Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Moves to Curb Flavored E-Cigs; Third Democratic debate Tonight; SCOTUS Backs Asylum Restrictions; NYT: Justify Failed Drug Test. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2019 - 05:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't allow people to get sick, and we can't have our youth be so affected.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president wants flavored e- cigarettes off the market to curb a growing epidemic among America's youth.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Ten Democrats, one stage. The third debate tonight. We have what you need to watch for in Houston.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight, restrictions to limit asylum seekers at the southern border can take affect, thanks to a ruling from the Supreme Court.

BRIGGS: And was there a cover-up at last year's Triple Crown? Bombshell reports say Justify failed a drug test before winning horse racing's biggest prize.

ROMANS: And here, a tower of light. Two towers, beams in the night, to commemorate the 18th anniversary of September 11th.

It's somber and beautiful driving into the city this morning.


ROMANS: But a reminder of what the city has gone through. And a reminder to always remember what happened. Never forget.

BRIGGS: Well said. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's Thursday, September 12th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We begin with the White House taking a big step to curb the widening vaping epidemic among young people. The Trump administration moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes with specifics expected in coming weeks. Today's teens are smoking less tobacco, they're using fewer drugs,

they're drinking less alcohol, but vaping is a concern. Federal health officials find that more than a quarter, 28 percent of all high school students use e-cigarettes. That number nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018.

Staggering number, nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018.


TRUMP: Vaping has become a very big business, as I understand it -- like a giant business in a very short period of time. But we can't allow people to get sick and we can't have our youth be so affected.

ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY; DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: So we simply have to remove these attractive flavored products from the marketplace.


BRIGGS: The CDC says there have been six deaths and more than 450 vaping-related illnesses across the country.

One of those is 18-year-old Adam Hergenreder. He vaped nicotine and marijuana and the habit nearly killed him. Now, doctors now say he has the lungs like a 70-year-old's.


ADAM HERGENREDER, VAPING ILLNESS PATIENT: I had the shivers and it -- and I couldn't control it. So I would just randomly convulse and it was really scary. I knew it wasn't a stroke but I felt like that because I couldn't control myself.


BRIGGS: This week, the FDA warned leading e-cigarette maker Juul against marketing its product as a safe alternative to smoking.

More now from senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Christine, the White House is calling for a ban on nearly all flavored e- cigarettes. These are the flavors that have started this epidemic among young people -- candy-like flavors, sweet flavors, fruity flavors, mint. That's what started kids vaping and the White House says that they want to stop this.

Some important notes here. Companies can still sell tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. Some people have found that tobacco-flavored e- cigarettes helped them quit regular cigarettes. They say that it's been very useful.

Another important note is that after this ban is in effect, companies such as Juul -- which is, of course, the big player here -- they can then apply to the FDA to start selling these exact same flavored e- cigarettes again.

Some people are concerned about this. Anti-smoking advocates say that they hope the Trump administration makes it clear that the answer to those applications will be no -- Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Elizabeth, thank you so much for that.

On tap, tonight, debate number three for the Democrats. And this time around, it's a one-night event. Here are the ten candidates who qualified.

For many of them, it could be the final opportunity to break through. And we'll see Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, side-by-side on the same stage.

Our Jeff Zeleny is already there in Houston.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dave and Christine, the third Democratic presidential debate is tonight in Houston. Of course, in Miami, there were two debate nights. In Detroit, also two debate nights.

But tonight here in Houston, 10 Democrats qualified for this debate. And it will mean for the first time, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are on stage together. They are, of course, the two leading candidates at the moment, Bernie Sanders, as well, in the thick of this race. There are seven other candidates who are trying to make their case that there's still time for them to jump into this race.

We are going to see a lot of contrast between, of course, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. There are basically two lanes now, a progressive lane and a pragmatic lane. Joe Biden trying to make the argument of electability, that he's the strongest to take on Trump. But there's also a sign that Elizabeth Warren has been rising throughout the summer. So, the Biden campaign has been telegraphing that he is going to essentially raise some questions about Senator Warren's plans, how can she pay for these plans, other things.


So, look for Medical-for-All to be front and center in this debate. But also look for the other candidates who need to make a moment, trying to have their say, as well. Senator Cory Booker, Senator Amy Klobuchar, also Mayor Pete Buttigieg, trying to show that he is indeed a top-tier candidate.

But don't forget the rest of the candidates. They're trying to make their case, as well -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRIGGS: All right. Jeff, thanks.

Breaking overnight, the Supreme Court clearing the way for the Trump administration to severely restrict asylum seekers at the Mexico border. The new rule dramatically limits the ability of Central Americans to claim asylum if they have not sought protection from another country on their way to the U.S. Now, the move essentially bars people from traveling through Mexico from claiming asylum.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. The ACLU says it will continue to challenge the rule.

ROMANS: President Trump is said to be considering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a second full time job, replacing John Bolton as national security adviser. It's not clear just how serious the president is about Pompeo serving dual roles. Sources say the country's top diplomat has given the president a list of other potential replacements for Bolton.

Now, this has happened before. Henry Kissinger was already Nixon's national security adviser when he was appointed secretary of state back in 1973.

BRIGGS: The House Judiciary Committee votes today to define the parameters of its impeachment investigation into President Trump. Their resolution is expected to lay out the ground rules for potential impeachment hearings. It's a largely procedural vote but it does represent a step forward for the impeachment investigation. One hundred thirty-four House Democrats are now calling for an impeachment inquiry. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not quite there yet. But a fellow Democrat from California thinks he knows what she's up to.


REP. HARLEY ROUDA (D-CA): There's an old adage about how to cook a frog, if you throw it in boiling water, it jumps out. But if you put it in lukewarm water and turn up the heat, it will swim around until it gets cooked. And my sense the speaker is cooking the president.


ROMANS: Quite an image.

BRIGGS: I could not know that one.

Democratic aides on the Judiciary Committee tells CNN the goal is to decide on recommending articles of impeachment by the end of the year.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump renewed his attack on the Federal Reserve Wednesday. You know, that's not necessarily new or news. But this time, a twist.

The president of the United States calling the Fed boneheads and demanding sub zero interest rates, in a booming economy. Sub zero interest rates. That means you would put your money in the bank, think of that, and have to pay to put it there. Terrible for savers. Joining us here with more on this twist, CNN Business lead writer, Matt Egan.

Welcome to the program.

BRIGGS: Good morning, sir.

I'm surrounded by experts on this economy. So, just as I come new to the story, sub zero interest rates and booming economy. Are those completely antithetical to one another?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: It defies logic, right? If the economy was strong, why would the Federal Reserve need to take basically emergency-style steps to boost growth? I mean, keep in mind that even during the 2008 crisis, the worst since the Great Depression, the fed only went to zero. It didn't go to negative rates at that point.

And you've got to wonder if just suggesting this is going to spook households and business owners who associate, you know, sharp rate cuts with economic crisis, not, you know, booms.

ROMANS: How does it work out for others? Japan and Europe? This is not a sign of strength when you're talking about sub zero rates. It's a sign of weakness.

EGAN: Exactly. Critics would say that this idea of negative rates which Japan and Europe, they have experimented with in recent years has been a failure because growth there still is weak. Inflation is soft. And the banking stocks, the banking companies, I mean, they've just really been struggling.

And, I mean, the problem is -- there's actually been research that shows that there's been unintended consequences, right, that bank profits have actually been weaker because of negative rates, because these really unorthodox policies, I mean, they act as attacks on the banks. And banks are the way that central banks get their policy to the real economy. So, banks are struggling, then it's not going to help anybody.

ROMANS: So, international investors, they look at these interest rates, there's a rate play that, you know, lots of money moves around the world looking for the highest interest rates to park. Suddenly, if you're negative interest rates, what happens to, you know, the flows of money in the U.S.?

EGAN: That's right. It would be a headwind.

Right now, money is coming into the United States because we have positive rates, unlike what we've seen in Europe and in Japan. And if that gap narrowed by the U.S. going closer to zero, or even going negative, that would be a headwind.

BRIGGS: In a global impact, what about senior citizens, what about those living on fixed incomes?

ROMANS: People who want savings.

EGAN: Right, savers, they would be hammered by this, right?


Because right now, if you have some money in the bank, you have some money in CDs, you earn a little bit of interest, right? But if the Fed went to negative, you wouldn't earn anything at all. And, in fact, measured against inflation, you'd really be losing money.

So, banks would really get hit and I think savers would be penalized, as well.

ROMANS: He's -- a couple of times the president is talk about restructuring or refinancing all of America's debt, right? A lower interest rate, and there is something to be said, about thinking about a longer bond, to issue a longer bond, and maybe that's something they will do. But this idea of just demanding negative rates, restructuring --

BRIGGS: He would have to replace the entire Fed to accomplish this, wouldn't he?

ROMANS: Actually, it would be the Treasury -- but it was the Treasury Department that would have to do this. Not the Fed.

EGAN: Right, and we should point out that trillion-dollar deficits are on the way, but that is because of this spending surge during the Trump administration, and, of course, the tax cuts.

ROMANS: He blames the Fed.

BRIGGS: This is not normal.

ROMANS: No, it's not. It's absolutely not normal.

EGAN: Not at all.


BRIGGS: All right. Thank you. Good to see you, Matt.

EGAN: Thank you, guys.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, she was stripped of a swimming title because of how her suit fit. Now, officials in Alaska are changing course.



ROMANS: Purdue Pharma has reached an agreement to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits linked to the opioid crisis. But some attorneys general are opposing the deal. They insist the fight is not over.

The Sackler family owns Purdue. Now, they're offering this, $3 billion, a portion of future revenue from drug sales, and another $1.5 billion pending the sale of an international company.

Purdue makes the painkiller OxyContin, the drug epicenter of the opioid crisis. The Sackler family says it supports a global resolution that directs resources to patients, families and communities. There's been more incentive for Purdue to settle since Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572 million in Oklahoma for its role in the opioid crisis there.

BRIGGS: Legendary U.S. oilman T. Boone Pickens has died. Pickens rose to prominence in 1980s as a so-called corporate raider, launching takeover bids for big oil companies including Gulf and Phillips Petroleum. He accused company executives of looking out only for themselves, and ignoring rank-and-file shareholders.

Later in his career, Pickens championed renewable energy, including wind power and was active in efforts to help the U.S. lessen its dependence on foreign oil. He officially retired last year due to poor health. T. Boone Pickens was 91, and said to have donated more than $650 million to Oklahoma University over the years, really impacted Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Ahead, the New York Mets and their rookie slugger Pete Alonso paying tribute to 9/11 first responders. Andy Scholes has that story next.



ROMANS: Officials in Alaska reversed a decision to disqualify a female high school swimmer because of the way her team-issued swimsuit fit. Breckynn Willis of Anchorage, she won a heat last Friday but then a race official disqualified her because her suit shifted and showed too much of her backside. Now, there's a rule that a swimmer can be DQ'd for an improperly fitting suit. But Alaska School Activities Association said it overturned the disqualification because officials did not notify the coach about the issue before the race.

BRIGGS: OK. New reports says Justify won last year's Triple Crown after failing a drug test, and this is horseracing royalty here.

Andy Scholes has more in "The Bleacher Report."

Good morning, my friend.

Another black eye for a sport desperately in need of some good publicity.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Dave. You know, I was at the Belmont stakes when Justify won the Triple Crown. It certainly was an awesome moment. But according to "The New York Times", Justify failed a drug test earlier that season that should have disqualified the horse from even competing for the Triple Crown. "The Times" reports that after winning the Santa Anita derby and

qualifying for the Kentucky Derby in the process, Justify tested positive for a banned substance. That positive test should have resulted in a disqualification and removal from the Kentucky Derby. But instead, "The Times" reports the California horseracing board took more than a month to confirm the results after trainer Bob Baffert asked for a second sample to be tested. By then, Justify had already won the Kentucky Derby.

According to "The Times," the board did not follow normal protocol. And in August, after Justify won the Triple Crown, decided in private to drop the case and lighten the penalty for any horse with a positive test for that banned performance-enhancing drug.

Now, in a statement, the executive director of the California horseracing board says, we take seriously the integrity of horseracing in California and are committed to implementing the highest standards of safety and accountability for all horses, jockeys and participants. He also says they will have a further response today.

All right. Antonio Brown was on the practice field for the Patriots for the first time yesterday. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, they didn't want any part of answering questions of the new wide receiver.


REPORTER: Do you have any comment at all on the Antonio Brown allegations that are out there?


REPORTER: Not a word to say?

BRADY: Didn't I just answer that?

REPORTER: Bill, were you aware of the lawsuit when you signed Antonio Brown?

BILL BELICHICK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: I am not going to be explaining on statements that have already been given.

REPORTER: Don't you think the fans should hear more from you on major development that, you know, could impact the team.


BELICHICK: I just said that.

REPORTER: Don't you think fans deserve to hear a little bit more.

BELICHICK: We know more, we'll say more.


SCHOLES: Now, Britney Taylor has accused Brown of sexual assault in 2017 and forcibly raping her in 2018. Brown denies those allegations. A source tells CNN that Taylor fans to meet with NFL and officials next week as a part of their investigation.

All right. New York Mets honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11 last night before their game, having first responders on the field for the national anthem. All the players wearing special 9/11 cleats that Pete Alonso bought for the team.

Then get this, the Mets scored 9 runs on 11 hits to beat the Diamondbacks.

Stuff like that just makes you shake your head. And Pete Alonso, he was only 6 years old when 9/11 happened. So, props to him for still, you know, finding a way to honor those who lost their lives.

BRIGGS: Gutsy move. I got chills when I woke up and saw that box score.

Good stuff, Andy Scholes. Thank you, my friend.

SCHOLES: Me as well.

BRIGGS: Thank you, my friend.


ROMANS: Thanks, Dave.

More than a quarter of high school students are vaping. Flavored e- cigarettes are driving this epidemic. Now, the White House wants to put a stop to it.