Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Questions Swirl Around Don Jr. Meeting; Presidents Trump And Macron Watch Bastille Day Parade; GOP Unveils Revised Health Care Bill; Hawaii Judge Loosens Travel Ban Restrictions. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 14, 2017 - 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: The big question for President Trump is what he knew about it all and when. The timeline really matters here.

Yahoo News is reporting that President Trump's legal team learned more than three weeks ago about the e-mail chain setting up the meeting -- his legal team. The president still says he only learned of the meeting a few days ago.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Now, new concerns within the West Wing that the scramble to respond to reporting on the Don, Jr. meeting and e- mails may have inadvertently drawn White House aides into the special counsel's Russia investigation.

For the latest on all this let's turn to CNN's Jeff Zeleny with the president in Paris, where it's a little past 11:30 a.m. Good morning to you, Jeff.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave and Christine.

Those are the questions that are hanging over the president even as he is here on this really sun-splashed, glorious day here at the Bastille Day parade in Paris where President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron are watching the Bastille Day festivities which also coincides this year with the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I.

But that is only a temporary respite for this president who is still contending with, and his team is still contending with those questions of the Russia investigation. And boiling it all down, first and foremost, is when he and his lawyers first knew about that meeting last June of 2016 between Donald Trump, Jr.; Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law; and Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, with that Russian lawyer.

Again, this was a meeting in Trump Tower a couple of days after the end of the primary election fight and the Russian lawyer was offering up some information -- some dirt, if you will, on the Clinton campaign. That is something that -- a meeting that Donald Trump, Jr. accepted.

Yesterday, here in Paris, the president defended that. He said look, my son is a good man. Anyone would have taken that meeting, as well, but that is simply not the case.

You can hear these planes flying overhead here. There's a flyover going on.

The reality here is that the investigators on Capitol Hill, Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican of Iowa, and others, want to hear from Donald Trump, Jr. They're calling him to testify next week.

And again, one of the questions, when he told people about that meeting and when the president knew. I'll send it back to you.

BRIGGS: Jeff Zeleny getting buzzed overhead there along the Champs- Elysees. Thank you, my friend.

ROMANS: All right. With all that in the backdrop, the president and the first lady, they're attending that Bastille Day parade in Paris this morning along with the president of France and his wife. They have been watching French and America troops marching side-by-side, marking 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I. That was, of course, a turning point in that bloody conflict.

Joining us from the parade route along the Champs-Elysees, CNN's Melissa Bell. Good morning.

I mean, it's so interesting that the president has come, you know, to power on the -- on the 'America First' slogan but this is a reminder from the French president -- this invitation -- that it was American leadership that defined the last century.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that's exactly it. You put your finger on it, Christine.

I mean, you have to understand that with Donald Trump's victory in the American election all eyes here in Europe were very much on what was likely to happen next and, indeed, alarm continued to grow with everything that Donald Trump had to say about NATO, with that retreat behind American borders.

And the question for the rest of the world -- for the rest of the world was what was America's role as the leader of the western liberal order. What happens if that goes away? And over the course of the last few months you've really seen the idea that that wasn't necessarily what's going to happen.

A lot of European leaders, essentially, just kind of said well, fine. In that case, Europe's going to have to go it alone from here on in. It was very much what the German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to say after the G7 summit in Sicily in May and something that other European leaders have essentially come to accept.

Emmanuel Macron was really kind of going out on a limb here by extending this invitation and he's benefitting really, Christine, from the concept.

And this is a big difference with Angela Merkel who's about to face a very important election and couldn't risk inviting a man as unpopular in the European continent as Donald Trump right now. Neither could Theresa May in the United Kingdom, given her catastrophic election and her weakened position.

Emmanuel Macron was probably the only man who had the political clout, having just won that spectacular election himself, with all that political capital behind him to get this invitation extended and through with minimal protest. We simply haven't seen any over the course of the last couple of days and I think it has proved a winning gamble.

We've really seen, I think, a shift and this is what all of Europe is looking in at the American president's position. He appears to be coming around to the idea of the importance of those transatlantic ties and that, for Emmanuel Macron, is almost more than he could have hoped for.

ROMANS: All right, Melissa Bell. Thank you.

And I think that the sound of those helicopters is almost a metaphor for the noise of the Russia investigation that continues to drown out the president's attempts to reset the -- you know, reset the storyline by going -- by going abroad.

[05:35:09] BRIGGS: It is a nice analogy. You can see the president, Emmanuel Macron, join the Bastille Day parade.

With some insight and analysis on all of this, we welcome back Sarah Westwood, the White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner." Good morning to you.

To Christine's point, a lot of noise surrounding this trip but a pretty successful trip thus far minus this one comment on the one question that actually went to an American television network regarding that meeting with Don Trump, Jr. -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer. Not a government lawyer, but a Russian lawyer.

It was a short meeting. It was a meeting that went very, very quickly, very fast. I think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It's called opposition research.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Now the context, of course, to that meeting was that it wasinformation from the Russian government as part of a greater effort to support Donald Trump in the election, as you know, Sarah. Would most people take that meeting and how does this now change the equation for the president?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think it's pretty clear that most experienced political operatives probably would have sensed that there was some red flags in that meeting and they would have known better than to have gone anywhere near it. That's the consensus that has formed since this emerged.

These foreign trips have provided the White House with a clean slate. This is President Trump's third trip abroad and each time he's departed under some kind of cloud of controversy and returned having regained control of the message.

We saw that when he took his first trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Europe. He left about a week after he fired FBI Director Comey. He left just a few days after the Comey memos were coming out. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in that timeframe.

Controversy was reaching what seemed to be a fever pitch at that time but he came back in control of the message. Folks were talking about the G7, they weren't talking about Russia by the time he returned stateside.

Fast forward when he went to the G20 summit in Hamburg, when he went to Poland. He was just hot off of his social media rampages against Mika Brzezinski at MSNBC, against this network, and people were questioning his use of social media. But by the time he got back from the G20 that wasn't the topic of conversation.

And you might see the same sort of thing happen in this situation. Maybe the Donald Trump, Jr. meeting won't be on the forefront of everyone's minds by the time he gets back from Bedminster, which is his next stop when he comes back from France today.

ROMANS: I mean, you mention social media. The president is tweeting this morning. He must be tweeting -- I'm trying to figure out when he's tweeting. He must be tweeting in the car on the way to the parade because we've heard from him talking about health care, talking directly to Republican senators.

They're "working hard to get their failed Obamacare replacement approved. I will be at my desk, pen in hand. Mike Pence working hard on health care."

So he is trying to change the conversation here and stay on this on health care. Will he be successful, do you think?

WESTWOOD: Well, this is an example of when the president's use of social media is for good and not for evil from the White House's perspective.

BRIGGS: Absolutely.

WESTWOOD: He's pushing a policy, putting pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a very public way. Applauding his vice president who has been here in Washington behind the scenes working to try to broker a deal.

Keep in mind that Vice President Mike Pence has really been credited with putting together the coalition in the House that was ultimately able to pass health care legislation when they were facing the same sort of basic dilemma, which was that they had moderates on one side, conservatives on the other side, and a health care bill in the middle that was very difficult to satisfy both camps, but they were able to find some kind of consensus.

So it's not an impossible feat in terms of Senate leadership. They are looking at this. They're looking at what the House did to try to appease both factions within the Republican Party but, certainly, the numbers are different in the Senate. Each individual no vote wields a lot more influence over the process, so you see folks talking about a potential 'Polar Payout,'I believe it's being called, to cover --

BRIGGS: Polar payout.

WESTWOOD: Right, to cover some of the Medicaid costs in Alaska to appease, potentially, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and bring her on board.

If you will recall, I think there's been a lot references to the 'Cornhusker Kickback' that helped seal the original Obamacare vote back during the Obama administration, so this is not an unusual situation. But certainly, they are trying to overturn every stone to find a solution to this health care bill right now.

BRIGGS: Still got some holdouts like Dean Heller and Jerry Moran, and we could go -- Rob Portman, we still don't know about. He was very concerned about the Medicaid cuts but he did get some money for opioids.

[05:40:04] ROMANS: Yes.

WESTWOOD: Yes.

BRIGGS: If I could, though, circle back real quickly to the Russia story. And what you're hearing consistently from the right -- from Donald Trump's favorite outlets -- is that well, OK, the president and Donald Trump, Jr. may have done this, but what about this Democratic operative working in conjunction with the DNC who reached out to the Ukrainians for some dirt on Paul Manafort? Is this at all similar or is it apples and oranges.

WESTWOOD: It's a really interesting comparison because in both cases there was a foreign government that was trying to aid one side over the other, provide damaging information, but it's not a direct parallel in the case of the Ukrainian government's work with the DNC.

This was being done by someone who was a consultant for the DNC who did not work for the Clinton campaign. Clinton campaign staffers have denied even knowing this person who was serving as this go-between for Kiev and Democrats.

On the Republican side, in the case of Donald Trump, Jr., we had someone who was the president's own son. We had -- who -- the high- ranking officials on the Trump campaign who were in direct contact with this person purporting to be from the Russian government.

You didn't see those kinds of high-level contacts in the case of the Ukrainian oppo that was being shepherded back and forth, but you did see that information be used and weaponized successfully in the case of the Ukrainians. They helped uncover these ties between Paul Manafort and some work

that he did consulting in Ukraine that ultimately fed this narrative that he had some just untenable connections that ultimately led to his ouster from the Trump campaign. So it's not a direct comparison but the two situations are similar.

BRIGGS: Well, and of course, the Ukraine, an ally; Russia, arguably, our greatest global adversary, of course, makes those different as well.

ROMANS: Right. All right, Sarah, so nice to see you this morning. Have a great weekend.

BRIGGS: Thank you.

WESTWOOD: You, too. Thank you.

ROMANS: Let's go back to Paris.

(Live video playing)

BRIGGS: Let's do that. Let's take a trip to the Champs-Elysees, 11:41 a.m. there in Paris as they are celebrating Bastille Day and also marking the 100-year anniversary of U.S. troops entering World War I. It's been a grand military parade complete with, for the first time, the United States warplanes, F-16's, F-22's. And that was the French president, 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron.

ROMANS: And the American president, Donald Trump, is there with Melania Trump. They've had a -- kind of a couple of days of pomp and circumstance in France yesterday. Last night they had dinner at the Eiffel Tower. A lovely dinner at a Michelin --

BRIGGS: Dover sole, I believe --

ROMANS: Yes, and I think there was --

BRIGGS: -- with polonaise?

ROMANS: There was a selection of foie gras. It makes me hungry to think about it.

But he also had a press conference yesterday side-to-side where they complimented each other and talked about, you know, common ground.

It's interesting, I think, that this is a -- this is a partnership that is the oldest alliance in American history. I mean, it was the French who helped the Americans throw off the yoke of the British. And over the decades -- over the decades since, I mean, time and again it's an alliance that has been tested and prevailed, so just a show of force on Bastille Day.

BRIGGS: We'll continue to bring you pictures throughout the morning.

Meanwhile, a surprising turn of events for the travel ban. A judge now says more relatives are allowed in. We'll have the new developments for you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:47:23] ROMANS: All right. U.S. stocks at the highest in history. A second record high in a row for the Dow, the 24th, I think, of the year. Now, the first this week was after the Fed signaled it might be more cautious about rate hikes.

The second high comes because of bank stocks. Financial shares are up eight percent this year. Banks are making record profits and the Fed just gave banks the OK to unleash record payouts to shareholders.

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup all report today and that officially kicks off second quarter earnings season. I know you can't wait.

BRIGGS: I'm psyched.

ROMANS: It's like -- it's like --

BRIGGS: I'm ecstatic.

ROMANS: -- the playoff season for banks.

Last season, profits grew at the highest pace in years so expectations are pretty high. And analysts predict S&P 500 profits will rise at least six percent this quarter.

In a rare event for Wall Street retails stocks surged. Target, JCPenney, Gap all jumped at least five percent. Even Sears -- even Sears, which says it may not even stay in business, its stock popped seven percent.

Brick and mortar stores have struggled with the rise of online shopping. I mean, it's been an existential threat here to these companies. But then Target projected a solid boost in sales over the past two months and that kicked off the rally. So just one little sign of strength in traditional retail is enough to pop those stocks a lot.

BRIGGS: We'll take it wherever we can get it.

All right. Breaking overnight, a federal judge is finally loosening the restrictions in President Trump's travel ban. Now, grandparents and relatives, like in-laws, aunts and uncles, will now be allowed to travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim nations targeted by this measure.

The Supreme Court ruled last month the administration can bar travelers who lack any, quote, "bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the U.S." District Court Judge Derrick Watson ruling the White House misinterpreted that ruling when they excluded grandparents and other relatives.

The Trump administration must appeal that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court if it wants to lift this new order. ROMANS: All right. Are you planning on catching a flight if you travel, coming up? Guess what? You're going to have to pay a little more. That's coming up on "CNN Money Stream."

BRIGGS: Great.

And, it's Bastille Day in France if you're planning to fly there. President Trump is the guest of honor at a military parade along the Champs-Elysees. Live coverage all morning right here on EARLY START -- giddy-up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:50] BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, two Israeli police officers have been killed in what authorities are calling a terrorist attack in Jerusalem's Old City. Officials say three armed Israeli Arabs were shot and killed after they fired at police units who responded to the shooting. The wounded officers were taken to nearby hospitals where they died of their wounds.

The attack happened near Lions' Gate, next to what Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. Officials say that area now closed for the day.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

Global markets mixed this morning after the Dow hit another record high. Why so high? You can thank bank stocks. Banks are making record profits and financial shares are up eight percent this year.

This latest bump is in anticipation of some big-name earnings. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup all report today and that officially kicks off second quarter earnings season. Expectations are high. Last season, corporate profit grew at the fastest pace in years, so business is good.

Catching a flight? You may have to pay a little more. For the first time in years, Delta says it's charging passengers more. Its fares will jump as much as 4.5 percent this year.

American Airlines expects an even steeper rise in ticket prices. Years of cheap fuel have spurred competition, keeping fares low, but now both fuel and labor costs are rising so airlines plan to boost ticket prices to help offset the costs.

[05:55:10] New proof that many college grads put off buying a home because of student debt. Young homeownership has fallen dramatically over the past 10 years to just 21 percent last year.

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found student debt explains a lot of that. The average debt for those who graduate with student debt last year was $37,000.

About two-thirds of kids graduate with student debt and monthly payments for those loans prevent millennials from saving for a downpayment, essentially freezing them out of the home market. And, you know, there's a change in culture, too.

BRIGGS: No doubt.

ROMANS: People don't want to own -- these young people don't want to own a home. They want to be flexible enough to be able to move anywhere in the country and they don't want to be burden with a -- with a mortgage.

BRIGGS: Certainly, a part of that.

All right. Beyonce finally unveiling the two newest additions to her family. The music megastar posting this picture on her Instagram account, if you can find the kids.

ROMANS: Where are the babies?

BRIGGS: They are there somewhere. She's sporting a floral number while cradling her two new bundles of joy. She also confirmed the twins' names, writing Sir Carter and Rumi. In five hours --

ROMANS: Sir Carter and Rumi.

BRIGGS: It's been liked more than four million times, that post, in five hours. It's quite a picture. It's relatively difficult to find the children --

ROMANS: I know. They're --

BRIGGS: -- but it's a beautiful picture, indeed.

ROMANS: They're cute. Gosh, two at once, oh, man. Berman has twins. Camerota has twins, too.

BRIGGS: Berman has twins and Berman is coming up. All right, wow.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for -- thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

When did President Trump know about his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer? Some big questions today as President Trump attends the Bastille Day parade in Paris. Live coverage as "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's called opposition research. That's very standard in politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is really very unlikely that Trump knew nothing about this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we don't want to do is jump to a conclusion.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), VICE CHAIRMAN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We have made a series of document requests to Donald Trump, Jr.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think any witness who's been asked to testify before Congress should testify.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our view (ph) to politics doesn't work. Ignorance is not a defense under the law.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The American people deserve better than Obamacare.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The meat of this bill is exactly the same as it was before and, in some ways, even worse.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I promised to repeal Obamacare, not to continue Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, July 14th, 6:00 here in New York.

Chris is off, John Berman joins me. Great to have you here in the studio.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Great to be here.

CAMEROTA: It's another busy news day.

BERMAN: Oh, it is.

CAMEROTA: Let's get to our "Starting Line."

A spectacular show of force along Paris' famed Champs-Elysees. President Trump and the first lady joining France's president to mark Bastille Day. One hundred years since American troops arrived on French soil to join World War I.

But even overseas, new questions about Russia. What and when did the president know about his son's e-mails and the meeting with the Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton? President Trump defending his son, saying most people would have taken that meeting.

BERMAN: Now, the scramble to respond to this controversy now has White House aides exposed to scrutiny from the special counsel. Sources tell CNN that aides of the president and Jared Kushner's legal team, they began strategizing in late June about how to manage the disclosure of these newly-discovered e-mails.

And all this is going on as the latest health care bill by Senate Republicans, at least right now, is falling short of winning the support it needs. Two Republicans have already said they will not support it, but Mitch McConnell says he still wants a vote next week. We are covering every angle of this for you. Let's begin with CNN's senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny, live for us in Paris. Good morning, Jeff.

ZELENY: Good morning, John. President Trump is, indeed, witnessing history here this morning as he is watching the Bastille Day parade which, this year, coincides with the 100th anniversary of U.S. troops arriving here in France.

Now, as he is watching helicopters fly overhead and fighter jets fly, as well, there is still that Russian cloud that is looming, including those new questions this morning about what he knew and when he knew it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY (voice-over): New questions about who knew what and when about the meeting between Trump campaign associates and a Russian lawyer, and the e-mails that prove Donald Trump, Jr. thought he'd be getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Kremlin.

A source familiar with the process tells CNN that Jared Kushner and his legal team discovered the e-mails in mid-June. A person close to Kushner says they discussed whether or not to immediately go public. That source adding that Kushner told his lawyers he planned to sit down with the president to discuss the June 2016 meeting, an interaction "The New York Times" reports took place.

All this raising doubt about the president's insistence that he only learned about the e-mails in the past few days.

JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING PRESIDENT TRUMP: The president, by the way, never saw an e-mail. Did not see the e-mail until it was seen today.