be visiting New York City. And it will be awesome.

BRIGGS: Yes, they will, very due.

ROMANS: All right. This explanation from a man who called police to report a supposed trespasser.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's a trespasser in my building.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Dad, don't. Please go --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to your son.


ROMANS: Turns out, you know, he wasn't a trespasser at all. Hear from both men in this now-viral video.


[05:14:22] ROMANS: It definitely not what you want to see at 30,000 feet. A Delta flight forced to make an emergency landing in Raleigh, North Carolina, due to emergency problems Monday. Delta says 148 customers aboard Flight 1425 from Atlanta to Baltimore, and just one of the aircraft's engines had a problem.


TYLER KRUEGER, PASSENGER: Can't get that bang and pop out of my head. It was very, very scary. Smoke started rolling into the cabin. Everything started vibrating on the ceiling.


ROMANS: The flight landed without incident. Passengers were transferred to an alternate flight.

BRIGGS: A white man calls police when he sees a black man at his San Francisco building. [05:15:03] Now we're hearing from both men involved.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's a trespasser in my building.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Daddy, don't. Please go --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to your son.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Daddy, and go -- it's the better -- I agree with him, daddy. It's the better. Please don't. Please. I don't like this. I don't like this. Daddy? I don't like this. Let's go.


BRIGGS: Christopher Cukor calling police as his young son pleads with him to just leave the man alone. Cukor identified himself ads the man on the video which was shared by Wesly Michel. Michel told Cukor he was waiting for a friend.

ROMANS: But Cukor justified his reaction this way, saying his own father was killed when he confronted a trespasser outside his home. Michel, the man who was filmed, responds this way.


WESLY MICHEL, POLICE CALLED WHEN HE VISITED A FRIEND: I can understand that he's been traumatized. It's very, very difficult to try to communicate based on his past experiences. It's very important that people take those experiences and they learn from them but not to impose those ideas and those -- that sensitivity amongst people you don't know.


ROMANS: Michel, the man doing the filming there. Cukor's statement continues, bad actors are all different colors. I now realized that Wesly was reacting based on his unique history, as well.

BRIGGS: Evacuations underway in Kearney, Nebraska, after the city of 30,000 was hit with close to nine inches of rain. Roads, parking lots, businesses, all under water. Officials urging residents not to do this -- they say don't drive around barricades or through flooded streets. Turn around.

Kearney police and patrol officers checking flooded homes and businesses. And bus transportation has been set up to take evacuees to the area's Salvation Army.

ROMANS: All right. Hawaii is loosening up its laws on marijuana possession, becoming the 26th state to decriminalize or legalize the drug under new legislation set to take effect in January. Possession of up to three grams of marijuana will no longer result in jail time. It will still carry a $130 fine. The state's current law carries a 30-day jail sentence for possessing even a tiny amount of pot along with a $1,000 fine.

BRIGGS: The green wave continues to sweep over the country.

All right. Ahead, we'll tell you what happened in the MLB all-star game.

Also, the NBA implementing a replay season next season. What's on the table and what's not? Andy Scholes has that in the "Bleacher Report."


[05:22:29] BRIGGS: All right. Some baseball now. The American League once again reigning supreme in the midsummer classic. They've won seven straight all-star games.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Quite a show last night, Andy. We expected like a 10-9, 12-10 game. We got some actual pitching.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, low scoring affair this year in Cleveland, Dave.


SCHOLES: Baseball's best, they always put on a show when the all-star game comes around. It was an actually unlikely hometown guy bringing home the games' MVP award.

Before the game, they held a moment of silence for pitcher Tyler Skaggs who passed away a week ago at the age of 27 in his hotel room in Texas. The Angels' Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella both wearing Skaggs number 45 for the game.

Indians pitcher Shane Bieber, who was added to the AL roster just this past Friday as an injury replacement, he won the MVP award. He pitched a perfect sixth inning which had the crowd going nuts. The A.L. would win 4-3.

It's been quite the rise for Bieber. Not too long ago he was just a walk-on at U.C. Santa Barbara. Now he's the all star's game MVP. Bieber said being on the mound, it was a surreal moment.


SHANE BIEBER, 2019 MLB ALL-STAR GAME MVP: That was incredible. I couldn't feel my feet or the rest of my body for that moment. So, I really just tried to enjoy it. I kind of stepped off the back of the mound and took it all in because that's what, you know, my teammates and guys that had been here and done that told me to do. And so, really just tried to cherish that moment and take it all in.


SCHOLES: All right. Get ready for challenge flags in the NBA. There won't be flags, but it's the same idea. The league approving my rule where coaches will now be able to challenge one call a game regardless of whether or not it's successful. The team must have a time-out which they call when they want to challenge.

Coaches will be able to challenge fouls on their team, out-of-bound calls, and goaltending or basket interference. In the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime, those plays are automatically reviewed and do not require a challenge.

All right. Finally, Serena Williams surviving in her quarterfinal match against Alison Riske, winning in three sets to move on to the semis. Serena putting her hair up to what she called her business bun. She said her hair kept hitting her in the face.

It worked. She won. Serena now two wins away from her 24th grand slam title. Serena, of course, one of the most inspirational athletes of her generation. She was asked what she thought about the U.S. women's national team's incredible work out front.


[05:25:03] SERENA WILLIAMS, 7-TIME WIMBLEDON CHAMPION: It's like amazing. It's so good to see they've got the whole nation cheering them on. No matter where you are. And just inspired by what they stand for and taking a stand and fighting for being paid for something that they are world champions at is something that I feel really close to, and just really inspired by the team altogether.


SCHOLES: Yes, the national team, of course, has the parade through New York City later this morning. You know, Serena now the heavy favorite at Wimbledon. She hasn't won a grand-slam title in a while, since the 2017 Australian Open. We'll see if she can get it done this year.

BRIGGS: All right. She did have a lot to do with the women's equal pay fight in tennis, as well. Great star to watch.

Andy Scholes, thank you, my friend.

ROMANS: Next time it gets tough for me, I'm going to do a business bun.

BRIGGS: Business bun.

ROMANS: Business bun.

BRIGGS: You should rock that.

ROAMNS: Get it done. I like it. Inspiring.

Twenty-six minutes past the hour. A vote of confidence for Alex Acosta. The president standing by the labor secretary at least for now. Could that change?