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Dow Set to Open Up After Huge Drop Over Recession Fears; 6 Philadelphia Officers Shot During Nearly 8-Hour Standoff; John Hickenlooper to End 2020 Presidential Bid Today; Beto O'Rourke Returns to Campaign Trail Following El Paso Shooting. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired August 15, 2019 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:00] CAMEROTA: Love that little boy. I have a Nathaniel. But that one's better than mine.


CAMEROTA: His better. I'm going to -- I'm going to see if I can do a trade.

All right. We are 30 minutes away from the opening bell. It's going to be an exciting day. Our coverage picks up right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Jim has this week off. And the markets are just minutes away from opening. Already this morning, though, futures, let's take a look at them.

They're pointing a little bit higher this morning. You've got some strong numbers out of Walmart helping boost the futures. The Dow now set to open up about 100 points, that is after being pummeled yesterday, down 800 points at the close yesterday.

We'll see if it's a sign of what is to come today as the wild week continues. China is now alternating between pledging cooperation and threatening the U.S. over trade talks. And it's all happening as a warning sign is flashing red for the first time since 2007 triggering fears we have not felt in more than a decade.

Could a recession be around the corner? And what would that mean for President Trump who has bet everything on his economy?

Let's talk about it. We begin this hour with my friend, formal colleague, Heather Long, economics correspondent at the "Washington Post."

Good morning, Heather. All right, so the president says nothing to worry about here. The inverted yield curve, which is the big red flashing light, is crazy and doesn't matter, and it's all the Fed's fault. What are the facts?

HEATHER LONG, ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, we're not headed into a recession right away. Consumer spending in the United States is still very strong. We saw those good numbers from Walmart this morning, and also good retail sales overall, but this inverted yield curve that people keep talking about, every recession the United States has had for the past half century, we've had an inverted yield curve about a year to two years before, so you can't ignore it unless you think history is totally wrong, and I think it's hard to argue that it's never going to happen again.

So, it's a warning sign, but it doesn't mean imminent recession. I think what's really tricky this time around is that the United States still looks pretty solid but so many other countries around the world, nine major economies right now, are in recession or are on the verge of recession. Can we still stay strong with all of these trouble spots?

HARLOW: Yes, I mean, that's a big question. And look, the president is blaming the Fed. Peter Navarro, part of his key team of economists, is blaming the Fed. Listen to what he said on FOX yesterday.


PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: This is basically the Federal Reserve's problem, volatility. They are causing this because when Jay Powell got in as chairman, he proceeded to raise interest rates by 100 basis points too far, too fast. And even though the Trump economy is rock solid it slowed us down a bit because of those higher interest rates.


HARLOW: He's blaming the Fed. I mean it seems like he's also forgetting that the more the Fed cuts rates now, the more ammo it loses to stave off an actual recession.

LONG: That's right. The White House has been looking for a fall person to blame any economic or market troubles on, and they have picked the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell. Remember that Trump himself appointed Powell and handpicked him for this position.

The other key thing is, think about what interest rates do. That's how much it costs people to borrow, to go get a mortgage for a new home or an auto loan or to borrow money from a bank to start a business. Right now, those rates are very low. I myself have been looking for a home, and the mortgage rate is at a three-year low.


LONG: What Peter Navarro is calling for is even lower. Is that really going to spur a lot more people to go out and buy? The reason companies right now are hesitant to stand is the trade uncertainty, not that they can't get cheap capital.

HARLOW: That's a great point.

Heather Long, good to have you as always. Thank you so much.

LONG: Thank you. HARLOW: Let's talk more about this and the politics of it for the

president. Toluse Olorunnipa is here, White House reporter for the "Post," Jeff Mason also joins us. He is White House correspondent for Reuters. In the flesh.


HARLOW: You're usually -- you know, in D.C. or somewhere fancy with the president.

So, Jeff, let me begin with this. Up until a few hours ago, so overnight last night, hashtag "Trump recession" was trending on Twitter. And Axios is reporting this morning that a source close to the president told Jonathan Swan there, quote, "I'm very worried about the latest economic data." All of us are concerned. A lot of us are concerned without the narrative on the economy. He can't win.

MASON: Well, there's reason to be concerned. I mean, number one, if the president has made the economy and the stock market in particular one of the measures of his success, so the fact that the market took such a dive yesterday and the fact that there are concerns about a recession just hangs over his message, his sort of main "this is my go-to reason for urging people to vote for me." But on top of that, you know, if we get into 2020 and the economy really does get a lot weaker then that's just a boost for Democrats who say, hey, it's time for change.

[09:05:07] HARLOW: You know, and when you talk about the economy and how much it has boosted this president, Toluse, looking at our polling, the average of CNN's last three polls, the president is polling at 53 percent on the economy. But his overall job approval rating in those polls is 44 percent. That's a reversal from what we see for most presidents. Most president who have a strong economy have strong approval numbers.

So already it's been a pain point for the president it hasn't reflected in an overall strength for his polling. But now the question becomes, what does it mean for him if it turns politically?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, the economy has helped sort of put a floor under the president's overall approval ratings. Without the economy he'd be much lower because a number of people think that he's been divisive, they don't like his comments about race. Even independents and Republicans give him low marks on other parts of his presidency. But on the economy, he has gotten good marks so far.

HARLOW: Right.

OLORUNNIPA: If that ends up changing he could see his other poll numbers, his overall poll numbers go down significantly.

HARLOW: Well, 26 percent of people in our polling that support the president say they do so because of the economy. Right?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes. And he has a lot of people who don't like his tweets, don't like his divisive approach to the presidency but maybe they like the tax cuts or maybe the like the broader growth within the economy.

HARLOW: Let's not forget --

OLORUNNIPA: And they supported him.

HARLOW: And let's not forget who chose to replace Janet Yellen with Jerome Powell.


HARLOW: Like seriously he could have picked anyone.


HARLOW: And so he's blaming the guy that he hand-selected for this job. "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board, that's not saying nothing, this is the "Journal," right, they this morning with a stinging op-ed. The title of it is "The Navarro Recession II." Quote, "Someone should tell Mr. Trump that incumbent presidents who preside over recessions within two years of an election rarely get a second term."

If you're looking at this and you're the president's team, what are you saying to him?

MASON: Well, I think you're saying a few different things. Number one, do we want to rethink our stance on China a little bit? When you mention Navarro, he is obviously a hawk on China. There are others on the other side of that equation, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, USTR Lighthizer, who are also wanting a strong deal with China but not necessarily wanting to throw tariffs on every time a certain round of negotiations doesn't go their way.

So, they may be discussing that. They may be thinking about other economic measures that they can take. But for sure they're going to say to the president this matters.

HARLOW: The one way I'm thinking that if the economy does turn, the president could potentially move to boost his numbers is a middle- class tax cut which would also be hard optically for Democrats to oppose. It would add to the, you know, $22 trillion national debt we have and the trillion-dollar deficit that's coming this year, Toluse. But what are you hearing in your reporting about the chances of that from this administration?

OLORUNNIPA: Well, right now this administration is somewhat in denial about the state of the economy. They think things are strong. We heard people in the administration say the fundamentals are strong. There's just a lot of panic out there in the markets because of what's happening in other countries. So I don't know that they're pushing to do anything drastic or even bring Democrats to the table.

HARLOW: Right. OLORUNNIPA: To have some sort of compromise or some sort of

bipartisan approach because they're in denial about the fact that there may be pretty big headwinds ahead.


OLORUNNIPA: And I think if things continue -- if we continue to see the stock market go down, then they may decide that we need some stimulus for the economy and they may talk about tax cuts.

HARLOW: And there are some great, great numbers on the economy right now but there are some concerns like the yield curve. And you've got to be careful when you say the fundamentals of the economy are strong, don't you?

OLORUNNIPA: That's right.

HARLOW: The history lesson in that one --

MASON: John McCain in 2018.

HARLOW: There you go. Thank you both very much. Good to have you.

All right, so this morning a man suspected of shooting six Philadelphia police officers during a dramatic standoff is now behind bars. The suspect surrendered just after midnight, nearly eight hours after the violent showdown with police began.

It is stunning video. Look at him walking out there. This is after eight hours. Authorities were trying to serve a narcotics warrant. Instead they quickly became the target of a barrage of bullets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) 180, shots still ringing off. Give me SWAT ASAP. Long guns, ASAP. I've got officers shot. I've got officers shot, radio. All right? So I need SWAT.


HARLOW: You hear the desperation and the plea in his voice. The Philadelphia police commissioner says he does not believe the officers serving the warrant were aware of the suspect's violent past.

Our national correspondent Athena Jones is live with us this morning in Philadelphia.

So, what more do we know about this suspect?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Well, police have identified the suspect as Maurice Hill. The commissioner saying he has an extensive criminal record. Commissioner Richard Ross saying or admitting that he didn't think the suspect was going to come out of this hours long confrontation alive. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMMISSIONER RICHARD ROSS JR., PHILADELPHIA POLICE: I have to admit I did not think that this guy was going to come out alive. After several conversations with him and hearing a bunch of information throughout the afternoon, he was indicating that he was not going back to prison so he was not coming out alive. But took us several hours to make any reasonable contact with him.

[09:10:04] Much of that ended with a bunch of unreasonable requests on his part that quite frankly could not be accommodated.


JONES: Now we know the shooter fired multiple rounds over the course of this nearly eight-hour standoff. One witness put it at more than a hundred shots. We know the officers were returning fire. At one point several had to escape from various windows and doors just to get away from the barrage of bullets.

Commissioner Ross also identified local attorney Shaka Johnson saying he gives Johnson a lot of credit for helping bring the standoff to an end. Johnson told CNN affiliate KYW that he's Hill's former attorney and that Hill called him in a panic around 8:30 last night, that's about four hours into the standoff, while Johnson was watching it all unfold on television. The lawyer said that his goal at that point in time was just to make sure that Hill got out of it alive. And that's in the end what happened. Police using tear gas to help force Hill out of that house -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Gosh, an important reminder for all of us that these officers put their lives on the line every single moment of every day.

Athena, thank you for that reporting.

Still to come, 2020 presidential candidate, Montana governor, Steve Bullock will be with me. A lot to talk about including gun reform in this country.

Plus, a report says Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy shows broken bones in his neck. What does that indicate to us?

And later could Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib be barred from going to Israel? A new report says Israel is considering doing just that. We're live next.


[09:15:00] POPPY HARLOW, ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right, welcome back, I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. And this morning, Democratic sources tell us that former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will end his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and he'll do that officially later today. He has struggled to break out among a crowded field and is yet to qualify for the debate next month. Sources say he will not, though, announce to run for Colorado Senate seat, not yet at least.

In the past, he has knocked down that idea, but recently, he told CNN, quote, "I don't rule anything out." Also today, 2020 Democratic hopeful Beto O'Rourke returns to the campaign trail after nearly two weeks away from it with a speech in his hometown of El Paso. Of course, he halted his campaign to spend time there following the tragic shooting that killed 22 people.

His campaign has made clear he is staying in this race despite calls even from the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board that he run for Senate and challenge Republican John Cornyn. Also, this morning, following an hours-long standoff in Philadelphia that left six police officers wounded. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf; an advocate for banning assault weapons released a statement saying, "we must remain committed to combating violence and getting dangerous weapons out of our communities."

So, let's begin on that on guns with Montana governor, Democratic presidential hopeful Steve Bullock, it's nice to have you this morning --

GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT): It's great to be with you, Poppy.

HARLOW: So, this is very personal for you. You lost your 11-year-old son, and we asked for a picture, here's a --

BULLOCK: Nephew --

HARLOW: Excuse me, nephew --


HARLOW: Not your son. Your 11-year-old nephew, here he is, this was about 25 years ago, it was a school shooting, beautiful innocent little boy was on the playground and he was -- he was shot. I know this has framed your mind on guns in this country ever since. But as a governor of a red state, if you were president, how far would you go on gun control?

BULLOCK: Well, I think Poppy, we're finally to a point where we are starting to look at this more as a public health issue. You know, I think back, I was with all the other governors just two years ago in the White House within weeks of Parkland, and the president said, we need to take action.

He actually chided us a little bit for not standing up stronger against the NRA.

HARLOW: Really?

BULLOCK: And I've lowered the flag seven times even since then. And I'm a gun owner, and I think gun owners and non-gun owners alike are saying that there are steps you could take. Universal background checks, vast majority of even NRA members believe that we ought to do that.

HARLOW: But on that point, you significantly changed your position. It was just a few years ago, your second bid for governor, not only did you -- BULLOCK: Yes --

HARLOW: Not support universal background checks, you said this in one of your gubernatorial debates. I think we have it.


BULLOCK: My eight years in public service, our Second Amendment Rights have actually expanded in Montana, not been limited. As Attorney General, I brought Montana to the United States Supreme Court in that decision that actually recognized our Second Amendment as an individual right. The NRA called me courageous.


HARLOW: The NRA called me courageous. Now, you also said I never abandoned common sense, but do you stand by those statements or what do you say to those who look at that and say, well, has he changed his position on guns, you know, for political --

BULLOCK: Sure --

HARLOW: Expediency?

BULLOCK: Sure, and I've also vetoed a whole bunch of gun-related bills. I do think that the Second Amendment is an individual right. But I think with any right, it also comes with responsibilities. And no responsible gun owner wants our kids to continue to have to go through these mass shooting drills. No responsible gun owner wants guns to get into the wrong hands.

HARLOW: We saw what happened in Philadelphia overnight, tragic, and that man was using an assault rifle. Do -- I know you support a voluntary buy-back program for assault weapons. What about a mandatory one? Cory Booker has talked about that, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand talked about that with me yesterday, that would mean criminal prosecution to those who don't sell back their assault weapons. Is that going too far?

BULLOCK: There's going to be a lot of discussion about this --

HARLOW: But what do you -- what do you --

BULLOCK: From my perspective it is going too far. It's --


BULLOCK: I think in part because part of the whole narrative of this --and when I was growing up with the NRA, it was a gun safety and hunting organization --

HARLOW: Right --

BULLOCK: Now really is a political organization. But the narrative of -- for responsible gun owners that the federal government is going to come in and take away all of your guns, I think that feeds that. [09:20:00] HARLOW: But I --

BULLOCK: Now, I think a --

HARLOW: Just to be clear, I didn't say all --

BULLOCK: Voluntary --

HARLOW: I said just for assault weapons --

BULLOCK: Oh, sure, but that's where the NRA has always had this narrative of coming into your households --

HARLOW: Right --

BULLOCK: To be counted. And I think that you could do some things with a voluntary buy-back that could make some real meaningful differences. Any additional transfers other than family transfers as long as they're within the instant check system, as long as we know it, I think it could make a real difference.

HARLOW: So, and just also finally on that point to the companies and big stores around the country that sells these guns, you know, Dick's Sporting Goods stopped selling --

BULLOCK: Stopped, Wal-Mart stopped --

HARLOW: No, Wal-Mart still sell -- well, they stopped on some.


HARLOW: But should Wal-Mart still sell guns?

BULLOCK: I think that from an assault weapon perspective, I think as we're seeing major chains stopping, no, I don't think we should sell guns at all anymore. It's ultimately up to the individual businesses if they're going to sell firearms, but what we're seeing when even consumer goods like a Dick's says, these aren't used for hunting, they're not used for --

HARLOW: Right --

BULLOCK: For self-defense, we shouldn't be selling them and we shouldn't be able about them --

HARLOW: Well, let's talk about your party, we're going to hear from John Hickenlooper today suspending his campaign for the presidency, I don't know if he will run for Senate, that is to be seen. But he said to me, and he said vocally a few times that he's really concerned about your party and that he believes that we might as well, quote, "FedEx" the election to Donald Trump if some of the very liberal candidates around the debate stage --


HARLOW: With you, guys, are the nominee and pushing some of these more progressive ideas, is he right?

BULLOCK: Well, I do worry we're on our way to losing this. Now, if --

HARLOW: You worry Democrats are on their way to losing the 2020 elections?

BULLOCK: On their way to losing it before we even begin. And --


BULLOCK: Well, because I think that, look, the core of the word progressive right is actually making progress in people's lives. And watching that last debate stage, when the attacks are saying things like essentially beating up on President Obama's legacy or saying that it's Republican talking points not to disrupt the lives of 165 million people getting private health insurance.

We can actually get to accessibility and affordability for all without completely throwing out the existing system and having a $30 trillion tax increase --

HARLOW: Talking about the most liberal candidates who are polling the highest, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, if either of them is the nominee, will your party win the 2020 election?

BULLOCK: I will fight for whoever is the nominee --

HARLOW: I know you will, but --

BULLOCK: I know, look --

HARLOW: Honestly, will they?

BULLOCK: Look, I --

HARLOW: Can they beat Donald Trump?

BULLOCK: I honestly know that I can win places like Massachusetts and Vermont.

HARLOW: It is such a political answer --

BULLOCK: No, but what I'm saying is, I don't know that they can win places like Montana or Iowa, Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.

HARLOW: So, do the math for me, what does that tell you?

BULLOCK: I'm -- one of the main reasons why I admit it is because if we can't win back those places, we're not going to win.

HARLOW: Sounds like you don't think they can beat the president.

BULLOCK: Well, I sure hope that whoever we have can, but I know that I can beat him. HARLOW: OK, final question for you here, and I noticed that you

didn't answer that last question, but you know, we don't have all the time in the world. So, post-2018, a Montana State University poll showed you with a similar approval rating. In your state, two Republican Senators, Steve Daines. You actually were higher, 68 percent approval, 35 percent disapproval, Daines was at 58 percent approval, 31 percent disapproval.

There are a number of Democrats out there who if you don't make it all the way in this thing, they really want you to run for Senate in Montana. What's your over-under on that?

BULLOCK: We have some great people running, I'll support them. I think that literally, as we're talking about places like Colorado and Montana, we also ought to be talking about how did we lose North Dakota? How did we lose Indiana? How did we lose places like that? So, we've got to have somebody at the top of the ticket that can actually help run state. There's only one that's actually won a red state, and that's me.

HARLOW: Is that a no for you on the Senate run?

BULLOCK: That's a no on the Senate run.

HARLOW: All right, I appreciate your time, come back.

BULLOCK: Thanks Poppy, I will.

HARLOW: Thank you very much.

BULLOCK: Absolutely.

HARLOW: We appreciate it. All right, so we're moments away from the opening bell here on Wall Street, it was a blood-bath yesterday, investors rattled by fears of a recession. Cristina Alesci at the New York Stock Exchange, what are we expecting?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a little bit of optimism here, Poppy, because we have two signs that the consumer, the backbone of the economy is still strong but long- term recession fears are still running high, investors are in the mood to sell and I'm going to bring you the opening bell just after the break, Poppy.


HARLOW: All right, time for the opening bell on Wall Street. Let's go to CNN business and politics correspondent Cristina Alesci at the New York Stock Exchange. It was a bloodbath yesterday, how is it looking this morning?

ALESCI: There's a little bit more optimism because there are signs that the consumer which has been the backbone of this economy is still strong. Wal-Mart; the biggest retailer in the U.S. reported better- than-expected sales. The Commerce Department reported broadly that the consumer is still spending. Those two things really sparking some optimism this morning.

But make no mistake about it, recession fears, Poppy, when I talk to my sources are running really high. And that is largely because of the way President Trump has been handling the trade war.


The opening bell just rang here, and I'll give you that number in a --