Return to Transcripts main page


North Carolina Special Election Could Be Trump Bellwether; FDA Warns Leading E-Cigarette Maker Juul About Its Marketing Practices; Big Papi Is Back. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 10, 2019 - 05:30   ET





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The radical Democrats want to dismantle, demolish, and destroy everything that you've gained. And they will do it and it won't take that long.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The president with a lot on the line. Special elections could show voters are turning on the president in the first big bellwether of 2020.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Peace talks with the Taliban are completely dead, crumbling after secret talks were canceled. The president defying his own vice president to set up the summit.

BRIGGS: The nation's leading e-cigarette maker warned to stop deceptive marketing. Now, a new warning against vaping from the American Medical Association.


ANNOUNCER, BOSTON RED SOX: Number 34, David Ortiz.


ROMANS: A big return for Big Papi. David Ortiz back in public for the first time since being shot in June.

Dave's having a big inner-struggle about who is the most loved Boston player. Is it -- is it --

BRIGGS: I figured it out. It's Tom Brady who's the most worshipped; David Ortiz who's the most loved.

ROMANS: OK, I agree with that.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs, former Bostonian, obviously.

Polls open in one hour, folks. Special elections in North Carolina today could be a bellwether for 2020, a key race in the state's Ninth District held by the GOP for more than 50 years.

It has been vacant since a razor-thin vote in 2018. No winner was declared amid allegations of absentee ballot fraud that prompted state officials to call for a new vote.

President Trump won the district by 12 points but early voting suggests strong Democratic turnout. For context, Democrats represent only four congressional districts Trump won by a larger margin than 12 points.

ROMANS: The president tried to rally support for Republican Dan Bishop in North Carolina last night.


TRUMP: The radical Democrats want to dismantle, demolish, and destroy everything that you've gained. And they will do it and it won't take that long. Your way of life is under assault by these people. With your support tomorrow, we take the first steps to firing Speaker Pelosi and winning back the House in 2020.


ROMANS: One possible advantage for Democrat Dan McCready is that Democrats hold an 8-point voter registration advantage in the district even though Republicans keep winning the seat.

There is another special election in the Third District. That seat open due to the death of longtime congressman Walter Jones.

Polls open at 8:00 -- 6:30, rather, this morning.

BRIGGS: Six-thirty.

ROMANS: Less than an hour.

BRIGGS: Get out there and vote.

Let's bring in "Washington Post" congressional reporter Karoun Demirjian. She's a CNN political analyst. She is live in Washington. Great to see you, my friend.

ROMANS: Good morning.


BRIGGS: OK, so we gave you the numbers there. The president won this district by 12 but so, too, did Mitt Romney four years prior. If, in fact, the Democrat can win here what does it mean for the party and for the president? DEMIRJIAN: Well, it's a great win for the Democrats if they can pull it off to flip a district that's been so consistently Republican. It also is a big problem for President Trump and his ability to say that things are going to go in his direction and feel that he has the momentum behind him heading into 2020.

And also, for how much power he has taking the stump. I mean, he is not giving a mildly-worded message as he was campaigning last night in that rally. And if that backfires and he's not able to turn things around, that does not bode well for heading into the last year-plus stretch before the 2020 election.

Everybody is focused on which way is the momentum turning. Towards the Democrats in Congress who still have the House --


DEMIRJIAN: -- which is sticking in Trump's cross (ph) clearly or is Trump going to be able to pull the Republicans across the finish line?

ROMANS: Well, is that energy from the midterms that so helped so many --


ROMANS: -- Democrats in Congress -- is that still there? Is there a Trump suburb backlash still happening or did that rally last night really galvanize people?

DEMIRJIAN: Right, and North Carolina, and this district particular is a really great microcosm for the country at large.

So in many ways, is it because of the demographics, because of the various -- the split between how many suburban voters -- and not that there are in this district. You can take -- or you can try to take lessons for what will happen in other potential swing states -- potential swing districts leading into next year.

BRIGGS: And already, 16 retiring Republicans in the House. A win by the Democrats could further increase that number.

Let's move on to the issue of gun violence in this country. Congress is back. Expectations are low that anything will be done despite some stunning polling from your paper -- front-page polling, by the way, on expanding background checks.

It is an 89 percent number. That is stunning. You can't get 89 percent of Americans to agree that it is Tuesday.

Republicans are at 83 --

DEMIRJIAN: Not this early.

BRIGGS: -- percent. I'm not sure about that. So is there any likelihood that anything gets done with those numbers?


DEMIRJIAN: Yes. I mean, look, the numbers for background checks and for red flag laws, which are -- you know, if there's a sign that somebody shouldn't be able to purchase or own a gun -- those are extremely, extremely high and there's not that much variation between Democrats and Republicans. So that should lead you to say OK, it should happen.

And yet -- and yet, you've seen a reticence from the leaders in Congress -- the Republican leaders in Congress to take any steps before the president will --


DEMIRJIAN: -- actually make it OK.

And so, there's this kind of like circular hesitation going on where the president doesn't want to take a move that he doesn't think he can get through Congress. Congress doesn't want to take a move until they have buy-in from the president. And that leaves you at the status quo, which is that nothing gets done in Congress even when there's momentum to have that happen in the country.

ROMANS: And it's unclear what --

BRIGGS: Hashtag leadership.

ROMANS: Right. Well, it's unclear what the president's heart and head are telling him about gun violence here, you know. I mean, sometimes he says something and then sometimes he contradicts himself.

And, Sen. Roy Blunt basically saying there's got to be presidential leadership on this.


ROMANS: They can't put something forward that they don't think that he's going to sign -- listen.


SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): What the leader said this week -- I think maybe it's the second time he's said this -- is we're not going to vote on bills on the Senate floor that the president's not willing to sign. The president needs to step up here --


BLUNT: -- and set some guidelines for what he would do.


ROMANS: You know, going back to that polling, it's the people are leading on this. It's not the leaders.

BRIGGS: And businesses. ROMANS: And businesses, right.

DEMIRJIAN: Right, exactly. And I think that that is certainly a compelling reason to do something for either the president or for members of Congress.

But then again, those numbers have not made the NRA change its tone. They have not necessarily changed what the center of Trump's base feels about this.

And we don't have the polling that actually shows us what the base is showing -- the base is feeling directly -- and that's who Trump tends to listen to. Even when he indicates he might be open to these things he tends to then ratchet back the second somebody tells him oh, no, this wouldn't play well with your base. Oh, no, the NRA wouldn't like it.

And the president has yet to prioritize the national polling that might give him a win out of this, frankly --


DEMIRJIAN: -- over those concerns.

BRIGGS: It's a real political opportunity --


BRIGGS: -- that he appears to be passing on.

ROMANS: All right, Karoun Demirjian. Thank you so much for joining us this morning, bright and early.

DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.

ROMANS: Thank you.

BRIGGS: Thank you. All right.

President Trump defending his widely criticized decision to set up a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David. The talks would have come just days before the anniversary of 9/11. It is, after all, the Taliban who harbored the terrorists responsible for the attacks.

The president claims he called off the meeting when he learned last week the group claimed responsibility for killing an American soldier.

ROMANS: The Taliban have already claimed the deaths of at least nine U.S. service members in 2019 and are likely responsible for seven others.

The president now insisting there is no path forward.


TRUMP: They're dead, they're dead. As far as I'm concerned, they're dead. They thought that they had to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position.


ROMANS: Sources tell CNN the president overruled National Security adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence when he decided to set up that meeting with the Taliban at Camp David. Bolton and his staff do not trust the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, and thought that he gave the Taliban too much leverage in the talks.

BRIGGS: President Trump sealed a partnership with a Scottish airport in 2014 that routinely sent refueling flight crews to his resort in Turnberry. That's according to a report in "The New York Times."

But in this tweet on Monday, the president claimed to know nothing about Air Force crews staying at his resort.

TEXT (TRUMP, TWITTER): I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!). NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.

"The New York Times" obtained documents from the Scottish government detailing the Trump Organization's deal with Glasgow Prestwick Airport. The report says Mr. Trump played a direct role.

But the president claims he doesn't need to this kind of arrangement to help his bottom line.


TRUMP: I'm going to give out my financial condition and you'll be extremely shocked that the numbers are many, many times what you think. I don't need to have somebody take a room overnight at a hotel.


BRIGGS: The arrangement, again, raises questions about whether Mr. Trump is benefitting financially from the presidency.

On Sunday, the Air Force ordered a review of all international layover stays.

ROMANS: An effort to clean up after President Trump's false claim Alabama would be hit by Hurricane Dorian led to Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross threatening to fire top staffers at NOAA. That's the agency that runs the National Weather Service.

"The New York Times" reports Ross ordered NOAA to disavow a tweet from a regional weather service office that contradicted the president's claim. When the acting head of NOAA pushed back, Ross told him the agency's political staff would be fired. A Commerce spokesman denies the story. Now, NOAA's acting chief scientist is investigating. Craig McLean tells colleagues the agency's response was political and a danger to public health and safety.

BRIGGS: Concern that President Trump repeatedly mishandled classified intel led the U.S. to extract one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government.

CNN first to report on the successful previously secret mission, citing multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge.


The mission was ordered soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office where President Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with top Russian officials.

Sources say the informant was the highest-level source the U.S. had inside the Kremlin. The spy had access to Vladimir Putin and could even provide pictures of documents on his desk.

President Trump said yesterday he knows nothing about reports suggesting he mishandled classified intelligence.

ROMANS: All right, a very fortunate ending for four crew members trapped for more than a day in this capsized cargo ship.


BRIGGS: The FDA is warning e-cigarette maker Juul about illegally marketing its product as a safer alternative to cigarettes. The company has been ordered to respond with corrective actions within 15 working days. Juul says it is reviewing the order and will fully cooperate.


There's been an alarming rise in cases of severe lung illness linked to vaping. The American Medical Association is now urging everyone to avoid e-cigarettes.

Last November, the FDA said vaping among high-schoolers nearly doubled and jumped 50 percent among middle-schoolers.

First Lady Melania Trump tweeting she is "...deeply concerned about the growing epidemic," and "We need to do all we can to prevent e- cigarettes from leading to nicotine addiction."

ROMANS: Desperation growing in the Bahamas as the death toll rises. At least 50 people now confirmed dead.

The power company on the devastated island of Abaco calls the situation dire. It says there are no standing electricity poles for 16 miles, from Marsh Harbor to Treasure Cay.

Families of the missing still holding out hope. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope they find him. I hope so.

He does have a son. We don't even know (INAUDIBLE) yet. I hope they find him. I hope so.


BRIGGS: Meantime, the ferry boat operator that ordered dozens of Hurricane Dorian evacuees from the Bahamas off its boat now apologizing. WSVN posted the video.


FERRY OPERATOR: All passengers that don't have U.S. visa, please proceed to disembark.


BRIGGS: The ferry operator says at the time, it was told evacuees needed more travel authorization. U.S. Customs and Border Protection say the ferry operator did not properly coordinate the evacuation ahead of time.

Nearly 5,000 residents have fled the Bahamas in the wake of the violent storm. The prime minister says evacuees will be returned home as soon as homes are rebuilt.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

Nearly every state now investigating Google over antitrust, marking the latest escalation in regulatory scrutiny of the tech giant. A bipartisan group of attorneys general representing 48 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico launched this probe. Only California and Alabama have not signed on.


KEN PAXTON (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: While many consumers believe that the Internet is free, certainly, we know from Google's profits of $117 billion that the Internet is not free. This investigation is not a lawsuit, it is an investigation to determine the facts. And right now, we're looking at advertising but the facts will lead to where the facts lead.


ROMANS: Silicon Valley has faced a lot of criticism into whether it's harming competition and consumers. It is a constant target of criticism from politicians. Conservatives claim they face discrimination. Liberals claim the algorithms elevate fringe voices and conspiracies.

The probe will initially focus on Google's advertising. It may expand from there. Regulators around the world have also been critical of Google. The E.U. has fined Google $9 billion in antitrust violations over the past three years.

Its stock fell slightly on the news. Google declined to comment.

Taking a look at global markets right now, you can see a holding pattern around the world. Chinese stocks fell after some weak economic data fueled concerns about the ongoing slowdown in China and the trade war bite there. China's Producer Price Index dropped eight- tenths of a percent in August. That's the worst decline in three years.

On Wall Street, you've got futures leaning a little bit lower here. The Dow managed to cling on to some gains Monday. It closed up just a little bit -- 38 points. The S&P and the Nasdaq fell slightly.

Now investors are going to look ahead to this data called the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey. It's called JOLT. It's due at 10:00 a.m. It's going to tell us how many open jobs there are in America.

We're also hours away from Apple's big event, unveiling its iPhones. Don't hold your breath for a foldable, 5G-capable iPhone. Experts don't think that's going to happen.

Here's what Apple's likely to announce. Three new high-end phones -- the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max -- and new features, like a faster processor and new camera.

The Apple watch is also expected to get a refresh.

Apple's iPhone business is its single-biggest moneymaker and that's been lackluster lately. Revenue has declined by double-digit percentages in recent quarters.

All right, Wendy's is going to be cracking a few more eggs, announcing it will start serving breakfast nationwide next year. Currently, it offers breakfast in about 300 locations.

Breakfast may help drive growth but it's also a big cost. It expects to spend about $20 million to serve breakfast throughout the country.

Wendy's also plans to hire 20,000 employees for the breakfast initiative.

BRIGGS: Good stuff. All right.

Billy Bush returning to television three years after this controversy forced him off the air.


TRUMP: And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.


TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy.

BUSH: (Laughing)

TRUMP: You can do anything.


BRIGGS: The infamous Trump "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape there.

Billy Bush making his debut Monday as the new host of "EXTRA."


BUSH: I've learned a few things during my time off or time out. Bad things happen to all of us. The ingredients of our disasters differ but the shock to the system and the struggle to overcome we share.


Going forward, I will no doubt have to report on people who have had a bad moment. I'm especially interested in seeing them own it and get back up.


BRIGGS: In an earlier interview with CBS, Bush said the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" Trump tape was weaponized and he added, everyone at NBC knew about the tape before it was released.

Interesting -- he says "bad things happen" and then later circles back to owning it. Bad things do happen, like hurricanes, like diseases, like friends dying, family dying.

A bad thing didn't happen to Billy Bush. I'm pro-him returning to T.V., but what bad thing happened to him?

ROMANS: Or bad things you do, you know.

BRIGGS: That's owning it.

ROMANS: That's owning it.

BRIGGS: Yes. Anyway, let us know what you think.

We'll be right back.



BRIGGS: Five fifty-four Eastern time.

And all four crew members who were trapped inside a capsized cargo ship have now been rescued. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



BRIGGS: There were cheers as the final member of the crew was brought up Monday. He was trapped behind glass in an engineering control room when the Golden Ray cargo ship ran aground off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia.

Three crew members who were in the propeller shaft area were rescued earlier Monday. All four were taken to area hospitals.

ROMANS: White supremacists may be helping a fugitive couple evade police.

Blane and Susan Barksdale are accused of killing a 72-year-old man earlier this year. Then after their arrest, overpowering two security officers in Utah to escape.

A U.S. marshal in Arizona believes Blane Barksdale has ties to the Aryan Brotherhoods. He does not believe the suspected murderer and his wife have crossed into Mexico.

Blane Barksdale has been added to the U.S. Marshal's 15 Most Wanted list.

BRIGGS: If a bank mistakenly deposited $120,000 in your account, what would you do? One Pennsylvania couple spent it. Now, Robert and Tiffany Williams are facing felony charges.

According to court papers, the couple used the money to buy an SUV, a camper, two four-wheelers, and a car trailer, among other things.


ROBERT WILLIAMS, ACCUSED OF SHOPPING SPREE AFTER BANK ERROR: We took some bad legal advice from some people and it probably wasn't the best thing in the end.


BRIGGS: The bank error occurred when a customer in Georgia made a deposit and the BB&T bank teller entered the wrong account number.

On top of the felony charge, the Williams also face $107,000 in overdraft fees.

ROMANS: All right, more heat here in the east with storms ahead today on the Plains.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Christine and Dave, good morning, guys.

We do have big-time heat to tell you about across portions of the south. Temps running about 10 to 15 degrees above average. And we'll, in fact, see this one expand a little bit towards the areas of the northeast here over the next couple of days before we get at least a hint of fall back in the forecast last this week.

But how about the middle-90s out of Atlanta. Look at Chicago -- up to 90 degrees or so by this afternoon. Even New York City climbs up about 10 degrees above average.

But, again, we get that hint of cooler air coming in by Friday. But a dramatic warming trend going in towards this weekend where we climb back up above average there across New York City.

Now, it is September 10th, which means it is the peak season for tropical activity. And when you take a look at the Atlantic Ocean, things beginning to really get impressive across the region.

A couple of areas of interest. Of course, we know a rainmaker potential across areas that were hit by Dorian in recent weeks. But you take a look. A couple of regions worth watching here within the next, say, seven to 10 days for development.

And then back closer to home, work your way towards South Dakota and portions of Nebraska as well. Some severe weather potential there. Valentine, in particular, one of those areas where some damaging winds and some large hail in the forecast with this afternoon's storms -- guys.


BRIGGS: Pedram, thanks.

Big Papi is back.


ANNOUNCER, BOSTON RED SOX: Number 34, David Ortiz.


BRIGGS: Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz making his first public appearance since he was shot in June back in the Dominican. Big Papi threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate, catcher Jason Varitek.

Ortiz offering thanks on the field, even to longtime rivals.


DAVID ORTIZ, FORMER BOSTON RED SOX PLAYER: I want to thank the Yankees. A lot of my boys over there came and check up on Big Papi. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

C.C., Encarnacion, and all you all, man. Thank you very much. God bless you all.

Go, Sox.


BRIGGS: That love even existed during his playing days when he would always go up and hug --


BRIGGS: -- several of the Yankees players. But, boy, did they just worship David Ortiz in Boston.

ROMANS: The most-loved Boston player.

BRIGGS: David Ortiz just ahead of Tom Brady -- just ahead.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for joining us.

BRIGGS: Scream at me on Twitter.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The do-over election in North Carolina's Ninth District offering a glimpse into the future.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The polling indicates a very tight race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's possible Democrats will turn out in force. Trump is hugely worried.

JIM SCUITTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": The U.S. successfully extracted one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that Trump has made a habit of giving classified information when he shouldn't.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: It's going to become even harder to collect human intelligence in Russia.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, September 10th, 6:00 here in New York. Alisyn is on assignment. Bianna Golodryga, lucky to have you here this morning.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Great to be here. Thank you.

BERMAN: So in just a few minutes, polls open for an election that could give us something of a political MRI of the Trump presidency. In fact, even before the results come back, the mere fact that.