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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to Share Debate Stage Again; Iranians Denies Trump's Claim of Downed Drone; Trump Says "Send Her Back" Chants Made Him "Unhappy". Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 19, 2019 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:36] JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: The stages are set. The progressives on night one. The rematch on night two. What to expect at the CNN Democratic debates?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And do not underestimate this wicked heat. 185 million people in more than 30 states are at risk. Triple-digits for most of the East.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: The drone was immediately destroyed.


DEAN: Another flare-up with Iran. The U.S. downs a drone in a critical water way. What the -- Iranians are saying.

BRIGGS: And how would you escape if your building was on fire? We'll tell you how this real-life Spider-man story ends.

Welcome back to EARLY START on a Friday, and happy Friday, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs.

BRIGGS: Hi, everyone. Good morning. I'm Jessica Dean. It is 31 minutes past the hour here in New York, and get ready for round two. The lineups are set for the CNN Democratic primary debates. We're going to get the rematch a lot of people were watching for. Former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris together on the same stage again Wednesday night July 31st. You'll remember what happened last time they tangled.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then?


HARRIS: Do you agree?

BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.


DEAN: That dispute over race hurt Biden and the fight for the nomination tightened in the polls.

BRIGGS: Cory Booker will also be on that night two stage. He and Biden have also clashed over race. And you can expect more scrutiny of Biden's record. Booker's deputy communications director tweeting, quote, "Mark the date, July 31, 2019. Joe Biden finally gets his own Senate Judiciary Committee hearing." That's a reference to the contentious Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings that Biden chaired in 1991.

DEAN: For the first time the debates will also feature the leading progressives face-to-face. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will share the stage. That does mean Sanders won't have a chance to take on Joe Biden, though. Here's how Senator Warren sees it.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am delighted. Bernie and I have been friends together for a long, long time. We've worked a lot of issues together. I'm here because I believe we have a country that is working great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. And 2020 is all about making this country work for everyone else, making democracy work for everyone else.


DEAN: All right. So mark the calendars. The Democratic debates, they are live July 30th and 31st. They're moderated by Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper, live from Detroit right here on CNN.

BRIGGS: To the weather now and a dangerous, potentially deadly heat wave. Today through the weekend, 185 million people in more than 30 states under some kind of heat advisory. Heat indexes will be well over 100 for most places in the eastern half of the U.S. Remember extreme temps like these are the most deadly weather events in the U.S. that consistently kill more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera has the latest from the Weather Center.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning. Still seeing the heat index values of 110 to 115 degrees, with 250 million-plus of us feeling this, about 86 percent of the country, essentially, 105 to 115 right through Sunday, so this is a prolonged heat wave.

It will not be hotter this summer, I don't think. I mean, this is quite a stretch here. As I mentioned, we're looking at a quarter million people impacted by at least temperatures above 90. And then when you factor in the humidity it's going to feel like 105 to 115. And not just this afternoon but Saturday we could be breaking some records as well, and then heading into Sunday as well.

Chicago, your heat wave ends on Sunday with a front that will eventually make it into the northeast. It just will take its sweet time getting here. And so that by Sunday, we're still pushing 100 in Boston, New York, D.C. And then, the front comes in mid-80s as we head through the early part of next week. It's going to feel like I'm going to want to put a sweater on by Tuesday with highs in the 70s and 80s -- guys.

DEAN: All right. Ivan, thank you.

Another escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran. President Trump saying the Navy ship USS Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone.


[04:35:08] TRUMP: The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very, very near distance ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew. The drone was immediately destroyed.


DEAN: Trump says it all happened over the Strait of Hormuz, a critical passageway for trade, oil and gas.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen tracking the latest now live from Berlin.

And Fred, are we learning anymore details about exactly what happened? The president just saying it was destroyed there.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jessica. Well, what we're learning is that apparently this drone was not shot down but it was brought down through electronic counter measures as a unit of Marines -- there's actually a lot of Marines onboard that ship, and one of those Marines are there for anti-drone counter electronic warfare and apparently they jammed the drone and the U.S. is saying that that is what caused that drone to crash.

Now for the first time, Jessica, we're actually getting reaction from the Iranians specifically to the words that President Trump were saying, and they're saying that they are refuting the fact that one of their drones was taken down. This comes from one of the top spokespeople for Iran's military. He says, quote, "Contrary to Trump's delusional and groundless claims all drones belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz including the one mentioned by the U.S. president," so directly speaking to what President Trump says, "have returned to their bases safe and sound after carrying out their scheduled surveillance and control operations."

So the Iranians saying they did not lose a drone in the past 24 hours. Of course all of this however coming in the extremely tense place there in the Strait of Hormuz and in extremely narrow waterway. I actually went through the Strait of Hormuz on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, a couple of -- a couple of years ago. And you can literally see Iranian ships, Iranian planes buzzing around there the entire that those vessels go through there. So it's certainly always a tense time when a large U.S. vessel transits the Strait of Hormuz and of course extremely tense time now as well in the past couple of months.

We've had tankers attacked in the Strait of Hormuz that the U.S. blames on Iran. The Iranians saying it wasn't them and then you had the drone shot down by the Iranians as well. Of course the Iranians saying it was in their space. The U.S. saying it was an international airspace -- Jessica.

DEAN: All right. Some great context there, Fred. Thanks so much.

BRIGGS: All right. President Trump would like you to believe his "send her back" chants made her unhappy.




DEAN: The president inspired those chants by denigrating Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Now that he's facing a backlash, he's somewhat trying to rewrite history.


TRUMP: It merely was a loud -- I disagree with it, by the way, but it was quite a chant and I felt a little bit badly about it, but I will say this, I did and I started speaking very quickly.


BRIGGS: How quickly? Let's break it down with the timer and see how quickly the president started to speak once he heard those nasty chance.


TRUMP: Omar has a history of issuing anti-Semitic screeds.


TRUMP: And she talked about the evil Israel --


DEAN: Well, it seems like Mr. Trump milked every moment there. He didn't say a word until that chanting ended, you just saw it. And after he left North Carolina and returned to the White House, "What a crowd and what great people. The enthusiasm blows away our rivals."

So why is the president backtracking? Well, CNN has learned that close allies and aides including reportedly his daughter Ivanka have expressed concern the chant could wind up defining a dark and divisive campaign. But some Republicans remained in the president's corner on this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isn't it racist, though, to say send her back?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): No. I don't think it's racist to say. Was it racist to say, love it or leave it? I don't think a Somali refugee embracing Trump would not have been asked to go back. If you're racist you want everybody from Somalia to go back.


BRIGGS: Congresswoman Omar was back in Minnesota on Thursday. Here's her message in the face of all the hate.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I know there are a lot of people that are trying to distract us now. But I want you all to know that we are not going to let them. '


BRIGGS: Senior Democrats are now calling for security evaluation for Congresswoman Omar and the three other lawmakers Trump called out by name at his Wednesday night rally in North Carolina.

[04:40:07] DEAN: President Trump has picked a new Labor Secretary. He is nomination Gene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia will replace Alex Acosta whose resignation takes effect today.

Acosta stepping down over that fallout from a lenient plea deal he negotiation as a federal prosecutor. Politically connected financier Jeffrey Epstein serving only 13 months for soliciting prostitution from underage girls. Gene Scalia is a partner in a Washington law firm and served as the labor secretary's top attorney in the Bush 43 administration.

BRIGGS: All right. President Trump taking aim at Amazon yet again. This time over a military contract.


TRUMP: I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon. They're saying it wasn't competitively bid. Great companies are complaining about it so we're going to take a look at it.


BRIGGS: The proposed contracts aims to provide the military with a cloud computing system and could be worth $10 billion over a decade. The complaints Trump said are going from Amazon's biggest rivals, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle. IBM has argued that multiple cloud provider should be allowed to supply the Pentagon not just one. Oracle and Microsoft declined to comment. Trump's personal involvement in the contract would be unusual. Senior

government officials do not typically intervene in agency procurement matters. But Trump is a frequent critic of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and slammed Amazon over the shipping postage it received from the U.S. Postal Service and has complained the company does not pay enough in taxes. Trump also was talking to the "Washington Post" which is owned by Bezos accusing the outlet of being a lobbyist for Amazon. Microsoft and Amazon are two remaining filers for the contract which is expected to be awarded within weeks. Amazon did not immediately respond to request for comment.

DEAN: Some astonishing video in overnight from an apartment building fire in west Philadelphia. You see there one man trapped in the 19- story high rise taking a very unusual and very risky way out. He climbed down the outside of the building. He did make it to the ground apparently without a scratch.

CNN affiliate WPVI reporting no injuries reported in that fire, although some residents were unaccounted for after the building was evacuated. The source of that fire believed to be a trash compactor.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, he's accused of carjacking an elderly man in Florida, but his getaway was brief and unsuccessful. You won't believe why.


[04:46:50] BRIGGS: Anybody remember this?


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No.


BRIGGS: Now newly unsealed FBI warrant say that is not true. They detail how Trump and his allies scrambled as election day neared, arranging hush money to hide his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels. The warrants show Trump communicated repeatedly with his lawyer Michael Lawyer who arranged the payments. Cohen is now serving three years in prison for related crimes.

DEAN: The documents represent the first time federal authorities have identified Trump by name and alleges involvement at key steps in the campaign finance scheme. The Trump campaign was especially worried after the "Access Hollywood" tape became public. The very next day Cohen's phone rang. It was Trump's spokeswoman at the time, Hope Hicks. The warrants state 16 seconds into that call Trump joined the call which went on for another four minutes.

BRIGGS: But when Hicks testified to the House Judiciary Committee last month she said never present at the time -- she was never present when Cohen and Trump discussed Stormy Daniels. Yesterday the committee's chairman Jerry Nadler sent Hicks a letter demanding clarification by mid-August. He wrote, "Anything other than complete candor can have very serious consequences."

DEAN: Stunning criminal charges against the company that distributed millions of opioid pills. A federal grand jury indicting pharmaceutical wholesaler Miami-Luken and two of its former executives along with two pharmacists. They're accused of conspiring with doctors and pharmacies to illegally distribute millions of prescription pain killers in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Three of the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. The individuals charged include Miami-Luken's former president and compliance officer.

BRIGGS: Four Chicago police officers have been fired for allegedly covering up the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014. They're accused of lying to cover for fellow officer Jason Van Dyke who shot McDonald 16 times. The Chicago Police Board ruling the officers violated their duty by describing the alleged threat posed by McDonald in an exaggerated way while omitting relevant facts that support the opposite conclusion. Van Dyke, who was convicted last year of second-degree murder, sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Ahead, some good news for you parents looking to save a few bucks when kids go back to school. CNN Business has the details next.


[04:53:49] BRIGGS: A search and rescue operation now underway in the Persian Gulf after a U.S. sailor went overboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The Navy says four ships from the U.S., Spain and Pakistan are conducting the search. The sailor's name is being withheld in accordance with Navy policy. The Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group was deployed to the Middle East in May in response to the increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

DEAN: Hey, getting stock in the middle seat on an airplane? Problem solved. Check out this new design from the Colorado-based startup Molon Labe Seating. It moves the middle seat back a few inches. It makes it three to five inches wider than a standard seat. So these staggered seating means everyone gets to spread out a little bit more. Also no more elbow wars. The CEO of the company says it will be used by two airlines starting next April with one of them based in North America. Which one? Well, that still remains a mystery.

BRIGGS: OK. Talk about karma. Police say karma. 25-year-old Jaylen Alexander carjacked an elderly man but he couldn't get away. Why? Because he had no idea how to operate a stick shift. Alexander was later arrested by police in Orlando after allegedly stealing a second vehicle.

[04:55:06] He is now charged with carjacking, battery on a person aged 65 or older, and grand theft auto.

DEAN: It pretty much broke the Internet yesterday.

BRIGGS: Yes, it did. DEAN: The Internet pounced on the first trailer for the film version

of "Cats." The adaption of the Broadway musical stars Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson and Dame Judy Dench, as well as Rebel Wilson, James Corden and Taylor Swift. All as you see there wearing CGI fur. It is very safe to say first impresses were meow mix if you will. Many people didn't know what to make of it but Swift who's a cat lover thought it was all purr-fect, tweeting, "I am a cat now."

BRIGGS: See what she did there.

DEAN: Yes. I did it. And somehow that was everything. The film comes out around Christmas.

BRIGGS: Bravo.

Tomorrow will mark 50 years since Apollo 11 became the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were aboard that historic mission. Armstrong uttering these iconic words.


NEIL ARMSTRONG, MEMBER OF APOLLO 11 CREW: One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.


BRIGGS: Vice President Mike Pence travels to the launch site at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, tomorrow. Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, famous for orbiting the moon alone, reflected on the epic moonshot on an interview on CNN.


MICHAEL COLLINS, MEMBER OF APOLLO 11 CREW: The question that is usually asked me is, were you not lonely? The loneliest person who had ever been on a lonely voyage around the moon and the lonely orbit. You're isolated and you're lonely. Weren't you terribly lonely? And I was just amazed by that. And no, I was in no way lonely. I felt very much a part of what was going on with Neil and Buzz. I was their ticket home.


BRIGGS: People in Huntsville, Alabama, will celebrate with a parade today starting from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center marking 50 years since they gathered downtown to celebrate the Apollo 11 missions by dancing in the streets.

All right. A check on CNN Business at 4:57. Stocks finished higher on Thursday snapping a two-day losing streak. The Dow finished up three points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed slightly higher as well.

Investigators are still expecting a rate cut from the Federal Reserve. During a conference Thursday New York Federal Reserve president John Williams spoke in favor of rate cuts adding the Central Bank needed to, quote, "act quickly" when the economy was slowing. The Federal Reserve meets on interest rates at the end of the month.

Believe it or not it's already back to school season and some good news now for parents looking to save some bucks on supplies. These 16 states including Connecticut, Texas and Iowa are holding tax holidays for the upcoming school year. Families can save on clothes, shoes, computers and supplies. Online shipping also tax exempt during the holidays, during those days.

The holiday starts today in Alabama. The bulk of the holidays are set for the beginning of August. Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon don't need a sales tax holiday to help get ready for the new school year. Those states don't have a sales tax according to the tax foundation.

Toys "R" Us long-awaited comeback is finally official. The iconic toy store will return to the United States with two new stores in Houston and New Jersey. They will sell toys but fewer of them. The new locations will have interactive and -- playground like environments for toy brands. Tru Kids Brands, which bought the brand last October, said it plans to open more stores in prime high traffic retail markets next year. The reinvented stores will open just in time for the holiday shopping season later this year.

DEAN: Republican leaders insist President Trump is not a racist. While you were sleeping the late-show drove the point home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back to Wheel of Misfortune. The puzzle is almost solved. Only one letter missing. There it is. Mitch McConnell, can you solve the puzzle? One letter. Fire away, it should be easy. Trump is a ra-blank-ist? We all know what it is, just say it.

We're not going anywhere until someone says it. Vanna, lock the door. All right. Nobody gets out until they say it. Say it. Or I will come over there and horsewhip you with this tiny mic. Say it. That's it. (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


DEAN: Well, thanks to our international viewers for joining us this morning. How do you follow all of that?

BRIGGS: You don't.

DEAN: Have a great rest to your day -- rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.