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Republican Party Gets Two Wins in North Carolina; Bolton Out As National Security Adviser; Another Warning Against Vaping; Antonio Brown Rape Allegations. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The world needs slowfies.

Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of the day.

For our U.S. viewers, EARLY START continues right now.


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

BRIGGS: 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 a tumultuous few weeks now include rape allegations against New England Patriots receiver Antonio Brown. The accuser was his trainer.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday. It is September 11th, the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East here.

Let's begin with politics this morning. 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 race in the 9th 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.


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.

Here's the analysis of "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor, John King.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, "INSIDE POLITICS": Christine and Dave, on this morning after, North Carolina nine will be represented by a Republican Dan Bishop and now, the big debate begins. Even though the Republican won, because this margin, two points is so narrow, is there actually a silver lining for the Democrats as we head into 2020?

Let's first focus on the winner. Dan Bishop winning ballpark, 4,100 votes, as they tally the last votes. How did he do it? Number one, there's a reason the president claimed credit. His election eve rally was over here, in the eastern part of the state.

Now, that's not a huge win, just 30 or so votes in Cumberland County for Bishop, but Dan McCready, the Democratic, knew this needed to be blue for him to have any realistic chance to win. And in the Fayetteville suburbs, Dan Bishop ran even. That's a victory for Republicans, especially given this environment. Where did the Democrats see a silver lining? Over at the other end of

the district. You come over here, the Mecklenburg County, that's where Charlotte is. It's the most votes in the district. You touch on Charlotte. You come down here in the eastern suburbs, Dan McCready not only winning but winning big there. Democrats will say this is proof the trend continues. First, Trump in 2016, then the big Republican rout that made Nancy Pelosi speaker in 2018, in 2019, more.

Why do I say that? You see Dan McCready almost 13-point edge there. If you go back to the presidential race, President Trump didn't win it by much, but he won it. The suburbs continue to shift, away from the president and his party. That will be seen by Democrats as a bit of a moral victory here.

In the end, though, a win is a win, right? This district in Republicans' hands since 1963 will stay there for the time being. Democrats will probably field a challenger next time, given this is so close. President Trump, he looks at the top here. Red on top, Republicans win, he will take credit.

Other Republicans may be on the fence about running for re-election next year will look at this one-time very strong ruby red Republican district, now a two-point race. The bottom line, the president's happy. Other Republicans are looking at this in other parts of the country in districts that are less Republican than this, might think maybe I'll think about retiring -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, John at the magic wall. Thanks for that, John.

President Trump is searching for his fourth national security adviser in three years. John Bolton is out. How did that happen?

[05:05:01] That depends on whom 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 the president said, let's talk about it tomorrow.

BRIGGS: CNN learning Bolton and Trump got into a bitter argument on Monday night over the president's plan to host the Taliban at Camp David. Word of Bolton's displeasure went public. The 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 dealing 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: Bolton's fire 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 one area of contention between the president and Bolton. They also butted heads on Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Afghanistan.

CNN's Clarissa Ward who was embedded with Taliban and was in Iran just weeks ago, she joins us now from London with more on the fallout.

Good morning.


Well, no surprise I guess that the Iranians appear to be delighted about the news that President Trump has asked or that John Bolton has decided to resign depending on which narrative you chose to believe. They have said that this is proof that the Trump administration's policy, forgive me, of maximum pressure is, in fact, failing, and they are now predicting that the end of what they call the siege on Iran will soon be over.

As you said, Iran was one of the areas where Trump and Bolton disagreed in the most sort of pronounced way with President Trump repeatedly saying that he would be willing to sit down with Iranian leader President Rouhani, with Bolton urging Trump strenuously, trying to get the president to bomb Iran or respond with force after Iran shot down the U.S. drone back in June.

But ultimately, this was certainly not the only area of foreign policy where the two men had very different views. Also in North Korea where the president obviously has met with Kim Jong-un, visited the border, even walked across into North Korean territory, Bolton favoring a much more strenuous or hawkish policy there.

Also in Venezuela, again, Bolton pushing for regime change, pushing the U.S. to essentially try to topple Maduro, essentially what you see with Bolton is someone who sees the world in manikin black-and-white terms, you're either good or bad, evil or good, you should be rewarded or punished.

President Trump on the other hand appears to be sort of developing more of a deal-maker tendency, whereby he will open the door to a number of actors, of different questionable moral characters as long as there's the potential of making a deal there.

The question, though, becomes who is next. Who will the fourth NSA be, what will he look like in terms of his policies, and was this a question of President Trump finally coming up with, actually, this is my policy, this is my foreign policy, this is what I believe in, and this is what I want going forward? Or was this a question you disagreed with me on several issues and was pronounced on the issue of whether the Taliban should be extending an invitation to Camp David, and, therefore, it's time to go?

So, a lot of people outside the U.S. watching very closely to see who will fill Bolton's shoes -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Clarissa Ward for us in London this morning, thank you for that analysis.

BRIGGS: 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 can 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 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.


BRIGGS: The CDC says at least 450 possible cases of severe lung disease nationwide may have been caused by vaping. Overnight, we learned Hawaii's 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 operation 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.

ROMANS: I can't believe it's been 18 years.

BRIGGS: I know.

ROMANS: It doesn't get any easier.

BRIGGS: It will always be fresh for those of us.


All right. Ten -- eleven minutes past the hour.

Breaking overnight, China says some U.S. products will exempt from tariffs. What it means for American companies and the president's trade war.


[05:16:05] ROMANS: So, China now says some goods will be exempt from tariffs next year. Sixteen types of goods including agricultural, medical and chemical products. Now, pork and soybeans are not on the list.

And voters are beginning to express fear that the president's trade war with China will hurt the economy and hurt them. Brand new polling from "The Washington Post" and NBC News shows six in ten say a recession is either very likely or somewhat likely in the next year.

And despite the president's repeated false claims that China pays for tariffs, voters don't seem to buy that. Sixty percent say they're concerned the president's trade war will raise prices for them.

Here's where you can see the trade war biting into the U.S. economy. Manufacturing activity shrank last year, the very sector the president promised to save through tariffs. Hiring here has really stalled.

Manufacturing struggling, but the job market in general remains solid, and that's an important point. There are 7.2 million job openings in America right now. That is near record.

Now, a strong economy is central to the president's reelection argument, right? The president calls this the best economy in history. It's not. But it is growing and adding jobs.

The challenge for the administration is squaring that solid economy with the message that Trump is demanding the Fed cut rates to stabilize the economy. You don't need to cut rates in a booing economy. So, I think there's some White House messaging here that might be revealed in some of these poll numbers, Dave.

BRIGGS: In particular if the president gets a cut in a few weeks and then still says that's not enough.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: You assume that's the situation.

ROMANS: You know, he's been blaming the Fed, blaming the Fed, and at the same time taking credit for the American economy.

At some point, are voters going to say, wait, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

BRIGGS: CNN polling shows just that.

Thank you, Romans.

Ahead, a major blow to the pennant race. One of baseball's best players, perhaps its MVP, goes down with a season-ending injury. Andy Scholes has that story in the "Bleacher Report", next.



BRIGGS: Shocking new allegations against patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown, his former trainer accusing him of sexual assault and rape.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report" this morning.

Good morning, Andy.


In a federal lawsuit filed yesterday, Britney Taylor says Antonio Brown sexually assaulted her in 2017 and forcibly raped her in 2018.

Now, CNN does not usually name victims of sexual assault. However, Taylor is named in a lawsuit and provided a statement via her attorney to CNN saying: I have found strength in my faith, my family and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault. Speaking out removes the shame that I have felt for the past year and places it on the person responsible for my rape.

Now, Brown is denying the allegations, insisting all sexual encounters with Taylor were consensual. Brown's attorney posted a statement to his website saying in part: Mr. Brown denies each and every allegation in the lawsuit. He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations.

Now, Brown signed a one-year deal with the Patriots earlier this week. Late last night, the team issued a statement saying: We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstances does this organization condone sexual violations or assault. The league has informed that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.

Now, Brown is scheduled to take part in his first practice with the Patriots later today.

All right. To baseball, and just brutal news for the Milwaukee Brewers. Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich hitting a ball of f his knee last night. He immediately went down and would leave the game.

Turns out, Yelich fractured his kneecap and is now going to miss the rest of the season. Just devastating for the team. Yelich was on his way to possible back-to-back MVP awards. The Brewers a game out of the last wild-card spot in the National League.


The Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, the first team to clench a spot in the post-season. The team winning the National League for the seventh straight year. And the Dodgers taking that party to the clubhouse after the game.

You know, the champagne parties usually never get old, but in the Dodgers' case, it might be getting old because like I said, seventh straight post-season, back to back World Series, and they still have no championship to show for it.

You don't want to end up like those Atlanta Braves who won 14 straight divisions and got only one World Series.


SCHOLES: So, we'll see if they can get the job done this year.

BRIGGS: It would be refreshing if they just walked off, wore the T- shirts, and called it a day, you know? Focus on the big trophy.

Andy Scholes, thank you, my friend.

SCHOLES: All right.

BRIGGS: Romans, what's ahead?

ROMANS: All right, Dave. Republicans are celebrating two wins in North Carolina special elections, but should the margin give the GOP concern for 2020?