Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Trump Heads to Europe; U.N. Security Council Emergency Meeting Today; Qatar Crisis: Saudi Arabia and Allies Meet in Cairo. Aired 4- 4:30a ET

Aired July 5, 2017 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:11] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Four hours from now, President Trump wheels up for a high stakes trip to Europe. The North Korea missile launch, the Vladimir Putin meeting and much more on the agenda at a highly anticipated G20 Summit.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you all this morning. I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, July 5th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. Good morning, everyone.

Just a few hours from now, President Trump departs on his second international trip, one that is loaded with consequence. After a stop in Poland, the president travels on to G20 Summit in Germany. There, he will sit down the Russian President Vladimir Putin for an official -- now we're told an official bilateral meeting. It will not be an informal pull-aside meeting, the kind that would signal Russia has a ways to go before the U.S. would reward it with a formal sit-down.

BRIGGS: Now, this will be the first in-person meeting between the two leaders and the first official bilateral meeting between the U.S. and Russian president in nearly two years. Presidents Trump and Putin also will likely to discuss North Korea's test of a probably ICBM, a launch that now has the U.S. and South Korea flexing their military muscle. More on that in just a moment.

But our coverage of Mr. Trump's trip begins with Ryan Nobles at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, good morning. President Trump expected to leave here from Washington today for his second foreign trip and this is a crucial one. He'll first head to Poland before heading to Germany for the G20 Summit and there will be a number of big issues on the table. North Korea, of course, a big one after the country firing another test missile this week, but also the meeting with Vladimir Putin and this meeting taking on a much greater focus because both sides have announced that this will be a formal bilateral meeting. That will provide a much more focused to this meeting and it also could be an indication that both sides are open to better diplomatic ties.

There will be a number of topics on the table, even though the agenda hasn't officially been set. U.S. officials are expected to bring up the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. But the president is not expected to talk to Putin about Russia's alleged attempt to meddle in the U.S. election. One thing that both leaders will likely talk about though is North Korea and President Putin at a press conference with President Xi of China on Tuesday where they talked about settling the Korean situation and Putin specifically talked about his concern about the deployment of more U.S. weapons in South Korea -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right, Ryan. Thank you for that.

White House Officials have reason to hope President Trump's second European trip will be smoother than his European debut in May. That was marked by awkward body language and the president scolding world leaders for not meeting their NATO obligations.

BRIGGS: This time, the president starts his trip in Poland, where the populist government is expected to roll out the red carpet.

CNN's Melissa Bell joins us from Warsaw, where President Trump lands later today.

Melissa, does the president face a warm welcome or perhaps a cold shoulder in Europe?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, he had faced skeptics, as you just reminded us, back in May. This time, he's beginning this trip before heading off to meet the skeptics no doubt in Hamburg with a friendly government. This is a populist government in charge here, has been since November 2015, which shares many of his views. It is anti-immigrant. It is concerned about supernational organizations and it has ruffled feathers in Brussels a great deal.

And all over Warsaw, you'll see signs encouraging people to come out to hear Donald Trump's first European speech which is what's on the sign post. Polish press has been full of the fact that the government has apparently promised Donald Trump that he will get a warm welcome, large crowds, and very few protests.

Now, Poland's Warsaw rather is hardly a new pit stop for American presidents. It is unusual that American presidents should hit Warsaw before London, Paris, or Berlin, but this is a different American administration. Donald Trump will be the eighth sitting president to come through Warsaw. What's different perhaps this time is the nature of the America administration and the nature of the government here that will be receiving him. Until now, American presidents have come to celebrate the lifting of the communist shackles by Poland ever since 1989 whether they've been Democrat or Republican. This time, it is a populist government being received here by a populist administration.

And all of this being very closely watched of course by Brussels. It has had very harsh words for the way the Polish government has been seeking to get its hands both on the free press in this country and on the independent judiciary. So, Donald Trump's words will be closely watched by Brussels. Of course, very closely watched by the host.

But they'll be looking for two things. The Polls are looking to look for reassurances on NATO, the fact that Donald Trump is committed to the Article 5 of the NATO treaty that guarantees mutual help in case of aggression.

[04:05:09] They're also looking for further promises on energy. They want natural gas for the United States. Deliveries began in June. They want more of that in order to lessen their dependence on Russia.

BRIGGS: And with that notion of the free press, Melissa, you wonder if the president will stray from the script and mention his war on the media here in the United States. We'll check back with you next hour. Melissa, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. The U.N. Security Council set to meet in emergency session today after request of the United States. The meeting in response to North Korea's launch of what military analysts now think was a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile. Pyongyang claims to have developed a nuclear capable ICBM and tested it as an Independence Day gift to the United States.

BRIGGS: North Korea leader Kim Jong-un says he won't negotiate over his nuclear and ballistic programs until the U.S. ends what he calls its, quote, hostile policy and nuclear threat against the North. In response, the test the U.S. and South Korea say they conducted a joint ballistic missile drill.

ROMANS: And the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has released a statement calling the North Korean test a new escalation of the threat to the U.S. and the world. Tillerson says, quote, global action is required to stop a global threat.

I want to turn to CNN's Andrew Stevens monitoring the situation from Hong Kong.

And, you know, an escalation, yes, but, Andrew, I wonder what are the suite of options, the new options for this global response to a global threat?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, the short answer is limited, Christine. This is no doubt a significant escalation of tensions globally now from that missile firing from North Korea.

And we saw very quickly the response from the U.S. and South Korea. They launched those missiles in South Korea and sent a very, very clear warning, saying that these missiles are to show you that we have precision targeting military hardware which can take out and affect the enemy leadership as they call it.

So, the tensions are escalating. The rhetoric is escalating there as well. Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, continues to say that he will continue to develop his program. He called as you said this missile a gift to the U.S. He said he wants more gifts, both big and small to be sent to the U.S. So, he's continuing on his path. What can be done, military options

seems to be ruled out by most people, most analysts. Economic leverage can be applied by China but China at this stage has showed no interest in ratcheting up the economic leverage it has over North Korea, which leaves negotiations.

And that's where we are at the moment. We've got the U.N. Security Council meeting. There may be further sanctions imposed out of the U.N. We don't know, and, of course, we have the G20 meeting later this week where North Korea once again will be discussed and that's where you'll get that truly global response to North Korea.

ROMANS: Andrew, the president, President Trump, is going to meet with leaders from China, South Korea, and Japan at that G20. The Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Vladimir Putin ahead of those meetings. What can you tell us about that?

STEVENS: Well, they both issued a joint statement. They didn't outright condemn what North Korea has done but they did as they have always done, say that North Korea has to abide by U.N. security resolutions, which is clearly obvious that they're not doing this.

What they did say is once again a repeat of earlier policy, is they put their plan on the table for the nuclear -- to try and deescalate the nuclear situation on the North Korean Peninsula, and basically that plan is consisting of making sure that the U.S. and South Korea stop their military exercises in return, North Korea puts a freeze on its development program and then the two sides come together for talks.

Now, we saw the response that the U.S. and South Korea to that call from Xi and Putin, which was to launch missiles. So, more combined action there, and North Korea's leader showing no signs of stepping back from his plans either.

So, at this stage, Christine, there's a lot of talk and there's an enormous amount of daylight between the parties involved in trying to deal with this nuclear issue on the peninsula.

ROMANS: All right. Andrew Stevens for us in Hong Kong this morning -- thank you. Nice to see you.

BRIGGS: A lot to unpack there.

Just hours after the missile test, President Trump spoke to veterans at a July 4th White House event. He never mentioned North Korea by name but listen to this comment. A lot of people are interpreting it as a message for Kim Jong-un.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is doing really, really well. No matter where you look, the economy is blazing and on every front we're doing well and we do have challenges, but we will handle those challenges, believe me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:10:07] BRIGGS: The president, though, told the veterans he is privileged to serve as their commander in chief and promised them he would always have their backs.

ROMANS: All right. The Trump administration getting tough on America's top trading partners. So, those countries are working out trade deals without the U.S. Japan and the E.U. panned to announce a trade deal tomorrow on the eve of the G20 meeting. And the agreement is a clear reaction to the White House protectionist attitude. In fact, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says it's important to wave the flag of free trade in response to global moves towards protectionism.

This deal could be bad news for some U.S. industries like automobiles, that's because it discards high tariffs on Japanese cars and removes obstacles for European automakers in Japan. So, just the sales for U.S. automakers begin to slow this is happening. The E.U. and Japan would create a trade black to rival NAFTA.

Speaking of NAFTA, the president often threatens to withdraw from that government. So, Mexico is looking for new economic alliances, enter China. China's ambassador to Mexico says it's ready to talk about a free trade agreement. President Trump has targeted both China and Mexico with steep tariffs. He'll meet with leaders from those countries on Friday.

What you hear again and again from so many of these leaders is they're looking toward a post-American global trade architecture, you know, that --

BRIGGS: What are the consequences, if you're an American business that do rely on Mexico? Are there dangerous implications?

ROMANS: There are dangerous implications. And, you know, look, I'm expecting any day now, I think that the United States is going to -- Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, is gong to put tariffs on steel. We don't know if it's going to be particular countries or if it's going to be -- what that's going to look like.

BRIGGS: How might that impact the Chinese.

ROMANS: Well, and how might that impact American farmers if they retaliate and put tariffs on American products, too. So, there's a lot to be done here on the trade front here still, and I think you'll see a lot of developments over the coming days.

BRIGGS: All right. More states refusing to cooperate with the president's voter fraud panel. Now the issue is headed to court. More on that ahead on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:15:12] BRIGGS: All right. We're following breaking news.

Here in New York City, a 12-year veteran of the New York City Police Department is clinging to life after getting shot in her command vehicle after midnight. Police say the officer was based in the Bronx and are calling this an unprovoked attack. The officer was raced to the hospital and said to be in extremely critical condition. The gunman was killed by responding officers. A person thought to be a bystander was also shot and is in stable condition. We'll have more information as it comes in.

ROMANS: All right. The Reddit user behind that Trump CNN body slam video is apologizing. President Trump tweeted the video clip on his personal account with the caption: fraud news CNN. It shows him tackling a man with a CNN logo super-imposed on his head. Now, the Reddit user who claimed credit for first posting that video has issued a public apology for the video and other offensive content he posted.

BRIGGS: He says in part: I am not the person who the media claims to be in real life. It was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on Reddit, and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. The meme was created purely as a satire. It was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation.

ROMANS: Now, the apology comes after CNN was able to identify the Reddit user and tried to contact him. The user's apology post has since been removed from the site. And CNN does not identifying this user because of the apology and his promise not to repeat the behavior on social media.

BRIGGS: So he has apologized. Your turn, Mr. President.

Meanwhile, President Trump's voter fraud commission facing its first legal challenge. The privacy group EPIC filing an emergency motion in federal court for a temporary restraining order. They're trying to block the administration's request for all 50 states to turn over the personal data of all registered voters. The court has given the White House until today to respond.

ROMANS: Also developing this morning, the head of the voter fraud commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach accused of violating federal ethics law. A civil rights group filing a lawsuit claiming Kobach improperly used his role on the commission to promote his current candidacy for governor of Kansas. He denies any wrongdoing.

BRIGGS: At last count, 44 states are not complying with the commission's request for voter data. No official word yet from Florida, Nebraska, Arkansas, Illinois, Hawaii and New Jersey.

We also want to clarify a part of this story we reported yesterday. We told you Colorado, Missouri, Tennessee were supporting the commission's effort, all three have issued statements that commend the commission's work. But we should clarify that does not mean they're handing over all the information being requested here. We apologize for any confusion on that one.

ROMANS: All right. Qatar has now responded to a list of demands from Gulf nations which have broken off ties over a number of concerns. We're going to live to Doha. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:21:36] BRIGGS: One month after severing ties with Qatar, foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and three of its Arab allies are meeting to plan their next move. Qatar has just responded to a list of demands presented to them by those Gulf nations. The deadline to respond had already been extended.

Let's bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh live from Doha.

Good morning to you, Jomana.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.

And we've heard from the Saudi-led alliance saying they've received that response that Qatar handed over to the media to Kuwait. They say that they are reviewing it, and they will respond in a timely fashion. Now, we don't really know what the exact contents of that letter, that response from Qatar actually is, but we heard from the foreign minister here speaking at a press conference yesterday, saying that their response in his words were within the context of international law and in a way that preserves the sovereignty of Qatar.

So, really, all those indications of what we have pretty much known all along, that they will not be agreeing to comply with that list of demand at least in the form that came out in about ten days ago, nearly two weeks now. But he also reiterated what we've heard from them all along saying that that list of demands is unrealistic, that it has nothing to do with combating terrorism and that it was targeting Qatar's foreign policy and the sovereignty of this country.

He says: Now Qatar has done its role, they have handed their response and the ball is in the court of the Saudi-led alliance and their foreign ministers meeting today in Cairo to decide what the next steps are and we'll have to see what comes out of that. Qatar again emphasizing their position, saying they are open for dialog and that is the only way they say to resolve a crisis like this, Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes, many people that blockade was merely a smokescreen.

Jomana Karadsheh live for us in Qatar, thank you.

ROMANS: Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

A Vatican owned pediatric hospital in Rome is offering to care for terminally ill, 10-month-old Charlie Gard. It's in an effort to prevent doctors in London from turning off the child's life support, allowing his parents to decide his fate. Charlie's mom and dad want their son released into their care so they can bring him to the United States for an experimental treatment.

We'll get the very latest from CNN's Diana Magnay.

Such a sad story from beginning to end here, and Charlie Gard's parents still hoping that they will be the once who will be able to decide how to care for him.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. But the fact is in this country, it's the child's interests that come first. And so, when you have parents and doctors disagreeing as they have over his treatment, it goes to the courts and the courts have all sided with the doctors.

And I think that's a fundamental difference that came up in the court case. One of the witnesses said there is a cultural difference between the U.K. and the U.S. The U.S. where there's the money, then they will try any treatment possible, and what Charlie's parents is for him to go to the U.S. and have this treatment.

It's called nuclear side bypass therapy. It has helped other children with similar strains of his very rare genetic disease, but not his actual strain. And even the U.S. specialist offering it says it cannot reverse his brain damage. And all the specialists in the U.K. say it would be futile.

[04:25:01] He should not be treated if it is just for the purposes of medical science and won't actually help him at all.

Now, we understand the mother asked the Vatican hospital whether she could transfer the baby there and they were told by Great Ormond Street that she could not. I think you can rest assured that Great Ormond Street doctors will be trying to construct an end of life plan which the parents can agree on, so that the life support machine withdrawal of treatment happens gradually and that the parents can be a part of that process and accept that process. But it is, of course, an incredibly sad story and there is no further legal recourse for Charlie's parents.

ROMANS: A little boy whose story has captivated the world, no question.

All right. Keep us informed of any developments. Diana Magnay with that story out of the U.K. -- thank you.

BRIGGS: Just heart breaking.

ROMANS: Yes, it is.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the president's overseas trip begins in just a few hours and the North Korean missile launch has global powers at odds. So, what will happen when they all converge at the G20?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: President Trump getting ready to head to Europe for his first G20 in just a few hours. He and Vladimir Putin already have plenty to discuss. Now, their different takes on North Korea's missile launch led to a complicated mix.

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

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Did you stay up for the fireworks last night?

ROMANS: I did not stay all the way up to the fireworks. So, maybe we should show them. I had to go to bed.

BRIGGS: Yes, we didn't stay up. You probably didn't stay up since it's 4:29 Eastern Time. But this is the skies above New York City late last night. Just a few short hours ago.

It's beautiful.

ROMANS: It really is.

BRIGGS: I kind of wish I would have stayed up.

ROMANS: Happy Fourth. Now, go back to work.

BRIGGS: OK. Now to the dire circumstances around the globe. President Trump departs on his second international trip, one that is loaded with consequence. After a stop in Poland, the president travels on to the G20 Summit.