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It's (Finally) Miller Time; Boris Johnson to Officially Become U.K. Prime Minister; Missing Canadian Teens Now Murder Suspects; Help Finally Arrives for 9/11 Heroes. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 24, 2019 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:20] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It is finally here. Robert Mueller testifies today. Will the testimony help Democrats ignite anger or end with a thud?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Boris Johnson becomes the U.K. prime minister today. He's already facing stiff blow back from the opposition.

ROMANS: They were considered missing, now they're murder suspects. A bizarre twist in the search for two teenagers in Canada.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: I will follow you whatever your next adventure shall be.



BRIGGS: It took 18 years, but health care for the heroes of 9/11 finally taken care of. Jon Stewart delighted.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Nice to see you all this morning. It is Wednesday, July 24th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York.

And let's begin here with Robert Mueller, on the record once and for all. The special counsel testifies today for three hours in front of the House Judiciary Committee and, too, before the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats on the Judiciary plan to focus on obstruction of justice. Dems on the Intel Committee will hone in on Russian election interference.

BRIGGS: As for Republicans on both panels, expect them to divert attention and focus on the origins of the investigation.

The Democratic chairman of the committees is laying out what they expect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I'm I think very realistic in my expectations. People are pretty dug in on not just Trump and Russia, but they're just dug in on this president. If that appalling display of racism over the last two weeks wasn't enough to move people, is there anything that Bob Mueller can say that will?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The president and the attorney general have systematically lied to the American people about what was in that report. I know they've said no obstruction, no collusion, he was totally exonerated. All of those three statements are not true. It's important that the American people understand what was in that report, and then we'll go from there.


BRIGGS: Remember, Robert Mueller's mission was to investigate Russian interference in U.S. election. His report accused Russia of waging a sweeping and systemic, excuse me, influence campaign. And just yesterday the director of the FBI testified that the problem persists.


CHRIS WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our election through the foreign influence.


ROMANS: At Mueller's request, there's been one last-minute change. The special counsel will now have a top aide at his side. That has President Trump voicing his displeasure, calling the move a disgrace and very unfair, adding twice it should not be allowed.

More this morning from CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.



Now in just a short time, finally, the special counsel will be in public answering questions after weeks and months of discussions, deliberations, the reluctant witness Robert Mueller will be there to answer questions. And we're told alongside him will be a deputy, Aaron Zebley, someone who the Republicans objected to to being sworn in. But Mueller made a last-minute request for him to be sworn in to answer any potential questions. We're told that he'll be there in the Judiciary Committee hearing as a counsel for the special counsel himself in case he needed -- needs to consult with him in any event.

Regardless, behind the scenes, both sides are preparing for this dramatic moment. Millions of people will be watching this. Republicans and Democrats know that.

This will likely be the only time we will see the special counsel because Senate Republicans, they control that chamber, they have no desire to bring in the special counsel. Both Lindsey Graham, Richard Burr who chairs two key committees who would hold hearings for Mueller, ruled that out. The question today is how much does this move the dial on questions about impeachment, what to do next, and how do the American public view that, we'll know that in just a matter of hours.

Back to you.


BRIGG: OK, Manu. Thanks.

Trump has apparently been phoning friends and allies and is said to be more irritated than anxious about Mueller's testimony. Last week, the president said he was not going to watch, but one day he said he might watch a little bit. The president's schedule has nothing official on it this morning.

Meanwhile, criticizing the Mueller probe during a speech at a teen summit in Washington, he said this --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president, but I don't even talk about that because they did a report, and there was no obstruction.


[04:05:07] ROMANS: Two lies here. First, the Mueller report did not say no obstruction. It did not say no obstruction, no matter how many times the president said it, that is not true. Mueller said he could not clear Trump and that charging him was not an option. His office could consider.

Also, Article 2 of the Constitution grants executive power, not total power. Article 2 also describes some of the oversight powers of Congress, oversight powers of Congress, including over the office of the presidency.

BRIGGS: Drama already building ahead of next week's CNN Democratic primary debates. Two candidates looking to jolt their campaigns are firing salvos at the front-runners.

Presidential candidate and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard taking aim at rival Kamala Harris.


REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kamala Harris is not qualified to serve as commander in chief, and I can say this from a personal perspective as a soldier. She's got no background or experience in foreign policy, and she lacks the temperament that is necessary for commander in chief.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: The Harris campaign offering this terse response: Definite hard pass on taking national security advice from Assad's cheerleader. It's a reference to Gabbard's controversial meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad in 2017.

ROMANS: Meantime, Senator Cory Booker going after Joe Biden over the former vice president's newly announced criminal justice plan.

Biden says his new plan corrects key parts of the 1994 crime bill he championed. Biden's plan includes a $20 billion grant program for states to move from incarceration to crime prevention. It also calls for legislation to end the death penalty.

Booker's campaign reacted by saying Joe Biden had more than 40 years to get this right. The proud architect of a failed system is not the right person to fix it.

Biden ignored questions about Booker at an event speaking to underserved youth in New Orleans. All four, Gabbard, Harris, Booker and Biden, will be on the stage next Wednesday. Part two of nights of debates live from Detroit Tuesday and Wednesday here on CNN.

BRIGGS: President Trump telling Republican senators he does not want to sanction Turkey over its purchase of Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft missile system. The S-400 gives Turkey both American F-35 stealth jets and Russian system to detect them. That is raising serious questions about Turkey's commitment to NATO. The president also limiting his administration's decision to cut Turkey out of the F-35 program. Administration officials and lawmakers have been warning for weeks that Turkey will face sanctions if it purchased the Russian system.

ROMANS: All right. Boris Johnson officially becomes prime minister of the United Kingdom today after he visits the queen. The British tabloids greeting the newly elected conservative party leader with a mix of shock and snark. Johnson's biggest challenge, Brexit. He spoke about the need to balance self-governance and future collaboration with the European Union.


BORIS JOHNSON, INCOMING PRIME MINISTER: Of course, there's something we see that they're irreconcilable, and it just can't be done. And indeed, I read in my "Financial Times" this morning, devoted reader that I am -- seriously, it's a great, great, great British brand. I read in the "Financial Times" this morning that there are no incoming leader, no incoming leader has ever faced such a daunting set of circumstances, it said.

I look at you this morning and I ask myself, do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted? I don't think -- I don't think you look remotely daunted.


ROMANS: All right. That's vintage Boris Johnson, right? BRIGGS: It is.

ROMANS: Let's go live to 10 Downing Street and bring in Anna Stewart.

Anna, should Boris Johnson be daunted?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes, absolutely. He should be daunted.

I would say I think that joke fell slightly flat. I think some people in the audience did look a little bit daunted. And here's why, he says that he can deliver Brexit even though Theresa May couldn't. He says he will bring with it optimism, a can-do attitude, and the threat, the very real threat of a no deal Brexit at the end of October for the E.U., and they don't want that.

However, the E.U. refuses to reopen the agreement to make any fundamental changes. Even if they did somehow, parliament is very divided. And they're going to holiday tomorrow. So, they haven't got much time to do it either.

The stats are really stacked up against him. And parliamentary math has not changed. But in terms of what we expect today, I mean, that's the next few weeks ahead. I think it's 99 days until that Brexit date.

Today, however, will be quite smooth. What we'll see is Theresa May leaving number 10 fairly soon. She'll be going to parliament to do her last weekly prime minister's question time. She will come back and deliver her final speech before going to Buckingham Palace to formally tender her resignation to the queen.

It's only then that Boris Johnson is summoned in a tradition called the kissing of hands.

[04:10:03] And then he will leave her as prime minister. The 55th for the U.K., come back here and deliver a speech where we hope to get more detail on how he will deliver Brexit.

ROMANS: Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Boris Johnson, all at the same job.

All right. Thank you so much. Nice to see you this morning.

BRIGGS: Can't make that stuff up.

At a bizarre twist in Canada, two teenagers who were believed to be missing are now suspects in the deaths of three people. Police say 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky are dangerous and should not be approached. They were last seen in Northern Saskatchewan.

Authorities believed they are involved in the shooting deaths of 24- year-old American Chynna Deese, and 23-year-old Australian Lucas Roberts Fowler. Their bodies were found nine days ago in northern British Columbia. McLeod and Schmegelsky are also suspected in the death of an unidentified man whose body was found near a lake in British Columbia.

BRIGGS: All right. The Justice Department launching a formal antitrust probe of big tech. Lawmakers, as you know, have increasingly focused on complaints of anti-competitive behavior concerning Amazon, Facebook, Google. Now, those companies were not specifically named by the Justice Department, but the agency indicated it will look into areas where they are dominant players.

The review follows a week of congressional hearings that were simply bruising for the tech industry. Lawmakers slamming Facebook over its digital currency plans, Libra. Amazon faced tough questions about its relationship to third-party sellers on its own platform. Google was asked about fake listings on Google maps.

The news also comes as Facebook braces for a multibillion dollar fine from the Federal Trade Commission. The DOJ announcement also signals a deeper look at the tech industry, has the backing of the attorney general, Bill Barr, who has voiced concerns about Silicon Valley.

Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook and Google declined to comment.

BRIGGS: Suffering heroes of September 11th can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill 97-2 that will fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for decades to come. The bill will extend the expiration date through 2090 and fund whatever cost is deemed necessary, estimated to be about $10 billion over the next ten years.

Comedian Jon Stewart and surviving first responders including John Feal pushed Congress to pass the extension before the fund expires next year.


JOHN FEAL, 9/11 VICTIM FUND ADVOCATE: Passing this legislation, there's no joy, there's no comfort. Yes, I cried with Jon, but that was to exhale, that was to get 18 years of pain and suffering out, and I believe it's out. What I'm going to miss the most about D.C. is nothing.


To Mitch McConnell, he kept his word to me. He kept his word to those men that were with me. And my -- while always agree with his politics, he was honest, he was sincere, and everything he said he did.

STEWART: Yes, I think we can all agree I'm the real hero.


We can never repay all that the 9/11 community has done for our country, but we can stop penalizing them. And today is that day that they can exhale, because unfortunately, the pain and suffering of what these heroes continue to go through is going to continue. There have been too many funerals, too many hospices. These families deserve better.


BRIGGS: Well said. The bill named after James Zadroga, Luis Alvarez and Ray Pfeiffer, two New York City detectives and a firefighter who died of health complications from their work at Ground Zero.

ROMANS: Gosh. Seventy-two years of funding. It shouldn't have -- 72 years of funding. It shouldn't have been so difficult.

BRIGG: There was never a lapse, though.

ROMANS: Yes, that's right. You're right.

All right. Fourteen minutes past the hour.

New York City police officers show restraint after being doused with water. So why are they being reprimanded?


[04:18:52] ROMANS: Justice John Paul Stevens was laid to rest Tuesday in a private somewhere at Arlington National Cemetery.

His former high court colleague, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with a bit of a surprise in her eulogy. Ginsburg says they traveled together in what turned out to be the last week of his life to Portugal. She says Stevens wanted to experience the joys of being alive and did just that almost to the end. Ginsburg told Stevens her dream is to remain on the court as long as he did. He told her, stay longer.

Stevens served almost 35 years on the court. RBG just finished her 26th year. Justice Stevens died last we can to age of 99, one day after suffering a stroke and just a couple of weeks after that trip to Portugal.


Cape Cod residents have seen many a hurricane over the years, but the twist Tuesday was a high-end EF-1 tornado packing 110 mile-per-hour winds. Damage was done by two touchdowns in Yarmouth and Harwich. At one point, nearly 40,000 customers were without power. A guest at the Cape Sands Inn in west Yarmouth says the roof came off like the "Wizard of Oz." He says from now on, he only wants to see that in the movies.

[04:20:03] ROMANS: New York police officers doused with water on duty will be reprimanded for not responding. The incident's captured on video shows officers being drenched and hit with some sort of ball while making an arrest. A senior NYPD official tells CNN they were wrong for not taking action. An internal memo says internal officers are expected to endure a high level of offensive language, but they are not allowed to tolerate conduct that may interfere with their duties. One person is now in custody.

BRIGGS: Wow. Ahead, the game of the year ends with the catch of the year. How a

wild night went down to the New York Yankees and Twins, next.


[04:25:38] BRIGGS: All right. We want to warn you, the video you're about to see may be hard to watch. A 9-year-old girl injured at Yellowstone National Park when a bison suddenly turned and charged right at her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. Oh, my god.


BRIGGS: You can see an adult man and woman running away from the bison, but the little girl is tossed violently into the air. The girl was part of a group of about 50 people near Observation Point Trail in the park's Old Faithful geyser area. She was treated and released from a local hospital.

ROMANS: That is something.

All right. Three people now charged in that wild family fight at Disneyland captured on video. Avery Robinson is facing five felony charges and nine misdemeanors for attacking his sister, his brother- in-law, and his girlfriend. He's also accused of threatening to kill them as they drove out of a parking structure after being kicked out of the park.

Robinson faces more than seven years behind bars. His sister was charged with five misdemeanors. Her husband faces one misdemeanor count of battery. Just ugly day there.

BRIGGS: Indeed.

A game for the ages in Minnesota between two of the American League's top teams, the Twins and the Yankees. There were three lead changes in the eighth and ninth innings before Minnesota tied the score at 12. In the bottom of the ninth off the closer, Chapman. An RBI single by Torres sparked a two-run Yankee rally in the top of ten. The twins rallied again in the bottom of the 10th and had the bases loaded with two out and slugger Mitch Kepler at the plate.

Watch this.


ANNOUNCER: A drive to the gap in left center field, Hicks, what a catch to end the game. Do you believe it?


BRIGGS: I do not. Truly remarkable grab by Aaron Hicks, the former Twin. He also hit a two-run homer with two out in the ninth to keep the Yankees alive. What an incredible game, and the still frame tells the tale. An incredible athletic feat.

ROMANS: Yes, I'll say.

All right. Another feat today on Capitol Hill. A lot on the line for Democrats as Robert Mueller finally testify testifies. Will this be a turning point?