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Gianforte Wins Montana House Seat After Body Slam; President Trump To Meet With G7 Leaders; Russia Probe Focuses On Kushner; Trump Travel Ban Blocked By Federal Appeals Court. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired May 26, 2017 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:31:15] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG GIANFORTE, (R) MONTANA REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT: Last night I made a mistake. I should not have responded in the way that I did and for that, I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST: An apology and a win for the Montana Republican accused of body slamming a reporter. So what message does it send to elect Greg Gianforte hours after an alleged violent outburst, and what's the takeaway here?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: And the FBI taking a closer look at Jared Kushner as part of the Russia investigation, but what is it that led authorities to focus on the president's top adviser and son-in-law? We'll tell you.
BRIGGS: Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.
ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour this Friday morning. It bears repeating that it is Friday this morning.
BRIGGS: It is. A very happy Friday, my friend. And breaking overnight, Montana has a new congressman just 24 hours after he was charged with assault for apparently body slamming a reporter. Republican Greg Gianforte scores a decisive win over Democrat Rob Quist. There now, the final numbers for Montana.
ROMANS: Gianforte's victory celebration relatively subdued. He took a contrite tone, owning up to making a mistake. And joining us live now with the latest, CNN's Ryan Young. He is in Montana. He is in Bozeman for us where it is 3:32 in the morning. Give us a sense of what the mood is there -- the mood among the campaign. And now this is a congressman -- a guy with a new job and a court date.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. We've been having this conversation all morning long. Look, when we walked inside you could feel the energy in the room. There were people who were definitely here to support the new congressman. They had an idea here. They said maybe an outsider came in here and pushed too hard trying to ask questions. Others, though, were like wait a minute, someone should be able to ask questions. It's a First Amendment right. A reporter should be able to go in and confront, especially when it's just about health care. That was the back and forth that was going on there. So we heard from both sides.
But three newspapers here pulled their endorsement for him but it didn't seem to dampen the mood when it came to people who were supporting Gianforte. In fact, listen to his apology that he gave last night during his acceptance speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIANFORTE: Sometimes hard work is born out of hard lessons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is.
GIANFORTE: Last night I learned a lesson. Last night I made a mistake and I took an action that I can't take back and I'm not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did and for that, I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you're forgiven.
GIANFORTE: I should not have treated that reporter that way and for that, I'm sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Christine and Dave, look, a lot of people are pointing to the fact that this is why they like this man -- the idea that he is a strong -- has a strong Christian faith, he's a businessman, and they feel like he could represent them best in Washington. That's what we heard from some of his supporters.
Others, though, are wondering what kind of message this is sending to the rest of the country when a reporter can't ask questions. In fact, yesterday I felt like some people were asking "What did the reporter do to cause this?" So it's a little bit of a back and forth there about exactly what happened, but at the end of day he knows he's going to face reporters constantly when he's in the halls of Congress --
YOUNG: -- because that's where we hang out and ask questions. And the other part about this is don't forget there's still a trial date ahead here because he has to appear in court before June 7th, so this is not over just yet.
ROMANS: It is not over just yet. He has a new job and a court date and he will absolutely have to talk to reporters. Reporters, by the way, who write stories and broadcast stories so that his constituents back home can know what he's doing on their behalf. That is what we call democracy.
YOUNG: So he can help the people, absolutely.
ROMANS: All right. Sometimes you feel like you're kind of like --
ROMANS: -- I don't know, Alice in Wonderland over here. OK, thank you so much. Nice to see you, Ryan.
[05:35:00] BRIGGS: All right. President Trump on the final leg of his first overseas trip, preparing for some big meetings at the G7 summit today. The president looks to strengthen diplomatic ties with leaders who are anxious to know where he stands on major issues, like the Paris Climate Agreement, ISIS, Afghanistan, and more.
ROMANS: It comes just a day after the president returned to his harsh rhetoric on NATO. CNN White House correspondent Sara Murray is traveling with the president. She's got more on today's agenda. She is live from Sicily where the live shot is beautiful, but it is a very busy day. I think it's also interesting, Sara, that, you know, this is a G7 meeting. It wasn't very long ago that these were G8 meetings but Russia got kicked out of the group for its bad behavior in Europe -- in Ukraine -- so kind of an interesting subtext.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, it does certainly seem like Russia will continue to hang over President Trump's diplomatic debut even if he's not the one who's talking about it. So he continues today, here in Sicily, for the G7 summit. That's just a day after he was at NATO where he took his opportunity on stage to criticize the other members, pressing them to spend more on defense.
Now, today there are some sticky issues ahead as well. As you mentioned, there are going to be discussions about the Paris climate accord. A number of Trump's European allies are going be pushing the U.S. to stay in that accord. The president has not signaled whether he is willing to do that or not.
But also, there are a number of countries, as you point out, who are eyeing Russia very warily right now. We have not heard that from President Trump at all throughout this trip. In fact, it's so clear that he does not want to discuss Russia -- does not want to discuss, sort of, the chaos that still is looming back home with the investigation into Russia meddling in the U.S. election, into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In a very unusual move, President Trump is wrapping up his five- nation, nine-day foreign trip and not holding a single press conference along the way. Now, that could change. They could surprise us with one this afternoon or tomorrow, but as of right now nothing is planned. Back to you guys.
ROMANS: All right, nothing is planned. We're seeing some of those arrivals there. We were showing them while you were talking to us. That was Emmanuel Macron, the new president of France. So we'll continue to monitor those pictures. Thank you, Sara.
BRIGGS: All right, let's bring "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott. Good to see you, my friend.
ROMANS: Good morning. EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Morning.
BRIGGS: So let's talk about what's happening over there, overseas. A pretty mistake-free trip for the president but interesting how it plays differently over there versus over here -- his comments at NATO. The "New York Post" says "Pay Up" but "Euro Trashed" is the headline there on the "Daily News." Look, President Obama made the same request -- pay up, pay towards your two percent of defense -- albeit with very different language, very different mannerisms. Who is to say which one is right?
SCOTT: Yes. I mean, it depends on who you're talking to, right, so many of the people who voted for Donald Trump share his view on that. They do believe that the people -- the governments that are a part of NATO should honor the commitment that they've made. But we have some reporting at cnnpolitics.com that says the whole idea that there's some countries that owe NATO something, that are in debt, is actually not accurate.
BRIGGS: It's not back dues --
SCOTT: It's not back dues.
BRIGGS: -- is the goal.
SCOTT: And the way that Donald Trump is explaining this issue is just not completely accurate in the space, perhaps, that maybe he doesn't actually know how the NATO alliance operates.
ROMANS: But it's also like if there's a bank account that you get a bill --
ROMANS: It's about how much you're spending on your own military to make sure you're ready if one of your partners is attacked.
ROMANS: That you will be able to pay your fair share --
ROMANS: -- and pull your weight. Let me switch here and talk about the FBI for a minute to get a closer look at Jared Kushner, we've been reporting, as part of the Russia investigation. Tell us a little bit -- what led to the FBI, do you think, looking into Jared Kushner or do we know yet?
SCOTT: Well, we don't completely know what led to this but we do know what they are looking at and there are a few things. One of them is Kushner was very vocal in a "Forbes" article during the election about the role he played in overseeing the data analytics of the campaign.
SCOTT: He learned how to operate Facebook in a way that micro- targeted the messages he wanted to come from the campaign to voters in states that they were predicted actually to lose, and it was pretty effective. And so there's also, obviously, been some concern about the role that Russia played in terms of spreading fake news and harmful news about Hillary Clinton and positive news about Trump. It's not clear. No one's saying that Jared Kushner did anything regarding that, intentionally or unintentionally, but the FBI certainly wants to see what is happening.
But I do think something more interesting is Flynn -- Michael Flynn -- and they're very interested in that. Jared Kushner was a big fan of Michael Flynn, supposedly, and wanted him in the position, even when the president was told not to.
BRIGGS: He was one of the strongest advocates --
SCOTT: He was.
BRIGGS: -- in this administration. That is a good point. You wonder if now more of a shift to the financial ties --
BRIGGS: -- between -- but let's shift now to what happened last night in Montana, this special election. Greg Gianforte wins despite being charged with a misdemeanor count of assault against Ben Jacobs, the reporter. A couple of questions emerging and that's what is now acceptable --
[05:40:00] SCOTT: Right.
BRIGGS: -- in terms of behavior toward to the media.
ROMANS: They're rough and tumble on the campaign trail.
BRIGGS: But also, what can congressmen get away with in terms of not taking a stance on the House-passed health care bill and still winning the election. What's your big takeaway from those two questions emerging out of Montana?
SCOTT: Well, I think Gianforte needs to figure out an answer because this will not be the last time a reporter asks him questions about where he stands on health care. And perhaps more importantly, it won't be the last time constituents want to know where he stands on health care. We've seen the town halls in the last several months and the questions that lawmakers are getting are far more pointed than what Ben Jacobs gave him.
And so whether or not he is going to resort to punching or body slamming again, which Iseriously doubt he will after everything, or if he's going to be able to communicate clearly where he stands on the issue is up to him, but it hurts, ultimately, the people he said he wants to represent in Washington. ROMANS: You know, he's got a lot of work to do to repair his
reputation, quite frankly, you know. I mean, either this was a complete one-off and now he's known as the body slamming congressman from Montana --
ROMANS: -- right, and that's what he is known as --
ROMANS: -- or he's got an anger problem and, you know, he's going to have to really figure out how to work with people in Washington. It's not -- it's not a 'go it alone' kind of place. You have to compromise, you have to talk to reporters, and you have to represent your constituents, you know.
SCOTT: He does, and I think what's interesting -- I was speaking with some people in Montana yesterday. Gianforte's a very successful businessman and a job creator, and I think that he is a bit of a microcosm of what we saw during the national election, and that certainly led people to back him. Furthermore, I mean, the reality is the views of the mainstream media by many American voters, especially those on the right, isn't a positive one. And I think while there are people who definitely don't think it's appropriate to put your hands on reporters, the sympathy isn't there to the degree that we would expect.
BRIGGS: One thing is clear. An apology would have meant an awful lot more before --
BRIGGS: -- he won an election.
BRIGGS: That next morning come out and show some regret, some remorse.
BRIGGS: Eugene Scott, thanks for being here, my friend.
SCOTT: Thank you, guys.
ROMANS: All right. So, I was not here yesterday.
BRIGGS: No, I missed you.
ROMANS: I took a day trip to Disney. Went to Disney for the day.
BRIGGS: Not cool.
ROMANS: I know. I sat down with Bob Iger, you know.
BRIGGS: You didn't bring me anything, either.
ROMANS: I know. There's nothing to get -- there's nothing to get. I'm very sorry. Little Mickey Mouse ears, right? I went to talk about his newest attraction, "Pandora: The World of Avatar." It's based on the James Cameron film. We talked about that new attraction. We talked about safeguarding the "Star Wars" franchise -- that big purchase of Lucasfilm they made. And we talked about the one thing corporate America really cares about, tax reform.
BOB IGER, DISNEY CEO: We do believe that it is time for tax reform in the United States. From a corporate perspective, I've been vocal about this.
ROMANS: It's not just tax cuts for business, but a reform.
IGER: Absolutely. We need complete reform. Everything needs to be simpler. It needs to be more fair, more ecumenical. From a business perspective, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. It's interesting, people tend to jump to a conclusion about that. They think that well, just so businesses can do better. Well, businesses doing better is good for the American economy. It's good for people, it's good for jobs.
ROMANS: What does Bob Iger do next? Have you ever thought about politics?
IGER: I never really dreamed of being President of the United States, actually.
ROMANS: It might not be as fun as running Disney.
IGER: I didn't dream about being the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Well, I did have this -- I did have a discussion, actually, with President Obama at one point and Mrs. Obama about who had the more fun job. They concluded that I did. I don't know if they're right or not. I haven't made any plans post-Disney. I've said before that the whole notion of either running for president or being president is not something in any way considered frivolously and I haven't spent much time thinking about it.
ROMANS: But people keep asking him, that's the interesting thing. People keep asking him and --
ROMANS: -- you know --
BRIGGS: People keep asking everyone -- the Rock.
ROMANS: Mark Zuckerberg, right.
BRIGGS: You've got Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg. ROMANS: Right, right, right, right.
BRIGGS: Businessmen everywhere are being asked this very question.
ROMANS: It's so interesting, isn't it?
ROMANS: All right. "Pandora," by the way, opens tomorrow.
BRIGGS: It looks awesome. It sounds like that ride was a lot of fun.
ROMANS: It was.
BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, another legal blow for the president's travel ban -- more on that. (Video playing) And we're keeping an eye on Sicily as President Trump's meetings at his first G7 getting underway. Getting a look there at Theresa May. World leaders arriving for these crucial meetings.
[05:48:20] ROMANS: I want to peek in here. We've some live pictures coming to us from Sicily. (Video playing) That's where President Trump is having meetings at his first G7 meeting. There you see Emmanuel Macron, the president of France -- the newly-elected president of France. Beautiful live shot there in Sicily. You'll see a lot of these leaders start to assemble here -- world leaders being assembled. You know, this used to be the G8. For many years this was the G8. The seven biggest economies and then they added in Russia because Russia's such an important world power. Then they kicked Russia out --
ROMANS: -- after its incursion in Ukraine.
BRIGGS: That's a more awkward handshake right there than we saw yesterday.
ROMANS: Yes, the little -- the double French kiss. But you -- we'll start to see most of them start to appear here. The president, we're told, had a bilateral meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
BRIGGS: With Shinzo Abe, that's right.
ROMANS: And we'll see all of them start to come here. You know, a lot of this work gets done well before the leaders get there, right --
BRIGGS: Right. They'll go to meetings, though.
ROMANS: -- and there's always -- but a lot of these leaders have been talking about it. And at NATO, we've been told from people inside these governments that, you know, they're very careful about how they approach the new President of the United States, you know. They were told to use flattery, keep their points very brief, and always bring it back to what it means for the Trump administration and the United States.
BRIGGS: But will any agreement on the United States staying in the Paris Climate Agreement or not -- will that emerge out of this? We shall see, my friend.
All right, time now to take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY" with our friend Alisyn Camerota joining us this morning.
BRIGGS: Hello to you, my friend.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hello, my friends.
BRIGGS: I guess --
CAMEROTA: Happy Friday.
BRIGGS: -- G7, Montana -- plenty on the agenda today.
CAMEROTA: That's right, we are going to talk about Montana because if a Democrat cannot win in a district where the Republican was accused of assault, what does this mean for the Democrats? Maybe they're being overly optimistic about their chances --
[05:50:10] BRIGGS: Right.
CAMEROTA: -- in the midterms. So we are going to talk to some leading Democrats about that. Of course, we're also going to be following all of the latest Russia investigation threads. We have incredible power panels for you. Let me just rattle off a couple of names that you're going to be treated to. Ron Brownstein, Jeffrey Toobin, Tim O'Brien, Abby Stoddard, David Frum, Phil Mudd. Basically, guys, you are going to get smarter. Your I.Q. will go up just from watching "NEW DAY" this morning.
BRIGGS: We can't get any smarter. We're all set.
CAMEROTA: Well, right. Not you, though.
ROMANS: And I just heard John Berman -- I just heard John Berman go"and you have the Bermanator." That is something.
CAMEROTA: I mean, can you believe this show?
BRIGGS: Speaking of raising the intelligence bar, yes.
ROMANS: That's says nothing about Chris Cuomo being on vacation. You're going to get smarter because Chris Cuomo's on vacation.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Those were your words, not ours. We didn't say that. Did you say that?
CAMEROTA: The only thing right now I'm sure you're not going to be in big, big trouble, Christine.
ROMANS: All right, nice to see you guys.
BRIGGS: Thanks, guys. We'll see you in a bit.
ROMANS: The breaking news there is that it is Friday. It is Friday at "NEW DAY" and EARLY START. All right. First, it was Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler, now another automaker is accused of cheating on diesel emissions. We're going to tell you who it is on CNN Money Stream, next.
[05:55:30] ROMANS: The Trump administration vowing to take the fight over its travel ban to the Supreme Court after another legal defeat.
BRIGGS: This time, the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court refused to reinstate the executive ordering targeting six Muslim-majority countries. The court citing the president's campaign rhetoric, once again. CNN's Laura Jarrett has more from Washington.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Another significant setback for the Trump administration in this ongoing legal drama over the president's travel ban. This time, a majority of judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a lower court's decision to indefinitely halt the ban, finding that it likelyviolates the constitution because its primary purpose was to disfavor Muslims. The court's ruling on this was lengthy and scathing, explaining in part that Congress granted the president broad powers but when it comes to immigration the president's power can't go unchecked.
The Trump administration had tried to justify their attempt to ban foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries on national security grounds. But at the end of the day, Trump's own words doomed any legal justification his lawyers could have offered in this case, with the majority of the judges finding that "Then-candidate Trump's campaign statements reveal that on numerous occasions he expressed anti-Muslim sentiment, as well as his intent, if elected, to ban Muslims from the United States."
The Justice Department vowed late Thursday not to back down after this loss, saying, "The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the decision of the divided court, which blocks the President's efforts to strengthen this country's national security and will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court." Dave, Christine --
ROMANS: Laura Jarret for us. Thank you.
Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Global markets and U.S. stock futures mostly lower right now after record highs on Wall Street for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500. The Dow just 33 points shy from its own high. Amazon and Google approaching $1,000 a share.
First, Volkswagen, then Fiat Chrysler, now General Motors accused of cheating on diesel emission tests. Drivers filed a class action lawsuit against G.M., claiming its pickup trucks are programmed to cheat. G.M. denies the charges but the stocks fell two percent on the news.
Mark Zuckerberg says he isn't running for office but he sure sounds like he is. The Facebook founder got political at a commencement speech at Harvard University. He encouraged students to create a world where everyone succeeds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ZUCKERBERG,FACEBOOK CEO: For our society to keep moving forward we have a generational challenge to not only create new jobs but create a renewed sense of purpose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Jobs, purpose -- he also talked about climate change. Zuckerberg recently embarked on a multi-state tour to talk to real Americans.
BRIGGS: Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Cuban, Bob Iger, the Rock.
ROMANS: I know.
BRIGGS: Who else are we wondering if it's going to throw --
ROMANS: I know. Every business leader, we ask them.
BRIGGS: All right. Well, it should be interesting.
ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.
BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. They'll have love coverage of the president's G7 meetings in Sicily. Have a great weekend, everybody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIANFORTE: I should not have responded in the way that I did and for that, I'm sorry.
Get the hell out of here.
ROMANS: Victory for the Montana Republican accused of body slamming a reporter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It didn't affect the way that Ivoted.
BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: That type of attack was beyond the pale.
REP. TRENT FRANKS, (R) ARIZONA: The left has precipitated this tense, confrontational approach.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: I hope it would be up to the people of Montana to demand a higher standard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI is looking at Jared Kushner. He is not the target at this stage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They believe that Kushner has a lot of information that he could provide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's almost no one closer to the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things have been intensifying. The president has grown increasingly frustrated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, May 26th, 6:00 here in New York. Chris is off this morning. John Berman joins us. Great to have you here.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Happy Friday.
CAMEROTA: A lot of news. Let's get to it. We have breaking news. That's where we start on your starting line today. Republican Greg Gianforte wins Montana's special congressional election. This just a day after he alleging assaulted a reporter, triggering a national outcry. Gianforte apologized to that reporter during his victory speech.
And another big story. The FBI's Russia investigation reportedly now focusing on Jared Kushner's role during the campaign and transition, including Kushner's relationship with fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as some Russian contacts.
BERMAN: This morning, President Trump wrapping up his overseas trip at the G7 summit in Italy after lecturing NATO leaders --