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United Kingdom Gets a New Prime Minister; U.S. and U.K. Divided on Iran?; Massive Protests in Puerto Rico; DOJ Warning to Mueller; FDA Takes on Vaping; Tim Duncan Returns to Coach for San Antonio Spurs. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 23, 2019 - 05:00   ET



[05:00:08] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The U.K. will announce a new prime minister this morning. Big changes could be in store if Boris Johnson gets the job.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of thousands of protesters taking to the streets in Puerto Rico, blocking a major expressway and launching an island wide strike to demand the resignation of the governor, Ricardo Rossello.

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

BRIGGS: And vaping is as bad as cigarettes. The FDA hopes magic will keep teens from picking up the habits.

One Juul cartridge, a pack of cigarettes worth of nicotine.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

That's my PSA, I guess.

ROMANS: Yes, thank you.

And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, July 23rd, it is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Let's begin in the U.K. where it is a pivotal day there. Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt? The next hour, a new prime minister will be announced, but a number of people are threatening to resign if Johnson, the polarizing frontrunner, wins. And that list is growing.

We are lucky to have CNN's Nic Robertson there. He's joining us live from 10 Downing Street with the very latest.

The odds on favorite looks like Boris Johnson.

NIC ROBERSTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You might not have figured that this morning. Jeremy Hunt, the other contender in that leadership race, walked past us this morning on the way to Theresa May's last cabinet meeting and he said, lovely morning. Was he referring to the weather or the way the vote will go?

It will be announced in an hour's time. It is expected to be Boris Johnson. He will have challenges. There are ministers such as the chancellor who have announced that they will resign before Theresa May leaves office. There will be others.

Boris Johnson's biggest tests are going to be the current tensions with Iran and, of course, Brexit. He says he is going to have a do or die Brexit. He wants a cabinet full of ministers who support him with a no deal Brexit if it comes to that on the 31st of October. So, that will be a big order of business for him there as well.

But who is Boris Johnson? We know him as this sort of slightly comedic character, you know? We've seen the images of him riding that zip line in London when he was mayor of London holding the two little Union Jacks there. The whole zip line got suspended and there's Boris Johnson waiving the flags.

But he is widely regarded as an incredible intellect. He was top of his class at school, at university as well. Did well.

But there is a trust deficit. He is unorthodox in his approach and he has been less than -- less than full with the truth, if you will. He's lost two jobs, one as a newspaper journalist and the other as a leading conservative member of parliament. He was forced to step down because he lied about an affair he was having.

So lies are part of his characteristic as well. That will be part of his baggage if he carries it into 10 Downing Street. So, today is the last Theresa May cabinet.

If Johnson is announced in an hour, he won't be tripping from the party headquarters to walk in to number 10. That will wait until Tuesday, the formalities with the outgoing Prime Minister May during the visit. Johnson will visit the queen if it is him as prime minister, the 177th in the U.K.

ROMANS: The prime minister wrote a book about another prime minister. Wrote a book about Winston Churchill, remember?

So, yes. All right. Nice to see you, thanks.


BRIGGS: Nic mentioned that crisis with Iran. A CNN exclusive on that. Melissa Bell speaking with CEO of the company operating the British tanker seized by Iran. He said the ship did not violate any kind of law and he shares his concerns for the crew seen here on Iranian state TV.


ERIK HANELL, STENA BULK CEO: 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.


BRIGGS: President Trump disputing Iran's claims, meanwhile, that it detained 17 people acting as CIA spies, differences emerging between the U.S. and the U.K. as the allies respond to Iran.

CNN's Matthew Chance live in UAE, near where that tanker was seized.

Matthew, good morning. What are we learning?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, the British have announced tough new steps towards Iran in response to the seizure last Friday of that British flagged tanker, the Stena Impero. They said they're going to set up a new naval maritime protection force to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, that area of the Persian Gulf, just a short distance from here, where the British flagged ship was intercepted by Iranian special forces.

But Jeremy Hunt, who is the foreign minister at the moment and is expected to be next prime minister of Britain said that it is not going to be part of the maximum U.S. policy. That's been interpreted as the further sign of the differences towards Iran, both the United States and United Kingdom and its European allies have.

Now with a situation developing in the United Kingdom, with a new prime minister set to take office, there's a possibility that could change. It's surprising given the fact that Britain is engaged in this escalating conflict with Iran over the seizure of this British flagged oil tanker. Britain, of course, has already seized Iranian oil and an oil tanker off the course in Gibraltar earlier this month, which Iran desperately wants back -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Boy, will Boris Johnson have his hands full?

Matthew Chance live for us in UAE, thanks.

ROMANS: All right. To Puerto Rico now where hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets, blocking a major express way, launching an island-wide strike to demand the resignation of the governor, Ricardo Rossello. Singer Ricky Martin is among the celebrities, there he is, fueling these demonstrations.

There's 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: OK. So, CNN asked San Sebastian mayor if he does support Rossello, the mayor 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRIGGS: Great reporting from Nick Paton Walsh in San Juan.

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

So, why is the Justice Department cautioning Mueller who's already suggested he's not planning any surprises?


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: Jessica Schneider has more on tomorrow's hearings from Washington.


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.

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.

[05:10:06] But 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. Jessica Schneider, thank you very much.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, a grocery store worker missing for ten years has been found. You'll never believe where.


[05:15:34] ROMANS: A debt ceiling deal has been reached effectively putting an end to a looming crisis that threatened to send Washington and Wall Street into a fiscal tail spin. President Trump confirmed Monday night all four leaders signed on off on this.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, she told CNN that fear of rocking the stock market and risking the nation's borrowing power were drivers behind this deal. Speaker Pelosi on a delayed flight in Michigan hammering final details is captured by our own Jeff Zeleny. If the deal is passed it will eliminate the budget caps put into place in 2011 and suspend the debt ceiling all the way until July 1st, 2021, taking that crisis off the table for a couple of years.

In total, the agreement locks in a $1.3 trillion budget which includes $320 billion in new spending over the course of two years. The offsets ended up totaling $77 billion, half of what the White House had requested.

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. Restoration efforts may take several days. Flood watches and warnings remain in effect for northern New Jersey this morning.

In New York City, Con Edison says the storms 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. 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 employees used for unofficial breaks.

They think he fell and got trapped between the cooler and the wall. The death has been ruled accidental.

BRIGGS: The first TV ads against teenage vaping are out 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!


BRIGGS: The ad features street magician Julius Dein transforming an e-cigarette into a regular cigarette to make the point that one is as bad as the other. In fact, one cartridge has a pack of cigarettes worth of nicotine.

This is all part of the FDA's $60 million the Real Cost Prevention campaign. In 2018, the FDA revealed vaping increased nearly 80 percent among high schoolers, 50 percent among middle schoolers over the year before. It is an epidemic.

ROMANS: Yes, it really is.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, Tim Duncan. Yes, Tim Duncan going home again. Big Fundamental will be roaming the sidelines of San Antonio.

Andy Scholes has that story in the "Bleacher Report".


[05:23:39] BRIGGS: The Chicago White Sox taking the field with its extended netting for the first time last night. Several fans, of course, have been injured by foul balls in the CNN.

Andy Scholes has that story in the "Bleacher Report".

Good morning.


You know, renewed calls to protect the fans came louder when a little girl was severely hurt in May. The White Sox new netting extends past the dugouts all the way to the foul pole. The players have been calling for extended netting for some time. The White Sox, they were the first time to make it happen.


EVAN MARSHALL, CHICAGO WHITE SOX PITCHER: It's a shame it wasn't done sooner and just almost a standard across baseball, I think. Finally, the players are kind of speaking out because everybody is tired of seeing people get hit. It just sucks the wind right out of the game and it's hard to move on or do whatever because, I mean, somebody's going to the emergency room just by coming to a baseball game. It's supposed to be fun.


SCHOLES: The Nationals have also debuted their new netting but they were rained out. Here's a list of teams that have said they will have extended netting towards the foul poles by next season.

All right. Tim Duncan returning to the Spurs next season, but he won't be playing, joining San Antonio's coaching staff. The team not making a big deal of this. Just some lines at the bottom of a coaching change's press release.

[05:25:01] Greg Popovich saying of the hire: It is only fitting that after I served loyally 19 years as Tim Duncan's assistant that he returns the favor.

Duncan won five championships as a player for the Spurs.

All right. Houston Astros celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 last night. The team wearing the special Apollo 11 hats. Neil Armstrong's son Rick, he threw out the first pitch.

Check this out. The Astros send 11 batters to the plate in the third inning. They scored 11 runs in the game, the last coming on their 11th hit. Derek Cole got his 11th win on the season striking out 11 batters. Huh.

All right. Finally, here's some motivation for your day. Watch Tim.

He's working with NubAbility Athletics in Illinois, an organization that instructs and inspires and encourages amputee athletes to compete in sports. Tim, he's trying to get his first box jump. Watch as he overcomes his fears and he lands it. So impressive and he's so happy. He's just over come with emotion.

Dave, if that doesn't get you motivated for your day, I don't know what will. So great.

BRIGGS: I'm happy. I've seen that. You might have had my tears going right now. That was outstanding video.

Andy Scholes, thank you.

I know we got Romans with that.

ROMANS: It did. That's awesome. Really awesome.

All right. Thanks, guys.

Twenty-six minutes past the hour.

The United Kingdom hours away from announcing the new prime minister. The decision will have major ramifications worldwide.

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