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Trump Rally Chants "Send Her Back" Against Ilhan Omar; Calls Grow for Puerto Rico's Governor to Resign; WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak in Congo a Global Health Emergency. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 18, 2019 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:54] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: "Send her back." An ugly plan to get re-elected on full display in North Carolina.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tear gas and violence as protests rage in Puerto Rico demanding the governor's resignation.

BRIGGS: Dangerous heat across the country. Over 250 million people will get above 90 degrees in the next few days.

DEAN: And case dismissed against Oscar winner Kevin Spacey after the teenager who accused him of groping him pleaded the Fifth.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Jessica Dean in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning to you. I'm Dave Briggs. It is Thursday, July 18th. 4:00 a.m. right here in New York, 9:00 a.m. in London.

We begin this morning with what happened in North Carolina last night. Racial tropes now a concrete theme in President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign. President Trump intensified his attacks on four progressive Democratic congresswomen at a fiery campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina.

Trump painted the so-called Squad as the face of the entire Democratic Party. Even just the mention of their names inflamed this crowd. If you want to gauge the response, the top Miriam Webster search terms last night, racism, socialism, fascism, concentration camp, xenophobia and bigot.

That's where we are, folks.

White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins begins our coverage in Greenville.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jessica and Dave, a new chant was started at the president's rally in Greenville, North Carolina, and it's certainly one that is going to be in the headlines for the next several days.

The president had just taken the stage and within minutes he was in the middle of lashing out at those four Democratic congresswomen that the president has been in an all-out brawl with ever since he first tweeted at them on Sunday.

He started with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. She was one of those four who was actually not born in the United States but instead was born in Somalia, later came to the United States as a child refugee before become being a U.S. citizen.

And as the president was lashing out, criticizing her, the crowd in the arena started to chant.


COLLINS: Now it was not a chant that the president himself started but he did pause in the middle of his scripted remarks to let the momentum in the arena here build before then moving on to go after the other three congresswomen.




TRUMP: She was describing the president of the United States and the presidency with the big fat, vicious, the way she said it, vicious, F word. That's not somebody that loves our country. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


TRUMP: She's conducted outrageous attacks against men and women of law enforcement, but Cortez, somebody said that's not her name, it's -- they said, that's not her name, sir. I said, no, no, I don't have time to go with three different names. We'll call her Cortez.


COLLINS: Now White House officials have been teasing all day that the president's rally was going to be one of the most fiery he's had to date. And the president was reading from a teleprompter as he was making those remarks about those freshmen Democratic women of color.

Now we're told that even though some of the president's allies saw it as a mistake when he tweeted on Sunday telling them to go back to the places they came from even though three of them were from the United States, that now you're seeing the president turn that stumble into what his advisers now see as something that can help launch some political momentum for the president and potentially be a strategy in the 2020.

Certainly something that the president leaned into during that rally in North Carolina -- Jessica and Dave.

DEAN: Kaitlan Collins, for us, thanks so much.

Two members of the Democratic Squad are responding after the president renewed those attacks last night.

[04:05:04] Ilhan Omar tweeting, "I am where I belong. At the people's House. And you're just going to have to deal." And this from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "We have the power to triumph over hatred, division and bigotry, but decency cannot be taken for granted."

BRIGGS: The field now set for CNN's Democratic primary debates later this month. The only change from the last debate in the pool of qualifying candidates is Montana Governor Steve Bullock. He fills the slot opened by California Congressman Eric Swalwell who dropped out of the race.

CNN conducts a live random drawing tonight to determine the candidate lineup each night. There will be three drawings of upper, middle, and lower polling tiers to help even out the field between the two nights, July 30 and 31.

Find out which candidates will face off each night in this live special event. Watch "THE DRAW" for the CNN Democratic debates tonight at 8:00 Eastern Time.

DEAN: Protests raging through the night in Puerto Rico as demonstrators call for the immediate resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello following a series of scandals. Demonstrators overturned barricades while police fired teargas into the crowd. Their anger reaching all the way here in New York. "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda telling the people of Puerto Rico, "We're here to have their back."

CNN's Leyla Santiago is in San Juan with the latest.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, Dave, I have seen anger, I have seen frustration, I have seen tension here. We actually made our way to the barricade in front of the governor's mansion, La Fortaleza, where we saw a standoff between protesters that were clearly very angry, and police that are blocking the governor's mansion.

Now, for his part, the governor of Puerto Rico says he will not step down. But I want to tell you, as I've spoken to protesters who have had a week of FBI making arrests and corruption scandals involving former administration officials of leaked chats that have multiple insults for many people here on this island, I want you to hear what else people told me as to why exactly they are marching on these streets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about the dignity of our country, you know, of Puerto Rico. This is about we being tired of the same stuff happening over and over again. The corruption of this government, of all the governments that have passed through this country, you know. So it's about the indignation of our country, you know. The indignation, the -- finally, this country getting on its foot, you know, and standing up against the strong man.


SANTIAGO: Many people we've talked to say they see themselves in these chats reflected in the insults, and they say enough. They want change. They want to rid the island of corruption. And they worry that what could come of this is vulnerability among those who are already vulnerable. That possibly aid will not come to the island for those who are still rebuilding after Hurricane Maria. The governor, for his part, says he will not step down -- Jessica, Dave.

BRIGGS: Thanks.

All right. Back to the weather here turning deadly in Connecticut. Lightning from a vicious storm hits a tree. A branch falls and hits a car killing the driver.

Oppressive heat blanketing the country as you can see here. Look at this road in Shawnee, Oklahoma, buckling in the heat. More than 130 million people under some sort of heat advisory today. So please check on your elderly and disabled friends and neighbors if you can.

Now let's get to our meteorologist Ivan Cabrera in the CNN Weather Center. Good morning.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning. The peak of the heat wave is not going to even happen until Saturday here, so the heat index will continue. The air temperature will continue above 90 for many of us but it will feel like about 105 to 115, and that's a result of the heat index when you factor in the humidity here.

We're talking most of our major cities here. I mean, over 85 percent of the U.S. population included here as far as how many of us today are going to be above 90. But again, that's just the air temperature. When you factor in the humidity this is what it's going to feel like, 107 in D.C., 107 in Chicago. Feeling close to 100 in New York. And this will continue day-after-day through the upcoming weekend. In fact, we don't get relief here until a front comes in, and that won't happen until early next week. Look at the drop-off there.

Sunday will be our last day and then we'll begin to see temperatures cooling off by the early part of next week -- guys.

BRIGGS: Ivan, thanks.

A criminal sexual assault charge against actor Kevin Spacey has been dropped one week after the alleged victim pleaded the Fifth at a pretrial hearing. The Oscar winner was accused of groping an 18-year- old man at a bar in Nantucket and facing indecent assault and battery charge.

[04:10:01] Prosecutors say they dropped the case due to the, quote, "unavailability of the complaining witness." Their case effectively crumbled when text sent by the accuser during the alleged assault went missing and the phone vanished altogether. No immediate comment from Spacey. He also faces allegations of sexual misconduct in Los Angeles and Britain that go back years. DEAN: The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has now

been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. This comes after the first case of the disease was discovered in Goma, an eastern city of some 2 million people.

Want to bring in CNN's David McKenzie now who's live in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more.

What is the latest on this, David?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Jessica. Yes, this is seen as an extra ordinary event. This naming of this outbreak which has been going on for almost a year now as a public health emergency of international concern.

Now that only happens in very, very rare instances. It only happened about four times since this designation was put on. We were just recently in that hot zone in the northeastern part of DRC and I was shocked by just difficult it is to stamp out this Ebola outbreak. They have seen flare-ups in cases where they should have stamped it out and that means that they're just not having a handle on this.

And as you mentioned, Jessica, this latest case in Goma, a very large city on the border of Rwanda, which could mean spread even further. The World Health Organization says that the risk of regional spread of this disease is very high. Global spread they say is still low because of the surveillance mechanism they put in place, but the vaccine that they now have hasn't been enough to stop this outbreak.

They are also worried that this health designation will mean that countries in the regions will shut down their borders and try to stop the flow because of this.

Take a listen to the head of the WHO.


DR. TEDROS ADHANOM, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Now is the time for the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, not to impose punitive and counterproductive restrictions that will only serve to isolate them.


MCKENZIE: Well, when we were in that region we saw all those borders have people checking your temperature, making sure you didn't show any symptoms. But it's also in a very volatile part of the country there and it's effectively a hot zone in a war zone. That's one of the biggest issues here in stamping out the spread.

The White House National Security Council has of this stage said that it's -- they're not letting the U.S. experts, which are some of the best in the world at this, stay in those areas for prolonged period. Now that means that they are frustrated but doing what they can in the periphery of this outbreak. This has been a year now. Really, unless there is international help and money coming in, they believe this could go on for a very long time -- Jessica.

DEAN: Goodness. All right. David McKenzie, thanks so much.

"The Office" and "Friends" are leaving Netflix. Will users follow them? The number of U.S. subscribers falls for the first time in a decade.


[04:17:53] BRIGGS: Check out CNN Business at 4:17 Eastern Time.

Netflix has passed the 150 million subscribers mark but it missed the forecast for new memberships. The streaming giant added 2.7 million new subscribers in the second quarter. Just over half of the 5 million new subscribers analysts were expecting. And Netflix reported the first drop in U.S. users in nearly a decade. The stock dropped 12 percent in afterhours trading.

Netflix said it didn't believe competition was a factor in its missed membership, quote, "since there wasn't a material change in the competitive landscape." Still it's hard to ignore the competition. Its biggest threat maybe Disney Plus which debuts later this year at about half the price your standard Netflix plan. It will face even more competition when Warner Media's HBO Max launches next year. Warner Media also owns CNN.

For now Netflix is still at the top of the streaming game. It says it's expects to add another 7 million subscribers next quarter.

DEAN: Families who lost loved ones in 737 MAX crashes claimed Boeing put greed before safety. In heart-wrenching testimony before Congress, this Canadian businessman described his family's final minutes on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, one of two 737 MAX crashes that killed people last year. He lost his wife, his mother-in-law and three children.


PAUOL NJOROGE, LOST HIS FAMILY IN ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 302: I think about their last six minutes alive. My wife and my mom-in-law knew they were going to die. They had to somehow comfort the children during those final moments knowing they were all their last. I wish I was there with them.


DEAN: In order to maintain capacity United Airlines has agreed to buy 19 used Boeing 737 and 700 aircraft to fill the void created by the grounding of the MAX fleet.

BRIGGS: Later today we should learn more about the Trump Organization's role in making hush money payments to silence women before the 2016 election. Federal prosecutors just wrapped up their investigation and a judge has ordered them to release additional information with limited redactions today. [04:20:08] CNN reported Friday it does not appear charges will be

filed against any Trump Organization executives who reimbursed Michael Cohen for the payments. Those payments were an illegal campaign contribution. President Trump denies even having affairs with the women.

DEAN: Republican Senator Rand Paul is blocking funding for 9/11 first responders who are sick and dying. Paul says passing a long-term funding bill without offsetting the cost would add to the national debt. The measure he's blocking would keep the September 11th Victim's Compensation Fund solvent through 2090. Paul says he at least wants to have a debate. It should be noted the Kentucky senator voted for President Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut which is driving up the deficit.

BRIGGS: It was Jon Stewart's emotional testimony that brought attention to this issue weeks ago. Here's how the comedian-activist responded to Senator Paul's position.


JON STEWART, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS ADVOCATE AND COMEDIAN: Absolutely outrageous and you'll pardon me if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtuous signaling. There are some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community, the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors, all of a sudden, man, we've got to go through this.


BRIGGS: The 9/11 funding bill passed the House last week by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 402-12 vote.

Ahead, a New Jersey judge who went easy on a teenage rape suspect because he, quote, "came from a good family," forced to resign.


[04:26:43] DEAN: A New Jersey judge who was lenient with a teenage rape suspect because he came from a, quote, "good family," has resigned. Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James Troiano made those remarks last year after refusing to allow the 16-year-old boy to be tried as an adult. Troiano and his family have faced multiple death threats since then.

BRIGGS: In 2017 the 16-year-old suspect was accused of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl in a basement during a house party. Authorities say the boy filmed the encounter and shared it with friends. Prosecutors called his actions, quote, "sophisticated and predatory," and pushed for him to be tried as an adult. Last month an Appeals Court sharply criticized Troiano who reversing his decision and sending the case back for further judgment.

DEAN: The governor of Hawaii has issued an emergency proclamation for Mauna Kea. Governor David Ige, his order gives law enforcement increased flexibility and the authority to close areas on the 14,000- foot tall volcanic mountain. Wednesday officers arrested 33 people protesting construction of a 30-meter telescope. Native Hawaiians consider Mauna Kea sacred land. Astronomers say it's one of the best places on earth to observe the heavens.

BRIGGS: A deceased Vietnam veteran with no family and receiving an incredible hero sendoff, Wayne Wilson's friends put out a call for people to attend his funeral in Niles, Michigan. They say an expected 10 to 15 people but about 3,000 turned up instead. Some who showed up were locals, others had driven from Tennessee, Iowa, Florida, Indiana just to pay their respects. A full Military Honors and a military salute were performed for Wilson who died back in May at the age of 67. Wonderful gesture there.

DEAN: "Send her back." The president presiding over a rally with the crowd espousing the same ideas he tweeted out in a racist tirade. A campaign soaked in hate growing louder by the day.


TRUMP: And she talked about the evil Israel.