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EARLY START

Pyongyang Threatens Guam, Mocks Trump; U.S. Embassy In Cuba Targeted?; Trump Vs. McConnell. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 10, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:30:45] MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea says President Trump is bereft of reason and letting out a load of nonsense. So what will the president do now that Pyongyang has leveled another threat at a U.S. territory?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And were employees at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba targeted with a covert device? Hearing loss for some in Havana raising questions this morning.

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

MARQUEZ: And, I'm Miguel Marquez in for Dave Briggs this week, who I hope he is taking a nice vacation. Good to see you.

ROMANS: With his family.

MARQUEZ: Thirty-one minutes past the hour.

Just a day after the president promised fire and fury if North Korea made another threat against the U.S., Pyongyang does just that, leveling a very fierce, very specific threat to attack a U.S. territory, taking some personal shots at the president along the way.

Now the world waits to see if -- what, if anything, the commander in chief decides to do in response.

ROMANS: North Korea says it is quote, "Seriously examining a plan to launch a missile strike targeting the sea about 20 miles off the coast of Guam" where the U.S. has two military bases. State-run media says the launch of four ballistic missiles would signal a crucial warning to the U.S.

Pyongyang says its plan to launch the missiles would be in place within days.

MARQUEZ: The statement also mocks President Trump for speaking from quote, "a golf range" where he says he "Let out a load of nonsense about fire and fury, failing to grasp the ongoing grave situation."

The North Korean statement says, "Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolutely force can work on him."

Joining us now with the latest in Seoul, South Korea is Anna Coren.

Certainly, no one's surprised by North Koreans speaking so strongly but the U.S. president's remarks might come as a bit more of a surprise.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's absolutely right, Miguel.

We haven't heard anything official from the South Korean government as far as those comments coming from the U.S. president but certainly, speaking to people here in Seoul they are somewhat befuddled (ph), confused that he would actually make those sorts of statements. That he would go so far as to somewhat provoke North Korea when tensions are already so high.

Obviously, yesterday we heard that response from North Korea to those fire and fury statements, saying that it would envelop Guam in flames. Well, today we got some details of that plan to seriously examine a strike directed at Guam, an island in the Western Pacific.

It is a U.S. sovereign territory. It is home to a strategic Naval and Air Force base in the United States. It's also home to some 160,000 people.

But this plan would involve four intermediate-range missiles with nuclear warheads. This is according to KCNA, North Korea state media.

They would be ready within days. They would fly over Japan, approximately airborne for some 17 minutes. They would land 30 to 40 kilometers off the coast of Guam outside the territorial waters but inside the economic zone for the United States. Obviously, sending a very strong message if, in fact, that plan was put into place.

Now, as far as South Korea goes, we know that the National Security Council met with President Moon Jae-in. They have obviously warned North Korea to stop with this rhetoric -- that no one will benefit from war. They described the threat to Guam as absurd.

But, Miguel, we need to also remember that there are some 1,000 artillery pieces on the border from North Korea aimed at the city here in Seoul of 10 million people. So in the last couple of days, South Korea certainly wanting to beef up its own defenses -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Tensions always high there, a little higher today.

Anna Coren for us. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Let's bring in "CNN POLITICS" reporter Tal Kopan in Washington to help us break down all of this, this morning. Good morning.

You know, the coordination of the response from the American administration on the North Korea threat getting an awful lot of attention. "The Washington Post," this morning, "A Lack of Coordination on North Korea." [05:35:00] When we look at the commentary from -- you know, from senior administration officials and the president himself, you know, it's hard to see kind of one message here.

I want you to listen to the president on Tuesday, and then Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, yesterday on a plane to Guam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think Americans should sleep well at night and have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And then, the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis also weighing in with a statement that really had very strong language in it.

"The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

Now, a State Department spokeswoman saying that they are speaking with one voice in Washington, but it sounds like --

MARQUEZ: A cacophony --

ROMANS: A cacophony.

MARQUEZ: -- if I can use such a word. It's early.

ROMANS: Singing different tunes.

What does this tell us about the muddled message from the White House?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Christine, you laid it out really well.

Certainly, we can all see with our own eyes that different people within the administration are saying very different things about the nature of the threat from North Korean -- I mean, the United States' posture towards it. And certainly, you know, the bellicose language of President Trump caught everyone's attention.

But it is absolutely true that the way that this message was put out there is also newsworthy and unusual. You know, typically, an administration, regardless of what position they want to take, whether it's aggressive, whether it's conciliatory, whether it's dismissive --

Typically, an administration would gather its top diplomats, would gather its experts in the field. Would come up with very specific language because overseas every single word is going to be analyzed by the receivers of those words so typically, those words would be chosen very carefully.

And here you have President Trump, according to his staff, speaking off the cuff and using whatever words he feels appropriate, and then his top diplomat and his Defense Secretary seem to be also taking their own way on this. And so, that is what is particularly unusual about it. Not just the nature but the way it's being rolled out.

MARQUEZ: So the language and the lack of coordination on message is one thing but, I mean, if you want to advance the ball, if you want to get your policy done -- in this case it is to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. The problem and the logic of nuclear weapons is the more tough the president sounds, the more it encourages North Korea to advance their nuclear weapon program as quickly as possible.

I mean, is there growing frustration in the halls of Congress, in the administration that they're not going to get to the policy goal if the -- if the message -- and if they can't come up with a plan that can be sort of enforced? You do need discipline at the end of the day, yes?

KOPAN: Well, Miguel, certainly we've seen, over the years, North Korean as a particularly difficult problem for the United States and that has not changed.

There are members of Congress who are increasingly frustrated with the administration. Notable hawk John McCain put out a strongly-worded statement in response to the president's own words on Tuesday.

Keep in mind, as well, one of the major criticisms of this administration is that they continue to lag far behind their predecessors who, themselves, were not particularly praised at appointing, and nominating, and confirming people to the top positions. And there are a number of key positions in the State Department that the administration has not even chosen someone for, let alone managed to get them through the Senate confirmation process.

I read a story on Monday, which was Trump's 200th day in office, about how far behind he is on some of his predecessors by, you know, over 100 nominees in some cases. So --

ROMANS: Why are they so behind, Tal? I mean, is it -- there's been some reporting that Rex Tillerson's been frustrated because some of his choices haven't been accepted by the White House.

KOPAN: Yes, you hear a number of things. You hear cabinet officials are not able to put their recommendations in place. That there's a bottleneck at the White House which isn't, you know, moving, vetting fast enough -- which hasn't placed a high enough priority, perhaps, on getting some of these positions confirmed.

Perhaps also, you know, a problem where the Trump administration seems to not want to hire anyone who has criticized the president --

ROMANS: Right. KOPAN: -- publicly in the past.

So there are a number of obstacles but, you know, as much as the White House has blamed slowness by the Democrats they certainly have not been putting forward names at the rate you would expect to see to staff an administration.

[05:40:02] And this is a perfect example of why that is concerning to good government experts because when you have a crisis like this you want a team in place that understands how to build a coherent strategy towards it.

ROMANS: All right, Tal Kopan. Thank you for that bright and early for us this morning.

MARQUEZ: Thank you.

ROMANS: Thanks, Tal.

KOPAN: Thank you.

ROMANS: The State Department believes several of its employees at the U.S. Embassy in Havana were targeted last fall by a covert sonic device that caused them to suffer hearing loss. Two staffers experienced such serious health problems they had to return to the United States for treatment.

According to a State Department official, the workers were not in the same place at the same time, but also reported a variety of concussion-like symptoms.

MARQUEZ: The FBI is now looking into the case. The Trump administration responding to the incident by expelling two Cuban diplomats from their embassy in Washington in May. Cuban officials call the expulsion an overreaction but the Cuban Foreign Ministry says it is taking the matter with great seriousness.

MARQUEZ: Feuding starting to spill into public between the president and the Senate majority leader. Who has to see the president's agenda through Congress?

We'll have more on that coming right up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:20] ROMANS: A win for workers' rights. Oregon is the first state to require employers make schedules a week in advance. This new law targets on-call scheduling, and that's when employees are asked to work on very short notice. It's particularly common in industries like fast-food and retail, and it makes things like child care and transportation difficult.

So, Oregon is forcing the largest employers in the state to give workers advanced schedules or more pay unless they get a 10-hour break between shifts. From a victory for low-wage workers in Oregon, though, to a defeat elsewhere. Kansas City overwhelming voted for a minimum wage hike, but a Missouri state law will block it.

The city measure immediately raises the minimum wage from $7.70 an hour to $10 an hour, ultimately reaching $15 by the year 2022. However, a state law will override that change, bringing it back down to $7.70 an hour on August 28th.

This state law picked voters in blue cities against Missouri's red state legislature. For example, St. Louis voters raised the minimum wage to $10 in 2015 and that will be rolled back later this month.

MARQUEZ: A really interesting fight over wages across the country.

Now, Republican lawmakers' failure to repeal and replace Obamacare appears to be driving a wedge between President Trump and the Senate majority leader.

The president is pushing back on a critique from Mitch McConnell, who said this week the president had excessive expectations in pushing his agenda, pointing to artificial deadlines set by the Trump White House.

ROMANS: The president firing back on Twitter, of course, saying, "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had excessive expectations, but I don't think so. After seven years of hearing repeal and replace, why not done?"

Tension between the White House and Congress has escalated since the effort by Senate Republicans to pass health care legislation crashed and burned.

MARQUEZ: Now, the first lawsuit has been filed against President Trump's ban on transgender members of the military.

Five unidentified active duty transgendered service members are seeking to block the measure, claiming it is unconstitutional. They say the president's three-tweet directive has resulted in immediate, concrete injury by threatening their reasonable expectation of continued service.

The ban has not been formally implemented. The Pentagon refusing to comment on the lawsuit.

It's time to get a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo -- happy birthday -- is joining us.

ROMANS: Hi, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Thank you very much, my young friends. It's good to see you both.

So we're going to be dealing with the politics and the reality surrounding North Korea. Are there mixed messages coming out of the White House or is this a staged presentation? Not staged, meaning fake, but in terms of you have the White House being strong on one hand, but do you use soft power with the State Department?

What is the overall strategy and what are the what ifs? What if these missiles hit the waters? Do you do something soft, do you do something kinetic or military? What are the options? We'll take you through them.

Also, we're going to take a look at what is happening with this new political war. Why should Mitch McConnell, Miguel and Christine, be any different than anybody else? If he did something that the president saw as political opposition, why wouldn't the president take a shot at the Senate majority leader?

I know he's in his party, I know that he's very important, but why should McConnell be any different than anybody else? The president only treats opponents one way.

So we'll get into what the thinking is here.

MARQUEZ: Chris, you have your work cut out for you.

ROMANS: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Yes, every damn day.

ROMANS: We'll see you later.

All right. As Google deals with a P.R. crisis over a memo criticizing diversity it faces sexism charges from the U.S. government.

That's on "CNN Money Stream," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:40] MARQUEZ: All right.

The Mooch -- remember him -- is going to toe-to-toe with Stephen Colbert. Short-tenured White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is set to appear Monday on "The Late Show" where he's been the frequent butt of Colbert's jokes.

Meantime, Colbert and his late-night competition finding comedy in the North Korea stand off for some much-needed late night laughs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Tensions are building between President Donald Trump and North Korean president and disappointed volleyball Kim Jong Un.

Leave Guam out of this. They're a U.S. territory. That means they don't participate in the elections, OK? They didn't vote for Trump, just like most of Americans.

TILLERSON: I think Americans should sleep well at night.

COLBERT: Why, what's happening during the day? What aren't you telling us?

But, OK, OK, grandpa wants us to sleep well at night, which is why he's come out with a new book, "Rex Tillerson's Sleepy Time Tales."

Then one day the badger got into a fight with a pudgy wolf who was somehow even crazier. And both of them had nuclear weapons and distant, unpleasable fathers. And -- uh, yikes.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": The problem with North Korea and the nukes is not an easy one to fix. So far, Trump's strategy of playing multiple rounds of golf and watching "FOX & FRIENDS" is not working, either.

[05:55:09] But the bottom line is we cannot afford to have an unstable, unpredictable egomaniac dictator in charge of an arsenal of nuclear weapons. And, Kim Jong Un has to be stopped, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: I saw that one --

ROMANS: Yes.

MARQUEZ: -- coming from quite a distance away.

ROMANS: You certainly did.

All right, 55 minutes past the hour.

A dramatic rescue by the Coast Guard, plucking a Navy pilot from the water off the Florida Keys after his fighter jet crashed into the ocean. Officials say the pilot ejected from the aircraft about 20 miles from the Key West Naval Air Station.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew observed an emergency smoke signal. They responded quickly to the scene. The incident is under investigation.

The pilot, who has not been identified, suffered no serious injuries. He was conducting training operations when his plane went down.

MARQUEZ: Man, what a lucky guy.

Anyone who dreams of living like Donald Trump and has $725 can make those dreams come true. The president's childhood home now available on Airbnb.

The president lived in the Tudor-style home until age 4. It was built by his father, Fred Trump, and is located in the wealthy Jamaica Estates area of Queens in New York City.

It's listed as a spacious -- it's spacious enough for 20 guests but that could be a problem. A local law dictates no more than three unrelated people can stay in a rental house.

ROMANS: When did he move out? He moved out when he was four, right? MARQUEZ: Four, yes.

ROMANS: So it was --

MARQUEZ: It's been a while.

ROMANS: -- his babyhood, childhood home.

All right. Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

Rising tension with North Korea finally breaking the calm on Wall Street. Global stocks are down after U.S. stocks closed lower, a response to the president's warning to North Korea and North Korea's threat to Guam after months of stocks coasting to records.

Investors are showing some signs of caution. For example, gold, a typical safe haven, rising more than one percent to a two-month high. And, Wall Street's fear gauge is up 21 percent this week. The VIX Index had previously been at historically low levels.

The U.S. dollar, once a safe bet in the global economy, it's down eight percent this year.

Remember that incident where United Airlines forcibly dragged a passenger off the flight? Well, the fallout from all of that is causing big changes industry-wide. Passengers being bumped from flights was at a record low last quarter.

The nation's 12 largest airlines say they only bumped 44 out of every million passengers. That's the lowest rate in 23 years of data.

Airlines typically oversell seats to make up for passengers who don't show up for flights. However, since that United Airlines debacle, most airlines have updated their policies to ensure more people give up their seats voluntarily.

As Google deals with a P.R. crisis over that memo suggesting women are not biologically fit for tech roles, it faces sexism charges lodged by the U.S. government.

The Department of Labor is investigating Google for a systemic problem of underpaying women. It's currently suing Google for access to pay data for its employees. Google denies the allegation.

But this government lawsuit, combined with the backlash against the memo, highlights the intense scrutiny Google is under over diversity.

Walmart apologizing for marketing an unusual back-to-school item, guns. The retailer condemning this display inside one of its stores. This display popped up and spread like wildfire on Twitter.

A sign said "Own the School Year Like A Hero" directly above a case filled with guns, apparently marketing firearms for the new school year. Social media, of course, glommed onto this immediately.

The company says it's still working to identify which store put up that display and to make sure that sign will be removed.

MARQUEZ: Not quite the message you want to send.

ROMANS: Own the school year like a hero.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: And, I'm Miguel Marquez.

North Korea defies President Trump with a new direct threat. The president promised fire and fury if he did, so what's his next move?

"NEW DAY," live from Beijing, Seoul, and the Pentagon starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: North Korea responding to President Trump's rhetoric with another specific threat against Guam.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The North Korean statements say the U.S. president let out a load of nonsense about fire and fury.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Those were the president's own words.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: We need to be firm and steady, not popping off the way the president did.

TILLERSON: I think Americans should sleep well at night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The United States is on the same page.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A serious threat that's taken as a bluff can be catastrophic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN has learned of an unannounced raid on Paul Manafort's apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody had to go to a judge. They're not just here on a fishing expedition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a significant turn by Director Mueller and this investigation. Stay tuned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CUOMO: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, August 10th, 6:00 here in New York.

And here is our "Starting Line."