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EARLY START

Trump Versus "The Squad"; Biden Versus Sanders on Health Care; E.U. Leader Scramble to Save Iran Nuclear Deal; Man Confesses to Killing U.S. Scientist in Crete. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 16, 2019 - 04:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:00:18] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as I'm concerned, if you hate our country, if you're not happy here, you can leave.

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): This is the agenda of white nationalists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The defense of racism now an ironclad part of the president's playbook. His rhetoric met with mild criticism from the Republican Party he has reshaped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The transition of dropping 300 million people on a new plan are a little risky.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The system that Joe and others are trying to prop up is the most wasteful bureaucratic and expensive system on earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders square off on health care, a pivotal issue now dividing some Democrats.

BRIGGS: Joy and relief after a missing hiker is rescued in California. Sheryl Powell went missing for four days. Her family says she was hiding from an attacker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEPUTY WILL KIMBRO, BERKELEY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, BERKELEY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA: There we go. There we go. Come on. Come on, baby. She's breathing. As long as she's crying like that, she's breathing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: A heart-pumping rescue in South Carolina. A deputy pulls over a car for speeding and saves a baby in distress. Good morning. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all

around the world. This is EARLY START and I'm Jessica Dean, in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

DEAN: Good morning.

BRIGGS: The summer of Romans continues.

I'm Dave Briggs, Tuesday, July 16. It is 4:00 a.m. here in New York, 9:00 a.m. in London, 11:00 a.m. in Istanbul.

We begin this morning with President Trump escalating the ugliest of ugly politics. Instead of apologizing for his racist attack on four progressive House members, he justified it at a White House news conference. Trump sparked the controversy Sunday when he tweeted that the congresswomen, all of them U.S. citizens, should go back where they came from.

John Roberts of Fox News put this question of the president yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?

TRUMP: It doesn't concern me because many people agree with me and all I'm saying, they want to leave, they can leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The episode reflects the president's certainty he won't lose the support of his base nor the Republican Party he has reshaped.

DEAN: Most GOP lawmakers kept mum but a number of prominent lawmakers did come out against the remark if not against the president. Here's the only black Republican, Will Hurd of Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): The tweets are racist and xenophobic. They're also inaccurate. It's behavior that's unbecoming of the president of the United States and the leader of the free world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: George Conway, Washington lawyer, Trump critic and husband of Kellyanne Conway wrote a blistering op-ed for "The Washington Post".

Sunday left no doubt, Conway wrote, naivete, resentment and outright racism roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president.

Now the women who Trump is painting as the America-hating communists loving face of the Republican Party are pushing back. We've got more now from White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

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KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dave and Jessica, not only is the president not backing off the remarks he made over the weekend, he's escalating his attacks on these four Democratic congresswomen, accusing them of hating the country and saying that they do not like living here, then they should leave. He was at an event on the South Lawn of the White House when he came prepared with pieces of paper with bullet points to make the case where he said he felt he was in the right.

TRUMP: As far as I'm concerned, if you hate our country, if you're not happy here, you can leave. And that's what I say all the time. That's what I said in a tweet, which I guess some people think is controversial. A lot of people love it, by the way.

COLLINS: Now, the women that the president has accused and made these attacks on held a press conference yesterday where the four of them appeared on Capitol Hill to confront what the president said, statements they said they were not surprised by to come out of the president's mouth.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy.

OMAR: This is the agenda of white nationalists. Whether it is happening in chat homes or it's happening on national TV and now it's reached the White House garden.

COLLINS: I should note that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader's office said we will hear from him at his normal press conference that he holds pretty much on a weekly basis.

[04:05:05] And people will be watching to see what it is he has to say about these racist attacks coming from the president -- Jessica and Dave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Kaitlan Collins there, thanks.

President Trump's racist tweets do not violate Twitter rules, so says Twitter, though that claim seems to be contradicted by the company's published policies. This is the first real test of the company's new labeling system that down ranks the tweets of the president and other world leaders that violate Twitter's guidelines. Twitter will not be participating in today's House hearing on the market power of online platforms. Representatives of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google will be testifying.

DEAN: A fight over health care now front and center in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. The issue is increasing the friction between front-runner Joe Biden and challenger Bernie Sanders. The former vice president releasing a 10 year, $750 billion proposal on Monday, a plan Sanders close too wasteful and complicated.

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SANDERS: The system that Joe and others are trying to prop up is the most wasteful, bureaucratic and expensive system on earth. And when you talk about subsidies, what you're talking about is spending even more money, in this case taxpayer money, on a dysfunctional, wasteful and bureaucratic system. We need a simple system.

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DEAN: Arlette Saenz is traveling with the Biden campaign in Iowa.

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ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Dave and Jessica, Joe Biden kicked off a three-day swing through Iowa here in Des Moines by touting his newly released health care plan which he says will build on the Affordable Care Act. Now, Biden's plan would provide a public option to allow Americans to buy into a Medicare type of program. It also provides massive subsidies to make purchasing insurance through the exchanges cheaper for all-Americans regardless of income.

Biden also insisting that Medicare for All isn't the answer when it comes to health care worrying that programs like that will be difficult to implement and also are, quote, kind of a little bit risky.

REPORTER: You're talking now about a public option as part of your health care plan?

BIDEN: Yes.

REPORTER: That was very tough the last time.

BIDEN: Sure it was.

REPORTER: When Obamacare was first coming around.

BIDEN: Sure it was.

REPORTER: And it didn't happen.

BIDEN: Can you imagine what Medicare for All, if you think that's tough? Come on. Look, here's the deal, guys. One of the things that's happening is, all of a sudden, the American public has figured out what Obamacare was about.

It's solid, it's real, it's consequential. And we can in fact for a significant portion of the price, we can in fact insure 97, 98 percent of all the American people who want to be insured, and they can keep their policy if they want.

SAENZ: Now, Biden was really focused in the past week and a half on establishing clear lines of differences between himself and his Democratic opponents who are supporting a plan like Medicare for All. Now, Biden will continue promoting his health care plan over the next

two days in Iowa, including making some stops in rural Iowa to talk about healthcare. We're also going to be hearing more about health care from Kamala Harris who has promised a policy proposal coming today. And Bernie Sanders will once again be making his case on Medicare for all on Wednesday.

These candidates clearly trying to draw their battle lines on health care heading into that next debate just over two weeks away -- Jessica and Dave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Arlette Saenz, thanks.

A check on CNN business now. Facebook wants to get into the cryptocurrency game but it's facing bipartisan resistance. Facebook unveiled its digital currency Libra last month. Since then, lawmakers have expressed skepticism that Facebook, already under attack by regulators over privacy concerns, can be trusted with a digital currency.

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STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: To the extent that Facebook can do this correctly and can have a payment system, you know, correctly with proper AML, that's fine. They've got a lot of work to do to convince us to get to that place.

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BRIGGS: Mnuchin's comments came as Facebook executive David Marcus prepares for a pair of hearings on Capitol Hill. In remarks released ahead of his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Marcus will say, quote, Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals. Libra also faces resistance in the House Financial Services committee on Wednesday. Congresswoman Maxine Waters who chairs the committee has drafted legislation that could block Facebook from operating Libra.

The key big tech out of Finance Act would prohibit all large Internet companies from affiliating with or becoming financial institutions. Libra is expected to launch in early 2020.

DEAN: One person was killed, 15 others injured when a House exploded Monday afternoon in Marietta, Florida, about 70 miles north of San Diego. Crews from Southern California Gas were at the home repairing a natural gas line that was damage by contractor when the blast occurred.

[04:10:03] The person who died was a SoCalGas employee. Firefighters are among those being treated now. Details of the severity of their injuries have not been released.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God, I can't believe it.

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BRIGGS: Tears of joy after a missing camper in California is found alive. Sixty-year-old Sheryl Powell of Huntington Beach disappeared Friday near the Grand View campground in the Bristle Cohen Pine Forest. She had taken the family dog for a bathroom break. Authorities found the dog 2 1/2 miles where Powell was seen.

Her son believes someone threatened her. This is a photo of Sheryl reunited with her husband Joe and her children, Greg and Farrah (ph).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Magnificent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After so many days gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Powell's son Greg tells CNN his mother was dehydrated but is doing well.

DEAN: Netflix has removed a controversial suicide scene from its hit teen drama "13 Reasons Why." The move follows a debate over whether the show increased the risk of teen suicide among its viewers. "13 Reasons Why" is the story of a depressed high school teenage girl and explains why she did it and who she blames.

In the first season's final episode story is told in flashback. Creator Brian Yorkey says: No one scene is more important than the life of the show. We believe this edit will help this show do the most good to most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers.

BRIGGS: All right. Good move there.

Ahead, European leaders scrambling to save the Iran deal are downplaying recent violations of the agreement. A live report, straight ahead.

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[04:16:30] BRIGGS: Four-sixteen a.m. Eastern Time.

And European leaders say Iran's breach of the nuclear deal is not significant as they scrambled to save the deal from collapse. But Iran's former minister says Tehran is not prepared to renegotiate.

CNN's Arwa Damon is live in Istanbul with the latest.

Arwa, good morning.

It almost thinks like Iran thinks they can intimidate European leaders into staying in this deal. How's it working out?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not necessarily just an issue of Iran wanting to intimidate European leaders, Iran really is willing to go back to the original agreement. Iran's foreign minister said that they spent 12 years negotiating that agreement and Iran's position has been that they only began violating it because the U.S. withdrew and then slapped on unilateral sanctions. Iran's foreign minister said that America has declared an economic war in their country.

European nations are trying to salvage this original agreement. No one wants to see the situation escalate any further, and at this point, European parties to the agreement are not willing to invoke the mechanism that would see the agreement entirely fall apart.

Here's what the E.U.'s foreign policy chief had to say.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI, EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: For the time being, none of the parties to the agreement signaled their intention to invoke this article, which means that none of them is for the moment, for the time being with the current data we have had, in particular from the IEA, that noncompliance is considered to be significant noncompliance.

DAMON: And Iran though for its part is saying that it will continue to increase its production of low grade uranium keeping in mind it is far, far, far away from reaching a nuclear weapon, but it is hoping that by threatening to increase production that will perhaps somehow put more pressure on European countries that will lead to some sort of pressure on the U.S. to back off of those brutal sanctions that the Trump administration has been posing.

But, of course, all of this comes at a time of significantly increased tensions in the region. And any sort of misstep, any sort of accident could lead to a devastating escalation, Dave.

BRIGGS: Indeed, it could. Arwa Damon, 11:18 there in Istanbul, thank you.

DEAN: A 27-year-old man has confessed to killing American scientist Suzanne Eaton on the Greek island of Crete. Police believe the 59- year-old molecular biologist went missing during a run two weeks ago while attending a conference. Her body was found deep inside a cave. Investigators say Eaton was asphyxiated and minor stab wounds were found on her body. More details about the suspect and Eaton's death are expected later today.

One hundred messages about child abuse and neglect went unread in Colorado. Why and what officials are saying now?

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[04:24:36] BRIGGS: Barry is slowly weakening this morning but it will continue to pose a flooding threat over the next few days. One Louisiana family homeless after a bee infested tree crashed through their mobile home during the storm. Listen to this teen describe how his father tried to free his mother

while the bees were attacking.

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KAVIAN ROBERTSON, PARENTS ATTACKED BY BEES: My mom was screaming for help -- bees everywhere. I tried to help my mom but he wasn't -- he got trapped because the bees was eating him up everywhere -- eating them both up.

[04:25:05] His face was just so swelled up from bees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Right now, heavy rain is spreading north into Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. And over 21 million people are currently under a heat warning or advisory.

DEAN: An Indiana police officer who shot and killed a black man from breaking into cars has resigned from the South Bend Police Department. The shooting of Eric Jack Logan in June aggravated years of racial tension between South Bend Police and the African-American community.

It also put a spotlight on South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's challenge and gained the trust of minority voters. The police union says Sergeant Ryan O'Neill is stepping down due to job-related stress, and media attention on the case and hateful social media responses. He still faces a special prosecutor investigation and a lawsuit filed by Logan's family.

BRIGGS: A 2-year-old Michigan girl has gone missing. Police and family members searching a camp site for Gabriella Vitale. Her family called authorities Monday morning and said they were preparing to head home from a week-long camping trip when they lost track of their daughter. Gabriella's pink jacket was found several hundred yards from the camp site. She is believed to be wearing tennis shoes and a gray shirt. Sheriff's deputies and Michigan state police have canine teams searching the area.

DEAN: In Colorado, more than 100 messages about child abuse and neglect went unchecked for four years because an email account was set up and then forgotten. At least five child abuse cases that needed follow-up were not investigated. The email account was established in 2015 to support a phone hotline for abuse cases, part of the campaign to raise awareness for reporting of child abuse. The state department of human services says it's a great concern these cases did not get the attention they needed in a timely way.

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KIMBRO: There we go, there we go. Come on -- come on, baby. She's breathing. As long as she's crying like that, she's breathing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Dramatic bodycam video shows an officer saving the life of a 12-day-old baby. It happened after Deputy Will Kimbro had pulled over a car for speeding last month. The driver immediately got out of the vehicle and old him her baby had stop breathing.

Kimbro took the baby's limp body and performed life saving first aid, tapping her chest to clear the airway and massaging her heart. He kept at it until the paramedics arrived. The sheriff's office says the baby is doing well and Deputy Kimbro was given a medal for his life savings actions.

Kudos to you, Mr. Kimbro. Wow. Incredible video there.

DEAN: Not once, not twice, but three times the president digs in and defends racist tweets. He's digging him -- is he digging himself and his party into a hole they won't be able to escape come 2020 and beyond?

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