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EARLY START

President to Visit El Paso and Dayton; President Trump's Response to Racism and White Supremacy; China's Sucker Punch. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 6, 2019 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[04:00:18] MAYOR DEE MARGO (R), EL PASO, TEXAS: The president is coming out and I will meet with the president.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump plans to visit El Paso and Dayton tomorrow but not everyone welcomes him.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.

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VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The president focuses on mental illness instead of gun safety.

ROMANS: And China just punched America's Midwest, hitting farmers right where it hurts. It is not, folks, easy to win a trade war, and American farmers are about to find out.

We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. It is 4:00 a.m. here in New York. I'm Christine Romans.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell in El Paso, Texas. It's 2:00 a.m. here, Tuesday, August 6th.

President Trump is planning to visit both El Paso and Dayton within the next few days. Now, the White House says he'll express condolences and offer federal help in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend.

Here in El Paso, the number of people killed is at 22 with at least two dozen injured. Some people here are not in a welcoming mood. The El Paso County Democratic Party sent an open letter, urging the president to cancel the visit so, as they put it, their community can continue to grieve and heal in peace.

Democratic candidate and El Paso native, Beto O'Rourke, put it in even more bluntly terms. He tweeted this: This president who helped create the hatred that made Saturday's tragedy possible should not come to El Paso. We do not need more division. We need to heal. He has no place here.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo has often disagreed with the president, especially on the proposed border wall, but he said that will not stop him from visiting with the president.

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MARGO: He's coming out here on Wednesday. And I want to clarify for the political spin that this is the office of the mayor of El Paso, in an official capacity, welcoming the office of the President of the United States, which I consider as my formal duty.

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BLACKWELL: CNN's Rosa Flores is here with the latest on how the city is coping days after this mass shooting.

First, let's start with this visit from the president that's coming. Where are the people on this side? Should the president come? Do they want him here or not?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, the individuals I talked to find it difficult to reconcile the president's words, the words he used before his speech the other day about the shooting and some of them I actually talked to people just now that are stopping by this memorial that has been growing, and they say that they just don't feel that the president's words are genuine, because of how he's referred to Latinos in the past, to the migrant caravans, to Mexicans as rapists. And so, they're having trouble.

Now, one man that I talked to, Oscar Salazar, he says he grew up here and he says he hopes that President Trump comes to his city with positive words. Take a listen.

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OSCAR SALAZAR, EL PASO RESIDENT: But hopefully, this is an awakening for everybody as a humanity. I'm just a little nervous about how the public is going to react to him coming back after saying so many negative things about Mexican people and stuff like that. It's kind of heartbreaking but that's the world that we live in today, so --

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FLORES: Now, it's really tough because you can hear his emotion and never one that I talked to in this city, Victor, you can feel that emotion, you can hear their emotion. It's a really tough time here in El Paso right now, and healing for them is going to be different for everyone. This woman I talked to says that she's going to heal through art, through her dance group that is made of all Latinas, they're going to come together. It will be different for everyone.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the president offered a healing tone in that scripted remarks from the White House yesterday. We'll see what he says when he comes here and the unscripted remarks that are often in conflict with what he says when it's written for hm.

Rosa Flores, thank you so much.

President Trump is also planning to visit Dayton, as we mentioned. The city's mayor, Nan Whaley, says the two spoke by phone Sunday. Whaley says she told the president he is welcomed there, but she made it clear she expects something to be done about gun violence.

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MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: I talked to him about 24 seconds that this gunman wreaked that much havoc with that kind of gun.

[04:05:05] And I said look -- I said, Mr. President, I'm from Southern Ohio. People have rifles, they have handguns. Like, we're -- we are not people -- like we're not East Coast or West Coast folks that say no guns at all. I said, but, like, I don't understand why anybody -- why any citizen would need that gun.

And he didn't disagree with me. Maybe he was just, you know, placating me a bit -- I don't know -- but I appreciated that he listened to me around that. And, you know, we'll continue to push because I don't want other cities to go through this.

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BLACKWELL: CNN's Ryan Young has more on the investigation from Dayton, Ohio.

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RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Victor, a lot of work still to be done by the police department to try to figure out exactly what the motive was when it comes to this shooting.

But there's so many questions in this community for what exactly happened when you have people from the ages of 57 to 22 who were killed in this crime. People want to know exactly why the shooter came here, trained his gun on the club behind me, and opened fire.

What we do know is at least 41 rounds was fired from that weapon that he had. Police believe he had over 200 rounds of ammo within that clip and in the car. So, there's still a lot of questions.

There is one man who is still alive who apparently accompanied the shooter and his sister, who he ended up killing, to the scene. He was shot. He's still in the hospital. That man may have more details for police to sort of unravel this investigation.

Twenty-four seconds is all it took for that shooter to kill nine people and wound dozens of others. And now, we're seeing all these surveillance images of the shooter as he moved through the street. There are 911 calls where people were calling for help. But it was the police response -- those heroes who got into the scene within 30 seconds and were able to take the shooter out -- who saved so many lives -- Victor and Christine.

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BLACKWELL: President Trump condemning racism and white supremacy in a speech on Monday, but he failed to acknowledge his own racist and divisive rhetoric. And he stopped short of endorsing a House bill that would expand background checks for gun violence.

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TRUMP: The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.

We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.

We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grizzly video games that are now commonplace.

We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence.

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BLACKWELL: Now, before the president made those remarks, he used his Twitter account to call on Republicans and Democrats to come together for strong background checks on gun purchases, even suggested lawmakers marry the legislation to immigration reform, resistance to that within the White House. CNN has learned at least two senior administration officials oppose connecting the two issues in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres.

The Justice Department is now considering a federal law that would make shootings a capital crime. We want you to know about this. Chris Cuomo will moderate a live CNN primetime town hall, "America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis". That's tomorrow at 9:00, right here on CNN -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Victor.

President Trump sharply escalated U.S. sanctions against the Venezuelan government. The president opposing the total economic embargo against Venezuela via executive order. The president explaining the move in a letter to Congress, citing what he calls the continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime. Opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president after Maduro's win in elections last year that were widely viewed as a sham. The only exemptions are for U.S. government business and humanitarian aid. And this, a dramatic escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and

China sparked a worldwide selloff in markets on Monday. A terrible day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, down 767 points, the worst day of the year, the sixth worst point drop in history. The S&P 500 closed nearly 3 percent lower, also recording its worst day of the year. The Nasdaq finished down 3.5 percent. That is the biggest decline there for this proxy for tech stocks since October 24th, 2018.

So, what happened? The Chinese government devalued the Yuan to the lowest level in a decade, sparking fear that the U.S. could retaliate and there cold be a currency war. The Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin officially labeled China a currency manipulator, something the U.S. government, by the way, has not done ever, adding that he will work with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China's actions.

[04:10:06] And China also responded to President Trump's announcement of those new tariffs last week with this, halting the purchases of U.S. ag products. The American farm bureau called the announcement a body blow to American farmers, who are already in dire need of relief. China used to be the biggest market for soy bean farmers. Now, soy beans are sitting in storage at record levels and according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, delinquencies and agriculture loans have tripled since mid-2015 to eight-year highs here.

Some important for investors. After that big route yesterday, the Dow is still up more than 10 percent this year, the S&P 500 up 13-1/2, and the Nasdaq up 18 percent even after Monday's selloff.

All right. President Obama speaking out about the divisive rhetoric in America. What he said, next.

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[04:15:27] BLACKWELL: Fifteen minutes after the hour. Welcome back.

Mexico was called the El Paso massacre an act of terror. The country's foreign minister calls it an act against Mexican citizens on U.S. soil. He says Mexico will not only participate in the investigation, it is also considering a petition to extradite the shooter and plans to take legal action against the U.S. Eight Mexican citizens were killed in the shooting, six others are being treated for their injuries.

Patrick Oppmann is live from Juarez in Mexico with the latest developments.

Good morning, Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you, Victor.

And three of those eight Mexican citizens who were gunned down are actually from the city where I am just on the other side of the Rio Grande from El Paso. This is a very busy border crossing. Every day people go back and forth. You read some of the stories about those eight Mexican citizens, and we're talking about people who were grandparents, one couple both who were murdered. There was a woman who was a school teacher. People who are part of the fabric of this community ripped from their relative's lives, murdered in an instant, and people here asking why.

You heard the Mexican foreign minister saying they're going to demand the U.S. government have tougher gun laws, perhaps start to take real action of their own. It's unclear what Mexico can do in light of this, but people here are rocked to their very core. Victor, this is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico over the years. It's one of the most dangerous cities in the world, and people have always said they would go to El Paso if it got too dangerous here.

People said their families, children who cross every day. In El Paso, the U.S. side is considered the safe part of where I'm standing, the border crossing where I'm standing. Juarez has been called the dangerous part. That has all changed in the last several days.

BLACKWELL: All right. Patrick Oppmann for us there in Ciudad Juarez -- Patrick, thank you.

ROMANS: All right, Victor.

Barack Obama is calling on Americans to condemn language from leaders that normalizes racist sentiments. The former president released a statement on Monday that did not specifically name Donald Trump, but he did call out the kind of rhetoric the president frequently uses, saying it is at the root of slavery, and, Jim Crow, the holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no life place in our politics and public life. It is time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party to say as much, clearly and unequivocally.

All right. A child takes a frightening plunge. The accident and the rescue, coming up.

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[04:23:01] ROMANS: All right. North Korea has launched two more missiles. A U.S. official tells CNN they were short-range ballistic missiles similar to the ones used in recent launches. The missiles landed in the waters off the Korean peninsula. A senior administration official says the situation is being closely monitored in cooperation with South Korea and the Japanese.

Now, President Trump has already said he has no problem with these kind of short-range missile tests.

The Florida man who pleaded guilty sending pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and to CNN, sentenced to 20 years in prison. Fifty-seven- year-old Cesar Sayoc faced up to life in prison for sending 16 IEDs over a two-week stretch last October. Among the targets were former President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and major Democratic donor George Soros. The judge said he got a mid-range sentence because he made a conscious choice not to build bombs that would not go off. Sayoc said in court he was sorry and he knows he has -- he was a very sick man knows that now that he is sober. A heart-stopping moment for any parent caught in security cameras in

southern China. A curious 3-year-old walks over and steps on a broken manhole cover, instantly disappearing. His quick-witted dad scrambles to reach him, finally laying flat, hauls him out. The boy was terrified but he's kept his head above the dirty water and suffered only minor injuries to his feet, Victor.

BLACKWELL: And staying back here in El Paso where Khalid says he will be performing a benefit concert in his adopted hometown.

Khalid grew up in a military family that grew up in El Paso before his senior year in high school. He's been outspoken about his love for the city, and he's even performed songs about El Paso. On Monday, he tweeted: Over the past few days, I've been thinking of ways to help out and support the city. I'm planning for a benefit concert later this month.

[04:25:00] All of the proceeds will go to the families affected by the shooting sending everyone my love and we'll keep you guys updated.

We're getting reaction this morning from people here in El Paso, Texas, who are just learning that President Trump plans to visit tomorrow. That's next.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARGO: The president is coming out and I will meet with the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: President Trump plans to visit El Paso and Dayton tomorrow. Not everyone welcomes him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: The president focuses on mental illness instead of gun safety.

ROMANS: China just punched America's Midwest hitting farmers right where it hurts.

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

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's half past the hour.

President Trump is planning to visit both El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, within the next few days. The White House says he'll express condolences and offer federal help in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend. END