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GOP Narrowly Holds North Carolina 9th District House Seat; Search for (Another) NatSec Adviser; Another Warning Against Vaping; Antonio Brown Rape Allegations; Netanyahu to Annex Parts of West Bank if Re-Elected; Apple Unveils New iPhone 11. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 04:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Republicans get the wins they had to have. What two races in North Carolina tell us about -- North Carolina tell us about the 2020 campaign.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The fallout fast and fierce after the ousting of national security adviser John Bolton, what it means for allies and adversaries worldwide.

ROMANS: Another prominent call to stop vaping after a sixth person died from a related lung disease.

BRIGGS: And rape allegations against New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio brown. The accuser was his trainer. This happened less than a day after the Patriots signed the controversial wideout.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Good morning, everybody. I'm Christine Romans. It is 32 minutes past the hour here in New York.

But we start in North Carolina. A big night for the GOP in North Carolina. The party held onto two seats it badly needed in order to slow Democratic momentum going into 2020.

CNN projects North Carolina State Senator Dan Bishop will narrowly defeat Democrat Dan McCready in the ninth district, keeping the seat that's been in Republican hands since 1963. The state forced to rerun the election because of ballot of fraud allegations against the 2018 GOP campaign.

Now, voters in North Carolina's third district elected Republican State Rep Greg Murphy, he replaces Republican Walter Jones who died in February.

BRIGGS: Bishop's raise drew attention as a possible 2020 bellwether. President Trump and Vice President Pence both made trips to the district Monday. Bishop had Trump on speaker phone after the win and made clear he is a Trump Republican. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN BISHOP (R), PROJECTED WINNER, NORTH CAROLINA NINTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: President Trump's vision for America is received warmly by people in the Ninth District, and let's give him his due. He stepped in when some said that perhaps he should let it ride and he -- that's what he does -- he commits. And that's what I do, and I'm just going to fight for it.


BRIGGS: President Trump savoring the win, quote: Big night for the Republican Party. Congratulations to all.

ROMANS: A win is a win, but Republicans looking to 2020 might worry about competitive seats in similar districts.

Democratic Party offering this warning: Those close results in a district Trump won by double digits should send waves of fear through the Republican Party at every level.

BRIGGS: Republican victories in North Carolina come at a time when President Trump can use a pick-me-up because his poll numbers are headed down.

Take a look at the latest CNN polling. The president's approval rating dropping to 39 percent. That's the lowest number since January.

And it gets worse. Only 36 percent of voters believe Donald Trump deserves to be re-elected in 2020. Sixty percent say he does not.

And when it comes to the president's strong suit, the economy, the poll numbers show he is slipping there as well. Voters basically split on his performance, 48 percent to 47 percent, down 8 percent since April.

ROMANS: President Trump is searching for his fourth, fourth national security adviser in three years. John Bolton is out. How that happened? Well, that depends on who you ask.

The job became vacant when president Trump tweeted: I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed.


I asked John for his resignation.

But just 12 minutes later, an extraordinary rebuttal from Bolton who tweeted: I offered to resign last night and President Trump said let's talk about it tomorrow.

BRIGGS: CNN learning Bolton and Trump gotten to a bitter argument on Monday night over the president's plan to host the Taliban at Camp David. Bolton was also thought to be a prolific leaker. A source who spoke to the president tells CNN, quote: There's a lot that Trump can take. Leaking is not one.

Bolton had been isolated in recent months by President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. A source close to the White House tells CNN Bolton felt the president caves too much when he deals with dictators. The administration is currently considering at least ten candidates to replace Bolton. The president says he will announce his pick next week.

ROMANS: So, Bolton's firing leaves a power vacuum at the White House, and legitimate concerns about how the U.S. handles foreign policy. Officials at the National Security Council left wondering about the future of their organization. The Taliban talks were just one area of contention between Bolton and Trump. They also butted heads on Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Afghanistan, some of the most difficult thorny issues in the world.

CNN's Clarissa Ward who was embedded with the Taliban and was in Iran just weeks ago has more this morning on the fallout -- Clarissa.


Well, it's really interesting the Taliban issue was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back because of all of John Bolton's positions, his disagreement with the president over this decision to extend an invitation to the Taliban to Camp David just before the anniversary of 9/11 was certainly the least controversial. A lot of people even close to the president sharing in that position.

But more broadly speaking, this had been brewing clearly for quite some time because John Bolton has a very hawkish, very black or white view of the world. He sees countries as being good or evil. He sees leaders as being either rewarded or punished by the U.S. He has been very quick to support regime change in a number of different countries, particularly in Iran when the Iranians shot down a U.S. drone back in June. It was Bolton who was really pushing President Trump very hard to respond with some kind of force.

So, nobody is exactly surprised internationally to see that President Trump has finally parted ways with John Bolton. I think there is some surprise honestly that they were ever even working together given Trump's propensity to sort of leave the door open, to sit down with dictators, to say that he'll meet with Rouhani. He views himself obviously as being a dealmaker who can sit down with anyone and hash out some kind of an agreement, although, his record has not shown that to be tested just yet.

But the question comes going forward, given that we will now be on the fourth national security advisor, what is next? Who is next? What does this mean for President Trump's foreign policy? And what does that foreign policy really look like?

Because we've seen him cycle through a number of different options, ex-military, more hawkish. And now, what does the future hold? Does this mean President Trump now has a kind of more coherent sense of foreign policy, his foreign policy going forward, or is this more a case of when you argue with me, you end up getting fired?

So, a lot of people across the world watching very closely to see who the next NSA will be.

ROMANS: Anyone's guess.

All right. Clarissa Ward for us in London. Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. We're counting down to the next Democratic debate in Houston. That's tomorrow night.

The ten candidates will be on stage making their way to Texas. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, well, found themselves sitting one row apart, Buttigieg tweeting: Very funny, United.

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren will square on the same debate stage for the first time. A Biden advisor says he will aim squarely at Warren's I've got a plan for that strategy, arguing Democrats need a nominee who offers more than plans.

ROMANS: Warren, after speaking to another big crowd in Austin, offered no apologies.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that we start with a plan and then we get out there and fight for it.


ROMANS: Remember, there's been some high-profile use of profanity on the campaign trail. I'm talking to you, Beto. So, the DNC and debate host, ABC News, sent a remarkable e-mail to the candidates asking them not to curse during the nationally-broadcast debate.

BRIGGS: Note to self.

Another major warning against vaping. The American Lung Association saying straight-out, do not use e-cigarettes. The health charity says in a new statement, "E-cigarettes are not safe and cause irreversible lung damage."

The warning came the same day authorities in Kansas announced a sixth American has died from lung disease related to vaping.


This week, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's foundation committed $160 million to help stop the vaping epidemic.


MIKE BLOOMBERG, CEO, BLOOMBERG L.P.: Kids are dying, people are dying now and getting addicted. A time line is yesterday, not tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: The CDC says at least 450 possible cases of severe lung disease nationwide may have been caused by vaping. Overnight, we learned Hawaii is investigating its first possible case.

ROMANS: All right. Breaking overnight, significant structural damage in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after a confirmed tornado hit. The mayor says the city is setting up an emergency operations center, almost 20,000 customers in the dark right now.

This used to be an auto parts store. One hospital, the Avera Behavioral Health Center is being evacuated. More than ten tornadoes were reported in the upper plains Tuesday. The same system set to bring another round of severe weather today.

BRIGGS: On this morning, 18 years ago, America endured its darkest day, planes crashing into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the field in Shanksville, Ohio. Almost 3,000 people killed.

There will be a ceremony taking place at 8:40 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

Former President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Mark Esper will lay a wreath at the 9/11 Pentagon memorial.

And a new tradition begins today in public schools across New York State. A brief moment of silence will be observed before the start of classes on every September 11th moving forward.

Is it a conversation you have every year with your children?

ROMANS: It is, also with my colleagues. We all covered it here CNN. I worked down on Wall Street and we lost a lot of people that day. It's a hard day. It's really still raw.

All right. Forty-one minutes past the hour.

Another pre-election play to the base by the Israeli prime minister. He's planning to annex parts of the West Bank and he's counting on Americans' support.

CNN is live in Jerusalem.



ROMANS: All right. We're getting a look at how the economy is doing nearly a decade after the Great Recession. The Census Bureau said Tuesday median U.S. income stalled at $63,200, breaking a three-year streak of increases, but the poverty rate -- and this is good news -- poverty rate fell to 11.8 percent below the 12-1/2 percent rate in 2007 when the great recession began. The median income edged up 1.8 percent in President Trump's first year in office. But it has pretty much stalled there despite a strong job market and historically low unemployment. The data comes amid growing concerns about the economy, which is it's

slowing down amid president Trump's trade war with China. A new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll showed six in 10 Americans believe a recession is very likely or somewhat likely within the next year. And while the labor market is still strong, the pace of job growth has slowed recently with the economy adding 158,000 jobs a month this year compared with 220,000 jobs a month last year.

BRIGGS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will annex parts of the West Bank if he wins reelection next week. The prime minister is expanding on a promise he made before, and is vowing to execute the plan in coordination with the United States.

Oren Liebermann live from the Jerusalem with the latest.

Oren, good morning.


This announcement was exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted the headlines focused today. Instead, that's not what he got. All of the major newspapers showing him being evacuated from a campaign event a short time later under rocket fire from Gaza.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): In a down-to-the-wire campaign move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising to expand the boundaries of Israel if he wins re-election next week.

He announced a stunning plan to annex parts of the contested territory of the West Bank.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Today, I am announcing my intention to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea.

LIEBERMANN: It's a sweeping plan and critics say a play to his base that comes with strings attached.

NETANYAHU: I will not do anything without getting a clear mandate from the public, and so, the citizens of Israel, I ask you for a clear mandate to do this.

LIEBERMANN: The 69-year-old Israeli leader has made promises of annexation before, but never like this.

Pulling out a map, he showed specific areas in the West Bank he would make official Israeli territory, areas he says are crucial to national security but are held by occupied territory by most of the international community.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Should have taken place many decades ago.

LIEBERMANN: Facing a tough reelection bid here, Netanyahu has staked his future on his close ties to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Today's announcement was no different. The Israeli prime minister connected his annexation plan directly to Trump's soon to be released plan for Mideast peace.

NETANYAHU: The most important question facing us in this election is who will negotiate with President Trump? Who will recruit him to our side?

LIEBERMANN: A Trump administration official tells CNN there is no change in U.S. policy at this time, but adds that Netanyahu's announcement doesn't get in the way of the peace plan. Two weeks before Netanyahu's last election in April, Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, a political gift to his friend Netanyahu.


Trump also put Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the terror list and he had the secretary of state visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Tuesday night, Arab politicians in Israel and Palestinian leaders slammed Netanyahu's new plan, accusing him of working to liquidate the Palestinian issue and eliminating the possibility of a two-state solution and peace.

Netanyahu says Trump's peace plan is coming soon, telling Israelis he should be the one to handle negotiations, but only if he wins the election.


LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu's announcement was blown out pretty quickly here in the news cycle because of the resignation or firing of National Security Adviser John Bolton who was considered very close to Netanyahu, especially on his hard line stance on Iran. Bolton's resignation was viewed here as a blow to Netanyahu, as, of course, was Netanyahu's evacuation rocket fire -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Indeed. All right. Oren Liebermann on another wild day in Jerusalem, thank you. We can assume the next national security adviser will be pro-Israel to say the least.

ROMANS: Right. That's saying something.

All right. Any idea what a slowfie is?


ROMANS: Improving on the selfie as if we need to improve on the selfie.

BRIGGS: That's improving?

ROMANS: I guess. CNN Business has the details on the iPhone and their features next.



BRIGGS: The Antonio Brown saga taking a potentially criminal turn. The star receiver accused of raping and sexually assaulting a former trainer.

A civil suit alleges Brown, in three separate incidents in 2017 and 2018, attacked Britney Taylor. Brown, through his attorney, denies the allegations, saying the two had a consensual personal relationship.

The lawsuit was filed a day after Brown signed with the New England Patriots. The Patriots, in a statement, say they take the allegations very seriously but they won't comment while the NFL investigates.

ROMANS: Boeing experiencing a problem with yet another plane. The 777X plane, which is still in development, failed a safety test. Boeing says the test bent the wings far beyond anything expected in commercial service. Officials say the fuselage depressurized and one of the doors came off.

Boeing is already struggling to get the grounded 737 MAX fleet back in the air after two failed crashes that killed more than 300 people. There are signs of a disconnect between the FAA and overseas regulators, raising the prospect aircraft may be recertified in some countries but delayed in others.

BRIGGS: In a move that could reshape the so-called gig economy, California lawmakers passed a bill requiring companies like Uber and Lyft to reclassify contract workers as employees and provide them additional benefits. The new law will apply to app-based companies, despite their efforts to negotiate an exemption. The legislation will affect at least a million people who had no access to basic protections like minimum wage, and it could influence other states, a similar bill being pushed in New York.

ROMANS: Kent State wanted fireworks and they got them. The university is apologizing for halting a women's field hockey match to prepare a pre-game fireworks show for its football team. Kent State was hosting a field hockey match between Temple University and University of Maine. It was in overtime when it was abruptly call and everyone was told to leave the field. Teams were told the match would resume in seven hours.

Temple couldn't stay due to travel arrangements. Kent State's athletic director says: In hindsight, a different decision would have been made to ensure the game could finish.

BRIGGS: Do you think?

Could napping actually help you live longer? We hope so. A new study found grabbing a daytime nap once or twice a week between five minutes to an hour cut in half a person's risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.

A Swiss study tracked nearly 3,500 people between ages 35 and 75 for just over five years. Interestingly, the researchers say more frequent napping beyond once or twice a week provided no additional health benefit.

ROMANS: I could take a nap right now.

BRIGGS: Right now, please.

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

Taking a look at business around the world, you can see European shares opened higher. But it's mixed in Asia, closing mixed in Asia.

On Wall Street, a little bit of a boost this morning. Look, stocks finished mixed Tuesday. The Dow up five days in a row, but barely. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished flat.

Oil prices -- this was really interesting -- they fell after the president fired Iran hawk John Bolton as national security adviser. The commodity sells at $57.40 a barrel, down almost 1 percent. Bolton was a strong proponent of Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against Iran. That campaign was built on tough sanctions that caused Iran's oil exports to plunge.

McDonald's plans to speed up the drive-thru with new technology, announcing Tuesday it acquired Apprente, a Silicon Valley-based startup that specializes in conversational voice-based ordering technology. McDonald said the technology understands different accents and they expect it to allow for more accurate ordering at the drive-thru. McDonald's and this company have already run demos at McDonald's test restaurants.

The newest iPhones going to cost you a pretty penny. Apple unveiled the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max Tuesday with $1,000 price tag. But both models feature three cameras on the back of the phone and a better battery life.

Another feature, slowfies. Yes, slow-motion selfies. How did the world survive without this.

Apple also unveiled a new seventh generation iPad that starts at $329. The new iPhones will be available for preorder Friday. They go on sale in stores on September 20th.


BRIGGS: The world needs slowfies.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us.