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Robert Mueller Testifies This Morning; Boris Johnson to Officially Become U.K. Prime Minister; Reports: Puerto Rico Governor to Resign Today; Missing Canadian Teens Now Murder Suspects; Help Finally Arrives for 9/11 Heroes. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 24, 2019 - 04:30   ET



[04:32:09] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: It's finally here. Robert Mueller testifies today. Will the testimony increase calls for impeachment or end them for good?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Boris Johnson becomes the U.K. prime minister today. Already facing stiff blow back from the opposition.

BRIGGS: 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.



ROMANS: It took 18 years but health care for the heroes of 9/11 finally taken care of for good.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Well done, Jon Stewart.

I'm Dave Briggs. It is 4:32 Eastern Time on a Wednesday.

It's Mueller time again. 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 Judiciary plan to focus on obstruction of justice, specifically five instances of. Dems on the Intel Committee will hone in on Russian election interference.

ROMANS: As for Republicans on both panels, expect them to divert attention and focus on the origins of this investigation. Now the Democratic chairman of the committees 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.


ROMANS: You remember Robert Mueller's mission was to investigate Russian interference in U.S. elections. His report accused Russia of waging a sweeping and systemic influence campaign.

And just yesterday, the director of the FBI testified that problem persists.


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


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

More now from Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.


[04:35:04] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.

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 have 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.


ROMANS: All right. Manu, busy day for you. Thank you.

President Trump is telling Republican senators he does not want to sanction Turkey over the purchase of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.

Now, the S-400 gives Turkey both American F-35 stealth jets and Russian system to detect them. And that's raising serious questions about Turkey's commitment to NATO.

The president is 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 systems.

BRIGGS: Boris Johnson officially budgets prime minister of the United Kingdom today after he visits with the queen. The British tabloids greeted a newly elected conservative party leader with a mix of shock and snark. Johnson's biggest challenge, Brexit, of course.

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.


BRIGGS: Quite a day there.

Well, let's go live to 10 Downing and bring in Anna Stewart.

And, Anna, let me just read these letters, D-U-D-E. Deliver, united, defeat, energize. Good morning, dude.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, dude. Yes. Boris Johnson, really down with the kids now. I think we can expect many more entertaining speeches like that to come, not least today.

But he has a really daunting task ahead of him, trying to deliver a Brexit deal by the end of October where Theresa May tried and tried and failed.

Now, what is different about him? Well, he is a Brexit believer. He has been from the start. He's optimistic and has certainly a can-do attitude as he likes to tell us. Nothing's really changed in parliament. It's still very divided. The E.U. still doesn't want to renegotiate the deal.

So, if Boris Johnson stresses a no-deal Brexit by the end of October and even if the E.U. is very worried, I'm not convinced that much of change. We'll have to see what he says.

The turbulent few weeks ahead, I think, Dave, but today at least should run like clockwork.

Theresa May still prime minister, of course, for now, will be leaving number 10 in just a short few hours. She'll be going to parliament for her last prime minister question time. I suspect the opposition still won't go lightly on her. She'll be back here for a speech before she then goes to Buckingham palace, tendering her resignation to the queen who has seen plenty and plenty of prime ministers come and go, of course.

And then Boris Johnson will be summoned. He will enter Buckingham palace as Mr. Johnson. He will leave as a prime minister, after the tradition of the kissing of hands of her majesty the queen.

Once he is back here, he will deliver that speech. This is the speech we are waiting for. We expect to see a podium outside number 10 before he enter the doors. Will he deliver any more clarity on how he expects to deliver this deal, or are we going to hear just more optimism and possibly a few more jokes?

Back to you, dude.


BRIGGS: Thank you, Anna. And will he then exit on a jet pack or a hot-air balloon? It should be an entertaining day. Thank you, Anna.

ROMANS: All right. Some breaking news right now just in to CNN. A source --

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ROMANS: A source tells CNN Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello will resign following nearly two weeks of protest.

[04:40:04] Remember, Sunday, he said he would resign as the head of the New Progressive Party but he would not run for re-election.

Rossello has been losing support. His chief of staff resigned yesterday. The secretary of state would normally succeed the governor but the seat is vacant. Luis Rivera Marin resigned a week ago over the leaked chats that showed top officials making homophobic and sexist remarks.

Again, Ricardo Rossello will resign as governor of Puerto Rico today. More on this throughout the day on CNN.

BRIGGS: A Texas-born high schooler has just been released from ICE detention after three weeks behind bars.


FRANCISCO GALICIA, 18 (through translator): I just want to go home and see my mom, my family.


BRIGGS: The lawyer for the 18-year-old Francisco Galicia says Border Patrol officers refused to believe the teen was a U.S. citizen. They detained him at a check point 100 miles from the border. He was carrying his Texas birth certificate, but officers refused to accept it as legit, apparently because he also had a Mexican tourist visa that incorrectly listed his birthplace as Mexico. Galicia's lawyer says the case shows Homeland Security is, quote, overwhelmed and can't give each case proper attention.

CBP and ICE have not so far responded to CNN's request for comment.

ROMANS: His attorney says that he just wants to get ready for his senior year in high school.


ROMANS: All right. 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. They should be approached.

They were last seen in northern Saskatchewan.

Authorities believe they are involved in shooting deaths of 24-year- old American Chynna Deese and 23-year-old Australian Lucas Robinson 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. Ahead here, leaders in Afghanistan are not pleased after the president said he could wipe the country off the face of the earth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:46:24] BRIGGS: Suffering heroes of September 11th can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The Senate passing a bill 97-2 that will fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2090 and fund whatever cost is deemed necessary. That's 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: Indeed. 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: All right. That deal this week to raise the debt ceiling and lock in trillion-dollar deficits for the next two years is a debt bomb, unprecedented in a good economy. And contrary to the president's campaign promise to get rid of the national debt in eight years. Remember that? Once Trump raged against a Washington that spent more than it earned.

Here he is in 2011.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we owe $15 trillion, going to $22 trillion, and they didn't cut enough. So, this doesn't solve the problem. And that's the big thing. It doesn't solve the problem.


ROMANS: Fast forward, the U.S. national debt is $22 trillion, and the party of fiscal responsibility is shrugging at a deal that extends the debt ceiling and sets new spending levels for two years.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): From a military point of view, it's much needed. It's the best I think we could do. Democrats exist. They run the house.

REP. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): It wouldn't be the one I would have written, but you have to in a place like this where you have a divided government try and get the best possible deal you can.


ROMANS: Locking in deficit spending in a good economy. This from the president's top financial adviser.


LARRY KUDLOW, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: And the president himself has said if he's re-elected he will probably come down much tougher on spending.


ROMANS: Probably. Pushing off another fight over the budget and the debt until after the 2020 election to keep Wall Street happy today, but a debt crisis will come. Maybe not today, maybe not in three years, but guys, someone has to pay back all that debt and all the interest.

BRIGGS: Afghan officials are demanding a clarification of this off- the-cuff comment by President Trump.


TRUMP: To fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don't want to kill 10 million people. Does that make sense to you? If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth.


BRIGGS: That threat raised in a confrontational meeting between -- in Kabul between a U.S. State Department official and President Ashraf Ghani. Afghan officials calling President Trump's comments in unacceptable and demanding he show more respect.

A previously unplanned follow-up meeting is going to take place today. U.S. has been pursuing a diplomatic strategy to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan. Holding on again-off again talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

ROMANS: All right. There's a mash-up for your summer picnics, Cheez- its and boxed wine. It's not Cheez-It, it's flavored wine. They're just packaged together.

BRIGGS: Just a perfect pair.

ROMANS: CNN Business has the details next.


[04:55:22] BRIGGS: A classmate has been arrested in the killing of University of Mississippi student Allie Kostial. The 21-year-old's body was found near a lake last weekend. Authorities say the suspect, 22-year-old Brandon Theesfeld has been charged with murder.

A university spokesman says Theesfeld was studying in the same business administration school as Kostial but had been suspended. The investigation is ongoing. Police say a motive is still unclear.

ROMANS: New York City police officers who were doused with water while on duty will be reprimanded for not responding. These incidents were captured and shared on video. They show 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 officers are expected to endure a high level of offensive language, but they're not supposed to tolerate conduct that interferes with their duties. One person is now in custody.

BRIGGS: Pregnant woman killed trying to shield her son during a shooting at an apartment complex in Georgia. The victim, 24-year-old Auriel Callaway was four months pregnant. Her sister is devastated.


STANDRIA WALKER, VICTIM'S SISTER: She was beautiful. She has a heart of gold. She would give when she didn't have it. All she cared about was her son.


BRIGGS: Callaway's son was not injured. Police are still trying to determine who fired the fatal shot.

The Idaho National Laboratory evacuating all nonessential employees as a wildfire approaches. Ninety thousand acres burned in less than 24 hours by what officials are calling the Sheep Fire. The lab has active nuclear reactors are there, but even if fire breaks around the facility they are safe. The main reason for evacuation is the heavy smoke.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

First, a look at markets around the world. Gains in Asian markets and a little mixed performance in European markets as they have opened.

On Wall Street, leaning down a little bit, just I would almost call it directional, a quarter of percentage point in the Dow. We'll watch to see what happens today.

You know, yesterday, stocks were higher, approaching record highs. The Dow finished up 77, ten points below the most recent record. The S&P 500 had a strong day, the Nasdaq closed up, as well.

On the trade front, U.S. trade negotiators are expected to travel to China next week to resume working level talks on a trade deal. It will be the first face-to-face talks since President Trump and Chinese President Xi met at the G-20 last month.

Harley-Davidson's sales are hurting, placed by tariffs and declining interest in motorcycles in the U.S. It delivered nearly 69,000 bikes for the quarter, down 5 percent from last. Overall sales fell 6 percent.

Harley has been trying to keep costs lower by shifting some of its manufacturing to Thailand, where it can avoid some tariffs. Sales have dropped for several years now as younger people are less interested in motorcycles. The growth is in international sales and new bikes there is where they're trying to rev up their business.

All right. Everyone loves wine and cheese. Wine and cheese, it sounds so fancy. How about wine and Cheez-Its? Not Cheez-It-flavored wine. House Wine and Kellogg's are teaming up to sell a box of red wine and box of Cheez-It. Perfect for a picnic or a day at the beach.

The goal to get people excited about the 98-year-old Cheez-It brand. It's not the first time Kellogg has used a partnership to promote growth. Last year, it announced Cheez-It would become a multiyear sponsor of the college basketball Cactus Cowl now called the Cheez-It Bowl. People can find the mash-up on the House Wine Website starting tomorrow while supplies last.

BRIGGS: But it's hot out, so I understand other combinations they recommend are rose and white cheddar. How does that sound to you?

ROMANS: I don't know. It's a little early.

BRIGGS: It sounds right for a Wednesday.

ROMANS: It's so little early for me to be thinking about wine.

BRIGGS: Not me, my friend. I'm in.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. That's all we got.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.


ROMANS: It's finally here, Robert Mueller testifies today.

NADLER: The president and the attorney general would systematically lie to the American people about what was in that report.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This whole collusion narrative that was out there that Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler keep talking about was really not there.

STEWART: They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bill has passed.

FEAL: John said I moved mountains. I just help.

STEWART: I think you rolled some boulders up some hills, my brother.

FEAL: What he did he didn't have to do.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You talked to Jon Stewart and John Feal yesterday right in front of the Capitol.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I did, it was first sit-down wide- ranging interview. They were sort of processing what had happened at the end of their 18-year fight to get this funding. So, you'll see they go through the range of emotions. I mean, there was gratitude, there was still sort of residual anger, and they really shared it with us.