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Travel Undercuts His Own Aides; London Mayor to Trump: Stay Home; Predators Beat Penguins 4-1 in Game 4. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 6, 2017 - 05:00   ET



SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's not a travel ban. It's a vetting system to keep America safe. That's it, plain and simple.

When you use words like "travel ban", that misrepresents what it is.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. That was in January. Apparently not.

President Trump sending his staffs scrambling once again to explain this travel ban, and once again undercutting efforts to get momentum behind his agenda.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The first arrest in President Trump's crackdown on leaks. A federal contractor accused of supplying a document used in a story about Russia's election hacking.

ROMANS: And a blunt message from London's mayor. He says President Trump should cancel his state visit to the U.K. following this rift after Saturday's terror attack in London.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: And I'm David Briggs.

[05:00:01] It is Tuesday, June 6th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

An embarrassment of political riches ahead. Jackie Kucinich, David Drucker join us in just a few short minutes.

But, first, the White House desperate to focus on policy being forced to answer for yet another tweet storm from the president. President Trump now hardening his stance on the travel ban despite aides protesting for months that it is not a travel ban. And he kept it up into the night. Posting this after 9:00 p.m. Eastern: That's right, we need a travel ban, all caps, for certain dangerous countries, not some politically correct term that won't help us protect our people.

ROMANS: This comes after a series of earlier tweets where the president slammed his own Justice Department for watering down the original ban to make it politically correct. Top aides then scrambled to explain how presidential tweets are not an expression of White House policy.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I don't think the president care what is you call it, whether you call it a ban, whether you call it a restriction, he cares that we call it national security and that we take steps to protect the people of this country. It's real simple.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Of course it is.

GORKA: It's social media, Chris. It's social media.

CUOMO: It's not social media, it's his words. His thoughts.

GORKA: It's not policy. It's not an executive order. It's social media. Please understand the difference.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: This obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's his preferred method of communication with the American people.

CONWAY: That's not true.


ROMANS: All this as the administration asked the Supreme Court to let the travel ban go into effect. Lower courts have blocked the ban citing the president's own words as a candidate and president online and off.

BRIGGS: In courts, Justice Department lawyers have bent over backwards to avoid the phrase travel ban. They have instead called it a temporary pause or just the executive order. Now, once again the president's tweets seem to be undercutting an entire message.

ROMANS: All right. Joining us to discuss this morning, two CNN political analyst, David Drucker, senior congressional correspondent at "The Washington Examiner", and Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief of "The Daily Beast".

Good morning to both of you.

You know, it's remarkable. Last night at 9:00, he was still tweeting about the travel ban and calling it the travel ban and this was the roll out of infrastructure week. And it's the president's own tweets --


ROMANS: Yes, it's the president's own tweets that are undermining any discussion of the real policies, although the travel ban is a real policy that he wants to get in. I mean, this is just remarkable.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Remember, I think it was probably last week, maybe two weeks ago, when lawyers were going to vet the president's tweets before they went out. That never happened. And aides are just beside themselves because what are they going to do, take his phone away? They can't do that.

And he is, he's undermining, we've already seen this, and other court cases, that they are using the president's own words against them. And you saw all day, every time the president would tweet, the ACLU's Twitter account would say, noted, and it would just be pulling these things.

And he -- you even saw Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway, who is an accomplished lawyer say, OK, this needs to stop. It might make some people feel better, but this is undermining --


ROMANS: We put that put. He said, these tweets may make some people feel better, but they certainly won't help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad.

BRIGGS: Not just Kellyanne Conway's husband, but someone the president was going to appoint to his administration.



BRIGGS: David, this is a supporter of the president.

DRUCKER: I wonder what they talked about at dinner last night.


DRUCKER: Look, it's not about that it makes some people feel better, it makes one person feel better. But, look, they said we shouldn't pay attention, it's not policy. We shouldn't pay so much attention to this, so shut everything down. Let's move on. I'm sure there's something else we need to discuss.

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. He's the president of the United States, he makes news, we should be talk about the president of the United States and the only thing I will say about this is I think that the president and his core team, Kellyanne Conway, Seb Gorka, et cetera, love the idea that he's in a spat from their point of view with the media. This is what they feel most comfortable doing. This is where the president feels most comfortable.

So to him, I think it's one big troll. BRIGGS: But it's not just the media. They want to go to war with the

liberal media and the "Wall Street Journal" might undercut that message today in this opinion piece. They say the conservative "Wall Street Journal", folks: In 140 increments, Mr. Trump diminished his own standing by causing a minor international incident, demonstrated that the loyalty demands that the people who worked for him isn't reciprocal, set back his policy goals and wasted time that he could have devoted to health care, tax reform, infrastructure, mark it all down as further evidence, Jackie, that the most effective opponent of the Trump presidency is Donald J. Trump.

How do you go to war with the liberal media when the conservative "Wall Street Journal" says you are your own worst enemy?

KUCINICH: It's all fun and games until it starts thwarting your policy goals.

[05:05:03] And that's what it's doing right now. You have Mike Pence running around the country, playing president, and giving -- talking about the infrastructure. When you actually listen to Mike Pence's words yesterday, he -- it sounded like he was talking about an actual bill that the president was going to sign. There's no bill that the president is going to sign right now.

And that -- so it's even undermining his number two. So -- and to what end? To troll the liberal media?

ROMANS: And we know he said about tax reform. He said he's working the tax reform bill is working its way through. There's no tax reform bill either.

DRUCKER: It's moving right along, Christine. Don't worry about it.

Look, I think we have to back up and just remember for Donald Trump, this is really all about him and his personal brand. He's never transitioned to this idea that he's now representing the United States. Even in the United States in his sort of quasi-nationalist vision, it's all about him and how he interacts with people.

And so, this --

BRIGGS: Which people? Is it the 37 percent or is that the United States?

DRUCKER: No, it's whoever he feels is being unfair to him and standing in his way. He's most comfortable when he has an enemy, when he has an adversary.

So, during the presidential -- during the Republican primary, it was Jeb Bush and it was Ted Cruz, and then during the general election, it was crooked Hillary. And now that he's president of the United States and he's no longer in a campaign, he sort of needs to create the construct of a campaign. And that's what all this is about.

When you look at the past couple weeks and the way he in many ways -- in many ways has been flailing in terms of how he handled Comey and the Russia investigation, even a very well-executed foreign trip wasn't enough to satisfy him. So, he comes home just like he's done every other time he's had a good, let's presidential moment, and he reverts to campaign mode because I think when he's fighting like this, this is when he's comfortable.

And the aides around him are all trying to channel this as best they can. So, if you're Steve Bannon and Steven Miller, it's towards some sort of nationalist agenda. If you're McMaster and Mattis, it's some sort of foreign policy agenda. But --

BRIGGS: But they are not asking him to stop or slow down.

DRUCKER: You can't make him stop. He's the president and he's a 70- year-old man that doesn't take advice.

KUCINICH: They have encouraged him to stop tweeting. We saw this during the campaign. They tried to encourage him to stop tweeting and keep him busy.

There was a story about how they like to keep him busy because he doesn't have time to tweet. But again, we're talking about the president of the United States.

DRUCKER: Look at the difference between how he reacted to Manchester and how he reacted to London. He's on his foreign trip. He's not tweeting. He's busy. He has a very Trumpy, but eloquent statement about evil losers in life, totally focused on what happened and not himself. London, all about himself and his Twitter handle.

ROMANS: What about -- there's a lot of discussion yesterday about the MMT, McMaster, Mattis and Tillerson, and those are the grown ups who are supposed to be --

BRIGGS: The axis of adults.

ROMANS: Right, the axis of adults and that, you know, he's not listening to them. They try to look at his speeches and he doesn't what he wants any way. Are these two factions you guys, the Bannon faction and then the others? And the president just does what he wants?

DRUCKER: I think at times there are various factions. There's the national security wing.

ROMANS: Right.

DRUCKER: There's the nationalist wing. There's the Gary Cohn, and occasionally, Steven Mnuchin win who are trying to help Republicans put together a tax reform bill.


DRUCKER: But at the end of the day, it's all about the president. And this is what the president is most comfortable doing. And I can't -- I feel like I'm plagiarizing myself because we periodically just discussed how -- you know, the president started out, there were actually elements of his agenda that can enjoy a lot of broad, popular support that are a lot more popular than he is. I mean, some of the details now and people focus on the health care bill, people don't like it and other things.

But when you look at focusing on trade and jobs and manufacturing, there are a lot of things in there because people would really embrace and they kind of think to themselves, that's not such a bad idea. But then Trump infuses himself into all of it and he actually removes his ability to get this stuff through Congress and to get other people that didn't vote for him to look at him differently, and that's really the trouble. But this is something we have been saying every two weeks on average since he took office.

BRIGGS: All right. We want to ask you about the prosecution of the NSA leaker. We'll talk about that in 30 minutes.

ROMANS: The arrest of the leaker.

BRIGGS: Thank you both.

ROMANS: All right. Glad to have you here this morning.

The president promises cheaper fares and fewer delays by privatizing air traffic control. He says it's the best way to modernize our outdated system.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At a time when every passenger has GPS technology in their pockets, our air traffic control system still runs on radar and ground-based radio systems that they don't even make anymore.


ROMANS: GPS systems by design create more direct flights. The FAA has been replacing land-based radar for years. The White House says privatization speeds up that process and taxpayers won't have to pay for it. There's precedent. Countries like France, Germany, Canada, successfully privatized their air traffic control.

[05:10:02] Critics say those countries have smaller systems. For example, Canada's total traffic is equivalent to just Houston and Dallas combined. These critics also worry privatization favors the flight paths of large airlines. This announcement kicks off infrastructure week for the administration. In case you haven't heard, the president has promised to spend a trillion dollars to improve America's roads, bridges and airports.

BRIGGS: And they are attempting to talk health care, the luncheon with Senate Republicans as well.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: Trying to get legislation by the Fourth of July, if you can believe that. Well, a spat between President Trump and the mayor of London is worsening. Why Sadiq Kan is renewing calls to cancel President Trump's U.K. state visit. We're live in London.


BRIGGS: Britain's top diplomat pushing back against the call from London's mayor to cancel President Trump's state visit. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says he sees no reason to change the invitation. This comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan renewed his call for President Trump to stay home.


[05:15:05] SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: I don't think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in these circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for. I think one of the many things when you have a special relationship, it's not different -- no different to when you go to a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity, but you call them out when they're wrong.


BRIGGS: Trump has repeatedly criticized Khan on Twitter for his handling of the London terror attack.

Let's get live for the very latest, CNN's Frederik Pleitgen who's in London for us.

Good morning to you, sir.

Let's turn back the clock and remind folks what began this very public Twitter feud. And that's from the first Muslim mayor of a major western capital was very clear about his message. How did the president misinterpret that?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think one of the things that happened is that Sadiq Khan after this terror attack took place, Dave. He said, look, this terror attack is taking place. We're dealing with this terror attack.

What you're going to see in the next couple of days is more police presence just so that we're sure that we can keep the public safety. Don't be alarmed by seeing police officers in the streets. And what President Trump took that to mean is that Sadiq Khan was saying that there's no reason to be alarmed by terror. That was obviously not the message that Sadiq Khan was trying to send. That's certainly something that he has made clear.

It was interesting that originally Sadiq Khan came out and said, look, I simply don't have time to deal with the tweets of the U.S. president at this point in time because we're dealing with this major terror investigation. But now, he's come out and said, look, he doesn't believe that the U.K. should be rolling out the red carpet for President Trump after some of these tweets and remarks that have been made. It's interesting because the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, came out earlier today and said he sees no reason for any sort of cancellation of the president's trip to the United Kingdom. He says the invitation has been made. The invitation has been accepted. And therefore, should go forward.

Nevertheless, I would say that most Londoners probably support their mayor as he's trying to deal with the terror investigation and saying that he simply doesn't want to deal with anymore tweets from the U.S. president. At the same time, of course, terrorism and security, a big issue now in the upcoming election here in this country.

Theresa May, who used to be the interior secretary of this country, therefore responsible for the anti-terror concept, she come out and has defended her track record. But at the same time, of course, he's calling for a major review of the anti-terrorism policies of this country, Dave.

BRIGGS: Those elections less than two days away as the James Comey hearing is as well.

Fred Pleitgen live for us in London -- thanks.

ROMANS: All right. We're learning more about the men behind the London terror attack. Two of the three attackers have now been publicly identified and we're learning now that one of the attackers had been under investigation back in 2015.

CNN's Samuel Burke knows more about this angle of the story. He's live at Scotland Yard with that for us.

Good morning, Samuel.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christine, and to you, Dave.

We just had confirmation of some very alarming details about that 2015 investigation. We actually learned that police downgraded that investigation into one of the attackers. Let's just put up photos of the two attackers who have been named by the police.

On the right-hand side, you have Rachid Redouane. He was 30 years old, claimed to be a Moroccan and Libyan descent. And on the left was the man who had been investigated by police. Khuram Shazad Butt, 27 years old, a British citizen, born in Pakistan.

Now, we knew that the authorities said that he was known to both the police and MI5. That's, of course, the equivalent of the FBI here in the U.K. But what we didn't know is that this investigation had eventually gone down in importance to them. They say they had no information to suggest that he was carrying out or planning any type of attack, much less the attack that he did carry out on Saturday.

But this is on top of a lot of very troubling details. Number one, you had a documentary that was aired on national television across the U.K. here called "The Jihadist Next Door", and Khuram Shazad Butt was in this documentary scene and one of the best known parts here in London waving an ISIS-looking flag in this documentary. It wasn't the ISIS flag, but very similar.

On top of that, we have heard from multiple people that they had flagged him up to the authorities. We heard from a neighbor who was concerned about the type of Islam he was preaching to children. She said she flagged him up.

On top of that, we even heard from somebody in the Muslim community who said that he was verbally assaulted by this man and that he had called police about him. So, the real question we're having here today in the U.K. and that the public is having to cope with in the midst of an election in a couple days, as Dave mentioned is do the police have enough resources here and how are those resources being used.

ROMANS: We certainly know they are watching thousands of people who they are worried about and this one, you know, so many red flags.

[05:20:00] Thank you so much for that, Samuel Burke for us.

BRIGGS: It's amazing when you see, how did they miss this guy?

ROMANS: He was in a documentary.

BRIGGS: Hard to believe.

But we'll talk some sports next. Music City mayhem. The Nashville Predators taking care of business on home ice. They have evened the finals at 2-2. Coy Wire has the details in the "Bleacher Report", that's next.


BRIGGS: All right. Some sports now. Nashville Predators roaring back into contention for the Stanley Cup, with a huge win over the defending champion Penguins.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Coy.

[05:25:00] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine and Dave.

This is like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. There's no place like home. The Nashville Predators now 9-1 in playoff action. Hockey is the hottest ticket going in Music City.


WIRE: County star Dirks Bentley firing up the sold out crowd with the national anthem, and undrafted rookie, Frederick Gaudreau keeping the fans on their feet with this sweep wrap around goal. Officials initially missed this call. And he's only played in 15 NHL games. Doesn't even have his own locker. They throw a chair in the makeshift stall for him.

But three goals in his career all in the Stanley Cup -- in the playoffs. So, pretty impressive stuff.

Now, Nashville comes back to the series to tie it up at two games a piece. Game five will be in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

This is the longest championship game in college softball history. Defending champion Florida versus Oklahoma and Shay Knighten would say good night after 17 innings and nearly five and a half hours. That's a 3-run home run, sealing the win over the Gators. The 7-5 victory puts the Sooners just one way away from capturing the World Series title. The teams won't have much time to rest, though. Game two is tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

An 8-year-old girl kicked out of a championship soccer game because she looked like a boy. Mili Hernandez loves her short hair and soccer and she's so good she competes on the 11-year-old team for the Springfield soccer club in Nebraska.

Mili led her team to the championship game, but before they took the field, they were disqualified because tournament organizers insisted she was a boy. Mili's family says they showed her an insurance card to prove she's a girl, but apparently that wasn't enough. The Springfield soccer club said the statement was a misprint on the team's roster listing Mili as a boy.

And even though the coach tried to correct the error on that roster, organizers would not allow the team to play.

BRIGGS: An insurance card was not enough.

WIRE: Not enough. They didn't want to see a doctor's note or prescription that listed her as a girl. But good news, Mia Ham, Abby Wambach, soccer legends, have tweeted, have posted Instagram videos encouraging Mili that no matter what, to be who she is and invited her to hang out with them as well.

ROMANS: That's awesome, eight years old plays on the 11-year-old team, that's how good she is.

BRIGGS: That will happen.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Coy.

BRIGGS: Coy, thanks.

WIRE: You're welcome.

ROMANS: White House says it wants to get a message on health care meetings today. Infrastructure events this week, but instead we're talking about this.


GORKA: We are talking about one tweet, should we spend the whole program on it?

CUOMO: I think that to call it a tweet is to run away from its significance.

GORKA: It is a tweet. What is it, what is it, a bowl of petunias?


ROMANS: Bowl of petunias.

How the president's travel ban tweet storm once again has aides on the defensive. A bowl of Petunias.