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Tlaib Makes Appeal in Letter to Israel's Interior Minister; Dale Earnhardt Jr., Family, Survive Plane Crash; Whiplash on Wall Street; Phillies' Bryce Harper Crushes Walk-Off Grand Slam. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired August 16, 2019 - 05:00   ET


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: -- "Frozen" and the final chapter of the Skywalker saga, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker", opening in December.

[05:00:09] But the pressure is on them to keep sort of beating their previous milestones.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: It's been a remarkable year, still have to see "Toy Story" and "Aladdin", seen the other three. It's been a heck of a year for them.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great weekend.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.


BRIGGS: New details on Israel's unprecedented ban of two United States congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. It's a ban President Trump himself encouraged.

KOSIK: An amazing escape for former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family after a small plane crash. Authorities saying, amazingly, no one was seriously injured in this.

BRIGGS: And we're keeping an eye on the markets. A key signal that a recession might be coming, making investors nervous and according to the "Washington Post," making the president nervous as well, saying yesterday at this rally, love me, hate me, you've got to vote for me because of the economy.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. I'm sitting in for Christine Romans. It's Friday, August the 16th, it's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And we begin with the strong reaction to what some lawmakers are calling shameful, a shameful decision to ban two Muslim congresswomen from visiting Israel. It came after President Trump encouraged the move against Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, two members of "The Squad" and his political enemies. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement explaining the ban, saying the plan of the two congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel.

Both Omar and Tlaib support the movement to boycott Israel and have been criticized for statements that are considered anti-Semitic. The Israeli decision was announced shortly after a tweet coming from President Trump in which he said it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Representative Omar and Representative Tlaib to visit.

BRIGGS: The ban sparked a mountain of criticism from Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying it's, quote, beneath the dignity of the great state of Israel and AIPAC, a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S., broke ranks with the Jewish state and the president, opposing the ban, while the group disagrees with their support of the boycott movement, it says every member of Congress should be able to visit Israel.

Let's go live to CNN's Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem with some new details. One of those lawmakers, it sounds, maybe able to visit after all.

Good morning, Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, will be allowed to visit, we just found out from Israel's interior minister that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has been granted permission to enter Israel and therefore the Palestinian territories on humanitarian grounds, so that she can visit her family, specifically her grandmother in her 90s. It was a letter written by Congressman Tlaib to the interior minister who has a final say in which she requested the visit on humanitarian grounds and she wrote: I will respect all restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.

Well, after a few hours of consideration going into this morning, the interior minister here responded and approved that request. In doing so, he says in light of that, those promises, and in accordance with his commitment from yesterday, Minister Deri decided to allow her entry into Israel and expressed hope she would stand by her commitment and the visit would indeed be more humanitarian purposes only.

So, that statement, that decision coming just a short time ago, and all of this, of course, comes one day after Israel decided to deny entry to Congresswoman Tlaib, as well as Ilhan Omar for their visit, which was for political reasons and was supposed to start this weekend and span a couple of days. Israel had been considering it for a few days, but the final decision came down shortly after President Trump's tweet in which he said Israel would be showing great weakness by letting them in.

A short time after that we got the official statement from Israel that they would not be allowing in two duly elected sitting congresswomen, the first two Muslim congresswomen in American history. That tweet was leaving Israel very little wiggle room when it comes to what decision they would make. Netanyahu has never publicly disagreed with Trump, and he certainly wasn't about to start now. Dave, the big question at this point, how does Trump respond to the

information that they will allow in Congressman Tlaib, even if it is just for humanitarian reasons? I suspect we'll have that answer before long.

BRIGGS: Yes, I can't help but wonder about politicizing the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, if that could come at great cost when it comes to foreign military aid. At least it sounds like the case, listening to Bernie Sanders, presidential candidate and senator last night on CNN. Listen.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have two members of the United States Congress who are denied access to a country, Israel, which we spend many billions of dollars a year supporting.

[05:05:02] And if Mr. Netanyahu and others in Israel don't want members of U.S. Congress to visit them, maybe they don't want American money as well.


BRIGGS: Israel's received more than $140 billion of U.S. taxpayer money over the years, Oren. We're in the midst of a ten year $38 billion deal. How big are the fears that that could now be in question?

LIEBERMANN: I don't know that the fears are too great at this point. When it comes to criticizing Israel, there is no doubt that Senator Sanders is one of the most outspoken critics of Israel, but also puts him in essentially on the fringe of where Congress stands. It was Congress that passed overwhelmingly bipartisan support for anti- boycott legislation, anti-boycott resolution that is -- and that was support by both Republicans and Democrats.

So, the aid looks safe for now. You saw in Speaker Pelosi's statement where she said, the great state of Israel. So, the aid itself doesn't look like it's in jeopardy, but there is no doubt that the relationship is being politicized to the benefit of at least two people, and that would be Trump and Netanyahu who faces a tough reelection campaign with that election less than four weeks away at this point.

BRIGGS: A lot happening there.

Oren Liebermann, great reporting, live from Jerusalem this morning. Thank you.

Elsewhere, South Korea's military says North Korea launched two unidentified missiles off its eastern coast, projectiles reportedly landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. It's the sixth time North Korea has tested short range missiles or other projectiles since last month. It comes after Pyongyang rejected face to face talks with South Korea. The North has railed against U.S. and South Korea military drills,

threatening just days ago to freeze out Seoul by only holding future talks with Washington.

KOSIK: The White House is considering invoking executive privilege to limit former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski from complying with a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee. But here's the rub, Lewandowski has never served in any role in the Trump administration.

The White House has used executive privilege in an attempt to block other foreign aides like Don McGahn, Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson from testifying before Congress. They all held positions in the West Wing. Lewandowski has only informally advised President Trump since his work on 2016 -- on the 2016 campaign ended.

BRIGGS: America's longest ever war in Afghanistan could be drawing to a close. President Trump is expected to meet with his top national security advisers today to review a U.S.-Taliban peace plan that could end the war. Critics say it could amount to a surrender for the U.S. and a betrayal of the Afghan government.

KOSIK: The peace plan is expected to formalize a significant withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan from about 15,000 troops to 8,000 or 9,000 troops. It includes commitments by the Taliban to counter terrorism efforts in Afghanistan. Sources say the proposed deal has at least one crucial omission. It is not expected to secure a commitment by the Taliban to hold its fire on the Afghan people or the Afghan military.


BRIGGS: An officer at a Rhode Island detention facility has been placed on administrative leave after he drove a truck into a line of protesters there demanding they cease cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The incident was captured on video. Witnesses say the pickup truck intentionally swerved into protesters seated across the entrance to the facility. Five people were hospitalized.

The group Never Again Action says dozens of people showed up Wednesday night to protest the contract between ICE and the White detention facility in Central Falls, 129 detainees are housed at that facility.

KOSIK: Conflicting signals are giving investors a whole lot of whiplash on Wall Street. The Dow recovered somewhat on Thursday from an 800point drop the day before. But the question is, what will happen next?

Several negative signs are weighing on the markets. The yield curve flashed a recession warning on Wednesday, spooking investors. The global economy is slowing down, and of course the trade war with China which has unnerved investors for a year and a half now. That continues to loom over markets.

Now, there are some positives here. Walmart suggested consumers are still confident in the economy and will keep spending throughout the year and China's foreign ministry tried to ease trade war concerns by saying it remains open to negotiations with the U.S. so with everything going on, it looks like markets have been pretty resilient. The Dow is up 9-1/2 percent year to date. The S&P is up 13 percent and the Nasdaq is up 16.5 percent.

[05:10:04] BRIGGS: And taking a look at futures here. They look to -- pointing to a positive open as well on all behalf, so it could be a bit of a bounce back.

KOSIK: The day is still young. Usually on Fridays, it gets a little hairy at the end of the day.

BRIGGS: Indeed.

All right. Ahead, former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family escaping a fiery plane crash. Authorities are saying the family is not seriously injured, walking away despite all that smoke. We'll bring you the details.


[05:15:17] BRIGGS: Terrifying moments for legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family. They survived a fiery plane crash in Tennessee Thursday. Remarkably, everyone on board the small private plane escaped without serious injury.

More now from CNN's Dianne Gallagher.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Dave, Alison, when you look at all the smoke and fire that came from this plane crash it's absolutely incredible that it appears everybody walked away OK.

Dale, Jr., two-time Daytona 500 winner and iconic NASCAR driver; his wife, Amy; their 1-year-old daughter, Isla; and two pilots were on board that Cessna Citation when the FAA says that it seemingly rolled off the end of runway 24 there at the Elizabethton Airport and caught fire after landing.

Now, according to the Elizabethton police chief, the plane had heavy flames coming out of it when they arrived but everyone was already outside who had been on board. The plane burned for 20 minutes.

According to Dale, Jr.'s sister, Kelley, everybody is safe, but they were taken to the hospital to get checked out to make sure that they were OK after that scary moment.

Now, Dale, Jr. is a NASCAR analyst -- former driver, of course, but he's an analyst now for NBC. He was on his way to Bristol for the race there -- to call that and to take it all in. Where they crashed is about 20 or so miles from Bristol.

So, at this point, the NTSB is going to investigate. We're waiting to hear from Dale, Jr.'s people just to see exactly how everybody checked out there. But again, you look at that video there -- really, really scary stuff -- Dave, Alison.


KOSIK: Yes, Dianne, wow, that is amazing that they did OK in that.

All right. Autopsy results show the Dayton shooter had cocaine in his system, as well as anti-anxiety drug Xanax and alcohol. The coroner says he also found a pipe device and a baggy of cocaine in his pocket.

The report shows he died from multiple gunshot wounds to his upper and lower torso. He was shot at least 24 times and a bulletproof vest stopped at least one bullet from hitting him. Coroner says two of the nine people killed by the shooter were also hit by police gunfire, but he believes one of them had already been fatally shot and the other had the superficial wound.

Meantime, the friend accused of buying body armor for the shooter, as well as the 100-round magazine used in the massacre was denied bond. He's charged with lying on federal firearms forms.

BRIGGS: The downtown Atlanta hotel at the center of the Legionnaires' disease outbreak is back open and an employee tells CNN guests are already staying there. The Sheraton was closed for a month after several people who stayed or visited there said they were diagnosed with the disease. Since then, nearly 80 confirmed or probable cases of Legionnaires were linked to that hotel. One person died. The bacteria was traced to the building's cooling tour and to a fountain in the atrium. The hotel was clear to open yesterday.

Talk a little sports ahead. It took more than 120 games, but Bryce Harper finally, well, arrived in Philly last night.

Andy Scholes has that story in the "Bleacher Report", next.


[05:23:39] BRIGGS: All right. Bryce Harper with his signature moment as a member of the Phillies last night, and that wild card race is getting bonkers.

Andy Scholes with more on the "Bleacher Report".

Good morning. Happy Friday, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, happy Friday to you, too, Dave.

You know, this is what Phillies fans were hoping for when the team signed Bryce Harper to that mega $330 million contract. They wanted big moments like last night. The Phillies were down 5-3, bottom of the 9th, bases load and Harper crushes this ball to right, watches it for a moment before he starts just sprinting around the bases.

Harper wins it with the walk-off grand slam. He's pretty excited about it. Gets mobbed by his teammates once he gets to home plate, and Harper actually said this was the best moment of his life.


BRYCE HARPER, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES OUTFIELDER: That was sick. Wow! I don't even know. I mean, that was just -- that was awesome. Oh, my gosh. I saw my parents lights are off in the suite right now so they probably didn't see that. So thanks, mom and dad, appreciate you.


SCHOLES: Her parents can't hear about that for a while.

All right. Top overall pick Kyler Murray getting action against the Raiders and it didn't go very well. He completed three of eight passes. He also had two false starts in the game and was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

[05:25:01] So, definitely room for improvement there for Murray.

Redskins rookie Dwayne Haskins meanwhile looking much better than his rocky first game. He had pressure all over him, but he hit Robert Davis in stride and goes for a 55-yard touchdown. Haskins, he right now is competing with Case Keenum and Colt McCoy for the Redskins starting job.

All right. Antonio Brown warming up before the Raiders preseason game last night. He's finally back with the team after his helmet grievance and frostbite injury to his feet. Brown making some young fans cheer before the game.

Watch this. He meets them, gives them his gloves and his towel. The one kid on the left starts crying so happy and goes in with a hug for Brown. That's pretty cool. This pick was posted later of the boys holding all the items they got.

Look at Brandon on the right. Still emotional. Tell you what, that's pretty cool.

And finally, this is also pretty awesome. Wednesday night this little guy here named Samuel was wearing a jersey he made with Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro's number and name written on the back. Well, the Marlins noticed it, invited him back to the game last night and then Alfaro surprised Samuel, took some pics together and Alfaro giving him his own authentic jersey.

Little Samuel so happy and grinning ear to ear, Dave. They took a bunch of pics and had hugs together. I'll tell you what, that's what sports is all about right there.

BRIGGS: It is, indeed, especially in the midst of a brutal season in Miami, nice to know he can still find some positives for the fans there.

Good stuff, Andy Scholes. Have a good weekend, my friend.

SCHOLES: All right. You too. BRIGGS: Alisyn, what's coming up?

KOSIK: OK. The Israeli government will now allow a previously banned United States congresswoman to visit with conditions. We're live in Jerusalem next.