Return to Transcripts main page


Biden Goes Tough; House Dems Worry Window Closing for Impeachment; All 50 States Targeted By Russian Interference; Red Sox Score Most Runs Ever Against Yankees. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 26, 2019 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: -- BMW, they struck a deal with air quality regulators in California to deliver fleets of cars that average 50 miles a gallon by model year 2026.

[05:00:10] And they vowed to stick to that standard across in all 50 states. And they vowed to stick to that standard across the country in all 50 states.

Automakers on track to comply with the tougher emissions rules put in place under President Barack Obama.


ANNOUNCER: Ignition and liftoff for Falcon 9 --


ROMANS: SpaceX's Dragon capsule launched in orbit Thursday with an eclectic batch of supplies. Destined for the international space station.

Among the cargo, an Adidas soccer ball, a pouch full of Nickelodeon's green slime and $5,500 of other experiments, supplies and food for the six astronauts aboard the space station.

Nickelodeon arranged to include the green slime on its mission in the name of STEM education. Astronauts will get to play around with the slime and film how it moves in microgravity.

The study of slime in space will be used to develop a curriculum for young that could roll out as soon as September.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm wondering if that slime is edible, in case you get hungry.


BRIGGS: I don't know.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great weekend.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm happy to debate with anybody the effects of the things that I did.


ROMANS: Vice President Biden takes a tougher tone on the campaign trail, ahead of a big debate for Democratic presidential hopefuls.

BRIGGS: House Democrats who support impeachment saying privately they're worried that they're running out of time to take action against the president.

ROMANS: A new report says all 50 states were targeted by Russian attempts to interfere with the election.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning to all of you.

ROMANS: Good to see you.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs, Friday, July 26th. Happy Friday, everyone, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Let's start with politics now. 2020 candidates gearing up for next week's Democratic debates as new polling shows former Vice President Joe Biden remains firmly on top in a new poll of the early primary state of South Carolina. Biden beats his nearest competitor, Kamala Harris, by a huge 27-point margin.

ROMANS: In the key swing state of Ohio, Biden's 31 percent share leads Harris, Bernie Sanders in a virtual three-way tie for second place.

And in that key metric, who can beat Trump? At least in Ohio right now, the answer is only Biden. Biden's lead widening again as he takes a new sharper approach.

CNN's Arlette Saenz has the latest from the campaign trail.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Dave and Christine, Joe Biden is adopting a more aggressive feistier tone when it comes to taking on his critics. He started out his campaign trying to stay above the fray, keeping his focus on President Trump. But now you're seeing the former vice president and his staff really fighting back against critics taking on Biden's record.

One adviser telling that the former vice president is not going to take attacks on his record sitting down. You're seeing that play out right now in an escalating feud between Biden and Cory Booker, who has been critical of Biden on issues relating to criminal justice in the past, recently calling him the architect of mass incarceration and criticizing the former vice president's current criminal justice plan.

And Biden pushed back pointing out Booker's record as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and the police practices that were underway while he was mayor. Take a listen to what he had to say.

BIDEN: If you look at the mayor's record in Newark, one of the provisions I wrote in the crime bill, pattern and practice of misbehavior, his police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African-American men. So, I'm happy to debate with anybody the effects of the things that I did as a United States senator, as I did as a vice president.

SAENZ: And Biden has really sharpened his attacks on Kamala Harris over the issue of healthcare over the past few weeks. And he was recently pressed by a voter who encouraged him to be tougher in the upcoming debate and Biden said he is not going to be as polite this time around, referencing that exchange with Kamala Harris relating to school busing from the first debate.

Biden is going to be huddling with his advisors in the coming days, even running through some mock debates as he prepares for the debate on Wednesday -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Arlette Saenz for us, thank you so much.

The lineups are set for the CNN Democratic debates next week. Two big nights, 10 candidates each night. That's Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, live from Detroit, only on CNN.

BRIGGS: Looking forward to that. House Democrats who want President Trump impeached are concerned they may be running out of time. Sources tell CNN House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler is making the case for impeachment behind the scenes with speaker Nancy Pelosi.

ROMANS: He's telling colleagues the time to act is now, while the nation is focused on the Robert Mueller hearings the fallout.

[05:05:04] But the House is about to begin a six-week summer recess.

BRIGGS: Democrats who are close to Pelosi believe her resistance to starting an impeachment probe may be softening. The speaker still wants to build the strongest possible case for impeachment by fighting the White House in the courts first.

ROMANS: At a meeting Thursday morning, she told Democrats they should do their own thing on impeachment.

CNN counts 96 Democrats who supporting impeachment proceedings.

Sunlen Serfaty has more from Capitol Hill.



In the wake of Robert Mueller's testimony, it is the key question among Democrats. What exactly comes next? As we've been reporting about in the recent days and weeks, Democrats remain very, very divided on what the best approach is. The speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, continues to believe that her strategy right now is the right one that, that deliberate post-low, focus on investigations, move things through courts. That is the approach that she wants here caucus to take.

Well, we have heard in recent hours and days from many Democrats up here on the Hill that they getting a little frustrated, a little bit concerned about the pace of things and certainly some criticism aimed at leadership here. Others are saying that they are waiting to see how the dust settles on Mueller's testimony.

REP. JUAN VARGAS (D-CA): A lot of us believe in impeachment for a long time I think will continue to believe and I think those that didn't continue not to believe.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): I think it's a little early. And, you know, we're going to meet our bosses, the constituents, pretty soon, and we're going to hear feedback from them as well. So, I think it's kind of a work in progress right now.

SERFATY: And House Democrats are now heading into a six-week long recess. They will not be back until September. This is the key time where they are going to be hearing directly from their constituents, the town halls across the country.

Certainly, this potentially could be on many of their constituents' minds. We will see if that has any impact on members who are on the fence and certainly House Democratic leadership -- Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: Sunlen Serfaty there, thank you.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would go to Tehran to negotiate directly with the Iranians if necessary. Tensions are escalating between the U.S. and Iran. Pompeo in a Bloomberg TV interview dismissing a role his Iranian counterpart plays in setting government policy.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Foreign Minister Zarif is no more in charge of what's going on in Iran than a man in the moon. At the end of the day, this is driven by the ayatollah. He will be the ultimate decision maker here.

INTERVIEWER: Would you go to Tehran?

POMPEO: Sure. If that's the call, happily go there.

INTERVIEWER: Would you appear on Tehran television? POMPEO: I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian



ROMANS: Iran and the U.S. have been in conflict since 2017. That's when President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal that banned them from enriching uranium and creating nuclear weapons. A U.S. official says Iran just tested what appears to be a medium-range ballistic missile that travelled more than 600 miles.

BRIGGS: The federal government plans to resume executing death row inmates for the first time in nearly two decades.

Attorney General Bill Barr ordering the head of the Bureau of Prisons to execute five death throw inmates in December and January.

ROMANS: The attorney general also wants the three-drug procedure for executions to be replaced with a single drug, pentobarbital. Legal challenges may delay the start date, only three federal inmates have been executed in the U.S. since the federal death penalty was reinstated back in 1998. The last execution was in 2003. Opponents of the death penalty frequently point to the racial disparities in these death sentences and to wrongful convictions.

BRIGGS: An explosive report from a Senate Intelligence Committee reveals the scope of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. All 50 states were targeted, starting in 2014, and according to the report, state and local officials were not sufficiently warned nor prepared to defend against the attacks. Right now, House Democrats and the Trump administration are fighting over how to stop Russian meddling efforts heading into 2020.

Here's Kaitlan Collins with more.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The Senate Intelligence Committee has released its report going into the extensive efforts of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, just extensive those efforts were, how far back they date, but also warning about what's to come, because multiple intelligence officials have said not only did the Russians interfere in 2016, they're going to do it again in the future elections. And they want to know how aggressive they have to be able to combat that.

We've heard from FBI Director Christopher Wray who was up on Capitol Hill, talking about those efforts for them to interfere, but also from the man who's been spending the last two and a half years investigating it himself. Robert Mueller, the former special counsel who testified on Capitol Hill this week, much to the chagrin of the president, but also revealed a pretty breaking big moment during that interview or during that testimony when he said that, yes, the Russians are interfering.

[05:10:02] And he said, they're actually interfering as we speak. Now, of course, those concerns about what exactly is going to happen in the future and whether or not the efforts are strong enough to essentially combat that come as there are still questions about whether or not President Trump himself is taking it seriously.

House Democrats sent a letter to the White House demanding he receive the same in depth briefing on election interference that they did, and the White House is firing back saying they believe essentially Democrats are grandstanding by sending that letter.

Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told CNN in a statement that thankfully meddling didn't affect the outcome of the 2016 election, but says, quote, the Trump administration has instituted the first whole of approach, including the FBI, DHS, state and local officials to protect the integrity of our elections. Officials behind the scenes they're working aggressively to counter those efforts. But, of course, there's still skepticism about whether or not the president himself is the one leading those efforts.


ROMANS: All right. Kaitlan, thank you so much for that.

Coming up, a key reading of economic growth. In just a couple of hours, GDP for the second quarter, President Trump has promised his policies will generate sustained growth above 4 percent, even higher sometimes. That's proving a little bit difficult here.

Economists are estimating 1.3 percent growth in the second quarter. The Atlanta Fed reading of that estimate, 1.3, New York Fed is reading 1.4 percent. That's down sharply from 3.1 percent growth in Q1.

Several factors here may put a dent in growth. The airplane maker said anymore delays could jeopardize production. The timing of the max crisis couldn't be worse. American manufacturing has gone limped in the past few months.

Tariffs in the ongoing trade war with China are also dragging on the economy. Despite the slowdown in manufacturing, consumer sentiment is strong. And that's crucial for economic growth. Paychecks got a little fatter in the second quarter, gas prices have been falling. So, the consumers holding this thing up.

Look, the president has promised a super charge economy from cutting regulations and his corporate tax cuts. He has promised 3 percent, 4 percent, 5 percent, sometimes, you know, we can be kind of hyperbolic about what he expects for growth.


ROMANS: But we shall see what the second quarter reading was. It looks like it's a little bit weaker than Q1.

BRIGGS: Key number, we'll be watching.

Ahead, at least 150 people are dead after a boat carrying migrants were shipwrecked off the coast of Libya. That's straight ahead. You're on EARLY START.


[05:17:11] ROMANS: At least 150 people died when a boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Libya on Thursday. Officials say some 300 people are believed to have embarked on a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has the latest. She is live in Istanbul.

These stories are just so -- just so awful and tragic and a reminder that to take a journey like that, that you know are so dangerous, must show you how desperate the conditions are for these people who are fleeing.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And they're just desperate to reach the shores of Europe, Christine. This latest incident according to the United Nations and other organizations and the Libyan Coast Guard, they say about 250 migrants and refugees, up to 300 possibly from different Arab and African countries were crammed into a wooden boat that sailed off the coast of Libya on Thursday, capsized about five miles off that coast.

And it was fishermen who first responded to the incident, rescuing some of those migrants and refugees than the Libyan coast guard joined in the rescue. They say they managed to save about 134 people, many of those are women and children.

Now the concern is for 100 to 150 people who are missing, they're presumed to be dead. We have really seen the numbers of those taking this really dangerous journey since 2017 significantly drop. But there are so many incidents taking place and, of course, a lot of concern to what happens to those who are rescued. These migrants are returned back to Libya. And they are sent to detention facilities where we heard from the United Nations about horrific conditions there where they face torture and even death, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much for that in Istanbul this morning.

BRIGGS: U.S. military confirming North Korea fired two short range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan Thursday. The missiles had some enhanced capabilities were not a threat to South Korean nor the U.S. North Korean state media is saying that the launch is warning to South Korea to stop conducting joint military drills with the U.S.

ROMANS: It is the first missile test since President Trump and Kim Jong-un agreed to revive talks on denuclearization last month. The president, again, appears to be giving Kim the benefit of the doubt.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In case of North Korea, I'm actually getting along very well with him, but we'll see what happens. I mean, you know, the sanctions are on. The hostages are back. We're getting the remains back. They haven't done nuclear testing. They really haven't tested missiles other than, you know, smaller ones. The -- which is something that lots test.


[05:20:02] ROMANS: As a fact check there, when North Korea returned some remains last year, it's no longer doing so. The U.S. military announced in May that the remains program had been suspended. Pyongyang stopped communicating with the U.S. agency responsible for the effort.

Southwest Airlines is ending flights at Newark Liberty International Airport. The latest fallout from the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet.

Southwest is the nation's largest domestic carrier announcing Thursday that because of the extensive delays of the troubled plane returning to service, it will cease operations at Newark on November 3rd. Southwest will stop operate out of New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Another issue for Boeing after reporting weak second quarter earnings, the CEO was warming investors, they may need to further slow or temporarily halt 737 MAX production.

In three hours, we're going to get a GDP report, the economic growth number. You know, Boeing is a huge driver of durable goods. So, we'll be watching to see what the effect is there.

BRIGGS: All right. We'll talk a little sports ahead. Boston Red Sox pounding the Yankees in historic rout of their hated rivals. Coy Wire has that story in "The Bleacher Report".


[05:26:00] BRIGGS: The Boston Red Sox lit up the Fenway scoreboard last night, putting up the most runs ever against the Yankees.

Coy Wire has that story in the "Bleacher Report".

Good morning, my friend. It's almost football season and a football- like score for the Red Sox last night. Good morning.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it, Briggs. The Red Sox and Yankees, they played more than 2,200 games since this rivalry started over a century ago. Never have the Sox put on a show like this, 19 runs. The best player for Boston was playing for the Yankees.

Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka got rocked. Sox all start Xander Bogaerts launching a 451-foot three-run shot over the green monster, part of a seven-run inning. Tanaka gives up 12 runs in total before getting yanked in the fourth.

No Yankees pitcher has ever given up more to the Sox. Tanaka's not the only one struggling. All New York starters have given up 40 runs over the last fire since 1912. 'Stop wins 19-3 but New York still way ahead of them in the standings. Dave, you know, working these hours, we don't get a lot of live game

action. We always have to watch replays. This morning, we saw one. The Orioles and Angels game just ending, they played a 16 inning marathon spanning six hours and eight minutes in L.A.

The Angels thought they had it in the 15th. Mike Trout's double, looking to score the winning run. But no, the ump says David Fletcher tagged out at the plate. Nearly everyone on social media thought he was safe. But reply officials in New York seeing this just after 4:00 a.m. Eastern, don't overturn it.

Orioles hit a two-run homer in the 16, taking the lead. And in step outfielder Stevie Wilkerson throwing lob balls in there. I think we can maybe even hit those. He gets the job done, though, for the O's. He becomes the first position play ever to record a save.


MEGAN RAPINOE, USWNT CO-CAPTAIN: This is my charge to everyone. We have to be better. We have to love more. Hate less. It's our responsibility to make this world a better place.


WIRE: Megan Rapinoe inspiring many with that speech at the U.S. women's soccer victory parade and now she's putting it into writing. The World Cup hero signing a two book deal with Penguin Press. The first will be released next fall. The publisher will be speaking out about social issues is so important to her.

She said that she hopes the books can aspire other people to find how they can create positive change, Dave, and inspire others to do the same.

BRIGGS: She has a flair for the dramatic on and off the field, doesn't she?

Coy Wire, thank you, my friend. Have a great weekend.

WIRE: You too.

BRIGGS: Romans, what's coming up?

ROMANS: Right. No holds barred. Joe Biden is ready to fight back against his fellow 2020 candidates. The new sharper new strategy ahead of CNN's Democratic debate.