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Soon: Next U.K. Prime Minister To Be Announced; U.S. and U.K. Divided on Iran?; DOJ Warning to Mueller; FDA Takes on Vaping. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 23, 2019 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:20] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The U.K. will announce a new prime minister this morning. Big changes could be in store if Boris Johnson gets the nod.


ERIK HANELL, STENA BULK CEO: It looks like the crew is in good health considering the circumstances. Of course, a lot of psychological pressure on them, I'm sure.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A CNN exclusive. Concern for the crew of the British ship detained by Iran. The U.K. response creating some distance from the U.S.

BRIGGS: Stay in your lane. DOJ warns Robert Mueller not to stray from his report when he testifies tomorrow.

ROMANS: And can magic keep kids from vaping? The first TV ads are out targeting a growing national problem.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, this is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning to you. Good morning, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs, Tuesday, July 23rd, 4:00 a.m. right here in New York. It is 9:00 a.m. in London.

That's where we begin this morning, a pivotal day in the United Kingdom. Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt? In just a few hours, a new prime minister will be announced. But a number of government ministers are pledging to resign if Johnson, a polarizing frontrunner, wins and that list is growing.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us live from 10 Downing Street with the latest.

Nic, good morning to you. Why do they call Boris Johnson the Trump of the U.K.?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He plays to a populist base and that's why he's expected to win this vote. We'll know the result of that in a couple of hours' times.

The challenges of whoever takes over as prime minister will be immediate. Iran is the most pressing. Brexit is the one that will have led whoever, whether it's Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson.

And everyone, of course, is expecting Boris Johnson to take over as prime minister, would have let him to do that position. He has taken a do-or-die position. He will take a hard Brexit come the 31st of October. If he doesn't have a deal with the European Union, it is said he will form a cabinet of like-minded people which is the fundamental reason why you have people, number 11 in there, saying that he will resign before Theresa May goes.

You have a senior minister at the foreign office yesterday resigning and there were a couple of other ministers as well who would be expected to resign, who said they couldn't work with Boris Johnson on a no deal Brexit.

But who is he? He is incredibly smart. He is gifted, he's an intellectual, is an unorthodox thinker. But he also has a reputation of being an eccentric and has made a virtue out of his ability to charm people about the comedic effect he can have embracing some of the situations he's gotten himself into.

The zip line across London a couple of years ago when he was the mayor of London is one that people think about. But at he same time, he is also someone who is sometimes seen as economic with the truth, less than truthful. He's lost two jobs, one as a senior party member and one as a journalist for lying. So this is the reputation that he has.

Theresa May, still in number 10 behind me holding her last cabinet meeting in the coming hours. Boris Johnson, if it is him, won't step over the door as prime minister until around midday tomorrow waiting for that vote that he is expected to be the one to come in winner -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Quite the visual. Big day there in the U.K.

Nic Robertson live for us at 10 Downing, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Now to a CNN exclusive, CNN's Melissa Bell speaking with the CEO of a company operating that British tanker seized by Iran. He says the ship did not violate any kind of law and he shares his concerns for the crew. Now, they appear to be in good condition based on a video broadcast on Iranian state TV.


HANELL: One of the requests we have recently, which was yesterday, was that we should have access to the crew. And I have confirmed that they have received the request but we're still waiting for reply. It looks like the crew is in good health considering the circumstances. Of course, a lot of psychological pressure on them, I'm sure.


ROMANS: President Trump disputing Iran's claims that there are 17 people who are spies.

Meantime, differences emerging between the U.S. and the U.K. as the allies respond to Iran.

CNN's Matthew Chance is live in the United Arab Emirates. He is near where that tanker was seized.

Now, we've seen that video. We've heard from the CEO of the company. I mean, this crew essentially, are they hostages?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're in detention. But, yes, you saw this video that was broadcast on Iranian state media. It was the first glimpse we have inside the Stena Impero, that British flagged ship that was seized by Iran on Friday.

[04:05:05] And, you know, the appearance that's given, and, you know, obviously, these shots were to some extent staged. The appearance that's given that they're in relatively good health. Their problem is that they are now pawns in a much broader geopolitical game in which there is no end in sight.

And in reference to that, the British authorities yesterday, Jeremy Hunt, the man who, you know, is in the run thing to be the next British prime minister, probably won't be, is the British foreign minister at the moment. He enacts Britain's latest tough new measures in response to that seizure. He said Britain is engaged in forming a maritime protection force that will take care of the Straits of Hormuz where that British flagged ship was seized, along with several other European countries.

And he made a point of saying this is not going to be part of the U.S. maximum pressure policy. So that's being interpreted as a further sign of a rift between the United Kingdom and Washington on the issue of Iran. Remember, the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal last year. Britain has been sticking to it, saying that it still thinks the Iran nuclear deal can be rehabilitated.

ROMANS: All right. Matthew Chance for us, near where that tanker was seized, thanks, Matthew.

BRIGGS: All right. Hundreds of thousands of protesters taking to the streets of Puerto Rico blocking a major expressway and launching an island wide strike to demand the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello. Singer Ricky Martin is among the celebrities fueling the demonstrations.

A river of protestors flooding the streets near the governor's mansion. On Sunday, Rossello said he will not step down and he will not run again. The embattled governor claiming he can regain the confidence of his people.


SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Governor, who's come forward to support you in the middle of this chaos?

RICARDO ROSSELLO, GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO: There are folks that have supported me.

SMITH: Who specifically is supporting you today?

ROSSELLO: The role -- look, there are people.

SMITH: Could you give me one name?

ROSSELLO: There is a protest -- well, it's -- I've talked to --

SMITH: Just one name.

ROSSELLO: -- people from different groups. A lot of people from the administration.

SMITH: Governor, you're not able to give me the name of one person who supports you continuing as governor, is that correct?

ROSSELLO: I can. So, the mayor of San Sebastian, for example.


ROMANS: CNN asked San Sebastian Mayor Javier Jimenez if he indeed supports Rossello, Jimenez called the governor's claim wrong and mentioned the impeachment process.

More now from Nick Paton Walsh in San Juan.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Christine, Monday started peacefully with hundreds of thousands of people blocking an expressway, sending a message they wanted to but then frankly, they changed direction and a small number of them ended up here in front of the governor's mansion. And as you can see now, the police had to move in to clear them out. There was a smaller number of protesters, some turned up with masks and an altercation began with the police. Some of protesters throwing what seemed like water bottles initially. Ranks of police changed. You can see them behind me here.

And then tear gas was fired by the police to disperse the crowd after they used a number of warnings to try and move the protesters on. That led to them being chased through the streets by some of the units you can see here. And then also continued a sense of a standoff in San Juan.

So many had hoped that today would go peacefully. The protesters had wanted their message of unity to try and change Governor Ricardo Rossello's mind, to get him to step down immediately.

Now, you have these ugly scenes, frankly, where it will feed into the protesters' narrative that they face a brutal, corrupt government here, and feed into the government's narrative that they have hardcore elements in the protest who won't accept political compromise -- Dave, Christine.


BRIGGS: All right. Nick, thank you.

The Justice Department with guidance for Robert Mueller on the eve of his must watch testimony, before two House committees. Mueller is being warned by the DOJ to, quote, remain within the boundaries of his written report. In other words, don't say anything you haven't already said.

So, why is the Justice Department cautioning Mueller who has already said this?


ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony.


BRIGGS: CNN's Jessica Schneider has more on tomorrow's hearings.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, the DOJ has informed Robert Mueller that any of his testimony in those back-to-back hearings tomorrow must remain within the bounds of his public report. It's a blunt warning from the Justice Department and it came via email on Monday. And it was in response to Robert Mueller asking for guidance on how he should testify.

[04:10:01] The DOJ is also telling Mueller that he cannot testify about any redacted portions of the report, nor about any conduct of any uncharged third parties. Now, that would likely prevent Robert Mueller from making any comments about the president, since Democrats are sure to ask if Donald Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he had not been the president.

Bu one thing that be will stay under wraps until tomorrow and won't be shared beforehand with the attorney general, Mueller's opening statement. A spokesman for Mueller tells me that the DOJ will not see the former special counsel's opening remarks prior to its delivery. Now, the spokesman wouldn't comment on Mueller's frame of mind heading into the hearings since we know that Robert Mueller is a reluctant witness. The spokesman would only say that any indication of his tone or demeanor will just have to wait until tomorrow -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Certainly, interesting. Thank you so much for that, Jessica.

A debt ceiling deal has been reached, effectively putting an end to a looming crisis that threatens to send Washington and Wall Street into a fiscal tail spin. President Trump tweeted Monday that all four leaders signed off on the deal adding this is a real compromise in order to give another big victory to the military and the vets. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told CNN that a fear that rocking the stock market and risking the nation's borrowing power led to this deal. It was on a delayed flight from Detroit where Pelosi negotiated the final points as captured by our Jeff Zeleny.

If the deal is passed, it would eliminate the budget caps put into place in 2011, and suspend the debt ceiling until July 31st, 2021. And, get this, in total this agreement blocks in a $1.3 trillion budget deal which includes $320 billion in additional spending over the course of the next two years. The offset ending up totaling $77 billion, half of the White House requested. And essentially, it locks in deficit.

BRIGGS: Trillion dollar deficits. That is where we are. The new Republican Party.

Ahead, 300,000 customers in the dark after violent storms in New Jersey.


[04:16:40] BRIGGS: Keeping the lights and the AC on remains a problem after days of hot, stormy weather. In New Jersey, Monday's thunderstorms killed the power to more than 300,000 customers across the state. They say restoration efforts may take several days.

In New York City, Con Edison says it shut off power to people who recently had electricity restored. About 8,000 customers in the dark right now in New York City and Westchester.

More than 140,000 customers in the Metro Detroit area have been without power since the weekend. DTE Energy says it expects to have powerfully restored by tomorrow.

ROMANS: All right. There is growing concern. Two missing teenagers in Canada could be linked to the recent murders of two people in the same region. Canadian federal police are searching for 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky. Their car was found burning on the side of a highway in British Columbia on Friday.

During their investigations, detectives found a body so far unidentified a little more than a mile away. Now, the location is some 300 miles along remote highways from the spot where an American woman, Chynna Deese, and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, were found murdered a week ago.

BRIGGS: R. Kelly's crisis manager has resigned after creating a crisis of his own. Listen to this comment made by Darrell Johnson in an interview with CBS.


GAYLE KING, CBS HOST: You have a 20-something-year-old daughter. Would you allow her to be alone with R. Kelly?

DARRELL JOHNSON, R. KELLY'S FORMER CRISIS MANAGER: Absolutely not. I wouldn't leave my daughter with anybody that's accused of pedophilia.


BRIGGS: Johnson claims he is stepping down for personal reasons in a text to CNN. He tells "USA Today" he should have worded it better and that R. Kelly is in good hands with his current attorney, Steve Greenberg.

The R&B star has repeatedly denied the allegations of sexual misconduct. He's been indicted on 18 counts, 13 in Illinois, five in New York, including sexual exploitation of a child, and kidnapping. And the reports are he's struggling in prison, in particular because he cannot read.

ROMANS: All right. Eighteen minutes past the hour. A grocery store worker missing for ten years has finally been found. You'll never believe where.


[04:23:49] ROMANS: All right. The very first television ads against teenage vaping are out and they're using magic to keep kids away from e-cigarettes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to put it into your hand. This is what I'm going to do, OK? Watch very carefully. Boom.


ROMANS: The ad is part of the FDA's $60 million the Real Cost Prevention Campaign. It features street magician and social media personality Julius Dein performing illusions.

In 2018, the FDA revealed vaping increased nearly 80 percent among high schoolers, 50 percent among middle schoolers over a year before. A previous real cost ad campaign against cigarettes is estimated to have prevented 350,000 11 to 18-year-olds from smoking in United States from 2014 to 2016.

BRIGGS: The body of an Iowa grocery store employee who went missing ten years ago has been found behind one of the store's coolers. Workers were removing the cooler when they discovered the remains. Detectives used DNA to match Larry Murillo-Moncada whose parents reported him missing in November of 2009.

Investigators believe he climbed on top of the cooler, which was a hiding spot used for unofficial breaks.

[04:25:05] They think he fell and got trapped between the cooler and the wall. Noise from the compressors may have drowned out any calls for help. The death ruled accidental.

ROMANS: All right. We are now getting our first look at Oscar winner Tom Hanks bringing kids' TV icon, Mr. Rogers, to life on the big screen.


TOM HANKS AS MR. ROGERS: It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? Could you be mine?


ROMANS: Is there nothing that Tom Hanks can't do? I'm serious. I mean, Sony releasing the first day for a trailer of "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." The film is loosely based on a 1998 "Esquire" article that described the effects Fred Rogers' optimism and kindness had on millions of people, including the journalist who wrote the article.

Rogers died in 2003. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" comes out just before Thanksgiving.

BRIGGS: I'm just bathing in the sound of Mr. Rogers. Isn't he more needed now than ever before?

ROMANS: Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Mr. Rogers and --

BRIGGS: How would that play, huh?


All right. The United Kingdom hours away from announcing the new prime minister. The decision will have, of course, major ramifications worldwide.

BRIGGS: And don't stray far from your report. Why is the DOJ warning Robert Mueller ahead of his testimony?