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Did Immigration Official Mean Lady Liberty Welcomes Only Europeans? Trump: GOP Lawmakers Support Background Checks; China Approaching Tipping Point On Hong Kong? Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 14, 2019 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:12] WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Your tired, poor, homeless, huddled masses are welcome, but only from Europe. A top U.S. immigration official revises Lady Liberty's poem.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats refusing to give up the fight for tougher gun laws as a new time line of the Dayton, Ohio massacre shows 26 people shot in just 32 seconds.

RIPLEY: Holiday shopping is months away but it's close enough for President Trump to put a pause on his tariff battle with China.

KOSIK: And the NFL and Jay-Z are teaming up on a social justice campaign.

Good morning and welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

RIPLEY: I'm Will Ripley. It's 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

And we begin with a top U.S. immigration official seeming to suggest that European immigrants are the only ones welcome in the United States. This all began on Tuesday morning.

Listen to Ken Cuccinelli. He's the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and yet he, of all people, is taking liberties with the iconic Statue of Liberty poem in this interview with NPR.


RACHEL MARTIN, HOST, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO "MORNING EDITION": Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus' words etched on the Statue of Liberty -- "Give me your tired, your poor" -- are also part of the American ethos?

KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KOSIK: Those comments came a day after the White House reinterpreted an 1882 Public Charge rule to limit legal immigration by denying green cards to people who require public assistance.

Last night, CNN's Erin Burnett -- she tried to get Cuccinelli to explain his unusual take on Lady Liberty's poem.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": So obviously, the actual poem is quite different. I'm going to read it.

CUCCINELLI: Right. I was answering a question. I wasn't writing poetry, Erin. Don't change the facts.

BURNETT: I'm not changing the facts. I'm just saying --

CUCCINELLI: You're twisting this like everybody else on the left has done all day today.

BURNETT: No, no, no, no, no -- no, no, because I think it's important.

CUCCINELLI: Of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class.


KOSIK: OK. So for the record, a Cato Institute study shows in some cases, it's U.S. citizens who eat up more public resources than immigrants. That includes Medicare and Social Security.

RIPLEY: There's new video this morning from the Dayton massacre, but the surveillance footage and even the detailed time line released by police really don't answer two crucial questions -- why did it happen and how to stop something like it from happening again.

The new images show gunman Connor Betts. He starts his evening without his weapon, visiting Blind Bob's bar with his sister and a friend -- and then later, another bar by himself. Eventually, he returns to his car, even passing a police vehicle, and that's where he changes into body armor and gets a backpack weighed down with an assault-style rifle.

KOSIK: He returns to Blind Bob's and opens fire and from multiple angles we see the crowd scramble for cover. Police respond immediately, killing the gunman.

In just 32 seconds, Betts fired 41 shots, killing nine people and injuring another 17. One of the dead, his own sister. Police remain divided though on whether he intended to kill her.


CHIEF RICHARD BIEHL, DAYTON, OHIO POLICE DEPARTMENT: A lot of us have been involved in this dialogue. I mean, it's -- you know, we all have been reviewing this evidence, including the homicide detectives who are deeply immersed in this.

We have radically different views in that regard. And if we can't agree on the interpretation of the evidence where some are saying absolutely not -- he was not intentional and some say no, he had to be -- I would say it's inconclusive.


KOSIK: We still don't know the gunman's motive but police say their investigation does show he was obsessed with violence.

RIPLEY: Regardless of the motive of a clearly deranged individual, the most important question this morning -- where is Congress on efforts to do something -- anything -- about the gun epidemic -- the gun violence epidemic? A growing number of Americans are now demanding action.

President Trump claimed on Tuesday that many Republicans support strengthening background checks.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am convinced that Mitch wants to do something. I've spoken to Mitch McConnell. He's a good man.

He wants to do something. He wants to do it, I think, very strongly. He wants to do background checks -- and I do, too -- and I think a lot of Republicans do.


RIPLEY: Do they, really, because that view seems to conflict with what sources say GOP lawmakers are actually telling the president in private?

Remember, after the Parkland massacre, the president said that he wanted to expand background checks and then absolutely nothing happened.

Congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly reports.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Will and Alison, it's been less than two weeks since two mass shootings left 31 people dead, and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to ramp up the pressure -- ramp up the pressure on the Republican-led Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and President Trump to do something legislatively.

[05:35:11] Their primary push at this point in time, try and get the United States Senate to come back to Washington from their 5-week recess and consider and vote on a House-passed bill to expand background checks.

Here's the rub. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear that won't happen, at least bringing lawmakers back from recess.

What he has said instead is that lawmakers -- he has tasked lawmakers -- three chairmen, specifically -- to work on bipartisan proposals over the course of the next couple of weeks and then considered whether there is something to debate in September.

That is not good enough for Democrats. Take a listen to what House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had to say.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): And I think the American people need to be outraged by that refusal to bring a bill supported by over 90 percent of the American people to the floor for consideration. Not to bring it to the floor is an abdication of his responsibility.

MATTINGLY: Now, the real question is what could actually pass a Republican-led Senate and a Democrat-led House and be signed into law by President Trump?

Keep in mind, President Trump has an extremely close relationship with the very powerful NRA and the NRA has made clear their position -- kind of a general no to any new gun laws that would be considered gun control -- has not shifted.

I'm also told on Capitol Hill there is growing skepticism amongst Republican aides as to whether or not anything substantive can actually get done, whether it be background checks or whether it be something that has bipartisan support -- red flag laws.

There are a lot of concerns when you get into the details and that's the biggest issue here, guys. The details of what could be considered will make or break whether or not anything happens and whether or not anything moves forward -- guys.


RIPLEY: Phil Mattingly, thank you.

Walmart says it removed about 1,000 third-party items from its Web site just in the last week, all apparently violating company policy on glorifying violence.

The retailer sells 75 million online products and while it claims to review them regularly it does admit that it has shifted focus to gun- related items after the El Paso massacre at one of its stores.

Walmart is facing intense pressure right now -- pressure to remove firearms from its brick and mortar locations.

KOSIK: Jeffrey Epstein's suicide has exposed dire and widespread staffing shortages at the Bureau of Prisons. According to the employees' union, its members are overworked, forced to work overtime, and sometimes reassigned to guard duty. The warden at the New York detention center where Epstein died is being temporarily transferred out, and two employees in Epstein's unit are being placed on administrative leave. It's not clear if they were the ones on duty and supposed to be monitoring Epstein at the time of this death.

RIPLEY: There were surveillance cameras with a view of the hallway outside Epstein's cell, but whether they reveal anything or were even operational is really not known right now.

A Board of Prisons After-Action team -- these are the people who investigate major incidents -- well, they're expected to arrive at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan later today.

KOSIK: A delay in the tariff battle with China. The White House announcing some of the tariffs on Chinese goods set to go into effect in September will now be pushed back until December.

Items like cell phones, video games, and toys won't be affected until December 15th. Goods like athletic apparel and sports equipment will still be hit with a 10 percent tariff on September first. But the broader delay means a tariff hike won't happen until after holiday items have been imported into the United States.


TRUMP: ...just in case they might have an impact on people. And what we've done is we've delayed it so that they won't be relevant for the Christmas shopping season.


KOSIK: Hmm, it was the first time Trump has publicly said that consumers would be hurt by tariffs. He has repeatedly claimed that China pays the cost, but U.S. businesses or consumers don't.

The news sent stocks surging. The Dow closed up 373 points, recovering much of the losses from Monday's sell-off. Asian markets rallied as well, fueling hopes for a trade deal between the two countries.

Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, trade representative Robert Lighthizer, and top Chinese negotiator Liu He are expected to pick up negotiations by phone within two weeks.

RIPLEY: Trade just one of the issues on China's plate right now and China may be nearing a tipping point after this, weeks of pro- democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Overnight, some very strong words from the Chinese government condemning what it called horrific, violent crimes at Hong Kong's airport, calling them "terrorist acts."

And now, there's this new video by Chinese state media showing military-run armed police assembling near Hong Kong's border ahead of what are described as large-scale exercises. A senior U.S. official says Beijing is very conscious of the past --

Tiananmen Square -- aware of the public support it lost after that massacre in 1989 -- and they're looking to avoid a repeat.

[05:40:03] So how long will Beijing let these protests go on before stepping in? Will they step in?

Those are the questions that we are asking CNN's Paula Hancocks, who is monitoring the situation at the airport in Hong Kong. And they've now taken steps, Paula, to try to prevent a repeat of the last two days.


You can see behind me people are actually getting on flights now. It's almost business as usual. There are a couple of dozen protesters still here. They stayed the night but they are peaceful.

So what the authorities are doing now is they have checkpoints at the door to the airport -- the entrance -- and they're making sure people have passports and boarding passes and they are in the airport for the right reasons.

We're also seeing a lot more police presence -- a lot heavier police presence in the airport itself, as well. That could well be, though, just to allay fears or concerns any passengers may have.

But it is interesting, the increasing rhetoric we are hearing from China, Will. The fact that they are saying that they were terrorist acts that were happening overnight. They are using this word "terrorism" a lot more recently.

And we also heard from a Trump administration official saying that if China were to decide to intervene, it would probably because -- be because they had lost confidence in the Hong Kong authorities or at least believe Hong Kong authorities were unable to bring the situation under control. Saying it also could be because they believe that the commercial incentives and commercial interests in Hong Kong are being threatened.

Now, that is exactly what has happened over the past few days here at the airport -- that the airport effectively grinding to a standstill. So, commercial interests were certainly being affected there.

We also heard that the U.S. Navy had been rejected permission to dock at the port in Hong Kong, something it's done a number of times before, but that has been denied during these protests -- Will.

RIPLEY: Paula Hancocks live at the Hong Kong International Airport. I am hoping to catch a flight in the coming hours to join you there. Let's hope that it's able to land.

KOSIK: Let's hope you can actually get into the airport --

RIPLEY: Yes. KOSIK: -- and that those demonstrations don't form again and block you from getting in.

RIPLEY: It's a big story there in Hong Kong and we're --

KOSIK: Glad you're going to be covering it.

RIPLEY: It's not over yet.

KOSIK: We'll be watching you.

OK, Boeing's next model jet could be in jeopardy as the company grapples with the grounding of the 737 MAX.


[05:46:32] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGDALENA GOMEZ GREGORIA, FATHER DETAINED BY ICE: My dad didn't do nothing. He's not a criminal. Government, please put your heart and let my parent be free with everybody else.


RIPLEY: No matter what your political view, it is a punch in the gut to see a little girl in that much pain. And now, nearly a week after that tearful video plea from 11-year-old Magdalena, her father has finally been tracked down and we've learned the family was actually able to speak to him for the first time.

Andres Gomez Jorge was one of 680 people detained in workplace raids around Jackson, Mississippi. Magdalena and her mother -- they had no idea for days where he was after the ICE raid. He was thought maybe to be in Louisiana, but then the family learned yesterday he's actually being held at a Mississippi detention center.

Gomez Jorge is expected to appear before a judge later this week.

CNN has learned he does not have a prior criminal conviction. This is noteworthy because the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that he had committed a crime. But he hasn't been convicted of anything.

And it's still unclear if charges will be brought against the people who hired these undocumented workers -- the owners and the management at the Mississippi plants that authorities raided.

KOSIK: OK, let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

First, a look at global markets. Asian markets rallied after the U.S. decided to delay some tariffs on Chinese goods. European markets have opened lower.

On Wall Street, it looks like futures are kind of taking a breather after yesterday's rally as they celebrated the tariff delay. The Dow closing up 373 points, so that was a recovering from Monday's losses. The S&P 500 gained 1 1/2 percent, while the Nasdaq rose two percent.

Give you some perspective here. Stocks have actually performed really well under President Trump, but not quite as well as they did under his recent predecessor. The S&P 500 is up 29 percent since Trump took office, but it was up 46 percent during the same 645-day period at the beginning of President Obama's tenure.

Tuesday's surge is a sign of how heavily the ongoing trade war is weighing on market sentiment.

It's a media reunion for CBS and Viacom. The two companies announcing Tuesday they're merging to become ViacomCBS. The long-awaited deal between the two puts some of the biggest brands, including Showtime, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and Comedy Central all back under one corporate banner.

CBS and Viacom used to be one but split in 2006.

The deal comes during a volatile period in the media industry. Multiple other companies have done similar deals in an attempt to combat challenges from digital rivals. The merger creates a company with more than $28 billion in revenue.

Snapchat not giving up on its smart sunglasses, announcing Spectacles 3 -- that's the latest version of its video-recording sunglasses -- with new 3D effects. It also comes with an eye-popping price tag of $380 -- more than double the cost of its previous version.

This isn't the first time that Snapchat has tried these smart glasses. After the hype of its first Spectacles kind of fizzled out, the company had to take a nearly $40 million write-down for excess inventory.

This time, though, Spectacles 3 -- they're a limited edition product and Snap said it will produce less of them than it has in the past. So they're hoping to be successful.

We'll be right back.


[05:54:25] KOSIK: Welcome back.

The distribution of water to Newark residents at risk of lead contamination is hitting a snag. Officials discovered the bottles were past their sell-by date of May 2019. The New Jersey Health Department says the date is just a guideline and the water is safe to drink.

The EPA ordered the city to give out the water after it was found out water filters weren't working properly.

It's not clear when lead began leaching into the Newark water supply. Lead contamination in water can damage a child's health.

RIPLEY: More bad news for Boeing. The 737 MAX crisis could derail the company's plans to develop a new mid-sized plane, the Boeing 797.

[05:55:08] The global grounding of the 737 MAX fleet following those two crashes that killed nearly 350 people has cost the company billions of dollars.

Several industry experts say it's now 50-50, at best, that Boeing goes ahead with the project. Now, last week, Boeing's CEO told investors that a dedicated team continues to work on the 797. If Boeing does move forward, he hopes to have the 797 in the air by 2025.

KOSIK: OK, take a breath here. Moments before takeoff this is not what a nervous flyer wants to see.

RIPLEY: Or an experienced flyer.

KOSIK: I know.

RIPLEY: When does this happen?

KOSIK: It happened yesterday.

So you're looking at passengers on Delta flight 100 somewhere -- somewhere in all that mist. They grew very anxious Sunday night -- oh, this is Sunday night -- when their Jacksonville to JFK flight experienced heavy fog conditions inside the cabin. This extreme condensation -- it lasted 30 minutes -- it probably seemed like three hours -- as the plane just sat there on the tarmac.


AMANDA GONCALVES, PASSENGER ON DELTA FLIGHT: The flight attendants didn't really make an announcement. They just said that they were practicing for their Halloween haunted house and kind of made a joke of it.


KOSIK: Ha, ha, ha, ha.

RIPLEY: Uh, OK. But actually, what's going on, please?

KOSIK: Local affiliate WCBS reached out to Delta for an explanation and they were told the incident was related to humidity and did not even have to be reported to the FAA.

RIPLEY: But, thank goodness for cell phone cameras, right?

No more burgers or burritos or all-beef franks at one university in London. Now, this is not the United States, folks, because there'd be a riot if they tried to do this here.

KOSIK: Although in California, I think it would fly.

RIPLEY: Oh, maybe California.

Goldsmiths University, though, they are banning all beef products from food outlets on its South London campus. Why are they doing this? Because it's part of the fight against global warming.

Students also are going to have pay 12 cents extra if they want bottled water and single-use plastic cups.

The university's top official says declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words.

And as CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reported just last week here on EARLY START, beef production alone accounts for about six percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

KOSIK: I'm all for those baby steps.


KOSIK: All right, we're going to see some strong storms today across the southern U.S. on top of dangerous heat in the south and west.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has our forecast. Good morning.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Alison and Will, good morning, guys.

Yes, across the Gulf Coast states and also portions of the Southeast here going to have some risk for severe weather once again. And, of course, the big story remaining the excessive heat in place as well.

But notice this afternoon and this evening the thunderstorms begin to blossom into Southern Georgia and eventually into Western Florida. And some of those areas certainly don't need any more rainfall as flood watches have already been issued across the region.

But notice the threat here remains really largely in place for damaging winds and large hail from the Gulf Coast and eventually back toward the Plains states.

But the big story still remains the excessive heat. Upwards of 115 is what it will feel like across portions of the South today.

Look at this -- New Orleans will feel like 110; Jackson, 108. In Atlanta, 101 degrees, the heat index into the afternoon hours.

Of course, not just there -- even into the Southwest, into portions of the Central Valley of California. Heat warnings and also heat advisories in place for highs as warm was 125 into the Desert Southwest -- guys.


RIPLEY: Well, the next Super Bowl halftime show might look a little different. The NFL and Jay-Z's Roc Nation are teaming up for what they're describing as an entertainment and social justice venture.

Roc Nation will start consulting the NFL on the selection of talent for music and entertainment events, including the Super Bowl halftime show. And they will be heavily involved in the NFL's social justice campaign, the "Inspire Change" initiative.

Now, it's worth noting Jay-Z has been a vocal supporter of this man, Colin Kaepernick, who has essentially been iced out of the NFL ever since he took a stand by taking a knee during the National Anthem.

KOSIK: OK, a little fun to leave you with this morning. A fun video from last night's Reds-Nationals game in Washington.

A foul ball to the backstop. One fan getting really scared there and it cost her a beer.

Replacing that beer not cheap. I think they go for about 15 bucks for a beer. She got a beer bath.

The fans were protected by a net. All is good.

RIPLEY: Even worse, getting it caught on camera and shown on national television.

KOSIK: And there we go.

Thanks for joining us, everybody. Have a great day. I'm Alison Kosik.

RIPLEY: I'm Will Ripley. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The surveillance video is dramatic and disturbing. This was a deliberate and planned act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't see anyone assisting him in committing this horrendous crime.

TRUMP: I've spoken to Mitch McConnell. He wants to do background checks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president says the same thing but nothing happens. It's different this time. The American people are fed up.

CUCCINELLI: Give me your tired and your poor who will not become a public charge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need people who want to show that they've earned a place in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is now new. Putting the target on legal immigration has been something Trump made clear was going to be a mission of his.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, August 14th, 6:00.