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More Trouble For Sessions?; China And Europe Unite On Climate Deal; What The Covfefe?; LeBron's Home Targeted; Source: Comey To Testify About Trump Confrontations. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 1, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:15] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Did Jeff Sessions have more undisclosed meetings with the Russians during the campaign? Congressional investigators believe he might have, just one of several big developments this morning on the Russia probe.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump expected to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord today. Will the move cost the U.S. trust of allies around the world? Already, the Germans, the Russians, and the Chinese weighing in.

BRIGGS: And you're going to get another dose of "covfefe." Sean Spicer says the president and a few key people know what he meant. Really, Sean? Does anyone know?

ROMAN: Spiced covfefe this morning.

BRIGGS: OK. Welcome back, everybody, to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Thirty-one minutes past the hour and again, the Russians weighing in on the climate deal, saying it would be less effective. The Kremlin saying a global climate deal is less effective if the U.S. pulls out. Angela Merkel, with the Chinese premiere, standing before the cameras, talking about how they will be leaders together of climate change --


ROMANS: -- so all this -- all this happening.

BRIGGS: Three o'clock, the president will announce if we're staying in the Paris Climate Agreement. We'll get into all of that in just a moment with Tal Kopan.

ROMANS: And we have four major -- four major new developments on the Russia investigation to bring you up to speed to. New questions about whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions had another previously undisclosed meeting during the campaign with the Russian ambassador. The White House no longer taking questions about Russia, instead, referring everything now to the president's lawyer.

BRIGGS: Sources say former FBI director James Comey plans to testify the president did, indeed, try to pressure him on the Bureau's Russia probe, and the House Intelligence Committee issuing its first subpoenas. The batch includes some signed by Chairman Devin Nunes, who promised to step aside from the Russia investigation.

ROMANS: Let's begin here first with Attorney General Sessions. Capitol Hill and intelligence sources telling CNN investigators are focusing on a Trump campaign event at Washington's Mayflower Hotel last April. Then-Senator Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attended a small VIP recession -- reception. Among other things, the FBI wants to know if there was an additional private meeting between the two.

BRIGGS: Sources say if there was such a meeting it may have just been incidental. Sessions, of course, has already recused himself from the Russia investigation after it emerged he previously failed to disclose meetings with Ambassador Kislyak.

ROMANS: Responding to the latest questions, the Justice Department says Sessions did not have any private or side conversations with any Russian official at the Mayflower Hotel. The DOJ adds, in part, "The Department of Justice appointed special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. We will allow him to do his job."

Joining us this morning from Washington, "CNN POLITICS" reporter Tal Kopan. Good morning. In a nutshell, where are we in the Russia probe?

BRIGGS: Put all that --

ROMANS: What I see is Democrats who are fervently wanting more investigation into potential collusion in the election, and I see Republicans who fervently want to expose leaks.

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, you asked where we are. I think the answer is nowhere close to the finish line. I don't know if we're in the middle or just the beginning but the important thing for the White House and for lawmakers is this is nowhere near wrapping up anytime soon and, you know, every little continuing piece of the puzzle we get continues to fuel the fire. And, you know, people have their teeth sunk into this -- Democrats, but also Republicans and, you know, as much as the White House would like it to go away, it's not anytime soon.

BRIGGS: All right. Where we are in the U.S. role, the Paris climate agreement is clear. It appears we're about to bail out. The president, in true reality show form at 3:00, Tal, will reveal if the United States is staying in or not. We'll get into the Kremlin's opinion on this in a moment but first, there appears to be two questions. One is the environmental impact, which we'll leave to the side for a moment. But when you have the entire world over here, and then on the other plate you have the United States, Nicaragua, and Syria -- Mitt Romney tweeted about this in part -- what does it say about United States' leadership on a global scale if we pull out of this agreement? And there is Mitt's tweet.

[05:35:26] KOPAN: Yes. You know, it's kind of remarkable to be one of three countries, one of which is Syria, at this point that would not be party to this deal. But again, you know, we sort of have this tendency to not take Trump at face value a lot during the campaign and certainly, you know, we've heard from administration officials the "America First" slogan is not just empty and this notion that the U.S. is going to forge its own path on the world scale, it's going to forge alliances where it is in the U.S.' interest but not elsewhere, that seems to be what we're seeing as a foreign policy directive from the White House.

ROMANS: Listen, I want to reiterate for everybody what this U.S. pledge was that we think we're going to bail out from. "To lower greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by the year 2025, and then contribute up to $3 billion to help the poorer countries tackle climate change. There's a $100 billion fund for some of the poorer countries to be able to afford, frankly, upgrading here. This is what we would be bailing out of.

Germany and China today, standing in front of the cameras in Berlin, meeting and vowing to work more closely together and vowing to work together specifically on this. The Kremlin saying it would be more difficult to keep the climate change agreement together without the United States. The rest of the world is starting to weigh in even before the president has officially made this decision.

KOPAN: Yes, that's right. And, you know, it reminds me of some of the concern about pulling out of TPP, which this White House also did -- which the argument against it was it gives China much more power in the Asian sphere --


KOPAN: -- and, you know, we're seeing this play out again. Of course, there are folks who agree with Trump that the U.S. should forge its own way, but there are a lot of folks on the other side who say this is very concerning for international relations. That you're opening the door for powers like China and Russia to exert more influence over smaller countries and perhaps become -- you know, and perhaps have those countries become more dependent on countries like China and Russia and, thus, exert even more influence.

And you risk losing some of the leadership that the U.S. has in the world and some of the influence in terms of building democracies and building allies in really key places. And so, that's some of the sort of big picture concern in addition to the environment, as you mentioned Dave, that's playing out behind the scenes here.

BRIGGS: And we should mention although it's a non-binding agreement that's relatively a toothless agreement, I mean, they are goals that each country is able to set themselves -- a part of that agreement.

But let's move on to the never-ending saga regarding "covfefe," the tweet that the president sent out at midnight a day before, then deleted it and kept it alive with a tweet the next morning. Sean Spicer asked what exactly happened with the president's misfire on Twitter. Here is what the press secretary said.


REPORTER: Do you think people should be concerned that the president posted somewhat of an incoherent tweet last night and that it then stayed up for hours?


REPORTER: Why did it stay up so long? I figured -- is no one watching this?

SPICER: No. I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.


REPORTER: What is covfefe?


ROMANS: Laugher.

BRIGGS: I don't want to ask you what it meant because it was a typo. He fell asleep while tweeting. Let's just get that out there. I don't know why they're doing audio-only press briefings. We can analyze that another time, but what does it reveal that Sean Spicer is trying to spin this as some sort of code or something a small group of people knew?

KOPAN: It's baffling. I don't know if he's just deadpanning here or he's implying that a small group of people know that Trump fell asleep or, you know, sent a typo. I'm not really sure what he's trying to say. You know, the president's tweet the next morning was actually pretty funny. He said, you know, enjoy figuring out what it meant, so it was sort of self-deprecating humor which we don't see often from the president. So it was odd that Spicer didn't sort of take that tact as well and sort of use humor to diffuse the situation. But, I mean, a year from now -- I wonder if someone said covfefe to you a year from now, I wonder if you're going to remember exactly what they meant.

ROMANS: I know, but it's just ridiculous. This is the White House. This is the most -- these are the most powerful --

KOPAN: It's ridiculous.

ROMANS: -- people in the world and there is so many credibility issues and communications issues already. I mean, come on.

BRIGGS: But -- and to your point, the whole world was laughing about this. It was the number one global trending topic. It wasn't just here. Everyone was laughing here. And if you're in charge of the communications for the White House you should communicate with President of the United States. But, anyway --

[05:40:10] ROMANS: I don't know what that relationship is actually. I mean, it's really -- BRIGGS: There is a big question.

ROMANS: I have a lot of questions.

KOPAN: And, you know, his Twitter is open book, for better or worse.


ROMANS: His tweets speak for itself.

BRIGGS: And it's part of the official presidential record.

ROMANS: I know, I know.

BRIGGS: Historians might be studying these tweets someday, Tal.

ROMANS: Oh my gosh.

BRIGGS: Wow, thanks so much.

ROMANS: Tal Kopan, nice to see you this morning -- Thursday morning, first day of June.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, on the eve of the NBA Finals, LeBron James was forced to address racism after a racial taunt was painted as his house.


LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day.


BRIGGS: More from LeBron James on the day the NBA Finals set to begin, next.


BRIGGS: A powerful response from LeBron James after someone spray- painted the "N" word on the front gate of his California home. Police are investigating a possible hate crime. Listen to LeBron delivering this assessment of society on the eve of his seventh straight appearance in the NBA Finals.

[05:45:15] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES: Hate, you know, in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day and even though that it's concealed most of the time, even though people hide their faces and will say things about you and when they see you they smile in your face, it's alive every single day. No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, you know, being black in America is -- it's tough.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: James and his Cleveland Cavaliers square off tonight against the Golden State Warriors in game one of the NBA Finals.

BRIGGS: All right. The New York Mets issuing a public apology to their fans and it's not because of their mediocre play this season. It seems "Mr. Met," the team's beloved mascot, was caught flipping the bird at Met fans. We should be clear, though, Mr. Met doesn't technically have a middle finger. He has four fingers but his intent was clear, you could say, by the arm gesture.

ROMANS: Grabbing the bicep just makes you know what he meant, four fingers or not.

BRIGGS: I don't know what you mean, Romans. That is what really gets you in trouble?


BRIGGS: That, not the middle finger?

ROMANS: It's that, not the finger.

BRIGGS: Several different employees wear the Mr. Met costume. This particular staffer will not be back in the Mr. Met costume.

ROMANS: I learned a long time ago you don't flip somebody off in front of a camera.

BRIGGS: Hey, he's been around -- he's been around since 1962 but last night he became a true New Yorker, you know?

ROMANS: That's true. That's right.

BRIGGS: He really embraced it last night.

ROMANS: That's true. All right, 46 minutes past the hour. EpiPen maker Mylan became the face of corporate greed when it jacked up prices on lifesaving medicine for kids. Now, the company in trouble again, this time for overcharging taxpayers. CNN Money, next.


[05:51:15] BRIGGS: Europe and China are uniting against the U.S. on climate change. This, of course, ahead of the president's expected withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. Senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen joining us live in London. Good morning to you, Fred. Let me get this straight. The world's biggest polluter is now the leader on environmental issues? Is that where we stand, potentially, at 3:00 this afternoon?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Potentially, or it seems as though they're trying to become one of the leaders in combating climate change, or at least in combating climate change policy along with the European Union. And Dave, it's been so interesting to see early this morning here in Europe how China is really laying on the full court press here in Europe. You have the Chinese prime minister meeting with Angela Merkel earlier

today, where she said she thought it was "joyous" that China was so committed to combatting climate change. Later today, the Chinese prime minister is then going to the European Union where new initiatives are going to be announced and the E.U. and China already announcing that they want to start a technical partnership to increase their capabilities in fostering industries that combat climate change. Also, for urban development as well.

And then you have the leader of the European Union -- of the European Commission. He came out last night and openly threatened the United States that American leadership was at stake and that China could jump in. Let's listen in to what Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday.


JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): We explained to Mr. Trump in Tramena (ph) that it would not be good for the world or the United States if America was to literally step off the world stage because the vacuum will be filled and the Chinese are in prime position to take on a leadership role.


PLEITGEN: So he said that yesterday at a talk show in Germany where he was asked specifically what would happen if the U.S. stepped away from that climate agreement. And I think one of the things that we're seeing, Dave, is that the Europeans are saying look, this would not only be bad for climate policy and that Europe and Asia, for instance, would remain committed to combatting climate change, but it would also generally be very bad for American diplomacy, for American foreign policy.

There's a lot of European leaders who are saying look, combating climate change is so central in politics in Europe, it certainly would damage the United States. And the Chinese and the Germans have said look, we've designated future industries to combat climate change as one of the most important economic factors going forward.

And just a little side note, Dave, you know. In Germany, I was at a wind farm factory late last year and they really have made a gigantic industry out of wind turbines and are trying to make that one of the future industries for growth going forward.

BRIGGS: And the Russians even saying this agreement less effective if the United States pulls out. All eyes around the globe on the White House, 3:00.


BRIGGS: Fred Pleitgen, thank you.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden launching a new political action committee, once again stoking speculation he might run for the top job in 2020. In a solicitation email for his "American Possibilities" PAC, Biden writes, "The negativity, the pettiness, the small-mindedness of our politics drives me crazy. It's not who we are. The history of this nation is one of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and that's who we still are." Earlier this month, Biden said he likely would not run again but sticking to his "never say never" script, he did not write off the possibility. Oh, 2020.

ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. You can see global markets and U.S. futures are higher. Wall Street closed slightly lower yesterday, the market weighed down by bank and energy stocks. Energy prices fell as oil prices dropped 2.7 percent. Still, all three indices finished the months with gains. For the record, the Nasdaq up 2.5 percent, its seventh month in a row of gains.

[05:55:05] President Trump wants the auto industry to create jobs but General Motors is, once again, laying off factory workers. The cut could affect as many as 300 employees at a plant in Michigan. GM has eliminated about 5,000 manufacturing jobs since November. Car sales are slowing after seven years of brisk increases. Automakers are trimming production to save money.

EpiPen-maker Mylan may have overcharged the U.S. more than $1 billion according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This amount is an update to an earlier settlement. Mylan accused of overcharging Medicaid by improperly classifying EpiPens. The drugmaker became the face, of course, of corporate greed last summer. Remember this?


ROMANS: Seven years in a row of price hikes raised EpiPen prices 400 percent to $600. Parents outraged.

All right, imagine this, your Amazon package floating down on a parachute. The company was granted a patent for this shipping label. It's designed for drones and has a parachute built into the shipping label. You probably won't see this making deliveries anytime soon. Drones without a pilot are not yet legal in the United States.

BRIGGS: That would be fantastic when Christine Romans' kid orders like 70 machine guns from Amazon --

ROMANS: Oh my gosh, I know.

BRIGGS: -- and 70 different parachutes would come down.

ROMANS: They weren't really machine guns, they were toy machine guns.

BRIGGS: Oh, toy machine guns.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: But would that involve 70 different little miniature parachutes?

ROMANS: I learned how to shut off that feature.

BRIGGS: All right. ROMANS: My kids are not buying things from Amazon anymore.

BRIGGS: OK. So, the president today, 3:00, announces whether we stay in.


BRIGGS: Are we in or out?

ROMANS: I think he pulls out. I think it's just like TPP. He wants to go -- he want to check this off the list --

BRIGGS: It does appear that way.

ROMANS: -- but we'll have to see for sure. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" with Cuomo and Camerota starts right now.

ROMANS: Cuomo.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Fired FBI director James Comey now ready to tell his side of the story.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Congressional investigators are examining whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an additional private meeting with Russia's ambassador.

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: You know, we meet a lot of people, so --

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: This is a very serious charge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas today, three related to the issue of unmasking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like they were entirely driven by Devin Nunes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should never have been done without working with the Democrats.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be an economic, an environmental, a national security, and a moral disaster.

SPICER: The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I thought it was a hidden message to the Russians. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, June 1st, 6:00 here in New York, and here is our starting line.

A CNN exclusive -- a source tells CNN that fired FBI director James Comey will testify before the Senate as early as next week. The big topic will be those bombshell accusations that President Trump pressured him to end the investigation into one of his top aides. The House Intelligence Committee issuing seven subpoenas for its Russia probe, four of them for Michael Flynn and the president's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The embattled chairman of that committee, Devin Nunes, issuing three separate subpoenas for his own investigation into whether former Obama officials unmasked the identities of Trump associates captured on surveillance of foreign officials. So what happened to Nunes recusing himself from this probe? And in just a few hours, President Trump will reveal to the world his decision on whether to pull out from the Paris Climate Accord. So we have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns. He is live at the White House. What's the latest, Joe?

JOHNS: Good morning, Alisyn. It could be just a matter of days before the Congress gets to hear from FBI director James Comey in his own words about conversations he had with the president and memos he wrote about those conversations before he was fired. Meanwhile, the White House indicating from now on it's going to refer all questions about the Russia investigation to the president's lawyer.


JOHNS: Fired FBI director James Comey now ready to tell his side of the story, first, getting a legal greenlight from special counsel Robert Mueller. His testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee could come as early as next week. A source tells CNN that Comey appears eager to discuss details about tense, private interactions he had with President Trump which he documented in memos, including a dinner where he says the president asked him for a loyalty pledge, and an Oval Office meeting where Comey says President Trump pressured him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

REPORTER: Did the president engage in obstruction of justice?

SPICER: We are focused on the president's agenda and all -- going forward, all questions on these matters will be referred to outside counsel.

JOHNS: This latest bombshell development coming as the Russia investigations are ramping up. House investigators issuing their first subpoenas to Flynn and President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, seeking their testimony and business records.