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President Trump, China Wants To Make A Deal; Iranian Foreign Minister's Surprise Appearance At G-7 Summit; Amazon Fires, 85 Percent Fires Burning This Year In Brazil; NFL Stunning Decision; 79th Day Of Mass Protests In Hong Kong; Iran Conflict, Iran Denies Any Of The IDF Targets Were Hit; Triumph Of An Endurance Athlete; Prince Andrew Issues Statement On Epstein; Hasbro Now Owns Peppa Pig And Death Row Records; U.S. Markets Looking To Recover; Angel Has Fallen Wins Weekend Box Office. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 26, 2019 - 04:30   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China called last night, our top trade people, and said let's get back to the table.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump just moments ago talked about positive signals coming from China on trade.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump also moments ago denies he was blindsided by the Iranian foreign minister's surprise appearance at the G-7.

BRIGGS: Brazil's government under pressure to deal with the wildfires in the Amazon rain forest, as CNN's cameras captured the view from above.

DEAN: Plus, NFL star Andrew Luck's stunning decision to walk away from the game and millions of dollars. Welcome back to "Early Start" this morning. I'm Jessica Dean.

BRIGGS: What a shocker. That was late Saturday night. I'm Dave Briggs, 4:32 Eastern Time, 10:32 in France. We begin with breaking news this morning.

DEAN: That's right. Just moments ago President Trump telling reporters China has told the administration it wants to return to trade negotiations. Markets slumping worldwide and confusion over a trade war with China, the president told reporters at an impromptu news conference at the G-7 that China called wanting to make a deal.


TRUMP: China called last night, our top trade people, and said let's get back to the table. So we'll be getting back to the table, and I think they want to do something. They've been hurt very badly, but they understand this is the right thing to do, and I have great respect for them. I have great respect for them. This is a very positive development for the world.


DEAN: The president also addressing a trade deal with Japan and the surprise appearance of Iran's foreign minister at the G-7. For the very latest let's bring in senior diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson at the G-7 in Southern France. Nic, the president is surprising a lot of people with those comments there. What else are you learning this morning?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a lot of people here and probably around the rest of the world are waiting to hear what China has to say about those phone calls, and of course the president has been under huge pressure from other G-7 leaders here to tame his trade war with China. We heard from the British prime minister, on their first meeting with President Trump saying that there were faint sheep like notes expressed. Those were his rather colorful words and with familiar with that Boris Johnson, but that was the language that he used to say, look we don't want a trade war with China. We want trade peace with China.

There is growing concern here among the leaders with his meeting with that -- that his current course with China is going to escalate into a global economic slowdown. What we heard from the president on Saturday or rather on Sunday was him saying that he was having second thoughts initially about raising the tariffs in the trade war with China and then his -- then advisers said, well, actually he wasn't having second thoughts to lower them. He was actually having second thoughts because he should have raised them even higher.

But the president today saying essentially that his plan, his method with China is paying off. The United States holds all the cards and China will come to the table. We're waiting to hear from China on that. And on the arrival here of the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, the invitation of the French President Emmanuel Macron, of course, hosting this G-7, very unexpected for everyone and not something you see very often happening at G-7's.

[04:35:04] The president had on Sunday also said that he had not signed off on the French president to be an interlocutor for the G-7 with the Iranians. However the president today saying something different.


TRUMP: Macron, no, no, that was -- he spoke to me. He asked me, I said if you want to do that that is OK. I don't consider that disrespectful at all, especially when he asked me for approval.


ROBERTSON: So the U.S. president saying that the French president had asked him for approval it seems to invite the Iranian foreign minister here. The Iranian foreign minister himself and his spokesman saying that he met with Emmanuel Macron, the French president. The French president's office saying that they met for half an hour. They also met with German and British diplomats here, met with the French foreign minister, part of ongoing negotiations and conversations.

Even today the French are indicating those conversations are continuing, although Zarif already arriving in Beijing for further talks interestingly in the midst of the conversation about Iran there with reporters. The president saying more news to come today, big news. He didn't say what. There's a press conference in about six hours with the French president and President Trump. So, maybe there we'll learn more.

DEAN: All right. Much more to come from there, Nic Robertson thanks so much.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, U.S. markets looking to recover this morning. Futures are slightly higher after President Trump said that China wants to get back to trade talks. Asian markets fell amid confusing signals about the U.S./China trade war. European markets also down. Trump's comments come after China unveiled a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods on Friday.

President Trump tweeted that he, quote, hereby ordered U.S. companies that do business in China to, quote, immediately start looking for an alternative. Beijing already has tariffs on about $110 billion worth of U.S. exports which included things like almonds, toys and machinery. The new tariffs will target over 5,000 products including soybeans, coffee, whiskey, seafood and crude oil.

Some of the new Chinese tariffs will go into effect on September 1st. The rest are effective December 15th, mirroring Trump's latest tariff threat, the back and forth on tariffs has been going on for more than a year now, and no one is winning. Businesses, therefore consumers, in both countries are feeling the pinch.

DEAN: The G-7 nations putting pressure on Brazil to deal with the huge number of fires blazing in the Amazon rain forest. The summit host French President Emmanuel Macron tweeting our house is burning literally. The Amazon rain forest, the lungs of our planet, which produces 20 percent of our oxygen is on fire. It is an international crisis.

Brazil's own space agency says there are 85 percent more fires burning in the country this year than last and more than half of those are in the Amazon. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is pushing back calling Macron's comments sensationalist. But with some G-7 countries threatening trade sanctions, Bolsonaro has ordered troops into the Amazon and authorized hundreds of temporary firefighters. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more now from Brazil.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Jessica. Extraordinary scenes, we saw in three hours above the Amazon forest really at times unable to get low enough towards the forest canopy, because of the sheer amount of smoke making it very hard for our pilots to fly, even at times turning off the air vents inside the aircraft for our own safety.

But when we did see the fire, it's extraordinary exactly how much of the forest they have devastated and how they rage uncontrolled often moving in lines, simply across the Savanah. During our three-hour flight we did not see one instance of the Brazilian army. The president here saying 43,000 of them had been deployed to fight the fires. And we occasionally see them in the skies over the city of Port of Viejo (ph) flying in cargo planes to drop water. We saw none on the ground though. Little signs of human life at all frankly. Only one bird making it around that I saw in the smoke over that forest.

A lot of cattle, sometimes they're the reason why the forest is cleared for agricultural land so they can grow soy to feed the cattle or the cattle can graze and then be made for beef for our diets. This is really many say why the Amazon is being cleared at such an extraordinary rate at 1.5 football fields per minute. Three will elapse during the time in which I'm talking here. The destruction though was quite startling. It's moving at a remarkable rate. The fires we saw were new mostly today, and they do appear, some of them according to how clean the lines of the burn are, to perhaps have been started deliberately. That is what we're hearing from many police and also activists here as

well. But the scale of the challenge is utterly enormous.

[04:40:00] Simply what we saw will be difficult for one army to put out in one day, and Brazil has accepted the help of Israel that has been offered, but will it accept the help of the G-7 nations that say that this is an urgent concern. But they've been very critical of Brazil's attitude towards the environment and the Amazon, but could potentially offer help. That is up to President Jair Bolsonaro. Whether he takes it or not would depends on how this crisis grows in the days ahead. Dave, Jessica?


BRIGGS: Our Nick Paton Walsh, thanks.

A brief period of calm in Hong Kong ending over the weekend as police fired warning shots in the air during renewed violent protests. With those protests entering their 12th consecutive week. Police also fired tear gas and brought out water cannon trucks for the first time. Officers were responding to the protesters' efforts to tear down controversial lamp posts. Those posts house environmental monitoring units that have sparked privacy concerns. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam writing on her Facebook page Sunday, everyone is tired. Can we just sit down and talk about it.

DEAN: Israel claiming responsibility for air strikes near Damascus saying the strikes foiled an imminent large scale attack by Iranian forces and Shiite militia in Northern Israel. Iran denies that any of the target were hit. CNN's Ben Wedeman is live in Beirut with the latest this morning. Ben, what are you learning? BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we're

seeing is within the last 48 hours is rarely war planes or drones have struck targets in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iraq as well as Gaza. This appears to be a major escalation by Israel against groups in any way affiliated with Iran. As the only, however, operation that the Israelis have claimed responsibility for is this strike outside of Damascus, which it said was to prevent what they're saying or claiming was an imminent operation by Iranian forces to launch what they're calling killer drones on northern Israel.

But the Iranians are completely denying that any of their personnel were targeted. What we did hear yesterday was the secretary general of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah saying that what was struck in that Israeli operation was a building housing members of Hezbollah, two of whom he said, were killed and he vowed that for the drones that fell in Beirut yesterday as well as that -- the killing of two Hezbollah fighters in Syria that Hezbollah will respond. He said that Hezbollah will do its best to try to shoot down any Israeli drones entering into Lebanese air space. Jessica.

DEAN: Ben Wedeman for us live in Beirut, thank you.

BRIGGS: To U.S. politics, and conservative radio host Joe Walsh announcing he is running against President Trump for the Republican nomination. The former Illinois Congressman telling ABC news he is running because Mr. Trump is quote, unfit for office.


JOE WALSH (R-IL), 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The country is sick of this guy's tantrum. He is a child. Again, the litany, he lies every time he opens his mouth. Look at what's happened this week. He is -- the president of the United States is tweeting us into a recession.


BRIGGS: Walsh says his former colleagues on Capitol Hill all think the president will lose in 2020, and they want him to lose, but he adds they're too afraid to say so. Walsh was elected to the house in a Tea Party wave of 2010 and has a long history of himself of controversy. He once said Obama was elected only because he was a quote, black man who was articulate and pushed the false conspiracy theory Obama was a Muslim who hated Israel. Walsh acknowledging he helped in a sense create Trump and its Trump who's helped remind him of how inflammatory his statements were. What a wild development. But ballot access, massive obstacle

DEAN: That is right.

From California to Hawaii, on a paddleboard, that paddleboard, one man's remarkable triumph of endurance. That's next.


DEAN: Britain's Prince Andrew trying to clear the air about his relationship with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. In a new statement, the Prince says he never witnessed or suspected the behavior, which led to the financier's arrest and conviction on sex crime charges, and he had some words of regret as well. CNN's Hadas Gold is live in London with more on this. What more is Prince Andrew saying, Hadas?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: This is the second statement coming from the palace in just about a week, regarding Prince Andrew's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. What's unique about it is it's in Prince Andrew's name and how long it is. In it Prince Andrew details some of what he says was his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. He says that they met in 1999. That he saw him infrequently, maybe once or twice a year. Although he does say, he did stay in some of his residences. That is supporting that video that we saw a few days ago of Prince Andrew seemingly at Jeffrey Epstein's home in New York.

I want to say part of what he says here, which is important, he says at no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness, or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction. I've said previously it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010, and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person given what we now know.

And he goes on to express regret saying that he abhors any human being, being exploited in any sort of way. But still, although this is a very lengthy statement, it doesn't answer the exact question that a lot of people here in London and around the world have. Which is why was Prince Andrew still associating with Jeffrey Epstein even after his arrest and his time spent in prison for sex crime charges? Doesn't that give you an idea of maybe not to spend time with somebody like that? We don't quite know exactly what caused Prince Andrew to think that that was a good idea.

[04:50:07] And they did have quite a relationship, you have to keep in mind that Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson admitted publicly that actually Jeffrey Epstein helped paid off some of her debts. So, clearly there was quite a relationship here. Lawyers for some of Epstein's accusers have asked Prince Andrew to disclose any information he has about Jeffrey Epstein. So, clearly this is likely not the last we've heard about this from Prince Andrew. Jessica?

DEAN: Yes, that is certainly true. Much more to come on that. Hadas Gold, thanks so much.

BRIGGS: All right, an incredible feat of endurance, Antonio De La Rosa making the trip from San Francisco to Honolulu, 2,900 miles with nothing, but this 24-foot stand up paddleboard. The 42-year-old ultra-endurance athlete from Spain becoming the first ever to cross the pacific as a standup paddle border.


ANTONIO DE LA ROSA, ENDURANCE ATHLETE: For me and for everybody, no, no, no motor, only the motor is -- this is the motor. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: This is a motor pointing to the gun show. He made the record crossing in 76 days. Go pro cameras captured the trip. There was no escort vessel so he was all alone out there. De La Rosa says of the 2,900 mile voyage, it was designed to raise awareness about protecting the ocean from manmade pollution. That is why I wear this this trusty four ocean bracelets, has the same goal of cleaning the plastics on of our oceans.

DEAN: Really.

BRIGGS: Recycled plastic.

DEAN: So, there it is.

BRIGGS: There you go.

DEAN: Maybe we should put you on a stand up paddle board and let you get out there.

BRIGGS: Let's go. I'll make it about 29 miles.

DEAN: That is pretty good.

Together at last, the duo you've been waiting for, Snoop Dogg and Peppa Pig. CNN Business is next.


DEAN: The football world is still reeling from the news this weekend. Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts star quarterback is retiring at the age of 29. The ESPN is reporting the Colts will not try to recoup nearly $25 million in bonus money paid to Luck, even though the team is entitled to it. We get more now on luck's stunning announcement and its aftermath from CNN's Coy Wire.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Andrew Luck was one of the brightest stars in the game. Probably could have played another decade. He was last season's comeback player of the year, and here he is walking away from 10's of millions of dollars. His plan was to tell teammates and make a public statement Sunday, but a reporter broke the news unbeknownst to him while he was on the sideline during a preseason game on Saturday. Fans on the stage clearly devastated. One man even taking off the Luck jersey he was wearing. As the game ended walking off the field, this is what Luck heard.

Boos from fans and the team he worked so hard for, suffering injuries like a lacerated kidney, a torn abdomen, torn cartilage and concussion. Here he was after the game.


ANDREW LUCK, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS STAR QUARTERBACK: I'd be lying if I didn't say I heard the reaction. Yes, it hurt, I'll be honest. It hurt. I'm in pain. I'm still in pain. I've been in this cycle, which feels like, I mean, it's been four years of this injury pain rehab cycle, and for me to move forward in my life the way I want to, it doesn't involve football. Mom, Dad, Mayor, Uncle Will, all my friends, thank you.


WIRE: Praise and shock pouring in from around the league. Luck was one of the most talented, nicest and well-respected men in the sport. He has an engineering degree from Stanford University. So hopefully a bright future ahead of him. Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones said he hopes Luck will run for president one day.


BRIGGS: All right. Coy Wire, thanks. Check on CNN Business out 4:58. Global markets took a hit as the U.S./China trade war flares up again. Asian market slid and European markets evolve on low. On Wall Street futures are slightly higher after the president told reporters at an impromptu news conference at the G-7 that quote, China called wanting to make a deal.

What do Peppa Pig and Snoop Dogg have in common? They're now co-owned by Hasbro. The U.S. toy maker cut a deal to buy Entertainment One which owns the cartoon and Death Row Records for $4 billion. Entertainment One bought the rights to Death Row's music catalogue back in 2013. The deal would combine Peppa and the iconic rap label with My Little Pony, Transformers, Play Doe, Monopoly, and Power Rangers. The deal expected to close by the end of the year.

There's a new number one at the box office, Angel has fallen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Top guardian angel has fallen.


BRIGGS: All right. Angel bumps "Good Boys" from the top spot over the weekend. The third installment of drug butler's "Fallen" action series brought in about $21.3 million. "Good Boy" made a surprising debut to top the box office last week. This group of sixth graders weren't strong enough to beat butler. Angel has fallen nearly matched the $21.6 million debut of its predecessor 2016's "London has fallen."

DEAN: Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day and for our U.S. viewers, "Early Start continues right now.