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President Visits Today; Exclusive Video: Gunman Spent Time in Bar Before Rampage; State of the U.S.-China Trade War; Alejandro Bedoya Speaks Out on Gun Violence. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 7, 2019 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The cost will be 13 bucks a month. The three services add up to $18 if purchased a la carte.

The new option is Disney's latest plan to beat Netflix which also costs about $13 a month. And Disney plus launches in November. The streaming wars, we are just in the early innings of the streaming wars, folks. It's going to be interesting. How many can you -- how many of are you going to buy --

WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: It depends how much you pay.

ROMANS: I know.

RIPLEY: It's going to be more than cable by the end of that I think.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START begins right now.



MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: His rhetoric has been painful for many in our community.

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): The words that have dehumanized us are still hanging over us.


ROMANS: President Trump heads to Dayton and El Paso just hours from now. How will he be received?

RIPLEY: CNN with exclusive new video, what the Dayton gunman was doing in a bar hours before the deadly attack.

ROMANS: No end in sight to the U.S.-China trade war. Both sides dug in. A deal could be more than a year away.

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

RIPLEY: And I'm Will Ripley, in for Dave Briggs. It is Wednesday, August 7th, 5:00 a.m. here in New York and in Dayton, Ohio; 3:00 a.m. in El Paso, Texas, where President Trump today will be traveling to two American cities, both the scene of mass shootings over the weekend. The massacres just 13 hours apart.

The president flies to Dayton, Ohio, this morning, El Paso, Texas, later this afternoon. Some leaders in the grief-stricken cities say the president will not be filling the traditional role of consoler-in- chief. In fact, they say his presence will only deepen divisions instead of helping people heal.


WHALEY: He's the president of the United States, and as he has an official capacity as president, you know, on official capacity of mayor, I will greet him here.

And, look, I know that, you know, he's made this bed and he's got to lie in it, you know? He hasn't -- you know, his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community, and I think the people should stand up and say they're not happy if they're not happy that he's coming.


RIPLEY: In El Paso, the mayor has already made clear he's welcoming the president because that's his job. El Paso's representative in Congress, Veronica Escobar, she outright declined an invitation to join the president on his visit.


ESCOBAR: The words that have dehumanized us are still hanging over us.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: So, you need to hear this president apologize --


CUOMO: -- for the things he said?

ESCOBAR: And to acknowledge that they were wrong and to take them back.

CUOMO: And if he doesn't?

ESCOBAR: As far as I'm concerned, he should not be here until he does that.


RIPLEY: Escobar telling Chris Cuomo she refuses to be what she calls an accessory to Trump's visit.

ROMANS: On the Dayton attack, we have new information and exclusive new video this morning. CNN has obtained security camera footage from a bar where the gunman spent more than an hour before the attack began. As you can see, 24-year-old Connor Betts blends right in, dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, sneakers. The tactical vest and the mask he wears later nowhere to be seen.

He walks into Blind Bob's Bar, he's carded. He's given a wristband. And then he waits for his sister Megan and a friend identified as Charles Beard. At 12:13 a.m., about an hour after he arrives, Betts speaks with the staff and leaves.

His sister and Beard remain in the bar for another 45 minutes or so. Police say there was some communication between the two during that time, but there's nothing in the video, no visible arguing, no disturbance that gives any indication of what led to the rampage that came less than an hour later.

Megan Betts was killed along with eight others. Charles Beard was seriously wounded.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is in Dayton for us with more on the president's visit today and the investigation.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Will and Christine, we know the president and first lady are expected to be here on the ground later this morning in Dayton, Ohio. I talked to first responders, they're also expected to meet with people in this community who are still grieving over the fact that they lost nine lives here and others injured in that horrible attack over the weekend.

We're also learning at this time more about the investigation. The FBI is now involved, specifically because there has been some that's been sort of come to light about the violent ideologies that the gunman sort was researching, looking into, before this attack. And so, now, the FBI is part of this investigation.

We know from their investigation that Connor Betts was obsessed with mass shootings. He would research them. He even talked about a wanting, a desire to carry out one himself.

TODD WICKERHAM, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We have found very specific violent ideologies that the shooter we know followed and was interested in. This individual, the shooter, the attacker in this case, very specifically seeking out information that promotes violence. We are going back as far as we need to try to find out why he did this and also if anybody else knew about this or was involved with this.

[05:05:03] GINGRAS: Parts of this are still sort of coming together, but still a lot of questions. Three of the major questions I want to point out that investigators are still trying to answer, number one is that what more about the ideology that might have influenced Connor Betts? And the second one is who if anyone knew about his intention to carry out that rampage? And number three, again, is that motive. What made him do this?

These are all questions that investigators will be on the ground looking through digital evidence, looking through surveillance video, trying to get some answers to -- Christine and Will.


RIPLEY: We're getting insight potentially from a woman who claims that she dated the Dayton gunman. And she says he was fascinated by mass shootings and things that made terrible people do terrible things. Adelia Johnson says she met the shooter in college and they bonded over what she calls depression humor.


ADELIA JOHNSON, GUNMAN'S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: He showed me the one video of the mass shooting on our first date. I'm not sure which shooting it was. I was drunk, and it was at a loud bar. So --

REPORTER: Did you find that odd?

JOHNSON: I think it's weird, but it wasn't like -- it wasn't a red flag. Which I know is weird to a lot of people, but given the context of him being a psychology student and him being fascinated in the psychology of those things, that's what made it digestible.


RIPLEY: Johnson says her relationship with the gunman mainly consisted of going out drinking and talking about mental illness and world tragedies.

ROMANS: All right. The latest now on the El Paso massacre. The family of accused gunman Patrick Crusius says outside influences drove their son to open fire at a crowded Walmart killing 22 people.

They released this statement: Patrick's actions were apparently influenced and informed by people we do not know, and from ideas and beliefs that we do not accept or condone in any way. He was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance, rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred, and violence. There will never be a moment for rest of our lives when we will forget each and every victim of this senseless tragedy.

I want to go live to El Paso and bring in CNN's Rosa Flores.

So, the family said they didn't see this coming. And now, the president is going to be there today in that city. What are people telling you?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONENT: You know, Christine, there are no words to describe the emotion that you can feel here in El Paso. The memorial that you see behind me has been growing as people from this community stop by to pay their respects, to leave flowers and candles.

And you know, I've been here since Sunday talking to people. And a lot of residents have talked about how they can't reconcile the president's words, the words that he uses to speak about immigrants, to speak about the migrant caravan, but this morning, I talked to two individuals who took it a step further. They talked about how they would like president Trump to wait to allow them to heal before visiting this community.

And one woman had such powerful words. She said that she doesn't feel loved by the president of the United States and not just because she's -- not just because she's a woman, but she said there are so many other things that she feels that at the human level she feels that the president of the United States doesn't love her. And the gentleman she was with took it further and said the president should wait because this community needs to heal.

Take a listen at what he said.


NATHAN HERNANDEZ, EL PASO RESIDENT: You don't play with your scar, you don't play with a cut, right? You let it heal first, then -- you know what I mean? You don't do that. You know what I mean? Not right now. You know what I mean?

Like let us have our grief, let us mourn, pay our own respects to our people from our city and our community.


FLORES: Now, Christine, that gentleman, Nathan Hernandez, said, you know, we don't have a choice. President Trump is visiting today. They just hope that he visits with a positive and a -- and a love- filled message while he's here in El Paso.

ROMANS: All right. Rosa Flores, thank you so much for your fine work there for us in El Paso, thank you.

RIPLEY: The 19-year-old gunman who used an assault rifle to kill three at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, that was just last week, by the way. They say he had a target list. According to police, that list contained religious institutions and political groups of both parties, as well as federal buildings and courthouses. The FBI is opening a domestic terror investigation into the shooting. And investigators say they haven't come to a conclusion about the gunman's motives yet because they say he was exploring competing violent ideologies.

[05:10:03] ROMANS: All right. In the wake of the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, the nation's nerves are rattled. Panic broke out in public places twice with no shots fired.

In New York's Times Square backfiring motorcycles sent hundreds scrambling for cover. They thought they heard gunfire. The NYPD tweeted: Please don't panic. Times Square is very safe.

And in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a mad scramble for the exits at a Walmart.


911 OPERATOR: What's going on, ma'am?

CALLER: They're shooting, ma'am. They're shooting, they're shooting, they're shooting!

911 OPERATOR: Where? In the store?

CALLER: Walmart, Burbank, yes!

911 OPERATOR: They're shooting in Walmart?



ROMANS: No one was shooting. Law enforcement sources tell CNN the chaos began with a dispute between two men. One of them grabbed a pair scissors when the other displayed his licensed handgun. That set off a noisy stampede by other customers that others mistook for gunfire.

RIPLEY: Senate Republicans, they are scrambling right now to come up with a response to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.


CROWD: Do your job! Do your job! Do your job!


RIPLEY: And there were protesters gathering on Capitol Hill demanding tougher gun safety laws and calling on GOP senators as you hear right in this video, do your job.

Last night, a small group of demonstrators even gathered outside Senator Mitch McConnell's office in Louisville. They want the majority leader to allow a vote on gun violence measures that have already passed the House.

And they're not alone. According to a new "USA Today" poll, 67 percent of Americans want the Senate to pass a background check bill that made it through the House. That sentiment cuts across party lines. Look at this -- 79 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans agreeing that the Senate needs to act.

A programming note for you: CNN's Chris Cuomo moderates a live "CUOMO PRIME TIME" town hall, "America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis". That's tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

ROMANS: All right. Newsflash, trade wars are not easy to win. And this one with China is getting out of hand. There's a growing sense a trade deal won't happen before the 2020 election.

Now despite the threat of the tariffs, China halting agriculture purchase, and the U.S. labeling China a currency manipulator. Economic adviser to the White House Larry Kudlow said the U.S. trade team plans to meet with the Chinese in September.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The president said, you know, if you make good deal or good progress on a deal, maybe he'll flexible on the tariffs. On the other hand, if there's no progress on the deal, then the tariffs might get worse.


ROMANS: In other words, the trade war outlook is wide open here. Trump signaled he's not backing down from his aggressive stance, tweeting: Massive amounts of money from China and other parts of the world is pouring into the United States for reasons of safety, investment, and interest rates. We are in a very strong position.

China not backing down either. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that policy advisers in Beijing believe they can wait for the tariffs to damage the U.S. economy more to force President Trump into making concessions.

RIPLEY: Police officers on horseback, a suspect in handcuffs, and a picture that is hard to believe it's the United States in 2019. Now the police chief apologizes.

ROMANS: Plus, the manhunt for armored car robbers. Surveillance cameras catch them in the act.


[05:18:02] ROMANS: The police chief in Galveston, Texas, apologizing for photos showing his officers on horseback using a rope to lead a handcuffed man across the street. That's right, in America, 2019. The chief said the procedure will end immediately.

The family of 43-year-old Donald Neely says an apology doesn't cut it. Through their attorney, they say they are appalled by this photo.

Police charged Neely with criminal trespassing after several warnings. The man's family says he is bipolar, he is homeless, and had lost touch with his family.

RIPLEY: And the explanation for that, that the transport vehicle was running late -- so they used the horse -- the optics alone, treating somebody with the mental --

ROMANS: It's awful.

RIPLEY: Unbelievable.

Philadelphia police and the FBI are releasing this surveillance video this morning as the manhunt intensifies for three armed robbery suspects. The footage shows two armed robbers advancing toward the armored car. Then they run when armored car personnel open fire.

So, one of them dies in an SUV. The driver takes off, a third runs away. FBI now offering a reward for information leading to their arrest and prosecution. ROMANS: All right. Soccer star's call to Congress has gone viral.

He's talking about why he did. Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.


[05:24:17] RIPLEY: After taking a stand mid-game over the weekend, U.S. soccer star Alejandro Bedoya tells CNN he will never stop fighting to end gun violence.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.


You know, we're used to seeing athletes use their platform to speak out on social issues off the field, but Alejandro Bedoya, he was able to do it on the field in the middle of a game after scoring the opening goal of a major league soccer game on Sunday. Bedoya, he found a field mic, and he used it to send a message to Congress.


ALEJANDRO BEDOYA, PHILADELPHIA UNION CAPTAIN: Hey, Congress, do something now! End gun violence! Let's go!


SCHOLES: Yes. And when speaking with CNN, Bedoya said grabbing that mic, it wasn't something he planned.


BEDOYA: I saw the mic, and I think that was like God just telling me, you know, here it is, use your voice.

[05:25:04] And it just, like I said, spur of a moment and did it. A call to action, you know, words -- words can mean a lot, and hopefully, this -- you know, continues the conversation and leads to action.

SCHOLES: And gun violence is a problem that hits home for Bedoya. He grew up 15 minutes from Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed in a shooting last year.

All right. The Toronto Blue Jays in the list of teams that say they will be extending their protective netting path to dugout towards the foul poles by next season. The Blue Jays say they will do the same at their spring training ballpark in Florida, as well.

And here's a look at teams that have said they will be extending their netting. The White Sox and Nationals are highlighted there because they are the only two teams that have already done so this season.

And speaking of the Blue Jays, check out how happy this young fan was to get an autograph by the team's budding star, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. That is pretty awesome right there. I haven't been that happy since McDonald's announced they were bringing back the McRib.

And finally, you can now own Tom Brady and Gisele's house. The couple putting their Massachusetts home on the market for just under $40 million. Brady and Gisele, they custom-built the home after buying the lot in 2013. It's only five bedrooms, but does have a gym, spa, yoga studio, and, of course, an office that Tom Brady used quite a bit to watch a game video.

Pretty cool, right, to sit where Tom Brady did, watching video?


SCHOLES: I'm just $39.5 million short. Maybe we could pool our money together --

ROMANS: I'm the full $40 million short, I'm for the full $40 million short of that.

Why is he moving? It looks like a very nice house.

RIPLEY: It's a lovely house, with the yoga studio to boot. I mean, you can't beat it.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: President Trump heads to Dayton and then El Paso in a matter of hours. Critics question whether his visit will help the healing.

More from both communities, next.