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Israel Allows Previously Banned Lawmaker To Visit; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. And Family Escape Fiery Plane Crash; Hong Kong Protests. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 16, 2019 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:55] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Israel allowing Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib into their country after banning her. Ilhan Omar still being kept out. The ban coming after encouragement from President Trump.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family in a lucky escape from a small plane crash. Amazingly, no one was seriously injured.

KOSIK: Hong Kong protesters demanding action from the West as President Trump's senior administration officials tell him get stronger against China or there may be a blood bath.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik. I'm sitting in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

KOSIK: Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs. Five thirty-one Eastern time, just past noon in Israel, and that's where we begin this morning with breaking news.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib will be able to visit after all. The government approving a humanitarian request to visit her family in the West Bank. It comes amid mounting criticism over Israel's initial decision to ban Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting the country.

President Trump encouraged the move against the Democrats, both members of "The Squad" and his political foes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained the ban this way. "The plan of the two congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel."

His decision was announced shortly after a tweet from President Trump in which he said, "It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Reps. Omar and Tlaib to visit."

KOSIK: The ban led Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say it was 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 President Trump, opposing the ban. They say despite their support of the boycott movement, every member of Congress should be able to visit Israel.

Let's go live to CNN's Oren Liebermann who is live for us in Jerusalem.

So, just breaking, we know that Congresswoman Tlaib is going to be allowed to visit for humanitarian reasons -- on humanitarian grounds.

What about Ilhan Omar, because if she is able to go ahead and visit, as well, it literally reverses what President Trump was trying to accomplish.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The requested visit of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar remains banned at this point. That was a visit, as Israel sees it, for political reasons -- a visit, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, that was with the sole purpose of trying to damage Israel.

But, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is of Palestinian origin and has Palestinian family members in the Central West Bank village where she intends to go. It is because of that family there and because she made a humanitarian request to specifically visit her family and her grandmother, in her 90s -- saying this may be her final chance to see her -- that Israel has granted that request specifically on humanitarian grounds.

Congresswoman Tlaib sent a letter to Israel and to the Interior minister saying, "I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit."

And in allowing her entry on humanitarian grounds, the interior minister who has the final say here, said, "In light of that 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. But the visit would, indeed, be for humanitarian needs only."

As you point out, this comes only one day after President Donald Trump said Israel would be showing great weakness by allowing them in, and that left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu very little wiggle room.

He has never publicly disagreed with Trump and he wasn't about to start doing so now, saying that this visit by the two Democratic congresswomen -- the first two Muslim congresswomen elected to the American House -- was purely to damage Israel. And then shortly after Trump sent that tweet, Netanyahu made the announcement -- the Israeli government made the announcement that they would be barred from entering Israel.

It will be very interesting to see how Trump reacts to this decision. They followed through on his request not to allow them in -- to deny them entry -- but this, even if for humanitarian reasons, certainly goes against that wish.

Alison, it is worth noting that in justifying Israel's decision, Netanyahu has pointed out that the U.S. even once barred an elected member of Israel's Knesset from visiting some seven years ago under then-President Barack Obama.

[05:35:02] KOSIK: OK. Well, this is certainly a changing story and we know you will stay on top of it. CNN's Oren Liebermann live for us from Jerusalem -- thanks.

President Trump holding a "Keep America Great" reelection rally in New Hampshire last night. The president, again, blaming mental illness for mass shootings, suggesting it was time to build new institutions to house the mentally ill.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But people have to remember, however, that there is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger, it's the person holding the gun.

Years ago, many cities and states -- I remember it so well -- closed mental institutions for budgetary reasons. They let those people out onto the street. You probably have your examples up here. I can tell you, in New York, they closed so many of them and they let really seriously mentally ill people out on the streets and you see plenty of them today -- even today.

We're going to have to give major consideration to building new facilities for those in need.


BRIGGS: Mental health may play a role but it's certainly not the only factor in mass shootings or even the biggest. There are many other factors, like violent hatred or certainly, access to assault weapons.

The president repeated his support for expanding background checks, though he gave no specifics. He says he's making headway convincing Republicans.


TRUMP: It's been pretty -- an amazing experience. They want to see something happen and basically, it's very simple. They don't want to have insane people, dangerous people, really bad people having guns. Republicans agree with me on that -- I think -- you know, I would say pretty much uniformly.


BRIGGS: Now, the president is in talks with a Republican bill to strengthen background checks for gun purchases.

KOSIK: South Korea's military says North Korea launched two unidentified missiles off its eastern coast. The projectiles reportedly landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. It's the sixth time North Korea has tested short-range ballistic missiles or other projectiles since last month.

It comes after Pyongyang rejected face-to-face talks with South Korea.

North Korea has railed against ongoing U.S.-South Korea joint military drills, threatening just days ago to freeze out Seoul by only holding future talks with Washington.

BRIGGS: The White House is said to be 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 former aides, like Don McGahn, Hope Hicks, and Annie Donaldson from testifying before Congress. They all held positions in the West Wing.

Lewandowksi has only informally advised President Trump since his work on the 2016 campaign ended.

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 Elizabethon 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.

TEXT (KELLEY EARNHARDT, TWITTER): I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol, TN this afternoon. Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time. Thank you for your understanding.

GALLAGHER: 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.


[05:40:04] KOSIK: Dianne, glad everyone is OK.

The trade war with China has been underway for a year and a half but President Trump doesn't seem too concerned about its effect on the economy.


TRUMP: I think the longer it goes the stronger we get. I have a feeling it's going to go fairly short.


KOSIK: Apparently, a year and a half trade war that's had markets on edge is now considered short.

The president added that U.S. and Chinese officials had a very good conversation a few days ago and claimed that China wants to make a deal.

Then he said this about the cost of tariffs.


TRUMP: We've taken in close to $60 billion in tariff money and the consumer has not paid for it. Now, at some point, they may have to pay something but they understand that.


KOSIK: There are numerous studies that show that U.S. families and consumers -- that they're the ones who pay the tariffs, not China.

And even though Americans are still shopping and propping up the economy, retailers are worried. Macy's and other stores have said shoppers will likely see prices go up if tariffs are placed on all Chinese goods.

BRIGGS: Also suffering under the trade war, American farmers. They were hit with tough retaliatory tariffs from China on things like soybeans and pork.' CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich spoke to some farmers in Minnesota who told her the price they're paying for President Trump's trade war.



Farmers we've spoken to here in Minnesota say they are drained -- physically, emotionally, and financially.

We are on Gary Wordish's (ph) farm and he says that while he initially supported the president taking a look at these trade deals, he says that tariffs are simply the wrong way to go. He is also warning that the president is in jeopardy of losing support from his base here in Minnesota.

We also spoke with a farmer, Cindy, who says that this trade war could change the face of American farming forever.

CINDY VANDERPOL, MINNESOTA FARMER: It's very scary. I mean, we -- I sometimes stay up at night worrying about what the future does hold.

You know, what do you tell your children that want a farm? Do you tell them go find something else to do? One of our sons already has. He's already -- sorry -- he always had a passion to farm and because you don't know what the future is going to bring you almost want to encourage them to go do something else.

YURKEVICH: You hear that emotion from Cindy and the fear in her voice about the future -- that uncertainty that is paralyzing so many of the farmers that we have spoken to. And in their mind, that market with China is gone and would take decades to come back.

We also know that farm bankruptcies are on the rise just in the past two years and that is forcing farmers to make some very serious decisions about their future -- Dave and Alison.


BRIGGS: Great reporting, Vanessa -- the very real cost of the trade war.

Will those markets ever come back? They may not. We've heard for months and months about these ag buys from China but never have seen anything materialize. It may be too little, too late --


BRIGGS: -- for people like them.

KOSIK: And politically, the question is will farmers who supported Donald Trump in 2016 --


KOSIK: -- will they come out and vote for him in 2020 now that they're literally feeling it to their financial core --


KOSIK: -- the impact of the trade war?

BRIGGS: And any trade deal could be too late for a lot of those farms.


BRIGGS: Ahead here, senior administration officials warning there could be a blood bath in Hong Kong if President Trump does not get tough on China. We'll have the live report from Hong Kong, next.


[05:47:53] BRIGGS: Five forty-seven Eastern time.

And protesters in Hong Kong are now calling for the U.K. to declare that China has broken the 35-year-old Handover Agreement that gave them control of the city. It comes as the White House warning President Trump there could be a blood bath in Hong Kong if he doesn't take a tougher stance against China.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout live in Hong Kong with more. Kristie, good morning.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Dave, days after those dramatic scenes that played out for the world to see at the Hong Kong International Airport, we have learned that the CEO of the flagship carrier in Hong Kong has stepped down.

The CEO of Cathay Pacific, Rupert Hogg, has resigned. This is just the latest fallout on the back of the Hong Kong airport chaos that the world witnessed earlier this week that effectively paralyzed one of the world's biggest transport hubs.

Days after that event, protesters here in Hong Kong are still harnessing international attention. They now have this direct appeal for the British government, asking U.K. officials there to diplomatically apply pressure against Beijing, as well as economic pressure in the form of sanctions.

Now, as for the protests themselves, they will kick off again. More protests expected later this evening as we head into the weekend.

And on the ground here in Hong Kong there is a sense of fear and concern and rising alarm about the possible intervention by Chinese military troops. We have that CNN team dispatched on the ground across the border in Shenzhen capturing that video of a significant group of Chinese paramilitary troops gathering at a sports stadium there.

Also adding to the fear, the toughening up of language that we've heard from Chinese state media, as well as Chinese officials, saying that they describe the situation here in Hong Kong as, quote, "having signs of terrorism," unquote.

Also adding to the fear, the propaganda videos that have been circulating, showing armed Chinese police simulating riot control tactics in what appears to be a Hong Kong-like landscape.

That is the state of affairs in Hong Kong today. I'm right outside the Hong Kong police headquarters where they just told CNN in a rare briefing that they have the situation under control and they have more assets to be mobilized.

We'll keep watching the story for you. Back to you.

[05:50:00] BRIGGS: It should be a crucial weekend there. Kristie Lu Stout live for us in Hong Kong about 10 to 6:00 p.m. Thank you.

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

Asian markets closing higher after China announced plans that could help boost consumer spending. The U.K.'s FTSE opened higher after a trading delay because of a technical glitch.

Taking a look on Wall Street, we're seeing futures pointing to a much higher open. It looks like the Dow could open up as much as 200 points.

We saw the Dow recover Thursday from an 800-point loss a day earlier, the worst of 2019. And by the end of the day, the Dow finished with a gain of about 100 points.

The S&P 500 closed up just a bit. The Nasdaq, with its many tech companies, fell slightly.

General Electric was a big loser. The stock plunged more than 11 percent after accountant Harry Markopolos, who helped expose the Bernie Madoff scandal, said GE was hiding almost $40 billion of losses in its insurance business. GE strongly denies allegations and called them meritless.

Virgin Galactic is showing off a lounge area and top-shelf amenities for its wealthy clientele. The company shared new video of its Spaceport America facility on Thursday.

Ticketholders for a Virgin Galactic flight will one day -- one day gather at the Spaceport before they board a supersonic plane for a 90- minute ride into space. Hundreds of people have already signed up for the ride on the spaceplane.

Virgin Galactic said it has additional test flights planned and will be ready to start play -- to start flying those paying customers in the first half of 2020.

A new toy worth a billion bucks. "Toy Story 4" has crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office, making it the fifth billion- dollar release for Disney this year. The studio is the first to have five $1 billion movies in a single year. Disney has dominated the box office. "Avengers: Endgame", "The Lion

King", "Captain Marvel", and "Aladdin" each crossed the billion-dollar mark. Last month, it raked in an industry record of $7.6 billion worldwide, breaking its own record from 2016.

And it's a big year. I'd say it's far from over because the studio has a strong slate of films for the rest of the year, including sequels for "Maleficent" and "Frozen" and the final chapter of the Skywalker saga, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" which opens in December.

I know you can't wait to see those movies.

BRIGGS: That's right.

KOSIK: We'll be -- we'll be right back.


[05:57:17] BRIGGS: President Trump has reportedly, on multiple occasions, expressed interest in a new and unusual real estate purchase -- buying Greenland from the Danish government. Sources say the White House Counsel's Office has looked into the possibility.

The president's interest in buying Greenland was first reported by "The Wall Street Journal". According to the "Journal," he's raised the issue during meetings and dinners with varying degrees of seriousness, questioning aides about the possible advantages of purchasing the ice-covered, autonomous Danish territory.

The president set to visit Denmark in two weeks, expected to meet with the prime minister.

KOSIK: A church group is counting its blessings after being spooked by a 7-foot crocodile in an Ohio creek.

A teacher says more than a dozen first through six-graders were playing in the water Wednesday, along with some adults, when one of the leaders spotted the reptile. The kids were taken out of the area before a wildlife officer responded and shot the animal.

A state veterinarian says he thinks it was probably someone's pet that got dumped when it became too big.

BRIGGS: As part of its Emmy-award campaign for "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL", Amazon pulled out all the stops and stopped the flow of traffic with its "Maisel Day" promotions in L. A. Thursday, rolling back gas prices to 1959 levels to 30 cents a gallon at a Chevron station in Santa Monica

"MRS. MAISEL" scored 20 Emmy nominations. Some 30 businesses around L.A. took part in the "Maisel Day" festivities.

KOSIK: That's --

BRIGGS: Thirty cents a gallon. We need that here in New York. KOSIK: That's a great P.R. stunt. I'll take it.

BRIGGS: Well done.

KOSIK: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik. Have a great weekend.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The airplane was fully engulfed. The fire department did an exceptional job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On that plane were five people, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Everybody got out OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those pilots were able to keep that plane from going across the highway and we're really blessed.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president is supporting Netanyahu's decision to block Reps. Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel.

TRUMP: I did speak to people over there.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I regard Trump's action as part of his racism. That is an absolute outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are elected members of the U.S. Legislative body being denied entry to U.S. allied soil.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And, happy Friday, everybody -- Happy Friday.


CAMEROTA: We have a big show. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, August 16th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we do have some breaking news because NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family are lucky to be alive this morning. They somehow managed to walk away from this fiery plane crash that you see on your screen. This plane burst into flames after rolling off the runway as it landed.