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EARLY START

Serena Williams Fined $17,000 for Code Violations; Cindy McCain Honored at Cardinals Home Opener; Aaron Rodgers Leads Packers to Comeback Win; U.S. Stocks Ended Week in Negative Territory; Alibaba's Executive Chairman Jack Ma Hands Over Lead to Daniel Zhang; Landmark Health Reform Law Obamacare Appears to Be Stabilizing; White House Fights Back Against New York Times Op-ed; Hurricane Florence Approaches U.S. East Coast; Trump Calls on DOJ to Investigate Op-ed Author; White House Braces for Woodward Book; Obama Hits the Campaign Trail; Trump and Pence Dismiss Obama's Return on Campaign Trail; Ford Responds to Trump: Ford Focus Active will not be Built in the U.S.; CBS CEO Moonves Resigns Amid Sex Abuse Allegations; Trump Thanks Kim Jong-un for Nuke-Free Parade; Two Miami Dolphins Players Kneel During National Anthem; Djokovic Beats del Potro to Win U.S. Open. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired September 10, 2018 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-HOST, EARLY START: When umpire Carlos Ramos -- lost on Saturday. All started when umpire Carlos Ramos issued a warning to Williams about her coach giving her hand signals during a point. Williams denies the accusation.

Next, she was deducted a point for smashing a racket on the ground after misplaced shot. Finally, Ramos issued Williams a full one-game penalty for calling him a thief, ruling the comment, amounting to rebel views. Williams and other players are calling it sexism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: For me to say he's a thief, and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I mean, like how he's never taken a game from a man because they said thief. Really, it blows my mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE BRIGGS, CO-HOST, EARLY START: Williams also mentioned an incident last week when Alize Cornet got a violation for taking her shirt off during a match because it was on backwards.

U.S. Open says Ramos' decision is not reviewable. Tennis legend Billie Jean King also speaking out at a "Washington Post" op-ed, she says she hopes Serena's defense helps girls and women realize they should always stand up for themselves and for what they believe in.

This is a -- I think, a little bit of a double-edged sword though. There are --

ROMANS: Yes --

BRIGGS: Two sides of the story. Serena acted like a spoiled brat there, and I think superstars should point that out, I don't know if that's a good example for young girls, but it was sexist by the --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: What about the 20-year-old woman who won, you know --

BRIGGS: Naomi Osaka --

ROMANS: Right, she won --

BRIGGS: The first Japanese Grand Slam ever.

ROMANS: And she defeated her -- she defeated her hero, right?

BRIGGS: And she robbed her of that moment.

ROMANS: All right --

BRIGGS: Speaking of thief. All right, Cindy McCain; the wife of late Senator John McCain serving as the honorary captain for the Arizona Cardinals ahead of their game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday.

Mrs. McCain met with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald beforehand and participated in the team's coin toss. After which, she posted a tweet thanking the team and Fitzgerald for the touching tribute. The Cardinals also tweeted out a photo of Cindy McCain hugging Fitzgerald, the star wide receiver spoke at John McCain's memorial in Phoenix late last month.

Speaking of football, Packers and Bears adding a new chapter to the NFL's oldest rivalry, and it will go down as one of the most memorable. Green Bay's entire season seemed doomed after Rodgers went down with a knee injury in the second quarter.

He couldn't put any weight on his left knee, he had to be carted off the field. All the Packers nation holding their breath. At one point, the Packers were down 20 --

ROMANS: Wow --

BRIGGS: To nothing late in the third, then Rodgers returned and did what he does. The two-time MVP throwing three touchdowns in the fourth quarter capped by this.

ROMANS: Are you kidding me?

BRIGGS: Seventy-five yard catch-and-run by Randall Cobb, but with the Pack in the lead, Green Bay stunned Chicago with a comeback for the ages. Listen to the crowd, 24-23, Packers plan to run more tests on Rodgers today, but he says he does plan on playing against the Vikings next week. What a game!

ROMANS: Wow, I'm sorry I missed that one. BRIGGS: Oh, man, you were sleeping.

ROMANS: Had to get some -- all right, let's get a check on CnnMoney this morning. Asian markets are mixed right now as trade tensions between the U.S. and China escalate. U.S. stocks are expected to open really slightly higher after ending last week in negative territory.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent on Friday, so that is basically standing still. The Nasdaq and the Dow Industrial is also down just a little bit on Friday. Concerns of trade disputes and uncertainty about NAFTA's future expected to influence the market in the week ahead.

Big changes are coming for Asia's largest company Alibaba's executive Chairman Jack Ma announced yesterday he's handing over the reins of the company he founded nearly two decades ago. Daniel Zhang; the current CEO of the e-commerce giant is named as his successor. Alibaba; one of the world's most valuable company is the $420 billion company, grew from a web page, ran out of Ma's apartment to a top global tech enterprise.

The Affordable Care Act is looking healthy for 2019 despite attacks. Landmark health reform law known as Obamacare appears to be stabilizing after two years of premium hikes. Millions of people covered will see only modest premium increases next year, some will even get price cuts.

This is a contrast to a year ago when insurers were fleeing amidst GOP field uncertainty surrounding legislation. Next year, Americans will not have to pay a penalty for being uninsured after Congress eliminated that mandate last year.

BRIGGS: EARLY START continues right now. White House on the offensive. Aides slamming the anonymous senior official who wrote that "New York Times" op-ed and bracing for the new Bob Woodward book which comes out tomorrow.

ROMANS: Hurricane-watch, the Eastern seaboard on alert as Florence approaches. The latest forecast says it could be extremely dangerous when it makes landfall later this week. And "Cbs'" long time chief executive is out amid new allegations of sexual misconduct with reports this morning from () Damascus and the White House.

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

[05:05:00] ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans, it is Monday, September 10th, 5:00 a.m. in the East. Let's begin with the White House -- beginning a new week, frantically searching for the still anonymous author of that scathing "New York Times" op-ed.

Top administration officials appearing on the Sunday talk shows supporting the president's claim that whoever wrote it is guilty of criminal behavior. Vice President Mike Pence once again denying any involvement and calling on the author to come forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be very

clear, I'm a 100 percent confident that no one on the Vice President's staff was involved in this anonymous editorial. I know my people, Margaret, they get up every day and they are dedicated just as much as I am to advancing the president's agenda and supporting everything that President Trump is doing for the people of this country. Whoever this was, they should do the honorable thing and resign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The author of the op-ed claims White House aides discussed trying to remove the president from office. The vice president was asked about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARGARET BRENNAN, MODERATOR, FACE THE NATION: One of the claims made in the op-ed is that there have been discussion of invoking the 25th Amendment to even remove the president from office. Have you ever been part of a conversation about that?

PENCE: No, never, and why would we be, Margaret?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: A source close to the White House tells Cnn aides believe they have narrowed down the search for the op-ed author to just a few individuals. We get more this morning from Ryan Nobles.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, hello from the White House. There's no doubt that it is driving this administration crazy to a certain degree. Kellyanne Conway; one of the president's senior advisors was on the Sunday morning talk shows attempting to spin and destroy the credibility of this individual before their identity is even revealed.

And she took it even a step further when she suggested that perhaps the media might be partially to blame for this problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, ADVISER TO DONALD TRUMP: What does concern me though, Jake, apart from everything the president and others have said is that for a media that is constantly talking about facts, accuracy, transparency, authority. The authoritativeness to this anonymous writer wasn't viewed automatically because of the content.

As long as the message is anti-Trump, it seems the messenger has credibility. They should concern everyone. I'm with the Vice President on this. He has said that the person should resign if the person truly is an appointee who has taken an oath to the constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: So now the big question as we start this week is just how far will the president and his administration go in attempting to find out who exactly this person is. Vice President Mike Pence suggesting over the weekend that perhaps a crime may have been committed.

If that's the case, does the Department of Justice get involved? The president has suggested that he thinks Attorney General Jeff Sessions should look into this. At this point, the Department of Justice has said that they will not comment on the matter. Dave and Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Ryan, thank you for that. The White House bracing for the release of Bob Woodward's new book "Fear" comes out tomorrow. But the early excerpts have already sent shock waves through the administration. Here's how the legendary journalist and author sees it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR: You look at the operation of this White House and you have to say let's hope to God we don't have a crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: In his book, Woodward describes a White House where top advisors removed documents from the president's desk so he can't see them to prevent him from enacting dangerous policies.

BRIGGS: Woodward also weighing in on the anonymous "New York Times" op-ed, claiming he would not have issued the author's claims had they been presented to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODWARD: If there was a person in the White House or the administration who wanted to tell me what's in that op-ed piece, I would say OK, name me who was there, what is the specific incident as you know from having read my book, their dates and times and participants.

I wouldn't have used it. It does not meet the standards of trying to describe specific incidents. Specific incidents are the building blocks of journalism as you well know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump calls Woodward's book a con on the public, and accuses the author of being a Democratic operative.

ROMANS: Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail. The former president heads to Ohio this week after a stop over the weekend in California. Mr. Obama calling the upcoming midterm elections a critical moment in American history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Where there's a vacuum in our democracy, when we are not participating, we're not paying attention, when we're not stepping up, other voices fill the void. But the good news is in two months, we have a chance to restore some sanity in our politics.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Some Republicans believe Mr. Obama's re-emergence will fire up GOP voters. Now, President Trump and Vice President Pence trying to neutralize the impact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[05:10:00] PENCE: It was very disappointing to see President Obama break with the tradition of former presidents and become so political and roll out the same tired arguments that he and liberals have made over the last eight years.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm sorry I watched it, but I fell asleep.

(LAUGHTER)

I found he's very good, very good for sleeping.

(LAUGHTER)

I think he was trying to take some credit, he was trying to take credit for this incredible thing that's happening to our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Now, President Trump heads to Missouri and Mississippi this week to campaign for Republicans.

BRIGGS: All right, Florence bearing down on the East Coast as a cat two hurricane. And there are growing concerns it could make landfall Thursday night or Friday morning as a category three or four. Florence is expected to intensify rapidly over the next several days.

And forecasters fear it could stall, bringing catastrophic Harvey-like flooding to the Mid-Atlantic. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri tracking the storm.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine, yes, we have an update on what is now a category two hurricane Florence sitting out there, about 1,500 miles east of the -- closer to the United States right now, strengthening very quickly over the next several hours and we think this has everything it takes to become a category three or a major hurricane by later on tonight.

But you notice very little going on ahead of the system and we'll be -- you know, at the water level there, very warm waters as much as the lower 80s where it's situated, the middle 80s where it's slated to move on and potentially the upper 80s as it's closing in on land there on Thursday afternoon or Thursday evening.

So still has the potential to become a major hurricane and remain there for really the foreseeable future unfortunately. And unfortunately as well, this steering environment is such that it guides the system directly toward the East Coast of the United States. We still are looking at potentially a strong category three or a category four at landfall with the system.

And with the model guidance on this very high confidence at this stage it began at least, on this heading in, whether it will be the state of North Carolina or down towards South Carolina. But notice, the variance now beginning to shift in more towards North Carolina and onto portions of maybe in Virginia.

I've got a note though within say a four-day period before landfall, on average, there's about a 200-mile margin of error. So certainly, it could shift anywhere within this cone, but again, the guidance on this wants to shift it at this point a little farther towards the north.

And the concern beyond that is what happens after landfall as we think this will slow down dramatically. If that is the case with a very slow-moving system as such, it could produce tremendous rainfall which may be unfortunately the highest threat -- the life here would be the flash flood potential come again from Thursday night through Friday and Saturday across this region as much as 10 to 15 inches or more possible into the weekend, guys?

ROMANS: All right, we'll be here to watch that. Time for you to be able to start in your money, Ford says it will not move production of a hatchback wagon to the U.S. despite the business advice from the president of the United States. The company said Sunday, building the focus active in the U.S. wouldn't be profitable because expected annual sales are fewer than 50,000 units.

Ford was responding to this tweet from the president over the weekend. The president saying that new taxes on Chinese imports meant to focus active production could move to the U.S. He wrote, this is just the beginning, the car can now be built in the USA and Ford will pay no tariffs.

But Ford says no, we're not going to do that, that's not how it's going to work. It doesn't make any business sense for us. Ford last month said it was cancelling a plan to make the focus active in China and export them to the U.S. market. It said pending tariffs would make the cars too expensive.

President Trump has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods including some automobiles. He says the tariffs are necessary to punish China for their trade practices and intellectual property theft. The president says, look, they can make that car here and sell it in the United States and Ford says no, we're not going to do that --

BRIGGS: Quick push back from --

ROMANS: Yes, they came back quickly --

BRIGGS: Ford in this instance. All right, ahead, the CEO of "Cbs" is out. The stunning downfall after 20 years at the top in the face of new sexual misconduct allegations.

[05:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: "Cbs" Chief Executive Les Moonves is stepping down in the face of new sexual misconduct allegations. His forced departure ends a 20-year reign at the network. The announcement also includes a month's long battle for control of "Cbs" for the company's controlling shareholder.

Moonves' departure is effective immediately. In a statement, Moonves claims there are untrue allegations being made against him and he is deeply saddened to leave the company. Cnn's Brian Stelter with more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: All the Me Too cases in the past year, there has not been one like this. Les Moonves is the first Fortune 500 CEO to leave his post amid harassment allegations in this year of Me Too. It's a remarkable turn of events given that six weeks ago when the first harassment allegations against him came out, he vowed to fight on.

Now, back then in the late July when Ronan Farrow's reporting came out, the "Cbs" board basically stood by Moonves. He wasn't suspended, he was not forced to step down, instead, two law firms were hired to investigate the allegations. And all this was going on amid a corporate tug of war between Moonves and the controlling shareholder of "Cbs" Shari Redstone.

So now fast-forward, six weeks, Farrow heard from more women, more accusers who were concerned that "Cbs" was not taking action, was not holding Moonves accountable. Farrow published a new story on Sunday morning on the "New Yorker" website, just within the few hours, Moonves was out.

Now, the caveat here -- the complication is that the negotiations for him to leave were already under way at that point. But it seems clear that the new harassment allegations which also included allegations of assault which were even more disturbing than the first set of allegations.

Now, all of that, a major factor in this Sunday night announcement. Moonves is one of the most powerful men in TV, one of the highest paid executives in the media business. So this is leaving a lot of after- shocks. There are going to be developments for days to come including about how much Moonves is going to be paid on the way out the door.

[05:20:00] Normally, he would have been paid well over $100 million if he had just been forced out one day. But because of the allegations against him, it's going to be a much more complicated and legal conversation. Now, Moonves has admitted to some mistakes in his past, but he denies ever abusing his power, and he denies what he calls the appalling accusations of assault of forcible sex that were detailed in the "New Yorker" story earlier on Sunday.

All of this of course happening at a time of dramatic change in the broadcast business, and now "Cbs" moves into a new era without Moonves in charge of the company. Much more to come on this, but it is a climactic moment in the Me Too movement. Brian Stelter, Cnn, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right, Brian, thank you for that. President Trump praising North Korea for the lack of nuclear missiles in its military parade, Sunday. The president tweeting "this is a very big and very positive statement from North Korea. Thank you to Chairman Kim, we will both prove everyone wrong, there is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other much better than before I took office."

Instead of showcasing military might with its usual show of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the North's 70th anniversary celebration instead focused on economic development and the future of its people. Cnn's Will Ripley is live there in Pyongyang, he is watching this -- what a difference a year makes.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's extraordinary, Christine, when you think about we -- the last parade I watched here in Pyongyang, there were huge ICBMs rolling through the square, an ominous threat to the United States. President Trump was regularly tweeting insults and threats to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

And now you have this glowing tweet over the weekend. Think for a moment about what Kim Jong-un has managed to pull off just by not putting his nuclear-tipped missiles on display. He still has them, mind you, he hasn't denuclearized, he hasn't agreed to give them up, he hasn't been -- agree to be transparent with the United States about how many weapons he possesses.

He just didn't put them in the parade. But by doing that, he wins praise from President Trump, at the same time, he stood side-by-side with his special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping. They locked hands, they raised arms, a show of -- a show of solidarity between North Korea and its ally and compatriot(ph) China.

Which is now saying it wants to improve and increase economic cooperation with North Korea. So by the simple act of not displaying the missiles that he still possesses, he wins points with two super powers, the United States and China, and he hasn't had to give anything up at this point.

It's really extraordinary if you think about it, but the message here in North Korea, very deliberate. There was another moment at the Mayday Stadium where they revived the mass games, this big spectacle, almost like an Olympic opening ceremony.

And they played a big video of Kim Jong-un embracing the South Korean President Moon Jae-in who is coming here to Pyongyang for a summit next week. The North Korean audience erupted in applause. South Korea and the U.S. were sworn enemies just in a matter of months ago, now when you talk to people in the streets here, Christine, they say they fully support what's happening here, it's as if the whole nuclear thing has just been completely -- there's a complete 180, only in North Korea can a country make such a dramatic turnaround like that, it's remarkable --

ROMANS: Interesting, all right, Will Ripley for us in Pyongyang, thank you, Will.

BRIGGS: Remarkable developments there. All right, the first Sunday of the NFL season in the books, and Aaron Rodgers made sure it was one Packers fans will never forget. Lindsay Czarniak has the "BLEACHER REPORT" next.

[05:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIGGS: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down, but he's never out.

ROMANS: Oh, man, what a game, Lindsay Czarniak has more of this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT" from Miami. Hi, Lindsay.

BRIGGS: Good morning --

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, SPORTS REPORTER: Good morning, guys, I know, I did not want to turn off the TV because what Aaron Rodgers did, it was incredible -- oh, and this happened by the way, it happened to be Packers, Bears, just the NFL's oldest rivalry, that was just icing on the cake.

Green Bay's entire season flashed before fans' eyes after Rodgers went down with a knee injury in the second quarter. He couldn't put any weight on his left knee, he had to be carted off the field, we know no one wanted to see that, at one point, the Packers were down by 20 points.

Then Rodgers came back and he did what he does. The two-time NFL MVP threw three touchdowns in the second half, that includes the 75-yard catch-and-run to Randall Cobb to put the Packers in the lead. Green Bay stunning Chicago with a comeback for the ages, 24-23. The Packers plan to run more tests on Rodgers today, but he says he's playing against the Vikings next week, no question about it.

Elsewhere here in Miami, we were almost playing, guys, in primetime. The Titans and Dolphins shattering the NFL record for the longest game, lightning forcing apparent delays that lasted almost four hours, kick off was just after 1:00, and the game didn't end, guys, until 8:10.

The fans who did stick around, they got their money's worth. Miami wide receiver Kenny Stills scoring two touchdowns in this 27-20 win. Stills and his teammate Albert Wilson by the way were the only two players across the league to kneel on the sidelines during the national anthem.

They were joined by teammate Robert Quinn who raised his fist. Colin Kaepernick who started the movement to raise awareness about social injustice two seasons ago did thank them on social media during the game. He tweeted his support for the players, saying, they've not backed down even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward. Here is Stills on how he sees progress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNY STILLS, WIDE RECEIVER, MIAMI DOLPHINS: There's been a huge difference how we first started protesting, and now a lot of people are reaching out, supporting us. And so I really appreciate that, to everybody out there, thank you for reaching out, thank you for the positivity, you know, let's keep doing our best in order to make positive change and have these conversations and I think everybody wants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CZARNIAK: He says we'll keep it going during the season. Turning to tennis now, Novak Djokovic is the U.S. Open Champion. He beat Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets, and claiming his third U.S. Open title, it's also his 14th career Grand Slam win, tying him with Pete Sampras for the third most majors among men. Only Roger Federer and --

END