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White House Downplays Recession Fears; ISIS Regaining Strength In Iraq And Syria; Climate Scientists Find Troubling Signs In Greenland. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 20, 2019 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T.V. AD FOR JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to beat Donald Trump and all the polls agree Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Biden campaign with its first ad buy in Iowa. The brand new ad just moments away.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: With concerns of a recession mounting, could a new tax cut be on the agenda? What the White House says this morning.

BRIGGS: Planned Parenthood will forgo hundreds of millions of dollars instead of complying with new restrictions. More than a million women could pay the consequences.


LIL NAS X, RAPPER: Singing "Old Town Road".


KOSIK: I know you'll be humming that all day now. After 19 weeks, what song knocked the song of the summer from the top of the charts?

BRIGGS: I won't be humming it, I'll be full-on singing it.

KOSIK: Then go ahead --


KOSIK: -- start now.

BRIGGS: I will not do that to the viewers. I respect them too much for that.

KOSIK: Welcome back to EARLY START, good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. I'm sitting in for Christine Romans. BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs, 5:31 Eastern time.

Just in to CNN, we're getting a first look at former vice president Joe Biden's first campaign ad in Iowa. The ad buy targeting markets in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities, and Sioux City.

Here it is.


T.V. AD FOR JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know in our bones this election is different. The stakes are higher, the threat more serious. We have to beat Donald Trump and all the polls agree Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job. No one is more qualified.

For eight years, President Obama and Vice President Biden were an administration America could be proud of, our allies could trust, and our kids could look up to. Together, they worked to save the American economy, to pass the historic Affordable Care Act protecting over 100 million Americans with preexisting conditions.

Now, Joe Biden is running for president with a plan for America's future to build on Obamacare, not scrap it. To make a record investment in America's schools, to lead the world on climate, to rebuild our alliances. Most of all, he'll restore the soul of the nation battered by an erratic, vicious, bullying president.

Strong, steady, stable leadership -- Biden, president.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Joe Biden and I approve this message.


BRIGGS: The Biden ad hits on familiar topics like electability and working with President Obama. There is also imagery, as you saw there, from Charlottesville, which mirrors his campaign launch in the spring.

The ad focusing on the economy and health care, two key issues that call for stable leadership -- a clear shot at President Trump. It all focused on electability with the polls, a point Jill Biden drove home last night in New Hampshire.

CNN has new polling on the 2020 race at the top of the hour on "NEW DAY".

And a couple of lines there that kind of stand out -- "...our allies can trust and your kids can look up to."

And you can't help but wonder about that argument on health care. He's the one that wants to build on Obamacare while for now, his chief rivals want Medicare for All. How important will that be and will some of them shift? That stance in the weeks and months ahead. KOSIK: What I notice about this ad, it's very direct and he's certainly leaning on what has happened in the past and what can happen in the future. But that direct sort of punch right in the face --


KOSIK: -- to President Trump, that's clear.

BRIGGS: Well, you know, the thing that he can thank President Trump for is inoculating the voters against those gaffes because Biden has made some doozies.

KOSIK: Right.

BRIGGS: You know, "Poor kids are just as bright as white kids." He also said in recent weeks, "We choose truth over facts." But they largely went away because in this environment --

KOSIK: Anything goes.

BRIGGS: -- it's nothing.

KOSIK: Anything goes.

BRIGGS: Yes, it ain't nothing.


President Trump and his economic officials are doing everything they can to downplay any fears of a recession, including knocking down reports the administration is considering cutting payroll taxes as a way to juice the economy.

[05:35:00] For millions of working Americans, 6.2 percent of their salary goes toward payroll taxes. They're usually used to finance programs like Social Security and Medicare.

A White House official said this. "More tax cuts for the American are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time." However, President Trump has undercut his staffers before when they've said he was not considering something.

The president continued to attack the Federal Reserve, tweeting, "The central bank should cut interest rates by at least 100 basis points to boost the economy."

So what does that mean? Basis points are a unit of measure for interest rates and cutting the rate as much as Trump is suggesting amounts to a full percentage point and would give the Fed less wiggle room to maneuver if a recession did begin.

Trump's attempt to politicize the Fed is nothing new, but he's never called for a rate cut as drastic and as specific as this one.

Even Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross stepped on the Fed. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILBUR ROSS, SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: We're very upset about the portion of the strength of the dollar that's due to monetary policy by the Fed. We think that our interest -- it's ridiculous. Our interest rates are high relative to many other countries.


KOSIK: Keep in mind, cutting interest rates is actually a tactic the Fed normally uses to stimulate the economy in a recession.

Meantime, Larry Kudlow is expected to speak with business and state leaders to discuss the economy. That is expected to happen this week.

Kudlow, by the way, was wrong about predicting a recession during the George W. Bush administration.

BRIGGS: New concerns this morning about ISIS regaining strength in Iraq and Syria five months after its territorial defeat. "The New York Times" reporting the Islamic State is conducting guerrilla attacks and U.S. Defense officials acknowledge the terror group stands to be a lasting presence.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh covered ISIS extensively on the battlefield and joins us live from London. Nick, good morning. What are we learning?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is interesting to see these warnings come up as tightened tension occurs Northern Syria, certainly about the fate of some pockets held to the west of were ISIS were.

But also, as we see, bit-by-bit, insurgents start attacks against those Syrian Kurdish allies that were basically the bedrock of the U.S. campaign -- U.S.-led campaign to move ISIS from its so-called caliphate territory.

Now, the fact that now we see these warnings is no surprise at all because even as ISIS began to lose its territory it was clear as sort of residual fighters were pushed out into the desert that they were beginning to plot attacks again. Those have seemed to have picked up in rhythm.

And there's still an enormous problem of ISIS supporters and ISIS fighters -- tens of thousands of supporters held in one enormous refugee camp and thousands of fighters held in various pop-up or permanent prisons there. The foreigners, not necessarily being taken home by their homelands. And those in Iraq and Syria, as some say in Iraq, meeting pretty a stark end to the hand of Iraqi courts.

The more enduring issue here is that when Donald Trump took over the pretty well thought out Obama White House's campaign to defeat ISIS, he didn't seem that interested in what many people who sort of fight insurgencies for a living say is the most important part and now, as the economic and kind of diplomatic back end of it. Yes, militaries know they can kill their way out of a problem but essentially, you still have to deal with the bedrock -- the root causes of why there is an insurgency in the first place -- and that's really what ISIS was in Iraq.

Sunni grievances against the Shia majority government and almost the same, frankly, in Syria. That Sunni fight went on as part of the civil war and then it kind of metastasized into what we saw ISIS becoming -- the extremely ugly and brutal face of Sunni extremism, but for many Sunnis who felt they had nothing in Syria and Iraq to the military voice that might stand up for their interests.

So none of that really was tackled in terms of the aftermath of the ISIS campaign. There wasn't much reconstruction. There hasn't been much of a bid to try and find some kind of mainstream part of the Sunni population there that could become part of governments on either side.

And so naturally, when you force thousands of people into camps and provide little kind of future alternative to them, they are going to go back to the structures they knew beforehand and that was ISIS.

The question is does this change U.S. policy? Well, the money needs to come in. They were hoping the Gulf States might possibly provide some of that. It's been slow in coming, too.

There's pressure from the Russians and the Syrian regime that could perhaps erode a lot of the mandate that the Syrian Kurds in the northern part of Syria have with the population there amongst to. And there's a broader problem as well militarily of the cap that U.S. forces have on their presence there now.

So, a lot of problems here. But as we've seen with insurgencies across the world, unless you deal with the root cause behind them, simply using violence doesn't get rid of the problem, it just puts it slightly further into the long grass -- Dave.

[05:40:00] BRIGGS: Reclaiming territory one thing; killing an ideology difficult, if not impossible.

Nick Paton Walsh live for us in London. Thank you.

KOSIK: Google is in the crosshairs of President Trump's latest conspiracy theory. The president tweeting Monday, "Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton."

He's referring to a study by psychologist Robert Epstein, who was on "FOX BUSINESS" discussing this earlier in the day. Epstein testified about it last month.


ROBERT EPSTEIN, PSYCHOLOGIST, PROFESSOR, AUTHOR, JOURNALIST: In 2106, Google's search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that shifted at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton.


BRIGGS: Epstein, himself, says President Trump was wrong about his findings. Epstein claimed to find bias in Google's search results but they found no evidence they were manipulated to favor Clinton. Google says Epstein's claims of bias were wrong.

And, Hillary Clinton with an epic troll, herself, with the latest Trump voter conspiracy theory tweeting this. "The debunked story you're referring to was based on 21 undecided voters. For context, that's about half the number of people associated with your campaign who have been indicted."

KOSIK: Planned Parenthood says it will reject $286 million in federal funding rather than comply with a so-called gag order on abortion services. The move could affect 1.5 million low-income women.

A new Trump administration rule says clinics accepting Title X funds can talk to patients about abortion but they can't refer women to an abortion provider or suggest where to get an abortion.

Planned Parenthood says being forced out of Title X won't stop them from providing abortions and other services, and they will fight the gag rule in court.

This year has seen several attempts to limit reproductive rights in America with several states passing extreme anti-abortion laws.

BRIGGS: Social media giants Twitter and Facebook taking action against China for using hundreds of fake accounts to create discord among protesters in Hong Kong.

Twitter suspending nearly 1,000 Chinese accounts and banning advertising from state-owned media companies.

Facebook says it's removing five accounts, seven pages, and three groups because of deceptive tactics.

The takedowns reflect the extent to which disinformation has become a global scorch far surpassing the efforts by Russia to stoke social unrest in the U.S. during the 2016 election.

KOSIK: OK, you may want to double-check your trip on Southwest Airlines before you book a flight next year. "CNN Business" has details on changes coming up for the airline.


[05:46:54] KOSIK: Pop legend Sir Elton John slamming the notoriously intrusive British media over their coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

In a flurry of tweets, he said he was deeply distressed by distorted and malicious stories after reports of the family taking a private plane to France made the rounds online. The reports suggesting the royal couple's mission to protect the environment is a sham. In his flurry of tweets, John defended the couple's use of the private jet, saying he and his husband paid for it, and they also made sure the flight was carbon neutral.


ELTON JOHN, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Singing "Goodbye England's Rose."


BRIGGS: Elton John, a longtime friend of Princess Diana, said he felt it was his duty to protect the royal couple from the media.

Back in 1997, Diana, Prince Harry's mother, was killed in Paris during a high-speed car chase while they were pursued by reporters. John rewrote and performed this version of "Candle in the Wind" at Diana's funeral.

President Trump having a little fun with all the speculation surrounding reports that he's considering buying Greenland. The president tweeting this picture, one that shows his signature Trump Tower building plopped down on the Danish territory. He says, quote, "I promise not to do this to Greenland."

But there are far more serious matters at hand. Climate scientists point to troubling signs under a glacier in Greenland.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen just back from assignment there. He's live in London with the details. Good morning, Fred. What did you learn?


Yes, well, while President Trump seems to be contemplating trying to acquire Greenland for the U.S., they obviously do have some very serious problems because Greenland is melting.

Now, NASA is there currently on a big research mission called Oceans Melting Greenland, and they're trying to map out why exactly this is happening -- what are some of the things that are underlying for -- because of it. And then, of course, they want to find out how possibly we could stop it in the future.

And one of the big things that they found out is that it's not only warmer air that's making those glaciers melt, but also warmer ocean water that's driving a lot of the attrition that's making those glaciers there in Greenland lose so much ice that then causes sea levels to rise.

I want you to listen in -- I want you to listen in to what the chief scientist for NASA told me on that mission.


JOSH WILLIS, OCEANS MELTING GREENLAND LEAD SCIENTIST, NASA: There's enough ice in Greenland to raise sea levels by 7 1/2 meters. So it's an enormous volume of ice that's about 25 feet and that would be devastating to coastlines all around the planet.


PLEITGEN: "Devastating to coastlines all around the planet." Of course, in the U.S., that's something that would happen as well.

And I asked him -- look, what can we do to try and slow this down or maybe stop it? He said the only thing we can really do is try to curb emissions globally. But he also said that the way things are going right now, people in some of those coastal areas need to think about moving away at some point, Dave.

BRIGGS: More reason for the president, perhaps, not to look at that property.

[05:50:00] Fred Pleitgen live for us in London this morning. Thank you.

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

Let's look at markets around the world first. Asian markets closed mostly lower. European markets have opened slightly higher.

And on Wall Street, it looks like futures are kind of treading water for now. But stocks did start the week on a positive note. The Dow jumped 250 points on Monday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both closed a little over one percent higher.

It looks like investors focused on the White House's optimistic view of the future and not economists' increasingly negative outlook. The National Association for Business Economics said 74 percent of U.S. economists believe a recession is coming in the next two years.

If Southwest is your go-to airline you may want to check to see if they still fly to where you want to go to. Southwest Airlines is dropping nearly 20 non-stop routes next year to free up planes for flights that have stronger demand.

Most of the routes are to or from Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, and Orlando. A spokesperson for the airline said one-stop service between the cities will still be available. Southwest will stop operating those routes, though, on January sixth, 2020.

As the streaming wars heat up, Disney+ is going global. Disney revealing its streaming service will be available in Canada and The Netherlands on November 12th. That's the same day it's being released in the U.S. It will then launch in Australia and New Zealand one week later.

The service will cost about the same as in the U.S. -- the U.S. plan when adjusted for exchange rates.

Disney expects to have 60 to 90 million global subscribers by 2020.

We'll be right back.


[05:56:08] BRIGGS: The man charged in the El Paso mass shooting is on suicide watch. Patrick Crusius charged with killing 22 people at a Walmart on August third.

Police say he was put under close guard Monday on the recommendation of medical staff. You can bet he'll be under close watch after the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.

Crusius has been in custody, separated from other inmates, since the shooting.

KOSIK: OK, so this isn't just any 10-cent dime here. This dime from 1894 sold for $1.3 million at a Chicago coin auction. It's one of only 24 ever made and one of nine that still exist.

It was purchased by Utah businessman Dell Loy Hansen. He's an avid coin collector and needs six more coins to build a collection with every coin ever made by the U.S. Mint. Now that's pretty cool.

A heartwarming gesture caught on video. Joe is a homeless man living on the streets of New York City. And he says he was sitting with his sign saying that he's hungry and that his shoes are broken. So, a jogger passing by noticed the holes in Joe's sneakers and actually gave him the shoes off his own feet.


JOE, HOMELESS MAN WHO WAS GIVEN JOGGER'S SHOES: I've been blessed pretty much my whole life. God has been very nice to me and all and it feels like I should bless him, too. Here, take my shoes. And he took them off and he gave them to me. I wanted to like hug the guy or something but then a homeless man hugging somebody is not normal out here.


KOSIK: Joe says at first, he thought it was a set-up. The jogger remains unidentified. He walked away barefoot.

BRIGGS: Be careful, it's New York.

All right. Talk about extreme couponing, Disneyland just honored a woman's 30-year-old free admission ticket.

Tamia Richardson was planning a girl's trip to Disneyland with her mother, aunt, and daughters when she found the coupon from her first visit to the park in 1985 when she was 14. Disneyland was celebrating its 30th birthday by giving out the prizes to every 30th guest. Richardson somehow held on to the pass she won for a free return visit and finally used it this month.

For the record, 1985 admission cost $16.50. Today, north of about $90.00.

KOSIK: OK, the sounds of the summer just got kicked off its perch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



KOSIK: I'm going to be singing that all day --

BRIGGS: I'm not sure about that.

KOSIK: -- or the next song.

Seventeen-year-old Billie Eilish has knocked "Old Town Road" from the number one spot atop the Hot 100. "Bad Guy" is the first number one hit for Eilish. A few weeks ago, "Bad Guy" was actually re-released with a verse by Justin Bieber, kind of giving the song a fresh boost.


NAS X: Singing "Old Town Road".


KOSIK: Yes, this is what we'll be singing. "Bad Guy" dethroned Lil Nas X's country-rap song featuring Billy Ray Cyrus after its unprecedented 19-week run at the top.

Sing it for me.

BRIGGS: And that's our gift to you, an earworm here on a Tuesday.

KOSIK: Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. Turn it back up.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. We are ready.


CAMEROTA: We are here and ready. It's Tuesday, August 20th, 6:00 in New York.

And we begin with breaking political news.

A new CNN national poll releasing right now, this moment, shows that former vice president Joe Biden has regained a double-digit lead over the rest of the crowded Democratic field. It's the first CNN poll since the CNN debates in Detroit and the big takeaway are that Biden's numbers are nearly double those of his nearest rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The poll also reinforces Biden's key strength, which is electability. Biden's campaign is embracing this and stressing the need to beat President Trump in his first T.V. ad, which will air in Iowa this. END