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EARLY START

President Torn To Shreds in Editorial; Kim Jong-un Is Renewing His Commitment of Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; Words of Possible White House Resistance Against Trump. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 6, 2018 - 04:30   ET

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


[04:30:00]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: An anonymous editorial, can you believe it? Anonymous meaning gutless - a gutless editorial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unprecedented and anonymous, the President torn to shreds by a senior official in his own administration who claims there is an effort to (inaudible). Who wrote it and what is the Presidents next move?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a hypothetical question. I'm not going to answer hypothetical questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Presidents Supreme Court nominee doesn't have a lot to say about legal issues that could impact the commander in chief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: NFL season kicks off tonight. Colin Kaepernick wont play, but his presence will be felt. Good morning everyone and welcome back to Early Start. I'm Dave Briggs.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik. I'm sitting in for Christine Romans. It's a busy morning its 30 minutes past the hour, lets get to it.

So who is the mystery senior administration official who wrote that explosive New York Times op-ed? The one that calls out President Trump for his immorality and reckless decision making. The author writing he or she is part of a resistance inside the administration working to neutralize the President's worst impulses. Even claiming there were early whispers about invoking the 25th amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office with aides ultimately deciding not to risk a constitutional crisis.

BRIGGS: Here's more from whoever penned this op-ed, "to be clear, ours is not the popular resistance of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made American safer and more prosperous, but we believe our first duty it to this country and the President continues to act in a manner that it detrimental to the health of our republic".

That claim has the President and his inner circle pushing back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not clear to us anyways that it's somebody in the White House. They're saying senior administrative official that could be many people. There are - I think there are thousands political appointees, hundreds of folks who would qualify under that title alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this from the president who asks, "Treason?" in all capital letters on Twitter. The Times must for national security purposes, turn him, her over to government at once. We have (ph) Jeff Zeleny has more from the White House.

JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDANT: President Trump waking up to another bomb shell, this time in the New York Times with a Trump senior administration official really giving a blistering assessment of his administration and frankly, of his capacity for office. This is one of the passages this official writes about anonymously saying this, "it may cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know there are adults in the room.

We fully recognize what is happening and we're trying to do what's right even when Donald Trump won't. Now this is really just the most blistering assessment we have seen of this Presidency. But the President, of course pushing back when he was speaking with Sheriffs at the White House on Wednesday evening, he took on the New York Times and said this, "when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration probably who's failing and probably here for all the wrong reason. If the failing New York Times has an anonymous editorial, can you believe it, anonymous? Meaning gutless - a gutless editorial. We're doing a great job."

BRIGGS: He'll be traveling later today to Montana for a campaign rally tonight in Billings, Montana. Then staying on the road.

[04:35:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO)

TRUMP: An anonymous editorial. Can you believe it? Gutless. Gutless editorial. We're doing a great job.

(END VIDEO)

ZELENY: He'll be traveling later today to Montana to a campaign rally tonight in Billings, Montana then staying on the road unusually going to a North and South Dakota for campaign-type events as well. But we do know all this will follow him and clearly the White House pushing back on this. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the person is a coward and should resign. Dave and Alison.

KOSIK: All right, Jeff Zeleny thank you. A source close to the White House tells CNN aids are following leads to find the author based on the way the op-ed is written. Just hours before the op-ed published, the president ordered loyal aids to determine who cooperated with another scathing portrayal. Bob Woodward's new book. Mr. Trump has talked openly with allies about his suspicion that former National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster was the source for the legendary journalist. He has expressed similar beliefs about Gary Cohn, his former Chief Economic Advisor. One official telling CNN it is unlikely anyone will be fired because that would lend credence to a book the president is trying to discredit.

BRIGGS: Also told the president evaluates aides who are suspected of being disloyal by how strongly they push back against the accusations. Two officials tell CNN Mr. Trump is quote, "pleased with the denials of Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis." Josh Rogin of the "Washington Post" reports that White House officials are actively discussing who will replace Mattis at the Pentagon when he steps down. But on Wednesday, the president declared Mattis will stay in his job. Mr. Rogan joins us next hour

KOSIK: No shortage of fireworks on day two of the Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing but there was a shortage of concrete answers from the president's Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh declaring no one is above the law during a 12-hour session before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he did not want to answer any potentially explosive questions from Democrats about the man who nominated him.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

REP. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Can a sitting president be required to respond to a subpoena?

KAVANAUGH: So that's a hypothetical question.

REP. PATRICK LEAHY, (D) VERMONT: President Trump claims he has an absolute right to pardon himself. Does he?

KAVANAUGH: That's a hypothetical question that I can't begin to answer in this context as a sitting judge.

(END VIDEO)

BRIGGS: It is common practice for judicial nominees to say they cannot answer questions about cases that may come before them, not going back to Ginsburg. But this is becoming a critical issue considering the ongoing Mueller investigation. Judge Kavanaugh also tried to clarify his position on whether a sitting president can be indicted. Even though he argued against it in a 1999 article, Judge Kavanaugh now maintains his past writings were only focused on policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

KAVANAUGH: I'll have an open mind. I'll listen to the arguments. I will dig into the history. I've seen all sides of this. I will - I'll have a completely open mind on the constitutional issue.

(END VIDEO)

KOSIK: And there were a lot of sideshows as well. Capitol police arrested 73 people in Senate office buildings on Wednesday; 66 of them were removed from the committee room itself and charged with disorderly conduct. BRIGGS: Breaking news overnight, North Korea's state news agency reporting Kim Jong-un is renewing his commitment of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Kim telling a South Korean delegation visiting Pyongyang that the two Koreas should double efforts to achieving that goal and put a timeline on it. Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul with the latest. Paula, do we yet have a firm grasp of North Korea's definition of denuclearization?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well it's interesting Dave, because what we heard is through the South Korean delegation, they met with Kim

Jong-un and he was talking about denuclearization saying he is completely committed to it. But he was also pointing out the concessions that he believes he has made so far and saying that he wants to see similar measures and matching measures from the United States. So effectively what Kim Jong-un is saying is that he wants to have concessions from the United States and then he will be more active in pushing toward denuclearization which is the exact opposite of what Washington wants.

Other interesting things we heard through the South Koreans that Kim Jong-un says he has unwavering trust of President Trump despite recent difficulties, also talking about the timetable saying that he wanted to have denuclearization by the end of Trump's term.

Now we also heard some interesting points. Remember just on Tuesday, there was a phone call between President Trump and President Moon of South Korea. Apparently in the phone call, President Trump asked President Moon to give Kim Jong-un a message. That was given on Wednesday in Pyongyang and there is a message now coming back from Kim Jong-un. In just a couple of hour's time the South Korean delegation will be speaking to John Bolton at 7:00 a.m. Eastern and giving that message.

[04:40:00]

BRIGGS: Wow, fascinating developments. Paula Hancocks live for us in Seoul this morning, thank you. All right, a lot of good things happened on Capital Hill. This - this was a very unusual situation we saw yesterday. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BILLY LONG (R), MISSOURI: Four and quarter, four and a half (inaudible) cell phone there, four and a quarter, four and a half, at (ph) four and a half, 475, 500, five and a quarter, five and a half, I yield back.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Why a congressman revived his auctioneering skills and what actually came from this big hearing with tech execs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KOSIK: Welcome back. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey facing off with lawmakers on Capital Hill, Google decided not to send a top executive and was blasted for that choice during the hearing.

There was an empty chair there for Google. But Sandberg and Dorsey outlined the steps their companies are taking to tackle disinformation and to make political advertising more transparent.

[04:45:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDBERG: When bad actors try to use our site, we will block them. When content violates our policies, we will take it down. And when our opponents use new techniques, we will share them so we can strengthen our collective efforts.

DORSEY: We don't believe that we can create a digital public square for people, if they don't feel safe to participate in - in the first place. And that is our number one and singular objective as a company is to increase the health of this public space.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Investors are concerned that the government may slap regulations on the social networks. Facebook shed more than two percent, Twitter tumbling six percent at Wednesday's close.

There's also concern that the recent problems with disinformation could dent the bottom lines of both companies. There was a lighter moment at the hearing when a protestor interrupted one of Jack Dorsey's answers.

Missouri congressman sprung into action, Missouri Congressman Billy Long using skills from a previous job to drown out her voice. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA LOOMER: Jack Dorsey is trying to influence the election, to sway the election -

(CROSS TALK)

LONG: What'd she say? I can't understand her. What?

(CROSSTALK)

LOOMER: -- the election, that is why we are (ph) censoring and shadow banning -

(CROSS TALK)

LONG: (Inaudible) 12 and a half, 15, seven and a half, 20 and a dollar (ph), two and a half, five, seven and a half, 13, 13 and a dollar down here (ph), two and a half, five, (inaudible) seven and a half, 14, 14 and a dollar, two and a half, five, five, 14, five, seven and a half, 15.

15 dollar down here, two and a half -

(CROSS TALK)

UNKNOWN: Officer will you escort this young lady out please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

And everyone erupts into applause because he was that entertaining. If you're wondering, that protestor is alt right blogger Laura Loomer. She's been banned in the past from both platforms for violating user policy.

BRIGGS: Touche, Billy Long, well done.

Dozens of people, passengers and crew becoming ill on board an Emirates Airlines flight from Dubai to New York on Wednesday.

New York City acting health commissioners says the cause of the illness on MS Flight 203 is probably influenza. Ten people were taken to a hospital and treated for respiratory illness, about 100 of them.

More than 500 people on that flight reported symptoms like coughing, fever or vomiting. All of the passengers were screened by the officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

KOSIK: A Florida mother who claimed her son was abducted has now been charged with his murder. And amber alert was issued Monday for two year Jordan Belliveau. His mother, Charisse Stinson, said she was attacked and when she woke up, her boy was gone. Police now say it was all a lie. They claimed Stinson told them

during a moment of frustration she struck Jordan in the face with the back of her hand. His head struck a wall and he suffered seizures during the night.

As his health declined, Stinson says she carried him to a wooded area and left him there. The toddler's body was found the next day.

BRIGGS: Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore suing Sacha Baron Cohen after he was duped into appearing on Cohen's Showtime series "Who is America?" He's seeking more than $95 million in damages for defamation, emotional distress and fraud.

During the interview, Cohen brought out a device that appeared to be a metal detector wand, claiming it could detect pedophiles. Moore's been accused by several women of having pursued them sexually when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers.

A spokesperson for Showtime refusing to comment because of pending litigation. Colin Kaepernick will make an appearance during tonight's NFL season opener between the Falcons and Eagles in Philadelphia, but not on the field in this new Nike commercial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN KAEPERNICK, FOOTBALL QUARTERBACK: Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

The commercial narrated by Kaepernick also feature NBA star LeBron James, tennis champ Serena Williams and several others. Kaepernick's protest against racial injustice launched a movement across the NFL in 2016, no team has since signed him.

Now a Colorado sports store getting rid of all Nike merchandise to protest the ad. Steven Martin has owned Prime Time Sports for 21 years, he says his father in law was a prisoner of war and he claims Kaepernick doesn't know sacrifice.

The president will be rallying in Billings, Montana tonight about the same time the NFL kicks off, expect that to be among the fiery topics.

KOSIK: And - and by the way, I predict that more of this corporate social conscious sort of responsibility is going to - is going to really start rolling forward, Nike really taking the charge on this.

BRIGGS: We've seen a - a long line of that in the last year or two, we'll see if it helps or hurts them. Stock bounced back a little bit yesterday.

KOSIK: Right, investors take notice. All right, President Trump warning the Syrian regime against an assault on the last rebel stronghold, but an offense (ph) seems immanent. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is live on the ground in Syria next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:50:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO)

TRUMP: The world is watching. There cannot be a slaughter. If it's a slaughter the world is going to get very, very angry and the United States is going to get very angry too.

(END VIDEO)

BRIGGS: President Trump warning the Syrian regime against government forces prepare to attack the last rebel stronghold of Finland. In large scale offenses by Russian forces and the Syrian army appears eminent. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live for us in the ground in Domascus Syria with the latest. Fred, what do we know?

[04:55:00]

FRED: Hi Dave. Of course a lot of concern among the U.S. and other countries as well as civilians who are still trapped inside that providence of Idlib, essentially with no where to go. There's some estimates that believe there's up to 3 million civilians still inside there. Of course a lot of hard-line, Islamic fighters on the ground there as well. Now the borders of Turkey are closed, the only place these people

really have to go are what the Russians call humanitarian corridors back into Syria government control territory, but of course, Dave, that's one of the places that those people fled from in the first place.

In the mean time, we have learned that the Syria army has taken up divisions (ph) all around that Idlib province, not just with a lot of forces, but Dave, with some of their most elite and battle harden forces. Some of the people were involved with some of the big battles in Aleppo and also around Damascus, as well.

Meanwhile, the warnings from President Trump that we heard there at the beginning, seemly not being heated and unfazed by them is President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The Syrian Government continues to call Idlib province a hot bed of terrorism and both the Syrians, the Russians, and also the Iranians as well are saying they believe that the elements there need to eliminate as fast as possible.

Certainly feeling on the ground here is, Dave, that defense could indeed be imminent and could indeed also be very, very big as well, Dave.

BRIGGS: All right and the presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran will meet Friday in Tehran and live for us in Syria this morning. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In an historic ruling, India supreme court, striking down a colonial era law that criminalizes consensual gay sex. The move, overturning more than 150 years of Anti-LGBT legislation. The decision to repeal the law, known as section 377, follows weeks of careful deliberation in New Delhi. It's a landmark victory for LGBT activist and supports in a country where homosexually is often misunderstood.

OK. Lets get a kick on CNN Money this morning, U.S. stock futures are slipping this morning as a rocky start to September continues. The major average is closing mixed Wednesday as trade fears and a big drop in tech weighing on stocks. Markets in Europe and Asia, they are falling as well.

Tech stocks are taking quite a beating following hearings on capital hill. Facebook shed more than two percent and Twitter tumbled 6 percent after Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey face law makers on capital hill.

Investors are concerned that the government made slap (ph) regulations on the social networks and that recent problems with this information could dent the bottom lines of both companies. That weighed on the broader tech specter, I want you to look at the FAANG stocks, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix, and Google all posting loses. Those stocks set to open mixed, this morning.

The NFL starts tonight and its also the kickoff for a very busy season of legal sports betting in a handful of states, New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia recently legalize sports gambling after the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban in May. Other states could follow before the season ends and many more in the next couple of years and that will actually spark a $2.3 billion increase in revenue for the NFL. That, according to an (ph) study, which was commissioned and paid for by the American gaming association.

The money will come from higher fees for broadcast rights as well, as ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships, and other deals. The league had $8.2 billion in national revenue last season. Local revenue for all the teams brings in an additional $5 to $6 billion. That is big money.

BRIGGS: Yeah for all those things with panic buttons saying the NFL is in deep, deep trouble. Pump the breaks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take your finger off the bottom.

BRIGGS: Yeah, that's a huge growth area for the NFL.

All right. Early start continues right now with the President asking, "Treason?" we'll tell you why.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: An anonymous editorial, can you believe it, anonymous? Meaning gutless, a gutless editorial.

BRIGGS: Unprecedented and anonymous, President torn to shred by senior official in his own administration who claims there's an effort to thwart the Presidents impulses. Who wrote it and what is the Presidents next move?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a hypothetical question. I'm not going to answer hypothetical questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Presidents Supreme Court nominee doesn't have a lot to say about legal issues that could impact the commander in chief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

BRIGGS: NFL season kicks off tonight. Colin Kaepernick wont play, but his presence will be felt and about the same time that game starts, the President will rally in Billings, Montana and it will be fiery my friend.

Good morning, welcome to Early Start. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik. I'm sitting in for Christine Romans. It's Thursday, September 6th, it's 5 am in the East.