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President Trump To Visit Dayton And El Paso Today; Dayton Gunman Spent Time In Bar Before Rampage; State Of The U.S.-China Trade War. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 7, 2019 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:08] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: And 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.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Just hours from now, President Trump heads to Dayton and El Paso. The question this morning, how will he be received?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: CNN with exclusive new video of what the Dayton gunman was doing in a bar just hours before the deadly attack.

RIPLEY: No end in sight to the U.S.-China trade war. With both sides dug in, a deal could be more than a year away.

Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 5:30 here in New York. I'm Will Ripley.

ROMANS: Nice to have you here. Nice to see you.

RIPLEY: Thanks.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans, 31 minutes past the hour.

Let's begin with the president's travels today. He will go 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, followed by El Paso, Texas later this afternoon.

Some leaders in the grief-stricken cities say the president will not fill his traditional role as consoler in chief. They say his presence will open deepen divisions instead of helping people heal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WHALEY: He is the President of the United States and as -- he has an official capacity as president and official capacity of mayor, I will greet him here. And look, I know that he's made this bed and he's got to lie in it. He hasn't -- 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.


ROMANS: In El Paso, the mayor has already made clear he's welcoming the president because that's his job.

And, El Paso's representative in Congress, Veronica Escobar, outright declined an invitation to join the president on his visit.


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

REPORTER: So you need to hear this president apologize --


REPORTER: -- for the things he's said.

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

REPORTER: And if he doesn't?

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


ROMANS: Escobar says she refuses to be what she calls an accessory to Trump's visit.

RIPLEY: On the Dayton attack, we have new information this morning -- also, exclusive new video that CNN has obtained. This is 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 just runs right in. He's in a t-shirt, shorts, sneakers. The tactical vest and a mask that he wears later nowhere to be seen.

He walks into Blind Bob's bar, he's carded, he gets 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 then he leaves. The 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 is 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 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 and talk 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 is some evidence that's been sort of come to light about the violent ideologies that the gunman sort of was researching -- looking into before this attack. And so now, the FBI is part of this investigation.

[05:35:01] 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, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: 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 find -- try to find out why he did this and also if anybody else knew about this or was involved with this.

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 say they are still trying answer.

Number one is that -- more about that 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?

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


ROMANS: All right, Brynn. Thank you so much for that.

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 condone or accept 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 the rest of our lives when we will forget each and every victim of this senseless tragedy."

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

And, Rosa, you've been talking with people, mourning with people. What are they telling you about the feeling in that town right now and the emotions they have as the president is set to arrive later this afternoon?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there are mixed emotions and the pain can be felt in this community, Christine. But instead of telling you about what individuals here in El Paso are feeling and what they're saying, let's have them say it in their own words. Take a listen.


ZAHNDRA LUNA, RESIDENT, EL PASO, TEXAS: On a human level, I think that President Trump should respect this mourning period.

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


HERNANDEZ: You don't -- you don't do that. You know what I mean?


HERNANDEZ: Like, not right now. You know what I mean?


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


FLORES: Now, these two individuals point out that this community does need to heal and that everyone is welcome in El Paso. And they say that this is a loving community that welcomes just about everybody and that they don't have a choice.

That they know that President Trump will be visiting today. They just hope that he comes from a place of love, from a place of compassion, from a place of empathy -- Christine.

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

RIPLEY: Let's bring in CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood now, who is live in Washington.

Sarah, one of the biggest critics of President Trump's visit to El Paso is Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic presidential candidate. And the president, overnight, getting into kind of a Twitter war, basically telling Beto to be quiet.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, and President Trump is facing resistance for some of these visits to Dayton and El Paso. As we just heard there, there are Democratic lawmakers who are refusing to meet with President Trump because Trump, so far, has declined to acknowledge the role that his own divisive rhetoric might have played in allowing these kinds of white supremacist ideologies to flourish.

But this was always going to be a really tough situation for President Trump, right?


WESTWOOD: He was likely going to take criticism no matter what he did. If he refused to go out and visit these places and pay his respects to those who lost lives, he was likely going to face criticism. And now, he is facing criticism for going too soon and perhaps distracting -- creating a distraction from these communities that are trying to heal.

And obviously, President Trump's tone on these visits is going to be very --


WESTWOOD: -- heavily scrutinized. He's not going to have teleprompters around. He's going to be on the move. So there are a lot of chances for him to make impromptu remarks here.

ROMANS: He's going to have to listen -- he's going to have to listen is what the bottom line is.

You know, the president also sort of complaining on his Twitter feed that no one blamed Barack Obama for Sandy Hook. And a lot of folks saying, yes, that's right.

RIPLEY: Right, that's the point.

ROMANS: That's President Obama -- that's exactly the point. President Obama didn't have that history of such charged language.

And, you know, we do -- we do have, in recent memory, bipartisan warning. I mean, in 2016, there was an ambush on Dallas police officers, you

might recall. President Obama was there, President Bush was there, and together, the country mourned together. And I think it was a powerful image in 2016.

[05:40:01] Here you are -- fast-forward three years and you've got some folks in these towns who don't want their president to come.

WESTWOOD: That's right, and it goes to this link that many critics have drawn between the divisive rhetoric that President Trump has said, particularly when it comes to issues of race. And the fact that the shooter in El Paso had a race-based ideology that was rooted in violence and is a direct link to why authorities say that he committed this act in that Walmart. So that is why President Trump is coming under renewed scrutiny.

You'll recall that in the weeks leading up to the shootings, he had engaged in some very racially-divisive rhetoric.

And President Trump, though he has condemned white supremacy, he has not acknowledged the role that his own rhetoric has played in this. He has, so far, showed little signs that he is going to strike a more unifying tone in the months ahead. And so, that has given critics some --


WESTWOOD: -- cause for concern as he heads to these two cities.

RIPLEY: What do you make of these protests last night outside Mitch McConnell's office? I mean, these protesters are demanding a vote on background checks in the Senate. It already passed the House.

Is the pressure mounting, and any sign that he might buckle?

WESTWOOD: Democrats are certainly putting pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring Congress back.

But Democrats, themselves, they are divided about how they want to approach this. You do have a faction within the House Democratic Caucus that wants the House to call off its 6-week recess -- come back and vote on new gun legislation. Perhaps something like a new assault weapons ban.

But then, you have another faction of the House Democratic Caucus that wants to keep the focus on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's inaction on the fact that the Senate has, so far, no moved on that background check legislation that the House passed in February. They want to keep the pressure on McConnell, where they think it should be, and not bring any attention back to the House.

So those Democrats, including House majority whip James Clyburn, don't want to bring Congress back early. So they're still working that out.

Republicans, though, not showing signs of coming back early to move on that background check legislation, which President Trump, by the way, has not been calling for.

ROMANS: Let's talk about what the polls are telling us about this. You know, "USA Today" poll -- just August fifth and sixth.

Seventy-nine percent of Democrats think increased background checks -- the bill already passed by the House -- they think the Senate should pass that. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans, 53 percent of Independents.

It seems like there is a disconnect, Sarah, as there -- as there has been for some time between what people think -- real people think -- and sort of the intransigence in Washington.


WESTWOOD: Yes, that's right. And that's part of why gun control advocates find this so frustrating is that public opinion is lined up behind a lot of these commonsense solutions, like universal background checks, like closing some of the loopholes when it comes to gun sales -- gun transfers between private individuals. And yet, Congress -- Republicans have consistently shown an unwillingness to take up that kind of legislation despite its broad public backing.

So there's been a lot of focus on the NRA and its role in keeping Republicans in line. But this is going to be very interesting moving forward because this renewed momentum for gun control measures is coinciding with a period of weakness and turmoil for the NRA -- perhaps historic levels of chaos within the ranks of the nation's largest gun lobby and gun organization.

So that is going to be an interesting confluence of events in terms of moving forward with these gun control measures that people have long demanded --


WESTWOOD: -- of Congress.

ROMANS: Sarah Westwood, CNN White House reporter. Nice to see you bright and early this morning. Thank you.

RIPLEY: A related programming note. CNN's Chris Cuomo will moderate a live town hall -- "AMERICA UNDER ASSAULT: THE GUN CRISIS". That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

ROMANS: All right.

American farmers are hurting right now, yet the White House refuses to acknowledge that a trade war is bad for America. We'll discuss, next.


[05:48:03] ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

A look at markets around the world and you can see trying to find their footing in what has turned out to be kind of an entrenched trade war. Hong Kong up just a little bit and stabilizing those --

RIPLEY: Right.

ROMANS: -- protests there on the streets. That's been a problem for the Hang Seng. European markets opening up slightly here.

The People's Bank of China set the yuan at a 6.9996 Wednesday, just a touch away from the seven to one dollar level -- a psychologically important benchmark on Wall Street.

Looking at futures here, they're up a bit, rebounding again, building on yesterday's rebound after Monday's awful performance.

The Dow closed up 313 points. That snaps a 5-day losing street. The S&P 500 finished one percent higher. So did the Nasdaq.

Joining us now, "CNN Business" lead writer Matt Egan. Good morning, here.

You know, the big buzz the last couple of days is this Goldman Sachs warning that it looks like you're going to just assume the trade war lasts until the -- until the next election. And the administration really out there in full force trying to -- trying to insist that the trade war is not going to damage the U.S. economy.

Listen to Larry Kudlow yesterday.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The U.S. economy is very strong. The rest of the world is not.

REPORTER: The rest of the world affects the U.S. economy, though.

KUDLOW: Right. It does, but we're the -- we're the engine that makes it go and frankly, I see no signs.

They're in poor shape economically. We're in great shape economically. And frankly, the biggest loser is China right now.


ROMANS: You say wherever you look in markets around the world you just see evidence of the trade war.

MATT EGAN, LEAD WRITER, "CNN BUSINESS": Yes, that's right. Markets are still clearly very jittery and we're seeing that overnight, right? We see gold prices go above $1,500 an ounce for the first time since 2013.


EGAN: That is a reflection of worries about the global economy but also, the U.S. economy and kind of this race to the bottom, like global central banks to try to boost growth. [05:50:01] Just in the last few hours, we saw India cut rates, New Zealand cut rates, Thailand cut rates. All of this is about trade tensions and they all lowered rates more than people expected.

Oil prices, as well.

ROMANS: Right.

EGAN: Global -- the brand oil prices fell into a bear market, joining U.S. oil prices. And so, again, all of this is a reflection of worries about the trade war.

RIPLEY: If this does go on until the election and beyond, how big is the risk for a global recession?

EGAN: I think that it's clear that the risk of a global recession has risen significantly just in the past week. I mean, markets were not anticipating this significant escalation of trade tensions and there was already a slowdown going on.

I mean, there was a slowdown in manufacturing --


EGAN: -- even before all of these tariffs came into place. And so, any time there's a slowdown it makes the economy more vulnerable to a recession. And so, I think that we're seeing investors and really, central banks around the world kind of react to all of this.

ROMANS: Again, the tone from the White House, though, is completely different. It's that everything is great, it could be even better. And when you find any kind of criticism it's about the Fed.

Peter Navarro is a noted trade hawk in the president's inner circle. This is what he said yesterday.


PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: And the economy is just solid as a rock.

Here's what I think we need for the next leg to get past 30,000 on the Dow.

First of all, we need USMCA -- the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement passed by the end of September or early October. That's going to give us a really nice boost in growth and bring jobs back home here.

The second thing -- and this is so important, Sandra -- the Federal Reserve, before the end of the year, has to lower interest rates by at least another 75 basis points.


ROMANS: At least another 75 basis points. Of course, it's so ironic is the president's trade war is crimping global growth and causing uncertainty in the outlook. And so, they want to lower interest rates to cushion against his own trade war.

EGAN: Right. Well, there is -- there is also a limit to how much you can lower interest rates.

ROMANS: Right.

EGAN: I mean, rates are already very low. The Fed has already done this really dramatic pivot from hawkish to dovish and that has already boosted financial markets. It's already lowered mortgage rates --

ROMANS: Right.

EGAN: -- significantly. And there is a limit on all of this.

I mean, we're seeing this in Europe and Japan where they've already gone in negative rates, but they're also hurting the banking system there.

The other thing to note, of course, is we really necessarily shouldn't be managing to the Dow. I mean, getting the Dow --

ROMANS: I know.

EGAN: -- to 30,000 -- I don't know if that's a great long-term way of managing the economy.

ROMANS: The cheerleading on the Dow -- the president does it, too, and I've never seen that, ever, in covering markets.

RIPLEY: But then, the question is do they -- have they run out of ammo before things actually go downhill?

EGAN: Right, and that is a real concern.

Now, the Fed, because it has raised interest rates, much to President Trump's ire -- they do have more room to cut --


EGAN: -- than most of the other global central banks. So they do have more ammo.

They can also buy more assets and that could boost the balance sheet, although that's controversial as well. So they do have some room to lower rates.

But listen, there's $15 trillion of negative yielding --


EGAN: -- bonds around the world. I mean, there were none before 2008. I mean --


EGAN: -- we're in uncharted territory. ROMANS: Absolutely.

And, you know, the other thing about cheerleading about the Dow or saying hey -- the president does it all the time -- we could be 10,000 points higher or whatever --


ROMANS: -- 5,000 points higher.

The economy is not the Dow. The economy is real people who work, you know.

RIPLEY: It's a dangerous benchmark.

ROMANS: All right, thanks. Matt Egan, nice to see you.

We'll be right back.


[05:57:49] ROMANS: All right. "NEW DAY" is live in El Paso and Dayton in just one minute.

We leave you this morning with the words of best-selling author Toni Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize.

RIPLEY: Morrison died Monday night at the age of 88. She's being remembered for her seminal novels on the black experience in America, particularly the experience of black women. Books like "Beloved", "Song of Solomon" and "Sula".

During a 1993 PBS interview, Morrison explained why she considered racism a moral issue. Those words, powerful then, even more powerful today.


TONI MORRISON, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER: But if the racist white person -- I don't mean the person who is examining his consciousness and so on -- doesn't understand that he or she is also a race that's also constructed, it's also made and also has some kind of serviceability.

But when you take it away, I take your race away and there you are all strung out. And all you got is your little self, and what is that?

What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong?

Are you still smart? Do you still like yourself? I mean, these are the questions.

If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump laying low as he prepared to head to Ohio and Texas.

WHALEY: He's made this bed and he's got to lie in it. His rhetoric has been painful for many in our community.

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: What he wants to do is go to these communities and grieve with them, pray with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitch McConnell wants an actual outcome, not political grandstanding. There needs to be bipartisan support.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is unacceptable. We need leadership in the U.S. Senate. I don't know what Republicans are waiting for.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, August seventh. It's 6:00 in the East, 4:00 a.m. here in El Paso, Texas.

Alisyn is off. I'm joined this morning by Erica Hill, who is in Dayton, Ohio.

And this morning, these.