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EARLY START

Missiles Likely Launched From Iranian Base; President Trump Trapped Between Impulses On Iran; Israelis Vote For Second Time This Year. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 17, 2019 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[05:30:00]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A source familiar with the investigation tells CNN that they were carried out by low-altitude cruise missiles from the north of the complex. Some missiles missed their targets. Now, investigators can look at them to determine their origin.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The assessment from the U.S. and Saudis, the missiles were likely launched from an Iranian base near the border with Iraq with a specially-designed trajectory possible to throw off investigators.

International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson standing by live for us in Riyadh. Nic, good morning. What are we learning?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Dave, we're getting a better sense of why the Saudis have said that their assessment is that these weapon systems were made in Iran and why the United States has been so clear that they believe that the root of the attack lies in Iran.

That is because some of these weapon systems -- these low-altitude- flying cruise missiles -- sort of drone-assisted, if you will -- fell short of their target. They came in from the north and it's those ones that fell short of their target -- haven't fully exploded.

So there is evidence on the ground that investigators can get their hands on -- that they can analyze. And we understand that U.S. military experts and weapons systems investigators are on the ground inside Saudi Arabia, with Saudi weapons experts as well, examining the material and the weapons that they've recovered.

What they are also assessing is that there is a high probability -- and this is the assessment of both of Saudi Arabia and the United States -- that these weapons were fired from bases inside Iran, close to the border with Iraq. That they would then fly from Iran into Iraqi airspace and then down over Kuwait and down into Saudi Arabia and hit their targets from the north.

That's the assessment. It's a very damning assessment, if you will. Again, these weapon systems that have been found in the desert have not been -- have not been shown to us, have not been made public. There is photographic evidence of them that's beginning to emerge.

But the picture is beginning to strengthen to back the Saudi assessment that the weapons were Iranian-made and the U.S. assessment that they were, in fact, launched from Iran.

What the Saudi officials are telling us is that they continue this investigation to find precisely where the weapon systems were fired from. And what we know from Saudi officials here -- the Foreign Ministry saying there's not a doubt the capacity or the intent, if you will -- the resolve to respond as the evidence directs them, even if that means a forceful response against what they describe as terrorist attacks.

BRIGGS: It's an already tense situation about to ramp up further.

Nic Robertson live for us in Riyadh this morning. Thank you.

The president caught between competing interests over Iran, trying to please his hawkish allies with big talk while also claiming he's eager to deal with Iran, desperately trying to keep the U.S. out of another Middle East conflict.

One day after saying the U.S. was, quote, "locked and loaded," Mr. Trump spoke alongside the Crown Prince of Bahrain -- his Middle East strategy, if there is one, remaining unclear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do I want war? I don't want war with anybody. I'm not looking to get into new conflict but sometimes you have to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Iran has strongly denied any role in the attack on the Saudi oil facility and now Iran's supreme leader is ruling out any talks whatsoever with President Trump, at least for now.

Let's bring in CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. He is live for us this morning in Tehran -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and just to repeat after you hear Nic's reporting there that Iran has consistently said it has nothing to do with this.

From the moment U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first alleged that Iran was behind it, they denied it repeatedly. The foreign minister called it max deceit. And even as late as last night the Iran president Hassan Rouhani going on to say that actually they still believe Yemeni rebels may have been behind those attacks.

Separately this morning, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni has said that there will, quote, "Be no negotiation with the United States at any level." He goes on to say that the U.S. desire to see Iran at the negotiating table is, quote, "Everyone should know and notice that this is a trick." He goes on to say that is why all the Iranian government's officials -- president, foreign minister, and others -- have unanimously agreed that we will not negotiate with the U.S.

He also says that "Sometimes, Trump officials" -- I'm quoting there -- "say negotiation without preconditions. Sometimes they say negotiations with 12 conditions. Such remarks are either due to their turbulent politics or a trick to confuse others." He says the Islamic Republic is not confused and will not talk.

He holds out the slim possibility that if in a somewhat humiliating parallel universe Donald Trump decides to make an apology, retracts his statements, rejoins the nuclear deal, he might then be allowed to rejoin the multilateral talks around that deal. But essentially, the highest voice in the land here saying Iran will not be talking for now, certainly.

[05:35:01]

And after you heard Nic's reporting there, as well, it seems there's an increasing drumbeat in the region -- Saudi officials, U.S. officials pointing towards Iran as the culprit here. I should say, again, they say they had nothing to do with this from the start.

I have to also point out, too, Iran knows that this area is swarming with U.S. assets and radar. And so, even independent analysts will question how wise the U.S. -- if U.S. officials are to be believed -- it would be for them to launch from their own soil. But this is all about the evidence of which there is very little, so far.

Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, thanks so much for that. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Tehran.

Let's bring in Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of "Inside Elections" magazine and a CNN political analyst. Good morning, so nice to see you.

NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, INSIDE ELECTIONS: Good morning.

ROMANS: You know, I look at this drama that has been unfolding over the past few days -- this -- you know, a year before the election -- October surprise, if you will, and I wonder what is the base play for President Trump, political speaking --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- in this election season because you've got a president who was elected by saying he wanted to get out of these foreign misadventures, right, and focus on America first? But he's got a real issue here with how America's going to respond.

GONZALES: I think more than the specific policy of whether we're going to be interventionists or isolationists, I think that the key message for the president is strength -- America first and strength. And I think that that can be -- you know, that can -- that can turn into two different things.

But I think what will be interesting is when this sort of thing happens a year from now that's really going to be critical when we're --

ROMANS: Right.

GONZALES: -- just a couple of months out from the election. Is the president feeling the pressure and electoral pressure to do something or act in a way in order to gain support? You know, that's really when things get even more -- even more fascinating and with potential higher stakes.

BRIGGS: Of course, this is a president who, in 2014, tweeted this. "Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars, which they don't, or pay us an absolute fortune to protect them and their great wealth." Look, there's always a tweet for that.

Will the base give him a lot of leeway here either way -- a lot of latitude?

GONZALES: Yes, you're right. There is -- I'm amazed. There is a tweet for everything on the other side of where he is today.

The base is going to give the president plenty of latitude. The base is with the president. I don't think the base is going to steer from the president at all.

And what I think is -- I think, in part, the president doesn't hold a lot of policies very close. He can change his mind at any moment. But also, when you become president I think your mindset changes. You have a different outlook on a lot of these things when you're the one making the decisions and having more pressure -- more pressure on your shoulders.

ROMANS: The president, last night in New Mexico -- and he used this term, I think that you think also, that is -- that is interesting -- this term government-run health care. There's a bunch of the other candidates on the Democrat side, but let's talk about the president in New Mexico last night.

Listen to what he said about health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Every major Democrat running for president supports a massive government takeover of health care. And we will always protect patients with preexisting conditions. The Republicans will always do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: OK. Of course, they haven't done that -- protecting preexisting conditions -- and they're fighting in court, actually, to void Obamacare.

But what do you make of the way he's talking about health care here?

GONZALES: Yes, and how do you include those people with preexisting conditions and pay for them? But we'll move on.

I think the term -- using the term government-run health care is where Republicans probably should go rather than just throwing the word socialism around. Because when Republicans or candidates talk about socialism, I think that means different things to different people, particularly with younger voters who don't really have the same history or interaction with socialism.

But if you say government-run health care that, at least, is a specific tangible thing that people can get their minds around, and then they can make a decision on whether they want that or not. I think most people -- you know, at least a majority of Americans -- it's not a great connotation, government-run health care, but messaging-wise I think that's a better direction for the president and Republicans.

BRIGGS: I can't help by wonder if congressional Republicans would like the president to steer clear of health care.

But, Elizabeth Warren out there. She does embrace the health care message and she's also drawing some huge crowds, and the selfie lines go for miles and miles.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: And here's what Warren said on the trail yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a lot at stake in this election. And I know people are scared but we can't choose a candidate we don't believe in just because we're too scared to do anything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: You see the crowds there. You heard the applause, Nathan. How is her message resonating out there across the country?

GONZALES: Well, her rise in the polls has been steady and undeniable. I think when you watch rallies like last night it conjures up images of Sen. Barack Obama and other things -- kind of these grand events. They're not just standing on a stump with a few people around her. This is a very presidential-type event even if it wasn't in a swing state.

And I think she -- we all consider her to be a serious contender, but I think she's going to be a serious contender for well into this race if she doesn't -- even if she doesn't win the nomination.

[05:40:01] ROMANS: All right, Nathan. Nice to see you this morning. Thank you so much for that.

GONZALES: No problem. Good to see you.

ROMANS: Nice and early. We love it when he gets up early for us. All right -- thanks, Nathan.

BRIGGS: Good stuff.

ROMANS: The White House is silencing two former senior aides and an ex-Trump campaign manager. All three -- Corey Lewandowski, Rick Dearborn, and Rob Porter -- were subpoenaed to appear today before the House Judiciary Committee.

The White House is asserting Dearborn and Porter have immunity. They are not expected to appear.

Lewandowski is expected to show up, but the White House is directing him not to answer questions about events that took place after President Trump was elected.

House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler calls the decision to keep the former aides from testifying a, quote, "shocking and dangerous use of executive privilege."

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, a growing mystery over a potential whistleblower complaint being held back from Congress. House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff says he confronted acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire about a whistleblower complaint. He says the committee was never alerted to the complaint despite the inspector general finding it of, quote, "urgent concern."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The DNI acknowledged that this involved someone apparently outside the authority of the DNI -- someone above the DNI. There aren't that many in that category.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Yes.

SCHIFF: And they also suggested that there may be privilege issues here, which means that it would have to involve communications of the president or people around him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Schiff, a Democrat, says he asked Maguire if the complaint involved something the committee was investigating and Maguire initially answered no, but was immediately corrected by his legal counsel.

Schiff has issued a subpoena. The deadline for a response is today.

BRIGGS: A new front in the battle for President Trump's tax returns. Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance has subpoenaed Trump's longtime accounting firm Mazars for eight years of returns.

A source tells CNN prosecutors are looking into possible business fraud in connection with hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Mr. Trump reimbursed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen $130,000 he paid to Daniels to keep her from revealing an alleged affair with Trump. The president has denied the affair.

Mazars released a statement saying it will fully comply with its legal obligations.

ROMANS: All right. Almost 9,000 students told to stay home today because of an online threat against their school.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:46:30]

ROMANS: All right, welcome back. Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

The United Auto Workers strike against General Motors has entered day two. Nearly 50,000 hourly workers are picketing at G.M. facilities across the country, the biggest walkout in a decade.

A source tells CNN talks between the union and G.M. have been very tense and negotiations continued all through the night.

CNN also obtained a letter from the vice president of the UAW letter union members know their health insurance will continue through the end of the month, paid for by G.M.

Workers say they want fair wages, affordable health care, profit sharing, job security, and more rights for temporary employees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF HUNTER, EMPLOYEE, GENERAL MOTORS: This is a battle for the middle-class. This is -- it had to start, it's starting right now, and it's got to be -- we've got to do this now.

STANLEY DULANEY, JR., EMPLOYEE, GENERAL MOTORS: We're fighting for everybody. We're fighting for the lower-class, we're fighting for the middle-class, you know, to make sure that we're equal altogether.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Auto industry analysts estimate the walkout could cost G.M. between $50 million and $100 million a day, though G.M. could make up some lost production once workers return.

Let's take a look at global markets after kind of a wild day yesterday -- a mixed performance. Shanghai and Hong Kong down, Tokyo up, and European markets have opened mixed, I would say.

On Wall Street, futures down just a little bit here. And energy -- really important to watch here -- stabilizing, really, I think you could call this, after that huge rally yesterday in the cost of crude oil.

Stocks finished lower Monday amid concerns about the economic implications from that steep spike in oil. Oil futures settled up -- look at this -- almost 15 percent. That is just an unbelievable one- day move and that's why the Dow closed lower -- 144 points lower -- snapping an eight-day winning streak.

Something to keep an eye on now -- gas prices. Experts tell us drivers may begin to notice higher prices at the pump soon but the increases may be minimal -- maybe a couple of pennies a day for the next couple of weeks. The current average price nationwide is $2.56 a gallon according to AAA.

Demand for the iPhone -- the new iPhone is off to a good start. Apple announced three versions of the iPhone 11 last week. Analysts say since Apple began accepting preorders Friday, early demand for the phones has been stronger than last year.

Declining iPhone sales has been a drag on Apple's business as people are holding onto their phones longer.

All right, the streaming wars. Netflix may be losing Michael Scott and Chandler Bing, but it's gaining some other familiar faces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON ALEXANDER, ACTOR, "SEINFELD": I was there, I saw a drain.

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, ACTRESS, "SEINFELD": Since when is a drain a toilet?

ALEXANDER: It's all pipes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: "SEINFELD" -- of course, one of the most popular sitcoms in T.V. history -- is headed to Netflix in 2021. Financial terms of the five-year deal with Sony Pictures Television were not disclosed. Nabbing those "SEINFELD" rights is a big boost for Netflix.

Other media companies like Disney and NBC are pulling some of their shows from Netflix as cornerstones for their own streaming services.

BRIGGS: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fate is on the line as Israelis return to the polls for the second time this year. They are hoping to end a political stalemate and elect a majority that can form a new government.

Joining us now for the very latest, senior international correspondent Sam Kiley, live in Jerusalem. Sam, good morning.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.

And as you say, his political fate -- this is Benjamin Netanyahu -- is on the line because also, his personal fate will be on the line. If he doesn't win this election then he won't be able to muster a

coalition together that would support his intention to get immunity -- to legislate immunity for himself in three cases of corruption and mismanagement that are currently working their way through the investigative and court systems here. They're due to start to come to a head in about a months' time.

[05:50:11]

So it really is a personal issue for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister.

This whole campaign really, I have to say, has been defined by him, lately, making a call to arms, almost, to the extreme right in the country by saying or promising that he would annex the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements on the West Bank if he were getting -- to get elected. That would be unilaterally.

Whereas, Blue and -- White and Blue, his rivals led by Benny Gantz, former Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, have really failed to kind of own the narrative and been forced into reaction much more. And, for example, on the Jordan Valley, the only difference between them is that they say that they would like to do just that, but as a consequence of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Both major blocs running neck and neck according to opinion polls, which means that if these polls are accurate there's going to be protracted coalition negotiations, Dave.

BRIGGS: A long road ahead. Sam Kiley live for us in Jerusalem -- thanks.

Some breaking news now. An explosion at a rally for the Afghan president has killed 24. President Ashraf Ghani was not hurt, though. A spokesman for the governor says the blast was caused by a magnetic mine attacked to a police vehicle at a checkpoint into the rally.

Hospital officials in Parwan Province say 31 others were injured.

There was a second blast in Kabul. Casualties are unclear there. More details ahead in "NEW DAY."

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:56:06]

BRIGGS: A series of brutal attacks, like this one in Minneapolis, highlighting a skyrocketing robbery and critical shortage of police officers. Robberies are up almost 54 percent in downtown Minneapolis compared to last year. From July 2018 to June 2019, police received more than 6,000 high-priority 911 calls where they didn't have an officer able to respond immediately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: And because our staffing needs have not been properly addressed over many years it has resulted in our current MPD resources being strained to capacity and, quite frankly, we're hemorrhaging.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: CNN affiliate WCCO reports the police chief pushed to add 400 officers by 2025, but the mayor said it's not doable because of the budget.

An online threat forcing public schools in Yukon, Oklahoma to cancel classes today. Local police officials say they're working with state and federal investigators to determine the source of threats. More than 8,800 students attend Yukon's public schools.

It comes just a day after a former Oklahoma student was arrested for threatening her high school. And three students in California were arrested for making threats against their high school.

There were no measles -- new measles cases reported in the U.S. last week. It's the first time that's happened since early January.

There are more than 1,200 cases in 31 states, the highest number since officials declared measles eliminated in 2000. Most cases were among people who are not vaccinated. Health officials continue to monitor outbreaks in two New York counties.

A massive flour recall because of possible E. coli contamination. General Mills is recalling 120,000 of its five-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. The bags have a better-if-used- buy date of September sixth, 2020.

The company says it issued the voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution.

"SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" has fired Shane Gillis just days after the comedian was introduced as a new cast member.

Clips surfaced in which Gillis is heard making racist and homophobic remarks. An "SNL" spokesperson says they were not aware of his remarks. They say the vetting process was not up to their standard.

Gillis said this about his ouster. "I'm a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can't be taken away.

I respect the decision they made. I'm honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a mad T.V. guy anyway."

Well, he has the moves like Spicer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Clip from "DANCING WITH THE STARS" (Sean Spicer dancing).

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Ha! Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer making his debut on "DANCING WITH THE STARS" and it wasn't entirely pretty. Spicer's outfit screamed a bit of Big Bird and his salsa dancing screamed something else.

His partner, a former champ, described him as dancing at a pre- preschool level. A judge said of the performance, "It's like you were being attacked by a swarm of wasps."

Thanks for joining us. I'm Dave Briggs. Here's "NEW DAY." We'll see you tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, September 17th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we do begin with breaking news for you because CNN has just learned that the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities were carried out by low-altitude cruise missiles launched from an Iranian base near the Iraqi border.

U.S. investigators are already on the ground working with the Saudis to identify the missiles and determine who possesses them.

President Trump appears to be toning down the rhetoric on a possible military response -- or he did, at least, until -- I mean, before this new information. And he also has sparked criticism for his deference to the Saudi royal family.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And in just a few hours, what is being billed as the first actual impeachment hearing on Capitol Hill. That, in and of itself, could be high drama.

What makes this even more compelling, the person testifying is the president's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. He was a central player in at least two of the.

END