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Montana Candidate Accused of Body Slamming Reporter; Can Trump Win Over NATO?; Health Care CBO Concerns; Obama Speaks in Berlin With Merkel; Manchester United Dedicates Win for City. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 25, 2017 - 05:00   ET


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

Global markets mixed this morning while U.S. futures are higher after the fifth day of gains on Wall Street.

[05:00:02] The S&P 500 hitting a record high and Dow gains back all the points it lost last week. Stocks rose after the Federal releasing the minutes of its last policy meeting. The minutes showing the Central Bank may raise rates in June and plans to shrink its $4 trillion balance sheet. The Fed bought trillions of dollars in debt during the recession to help the economy recover.

Housing demand is high, and there just aren't enough houses on the market. Sales of both existing and new homes fell in April. Existing homes down -- existing sales down 2.3 percent, while new homes dropped 11.4 percent. That's because inventory is at a 20-year low, so what you're seeing are a flood of new buyers, having a lot of trouble finding a new home and it means prices are going up, that's good for anyone who is looking to make a sale on their home.


KOSIK: Good for sellers, not so good for buyers.

BRIGGS: That's right.

EARLY START continues right now.



BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN: But, you got to --

GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here! (END AUDIO CLIP)

KOSIK: No, this isn't a movie. A violent outburst by a congressional candidate caught on a cell phone recording. Now, a Montana Republican is under fire nationally ahead of today's election.

BRIGGS: President Trump beginning another day of diplomacy abroad, today meeting with NATO leaders he slammed as a candidate but embraced in the Oval Office. We're live in Brussels.

KOSIK: And Republicans trying to defend the House passed health care plan despite a rough new outlook from the Congressional Budget Office.

We're going to tell you who could get hit the hardest.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: Slammed and hit the hardest. We said that.

KOSIK: So much is going on.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's Thursday, May 25th, just after 5:00 a.m. in the East.

A special election in Montana today is now a white hot national spotlight after audio came out seeming to show the Republican candidate for the state's one House seat body slamming a reporter. Greg Gianforte charged overnight with misdemeanor assault by the county sheriff. The alleged attack took place at Gianforte headquarters in Bozeman.

KOSIK: Now, so far, the candidate has yet to take a stance on the Republican health care bill, waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to weigh in on its effects. "Guardian" reporter Ben Jacobs, he tried to press Gianforte for his stance and now that the CBO has released its score. So, now, listen to what happened.


JACOBS: -- the CBO score. Because, you know, you've been waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill, and it just came out --

GIANFORTE: Speak with Shane, please.

JACOBS: But, you got to --

GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. You with "The Guardian"?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses. GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here? I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guys' names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body-slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.


BRIGGS: Gianforte himself hasn't said anything publicly since this incident, but a statement from his campaign says Jacobs entered Gianforte's office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in his face. The statement adds that Gianforte asked Jacobs to lower the recorder and that Jacobs declined and it blames Jacobs for pushing them both to the ground.

KOSIK: OK. But note this, the recording has no indication that Jacobs was asked to lower the recorder and for his part, Ben Jacobs calls it the strangest moment in his entire life.

OK. Polls are opening in hours now. The fallout for Gianforte has been swift. Already, three of the state's biggest newspapers have rescinded their endorsements and Democrats have already rolled out Facebook ads attacking Gianforte for the alleged body slam.

BRIGGS: The Democratic candidate Rob Quist so far declining to comment. One another thing worth noting, the sheriff, Brian Gootkin, has confirmed he gave Gianforte's campaign $250 but says it will have no bearing on his investigation.

Early voting has been under way for weeks and 259,000 votes have already been returned. There are only 700,000 total registered voters in Montana. It could be somewhere between 50 and 70 percent have already voted.

KOSIK: And there's a lot of concern that turnout might be light because of the upcoming holiday weekend.

BRIGGS: Boy, I don't think so. I think now it is high.

KOSIK: All right. Today, the president's first foreign trip takes him to Brussels where events are just getting under way. The main focus of his day is NATO. Candidate Trump once disparaged the military alliance as obsolete on the campaign trail.

[05:05:00] BRIGGS: Since taking office, though, he reversed that stance after NATO made a few adjustments saying it's no longer obsolete. Although the president still wants other countries to contribute more.

White House correspondent Sara Murray joining us live from Brussels.

Sara, good morning to you. What is ahead for the president today?


Well, from the style legs early on in the foreign trip, now to substance. Today, right now, President Trump is meeting with leaders of the European Union. Later this afternoon, he'll have a working lunch with the newly minted French president and then heads over here for the NATO summit.

Now, as you pointed out, President Trump has since revised his belief that NATO is obsolete but advisers say he's expected to press our allies to spend more money on defense. You can bet there will be a particularly robust conversation about terrorism threats in Europe in light of those Manchester attacks.

Now, on from there, another big issue to watch for, the president is still weighing whether to send troops to Afghanistan. He'll be soliciting opinions from some of our allies and trying to get a sense of whether NATO would be willing to put its own military force behind that initiative if the president goes through with it.

And last but not least, a lot of allies are going to be eyeing President Trump and the United States warily at this meeting, particularly in light of the president sharing highly classified information with the Russians in that Oval Office meeting. Of course, that intelligence came in part from one of our allies, Israel, and now the U.K. is the latest to appear to have issues with the way America is spreading intelligence. They're upset they say U.S. agencies are leaking information related to this Manchester attack. Theresa May is going to be here today as will President Trump, so we'll be looking for any indication that this may come up with those world leaders meet.

Back to you, guys.

BRIGGS: Yes, questions about whether that intelligence sharing may be on hold for now.

Sara Murray, thank you.

KOSIK: All right. Joining us now from Washington, Michael Warren. He's a senior writer at "The Weekly Standard". And political economist Greg Valliere. He's the chief strategist at Horizon Investments.

Good morning to you both. Thanks so much for waking up early.

Michael, let me start with you because NATO -- the members of NATO are clearly going to be sensitive to the charges that candidate Trump made, that they're just not paying their fair share. Do you see President Trump bringing this up and if he does, how confrontational do you see it? MICHAEL WARREN, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I don't know if

it's going to be very confrontational. That's not actually, despite appearances and some of the talk of the campaign trail, it is in the exactly Trump's style.

I think there's going to be a lot of talk, potentially negotiation, but, you know, I think a lot of the foreign leaders are going to be watching what they themselves and what some of their other fellow leaders have been able to extract or talk about or negotiate with President Trump in the past and realize if they go in with a plan and sort of a confidence about what they're asking for and what they're expecting and what they're willing to provide, if it is -- whether it's more money, more troops, say, in Afghanistan as Sara Murray mentioned there, that these negotiations might go pretty well, and I don't think it's in Donald Trump's interest at this point to antagonize, he's looking in this case to make a deal.

BRIGGS: He's indeed right about increasing the spending level of 2 percent of country's GDP to defense. Not getting a lot of support from foreign countries. Does he have any leverage in this?

GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST: He has some. But I would agree with Mike, I think that the last thing he needs is a perception as this fairly successful trip ends --


VALLIERE: -- that things went wrong. He can't afford that because he's coming back to Washington to face an enormous array of big problems, whether it's Comey or tax bill or health care. So, the last thing he needs is to have people say the trip ended badly.

KOSIK: All right. Michael, let's switch to the CBO score on the House health care bill. The headlines coming out, very negative. Look at that number, 23 million people without -- without having health care coverage. How can Republicans even defend this?

WARREN: Well, we should be cautious in some of the coverage, maybe not here on CNN, but some of the coverage has been suggesting that 23 million people will lose their health insurance as if they'll be kicked off involuntarily. And that's not necessarily true. Of course, CBO can't predict everything.

But we have to remember that Obamacare, which this bill would repeal, has a -- compels Americans to buy health insurance. There is a penalty if you don't buy health insurance. But there is a number of people in the country who wouldn't buy it. But either it's too expensive for them and they don't feel like they need it, and so, you have to factor in that a big chunk of those people will be voluntarily deciding not to buy insurance if this bill becomes law.

That being said, there are some problems here, a number of people who did receive health insurance because of subsidies or being put on Medicaid, they may be seeing their coverage cut.

[05:10:02] And that's something that I think Republicans haven't quite figured out and that they're hoping to figure out in the Senate when the Senate takes a look at this bill.

BRIGGS: And particularly the difficult to predict here, Greg, we don't know how many states will apply for the waivers, how many will be given the waivers and what that impact in particularly have on elderly and low income voters.

But to Michael's point, about the Senate, does any of this matter? Does the CBO score matter? Because it appears they're going to start from scratch.

VALLIERE: I think it matters to this extent. This has not moved the ball forward at all. I think this is the greatest threat to the Republicans in 2018. The fact that the Senate can't agree and I don't think the Senate and the House could agree and the longer this takes, and it could take months, the further back you push the timetable for other things like the budget and particularly for the markets, tax reform.

KOSIK: All right. Let's switch gears to the special house election in Montana. Greg Gianforte making news clearly with the audiotape -- bizarre, disturbing, incredible. I mean, I don't think there are enough adjectives to describe what we're hearing here.

Michael, how do you see this election, the election playing out? I'm talking about, you know, where do you see it ending once the polls close?

WARREN: Well, two-thirds of the votes already in with early voting. But you do have to wonder that last third who is voting today, they're the people who haven't made up their minds. This might be something that will make up their minds and I'm guessing they're not going to be going for the Republican here.

I was just really shocked by this, especially sort of interacting myself with Ben over the years, covering campaigns, it is just not in his nature to be aggressive and as the FOX News reporters who were in the room confirmed, he wasn't aggressive. This was just bizarre behavior by the Republican candidate in a close race that he didn't need this to happen. It really makes you question his sanity.

BRIGGS: Yes, this is a state that's been Republican in that seat for 20 years. President Trump won by 20 percent. Even if, though, Greg, even if Gianforte manages to pull out a win here, is this thing yet over for him?

VALLIERE: Well, I think the bigger story here is not the confrontation, it is the fact that he should have been ahead by 20 points. The fact that this is a close race is a big surprise. That does not bode well for June 20 in Georgia, where there is a close race where it looks like the Democrat may be ahead a little. All of these warning signals, again, for the Republicans in 2018, and I don't think that CBO score on the health bill helps the Republicans at all.

KOSIK: All right, thanks to both of you for waking up early with us. We're going to bring you back in the last half hour of the show. We'll see you then. WARREN: Thanks.


BRIGGS: Thanks, guys.

New overnight, new raids and arrests in England following that terror attack in Manchester. Now, the bomber's brother also under arrest. We're live in the U.K. next on EARLY START.


[05:17:03] BRIGGS: Happening right now, former President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Brandenburg Gate. Let's listen in on the former president.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Over the last three or four decades. That's an amazing achievement.


And I think sometimes young people take it for granted, but I think that what we now have to recognize is that because of globalization and because of technology, and the disruptions that have occurred, the inequality that exists between nations and within countries, because of the fact that the Internet brings us all closer together, but we're still from different cultures and sometimes feel disoriented by the world shrinking, because of things like the refugee crisis, that this order that has been created has to be changed. It has to be updated. It has to be continually renewed because there is a competing narrative of fear, and xenophobia and nationalism and intolerance and anti-democratic trends.

And so, when you -- when I think about my role, when I was president, but also now as a citizen of the United States, and part of the world community, what I think is most important is that we rally around those values and ideals that are best and we have to push back against those trends that would violate human rights or that would suppress democracy or that would restrict individual freedoms of conscience and religion.

And that is going to be a significant battle that we have to fight, all of us have to be a part of. It is not always easy because, for example, I look at a place like Syria, where despite our best efforts -- and this is something Angela and I worked on a lot -- you still have a vicious war taking place, you still have millions of people displaced, hundreds of thousands killed, and it is going to require, I think, everything we can do to recognize that what happens on the other side of the world or in these other countries, whether it's in Africa or Asia or Latin America, that it has an impact on us, and that we're going to have to be invested in trying to help those countries achieve peace and prosperity.

[05:20:00] And as president, I did not always have the tools that I wanted to affect those kinds of changes, but at least we tried. And part of the goal here is to -- if you try long enough, eventually what President Abraham Lincoln called the better angels of our nature, I think, can win out.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now I would like to address the German chancellor. Some of the topics the president mentioned will be talked about later.

Lady Chancellor, the topic is democracy of our event today and also the question what we as Christians can contribute.

Democracy is being threatened in many ways. Many people have the sense of alienation, the sense of democracy is harmed. Many people think problems are not being solved. The politics seem to be powerless as regards difficulties, the refugee crisis, and Europe hasn't been able to position themselves united. Do you think it's -- will solve all of it?

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): First of all, I believe that indeed Barack Obama just mentioned that there are rarely solutions for 100 percent sure. The refugee topic, there first of all you have to say that hundred thousands, maybe millions of people in Germany showed sympathy and these were volunteers and also doing their work. And because so many people came and did something, and it showed that we can move something, and first of all we can be grateful for that.

And then also, additional questions come up. But that's life. Barack Obama said he was born in 1961, that was the year when the wall if Berlin was being built. I was born seven years earlier. I went to school and then the wall was being built.

My parents were shocked on that day. Our lives changed. All of a sudden, we couldn't visit our grandmother, our aunt. Berlin was divided. And then again and again people paid attention that for example would not forget those prisoners in the prison boats and this gave people a name. And then they were bought out there.

Humanitarian questions were focused on when we could visit them and something was moved for decades maybe people laughed about it, there won't be a German reunification, but it happened. And now, we may not have to think in months, but in years. And this shaped my life. I actually had planned already when --

BRIGGS: All right. There you see German Chancellor Angela Merkel with former President Obama at the Brandenburg Gate.

Now, President Obama not mentioning President Trump by name, but his comments referred to a competing narrative of fear and xenophobia and intolerance. He also said it's important that we rally around values and ideals, that we best push back against those trends that would violate human rights or that would suppress democracy.

So, again, not mentioning Trump by name, but certainly people will parse those words and ask who he's talking about. KOSIK: The elephant in the room, the timing of the visit by Mr.

Obama, coincidence or not. I mean, you're seeing Mr. Obama making this trip to Europe, the same time President Trump is making his first trip to Europe, of course, conjuring up comparisons between the two presidents about, you know, maybe not just their popularity, but the conjuring up comparisons about their policies as well.

BRIGGS: Those two are close, Merkel and Trump will appear later in the day.

Staying overseas with sports. Manchester United, arguably the biggest soccer club in the world, coming through with a big win after a few difficult days for that city.

KOSIK: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Good morning.

BRIGGS: Hey, man.

[05:25:00] ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys. You know, after big tragedies like the Manchester bombing, you know, sports have a way of bringing people together. For the first time since the attack, the city's most famous club, Manchester United, took the club in the Europa League Final.

The game was in Sweden. They held a moment of silence before the match and then I want you to listen to the ovation that the fans gave.


SCHOLES: Pretty awesome moment. Manchester United would win the game 2-0. Afterwards the win, Paul Pogba dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack.


PAUL POGBA, MANCHESTER UNITED PLAYER: Manchester, we won for them. We work for them. We work for the country because we play in Europa. So, it's all over the world. We play for the country. We play for England. We play for Manchester. We play for them, we play for the people who died.


SCHOLES: The team also took a picture together in the locker room after the match, holding a banner that read, Manchester, a city united, #prayformanchester.

Meanwhile, back in the city of Manchester, this was the scene as fans celebrated the big win after what has been a very trying week.

All right. Elsewhere in the sports world, Colin Kaepernick may soon have a new team. According to reports, the former 49ers quarterback meeting with the Seattle Seahawks yesterday. If signed, Kaepernick would back up Russell Wilson. Now, many around the NFL believe Kaepernick has not been signed

because he is being black balled because of his stance of not kneeling for the national anthem. According to reports, Kaepernick does plan on standing for the anthem next season.

All right. Scary moment at Yankee stadium last night, Cris Carter's bat shatters on this swing here, but a piece of his bat went into the stands and hit a young fan sitting seven rows above the visitors dugout. A fan sitting around the boy waved frantically for help. A Yankee spokesman said the boy received first aid at the ballpark and then received more medical attention elsewhere after the game. An update on his condition was not available.

All right. Elsewhere in baseball, Braves hosting the Pirates, check this out, a ball going down the line. It is fair, but a fan will reach over and grab it. Once he grabs, he's then going to give it to a young boy. Check out the security guard, guys. The security guards are going to come flying in to a deck of fans.

And watch what he does. He's going to try to eject the fan. Then goes to the boy who is so happy about getting that ball, he takes the ball away from the boy.

You can see the guy there, like, hey, I'll leave. Just give the ball back to the boy. But the security guard never gives the ball back.

This is ridiculous to me, guys.


SCHOLES: I mean, it should all be about the fans and making them happy in a game like that. He took the ball away from the boy.

BRIGGS: He's trying to do his job. That was a very bad reaction.


BRIGGS: But trying to do a good job.

Hey, Manchester United, wonderful uplifting story, reminiscing of the NFL and Major League Baseball after 9/11 here in New York.

SCHOLES: Absolutely. Felt like the Yankees back in 2001.

BRIGGS: Indeed.

Thank you, Scholes. Appreciate it.

KOSIK: Thanks, Andy.

BRIGGS: All right. An outburst by a congressional candidate caught on reporting, hours ahead of a special election.


GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!


BRIGGS: Will criminal charges hurt Greg Gianforte's chances in Montana today?