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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

President Biden Criticized Over Fist Bump With Saudi Crown Prince; Ben Affleck And Jennifer Lopez Tie The Knot In Vegas; Cameron Smith Wins First Career Major At British Open. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 18, 2022 - 05:30   ET



KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: January 6 are expected to be turned over to the House select committee by Tuesday.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): They claim it was this technological change. We moved everything. We lost these texts. And then they also put out a statement, though, that said we've only lost some of the texts and everything relevant to this investigation has been turned over. So those are very conflicting statements. So we decided as a committee, let's request these by Tuesday and we can make a decision.

I will say this. In the very least, it is quite crazy that the Secret Service would actually end up deleting anything related to one of the more infamous days in American history.


FISHER: So, last week, the Homeland Security inspector general accused the Secret Service of erasing those text messages after his office requested them. The agency denies deleting any texts maliciously. It says that some phone data was simply lost during a planned system migration, and the agency insists that none of the text has actually been lost.

Well, on the heels of that Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is attacking the court's landmark 2015 ruling in the case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): In Obergefell, the court said no. We know better than you guys do. And now, every state must sanction and permit gay marriage. I think that decision was clearly wrong when it was decided. It was the court overreaching.


FISHER: Cruz, a longtime opponent of same-sex marriage, believes that the issue should be left to the states -- that view echoed by many conservatives, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. A federal judge has temporarily blocked federal protection of

transgender students and workers in states that are fighting to enforce their anti-trans laws.

Twenty Republican-led states sued after the Biden administration threatened to enforce Title IX and Title VII protections with actions, including the loss of federal funding for schools. The states argued that was an overreach of executive authority. Trans rights advocates say it is the judge who is legislating from the bench.

Well, up next, President Biden fresh off his visit to Saudi Arabia. That fist bump seen around the world -- was it worth it? Plus, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck finally do what they promised to do nearly 20 years ago.



FISHER: It was the first bump seen around the world. President Biden back at the White House this week after this controversial trip to the Middle East, and he's taking some heat for the way that he greeted the Saudi crown prince.


REPORTER: The Saudi foreign minister says he didn't hear you accuse the crown prince of Khashoggi's murder. Is he telling the truth?


REPORTER: Do you regret the fist bump, Mr. President?

BIDEN: Why don't you guys talk about something that matters? I'm happy to answer a question that matters.


FISHER: Well, let's bring in the professor of international relations from the London School of Economics, Fawaz Gerges. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

And I'd like to start by getting your reaction to what President Biden just said. He told reporters after landing back in Washington -- you know, why don't you ask me about something substantial. I think a lot of people would agree that a picture like that -- President Biden seen fist-bumping somebody who his own intelligence agencies accuse of murdering a Washington Post journalist -- is substantial.

But what do you think? Do you think that this conversation -- all this controversy about the fist bump is warranted?

FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE, AUTHOR, "MAKING THE ARAB WORLD" (via Skype): Well, let me -- let me contextualize why this matters for the American public and the international public, I hope. Overall, I would argue that the president's trip to the Middle East

was a net loss for American foreign policy and the Biden administration itself. In fact, let me go further and say it was counterproductive. You might say why?

First, it shows that President Biden blinked first. He was forced to go to Saudi Arabia and meet with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Mohammed bin Salman's own turf, on his own terms.

Secondly, it reinforced Israel's leaders' prejudices against, really, reconciling with the Palestinians and agreeing to the establishment of a Palestine state.

Thirdly, it demoralized the Palestinian leadership, which really put all its eggs in the American basket. The American -- the Biden administration is not interested in really trying to bridge the divide between Israel and the Palestinians.

Fourth, it heightened popular perceptions in the region. And I know a bit about the region. That the United States only pays lip service to values such as justice, human rights, peace.

And finally, when an American president tells a room with nine Arab presidents -- he tells them -- well, look, the United States still matters. I can only imagine what the nine Arab presidents thought. Well, probably, they thought to themselves if you really have to tell us that the United States still matters, obviously it does not matter any longer. They have moved on.


FISHER: That's a great point. And going into this, the White House said that this was mostly about resetting relations with Saudi Arabia. They used that word frequently -- resetting. And they were trying to manage expectations that there weren't going to be, perhaps, a ton of deliverables coming out of this. But still, President Biden returning to sky-high gas prices -- no real hard and fast guarantees from the Saudis.

What can President Biden do in the wake of this trip to try to make it not be what you just described it as -- as a net loss for him?

GERGES: Well, let me say first that the president didn't actually want to make the trip. My remarks have to do -- are related to the president's theme -- which is really, with all due respect, it's a third-rate foreign policy team.

Resetting Saudi-American relations -- I started my interview by saying it was counterproductive. Why? If you really want to know what has happened just only take a look at the photos. The photos basically speak louder than any words.

The meetings between the president -- President Biden and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia -- stiff, cold, awkward. In fact, the final photo op -- I don't know whether you looked at it, Kristin. While the president -- they all had nine presidents -- the nine Arab presidents --

FISHER: Sure, sure.

GERGES: -- leaders and the president. President Biden basically kept such a huge distance from the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. I mean, it was --

FISHER: I saw that.

GERGES: -- so awkward.

And, to me, knowing what we know about the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- to himself, probably he used a four-letter word and he says I'm going to show him.

And what I'm trying to say -- in fact, far from resetting the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this particular trip could really see more deterioration on the part of this relationship. And the Saudis are really basically betting on the return of the -- a Republican president, particularly Trump, because they adore Trump.

So in a way, no -- it did not. It has not really reset Saudi-American relations because -- and the big point about China and Russia -- China and Russia have really made major inroads into the region.

And if we had the time to ask me a question -- I know your time is very precious -- I would tell you that Russia is already building a $26 billion nuclear plant in Egypt. Egypt and Asia are U.S. allies. China has hundreds of billions of dollars of economic and trade relations in the region, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and Iran.

And so, in this particular sense, I don't understand how resetting the Saudi-American relationship deserves such a trip. The president did not have any vision. He did not really have any -- I could imagine if the president really tried to say well look, I want to restart the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. I have a vision for ending the civil strife and the wars in the region.

I mean, it's -- the United States -- I understand the word cynic. But the president came across for the people in the region as a political coward. He did not really have the power of his convictions.

At least say what have you about President Trump. I mean, he was --

FISHER: Well, Fawaz --

GERGES: -- a businessman -- wheeler-dealer.


GERGES: While President Biden did not really help his case by what he did in the past three days in the Middle East.

FISHER: I know you said your -- time is precious. I could talk to you all day but we're running tight on this segment so I've got to leave it there. But, Fawaz Gerges, thank you so much.

GERGES: Thank you.

FISHER: You bet.

So, coming up, first lady Jill Biden frustrated about her husband's stalled agenda. But first, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck finally coming full circle. Their Vegas wedding unveiled, next.



FISHER: Remember Bennifer? Well, 17 years after calling off their first engagement, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez got married over the weekend. The couple tying the knot at a Las Vegas wedding chapel.

CNN entertainment report Chloe Melas joins us live. Chloe, good morning. Was this a big wedding, small wedding? Did they elope? What can you tell us?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER (via Webex by Cisco): Essentially, they did elope. Good morning.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have confirmed that they did tie the knot in Vegas on Saturday -- really intimate. It looks as though Jennifer Lopez's children were there. We don't know if Ben's kids were there -- the ones that he has from his ex-wife Jennifer Garner.

Here's what we do know. Jennifer announced the news in her newsletter. She said that she wore an old dress from a movie that she has been holding onto for years, and that Ben wore a tuxedo -- a jacket from his own closet.

They both showed some short videos of themselves getting married. She said that they -- getting ready for the wedding, she said that they stood in line in Vegas to get their wedding license with four other couples. That they loved feeling just like regular people.

That they barely made it into the Little White Wedding Chapel just a little bit before midnight. She said that the chapel stayed open for them, of course. That they took pictures in the pink convertible. That Elvis wasn't there.

But they said that look, these are the rings that we're going to wear for the rest of our lives. That love is patient and that they waited almost two decades for this to happen.


Like you said, they met on the movie set of "Gigli" in 2001. The following year they were engaged. Then the year after that, in 2003, they called off their wedding, just like a couple of days before. And then eventually, they called off their engagement completely.

They went on to get married to separate people. Jennifer Lopez to Mark Anthony. Ben Affleck, like I said, to Jennifer Garner. But now they have made their way back to each other.

It's unclear if they're -- if they are going to have some extravagant Hollywood wedding later or some sort of -- like a reception for all of their Hollywood friends and their family. But really exciting.

And like I said, they've shared some photos. Ben posted a really funny video of him -- of himself getting ready in the bathroom of the White Wedding Chapel.


MELAS: So really sweet.

FISHER: Good for them.

MELAS: A cute couple. And obviously, we wish them the best.

FISHER: Yes. Chloe, thank you so much. Can you imagine, though, if you're one of those four other couples in line waiting to get married and in line next to you is JLo and Ben Affleck. But we wish them the best. Thank you, Chloe.

So, up next, the new reporting detailing systemic failures in the police response to the Uvalde school shootings.



FISHER: Australia's Cameron Smith rallies on the back nine to win his first career Major at the British Open.

Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Morning, Carolyn.


You know, Cameron Smith shot a final round for the ages at the 150th Open Championship at historic St. Andrews. He started yesterday four strokes off the lead and caught fire on the back nine. The 28-year-old using some very clutch putting and a run of five straight birdies to beat fan-favorite Rory McIlroy and American Cameron Young. His eight under 64 was the lowest final round by a champion in the 30 times that golf's oldest championship has been played on this course.

Unfortunately, his dad had to watch his son's greatest achievement to date on TV halfway around the world.


CAMERON SMITH, 2022 BRITISH OPEN CHAMPION: I don't have any family here. I've got -- I've got all my team here. My dad was actually meant to come over and he pulled out in -- on the -- in the last minute, basically. I had a chat with -- I had a quick chat with him before and he's kicking himself now -- j kind of the thought of doing all that travel for one week, basically. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MANNO: You know, golf fans aren't just talking about his incredible performance on the course. There's also lots of posts on social media about the hair. 1995 British Open champ John Daly has nothing but love for the mullet, of course, tweeting "Way to go, Cam. Great playing. Incredible back 9. Oh, chalk another checkmark for the mullets" as well. Good stuff there.

Bad news for the Red Sox. Not only did they lose 13-2 to the Yankees, they also lost their ace pitcher Chris Sale. He left the game in the bottom of the first inning when a line drive off the bat of Aaron Hicks struck him on the hand. He left right away. Expected to miss four to six weeks for the broken pinkie.

This was just the second start of the season for him. He returned last week from a stress fracture in his ribcage, which he suffered late in spring training. So he couldn't get anything going early.

Controversy at the Track and Field World Championship in Eugene, Oregon. Devon Allen, an Olympic athlete who was signed by the Eagles as a wide receiver earlier this year, disqualified here for a false start. Look at this.

So the rule is that you can't react faster than a 10th of a second. His reaction time was faster by 1,000th of a second, so it meant there was no chance for an American sweep on home soil as Allen was eventually escorted from the field after pleading his case.

It sparked a lot of debate on Twitter with a lot of people arguing that this rule is just arbitrary. I mean, this was the former Oregon Ducks' last athletic competition before beginning his NFL career, and it ends in disappointment and an early exit.

Meantime, Jack Johnson is one of the feel-good stories from the NHL post-season. The veteran defender has pretty much seen it all in the sport and still has the Stanley Cup. But you know what, this might be a first. So, when you're inching closer to your 40s, Kristin, and you're on the back nine of your career so to speak, this is how you celebrate. You take the kids for ice cream in the Stanley Cup. I thought it was so sweet.

But you know, to be the next man up in the post-season and have your name finally etched into that cup after more than 1,000 regular season games feels like the cherry on top.

But that Stanley Cup has seen a lot of stuff -- good, bad, and ugly. But for me, this is I think how I would celebrate a Stanley Cup win. You know what? You just keep it casual, very kid-friendly, put some ice cream in the cup, and have a good time.

FISHER: I was going to say you know that Stanley Cup has seen a lot of beer and champagne --


FISHER: -- but maybe not ever ice cream before.

Carolyn Manno, thank you so much.

MANNO: Sure.

FISHER: So, finally, we want to welcome the newest addition to the EARLY START family. Meet June Tahay. She arrived Sunday at 9:22 a.m. to mom Laura Jarrett and her husband. Baby June weighing in at six pounds, nine ounces.

Laura says the name is a mashup of women in their family. Her first name is Laura's mother's middle name, and the middle name is her husband's mom's name. Pretty creative there.

Other and baby are both doing well. Congratulations to Laura and June.

And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Kristin Fisher. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, July 18. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here.