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U.S. Withdrawing From Paris Climate Accord; Putin Denies Interfering in U.S. Election. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 2, 2017 - 04:00   ET



[04:00:09] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, we're getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair. And if we can, that's great. If we can't, that's fine.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A seismic shift in the U.S. role on the world stage. President Trump pulls out of a landmark climate agreement. The move has the rest of the world asking, what is America's future in global affairs?

EARLY START's special coverage begins right now.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START this Friday morning.

Good morning.


ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, in for Dave Briggs. It's Friday June 2nd, 4:00 a.m. IN the East.

This morning, the United States is no longer a global leader combating climate change. President Trump announcing he is withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, a process that will take until November 2020 to complete. The sweeping move fulfills a campaign promise but it's prompting sharp backlash from nations around the globe.

ROMANS: Speaking from the Rose Garden, the president wants to renegotiate key parts of this agreement, but there are stark warnings this morning that the U.S. is seeding a leadership world it has held in shaping global events since World War II.

Our coverage begins this morning with Jim Acosta at the White House.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, key U.S. allies are telling President Trump they are not willing to renegotiate the Paris climate agreement. Leaders from France, Germany and Italy are all telling the White House there will be no renegotiations in response to the president's comments that he would like to strike a better climate deal. The president made it clear during a speech at the White House that he's thinking more about key voters in states like Pennsylvania than the U.S. allies that are now disappointed that the U.S. is withdrawing from the deal.

Here's more of what he had to say.

TRUMP: It is time to exit the Paris accord and time to pursue a new deal that effects the environment and our companies, our citizens, and our country. It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, along with many, many, other locations within our great country before Paris, France. It's time to make America great again.

ACOSTA: The president's daughter Ivanka had been pushing the president to stay in the climate agreement. She and her husband Jared Kushner did not attend the president's speech. A White House official said they were observing a Jewish holiday in the morning, but the official noted Kushner opted to keep a prescheduled meeting at the White House rather than attend the president's speech -- Christine and Victor.


BLACKWELL: All right. Jim, thanks.

Now, you heard Jim mention France, Germany, Italy, all swiftly pushing back against the president's intention to renegotiate parts of the climate deal.

CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris for us this morning. Let's bring her in now for more on the response from key European allies.

Melissa, good morning to you. And the response has been sharp.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sharp. There say great deal of anger in Europe this morning. Europe is waking up to a very different world. One in which this is the belief amongst many European leaders, the United States simply no longer represents the ally that it did until yesterday, and it was very late last night this announcement came European time, and yes, Emmanuel Macron, France's new president, still chose to take to the airways.

Here's what he had to say.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: We all share the same responsibility, make our planet great again.


BELL: Now, there is this anger partly also at the language that was chosen, that very nationalistic language that was chosen by Donald Trump, a reminder really of where he stands on these issues, and the fact there that Europe is simply going to have to look elsewhere. Late today, the European Union and China will be issuing a joint statement from Brussels, talking about their commitment to the Paris deal and their intention to work together to make it move ahead faster.

You've been hearing reaction from all over Europe this morning, a great deal of anger. I just like to share with you what Martin Short, the former president of the European Parliament, tweeted this morning. You could leave the climate deal, but you couldn't shy away from the reality of climate change. He tweeted, more specifically, Donald Trump, you cannot simply push aside this reality as you can leaders, a reference, of course, to what happened here in Europe last week, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the president suggesting that the U.S. will try to renegotiate or negotiate a new deal. Macron saying that is not in the cards.

Melissa Bell for us there in Paris -- thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right. With the U.S. pulling out of the Paris climate accord, U.S. rivals are stepping up. China earning praise for sticking with its commitment to fight climate. One European leader warning that if America steps off the world stage, the Chinese are in a prime position to fill that vacuum.

Let's bring in CNN's Matt Rivers for more on Chinese plans.

[04:05:01] He is live this morning in Beijing.

And, certainly, in terms of propaganda and public relations, it's a beautiful moment for China to step in and say, oh, we will be a leader in the world. We will continue to move forward with all of the technology and money we've spent on fighting climate change, isn't it?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. And it's also a very easy sell to their domestic population because the fact is those of us that live here have to deal with some of the worst air pollution in the world. We feel the effects of pollution almost every single day in the air quality that we're forced to breathe. But now, China does assume a leadership role in this climate agreement whether it wants to or not.

It is the biggest economy left in the agreement. It is the biggest green house gas emitter in the world and because of those two facts, it has the biggest ability to create change on a global stage.

And because of that, other countries around the world are going to be looking at China and not the United States for an example. There's the concept that they're going to follow the leader here and China is apparently more than ready to take on that mantle. And if you look at what China has done over the past several years, coal use has dropped over the past several years. They're set to invest 360 million U.S. dollars by 2020 in clean energy development projects. So, they are putting their money with their mouth at this point, taking on that leadership role, whether they wanted to or not.

Now, at Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing earlier today, the Chinese wouldn't criticize the United States the same way that Europeans did. They would only say that they would stay the course. That China would stay the course in this particular agreement and stick to its commitments.

But in state-run newspapers, specifically a tabloid called "The Global Times" they called the U.S. withdrawal from this agreement very reckless and selfish.

ROMANS: Yes, we're just showing some video of, you know, Chinese cities and it's clear that China itself has a really big self-interest in lowering these emissions. I mean, if China wants to keep social unity as they always say, right, they need to make sure that people can go to school and people can go to work. And so, I would not be surprised if China does emerge as a leader in green technology and the like, just simply because of the pictures we're showing there.

All right. Matt Rivers, nice to see you in Beijing this morning.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, the U.S. is out of the Paris climate accord. Critics are saying its influence on world events will be diminished and America could find itself taking a backseat on other critical global issues.

Let's go live now to London and bring in CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.

And, Frederik, how does this, if we're seeing the indications early, this withdrawal influence other multilateral alliances that the U.S. will be facing over the next few years with this new administration?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think that could be fairly big influences and I think some of the European leaders even before all of this happened, even before President Trump made his decision, were already saying, look, it's very hard for us to see how we see eye to eye with the United States if the views are so fundamentally different on climate change, because of course this whole climate change agreement is imbedded into international politics. And it's certainly something were, for instance, in the future, if you have trade disputes between the U.S. and China, where are the European countries going to stand, if they have deeper trade ties with China all of a sudden because the U.S. is sort of ceding its leadership role on climate change? Especially with a lot of these economies moving more towards an environmental technology economy than they have before.

So, those are some of the things where perhaps in the World Trade Organization you might see European countries look differently at things than maybe they have before and those kind of disputes.

On security matters, it's going to be interesting to see what happens there. Whether or not the Europeans still believe that generally they can rely on the United States is something, of course, where Angela Merkel was quite critical in the past week of President Trump saying, look, we're not really sure we can rely on this specific White House. It would be interesting to see whether or not it would damage any sort of security alliances, not sure whether it actually would.

But certainly, a lack of trust is never good and certainly opens up a vacuum where as Matt just said, the Chinese seem to be doing everything they can to try to move into that vacuum to become a premiere partner, for instance, for the Europeans not just as far as the environment is concerned but, of course, on the back of that also as far as trade is concerned as well. And, of course, countries that trade very closely with one another, usually are also quite intertwined politically as well. So, certainly, this could have very, very big repercussions and that's something that many European leaders warned about before.

The head of the European Union warned about it. Several European heads of state warned about it as well, Victor.

BLACKWELL: And we'll examine all that throughout the morning.

Frederik, thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump says the Paris accord is a raw deal for American business and American workers but guess what? Business leaders do not agree with the president. Top CEOs took to social media to express disappointment over the president's decision to withdraw. Big names like General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla founder Elon Musk, and Disney chief Bob Iger quit the president's business council.

[04:10:03] They have been advising this president.

It even inspired the Goldman Sach's CEO Lloyd Blankfein to send his first ever tweet, his first tweet, writing that the decision is a setback for both the environment and U.S. leadership position.

Hundreds of companies in every industry support this deal in finance and consumer products and tech, and even oil companies. That's because corporate America says the president is looking backwards while clean energy and tech is the future. They don't want to see the U.S.'s competitive edge to China, Russia, or Europe and now, the president critics say the Paris deal, of course, is a jobs killer, but job growth and clean energy is outpacing the old school industrial sector.

I want to show you some numbers. For example, last year, the solar industry grew 17 times faster than the average. Solar also employs more than twice as many Americans as coal. Climate change is a business risk and companies already made plans based on lowering their carbon emissions.

They won't change course now. Many of these companies say they're going to proceed as if Paris were, in effect, but they are outraged. Business leaders are outraged except the opinion pages of "The Wall Street Journal". The sort of the standard bearer for business says this was a good move, calling the Paris deal a pledge of phony progress and sort of mocking the outrage of green elites.

So, "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page, the different views than all these CEOs.

BLACKWELL: You've heard from these CEOs that they disagree with the president's choice. You've also heard from mayors and governors who say that they will stay on the path. We'll hear from --

ROMANS: It's going to take four years to get out, right?


ROMANS: I've been hearing from business leaders and hedge fund managers yesterday, late yesterday who said, all right, three to seven years, this president won't be the president anymore. We need to think beyond the Trump administration.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we'll hear from the mayor of Pittsburgh later. You know, the president invoked Pittsburgh yesterday.

Now, President Trump will stern words also after dozens are killed in Manila. Watch.


TRUMP: It's really very sad as to what's going on throughout the world with terror.


BLACKWELL: Yes, but this is a problem here, because it wasn't a terror attack. We'll tell you what really happened.


[04:16:13] BLACKWELL: More than 30 people confirmed dead in the attack at a Resort World Casino in Manila. A lone gunman storming the facility early Friday morning, shooting up slot machines and setting gambling tables on fire. But police say all of the victims suffocated in the fire. None of them were shot. The attacker also dead after setting himself on fire and shooting himself.

ROMANS: The Philippines government and police are ruling out terrorism as the motive of the attack. You wouldn't know that though listening to President Trump.


TRUMP: I would like to begin by addressing the terrorist attack in Manila. We're closely monitoring the situation. It's really very sad as to what's going on throughout the world with terror.


ROMANS: The president feeling strongly about that, wanting to point that out at the Rose Garden yesterday.

When the White House has asked why President Trump mentioned terrorism, a senior official said the president had been briefed that media reports indicated that ISIS had taken credit. It's not clear what media reports they're talking about.

BLACKWELL: The Trump administration petitioning the Supreme Court to reinstate the president's travel ban. The Justice Department asking the high court to lift lower court rulings that halted the president's executive order. The travel ban would temporarily bar travels from six Muslim majority countries.

Now, the administration argues it's a matter of national security. Critics call it a discriminatory ban on Muslims.

ROMANS: All right. High drama last night. We're not talking about the NBA finals.

The National Spelling Bee stretched late into the night. We'll have the winning word for you which I'm sure I cannot spell and I bet you can't either.

BLACKWELL: Sure can.


[04:22:15] BLACKWELL: Twenty-two minutes after the hour now.

Russian President Vladimir Putin set to speak about U.S.-Russia business relations. Executives from several American corporations will be at the economic round table to listen to his pitch. Now, the event comes one day after the Russian leader denied his government interfered in the U.S. elections but he did suggest patriotic hackers in his country may have independently played a role.

Let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian live from Moscow.

Two big questions: why now? And is it possible there could be independent hackers without the Russian government knowing about it?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, it's certainly possible. I think it's important to be careful not to over- interpret this. As you say, President Putin is still denying any government involvement. But the point he was making was that, you know, they could be independent access out there, but that again emphasizes the government's -- the Russian's government's position of deniability. That even if you do establish that the hack originated on Russian soil, then you have to establish the link to the Russian government.

Obviously, we know the U.S. intelligence agencies believe that there was a link, but from the position of the Russian government, there is still deniability.

On the question of, why now? Well, you know, Putin is the star of his own show there. That's why we see kind of franker, more vocal style from him. Perhaps also emboldened by the fact that we see what Russia perceives as a waning position for the U.S. in the global stage, pulling out of the global climate accord. So, you know, the G7 achieved very little and then a comment by Angela Merkel about how Europe alone can no longer rely on its traditional allies. But I think it's interesting how Putin's tone has evolved. He

addressed his friendship with Trump directly, saying, you know, I have never met him so I can't be friends with him but he called him a sincere and straightforward man, said he had a fresh approach and this might lead to good things. The two are set to meet in July, just over a month away, the G20 summit. So, perhaps, he is starting to set the agenda for that, but we're starting to hear from him in the next couple of hours again addressing U.S. business leaders. So, we may get more details then in a sense of what he is planning and what he's up to.

BLACKWELL: All right. Clare Sebastian for us in Moscow -- thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. The date has now been set. James Comey will testify next Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former FBI director is expected to detail private conversations he had with President Trump. He's also certain to be asked whether the president urged him to drop his investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn.

BLACKWELL: Meantime, letters newly obtained by CNN show two Democratic senators have asked the FBI three times to investigate Attorney General Jeff Sessions for possible perjury. Senators Al Franken and Patrick Leahy say they are concerned Sessions lied at confirmation hearings about his meetings with the Russian ambassador.

[04:25:07] Now, a source says that so far, they've had no response from the FBI.

ROMANS: And now this, a word you may have never even heard of, let alone spelled, one 12-year-old showing what she has got.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.



ROMANS: Ananya Vinay of Fresno, California, named the winner of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee. The sixth grader's victory ending the contest three-year streak of ending in a tie.

BLACKWELL: Ananya and her rival Rohan Rajiv (ph) battled it out for 41 minutes at the final until as you saw there, Ananya won. What does she take home? $40,000 in cash and a trophy.

And in case, you're wondering marocain is a kind of dress fabric.

ROMANS: M-a-r-o-c-a-i-n. And I learned something from a 12-year-old today. Thank you.

A near global condemnation for the president's decision to withdraw from that Paris final accord, here's former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.


LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: This is the biggest U.S. foreign policy error since entering the Iraq war. The United States did a lot to forfeit its claim to be a leader among nations.


ROMANS: So, who are the leaders among nations? Live coverage around the world, next.