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GOP Looking For A Way Ahead On Gun Violence; Democratic Presidential Candidates Target Iowa State Fair; New Protests In Hong Kong. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 9, 2019 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:55] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Pressure mounting on Republicans to do something about gun violence after two mass shootings.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: A man with a rifle, wearing body armor, causes a scare at a Walmart in Missouri.

BRIGGS: Protesters swarm Hong Kong's airport for a demonstration that could last for days.

KOSIK: Twenty-one of the Democrats running for president head to Iowa with the first 2020 caucuses now less than six months away. We'll be there before you know it.

BRIGGS: Yes, it's finally coming.

KOSIK: Welcome back to EARLY START. Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: Good morning. Good morning, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs -- 5:31 Eastern time. Happy Friday.

We start in the nation's capital. Republicans in Washington searching for a path forward to address gun violence. On one side, they face pressure to take action in the wake of the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. On the other side, there is strong opposition from the National Rifle Association.

President Trump, at the moment, seems inclined to act.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a great appetite and I mean a very strong appetite for background checks, and I think we can bring up background checks like we've never had before.


BRIGGS: A source telling CNN NRA president Wayne LaPierre has spoken with the president multiple times over the last two days. The source says LaPierre made clear he thinks Trump's red state supporters oppose stricter background checks.

In the past, Trump has said he was open to expanding background checks only to back down under pressure.

KOSIK: Meantime, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says gun violence legislation will be, quote, "front and center" when the Senate returns from summer recess. But he told a Kentucky radio show he will not call senators back early to deal with gun safety, as Democrats are demanding.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): If we did that, we'd just have people scoring points and nothing would happen. There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on. If we do it prematurely, it will just be another frustrating experience for all of us and for the public.


KOSIK: The top Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, each spoke to the president Thursday. They urged him to push for a Senate vote on a universal background check bill already passed by the House.

BRIGGS: President Trump proving once again that crowd size matters an awful lot to him. During a visit to an El Paso hospital on Wednesday, the president praised the medical staff for their response in the massacre. Then, he quickly pivoted to a familiar refrain that was all caught on a cell phone camera.


TRUMP: I was here three months ago. We made a speech and we had a -- what was the name of the arena? That place was packed, right? That was some crowd and we had twice the number outside.

And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot and they said his crowd was wonderful.

Yes, I just made a speech here about three months ago and we could have sold it out four times, so I have a good feeling. You know that, right?


BRIGGS: White House officials say they blocked reporters and cameras from entering the hospital out of respect for patient privacy. According to a source, the president later lashed out at them for keeping the media out, complaining he wasn't getting enough credit for his visit.

KOSIK: Allen, Texas police now confirming a CNN report that the mother of suspected El Paso gunman Patrick Crusius called them weeks before the massacre. According to authorities, she was concerned about her son owning an AK-style weapon, but based on what she told them, no action could be taken.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SGT. JON FELTY, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, ALLEN POLICE DEPARTMENT: The information that the caller relayed did not warrant any additional enforcement activity because there was never a mention made of concern for anybody other than that of her son.

And the call taker -- the public safety officer did, on two occasions, inquire is this person suicidal or have they made threats towards any other persons. And to each, the -- it was indicated that they had not.


[05:35:14] KOSIK: Allen, Texas police say it is not unusual to receive firearm inquiries from parents about children who are over the age of 21.

BRIGGS: An armed man in his 20s arrested for causing a panic at a Walmart in Missouri. Police responded to an active shooter call Thursday afternoon at a Walmart in Springfield.

There were no shots fired and no one was injured, but investigators say the suspect was heavily armed and wearing body armor and military fatigues as he recorded himself walking through the store.


LT. MIKE LUCAS, SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI POLICE DEPARTMENT: His intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business here. In fact, he's lucky he's alive still, to be honest.


BRIGGS: The suspect was detained by an armed off-duty fireman until officers arrived and took him into custody. Police are still trying to determine his motive.

KOSIK: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke crossing the border from Texas into Mexico to personally deliver his condolences to the family of one El Paso shooting victim. O'Rourke attending the funeral at Juarez on Thursday.

In all, eight Mexican nationals were killed in the mass shooting.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The only way to truly demonstrate how closely-knit these communities are is for me to walk over and be with those who have suffered and to give my condolences to the people of Juarez in Juarez.

So, this just feels like the right thing to do and it feels very much like what we've always done in this binational community, so grateful that I get the chance to do that.


KOSIK: O'Rourke also met with local and state officials in Juarez to reinforce the shared strength of their community.

Just about every Democrat running for president in 2020 will visit Iowa over the next couple of days. Pressing the flesh at the Iowa State Fair certainly not a requirement, but skipping the hallowed fairgrounds and a chance to pontificate from a soapbox is, you know, like eating corn on the cob without butter and salt, something Dave would never, ever do.

BRIGGS: Not ever.

KOSIK: We get more now from CNN's Arlette Saenz.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Dave and Alison, the Iowa State Fair is a rite of passage for presidential hopefuls.

And on the first day of the fair, former vice president Joe Biden and Montana governor Steve Bullock made their pitch to Iowans, shaking hands and giving speeches at the soapbox. Take a listen to what they had to say.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's so many opportunities we have to change things in this country.

GOV. STEVEN BULLOCK (D-MT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can win this by -- as long as we're not chasing every one of Trump's tweets.

SAENZ: Now, Joe Biden was also asked if President Trump is a white supremacist, a label that's been given to the president by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Here's what Biden had to say.

BIDEN: I believe everything the president says and has done encourages white supremacists and I'm not sure there's much of a distinction. As a matter of fact, it may be even worse. If you noticed, the one time he used the word white supremacy, it was -- you know, it was not what -- talk about sleepy, he was awful sleepy in the way in which he talked about it.

SAENZ: Biden's appearance at the State Fair comes as a new poll shows that Biden is still leading in the state with 28 percent support among likely Democratic caucusgoers, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 19 percent, whose poll numbers have been rising.

Now, while Biden had the spotlight at the fair on the first day, his competition is close behind him. Between now and Sunday, 18 other Democratic candidates will hit the fairgrounds to talk to voters and maybe even sample some fried food -- Dave and Alison.


BRIGGS: Arlette, thanks.

You've always got to be careful what fried food it is you eat in these moments. It could be a bad --

KOSIK: You never know what it does -- oh.

BRIGGS: Well, a bad photo op can really -- not worry about the tummy, Alison.

All right, let's bring in "Daily Beast" Washington bureau chief, Jackie Kucinich. She is a CNN political analyst. Good to see you, Jackie --

KOSIK: Good morning.

BRIGGS: -- and Happy Friday.


BRIGGS: All right, let's talk about the likelihood of any legislation happening to address gun violence. And, Mitch McConnell, on a Kentucky radio show, said this.


MCCONNELL: There's also been some discussion about background checks. That's an issue that's been around for a while. There's a lot of support for that and there's a bipartisan bill in the Senate -- Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a Republican, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat. So those are two items that, for sure, will be front and center as we see what we can come together on and pass.


BRIGGS: OK, Jackie, but he said, as we played earlier, that he will not pull Republicans back from recess. That means we've got a month --


BRIGGS: -- before we begin any debate on legislation.

I'm skeptical anything has any chance with the obvious caveat that nothing happened after Sandy Hook, nothing happened after Parkland or Vegas.

What say you?

KUCINICH: So, in this measure that he was talking about, the Manchin- Toomey bill, which would extend background checks in cases of Internet sales, at gun shows, but exempt a lot of private sales, it's already failed twice in the Senate -- it was filibustered. So, it's unclear if the political will is there.

[05:40:13] And you're absolutely right, urgency does matter. How fast these things get done does matter.

Remember, after Parkland, Rick Scott signed legislation into law -- you know, maybe not even a month after that shooting happened.

So the urgency and that push and the momentum, particularly when it comes to this issue, does drive it.

But, you know, another factor here is President Trump. If President Trump makes this a priority and pushes Republicans and gives them cover on an issue, be it these red flag laws, which is another thing that's being discussed by Sen. Graham.

BRIGGS: By Lindsey Graham, yes.

KUCINICH: Yes, exactly, and Sen. Blumenthal, that would grant states money to implement red flag laws. That's also something that's being discussed.

But the president is a big factor here. It can't be -- that's indisputable.

KOSIK: Yes, but the question is do you see any follow-through there. Can he really --


KOSIK: Can he really turn the tide there?

You know, you talk about --


KOSIK: -- momentum, Dave -- about seizing the moment. You know, Congress obviously not coming back into session.

Representative Tim Ryan sort of taking the reins and having this caravan --


KOSIK: -- this caravan of gun control advocates go through Mitch McConnell's hometown.

Here's what he said.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These guys try to slow- walk things so they throw a little shiny object up -- and I think they know I'm talking to you, Anderson -- but they put these shiny objects up and they get everybody distracted on them, and so that takes the focus off the real thing. And they hope to slow-walk it until the news cycle changes. And that's what we cannot let happen this time.


KOSIK: OK. Now, he is running for president, so how much of this is really a photo op versus really something could get done by having this caravan happen?

KUCINICH: I don't want to question the congressman's motives. I'm sure he feels very passionately about this -- BRIGGS: Yes.

KUCINICH: -- particularly because of the shooting happening in Dayton, Ohio. But, it -- I don't know how much that particularly -- that particular caravan is going to affect things.

That said, political will is a funny thing. Sometimes -- again, if the president pushes this and makes it a priority something will probably get done because Republicans will feel emboldened to do that.

But in the past, there's a lot of reasons for skepticism and pessimism on this issue, in particular. And the hope is that we don't have to have this conversation again in another couple of months. But we -- it's kind of been rinse-repeat situation and it's just a shame.

BRIGGS: Some polling out shows that the momentum certainly is on the side of background checks. Nationally --


BRIGGS: -- 79 percent of Democrats. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans is the really shocking number there to see support that legislation that got out of the House.

Is that where the momentum is on the side of the Republicans? And, Jackie, in your estimation, is it really the NRA or is it also the voters in a lot of these states that want no part of any gun legislation?

KUCINICH: You know -- so the thing is about the NRA -- a lot of people talk about the NRA money and that is --


KUCINICH: -- that's a piece of it.

But it also has to do with their grassroots efforts. They are able to mobilize people, which is why you've seen groups like "Every Town for Gun Safety," Congresswoman Giffords' group, really try to match them and build momentum on the other side of the issue because for the longest time, people didn't vote based on wanting more gun regulations.

But the other side of the issue when you're a Second Amendment person, you -- that people are single-issue voters on that issue.

BRIGGS: Right.

KUCINICH: So the fact that the other side has been mobilizing as much, that remains to be seen. But it -- in the last -- in the last couple of years since Sandy Hook, you have seen momentum on the other side, as well, being able to build a grassroots network to mobilize voters.

KOSIK: Yes, but we're seeing voters mobilize, we're seeing --


KOSIK: -- presidential candidates -- just everybody saying action's got to happen.


KOSIK: In -- after Sandy Hook, everybody thought OK, this is it. We're going to take action on gun control.

What is it going to take for that action to actually happen?

KUCINICH: So, Sen. Manchin, the other day, had a conference call with reporters and one of the things he said about why the bill has failed in the past was that Republicans were skeptical that -- because President Obama was in office that if they passed something that would extend background checks and perhaps provide more gun control that the president extend it even more and do more to roll back gun rights.

Now that there's a Republican president in office, Sen. Manchin said perhaps that political will will be there. Never mind that that wouldn't have been possible under Obama in terms of taking legislation and then making it into something else.

[05:45:03] That said, the fact that that hesitance is no longer there because there's a Republican president, perhaps there -- perhaps something could be done. But what that is --


KUCINICH: -- is an open question, and what is also put into that bill that might turn off Democrats. And all of these details really do matter.

BRIGGS: To your point, all about the president's leadership on this one.


BRIGGS: If he wanted to do something, we know he does it with the stroke of a pen. Taking executive action is something he has reportedly asked about, but time will tell when the NRA applies the pressure.

KUCINICH: You know, and --

BRIGGS: Go ahead.

KUCINICH: -- consistency does matter here.


KUCINICH: We've seen the president say he'll support any number of things. Remember that press conference he had in February where he seemed to talk about an assault weapons ban and immediately --

BRIGGS: Right. KUCINICH: -- rolled back that -- those comments.

So what the president consistently supports will also be -- will be important when it comes to this debate.

BRIGGS: There's a glimmer of hope, though, it might be that he wants to do something that President Obama could not do. That is his biggest motivator beyond anything we've ever seen so perhaps, that is a glimmer of light for Democrats.

KOSIK: Maybe we'll see that follow through.


BRIGGS: Jackie, good to see you. Have a great weekend.

KOSIK: Thanks, Jackie.

BRIGGS: Thanks.

KUCINICH: Thanks, guys.

BRIGGS: All right, take a look now at Hong Kong's airport. More on this growing crowd of protesters and their mission, next.


[05:50:29] BRIGGS: A new wave of protests underway in Hong Kong. This time, pro-democracy demonstrators are targeting the airport hoping to win over international support from passengers arriving in the city. This, as the U.S. issues a travel warning due to Hong Kong's ongoing and sometimes violent protests.

Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman live there with the latest. Ben, good morning.


We've moved the location since I last spoke to you just to give you an idea of how many people are here. This is the arrivals hall in Hong Kong International Airport, the eighth-busiest airport in the world.

But despite the presence of thousands of people protesting in favor of democracy here, the operations of the airport have not been interfered with. The police are not having any trouble with these protesters, many of whom are handing out pamphlets explaining why -- in English, Japanese, Korean, and other languages -- why they are protesting and what their demands are.

But, of course, this is just the beginning for this weekend. This is the 10th consecutive weekend where these protests have been taking place. And, Dave, the expectation is that this weekend we will see more protests as well -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Ben Wedeman live there, 5:51 p.m. in Hong Kong. Thanks, Ben. KOSIK: OK, let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

First, let's take a look at markets around the world. It looks like Asian markets fell overnight as renewed trade fears sent tech stocks plunging. European markets, they've opened slightly lower.

And on Wall Street, it looks like the negativity is spilling into futures as we see them in the red before the opening bell.

On Thursday, stocks finished higher, though. The Dow closed 375 points higher. The S&P 500 finishing just below -- finishing up just below two percent. The Nasdaq ended in the green as well.

Uber burned through a staggering amount of money in the second quarter. The rideshare company said it lost $5.2 billion, its biggest quarterly loss ever. The loss was fueled mostly by expenses related to going public in May.

Even without those charges, it still lost about $1.3 billion during the quarter. That's a 50 percent spike from last year.

Ever since going public, Uber has struggled to win over investors. They're concerned about its history of bleeding money and its recent slowing growth in the face of stiff competition from Lyft and services abroad.

Oh, no, you can't escape the impossible burger craze. Foodservice company Sodexo announcing the plant-based substitute will make its way to 1,500 colleges, corporate cafeterias, and hospitals in two weeks.

The news coming the same day Burger King started selling its Impossible Whopper nationwide.

And the fake meat movement making some real money here. Retails sales of plant-based foods have grown 11 percent in the past year. Barclays predicts the alternative meat sector could reach -- get this -- about $140 billion over the next decade. That's about 10 percent of the global meat industry.


KOSIK: This is a real craze. I thought it was just going to be temporary but it's really catching on. The impossible burger tastes good.

BRIGGS: Yes, it looks good, too. I'm going to try that.

KOSIK: It smells like a real burger, too.

BRIGGS: All right.

Ahead, they built it. Now, 30 years later, the White Sox are coming for real. A Major League match-up at the Field of Dreams, next.


[05:58:31] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

"FIELD OF DREAMS": If you build it, he will come.


BRIGGS: Thirty years after that iconic movie, they will come. Yankees and White Sox will play an official game next season on the Field of Dreams in Iowa from that 1989 classic.

An 8,000-seat temporary stadium will be built there just in time for the game in August. Fans will walk on path through the cornfield into the ballpark. It should be great.

KOSIK: The Chicago Cubs Minor League team in Des Moines will become the Iowa Caucuses for one game only on August 30th. Check out the jerseys. I know Dave is trying to get one here. A great merch opportunity for sure.

BRIGGS: Yes, I like that lid, man. That is a good looking cap -- the Caucuses. OK, good stuff.

KOSIK: Yes -- all right.

Well, thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik. Have a great weekend.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Here's "NEW DAY".


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: McConnell wants lawmakers to consider paths forward while they are on this recess.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): We can't even get the bill that was passed by the House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Constituents of mine are telling me that they're afraid to take their kids to the supermarket. We don't have to live this way.

MIKE HURST, U.S. ATTORNEY: While we are a nation of immigrants, we are first and foremost a nation of laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those that weren't caught in the raids are afraid to go outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need my dad. He's not a criminal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump has this underlying strategy of inflicting trauma on children. That is just an evil policy that we need to change.


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 Friday, August ninth. It's 6:00 here in New York this morning.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me in New York for the first time this week.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you in person this morning.

BERMAN: Quite a week it has been.