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EARLY START

Trump's Approval Ratings Slides in CNN Poll; North Korea Threatens to Retaliate; Dolphins Introduce QB Jay Cutler. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 05:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: There's a growing distrust of the Trump White House. Brand new CNN polling with a stark reality for the president this morning.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And Pyongyang says the U.N. is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, and it will make America pay if it takes action.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Dave Briggs.

How are you?

ROMANS: Nice to see you this week. I am well.

It is top of the hour. I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, August 8th.

President Trump has a problem -- the American people do not trust him. That is just one key finding of a brand-new CNN poll showing the president with his approval rating at just 38 percent. That's its lowest point in CNN polling.

Only one other newly elected president has held an approval rating below 50 percent at the six-month mark since modern polling began. That was Bill Clinton, still well ahead of President Trump at 44 percent.

MARQUEZ: And the trust issue, it's telling. Fewer than one American in four says they trust most of what they hear from the White House, and 60 percent say they don't trust the commander in chief. Now, even President Trump's base is starting to erode, including whites who did not graduate from college, a core group that helped put him over the top in November. Only 53 percent of them now support him. That's down from 59 percent in April. Despite the president's Monday twitter claim that his base isn't going anywhere.

ROMANS: Speaking of Twitter, many people will say they have concerns about that. Seventy-two percent say the president's tweets send the wrong message to world leaders. President Trump's highest marks came on the economy and national security. Those were split within the margin of error.

[05:00:03] MARQUEZ: And meanwhile, more than six in 10 disapprove of his handling of health care and foreign affairs. Overall, nearly six people in 10 say Donald Trump has not had the right priorities in dealing with the country's problems.

ROMANS: All right. Joining us now from Washington to help sort through the numbers and what they mean, political economist Greg Valliere, chief strategist for Horizon Investments.

Good morning, Greg.

GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST: Hey, guys.

ROMANS: Great to see you this morning.

Let's talk about some of these poll numbers because you have the president called it fake, phony polling. He's said that, you know, he doesn't believe them. But clearly, these must be under his skin here.

They are showing a White House that most Americans don't trust, an approval rating of 38 percent, the lowest in our polling. What does it mean for his agenda?

VALLIERE: Well, first of all, Christine, he may say these are fake numbers, and the numbers may not be precisely accurate. It's the direction. It's the trend that makes all the difference. And the direction is straight down.

So, you're absolutely right, Christine. I think that his agenda is going to be one of the major concerns here. That more and more Republicans I think feel they could repudiate him, go against him with impunity.

MARQUEZ: Well, that's clearly the interesting bit. The Republicans is where he seems to be bleeding the most support. Even the strong support that poll showed is way down among Republicans who supported him strongly before. Now, it's just 59 percent strongly support him. It was at 73 percent in February.

How do -- how does that complicate a president making policy in a city where he controls both houses of Congress?

VALLIERE: Well, the complication is that Congress increasingly is emboldened to go against him, number one. By the way, I thought incorrectly that General Kelly would make a difference, that he would stop Trump from tweeting.

Everywhere I go around the country, Republicans and Democrats say to me that the tweeting is unpresidential. But not only has Kelly not stopped it, the tweeting has increased. I think that's a real problem for him.

ROMANS: Yes. You know, it is -- I mean, the president clearly uses it as a way to get around the mainstream media, you know? I think only 21 percent of Americans are on Twitter. So, he's not speaking to everyone.

Let's talk about the white working class vote, non-college-educated vote. This is core for him. This is how he won the election. And that's a group he's not expanding beyond. He's got a 53 percent approval rating now with the group. And that's down from 59 percent in April.

A Foxconn plant announcement in Wisconsin notwithstanding, what can he do to solidify that core?

VALLIERE: Well, I had thought -- maybe I'm wrong again -- that what he could is preside over a strong economy and a strong market, good labor market. And despite all of these fabulous fundamentals that you and I have talked about, Christine, over the last few months, despite these great fundamentals, his numbers are still going down. So, just as Barack Obama did not benefit as much as I thought he would by an improving economy, it hasn't helped Trump that much either.

ROMANS: But, Greg, do you think it's because -- you know, we talk about only half of Americans are invested in the stock market. So, when the president is the cheerleader-in-chief for the stock market and takes credit for stock market records, one wonders if those voters, those core voters are like, that's not helping me. You know, they haven't felt the jobs at that end yet that the president has promised.

VALLIERE: Yes. And, obviously, in places like West Virginia or Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, or Youngstown, Ohio, he has solid support.

ROMANS: Sure.

VALLIERE: In all of those areas, I think there's a problem that perhaps needs to be talked about more. That's drug abuse. You're hearing from more and more employers who are saying, I can't hire workers because they can't pass the drug test.

ROMANS: I've heard the same thing, Greg.

VALLIERE: So, in many areas, guys, there's a real problem, and it's not just economic. There's a sense that things aren't right. I don't think he's been able to transcend that concern.

MARQUEZ: The other thing we're seeing is a lot of people who elected him wanted him to fix big things like health care. They expected him to do something about health care. If you look at the numbers that, especially on health care, his disapprovals have just skyrocketed on that. He does pretty good on -- about half and half on national security and economy. But that's as good as it gets.

If he can't get a big-ticket item passed that he campaigned on, what does that do? It's got to be soon. I mean, nothing's going to happen I imagine during the midterm.

VALLIERE: Well, you're right, Miguel. And I would say that the myth or image that he was the ultimate New York City wheeler-dealer, could get everything done, has been shattered. He can't get anything done. He can't even get things through his own Republican Congress. I think that's led to some disillusionment among people who thought he would be the ultimate negotiator. [05:05:03] ROMANS: But isn't there room for him to get something done

on infrastructure if he reaches out to Democrats? Because there's probably some common ground there with Democrats and infrastructure. And on tax reform, I mean, you're still here -- I'm still hearing that they want tax reform done.

VALLIERE: Yes. I thought it was really crucial a couple weeks ago when Paul Ryan abandoned the border adjustment tax.

ROMANS: Yes.

MARQUEZ: Yes.

VALLIERE: That was his baby. He abandoned it because he wants a deal. And I think the Republicans united on getting a deal. One problem -- you've got to first get through a horrible month of September on the budget, the debt ceiling, all this stuff. You still may have to address health reform, at least helping the insurers. So, it's going to be late this year before tax reform begins to move.

ROMANS: Let me ask, does the president deserve credit for how the economy's doing, how the job market is doing now, and the stock market is doing right now? Or is this a continuation of what we'd seen under the Obama administration?

VALLIERE: These trends started under Obama. Let's be fair -- I think Trump has presided over a new climate in Washington toward business. There was an adversarial climate, I think, during the Obama administration. The climate's better for business. I think Wall Street likes that.

MARQUEZ: The climate may be better, but how soon before the climate source if he cannot get things done?

VALLIERE: You got it. It's results. It's all about results. The results on Capitol Hill have been a huge disappointment.

ROMANS: I haven't heard many people concerned about North Korea. We've been talking about it a lot in terms of markets. You know, you look at global markets, sometimes when there's saber-rattling from the North Koreans, that can affect the markets. Is that a risk for the American economy or for the stock market at this point, Greg, what's going on in North Korea?

VALLIERE: It's a risk. It's always out there. I think the fact that both Russia and China voted with us at the U.N. was a signal that the world is united against North Korea. But, you know, that's when you don't quantify -- a war is unthinkable. So, I'd say the market consensus which may be right for a change is that there will not be an all-out war.

ROMANS: All right. Greg helping us to understand what all this means taken together. Thanks. Come back in a few minutes. We'll talk some more about these headlines and these poll numbers.

Meantime, an alarming draft report by government scientists says climate change is already severely affecting the U.S. and there are concerns the Trump administration will try to keep the report under wraps. The draft obtained by "The New York Times" says the average temperature in the U.S. has risen drastically since 1980 and may climb over the coming century beyond the point at which the changes become catastrophic.

Another key finding -- it is possible to attribute some extreme weather to climate change.

MARQUEZ: Now, that study is by scientists from 13 federal agencies. It directly contradicts claims by the president and some cabinet officials who say the human contribution to climate change is uncertain. The National Academy of Sciences has already signed off on the draft. And the authors are awaiting permission from the administration to release it more widely. But one of the scientists involved tells us times that he and others worry the White House will suppress the study.

ROMANS: Eight minutes past the hour. The deadline for next year's Obamacare contracts is late September, but the exodus of insurers has already begun. Anthem pulling -- announcing it is pulling out of Nevada's marketplace completely and cutting its presence in Georgia by half. Right now, nearly 10,000 Americans in 17 counties are at risk of no options, no options on the exchange next year, 2.7 million may have only one option. And experts blame Anthem's exit for much of the current instability.

Anthem participated in 14 states this year but already withdrew from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and much of California. Insurers -- you know, they can't operate under uncertainty. Washington's actions so far have fueled Obamacare's instability, particularly President Trump's threats to stop paying cost-sharing subsidies.

Insurance companies, the carriers rely on those to help pay for low- income consumers. Anthem could be the first of many insurers to downsize or hike premiums. Instead, carriers have one week to set their rates for next year. So far, nearly half of companies will increase rates 20 percent or more.

The leverage the administration has, Obamacare is still the law of the land. You've got open enrollment coming up here in just a couple of months. And the president has a great amount of leverage to starve and kill Obamacare or to help people afford to pay for their coverage by paying for cost shares --

MARQUEZ: The giant thing for Nevada and where they won't have changes is where will they go to insurance. They will have to go to the open market basically and then we'll see what prices are.

Now, North Korea says the U.S. is pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war. We are live in Beijing with dramatic fallout from the U.N. sanctions vote.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:3:51] MARQUEZ: A fierce pushback by North Korea after tough sanctions by the U.N. The Kim Jong-un regime accusing the United States of trying to bring the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war. North Korea's foreign minister declaring his country will not put its nuclear program on the negotiating table under any circumstances.

CNN's Will Ripley has reported many, many times from Pyongyang. Will, he is live in Beijing.

A huge win at the U.N., the world speaking with one voice on this. But the North Koreans as recalcitrant as ever.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Miguel. This was the result of very deft international diplomacy on the part largely of the Trump administration. The 15-0 U.N. vote in favor of sanctions. It's really unprecedented that China would approve sanctions as a result of a missile test. In the past, it took nuclear tests for China to give the go ahead, as well.

And China this morning saying that they will -- and they are prepared to pay an economic price for this, because, of course, China has a significant economic relationship with North Korea.

[05:15:00] These sanctions are essentially a $1 billion economic assault on North Korean exports and their ability to access international banks. But the rhetoric that we are hearing from Pyongyang really underscores the dangerous situation that is continuing to evolve on the Korean peninsula, because North Korea says despite these sanctions, not only are their nuclear and missile programs off the table, but they are even hinting of a physical response against the United States for what they call a violent violation of their national sovereignty.

I was in North Korea back in June. I can tell you this is not a surprise to officials on the ground there. They have been anticipating heightened sanctions as a result of their really frantic pace of missile testing. But they say as long as the United States and South Korea continue joint military exercises, literally just miles from their border, they feel justified to continue developing these weapons of mass destruction. Weapons that analysts say could in a matter of months be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to the mainland U.S.

MARQUEZ: That's the other disturbing dynamic out there is that, you know, you have military matters that can happen so quickly. But sanctions take so long to bite.

Will Ripley for us in Beijing, thank you.

ROMANS: Sixteen minutes past the hour.

This morning, the search for an Ohio rape suspect on the run since last week is over. Police say Brandon Lee Powell shot and killed himself after a tracked him down to his parents' home in the rural town of Antwerp and tried to coax him out of a crawl space. It's not clear whether his parents knew he was in their home. Powell escaped police custody last week when he overpowered a deputy in a transport van and took off with his handgun.

MARQUEZ: And a manhunt is underway for a Missouri man authorities say shot and killed a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Thirty-nine-year-old Ian James McCarthy of Clinton, Missouri, faces first-degree murder charges and is considered armed and dangerous. He was pulled over by Officer Gary Michael for a registration violation Sunday night and allegedly opened fire on the officer once he stepped out of his patrol car. Officer Michael was with the Clinton police department for less than a year.

ROMANS: Google reportedly firing the employee who wrote a memo saying women are not biologically fit for tech roles. That's according to "Reuters" and "Bloomberg", citing emails from the male engineer. A Google spokesperson declined to confirm those reports, declined to confirm the firing but the email -- it follows an email from Google CEO Sundar Pichai condemning the controversial memo.

Last week, that Google engineer published a 3,300-word manifesto criticizing Google's efforts to increase adversity, adding that the company's liberal bias makes it difficult to discuss the issue. Google's CEO told employees that he supports them expressing their opinions, but sections of the memo violate Google's code of conduct by advancing harmful gender stereotypes. A source inside the company telling CNN that breaching that code often results in firing.

He says, I want you to share your opinion, but that was not OK.

MARQUEZ: Interesting -- that's not going to end very quickly.

ROMANS: No, it's not.

MARQUEZ: It's going to keep going.

ROMANS: All right. Jay Cutler introduced as a new quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. Why is he already taking hit in South Beach?

Coy Wire has this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:22:33] MARQUEZ: So, the newest member of the Miami Dolphins raising eyebrows for his apparent lack of enthusiasm.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more this morning in the "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, guys.

I mean, if we can wake up as early as we get one smiles on our face, you'd think Jay Cutler could, too. I mean, retiring life was looking good for Jay Cutler. He and his wife had vacation planned. He had a TV gig as a game analyst lined up.

Then he was offered and accepted $10 million to play the game he loves for about five months. You'd think he would be really, really excited.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CUTLER, DOLPHINS QUARTERBACK: I come here to help and get back into football. We'll see how it goes.

The good thing is I play quarterback, so I don't have to be in that great of cardiovascular shape. But I'll be fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Get back into it. See how it goes, I'll be fine. Excited -- not the word one would use to describe the expression Cutler gave about potentially taking over for the injured Ryan Tannehill. The 11- year vet has 33 days to get in shape for the Dolphins' season opener. Remember, they are a returning playoff team.

Now, Cutler had a valid reason to not be in shape, but some need incentive to get ready, even when they know they're going to be playing, like Seahawks' running back Eddie Lacy who made 55,000 bucks by making weight at training camp yesterday, 250 pounds. And if he loses just five more pounds by next month, he gets another $55,000.

How about this though? New Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe, he makes $125,000 at a weigh in just before training camp and he'll make a total of half a million dollars if he weighs 330 pounds or less by November.

Finally, two-time Super Bowl champ Vince Wilfork broke the news that he doesn't have to make weight anymore and he's excited about it. His new retirement announcement video was awesome.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VINCE WILFORK, TWO-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMP: Hey! No more cleats -- I'm moving on to smoked meats. Peace out I'm out of here!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: I don't know about you guys, but that will get me moving in the morning. Wilfork used this video to announce a farewell tailgate that they'll have in Foxboro ahead of the Patriots' regular season opener on September 7th. Big fella getting the morning started with some oomph and some shake.

ROMANS: Love it.

MARQUEZ: Talk about enthusiasm.

ROMANS: Love it.

All right. Coy Wire --

MARQUEZ: I would some of those ribs.

ROMANS: We're moving on to smoked meats. [05:25:00] All right. Thanks so much, Coy.

MARQUEZ: Thank you.

WIRE: You're welcome.

ROMANS: Do you trust what you hear from the president? If you do, you're in a shrinking minority. That and more surprising findings from our new CNN poll, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUEZ: There's a growing distrust of the Trump White House. A new CNN poll showing a stark distrust this morning.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this week. I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour this Tuesday morning.

President Trump has a problem -- the American people do not trust him. That is just one key finding of a new CNN poll showing the president with his approval rating at just 38 percent now. Now, it's lowest point in CNN polling.

Only one other newly elected president has held an approval rating below 50 percent at the six-month mark since modern polling began. That was Bill Clinton. Still ahead of President Trump at 44 percent.

MARQUEZ: The trust issue telling. Fewer than one American in four says they trust most of what they hear from the White House, and 60 percent say they don't trust the commander in chief.