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White House Moves To Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes; U.K. Prime Minister Accused Of Lying To The Queen; Justify Failed Drug Test Before 2018 Triple Crown Win. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 12, 2019 - 05:30   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.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The president vowing to get flavored e- cigarettes off the market to curb a growing epidemic among America's youth.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Ten Democrats, one stage. The third debate is tonight and we have what to watch for in Houston.

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

ROMANS: And was there a cover-up at last year's Triple Crown? A bombshell report says Justify failed a drug test before winning horse racing's biggest prize.

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

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs, 5:31 Eastern time.

Also, got our hands on a letter from 145 U.S. executives urging the Senate to do something on gun violence. More on that in a moment.

But first, 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 the coming weeks.

Today's teens are smoking less tobacco, using fewer drugs, and drinking less alcohol, but vaping is a growing 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. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.


ROMANS: 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. And doctors now say his lungs -- he has the lungs of a 70-year-old.


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.


ROMANS: And 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: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for that.

BRIGGS: All right. So that is bold action by the president, which we applaud, but the hypocrisy kind of stood out to a few people that 38 people in the last month have been killed in the gun violence epidemic in this country.

Jimmy Kimmel pointed out that hypocrisy last night.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Well, you know, the people who vape are young people, so Trump now wants to ban them to protect children from being harmed or killed. And I think that's good -- I'm fine with it.

Hey, you know what else harms and kills children? Assault rifles do. So maybe if the NRA starts flavoring those he'll ban them, too.


ROMANS: We're starting to hear more from companies. We reported that Publix has said, you know, please do not -- in states where open-carry is allowed, we don't want you to carry your weapon in our grocery stores. And we've heard more and more from retailers like that.


BRIGGS: That's right.

And now, "The New York Times" has their hands on a letter from 145 CEOs -- big businesses, small businesses, tech businesses, old businesses.

Companies like Uber, Twitter, Yelp, Levi, Gap, Dick's, Airbnb -- 145 CEOs to the Senate, saying, "We urge the Senate to stand with the American public and take action on gun safety by passing a bill to require background checks on all gun sales and a strong red flag law that would allow courts to issue lifesaving extreme risk-protection orders."

Bold action. We've often talked about business leading the way.


BRIGGS: They are doing that on gun violence.

ROMANS: Let's talk about this. I want to bring in the editor and publisher of "Inside Elections," Nathan Gonzales. He's a CNN political analyst and he joins us live from Washington. Good morning.

I mean, you will see these 10 Democrats on the debate stage tonight for three hours in a field that's tightening a little bit. Do you expect guns and gun violence to be a key issue tonight? NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, INSIDE ELECTIONS: Yes, I think it's going to continue to be. I think it's one of the top issues on the minds of Democratic primary voters and so it's going to be one of the top things that these Democratic candidates are going to talk about when they -- when they're on the stage tonight.

You know, I think a lot of this -- I think this letter from the executives to Congress could shift things a little bit.

I think, ultimately, this lies with the president. I think that the president has an opportunity to get something done on the gun issue.

Traditionally, and one of the things that's been holding Republicans back on this is the influence of the NRA within the Republican Party, which has been a topic. But I believe the president actually has more influence within the Republican Party than the NRA.

And if the president decides he wants to go in a certain direction on this issue and maybe be more moderate or progressive for a Republican on this issue, I think that would pressure Republican lawmakers to do something they haven't been -- they haven't wanted to do before.

ROMANS: Well, the presidential leadership, though -- I mean, he's been very clear where he stands on vaping, right? But on guns, he hasn't. Sometimes he says hey, you know, somebody who's got a mental problem should not have a -- should not have a gun, and then other times he talks about the slippery slope. And the president hasn't revealed what he -- what his moral compass is on this, right?

BRIGGS: Well, the president did --


BRIGGS: -- see, Nathan, the polling in the suburbs of North Carolina. That may explain some of the vaping moves there.

But this is an eight out of 10 issue -- universal background checks -- in the Republican Party. Ninety percent issue in the country right now.

Will that lead the way for this president to finally do something?

GONZALES: Well, I think the president cares about what people think of him and public opinion. He wants to be popular and well-liked. But it's viewed as a slippery slope within the Republican Party that they give a little bit of ground that all guns are going to be confiscated around the country. And so, that's why it's holding -- that's what I think that's holding this issue back right now.

ROMANS: Yes. Among Democrats, gun policy, gun violence is the third most important issue -- wait a minute, I'm looking at that wrong. The gun violence is 51 percent of voters -- very important to their vote.

Let's look at the field of Democrats tonight because you're going to have basically the two liberal front-runners, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, together on the same stage with Joe Biden. Who's the target here? Is Warren the target because she's getting so much momentum out on the campaign trail?

GONZALES: Well, I don't know if there's a single target. First of all, it's going to be fun to have everyone on one stage even though it's still going to be a very crowded -- it's going to be a very crowded stage. But I think every -- each candidate is making a slightly different calculation.

For someone like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, they might be still looking above them at Joe Biden because he's the one who is staying above them. For those that are in the second and their tier, they might not be trying to jump up to the first tier but say how can I continue to climb and get above? So they may not be -- may not try to punch up to the top and just try to get to the middle in a -- in a progressive way there.

BRIGGS: Yes. When you look at the best of the rest -- the lower tier if you will -- they've all had a breakout moment or so we thought -- Castro, O'Rourke. Certainly, Kamala Harris had that huge moment with Joe Biden -- Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg. It's not really resonated in the polls, though.

How do they break out from the pack? Is that by attacking the top or making some 'raise your hand' moment on gun violence or another issue?

GONZALES: Yes, that's very important. Tonight, there is going to be a winner that is declared by smart people on this network later. But what matters most is if -- whoever is declared the winner, they have to use this as an opportunity to gain support with actual voters and that probably means raising money and continuing to make their case.

We saw in a previous debate when Sen. Harris had her moment. She did rise in the polls but it wasn't particularly -- it wasn't sustainable -- or she wasn't able to sustain it. She slowly came down from that moment.

And so it's -- declaring who's the winner -- there are different definitions and I think we have to remember that tonight.


ROMANS: Enthusiasm numbers look interesting -- look at that. Forty- five percent of registered voters enthusiastic about voting for the president.

It will be interesting tonight -- it certainly will.

BRIGGS: And it will be late.

Nathan Gonzales, good to see you, my friend. Thank you.

ROMANS: And we'll be up early.

GONZALES: No problem (ph).

ROMANS: All right, thanks, Nathan.

All right. Breaking overnight, the Supreme Court clearing the way for the Trump administration to 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. The move essentially bars people traveling through Mexico from claiming asylum.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

The ACLU says it will continue to challenge the rule.

All right, did the British prime minister lie to the Queen to get approval to suspend Parliament? And if he did, what's in store for him? CNN is live in London.



BRIGGS: Did Boris Johnson like to the Queen to preserve his option for a no-deal Brexit? That accusation is being floated by many after Scotland's highest civil court ruled the prime minister's decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.

To explain that and the latest twists and turns in the Brexit saga we're joined by Max Foster, live in London. Never a dull day, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM WITH MAX FOSTER: No, and here's the question you're referring to, Dave. It's on the front of "The Mirror" ("Boris Lied to the Queen"). All of the political journalists are asking it today as well, and it's something that Boris Johnson is going to have to try to answer.

The situation we find ourselves in are there are a series of court cases questioning whether or not Boris Johnson gave the wrong information to the Queen when she agreed to suspend Parliament.

Now, an English and Welsh court found in his favor. A Scottish court has found against him. So it's going to end up in a Supreme Court next week. And ultimately, if the Supreme Court rules that he did give misleading information to the Queen, then Parliament could be reopened.

This is an extraordinary situation and one very awkward for him -- very awkward for the Queen, as well. She doesn't like to get involved in politics. But when the Queen is dragged into these events there's normally sympathy for her side, not just here but around the world.

But there's a very clear difference as well between misleading someone and deliberately misleading them. So that's going to come out today, I think.

BRIGGS: Never a dull day. Max Foster live in London. Best of luck to you, sir.

ROMANS: Never a dull day for Max.

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

An olive branch in the U.S.-China trade war. Trump announced plans to push back a five percent tariff hike on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods -- pushing that back -- delaying it by two weeks. This is a goodwill gesture for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party and the People's Republic of China.

The announcement came the same day China said it would waive tariffs on 16 U.S. products -- everything from shrimp and fish meal and cancer treatment drugs, but not -- but not soybeans and pork.

New this morning, a spokesperson for China's Commerce Ministry said China welcomes the goodwill gesture from the U.S. and that Chinese companies have started to inquire about purchasing U.S. ag products. So a potential thaw, at least for now, in this trade cold war.

Officials are casting Trump's announcement as a gift to President Xi, who has been preparing for China's anniversary for a long time and will be its featured guest.

Now, Trump has signaled he's willing to make concessions and will likely look for something similar in return. Whether that happens, of course, isn't clear.

Stocks around the world mostly higher after that delay on some tariffs on Chinese goods. You can see how Asian markets closed mixed. London and Paris have now turned slightly lower here.

And futures here in the U.S. right now, they have been leaning higher earlier. I would call this sort of directionless at the moment. Stocks closed higher Wednesday after China relented on those tariffs -- some tariffs on U.S. products.

And the Dow had six days of gains, the first winning streak since early June. The S&P and the Nasdaq closed higher as well.

That's your business. We'll be right back.



BRIGGS: Is horse racing's biggest prize now tainted? The stunning report suggests 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify should have been disqualified for drug use.

According to "The New York Times," Justify failed a drug test that would have made the horse ineligible for the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown.

The "Times" reports the California Racing Board took more than a month to confirm the results. Then they decided, in secret, to drop the case and lighten the penalty for any horse with that banned performance-enhancing substance. By the time it was all settled, Justify had become the 13th winner of

the Triple Crown and his owners sold his breeding rights for $60 million.

In a statement to CNN, the head of the California Board says, "We take seriously the integrity of horse racing in California and are committed to implementing the highest standards of safety and accountability for all horses, jockeys, and participants." He says they'll have a further response today.

CNN also reached out to Justify's trainer, five-time Derby winner, Bob Baffert. He had no comment. Calls have not been returned.

ROMANS: A staggering 2,500 people are now registered as unaccounted for in the first concrete estimate of the missing in the hurricane- ravaged Bahamas. But emergency officials in the Bahamas say it's important to note that the list has not been checked by government records of who's in shelters or who's been evacuated. Once they cross-reference all of those lists they will be able to inform family members and hopefully reunite Dorian survivors with loved ones.

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, escaped husband and wife murder suspects, Blane and Susan Barksdale, captured in Arizona. The couple overpowered guards and escaped in Utah while being extradited from Upstate New York to Arizona last month.

They're charged in the murder of a 72-year-old Arizona man whose body has not been found.

ROMANS: Uber and Lyft vowing to fight a new California law aimed at giving more protections to workers in the gig economy. The law is intended to reclassify hundreds of thousands of independent contractors as employees entitled to a minimum wage, overtime, and other benefits.

Its feud is a serious threat to Uber and Lyft, which together are already losing billions of dollars a year. Already, Uber is saying key parts of the new law don't apply to its drivers. And, Lyft is telling its drivers they may soon have to drive specific shifts in specific areas for only one platform.

BRIGGS: Democrats livid in North Carolina after state Republicans vote to override a budget veto while Democrats were at a September 11th remembrance event.



REP. DEB BUTLER (D-NC): You shall not do this to democracy in North Carolina, Mr. Speaker. How dare you subject this body to trickery, deceptive practices, hijacking the process?


BRIGGS: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says Republicans called for a surprise vote while he and House members were honoring first responders.

According to the "Raleigh News & Observer," the Democratic leader said the committee's Republican chair said there would be no votes. Republican leaders deny giving any such assurance.

ROMANS: A New Jersey couple is suing a fertility clinic claiming the wrong sperm was used to conceive their daughter. It wasn't until two years after her birth they discovered only one of them, the mother, was the child's biological parent.

Both parents are Caucasian. Their attorney says the little girl started to develop Asian features.

The suit seeks damages from the RWJBarnabas Health Institute. No comment from the fertility clinic.

Officials in Alaska are reversing a decision to disqualify a female high school swimmer because of the way her team-issued swimsuit fit. Breckynn Willis, of Anchorage, competed in four events last Friday. She won one heat but then, a race official disqualified her because her suit shifted and showed too much of her backside.

Now, there is a rule that a swimmer can be D.Q.'d for an improperly- fitted suit, but the Anchorage School District lobbied to have the disqualification overturned, saying it's heavy-handed, unnecessary -- and it worked, much to the delight of Breckynn's coach.


LAUREN LANGFORD, SWIMMING COACH, WEST HIGH SCHOOL, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA: This is a huge victory. This is so much better than we thought. This is so much better.


ROMANS: The Alaska School Activities Association says it overturned the disqualification because officials did not notify the coach about the issue before the race.

BRIGGS: The New York Mets commemorating the September 11th attacks by wearing 9/11-themed cleats last night against Arizona. They were paid for by rookie slugger Pete Alonso, who was six years old on America's darkest day.

The Mets scored nine runs on 11 hits to beat the Diamondbacks 9-0.

Alonso says he originally wanted everyone to wear 9/11-themed hats with first responder logos.


PETE ALONSO, FIRST BASEMAN, NEW YORK METS: Unfortunately, there's a lot of red tape with Major League Baseball and they kind of shot that idea down. And I think it's kind of sad that guys weren't allowed to -- I mean, since that day, that the first game back -- I mean, they kind of shut it down every single year since. I think that's really unfortunate so a way to kind of get around that was the cleats.



BRIGGS: A bold move --


BRIGGS: -- by a young man. I love that.

Democratic debate number three on tap tonight in Houston. While you were sleeping, the late-night hosts were doing their own debate prep.


SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": The third Democratic primary debate is tomorrow night and "I'm going to be gaffe-free this time," said Joe Biden, naked from the waist down.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": We just found out that they will have no 7-second delay, so the DNC warned the candidates to refrain from swearing on the debate stage. Biden better watch his malarkey and his Jiminy Christmases, although the swearing rule might be meant for another candidate.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, yes, this is (bleep) up. You know the (bleep) he's been saying. Members of the press, what the (bleep)? But we do know this is (bleep) up.

COLBERT: And if you think that's bad you see his new campaign slogan -- "Beto Mother (bleep) O'Rourke -- bold (bleep) leadership for a brighter (bleep) damn future, ass (bleep)."


ROMANS: Funny, funny, but it is a big night tonight. And I think gun violence will likely be center-stage here in that debate because --

BRIGGS: The biggest issue.

ROMANS: -- you know, 145 corporate leaders -- 145 agreeing on one thing and that is that Congress must do something -- sending a letter to members of the Senate saying they want tougher background checks, right, and red flag laws.

BRIGGS: Yes. And these are companies -- Airbnb, Dick's, Gap, Levi, Twitter, Uber, Yelp -- all varieties of companies, all 500-plus employees. Big business leading --


BRIGGS: -- the way on a lot of issues in this country.

ROMANS: And then privately, many of these CEOs have said that it's -- you know, that something has to be done. And they can do things in their stores like, for example, a retailer can say you can't carry a weapon in our story anymore -- no more -- in open-carry states. They can do that but it really is Congress that has to change the laws.

BRIGGS: Eighty-nine percent, universal background checks.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us, everybody. I'm Christine Romans. It's debate night.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Indeed, it is. We'll be on at 3:00 tomorrow, by the way -- 3:00 a.m. Eastern time. Here's "NEW DAY."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, September 12th. It's 6:00 here in New York.

And a big day of firsts in the Democratic race --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A lot's happening today.

BERMAN: -- right? It's like the first day back at school, but bigger.

For the first time, all 10 leading Democratic candidates will be on the same debate stage, which means that for the first time, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren will face each other directly. Now, this is a match-up that a lot of voters have been waiting for.

And we have new reporting this morning about how Biden and Warren plan to handle the situation, including a new attack on Warren from a key Biden supporter this morning, calling her a hypocrite. We're waiting to see if Warren.